Jean Claude: My salary is X, my expenses are Y. As long as my family is provided for… …I do not care where the difference comes from. That is my entire involvement.
For NFL fans the name Dexter Manley brings to mind an 11 year career that included two Superbowl championships with the Washington Redskins as one of the most dominant defensive players in the league.
But for me Dexter Manley is the perfect example of what the opposition to Charter Schools in general and question 2 in Massachusetts in particular is all.
You see Dexter Manley had a secret and in 1989 he sat before a congressional hearing and revealed that despite graduating from high school and four years of college at Oklahoma State University, he was functionally illiterate.
It’s an important tale because we know Dexter wasn’t the only athlete to play out his big-time eligibility for a major institute of education as a complete and deliberate lie. It wasn’t that Dexter couldn’t read “Hamlet,” it was that he could barely read “Run, Spot, Run.”
He got out of Oklahoma State with second-grade reading skills. How can that happen?
It happened because it was a question of goals. In both grammar school and high school the goal wasn’t to educate Dexter Manley, it was to advance him through the system so that said system appeared to work.
Once he got to college on a football scholarship the goal for Oklahoma State wasn’t to educate Dexter Manley it was to make sure he was able, under the rules, to play football for the school.
In both those cases stats, not the education of Dexter Manley was the primary goal so Manley was exempt from the basic standard of knowing how to read.
And it’s not only standards of education that are often ignored for the sake of stats, it’s also standards of behavior with consequences that are sometimes fatal:
Trayvon was staying with Green after he had been suspended for the second time in six months from Krop High School in Miami-Dade County, where both his father, Tracy Martin, and mother, Sybrina Fulton, lived.
Both of Trayvon’s suspensions during his junior year at Krop High involved crimes that could have led to his prosecution as a juvenile offender. However, Chief Charles Hurley of the Miami-Dade School Police Department (MDSPD) in 2010 had implemented a policy that reduced the number of criminal reports, manipulating statistics to create the appearance of a reduction in crime within the school system. Less than two weeks before Martin’s death, the school system commended Chief Hurley for “decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011.” What was actually happening was that crimes were not being reported as crimes, but instead treated as disciplinary infractions. . . .
And because of that goal of making stats look better rather than stopping criminal behavor Trayvon Martin found himself 200 miles away from home where he would meet a fellow named Zimmerman and his destiny.
And that brings us to Charter Schools as described by Thomas Sowell described them thus:
One of the few bright spots for black children in American ghettos have been some charter schools that have educated these children to levels equal to, and in some cases better than, those in affluent suburbs.
You see the primary goal is the education of the student and if that is the goal rather than simply advancing students your standards are higher and those higher standards both in terms of academic performance and behavior lead to better performance, which is why charter schools invariably produce long waiting lists of students whose parents wish to send their children there. It also provides a safer environment. It’s no coincidence that one critic of charter schools in Philadelphia that I interviewed commented that parents still prefer them because of an environment and discipline that made those inner city schools safe.
It’s also why the teachers unions are spending a fortune in order to stop them:
teachers unions are responsible for almost all the money donated to the anti-charter group Save Our Public Schools. The Massachusetts Teachers Association contributed $4.6 million in 2016, followed by the National Education Association with $1.9 million.
And those contributions are all about a goal that has very little to do with the education of students Thomas Sowell again:
That is a de facto declaration of moral bankruptcy in both cases, just as in the case of the Ivy League chemistry professor. In all three cases, it is a question of promoting one’s own special interests, while offering “favors” to blacks.
The Democrats’ special interest is in serving the teachers’ unions, which oppose charter schools and support Democrats financially. The NAACP’s special interest is in serving the same donors — and in keeping ghetto schools controlled by racial activists, as part of their turf.
It’s all about goals, and if your goal is about the education and development of students then charter schools and question 2 are for you.
Closing thought: How much additional motivation to perform do you think is generated for charter schools by the millions of dollars and the intense scrutiny that their opponents give them?