Anyone who has reached the age of 90 just wants to get to the age of 90. We do not envision writing our 56th book, not to mention writing on a subject you have been studying for almost 50 years – education of the Black community. Thomas Sowell’s Charter Schools and Their Enemies defines the fact that Black students are not the problem. It is the grown-ups who make up the educational establishment that fails children.
This is not some jaunt in the park by Dr. Sowell while he pontificates about his thoughts on the value of charter schools. This is a scientific analysis done by Dr. Sowell, who is a world-respected economist. He starts the book by outlining the rules he followed to do comparative analysis. The procedures were as strict as can be within the circumstances.
The difference of performance between public school students and those of the charter school students is based on annual testing among schools within New York City. Many of these schools occupy the exact same buildings and have similar ethnic compositions which are 95% Black and Hispanics. One must wonder what the other 5% of the students are and you can be assured they are not rich, white kids, but children of the same economic and class strata. Dr. Sowell makes this point because opponents of charter schools falsely state the children in charter schools are somehow advantaged. The only advantage they have is they won a lottery freeing them from the racist, diabolical public school systems.
These test score performances are broken down into levels 1 through 4 with 1 being the worse and 3 being grade level proficiency. Obviously, 4 is really off the charts. Dr. Sowell also said there would potentially be a difference in performance between English test performance and math proficiency. That is because language skills are a shared school/home experience, and math skills are almost all school taught.
Dr. Sowell goes on to present detailed comparisons of the performance of five different charter school companies against public schools in New York City. New York City is a well-funded school district with it having the highest per pupil expenditures in the nation at $25,199 in 2017 (these tests being performed in 2017-2018). Except for Boston, NYC is 50% higher than the next highest school district per pupil expenditure in the entire country.
To characterize the results as disastrous for public schools is an understatement. Not that all charter schools are created equal. Each one significantly outperforms the public schools, and these comparisons are schools operating within the same building and all having the same student demographics. Clearly the best one is the Success Academy. In fact, in 2013 a higher percentage of students from Success’ charter school in Harlem passed the New York State mathematics exam than any school in the entire state even — as the New York Times stated — “in rich white school districts.”
Comparing the test scores Dr. Sowell found after studying 65 buildings that housed both public schools and charter schools with over 170 classes at the same grade level, he found that:
1. The disparity between charters/publics in achieving proficiency in English was 5 to 1.
2. The disparity between charters/publics in achieving proficiency in Math was 7 to 1.
Sowell is not the only one reporting the success of Black and Hispanic students. In April 2019, the Wall Street Journal stated that a higher percentage of these students at NYC charter schools passed both math and English than White students statewide.
With these overwhelming facts one must wonder why the charter movement is not being embraced by all elected officials and school teachers. They say they have the best interests of the students at heart. You would think the public schools would up their game to compete with the charters. Dr. Sowell does an in-depth analysis of what he calls “the hostility towards charters” which can be summed up in the simple current vernacular – “it is all about the Benjamins.”
Right now there are 50,000 students on the waiting list to get into a charter school in New York City. Their parents are aware of how their children are being cheated by being forced into NYC public schools. If you moved the 50,000 students to charters the money would follow, and that would mean over $1 billion would leave the hands of those currently in control of that money. That would also mean thousands of teachers and administrators let go from the failing public schools and that means millions of dollars in dues leaving the hands of teachers’ unions, a large portion of which is either given directly to their favored political candidate or on staff work to get those candidates elected.
Then there is the Janus v. AFSCME decision that allowed public employees to quit their unions. The teachers’ unions have put up every roadblock imaginable to impede teachers from de-unionizing. A big problem is that parents like their individual teachers, but do not understand the harm done by the union they belong to and endorse. These teachers are complicit in the problems.
Interestingly, one of the primary initiatives of the teachers’ unions in New York is to get a law passed to require charter school teachers to have the same credentials as public school teachers. Apparently those “impressive” credentials of the public school teachers have been harming their customers – the students.
There is no organization more racist in this country than the teachers’ unions led by Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen Garcia. If you were avowed racists you could not dream of organizations more focused on destroying the lives of Blacks and Hispanics. For their own selfish purposes, the teachers’ unions in America and their allies like Mayor Bill De Blasio want to destroy charter schools that care about providing a proper education to the students they debase. That is why they want to cancel the test that proves their failings. Biden has been endorsed by these people and he has accepted their plans as delineated last week. There is nothing wrong with the learning abilities of young Blacks and Hispanics that could not be solved by getting them out of the clutches of these people.
This book is chock full of other information to infuriate anyone about the racist education establishment and how it attempts to stifle any opportunity to improve the educational system that reflects badly on them or takes money from their hands.
This book should be handed to each Black and Hispanic parent to educate them on how the education establishment is deliberately undermining the future of their children for their own purposes. It should be handed to every white, liberal parent who thinks they are good people, but are condoning and accepting a racist, destructive system by endorsing their own teachers while allowing he education establishment to destroy the lives of young Blacks and Hispanics.
Dr. Sowell once again enlightens us and proves that the current educational cartel is as dangerous as any Mexican drug cartel. Thank you and bless you, sir.