July 26, 2007

Stiff spats over charter schools

Reading Leo Casey's complaint about anti-union charter schools named after Cesar Chavez, including his rebuttal to Andy Rotherham's comment, and then Sara Mead's response, plus Joe Williams' dismissal of Casey's interpretation of a blurb in the Fordham Gadfly that complains about teachers unions wanting to organize charter schools, I feel as if I'm hearing one of those internecine leftist political grudges that you'd find in New York City, about which bagelry was run by Stalinists and which by Trotskyites, whose typewriter was evidence of who infiltrated what group, and whether/when Norman Thomas became Darth Vader. I know that blog entries can sometimes have inside references, but when readers get lost, someone's forgetting to add context. Several someones.

For the record, what I know is that some charter schools are named after Cesar Chavez, that many of them are not unionized and some may have anti-union practices, that Checker Finn's staff doesn't think charters are worth anything if they're unionized, and that Joe Williams writes as if teachers unions are guilty until proven innocent. So what have I learned that's exactly new?


Update: In comments, Fred Klonsky takes me to task for being obscure myself and commenting on something if I thought it wasn't of interest. I didn't say it wasn't of interest, but that no one had given enough specifics to really chew on (speaking of bagels, and the reason I was obscure to give the sense of how I felt reading the blogs; someone reading about Trotskyite vs. Stalinist bagelries might pick up a bit of satire?). I did err in saying "add context" instead of "add context or detail." Casey links to Michael Klonsky's blog (written by Fred Klonsky's brother), asserting it includes "a remarkably long list of charter schools that have assumed the name of Cesar Chavez, while denying their teachers the right to organize into an union." But said blog entry only names three charter schools named after Cesar Chavez (that's not "a remarkably long list"), and there is no specific example of an organizing effort in a charter school named after Cesar Chavez that was suppressed by management. I stand by my judgment.

Update 2: Leo Casey responds. Readers can decide independently if Casey described any specific school named after Chavez that engaged in anti-union activities or, failing that, if the specific concerns he raises are merited without such evidence. Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on July 26, 2007 9:29 PM |