Tuesday, August 18, 2009

G-Bitch is correct. In fact, neither Obama nor McCain had much going in the way of an education policy, it's just that McCain was much more vocal about his lack of it earlier on than Obama was (does citing the reformation of the New Orleans schools as an example to follow ring a bell?). In that respect, Obama provided a good blueprint for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings: look smarter, don't react on impulse, let others bloviate away, and when you open your mouth, choose your words carefully. CHANGE was not gonna extend to public education in this country.

Another delusion-assumption—that whatever was happening in schools before this moment sucked and needs to be blown away. It starts with the same assumptions as the conservative/privatization wing of the charter “movement”—that all public schools are bad, partly because they are public and public structures and entities never work; that teachers are only defending their turf, not arguing over best practices and pedagogy; that regulation is “bad” and “competition” is “good”; that removing regulations and mandates on schools improves what happens in the classroom; that private for-profit business is superior at running everything; and private schools are better because they are private [and charter schools are better because they are not public and therefore more like private schools].

Is competition bad? Not necessarily. But what does that really translate into on the ground? Parents applying to multiple schools if they can afford to, economically or time-wise. Open recruiting via phone and neutral-ground signs. Equipment “fees” at “free public charter schools.” Teachers without collective bargaining or tenure. Multiple foundations, boards, and associations with advice and teachers to distribute and salaries and consulting fees to collect. Education management organizations, for-profit.

Are NOLA schools better? And why? Which are better? Which schools are the innovators and shakers that will bring new best practices and pedagogy to not just charter schools but RSD, OPSB and charter schools? Is there a mechanism for sharing best practices? What exactly does “college prep” mean and does it meant the same thing at each school and what does it mean in the face of the new career diploma?

Hell of a way to start my son's first day of first grade, but I did have to lug $100+ worth of school supplies in and sign him up for after care, which will be costing us another $100/month. I know that the Urban League, as well as the Evangelical Lutheran youth groups that came to town last month, can assist with the school supplies situation, and the first grade teacher keeps up with when there are sales at the stores on supplies. I know having a child is not inexpensive in this day and age, but something has got to change.

So... second question of the Rising Tide contest (rules here):

John McCain referred to two teacher training organizations in that infamous debate in which New Orleans' educational system was cited by him as an example for the nation. What are the organizations?

Congratulations to Ricardo, who got the correct answer to yesterday's question! Once you have answered a question correctly, though, you must lay off and give others a chance for the rest of the week. BUT I owe you $5, Ricardo. 8-)

1 comment:

G Bitch said...

I'll try: Teach for America and The New Teacher Project