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Subject: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/22/04 at 3:57 pm

It seems fairly clear that our system of public education has deteriorated over the years since I was involved.  The anecdotes are numerous.  A funny (but sad) compilation is Non Campus Mentis compiled by Andres Henriksson.  May blame the NEA and the AFT (2 largest teachers' union) for this.  I think that is too simple and too simplistic.  What should graduating high school kids know?  What skills should they have?  How much responsibility to parants bear for their kids' education?  How much can we expect of teachers?

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: GWBush2004 on 07/22/04 at 4:31 pm

To many parents in my opinion soley depend on the U.S. public education system to give their kids a good education.  Ain't going happen.  What skills?  Basic math, reading, knowledge of history, writing, and vocational skills for people going into a trade.  People planning for academic style college need algebra, history, biology, reading, writing, and mostly book smarts.  Our schools are a failure, its time for school vouchers.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: ChuckyG on 07/22/04 at 4:33 pm


It seems fairly clear that our system of public education has deteriorated over the years since I was involved.  The anecdotes are numerous.  A funny (but sad) compilation is Non Campus Mentis compiled by Andres Henriksson.  May blame the NEA and the AFT (2 largest teachers' union) for this.  I think that is too simple and too simplistic.  What should graduating high school kids know?  What skills should they have?  How much responsibility to parants bear for their kids' education?  How much can we expect of teachers?


The teacher unions do deserve some of the blame, which I'm sure a teacher doesn't want to hear.  If you discount the fact that the union's appear more concerned with money and benefits, they tend to allow too many tenured teachers to continue in the profession that most likely shouldn't be there.  I was an above average student in school, though not overly motivated, and I can certainly say that I had teachers that were tenured that were excellent.  I also had a couple that were clearly there to ride out their service to retirement. 

There's also the mistaken belief that more money, means better teachers.  All it really means, is you get people applying for a position because it pays well, and they hope to get their summers off. Conneticut has the highest paid teachers in the country, and yet their schools are failing.  There goes that theory. Maybe it works at the college level, but most large universities have expensive professors who don't teach the undergrads.  No wonder most of them don't go on for additional degrees.

The opposition to standardized testing is also a mistake.  Even with several of the tests dumbed way down, they're still failing plenty of students.  That's a sign that there's students that shouldn't be in grade levels that they're in. The argument is that teachers will teach towards the test.  Of course they will.  I was taught basic standarized test taking techniques.  The SAT tests practically require you know about trying to eliminate incorrect answers, etc. That only gets you a small edge on the overall test.  If you can't read, you can't apply that technique.  If you can't tell which answers are not even likely contenders, than you can't improve your odds if you don't know an answer. If you told the teacher unions, that you weren't going to require ceritfication tests for new teachers, I'm sure they'd freak out over it.  Surprisingly, they don't think the issuance of a degree they teach, should require the same level of effort by their students.

The other side of the coin, is that students are expected to know a greater deal of material now, compared to 20 years ago.  How many people over the age of 40 had to take an entire course in computer technology? How many other advances also need to be covered? The more time you spend on things outside of the core curriculums, is time you don't spend teaching the basics. 

Parents are also nowhere near as involved in the education process as they need to be.  The only time you ever see parents involved in the process, is when it involves organized sports (a total waste of public money that gets spent on a small minority of students), or when something they don't like, such as evolution is taught.  Children need to be encouraged and supervised heavily.

My town is building a new school.  The state requires a ridiculous number of athletic fields for a school the size they plan on building. This requires more money to purchase additional land, and construction of the fields themselves.  Outside of basic phys-ed, these items are a total extravagence, and do very little to help non-athletes learn better. I guess without the sports teams, the parents have nothing to get hyper over.  That money could easily be spent on history books that cover, let's say the Vietnam war (which in the late 80s, I didn't have). 

so yeah, no simple solution for the poltiicans to campaign over.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: ChuckyG on 07/22/04 at 4:38 pm


To many parents in my opinion soley depend on the U.S. public education system to give their kids a good education.  Ain't going happen.  What skills?  Basic math, reading, knowledge of history, writing, and vocational skills for people going into a trade.  People planning for academic style college need algebra, history, biology, reading, writing, and mostly book smarts.  Our schools are a failure, its time for school vouchers.


Vouchers are a waste of public money.  If you want to send your kids to a private school, you should expect to pay the full cost of said education.  I don't get a break on my taxes for not sending kids to school because I don't have any, I don't get a break for the taxes spent on roads if I don't have a car, etc.  All it does, is help the private schools raise their tution rates because they're now free to charge more.

Private schools in general are not always better than the public schools.  Ultimately, what a student puts into his education, is what he will get out of it. I knew plenty of people who went to private schools after doing K-6 in public schools.  They didn't end up going to college, or if they did, it was no better than a community college.  Sure some of them went on to expensive colleges, but they probably would have anyways.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/22/04 at 4:47 pm


To many parents in my opinion soley depend on the U.S. public education system to give their kids a good education.  Ain't going happen.  What skills?  Basic math, reading, knowledge of history, writing, and vocational skills for people going into a trade.  People planning for academic style college need algebra, history, biology, reading, writing, and mostly book smarts.  Our schools are a failure, its time for school vouchers.


"knowledge of history"?  Sure, but whose?  

Vouchers?  Why?  to further ruin public schools?  Remember, public schools have to take everyone.  Privatre schools can pick and choose (with some limits, theoretically).
As a   kid, my parants were totally involved in my education, helping me with (especially) math homework, insisting to see EVERYTHING I proposed to turn in, and always encouraging me to read (books, newspapers, even comic, just READ).  How many homes in the US today even subscribe to the local newspaper?

You seem confused here.  You seem to say that parants aren't doing enough to help their kids, but the answer is vouchers.  Sorry, I just don't get it.

I teach lots of future teachers, and I can attest that their lack of knowledge of basic US history is deplorable.  I can also attest that they don't read.  Most report reading 0-2 hours/week for my course which demands AT LEAST 6-8 hours of readings in the texts and in other sources.

I don't attribute these failings to their public schools, but rather to their parants and to the anti-intellectualism of our society.  My parants instilled in me a love of learning which, I fear, most young people lack.

Let me add that when I was young, both my parants worked, so that's no excuse.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Mushroom on 07/22/04 at 5:07 pm


It seems fairly clear that our system of public education has deteriorated over the years since I was involved.  The anecdotes are numerous.  A funny (but sad) compilation is Non Campus Mentis compiled by Andres Henriksson.  May blame the NEA and the AFT (2 largest teachers' union) for this.  I think that is too simple and too simplistic.  What should graduating high school kids know?  What skills should they have?  How much responsibility to parants bear for their kids' education?  How much can we expect of teachers?


For me, there are several reasons behind this problem.  In fact, there are so many causes it is impossible to list them all.  But I will hit several at which I think is to blame.

One of the biggest problems is "Outcome Based Education".  I know that it is not the intent, but the result of it is that it tends to bring all of the students down to the LOWEST common denominator.  Add to that the fact that some schools now do not give "failing" grades, it means that you can't fail in school.  A nice idea, but it leaves our kids totally unprepared for real life.

The politicizing of our teachers has not helped.  In the 1960's and 70's, a lot of people got into Education (as well as Reporting) to "make a difference".  Once again, it is a nice goal, but who made the choice of placeing THEM in charge of our future?  As an example, in 1982 I was in a High School Civics class in Los Angeles.  One of the things we had to discuss was "Pornography".  

The teacher drug out a booklet from the 1960's showing dead Vietnamese children.  "This is pornography" he told the class.  "This is what the US Army did to innocent people in another country.  This is the most disgusting form of Pronography there is!"

I got up and walked out of that class.  He yelled at me, but I left anyways, and went to the Principals office, demanding a change of instructor.  After a counselling session with the instructor he was forced to give an apology to me in front of the class, and was admonished strongly to never do political indoctrination again in class.  I met my wife in his class, and she had a similar run-in with him a few months earlier, when he insisted that Argentina was wrong in trying to take back the Malvinas Islands (Falklands).  He would state that everything she tried to say about the incident was a lie, even after she brought proof that England stole them from Argentina from a Brittish edition of "Encyclopedia Britanica" from the school library!

The unions are a problem in my mind, for another reason.  "Tenure" is a nice idea, but it prevents the removal of unqualified or problematical teachers.  This robs our children of having the best possible teachers, and keeps ones that should be removed in their job because of the power of a group which is not involved in the rights of the students, but in the rights of the teachers.

One problem with education is that to often it attracts the people who are unable to "hack it" in the private sector.  I had one instructor for Business in a community college in LA, who had failed at 2 business of his own, and been fired from 4 corporations.  In the 4 weeks prior to my dropping the class, he had covered NONE of the material in the book, and on the 5th week he did not even bother to show up or call in to the administrator, even though we were supposed to have an exam.  Even though it was past the "drop point", the assistant dean approved my refund when I said I wanted out of the class.  I am sure that he was not granted tenure (this was his first class with that College).  I have seen similar things in private schools though, so not just public schools suffer from this problem.

For one, I support mandatory teacher requirements and testing.  And they should either be instructing a topic that was either their Major or their Minor in college.  To many times, we see Math majors teaching History, or Political Science teachers teaching English.  Make sure that their education matches the subject they are trying to teach.

Also, just like Accountants and Engineers, require further education.  Unless the Teachers themselves "Go back to school" occasionally, they will fall behind of newer discoveries and techniques.  Maybe have them get 1 credit in their chosen field and 1 in Education every 2 years.

Another area would be choices in textbooks.  Instead of giving the instructor a book and having them teach out of that, let them make a choice between 2 or 3 textbooks.  This way, they can pick one that most closely matches their style and the ability of the class.

Finally, allow them to remove disruptive students.  Remembering back to my time in school, there is little worse then having one or more jerks making it impossible to learn by their disruptive antics and behavior.  Allow a teacher to remove them from the class.  The students need to learn how to restrain themselves and behave, because that type of action will not be tolerated a few years later in "the real world".

After all, that is one of the primary goals of education, to help kids mature into adults, and prepare themselves for the "real world" where jobs are a fact of life.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Rice_Cube on 07/22/04 at 5:08 pm




The teacher unions do deserve some of the blame, which I'm sure a teacher doesn't want to hear.  If you discount the fact that the union's appear more concerned with money and benefits, they tend to allow too many tenured teachers to continue in the profession that most likely shouldn't be there.  I was an above average student in school, though not overly motivated, and I can certainly say that I had teachers that were tenured that were excellent.  I also had a couple that were clearly there to ride out their service to retirement. 


I was a teacher for less than a year.  Teachers are disillusioned if they even THINK that this profession will make them rich (it won't).  I was pretty much forced to join the teacher's union (they suck away your money no matter what) but I'd rather have had my money spent on support structures for improving my own teaching skills than to lobby to get paid more.  Teaching is not about the money...if you want to do it for the money, you are in the wrong field.



There's also the mistaken belief that more money, means better teachers.  All it really means, is you get people applying for a position because it pays well, and they hope to get their summers off. Conneticut has the highest paid teachers in the country, and yet their schools are failing.  There goes that theory. Maybe it works at the college level, but most large universities have expensive professors who don't teach the undergrads.  No wonder most of them don't go on for additional degrees.


Nah.  The good teachers use their summers to prepare for the upcoming year ;)  I was fortunate enough, also, to have college professors who cared enough about the students to teach both undergraduate and graduate students, and who were accessible outside of classes and also in the laboratory.  

I taught in a very affluent neighborhood where I grew up and was appalled by the lack of preparedness that they had (or had not) entering high school.  Even the seniors were subpar.  Money does not guarantee success.

Parents are also nowhere near as involved in the education process as they need to be.  The only time you ever see parents involved in the process, is when it involves organized sports (a total waste of public money that gets spent on a small minority of students), or when something they don't like, such as evolution is taught.  Children need to be encouraged and supervised heavily.

I agree that parents need to take their children's educations more seriously and more to heart but athletics is not a waste of money, and in fact, over half the students at my high school of 2000 students were involved in some sports-related activity sponsored by the school.  The bulk of the money did not come from public funds but were donations by the parents and alumni (hehe, funny to call them alumni, but it's true).  I have noticed that in some of the lesser sports like water polo and golf, the students were more disciplined and organized, so athletics does play a huge role in shaping the student.  This unfortunately doesn't translate over to the more popular sports like football, basketball and baseball.  Hate to be rude and insensitive but these kids were STUPID.  Don't know why that is.

And contrary to popular belief, the cheerleaders in my classes were very bright :)

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Mushroom on 07/22/04 at 5:23 pm


Our schools are a failure, its time for school vouchers.


I agree, and I also agree with school vouchers.

But I do *NOT* agree with vouchers for everybody.

To me, vouchers should be available ONLY if:

1.  The school is having problems, and not adequately teaching the students.  Washington DC and LA schools are good examples of what I mean.  Schools which have good or above ratings for teacher ability, dropout rates, and funds ahould NOT be eligable to get vouchers.  This will do the idea, to give the STUDENTS a better education.

2.  The parents must fall into the "Lower middle class" or LOWER income ranks.  I do NOT approve of taking funds away from the schools to help send rich kids to a better school.  Instead, help send the kids from the lower classes to better school, so THEY can try and escape from the trap their parents are in.

3.  The vouchers must have a scholarship ability attached.  This means the student must meet at least minimum abilities in order to recieve them, and get a minimum grade point average.  Otherwise, the money should go to a student who will make better use of it.

4.  The school must meet certain requirements for teachers, facilities, and educational abilities.  Trade and Vocational schools would be allowed, as long as the requirements for a High School Diploma were met.  This would allow religious schools (Catholic Schools are well known for their scholastic achievements), but not allow "Jim & Bob's School" from teaching crap in order to make money from the government.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: CatwomanofV on 07/22/04 at 5:51 pm

There is a deffinate problem in public schools. The last time I taught, I was a sub for 7 and 8th grade. They were reading MacBeth-only it wasn't MacBeth by William Shakespeare, it was more like MacBeth for Dummies. I admit that I was appaulded. If you are going to read a Shakespeare play-you READ Shakespeare's words. I don't know if it was the teacher's, school's, or distrist's decision (I think it was the teacher's).

One thing that I think schools should really teach is HOW TO LEARN! Learning is not just memerization-which, unfortunately is what is taught. I wish that schools would teach kids to THINK and to reason. For instince, History is NOT just names, dates, and places. I know that is what is taught in schools. History is about cause and effect. This happened because of that, which is the result of something else. I didn't learn that until I was in College.

And yes, I do think parents need to be active in their kids' education. There is only so much time in the classroom, parents can really expend on lessons. Whether it be getting kids books on different subjects, taking them to historical sights, or even taking them to a Shakespeare play.



Cat

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: RockandRollFan on 07/22/04 at 10:05 pm

http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:Mt8PHPoPwJIJ:http://altura.speedera.net/ccimg.catalogcity.com/210000/214300/214324/Products/7707642.jpgMe Fail English?....That's Unpossible!"

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/22/04 at 10:58 pm

I basically agree with what Chucky and DC have said.  I believer, furthermore, that the problem with public education is less a cause than a symptom of cultural ills.

PART I
I can't fairly use my experience in public education as an example because my circumstances were extremely rotten.  I wouldn't advocate changes based only on what  I PERSONALLY endured.

I agree with conservatives (or anyone) who says public school standards have dropped ever lower in the past 30 years.  Kids' values reflect what they see on TV....fun, leisure, defiance, instant gratification, and entitlement to a good time.  I don't attribute this cultural illness to liberal values so much as corporate and commercial values. 

What does it take to get people to buy things?  Not a message of self-sacrifice, discipline, patience, and intellectual curiosity.  Television is toxic to children, Hollywood is toxic to children, and advertising is toxic to children.  Never, ever, undersestimate the pervasive power of advertising upon the priorities and values of people young and old alike.

Conservatives blame liberals for the collapse of values.  However, when you look behind the curtain of moral corruption, who do you see?  No one I, as a liberal, respect.  Not Ralph Nader, not Jerry Brown, not Howard Zinn, not Noam Chomsky, not Billl Moyers, and so on and so on.  Do you see Bill Clinton behind that curtain?  mmmmaybe...but I don't have much "respect" for him, and I don't think of him as "liberal."  In fact, I don't think of Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, or the captains of the entertainment industry as "liberal."  These guys are opportunists.  They're in it to make money.  That's the corporate spirit, the business spirit, not the liberal spirit.

THE --ISMS
I'm talking about "values" and "values" are what makes or breaks education.  I think the NEA is a troubled institution, but our corporate-driven culture of consumerism, hedonism, and anti-intellectualism has done 95% of the damage to our public schools.  It's capitalism, not liberalism.

PART 2
The other issue in education is MOTIVATION.  Let's face it, the blue collar economy that made this country great is in the dumper.  Back when my parents were young, a kid who didn't want to go to college could get a job in a union shop factory, buy a little house, raise a family, and work at the factory until he retired with a pension.  Not a glamorous or affluent life by any stretch, but a secure one.  (no, I'm not saying there weren't major problems back then, too, so don't bop me over the head with petty gainsaying)
Today, a kid who doesn't want to go to college can look forward to getting about half the pay his grandfather did for the same kid of work--if he can get work at all--with no union, no security, and no respect.
With this in mind, schools push as many kids as they can onto the college track.  Never mind that most kids don't want to study liberal arts.  Suburban schools like mine give not-so-subtle messages that vocational education is for dummies.  The way to get a "good" job is to go to college.  In fact, most young men and women would be much better served by taking a year or two certificate in a marketable skill.
It's one thing to come from wealth and take a leisurely study of Plato and French, but most kids rightly question how any of these liberal arts courses are going to help them in life.  I could give the highbrow answer about the "well-rounded" individual, but that's crap.  Most kids know they're in for sinking deep into debt as they go to college and sit through Shakespeare and medieval history all over again.
These days, a BA is practically worthless in the marketplace, and a BS isn't much better. 
So, our problem with education may also have something to do with a sense of insecurity, purposelessness, and apathy.  Among the pupils, this attitude is hardly unfounded.



Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/23/04 at 5:50 am

Education is a service like any other.  There is no reason for public schools to exist, and there is no reason for the government to require students to attend.  Forcing kids whose parents don't care about education to be there puts teachers in an impossible position and causes major disruption for the kids who are there to learn.  My wife teaches second grade and every year there are one or two students who frankly make her life miserable because there's no reason for them to be there, yet she's still required to baby-sit them all day while trying to get through to the other kids.  Schools HAVE to be able to unload the kids whose parents "leave them behind".  It's simply unfair to the rest of the kids, the teachers, and the teachers' poor husbands who have to listen to them complain every day after school  ;). 

I wholeheartedly agree with what Chucky said about teachers.  Instead of attracting the brightest, hardest-working people, raising teachers' pay has convinced legions of slackers who aren't smart enough to be doctors or lawyers to go into teaching.  The pay is pretty freakin' good, summers off are SWEET, and an ed. degree is about the easiest one to acquire.  When someone tells me "teachers are underpaid", I have to change it to:  "No, GOOD teachers (like my wife) are underpaid.  Lots of them suck @ss."

Ideally, all schools would be private, and the free market would ensure that you'd get what you'd pay for--a good education for your kids, or a school wouldn't survive.  Teachers who don't care would be out of teaching, and kids whose parents didn't care wouldn't be allowed to disrupt the educations of everyone else (and their parents would be incentivized to start caring--this free day care crap is for the birds).

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/23/04 at 6:17 am


Education is a service like any other.

No sir, education is the holistic process by which we human beings distinguish ourselves from the beasts of the jungle and the fishes of the sea.  Education is not a "service," it is an integral part of humanity.

  There is no reason for public schools to exist, and there is no reason for the government to require students to attend.
There is if we expect the future to be something greater than a Dark Age of ignorance and savagery.

Forcing kids whose parents don't care about education to be there puts teachers in an impossible position and causes major disruption for the kids who are there to learn.  My wife teaches second grade and every year there are one or two students who frankly make her life miserable because there's no reason for them to be there, yet she's still required to baby-sit them all day while trying to get through to the other kids. 
"No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher." -- Mr. Miyagi.  Who told the missus teaching was supposed to be easy and students were supposed to be little angels who can't wait to start learning.  Children bring a world of trouble to school.  It's not fair to teachers, but life isn't fair.  When a teacher qualifies to teach in a public school he or she pledges to meet the challenge of reaching the most stubborn and stupid. 


Exactly, if at first you don't succeed...give up!  So, because the parents are negligent, you want to punish their children?  By all means, leave them behind!  Did you ever see the book How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis?  That's what we have to look forward to.  Mobs of feral and hungry seven-year olds roaming the streets.  The kind of children who might shank your mother for her pocket change.  That's what we had in our cities at the turn of the 20th century.  Heck, they have that problem now down in cities such as Sao Paulo and Lima.  Down there, the cops just shoot the little buggers. 

I wholeheartedly agree with what Chucky said about teachers.  Instead of attracting the brightest, hardest-working people, raising teachers' pay has convinced legions of slackers who aren't smart enough to be doctors or lawyers to go into teaching.  The pay is pretty freakin' good, summers off are SWEET, and an ed. degree is about the easiest one to acquire.  When someone tells me "teachers are underpaid", I have to change it to:  "No, GOOD teachers (like my wife) are underpaid.  Lots of them suck @ss."
Ay-yi-yi, more teacher bashing, more duck-billed platitudes and bogus assumptions from the Rush Limbaugh show.  Claude, would you happen to be a pupil in your wife's class?

Ideally, all schools would be private, and the free market would ensure that you'd get what you'd pay for--a good education for your kids, or a school wouldn't survive.  Teachers who don't care would be out of teaching, and kids whose parents didn't care wouldn't be allowed to disrupt the educations of everyone else (and their parents would be incentivized to start caring--this free day care crap is for the birds).

Great schools for rich kids, terrible schools for poor kids.  That's what you'd get if you eliminated public funding.  A lot of that "you get what you pay for" comes into play already with the schools funded by property taxes.  Your attitude towards this utopian "free market" reminds me of a young Chinese Maoist's attitude toward "The Five Year Plan."

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: danootaandme on 07/23/04 at 7:03 am

Education is such a sore point with me, because of the abuse of what should be the crown jewel of
life in the United States.  I am discussing public education on the elementary/high school level. Every child deserves a good education, whether they have lousy parents or not.  Teachers should have to be tested and qualified in their area. How many of us had teachers who were hired based on their relationship to the mayor/councilman/pricipal etc. and that was the extent of their expertise?  I have found well trained teachers know how to control students. Well trained administrators know how to deal with the students who seem beyond control.  Here in Massachusetts the school year ends at the end of June and begins again after Labor Day.There isn't any way in this day and age that  a ten week gap in education is acceptable, especially in the younger years, the month of September is used to refresh what was lost over summer vacation, that makes 14 weeks. Vouchers for private school?  Nice thought for some, but what about transportation to whatever school you are able to be accepted into, and where do you get the money to make up the difference in tuition?  I have a son who is special needs,  I would need a school close enouth to transport him, that has the expertise to teach him, and private special needs schools, if there is a space open, do not offer scholarships or financial aid, "but I have a voucher!  big deal, that and a dime" 

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: ChuckyG on 07/23/04 at 9:29 am


Education is a service like any other.  There is no reason for public schools to exist, and there is no reason for the government to require students to attend.  Forcing kids whose parents don't care about education to be there puts teachers in an impossible position and causes major disruption for the kids who are there to learn.  My wife teaches second grade and every year there are one or two students who frankly make her life miserable because there's no reason for them to be there, yet she's still required to baby-sit them all day while trying to get through to the other kids.  Schools HAVE to be able to unload the kids whose parents "leave them behind".  It's simply unfair to the rest of the kids, the teachers, and the teachers' poor husbands who have to listen to them complain every day after school  ;). 

I have to disagree with the statement that there's no reason for public schools to exist.  Quite simply, if the general public isn't educated, our society would begin to crumble pretty fast.  If you have a large number of people who can't work at McDonald's or other low paying jobs, because they lack basic reading and math skills, you're going to have a lot more people on welfare, etc.

Young children are very hard to deal with, If there's two or three in a class that can't be kept in line, they should be moved to a special class that can deal with them.  Keeping kids in a class they don't belong in, is entirely the wrong idea. Half the reason I was bored through most of my pre-high school classes, was because the teachers were forced to teach to the slower students.  There was a statistic on education I once saw, where 5% of the students take up 80% of the time of the teachers. Unloading the problem isn't quite the right solution, moving the problem to where it can be properly handled is the solution.  No one wants to pay for it I'm sure.


I wholeheartedly agree with what Chucky said about teachers.  Instead of attracting the brightest, hardest-working people, raising teachers' pay has convinced legions of slackers who aren't smart enough to be doctors or lawyers to go into teaching.  The pay is pretty freakin' good, summers off are SWEET, and an ed. degree is about the easiest one to acquire.  When someone tells me "teachers are underpaid", I have to change it to:  "No, GOOD teachers (like my wife) are underpaid.  Lots of them suck @ss."

No one gets rich teaching at public schools, but you certainly won't hear of any starving either.  When I found out recently what the teachers in my area were making, I wasn't ipressed with their arguments about making too little. Not when I make maybe 30% more than they do and do plenty of overtime. If they're pulling 60 hour weeks on a regular basis, and only get three weeks (or less, I usually only end up with 2 weeks a year) then maybe I'll sympathize more.  I remember one of my teacher's complaining that she had a degree, she should be making much more in the private sector. I have news, a college degree is no guarantee of a higher salary anywhere.  I also spend a lot of time going to classes every year, just to keep up.


Ideally, all schools would be private, and the free market would ensure that you'd get what you'd pay for--a good education for your kids, or a school wouldn't survive.  Teachers who don't care would be out of teaching, and kids whose parents didn't care wouldn't be allowed to disrupt the educations of everyone else (and their parents would be incentivized to start caring--this free day care crap is for the birds).


Unfortunately, this helps to re-enforce the cycle of poverty.  You force people to decide whether they want to eat or educate their children better.  Currently, if you think the private sector can educate your child better, you're more than welcome to send them to a private school, the only thing holding you back is money, which would still be the same thing holding you back if you didn't have public schools.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: GWBush2004 on 07/23/04 at 9:51 am

Okay, i've done this before and i'll try it again.

LIBERAL'S PHONY CLAIM: School vouchers will destroy education in America.
''Vouchers would be financial suicide for the public schools.'' -Amy McGlynn, Grand Rapids, MI, Board of education and officer in Michigan Parents Take Action (PTA.)

THE FACTS:

1.The most comprehensive study of vouchers ever undertaken was made public in August, 2000, and its conclusions are nothing less than devastating for the public school teachers' union establishment and their subsidiary, the Democratic party.  For two years, Harvard University examined voucher programs in New York, the District of Columbia, and in Dayton, Ohio.  Students were chosen for the study by lottery and were representive of low-income black families who want something better than public school for their kids.  The Harvard researchers found that in all three cities, that black students who switched to private schools scored 6 percentile points higher on achievement test than their public-school counterparts, or about one-third of the gap between white and black students.  Parents reported huge improvements in school-parent communication, disipline, and homework.  And you can tell all the national education association defenders of the taxpayer-funded status quo to read the following very carefully: ''If the trend line observed over the first two years continues, for black students who use a voucher to switch from public to private schools.''

2.Howard Fuller, a former public-school superintendent in Milwaukee who heads the Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO) told the Christian Science Monitor:  ''It's absolutely clear there is high support for school vouchers in the black community.''  The Monitor reports that some recent polls place support for school vouchers among black families as high as 83%.  That popularity was one of the reasons why none other than democrat Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D, CT) was among those pushing for vouchers for the District of Columbia.  Until Gore tapped him for the democratic ticket in 2000, that is.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: ChuckyG on 07/23/04 at 11:21 am


1.The most comprehensive study of vouchers ever undertaken was made public in August, 2000, and its conclusions are nothing less than devastating for the public school teachers' union establishment and their subsidiary, the Democratic party.  For two years, Harvard University examined voucher programs in New York, the District of Columbia, and in Dayton, Ohio.  Students were chosen for the study by lottery and were representive of low-income black families who want something better than public school for their kids.  The Harvard researchers found that in all three cities, that black students who switched to private schools scored 6 percentile points higher on achievement test than their public-school counterparts, or about one-third of the gap between white and black students.  Parents reported huge improvements in school-parent communication, disipline, and homework.  And you can tell all the national education association defenders of the taxpayer-funded status quo to read the following very carefully: ''If the trend line observed over the first two years continues, for black students who use a voucher to switch from public to private schools.''

2.Howard Fuller, a former public-school superintendent in Milwaukee who heads the Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO) told the Christian Science Monitor:  ''It's absolutely clear there is high support for school vouchers in the black community.''  The Monitor reports that some recent polls place support for school vouchers among black families as high as 83%.  That popularity was one of the reasons why none other than democrat Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D, CT) was among those pushing for vouchers for the District of Columbia.  Until Gore tapped him for the democratic ticket in 2000, that is.


Why call it vouchers?  What that study describes sounds remarkably like busing.  Study your history of the 60s and 70s, and see how well that turned out.  It's certainly not the utopia described above.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/23/04 at 12:48 pm


Vouchers for private school?  Nice thought for some, but what about transportation to whatever school you are able to be accepted into, and where do you get the money to make up the difference in tuition?  I have a son who is special needs,  I would need a school close enouth to transport him, that has the expertise to teach him, and private special needs schools, if there is a space open, do not offer scholarships or financial aid, "but I have a voucher!  big deal, that and a dime" 

Absolutely!  I sometimes wish the pro-vouchers crowd got their every wish, then they'd find out what a joke their plan really is.  Unfortunately, it would come at too great a price to the children of America.
Well, those who were naive enough to believe it in the first place would find it was a joke.  Newt Gingrich-type cynics already know vouchers are a joke.  It's just another strategy in the class warfare prosecuted by the rich against the rest of us.

GWBush wrote:
THE FACTS:
You're still dealing with a tiny population of students.  The problems endemic to low-income school districts are both macro-economic and cultural.  When you are talking about vouchers by the hundreds of thousands, you are talking about the need to place hundreds of thousands in private or parochial schools.  There would be a large population for whom the subsidy would not be enough to get them out of the public schools, thus they would be stuck in ever poorer and more ghettoized schools. 
Supposing you got, say, 30% of poor inner city kids into voucher programs.  All the problems caused by the economic and social conditions in which these children live would follow them into whatever private schools they attended.  You could say, "then the private school has the right to throw problem kids out."  Such deprivation and ostracism would only exacerbate the social pathologies we see now.
You can take a few bright kids from failing schools--or even a few troubled kids--and place them with care in better circumstances, and you will get better results.  En mass, results would be quite different.
Again, the woman from Michigan is correct.  Every time a public school's enrollment drops by one, the school district loses thousands of dollars.  Conservatives say you can't solve the problems of education by throwing money at it.  But for anyone to honestly believe punitively depriving failing schools fo funds would snap them to attention is delusional!
Your "facts" are "facts" from a study of limited circumstances, and not reliable indicator of what the future holds if we go ahead with "voucherization."

Chucky G wrote:
I have to disagree with the statement that there's no reason for public schools to exist.  Quite simply, if the general public isn't educated, our society would begin to crumble pretty fast.  If you have a large number of people who can't work at McDonald's or other low paying jobs, because they lack basic reading and math skills, you're going to have a lot more people on welfare, etc.
Hey, don't give those McDonald's jobs to drop-outs, those of us with liberal arts degrees need them!
;D ;D
Actually, as Barbara Ehrenreich demonstrated in Nickeled and Dimed, you can't earn enough to support yourself, let alone a family, working 80 hours a week for minimum wage.  When they count up the "unemployed" (a grossly understated figure as it is), they don't account for the "underemployed."  There is a significant percentage of the population--even college educated--that the market has no use for.  Simply put, the way our economy is set up, there's just not enough for everybody to do.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/23/04 at 2:54 pm




The teacher unions do deserve some of the blame, which I'm sure a teacher doesn't want to hear.  If you discount the fact that the union's appear more concerned with money and benefits, they tend to allow too many tenured teachers to continue in the profession that most likely shouldn't be there.  I was an above average student in school, though not overly motivated, and I can certainly say that I had teachers that were tenured that were excellent.  I also had a couple that were clearly there to ride out their service to retirement. 

There's also the mistaken belief that more money, means better teachers.  All it really means, is you get people applying for a position because it pays well, and they hope to get their summers off. Conneticut has the highest paid teachers in the country, and yet their schools are failing.  There goes that theory. Maybe it works at the college level, but most large universities have expensive professors who don't teach the undergrads.  No wonder most of them don't go on for additional degrees.

The opposition to standardized testing is also a mistake.  Even with several of the tests dumbed way down, they're still failing plenty of students.  That's a sign that there's students that shouldn't be in grade levels that they're in. The argument is that teachers will teach towards the test.  Of course they will.  I was taught basic standarized test taking techniques.  The SAT tests practically require you know about trying to eliminate incorrect answers, etc. That only gets you a small edge on the overall test.  If you can't read, you can't apply that technique.  If you can't tell which answers are not even likely contenders, than you can't improve your odds if you don't know an answer. If you told the teacher unions, that you weren't going to require ceritfication tests for new teachers, I'm sure they'd freak out over it.  Surprisingly, they don't think the issuance of a degree they teach, should require the same level of effort by their students.

The other side of the coin, is that students are expected to know a greater deal of material now, compared to 20 years ago.  How many people over the age of 40 had to take an entire course in computer technology? How many other advances also need to be covered? The more time you spend on things outside of the core curriculums, is time you don't spend teaching the basics. 

Parents are also nowhere near as involved in the education process as they need to be.  The only time you ever see parents involved in the process, is when it involves organized sports (a total waste of public money that gets spent on a small minority of students), or when something they don't like, such as evolution is taught.  Children need to be encouraged and supervised heavily.

My town is building a new school.  The state requires a ridiculous number of athletic fields for a school the size they plan on building. This requires more money to purchase additional land, and construction of the fields themselves.  Outside of basic phys-ed, these items are a total extravagence, and do very little to help non-athletes learn better. I guess without the sports teams, the parents have nothing to get hyper over.  That money could easily be spent on history books that cover, let's say the Vietnam war (which in the late 80s, I didn't have). 

so yeah, no simple solution for the poltiicans to campaign over.


Absolutely no simple solutions, we agree on that.

To an extent, I agree that teachers unions can get in the way at times.  At my school some time ago we had a sexual harassment case between two professors.  I knew the guy was guilty and testified against him, even though I was the chapter grievance officer, but the union had to defend him (my testimony brought him down and  my union colleagues saw no problem with what I did.  In fact, I was elected chapter chair the next year).  My point is that you need to recognize that teachers are employees in addition to being public servants.  Their (our) unions are not designed to protect the public interest but our interests as employees.  But in most contracts that I am familiar with, there are ways for management to get rid of bad teachers before they get tenure, and even after.  Before tenure is easier, as it should be.  The problem, I think, is that often management simply doesn't have the cojones to do its job when it needs to.  But when it does try, the union has to defend its member.  That's called due process.

I agree that throwing money at a problem is no solution, but without sufficient incentives for good people to enter the system, there will be no solution.

Standardized tests, if well designed, can be a valid assessment tool, but "teaching to the test" isn't instruction in test taking techniques.  It has to do with the content, like what dates to remember etc. which tends, some think, to distract from critical thinking and analytical skills.

You are right that there is a mountain more to learn than when I went to public school.  I never heard of computers when I was in high school!!!  Imagin that.  And that does present a problem which will only get worse.

Ultimately though, I do believe the answer lieswith parants.  If they support education and insist that their kids seek it out, and model intellectual curiosity by reading, and by discussing things with their kids, and laying down rules early that build habits along these lines, kids will do better.  Teachers, to use an old saying, can only "lead the horse to the water".

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/23/04 at 3:35 pm




For me, there are several reasons behind this problem.  In fact, there are so many causes it is impossible to list them all.  But I will hit several at which I think is to blame.

One of the biggest problems is "Outcome Based Education".  I know that it is not the intent, but the result of it is that it tends to bring all of the students down to the LOWEST common denominator.  Add to that the fact that some schools now do not give "failing" grades, it means that you can't fail in school.  A nice idea, but it leaves our kids totally unprepared for real life.

The politicizing of our teachers has not helped.  In the 1960's and 70's, a lot of people got into Education (as well as Reporting) to "make a difference".  Once again, it is a nice goal, but who made the choice of placeing THEM in charge of our future?  As an example, in 1982 I was in a High School Civics class in Los Angeles.  One of the things we had to discuss was "Pornography".  

The teacher drug out a booklet from the 1960's showing dead Vietnamese children.  "This is pornography" he told the class.  "This is what the US Army did to innocent people in another country.  This is the most disgusting form of Pronography there is!"

I got up and walked out of that class.  He yelled at me, but I left anyways, and went to the Principals office, demanding a change of instructor.  After a counselling session with the instructor he was forced to give an apology to me in front of the class, and was admonished strongly to never do political indoctrination again in class.  I met my wife in his class, and she had a similar run-in with him a few months earlier, when he insisted that Argentina was wrong in trying to take back the Malvinas Islands (Falklands).  He would state that everything she tried to say about the incident was a lie, even after she brought proof that England stole them from Argentina from a Brittish edition of "Encyclopedia Britanica" from the school library!

The unions are a problem in my mind, for another reason.  "Tenure" is a nice idea, but it prevents the removal of unqualified or problematical teachers.  This robs our children of having the best possible teachers, and keeps ones that should be removed in their job because of the power of a group which is not involved in the rights of the students, but in the rights of the teachers.

One problem with education is that to often it attracts the people who are unable to "hack it" in the private sector.  I had one instructor for Business in a community college in LA, who had failed at 2 business of his own, and been fired from 4 corporations.  In the 4 weeks prior to my dropping the class, he had covered NONE of the material in the book, and on the 5th week he did not even bother to show up or call in to the administrator, even though we were supposed to have an exam.  Even though it was past the "drop point", the assistant dean approved my refund when I said I wanted out of the class.  I am sure that he was not granted tenure (this was his first class with that College).  I have seen similar things in private schools though, so not just public schools suffer from this problem.

For one, I support mandatory teacher requirements and testing.  And they should either be instructing a topic that was either their Major or their Minor in college.  To many times, we see Math majors teaching History, or Political Science teachers teaching English.  Make sure that their education matches the subject they are trying to teach.

Also, just like Accountants and Engineers, require further education.  Unless the Teachers themselves "Go back to school" occasionally, they will fall behind of newer discoveries and techniques.  Maybe have them get 1 credit in their chosen field and 1 in Education every 2 years.

Another area would be choices in textbooks.  Instead of giving the instructor a book and having them teach out of that, let them make a choice between 2 or 3 textbooks.  This way, they can pick one that most closely matches their style and the ability of the class.

Finally, allow them to remove disruptive students.  Remembering back to my time in school, there is little worse then having one or more jerks making it impossible to learn by their disruptive antics and behavior.  Allow a teacher to remove them from the class.  The students need to learn how to restrain themselves and behave, because that type of action will not be tolerated a few years later in "the real world".

After all, that is one of the primary goals of education, to help kids mature into adults, and prepare themselves for the "real world" where jobs are a fact of life.


While I am a college professor, I'm not trained in "education" so I'm not up on the jargon or the theory of that specialty.  I will say that students do have different ways of learning, which I ttry to ferret out and accomidate as best as I am able, but my focus is teaching history the best way I can, which suites some students better than others.  I don't support passing kids who don't know the material, or can't demonstrate, orally and in writing, that they do.  That is a disservice to them and everyone else.

While I agree that what happened at Mai Lie was more porngraphic than images of people engaging in the love act, I agree that there is a fine line between raising issues, even controvercial ones, and forcing a political agenda on students.  I also agree in principle that teachers may sometimes cross that line.  I'm sure that some people might think I do.  I do advance interpretations, which are always changing as I read and learn more, but in my defense, I make it a point to go easier on students who disagree with me than on those who appear to agree.  I welcome and encourage then to voice their opinions, which can never be "wrong", although I challenge them to use facts to argue their case.  Their "facts" however, can be just wrong.  In the case you describe, I would say that walking out might not have been the best response, but an understandable one given the power relationship in the classroom.  I guess, as an arrogant sob, that was never a concern of mine, so when confronted with positions with which I disagreed I argued my case.

As I said in response to Chucky, you need to understand the role of unions in education, as in and employer-employee relationship.  Both sides have an obligation to defend the contract and enforce its provisions.  As a tenured full professor, I can be fired for cause, including incompetance, but that has to be proven by the administration.  My union's job is to defend me against whatever charge is brought against me - thats why I pay union dues.  Tenure is not a garantee of employment, but a protection against harassment and of intellectual freedom.  At one point, before I had tenure, an associate dean who didn't like me wrote a very misleading and inaccurate assesment of my teaching.  Turned out that I didn't need the union because the dean was smart enough to see the hatchet job for what it was, but I'm sure glad I had the union as a backup.  Also check out the case I mentioned in my response to Chucky re unions.

I agree that teachers should be able to select their own texts - I do - but the problem goes deeper.  The Texas school board has way too much influence on the content of all text books.  Another problem is the way they are written, especially in history.  They are writen in the omiscient "this is the word" style instead of raising questions and advancing tentative answers.  For example, what WAS the nature of Jacksonian Democracy?  Historians don't agree, but highschool texts (and college texts too) give one answer and don't raise the questions.  Thats why I responded to GWB as I did when he said that students need to learn history.  Whose?

Encouraging (or requiring) teachers to update their knowledge and skills is a great idea that many districts, at least in VT support.

I also agree that teachers should only be certified in those subjects they have actuall studied, which is the case in vt.

I also support the idea of maintaining discipline in the classroom, although I have never had a problem with this.  Here again, though, the parants need to be supportive of the teacher.  In eight grade I changed schools, and found myself ahead of the class.  I was bored and naturally, I got "wise".  My teacher called my father, who said "so keep him in line, I'll support you, just don't hit him".  Nor did he, but he did communicate his displeasure, and I did fall in line.  Parental support is critical.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/23/04 at 3:49 pm


I basically agree with what Chucky and DC have said.  I believer, furthermore, that the problem with public education is less a cause than a symptom of cultural ills.

PART I
I can't fairly use my experience in public education as an example because my circumstances were extremely rotten.  I wouldn't advocate changes based only on what  I PERSONALLY endured.

I agree with conservatives (or anyone) who says public school standards have dropped ever lower in the past 30 years.  Kids' values reflect what they see on TV....fun, leisure, defiance, instant gratification, and entitlement to a good time.  I don't attribute this cultural illness to liberal values so much as corporate and commercial values. 

What does it take to get people to buy things?  Not a message of self-sacrifice, discipline, patience, and intellectual curiosity.  Television is toxic to children, Hollywood is toxic to children, and advertising is toxic to children.  Never, ever, undersestimate the pervasive power of advertising upon the priorities and values of people young and old alike.

Conservatives blame liberals for the collapse of values.  However, when you look behind the curtain of moral corruption, who do you see?  No one I, as a liberal, respect.  Not Ralph Nader, not Jerry Brown, not Howard Zinn, not Noam Chomsky, not Billl Moyers, and so on and so on.  Do you see Bill Clinton behind that curtain?  mmmmaybe...but I don't have much "respect" for him, and I don't think of him as "liberal."  In fact, I don't think of Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, or the captains of the entertainment industry as "liberal."  These guys are opportunists.  They're in it to make money.  That's the corporate spirit, the business spirit, not the liberal spirit.

THE --ISMS
I'm talking about "values" and "values" are what makes or breaks education.  I think the NEA is a troubled institution, but our corporate-driven culture of consumerism, hedonism, and anti-intellectualism has done 95% of the damage to our public schools.  It's capitalism, not liberalism.

PART 2
The other issue in education is MOTIVATION.  Let's face it, the blue collar economy that made this country great is in the dumper.  Back when my parents were young, a kid who didn't want to go to college could get a job in a union shop factory, buy a little house, raise a family, and work at the factory until he retired with a pension.  Not a glamorous or affluent life by any stretch, but a secure one.  (no, I'm not saying there weren't major problems back then, too, so don't bop me over the head with petty gainsaying)
Today, a kid who doesn't want to go to college can look forward to getting about half the pay his grandfather did for the same kid of work--if he can get work at all--with no union, no security, and no respect.
With this in mind, schools push as many kids as they can onto the college track.  Never mind that most kids don't want to study liberal arts.  Suburban schools like mine give not-so-subtle messages that vocational education is for dummies.  The way to get a "good" job is to go to college.  In fact, most young men and women would be much better served by taking a year or two certificate in a marketable skill.
It's one thing to come from wealth and take a leisurely study of Plato and French, but most kids rightly question how any of these liberal arts courses are going to help them in life.  I could give the highbrow answer about the "well-rounded" individual, but that's crap.  Most kids know they're in for sinking deep into debt as they go to college and sit through Shakespeare and medieval history all over again.
These days, a BA is practically worthless in the marketplace, and a BS isn't much better. 
So, our problem with education may also have something to do with a sense of insecurity, purposelessness, and apathy.  Among the pupils, this attitude is hardly unfounded.






As a history professor, and therefore a member of the lilberal arts community, I have to strongly disagree with this.  The skills, knowledge, and habits of mind embodied in a liberal arts education are MUCH more important than the mastering of specific skills becuae one who has internalized the message of the liberal arts has learned how to learn, learned to be curious, and  as a result, learned to adopt to change.  I could go on, but...

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/23/04 at 3:55 pm


Education is a service like any other.  There is no reason for public schools to exist, and there is no reason for the government to require students to attend.  Forcing kids whose parents don't care about education to be there puts teachers in an impossible position and causes major disruption for the kids who are there to learn.  My wife teaches second grade and every year there are one or two students who frankly make her life miserable because there's no reason for them to be there, yet she's still required to baby-sit them all day while trying to get through to the other kids.  Schools HAVE to be able to unload the kids whose parents "leave them behind".  It's simply unfair to the rest of the kids, the teachers, and the teachers' poor husbands who have to listen to them complain every day after school  ;). 

I wholeheartedly agree with what Chucky said about teachers.  Instead of attracting the brightest, hardest-working people, raising teachers' pay has convinced legions of slackers who aren't smart enough to be doctors or lawyers to go into teaching.  The pay is pretty freakin' good, summers off are SWEET, and an ed. degree is about the easiest one to acquire.  When someone tells me "teachers are underpaid", I have to change it to:  "No, GOOD teachers (like my wife) are underpaid.  Lots of them suck @ss."

Ideally, all schools would be private, and the free market would ensure that you'd get what you'd pay for--a good education for your kids, or a school wouldn't survive.  Teachers who don't care would be out of teaching, and kids whose parents didn't care wouldn't be allowed to disrupt the educations of everyone else (and their parents would be incentivized to start caring--this free day care crap is for the birds).


This is so far off the wall I can't even think of a response, except to say that from the earliest days of at least my state, even before we entered the union, we recognized the value of a tax supported manditory public education.  Democracy demand no less.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/23/04 at 5:13 pm




As a history professor, and therefore a member of the lilberal arts community, I have to strongly disagree with this.  The skills, knowledge, and habits of mind embodied in a liberal arts education are MUCH more important than the mastering of specific skills becuae one who has internalized the message of the liberal arts has learned how to learn, learned to be curious, and  as a result, learned to adopt to change.  I could go on, but...

Well, I know you are right.  I'm just bitter and cynical, not about education, but the education system.  Learning is as valuable now as it was in the time of Socrates.  Learning institutions, however, think of themselves as businesses.  Education is becoming a commodity for the rich.  Tuition and fees keep skyrocketing, and students keep borrowing more and more money from the government.  I managed to get through college, but I was disabled for many years after.  My credit-rating is deep in the negative range, and I still owe tens of thousands I can barely begin to pay back.  My situation isn't unique.  People are gruaduating from college owing thrity grand now, for advanced degrees, some own forty or fifty.  Medical students routinely owe in the six figures.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Alicia on 07/23/04 at 6:05 pm


It seems fairly clear that our system of public education has deteriorated over the years since I was involved.  The anecdotes are numerous.  A funny (but sad) compilation is Non Campus Mentis compiled by Andres Henriksson.  May blame the NEA and the AFT (2 largest teachers' union) for this.  I think that is too simple and too simplistic.  What should graduating high school kids know?  What skills should they have?  How much responsibility to parants bear for their kids' education?  How much can we expect of teachers?


whew I can write a 500 page on my point of view on education (but I dont think chucky would like that :) ) Since I'm going to graduate soon because I'm now a senior in highschool (yes I actually made it whoohoo!) I had a lot of trouble and had to work my A$$ off to get to where I am.  I see all around me that many kids want to learn but they just dont get a lot of stuff.  To me its hard very hard, kids have to deal with other things to in their life maybe bullying, parents going through divorce, growing up in foster homes, or whatever problems that might occur and to top it off having to deal with THAT and having to worry on your future? its a stressful thing.  The skills HS kids should know is the basics, basic math, English, a little science, and History.  Whatever the kid chooses to do then they should take those classes.  But we cant just take whatever...we have to have required classes.  AND we have to pass stupid tests or else we dont get out of hs? some  kids try so hard but still dont get the simplist things no matter how much help they get.  Some kids dont even try cause they see the "Smarter students" who can do "Every thing" and apply themselves better so some students think "Why try? I cant be like that...." I think if we want better education then we should get more help.  I mean I see what goes on or how teachers say "I already explained it once, I'm not going to do it again so pay attention" Thats their JOB is to HELP any student who NEEDS it and are willing to want help.  Parents need to help to.  They need to be there for their kids and listen to what they have to say.  Then there are kids who really dont want help or dont even try.  growing up for me was hard around the educational part. To this day I still cant do long division and do fractions.  Sometimes I cant even spell great but that shouldnt stop me for doing what I want to do.  and as for money problems it's funny that schools have no money cause I always see new play grounds and Cr@p being built.  Screw the playground equipment that money could go into books and sutff.  If kids want to play then they can do it after school.  Yes children need to run around and get some energy out but thats what Physical education is about.  and the athelets (sorry football players but this is what I see mostly) they get a lot of money from the school to buy new equipment all the time.  this may not happen in every schools but I see it in many around here.

As a conclusion I'm sure people will disagree with me but this is my point of view and liek I said as a student getting ready to graduate, :) I'm just glad I got around the basic stuff (Barely) and the required stuff (Barely) but I still feel for people who try their best and cant.  I dunno if this was off-topic but theres some of the answers from me to questions you asked.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/24/04 at 5:42 am



No sir, education is the holistic process by which we human beings distinguish ourselves from the beasts of the jungle and the fishes of the sea.  Education is not a "service," it is an integral part of humanity.


There is if we expect the future to be something greater than a Dark Age of ignorance and savagery.


 
"No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher." -- Mr. Miyagi.  Who told the missus teaching was supposed to be easy and students were supposed to be little angels who can't wait to start learning.  Children bring a world of trouble to school.  It's not fair to teachers, but life isn't fair.  When a teacher qualifies to teach in a public school he or she pledges to meet the challenge of reaching the most stubborn and stupid. 


Exactly, if at first you don't succeed...give up!  So, because the parents are negligent, you want to punish their children?  By all means, leave them behind!  Did you ever see the book How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis?  That's what we have to look forward to.  Mobs of feral and hungry seven-year olds roaming the streets.  The kind of children who might shank your mother for her pocket change.  That's what we had in our cities at the turn of the 20th century.  Heck, they have that problem now down in cities such as Sao Paulo and Lima.  Down there, the cops just shoot the little buggers. 


Ay-yi-yi, more teacher bashing, more duck-billed platitudes and bogus assumptions from the Rush Limbaugh show.  Claude, would you happen to be a pupil in your wife's class?


Great schools for rich kids, terrible schools for poor kids.  That's what you'd get if you eliminated public funding.  A lot of that "you get what you pay for" comes into play already with the schools funded by property taxes.  Your attitude towards this utopian "free market" reminds me of a young Chinese Maoist's attitude toward "The Five Year Plan."

It's a dangerous arrogance to dismiss the importance of parental accountability.  I know it sounds outrageous to suggest that we'd be better off without public schools but maybe that's only because we've always had them as long as everyone reading this has been alive.  We've done nothing but throw more money at the problem, and it's grown steadily worse, especially for those who need quality education the most. 

You can twitter all you want that education is too important to be considered just another service, but the fact remains that it IS a service, and as such it's subject to the same market incentives that determine the quality of other services.  Just what is it about government employees that make them magically superior to the private sector?  The removal of the nefarious profit motive?  Please don't tell me you're that naive.  As a gov. employee myself, I'm pretty curious because I guarantee that I and everyone I work with is a self-interested human being just like every worker in the private sector, just like every politician, for that matter, is a human too (insert Nader joke here).  When you consider the effectiveness of private enterprise, compared to the clumsy bureaucracy of government, I'd say that education is too important NOT to be thought of as just another service.  Oh, and yes, I do happen to be a student in my wife's class, and she tells me I'm VERY NAUGHTY.  But I'll spare you the details.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/24/04 at 5:52 am



I have to disagree with the statement that there's no reason for public schools to exist.  Quite simply, if the general public isn't educated, our society would begin to crumble pretty fast.  If you have a large number of people who can't work at McDonald's or other low paying jobs, because they lack basic reading and math skills, you're going to have a lot more people on welfare, etc.

Young children are very hard to deal with, If there's two or three in a class that can't be kept in line, they should be moved to a special class that can deal with them.  Keeping kids in a class they don't belong in, is entirely the wrong idea. Half the reason I was bored through most of my pre-high school classes, was because the teachers were forced to teach to the slower students.  There was a statistic on education I once saw, where 5% of the students take up 80% of the time of the teachers. Unloading the problem isn't quite the right solution, moving the problem to where it can be properly handled is the solution.  No one wants to pay for it I'm sure.


No one gets rich teaching at public schools, but you certainly won't hear of any starving either.  When I found out recently what the teachers in my area were making, I wasn't ipressed with their arguments about making too little. Not when I make maybe 30% more than they do and do plenty of overtime. If they're pulling 60 hour weeks on a regular basis, and only get three weeks (or less, I usually only end up with 2 weeks a year) then maybe I'll sympathize more.  I remember one of my teacher's complaining that she had a degree, she should be making much more in the private sector. I have news, a college degree is no guarantee of a higher salary anywhere.  I also spend a lot of time going to classes every year, just to keep up.



Unfortunately, this helps to re-enforce the cycle of poverty.  You force people to decide whether they want to eat or educate their children better.  Currently, if you think the private sector can educate your child better, you're more than welcome to send them to a private school, the only thing holding you back is money, which would still be the same thing holding you back if you didn't have public schools.

Not a lot of time this morning so I'll have to be brief.  The main point I'd like to make is that I never said that education wasn't important.  I think every parent should value education and instill a lifelong love of learning into every child, same as (I assume) everyone else feels.  I just don't think government can or should be charged with making that happen.  Parenting is a huge responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly, but for some reason it is, by many people.  Isn't it possible that's because many people have gotten the impression that it's not their responsibility, but the government's?  Just a thought.

I also believe that along with the responsibility to raise your child, you also have the right to raise your child as you see fit.  For example, I hope that most people realize that spanking children is generally limited in effectiveness and often does more harm than good.  But I'm not going to tell anyone that they can't spank their child, because I don't want anyone telling me how to raise mine.  The question then is, why is education any different?  Where do you draw the line?  We can hope and try to persuade people that ed. is important, but ultimately it's the parent's responsibility, and that, bottom line is my problem with public ed.  Crap, I really gotta get to work now.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: CatwomanofV on 07/24/04 at 11:35 am



It's a dangerous arrogance to dismiss the importance of parental accountability.  I know it sounds outrageous to suggest that we'd be better off without public schools but maybe that's only because we've always had them as long as everyone reading this has been alive.  We've done nothing but throw more money at the problem, and it's grown steadily worse, especially for those who need quality education the most. 




Money HASN'T been thrown at education. That is the problem. Many schools (especially in urban areas) are deteriorating, some history books state that Richard Nixon is still the president, over-crowding classrooms, etc. There are many schools have one teacher for 30+ students. Many classes have students that have several different ability ranges. It is very difficult for one teacher to give the low-ability kids the individual assistance they need while trying to stimulate the high-ability kids at the same time. I have heard of classes being conducted in closets because of lack of room. There are many special education programs being cut. Yes, I do think that more $$$ should go into education. I know money isn't the total solution to the problem but it does help. Also, if teachers were offered decent salaries, maybe schools can maintain GOOD teachers. I have known many really good teachers but they left teaching behind them because of the pay. I also know that most teachers use their own money to buy supplies-including books.



Cat

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/24/04 at 11:49 am



It's a dangerous arrogance to dismiss the importance of parental accountability.


Who dismissed it?  I didn't.  Never have.

  I know it sounds outrageous to suggest that we'd be better off without public schools but maybe that's only because we've always had them as long as everyone reading this has been alive.  We've done nothing but throw more money at the problem, and it's grown steadily worse, especially for those who need quality education the most. 
All social and economic factors considered, I have never heard a justifiable reason for eradicating the public school system.  I have never heard an alternative that would work in reality.  I'm not saying there isn't one, I'm just saying anti-public schoolers have never made the case.

You can twitter all you want that education is too important to be considered just another service, but the fact remains that it IS a service, and as such it's subject to the same market incentives that determine the quality of other services.
Again, the same people who make that claim about education also make it about healthcare, and again I have yet to hear any of them make a reasonable case for how public education is like buying a car or hiring a landscaper.
Just what is it about government employees that make them magically superior to the private sector? 
I never said they were.  And I don't hate the private sector like you hate the government.

The removal of the nefarious profit motive?  Please don't tell me you're that naive.  As a gov. employee myself, I'm pretty curious because I guarantee that I and everyone I work with is a self-interested human being just like every worker in the private sector, just like every politician, for that matter, is a human too (insert Nader joke here).  When you consider the effectiveness of private enterprise, compared to the clumsy bureaucracy of government, I'd say that education is too important NOT to be thought of as just another service. 

Who is naive here?  Are you saying the profit motive is what makes people hard-working, virtuous, and accountable?  Corporate America itself can't cut it in the private sector.  Corporations are America's biggest welfare client.  Businesses are full of crooks, leeches, and layabouts.  Private enterprises fail all the time.  A lot of private schools fail too.  
Private enterprise can do great things the public sector cannot.  However, true private enterprise is always risky.  We need a reliable safety net for education.  It would be suicide to entrust all our education to the private sector.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: GWBush2004 on 07/24/04 at 12:16 pm





Money HASN'T been thrown at education. That is the problem. Many schools (especially in urban areas) are deteriorating, some history books state that Richard Nixon is still the president, over-crowding classrooms, etc. There are many schools have one teacher for 30+ students. Many classes have students that have several different ability ranges. It is very difficult for one teacher to give the low-ability kids the individual assistance they need while trying to stimulate the high-ability kids at the same time. I have heard of classes being conducted in closets because of lack of room. There are many special education programs being cut. Yes, I do think that more $$$ should go into education. I know money isn't the total solution to the problem but it does help. Also, if teachers were offered decent salaries, maybe schools can maintain GOOD teachers. I have known many really good teachers but they left teaching behind them because of the pay. I also know that most teachers use their own money to buy supplies-including books.



Cat



LIBERAL'S PHONY CLAIM: More money will fix the failing public schools.
''You can't run a quality school without quality dollars.'' -Stanyan Vukovich, principal of Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland, CA quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.


THE FACTS:

1.Professor Eric Hanushek, chairman of the economics department at the University of Rochester, published the definitive in-depth analysis of the relationship between spending and educational proformance.  After reviewing 400 studies of student achievement, Hanushek found in his 1997 report no consistent connection between students proformance and school resources.

2.Stuart Butler notes that SAT scores support Hanushek's claims.  ''Typical was New Jersey,'' writes Butler, ''which had the highest per-pupil expenditure ($10,241 per student) in thr 1996-1997 school year and the second smallest pupil-to-teacher ratio.  New Jersey recieved nearly 50% of its public educational funding from federal sources, yet the students ranked 39th on the 1998 Scholastic Aptitude Test.  Conversely, Minnesota, which ranked 27th in per-pupil spending ($5,826), recieved the HIGHEST ranking in student achievement on the same test.

3.Catholic schools, with far low per-pupil costs ($3,500), have been out-proforming public schools for decades, even in urban areas, and even with minority and disadvantaged student populations.  The difference?  Higher expectations and standards, both academic and behavioral.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/24/04 at 3:41 pm






LIBERAL'S PHONY CLAIM: More money will fix the failing public schools.
''You can't run a quality school without quality dollars.'' -Stanyan Vukovich, principal of Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland, CA quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.


THE FACTS:

1.Professor Eric Hanushek, chairman of the economics department at the University of Rochester, published the definitive in-depth analysis of the relationship between spending and educational proformance.  After reviewing 400 studies of student achievement, Hanushek found in his 1997 report no consistent connection between students proformance and school resources.

2.Stuart Butler notes that SAT scores support Hanushek's claims.  ''Typical was New Jersey,'' writes Butler, ''which had the highest per-pupil expenditure ($10,241 per student) in thr 1996-1997 school year and the second smallest pupil-to-teacher ratio.  New Jersey recieved nearly 50% of its public educational funding from federal sources, yet the students ranked 39th on the 1998 Scholastic Aptitude Test.  Conversely, Minnesota, which ranked 27th in per-pupil spending ($5,826), recieved the HIGHEST ranking in student achievement on the same test.

3.Catholic schools, with far low per-pupil costs ($3,500), have been out-proforming public schools for decades, even in urban areas, and even with minority and disadvantaged student populations.  The difference?  Higher expectations and standards, both academic and behavioral.


You mean "SOME OF THE SUPPOSED FACTS"

No one (including Cat) said that money was the answer, but schools without proper lab equipment can't adequately teach science.  Schools without libraries can't adequately reach history (and you never answered mt question about which history should be taught) etc.  Again, as in most of your posts, you present simplistic solutions backed by one-sided or limited studies to complex and multi-dimensional problems.

By the way, what is your estimation of The Bell Curve (can't think of the authors off hand)?

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/24/04 at 3:46 pm



Well, I know you are right.  I'm just bitter and cynical, not about education, but the education system.  Learning is as valuable now as it was in the time of Socrates.  Learning institutions, however, think of themselves as businesses.  Education is becoming a commodity for the rich.  Tuition and fees keep skyrocketing, and students keep borrowing more and more money from the government.  I managed to get through college, but I was disabled for many years after.  My credit-rating is deep in the negative range, and I still owe tens of thousands I can barely begin to pay back.  My situation isn't unique.  People are gruaduating from college owing thrity grand now, for advanced degrees, some own forty or fifty.  Medical students routinely owe in the six figures.


I totally agree that the debt burden faced by college graduates is a disgrace.  I have been a strong advocate for adaquate funding for public colleges for years, and testified before a state legislative committee on that.  I think public colleges should be free for state residents, and states should offer reciprcity, maybe on a 1 for 1 basis.  Based on ability of course, ie students woiuld still need to be admitted and to pass.  The notion that post secondary education is a luxury, in this day and age, is VERY outdated.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Rice_Cube on 07/24/04 at 6:13 pm

^ So maybe they should think about applying for scholarships or grants.  Billions of dollars to be had there.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/25/04 at 12:01 am



Higher expectations and standards, both academic and behavioral.

I agree that sheer volume of dollars doesn't fix all the problems plaguing schools.  I also agree with raising the standards.  However, improving the academic and behavioral boils down to improvement of the economic circumstances and security of families in poor communities.
It is true that an intact family structure improves a child's academic performance better than anything--all children, not just Asians!

However, the shattered family structures we find in our impoverished areas are not going to get fixed without a vast economic renewal.  No, bulldozing Jadakis and whipping out Jesus is not a plausible solution.  People need economic hope. 
Furthermore, it is not fair to look just at per-pupil expenditures in poor communities and say, "Oh well, they got plenty of money, the problem is the parents, teachers, and kids have sh*t attitudes."  No, you really do need to take into account the entire macro-economic situation, the sociological history of each community, and the social realities the community faces.  It's not something you can just sum up into an elegent soundbite.
Of course, you can keep chanting GOP talking points until the cows come home, but the prescriptions therein will only further undermine the educational opportunities for poor children.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/25/04 at 10:07 am


Who dismissed it?  I didn't.  Never have.


So you're saying that parents ARE responsible for their children's education?  Then why is it the government that has to provide them with it and force them to go?  What exactly does accountability mean to you?


All social and economic factors considered, I have never heard a justifiable reason for eradicating the public school system.  I have never heard an alternative that would work in reality.  I'm not saying there isn't one, I'm just saying anti-public schoolers have never made the case.

Well, the public school system is doing a pretty poor job of justifying its existence.  The beauty of the free market is that ineffective businesses don't last and effective ones do.  How can that not make sense to somebody?


Again, the same people who make that claim about education also make it about healthcare, and again I have yet to hear any of them make a reasonable case for how public education is like buying a car or hiring a landscaper.


How is it NOT like buying a car?  You want to go places, you buy a car.  You want a better chance at a good job, you get an education.  Your car breaks down, you go get it fixed.  Your body has problems, you go get it fixed.  Tell me what's unreasonable about this.


I never said they were.  And I don't hate the private sector like you hate the government.

You've never said it in so many words.  But why, then, is a government service like public education preferable to private enterprise?  And I've never said I HATED the government.  I see no reason to trust the government, and am absolutely baffled that so many other people do, but if I hate something, it's the contempt for individual rights and personal responsibility that seems to be everywhere I look.


Who is naive here?  Are you saying the profit motive is what makes people hard-working, virtuous, and accountable?  Corporate America itself can't cut it in the private sector.  Corporations are America's biggest welfare client.  Businesses are full of crooks, leeches, and layabouts.  Private enterprises fail all the time.  A lot of private schools fail too.  
Private enterprise can do great things the public sector cannot.  However, true private enterprise is always risky.  We need a reliable safety net for education.  It would be suicide to entrust all our education to the private sector.

I'm saying that profit motive is what drives private businesses to effectively meet the needs of their clients.  Are you saying that government service makes people hard-working, virtuous, and accountable?  (I hope not; I really don't want to pee myself laughing)  Are you saying that public education is "reliable"?  I've heard your corporate welfare diatribes before and I've never disagreed with you that it's appalling.  What I haven't heard is what makes a government agency superior to a private business.  If I could get a straight answer on just that one question, I'd appreciate it.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/25/04 at 1:04 pm




So you're saying that parents ARE responsible for their children's education?  Then why is it the government that has to provide them with it and force them to go?  What exactly does accountability mean to you?


Well, the public school system is doing a pretty poor job of justifying its existence.  The beauty of the free market is that ineffective businesses don't last and effective ones do.  How can that not make sense to somebody?



How is it NOT like buying a car?  You want to go places, you buy a car.  You want a better chance at a good job, you get an education.  Your car breaks down, you go get it fixed.  Your body has problems, you go get it fixed.  Tell me what's unreasonable about this.


You've never said it in so many words.  But why, then, is a government service like public education preferable to private enterprise?  And I've never said I HATED the government.  I see no reason to trust the government, and am absolutely baffled that so many other people do, but if I hate something, it's the contempt for individual rights and personal responsibility that seems to be everywhere I look.


I'm saying that profit motive is what drives private businesses to effectively meet the needs of their clients.  Are you saying that government service makes people hard-working, virtuous, and accountable?  (I hope not; I really don't want to pee myself laughing)  Are you saying that public education is "reliable"?  I've heard your corporate welfare diatribes before and I've never disagreed with you that it's appalling.  What I haven't heard is what makes a government agency superior to a private business.  If I could get a straight answer on just that one question, I'd appreciate it.


Let me start with some generalizations about our government.  We claim to be a democracy.  If that is reeally the case, than WE are the government (ie "of, by and for the people").  As a people we decided, a long time ago, to provide and require a level of education (which has varied) to every child regardless of ability to pay.  We also decided to maintain roads at public expense, provide police and fire protection, impose standards of behavior on businesses and lots of other things as well in order to protect something called the public good, ie to "promote the general welfare".  Thats what government is about and certainly an educated citizenry is part of the general welfare.

Parants bear a responsibility to create an environment conducive to education for their kids.  Some can do that very well regardless of their socioeconomic status, others can't.  But regardless, we all have a stake in the education of the next generation.  Nor do I understand how a business model would in any way enhance educational opportunities.  Certainly those Catholic schools you mention are not run on a business model.

You may not have said that you hate government, but you have made it clear that you are no fan either.  To say you doin't trust government in a democracy is to say that you don't trust yourself or your fellow citizens.  As to "contempt for individual rights", I see lots of that on the right side of the political spectrtum, like the invasion of privacy contained in the Patriot Act, the desire to control people's reproduction and sex lives etc.  Personal responsibility is nice, maybe Ken Lay and the rest of your corporate heros should take some as should Lill' Georgie.

There are areas of  community life that are well served by responsible firms operating in the marketplace, but there are areas where the profit motive just can't cut it, like the examples I gave above.  It certainly isn't doing such a great job with health care, IMHO.  And by the way, private schools are overwhelmingly "not for profit" organizations.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/25/04 at 3:04 pm




The teacher unions do deserve some of the blame, which I'm sure a teacher doesn't want to hear.  If you discount the fact that the union's appear more concerned with money and benefits, they tend to allow too many tenured teachers to continue in the profession that most likely shouldn't be there.  I was an above average student in school, though not overly motivated, and I can certainly say that I had teachers that were tenured that were excellent.  I also had a couple that were clearly there to ride out their service to retirement. 

There's also the mistaken belief that more money, means better teachers.  All it really means, is you get people applying for a position because it pays well, and they hope to get their summers off. Conneticut has the highest paid teachers in the country, and yet their schools are failing.  There goes that theory. Maybe it works at the college level, but most large universities have expensive professors who don't teach the undergrads.  No wonder most of them don't go on for additional degrees.

The opposition to standardized testing is also a mistake.  Even with several of the tests dumbed way down, they're still failing plenty of students.  That's a sign that there's students that shouldn't be in grade levels that they're in. The argument is that teachers will teach towards the test.  Of course they will.  I was taught basic standarized test taking techniques.  The SAT tests practically require you know about trying to eliminate incorrect answers, etc. That only gets you a small edge on the overall test.  If you can't read, you can't apply that technique.  If you can't tell which answers are not even likely contenders, than you can't improve your odds if you don't know an answer. If you told the teacher unions, that you weren't going to require ceritfication tests for new teachers, I'm sure they'd freak out over it.  Surprisingly, they don't think the issuance of a degree they teach, should require the same level of effort by their students.

I must ask the question "Are you a teacher?" Let me answer that for you, "Most likely, no". But, I am.

Imagine getting paid little for the enormous work and effort (with little or no help from the community, parent, and administrators). How would you feel? Excuse me, most teachers are not paid over the summer. Either they must save during the year or get a summer job. Also, imagine having to buy most of your work supplies for more than 20 children.

A lot of teachers (with the exception of me, I have my Master's) do not go on to additional degrees, but a degree only gives a miniscule lead in the field. Most often, you are only giving a salary bump of anywhere from $1,000 to $5, 000. As for the unions, I do agree with some things, however, without unions, teachers would royally get "screwed" by many districts.

As for standardized testing, the tests are overwhelmingly biased towards those who may have received inadequate learning opportunities due to inadequate funding, books, teachers, and school environment. So, of course the playing field isn't leveled to use standardized testing as an assessment of the educational system. For the record, many suburban school districts "fix" their numbers/percentiles to avoid any scrutiny of mistakes or occurrences in their school year. Testing will only work if the playing field is balanced.

IMHO, I don't expect you to imagine, b/c you don't dealt with every day, so it's easy to rant and rave as an outsider looking in. I've worked in both an inner-city school and a suburban school. Both environments are in trouble.

Tanya

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/25/04 at 3:05 pm




So you're saying that parents ARE responsible for their children's education?  Then why is it the government that has to provide them with it and force them to go?  What exactly does accountability mean to you?

It's not all one thing or the other.


Well, the public school system is doing a pretty poor job of justifying its existence.  The beauty of the free market is that ineffective businesses don't last and effective ones do.  How can that not make sense to somebody?
There are thousands of public school systems across the country.  Are they all doing a poor job?  Does the public school system exist in a vacuum?  


How is it NOT like buying a car?  You want to go places, you buy a car.  You want a better chance at a good job, you get an education.  Your car breaks down, you go get it fixed.  Your body has problems, you go get it fixed.  Tell me what's unreasonable about this.
Um, employ some gray matter and tell yourself!


You've never said it in so many words.  But why, then, is a government service like public education preferable to private enterprise?  And I've never said I HATED the government.  I see no reason to trust the government, and am absolutely baffled that so many other people do, but if I hate something, it's the contempt for individual rights and personal responsibility that seems to be everywhere I look.
Just maybe your take on "individual rights," "personal responisbility," and who has "contempt" for them is fundamentally flawed.

I'm saying that profit motive is what drives private businesses to effectively meet the needs of their clients.  Are you saying that government service makes people hard-working, virtuous, and accountable?  (I hope not; I really don't want to pee myself laughing)  Are you saying that public education is "reliable"?  I've heard your corporate welfare diatribes before and I've never disagreed with you that it's appalling.  What I haven't heard is what makes a government agency superior to a private business.  If I could get a straight answer on just that one question, I'd appreciate it.

It's not a question of inferior versus superior, it's a question of fitness to purpose.  For example, a German Shepherd may be very good at guarding your house, but you wouldn't ask him to cook your supper.
Neither the government nor the private sector by their very natures MAKE people hard-working or virtuous, or accountable.  What does?  You connect the dots, and don't screw it up.  I don't want to do your thinking for you.
BTW, as DC points out, most private schools are not-for-profit.  Vouchers have nothing to do with "profit."

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/25/04 at 3:06 pm




The teacher unions do deserve some of the blame, which I'm sure a teacher doesn't want to hear.  If you discount the fact that the union's appear more concerned with money and benefits, they tend to allow too many tenured teachers to continue in the profession that most likely shouldn't be there.  I was an above average student in school, though not overly motivated, and I can certainly say that I had teachers that were tenured that were excellent.  I also had a couple that were clearly there to ride out their service to retirement. 

There's also the mistaken belief that more money, means better teachers.  All it really means, is you get people applying for a position because it pays well, and they hope to get their summers off. Conneticut has the highest paid teachers in the country, and yet their schools are failing.  There goes that theory. Maybe it works at the college level, but most large universities have expensive professors who don't teach the undergrads.  No wonder most of them don't go on for additional degrees.

The opposition to standardized testing is also a mistake.  Even with several of the tests dumbed way down, they're still failing plenty of students.  That's a sign that there's students that shouldn't be in grade levels that they're in. The argument is that teachers will teach towards the test.  Of course they will.  I was taught basic standarized test taking techniques.  The SAT tests practically require you know about trying to eliminate incorrect answers, etc. That only gets you a small edge on the overall test.  If you can't read, you can't apply that technique.  If you can't tell which answers are not even likely contenders, than you can't improve your odds if you don't know an answer. If you told the teacher unions, that you weren't going to require ceritfication tests for new teachers, I'm sure they'd freak out over it.  Surprisingly, they don't think the issuance of a degree they teach, should require the same level of effort by their students.


I must ask the question "Are you a teacher?" Let me answer that for you, "Most likely, no". But, I am.

Imagine getting paid little for the enormous work and effort (with little or no help from the community, parent, and administrators). How would you feel? Excuse me, most teachers are not paid over the summer. Either they must save during the year or get a summer job. Also, imagine having to buy most of your work supplies for more than 20 children.

A lot of teachers (with the exception of me, I have my Master's) do not go on to additional degrees, but a degree only gives a miniscule lead in the field. Most often, you are only giving a salary bump of anywhere from $1,000 to $5, 000. As for the unions, I do agree with some things, however, without unions, teachers would royally get "screwed" by many districts.

As for standardized testing, the tests are overwhelmingly biased towards those who may have received inadequate learning opportunities due to inadequate funding, books, teachers, and school environment. So, of course the playing field isn't leveled to use standardized testing as an assessment of the educational system. For the record, many suburban school districts "fix" their numbers/percentiles to avoid any scrutiny of mistakes or occurrences in their school year. Testing will only work if the playing field is balanced.

IMHO, I don't expect you to imagine, b/c you don't dealt with every day, so it's easy to rant and rave as an outsider looking in. I've worked in both an inner-city school and a suburban school. Both environments are in trouble.

Tanya

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/25/04 at 3:09 pm

Sorry, the all purple post was a screw-up on my part!  :-[

As for parents being involved, yes it does matter. I do not go home with your children. I cannot reinforce what I taught them at your home. It is the parent's job to do so. That's why we send homework home. Buy flash cards and go over them with your children. It's not hard. Invest in some pencils and pens and practice writing wth them.

I see them the next day. After 3:00, they belong to you. Let's work as a team!

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: CatwomanofV on 07/25/04 at 4:16 pm

What grade to do you teach, Tanya? I am a certified teacher K-6 myself but choose not to use that certification at this time. I may decide to go back into the classroom in the future (both as teacher and/or student).



Cat

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/25/04 at 8:52 pm



It's not all one thing or the other.



There are thousands of public school systems across the country.  Are they all doing a poor job?  Does the public school system exist in a vacuum?  



Um, employ some gray matter and tell yourself!



Just maybe your take on "individual rights," "personal responisbility," and who has "contempt" for them is fundamentally flawed.


It's not a question of inferior versus superior, it's a question of fitness to purpose.  For example, a German Shepherd may be very good at guarding your house, but you wouldn't ask him to cook your supper.
Neither the government nor the private sector by their very natures MAKE people hard-working or virtuous, or accountable.  What does?  You connect the dots, and don't screw it up.  I don't want to do your thinking for you.
BTW, as DC points out, most private schools are not-for-profit.  Vouchers have nothing to do with "profit."

Well, all I'm hearing from you is that I need to figure this stuff out for myself, which I guess is supposed to imply that you don't believe I've given it any thought.  But your evasiveness in answering direct questions is only giving me the undoubtedly mistaken impression that you don't know how to answer them, so maybe you should go ahead and spell it out for me:  What exactly is it about education that makes it different in principle from buying a car?  Do you or do you not believe that market incentives improve effectiveness?  Why is it that you appear to trust government more than you trust private business?  And if you do, upon what do you base this trust?

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/26/04 at 2:15 am


What grade to do you teach, Tanya? I am a certified teacher K-6 myself but choose not to use that certification at this time. I may decide to go back into the classroom in the future (both as teacher and/or student).



Cat


I currently teach on the Kindergarten level. However, I taught at the first grade level for a year. I prefer young students b/c I like to get them as their brains are truly forming and when they are open to positive experiences, not jaded by negative ones.

Tanya

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: philbo on 07/26/04 at 12:13 pm

I think some of these need answering:


What exactly is it about education that makes it different in principle from buying a car? 

Two things - choice, and what happens when things go wrong: it's easy to pick and choose between cars before you buy... there are thousands new or used to fit any budget; if your car goes wrong, you can get rid of it or get someone to fix it.  It don't work that way with education: choice of school is at best limited, and often non-existant once you factor in travel and whatever selection procedures a school is allowed to impose; if it goes wrong, it can screw up your child's education before you get a chance to change, and change itself can also be detrimental - you don't want to be moving schools every few months if you don't like the education your child is getting.



Do you or do you not believe that market incentives improve effectiveness? 

For some people, some of the time - but the one thing you'd have to do to make it work in education is come up with a fair way of measuring performance before you can get incentives to work.  It's been posited several times over here, by both left- and right-wing governments, but the test of performance has never been acceptable.


Why is it that you appear to trust government more than you trust private business?  And if you do, upon what do you base this trust?

I'm not answering for Maxwell here, but I'm not sure I would "trust" either - private business is in business to make money: if you can ensure that they can *only* make money when the school(s) they run are run effectively, then there is a chance to get a decent education for their pupils.  The state also can't be trusted wholly, but at least you can guarantee they ain't going to cut and run if things start going wrong.  The experience with companies running contracted-out services in schools (such as school meals or cleaning) suggests that the last thing on earth one would want to do is allow the same sort of people to run the whole school.

Having said that, I'm currently paying for my children's education by what are in effect privately-run companies... so I can't argue the principle, just that simplistic comparisons to buying cars, houses or anything is not particularly helpful.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/26/04 at 4:23 pm


Sorry, the all purple post was a screw-up on my part!  :-[

As for parents being involved, yes it does matter. I do not go home with your children. I cannot reinforce what I taught them at your home. It is the parent's job to do so. That's why we send homework home. Buy flash cards and go over them with your children. It's not hard. Invest in some pencils and pens and practice writing wth them.

I see them the next day. After 3:00, they belong to you. Let's work as a team!


There you go!!!  Thats what make it work!!!

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/26/04 at 4:27 pm



next time, you can just hit "modify" and change it ;)
I agree.  No matter how "good" a teacher is (or isn't), a child is not going to "retain" what they have learned without practice.  I'm having trouble with my middle guy as he sees his brother being able to do multiplication, etc. and he can't.  Granted, there's an almost 3 year difference between them.  I can't get him to understand that it takes practice to be able to do something well.  I kept some of his stuff from the beginning of the year and some from the end to show him how well he did after practicing and I think it's finally sinking in.  I have to add, though, you forgot a big one...turn off the TV and read a book or two with them. 




AAAAH, a responsible parant.  Keep up the good work Cheer!!!!

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/26/04 at 4:29 pm



Well, all I'm hearing from you is that I need to figure this stuff out for myself, which I guess is supposed to imply that you don't believe I've given it any thought.  But your evasiveness in answering direct questions is only giving me the undoubtedly mistaken impression that you don't know how to answer them, so maybe you should go ahead and spell it out for me:  What exactly is it about education that makes it different in principle from buying a car?  Do you or do you not believe that market incentives improve effectiveness?  Why is it that you appear to trust government more than you trust private business?  And if you do, upon what do you base this trust?


Well, in fact Max has responded to you, and so have I.  You just haven't been paying attention.  What is your response to my posts?

Actually, I'm tempted to ignore you on this thread because your IDEAS are so far off the wall.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/26/04 at 6:18 pm

What bugged me so much about comparing education to buying a car is the crude consumerist mentality.  It annoyed me so much I posted an answer that got deleted!

I was the one who first made the comparison, saying education IS NOT like buying a car. I didn't think I'd be asked to expend the energy explaining the obvious, though Philbo did a good job with it.

I have a great disdain for the way absolutely everything is boiled down to a crude commodity to be packaged, marketed, and purchased.  That's just philosophically repulsive to me.

Right now, the Democratic convention is on.  The Dems are so far behind politically because the Republicans have sold themselves so much better to "middle America."  However, it's all been "culture war," which actually boils down to "lifestyle" choices, hence consumerism.

At the bottom of it all, "Democrats want to take away your SUV."

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: philbo on 07/26/04 at 6:26 pm


At the bottom of it all, "Democrats want to take away your SUV."

And so they should... by my reckoning of the statistics, that would save more lives in the US per year than were killed on 9/11.  But that's a different issue.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/26/04 at 9:36 pm


Two things - choice, and what happens when things go wrong: it's easy to pick and choose between cars before you buy... there are thousands new or used to fit any budget; if your car goes wrong, you can get rid of it or get someone to fix it.  It don't work that way with education: choice of school is at best limited, and often non-existant once you factor in travel and whatever selection procedures a school is allowed to impose; if it goes wrong, it can screw up your child's education before you get a chance to change, and change itself can also be detrimental - you don't want to be moving schools every few months if you don't like the education your child is getting.

Setting aside for the moment that everything you're saying about schools here--choice being limited, mistakes having long-term consequences--are going to be true whether the schools are public or private, I still contend that education is clearly a service.  The degree of importance may differ from other services, but I don't see how that changes the principle:  it's still a service.  That said, I do agree with most of what you're saying.  The stakes are very high, the consequences of error quite dire.  Which is why I believe the parents should have as much freedom as possible to choose the best service available for their kids.  Along with this freedom, of course, responsibility is the other side of the coin.


For some people, some of the time - but the one thing you'd have to do to make it work in education is come up with a fair way of measuring performance before you can get incentives to work.  It's been posited several times over here, by both left- and right-wing governments, but the test of performance has never been acceptable.

It depends what you mean about "measuring performance".  If you can accept for a moment that a parent--not a government organization--is fundamentally responsible for feeding, sheltering, clothing, and educating a child (using the help, of course, of whatever products and services are available for purchase), it's clear that it's up to the consumer to decide what's "fair" or not.


I'm not answering for Maxwell here, but I'm not sure I would "trust" either - private business is in business to make money: if you can ensure that they can *only* make money when the school(s) they run are run effectively, then there is a chance to get a decent education for their pupils.  The state also can't be trusted wholly, but at least you can guarantee they ain't going to cut and run if things start going wrong.  The experience with companies running contracted-out services in schools (such as school meals or cleaning) suggests that the last thing on earth one would want to do is allow the same sort of people to run the whole school.

Having said that, I'm currently paying for my children's education by what are in effect privately-run companies... so I can't argue the principle, just that simplistic comparisons to buying cars, houses or anything is not particularly helpful.

This is the whole point.  In a truly free market, the only schools that would survive would be the ones that effectively provide what the parents are looking for.  I don't completely trust anyone I don't personally know, but when given a choice between a private company motivated by greed to make me happy to hand over my money and a government agency motivated by the bureaucratic mandate to expand itself, I'll take the private company every time.  What baffles me is the faith people place in government agencies.  I find it similar to religious faith in that I don't see that it's based on anything other than primitive superstition.  It's almost like they think the sun won't come up in the morning if the Great Ones on Capitol Hill aren't there to turn the switch on.  Government agencies are notoriously inept, wasteful, and impossible to get rid of even once it's clear they've failed or become obsolete.  This isn't a coincidence; it's the nature of all bureaucracy.  The only difference is that when a private company gets bloated and ineffective, it usually goes under.  A government agency gets more money.

Anyway, I usually stick to simplistic comparisons because principles tend to be fundamental, and can't be manipulated the way statistics can.  I appreciate your thoughtful response, and while I'm at it I apologize to Max and Carlos (and anyone else turned off by my tone) for being so smart-alecky sometimes.  I guess I do get carried away a little.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/26/04 at 9:46 pm




Well, in fact Max has responded to you, and so have I.  You just haven't been paying attention.  What is your response to my posts?

Actually, I'm tempted to ignore you on this thread because your IDEAS are so far off the wall.

If it wasn't so alarming I'd find it funny that so many people find the idea of personal responsibility so far out.

I do apologize, though, for ignoring your earlier post.  I have no excuse but in general you do (as do I) tend to reiterate the same things.  Fundamentally, you seem to see people primarily as members of society whereas I see them as individuals, and all our differences come from that view.  I know I've probably come across as somewhat harsh and apologize for that also. 

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/26/04 at 11:35 pm



If it wasn't so alarming I'd find it funny that so many people find the idea of personal responsibility so far out.


Well, there you go again.  Nobody denied parents had to be "responsible."  You keep turning things into "all or nothing."  Either it's the family isolated unto itself OR the state in place of the parents.  That's ridiculous.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: philbo on 07/27/04 at 4:28 am


If it wasn't so alarming I'd find it funny that so many people find the idea of personal responsibility so far out.

On most of these sort of debates I usually find myself agreeing with you - I come from a very Liberal (in the classic Lloyd-George sort of Liberal sense, not the American insult) background - I don't know what the word is in US political slang, but in essence the freedom of the individual with as little legislation as is possible to protect those who need protection and prevent people by their actions doing harm to others.  However, it's a bit like communism: a great idea in theory, but liable to be blown out of the water by the behaviour of people.  There has to be a pragmatic side, and IMO education falls right in there: there is a problem of what happens when a school fails to deliver - I don't believe you can allow schools to close the same way as a company would go into liquidation.  Once you cross that particular rubicon (i.e. it don't matter how bad it gets, it has to get better rather than just shut down), market forces don't apply.  And any companies running such schools would know it.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/27/04 at 5:49 am



Well, there you go again.  Nobody denied parents had to be "responsible."  You keep turning things into "all or nothing."  Either it's the family isolated unto itself OR the state in place of the parents.  That's ridiculous.

It's been my experience that sharing responsibility doesn't work very well.  Someone has to know that it's their fundamental responsibility to do something, or else they can wait for someone else to do it.  I believe we've all observed this phenomenon.  If I tell my two daughters that "one of you" needs to clean up the family room, it's not gonna happen.  I have to be specific.  I don't think that's ridiculous at all. 

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: danootaandme on 07/27/04 at 6:04 am



It's been my experience that sharing responsibility doesn't work very well.  Someone has to know that it's their fundamental responsibility to do something, or else they can wait for someone else to do it.  I believe we've all observed this phenomenon.  If I tell my two daughters that "one of you" needs to clean up the family room, it's not gonna happen.  I have to be specific.  I don't think that's ridiculous at all. 


This comparison is much to simplistic, but it simplicity is what you want.  If you tell your two daughters to clean the family room and if they do a good job they can have their friends over,  they will both clean the family room, and because they work together the room is much cleaner than it would be if it was the responsiblity of just one, they even have time to decorate, and have a nice time when it is finished.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/27/04 at 6:48 pm



On most of these sort of debates I usually find myself agreeing with you - I come from a very Liberal (in the classic Lloyd-George sort of Liberal sense, not the American insult) background - I don't know what the word is in US political slang, but in essence the freedom of the individual with as little legislation as is possible to protect those who need protection and prevent people by their actions doing harm to others.  However, it's a bit like communism: a great idea in theory, but liable to be blown out of the water by the behaviour of people.  There has to be a pragmatic side, and IMO education falls right in there: there is a problem of what happens when a school fails to deliver - I don't believe you can allow schools to close the same way as a company would go into liquidation.  Once you cross that particular rubicon (i.e. it don't matter how bad it gets, it has to get better rather than just shut down), market forces don't apply.  And any companies running such schools would know it.

What if it doesn't get better rather than just shut down?  If the reality is that the school system has failed miserably, is it really better to keep flushing money into it than cut the losses and try something else?  Market forces apply whether you want them to or not--people who can afford it have always made sure their schools are better, and people who can't are stuck in the same failed system.  The "progressive" (that means liberal but it's not an insult yet) answer is that everyone should pay more so the less advantaged have better schools but no amount of money can buy the one thing that's truly needed:  parental responsibility.  Without parents who care about their kids' education, who are willing to support the teachers and impress upon their kids the need to do the work that school requires, any system is doomed to fail.  The only question is whether or not it will be allowed to continue imposing substandard results on innocent children.  Allowing the free market to punish bad schools can help stop the bleeding.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Claude_Prez on 07/27/04 at 7:02 pm




This comparison is much to simplistic, but it simplicity is what you want.  If you tell your two daughters to clean the family room and if they do a good job they can have their friends over,  they will both clean the family room, and because they work together the room is much cleaner than it would be if it was the responsiblity of just one, they even have time to decorate, and have a nice time when it is finished.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but if you knew my daughters, you'd know that the younger one would play while the older one did all the cleaning.  I absolutely guarantee it.  The tendency to avoid unnecessary responsibility is a pretty fundamental principle in human behavior, and if it makes you feel better to call it simplistic when someone cites examples to illustrate it, go right ahead--it doesn't change the principle.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/27/04 at 7:09 pm


It seems fairly clear that our system of public education has deteriorated over the years since I was involved.  The anecdotes are numerous.  A funny (but sad) compilation is Non Campus Mentis compiled by Andres Henriksson.  May blame the NEA and the AFT (2 largest teachers' union) for this.  I think that is too simple and too simplistic.  What should graduating high school kids know?  What skills should they have?  How much responsibility to parants bear for their kids' education?  How much can we expect of teachers?


I agree that we can not put it all on the teachers.  

Parents

The parents HAVE to be involved.

I have a close friend, Elizabeth, who is a first grade teacher.  If a student has not done his/her homework, at lunch hour, Elizabeth makes sure they eat their lunch.  THEN, she brings them back to the class romm, where they spend the rest of their lunch hour getting the homework done.

She has actually had parents come to her and complain about this.  To which Elizabeth replies:  "Hey, when you start doing YOUR job, I'll be happy to not do it for you."


Spending-The Red Herring

I can only speak for the county that I come from.  people are constantly complaining that not enough money is being spent on schools.  And in the poorest city in the county, the students have the worst grade performance.  Sounds like a correlation there.

Except... the State also subsidizes the schools.  In my home county, if you look at the schools that have the lowest test performance, they have the HIGHEST TOTAL FUNDING.  The schools with the lowest TOTAL funding are among the highest scoring schools.

Oh, by the way... the lowest performing school, that had the highest TOTAL per-student spend, won the State basketball and Football trophies last year.


Federal Government

The Federal Government should stay out of Education and stop all funding of it.  The United States Constitution does not create Education Powers at the Federal level.  The words "education", "school", "teach", or "learn" (nor any synonyms that refer to education) are nowhere to be found in the US Constitution or any of its amendments.  However, the Tenth Amendment says that if it is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is reserved for the States to address.  (The Tenth Amendment being possibly the most-violated aspect of the Constitution there is).

Mind you, federal oversight is needed to make sure that fundamental contitutionally-protected rights are not violated by a state's eduation system.   So make sure that kids are not discriminated against by race, creed, handicap, other contitutionally-protected issues.

So get Uncle Sam's money out of it.  Lower Federal taxes for all.. let states raise the funds themselves for their schools, and set their own standards if they wish.

I have no problem with the "No Child Left Behind" Act, except that it was done by the Federal Government.  The Fed has NO BUSINESS in education.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/27/04 at 10:33 pm

Our problems with literacy, basic life-skills, and with children falling through the cracks would get worse by ten fold if the government got out of education. 
Yeah, the government, the public schools, and the teachers are easy targets.  Let's blame them. The public schools are faught with failures, but they are also rich with success.
The right-wing is literally trying to destroy the public sector in this country.  Period.  What the dominant voice in the Republican party wants is this Bill of Rights:  your rights shall be commensurate with the amount of wealth and property you own.
Public education gets in the way of this dream of all our GOP legislators who rooted for the bad guys in Charles Dickens novels.
The public schools in California graduate more students every year than the all the private schools in the country combined.  There is no way in h*ll a private education system could absorb the volume of students the public schools attempt to educate, and absorb the huge diversity of challenges these students bear with them.

Talk of the benevolent and might "market forces" is just right-wing flapdoodle.  Market forces have no interest in anything unprofitable, and no one is going to turn a quick buck by undertaking the burdens of the troubled school systems thoughout America.
Corporate interests want to come in and advertise Oreos in textbooks and Calvin Klein on the sides  of schoolbuses.  They have no philosophical interest in the education of young people.  In fact, they have no philosophical interest in anything except how to pay more money to their executives and shareholders, and less money to their workers.  Invite the Corporate States of America into the classroom, and the classrooms will look like MTV, and be just as edifying.

I have already told you what will happen if states subsidize vouchers to tens of millions of families.  On that level, the logistics go cuckoo and you will have a fabulous disaster on your hands.  Talk about confusion and bureurocracy!  Talk about failing school systems!  Talk about kids getting shortchanged!  Nobody, not even Mr. and Mrs. Thernstrom,* has put together a coherent strategy for a vouchers system on the 10 million+ macro-level.

This anti-public sector rhetoric that has grown ever more prevalent since the Reagan Rewind is little more than rhetoric, empty propaganda.  Where the Reaganesque free market fantasy has been put to the test, it has failed spectacularly.  It's not like the big boys who profit so mightily from things like--say--the privitization of water in developing nations--don't expect this junk to work.  They expect to fleece the world and split with the money.  As for little people who raise their fists in the name of conservative utopia, they big boys look at you and laugh.  They've played you true believer like a ten dollar fiddle, and they'll keep playing you until you wise up and vote the corporate errand boys out of office!

The  tearing down of public education is a war on the masses waged from on hight.  It's no more honest or moral than the poison the World Bank and the IMF feed third world debtor nations.

*Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom, authors of No Excuses, and fellows at the righty-right-right-wing Manhattan Institute.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/27/04 at 11:21 pm


Our problems with literacy, basic life-skills, and with children falling through the cracks would get worse by ten fold if the government got out of education. 


I don't want the government out of education.

I want the FEDERAL government out of education.  It is the responsibility of the STATES and COMMONWEALTHS to educate their citizens.

You really think that some political appointee in Washington DC will do a better job of having your kids educated than your ELECTED local school board (which has the power of taxation) or your ELECTED state government?

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/28/04 at 12:13 am




I don't want the government out of education.

I want the FEDERAL government out of education.  It is the responsibility of the STATES and COMMONWEALTHS to educate their citizens.

You really think that some political appointee in Washington DC will do a better job of having your kids educated than your ELECTED local school board (which has the power of taxation) or your ELECTED state government?

What if the fundamentalist wackjobs* get in charge of an entire state government and ban the teaching evolution in public schools?  You want an entire state to fall back to the 19th century and the federal government not be able to stop it?  This almost happened in Kansas back in 1999. 

If the feds cannot intervene in state education programs, state legislatures can and will punish the public schools. 

*as opposed to sensible fundamentalists who don't try to impose their dogma in every facet of th public sphere.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: danootaandme on 07/28/04 at 6:15 am




I don't want the government out of education.

I want the FEDERAL government out of education.  It is the responsibility of the STATES and COMMONWEALTHS to educate their citizens.

You really think that some political appointee in Washington DC will do a better job of having your kids educated than your ELECTED local school board (which has the power of taxation) or your ELECTED state government?


It is important for the federal government to oversee, what goes on in each state as to education to make sure it is available, and quality.  Of course they do not always do the job, but there are times when they have been asked to step in and have changed things for the better.  Sometimes the states have screwed up so badly that it takes years to undo the damage.  In the 50's and 60's you had forced busing. People
like to blame that on the feds and the African Americans.  The truth is African Americans did not want
busing, what they wanted were schools and educational opportunities equal to that of European
Americans.  Unfortunately, the schools in the African American areas were so poor, so run down, that in
order for there to be an equitable solution that could be implemented they had busing forced upon them.
In fact busing was already in place, African American students were bused out of their neighborhoods
because they were in a school district that had whites only schools.
Had the cities/states provided the equal opportunities in the first place we wouldn't have been subjected
to the fiasco that busing is.  If you are so inclined pick up "Death at an Early Age" by Jonathan Kozol.  It
was a blockbuster when it came out and still holds true today.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/28/04 at 7:31 am



What if the fundamentalist wackjobs* get in charge of an entire state government and ban the teaching evolution in public schools?  You want an entire state to fall back to the 19th century and the federal government not be able to stop it?  This almost happened in Kansas back in 1999. 

If the feds cannot intervene in state education programs, state legislatures can and will punish the public schools. 

*as opposed to sensible fundamentalists who don't try to impose their dogma in every facet of th public sphere.


Is a State government gets "taken over by a bunch of fundamentalist wack jobs" is that any worse than "non-fundamentalist wack jobs"? WHO is to be the judge of what is or is not a "wack job"?  Isn't that the responsibility of the voters?  I am assuming that the citizens of a given state are intelligent enough to vote for a State Government that represents the desires of the state's electorate.  If a state likes to vote wack jobs into office, more power to them.  It is a fundamental right of the voters.

What happens if the President appoints and the Senate approves a "wack job" as Secretary of Education?  As a local citizen, you will be nearly powerless to get him ejected from office if his decisions fouled up your local school system.  But you have INFINITELY more chance and capability to get a funky school director to change or resign.  And in many states, school budgets are put up to a vote of the local citizens.  You never see that with Federal funding.  Just some faceless bureaucrat hassling your school district, dangling money (that YOUR Federal taxes paid) like a carrot.

Do we also want the Fed to take over maintenance of local streets?  Garbage collection?  Administration of hospitals?  Prosecution of jaywalkers?  Dog catching?  Wack jobs could goof up THOSE essential governmental services too.

It is simply amazing that some people prefer to put their ultimate faith in politically-appointed bureaucrats who live in Washington, DC as opposed to elected officials who live and work in their own home town or state.

The purpose of the Federal Government is to execute its duties as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, which include ensuring that local governments follow the due process of law.  Sadly, disgruntled local citizens also like to use the Federal Government as an "end run" around the due process of law in their localities when they do not agree with the will of their local electorate.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/28/04 at 7:40 am




It is important for the federal government to oversee, what goes on in each state as to education to make sure it is available, and quality.  Of course they do not always do the job, but there are times when they have been asked to step in and have changed things for the better.  Sometimes the states have screwed up so badly that it takes years to undo the damage.  In the 50's and 60's you had forced busing. People
like to blame that on the feds and the African Americans.  The truth is African Americans did not want
busing, what they wanted were schools and educational opportunities equal to that of European
Americans.  Unfortunately, the schools in the African American areas were so poor, so run down, that in
order for there to be an equitable solution that could be implemented they had busing forced upon them.
In fact busing was already in place, African American students were bused out of their neighborhoods
because they were in a school district that had whites only schools.
Had the cities/states provided the equal opportunities in the first place we wouldn't have been subjected
to the fiasco that busing is.  If you are so inclined pick up "Death at an Early Age" by Jonathan Kozol.  It
was a blockbuster when it came out and still holds true today.


The role of the Federal Government in eliminating (or at least trying to) discrimination in local school systems is, in my opinion, a LEGITIMATE use of Federal powers.  It is an action that enforced the Constitution's anti-discrimination provisions.

But... That is a blanket statement that I would say about ANY local process that is monitored by the Fed.  A key job of the Fed is to ensure that local governments do not violate the Constitution and follow the rules of law and due process.  NOWHERE in the Constitution is there a provision that "The Federal Government shall ensure that schools are of high quality".

If a given state decides to have poorly-run schools, I am fine with that.  The voters created the system.  The voters are smart enough to fix it, too.  It is their choice.  Just make sure that the system they've voted for, crummy as it may be, does not discriminate by race/creed/etc which are protected by the Constitution.

There is a reason why the USA is comprised of 50 States with their own laws and systems of government.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/28/04 at 8:26 am




The role of the Federal Government in eliminating (or at least trying to) discrimination in local school systems is, in my opinion, a LEGITIMATE use of Federal powers.  It is an action that enforced the Constitution's anti-discrimination provisions.

But... That is a blanket statement that I would say about ANY local process that is monitored by the Fed.  A key job of the Fed is to ensure that local governments do not violate the Constitution and follow the rules of law and due process.  NOWHERE in the Constitution is there a provision that "The Federal Government shall ensure that schools are of high quality".

If a given state decides to have poorly-run schools, I am fine with that.  The voters created the system.  The voters are smart enough to fix it, too.  It is their choice.  Just make sure that the system they've voted for, crummy as it may be, does not discriminate by race/creed/etc which are protected by the Constitution.

There is a reason why the USA is comprised of 50 States with their own laws and systems of government.


I generally agree with the concept of local control but, as in many other areas, the fed sets minimum standards, as it should.  States and localities are free to exceed those standards if they so choose.  Glad you agree that discrimination is wrong.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Mushroom on 07/28/04 at 10:32 am


The public schools in California graduate more students every year than the all the private schools in the country combined.  There is no way in h*ll a private education system could absorb the volume of students the public schools attempt to educate, and absorb the huge diversity of challenges these students bear with them.


Yes, but don't confuse quantity with quality.

I graduated from those "wonderful" California schools.  I graduated with a D- GPA, in the bottom 10% of my class.  And I probably skipped 2/3 of my senior year.  In California, even attempting to attend your senior year and NOT attacking a teacher almost guarantees you will get a diploma.

However, do not look at my D average and think I am stupid.  To be frank, I was bored to death.  I do not think I learned anything worth learning after 9th grade.  I was taking the same Algebra and Geometry again.  I was taking the same American History and Government classes AGAIN.  I was taking the same classes in almost every subject EXCEPT ROTC.  In my last 3 years, that is really the only class that was not a repeat of my previous 9+ years of education.

I even took one of the "new" computer classes in 1982.  I got tired of useing the old BASIC, because I had learned it both from my mother and by myself over 5 years prior to this.  I wanted to learn FORTRAN and PASCAL, but they would not teach it.  Needless to say, I was bored.  Literature class might sound fun for a kid who loved to read.  But to somebody who was reading Chaucer in 5th grade and was now reading such works as "The Crucibal" and having it compared to the "evil repressive Reagan Presidency", it was rather silly.

Of course, I did have a great councellor in my 10th grade year.  Without consulting with either myself or my parents, she decided that my (then slowly) dropping GPA was due to an inability to read!  So without consulting either myself or my parents, she pulled me out of ALL of the advanced classes I had requested (advanced Biology, honors Algebra, and World History), and placed me in the beginners classes and enroled me in "Remedial Reading".

Now the Remedial Reading class was one of those which had comic books, and was designed to give students who could not read or had reading problems the ability to keep up.  Here I was in class with books like Starship Troopers, Bicentennial Man, Foundation, and the like, while everybody else in class is reading Curious George and Clifford The Big Red Dog.  Can you say insulting and offensive?

But by design, once you are placed in the class, you can NOT be removed.  This was to prevent the parents of kids with real problems from removing them because of denial.  I can understand that and still agree.  But to place me in there without even consulting myself or my parents was an offense.  And because of this placement, I was AUTOMATICALLY removed from all of the advanced classes I had requested.  This just ensured that I would not learn anything else, and fall even deeper into that spiral of being bored (which is what caused the GPA drop in the first place).

California schools are a joke.  They are overcrowded.  The facilities are old and lacking even basic security and comfort abilities.  Teachers are often unqualified and uncareing.  Is it any wonder that one of the largest drives for Vouchers comes from California (and Los Angeles in particular)?

I think we need to have some large reform in our education system.  For one, vouchers.  But in a form like I described before, not the "vouchers for everybody" system, which favors the rich.  Give them to people who NEED the vouchers to get a better education.  The poor and lower middle class, in the hopes that these kids can get OUT of the rut their parents are in.

I would also like to see Vocational training becomming more important.  100+ years ago, apprenticeship was the norm in preparing for adult careers.  Now, we just give 12 years of general education then throw them at the "real world".  I would like to see some REAL Vocational training given.  Computers, Printing, Electricial (including phone and cable) wireing, actual Auto Repair with an emphasis on the professional side and certification prep (instead of an "auto shop" where kids slide to an easy grade fixing their own car).  Retail Management, food service management, administration management (not just typing), these are ALL skills that would allow a student to graduate and go into the workforce without having to have their first job be having to say "would you like that super sized?"

Luckily, I did have a form of Vocational training.  After 3 years of ROTC, I knew that I wanted to join the Military.  But in most schools today, any vocational classes they have are a joke.  The equipment and teaching is so outdated as to be almost worthless in the "real world". 

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/28/04 at 11:24 am

Thanks for sharing, Mushroom. You hit it square on the head.

When I moved to Southern CA after being born, raised, and teaching in Philadelphia, I was hit with this false statement. After teaching for a year, I can say that it is exactly that a "false statement". The schools are a complete mess, better off than a lot of other schools. But, still struggling, nonetheless.

Tanya

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/28/04 at 11:52 am

What struck me most re Mushroom's post was how closely all the problems he pointed to, with 1 exception, are related to funding.  Crumbling buildings with substandard amentities, outdated equipment etc.  Even poorly trained teachers COULD be a result of underfunding.  Certainly, as with any group of people, there will be some who don't care.  There is some deadwood at my college.

In terms of fed funding, what there is of it is inadequate.  In establishing minimum standards Congress agreed to foot 40% of its mandates.  It has NEVER come close, which puts the burden on states and towns.  I do think that local control of schools is important, but funding should not be a totally local responsibility.  Thats where tthe vast inequalities comes from.  For example, at one time in the Chicago area, suburban schools spent 4 times as much as inner city schools spent per pupil, and the results showed the disparity.  Clearly it wasn't just the $$$, but also a reflection of the social and economic differences as well.  People who have to struggle to keep body and soul together have little time to support  their kids, and often are themselves not well educated.  As Max stated, the problems in education are a reflection of broader problems in our society. 

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Mushroom on 07/28/04 at 12:12 pm


Thanks for sharing, Mushroom. You hit it square on the head.

When I moved to Southern CA after being born, raised, and teaching in Philadelphia, I was hit with this false statement. After teaching for a year, I can say that it is exactly that a "false statement". The schools are a complete mess, better off than a lot of other schools. But, still struggling, nonetheless.


Thanks Tanya.  :)

To me, education should have 2 major goals.  The most important, is to educate.  The second, is to prepare our youth to take part in society as adults.  Sadly, more and more parents now are just looking at school as a form of babysitter.  They send the kids there 6-8 hours a day, to get them out of their hair.

On top of that, a lot of teachers try to use their position as "teacher" as a way to try and teach beliefs.  To me, this is equal to brainwashing.  As I stated in a prior post, most kids just eat up what the teacher gives them (when they are not causing problems).  This is not the goal.  I do not care if the teacher is "teaching" why Vietnam is wrong, or why Abortion is wrong.  Both are personal viewpoints, and do not belong in class.

Now that is *NOT* to say that during a discussion, these topics should not be brought up and discussed.  But the teacher should try hard and be neutral in any such discussions, not promoting one viewpoint over another.

Myself, I am very much AGAINST segregation.  But I think I would be capable of discussing this topic neutrally, without offending or "talking down to" anybody who believes in favor of it.  I would only hope that interaction with different groups of people would widen their horizon enough so that they would see how wrong the idea is.  But they would have to do this on their own, nobody has the right to "force-feed" it on them.

California schools (most notably Los Angeles) are horrendous.  They are crowded, in poor repair, and lack basic things like Air Conditioning.  Now that may sound like a luxury, but see how much you can learn when you are sitting in class in 100+ degree weather (LA is in the desert after all).

I visited my HS in 1993 shortly before I left LA.  Many of the same "temporary" portable buildings were in place from when I graduated in 1983.  Who ever heard of a 20+ year "temporary" building?  None of them are air conditioned, and all are in a sorry state of repair after 20+ years.

I wish that back then, some form of voucher was available so I could attend a private school.  But I was living with my single dad, and we lived in the bario.  There was no way we could afford it.  I had to get a job during my Senior year in order to make ends meet.

This is why I gave such needs BEFORE a student is eligable for vouchers.  Failing schools and poor income MUST be a requirement.  I do not think that kids living in places with good schools should get assistance just because they want their kids in private schools.  Nor do I think rich people should get help sending their kids to private schools.  They can already afford it.

Instead, use vouchers to try and save the current generation, who is in most need of the help.  Kids who are NOT getting the education they deserve, and can be saved having to go through a life of poverty because of lack of education.  Let the rich fend for themselves.

In addition, I would like to see even now groups which would give scholarships to kids in this situation.  Nothing says we HAVE to wait for Government to do this for me.  I myself have donated in the past to a Catholic High School's scholarship fund, and I am not even Catholic!

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/28/04 at 1:59 pm



I generally agree with the concept of local control but, as in many other areas, the fed sets minimum standards, as it should.  States and localities are free to exceed those standards if they so choose.  Glad you agree that discrimination is wrong.


I shall clarify.  Discrimination that violates the U.S. Constitution, or the laws/constitutions of the states, is wrong and should be prosecuted.  For example, discrimination on the basis of sex, age, national origin, religion, and so on.  The people have clearly spoken on these issues and we must follow the law.

But the blanket statement that "discrimination is wrong" is disingenuous.  We discriminate every day on the basis of those conditions that are not covered/prohibited by law.

I once had a Mobile Equipment Operator at my plant who had been convicted (for the third time, to my horror) of drunk driving "off the job" and had his driver's license revoked.  His car had a head-on collision with somebody's house and he blew a .34 on the Breathalyzer.  Upon hearing of this, I immediately took him off of his Mobile Equipment Operator's job.  Mind you, our Union Contract did not stipulate that a Mobile Operator in the plant had to have a valid Indiana driver's license.

So the Union cried "Discrimination!"  "You are discriminating because he is a drunk driver!".  I politely said yes, I was discriminating against him, and that he would never again drive a truck in our plant.

It went to arbitration and I won the decision handily.  There is NO BLANKET PROHIBITION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION.  There is only SPECIFIC prohibition of discrimination, on those bases that society/voters have encoded into law.

People discriminate regularly.  Most Democratic Senators discriminate against judicial candidates who are have stated Anti-Abortion views within the law.  Many Republican Senators discriminate against judicial candidates who hold the opposite view.  Nothing illegal about this, and to a degree, there is nothing "wrong" with it, except that it can become unproductive and vindictive on occasion.

ILLEGAL discrimination is wrong and I am against it.  I am NOT against discrimination in general; that would be dumb.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/28/04 at 5:30 pm



I'm not sure what you mean by "funding should not be a totally local responsibility"...if you are saying that all funds collected by every city/town should be put into a general fund, then deled out, I agree with this.  Here in IL, all of the school districts rely on more local funding than state (local approx. 60%, state approx 30%).  In disctricts with lower property values or lower tax bases or more multi-family housing and rentals, that means less money.  If all funds were put into a "general fund", the playing field would be more level...


Cheer,

In my home county they basically do that.  The "poorest" school district gets a bigger State Subsidy, so much so that the spending "per student" in the poorest town is actually the highest in the county.

Sadly, the school with the highest per-student total funding has the poorest test score results.  Been that way for decades.  But not all is lost, because they won the State Football and Basketball Championships this year, as they regularly educate teams to place very high in the state standings.  :P

It is this waste of money and complete lack of accountability that causes me to scorn the idea of "spending it out of a big pot".  Here we have the State (that means you and me) subsidizing a school district that is wasting our tax dollars.

Every State in the Union has sufficient resources to fund its own schools and to control them as they see fit.  But instead, they are lazy and want to feed off of the Federal Government (that means you and me).

"Spending" is an excuse and a Red Herring.  An excuse for people to come up with yet more reasons for somebody ELSE to pay for services that THEY consume.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: LyricBoy on 07/28/04 at 5:35 pm

Another note on Federal Funding of education.

As we know, Federal Funding is essentially a "Robin Hood" scheme where we take from the rich to give to the poor.  OK, fair enough.  I do not agree with it, but for the moment, I'll accept the premise.

But I see a problem here...

ALL FIFTY STATES ARE RECEIVING FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDING.

Why is this?  Some states are "richer".  Why are they GETTING federal funding?  Why should my State pay money (via taxes levied on its citizens) just to get it paid back?  This is "welfare for the rich".

I might see some logic if, for example, "rich" states like Connecticut, received NO money and poor states (like West Virginia) were on the receiving end.

But NO.  The Federal Government continues to encroach on States Rights and to meddle where it does not belong.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/28/04 at 7:43 pm

Mushroom,

I empathize with what you're saying about your experience in public school.  Similar things happened to me.  I was a depressed kid from a broken home, and I genuinely DID have a mathematics disability.  When I started public junior high, they tracked me into the low sections for everything.  I was a smart kid in the proverbial "dumb row."  Nothing I said mattered to the bureaucracy.  Anyway, I'm not a good example because my case was extrordinary in its extremes.

But...



Yes, but don't confuse quantity with quality.



Here you've missed my point.    "Don't confuse quantity with quality" was exactly what I was alluding to.  I pointed out the sheer numbers of students in the public schools to illustrate what would happen if private institutions had to deal with the same volume.  Private schools and parochial schools can pick and choose.  Whereas, our public schools are set up on the principle that every child has the right to an education.  If there are ten million school-aged children in your state, every one of those ten million has the right to go to the public schools.

America could change its principle.  A lot of parents and teachers are fed up with the difficult kids who detract from the education of other children; they are frustrated with seeing a huge portion of the education budget drained into just a few "special needs" students.  In light of this, we could change our principle to, "every child does NOT have the right to an education, an education is a privilege."
OK, but you would still have to deal with the children you kick out and leave behind.  What do you do?  Send them all to detention facilities, you know, holding pens until they're 18?  That still costs the state money...and lots of it.  In the end, you'd get millions of sub-literate 18-year olds with no options but crime.  Could we train these kids to do jobs a person can do with minimal literacy?  I suppose, but the market has no place for workers who can't read, at least not where they could make a living.
In some countries they let the cops shoot idle children.  To prevent idlesness, we could ship the unwanted children to gulags where they would do slave labor public works projects.  Perhaps we could take the un-educatable children and melt them down for pills and soap.  Nah, Americans don't have the stomach for such a "final" solution.
So...it looks like we're stuck with public schools.  I guess we'd better make the best of them.   

Lyricboy wrote:
Another note on Federal Funding of education.

As we know, Federal Funding is essentially a "Robin Hood" scheme where we take from the rich to give to the poor.  OK, fair enough.  I do not agree with it, but for the moment, I'll accept the premise.

But I see a problem here...

ALL FIFTY STATES ARE RECEIVING FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDING.

Why is this?  Some states are "richer".  Why are they GETTING federal funding?  Why should my State pay money (via taxes levied on its citizens) just to get it paid back?  This is "welfare for the rich".

I might see some logic if, for example, "rich" states like Connecticut, received NO money and poor states (like West Virginia) were on the receiving end.

But NO.  The Federal Government continues to encroach on States Rights and to meddle where it does not belong.

Um, there's more to Connecticut than Greenwich and Darien.  There's Bridgeport, Waterbury, Stamford, and Hartford.  There are many poor podunk towns in Connecticut's forgotten interior.  Like America at large, Connecticut is extremely wealthy, but the wealth is only concentrated among a few.  The wealthy few generate a "Connecticut" stereotype that holds no water.

(And, BTW, welfare for the rich is what the Bush Administration is all about.)

Take the hellish schools in poverty-stricken Bridgeport.  If these schools perform poorly on standardized tests, the Bush Administration would "punish" the school district by cutting its funding.
To 21st century human beings, this is counter-intuitive, counter-logical, and counter-productive.  To GOP propaganda-bots, this is a bold move toward accountability because the teachers are greedy, lazy, and only want a federal hand out for nothing.
::)

"No Child Left" punitive measures make as much sense as applying leeches to flesh to suck out the bad blood.  The antidote for arsenic poisoning is not cyanide!




Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/30/04 at 12:51 pm

Mushroom, unfortunately, the subject of intergration has to be force-fed b/c, I will be real with you, most whites will not do it on their own. Sorry, there I said it. The busing issue in Boston during the late 1970s had to be done b/c the white citizens wouldn't do it. Thankfully, for Brown vs The Board of Education integrated schools are a reality. Otherwise, without this case, integregation would have come later, if not all.

Human nature is not always pretty. Many of us tend to want to stay in "like" groups. Unfortunately, society suffers when we wish to stay in that mind frame. Schools and education cannot reflect this "like" mentality in humans.

As far as "No Child Left Behind", honestly those outside of Education do not understand the full scope of this "incentive". Overwhelmingly, it seeks to punish those in unfortunate instances - the poor. These students will suffer the most b/c of the circumstances unfairly put upon them.

Tanya

Tanya

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/30/04 at 2:11 pm

On the issue of integration, I fear Tanya is all too correct.  Without Brown V Board and federal intervention it never would have happened.  Leaf through the Summer edition of "The American Educator" the AFT's magazine and check out the photos of the "seperate but equal" schools. 

"No Child Left Behind" is a misnomer.  It should be "No Child Left Untested".  Its a sham and a travesty.

And Lyricboy, there is a formula used to determin how much federal aid each state gets.  The criteria might need revision but right now poorer states get more. 

Another funding issue has to do with tax rates in different communities.  In my town a penny/100 of assessed real estate value use to raise X $$$, up the mountain that same penny raise X + 20 $$$, but we passed a law that equalizes that across Vermont, so each town has an equal ability to raise funds.  Its called Act 68, check it out. The ski resorts hate it, but everybody else loves it.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: danootaandme on 07/31/04 at 1:56 pm






I would also like to see Vocational training becomming more important.  100+ years ago, apprenticeship was the norm in preparing for adult careers.  Now, we just give 12 years of general education then throw them at the "real world".  I would like to see some REAL Vocational training given.  Computers, Printing, Electricial (including phone and cable) wireing, actual Auto Repair with an emphasis on the professional side and certification prep (instead of an "auto shop" where kids slide to an easy grade fixing their own car).  Retail Management, food service management, administration management (not just typing), these are ALL skills that would allow a student to graduate and go into the workforce without having to have their first job be having to say "would you like that super sized?"



Here in Massachusetts there are Vocational High Schools, If they aren't in the city you live in there is a regional
one available. As far as I know it has always been that way.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Rice_Cube on 07/31/04 at 2:13 pm



As far as "No Child Left Behind", honestly those outside of Education do not understand the full scope of this "incentive". Overwhelmingly, it seeks to punish those in unfortunate instances - the poor. These students will suffer the most b/c of the circumstances unfairly put upon them.

Tanya



Boy, they really should have thought about that before they voted it overwhelmingly into law eh?  At least a longer time span to enact these new changes and regulations...School districts literally have to revamp their curriculae from the ground up (starting in kindergarten) to satisfy the standards by the current deadlines.  Children learn to learn a certain way, they can't just magically shift gears without a clutch :P

Although NCLB does have some good intentions...they at least seek to get rid of the subpar teachers and enforce greater teaching standards and student standards as well.  It's just a poorly written law.  Wonder who thought this up?  ::)

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/31/04 at 4:58 pm



Although NCLB does have some good intentions...they at least seek to get rid of the subpar teachers and enforce greater teaching standards and student standards as well.  It's just a poorly written law.  Wonder who thought this up?  ::)


"Poorly written" is an understatment.  It was thought up by Lil' Georgie's neocon handlers who want to deastroy public education.  I just did a gig on the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist # 10, and the original Constitution as part of a major grant my college got for improving the teaching of US history.  I had lunch, and walked Mt Independance with the teachers.  They are dedicated, intelligent, well read, and inquisitive, and several of them, 10, 15, 20 year veterans, some of whom were studants of mine as undergraduates, are being forced to spend hours filling out dumb forms rather than reading good books.  No Child Left Untested, No Teacher Left Untested, No Opportunity to bash public education ignored.  Want to talk about class warfare, this is it.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Rice_Cube on 07/31/04 at 5:16 pm




"Poorly written" is an understatment.  It was thought up by Lil' Georgie's neocon handlers who want to deastroy public education.  I just did a gig on the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist # 10, and the original Constitution as part of a major grant my college got for improving the teaching of US history.  I had lunch, and walked Mt Independance with the teachers.  They are dedicated, intelligent, well read, and inquisitive, and several of them, 10, 15, 20 year veterans, some of whom were studants of mine as undergraduates, are being forced to spend hours filling out dumb forms rather than reading good books.  No Child Left Untested, No Teacher Left Untested, No Opportunity to bash public education ignored.  Want to talk about class warfare, this is it.


*sigh*

The signing ceremony in Jan 2002

Read who the authors of the bill were.  Please stop making this all the "neocons" faults.  It's simply unfair.


The text, for you people too lazy to click:

President Bush Signs Landmark Education Reforms into Law

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act, the culmination of a yearlong, bipartisan effort to bring accountability and flexibility to federal education programs. The signing ceremony took place in Hamilton, Ohio, in the home district of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee. The four principal negotiators on the bill -- Rep. Boehner, Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) -- were present, in addition to Education Secretary Rod Paige, Ohio Governor Robert Taft, and lawmakers who served on the education conference committee.

    H.R. 1 reflects each of the four pillars of the President’s education reform blueprint: accountability and testing, flexibility and local control, funding for what works, and expanded parental options. It is a comprehensive overhaul of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was enacted in 1965 and is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education today.

    “I decided to sign this bill in one of the most important places in America -- a public school,” said President Bush. “Today begins a new era, a new time for public education in our country. Our schools will have higher expectations -- we believe every child can learn. From this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel, and to live out their dreams.”

    “Today, we witnessed the signing of the most important piece of legislation most of us will ever work on. This education reform bill is meant to bring new purpose to a federal law that has lost its focus and never met its promise to our children,” said Boehner. “It will give new freedom, new flexibility, and new resources to local school officials at a time when they need these tools the most, a time when they’re being asked to meet higher expectations for our children, the future of our country.”

# # # # #


I'm sure you know all about the overwhelming bipartisan cooperation in getting this bill passed and blah-de-blah, but isn't it kind of unfair how, after it failed to achieve results and instead put the educational community into a frenzy, that the Democrats have shirked responsibility for what was to be a BIPARTISAN bill?  Granted not enough money is spent on education, and there are arguments that there is plenty of education monies which aren't being implemented appropriately, but that's for another thread.  Just saying that if public education is destroyed, it was thanks to our bipartisan government :P

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/31/04 at 5:25 pm




*sigh*

The signing ceremony in Jan 2002

Read who the authors of the bill were.  Please stop making this all the "neocons" faults.  It's simply unfair.


The text, for you people too lazy to click:

President Bush Signs Landmark Education Reforms into Law

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act, the culmination of a yearlong, bipartisan effort to bring accountability and flexibility to federal education programs. The signing ceremony took place in Hamilton, Ohio, in the home district of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee. The four principal negotiators on the bill -- Rep. Boehner, Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) -- were present, in addition to Education Secretary Rod Paige, Ohio Governor Robert Taft, and lawmakers who served on the education conference committee.

     H.R. 1 reflects each of the four pillars of the President’s education reform blueprint: accountability and testing, flexibility and local control, funding for what works, and expanded parental options. It is a comprehensive overhaul of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was enacted in 1965 and is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education today.

     “I decided to sign this bill in one of the most important places in America -- a public school,” said President Bush. “Today begins a new era, a new time for public education in our country. Our schools will have higher expectations -- we believe every child can learn. From this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel, and to live out their dreams.”

     “Today, we witnessed the signing of the most important piece of legislation most of us will ever work on. This education reform bill is meant to bring new purpose to a federal law that has lost its focus and never met its promise to our children,” said Boehner. “It will give new freedom, new flexibility, and new resources to local school officials at a time when they need these tools the most, a time when they’re being asked to meet higher expectations for our children, the future of our country.”

# # # # #


I'm sure you know all about the overwhelming bipartisan cooperation in getting this bill passed and blah-de-blah, but isn't it kind of unfair how, after it failed to achieve results and instead put the educational community into a frenzy, that the Democrats have shirked responsibility for what was to be a BIPARTISAN bill?  Granted not enough money is spent on education, and there are arguments that there is plenty of education monies which aren't being implemented appropriately, but that's for another thread.  Just saying that if public education is destroyed, it was thanks to our bipartisan government :P


Yes, and Jim Jeffords, I'm proud to say MY senator, abandoned the republican party because he saw this piece of legislation as a fraud.  He recently said "I am sorry I have only one switch to give to my country".  Go Jim GO.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 07/31/04 at 6:05 pm




*sigh*

The signing ceremony in Jan 2002

Read who the authors of the bill were.  Please stop making this all the "neocons" faults.  It's simply unfair.


The text, for you people too lazy to click:

President Bush Signs Landmark Education Reforms into Law

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act, the culmination of a yearlong, bipartisan effort to bring accountability and flexibility to federal education programs. The signing ceremony took place in Hamilton, Ohio, in the home district of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee. The four principal negotiators on the bill -- Rep. Boehner, Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) -- were present, in addition to Education Secretary Rod Paige, Ohio Governor Robert Taft, and lawmakers who served on the education conference committee.

     H.R. 1 reflects each of the four pillars of the President’s education reform blueprint: accountability and testing, flexibility and local control, funding for what works, and expanded parental options. It is a comprehensive overhaul of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was enacted in 1965 and is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education today.

     “I decided to sign this bill in one of the most important places in America -- a public school,” said President Bush. “Today begins a new era, a new time for public education in our country. Our schools will have higher expectations -- we believe every child can learn. From this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel, and to live out their dreams.”

     “Today, we witnessed the signing of the most important piece of legislation most of us will ever work on. This education reform bill is meant to bring new purpose to a federal law that has lost its focus and never met its promise to our children,” said Boehner. “It will give new freedom, new flexibility, and new resources to local school officials at a time when they need these tools the most, a time when they’re being asked to meet higher expectations for our children, the future of our country.”

# # # # #


I'm sure you know all about the overwhelming bipartisan cooperation in getting this bill passed and blah-de-blah, but isn't it kind of unfair how, after it failed to achieve results and instead put the educational community into a frenzy, that the Democrats have shirked responsibility for what was to be a BIPARTISAN bill?  Granted not enough money is spent on education, and there are arguments that there is plenty of education monies which aren't being implemented appropriately, but that's for another thread.  Just saying that if public education is destroyed, it was thanks to our bipartisan government :P


I am debating the faulty nature of the legislation, not who signed it. For the record, my master's thesis discussed this deeper. It's not who signed it, it's the fact that it was signed to begin with.

Tanya

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/31/04 at 6:17 pm




I am debating the faulty nature of the legislation, not who signed it. For the record, my master's thesis discussed this deeper. It's not who signed it, it's the fact that it was signed to begin with.

Tanya


You got that right sister!!!

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Rice_Cube on 07/31/04 at 6:20 pm




I am debating the faulty nature of the legislation, not who signed it. For the record, my master's thesis discussed this deeper. It's not who signed it, it's the fact that it was signed to begin with.

Tanya


Oh, I agree with you that it was faulty, but apparently a lot of people didn't realize that until after the fact, seeing as it was passed overwhelmingly by a seemingly bipartisan legislature.  But eh, a Republican President signed it, which means it's the Republicans' fault.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 07/31/04 at 6:31 pm




Oh, I agree with you that it was faulty, but apparently a lot of people didn't realize that until after the fact, seeing as it was passed overwhelmingly by a seemingly bipartisan legislature.  But eh, a Republican President signed it, which means it's the Republicans' fault.


Not entirly, but it WAS Lil' Georgie's bill.  His staff drafted it, he pushed it, and in a show of bipartisan support some dems voted for it.  It was Georgie's bill.  You, nor he, can disown that.  You might like to, but that just isn't factual.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/31/04 at 10:27 pm




"Poorly written" is an understatment.  It was thought up by Lil' Georgie's neocon handlers who want to deastroy public education.  I just did a gig on the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist # 10, and the original Constitution as part of a major grant my college got for improving the teaching of US history.  I had lunch, and walked Mt Independance with the teachers.  They are dedicated, intelligent, well read, and inquisitive, and several of them, 10, 15, 20 year veterans, some of whom were studants of mine as undergraduates, are being forced to spend hours filling out dumb forms rather than reading good books.  No Child Left Untested, No Teacher Left Untested, No Opportunity to bash public education ignored.  Want to talk about class warfare, this is it.

Exactly.  It is class warfare.  Bi-partisan class warfare.  There is a reason I voted for Ralph Nader in the last two elections.  The Republicans were the party of Big Business.  Then the Democrats became the Me Too party of Big Business.  The only difference, the Dems wanted to throw a few crumbs to the unfortunates, the Republicans wanted to issue only lectures about "personal responsibility."  The Democrats lost their bid to steal the Republican bread and butter.  I hope they've learned they need to start representing the working class again.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 08/05/04 at 5:57 pm



Exactly.  It is class warfare.  Bi-partisan class warfare.  There is a reason I voted for Ralph Nader in the last two elections.  The Republicans were the party of Big Business.  Then the Democrats became the Me Too party of Big Business.  The only difference, the Dems wanted to throw a few crumbs to the unfortunates, the Republicans wanted to issue only lectures about "personal responsibility."  The Democrats lost their bid to steal the Republican bread and butter.  I hope they've learned they need to start representing the working class again.


Maybe they will.  At least they are taking the talk.  If they win we will see if they can walk the walk.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: SouthernDraw223 on 10/10/05 at 11:20 am

To the individual that said Connecticut has just a reputation for being rich and most towns really aren't, they are completely wrong. I am from Tennessee and I have a lot of family in CT. I have been in every corner of that little state. Sure, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Hartford are very poor, but if you look at the surrounding towns, they are extremely wealthy. In lower Connecticut close to NYC, the towns are basically the wealthiest in the world. Every home is worth $1.5 million and up. When you go to the rest of Connecticut, outside of the three urban cities, the suburban towns are still very, very wealthy. Homes there start at about $500 thousand for a small starter home. My cousin has a home in Connecticut, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, 1,300 sq feet on 1 acre of land which they bought for about $850 thousand. This home is in the "average" part of Connecticut. So before you go and say that CT isn't as wealthy as it seems, check it out first. They're all rich up there. (WASPy too)

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 10/10/05 at 2:28 pm


To the individual that said Connecticut has just a reputation for being rich and most towns really aren't, they are completely wrong. I am from Tennessee and I have a lot of family in CT. I have been in every corner of that little state. Sure, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Hartford are very poor, but if you look at the surrounding towns, they are extremely wealthy. In lower Connecticut close to NYC, the towns are basically the wealthiest in the world. Every home is worth $1.5 million and up. When you go to the rest of Connecticut, outside of the three urban cities, the suburban towns are still very, very wealthy. Homes there start at about $500 thousand for a small starter home. My cousin has a home in Connecticut, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, 1,300 sq feet on 1 acre of land which they bought for about $850 thousand. This home is in the "average" part of Connecticut. So before you go and say that CT isn't as wealthy as it seems, check it out first. They're all rich up there. (WASPy too)

I've been through most of Connecticut myself.  The state has the entire range from extremely rich to very poor.  I had relatives who lived in Greenwich.  My aunt married a rich ad exec, and she used to help my grandmother pay the costs of living in Greenwich too.  My grandmother was rich until her elder years, then she pretended she was rich!  Anyway, I used to visit down there in the summers and I grew to hate Greenwich.  I mean, that whole ritzy CT panhandle made you fee like you just didn't belong!  Then you'd drive through Stamford and Bridgeport, and WHOAH!, whole different story!
By the late 1960s, Connecticut cities were pretty much de-industrialized.  Same story with most of the Northeast.  Waterbury used to be the very prosperous leading producer of brass goods in the country.  It's been left to rot for three generations since the braziers headed south.  You find a similar pattern across the state, urban hellholes and wealthy suburbs...for the suburbs are not Connecticut suburbs, they're really NYC suburbs.  Again, the more rural areas are full of country estates along the coast and in closer to NYC, but you also find poverty pockets, especially in the northeast quadrant of the state.  Anyway, this a bit off topic, but I thuoght I'd comment anyway.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Don Carlos on 10/10/05 at 2:36 pm


To the individual that said Connecticut has just a reputation for being rich and most towns really aren't, they are completely wrong. I am from Tennessee and I have a lot of family in CT. I have been in every corner of that little state. Sure, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Hartford are very poor, but if you look at the surrounding towns, they are extremely wealthy. In lower Connecticut close to NYC, the towns are basically the wealthiest in the world. Every home is worth $1.5 million and up. When you go to the rest of Connecticut, outside of the three urban cities, the suburban towns are still very, very wealthy. Homes there start at about $500 thousand for a small starter home. My cousin has a home in Connecticut, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, 1,300 sq feet on 1 acre of land which they bought for about $850 thousand. This home is in the "average" part of Connecticut. So before you go and say that CT isn't as wealthy as it seems, check it out first. They're all rich up there. (WASPy too)


Interesting as this is, could you please explain what it has to do with this thread?

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 10/10/05 at 3:22 pm


Interesting as this is, could you please explain what it has to do with this thread?

About as much as my reply did.  Nothin'.
But at least it bumped the old thread back up!
;D

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Ophrah on 10/11/05 at 3:40 pm


Interesting as this is, could you please explain what it has to do with this thread?


Allocating federal education funds to states based on 'wealth'.

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tony20fan4ever on 10/11/05 at 7:55 pm


Mushroom, unfortunately, the subject of intergration has to be force-fed b/c, I will be real with you, most whites will not do it on their own. Sorry, there I said it. The busing issue in Boston during the late 1970s had to be done b/c the white citizens wouldn't do it. Thankfully, for Brown vs The Board of Education integrated schools are a reality. Otherwise, without this case, integregation would have come later, if not all.

Human nature is not always pretty. Many of us tend to want to stay in "like" groups. Unfortunately, society suffers when we wish to stay in that mind frame. Schools and education cannot reflect this "like" mentality in humans.

As far as "No Child Left Behind", honestly those outside of Education do not understand the full scope of this "incentive". Overwhelmingly, it seeks to punish those in unfortunate instances - the poor. These students will suffer the most b/c of the circumstances unfairly put upon them.

Tanya

Tanya
What I wonder is how many special-education students who are intelligent enough and have the ability to be a part of a regular class, with some help with a classroom aide and/or tutoring, are actually mainstreamed...I was mainstreamed but not until high school BECAUSE NO ONE SEEMED TO GET THAT MY PROBLEMS WERE EMOTIONAL AND NOT LEARNING DISABILITIES...,  I WAS INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO DO REGULAR CLASSROOM WORK with a little extra help at first...I have an IQ of 120..and hey, I read at college level! Talk about dropping the ball, either that or "I won't have them in my classroom'..btw I was well-behaved throughout school....

Subject: Re: Education in the US

Written By: Tanya1976 on 10/11/05 at 9:31 pm


What I wonder is how many special-education students who are intelligent enough and have the ability to be a part of a regular class, with some help with a classroom aide and/or tutoring, are actually mainstreamed...I was mainstreamed but not until high school BECAUSE NO ONE SEEMED TO GET THAT MY PROBLEMS WERE EMOTIONAL AND NOT LEARNING DISABILITIES...,  I WAS INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO DO REGULAR CLASSROOM WORK with a little extra help at first...I have an IQ of 120..and hey, I read at college level! Talk about dropping the ball, either that or "I won't have them in my classroom'..btw I was well-behaved throughout school....


Many are actually mainstreamed. I have two students who are mainstreamed for Social Studies and Science. However, they have special day-classes they attend the rest of the day. Emotional problems are included in special education as well.

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