The NAACP is calling for a national moratorium on charter schools. This is an interesting development, and begs the question as to why the hell our union leadership is not doing so. It seems to me that leadership is so obsessed with that apocryphal seat at the table that they'll do absolutely anything to achieve it. Charter schools are now in direct competition with public schools, and they are designed that way.
Leadership sees this as a new paradigm, and I think they call it "solutions-driven unionism." That is, if Bill Gates likes charter schools, we'll support them. If charter schools colocate and destroy our public schools, we'll start a charter and do the same. We will presume, for no reason whatsoever, that union leadership can run a charter more successfully than the non-union ones who cheat, cherry pick, exclude and expel to inflate the test scores on which they are judged.
We will not only support Common Core, but also threaten to punch the faces of anyone who doesn't. We will send our President to help write the law that rates teachers by junk science. Not only that, but we will insult opponents of such outright nonsense by suggesting they wish to give more power to principals. We will ignore the fact that this law results in members being rated inffective based on junk science.
We will defend baseless and abusive testing by invoking civil rights organizations. We will say they support testing, and therefore we do. When a statewide movement causes our reformy and sellout governor Andrew Cuomo to pull back on testing in some small way, we will take credit and ignore the movement. Not only that, but we will also condemn it with an outrageously transparent and stupid argument. We will do this to discredit opponents of leadership to an audience that's largely bound by loyalty oath anyway.
This is a golden opportunity to open discussions with NAACP and help connect the dots to anyone who doesn't understand the connection between charters and testing. Both of these are used to vilify public schools and teachers, and testing in particular is used to close community schools, many of which are concentrated in communities of color.
I don't anticipate that happening anytime soon, as it seems vital to leadership to be five years behind the times. The leadership MO, sitting around and hoping for the best, seems to work for them. For example, if NAACP manages to influence other groups or make something happen, leadership can then take credit and attribute it to their "activism," or that of the loyalty oath signers who have the vision and discipline to do whatever the hell they're told.
I was pretty surprised that Chalkbeat NY didn't deem this worthy of mention on Monday, so I passed it on to a writer, who passed it on to an editor, who did nothing whatsoever about it. That's because this story isn't worthy, I suppose. Who gives a crap what NAACP thinks when Families for Excellent Schools say charter schools are better than public schools, or E4E gathered 100 signatures saying teachers should do more work for less pay? Clearly Chalkbeat NY values the opinions of white billionaires who fund astroturf groups, and after all someone has to take a bold stand for white billionaires, otherwise it would be discriminatory.
Personally, I find it pretty sad that a preposterously small minority dominates the education conversation, entirely ignoring teachers, students and communities. But that's where we are in America circa summer 2016.