kitchen table math, the sequel: dumbest thing I ever said

Saturday, January 22, 2011

dumbest thing I ever said

Dumbest thing I ever said: "Is there a political movement against charter schools for suburban kids?

On the front page in today's New York Times: On Upper West Side, Hurdles for Charter School

Parents, Acorn and the unions organizing against a charter school.

The grounds?

A charter school would be bad for the public schools.

It's never about the kids.

at least I got this one right

On August 20:

I keep thinking the politics of choice will be affected by the economy. Charter schools (and vouchers) are cheaper than public schools, and parents are happier (or at least spend fewer years of their lives being unhappy - pdf file).

Same academic outcomes for less money, with less stress on the family: put it that way, some of us are going to take that deal.

Looks like Eva Moskowitz had the same idea:

The guests sipped wine and nibbled sushi, guacamole and Gruy√®re — lawyers, bankers, preschool teachers, managers and consultants of various kinds, bound by the anxious decision they must confront in the months ahead: where their 4-year-olds will go to school in the fall.

Downstairs, a flier by the doorman’s desk had greeted them with a provocative question: “Why should you have to spend college tuition on kindergarten?” Back upstairs, in the stylish apartment on West 99th Street, Eva S. Moskowitz, a former City Council member who runs a network of charter schools in Harlem and the Bronx, delivered a tantalizing sales talk.

“Middle-class families need options too,” she said.

sorry, Johnny


Hainish said...

No, It's never about the kids, is it?

The purpose of kids from middle class families is to keep the public school stable. I about fell off my chair when I read that.

I've often found myself thinking that what my own district needs is a good charter school.

ChemProf said...

This is basically the same argument used against magnet schools or other accommodations for gifted kids. They need to stay in grade level classes to benefit the other kids, not because it does them any good. Plus, the fact that it helps the test scores for free doesn't hurt.

PhysicistDave said...

The very fact that we talk about charter schools and magnet schools should give us pause.

Why don’t we have charter grocery stores and magnet department stores?

The answer is that every single grocery store and every single department store had better compete to be as good as any other or they will go under.

And why don’t we have lotteries to determine what gas station we are allowed to use or which drugstore we can shop at?

Because, of course, if some gas station or drugstore provides better prices, service, and/or product and more people become its customers, it will expand its site, open new sites, etc.: they welcome increased demand and will expand to meet that demand.

Remember the old joke about UPS vs. the Post Office at Christmas time:

UPS guy: How you guys doing?

Postal Service guy: Oh, it’s horrible! So many packages, so much work to do… How about you guys?

UPS guy: Oh, things are great! So many packages, so much business…

The idea that we need special schools and that we cannot possibly meet the demand for those special schools (e.g., “Waiting for Superman”) is a sign that something is horribly wrong with our educational paradigm.

Jen said...

The answer is that every single grocery store and every single department store had better compete to be as good as any other or they will go under.

Umm, really? Every single store is competing against every other store? I don't really buy that. The Dollar General down the street with the poor lighting, poor selection, and surly staff is doing fine without my business. I just happen to be lucky enough to have the money and transportation to go to Costco or Target instead. I don't pay much more, if anything either, because I can afford to buy in bulk, or buy for later when there's a sale.

There are department stores that do not carry clothes *I* would wear, and yet they are doing a booming business. The stores I shop at may be equally unappealing to other shoppers.

But that doesn't seem to be your point? Help me out with what you are arguing.

Allison said...

The point is that the govt didn't create the store you buy clothes at, and when that store had no clothes almost no one wanted, it didn't then create an alternative store because of how little the first one produced desirable products.

Instead, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Dollar Store and everyone else decided they could find a niche and enough customers to make a profit, no govt intervention necessary. To the extent that some families are too poor to afford food, the govt gives them, and only them, a voucher with which to purchase food, and still leaves it up to them whether they shop at Whole Foods or Walmart.

Every one of these stores has to compete against *someone* else, and find a way to attract customers to buy goods at prices that make the store stay in the black.

We call food, clothing and shelter basic necessities, but the middle class and above don't think they should get an entitlement for them. Why they think public-paid education should exist at all for them is a strange history lesson that has produced enormous distortions in education.