February 11, 2013

"I just couldn’t look mother after mother in the eye and deny their children the opportunity I wanted for my own children"

The purpose of teachers' unions is to represent the job interests of their members.  They do no represent the best interests of children.
Which is why all the school reforms of the past 30 years haven't worked.  And it's why they will fight school choice to the death.

From Prager University, a 5 minute video on How Teachers Unions Hurt Schools

Michelle Rhee: My Break With the Democrats

As a lifelong Democrat, controversial education reformer Michelle Rhee never thought she’d support school vouchers. Until she did. In Radical, she details her transformation.

As a lifelong Democrat I was adamantly against vouchers. Vouchers provide public funds to parents who need help in paying tuition for private or parochial schools.
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I just couldn’t look mother after mother in the eye and deny their children the opportunity I wanted for my own children. It would have required me to say, “Gee, I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to suck it up. I know your elementary school is a failing school, and your child will probably not learn how to read, but I really need five more years to fix the system. And while I’m fixing the system, I need you and your neighbors to be really patient. Hang in there with me. Things will get better. I promise.”

If someone said that to me, I’d have said, “You may need more time to fix the system but my kid doesn’t have time. She has only one chance to attend first grade, and if she can’t learn to read by the end of first grade, her chances for success in life will be compromised. So with all due respect—heck no!”
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Here’s the question we Democrats need to ask ourselves: Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost?
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Think about it this way. Say your elderly mother had to be hospitalized for life-threatening cancer. The best doctor in the region is at Sacred Heart, a Catholic, private hospital. Could you ever imagine saying this? “Well, I don’t think our taxpayer dollars should subsidize this private institution that has religious roots, so we’re going to take her to County General, where she’ll get inferior care. ’Cause that’s just the right thing to do!”

Simple Justice: Kids Deserve School Choice

Rather than cave to self-interested protests against school choice from teachers unions, we should do what we can to make Catholic schools a viable school option for low-income children.
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The steady loss of Catholic schools is not only a crisis for the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church in America. It also threatens to detour, and in many cases to dead-end, that “road of opportunity.” What’s more, as new research by law professors Margaret Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett demonstrates, Catholic school closures in urban neighborhoods are associated with decreases in social cohesion and increases in disorder (see “Catholic Schools and Broken Windows”). Along with other scholars, Brinig and Garnett have reminded us of the importance of “social capital” and the anchoring, mediating institutions that strengthen communities and character alike. In our history, few institutions have played this role as successfully as Catholic schools have.

What’s more, for more than 150 years, and often despite bias and bigotry, Catholic schools have relieved governments of huge financial burdens while providing communities with immeasurable civic benefits. Indeed, America’s Catholic schools represent one of the most dramatic donations of time, talent, and treasure to the common good in our history. Perhaps instead of making the “heartbreaking” choice to close Blessed Sacrament School, Cardinal Dolan should call a press conference and present to the American people a sizable bill for services rendered.
Posted by Jill Fallon at February 11, 2013 4:38 PM | Permalink