"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 1, 2012

2012 Medley #11 Part 1

Vouchers, Privatization, Charters.

(There's too much for one blog entry...I'll post more when I get it organized. Part 2 will cover Testing, Class Size and Untruths.)

The attacks continue. My guess is that with the upcoming election the candidates will try to outdo each other in bashing public school teachers and public schools. The push for corporate reform (READ: a way to turn a profit no matter what the consequences) will intensify.

Here's more proof that it's not about excellence in education...just about money.

A scary (and telling) school voucher story
Gov. Bobby Jindal recently signed a new law that sets up the largest voucher program of any state in the country. It is part of a series of “reforms” that Jindal says will expand school choice for families and critics say is the broadest state assault on public education in the country.
What we're experiencing is nothing less than the attempt to privatize America's Public Education system. Keep an eye on Privatization Watch. Remember, these are the same people who brought us the economic collapse. If you liked what they did to banking, you'll love what they're going to do to public education.

Are critics justified in accusing Philadelphia schools of privatization?

The Public Schools of Philadelphia are undergoing a complete overhaul. Under the guise of improvement the schools are being turned over to edupreneurs and privateers. It's also happening in New York (and has been for years)...and Chicago.
"I got a call a couple of days ago from somebody at the New Schools Venture Fund, a venture capitalist, and they are looking at Philadelphia as a place to invest. That's because they see for-profit opportunities here in Philadelphia," said Lytle.

Will public education die in Philly?
And unfortunately there are a considerable number of people and corporations in the camp of privatization who are pursuing profits. They are promoting for-profit charter schools and for-profit online schools because they hope to make–ready for this–a profit. Money is a big motivator. They assume it is the same for everyone. They truly don’t understand people who choose to work in a profession because of idealism or a sense of purpose. That’s why they are so big on merit pay and carrots and sticks. That’s what they understand.

The death of public education in any city or district is a tragedy. Education is a public responsibility. If some choose to pay to go to non-public schools, they have the right to do so. But for the vast majority of our kids, public education is their right and our responsibility. Any who whittle away that sense of public responsibility are doing damage to our society and our kids and our future.

Crisis in PA Cracks Ed Privatization Scheme Wide Open
The fiscal crisis facing our public schools is being exploited by a movement to privatize public education, break unions and subject students to high-stakes test-prep regimes.

Chicago Public Schools plans 60 more charter schools in 5 years
But critics — prominent among them the Chicago Teachers Union — say the growth of charters signals the decline of CPS-run neighborhood schools. Additionally, state report card data released last fall suggested many charters in Chicago are performing no better than some of the same neighborhood schools. More than two dozen charters scored below district averages.

"If a new charter opens up or a charter expands, they are heavily marketed and parents are aggressively recruited," said Sarah Hainds, a researcher with the Chicago Teachers Union. "So the neighborhood schools have had a declining enrollment, and that further facilitates the excuse of why (CPS) should close down these schools. More schools will be on the chopping block."
Eventually the corporate reformers will admit that it doesn't have anything to do with children and education. When they think they have the support -- which they might very well get -- they'll come out with the truth which is that they believe in total private control of the education system in the United States. They believe that private run schools can do better than public schools, even when the proof shows otherwise.

Debate rages: Do charter students perform better than others?
...some critics question the state's seemingly unconditional support for these schools that run on taxpayer money but are free from some state education rules.

They note charters earned a disproportionate share of F's on Florida's 2011 school report card and accounted for most of the 10 worst elementary schools on Gov. Rick Scott's new school rankings. They also cite the nearly 200 that have closed since Florida's first charters opened in 1996.

Charters...enroll smaller percentages of students with disabilities and those learning English, two other groups who frequently struggle on state tests...once poverty was figured in, charters fared worse in some performance measures and did no better than traditional public schools in others.

Braun: The conservative case to save traditional public schools
[Ravitch] says she is an enemy, not of school reform, but of what she calls "corporate reform," of advocates of privatization, of "treating the public schools as if they were branch offices of a corporate enterprise, as if they were shoe stores."

Public education, she says, is "an institutional essential to American democracy" and, in cities across the country — and in the state — it faces dismantling. The closing of traditional public schools and the reopening, in their stead, of privatized charter schools...

She is especially irritated by those who contend privatizing education is "the civil rights issue of our time" — a phrase that’s used often in New Jersey.

"Can you imagine the Rev. Martin Luther King linking arms with hedge fund managers and marching for privatized schools?"

Stop the Testing Insanity!


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