Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The real problem isn’t teachers - The Washington Post

The real problem isn’t teachers - The Washington Post:

The real problem isn’t teachers

In April, an appeals court in California upheld the state’s laws regarding teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs by overturning a lower court’s earlier decision to scrap job-protection statutes in the highly publicized Vergara v. California case. The plaintiffs in Vergara were public school students backed by a school reform advocacy group called Students Matter, and they claimed that job protection laws for teachers are the reason that poor and minority children wind up with more ineffective teachers who are hard to fire. The court found that “the evidence did not show that the challenged statutes inevitably cause” the impact the plaintiffs claimed. Reform and anti-union activists have promised to continue the legal fight against teacher job protection laws that they say work against students.
Such legal challenges are just part of what many teachers consider to be a war on their profession by school reformers and policymakers who have attempted to “disrupt” public education with systems and programs that educators think rob them of their professionalism and hurt the learning process.
Teachers unions again made national news this week when the Supreme Court denied a petition from plaintiffs in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association to rehear the case. A group of California teachers had challenged a law that they said violates their First Amendment rights by requiring them to pay dues to the state’s teachers union. California is one of about 20 states in which public employees are required to either join the union or pay a fee to support the union’s collective-bargaining activities — which support all workers, whether or not they are union members.
With this decision, it seems to be a good time to look again at how teachers are faring. Here’s a post about how and why teachers have become scapegoats for problems in public education and what should be done to change the dynamic. It was written by Alexander W. Wiseman, associate professor and director of the Comparative and International Education (CIE) program at Lehigh University’s College of Education. He has more than 20 years of professional experience working with government education departments, university-based teacher education programs, community-based professional development for teachers and as a classroom teacher in both the United States and East Asia.

By Alexander W. Wiseman
Recent U.S. education reform efforts — such as the Vergara vs. California lawsuit filed on behalf of nine students and similar suits in Minnesota and New York — point to teacher job protections negotiated by unions as a root cause of a troubling reality: unequal access to high-quality education. But this is at the least a distraction and at the most a purposeful misdirection of attention from the real problem.
Critics argue that the rules governing the hiring and firing of teachers, such as tenure, have the unintended consequence of burdening the most economically disadvantaged schools with the least effective or prepared teachers, thereby providing a sub-par education to the very students who need public education the most.
It does not take an expert to spot the absurdity of blaming the unequal distribution of highly The real problem isn’t teachers - The Washington Post:

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Broke on purpose: The price of 'reform' at CPS.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Broke on purpose: The price of 'reform' at CPS.:

 Broke on purpose: The price of 'reform' at CPS.
Tim Cawley was Byrd-Bennett's and then Claypool's  attack dog. He cut the Children and Family Benefits Unit which provided support for CPS's neediest students. 
Late last summer, in it's haste to implement savage austerity measures, CPS leaders eliminated the 10-person Children and Family Benefits Unit, saying it was not vital to the core mission of educating children. The move turns out to have cost the district millions in poverty money that would have directly supported its neediest students.

Diane Fager, who launched the unit in 2005 and retired from CPS in 2014, tells Catalyst that she and others repeatedly told leaders that the unit brought in more money than it cost.

“People should know that this was not an accident. The reality is that without assistance from these kinds of programs, kids are going to school hungry so they cannot perform as well at school, and without health insurance they’re sick a lot Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Broke on purpose: The price of 'reform' at CPS.:

Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What "Maturity" Means to the Charter Movement - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher

Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What "Maturity" Means to the Charter Movement - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:

Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What "Maturity" Means to the Charter Movement

Charter Schools - Dividing Communities since 1991

Education Week recently posted a fine series of articles on the 25th anniversary of charter schools--the exciting original concept winding down to the dismal, show-me-the-money reality. And yesterday, the New York Times deftly and accurately outlined what happened to one state (Michigan) that embraced the charter movement early, then crafted additional legislation to support "choice," chip away at public systems where the poorest children (and unionized teachers) are found, then provide cover for obvious failure of individual charters and CMOs.
If you want to know what your state may look like, given twenty-plus years' worth of burgeoning charterism, simply take a look at Michigan.  And keep in mind that #1) there is no foolproof charter legislation model (caps, authorizing agents, profit/non-profit, staffing requirements, etc.) that will guarantee control over charterism; and #2) the concept of a unique, mission-driven charter school is very different from the wide-scale rollout of an alternative organizing model for public education.
Here's the story of my personal aha moment, re: charter schools:
The year is 1994, and Michigan has spanking new charter-establishment legislation. Several colleagues and I have been kicking around the idea of starting a school-within-a-school for students who have a passion for the fine arts. The district has axed, then returned, arts courses, staff and extra-curriculars in a depressing cycle over the previous two decades. First there is a program, then there isn't--and then one music teacher is covering 1700 kids in three schools, so we can say we have music, when it's only one 35 minute period every other week. And just when our students begin winning scholarships and prizes for their artwork--boom, all the art teachers are gone. And on and on, up and down, for years.
Our thinking: We could re-structure the school day, infuse the arts into humanities courses, take a project-based approach to curriculum--all ideas that have been around for some time, but are difficult to roll out in a very rigid bell schedule/direct-instruction environment. The charter legislation would allow us to work under the unionized protections of a traditional public system, but provide a framework to innovate.
Our target audience--kids and families who wanted rich arts programming, but weren't tethered to 50-minute, single-grade classes. The teachers (K-8) who were interested in doing this were among the best, most creative folks on staff--all willing to forgo certain contractual guarantees (class size, student load, number of preps, textbooks, duty-free lunch) in order to launch our new school.
We also had a de facto leader--a helicopter-type mom who was determined to use the exciting new law to build her ideal school (and, naturally, provide a free custom-tailored education for her kids). We had a number of lunchtime dreaming-the-dream conversations, and precisely one meeting.
This was a long time ago, but I remember this moment clearly: We had sketched out an entirely new model for grouping students, covering curricular essentials, and operating as a teacher-led school. The mom--and friends she brought to the meeting--were thrilled. Outspoken Mom rubbed her palms together and boldly declared "We are going to have the cream of the crop at this school!"
The teachers looked at each other, dismayed. We were thinking about teaching and learning in new ways. The parents were thinking about screening and selecting the kids who would be their children's classmates--a real perk since it wouldn't cost them a penny in private school tuition.
We never met again.
I spent the next decade or so being cautious in my thinking about charter schools. I know teachers who have worked, long-term, in charters, earnest people whose vocation is promoting charters, and parents whose children attend well-regarded charter schools, folks who believe on the flimsiest of evidence that they have made the superior choice.  I've spent days and held meetings in boutique "public school academies" established in planetariums and museums, with clearly defined missions and glossy PR materials. I am friends with a woman who got so sick of seeing an underclass of poorly served students in her wealthy, high-scoring suburban alpha school that she started a charter on the poor side of town, the antithesis of no-excuses KIPP-ish academic culture.
I am well-acquainted with early-stage charterism: The exciting idea that public education can be tailored to individual children, instead of "factory model" learning. The noble goal of giving a select group of children whose education would otherwise be unexceptional or dismal a fresh start, ending with admission to a four-year university. No more red tape and stultifying restrictions--let freedom and flexibility reign!
Well. I am here to testify that all the good intentions in the world cannot override the conversion of a long-established public good into a profit-making commodity.  I no longer believe that there is a magic legislative formula that will allow "good" charters to exist harmoniously with public schools. I now understand that the end game of unfettered charterism is--and probably always has been--privatization and exclusivity. I live in a state where I am surrounded by hard Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What "Maturity" Means to the Charter Movement - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:

CURMUDGUCATION: Why Investors Love Charter Schools

CURMUDGUCATION: Why Investors Love Charter Schools:

Why Investors Love Charter Schools

When you see the announcement that the Waltons want to pump another $250 million into charter schools, you just have to wonder why.

I know the Waltons (of Wal-Mart fame) are big fans of charter schools, but they didn't become gazillionaires by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on things they just find shiny. And if they really wanted to push charters, they have an army of employees that could be incentivized to push charters. Heck, the Waltons are in a position to offer employees some sort of bonus or support to send their own children to charter schools. So maybe the quarter billion bucks is just heartfelt charity. But I have my doubts.

Part of the clue is in exactly what the Waltons want to spend that $250 million on. They're not really pumping money into the charter school industry-- they're pumping money into the charter school building industry. They make the periodically made point that the charter industry suffers from not having Uncle Sugar to buy buildings for them. I'm not sure that's a real problem.

There's a good case to be made for the charter industry being a large real estate scam, and Leslie T. Fenwick made it pretty forcefully a few weeks ago in Valerie Strauss's column at the Washington Post.

In the most recent cases of Washington D.C. and Chicago, black parents and other community members point to school closings as verification of their distrust of school “reform” efforts. Indeed, mayoral control has been linked to an emerging pattern of closing and disinvesting in schools that serve black poor students and reopening them as charters operated by education management organizations and backed by venture capitalists. While mayoral control proposes to expand 
CURMUDGUCATION: Why Investors Love Charter Schools:

CURMUDGUCATION: NJ: A Research Answer to Christie's Terrible Funding Proposal -


Again with the absurd complaint that a third candidate is – by definition – a spoiler - Wait What?

Again with the absurd complaint that a third candidate is – by definition – a spoiler - Wait What?:

Again with the absurd complaint that a third candidate is – by definition – a spoiler

This week’s Fortune Magazine includes an article entitled, The 2016 Presidential Election Could Have Two Spoiler Candidates.  The article reports on the campaigns of Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein.
By calling them spoilers, the magazine of Wall Street clings to the notion that anyone running against the two establishment candidates is, by definition, a spoiler.
Note:  When I was petitioning for an opportunity to run for governor in Connecticut, headlines read;
Spoiler alert: Pelto to challenge Malloy as 3rd-party candidate,” “Spoiler alert: Pelto goes all-in for governor,” “Spoiler Fears on Left in Connecticut Governor Race,”  and Spoiler Alert, Connecticut: Jon Pelto Says He Isn’t One.”
Putting aside the notion that we are supposed to be an egalitarian democracy that thrives on choice, the “mass media” continues to serve as pawns for the Democrat and Republican parties when they state, suggest or imply that more political choices will “spoil” (i.e. ruin) the American political system.
It is an outrageous approach to covering elections considering that the United States was founded on the fundamental concept of democracy, one in which the notion of political parties was frowned upon by some of the most eloquent founders of the country.
In his farewell address, the nation’s first President, George Washington warned;
“Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner Again with the absurd complaint that a third candidate is – by definition – a spoiler - Wait What?:

Chris Christie Dives to New Low with Proposal to Cheat New Jersey’s Poorest Children | janresseger

Chris Christie Dives to New Low with Proposal to Cheat New Jersey’s Poorest Children | janresseger:

Chris Christie Dives to New Low with Proposal to Cheat New Jersey’s Poorest Children

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has just proposed an absurd school funding reform plan that has united advocates left and right.  All agree that it is immoral.
Joe Hernandez of Newsworks explains Christie’s new idea: “Gov. Chris Christie is proposing major changes to the way New Jersey doles out education funding to school districts. Departing from a decades-old policy in which the state sent more aid to low-performing urban districts, Christie is recommending a funding formula that gives every district $6,599 per student.”
Here is the response of the editorial board of the NY Times: “(A) flat amount would make it impossible for poor communities to provide a sound education for disadvantaged children who need classrooms with more resources.  The state is required by law to send more money to those communities because they simply don’t have the tax base or property values to raise additional revenues on their own.  The New Jersey Supreme Court mandated this approach inAbbott v. Burke, a case named for Raymond Abbott, a student in Camden who received no services for a learning disability and was barely literate at the age of 15.  The court ruled in 1990, and in many rulings since, that New Jersey was bound by the State Constitution to fund districts at a level that allows all children to receive an education that enables them to participate in the economy and a democratic society… The 31 New Jersey school districts…known as ‘Abbott Districts’ educate nearly a quarter of the state’s students, more than 40 percent of its poor children and 56 percent of its English language learners.”
Dana Goldstein, writing for Slate, describes the plan: “In fact, if enacted, Christie’s proposal would amount to a huge giveaway to the children and families who are already thriving in Chris Christie Dives to New Low with Proposal to Cheat New Jersey’s Poorest Children | janresseger:

Obama Insiders Want to Buy Floundering For-Profit, University of Phoenix | deutsch29

Obama Insiders Want to Buy Floundering For-Profit, University of Phoenix | deutsch29:

Obama Insiders Want to Buy Floundering For-Profit, University of Phoenix

Today, I read an article entitled, “Bid to Buy For-profit College by Former Obama Insiders Raises Questions.” I cannot share it with readers because the articleappeared in Politico Pro, an exclusive publication that costs between $10,000 and $300,000 a year for a subscription. (The article was sent to me. I did not pay for it. Even USDOE decided not to pay the $25,000 per year it would cost to subscribe.)
But I believe it is important to relay to readers information from the article. So, what I will do in this *free* post is paraphrase some of the article content and cite from/link to other sources.
(Update 06-30: Thank you to Peter Greene, who found the very same article on “regular” PoliticoRead it here. Apparently the $10,000 – $300,000 difference is in a day: The free piece was posted on 06-29, and the pay piece was posted 06-28.)
Obama’s very close friend (“first friend?”), Marty Nesbitt, and others are seeking US Department of Education (USDOE) approval to purchase the fiscally-troubled for-profit, University of Phoenix. Nesbitt and former Deputy Secretary of Education, Tony Miller, run a Chicago-based private equity firm, Vistria Group.
Vistria Group is part of a small collective that wants to purchase University of Phoenix, and the for-profit school’s parent organization, Apollo Education, is apparently all in. 
USDOE approval would keep the student loan and Pell grant bucks coming to University of Phoenix– which happens to be the subject of three state attorneys general as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The price tag for Vistria et al. appears to be $1.1 billion. As it stands, University of Phoenix receives $2 billion annually in public money.
If University of Phoenix goes under, then all of those student loans are forgiven– which means taxpayers foot the bill. If Vistria et al. acquire University of Phoenix, then the goings-on at the school become private. No more requiring that that public be made aware of the salaries of the school’s executives, or that the public be made aware of litigation against the school, or that the public know about pending investigations.
Then comes the issue of a number of people close to Obama, or the White House, being involved in the proposed acquisition. Miller is one. He would be in charge of Apollo Education if Vistria et al. acquire University of Phoenix.
Another Vistria convert is former White House aide, Jonathan Samuels. In 2014, Fortune featured the Nesbitt-Samuels connection in this piece:
The private equity firm run by one of President Obama’s best friends is getting even closer to his administration. The Chicago-based Vistria Group, co-founded last year by longtime Obama pal Marty Nesbitt, has hired Jon Samuels, one of the President’s top lieutenants on Capitol Hill, Fortune has learned.
It’s not immediately clear what role Samuels will fill for the fledgling 
Obama Insiders Want to Buy Floundering For-Profit, University of Phoenix | deutsch29:

How Fair is the “Fairness Formula” for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers? | School Finance 101

How Fair is the “Fairness Formula” for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers? | School Finance 101:

How Fair is the “Fairness Formula” for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers?

Mark Weber, PhD Student, Rutgers Graduate School of Education
Ajay Srikanth, PhD Student, Rutgers Graduate School of Education

Executive Summary

This brief provides a first look at the “Fairness Formula,” Chris Christie’s school tax reform plan. In this analysis, we show:
  • The “Fairness Formula” will greatly reward the most-affluent districts, which are already paying the lowest school tax rates as measured by percentage of income.
  • The “Fairness Formula” will force the least-affluent districts to slash their school budgets, severely increase local property taxes, or both.
  • The premise of the “Fairness Formula” – that the schools enrolling New Jersey’s at-risk students have “failed” during the period of substantial school reform – is contradicted by a large body of evidence.
The “Fairness Formula,” then, would transform New Jersey’s school funding system from a national model of equity[1] into one of the least equitable in the country, both…
View original post 36 more words
 How Fair is the “Fairness Formula” for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers? | School Finance 101:

Big Education Ape: Marie Corfield: 7 Things Wrong with Gov. Christie's School Funding Proposal -

Schools Matter: More Screen Time = More Radiation for Kids

Schools Matter: More Screen Time = More Radiation for Kids:

More Screen Time = More Radiation for Kids

The Silicon Valley elites, the paternalistic politicians, and the corporate education parasites comprise an axis of influence that threatens the public space, educational integrity, and the health of children.  ESSA's funding for competency-based personalized learning, which amounts to constant prepping and testing via wi-fi networks, is the latest example of wired education going haywire.  

Already, the charter school industry has discovered that children forced onto screens half the day can save millions in personnel costs by reducing the number of required teachers.  Without oversight or regulation, KIPP, Rocketship, Uncommon Schools, and other brutal charter chains have used the most vulnerable children as guinea pigs without any monitoring of the health effects of hooking children to screens for half the school day. The visual below is from KIPP Empower in Los Angeles, where up to 30 kindergartners have been warehoused in a single classroom.

Now with federal support guaranteed under ESSA, the competency-based education scheme will assure the spread of these potentially dangerous practices into public schools as well.  

The lack of concern among Silicon valley profiteers is evident with Google's latest eye candy that could be damaging children's brains.  

Does Google know if their free virtual Mars journey has deep health costs?  Should children be holding cell phones to their eyeballs, thus directly exposing their frontal cortex to more radiation

Environmental Health Trust (EHT) scientists are calling on Google to stop the spread into schools of wireless virtual reality system Global Expeditions Pioneer Program where middle-Schools Matter: More Screen Time = More Radiation for Kids:

Promising Changes for Special Education Under ESSA

Promising Changes for Special Education Under ESSA:

Promising Changes for Special Education Under ESSA

special education essa

For years, in many school districts across the country, it wasn’t uncommon to hear stories about special education students lacking adequate resources. They might go months without textbooks. Or, if they had textbooks, they were decades old. Technology was scarce in some schools while in other places it was outright broken. Additionally, students with severe cognitive delays were expected to take a standardized test, regardless of the recommendations of their individualized education program (IEP).
With the implementation of the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), that’s about to change. “With ESSA, we get to be part of the conversation about what will be required of our students,” says Angela Waiters Jackson, a special education teacher for eight years, and now the president of the Guilford County Association of Educators in North Carolina. “Before we would just get whatever came along,” which was mostly brought on by No Child Left Behind.
Special education teachers are expected to see promising changes under ESSA, which reduces the federal government’s role over education policy and gives state and local authorities more control. The law also places less emphasis on testing, reduces the amount of schools labeled as “failing,” and gives educators a bigger opportunity to take make decisions based on the needs of their students and schools.
That’s music to Jackson’s ears. She’s seen firsthand the damage wrought by the old law’s requirements, especially in the area of standardized tests. “We were asking students to do things we knew we shouldn’t be asking them to do, but every student had to be tested,” says Jackson.

Testing Gone Wrong

Florida served as an example of standardized testing at its worst. In 2014, NEA learned of Ethan Rediske. He had entered the Orange County Public School system at the age of three. By the time he hit the equivalency of third grade, he was required Promising Changes for Special Education Under ESSA:

Why Is The Walton Family Foundation Putting Another $250 Million Into Charter Schools? - Forbes

Why Is The Walton Family Foundation Putting Another $250 Million Into Charter Schools? - Forbes:

Why Is The Walton Family Foundation Putting Another $250 Million Into Charter Schools?

Brought To You By Wal-Mart? How the Walton Family Foundation’s Ideological Pursuit is Damaging Charter Schooling - Cashing in on Kids -

Billionaire sister and brother Alice and Jim Walton have explained this week’s $250 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation to aid in building charter school facilities as a salute to their parents’ emphasis on education. “My parents spent a lot of time with us growing up just enforcing the fact that education is what could really be the great equalizer in the world,” says Alice Walton, the only daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his wife Helen, in a video promoting the initiative.
“The importance of providing high-quality education for as many children as we possibly can, for all children, I think is critical to the future of this country,” adds Jim Walton, the youngest of the three Walton sons. He has a fortune that FORBES estimates to be $36.3 billion and his sister’s fortune is estimated at $35 billion.
“I think the charter sector has demonstrated that there can be hope, there can be opportunity, there can be high-quality education provided within many of our low-income areas in this country,” he adds.
The foundation describes the Building Equity Initiative as “a first-of-its-kind nonprofit effort to provide charter schools with access to capital to create and expand facilities.” The nonprofit Civic Builders will manage the initiative, which will focus on 17 cities* where the foundation already makes grants.
Charter schools often struggle to find appropriate buildings and pay for them. It’s often the reason they can’t get off the ground. Only one in three states with charter schools provides facilities. I know from my experience on the public school board in Hoboken, N.J., that when charters rent space from the district, the rules can be onerous. One charter school was not allowed to hang a sign advertising its annual application period and lottery on the outside of the public school building it rented.Why Is The Walton Family Foundation Putting Another $250 Million Into Charter Schools? - Forbes:

In Detroit, It's Charter Schools Gone Wild

In Detroit, It's Charter Schools Gone Wild:

In Detroit, It’s Charter Schools Gone Wild

Writing in The New York Times, Kate Zernike documents a charter school disaster being perpetuated on Detroit children and families. It is a story of phony “choice,” not better schools. It is a warning of what can happen to education in the United States if the charter school movement is allowed to grow unchecked and unregulated.
Zernike’s opens with a focus on the experience of one family. Damian and Omar Rivera attended a series of Detroit charter schools as their mother tried to offer them a brighter future. Damian, the older son, initially was enrolled at a charter school across the street from their home. He earned top grades and dreamed of becoming an engineer, until he was accepted into a special program at the University of Michigan where he discovered he knew far less about almost everything than similar students from Detroit public schools. Ana Rivera pulled her son out of the charter and sent him to a Catholic school, where charter school A’s suddenly turned into Catholic School D’s. Damian is now a discouraged learner.
According to Zernike, so many national for-profit charter school chains entered the Detroit “market” that in some poorer communities “it easier to find a charter school than to buy a carton of milk.” Detroit has a bigger percentage of students enrolled in charter schools than any U.S. city except New Orleans, whose public school system collapsed and was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina. The Detroit charter companies compete to attract students and government pay-outs by offering “cash bonuses, laptops, raffle tickets for iPads and bicycles,” but the promise of a better education is illusory.
There are many villains in the Detroit education debacle, but the main ones are a former Michigan governor, the state legislature, and of course, the for-profit charter school companies. The force behind the 1993 state charter school law was Republican Governor John “Free Markets” Engler, who not coincidently was an opponent of teachers’ unions. Engler wanted schools that were publicly financed but independently run. In theory, choice would lead to innovation; at least that was his theory.
Michigan decided to let virtually anybody set up charter school and actually paid school districts a bonus to promote the program. For-profit companies saw the law as their chance to cash in and they rapidly moved into the Michigan school market. Currently for-profit chains operate 80% of the state’s charter schools, a much higher percentage than in any other state. The companies also became major political lobbyists in Michigan with support from some of the state’s most powerful Republican Party donors.
Market dogma produced all kinds of absurdities. In 2011, the state legislature ended In Detroit, It's Charter Schools Gone Wild:

Charter Schools Not Performing Better Than Traditional in Detroit, Florida, Georgia

Charter Schools Not Performing Better Than Traditional in Detroit, Florida, Georgia:

Reminder: Education Is Not a Damn Marketplace
And charter schools are not working.

Here's a debate I'd like to see pursued vigorously within the Democratic Party. (Hey, everybody else gets to complain about this, why not me?)
Resolved: No matter how noble the original motives, public school "reform" as pursued by private interests in general, and by plutocratic dilettantes in particular, has been an abject failure and an almost limitless vista of low-rent scams and high-tech brigandage. 
Through the inexhaustible Diane Ravitch, we have found several recent examples of evidence for the affirmative here. First, there was this account in The New York Times about how the ragged remnants of the Detroit public schools were handed over to the charter-industrial complex willy nilly, and how that notion has crashed and burned in spectacular, if entirely predictable, fashion.
Michigan leapt at the promise of charter schools 23 years ago, betting big that choice and competition would improve public schools. It got competition, and chaos. 

Detroit schools have long been in decline academically and financially. But over the past five years, divisive politics and educational ideology and a scramble for money have combined to produced a public education fiasco that is perhaps unparalleled in the United States. 

While the idea was to foster academic competition, the unchecked growth of charters has created a glut of schools competing for some of the nation's poorest students, enticing them to enroll with cash bonuses, laptops, raffle tickets for iPads and bicycles. Leaders of charter and traditional schools alike say they are being cannibalized, fighting so hard over students and the limited public dollars that follow them that no one thrives. 

Detroit now has a bigger share of students in charters than any American city except New Orleans, which turned almost all its schools into charters after Hurricane Katrina. But half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit's traditional public schools.
Of course, reply the folks on the other side, this was all done with The Kids in mind. Let's talk to Damian and his mom, shall we?
She enrolled her older son, Damian, at the charter school across from her house, where she could watch him walk into the building. He got all A's and said he wanted to be an engineer. But the summer before seventh grade, he found himself in the back of a classroom at a science program at the University of Michigan, struggling to keep up with students from Detroit Public Schools, known as the worst urban district in the nation. They knew the human 
Charter Schools Not Performing Better Than Traditional in Detroit, Florida, Georgia: