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The Mechanics
« Impeachment - Special Investigative Committee Claypool's Office: County Has the Money »

Education Mon Dec 29 2008

Chicago Educators, Policy Watchers: Duncan a Bad Choice

President-elect Obama's choice of his pick-up basketball buddy and Daley apparatchik Arne Duncan as the highest education official of the world's only superpower was met with either yawns or vague plaudits by "liberal" commentators who think a free market model of competition in education will lead to greater equality. But Chicago's teachers, who have faced years of school closures, meaningless benchmarks, and an all-consuming focus on testing, are not letting Duncan enjoy his honeymoon. An organization of teachers, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, has raised a ruckus about Duncan's destructive "turnaround" and Renaissance 2010 policies. And the negative reviews keep coming in:

Meanwhile, new charter schools face far less regulation and less accountability during their first few years. The charter school experience either provides a curriculum that should be the envy of the world or teach-to-the-test discipline with a bland curriculum. The test-till-you-drop method, utilizing the "research-based" models designed solely to improve test scores, appeals to the CEOs running charter school administrative companies (complete with their "chain" of schools, such as Alliance, Nobel, or ACT), Department of Education officials, and businesses providing capital.


The best charter schools, staffed by teachers envisioning a radically different kind of experience of childhood, resemble the education every child deserves but few receive: child-centered, stimulating, and explorative, with relevant materials and teaching strategies flexible enough to reach all learners.

The policies touted as educational "reform" by the New Democrats apply the same neoliberal theories responsible for NAFTA, the WTO, and GATT with the same results: the inequalities become greater while those in positions of power receive even greater rewards. A two-tired education system lurks in the distance, the result of neoliberal efforts to create equality. The gradual privatization and outsourcing of public schools represents a shift towards the voucher system, the ideal school system envisioned by Milton Friedman and present-day neoconservatives.


 
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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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