Kilroy directed our attention to this Kool Aid letter published by the News Journal...  From its content we can deduce the author does not have children in school, nor does he have experience as a student in a charter school.  Just shows the News Journal will print anything…  and likewise, perhaps it is all good as long as the errors are pointed out for all to see.

The premise of the article supports its headline. Charter schools best choice for children..

What the author does not know, is that his readership passed that level of astuteness a long time ago.  Let me author some comparable headlines so you can gauge the incredulous effect this has upon the general public….

  • Charter Schools best choice for children.
  • Global warming is hoax; thermometers were programed to lie.
  • Sea Levels Are Not Rising; Land is sinking from increased number of vehicles.
  • Lower taxes create jobs; And cause deficit to fall to zero.
  • Santa Clause is a real man; because we can see him in the movie Elf.

All require the same low level of sophistication to be believed…..

Briefly let us look at the reasons stated erroneously (but with good intent), as to why charters are allegedly the best choice for children.

“I know that charter schools allow children to hone their skills in any activity that they choose to be in.”

Below is the reality: recommended by Delaware’s Charter School Association as performed in a neighboring state’s charter school

“Students were expected to stand up and “mirror” instructions using a Whole Brain Teaching technique at the beginning of lessons. They used “mirror talk” – repeating verbatim what the teacher just said. After “mirroring” some snippet of knowledge, for example “9 x 3 = 27” or “adverbs modify verbs,” they had to return to the carpet and have a mini-lesson related to that fact, using “Turn and Talk,” when students repeat the information to another student sitting near them, and “Teach/Okay,” when students repeat in unison verbatim what the teacher just said using the same tone of voice and gestures. Every word, every gesture is supposed to be done exactly so, no variations. In a class using Whole Brain Teaching, every few minutes you hear the teacher say, “Class, class” and the class responding, “Yes, yes” then the teacher says, “Hands and eyes,” and the class responds, “Hands and eyes,” silently putting their folded hands on their desks and looking at the teacher, tracking the teacher with their eyes wherever the teacher moves around the room. If any student is not sitting properly, silent, hands folded, the teacher says, “I need you to sit like a scholar.” Then the teacher says, “Mirror, mirror words,” and the teacher runs her hand across her mouth like zipping it shut. When the teacher says, for example, “How do we use math,” and pauses, the students repeat, “How do we use math,” and the teacher then says, “Every day,” and the students repeat, “Every day.” Then the teacher claps three times and says, “Teach,” and the students clap three times and say, “Okay.” This directive to “teach,” preceded by a formulaic pattern of clapping that the students mimic, followed by the students saying the word “okay” is a basic Whole Brain Teaching technique. Students then repeat what the teacher said using the “buzzing bee” level of talking which is allowed in the classroom for this activity. Each student addresses a partner using the same words, the same intonation. There is no intelligence involved on the part of the students, no critical thinking skills engaged, no independent thinking, no creativity. In this example, what follows is the students taking turns saying, “How do we use math every day?” first one student in a pair, then the second one in the pair, the students facing each other for this part of the lesson. Then the teacher says, “Hands and eyes,” and the students are quiet again, facing the front of the room, with hands folded.

“Charter schools provide choices for children who want to join the military, specialize in music, or pursue a career in finance or science.”

Take, for instance, one young charter school alumnae who passed all her classes in the 9th grade but was retained because she “failed behavior.” She was extroverted and a bit rebellious as my middle school student, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that she had broken her charter high school’s arbitrary rules (with 37 detentions), which among other things prohibit dying hair an unnatural color (say, pink or green), wearing dangling earrings instead of studs and talking in the hallway between classes. I was shocked, however, that the punishment was to hold her back, making her take the classes she had passed again to make her attitude “college ready.” One year of her life taken away.

“Charter schools can identify a child’s skills and enhance those skills while simultaneously instructing them with the basic educational needs every child should receive.”

I was told that the lower performing students should not be part of the whole class discussion of the stories in the reading textbook and they should be listening to the stories from CDs individually using earphones. They would miss out on the points other students brought up about the stories and they would be essentially penalized for their lower skills by being separated from the other students in the class. Basically make stupid black people, stupider.

Charter schools provide parents with alternative choices for school in case a parent does not agree with private and public schooling.

“I don’t want my kid going to school with no blacks!!! ”  “Oh, yes sir… Right here in this charter school, we proudly staff 66% white students (Newark Charter); Can’t find that in a public school!  And in this school, 94% (Wilm. Charter) of its students are NOT black… We certainly believe in removing the dark shadows from our schools, (wink, wink) if you know what I mean…

Charter schools allow children to be more diverse and interact with people from all over the country and world.

KIPP’s professional development, “was devoted entirely to classroom management strategies: the practice of giving directions and mandating that 100 percent of the students follow the directions.” And, of course, maintaining silence.  Not only, says Radding, were kindergarteners required to spend most of the day with legs crossed and hands in their laps. “They had to inflate their mouths to look like a bubble so they wouldn’t make any sounds.”  A dog trainer once stated: “I wouldn’t put my dog in that school,” “A conspicuous feature of the regulated environment, is an insistence on continuous compliance to perverted rules that shadow children throughout the day.”  These schools create “totalizing environments” through “systematic behavioral engineering” — drills, chants, and near-constant behavioral reinforcement. And punishment far more excessive than the crime.

“I have the foresight in knowing that enrolling them in a charter school setting will educate my children to their desire, and in turn they will be more willing to learn and practice their hobbies at the same time.”

Patterns of targeted exclusion plague the charter-school sector, whose enrollment trends have long suggested many vulnerable kids leave, or are removed from, the student body before graduation.  Bizarrely, charter high schools regularly trumpet 100 percent college-going rates with graduating classes that are a fraction of their freshman size. Culled state data shows that between fifth and twelfth grade, charter schools lose around three-quarters of its black boys — a demographic group that disproportionately faces corrections.

Bottom line, is charter schools cause more hurt than help.  They could be good if run well. But when run for money, all problems that creep up inside corporations, now happen in schools…

Every child who goes to a charter school, hurts 4 others who remain in public school.  Until this issue is remedied, and can be simply by funding charters as are vocational schools, by lines in state budgets, charter schools will always bring down the education levels in districts wherever they are introduced….

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I hope for the author’s sake, when it does come time to put his child in school, he will by then be aware that only 17% of charter schools perform better than the feeder schools in their district… Much worse, 37% of all charters perform WORSE than the feeder Public schools near their location… Meaning that the remaining 46% of charters maintain the status quo… No better, and cost those public districts valuable dollars better spent on all children. not just those of a hand picked elite.

This letter to the editor is embarrassing by its lack of facts.  If writing in public, it pays to know something beforehand before stating an opinion one has not bothered to look into yet.

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