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Minnesota Republicans solve education

by Dan Burns on December 29, 2014 · 3 comments

abandonedschoolI’ve written before about the challenges that Minnesota Republicans face, politically. I am pleased to report that they are being triumphantly met, via the MNGOP Solution Center. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this glorious endeavor, from time to time; for today, a few notes about GOP solutions on education, to the admittedly limited extent that my puny left-wing intellect can process such breakthroughs.

The big blue box on the linked page is deliberately vague. But all you have to do is scroll down a bit and look at the sources for “Other Resources” to know where they’re coming from: more charters – that is, corporatization – and attacking public school teachers.
2014 has been aptly named “The Year of the Charter School Scandal,” nationwide. And a study done in the Twin Cities shows that charter schools there are not as good as public ones. In fact, Minnesota would do well to, at the very least, impose a moratorium on new charters until such time as the many, many problems with them are resolved. Which, given the depth and breadth of those problems, is no time soon.

GOP talking points like “accountability” are (transparent) code for crushing teachers unions, and generally destroying respect and support for the teaching profession. That’s bad. Even some people on the left try to be polite and claim that there’s no “proof” that de-unionization badly hurts students, because correlation doesn’t necessarily prove causation. In fact, by a process called “induction,” as well as the application of plain old common sense, one can absolutely state that ending teachers’ rights to unions causes worse schools (see point 3 in the linked article). Then again, worse schools don’t bother a lot of conservatives; they need undereducated kids to turn into misinformed, gullible adults, who are then much more likely to vote for (and in particularly unfortunate cases become) right-wing politicians. And conservatives in Minnesota, and everywhere, desperately need that, in the long term. It’s their only chance.
Comments below fold.

From Laurie: fyi – in MN most charter schools are public schools.
From Dan Burns: I suppose that to be precise I should have typed “…’traditional’ public schools…” But most people know from the context what’s going on.
Carefully regulated, legitimately not-for-profit charters have a place, which is to use focused strategies on really challenging kids. Unfortunately, that noble intent has long since been perverted by the deformers, who seek first and foremost to strip-mine all of education for profit, and to fill kids’ heads with nonsense like market fundamentalism, climate denial, and Reagan-worship. That’s what needs to end.
From Laurie: I have worked in 4 different charter schools in the twin cities. None have been for profit. All have had dedicated teachers and administration. Three of the four have served low income students. None have filled kids’ heads with nonsense like market fundamentalism, climate denial, and Reagan-worship. On what do you base this view of local charter schools? Do we have some like that in the twin cities?
From Dan Burns: I admire that you’ve been part of successful charters, especially those serving low-income students. If you like, though I’m certainly not suggesting that you’re obligated, google “minneapolis st paul charter school failures” for plenty of material about area charters that have not been good.
From Laurie: One charter I worked for had a high level of academic success and the other three have been nearly 100% ELL students and tests scores are quite low. My current school, which has the best principal and staff, is actually a priority school which means we are in the bottom 5%.
Anyhow, from where I sit charters are not very different from traditional districts, as both have teachers doing the best they can to teach basic academic skills to disadvantaged students.
I have been curious about who is funding the ad that I have seen several times trying to get parent support for getting rid of tenure when it comes to laying off teachers. (if you know anything about that)
From Dan Burns:
That would be Norm.

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