Friday, June 25, 2010

The Problem with Mark Neumann's Education Plan

Remember choosing teams in gym class?  Two students were chosen as team captains, and each took turns selecting teammates.  As one of the slow, chubby kids, I was always among the last few chosen (unless I was team captain).  However, I had an even chance of ending up on the winning team. 

Imagine a system in which one team captain was allowed to select his or her entire team (and therefore, the other team, by default).  How evenly matched would the teams be?  Would the outcome even be in doubt?

Gubenatorial candidate Mark Neumann is an advocate of school choice. Lately, he has been touting the idea of expanding Milwaukee's private school choice program.  Under his plan, income and enrollment caps would be lifted, allowing all of Wisconsin's children to have access to voucher money.  Private schools that accept public funds would have to be held accountable for the same measures of academic achievement as public schools.  However, the private schools would not be required to accept all of the children who apply for admission.  Essentially, the private schools could pick and choose their students, leaving the at-risk population to the public schools.

Yes, there are a lot of low-income minority students currently getting a high-quality education in Milwaukee private schools, thanks to the school choice vouchers.  However, those are the students whose parents are motivated enough to jump through the hoops to get their children a better education, so they are not the most at-risk.  Also, it is only low-income children who currently qualify for vouchers.  How many of those cash-strapped private schools will still be eager to accept inner-city minority kids once the school choice program is expanded to everyone? Can you say taxpayer-funded white flight?  I knew you could.

Neumann also wants to do away with state teacher certification, allowing local school boards to establish their own standards.  That means the creationists on the West Bend School Board can start hiring graduates of any unaccredited bible seminary that satisfies their world view.

Neumann promises: "Within my first 60 days in office as governor  I will form a Blue Ribbon Panel that will be tasked with the job of transforming public education in Wisconsin with the goal of making Wisconsin children the Best Educated Children in the World.   I will personally chair the panel."

First of all, I never realized that Mark Neumann was such a fan of PBR.  I guess he's establishing his blue collar cred.  Secondly, I never realized that PBR was starting to sponsor educational events, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised, now that they've cornered the market on bicycle messenger rallies in the Pacific Northwest.

1 comment:

Deekaman said...

There are a zillion problems with Neumann. This is but one.