From a friend:

This is a reply to the Wal-Mart/DC public school article. The writer is
a resident of DC with two children who began their education in a public
school and remained when it became a charter school as the result of the
joint efforts of parents and teachers. the school was at its founding,
and remains, integrated socially and economically.

Begin forwarded message:

> *Subject: **Re: Fwd: [MCM] Will Wal-Mart take over DC’s public schools?*
> *
> *
> The issue is WAY more complicated than that article makes it seem.

> First of all, Tabrian Joe, quoted extensively in this article, is a
> high school student in Detroit, and while he may be intelligent and
> concerned about Detroit schools, I don’t see how he is an expert on
> any of this. What does “they have Walmart coming to our schools”
> mean, anyway? Could be anything from helping supply school lunches (I
> hate the idea) to helping finance reconstruction of buildings or
> supplying notebooks, etc. But Marriott is no better and they’re
> feeding kids all over the place in public schools already. Once
> you’ve allowed school lunches to go to contractors, you’re screwed
> unless the schools have a say in who gets the contract (rather than
> the city), as is the case with charter schools. And Walmart has just
> vowed to reduce levels of sugar and salt from their house brands –
> maybe a PR move on their part, but something in the right direction
> overall if people insist on buying food from them.

> Second, those decisions are made by a lot more people than the
> chancellor. Blame the city councils and school boards as well, if you
> want Walmart to stay out of things. NO one has unilateral control in
> any of those places, even if the first lady is involved.

> Third, Rhee was, according to many DC families (including us) AND
> teachers, quite good for the city’s schools (in balance, despite not
> being a good diplomat – her actions have been largely inaccurately
> reported), so let’s get off the “blame Rhee” bandwagon. How she did
> things was less than polite and cooperative, but what she did has
> vastly helped many of DC’s schools – regular public schools AND
> charter schools. And our new mayor (and former Chair of City Council),
> Grey, hated Rhee and didn’t like how she operated, so whatever he does
> he does in reaction against her, not with her (as far as I know).
> Robert Bobb is somewhat of a known entity in DC because he was here
> before wearing other hats. We’ll see what happens with him, if he is
> even the final choice for chancellor. I wouldn’t wish that job on
> anyone right now, there is still so much vitriol flying around DC re.
> schools. If the new chancellor even hints at firing anyone, s/he’ll
> be called to task and called “another Rhee.” And unfortunately, there
> are still loads of people (teachers and administrators) who deserve to
> be fired in the DC system.

> Fourth, the paranoia about public charter schools has got to stop.
> Tabrian Joe, is just ranting off the top of his head as far a I can
> tell on this subject. The “they” that are setting up schools are
> groups of parents or teachers or the community at large, and they have
> to go through many hoops over years to get approval, coordinating with
> several city agencies including a charter school board separate from
> the regular city school board. Charter schools are more highly
> accountable (annual reviews and a limited 5-year contact renewable
> only upon approval of a charter school board after meeting very
> carefully-oulined criteria – no fast-track or blanket approval) than
> regular schools and can be shut down more easily if they don’t perform
> well or if they are not run efficiently. Charter schools are
> available and free to the public, just like regular public schools.
> Some charter schools are good and succeed, some are bad and get
> closed. It is in no one’s best interest to close a “good” public
> school, and there are many avenue for recourse against that. Every
> time there is a change of guard, people start ranting about how
> someone’s going to close their favorite school. And the system
> doesn’t allow a charter school to “take the place” of a regular public
> school. It just doesn’t work that way. As for the assumption that
> Bobb’s Centers of Excellence are all charter schools, that’s pure
> speculation on the part of T. Joe, unsubstantiated in this article (or
> by him in the quote) – so WTF??? Bobb’s quote says “in every school in
> every neighborhood” and while that may be an almost impossible task,
> saying that he is just flat-out lying without saying how you know is
> just inflammatory.

> Walmart’s money and what they want to get in return is something to
> look into. But let’s not blame the wrong folks for the wrong things.
> There’s plenty of qualified blame to go around.

> xx

> J



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