David Harsanyi: Charter school merits imitation, not resentment

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Cesar Chavez Academy opened its doors seven years ago, enrollment was 240. Today the number stands at 1,100.

Other things have changed as well. These students - most of whom are Latino kids from low-income neighborhoods - are now some of the highest achievers in the entire state.

Lawrence Hernandez, founder of the school, says 3,000 students are on the waiting list to attend.

That there's a single kid on that waiting list is a travesty.

The U.S. Department of Education will honor Cesar Chavez Academy for its success in closing the achievement gap among Latino students.

The school was one of six charter schools nationwide to be recognized. It was one of only two picked to be featured in a documentary about successful schools to air nationwide Sept. 18 on PBS.

In Colorado, Cesar Chavez already has a sterling reputation. High marks come from nearly every corner of the educational establishment. Incredibly, this success comes, according to Hernandez, by operating with 40 percent less money per student (after paying for their own building and other expenses) than the typical public school does.

With all this success, one wonders why Cesar Chavez Academy, and similar schools, are constantly struggling to overcome barriers laid in their way by local and state governments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation

Posted August 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. DonGander wrote:

Seems funny, really, teaching used to be so simple and the students ended up building things like Apollo moon landers and such. Now, we don’t even know how to teach the students and to build a Moon lander we have to reverse engineer what the graduates of one-room school houses did.

Funny, but sad.

August 28, 1:35 am | [comment link]
2. CharlesB wrote:

I wonder what are the economic backgrounds of the students?  Anybody reading this is in Colorado know?

August 28, 5:50 am | [comment link]
3. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“With all this success, one wonders why Cesar Chavez Academy, and similar schools, are constantly struggling to overcome barriers laid in their way by local and state governments.

We can begin with the Colorado legislature. Both the House and Senate education committees have been run by staunch union ideologues, Sen. Sue Windels and Rep. Mike Merrifield.”
Can we spell out NEA, boys and girls?  N—-E—-A.  That’s it!  What does NEA mean?  National Education Association.  Right!

What is the NEA?  A rights and benefits organization (i.e. labor union) for teachers that, in addition to bargaining for wages, benefits and working conditions, also helps to dictate curriculum content and influence local, state and federal education policies and lawmaking.

An all in one organization.  And it’s all for it’s self-serving leadership and the teachers and darn little for the students.

What is the NEA’s worst competitor?  Charter schools. 
Why?  Because they usually work well and too often ‘put the lie’ to the NEA’s propaganda.

August 28, 9:39 am | [comment link]
4. Baruch wrote:

#2 As stated Low-income. This however does not mean not able to think and learn. A, Edison America’s greatest inventer was not from a well off background and had limited schooling, but he never stopped learning.

August 28, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
5. DonGander wrote:

“A. Edison America’s greatest inventer…..... had limited schooling, but he never stopped learning.”

Yes, but today he would have been one of the ABC kids and hated the very idea of anything that resembled “learning”.

August 28, 5:38 pm | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

I seem to remember that when this school started the chief controversy stemmed from the choice of the name.  Does anyone else remember that?

August 28, 6:24 pm | [comment link]
7. viamediator wrote:

AnglicanFirst said it all.
The first and largest barrier to any correction in our education system.

August 28, 10:08 pm | [comment link]
8. Albany* wrote:

Once upon a time, no one thought that education was possible without attention to the moral character of the student—in other words, the capacity to suffer to learn. It was Milton in “On Education” who famously said, “knowledge comes only from suffering.” Successful charter schools get this and the parents have to get it too.  We need to stop pretending there is some mystery to the problem of educating our kids.

August 28, 11:30 pm | [comment link]
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