"If you can ride at the front of the bus, but you cannot read, you are not free." (Arne Duncan)
Let's use the imagery of Arne Duncan. Let us imagine students in the United States all riding somewhere. Let us imagine that their transportation symbolizes their school. Public-school students are riding on public buses. After multiple school closures during the Bloomberg administration, some of N.Y.C. buses are no longer serving communities.
Some high-ranking educational deformers send their children to private schools, not subject to their mandates. They take private transportation. Let us imagine their children being chauffeured to school in cars similar to the one pictured on the right below.
Public Bus Private Transportation
Charter-school operators claim that their students are also riding, so to speak, the public bus. Charter schools are funded by public as well as private interests. Some of the schools are very well funded. Charter-school operators may make far more money, overseeing far fewer schools, than that of the N.Y.C. Chancellor of education.
If charter schools are riding on the same public bus, as they claim, they obviously have had the choice seats. They can push public-school students to the back of the bus. They often do this when co-location occurs. Public-school students, already coping with significant shortages, lose some of their prime space. They are, so to speak, crowded to the back of the bus. Public-School students may learn in run-down conditions, including inside trailers, while the charter-school students can use their private funding to spiff up their "seats." Imagine for a moment, if you can, the educational deformers putting their own children in trailers to learn. For the life of me, I cannot imagine it. Charter schools in N.Y.C. have heretofore not been subject to rent. They seem to get a free ride in the front of the bus for free.
Let us imagine the charter-school students sitting in the front of the bus. When students in the charter schools fail to perform well on standardized tests or prove to have behavioral issues, they are demoted. They are forced to leave the charter-school section. They are, so to speak, forced to the back of the bus. They are sent back to the truly public-school system.
Charter schools are not subject to the same oversight as the public schools. Charter schools may make their own rules. They often enforce strict discipline codes. In the case of KIPP, they have sent very young students to padded rooms for solitary confinement as punishment. For the life of me, I cannot legally imagine any room like this on a bus, let alone in a school.
Now, let us imagine these buses subject to strict federal accountability. Instead of measuring who gets to his or her destination safely, all students must be driven to the exact same location. They are dumped off the bus in Common-Core Testing Land. How could anyone truly believe that this was Dr. King's Dream?