Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roemer sneers at public schools as "jobs program"

The ever-petulant Chas Roemer made it clear on Friday that his support of charter schools is borne of disdain for public schools, public school teachers and the unions they choose to represent them.

How else to characterize his comment in this article by Advocate reporter Will Sentell: “Charter schools are now a threat to a jobs program called public education.”

Know what? Charter schools are also jobs programs, because they hire people to work in them. So are hospitals, law offices, universities and every other place where people go to work.

The problem, as LFT President Steve Monaghan explains in the article, is that Roemer doesn't seem to get the fact that, as employees, teachers ought to have certain rights. Among them are decent salaries, health insurance, retirement benefits and the protection of due process.

“If Mr. Roemer’s idea is to lower the wages for educators, to deprive them of benefits, then we are definitely going to oppose those kinds of initiatives," says Monaghan.

For ideologues such as Roemer, the issue has gone far beyond the establishment of charters as components of a healthy public education system. As reported by Sentell, "(Roemer) said the battle boils down to 'a system that does not work and those who want to protect it,' a reference to traditional public schools."

But as any number of serious studies demonstrate, there is simply no evidence that charter schools do a better job of educating our children than well-run, properly resourced public schools.

Judging from comments by Roemer and others at the charter school conference covered by Sentell, it is apparent that some charter school supporters are determined to create a backdoor, privatized education system. They have a blind faith that what they want is better than what we have, but there is precious little evidence to back them up.

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