Focus Point - Teachers and ChartersCommentary by Pete du Pont
November 10, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The American Federation of Teachers doesn't like the for-profit Edison schools, saying they aren't educating poor and minority students any better than public schools. But according to a story in Usa Today, the Miami Chapter of the Aft doesn't buy it. They, in fact, run ten schools jointly with Edison. Why?
For openers, Edison schools are public schools. They're in 21 states, with more than 57,000 students. Most of the schools are in poor neighborhoods. They have monthly checks showing students, parents and staff where kids stand compared to state standards. Longer school hours and school year give kids more time in class, and starting in the third grade, kids get laptops to take home.
The teacher turnover rate higher than the national average, but Edison demands more of its teachers, and many of the schools were in trouble to begin with. The company claims as many successes as the Aft can find failures, and clearly the Miami branch of the union thinks the successes can be repeated there.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.