Posted by novometro on February 17, 2009
The mistrust with which the extreme poles of the charter school debate regard one another has little do with reality. Corporations are not starting charter schools to enslave a population of poor black and brown youth while simultaneously opening a new revenue stream. Tenured teachers in traditional public schools aren’t defending business as usual just so they can keep showing movies in English class.
Broadcasting these extreme positions does nothing to improve the quality of teaching in Oakland, so don’t expect an upcoming smackdown between two local education ideologues to be particularly illuminating. It will, however, be entertaining as hell.
Next week, mild-mannered and always-amiable school board member Chris Dobbins is moderating a “debate” titled “Charter Schools: A Step Forward or Backward for Public Education.” Below is the press release with all the details.
A debate between opponents and advocates of charter schools is scheduled to take place Thursday, February 26th, at 5:00 PM in the OUSD Administration Building, Hunter Hall. In Oakland, and nationally, the growth of charter schools has been one of the most hotly contested changes in the educational system over the past ten years.
Arguing that charter schools are part of a new Jim Crow system of education that forces an increasing number of black and Latino students into separate, inferior schools will be Shanta Driver and Yvette Felarca, representatives of the civil rights group Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
Arguing that charter schools provide students with an education to enhance their academic skills in order to compete and be productive members of society will be Ben Chavis, founder of the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, and Janet Roberts, current Principal of the American Indian Charter School.
Oakland Unified School Board Director Chris Dobbins will be moderating the event. Hunter Hall is located at 1025 2nd Avenue, near Laney College. The public is invited to attend and will have ample opportunities to pose questions to the speakers in what is sure to be a hotly contested debate.