HOT BLAST: Books decry market-driven school reform
Sep 05, 2013 | 1154 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Star's editorial board has been a supporter of the state Legislature's attempts at creating charter schools in Alabama. Of course, that support depending on compliance with with a very solid condition: Charter schools can only work if the Legislature goes against its normal pattern and creates smart policies as opposed to the slap-dash style that has marked so many Montgomery missteps.

(Of course, after one unsuccessful run at charter schools in 2011, the Republican-led House and Senate dropped the matter with a big shrug.) 

And now for a different viewpoint on charters courtesy of a Slate book review:

The case for market-driven reforms in education rests on two key premises: The public school system is in crisis, and the solution is to let the market pick winners and losers. Market strategies—high-stakes teacher accountability, merit pay, shuttering “failing” schools—are believed to be essential if public schools are ever going to get better. And these maxims underlie the commitment to charter schools and vouchers. Freed from the dead hand of bureaucracy and the debilitating effects of school board politics, the argument runs, schools are free to innovate.

If you follow education debates, you’ve heard that again and again. Here’s what’s new: A spate of new books undercuts both propositions, simply decimating the argument for privatizing education.

For more reading on the subject, check out Larry Lee's oped in last Sunday's Star:

To say that educators everywhere are gun-shy these days is an understatement. Chicago is closing more than 50 schools, actions against education by the North Carolina governor and state Legislature have prompted demonstrations at the state capitol, the Philadelphia school system is on the verge of bankruptcy, and the mayor of New York sent a candidate for the Los Angeles school board a $1 million contribution.

The common thread to all of this is that 9 times out of 10, educators are nowhere to be found when decisions about education policy are being made. Time after time, educators have listened to grand plans and thought they would be invited to the table, only to discover that, instead, they are on the menu.


 
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