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Thu Oct 18, 2012, 01:53 AM


Hey, charterheads: let's make love, not war! (Chicago)

It's come to my attention that the charterheads of Chicago are really, really mad at me ever since last week's column, where I pointed out that the unionized public schools are whooping the asses of the nonunion charters in standardized test scores....I'm reluctant to even make such comparisons cause I think standardized tests are a misleading way to evaluate teachers and schools...

I felt compelled to point out the aforementioned ass whooping only because charterheads, led by Mayor Emanuel, say it's just the opposite. They claim charters are outscoring unionized schools in the standardized test game...They make up these claims to justify dividing the teaching world into two categories: good teachers, who don't belong to unions, and bad teachers, who do. If we can only get rid of the unions that protect those bad teachers all children will become little Shakespeares and Descarteses—or so they argue...

They're upset because I dared to compare charter schools with the many, many union schools who outscore them. Apparently, they only want to be compared with schools they outscore. That way they can pretend they're the highest-scoring schools in Chicago, even though they aren't...I'll stop comparing charters with unionized special-enrollment schools—which limit enrollment to the highest-scoring test takers—if you stop comparing charters with unionized neighborhood schools.

After all, most charters have a big advantage in that they limit enrollment only to students whose parents apply. Unlike neighborhood schools, they don't take any old kid who shows up at the door. Instead, let's only compare charters to magnet schools. Why them? Because they also limit enrollment to students whose parents apply. Not surprising, their scores are near the top year after year—as parental involvement is right up there with income as an indicator of how a child will perform in school. I mean—duh!

For the record, the magnets are union schools with "bad" teachers who voted overwhelmingly to go on strike just like the "bad" teachers from the lower-scoring neighborhood schools.


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