Monday, September 28, 2015

NY Times Hypes Charter Schools - Again and Again | Alan Singer

NY Times Hypes Charter Schools - Again and Again | Alan Singer:

NY Times Hypes Charter Schools - Again and Again

A front-page article in the weekend Metropolitan section of The New York Timestakes readers "Inside the three-year effort to open an economically diverse, academically rigorous charter in Brooklyn." One big problem with the Times' campaign to hype charter schools is that this school just opened the week before with 135 kindergarten and first grade children so no one had any idea how economically diverse and academically rigorous the school would actually become. The article was purely speculative, barely more than an advertisement for charter schools.
The article, which continued to two more pages inside the section, was really about the quest of some rich guy to open and control his own "public" school. In the print edition the Times headlined the article, "Mr. Levey's Dream School."
But just who is this Mr. Levey and why should he be in charge of a quasi-public charter school? According to his Linkedin page, Matthew Levey is a former McKinseyconsultant. He worked there from 1999 to 2002 after he left a job with the United States State Department. McKinsey is the world's largest management consulting firm with a foot in nations around the world. Levey claims that at McKinsey he "worked with financial services clients to improve business unit performance in a range of different strategy engagements." Among other things, critics charge that McKinsey's main advice is often to maximize profits by laying off workers. Levey was also managing director of Kroll Inc from 2002 to 2011, a "risk-management" company that provides internal security for major corporations.
I am not sure if this is an impressive resume or not, but I did find two things very puzzling. Levey studied economics at George Washington and finance at Columbia University. According to the New York Times, Levey, who lives in the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan "has never taught a classroom of elementary school students, never written a lesson plan, never sent anyone to the principal's office." Times editors must figure he is qualified to run a charter school because he is the father of three teenagers and his wife is a language instructor in a private school. They did not say.
The other puzzling thing is that Levey does not seem to have had a job since 2011. He has been too busy setting up his charter "dream." I would like to know how he made a living, helped support his family, and prepared to send those three teenagers to college. Where did his money come from and where did the money to set up the dream charter school come from? Surprisingly, the Times did not report this information.
But hey! Levey probably is a good guy. The Times says he served on volunteer school committees and he really believes children in the pre-k through fifth grade need to know how Sir Francis Bacon developed the scientific method in the 16th century, the importance of Aristotle about 300 BC, and whyNY Times Hypes Charter Schools - Again and Again | Alan Singer: