typewriterState Impact Indiana posted a 3-question interview with Tony Bennett, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, in which Bennett makes a statement that seems to me of massive importance and one that has yet to really be addressed or understood.  I have highlighted this crucial detail of the effect of the school voucher programs.

Q: In some many cases, students using the voucher program are attending schools with comparable, often low test scores.  How do you respond to this?

Let me give you an analogy.  Lets talk about schools that are highly rated like schools in Carmel. Just because a school is highly rated doesn’t mean it meets the needs of all the students in that school.  here may have been aspects of going to those new schools that parents felt better met the needs of their child.  This entire process was not about bad schools or good schools.  This was about giving children and families the choices they need to pursue educational opportunities that meet their needs.  That’s how I always answered the question about moving to good schools or bad schools.  In my opinion this is taking down the geographic boundaries that have in many instances encapsulated students into specific school settings which may not meet their needs.

What are geographic boundaries when it comes to schools?  When it comes to cities?  When it comes to neighborhoods?

These are our communities–this geography is what BINDS us, or what SHOULD bind us.

Our lack of concern for our neighbor; our heavy reliance on technology as a “table-for-one” mentality; and our refusal to address our human dignity when it comes to poverty and intolerance is SERVED by this kind of education “option.”

This is freedom to choose not to care about your neighbor.  This will become the freedom to for capital to “fly” out of your neighborhood and impoverish your communities.

Divide and conquer, as usual, for market capitalists.

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Douglas Storm is a host and producer for Interchange on Bloomington, Indiana's community radio station WFHB. "Why then do you try to 'enlarge' your mind? Subtilize it..."

2 Responses to “Taking Down Geographic Boundaries–Don’t Be True to Your School!” Subscribe

  1. StateImpact Indiana (@StateImpactIN) November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for the link-out! I(*) appreciate reading your take on ed issues.

    Just to add to the open enrollment discussion a bit:

    I have visited a district where open enrollment has allowed students from another nearby district to move and take advantage of advanced/honors course offerings that don’t exist at their other school.

    There is something to your point about having the option not to care about your neighbor — problematic (beyond the community building aspect you point out), public school advocates say, because a school’s costs don’t increase/decrease incrementally when students come/go. There are also accusations (which I haven’t confirmed in my reporting, but I’ve heard several times) that not every student is able to leave if his/her test scores or disciplinary record isn’t good.

    But on the other hand, parents in those districts say they’re doing what’s best in that situation for their child. If you’re looking to earn college credit, School A offers AP’s and School B doesn’t, and you can transfer… what would you do?

    -Kyle Stokes (*)
    SI Journalist

    • Douglas Storm November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      Hi, Kyle,

      My pleasure. I’m finding almost everything anyone says or claims to be either a lie or irrelevant when it comes to education claims. So, where a child and family might benefit from a particular program so might so many others find themselves impoverished by it. Politicians do nothing but line the pockets of an ideology that benefits “their own” almost to a man (woman).

      That said, I’d back all the way up and ask further what school is for? If you are a parent concerned about college credit and AP courses you are likely already “winning” the social game of class division.

      Personally, thinking in terms of “business” and social class priorities is already putting us at a disadvantage in the conversation of what human communities can succeed at.

      I’ve pushed and will keep pushing for a reduction in technology spending and an increase in spending on the human: I would push harder on the “unity” of subject matter in schools and be sure that teachers are not “single” subject instructors but multivariate learners themselves, modeling how we discover the “surprises” of learning in life. I would push harder on Arts education as being the PRIMARY hub to create “core” spokes around. No more testing for “military engineering” and profit center corporate publishing houses.

      Art and Mother. Two key elements. Art is unity; “Mother” is “holding” in care. Anything else is rather easily militarized for conquest. No thanks to that.

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