Friday, July 9, 2010

Speaking for the unhinged

Jonathan Chait dismisses critics of proposed education reform as 'unhinged.' Speaking as one of the whackjobs, here's the sort of thing that makes us loonies so nervous.

From a press release (6/8/09) from the Department of Education:

Emphasizing the need for additional effective education entrepreneurs to join the work of reforming America's lowest performing public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told reporters during a conference call this afternoon that states must be open to charter schools. Too much is at stake for states financially and for students academically to restrict choice and innovation.

"States that do not have public charter laws or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools will jeopardize their applications under the Race to the Top Fund," Secretary Duncan said. "To be clear, this administration is not looking to open unregulated and unaccountable schools. We want real autonomy for charters combined with a rigorous authorization process and high performance standards."

From a May 1st story in the New York Times:

But for all their support and cultural cachet, the majority of the 5,000 or so charter schools nationwide appear to be no better, and in many cases worse, than local public schools when measured by achievement on standardized tests, according to experts citing years of research. Last year one of the most comprehensive studies, by researchers from Stanford University, found that fewer than one-fifth of charter schools nationally offered a better education than comparable local schools, almost half offered an equivalent education and more than a third, 37 percent, were “significantly worse.”
Us nutjobs would like to see the administration reconsider its position based on the data.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be interested to see what models countries higher in the ranking use. According to this page:

    The US is in the middle of the pack in terms of mathematics scores. Meanwhile, the top three countries (Hong Kong, Finland, South Korea) are not hotbeds of privatized schooling. Looking at the wikipedia websites, the two things that jump out are a focus on intense competition (South Korea and Hong Kong) and heavy streaming of students (all three).

    Finland, in particular, has a very socialist education system. The only major country with a charter school system in the same test (New Zealand) came in 12th -- not a bad ranking but hardly evidence that they have the best approach going.