Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Diane Ravitch on How Dems Match Republicans on School Reform

Dems say

Diane Ravitch began a new season on her blog with some points on how Dems are aping the elephants on ed reform.

We used to see a partisan divide about the big issues in education policy. The Democratic party advocated more funding for disadvantaged students and policies that promoted equity. The Republican party advocated choice, privatization, merit pay, and accountability, and criticized the teachers’ unions as the main obstacles to reform.

In this election cycle, that familiar divide has changed dramatically. The Republicans still advocate choice, privatization, merit pay, and accountability and are still critical of the teachers’ unions. But now there is a significant movement within the Democratic party that advocates the same positions as the Republicans.

The “reforms” of the Klein-Sharpton-Rhee group are not at all new. They attack the teachers’ union, bash teachers, demand merit pay, promote charter schools and private management, and laud testing, lots more testing. They love NCLB, and they want it toughened. At bottom, they would like to see the public school system of the United States run like a business, with employees hired and fired at will. They are ready to privatize and outsource whatever they can, trusting private managers to succeed where the public sector (with themselves as leaders) has failed.

Read it all at Bridging Differences, her dialogue with Debbie Meier here.

As one of the major players and founders in the standards movement, is Diane playing the role of Dr. Frankenstein as she sees what has become of her monster?

Follow events in Chicago going on right now with a student boycott over a failed schools system. Need I remind you that Mayor Daly is a Dem? That city has had mayoral control and all the "goodies" of the ed reform movement since 1995 - and Paul Vallas to get it all started. He went on to Philly to create a mess and is not running New Orleans. Hate to say we told you so, but we did - starting with pleas to the UFT back in 2001 to resist mayoral control when reports out of Chicago started surfacing compliments of George Schmidt and Substance.

Rather than look at ways to continue mayoral control with checks or independent commissions to evaluate results (a good thing) as all too many critics like Diane seem to line up, better to seek ways to remove education from the control of politicians who, no matter what the controls, will engage in tactics to override them.

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