Friday, October 27, 2006

School Daze: LA Unified Blasts Charter Schools For Giving Parents What They Want

I have many very smart friends who oppose charter schools and voucher programs. I disagree with them, but I respect their view.

After reading this news story about how the LA Unified School District's school board is reacting to the charter school movement, I may have to reconsider my willingness to live and let live.

Allying oneself with such unreasoning choice deniers is like joining forces with opponents of gay civil unions.

"But the explosion of charters concerns the Los Angeles Unified board. The growth in the number of charter schools has caused enrollment to drop in the nation's second-largest school district, which has to compete with the independent campuses for students - and funds.

District officials, as well as the president of the teachers union, bristle at assertions by the Charter Schools Association that middle and high school charters are significantly outperforming their district counterparts.

A fairer comparison would be with the district's magnet schools, which outperform charters, school board member Jon Lauritzen said.

"I think it's basically unfair to compare an entity that is able to take their entire budget and focus it entirely on their own schools," he said. "They have some real advantages over our schools in the flexibility of actually providing the type of education that a particular community wants, whereas we are trying to provide a curriculum that works for everyone all across the school district."

Not only does Mr. Lauritzen invoke an apples to oranges comparison of charter schools to magnet schools, he then states that it's unfair to compare charter schools to public schools because charter schools A) Can focus their entire budget on the school itself, and B) Can provide the type of education that a particular community wants.

What kind of bizarro world do these public school officials live in, where it's considered standard practice to spend education funds outside the schools (administrators outnumber teachers in many school districts), and where schools are not supposed to provide the kind of education the community wants?

I fervently hope that the voters are paying attention and will turf out Mr. Lauritzen and his insane troll logic in the next election.

Thanks to the libertarians at Coyote Blog and the Cato Institute for pointing me to the original news story.

6 comments:

Foobarista said...

Nah - can't have kids getting educated if it makes bureaucrats look bad. I wish Arnie had the huevos to just abolish all school districts and make _all_ schools chartered.

Chris said...

If only! There are so many examples of deregulation bringing about good outcomes. The Economist just ran a story last week on how the "Big Bang" deregulation of the financial services industry in London during the 1980s helped London reverse a major decline and become a leading financial center.

Foobarista said...

Frankly, the education system and Airbus in Europe have the same problems: they are state-owned enterprises being operated for political purposes not related to their main mission, and the political issues are strangling them.

Voucherizing and getting the State out of the education business is what should _really_ be done, but parents may use public funds to send kids to religious schools. That would just be So Awful!

Tim Taylor said...

Education, can't live with it, can't become a narrow viewing, marginally prepared, totally conditioned, frightfully conformist individual without it.

Anonymous said...

where do the number of administrators outnumber teachers?

Chris said...

Across the entire public school system, there are 1.09 teachers per administrator, down from 2.36 in 1950.

In Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Vermont, admistrators outnumber teachers.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3827/is_200302/ai_n9231092