It is my hope that 9-R teachers, students and parents will wake up and respond to the curtain that is descending on public education.
Devotees of the much publicized Waiting for Superman movie thought it was a vehicle for emphasizing the beauty of charter schools, but researching the people and money behind the film exposes a corporate manifesto looking to sap the power of public employee unions, especially the teachers union, because public education is the single biggest expenditure for every state.
Winners always protect the status quo because that status quo created the rules that made them the winners. The forces driving education reform in the U.S. today are all speaking from the winners circle. Winners always believe the rules of the game are fair and that they deserve to be winners.
The true status quo of public education is that it struggles under the crushing weight of poverty, not the burden of bad teachers or the press of bloated unions.
There are things that education cannot do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can revive the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. Its no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that youll get a good job, and its becoming less true with each passing decade. Student loans now have passed credit cards among the largest sources of private debt. We cant get to where we need to go just by awarding workers college degrees, which may be no more than tickets to jobs that dont exist or dont pay middle-class wages.
Calls for accountability always come from those standing outside accountability themselves. Yes, it is an obvious good to have better-educated students to compete with other economies. However, its complete nonsense to insist that low public school test scores hobble our economy when it was the highest-achieving graduates of our elite colleges who designed and sold the financial gimmicks that preceded our current financial predicament.
The winners may be winning, but that doesnt mean theyre right.
Bill Bowlby, Durango