In a one-sided discussion about charter schools on his MSNBC show, Ed Shultz said, “This is not about whether charter schools are successful. It’s not about whether parents should have the freedom to send their kids to charter schools. But what this is I believe, is a big conservative generational agenda to show that charter schools can outperform public schools and this is what we really should be doing with our money.”
“The conservatives want to make education a for-profit venture down the road, across the board,” Shultz added.
Ed Shultz embarrassed himself further: “[Charter schools] breeds and feeds the next generation of segregation in America. But you have got public dollars that are going to charter schools and you’re taking away from public schools, picking and choosing neighborhoods, that is a slippery slope. When you start picking and choosing neighborhoods, you’re picking winner and loser in public education.”
Ed Shultz couldn’t be more wrong. Public charter schools across the country offer parents in rural and urban communities the ladders of opportunity that their traditional area public school simply cannot offer.
In Louisiana, nearly 41 percent of charter schools perform significantly better than traditional public schools in reading, while 46 percent perform significantly better in math. That 41 and 46 percent performance rate by charter schools are both better than the national average proportion of better-performing charters (25% in reading and 29% in math).
In Chicago, Urban Prep Academies schools has seen all 167 of its seniors accepted into a college or university. Want more, Mr. Shultz? According to Fox Chicago, 85 percent of the students at Urban Prep’s campuses come from low-income families and many of the students start at least two grade levels behind where they should be.
So much for charter schools “breeding segregation.”
In New York City, Success Academy Charter Schools–where an overwhelming majority of the student are black and Latino–have a 96% pass rate in math. Other New York public schools in the district have a 3-8% pass rate. In English, Success Academy has a 53% pass rate while the other area non-charter public schools have only a 6-9% pass rate.
I could do this for days.
I’m not saying that all public charter schools produce perfect results. And there are certainly a number of traditional public schools that perform at a high standard. However en masse, the number of traditional public schools that our failing America’s students is embarrassingly high. Public Charter schools are a alternative, not some conservative plot to destroy public education. Public education is doing that on its own.
It’s just sad to see Ed Shultz, a rich white man, railing against the very charter schools that open so many doors of opportunity to poor and minority families.
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