Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As most of you know, I am no fan of President Obama (or most of today's Democrats, for that matter). However, I must give credit where credit is due.

Of all the appointments this President has made, perhaps the one I disagreed with the most (and this does say something) was naming Arne Duncan to the post of Secretary of Education. Duncan, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools (named by Mayor Daley), was the point man for the CPS from 2001 until he was named to Obama's cabinet.

As a local, I have seen first hand how poorly the Chicago Public School system has floundered under Duncan's leadership. The system was so awful during his leadership that Crain's Chicago Business reported:

Chicago Public School reform largely has failed, with the vast bulk of students either dropping out or unprepared for college and apparent gains at the grade-school level more perceived than real.

That's the bottom line of a blockbuster report released Tuesday by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, a report that directly challenges the legitimacy of one of Mayor Richard M. Daley's major claimed accomplishments.

Titled "Still Left Behind," the report freely uses terms like "abysmal" to describe the true state of public education in Chicago. The report was prepared by committee President R. Eden Martin, a lawyer, with analytical support from Paul Zavitkovsky of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Half of the students drop out by high school, and of those who remain until 11th grade, 70% fail to meet state standards, the report says. In fact, "In the regular (non-magnet) neighborhood high schools, which serve the vast preponderance of students, almost no students are prepared to succeed in college."

But I'm here to praise this time...

Especially after hearing Duncan's remarks following the news that Rhode Island's Central Falls High School - long considered to be among the worst public schools, not only in Rhode Island, but perhaps nationwide - had fired the entire staff, from principals, teachers, to everyone involved in the failure of the institution.

Central Falls' abysmal graduation rates have been a source of contention for many years. However, due to the arrogance of teacher's union, which refuses to fire poor teachers and administrators, yet demands more and more taxpayer funds for nothing in return, the decision was of course, met with anger and derision by the union.

However, to his credit,
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has "applauded" the move to fire every teacher at Rhode Island's Central Falls High School.

According the the report, in the Providence Journal, Duncan has mandated that each state's worst performing schools either be closed, converted to charter or charter-like schools, reorganized around a longer school day, or have the entire teaching staff fired. In the last case, a maximum of 50 percent can be rehired in the fall.

Very well done. It's way past the time to stop the arrogance of not just the teacher's unions, but many other of the nation's over bloated, outdated unions.

In the early 20th Century, unions played a huge role in fighting for employee's rights and fair wages. But soon after, the involvement of organized crime and other corrupt officials have turned the unions into nothing more that legalized theft and exploitation. The teachers' unions have perhaps become the most crooked. Merit-based pay is discouraged, leaving the worst rated teachers to remain in place, continuing to fail to educate our nation's youth.

Unfortunately, the huge dollars that fuel the Democrat Party comes from these union's coffers. While Obama likes to talk a good game about "special interests," this is only the first time I have witnessed an Obama official actually doing something about it.


1 comment:

Dana Letvin said...

As a retired public school teacher (Detroit Public Schools) I must say that I am really tired of teachers taking the blame for all students' failures. Most teachers I knew worked extremely hard, spent lots of their own money and had to deal with malignant administrators and parents who were at best uninterested and at worst abusive, as well as rude, disrespectful and sometimes violent students. One school I worked at was reconstituted because of poor test scores. All the teachers were moved to other schools and a new principal was hired who selected what was supposed to be a superior team of teachers who would raise test scores. After three years, the scores were still in the toilet and that wonderful team was pushed out for yet another great team of teachers. My point is that when parents are illiterate and don't care much about their kids' education, there is not much a teacher can do about it. It will be interesting to see what firing all the teachers in the Rhode Island school will accomplish. I don't think it will be much.