President proclaims…charter schools

Yesterday, the president spoke on education:

Whether created by parents and teachers or community and civic leaders, charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country.  These institutions give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models and develop creative methods to meet students’ needs.  This unique flexibility is matched by strong accountability and high standards, so underperforming charter schools can be closed, while those that consistently help students succeed can serve as models of reform for other public schools.

Sorry, I mean he spoke on charter schools and the way that they are incubating innovation. He commended their teachers and their administrations and didn’t say a word about public schools. No word about the amount of time and energy that they are currently putting in to abide by the standardized testing movement that he has continued. No word about the money they are personally contributing to classroom supplies. It’s just the charter schools that are doing well.

Are charter schools really doing that well or are they just able to avoid poverty, but picking their students?

First, the overwhelming problems contributing to school quality are pockets of poverty across the country and school policies and practices mirroring and increasing social inequities for children once they enter many schools.

Children who live under the weight of poverty attend buildings in disrepair, sit in classrooms with inexperienced and un-/under-qualified teachers, and suffer through endless scripted instruction designed to raise their test scores. Citizens of a democracy share the responsibility for eradicating both the out-of-school and in-school failures often reflected in data associated with our public schools.

If the president is making claims as to what good education is and what kind of schooling experience that is, you can bet there is an educational reform not far behind. Keep your ideas open!