This morning in MADISON.COM the headline was
Gary Bennett, new ‘charter czar,’ pledges collaboration with district, downplays competition.
Gary Bennett wants to assure you he’s not out to destroy the Madison School District.
The former legislative staffer leads the new Office of Educational Opportunity at the University of Wisconsin System. That makes him the unofficial “charter czar,” the guy who now has the ability to bypass local school boards and authorize independent charter schools in Madison and Milwaukee….
Everything in this story misses the obvious point.
There is no need for an “independent” charter authorizer (Charter Czar) for any public school district. There isn’t a shred of credible evidence that creating undemocratic charters does anything other than continue the march towards a fully private system of public education.
The fact is this. Bennett—by accepting this job—believes that reformers like him know better than the communities schools serve how to address issues confounding schools that serve our neediest children.
There is nothing a 33 year old TFA alum can do that is beneficial for public schools that are constantly inequitably funded and robbed of the culturally relevant curriculum and culturally sensitive ethos that is key to helping. $93,000.00 for a 33 year political appointee is absolutely offensive.
The key to helping schools already exists for free. Talk to the teachers in the schools and simply ask them what they need. Then use the RESEARCH that already exists that calls for the equitable distribution of resources, forming “community schools,” and implementing a transformative culturally relevant curriculum.
This is not about competition or collaboration.
This is about publicly funded privatization.
Isn’t it time for community liberation?