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McCain and Obama tout charter schools

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, October 16th, 2008 at 11:47 am in charter schools, politics.

In case you missed the final presidential debate last night, John McCain and Barack Obama both embraced publicly financed, independently run charter schools — and the competition they bring — as a way to reform the nation’s public education system. You can watch the video of the education discussion here:

Oakland has 34 charter schools, which educate about 8,000 of the city’s roughly 45,000 public school children. They’ve definitely fueled competition. In fact, much of the declining enrollment in district schools is directly attributable to charters, according to a demographic analysis conducted last year.

Do you think that competition has had any positive effects for the school system?

Here’s the transcript from last night’s education discussion, if you’d rather read it:

Schieffer: The U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on education. Yet, by every international measurement, in math and science competence, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, we trail most of the countries of the world. The implications of this are clearly obvious. Some even say it poses a threat to our national security. Do you feel that way and what do you intend to do about it?The question to Sen. Obama first.

Obama: This probably has more to do with our economic future than anything and that means it also has a national security implication, because there’s never been a nation on earth that saw its economy decline and continued to maintain its primacy as a military power. So we’ve got to get our education system right. Now, typically, what’s happened is that there’s been a debate between more money or reform, and I think we need both. In some cases, we are going to have to invest. Early childhood education, which closes the achievement gap, so that every child is prepared for school, every dollar we invest in that, we end up getting huge benefits with improved reading scores, reduced dropout rates, reduced delinquency rates. I think it’s going to be critically important for us to recruit a generation of new teachers, an army of new teachers, especially in math and science, give them higher pay, give them more professional development and support in exchange for higher standards and accountability. And I think it’s important for us to make college affordable. Right now, I meet young people all across the country who either have decided not to go to college or if they’re going to college, they are taking on $20,000, $30,000, $50,000, $60,000 worth of debt, and it’s very difficult for them to go into some fields, like basic research in science, for example, thinking to themselves that they’re going to have a mortgage before they even buy a house. And that’s why I’ve proposed a $4,000 tuition credit, every student, every year, in exchange for some form of community service, whether it’s military service, whether it’s Peace Corps, whether it’s working in a community. If we do those things, then I believe that we can create a better school system. But there’s one last ingredient that I just want to mention, and that’s parents. We can’t do it just in the schools. Parents are going to have to show more responsibility. They’ve got to turn off the TV set, put away the video games, and, finally, start instilling that thirst for knowledge that our students need.

Schieffer: Sen. McCain?

McCain: Well, it’s the civil rights issue of the 21st century. There’s no doubt that we have achieved equal access to schools in America after a long and difficult and terrible struggle. But what is the advantage in a low income area of sending a child to a failed school and that being your only choice? So choice and competition amongst schools is one of the key elements that’s already been proven in places in like New Orleans and New York City and other places, where we have charter schools, where we take good teachers and we reward them and promote them. And we find bad teachers another line of work. And we have to be able to give parents the same choice, frankly, that Sen. Obama and Mrs. Obama had and Cindy and I had to send our kids to the school — their kids to the school of their choice. Charter schools aren’t the only answer, but they’re providing competition. They are providing the kind of competitions that have upgraded both schools — types of schools. Now, throwing money at the problem is not the answer. You will find that some of the worst school systems in America get the most money per student. So I believe that we need to reward these good teachers. We need to encourage programs such as Teach for America and Troops to Teachers where people, after having served in the military, can go right to teaching and not have to take these examinations which — or have the certification that some are required in some states. Look, we must improve education in this country. As far as college education is concerned, we need to make those student loans available. We need to give them a repayment schedule that they can meet. We need to have full student loan program for in-state tuition. And we certainly need to adjust the certain loan eligibility to inflation.

Schieffer: Do you think the federal government should play a larger role in the schools? And I mean, more federal money?

Obama: Well, we have a tradition of local control of the schools and that’s a tradition that has served us well. But I do think that it is important for the federal government to step up and help local school districts do some of the things they need to do. Now we tried to do this under President Bush. He put forward No Child Left Behind. Unfortunately, they left the money behind for No Child Left Behind. And local school districts end up having more of a burden, a bunch of unfunded mandates, the same kind of thing that happened with special education where we did the right thing by saying every school should provide education to kids with special needs, but we never followed through on the promise of funding, and that left local school districts very cash-strapped. So what I want to do is focus on early childhood education, providing teachers higher salaries in exchange for more support. Sen. McCain and I actually agree on two things that he just mentioned. Charter schools, I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois despite some reservations from teachers unions. I think it’s important to foster competition inside the public schools. And we also agree on the need for making sure that if we have bad teachers that they are swiftly — after given an opportunity to prove themselves, if they can’t hack it, then we need to move on because our kids have to have their best future. Where we disagree is on the idea that we can somehow give out vouchers — give vouchers as a way of securing the problems in our education system. And I also have to disagree on Sen. McCain’s record when it comes to college accessibility and affordability. Recently his key economic adviser was asked about why he didn’t seem to have some specific programs to help young people go to college and the response was, well, you know, we can’t give money to every interest group that comes along. I don’t think America’s youth are interest groups, I think they’re our future. And this is an example of where we are going to have to prioritize. We can’t say we’re going to do things and then not explain in concrete terms how we’re going to pay for it. And if we’re going to do some of the things you mentioned, like lowering loan rates or what have you, somebody has got to pay for it. It’s not going to happen on its own.

Schieffer: What about that, Senator?

McCain: Well, sure. I’m sure you’re aware, Sen. Obama, of the program in the Washington, D.C., school system where vouchers are provided and there’s a certain number, I think it’s a thousand and some and some 9,000 parents asked to be eligible for that. Because they wanted to have the same choice that you and I and Cindy and your wife have had. And that is because they wanted to choose the school that they thought was best for their children. And we all know the state of the Washington, D.C., school system. That was vouchers. That was voucher, Sen. Obama. And I’m frankly surprised you didn’t pay more attention to that example. Now as far as the No Child Left Behind is concerned, it was a great first beginning in my view. It had its flaws, it had its problems, the first time we had looked at the issue of education in America from a nationwide perspective. And we need to fix a lot of the problems. We need to sit down and reauthorize it. But, again, spending more money isn’t always the answer. I think the Head Start program is a great program. A lot of people, including me, said, look, it’s not doing what it should do. By the third grade many times children who were in the Head Start program aren’t any better off than the others. Let’s reform it. Let’s reform it and fund it. That was, of course, out-of-bounds by the Democrats. We need to reform these programs. We need to have transparency. We need to have rewards. It’s a system that cries out for accountability and transparency and the adequate funding. And I just said to you earlier, town hall meeting after town hall meeting, parents come with kids, children — precious children who have autism. Sarah Palin knows about that better than most. And we’ll find and we’ll spend the money, research, to find the cause of autism. And we’ll care for these young children. And all Americans will open their wallets and their hearts to do so. But to have a situation, as you mentioned in our earlier comments, that the most expensive education in the world is in the United States of America also means that it cries out for reform, as well. And I will support those reforms, and I will fund the ones that are reformed. But I’m not going to continue to throw money at a problem. And I’ve got to tell you that vouchers, where they are requested and where they are agreed to, are a good and workable system. And it’s been proven.

Obama: I’ll just make a quick comment about vouchers in D.C. Sen. McCain’s absolutely right: The D.C. school system is in terrible shape, and it has been for a very long time. And we’ve got a wonderful new superintendent there who’s working very hard with the young mayor there to try…

McCain: Who supports vouchers.

Obama: … who initiated — actually, supports charters.

McCain: She supports vouchers, also.

Obama: But the — but here’s the thing, is that, even if Sen. McCain were to say that vouchers were the way to go — I disagree with him on this, because the data doesn’t show that it actually solves the problem — the centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s education policy is to increase the voucher program in D.C. by 2,000 slots. That leaves all of you who live in the other 50 states without an education reform policy from Sen. McCain. So if we are going to be serious about this issue, we’ve got to have a president who is going to tackle it head-on. And that’s what I intend to do as president.

Schieffer: All right.

McCain: Because there’s not enough vouchers; therefore, we shouldn’t do it, even though it’s working. I got it.

McCain photo by hatch1921 and Obama photo by bobster1985 on flickr.com/creativecommons

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  • former hills parent

    Competition is in our nature. It does not stop at the school steps. Oakland schools has been hit by competition – from charter schools, private schools, and other successful school districts. As a public school educator I have not been supportive of charter schools. However, my exposure to OUSD has changed all of that. I say do what is best for your children. This is the best gift that you can give them, that is out of their own control.

  • Sue

    I did watch the debate (all of them, actually, being something of a “politics junkie”), and I’d love to pick apart the comments of both candidates – there’s a lot to rip into… But that’s not the question, and this isn’t a political forum.

    “Do you think that competition has had any positive effects for the school system?”

    Not that I can see – and I live within walking distance of the American Indian Charter School and Allendale Elementary which have both received plenty of positive comments in this blog. But my kids didn’t attend either of those schools, because neither looked *safe* to our family.

    I get a little bit nervous when *I* have to wait for the 54 bus at the stop next to AI. There’s always scary-looking people hanging around that corner liquor store.

    Broken beer bottles and used syringes on the Allendale playground in 2001 (among other problems at the school) caused us to move our younger son to Carl Munck for kindergarten, and he stayed there through 5th grade. He’s a 6th grader at Montera this year, not Bret Harte, our neighborhood middle school, which is in program improvement status.

    Maybe someone can make an argument that having AI so close somehow improved Allendale, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it has improved. I’d love to hear that argument. Or any convincing argument that any of the city’s charters have influenced any of the nearby public schools positively. But clearly, AI competition isn’t forcing BH to improve.

    From my observations, I’m more inclined to believe that Allendale’s improvements are the result of replacing the principal (G*d-awful!) who retired from Allendale the year after we opted to take our son elsewhere. And replacing a bad principal with a good one isn’t attributable to charter school competition.

  • http://www.nhsa.org/press/News_Archived/index_news_101608.htm Scott

    McCain got his facts wrong on Head Start. See http://www.nhsa.org/press/News_Archived/index_news_101608.htm for the details. SES

  • Nextset

    Charter schools are the reaction to rotten public schools. They are not the answer. Fixing all the rotten public schools is the answer.

    Every public school child should be able to go to school where they will be disciplined, taught to speak normal conversational english, taught how to carry themselves and to fit in to society, and of course taught all the basics of reading, writing, research, history and science so that they are fit for the military, for higher education, or for immediate work by 12th grade.

    We don’t have that in America anymore. We threw it away. Thus the rise of the Charters, where what’s left of the middle class and the upwardly mobile are sending their kids hoping to keep their options open to join the society beyond the underclass & working poor. The Professional Class and the well off don’t have these problems. They have their own schools. Everybody else is just in trouble.

    These candidates tout the Charters because they are fashionable. I want a Presidential candidate who will say that the federal government has no business in primary and secondary education – that is a state affair “only” by our constitution, until and unless it’s amended. I want a candidate that will say that if the states don’t fix their bad schools that is their problem and when they’ve had enough failures they will fix them. And it should be said that the Federal Government and it’s courts helped destroy education in this country and can improve things now by undoing 50 years of federal legislation and meddling – starting by repealing NCLB and pulling the teeth of the federal judges.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Hopefully President Obama will be about change and reform the charter school reform movement so that it works to improve public education rather than privatize it and deregulate it to the point that the con men can take the public’s money and run.

    So far the corporate competitive model does not work because the competition is for the same education dollar. Peter is robbed to pay Paul and Paul without proper oversight is robbing the public blind.

    Children should not be punished because adults have fallen in love with the lie that the free market will solve all problems.

    Free market fixated should love Measure N providing $18 million for the next ten years to bring in more and more charter school operators that will produce high scores without proper oversight. Under current rules charter schools get to test students and then hold their hand out for Oakland taxpayers’ $18 million if their school has sufficiently high scores.

    High stakes corporate charter school testing without high degree of testing oversight is another opportunity for the public to be treated as a sucker.

    Yet, both want-to-be President candidates want to support charter schools as if they are just public schools and not part of a zero sum game. Fantasy of competition where everyone wins means the taxpayers and children loose.

    The taxpayers loose because they are not given a chance to vote for increased teachers wages without funding Jack O’Connell’s $18 million incentive to bring more charters to Oakland.

    Many of Oakland’s children will loose as they will be made to jump through unproven hoops that corporate charter operators think will create higher scores. With Joe the Plumber and Sarah the Vice President as well as convicted criminals all having the opportunity under California charter school law of starting up a corporate charter school getting their $250,000 loan to start up a school that might also get them a piece of the $18 million dollar Oakland charter school prize, all kinds of practices will constitute the hoops children must endure. As long as the end is test scores doesn’t matter the means, or the lack of qualifications, for those operating corporate charter schools.

    But, charter schools are fashionable for sure.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nextset

    President Obama will be all about Afro-Leninism. Just like Dellums, Kwame, Marion Berry, and every other “community activist” handed executive power. There will be no improvement for anyone – the USA will become more socialist and inefficient and there is no doubt across human history what that does to living standards. As if that wasn’t bad enough, left wing democrats in power always engender wars since they declare open season for foreign aggression and expansion. It’s just the way things are.

    The Urban School Districts have always had more than enough money to accomplish education, they just waste it. They will continue to waste any additional funds printed for them. It’s not the money it’s the operating conditions that make the schools fail.

  • Chauncey

    Nextset,

    I ditto your comment. touche’

  • turner

    I hear what you are saying, Nextset. I fear what you are saying. Let’s hope not. Because, after all the hope Obama’s candidacy has brought so many people, it would be sad for his presidency to be an ineffective and inefficient.

    I hope you’re wrong. But, I fear you aren’t.

    Turner

  • cranky researcher

    Nextset and chorus: Do you really think that American business and government have been so “efficient” under the hyper-capitalist neocon Republicans? The trillions they have flushed down their golden toilets or bundled into shrapnel and exploded over Iraq outweigh by a thousand times any inefficiency you can point to from Democrats.
    Furthermore, those countries that rank in the top ten in math and science performance (free market America: in the 40′s below Costa Rica) do not have “local control” over education, they have centralized “socialist” systems that are much more efficient! It is not efficient to have 25,000 school districts each making its own textbook decisions.
    To the charter hysterics: charter schools are public schools. Say it again: charter schools are public schools. Once more: charter schools are public schools. They receive taxpayer dollars to fund their operations because citizens attend these schools for free like any other public school. Measure N puts 15% toward charters because roughly 15% of residents in Oakland attend them. Is anyone forcing families to attend charters?? If you have a problem with charters “destroying public education” (they are public education), instead of constantly harping on the supposedly evil corporate connections, why not address the demand: why do people choose them over the district-run public schools? What are you defending exactly in your attack on charters – the unencumbered right to provide terrible district-run schools?

  • Jim Mordecai

    Cranky Researcher:

    Comments I am about to make attacking the public corporate charter school system of California are not comments authorized by a chorus but by Jim Mordecai .

    Measure N does not let taxpayers (they are people too) choose charter schools because Measure N forced on the ballot by the dictates of Jack O’Connell, and his Oakland State Administrator serving him, mixed corporate charter schools incentive money with a pay raise for public school teachers.

    Why Cranky Researcher keep repeating charter schools are public schools and leaving out that they are corporate public schools? The difference between public schools and corporate public schools is significant even if charter school operators, and supports, try to divert the public from the truth that corporate public charter schools and public school operate under different rules and those differences are important.

    The largely Spanish-speaking families that used to attend both Hawthorne and E. Morris Cox were forced to attend corporate charter schools when these neighborhood schools became converted by the State Administrator Randy Ward because they neither understood difference between corporate public charter school and a public school nor did it matter what they understood because they were powerless to stop the change.

    The over thousand students that became a charter at E. Morris Cox was not a parent choice; it was an illegal transfer of E Morris Cox to a corporation set up by the Assistant Superintendent working for Randy Ward, State Administrator who abused his power in an obvious conflict of interest.

    The transfer was illegal because the required number of permanent teachers never signed off on the conversion. It was also unethical to transfer power to a corporation that was set up by someone close to the Oakland State Administer. And, it was also unethical not to allow other charter operators the opportunity to take over a school property and over a thousand students per.

    Add on the transfer of over another thousand enrolled students from the former Hawthorne, and the use of the Hawthorne campus, by the same corporation headed by Randy Ward’s Assistant Superintendent on leave, and parent choice was a cruel joke. Actually, anything parents said didn’t matter because State Administrator Ward held all the cards that mattered.

    As for the idea that somehow charter schools are entitled to 15% of parcel taxes, it is an idea that charter schools would like to establish. Pasage of Measure N will help to establish that principle.

    But, until charter school enrollment become a larger percentage of a district’s enrollment than public school enrollment, corporate charter schools will have to hide their request for parcel tax money embedded in requests by a district for the public to tax itself for “public schools” and hope to keep the word corporate burried.

    In San Francisco its recent parcel tax passed,- in part, because wealthy individuals favoring charter schools let it be known that they would throw their money and political power behind blocking San Francisco public school teacher pay raises if there wasn’t an agreement to include charter schools.

    San Francisco has about 5% charter school students but the agreement was for charter schools to get about 3% of the parcel tax. The percentage of San Francisco charter school enrollment was not part of the deal.

    Piggy-backing on public school parcel tax was different in San Francisco than proposed Measure N in Oakland because the terms of the San Francisco parcel tax was that the 3% charter school money was to go to charter school teachers’ pay raises. Measure N requires all 15% of the parcel is spent on an incentive for “successful educational programs at Oakland’s public charter schools”.

    Oakland Measure N by providing $18 million dollar parcel tax incentive for charter school programs, instead of charter school teacher pay, provides unencumbered right for to provide terrible corporate charter-run schools.

    And corporate charter-run schools have a greater opportunity to be terrible-run schools because they have less oversight and regulation than public schools. The irony of Chranky Researcher’s comment that public schools are “terrible district-run schools…” is that it is the district that is responsible for the oversight of corporate charter schools. Out of the mud he is claiming grows the lotus, in this case a better child than its parent the terrible run district. Nice trick but not reality.

    Arguing that regulation by a terrible district makes for a better system defines common sense. In practice charter school are an opportunity for taking the public to the cleaners with $250,000 state loan to anyone wanting to play charter school operator and nothing to lose if the loan is not repaid.

    Finally, your statement that 15% of residents in Oakland attend charter schools also may not be accurate because charter schools can admit students from anywhere whereas the County Board of Education has to rule on district transfers for public school students. Rules that apply to the public schools do not necessarily apply to corporate public charter schools. One of Oakland’s charter schools has a number of students from Richmond.

    Jim Mordecai

  • cranky researcher

    Mr Mordecai: I had a longer response to you that I lost when my finger slipped on the keyboard. So here is the short version.

    I don’t say “corporate charters” because that implies they are for-profit, when most are nonprofit (I do not support for-profit charters). The charter at the old Hawthorne and Cox campuses, Education for Change, is a nonprofit. It was founded by Oakland administrators, as you say, not by some corporation somewhere.

    Hawthorne was actually called “Hawthorne Year-LOng ELementary” because it was so overcrowded that it had to run year-round at great inconvenience to families and to the detriment of students and teachers. It was in fact parent and family dissatisfaction with the abysmal state of schools in East Oakland that led to charters coming in. The Walmart family funder met with parents, not with business people, about starting schools here.

    So it is inaccurate and somewhat insulting to say that these largely Spanish-speaking families did not and do not know that they have chosen charters, or that they were “forced” to attend charters. In fact, it was the Oakland COmmunity Orgnizations, a church-based family organization with a majority Latino base, that pushed for charters and new small schools SO THAT families would have choices of small schools.

    The threat of charters forced the district to do better (under Chaconas) and continues to work as a lever. The forced attendance of terrible schools was a feature of the bad old days (which you seem to fondly recollect through the distorted lens of hatred for the state takeover and Randy Ward.) This is all documented in the book Hard Lessons: the Promise of an Inner City Charter School, by Jonathan Schorr, and in materials published by OCO and researchers.

    Next, your point that ‘charters are more prone to being terrible because of lack of district oversight and regulation’ assumes that district oversight and regulation are advantages, when there is no evidence that they are and plenty that they are not, as evidenced by the performance of Hawthorne, Cox, Castlemont, Jefferson, etc etc all the schools that have been rightfuly closed in recent years.

    The anti-charter, local control, status quo activist cadre had its chance for many years and really has nothing positive to say about how good a job they did up to 2002 or how good a job they are going to do now, so they resort to a purely negative stance toward supposed “corporate control.”

    Finally, the 15% is obviously a matter of fairness to the taxpaying families that attend charters . It is also the case that many students transfer between city public schools undetected by county. Whatever, many families will pay the tax who don’t have kids at all, it’s not to the point.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Mr. Cranky Researcher:

    Slick points you make. You say you chose not to use corporate in connection with public charter schools because someone might confuse non-profit with profit making corporation. Kaiser is a non-profit corporation but I suspect its CEO is well paid.

    Corporate rules are leading KIPP Bridge Oakland to try and make one consolidated governing board for the Bay Area and 5 different districts. Instead of an elected school boardm KIPP is trying to put in place a non-elected governing board that is absent from the district that has responsibility of oversight. Parents of KIPP students have to leave the district to be heard by the KIPP governing board. The rules are different for a corporation than the public school system Americans grew up with. And, these rules, in my opinion, are contrary to the American public concept of a public and government by and for the people.

    And, speaking of KIPP, it is no secret that Jonathan Schorr is closely connected with Oakland KIPP having served on their governing board thus implying a bias for promotion of charter schools. Slick that you mention him.

    Slick that you talk about OCO leaders starting up the first charter school and make it seem as the families at Hawthorne and Cox had something to do with that movement.

    What happened was that some of the OCO leaders wanted to create a school for their children that had a curriculum that was culturally sensitive to their children speaking English as a second language and was smaller, and safer than the large overcrowded public schools. That school was taken over by a leader that dumped the original goal of the school for a back to basic English only curriculum. Now the school seems very successful with the second highest scores in the City of Oakland. But, in a sense the original goal of the school to provide a English as a second language and cultural Spanish/American experience was a failure in that the school has been transformed into an English only test prep school. But, the history of the Oakland Charter Academy is not the history of the converting of two large elementary schools by State Administrator Randy Ward. Conflating the two different stories is slick and misleading.

    Speaking of the performance of Cox and Hawthorne. I didn’t locate Hawthorne scores but the latest for Cox is a 1 on a 1 to 10 scale.

    Finally 15% or 18 million give away to the successful charter school programs is only fair to the families that are attending successful charter school programs because, if they own property and paid their property tax under Measure N, they’ll not get any benefit and they’ll be left out just like the charter school teachers that will get only what their at will employer will decide to pay out of the $18 million.

    The idea of public implies a unity and what charter schools do is break the bound with the idea of a unified public. Sure those without kids pay for public schools but few have a concept of what a corporate public school means. They think of a public school as the schools they attended.

    Jim Mordecai

  • cranky researcher

    Mr. Mordecai: There’s really nothing “slick” about using relevant evidence to make points. So your definition of corporate seems to be “a governing board outside of voter jurisdiction.” Yes, the KIPP governing board is not the Oakland school board, thank goodness, but they have as much incentive to listen to parents as the Oakland school board does: if the parents do not think the school is responding to them, they will leave it. Apparently, that is the only way to get the Oakland school board to respond too. Charters have given new leverage and freedom to families and shocked the district into new levels of reform ambition.

    It may be “no secret” that Jonathan Schorr is involved with charter schools, but he was a teacher and a reporter in Oakland before that when he researched and wrote the book. His book is also quite open about the problems with several charter corporations. So the conspiracy theory doesn’t fit. Anyway, don’t you work in public schools? Then you must be hiding a ‘public school bias.’ That’s a silly ad hominem attack that’s characteristic of the Oakland ‘anti-corporate’ school activist. Hope you all aren’t teaching those logical fallacies to students.

    Your version of the OCO history doesn’t fit the history I have heard from parents. You say “OCO leaders wanted to create a school for their children.” OCO only has a few paid leaders, the rest are parents. They were creating schools “for their children,” as you say, not for “a corporation.” OCO parents are and were involved in several charters and several district schools.

    As far as Cox’s test scores, I’m not arguing that all charters outperform district schools on tests. I’m aware that research has found that charters on average do not outperform regular schools. But in many cities, they were a reasonable, usually grassroots response to a history of poor performance by the district. I agree that the ideal of public schools is unity, but districts that fail repreatedly to educate students who are poor, black, and brown have long ago broken that compact. The charter movement is fueled in part by deep anger among urban families over the history of terrible local education. I know that free market types are trying to exploit that anger for their own ends, but nothing is simple. Something has to be done to shake up the complacency of urban districts and charters are one way to do that. I know that it is far from a solution but at least it is creating openings for further change. That I think is a pragmatic rather than an ideological view.
    You can have the last word.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Mikenna

    hey. I am in a charter school called Rhinelander Environmental Stewerdship Academy (RESA) and I am doing a report on Jonh McCain and Barack Obama, I need helo on finding good websites on their environmental records and if there are websites that can help me with my report?

    Please reply.
    Mikenna Koth 7th Grade. (RESA)

  • Sue

    I’m not going to do your homework for you – like I tell my own kids, ‘If *I* do the work, what grade do you think *I* will get?’

    Go to http://www.google.com and search for “senate voting records”. The first four links that come up are for McCain and Obama voting records. The first two are links to pages on http://www.senate.gov, and the next two are pages on http://www.votesmart.com.

    If that’s not enough help, you really need to talk to your teacher and/or your parents.