Monday, May 14, 2007

The Fight For More Charters Is Now by Akindele Akinyemi


As Mayor Kilpatrick here in Detroit is beginning to move on 25 charter high schools in Michigan I would like to begin this discussion on some serious organizing on our part.

I have said many times that Educational choice is our fight as Urban Conservatives. The teacher unions have done a wonderful job in lying about charter schools in our area. We should be asking parents, why would you continue to send your child to a failing public school where you cannot meet with the teachers, the principals are never available and you have to cut through so much red tape that it is not funny. We are already stressed out by being Black, now we have to be stressed out due to politics in our children's lives?

The New Civil Rights Movement is not based on Affirmative Action. It is based on silver rights through educational choice that equals to economic power. We should not be in the business of supporting failed public schools that are controlled by the unions. Instead, we should be pushing ahead for educational entrepreneurship through new means of free market education.

There are obstacles in our way. We must begin to breakdown the teacher unions and their Godless ways of greed and power in the schools.

In response to public criticism of teachers the unions repeatedly assure everyone that the teaching staff is not only excellent but is virtually universally so. It's rare for the unions to concede that even individual teachers charged with serious offenses might be anything less than first rate, especially those that are union members.

Let's now consider union positions when negotiating teacher salaries. Aside from claims for the necessity of salary increases to match inflation, to compete with other school districts, or whatever, the unions argue that significant increases are necessary to—you guessed it—increase the quality of the staff.

First, if it happens at all, higher salaries will take decades to improve the quality of the teaching staff. Most of this year's teachers will still be here next year, and the year after, etc. It will be many years before a majority have left and can be replaced, and it may be 35 years or more before all of them have moved on or retired.

Second, on a larger more general scale, finds the unions joining other defenders of the public school system in insisting on the high quality of the system overall, despite more than ample evidence to the contrary. But, for the sake of argument, let's assume their views are correct. At the same time this viewpoint is put forth, there is the constant drumbeat from their quarters on the ever-constant need for large increases in funding in order for the system to be able to adequately perform its purpose. Either the system is doing an excellent job, as argued, without the need for ever greater resources, or it needs those increased resources because it is currently unable to achieve its goals. They can't have it both ways.

Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio calls educational choice "undemocratic". What is undemocratic is keeping our children trapped in failing public schools. Yet, those who oppose educational choice never, ever have a clue on how to "fix" the public schools. That is because they were never designed to be fixed.

Here in Detroit, if I was a State Representative and I was trying to figure out how to re-populate Detroit I would say educational choice. I can clearly remember last year when State Sen Irma Clark-Coleman said that she would fight against charter schools and educational choice. Yet, her own daughter went to Lutheran High School. So if her own child is given options then why would she keep other children in her district in failing schools? In charter schools you do not have to pay to go to school. In Lutheran Schools you have to pay.

By the way had you voted for Alison Vaughn in that race she would have supported educational choices.

As the fight to get off the sinking ship (Detroit Public Schools) becomes heated let's tell those teacher unions to stop blowing smoke up our asses and allow free market education to flourish in Detroit.

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