Skip to main content

View Diary: The problem with NBC's Education Nation -  where are the voices of parents and teachers? (279 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  oh, now you are an expert on the attitudes (6+ / 0-)

    of parents who are not middle class?

    For what it is worth, I teach students who are homeless, or where an extended family is in one house because of economic reasons.

    I teach students with parents in the criminal justice system.

    I teach students who themselves are in the criminal justice system.

    I have tutored students in DC who are in dire situations.

    I talk with my parents.

    Yes, they want a better economic future for their kids.

    They also want opportunity that goes beyond merely a secure job in a large corporation, in fact, a job that might not be all that secure.  As parents have themselves lost jobs in the economic downturn and seen what happens to friends and family as well,they are also looking for greater control over their own futures and those of their children.

    I assure you, my concern that education should not be primarily about economics is far more widely shared than you seem to realize.

    One more thing -  education should be about empowering our students.  That empowerment should include enabling them to learn how to continue learning on their own.  The approach we have been taking towards education of those with lower test scores has been exactly the opposite - one reason why our obsession with test scores has been so damaging.

    As to why so many drop out?  They can look at the future and see few realistic opportunities.  They question why committing to education makes any sense given what seems to abandonment of their communities by the larger society.  

    And even were the economics the sole thing parents were concerned about, might it not be making sense to include their voices, to allow them to be heard, even on that topic.

    I regret that I am not going to be able to respond to all of your comments.  I have a commitment to my students, and for the most part you are repeating points you have repeatedly made before.  I know your positions.  You know mine.

    I think you are wrong in your criticisms about both teachers and unions.  

    I think your perspective about how to move forward ignores much of what research and experience show, and is too deferential to the ideas of "reformers" as they describe themselves.

    Just as I think the organization of the list of speakers is, and the justification for the effort.

    I applaud NBC for being willing to try to have a national conversation.

    I think the way they are shaping things means that it is not truly a national conversation, because too many voices that disagree with the "reform" consensus are not included.  That includes those like Carl Cohn who had a real record of success in running an urban school district, not one with the ongoing failures -  and that is the correct description - of the systems run by Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein.  And yet they are supposed to be the model of how we should reshape education?

    Both - and Duncan - are from settings with mayoral control.  The body of evidence is overwhelming that systems under mayoral control do not improve as much as systems not, even using the 'reformers' preferred measure of test scores.

    Just like the body of evidence is overwhelming that merely turning to charters does not lead to improvement, that far more charters perform worse than the public schools from which they draw than there are charters that perform better.

    I have made these - and similar points - before.

    Feel free to continue to disagree.  I expect that there will be divergence of opinion.  

    But then please address the following -  why is the structure of what NBC is doing excluding most of the opinions that diverge from the likes of the groups and people to whom they have chosen to give a megaphone?

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:13:05 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  you teach... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxNDox

      I live among the people you are referring to, am related to them and yes am one of them...so if you are questioning my bonefides or my expertise...then you need to look in the mirror...

      Off-topic - you have shown time and time again a certain arrogance towards those who do not support your thinking lock-step in your diaries.  It really is unbecoming and I'm not the first to mention it to you.  Questioning my expertise about my people and the people I live amongst - is one again an attack on my character that is typical of our exchanges.  Nonetheless, I will persist because it is too damn important not to as I have a school-aged child and care about children in my city.

      Back on topic - I know plenty of people who live in DC.  We talk about the school system a lot.  We are parents!  You made an assertion with nothing to back up that assertion - and I'm quite interested.  If Fenty lost due to Rhee - that is information I want to hear.  But your supposition isn't enough to prove this.  I live in a city with dozens of charters, more coming AND vouchers on the way.  So voting out a Democratic mayor - my mayor is on the panel - is of interest of me.  My mayor is also not well liked but it has NOTHING to do with school reform.  He is out of touch with many AAs in our city and the same accusations made about Fenty are routinely made about my mayor but he isn't being attacked because of school reform and if he isn't re-elected it won't be because of it.

      Just like the body of evidence is overwhelming that merely turning to charters does not lead to improvement, that far more charters perform worse than the public schools from which they draw than there are charters that perform better.

      I was reading the Credo study yesterday.  The body of evidence tells me that it depends on the organization that assumes control of the school. Well, duh!  That's a no-brainer.  I would guarantee schools given charters because of political connections aren't going to do as well as other schools.  I haven't finished reading the study but may diary about it at some point.  Interesting findings.

      But then please address the following -  why is the structure of what NBC is doing excluding most of the opinions that diverge from the likes of the groups and people to whom they have chosen to give a megaphone?

      Because NBC is a private company...they choose what they want.  I would rather wait to see what people actually say before forming a judgement.

      •  you say it's a no-brainer (5+ / 0-)

        yet that brain is missing from the requirement for qualification for RttT funds that states expand their chartering of schools -  there is no connection in that requirement to what has been demonstrated to be effective in those charters that work.

        meanwhile we have increasing examples of charters that rip off public funds, that do not serve the families or communities that get involved with them.

        It should be a no-brainer not to subject kids to that kind of uncontrolled setting.

        Yet the voices that raise these concerns are excluded.

        Parents and communities are presented an incorrect tale that charters are the solution to everything.  That is also how "Waiting for Superman" is being rolled out, even though the director is now saying that was not his intent.

        The issue here, on this thread, is relevant to this subthread -   why we still exclude voices that can point out that this new educational emperor is naked?

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:03:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Honestly... (0+ / 0-)

          in my city, I don't think you want to hear from the parents, TK. Seriously, they are not going to support your beliefs about school reform or improving schools.  They just aren't because they have tangible experiences with charters and are dying to get in.  Now other parents may feel differently.  As I said before, not a kid on my block is in the neighborhood school.  They are all either in a private, parochial or charter school.  I'm one of those voices...and well the reception around here, leaves much to be desired but shouting us down is not going to change the fact that we are checking out of public schools.  

          •  from some of your other comments (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sandblaster

            you seem to be in SF.  If so, I actually know a number of very active parents in your city, and from what I know of them and the organizations in which they participate, it is in fact your attitude that is a distinct minority.  That is, what you are willing to support and the clear evidence you choose to ignore.

            If you are not in SF, which I presume because of your reference to Ackerman, then you probably should identify your city so least we have something of a context to understand what for many of us here is a very distorted understanding and portrayal of education.

            Note -  in saying "distorted" I do not imply that you deliberately distort, although in more than a few comments on this and other threads you have made assertions that anyone truly following educational policy would recognize are far from universal.

            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

            by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:59:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope... (0+ / 0-)

              I'm in Philly.  

              But what is the average length of waitlist of charters in SF?  In philly, most have waitlists years long.  

              As a matter of fact, one of the heads of a education advocacy group sends their kid to a charter school.  There was an uncomfortable silence when she admitted this, lol.

              I really can't dispute your comment about my lack of knowledge about education policy without you pointing to the comments in question.  Pretty sly way to attack my credibility though ;)

      •  Private versus public (0+ / 0-)

        NBC may be privately owned but the airwaves are public property.  They belong to all of us.  That is why TV media is licensed and regulated.  They are also an important influence on whether we remain a democracy or not. One sided coverage of any issue does not contribute to the function of a democracy.

        As for your assumption that everyone has a choice about their schooling, you either do not care about the rest of the world, just "me and mine' and can't see your connection to them;  How your welfare is connected to theirs and therefore to the education of all our children or you are (willfully?) ignorant of how about 50 million now of the country lives.

        As for charters look at the website "Charter School Scandals" to see the problems with charters that seem to be spreading faster than fleas on a hound down here in Florida. In far too many cases they are a real estate scam that leaves school districts and parents stuck with the bill as wall street and real estate developers game the system to make big bucks on public school dollars. Parents and children are often the victims in these cases as the lack of oversight in Charter management and finances affect them as well.  When 40% of your operating funds are going to pay for buildings and interest on buildings there is not much left to buy supplies, attract high quality staff and make sure the curriculum and safety issues have all been addressed.  In my own district I met a young teacher last year who teaches science in one of our charter schools for less pay, poorer insurance and no text books and supplies or lab equipment.  The managers of this school are very focused on making a buck and cutting everything else to the bone.  Notice that charters rarely have music or vocational programs (did you ever think that the emphasis on "direct instruction" might have something to do with how cheap it is?) because that would require a big outlay of profit, I mean educational funds.  With all the charter schools in New Orleans replacing public high schools , there is not a single high school band left in a city famous for its music. How sad for All Our Kids!

        •  My 2000 tax bill (0+ / 0-)

          has a "District Fund" millage more than three times the "Capital Improvement" millage.

          Of course some schools were old enough to had their bonds paid off.

          When 40% of your operating funds are going to pay for buildings and interest on buildings there is not much left to buy supplies, attract high quality staff and make sure the curriculum and safety issues have all been addressed.

          I think it was around 22% for buildings and interest in 2000 in my Florida county.

          •  private versus public (0+ / 0-)

            I was referring to charters not public schools.  The average in public schools is 18% cost for buildings.  In some charters it is 40%. Privately managed charters - not public schools.  Also in Florida in the Tampa Bay area there one charter that is closing and leaving a 2 million dollar debt for their district to pay off.  That money will probably go into the pockets of a bunch of real estate developers  and hedge fund managers who jacked up the rent on the buildings of the charter whose  foundation and management they controlled.  There are big tax loopholes for developing real estate to be used by charter schools.  This angle is being used across the nation to make big bucks at the expense of public education.
            Here is an article from the Dallas News that gives an example and explains the bamboozling in more detail.

            http://www.dallasnews.com/...

            I always say "follow the money" and you will begin to understand the huge interest of large corporations and wall street in Charters.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site