Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 1:00am

Revoke the charter

The dog-and-pony shows Mayor Karl Dean has encountered during his multi-city tour of charter schools [“Dean advocates for charter school law reform, April 30] apparently have shielding him from the downside of charter schools. He fails to understand how these taxpayer funded schools, which are quasi private schools, help to set up struggling urban public schools for failure.

In many inner-city communities throughout the country, charter school recruiters seek out parents who may be undereducated and poor themselves but want better for their own children. The charter schools then enroll students of parents who value education and pledge to become full partners in their children’s schooling.

This “cherry picking” leaves the affected public schools disadvantaged with a higher concentration of students who are unmotivated and difficult to teach, who are likely to become behavioral problems and truants and dropouts and later a drag on society. These are students who produce lower test scores even with dedicated teachers.

Under most accountability systems, schools with low-scoring students are labeled “failing.” Their teachers are considered ineffective and their professional reputations are tarnished. These schools face the threat of sanctions and are bashed in the press. Instead, they need real help, not pseudo competition and bully pulpit-driven education “reform.”

Meanwhile, charter schools are hyped in the press and receive honorable recognitions from various agencies and groups, including “progressive” politicians. Some charter schools receive generous grants and donations from private businesses and philanthropies to supplement government funding, thereby building more inequity into our education system.

Gene Bryant,
37215
 

Filed under: City Voices

139 Comments on this post:

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 7:53

Nemo,

If you say so.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/12/09 at 7:54

Well I hope to read more about Charter schools later. I need to go to work.

By: Loner on 5/12/09 at 7:54

It's like this, my caffeine-deprived fellow poster.....The funds needed to operate the public schools come from taxpayers, (local and state primarily.) When the well-documented white flight took place, existing inner-city public schools lost much of their tax base. Things deteriorated rather quickly and the exodus from the cities was accelerated. The process still continues,

I won't bite on that, Slacker. I'm not a big fan of busing.
I
f we educated our kids online, we might not need "schools" and all the crap that goes with ithem. If we don't destroy ourselves in waging Holy Wars, kids in the future will all be home-schooled, online.

Then again, if future Holy Wars destroy civilization as we now know it, the "lucky" survivors will all be, by necessity, home schooled,.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 7:59

Loner,

While I personally have NO problem educating our kids online, there ARE a few issues with that. First and foremost, the union would have a FIT about it as that would drastically take their funding away from them...less teachers needed.

Next, the kids would not interact with each other except outside the confines of school - and while that would most likely make those who were part of the white flight happy, it would also socially stunt the kids as most of them would not interact much at all. And really, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of integration in schools anyway?

By: Fundit on 5/12/09 at 8:16

Home school kids are weird.

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 8:21

It's a chicken and the egg thing. You f*ck it up bad enough and the people who can afford to leave will leave... then the schools are relegated to babysitting the hoodlums to be.

Came into school right as forced desegregtation hit. Bussing was a huge mistake. No value added. The black teachers who came to our school were in most cases superior to the white teachers; I guess it was because it was in an era when they had something to prove. I know some people whose parents pulled them out into private school. As kids, though, we didn't know we were not supposed to get along until society showed us. In most cases you can count on people to live down to their expectations.

The better solution would have been to remove the barriers but to let time handle the integration issue. Society would not have been so polarized if that was the case. It's just like Slavery and the Civil war. All the other modern societies of the day used eminent domain and paid the slave-owners to end the practice of slavery in their countries. Lincoln used the issue to justify his war of Northern Aggression against the proponents of strong state's rights and the constitution.

If they'd done what Emerson suggested and just bought out the slave-owners there would have been no war and there would likely be one country in the world today still maintained a bit of liberty for their citizens.

Instead we have had a massively polarized society that up until the middle 80's was still suffering substantially from the residual harm of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 8:27

Lincoln used the issue to justify his war of Northern Aggression against the proponents of strong state's rights and the constitution.

First Nixon's a hero, then Bush, now the Civil War wasn't about slavery. You've lost your damn mind.

By: Loner on 5/12/09 at 8:30

Gdiafante, every state is different. In New York, the cities are losing population. The suburbs keep expanding. Many upwardly mobile blacks are moving out of the cities too. The manufacturing, service and retail players in the cities have also left town, taking their tax contributions with them. The infrastructure is crumbling…what the “old ones” built will be difficult to maintain.

Chief, the kids are interacting online already. They are phoning, texting, twittering, e-mailing and posting to each other on a massive scale. Going online for their educational needs would broaden their world, not isolate them, as you suggest.

As for the school sports programs, the municipal recreational organizations, the YMCA’s and the athletic industry would come to the rescue, if the school’s were to “drop the ball” on athletics.

Teachers might welcome the opportunity to teach from home or wherever.....online. The unions could accept that, IMO.

By: house_of_pain on 5/12/09 at 8:33

But how many parents would be able to quit their jobs to stay home and play hall monitor? Not me.

By: Kosh III on 5/12/09 at 8:36

Don't forget that Dean's committment to public schools doesn't include sending HIS kids to public schools.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 8:40

Kosh, there is no law stating that public servants must send their children to public schools. Nor does that preclude him from an honest committment to reform public schools.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 8:44

Gdia,

In point of fact, the Civil War was more about states rights vs. federal mandate more than anything else. That is not to say slavery was not a part of that...but it wasn't the sole issue.

Tarriffs happened to be the main concern. The Northern States were jealous of the Southern states due to their massing wealth due to the cotton, rum, slave trade. So the North wanted to break the South by taxing them and by outlawing slavery.

At any rate, even Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have made the Emancipation Proclamation without the fact that the South had contracted with England for some ships to break the blockade the North had at the mouth of the Mississippi river...but since England had recently freed their slaves, Lincoln did this to prevent the sale of the ships.

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also so that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause." Abraham Lincoln

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 8:48

gdiafante,

"Kosh, there is no law stating that public servants must send their children to public schools. Nor does that preclude him from an honest committment to reform public schools."

And you are quite correct as there is no law forcing public servants to put their children in public schools.

However, it does seem hypocritical for a public servant to tell the citizenry that the public schools are just fine and then to put their own children into a private school. One could always ask, if the public schools are just fine, then why would a public servant want to put their children in private schools?

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 8:50

It was the sole issue Chief. It was the proverbial "elephant in the room" since the Constitutional convention. In fact, the Constitution was a compromise in order to preserve the union of the states despite slavery. The founding fathers knew that the issue would likely tear the country in two, so they delayed even being able to discuss it in Congress until 1808. Their belief was that in twenty years the country would be established and better equiped to deal with the issue.

There was a faction that thought state trumped federal since the "Spirit of '76", but slavery was the issue that galvanized it to the point of civil war.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 8:51

House,

"But how many parents would be able to quit their jobs to stay home and play hall monitor? Not me."

It's extremely hard...but Ms. Chief did it when my children were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. She had them thru their Junior High School years until she had to go back to work (financial considerations)...fortunately, our children had learned how to study by that time, so all is well.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 8:54

"if the public schools are just fine, then why would a public servant want to put their children in private schools?"

Because that's their choice. If he takes his sick child to Vanderbilt, does that mean he thinks Centennial is lacking?

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 8:57

I don't agree that the northern states were 'jealous' but the high import tarrifs disproportionatly hurt the southern states by forcing them to buy more expensive northern goods and this was key to the problems leading up to the civil war. Slavery was secondary and could easily have been remedied by eminent domain and paying the slave-owners for their property under the law of the day. Importation of slaves had long since been banned so it was on its way out for that and many other reasons.

Slavery, in fact, was waning with the slow emergence of mechanized farming and indentured or otherwise very cheap labor. Much better to hire someone for a small wage to do the work than to own a very expensive and willful asset that you had to feed and house and that could run away or die.

The plantation owners stoked a substantial amount of racism in order to foster popular support to protect their assets... nothing like the amount of racism that was stoked by reconstruction though.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 8:57

s/h/b "does it mean that Centennial is lacking", not "thinks". Sorry.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 9:00

"Importation of slaves had long since been banned so it was on its way out for that and many other reasons."

Incorrect. While importation was banned, the slave population was increasing rapidly because they were being born into slavery.

George Washington realized early that it was cheaper to hire at wages than to go on purchasing slaves. At one point he had 300 slaves but only half were able to work. The rest of the South did not understand this.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:01

Gdia,

Sorry but I disagree. Like every other war we've ever fought in this country, the underpinings of cause were due to financial points. The Southern states wanted the right to continue to have their trinangle trade and the Northern states wanted to tax them with tarriffs and make slavery illegal. That was the main cause of the war, IMO.

That is not to say slavery was not part of the issue...but it was not the main issue, again IMO.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:03

gdiafante,

"Because that's their choice. If he takes his sick child to Vanderbilt, does that mean he thinks Centennial is lacking?"

Well what else would one think when he would be telling you "Oh Centennial is just fine for you to take your kids to...but I'm taking MINE to Vanderbilt." Not leading by example here. Just my opinion.

By: Loner on 5/12/09 at 9:05

Ben, now you are denigrating Abraham Lincoln, accusing him of using the slavery issue as a pretext to invade the South, in a war better named The War of Northern Aggression.

I agree with one thing, the Civil War was probably avoidable. Cooler heads did not prevail. Hotheads carried the day. I sometimes think that it was an alcohol-related tragedy.

It was a holy war; both sides used the churches to recruit volunteers for the cause. The newspapers whipped up the mass hysteria. Self-serving politicians exploited the volatile situation.

Would a buy-out have prevented the war? I doubt it. Without slaves, the Southern agrarian economy was doomed – or so it was thought. The poor white Southern boys who volunteered to fight did so to uphold a tradition of white supremacy, as much as anything else.

Your noble re-write of the Southern casus belli is understandable, but not true, Ben.

Just read the Confederate Constitution; I did. The term black African slavery is mentioned several times. Check out the confederate paper money – the cotton-picking slave woman is a common thematic element printed on the rebel currencies.

The Southern motives were not as lofty as you imagine, Ben Dover. Lincoln tried to preserve the union; you can’t blame any president for wanting to do that, it’s in the presidential job description.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:09

Loner,

"Chief, the kids are interacting online already. They are phoning, texting, twittering, e-mailing and posting to each other on a massive scale. Going online for their educational needs would broaden their world, not isolate them, as you suggest."

So if I understand your comment, you suggest that integration has accomplished it's purpose and we no longer need to worry about it, correct?

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 9:15

Actually I have read the Southern Constitution loner and it specificially protects slavery because it was a hot issue at the time but, more than anything, affirms State's rights above the Confederation. As I, and later gd with his George Washington observation, pointed out, slavery was diminishing out of necessity. Many slaveowners offered the opportunity for slaves to earn and buy their freedom and many more willed their freedom to the slaves. A buy-out would have been well received.

And Lincoln's words, quoted above, speak for him better than I could, Loner. In the quote he fully acknoledges that slavery was secondary to his goal of preserving the Union.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:16

Loner,

"Lincoln tried to preserve the union; you can’t blame any president for wanting to do that, it’s in the presidential job description."

Not to pick nits here and also not to complain about the union standing as is, but in actual fact, it was within the rights of the states to secede from the Union. There are rules governing what states must accomplish in order to join the union...but there is nothing, as far as I've been able to tell, about leaving the union.

There is, however, the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution which, as I read it, says all powers not given to the federal government are remanded back to the states and the people. By that interpretation, the states were within their rights to secede from the Union.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

DISCLAIMER - I am quite happy we did NOT become two separate countries.

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 9:23

You guys have learned a very selective, and not suprisingly politically correct, version of history.

Most Northern Urbans still think the majority of Tennessee is running around bare-foot... utilizing out-houses and riding around in the back of pick-up trucks shooting n*ggers. Sorry to dissappoint you guys but that's just not the case.

Keep believing it though if it will keep people like D'argent from moving down here trying to ruin the place by making it more like all the Urban paradises he's fled.

By: Loner on 5/12/09 at 9:29

Where did Chief and Ben get these false notions about the causes of the Civil War? Is this dangerous re-write standard fare in the Southern public schools or is this crap limited to the "alternative schools"?

618,000 soldiers and sailors died in the 4-year struggle. My home county, rural Orleans County, lost a staggering 454 men in the conflict. When I read posts like Chief's and Ben's, I wonder if they died in vain - the South just doesn't get it.

It's too nice outside to waste more time arguing with right-wing ideologues - though it has been fun. I thank the NCP for hosting the board. The big thumper is standing by - I'm outta here.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 9:33

Well what else would one think when he would be telling you "Oh Centennial is just fine for you to take your kids to...but I'm taking MINE to Vanderbilt." Not leading by example here. Just my opinion.

??

You disagree to disagree sometimes. Many people take their kids to Vanderbilt, I take mine to Stonecrest. That doesn't mean that I think Vanderbilt isn't capable, it means that Stonecrest is more convenient for me.

Sometimes you analyze things a little too much...

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 9:36

Loner. In the quote he fully acknoledges that slavery was secondary to his goal of preserving the Union.

This is no different than the Constitutional compromise. They acknowledged that in order to save the union, they should put off the issue of...and pay attention...slavery.

Lincoln is only stating that the priority is to save the union first then deal with slavery. Without a preserved union, there is no slavery issue.

By: girliegirl on 5/12/09 at 9:38

I've got news for you...even our BEST Metro schools can't seem to pass the average students now. I've met more mothers in the last month whose children are FAILING for the first time in their lives. And what none of us can figure out: why now? In almost every neighborhood in the thriving districts there appear to be more than 20 to 25% of the kids not meeting the school standards these days. Don't tell me it's because we parents aren't spending an hour or more each night with kids because we are! We've given up social activities, gymnastics, sports, and other thrills just so Johnny can "catch up" according to his school's request letter sent home each month.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:42

gdiafante,

"Sometimes you analyze things a little too much..."

Perhaps. Guess I'm used to the military way of leading by example.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:43

Gdia,

Sorry but I frankly believe that Lincoln would have much preferred NOT to deal with the issue of slavery at all.

His sole purpose was to preserve the union by any means necessary.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 9:44

Have some more coffee Chief, I think you need it.

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 9:45

No loner... they teach us the same crap they taught you. You've actually got to read the actual accounts of the history, not just the text books, to find the unpolished version.

You, if anyone, I would expect to be especially suspicious of such a black and white; good vs evil fairy tale as is foisted upon the impressionable youths of America today. I guess that's the same sh*t lincoln was shoveling in the day as well though and he earned the right to maintain his story at the tip of a sword. History is always written by the victors.

But as the great poet and philosopher Bob Dylan so eloquently put it, "Good and Bad, I defined these terms; quite clear, no doubt, somehow... oh but I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now."

By: brrrrk on 5/12/09 at 9:45

I want to know what happened to the idea of vocational education? Why doesn't Nashville (and the state for that matter) provide educational alternatives for students that don't fit into the academic mold? Providing educational alternatives for those that are already gifted in areas like mathematics, science, the arts, etc. is a waste when chances are that these students would excel anyway.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 9:47

Of course he would have preferred NOT to deal with slavery, that was the problem, no one really wanted to deal with it. Since 1787 they had been putting the issue off until it festered and could only have been resolved by war.

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 9:52

No... it could easily have been resolved by eminent domain like it was in all the other civilized societies of the day.

Lincoln needed the slavery issue to preserve the Union though. Without that he had no supposed moral justification for the war. He'd have to say, "we're at war with the South because they want the right to buy goods from England and France instead of us".

Sorry, that don't fly.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 9:54

Gdia,

Sorry...more coffee won't change my opinion.

By: brrrrk on 5/12/09 at 9:56

Slavery was purely a matter of economics. The agrarian south needed a constant, cheap, renewable workforce and slavery answered that need. Indentured servitude would have never solved the workforce problem because eventually the servant would have to be freed of his contract, thereby requiring the plantation owner (or whoever held the contract) to either pay the worker or replace them with another indentured servant. The way I see it, much hasn't changed really; companies in the south still pretty much think they own you.....

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 9:56

You're hilarious, in a scary nutjob sort of way.

Off the meds again?

What are your thoughts on nullification during Jackson's term? Do you ascribe that to South Carolina wanting to trade with Persia?

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 10:02

I think nullification would be well ascribed to Marijuana, abortion and gay marriage. Don't you agree?

Here's the constitutional stickler that Lincoln tripped over. It's the often forgotten end of the 5th amendment:

"... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. "

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 10:04

I think Marijuana can be ascribed to most of your posts.

You prove my point as to why slavery should have been dealt with in 1787.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 10:10

Gdia,

In accordance with the US Constitution, Congress has the power to put tarriffs on the states to get money to run the government. As such, NO state had the right to nullify the tarriff.

Therefore, the Constitution says that Congress was in the right here.

I am not condoning the secession...simply saying that Constitutionally speaking, the states were within their rights to do so.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 10:16

Ben,

Sorry but nullification cannot be considered a Constitutional attribute given the states UNLESS it covers things that are federally mandated but which are NOT powers given the federal government in the Constitution.

Not sure where those items on your list would go...in particular gay marriage and abortion as these are not federally mandated

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 10:18

Given that slaves were considered property at the time... and that the slave owner had made a legal, though detestable, investment... should not the owner of the property be renumerated for his loss under eminent domain?

It worked in all the other civilized nations. Whyisit that this solution was not acceptable at the exact time when Lincoln was in a constitutional crisis of maintaining the Union? The fact is, Lincoln had no right to mainatin the union and without slavery he had no moral justification to impose the union on the southern states by force.

The slavery issue was a convienience to his politicial policy. The civil war and reconstruction polarized our society racially for over 100 years and still polarizes our society along urban and rural bounds. It was an abject failure as the objective could have been accomplished within the law at significantly less cost of treasure and life by simply employing eminent domain.

It might not have accomplished Lincoln's greater goal of perserving the union though.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 10:20

Ben,

Perhaps, had it been done under eminent domain. However, it was done by making said property illegal to have. At that point, it would be like owning heroin and it being made illegal at that point...you would have had to take the loss and get rid of the property.

By: gdiafante on 5/12/09 at 10:20

If the United States be not a
government proper, but an association of
States in the nature of contract merely, can
it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less
than all the parties who made it? One party to
a contract may violate it--break it, so to speak-
-but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?

-Abraham Lincoln

By: BenDover on 5/12/09 at 10:23

The point was, Chief, that if there were federal legislation banning gay marriage then state nullification would likely be acceptable to GD... same thing on abortion; if congress had banned abortion and that held up in court then I suspect GD would accept the idea of nullification by the state here as well as Marijuana. Maybe not, I can't speak for him/her... I was just trying to provide some examples.

By: chiefpayne568 on 5/12/09 at 10:23

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.

-Abraham Lincoln

By: brrrrk on 5/12/09 at 10:27

John Wilkes Booth sucks

-Mary Todd Lincoln