Joe Nocera just wrote a column.
It’s called Zuckerberg’s Expensive Lesson.
It’s great for the 30 percent who are learning from charter school teachers. But as Russakoff puts it in the most poignant line in her book, “What would become of the children left behind in district schools?”
If this is the most poignant line in Russakoff’s book, I feel no real urge to read it.
The answer to Russakoff’s question is very clear: the children left behind in district schools could also attend charter schools if these charter schools were given all they needed to expand.
If the original reform plan had been to make Newark an all charter school district, 100% of Newark students would likely be attending a charter schools within the next year or two. Russakoff’s question would be moot.
So what’s the lesson?
Here is the wrong answer:
If X works and Y doesn’t work, the solution is to keep on trying to fix Y.
Here is the right answer:
If X works and Y doesn’t work, the solution is to expand X and reduce Y until all you have is X.
This may sound callous, but it’s not.
The callous thing is to force kids to keep on attending awful schools because the solution that would get them into good schools doesn’t make you feel good.