Saturday, April 27, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: Charter Lessons From Democracy Prep

CURMUDGUCATION: Charter Lessons From Democracy Prep

Charter Lessons From Democracy Prep

I was as unimpressed as anyone when education privatization fan Campbell Brown launched the 74 site as a platform for the same old "Charters schools rule, public schools drool" song and dance. But since that launch, and particularly since Brown stepped away from the site, the straight journalism side of the operation has done some commendable work (though the propaganda side is still frying up its same old baloney).

You can ignore the site, but then you're going to miss pieces of reporting like this piece about Democracy Prep. It is detailed, thorough, and pretty unflinching about some of the chartery problems that DP has created for itself.

DP, launched in NYC, is now spread across the country, and the story by Kevin Mahnken highlights how portions of that expansion have not gone so well. When DP took over "flagging" Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, the transition was shocking to the students and parents, who had to weather a shift to an entirely new school culture.

The problem with DP culture clashing with community culture is a particularly striking in a school that centers its brand on civic involvement. DP requires its seniors to do a Change the World project in which they study and come up with a plan to address a real community issue. But the issues in Las Vegas all stem from DP simply coming in with a plan to run a school implemented and overseen by people far, far away, and with little apparent regard for what the school's previous culture had been like. Here's DPAC Executive Director (because principals are passe, I guess) Adam Johnson analyzing what went wrong:

Johnson said he was prepared to see faculty members leave; atop the annoyance of having to CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Charter Lessons From Democracy Prep