What Ed Reform Wants from Our Next President
As we are coming to a close of our long national nightmare that is the 2016 Presidential election, here's some thoughts from Peter Greene at the Curmudgucation blog tries to explain what Bellwether Education Partners, a reliably reformy right-tilted thinky tank, believes the next president should do in public education policy.
- Bellwether says that there are so many underperforming public schools in urban areas that instead of trying to turn them around, just open more charter schools.
- Bring the Blockchain to Education. I myself wrote a thread about this "bitcoin" for teachers idea. That's not proving teacher competency and the data privacy issues are huge.
- Charging high ed institutions a percentage on student loans that aren't getting paid back. But as Greene points out, wouldn't that make institutions take fewer lower-income students?
- More mentors. Who doesn't like this idea but mentors online seems to lower that one-on-one in person experience that is the hallmark of mentorship? What's next - robot mentors?
- Early Childhood Ed - basically let's privatize with federal dollars.
- Make Competitive Grants Work - didn't we try this with Race to the Top and found well-off districts tended to get that money?
- Build Charter Schools like Affordable Housing. You do know that the number one issue for charters is getting a building and sustaining those costs? This idea would give tax credits to builders who build schools just for charters.
- Give Education Power to Families. We're Americans so of course, we love and want choice. But as Greene says:
Ben Austin likes school choice. He pretends to be shocked that federal law does not explicitly note that education exists to serve the needs of children, on his way to making the old argument that schools put adult interests ahead of student interests. This is a bad argument based on a flawed premise-- public education was never about providing a service strictly for students, but about creating an American public that is educated and prepared to participate in a democracy.
- Democratize Data. Two of the scariest words out there.
Aimee Rogstad Guidera is here from the Data Quality Campaign, an advocacy group for lots of folks who hope to make a bundle playing with data. She's here to argue that schools should be data mining like crazy, and using the two smoke screen arguments preferred by all the folks who want to make a mountain of money in the data mines-- parents need it, and teachers need it. This is baloney. Teachers are already prodigious collectors of data, and it is far more deep, wide, and nuanced than anything available from the Data Overlords.
Some points worth thinking about, and a whole lot of swift repackagings of the same old reformster profiteering sales pitches. As I said at the top-- Clinton already knows all of this and all Trump really wants is a tub of gasoline and a blowtorch, so I'm not sure to whom this pitch is aimed. But it's on the reformster radar, so it should be on our as well.Neither of the groups need the prodigious mountains of data argued for here, but talking about them is far less off-putting than saying, "If you let us collect all the data about your child, we can make a mint selling it to various other interested parties."