Friday, May 01, 2009

Back to education

Today I'm watching an episode of the cable access program Public Affairs with guest IL State Sen. Heather Steans. Almost 22 minutes into this program posted on YouTube on April 23rd host Jeff Berkowitz and Steans discuss the issue of school vouchers, school choice and inserting competition into the education picture.

Sen. Steans doesn't seem very eager to go that route and she had to carefully consider her response to that question.
Steans: You know I think there is though a real danger when you attempt to set up a system outside of the public school system. I'm a big fan of the public school system and competition would end that.

Berkowitz: What's the danger? Why is that a danger?

Steans: So I prefer the charter school model for that reason.

Berkowitz: Isn't it your concern with the kids in the public schools rather than public schools per se?

Steans: Because there are always going to be kids whose families are not always going to be advocating for them in the same way and getting them into a voucher school or into a charter school. And we've gotta make sure that we're raising the bar for all of our public, for all of our kids in public school system. And I think that um there's ways of doing that, that we have not fully been exploiting.
So she's thinking of those kids who may have parents without a clue and the public schools are best serving those students. It almost sounds like low standards, IMO.

I have no doubt you'll save some of these students, but what does one do with those who are essentially incourigible. The ones who will continue to present discipline problems with no respect for authority. I would imagine many of these types come from parents without a clue. In this regards, it might be more than just no clue with regards to their children's education.

There is an issue, it might not be about paying the teachers or even building schools, but providing a service that delivers. Education is a service, if any institution fails to provide the best service then why should they continue to get support. Perhaps Steans is wrong there ought to be alternatives to the public schools, the question is what should they be.

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