Sunday, April 02, 2006

School choice = Increased segregation?

Getting back to this Guardian piece on the relationship between social class and how kids do in school (blogged here), I was struck by this warning regarding the connection between school choice and segregation.
Webber and Butler warn that introducing further freedoms for schools, as the government is, may allow middle-class parents and schools to choose each other, leaving those from poorer backgrounds stranded in an increasingly segregated system.
Here lies still another reason why I haven't been a fan of charter schools nor of the whole school choice concept, a standard wishlist mantra of the corporate tribal clan now in power.

Check out these anecdotal experiences by this teacher at The Trenches of how a KIPP school (a charter school system) affects the other schools. Very simply, the top kids get skimmed off to KIPP, leaving the rest behind. What a concept.

NCLB quietly institutionalizes school choice, using testing and 'standards' as tools to instigate change. In Maryland, we're now starting to see the very first schools going through the process ending in takeover.

Apparently this isn't enough to satisfy the tribal clan in power. To get the full flavor, you can visit this page at Townhall.

The demand is to make school choice the centerpiece of NCLB. My take: it is already the centerpiece, just cleverly hidden.

Solutions? I'd like to see our progressive people and thinktanks take a much stronger stance on NCLB: major legislative change, education/advocacy so that people know what NCLB is really about, and, most of all, leadership. At the very least, it's time to dump the tired and weak mantra of 'full funding', really the equivalent of feeding the beast.