Despite the fact that NEA and AFT “endorsed” Hillary Clinton, she is not, IMHO, a strong supporter of public education.
Her math mistake in Iowa (misunderstanding the meaning of average) notwithstanding, she believes that closing schools will help…well…somehow. She said,
Now, I wouldn’t keep any school open that wasn’t doing a better than average job. If a school’s not doing a good job, then, you know, that may not be good for the kids.”
Like other politicians, she believes that closing a school solves problems which result in low achievement. For the most part those problems are based on high levels of poverty. Schools with large numbers of high poverty students need more support. More support equals more tax money. Closing public schools to open charters, or diverting money to private schools through vouchers won’t solve the problems. Shifting students from one school to another won’t solve the problems. Blaming teachers and parents for the low income of families in a school neighborhood won’t solve the problems. What Mrs. Clinton should have said was, “Instead of closing schools we need to bring people out of poverty and provide more support for schools with students who struggle.”
Arne Duncan, when he was CEO of Chicago Public Schools, closed “failing” schools. He then diverted public funds to charter schools. Some of those newly opened, “Duncan” schools were, in turn, closed by Rahm Emanuel, when he closed “failing schools.”
The problem is not that Hillary Clinton made a math mistake or doesn’t understand the meaning of average. The problem is that she wants to attack low achievement through closing schools.
Here’s a short reading list for her…for all candidates, actually.
Because we’re in the middle of an election cycle there is lots of discussion about Hilary’s comments. Here are a couple of other articles to read.