Since I outlined President Obama’s initiatives yesterday, now it’s time for Romney (this information was gathered from Mitt Romney’s website ).
- Advocates for pay for performance
- Advocates for school choice
- Believes in privatizing education (in other words, allowing businesses to ‘sponsor’ schools)
1) Pay for Performance: (First off, this is just dumb. How can you judge ME on how THEY perform? I can’t make students prepare for tests and anyway, how can you measure my effectiveness for an entire year based on a SINGLE assessment? Foolishness.) But anyway, all this boils down to is that schools where students perform well, the teachers will be rewarded with salary bumps, thus encouraging them to remain K-12 teachers. In what schools do students consistently perform well? That’s right…upper income schools. Why? Because these students have out of class learning opportunities that lower income students do not (this is a future post). They also already have the more qualified teachers because those districts can afford to pay their teachers more because of the higher revenue from property taxes (see Why Isn’t My Money as Good as Theirs? ) On the contrary, when the low performing schools don’t do well on the end of year test—because they didn’t have enough textbooks, or enough desks, or consistent teachers, or school resources—their teachers will be fired or not given raises, thus encouraging the already HIGH teacher attrition rate in low income schools. So, this piece of legislation basically keeps the well performing schools (i.e. the wealthy schools) at the top, and the poor performing schools (i.e. the poor schools) at the bottom.
2) School Choice: This is exactly what it sounds like. Your family gets to choose what school you attend. Here’s the problem: how do students get to schools that are NOT in their neighborhood school? They can’t walk and the district is not providing school buses. Sooo…oh that’s right! Mom or Dad can take me. Oh wait—what if they HAVE TO WORK?!?! Well that’s not a problem in wealthy families where Dad is the primary breadwinner and Mom stays home, or where they can afford to hire a Nanny who can provide transportation to and from school. So who really has a choice here? Wealthy families. Middle and working class families: just send your child to that failing neighborhood school. I mean, it’s your fault they aren’t learning. You had a ‘choice’.
3) Privatizing Education: Romney believes that private funds (read: corporate sponsorship) will allow for ‘creative innovation’ in schools. But there are two problems with this.
- First, why on Earth would we allow BUSINESS PEOPLE (not educators) to design and implement pedagogical tools (e.g. curricula, textbooks, assessment measures, classroom technology) when they have NEVER BEEN TEACHERS?!?! What makes them qualified to know a) how students learn and b) what students need? Money. That’s what makes them qualified. See, when you have money, you have power and assumed intelligence. They must be right because they are investing $20 million in this new fangled computer program. Idiots. Just because it worked in your business does not mean it will work in our schools. But that’s just it: Romney thinks schools are businesses meant to make profits. Sir, they are institutions of learning, not money making empires.
- Second, what schools are these businesses going to want to invest in? Corporations will sponsor wealthy schools with a great name brand. These are the schools that make local news, travel around the country for music and sports competitions, have high test scores that garner state recognition. In short, they will be investing more money in the schools that don’t need it. Conversely, I highly doubt they are going to sponsor the school that was built in 1945, is overcrowded, has no sports teams through which they
could advertise their company, and has low test scores. No self respecting businessman would ever think that’s a great investment. Where is the payoff? No advertising, no marketing, no one to buy our products.
But we teachers, we see the payoff. We know that these are the students in whom we MUST invest. You know, the students in ‘the other class’.