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View Diary: A Worm in the Apple: How Corruption Can Rot Any School (49 comments)

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  •  Of course teachers and unions lobby, but... (1+ / 0-)
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    Have you ever tried to have a serious conversation with a state legislator, especially a Republican one? I have been in that position a lot lately, and it is one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. (And yes, testing is one of the topics they have a hard time grasping). These are not the brightest bulbs in the box, and they clearly don't think for themselves. For instance I live in FL, and our entire testing policy and "school reform" movement is guided by Jeb! Bush... yes, the one who left office like 10 years ago. He runs a foundation that is behind the bulk of this virtual and charter school push over the past few years. These politicians do what they are told by people such as Jeb!, without question. And no amount of reason works.

    I recently had a 1.5 hour phone conversation with my state senator concerning a bill he had just championed and passed; requiring every student to take an online course to graduate was the biggest provision. It was the most extreme law of its kind in the country so far, only 3 states do it, and the other two both exempt exceptional ed students and have provisions so that things like an SAT prep course count....our bill requires the course to be virtual school or an online university course. So I asked the senator a few questions about what he knows concerning the academic research about online learning, the access to high speed internet of students in Florida, etc -- the legislature hadn't even asked the questions before passing a law requiring all students to take an online course! I asked him if he was aware of the hardware and software requirements to complete an online course (it requires a computer with a video card, speakers, newer operating systems, etc). They hadn't considered that either. Seriously, these people just took the legislation WORD FOR WORD from Jeb!s foundation and ran it through their majority, with no research or question.

    I asked him if he was aware of the impact of this legislation on public schools, because there was no funding attached to the measure. He had no idea why schools would need funding -- he hadn't even considered that we would need to add computer labs and have the approximately 25% of students who can't do these classes at home complete them at school, because our graduation rate (hence our school grade and funding!) depend on it. He seriously had not even considered that an issue would come up: he hadn't considered exceptional ed students who need academic support, students in poverty who need a computer to take the course, etc. How insane is that??? And of course the teacher's union on the state and national level lobbied against this insanity, to no avail as usual.

    Teachers unions and even individual teachers like myself work HARD lobbying school boards and legislators, but it falls on deaf ears. We work like crazy to defeat idiotic legislation, but it's a never-ending slog through stupidity and selfishness. Please try not to blame us for something beyond our control.

    •  One reason why I am open to public alternatives. (0+ / 0-)

      Is what you exactly talk about. Some on the right want alternatives to public schools as a trojan horse to privatize education. The reason why I want alternatives is for a family to escape republicans in public office imposing their idiocy on the public education system. It's not just testing. What about the texas textbook controversy. Or the public school districts dominated  by conservatives that want to deemphasize evolution. If I am stuck in such a state, I would not want my kids to be in such a stupid school district without having to move out of the neighborhood.

    •  By the way, thanks for that info (0+ / 0-)

      Even though it appears I may be disagreeing with you, I am actually thankful for your reply. It does give more info to someone like me whose specific views on education continue to evolve, even if in principle, I have always supported funding for public school alternatives(the extent of which varies according to what i learn).

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