At present, proponents of school choice have the upper hand because they are backed by some of the nation’s richest people, whose campaign donations give them an outsize voice in shaping public policy. The issue that the American public must resolve in local and state as well as national elections is whether voters will preserve and protect the public school system, or allow it to be raided and controlled by the one percent and financial elites.
Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It, and the Students and Teachers Who Made It Triumph
by Kristina Rizga
In recent years, American public education has been swamped by bad ideas and policies. Our national leaders, most of whom were educated at elite universities and should know better, have turned our most important domestic duty into a quest for higher scores on standardized tests.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World
by Yong Zhao
Yong Zhao’s new book tells us that China has the best education system because it can produce the highest test scores. But, he says, it has the worst education system because those test scores are purchased by sacrificing creativity, divergent thinking, originality, and individualism.
Fifty years ago, Congress passed a federal education law to help poor children get a good public education. As the House and the Senate now debate a reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, it is crucial to understand the law’s origins and how it has evolved over time.
Last week’s court ruling against job protections for California school teachers has distracted us from the genuine inequalities that harm minority children. It does not address the dire overcrowding of classes or the lack of resources for basic needs, including libraries, counselors, after-school programs, and nurses. Nor does it address segregation or poverty— root causes of poor academic performance.
New York City’s charter schools enroll only 6 percent of the student population. Contrary to popular myth, they are more racially segregated than public schools and performed no better on state tests. How, then, did a privately managed school franchise that serves a tiny portion of New York families manage to hijack the education reforms of a new mayor with a huge popular mandate?
For weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have been battling over the issue of teacher evaluation. Governor Andrew Cuomo set a deadline for them to reach an agreement, but they failed to do so, potentially costing the city schools hundreds of millions of dollars. The state education commissioner, John King, jumped into the fray by threatening to withhold over a billion dollars in state and federal aid if there was no settlement between the parties. Now, Governor Cuomo says that he may intervene. What’s going on here? Why can’t the mayor and the union reach an agreement? Why does Commissioner King intend to punish the city’s children if the grown-ups don’t agree?