Sunday, May 09, 2010

Open Letter to UOPX's Dr. Wilen-Daugenti regarding her Q&A with Steve Barr

"It's like me saying, 'Duffy's a pig fucker.' Have I seen him fuck a pig? Do I have photos?" — Steve Barr (Founder and (former) Chairman, Green Dot)

Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, PhD:

While I'm sure many in the DFER/DLC orbit will enjoy your corporate press release [1] in the guise of an interview, you might do well looking at Mr. Barr's project with a little more scrutiny.

First off, you might want to ask Barr about the Green Dot Board's arbitrary decision to shutter Ánimo Justice Charter HS because its ELL and Special Education students were effecting Green Dot's "bottom line." Of course, it's this type of capricious choice to deliberately avoid teaching certain segments of the population that allows businessman Barr to gush about "charter schools are able to take less money and do more with it."

Here are some places where you can read about the corporate CMOs cruel decision to toss their own students and community to the side. Is this what Barr means by treating parents like "clients?" 

Taking on a charter school closing

South Central protests school closures

Two South LA High Schools Combine Efforts As They Fight To Save Themselves

Second, you might want to look at Part V-A of Green Dot Public Schools' 990 Forms to discover some of Mr. Barr's additional motivations for what they term "education reform."

Finally, you might want to investigate the now legendary remediation rates resulting from Green Dot's lauded college placement. A modicum of research on the CSU databases will turn up some of the most abysmal proficiency rates around. Rates so bad — they make LAUSD look positively stellar in comparison.

While all Green Dot's campuses exhibit this "phenomenon," let's look at Animo Venice Charter High School. Of the Green Dot students admitted to the CSU system in 2008 67% WERE NOT PROFICIENT IN MATHEMATICS. This is compared to just 49% of the much maligned LAUSD students. Moreover, only 33% of the children graduating Green Dot were proficient, while children attending public schools comprised a much more respectable 51%.

Social justice activists have done some research and found that for the CSU, all a student has to do is average a C in high school for admittance. This is how Green Dot is able to boast about amazing college placement rates, while posting miserable SAT and proficiency. This is what LAUSD Vice President Yolie Flores terms a "high performing charter."

Of course this is the same type of smoke and mirrors that the celebrated Diane Ravitch exposes in her her watershed new book "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education."

All in all, Green Dot's obsession for teaching to the test over a rounded curriculum also speaks volumes to their real "tenets" which comprise sacrificing good pedagogy in the name of increasing market share.

A much more balanced assessment of Mr. Barr and his organization appears here in Susan Ohanian's work: The Instigator: New Yorker Profile of Charter School Chief Steve Barr is Propaganda, not Reporting

With a sincere hope that the real truth about CMO/EMOs will begin to enlighten public discourse.

Robert D. Skeels



1 comment:

Leonard Isenberg said...

While those in favor of charters and those against malign each other Ramon Cortines continues his 50 year career in dismantling public education at LAUSD (twice), San Franciso, Pasadena, NYC, and San Jose with no consequences. I have recently started to question whether or not he even knows what is going on or whether he is hostage to an LAUSD bureaucracy that will sacrifice teachers and students to maintain their own privileges. Steve Barr like the teachers are not responsible for failed public education in L.A., they are just a symptom that will disappear with the LAUSD infection is finally no longer allowed to fester without question. Charters only exist because districts like LAUSD continue not to do their job with impunity. Why does every "educational reform" leave LAUSD and corrupt public school districts like it throughout this country intact no matter how incompetent or fraudulent they are? At we will not rest until a system of independent checks and balances are put in place within public education. If you read Diane Ravitch's book or that of Charles Kerchner, entities like LAUSD have been incompetent for over 50 years with no consequences. Ironically, they came into existence at the beginning of the 20th century to deal with the corruption of small charter-like schools that existed in NYC (1905) and in L.A. (1903). People who do not know their history are doomed to live it again.