why should government subsidize choices that don’t work?

Matt Yglesias pulls out his new hobby horse: rich people have more choices than poor people, charter schools increase choices for poor people (even if they don’t work!), and for this reason we should, I take it, undertake all the union-smashing ideas beloved of the reform movement.

This is a weird argument for anyone to make. It’s a particularly weird argument for a liberal to make. I made this case awhile back on this here blog, and I think my argument still stands. The Cliff Notes version: “rich people have more choices than poor people” is another way of saying “we live under capitalism.” Rich people are always going to have more choices because that’s the point of money. It is indeed the job of government to provide for certain material needs that the poor cannot procure for themselves. And the government should do the best job it possibly can. But government shouldn’t be in the business of artificially providing choice under the bizarre notion that just having choice is a virtue in and of itself, and it really shouldn’t be in the business of providing choices that can’t be proven to work.

Talking about choice as if it is a benefit regardless of the objective reality of whether the choices are beneficial is bizarre. And the idea that tax dollars should pay for that choice, in that absence of evidence as to why, is just a bridge too far. This seems like simple sense to me.

I’m aware, though, that what seems like simple sense to me isn’t always simple or sensible to others.  So: first, dividing public funding for schools, even if you preserve per pupil funding, can effectively reduce resources, because education funding is largely based on pooled costs.  Second, removing high performing students from struggling schools can have negative effects on those left behind. Additionally, damage is done to civil society when we further divide people through government programs rather than bring them together. We share public goods not only because it is cheaper to provide the same public transit, police department, fire department, water purification and filtration, public works, and so on for everybody, but precisely because government should not be in the business of dividing its people as capital does but in ensuring some amount of shared experience and shared goods. You can’t build a functioning civil society where citizens of different stations never interact with each other.

I’ll ask again, as I asked in the prior post: why does this argument count against public education and not against any other governmental enterprise? Again, rich people have many more choices in transportation than poor people. Should the government fund a system of charter buses that perform about the same service as the regular bus? Where are Yglesias’s posts calling for such a thing? Or perhaps it’s a voucher model he favors. Should we allow any average citizen to withdraw his or her “share” of the public transit budget and use that money to purchase a car? If choice is so compelling, absent of any evidence that the choices being presented actually work, why isn’t Yglesias out beating the bushes for such a policy? Even this is a generous comparison: I’m quite sure that a Toyota can do as good of or better a job than the city bus. The jury is still out on charter schools.

If you’re inclined, you can apply this thinking to anything: the FDA, homeland security, building inspection, defense, the fire department….. There are people who embrace this kind of “privatize everything” vision. They’re called conservatives.

Look: if we had clear, repeatable, and compelling empirical data about the virtues of charter schools, or private school vouchers, or the negative effects of public school unions on student performance, then we’d have hard choices to make as a society– particularly considering that the right of teachers to organize is precisely that, a right that can’t be taken away whenever it is convenient. But we don’t have such evidence. In fact, the extant evidence, while limited and in need of expansion, should be deeply discouraging to supporters of school reform. Yglesias himself links to a piece by Felix Salmon that is admirable in its commitment to the idea that empirical questions need to be answered empirically, and its refusal to gloss over the sad reality of the evidence.

Yglesias says that the failure to talk about choice is what drives him crazy about how charter schools and education reform are discussed in this country. What drives me crazy about how Yglesias discusses charter schools and education reform, besides his absolute and seemingly unwavering commitment to snarking at anyone who questions reform at all, is that he knows  the discouraging empirical evidence regarding education reform but seems never to let that knowledge affect his analysis. How is it possible to preserve the same tired reform rhetoric without any evidence to support that rhetoric? And like most liberal school reformers, he never seems to realize that a great number of his fellow travelers don’t possess his genuine concern for poor and minority students. Conservative and libertarian “reformers” love ed reform liberals because they give cover to a project that fits entirely with their principles but entirely against those of Matt Yglesias: destroying public institutions, smashing unions, and attacking liberal Democratic constituencies like public school teachers.

Rich people will never stop enjoying their privilege. If you have a problem with that you should come to the dark side and accept that you are a postcapitalist. (Like me!) Rich people usually take their kids out of the worst public schools precisely because the worst off students aren’t there. If you increase the mobility of poor and minority students, you’re only going to compel rich parents to erect more barriers to entry. I promise: even if you give people a broad choice of schools to send their children to, I’m sorry to say that many parents will still endeavor to keep their children away from poor and minority students. That’s just the reality of American life; it’s riven with class conflict and unconscious racism. If you give poor people a $10,000 private school voucher, the top private schools will start charging $10,001. They will do so because, from a marketing standpoint, keeping out poor kids is a feature, not a bug; and they will do so because they know, better than any opponent of school reform, that the ability to keep out the hardest students to educate is an enormous advantage.

And I must insist, because this is the most important point of all: there’s no compelling empirical evidence that increasing student mobility improves student outcomes. Like so much of what school reformers push, the narrative sounds compelling, but the evidence is lacking. As so often happens, one of Yglesias’s commenters, named David E. Frazer, poses a serious rebuttal:

I think you are missing the chicken-and-egg conundrum. Rich [people] may decide to move to nice suburban towns because they have good schools but the reason nice suburban towns have good schools is because rich people live there. Try this little exercise: Millburn [a/k/a Short Hills] is usually lauded as the best school district in NJ. Let’s suppose we traded the 4200 students in the Millburn school district with a random selection of 4200 kids from the nearby Newark school system. Want to take a bet whether or not the following year Millburn was ranked #1?

So why push for student mobility at all, absent compelling evidence that it works to improve outcomes? I think it’s the same old impetus that drives so much of this debate: guilt ridden liberals who overestimate the power of good intentions. Education reform is where wonkery goes to die, where the good old college spirit runs aground on the reality of poverty and a racial achievement gap that just refuse to bow to the power of nice white ladies. Wonks look at human life as a series of problems to be solved. But they are helpless before problems that require revolutionary change to be solved, or that force them to confront the fact that the capitalist system they celebrate has always insisted that there will be winners and losers.






210 replies
  1. 1
    khead says:

    Sorry, can’t take Matt seriously given his idiotic views on intellectual property.

  2. 2
    Shade Tail says:

    Matt Yglesias holds far too many right-wing positions to be considered a liberal. And I mean real right-wing positions, like being somewhat amenable to Cheney-style regime change. He supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq back when it was the fashionable thing to believe.

    His position on educational policy is the perfect case in point; he holds a lot of blatantly right-wing beliefs about school choice being good and teacher unions being bad. He also pretends that people who are against standardized testing are against any kind of student assessment, which is typical right-wing bullshit.

  3. 3
    cleek says:

    there’s a reason i stopped reading MY.

  4. 4
    kth says:

    Blaming teachers for educational outcomes is exactly the same as blaming police officers for the crime rate.

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    Your first mistake is thinking Yglesius is a liberal. He’s NOT. He’s a fucking idiot libertarian. He can’t spell. He loves him some Michelle Rhee ( or he used to anyway; don’t know or care what he thinks now that her cheating has been exposed). He vehemently opposes licensing for people who use dangerous chemicals and sharp instruments on other people. And that’s just small sampling of the FAIL that is Matt Yglesius. And quit calling him a liberal. I’ve been one for 52 years and he doesn’t, in any way, resemble any liberals I know. What a waste of space that asshole is.

  6. 6
    Chet says:

    Freddie I don’t recognize anything MY said in your post above, frankly. And the “serious rebuttal” you excerpt is nothing but a logical equivocation on “good school.”

    And lastly I don’t see how you can make an argument generally against reform unless you’re saying that our schools and system are just fine the way they are, and surely no one could be so stupid as to believe that?

    Should the government fund a system of charter buses that perform about the same service as the regular bus? Where are Yglesias’s posts calling for such a thing?

    Are you seriously asking where MY’s posts demanding better public transportation options are? Like, do you read his blog? Just curious.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    Public schools are going to miss the extremes, imo, but that is not a bad percentage. The truly gifted can achieve by themselves and unfortunately those that need help might get left behind. Rhee and Matt don’t educate the bottom ten percent at all. Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t remember them talking about creating schools for the bottom ten percent. When we have charter schools for the bottom ten percent, then I’ll be happy.

  8. 8
    birthmarker says:

    The purpose of school “reform” is to create for profit schools, as opposed to public supported schools. The rest is just noise.

    I can’t link, but Alabama’s former Republican Governor Bob Riley has registered as a lobbyist, with one of his areas of expertise to be education. BTW he was Governor for 8 years, ending in January of this year, and is a wealthy man. Do you really thinks he cares about school “reform” at this point? Why didn’t he deal with the issue as Governor?

    Anyway, here’s an article if anyone wants to google the title.

    Former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley registers as lobbyist

  9. 9
    khead says:

    Let me add…again…..Matt is a fucking retard.

    The douchebag should spend 5-10 minutes as a Patent Examiner before bitching about the patent system as he does.

    Edit: Can you tell I have a problem with Matt? :D

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    @birthmarker: Hmmm…most Alabamans care more about high school football then anything else.

  11. 11
    Warren Terra says:

    You repeatedly make the claim that charter schools “don’t work” – but what does that mean?

    My (extremely limited) understanding is that charter schools score no better on standardized tests than non-charter public schools with similar student populations. But: do they actually score worse? Do they, as you assert, reduce the per-pupil resources available to other students?

    Because if they’re no better but also no worse, and if they’re not damaging other students’ education, I don’t see the argument against them. Sure, putting a value on “choice” may be hard – but all else being reasonably neutral, why do you assume that value is zero?

    While I’m not terribly well informed on the subject, my understanding is that a charter school is a public school which has greater parent involvement in its management, and may focus on some area of education or some part of the community – but that remains a public school, with zero tuition (and the usual subsidized lunch, etcetera), open enrollment, all the usual rules about educational standards and against religious indoctrination. If it’s being abused in some way that violates those rules, or if they just produce bad educational results, I’d be against them – but within those guidelines, I don’t see what’s not to like.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Before I am misunderstood at my comment #7, I think that those that are underachieving should receive more help. I’m not against mainstreaming but Rhee and Matt seem to leave them behind. They preach charter schools but take those that don’t need the extra help. Their are just not charter schools for those kids.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    I find MY unreadable. I don’t see why he’s got a job in the punditocracy. Must be who he knows.

  14. 14
    Carol says:

    As a former gifted, the idea that the gifted can fend for themselves is fraught with peril. Being gifted without support means often being teased and bullied for caring about school, for their abilities. It means not being sufficiently challenged to improve, it means lacking a supportive peer group that values your gifts. I suffered because I was so bright, and decades later, I’m nowhere near what my potential was because it took decades to develop the trust and social skills and study habits needed to deal with the outside world.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    @Warren Terra: The end game is give parents so much money to fund education. In GA someone ran on that platform and I pointed out that those who already decided to educate their children at Westminster were now being given tuition assistance which took money out of public education. We have to make a decision as a society on whether or not to educate our children. Some of us thought this was decided over 100 years ago but I guess not.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @birthmarker:

    The purpose of school “reform” is to create for profit schools, as opposed to public supported schools.

    Why do you think those two things are contradictory? They exist to create public supported for profit schools.

  17. 17
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @JPL: Not to speak of the rigged “Hope Scholarship”. Did you see pics of the protest at the Arch yesterday?

  18. 18
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Warren Terra: Charters are managed as if they are private schools but they are paid for with public money. They can and do cherry pick their students. Yes, they claim to have more parental involvement. Some are very good, some are mediocre. They aren’t a solution across the board. There are a lot of them that are managed by private companies making a fortune.

  19. 19
    Nate says:

    @Warren Terra- I can only speak for my state of North Carolina, but charter schools here aren’t required to accept special needs students or ESL students or essentially any potentially difficult student if they choose not to.

    So as the public education budget sees cut after cut, we’re increasingly seeing charter schools poach the best students, which often have the most involved parents, from the public school system and leave everyone else behind so that the public school system is increasingly overwhelmed with special needs kids, recent immigrants, and other charter school rejects who overwhelm the resources of the increasingly overworked and underfunded teachers and school districts.

    The worst of this has been prevented by laws requiring limits on the number of charter school allowed in a given district, but the Republicans in our state legislature have been pushing to pop that cap. The ultimate result of all this will be to undermine the public school system and destroy it from within. Though I’m convinced that’s a feature, not a bug.

    Charter schools “work”, I guess, but even an automated television screen in the front of the classroom can get great results when you can pick and choose the best students.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    @Carol: So what’s the answer. Both of my sons did not perform to their potential according to test scores but I didn’t blame the schools.
    I would love to have a public education that catered to everyone but I don’t think it’s possible. You have to depend on teachers. My son’s geometry teacher forgave him homework in exchange for tutoring. A lot of teachers take that extra step for bored kids.

  21. 21
    300baud says:

    Wait, what? Having more choices is the point of money, but we aren’t sure if having more choices is beneficial?

    I was going to start in on the many other weak arguments here, but it would be longer than this excessively long post. There is probably an argument to be made against school choice, but this sure isn’t it.

  22. 22
    Bill Murray says:

    @birthmarker: Riley maybe isn’t so bad. He actually tried to raise taxes on the relatively wealthy and use that to help the relatively poor. He called it the voters Christian duty. It went down to defeat 68-32. I guess there weren’t too many Christians in Alabama

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/n.....hike_x.htm

  23. 23
    Warren Terra says:

    @JPL:

    The end game is give parents so much money to fund education. In GA someone ran on that platform and I pointed out that those who already decided to educate their children at Westminster were now being given tuition assistance which took money out of public education.

    That’s vouchers, not charters.
    You could imagine a hybrid system, in which schools that accepted vouchers were required to accept the voucher as full tuition (rather than as tuition assistance). But while I think an argument could be made for such a system (so long as it included the other caveats in my previous comment about educational standards, religious and other bias, and open enrollment), it still wouldn’t be charter schools.

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): Yes and the sad thing is that was not the way the voters intended it.

    hey what do you think about the uproar, now that we are not deporting the immigrant who moved here when he was two.. yeah let’s send him somewhere cuz he should have known better than be illegal at two..

  25. 25
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Carol: I dunno. I was drummed out of high school and into the Army at 17. In retrospect I was bored as shit in school. Got my GED and drove on. Took me till I was 50 but I earned my doctorate. I have to keep working until I’m at least 67 because it took me so long to get my shit together. On the other hand, I have my health.

  26. 26
    Samara Morgan says:

    /yawn

    charter schools are just a gateway drug for vochers, because of privitization, as kay elegantly and empirically pointed out on your last crappy post on this subject.
    and its one short step from vouchers to Klan schools and creationism schools.

    hey juicers!
    freddie is engaged in a flame war with TNC.
    does that make him a ….erm….racist?

    LOLOLLLLOLOL eleventy!!!

  27. 27
    Bill Murray says:

    @300baud: that school choice doesn’t actually produce better results is a weak argumen t against school choice?

  28. 28
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Warren Terra: The argument for school choice was that the outcomes would be better. It hasn’t worked. The argument against charter schools is that they aren’t better. This latter point is true. Therefore the justification for charter schools is not supported by, you know, reality.

  29. 29
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @JPL: The voters really didn’t have much to do with Hope. Zig Zag Zell instituted it during his reign of terror under the Gold Dome.

    We’ll see about the uproar, these are some ruthless motherfuckers until they need someone to pick their pumpkins.

  30. 30
    Samara Morgan says:

    hmmm….

    It is well taken that I was too harsh on Coates and let my exasperation color too much of my writing. My exasperation comes in part because when Coates’s obvious eloquence is married to a clearer aim and more focused project, he’s very effective. Take, for example, his column on Obama and extremism. It remains, in my view, the definitive take on Obama’s rhetorical style and its failings.

    go firebag somewheres else assclown.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    @Warren Terra: I think public schools that are funded might be the answer to our needs. They might miss some students but all studies show charters do too. Private schools pick and choose so their results might be different.

  32. 32
    Zifnab says:

    I think there’s a degree of virtue in the general idea of school choice. There are some schools that are truly mismanaged, and when you’ve got a compulsory education system, it seems somehow cruel to double down and say “And now you have to send your kid to a school that sucks”.

    So I am actually on board with systems like magnet schools and GT programs and other programs that let students self-select for a better education. Just like naturally smart and rich and well-educated kids can be a boon for their student peers, poor and slow and left-behind kids can be a major drag.

    The real problem with for-profit education is that its all about the for-profit and not much about the education. These schools make big promises, but they rarely deliver. The White Hat Managements and the Michele Rhees of the world are just con artists capitalizing on public dissatisfaction. That doesn’t make the idea of a more flexible public education system bad on its face. It just tells us what we already know – Republicans want to skim money off the top and piss on the rest.

  33. 33
    Carol says:

    I always thought that charter schools were also a stealth way of segregation as well. If schools are private (so to speak), then certain children can be kept out by private rules.

    The real issues of education seem to be harder:
    1) Funding. Other nations put their educational dollars into at least a state-wide pot of money. That evens out the differences enough so that everyone gets at least an acceptable education. Here, even the thought of pooled funds is liable to bring out charges of Socialism. But a 21st Century education is longer and more extensive-and needs to be-than what the original crafters of our education. Back then, few people went to high school,let alone college. When the majority of people stopped at sixth grade, a town could pay all the bills for education with little strain.

    2) The gaps in nutrition, jobs, and security need to be addressed for the nation’s sake. Those kids who up to now have been neglected will need to fill the slots emptied by retiring baby boomers soon. While some people think immigrants can do the job, a truly stable nation needs everybody in the system. But the things that need to be done may step on a lot of toes. Jobs? The inner city has been denuded of jobs that first went to the South, then Mexico, now China. Without clear examples that education leads to a better life without getting hopelessly in debt, or failing that, jobs that pay enough to keep ones head above water, the incentive to stay in school is lacking for those who need help the msot. Security? End the drug war and the easy illegal billions made by keeping pot (and other drugs) illegal, schools become manageable and the streets peaceful. People can think of other things than sheer survival, get better sleep, walk around all day long and get exercise.

  34. 34
    Warren Terra says:

    @Nate:

    charter schools here aren’t required to accept special needs students or ESL students or essentially any potentially difficult student if they choose not to.

    This could be a real problem, especially if the charter schools receive district-wide per-student funding but don’t enroll any especially expensive students. And it seems quite likely that is happening – but I’d argue it ought to be avoidable.

    we’re increasingly seeing charter schools poach the best students, which often have the most involved parents, from the public school system and leave everyone else behind

    I honestly don’t know how much of a problem this is. Is your prescription that students who are motivated and whose parents are motivated should be abandoned in a larger population of directionless students with disinterested parents? Isn’t it better to have options within the public school systems for those students who show greater aptitude, or whose parents are more involved? I mean, it’s nice that JPL‘s bored kid got some consideration for the inadequacy of their class – but wouldn’t it be better if JPL’s kid could be put in a class that would challenge them, still within the public school?

    I got a pretty good education in the public school system (and a fantastic education at a public university), but that was because I was in a gifted program. A gifted program with heavy parent involvement. Not so much a charter school as a charter-school-within-a-school. But I saw the stultivation around me, the other kids on the bus who weren’t getting the same education; should I apologize? Should I have been abandoned to vegetate in classrooms that didn’t have the same standards as mine?

    The failures of our system to educate those with the weaker family structures or the less obvious educational aptitude are a major problem. But I don’t see how damaging the ability of our brighter students and our more motivated parents to seek the best within the public school system solves this. I don’t think demolishing the top tier of our public school system is a smart move.

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): Initially the Hope was passed with an income limit. If that were kept in place then it would be funded forever.
    Gotta say we live in a crazy state.

  36. 36
    Samara Morgan says:

    and lookie lookie

    I understand that Coates is looking at these issues from a particular and limited vantage. That’s his prerogative. What I object to is the way that he is attempting to police what vantage one can look from. When drive by-commenters said “Coates isn’t arguing the point you’re arguing,”

    can you and angry black lady fight, plz?
    here, i’ll summon her.
    /draws blood pentagram on screen

  37. 37
    Jeffro says:

    @Warren Terra: here’s what it means:

    http://credo.stanford.edu/repo.....UMMARY.pdf

    When you control for all other variables (taking away charters’ tendency to cherry-pick & ignore minority and low SES and spec ed students), 17% of charters do better overall than comparable public schools.

    Half of all charters do almost the same as their public school peers.

    37%(!) do worse.

    So roughly speaking, a charter has a 1 in 5 chance of being better than its public school peer, a 2 in 5 chance of being the same overall quality, and a 2 in 5 chance of being worse.

    This is a reason not only to NOT enroll your kid there, but insist that they go away.

  38. 38
    t jasper parnell says:

    Ygelsias is neither a Conservative nor a Liberal; he’s a neoliberal dolt convinced, all evidence to the contrary, that market forces lead to better outcomes. Market forces means, as a matter of fact, that those with more money get the stuff they want while those with less money get screwed.

    The “invisible hand” began as a Christian argument, specifically or most famously a Jansenist one, about how God had providentially decided that human greed could replace Christian Charity (agape) and thus allow sinful humanity to persevere despite original sin.

    Over the years the Christian silliness of this argument has faded away to be replace by some sort of essentialist gobbledygook now a days linked to evolutionary psychology.

    Don’t believe me, and why should you, read, in no particular order Pierre Nicole on Self Love, Mandeville Fable of the Bees, Nicolas Barbon on Trade, and, if you haven’t the time to wade through the primaries — many more available, Hirschman’s Passions and Interests.

  39. 39
    Bob says:

    Tell you what Freddie, you and Matt get a room and talk education till death do you part. The rest of us, well, we just live happily ever after.

  40. 40
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @JPL: Remind me to tell you the story of me making a speech to about 500 literacy teachers and Zell sometime.

  41. 41
    Wee Bey says:

    You don’t need any other data point other than this: The phrase “school choice” is positively Orwellian.

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    @Warren Terra: You were gifted..
    Public schools have students that live in shelters but since I’m a Pollyanna I say good for their parents sending them to school. Public schools have students moving every few months but good for them being in school at all. Now we could decide only to educate the best and the brightest but I’m not sure that’s in our best interest. What I think is in our best interest is to support our schools.

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): OMG.. Did Zell understand what you said?

  44. 44
    cleek says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Should I have been abandoned to vegetate in classrooms that didn’t have the same standards as mine?

    every school i went to (and there were plenty, though all in NY state) had multiple tracks, divided by student ability. if you weren’t challenged in one track, they’d kick you up to a higher track and see how you did there.

  45. 45
    JPL says:

    @cleek: he’s left to vegetate with us…

  46. 46
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @JPL: Fucker, they told me I had 15 minutes to tell mt “GED success story”. I was nervous as a cat crappin ground glass, that’s a long time to speak in that forum. I had this whole deal cooked up explaining the how the GI BIll was a boon to both the economy and the people and comparing it to Hope. Very good speech. Two minutes before I was supposed to go the head of the thing came to my table and said “the governor is in a hurry, cut it to three minutes”. I was stunned, all I did was describe a bit of my journey from dropout and thank all the teachers for their work.

  47. 47
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Cleek filters me so I won’t try a direct reply but sometimes they sent you down instead of up.

  48. 48
    J. Michael Neal says:

    Let me just reiterate Chet’s point that Freddie mangles Matt’s arguments so badly that they are unrecognizable. When he can get back to me with a post that isn’t utterly dishonest, it might merit more of a response.

  49. 49
    birthmarker says:

    @Bill Murray: In my opinion despite Riley’s admirable attempt in that direction, which was early in his first term, the defeat (which of course was orchestrated by the usual suspects, including Dick Armey,) led him to tighten up his conservative creds so as to be reelected in 2006.

    I can’t link but here is an article from the FreedomWorks website about Armey’s efforts for the good people of Alabama.

    “Dick Armey plans trip to Alabama to oppose Riley’s tax plan”

    Dick Armey wouldn’t live here if you gave him a damn house.

    @Nate: Nice explanation of the problem. Thanks.

  50. 50
    Warren Terra says:

    @cleek:
    Sure – but doesn’t the argument that was deployed against charter schools (“charter schools poach the best students, which often have the most involved parents”) also argue against gifted programs, and the sort of tracking you describe? After all, both tend to remove the kids with involved parents from the median public school classroom and into other classrooms within the public school system.

    @Jeffro:

    When you control for all other variables (taking away charters’ tendency to cherry-pick & ignore minority and low SES and spec ed students), 17% of charters do better overall than comparable public schools.
    __
    Half of all charters do almost the same as their public school peers.
    __
    37%(!) do worse.

    This is a more serious indictment of charter schools. But note: this isn’t the criticism Freddie made; he said that they “didn’t work”, not that they actually underperformed compared to not doing them.

  51. 51
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Warren Terra: They were sold as being better across the board; they weren’t. Therefore they didn’t work.

  52. 52
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Nothing will work in education until education majors no longer exist.

    The predictable result of idiots teaching kids is that kids grow up into idiots.

    Hard work and dedication are simply not enough. Intellect and knowledge of an actual field are also required.

  53. 53
    birthmarker says:

    Here’s another Dick Armey quote. July 2003. Google the phrase. It’s from the FreedomWorks website.

    “That step is ending the public school monopoly.”

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): I one time heard Roy give a speech and about fell asleep and then a few years later went to a democratic thing and heard him speak about the value of teachers and education and was blown away. Zell was a phony. Roy actually understood what it would take to educate a child. He spoke about sending kids to school hungry and how you could solve that problem with little state money. GA will always be last in education because they really care about the Buckhead student more. It’s where they get their campaign donations.

  55. 55
    Warren Terra says:

    @t jasper parnell:
    You said that before. But it didn’t make any more sense then. You decided that to “work” they had to yield improved results – but I would argue that as long as they did no harm (comparable results, no damage to the rest of the system), that could be considered “working” as well. After all, there may well be other aspects that aren’t as easily quantified; choice, most obviously, and what the parents chose.

    It’s when they actually yield inferior results (or can be proven to harm other students) that they don’t work. The study Jeffro linked indicates this may well be the case. Your point that part of their salesmanship was wrong doesn’t do this.

  56. 56
    Samara Morgan says:

    gee freddie, that attacking bigger name bloggers for page clicks isnt working out so well is it?
    i would have picked someone lesser than TNC…..because hes gunna be wearing your guts for garters.

    AMG, you did attack a lesser blogger…..who the fuck is Zack Beauchamp?

  57. 57
    JPL says:

    @Warren Terra: What’s the point?… You want to take money out of public schools because you think the alternative is the same? Why not just improve public schools then? I’m confused..

  58. 58
    Woody says:

    They will do so because, from a marketing standpoint, keeping out poor kids is a feature, not a bug; and they will do so because they know, better than any opponent of school reform, that the ability to keep out the hardest students to educate is an enormous advantage.

    Wow, Mr deBoer, spot-on, full marks. Just check out any school district that has more than one high school. Dollars to doughnuts one of them is where the “smart / rich kids” go and the other is the “menial / poor” kids school. Local political power is always on the rich side of town, so boundaries, etc. will rarely change.

    The best of the “poor kids” will always have a place on the rich side of town.

  59. 59
    Samara Morgan says:

    hahaha

    oh, this retard.
    one of sully’s borg.

  60. 60
    Samara Morgan says:

    @t jasper parnell: umm
    neoliberal ==libertarian.
    freddie is a libertarian too.

  61. 61
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Warren Terra: I didn’t decide; the proponents of charter schools said that things would be better. Things aren’t better. That fact is the reason Ravich and other proponents changed their minds about the efficacy of charter schools, choice, and related etc.

    ETA Read about the Milwaukee experiment and the Walker regime’s decision to double down despite the failure to achieve it’s stated goal and the lack of interest among the school districts forced to adopt to this failed experiment.

  62. 62
    birthmarker says:

    @Zifnab:

    The White Hat Managements and the Michele Rhees of the world are just con artists capitalizing on public dissatisfaction.

    The propagandists have been creating the dissatisfaction for 30 years. Now they sense they are about to cash in all the chips.

  63. 63
    INSERT RACIST DICK JOKE RE PREZ says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    I THINK YOU JUST HAVE PE NIS ENVY AS RESPECTS FREDDIE.

    HAH AHAHAHA HA!!!h!h!h111A!

  64. 64
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Samara Morgan: You are, of course wrong. Libertarians and Neoliberals are different fish swimming in the same stream. De Boer isn’t either and the use of um is about the single most annoying intertubes tradition know to man.

  65. 65
    Samara Morgan says:

    c’mon freddie, your lame tactic of picking fights with bloggers higher up the food chain like Yglesias and TNC just isnt netting any return to value.
    and you pissed Sully off with your attack on Beauchamp.

    who will link you naow?

    mistemix i guess.
    :)

  66. 66
    Samara Morgan says:

    @t jasper parnell: he SAID he was a “civil” libertarian.
    wanna see the link?

  67. 67
    Warren Terra says:

    @JPL:
    You keep on asserting that charter school take money out of public schools. Charter schools are public schools. They are within the public school system. I’ve said I’d be against them if they damaged their own students, or if they took more than their share of the funds allotted to public education.

    My goal is to improve public education. If charter schools give some students something they and their parents want, and do no harm to other students, all within the public school system, then that is improving the public school system. Even if the value of “giving them something they want” is hard to quantify.

    There is a separate issue of how to help the unmotivated students – but I’d argue that the proper perspective for looking at the charter schools is to compare them to the gifted programs, not to see them as a panacea for our society’s ills. Contra t jasper parnell, I think we can assess charter schools on first principles, rather than scoring them on the basis of whatever stupid claims have been made by some of their advocates.

    And it’s worth noting: much as I’m open to the idea of charter schools, some of the arguments in this thread (that they suck up more funding per student than they deserve, and that they actually produce worse educational results than not making any changes) have convinced me that there is something wrong with the way they’ve been done so far. But the theoretical arguments against them just don’t seem compelling to me.

  68. 68
    Samara Morgan says:

    @t jasper parnell: de Bore is a libertarian– otherwise he would call himself something else.

    civil libertarians, neoliberals, liberaltarians, bleeding heart libertarians, classic liberals, Libertarians, libertarians, are all variants of the same idea.

    soi disant “intellectuals” that get paid for pageclicks.

  69. 69
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Warren Terra: here is a practical argument.
    why do we have private schools in America?
    you see….private schools can no longer discriminate on race, religion or sex…..so the only thing they discriminate on is MONEY.
    is that not basically un-american?

    i asked freddie if private schools were un-american once.
    he ran away.

  70. 70
    gwangung says:

    de Bore is a libertarian—

    Wrong, racist bigot.

  71. 71
    Warren Terra says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    Sadly, discrimination based on money is extremely American, and getting more so all the time. I also don’t know whether you’re right that private schools cannot discriminate based on religion, and I’m quite sure they can discriminate based on sex.

    But this isn’t relevant to charter schools, which are establishments within the public school system, charge no tuition, have free and subsidized school lunches, and all the rest.

  72. 72
    some guy says:

    “retard” is a derogatory word used by assholes with neither ethics nor compassion. why am I not surprised the psycho stalker throws it around so casually?

  73. 73
    Samara Morgan says:

    ooooo! oooo!

    freddie and EDK tag team poor Zack!

    Ta-Nehisi Coates again makes a great point and then drowns it in the bathtub of semantics and petty actor sorting. But his commenters loved it!

    i think you are punching out of your weight class, freddie.

    its like a gay mudwrestling match for glibertarian rentboiz!

  74. 74
    Samara Morgan says:

    @some guy: well no….its used by my demographic.
    non-old ppl and non-moralfags.

  75. 75
    jcgrim says:

    Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) publishes educational junk science with the help of Ygelsais
    AND, they buy legislators with checks written directly to their campaigns:
    http://www.northjersey.com/new.....rats_.html

    “I haven’t identified our top 10 legislators who are for us and our top 10 legislators who are being detrimental,” said Kathleen Nugent, the group’s New Jersey director…
    The national group now has chapters is six states and is stacked with executives of hedge funds — Anchorage Capital Partners ($8 billion under management), Greenlight Capital ($6.8 billion) and Pershing Square Capital Management ($5.5 billion).”

    Charters don’t offer choices for families. The school makes the choice to admit and/or expel children and the few children who are admitted are chosen by a lottery.

    Charter schools are simply money laundering operations for hiding the transfer of public money to the financial industry.

  76. 76
    Samara Morgan says:

    @some guy: well no….its used by my demographic.
    non-old ppl.

  77. 77
    birthmarker says:

    @Warren Terra: IMO charter schools, vouchers, etc., are just the chip, chip, chip away at the public school system, which is the goal. Privatization is the goal. You will receive a tax voucher to offset some of the costs, and the better schools will require additional payment. Limiting government is the goal. Reducing teacher salaries and benefits t the state, hopefully to zero, is the goal.

    I believe as part of NCLB, parents already have the right to transfer their children from failing schools. I know this is true in Alabama, though it may just be state law.

    I saw an accreditation report prepared by a Christian-based high school once. The stated educational mission of the school was to teach the inerrancy of the Bible. Can you imagine a public school putting that in their accreditation report?

  78. 78
    some guy says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    funny, I didn’t know psychotic stalkers were a demographic, and like most racists, they aren’t confined to any one age group.

  79. 79
    Samara Morgan says:

    you simps, de Bore is here pandering for pageclicks.
    the minnit he gets a paid gig he will “rethink” his position on schools, just like Kain rethought his position on unions.

    Are you juicers really this simple?

    look at how hes flailing around on his own blog.

  80. 80
    Samara Morgan says:

    @some guy: but im not a racist, unless christian and stupid are races now.
    :)

  81. 81
    Waingro says:

    de Bore is a libertarian—otherwise he would call himself something else.

    I usually scroll past your posts because you seem like a crank, but what the hell…

    You keep calling people libertarians that aren’t libertarians… at all. Not even a little bit. It’s extremely difficult to have useful conversations when you abuse and twist standard definitions of words.

    You’re in the running for the Inigo Montoya Lifetime Achievement Award for Improper Descriptives.

  82. 82
    OzoneR says:

    Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum did a whole piece last week about how high-speed rail in California is a waste of money.

    Can’t imagine why the left has trouble with messaging? Liberals are their own worst enemies.

  83. 83
    shecky says:

    More sloppy than usual, deBoer.

  84. 84
    some guy says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    few racists admit to being racist, just like few stalkers admit to stalking.

    something about a river in Egypt.

  85. 85
    Samara Morgan says:

    @OzoneR: isnt Drum a libertarian?
    like freddie?

  86. 86
    worn says:

    @JPL:

    …those who already decided to educate their children at Westminster…

    I’d just like to take a moment – having not thought of that wretched name for many years – to say “Fuck Westminister”. Fuck Lovett, too. After my Dad & stepmother wed our family switched from Methodist services to attendance at an Episcopal Church downtown. Pretty much all the kids at that church except for me went to one of those two private schools. And I can say, empirically speaking, that I’ve never since encountered a more snobbishly vituperative group of self-entitled assholes as those kids. They made my Sundays absolutely hellish. For all I know that experience probably helped fuel the break with my religious upbringing as anything else.

    Fuck Westminister. Just had to get that off my chest.

    Carry on all.

  87. 87
    Shade Tail says:

    To claim that charter schools are part of the public school system is shaky ground. Exactly how they are organized differs from state to state. And even in the states where they are explicitly part of the public system, they are separated out at least rhetorically. They are explicitly offered as an alternative to ordinary public schools. Also, they are usually managed by private “education companies”.

    So at the very least, there is a clear overlap between public and private when it comes to charter schools. And there is solid evidence that at least suggests that they are not any more effective than full-fledged public schools, and possibly less effective.

    Also, keep in mind that the entire “school choice” argument is based on the odious idea that schools should be run like a business. The idea is that “competition” between schools will force them to improve in order to draw “customers” (i.e. students and their families). It’s an idea that is ridiculous on its face, because education for children is not a product to be packaged and sold, it’s a right to be enforced, as much so as freedom of speech. And on top of that, the “like a business” argument always ignores other important facets of business, such as investment in basic needs to keep the business running. If schools should really be run like a business, then why are we so unwilling to pay for decent facilities and materials?

  88. 88
    Samara Morgan says:

    @shecky:

    More sloppy than usual, deBoer.
    LOL

    that is an understatement.

    i think hes coming undone.

    Now, if Zack is merely sore because I was being a bit of a jerk, okay. I apologize for being a bit of a jerk. I didn’t, actually, mean to suggest that he is actually related to Tina Brown. (In certain technical circles, that is referred to as a “joke.”) But if that was a bit too mean, fair enough. And, you know, the True Blood thing was just because he’s got kind of a Cajun thing going there. I didn’t even really mean it as an insult, and I do think this is more worthwhile an endeavor if you can have a little fun doing it. But names are touchy, I get that.
    I have to defend myself: beyond those two things, I don’t think I was engaging in name calling. I think I was forcefully replying to someone who was, to my mind, articulating bad arguments and doing so in a way that was dismissive of two bloggers who have invested considerable thought into articulating complex analyses of the Libyan situation.

  89. 89
    birthmarker says:

    @Shade Tail: As my DH says, public schools don’t get to “hire” their students.

  90. 90
    OzoneR says:

    @Samara Morgan: He’s never struck me as one, but if he is, why is a libertarian writing for a magazine named for a hardcore labor activist and proud Socialist?!?!

    Big fucking FAIL

  91. 91
    suzanne says:

    @some guy: Concur. She prattles on and on about being a “social justice warrior” or some shit, but is an ableist. Not to mention a racist. File her under “fulla bullshytt”.

    @Samara Morgan: I have a serious, non-rhetorical, honest question for you: why do you continue to spend so much time in the (digital) company of those who, at best, find you irritating and unintelligent? You have no intellectual credibility, so no one will be persuaded by anything you say. What do you honestly stand to gain from your behavior? I mean, I’m assuming that you’re a rational actor. (Perhaps I’m being too generous.)

    In regards to the gifted education issue, a great deal of research (which you can go Google yourself because I’m lazy because Gifted Child #1 is home with pinkeye) indicates that outcomes for gifted students in a typical, mainstream educational setting are NOT equal to those in a gifted enrichment program of some type. Gifted students often struggle socially, experience bullying, and lack discipline due to extreme boredom/disenchantment with school. The prevailing attitude used to be that gifted students should be kept in mainstream classrooms to “inspire” their typical peers and to disabuse them of any sense that they might be superior in any way. Of course, none of that actually has to do with actually improving the education for the gifted student, and is really just rooted in that same anti-intellectual BS that we should consign to the dustbin.

  92. 92
    suzanne says:

    @Waingro:

    You’re in the running for the Inigo Montoya Lifetime Achievement Award for Improper Descriptives.

    Win.

  93. 93
    tomvox1 says:

    The only question I have is: Where the hell is all that glorious Lottery money we were promised in all this? There should be billions in surplus but every state that has a lottery still seems to be floundering with their school funding. Biggest educational scam this side of charter schools and Michelle Rhee, I tells ya…

  94. 94
    Brian S says:

    If you give poor people a $10,000 private school voucher, the top private schools will start charging $10,001.

    I think it’s more likely those schools would start charging $20K and offer a very small number of scholarships to exceptional students of color to prove they’re not a bunch of racist assholes. You have to make sure that the cost of admission is too high for the undesirables even if they get government help.

  95. 95
    Brian S says:

    @Warren Terra:

    My goal is to improve public education. If charter schools give some students something they and their parents want, and do no harm to other students, all within the public school system, then that is improving the public school system. Even if the value of “giving them something they want” is hard to quantify.

    If charters were being sold to the public at large as being of equal quality, I might have less of a problem with them, but they’re not. They’re being sold as the solution to all our educational problems, or at least the solution for everyone except for those people who just won’t be helped no matter how much help we give them (and if you don’t think that’s the subtext, then you need to hang out with the people I went to school with who are fighting for this crap so their kids don’t have to go to school with “the blacks”).

    So if a group is selling itself as the greatest invention since canned beer and it turns out they’re basically holding even with what’s working, then I tend to call that a failure. They’re not meeting the expectations they set–they are failing at meeting those expectations. And it’s not like these are expectations set by some outside group–it’s their own. That’s the problem–they’re not delivering on what they’ve promised, which is made more problematic given that they’re not competing on an even playing field. Why keep throwing money at them? The ones that aren’t working that is.

  96. 96
    Sly says:

    @Warren Terra:

    You repeatedly make the claim that charter schools “don’t work” – but what does that mean?

    It means that choice through decentralization is worse than a red herring: It not only fails to solve the problems at the core of its mission (improve a nebulous and poorly constructed paradigm of student achievement through competitive incentives) but creates an entirely new set of problems with which students, parents, teachers, administrators, and elected officials have to cope. Centralization has many logistical benefits that charter systems simply do not have, and there is only so much tinkering around the edges you can do to recreate those benefits before a charter system ceases to be a charter system at all.

    The problems with low performing schools and school districts are deeply structural and will not, in all likelihood, be solved at the school or district level. All success, at whatever level we pretend to measure it, is measured in relative terms. Student achievement is measured by percentile. School success is measured in relation to other schools. District success is measured in relation to other districts. And none of these metrics account for systemic privileges that are accorded to some and denied to others. If anything, continually rewarding those privileges exacerbates their effect.

    Which shouldn’t be surprising. After all, how does more rigged competition fix a school system that is already plagued by too much rigged competition? How does more Social Darwinism fix the problems endemic to Social Darwinism? The “reform” movement doesn’t even pretend to have an answer to this question. It simply creates a useful strawman of a lazy and overfed teacher and then demolishes it on the goddamned Oprah Winfrey Show.

  97. 97
    Scott P. says:

    Ygelsias is neither a Conservative nor a Liberal; he’s a neoliberal dolt convinced, all evidence to the contrary, that market forces lead to better outcomes. Market forces means, as a matter of fact, that those with more money get the stuff they want while those with less money get screwed.

    You sell Yglesias short. He fully admits that market forces lead to inequality. His proposal is market forces combined with massive redistribution of income. That’s not particularly neoliberal.

  98. 98
    MikeJake says:

    But they are helpless before problems that require revolutionary change to be solved, or that force them to confront the fact that the capitalist system they celebrate has always insisted that there will be winners and losers.

    The comment by MY’s commenter and your last paragraph really clarify things for me. Everyone has to know by now that education reform can’t be accomplished in a vacuum. It has to be a bottom-up effort to create the conditions by which any population of people, if they make an honest effort, can create a decent community with decent schools. But everyone also knows that accomplishing this is extremely difficult, if not impossible. It’s far easier to look at education reform as the magic bullet that’s eventually going to fix everything. Basically:

    1. Fix the schools (whatever that entails).
    2. The kids get better educations, leading to better life outcomes.
    3. Once they’re adults, they’ll have the tools necessary to get good jobs,
    4. Assuming they can profitably navigate our Galtian service and “knowledge” economy, and…
    5. Voilà! In 20 or 30 years we should have a bunch of decent middle class communities where we once had ghettos, failing suburbs, and dying company towns.

    It would have been a fine plan too, if not for that meddling step 4.

  99. 99
    sb says:

    @Sly: (applause)

  100. 100
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Matt Yglesias is Ross Douthat without the chastity fetish. How he, of all people, gets paid to churn out “ideas” is one of the great mysteries of the blog ecosystem.

  101. 101
    Don K says:

    Oh boy…

    I won’t claim to know what the answer is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t “force the kids to stay where they are because it’s good for social solidarity”, or whatever is being pushed here. Here in Michigan we have a statewide grant of roughly $7,000, funded by a statewide property tax and one-third of the sales tax. Now, this results in a statewide average funding level of $9,000 per student, once supplemented with local and federal money. Detroit Public Schools have close to $13,000 per student, which is way more than a lot of suburban districts in the Detroit area, and ranks Detroit 42nd out of roughly 780 districts in the state of Michigan, and yet Detroit schools are hellholes to which any parent with ambition and a choice wouldn’t send his or her kids.

    So what is the answer? Is it to fund DPS at $15,000? $20,000? $30,000?

  102. 102
    Kiril says:

    @Scott P.: This.

    Yglesias believes that schools in poor areas should receive funding above those in affluent areas because of the additional education challenges presented by poverty, with education taxes pooled statewide and distributed to where there is the most need. He has also published data showing that charter schools don’t perform better than public schools. If anything, he seems to think that charter schools are a sideshow, which is actually the point of the post de Boer linked to.

  103. 103
    Joel says:

    I like Matt more than most around these parts, but this is one issue that I disagree with him on. Along those lines, this post is convincing enough to push me to (strongly disagreed).

  104. 104
    Samara Morgan says:

    @FlipYrWhig: and freddie is just another embryo Douthat. or Douthat wannabe.
    @Kiril: /yawn

    which is actually the point of the post de Boer linked to.

    indeed.

    Freddie is just attacking bloggers higher up the foodchain on his way to a paying gig.
    He is faker than Lady Gaga’s psuedo-pen1s.

  105. 105
    Kiril says:

    @Samara Morgan: It’s spelled pen0r.

  106. 106
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: i told you. did you miss it?

    BJ is a field lab for Assangian information theory and SBH.
    idc if the c-57 BL/6s and balb/c’s doan liek meh.
    your hatred of me is just stimulus/response.

    more and more i think BJ is the leftside mirror of FOXnews.

    my current experiment is seeing if de Bore can successfully roll you cudlips like Kain did.

    you should go home and breastfeed your spawn. its her best chance to get over 25 on her ACTs.

  107. 107
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Kiril: hahaha.
    ok, that was good.

  108. 108
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne:

    Not to mention a racist

    again, im not a racist unless christian and stupid are races now.
    bigot, sure nuff.

    and wallah, i was a gifted child. they promoted me, the dumbasses, and i nearly killed myself trying to prove i was as mature as my classmates..
    you know nothing you stupid cow.

    freddie is fulla shit. the only way to “fix the schools” is to fix parental SES and parental involvement.
    educators have known that for 30 years.
    but that cant be done because the “freed” market is farming education FOR PROFIT! and hollowing out the middle class.

  109. 109
    suzanne says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    you should go home and breastfeed your spawn. its her best chance to get over 25 on her ACTs.

    LMAO.
    You know, sometimes I think it would actually be pretty funny if the nativists somehow got Congress to pass a bill requiring a working knowledge of English in order to vote.

  110. 110
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: nevah happen.
    they speel worse than i do.
    teabonics

  111. 111
    suzanne says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    and i nearly killed myself trying to prove i was as mature as my classmates

    I’m sure your failure at that was abject. My seven-year-old’s thinking is more rigorous and penetrating than yours. She *is* gifted, however, so cut yourself a little bit of slack.

    You are absolutely a racist. Cultural colonialism is riddled with the privilege of the overclass. Which, if you actually knew anything about social justice in the slightest, would be abundantly obvious. Your Sufism is as convincing as dreadlocks on a white kid at Exeter.

  112. 112
    Samara Morgan says:

    But here is a good first cut at a fix.
    de Bore is apparently unaware of the Heckman Equation.
    glibertarians prefer to muse about fixing schools and fixing teachers.
    because those are “freed” market solutions.

  113. 113
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: how am i a racist? be specific please. exactly what race am i prejudiced against?

    im a mevlevi Sufi, something which you know absolutely nothing about.
    and in Murikkka, i can do what i waahnt, just like Kuchisake-onna.
    :)

  114. 114
    Samara Morgan says:

    @OzoneR: lol
    freddie is just another embryo Douthat farming pageclicks here on his way to a paid gig down the road.
    we go waay back, and he DID usta be a lberal.
    the blogname is just a hangover.

    but freddie best lay off crittin’ the Sully Borg like Zach and fighting with Ta-Nehisi.
    he will never get on at the Atlantic this way.
    :)

  115. 115
    suzanne says:

    @Samara Morgan: You are a racist because you use your white/wealth privilege to take on the cultural marker of The Other to burnish your identity as an outsider. You are benefitting from your racially privileged status by appropriating an identity that is not yours to take for dishonest purposes. Your refusal to relinquish your white privilege makes you a racist. That’s social justice 101, dude. See “Why It’s Offensive For White People To Go In Blackface” and “No, Stinky Hippie On The Street Asking Me For Change, You’re Not Really A Sikh, You Just Don’t Like Getting Haircuts”. Et al.

  116. 116
    Menzies says:

    @Warren Terra:

    What you said about arguing against charter schools on first principles struck me in a particular way. Charters are my research interest in educational policy for a number of reasons, and I think the first principles argument can be made if you know the history of charter schools in general.

    It’s worth noting that the first person to come up with the idea of a charter school was AFT president Albert Shanker; but his charter schools, if implemented would look nothing like the ones around today. Shanker’s model was that a school with slightly looser management could allow teachers to pay special attention to particular populations (such as gifted or special education students) while still remaining part of the public school system. Don’t quote me on this part – I’m on shakier research ground here – but I believe originally charter schools were even meant to be schools-within-schools and incorporated fully into the general administration of the public system.

    That is philosophically distinct from the charter school movement (CSM), which is what FdB is talking about here. The CSM’s view, along with the general view is that public education has failed due to a combination of crap teachers and permissive academic standards. How do we solve this problem? CSM advocates say that you demand solutions from both teachers and students. You make teachers more accountable (lowering benefits, replacing tenure with “merit pay”) and you put students through high-stakes testing to make sure they’ve learned the exact body of knowledge you want them to have, or, alternatively, how to pass a standardized test.

    Charter schools under this model are rhetorically painted as serving the same populations that Shanker’s model would’ve, but their philosophical north is, as Shade Tail said, running education like a business. You bring people in who aren’t experienced at any level of education to serve as administrators, disciplinarians, and so on. Many of them don’t stay on even when their experience in the field might be a boon; I don’t want to deny that other fields have perspectives that educational researchers and professionals might not be taking into account.

    Furthermore, Barbara Miner and other researchers and journalists have done some pretty good legwork about the links between charter school advocates and places like hedge funds. While charter schools sometimes do receive all-public funding, that’s not always the case: Harlem Children’s Zone is a famous example, whose finances are apparently tied up in a number of real estate deals that give it the money it needs to operate but also make it pretty beholden to a number of financial interests.

    So, overall, I don’t think there is a theoretical argument against charter schools as a whole, but there is one about the conception of them in the charter school movement.

    To provide examples of what I mean:

    Now, I have a friend who went to a charter school in Cape Cod. I went and saw the school with my own two eyes, checked out the books they used, and heard tons about it from her. It’s pretty much the perfect example of a “good” charter school: small class sizes, IB program, a ton of course and extracurricular choices and teachers were encouraged to use their increased freedom from state standards to their advantage. But that school was mostly started, as I understand it, on a community initiative to bring an IB school to the area, and was staffed and managed by experienced educational personnel.

    Meanwhile, you go to NYC, and there’s this financier who set up a number of elementary charter schools, what he called Victory Academies. The schools kept their enrollment low deliberately so that certain accountability rules in NYC’s school regulations wouldn’t kick in; teachers were trained down to their hand gestures for each lesson, paid very little, given no benefits, and very uncertain contracts. The administrators for the whole system weren’t experienced in the field and the teachers were pretty much drawn from people who were desperate for a job that already sucked pretty badly. The guy openly stated that he intended to make his schools the McDonald’s of education – no matter the Victory Academy your kid went to, they’d get the exact same experience.

    It doesn’t vouch well for the charter school movement when you have people like Steven Klinsky (there’s his name! almost forgot it), or White Hat, in charge of educational solutions. And that’s what we’re moving towards rather than the earlier model of charter schools, which I think focused more on actually helping students.

  117. 117
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Warren Terra: Well, I’d suggest that there’s a big difference between kids being in different classrooms according to where they are in their education and being in different buildings, located far apart.

    Schools are also about the social time the students spend together, not just what happens in the classroom. Schools have a tremendous effect on how well communities can work together over time. Insulating kids from the reality of the lives of the other people in their community isn’t doing them any favours.

  118. 118
    Yutsano says:

    @suzanne:

    My seven-year-old’s thinking is more rigorous and penetrating than yours

    No offense to your seven year old, but that is kind of a low bar there.

  119. 119
    John Puma says:

    This is hardly the first “weird argument” from Mr Yglesias.

    How many more need he make before his “L” title is dropped?

  120. 120
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne:

    You are a racist because you use your white/wealth privilege to take on the cultural marker of The Other to burnish your identity as an outsider.

    WTF?

    racist defn. a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others.

    again, white is not a race. caucasian is a race, and caucasian includes hispanics. WASP trustafarian is not a race.
    arab is not a race, muslim is not a race, jew is not a race. semite is a race.
    what are you trying to say?

    what race do i believe is superior to others?

  121. 121
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: it seems like suzanne “feels” im a racist.
    Barry Manilow statistics.

    woah woah woah feeelings.

    but my point on this thread is that for freddie its all about the pageclicks.
    only one post on his blog goes above 20 comments, and that is his attack on TNC. the rest are in mostly single digits. attacking Zach Beauchamp is not going to get him dish links. mebbe attacking Yglesias and Freidersdorf get him juicer eyeballs, and that is why he shows up here.
    the only bloggers freddie seems to approve of are Erik “Beyond Unions” Kain, and Daniel “League of the South” Larison….who btw took out a franchise in WRONG on Libya.
    But its no skin off my nose if you juicers get rolled by another of Cole’s glibertarian rentboiz i guess.
    Knock yourselves out.

  122. 122
    Barney says:

    Freddie,
    If you’re going to attack MY for wanting charter schools, then at least link to a piece where he says that, rather than one in which he just says “you need to either increase the number of high-quality schools or else increase the capacity of existing high-quality schools.” Nothing about charter schools at all.

    His point about school choice exercised by choosing (if you can afford to) where to live is perfectly familiar to anyone talking about British education. Funding here does not depend on local property taxes, but the effect of wealthy parents moving into the catchment areas for well-known good schools is painfully obvious – house ads will mention if they’re in the area for particular schools, and house prices in those areas goes up, and that’s what causes any segregation. These schools do not get more money per pupil, but their principals and staff have a good reputation, and that attracts those who can afford rising house prices. This may have a small secondary effect of better results for any voluntary fundraising the school does, and children from comfortable families are less likely to have troubles at home which spill over into problems for them at school; which means the good schools get to concentrate more on high quality outcomes for the pupils, which keeps their good reputation up. But it’s fairly clear that is isn’t a chicken-and-egg situation; the starting point is a good school. And MY is just calling for more good schools in this article.

    If, elsewhere, he has been calling for more charter schools, then, Freddie, you may have a point; but on the evidence of this post and the MY one you link to, you’re wrong, and flailing, and he’s right. @Kiril, @Scott P. and @Chet seem to think you are generally misleading us about MY’s views on schools.

  123. 123
    PurpleGirl says:

    @tomvox1: This is late and might not been seen but… Lotteries were sold to the public as providing extra money for education. (NYS did this explicitly.) But over time that money BECAME the education budget money so that states would not have to raise taxes.

  124. 124
    Lee Hartmann says:

    I’m way behind here, but:

    I don’t see why “choice” can’t be implemented within the public school system. In fact, when I went to public school in Cleveland a LONG time ago, I benefited from (a) a few good teachers (b) an advanced track program (“advanced placement”), (c) Saturday science workshops. (c) was not available in nearby, slightly wealthier suburbs, and (b) was less good as far as I could tell. All of these things are made easier or even possible by economies of scale. And of course at the other end, kids with special needs MUST be taken by the public system…

    The evolution of Diane Ravitch’s thinking is instructive; she seems to be honest enough to change her mind once evidence is in on the lack of effectiveness of charter schools in general, and clear-eyed enough to recognize the disadvantages.

    I haven’t read the particular MY post but I’ve read enough of him on this subject to know where he is coming from, and I think that Freddie has him right, whether or not the specific post of MY was a bit weasel-worded.

    I think this whole business revolves around a disinclination to deal with the real problem; huge income disparities. You can say all you want about poor immigrants trying harder, no excuses, etc. but there are all kinds of things – attitudes in the community, too many bad options for kids to get into trouble, etc. – which correlate strongly with the income, jobs etc. in a particular area. So we just want a quick fix, whether it is new schools, firing “bad” teachers, so on, rather than admit or deal with the necessity of doing at least a little tiny bit of leveling the societal playing field.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan: If he writes something that is interesting and/or stimulates interesting discussion, why should you care what his motivation is? I leave alone the fact that determining someone’s motivation is difficult. I also leave alone the fact that you also seem to confuse a self-described socia1ist with a libertarian. Must all blogging come from a pure heart or else it is the work of the devil?

  126. 126
    Christian Sieber says:

    Holy cow dude. Smoke a bowl and chill out or something. Like one of the first commenters, I didn’t recognize literally ANYTHING IN YOUR POST as being in any way related to what Matt actually wrote. The hobby horse in this argument is your myopic bias against anything that Yglesias writes, and it shows up here in spades.

    Edit: In case this wasn’t clear, this was directed at Freddie. Meanwhile, this comment section is pretty disgraceful. If you’re going to attach a name or pseudonym to words on the Internet, can’t you people at least be bothered to try to spell, punctuate, use proper line breaks, and so on? Reading some of this malarkey is painful to the eyes.

  127. 127
    kay says:

    I wish someone would interview the parents of children who do poorly in school, rather than interviewing the “motivated” parents of children who do well in school.
    “My” parents, the parents of the poor, rural, white kids who end up with me, didn’t do well in school themselves. That’s why they aren’t “engaged”. They didn’t have a single good experience in or around a school. That’s why they don’t go in there unless they’re compelled to appear. For some of the families I end up getting to know, this has been going on for two or three or four generations. NONE of them succeed at school, and that perpetuates. It becomes part of family lore.
    What’s worse is, they all believe the deck was stacked against them and their kids before they entered the place. There’s just enough truth in that to make it impossible for me to convince them otherwise. Families DO have reputations in smaller districts. Where you live within the district DOES matter. They know this. IMO they attribute too much to it, but there IS truth in it, and everyone knows it.
    These parents simply aren’t going to enter a place (willingly) that represents humiliation and failure. They aren’t going to become “involved” parents. They weren’t “involved” students when they attended these schools themselves. How is this magic transformation to involved, positive parent re: school supposed to happen? WHEN is it supposed to happen? Sometime after the parents barely get a diploma (or not!) and slink away from the place they hated and failed at? Where is all this positive energy that parents are supposed to impart to their children re: school going to come from?

  128. 128
    Marc says:

    @Christian Sieber:

    My initial reaction was that this comment had to be a spoof. However, the writer has the arrogant and clueless Yglesias acolyte part down. It may therefore be an earnest kid.

    You didn’t write anything except a series of personal insults against the original poster and the people commenting here. You demonstrated no understanding of the issues, provided no references, and just came here as the rough equivalent of a groupie.

    Yglesias has a terrible track record on this particular issue, namely education reform. He routinely mischaracterizes those who disagree with him. The choices for him are either agreeing with the “reform” line (charter schools everywhere, no unions, high-stakes testing) or not caring about kids. The objection to him is that a lot of these reforms either have other bad effects or they simply don’t work. And his answer always boils down to “why do you hate the kids?”

    On this topic he’s earned the animosity you see here. If you want to engage in discussions with your peers you try to actually understand what they’re saying; Yglesias doesn’t. Instead he tries to twist what others say to attempt to make them look foolish. Reap what you sow.

  129. 129
    Marc says:

    @Lee Hartmann:

    I think this is close to the mark. The good role that charter schools can play current;y is in providing choices for kids who don’t fit well into the normal system. This could be part of the public schools, and for a lot of the charter schools this is de facto true. There is nothing obvious requiring that public school choices be non-union, for example, and a lot of reasons to make them non-profit.

    The current battle lines seem to be between no choices and charters (certainly MY has that attitude.) That’s the wrong place to draw the line.

  130. 130
    Bob says:

    Matt is the male Megan McArdle

  131. 131
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: like i said to Reihan Salam when i made him cry, i dont want to to stop people blogging, i just want to stop people lying.
    freddie is spinning for pageclicks, which translates as lying to me.
    some of the commentariat get it.

    If, elsewhere, he [matt] has been calling for more charter schools, then, Freddie, you may have a point; but on the evidence of this post and the MY one you link to, you’re wrong, and flailing, and he’s right. @Kiril, @Scott P. and @Chet seem to think you are generally misleading us about MY’s views on schools.

    de Bore is just pandering with word salad.
    i also think people here should read freddies blog, because like Kain, he says different things in different places.
    you said once that Cole didnt want BJ to be an echo chamber– but it is. Front Pagers that are genuinely outside the box like ABL and that nice jewish boi are DRIVEN OUT.
    commenters that dissent are banned or shunned with cleek’s filter.
    but front pagers that pander to their audience get clicks.
    its like Julian said.

    In fact, people write about things, in general (if it’s not part of their career) because they want to display their values to their peers, who are already in the same group. Actually, they don’t give a fuck about the material. That’s the reality.

  132. 132
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Bob: and freddie is the female Peter McSuderman.

    And Balloon Juice is just the left mirror of Fox news.

  133. 133
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Marc:

    This could be part of the public schools

    and then they arent charter schools anymore. then they are public magnet schools, or public special needs schools, or public second language schools.
    @Omnes Omnibus: and freddie is not a “self-declared social1st”. he said others have called him that.
    he is a self-declared civil libertarian.
    if hes not a libertarian, he should call himself something else.
    i just dont see any difference between civil libertarians, neoliberals, classical liberals, liberaltarians and bleeding heart libertarians in America.
    they all expect to paid for their thought.
    that is the unifying principle of American libertarianism.

  134. 134
    Emma says:

    @Warren Terra: No offense, but theoretical arguments don’t do much for the poor bastards on the ground.It’s one of the reasons why I don’t read Yglesias. Bless his heart, he’s a rich kid who theorizes about real life without taking into account real conditions.

    One example: the (newly incorporated) township I live in is pushing for a charter high school. There’s a perfectly decent one one town over, which all the kids in our neighborhood had to use when we were unincorporated county. There are a number of arguments against the charter school, but the arguments for it all seem to boil down to I’ll have a choice to send my kids to a place where they don’t have to mix with those kids.

    If it goes through, my taxes will go up so that the wealthier people in my township can stealthily segregate themselves. That’s the reality, theory be damned. If education was the purpose, they would be asking to raise taxes in order to improve the public school.

  135. 135
    Samara Morgan says:

    @kay: its like poor math performance feedback loop.
    but even harder to break.

  136. 136
    Tyro says:

    Rhee and Matt don’t educate the bottom ten percent at all. Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t remember them talking about creating schools for the bottom ten percent.

    You can’t run a city where the only people the city cares about educating is the bottom ten percent. What happens is that the rest of the city leaves for the suburbs. Charter schools, magnet schools, etc. are aids for the vast middle of students whose families are going to pick up and leave if they don’t like the local school system.

    DCPS had successfully alienated all but the bottom 10% over the past 40 years.

  137. 137
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma:

    my taxes will go up so that the wealthier people in my township can stealthily segregate themselves

    .exactly.
    in a market based economy where even education and healthcare get farmed for PROFIT! there is simply no way to prevent charters from becoming privitized, from becoming quasi-private schools, or creationism schools, or Klan schools.
    the only defense is to get the fucking “freed” market out of american education, and strike down the crippling horrorshow of NCLB.
    Lets start with Heckman.

  138. 138
    Marc says:

    @Emma:

    I can understand the concern that you have: charters were originally conceived as an alternative for kids with problems in the normal system. Replacing mass education is a different thing.

    However, on the global subject: My son went to a charter high school, and the experience was very good for him. I do share Warren’s concerns here, in the following sense:

    The online left is congealing around a purity test requiring opposition on principle to charter schools. I think this is an incredibly serious mistake, and one that will antagonize a lot of people who would otherwise be supportive. The dynamic is similar to why the right wing didn’t anticipate the reaction they got to attacking teacher’s unions…people like their teachers. A lot of parents have had kids in charter schools by now, and the global attack on the principle comes across as simply ill-informed and ideological.

    The common ground here is to recognize that this is a concept with limitations, and one where oversight and regulation are crucial. This is in the interests of honest people working in charters (protecting them from a massive backlash tied to fraud and abuse) and of those skeptical of the idea (ensuring that the schools which do exist are at least not harmful to the kids they serve.)

  139. 139
    Barry says:

    @Carol: “Those kids who up to now have been neglected will need to fill the slots emptied by retiring baby boomers soon.”

    The people running the country don’t think so, and for those they do need they want to keep ignorant and powerless.

  140. 140
    suzanne says:

    @kay:

    “My” parents, the parents of the poor, rural, white kids who end up with me, didn’t do well in school themselves. That’s why they aren’t “engaged”. They didn’t have a single good experience in or around a school. That’s why they don’t go in there unless they’re compelled to appear.

    Absolutely. And for countless others who did somewhat better than that, school wasn’t a fulfilling intellectual exercise, it was free babysitting that did nothing to prepare them for life afterward. And even if they really did want to go to college at some point, it’s financially out of reach for many (yeah yeah Pell Grants, yeah yeah Stafford loans). Somewhat understandably, those people don’t impart a love of the academy to their children. Kay, I think you’re absolutely right in identifying those cultural factors.

    As I much as I’m loath to use Shrub’s words, “the soft bigotry of low expectations” is actually an apt way of describing what happens. Children of every grade, every intelligence level, need challenges and goal-setting.

    But, instead, the Title One school at which my husband teaches is struggling to keep the lights on. (He teaches in a wealthy district, too.)

  141. 141
    Barry says:

    @Bob: “Matt is the male Megan McArdle”

    As much as I laughed, that’s not yet true. But I’d give Matt at least 50-50 odds of eventually becoming that. All that he needs is a gig at someplace like ‘Even The Liberal’ New Republic, or The Atlantic.

  142. 142
    robo says:

    Matt is auditioning for the “even the liberal [fill in name]…” slot in the punditocracy. Wait for the day when he decides that SocSec and Medicare just have to go. More in sorrow than in anger, naturally.

  143. 143
    robo says:

    Rats. Sorry Barry, you beat me to the punch!

    And yes, Matt loves him some hot McMegan.

  144. 144
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Chet:

    Freddie I don’t recognize anything MY said in your post above, frankly. And the “serious rebuttal” you excerpt is nothing but a logical equivocation on “good school.”

    de Bore tactic 101.
    attack better known blogger for pageclicks.
    its a formula here.

    And lastly I don’t see how you can make an argument generally against reform unless you’re saying that our schools and system are just fine the way they are, and surely no one could be so stupid as to believe that?

    he never has a solution. here is a solution, or at least a first cut.

  145. 145
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Marc: you are completely wrong.
    “fixing” schools, “fixing” teachers, those are market based solutions.
    the problem with American schools is the for profit hollowing out of the middle class.
    30 years of hard data shows that the factors affecting school and student performance are parental SES and parental involvement.

  146. 146
    Emma says:

    @Marc: I am not against charter schools at all. I am against charter schools are they are being used. If the studies so far are right (and yes, there’s need for more), the majority of charter schools perform at or less than parity with public schools, even with more parental involvement and supposedly more/better teachers and programs. Why should I pay more taxes for that kind of crappy results? Especially since the kids with families in my own income bracket would never be able to attend?

    The problem is what we imply when we say “children with problems.” If your child’s problem was “not being challenged enough” or “needing special help in some areas” the charter school isn’t needed. What is needed is the improvement of the public school to create the kind of education that would help your child. I came to the US in 1970 and went to an working class Chicago high school. It had music, theater, and art classes and AP English and science. Why can’t we do that now? After that, if there’s need for other programs/schools we can address that in good faith.

  147. 147
    suzanne says:

    @Emma:

    There are a number of arguments against the charter school, but the arguments for it all seem to boil down to I’ll have a choice to send my kids to a place where they don’t have to mix with those kids.

    As harmful as this attitude can be, I think it reminds us of something valuable. Every one of us knows that kids are more responsive to their peers than to their parents, especially during the teenage years. As much as it sucks, the “quality” of the peer group matters. If all your classmates are studying mandarin Chinese and taking SAT prep classes and volunteering after school, blah blah blah, you’re more likely to do it, too. Knowing someone personally who has done pretty much anything is the number one predictor that one will engage in that behavior oneself. Of course, those taking mandarin Chinese and taking SAT prep classes, etc, are obviously more likely to be rich and white. I can’t fault well-meaning parents for shrewdly using the manipulation of the peer group to their kids’ advantage. Even rich, smart white kids deserve the best they can get and not just to be an example to others.

    I’ve actually dealt with this issue recently myself, and I’m still torn about it. My seven-year-old is undeniably gifted. We moved to the best school district in the city last year; due to a total fluke, we were able to buy our house in a really great neighborhood. I moved her to the neighborhood school (from a public Montessori school in a poorer district) where her grades were fabulous but her teacher was mediocre and my kid was bored. Very diverse racially (we live in a heavily Indian neighborhood), but almost all middle-class or up. Of course, the neighborhood school is “excelling” and the test scores were awesome and the PTO was uber-involved, yeah yeah yeah.

    So this year, we moved her to a different school in the same district. Still public, still a neighborhood school. But this one offers a fully self-contained gifted learning program. So no more stupid worksheet packets. Of course, on Parents’ Night, I couldn’t help but note all the white and Asian faces. But my daughter comes home every day with interesting, thoughtful homework. She loves her class and her behavior is improving (she got so bored that she was a disruptive chatterbox last year). The liberal in me hates that I did that. But the intelligence level of her peer group stimulates her more than any teacher or I can.

  148. 148
    kay says:

    @suzanne:

    It’s wild to talk to them, because it’s so pervasive and uniform. They all use the same language. I actually didn’t do well (at all) in school until college, so I’m (maybe) a more sympathetic ear.

    I had good test scores, and it was a “good” public school, so my earnest and well-intentioned teachers kept trying, but I was a terrible student. I couldn’t really blame the school because some of my sibs did really well there. I didn’t and don’t blame the school. In some essential and crucial way I never really “got” what I was supposed to be doing while there.

    But I absolutely understand why the parents aren’t “engaged”. They feel judged, and the verdict on them and their kids isn’t good. They’re in an absolute defensive crouch, and they come out swinging, and their experience is all tied up with their kid’s experience. It’s all one sad story. I can’t imagine how a teacher gets past that.

    They think this is adversarial. In some ways, they’re right.

    We have an newer immigrant group that I encounter a lot, and those kids do well in our schools. I’m convinced it’s because they aren’t carrying their parents terrible experience when they enter kindergarten. Their parents are actually not at all “engaged” or “active”. They work all the time. Their kids just enter “clean”, w/no passed-down notions of success or failure at something called “school”. I think that might matter.

  149. 149
    Emma says:

    @suzanne: It sounds like you lucked out in your ability to improve your child’s education. Good for you. Now tell me why I should pay for it when the rest of the kids who don’t have such privileges are becoming uneducated fodder for the minimum-wage service industry?

    Look, I understand what you’re saying and I’m not criticizing you for giving your child every advantage. Were I a parent I would be doing the same thing. BUT the whole problem with public education in this country is that it’s becoming as segregated by wealth as the British educational system. Maybe worse. This is not to the advantage of the country as a whole. For the United States to flourish, we need better educated people. Leaving behind two-thirds of the next generation is a recipe for national suicide.

    (I’m always editing) Like I said in my earlier post, I went to an inner city high school that provided music, art. and AP classes. We have given up on all of that and settled for separating the brightest from the rest. That’s not such a good idea. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be programs for gifted children; there should. But there should be programs to improve the mediocre children, and programs to help autistic and other special needs kids too. IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

  150. 150
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: lol
    and IM the racist?
    are you a segregationist too?

  151. 151
    Emma says:

    @Samara Morgan: Please stop. This isn’t doing anyone any good. You’re not convincing anyone of your brains or your good faith.

  152. 152
    Glenn says:

    That post bears absolutely no relationship to what MY actually said. Maybe MY believes what you said, I don’t know. But it’s not in that blog post. At least have an honest debate with him, Freddie Whoeverthefuckyouare.

  153. 153
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma: the problem is that free market theory has colonized the American educational system. the “freed” market is teleologically incapable of improving the human condition of the underclass– it only improves the human condition of the overclass.
    but charter schools (fixing schools) and merit pay, busting teachers unions, teacher accreditation programs (fixing teachers) do not address the core problem.
    Suzanne’s anecdote is just how the system works. bright kids with involved high SES parents move to schools with the same parental SES and parental involvement. the only way to fix parental SES of the schools is to raise ALL parental SES.
    Kay’s anecdote is also valid. the only way to fix parental involvement is to maximize ALL parental involvement. Again, raising SES might maximize parental involvement…..but the negative feedback loop has to be broken for people like kay’s parents. they need successes.
    i admit im not sure how to do that.

  154. 154
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma: she attacked me first.
    as usual….i do not initiate.
    im a big believer in game theory.
    its just tit for tat.
    :)

  155. 155
    Tyro says:

    Schools are also about the social time the students spend together,

    Some would argue that this is precisely the problem with schools. If you have no choice in the school you attend, then your peers are going to be there because they have to be there, not because they have any interest or care about school.

  156. 156
    birthmarker says:

    @suzanne: I think the schools should be the oasis, esp. in neighborhoods where the parents are less likely to be able to provide the extras. The schools should have band, art, shop, drama, college prep–every program needed to grab the mixed bag of kids who show up at public schools. Yes, it would cost some money. Take it out of the Pentagon budget. It’s cheaper to educate people than to jail them later.

    We could turn things around educationally in this country in one generation if we had the will to do it.

    Instead we are fighting unions and benefits programs and trying to create profit centers for owners.

  157. 157
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Glenn: quite a few people have said that.
    can we vote now?

  158. 158
    Samara Morgan says:

    @birthmarker: here is an actual plan to turn it around in a generation.
    by a Nobel Laureate in Economics.
    it features neither charter schools nor merit pay.

  159. 159
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma: did you know tit for tat is unbeatable, as long you don’t make the first move?
    :)

  160. 160
    Emma says:

    @Samara Morgan: Idiot. Suzanne was discussing a serious dilemma in good faith. You were not. Last time I address you.

  161. 161
    MBunge says:

    @Emma: “It’s one of the reasons why I don’t read Yglesias. Bless his heart, he’s a rich kid who theorizes about real life without taking into account real conditions.”

    Winner!

    Mike

  162. 162
    Samara Morgan says:

    @birthmarker:

    The schools should have band, art, shop, drama, college prep—every program needed to grab the mixed bag of kids who show up at public schools

    yes…this is a good idea…those things are “hooks” to draw parents and students in and engage them. also athletics, languages, sports…clubs…gaming…film…

    what emma says is true…charter schools use tax money to segregate on parental SES and involvement. use the tax money to expand the appeal of the local public school instead.

  163. 163
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma: disagree. her entrance on this thread was to slur me as a racist.
    did you miss that part?

    i recommend cleeks pie filter. then you wont read me by accident.
    :)

  164. 164
    Tyro says:

    We have an newer immigrant group that I encounter a lot, and those kids do well in our schools. I’m convinced it’s because they aren’t carrying their parents terrible experience when they enter kindergarten. Their parents are actually not at all “engaged” or “active”.

    Parental involvement is a red herring. The parents need to be involved in their kids’ education. If schools need “parental involvement” at the school level, then it’s clear that the school itself is already dysfunctional.

    The limit of parental involvement should be parents telling their kids, “listen to the teacher and turn in your assignments on time and bring home good grades.” if the schools need more “parental involvement” than that, it’s because the whoops are staffed with politically favored relatives and are falling apart. “Parental involvement” is like “get organized!” as a means of solving our current political problems: it’s used as an excuse not to deal with our current problems, since it relies on a solution that will either never happen or which can be denied it is happening the “right” way to have the needed effect.

  165. 165
    birthmarker says:

    @Samara Morgan: Thanks. Will glance over later. (Need to get to the gym.) My comment was not meant to imply that increasing teacher salaries is the answer to all school problems. But we are on the opposite track now, to decreasing salaries/benefits, which will deteriorate the pool of who will want the jobs.

  166. 166
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Tyro: no, that isnt true.
    parental involvement is a measure of home environment, and it is the highest correlate with student performance over the past 30 years that we have kept data. its an indirect measure of nutrition, study habits, and a lot of other intangibles.

  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tyro:

    Parental involvement is a red herring. The parents need to be involved in their kids’ education. If schools need “parental involvement” at the school level, then it’s clear that the school itself is already dysfunctional.

    This is silly.
    Have you ever met a child?

  168. 168
    birthmarker says:

    @Tyro:

    “listen to the teacher and turn in your assignments on time and bring home good grades.”

    This is what I think parental involvement means. Keeping the home unchaotic enough so that children can get their homework done. Checking the bookbag for the marching orders. Keeping kids clean, clothed and fed. (Some parents unfortunately can’t provide this most elementary function.) I think most educators would interpret involvement as support. Doing the part that the teachers can’t do or shouldn’t have to do.

  169. 169
    Marc says:

    @Emma:

    I’m surprised by seeing the public asked to build a charter school with taxes – that sounds more like, well, a public school to me. If a charter had a good mission they’d rent a building, get students, and then raise the funds to buy something if they were successful. I’d certainly be in favor of one or the other of these two routes if I was in your shoes. So I’m sympathetic, really.

    But the global argument isn’t as clear-cut on the scores as you appear to be saying. Let’s say that I demonstrated that some alternative was better than the public schools by some measure. Would it then follow that we should shut down all of the public schools? Of course not; there are many thousands of them. They’re not all the same. Similarly, there is a level at which you can ask why the public should pay for things – but this is dangerous ground that can lead to counterproductive and reactionary outcomes.

    My son wouldn’t have graduated from his local (suburban) high school. He’s in college now, and the school that he went to was a lifeline for him. His problem was that he is extremely stubborn and simply wouldn’t do a lot of the rote work. This led to a downward discipline spiral that only had one route out – the schools were clearly in the mode of treating him as a problem to be removed, not as a child who needed help. He needed more attention than he was getting, and the school he went to could give it to him. He’s matured and doing well. There was absolutely no place for him in our public schools.

    So if you’re saying that all of them should be shut down you’ll be facing examples like mine – ones where you’re advocating the closure of something that made a real and positive impact in someone’s life. I’m trying hard to listen on threads like this, but it’s getting difficult.

  170. 170
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Emma: perhaps i am being unfair, and you missed her first comment to me.

    She prattles on and on about being a “social justice warrior” or some shit, but is an ableist. Not to mention a racist. File her under “fulla bullshytt”.

    and her second.

    You are absolutely a racist. Cultural colonialism is riddled with the privilege of the overclass. Which, if you actually knew anything about social justice in the slightest, would be abundantly obvious. Your Sufism is as convincing as dreadlocks on a white kid at Exeter.

  171. 171
    birthmarker says:

    @Marc: So you are basically saying kids are individuals and must be treated according to their individual needs. I agree.

  172. 172
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Marc: all charter schools get tax money at some level. whether they build or rent.
    you and suzanne had positive outcomes.
    i wonder how many kids didnt.

  173. 173
    Emma says:

    @Marc: I seriously feel you’re not listening to what I am saying. I am saying that AS THEY ARE, charter schools do nothing for the country’s education system. I am very glad for your son, but are you seriously saying if your local public school had the proper funding to establish all kinds of magnet programs, give him the extra attention, etc., you would still have still found a different place to send him? Because then the discussion takes a totally different turn.

    Let me saying in plan terms: I believe that all those programs that are offered by charter schools should be made a part of public education. Charter schools should not be allowed to skim off the best and brightest and leave behind underfunded wrecks where the bottom half of our students are given enough education to work at McDonalds.

    And yes, my taxes are involved. In addition to building a school, there has to be improvements to the area around it, including both the main town road and the road leading to the school. There will be more construction to ease congestion, etc. etc.

  174. 174
    Tyro says:

    For the record, charter schools do not typically build separate physical buildings with government funds. They are more likely to use otherwise unused buildings or rent space.

    In an earlier era, we had smaller, neighborhood schools. Now we have mega regional schools. Charter schools simply fulfill a need people have for educations supported by local community groups that aren’t one-size-fits-all. Or parents can simply pick up and leave for another neighborhood. Whatever you choose.

  175. 175
    Samara Morgan says:

    so to synopsize, freddie puts up a post ankle-biting Yglesias….again.
    Chet, Glenn, Kiril and others claim freddie is deliberately misrepresenting the MY post content.
    MY declines to respond to freddie.
    meanwhile, back at l’hote, freddie is trying to pick a fight with TNC and his commentariat, and simultaneously engaged in a kangaroo slap fight with one of Sully’s borg.
    is this guy on the muscle or just trying to make a name for himself?
    is he honestly interested in education reform?
    Chet doesnt think so.

    And lastly I don’t see how you can make an argument generally against reform unless you’re saying that our schools and system are just fine the way they are, and surely no one could be so stupid as to believe that?

    So why is he here again?

  176. 176
    Marc says:

    @Emma:

    Well, I’m afraid we’re at an impasse: I gave you an example of something that we got from a charter that we could not have gotten from the other public schools. I always thought of charters as being public schools – that’s an interesting aspect of the discussion here. Never agreed with private schools on principle.

    If your alternative is setting up equivalent choices as public schools I agree. If your alternative is to close all charter schools and replace them with nothing – well, I disagree. I don’t think they do what you say they do (in terms of their impact on the public schools), but there have been some pretty serious abuses reported recently here in Ohio. We have to deal with that, and I’d be perfectly OK with a ban on for-profits and online schools.

    There’s a lot wrong in the school reform movement, and I understand why things like charters might be best in a limited role. I’m disagreeing with the “no role” implication. I wouldn’t vote for taxes to build a charter school in my town either. So perhaps we’re not so distant in our views as it may appear?

  177. 177
    Emma says:

    @Marc: Actually, we’re talking completely past each other, I think, without meaning to.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a place for “charter schools” or “magnet schools” or whatever, IF they are meant as an addition to sound public education for specific purposes. So in that sense, I agree with you completely. I think, however, as they are constituted right now, they are for-profit centers that can turn away any child at random, and in some cases are used as a way to destabilize the public schools.

    I just found a study from North Carolina (http://epsl.asu.edu/epru/artic.....76-OWI.pdf)that seems to say that as a substitution for general education, charter schools aren’t so hot. I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing, but here’s the conclusion:

    Our estimates imply that students in North Carolina do less well in charter schools than they would have done in traditional public schools and that the negative effects of
    attending a charter school are large….Finally, that charter schools, on average, have such large negative impacts, and yet are still able to attract and retain students suggests either that the decision to enroll in a charter school is not motivated solely by concerns with academic achievement or that there are information deficits in the charter school market

    Now, this is one study, and I haven’t had a chance of looking for others (not being a parent, it’s something that had never interested me other than peripherally). I have heard other studies mentioned, done in schools in the Northeast, where results were also less than satisfactory.

    And, although I know I mentioned taxes, if they had tried to raise the idea of a school that would educate top music or science students from all the surrounding area, I would be considerably less pissed off. Or if it had been for children, from gifted to special needs, to receive the specific remedial assistance they needed. But that is clearly not what they intend.

  178. 178
    birthmarker says:

    @Emma: Our local public system has magnet schools for specific areas such as you mention. Seems to work pretty well.

  179. 179
    serena1313 says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Warren

    On the chance you see this:

    “Betsy [DeVos] is the sister of famed Blackwater/Xe Erik Prince; daughter of Edgar and Elsa Prince; the former chair of the Republican Party in Michigan; and wife of former Alticor (Amway) president Dick DeVos.

    “The political activity of the Prince family is primarily right-wing and religious.

    […]

    “Betsy is very committed to her causes and it appears she quit her chair position of the Republican Party in Michigan after Gov. Englar (R) opposed a voucher referendum.

    Dick DeVos has used his family’s fortune and status to create an intricate national network of non-profits, political action committees and federal groups known as 527’s that effectively fund the political arm of the school voucher movement. . . .

    “Nowhere is the impact of the DeVos family fortune greater, though, than in the movement to privatize public education. After 69 percent of Michigan voters rejected a DeVos-led drive for vouchers in 2000, he and his family turned their attention in recent years to building an organizational infrastructure that pumps huge amounts of money into ballot initiatives and political races at the local, state and federal level.

    . . .

    Dick DeVos joined his father as a member of the Council for National Policy, a secretive organization comprising the heads of religious and political right-wing organizations who meet regularly to coordinate activities, and his foundation has contributed to the group. He was a board member of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a state-based think tank that is a member of the right-wing State Policy Network.

    “The Network, a coalition of state-based think tanks, was created to advance the public policy ideas of the right-wing political movement at the state and local level.

    http://web.archive.org/

    One more:

    […]

    “The decades-long campaign to end public education is propelled by the super wealthy, right-wing DeVos family. Betsy Prince DeVos is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the notorious private military contractor Blackwater USA (now Xe), and wife of Dick DeVos, son of the co-founder of Amway, the multi-tiered home products business.

    “By now, you’ve surely heard of the Koch brothers, whose behind-the-scenes financing of right-wing causes has been widely documented in the past year. The DeVos’ clan has remained largely under the radar, despite the fact that their stealth assault on America’s schools has the potential to do away with public education as we know it.

    “Whatever they may say about giving poor students a leg up, their real priority is nothing short of the total dismantling of our public educational institutions, and they’ve admitted as much.

    “Cato Institute founder Ed Crane and other conservative think tank leaders have signed the Public Proclamation to Separate School and State, which reads in part that signing on, “Announces to the world your commitment to end involvement by local, state, and federal government from education.”

    […]

    http://host.madison.com/ct/new.....z1UPoEbtvd

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~““““““`

    Pure & Simple:

    We are like the frog sitting in a pot of water that is coming to a slow boil.

    Cutting school budgets rather than raising taxes is the beginning of a labourious, slow deliberate process of incremental steps — albeit effectively less noticeable, that eventually, they hope, will virtually eliminate the entire public school system.

    Meanwhile 1-by-1 schools are quietly being shut down all across the country.

    One scenario, for instance:

    1) A vacated old dilapidated school building is an eyesore. If the land it is sitting on happens to be a prime piece of real estate you have 2 options: either tear down the building or sell the land as is and do it quickly otherwise the land loses its value.

    2) So finding a buyer is critical, but not difficult. After it is sold, before you know it the old school has been demolished and a brand new charter school stands in its place.

    That is actually a true story except the buyer had instigated the entire deal. That is a problem.

    Conservative state lawmakers, too clever by half, thought they could keep their agenda hidden while implementing draconian policies and slashing spending, but people are catching on. They’d have to be blind not to notice a neighbourhood school being torn down or their child being bused to a school further away.

    Convincing an already suspicious public why cutting school budgets raising taxes on businesses i.e. “the job creators” was not such an easy task after all. Despite the push back, public schools are operating on a shoe-string budget, classes are overcrowded and thousands of teachers have lost their jobs. Under those circumstances it would be difficult to imagine why Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, etc. decided to introduce legislation giving the government permission to take money out the funds allocated for public schools and use it to send some students to privatized and/or religious learning institutions. But they actually work in tandem; they are not mutually exclusive.

    In other words, by creating an environment in which failure is all but guaranteed it strengthens their argument for privatizing the public school system or so it would seem.

    Whether this is the case or not remains to be seen. But it certainly seems plausible, at least to me. But I’ve been wrong before, so this won’t be my first, nor my last.

    But I hope we find out before the water starts to boil.

  180. 180
    Exurban Mom says:

    @Warren Terra: The problem with Charter schools is that they are doing harm: they are pulling valuable resources away from the public schools, forcing the schools to do more with less. Costs at public schools are managed in part because of the power of numbers; when you shrink the population, especially in an uneven fashion, you lose the power to negotiate for lower prices.

    Charters decimate local schools by pulling out the top students and leaving behind the learning disabled, the physically disabled, the emotionally disabled, the bottom performers. Those children are much more expensive to educate. A child with low-functioning autism can cost 4-5 times what a child of average ability costs to educate.

    Furthermore, the accountability is NOT THERE. Charters in my state (Ohio) do not have to be accountable to the school district for anything. For example, say a charter makes a mistake and admits a kid with a learning disability. That kid has an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. Progress on the IEP is monitored in the public schools on a regular basis, and adjustments are made as necessary. There is oversight, so if a student with special needs is being neglected, they will catch it. Charters don’t have to do that. I’ve seen charters founded on whacko belief systems, who don’t believe ADD kids need special monitoring. No oversight, no oversight of public funds. They have our tax dollars, but don’t have to show progress.

  181. 181
    KTM says:

    Nobody is suggesting we FORCE parents to put their kids in a charter school. If the charter school sucks, put your kid back in public school, what’s the problem?

    Charter schools only exist because of the real and perceived failure of so many public schools. The public schools have had a monopoly on public funding for a very, very long time. What is their track record? Not good enough.

    There must be a way for poor parents and children to escape a failing school.

    Many public schools are failing day after day, year after year. If the city bus system was breaking down every day, I bet there would be a lot more poor people demanding an alternative. They might even demand that they get a voucher to help defray the cost of chartering a reliable bus for the community to get to work. If they new charter bus broke down every day, they would go back to the more reliable public buses.

    I truly hope that you are intentionally overlooking this, and it’s not because you’re so blinded by ideology that you can’t see it.

  182. 182
    birthmarker says:

    @KTM:

    Many public schools are failing day after day, year after year.

    Maybe this is where the propaganda comes in.

    @serena1313: Please repost this high up on a new open thread. It’s a thing of beauty.

    Our local school board is going to close some schools b/c of falling enrollment. It came out in the newspaper that churches and developers went to school board members privately to advocate for the closing of specific campuses because they wanted the land! (Not necessarily for charter schools.)

  183. 183
    Samara Morgan says:

    @KTM: charter schools suck resources up and segregate the students into high parental SES high parental involvement enclaves, like suzanne’s and marc’s kids.
    the taxpayer money should go into improving the public schools, not into ghettoizing kids with the misfortune to have parents inferior to the wunnerful suzanne and marc.

    charter schools are just virtual private schools.

    freddie, if i can get the commentariat here to hate on you as much as TNC’s commentariat does, will you go away and stay away?

  184. 184
    KTM says:

    @Samara, if a parent has worked hard to accumulate more money than another and decides to pay for their child to attend a private school out of their own pocket, what is it to you? Should a wealthy parent be forced to keep their child in the public school?

    Likewise, if one parent is more involved in their child’s schooling and wants to move them into a private school if given the chance, why should the government prevent them from doing so?

    Why punish parent for being responsible? Why punish kids for having responsible parents? Under a voucher program, every has equal opportunity. That isn’t enough for you, apparently. Wasn’t the whole civil rights movement about equal opportunity? Isn’t the entire premise of Affirmative Action to equalize opportunity? Voucher provide equal opportunity, libs should be all for it. Instead, they are beholden to the union bosses and oppose equal opportunity in this case. Sad.

  185. 185
    KTM says:

    I’d also like to point out that a voucher program doesn’t SEGREGATE anyone. No rule forces anyone to do anything.

    It’s true that the outcome of the rule may be that students become segregated based on parental involvement, BUT as I pointed out in my original post that is only true if the Charter Schools actually are better than the public schools. If they’re worse, the responsible, involved parents will all have their kids in the better public schools.

    So, to even make that argument you’re admitting that public schools are worse than Charter schools, and will be for the forseeable future.

  186. 186
    suzanne says:

    My kid attends public school, dumbass. A neighborhood school (but not my neighborhood). Reading comprehension FAIL. And, oh, how I long to be of high SES.

    My anecdote was to illustrate how public schools, even really good ones, don’t have the resources available to put programs in every school, and how the quality of the peer group is always going to be something that involved parents seek to manipulate for their kids’ benefit.

  187. 187
    jefft452 says:

    … and decides to pay for their child to attend a private school out of their own pocket, … Should a wealthy parent be forced to keep their child in the public school?

    … wants to move them into a private school if given the chance, why should the government prevent them from doing so?

    …Under a voucher program

    Wingnut: School Choice! What if I want to send my kids to Private school?

    Me: I’m against it, Free compulsory education has been a great boon to human civilization and our standard of living. We share a public school system, just like we share a public Fire Dept and a public sewer system

    Wingnut: Freedom! I don’t want my kids in a public school, I should be able to do what I want with my kids and my money!

    Me: Well, I’m opposed, but its not like I would support throwing you in jail for it, send your kid to private school if you want

    Wingnut: Right, so give me the money to pay for it

  188. 188
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: oh, pardon. mybad.

    so do you PAY extra tuition for that other [white & asian] school your daughter attends? and do you DRIVE her to that other [white & asian] school?

  189. 189
    Samara Morgan says:

    @KTM: define better.
    do they perhaps teach creationism instead of ToE?
    charter schools are just stealth private schools based on what a cabal of parents want for their kids– and they EVOLVE to be that segregation academy in a subtle and subversive way.

  190. 190
    Samara Morgan says:

    @KTM: vouchers are a gateway drug for free market fuckery.
    charter schools become colonized by for-profit organizations.
    people can send their children to private school, idc.
    But they should expect to pay for it, and not use public funds.
    capitalisma si!

  191. 191
    Samara Morgan says:

    @KTM: you are not paying attention.
    Wingnut: School Choice! What if I want to send my kids to Private school?

    Me: I’m against it, Free compulsory education has been a great boon to human civilization and our standard of living. We share a public school system, just like we share a public Fire Dept and a public sewer system

    Wingnut: Freedom! I don’t want my kids in a public school, I should be able to do what I want with my kids and my money!

    Me: Well, I’m opposed, but its not like I would support throwing you in jail for it, send your kid to private school if you want

    Wingnut: Right, so give me the money to pay for it

  192. 192
    Samara Morgan says:

    gee, where’s freddie?
    he hasnt made a single contribution to his own thread.
    i guess he’s too bizzy harrassing TNC or having more kangaroo slap fight with Beauchamp.

  193. 193
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: you see…suzanne, cher...your kids arent at risk.
    Marc’s kids arent at risk.
    its the at risk kids that need the extras…smaller class size, after school programs, electives, sports, clubs, band, orchestra, languages, art, film, etc…
    and those are things that are going away in our fab new austerity economy.
    like teachers jobs.
    what do think the new austerity class size will be?
    50 kids? 60 kids? a hundred?

  194. 194
    suzanne says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    so do you PAY extra tuition for that other [white & asian] school your daughter attends? and do you DRIVE her to that other [white & asian] school?

    No, I don’t pay anything. It’s also not a white-and-Asian school; in fact, it’s quite diverse—this is Arizona, so there’s a large Latino population. However, her class, which has only students who score in the 97th percentile or above in verbal, math, and spatial intelligence for their age group, is almost exclusively white-and-Asian. There are four other typical classes in her grade there. I looked at demographic data for the school before we made the decision to send her there, but they had no demographic data for individual classes. So, by wanting her to be intellectually challenged by a peer group that could stimulate her, I inadvertently racially segregated my kid. Now, I don’t believe for a moment that some of those Latino students aren’t just as bright as my kid. (My husband does drop her off at school, because it’s on the way to where he works.)

    Now, as I said, she’s loving school and her teacher is great and her behavior is improving and she’s doing things that enrich her intellectually. So I’m not going to take her out of there. But my anecdote illustrates the dilemma: as citizens, we are concerned with making sure that everyone collectively succeeds. But, as parents, we have to do the best we can do for our individual children. And controlling who they spend their time around is a huge part of that. So complaining that rich, white families taking their kids out of poor, black schools is harmful to those poor, black students, while totally true, essentially implies that rich white students should, at least for a time, put up with crappy situations in the name of the larger ideal of equality. As a parent, quite frankly, fuck that. I happily pay taxes to fund our schools, my husband teaches in a Title One school (making 20K a year less than he would in the adjacent district), my company does pro bono work for poor school districts. We honestly care and sacrifice in the pursuit of that goal.

    But, at some point, parents need to fucking step up their game. The schools can only do so much. It takes a village, right?

  195. 195
    KTM says:

    Ah, so now all the “responsible, involved parents” are creationists? You just keep digging yourself deeper. Now you’re arguing FOR teaching creationism in all schools so that future parents will be more involved with their childrens’ education.

    The reality is that the wealthy don’t have this problem because they can pay for private schools. The middle class and even most lower class folks don’t have this problem because if they’re stuck in a failing school, they can always MOVE out of the neighborhood. We’re really only talking about the poorest and least empowered parents and children in society that Dems are fighting to keep on the plantation.

    It’s disgusting, really.

  196. 196
    birthmarker says:

    @KTM: I’m sorry, with all due respect, I can’t agree that Dems are trying to keep all poor students on the plantation. (This sounds like a sentiment that would be uttered by my Limbaugh-loving Fox watching and stunningly misinformed brother.)

    I as a Dem want all schools to reflect the excellence of the very best schools, and I want that to be available to all. The point is the other schooling methods remove resources from the neighborhood schools. Improve the schools the kids are in. Don’t create artificial perfect schools over there. There are also transportation issues with the schools over there.

    Did you read the thread? The charter schools frequently get to choose their students, then declare success.

  197. 197
    Emma says:

    @KTM:We’re really only talking about the poorest and least empowered parents and children in society that Dems are fighting to keep on the plantation. WINGNUT ALERT! WINGNUT ALERT!

  198. 198

    Did anything in that post say anything about charter schools? I thought it was a post about economic inequality.

  199. 199
    birthmarker says:

    @Matthew Yglesias: From one of your commenters:

    Whether or not their arguments were justified is one thing, but it does point out how strange our system is and how school quality (or perceived quality) is so closely tied to our housing market.

    So improve the schools and improve the housing market in that neighborhood. Works for me.

  200. 200
    KTM says:

    @birthmarker, it doesn’t work that way.

    Funding per pupil has risen dramatically in the last 40 years, while performance has actually declined.

    At the same time, there are MANY school districts across the country that put new funding on the ballot every single year and are rejected every single year by some of the schools that are in most need of reform.

    So, even if more funding did correlate with better performance, which it doesn’t (Read up on the Kansas City Experiment to see that clearly), more funding isn’t realistic in most cases.

    So, we’re left with real life. The same real life that has seen education stagnate for decades as power has been entrenched and consolidated instead of challenged.

    Everyone wants schools to improve, but the pace of improvement has been glacial. Since funding isn’t going up anytime soon and public schools can’t seem to reform without more money on the table, it’s time to give other educators a chance to be those agents of change.

  201. 201
    Samara Morgan says:

    @suzanne: /yawn

    my point is that as an involved parent with good SES you have options unavailable to at-risk kids. like having your husband drive her to another school.

    QED

  202. 202
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Matthew Yglesias:

    Did anything in that post say anything about charter schools? I thought it was a post about economic inequality

    .several people pointed that out to freddie in the comments here.
    its just freddie anklebiting you in his eternal quest for pageclicks.

    hes a bizzy guy, right now hes trying to pick a fight with TNC and simultaneously engaging in kangaroo slap fighting with one of Sullys borg.
    kinda lame, dontcha think?

    i have NO idea why de Bore is a front pager here, unless its to fill the glibertarian rent boi slot that Erik Kain just vacated.

  203. 203
    Samara Morgan says:

    @birthmarker: this i liek. :)

  204. 204

    […] is the degree to which some people who should know better apparently don’t know better. At Balloon Juice, Freddie deBoer takes Matt Yglesias to task for just this, or, specifically, for his single-minded […]

  205. 205

    @Matthew Yglasias:

    “Did anything in that post say anything about charter schools? I thought it was a post about economic inequality.”

    Well, yes, you said in it:

    “This is part of what drives me crazy about debates around charter schools and ‘choice’ in the United States”

    Which would seem to imply that this had some relevance to the charter school argument.

    I understand that may not be the intention, but it certainly seems like you sewed the seeds here…

  206. 206
    Podesta says:

    @Barry:
    Yglesias has already had a gig at the Atlantic Monthly.
    He left for CAP in order to promote neoliberal solutions
    through a supposedly progressive organization
    “help us advance our mission.”

  207. 207
    Simon says:

    What is a “functioning civil society”? Can any of you actually answer that? Or is it just a vague catchphrase for “things as I want them to be” ?.

    And dear god what the hell is a postcapitalist?

  208. 208
    vg says:

    Dear God, this site just gets worse every time I see it. DailyKos commentariat + dKos diarists writing all the posts.

    Yglesias’ post argues that people who claim charter schools increase school choice exaggerate their value because people with the interest and means already exercise choice by moving around and out-compete low income and low interest parents for slots in those schools by increasing land values in districts that have them and by disproportionately applying for slots in promising charter schools. Yglesias’ position on how fix that is to increase the total number of high quality schools so that getting slots in them is less competitive for interested students and parents, in particular so that low income parents can get high quality outcomes through the public school system. His talk about “edu-localism” connects with his usual arguments about how improved transit infrastructure in urban settings makes everything better — he wants kids to be able to easily commute across town to access better schools that might be far from the neighborhoods they live in.

    But of course, a kossack would never see that’s what Yglesias is saying, because people who do not bellyfeel dKos principles are not real liberals and are therefore wrong about everything, regardless of what they’re trying to say. I guess that’s the difference between people who like to blog about public policy (e.g. Matt Yglesias) vs. people who want to foster a LaRouche youth-style undergraduate bullshit session with a readership of baby boomers in their comment sections (e.g. John Cole).

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    […] Balloon Juice » why should government subsidize choices that don’t work? by PAW on Aug 30, 2011 • 11:30 pm No Comments Balloon Juice » why should government subsidize choices that don’t work?. […]

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    […] Freddie DeBoer at Balloon Juice had a nice rant about charter schools. While it was unfair to claim that Matthew Yglesias is a […]

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  1. […] Freddie DeBoer at Balloon Juice had a nice rant about charter schools. While it was unfair to claim that Matthew Yglesias is a […]

  2. […] Balloon Juice » why should government subsidize choices that don’t work? by PAW on Aug 30, 2011 • 11:30 pm No Comments Balloon Juice » why should government subsidize choices that don’t work?. […]

  3. […] is the degree to which some people who should know better apparently don’t know better. At Balloon Juice, Freddie deBoer takes Matt Yglesias to task for just this, or, specifically, for his single-minded […]

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