Education News & Views

Here are some education news and views following the political conventions and about the Chicago teachers' strike.

While attending both presidential conventions was exhilarating and exciting, I returned feeling not only feeling exhausted but as if I had been in a bubble for two weeks.

Although I wrote four blogs from the conventions, listened to the speeches and read the respective platforms, I saw little difference between the two parties with respect to education - especially in regard to school choice. In fact, an article in Education Week points out many of the areas of agreement. The author, Alyson Klein, also printed both parties’ education platforms.

Another article on boston.com, Waiting for the Candidates to Debate Education, by Jim Stergios, outlines the difficulties faced by both parties in articulating their positions, and argues for clarity from both of them.

Stergios writes:
My wishes for the two parties? They’re simple:

• That the Democrats stop substituting government for associations, and not insist that the government is the glue that holds us together. Our rich store of associations means that what holds us together is a lot deeper and nimble than any government bureaucracy. We just need to find how to leverage these American qualities—especially when the alternative is to undertake policies that break three federal laws.

• That the Republicans provide a real alternative to the Democrats’ vision of a centralized Ministry of Education, but not simply based on a vision of individual choice—however important that is. While “Won’t Back Down” is inspirational, and its clear emphasis on parental association and bootstrapping may prove a big addition to urban school reform, a major party needs more than that. They need a vision.

Chicago Teachers’ Strike
There’s lots of room for debate about the Chicago teachers’ strike, which should be of concern to people throughout the nation. The issue of teacher evaluations based on high stakes testing -- a major issue in Chicago -- is playing out in every state. But it is certainly not a justification for striking, especially where the poorest and most vulnerable children and families are being hurt by the school lockout.

The union’s deaf ear to the economic context – where so many are out of work -- is forcing some parents to choose between staying home and watching their kids in a dangerous city or losing their jobs.

My observation as a central office administrator in a large suburban district was that parents love their teachers but have had enough of unions. This is an issue that will undoubtedly have national repercussions.

The New York Times presented the different arguments in its Room for Debate section
The following two articles, one on Huffington Post and the other in Education Week, point out the ways that disadvantaged students are being harmed by the strike.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lorraine DeVita September 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM
We have FAR to long abandonded our OWN CITIZENS for the sake of those sneaking in to live the AMERICAN DREAM,Destroying the American dream for those who are citizens. While bleeding hearts pander to the illegal masses our OWN citizens fall to the wayside. We must take care of our own FIRST & formeost BOTH Candidates need to realize that while we welcome anyone who choses to come here legally with open arms THEY NEED to understand that the FABRIC of this country is being shredded by trying to be everything to all who are not here legally it is NOT our Governments responsibilty to take care of these people. IT is OUR government OUR COUNTRY OUR LAWS OUR MONEY ... OUR responsibiltiy should be to the AMERICAN CITIZEN FIRST AND FOREMOST
Lorraine DeVita September 21, 2012 at 01:09 PM
ok got that off my chest. sorry
Matthew Provenzano September 21, 2012 at 03:29 PM
@Long Islander, I believe I study my history books very thoroughly: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." --Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, January 1, 1802
Matthew Provenzano September 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I have a few things I want to address to all parties on this thread: 1) These issues are extremely complex; they involve a combination of local, state, and federal government as well as combination of all businesses, 3rd party and non-profit organizations, and each individual. To say that any issue can be narrowed down to the blame of one party, one group, or one event is a logical narrative fallacy called "monocausal explanation". The UCLA center for History in Schools states: "And nothing is more dangerous than a simple, monocausal explanation of past experiences and present problems." If there was one simple solution or one simple problem, I can guarantee that it would've been solved yet. Complex socio-economic and political policy cannot be reduced to the blame of one President, politician, or candidate. 2) This thread was originally framed as an argument as to how each party should, in a bipartisan manner, go about discussing the ways in which we allocate our tax dollars for the sake of education. That is a really important and crucial debate. The ideals of both small government Republicanism and government interventionist Democratic policy BOTH have merit to think about, depending on each individual circumstance. The question that needs to be asked is not "Who do we blame for the problem?", but more so, "which way, in this particular case, is a good way to approach the future". I don't think, "Anyway other than [this party's way]" is a good solution.
Lorraine DeVita September 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM
@ Mathew, I see your intent and reference , BUT not to be the spoiled sport here, have you looked at our currency? "In GOD we Trust" or Our pledge ? " one nation under GOD" or if you want to go even deeper the Mason and Templar connections. Sometimes Mathew it is not all whats written, read or spoken but what is inferred and I think Long islander has some merit to his comment. But this is another debate ..


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