I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Question For the Reformy:

Derrell Bradford of the very reformy B4K makes his case on Facebook:

Derrell is concerned about the gap between rich and poor kids, and the gap between NJ and "the world." Here's my question:

Is it possible, Derrell, that the gap between the rich and the poor and the gap between the US and the rest of the world are related?

Once again (p.15):

When you look at the scores of students who go to low-poverty schools, we are at the top of the world. This makes people like Amanda Ripley crazy, so they desperately try to tell us the real reason for our wealthier kids' successes is that America's poor kids aren't really all that poor. But...

What Derrell fails to acknowledge is that there is an education gap between rich and poor kids in every country in the world. This is an indisputable fact. If, like Finland, we decided to concentrate our efforts on equity instead of punitive measures against teachers, we would have far greater success in closing both of the gaps Derrell purports to be worried about.

From Pasi Sahlsberg:
First of all, although Finland can show the United States what equal opportunity looks like, Americans cannot achieve equity without first implementing fundamental changes in their school system. The following three issues require particular attention.
Funding of schools: Finnish schools are funded based on a formula guaranteeing equal allocation of resources to each school regardless of location or wealth of its community.
Well-being of children: All children in Finland have, by law, access to childcare, comprehensive health care, and pre-school in their own communities. Every school must have a welfare team to advance child happiness in school.
Education as a human right: All education from preschool to university is free of charge for anybody living in Finland. This makes higher education affordable and accessible for all.
As long as these conditions don’t exist, the Finnish equality-based model bears little relevance in the United States.
The "gap" has always been, and will always be, about equity. Unless and until the US - and NJ - gets serious about addressing the underlying conditions that lead to the massive inequity this country faces, we will never achieve the social justice Derrell wants; the social justice he seems to think chasing the Tenure Boogey Man and believing in the Merit Pay Fairy will get us.

The only question left is why B4K and Students First and Stand For Children and all the other reformyists seem to want to ignore the obvious. Hmm...

 I leave it to you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusions...


Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

Awesome commentary as always Duke. Where does that "The End of the Beginning" slide come from? It is pretty damning, and says in their words what we've been saying all along.

Duke said...

Thx Robert.

The slide is from a lecture Bradford gave a few years ago:


The full video has since been removed (wonder why?). You can see excerpts here: