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The Demise of Public Education (Cathryn Crawford)
Washington Dispatch ^ | September 26, 2003 | Cathryn Crawford

Posted on 09/26/2003 7:15:43 AM PDT by Scenic Sounds

There are two issues commonly focused on by the American people at this time in our history – the war on terror and the economy. While both have to do with our everyday and contemporary survival, there is another issue that is of deep and long-lasting importance that seldom gets the attention that it deserves – the demise of the public school system in America. Public education is fading away, and while it is doing so, it is taking a whole generation of children with it. The problem lies within the very foundation of public education – the notion that education itself entails parenting and raising children instead of educating them. Instead of simply being accents of parents and families, public schools have become the families themselves, and the results have been devastating.

We are losing our unchallenged standing and superiority in commerce, industry, science, and technology to a rising tide of mediocrity. Teachers are no longer concerned with whether or not their students have a firm grasp of the core curriculum – they are more concerned about whether or not they offend someone with their curriculum. Instructors must embrace every child’s opinion – no matter how wrong it may be - in order to teach them in a politically correct manner. Teachers are taught in college to teach from every point of view, so instead of a nationalistic viewpoint, the content is more general, and students suffer from the lack of depth and detail.

Public schools are facing declining test scores, poor performance, high functional illiteracy rates, watered-down curriculum, and declining standards, and yet no one sees any correlation between these statistics and the expanded role of public schools as socialization centers. Public education has become all things to all people, and academics are suffering. It has become so focused on providing nutritional, medical, psychological, religious, and social care that it has lost sight of its original purpose – to educate. Public schools are no longer places of learning – they are set up instead to be social service centers that, according to Sharon Robinson of the American Educational Research Association, “accelerate progression toward the day when reform is guided by the joint efforts of researchers, practitioners, parents, social workers, health professionals, law enforcement officials, members of the business community, and other civic-minded citizens.”

Beyond the very important argument that the government makes a horrible parent, there is the added issue of “busyness” that has overtaken schools. By focusing on too many programs, their standards are lowered and their focus on the details of academics – science, history, and language – is lost. Instead of making sure that students have a firm foundation of knowledge, public schools are focusing on solving the social problems of the community around them. Instead of education, it has become socialization.

Is there a solution? Not under the existing structure. In a socialistic system – our current public educational structure - there is no competition; therefore there is no incentive for improvement or innovation. Public schools have a monopoly on the education market. Private and charter schools are only allowed to compete on a limited level because of high costs.

The only viable solutions that can be seen are either complete privatization of the public school system, or, barring that, school vouchers. Competition improves quality, and until we see public schools having to fight for their funding, we will see no improvement whatsoever in the educational system. When schools are privatized – when the government is no longer a factor in education – then we will see a difference; with vouchers, parents no longer are chained to a horrible district – they can take their money and children elsewhere.

Cathryn Crawford is a student at the University of Texas. She can be reached with comments at feedback@washingtondispatch.com.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: cathryncrawford; education; educationnews; vouchers
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To: Cathryn Crawford
And sorry for my earlier comment. Sometimes I get too defensive. Our schools aren't perfect but the parents here (me included) work hard to make them as good as we can.
51 posted on 09/26/2003 9:54:54 AM PDT by kegler4
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To: honeygrl
"Another question: What percentage of parents would actually be *willing* to do it?"

I couldn't at this point. My daughter is taking calculus and college-level biology, neither of which I could even begin to deal with.
52 posted on 09/26/2003 9:56:49 AM PDT by kegler4
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To: honeygrl
Yes, that "one and only thing" is quite something isn't it. That's why I'm also against the faith-based initiative.

Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly.

53 posted on 09/26/2003 10:08:46 AM PDT by attagirl
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To: Scenic Sounds
It would be very useful if to define EDUCATION!

I have monitored the results of statewide testing (public schools only - the State of New Jersey does not test private schools) for about 15 years. The Education industry is sucking billions of dollars out of the public cash register every year to feed their appetite with no sign of any abatement. The results of their own tests show that educating students is not a principal goal.

I have asked many people, including educators, administrators, and legislators to define education and more than half of them told me that it is the red brick building down the street!

As long as the public swallows the tripe of "IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN", the situation will only continue to deteriorate!
54 posted on 09/26/2003 10:12:36 AM PDT by leprechaun9
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To: Cathryn Crawford; honeygrl
Very important article

http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/qa/22792.html

55 posted on 09/26/2003 10:13:15 AM PDT by attagirl
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To: Scenic Sounds
Well Done...BTTT
56 posted on 09/26/2003 10:16:02 AM PDT by hattend
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To: leprechaun9
It sounds like you've done a lot of work in this area. I think a lot of folks are looking for alternatives.

Have you come up with any in your research?

57 posted on 09/26/2003 10:19:56 AM PDT by Scenic Sounds ("Don't mind people grinnin' in your face." - Son House)
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To: only1percent
"Public schools where most of the parents are responsible, and where the parents effectively control the schools by way of a locally-elected school board more afraid of parents than of the teachers union, do just fine."

Therein lies the crux of the situation. The School Boards SHOULD be more afraid of the parents than they are of the Teachers Union.

I know my boys teachers run and hide everytime they see me on the street lol.
58 posted on 09/26/2003 10:24:50 AM PDT by Leatherneck_MT (If you continue to do what you've always done, you will continue to get what you've ai]s got.)
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To: kegler4
Please read the article cited in post 54. I too come from a "high performing school district."

And I see a steady decline of textbooks etc. with all 3 kids (all of which were cited as "gifted and talented".

More and more videos in the classroom, more p.c. garbage (very few classics assigned), more journal writing in most classes, process over product, etc., etc., etc. (But the SAT scores have gone up thanks to renorming and reconstructing the test.)

I even found an educational technology report on our state DOE website stating the goal of "teachers as facilitators." But the dunderheads on the Board of Ed. say "it has nothing to do with us."

We just agreed on a $73 M price tag to rebuild the high school. Why so high? The computers, of course. You can't have up to date OBE without them.

BTW the parents you criticize are products of public schools, no doubt.

The schools and all the people in them are to be "transformed"--another quote from report above.

59 posted on 09/26/2003 10:28:59 AM PDT by attagirl
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To: Scenic Sounds; Cathryn Crawford
The easiest solution is to abolish the government schools and let parents pick which school services they want their child to have.
60 posted on 09/26/2003 10:29:34 AM PDT by Sparta ("General" Wesley Strangelove "Let me start World War III, vote for me as president.")
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To: Sparta
The easiest solution is to abolish the government schools and let parents pick which school services they want their child to have.

That's an idea. Would you leave it to parents to decide whether their children need to learn anything?

61 posted on 09/26/2003 10:33:14 AM PDT by Scenic Sounds ("Don't mind people grinnin' in your face." - Son House)
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To: Scenic Sounds
The problem lies within the very foundation of public education – the notion that education itself entails parenting and raising children instead of educating them. ************************ I don't recall being taught that the foundation of public education entails parenting and raising children. Is there some source for this statement? It may be true that liberals believe that educators should have a role in raising children, but it isn't THE foundation of public education.
62 posted on 09/26/2003 10:52:12 AM PDT by petitfour
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To: Scenic Sounds

Would you leave it to parents to decide whether their children need to learn anything?

Yes. I trust most parents will see that their children get the highest quality of education possible.

63 posted on 09/26/2003 10:54:08 AM PDT by Sparta ("General" Wesley Strangelove "Let me start World War III, vote for me as president.")
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To: Sparta
"Yes. I trust most parents will see that their children get the highest quality of education possible. "

You haven't lived in Alabama before have you? I lived there a few years and the whole town I lived in was just sad. There wasn't even a private school that I knew of within driving distance either. My hubby saw a 10yr old entering as a kindergardener there once when he was at the school putting in a net connection. I subbed for 4th graders a few times and there were quite a few 12yr olds in the 4th grade. They were nearly impossible to control too until I had the principal come in one day and let them all know that whoever ended up in his office from the class was in real hot water. After that there was a dead silence and evil glare whenever one of them looked at me. (and i never subbed again once we finally moved away..it was too depressing)
64 posted on 09/26/2003 11:03:12 AM PDT by honeygrl
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To: attagirl
Cripes! That article is incredible. It's certainly given me something to think about this weekend. Thanks.
65 posted on 09/26/2003 11:08:48 AM PDT by BeerSwillr
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To: Sparta
"Yes. I trust most parents will see that their children get the highest quality of education possible."

One result no doubt would be the establishment of a permanent subclass more "sub" that what we have now. We both know some parents wouldn't care a lick about sending children to school and others simply would never be able to afford it -- or could afford little more than basic reading and writing.

This sounds like a real bad idea to me. Can you point to a single industrialized, top-tier nation that doesn't have public schools?

When the U.S. didn't have widespread public schools it also had a bunch of illiterate people. One of my great-great-great grandfathers could do little more than sign his name. Why would it be any different today without public schools?
66 posted on 09/26/2003 11:13:22 AM PDT by kegler4
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To: Scenic Sounds
In a socialistic system – our current public educational structure - there is no competition; therefore there is no incentive for improvement or innovation. ******************* I don't see that there is no competition in the current system. We may be headed toward a situation where there is no competition, however. In some places, there is little competition because all the schools are at the bottom. Many factors make schools competitive. Some school districts can pay more $$$$ to recruit and keep the best teachers. (There are some fine teachers in public schools.) Some school districts are located in areas where the population has a higher education and income level, AND the parents there are more prone to pour extra money into the schools. I could go on and on, but I have to GO. I'll check back later. I must say that I am unsatisfied with many aspects of public education. We have pulled two of our children from public schools, and we are homeschooling them now. We have a few others attending public schools, and they do not appear to be suffering.
67 posted on 09/26/2003 11:19:21 AM PDT by petitfour
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To: Cathryn Crawford
an education class that I am taking at my university

Keep up the fight. We need courageous people to stand up to the nonsense so pervasive in all aspects of education.

68 posted on 09/26/2003 11:23:56 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: Scenic Sounds; Cathryn Crawford
I find that if I criticize the public schools to people who work there, they get very upset. They know they are doing the best they can given the circumstances...

But if I just shut up and let them talk, they start telling me stuff that makes my hair stand up. However bad I think it is, its really worse. But they cannot imagine an alternative.

You can't have a free society without an educated populace, an uneducated population requires government by an elite. So the stakes are enormous. But the current system is so bad that the risks of changing it are far less than the risk of not changing it.

Privatizing education will not help if a federal bureau dictates the curriculum, and obligates them to the same social work that the public schools are currently doing. Step one, public education must be returned to local control. Step two, we need to institute school vouchers. Private schoola are not the holy grail, but will offer a variety of competing approaches, and it is this variety that we need to encourage if we are going to find something that works. But if government supervises private education too closely, we will have gained little.

Most people are worried that we will lose our country to open borders, as people come pouring in who have no idea what this country is about, and what it takes to make it work. I have a different fear. I fear the barbarians who leave the public school system, not knowing what this country is about, and what it takes to make it work.

When we turn our kids over to people who mock our values, we commit a kind of suicide. Our gene pool lives on, but the spirit is stunted or choked off.

Educating our people to be technically competent and to have a grasp of the (small "r") republican virtues is the battlefield where we are currently losing our country. We either get control of our schools or we will lose it all.
69 posted on 09/26/2003 12:24:14 PM PDT by marron
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To: BeerSwillr
thank YOU for your openmindedness!
70 posted on 09/26/2003 12:32:44 PM PDT by attagirl
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To: honeygrl
Instead of vouchers, have state exams for students. If a student passes the exams for the year, the state then pays the student's parent(s) (or caregiver) an appropriate amount equal to the reasonable cost of schooling for the year. That means no state control over private and religious schools, and no discrimination against homeschooling parents. It also means no constitutional problem in violating separation of church and state.
71 posted on 09/26/2003 1:32:08 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: marron
#71. If all government does is to dictate that students pass exams, that cannot do much harm, and will do a lot of good. Even if the content of the exams is nonsense that has to be parroted back, learning that nonsense will nevertheless train the mind, and also foster a healthy cynicism in students of any independence of mind.
72 posted on 09/26/2003 1:37:08 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: Scenic Sounds
I will certainly start watching for her articles!

One concern that I have about schools is the amount of homeschooling. I understand the need and the frustration of parents wanting to see that their children get a good education, but is this playing into the hands of the liberals? Conservatives are basically giving up on public schools. This is very troubling. WHY DON'T WE TAKE BACK OUR SCHOOLS?

73 posted on 09/26/2003 1:43:10 PM PDT by mathluv
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I know that this is true. I am a product of public and private schools, and a former teacher. While at A&M working on my PhD in math ed, and at East Texas working on a mid management certificate, I had very few teachers as professors, and many who were just idiots.

At A&M, I taught the elementary math lab one semester. Almost none of these pre-service teachers had any idea about how to do math, much less teach it. Some of the profs have not changed their course outlines in 20 years.

74 posted on 09/26/2003 1:52:17 PM PDT by mathluv
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To: mathluv
Maybe schools -- or at least government schools -- are an institution that made sense at a certain level of technology and economic development, but whose time has passed?
75 posted on 09/26/2003 1:56:23 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
I would like to see the federalization of education end. States can set some standards/requirements. School Boards should be in charge.

I say that having had a bad experience with this. A mother told me I was not doing a good job unless HER daughter made an A. I was there just for her child, not the rest. Her child was not an A student, others were. That was my last year to teach in that district. She later became Pres of the School Board.

Not all parents want the best education for their child. They just want to be able to say my child is in Algebra, or my child is gifted. The child's 'achievements' are gold stars for the parents, regardless of the ability to perform in the real world.

76 posted on 09/26/2003 2:03:48 PM PDT by mathluv
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To: mathluv
Not all parents want the best education for their child.

But if they are paid if their child achieves a certain level on state exams, they may want that?

77 posted on 09/26/2003 2:08:52 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: kegler4
the teachers at the publics wchool my kids attend are VERY concerned about a firm grasp of the core curricuclum.

You are very lucky. I have taught in a very liberal public school system and the parents and kids would say I was a good and dedicated teacher. But my son went to the same school district years later and was taught to be PC and tolerant, and socialist, and diversity ruled from the first day. All work was done in groups, "because this is how things are done in industry today". We monitored and added things to his curiculum that were left out.

The problem in many districts is that the teachers, and their students campaign for the members of the school board. And they can can a principal any time they wish by going to the board.

And one more thing, in national tests where US kids usually bring up the rear, they ask the kids if they are getting a good education and the kids say "yes". In schools who beat the US every time, like Vietnam, they say their schools could be better. So the fact that most Americans like their personal schools, their personal school board, and their personal politicians does not mean that they have superior schools, boards, or politicians.

78 posted on 09/26/2003 2:21:09 PM PDT by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: aristeides
Instead of vouchers, have state exams for students. If a student passes the exams for the year, the state then pays the student's parent(s) (or caregiver) an appropriate amount equal to the reasonable cost of schooling for the year. That means no state control over private and religious schools, and no discrimination against homeschooling parents. It also means no constitutional problem in violating separation of church and state.

Good post.

Now, how about kids who can and do benefit from education, but who, because they have disabilities, cannot pass state exams designed for normal kids?

And, how about kids who have parents who believe (or who act like they believe) that educating their children is unimportant and are not sufficiently motivated by an "amount equal to the reasonable cost of schooling" to provide for their kids' education?

79 posted on 09/26/2003 2:26:58 PM PDT by Scenic Sounds ("Don't mind people grinnin' in your face." - Son House)
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To: petitfour
The competition that is sorely needed is between teachers. Instead of basing pay on say how many years a teacher has taught, base it on how well the students and parents are satisfied with the teacher. Base it on scores the kids make over several years, base salary on what a teacher can negotiate between the board and the individual. In this pay teachers could take back their professionalism. And the teachers union? (I think they would hate this idea.)
80 posted on 09/26/2003 2:27:39 PM PDT by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: aristeides
But who will develop the exams, and decide on the level for getting that?

Ross Perot helped develop merit teacher pay/standards 20 years ago in Texas. I was involved at the Education Service Center level. (There are 20 of those in Texas, to help small districts with curriculum needs.) The administration hired people to 'grade' their teachers, as well as training local administraters to do this. I had 3 principals tell me - guess who will get on the career ladder - my wife works for him, his wife works for me - it is money in my pocket for my wife to do well. The system has changed, costs more money, more non-teachers hired to 'evaluate' teachers. Teachers are not doing that much, if any, better.

81 posted on 09/26/2003 2:33:07 PM PDT by mathluv
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To: KC_for_Freedom
see #81.
82 posted on 09/26/2003 2:33:46 PM PDT by mathluv
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I'm going to comment on this before I read the rest of the replies, so forgive me if I'm redundant.

We are losing our unchallenged standing and superiority in commerce, industry, science, and technology to a rising tide of mediocrity. Teachers are no longer concerned with whether or not their students have a firm grasp of the core curriculum – they are more concerned about whether or not they offend someone with their curriculum.

I'm sure this article will play well with many FReepers, most of whom don't have a clue about what really goes on in most public school classrooms, but I'm not at all worried about offending anyone with my curriculum. Political correctness isn't what's killing the school system.

The problem with the school system is very much related to our problems with society.

In the middle part of the 20th century, we had a tremendous upheaval in society: women's liberation, Dr. Spock's new methods of child-rearing, welfare programs, the peace movement and other forms of rebellion against authority, and the civil rights act and school desegregation. All of these (and probably a few other factors I haven't remembered) have resulted in huge changes in society and in the public educational system.

I could elaborate on each issue, and its effect on the educatonal system, but I'd have a longer essay than your original.

The only viable solutions that can be seen are either complete privatization of the public school system, or, barring that, school vouchers.

Again, a line that some FReepers agree with totally, except that it leaves out homeschooling. The problem is, it won't be a realistic solution for some years, if ever.

Privatization has been tried in some areas, and hasn't always resulted in improvement. Even if vouchers were available, not all areas have private schools, and in some areas, the private schools are not as competitive academically as the public schools, but exist for religious or other reasons instead. Finally, not everyone is willing or able to homeschool.

Public schools will be a necessary option for the foreseeable future. The problem remains, how to improve them?

83 posted on 09/26/2003 2:57:55 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: Amelia
Ping to this post.
84 posted on 09/26/2003 3:12:39 PM PDT by Cathryn Crawford
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To: Cathryn Crawford; Scenic Sounds; All
"when the government is no longer a factor in education – then we will see a difference"

Bullseye. Thank you, Catherine. Keep up the good work.

“If you expect a nation
to be ignorant and free,
you expect what never was
and can never be.”

Thomas Jefferson

85 posted on 09/26/2003 3:13:04 PM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of LIES and MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: KC_for_Freedom
Instead of basing pay on say how many years a teacher has taught, base it on how well the students and parents are satisfied with the teacher.

Do you think that's fair? I despised my high school English teacher, until I got to college and discovered she'd really done quite a good job -- I found the college English classes much easier than many of my classmates did.

86 posted on 09/26/2003 3:22:36 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I'd agree there are many students in secondary schools who could benefit from social programs at school, but I don't have time to provide them - I have enough to do just trying to teach as much of my curriculum as possible to students who can't read or do math because they've been socially promoted by a teacher who didn't want to harm their self-esteem, or an administrator who was afraid of overcrowded classrooms if too many students were retained.

I have enough to do trying to teach the kids who'd like to learn, in between distractions provided by some of the other students.

There are the children who have behavior disorders, and who need to be in my classroom because it's the "least restrictive environment", but they can't be punished like the other children because of their disability (and I can't explain to the other students WHY those children get treated differently, because that would be a violation of privacy).

I have the students who don't want to come to school, but they do, because if they don't attend, the state says they can't have a drivers license until they're 18, and if they don't have a drivers license, they can't get to work. However, the state law just says they have to BE THERE to get a drivers license, it doesn't say they have to PASS, or even attempt to.

There are also those who have to be there so their parents won't get put in jail for neglect - allowing the child to be truant - and those who are required to attend so that they, their mothers (or both) will continue to receive the Aid to Families with Dependent Children checks. Again, the law says they have to be there, but it doesn't say they have to do anything.

Almost forgot, I also have the teenaged parents, and the pregnant teenagers. The pregnant teenagers often don't want to be there, because they don't feel well. (They tend to ask for lots of restroom passes, too.) The parents sometimes can't make it to school because they don't have child care, so many of them don't do real well in school even if they're trying.

And then, there are the students who really are abused and neglected. We could use some social programs in the schools, I suppose. Please don't ask me to provide them. I've got enough to do trying to teach the curriculum.

87 posted on 09/26/2003 3:42:35 PM PDT by Amelia ((Now someone will tell me I'm cold-hearted because I don't want to do social work.))
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To: mathluv
Teachers are not doing that much, if any, better.

This is the old "there is no way to set standards for teachers" arguement. It was that way when I was in school, but more and more schools are using mandated standardized tests. This scares the H*ll out of some teachers. When I was in my first year the dept head told us that all teachers in the same subject (I taught Math, maybe your favorite subject) would give the same exam. The other teachers had years of experience over me. I did alright.

Even though there are no set standards (and possibly many criteria, I know that everyone in a school can tell you which teachers they would want their kids to have.

My suggestions:

test scores, over a period of three years

who does well the following year in a cumulative subject

which teachers the kids like, and the parents like

which teachers the other teachers go to for help

The principal and deans, which teachers have recurring discipline problems

how many students a teacher teachers

which teachers are asked to write recommendations for college

how well the teachers do on subject matter tests that they teach. (harsh, but we are looking for professionals)

what outside experience the teacher has

reviews by direct observation in class

It can be done, schools just don't want to do it and teachers in the union who like senority pay and layoff plans won't like it. So lets do it.

88 posted on 09/26/2003 8:14:23 PM PDT by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: Amelia
Yes, see post 88, not every teacher needs to be liked to be effective, and some are liked for the wrong reasons or because they are loose with grades. I would not use a single criterion any more than my boss at Lockheed (after I was laid off by the senority system) would use only one criteria in my evaluations. But to pay every teacher the same pay, regardless of how many students they teach or how well, or what other skills they bring, only relying on the number of years they have taught is more than strange, its fatal.
89 posted on 09/26/2003 8:18:59 PM PDT by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: Amelia
I thank you for your comments.

It is very unsettling to share one's experience and perspective in an open forum. I don't think enough actual teachers participate in our democracy and join this national dialogue about education. Perhaps we should try harder. (As if we have the time...)

I teach in the Bronx. I often wonder if my life would be more enjoyable and rewarding if I got myself hired in a religious, private, or voucher funded school. Sure I'd make less money, but maybe the kids would be more like me, use more of the same social conventions (syntax, etiquette, values) that I was raised with. I mean, why should I have any compassion for children of immigrants and welfare parents? Why would I keep trying to inspire, motivate, and equip these other American citizens to succeed in their education?

All my flag waving, bible touting relatives tell me to get out of there. They say the public school system is doomed and they don't want a penny of their taxes going into it.

Well, that's why I'm there. I'm a dedicated teacher. Everyone who says these kids and their schools are a lost cause are the problem. Public schools are made up of a kid named (***) whose father is so determined to have him succeed that he practically beats him if he gets anything wrong on a test or hesitates for a second in solving a math problem. Inner city schools are also made up of a tiny girl named (*******) with learning disabilities whose father is in jail and whose mother speaks no English and maybe never will. What is that like? Move your family to China, see how much Chinese you're speaking in a year.

Everyone has an opinion about how to change education. Every politician has a slogan. Every school administrator has ten slogans. Every Houghton Mifflin or Harcourt Brace has a billion dollar solution. Every DOE has "a new push." Even the teacher's unions have millions of pages of forms and contracts. What has that got to do with the lives of these kids? What has it got to do with mine? None of that affects what I succeed at day after day.

I entered the education field because I believe in the power of education to improve an individual's life. The more young Americans we prepare for a productive life of service, innovation, and worthy contributions to society, the better our country will be for our own children--and for the children of disadvantaged, uneducated children.

I realize that an ignorant conservative is going to post in response to this. I'll be called a communist. According to the usual uneducated conservative rhetoric, I don't exist. The 30 struggling children I teach should give up their 28¢ and their caring teacher to an upstate school where the kids already speak the English of their white parents.

Since, according to these know-it-all conservatives who have never taught a single 4th grader, putting more money into education lowers test scores, so why not support legislation that forces me to spend even more of my own money in the classroom? My wife and kids would proudly make the sacrifice, we're white Christian Americans.

Why do you other professionals get to deduct thousands off of your taxes for unreimbursed job expenses (2106) and teachers get only a few hundred?
90 posted on 09/26/2003 9:26:55 PM PDT by 4thGradeTeacherBronx (Whose children deserve the best teachers?)
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To: 4thGradeTeacherBronx
I realize that an ignorant conservative is going to post in response to this....Since, according to these know-it-all conservatives who have never taught a single 4th grader

Fascinating, which is it? Are we all ignorant or know-it-alls?

And why should anyone bother to post since you only signed up today to rant and insult - only to disengage and hide tomorrow?

Perhaps, being a worldly and wise Bronx 4th grade teacher, you can educate us how children with disabilties are being taught in Canada, Finland or Korea and why we are failing? Perhaps you can explain why school systems in the US and around the world perform better than your with less spent per pupil? Perhaps you can explain why others succeed where YOU fail, with much less money spent per child? Even better, perhaps you can explain why conservatives are ignorant know-it-alls when they attended the same public schools their smart open minded liberal peers attended?

You're not succeeding day after day, and it is long past time you took responsibility for that.

91 posted on 09/27/2003 2:42:24 AM PDT by optimistically_conservative (assonance and consonance have nothing on alliteration)
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To: Scenic Sounds; Cathryn Crawford
Unfortunately, vouchers are a means of medicating the symptoms - not the disease.

I think a quick comparison of the education system today back to a time when it was considered more successful (pre-social counter-culture revolution Amelia describes), between failing systems and successful ones in the US today (urban, suburban and rural) and between our system and other systems worldwide would lead you to the conclusion that vouchers are not a cure, only a method of pain management.

Discipline, cultural emphasis and parental involvement remain the ingredients for success - at home, private or public school. Divorce, welfare, open borders, two income self focused parents, etc. undercut the quality of schools.

School boards in small systems can be influenced for good or bad by a small core of parents, teachers and administrators. Larger systems are victims of bureaucracy and waste.
92 posted on 09/27/2003 2:55:21 AM PDT by optimistically_conservative (assonance and consonance have nothing on alliteration)
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To: KC_for_Freedom
I agree with much of what you have listed. There are two sides to every suggestion. There were plans to test teachers in their subject area(s), but that got canned real quick, and a nothing test was substituted.

I don't want to give up on public schools. I want to take them back. For every teacher who does not want to see a parent near the school, there is a teacher who wants to help any way possible. For every parent who wants an easy out with easy grades, there is a parent who wants their child to learn.

The best teachers are not always popular with kids, parents, or other teachers. The worst teachers are not always popular with kids, parents, or other teachers.

Yes, math is what I love, what I taught, and wish I could teach again.

93 posted on 09/27/2003 4:28:33 AM PDT by mathluv
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To: BeerSwillr
I disagree with your statement about "broad brushing" the American public education system. Until we can admit as a nation that the system is failing we will never address the problem and fix it! It's the old "well, yes, SOME schools are bad, but of course the schools MY children attend are the EXCEPTION."

I will go further with that brush and add that our culture has given up its right to raise children . . . we abdicate to the education system.

Your line of "Most schools are doing a good job educating THEIR children" says it all. Whose children are they?

I have opted out of the system. We are in our 13th year of homeschooling . . . there is no diversity in our school, there is no PC history, or new Math! But my children can THINK logically, argue on any given topic of current events, and know where the Middle East is located.

And they have never had to put a condom on a banana!
94 posted on 09/27/2003 4:57:53 AM PDT by June Cleaver (in here, Ward . . .)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Ok, Cathryn, define good.

Does that mean bringing up test scores?

All well and good, but there is another problem and I think you addressed it in your article.

What should the schools be teaching?
95 posted on 09/27/2003 5:01:45 AM PDT by June Cleaver (in here, Ward . . .)
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To: KC_for_Freedom
But to pay every teacher the same pay, regardless of how many students they teach or how well, or what other skills they bring, only relying on the number of years they have taught is more than strange, its fatal.

I can agree with that. Another thing that's always been strange to me is that teachers want to be thought of as professionals, yet paid on a union scale.

IMO, paying for (and promoting by) only seniority, whether in schools, factories, whereever, leads to mediocrity and less productivity.

96 posted on 09/27/2003 5:04:44 AM PDT by Amelia
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To: kegler4
You have hit on the core problem of our educational system. No one (especially if they have children IN the system) wants to admit that there IS a problem, or well, if there is it's just a matter of a few PC textbooks! Geesh!

Wake up and get a whiff of eraser dust! The CORE CURRICULUM IS THE PROBLEM. Even if you have wonderful teachers, they still must ladle out this pablum . . .

I do not have this problem in my home curriculum . . . we don't use of lot of textbooks. We use REAL books mostly.
97 posted on 09/27/2003 5:09:08 AM PDT by June Cleaver (in here, Ward . . .)
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To: Scenic Sounds
Great article. Thanks for posting it.

"Is there a solution? Not under the existing structure. In a socialistic system – our current public educational structure - there is no competition; therefore there is no incentive for improvement or innovation."

More evidence-http://www.freep.com/news/education/chart25_20030925.htm
98 posted on 09/27/2003 5:09:12 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Incredible isn't it? And we won't be able to back up the bus.

On a personal note, my daughter is enrolled at a Texas university (your rival!) after 12 years of homeschool. She is finding much the same with a lot of her profs . . . thankfully she is a clear-headed logical thinker . . . good thing too as she will have to do a lot of sifting!
99 posted on 09/27/2003 5:13:09 AM PDT by June Cleaver (in here, Ward . . .)
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To: Scenic Sounds
Not many families capable of homeschooling since majority have both parents working. Homeschooling has to be a rare occurence.
100 posted on 09/27/2003 5:29:57 AM PDT by not-an-ostrich
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