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Friday, March 7, 2014

Why do these pro-voucher guys always attack teachers?

After reading Professor Chambless’s pro voucher anti public school piece in the Orlando Sentinel, by the way I too am glad his boys will never know slavery, about vouchers and horrible public schools I wondered why he didn’t also blame them for Benghazi and global warming? He did leave something out of his rant and that’s public schools arguably more than anything else contributed to the greatness of our country.

I find it interesting that he referenced Martin Luther King Jr who was a big supporter of public schools and advocated that they get more resources not less and President Johnson’s war on poverty because the thing is when we were actually fighting it we were winning, just sadly we stopped fighting it decades ago.  

He asks us to consider the fate of the rich parent who is able to send their child to any school they want but what he doesn’t want you to know is the private schools that the rich send their children too for the most part are a lot different from the schools that the parents of students who receive vouchers are sent to. Some are located in abandoned strip malls, others pay their teachers with associates’ degrees 12.50 an hour and then even more teach creationism as science. The state of Florida even says that despite being able to pick who they take and keep and the ability to put requirements on parents that they aren’t doing any better than public schools.   

Then he uses the tired old government school monopoly argument refusing to acknowledge that parents even the parents of poor children have always had choices. They can home school and they can get involved with their local schools or local politics to make them better too. I don’t know about where Mr. Chambless lives but in most places local schools have local representation something that is lost with charter schools and private schools that take vouchers. But what insults me the most about Chamblesss’s argument is he says the parents of poor children are lazy. He says they won’t do anything that they have to for their children and that they would just accept failing public schools unless the government, the same government he rails against provides charters and vouchers. If Mr. Chambless truly cared about the poor he would insist that the schools in neighborhoods wracked with poverty received extra resources to mitigate that poverty but he doesn’t and instead he wants those children to go to schools that are often worse.

If it was up to Chambless he would let the private sector sort it out hoping the public won’t notice the lack of accountability that private schools that take vouchers strive for and all the scandals with the Mckay scholarship program and the over 250 charter schools that have opened, taken public money and closed here in Florida. He wants you to ignore poverty, which is the number one factor in determining success in education. The bottom line is kids in poverty don’t do as well as those that aren’t.

The he attacks teachers, these pro voucher guys always attack teachers, for not being able to completely overcome poverty and blames tenure and unions, unions by the way don’t hire and fire teachers, set curriculum or allocate budgets, these are canards that have no basis in reality. And finally what he doesn’t mention about Finland is that the teachers are highly unionized, something he seems to dislike, they have small classes and they don’t have standardized tests or basically the exact opposite of Florida.  

He is right in one regard the poor and minority are the primary victims of the system we have stet up but instead of fixing it and addressing the inequalities he wants to create something worse.

Chris Guerrieri
Education Matters

To read his piece click the link:,0,4611293.story

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