Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Tribune's so-called 'Schoolchildren's Bill of Rights'

Created with consent of the governed.
Chicago Tribune editors are calling for a "Schoolchild's Bill of Rights." As anyone familiar with the Trib might guess, Sunday's editorial has little to do with schoolchildren or their rights--except, that is, for their right to have their schools closed or privatized and their teachers debased. 

The Trib's Bill of Rights includes not a single right for students, but instead includes things like:
  • Merit Pay for teachers, a oft-tried initiative which, according to researchers, produced no gains in measurable learning outcomes. 
  • Using student test scores to evaluate teachers. Already the law in IL. 
  • Widespread school "choice," the Trib's code word for school vouchers and privately-run charters. Trib editors write: "The public education industry should view ethnic, parochial or other private schools not as threats but as alternatives that enrich and diversify a community's educational offerings."
  • An end to collective bargaining, including the right to strike.
  • Parent Trigger Laws which enable a small and temporary group of parents to take over a school and hand it over to a private, for-profit company to operate. As you might expect, there's nothing about parents' right to opt-out of the plague of standardized testing.
  • Mass closing of  black and Latino neighborhood schools and leaving boarded-up buildings to further blight communities or sell them off to condo developers. Again, too late. They're already doing it. 
In other words, there's not much on this list that hasn't been going on for years in Chicago, without any positive results. 

Trib editors' ideal schools chief.
The only thing surprising here is the Trib editors' use of Bill of Rights lingo to promote their extreme right-wing reform agenda. Remember it was the same board members who, in a previous editorial, called for CPS to be taken over by an autocrat with "Mussolini-like powers" to execute and implement that agenda. 

I'm afraid that would leave Chicago kids with little more than Miranda Rights. 

A real student Bill of Rights might include items like:
  • The right to learn in a safe environment in a safe community.
  • The right to be well-fed, rested and clothed.
  • The right to opt-out of high-stakes, standardized testing.
  • The right to attend a racially desegregated public school.
  • The right to gender equality including freedom from LGBT discrimination.
  • The right to vote and have voice on important matters concerning school policy.
  • The right to think critically, free from censorship, locker searches and book banning.
  • The right to have a qualified, certified teacher in every classroom. 
  • The right to the same level of funding and resources as students in the wealthy suburbs. 
The list of student rights could and would be a lot longer, if students had any voice in compiling it. I'm quite sure that didn't happen over at the Tribune. 

Mussolini would never have approved. 

1 comment:

  1. The Tribune is the mouthpiece of the alt-right. You can not get farther right than the Tribune. And they don't have even a clue about education, children, teaching, or teachers. Attempting to link their idiotic writing with "schoolchildren" just shows that their premise is so weak and wrong that they have to put a child in front of it. Like the social terrorists that they are.


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