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View Diary: Why Democrats Should Oppose Parent Trigger Laws (46 comments)

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  •  Parent Trigger is 1 of those ideas that sound good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, Trotskyrepublican

    ... until you look at what's really involved and how it tends to work (or not work) in practice.

    At first glance, it's difficult to argue with the concept that empowering parents to have more influence over the schools their children attend is a positive step in the right direction. After all, who could be against giving those with the biggest stake in education outcomes a stronger voice in the decision making that directly affects the students who have no voice of their own?

    Unfortunately, on closer examination, you see that, if left to their own devices, parents are just as -- if not more -- likely to completely screw up the schools they want to improve. Oh, they mean well, but they are understandably focused on what is best for their own offspring and are usually quite willing to sacrifice the education of other children as the price that they think must be paid for catering to the special interests and needs of their boys and girls. This tends to result in situations where the parents with the most income, and therefore, time, to spend influencing their local schools get more of what they want at the expense of students with parents who are not as well off.

    I am no believer in the cult of experts, but sometimes it really does make sense to listen to the professionals, and especially experienced classroom teachers, over the opinions of folks who are blind to issues such as figuring out how to use each school's limited resources to give everybody the best chance possible to obtain a decent education.

    Long ago, back when I was a newspaper reporter covering the education beat for a year at one of the 10 biggest school districts in the country, I still recall something a high-income, middle-aged mother said about a plan to rezone her kids to a different school altogether. Her words were, "Parents invest everything they have in their children. That's why they will do everything they can for them."

    That is very admirable indeed. But multiplied by thousands of students' parents, it's a crazy way to make choices on curricula, class sizes, teacher evaluations, overall staffing, etc. Perhaps it's time to re-examine the role we want public schools to play now. I always thought it was to do the greatest good for the greatest number of students possible, not reward the few over the many.

    •  "1 of those ideas that sound good" (0+ / 0-)

      Kind of like No Child Left Behind?

    •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

      Additionally, there's a trick embedded in the scheme - the limited set of changes that can be "triggered."

      There might actually be a good idea in there somewhere - but it would have to involve a much more open-ended process that involves the parents somehow.

      “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

      by jrooth on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 04:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rich parents already... (0+ / 0-)

      ...get the best. They do so without triggers.

      "...parents are just as -- if not more -- likely to completely screw up the schools they want to improve...and are usually quite willing to sacrifice the education of other children...This tends to result in situations where the parents with the most income, and therefore, time, to spend influencing their local schools get more of what they want..."
      This is true for 99% of education in America. The rich parents have already fled to the suburbs and the private schools. Trigger laws offer those left in the inner cities a chance to have at least some influence over their schools. Currently we have none.

      Maybe we will "screw it up". That is a possibility. But it cannot be much worse that what we have now.

      •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

        "Trigger laws offer those left in the inner cities a chance to have at least some influence over their schools."

        Did you read the post? Did you click through to the link on Montgomery County schools that are closing the achievement gap? Do you have any evidence whatsoever of parent trigger laws producing positive change? Traditional public schools do produce positive change when there is a collective will in the community to press for this. All these other "reforms" are just a distraction from the matter at hand.

        •  Parent trigger laws... (0+ / 0-)

          ...produce positive change.

          The threat of these trigger laws will force Entrenched Interests to allow more charter schools.

          Remember, Trigger Vote will always fail if there is a charter school nearby. If the charter is bad, parents won't want to duplicate it. If the charter is good, parents will just switch their kid to it.

          You write:

          "Traditional public schools do produce positive change when there is a collective will in the community to press for this."
          Well, yeah. Anything can be done if we have a "collective will in the community". But in my inner-city neighborhood, we don't have that will. What we do have are 51% of parents (Not "the community". Parents.) who are not strong enough to fight The System, but are strong enough to muster a Trigger Vote. Just the threat that we might do so would make The System pay more attention to us.

          Give us the power. Don't stand in the schoolhouse door.

          •  "Don't stand in the schoolhouse door." (0+ / 0-)

            Oh, please. It was segregationists who stood in the school house door. And charter schools are way more segregated than traditional public schools. And there's no evidence that "more charter schools" has any benefit whatsoever to poor kids. Keep up with the talking points though!

            •  Charter schools... (0+ / 0-)

              ...are not more segregated.

              Look at a rich suburban Public school. Note the color of the children.

              Then look at a poor inner-city Public school. Once again, note the color of the children.

              Our public school system enforces segregation by linking your school to where you live.

              This is the dirty secret of the anti-reform movement. Reforms like Charters, Triggers, etc. are aimed at empowering poor families.  They are opposed by a cadre of white-collar professionals who often commute from the suburbs to teach in our neighborhoods.

              If the schools in the Bronx were better, there would be no reason for the existence of Westchester County. Suburban property values would plummet. Upper-middle-class kids would lose some of the advantages better schools provide them.

              Threatening to make inner-city schools better is threatening Class Warfare.

              •  well, there are these things called facts (0+ / 0-)

                http://www.democracynow.org/...

                "A new study by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project suggests charter school growth is increasing classroom segregation. Seven out of ten black charter school students attend schools with extremely low numbers of white students. Black students account for 32 percent of charter school enrollment nationwide, twice the percentage enrolled in public schools. The UCLA report is entitled 'Charter Schools’ Political Success is a Civil Rights Failure.'"

                Jut google it dude:

                https://www.google.com/...

                •  You an I both know... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...that comparison is unfair!

                  Charter schools have more blacks because they are more likely to open in black areas.

                  They are more likely to open in black areas because white kids generally already have good public schools!

                  "Seven out of ten black charter school students attend schools with extremely low numbers of white students."

                  Gimme a (Statistics 101) break. White kids don't go to charter schools. White kids move to the suburbs.
            •  Here is some data... (0+ / 0-)

              ...on Charter Schools in NYC. The evidence shows that they are doing very well for us.

              "Overall the results found that the typical student in a New York City charter school learns more than their virtual counterparts in their feeder pool in reading and mathematics...New York City charters perform relatively better in math than in reading...The results also show that in New York City Black and Hispanic students enrolled in charter schools do significantly better in reading and math compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools..."
              NYC Charter schools are better than those in places like Florida. We have laws that prevent cherry-picking of students. We have less corruption, also.
              •  look deeper my friend (0+ / 0-)

                look deeper:

                http://shankerblog.org/...

                "Since most NYC charters are “oversubscribed,” they hold blind admission lotteries. Put simply, . . . this random selection process to compare “lotteried-in” students who attended charter schools with those who didn’t . . . account for many of the differences among students (especially selection effects) that may influence achievement outcomes."

                •  I'm not citing... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...the Hoxby study. I'm citing the CREDO study.

                  If you have a flaw with the CREDO methodology, I hope that you'll never cite their national study that famously says that only 1 in 5 charters is better than a public school.

                  Besides, the link you gave basically vindicates charter schools. Because it is Shanker Blog, DiCarlo "buried the lede" deep in his post:

                  "Nevertheless, once again, it is absolutely fair to say that their results do represent powerful evidence that the small group of about 75 NYC oversubscribed charter schools included in the analysis produced larger math and reading gains than did the city’s regular public schools, and that this effect was causal. By the way, the comparison students in regular public schools also made statistically significant gains, on average; they were just much smaller than those among charter students."
                  But you must read the whole litany of methodological nit-picking (thirty frackin' paragraphs!) before the author admits that, in NYC, charters are better.

                  What should I want for my daughter? "Larger math and reading gains"? Or should I stick with the, "much smaller" gains? Hmmm...let me think...

                  ...
                  ...
                  ...

                  ...Done thinking! I'll take "Larger Gains", please!

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