Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wisc. Soapbox destroys Chris Rickert on vouchers

Now THIS is the way you take apart clueless hack columnists. Well done stuff from Andy Fozzy at the Wisconsin Soapbox, where he dismantles Chris Rickert's simplistic pro-voucher argument of "well, they're cheaper, so there's something positive to them, and public schools won't be hurt with declining attendance." I recommend reading the whole thing, but this last part is a great ender.
Okay Mr. Rickert, what school would you shut down to reduce facility costs? This isn't like your home where you can shut the vent off to one room to not have your gas-fired furnace run as often. The school's boiler works just as well for 550 students as it does for 500, or 450, or 449. Even if you lose 5 students from a small district that has one elementary school, what teacher do you lose? Librarian? Secretary? What do you do, combine classrooms? Defer purchasing technology/books? (Because I'm sure having outdated things is a great way to be competitive against private schools.)

Furthermore, special education students and what they are required to have in terms of staff and accommodations, are often mandated by the Federal Government, meaning that the local district isn't able to simply "reduce" their costs. This would be why people were flipping-out at the idea of special education vouchers, and why the problem of losing non-special education students exacerbates to problem of funding public schools. (Not that I'm advocating "losing" special-education students or denying them every right or learning experience they rightly deserve.) I really wish Mr. Rickert would've witnessed the voucher forum in Fond du Lac, and had Superintendent Aaron Sadoff explain all of this to him in person...

Yes, businesses make changes to their market, but schools aren't business. I, along with my colleagues are so sick and tired of people thinking that education is like business. It's NOT! You can't simply ramp up or down your supply of workers and move kids around from room to room like they are items being manufactured in a plant. They are HUMAN BEINGS! They have emotional responses, and disruptions to the learning environment affect them, especially younger students. Here's a thing you learn in college - Kids learn and react differently than adults!

So you know what Mr. Rickert, don't sound like you don't know what in the hell you are talking about. My guess is that when you think the Superintendent of School's argument is wrong, you're probably barking up the wrong tree with your own special bag of facts. That is, unless you aren't armed with facts, but ideology. Well, then you are just a conservative, Neo-Stalwart modern day Republican.
Yeah, righties aren't that good when it comes to that concept of "fixed cost" when it comes to facilities, are they? But they do exemplify this quote from Oscar Wilde.
What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Cause today's WisGOPs are nothing if not cynical.

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