Monday, March 10, 2014

Charterbeat Distorts Charter Coverage

That private dollars help the charters is fine, but they remain publicly funded institutions, and it is irresponsibly shortsighted to spend that money without also benefiting the host districts.... Your article notes that students at the Success Academy charter schools outscored public school students in standardized math and reading tests. While this may be encouraging for the charter school movement, it is not unequivocal proof of the charters’ superiority.... NY Times letters to editor
Today's Chalkbeat - which we refer to as Charterbeat - Rise and Shine headline: De Blasio's charter schools beating a political loss.

A loss? While his response has been inept -- they should have me as a consultant as I know Eva's game plan as well as anyone -- today's letters section of the NY Times, always a good indication on where the public that reads the paper is coming from, shows a different story - every single letter basically criticized Moskowitz and Success and charters in general and in fact were supportive of de Blasio. (Read them below).

The Times always splits the baby in the letters section reflecting the rough % of responses they get on a controversial issue. That today pretty much 100% are opposed to the charter lobby in some way is an indication. Just watch those expensive and massive commercials begin to backfire on them.

By the way -- Carmen Farina doesn't get it. Eva doesn't want seats - she wants the buildings -- it is all about real estate. Allow her schools to grow into shared locations while undermining the public  school until she gets sole control of the building -- and then offers to take them off the hands of the DOE for a buck -- and then convert them to condos.

Charterbeat in transitioning from Gotham Schools made sure to eliminate its nightly summarizing of the blogs where the truth is often read. They must be matching Cuomo in its contributions from the charter lobby.

Here are their links today:

Rise & Shine

Charter school space wars

Mayor Bill de Blasio has an uphill road to climb if he wants to carry out his plan to charge rent to charter schools.

Public Advocate Letitia James will ask a judge to delay charter school admissions while her lawsuit against co-locations proceeds.

De Blasio predicted that the lawsuit would ultimately prevail in court.

Ginia Bellefante: De Blasio’s heat over the co-locations he canceled instead of the ones he preserved shows that he has lost his ability to control the narrative.

Former Gov. George Pataki, who spearheaded the state’s charter school law, criticized de Blasio’s approach to charter schools.

Gideon Stein: The state should give charter schools extra funds that co-located ones should turn over to their fellow schools.

An advocate says Cuomo’s choices show that he prefers big-bucks charter schools to regular public schools.

Richard Whitmire: Lost in the debate is the fact that some charter schools do better than others in educating students.

Chancellor Carmen FariƱa said she would try to find space for a Success Academy school threatened by her co-location decision.

Still, Success Academy parents plan to sue over their canceled co-location plans.


And here are the more realistic public opinion letters on the Times.


To the Editor:
Re “Mayor and Operator of Charter Schools Do Battle in Albany” (news article, March 5):
The conflict in New York over public charter schools and their host districts brings into sharp and painful relief the core flaw in the charter law. It was unwise to create a parallel system designed to compete for dollars and success.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have the opportunity to work together to foster collaboration between the two publicly funded school systems. Successful charters should share their successful practices not only through modeling that success but also through teacher training partnerships and other collaborative ventures.
That private dollars help the charters is fine, but they remain publicly funded institutions, and it is irresponsibly shortsighted to spend that money without also benefiting the host districts.
MAURICE G. ELDRIDGE
Swarthmore, Pa., March 5, 2014

To the Editor:
The heated back and forth between Mayor Bill de Blasio and charter school advocates like Eva Moskowitz exposes the contrast between the public interest and self-interest in their positions.
The charter schools movement began with the intention of creating places where educators and their communities could try out new ways to educate students who struggled in traditional public schools. They were meant to benefit those who remained in public schools — not undermine or displace them.
Unfortunately, the opening created by the originators of the charter school movement has been exploited by management companies and individuals within the charter school industry who see our schools as a source of personal profit — including Ms. Moskowitz, who earns a lavish salary. As charter operators continue to put their interests ahead of the children’s, it’s about time that public officials like Mr. de Blasio step in to advocate for each and every child, not just a chosen few.
SABRINA JOY STEVENS
Executive Director
Integrity in Education
Washington, March 5, 2014

To the Editor:
Your article notes that students at the Success Academy charter schools outscored public school students in standardized math and reading tests. While this may be encouraging for the charter school movement, it is not unequivocal proof of the charters’ superiority.
Parents who choose charter schools may be more dedicated to their children’s education than other parents. Hence the better performance of charter school children may owe as much, or more, to greater parental involvement than to any programs of the schools themselves.
Randomly assigning children to attend either public or charter schools and then testing their progress is the only scientific way of making a comparison. Similarly, studies purporting to show the advantages of pre-K will not be definitive if the programs involved parental choice.
DAVID S. HODES
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., March 5, 2014
The writer is a retired pediatrician and professor of pediatrics.

To the Editor:
Public schools, especially those in inner-city New York, do not always serve children well. Classes can be large, teachers overwhelmed or inadequately trained, facilities in disrepair, essential equipment like copiers in short supply, art, music, science, physical education absent. Mayor Bill de Blasio proposes that charter schools pay rent to their host schools. Money may indeed help the situation.
Some charter schools have spruced-up facilities, renovated bathrooms, brightly lit hallways, the latest technology, smaller classes and longer days. In a building in which a Success Academy charter and a public school share a building, the contrasts are painfully clear.
These contrasts, demonstrating, not so subtly, to the public school students how little they are valued, can be remedied. Success charters and some others have access to impressive funding from philanthropists. Instead of paying rent, what if a charter school were required to improve an entire building to the same high standards it enjoys?
That would be a start, and who knows, smaller classes, science, art, music and physical education for all, healthy meals and better teacher training might follow.
ANNETTE MARCUS
New York, March 5, 2014
The writer is a retired science teacher and worked as a science curriculum consultant to Success Academy.

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