...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004
      ( 2:01 PM )
Leaving Our Kids Behind...Again

The NY Times reports today that a comparison has been done between the scores of charter school students and public school students, and the charter kids came out wanting.

Because charter schools are concentrated in cities, often in poor neighborhoods, the researchers also compared urban charters to traditional schools in cities. They looked at low-income children in both settings, and broke down the results by race and ethnicity as well. In virtually all instances, the charter students did worse than their counterparts in regular public schools.

Charters are expected to grow exponentially under the new federal education law, No Child Left Behind, which holds out conversion to charter schools as one solution for chronically failing traditional schools.

Of course the reason behind the Bushies' love of charter schools is that ever-present drive to let the MARKET rule our lives. Because the ever-glorious MARKET is what will save us in the end. Not. Privatizing education has proven over and over again to be a failing prospect, not only for the students, but for the teachers and the communities who risk everything for them. The problem is a government unwilling to invest the funds needed in public education and members of that government finding more value in the campaign contributions of corporations that want to make a buck off our children's education and future.

Charter schools are just another shell in the shell game that the Bushies and their privatizing ilk are playing with our children. Vouchers, charters, corporate-owned public schools (yep, bizarre) - all of these are excuses not to fund a true education system for our children or to pay our teachers what they are worth. Of course, when the private funders of these charter schools learned that the kids' scores were so low, what was their answer? More accountability, of course!

"A little more tough love is needed for these schools," Mr. Finn said. "Somebody needs to be watching over their shoulders."

One of the main draws of a charter school was its absence from the accountability framework - charters don't have to be a part of the public system that sucks the soul out the students by testing them over and over again for the satisfaction of fat cats in Washington who probably couldn't pass one of those tests if they took them untimed.

The billions of revenue that we have lost due to Bush's tax cuts for the rich in this country not only could have paid for health care for all our children, but could have paid for the vast improvement of their education. But that's not what this crowd wants. Why invest in the maturing of our children's minds? Why, they might not come out as unquestioning drones, willing to believe that corporations will save their lives and that they are destined to reach their full potential by working themselves to death until they're 80! We can't have that.

When we have a country that puts more money into education and paying teachers than it does into bombs and spying on our own citizens, then we'll have a country that gives us all a new hope for the future. Until that point, we have to keep demanding the equity our children deserve. They deserve real schools and well-paid, motivated teachers, not more tests or half-remedies like charters and vouchers.

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