Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reforming education a lot harder than it looks

The average person might think: “Education isn't rocket science.” No, it's a good deal more difficult than that as it involves understanding and working with human beings. Billions of dollars and millions of hours from reformers have produced very little in the way of results because those reformers haven't actually spent much time in schools, learning about what makes learning different from other fields. “Unlike working educators, most leaders in the reform movement have never taught a five-period day, felt the joy of an unquantifiable classroom victory, lost instructional time to a standardized test, or been evaluated by a computer. And unlike the vulnerable students targeted by so much reform, most policy elites have not gone to school hungry, struggled to understand standard English, battled low expectations, or feared for their personal safety on the walk home.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

PA Governor adopts educational plan that will hurt students

An “unelected, unaccountable entity charged with school oversight” abruptly canceled a state contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers “and demand new healthcare contributions from its employees.” The Philadelphia school system had lots of problems under Governor Corbett, but very few of those problems owed anything to the schools themselves, most of the problems had to do with deliberate malfeasance from the Corbett Administration. Having been a sailor, it was my experience and as my father was also a sailor, it was his experience too, that we never had to take money out of our own pockets to fulfill our mission. There were many instances where we were obliged to do so temporarily, but we always got reimbursed. Under Corbett, teachers have “to contribute thousands of dollars out of their own pockets for the most basic supplies.” And of course, the school bureaucracy under Corbett insists that a mandatory extra contribution to health care doesn't constitute a reduction in their paychecks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How do charter schools make money if they're non-profits?

Naturally, no one wants to be paying for a for-profit school as it would then be far too easy to identify excessive charges and then, even if parents didn't make complaints about obvious money-making moves by the school, resentment would grow. The answer is shown in Pro-Publica's piece on profits and schools. Essentially, profits are collected at one remove, with the suppliers of books, furniture, cafeteria food, computers, even teacher training. There is, of course, no competitive bidding for anything as the supply line is set up before the school itself is even built.