September 26, 2011

"The Left – Still Confused by School Choice."

"It is a sign of the sorry state of Wisconsin’s political discourse that a legislator drawing upon professional expertise to create non-controversial legislation to support a program that benefits his taxpayers is viewed as nefarious."

Via David Blaska, who says:
[Bill] Lueders attempts to hobble the burgeoning school choice movement by attributing its success to political intrigue rather than the increasing failure of the unionized public school model. His lengthy piece employs the conspiracy mode of journalism: pour in a spattering of unfamiliar organizations and names, suggest some back room string-pulling, hint at vote buying, and stir with implications of nefarious intention. Voila: an expose that exposes, if anything, the author's own bias.
(Click the Lueders tag if you don't remember where you saw his name before.)

50 comments:

Carol_Herman said...

Uh huh. While Dubya thought he had a blank check!

Did you know that Texas TESTS! All their kids are given tests ... like a sick nurse who can't stop taking a child's temperature. Or who keeps doing "enemas."

Where the BIGGEST HOAX is to claim ALL children learn the same way. When they DON'T!

Kids have all sorts of ways that they'll learn. Including learning that the school experience is terrible.

We spend money out the ying yang.

But we're getting jacked off.

Fred4Pres said...

The left feels it has to protect the monopoly of the teachers union. That and they do not like the idea of kids taking tax payer money (ignoring the fact the same kid's parents pay those taxes) to learn Christianist stuff. They want to indoctrinate them early, ala Mr. Ayers.

Fred4Pres said...

Tests are like enemas. I have to remember that one.

traditionalguy said...

Has Marklein used a choke hold on a teacher's neck yet?

It is only a matter of time.

Carol_Herman said...

Find a teacher. See what a teacher thinks of his or her entire class.

I knew a professor of English at Cal State LA ... who brought his sons over to my house ... because the kids were friends. And, we had a swimming pool. He sat outside with a bunch of test papers to mark. Essays. And, I saw him take a few and put them at the bottom of his pile. So, I asked WHY?

And, he answered that there were one or two students in his class who were blessed with writing skills. And, by putting their papers last ... he saved a treat for himself ... after having to mark up so much "shoddy merchandise."

Sure. By needing lots of teachers ... we've created lots of jobs to go around. While only about 20% of the student body is really open to be taught anything.

Carol_Herman said...

Dubya, who said, "leave no child's behind." As if he was ever anything but a doofus student when he went to school.

What schools really, really are ... are day care centers ... so where there are two parents ... both have to work!

Alas, too many kids have a parent who is being worked to the bone.

Nobody pays you money to have fun! Work's not fun! And, sadly not even fun for teachers ...

At one time both nurses and teachers were gifted people born into their professions. They were driven by love. Got paid poorly. And, they had to dress nice. (Or wear a white uniform. White stockings. White shoes. And, a white hat.)

Little girls dreamed of growing up to be a teacher. Or a nurse.

David said...

Back in the 1970's, when I lived in Milwaukee and was very involved in school and school desegregation issues, I gave considerable weight to the concern that such "choice" programs would divert a cohort of the better students, black and white, from MPS.

Not any more.

MPS has failed so utterly over the past 30 years that it has no moral claim to keep any students, good or not so good. It is consumer fraud to call MPS a functioning educational system. Any kid who wants to get out should have an opportunity to do so. And if that opportunity can not be afforded to all who wish it, those lucky ones should not be punished for their good luck.

EDH said...

Critics allege the bill as drafted would let private schools receive money for educating disabled students without any assurance they will provide the requisite services.

"That scares me to death," says Rep. Pope-Roberts, invoking the specter of a private school accepting the cash for a non-communicative student in a wheelchair and then having that child "sit in a corner for the day."


Historically, haven't special ed students been the exception in the status quo public system, and the first to be "outsourced" to private schools?

"[Lueders'] lengthy piece employs the conspiracy mode of journalism: pour in a spattering of unfamiliar organizations and names, suggest some back room string-pulling, hint at vote buying, and stir with implications of nefarious intention. Voila: an expose that exposes, if anything, the author's own bias."

Bill Lueders is the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The project, a partnership of the Center and MapLight, is supported by the Open Society Institute.

The nonprofit and nonpartisan Center (www.WisconsinWatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and other news media. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

David said...

Carol H, you know nothing about Milwaukee public schools.

But if you had children there, you would be doing your best to get them out of most of the schools in the system.

I sent my kids to black majority inner city schools in Milwaukee in the 1970's. They were good schools because all the union and bureaucratic rules were suspended. They brought in great principals, let them hire and fire teachers and set the program. It worked. Very well. A great educational experience.

But they lost courage and would not even try to replicate the experiment. They allowed bureaucracy, seniority, union rules and despair to overwhelm the needs of the children. They ran--and continue to run--the system more for the benefit of the administration and employees than for benefit of the children.

MPS is a failure. They deserve to be held accountable, and the kids deserve a means of escape.

edutcher said...

They're not confused. They want kids enslaved the way people from John Dewey to William Ayers have dreamed.

And, if the recipients of this nefarious state of affairs are the teacher unions, it just means more money in the Demos' pockets.

PS Carol, let it go.

chickenlittle said...

Alpha Liberal doesn't comment as much here since I outed him as Bill Lueders.

cubanbob said...

Its too bad that all civil service employees and elected officials and public sector union officials are not required to send their children to public schools and that those kids be required to attend the worst ranked schools.

Carol_Herman said...

Not going to let it go.

We've turned schools into daycare.

Did you know kids went to school. And, at 3PM they went home. They played outdoors. They rode bicycles. Sometimes, for a few hours, the kids would be home alone.

Then? Oh, about the 1950's ... along came TV. And parents made the discovery they could put a kid in front of the box. And, the kids was entertained.

When things in society changes, the schools are not alone.

Carol_Herman said...

When Richard Feynman was in elementary school, he was allowed to go to the library. But as long as he wasn't "old enough" (where you had to be 12 or older), he was not allowed to check out algebra books. (Because those were in the adult section.)

One day he asked the librarian's permission to take an adult math book home "to his father." And, she said, "yes." But he really read it, himself.

Kids that are going to advance will do so along a track they follow using their own curiosity. Coupled to their early abilities.

Carol_Herman said...

Educational styles are also different.

Parents that have more than one kid, learn pretty quickly that their own kids are not alike. And, if you then go out into schools you'd figure out most of the kids were different from each other. And, not everyone would benefit from the methods used to teach.

So if you just look at the problem you are trying to solve; where you see kids dropping like flies into failures ... you need to have an experimental edge ... where ... just like in medicine ... you look for cures ... You look for the things that save lives ...

We should do this more with education.

Doesn't mean ROTE doesn't play a role! If kids get too disorganized they lose the ability to practice. They lose the drive to be challenged. And, to work at getting better at doing tasks.

It amazes me, when I read about OLD America. With the one-room-school-house ... all the kids had to work on the farm. Or do substantial chores at home. Or factory. Or store. And, the skills given to students was the basics. If you wanted Shakespeare ... you'd be on your own. Or the son of a wealthy man who could be sent to college. (Or Paris.)

I'd bet if you judged aptitudes ... and then ran a system that let you divide the kids up between different skill sets ... you wouldn't be so stuck as we are today.

But the best part of yesterday? Kids had free time! They played. Or some chose "to be alone" and read books.

What happens when you promise parents "schools will do the trick" ... and that parent reads nothing! There are no books offered to children. And, the adults don't read books, either.

Not all children are the same.

But LOVING reading, will give you readers.

Loving doing math problems and puzzles will give you kids who develop proficiency in that.

But it won't work in a day care setting ... where a half asleep child arrives without breakfast. And, then recess and play time is either supervised or too short.

Oh, yeah. When the Federal Government pays for it ... right away you know you're gonna have layers and layers of bureaucrats. They don't want to see good ideas bubbling up.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

Wowweee! Is this "Carol Herman" real or just some sort of Troll-O-Matic software?

Anyway: I was born in '57 and I played after school... did so until '75... and then went to college and, come to think of it, played after school then, too!

Carol: You can catch more flies with honey than with caps-strewn drivel.

Jon Burack said...

Here's the richest irony of all in this. I can say for a certainty, as one of the earliest organizers of school choice in Madison in the late 1960s (we called it the "free school movement" then), this idea originated on the left and was viewed proudly as one of its accomplishments in those years. What happened? I will tell you what happened. In the "long march through the institutions," many lefties got cushy union jobs in the public school system. Yet Leuders has the unmitigated gall to suggest a lawmaker with lots of school choice parents in his district is acting in some nefariously self-interested way in advocating for them. Will wonders ever cease?

jimspice said...

Some of us on the left can see the benefits of a voucher system as long as it is small, tightly monitored, and in no way benefits religious instruction. The whole educational crucible thing, you know?

But the wholesale privatization of education? That's a whole 'nother story, and you only need consider the old follow-the-money mantra to realize this thing is hinky.

Sure, there's money on the other side, but these are teachers that are your friends, neighbors, family. It always strikes me that people love their kids' teacher, but hate teachers as a whole. Reminds me of the congress/congressman conundrum.

The drive for for-profit schools, on the other hand, being funded by a few shadowy groups which in turn are funded by a few even more shadowy individuals, is simply scary to me.

Jon Burack said...

Come off it jimspice. We are talking about ordinary kids whose ordinary parents want out of a failed system. THEY are my "friends, neighbors, family," and I have to say that right now I care more about them than I do about unionized teachers. But no one hates any one, so give up all the mumbo-jumbo about hating teachers and "scary" "shadowy" things you cannot even name. Real, unshadowy and very powerful intersts are trying to thwart a bunch of schools that operate for less than theirs do, and that, by the way, are also made up of teachers you say you care about.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Because cherry-picking wishes and deliberately ignoring facts are what the left does best.

It seems Lueders is only doing his due diligence. I question his motives. Who is he trying to protect?

I know the answer. I hear the same tired 'arguments' here in the rust belt city I reside. Bottom line, its pols trying to protect their union constituency and the utterly failed school system.

Picture 2 knarled hands holding desperately onto an ever-slippery tree branch, cracking under the weight of failure. That, THAT is today's union model.

Failure. Desperation.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

jimspice said

"Some of us on the left can see the benefits of a voucher system as long as it is small, tightly monitored, and in no way benefits religious instruction."

Perfect embodiment of the leftist mind.

Small. Controlling. Arrogant.

Did I mention tolerant?

Jon Burack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Burack said...

I mistakenly thought Rep. Marklein was from a district with lots of school choice kids. I see that is not so. But so what? One of Leuders' points seems to be that no one outside Milwaukee can have any true public policy reason to support the choice program -- and so instead must have nefarious reasons for supporting it. This is almost as absurd as it would be to suggest Leuders himself has no reason to oppose Milwaukee's choice program seeing as he is in Madison. Somehow, though, we are supposed to accept that journalists caste their nets wide whereas lowly elected officials are just supposed to bring home the bacon to their districts.

Sixty Grit said...

That headline could end after the first four words "The Left - Still Confused".

As for the "journalist caste", that's somewhere below untouchable, right?

WV: unnuff - how a journalist would write "sufficient".

Phil 3:14 said...

Now Carol, FOCUS. Stay on topic.

gerry said...

Liberals have trouble understanding choice in anything. They insist upon choosing from lists liberals invent and compose. Otherwise it will be a bad choice.

Scott M said...

Some of us on the left can see the benefits of a voucher system as long as it is small, tightly monitored,

Some of us on the right can see the benefits of a federal system as long as it is small, tightly monitored...you know, like it was designed. Not this nebulous money pit that ever more expanded, unchartered regulatory powers that has been foisted on us over the last fifty years or so.

Henry said...

I'm baffled by liberal opposition to school reform -- to charter schools, home schooling, school choice. I'm not talking about Democratic politician or liberal activist opposition to school reform. They will say what the money tells them to say.

But I don't understand the real, sincere, liberals I know that religiously support the teachers union. A friend recently linked to an article subtitled something like "Stop blaming the teachers." The article found a few examples in obscure school districts of teachers that supported innovative reforms.

Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! You support reform, you find an article about teachers that support reform, and all of the examples are from tiny, far-flung, non-urban school districts. What does that tell you?

I have other friends argue that reforms are necessary and they can easily be carried out in the context of the public school model already in place. Then they describe reforms that are very much like charter schools, but without calling them that. Aargh.

There's also the assumption of a bottomless pot of money, but that's really another issue.

Scott M said...

There's also the assumption of a bottomless pot of money, but that's really another issue.

Well, Henry, your average "real, sincere" liberal wasn't much of a fan of Margaret Thatcher.

jr565 said...

Can I ask, what's wrong with teaching to the test? The test, whatever the subject may be is on the subject the teacher is supposed to be teaching. So why can't kids pass these tests? Why should it be controversial to teach to a test. And how else are we to know that kids grasp the material unless they pass those tests? And why shouldn't we hold teachers accountable if they can't teach the majority of their kids to pass those tests.

Henry said...

Well, Henry, your average "real, sincere" liberal wasn't much of a fan of Margaret Thatcher.

Oh, I know that. And they still hate her.

SGT Ted said...

Why are you a bigot jimspice?

If we can pay Communists and Eco-kooks to spew their political religion in the classroom, why can't we pay the more traditional diety based schools that actually teach kids, rather than focus on laundering tax dollars thru the union and back to the Democrat Party while ensuring that kids are indoctrinated to hate their country and vote for Democrats?

But, it is of course about the money and where it won't be going if parents have a choice where to send their kids to school.

bagoh20 said...

"Some of us on the left can see the benefits of a voucher system as long as it is small, tightly monitored, and in no way benefits religious instruction."

Too bad you don't have those requirements of the current system which is so tightly monitored that no matter how much money it gets, it somehow seems to all leak out having no benefit to the students.

And I too would like there to be less religion in school - like the religions of diversity, environmentalism, and socialism where they spend a big part of their day teaching things that are demonstrably untrue, but are religious dogma among the leftist education establishment.

bagoh20 said...

"Can I ask, what's wrong with teaching to the test? "

..."why shouldn't we hold teachers accountable if they can't teach the majority of their kids to pass those tests."


Asked and answered.

Teachers have robbed their students and themselves for a few bucks and job security. They have decided failure is acceptable and doubled down. They know full well that teaching is hard, but they are so indoctrinated that they don't realize it can also be successful, fun and rewarding if done right. Of course some know this, but not the powerful ones. In fact, it appears that the education establishment doesn't like teaching or kids much.

Scott M said...

I'm not sure that's the whole picture, though, bagoh. When I went back to college at 33, I tended to agree with what my professors were saying about incoming freshmen. Zero critical thinking skills and all that implies. You can't teach to the test and expect to generate a bunch of creative problem-solvers. You will get exactly what you teach to and that will give you a crop of myopic intellectual eunuch.

The answer is somewhere in the middle, I think.

Rickey Branch said...

Dubya, who said, "leave no child's behind." As if he was ever anything but a doofus student when he went to school.

Give it up, you stupid broad.

Sigivald said...

What's your point, Carol?

No, seriously.

You're going on and on about George Bush, and "kids learn differently", and "testing is like enemas" (?) and schools suck (which we agree on).

But I'm not seeing a point, or a policy suggestion, or more than ranting.

(And there's some interesting tension between "the schools aren't working" and "testing kids is bad", which is how I must interpret your first rant.

If we don't test, how will we even know if we manage to get schools working right?

How will we find out which kids are being failed by the system without, well, testing them to see if they've damned well learned anything?)

(T/W: Comatern. Coma International?)

kwood said...

A teacher from a fairly well-to-do Boston suburb confided to me his opinion that meeting 'special needs' requirements is a large part of what is killing public schools.

The bar for being considered 'special needs' keeps getting lower and the political demands that all those various needs be met in detail is always rising.

Out-source all but the most functional special needs and I think you have a good start. 'Normalizing' the life of special needs folks is a wonderful idea, but has to be considered a luxury in comparison to providing a solid basic education to the populace at large.

I worked for years at a day-habilitation program for folks with cerebral palsy and there's plenty of normalization that can take place and be genuinely productive and fun for all concerned, without ham-stringing public education at large.

sorepaw said...

In other parts of the country, Howard Rich is the designated evil genius/outside agitator, without whom no one would even think of pushing for school choice.

How ridiculous can you get?

PS. I find it interesting that one Walton gives money school choice initiatives, while another invested in Solyndra.

sorepaw said...

Some of us on the left can see the benefits of a voucher system as long as it is small, tightly monitored, and in no way benefits religious instruction. The whole educational crucible thing, you know?

Small and tightly monitored.

Right.

In other words, Jimspice and his buddies will control it.

But the wholesale privatization of education? That's a whole 'nother story, and you only need consider the old follow-the-money mantra to realize this thing is hinky.

Uhh, if you're following the money, how much do the NEA and the AFT put, every year, into preserving their unionized K-12 monopolies?

Lots more than some Walton heir, or Howie Rich, or even the dreaded brothers Koch are spending on theo other side of the question.

Anyway, "wholesale privatization" simply means that governments were never needed to provide schooling, have no business providing schooling, and can now butt out.

Nothing hinky or sinister about that—unless governments absolutely must provide schooling.

Why absolutely must they?

Alex said...

You've got to admit, Carol Herman is a force of nature!

sorepaw said...

*the other side of the question*

sorepaw said...

You've got to admit, Carol Herman is a force of nature!

So are mudslides.

Alex said...

A teacher from a fairly well-to-do Boston suburb confided to me his opinion that meeting 'special needs' requirements is a large part of what is killing public schools.

So basically herd the cripples off into some dank hole while all the 'normal' kids get to live their happy, blissful lives of learning. Typical KKK-thuglican.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You forget that "follow the money" means "follow their money. Our money is nice money."

ken in sc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ken in sc said...

As a retired teacher, I can testify that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—IDEA-- is the main reason for most problems in public education in American schools. The requirements of that act tie teachers up with so much red tape that they have almost no time left to actually teach a normal student any subject. The act requires Individual Education Programs (IEP) for students who qualify. About one third of a class will usually qualify. I once had a student who had an IEP that called for all her tests to be printed on lilac colored paper. I had to buy the paper at my own expense. The girl was an obnoxious little witch. If one third of the class are entitled to individual instruction, the other two thirds are going to be short-changed.

ken in sc said...

P.S. a school district can not easily be sued for failing to educate a regular student, but it can and is often sued for not following an IEP. Guess which one gets the most priority.

Alex said...

ken in sc - guess what? In Japan, Korea, Singapore they don't give a flying fuck about IEP. They push the normal students like FUCK to achieve and the cripples get put away somewhere so they don't interfere with society. Is it any wonder we're not competitive with the Asian tigers?

ken in sc said...

Yes Alex, I see you understand.