The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Destroying Schools, Pretending to Save Them

Dec 21, 2009

The Michigan legislature put together a deal to “reform” public schools in the state. In truth, it’s a plan to further dismantle already impoverished school systems.

The proposal, a response to Obama’s “Race to the Top” requirements, expands the number of charter schools in the state; it institutes merit pay for teachers based on the academic performance of their students; and it allows public schools to hire teachers who receive an “accelerated teaching certification” without a teaching degree, among other things.

If you’re in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. But Michigan legislators and the Obama administration propose to get poor students out of a hole – by digging deeper still.

Having merit pay for teachers, without first flooding poor school districts with the resources they need to improve, punishes the teachers who are willing to teach there.

Increasing the number of charter schools means further draining the resources of impoverished public schools, into private hands – with no oversight and no need to meet the same public requirements – giving an even worse education.

Fast-tracking instructors for public schools means giving teaching jobs to applicants who are not even out of college yet – and who, by the way, can be paid much less.

All this won’t help the achievement of struggling students. But it will drain more money from public schools, pouring it into private hands.