Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The charter school con

There are multiple reasons people have gotten on board with "school reform" over the years. Most of them are bad. For many it is an end run around integration. For others it is an ideological experiment with "market princilples." For others, still, it is a desire to use public institutions as a vehicle for promoting and enforcing  their religious practices.   For Donald Trump's incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos it is a little bit of all three.
DeVos is married to Amway scion Dick DeVos (whose father, Richard DeVos, is worth more than $5 billion, according to Forbes) and is seen as a controversial choice due to her track record of supporting vouchers for private, religious schools; right-wing Christian groups like the Foundation for Traditional Values, which has pushed to soften the separation of church and state; and organizations like Michigan's Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which has championed the privatization of the education system.
This week, Bobby Jindal praised Trump's choice of DeVos  calling her, "the breath of fresh air we needed."

Beyond the larger politics of it, the internal impetus behind the charter movement is economic.  Its implementation has meant a direct transfer of income away from teachers and toward administrators.
That's according to a report the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans released Tuesday (Jan. 17) that's sure to make waves.

New Orleans public schools now spend $1,358 more per student than a 17-district comparison group. But they spend $706 per student less on instruction, including teacher salaries and benefits

There are more administrators, and they typically earn higher salaries than they would have without the reforms," authors Christian Buerger and Doug Harris write.
New Orleanians apprehensive about the coming vicissitudes of Trump's America at least have the advantage of familiarity as they are already living a lot of it.

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