Sunday, April 20, 2014

More Media Mendacity--Charter Lobbyist Says Public Schools Pick and Choose

You have to love the audacity of a charter proponent twisting logic to this point. He opens with a story of Bill de Blasio's son in Stuyvesant. It's true Stuyvesant is selective, but it's also true that Stuyvesant is far from representative of public schools.

Then, of course, there is the preposterous image of people having to cross velvet ropes to get into public schools. According to this lobbyist, we pick and choose, and leave the undesirables at the door.

One way, according to the writer, that we are selective is via zip code. If you live in a neighborhood, you can attend that neighborhood's schools. And if you can afford a great neighborhood, you can attend a great school.

Actually, that's true less and less in NYC as fewer and fewer schools are neighborhood schools, and that's been accomplished by uber-reformy Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

And city schools take everyone. We take the kids I teach--ESL students who've been here a very short time. We take special ed. kids regardless of how many services they require. When charters talk of what percentage of special needs kids they take, they never mention the extent of those needs.

But even if we really used velvet ropes, the writer conveniently forgets that charters can require more of parents than public schools, like the odd walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, trip to Albany, or the phone call requiring you to leave work to attend to some minor infraction. The writer forgets the attrition rate at charters as they exclude children they find inconvenient, and the writer also forgets where those inconvenient children end up. These children don't face velvet ropes. In fact, they enter public schools.

After these children are removed, it's as though they never existed. Charters can boast of 100% graduation rates and 100% acceptance into four-year colleges. And what of the kids the charters dumped? Well, those kids become part of stats used against public schools. Too many kids took too long to graduate, and therefore we need to move Eva Moskowitz into your school. After all, the poor woman has to scrape by on less than 500K per annum, and she needs the work.

The charter guy wants to "expand access to the schools that are presently succeeding and work to create more of them," which means exactly to give Moskowitz even more space. Now she can't afford to pay for it, and charter lobbyists spent over 5 million bucks to make sure we knew that. We have to give her the space, and if we don't, we have to let her pick her own space and pay her rent. That's the American way, and Eva's BFFs paid Andrew Cuomo at least 800K to have it enshrined in law.

Meanwhile, my kids and I sit in a trailer, because neither the charter-loving writer nor any of the people who work for Moskowitz work for us. That's OK.

What's not OK is that neither Andrew Cuomo nor our state representatives work for us either. That needs to change.
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