Monday, December 27, 2010

Parental Choice: Mona Davids Responds to Michael Benjamin

"I am tired of hearing folks say parental choice but not telling parents that you give up your parental and civil rights and your mouth is duct taped when you enter most charters by the folks like Walton who hijacked it."   - Mona Davids, President NY Charter Parents Association

While many of us consider Mona Davids a strong ally in the struggle against the ed deformers she deserted less than a year ago, many of us oppose the political use of "parent choice" in the push for charters because we understand the end game is the takedown of the public school system with the result that there will ultimately be no choice - sort of like the "choice" you have between Republicans and Democrats. One day we wil convince Mona that we can fight for real choice and variety of programs within the public schools as Lisa Donlan has often pointed out she helped put into effect on the old District 1 (lower east side) school board.

But here, her nuanced response to outgoing State Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, who hopes to fuel his career with charter school supporterd funding, is worth noting. Benjamin's performance at the Bill Perkins charter school hearings last March was fairly obnoxious, especially when he questionned Mulgrew who stood up to him fairly well. I have some tape of that which if I ever get time I will dig out.
Dear Ms. Davids -

I'm on the Host Committee for BAEO's Symposium 2011. I am helping to raise $50K so we can have the best possible Parental Choice Symposium in the NY/NJ Metro area. The symposium will be held March 3-5, 2011 in Jersey City, NJ. (See details below.) A number of charter schools from the 79 AD have been invited to participate. I hope you will assist me in making sure NY parents learn about education reform and how it enhances parental choice. Please consider responding to the appeal below and support BAEO's 2011 Symposium.

Michael Benjamin
Member of Assembly (thru 12/31)
Mona replies
Huh?? I think Mr. Benjamin must have forgotten when he refused to let me speak on his panel at his charter education workshop last February. Heard it was a blast with CPE unexpectedly rocking up for that workshop.

Never heard of this org but see they received Walton funding.

So, they just target black families for charters. Hmmm.

Since I'm persona non grata in charterland for not knowing my place, having the audacity to expect accountability and transparency, parent rights, independent pa/pta's, student rights, qualified and certified teachers, compliance with iep's and IDEA etc.---- all those things black parents should not expect, this may be of interest to others...

I'm all for school choice, I help parents who want to go to charters and those being pushed out but want to stay anyway. I don't want anyone telling me where I can or cannot send my child.

However, I am tired of hearing folks say parental choice but not telling parents that you give up your parental and civil rights and your mouth is duct taped when you enter most charters by the folks like Walton who hijacked it.

Like working for Walmart, you have no rights once you accept the job...guess it's better to start training those black children now while in school so that by the time they're adults, they'll know their place and be great Walmart workers.

Hey BAEO, what about doing a workshop on sped rights or parent rights in charters? Even better, a workshop on charter law and parental rights in a non-profit education corporation.

It's time for parents to make educated choices on education, be transparent and explain what a non-profit education corporation is.

Mona Davids

Read Larry Cuban at Valerie Staruss' The Answer Sheet

By Larry Cuban
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and top policymakers have promoted and funded small urban high schools for nearly a decade. Then Bill Gates said in his 2009 Annual Letter that while these small urban high schools had accomplished much for students they had largely failed to improve academic achievement. No more big bucks for this initiative. No other foundation executives or federal/state officials, all of whom had tripped over themselves in hailing small urban high schools, said "Oops!"
Ditto for charter schools. Policy elites across both political parties for the past decade have promoted charter schools to offer urban parents and their children choices they would not have in district regular schools. A 15-state study concluded that, indeed, 17 percent of charters offered “superior educational opportunities for their students.” Nearly half of the charters, however, differed little from regular public school “options,” and here is the kicker: 37 percent of the charters “deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.”
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