Obama "Open" to Privatizing Public Education

Barack Obama has a solid progressive legislative record, which is enough to make me think his occasional use of right-wing talking points when talking about domestic programs like social security and health-care is an electoral ploy. But then he comes out with this.

Senator Obama said this week that he is open to supporting private school vouchers if research shows they work.
"I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn," Mr. Obama, who has previously said he opposes vouchers, said in a meeting with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We're losing several generations of kids, and something has to be done."

Education analysts said Mr. Obama's statement is the closest they have ever seen a Democratic presidential candidate come to embracing the idea of vouchers.

Vouchers, taxpayer-funded scholarships that allow families to opt out of public school and use their government-allotted education dollars to attend a private school instead, has been a major right-wing policy objective for years. From the National Education Association:

Despite desperate efforts to make the voucher debate about "school choice" and improving opportunities for low-income students, vouchers remain an elitist strategy. From Milton Friedman's first proposals, through the tuition tax credit proposals of Ronald Reagan, through the voucher proposals on ballots in California, Colorado, and elsewhere, privatization strategies are about subsidizing tuition for students in private schools, not expanding opportunities for low-income children....In the words of political strategist, Grover Norquist, "We win just by debating school choice, because the alternative is to discuss the need to spend more money..."

Bush has been a particularly strong advocate of vouchers, pushing a federally funded voucher program on the citizens of the District of Columbia and in his 2009 budget proposal proposed $300 million for national private school vouchers.

Obama would likely argue in his defense that he is only considering vouchers, and that his openness on the issue will be popular with independents and moderates who are frustrated with the pace of change in our public schools. But as Ruy Teixeira pointed out in a survey of voters' attitudes about public schools:

Despite criticisms of its current performance, the public's views on educational reform start with strong support of the public school system--particularly as it functions for low-income students. The public wants that performance improved, starting with higher standards, and is willing to tolerate fairly strict guidelines and testing regimes to accomplish this goal...The data also indicates that the public is far more interested in implementing more accountability in public schools and providing more resources to the public school system than in moving to a voucher-based system. Indeed, vouchers tend to lose badly today when in political propositions precisely because they are perceived to be in conflict with the public's commitment to adequate resources for public schools.

In 2006, voters in the reddest of red states, Utah, delivered this message loudly when they defeated by a 62% to 38% margin, a referendum which would have confirmed a law passed by the legislature to create the most comprehensive education voucher program in the nation.

The question is why Obama, who is now the Democratic frontrunner, decided to flirt with a program that is not only unpopular with the party's base, but with the nation at large and whose biggest proponents are to be found working for the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Tags: obama, public schools, vouchers (all tags)

Comments

75 Comments

Awesome

Many Democrats support vouchers or charter schools (as a last resort) for urban communities where schools just keep failing.

I'm glad Obama is open-minded about them - not that he'll really have any power to do anything as President (this is a local issue).

by mcdave 2008-02-20 06:09AM | 0 recs
Awesome?

That MORE money be depleted from urban school districts to subsidize private religious "education"? What's so "awesome" about that? Personally, I see private school vouchers as awesomely DISASTROUS for the future of public education. How sad that Obama wants to open the door to this right-wing effort to undermine our public schools.

by atdleft 2008-02-20 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome?

I believe "if they work" is the qualifier and he wouldn't let the school system fail because then they wouldn't work...

by illlaw1 2008-02-20 07:03AM | 0 recs
gutting public education

is a way to make sure the playing field stays unlevel.  her idea is to have a national curriculum where supplemental educational materials are available for children everywhere, not only those communities that have good public schools or available and good private schools, her plan put the feds in competition with private schools, and with home school companies.  Her plan also brings in those college kids as subject tutors to help erase their college loans. I know this is 'popular' with those who think private is better than public but all the new data shows kids in private schools set up to take advantage of this kind of thing do no better and often worse then kids in public schools. We need to put that money into developing a national curriculum with free supplemental texts and materials, and self-testing, so that any child anywhere can get the best education available anywhere, either with the help of tutors, libraries, retired educators, the internet, whatever is needed to give all kids a real education.  

by anna shane 2008-02-20 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome

Boy, that hasn't worked out so hot in my state.  

by masslib1 2008-02-20 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome

Now we will have a choice between Republican McCain and Republican Obama.

I will not vote for anyone who supports the use of taxpayer dollars going to fund someones private, religious education.

It is official, if Obama wins I will sit on my hands in November!

by mmorang 2008-02-20 09:57AM | 0 recs
Like I've said all along

Obama, if he is ever president, will give away the store to the republicans in the name of "bipartisan unity."

He's not a real democrat - more like Joe Lieberman except on the war. His non-democratic appeal is also evidenced by his independent and republican voters.

If he is the nominee (and please, God, don't let that happen!) I will hold my nose and vote for him ONLY because of the Supreme Court. Of course, given his republican proclivities, we have absolutely no assurances he will even do the right thing by the American people on that front.

We need a REAL DEMOCRAT in the White House. Hillary Clinton for President!

by Firefly4625 2008-02-20 11:24AM | 0 recs
You are a fool

I wonder how many of you O supporters are really Democrats or progressives.

Obama is starting to sound more and more like a nicer version of bush!

by kevin22262 2008-02-20 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: You are a fool

Why dont you live in a bad school  neighborhood and subject your kids to the public school there. What is progressive about the status quo? You are only deluding yourself if you think a Preident will be able to reform the system fast enough for the current generation.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 04:46PM | 0 recs
Jesus

yeah, like most of the Milton Friedman University of Chicago school of economics privatization agenda?

Now obviously there are major problems with K12 but using a crisis to privatize one of the great social equality levelers in history is not exactly Progressive!

by Robert Oak 2008-02-20 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus

What is so equalizing about public schools? Explain to me why parents hunt for good school districts and are handcuffed by such considerations? If public schools are so superior, why not settle for any neighborhood oine likes or can afford to be in?

by Pravin 2008-02-20 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus

The Milton School people do not advocate government assistance for achools. We do. Your comparison doesnt work. We are actually encouraging government to help out poor kids go to a better school right now if they qualify based on one or a combinhation of factors the public can agree on - like behavior, potential, attendance, achievement and the amounbt of vouchers can be based on the need factor. THe only tax money that can be freely given out will be the marginal cost associated with an extra student. Just like we choose private doctors even if we go with universal health care, nothing wrong with choosing private educators. Get it out of your mind that the only private school will be an exclusive prep school.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 04:52PM | 0 recs
you're naive

It's all about privatization of schools which is why it is so opposed by most Progressives, Democrats and unions.

And if you do not understand the history of public education and it's shaping of Democracy, well, I suggest you consider reading about the history of England.  

by Robert Oak 2008-02-20 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: you're naive

Did the government help poor kids go to private schools in England?

Private schools could be forced to accept a diversity of kids as a condition to accept vouchers. Something creative could worked out.

Like I said, how has public school education helped poor black kids in the US?

by Pravin 2008-02-20 06:35PM | 0 recs
more clueless

If you think public education hasn't helped black kids you're hopeless.

by Robert Oak 2008-02-20 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: more clueless

Sure public school has helped some. So what? What about those not being helped? You seriously tell me the schools are in good shape in those neighborhoods? Just saying so wont make it true. Saying experiemental districts have proven private funding a failure is silly because you do not have enough of a sample period to make any real determination. And all it means is that specific voucher proposal or charter school proposal is flawed. And I wonder who made those studies. people with a bias? I have seen private competition help lower middle class students in india that a public school wouldnt be able to. And while there are prep schools there, there are also private schools that cater to every community and class. Public schools have had plenty of opportunities to have their say. Now they need to share the control of students because they havent done their job in badly needed neighborhoods.

The thing is this. there are flaws in both public and private schools. But you take away the power of a family to choose their own school , they lack the ability to fill the gaps the state won't because of a broad based system.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 11:27PM | 0 recs
that is different

from what is said.  I'm talking about the well know privatization agenda when anything is in crisis. Public education is in crisis so instead of fixing a public service which if one looks through history, free, public education is the #1 element in social mobility, it enables social justice...those Milton Friedman agenda types want to destroy it, to wipe out public education as part of the government.

That's the issue and statements like public education do not help black kids is so ignorant of history it's beyond the pale.

Obviously public education needs to get history back into the curriculum for seemingly you people are being negating an institution that is one of the great enablers of social mobility, democracy, middle class of all time.  

You claim it's about "choice" and you are quite naive.  I doubt there is even any awareness of the privatization of New Orleans after Katrina.

I guess you did not notice the protests of public housing, the forcing out of the poor, the privatization of schools any of it and what kind of effect this has had.  

Keep with your rhetoric, do you read, do not study, do not open your eyes.  

by Robert Oak 2008-02-21 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: that is different

Voichers to the poor is a form of public education in my view. People lump all privatization proposals through the same prism. There are a lot of things about public school system that are provided by private businesses. There are quite a few flawed school boards whose petty politics are as selfish as that of a profit seeking corporation.

Anyway, my point is if public schools are really that good across the board, then the bleeding to better private schools will only be short term because on the average, a family will choose a good public school because it is totally free. Any voucher proposal will have the family spending at least some of their own money, the extent of which can be need based.

There are too many underserved kids now. How can you say so arrogantly the system has been a proven success? maybe for most of you. But what about the ones that fall through the gaps? Give them the OPTION to go to a private school. Why do you feel so threatened that parents are so foolish that they will abandon public school for no good reason? If your system is a proven success, then there is nothing to fear, is there?

by Pravin 2008-02-21 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome

I agree. the whole notion of a religious alternative opponents of charter and vouchers use is a red herring. There is nothing stopping us from coming up with a solutin that entertains vouchers and prevents private religious schools from taking vouchers.

Besides, it is not the end of the world if a few private schools do that. There are public schools that violate church and state separation. There are public schools that have entrenched corrupt interests. Semi Privatization will just eliminate schools that have failed.

I am going to address the public school fanatics now.
Public school purists are like Iraq war proponents. Some public schools are proven failures for 30 years and yet they keep DEMANDING more chances. What makes you think it will change now? Hillary was more radical about changing the system in Arkansas and she failed despite good ideas. You seriously think our politicians who stay blindly loyal to teachers unions can affect much of a change  in 8 years. Do not be so arrogant. Let the individual family choose. Who the hell are you to dicttae how a family should educate themselves?

The only ideology that matters is to provide even kids in bad neighborhoods with an opportunity for a quality education. When one talks about vouchers, do not confuse that with the person endorsing old voicher proposals. Do not be simple minded. There are endless possibilities that have not been tried yet on a large enough scale to say they wont work. Be open minded. You purists have not earned the credibility when it comes to schooling with the lack of changes over so many years.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome
A lot of charter schools fail completely...they are just another way to funnel money away from the public schools.  
As a former teacher, I am totally fed up with pinning the failure of kids on the schools all the time.  The society and parents are a huge part of the problem, if not most of the problem.  They don't value education, so neither do the kids. They don't help in the creation of disciplined and focused work habits.  Frankly, education is a kid's JOB...
by Gloria 2008-02-20 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome

Huh? Don't exchange 'blame the schools' for 'blame the kids & parents'.

I agree with you that too many blame "the schools" and foolishly think some radical/funky new style school is the answer. That's b.s.: we need good teachers, (respectfully) we need to monitor and assess individual teachers, and we need to give them the freedom to get the job done the best way they know how (without being restrained by the 'methodology Gods').

by fairleft 2008-02-20 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Awesome

#Which is why a voucher will help a family escape from their public school if the school and the community cannot get their act together.

Why deprive a kid of a good education just because of his peers? Charter schools only failed because it is a tough system. In India, competition has led to the mushrooming of quality private schools attended by not just rich kids.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 05:09PM | 0 recs
83 kids

I watched a PBS show following a teacher in a public school.  She had 83 12 year olds in her class.

Right there, that was it, there was no way she could teach or reach those kids and that's outrageous to have 83 kids in one class.  Should be 10-15 max.

by Robert Oak 2008-02-21 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: 83 kids

80 is too high.

10-15 max????
30 is a fine size.
10-15 would be like a private tutoring session.

So why did public school education fail this class? Unless you make public school education truly universal where the neighborhood demographics is not an issue, i will never be convinced it is the best and ONLY solution for poor kids.
The thing is federal government can do only so much as public education is local. While the federal government goes about reforming public school eduvation assuming your dream candidate takes power, what is wrong with letting families go somewhere else with voucher if the local government is unwilling to put in the effort to put up a better school system?

Competition will only spur innovation. I would love to give schools like Ron Clark's academy vouchers instead of having educators waste time fundraising.

by Pravin 2008-02-21 12:36PM | 0 recs
Mountain Out of a Mole Hill...

...This just sounds like typical Obama to me, and I don't have a problem with that.  His statement is that IF he sees proof they work, he'd consider them.  Since there is ZERO proof they work, it's a moot issue.  

by HSTruman 2008-02-20 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Mountain Out of a Mole Hill...

This really does exemplify his mindset, I think.  He's willing to listen to the other side, but -- tellingly -- sticks to his guns precisely because their arguments are unavailing.  You know, because progressive ideas actually are better.    

by HSTruman 2008-02-20 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Mountain Out of a Mole Hill...
Exactly. This is just smart politics, with little real-world impact. It effectively takes a wedge issue out of McCain's arsenal.
by PhilFR 2008-02-20 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Mountain Out of a Mole Hill...

No, this is representative of a voluntarist, 'choice' mentality that cuts across all of Obama's domestic policy proposals, from pensions to health care to credit card interest rates now to education.

We likely will have to deal with this libertarian Democrat for another five years, we might as well get tuned into his mindset now.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Mountain Out of a Mole Hill...

What is wroing with choice? I dont see you helping out inner city kids get a better education. You act like public schools are this idealistic institution.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Mountain Out of a Mole Hill...

And there is enough proof that in some areas, public schools are proven failures. THEY HAVE NOT WORKED IN THIRTY YEARS IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS AND THE STATUS QUO WONT CHANGE A FUCKING THING NOW.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:26PM | 0 recs
Oh NO!

This is a really bad ideal.  

Government should pure more fund to improve the standard of public school, not subsidize private school.

He is going to take away good education opportunity from the poor people.    The gap of quality education between rich kids and poor kids will just be more widen.

this is a seriously bad idea.

by JoeySky18 2008-02-20 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh NO!

Wow, as if poor people have such excellent opportunities in our neighborhood based public school system in many areas. Sure, get a reality check and tour schools in DEmocratic controlled states and localities. I do not see them as any better than republican controlled areas. The system needs a kick in the pants. You think school boards are so above a Ron Clark in terms of idealism?

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:28PM | 0 recs
Ugh

Just when I'm resigned to getting excited about Obama for the general, this comes out.

There's probably no issue that's more of a deal-breaker for me than this.  Taking money out of the public schools to give to unaccountable private schools is a terrible idea.  

We need leaders who will work to strengthen public education, not who indicate a willingness to consider destroying it.

by dcg2 2008-02-20 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open"

School vouchers are very popular with African American voters.

And I've started to come round to them too over the last year.  It's an idea worth exploring.

by mddem456 2008-02-20 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open"

From the People for the American Way:

a 2001 Zogby International poll offered African-Americans five options for improving education. Among blacks, the choice of "providing parents with school vouchers" finished dead last of the five options. In fact, African-Americans chose "reducing class sizes" over vouchers by a 7-to-1 margin.1 The nonpartisan Teachers Insurance Plan commissioned a poll by Opinion Research Corporation in 2001, which found that 61% of blacks and 59% of Latinos would rather see more funding "go toward the public schools than go to a voucher program."2

Perhaps the most important 'poll' is the ballot box. In November 2000, voters in Michigan and California handily defeated school voucher referenda. In both states, black and Latino voters rejected the voucher proposals by at least a 2-to-1 margin.

by alexmhogan 2008-02-20 07:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open"

We all know Zogby's track record.  That must mean we can conclude vouchers would win by at ten points!

by mddem456 2008-02-20 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open"

You are also a teacher with an entrenched interest.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open"

So explain to me why public school education has failed African Americans for so many years??

Idiot. I say this because you have been uncivil about this in multiple threads. So I might as well call you out for the moron you are.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:29PM | 0 recs
Obama wants policies THAT WORK

IF RESEARCH SHOWS THEY WORK.

ugh.  that's Obama's bottom line: he wants things that WORK FOR THE COUNTRY.  he's not holding himself to some imaginary partisan political box and he is fully willing to support things IF THEY CAN WORK.

THIS is the kind of BS democrats AND republicans need to get themselves over, that a certain set of policies is the only way to get things done because it is party doctrine.  that is the problem with the GOP now, and it may be a problem with the Dems in the future if we can't admit for just ONE second that there are always options.

partisanship a lot of times is like poking yourself in the eye.

by fightinfilipino 2008-02-20 10:00AM | 0 recs
They don't work

Why doesn't he believe the research already done? He can't believe it cuz it doesn't compute; 'choice' and voluntarism always works better according to Obama and his advisors' way of thinking. Because they're 'libertarian Democrats'.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: They don't work

So what research do you ahve that public schools will improve dramatically in the next 8 yeras when we have had many DEmocrat controlled states that have not made much of a difference? So is electing a democrat going to make things significantly better at a local level unless federal funding becomes a dominant source of funding schools.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:39PM | 0 recs
Obama is a Lieberman-Democrat.

Jesse Jackson did not originally support Obama but he saw the writing on the wall. Blacks, understandibly, are in Obama's corner and it would be tough to go against him.

With the exception of the war, Obama is really a Lieberman-Democrat.

by mmorang 2008-02-20 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is a Lieberman-Democrat.
"Obama is really a Lieberman-Democrat."

I think you've managed to insult both Obama and Lieberman in just 6 words. Impressive!

Seriously, the only people who really think that are hardcore Clinton supporters with a big chip on their shoulders. And even half of them are saying he's too liberal to be elected.

I'm looking forward to being out of the primaries so we can focus on beating crazy old John McCain.

by PhilFR 2008-02-20 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is a Lieberman-Democrat.

You can't win by calling the Clintons racists, as high-ranking Obama surrogate Jesse Jackson Jr. did, and expect everything to be hunky-dory at the convention and in the general election.

I guarantee that many Dem's who voted for Clinton(about 5+%) will not vote for Obama in the general election. He will not do that well with Independents or Republicans either.

His honeymoon with the media will be over once the general election begins and we will lose. Which would be better than him winning and getting blamed for the economic disaster coming the nations way.

It may sound like sour grapes, but it is also cold hard reality.

by mmorang 2008-02-20 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is a Lieberman-Democrat.
But if he really is a "Lieberman-Democrat" then you'd expect him to do well with Independents and moderate Repubs.

Personally I think that's a pretty silly accusation, though one that actually helps him somewhat against McCain. (Hmmm... maybe I should start spreading it too!)

I suspect the Clinton supporters he loses will be mostly in less hotly contested states, where they don't jeopardize the party's prospects by sitting out. 2000 is still a fresh memory, and I can't imagine many Dems in swing states choosing to take their marbles and go home. If they do, Clinton's name will mean as much to Dems as Nader's.

by PhilFR 2008-02-20 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is a Lieberman-Democrat.

Wrong. The 5% was taken from a recent poll. There will be bad blood when its over. You simply can't call the Clinton's racists and pile on the way they have. Many women will not vote for Obama (and by many I mean 3-5%, maybe higher).

Even for practical reasons other than the race-bating, it is not unreasonable for someone to decide that a)Obama is too young and inexperienced considering were in two wars and b)McCain is not that bad, he's a nice guy and he didn't call the Clintons racists!

by mmorang 2008-02-20 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican.

I would say he's a Lieberman Democrat. They are both open to school vouchers.

by mmorang 2008-02-20 10:58AM | 0 recs
More Obama, the 'Libertarian Democrat'

Didn't Markos coin that term?

Anyway, these are unprovoked and unecessary moves to the right. Nobody is clamoring for private school subsidies; people generally want to improve public education. But Obama comes out anyway with such 'choice' policy on health care, Social Security, credit card interest rates, and now education. He is giving every indication of being, at heart, a 'libertarian Democrat'.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 11:10AM | 0 recs
As Obama wins...

... he tacks even FURTHER to the right.

Great....

by lambertstrether 2008-02-20 11:15AM | 0 recs
Hell, Jesse & the whole 'liberal' blogosphere

is okay with it. Haven't heard a peep. Deal with and what that means about Jesse and the 'liberal' blogosphere.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: the whole 'liberal' blogosphere

Hey, it turns out that video shows Obama being VERY skeptical of vouchers.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 05:09PM | 0 recs
Chicago School

Everybody should study up on their Naomi Klein.

Obama's role is going to be selling whatever "shock" is coming down the line.

I'm guessing Social Security goes first.

by lambertstrether 2008-02-20 11:16AM | 0 recs
Yer right, this diary is b.s.

Obama said:

I have been a strong champion of charter schools as a way of fostering competition within the public school system. I have been a skeptic of school vouchers. [. . .many sentences of skepticism]

I think that we should foster competition within the public school system with charters. And anything that works we should try to scale up.

That does NOT say he is open to vouchers or to 'privatizing public education'. It's obvious from everything Obama says on the video that he is campaigning as a strong skeptic on vouchers.

On the other hand, I've long been bothered that Obama is such a strong supporter of charters, which damage the other public schools by pulling away top students.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Yer right, this diary is b.s.

Do you have a link? I'd like to see the full context too...

by OrangeFur 2008-02-20 01:04PM | 0 recs
by fairleft 2008-02-20 04:56PM | 0 recs
Chicago has the 'bad' charter

experience. The effect is especially disastrous at the high school level, where a few charter high schools pull in the top students, with the obvious negative impact on the 'regular' high schools. So that's Obama's own city, in which he's a 'big' backer of charter schools. Sad, stupid, common-sense-and-your-own-eyes-denying 'libertarian' thinking, but standard within Obama's elite U of Chicago law school set.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago has the 'bad' charter

Hmm, I am starting to think about this more.

As a person that is considered to be in the high IQ category by tests, I can see the benefit for those that are different in that they to have a place to go. High IQ children are often abused by the other children - treated badly and misunderstood, even physically assaulted, for being different. It's bad enough that they really should have special services just like those on the other end of the IQ scale do, something that is often not understood.

There are emotional consequences to being gifted that can really stifle the development of the gifted children. The assumption is that they will do just fine because they are so smart. That couldn't be further from the truth. Being that different can be crippling.

So, after reflection, I am very ambivalent about allowing those that are gifted a space of their own in a separate school.

There is something very nice about being around others that "get" you - your humor, your thoughts, your ideas - and that support you in your obsessions and drive to learn. But, it is also good socially to learn how to deal with those that don't "get" you, and for those folks to have some understanding as to what gifted people are about.

Very ambivalent...

by splashy 2008-02-21 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: effects of charter schools

Actually, sorry, now I realize I'm complaining primarily about magnet high schools. Oh well, they're bad too; it's the same general phenomenon.

by fairleft 2008-02-20 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Yer right, this diary is b.s.

If the public school was good enough, why would there be a charter to begin with?

by Pravin 2008-02-20 06:39PM | 0 recs
YOU JUST DON'T GET IT

This is why Obama is destroying Hillary. People don't want a politician to think "OK, I cannot say anything good about this person, this program, or this issue, because political orthodoxy says I MUST vote/talk a certain way."

If a proposal is backed by research to be successful, WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU NOT TRY IT? The purpose of our educational system is to EDUCATE, not to embolden one special interest (teacher's unions) over another.
 

by highgrade 2008-02-20 11:49AM | 0 recs
Several generations of kids?

Wouldn't that be like... 80 years of people? I guess we're all lost and didn't know it. Thanks for telling me how schtoopid I am Barack. I must be one of those "low information voters" you're camp ridicules.

by ineedalife 2008-02-20 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Open to Privatizing Public Education
It's hilarious how half the rabid Clinton supporters here say Obama is too liberal, and the other half say he's a Republican operative.

Maybe you should go get your smears consistent before trotting them out.

by PhilFR 2008-02-20 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open" to Privatizing Public

Actually there are quite a few black families supportive of charter schools and vouchers. That is because they are often shut out of good neighborhoods by discrimation. Don't act like blacks all think the same.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican.

And poor black kids went to mostly good public schools under Clinton when he was president in the 90s?

I do not say this to bash Clinton because not many politicians are going to be able to reform this system. just showing it takes more than a good President for any benefits to filter down to public schools. Unless you are willing to send you kids to a randomly assigned publkic school, then we will see how patient you are with the slow pace of reform in public schools.

Why should I have to subject any future kids i have to the backward ideas in the anti avolutionary backwards school board members who frequently populate the schools in Georgia? Why do I have to change neighborhoods to escape their tyranny?

Public school board members went against the wishes of their students and banned the IB program because they deemed it unamerican. It took many months and lots of protest for them to relent. But what if the families with enough will werent plenty enough ? What is an individual family to do if they wanted to give their kids a better education? They should have the right to use their tax dollars for some other school. While there are exaceptions, in general, people have chosen public institutions if they provide quality. Look at the popularity of many public universities. If you include vouchers inversely proportional to a family's wealth, this will discourage mere subsidization of a private school education.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican.

The IB program ban took place in a public school in Western PA.

There have  been many instances of backward public schools that have been fighting evolution.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:37PM | 0 recs
The tyranny of public school purists

If you model funding along the lines of college nbeed based grants, then the formula can be manipulated to fit a progrssive agenda. Guess what. many parts of your pubvlic school are farmed out to private businesses. Your textbooks. You think a typical Georgia school board is more progressive than a typical private school that could fill the void for families that have different priorities?

Does medicare restrict patients to only Government Hospital doctors like they do in some countries? You can go to private docs of your choice. Maybe in some case, you pay an extra fee for that flexibility. I see education the same way. Thre is nothing magical about a public school system. It will succeed in many areas. But there are areas where it has failed for decades. And a change in president will not change that. Why shouldnt the government give that poor family money to find a better school? Sure some families take advantage and will use that to subsidize their private school education despite a good public school nearby. So what? Do we eliminate every government program where a private interest exploits it? Let's put an end to government contracts to pricate contractors in every area. Not just the obvious ones. Katrina.

Some school areas should be declared emergencies and YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE THOSE KIDS WITH A ETBETTER EDUCATION TODAY. Not some mythical point in the future.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open" to Privatizing

Thiis a dumbass answer. The fact that bad people take advantage of a system does not mean you elinminate it. Look at most government services. Do you eliminate public schools in an area because a public school board is against evolution?  There are numerous failed public schools in disadvantaged areas. There are always going to be annoying people taking advantage of a system. You do not make some poor family suffer becaue of the fear that some person you do not like has access to the same advantage.

Your 90% figure reflects your ignorance. Many secular people like the choice of schools too. Maybe charter schools failed because the only people able to withstand the massive hurdles local governments put up to protect their turf are the kind of businessmen who are better at gaming the system than actually providing an education. You open it up and you will get a lot more Ron Clarks( he was a great public school teacher, someone tell me why he is still not one if public schools are proven successes for every segment of the population). What if he did not have the charisma to self fund his school , would you not want to reward a guy like him with a charter school?

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Open to Privatizing Public Education

I will take you to a random poor neighborhood. Can you guarantee me that Hillary's solution will give that kid a better education in the next two years? Charter schools or a voucher might. Here is the thing. There is no guarantee they will be better. But at least an individual poor family will have the option to give their kids a better education if they find a good private school IMMEDIATELY.

This is the dumbest line of thinking I have seen anmong many liberals. Just because we support vouchers doesnt mean we support the details of the current voucher and charter proposals. There are many variations which can be progressive minded. Giving a poor family the immediate choice of a better school is a liberal notion. Who the fuck cares if some right wingers benefit from it. Do we eliminate welfare because some backward redneck is using it to score some drugs?

by Pravin 2008-02-20 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Open to Privatizing Public Education

What has shocked me is how the left and progressive wings of the Democratic Party jumped on board BO's bandwagon without investigating what his deliberately vague platitudes really mean. It's "What's the matter with the Democrats?" It's worse than Kansas, in terms of voting against their own interests.  Watch them come crying when he betrays their most precious principles. Bush lite gets the MoveOn vote. Give me a break.

I left the Democratic Party last year, after 37 years of active participation in the party, because of the horrendous betrayal of liberal principles. I returned to support Hillary Clinton against the sellout Obama, only to find the party lurching even further to the right, demonizing her with the same talking points the Right has used for years. It's really skeevy behavior. Talk about "new" politics? What's so new about backstabbing and selling out principles for votes?

by 07rescue 2008-02-20 02:36PM | 0 recs
I sure as HELL do not want to pay for some

conservative religious doctrination of kids. I definately won't vote for a Dem who might support that.

It has a MUCH better chance of passing if there is a Dem president. It will never pass if the president is Republican and the house is Dem.

With McCain you won't have vouchers because it won't pass the house. Obama could get it passed, and if that happens I will move to Canada before I fund someone elses rightwing education.

by mmorang 2008-02-20 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: I sure as HELL do not want to pay for some

Who advocated giving vouchers to ANY private school? That is like equating people who are anti iraq war with anti war just because some of us are just anti stupid Wars.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 06:43PM | 0 recs
Privatizing Education in MKE has failed

Don't worry, this is just Obama pandering.  New politics my ass.

The Journal-Sentinel is loudly pro-voucher, as Milwaukee has been a (failed) test ground for privatizing education.  Obama is for "merit pay" and privatizing education?  What a joke.

If he's a real progressive and a real Democrat, and with a spine, he'll come out and say that he is 100% for a robust public education system since it's another universal, non-means-tested government program that fosters the common good.

by Peter from WI 2008-02-20 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open" to Privatizing

I wonder if the Obama supporters would be so understanding if Hillary had said this? Somehow I don't think so. Just as when Clinton works with Senators from across the aisle, she's derisively called a triangulator, but when Obama talks of working with those across the aisle, he's praised as a uniter.

by jen 2008-02-20 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama "Open" to Privatizing

I actually gave Hillary credit in a prior diary for trying to test teachers in Arkansas and exploring some non traditional liberal ideas. But then the Clintons caved in.

by Pravin 2008-02-20 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Open to Privatizing Education

A very important diary.

Great Job!

by Fleaflicker 2008-03-17 04:40PM | 0 recs

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