Education Funding Opinion

How Steve Barr Is Not Like The Other Charter Show Ponies

By Alexander Russo — July 24, 2007 1 min read
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The most interesting thing to me about Steve Barr (Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools) is that Barr doesn’t seem like he really wants to be the show pony for Gates, Broad, the Andy Sector, and the New Schools Venture Fund -- folks who are trying to create or promote more of what the Times describes as “nonprofit, high-performing charter chains” along the lines of KIPP and Achievement First. He’ll take their money and their praise, but he doesn’t want to expand as fast as they want him to, whether it’s to parts of LAUSD where he has no credibility or across the country.

He sure doesn’t want to dress or talk like them, from what little I’ve seen. He’s been around the block. He’s seen what happened to small schools, among other ruined efforts. If he can do what he wants and keep to his vision, he’ll have threaded a very difficult needle. Sort of reminds me of the crazed but brilliant director Billy Walsh in HBOs “Entourage,” whose favorite saying is “suits suck.” Right on, Billy, I mean Steve.

UPDATE: Joe Williams of Democrats for Education Reform makes some interesting if slightly over-enthusiastic observations here, and helpfully rounds up other reactions to the Times story.

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