Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Gem In The Garbage Dump

Everyone knows that when the White House wants to bury a story, they release the details on a Friday afternoon in the middle of summer.  Last Friday, on a beautiful summer day, the Education Department released the results of a study that found that public schools outperformed private and charter schools in both reading and math.  These findings are not surprising in the least for those of us who have kids in public school, but don’t expect the Bush administration to be touting these statistics anytime soon.  With any other administration in power, this would be considered good news to be released with much fanfare on a Monday morning.  “Isn’t this great?  Our taxpayer dollars are being used wisely and our public schools are working!”

There has been a perception for a long time that private schools are better than public schools and the Bush administration has done everything they can to foster this myth by instituting policies to ensure that public schools fail and that when they do, the money can be diverted away from public education and into the private sector.  But this study highlights the failed reasoning in giving preference to private schools over public schools.  Our schools are outperforming private schools despite being disgracefully under-funded and over-taxed with new testing requirements.   Private schools are not the answer to failing public schools, what we need to do is fund our public schools fully and properly.  Education is the great equalizer and making sure that public funds are dispersed equally throughout our public education system will help ensure that all kids are given the opportunity to succeed.  You can throw money at a problem if you have really good aim.

This is not the first study that has found that public education works.  In January of this year, a study out of the University of Illinois came up with much the same findings.  The most interesting part of both studies is that when they break down private schools by type, Lutheran schools performed best and Conservative Christian schools faired worst.  In fact in Conservative Christian schools, the kids scored a year behind their public school counterparts in math.  Not surprising really, but it did provide me with a good chuckle.   Considering that math is the language of science and Conservative Christians have a very difficult time resolving the conflicts between their religious beliefs and science, it makes perfect sense that they would lag behind those children receiving a secular education.  Teaching creationism makes for an easy exam, but does little to help kids understand the physical world in which we live.

The startling thing is that Conservative Christian schools are the fastest growing type of private school in the country.  The last thing we need is more of the worst performing type of schools.  If the Bush administration gave any weight to statistical analysis that doesn’t support their agenda, the idea of giving public money to private schools that are failing at teaching kids the basics would finally be put to rest.  Unfortunately they don’t and it won’t.  This may be a setback for the voucher and charter school movement, but they will not give up on destroying our public schools, even if the result is an inferior education for our nation’s children.

One of the best aspects of American society is that we educate all of our children.  The fact that public schools would score better than conservative Christian private schools in math shouldn’t be surprising at all considering that the agenda is totally different.  Public schools educate all students in the basics, preparing them to become productive working members of society, whereas Conservative Christian schools prepare their students to be good Christians.  Not the same thing at all.

I honestly believe that the purpose of No Child Left Behind, Charter schools and vouchers to private schools are all designed to destroy public education.  What better way to ensure that there’s a permanent ruling class than to make education dependent on the amount of money one can shell out to buy one?  And not only does the religious right want the masses to be left with an inferior education, they want to make sure that the education we are able to access for our children is a religious one.  If all kids were forced into Conservative Christian private schools, paid for with taxpayer dollars, just imagine how ill equipped we’d be to analyze the behavior of our government, much less engage with our representatives in the way that is necessary for a strong and vibrant democracy.  Good for the ruling class, not so much for the rest of us.

One would think that on the heels of this new government study, now would be the perfect time to give more money to public education.  It isn’t “throwing money at a problem” to fund what is proven to work best.  I seem to remember hearing Republicans talking a lot about accountability and focusing on programs that work rather than funding what obviously doesn’t.  If Republicans really believed their own rhetoric, we’d never have to hear about charter schools or vouchers ever again.  But if Republicans believed their own rhetoric, they wouldn’t be Republicans now would they?


Anonymous Jonathan said...

You hit the nail right on the head when you inferred that the republicans want to make education largely accessible only by the well to do (especially higher education). I am convinced by all that I read, here and other places, that the republicans wish to move our society to something that resembles a caste system. Where your status in life is determined at birth and wealth and power are inherited (to a far greater extent than now).

Should they be successful the all volunteer army will work splendidly. Many of those not fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth will be forced to enlist in the military. There simply will not be many other options. Economic conscription I think it can fairly be called. This will further slake the republican’s thirst for power and provide cannon fodder for their imperial wars.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous david said...

A friend of mine had his first teaching job at a charter school. Three weeks into the second month it went bankrupt. He was not only out of a job, but out of his October paycheck. And all the students were left scrambling to find placements in the public system or they'd lose their year. Their parents lost all their pre-paid tuition. However, to the directors of the school, it was just a business decision and they didn't lose a night's sleep.

That's something you won't see in a charter school brochure.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"You can throw money at a problem if you have really good aim."

I love that sentence.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Green Living said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Jonathan. And with Liberal Girl, of course. Excellent writing, LB. I discovered your blog a few days ago, have been thoroughly enjoying your writing, and thus have decided to come out of lurkdom. 3 children attend public schools. Both my husband and I work in public education yet have also had years of experience in private schools. So we know both sides intimately. The things which drove us out of the private sector were the horribly inappropriate parent cliques, the lack of services for children needing help academically and socially, parents in denial that their children need help, and ultimately parents who believe with all their being that money will buy their child a good education. How very, very sad.

We moved to this small, non progressive community a few years ago. Every doctor, lawyer, dentist (you get my point) have their children enrolled in one of the two private Catholic Schools. My own children made friends with the private school kids mainly through sports events. Hands down, my own kids have received a stronger curriculum, especially in the science and math departments, than their friends. And I believe my kids have learned important life skills such as how to stand up to adult and child bullies, identifying and avoiding gang behaviors, cultural diversity, economic diversity, etc. that their Christian friends have been 'sheltered' from.

We could afford to have our children in private, yet we believe in the concept behind public education and stand up for it whenever the chance presents itself. More and more American families need to do this. There are good public schools, and I pray they will never be replaced by Bush's obvious efforts at creating a caste system.

P.S. NCLB is the Hurrican Katrina of public education.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous brachiator said...

Great post -- I hadn't heard this. May I add another important difference between "Conservative Christian" schools and public schools? While it's true public school's mission is often to indoctrinate docile, productive workers, at its best a public education teaches students to think, to question and to demand proof. Rightist and fundamentalist Christian schools (like all fundamentalist religious schools) subvert this purpose, teaching students to trust authority, deny logic, reason and experience and accept without question some truly ludicrous and offensive propositions as fact. Religious schools, in this comparison, produce slaves, as opposed to citizens. (No wonder GWB loves 'em!)

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

Excellent post! I think GWB got his wretched ideas about education from his brother Jeb, who has used his position as Florida's governor for the past several years to undermine our education system and promote privatization to benefit his cronies.

Let's all hope Jeb doesn't worm his way onto the national ticket somehow or we won't have a public education system left to salvage.

4:16 AM  
Anonymous rkelly said...

Hi Mollie -

I always enjoy your writing and yesterday I read William Greider's new piece and it fits so nicely with what you've written I wanted to share it here with you and all the loyal people who follow your work.

It appears that Greider convinces Rubin to invite dialog to try and solve the American problem ( of which Rubin is quite guilty of creating by way of "Clintonomics" / NAFTA, etc.).

But, the good news is Rubin is adamant about pro-education and I hoped you and others would seek out his open for discussion forum and express how you feel about the future of America and your children's welfare.

We must all continue to find those in power (he is considered one of the most influential economic voices in the world), and speak to them about what needs to be done.

All the best, Roberta

7:08 AM  
Blogger Tw said...

Excellent post, good eye. Thanks for the tip.

7:11 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

Great post and you are right we were never meant to hear about this....
oh dear the Charter schools are not doing so great...I am so shocked...( okay not really)

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you for the information. I didn't see this in my local paper, that is for sure. I am struggling with a decision on this very issue currently and this helps me feel better about my decision. If our goal is to prepare our children for the world after they leave home, I can't imagine any parent choosing a bad school over a good one. What the Republicans are doing is scary, social engineering on a grand scale, and religious and conservative Americans are the guinea pigs whose children may end up loving Jesus, but they'll be the lower disempowered class if the GOP has anything to say about it.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bingo Bingo Books Bingo Casino Bingo Statistics Bingo Casinos Bingo Playing in Tournaments Bingo Online Play Bingo Place In Gambling Mix Bingo Sites Online Tips On

Trend Spotting Bingo Web Sites Bingo Game Official Rules Bingo Websites Bingo Some Facts Internet Bingo Bingo from Wizard Works Online Bingo Bingo Odds Play

Bingo Bingo Internet Craze Play Bingo Online Bingo Patterns Play Online Bingo Profile Of The Online Bingo Player Online Bingo Websites Advantages Of Internet Bingo

Play Free Bingo Online World Tour Bingo Scowling Bingo Play Bingo Time Bingo Casino Bonuses Free Bingo Yahoo Yahoo Online Bingo Game
free bingo

bingo casino
bingo casinos
bingo online

bingo sites
bingo web sites
bingo websites

internet bingo
online bingo
play bingo

play bingo online
play online bingo
advantages of internet bingo

profile of the online bingo player
bingo patterns
bingo internet-craze

bingo odds
bingo books
bingo statistics

bingo playing in tournaments
play bingo place in gambling mix
online tips on trend spotting

bingo game official rules
bingo some facts
bingo from wizard works

online bingo websites
advantages of internet bingo
play free bingo online

scowling bingo
world tour bingo
bingo casino bonuses

play bingo time
yahoo online bingo game
free bingo yahoo

play bingo game in Internet
bingo bag
bingo daubers

bingo instants
bingo poem
bingo party

bingo special
bingo shutter cards
charity bingo

bingo baby shower
bingo secrets
bingo bonuses

fun bingo
bingo table
bingo sets

play bingo game in internet
yahoo online bingo game
free bingo yahoo

internet bingo websites
play bingo game
bingo fortune

internet bingo halls
free online bingo game
bingo supplies

bingo card
bingo casinos
bingo online

bingo sites
bingo web sites
bingo websites

internet bingo
online bingo
play bingo

play bingo online
play online bingo

Bingo Bingo Books Bingo Casino Bingo Statistics Bingo Casinos Bingo Playing in Tournaments Bingo Online Play Bingo Place In Gambling Mix Bingo Sites Online Tips On

Trend Spotting Bingo Web Sites Bingo Game Official Rules Bingo Websites Bingo Some Facts Internet Bingo Bingo from Wizard Works Online Bingo Bingo Odds Play

Bingo Bingo Internet Craze Play Bingo Online Bingo Patterns Play Online Bingo Profile Of The Online Bingo Player Online Bingo Websites Advantages Of Internet Bingo

Play Free Bingo Online World Tour Bingo Scowling Bingo Play Bingo Time Bingo Casino Bonuses Free Bingo Yahoo Yahoo Online Bingo Game

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting site...
vela home srl side effects from celexa Texas irvine phone answering service irvine live personal answering service Keyword lipitor pain chongqed Men's stretch waist pants Liposuction how much does it cost Answering machines and corded phone How do mp3 cd players work download funny austin powers answering machine messages What are the dangers of cellulitis 87 mustang convertible Cerebral palsy and imitrex Chinese herbs for hair loss

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to public school and it didnt hurt me.... much (hehe kidding)!

more than enough education to play online bingo uk to a fun level

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the LARGEST online slots casino that accepts players from the USA is Free Slots Casinos which has 98% payouts and bonuses!

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent article and commentary! Online Penny Slots

1:53 PM  
Anonymous carpet cleaners said...

black mold exposureblack mold symptoms of exposurewrought iron garden gatesiron garden gates find them herefine thin hair hairstylessearch hair styles for fine thin hairnight vision binocularsbuy night vision binocularslipitor reactionslipitor allergic reactionsluxury beach resort in the philippines

afordable beach resorts in the philippineshomeopathy for big with great mineral makeup bargainsmineral makeup wholesalersprodam iphone Apple prodam iphone prahacect iphone manualmanual for P 168 iphonefero 52 binocularsnight vision Fero 52 binocularsThe best night vision binoculars here

night vision binoculars bargainsfree photo albums computer programsfree software to make photo albumsfree tax formsprintable tax forms for free craftmatic air bedcraftmatic air bed adjustable info hereboyd air bedboyd night air bed lowest pricefind air beds in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air beds

best cloud inflatable air bedssealy air beds portableportables air bedsrv luggage racksaluminum made rv luggage racksair bed raisedbest form raised air bedsbed air informercialsbest informercials bed airmattress sized air beds

bestair bed mattress antique doorknobsantique doorknob identification tipsdvd player troubleshootingtroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd vs plasmaflat panel lcd television versus plasma pic the bestadjustable bed air foam The best bed air foam

hoof prints antique equestrian printsantique hoof prints equestrian printsBuy air bedadjustablebuy the best adjustable air bedsair beds canadian storesCanadian stores for air beds

migraine causemigraine treatments floridaflorida headache clinicdrying dessicantair drying dessicantdessicant air dryerpediatric asthmaasthma specialistasthma children specialistcarpet cleaning dallas txcarpet cleaners dallascarpet cleaning dallas

vero beach vacationvero beach vacationsbeach vacation homes veroms beach vacationsms beach vacationms beach condosmaui beach vacationmaui beach vacationsmaui beach clubbeach vacationsyour beach vacationscheap beach vacations

bob hairstylebob haircutsbob layeredpob hairstylebobbedclassic bobCare for Curly HairTips for Curly Haircurly hair12r 22.5 best pricetires truck bustires 12r 22.5

washington new housenew house houstonnew house san antonionew house venturanew houston house houston house txstains removal dyestains removal clothesstains removalteeth whiteningteeth whiteningbright teeth

jennifer grey nosejennifer nose jobscalebrities nose jobsWomen with Big NosesWomen hairstylesBig Nose Women, hairstyles

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting comments and links anozer one for you :)

2:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home