Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Killing Choice by a Thousand Cuts

Owen picked this up last night.

WEAC supports legislation to hold private and religious voucher schools to the same standards as public schools, including:

Minimum hours of instruction; background checks on teachers.

Those two items are not particularly controversial.

The rest of their demands are simply contentious or polemical, and designed to increase the costs of Choice education or impugn Choice schools without evidence of harm. (Surprise!!!)

Licensure of all instructional staff; grade advancement, high school graduation, attendance and parental involvement requirements and standards; administration of required state standardized tests and testing required under the so-called “No Child Left Behind” law, including public reporting requirements; prohibition of forced religious activity; nondiscrimination standards; enforcement by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) of rules and regulations;
certified reading specialists and reading programs

Requiring "licensing" of faculty is no different than the big-business tactic of demanding "regulation" of business. It's designed to push out the small guys, generally by requiring cost additions. Good principals know who good teachers are; they hire them. They also fire bad ones, regularly. Imparting knowledge does not require magic, and it certainly does not require "School of Education" pixie-dust.

"Parental involvement" standards? Really! What might THEY be?

"Standardized testing" is another cost-imposition. You want tests? How about acceptance into high-schools, or colleges? Those are tests which actually measure achievement.

What's a "forced" religious activity? What are "non-discrimination" standards? These bullets are pure polemic; one is supposed to infer that the Little Darlings are being brainwashed, or that there is active 'discrimination.' If WEAC thinks that is the case, they should cite verifiable instances.

"Certified reading....." is another cost-addition which, by the way, hasn't exactly pushed MPS' scores to the top of any achievement lists. Why force it on schools which are successful?

The Choice program was created to provide education which is NOT defined by WEAC and State bureaucrats (I know that's redundant.) Allowing WEAC to define the playing field contradicts the purpose.

It's not 'the children' WEAC cares about. Never forget that.

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