A School I Believe In, a Movement I Don’t

Editor’s note: the following piece was written by a charter school teacher whose request for anonymity I honored. Leave comments or email them to me at tips@edushyster.com and I’ll pass them along. JCB

How my charter network’s advocacy hurts more kids than it helps…

old seatsLast year I made the agonizing decision to leave my urban public school and take a job at a charter school that is part of a highly-regarded network. I loved my students and the community at my former school, but after a tumultuous year spent battling a hostile administration, I knew I had to leave. About two months into work, and now at the beginning of the school year, I’m convinced that I’ll become a much stronger teacher as a result of the feedback, support and coaching I’m getting at my new school. What I’m far less comfortable with, though, is the role that my charter network plays in the larger charter-school movement Continue reading →

Why the Washington State Supreme Court Ruling Matters

The origins of a surprisingly simple decision that could have major implications…

By Martha Carey
Something unusual happened in Washington state late last week. Charter schools came out on the losing end of a lawsuit. In fact, charter schools, as they are currently defined, funded and organized, were actually ruled unconstitutional by that state’s Supreme Court.  And the basis of that decision was surprisingly simple. The charter school law that narrowly passed Washington in 2012 was found to be in violation of the state’s constitution precisely because charter schools have private boards. Continue reading →

Is the Tennessee School Takeover Machine Running Out of Gas?

Writer Andy Spears says that continued fallout from the Achievement School District’s takeover of a Nashville middle school could prompt legislators to put the brakes on the ASD.

By Andy Spears
Last year, I reported on the latest education reform gameThunderdomebeing played in Nashville. In this version of school disruptionorganized by the state’s Achievement School District (ASD)two schools compete for the privilege of being taken over by a charter operator. Yes, that’s right, two schools enter and everyone loses. Everyone, that is, except the charter operators.

thunderdome 2As reported, Neely’s Bend Middle School (grades 5-8) was the *winner* of last year’s Thunderdome fight for survival and is now in the process of being converted to a LEAD Public Schools charter grade-by-grade.

I bet you’re wondering what fun is in store now that Neely’s Bend has been declared the winner and is in the process of claiming its prize. Continue reading →

Students in New Orleans Speak Out

Students in New Orleans speak out, and ask some hard questions…

IMG_1120 Early Friday morning students arrived at their schools only to find that it was no regular morning. Pasted on the walls all around the schools were large black & white posters. But these were not your typical posters. These posters had facts, questions, and statistics regarding New Orleans public charter schools and their inhabitants — former students, teachers, principals, and CEOs. Some posters had questions on them that referenced the firing of over 7,000 teachers post-Katrina: *The black math teacher from 2004 who lived in your neighborhood, where are they?* And some questioned the salaries of school principals and administrators compared to the quality of the schools they run: *Your principal makes $100,000 a year, but why is your school only a ‘D’ school?* These are only a few of the many posters that were found at several high schools across the New Orleans area, including Lake Area, Sci Academy, Warren Easton, and Landry Walker. Continue reading →

In Chicago, Hunger Striking to Save a School

Why are Chicago parents on a hunger strike to save a neighborhood school? Because after five years of fighting, they’ve run out of options... 

By Jeanette Taylor-Ramann
IMG_3755What’s happening in Bronzeville isn’t just about Dyett High School. There’s an agenda to push out black and brown low income and working families in the city of Chicago. If you look at the big picture, that’s what this is about. You don’t only have police brutality. You don’t have only have a decrease in public housing in the city and the closing of public schools. The neighborhood school is the last stable institution that we have. When you have good neighborhood schools, they service the neighborhood. They keep kids off the street; they help parents when they’re struggling and having issues in the home. That neighborhood school is a support system for the community, and the powers that be know that. 
Continue reading →