Friday, December 24, 2010

Democrats ? for Education Reform 2

The Sacramento Bee today has well written  front page article on Democrats? for Education Reform.
Here is a preliminary response.  Be certain to look at the more detailed description of Democrats? below by Michael Hirsch.

Well done article on the group Democrats ? for Educational Reform. There is more on here.
There is no evidence that the group has improved schools.  Politicians have seldom improved schools.  Improved schools require teachers working together.  There is some evidence in my book, Choosing Democracy, and in the effort of Quality  Investment in Education Act schools sponsored by CTA.
A positive side of the effort of Democrats? For Educational Reform is that they point out, create a megaphone, to describe and criticize the failure of some of our schools, particularly urban schools. 
Instead of talking about the most basic cause- the lack of adequate funding for schools and for school reform- they offer a series of ideas centered on the problem is the teachers unions.  Well. No.  The problem is the significant under funding of California schools as well developed in prior posts and in the suite Robles v. California.  And, given the current state budget, the underfunding of schools is going to get much worse.
In the last two years the k-12 budget “solutions” have cut 4.6 billion dollars from the schools. We have larger classes and fewer teachers.  School reform has stopped- except for the politicians hot air.  School funding makes up a total of 30% of the state budget.  Any crisis in the state budget and any cuts in the state budget will make school budgets worse.

California will need to raise taxes to fund the schools and to repair the social safety net.  Anti tax radicals ,Republicans, and Democrats ? for Educational Reform   oppose any tax increases.  
The Democrats ? group and Gloria Romero are well funded profiteers who plan to make millions from charter schools – even charters that fail. They use high profile spokespersons such as Gloria Romero to get attention and funding, but they do not improve schools.
Dr. Diane Ravitch was an earlier generations’ advocate for this approach.  However, after two decades of high visibility and well funded positions,  she continued to look at the evidence.  Her most recent book,  The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education is reviewed below.  See particularly the chapter on the Billionaires Boy’s Club.   See also posts below  on Michele Rhee.  The Democrats?  focus on the role of the teachers unions.   Well, the unions are not always correct.  However, their fundamental political effort is to seek adequate state funding for the schools.  They lobby hard, campaign, and advance candidates.   In California they helped to elect the new Superintendent and to defeat Gloria Romero. 

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