I agree with him on that, but take issue with the way he poses some of the alternatives; i.e., between incremental ("doing nothing") and drastic change (privately-run charters and massive school closings and teacher firings). Marv takes a thoughtful, balanced approach but clearly leans towards the latter.
There needs to be a more drastic change of school culture and that’s what charters, closings and turnarounds are attempting to address, again in sometimes crude ways, but also sometimes in ways that shine a light on what is possible.I appreciate Marv's call for balance. I also appreciate his bent towards social justice and his awareness of the impact of out-of-school conditions on schools and students. But I don't think there's anything less "incremental" about charters. As Marv himself points out, the percentage of Chicago public school students attending charters is only in the single digits, and for the foreseeable future, the vast majority of children in the city will continue to attend regular public schools.
If indeed we are going to have a real dialogue on charters, critical voices can't be demeaned as maintaining the status quo. That's been the tactic of the corporate school reformers as well as that of Arne Duncan.
The pace and scope of public school reform is not something that can be willed from the top by the reformers alone. Ultimately an engaged and organized school community will be the driving force for change. In the mean time, reformers would do well to follow Hippocrates' well-worn maxim, "above all, do no harm," if there is going to be anything public left to reform.