Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Charter Facts Misstated in Letter on Bersin Essay

May 24, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I am surprised that Education Week saw fit to publish Keith Newman’s letter to the editor (May 11, 2005), riddled as it is with inaccuracies. It is Mr. Newman himself—not Alan D. Bersin, whose April 20, 2005, Commentary he critiques—who misses the point. To focus on “competition” as if it were the most important argument Mr. Bersin makes in his thoughtful analysis of what ails our nation’s K-12 public schools is disingenuous. The very title of the Commentary, The very title of the commentary, “Making Schools Productive: The Point of Accountability and the Key to Renewal,” says it all.

The mention of competition is in the context of a warning to the education establishment: If it doesn’t shape up along the lines Mr. Bersin suggests, taxpayers will throw the baby out with the bath water.

It is not surprising that Mr. Newman picks up on that element, because it enables him to whine about the unfairness of it all. He complains that Philadelphia gets $10,000 less per child than the affluent suburbs. The per-pupil cost in Pennsylvania is $9,367, and that includes neither the categorical grants that accrue through Title I to inner-city children nor debt repayment and capital costs. It is hard to believe that suburban students actually get $19,367, as Mr. Newman asserts.

Furthermore, he states that Edison Schools Inc. receives $855 more per student than publicly managed schools. He fails to mention that charter schools and contract schools have to provide their own facilities and are responsible for maintaining them.

Finally, he refers to your article “Del. Charter Schools Get Solid Report Card,” (March 30, 2005) and claims it “evidenced” that charter schools get to select their students—another unfair practice. What your article does is note that the study’s researchers urge caution in interpreting the better 10th grade charter-student results because many charter school students taking the 10th grade test hadn’t entered charter schools until the 9th grade. How Mr. Newman gets from that to his statement that charter schools get to select their students—which is untrue; the available slots are filled by lottery—is another example of disingenuousness.

I appreciate Education Week’s even-handed coverage of education news and the forum it provides for thoughtful debate. But I despair at the bandying about of unfounded allegations that do nothing to further that debate.

Gisele Huff

San Francisco, Calif.

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: July 13, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read