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Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:21 AM

Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed

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The now-popular idea of offering public education dollars to private entrepreneurs has historical roots in white resistance to school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The desired outcome was few or, better yet, no black students in white schools. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, one of the five cases decided in Brown, segregationist whites sought to outwit integration by directing taxpayer funds to segregated private schools.

Two years before a federal court set a final desegregation deadline for fall 1959, local newspaper publisher J. Barrye Wall shared white county leaders’ strategy of resistance with Congressman Watkins Abbitt: “We are working a scheme in which we will abandon public schools, sell the buildings to our corporation, reopen as privately operated schools with tuition grants from and P.E. county as the basic financial program,” he wrote. “Those wishing to go to integrated schools can take their tuition grants and operate their own schools. To hell with 'em.”

Though the county ultimately refused to sell the public school buildings, public education in Prince Edward County was nevertheless abandoned for five years (1959-1964), as taxpayer dollars were funneled to the segregated white academies, which were housed in privately owned facilities such as churches and the local Moose Lodge. Federal courts struck down this use of taxpayer funds after a year. Still, whites won and blacks lost. Because there were no local taxes assessed to operate public schools during those years, whites could invest in private schools for their children, while blacks in the county—unable and unwilling to finance their own private, segregated schools—were left to fend for themselves, with many black children shut out of school for multiple years.

Meanwhile, in less blatant attempts to avoid desegregation, states and localities also enacted “freedom of choice” plans that typically allowed white students to transfer out of desegregated schools, but forced black students to clear numerous administrative hurdles and, not infrequently, withstand harassment from teachers and students if they entered formerly all-white schools. When some segregationists began to acknowledge that separate black and white schools were no longer viable legally, they sought other means to eliminate "undesirables."

more ... http://www.alternet.org/story/154425/why_the_racist_history_of_the_charter_school_movement_is_never_discussed?paging=off

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed (Original post)
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 OP
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #1
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #4
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #8
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #9
Orrex Jan 2013 #10
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #12
Orrex Jan 2013 #14
ancianita Jan 2013 #16
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #26
ancianita Jan 2013 #27
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #25
patrice Jan 2013 #2
Coyotl Jan 2013 #20
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #3
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #5
Recursion Jan 2013 #6
patrice Jan 2013 #7
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #11
NMDemDist2 Jan 2013 #13
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #17
NMDemDist2 Jan 2013 #18
Luminous Animal Jan 2013 #23
NMDemDist2 Jan 2013 #24
libodem Jan 2013 #15
NMDemDist2 Jan 2013 #19
libodem Jan 2013 #21
TheKentuckian Jan 2013 #22
We People Jan 2013 #28
Scuba Jan 2013 #29
noamnety Jan 2013 #30

Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:34 AM

1. Maybe because that what is being discussed is not the history of the charter movement?

What the article describes was the private school effort to avoid desegregation.

The charter schools were started by dedicated and well intentioned educators. It was envisioned as experimental education environments done with the full permission and support of the parents, in limited number, and not as a replacement for public schools. They functioned that way for some time, quietly doing what was intended. Later the corporatists etc used the enabling legislation but not the vision, and we have the mess we have now.

The original charter school movement is not the charter schools of today. I fully realize that we live in a sound bite society and that labeling matters. However, that is no reason to lie about history.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:28 PM

4. However, the teachers who initially proposed charters changed their minds

and did so precisely because of the misuse of charters by racists. Al Shanker went to his grave regretting he ever proposed the idea of charter schools.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:48 PM

8. It was a good concept that was taken over by others for bad purposes

As originally envisioned, Charters would have been a good thing. Today, not at all. Yet the need remains for some leading edge experimentation in education

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:52 PM

9. I absolutely agree.

It's frustrating because I teach many kids who need alternative settings. But these same kids are not welcome in my city's charter schools.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:57 PM

10. I don't know

It seems like a concept that was destined for corruption from the outset, good intentions notwithstanding.

And even if they were a good idea in the first place, it's pointless to discuss that because it was decades ago, and the lofty goals have been wholly eclipsed by ugly reality.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:09 PM

12. History is rarely if ever pointless, unless you wish to repeat it.

No doubt the current corporate charter system is evil. However as I and others have pointed out, we still need a place in education with those original goals.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:16 PM

14. Sure, and Republicans are the party of Lincoln

It's pointless to discuss the original intent of charter schools insofar as they have, in practice, turned out to be nothing like the envisioned ideal. That doesn't mean that there's no value in discussing the concept, but it's not greatly relevant to the current discussion of current charter schools.

For the record, I'm not even convinced of the value of charter schools, in part because they never really took off before they were wholly (and predictably) corrupted. We can discuss the historical place of the charter school concept, but I don't buy that this will be useful in correcting the problems that charter schools have created.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:35 PM

16. THANK you! Don't fool yourselves. Anyone who thinks that charters can be made better, or they're

different from chartered corporations is not understanding the fundamental difference between public and private sectors, and their institutions. You can't hybridize them -- public funding with private curricula, principal, teachers, etc., sounds good, but the vampire squid always, always creeps toward profit feeding.

If you want that, then you will end -- intentionally or not -- all of the good that professional teachers unions have fought over a century for: teachers' professional leadership in producing raw educational data, community organizing around mutual child rearing goals, commitment to improving the community's informed advise and consent, professional pay and compensation, etc.

Al Shanker knew they were bad for the nation.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:46 PM

26. I have not been advocating for that in the least

I am pointing out that we need some experimental laboratories for education...which is what charters were originally envisioned as. They clearly have not been that and are a force for evil in education today. The question remains, where is the experimentation and innovation going on? Certainly not in the teach to the test environment we have today.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:36 PM

27. My mistake. But I AM.The labs you want were originally part of Schools of Education at universities.

Some are still in operation, but most have been sold off and teacher training programs shut down because political spending priorities pressed for the shutdowns. I would strongly advise that public pressure be brought to bear on universities to again redesign newer, better programs and more lab schools again.

But that would mean that paying elites have renewed competition in running a country or things beyond.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:42 PM

25. Somewhere, somehow we need to find a way to conduct experiments in education

without for profits and other interference.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:47 AM

2. Research on the big charter school marketer indicates its purpose is not as claimed. Michelle Rhee &

her Students First charade are nothing more than an excuse to transfer money out of public education without any accountability nor transparency, so we should be asking what is the REAL purpose of charter schools. This researcher says it's political, not educational.

http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/rheeformy-logic-goofball-rating-schemes-comments-analysis-students-first-state-policy-grades

There's no research base for Rhee's school ranking list and when you compare the ranks to educational outcomes its all over the board. Students First is not doing what it says it does. Probably this research blogger's biggest concerns have to do with how Rhee's claims for increased accountability and transparency are completely untrue and that in fact the opposite is the case: increased unaccountability and opaqueness.

On Monday, the organization Students First came out with their state policy rankings, just in time to promote their policy agenda in state legislatures across the country. Let’s be clear, Students First’s state policy rankings are based on a list of what Students First thinks states should do. It’s entirely about their political preferences – largely reformy policies – template stuff that has been sweeping the reformiest states over the past few years. I’ll have more to say about these preferred policies at the end of this post.


But I digress… Now back to the Students First ratings. Students First created 3 broad categories of preferred policies for their ratings – policies that it believes:

- Elevate teaching
- Empower parents
- Spend wisely and govern well

By elevate teaching, Students First means the usual basket of reformy options including elimination of traditional salary schedules, teacher evaluations based heavily on student test scores, reduction of retirement benefits and reduction or elimination of due process rights, and pay based primarily on test-score driven evaluation systems. They also prefer to expand alternative routes into the teaching profession. Of course, there’s not a whole lot of transparency into how these various elements are factored into the final grades. But there is a rubric! ...

Every item on their list is somehow mysteriously scored on a “0″you suck) to “4″wow… you are REFORMERIFIC!) scale without using any actual data (apparently) to inform that ordinal rating. Then in a wonderful leap of number abuse, these ordinal scale data are averaged to create a grade point average for each broad category – on a 0-4 GPA like scale, where most values of course lie in the imaginary spaces between the original ordinal ratings (like kinda-semi-almost-reformerific = 3.49).


Finally, I close with a topic that should be another blog post altogether, and likely will be at some point. I’ve been struck by the logic that the preferred policies in the Students First report are intended – by their framing – to increase accountability, empowerment and transparency. Yet, in all likelihood, most of these proposals accomplish precisely the opposite – substantially eroding public accountability and oversight and compromising statutory and constitutional rights of children, employees and local taxpayers. . . .

The Students First state policy rating system – like many other reformy manifestos – implies that the road to ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY is necessarily (perhaps exclusively) paved through shifting larger numbers of students and teachers and larger shares of public funding over to the management of non-government entities and non-public officials, as well as creating entirely new layers of ‘public decision making’ by referendum/petition (Parent Trigger). Whatever gripes we may have regarding the efficiency or responsiveness of government operated services, we must think this one through carefully.

Unless detailed accountability requirements are explicitly spelled out in a whole new layer of state and federal laws, the preferred policies laid out in the Students First and by other reformy institutions are more likely to lead to less public accountability and transparency rather than more. ...

So yes – Students First has their policy preferences – and they’re certainly entitled to that. They’ve built their entire rating system on their idea of what’s good policy. They’ve not tried to justify their policy preferences in any research basis on effectiveness or efficiency of these policy preferences, nor could they. There simply is no research basis to support the vast majority of their preferences. Even where Charter school policy is concerned, findings of successful charters seem to occur most often where authorizers are few and tightly regulated, and where charter market share is low (as in NYC or Boston). This is in direct contrast with the SF preference for further deregulating and expanding the sector (as in states with relatively poor charter performance). So, in short, there’s simply no research based reason to follow the policy agenda of Students First. But the reasons they provide – accountability, transparency, blah… blah… blah… are also not consistent with their policy agenda.

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Response to patrice (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:57 PM

20. Union busting, Christian prosteyzing, money grubbing profiteers

There is always a base motive behind political motives. Profit, control, class privilege, racism, anti-intellectualism, anti-secularism, to name a few!

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:12 PM

3. I brought this up several times here on DU.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:28 PM

5. As have I.

Was glad to see this article.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:41 PM

6. My town in Mississippi did that

The school board formed a corporation, met as the school board, sold the football field to the corporation for $1, and disbanded.

At least they left the school building.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:47 PM

7. So the school district funds the football program, but they had no place to practice or play withou

t the "good graces" of the NEW corporation that formed on the assets of the short-lived one that disbanded.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:05 PM

11. It's a facelift on the old racist voucher scheme.

Liberals managed to make known the voucher agenda, so that got less popular. Charter school have some kind of boutique appeal like a mom and pop store. But mom and pop are embezzling millions in tax money and flushing integration.

The drive to simply turn public school in minority neighborhoods into profit farms and kill and drill testing factories has been hideous to see, especially when anyone complained, pundits howled that union thugs who hated non-whit children were obstructing civil rights. So obscene.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:14 PM

13. first of all, I do not agree with Charter Schools at all. That being said

my friend/coworker in Phoenix who was a struggling single mom got her beautiful mulatto daughter into an excellent charter school on scholarship. Were they (the school) just trying for diversity? I don't know, but I was happy for my friend and her daughter.

Broad brushes often paint outside the lines.

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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:48 PM

17. What would have happened if she didn’t get the scholarship?

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Response to Wednesdays (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:55 PM

18. public school of course

would she have been able to get the college scholarship from there? I don't know.

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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:47 PM

23. Since when do charter schools charge tuition?

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:01 PM

24. well now that's a good point. perhaps it wasn't

a scholarship. but i remember my friend being very excited her daughter got a 'spot'

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:22 PM

15. When my mom was a little girl

She said if a child missed school a man. (I can't recall his title right now).would come to the kids house and see if they were really sick. Public school was important.

Nobody homeschooled when I was a kid. It still seems incestous and secretive to me. You could indoctrinate your kid to think all kinds of paranoid bull and turn them antisocial. Yick. I don't like it.

And I hate charter schools. I think they steal resources from public school and they don't appear accountable.

We had one here that was not accredited. The kids wasted a year of their lives.

Private religious education is a horror show in my opinion.
( And that is all this is, my opinion)

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Response to libodem (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:56 PM

19. the truant officer

he's alive and well here.

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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #19)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:59 PM

21. That's the term I was looking for

All I could think of was resource officer, and I knew that wasn't it. Thanks.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:37 PM

22. The sad truth? The endorsement of Barack Obama acts as a magic bandaid

over literally any problem or concern.

Folks like Reverend Al supporting deform just polishes the turd that much more.

Bring your tired, cruel, wicked, wrongheaded, stupid, impoverishing, and racist muck and wash it in the cleansing light of an endorsement of the President and it will be made "right" in the eyes of the faithful.

You know how shitty the Obama/Duncan education agenda is? It is so beneficial to TeaPubliKlan ambitions that even in the depths of their obstruction, flip/flopping on their own policies, and openly stated aim to make the President fail that they not only haven't thrown a single wrench into the works and have in actuality been working right along and publicly endorse the agenda. You see Reverend Al side by side with Pat Robertson in ads. Joe Scarborough can't push the shit along enough.

You see corporate stooges like Harold Ford, the fascist Bloomberg, and Booker shouting from the roof tops.

If you can't get an idea of what time it is then you threw your clock into the river.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:04 AM

28. K&R

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:04 AM

29. "...charter schools were started by dedicated and well intentioned educators." True, as far as ...

... it goes. Certainly SOME charter schools were started with good intentions.

Many (most?), however, are started with the sole goal of pillaging the public coffers. Others, to keep the lily white children from having to see (and, gawd forbid, talk to) minority and disabled students.

To suggest that even most charters are started for the good of the People is naive.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:09 AM

30. We ought to be broadening the topic

Racism, exclusion from schools, segregation and unequal education is an integral part of the entire public school system - charters and noncharters alike.

Honestly, if public schools were legitimately equitable, I don't think we'd even see a demand for charters except in exceptional circumstances (arts, science, special ed magnets for example).

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