Monday, April 24, 2006

Today's Boston Globe Review: Charter Schools and Osama Who?

As I said, I won't be writing any more Globe Watches, I guess "Review" will have to do for now.

Today's Headline

Today's Globe headline story was on Osama bin Laden's newest message. Why? It's time to bury Osama bin Laden in the back pages. That's all I have to say about that.

The Editorial Pages

The Globe's lead editorial today was on charter schools and the conflicts in funding them. The Globe seems to be very supportive of charter schools (this conclusion coming from many Globe editorials I've read on the subject) - and there are some great charter schools we should all support. However, there are two things that bother me about charters.

Firstly, I used to be on an advisory council for the Massachusetts Board of Education several years ago. During that time, charter schools were a hot issue. Several of them had to go before the Board of Education to warrant staying open. Several students of one of the schools came before the council I sat on and appealed to us to support their cause. However, the numbers and facts just didn't support that decision.

The Board of Education ultimately decided that the Lynn, Ma Charter School should be closed; it was a complete failure. It would be one thing if this charter school were unique, but it wasn't. I don't know what the statistics on charter schools are now, but back then I didn't find them encouraging. There are always many great examples, but there were more (at least then) that were no better than public schools - and often worse.

Secondly, and more importantly, I'm very much against charter schools that are for-profit. A lot of charter schools bring corporations money - which sickens me. Public education isn't about making profit for corporations, especially when many of those corporations were heavily supported by the Welds and Cellucies of the world. I'm no expert on Romney's positions on charter schools, but let's hope he didn't keep the same friends (and let those friends sit on the Board of Education).

I appreciate a little competition and think all parents should have some choice in where to send their children, including (and especially) public schools. I think charter schools can be a very viable option, but I felt the Globe editorial brushed aside many of the aforementioned issues. I understand that there have been many editorials from the Globe on charter schools, but the Globe should have emphasized the fact that not all charter schools are created equally.

Of course, the Boston Globe suggests Horace Mann charter schools as a good compromise. However, it wasn't for any of the reasons I suggested. It was a good compromise with unions, but what about students? I was disappointed to see the Globe focus so many words on compromising with unions and so few (or none) on what's best for students.

I'm no expert on charter schools and am years removed from when I could say I was confident in my knowledge, so take this whole portion of today's review with a grain of salt. If anyone has some good information on this topic, my ears and mind are open.

In other news...

Cathy Young has a personal take on immigration. You'll have to accept my apologies, I didn't bother reading it.

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