Humpty Dumpty and “Public” Charter Schools

Some people in Oakland don’t like charter schools, most of them seem to live in the Hills, and have good neighborhood choices. Meanwhile many Flatlands families are voting with their feet, choosing public charter schools.  Lost in this debate is the fact the families at charters are more likely to be low income, people of…


Bad Apples in Charter Admissions and What We Can Do

Some time ago, at a charter school near you, I went to enroll a foster child, let’s call her ”Keasha.”  She needed a good school; that was smaller and more personalized.  Brushing aside my lack of legal authority, we asked the receptionist for an application. She explained that the school may not have any spots,…


The Rhetorical War on Public Schools from the Left and Right

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell Words matter.  What we call something affects public support for it. Is a medical meeting, “end of life counseling” or a “death panel”, the descriptions matter   So it’s not a coincidence,…


When Good Intentions Go Bad, Opportunity Hoarders and Equity in Oakland

Existing rules and the dynamics of choice tend to increase inequality.  There don’t need to be any bad actors.  As parents we all do try to do the best we can for our children.  But that pattern of choices, and neighborhood assignment, tend to reinforce and increase the distance between children of advantage and those…


Choosers, Losers, Abusers and “Opportunity Hoarding” in Oakland

School choice can divide us into winners and losers.  In fact it already has.  I am talking about charters. But not just charters, also those lucky enough to be able to choose where they live, with corresponding quality neighborhood schools, or have the resources to hustle their kid into an-out-of neighborhood or private option, the…