Friday, April 20, 2007

The Truth About Educational Choice by Akindele Akinyemi

There are two things any educational choice advocate should be fighting for in Michigan. One is to break the cap off charter schools to develop educational/generational wealth in our community and two, fighting for alternative teacher certification. Regardless of who is controlling State Government both parties should be working towards a common consensus.
To keep young people in Michigan and to keep young people working without being taxed to death.
We still have legislators in Lansing that do not know what a charter school is or the functions of a charter school. Rep. Tim Melton who heads the House Education Committee is not in favor of charter schools, however, parents are not sending their children to the Pontiac School District. Mind you that Pontiac is part of Rep. Melton's district. Parents want choice so why he is against the idea of charters?
Because Rep. Melton lives in Auburn Hills where the children receive a stellar education already regardless of race, creed or sex. So who is he looking out for?
Another person that is against charters is Rep. Andy Dillion from Redford Township. He wants to create the funding gap for charters even wider than what it is as compared to traditional public schools. If he was paying attention to what was going on in his district he would find that the reason why a number of African Americans are now attending Redford Union schools is because educational choice in Detroit are very restricted. And now the Redford schools are in trouble because parents within his district wants educational choice.
Add Gov. Granholm who is trying to get rid of homeschooling in the state and we now have chaos. I can clearly see why young families leave Michigan.
The reality is this people. Parents want to engage in free market education for our children and community. The only way to revitalize urban areas across Michigan is through educational entrepreneurship and promoting alternative teacher certification. Most states have a wide range of alternative teacher certification programs for potential educators to get involved in. Florida even offers a three year temporary teacher certification license while the teacher is working on their actual teacher certification.
The key here is not to pour more money into a failing school so those who are unionized can live in one of those big fat brick homes in Palmer Woods while the family that you are trying to teach lives in the hood with astronomical crime.
Here is another reason why we need educational choice in our community.
Michigan's system of public education has earned an extraordinary distinction in comparison to the public schools of our international competitors. Only in Michigan do we commit such egregious malpractice against our children that they actually get dumber every year they remain trapped in the traditional public school monopoly.
Traditional Public schools suffer the same defense as members of our Michigan State Government: “They’re all terrible except for mine.” Our public schools and our State Representatives and State Senators are - statistically speaking - probably both dismal failures, and for the same reason: neither is truly accountable to constituents.
The similarities are striking, if not terrifying:
Political forces largely outside the control of citizens and voters establish districts that rarely have anything to do with serving the public, but frequently have everything to do with maintaining monopoly power.
In Michigan Government members gerrymander their districts to insulate themselves from competitive elections.
In traditional public schools, bureaucrats set neighborhood school boundaries that prevent competition among schools.
We measure inputs rather than results.
In Michigan Government (especially under Granholm), increasing budgets are the most important measure of a program’s power and success, regardless of whether the program accomplishes anything, whether it’s necessary, or even if the program is counterproductive.
In traditional public schools, supporters equate greater quality with increased funding, despite the absence of any statistical correlation between increased budgets and improved outcomes.
Failure results in more funding.
In Michigan Government, failed programs are never the result of bad ideas, implementation, or employees. They are always the result of too little funding.
In traditional public schools, illiteracy, dropouts, declining test scores, and the inability to match wits with our international peers are never the result of bad curricula, bad teachers, or bad instruction methods. They are always the result of bad parents, unreasonable expectations, and too little funding.
The leaders follow fads without any evidence that their path will take them where they want to go.
In Michigan Government, legislators and committees use the rule of magpies - they find something bright and then they land on it. This is why Michigan Government holds endless hearings about issues that belong on Public Access TV and "20/20" rather than about issues that really matter to citizens.
In traditional public schools, the curriculum is so dedicated to political correctness, new math, and whole language learning that it has escaped the attention of professional educators that our children do not know whether the phrase, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” comes from Thomas Jefferson or Karl Marx; how to read a food label, make change, or balance a checkbook; and, how to read, spell, and write.
In Michigan Government, voters commonly complain that they rarely have the opportunity to choose among candidates that excite or enthuse them.
In traditional public schools, teachers with the highest ratings for generating positive educational outcomes among their students rarely work more than five years before leaving the field entirely.
You see where I am going with this?
Putting more money into a system that does not work will not make the system work. The incentives to perform in today’s public education system are set by people who have an interest in securing more power and more money, and the people responding to those incentives are accountable to the politicians and bureaucrats who set them. Only educational choice will make schools accountable to the constituents who matter - our children.

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