How did this “mysterious calamitous figure” with “undeniable talents and obviously deep seated psychological complexes” rise this far?

Many call him “self possessed clown” and “rabble-rouser” with a “strangely scattershot, impulsive style.”

He is an egomaniac who “only loves himself” – a “narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization” and a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” “His manic speeches and penchant for raised questions about his capacity for self control.” Yet, he has a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations” has helped him gain these great heights.

He is “so thoroughly untruthful” that his words are “a swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths, and real facts.”

He assumes “various masks and “feeding off the energy of his audiences,” “using a “mask of moderation” when he tries to win over members of a more liberal middle class. He adapts “the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower middle class, nationalistic, conservative, ethnic-chauvinistic…listeners.”

He peppers his speeches with “coarse phrases and put downs of hecklers” as he plays to their “fears and resentments and offers himself as the visionary who will “restore law and order” as he leads the nation to a “new era of national greatness” although “typically vague about his actual plans.”

He offers up pictures of a past golden era so as to “better paint the present day in hues that are all the darker.” His “repertoire of topics is limited” and “attracts larger and larger audiences with mantra like phrases consisting largely of accusations, vows of revenge, and promises for the future.”

The nation is also to blame. “Why not give [him] a chance?” Too many dismiss him as “fascinating evening entertainment” even though he has a “dark, Darwinian view of the world” who has become “ a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism growing in right wing circles.”

How did Adolf Hitler become Chancellor of Germany?

No, it isn’t who you thought it was.

The above quotes (put into present tense) describe Adolf Hitler in his rise to power and are from the new biography entitled “Hitler” by Volker Ullrich (a German author).

“Any resemblance between the characters in this picture and any persons  living or dead, is a miracle.”

– “You Naztzy Spy”, The Three Stooges, 1932.

Nothing has changed:“Implicit bias does not begin with black men and police.”

Here’s a surprise. According to a report in USA Today- Journal News “Implicit Bias” starts in Preschool. A Yale Child Study Center study asked teachers which student would require more attention? 42% said Black boys. 34 % said White boys. 13% said White girls, and 10% said Black girls.

The findings also revealed that this intensifies once they know more about a child’s Walter Gilliam, the head of the study explained it thusly. “Implicit bias is like the wind – you can’t see it, but you can sure see its effects”, and that implicit biases “do not begin with black men and police.”

They used two experiments.

The first had teachers watch videos of students they were told were exhibiting “challenging” student behavior. The researchers tracked where teacher eyes went along with other factors. They were also told that the researchers were only interested in learning how quickly and accurately they could detect those behaviors, but didn’t tell them the students were actually actors and that NO challenging behaviors were depicted in the videos. The teachers watched 12 clips of 30 seconds each featuring a black boy and girl and a white boy and girl. When primed thusly, they clearly gazed longer at the boys, especially the black ones.

The second had the teachers read descriptions of fictional misbehaving preschoolers to which fictitious yet accurate (based on the 2011 census) popular names were attached to each: DeShawn and Latoya for the black children and Jake and Emily for the white. When asked to rate the severity of behavior, they rated “white” kids more severely, (as in it was more unexpected). In 2005 it was found that preschool boys were expelled 4.5 times as often than girls.

This study again shows that bias against boys, especially black boys has not been adequately dealt with. About 20 years ago I started researching these issues because of how unfairly I found pre school and early childhood teachers treated my son, saying he needed psychological testing and was probably had attention deficit disorder. They had no idea of how boys developed more slowly than girls, especially emotionally. What I found was that this was commonplace then. (

It seems still to be the case.

The Hype of Reform is Failing

MIMG_0268ostly written by B Keller.

The current trend in education is not living up to its “hype”.

The rhetoric is powerful, and it sounds good, especially in sound bytes, but like the phone commercial says on television, “It makes sense if you don’t think about it.” Think about it. In New York City, the graduation rate is “higher than it’s ever been”, but the dropout rate for the first year in college at CUNY schools compared to the high school graduation rates are higher than they’ve ever been too. Advocates for the reform of public education, specifically in New York City with people like Joel Klein and Dennis Walcott, owe their foundations for success to the very system they claim is irreparably broken. That’s funny because it worked pretty damned well for them as students with LIFO, with tenure, with seniority, with appreciation for what experience can add to the educational arena, with no charter schools or up to eleven schools jammed into one building.

Look at the idea of charter schools. Ignore the fact that for one dollar they can “hijack” space in already space challenged venues, ignore the fact they can choose only the best and the brightest, ignore the fact that although they are public schools, they receive greater funding and have access to better resources than other schools. Look instead at the number of students they turn away. The purpose of public school is, after all, to include, not exclude, to provide access to education, not to limit that access. Here’s something else to think about. If, as the experts claim, charter schools have the “formula” for educational success, we would all best be served by those schools “saving” the students who are the most challenged educationally: the lowest third, the ELL students and the special needs students. Why are the charter schools accepting only those students who would probably be successful with mediocre teachers or no teachers at all?

Why are students chosen by lottery, where there are so very few winners and so many “losers”? Here’s another thing to consider. If, as the educational reformers claim, education is at a higher level today than it has ever been, why are AP classes, honors classes and challenging classes such as trigonometry, calculus, physics, (and in some cases, foreign languages) gone from this reform’s “educational plate”? When I attended a New York City high school in the 70’s, those classes existed. In 2009, the school I had worked for 35 years was closed for being a “failing school” still offered these types of classes (as it had since its inception). Let me get this right. My school was “bad” but it had these classes and it was closed. Newer, smaller schools are better, but they lack these courses.

The rhetoric says failure will disappear when “bad/failing” schools are closed. It suggests that simply by closing a failing school. That sounds good, but the fact is the only way to get rid of failure is to identify the cause of failure and come up with a plan to address it.

As a basketball coach, when I realized my team wasn’t playing well, I didn’t “close” my team or shut it down. I identified the problem, created a plan to address it and executed that plan. However in order for it to work, the players had to “buy into it.”

Closing schools isn’t a plan. Getting rid of teachers with seniority or getting rid of tenure, are not plans. Creating a cookie cutter, one-size fits all system in which college is the only option, then not funding that system adequately, is not a plan. Playing with statistics and using “rubrics” even mathematicians cannot figure out in order to obfuscate examination and analysis, is not a plan. Treating children as if they were widgets on a conveyor belt is not a plan. Ignoring the knowledge, wisdom and success of proven educators and listening to business people and educrats, is not a plan.

I have spent thirty-five years teaching English and I dare say, I have won more than I have lost. I wasn’t perfect, the system wasn’t perfect, but students learned and graduated. They became teachers, doctors, college admission officers, lawyers, Wall Street workers, professional athletes, assistant principals, consultants to the DOE, surgeons, West Point graduates, service men or women, civil servants, and responsible members of society and parents. Obviously, not everyone succeeded. No system will ever ensure that, but no one can refute the fact that these people succeeded and they succeeded without the “reforms and the small schools and the charter schools and the demonization and the vilification of teachers.

It was not easy, but when teachers worked hard and when students “bought into the plan”, and parents supported schools, they worked. I know it worked because I not only saw it work in the lives of my students when I and my colleagues taught, I saw it work in my life and in the lives of my siblings, extended family members, and colleagues. I had the privilege and the opportunity to see it work with, as well as in, the lives of people of people like President Barack and Michelle Obama, former congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, former chancellors of New York City schools, Dennis Walcott and Joel Klein, and a whole host of others.

I taught my students to take responsibility for their own education and their lives. Most did. The school where I, along with my colleagues, spent three decades teaching has been closed since 2009. We weren’t perfect; the system didn’t work perfectly; yet for many, many students, we still succeeded.

Nothing is perfect, but simply making changes or saying the changes are making things better, doesn’t make things better.


Sometimes you have to love Facebook. Yesterday I posted a note regarding the spreading of innuendo and rumor about people. I quoted Marcus Aurelius and Socrates’s three filters.

Marcus Aurelius is quoted as having said, “If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.”

Good advice, but how often is it not followed when it involves personal information about someone? So often gossip is not true, but even if it is true, it should not be said if it is not good. Socrates used a triple filter test.

When a friend came to Socrates with a juicy bit of gossip, Socrates replied, “Before you tell me this bit of gossip, will it pass my triple filter test? First of all, what you are about to tell me, is it true?” The man replied that he was not sure; he had heard it but could not verify its truthfulness. Socrates continued by saying, “You want to tell me some gossip but you are not positive that it is true.” “Well,” said Socrates, “Is what you are about to tell me good?” “No,” the man replied, “it certainly is not good.” “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something that may not be true and it certainly is not good. Let us give this bit of gossip the final of the three filter tests: Is what you are about to tell me going to be useful to me?” Again the man had to confess that no, it would not be useful to Socrates. So, in his wisdom, Socrates then said, “Well, if you are not sure it is true, you know it is not good, and you tell me that it will not be useful to me, why then tell it to me?”

If only each of us would use this triple filter test when someone comes to us with a juicy bit of gossip, it certainly would stop gossip right in its tracks.

Out of the blue I received a comment from a student I taught and mentored almost 30 years ago… John Dawson, from Woodlands HS in NY. When I asked him how he was doing this was his reply:

“I’m well, truly blessed. I have a “my cup runneth over” type of good fortune. I work about 100x harder than I did in HS, and perhaps too much, but I love it.

From time to time I look at your review of my Wise Project and smile at how you flagged the need to ensure avoidance of the “Angry Young Man” syndrome years-ago-i-was-an-angry-young-man

— which I conquered by junior year of college. After which time it was all Dean’s List and an evolved perspective.

You may not recall but I stapled the Selective Service letter to my Wise Journal and told them over the phone that I would not send in this vestigial remnant of the Vietnam War as I took issue with our nation’s foreign and domestic policies …

Fast forward to early 1999, when I was having my “perfunctory” character and fitness interview for admission to the NY State Bar. First question I get from this wise geezer is “Why in 1989 did you say you would not support this country’s Constitution?”

As much as I wanted to clarify my original statement and sentiment (“3/5ths of a man, anyone? Oliver North drugs for guns, anyone?), I told the truth and said my statements at that time were of a 17-year old boy, and that my views had evolved and I would now uphold the Constitution unflinchingly.”

Then I asked him how that all worked out and here is his reply.

“I was at Hogan & Hartson for 7 years, my oral advocacy mentor was current Chief Justice, John Roberts, who was head of our Supreme Court & Appellate Litigation practice …. One of my colleagues in the NYC office was current Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, who was super nice and super

I eventually left to focus my practice on intellectual property, representing wineries and other alc. beverage producers. I head up the IP group at a 20-lawyer firm in Northern California, in the Russian River Valley. What can I say, I love wine! So while the best of my peers went into public service, I hang out and taste test wines all day in wine country … A very selfish existence. ;)”

A very good decision I think… Easier to avoid angry old man syndrome.eastwood



A Plea to Intelligent Trumpeters

No disrespect to any of my friends who are Trump followers who agree that Washington DC is broken and that $ rules, and that too much globalism is a bad thing, or whatever your economics is….but when will enough be enough?

This is not liberal reporting. It is kids reporting what has happened to them WHILE IN SCHOOL!!!

This community of Forest Grove Oregon, near the farm where I grew up in western Oregon, has historically been a charming, friendly and welcoming community.  

“But in the middle of a physics class at the high school one day this spring, a group of white students suddenly began jeering at their Latino classmates and chanting: “Build a wall! Build a wall!” The same white students had earlier chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

“People now feel that it is O.K. to say things that they might not have said a year ago,” Briana Larios, a 15-year-old Mexican-American honor roll student who hopes to go to Harvard, said of some of her white classmates, “Trump played a big role.”

 “Another teacher reported in North Carolina, that a fifth grader told a Muslim student “that he was supporting Donald Trump because he was going to kill all of the Muslims if he became president!”

How can you still support a man who clearly incites this stuff? This election is beyond politic, or policy or whether or not you believe Hillary is crooked.

“Among any nation’s most precious possessions is its social fabric, and that is what Donald Trump is rending with incendiary talk about roughing up protesters and about gun owners solving the problem of Hillary Clinton making judicial nominations.

 We need not be apocalyptic about it. This is not Kristallnacht. But Trump’s harsh rhetoric tears away the veneer of civility and betrays our national motto of “e pluribus unum.” He has unleashed a beast and fed its hunger, and long after this campaign is over we will be struggling to corral it again.

So far, Trump has arguably benefited from his fondness for over-the-top rhetoric. He gets attention and television time and is always at the center of his own hurricane. But in November, after the ballots have been counted and the crowds have gone home, we will still have a country to share, and I fear it may be a harsher and more fragile society because of Trump’s campaigning today.

Inflammatory talk isn’t entertaining, but dangerous. It’s past time for Trump to grow up.”

The problem is that he can’t. This is who he is. His own advisors and fellow republicans cant get him to stop. He does for a couple of days, then there is another oops… and everyone just cringes. He loses more and more support from Republicans and Independents who may agree with some of his ideas but for whom this just goes too far.

My message to you is: maybe it is time for intelligent supporters of him like you to tell him, Donald, STOP, or we will have to drop our support as well.

The Day Donald Trump Was Principal-for-a-Day in a NYC Public School

Scholarships, not sneakers!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Many have wondered whether Donald Trump has ever set foot in a public school. He has said during the campaign that he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES” charter schools. In that sense, he is allied with Peter Cunningham of Education Post, Campbell Brown of The 74, the billionaire Waltons, the billionaire Gates, the billionaire Eli Broad, and every Republican governor.

It is unknown whether he has ever visited a charter school.

But there is documentary proof that he did visit a New York City public school 19 years ago, when he participated in a program called “Principal for a Day,” sponsored by a civic group called PENCIL.

Trump visited PS 70, and his idea of generosity was to hold a lottery for 300 students in fifth grade, with only 15 winners, who would get free Nike sneakers at the Nike store in Trump Tower. Here is the contemporary account of his visit…

View original post 315 more words



B. Keller and D. Greene

Rev. Dr. Barbara Austin Lucas often invokes renowned sociologist Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot when she discusses the relationship educators must have with their charges. Lightfoot said, “You can’t educate anyone unless you can see your future in their eyes.”

This means there has to be some connection, some investment, some sense that your future’s success is tied inextricably to the success or failure of the person sitting before you. That is a powerful statement, but more importantly, it is a true statement. You can’t teach “at a distance”. You have to be in the trenches, with your sleeves rolled up, not standing on the sidelines pointing out every mistake or theorizing about what might work. You’ve got to be a problem solver in addition to being the problem finder.

Learned scholars and educational experts contend that a major reason for the lack of academic success of young people today is the failure of others to properly motivate them. Who motivates them to demand the latest (and most expensive) styles? Who motivates them to spend countless hours on video games and texting to girls and guys, but not even 5 minutes on studying or homework? Who motivates them to memorize and learn by rote, (an educational taboo according to the learned educational experts and scholars), the words of meaningless, often disrespectful hip hop or to get up at 5:30 in the morning to stand on line for a pair of basketball shoes that sell for $300 when they cannot find way to get to school on time for a class that starts at 8:30 in the morning?

So who motivates them in class? We expect students to be self motivated, but most need help.

Good teachers and coaches know you have to have trust your students and players. You have to believe they can do what you need done. If you trust them and believe in them, there is nothing they will not do for you. If you don’t trust them and believe in them, you won’t get anything from them at all. If you don’t, they will give you nothing. The New York City DOE and many of the other national reformers do not value, trust, respect or believe in either the teachers or the students who attend their classes.

When reformers say they want to successfully reform education,they really mean teachers and students. But you can’t accomplish that unless unless you value and respect them. You can’t value anything you don’t believe in, respect, or are devoid of a “connection” to. You can’t reform from the outside. You have to get in and move the rocks and the boulders. You have to be willing to do some of the heavy lifting and not just stand on the sidelines and tell everybody else where to move things.

It strikes us that in all of the discussions and conversations about fixes and ways to reform education, little, if anything at all), has been directed towards students. In the end, no matter how great the teachers are or how technologically adept the schools the students attend may be, NOTHING will be accomplished without EFFORT on the part of the students. How do we become more successful at gaining that effort?

A major flaw or inconsistency in the plans to reform schools as it pertains to students is the failure in getting students to focus. Without focus, nothing can be accomplished. In the world students live in today, the concept of focus is virtually nonexistent. They are told they can do many things at one time and their preoccupation with computers and mobile device related activities which last only a few seconds or minutes erode the concept of focus. Think snapchat.

To focus means “to concentrate one’s thoughts on ONE point or purpose.” This means one cannot be “focused” if one is doing or being asked to do several things at one time. Focus provides strength and power as it pertains to a task.

A single ray of light cannot really do anything, but a laser, a focused beam of light, can cut through steel. Focus allows one to put all of his/her effort into one thing, and like the laser, it allows the person to create a better, stronger product.

Focus requires self-discipline, and while reformers talk about “evaluating and assessing teachers more thoroughly” and “raising the level of expectation for teachers”, they rarely speak about HELPING teachers motivate the self-discipline students require in order to focus themselves on the goal of succeeding in school. To reformers, reform is more about testing. For example, reformers demand that teachers maintain passing rates of 85% or better, when the truth be told, the graduation rate in America, with very few exceptions, has historically hovered around the 60-65% mark!

Teachers are expected to be motivated and have focus, but reformers have not only have made many teachers less motivated and focused, they have inadaquately dealt with these issues regarding students. No matter what plans are made to reform education, reform will NEVER occur without the participation of the students and that participation requires motivation and focus on the things that ensure academic success.

It is the students who will suffer the most because of the reforms that place all of the responsibility for student success on someone OTHER than the students.

Motivation must come from within. How many of us have given up on that diet or workout routine because we lost motivation? It must be encouraged, nourished and supported by others, but it ultimately it must be produced by the individual, because no matter what the “experts” claim or say, motivation, plain and simple, is an inside job.

How are education reformers motivating students? They aren’t.

Any successful reform or change, particularly as it pertains to education, must have some sense of humanity, some sense of connection one to the other if it is to work. The educational reforms are lacking in this element. You gotta love the rhetoric; “No Child Left Behind”, “Children First”, “Students First”. The problem is that it’s only rhetoric. It has no humanity, it has no soul. Poets, musicians and artists agree that if the words, music, or image have no humanity, nothing to connect the reader, listener, or viewer to the experience being captured then the they are just words, sounds, or images. They do not move or inspire. They do not motivate. They do not stimulate focus.

The same is true in education. If the changes are just about making the numbers look good or making them fit a particular bottom line or paradigm, then they are devoid of the “connective tissue” that makes them more than just changes or catchy phrases. They do not motivate. They do not stimulate focus. They do not help students become more self-disciplined.

Most reformers do not send their children do not attend public schools that are ravaged by the rhetoric driven reforms. Many of them apparently did not attend public schools, or have forgotten HOW the teachrs in their schools gave them the foundation to be who they are today. Many do not value or respect public schools, nor do they believe in, trust or respect public schools, public school students, or those who work in the public schools.


What do John King, General Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Dr. Ben Carson, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou and a host of others, including most of you reading this essay have in common? They are all products of public education.

Not one of them succeeded because of common core standards. All of us who went to public school before the Common Core and its associated reforms and tests were created succeeded prior to these reforms.

“Which one of the reformers would send their children to the schools their reforms have created?” Which one of them would send their children to a school that housed 6-8 different schools, with 6-8 different philosophies, that shared one library, auditorium, gymnasium, (that is if they have a gymnasium or library), that promote separation rather than collaboration, (by virtue of the fact that each school inside of each building is encouraged to “brand” its space), that have principals who cannot train teachers or teach them to become better teachers because they have taught only 2-3 years, (if they have taught at all), that have teachers who are 2 year TFA transients?

Which of these reformers send their kids to schools that focus only on students passing tests rather than learning to analyze and critique philosophies and concepts, or schools that do not offer students challenging, competitive classes such as AP classes, honors classes, calculus, physics, trigonometry, etc., (although those same students are theoretically receiving “a world class education”), or schools that use technology as a solution rather as a tool to help students to succeed, or eschew the use of experience and experienced teachers whose methods and philosophies have been tried and tested? Which of them would send their kids to schools tha thave no recess? No art? No music? I am certain beyond any doubt, the answer will be “None.”

If they are not willing to trust this type of school reform with their children, it is criminal to create schools with these constructions for other children. That is just plain wrong.

We believe that teachers teach their students the same way they’d want their children to be taught. We want our children to have diligent teachers who motivate their students to focus, analyze, think for themselves, challenge themselves, and expect more of themselves. That is exactly what we have tried to do in every class we have taught for approximately four decades.

For us the purpose of education is to get students to see their “future in their eyes.”


By B. Keller


just might be a good day

to teach a little bit of



Might be a good day

to remind the world

we were the first to die

when America stood against

the rule of one man,

that we fought to reunite

the “house divided”,

and the “war to end all wars”,

the battle at Pearl Harbor,

the tiny island of Iwo Jima,

and the “Great War” to “save”

the world.

We served in the Korean Conflict,

and the war in Vietnam,

the Gulf War,

The Persian Gulf,

in Iraq and Iran,

and Afghanistan.


We are buried in graves

from Boston to Gettysburg,

from Flanders Field

to Arlington,

from the jungles of Southeast Asia

to the deserts of Afghanistan.


We built the White House

laid out the design of this nation’s


We were the backbone of this nation’s


we saved the agriculture of the South,

(despite being chained, beaten, raped

and lynched).


We took gold in 1908in London

with a runner born to slaves

in ’36 in Germany against the

“superior” race,

in ‘48 at London,

in ’60 in Rome,

in ’64 in Tokyo

and ’68 in Mexico City,

in ’84 at Los Angeles

’92 at Barcelona, Atlanta in ‘96

and ’08 in Beijing.


We made blood transfusions possible,

and performed heart surgery,

and invented the traffic light,

and the gas mask, the Real McCoy

helped Bell and Edison to make

their inventions work,

and we brought America

blues, jazz, r and b,

and hip hop.



Might just be a good day

to teach a little bit of



Go on.

You can look it up.

What’s Good For the Goose Is Good For the Gander: – B. Keller


whats-good-for-the-goose-is-good-for-the-gander-quote-1(“The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few” Dr. Spock)

   The loud outcry concerning the “destruction” of charter schools being caused by not permitting some of them to co-locate is both dishonest and misguided. For one thing, the schools denied co-location only exist on paper. There are no students, the school is not even open. Given this fact, the rhetoric and the impassioned speech notwithstanding, these schools cannot possibly be closed because they do not even exist!

I must tell you that as a teacher, I always required my students to present facts. I told them don’t just say, “I should have passed your class.”, show me the grades, the work, the evidence that supports your claim. You would certainly have to think and expect that people who are responsible to lead and teach young people, people who claim to have cornered the market on successful education strategies and methodologies far superior to those people and methodologies found in the “public schools”, would know this and would model that behavior and technique, but clearly those on the charter school side of the argument consider it to be all right to omit certain facts in order to make their argument appeal to the pathos of the issue and gain the sympathy of those who cannot or do not think, analyze or examine what they hear because they simply assume that if someone is saying it, it must be a fact! (See Wikipedia).

It is also to present charter schools as “THE solution” to today’s educational issues. While I have no doubt that there are charter schools somewhere that are amazing, almost magical places where education just seems to happen out of nowhere, there are non charter schools where this happens as well. It is also interesting to note that most, if not all of the people presently advocating the importance and value of charter schools NEVER attended charter schools. In fact many of them are products of some public school system, yet they are extraordinarily successful. Think about this for a minute. If charter schools are the only schools where education can take place, how was it possible for anyone to be successful before there were charter schools? Surely everyone did not attend Catholic schools and private schools. Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein, James Baldwin, Colin Powell, President Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton, Les Brown, Oprah Winfrey, John Thompson and a host of others were public school students, and it is fair to say that most, if not all of them had significantly less access to technology than any students have today, and you’d have to say they are

pretty successful. While it is true that for many of them, technology did not really even exist at that time, there is no denying their success without attending a charter school makes two very important points:

  • There was learning and education BEFORE
  • Charters are not, nor can they be made into “the only game in town” as it pertains to education.

When you listen to people talk about charters, they make it sound as if charters play by the same rules as non-charters, and so their “success” proves their superiority to the non-charters. The only problem with this is that it is not true. For one thing, charters decide entry to their schools by lottery, which by definition of the word means access is reduced or minimized, (even to those “highly performing students” they have made it their mission to recruit and target!)

For another thing, charters “re-evaluate” students and in the event students are found to have become a “poor fit”, they are “counseled out of the school into more “appropriate” learning venues. Non-charters are not afforded that option.

Charters “limit” themselves to 5 or 10% of the ELL and special needs population, if they take any at all, whereas non-charters ‘ population may contain 20-25% or more of these groups.

Charter schools seem to have an endless stream of resources. Not only do they receive public funding, (and then limit public access), they receive funding from corporations, hedge funds, millionaires and billionaires. They also receive the latest technology and the newest furniture, books, etc., while non-charters are saddled with broken down technology, twenty or thirty-year-old furniture and no books!

The fact of the matter is that when charter schools co-locate, in order for them to present education at a “more rigorous level”, the charters have to expel, or push out some of the students currently attending the school that is already there, thereby robbing that community of its space, its dreams, its access and opportunity. While it is emotional and perhaps even inspiring to listen to those who say they are fighting for their children, who total 100,000 students of the 1,000,000 students education population, I’m just curious, who is speaking for the other 900,000? Don’t they matter? Don’t they deserve the same opportunity?

Charter schools claim that not allowing them to co-locate is “killing the dreams and hopes” of their 100,000 students. Point taken, but what about the dreams and the hopes of those students evicted so that the charters could flourish, or even those who remain in the co-located schools, relegated to second class citizenship as it pertains to their educations? That perspective of education as an either or scenario doesn’t jibe with my understanding of education, which fits the adage my mother, taught us- “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.” To my mind, education is supposed to be accessible to all who want it, not just those few kids at some special school.

Both of the ideas in the title of this essay are applicable to the current charter school issue as both touch on the idea of being fair. The Spock quote, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, emphasizes the importance of taking into account the whole picture. For example, let’s say a father wants to buy himself a new car, but buying the car would mean his family would not be able to pay the rent, so they would be living on the street. His desire/ “need” for that car should not be greater than his family’s need for shelter!

In the quote, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”, the point being made is that if one person is allowed to do something, others should be al allowed that same opportunity. After all, if the master is entitled to live as a free man, why shouldn’t the slave have that same opportunity?

When I served as a dean and students told me the teacher had thrown them out of the class for no reason, or disrespected them, I always told them to give me the whole story- not just the part that made them look good.

If we want to have a mature, responsible, coherent, honest and productive discussion about how to get education to work for ALL of the students, maybe, just maybe we need to start doing exactly what I told those students to do almost thirty years ago- tell the whole story, not just the part that makes you look good.