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Friday, November 23, 2012

Competition Cures All!

Posted by on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Why won't education reformers ever learn?

For the past three decades, one administration after another has sought to fix America’s troubled schools by making them compete with one another. Mr. Obama has put up billions of dollars for his Race to the Top program, a federal sweepstakes where state educational systems are judged head-to-head largely on the basis of test scores. Even here in Texas, nobody’s model for educational excellence, the state has long used complex algorithms to assign grades of Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Unacceptable to its schools.

So far, such competition has achieved little more than re-segregation, long charter school waiting lists and the same anemic international rankings in science, math and literacy we’ve had for years.

And yet now, policy makers in both parties propose ratcheting it up further — this time, by “grading” teachers as well.

Of course, there is an education reform that everybody agrees works—one proven to achieve lifelong results, and return tens of dollars to taxpayers for every dollar spent—high quality universal preschool. But that costs money upfront, so shhhh... instead we'll just rely on the magic of free market reforms like charter schools and merit pay.


Comments (8) RSS

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actually, many are for funding universal preschool AND universal health care AND ending violence in the worst neighborhoods AND jobs for all AND reforming education including some kind of merit system -- since no one in life should be insulated from review -- and yes, having a few charters won't kill you too. what's interesting about the position of "let's fund universal preschool" is the wea isn't actually out there pushing for that as the solution. i didn't notice them leading the high earner income tax movement either. and btw, it's harder to get support for more funding for schools, if at the same time there's the tenure system that is detached from merit and that protects the worst teachers and rewards them the same as the best. no profession should be immune from performance standards of some kind. should it be a test, I don't think that's the be all and end all but part of the test should be "are these students doing better, or not?" in some form. and btw how exactly is ed reform to blame for segregation? we all accepted that by having urban school districts be separate from suburban ones in rich neighborhoods.
Posted by tar brush much? on November 23, 2012 at 9:47 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
Maybe our politicians should spend time talking about reform with educators instead of corporate masters?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on November 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
they just "conversed" with educators known as "parents" or "voters." who approved charters here in washington state.

tagging one side as "educators" like they have special status is simply bias. tagging the other side as "corporate paymasters" is also bias.

btw, how many of the liberal legislators going to DC who set up their kids living there, who are supported by teachers unions, actually send their kids to the public schools inside DC? i would venture: not a one.
Posted by educators schmeducators on November 23, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
We must chastise Goldy for using misnomers like "reformer" when he means Wall Street stooges and the lackeys of the corporate privatizers. It's never been about reform of any sort, only wealth extraction and theft.
Posted by sgt_doom on November 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
As I am an educator, I would like to throw my two cents in. Most of the great reformers, including our president came out of those horrible public schools. I find it amazing that we tend to forget this point. I would also like to say that I believe that like the heath care business in this country who only makes money if we are sick and so is never interested in that socialist plot of preventive care, the so-called broken school system is 'broken' in large part because 'fixing' these schools has become a multi-billion dollar business where profits are only possible as long as we keep identifying 'failing' schools. What if all that money were really invested in schools? what kind of change could we make? Yes, there are improvements to be made, but until we accept that a large part of the leaning gap is due to the fact that 25% of our children are being raised in poverty and that a large number of parents, rich and poor, have pretty much abdicated their role of parent, we will continue investing in the wrong place and insuring one day that one of the greatest strengths of this country, a universal, public school system, will disappear like it has in a lot of Latin American countries. in those places, the quality of your children's education is directly dependent on your ability to pay out of your pocket.
Posted by kevin11 on November 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
litlnemo 6
I don't know if Obama ever attended any public k-12 schools, but he graduated from Punahou, which is very much NOT public.
Posted by litlnemo on November 23, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
@6- He went to American public school for kindergarten, and Indonesian public school while he lived there, so it certainly is disingenuous to call him "a product of public schools."

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was the opposite: private Catholic school for kindergarten, public schools the rest of the way. I think you could safely call him a product of American public schools.
Posted by alguna_rubia on November 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM · Report this
watchout5 8
It's like that movie Waiting for Superman. If you give only a few kids a chance at a future you'll end up with only a few kids getting a chance at a future.
Posted by watchout5 on November 24, 2012 at 5:46 AM · Report this

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