Oakland charter school for poor kids a spectacular success teaching hard work, discipline, capitalism

posted at 5:27 pm on May 30, 2009 by Allahpundit

Via Ace, the L.A. Times explains why everything you thought you knew about education is wrong absolutely correct.

Seriously, this must be one of the top five reddest red-meat items we’ve ever posted.

Not many schools in California recruit teachers with language like this: “We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. . . . Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.”…

School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded “self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort,” to quote the school’s website…

Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serve mostly underprivileged children.

At American Indian, the largest ethnic group is Asian, followed by Latinos and African Americans. Some of the schools’ critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the high test scores, but blacks and Latinos do roughly as well — in fact, better on some tests…

The short answer is that American Indian attracts academically motivated students, relentlessly (and unapologetically) teaches to the test, wrings more seat time out of every school day, hires smart young teachers, demands near-perfect attendance, piles on the homework, refuses to promote struggling students to the next grade, and keeps discipline so tight that there are no distractions or disruptions. Summer school is required.

Follow the link for a compulsively readable report on their methods, replete with the principal disciplining a student for stealing by shaving his head in front of the student body. It’s unclear how many kids are naturally gifted versus how many are being turned into academic powerhouses by the school’s approach, but given how stratospheric their scores are, they’d have to be enrolling the creme de la creme of brainy Californians to be coasting on talent alone. Obama is, of course, a lost cause when it comes to national reform along these lines — if he’s so subservient to unions that he’d kill the D.C. vouchers program, imagine his reaction to demanding rigorous performance standards for teachers — but why the GOP isn’t all over this, I have no idea. Not only would it give them traction on a key domestic issue, the fact that the school’s run by and for minorities would give them a shot of credibility with black and Latino voters. How about it, boys?

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