Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Outlanders of the Day - Mobile Press-Register

To the left you'll see David Brennan of White Hat Management. He's been to Alabama before in fact and that's where he first put on the "good guy" label. Perhaps they've had enough of him up in Cleveland? As an invitation of sorts maybe to folks like "the man in the white hat", today's Mobile Press-Register, likely the most conservative of Alabama's right leaning papers owned by the Newhouse family, offered an editorial seeking school vouchers as a "reform".

They write, "Instead of limiting their ambition to expanding the highly successful pre-K program, Gov. Riley and school reform advocates also should aim to bring the preschool model to the K-12 system."

I'm somewhat lost. Why? I suspect somebody got a press release and ran with the BS. Or maybe they feel obligated to run with some wingnut wish list ideas at least every few days?

The MPR folks ask if "the excellence of pre-K" programs in Alabama is from "competition and parental choice" provided by a blend of "federal Head Start centers, public schools, private child-care centers and churches" where "parents can choose the program, public or private, they think is best for their children". I'm not so sure the National Institute for Early Education Research, an organization they've actually mentioned in their writing, goes so far as to suggest the blend is nearly so "choice" oriented. Their report is here.

Rethinking Schools is a good place to start on understanding vouchers. EdWeek also has some good material. I've previously posted on Bu$hCo's DOE trying to bury research that suggests public schools do as good or perhaps even better than "charter" schools once poverty is accounted for. I've railed against "accountability" here and NCLB here.

The MPR Editorial ending is "A more entrepreneurial approach could lift the K-12 schools to the heights already achieved by the state's innovative preschool program.." yet they haven't convinced me of squat from either their confusing "writing". They've bent, broken, twisted ... much and yet I fear some will buy into the argument. Where is the solid research that shows "Milwaukee and Cleveland are proving that competition can work in K-12 education"? I'd love you to explain.

Finally, I'm truly in a lather about privatizing and neo-liberalism and Friedmanism and ... from reading Naomi Klein as of late. I'm angry as I've been in some time and yet I'm thrilled to have a new understanding. More to learn and then to apply. So look out MPR, I'm getting schooled up. P/W

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