Noonan’s vitriolic attack on charters is ludicrous 2023

Paula Noonan’s Colorado Politics post (“How trust is broken in public education,” May 18) was so manufactured and pitiful that it must be refuted. She shamelessly likened Commerce City’s Suncor oil plant pollutants to education reformers and school-choice advocates working to fix Adams 14’s issues.

Noonan openly said “Adams 14 is Colorado’s Flint, Michigan” and that the “war on traditional school districts grows like Russia’s on Ukraine.” She has long supported public education’s status quo and politics. “Hooray for mediocrity!” isn’t enough in this day of strong divide and popular hate speech. Rhetorical violence is the norm.

The Colorado State Board of Education’s removal of Adams 14’s exclusive chartering power infuriated Noonan. After the local district rejected a prior arrangement, University Prep appealed to the state board, causing this “assault.” Adams 14 threw down the agreement because University Prep desired a reasonable charter school application revision.

The violent attack on charters by Noonan is comical.

Adams 14’s newest manipulation failed with the state board. Noonan’s conclusion: “count on many more charters invading Adams 14 without oversight or decision-making from Adams 14’s democratically elected school board.” If not cruel, this comment would be funny.

Charters don’t overrun public schools. Charter schools save disadvantaged kids. Colorado has 178 notorious school districts. Colorado has long had educational choice—moving districts. Poverty prevents relocation. No one should migrate to avoid a dysfunctional local school board.

Charter schools use public monies to offer intra-district options in addition to 178 inter-district possibilities. American free enterprise relies on consumer choice. Choice boosts quality and progress.

Educators who want to try new methods or curriculum run charter schools. Noonan was quick to note out that they occasionally underperform typical public schools, but their flexible structure allows for speedier corrections. Charter schools close, unlike most government institutions.

When charter schools flourish, critics say they cherry-pick pupils. Charter school opponents simply criticize. Charter schools start out excited about their aims and prospects, but regulatory restrictions and monitoring frequently bog them down. They face revocation regularly. They’ve persevered.

Adams 14 sorely needs charter schools. After years of Colorado State Board of Education patience, this district has struck rock bottom. Its superintendents have been touted as the next golden child or miracle worker before moving on. Its school board has become an exclusive clique of community organizers that prioritize self-awareness and neighborhood pride over academic accomplishment and real-world training.

Noonan’s praise of Adams 14’s “democratically elected” school board is baseless. Lack of candidates prevented a 2021 school board election. 2023 may repeat. Intimidating incumbents and constant upheaval deter potential contenders.

Two of the three 2019 candidates did not finish their four-year tenure and were replaced by appointments

The Colorado State Board of Education is elected. State board members are chosen in partisan campaigns and serve six-year terms. Nine members—six Democrats and three Republicans—are present. Two Democrats voted with three Republicans to strip Adams 14 of chartering power. Both had the political bravery to challenge established public school apologetics and face the wrath of the Democratic Party-affiliated Colorado Education Association (CEA).

To compare charter schools to refineries but not CEA to the oil and gas lobby is disrespectful. Of course, teacher salaries are nowhere near the money of energy magnates, but their trade associations carry less relevance for the future with job security and current financial concerns as their primary goals. Denying opportunity to generation after generation of kids is similar to ignoring hazardous pollutants, especially if state authorities don’t care enough to intervene.

Noonan’s hostility for governmental sponsorship of alternate transportation schemes is severe. Her suggestion that advocacy organizations orchestrating “this transportation flim-flam” drive Adams 14 pupils to low-enrollment Denver schools instead of charter schools is absurd. Reformers and school choice advocates may expect more fury.

The Colorado Supreme Court will likely rule that the Colorado State Board of Education can appoint an everlasting manager to administer Adams 14 and dissolve the district if necessary. Charter schools may take over.

If this happens, what outrageous parallels or outbursts would Noonan and her ilk make? It’s irrelevant. It’s crucial that Adams 14’s impoverished and polluted youngsters to escape their failing schools.

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