Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Study that contradicts right's message on public education hidden by Bu$hCo DOE

Not exactly part of the "culture war", even though just yesterday I tackled Jeb's Florida "just the facts" approach to history, but this allows me to me put something up on Jimi. I just posted on Dubyah rubbing on German Chancellor Merkel yesterday but here he is smootching on his Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Laura's going to have to reel old George in! There's always Condi, who knows "grotesque", to throw some water on him if the Librarian isn't up to the task.

I've posted before on how Bu$hCo takes care of his team via the DOE but they take care to avoid distracting the public from the right's false message regarding public education as well it seems.

I've looked on the DOE's "press release" section and can't find the report mentioned by Greg Anrig, Jr. in his TPM Cafe piece entitled "The Right's Education Misdiagnosis". Since the report confirms what research has long shown, that being that public schools do no worse (and in fact bettter by some analysis) than private charter schools once demographics are controlled for, that simply destroys one of the right wing's main positions, I'm hardly surprised. Dropping the report on a Friday afternoon is SOP when you want to avoid the press yet the research is being covered up to a point. Here's Mr. Anrig's opening salvo:

The entire argument for vouchers and charter schools rests on the premise that public education bureaucracies and teacher’s unions are responsible for the system’s sundry real and imagined failings. That’s the spiel the Right has pitched from Milton Friedman to John Chubb and Terry Moe’s work to the Edison Project to the phalanx of movement think tanks feeding their talking points to Republicans (and some Democrats) running for office at all levels of government. It was a plausible theory and one that had considerable political appeal. But it turns out to be wrong, according to all available evidence. No doubt public education bureaucracies and teachers’ unions have plenty of imperfections. But if schools operating in the absence of those demonized institutions aren’t performing any better, then educational reformers have spent the last 20-plus years fighting the wrong enemy.
It's the poverty stupid! Now I'll take exception to Mr. Anrig that the real problem is in urban schools systems that serve kids from low income families as I can vouch for my experiences in poor rural schools. I'll stack local poverty in Heard County plus other places in my neck of the woods against nearly any system. Once a school gets above 40% free and reduced lunch ratios then learning becomes an uphill battle.

I'd also caution Mr. Anrig on NCLB. I agree with his point that measurement has a place in education simply to know if every child is learning. However, NCLB is an unmitigated disaster. My "NCLB - Four Years and Doubting" post has some of my rantings on this fatally flawed Federal legislation.

That Bu$hCo campaigned partly as the "Education President" on his alleged successes in Texas seems rather dated now doesn't it? That success was a lie of course, which is SOP for this administration, and perhaps our first example of how Bu$hCo is willing to use flawed data and intelligence. Ms. Spellings was right there with Dubyah for that fantasy and she's still doing her part now as a loyal Bu$h team member.

Finally, a cousin of mine married a DOE bureaucrat that got the job via his many GOP connections and darned if I might see him this weekend as some of my late mother's family will be about the maternal manse. The last time he was about, we had a brief bump over NCLB and Bu$hCo. I'll have to decide if I mention this latest research, plus how it has been released on the sly, should they make the trip down. I seldom start anything but if he throws a jab or two I might have to reply. I'm sure it will be my fault if there are "tensions". I stay in the doghouse with my Christianist sisters and some of their broods so maybe there is little left to lose. Peace ... or War!