Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bruno Behrend of The Heartland Institute to the Ravitch/Kozol Rally to Continue the Insanity

Speaking of Ravitch, I enjoyed this response by Bruno Behrend of The Heartland Institute to the Ravitch/Kozol Rally to Continue the Insanity (which Gary is attending):


I enjoyed your take on Kozol, as I've always found his views inscrutable.


As for their (Ravitch and Kozol) "Demands", they are not achievable inside the existing system, and therefore, not serious.


For example...


For the future of our children, we demand:


1- Equitable funding for all public school communities


This is impossible.  With the nation split up into needless districts, $12,000 per child going to CPS is much more diluted than $8,000 going to a small rural or suburban district.  The key insight is that we must use their absurd demand to push for money following children to more independent schools, not ephemeral "communities."


Communities don't educate children, teachers, managed by accountable and empowered principals, do.  There is no way to "equitably" distribute money in the "district system."  It is designed to hire workers, not to educate children.


2- An end to high stakes testing used for the purpose of student, teacher, and school evaluation


"High Stakes" should apply to the teachers and principals, not to the children, who deserve more education options and remediation, when falling behind.  If you can't teach, or manage a school, you SHOULD lose your job.  As for the shibboleth of "teacher enrichment," it's much easier to identify good new recruits than it is to "enrich" someone who ought not be there.


Flip "high stakes" on them by applying the "stakes" to the people failing the children.


3- Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies


This is impossible inside the "school district" system, and intentionally so.  As long as districts exist, education will be about spending money on bureaucracy and deck chair re-shuffling, and not educating.  A "charter school" comes much closer to the ideal of a "neighborhood school" than a "district school" ever could.  This is particularly true for large districts, which should simply be dismantled.


4- Curriculum developed for and by local school communities


Again, impossible in a district system.  People need to understand that districts where NEVER intended as an instrument of "local control," but instead have destroyed local control and brought ossified centralization.  DOE/NEA/AFT is the "Central Headquarters, 50 State Boards are the "Division Headquarters", and the districts are the "Franchises" whose menus and options are controlled from above, not locally.


Note that all of this has been accomplished while forcing local property tax dollars to finance centralization.  The taxpayer who thinks his "local property tax for schools" spells "local control," is the biggest dupe of all.


Of course, there are few exceptions to the rules listed above, but not enough to keep this failed system of governance (districts).

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