Thursday, January 13, 2011

New politics and old policies.

The Washington Post has an interesting piece on the intersection of Tea Party politics and school policy.  Desegregation plans, whether by race or by economics, require educators and elected officials to create plans that keep students from spending too much time on buses or concentrate the most challenging students in low performing schools.
"Over the years, both Republican and Democratic school boards supported the system. A study of 2007 graduation rates by EdWeek magazine ranked Wake County 17th among the nation's 50 largest districts, with a rate of 64 percent, just below Virginia's Prince William County. While most students posted gains in state reading and math tests last year - more than three-quarters passed - the stubborn achievement gap that separates minority students from their white peers has persisted, though it has narrowed by some measures. And many parents see benefits beyond test scores."
Using a 'new' political ideology to recreate a system that was showing progress seems counter intuitive.  Radical changes, whether they are influenced by the 'left' or the 'right', need to be thought out, studied, and implemented with the best interests of the students in mind, not the political interests Americans for Prosperity ('s profile here).
"Things have not gone smoothly as the new school board has attempted to define its vision for raising student achievement. A preliminary map of new school assignments did not please some of the new majority's own constituents. And critics expressed alarm that the plan would create a handful of high-poverty, racially isolated schools, a scenario that the new majority has begun embracing.  Pope, who is a former state legislator, said he would back extra funding for such schools.  "If we end up with a concentration of students underperforming academically, it may be easier to reach out to them," he said. "Hypothetically, we should consider that as well."
The lesson learned is that you get what you voted for.  Next time, make sure you know who's paying for your candidate's campaigns, because they are the ones who will be influencing your policy.

No comments: