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Thompson: The Narcissism of "Self-styled Reformers" (& Writers)

Littleknowledge "Same building. Same community. Sometimes even the same parents ..." writes Steve Brill, implying that charter schools face the same challenges as neighborhood schools. 

Like the "self-righteous reformers" he praises, Brill does not know that it is politics that determines whether schools can enforce their attendance, behavioral, and academic standards.  When one school is empowered, neighboring schools are further damaged as the most challenging students are dumped on them, often creating an extreme critical mass of suffering children and perpetuating the blame game. 

Brill does not even know enough about public education to ask why more of that testing is supposedly necessary to remove ineffective teachers or to consider the better alternatives for improving teacher quality.

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Numbers get skewed when charter schools dump their most needy students back into the public school system, but that is not the worst of it. it is a common charter school practice to require a written contract for parental involvement prior to student enrollment. I've been told this violates federal regulation, yet I know first hand of charter schools with this practice, and officials in several urban districts have confirmed it is common practice in their districts. By peeling off the most involved parents from the public school system, charter schools gain a major success factor, and public school students, especially those whose parents are not actively involved in their education, are deprived of one of the most consistent predictors of school wide success.

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