In a 6-1 vote, the Los Angeles City Board of Education decided to turn over 250 of its schools over to charter and other private operators. I'll definitely watch this story unfold with tremendous interest. Although I don't really understand all the ramifications of such a decision. I have to ask: Is This Wrong?
Is turning schools to charter groups and/or private operators going to foster competition and if so, is that a bad thing?
Will this help turn teaching into a profession where innovation is rewarded?
Do the teachers' unions actually have students' best interests at heart?
Who stands to profit from this? And do these folks care about education as much as they care about making money?
Some have said that this is a direct result of high stakes testing and the one-size-fits-all philosophy of education that inevitibly Leaves Children Behind.
But were we doing such a good job before NCLB and the high stakes test?
I don't know, but I'm curious.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Is This Wrong?
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I realize this will make me sound like a crackpot, but I tend to see every development like this justifying my own little conspiracy theory about how wealthy industrialists want to push the Unwashed Masses further toward ignorance and compliance. Relentless testing, cutting all learning except rote skills, and opening charter schools that hire new teachers, work them to the breaking point, and spit them out a few years later allowing none to become experienced and powerful enough to push back, are all evidence. Certain politicians and lobbying groups have the explicit goal of dismantling the department of education. They've already done away with the school board in NYC. And on it goes. It might be inevitable that public education is a failed experiment, and quality education, in learning that preserves power and wealth, will be reserved for people who can afford it. And it will have a huge price tag.
Remember...Liberal Arts are called Liberal Arts because "liber" means "free", and they were reserved for the free people of antiquity. They taught slaves skills that would make them useful - computation, reading, construction, engineering... but they reserved critical thinking, persuasive rhetoric, and reasoning for free citizens.
I don't think that makes you a crackpot at all. I don't know what the answer is either. The one thing I do know is that the more people that have a hand in education, the more ineffecient it becomes. I am not sure the the dept. of ed is such a good thing. National standards? Not sure about those either. In the end, there has to be some accountability, but at what cost?
Old timers will say we need to get back to basics, but was our education system that great when our parents were in school? Can the stuff that Chris Lehmann is doing at SLA be accomplished on a national level?
Is it possible NCLB is about setting schools up for failure so that the political backlash is so severe that the voters demand choice and something different. Would that be a bad thing? Who knows?
[...] I read a recent comment by Kate where she wonders if she's a crackpot for having conspiracy theories about industrialists' [...]
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