Killing Horace Mann – Barnstable this week, Salem up next?

Are we ever going to do something about the thousands of children who are currently stuck in underperforming schools across the Commonwealth? Does anyone remember them?

I do. Got a couple of them in my house right now.

I’ll tell you what else I remember — the broken record from special interest groups like the Massachusetts Teachers Union who told us over and over again that the time was coming to get serious about improving education — and they understood the frustration of parents. But we just can’t expand charter schools because they had better ideas about how we could fix the system for all children. No, really.

“Please! Please! Vote no on the ballot question and we are definitely going to do something to address the massive inequities in our schools! We know it’s been like this for generations and we keep saying we’re going to address it. Just not charter schools. Anything but those! We hear you this time, really! We’ve got ideas, just wait!”

And what do we have to show for it two years later? A whole lot of nothing.

Anyone else remember this line of crap?

“We need to fix all of our schools. Be patient.”

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Yeah right. Patient for what? Patiently wait for our kids to enter the school to prison pipeline?

So what’s the big idea to actually getting this done? Apparently nothing more than the … continued bashing of charter schools and passing yet another unfunded education bill? (Yep, this is the fourth time we’ve had the Senate vote to pass “fully funding the FBRC recommendation” without a plan to fund it.)

Apparently about a month ago, the Massachusetts Teachers Association released their latest “Burn Book” — filled with more crap and nonsense about anyone who dares question their stranglehold on our schools.

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The damn thing is 108 pages of ridiculous drivel and apparently wasn’t that well received because it’s been out for more than a month and I only even heard about the stupid thing last night. (And no I’m not linking to it on purpose.)

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But wait! There’s more!

Now we’re moving beyond Commonwealth Charters — that operate outside of the local school systems — to now attacking in-district charter schools! Oh, you folks thought you were safe because you were in-district? I TOLD YOU!

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You’ll remember last fall, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and their local cronies killed the Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School — against the wishes of their own members at the school as well as massive outcry from students and parents.

The week it was the Barnstable Horace Mann Charter School:

In an unexpected move, the Barnstable School Committee voted this week not to renew the charter for the Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter Public School.

The 4-1 vote Wednesday “will turn it back to the district,” School Committee Chairman Christopher Joyce said. Patrick Murphy cast the lone dissenting vote.

The K-3 school is the only elementary school in the district that accepts students from all of the town’s seven villages.

It has its own nine-member board of trustees and was seeking its third five-year charter renewal.

But why?

“I just feel it’s very difficult to have a school within the district that doesn’t fall within the board’s oversight,” Joyce said.

So let me get this straight — the school improved dramatically, students and parents love the school, but you’re not going to vote to renew the charter because … you are pissy about not being able to control it?

Timea Menyhart, chairwoman of the school’s board of trustees, said parents and students were heartbroken by the School Committee’s decision.

Families are “extremely disappointed,” Menyhart said.

She said the 300-student Horace Mann charter school has experienced great success in creating a nurturing, hands-on learning environment for all ability levels.

The school’s third-graders were tops in the district on the Next-Generation MCAS math testing and came in only two percentage points behind the district’s highest-scoring third-graders at West Villages Elementary School in English language arts.

“Most of these children are coming from high-needs families,” with at least 50 percent of the Horace Mann students being on the free or reduced-price lunch program, Menyhart said.

And that’s really the problem in all of these situations, isn’t it? Who gets the money, power and control.

It’s not about whether the schools work, whether or not children are thriving, it’s all about who gets to “be in control” of what happens in the building.

You see, at a Horace Mann charter school, principals and staff of the school have more control and flexibility over what actually happens in the school compared to a traditional district school. Even though data literally proves that just that kind of autonomy for teachers and administrators alone produces better outcomes for students because leadership at the school is able to better serve the needs of the school community — we just can’t let something like this happen. Because, control.

And speaking of control, it appears the Barnstable School Committee didn’t want parents to have anything to say about the situation, given that the item regarding the Barnstable Horace Mann Charter didn’t even appear on the school committee agenda as an item for consideration until this week.

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(Oh, you wanted to weigh in? So sorry.)

Now we hear next week, they plan to kill the Bentley Academy Charter School.

You’re up, Salem. Bend over and kiss your Horace Mann goodbye!

Here’s the interesting thing. School Committees and teachers unions LOVE to cry and whine about state receivership and charter schools taking away their “power” and “local control.”

The problem is: the reason why the schools are in so much trouble in the first place is usually because of teachers union gone off the rails and a school committee that is completely asleep at the switch. I mean seriously — if the school committee and the teachers were doing such a bang-up job, then why the hell would these schools be in so much trouble in the first place?

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During my years on the radio in covering communities across the Commonwealth, I had a front row seat to this insanity for more than a decade. I got to witness community after community electing well-meaning folks who viewed the school committee as the first step of their political journey to become the next state rep or state senator. It’s almost like a tour of duty you need to endure before you get to that city council seat — or whatever position you REALLY WANT.

Meanwhile, folks are taking stupid votes and are screwing up our school systems to the point where the state has to take over — because the community is on the verge of getting sued for civil rights violations. But as long as it keeps the politically powerful teachers union happy — kids be damned!

And then we’re treated to a lecture on how we’re killing “democracy” by calling on a charter school to come and save the day and get the school back on the right track via Horace Mann. Apparently some will fight to the death for the ability to fail our children — if it means relinquishing the power to play patty cake with the teachers union that keeps them in office.

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Yeah, we see you out here.

So why are they killing Horace Mann charter schools, passing un-funded education bills and writing conspiracy theory manifestos? Because the emperor has no clothes.

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No plan.

No ideas.

Just the same old same old.

While thousands of children are continuing to suffer in underperforming schools.




What do you think?

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