As is typical of those who oppose school choice, Miller’s piece is full of misconceptions and outright falsehoods that distract from the important goal of ensuring that more kids have access to high quality schools. Below, we highlight three of the biggest problems with his piece.
Admissions Requirements: “In fact, once a student is selected, families must agree to a strict contract that cannot be legally required at any public school. It requires that parents support enforcement of a strict uniform and behavior code, check off homework nightly, attend parent conferences and spend a certain number of hours in the school. Those terms prevent many low-income families from participating.”
Miller claims that the parental agreement that students at some charter schools must agree to constitutes an admissions requirement. However, this could not be further from the truth. Many charter schools recognize that parental involvement is key to student success, and strive to make that happen. This vision is shared by the parents of students who choose to attend these schools, and the requirements are far from onerous. What is not mentioned by Miller is that many of the best public schools in MPS—such as Golda Meir or many of the Montessori schools—have strict admissions guidelines that truly close the door on many students. Indeed, what Miller calls the “beauty and necessity” of public schools in being open to all students is not met by these schools.
The list of entry requirements is extremely long. Students must submit their last two years of report card grades, two recommendations, and FOWARD exam scores to even be considered. We don’t necessarily oppose these measures—there can be value in gearing a learning environment to a certain type of student. But it is the height of hypocrisy for Miller to attack the relatively straightforward agreements required in some charters while ignoring that far stricter rules exist at some schools under MPS’s purview.
Meanwhile, 72 miles west, in Madison:
2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results
My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results
Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.