August 3, 2013
"The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking."; "For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools...."
Esenberg sets out to identify the fundamental differences between voucher advocates and opponents. His thesis is that views on vouchers derive from deeper beliefs than objective assessments of how well voucher schools perform or concerns about vouchers draining funds from public schools. To him, your take on vouchers depends on how you view the world.Mr Hughes anti-voucher rhetoric is fascinating on several levels:
2. Local private schools do not have much, if any availability.
3. Madison spends double the national average per student (some of which has been spent on program explosion). Compare Milwaukee Public and Voucher Schools' Per Student Spending.
4. Madison's inability to address its long-term disastrous reading results will bring changes from State or Federal legislation or via litigation.
5. Superintendent Cheatham cited Long Beach and Boston as urban districts that have "narrowed the achievement gap". Both districts offer a variety of school governance models, which is quite different than Madison's long-time "one size fits all approach".
I recall being astonished that previous Madison School District administrators planned to spend time lobbying at the State level for this or that change - while "Rome is burning". Ironically, Superintendent Cheatham recently said:
"Rather than do a lot of work on opposing the voucher movement, we are going to focus on making sure our schools are the best schools possible and the schools of choice in Madison," Cheatham said.
This points up one of the frustrating aspects of trying to follow school issues in Madison: the recurring feeling that a quoted speaker - and it can be someone from the administration, or MTI, or the occasional school board member - believes that the audience for an assertion is composed entirely of idiots.A great, salient quote. I would hope that the District would focus completely on the matter at hand, disastrous reading scores. Taking care of that problem - and we have the resources to do so - will solve lots of other atmospheric and perception issues.
In closing, I sense politics in the voucher (and anti-open enrollment) rhetoric. Two Madison School Board seats will be on the Spring, 2014 ballot. One is currently occupied by Mr. Hughes, the other by Marj Passman. In addition, local politics play a role in becoming school board President.Posted by Jim Zellmer at August 3, 2013 12:42 AM
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