Friday, April 17, 2009

Lift the Cap, Lift Up Kids

UPDATE: Shikha Dalmia, Forbes. Obama's Hypocrisy. Also, Pat Hickey on the rotten Chicago unions.***Well. We welcome Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan's challenge to the powers that be who consistently block substantive education reform in Chicago, Illinois, and around the country. Duncan says he'll withhold some new federal education dollars until Illinois shapes up, and calls for lifting the cap on charter schools here. Tribune:
He wants Illinois to lift its cap on charter schools. State law says there can be no more than 60 charter schools in the state, but there is demand for more than that. Why the cap? Because charter school teachers usually don't have unions, and the teachers unions see that as a threat.

"Great charters make a huge difference in kids' lives. What I loved about charters is they're a school of choice," Duncan said. "If kids stop showing up, we'll take the school out. The money follows the kid."
Yes, the money should follow the kid--that is the only way an individual child's best interests can be served, and the only way to really achieve any kind of fairness in education.

Perhaps he has been shamed by the disgrace of the Obama administration and his fellow Illinoisan and Democrat leader Sen. Dick Durbin's sellout of poor DC children. Kowtowing to the teachers union, the core of Dem party support, those examplars of venal mediocrity, the Dem Congress killed those kids' opportunity scholarships to go to private schools, including Sasha and Malia Obama's school, Sidwell Friends.

Will Illinois rise to the challenge?

This is the civil rights battle of our time.

More: And think about this:

NEA Opposition to Differential Pay for Math Teachers Doesn’t Add Up

In a November 2007 report on how teachers unions affect math and science education, National Institute for Labor Relations Research senior research associate Stan Greer pointed out -- using the union’s own words -- how the National Education Association (NEA) stifles a critical education reform:

In July 2000, the NEA Representative Assembly passed a resolution that explicitly condemns offering higher pay to math, science, and foreign language teachers for positions a school district is having trouble filling than to any other teachers: “The Association opposes providing additional compensation to attract and/or retain education employees in hard-to-recruit positions….”

According to NEA researchers, 41 states are currently experiencing a shortage of math teachers. Forty-three have shortages of science and special education teachers. Fourteen states don’t have enough foreign language teachers, while 10 don’t have enough for English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or “bilingual” education.

Meanwhile, just one state has an identified shortage of English teachers.

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