Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Clinton's Math Problem

In Iowa, Clinton displayed a lack of-- well, something. Math comprehension? Education reform understanding? Thinking things through?

She wouldn't keep any school open that wasn't doing above average. So... close half the schools? Of course, once you close half the schools, then the average will have to be recalculated, and then you'll have to close half of those schools. And so on until there is only one school left. Or maybe we close parts of that school. I am suddenly remembering the many hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and imagining a Seussian school at which a sky-reaching stack of students are seated at a single desk.

But maybe what she means is close half the schools and replace them with charters, which means we'll close a new half of the schools every year. Will we allow students to move around? Will low-scoring students become educational hot potatoes, thrown off by schools who don't want to fall in the bottom half.

It will be frustrating of course-- half of the schools (a few more, actually) will always be average or lower, so every year we will close half the schools and every year we will have to farm out the students and put together new schools in time for the fall.

Maybe she just missed the decimal point. After all, this is exactly the plan favored by the current administration and various versions of state-controlled Achievement School Districts-- only those folks only talk about the bottom 5% instead of the bottom 50%.

And this is not a small picky thing. Setting an "average" level for schools is awesomely difficult. What does that even look like? How do you even calculate such a thing?

And if such a thing can be calculated, is that really your policy response-- not fix it or analyze the issues or look at contributing factors or anything else except just "close it." That's what HRC has in mind for schools in America-- just close the ones that don't measure up to whatever imaginary measure someone cobbles together??

Maybe this is just thoughtless from-the-hip rhetoric from one more politician who finds it easy to crack wise about education without thinking about what it the policy choice would mean in the real world for real students. Or maybe this is a signal to charter fans that they can stop freaking out over Clinton's supposed apostasy.

Whatever the case, it is certainly proof once again (as if any were needed) that Clinton is no friend of public education.


  1. This greatly worries me. Recently, the NEA endorsed HRC in hopes of being in the loop, being given an audience, well whatever. This move alienated quite a few, myself included. Whatever. So now she is marginalizing those schools who basically, through NO fault of their own, other than being geographically located in more "impacted areas" of high poverty, transiency, English Language Learners, and recent migrants, have a more academically challenged population. So she is going to blame the school, the teachers, the students because they are NOT performing average or better. Whose side is she on here?

    The magic bullet reformed educators who typically turn away problematic children?

    Public school educators who, by law, are required to open their doors to all that come, no matter what?

    In her world they are on parity, we can assume by her statement. One is bad for not making students perform, regardless of insurmountable challenges that they must bear while servicing children, and the other gets to cherry pick their student population. Detachment anyone?

  2. Hillary doesn't do "thoughtless, from-the-hip rhetoric". Never a word escapes her mouth that hasn't been thoroughly focus-group tested. Hillary is nothing if not disciplined. So I'd say she said exactly what she meant to say, which is something to consider for all of those claiming that, if she gets the nomination, she is the "lesser of the evils".

  3. The difference between Hillary Clinton and the Republicans on public education is that she will hit you in the head with a rubber mallet while they would use a ball-pein hammer. Either way you still get hit in the head.

  4. What we seem to forget throughout our conversation is that the Democratic party was bought off by the corporate profiteers, destroyers of public education to satisfy their greedy plot to increase their wealth through public funds.