Statehouse Dems Divided on Education

Stories like this one reported in today’s Rocky Mountain News have to frustrate the teachers union to no end. A coalition of urban Democrats join Republicans in the state legislature to stand up for the power of parental choice.

The state’s education establishment – personified by the 600-pound gorilla Colorado Education Association – isn’t comfortable with empowering parents, for obvious reasons. And they aren’t going to go down without a fight.

The growing inevitable reality, however, is that choice and competition will break down the walls of the schoolhouse monopoly. Look at Utah, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia where voucher proposals are moving through the state legislatures. And look at Colorado, where an unprecedented Democratic majority at the zenith of power will struggle mightily to hope to undo the progress of public school choice.

Say what you want: Choice in education is here to stay, and choice begets more choice. It’s a fact of life that CEA and its legislative allies will have to learn to live with.

Comments

  1. says

    Ben,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one. I am currently homeschooling the five of our eight kids who are old enough to be in school. It has been a fabulous experience.

  2. Fran Docherty says

    The CEA isn’t comfortable with empowering parents? Come on now, do you really believe that is how teachers feel? You seem to revel in broad brush strokes about this evil monolithic 600 pound gorilla that controls everything related to education in this state. Your oversimplification of the CEA and it’s 37000 plus members is undermining your credibility. I know you are smarter than that. The teacher members of the CEA I work with crave parents engaged in their children’s education. I also don’t believe free markets are the silver bullet you think they are. Student achievement is far more complex than a revenue stream. Besides union bashing and singing about free markets what ideas do you have to improve student achievment in the classroom? Taking shots at a 600 pound gorilla is easy but at the end of the day, what ideas do you have to improve instruction? What ideas do you have to deregulate public schools? How do districts attract and retain great teachers and how do we pay for it all? Pointing at CEA and saying “bad monkey” just doesn’t cut it. I’d love to see your ideas.

  3. says

    Sigh. Just because you selectively ignore my other writings (many are available online at http://www.i2i.org – or do a Google search sometime) doesn’t mean I haven’t talked about substantive ideas of education reform. Here’s a fresh and timely example to look at: http://bendegrow.com/?p=1079 (A more formal written product is in process, but where is CEA at on performance pay incentives as a tool to improve teacher quality, especially in our high-needs schools?)

    My “oversimplification” of CEA is rhetorical shorthand. Trust me, I understand many of the complexities at work. But coming from an organization that has called me “one of the most virulent anti-public education individuals in the state,” I find laughable your attempt to claim the moral high ground. Do you want a serious debate? Let’s discuss the concept of public education and imagine that it can take a different form than the currently constructed system.

    School choice is about empowering parents. Your organization opposes school choice. Therefore, in effect, CEA is against empowering parents. As a protectionist interest group stance, it makes rational sense to some degree. But what’s best for the interest group is not always best for the child.

    I’m sure many of your members “crave parents engaged in their children’s education,” so you tell me what policies your organization promotes that help tomake that happen. (Beyond good intentions.)

    As for calling free markets a “silver bullet” solution, that is a strawman argument on your part and doesn’t address the fundamental problem with the education monopoly.

    But apart from that, why would CEA support something like SB 061 that would limit parental choice? Apparently I’ve struck a nerve with the “600-pound gorilla.”

    Thanks for your comment.

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