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The Top 9 Moments You Missed When We Debated Charter Schools

Are charter schools overrated? This was the topic at hand for Wednesday night’s Intelligence Squared debate. Jeanne Allen and Gerard Robinson advocated for charter schools as they took on Gary Miron and Julian Vasquez Heilig. The discussion was impassioned, intelligent, and civil (mostly). If you didn’t get the chance to tune in, here are the highlights:

  • Jeanne Allen responds to the fear of for-profit companies’ involvement in charter school:
    • “Who cares what the tax status of a company is if our kids are learning?”
  • Jeanne Allen counters Heilig’s accusation that charter schools “are anti-democratic”:
    • “There is nothing more democratic than parents actually participating directly in the education of their children.”
  • Gerard Robinson calls out traditional public schools for their lack of accountability:
    • “In 2016-2017, 35 charter schools in that state closed and identified exactly why they closed. In this fiscal year, right now, there are nearly seven that have closed. You go to a Department of Education and they say we are going to close a school, either driven by the authorizer or number of factors … How many public schools have you seen close because students didn’t do as well?”
  • The audience chimes in on Twitter:

  • Jeanne Allen underlines the real issue at hand:
    • “You’re a parent. You open your door and you are zoned to your traditional public school because of your zip code!”
  • Which won the applause of the room and some folks on twitter:

Jeanne Allen’s closing remarks:
“I thank Gary and Julian. I vehemently disagree with your position but I respect your passion, your integrity, and your commitment. I will work every day of my life to change your minds.”
While Gerard and Jeanne didn’t land the New York vote, they had plenty of support from people watching at home.

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