Monday, August 13, 2012

Is Privatization Really About the Children?

Supporters of privatizing education claim that the teachers, oops I mean their union, is not for the children but only for themselves. I ran across a wonderful essay with a different point of view through Diane Ravitch's blog. It is written by Matthew Mandel, a teacher in Pennsylvania. Here is an excerpt:

If it were about children, in Philadelphia, a state takeover charged with both improving financial management and educational outcomes would be put to rest as a failed experiment. A district’s management team wouldn’t be able to run a district into insolvency, say they are sorry, and then move on to lucrative consultant positions. Reformists like Michelle Rhee and Arlene Ackerman—who help to cultivate a culture of testing “irregularities”—wouldn’t be allowed to exit with a golden parachute before being held accountable for the results under their leadership.

If it were about children, boisterous, spotlight-seeking politicians who wax poetic about school vouchers as an elixir for what ills public schools would be required to do their own homework and examine research that compellingly indicates that vouchers don’t work. These same politicians would also be too embarrassed to call the fight for vouchers in Pennsylvania “the Civil Rights battle of our generation.” Our nation’s true Civil Rights leaders died trying to create greater opportunities for those without. Proponents of Senate Bill 1 are crusaders for someone’s interests, just not for our children’s.

If it were about children, legislators who stump for vouchers would have to guarantee a source of funding to bridge the gap between the value of the voucher and the cost of tuition at elite public and private schools. They wouldn’t be allowed to get away with deceiving families with the notion of “choice” when such choice belongs solely to the schools, not to the students and their families.

You can read the rest of the essay here.

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