consultants are sandburs

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Voucherism run amok, and some think Jindal is presidential material.

This link. Reuters no less, and they most often try to be non-judgmental. If Biblical math is in the cards, how about Revelation numerology? Subtract all the other mentioned numbers, as mentioned, from 666, and what is the difference you are left with? Four Horsemen. Seven Seals. All that. Each in order.

And the great State of Lousiiana has its share of cost-benefit voucher concern, where cost-benefit reckoning also should be a part of standardized testing considerations:

Louisiana's bold bid to privatize schools
By Stephanie Simon - Fri Jun 1, 2012

To date, private schools have not had to give their students state standardized tests, so there's no straightforward way for parents to judge their performance. Starting next year, any student on a voucher will have to take the tests; each private school must report individual results to parents and aggregate results to the state.

The 47-page bill setting up the voucher program does not outline any consequences for private schools that get poor test scores. Instead, it requires the superintendent of schools to come up with an "accountability system" by Aug. 1. Once he does, the system cannot be altered except by legislative vote.

White would not say whether he is prepared to pull vouchers from private schools that do poorly on tests.

He pointed out that many kids applying for vouchers are now enrolled in dismal public schools where two-thirds of the students can't read or do math at grade level and half will drop out before they graduate high school. Given that track record, he argues it's worth sending a portion of the roughly $3.5 billion a year the state spends on education to private schools that may have developed different ways to reach kids.

[..] Officials have not estimated the price tag of these programs but expect the state will save money in the long run, because they believe the private sector can educate kids more cheaply than public schools.

Whether those savings will materialize is unclear.

By law, the value of each voucher can't exceed the sum the state would spend educating that child in public school -- on average, $8,800 a year. Small private schools often charge as little as $3,000 to $5,000 a year.

Yet at some private schools with low tuition, administrators contacted by Reuters said they would also ask the state to cover additional, unspecified fees, which would bring the cost to taxpayers close to the $8,800 cap. The law requires the state to cover both tuition and fees.

In the separate mini-voucher program due to launch in 2013, students across Louisiana, regardless of income, will be able to tap the state treasury to pay for classes that are offered by private vendors and not available in their regular public schools.

That picture is ugly. You want to say there is exaggeration in the report, but it does ring as being factual, even if editorially selective in what gets written about and what else might be left unsaid.

And do you want a tune? Sure, it is syrup, saccharin, and shallow, but Hollywood does choose what it gives us. They made money from it just as the test-seller cabal makes its big-time money now. What harm's a mix-in of some capitalist adventurism likely to cause in training the young to cope in today's world? Sure, sell tests. Impose them on children and perhaps get standardized interchangeable-parts labor force grown-ups from standardized testing imposed on variable young minds. Isn't that good? Who can argue against it?

To everything there is a season ... Or should I leave that direction alone?

Turn standardized testing around as a tool to beat up on the teachers union? Is it coalition building, disfavorable to standardized testing proponents, by opponents, to bring new blood into the anti-test movement? Squeeze the payroll, get more representative anti-test participation that way, a broader coalition?

Or is it just a change in taste and fashion? A fad to counter an earlier one?

Education at the K-12 level is in flux. That should not diminish the need to remember that college and post-graduate education, (the forgotten dimension), if underfunded will be mortgaging innovation potentials within the nation's future. Higher ed. IS where the bright ideas in very large measure originate.

As with most things, either-or juxtaposition may be less appropriate than wanting to reach a sane balance. But those test selling profiteers, they sure do have a cash cow they do not want to run dry or underproduce. Always bear that in mind.

No comments: