Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Privatization leads to money-chase, hurts students of color

In response to Sam Dillon's article published yesterday in the New York Times, Amina writes:

In spite of all stimulus money and all new policy plans, here we are, right back where we started; with the most underserved children receiving the very least. These children receive the least experienced teachers and administrators, now lets add the least experienced school turnaround advisors and managers to the mix. 

Yet, we shouldn’t be so surprised by this outcome. Given the overly simplistic turnaround policies and strategies being employed by this administration for bettering our most underserved schools, its no wonder every Tom, Dick and Harry organization has stepped up to give it the ole college try.

The idea is to learn the right lessons from the information we have at hand. The shortsighted response is to call for greater oversight in the selection and vetting of these turnaround advisor companies. That addresses the symptom. There arguably aren’t enough successful turnaround strategists to go around. The underlying problem is the less than thoughtful and holistic policy strategy for a series of deeply complex problems with poor students of color at the center. 

Communities for Excellent Public Schools reports that students of color represent from low-income communities represent 81% of these turnaround school students. Yet, the strategies we’ve devised to “help” them devalues that cultural and historical experience. In fact, quickie policies approaches may leave them prey to individuals and organizations seeking profit more than education transformation. We can do better. 

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