Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Timmy speaks; Spotty listens . . .

This bit of blather from Timmy in the StarTribune today (July 26th) from the interview he gave the paper's editors some days ago.

"We got Q Comp at our funding level and in our form, and we're very pleased with that.

"One of the things we are not addressing as a society is what are we going to do about intergenerational failure of disadvantaged kids? If you assume that, beyond parents, the most important thing in a child's life is the effectiveness of their teachers, and that there's a whole host of things that need to go into reforming how we recruit and reward and retain teachers, Q Comp is a great start. It will be the national model five years, 10 years from now.
Oh that's rich. Timmy and the Republicans are worried about disadvantaged kids. That's why they wrung $185 MILLION dollars out of the last biennieum's education budget and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into paying more this budget cycle. That's why they dis teachers every chance they get. One big-shot Republican, Bill Cooper, is trying to suck up as much public education money as possible with his stealth parochial schools.

Spotty says that Q Comp's primary goal is to begin the dismantling of the civil service system. In the long run this will discourage students from entering the teaching field. Q Comp is a subjective minefield of arbitrary decision making by administrators and pressure from parents, some of it malevolent. Kids thinking of entering teaching are not going to fail to notice this.

"What are you going to do about kids in Minneapolis or Red Lake, in a world where the margin of error for strong-back jobs is gone? The jobs at the factory or driving the forklift, if they exist at all, don't exist at the wage and benefit levels that they used to. We have strong-mind jobs instead. And we now have intergenerational failure in school districts, and we're not meaningfully addressing it.
So that's where we get all the Deltas from. Now that Spotty thinks about it, he is sure there has never been a successful kid from Minneapolis or Red Lake in all the generations those schools have operated.

"It's not the schools' fault. The schools are filled with good people trying to do their best. They are overwhelmed by the social pathologies that are visited on their doorstep.
And your solution is to take "all these good people trying to do their best" and keep them in an overwhelming situation where they cannot but fail, and then penalize them under the compensation system? Brilliant.

"There's a resource issue there, to a point, but there are other things we need to try. I don't think it's too much to ask to reasonably try some school choice.

"The argument against school choice is, you're going to take the healthy, the wealthy, the smart [out of public schools]. I wouldn't do any of that. Only offer it to the poor, the failing, the disabled. Who's against that, and why would you be? We asked for that, as a part of a session-ending compromise. It was just a non-starter [with DFLers].
I suppose the end of the session was the first time that school choice - let's call it what it really is: vouchers - ever occurred to you. You and the rest of the confidence men in the Republican Party hoped all along to pull a fast one at session end. You also pulled the 65% solution out of the hat at the end of the session to create one more way to bad mouth public schools. You're smooth Timmy, but you're a charlatan.

Vouchers will do exactly what you say you won't, Timmy.

There is also the fact that vouchers don't have a snowball's chance in hell if used to support a parochial or sectarian school.

"The academic results for school choice are not overwhelming. There's some improvement. But there's a marked increase in parent and student satisfaction, and behavioral change. There's significance beyond academic results ... .
"Not overwhelming?" They aren't statistically any better. Can you say lip stick and pig, Timmy? If you control for parent involvement in a child's education, I'll bet the results are worse than public schools.

"Government schools aren't able to, as a legal matter, provide guard rails around values. It's not constitutionally appropriate. But if a parent or child chooses to get into an environment where there's a value component, a behavioral component, that represents some guard rails for them for eight or 10 hours a day, it changes their behavior and their expectations. It mimics what parents should be teaching them."
Government schools? Oh, that's such a dirty word, Timmy. It sounds so, well, remote. A lot of the remoteness comes from things like No Child Left Behind. You remember Cheri Pierson Yecke, don't you Timmy? She loved NCLB.

Yeah, public schools are such moral vacuums. They don't teach your particular brand of white bread Christianity.

Spotty's pups attend the Edina school system. Here's what Superintendent Ken Dragseth said some time ago about values education:"[we need] to make sure that, as our mission states, we ‘educate responsible, life-long learners to possess the skills, knowledge, creativity, sense of self-worth, and ethical values necessary to survive and flourish in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society.’ The (September 11) crisis placed renewed emphasis on the challenge of understanding and appreciating our diversity within our country and from a global perspective." Other public schools have similar commitments and mission statements.

Public school teachers and administrators try to instill civic values in students; it is insulting to them to suggest they don't. I know it may be hard for you to believe, Timmy, but people who aren't white bread Christians have values, too.

By the way, what are guard rails? They sound like the things your bug-eyed control freak alienated parents would be especially interested in. Right?

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