The education BLOB, made up of teachers' unions, parent-teacher associations and school bureaucrats, is embarrassed by schools that perform better than the BLOB. Maybe that's why the BLOB in Oakland, California voted to shut the highly successful American Indian Public Charter Schools. In this week's syndicated column, I explain how the schools' egotistical founder, Ben Chavis, gave the BLOB an excuse by running the schools like a business.
Chavis explained how working with his wife and renting space to the schools - regarded by the board as too incestuous - saved government money.
"Yes. Some of the money did go to me," he told me. "Someone had to step up and get space. We had 34 kids when I started. Today, we have 1,200."
And those kids got a better education for less tax money. Who cares if Chavis kept some?
The Blob cares. The school board will get about $10 million back if they are no longer obliged to send pupils to Chavis' schools.
They'll be hard-pressed to beat Chavis' academic results, though. U.S. News & World Report says his schools are No.1 in Oakland. The Washington Post this month said American Indian is No. 1 on the list of most challenging high schools in America. Over the past three years, 100 percent of Chavis' high school seniors were accepted to four-year colleges.
By contrast, in New York City, where I live, a third of high school students don't even graduate in four years.
Chavis says that if the board thinks he stole money, they should arrest him instead of shutting down his schools.
"If I did steal anything ... punish me. Don't punish the students."
And while options for kids in Oakland shrink, the Blob grows.
Over the past six decades, as the number of students in public schools doubled, the Friedman Foundation reports that the number of non-teaching staff got eight times as large. Non-teaching staff means assistant principles, associate principals, secretaries, social workers, etc. Twenty-one states now have more school administrators than teachers.
Despite all that new staff, test scores stayed flat.
The rest of my syndicated column here.