Monday, June 20, 2011

A Lesson For Moronic School Voucher Advocates

I happened to glance at my parents' local rag - The Worcester Telegram (owned by NYT!) - last weekend.

Apparently some new *charter school* in town had a disastrous start. In fact after much infighting and a good number of serious complaints they ended up voting out the school's founder after just the first year!

This all makes good copy PLUS it's fodder for the cadre of *institutional* charter school critics.

I mean not only are charter schools anti-union....they are also NEW. Novel ideas (a new Fenway Park?) don't stand a chance in ultra-conservative, illiberal Massachusetts.

One buffoon from the Telegram waxed curious about this particular failure:

On paper, the Spirit of Knowledge Charter School, whose mission is to "create value in the lives of students and others through high-standards academic learning," seems to represent great promise for the present and future of public education.

The school’s board of trustees is ethnically diverse, with white, black, Latino and Asian members.
Okay. Someone tell me WTBleep an *ethnically diverse* board has to do with optimal academic education?

So you see, these edu-innovations are still hamstrung by old, failed thinking.

There was a great moment in the Mass 3-way gubernatorial debate a couple of years ago when complete Moron Christy Mihos started trashing the $hit out of *charter schools* and extolling public schools. Opponent Kerry Healey delivered a staggering retort when she interrupted him, "Christy, CHRISTY....CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS!". The audience erupted in applause.

Of course they will both be right eventually. Charter schools will fail just like forced busing, *magnet schools*, and every other government edu-innovation (oxymoron!).

Quite frankly, the *libertarian* and Republican voucher crowd drive me NUTS. There's absolutely no way you can tinker with the system and de-politicize it. They'll make laws that vouchers can only be spent at schools that are unionized; that have *diverse* staffs; that offer grotesquely expensive *special ed*; etc. I don't know. But whatever they do they'll most certainly screw it up royally as they are with some charter schools these days. We already, for all intents and purposes, have a voucher system for colleges and that has done nothing to eliminate poor schools/majors, rein in costs, or de-politicize admission.

Vouchers are what I'd call a typical Republican/conservative issue. It would never work in practice but that's not the point. The point is for it to serve as an issue that will contrast constituents from their only other political opponent. A pro-kids and anti-union marketing package - what could be better!

Our educational problems run deep and are structural. Simply smacking down unions a bit won't do anything other than, perhaps, defund the Republicans' opposition a bit.

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