Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One charter's view of the arts

"It doesn't matter how well they can draw..."

A host of private, Chicago charter school operators are making an all-out marketing move on Rockford, Illinois. The city's school community is badly divided heading into today's board vote. When board memberAlice Saudargas expressed concern over the lack of art and music in the curriculum offered by K-7 Galapagos Charter School, she got this response from the charter's director, Michael Lane:
“Our students need to be able to perform well academically,” Lane said. “It really doesn’t matter how well they can draw and what type of music.”
Ackerman needs new role models in Philly

In Philly, schools chief Arlene Ackerman is following in Paul Vallas' muddy footsteps, promising to close 35 neighborhood schools and turn them over to outside charter management companies. Every study done on the Vallas-era privatization showed it to be a total disaster.

From the Inquirer:
Outside managers - including some for-profit companies, such as Edison Schools Inc. - have run Philadelphia schools since 2002. Most research has shown that despite receiving additional funding to bolster student achievement, the private managers have done no better than the district has.
Improving existing schools has worked better:
The district did have some success with its 21 "restructured schools" - with their special interventions, they outperformed schools run by private managers - but that model was abandoned in 2005 for lack of funding.
Ackerman insists that her "Image 2014" plan (sounds an awful lot like "Renaissance 2010") will work and she points to Chicago as her model. The Daley/Duncan "miracle" rears its ugly head once more.

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