Killing Upward Mobility

Obama? Obama? Obama?

There continues to be a total disconnect between the role of  high unemployment and a slow growing economy in deficits.   It appears now to be an excuse to cut programs and experiment on children.   I’ve grown up expecting Republicans to lie.  They lie about science.  They lie about economics.  They lie about people who they’ve assigned ‘enemy’ status. They lie about climate change. They lie about history. They lie about evolution.  They lie about their sex lives.  They lie about being crooks and starting secret wars.  They just lie whenever they feel like it.

What I never thought I’d see is a continued Democratic party led onslaught against programs that have clearly kept people out of poverty and helped them to achieve and stay in the middle class.  They either believe these same lies spun by Republicans or they are acting willfully against the good of the nation in ways that perpetrate those lies.  Either way, this hurts our country.

Recently, we’ve experienced massive privatization of clearly public goods.  This has especially been true in the military since DDay Rumsfeld took over the pentagon.  It is becoming equally true for education.  Private companies that feed off government contracts are the worst of the worst.  They messed up Iraq and Afghanistan. They messed up the Gulf Coast after Katrina, Rita and BP.  They’ve messed up our schools, our infrastructure and our recovery down here.  The only thing that was done right was the Superdome and that’s only because it’s part of the bread and circuses pogrom and the big bucks of the plutocrats were involved.  It was also symbolic.  Symbolic was supposed to convince you all that we’re hunky dory down here.  We are not.  Now they want to extend that model to you.  Please, don’t let them.  Save your children.  Save them now.

Hyping cherry picking charter schools while ignoring the vast majority of  underachieving charter schools is only one way this pogrom works.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  I want to focus on the latest design to stop your children from being upwardly mobile first.  We have more clear indications that Obama/Geithner are still willing to bailout any oligopoly that’s a potential political donor while chipping away at policy designed to move working and middle class children to professional salaries.  We’ll still be paying for atrocious foreign and defense policy in Afghanistan and Iraq now while de-funding  Pell Grants and ending interest rate subsidies for all graduate students that need loans for education.

President Barack Obama‘s budget plan would cut $100 billion from Pell Grants and other higher education programs over a decade through belt-tightening and use the savings to keep the maximum college financial aid award at $5,550, an administration official said.

Nearly $90 billion of the projected savings would be achieved through two changes, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Monday’s release of Obama’s 2012 budget. The spending plan applies to the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

The first edict–if passed by congress–basically means spring semester grants must be used for summer school.  Separate summer school loans will not be available.  The second proposal means that interest will accrue on graduate students taking loans while they are in graduate school.  This would especially impact medical school students who frequently require huge loans to go to school then come out saddled with unbelievable amounts of debt that they must begin to pay while doing low paying, high intensity residency jobs.  Yes, pile more debt on us all individually. Bankrupt us with individual debt while scaring us that the government’s the one that could (NOT!!) go bankrupt.

We’re continuing to see the Obama administration pit the poor, the working class, and the middle class against each other.  They’re already noticeably doing that via an education policy called Race to the Top.  Rather than direct per pupil subsidies for needy students, schools must now compete for federal funds based on some pretty arbitrary and questionable standards.  Poor districts must fight for scraps on the floor and it’s expensive and potentially damaging to fight for those scraps.   They must fight via increases in test scores that have so much statistical variation and resultant margin of error, that you could literally place in a high or low performing school district depending on which side of the error margin you randomly land.

Same deal applies if you’re a teacher.  Frequently the difference between teacher evaluations is decimal places where there is no statistical difference.  But, this competitive game says you have to use those numbers any way.  You have to be willing to evaluate schools and students on test scores to earn race to the top funds. You also have to use test scores to evaluate teachers when most of the education literature shows the majority of factors indicating student success are factors that exist outside of the school itself.  That would be the student’s family and the degree of motivation within the students themselves. That’s even if you accept the validity of these tests. That’s even in question.  What we have is just more shots in the warfare on public workers.  We unjustifiably make more than any one. (Not true)  We have evil unions that grab unreasonable benefits for us. (Less true than ever before.)  We have no work ethnic or else we’d be in the private sector. (Some of us just don’t like the private sector for some pretty obvious reasons.)

Why aren’t we seeing removal of funds for items that clearly aren’t working for students or any one?  I can come up with a few off the top of my head. Say, why don’t we dump abstinence ‘education’ or funds for religion based programs like the ones that pay Michelle Bachman’s husband who claims to be able to ‘ungay’ gays?  Instead, we see a Democratic President pass ‘reforms’ that don’t even fall under the category of triangulation.  Clintonian triangulation would be a giant leap forward compared to what’s happening now in funding our kids’ education. (And don’t tell me Hillary Clinton would be doing this if she were president.  Hillary Clinton worked on education in Arkansas.  She didn’t pull this type of sorry ass policy out once.)

Exactly why do schools with many, many children in poverty have to compete for federal funds?   Why support school in the fall but not in the summer?  Why start tacking on additional interest to students seeking graduate and professional degrees?  Why not put the taxes back to the Clinton years, end two unnecessary wars, and start a jobs program to end the devastating unemployment that is causing the reduced revenues and need for more government services?

Why do we live in this world were not only Republicans, but Democrats now deny history, data, and theory coming out of decades of study using the scientific method?  Why are they making decisions based on differences within the margin of error and wishful thinking?  Didn’t they learn statistics or take math?  Why is a Democratic president enacting failed policies that have only worked in the minds of a few Reagan worshiping right wingers?  Do you notice that the worst policy appears to come when Geithner is standing next to Obama?

There has been this horrible experiment forced on children in the name of education reform. This is stealing their future much more than any deficit could.    Test scores indicate that charter schools are not performing better than public schools overall. In fact, the worst schools in places with charter schools  are two times more likely to be a charter school. They are also not creating a ‘competitive’ environment that’s  making public schools perform any better.  All you have to do is look at Wisconsin for a pretty good indication of that.

Well-known education researcher, professor and critic Diane Ravitch plans to tell a crowd at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee tonight that their city’s system for offering poor children publicy funded vouchers to attend private schools has been a failure.

“Everyone has sort of given up on Milwaukee and Cleveland,” she said, referring to the only other Midwestern city that has a similar voucher program. “The studies of vouchers here have proven they don’t make a difference. The researchers used to have a huge debate … and now there seems to be a consensus on both sides: no bigger gains in voucher schools than in public schools.”

And about those reforms that the state’s largest teachers’ union just embraced? Performance pay and student-assessment driven teacher evaluation systems, which are also being championed by reformers around the country?

Ravitch, 72, thinks those efforts are pretty futile, too.

There’s no extra money to fund extra pay for teachers, she said. And test scores used as accountability for teachers rather than diagnostic tools to help kids improve only make educators teach to the test.

Ravitch’s Milwaukee stop is part of a nation-wide tour she’s been on for the past year to promote her 2010 book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education. In it, she denounces her previous support for school choice, accountability and the No Child Left Behind law. She spoke to School Zone during an afternoon interview at Hotel Metro, before heading over to UWM Thursday.

In a highly publicized flip-flop, Ravitch’s now advocates for a national curriculum and a holistic education program that includes more arts and less standardized testing. She also now supports children attending their neighborhood schools.

“Public services shouldn’t have to compete for customers,” she said. “You should be able to have available for you high-quality schools. That’s the obligation of government.”

Ravitch spoke to a group of New Orleans educators recently.  Her speech is being broadcast here on our ETV.   I wish I could send it to you.  You may know that they’ve basically used New Orleans as an incubator for privatization schemes. She supported the charter school movement until she did research on it.  This is similar to what economists who were the earlier buyers of Reaganomics–like Bruce Bartlett–have done.  They supported it until the data proved it wrong.

So, why are we running our school systems with the same policies that failed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why are funding Halliburton and KBR and their university and public school counterparts while defunding university students and public schools?

I understand why Republicans are still clinging to lies because that appears to be what the new brand of Republicans do.  They lie about climate change.  They lie about evolution.  They lie about deficits both ways, depending on who is president.  What I want to know is why is a Democratic administration buying and selling these kinds of lies using the futures of our children?  Some where there must be a way to do a naked short sell on this so that a group of hedge fund masters will make a bundle when the bubble bursts on these privatization schemes.   In the interim, a bunch of fee sucking no bid contractors are eating up the proceeds from offering no succeed services.

Why is the Obama Administration leading a war on students and education?

78 Comments on “Killing Upward Mobility”

  1. Fredster says:

    Not so much about upward mobility but
    look what else the administration wants to cut. That means people dying of heat related problems in the summer in the South and freezing to death in the winter in the North.

    Yeah…this is standing up for good strong Democratic principles. NOT!

    • jawbone says:

      Yup — the Tea Partiers were right about Obama promoting Death Panels! It’s just that they weren’t in his ObamaCare for Big Private Health Insurers’ Profits, they’re now going to be applied to people who need help to afford to heat or cool their homes.

      (At what point will food stamp cuts follow? They’ve alread been cut to support the First Lady’s better foods in school lunch programs, so what’s a bit more slashing? Let them eat…grass, like the North Koreans have to do? That’s our president on ConservaTruth Lies.)

      It will be up to state or local authorities to pick and choose who gets heating or coolling assistance and who doesn’t, who lives and who dies. (Yes, I realize AZ has already begun that for Medicare patients.) How will the choices be made? First apply, first served? If you lose income in winter, what then when the funds are all gone? And then some once in a 1000 years heat wave hits in the summer, when no expected such high temps for so very long? What then?

      Just another way to reduce the surplus population?

      These will be Obama’s Death Panels. These will be his legacy.

      These will be his ice floes….

      Metaphorically of course, since he won’t be funding climate change research and programs to limit carbon emissions, so there won’t be real ice floes to toss the poor onto….

      We needed another FDR and we got…what’s the best example?

      • Fredster says:

        We have a prez who is a Dino and with the rethugs are going to put up it looks like he’ll be reelected in a landslide.

  2. TheRock says:

    Great post Dak. The powers that be always seem to want to convince us that if something is bad , more of it is better. When the tragedy in Arizona was at its peak, gun sales went up. Funny how in Georgia, the best solution they can come up with is to cut the school week.
    My mom called me about this laughing. How is LESS school supposed to be better for the kids? Note – my mom’s first degree is in education and she taught both here and in Nigeria.

    • Fredster says:

      From your link: It seems like they like the idea of saving on utilities and transportation costs. Next up they will say the teachers are no longer full time, less than 40 hrs, so they’ll be able to do away with health care benefits for part-time employees. Oh so clever, no?

      • TheRock says:

        The teachers that I have talked to about this say that its not because the district wants to save teacher pay….

      • Fredster says:

        I was writing tongue-in-cheek. The article says it’s because of funding cuts from the state level.

      • TheRock says:

        Didn’t think you were serious! Just passing the info I got about the probable reason why they cut the day…. 🙂

        Besides, your comment reinforces my thesis statement. They try to make us believe that the opposite of what we need is what we need…..

        And so with you, I agree!! 🙂

      • Fredster says:

        TheRock@6:09: I figured you got it. Here in AL the state is cutting back through what they call pro-ration. All they do is say “oops, revenues down, we’re cutting funding to the schools by 10%” or whatever number. Then it’s up to the counties to figure out how to cut. And, some schools have looked at cutting out teaching cursive writing! Now, not penmanship but just cursive writing, the way adults write. But then again, this is Alabama and the kids are probably writing with those huge oversized pencils and Big Chief tablets. 😆

        Chat that’s unbelievable on the tuition costs. (shaking head)

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @Fredster, “Big chief tablets” would those contain the writings of “your working boy?”

      • WomanVoter says:

        Heck, I found out that the Fire Dept, didn’t have eye or dental care and were facing some more cuts. Also, a large union, doesn’t provide their members with medication coverage and the co-pays are 50+ per visit.

        Oh, did Obama blow it by bargaining the Public Option away in private and Pelosi clapping…

    • chatblu says:

      Oh, I can top that one. Here in Florida, our new Tea Party givernor “Sticky Ricky” is toying with the idea of giving parents $5000 and having them educate their children. If anyone knows of a decent private school in the Ft Lauderdale area with tuition of $400/mo, I’d love to speak with them That’s day care money! I fear that a whole bunch of substandard for profit schools will blossom and we’ll end up with a permanent underclass.

      • Fredster says:

        Is it in the form of a tax credit? (they just love those)

        Have any idea of the tuition for parochial schools there in Broward?

      • chatblu says:

        More in the area of 10K. Nothing is low in Broward County except salaries.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I can just hear Obama and Boehner’s response to your statement chatblu…”Well, the world needs ditch diggers too.”

        Think Judge Smails. 😉

        • dakinikat says:

          Down here, Jindal’s telling us that we’re graduating too many university students and that we need more suckers out on the oil rigs. He says that. It’s in the paper. He doesn’t even pretend he doesn’t want an educated populace.

      • Sophie says:

        That’s incredible. Unreal.

      • Branjor says:

        I have an idea about ditch diggers, laborers and other menial workers, such as maids, cooks, etc. Everyone should have to do that work from time to time, take turns at it. Oil rig workers can be eliminated through development of green energy sources. Also, everyone should be allowed to develop themselves through higher education and intellectual/artistic/creative work of their choice.
        I know, this is utopian, but it seems like a good idea. Spread around both the shit work and the good stuff.
        The corporations and pols would never agree to it, it would take an overthrowing of them.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @Dak, Geez. I made a joke about the ditch diggers, did not think those idiots would actually say something like that. (My joke is a defense, cause if I don’t, it makes things feel even worse.)

      • Sima says:

        Our state government is making huge cuts as well, since tax raises didn’t pass last year. Education, our state’s model health care plan (we have a public option here for the poor! or, I should say, we HAD a public option), services for the disabled, actual police and fire positions, nursing positions, everything is being cut.

        Our governor cried and said it was not a moral budget. At least there’s that, here. I’m danged if I know what to do. It’s like the whole box is collapsing at once.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      @Rock 5:23 Yes, it would not surprise me if this 4 day week spreads to other school districts in GA. My Aunt’s young daughter is in the Pinellas County, FL. She was telling me that they have cut out providing school lunches and made 2 school days early release, to cut back on air condition/utilities expense. They have also closed schools, and kids are being bussed great distance to attend schools. Which has of course done nothing to help the overcrowding.

      At my kids primary school, the teachers had to volunteer time to plant flowers around the school, so that they could get funding. (The school had to “pass” some sort of appearance requirement. It isn’t like the school is not maintained…by work release prisoners from the county jail. And yes, they are there taking care of the grounds and cleaning inside the buildings when school is in session.)

      • Fredster says:

        Minx said: @Fredster, “Big chief tablets” would those contain the writings of “your working boy?”

        😆 Why of course! Shoot, your comment got buried in the nesting. I should have known that you would know about those!

      • Sima says:

        I read yesterday that in Detroit they are talking about classes of 62 students each. Good grief. Now 4 day weeks?

    • cwaltz says:

      It isn’t LESS school though. The hours are incorporated into the 4 days instead of 5. School days are longer. Districts seem to have mixed reviews of the 4 day week and there isn’t any conclusive evidence that 4 day weeks are bad or good(some districts in Georgia even saw an improvement in attendence, test scores, and graduation rate.So all data does not indicate it’s going to be all bad). Right now it’s been utilized to save teacher’s jobs while saving money on support staff like bus drivers, cafeteria help etc, etc.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    It is all just too depressing to comment on.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’ve decided Geithner is the acting VP and economics adviser. We’ve got the Obama/Geithner administration working to sell off American assets one by one to the highest political donor. Yehaw!

      • Fredster says:

        Well he’s got to raise that 1bn for campaign somehow…

      • grayslady says:

        That $1 billion would pay for the Chicago public school free breakfast program for 24 years. Tell me we don’t have our priorities backward. I think from now on, every time I see an article that allows commentary mentioning the $1 billion, I’m going to repeat what I said above until people begin to feel ashamed (hopefully).

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @grayslady, that sounds like a plan to me. But I don’t know how much good it will do.

  4. grayslady says:

    Speaking of school failures, the NYT reported the other day that charter school results in NY were producing seriously inferior results to even over-crowded public schools.

    Add to the list of outside influences parents who call up teachers and complain because their kid didn’t get a better grade. I hate to keep referring to the “good old days” when I was a youngster, but…in those days the schools operated “in loco parentis”. If your kid didn’t do well in classes, she wasn’t a victim, she was probably a screw-off. Instead of the parent calling the teacher, the teacher was likely to call the parent and tell the parent to get involved.

    As to Obama trying to privatize everything, what do you expect when he hired Arne Duncan. Duncan was a total failure here in Chicago. He just kept moving fast enough that he wasn’t around to accept accountability for no progress under his “leadership”.

    • Sima says:

      Why am I not surprised by the results of the charter schools? There’s very little in the traditionally public sector that can be improved by privatizing.

  5. Fannie says:

    I’m beginning to think I am living in the 18th century.

  6. jawbone says:

    “Why is the Obama Administration leading a war on students and education”

    I’ll go with lambert’s usual reply: Because he’s a conservative.

    We were lied to and conned, by this conservative corporatist Republican in Dem’s wording (in public when conning the rubes to get their votes).

  7. renartthefox says:

    Thanks for posting this, I knew the education system was messed up, but, not to this extent.

    • dakinikat says:

      I linked to the Hoover Institute’s Report on charter schools in the post. That’s a fairly conservative think tank that used to employ Milton Friedman. They talk about the charter school results.

      We don’t want to pay for what it would take to improve schools. Mostly, we need to extend the school day and the school year. Problem is no one wants to pay for that or do it …

      Most of my university freshman haven’t had calculus yet. They do that in fifth grade in Indian schools.

  8. Outis says:

    Charter schools, TFA, etc. is ALL about union busting. It has nothing to do with education. It’s about profits and low wages.

    Rick Scott in FL just hired Michelle Rhee, that malicious failure from DC. She wants to fire 8% of teachers and bring her special ineptitude to that state.

    I LOVE grayslady idea about equating the obscene amount of money they’re trying to raise for re-election to all the good that could be done with it. Every voter should know that if this president had done any damn good for anyone but himself and his rich friends, he wouldn’t need to spend that kind of cash. Run on your record damnit. It’s absolutely sickening.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    I am sooooo depressed by all this. How much more can we take?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Can you believe not a single Democrat was on any of the Sunday shows?

      • Fredster says:

        Would they have anything to offer?

      • bostonboomer says:

        It depends. Even Harry Reid would have been better than McCain–whom Reid was cancelled in favor of.

      • TheRock says:

        I’m with Fredster. Those asshat dems vote lock in step with Obumbles. What good would it do to have B-roll film of them betraying their base? It might help the opposition in the next election, but as bad as the country will probably be doing in ’12, they won’t need to. Congress will become so conservative that they will put a crucifix at the entrance and dare anyone to take it down….


        Hillary 2012

      • dakinikat says:

        Who’d want to go on the Sunday shows and try to defend what the Obama budget is doing? Especially, if you’d like to get re-elected as a member of the Democratic party?

  10. Adrienne in CA says:

    Thanks so much for continuing to cover this topic, and especially for the video featuring the wonderful Diane Ravitch, one-woman education mythbuster. She’s cool.


  11. Fredster says:

    bb said: It depends. Even Harry Reid would have been better than McCain–whom Reid was cancelled in favor of.

    OMG! I didn’t realize that. (shaking head) That says a lot.

  12. renartthefox says:

    Is it possible with all that is going on in the middle east at this time, that some small percentage of the population will get the idea that a regime change is needed here at home ?

    • dakinikat says:

      I would like to hope so. However, our rulers have done a pretty good job of slicing and dicing us into distinct powerless groups that blame other powerless groups. Unless folks start getting that it’s not all of us in the leaky boats that are to blame, but the games in the cigar shaped speed boats that are dumping water in all of our boats, I’m not sure. The other problem is they’re passing laws that limit are options daily. We’re dangerously close to a point of no return.

      • Fredster says:

        Aux armes citoyens
        Formez vos bataillons
        Marchons, marchons
        Qu’un sang impur
        Abreuve nos sillons

      • Fredster says:

        dak@12:30 – Desperate measures for desperate times?

        That, or we could stop making their stuff for them, whatever stuff we still make here in the U.S. How do you get the attention of the oligarchy and patriarchy?

        The legacy parties are useless. I found that out when Mary L. voted against the importation of prescription meds. Probably one of the easiest things that could have been done to help Americans with part of their health care costs. That, for me, was a dead giveaway.

  13. renartthefox says:

    I think that is what is coming. Think of it like “the matrix” we being the ones currently AWAKE, and it is time that the others are given a great kick in the backside to wake them. (douchewaffels)

    • Laurie says:

      Lol-I have an Algerian friend-she said that Muslim “freedom fighters” frequently identified themselves with the movie “Matrix”.

  14. Laurie says:

    Wasn’t there something about charter schools being inclined towards the military in Chicago?

  15. djmm says:

    Thank you for this important post, dakinikat. But isn’t this question rhetorical: “Why is a Democratic president enacting failed policies that have only worked in the minds of a few Reagan worshiping right wingers?”

    Because, of course, the President is a Reagan-worshiping right winger. Maybe not ultra right wing, but so right wing that this feels like a re-run of the Reagan era. And yes, Mr. Geithner’s policies are misguided, but the President selected him and the President has kept him on. That says it all.

    The real question is how we can get a more normal Democrat to challenge him in the primary?


  16. B Kilpatrick says:

    Children shouldn’t be forced to endure jail-like publik skoolz just to make white liberals feel nice.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m not exactly sure where you went to school, but my public school and those attended by my daughters were wonderful. I wouldn’t trade my public school education for anything else. I went to the sixth best high school in the country. It beat out all the fancy east coast prep schools too. You shouldn’t project your experience in a Louisiana backwater to any place else. The public schools were wonderful in Minnesota too and they were just fine in Iowa where I learned to read. I’ve attended public schools in the top testing states in the country. There aren’t even any viable private schools there because the public ones are excellent.

      The private school kids down here are no more prepared for college than the public school ones are. I’ve had both sets sitting in my university classes and they’re worse than the community college students that I used to get in Nebraska.

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        The fact that public schools elsewhere are great is relevant to the fact that they absolutely suck in much of the country how?

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        So, basically, you’re an economist and you’re trying to equate, oh, the Richmond, CA school district with some super-duper magnet school run by the Rich White People Independent School District? REALLY? That, after all, is where most of the charter schools are, in the HOOD. Of course a charter school where some kid some his older brother get popped the week before is going to do worse than the Minnetonka, MN Tennis Day School. That’s comparing apples and oranges, and anyone can see it’s not a valid comparison. Saying, “Well, there are good schools in Iowa, therefore the OPSB is a going concern” is silly too.

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        I looked over that study, and am re-reading it now, and what stands out to me is that charter schools blow publik skoolz out of the water when it comes to serving students in poverty and ESL students. Charts on pp 28-29.


        One of the possible explanations for the observed national results may be linked to the rapid growth of the charter school population each year and subsequent new school openings, leading to many of the charter students included in this study having been enrolled in their schools for only a few years. One wonders if students with more years of charter schooling might have different results compared to relative newcomers. In other words, we want to see if the effect that charter schools have on their students changes as they stay longer in charters. To study this, we limit our analysis to only those students who transfer into a charter from a public school during the course of our study. Then we again excluded the general charter school indicator in favor of including indicators for each year of attendance at a charter school.

        The findings are presented in Figure 10. The overall charter school impact was disaggregated by the number of years a student had enrolled in a charter. (The first year of enrollment counts as one year.) As displayed in Figure 10, students generally experience a significant negative impact on learning in reading in their first year of charter enrollment, in the range of ‐.06 standard
        deviations. By the second year of charter school enrollment, students get a positive and significant impact on learning, but the magnitude is quite small at .01 standard deviations. Greater gains in reading are realized after three years; the average student with three years of
        charter schooling has a .02 standard deviation gain in learning.

        Why is this? Aggregate numbers don’t pick up everything – they leave many important things out. Much of that first-year disadvantage likely has to do, more than anything else, with parents of low-performing students who are deeply dissatisfied with their childrens’ experience in minimum-security prison publik skool and transfer them into a charter because of this.

        People on the scene have knowledge that is inherently inaccessible to statistical study, collection, and analysis: they are intimately involved in the situation and know what is happening. Since no one forces these parents to send their kids to charter schools, they must be getting something out of it, even if these gains aren’t reflected in the numbers we happen to have. In any event, this wisdom is virtually infallible unless we want to presume that a huge number of parents of charter school students are incredibly dumb and that studies can neither be poorly-designed nor miss important trends. This is a rather unlikely claim. So that leaves me with the belief that the parents in these cases see their kids on a day-to-day basis and notice inherently unquantifiable improvements. Charter schools have passed the market test, and are clearly superior for the people involved because those people chose to be involved, even if the reason why can’t be objectively pinned down and rendered into a number.

        • dakinikat says:

          Charter schools have passed the propaganda test. The study showed that if you’re in a bad school, it’s two times as likely to be a charter school as a public school. You also know the problems with cheating and cherry picking like we had with that Gretna charter just recently. The factors that create good students are primary in school success to even school make up however. If students aren’t motivated and they come from disinterested families. Nothing will make them successful. You can’t blame that on any school, public or other. The big pusher for charter schools is they pay teachers very little and administrators and owners a lot. Instead of out and out graft, you’ve got the top filching earnings. Just about the same thing. Call it profits or graft. It still doesn’t bring resources to kids.

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        Money has absolutely nothing to do with education.
        A well-motivated student and competent teacher can work together successfully in a shack with log benches and candle-light.
        In OPSB, a ten thousand dollar computer order is just something that can be used for kickbacks (becoming a fifteen-thousand dollar order in the process) or a new object to vandalize.


        • dakinikat says:

          That’s a very romantic notion with no basis in evidence.

        • dakinikat says:

          Why are you talking about just OPSB? I read similar details about Nebraska when I ran for office in Nebraska. The schools with the most money had the highest rates of graduation, had the highest numbers of students going to university and had the best test scores. That was true across all counties.

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        And if you don’t believe me, look at the literacy rates for black people between 1870 and 1940. They went from 80% to 11%, and those teachers and students worked with NOTHING – they got broken down equipment, books with pages missing, etc, and they still learned and taught successfully.
        To restate, they managed to educate people with absolutely nothing. Now, Newark spends ~17,000 per student on dropout factories. OPSB had the highest per student expenditures in the state, and was absolutely HORRIBLE. Similar examples are endless.

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        1 – What propaganda test? Are we/you working under the assumption that the parents who send their children to these schools have so poor an ability to judge the welfare of their own kids, and their educational progress, that some “propaganda” has caused them to ignore what any reasonable person would assume they have seen with their own eyes (given that charter schools typically require a lengthy opt-in process)?

        2 – Why do charter schools pay teachers very little? Teachers aren’t just a uniform blob, T1, T2, T3 etc in an equation. Most of the teachers that I’ve met in New Orleans who work for charter schools are young, idealistic kids from out of state. Are they willing to work for less in order to make a difference? Are these lower salaries lower in comparison to comparable teachers in comparable areas, or are we comparing a charter school teacher in Central City to a teacher at a very affluent school district? Simply saying that their salaries are lower than some national, or even state, average covers over these important considerations.

        3 – For-profit charters are, if I remember correctly, a minority of the market. Profits aren’t an issue. Even if they were, any public school that doesn’t spend every single cent in its budget also faces this issue, with the single, sole difference that it is called a “residual” instead. And, of course, a school that spent every cent in its budget and not a single penny more or less is probably one where spending has expanded to meet the budget.

        4 – Per capita funding of students is not the cause of their success. Rather, it is the result of the social factors that are the real cause of their success. Orderly, successful places have large tax bases which, in turn, make large school expenditures possible. Disorderly, unsuccessful places have small tax bases which, in turn, limit funding.

        Here’s a wonderful video about the problems with the publik skool system and the total, absolute meaninglessness of testing.

        Whether charter school kids are as able as their traditional publik skool counterparts to “find the main idea” and make whisker charts is absolutely, totally irrelevant to anything that matters in any way whatsoever. One might as well say that they are worse in competitive farting contests, which is about all those standardized tests are worth. This, of course, also speaks to the woeful failure of our “higher” education system to offer education of any sort, let alone higher education, unless one conflates genuine education with 150 bored kids who have been herded into a room by distribution requirements being talked at by an equally bored lecturer who reads the book at them and periodically makes them complete multiple-choice “tests.” All of that, of course, is aside from the point, which is that tests are meaningless, even as a proxy, and that parents of charter school students have local knowledge which is inaccessible to the compilers of studies such as these, and which also happens to be inherently unquantifiable. These parents consider whether their children are making real advances, and learning, when they consider whether or not to undertake the often-lengthy process of opting-in to the charter school process, not whether those schools satisfy the requirements of artificial statistical constructs.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m not sure exactly how parents make decisions on what makes a good education. Some are after religious indoctrination and some want they’re kids to be college bound. I’m sure some send their kids where their kids friends go. Who knows? I chose Montessori for my kids because all the developmental psych studies showed Montessori kids outperformed all other types of educational approaches. I was luck to have it available to me. I had them in private school AND public school for kindergarten. They went 1/2 day in each. But, I was rich then. I can’t really tell what the parents around here are deciding on. I do know that most of the good teachers I knew I’ve quit the system and gone someplace else. I do think people are as vulnerable to hype as they are to ads on TV.

      2. The Market for teachers is cartel/oligopoly. The only off set to that is a monopsony. My guess is that most of the successful young teachers, once the ‘proven’ with good reviews, will get out of Dodge once their pre-certificates become certificates and they have good evals. That’s the usual thing. That makes them competitive for the good districts. Also, a lot of them down here seem to be here to get their student loans dismissed. They’ll probably stay for the time period that accomplishes that.

      3. For profits aren’t the only place where you get problems at the time. Take the charities for example where the higher ups get perks and benefits beyond the call of duty.

      4. You’re right that the most important factor in a child’s success is still his/her motivation and her family circumstances. Funding isn’t the only factor but it’s the only factor WE control.

  17. B Kilpatrick says:

    “Minimum-security prison” was supposed to be minimum-security prison