Monday, October 25, 2004

Follow up on Charter Schools: The Facts

October 25, 2004

By Elsa Salazar Cade

When last I wrote about charter schools, I was angry about the suggestion that it was good for our Hispanic children.  Now I am back with some details about how the charter school movement has impacted our school children.  Recently released data from the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress report put out by National Center
for Educational statistic has revealed some interesting information.  NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data for the U.S. dept. of Education.

The New York Times revealed that based on this report, charter schools are lagging behind traditional public schools. Fourth graders attending charter schools performing about half a year behind students in other public schools in both reading and math.  Their excuse is that they are working with the same students that public schools were only now with new and uncertified teachers who were not prepared to handle the behavioral and learning and language problems.  Well, DUH!

    Oh... and federal officials said they did not intend to hide this information, claiming poor publicity on their part.  As the church lady says “Oh, how convenient!”

    The schools that are becoming charter schools are predominantly schools that have been struggling as public schools.  The excuse from the Dept. of Education is the data is limited in what you can conclude because many charter schools are relatively new.   The dept. of Education’s analysis of the raw data will be ready by late fall. 

Hmm is that after the election??? 

    How else can you-know-who claim to be the “Education President”? You know, the person that was governor of Texas.  On September 15, the Texas school finance system was again declared unconstitutional for failing to provide sufficient funding for economically and limited English proficiency students.  He was governor, couldn’t he have fixed that? 

    Now charter schools are key to Mr. Bush’s education policy.  Eight years of this and your first grader will graduate from junior high never to return the hallowed halls of school again.

  Alrighty then, let’s just keep putting our most disadvantaged school children in them till we know for sure they don’t work.  Sounds like throwing away years of children’s learning opportunities is ok, especially when most of the children in the nation’s charter schools are poor and of minority background.

    As reported by Helen Gao, Californians are well aware of the closing of 60 campuses leaving 10,000 children without a school just before the start of the school year. The school operator said the schools were closed because of financial problems.  A huge number of them were Latinos children. Were do you think those children went to school after that? The public schools, of course.

    Moving from one school to another is a huge event for children and their parents especially when they were repeatedly brainwashed into believing they were in a better situation.  But again, they were only poor and of minority background.

  In her article on the San Diego Union Tribune website,  Luis Huerta is quoted as explaining how there have been as many as 80 charter school closed around the country due to questionable finances.

    In an email to my former colleagues, Phil Rumor, president of Buffalo Teacher’s Federation, indicated how three charter schools seem to be re-segregating the school population in Buffalo! One charter school being 75.2 percent white and another charter school 99.7 percent minority.  This, in the city that bussed its children for years under court order to desegregate schools.  There are many Puerto Rican American Children affected there.

    So I ask you, would you choose to eliminate your post office, prefer the rent-a-cop to your city police organization?  How about some guy that likes to play with fire to put out your burning house with his garden hose instead of having a trained fireman?  But then again, Mexican Americans now make up 37 percent of all active-duty Marines. 

    Where would the cannon fodder for the war on terror come from if our Hispanic American children got a good education and actually developed real careers and got nice jobs?  Heavens, they might move next door!

  Elsa Salazar Cade can be reached at:



  1. I am an "alternative school" educator I agree with Ms. Cade in that what we are doing is in efffect removing kids from our schools to either improve one schools image or offer a token eduaction to those that for whatever reason have fallen outside the traditional school umbrella.
    This past Friday I had the privilege to attend the Texas Summit: Laying the Groundwork: Creating a Positive School Environment for Student Success. This forum took place at the state capitol (Austin, TX) and featured many prominent voices in the field of education, parents and other involved persons. The big question was "how do we meet the needs of students who, for whatever reason, have failed to get what they need from our schools?" This of course is an overly broad, generalizing statement, but it addresses the gist of what was discussed.
    Are minority students overrepresented in alternative and charter schools? You bet. Are children being left behind? You bet. Is this illegal under the new No Child Left Behind (2000) law? Many are beginning to look into this. Are me continuing to segregate our schools along color, language and socio-economic lines? The evidence points points to an overwhelming "Yes". I will continue to post more on this issue later.

    Allen L. McMurrey

  2. To sum up what I was pointing to in my earlier posting: Yes, a para-educational system is being set up which is in no way equal to the existing system, and this system is composed of mostly African American, Latino and low socio-economic status students. What we agreed to try and do at the summit this past Friday is stand together and demand that our public schools end these discriminating practices, provide viable alternatives for student success and live up to the universal ideas that form the framework of No Child Left Behind (2000). Make the people that offered up this nifty bit of legislation put their money where their mouth is and create a fair and just educational system for ALL Americans.

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