Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Way We Live Now: Progressive Education Reform

Deborah Meier:

Instead of seeing Central Park East, and the other schools that burst like genies upon the scene in the '70s and '80s, as an exemplar of what they seek, they have done the opposite. In strictly "free-market" terms, CPE, for example, has always had a long waiting list and parents eager to have CPE extend through 8th grade. But year after year the Klein department of education has turned them down. Now the department has chosen to place a charter school in the building! Instead of betting on a proven innovator, they have invited in an unproven one and squashed the hopes of CPE's families. The current CPE principal's plan to open another CPE-like school in upper Manhattan in response to that neighborhood's strong interest was simultaneously turned down in favor of still-another charter. These are examples of what the United Federation of Teachers and NAACP are fighting about in their court case—the misuse of co-locations and charters to undermine the public system. The well-orchestrated outcry against the NAACP has been amazing to witness, as though it were odd for them to stand for a level playing field, greater rather than less integration, and the importance of public institutions.

I can't believe it has come to this.

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