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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh, Well, If the Teachers Unions Are Involved, It Obviously Can't Work

Posted by on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Public schools are attempting to innovate, but the serious people remain dubious:

In the next few weeks, a district-union committee will recommend which Seattle schools should become Creative Approach Schools next fall — schools that, like charters, will have the flexibility to try new ways to raise the achievement of students, especially those from poor families.

[...] Yet those high hopes stand alongside skepticism and concern, most of which has focused on just who controls the program and how.

A union-district committee designed much of the program, without as much board and public input as some thought should occur.

[...] Charter-school supporters are dubious as well, saying Creative Approach Schools will be charter-lite schools, without full control over their staffing or curriculum.

Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. My daughter went to a Montessori program within a Seattle public school. The flexibility to innovate has always been there. There's nothing particularly magical about it. Unless, of course, by "innovation," what you're really talking about is crushing the teachers unions.

 

Comments (16) RSS

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1
"Unless, of course, by "innovation," what you're really talking about is crushing the teachers unions."

Bingo.

Posted by maverjoe on December 4, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
2
What journalism. All of the skepticism is expressed by the writer, not by anyone who was interviewed (or at least quoted).
Posted by Charlie Mas on December 4, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
@1 for the Insightful Win.

My son went to a private Montessori daycare, and then Montessori at a public school.

The only thing broken is funding, and the tax exemptions of the property base (yeah, those billionaires and millionaires) that hollow out the school funding base to subsidize rich peoples' hobbies.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on December 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Rotten666 4
Wills got kids?!
Posted by Rotten666 on December 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
5
You might also add that when talking about innovation and charter schools, you really mean identifying creative ways of diverting and concentrating public tax money into the pockets of the CEO class.
Posted by screed on December 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
6
"Innovation" is always only ever a euphemism for "new ways to cheat my way into even more money."
Posted by tired and true on December 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
seandr 7
Come on, Goldy, it doesn't matter if you are liberal or conservative - unions are a mixed bag at best.

They may be necessary to prevent worker exploitation, but they also make employees completely unaccountable to the people they serve, in this case the students and their parents. If this isn't obvious to you, just look at the Police Officer's Guild.

I once went to a conference to exhibit my software, and was forced to carry my equipment from the conference floor back to my car so that a fatass Teamster could wheel it back in on his cart with me walking right beside him for $200. What's worse, the fucker's cart hit a bump, causing my flat screen monitor to fall off and land on the parking lot. Fortunately, it wasn't damaged, or there'd have been a bunch forms for me to fill out, resulting in me getting reimbursed a maximum of 15% of cost or $150, whichever is lower.

Fuck unions.
Posted by seandr on December 4, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
8
Lets remember that Bezos himself and the head lawyer from Microsoft -who has recently sucked up to Inslee- both lead the charge for no state income tax when we had the chance to properly fund education.

I don't want to hear a word from either of those companies as to why WA education doesn't provide more innovation or better outcomes. These corporate takers starve, not enrich, our kids' learning. Dicks.
Posted by gator bait on December 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
seandr 9
P.S. Based on my experience with a private school that was effectively run by teachers after the search for a new head dragged on for 6 years, it's a bad idea to leave the choice of curricula, especially math, entirely up to teachers. They tend to pick programs that are more "fun" to teach, regardless of effectiveness.
Posted by seandr on December 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Catherwood 10
@9 You may be right about that, but the counter-argument is the math materials used in SPS. They. Are. Horrible.

I tutor math at a Seattle public school, and the first thing I have to do is bring in textbooks that are, you know, useful. (And to connect this up to Paul's post about "common core standards" above, the CC math standards are not in fact curriculum standards: they're materials standards. Ugh!)
Posted by Catherwood on December 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 11
That's what this is all about. Destroying the teachers unions.They'll destroy the goose that laid the golden egg in the process.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
12
To note:

- the Creative Approach school idea had - at first - cut out oversight by the School Board ENTIRELY and the Board agreed to it. Luckily, parents said no to this nonsense, took them to court and yes, the Court agreed that the duly-elected Board did need to oversee these schools.

- the agreement only says parents have a peripheral role but they have NO say over what the school becomes. The Creative Approach can be at ANY school so if your neighborhood school decides on Montessori or any other kind of specialty school (which is now just an option choice in SPS), you are stuck. And, SPS has a neighborhood assignment plan so you are mostly stuck.

It is troubling how little parents are part of this decision-making.

- Only union reps and district staff are on the approval committee (which submits proposals to the Board for their review). No parents, no community group members, no one else gets to make these decisions.

As for "charter lite", anyone who believes that the majority of teachers or principals at most charter schools have control of the academic destiny of the school they work at is just plain wrong. There is no evidence to support that claim.
Posted by westello on December 4, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
13
that is EXACTLY what we are talking about. asshole.
Posted by we will crush the unions. on December 4, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
Steven Bradford 14
Will it cost less?

Or at least appear to be "reform" while not costing anything?

That is the sum total of what the education reform movement is about, saving money. Not improving education.
Posted by Steven Bradford http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ on December 4, 2012 at 9:02 PM · Report this
15
What I find funny is that 'creative' schools already exist in SPSD. I went to one, AS#1. It was a great school for me and I blame my success as a person who is paid to be creative on it.
Posted by CbytheSea on December 4, 2012 at 10:02 PM · Report this
seandr 16
@10: but the counter-argument is the math materials used in SPS

Those materials were chosen by the school board, not teachers. I guess the lesson there is that curriculum decisions shouldn't be left entirely to school boards either.
Posted by seandr on December 4, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this

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