Message to charter school advocates on 25th anniversary: Celebrate the good, but own the bad

I heard education reformer and Civil Rights activist Howard Fuller speak a few years ago. He is memorable.

You can judge for yourself in the speech he gave at this summer’s National Charter Schools Conference in Nashville, which marked the 25th anniversary of the charter idea. An early advocate of vouchers and former  superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, Fuller is a distinguished professor of education and director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University.

His speech created a stir.  While charters ought to celebrate the good, they have to “own the bad,” Fuller told the assemblage. Warning the crowd to “buckle their seatbelts,” he said the ongoing sustainability of the charter idea depends on “a huge room with a place for those who are warriors for Black Lives Matter…for those who focus on personal responsibility…for those of us who see this as a social justice issue…for those who see it as a market strategy…for Republicans and Democrats and people like me who don’t believe in either one of them. If we care about kids, even when it is uncomfortable we must stay in the room. It is supposed to be uncomfortable. I will stand next to you when you fight to lift the cap on charter school growth, but I will fight you when you support voter ID. I will stand next to you when you fight for more funding for charters, but I will fight you when you oppose the minimum wage.”

It’s a heck of a speech.

 

Reader Comments 0

8 comments
ute
ute

Imagine if all parents were free to choose the schools which best meet the needs of their children.

redweather
redweather

@ute Imagine if all parents were free to choose how their tax dollars are spent, but we aren't.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I'm guessing he has been roundly rebuked as an Uncle Tom.

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady


All I can say is that you'd NEVER in a million years see his kind of honesty and forthrightness allowed at an NEA convention.That's one of the reasons that charters are celebrating 25 years of growth and success.Some times you need to hear things that are uncomfortable to hear.It makes your resolve stronger.


Anyone that would call him an "Uncle Tom" is trash anyway.Their opinions are not worth listening to.

Astropig
Astropig

@newsphile @Astropig


"How many NEA conventions have you personally attended?"


Don't have to! Since Maureen turned me on to "citizen journalists", I can read what happened from the comfort of my home(s) ! They're covered in painstaking detail by Mike Antonucci at EIA.


Thanks for asking.

Astropig
Astropig

Bully for him.I may not agree with every single sentiment,but overall,his heart is in the right place.Anybody that agrees with you 80% of the time is not an adversary,but a friend.


He's right about there being good and bad in the charter movement.There are scoundrels,there are angels.Thus it is in every facet of our public life.


25 years. Has it been that long? Well, here's to the next 25!