Monday, March 19, 2007

Borderline Racism

I know it's been a while since my last post, 4 months to be exact, but I've been busy. Anyway, I'd like to thank Kevin Drum for outraging me enough to get me to figure out my Blogger sign-in and posting a quick thought.
I'm not worried much about the standards at $15,000-a-year private schools, but I am worried about the standards at storefront operations in the inner city. The prospect of massive abuse is just too great.

To rephrase:
I'm not worried much about the standards at schools for rich white people, because they know how to spend their money, but I am worried about the standards at black schools because they don't know how to spend their money, they need rich OC white guys to look out for them. The prospect of massive abuse is just too great.


Muddy Mo said...

Why not address the central issue instead of becoming outraged about a peripheral observation cherry-picked from the larger argument?

Private schools refuse to be subject to minimum standards and have the political clout to resist any oversight. Yet voucher plans would redirect education dollars to private schools based on the public school's failure to meet the very criteria private schools will never be subject to: minimum standards!

Voucher advocates claim to be outraged that children are poorly educated by "government schools". Yet they have no qualms about proposing to steer massive amounts of public money to anyone with papers of incorporation who hang out a shingle with "Academy" in the name.

Tell me, who would be hurt the most when the inevitable flock of private academies spring up solely for the purpose of sucking in redirected public education dollars?

Jeff Haught said...

The larger argument is still that the poor can't look after their money and need Drum to look out for them. Private schools are accountable to their customers, public schools are not! What Drum is saying is consumers have no power over what they are consuming. This is clearly flawed logic. Why would a voucher family choose to spend their voucher poorly? Would they not have a way to seek redress? Yes, they would! What remedy does a kid stuck in an underperforming school have?

Muddy Mo said...

Claiming public schools are not accountable to their customers is just wrong. In many important ways they are more accountable than private schools!

Say I want to get in on the voucher gravy train so I start Muddy Mo's Sunshine Academy. Where do I set up shop? Where the rent is expensive or where it is cheap?
Right. Now, all I need to do is get on the list of private schools that accept vouchers, a nice sign, some 3 color brochures, mail order diplomas for a couple of my compadres who will be my "teachers", use my sales skills to get 25-30 parents a year to sign up, get paid $7000 a year per student, rope a dope for a couple of years until the suckers start to figure it out, walk away with 2-300K. Go to another city, rinse and repeat.

Scores of hucksters will be able to scam parents under the cover afforded by private schools having the political clout to resist accountability. Who is most likely to get hurt in this environment? That is all Drum is saying.

P.S. Think the problem will be solved by private enterprise establishing some sort of accreditation standards? Think "new opportunity" for existing diploma mills.

Jeff Haught said...

I would say that a parent that would be satisfied by your idea of what private schools would be, would be a parent that has a child that is already not performing in a public school. This would be an example of a student who is not going succeed in any system and this situation would be the exception and not the rule. Citing the worst case scenario for a system that would work for more families than a strictly public school system does not prove the proposed voucher system would not work.

Muddy Mo said...

This would an example of a student who is not going succeed in any system

Now you have the crux of NCLB and how it could be used to destroy public education as we know it. A significant percentage of students attending inner city schools fit this description. Is this the fault of the school system? No. Is it one of the chief reasons the schools cannot make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Yes. Voila! Money redirected! Mostly to religious schools, of which most are not criminal operations (at least not in the strictest sense of the word), big chunks to scam artists (who cares? anything to destroy "government schools"), leaving the resource-drained public schools for those remaining.

Then, when the suburban school districts can't meet the 100% AYP requirements(yes, 100%), rinse and repeat.

Then, America can be filthy with these.