An interesting piece in the NY Times on the current debate over charter schools in Harlem, featuring four prominent voices. Try the one you disagree with most first. A brief sample:
Geoffrey Canada: The real question of choice is for the public school system itself: will it serve the children in our schools or the adults? I’ll support any school that will educate children. Can the critics make that same claim?
Richard Kahlenberg: Teachers have also soured on charter schools. Education Secretary Arne Duncan correctly notes that the late teacher union leader Albert Shanker was an early supporter of charters. But as I outline in my biography of Shanker, he envisioned charters as a vehicle for enhancing the teacher’s voice and grew disillusioned as they became a vehicle for bypassing union representation.
Jeffrey Henig and Luis Huerta: In communities where failing schools persist, the rationing of scarce resources and accompanying policies may be fueling resentment toward two groups: public officials, on the one hand, and new education “outsiders” on the other.
Michael Goldstein: Critics didn’t apologize for any of their predictions. They opened up new lines of critique. First, serving lots of black kids was now called “the new segregation.” A second angle: because Boston charters serve more native-born black children, inherently, then, we serve fewer kids born in Mexico, Vietnam, Cape Verde and China. But this is spun as purposefully not serving this student population. And so on. Therefore, I would predict that the greater the success of the teachers in Harlem charters, the more they’ll be attacked (and their principals) over the coming years.