Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Romney's NAACP Speech = Support Charters!

Mitt Romney spoke before the NAACP at its annual convention. His speech started well by emphasizing the importance of the family. It is an undeniable fact that if you get married, have kids, and stay married, you are going to have better economic outcomes compared to those who have children as teenagers or even young adults without first being married. In my opinion, this is something that the government cannot fix and is something that individuals must accomplish on their own with the moral assistance of their churches. 

Then the tide turned when he started to state that charter schools and vouchers are the solution to the black community's problems. I've already gone over some of the advantages that private schools have over public schools.  A blog article by Diane Ravitch describes the advantages that charter schools have over traditional public schools. She concludes by saying that if public schools had these same privileges, then they would see significant growth as well. 

Well, you are not going to see traditional public schools gain those advantages, at least initially. This charter school agenda is not about loosening red tape. It is not about providing students with more exposure to educational best practices. If that were the case, then all schools would be afforded those privileges at the stroke of the governor's pen. It is all about money. Education takes up the most space in state budgets with most of that being tied up in personnel. The only way to reduce this financial "burden" is to lower the cost of labor. In fact, this is how we Americans get to enjoy so many products for relatively little money (otherwise known as "Made in China"). The only way to lower the cost of labor is to get rid of seniority rules and pay scales that emphasize experience and graduate studies. Experienced teachers are the scapegoats in public education, and being able to get rid of them will reduce the cost of labor. (It's funny how recent college graduates complain about not being able to get jobs because they lack experience in their field, yet having experience is becoming a negative attribute in public education).

Charter schools mostly employ young, inexperienced teachers. There is high attrition in these schools, which allow them to bring on more young, inexperienced teachers as replacements.  This practice helps explain the belief that charters can do the same job with less money. They don't have 25-year teachers at the top of the pay scale to pay. This is the goal of the charter school movement. 

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