Newswire: August 23, 2016 — An Open Letter to Charter Schools Regarding John Oliver’s Parody

An open letter to charter schools, your staffs and your parents, and, most importantly, your students –

This weekend the late night British comedian John Oliver parodied charter schools, poking fun at politicians and celebrities who support them, serving up misstatements and lies about their success & drawing from anti-charter sentiment that is all too prevalent today.

Highly credible researchers and organizations have dismissed his poor taste as just the rantings of a comedian, as satire, which is “his job.” But tens of thousands that find their employment in the organizations you challenge gloated, tweeted and sent their combined millions of members to view and further promote.

Worse, highly credible news sources, including TIME Magazine, the Washington Post, and popular rags like Rolling Stone, carried and repeated the Oliver jokes on charters.

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The problem is, it’s no joke what you do every day, and it’s no laughing matter that people who have never experienced bad education think it’s funny to mock those who desperately need a good education for themselves.

The response from the teachers union and others who are currently engaged in a WAR on charter schools is nothing short of coronation for John Oliver. In Massachusetts, hundreds of anti-charter forces working to prevent the more than 32,000 students on waiting lists to achieve their dreams cackled over social media all night and day about the parody, trying to intimidate voters who might otherwise want to vote to lift their charter cap.

You know what it’s like to be in your community and be criticized for doing the hard work it takes to demonstrate results year after year under a microscope, with higher standards and fewer resources than other public schools.

You know what it’s like to teach children who come into your school having been failed for years prior.

You know what it’s like to transform not just a child’s life, but a community, and to have the freedom and flexibility to do your job and create programs that meet the personalized needs of students.

And you know what it’s like to fight for your charter school, year after year, when the opponents challenge you.

So take a minute today and send a letter to John Oliver. Tweet at him, too. Tell him what you do, and what you think of his ignorant disregard for the work you do. Send a letter to your parents so they know how to respond when they get mocked for sending their children to a charter school. As the father of charter schools Ted Kolderie wrote me today quoting Jean Monnet, “Resistance is always proportional to the scale of the change being attempted.”

You know you’re doing something right when this much attention, even negative, is given to you. Keep it up. But keep fighting, too.

Yours for the kids,
Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO, and the CER team