At least that may be the case Monday night, April 29, when documentary film maker Mark Hall of Austin, TX, comes to Washington County high school in Chatom to screen his movie, KILLING ED. This will be in the school auditorium at 6:15 p.m. Those I talk to expect an overflow crowd.
I plan to be there early.
As any of you good readers who have been on this blog in the last few weeks know, Washington County is all worked up about the prospect of a brand new charter school, Woodland Prep, coming to the county. After going to Washington County and after talking to many people there, there is no doubt in my mind that the great majority of the good folks there are opposed to the charter.
One of the primary reasons is that the school has signed a management agreement with Unity School Services in Texas, a company set up by Soner Tarim. He is associated with the very controversial Gulen charter school movement. Hall spent five years documenting the underbelly of the Gulen movement. The movie, which is widely-acclaimed, tells a fascinating story that few in this country know about Gulen schools.
(The Lead Academy charter planned for Montgomery also has a management agreement with Tarim.)
After the screening Hall will have a question and answer session with the audience. This should be very, very interesting.
The Woodland Prep application was reviewed by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Their recommendation was that it not be approved. However, the charter commission ignored this advice and voted for approval. With all I have learned in the last few weeks, it is hard to believe that the charter commission did its due diligence on this application. And the fact that there are no members of the commission from rural Alabama is evident that these good folks have little understanding of why rural communities and charters seldom fit together.