Leadership-Scottie

One of the in­ter­est­ing ten­sions in char­ter school bat­tles is be­tween pro­gres­sives who look at char­ter schools as just a con­spir­acy of busi­ness­men and, on the other hand, black and Latino peo­ple who see black and Latino stu­dents get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion they wouldn’t oth­er­wise. The pro­gres­sives of­ten seem to re­gard these peo­ple as de­luded dupes. While of­ten align­ing with pro­gres­sives oth­er­wise, the peo­ple them­selves, in this case, just want re­sults.

This kind of ten­sion doesn’t usu­ally sur­face ex­plic­itly, but, at a lo­cal Democratic club host­ing a panel on ed­u­ca­tion that was re­ally just about char­ters, it did sur­face. Audience mem­ber Scottie Smith, a long-time African American ac­tivist in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, got fed up with the char­ter-bash­ing from the panel and gave an in­ter­est­ing state­ment of her frus­tra­tions.

Hear it.

Contradictions in the Controversy over Charters

4 thoughts on “Contradictions in the Controversy over Charters

  • August 10, 2016 at 3:52 am
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    By the way, I am not against the Restorative Justice pro­gram, just use it when ap­pro­pri­ate.

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  • August 10, 2016 at 3:50 am
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    I will lis­ten to Mrs. Smith’s com­ment soon, but one thing that comes to mind is that if my mem­ory is ac­cu­rate, I thought some of the very poli­cies that she ad­vo­cates with re­spect to han­dling of dis­ci­pli­nary is­sues, are the very poli­cies caus­ing par­ents to seek char­ter schools, that peo­ple like Mrs. Smith are not tough enough on those stu­dents who per­pe­trate bad, even bul­ly­ing, be­hav­ior. Everyone wants to use this “restora­tive jus­tice” pro­gram for every prob­lem un­der the sun, even Mr. Panas. At some point, with this pol­icy, vic­tims of abu­sive be­hav­ior, are be­ing made to ap­pear as part­ners in a spousal dis­pute, that they need to “work it out.” Some level of “bul­ly­ing” has been lumped into the “con­flict” cat­e­gory. I was bul­lied a lot of a kid, and so help me if some ad­min de­cided to force me to sit down with the bully to work it out, in­stead of just kick­ing his ass out of school for a few days. Some of these punks need that. So, in the in­stances when these lax poli­cies do not work, every­one is run­ning for char­ter schools, in­clud­ing some of the pro­po­nents of these some­times mis­used poli­cies. In fact, when these poli­cies are mis­used, they ac­tu­ally be­come a valid rea­son for a char­ter school, be­cause who would ar­gue against a safer al­ter­na­tive. And we know the perps of bad be­hav­ior will most likely not show up at your char­ter school, be­cause very of­ten these stu­dents do not have en­gaged par­ents who would make the ef­fort to en­roll them. At least that’s my take on it.

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    • August 10, 2016 at 9:10 am
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      Giorgio,
      Long time no hear, but it’s good to see your com­ment. So let me first try to clar­ify what I do as an ed­u­ca­tional ad­vo­cate. My role is to make sure that stu­dents re­ceive Due Process and sup­port ser­vices in schools as de­fined by Local, State and Federal laws. Therefore, to say, I am not tough enough, I would dis­agree, I am very hard on a sys­tem that al­lows be­hav­ior to go unchecked for long pe­ri­ods of time, when there are in­ter­ven­tions that could have dealt with the prob­lem at an early age. To not pro­vide the nec­es­sary sup­ports to stu­dents and teach­ers when be­hav­iors are first no­tice and wait years be­fore and than try to send a child of to a de­ten­tion cen­ter or sus­pend him or her with­out fol­low­ing the law, and pro­vid­ing proper in­ter­ven­tion, does not help the child or the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. What usu­ally hap­pen is that stu­dents and par­ents see a sys­tem that uses reg­u­la­tions when it wishes, not for the child, but as a cover-up to blame the vic­tims of a bro­ken sys­tem. As to why par­ents seek choices in ed­u­ca­tion, the ma­jor fo­cuses are on aca­d­e­mic achieve­ment, qual­ity and sta­ble teach­ers, as op­posed to turnovers with sub­sti­tutes with­out les­son plans, who al­low the stu­dents to do what they wish, the qual­ity of the fa­cil­i­ties and the at­ti­tudes of the staff to­ward the stu­dents and par­ents. I dis­agree that char­ter schools do not have stu­dents with be­hav­ioral prob­lems, they do, but what some tend to do is deal with the be­hav­iors as out­line by their in­ter­ven­tion plans and due process pro­ce­dures. Again, the ear­lier one in­ter­venes the bet­ter the re­sults. There are tra­di­tional pub­lic schools that have great in­ter­ven­tion plans and do im­ple­ment them, so it not so much a char­ter ver­sus tra­di­tional on be­hav­ior. It is more of when a school de­ter­mine to in­ter­vene and the nec­es­sary fol­low-up with teach­ers, stu­dents and par­ents to make sure the be­hav­iors are be­ing mod­i­fied. On the sub­ject of en­gaged par­ents, I have seen par­ents whose stu­dents are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with be­hav­ior, beg the schools and other agen­cies to help, but to no avail, so when they find a school or place that will help, they do what they can to get help for their child. No par­ent wants a child that is out of con­trol or not learn­ing, but they, as should the schools, want to know why and what is be­ing done to mod­ify the be­hav­ior or im­prove the aca­d­e­mic achieve­ment. Giorgio re­mem­ber we do have laws and school staff should abide by it, as should stu­dents.

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    • August 12, 2016 at 3:01 pm
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      It would be in­ter­est­ing if some­one ac­tu­ally did a sur­vey of why par­ents who are choos­ing char­ter schools for the first time do so. Someone must have done that. Right?

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