"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Education Reformer UNMASKED as he Veers from the School Choice Talking Points. It's Quite Revealing.

Jay P. Greene's blog had an article about the WSJ bucking the teachers' unions and siding with school choicers entitled WSJ: Council on Foreign Relations Endorses School Choice:

But the real story is how much progress the reform movement has made when pillars of the establishment are willing to endorse a choice movement that would have been too controversial even a few years ago.

A few readers concerned about the school choice reforms presently being pursued made comments and were quickly discounted and dismissed by two readers.  Apparently not being astute enough to understand how uninformed I am, Allen (a supporter of charter schools and the school choice movement) and I engaged in a few exchanges.

If you read this blog, you know our concern about much of the school choice presented as choice is not authentic choice.  It's public school in a different building with different players, but it's still the same blueprint for education....common core standards and RTTT (or RTTT like mandates).  It's publicly funded but privately managed.  Think Solyndra.  I wrote:

I believe I’m actually talking about how PUBLIC schools should operate, and how they have no PUBLIC input, save for taxpayer money and the children the taxpayers provide to prop up a failed system.

I must have hit a nerve with Allen because in his last meaningful exchange about why I was so opposed to this quasi public-private partnership and that taxpayers/parents still had no significant or meaningful say in PUBLIC education for which they pay for, Allen responded:

“What charters should or shouldn’t be doing is none of your concern.  (emphasis added by MEW).  It’s the business of the people who open/run them and that’s where the responsibility ought to be. Parents can decide whether they like how a particular charter is run or not, as they choose, but third parties who have no immediate stake in the operation of the school have no good, educationally-relevant reason to mix in. They may have the power, and thus feel entitled to engage in a bit of dictatorial activity, but they’re unlikely to create a better result then the people who started/run the school. Certainly they won’t have as urgent an interest in making the school a success.”

Dear Readers, in my opinion, there you have the underlying belief of the education reformers in one paragraph.  Stunning, isn't it?  Here's part of my response:

You ARE an elitist, aren’t you? Unless you have forgotten, charters are PUBLICLY funded. They certainly ARE a concern of the taxpayers. Just who do you think you are? Are you allowed to give taxpayer money to private operators to let them operate in any way they think is appropriate and it’s none of the public’s business? Sounds like Solyndra! The government uses our money for private investing, the money is wasted on a failed project and the public shouldn’t be concerned and has no immediate stake in how that money was used?

Total arrogance. I believe you are the dictator in this argument. PRIVATE schools have no public scrutiny and they should not as they are PRIVATELY funded by PRIVATE money. Charters are not privately funded, just privately managed. Big difference.

The lesson I learned, when talking to education reformers, ask these questions before debating school choice options:

  • Should the government be funding private companies to deliver programs assumed to be a purview of the government to provide? 
  •  If the government insists on using public money for private companies to deliver services, do taxpayers have an inherent right to know how this money is being spent, or do you believe third parties who have no immediate stake in the operation of the school have no good, educationally-relevant reason to mix in?
Maybe you'll get lucky and run into Allen (so you can ask him himself) who I suspect just put in writing what the elite education reformers really think about taxpayers, parents and students....while using public money for their private gain. 


1 comment:

  1. This is why taxpayers should be concerned.



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