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Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:30 AM

Seattle education prof on charter schools


Dr. Wayne Au is an Assistant Professor in the Education Program at the University of Washington in Bothell. Dr. Au is also editor of Rethinking Schools.

Dr. Au was a panelist at the PTA forum on charter schools that was held on February 28, 2012. To follow are the opening remarks that he made.

Learning to Read: Charter Schools, Public Education, and the Politics of Educational Research

By Wayne Au

Good evening. Some of you might recall that about a month ago The Seattle Times published an Op-Ed that I wrote where I explained how some major studies found a lack of effectiveness of charter schools in raising the achievement of African American, Latino, and low-income students beyond regular public schools, and in many cases found that charters underperformed regular public schools. Soon after The Times published a letter to the editor that attacked of my credibility as a scholar, professional, and educator by suggesting that I didn’t know how to read educational research.

I want you to know that I took this suggestion to heart and really considered the possibility that maybe I didn’t know how to read. Perhaps, despite being a graduate of Garfield High School, getting my Master in Teaching degree from The Evergreen State College, being a public school teacher for several years, and earning my PhD from the top ranked department of curriculum & instruction in the nation, I hadn’t learned to properly read. Perhaps my multiple academic books, my long-time work as a writer and editor at a leading social justice education magazine, my articles appearing in the most prestigious, peer-reviewed scholarly journals in educational research, were simply a fluke.

Maybe I simply needed some more practice.

So I decided to read. I read reports about how amazing charter schools are at raising achievement. I mean, the accolades are EVERYWHERE: Researchers lauding New Orleans’ charter schools for raising reading scores; Columnists raving about how charter reforms in New York City have improved drop-out rates; Politicians crowing about how charter schools are THE cure for closing the achievement gap. Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, newspaper editors, pundits, CEOs, billionaires…It seemed like damned near everyone seems to love charter schools. Apparently we had already reached a commonsense consensus on charters, and I didn’t get the memo – or, rather, I probably misread the memo.

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eridani Mar 2012 OP
longship Mar 2012 #1
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2012 #2

Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 08:23 AM

1. Privatization at all cost

even if it costs us our children's futures. After all, doesn't ideological purity trump any and all facts.

A heartfelt R&

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 10:25 AM

2. The misinterpretation of educational research needs to stop

It's shameful.

Thanks for sharing this.

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