U.S. Schools: A Legacy in Search of a President

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Lex, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. Lex

    Lex
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    9,536
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    In Your Darkest Thoughts and Dreams
    I found this on CNN.com today and it certainly peaked my interest as a lifelong special educator and a univeristy instructor or pre- and in-service educators.

    Our schools are in BAD shape, people and we have to do something about it as a nation.

    I pasted the entire article so that you can read.



    Education Week: Check Your State's Graduation Rates
     
  2. amiegrrl

    amiegrrl New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    I agree with you wholeheartedly, and this article makes me so sad... Being a Michigan resident, the abysmal state of Detroit's schools hits very close to home. I know what cuts to educational spending have done to the schools in my part of the state - larger class sizes, fewer resources and programs, etc. I've decided to keep my daughter enrolled in the local Catholic school even though we are non-denom.

    The truth of it is, after the Governor got rid of a large chunk of state government, she slowly started cutting funding for *all* public services (including schools) down to critical levels and now has little recourse but to cut further unless more money can be found. I don't know of any way to "find" money in government other than cutting gov't jobs, cutting services and raising taxes. Granholm has done everything else, and is now continually running up against opposition from Republican state legislators because they are so vehemently against raising taxes.

    I'm not for watching my entire paycheck go towards taxes, but absent another form of funding, our services are gradually going to vanish. I'm sure the Republicans we've allowed into office would love nothing more than for all public services to suffer a slow, agonizing death and gradually disappear. For the rest of us, especially those children that are slipping through the cracks and landing on welfare and in prison, that spells sure disaster. Pretty soon only those who can afford to send their children to private school will have access to education. And then what? Will Republicans finance the construction of all of the prisons we'll need then? Or will they just hole up in their nice houses with guns and pray? When the police force is disbanded, I guess those that can afford protection will have it. God help the rest of us.

    Michigan schools are going to continue to decline until we realize that our children are more important than our money... It's that simple.
     
  3. Mr. Snakey

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    24,702
    Likes Received:
    25
    I will keep this short. I live in the highest taxed state in the nation. In my work i come in contact with teachers who have to go into their own pocket to get pencils for the children. What are they doing with my tax dollars? To blame this on any president Bush or Clinton is wrong. This is a state thing. And i will say again left or right. They are all crooks. We are at the mercy of Shrunken Heads. The 5th amendment will come in handy if this keeps up. The last three govenors in my state were Democrats. And the 2nd amendment if need be for all the Shrunken Heads
     
  4. chico8

    chico8 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Chico
    It's mostly a Congress and WH based thing. Unfunded mandates up the ying yang. Add to that the insane demands the baby boom generation has placed on schools and it's not hard to see that so many students fail.
     
  5. umass1

    umass1 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    It's sad because these children are our future.
     
  6. Mr. Snakey

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    24,702
    Likes Received:
    25
    Im telling once again. We are the highest taxed state in the nation. We should have more than enough money for our schools. Im wating on them to tax my dick. Then im really in trouble
     
  7. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
    Oh Lordy, if they tax you by the inch you may as well file Chapter 7 bankruptcy now. :biggrin1: :tongue:

    :frown1: So true! Too many parents are allowing their children to just grow up. The things parents or the adult caregiver don't feel like teaching they insist that the schools teach. Hence the New Jersey state mandate to teach Character Education. That's right folks, the public school system is now responsible for teaching your child how to be of good character. I don't know about you but I find that frightening.
     
  8. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    No mention in the article of the dire effects of the troglodytic teacher's unions, I see. This is not a negligible factor. We have loads of people with colossal skills in math and the sciences, but they don't have any kind of teaching certificate. Try getting one of them into an American high school. (If you figure out how, let me know - some people have been trying to push me into it, as I have taught math and science to students of middle and high school age, with outstanding results.)

    Schools are run and financed locally, with the state getting its fingers in at various inconvenient points. The federal influence is relatively minor. Attempts to exert more federal control have been resisted fiercely for years, and so have in the main been unsuccessful. The locals want to retain local control, and I'm not sure I can blame them.

    In my area some towns have been having trouble with funding because of, basically, a taxpayer revolt. This revolt started with the widespread belief that bilingual education is a fraud. The taxpayers were (and still are) reluctant to throw additional money down that particular rathole.

    While it is true that nothing can be accomplished without money, the converse is not true - you can't claim that anything can be accomplished just by throwing money at it. Government, if left to its own devices, can spend unlimited amounts of money. No matter how much we have, government can outspend it. With deficit spending, government can spend far more than we have. And what do we get for it? When something doesn't work, the government technique is to spend more money on it. Sometimes that works, but usually it just makes a more expensive failure - at the same time wasting money which might otherwise be available to try something which might actually work.

    And of course it's easy to say that what we need are some new ideas. But when that does happen, rejection is almost automatic. Recall the hootin' 'n hollerin' when Bush floated the idea of funding some schools run by churches. The idea had some merit, but it didn't get the consideration it deserved. As I recall, it didn't get any consideration at all.

    I suspect that improvement will have to happen locally. The charter school movement might help. Charter schools are not fancy-ass expensive private schools; they're still publicly funded. They're competing with conventional public schools for both students and money. (My local expert on charter schools is at the other end of the country and incommunicado at the moment, so I can't easily check on the details.) I didn't pay much attention to the local charter schools until I heard word that one of them had invited John Dobson in for a couple of weeks of astronomy classes. Brilliant. Why the f' didn't the regular public middle school or high school do that? Just possibly, because somebody at the charter school is using his brain - which always helps. Paying some deadhead at the high school more money isn't likely to improve his brain function. Vector the money towards those things which are already successful, not towards those which are failures.
     
  9. whatireallywant

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,587
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Female
    We have some charter schools here. Last year I worked for a month as a contractor going to schools in one of the school districts here and assisting the teachers with logging on, getting their email, registering computer names, etc. One of the middle schools I went to just fascinated me. It was a charter school that had classes like rocketry, robotics, and stuff like that. I would've wanted to go to a school like that.
     
  10. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,229
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Nor any mention of the troglodytic Republican led legislature which let funding for schools stagnate so than much many of them closed 3-4 weeks early in the last few years in this state.

    Salaries, respect, prestige and the clout to match those who work in other industries or teach in other nations?

    Not here. One of those beloved voter tax revolts handed control of funding to the state's legislature. With the Republicans in charge, it wasn't hard to guess what the effect would be on public education.

    Two words: unfunded mandates.

    Translation: The taxpayers want top notch education for their kids. They just don't want to pay for top notch education.

    Being married to one of those deadhead failures, and coming from a family with other deadhead failures, I want to thank you for that constructive suggestion.

    Carry on.
     
  11. rubberwilli

    rubberwilli Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    598
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    I live in Chicago and I must say I have been very impressed with what is happening in Chicago with our schools system, all or largely thanks to the leadership of mayor Richard Daley. He initiated the Rennaissance 2010 initiative which seeks to create 100 high performing schools in Chicago areas of need.

    It's by no means perfect, but it seems to be changing the face of public schooling in Chicago and giving families more options in a system that was severely underfunded and schools that were falling apart.

    Chicago Public Schools: Renaissance 2010

    Renaissance 2010 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  12. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh well, then it must be a great success.

    Don't waste my time with your childish snarkiness. Contribute something thoughtful or bugger off.
     
  13. onlygettinbigger

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    5
    I think the relationship between the funding of schools and the productivity of schools is somewhat similar to the same issues that mega corporations experience when facing efficiency issues.

    So many people talk about how we need smarter teachers and more certified teachers and more computers and more this and more that. That is akin to trying to increase the productivity of a company liek GM by adding more production lines or more factories.

    Perhaps instead of smarter teachers we just need more teachers. But, then people will say, "well how can we afford to pay those teachers? teachers are already underpaid right?" Very true. A "good" teacher generally requires at the very least a Bachelor's preferably a master's and highly prized are those with Ph.D's and at least in my state still only receives somewhere aroudn 40 mayeb less maybe more. Thus we have people who are as equally educated as most big shots in the private industry making sub average wages for a fairly overwhelming task.

    Follow me for a second while my mind wanders and I paint for you a hypothetical situation...

    Imagine a teacher who has a Ph.D. in Education, Science, MAthematics, History, and English. Clearly a highly intelligent individual. He has received numerous certifications and is abreast of all the most efficient and cutting edge teaching methods. A teacher to be desired for sure...or is he?

    In a class of roughly 30 kids, how many more kids will this teacher get to understand the subject than someone with just an undergraduate degree. IMHO I doubt all that person's accolades and education would count for much when he or she has to deal with 30 kids at once. At best he would still only actually TEACH maybe 25 out of the 30 kids their subject and have them comprehend and retain it.

    So if having higher educated and more strictly certified teachers is not the solution what is?

    Less educated teachers.

    Currently we have Overqualified (IMO) individuals being underpaid (In everyone's Opinion). My solutions is to have individuals that are worht what we are currently willign to pay teachers teach our children. This would increase the supply of teachers and then maybe by decreasing class sizez and still having acceptably intelligent people teaching we coudl achieve a more efficient and preferably higher output of truly educated students.

    As a side note this would decrease unemplyment by getting rid of the complex and sometimes corrupt certification techniques currently in place. Most importantly we woudl no longer be underutilizing the very thing which we are striving so hard to create....our highly educated individuals (the teachers for those who get lost by my ramblings)

    Super short Summary:
    If you cant win with Quality...win with Quantity


    This post is entirely without any research other than my personal education from years ago so please forgive any inaccuricies in guestimates.
     
  14. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think you're distinguishing clearly between different types of "educated" teachers.

    Nobody claims that a teacher should be uneducated. Someone raised from infancy by squirrels isn't going to have anything useful to teach students. The problem I mentioned above was in reference to the demand for science and math teachers. The choice is between teachers who have the relevant teacher's certificates but don't know spit about science or math, and people who know their science and math but have not gone through the ranks in the teaching biz. I believe that there will continue to be a dire shortage of people with both math & science qualifications and formal teaching credentials. But those with one or the other are far more common. Right now, the schools are filled with the first type - they have the certificates but neither the educational background nor the work experience to make math or science interesting. We need a way to get the second type, those strong in math or science but weak in formal creds, into the schools.

    Money isn't really the make-or-break factor. Consider someone on break from the corporate world, or an entrepreneur who isn't stuck in a 9 to 5 and would like to do something different two afternoons a week. Such a person isn't going to get formal teaching credentials just to teach a few classes for a couple of years. But we need him anyway. So maybe we need to change the way the credentials are handled.

    Don't expect the teacher's unions to cooperate, though.
     
  15. onlygettinbigger

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    5
    unions....certification boards...archaic laws....these are our enemies to a more efficient future
     
  16. D_Deceptivus Wrongpeter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    3
    Like Monty Python said ... "That will certainly make chartered accountancy more interesting".
     
  17. Mike0950

    Mike0950 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Messages:
    87
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Texas
    We're not the highest taxed country in the world ... That would be SWEDEN

    We don't pay our teachers enough. If teachers were paid the equivalent of a real professional (research scientist, business manager, non-partner lawyer, entrant MD), a lot of talented, intelligent, and creative people would be willing to join up.

    Unions intended to protect "senior" faculty at the expense of capability need to be revamped or eliminated. Every real professional job has competition, this should be the same.

    Stop babying the kids. Parents shouldn't complain about more homework or difficult test. Some kids SHOULD fail.. that's how they know they need to do more and do better. Poor kids in Asian countries can do Calculus in Junior High, and some parents in the US continue to complain about their kid's workload... bullshit!
     
  18. Lex

    Lex
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    9,536
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    In Your Darkest Thoughts and Dreams
    Yes, teacher unions are an equal part of the problem. The teacher salary scales that pay teachers with the same years of service the same amount regardless of performance is a problem.

    You can have 25 years of the same experience or 25 years of different experiences where you have grown and shown progress as a educator.

    The unions also protect bad teachers--I know a Principal who had a teacher choke a student in front of several witnesses. The most she was able to do to him was get him transferred to another school in PA. That is sad.

    BigD--I have a fascinating article that talks about the Baltimore City School system and what went wrong over the past 20 years. I will try to dig up the PDF if you are interested.
     
  19. Full_Phil

    Full_Phil New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    Except for the fact that both men gained favor and credibility during their state tenures as "education" governors, but did nothing meaningful for education after coming to Washington. By this, I mean get behind the improvement of education in speeches, in bringing groups together, ie--- by being proactive against a blight on our nation. Sure, it's a state thing, but as has also been brought up, conservative elements of statehouses have fought the raising of taxes which might help the situation. That said, the problems are much more complex, and requires commitments to priority and accountability on a far grander scale. People have been asking "where are the leaders?" for far longer than Iacocca's recent diatribe, but where are those who should be calling for better education? We are able to keep the underclass "under" without good education, and to improve it would put the "haves" at greater risk. Improvement of the masses has been fought by those in power for centuries. So don't prioritize and help those in our own country instead of those abroad, don't make the sacrifices that benefit us all as a whole instead of just our individual selves, don't save the sinking ship. If you had a state government with the courage to apply principles of priority and accountability to its educational system, the tax increase from all the people moving to that state would pay for whatever the increased cost are. I know this is pie-in-the-sky FWIW ranting, but---
     
  20. Shelby

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    2,159
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    in the internet
    I blame bad parenting more than anything else.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted