I like Mr. Martin's choice of words, both of which could be found on the English SAT exam. But he's mistaken on both counts, and more. The only one doing any "upbraiding" and "chastising" is Mr. Martin, who doesn't like it when I periodically correct the record on Albany's charter schools emanating from charter opponents in town. (Since we both enjoy the using vocabulary, "haranguing" and "rebuking" also could describe his letter; though "vilifying" would be too strong.)
Some of the falsehoods from Albany's residents toward charter schools are understandable, especially since Albany's former superintendent of schools (now heading a Catholic school in the City) made spreading them habitual in the media. The beat goes on from Mr. Martin who, for example, falsely claims in his letter that charter schools are "for-profit" when they are not.
As to charter school test results, they are quite impressive in Albany, which is a key reason more of them keep getting approved. In most grades, it is a charter school with the highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in the city of Albany. Still, Mr. Martin writes that charter test scores are "not impressive;" which may have more to do with his emotions on the issue since it's contrary to the facts.
If it's really cost issues and property tax burdens that bother Mr. Martin and others (did he feel that way when he was a teacher?) consider the fact that charter schools educate students on far less than what Albany pays for district students. Charter schools get about $12,000 per year from the Albany district (which gets state aid for those students), while the district pays more than $20,000 per student in its own buildings.
Finally, Mr. Martin does concede my point that many district schools are under-enrolled. But he is willing to continue paying taxes for this ongoing inefficiency which he ascribes to physics. To wit, rather than Mr. Martin blaming Albany's families for voluntarily removing their children from these district schools to charters, it sounds better in his world to blame the charter schools for "siphon[ing] kids away from district schools."
Not even the most ardent charter school supporter believes charters exercise the power of physics over parental choice, but apparently some charter opponents do.
for The Chalkboard
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