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Mr. Merriman Goes To Buffalo

James Merriman, CEO of the charter management NYC Charter School Center and former head of charter school work at the Wal-Mart family foundation, was on the center’s blog this week, complaining that Diane Ravitch and teacher unions were not closely following and publicly declaiming on the education of English Language Learners in… Buffalo.

Why this 500 mile long march to discuss the status of the education of English Language Learners? Why not discuss the status of English Language Learners in New York City schools? After all, Merriman is based here, as is Ravitch and the UFT.

It certainly is the case that in New York City public schools, the state of the education of English Language Learners can only be described as deplorable — their high school graduation rates, their Regents examination passing rates and their proficiency rates on state ELA and Math exams lag far behind students for whom English is their native language. More than once, we have commented on the education of New York City English Language Learners here at Edwize, as has Diane Ravitch in many of her writings.

But Mr. Merriman goes to Buffalo, and not just because neither Ravitch nor the UFT could reasonably be expected to follow developments there closely or feel a particular obligation to comment upon them. You see, the Buffalo Public Schools are not run by Joel Klein, who just happens to be on the board of Merriman’s Charter School Center and is the most faithful ally of charter management in their battles to ensure that charter schools are non-union. No, the man from Wal-Mart would rather avoid comment on what is right under his nose in the field of English Language Learner education, while castigating those who address the issue before us.

Intellectual honesty begins at home.