While I’d been on blog enter August finishing Letters into a Young Education Reformer, HBO host John Oliver did a segment making fun of charter schools. The results? A big swath in the education policy world dropped it. It turned out like Bill Clinton plus the Loch Ness Monster had crashed a Trump rally. A lot of people were livid, others were elated. (Robert Pondiscio had the very best tackle all of it here.) Considering the fact that I’m still getting emails about it, I thought these conversation may be worth sharing.
I hopped into my Uber equally as I had been overall another heated phone conversation about Oliver’s segment.
My Uber driver explored. “I do not want to intrude,” he said. “But I simply heard you referring to John Oliver’s HBO show.”
I said, “Sure was.”
He said, “I do not know why but, soon as you get men that has a British accent, people think he’s witty. Me? I’ve never found this guy to get funny. Didn’t maintain him on The Daily Show and watch his HBO thing.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I said, “But he’s got plenty of YouTube hits. And younger people watch YouTube.”
“And these young people are watching HBO clips on YouTube to acquire up to date on education policy, are they?” he asked.
“Maybe this is not on purpose,” I said, “but they’re absorbing these horrible, misleading, and inaccurate depictions of charter schooling. It’s like drinking tap water in the wrong country, it’ll infect one’s body.”
“Hmm,” he said. He informed me he helpful to teach. He asked precisely what the commotion was information on.
I told him how Oliver had used outdated, cheap-shot anecdotes in order to smear charter schooling. I told him that any of us weren’t going to own it. That we reform types didn’t truck in cheap shots.
He said, “If Walking out to right, usually me as if you reformers utilized to take great joy in seeing traditional school districts pilloried by John Stossel and others prefer that?”
“Yeah, maybe,” I said, “but which had been different.”
“Why’s that?” he asked.
“Well, this John Oliver thing hurt students,” I said. “That stuff was just about truth-telling.”
“Oh,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Here’s a question,” he explained. “How do you really realize that Oliver much loves charter schools? He’s just doing shtick, right? Now, I’ve never watched Oliver. Having said that i used to watch Jon Stewart. When Stewart or his correspondents will make fun of Obama or of drive-through daiquiri shops in Louisiana, I didnt think he was anti-Obama or anti-daiquiri. I figured he was just being funny. Why are you all taking Oliver so seriously?”
“He’s had a lot of YouTube views,” I reminded him. “And he’s cool. People think he’s cool. They are concerned what he thinks.”
“Do you think he’s cool?” he asked.
“Not a lot of,” I said. “But I hear that others do.”
“Well, you need to hear what I think?” he asked.
I told him sure.
“I mean, I’m not a guru just like you,” he said, “but seems to me your real concern is that a lot of everyone else don’t fall for charter schools matter for these people along with kids. After all, sure, maybe it helps city people input into lousy schools, but I’m driving 60 hours one week to keep the house. I favor my kids’ schools. I paid good money to shop for my home around my school district. I’ve still never heard anyone much explain why charter schools are perfect for my kids.”
“That’s nuts,” I said. “CREDO reports serious test gains for youths in urban charters. Lots of charters have wait lists. ‘No excuses’ schools are performing excellent achievements for youngsters who’d be stored in high-poverty, broken schools.”
He researched from the mirror. “Like I said, none of that tells me why these charters are perfect for the children. I pay taxes. Frequently hard. I send my children to public schools. There’s scores of parents much like me. You convince me that charter schools are great for my kids as well as my neighborhood, too, and so i won’t provide a flip how much of an HBO comedian thinks. I’ll bet you have to numerous others.”
He paused. “Rather than worrying about the British guy, you should take more time working out why guys similar to me should give two figs about charter schools, one of many ways or another.”
“Huh,” I said. “You could be onto something.”
Frederick Hess is director of education policy studies at AEI as well as executive editor at Education Next. This initial appeared on his blog, Rick Hess Perpendicularly.