John Stossel at Townhall.com
In Los Angeles, they spent half a billion dollars to build the most expensive school in America. They planted palm trees, put in a swimming pool and spent thousands of new dollars per student.The school is beautiful, but how's the education? Not so good. The school graduates just 56 percent of its students.
Three schools in Oakland that Ben Chavis started aren't as fancy, but the students do better. They get top test scores. And Chavis doesn't just take the most promising or richest students, as teachers unions often claim competitive schools do. Chavis' schools take kids from the poorest neighborhoods.
So what does the education Blob decide to do? Shut his schools down.
School board members don't like Chavis. I understand why. He's obnoxious. Arrogant. He probably broke some rules. For example, he's accused of making a profit running his schools. Horrors! A profit!
If he did profit, I say, so what? He still got top test results with lessgovernment money. Good for him!
They said if charter schools must exist, the union should run one, and they "would create a school where all parents would want to send their children." So New York City gave the United Federation of Teachers a charter school of its own. The union boss called it an "oasis."
But what happened? Today, the teachers union school is one of New York's worst. It got a "D" on its city report card. Only a third of its students read at grade level. And the school still lost a million dollars.
Yet it's the union's model school! I assume they tried their best, staffed it with some of their best teachers. The union knew we were watching. But with union rules, and the Blob's bureaucracy, they failed miserably.