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Democrats and Schools
New York Times ^ | October 14, 2009 | Nicholas D Kristoff

Posted on 10/16/2009 10:48:49 PM PDT by Lorianne

The Democratic Party has battled for universal health care this year, and over the decades it has admirably led the fight against poverty — except in the one way that would have the greatest impact.

Good schools constitute a far more potent weapon against poverty than welfare, food stamps or housing subsidies. Yet, cowed by teachers’ unions, Democrats have too often resisted reform and stood by as generations of disadvantaged children have been cemented into an underclass by third-rate schools.

President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, are trying to change that — and one test for the Democrats will be whether they embrace administration reforms that teachers’ unions are already sniping at.

It’s difficult to improve failing schools when you can’t create alternatives such as charter schools and can’t remove inept or abusive teachers. In New York City, for example, unions ordinarily prevent teachers from being dismissed for incompetence — so the schools must pay failed teachers their full salaries to sit year after year doing nothing in centers called “rubber rooms.”

A devastating article in The New Yorker by Steven Brill examined how New York City tried to dismiss a fifth-grade teacher for failing to correct student work, follow the curriculum, manage the class or even fill out report cards. The teacher claimed that she was being punished for union activity, but an independent observer approved by the union confirmed the allegations and declared the teacher incompetent. The school system’s lawyer put it best: “These children were abused in stealth.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: arneduncan; bhoeducation; education; nea; unions

1 posted on 10/16/2009 10:48:49 PM PDT by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne
President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, are trying to change that >>>>>>>>>>>>

Doubtful. They are unlikely to hire a conservative educator, so in fact , they are doomed.

2 posted on 10/16/2009 11:04:30 PM PDT by Candor7 (The effective weapons against Fascism are ridicule, derision, and truth (Member NRA)
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To: Candor7

The elephant in the room which nobody talks about is that too many of the students come from homes and backgrounds in which education is not considered important.

The best teachers and best school buildings and equipment will not deliver the best education to students whose parents don’t give a damn.

It’s not politically correct to talk about these things, and we know that political correctness is a powerful form of censorship. We’re not allowed to talk about the fact that most of these kids in the inner city schools come from single parent families. We’re not allowed to talk about the quality of parenting or many other issues that end up affecting student achievement and learning.

Does anybody have any other ideas about inner city schools and poor children? Is there anything that hasn’t already been tried that might help? We will hear calls for more “resources” going to schools, but, will that really make a difference?


3 posted on 10/17/2009 12:02:43 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Lorianne

The leftist Mr. Kristof speaks the truth about government schools.


4 posted on 10/17/2009 1:25:49 AM PDT by iowamark (certified by Michael Steele as "ugly and incendiary")
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To: Lorianne
Here—we'll just give the Democrats the plan—kind o’ like their health care garbage.

1. Every child must be enrolled in a government school or be fined for not doing so.

2. There will be a 40% tax on the portion of all property taxes paid to pay for schools.

3. There will be a 40% tax on the tuition paid all private and Christian/church schools that are approved of by the education czar.

4. There will be a 40% tax on the value of all curriculum purchased by home school students whose parents are credentialled with the government and graduated from leftist colleges or universities, and approved by the education czar.

5. All home school parents must report the value of the time used to educate their children based on a scale worked out by the education czar. This value will be taxed as income.

6. If home school parents are not credentialled after graduating from left-wing colleges or universities, a 150% tax will be levied on the value of all curriculum purchased from sources to be approved by the education czar.

Now, wouldn't I just make the perfect communist . . . oh, I mean Nazi . . ., oh, excuse me, Democratic senator?

5 posted on 10/17/2009 1:41:59 AM PDT by John Leland 1789
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To: Lorianne

It will never change until there is competition.


6 posted on 10/17/2009 2:19:21 AM PDT by AdaGray (uw)
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To: Lorianne
I’m hoping the unions will come round and cooperate with evidence-based reforms, using their political clout to push to raise teachers’ salaries rather than to protect ineffective teachers.

So if we "raise teachers' salaries", then they might "cooperate" with reforms if we show them "evidence". This reporter's reforms seem to stop at removing abusive or intoxicated teachers, not even incompetent ones.

I can't see anything in this article that the NEA wouldn't agree with ... and certainly nothing approaching courageous journalism

7 posted on 10/17/2009 2:49:03 AM PDT by Kennard
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To: Kennard

Up here in northern NJ the area is losing Americans due to the property tax problem (through which teachers are paid), and they’re being replaced by foreign invaders who will always use public schools (its free to them, and their kids get breakfast & lunch, again for free). The smarter Americans leave the state; otherwise, their next stop in NJ will just have their contributions to Trenton increased to pay for the invaders’ perks via re-distribution. The Asbury Park Press has been kind enough in recent years to publish public employees’ salaries on their website; my kids’ kindergarten teacher made $79,000 a year (at about 40 years old - imagine what she’ll cost by age 50). While the media still pretends teachers are underpaid, the civil servants up here are the only ones prospering, and are increasingly isolated from “real” Americans.


8 posted on 10/17/2009 4:28:04 AM PDT by Carlos Martillo II (Guernica was a work of art...and I don't mean the painting.)
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To: iowamark

“The leftist Mr. Kristof speaks the truth about government schools.”

His problem is that he’s married to a Chinese babe and they have kids and you DO NOT fool a Chinese babe when it comes to education of her kids. If he were married to your typical female liberal US High School graduate (you know, slept with every guy on the football team), then Kristoff would have no clue as to what’s going on here.


9 posted on 10/17/2009 6:53:12 AM PDT by BobL
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