That's what happened tonight at the Community Arts Building on Wayne State University's campus. The event was sponsored by the Michigan Chronicle and WDET 101.9 FM. The event was moderated by Bankole Thompson, Senior Editor of the Michigan Chronicle.
While the energy in the room was strong there was BAMN disrupting the show.
Of course, when I walked up on campus I saw this.
A bunch of children protesting against charter schools from BAMN. Now this group calls itself the new civil rights movement.
What they do not realize is that we have moved away from civil rights. We are now pushing for silver rights.
They claim they defend public education, yet, they are not pushing for real educational reform all across the board. Look how they say "no charterization/privatization of public schools." The legal definition of charter schools is this:
Public schools that are accountable for student results. They are designed to deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and the needs of the communities they serve. In Michigan, they are called public school academies.
Did I say PRIVATE school academies? So this blows their argument out the water.
The first charter school opened its doors in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1992 and now, a decade and a half later, nearly 4,600 schools are serving over 1.4 million children across 40 states and the District of Columbia.
BAMN also claims that charter schools perform lower than Detroit Public Schools. Maybe they did not read the Michigan Department of Education's report on charter schools that you can find on the MAPSA website at charterschools.org
- 131 public charter schools, or 57% of all charter schools, earned individual grade/subject test scores exceeding the statewide average for all public school students. At the same time, 57 public charter schools outperformed statewide proficiency averages on a majority of their MEAP tests.
- 52 public charter schools have been recognized as "Beating the Odds" by MDE for achieving over 60% proficiency in Math and ELA while having at least 60% of their students eligible for free or reduced priced lunch. This compares to 42 schools earning this recognition in 2007.
- The performance advantage for charter students when compared to those in similar traditional districts* widens at nearly every grade level, supporting the assertion that length of time in a charter environment contributes to improved academic performance.
- Overall, 73.0% of charter students in were ranked proficient in Math, compared to 68.6% proficiency for students in similar traditional school districts.
- Overall, 69.3% of charter students in were ranked proficient in ELA, compared to 64.5% proficiency for students in similar traditional school districts.
In Detroit, when comparing the 40 charter schools to the local district:
- 67.0% of charter students were proficient in Math, compared to 58.9% proficiency for DPS students, a 13.8% advantage.
- 63.5% of charter students were proficient in ELA, compared to 55.9% proficiency for DPS students, a 13.6% advantage.
I find it interesting to see how BAMN protests against charter schools, even though they are doing better than DPS, but will not protest Inkster Public Schools? 80% of the Inkster Public Schools are Detroit students. The doors are also open in Ferndale, Oak Park, Roseville, Fitzgerald, Wood Tower, Van Dyke, Warren Consolidated and Mt. Clemens. These are traditional school districts that are taking students from Detroit and these districts cash in on the money per pupil.
Here is something more important that most people missed.
When Senate Bill 1107 (Appropriations: 2008-2009 school aid budget ) was passed and signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm there is a provision that no BAMN or anti-educational choice individual has seen. Read below.
Sec. 6(11). District of the First Class - REVISED
House adds a definition of a District of the First as a district with the most pupils in membership in the immediately preceding fiscal year. Currently the act refers to the definition in the Revised School Code which defines it as a district with membership over 100,000.
Conference adds a definition of a District of the First Class as a district with a membership greater than 60,000 in the immediately preceding fiscal year for the purposes of the School Aid Act except for in section 6(6) which still refers to the definition in the Revised School Code. (Section 6(6) prohibits another school district from enrolling pupils from a first class district at an instructional site inside the boundaries of a first class school district without the approval of the first class district.)
The general manager of WDET 101.9 FM introducing Robert Bobb and Bankole Thompson.
The discussion is underway. I thought Mr. Bobb did a great job in discussing the future of DPS. He reminds me of Chancellor Michelle Rhee of the Washington D.C. Public Schools. She is working hard to help transform that district.
The crowd is listening to both men speak.
I think we should give Mr. Bobb a chance to do his job as the Emergency Financial Manager. He did a good job tonight. There are some things he might want to reconsider like closing J.R. King. However, I did not understand the crew of Cleveland Middle School coming up. While I always appreciate activism for the right cause Mr. Bobb stated how the school was closing due to AYP. The principal of Cleveland Middle School, Ms. Donna Thornton, said the school passed AYP. Well here are the facts.
Cleveland Middle School, which is a 7-12 grade school, did not make AYP. You can see that for yourself here.
Their reading scores are only 48.8% and Math scores are 32.3%. That can be found here at http://www.schooldatadirect.org/app/search/q/stype=SM/stid=23/llid=118/locname=cleveland/ctyname=DETROIT/zip=/dst=/adv=false/page=/site=pes
Students and staff from Westside Academy also showed up but I do not know why because according to this site they have NOT made AYP either.
So these people are fighting the WRONG fight with the WRONG spirit. The smartest thing to do is to flip those failing schools into charter schools.
The only school on the closure list that should remain open is the John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy. So I disagree with Mr. Bobb there.
But we should allow this man to do his job in peace. I hope he keeps up the good work.