Virginia, Proudly Supporting the Educational Status Quo

Middleburg Community Charter School, one of seven charter schools in Virginia.

Middleburg Community Charter School, one of seven charter schools in Virginia.

by James A. Bacon

The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee has effectively killed two measures designed to encourage the creation of charter schools in Virginia, ensuring that public education in the Old Dominion, one of the most stultifyingly top-down school systems in the country, will remain that way.

“Localities and parents need to maintain control over whether or not to develop a charter school program,” said Sen. Janet D. Howell, D-Fairfax. “The proposed measures took that power away. That is not the way to strengthen public education in Virginia.”

That’s precious. Parents have no control over charter schools as it is. Otherwise, there would be more of them, just as there are in almost state in the union… Which brings us to our philosophical musing of the day.

In reading Matt Ridley’s book, “The Theory of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge,” I was particularly taken by Ridley’s perspective on the evolution of educational institutions and how the world came to embrace an educational model of compulsory, class-based education in which students move in lock-step through “grades,” learning the same subjects at the same time, regardless of individual aptitude or learning style.

Private education had flourished around the world before the rise of the industrial school system. By 1840, literacy in the Northeastern states had reached 97% by 1840. Education was close to universal in the Great Britain by 1870. But it was the state-sponsored Prussian model, introduced in 1806 in response to Prussia’s defeat by Napoleon that caught on. The purpose of the Prussian model was to train young men to be obedient soldiers who would not run away in battle. Writes Ridley:

It was these Prussian schools that introduced many of the features we now take for granted. There was teaching by year group rather than by ability, which made sense if the aim was to produce military recruits rather than rounded citizens. There was formal pedagogy, in which children sat at rows of desks in front of standing teachers, rather than, say, walking around together in the ancient Greek fashion. There was the set school day, punctuated by the ringing of bells. There was a predetermined syllabus, rather than open-ended learning. There was the habit of doing several subjects in one day, rather than ticking to one subject for more than a day. Those features make sense … if you wish to mould people into suitable recruits for a conscript army to fight Napoleon.

American states, led by Massachusetts, began adapting the Prussian model as early as the 1850s. The Prussian model had much to recommend it for America’s burgeoning industrial economy — not for molding future soldiers but for molding the industrial workforce. As states stepped in, they crowded out private forms of instruction, which were diverse, competitive and innovative, in favor of a top-down system that dictated when and where children should attend, what they should be taught and by whom.

The key to remember here: States did not merely decide that universal education was in the public interest. They decided that universal education provided by the state was in the national interest.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, schools became vehicles for indoctrinating the citizenry. “Nationalized schools did much to teach children well into the twentieth century that their country was glorious and usually right,” writes Ridley, “while its rivals were perfidious and usually wrong, God was a Christian, and so forth.” The main difference today is that the indoctrination takes a different form. “It may be the gospel of multiculturalism and respect for the planet. … Platitudes about the state of the world, or the desirability of wind energy seem to crop up with alarming frequency in children’s textbooks, even when the ostensible topic is history or Spanish.”

One topic that Ridley did not address, but is certainly consistent with his argument, is the extent to which the educational system is subject to “regulatory capture” by teachers unions and other professional organizations. The educrats ensure that the system reflects their priorities in matters of pay, pensions, job security, working conditions and pedagogy. While their control over the educational establishment is far from complete — it routinely bumps up against fiscal limits, and teachers and administrators grapple with standardized testing established to create a measure of accountability — educrats and their ideological allies still exercise extraordinary power. And the last thing they want is to relinquish that power by putting it into the hands of parents by means of charter schools or, god forbid, vouchers.

If there is one force that could break up public-school monopolies, it is technology. Tablets and online learning are changing education radically in developing nations like Kenya where there is no entrenched educational apparatus to block innovation, Ridley says. Whether technology can broaden the sphere of educational freedom and choice in Virginia remains to be seen. As long as paternalistic elites believe that they know better than parents what’s best for their children, we’re not likely to see much progress.

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42 responses to “Virginia, Proudly Supporting the Educational Status Quo

  1. They can’t force their way of thinking and controlling the next generations to be obedient pieces if they don’t control education.

  2. never miss the opportunity to spin ideological mythology for the ideological biased.

    good lord. we have 200 countries on the planet .. is there some sort of massive liberal conspiracy that keeps such schools from existing and prospering…out-competing would be public variants?

    oh wait – those nasty leftists “own” all the “good” countries, eh?

    • So, Larry, you’re a big fan of the authoritarian Prussian method of education, I take it.

      • nope. I’m an opponent of taxpayer funded “Christian” schools that remind me of Massive Resistance days.

        “Prussian” is silly right wing foolishness and you know it.

        you KNOW what happens if such schools end up in higher end neighborhoods with the kids in those neighborhoods getting first dibs.

        it’s a corrupt and dishonest approach.

        make these schools locate in the poorer areas

        give disadvantaged kids first dibs

        compete on same basis as other schools in terms of performance
        and accountability

        if the school succeeds – do another , the another

        if at the end they outnumber the other traditional public schools – GOOD!

        you guys need help.

        some of the finest schools in Va are in Fairfax which you’d think being the biggest would be the opposite but not so.

        other really good schools are in some of the most modestly income rural areas in Va.

        some of the worst are in urban areas – AND in rural areas.

        I’m all for change and competition.

        to start with – I DO NOT think ANY school system should be able to spend a penny of discretionary money -over and above the SOQ match without a line item disclosure of what it is spent for.

        I’d even make it a required referenda so that ALL citizens and taxpayers KNOW what that money is being spent on AND what it is NOT.

        but no .. I’m not from the burn it down torch and pitchfork “school” of govt to start with.. I believe that the vast majority of public schools in OECD are not only Govt Run and superior in performance and clearly prove that govt can and does produce good results – prussian fairy tales or not.

        • Larry, go learn about the Swedish education model, which encourages competition between schools, then come back and report to Bacon’s Rebellion. Here, I’ll make it easy for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Sweden

          • Jim – it’s not competition I oppose – I’m in favor of competition that improves education –

            but I do not think the current proposals improve it at all.

            they are very close to publicly funded de-facto private schools that are hard for the kids who are most in need of better – can reasonably access.

            I do not see how this kind of “competition” improves public schools.

      • actually Jim – for SOME people that IS a way to learn a skill – look at the US military!

        there’s something else – unions.

        Now I KNOW you HATE unions with Prussian Passion but let me cue you to something the unions do – similar in some respects to the military – and that is apprentice and journeyman steps to higher level competency that allows entry level and allows advancement based on achievement rather than just years of service.

        some of this is beyond you guys who are just so ideologically driven that you’ve essentially become blind to how “education” itself can and does work -beyond pure “free market competition ” chaos.

        • Larry said, “I KNOW you HATE unions with Prussian Passion.”

          You KNOW no such thing. I don’t hate unions. The right for workers to create unions is fundamental. Unions do a number of constructive things, such as increasing workers’ clout through collective bargaining, and providing job training. What I oppose is the “closed shop” in which workers who do not wish to join a union are compelled by law to belong and pay dues. I also oppose union companies getting sweetheart deals for government contracts.

          Only in the mind of someone who is committed to unions for ideological or partisan reasons could those positions be construed as hating unions.

  3. It figures Janet Howell would be the one to announce placing the stake through its heart.

  4. No, Larry, it’s not a “massive liberal conspiracy that keeps such schools from existing and prospering,” just a few teachers’ union dollars directed towards a few strategically-significant politicians. Why are you against competition in education, especially where it might do some real good by shaking up the deadwood?

  5. I note – the proposal was to be able to start a charter and only the kids in that district had first dibs at it – and all other kids got lottery if any other seats available.

    can anyone see the likely neighborhoods where these schools would be started and where they would not?

    it’s this kind of dishonesty that’s in play with the “proposals” and it deserved to have a stake put through it.

    it was no friend of the “poor” kids who supposedly , according to the proponents would be “rescued” from their unfortunate circumstances.

    it’s stuff like that that exposes the real motives of the proponents..

  6. Thank God the General Assembly has some sense and doesn’t fall for the charter school con artists. See:

    http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2016/02/landry-walker_cheating_investi.html#comments

    Charter parents had to hire a lawyer to investigate their own charter! You can’t make this stuff up as to how ridiculous the charter movement is. Do any digging on New Orleans and you quickly find that charters barely moved the needle when you control for all of the factors that faced the traditional public school model. It’s an enormous failure.

  7. The anti-charter crowd is always eager to mislead.
    If a charter school fails, the state closes it down. (as they should) If a charter school has problems, it makes headlines.
    If a public school (especially in poorer neighborhoods) fails, more money is given to the same educrats who failed the children in the first place.

    The anti-charter crowd is the most racist group around. Keeping minority children from getting a chance and blocking minority parents from having a choice in their child’s education is the result of their anti-charter diatribes. They want to keep their control and power and charters are a threat – a small threat, but all such threats must be eliminated.

    • John BR, thank you for stating the obvious. The great thing about charter schools is that you can shut them down. Not every charter school will succeed. You shut down the losers and keep the winners. The arrangement is not as responsive to the public as vouchers, but it’s a lot more responsive than public schools.

    • well.. racist .. is promising disadvantaged kids a better bite at the apple then setting up schools that essentially cater to the better off economically who want a more “private school” approach to their kids education.

      when I see charter schools that are at least equal in demographics to the lower-income neighborhoods – and disadvantaged kids in those schools – and doing better than their peers in public schools – I’ll sing it’s praises.

      but call me a serious skeptic when the current proposal is to set up charters in specific neighborhoods which exclude kids from other neighborhoods until the home neighborhood gets first dibs.

      if that ends up with charter schools in up-scale neighborhoods and not in poor income neighborhoods – it ends up being – what?

      would that be a good thing?

      again – I strongly favor challenging the current public school system which spend millions of dollars on things the state does NOT require AND the local people who pay – have almost no idea what the schools have chosen as priorities AND – more important – what they’ve chosen to not prioritize.

      that needs to change not get expanded to how Charters operate also.

      this goes back to whether or not one REALLY wants to improve public education or if one wants to take the view that public education is a failure and we need to abandon it.

      what are our motives?

  8. Over 2500 failures and counting! Soon charter failures will rival McDonald’s burgers sold!

    http://www.prwatch.org/node/12936

    • 2,500 failures out of more than 6,000 charter schools in the country (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_216.20.asp).

      The ability of charter schools to go out of business is not a bug — it’s a feature! Good schools survive, lousy ones don’t. With regular public schools, zero go out of business. Cville, do you consider zero failures to be a ringing endorsement of public schools?

      • Last I checked, conservatives criticized cities like Detroit for “filing for bankruptcy” as evidence of incompetence. So conservatives want to have it both ways…failure for private charters…Good! Failure of public institutions…”See, those incompetent bureaucrats can’t do anything right.”

        To answer your question: No…as someone who’s owned a portion of 3 small businesses….I don’t consider failure a “feature” or evidence of good management. I consider it a failure and lost money.

        • Cville, but you’re OK with public schools that fail dismally year after year after year with minimal signs of progress?

        • I’d say that an entity that can take money from its “customers” by threatening them with jail time for non-payment probably shouldn’t go bankrupt.

          If you never want to lose money on an investment you should buy T-Bills. Uncle Sam can print up the money to pay you anytime he wants. Right now you can rob Uncle Sam of a 1.7% annual return on a 10 year T Bill. Inflation for January 2016 was 1.3%. At the end of 10 years your $1,000 T-Bill will have yielded $40.73 after accounting for inflation. But … no failure or lost money. Just like our schools your return would be dependably crappy.

          I’d suggest that portfolio theory would increase the returns of both your personal investments and our school systems.

  9. A very fine article Jim.

    Pound for pound the American educational system in the 19th century produced far better educated citizens than our current “Prussian” system that best I can tell does far more harm than good in the vast majority of cases. We are literally teaching ignorance to our children on a massive scale.

  10. A good charter –

    approved by citizens in referenda
    in an area where disadvantaged kids live
    disadvantaged kids get first dibs

    school operates on same basis as other schools in terms of SOLs

    if school successful, next school is put up for referenda in 2nd lowest demographic area,

    etc,

    rinse, repeat

    • Larry:

      Do you really think the mutton heads in Richmond would let us citizens vote on whether or not to allow charter schools in our locality?

      I am sure that any bill proposing that would die in committee by voice vote.

      • I think that has a better chance than the current proposals.

        what has to be done – is to NOT have the state do a top down dictate and to let this be handled by the local governance.

        ALL people in the county – should have a say in the matter and especially with regard to WHERE these charters would be located and that ALL kids have an equal opportunity at attending them with safeguards that they would not be co-opted to become local neighborhood private schools for only the higher income neighborhoods.

        Conservatives , not all of them, but more than there should be are essentially up to no good here. They want to damage the public school system just as they’d like to damage government as their way of “objecting” and the adults have to make sure that our ideals of equal opportunity and treatment are upheld – especially for kids growing up.

  11. this is a charter school in Albemarle County –
    Community Public Charter School

    https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/reportcard/report.do?division=2&schoolName=6878

    I’d like folks to take a look at the English scores

    All Students School 49% out of 100
    Math – 19% out of 100

    does anyone know what the heck is going on?

    here’s a current list of Charters in Va:

    Virginia’s Public Charter Schools
    There are nine public charter schools operating in Virginia.

    Murray High School, Albemarle County
    The Albemarle Community Public Charter School, Albemarle County
    Middleburg Community Charter School, Loudoun County
    York River Academy, York County
    Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, Richmond
    Green Run Collegiate, Virginia Beach
    Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy, Richmond
    Metropolitan Preparatory Academy, Richmond
    Hillsboro Charter Academy, Loudoun County

    Murray High – out of 95 students – not a one is black..

    anyone know any other scores of the other charters?

  12. Facts are stubborn things. The belief that charter schools will be established for relatively wealthy children to the detriment of poor children is not borne out by the facts.

    Here are the school districts with the highest percentage of children attending charter schools:

    1. New Orleans – 79%
    2. Detroit – 51%
    3. Washington, DC – 43%
    4. Flint, MI – 36%
    5. Kansas City, MO – 36%

    While I’ve been to all of those cities I know DC the best. The rich kids in DC don’t go to charter schools they go to private schools (ask Obama where he sends his daughters). 79% of the kids in New Orleans aren’t rich.

    As usual, Virginia is a politically inspired bizarro-land created by geniuses like Janet Howell. We can have charter schools but only if the local school district agrees. So, charter schools only exist in 5 Virginia jurisdictions.

    Looking at Virginia to learn about charter schools is like going to Hawaii to learn about snow.

    • Don – how are the kids in Charter schools in DC doing academic wise?

      • I don’t know. That wasn’t my point. My point was that “in the wild” charter schools are not generally partitioning taxpayer money for wealthy families and wealthy kids. They are seemingly honest efforts to improve the education system for generally underprivileged children. You question about the efficacy of charter schools in DC is a good one. I’ve met a few people involved in the charter school movement in DC. They seemed like nice, well intentioned, dedicated people. They also seemed more than just a bit wacky to me. My guess is that, on average, the charter schools are not doing all that well. Of course the public schools, on average, are not doing all that well either.

  13. My critique of charters:

    A.) Do charters have their own special ed “central office staff”? Not in most (All?) cases. Rather, the entire special ed expense (development of IEPs, etc.) is born by the public schools dreaded “educrats.” But then charter proponents turn around and say, “See how much more money gets to the classroom in charters.”

    B.) In most states, charters are exempt from almost all state laws. INCLUDING procurement. Anyone will tell you that the Virginia Public Procurement Act is extremely inefficient and causes local gov’t and schools to incur much higher prices than the private sector. But notice the right-wing hypocrites if any school district or local gov’t were to propose being exempt from VPPA, FOIA, or all other gov’t regulations that increase costs but are supposed to supply “clean and transparent gov’t.” My God, their heads would orbit into another galaxy. But they’ll turn right around and say, “Gosh, government is so inefficient. Look how efficient charters are.” Gee…I wonder why.

    C.) I’ve never seen an objective study that definitively proved that charters increase student success. Almost every study shows some charters do better than public schools in their districts, but others do worse. But what all charters do is create an unaccountable system for YOUR tax dollars compared to other gov’t expenditures. If you read about the charter movement, you quickly learn that it is filled with its own set of “educrats” who are titled “consultants” or “coaches” and make a killing off charters. But there’s literally zero accountability of where your money goes and who profits….

  14. some folks confuse , don’t know the difference and don’t care between what “flexibility” means and “accountability” means when it comes to Charter schools versus public schools.

    In other words – they are just fine with a double standard that imposes such restrictions on public schools but not on charters…

    it’s an example of the corrupt culture of those who are ideologically opposed to public schools and who use what amounts to pejorative, even hateful rhetoric when describing public education teachers and administrators.

    The LAST THING we need is the same folks we see now in our current politics – involved in public education decision-making. They do NOT have the best interests of the kids truly at their hearts.

    they see public schools as little more than appendages to the government they also hate and would set on fire and watch burn down.

    • Larry, in this short comment, you accuse the conservatives who disagree with you with holding “double standards,” of having a “corrupt culture,” of being “ideologically” motivated, of using “pejoratives” and “hateful rhetoric,” of “hating” government and wanting to “set it on fire a watch it burn down.” There is no substance to the comment whatsoever. None. Nothing but invective.

      So, I hope you’ll understand if I tune out to what you have to say on this particular topic.

      • Jim – where did I say “Conservative”?

        I want to hear from the pro-Charter folks how they help improve public education.

        lay it out in plain language – no ideology …

      • re: nothing but invective:

        here are YOUR WORDS:

        public education in the Old Dominion, one of the most stultifyingly top-down school systems in the country,

        Parents have no control over charter schools as it is.

        embrace an educational model of compulsory, class-based education in which students move in lock-step through “grades,”
        learning the same subjects at the same time, regardless of individual aptitude or learning style.

        teaching by year group rather than by ability, which made sense if the aim was to produce military recruits rather than rounded citizens.

        As states stepped in, they crowded out private forms of instruction, which were diverse, competitive and innovative, in favor of a top-down system that dictated when and where children should attend,
        what they should be taught and by whom.

        The key to remember here: States did not merely decide that universal education was in the public interest.
        They decided that universal education provided by the state was in the national interest.

        vehicles for indoctrinating the citizenry.

        “Nationalized schools did much to teach children well into the twentieth century that their country
        was glorious and usually right,” writes Ridley, “while its rivals were perfidious and usually wrong, God was a Christian,
        and so forth.”

        The main difference today is that the indoctrination takes a different form.
        “It may be the gospel of multiculturalism and respect for the planet. …
        Platitudes about the state of the world, or the desirability of wind energy seem to crop up with alarming frequency
        in children’s textbooks, even when the ostensible topic is history or Spanish.”

        the educational system is subject to “regulatory capture” by teachers unions and other professional organizations. The educrats ensure that the system reflects their priorities in matters of pay, pensions, job security, working conditions and pedagogy.

        educrats and their ideological allies still exercise extraordinary power. And the last thing they want is to relinquish that power by putting it into the hands of parents by means of charter schools
        or, god forbid, vouchers.

        and you have the nerve to object to others rebutting you in kind..

        lecture away Mr. Hypocrite..

  15. On ANY major area whether it be education, transportation, public safety, military, – even settlement patterns and governance –

    the involvement and participation of ideologues and theorists is rife with problems these days because practical and realistic – collaborative solutions are not on their radar.

    “compromise” is capitulation of their principles… such that whether or not a given outcome actually provides a real benefit or not – is almost irrelevant.

    So, it’s Charter Schools first – and how they work or not is not only not at the front – it’s not even something they acknowledge needs to be part of any proposal. It’s “do the Charter and we figure out the rest as we move along”.

    Sorry -I don’t buy it for education – any more than I do for settlement patterns or transportation.

    you provide a solution framework along with your proposal or you go fish – we don’t do dumb things.. because we believe in theory.

  16. Competition is a good thing. I come from one of those low-performing districts, and over the last fourteen years millions of dollars have been provided to the local school board to support the school – by that I mean federal dollars are given to the school but in essence are provided to those who control the school, the local board- and at this time, the school has never been accredited for 14 years, and that means that the possibility of producing local productive citizens is greatly decreased. What Virginia voted not to do was to give the charter school question up to the people to decide in an election, this is criminal for the students who are enrolled in these schools. What was the point? If local control was the issue, why not leave it up to the citizens to decide by a constitutional amendment? Is it local control – or local elitism? If we continue to do badly for the citizens in this community who need it the most, it sure does make the top look better. Passive-aggressive local control is ridiculous. Competition can only make it better. Maybe the amendment should have read vouchers instead.

    • ksmith8953 – I want you to back up your comment about Federal dollars.

      I’d like you to tell me for your schools the following:

      1. – how much Federal dollars and for what purpose
      2. – how much in State dollars for SOQs
      3. – how much in local dollars for SOQs
      4. – how much in local dollars that are discretionary and in excess of
      the required SOQ match – and tell me what it is spent on.

      if you can do this – we can talk further about competition.

      thanks.

      • Larry:

        Please reread ksmith’s comment. You ignored the important aspects of the comment and chose to focus on an almost irrelevant phrase. Kind of like a cat trying to protect itself from being bitten by swatting at a horsefly perched on an alligator’s head.

        1. The bill in question was not to create charter schools it was to give the people of Virginia a chance to vote on the matter in a referendum. Many states have far more liberal charter school laws than Virginia. This is not some spaced-out idea only discussed in the Old Dominion. Why not let the citizens who pay the taxes vote on the matter?

        2. Will competition in schools make things better for districts where there has been long term failure of the public school system?

        My answers:

        1. Yes, of course it should have been put on the ballot. But corrupt-o-fasciests like Janet Howell consider you too stupid to make a sound decision on this matter.

        2. My guess is yes. However, if the charter schools fail to do better than the public schools then they will fail and be closed down. That would represent a waste of time and money. However, we are at a point with our public schools that taking chances may be the only hope for improvement.

      • ksmith – just distill it down to what Federal dollars are spent on at the local level – you might be surprised.

        Most federal funds are sent directly to states and local school districts for their use in schools.

        Title I Grants for Disadvantaged Children

        The president’s FY 2006 budget would provide $37.6 billion for K-12 education. Of that amount, 95 percent would be distributed either directly to local districts or to schools and districts through their states. Individual schools would then use these funds for the purposes defined in the programs. Major programs include:

        ESEA, Title I: $13.3 billion
        IDEA, Part B, Grants to States: $11.1 billion
        Improving Teacher Quality: $2.9 billion
        21st Century Community Learning Centers: $991.1 million
        English Language Learners: $675.8 million
        Impact Aid (schools impacted by military bases and other facilities): $1.2 billion

        There are no unfunded federal education “mandates.” Every federal education law is conditioned on a state or other grantee’s decision to accept federal program funds.

        Federal education program “requirements” are not unfunded mandates because the conditions in federal law apply only when a state (or other grantee) voluntarily chooses to accept federal funds. Any state that does not want to abide by a federal program’s requirements can simply choose not to accept the federal funds associated with that program. While most states choose to accept and use federal program funds, in the past, a few states have forgone funds for various reasons.

        http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html?exp

  17. I’m in favor of it on the ballot with caveats that we assure that it is not used to create de facto neighborhood private schools in upscale neighborhoods – with access essentially denied to kids from low income neighborhoods and with none or nearly none in low income neighborhoods.

    there is _NOT_ a “failure” of public schools – that’s patently FALSE.

    define what you mean by FAIL

    then tell me SPECIFICALLY how Charter schools will address it.

    my point to ksmith was:

    1. find out the truth about how much Fed money is involved AND what what specific purposes for which – by law – must be shown in school budgets

    UNLIKE the discretionary local money which is not and most folks don’t have a clue for what it is being spent for.

    but my general idea was for Ksmith to tell me how much he/she actually knew about his/her local school money situation in general and why she/he felt competition would help – and again – with specifics.

    generic “competition” means absolutely nothing.. it’s a concept.

    define it – specifically – and show how it would improve education and for who?

    right now the Charter folks are playing a bait and switch game.

    they say it’s how you help the disadvantaged and those not served well by public schools – but HOW charters are implemented – or not – has EVERYTHING to do with whether or not they actually have a chance to “work” – with “work” being defined as to what outcomes you would expect

    i.e. you expect the specified disadvantaged kids to be helped? How would you measure that? How would you hold Charters accountable fo for accomplishing that goal and what do you define as “failing” to do it any differently than public schools?

    this is a whole lotta of ideology and foolishness as currently proposed.

    for some , like Jim – it’s all about damaging the public school system which he ideologically opposes in concept … it has very little to do with effective remediation of the failures of public schools – real benchmarks will real measures of effectiveness and real consequences if charters don’t perform.

    One final thing – None other than Barrack Obama has proposed Charter Schools – real funding – with real accountability… and not a word of it in these discussions.

  18. here’s more specificity on Federal funding:

    Title I, the largest federal K-12 program, would provide over $13 billion to local districts to improve the academic achievement of children in high-poverty schools.

    Reading First would supply over $1.1 billion to states to promote the use of scientifically based research to provide high-quality reading instruction for grades K-3.

    Improving Teacher Quality Grants would provide states with $2.9 billion for teacher professional development and training.

    English Language Acquisition would provide $675.8 million to states to assist schools in improving the education of limited English-proficient children by teaching them English and helping them meet state academic standards.

    Other NCLB programs include those to support charter schools; strengthen high school education; improve math and science education; support after-school learning programs and assist American Indian, Alaska Native and migrant students.

    Federal Grants to States for Special Education *

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) assists states and local schools in educating children with disabilities. Grants to States under Part B—the second largest federal K-12 program—would provide over $11 billion to states and local schools to assist their efforts.

    The law requires more rigorous standards for the conduct and evaluation of education research. NCLB requires that federal funds support educational activities that are backed by scientifically based research. Through sustained programs of research, evaluation and data collection, IES provides evidence of what works to solve the problems and challenges faced by schools and learners.

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