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

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

DFER Propaganda Pumping Charters

What is the difference on charter schools between Republicans and Democrats for Education Reform? Nothing.

Both are controlled by the oligarchs of the Business Roundtable, and both are pushing hard for corporate charter schools that take public money without public oversight and without governance by elected school boards. In DFER's latest charter pump, they had this to say:
"When Democrats, who have historically been proud supporters of public education, are the ones standing between the families we claim to represent and the public school options for which they clamor, we have to re-examine our priorities when it comes to schools."

"There is no shortage of evidence, in places like California, New York, Boston, and elsewhere, public charter schools have shown they aren't killing public education. In fact, public charter schools are leading the charge to save public education and delivering results.
How much real "clamoring" is there out there for charter schools? How close are the policies of DFER and the Obama/Duncan education plan they control to what the American people really think about education?

The last national poll conducted by PDK/Gallup was conducted late last summer and published in the September Kappan. That 40th Annual Poll (pdf) shows that the support for charter schools among Americans is waning, rather than waxing. In 2007 support for charters peeked at 60 percent favorable. In 2008, that dropped to 51 percent favorable (p. 11).

How about the electorate's thinking on who the new President should rely on for advice about education policy? Business leaders like Gates and Broad got 14%. Political leaders got 4%, and education leaders got 77% (p. 10). But then, when did it ever matter what the public thinks?

How about governance of public school? Duncan and Obama support mayoral takeovers, rather than dealing with the messy democratic business of school boards. What do the American people think about who should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in public schools? Federal control, 20%; State control, 30%; local school boards, 46% (p. 11); 4% don't know--or maybe they believe mayors should control schools.

What about the biggest problems facing public schools--what do parents think? Surely standards and teacher quality must be at the top of the list, since those are the priorities of Duncan and Obama. Public school parents put funding and overcrowding as the #1 and #2 problems, with 19% and 11% respectively. Standards got 2% and good teachers, 3% (p. 12).

And surely there must be overwhelming support for the pay-per-score scheme that is at the top of the to-do list for Obama/Duncan. In the national totals, 48% are for teacher salaries being tied to standardized test scores, 46% are against, and 6% don't know.

So much for listening campaigns and public input.

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