I know it freaks us progressives out to see public schools become charter schools, even when it means saving a really really important and cool institution like Catherine Ferguson in Detroit.
Charter Schools in and of themselves are not bad things.
Two of my three children are enrolled in a charter school. The sponsors of my kids' charter are a benevolent, single family foundation, and not a for-profit corporation looking to charge a school district for the privilege of making a profit off of cutting school corners like teacher's pay.
The charter school my children attend is still part of the public school district. They have a slightly longer school year, and required parental participation to guarantee continued enrollment. These are not unreasonable bars to set.
I think any time a parent has to fill out one piece of paper to get their child into a better school, you've already self-selected a higher quality of student, period. It's called the "I have a parent who gives a shit and can perform a parental function like writing down a home address on a form" test.
Some parents can't fill out a form. Hell, some parents don't have an address. There are school districts in the United States of America, I learned tonight from the head of a mofo teachers union, where one in five children are HOMELESS. One in five. Homeless.
If you try to tell me that a teacher who has 30-35 kids in her budget-cut classroom, and 20 percent of them are homeless? That that teacher and her union are selfish for wanting a pension when she gets old? What are you, a republican governor or maybe... something worse?
Don't forget that whenever Chris Matthews or some other fuckwad says "teachers' union," that is a smokescreen so they do not have to talk about CHILDREN and POVERTY in THE UNITED STATES. Our country that we love so very much, Sarah Palin, you stupid git. Freedom!
Things are going to be different for Catherine Ferguson (including union representation) but I trust the principal when she says she's confident in the school's charter holders. For me, the smell test for charter schools is, does the charter holder want to turn a school around or do they want to turn a profit on a school? In the second case, they must be stopped from touching a public institution.