Well, now that I have your attention, there’s a good chance you are continuing to read to confirm your established “down-with-charters” position, or alternately, you are a “charter” advocate with your defenses up ready to blast me in the comments section.
But, there is a reason I put “charters” in quotations. So, if you are an ideologue and obsessed with that word, either for or against it, or if you have established your “position on the issue,” this blog is especially for you.
I am calling for a moratorium on the word itself: no more “charters”. Stop saying the c-word!
It is a word about adults. It is a word about adult-led systems. It is a word about ideology. It is a word about politics. It has nothing to do with kids or families or communities anymore.
This is a challenge to the School Board, educational leaders, policymakers, advocates, funders, unions, teachers, families, and everyone else.
Let’s talk about kids. Let’s talk about communities. Let’s talk about the quality and direction of education reform by talking about student outcomes, about parent choice and engagement, about diverse opportunities to meet diverse student skills, interests, and family needs. Let’s hire a director of schools who wants to talk about these issues in their complexity and messiness, who won’t bite at the attempt to simplify things for the sake of politics and punditry. Let’s hope we have a new Mayor who will do the same.
As a city, if we can’t engage in educational discourse without this word, then we aren’t having the right discourse, and we probably aren’t getting anywhere with it.
If we can’t take this challenge then maybe the conversation is really about us and defending our position and fueling our righteous indignation. We thrive on the high emotions and the intensity of the debate and simultaneously over-simplify education reform to the point of meaninglessness.
There are kids across the county in public school classrooms, in a variety of public school designs, with a range of curricula and a diversity of teachers and pedagogies, from diverse communities and families, with differing needs, aspirations, and expectations for their education. We need an education system that supports success for every one of them. We won’t get there with a binary debate or singular strategy.
So, let’s take the challenge. Let’s drop the c-word and start a meaningful conversation about education in our city.
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