Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Soaring college costs promote inequality

Nicholas Lehman of the New Yorker has written an important column about how the soaring costs of higher education are perpetuating growing inequality.

Lehman writes:

"In higher education, the United States may be on its way to becoming more like the rest of the world, with a small group of schools controlling access to life membership in the √©lite. And higher education is becoming more like other areas of American life, with the fortunate few institutions distancing themselves ever further from the many. All those things which commencement speakers talk about—personal growth, critical-thinking skills, intellectual exploration, breadth of learning—will survive at the top institutions, but other colleges will come under increased pressure to adopt the model of trade schools. Student loans open access to students, and give colleges more freedom. Obama and Romney will have plenty to disagree about, and it’s good that the interest rate on student loans isn’t on the list. For the federal government to pump extra tuition money into the system, in the form of low-cost loans, in order to spread opportunity more widely, and to allow more schools to provide more than skills instruction, seems like a small price to pay for the kind of society it buys." -

The entire article is linked here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Walker’s “Beer and Brat Summit” – a state-sanctioned campaign event

Following his successful victory in Wisconsin's recall election, Governor Scott Walker called on Wisconsinites to "work together" and announced a beer and brat summit.
Badger Democracy's review of the events' sponsors reveals that the Walker Administration is holding a camapign event disguised as a cookout. 
 Check out the list of the Summit's sponsors. It is a who's who of Walker campaign contributors.

The Badger Democracy link is here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

For the sake of public education (and Wisconsin's future) vote to remove Walker on June 5th

Conservative education expert and former private school voucher advocate, Diane Ravitch, writes:

If you are concerned about the future of public education in Wisconsin, vote to oust Gov. Scott Walker.

Since his election in 2010, he has proved himself to be a steadfast enemy of the public schools. In the world according to Walker, the best way to reform public education is to demoralize its teachers, attack the teachers' union and hand over more taxpayer dollars to privately managed charters and voucher schools...

Walker thinks that he will improve education by getting rid of the union, which is the collective voice of the state's teachers.The nation's highest performing states-Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut-have strong unions, while the lowest performing states-in the Deep South-have weak unions or none at all. Very likely, what Walker really wants is to remove the teachers' voice when legislators are cutting the schools' budget. The best way to silence the strongest voice for public education in Madison is to weaken the teachers' union.

...No high-performing nation in the world demoralizes its teachers and creates alternatives to public education. The best performing nations in the world have built a strong public education system. They respect their teachers. They do not judge them by student test scores. They do not launch public campaigns against their unions (in high-performing Finland, all the teachers and principals belong to the same union). The most successful nations recognize the importance of having teachers and principals who are dedicated professionals, not a revolving door of young college graduates. They understand that successful schools establish a culture of collaboration, not a culture of competition.

The entire op ed is linked here.