Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking the Show to Brooklyn

A meeting about charter schools draws a crowd

I went to Brooklyn last month to take in a monthly school board meeting. (They move the meetings among the boroughs.) They call the board here the Panel for Educational Policy. Don’t let the name fool you, like they want it to. Spanky and Alfalfa dressed as G-men would fit right in at their long table. You should go to one of these meetings.

The night’s issue was charter schools and it drew a fervent crowd of supporters. Mothers and their young kids were there in force. Dressed up in same-color T-shirts and same-color baseball caps, carrying signs, they could have been at a union rally or all sitting together at the Little League World Series. They were almost exclusively African-American. This was their cause. These schools. They’re true believers. I’m not. Unless they turn them into reading academies, they’ll not change things much for the kids. And I thought it was a kind of racism to have cute little black girls with their hair done just right come up to the microphones and be cute little black girls with their hair done just right. That’s an old bit. The Panel loved it.

Caption: One of the many signs in the auditorium pleading for charter schools.

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