Monday, March 23, 2015

GOP selling Chumps on School Choice.

How is it that kids in Wisconsin's failing public schools continue to rank second nationwide on the ACT college readiness exams? Surprise, our schools aren't failing. It's all marketing. Advocates will tell you enrollment is increasing, but that's a distraction from what really counts, their overall student test scores. Again, it's just marketing.  

A recent report found that urban charter schools did better than their public counterparts in Milwaukee, more so in math than in reading. But there's a reason they topped MPS:
jsonline: The study notes that traditional public schools in Milwaukee serve about 6% more children with special needs than charter schools … students with disabilities generally have lower achievement … there was still potential for more motivated parents to wind up in the charter school side … Todd Ziebarth, senior VP for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, also said "…you have buy-in from families and staff" in charter schools that is often harder to create in traditional urban schools”.
Despite these important caveats, a few Republicans were quick to reshape and propagandize the study:
Charter schools are helping to expand access to quality education, by Republicans Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Dale Kooyenga: Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes recently found that students in Milwaukee charter schools are outperforming their peers in Milwaukee Public Schools. We should be expanding access to quality schools — not trying to regulate them out of business. 
Instead, Darling and Kooyenga want to regulated public schools our of business. The 2 to 1 gains for charters in urban regions suggest that if we just got rid of special needs students, and only accepted students pushed by motivated parents, we’d be in pretty good shape. Still, who's comfortable with three parallel school systems watering down a serious investment in education?

Both Darling and Kooyenga are also hoping you don’t read much, because there are two new studies about education that will prove it's all about commercializing education and commodifying our kids, not improving it. 
Study #1: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), looks at the international tests that rank students worldwide in reading, math, and science … the report shows that in schools with less than 25 percent poverty rates, American children scored higher in reading than any other children in the world. In. The. World. Our middle-class and wealthy public school children are thriving. Poor children are struggling with all the well-documented handicaps; poor prenatal care, developmental delays, hunger, illness, homelessness, emotional and mental illnesses, and so on.

Study #2: The United States is, by far, the wealthiest and best-educated of the nine G-7 countries studied by the Horace Mann League and National Superintendents Roundtable, yet it posts some of the worst measures of economic inequality, social stress, and support for young families. For policymakers, the report says, “Celebrate the success of schools while helping address some of the out-of-school issues that challenge educators, communities, and young people every day. Encourage rather than withhold funds for research in the social, behavior, and economic sciences to advance the well-being of the nation’s people.
And unlike Scott Walker, who successfully vilified educators and parents who were protesting Act 10, we should instead be listening to those closest to our kids:
If policy makers were to listen to educators – and to students and parents – they would hear that the real crisis in public education is the loss of our collective commitment to the common good. If we continue to make the kinds of choices that steer resources away from our neediest students, the false narrative of failing public schools will become a sad reality.
If businesses exist to make a profit, then why wouldn't education take a back seat to those profits? That’s exactly what’s happening, big surprise:
The new charter school movement is a compilation of money, marketing and the mistaken use of the free market theory … The word has gotten out that charter schools are huge money making machines. Corporate and education management companies are raking in millions from the taxpayer … you might want to start paying attention to the huge amount of taxpayer dollars these companies are consuming with no transparency and no accountability. Your hard-earned dollars are disappearing into a black hole.

Simply google “Charter school issues in Michigan 2015” or “Charter school issues in Ohio 2015” to find out why these states are trying to change a trend that includes low-performing charter schools and out-of-control charter management companies. Money, money, money is controlling the new movement.

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