The sales pitch, in various versions, pops up every time charter cheerleaders are pushing charters as the Big Solution in education.
“We know how to educate poor minority students.”
The implication, of course, is that public schools don’t know how to get the job done. The use of civil rights rhetoric further pushes the idea that charters can rescue non-wealthy, non-white students from a public school system that either can’t or won’t provide them with the education they need and deserve.
The problem with this assertion, however, is the words that charter fans invariably omit from the pitch.
The word is “some.”
As in, “We know how to educate some poor minority students.”
And that’s a problem. That single word is the difference between a pitch that makes compelling sense and one that is simply a pack of weasel words. Let me tell you why.
First, some stipulations:
I’m going to skip for the moment my usual objections that the measures being used to determine whether a school is successful or not are grade-A useless baloney. Let’s just pretend for the moment that we know how to measure student success.
And we can also insert my usual disclaimer here that not all charters are problematic, and particularly back before the rise of the modern investment-driven hedge-fundie charters, there have been charters that have truly added to the public education landscape. So I don’t automatically hate charter schools.