Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Romney's plan to "fix" Education: Put more money in his own pocket

Romney's tax proposals would leave him paying no tax.  But his conservative social engineering projects like education would also leave him with money in his pocket.  Take his favorite "school choice" idea. For two hundred years, the government has stopped short of funding private religious schools with tax dollars as an unconstitutional "establishment of religion."  Romney wants to overturn that, and thinks he has the conservative Supreme Court which will do it.

Conservatives at first settled for charter schools, privately run public schools that use non-union teachers and compete for public funds while promising not to discriminate.  Despite overwhelming evidence that charter schools have not improved educational standards, and that fake or badly run charter schools hurt children, the "experiment" rushes on.

What conservatives always wanted, however, was money for religious schools taken from the public schools
as well as for online schools and tutoring (like Sylvan Learning Center)  that can be run cheaply and make them money.  This is the second step towards that goal, by allowing poor students to use school vouchers to go to private schools.  They won't in general: even with the vouchers, private schools are too expensive for most poor children. The point is to "sell" the dream of sending your kid to a private school without actually having to expand opportunities to the underclass.

The main goal would be to make money off online schools and tutoring. Romney's new school choice program would do that, withholding federal funds from any school that does not offer online options.  What he hasn't talked much about is  his own proactive investments in this area, that would profit him personally if he could get this program adopted. Indeed, it is difficult to see how taking money away from public schools and giving it to Sylvan Learning Center will improve the nation's competitiveness.

He and his family have made a special commitment to for-profit colleges with no reputations, the financial kind.  Naturally he will profit if he can divert money to these companies from the taxpayers.

But he doesn't stop at colleges. Bain Capital, for example, runs Penn Foster online school.

How much will Romney profit? The sky's the limit.

Will any of this actually help children?  Probably not.

He will, of course, report all sorts of fake statistics. There are many around. Texas, for example, which started the charter school movement, reports all kind of progress. Unfortunately, it appears this progress has been made by making the tests easier.

Test cheating has become a routine news story.  In this case, an El Paso school encouraged low-performing students to drop out to improve their tests scores.

Other schools take a more traditional approach, tampering with the tests.

Education reform, Republican style, is just a racket. it is just like business, Republican style.  They are creating a caste society with zero social mobility.

No comments:

Post a Comment