"Dysfunctional communities" is a pretty broad and insulting term, but it does speak to a point. Good schools are good for one reason only - they are populated by families who place a high value on education - not just in the abstract, but who will make the commitment of time, energy, and, frankly, money that a family must make to a school, and the intangible trust in the long-term benefits of education. It's not the curriculum, teachers, or administrators. It's the parents. Unfortunately, though nearly everybody would say that "education is important," our poorer communities are primarily filled with people for whom school represents failure, mostly people without high school or college degrees, and who, as a result, maintain a negative or even adversarial relationship with schools, educators, and administrators. Yes, successfull schools are all about community. The trick, for Mr. Spezio's compelling idea to work, would be to somehow defeat a powerful cultural paradigm. As a first step, I would recommend that the next plea / article be written with far less pseudo-esoteric edu-babble grad school jargon. I speak the language, but most people don't, and will not warm to it, if they read it at all.
Is this the City newspaper I grew up with?!? What insipid parroting of anti-public school propaganda, and a facile understanding of a complex issue, to boot. Two easy points: when public funds go to charter schools, they become public schools, just with a self-selected group and, at first, some autonomy. Of course, when you start to attach public funding to these schools, the autonomy, which is a main reason some charter schools succeed, goes out the window, as the custodians of said funds will demand oversight. Second easy point is that when you have a population of students with parents who place such a high value on education that they are willing and able to fight for a place in one of these schools, of COURSE you will have improved test scores (which this article conspicuously avoids mentioning) and orderly behavior (which this article disturbingly focuses on. What nice, clean, uniformed "urban" children. That makes us feel better.). And who benefits from the system the way it is? Is it those laaaazy, greedy teachers again, whining about exposed asbestos and moldy ceiling tiles in their computer-less classrooms? Really shameful article, both from a content perspective, and as an example of lazy journalism.
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