I hate to say it about so many sincere and desperate parents, but it looks like a whole bunch of them were suckered in to celebrate National School Choice Week. Who the hell made this a national week anyway?
Wasn't it ironic to see school choice advocates celebrating their week at the state Capitol, asking Republicans to spend more on vouchers, at the same time the UW took a $300 million hit. They thought nothing of it:
As I've mentioned many times, school choice plays off the fears and insecurities every parent has about their kids; that they may not doing enough. Simple isn't it? So when parents hear the sell job, they leap at the chance. It also appeals to those who believe religion should be taught in schools. All the wrong reasons. The con is this; they'll tout the growing numbers of kids taking vouchers, but not their grades. Sure the numbers will increase with a good advertising campaign, based on a parents fears, but is it working?
Destroying the myth of choice schools: From Raw Story...the truth:
Wow! Check out the fancy website for National School Choice Week. It’s polished, it’s colorful; it features kids of all races with bright smiling faces. They even have their own dance! The videos are tearjerkers.
1. There are no data that support the idea that charter schools are superior to public schools. According to Data First, an initiative of the Center for Public Education, on math assessments 17% of kids in charter schools perform significantly better than their peers in public schools. But 37% perform significantly worse. For the rest (46%), scores were comparable.
2. Unlike public schools, charters can pick and choose their students. Children with special needs are not chosen. According to Diane Ravitch in her book, The Myth of the Charter School, some charter schools “counsel out” or expel students just before state testing day. Lower-performing students tend to mysteriously drop out. Throws that “better performing” 17% into serious question, doesn’t it?
3. Children who are better resourced with more family support are the winners in the school choice game. Children from disorganized families don’t even enter the lottery.
4. It’s family income, stupid.
5. Public schools are doing just fine. The idea that our schools are falling behind and our students will not be able to compete globally is, according to a number of education experts, off base. Diane Ravitch, among others, has written that the notion that American students’ scores on international tests have declined is a myth. A recent article by Ken Bernstein highlights the point that poverty is the real issue, noting that, “US schools with less than 25% of their children in poverty perform as well as any nation [on international comparisons], and those with 10% or less of their children in poverty outperform Finland.” School Choice Week is basically a giant commercial, paid for by a huge list of corporate sponsors. It’s pushing a product.