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The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

it, and that the

it, and that the problems of urban education are far too great for enhanced managerial authority to solve in the absence of far greater resources of staff, technology, and state of the art buildings." Admissions Lotteries When admission depends on a random lottery, some hopeful applicants may be disappointed. A film about the admission lottery at the Success Academy Charter Schools (then known as Harlem Success Academy) has been shown as The Lottery. It was inspired by a 2008 lottery. The 2010 documentary Waiting for "Superman" also examines this issue. Collective Bargaining Concern has also been raised about the exemption of charter school teachers from states' collective bargaining laws, especially because "charter school teachers are even more likely than traditional public school teachers to be beset by the burn-out caused by working long hours, in poor facilities." As of July 2009, "an increasing number of teachers at charter schools" were attempting to restore collective bargaining rights. Steven Brill, in his book, Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools (2011), changed his position on charter schools and unions. He said that after two years of researching school reform, he understood the complexities. He reversed his view of union leader Randi Weingarten and suggested she run the school system for a city. Racial Segregation One study states that charter schools increase racial segregation. A UCLA report points out that most charter schools are located in African-American neighborhoods. Union Leader–Led Schools The performance of a charter school chaired by a union leader, Randi Weingarten then of the United Federation of Teachers, generally representing teachers, was, according to Brill, criticized, as the school "ended up not performing well." Page 28 of 43

Waiting for Superman Waiting for "Superman" is a 2010 documentary film from director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott. The film analyzes the failures of the American public education system by following several students as they strive to be accepted into a charter school. The film received the Audience Award for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film also received the Best Documentary Feature at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Geoffrey Canada describes his journey as an educator and his surprise when he realizes upon entering adulthood that Superman is a fictional character and that no one is powerful enough to save us all. Throughout the documentary, different aspects of the American public education system are examined. Things such as the ease in which a public school teacher achieves tenure, the inability to fire a teacher who is tenured, and how the system attempts to reprimand poorly performing teachers are shown to have an impact on the educational environment. Teaching standards are called into question as there is often conflicting bureaucracy between teaching expectations at the school, state, or federal level. The film also examines teacher's unions. Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools (the district with some of the worst-performing students at the time), is shown attempting to take on the union agreements that teachers are bound to, but suffers a backlash from the unions and the teachers themselves. Statistical comparisons are made between the different types of primary or secondary educational institutions available: state school, private school, and charter school. There are also comparisons made between schools in affluent neighborhoods versus schools in poorer ones. Since charter schools do not operate with the same restrictions as public institutions, they are depicted as having a more experimental approach to educating students. Since many charter schools are not large enough to accept all of their applicants, the selection of students is done by lottery. The film follows several families as they attempt to gain access to prominent charter schools for their children. The film has earned both praise and negative criticism from commentators, reformers, and educators. As of May 1, 2011, the film has an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3.5 stars out of 4 and wrote, "What struck me most of all was Geoffrey Canada's confidence that a charter school run on his model can make virtually any first-grader a high school graduate who's accepted to college. A good education, therefore, is not ruled out by poverty, uneducated parents or crime – and drug-infested neighborhoods. In Page 29 of 43

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