If you read Chairman John Kline’s (R-MN-02) statement commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first Charter School, you were probably not surprised that the big news out of Education and Workforce Committee was the finalization of an agreement for Washington DC Charter Schools … but for those wondering about the status of Education Reform of the No Child Left Behind program, that was not mentioned … heck, Chairman Kline has only had the goal of drastically reforming NCLB since he was first elected in 2002.
Chairman Kline’s message is clear : “As we recognize the 20th anniversary of the charter school model, we must also explore ways we can help encourage more high quality charter schools across the country” … too bad, he did not mention the General Accounting Office report of the sub-par performance of charter schools regarding students with disabilities. As the report noted, charter schools are “schools of choice” and “some charter schools may be discouraging students with disabilities from enrolling.” The U.S. Department of Education’s (Education) Office for Civil Rights has undertaken two compliance reviews related to charter schools’ recruitment and admission of students with disabilities in three states.
According to wanna-be Educator-in-Chief Mitt Romney the country is “in the midst of a national education emergency”.
“Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education,” Romney said. “And, America’s minority children suffer the most. This is the civil-rights issue of our era. It’s the great challenge of our time.”
Romney would eliminate caps on charter schools arguing that increased competition among schools would be a good thing, and as it would provide parents with more options for educating their children. “For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school,” Romney said.
The use of vouchers apparently is a prime feature of the Louisiana Scholarship Program and as Walter Pierce writes about Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal’s (R) new school program (highlights below) :
The tally of private schools approved by the state Department of Education to accept voucher students reads like a who’s-who of who’s-that.
Evangel, a football powerhouse in Shreveport, jumps out, but the vast majority is overwhelmingly small, Christian schools — evangelical mostly along with a fair number of Roman Catholic schools — tiny operations with fewer than 100 students, although one school approved for 38 voucher students stands out: the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans.
Most appear to be tied to evangelical churches with names like Eternity Christian Academy, Old Bethel Christian Academy and Boutte Christian Academy. In fact, “Christian” and “academy” dominate the nomenclature.
$1 million in tax dollars will be diverted from the public school system to Eternity Christian, a school that, according to its mission statement, offers “a quality faith-based curriculum that is soley [sic] based on principles from the Bible …”
The Jehovah-Jireh Christian Academy in Baton Rouge, which has been approved to accept 30 voucher kids, proclaims it “is now a [sic] official SAT test site.”
The assessment that the Walter Piece article offers is “This is madness. Not only are we siphoning money out of public schools and into parochial schools, but we also seem to be doing it with very little vetting of these schools.”
Well, looking at the aforementioned Eternity Christian Academy which promotes its Accelerated Christian Education curriculum, the vetting concern is valid when considering a sample textbook – When Science Fails :
When Science Fails presents the Bible as totally accurate and science as a process of trial-and-error riddled by human frailty …. this short book will reinforce the message that science will never contradict the Bible, and “true science” is simply one way to gain information about the world. Casting “common people” with common ideas as heroes standing up to scornful scientists, this short book directly attacks the ideas that science has all the answers and that science could ever prove the Bible false.
Meanwhile in Ohio, Governor John Kasich (R) has appointed Stanley Jackson to the State Board of Education which is made up of 11 elected members and eight appointed by the governor. Mr. Jackson, 37, a registered Republican from Marion, Ohio was running for an open seat on the state board.
Mr. Jackson describes himself as “Ambassador for Jesus Christ”. Promotion material describes Mr. Jackson as “the founder of Masters Preparatory Academy Charter School a singer gender school for African American males, and Integrated American Media (IAM) television network which provides Christian conservative viewpoints for minority communities.”
Governor Kasich has taken some flak because Mr. Jackson does not have a college degree … Stanley Jackson matriculated at Governor Kasich’s alma mater playing football for The Ohio State Buckeyes and elected to stop his taxpayer-funded education for a seven year professional football career.
While the lack of a diploma is a diversion, the real concern should be the Masters Preparatory Academy, which was incorporated in Ohio as a non-profit on May 24, 2011, still has not been approved as a charter school by the Ohio Department of Education … it just does not exist (yet).
Chairman Kline and wanna-be Educator-in-Chief believe in charter schools … and they will be able to point to success stories (that’s what politicians do … they slant the story to fit their goals).
Yet, the question remains : Are we siphoning money out of public schools and into parochial schools at a time when there is a need to reduce government spending ?
Public monies going to private schools who can choose their students, creates a situation similar to the problem with healthcare insurance whereby insurance companies can cherry-pick only the healthiest individuals, leaving a pool of the sickest and neediest on their own which invariably results in the taxpayer paying.
That is the future under a Kline-Romney regime … no additional money … no acknowledgement of the failings of charter schools … no vetting … but some private businesses gaining at the taxpayer’s expense.
If Kline / Romney “encourage more high quality charter schools across the country” will that prevent “millions of kidsfrom getting a third-world education” ?
Or, will some religious-promoted schools consume taxpayer dollars for a small number of students ?