I don’t believe education fits under Milton Friedman’s intellectual net, but I like seeing how he comes at the problems of scarcity of resources, students failed by the system, and entrenched educators:
‘After Ravitch’s many years of intellectual zigzagging, it’s a travesty that she has ended up in solidarity with the destructive radicals of the education Left. For poor kids, it’s a tragedy. ‘
Think of the (C)hildren!
Is education a debate to be had entirely on the socialism/capitalism axis, with Ravitch finally succumbing to the anti-capitalist, collectivist, 60’s Left, rather than a more liberal-minded independence?
A better question to start might be: What kind of data are we seeing as to actual charter-school performance?
‘If the reform movement hopes to retain the public’s trust, insisting that reputable charters expel their for-profit brethren is a sensible place to start. Ravitch also argues convincingly that charters should accept a fairer share of the toughest-to-educate students. For her part, Ravitch might lead her own followers to recognize that the desire to improve teacher quality isn’t tantamount to teacher-bashing.
“If my child were in a school where he was not learning,” Ravitch wrote in the not-too-distant past, “I would not wait for a gathering of social scientists to tell me whether it was okay for me to put him in another school.” A reform movement convulsed by extremism shouldn’t hinder parents, or children, either. If only Ravitch, too, would dedicate her zeal to a less divisive vision.’
Are charter schools cherry-picking the better students? Must any institution be held to the same standard as the poorly functioning public schools, which operate in areas of high violence, dysfunction, broken families and high illiteracy?
‘Over the past four years, I have learned what we need to do. First, we must end the pressure on teachers to teach to the test…
Federal, top-down solutions aren’t working well and there’s plenty of overreach, but clearly you want some accountability:
Second, we must strengthen and improve our public schools. We must end all efforts to privatize them. I am firmly opposed to vouchers.’
So, business as usual, then?
Clearly, if you support equality of opportunity at some level in education, you want the people with social capital, strong families, time & money to voluntarily invest in a vision of education that also promotes and protects their interests.
It doesn’t look to me like Ravitch is providing anything near such a vision at the moment, or if so, it’s a rather run-of-the-mill liberal, ‘pure’ democracy, let’s all put all shoulders to the wheel vision.