Jonathan Alter explains today why “liberals should learn to love charter schools.” His key example is New Orleans, where “over the last decade, graduation rates have surged from 54 percent to 73 percent, and college enrollment after graduation from 37 percent to 59 percent.” (Believe the anti-reform tripe from Julian Vasquez Heilig trumpeted by Diane Ravitch's lobbying group, the Network for Public Education? Read this from Morgan Polikoff.)
So why should liberals learn to love charters? The primary beneficiaries are poor minority kids, especially African-Americans. Hey, liberals: loving it yet? Another agape appeal, again using NOLA as a test case: there, one-fifth of teachers in the all-charter district are Teach For America corps members, “half of whom are black, Latino or from low income backgrounds,” notes Alter. (TFA-hater? Also very un-liberal. See Derrell Bradford here.)
[T] he backlash against education reform among liberals who should know better has been disheartening. Too many have bought into the notion that the super-rich helping to improve inner city schools instead of just buying new yachts is somehow a bad thing. They’ve swallowed cherry-picked statistics from former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch and her acolytes, which misrepresent the significant advances taking place in hundreds of those once-awful schools.
Local note: Alter also examines Newark, where disproportionate numbers of black families choose charter schools for their children. “Contrary to the claim that charters succeed only by “skimming” or “creaming” the students from more stable and middle-class families, Newark’s charters enroll a higher percentage of poor students than district schools.”
Labels: Newark, NOLA, TFA