Jim Horn at Schools Matter responded:
Oprah looks and sounds the corporate parrot that she is, sadly. So much disinformation, where to start? You guys need to look up tenure to see what it is. Clue: it is not guaranteed employment for life, but, rather, is a due process protection to employees with collective bargaining agreements--something I know that Bill and Oprah and Michelle do not abide by. If you had had the balls to put Randi Weingarten on stage with your corporate cheerleaders, instead of the dark canned clip of her, she could have calmed Oprah down, perhaps, and offered some light to go with the heat. Perhaps.
The same people who voted down the hedge-funded charterites in NY and the oligarch-owned Fenty/Rhee machine have more votes waiting. The biggest vote your crony capitalist, Oprah, has to worry about is if everyone votes to switch channels before she makes her grand exit.
The only thing I disagree with in those statements is that Randi Weingarten was the person to put up against the propaganda-meisters.
I don't think that is so (though to be fair, Jim isn't so sure either.)
I think Diane Ravitch would have been a better choice.
There is a reason why Ravitch is not invited to these things, however.
They KNOW that.
Otherwise, I think Mr. Horn got everything right about that show.
As for Oprah, I wrote her a letter noting the CREDO study shows 37% of charters do worse than traditional public schools while 46% perform the same, that states with the lowest performing students have right to work laws and no teachers unions or weakened unions, and parents, not teachers, are the biggest influence on a student's life.
You know, they never mentioned parents on that show.
I guess kids are taken from their parents at birth and raised by teachers?
No, not in America they're not.
But in South Africa at Oprah's school, they are. That's actually part of the curriculum. Here's a partial description of the school:
Spanning 21 hectares (52 acres), the Academy’s 28-building campus offers a safe, nurturing and beautiful educational and residential environment for learners. All buildings are designed with learners in mind and built with natural material, to maintain the architectural integrity of the surrounding community.
Learners live in modern dormitory facilities along the Street of Living. Down the Street of Learning are 21 state-of-the-art classrooms and six labs, including art, science, computer and design technology. All classrooms have an outdoor study area, as well as SMART Board™ technology.
To support learning beyond the classroom, the Academy offers a computer lab, a 10,000-volume library, a more than 600-seat theatre and a multifunctional stage, music practice rooms, an outdoor amphitheatre, sports fields, a gymnasium and a wellness centre.
Learning is continuously encouraged in the Academy's boarding school environment. Teachers, staff and outside instructors lead the girls in a variety of extra-curricular activities, allowing learners to excel in their own unique ways.
Girls can participate in sports such as netball, tennis and track and field, while yoga, dance, choir and musical groups provide other outlets for the girls to express their creative and physical energy.
Gee, that sounds like a wonderful place for children to go for their schooling.
Like one big, beautiful charter school for underprivileged girls in South Africa.
Except that it isn't so wonderful:
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa has suspended seven girls for sexual misconduct and the harassment of other pupils. The suspensions, first reported by the Afrikaans on Sunday newspaper, are the second sex controversy to plague the school, which opened with much fanfare in early 2007. According to the Telegraph:According to the Afrikaans on Sunday newspaper, one 15-year-old "preyed" on a schoolmate and coerced others into lying to officials investigating the alleged incidents. Six other pupils have been excluded from the $46 million (£32 million) girls-only boarding school after being alleged to have touched each other intimately, or "intimidating others into partaking of inappropriate behaviours".
A letter sent to one of the suspended girls' parents is said to have read: "You have been found guilty of physical contact of a sexual nature with another pupil on campus, harassment, bullying other girls on campus and of being dishonest by not telling investigators the whole truth".
A prior scandal came just ten months after the Academy's January 2007 opening when dorm matron Virginia Tiny Makgobo was arrested for "indecent assault and soliciting under-age girls to perform indecent acts". From AFP (November 2007):An emotional Oprah Winfrey said she was "shaken to the core" by sexual abuse claims at her elite girls' school in South Africa.
"This has been one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life," the US talk show host told journalists in Johannesburg via a live satellite link from Chicago.
"When I heard the news I spent about a half-hour crying ... I couldn't wrap my mind around it."
Police aren't allowed onto the grounds of the Oprah school, btw, so who knows what else happens there:
It's interesting that Oprah's school, which has had two sex scandals in the three years it has been in existence, isn't under the same Oprahesque scrutiny that traditional public schools here in America are.
Heck, can you imagine what would happen to a school like that here in America, especially if it were, uh, unionized?
Yeah, I think that kind of school would probably wind up on some kind of Oprah special on the Oxygen network as a horror movie of the week.
But I get why Oprah seems to believe that parents have little-to-no influence on their children's schooling - because at the Oprah school, that is just so:
Seriously, Oprah, if you want to point a finger at "bad educators" who have harmed the children in their keep, take a look in the mirror.