In a recent post by Henry Payne on public education versus private or charter school education, Henry asserts that Cornerstone Schools in Detroit represent innovation in education.
One glaring omission in his comparison of Detroit Public Schools and Cornerstone Schools is the fact that to get into Cornerstone Schools you have to apply and be accepted. That is not the case with DPS. They are required to take any students who live in the area.
This ability to pick and choose the best students could easily explain the graduation gap that Henry mentions. Perhaps Cornerstone Schools do have cutting edge teaching methods but the difference could just as easily be explained by the students they select as the practices of their educators.
It should also be noted that while Cornerstone Schools is a top performer, the percentage of their students that meet or exceed the math and reading standards is only marginally better than the best Detroit Public School.
The problem is Henry chose the top performing private school and then compared its results to the aggregate of the entire DPS system. The reality is that in Detroit, charter schools don’t outperform the public schools. They both have successful schools as well as unsuccessful schools.
The goal shouldn’t be to eliminate one type of education provider in favor of another but rather to discover the best practices at every successful school and implement those practices at the struggling schools.
Cherry-picking data to imply that public schools and union teachers are the problem in spite of data to the contrary suggests that Henry values the well being of corporate education over the education of Detroit’s children, which oddly enough is exactly what Henry accuses Joe Biden of doing by holding up the success of public education.
The reality is that supporting public or corporate schools doesn’t have any correlation with how much you value education for Detroit’s children. It merely suggests a difference in beliefs about the best system of education.
Every teacher and administrator I have ever encountered in either public or private schools cares about the kids that they teach. Caring about your own compensation and caring about the students you teach are not mutually exclusive ideas. The idea that a union teacher cares less about students because of the fact that they are in a union is a political talking point with no basis in reality.
As an example, I saw this post on Facebook from a local middle school teacher:
“Getting a sincere and heartfelt hug from a student’s parent is what makes my job so rewarding! Feeling appreciated is a great way to end a day!”
The idea that educators join the profession just to get rich is absurd. Data shows that secretaries and retail sales clerks are just as likely to be in the top 1% as a teacher. People become teachers because they have a passion for it.
In the end if we really want to prove our devotion to our students, we should focus on providing the best methods of education regardless of who is delivering that education, instead of vilifying public schools and union teachers based on skewed numbers, because no one wins in such a politicized debate, especially our children.