As I travel the country, I am often astonished to see how discouraged educators and parents are by the unproven schemes foisted on their schools by politicians.
The worst of these schemes come from radical politicians who think that government should get out of the business of providing public education.
They want education to be a commodity that you pick up whenever you want, wherever you want.
That is their ideal, though they are far from accomplishing it because it is fundamentally a very idiotic idea.
Governor Bobby Jindal is on that track in Louisiana.
Governor Rick Snyder is pushing hard in Michigan to ensure that education is available “any time, any place, anywhere, anyhow,” or words to that effect.
He doesn’t see to see any purpose or value in public education or public schools.
He recently got a report from a pretentiously named group of faithful right-wing operatives who call themselves the “Oxford Foundation,” even though they have nothing to do with Oxford University and they are not a foundation. They are Republican party wonks, cranking out what the governor wants.
The basic idea behind many of the radical deregulatory schemes is to strap the money to the child’s back (usually called either “fair student funding” or “weighted student funding” or some variation thereof) and then let the student take the money anywhere.
To a local public school; to a religious school; to a for-profit virtual charter; to a trade school; to anyone who hangs out a shingle or advertises on TV. In time, there would be no limits on what sort of institution fits the rubric of “any place, any time.”
Yes, there is pushback. I recently met with a group of superintendents in Michigan whose districts encompass nearly half the children in the state: They are not happy. They are discouraged. In private, one said this whole approach is “educational malpractice.”
And the parents are organizing.
I recently received this excellent post from Michigan Parents for Schools.
The parents understand that what is happening will destroy their schools and their communities.
They know more about their children and about education than Governor Snyder and the “Oxford Foundation.”
The best way to stop this madness is to educate the public. Educate parents.
Bottom line: Vote the rascals out.