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View Diary: "Waiting for Superman" and Education Nation - more concerns (126 comments)

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  •  I don't think it's true (4+ / 0-)

    on any level that Americans "want" corporations to educate their kids. In fact, I imagine a huge percentage actively DON'T want that. They just don't realize it's happening. In the wealthier schools, they reject this vociferously. In the poor schools, the parents don't even know what's going on for the most part. And in between, I doubt there's much support for "I'd like my kids educated by corporations."

    De-orangify Congress: Justin Coussoule for Oh-08

    by anastasia p on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 06:24:57 PM PDT

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    •  They knew what was going on in DC... (0+ / 0-)

      and they tossed mayor Fenty out, and by doing so, sent a loud message they want Rhee out.  In DC, whites (who are predominately upper middle class), voted 4 to 1 for Fenty.  Blacks(predominately poor) voted 4 to 1 for Gray, a socio-economic split.  The election was in large part a referendum on this approach toward education championed by Arne Duncan, Rhee and Fenty.  And what happened?  Oprah is on air the next day defending Rhee to the hilt despite the results of the election.    Oprah donates 1 million to 10 charter schools.  Goldman Sachs donates 20 million to the Harlem Children Zone.  Now who is going to donate millions of dollars to charter schools not within the confines of America's most gentrified cities?  I find this all very sad and scary.  It's not only that some parents are unaware of what is going on.  It's that even when they are aware and voice their opposition they are ignored, now even by so-called progressives.  Arianna Huffington is promoting her book about "Third World America" in which she criticizes the evils of neolibralism and yet she champions Duncan's approach to education, which is decidedly neoliberal, and she has been promoting this film for months.  How ironic for Huffington to champion this policy while warning against the coming Third World America.  When I was in Chile, where the charter school movement is in its matured stage, schools in shanty towns near fine beaches with good views where the wealthy like to vacation receive good charitable donations.  Those in the typical shanty towns?  Not so much.  This policy is actually quite Third World.  There is a coming onslaught of professed progressives embracing the Charter School movement that will be vividly apparent with the opening of this film.  It's sad and quite frightening to me to see this happen when it is not at all an evidence-based approach to education.

      Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

      by masslib on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 08:20:13 PM PDT

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      •  What isn't evidenced based? (0+ / 0-)

        What do you know about the organizations receiving money from Oprah?  Do you know the educational philosophies and approaches of them all so that you can say they're not "evidenced based"?  I doubt it b/c you're also wondering what happens to the charter schools outside "gentrified cities" like here in the Central Valley of California (heavily agricultural, ground zero of the foreclosure crisis, 17% unemployment, barely 50% graduation rate at the high schools.)  One of Oprah's checks went to an organization committed to providing quality education in communities like ours (as a non-profit organization.) And, yes, the educational practices in our school are very much "evidenced based."

        I'm against a for-profit provision of education as much as the rest of you.  But if someone who has made phenomenal profit wants to put some of it to work making decent schools in areas where there are none I can't fault that. I definitely would have before I lived in such a place. But suddenly when it's your schools for your very own children, you're less willing to accept a really lousy status quo.

        •  I'm talking about the fact that there is no (0+ / 0-)

          evidence to support the notion that charter schools get better results than public schools.  Oprah could have as easily donated the money to PUBLIC schools in your area.

          This is rich...."But suddenly when it's your schools for your very own children, you're less willing to accept a really lousy status quo."

          Did you read the example I wrote about?  It's exactly the opposite of your assertation.  It was the poor african americans, the very people the Charter school movement, embraced by Mayor Fenty, professes to help, that kicked Fenty out and want Rhee gone.  

          Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

          by masslib on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:04:07 PM PDT

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          •  Our charter school IS public (0+ / 0-)

            and there is copious documented evidence that it, and the other schools run by the same non-profit, do in fact outperform district-run public schools.  We, and East Palo Alto, and Compton and every poor city with an Aspire charter school that demonstrably out-performs district-based charters are thrilled to have an alternative to a lousy status quo.  If it's not working elsewhere, then things need to be fixed in that particular case.  

            Surely we're intelligent enough not to say b/c there are some bad charters all charters are bad.  Revoke charters from bad schools.  But don't take that one decent choice away from parents and students who, in a totally open public lottery, have been fortunate enough to have the quality of education that is taken for granted in many communities.

            •  Aspire is publicy funded but privately run. (0+ / 0-)

              Further, the network relies heavily on donations.  What happens when those donations dry up?  It's simply not a scalable model.  Further, do you understand there is an entire policy afoot of weakening unions, dismantling neighborhood schools and building on the Charter school movement despite evidence that they will not improve education?


              Look, no one is trying to take away your charter school, but I don't think people having to rely on a lottery for the chance to send their child to a charter, that may be better than the public(but in many cases actually is not) is a valid national education policy.  As former school choice advocate Diane Ravich says "Charters enroll 3 percent of the kids.  The system that educates 97 percent, no one’s paying any attention to." I think that there is alot of propaganda coming out right now from Oprah and Gates, etc., around the charter school movement and I don't think it's helpful.

              Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

              by masslib on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:54:54 PM PDT

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              •  Point well taken (0+ / 0-)

                I totally agree that we need to do something to fix the large number of inadequate public schools, and I very strongly believe that we need to do that in the public realm.  

                I also agree that the Aspire model is not scalable.  However, I'm so incredibly thankful that it was an option for my child and am very aware of what my options were had I not won the lottery.  I'm committed to trying to figure out a way for children to get this kind of an education without having to literally win the lottery to get it.  Every child deserves that,and it should be publicly provided.  I just don't know how we get there from here.

    •  Poor families want their kids educated (0+ / 0-)

      if the bureaucratic school district (as opposed to PUBLIC charter schools) won't do it, they'll look for someone who will.  If Bill Gates is providing that for them, then I don't think it's anyone else's place to condemn that simply b/c it's Bill Gates.

      Yes, if it's substandard education it should be condemned, whether in a school district or in a charter.  But until you're ready to send your kids to the regular public school in the worst public school district in the US b/c you stand so firmly against Bill Gates caring about education then I'm not sure you have a right to complain about the people who live there trying to find an alternative.

      •  The tragedy of cherry picking (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "But until you're ready to send your kids to the regular public school in the worst public school district in the US"

        That public school became worst precisely because of the better parents fleeing it, whether from the white-flight of the past, or the flight to private schools of the present. Public schools only work when everyone believes in it. When the better students leave, the worst students are left behind. Of course the school goes down hill. Then more good students leave, and the schools go down hill some more. Charter schools only work in so far as the motivated parents putting their kids in to them.

        Public schools cease to work once we no longer believe in "we are all in this together" and start to embrace the "I got mine, you get yours" mentality of the right.

        •  I agree completely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I have made exactly the same arguments many times in education debates.  However, that doesn't make me willing to send my children to a school that is more of an "attendance center"--show up, don't act up, and we'll pass you.  If I send my children there on ideological grounds, they are harmed and nothing changes b/c there is no groundswell of support.

          I've tried "we're all in this together."  But we're NOT, in fact, all in sending our kids to a woefully inadequate public school.  And it's the children with parents who can't find a better alternative who suffer. My children are exceptionally lucky in this community to be in a public charter, and our school clearly benefits from having parents who are interested in education.  Frankly, though, I believe we can find a better alternative for all children.  We've got great, committed teachers, we've got kids eager or willing (or at the very least able to be encouraged to be willing) to learn.  We should not have such abysmally performing schools.

          I am totally committed to public education.  I'm just trying to find a way to make it work for students even in the poorest, least politically connected districts.

          •  Agreed. You gotta play the hand you've been dealt (0+ / 0-)

            It's not easy to insist on principles when your own children are involved. My 2 sons will be school age soon, and I'm struggling with the same questions.

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