Posts Tagged ‘charter schools’
Why would anyone who cares about public schools shop at Walmart?
Really, folks. It’s your money. And when you shop at WalMart, your money goes to support:
- more charter schools: $3.8 million in Chicago alone including $230,000 for UNO charter schools.
- more school closings: $500,000 to pay for Chicago’s sham “public engagement” school closing hearings.
- more astroturf “parent” groups like Stand for Children (millions) and Parent Revolution ($6.3 million) to push the parent trigger and other corporate reforms.
- more high-stakes standardized testing: Walton supports teacher bonuses linked to raising test scores.
- more vouchers for private and religious schools.
- more Michelle Rhee: despite the recent scandals involving Rhee, WalMart just upped their giving to $8 million.
According to Diane Ravitch, “they commit about $160 million each year for charters, vouchers, Teach for America, think tanks, and media. Everything they do has the singular goal of dismantling public education and opening the schools to untrained, uncertified teachers.”
Maybe if every parent, every teacher, and every student in Chicago stopped shopping at WalMart, we wouldn’t all have to be out in the streets time and time again, like the three-day demonstration planned for May 18-19-20.
I’ve also pointed out that, even without an admittedly unlikely crippling nationwide boycott of WalMart, Microsoft, Hyatt Hotels, etc., we can effectively put pressure where it really hurts: that is, in the corporate image of these companies.
I haven’t stuck with that plan, with so many other actions to take over the past months, but I remain convinced that we have the power to stop these corporate school raiders. WE JUST HAVE TO USE IT.
So. I guess I’m going to be harping on boycotts and attacking the corporate image of these corporate reformers once a month again for a while. I hope you’ll help spread the word.
Part 1 here (press release re: PURE letter to Executive Inspector General asking for wider UNO probe in light of these photos).
Murdered CPS student Hadiya Pendleton’s family is moving forward with plans for an anti-violence foundation in her honor. Bless their efforts – we hope this project gives them some measure of comfort.
According to the Tribune, others are looking to see how they can get involved, too, though motivation in some of these cases may be more complicated:
Along with Emanuel and the Obamas, other high-profile people have reached out, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Shayne Evans, director of the University of Chicago Charter Schools.
Fifth-grader Nathaniel Pendleton, Jr., currently attends CPS’s Donoghue Elementary School.
As Rahm likes to say, never let a crisis go to waste.
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.
Of 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.”
In addition to raising the specters of vouchers, parent triggers, and unchecked charter school expansion in its editorial pages, the Tribune warns that opposition to the school closings will only frighten children.
In the lead article, the Trib highlighted this quote from Chicago Community Trust CEO Terry Mazany: “As difficult and disruptive as these large-scale school closings will be, I am equally concerned with the negative repercussions this uncompromising opposition will have on children and families.”
And, in case we didn’t get it, Sunday’s editorial drove the point home:
“Chicago Teachers Union officials threaten massive demonstrations and ‘civil disobedience’ to thwart those closings. That confrontational approach would make this process even more agonizing than it already is. It would frighten children and disrupt thousands of educators and students at those welcoming schools. Teachers have a better choice: Work with CPS to smooth the transition of 30,000 students to better performing schools.”
Yes, in Tribune world, the children’s own parents and their teachers standing up for their educational rights are scarier than wealthy corporate privatizers determined to close their neighborhood schools and replace them with charter schools which are more likely to be mediocre and to push out students that don’t fit their desired profile.
The Chicago Tribune published some pre-digested results of a new public education survey they carried out with support from the Joyce Foundation.
Shockingly, the poll results, according to the Tribune, suggest that most people approve of the Tribune’s positions on teacher accountability and school privatization.
Here’s what my look at the actual poll found:
- 50% of those polled were white. Less than 9% of CPS students are white.
- 30% of those polled make more than $ 75,000 a year. 87% of CPS students are from low-income families that qualify for federal free or reduced lunches.
- 43% of those polled do not know a Chicago Public School teacher or teachers’ union member. Really?
Of course, the Trib claims that results were “weighted” to assure a mix consistent with city demographics…but then, like Mayor Rahm, most of the white people in Chicago send their children to private schools.
Key results the Trib decided not to tell you about:
- The most popular answer to their question about what to do about underperforming schools was “devote more resources while keeping the staff intact” (37%). The least selected answers were “close the school and transfer students to a higher-performing school” (only 6%) and “allow an experienced nonprofit to come in and run the school” (18.8%) (question 24).
- Nearly as many people think the CPS budget should be balanced by raising taxes on businesses as by closing schools. Oops! (question 31).
One more thing the Trib left out: the Joyce Foundation also funded the notorious report, “What’s Trust Got to do with it?” which was re-titled “Giving Parents the Run-around on School Turnarounds” by the university-based National Education Policy Center in a review. The press release announcing that review said:
(T)he report never treats seriously the substantive concerns of resistant parents; it never questions the fundamental strategy that it proposes communicating about….The result is a document that’s “paternalistic and arrogant” in its “criticism of parents for not knowing what’s good for them.”
So, parents, look out when the Tribune and the Joyce Foundation team up to talk about education.