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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hillary Wants More Kids in Charter Schools

Hillary supporters who, at least, are not explicitly hostile to public schools have coughed and groaned for a long time when confronted with evidence the Clintons' unyielding support for Common Core, TFA, standardized tests, continued school resegregation, and corporate reform "no excuses" schools for the poor.  Hillary's full embrace of her husband's new paternalism and "broken windows" social theory applied to schools, along with her lucrative support for the education industry and charter proliferation, have been the impetus for Hillary lovers to harrumph and change the political subject on many occasion.

So it is, then, that many of these supporters have taken Hillary's latest remarks on charter schools as a chance to spin a story that Hillary is hostile to charters and entirely supportive of the publicly controlled schools that are dying out at the same rate that the charter blight spreads across America.   Sorry, spinners.

If we look at what Hillary said, however, during her Roland Martin interview in South Carolina last week, it is easy to see a politician with a mastery of having-it-both-ways obfuscating rhetoric that underscores her unwillingness to stand up for any principle that is likely to alienate any potential donor to her campaign.  Here is part of what she said when asked if she supports the expansion of charter schools and vouchers:
CLINTON: I have for many years now, about 30 years, supported the idea of charter schools, but not as a substitute for the public schools, but as a supplement for the public schools. And what I have worked on through my work with the Children’s Defense Fund and my work on education in Arkansas and through my time as first lady and senator  is to continue to say charter schools can have a purpose, but you know there are good charter schools and there are bad charter schools, just like there are good public schools and bad public schools.

MARTIN: So let’s get rid of all the bad….

CLINTON: But the original idea, Roland, behind charter schools was to learn what worked and then apply them in the public schools. And here’s a couple of problems. Most charter schools — I don’t want to say every one — but most charter schools, they don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody, and then they don’t get the resources or the help and support that they need to be able to take care of every child’s education.

So I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system — not outside of it — but within it because I am still a firm believer that the public school system is one of the real pillars of our democracy and it is a path for opportunity.
So all the 6,000+ public schools that have been shuttered and replaced by corporate charter schools is not the "idea of charter schools" that Hillary supports?  Clinton appears to hav this parallel universe conception of charter schools, where they only function to "supplement for the public schools." And where public resources are not lost to charter schools, as they are today and will be tomorrow.

And does Hillary really want to apply what works in charter schools and apply it to public schools?  If that happened, and the charters' bare-knuckled penal test prep became as concentrated in public schools as it is in charters, what would be the purpose of choice? 

And does Hillary really want charters to take all children, rather than just the students who are likely to burnish the charter brands?  If charters took all kids, there would be no public schools left, and in the corporate charter plan for educating the poor, the public schools have a necessary role to play as schools of last resort for children that the corporate charters don't want--the ones on Little Eva's "got to go" lists.

So even if Hillary were serious about what she told Roland Martin, it would be entirely unworkable in any world except the one she inhabits with her wishful-thinking soccer parents, her cynical Wall Street bundlers, and the non-profit "free market" fans of the Ravitch crew.

No comments:

Post a Comment