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Mercedes Schneider: The Meteoric Rise of a TFA Alum in Charter World

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Mercedes Schneider posted a review of the meteoric rise of a young alumna of TFA. 

West Virginia Public Radio asked this young woman for her opinion of the new charter law in that state. She sharply criticized West Virginia for letting districts act as authorizers, which goes against charter school gospel that the best laws have multiple authorizers that compete to open multiple charter schools.

I read the interview, saw her picture, and I swear I thought she was 14 years old. Maybe 21, since she was a college graduate.

She is now “director for state advocacy and policy with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.”

What was her relevant experience?

She worked for Michelle Rhee in D.C. as a “program manager,” whatever that is.

She was education policy director for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, then executive director of the Alabama Coalition for Public Charter Schools. (Bentley, a very far-right Republican, resigned in 2017 because of a sex scandal.)

How many “public” charter schools are there in Alabama? Two.

Reformworld offers great career opportunities for ambitious young people. You can achieve very little, then be asked to opine on public radio about important state legislation that was designed to harm public schools.

Schneider writes:

Alabama’s charter school law allows for multiple authorizers, as NSFA notes on its “start a school –> process” page:

Groups applying to open a charter school in a district that has registered as an authorizer must first apply to the district. Should the district deny the application, applicants can appeal to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission (APCSC). The decision of the APCSC is final. Groups applying to open in a district that has not registered as an authorizer must apply directly to the APCSC.

So then, why only two charter schools in four years? Isn’t market-based reform about quantifiable results?

Why would WV pro-school-choice legislators seek advice from someone whose AL charter school policy advocacy resulted in a scant two schools in four years?

Why, indeed.

Schultz has an impressive title: director for state advocacy and policy for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

No reason to check for the substance behind it.

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