Re: The Projo’s Unintentionally Informative Juxtaposition of the Day
Responding to a post from earlier this week, National Education Association Rhode Island Chapter Executive Director Robert Walsh comments that Jennifer D. Jordan’s recent Projo story on charter schools, where it was reported in the voice of the omniscient journalistic narrator that the NEA “disagrees” that charters have certain benefits, failed to capture the full breadth of the position he had offered. Mr. Walsh’s more complete position is that…
The problem with proposing additional funding for charter schools during the current budget crisis is that it further diverts those dollars from state aid to education and the approximately 150,000 students in traditional public schools, and the further diversion of these funds hurts the existing schools and directly impacts property taxes.Based on reaction that Mr. Walsh has engendered in the past, I am compelled to issue an early warning regarding comments in this thread. To start by accentuating the positive, an example of an acceptable comment would be pointing out that making a priority of whether the bureaucracy that manages a school is municipally-based or regionally-based does nothing to mitigate the main point of the original post, that the union is more focused on creating particular bureaucratic structures than on educating students. (And, by the way, isn’t a charter school like the Blackstone Valley Democracy Prep, which accepts students from multiple towns an example of a regionalized school — albeit one that’s been regionalized from the ground-up, instead of the top-down?)
Further funding for charters at this time also goes against two public policy imperatives. First, since charter schools are stand-alone entities, often with a higher percentage of costs allocated to administration, more charters mitigate against the policy interest of regionalization and consolidation of services. Second, despite an impetus towards performance measurements, the record of the existing charter schools is decidedly mixed. Perhaps existing charters that are not making the grade should be defunded and those resources should be allocated to new charters with a better chance of success. Another alternative is to follow the original idea behind charter schools – identify successful educational ideas and move those into the public schools so that all children can benefit from them. The idea that some children need additional time on task or more personal attention is not a new concept, and the funds should be made available to the traditional public schools so that all students can benefit from them.
Likewise, asking “fiscally conservative” readers if they are going to continue to believe that top-down regionalization is the panacea they’ve been told it is, when it is being offered as a reason why the state shouldn’t more fully innovate in the delivery of public services, would also be an example of an acceptable comment. (And just so there’s no confusion, these are comments that I actually am making).
Personal attacks, name-calling and other comments unrelated to the substance of what’s being discussed are not acceptable, and will be quickly removed from this thread.