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June 1, 2009

Charter Schools Reject Moonbattery, Overcome Achievement Gap

No wonder liberals hate charter schools so much:

Reporting from Oakland — Not many schools in California recruit teachers with language like this: "We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. … Multicultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply."
That, it turns out, is just the beginning of the ways in which American Indian Public Charter and its two sibling schools spit in the eye of mainstream education. These small, no-frills, independent public schools in the hardscrabble flats of Oakland sometimes seem like creations of television's "Colbert Report." They mock liberal orthodoxy with such zeal that it can seem like a parody.
School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded "self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort," to quote the school's website.
Students, almost all poor, wear uniforms and are subject to disciplinary procedures redolent of military school. One local school district official was horrified to learn that a girl was forced to clean the boys' restroom as punishment.
Conservatives, including columnist George Will, adore the American Indian schools, which they see as models of a "new paternalism" that could close the gap between the haves and have-nots in American education. Not surprisingly, many Bay Area liberals have a hard time embracing an educational philosophy that proudly proclaims that it "does not preach or subscribe to the demagoguery of tolerance."

The results of applying countermoonbattery to education are as you might expect:

It would be easy to dismiss American Indian as one of the nuttier offshoots of the fast-growing charter school movement, which allows schools to receive public funding but operate outside of day-to-day district oversight. But the schools command attention for one very simple reason: By standard measures, they are among the very best in California.
The Academic Performance Index, the central measuring tool for California schools, rates schools on a scale from zero to 1,000, based on standardized test scores. The state target is an API of 800. The statewide average for middle and high schools is below 750. For schools with mostly low-income students, it is around 650.
The oldest of the American Indian schools, the middle school known simply as American Indian Public Charter School, has an API of 967. Its two siblings — American Indian Public Charter School II (also a middle school) and American Indian Public High School — are not far behind.
Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serves mostly underprivileged children.
At American Indian, the largest ethnic group is Asian, followed by Latinos and African Americans. Some of the schools' critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the test scores, but blacks and Latinos do roughly as well — in fact, better on some tests.
That makes American Indian a rarity in American education, defying the axiom that poor black and Latino children will lag behind others in school.

Our rulers won't let this go on for long. If freeing education from moonbattery closes the ethnic achievement gap, the left's divide-and-conquer strategy — responsible for the media's endless obsession with race — will fall on its face.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ, on a tip from V the K.

Posted by Van Helsing at June 1, 2009 7:29 AM

Comments

A couple of hunches:

1. If they have sports teams, I'll bet they are pretty good. Excellence in either academics or sports is usually a matter of talent; excellence in both is a matter of will and commitment.

2. I'll also bet that the waiting list to get into this school is rather lengthy, especially for black students. Though black women tend to vote liberal, when it comes to raising their own kids, they have very conservative values, and their kids' teachers will have no greater ally.

3. Sadly, at some point, this school will run into accreditation issues at either the local or state level. For some reason, the most active "educators" in the education bureaucracy are almost unanimously "progressive", and this type of school will be a pimple on the butt of their utopia.

Posted by: GeronimoRumplestiltskin at June 1, 2009 8:43 AM

I'm sending these schools a $ donation. After all, I'm not getting any ROI on my tax dollars, locally, on education.

I quized the bull dyke teacher I know on this issue, and of course, she is a Teacher's Union sound bite kind of dyke, and she says they are cheating on the numbers. Go figure.

Posted by: Oaio at June 1, 2009 9:43 AM

Some of the schools' critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the test scores, but blacks and Latinos do roughly as well — in fact, better on some tests.

Jeez, and they call conservatives racist! Can you imagine if a conservative suggested that black and Latino students were incapable of performing as well as some other ethnic group? Oprah would devote an entire week to exposing the cretin who dared to suggest such a thing, while destroying as much of his life as possible in the process. But it's OK when the left subscribes to stereotypes, because only conservative whites are capable of racism.

Geronimo is right, this won't continue unchallenged. The education establishment hates it when someone outside their control succeeds; it calls their doctrine into question. I applaud the schools for their approach, success, and willingness to ignore the establishment and do things their own way. I hope they can continue their mission, but I'm not confident they will be allowed to for long.

Posted by: CoderInCrisis at June 1, 2009 10:03 AM

Where do I sign my kids up?!

Posted by: Annie at June 1, 2009 1:33 PM

Now we know where our future leaders are coming from.

Posted by: KHarn at June 1, 2009 2:22 PM

There are other means of squashing this school and its potential future imitators: zoning. Public schools don't have to conform to zoning regulations, while private schools do. In many cities zoning regulations are such that it is essentially impossible to build or lease a new private school. Even in cities where it is technically possible, guess who often sits on local zoning boards? School district trustees. Do you think they're going to approve their competition?

Posted by: Bob Smith at June 1, 2009 8:46 PM

2. I'll also bet that the waiting list to get into this school is rather lengthy, especially for black students. Though black women tend to vote liberal, when it comes to raising their own kids, they have very conservative values, and their kids' teachers will have no greater ally.

Posted by: GeronimoRumplestiltskin at June 1, 2009 8:43 AM

One black woman pulled her son out of the school, after they disciplined him for truancy.

She'd kept him at home to watch the Obama inauguration.

Posted by: mandible claw at June 1, 2009 11:19 PM

NO MORE OBE,NO MORE BILIGIUALISM,NO MORE REVIONIST HISTORY NO MORE NEA

Posted by: SPURWING PLOVER at June 2, 2009 8:21 AM

Mandible Claw:

Well, I guess I deserved that: when one speaks in generalities, he invites contradiction by an exception.

I guess I should have said "most black women"....

Posted by: GeronimoRumplestiltskin at June 2, 2009 8:42 AM

Mandible claw, I have googled around and been unable to find a source for that. Help please.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at June 2, 2009 1:47 PM

Mandible claw, - I can't find this either. Can you quote your source, thanks.
Geronomio -"Well, I guess I deserved that: when one speaks in generalities, he invites contradiction by an exception." Nicely put, and does you credit.

Posted by: Jim at June 2, 2009 2:05 PM