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May 24, 2010

The Progressive War against Charter Schools

Posted by The MaryHunter at May 24, 2010 4:45 PM

The Lottery, a documentary directed by Madeline Sackler, follows four families through the anxieties of trying to enter charter school system in New York City. It also reveals the vicious attack against the national charter school movement by teachers unions and progressive activists. This interview with the director opens with the movie trailer, explains the director's idea for the film, and includes a segment from the film that reveals the chilling effort by unions and other guardians of the status quo, who reject the principle of education reform -- even if it means that more of our nation's most vulnerable inner-city children will suffer.

The film was screened recently at the Tribeca Film Festival and a panel discussion followed, lead by the film's director, the New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, CEO of Success Charter Network Eva Moskowitz, and one of the parents from the movie.

Most of the questions and comments were positive towards charter schools, but some dissented. While charter school advocates claim all parents they have ever met want their children to have a good education, others believe that charter schools self-select since parents must enter their children in a lottery to attend--an extra step apathetic parents might not attempt.
Two people came up to the microphone, talking about how they cried the whole way through the film. For many, it was the moment where a parent said "No one ever told me I could be an astronaut" that broke them down. Another, interviewed from prison, referred to Harlem Success Academy's goal that every one of their students becomes a college graduate. "No one ever told me I could be a college graduate," the inmate said, tears welling up in his eyes. These powerful moments helped focus the attention on the children. Politics aside (and this issue is ALL about politics), people want to see children educated and told that they can be successful college graduates. The method does not seem to matter as much as the results.

The fact that all inner-city schools are not of "charter school" quality is a pathetic reflection on our nation's public schools, destroyed by years of liberal mismanagement and teachers-union protectionism. One would think that the results for the children were the important thing for everyone, but those who protest charter schools often have no direct interest in those children per se: teacher's union zombies who see largely non-union charter schools as a threat; and professional Alinskyite agitators (read: ACORN) who have nothing to do with the children or the neighborhood in question. They simply care about the means, not the end. Ergo: if all children cannot benefit from the same excellent education, then none should be lucky enough to have even the hope of one.