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.
Inasmuch as I was making the point that most anyone can, if they really desire, homeschool or opt for private school; and that the argument of unaffordability is usually weak; I’m going to assume you have entirely misunderstood my post.
Hidden taxes are beside the point as well. I was simply demonstrating how the typical budget reflects choices which could be otherwise, if the parents rearranged priorities.
As to my personal experience I’d prefer to keep that to myself.
Quality education is also an investment. As I mentioned, it all depends on your priorities. You want to risk having your children indoctrinated into socialism, and then rely on them to support you in your old age...go right ahead.
Yes, poverty of imagination certainly has a lot to do with it. Likewise, I suppose people whose families were homeowning are probably not going to think seriously about sacrificing that lifestyle by becoming apartment dwellers, for their children's educational improvement. But they could.
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It is a refutation of the Progressive (aka Communist)argument “smallest percentage of the GDP.” IT is not implying that dollars per child is a valid measure of performance.
Back in ‘87, I was a teacher. In ‘88 we had an influx of older people - not blaming them, the state was hiring, the economy at the time wasn’t (It was when Soros broke our country for his own gain)
Standards improved dramatically for a couple of years. Attendance up. Grades up without being fiddled. Student enthusiasm WAY up.
Teaching was actually a complete joy for this time. I’d wake up and be eager to get to work, there is no better feeling than seeing a concept suddenly “click” in someone’s mind. It is better than sex. (coarse, but you get the point)
Of course, our government worked hard to remove these new teachers. Piled paper requirements on us until most left from exhaustion.
But, it is a thought. True conservatives tend to be, to put it delicately, older. A couple years teaching in a school between retiring from work and actually retiring and who knows what change you can make.
Wasn’t it the communist idea to change the system from within? Any reason why conservatives shouldn’t borrow that tactic?
I know our system is slightly different from yours. I also know what I saw with my own eyes. It works. For a while.
Homeschooling is and should be always the preference. Every kid is different, and it is a lot harder to snow Mom or Dad than a teacher looking after 30 kids at once. Yet a lot of parents, especially now, cannot afford one earner to stay home. It is bad, but it is what it is.
My kids, bless them, went to school (homeschooling is not a viable option here), came home, did their homework in about 15 minutes, THEN started the real lessons of the day. The wife and I traded off days, depending on our own workloads.
We do it now, with the grandkids. The 4 year old has a tested reading age of 12, and a complete immunity to pain (I babysit him in the workshop). The eldest two could get into any university in the country right now, academically speaking. They are a bit young yet though.
Government schooling must be abolished.
There are three fundamental problems with government schooling that can not be fixed because they are **intrinsic to the very foundation of the system. In fact, we should completely stop using the expressions "public" schools or government schools. They are really **socialist** schools because they are the very definition of a single payer socialist-entitlement program. /p>
1) It is impossible to have a religiously, culturally, and politically neutral education, and the worldview of socialist schooling reflects the religion, culture, and politics of the biggest political bully. If it is a First Amendment and freedom of conscience abomination for atheistic Marxists to impose their religious, cultural, and political worldview on unwilling students and taxpayers, it is just as much of an abomination for conservatives to impose their worldview on the children of the liberal/Marxists.
2) The religious worldview ( by default) in government socialist schooling is godless secular humanism. Simply by attending children must think and reason godlessly just to cooperate in the classroom. How could it be otherwise? Even at their very best, modern government socialist schooling ( beginning in the mid-1800s) merely offered up a lukewarm and generic Protestantism. We know what Christ does with the lukewarm. He spits them out of His mouth! This can not be fixed. No matter what action the government socialist school takes regarding religion it will establish the religious worldview of some and utterly trash the beliefs of others.
3) Government socialist schooling is the very definition of a socialist-entitlement program. Simply by attending children risk learning that the government and the voting mob has great power to take money from a neighbor to pay for their tuition-free schooling. Well?...Why not use the government and the voting mob to take money from a neighbor for **lots** of socialist goodies?
Please accept my apology. I did miss your point.
Far too many parents make excuses for not homeschooling or private schooling rather than making the sacrifices needed to get their kids out of these moral cesspools.
I do want to point out, though, that renters do pay property taxes. In fact, school property taxes are hidden in every service and good that we purchase. It just sets my teeth on edge that just to survive I must pay tribute to the godless temples of atheism ( misnamed “public” schools). This is what set me off, and I responded to your post without reading to the end.
“...and our nation’s system of schooling is the very definition of socialism.”
And so is our military, in many ways. Granted that private, parochial, and home schooling are superior to public education, the latter still has a function, when it is operating properly, which is to produce a large number of average employees.
And that was its function from the very start.
Importantly, the alternative to public education is *not* a better education for the majority, but even *less* education. And that is unacceptable, because the result would be incapable public charges. America just doesn’t need that many ditch diggers.
Believe me, the arguments you are making were being made in the early 1980s, and there were great hopes that somehow the personal computer could overcome this harsh truth. Somehow, some way, breaking the mediocrity-at-best of the public education system.
Charter schools have helped a lot in breaking the near monopoly, as have vouchers.
Right now, the state of AZ has proposed a radical change, so that schools can opt out of the federal school lunch program. When the bureaucrats in Washington figure it out they are going to freak out, because the vast majority of federal control over schools has been implemented under threat of taking away the FSLP. If a school opts out, it can kiss off huge amounts of federal intrusion and expense.
It will have a lot more money and time to teach, and it will leave schools that still have the FSLP millstone around their necks in the dust, academically.
However bad public schools may have been in the past they are MUCH, MUCH worse now! The typical recent public high school graduate in this area may have what was a sixth grade public school education fifty or sixty years ago. As far as history knowledge goes I can tell you from personal experience that we have recent UNIVERSITY GRADUATES WHO MAJORED IN HISTORY in this area who could not pass a seventh grade history final from my era. We have teachers teaching in public high schools who would not have stood a chance of graduating from the public high schools of sixty years ago. Some of them couldn’t pass the test to be ADMITTED to a public high school of that era.
It will have a lot more money to **FORCE** a godless worldview on captive children and **FORCE** citizens to pay for this non-neutral government establishment of a godless religious worldview!
It will still have plenty of money to **FORCE** children into socialist schools. Merely by attending the children risk learning to be comfortable with socialism and their socialist tuition-free entitlement. Gee! If government and the voting mob can give them tuition free school, why not use that power to get **lots** of “free” socialist goodies?
Finally, these socialist schools will still be a First Amendment and freedom of conscience abomination!
Seeing as you are my favorite freeper and I agree with you 100% on the evil of public ed, your apology is cheerfully accepted. :o)
“Until mandatory education ends at eighth grade, the problem is hopeless.”
You make an interesting point. High school is a waste of time. I have needed nothing that I studied there and it’s been over 20 years since I graduated.
Even in my school, and in almost all others, the warehousing of "students" who don't belong there and who don't want to be there consumes a huge and disproportionate share of resources.
If people can't agree that the ones who shouldn't be there should be free after age 13, then let them set up concentration camps for them.
High school should be for those who can benefit, and who want to be there.
The biggest problem is forced pretending.
Well, if high school was about education you would be right. It's not. It's about indoctrination. That's why it doesn't work the way you think it should. It isn't hard to figure out a solution to the problem if you have correctly identified the problem.
The fact that kids are forced to be there demonstrates that public school is about indoctrination, not education.
For those who don’t want to be in high school, apprenticeships can be an option. It’s done in some European nations (Switzerland, for example) and they seem to work very well.
I had no idea that came from Chomsky the communist. I remember when that was first introduced, my oldest was in 2nd grade and I had an argument with his teacher about it. I lost, they were going to shove it down his throat anyway. So I bought a phonics reading package from a customer of mine, got educated about how important reading by phonics was and taught my two younger children how to read before they reached 1st grade.
Yes my children were educated in the public schools but I did what I could to prevent indoctrination. Finally had to move them out of the area to a small rural town in Oregon where the teachers were farmers and ranchers and taught hunter safety courses on the school grounds. My oldest graduated from Elkton High School in the year 2000 with 23 other kids!! 85 was the total student body count grades 9-12.
bump for later
Here’s an idea to save money without costing the taxpayer a dime:
Allow any student of any age to take the GED or similar private exam. If they pass, award them a high school diploma from their local high school. As it is now, students must be a certain age or older before they are permitted to take the GED.
By having a regular high school diploma bright and ambitious students would be able to qualify for college scholarships and loans, attend trade school, or start their careers many years earlier instead wasting time in their local government kiddie prison ( oops! “school”). It would save the taxpayer money, as well.
By the way, no student should be given a high school diploma without passing the GED or similar exam, and no teacher should be teaching in a government school who couldn’t pass it as well.
Almost all the trouble we now have in the United States has come from a commie or a progressive trying to use the government to reform something.
Unions are interested in protecting systems and
monopolies,not people.Keeping the status quo is easier than
innovating.If vouchers are going to “siphon money from government schools” (as they claim) why isn’t the same true in higher education?
I don’t hear state college professors running around crying about Pell grant(”government dollars”)money “unfairly” being used to attend St.Thomas,Gustavus,St.Johns or
other private religiously affiliated schools. What happened to the imaginary wall of church and state there?
Since government doesn’t create wealth and only consumes it, how can it give parents back what was always theirs anyway?
Part of the beauty of being an American is choices.Look in the yellow pages. Thirty-one flavors or thirty thousand attorneys to choose from. Variety is a good thing.Some may choose for proximity,some for class size,some for shared belief systems,or a class for gifted mathematicians.Why is choice and competition considered good in everything except education?