More lies from Tribune survey report

Thanks to Diane Ravitch for picking up and sharing yesterday’s post about the deceitful Tribune public education survey report.

Catalyst picked it up, too:

CHARTER CHEERLEADERS: A survey commissioned by the Chicago Tribune and the Joyce Foundation finds widespread support—among parents of CPS students and other Chicagoans—for more charter schools in the city. However, Julie Woestehoff, of the group PURE, says the polling wasn’t exactly balanced.

Well, here’s another whopper from today’s Tribune, which continues to tout their survey “findings”:

An impressive 6 in 10 (61.1 percent) favor a law that would empower parents to take control of a persistently failing school and hire a nonprofit education provider — usually a charter operator — to manage the school. That’s the “parent trigger” law that has shaken the status quo in California.

The actual question (#29) from the poll never mentions the words “law,” “charter operator” or ” parent trigger”:

If a school in your neighborhood had a history of low student achievement despite efforts to improve those results, would you agree or disagree that parents of students in that school should have the right to intervene and hire a nonprofit with education experience to manage the school?

That’s a pretty loaded question, and certainly not an outright endorsement of a parent trigger law or turning schools over to charter management.

trappedchildOf course, the biggest whopper in today’s editorial is the “trapped student” image. That’s what the Tribune calls the students “languishing” on charter school waiting lists.

Mayor Rahm says that the pain of the closings doesn’t compare to the anguish of “trapping” kids in failing schools.

It’s public education as a Hansel and Gretel tale. The Trib and the mayor seem to think that parents are just dropping their children off at these terrible gingerbread house schools where the witches inside TRAP and probably eat their children.

Well, here are some questions about who’s trapping children.

Who runs these trap/schools?

Who makes all the major decisions about these trap/schools?

Who has failed year after year to give these trap/schools the resources they need to educate children?

Finally, let’s not forget that the most popular answer to the Trib’s question about what to do about underperforming schools was to “devote more resources while keeping the staff intact.” Only 6% thought the school should be closed and only 18% wanted to hand the school over to a non-profit.

As the Tribune says at the end of today’s editorial, “That’s what Chicagoans want.”

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.