Politicians Elitism & Exceptionalism

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Mensch1351, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Mensch1351

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    It's a little "old" news but has been resurrected today on MSNBC when Rahm Emmanuel (sp?) was asked why he is sending his children to a private rather than a public school. Chris Christie in New Jersey answered the same question a few weeks ago rather rudely telling the woman it was none of her business. And evidently the President was asked why he is sending his daughters to a private school in DC. The President was the only one who honestly responded that the public school systerm in DC is having problems.

    I find it interesting that all these people not ONLY feel it is their private business where they send their children to school -- but that they are in positions of power to make decisions that effect the quality and nature of our public school systems.

    The question on MSNBC was "so is it our business or isn't it?" One of the commentators on MSNBC said, "Absolutely it is our business. It's the same as asking a Chef why he doesn't eat in his own restaurant!"

    I've got fairly strong opinions on this but was wondering what you might think. Is it the public's business for public servants as to the personal decisions they make concerning their own families while at the same time having the power and voice to influence the decisions "other" families have to make concerning what choices they have?
     
  2. Thedrewbert

    Thedrewbert Member

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    I would think that the daughters of a highly polarizing President would not be able to go to a public school because there would be too much disturbance for the other kids.

    Sometimes there is exceptionalism and sometimes there isn't. Biden used to take Amtrak to work every day from Wilmington.
     
  3. D_Percy_Prettywillie

    D_Percy_Prettywillie Account Disabled

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    First of all, I want to say that I agree, the seeming hypocrisy is disconcerting at first glance. I want to throw two things out on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up, okay?


    1.) Being the child of the President of the United States no doubt comes with certain stigmas. You remember his daughters first days of school in DC after they started? MSNBC was reporting on what they were having for lunch. What I'm getting at is they are not just like other children. Their lives are considerably different than mine or anybody else who had just "regular" parents. Their presence would be far less disruptive to a facility that had other children in it who had gone through some of the same media attention and had at least some experience with security details (as the Secret Service is a significant presence in an Elementary school.) For the sake of the other kids, isn't it for the best that the children of wildly powerful and influential people don't go to public school?

    and 2.) The President has been on the job for three years. The DC school system has been the go-to example of a district in shambles for as long as I can remember. It's... a mess that couldn't possibly be cleaned up by one President (at least not this President) in his first term. Sending his daughters into that school system would be like showing up to a house that was on fire and saying "Let's get settled in! We'll worry about the flaming debris and surface-of-the-sun-like conditions after we get the pictures up on the walls!"


    I'm not necessarily defending anyone as I agree- if our leaders are going to be champions of public education (and be so hostile toward the notion of vouchers) then they should be prepared to put their money where their mouths are (so to speak.) All I'm saying is that there are reasonable exceptions and that I don't necessarily think it always has to do with elitism... and that even if it did, it would work out for the best for everyone involved anyway.







    JSZ
     
  4. vince

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    I wouldn't send my kids to the DC public school system either and I don't see the disconnect between not doing so and having influence and decision making power in the school system.

    I think that every President's kids have gone to private school and given the security situation surrounding them, it's silly to suggest they go to a public school.
     
  5. Jason

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    This is a UK debate also, between state and private schools (though we call our private schools public, just to confuse Americans!)

    The results from the private sector are on average way better than from the state sector, however measured. The best state schools tend to be in areas of high house values, and parents frequently move into one of these areas specifically to benefit from a good state school, a decision which can be as expensive as paying for private education.

    * Many regard state education as ruined by strange educational theories and social engineering projects.
    * Many regard the secret of success at private schools to be traditional teaching styles and discipline.

    The cost per pupil of the state school system and the cost per pupil of an average private school are comparable. Parents who opt for the private system get no educational vouchers or tax credits, so they do pay twice.

    Probably we need root and branch reform of our state schools - but there is no political consensus, and politicians are not keen to take up a controversial issue.
     
  6. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    Indeed

    It is no coincidence that the USA educational system has plummeted qualitatively since the the late 1960's and 1970's implementation of liberal policies, practices, and indoctrination, culminating in college and university graduates who are unable to read, write, or think critically and analytically, and thus hold to liberalism's tenets, and elect Obama

    The result was actually explained and foreseen by commentators such Alston Chase, and Allan Bloom
     
    #6 B_Nick4444, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  7. D_Percy_Prettywillie

    D_Percy_Prettywillie Account Disabled

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    Exactly. It's not dissimilar to the Liberal conspiracy regarding punctuation. See, by pausing to use commas, periods, and exclamation marks one might actually have the free second to consider the absolute lunacy they spew on internet forums. That's the last thing a liberal wants you to do (think) so I'm glad to see you've beaten them at their own game.

    I'd love to continue conversing with you on topics even my grandmother (97 year old who things Bigfoot lives in Connecticut) thinks are outrageous but your ride is here.


    [​IMG]


    JSZ
     
    #7 D_Percy_Prettywillie, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  8. Mensch1351

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    ............ahhhh not surprising that you would turn this discussion into yet another tirade against our President!! Actually Nick --- I think you should re-read your post very carefully. "Graduates who are unable to think critically and analytically!" First -- just when did YOU graduate and were you yourself a product of the Public School System?????

    Secondly -- given the almost sheer idiocy that is being put forth by certain representatives of the Conservative movement to decry science, re-invent history, eschew intellectualism and fall headlong for the outright lies of Faux News, not to mention a penchant for almost totally denying reality --- I hardly believe any educational deficits are totally limited to the "liberals" of the nation!!! It's a joke right??? Read your post again and see if you'd like to save a little face and re-write what you really meant -- or maybe just speak to the issue I raised to begin with: Is it the business of the public concerning the personal decisions of the public servant?:cool:
     
  9. Horrible

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    Ironic isn't it?

    I could not agree more.
     
  10. dandelion

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    You might have thought this would be a straightforward matter to comapre the costs of state and private schooling. But apparently not. Estimates of private fees on the internet suggest a figure around £10,000 per year, and upwards for prestigious schools. There is a current telegraph page suggesting costs are around £9,000 for both state and private schools.

    However I have also looked at the published returns by my local education authority, which is obliged to publish its annual budgets for schools. This shows a fairly uniform payment amounting to around £4,000 per pupil across all its schools .

    I found a FOI request made to the department of education which puts the cost of primary education at £4000 per head. No equivalent figure for secondary was mentioned. It seems striking that someone felt it necessary to make a FOI request to find out this figure, which is presumably not published.

    I dont know where the telegraph gets its £9,000 figure or what has happened to the difference of £5,000 per head. Schools budgets do allow for maintenance, but other funding is available from time to time for building new schools. Special needs education - for a surprisingly large number of pupils - might add on something like £5,000 per pupil rising to maybe £30,000 at the top end. Then there is red tape.

    Private schools naturally also have administration costs which have to come out of the simple lump sum they get so hard to say what of the £10,000 goes that way. However, such schools tend to be individual institutions and I would have thought their adminstrative costs ought to be comparable to the in-house administrative costs of a state school.

    So that would be £9,000 per head to spend on operating the school in the private sector and £4,000 in the state sector in the UK. I couldnt say whether the equally large sum of money in the state system which is unaccounted for is validly spend or wasted.

    We used to have a system designed to distrubute the inadequate resources which favoured elite establishmnets (grammar schools) and then there were the 'everyone else' schools. This is a parody of the selective system which did not set out to disfavour certain groups but rather to provide education tailored to academic ability. However, there was sufficient public fuss about the inequality that this was changed to a 'comprehensive' system were in theory all secondary schools are the same.

    Well they certainly arent, but to a large extent the change has succeeded in getting rid of the very good schools. It is noticeable that there was a generation of political leaders in the UK which were state educated at grammar schools, with relatively humble origins. We have returned to our leaders all getting private education.

    Oh, I notice that the mail carries the same story but blames the discrepancy on 'labour's red tape'. I would say there is political consensus on keeping the red tape. The Thatcher administration (conservative) I believe introduced the national curriculum. Previously schools set their own curriculum, as do private schools now. I find the concept of a national curriculum ridiculous since it means pupils who can barely read or write english must nevertheless be taught foreign languages. Science seems to have gone out the window - the curriculum in effect sets a maximum expectation of what will be taught as well as a minimum, as do all the monitoring standards.

    Governments of all stripes believe in bringing everything under central control.
     
    #10 dandelion, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  11. houtx48

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    I am going to guess that whether the public school was academically preforming to standards or it was not, the logistics of security for the president's children would be a nightmare. In my entire memory there has never been any that did not go to private school. All in all it looks like this is a nit picking issue.
     
  12. parr

    parr New Member

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    Could it be for security, maybe part of the reason.
     
  13. Jason

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    UK state schools are funded in two ways. There is a per pupil funding allocation and there is an additional capital allocation per school. The capital allocation has to be divided by the number of pupils at a school to get the cost per pupil. In round figures the per pupil allocation and the capital allocation expressed per pupil are more or less the same, each £4000-£5000.

    This is the traditional funding system for UK universities also, though of course changing from 2012.

    £9,000-£10,000pa is the cost of many private schools in the UK. Some of course charge more than double or even treble this (think Eton and Harrow) though these include boarding fees. Many private schools are less than this figure, and most (all?) do offer a range of scholarships. The much better results from UK private schools cannot be attributed to having more funds available. Rather it does seem to be down to teaching style, discipline and parental support for learning.

    It is hard to know how these elements can be changed in state schools. Teachers are familiar with a particuar teaching style, discipline is as poor as it is, and parental attitude to learning is largely outside of the control of school or state. Yet we also have a sense that the whole area has become such a hot potato that no politician dare touch it.
     
  14. dandelion

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    Jason, I presume the figures published by the LA are for the total expenditure on local schools and they do not keep a completely separate set of accounts for building maintenance. Somewhere there will be yet another policy document setting out the details of devolved expenditure, no doubt. The figure I quoted of about £4000 per head accounts for most of the budget, some £276 million out of £337 million. The rest is various other services related to children. There are no other significant items relating eg to building costs, though I seem to recall that central government gives grants for this - I recall there was a lot of fuss because one of the new governments first acts was to freeze all school rebuilding projects.

    It is hard to say how this additional sum should be accounted. Schools are expected to find maintenance costs from the £4000. I suspect that private schools generally are charities and have trust funds or fundraising drives if they want major building projects, which would thus also be on top of their £9000 ordinary fees.

    I still make it that state schools are therefore teaching on half the actual budget of private schools. There is really no surprise that on twice the budget they get better results. If you are in a position to afford the fees, you know (at least on the average) that your child will get a better education privately and thus get a starting advantage in life. Politicians are not idiots, so this is why they send their children to private schools. Naturally there are good state schools and bad ones, and the general public still fight to get their children into the good ones. But the education there is stilll only half the cash equivalent's worth of a private education.

    The 'hot potato' is that the state has made a decision that a school can be run on half the cost which the private sector believes necessary. Maybe some US bods would care to comment, but what I hear says the same applies there.
     
    #14 dandelion, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  15. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    Permutation of the Original Post? Although I am not part of the query poised by the opening post, I shall humbly respond.

    No -- we were not schooled by the public school system, except for one summer class taken at a public high school, and one summer course at a State university, both taken to attend electives.

    As far as I know, the Tea Party is not decrying science, revising history, or eschewing intellectualism (whatever you might mean by intellectualism).

    Decrying science -- I'm assuming you referring to thesis of anthropogenic global warming? You have noticed that the adherents of that thesis are dwindling, because it it is based less on science than on political machination? However, we shan't open that Pandora's box here, beyond that statement.

    Revising history -- Kindly review the revision that has taken place with the rise of liberalism, including, for example, imputing a Marxist-Leninist materialist explanation for the formation of the Thirteen Colonies, and the establishment of the American nation -- Positions contradicted, and unsupported by the actual record.

    Eschewing intellectualism -- Again, not sure what you mean here, but to hazard a response, intellectualism requires attempts at truth, objectivity and discourse. The spectacle of the left's pro-union protests, and the Obama rhetoric and policy initiatives such as Obamacare belie the expectation of these attributes on the left.

    But to return to the original query, based on his personal experiences, Nick4444 believes that Governor Christy was correct.

    A particular elected official's views and evaluations would be relevant if policy questions on funding or other impacts on public education were at issue, for full disclosure, but if solely his views are relevant only to his personal choices, no -- not a matter for public discourse.

    We personally have little regard for public schooling, especially publicly funded education conducted by unionized teachers and instructors. I make this point to underscore that if an instructor has elected to join a union, they have elected to demonstrate an ideological orientation that is contrary to the basic principles of our nation's founding. What other proclivities might they demonstrate, and what impact to those under their tutelage. (At this juncture, a relevant aside would be to underscore that the Tea Party is made up of older, well-educated Americans -- Citizens educated before the implementation and full effect of the indoctrination imposed beginning in the late 1960's. This little snippet speaks volumes.)

    As far as private schooling, Nick4444, as a sickly child, spent most of his time away from the lower forms (the lower grades), and used his time at home to spend in his father's library. In spite of spending more time out of school than in, he always scored years ahead of his peers on the nationally standardized tests.

    A third option?

    (Oh, and by the way, mention of Obama was mad in my original post to provide an example of how seriously we endanger the republic; As Benjamin Franklin said:

    "
    This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.")
     
    #15 B_Nick4444, Jul 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  16. dandelion

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    You puzzle me. I was not aware that the US was founded by refugees fleeing unionisation. If anything, rather the reverse. People fleeing state tyrany which refused to allow them to live as they chose or to follow their own beliefs.


    Sounds as though Nick is a clever chap able to educate himself. I suspect I am missing a fight which has been going on elsewhere because the exchanges here do not seem to make sense.

    I would suggest that the world we live in today is not the one existing 50 years ago. Knowledge of modern conditions is needed.

    With regard to education, a state official has to decide how good an education the state will provide. This is mostly a matter of money. It is in the UK anyway, and I would be very surprised if it is not in the US. He decides on a level which is somewhat lower than he would chooses for his own children. This may be a sensible choice based on available resources. However, there is an obligation on that official to acknowledge that the level he has set for state education is in his opinion inadequate.

    If instead he sets about trying to convince everyone that he is providing an excellent service, then I would suggest it is time for Franklin to intervene and do some educating about the true nature of those wishing to be placed in positions of power.
     
  17. Jason

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    I think this is the nub of the issue - they are not. The capital budget will certainly include building maintenance as you set out, but also the cost of building schools, utilities, insurance and non-teaching salaries.

    It would be nice to be able to find some clear and authoritative statement of the figures - but I don't think the presentation is this simple. I'm familiar with university funding which in the UK shows the same split.

    How about this comparison? The University of Buckingham is the UK's only private university (Chancellor Margaret Thatcher), set up with its own act of parliament (there are a few private foreign universities that have a campus in the UK, but awarding non-UK degrees). Uni Buckingham does very well in the quality tables. A BA/BSc degree at Uni Buckingham costs about £20,000. From 2012 most state universities will charge £25,000-£27,000 for a degree and in addition will be receiving a massive capital budget from the state, around £20,000 per student. Uni Buckingham teaches for less than half the cost of the state universities :eek: - and the fees students pay are lower than the student contribution to the state system.

    Maybe the Thatcher idea of creating a private Uni Buckingham in every town in England is the way forward. Maybe the Conservative idea of a Grammar School in every town needs to be revived. Maybe the private sector really is both better and cheaper than the stste sector.
     
  18. Zayne

    Zayne New Member

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    Most people in the US base voting decisions on looks. If we are competing now in a global environment vs. countries who select leaders based on merit, what chance do we have? None. Democracy: Failed.
     
  19. dandelion

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    Democracy? you have democracy in the us? you mean anyone can stand for any post and has an equal chance of getting their message across and winning? Or do you mean by democracy that anyone can vote, but they can only chose between one or two people appointed by the elite organisation which actually runs the country?

    wikipedia says "Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives." um. Dont think so.
     
  20. Mensch1351

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    OK -- when I started this thread it was to bring home the glaring fact that many of our politicians for GOOD REASON do send their own children to private schools for security reasons, etc. I think Chris Christy went WAY over the top by telling the woman who questioned him, "It's none of your business," when her point was -- "you have the power to suggest cutting funding for public schools when you yourself have no investment in their success or failure." And THAT was my point in terms of political elitism! Where they send their kids to school is really the tip of the iceberg concerning many politicians feeling that they themselves are "exempt" from whatever decisions they make concerning their constituents.

    We are probably one of the few nations of the world where the people in power making huge policy decisions on economics exempt themselves from the system! (and here I'd like to hear from some of you in other countries as to what happens in your systems).

    Our Congress is a "privileged" class of people. They make decisions concerning healthcare, social security, medicare, etc. -- but they themselves don't LIVE under that systerm -- they have their own. Republicans RAIL against government health care for the "masses" while they themselves (like John Boner) have had government paid for health care for decades!! They have their OWN retirement funding and will never be on the receiving end of Social Security --- or know what it is to get "personally" involved in the Medicare beaurocracy they themselves created. Even convicted FELONS who have served in Congress and are now in jail are still collecting their "pensions" (and fairly hefty ones at that)!

    Simply put --- we have a political system where those who spend hours discussing other people's future really don't have any personal investment or have to endure any repercussions of their OWN decisions. It's all good enough for US but not for THEM! They get us into war and FEW of their own children ever serve! In the last election, Mitt Romney even had the audacity to claim that his 5 sons were doing their part for America simply by helping his campaign. The Republicans claim to be "family values" people and then they are not only caught in sex scandals, but the wealthy they pander to make sure that wages are kept low enough that mom and dad have to work 2 jobs just to get by. "The hell with whatever stresses that puts on working class families -- we're still the family VALUES crowd!" I know, I know -- the Democrats are JUST as "haughty" when it comes to believing that somehow they are "entitled" to this kind of elitism once they are in high political positions.

    And then they wonder why we don't trust them; why we're getting damned fed up with the Washington "bubble" that sometimes seems so out of touch with the mainstream of American society that some of what they end up proposing is almost on the verge of the ridiculous!

    The "people's house" acts more like the "elite people's house" and over time, the American people are going to get fed up with all the wedge issues that seem to gain the center of attention in our political campaigns and are going to "demand" that our politicians be held to the SAME accountability that they hold US to when it comes to how we pay our taxes, how we are expected to obey the laws and how we are to pursue OUR right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"

    Private schools for ME -- public schools poorly funded for YOU! It's just the tip of the iceberg!! Anybody else have thoughts on this??

    ****(And I'm serious about hearing from some of you in foreign domains about how YOUR politicians "exempt" themselves from the general public when it comes to living under their own political decisions!)
     
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