Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Public Education Under Attack! Texas Charter School Scams and other ills.
The current Texas legislature is considering many things harmful to public education: 1. The billions that were cut from the last budget will be minimally replaced, in a funding system that is grossly inequitable. 2. Returning to tracking and new versions of vocational education, creating options that will sidetrack students that are of color, economically disadvantaged, or speak a language other than English...or all of the above. We had a long and difficult battle to get our curriculum standards up so that all children would have four years of English, math, science and social studies in high school: in other words, would be prepared for college. The GOP-led push to water-down education is being supported by the business community and (quietly) many school administrators. The statistics on college entrance and completion for students of color, economically disadvantaged, or speak a language other than English are dismal. While the chorus of 'college is not for everyone' gets louder the voices of those who have been advocating for higher expectations and standards for all children are being heard less. 3. Charter schools, all with a spotty and questionable history in Texas, will be getting another boost while the budget for the existing public schools will continue to be seriously underfunded. Charter schools have shown limited success, and little when they don't cream the best students from the community. They don't have locally elected boards with representation from the families whose children attend those schools. 4. An illogical and insane system of high-stakes testing might be softened but the danger will be that accountability will be diminished, especially for students of color, economically disadvantaged, or speak a language other than English. The testing industry will still get hundreds of millions of dollars of Texas public education money. 5. Parent triggers are being considered that will continue to decimate our already weakened public school system. 6. Ethnic courses are being attacked, in a context where the State Board of Education has already weakened and reduced the recorded historical contributions of all groups.