March 7, 2010
Your schools are below average, too many drop-outs, low scores on standardized tests, too many special Need kids? Or worse--your schools are doing too well. I have the answer--privatize education!
It's as easy as baking a pie and just as rewarding. Here is how it is done. First, get yourself a rich sugar-daddy foundation with a name like "Bradley"; hook up with a department in a local university; make a deal with the Political Science Department to handle polling that will promote vouchers, choice, and charter schools. Find or create a new "think tank" with a good wonkish name like "Promise Academy" or "Your State Policy Research Institute." The key word is research. Frankly, any name that includes "academy" or research will do.
Issue a policy paper from the neutral think tank condemning poor quality teachers as the problem; demand student performance be linked to teacher salaries; poo-poo any bleeding heart talk of poverty playing a role; blame school bureaucracy (that means unions) that gets in the way; demand a "choice" for parents to send their kids to a "failing public school" or the Howard-Norquist Academy.
Now get rid of the special needs kids (sure, they deserve an education but "we are not good at that so keep them in the public schools"). Believe me, that will save a lot of money!
Wake up. Just look at the Arne Duncan approach. It is a game. Guess the right door and your school wins! Guess the wrong door--oppose cuts in wage and pension benefits--and out you go!
OK, Enough. The Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) has joined forces with Jim Doyle and Tom Barrett in support of Race to the Top. "Get back in bid for better schools" hollers the WSJ editorial. WSJ, like Governor Doyle, blames the "risk-averse" legislators and even the teachers union for getting nothing in round one of Duncan's game.
Nonsense. Call for a summit meeting of people who understand public education, meet in open sessions, adopt a thoughtful program, and then stop pointing fingers and do something.
Duncan thinks that if you meet resistance from those clinging to the status quo, fire all of the teachers. Recruit new teachers. Oh boy, pie is in the oven!
You know the rest. Give Arne Duncan the sugar- stick and what have ya got? A race to the top! Ya-WAHOO! HUZZAH! Dream like a Democrat, but act like a Republican. Dismiss comments that the charter movement reminds us of the South's response to Brown vs. Education. Sure, the taxpayer-supported private schools are "better" but not "equal," but so what? Whoa Nelly.
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When schools fail, prisons and unemployment lines do better.
Education. Education. Education. Why is society so niggardly when it comes to providing for education? The educated child is our future and the promise of a better world. Teachers are key to getting there.
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, WI | March 7, 2010
When I was a student in the dark ages of the fifties and sixties the only authority in the classroom was the teacher.
Miss Austin, Mr. Vitucci and Mr. Mosley would have told Arne Duncan and the President to buzz off.
The teachers set the lesson plan and graduation rates were close to 100%. The amazing thing is all those graduating could read, write and cipher, to boot.
It appears that the school systems, now exist for the Superintendents, Congress and the President, not the students.
Like those at the top like to say, "if there was a better way to do it I would already have thought of it".
Top down only works with convertibles. It doesn't work with education or economics.
-Vince | Little Chicago, WI | March 7, 2010
WI is heading the way of R.I. The takeover would give the Mayor power over Milwaukee schools (hire/fire). Milwaukee would be the catalyst for the rest of the state and the Gov. would be the one to hire/fire. My God we are going back to the days when teachers could not teach because of too little money. These bureaucrats want to fire everyone and hire at minimum wage. What is happening in R.I. Are the kids even in school?
-Kathleen Hart | Greendale, WI 53129 | March 10, 2010