Detroit charter school salutatorians use their graduation speeches to condemn their school for putting profits before kids

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The literal irony of being for “teaching” students to think independently and then cutting off their mic and wanting to censor them when they do just that.


I thought that was the point of school?

Oh, I see… so it’s the content of the brainwashing he objects to. I suppose it does show that his staff aren’t doing a very good job if other people’s messages can get through.


And I go, 'Wait, what are you talking about? We decided?
My best interest? How do you know what my best interest is?
How can you say what my best interest is?

All I wanted was an education, and THEY WOULDN’T GIVE IT TO ME!


I’m not brainy! Neh, neh neh nehneh…
You’re the one who’s brainy! Neh, neh neh nehneh…
I’m wishing I was brainy! Neh, neh neh nehneh…

They stuck me in a charter school
Said it was the only way to learn true
To give me the needed right-wing help
To protect me from the enemy, myself


Good on them.


I think schools take more of a discipline and punish approach.**

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It seems like the school is saying the very best students they produced are not capable of resisting brainwashing to act against their own interests. If their absurd allegation were true, it makes the school look incompetent.


Hell Yes!!! That song was my introduction and gateway to punk.


This school’s behavior is atrocious. The school leaders and staff rightly earn Cory’s and BoingBoing’s ire.

But, I’m troubled by this blog’s approach to education. (Full disclosure, I work in education for a non-profit organization that works with traditional public schools, as well as public charter schools.)

The suggestion is that charter schools are 1) racist and 2) for-profit. In fact, less than 20% of charter schools are for-profit. And, the history of charter schools suggests a civil rights focus, not one driven by racism or profit-seeking. (See the writing and speeches of Howard Fuller, one of the leading proponents of the nation’s first charter school law in Minnesota in 1991.)

There are lots of awful for-profit charters and I fully support their closure. But, this blog’s focus on charter schools is one-sided and clearly biased. Why don’t we hear Cory’s displeasure with magnet schools, which also rely on vouchers, but unequally benefit families in wealthier communities?

Charter schools, like their traditional district counterparts, aren’t inherently good or bad. There are plenty of bad ones, but there are many charter schools that have demonstrated the ability to support students in low-income communities and students of color to reach high levels of academic, civic, and social-emotional success. By casting a blanket statement that charter schools are racist and profit-seeking, BoingBoing insults the many families whose children’s lives have been dramatically changed by their local charter school.

Cory, my offer on Twitter stands. I would be happy to introduce you to charter school leaders, teachers, students, and families who would take issue with your characterization of their schools. I live near Denver. If you ever make it this way, I’m happy to lead you on a tour of several charter schools doing amazing things for these families.


Wow! Good job, Police!


While I like your points, and respect that you are in the field being discussed, this seemed to be oddly worded…

I’m pretty sure with everything Cory writes about capitalism, the right, the alt-right, education, politics, etc. that he has no difficulty meeting people who take issue with his characterization of the things they care about.

I’m just saying, if you want to approach him from a position of openness and shared information, promising a hostile crowd doesn’t seem like the best way to go.

Right? Nobody got shot or arrested, so that’s a plus. Also good job, parents!


Thanks, Pensketch. That’s a very good point. I guess what I tried (and failed) to communicate was that it seems that Cory hasn’t had encounters with the very people his argument would disadvantage. I can imagine Cory wouldn’t be interested in meeting a hostile crowd. Let me rephrase my offer: Cory, let’s tour some charter schools together and take a look, first-hand, at these institutions that you cast as racist and profit-driven.


Two thumbs up. It has a good beat message and I can dance mosh to it.


At the same time I can introduce you to several certified instructors teaching in the Detroit Charter System who will give you a real earful. I assume you are not from the Detroit Area nor teach in either the DPS or the Charter school system?


Sure. There are passionate advocates on both sides–both well-meaning. But, I’m pointing out some factual errors and overt bias in Cory’s description of charter schools and their history.

I have, in fact, worked with Detroit Public Schools, including educators at EAA schools and Supt. Vitti. And some of the charter schools in the state of Michigan are absolutely the worst. Often there is a correlation between charter school quality and their financial model (i.e., whether they are run by a for-profit Education Management Organization).

That doesn’t change the fact that charter schools provide huge swaths of low-income communities with the only quality school option. Sure, I’d be an advocate to only have traditional public schools, if they could provide all communities with a high-quality education. They aren’t. Many charter schools are filling that gap.

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The point here is they aren’t doing that at all. They are merely diverting money which could have been used to provide all communities with a high quality education and filling corporate coffers with it.


Do you mean this awful school in Detroit? Or charter schools in general? Do you feel the same way about magnet schools?

I can point you to many charter schools that are doing exactly that.

Edited: In case you are interested in several examples:

Do charter schools get better academic results than public schools?

No. The charter school sector does not get better academic results than
public schools and often performs worse. Charters sometimes appear to do
better because they can control the types of students they choose to serve