Sunday, July 6, 2008

The News Journal and Education ... who knew?

The recent WNJ editorial defending cuts in public education goes from the well-paid directly into the bizarre, with only a token stop at weird:

Delaware's recently completed budget-writing process forced the Legislature to take a chunk of cash out of every government department. That included the schools.

Among the victims will be mandatory summer school next year for students who don't fare well in statewide tests.

That probably sounds worse than it is. Summer school really didn't help kids much. It was more punishment than actual aid to students. Tests, studies and teacher observation show that there are more effective ways to help students over a hump.

So back in the spring when the General Assembly's budget writers asked a variety of education leaders for places to cut, summer school showed up high on the list. The Joint Finance Committee duly aired them early on.

It might sound strange, but the action gives schools more freedom to help students who are having trouble. Schools already had suffered other cuts that hurt. It is a tough year, after all.

But removal of a large but not very useful summer school requirement helps.There's less money, but the professionals have more leeway to help the students as individuals. It's not a perfect solution, but it's a more realistic one.

Now let's see if one reasonably naive Libertarian can parse this:

Educators and legislators have known for a long time that summer school was not effective, so they waited together for a year of budget cuts to do what's right for kids who can't pass the DSTP?

Yeah, that makes sense.

That's why essentially mandatory summer-school attendance was written into the consequences for students failing the DSTP--because the education establishment and our General Assembly knew it wouldn't do them any good.

And, of course, all those teachers and parents involved in summer school have been aware all along that they were involved in a pointless charade that merely tortured failing students, and likewise didn't say anything until the money ran short.

Thus it naturally follows that having less money to help students will obviously allow the students to receive more help.

I must have missed the part where all the educators and parents have been lobbying the General Assembly to take away this money so they could work more effectively.

What a load of utter bull.

1 comment:

Duffy said...

Don't forget that summer school also creates a very high barrier to summer employment. Good luck finding a job you can work around summer school.