"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Jeb Chooses the 65 Percent Solution

Having passed a class-size cap four years ago with a hefty price tag, Florida's Republican governor and legislators have been looking for a way to undercut it ever since. They think they have found it in the "sixty-five percent solution," a nationwide neo-con scheme headed up by Internet-based junk salesman, Patrick Byrne, whose reputation has slumped even more since I posted this in November. The scam is being pushed by education privatizers who seek to create diversions and sow discord among public educators across the country in order to advance their takeover efforts. For the whole story, go here to the St. Petersburg Times piece, but here are a couple of choice clips:
The 65 percent idea comes with baggage: The movement's national chairman is a maverick businessman who has been accused of spreading Wall Street conspiracy theories while his company performs below expections. And a recent analysis by Standard & Poor's, the credit rating company, found the 65 percent idea isn't based on hard evidence linking spending levels to student performance.
. . . .
Bush, Handy and Republican legislative leaders have made no secret of their dislike for the class-size amendment, which they say will channel billions of dollars away from other pressing education needs, such as attracting quality teachers. So far, efforts to repeal or limit the amendment's directives have failed.
. . . .
An August story in the Austin American-Statesman suggested the group pushing the 65 percent solution has a bigger agenda. A First Class Education memo obtained by the Texas newspaper said pushing the 65 percent plan as a ballot measure will yield political benefits for Republicans by pitting teachers against administrators, distracting the "education establishment" from other issues and building support for private school vouchers and charter schools. . . .

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