Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hollywood phonies are upset about DeVos

Fox News: "Celebrities weigh in on Betsy DeVos confirmation: 'This is murdering' our school system."  Well, not your school system, right?

First on the list is Stephen Colbert who sent his kids to the tony Montclair Kimberley Academy according to this student report.  Tuition: 38 large.  I'll update if I can find anybody on this list who has school-age kids in a public school.  Don't hold your breath.

Update - Joshua Malina sent his daughter Isabel to the Archer School for Girls.  Tuition: 35 large.

Somebody name Ilana Glazer: no kids.

That funny guy from Parks and Rec: no kids.

Seth MacFarlane: surprisingly, no kids.

Connie Britton: has a five-year old who has not started private school yet, presumably.

Josh Gad: two kids, aged 2 and 5, also probably not in private school yet.

That guy from Silicon Valley: no kids.

The hysterical Joss Whedon has two kids aged 12 and 14 but he's really keeping them private, hiding them under his wife's name.

Chelsea Handler: no kids.


Anonymous said...

Welp, that covers the full list of people opposed to DeVos. NAILED IT.

Eric said...

What? I'm covering the people in the associated news story.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a single person in the world that Trump could have picked that would not have "angered" the liberal left who are in bed with the teacher's unions.

The fact of the matter is the liberals are 100% happy with the current educational system's failures. They would rather control a broken system for their benefit, than fix a system that might cause them to lose future constituents.

Why should parents be forced to send their children to failing schools because they can't afford private schools?

Once choice and financial incentive to ensure quality schools is allowed to happen, failing schools will fail, and successful schools will rise to take their place. All the rhetoric coming from the left is over the potential loss of control over the dollars.

As Eric has pointed out, none of these celebrities who claim to care so much about the downtrodden are sending their kids to failing schools. They all claim to care, but they don't care enough to subject themselves to the same realities that poor families endure on a daily basis. Heck, Colbert lives in Montclair, NJ which has a high performing public school system. He won't even send his kids to a top 1% public school system.

Anonymous said...

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) attended private high school herself, yet she voted against Betsy De Vos. Is Murkowski just as phony as, or even worse than, the guy who directed "The Avengers"?

Why are the dozens and dozens of multimillionaires in Congress allowed to vote on food stamps?

Donald Trump got five draft deferments, the last for a fake foot injury; why did that Navy SEAL in Yemen have to die under his amateur command?

Meanwhile, in 2015, Stephen Colbert personally funded every existing grant request on the education crowdfunding website made by any public school teacher in South Carolina. What a phony.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a single person in the world that Trump could have picked that would not have "angered" the liberal left who are in bed with the teacher's unions.

Please avert your eyes from Betsy De Vos. Because it’s all about lefties and unions. Which must be why all previous Education Secretaries who were nominated by Republican Presidents were confirmed by voice vote, by voice vote, by voice vote, by 94-0, by 93-0, and by 90-2. That’s a total of 2 “no” votes in six confirmations, before De Vos came along.

Why should parents be forced to send their children to failing schools because they can't afford private schools?

And why should “failing schools” be forced to give up money to private schools, when private schools don’t perform better? Numerous studies have weighed public and private school records, and found them to be equivalent. The advantages of private schools lie in their ability to choose a higher percentage of students whose stable home lives and economic backgrounds already give them a leg up. Private schools also reject or expel students with special problems or needs. Unlike public schools, private schools are not answerable or accountable.

Such studies could be even more definitive if private schools released their test scores, curriculums, attendance rates, graduation rates and expulsion rates. But most don’t.

The top competitive private schools invest resources in screening out lower-performing students whose scores would damage the school’s academic reputation, and they spend further money on advertising to attract their preferred students. Public schools offer universal access, and thus can’t take advantage of that market strategy. So they should lose funding so that private schools can?

Taxpayers should have to pay backdoor subsidies to religious establishments? Some in states where private school vouchers have already been ruled unconstitutional? Many in states where voucher amendments have already made the ballot and been voted down by the public for decades, almost always by 2-1 margins or more?

None of this is new information, or fake political spin. Voucher advocates already know all about this. They just want the money.

Heck, Colbert lives in Montclair, NJ which has a high performing public school system. He won't even send his kids to a top 1% public school system.

Montclair High School, the only public HS in Montclair, is ranked 48th of 399 high schools within New Jersey, and 1,529th in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Its college readiness score is deemed 34.4 out of 100. In 2011-12, one of Montclair’s elementary schools earned a top ranking from New Jersey’s Department of Education; the other ten public schools in the district were deemed “average.” GreatSchools gives three of the eleven Montclair schools ratings of 8 (out of 10), and the district as a whole scores a 7 ("average").

Anonymous said...

Did you cut and paste that from the pamphlet the teacher's union sent you?

Anonymous said...

At my public school, they taught me how to defend my arguments. Although your assertions weren't hard to squash.

What did they teach you at Subsidized Jesus Prep? That 48/399 equals top 1 percent?

Eric2 said...

A couple of things:

In case you didn't notice, everybody in Trump's cabinet is getting the DeVos treatment. It's all part of the "Resist!" effort of virtue signaling and fundraising.

Second, it is catechism that charter schools don't perform better. This MUST be true because otherwise the entire architecture of public education must be under question. And that cannot it won't! What is factual is that charter schools teach many more hours/month with the same resources; in Massachusetts it comes out to an extra month of instruction per school year. Oh but "they just want the money"...unlike those teacher unions.

Finally: the Boston Globe had a remarkable editorial (for them) that urged voters to allow expansion of charter schools that refuted most of what you said above. But their overriding theme was that kids in urban areas were stuck in terrible schools, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. It got voted down because the teacher unions lied and told Bay Staters it would drain resources from public schools (per student funding would remain the same). So the voters who had their kids in good schools, or had the resources to send their kids to better schools if necessary, told those kids with no choice to get back to their terrible schools.

They're not that far removed from those Hollywood phonies who never had to think about sending their kids to Roxbury High versus Sidwell Friends.

Anonymous said...

In case you didn't notice, everybody in Trump's cabinet is getting the DeVos treatment.

Which makes these people nobody:
James Mattis-- 98 votes to confirm
Nikki Haley-- 96 votes
Elaine Chao-- 93 votes
John Kelly-- 88 votes

It is true that heart doctor/housing trainees, Putin partners, doofuses and people who aim to sabotage their own Department are going to have a harder go of it.

If you want to drain the resources of public schools to suit your biases, you should avoid using words like "catechism." Just a free salesmanship tip. Also, try not to covet thy neighbor's funding.

Charter schools aren't a singular thing. Nearly all studies have shown that some perform better, and some worse, than public schools. Wild twist: that's because most of those charter schools are designed for high-performing or low-performing students. You're not going to want to hear how the average charter school performs. But it's one of the words in the previous sentence.

Success also varies greatly from state to state. For example, Missouri and Chicago charters are reportedly doing better than the public school average, while Florida and Texas charters are worse than average.

That's the data we have, anyway. The many successes of charter schools would be even more impressive if they were subject to the same transparency laws as public schools. In one study, FOIA requests were sent to over 400 charter schools; more than 325 refused to respond. That transparency gap isn't only about test scores. In numerous cases, the Education Management Organizations (EMOs) that operate charter schools have refused to provide their own board members with information about how their school's money is being spent. There are several cases where charter board members have been kicked off the board for asking such questions.

But take their word for it, they soar. I just wish I could edit MY performance data every April 15th.

It's unfortunate that charter school expansion was voted down in Massachusetts by more or less the same margin that voucher proposals have been voted down in state after state for decades. And it's strange that the Massachusetts vote hinged on the prominence of teacher union lies, when the unions were outspent almost 2 to 1 by supporters of charter expansion. (What was that I heard about virtue signaling and fundraising?)

Eric said...

Maybe charter schools are better and maybe they're not. The important thing is that students must NOT be given that choice.

That's what Stephen Colbert told me and celebrities are just better.

Anonymous said...

There's no maybe; charter schools aren't better. They rig their own enrollment and calculate their own performance numbers, and they're still not better.

But siphoning money from public schools, much like Tonya Harding's astute strategy, would be just the thing to improve charter schools' relative standing.

If Colbert is just another selfish, hypocritical TV celebrity, shouldn't you treat him with the same respect you give our President?

Eric said...

Well, I provided two sources saying charter schools have shown positive results. Your counter-argument of "nuh-uh" is compelling though.

You know that per-student funding at public schools is not reduced, but hold tight to your NEA talking points.

I like how Stephen Colbert, a devout Catholic, paid his indulgences to the kids of South Carolina. Anything to keep his kids safely out of public schools yet pontificate to the rest of us on our sins.

Anonymous said...

Well, I provided two sources saying charter schools have shown positive results. Your counter-argument of "nuh-uh" is compelling though.

Oh, I saw them. A "remarkable editorial." And a Slate piece headlined "Do Charter Schools Work? - Yes, but not always and not for everyone which then goes on to say:

Whether charter schools have actually lived up to their initial promise is a hotly contested topic in the education reform debate. The latest findings, based on six well-regarded charter schools in Boston, released Wednesday by the Boston Foundation and MIT’s School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative, adds to the accumulating evidence that at least a subset of high-performing charters are measuring up to the movement’s early aspirations of giving disadvantaged kids a shot at a better life.

...At least part of the disagreement revolves around whether charter schools deliver on their promise to improve student outcomes. You might think this is a relatively easy proposition to evaluate—just compare whether charter school kids do better on tests than those in public schools. But any effort to compare performance is confounded by the fact that the kinds of parents who take steps to enroll their children in charter schools may be the kind of motivated and supportive parents whose children would have done just fine in any school system. (In the current study, charter school applicants do in fact have higher than average test scores even before they enroll. However, other analyses have seen charter school applicants with below-average scores, perhaps because kids struggling in the public system are more apt to look for other options.) And if the longer hours and additional school days that are a feature of many charter schools lead underperformers to drop out, the select group that remains may again be made up of those who would have tested well in any school environment.

...Charters in rural or suburban areas don’t do any better than public schools, while in urban areas they are associated with greater test score improvements in math and language. But another important point from past studies is that there is enormous variation in the effectiveness of charter schools. There are some great ones but also some real duds.

...Focusing on these successes glosses over the many cases where charter schools fail to outperform their public peers. For suburban districts in Massachusetts, for example, the numbers don’t favor the charter school advocates, in large part because suburban public schools in the state are pretty effective already. What’s more, lottery studies like the one out Wednesday can only be done at schools that are oversubscribed—and hence probably among the better charter schools around. As my Columbia Business School colleague and leading education researcher Jonah Rockoff puts it, saying charter schools are good is “like saying Italian restaurants are good places to eat—some are and some aren’t.” (In theory, underperforming charter schools lose their licenses, but it doesn’t always work out that way.)
...It’s naïve to think that charters will be the silver bullet that solves the education crisis in America."

That's only thirteen qualifiers in four paragraphs. Nothing to be cautious or skeptical about. Nothing to disturb your own catechisms... supposing you were ever to have any, of course.

Meanwhile, as for what you condescendingly brush off as a "nuh-uh" argument, here's a single source that supports much of what I've said:

Anonymous said...

You know that per-student funding at public schools is not reduced, but hold tight to your NEA talking points.

Q: Where exactly are these new charter school transfer students coming from? Like a top-performing charter school, I'll give you extra days and time to work out the answer and its possible repercussions.

The following excerpt is taken from my second source, which describes a financial memo from Moody's indicating that the municipal credit ratings of Boston, Fall River, Lawrence and Springfield would likely be cut if the charter school measure were to pass. That is because:
If the question passes, it would enable — but not require — the state to open more charter schools, most likely in underperforming urban districts. And if more families choose to send their children to those new charters, fewer will attend the district schools. If the cities have fewer students to educate, those districts would receive less education money from the state.

Less education money from the state? But that’s unpossible! Not to worry, though. As long as it's not designated as per-student money, that funding will never be missed.

But Moody's shouldn't be so quick to assume, says my source. Because what Moody's fails to understand is:
[If cities improve their district schools enough to make charters a less attractive alternative for parents, the demand will fall. And if the districts manage their school systems properly, they can absorb any enrollment declines that do occur — just as school systems have always had to do at times of falling enrollment. Closing or consolidating schools or cutting costs in other ways is rarely politically popular, but it’s not impossible.

See? If A leads to B, then C will happen, so long as E follows D, which must also occur. That’s only three more steps than South Park’s “profit!” chart. There can be no more stirring endorsement than "it's not impossible.” As for school shutdowns, if there's no more school at all, then logically there’ll be no reduction in per-student funding! Take that, NEA talking points!

You've probably guessed by now: my source is another remarkable editorial in the Boston Globe that ran 4 days after the other one. (True, the Globe only brings up these potential wrinkles in order to insist they’d definitely probably never happen, nuh-uh. But that's remarkable, too.

Eric2 said...

All this gainsay is a triumph of quantity over quality. You flatly state that charter schools are not better and then throw back the Slate article which concludes: "In their short history, charter schools have shown enormous promise in improving the educations of many disadvantaged students." As Pyrrus would say: "one more victory like this and we'll be ruined."

If you plug "charter schools" + "performance" into Google and ignore the NEA propaganda sites, you'll come across right-wing agitprop like this: "Charter School Performance Study Finds Small Gains."

Or this: "Charters score in cities."

Or this: "The results of a new Stanford University study could surprise charter school critics"

Your response of "look at the qualifiers" is a desperate grasping at straws. Maybe it was a satirical take on bad rhetoric. I'm not sure. I'm also puzzled by your counter-argument that funding at public schools would decrease if students leave. And here's the concluding paragraph from the Boston Globe article that's supposed to convince me otherwise:

"If anything, the concerns flagged in Moody’s e-mail underscore why the passage of Question 2 is critical. If the state gets the power to add more charter schools, it would put more competitive pressure on urban school departments to extend learning time and use their resources wisely. To assume the consequences of Question 2 would automatically be negative for city governments doesn’t give officials in Boston, Fall River, Lawrence, and Springfield much credit. And the residents of those cities — the parents of the 32,000 children on waiting lists for charter schools — need quality educational options for their children much more than city officials need a reprieve from tough choices."

32,000 kids! Maybe Stephen Colbert can adopt them all.

Anonymous said...

All this gainsay is a triumph of quantity over quality.

Literally two-thirds of the gainsay I posted yesterday was direct quotes from your own reply and from your own links. Also, someone who just linked to the same study twice in a row shouldn't be sniping about quantity.

Are you just Googling for friendly headlines? Because here's some of the text from your newest link:
The study reaches the same broad conclusions as the study four years ago: performance of charter school students is extremely varied, but on average, students learn at roughly the same rates as their public school peers. Now, however, the charter students average a slight reading advantage. “I don’t think eight days is a whole lot,” said [the study's research manager] of the charter school students’ reading edge. “There’s a lot of variation across the states. It’s a national average.”
...[Charter schools] have been controversial in school districts across the country, competing for resources with public schools."

Oh no, not more qualifiers! You say those show "a desperate grasping at straws," even though the education reporters you link to do not agree. I say your determination to ignore the qualifiers, including those contained within the very studies you cite, represents a made-up mind looking for the tastiest cherries.

I actually support the concept of charter schools, but not at the expense of public schools. Nor charter schools' ridiculous level of financial fog with public money --- an unaccountability that you yourself would never tolerate in other fields, including public schools. And not charter schools' institutional manipulation of both enrollment and performance, which is then recycled as the evidentiary proof of charters' superior desirability and performance. But it's all jake with you because unions, ugh. And Stephen Colbert.

Here's another charter school article, written by the same reporter behind your "could surprise charter school critics" link:

Here's another by her:

And here's another:

Eric2 said...

I keep searching the landscape for evidence to support your claim that charter schools are not better than public schools, but those fields are barren. As I've noted above, at least in Massachusetts, charter school students receive an extra month of instruction per school year. Your response seems to be, well, that extra instruction doesn't amount to much so why bother? This reminds me of the John Oliver hit piece on charter schools that started out: "Let's put aside whether they're actually better at teaching kids." Oh, OK, silly me to focus on that.

So now we're going to shift gears and focus on the evil motives of charter schools: they're out to make a buck. Let's review your links:
Link #1 - Charter schools are so popular, they're getting licensed too quickly creating a bubble: "Supporters of charter schools are using their popularity in black, urban communities to push for states to remove their charter cap restrictions and to allow multiple authorizers," one of the study's authors, Preston C. Green III, told The Washington Post, where we first read about the study."
Link #2 - Charter schools are so popular, that white kids are starting to muscle in to schools that were once reserved for minorities.
Link #3 - Charter schools are so popular, that Bill and Melinda Gates sponsored an event to get investors on board: "It's a very stable business, very recession resistant, it's a high demand product. There are 400,000 kids on waiting lists for charter schools ... the industry is growing about 12-14% a year," David Brain, former President and CEO at EPR Properties, told CNBC in 2012."

We HAVE tolerated a financial fog with public schools where costs have doubled since 1970 without any attendant improvement in test scores. The rise in charter schools and homeschooling is a reckoning visited on the public school system and that's why the defenders of the status quo are in such a panic.