Brown Goes To Boston
Campbell Brown has decided to add her two cents to the sprawling debate about raising the charter cap in Massachusetts (and really, why not, because lord knows everyone else has added their two cents, or two million dollars).
Brown's argument is the same basic one repeated by other charter school proponents:
1) We should do it for the poor children.
2) Unions suck
3) Boston charters have had amazingly awesome results
Or as Brown puts it, "Wow. For Madeloni, her union, and their supporters, Boston charters are an extraordinary menace. Not because they are failing poor children of color, but because they are serving them so well. "
Each of these points is problematic. Let's go one at a time.
Do it for the poor children.
Or more accurately, "do it for some poor children, but only if they speak English and are well-behaved." Massachusetts has, to its credit, one of the best charter reimbursement formulae in the country, which means that sending Chris to a charter school doesn't mean that the ten students who stay in public school don't get totally shafted. Chris's former school still gets almost all of the per-pupil money that left with Chris-- or at least they would if Chapter 46 were fully funded, which it hasn't been for a few years now. But the proposed charter expansion is going to increase education costs for Massachusetts by many, many dollars; those dollars will either come from tax increases (unlikely) or other public education spending (more likely) or just not anywhere at all (also more likely) meaning that the charter tradition of robbing ten poor public school students to pay a charter to educate one poor student remains alive.
If charters want to do it for all the poor children, I'm listening. When you want to build a lifeboat for ten students by cannibalizing the ship that's carrying a thousand, your claim to a moral high ground is in trouble. Also, I am still waiting for charter fans to explain to taxpayers that taxes should go up so that some few select students can be sent to private school at public expense.
Brown likes the assertion that urban public schools are entirely run by the teachers' union, and that unions only oppose charters because they are trying to preserve their big seat at the public teat.
This argument gets a little fuzzy in Massachusetts because on the one hand, Mass has some of the CURMUDGUCATION: Brown Goes To Boston: