Lisa Snell (of Reason Magazine):
Schools with extreme ideology have not been a major issue in the charter school movement. Most parents choose charters because they are safer, have stronger academics and maintain more discipline and control over students. Even at the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, the ideological beliefs (not buying into progressive teaching pedagogy) are directed at the teaching staff, not the students. In fact, what critics seem to object to at American Indian is the explicit lack of ideological moments for students and the rigid focus on core academics. As controversial charter leader Ben Chavis explained about his schools' high scores, "These poor kids are doing well because we practice math and language arts. That's it. It's simple."
Ralph Shaffer, a professor at Cal Poly Pomona replies:
Lisa, your comments on the alleged beneficial impact of charters on the rest of Oakland's public schools don't justify the brainwashing that goes on at Ben Chavis' American Indian Charter schools. Furthermore, while you dismiss this as an exception, American Indian is not the only charter in which such indoctrination takes place.