American journalist Walter Lippmann once said, “Successful politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate elements in their constituencies.” Most people’s viewpoints aren’t quite as cynical …
Recent investigations have found that among charter schools nationwide, few operators are charged with anything when they are caught receiving funds for imaginary attendance numbers, and they simply have to return the cash. All too often, the taxpayers are left footing the bill.
Time and time again, too many charter schools have failed our students. While the teachers in charter schools are passionate about education, their employers betray them and their students with constant administrative changes, a lack of support, and unethical practices that make the schools a disgrace.
Two years ago, Governor Kasich introduced a budget that drastically cut funding for schools, overburdened the middle class, and added terrible education policy. Unfortunately, the Governor’s newest biennium budget proposal is basically more of the same.
ALEC, which stands for American Legislative Exchange Council, is the most influential corporate-funded political force operating in America today, one that has worked to dilute collective bargaining rights and privatize public education. Yet ALEC is more or less unknown in teacher circles. ALEC creates legislation for elected officials to introduce in their states as their own brainchildren. ALEC’s strategy: “spread the unions thin ‘by playing offense’ with decoy legislation.” Spreading the unions thin has resulted in radical changes to classroom teachers’ everyday lives.
The trend of blaming teachers for the problems in education probably won’t fall out of favor any time soon. During School Choice Week, so-called education “reformers” will do their best to scapegoat teachers instead of acknowledging the real systemic problems — such as school funding and poverty — that lead to poor performance and problems in education. For Rhee, and other so-called reformers, well-established facts confirming the correlation between poverty and the achievement gap don’t matter.
The delegates at the 2012 OEA Spring Representative Assembly made several important decisions this year. We elected a new Secretary Treasurer, Tim Myers of Elida EA. We supported the Voters First Initiative to reform the redistricting process to be fair, open and honest. And we also voted to begin organizing charters. One member opposed to the motion stated succinctly, “Can we organize teachers in the very schools we have advocated against?” The thought had crossed my mind as well.
How will the state will reconcile the budget bill’s wording and Race to the Top’s (RttT) requirements so that RttT funds are not sacrificed — particularly if SB 5 is not repealed? As it stands, OEA says the budget language in HB 153 is creating widespread confusion as to what is required to comply with RttT agreements and the new state law.
The brands offered by White Hat and Imagine have provided little in terms of tangible results – White Hat’s dropout prevention charter schools post a graduation rate of just 14 percent and no Imagine school earned better than a D on the most recent state report card.