The Tuesday open line | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Tuesday open line

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge house_oft.png
The Tuesday line is open. Has it occurred to anyone that the Republicans' government shutdown has helped call attention to the Obamacare signup period and the many people flocking to get a piece of insurance coverage they desperately need?

Would it be a nice thing if the mean spirit of Republicans gave a helping hand to acceptance of broadened health insurance for all? Of course it would.

Otherwise today:

* TIME FOR TABLOIDS: The image at right of a Daily News front page is real. They are taking off on the "House of Cards" TV series about scheming politicians.. It applied to House Republicans' votes yesterday (and continuing).

* CHARTER SCHOOLS AREN'T THE ANSWER: Diane Ravitch writes about the charter school myth in the Times of Los Angeles, a big adopter of the billionaires' charter school dream.

Billionaires like privately managed schools. Parents are lured with glittering promises of getting their kids a sure ticket to college. Politicians want to appear to be champions of "school reform" with charters.

But charters will not end the poverty at the root of low academic performance or transform our nation's schools into a high-performing system. The world's top-performing systems — Finland and Korea, for example — do not have charter schools. They have strong public school programs with well-prepared, experienced teachers and administrators. Charters and that other faux reform, vouchers, transform schooling into a consumer good, in which choice is the highest value.

Because they are loosely regulated, charter schools are often neither accountable nor transparent. ...

Charter schools are "public" when it is time to claim public funding, but they have claimed in federal court and before the National Labor Relations Board to be private corporations when their employees seek the protection of state labor laws.

.... This newspaper's editorial board cites independent research that shows students in L.A. charters do better than they would in L.A. Unified schools. But many other studies show that charters in general are no more successful at the task of educating children than public schools if they enroll the same kinds of students.

... They have become the leading edge of a long-cherished ideological crusade by the far right to turn education into a consumer choice rather than a civic obligation.

Abandoning public schools for a free-market system eviscerates our basic obligation to support them whether our own children are in public schools, private schools or religious schools, and even if we have no children at all.

* COTTON PICKING: Col. Mike Ross, a retired National Guard colonel, (not the gubernatorial candidate, as I originally wrote) and state Rep. Mark Perry of Jacksonville will have a news conference at the Little Rock Air Force Base entrance tomorrow to highlight the harm done to civilian workers and others thanks to Too Extreme Tom Cotton's terrorism — forcing a government shutdown to get his way on the Affordable Care Act.

* TROUT FISHING IN ARKANSAS: We haven't much bothered to keep up with the untold number of ways that the tyranny of the House Kamikaze Caucus has harmed Arkansas. But here's one inconvenience in the political world: The Washington Post says the situation is iffy for a $2,500-a-head fund-raiser for Sen. John Boozman at Gaston's, the White River trout fishing resort. Details.

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