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Fight Against Charter Schools Moves to the Suburbs

2009 CREDO Report Stanford University - http://sacdac.org/Paradox.aspx

Charter School advocates have expanded their desire to “corporatize” and privatize education to the suburbs, even pursuing establishing specialized Charter Schools in well to do areas with excellent school systems. Unlike in poor areas where parents have little political clout – suburban residents are pushing back hard against what they see as a drain upon the resources of their school systems, and a ripoff of their tax dollars.

Charter School Battle Shifts to Affluent Suburbs

MILLBURN, N.J. — Matthew Stewart believes there is a place forcharter schools. Just not in his schoolyard.

Mr. Stewart, a stay-at-home father of three boys, moved to this wealthy township, about 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan, three years ago, filling his life with class activities and soccer practices. But in recent months, he has traded play dates for protests, enlisting more than 200 families in a campaign to block two Mandarin-immersion charter schools from opening in the area.

The group, Millburn Parents Against Charter Schools, argues that the schools would siphon money from its children’s education for unnecessarily specialized programs. The schools, to be based in nearby Maplewood and Livingston, would draw students and resources from Millburn and other area districts.

“I’m in favor of a quality education for everyone,” Mr. Stewart said. “In suburban areas like Millburn, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the local school district is not doing its job. So what’s the rationale for a charter school?”

Suburbs like Millburn, renowned for educational excellence, have become hotbeds in the nation’s charter school battles, raising fundamental questions about the goals of a movement that began 20 years ago in Minnesota.

Charter schools, which are publicly financed but independently operated, have mostly been promoted as a way to give poor children an alternative to underperforming urban schools — to provide options akin to what those who can afford them have in the suburbs or in private schools.

Now, educators and entrepreneurs are trying to bring the same principles of choice to places where schools generally succeed, typically by creating programs, called “boutique charters” by detractors like Mr. Stewart, with intensive instruction in a particular area.

In Montgomery County, Md., north of Washington, the school board is moving toward its first charter, a Montessori elementary school, after initially rejecting it and two others with global and environmental themes because, as one official said, “we have a very high bar in terms of performance.”

Imagine Schools, a large charter school operator, has held meetings in Loudoun County, Va., west of Washington, to gauge parental interest in charters marketed partly as an alternative to overcrowded schools.

In Illinois, where 103 of the current 116 charter schools are in Chicago, an Evanston school board committee is considering opening the district’s first charter school.

More than half of Americans live in suburbs, and about 1 in 5 of the 4,951 existing charter schools were located there in 2010, federal statistics show. Advocates say many proposed suburban charters have struggled because of a double standard that suggests charters are fine for poor urban areas, but are not needed in well-off neighborhoods.

“I think it has to do with comfort level and assumptions based on real estate and not reality,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, which studies and supports charter schools. “The houses are nice, people have money, and therefore the schools must be good.”…

The bigger problem, at least to my mind, is that despite a few exceptionally performing Charter Schools – the vast majority perform no better, and often worse than the schools they supposedly were designed to replace. Indeed, when comparing “Apples to Apples”, elite and selective public Schools versus Charters… It’s no contest. And while the concept of “special purpose” Charter Schools with specialized curriculum, WTF are we doing this when school districts across the country are cutting basic programs and laying off teachers because of the economic disaster the conservatives made of America?

 

 

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That Post-Racial America

The demographics of the United States are changing rapidly, making a number of assumptions and stereotypes utterly wrong.  Among them –

You will never see this on Faux news but – More poor now live in the suburbs than in urban environments.

Low-density suburbs

 

The United States is no longer the “Land of Opportunity” – economic upward mobility between generations is lower in the United States than in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Finland, and France. British kids born to fathers in the bottom fifth of U.K. national earnings have less than a 30 percent chance of ending up in that earning group themselves, while U.S. kids have more than a 40 percent likelihood of remaining stuck at the bottom.

Worse – By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.

However – in this here “post racial” America, where we are in vast majority doing worse than our parents…

Segregation Drops to Lowest Level in a Century

America’s neighborhoods became more integrated last year than during any time in at least a century as a rising black middle class moved into fast-growing white areas in the South and West.

Still, ethnic segregation in many parts of the U.S. persisted, particularly for Hispanics.

Segregation among blacks and whites fell in roughly three-quarters of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas as the two racial groups spread more evenly between inner cities and suburbs, according to recent census data.

The findings are expected to be reinforced with fresh census data being released Tuesday on race, migration and economics. The new information is among the Census Bureau’s most detailed releases yet for neighborhoods.

“It’s taken a Civil Rights movement and several generations to yield noticeable segregation declines for blacks,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who reviewed the census data. “But the still-high levels of black segregation in some areas, coupled with uneven clustering patterns for Hispanics, suggest that the idea of a post-racial America has a way to go.”

The race trends also hint at the upcoming political and legal wrangling over the 2010 census figures, to be published in the spring. The data will be used to reallocate congressional districts, drawing new political boundaries. New Hispanic-dominated districts could emerge, particularly for elected positions at the state and local level. States are required under the Voting Rights Act to respect the interests of minority voting blocs, which tend to support Democratic candidates.

Milwaukee, Detroit and Syracuse, N.Y., were among the most segregated, all part of areas in the Northeast and Midwest known by some demographers as the “ghetto belt.” On the other end of the scale, cities that were least likely to be segregated included Fort Myers, Fla., Honolulu, Atlanta and Miami…

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Poverty in America Moves to the ‘Burbs

That stereotype of poverty being solely an inner city phenomenum just blew up – if it ever was really true at all. Seems there more “po'” folks in the ‘burbs than ever before. Indeed, there is now more poverty in the ‘burbs, than in urban areas.

What this means for the country is another harbinger of a disaster, brought on by disastrous legislative and economic policies. The modern poor include a lot of folks who pushed all the right buttons, and jumped all the right hurdles in life – working hard, getting an education…

Who are now jobless, and increasingly homeless.

A Modern Ghost Town

Poverty surging in U.S. suburbs

Poverty is rising all over the United States, but it is especially pronounced in the suburbs, which were once regarded as a haven from the ills of the inner cities.

According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, one-third of the nation’s poor now reside in the suburbs.

CAP explained that the last decade set in motion this shift in the map of poverty, but the recession exacerbated key economic trends that rapidly increased the growth rate of suburban poverty to more than double that of central cities.

According to data from the Brookings Institute, as of 2009, 13.7-million poor people lived in the suburbs, a 37 percent increase since 2000 (compared with a 26.5 percent growth for the nation as a whole). In fact, it is now estimated that the number of poor people living in suburbia exceeds the number in the inner cities by about 1.6-million.

For example, poverty in the suburbs surrounding Chicago has climbed by 50 percent between 2000 and 2009 (while, ironically, the city’s poverty rate actually declined by 0.9 percent). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2010 in News

 

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