Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » THE TIME-VALUE OF MONEY EDUCATION REFORM

    Filed at 10:27 am under by dcobranchi

    At edspresso.com, James Forman Jr. calls for a movement that will bring parents who have abandoned the g-schools in search of something better back into the system:

    I believe our response has to be collective, which is why it cries out for the leadership of Fenty, his team, and Gray. My colleague at Georgetown and former school board member Chuck Lawrence has written about this. He says parents with options almost always take their kids out of D.C. schools, because they make the decision in isolation. They are afraid that doing otherwise would be to sacrifice their own child’s education because of a philosophical belief in the importance of public education. Realistically they know that alone, they won’t really be able to improve their local school.

    But what if all these neighbors, who are all struggling with these decisions, knew that they would not be alone? What if they knew that around the corner, down the block, next door even . . . other people were making the same commitment to the public school? Of course, not everyone is going to choose the public schools. Some have religious reasons to choose a private school. Others want what they perceive as being the absolute best for their child and have $20,000 a year to spend on it.

    But the point isn’t to convince everybody. Even if we got half, or a quarter of parents, to make a different decision we could increase the number of people with a direct investment in the schools.

    So we need a city-wide movement (which could be a model for a national movement). And the movement needs leaders. Any takers?

    A nice sentiment that can’t (and shouldn’t) work. Sadly, inner city g-schools (and DC is just a bad example of a bad lot) are in such a state of systemic failure that turning them around will be a decades long proposal. We’ve been reforming them for decades already. What kind of parents, having made the decision to abandon ship for the sake of their kids, are going to re-enroll them in the hope that meaningful change is just around the corner? Sure, the educrats, like an abusive spouse, may make all kinds of apologies and promises about how this time it’s going to be different, how this time it will be a true partnership, how this time it really will be all about the kids.

    The smart parents– the ones who have already pulled the rip cord and sent their kids to charters or private schools or are home educating– will reject the call as way too little and far too late. And the ones who are making their decisions today, the quarter or half that Forman is pinning his hopes on, need to be given more meaningful choices. That’s how the system will (eventually) fix itself. More charters, more vouchers, more freedom. Yeah, it sucks for the kids who are left behind. But maybe the more altruistic among us can find time to volunteer at our kids’ former schools.


    Comment by
    February 21st, 2007
    at 11:29 am

    The movement needs leaders fast because Mayor Fenty has a proposal on the table (or maybe it already passed – not sure) to place DC public schools under the direct authority of his office. Reform after reform has passed, dollar after dollar has been provided, and the schools in DC are still a cesspool of under achievement and corruption. I think they’ve been through 5 superintendents in the last 5 years, or something like that.

    Not that I’m saying Fenty’s ideas will work out any better.

    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    February 21st, 2007
    at 11:56 am

    And the families still sending their kids to ps in DC — mostly still poor, are they?


    Comment by
    Karen E
    February 22nd, 2007
    at 8:45 am

    Very well said, Darryl. The corruption in D.C. is so bad they recently had several schools closed for days due to no heat, and the buildings are in total disrepair despite all the money being thrown at them, most of which seems to get stolen.