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A Reality Check as National Choice Week Winds Down

January 30, 2015

National Choice Week, described by AlterNet blogger Laurie Levy as “…a giant commercial, paid for by a huge list of corporate sponsors (that) is a misrepresentation designed to make me want it.”

In her blog post on this faux celebration”5 Devastating Facts“, Levy undercuts the claims of the pro-school-choice crowd with five documented assertions, all of which have been addressed in prior posts on this blog:

1. There are no data that support the idea that charter schools are superior to public schools.

2. Unlike public schools, charters can pick and choose their students.

3. Children who are better resourced with more family support are the winners in the school choice game.

4. It’s family income, stupid.

5. Public schools, in some communities, are doing just fine.

 

By the end of her blog posts, Levy concludes that she’s not buying ANY of it.

Peter Greene, whose Curmudgucation blog is aptly named, offers NINE things people should know about school choice in his most recent post. The 9 things are paraphrased below:

  1. Poll data supporting charters is suspect
  2. Only .2% of the students are using vouchers to attend private schools (note the decimal!)
  3. Half of the all of the charter schools in the US are in four states: TX, FL, AZ, and CA
  4.  The “grading system” used by the “Center for Education Reform” is suspect at best.
  5. The 8 states that disallow charters (ND, SD, MT, NE, VT, WV, AL and KY) lack “…juicy urban profit centers”
  6. 1,036 of the 6,700 charter schools that opened since 1992 have already closed
  7. …(T)here are no conclusive studies showing that charters do it better (than public schools)
  8. The Resolution recognizing National School Choice Week was “…sponsored by Tim Scott (Rep-SC) with ten co-sponsors including Ted Cruz , Rand Paul, and Dianne Feinstein” , an interesting list by any standard!
  9. In the last election cycle “pro-school-choice” candidates won in every election except PA, where “…Tom Corbett, who arguably could have been beaten by my dog” was defeated.

Greene’s gloomy conclusion is that the facts may not win out in the end:

It’s not necessary for the things to be true, or even supported by facts– just keep repeating them uncritically and without argument, and eventually, they stick.

I hope Peter Greene’s final paragraph is wrong… but…. after 35 years we “know” that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem! And we “know” that regulations strangle innovation and the market place should decide what’s best.  Alas, the very creation of “National School Choice Week” seems to support Mr. Greene. Here’s hoping his facts and those of other bloggers can help change the public’s view of their schools.

Categories: Uncategorized
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