Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hatred for Charter Schools in the State House

House Education Committee chair, Rep. Mike Merrifield's vitriolic email about charter schools, addressed to Sen. Sue Windels became public today. Hat tip to Face the State for exposing this!

Merrifield says, "There must be a special place in Hell for these Privatizers, Charerizers, [sic] and Voucherizers! They deserve it!"

This email comment is not really surprising, based on actions Merrifield has taken in committee to show his dislike for charter schools. (See my Mar 7th post for more info.) The bill he's talking about, SB 61, was certainly aimed at gutting the Charter School Institute in the version that was initially introduced.

Why is the Charter School Institute so threatening? Maybe because they're considered a model authorizer with a good application process and have developed a reputation of being fair, but tough. Many charter developers report going through the Institute is tougher than some local school districts.

I personally know many of the "charerizers " [sic] that Merrifield talks about in his email. They're parents who have tried everything they know of to work with their local school district only to find there is no hope--except to start a charter school. They're teachers and principals who have become frustrated with a focus on behavior problems in the classroom instead of actually being able to teach students to read and write. Most of all, they're the students who now have a very bright future and a hope for a better life because they're learning in a charter school! They're certainly not worthy of Merrifield's nasty assertion that they belong in hell!

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