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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Feb 16th 2010, 12:57 AM
This blogger gets it right. It is a bad year shaping up for public schools.

A Bad Year for Teachers, a Bad Year for Public Education

The privatization of schools is sold as "ingenuity" and as a way of "leveling the field" by offering that cornerstone of free market fundamentalist mythology, "choice". Give parents choice and all problems go away. Because education is like used cars.

Forget that there is exactly zero evidence that charter schools work. Forget that vouchers take as an assumption that children from more difficult backgrounds should be allowed to fail. Forget that the history of American education demonstrates that expansion of public schools and professionalization of the teaching profession--and civil service, collective bargaining protection for teachers--tracks perfectly to the improvement of American education.

Why are we making teachers the sole enemy? And why are we suddenly comfortable with the idea that less democracy is a good thing?

He makes some other good points.

Yes, we need a system to get rid of bad teachers. Does that mean giving bosses absolute power over them? It is mind boggling to me that "liberals" and progressives would approve of a "reform" that would give bosses absolute authority over the schools and inject the profit motive into the system. It is seen as an easy way to be centrist--blame the teachers unions--but in reality it is an immensely dangerous way to think about school reform.

...."Charter schools offer their employees no job security. The pay is terrible, no retirement security, and teachers are often forced to teach outside of their discipline. Ask yourself why you think other people should do a job you're not willing to do just for the good feeling it supposedly gives them? Bosses are always eager to make teachers--or nurses, or child care workers--seem cold and uncaring whenever they advocate for themselves in the workplace. Where are their pay cuts and sacrifice?

..."Charter schools do not hire better teachers. Their staffs tend to be bifurcated between well-paid long-time teachers who have moved over from the public sector and eager young kids who will burn out in a few years. What success charters have comes from their ability to skirt special ed and other "burdens" public schools need to deal with by law, and just skim the best students with the most engaged parents.

I found this page about how all too often the new charter schools and the private schools may not be required to hire certified qualified teachers....but traditional public schools must.

Everything you ever wanted to know about getting your teaching credential—and then some

Teacher Certification Requirements for Private and Charter Schools

Charter schools are independent public schools, each governed by a public board of trustees that has the authority to hire teachers according to their own established standards. In some states, charter schools can hire teachers regardless of state certification and licensure requirements. In other states, charter schools are like district schools held to the same state requirements to hire only certified teachers. Contact your state's Department of Education if you are interested in teaching at a charter school there.

On the other hand, private schools are not regulated by state government and can set their own requirements. While some private schools choose to require teachers to be certified, many do not. Contact individual schools directly to learn what is required to become a teacher there.

Ronnie Reagan's attack on the public school systems, though very flawed indeed, has had a huge impact.

Yes, it really is a bad year for public education. This year appears to be the year that Ronnie Reagan's Nation at Risk, a flawed study....has finally found a way to bring his policies into play.

The demeaning of public education began under Reagan. It has worked well.

Three years into his first term Mr. Reagan's criticism of public education reached a crescendo when he hand picked a "blue ribbon" commission that wrote a remarkably critical and far-reaching denunciation of public education. Called "A Nation At Risk," this document charged that the US risked losing the economic competition among nations due to a "... rising tide of (educational) mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people." (The commissioners did not consider the possibility that US firms were uncompetitive because of corporate mismanagement, greed and short sightedness.)After "A Nation At Risk" the nation's public schools were fair game for every ambitious politician or self-important business boss in the country. Its publication prompted a flood of follow-up criticism of public education as "blue ribbon" and "high level" national commissions plus literally hundreds of state panels wrote a flood of reform reports. Most presupposed that the charges made by Mr. Reagan's handpicked panel were true. Oddly though, throughout this entire clamor, parental confidence in the school's their children attended remained remarkably high. Meanwhile Mr. Reagan was quietly halving federal aid to education.

That sums up Mr. Reagan's educational legacy. As governor and president he demagogically fanned discontent with public education, then made political hay of it. As governor and president he bashed educators and slashed education spending while professing to valued it. And as governor and president he left the nation's educators dispirited and demoralized.

But it paid off big time...his education bashing. It has taken 20 years but now there is a Democratic administration moving quickly to accomplish Reagan's goals of privatizing everything.
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