BUSH LEAGUE EDUCATION
I have been trying to understand the Bush education program. Let's see, each student in each school will be given a federally mandated achievement test to measure whether or not the child is working up to his or her grade level. Schools will then be ranked as to what the children achieve. The Administrations calls this "Accountability".
Should a school be ranked as "failing", the Federal Government will provide extra funding for three years. If the school still ranks as "failing" parents of the children will be issued vouchers equal to the per-pupil cost to the Federal Government to be used to pay tuition at any school the parent may choose. Of course we all know that the "failing schools" they are talking about are in the inner city and are attended by "those" children.
Meanwhile, while the "failing schools" plan is operating all parents whose children attend private schools will receive a refundable Federal Income Tax credit of up to $5000 to reimburse them for a portion of the cost of sending their kids to a non-public school.
Have I got that right? I hope not!
I don't think there is much disagreement that there are pockets of failure in the public school systems across the United States. We have one right here in Piatt County, Illinois. The students attending one of our smaller districts score well below the state average on basic education achievement tests. The per-pupil tax base is among the highest in the state. The per-pupil expenditure is among the lowest in the state. There isn't a Black or Latino student in the district. Indeed there isn't a Black or Latino family in this farming county. There isn't a town in the district with a population of over 1400. Like all school districts in Illinois - except Chicago - it is run by a local school board elected by the voters. The nearest Private School, a Catholic parochial system, is 35 miles away. There isn't a Catholic church in the district. How is the Bush educational program going to help the pupils consigned by geography to attend the schools in this district? It isn't.
In the Bush plan students attending in the failing district can opt to take their vouchers to neighboring districts or to private schools. But the adjacent districts are over-crowded and trying to build enough new schools to accommodate the students they already have. There is no room at the inn. So what happens to the students who are left behind while those who can afford it drive their kids and their tax dollars to Champaign?
You simply cannot have a system financed by local property taxes with rates set by referendum and expect to keep up. You can't fix the system by pulling the pupils out. You can't fix the system by imposing Federal standards and retaining local control. It will take real educational standards backed by educational finance reform and structural reorganization of the public school system. It will mean an end to such discredited techniques as social promotion and so-call zero-tolerance discipline. It will mean an increase in educators and a decrease in educational administrators chewing up dollars in shuffling paperwork.
The Bush program is a recipe for Bush League education.
Mr. Ming Says:
You just don't know how hard it is to train and educate humans. You have to work at it all the time. They don't seem to know when it is time to go out or fill the food bowl. You have to keep after them all the time.
Agree? Disagree? Just want to add your .02 worth?
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