Originally Posted by stephanie
This doesn't map to my experience of reality. Seems like a variety of priced private schools, charter schools, and magnet schools (with specialities) are all available, and that that is supported by many Dems.
They're not widely available--that's why they have lotteries to get into them. There are far fewer than the demand for them, and Democrats work to ensure this will continue. For an example of this, rent the documentary The Lottery.
Fenty supported those ideas and look where it got him. The Dem party establishment and the teachers unions ganged up to kill his career. Cory Booker supports it, so it's only a matter of time before they come for him.
It was the Democratic congress that killed the DC Voucher program, with Obama's cooperation, and the GOP congress that moved to restore it.
Beyond this, I don't understand what is being proposed, let alone see the merits of, specialization among high schools where we'd have some do "liberal arts" and others do "sports." Nor any merit to the idea that the problem with the bad schools is too much spent on extracurriculars.
I think there's a place for specialization, as I said -- various charter and magnet schools specialize, but this is more for enrichment/better schools. I'm also in favor of better occupational training for non-college-bound students. But when the problem with our bad schools, where huge percentages don't graduate and very few go to college, is an inability to teach up to basic literacy and math skills, and where they tend not to have playgrounds, I hardly think the problem is that we are spending too much time trying to teach them calculus.
Part of the reason that is is that schools try to do everything for everybody. The poorer the area, the poorer the results, because the harder it is. When you try to do everything for everybody and force everyone into a one size fits all, top-down system, the result will inevitably be failure. Which is what teachers unions are at the most indifferent to, and quite possibly supportive of.