Monday, September 22, 2008

Plural as to "reactionaries"? Mainstream? Or BS?

Quoting Democrat State Board of Education member Mary Jane Caylor offering that Charter schools aren't a "panacea", the Mobile Press-Register, doing their obligatory assault on public education at least once per month, opines Reactionaries ruling education in Alabama. Since only Dr. Paul Hubbert of AEA, who is hardly a favorite of Captain Plaid, is mentioned beyond Ms. Caylor, I'll suppose her claim makes her a "reactionary".

The Mobile P-R truly works hard at their efforts to shill right wing talking points on the failures of public education yet to suggest there is "a rough consensus on some reform proposals, including charter schools and merit pay for teachers" is perfectly flawed. To now seem to sympathize with Senator Obama's idea of floating some sort of merit pay that is based on peer reviews, achievement beyond test scores, etc. is equally frustrating. There's a ton of difference between Huggy Bear's ideas and that of Senator Obama.

The Mobile P-R asks "(Dr Paul Hubbert) views merit pay as a threat — to what? Mediocrity and incompetence in the classroom?" Actually, he might be worried that merit pay based merely on test results don't measure effectiveness. Y'all actually wrote an Editorial recently that lamented our impoverished schools! Like John McCain with health care, y'all also recently argues higher education would be healed with "competition". I'm so confused!

As to charter schools, I'm sorry to tell the Mobile P-R they remain "public". Charter schools do get excused from NCLB foolishness and other top down requirements that are often flowing from the serious business model oriented ideas that have dominated education these last few decades but they are hardly private. The research on charter schools' effectiveness is still not clear. Here and here and ... tell the story.

I know the right wing has spent tons to try to convince people that "markets" and "choice" will cure all that ails our society. The "school choice" lies are certainly very important to many right wing funders and thus foundations. But they've not yet pushed their flawed ideas to the point that this thinking is mainstream. Y'all can pretend and write accordingly of course. But I'll stick with Dr. Caylor in that charter schools aren't a panacea. That's enough. And hardly reactionary. John Gunn

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