Certainly, laud Drew Charter School’s record of outstanding success. Still, because it is implicit in their intention, one must ask why are Drew stakeholders more self-circumscribed and less systemically open in their thinking and behavior toward wanting to contribute to improving the whole of public education in City of Atlanta?
One must also ask why Drew stakeholders have not the intention to foster achievement for everyone within the newly formed Jackson Cluster and, more importantly, for everyone within our Atlanta Public Schools (APS) system, if indeed lessons APS might learn from Drew’s outstanding success have a chance of benefiting the whole district, systemically.
Instead, by their wanting no more than to extend Drew Charter School to include a 9-12 high school, or senior academy, Drew stakeholders are saying they intend to tightly hold to their collective chest knowledge that, if shared, could compromise them at the expense of benefitting APS, systemically.
Knowingly or unwittingly, Drew stakeholders simply manifest free-market “Choice” proponents’ belief that charter schools must be competition for regular public schools. It is a belief that leads quite naturally to behaving as if Drew must win and APS must lose.
'By their wanting no more than to extend Drew Charter School to include a 9-12 high school, or senior academy, Drew stakeholders are saying they intend to tightly hold to their collective chest knowledge that, if shared, could compromise them at the expense of benefitting APS, systemically.'
Drew stakeholders’ aim to extend into high school also manifests what fairly may be called the “Success to the Successful” trap. The trap is one that stimulates believing if one was successful once, then one naturally deserves to be successful again, and again, and again, and so on.
However, the more the Success to the Successful trap plays out, the more it becomes a vicious cycle to achieve two goals: (1) to limit success to those judged superior, hence deserving of even more success; and, (2) to deny success to those judged inferior, hence undeserving of success. In effect, the trap is a definition of competition.
And who judges who is deserving of success and who is not? Why, the ever fewer successful do, of course. And they will compete to do so.
The trap is so common as to be believed a fact of life; for example, the superintendent that invites valedictorians into his or her presence so as to learn from them, yet never extends any such invitation to dropouts or to students likely to drop out because they aren’t the successful students, that as the unsuccessful ones they have nothing to say worth listening to, let alone learning from.
Thus the Success to the Successful trap poses being a highly effective and efficient means by which to dismantle public education and/or to limit learning how to improve it. In any case, the Success to the Successful trap effectively attacks the sustainability of democratic ideals in service to the common good, as well.
Atlanta Board of Education (ABE) is free to assume Drew Charter School exemplifies the quality of teaching and learning the board desires for all APS schools. If this be their assumption, then ABE also must assume it is their obligation to go learn why Drew’s success happened and how it happened.
Having thusly learned, ABE must then extend their obligation to coming back to the public to articulate why and how lessons learned from Drew’s outstanding success can serve to improve teaching and learning throughout APS and their leadership of the same.
But if for some reason ABE will not take responsibility for carrying through with the totality of their obligation – be it be deemed impossible, impractical, ineffable, too costly, too politically risky, whatever the reason – that reason will be an inescapably necessary and sufficient signal that ABE wants to allow Drew Charter School to, at best, remain a non-value adding proposition for APS, systemically, and, at worse, lay a trap guaranteed to limit outstanding teaching and learning success to a relatively few.
Would ABE really do that? Why would they?