Thursday, May 13, 2010

Charter School Teacher Beats Up Child- Importance of Not Using Anecdotes to Reach Big Conclusions

Let's see if the creators of the anti-union, anti-public school movies "The Cartel" and "Waiting for Superman" decide to use this recent clip of a charter school teacher physically cornering and beating up a child in their next movie. The charter school teacher in this clip is not part of a teachers union. Moreover--- there were four or five other charter school teachers in the room while this was going on who just watched. The teacher was fired only after this video went viral and was reported on the local television network.

To be very clear--- the intent of this post is not necessarily to be negative concerning charter schools or the people involved in these institutions. I was on the Advisory Board of the first University sponsored charter school in the country and have been an advocate for a number of other charter initiatives. Rather, the video points out the problems associated when selective pieces of information are strung together to form an argument or a rationale. Of course the teacher was wrong but do we hold all charter schools accountable? In the same manner, demonizing collective bargaining or taking a sophomoric stance towards public education does not help the current dialogue. Education and education policy are complex concepts and attempts to disguise the complexity with "gotcha" techniques should be viewed from a critical perspective in my opinion.

PICTURE: St. Ann's School Yard, Hoboken, NJ (Spring, 1975)
L-R: Brian Riley, David Toscano, John Raslowsky, Benjamin Williams, Anthony Petrosino, Fred Stankiwitz, Mario Ferrara

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