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  •  We spend less than any other OECD country (20+ / 0-)

    except Switzerland per student on K-12 education. Funding is the problem.

    What is better for my kid may not be better for yours. But if we have choices, we can decide what our kids need. Close the charters, and you remove the choice.
    Yes, pray to the market, it shall be our savior and our only savior! Of course, you ignore the fact that parents like you already know how to get your kids into better schools, and then you take that money away from public schools. Yay privatization! And I'll say it again, charter schools average no better than public schools, so really, it sounds like you just want to pull a Rahm, you're going to get yours and your kids' so screw everyone else if they don't have the time to figure out which are the good schools. We need good public education and the only thing that charter schools do consistently is undermine public education.
    I admit, money means a lot. But there complaining that the public schools are "underfunded" doesn't explain all of their failure.
    No, it doesn't. The other half of the problem is the supremacy of standardized testing. Race to the Top was such a failure that the people running it had to lie about test scores.
    •  You have it backwards. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward

      Educated, white-collar parents aren't looking for Charter Schools. We don't need them.

      Both the Diarist and I have our kids safely tucked into special niches in the public school system. We know how to do that, you see.

      The status quo works very well for The Comfortable:

      - Comfortable white-collar parents.
      - Comfortable suburbanites.
      - Comfortable unionized teachers.
      - Comfortable wealthy families in Private Schools.

      It's not working for the poor. And that is who we need to help.

      If I was selfish, I'd simply remain silent. If I was really selfish, I would actively oppose reform...as a disturbing number of people on this "progressive" site tend to do.

      •  You don't seem to understand the issue (10+ / 0-)

        Poor people have a problem figuring out how to get their kids into good schools, and charter schools do no better at education than public schools, therefore, there is no reason that charter schools are an improvement.

        Which part of "charter schools are not better than public schools" do you not understand? It's been shown in studies again and again and you pretend like t has no bearing on the conversation.

        If I was selfish, I'd simply remain silent. If I was really selfish, I would actively oppose reform...as a disturbing number of people on this "progressive" site tend to do.
        No, if you were really selfish you'd get a job for a company that benefits from the privatization of schools and then push for the privatization of schools. I don't know what kind of work you do in education, but if you're going to be advocating for the privatization of schools here it would be good if you could let us know if there is a conflict of interest.
      •  No. (13+ / 0-)
        If I was really selfish, I would actively oppose reform...as a disturbing number of people on this "progressive" site tend to do.
        Opposing charters is not opposing reform.
        Opposing the breaking up of teachers' unions is not opposing reform.
        Opposing vouchers is not opposing reform.

        Those of us who believe in public schools have been proposing reforms for years, but they're not the kinds of reforms the corporatists want to hear.

        Classroom size has been increasing.
        Administrative positions have been increasing.
        Standardized testing has been increasing.
        Scripting has been increasing.
        Paperwork has been increasing.
        Cuts to support services for students have been increasing.

        None of these improve education. Not one. Most of them make it more difficult for teachers to do their jobs.

        The data show that most public schools are doing fine, but that kids in poverty are struggling.

        The data overwhelmingly demonstrate that poor kids need a lot of support beyond the classroom.

        These are the bald, inconvenient facts.

        But you simply ignore this by saying "we can't fix poverty, so let's do these other things" -- none of which have been shown to work.

        You say let's fix the schools, but then ignore the data that shows what the real problem is.

        I'm an educator -- I teach at a community college, so I see the first-hand the result of public schools and of poverty -- and I grow weary of your straw man argument that those who disagree with you are opposed to reform.

        I want to see schools get better -- I've willingly accepted low pay for a couple of decades now because I believe in the transformative power of education.

        But the reforms that are being pushed upon us aren't coming from people who know much about the classroom. Some are simply seeking to put public dollars in their own pockets. Others, however, have better intentions, but don't seem to realize that their experiments are causing changes that we won't be able to recover from when they fail -- and they will fail because, once again, they don't address the underlying causes.

        So stop with the straw men, please. Stop implying that those of us who oppose current "reforms" have ulterior, less than honorable motives.

        Beware the man of one book.

        by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:43:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ulterior motives. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward

          Anyone who is pro-reform is accused of being a shill for corporate profiteers.

          Since that's the level of discussion we've chosen, why not point out that many groups have Strong Financial Interests in blocking reform?

          (A house in a good school district costs $300,000. The same house in a bad school district costs $50,000. If you fix inner-city schools, somebody is gonna lose a quarter-million...)

          Or we can just stop the ad hominem altogether.

          I support Charters not because they are a complete solution, but because they are politically possible. Do you really think that Suburban Soccer Mom is going to vote for you to raise her taxes so you can gut the value of her house?

          Do you really think the Upper Middle Class actually wants their kids competing against well-educated kids from poor neighborhoods?

          The grand master plan to End All Poverty will not pass Congress this year. Next year doesn't look good either. Charters, however, will.

          Something is better than nothing.

          •  How can we know if you're a shill or not (8+ / 0-)

            If you refuse to disclose where you work. We know you work in education, and that you refer to tests as something you do. Given how much you support reform I'm assuming you don't work in a public school classroom, especially given that you're a former wall-streeter. So what exactly do you do?

          •  Did I say you were shill? (9+ / 0-)

            Work with what I actually did say.

            Charters are politically popular because they promise something for nothing. They're politically popular because its easier to demonize than to take the effort to solve the real problems.

            They're also politically popular because they serve a corporate agenda -- there's lots of money and lots of pr behind the destruction of public schools, and it would be nice if you'd at least acknowledge that fact.

            The "something" you're talking about might not be better than nothing -- there's plenty of data that shows it's worse than nothing for a whole lot of kids.

            But data's not politically popular, I guess.

            btw, here's my experience as an educator: Twenty years in the classroom, five classes a semester, teaching a lot of kids who grew up in poverty, and many who continue to struggle with it.

            What's yours?

            Beware the man of one book.

            by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:02:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are misreading the data. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Victor Ward

              The data shows that some charters are better and some are worse.

              If parents are free to choose, they can choose the better ones.

              Here in NYC, charters have been shown  to be a net positive.

              Yes, there are scams, scandals, and profiteering.  Just like there are in Public Schools. But using Charters is a cost-free (yes, something for nothing) way of getting some kids a better shot some of the time.

              When Dennis Kucinich becomes President and we have 67 Progressive Senators, we can solve Poverty. But until that happy day, it is immoral to ask kids to wait for a solution.

              As for my educational experience, my most relevant experience has to do with Real Estate. I'm a landlord and I see every day how our screwed-up educational system robs families by means of the whacky housing market.

              People say the Recession was caused by a housing bubble. But what they won't say is that the housing bubble was caused by families fleeing horrible inner-city schools.

              Don't believe me? Ask Elizabeth Warren...yeah, I went there...

              •  Cost free for who? (6+ / 0-)
                Yes, there are scams, scandals, and profiteering.  Just like there are in Public Schools. But using Charters is a cost-free (yes, something for nothing) way of getting some kids a better shot some of the time.
                You are championing a purely selfish viewpoint - Ayn Rand would be proud.

                Do what is good for you, and everyone else can go to hell.

                Turn the public school system of this country into a for-profit enterprise, which is what you are advocating by cheerleading for charter schools, and education will just be just as good as our healthcare system - where if you aren't rich, you die.

              •  But it's not cost-free. (10+ / 0-)

                Struggling public schools have to struggle even more as charters dump their non-performers back into the public system. Funding shifts from public schools to charters, while at the same time public schools have to deal with those kids charters can turn away -- kids with disabilities (one of the biggest costs in public schools, by the way), kids whose parents don't/can't live up to charter requirements for involvement, and so on.

                And all those teachers who will be losing their jobs? It's not because of selfishness. You might not be aware that public school teachers are one of the backbones of the black middle class. Charters tend not to hire a lot of people of color -- take a look at the studies for that. Middle class black neighborhoods are taking a serious hit because of public school closures and the hiring patterns of charters.

                And all those local schools that will close? They're also community centers in poor neighborhoods, providing adult and ESL education, job training, meeting spaces, and a host of other services that help serve poor communities.

                And some kids doing better some of the time also means some kids will do worse. That seems pretty much status quo, to me.

                But if you're just a bottom-line, $$$ kind of guy, then yeah, it's all cost-free.

                Beware the man of one book.

                by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:16:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You keep saying this, but you don't seem to (8+ / 0-)

                grasp that it is statistical nonsense:

                The data shows that some charters are better and some are worse.
                Uh. No, duh.  Left unsaid in this particular example is "than what" -- but generally as you've expressed it, you've indicated "than non-charter public schools". This is practically a statistical tautology. Has it not occurred to you that the data also show that some non-charters are better than the "average" non-charter, and some are worse?

                You cite Warren -- but of course, Warren's argument is not to replace public schools with for-profit charters, or to hand out vouchers that can be used at private schools. Rather, her argument is that parents should be able to send their kids to any public school -- at least, if they can get them there. Something you overlook in her argument is the implication that all of the schools would  get equal funding, which is something you've dismissed elsewhere as politically undoable.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:35:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He's nothing if not inconsistent. (7+ / 0-)

                  Never stays on a single point, either.

                •  Yeah, you almost got it. (0+ / 0-)

                  1) Some charters are better, some are not.

                  2) Some public schools are better, some are not.

                  We have not even considered that what is "better" for one kid may not be "better" for another. Why not let families choose?

                  Unless you think you are wise enough to make the choice for them and just stick them all in the public school. Are you really that wise?

                  The sad thing is that rich kids will not be subjected to your "wisdom". Rich kids have the choice to move to leafy suburbs.

                  Why not let poor kids have some choices, too?

                  Also, I never claimed that Warren advocated charters. I only claim that she agrees that the housing bubble was cause by the education crisis.

                  •  Here's a good reason why not... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SilentBrook, maf1029, fiddler crabby

                    In Ohio, at least, charters underperform and cost more than public schools.

                    But hey, as long as your kid benefits, all the rest of the kids can just deal with the shit, right?

                    Or is it still "all for the good of the children"?

                    •  But only SOME... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...charters under-perform! Many do not!

                      Just don't send your kid to those that aren't good!

                      Only send your kid to the ones that are better!

                      It is your choice!

                      Why can't that be understood?

                      •  Not if you live in Ohio. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SilentBrook, maf1029

                        Learn to look outside your own situation. Remember that local is not national. Remember that national affects local.

                        Your choices are detrimental to the country.

                        You seem to be happy with that.

                      •  *you* almost get it. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        maf1029

                        Only some public/not-for-profit schools underperform. Just don't send your kid to those that aren't good!!

                        For-profit, privately owned schools can offer nothing -- nothing -- in the way of positive reform, that couldn't be achieved as reliably and practically as within the model of public, not-for-profit schools. Every perceived benefit of a for-profit school can be duplicated without private capital. For-profit schools carry all of the same risks as public schools, with all of the additional baggage of capitalism thrown in, including the single most serious shortcoming of capitalism (with respect to the goods produced, that is): The corporation's purpose is to make money, not educate your kids, and to the extent that they can dupe you, they absolutely will. At every turn, they will strive to deliver to you the absolute bare minimum that they can without losing you as a customer -- and they will feel good about doing it.

                        I think charter schools are fine and dandy: As long as they are public schools, owned by the public, accountable to the public, and with no mandate other than to do the best they can to teach the kids.

                        The corporate for-profit school model is nothing but an organized pillaging of the public's money, right on a par with privatizing Social Security (which would, under that circumstance, need to be renamed, since a private system would be neither social nor secure).

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:05:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm wise enough to know that for-profit schools (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    maf1029

                    are a scam that will inevitably lead to McSchools staffed by semi-trained semi-skilled, owned by corporations whose CEOs rake in 10s of millions of dollars per year.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 03:54:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not stupid, either. (8+ / 0-)
            The grand master plan to End All Poverty will not pass Congress this year. Next year doesn't look good either.
            You don't do your cause any favors by engaging in condescension.

            Beware the man of one book.

            by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:08:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Privitization is not reform (8+ / 0-)

        Obama: self-described moderate Republican

        by The Dead Man on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:57:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Comfortable unionized teachers? (5+ / 0-)

        Where exactly are you going to find any of them, these days?

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:21:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The US spends HUGE dollars on education! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward

      Here is the data from the 2006 OECD report (Table B-1).

      Per-student spending is US Dollars

      USA              13,447
      Switzerland      12,667
      Norway        11,487
      Austria         10,895
      Denmark       10,395
      Sweden        9,523
      Netherlands        9,330
      UK                9,309
      Japan                8,872
      Belgium        8,827
      Iceland        8,823
      Australia        8,678
      France        8,428
      Italy                8,263
      Ireland        8,092
      Finland        8,048

      I don't know where you get the data about the OECD outspending us.

      •  That report is higher education and K-12 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fiddler crabby, sandblaster

        Not just K-12.

        According to those numbers I was mistaken and the US isn't the worst, although I can't find any current information and I'm pretty sure things have changed since 2006. That's what I get for not checking my sources well enough.

        It seems like these stats should be more easily available in this day and age. Information super highway my ass.

      •  That certainly is a juicy pie for corporations (7+ / 0-)

        to dip into at cost+ rates.

        Obama: self-described moderate Republican

        by The Dead Man on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:58:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, we sure do. (6+ / 0-)

        Of course, there's a big difference between the mean, the median, and the 25th percentile -- we spend a lot more on some kids than we do on others.

        And, as was noted elsewhere, these numbers include university education -- which is extraordinarily expensive in the US, and which also is, to a greater and greater degree, funded by the individuals, not the state.

        However, the real bottom line is this: A huge reason we spend so much on education is because unionized teachers generally receive superior health care benefits, and our health care costs are ludicrous. This is something that is hidden in the statistics. When those other countries calculate the amount they are spending on education, it doesn't include $20,000+ per teacher per year allocated for-profit healthcare, but only whatever rather more reasonable fraction of the typical teacher's salary is taxed away for regulated, price-controlled, universal health care.

        The solution offered by the for-profit schools industry is simple: Reduce teachers to the approximate economic status of convenience store associates. I suppose that is one solution, but the only real solution is to increase Medicare taxes (including applying them to unearned income) and funding Medicare for all, at which point we'll find out how much we're really spending on education in this country.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:00:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're comparing nations which have a single, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook, maf1029

        unifed national educational system, because they have populations of from 10 million to maybe 60 - 80 million, to the US which has about 3,500 different school districts in 50 different states, each of which has its own separate Department of Education.  It is not a fair comparison, because some districts probably spend more and some probably spend much less.  

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:01:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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