A collection of quotes from around the (mostly) education blogosphere…
CHANGE THE STATUS QUO
As a nation we’ve stopped even pretending that we’re trying to help schools with struggling students. Instead, we’re choosing to let them languish, underfunded, while we throw away needed resources on religious school vouchers or divert money to the charter school ripoff industry. Meanwhile, we’ve continued to bludgeon America’s public schools with worthless test and punish policies to “prove” that schools are failing while ignoring the real cause of low achievement in America – poverty.
That is the status quo in American public education.
From Peter Greene [emphasis added]
I would love to see a change in the rhetoric about failing schools. Instead of declaring that we will “rescue” students from failing schools and offering lifeboats for a handful of students, I’d like to change to a declaration that where we find struggling and failing schools, we will get them the support and resources that they need to become great.
THE FAILURE OF “REFORM” STRATEGIES – POVERTY
The most serious problem facing America’s public schools is still poverty.
From Paul Donnelly
Those who support for-profit charter schools are distracting the public from the real issues facing our children. America has a shameful child poverty rate (over 20 percent), communities suffer from underfunded schools, and our society has a broken criminal justice system that sends too many young people to jail instead of college. There’s no question that America’s schools need to be fixed, but more importantly, we need to fix our democracy.
THE FAILURE OF “REFORM” STRATEGIES – VOUCHERS
It has never really been about the students and their achievement. All the talk about helping poor students “escape” from the “failing” public schools has just been a smokescreen for diverting public money into church collection boxes and corporate bank accounts.
This report shows once more that vouchers don’t increase student achievement. What are the chances that “reformers” will reverse their position and work to end the transfer of tax dollars to unsuccessful voucher programs? Where are the calls for “helping children escape failing schools” now?
From Martin Carnoy, Economic Policy Institute
The report suggests that giving every parent and student a great “choice” of educational offerings is better accomplished by supporting and strengthening neighborhood public schools with a menu of proven policies, from early childhood education to after-school and summer programs to improved teacher pre-service training to improved student health and nutrition programs. All of these yield much higher returns than the minor, if any, gains that have been estimated for voucher students.
From Rob Boston, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
…these days, the battle over vouchers is primarily about ideology. The plans continue to be promoted by think tanks and politicians who don’t like public schools, public services or public anything, really. Their goal is privatization at all costs.
Call that what you will – but let’s stop pretending voucher plans are designed to help children. More than 25 years of facts, figures and statistics prove otherwise.
Click the link above to see information about the statements below.
Private school vouchers undermine public schools.
Private school vouchers don’t improve academic achievement.
Private voucher schools don’t provide the same rights and protections.
Private school vouchers don’t offer real choice.
Private school vouchers harm religious freedom.
Private voucher schools underserve students with disabilities.
Private school vouchers underserve low-income students.
Private school vouchers fail to provide accountability to taxpayers.
Private school vouchers often fund poor quality schools.
Private school vouchers do not save taxpayer money.
THE FAILURE OF “REFORM” STRATEGIES – CHOICE
Two quotes from Doug Masson. The first – “choice” ignores the concept of the public good.
From Doug Masson
Public education isn’t important merely because it serves the public, it is important because it creates the public. The school’s role as a public institution is something that often gets left out or ignored when the subject of “school choice” and vouchers are brought up. Disregard of the public school’s role in creating the public is a fundamental flaw in the “money-follows-the-child” model of funding education.
The second – “choice” is a movement based on selfishness, weakening our communities and our society.
The more we turn ourselves from members of the public into an atomized collection of individuals, the weaker our communities and democratic institutions become. Dressing up these decisions in the language of “choice” does not change this fact.
THE FAILURE OF “REFORM” STRATEGIES – PRIVATIZATION
From Chris Savage, Eclecta Blog
In a rational society, if a school is struggling, there would be a recognition of a systemic problem that needs to be dealt with. In the case of schools, that problem is invariably crippling poverty. Shutting down community schools doesn’t resolve that problem. Making these schools compete on an uneven playing field with for-profit charter schools doesn’t resolve that problem. Instead, our government should be INVESTING in schools and INVESTING in rebuilding communities. This is the only way improving our so-called “failing” schools will work.
And, let’s be clear: These schools aren’t “failing”. These schools have been FAILED.
FINLAND: A LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS
From William Doyle
In class, children are allowed to have fun, giggle and daydream from time to time. Finns put into practice the cultural mantras I heard over and over: “Let children be children,” “The work of a child is to play,” and “Children learn best through play.”