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February 21, 2006

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Terry,

Union success is all about maximizing profit and minimizing loss. It's not about the quality of the product. That's clear from the students we teach to the academic results of our schools.

Oregon K-12 employees have maximized individual compensation (8th highest in the U.S.) at the expense of additional teachers (K-3), complete programs and school years. The results are very average academic achievement in Oregon and poor graduation rates.

Terry:

"What's the business model? Simply put, it's measuring the "productivity" of schools against achievement standards with standardized tests."

How do you relate closing Smith and Edwards elementary schools to the "business model" you described above? Both schools had excellent test scores. Were not their closings related more to low student populations resulting from PPS district transfer policies and the abundance of special focus choices favored by affluent parents able and willing to transport their kids away from their neighborhood schools?

You're right, Gus. I argued in my post that Portland was trending toward the business model of school management, the crux of which is measuring productivity. I agree entirely with you about the effect of school choice on neighborhood schools. But I sense you approve of school options. I don't.

Terry:

I agree with Thomas Jefferson when he said "The government should be responsible for educating the children of the poor."

I believe that taxpayers should provide "common" public schools for all who wish to attend. Kids should receive the same basic common school education regardless of economic class. If affluent parents want more than taxpayers can afford or if others want religious schools, they should pay for that choice in private schools.

The majority of Oregon's 198 public school districts are common schools since they do not have large student populations and helicopter-parents demanding special focus options.. Those districts are by and large in good financial condition.

John Dewey noted that the schools reflect society. They do not create it. Because of the inequalities inherent in this society, he was critical of the public schools, while at the same time a staunch defender against encroachment by corporate interests. Today, the clamor for using the business model is bound up with unprecedented social inequality. I teach in Detroit, where the public schools are being privatization. This will create, as it did in Chicago under Arne Duncan, a few "schools of excellence" surrounded by closed or underserved neighborhood schools embedded in impoverished neighborhoods.

Private schools aren't always better, though. They aren't always the schools of excellence, or any such thing. Many are complete garbage...

so pretty.You are a good teacher. Lucky student!

Those are super cute. I like you on Facebook.

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