I would have imagined the Change Candidate would've embraced change AND choice (with capital C's) when it comes to education. The problem of poor performing and dangerous public schools is one that afflicts those families that don't have much of a choice. These families don't have the means to just move to a better performing school district. This would mean higher housing costs. Nor can they just send their kids to pricey private schools. They are left with one choice--continuing to send their kids to the local public school, regardless of how poor the school teaches their children, the caliber of teachers, and how safe or unsafe an environment it is.
Since when is having one choice a good idea for anything?
And unfortunately for students of families with no choice but a bad school, the Change Candidate is offering little relief or options. Today's NY Sun has an editorial discussing Obama's plan versus McCain's and it's worth a read. Obama only yesterday promised to double the federal dollars that go to charter schools. That would mean doubling the amount to $400 million a year or six one-thousandths of the federal education department's budget. The Sun editors do the math for us and it works out to 6 cents going to charter schools of every $10 the government spends on education! Six cents!
So much for Obama's promise of a world-class education. McCain's acceptance speech at the GOP convention called education the "civil rights issue of our day" and he promised to open up the options for families if elected. This would mean that families would get to pick where their education dollars go by choosing the best school for their children. With an increase in options, public schools would have to get better in order to stay afloat. Now that's change I can believe in!
When you consider that numerous studies give charter schools credit for bridging the achievement gap between black and white students and improving scores for black students, then why isn't the Change Candidate jumping all over this bandwagon instead of chucking pennies at it? My educated guess is that though he would love everyone to be able to send their kids to the school of their choice just as he sends his daughters to a nice private school, that would mean losing the support of the entrenched unions that run the public education system in this country and he can't afford that.
You can put lipstick on a pig but... Well, you get it.