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Mitt Romney
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Speaking to the Latino Coalition's Annual Economic Summit Wednesday, Mitt Romney declared a crisis in American education, promised that, if elected, he would implement a wide array of reforms that have been proven not to work, and assailed President Barack Obama's supposed inability to stand up to teachers unions.

According to Romney:

More than 150 years ago, our nation pioneered public education.  We’ve now fallen way behind.

Among developed countries, the United States comes in 14th of 34 in reading, 17th of 34 in science, and an abysmal 25th out of 34 in math.

But as Diane Ravitch has detailed, claims that American education is in crisis have abounded basically since day one, and as for comparisons with other nations:
[...] American students have never performed well on international tests. When the first such tests were given in the mid-1960s, our students usually scored at or below the median, and sometimes at the bottom of the pack. This mediocre performance is nothing to boast about, but it is not an indicator of future economic decline.
Not only that, American schools with few poor students perform better than schools in other countries frequently cited as having much better education than the U.S. But "As the proportion of poor students rises, the scores of US schools drop." So Romney's big crisis is neither new nor about schools—it's about very poor people. You know, the ones he's not concerned with.

Romney proposes responding to this "National Education Emergency" with expanded charter schools (which study after study shows don't perform better than traditional public schools), "digital learning options" (which mean big profits for online education companies but produce very poor educational outcomes), vouchers (another strategy that doesn't improve educational outcomes but one that does directly privatize public education) and merit pay for teachers (again, it's been tried and we know it doesn't work).

Why is Mitt Romney touting all these failed ideas for education reform? Because while these ideas have failed on an empirical level, not improving outcomes for students, they are all ideas that are being used against teachers and their unions, and that is Romney's real priority—specifically, in this speech, attacking Obama not for wholeheartedly supporting teachers unions, but for supposedly being too weak to take them on:

And I believe the President must be troubled by the lack of progress since he took office. Most likely, he would have liked to do more. But the teachers unions are one of the Democrats’ biggest donors – and one of the President’s biggest campaign supporters. So, President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses – and unwilling to stand up for kids.      
This is sort of ironic since education is one of the areas where there is probably the least daylight between Obama and Romney. But of course that leaves a whole lot of daylight. Romney has made clear time and time again that his main education priority is breaking teachers unions, and he would slash the Department of Education, keeping it around only for use as a weapon against unions.

So that's Mitt Romney's education plan: Get rid of unions and implement every profit-driven, educationally useless "reform" floated by testing companies, online education companies and out-and-out privatizers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If students can't get a student loan (5+ / 0-)

    under a Romney Presidency, Mitt tells 'em to "shop around" for a cheaper college.  

    Cool.  I hear some "diploma mills" online are much cheaper than colleges that actually offer an education.

    (But good luck in getting usable knowledge from them, let alone a job.)

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:36:21 PM PDT

  •  This man knows NOTHING (5+ / 0-)

    about public education. He probably doesn't even know anybody who went to a public school. While education is probably the issue I most disagree with the president on, Romney would be magnitudes worse — undoubtedly causing the destruction of U.S. education even for upper middle class kids whose parents moved to affluent suburbs for the schools, which will now be dismantled. But they cannot afford to send their kids to the kinds of private schools the Romneys went to. This man is all about a tiny little sliver of the elite. He really makes me sick.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

    by anastasia p on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:12:49 PM PDT

  •  Mitt Romney or the five or six clowns on DKos? (4+ / 0-)
    Romney proposes responding to this "National Education Emergency" with expanded charter schools (which study after study shows don't perform better than traditional public schools), "digital learning options" (which mean big profits for online education companies but produce very poor educational outcomes), vouchers (another strategy that doesn't improve educational outcomes but one that does directly privatize public education) and merit pay for teachers (again, it's been tried and we know it doesn't work).
    I hear this trash from the dupes and trolls that hit up our educational articles on here often.
    •  Privatization (0+ / 0-)

      I take it you are one of the lackluster supporters of privatized education.

      I see how that is working in the college level and it sucks!
      These students are already coming out of school, yeah, with diplomas and degrees but 10's of thousands of dollars in debt it will take them 20+ years to pay off.

      Now, people like you want to do that to the regular schools and think it will improve anything?

      Fascist propaganda machine only creates more ignorant people and more poor, discriminated against people.

      We could do without it.

    •  Taylorism in Education (0+ / 0-)

      These proposals all approach education as if the problem was a managerial issue:  the employees need the proper kind of supervision in order to be more productive.  But the problem in schools is not a managerial issue: our teachers are not, for the most part, lazy or ill equipped to teach.  The problem is in part the curriculum that still, in many fields, reflects the needs of the 19th century and students who are not adequately prepared.  The issue, therefore, that really needs to be addressed is early childhood education.

      Ruhe ist der erste Burgerpflict.

    •  You're lucky this is too old (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, howd, Palafox, bwren, Matt Z, BMarshall

      for me to HR -- I'd do it for the "five or six clowns on DKos" reference, not to mention the "dupes and trolls" comment.

      While I think charter schools have their place, specifically for schools that specialize in one particular subject (science/technology, the arts, etc.), I see no purpose to have them for general education only; we should be funding our schools so all have access to quality education not just a privileged few.

      Mitt Romney: the Etch-A-Sketch candidate in the era of YouTube

      by Cali Scribe on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:47:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  CaliScribe, why should charters (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, BMarshall, TexMex, Mostel26

        "have their place" in specialized education? Here in Cleveland, Ohio, the public school system has an arts school that is the top school in the system. I am not aware of anything remotely similar among charters. Also, the public school system has excellent magnet schools for STEM education, medicine, and early college, among others. All those specialized types of schools are being done outstandingly by the public system. There are some decent charters but the city is infested with miserable, failing, substandard for-profit charters too.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

        by anastasia p on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:19:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMarshall, Mostel26

      I know them all by name, and I've just taken to ignoring them. They are aggressive bullies in the way they push charter schools and dump on teachers unions.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:16:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mitt's already said he'd do away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, Larsstephens

    with the education department entirely or cut it substantially.  So how will that help schools?

    And yeah, if you refuse to educate poor people,   test scores for schools will be better.  Problem solved.   Callous jerk.   Does he not understand the need for trained labor in businesses?  Less than it was in some ways because pbeusinesses keep replacing people with technology,   but employers expect the employment pool to be trained on the public dollar.

    No wonder Mitt says nothing about how his private sector career trained him to be a job creator.  He knows fuck all about real businesses that employ people who work and produce actual goods and services.  He knows nothing about public education.  Nor does he want to, after all, they'd throw his ass out of public school if he pinned down another student and cut his hair off.

  •  Republicans on education (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For a perceptive history on how Republicans have manipulated the education agenda, and how they often control the dialogue- see Glen Ford here.
    it is quite a video.

  •  Mitt Romney is an asshole. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, a2nite, Matt Z

    Isn't that all anyone needs to know about him come November?

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right. I'm riding in the Tour de Cure. You can donate here.

    by darthstar on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:04:24 PM PDT

  •  Union-bashing is getting old. (9+ / 0-)

    Anyone who thinks that defunding education will improve it is either an idiot, or Mitt Romney.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:05:15 PM PDT

  •  Another Diary for the file marked: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashoil, semioticjim, BMarshall

    Because He Sucks Less Than the Other Guy (from NYC Educator)

    Vote for Obama!

    The way he has sabotaged the teaching profession?


    From that link above:

    Now as for all you teachers out there, whining that Obama gave Bush a third term in education, let me point out that he has never specifically said such a thing. If you watch what he says, rather than what he does, the results are quite impressive indeed. After all, he said in SOTU that he wanted less testing, even though all his programs suggest quite the opposite.

    Finally, for those of you who really see this guy as an opponent of teachers and everything they stand for, let me present you with a stark choice. What do you want? Republican Romney, speeding toward destruction of union and collective bargaining? Or Democrat Obama, cruising a moderate 55 MPH toward the same goal?

    The choice is clear.

    Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

    by NYCee on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:11:51 PM PDT

    •  president obama (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe, cocinero, Palafox, Matt Z

      has good things for teachers too.

      he wants them to be put back in the  classroom in modernized schools

      (referencing jobs bill  which would pass once nancy pelosi  is speaker again)

      ARRA act provided education funding

    •  So we're not happy with Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      (and I am among those not happy with his take on education) so let's make things 100 times worse and probably unfixable forever after four years of Romney. Sorry, but no — they aren't exactly the same. They aren't REMOTELY the same.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:21:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  put up or... (0+ / 0-)

    Romney is all about trying to make Obama look bad but he has to twist the facts and distort the message to make his point and in doing so commits a lie.

    Teachers have been having it hard as money for education has been cut and slashed.
    How are we supposed to compete when we don't have the best material and the updated teaching methods?

    Dropping teachers pay isn't the answer.
    Sorry, you don't get 100% for less pay and still be expected to put up with the little tyrants that people allow to attend public schools.

    Nevada had a great idea for a law but it never passed the congressional committee.
    It stated that children who are not of age and commit acts that are out of line with rules and laws, the parents are made responsible as well.

    I stand behind that.

    •  How were they going to be "made responsible"? (0+ / 0-)

      Are you going to fine or jail some of the most economically stressed parents out there, and make things worse? While I am all for parental engagement, I don't think you get it by punishing the parents with the fewest tools to succeed.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:24:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lame excuse (0+ / 0-)

        Money is not a gauge for morality or principles.
        To imply that is a factor for consideration in the law only further hinders the parents responsibility for proper responsibility in raising a child to be adherent to the laws and rules of conduct!


        If we allow such arguments to give sway to the pursuance of accountability, then everyone in the poverty category is given latitude to be excused for laxness in child development.

        For that matter, what do you do about the rich who teach their children discrimination, racism, intolerance and religious zealotry?

        You grant them by default the authority to be above the law because they have money.

  •  Well it beats the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    hell out of talking about the economy.  He must be sure that the country is more interested in privatizing education than it is about the economy.

    This is a man who is confident that those billions of dollars from Rove will win him the WH no matter what he says or does.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:45:59 PM PDT

  •  If the kids ate more often than a few times a week (5+ / 0-)

    they might have the energy to learn and perform, according to a friend of mine who is a teacher. Of course, she does teach in an economically disadvantaged area, but the point is that an increase in food security would probably lead to an increase in test score statistics.

    -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

    by JPax on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:48:41 PM PDT

    •  So true, JPax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JPax, BMarshall

      Our canon went over to our church's partner school to find out what else we could do to help out. This is a school where all the kids live in the projects and 100% qualify for free breakfast and lunch. The principal told him she had observed kids, starting around Thursday, starting to stash food in their pockets. When she asked why, they said there was no food in their house to eat over the weekend. So we started our Blessings in the Backpack program, where we give backpacks of food to feed a family over the weekend to about two dozen of the neediest families.

      I cannot even imagine focusing on school work while worrying about when you will next eat. As a child, I had the advantage of knowing I would come home to a hot lunch every day at noon and that there would be a full dinner on the table at 6. So did Mitt Romney — and he doesn't get that some kids aren't that lucky.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:28:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Check out RSA Animation Education (0+ / 0-)

    it is really thoughtful.

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Sat May 26, 2012 at 06:02:12 PM PDT

  •  true story (0+ / 0-)

    The Romney Plan sure sounds a heck of a lot like the current plan being promoted by "our" side.

    Education isn't the place for contrast in this election, unless of course the contrast is between liberals and both the Admin and Republicans...there is definitely a ton of daylight there...

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Sat May 26, 2012 at 06:03:22 PM PDT

  •  Obama also bashing (4+ / 0-)

    Proudly bashing

    But the question becomes, why does Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama 2012, feel so strongly about needing to broadcast that teachers’ unions don’t like her candidate? Is this a typical approach for campaigns? Don’t you normally want to tout support rather than opposition?

    Not when it comes to teachers’ unions, apparently. And who needs them, they only represent 3.2 million members in the National Education Association and 1.5 million in the American Federation of Teachers. And they only represent one out of ten delegates on the typical Democratic National Committee Convention floor. It makes perfect sense for the head of the party to display his independence from such a marginal group.

    Education “reform” is a pretty contentious topic with a split in the Democratic coalition. But Obama has always lined up on the opposite side of the unions on the matter. Not only that, he boasts of it.

    Of course this is a pattern. The previous tweet from Stephanie Cutter highlights the President’s commitment to austerity, proudly stating for the record that federal spending has slowed down under Obama to the largest degree since the Eisenhower Administration. So we’re going to have six months of the President’s allies stating the record, showing all of Obama’s conservative positions on a host of issues. You would think this would be the role of, say, a primary challenger to the President from the left. But no, it’s the President’s own campaign doing this.

    We are doomed with these shills.
  •  The Bain Diploma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Following his usual path, Romney's solution to education lies in cutting costs.

    He wants to come into a school, fire at least half of the teachers, increase class size and brag about how few workers are actually needed to sustain the "product output."

    Citizens United: "All people have free speech, but some people have more free speech than others."

    by NCJan on Sat May 26, 2012 at 06:06:28 PM PDT

  •  A major problem with education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMarshall, gfv6800

    in the USA is that, like many other things, it is chained to the habits of a much older agrarian tradition. Children do not really need time off for spring planting or summer harvest. Poor children are particularly damaged by long summer vacations during which they often regress academically by being out of school for so long in an unenriched environment. The children of the rich, however, tend to retain their academic standing through the summer vacation simply because their summer vacation is packed with many activities that promote the acquisition of many other skills. So one answer in education is to get rid of the long vacation, and perhaps move to a 4-day week with a 2-3 week vacation.
    Similarly, having seen what constitutes a standard college degree, I can promise you that many students could easily do the 4 years in 2. Sure it would be intense but if it meant halving the size of the loan you would need...A problem with this is that college professors get paid for butts on seats not numbers of graduates per year. Maybe it's time for a change.

    Another thing that ought to be changed is to get rid of the "teach to the middle" structure, an inevitable consequence of one teacher and a classroom. We have the technology to transform education. Smarter use of computers to help with specific learning in a personalized way that teaches to the student's own pace, coupled with a higher level of teaching where teachers provide context and integration rather than drumming facts into a highly diverse class.

    The world has changed dramatically. Education has to change too. But polemics on either side will not do it. We need some creativity, not tired old formulae.

    Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

    by Anne Elk on Sat May 26, 2012 at 06:18:10 PM PDT

    •  Different kinds of learning (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      howd, a2nite, BMarshall

      A four year college degree could be done in 2 years if the purpose of an education was merely knowledge or skill acquisition.  But these are at the very lowest levels of Bloom's taxonomy.  Shouldn't we help our children strive for something higher and more meaningful?

      Ruhe ist der erste Burgerpflict.

    •  While some of those ideas are interesting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      word is bond, BMarshall, elfling

      they are all peripheral. We HAVE an education system that works for middle-class families that value education. That it's not working for kids in poverty isn't the fault of the system but the fact that this country has no will to fix poverty.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:32:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many would disagree with that (0+ / 0-)

        statement. I agree with the need to deal with poverty. However, we live in a society that is vastly different from the 19th Century where our ideas about what constitutes pedagogy were developed. I see a society unwilling to accept that we need a new, more effective model.

        Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

        by Anne Elk on Sun May 27, 2012 at 09:13:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Creativity? (0+ / 0-)

      So, you want to chain children to computers and compel them to participate in digitized selected response modules?
      Where is the creativity in that?

      Why not just hire some store clerks to run the computer lab?

      Why would any child retain a bunch of teacher driven instructional data where they were compelled to sit passively in a desk for seven hours a day and expect individuals to remember a bunch of "data" that does not have any relevance in their immediate lives?

      Where is the creativity in that form of transmission?
      You got some explaining to do....

      I think you know something about test prep, but don't know anything at all about meaningful learning....

      Authentic learning lasts a life time regardless of time spent on summer vacation....

      On another note....did you ever think the kids who live in poverty might be hungry? How much would I remember of my teachers test prep experience if I was hungry and stressed?

      Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

      by semioticjim on Sun May 27, 2012 at 01:54:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You lost me at the word "chain" (0+ / 0-)

        You want children "imprisoned" in classrooms? Two can play that game.

        Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

        by Anne Elk on Sun May 27, 2012 at 09:08:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I never said imprison children in classrooms.... (0+ / 0-)

          Learning should be a fascinating adventure.....

          How does one go about optimizing learning experience for heterogeneous groups of 25-35 neurologically unique individuals at a personally meaningful level?

          I can tell you this much...common core standards? This is a recipe for disaster on multiple levels......and this is what your President wants.....He has sold public education out!

          Do you buy into this common core test prep crap? I pity you....

          Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

          by semioticjim on Sun May 27, 2012 at 11:58:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The other reason for summers off is that (0+ / 0-)

      not all of our schools have air conditioning.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:41:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would love to have more access (0+ / 0-)

      to computers in classrooms.

      I don't want full time digital, but most elementary schools are not constructed to allow more than perfunctory computer use.

      They might have one or two computers in a classroom. You may be thinking that's because they can't afford to buy computers. The real problem is that there is only enough electricity for one or two computers.

      Elementary schools rarely have computer labs, and if they do, they rarely have enough for each class to get significant time on them.

      Rural schools often don't have enough bandwidth for more than a handful of users at a time.

      And, the computers will die if they're used in classrooms that get too hot, so air conditioning is necessary - which requires not only the unit but also even more electrical infrastructure. (How ironic that we're more concerned about the health and comfort of our computers than our 8-year-olds, but I digress.)

      And all this infrastructure means that a dedicated computer tech is needed to administer it... more money that schools don't have, given that they're also doing without librarians.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:47:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The answer is NOT getting rid of summer vacation (0+ / 0-)
      The children of the rich, however, tend to retain their academic standing through the summer vacation simply because their summer vacation is packed with many activities that promote the acquisition of many other skills.
      Consider you understand that the children of the rich retain academic standing via context building activities, why isn't your answer to fund programs that give all students these type of activities in the summer?
  •  Teachers are a bipartisan target (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMarshall, justmy2

    Rmoney and Obama are grand old time demonizing teachers.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:19:56 PM PDT

  •  Man, this guy jut drips Presidential (0+ / 0-)

    if we go third world. Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, India, Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands. Mitt, Mitt , Mitt, wash your greasy hair and get a real job. I hear grade schools are hiring part time minimum wage janitors. Do you have your resume ready?

  •  Reduced class size is the most effective way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMarshall, NYCteach, gfv6800

    to improve education, and Romney has specifically made light of it.  Of course, more teachers cost more money, but as a national investment few expenditures are as compelling.

    Not enough people seem to understand how physically and mentally exhausting it is to be in classroom, often on one's feet, often dealing with the spontaneous and unexpected, for 5 to 7 hours a day, in charge of 20-35 kids who have to be taught, inspired, monitored, assessed, socialized and kept safe, while also attending meetings, keeping abreast of one's field, marking papers and exams, developing lessons and writing reports - most of this after school hours.  Relative to their responsibility and output, teachers may be the most underpaid workers in America, and they are under attack because of the consequences of the failures of American society that they did not cause and cannot correct, but that make their job harder.

  •  Saying that class size does not matter, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (elementary school)according to studies he has seen, is a certain pointer that he doesn't have the slightest idea what he's talking about. (This may have been something I saw
    from another source....)
    I taught elementary school for over 20 years and to think
    That this fool is advocating larger class size(because class size doesn't matter) is just beyond belief !

  •  stump thumping (0+ / 0-)

    Good show.

    Whatever issues the candidate proposes to take as platform issues in his stump thumping, those would probably be the issues to address to the candidate and the candidate's campaign, in the debate - perhaps not so much the vacuum around it, moreso those issues that the candidate's campaign elects to take up, and which one might have a better  grasp on than the said campaign. (At that, I wouldn't be too sympathetic about how it could sound to the "PC" crowd of the candidate's constituency, if one really does have a better grasp on the issues, when one demonstrate that summarily.)

    One can make it an argument of principles, somehow - lol - and needless to say of emotion, incidental in explaining the principles. ;)

    Debate being debate, one learns to not take it too personally, right? Cheers, and here's to a good outcome.

    •  Pardon me if that sounds a little harsh (0+ / 0-)

      I would apologize if my comment may sound a little harsh. Maybe I'm taking this election a little seriously - like, go figure ;)

      Hey, however it goes, the nation is still a democracy. Please pardon my lack of reverence for political correctness, then. Cheers.

  •  I'm a public school teacher (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMarshall, TexMex, elfling, Dirtandiron

    The problem is not unions. The problem is that the culture, kids, and their families, have changed while our education model has not (especially for older kids). We have to recognize the economic and social chaos many of these kids live in, and provide--as best we can--what they need to thrive. There are communities where education can be conducted, at least partially, online. There are other communities where a limited voucher system might make sense (I've read that Milwaukee allows vouchers in extremely blighted urban areas with good results). Some places may need longer school days. Some may actually need less school. Everywhere is different.

    Local communities need to be the decision makers here. Larger entities--states, the feds--can provide models and funds, but ultimately there is no national 'fix' for K12 education. Each city and town is different. Each population is different. What We the People need to do is dedicate ourselves to education for every child, no matter what it takes. That education may look very different in inner city Chicago than it does in rural Maine or Marin County.

    And that's fine.

    With regard to urban (and often times, failing) schools, I am a huge fan of the Community Schools model. These places rock.

    •  No national fix (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and similarly, it's not really a national crisis. That is, many schools across our nation are doing very well. Many schools are doing abominably. But the reasons for each situation are different and often local. One district contents with skyrocketing enrollment; another contends with declining enrollment. Some districts are large and others tiny.

      There are initiatives at the national level that make sense. Providing resources, especially for special education, makes sense. The common core - when implemented on a rational schedule - probably makes sense. But I think keeping school decisionmaking close to the community served also makes a lot of sense.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:55:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Schools with fewer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        than 10% of the children living in poverty can compete with--and beat--our international rivals: South Korea, Finland, Taiwan, etc. When you see international comparisons, understand that the scores of the children in the US are an average (i.e. urban schools, suburban schools, rural schools all factored in together). If we go zip code by zip code, we have the best public schools on planet earth. It just depends on the community where these schools exist.

        For example, here in Massachusetts, our top performing school districts--Concord, Wellsley, other leafy-green suburbs--perform better than (virtually) any school internationally. Boston, Springfield, Lawrence (very poor inner city schools) perform dreadfully. Add them together and we have lower mean scores. View them separately...

        So the question is, what do we, as members of local cities and towns, need to make our schools--all of our schools--successful? What needs to happen in Concord is a lot different than what needs to happen in Boston (or Chicago, or Los Angles, or Detroit...) We treat all of our schools and school districts like they are the same. They are not. The people in Concord can decide how to run their own schools, as can the people in Boston. So long as everything is fair (a difficult benchmark, I realize)...just let them do what they need to do. Keep Washington out of it.

  •  Politics aside, the whole system is broken (0+ / 0-)

    Pity the mediocre inner city student in (pick your big city)- 33% graduation rates and half the kids that do graduate just showed up and are functionally illiterate. Suburban schools are not far behind. With fabulously high teen pregnancy rates, almost as high as inner city graduation rates, don't say you care about the underprivileged when we spend about  the highest per student in the industrialized world and we get crappy results. Try firing an incompetent teacher with tenure. Better hundreds of kids get a bad education than the teacher be removed. On interest is more important than the other.

    As for schools themselves, we worry about what's in the lunches and if a six year olds kissed on the playground without criticism that the whole product is off in the weeds. The India Institute of Technology is building our future, not us, thank goodness for brain drain or we would just be out of business. Fortunately, as long as the internet is on and you can afford a connection and a computer, your child can learn at the Khan Academy  and not from their stuck in the 60s school.

    Do we really have to choose between the far left textbooks of California or the far right of Texas? It goes on and on.

    The kids are in the middle and excellence is the furthest thing form the minds of anyone in the business of public education. African Americans are hurt by this worst of all- the school systems prepares them for MacDonalds or prison. With one quarter of the delegates to the US Democratic national convention associated with teacher's unions, is this any better for the country that the influence business groups have on republicans?

    •  "Far left textbooks of California?" (2+ / 0-)
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      Lost and Found, Dirtandiron

      Have you read our textbooks?

      As far as "the highest per student in the industrialized world" it's important to realize that you can't directly compare expenditures on a per pupil basis across nations. For example, many of the expenditures accounted to education in America for salaries and special education are accounted to the health care system in other nations. Sports are often run by communities instead of schools. Where a nation draws the line between what counts as education and what counts as other community services is not static. I doubt Finland accounts grants to buy clothes and backpacks for homeless children to their education system, as we do.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:59:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are no "far left textbooks" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, Mostel26

      Because Texas schools are the biggest buyer of textbooks, they pretty much get to dictate the content of textbooks, unfortunately.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun May 27, 2012 at 12:29:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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