Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The politics of disaster

Memo to Arne Duncan's PR guy and speechwriter, Peter Cunningham. Please tell Arne to stop calling this, possibly the worst global economic crisis ever, "this magical opportunity." It sounds too much like the late free-marketeer Milton Friedman calling Hurricane Katrina, "an opportunity to radically reform the educational system," while the bodies were still being dragged out of the flood waters.

Who's playing with numbers
in N.O.?

While Louisiana's laughing-stock Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to say he will refuse to take any stimulus money, New Orleans Recovery District schools boss, Paul Vallas is debating the numbers in hopes of grabbing more federal dollars. Before Katrina, New Orleans had about 65,000 public school students. For the 2007-08 school year, the data used by the Department of Education, enrollment was 32,000, increasing to about 36,000 for the 2008-09 school year. Vallas is claiming the DOE owes the district $39 million while the census count of poor kids in the District has only $673K coming their way. Quite a discrepancy!

Rick Ayers makes the case for small schools at Berkeley H.S.
While Berkeley has a proud tradition of progressive politics and social justice initiatives, our public high school continues to practice tracking, inequity, and an educational experience which is so much less than it could be. The recent spate of attacks hurled at a redesign proposal and at the small schools shows that some elements of our community will go to great lengths to prevent even modest reforms. (Berkeley Daily Planet).

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