Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Disagree - Public Education is NOT For Sale Worldwide

Just recently, Diane Ravitch penned an article for US News and World Report in which she claims that "Worldwide, Public Education is For Sale".  Unfortunately, I could agree with none of it.  Here's what I thought after finishing the piece...

Having adopted children from Africa, I know a little bit about the inability of many African countries to provide educations for their youngest citizens, yet you want me to cry because a private organization is coming in and educating them for a dollar a week - because some families don't even have the dollar, the teachers are *gasp* UNCERTIFIED, and the foundation might make a buck? I seriously am just completely confounded.

Though I would personally not opt my children into a Pearson school if another alternative was available, Pearson is unarguably providing these children a better future than they could hope to have just because they are being afforded a basic education they wouldn't have otherwise had.

Some education is better than NO education in my estimation and just because it doesn't come at the hand of the taxpayer does NOT make it a bad thing.

And I would add here that, for hundreds of years private Evangelical organizations have routinely established schools, helping poor children in countries all over the world become educated. This is well-known and established practice. It's okay for them - just not for Pearson? What difference is there in this scenario other than the money tied to Pearson? And for that association you'd wish to deny children an education?

You say public schools are being 'attacked'. I've heard this as a litany over and over and over. "Attacked" is an emotion word.  It's used specifically to incite emotion, to create drama.

Public schools are NOT being 'attacked'. Public schools are being scrutinized for poor performance - especially when compared with their cost - in states across the country. This is not an "ATTACK", it is a reasonable criticism resulting  study of compiled data on student scores that simply can't be refuted.

Grades are what they are - evidence is clear - when you have high school graduates accepted into college who can't even write coherently, something is desperately wrong with the system below.

Here's another thing; you say in your article, "Students use choice to self-segregate by religion, social class, race, and family income. The neediest children do not benefit. Educational results are negligible."

I was a recipient of forced public school bussing in the 1970's. In my experience, many black students didn't want to be bussed across town and were angry about it, while many white students didn't want black students at their school and were angry about it. It wasn't a fun time. I will at some point look back at ACT results from that era to make certain my conjecture, but I would venture that both black students and white students had better ACT scores when they were self-segregated for the simple fact that anyone who is comfortable in their environment will do better at anything.

Not only that, but it's fascinating to me that you even use the term 'self-segregating'. So what? So, it's the government's job to make sure everyone gets along with one another by forcing them together? Well, guess what? The Justice Department and POTUS have been doing that for 8 years now and what has that wrought? Dead police officers across the country, a Black Lives Matter campaign that seeks to elevate the plight of one 'race' over another (when we're ALL humans and race means nothing biologically/scientifically) and arguably the worse 'race relations' since the 1960's.

In addition, to say the neediest children do not benefit from school choice (charter schools) has basis in truth only when applied to some specific schools - it doesn't work as a generalization. I know when I was teaching, had our lottery-based  entry charter school not been available to many of our poorer students, they would have fallen through the cracks in a 'regular public school' to the point they would have been unreachable by any other means than possibly prison.

Educational results negligible? What does that even mean? What are they now? Right now educational results in the vast majority of public schools are negligible if we're going to use SAT or ACT scores as a measure of what has been learned therein.  So, can that even be used as an argument at this point in public education history?

I understand that like anyone other than government entities overseeing the education of children. That's fine. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion - I just don't agree with that premise, nor any of the arguments you have used to make your point.