Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sacrificial Lambs

Liz Garrigan has a somewhat lengthy and very informative post regarding the conclusion of this week's showdown between the KIPP Academy Charter School and the Metro Nashville school system. The good guys won. Garrigan writes near the end:

At its core, this conflict—headed off at the last minute—illustrates a frustrating reality: that the Metro school administration, and at least a few members of the school board, resent charter schools and only grudgingly approved them in Nashville. There’s a kind of antagonism, rooted in a sort of territorial instinct, that pervades the relationship between public school educators and reform educators.This despite the fact that there is probably no school in Nashville more accomplished at closing the performance gap between black students and white, rich and poor. While a majority of KIPP students entered the school last year, its first, behind, TCAP stores released in August show that 90 percent of KIPP students were proficient or advanced in math, and 87 percent were proficient or advanced in reading.

That one powerful paragraph alone reveals why charter schools and other types of educational choice initiatives should not be regarded as conservative vs. liberal causes. This is not a debate between right and left wingers. It is a debate between those advocating for educational opportunities for children and the myopic, turf protecting educational chieftains who seem willing to slay our children's opportunities on alters dedicated to the golden calf of free and ineffective public education.

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