Posts Tagged ‘privatization’

Lest You Think That Down-ballot Votes Are Unimportant

December 3, 2020 Leave a comment

Betsy DeVos is gone, but the legacy of her intent to introduce vouchers lives on in NH… and with the GOP in control nothing is going to stop them from implementing the plans she envisioned.

President-Elect Biden Needs to Follow NPE Recommendations if it Hopes to Restore REAL Public Education

November 25, 2020 Leave a comment

Common Dreams writer Kenny Stancil uses the White Paper from the Network for Public Education (NPE) as the basis for his article that offers a clear direction for the Biden administration to take if they hope to undo 20 years of “accountability driven school reform”. Calling on President Biden to fulfill “promised commitment to our nation’s public schools”, NPE Executive Director Carol Burris offered five clear objectives that will do just that:

  • Rebuild our nation’s public schools, which have been battered by the pandemic, two decades of failed federal policy, and years of financial neglect;

  • Reject efforts to privatize public schools, whether those efforts be via vouchers or charter schools;

  • End the era of high-stakes standardized testing—in both the immediate future and beyond;

  • Promote diversity, desegregation (both among and within schools), and commit to eliminating institutional racism in school policy and practices; and

  • Promote educational practices that are child-centered, inquiry-based, intellectually challenging, culturally responsive, and respectful of all students’ innate capacities and potential to thrive.

In the White Paper Ms. Burris also calls for sufficient funding to re-open schools in a fashion that ensures that the physical and mental health of students is addressed and the lost funding is restored. Most importantly, NPE wants schools to be governed by democratically elected officials and all programs designed to provide tuition to private and religious schools ended:

“Neighborhood public schools governed by their communities are essential to the health of our democracy and the well-being of children,” NPE noted. “We need a public education champion in the Department of Education who rejects efforts to privatize public schools, whether those efforts be via private school vouchers or charter schools.”

…the Biden administration “must oppose any congressional attempts to institute tax credit programs designed to subsidize private and religious school tuition,” which siphons much-needed resources from underfunded and unequal public schools…

Mr. Stancil’s article elaborates on the consequences of implementing the five objectives, the most far reaching of which would be the end to any and all standardized testing.

The pandemic MAY have a positive by-product: the de facto closure of school-as-we-know-it opens the door for a reinvention of public education, a reinvention that would be well served if it met the five objectives NPE sets forth…. and in doing so he could create jobs in construction and human services, empower locally elected officials to meet the unique needs of the children in their community, and build democracy back. The only losers in all of this: the venture capitalists who seek efficiency over creativity.

This Just In: Education is Difficult to Disrupt

November 23, 2020 Leave a comment

In the Forbes article below, Derek Newton reviews a new book by MIT’s Justin Reich that describes how difficult it is to disrupt public education. Mr. Newton summarizes the book’s premise in this paragraph:

Very few understand, as examples, that education simply isn’t susceptible to disruption the way some markets may be. They miss that truth because they don’t understand that education isn’t a market or, at a minimum, they misunderstand what is being bought and sold in it. They likewise routinely and predictably miss that, in nearly every example, what they are building and investing in is not new but recycled, having failed to disrupt, democratize or scale education many times before.

Newton cites a series of spectacularly bad predictions, (some of your humble blogger has echoed, albeit conditionally) to underscore the failure of edu-preneurs to disrupt schooling. If the pandemic has taught us anything about education it SHOULD have taught us that you cannot replicate the old model of schooling remotely AND that the old model on the internet amplifies the inequities that are a feature of that model. If we ever hope to disrupt education we need to disrupt our mental formation about the “need” to sort and select children into winners and losers. If we used technology to make learning constant and time and methodology variable we would accomplish the disruption the tech prophets predict want… but not the profits the marketeers are seeking.