Teacher Gregg Kotsonas from Apple Valley wins a Spotty for this op-ed piece in today's (Saturday) Star Tribune:
So here we go again, lambasting public schools in favor of private schools, charter schools and vouchers. Public schools are failing. Why? Because we are told so over and over and over again.
As a public school teacher, I am reminded repeatedly that I am failing my students because I do not meet their needs, and that alternative schools, in the form of competition, are the only way out. The latest lambasting is from Sean Kershaw, executive director of the Citizens League (letters, April 1) -- a person, I am sure, who has spent years honing his educational and academic skills.
He states, "Charter schools are public schools, and they disproportionately serve the students that traditional school districts are failing."
Yet, when I daily drive by Paideia Academy in Apple Valley, I don't see seas of traditionally failed students happily learning what their public school wouldn't or couldn't teach them. I see a sea of mostly white, upper-middle-class students whose parents want their children away from the traditionally failed that are ever increasing in my classroom.
I would be more than happy to compile a list of my students who are failing and let this school have a go at them, not the application-accepted K-6 students who currently make up its classrooms.
In other words, this charter school is not serving the disadvantaged, but the advantaged who don't want their kids mingling with the great unwashed. It's white flight for the new millennium.
Kershaw goes on to say, "The current anti-charter proposal has nothing to do with improving charter schools," and he's right. But the charter schools themselves don't care whether they improve upon public education or not. National studies have shown that neither private schools, charter schools nor vouchers, by themselves, improve education. They don't.
But that doesn't matter. It's not about improving education, it's about destroying public education. Why should my dollars go to some other kid, right? And if that makes you queasy, just look long and hard at every Republican proposal over the last quarter-century aimed at "improving" public education. It's all about dismantling.
Give me 15 students who want to be in class, whose parents are supportive and involved (and who are still married), who don't have any labels attached to them. Better yet, give me the power -- as do private schools, charter schools and vouchers -- to eliminate those students who don't meet my standards. Give me that and I bet you I can produce results better than any private school, charter school or voucher program.
And if you're not willing to do that, then don't complain about what you do get.
Remember, boys and girls, a Spotty is awarded to the author of a letter to the editor, an op-ed piece, or a blog post or comment that Spot wishes that he has written.Update: Revised title as suggested in a comment by Charlie.