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The Two Opposite Approaches to School-Reform: One Works, The Other Fails; Why Does Obama Push the Failed Approach?

By       Message Eric Zuesse     Permalink
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Almost all of this effort to bust teachers' unions and to privatize public schools is being funded by nonprofits, aristocratically-controlled firms that enable aristocrats to avoid taxes while they funnel the taxes that you and I and all the rest of the public pay, into their private corporations and "nonprofits" that then receive government money to provide what was once provided by an educational system that was controlled by the public; that is, by officials who were accountable to the public via elections by the public -- not by the aristocracy's chosen appointees (the executives of their companies).

It has often been noted that charter schools do not succeed at improving test scores or anything else, and that the most comprehensive study showed "that, on average, charter schools perform about the same or worse than their traditional public school virtual twins." However, I looked up the updated 2013 version of that 2009 study, and it reported that the older charter schools had improved their performance since 2009, but that "Results for charter students in new schools mirror the original 2009 findings [of lower performance than traditional public schools]. Students at new schools have learning gains in reading and math that are significantly lower than their TPS [Traditional Public School] peers to the same degree. Because the continuing schools group is many times larger than the new schools group, their results dominate the 2013 findings." And, since the older charter schools had improved considerably during the 4-year interim, "The analysis of the pooled 27 states shows that charter schools now advance the learning gains of their students more than traditional public schools in reading. Improvement is seen in the academic growth of charter students in math since 2009, to the extent that learning gains are now similar to those of students in traditional public schools." In other words: nationwide (at least in those 27 states) it's nip-and-tuck between the traditional schools and the charter schools. But, since nationwide the U.S. scores low on international test-results, that's faint praise. Even if charter schools will ultimately catch up with traditional public schools, this country will still remain behind the rest of the industrialized world in education. We've got to do better than that.

The only real model of educational success in the U.S. is Massachusetts. It should be more thoroughly studied, but, in the meantime, all states should be trying to copy that model, and the Obama Administration should change and try to adopt it nationwide.

Barack Obama was active in the movement to privatize public schools when he was merely an Illinois political figure, and it's probably too late for him to learn the errors of his ways, even if he were to try, which he doesn't. Perhaps that's because those ways are not "errors" in his system of values, which places the aristocracy's interests ahead of the public's. The aristocracy are thriving under his Presidency. He mouths "equality" but maintains policies that have produced near-record-high inequality.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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