Thursday, November 02, 2006

Publish, Perish


Sometimes I think that the Big Names in Ed Reform put things in the Post or Times because they need to meet some sort of quota. Take, for example, Eugene Hickock’s Friday op-ed from the Washington Post.

He doesn’t say much, and what he does say he says poorly. Buried within is a paean to vouchers and charter schools, but he refuses to come right out and say what he’s talking about. If you believe, Eugene, profess! There’s a statement about how NCLB won’t be enough to get to the goal of 100% proficiency in every subject for every child, but Hickock makes the same mistake that many commentators do: he won’t acknowledge that the 100% goal is impossible.

It’s also readily apparent that most of the Big Names (see Hess, Haycock, or Petrilli) don’t get rural America. School choice is a concept that might work in the cities, but consider the Reardan school district here in Eastern Washington, geographically one of the largest in the state. How do you propose to do school choice when there isn’t another school for 20 miles around? Pretty soon all schools will be failing schools, and when that happens then what? I’d invite any of them to come with me on a nice driving tour of my side of the state so they can see just how isolated a place like Republic, or Curlew, or Asotin, or Wellpinit really is.

This is also one of the reasons that geographically isolated areas have trouble getting teachers. If you’re young and single, there isn’t a whole lot for you in these towns. I have single friends on the Uniserv council from Freeman, and they say the only thing that makes it tolerable is the proximity to Spokane. These are starter jobs that you take to get experience until you can move closer to the job you want, which means that turnover is a constant problem.

My plea to Mr. Hickock and the rest: don’t forget the small towns. We really do exist, and the solutions you propose aren't universally applicable.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I believe the pols who love school choice so much just want to dismantle the public school system so as to ease Steve Forbes' tax bill. That's the sole priority of this administration, as far as I can see, and the only one in which it's had any measure of success.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Superdestroyer said...

What many of the school choice also do not realize is that even in the suburbs, many of the schools are very far away. They cannot image moving into a area and finding that the only openings are at schools on the other side of the metropolitan area.

School choice also forget that it is much easier to open a kindergarten than a college prep high school. If you look at the current private schools in most metropolitan areas, there are many more private elementary school than high schools.

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5:14 AM  

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