Several FBvians have suggested I was too harsh in my assessment of the article. After calming down — sorry, I get crazy up in this piece about education, think I’m always right, yada yada — I feel like I should clarify, for fairness’ sake.
Josh Benton did recently write an article talking about how great some charters are, and I shouldn’t say his intent (or Holly Hacker’s, the co-author) was to suggest charters are evil. That was grossly unfair to a guy I respect, as I’ve written before.
But I do think that will be most people’s takeaway from this story, and I think that’s sad, because — and here’s what I don’t think has been near covered enough — good charter schools have been trying to get legislation passed that will get rid of these horrible charters! And they will say this, on the record! Call up Rosemary Perlmeter, who runs, among others, the very good Peak Academy on Ross, and I’ll bet she’ll say these schools need to be shut down.
After seeing the story in print (I saw it online), I think the sidebar helps make clear that the problem is that it was too easy to open a charter school in 1998. But I still believe that because most people don’t have enough context on this issue, partly because the media as a whole did a horrible job of covering Sen. Florence Shapiro’s efforts to clean up charter schools, then their takeaway is “charter schools are evil.”
My background in this: I was decidedly against charters until I actually spent time touring Peak and other Dallas charters (because I helped them with media relations for three months last year), talking to teachers, talking to kids, most of them poor and minority. I now think these high-performing charters do amazing things, and they get swept up by this sort of scandal.