Sunday, February 24, 2013

Staff Swap: A Revealing School Experiment

Mixed in with voucher and school choice nonsense, Wisconsin Gov. Walker pitched yet another useless and wasteful education reform this past week that panders to his free market-minded friends.  

His unproven plan to improve Wisconsin schools involves financially rewarding schools that score well on the state’s flawed school report cards. I suppose Gov. Walker believes the free market fairy will miraculously motivate the staff at underperforming schools to replicate the wisdom of the high-achieving schools in exchange for the almighty green carrot.

This nonsensical proposal presumes that staffs in high-needs schools around the state are failing because educators lack the motivation and/or know-how to help students succeed. As usual, Gov. Walker’s education plan ignores the reality of inequity plaguing our schools.

Monday, February 18, 2013

School Choice, A Free Market Fantasy

I worry Act 10 and the subsequent recall attempts have muddied the Wisconsin waters to a point many cannot see clearly what is best for our kids and schools. Clearly, the expansion of Wisconsin’s voucher program is a bad choice for Wisconsin public schools.

Certainly, some anecdotal success stories exist among voucher-using students, but (as Diane Ravitch explains) two decades of comprehensive educational research distinctly shows that, overall, voucher schools perform no better than traditional public schools.

Do not be blinded by the well-funded, school choice marketing of the the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (AFP). AFP is not out to improve Wisconsin’s public schools. Traditional public education runs contradictory to the free market model of competition favored by AFP and other free market think tanks. These tanks think for Governor Walker.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Along with Learning, Let's Measure Love!

I hail from Mark Twain country. Thus, a little satire for this week's posting.

With Valentine’s Day nearing, my family just took its annual love survey.  

Using a privately-run, publicly-funded love rating system--my family members and I rate our love for one another using a scale of 1 to 5. While the surveys are done individually and anonymously, the answers are compiled collectively and the results are shared publicly.

In a spirit of transparency, I am proud to report that the family love meter reading comes in this year at an impressive 4.37. This is a rebound from last year’s dip to 4.28, but short of our all-time love meter high of 4.76 in 2011.

Three of six family members showed improvement. The new grandson broke in at an unprecedented, perfect score of 5.0 on the love meter. The two that did not improve only went down slightly at .09 and .12. The eldest child improved the most at .97. Mom and dad made love meter gains of .41  and .11, respectively.

Why, you may ask, do we go through this annual ritual and analysis of our family love? Of course, who better to turn to in matters of love than business-minded reformers. The data meisters profess that we must measure what we value. In our family, we value love, so--hence--the love meter matters.