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I’m still confused as to how you can speak out again charter school proliferation and support Tony Thurmond over charter school candidate Marshall Tuck and support a school board candidate Phil Kim, who works for charter school KIPP.
This past spring, I gave public comment at a school board meeting as a part of a coalition of grassroots groups that were opposing a petition that KIPP filed to move into Malcolm X Academy, a public school in the Bayview. All of the teachers and families at Malcolm X were 100% opposed to KIPP moving into their school. There were 5-year-old children begging KIPP not to co-locate (and co-location almost always leads to schools closing) because they love their school and their teachers. I have a first grader, and I can tell you that one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen – are *children* begging an elected group of adults to make sure that their school doesn’t close. 😦
If you live in San Francisco, and you’re not hip to what’s been happening, you should be. Our public schools are under attack.
Co-location means Malcolm X losing some classrooms (like a cool down room where students struggling with anxiety could go to get a break) because of this. Malcolm X’s students outperform KIPP’s students on a number of standardized tests. The entire SFUSD board unanimously denied the petition. KIPP then ran to the state appeal board in Sacramento (which is stacked with charter school boosters) and got approval, riding roughshod over the will of the community.
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but KIPP and many other charter schools are heavily funded by edtech moguls in Silicon Valley. See: Bill Gates, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Why? Well, it’s easier to sell edtech through corporate charter school chains like KIPP than it is through democratically elected schools boards. In fact, Hastings went on record to say that we should do away with democratically elected school boards.
The whole idea of a “niche” market for K-12 public schools really bothers me. That caters to elitist views that some schools are only for certain children. KIPP (and charter schools in general) are notorious for counseling out children with disabilities and the children that are the most challenging (i.e., expensive) to serve. KIPP is notorious for using harsh disciplinary tactics and expel and suspend students – especially our black and Latinx students – at a much higher rate, speeding up the school to prison pipeline. I’ve heard KIPP informally referred to as “Kids in Prison Prep”. We don’t need an elite, “niche” school that creates a system of “”winners” on the backs of children who society labels as “losers.”
You are much more trusting than I am, and you may not realize it, but in including the paragraph you did, you are repeating the propaganda that charter schools repeat again and again while they simultaneously work to shutter and privatize public schools. I appreciate you caring about our public schools, but I think that you need to have your ear to the ground a bit more before you develop your platform. There are 55,000 students in our public schools. Those students deserve wholesome school board members who do not work for charter school chains. As a public school parent, I have a vested interested in this topic, and I feel strongly about this.