Original Proposal


Stanford University’s Indictment of Charter Schools –

“A national study in 2009 concluded that students in most charter schools performed no better than those in traditional public schools. Researchers at Stanford University, led by economist Margaret E. Raymond, analyzed data from 2,403 charter schools in fifteen states and the District of Columbia (about half of all charters and 70 percent of all charter students in the nation at the time) and found that 37 percent had learning gains that were significantly below those of local public schools; 46 percent had gains that were no different; and only 17 percent showed growth that was significantly better…The results were sobering, especially since the study was funded by such pro-charter groups as the Walton Family Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.”

[Quotation from p. 142 of “The Life and Death of the Great American School System” by Diane Ravitch (NYU’s Research Professor of Education and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education) – published 3/2/2010 by Basic Books and the focus book of our 9/12/2012 meeting.]

“Legal Brief for The Defense” – from Stanford’s Hoover Institution

“Charter Schools and Their Enemies” by Thomas Sowell (Basic Books 6/30/2020 – 132 pages sans appendices-notes-index – Hardcover $18.69 + shipping or $18.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).

Presumably Thomas Sowell will recognize Stanford University and its 2009 study as the CHIEF ENEMY of charter schools.

And hopefully, he will have more recent information on the effectiveness of charter schools – or lack thereof.

After all, we observed on both 9/12/2012 when we focused on Prof. Ravitch’s “Death and Life” and 6/17/2015 when we focused on her "Reign of Error, the Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to American Public Schools" (Alfred E. Knopf 9/17/2013) –

(1) The relatively-poor performance of charter schools in 2009 came despite their admitting only students of parents who were functional enough to apply and then expelling students who did not meet performance standards.

(2) The relatively-poor performance of charter schools in 2009 appeared to be the result of inadequate governmental-regulation standards – many of their teachers had no qualifications and, indeed, quite a few charter schools were headed by former public-school janitors who seized their opportunities to leap from bottom to top.

Indeed, we remarked in our 9/12/2012 e-mail campaign to President Obama that charter schools staffed by unqualified personnel “makes no more sense than closing a police precinct in whose jurisdiction a crime is committed and hiring amateurs in their place.”

BTW, Prof. Ravitch liked that comment so much that she included it, without attribution, in “Reign of Error.”

NB: We are delighted when anyone appropriates our ideas, with or without attribution.
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Original Proposal

Post by johnkarls »

Originally proposed by John Karls on 8/15/2021 - 139 views before being transplanted here.

Re-Visiting The Issue of Charter Schools with Thomas Sowell

I propose that we read “Charter Schools and Their Enemies” by Thomas Sowell (Basic Books 6/30/2020 – 132 pages sans appendices-notes-index – Hardcover $18.69 + shipping or $18.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).

Book Description per Amazon.com (usually quoting from a book’s fly cover)

Winner of the 2021 Hayek Book Prize

A leading conservative intellectual defends charter schools against the teachers' unions, politicians, and liberal educators who threaten to dismantle their success.

The black-white educational achievement gap -- so much discussed for so many years -- has already been closed by black students attending New York City's charter schools. This might be expected to be welcome news. But it has been very unwelcome news in traditional public schools whose students are transferring to charter schools. A backlash against charter schools has been led by teachers unions, politicians and others -- not only in New York but across the country. If those attacks succeed, the biggest losers will be minority youngsters for whom a quality education is their biggest chance for a better life.

Our Reading-Liberally History with this Public-Policy Issue

Most of our now-197 members have heard more times than I am sure they would like --

(1) that I was one of 178 individuals, most of whom were CEO’s of major corporations, who immediately stepped forward to replicate in 51 American cities what Eugene Lang had done in 1981 when he promised Harlem PS 121 children their college tuition if they stayed in school and then provided each “Dreamer” with a tutor and a mentor through high school graduation [my own “I Have A Dream”® program served 200 children in public housing projects];

(2) that I served as volunteer national treasurer for Gene Lang’s national “I Have A Dream”® Foundation in the 1990’s; and

(3) that our IHAD programs in the 1990’s transformed typically-SINGLE DIGIT high school graduation rates for the classes just ahead and just behind each Dreamer class to more than 90%.

More info about the IHAD programs in the 1990’s is available on this website in Sections 4 and 5 entitled “Inner-City Holocaust and America’s Apartheid ‘Justice’ System - In Honor of Jonathan Kozol and In Memory of John Howard Griffin."

Those sections contain reams of legal documents, etc., involved in my lawsuits against 15 of the world’s largest financial institutions 2009-2011 for the $84 billion that they owed me and that had long-since been pledged in legally-binding fashion to provide IHAD- or IHAD-style programs for 10 million inner-city children.

Our final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court listed the “question presented” as –

“Can state court judges order their decisions which they know are diametrically-opposed to well-settled law, not to be published or cited (a strategy labeled ‘the segregated toilet’ in correspondence with 51 inner-city clergy who represent the 10 million inner-city children who have been disclosed from the outset as the ‘real parties at interest’ in this law suit) in order to flush away the rights of the 10 million inner-city children without disturbing the rights of first-class American citizens -- without violating the ‘Equal Protection of the Law’ requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?”

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear our appeal.

Prof. Diane Ravitch

Prof. Diane Ravitch is N.Y.U.’s Research Professor of Education, a historian of education, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.

Prof. Ravitch’s 2010 book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education” was the focus of our 9/12/2012 meeting.

That meeting resulted in one of our “Six-Degrees-Of-Separation” E-mail Campaigns – that one to President Obama. It is available at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=979&sid=f5677b7fe4 ... 9047b2f85f.

Inter alia, that e-mail campaign cited Prof. Ravitch’s report in “Life and Death” that –

“Recent comprehensive studies by the Brookings Institution and by Stanford University show that charter schools are no better than public schools even though the charter schools typically accept only children of functional parents and then expel anyone who isn't performing.”

Prof. Ravitch’s 2013 book “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to American Public Schools” was the focus of our 6/17/2015 meeting.

That meeting also resulted in one of our “Six-Degrees-Of-Separation” E-mail Campaigns – that one to Pope Francis imploring him during his impending first visit to the U.S. to broaden his focus from Global Warming to at least mention that UNICEF reports that 23% of U.S. children live in poverty. It is available at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1328&sid=f5677b7fe ... 9047b2f85f.

BTW, both Pope Francis and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz (President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which was arranging the Pope’s trip) were so upset with the notion that the Roman Catholic Church should care about the poor that they both began bouncing our e-mails within a matter of hours – please see viewtopic.php?f=402&t=1329&p=1785&hilit ... f85f#p1785.

Also BTW, Prof. Ravitch liked so much our 9/12/2012 analysis that the dismal statistics for our inner-city schools reflect a SOCIOLOGY problem rather than an EDUCATION problem, that in “Reign of Error” she used without attribution our analogy of comparing the replacement of public schools with UNREGULATED private charter schools -- to closing an inner-city police precinct in which a crime is committed and hiring amateurs in their place.

[We are delighted whenever anyone uses our ideas, with or without attribution.]

More-Recent Book by Prof. Ravitch

On 7/16/2020, the Harvard Club of NYC offered for one of its frequent Zoom webinars Prof. Ravitch taking questions for 30 minutes following her 30-minute presentation of her 1/21/2020 book “Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools.”

Accordingly, on 6/28/2020 --

(1) I proposed that we select Prof. Ravitch’s new book as the focus for a future meeting; and

(2) I offered to register for the NYC Harvard Club Zoom webinar any of our then-182 members who might be interested in participating.

My 6/28/2020 proposal, which has not been selected to date, is available at viewtopic.php?f=150&t=1939&sid=f5677b7f ... 9047b2f85f.

Thomas Sowell and the Current State of the School-Choice Public-Policy Issue

It strikes me that the school-choice issue should be re-visited, particularly with America’s experience with public-school teachers during the COVID era, because –

(1) The data is pouring in that on-line learning is horribly deficient, both in terms of learning and in terms of socialization;

(2) Although so many other categories of American workers have been considered “essential” during COVID (e.g., medical personnel, first responders, agricultural and food-industry and grocery-store workers, etc., etc.), teachers have fought against “essential worker” status at every turn.

(3) Our inner-city children have been the victims of school closures and on-line teaching – since more affluent Americans have the CHOICE of sending their children to in-person private schools.

(4) And we shouldn’t forget what the continuingly-crass attitude of teachers’ unions has meant for inner-city parents who depend on public schools to teach their children while the parents hold down jobs – being forced further into poverty as inner-city parents gave up jobs to supervise their children at home and their on-line “learning.”

BTW, it was only a decade or so ago that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was touting how on-line learning was so wonderful for K-12 that it was “the wave of the future”!!!

[We fought that Gates Foundation myth at the time and can be gratified that the data during COVID amply proves how wrong the Gates Foundation was!!!]

In the investigation before making this recommendation, the following items were consulted which merit the attention of our readers –

(1) “Thomas Sowell Goes To Bat for Charter Schools. Whiffs.” – a book review https://www.realclearpolitics.com/artic ... hiffs.html.

[No reaction to Thomas Sowell’s “Charter Schools and Their Enemies” could be found by either of the major teachers’ unions. However, this book review was written by Glenn Sacks who teaches social studies and is co-chairman of United Teachers Los Angeles at James Monroe High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District; he was recently recognized by LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner for "exceptional levels of performance."]

(2) “If Government Won’t Protect Students, Teachers Unions Will” – another essay by Glenn Sacks at https://www.realclearpolitics.com/artic ... 43711.html.

(3) “Thomas Sowell Has Been Right From the Start - His latest book on charter schools continues his research on minority success in education.” – WSJ book review of “Charter Schools and Their Enemies” by Jason Riley, member of the WSJ editorial board – at https://www.wsj.com/articles/thomas-sow ... 1595372217.

(4) “The Collapsing Case against Charter Schools” – National Review book review at https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine ... er-schools.

(5) A contemporaneous (3 days before book release) OpEd by Thomas Sowell entitled “Charter schools are the best way to wipe out educational disparity” at https://nypost.com/2020/06/27/charter-s ... -disparity.

NB: Traditionally, after a book has been selected as our focus, we post in the “Reference Materials” section for that meeting, book reviews by –

The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post

The WSJ book review is Item No. 3 above.

No book reviews by the NY Times and Washington Post could be found.

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