Friday, October 12, 2012

Hey, charterheads: let's make love, not war!

Posted By on 10.12.12 at 07:45 AM

Take a look at these charterheads!
  • Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media
  • Take a look at these charterheads!
It's come to my attention that the charterheads of Chicago are really, really mad at me ever since last week's column, where I pointed out that the unionized public schools are whooping the asses of the nonunion charters in standardized test scores.

Here, read all about it . . .

As I pointed out, I'm reluctant to even make such comparisons cause I think standardized tests are a misleading way to evaluate teachers and schools.

Moreover, as I also pointed out, I have nothing against charter schools in theory. In fact, I want their teachers to make more money and have better job protection. Also, I appreciate the fact that many charters—ironically, the lower-scoring high schools—are providing havens for students who are one step away from dropping out.

I felt compelled to point out the aforementioned ass whooping only because charterheads, led by Mayor Emanuel, say it's just the opposite. They claim charters are outscoring unionized schools in the standardized test game.

They make up these claims to justify dividing the teaching world into two categories: good teachers, who don't belong to unions, and bad teachers, who do. If we can only get rid of the unions that protect those bad teachers all children will become little Shakespeares and Descarteses—or so they argue.

In other words, this distinction between "bad" union public school teachers and "good" nonunion charter school ones is just some bullshit Mayor Rahm and his gang came up with to justify their assault on the teachers' union.

Well, as I've learned, the charterheads don't like it when you confront them with the facts. My goodness, I even got an e-mail from a charter schoolteacher saying I should stop being so mean to his bosses. Talk about the Stockholm syndrome—they must have locked that poor fellow in the basement until he broke.

They're upset because I dared to compare charter schools with the many, many union schools who outscore them. Apparently, they only want to be compared with schools they outscore. That way they can pretend they're the highest-scoring schools in Chicago, even though they aren't.

OK, charterheads—let's have a truce . . .

I'll stop comparing charters with unionized special-enrollment schools—which limit enrollment to the highest-scoring test takers—if you stop comparing charters with unionized neighborhood schools.

After all, most charters have a big advantage in that they limit enrollment only to students whose parents apply. Unlike neighborhood schools, they don't take any old kid who shows up at the door.

Instead, let's only compare charters to magnet schools. Why them? Because they also limit enrollment to students whose parents apply. Not surprising, their scores are near the top year after year—as parental involvement is right up there with income as an indicator of how a child will perform in school. I mean—duh!

For the record, the magnets are union schools with "bad" teachers who voted overwhelmingly to go on strike just like the "bad" teachers from the lower-scoring neighborhood schools.

Oh, while we're at it, I might as well point out that the unionized magnets are killing the charters on the standardized test scores. Which is why, of course, the charterheads don't want charters to be compared to them.

Like I always say, unionize the charters and we can stop with the union-bashing BS and get back to working together for the kids—like Mayor Emanuel says he wants to do.

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