Growth/Achievement vs Left/Right
These days, it is hard to tell which political faction is pushing for the different components of education reform, but it is clear that the unified-bipartisan effort has fractured. The parting of ways is mostly due to the nomination, and subsequent confirmation, of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. It has become increasingly more clear to me that the main objective of conservative reformers is to implement the free-market model in education, divert taxpayer dollars to private entities, including religious organizations and as a result, segregate school populations by race and/or socio-economic status; with no obligation to prevent it from happening. The liberal reformers, or Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) have their reasons for education reform rooted in civil rights and believe that by removing bureaucracy, eliminating unions and allowing charter schools to operate independently, they can somehow restore justice to children of color and/or child living in poverty and are under-served by failing schools because of where they live. Neither side of this education reform equation can achieve their goals without diminishing the public education system. We are talking about a finite set of students and a finite amount of financing. When a child leaves a public school for “choice,” the school loses money. The loss of money makes it even harder for that school to make progress. The choice movement is self-serving. By gradually reducing the resources of the public system, they will eventually eliminate the public system. In turn, this side of the equation will lead to segregation, as well.
Lately, the big argument among reformers is how to use growth vs achievement in determining the success of a school. Obviously, both the conservatives and the liberals agreed that both measures are important. If not, it wouldn’t have made it into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The argument is over what the weight should be. On Thursday, February 23rd, The Advocate ran an opinion editorial by Michael Petrilli. Petrilli was singing the praises of Supt. John White for proposing a weight of 25% for growth under the new accountability system. Petrilli’s OpEd was promptly rebutted by Eva Kemp, Director of DFER-LA. Kemp opposes the 25% weight of growth stating that too much emphasis on growth Growth/Achievement vs Left/Right – Educate Louisiana: