A $100,000 prize to charter school that best counters comic John Oliver’s attack

Charter school advocates are firing back at John Oliver for his searing critique of charter school accountability.

Comic John Oliver’s blistering monologue about charter schools that rip off students and taxpayers continues to rankle advocates of the popular education model. The video has drawn more than 5 million views on YouTube since it aired eight days ago.

But it’s also drawn fire. Now, it has inspired a contest for the best video rebuttal to the comic’s rant on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”

From the Center for Education Reform:

The Center for Education Reform today announced it has launched a contest offering $100,000 to the charter school that produces the best video showing the value of charter schools to students, teachers and communities.

Dubbed CER’s “Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter School!” Video Contest, the competition is in direct response to a recent episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, in which Oliver offered a highly critical, and hugely unbalanced, critique of America’s charter schools and charter school movement.

“The program was meant to be funny and provocative entertainment,” said CER Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeanne Allen, “but Oliver went way out-of-bounds and far beyond simple entertainment when he used examples of a few poorly run schools to paint all charters, and the whole concept of charter schools, as failures.”

Allen said that while typically she could let such “clearly outrageous” charges go unanswered, in this case, the offense was too great to ignore. “The program was so misleading and reached so many people with truly damaging misinformation that it’s important to correct the record,” Allen said. “And what better way to do that than to go straight to the charter schools themselves and have them tell their stories of opportunity and success, and how their current school differs dramatically from their zoned school.”

All charter schools in the country are eligible to participate in the contest, and all entries will be posted online so the public can get a true picture of the work, and success, of the vast majority of charters nationally. A panel of judges will review all entries and select one to receive the $100,000 prize.

“It’s very frustrating for anyone associated with a charter school or the charter school movement to see charters take such an unfair beating – especially when the program’s distortions are picked up by critics and foisted off as ‘news’ or impartial ‘analysis.’ Our contest gives everyone a way to combat that frustration and fight back against an unfair and unwarranted attack.”

For more information on CER’s $100,000 “Hey John Oliver! Back Off My Charter School!” Video Contest, go here.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

21 comments
Wascatlady
Wascatlady

How far (down) we have come!  I recall about 40 years ago when companies began to be solicited to "sponsor" the language lab, or the class set of microscopes.  I remember how horrified my parents were that the state and local BOE were willing to abdicate their roles as the providers of education.


Back then, you would NOT have seen businesses sponsoring the football field. Parents would have said, "If it is important and valuable enough  to students'  educations to have a football field and team, it is important enough for money to be provided by the taxpayers for that field or team. " Yearbooks did not have to solicit businesses as sponsors, either.


What changed?  I think there is a fundamental change in how many people view schools.  Now there is the mantra of "Don't expect ME to pay for it" that we didn't have so much of back then.  It has even been codified into laws, such as those that give property tax breaks to the elderly.


How did we lose sight of the profound good a publicly-sponsored education, monitored by the community, could do?

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady


Schools bum them for money constantly.That's why they sponsor the football field and other things.I know because in my current business,I get several solicitations a month.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @Wascatlady I absolutely have seen this.  However, I am wiling to bet it used to be a request for a donation of a product to be auctioned off, or used as a door prize.  Not taken to the heights it is now commonly accepted.

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @Astropig


In my former business/career,I had to field myriad requests for calendar sponsorship for athletic teams and the like.At two of our local high schools,there were fundraisers that did nothing else but sell ad space and sponsorships. I always demurred because I didn't believe that bail bonding was an appropriate business to advertise to a predominantly adolescent audience.I gave them cash and let it go at that.In my current endeavor(s),I will offer in-kind services only because of my concern for accountability issues with cash.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Wascatlady


Let us not be politically naive. This trend has been part of the overriding Republican ideology to bring government "down to a size so small that it can be sent down the bathtub drain." Traditional public "government" schools have been the target to accomplish this goal for the past two decades, at least.  The result is what you have described, Wascatlady. Our children have been made pawns for the profit of private industry.  Sad, but the first step in overcoming this is to acknowledge what has been the overriding cause.

cellophane
cellophane

Ha! I think a nerve has been struck. How charter school-ish of you to encourage teachers and students to spend instructional time on your politics, with money as the incentive. Almost proves Oliver's point-- the driving force here is cash, not kids. Next, they will load kids on a bus and head to a political rally! Oh, wait.....

The corporate charter school in Cherokee County operates with little to no local or state oversight. Board vacancies are left unfilled, nothing useful on their website (except 12 pleas to ENROLL

TODAY!!), shrinking enrollment as parents figure out the scam, half the teachers leave each year.... But hey, choice!

Astropig
Astropig

"First they ignore you,then they laugh at you,then they fight you,then you win."


-Mahatma Ghandi (so I'm told)



Looks to me like things are coming along nicely, right on schedule.We seem to be at stage two.

itsbrokeletsfixit
itsbrokeletsfixit

Idealogs! Don't bother you with the facts, those annoying little bits of reality that have the charter school industry all in a dither. You were convinced that charters were the magic bullet 15 years ago. They aren't working folks!! The data is clear on that. They are making lots of greedy folks rich bullying a lot of students and teachers, and doing a pretty good job of recreating segregated schools throughout America.

Time to go back to the community schools (you know, you call them "zip code schools to make 'em sound more impersonal) and work on a more realistic and equitable solution.

BleachBit
BleachBit

Hey!, I know what we should do: Let's let comedians decide important policy issues!

Or maybe we should assign the children of comedians to failing schools where there's absolutely no hope of improvement or reform. Ever.

Just empty promises, hand-wringing and scapegoating.

Astropig
Astropig

@BleachBit


RE: assigning comedians kids


Oliver has a toddler at home,according to his bio.I'll bet big  money that zip code schools won't be good enough for little Oliver.

jezel
jezel

the " value " of charter schools ?....Well... we have to wait till the stock market opens.

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

Hooray for the comics. What honesty.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Were the examples Mr.Oliver gave UNTRUE?  Did they really happen?  Was it obvious they were examples?

cellophane
cellophane

Since John Hage is on the board for the CER, you can bet all the for-profit Charter Schools USA schools have been given a directive to spend class time on this assignment.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

The answer is: He gave true examples, with documentation, and he made it obvious they were examples.  So, no, it should not be considered biased.


It was an expose' of things meant to be hidden.  Roaches scurry from the light.


Now, we can judge if the winning submission is completely honest.  And, it will be an example of ONE school.  Wonder which schools will have the time to do the submission, instead of educating the kids?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Only 3% of Georgia's charter schools have two or more races attending their schools. (GDOE).



A passage from one of my blog's entries:


"When I observe the greed and self-serving ways of many Americans today, with their cold and judgmental hearts, I have come to believe that it will be those African-Americans who try to live out MLK’s dream and his nonviolent social philosophy who will save today’s America from her smaller self and who will lead the way in preserving America’s original ideals and tenets for future generations of all Americans. I remain impressed that, as a race of people, given their history, African-Americans have not rejected our nation altogether, and have chosen, instead, to keep their faith in America and have 'kept hope alive' for all of us.


Jefferson: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all. . . are created equal.' ”

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

“Now, [Comic John Oliver’s blistering monologue about charter schools] has inspired a contest for the best video rebuttal to the comic’s rant on his HBO show ‘Last Week Tonight.’”

Ah, yes.  It’s always competition with charter schools.  They cannot even cooperate amongst themselves even when faced with a comic, for crying out loud.

So, thank you, Center for Education Reform, for demonstrating charter schools know no other way to behave. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@EdJohnson


Well said, and demonstrating little sense of humor is not an asset for the charter community.  To be expected, the only way the charter school executives seem to be able to counter John Oliver's comedy, with truth incorporated within his sharp humor, is to offer money to do so, to the tune of $100,000.  That says more than anything about what the charter school community values, above all.

itsbrokeletsfixit
itsbrokeletsfixit

Exactly,

It's ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. ... and of course fooling the parents into thinking that the "Reformers " really care about the kids.