Saturday, April 15, 2017

Closing schools is not an educational option | Eclectablog

Closing schools is not an educational option | Eclectablog:

Closing schools is not an educational option

The suggestion that the solution to poorly performing students is simply closing schools is merely following what has become a common trope in the corporate education reform community–the notion that “the problems” in education can be solved simply by, variously, “getting rid of the bad teachers“, converting public schools to charter schoolscontinuously raising standards, or increasing the amount of standardized testing for students. Much of this rhetoric chooses to ignore the role that the corporate reform agenda itself has played in contributing to “the problems” in education, but that’s an issue for another day.
Whenever I hear public officials and education policy decision makers suggest that closing schools is a legitimate strategy, I know that person is not serious about actually improving educational outcomes. The decision to close a school is not made to improve student learning, or to increase the effectiveness of teachers. Put simply, closing a school is a business decision. School closings are a strategy lifted from the “creative destruction” school of thought championed by economists like Joseph Schumpeter, and vulture capitalists such as Mitt Romney. The goal is to maximize financial resources, sell off existing assets, and provide an attractive return to one’s investors.
For these reasons, we tend to see more school closings in the charter school sector, especially for-profit charters–some for financial mismanagementothers for low enrollment, and still others for…more nefarious reasons. Now, while I’m no fan of for-profit charters, I still don’t believe that closing these schools makes any sense as an educational strategy.
When a school is closed, it creates more problems than when your local auto dealer or dry cleaner closes. While you may have to find a different place to buy a new car or clean your suit, closing a school disrupts an entire community.
Closing a school fractures families, scatters colleagues, and damages neighborhoods. Schools are not just places that children go during the day when their parents go to work–they are complicated, complex ecological and social systems that provide spaces for learning communities to develop and flourish. Schools are places where children go to feel safe, and to feel valued. Schools are Closing schools is not an educational option | Eclectablog:

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