Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Instruction at This School Is Terrible - and the Days Are so Short!

I'm trying really hard not to sound wing-nutty on this one, but man it's hard.

Matthew Yglesias » Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic of American Education-Related Social Stratification
If you were to start writing a list of the problems faced by poor people in the United States of America you’d run out of paper long before you got to elite university admissions policies. Poor kids start school already behind their higher-SES peers. They are then disproportionately concentrated in low-performing schools featuring ineffective teachers. And when they’re in school is the lucky time! Every summer, the schools shut down and poor kids fall further behind their middle class peers. If they depend on the school lunch program to feed them, well then they’re out of luck come summertime on the eating front as well as the schooling front.
"Out of luck on the eating front," huh? Yglesias is a Harvard Grad, so I'm pretty sure he knows where babies come from. Don't these kids have parents?  If their parents won't feed them, aren't there laws against that?  If their parents can't feed them, isn't that what we have government assistance for?  Of course, cutting out the parent and going straight to the kids is a good plan if your ultimate goal is something other than nutrition.

Setting that aside, Yglesias notes that part of the problem is the fact that poor kids are "concentrated in low-performing schools featuring ineffective teachers."  What is the response of the Obama administration to this problem, you ask.  More time spent in those same schools!  Here is Education Secretary Arne Duncan (H/T Dad29):
“In all seriousness, I think schools should be open 12, 13, 14 hours a day, seven days a week, 11-12 months of the year,” Duncan said. “This is not just more of the same. There would be a whole variety of after-school programs. Obviously academics would be at the heart of that. But you top it off with dancing, art, drama, music, yearbook, robotics, activities for older siblings and parents, ESL classes.”
Draw your own conclusion.  A few more years of education policy like this and most people won't even be able to do that.

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