Skip to comments.The Fight to Reform Education
Posted on 02/05/2012 5:20:55 AM PST by Kaslin
Would any concerned parent willingly send their children to an average public school in this country if there was an option available?
The word concerned in the question should be a tipoff that the answer is no. Still, states, localities and the federal government continue to dump billions of our hard-earned tax dollars into a system that is rotten to its core.
Dont think things are that bad? A student in Washington state named Austin took a video camera into his schools cafeteria and asked students basic questions about U.S. history. The answers, although funny, are pathetic.
Progressives say its because teachers are forced to teach to the test meaning standardized tests designed to measure knowledge of important topics such as English, science and math. Lee White, executive director of the National History Coalition, told the Huffington Post, "They've narrowed the curriculum to teach to the test. History has been de-emphasized. You can't expect kids to have great scores in history when they're not being taught history." That would hold some water, of course, if those students who failed at history were excelling at other topics. But theyre not.
President Obama has attempted to address the problem of our failing education system in each of his three State of the Union addresses, but his solution, as always, is only to spend more money. But if money was the problem, wed be leading the world in education. We are not.
Progressives will tell you were spending a lower percentage of our GDP on education than other countries, which is true. But when it comes to per-pupil spending the measure that matters most were near the top.
Our education spending has skyrocketed. Our test scores have not.
A new study by Harvard researchers (yes, Harvard) found class size, the oft-cited straw man used by progressives to urge the hiring of more union teachers, essentially doesnt matter. But real facts, real evidence rarely plays a role when it comes to progressives pushing their agenda, so this wont matter either.
If meaningful reform is to come, and thats a big if, its going to come from the state level.
One person actually trying to bring change to public education is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The Wall Street Journal says Gov. Jindal wants to create Americas largest school voucher program, broadest parental choice system and toughest teacher accountability regime all in one legislative session.
School choice and a voucher program that allows students and parents to choose any school that best suits their needs have been proven winners in the fight to improve education quality. Theyve also been the top target of teachers unions because families often choose private schools where the teaching staff is not unionized.
Gov. Jindal believes that every child deserves an equal opportunity in education, but that the current system doesn't allow for it. Emboldened by what has happened in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Jindal is now pushing for statewide education reform.
Educational choice is one of the few good things to come out of the storm, which laid waste to dozens of the nations worst public schools. Instead of rebuilding the old, failing system, the state transformed most of the schools in Orleans Parish into autonomous charter schools.
Student achievement has improved dramatically, and in a poll last summer by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, two-thirds of parents in the city said they prefer the new system over the old one, and 98 percent said choice should be part of any future reforms in the state. The biggest challenge has been how to squeeze more students into the most successful of the charters.
Gov. Jindals plan would allow students in failing schools statewide to take the roughly $8,500 the state spends on their education to any accredited school they wish. The threatened loss of money would apply market forces to bad schools that routinely fail without consequence. Needless to say, unions representing teachers dont like the idea.
Teachers unions also arent crazy about the governors idea to reform tenure, the mechanism that makes it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers. His plan would grant it to teachers rated highly effective, but deny it to those who dont make the grade no matter how long theyve taught.
Also along those lines, Jindals plan also would end the practice of last in, first out the laying off of young teachers simply because they havent been on the job as long as others. This would allow schools to keep effective teachers and rid itself of bad ones which research indicates does make a significant difference in students educational achievement. These reforms make sense to anyone without a vested interest in the status quo, meaning union bosses and progressives.
Michael Walker Jones, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Educators, said of the school choice plan, If I'm a parent in poverty I have no clue because I'm trying to struggle and live day to day. Jindal and choice advocates could not have written a more tone-deaf line for their opponents if theyd tried.
Progressives think everyone but them is simply too dumb and/or distracted to negotiate school choice. You have no clue, but they, helpfully, know what is best for you and your children as evidenced by the state of public education in America today. Its the philosophy behind every progressive policy idea from education to financial reform to ObamaCare. It is rare and refreshing to hear one of them actually say it.
Jones, in working to stop needed reforms, gave reformers their greatest arrow in a quiver full of arrows tipped with facts, studies and statistics. As Jindal continues his push to improve education in his state, there will be more gaffes of this sort. Progressives arent used to being openly challenged on such a large scale. Gov. Jindal is. For the sake of Louisianas students, lets hope he wins.
Bottom line Progressivism is a kinder gentler more humanitarian, communism. Slo and easy wins the race, we just happened to wake up when the house was on fire
What idiot wrote THAT?
Where is there data, adjusted for race and language, that suggests ANY relationship between per-pupil spending and outcome?
Public ed is welfare. First of all, don’t indulge in it. That you’re paying for it, doesn’t make it right for you to use it. Second, it’s run by anti-American leftists devoted to producing more anti-American leftists without having to sacrifice their most precious sacrament, abortion. They have to replicate somehow, and YOUR baby is that somehow.
Per my tagline, it’s government cheese. And it stinks!
Like The War On Poverty, the more money poured into it the worse it gets.
Not everyone can afford private schools and not everyone can home teach, so they have choice then to send their kids to public schools
Although the puppet strings are longer, charter schools are not really much better than public. Vouchers, or at least 100% tax credits are a very good alternative. The best choice is no governmental intrusion at all.
BTW, I am a teacher. I've noticed that the best and brightest young teachers usually leave in the first few years - the slugs never do.
Speaking as someone who appreciates home schooling, parochial and private schooling, this is still a poorly written hit piece using bad arguments.
1) Using “ambush interviews” is a way to guarantee bad answers. Walk up to a random *adult*, shove a microphone in their face, and ask them to name the justices of the Supreme Court, and most people will sound like idiots. But if you give them a few minutes to think, and they will be able to name several, some being able to name them all.
2) “Average public school” is meaningless. What is the most “average” U.S. state? New York or Utah? In a teacher’s union collective bargaining or right-to-work state?
3) The three big problems of public education are federal intrusion, state incompetence and corruption, and teachers union and “ivory tower leftist” disruption.
The first two of these feed off of each other, with some of the state legislatures using public schools for patronage jobs and unfair allocation of resources based on many things. But federal involvement is ridiculously expensive, taking money and student learning time away for whimsical and indoctrination purposes.
The federal intrusion is often done under threat of taking away funding for the federal school lunch program. But they have placed so many demands that some states are considering making the FSLP voluntary. If a school opts out, it can still provide lunches in its budget, but it will be freed of tons of paperwork and students will have more time for their studies.
Teachers unions are now being challenged by states stripping away the collective bargaining rights of teachers, which makes teachers no longer “blue collar”, but “white collar”, with rewards that are performance based.
The worst “ivory tower leftist” interference was with the creation of Noam Chomsky’s ‘whole language English’ instruction, that systematically wiped out near educational parity of black students with white students, condemning million of black children to life long poverty. As such, Chomsky has done more to “keep the black man down” than did Jefferson Davis.
Despite the enthusiastic support of idealistic young teachers, indoctrinated as they have been in such dreck, their utter failure means that such schemes must be prohibited if students are to succeed.
The bottom line is that yes, there is a place for public schooling, but only if such schools are supported by parents, school boards, and states, and required to perform or perish.
Name a country that begins with "U"...
Public educated kid: "Utopia".
Another PEK: "Europe" (probably would spell it Urope)
Yes, I am aware of the existence of the poor.
The poor must rely on welfare for their housing, cars, food, medical care -- and education.
Those who do not rely on welfare for housing, cars, food, medical care, etc., cannot make much of a case for their inability to provide education for their children. Unless we are talking about people who are poor in spirit or poor in intelligence...?
Thanks for reminding me about taxes! :)
The average monthly mortgage payment is around $1500. Add in a typical property tax, say $500 a month. Housing for the home "owner" comes to $2000 a month.
Typical rent, say $1000. Property tax: zero. (In fact, you may even qualify for a rebate!)
Home "owner" housing: $2000
Apartment dweller housing: $1000
I would say to the home "owners" who indulge in education welfare: you CAN afford it if you WANT to give your children a superior education rather than government-cheesy indoctrination. Rent rather than own. It's a matter of priorities, though. Whatever you're getting out of home ownership that you can't get from renting, be aware what it's really costing you: not just an extra thousand a month. What price a quality education, what price dignity?
We keep hearing from some quarters that if we reform public schools yet again, they’ll produce better results. Others say that if we go back in time and run public schools like they used to be run, they’ll produce better results. Those claims are not true. Public schools have never produced good results and they never will. They were not designed to build young minds and give them knowlege and skills. The real history of public education is easily accessed online and proves that.
Reforming public education is like trying to reform a brothel or, in a more extreme example, like trying to reform a concentration camp.
I forgot to ping you to Posting #12.
First, I forgot to ping you to Posting #12.
I do understand why so many homeowners send their children to public schools. They attended them, their parents attended them, and virtually everyone they knew attended them. They can’t imagine that education can be done in any other way.
**ALL** renters pay property taxes! The tax is part of the fee the landlord must charge to cover his expenses and make a profit. ( Is a “duh!” needed here?)
**Everyone** in this nation who spends money pays taxes to support our nation's system of godless socialist-entitlement schools. Why? Answer: Because business must include its godless socialist school property taxes in the cost of every product or service that it sells. Businesses **must** do this if they are to make a profit.
By the way,....How much working experience have you had in the private sector? Are you a teacher in one of our nation's godless socialist-entitlement K-12 schools? ( Just wondering)
Behind every teacher and principal in our nation's godless socialist schools stand armed police to enforce the law.
The “choice” you're promoting is really the “choice” between sending a child into a godless and Marxist run indoctrination center or police and court action and possible prison ( or worse). Wow! Some “choice”! /s
As for home and private schooling, these parents are being given an “offer they can't refuse”. They can send their child to the godless government camps, or they can pay the jizya or ransom needed to keep their kids out of these moral cesspools and to keep themselves out of prison.
Again,...Some “choice”! The Godfather would be soooo proud! /s
Government schooling is a socialist-entitlement. Simply by attending children risk learning to be comfortable with taking money from a neighbor for a tuition-free service. Well?...If government and the voting mob can give them tuition-free school, why not use the government and the voting mob to get **lots** of “free” stuff?
Our nation's system of socialist-entitlement schooling is GODLESS! Simply by attending the child will learn to think and reason godlessly. He must just to cooperate in the classroom. How could it be otherwise?
And...Even at their best our nation's socialist schools offered up a non-neutral, generic, and lukewarm Protestantism. What does Christ do with the lukewarm? He spits them out of His mouth!
It is like trying to reform an abortion center.
Government schools are utterly godless in their worldview. Just to cooperate in the classroom the child must learn to think and reason godlessly. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MORAL MIND WOULD DO THAT TO A CHILD?????
I hold those who work in the nation's godless socialist schools in as much contempt as I do those who work in abortion centers. Geeze! At least the little murdered babies fly directly into the arms of Jesus. Far, far, far too many of the kids subjected to the godless government indoctrination suffer sad consequences all their temporal and possibly eternal lives.
Until mandatory education ends at eighth grade, the problem is hopeless.