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Why is education in the US failing?
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, February 15, 2006

John Stossel gives us a clue:
Bosses, have I got an idea for you: Don't pay your best employees more, don't ease out your least productive workers, and for crying out loud, never fire anyone, not even for the most blatant misconduct on the job.

It works for the public schools, doesn't it?

Actually, it doesn't, but since they're government monopolies, they don't care. They never go out of business. They just keep doing what they're doing, year after year, churning out class after class of students handicapped by a poor education.
He makes the obvious disclaimer that this doesn't include all public school teachers, but if you read closely you realize its the environment which exists within the profession which is the problem, and the poor teachers who can't be fired are simply a symptom of the problem.

The result? Well exactly what one would expect:
What is the result? When we asked students about their teachers, some said things like this:

"Most of the teachers they're like — they don't really care."

"One of my teachers tells me he does this for the health benefits."

"I've seen teachers come to school intoxicated."
When you have, in effect, a job for life regardless of what you do or don't do, you're going to draw a good number of people that don't care, don't try, or have other priorities than teaching to the safety of a job they can't lose.

And when you do, stories and incidents like this become rather commonplace:
Joel Klein once won fame as a fighter of monopolies. He worked for the federal government, and his most famous foe was Microsoft. Now he runs a monopoly of his own: the New York City public schools. It's even more arrogant than Microsoft, because its customers have even less choice.

Joel Klein now presides over a calcified monopoly where it's hard to fire anyone for anything.

One New York teacher decided that one of his 16-year-old students was hot. So he sat down at a computer and sent a sexual e-mail to Cutee101.

"He admits this," said Klein. "We had the e-mail."

"You can't fire him?"

"It's almost impossible."

It's almost impossible because of the rules in the New York schools' 200-page contract with their teachers. There are so many rules that principals rarely even try to jump through all the hoops to fire a bad teacher. It took six years of expensive litigation before the teacher who wrote Cutee101 was fired. During those six years, he received more than $300,000 in salary.

"Up, down, around, we've paid him," said the chancellor. "He hasn't taught, but we've had to pay him, because that is what is required under the contract."

Hundreds of teachers the city calls incompetent, racist, or dangerous have been paid millions.
People have a tendency to rail against monopolies or perceived monopolies. Microsoft is one of their favorite targets in that regard, as is Wal-Mart. But year after year the same people let this government monopoly in education walk our children down the path of educational ruin.

It is time to break that monopoly. It is time to introduce competition into a moribund and failing system. And it is time to get the federal government out of the way and let local communities again address their failing schools.

Step one in any sort of change is breaking the grip of teacher's unions who protect the incompetent. The best way to do that is through choice. Let students and parents vote with their feet. Let them choose the schools they wish to have their children attend through a voucher system.

That will lead to step two which will identify and weed out weak and incompetent teachers. If the Democrats think that their plan for putting thousands of engineers and scientists in the classroom is going to bear fruit, trust me, engineers and scientists of any repute are not going to waste their time in a system as poor and broken as that we now have.

I often hear the question asked "why is it our secondary education is so abysmal and our colleges and universities are world class"?

It's simple: choice. Choice spurs competition. And in a competitive environment, you can't afford incompetence.

The solution isn't, as I'm sure we'll hear, throwing more money at the problem. If we want to save education in this country, it's time we face facts and break the government monopoly in secondary education. The party, and candidate, who makes this a priority and convincingly explains why it is necessary to introduce choice into the system has one heck of a plank on which to run in '08.

 
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Teachers are only part of the problem. The vast majority of teachers are honest, hardworking folks who genuinely like education. In my opinion, the largest part of the problem is administrators.

The unions have seen to it that the only way a teacher can get more pay is to become an administrator. The way the system is set up serves to encourage the most incompetent people to rise to administrative positions. The resulting poor leadership increases the burdens on teachers. Poor administrators make working conditions that would drive teachers to drink, quit, etc. They do things like humiliate teachers in faculty meetings, give them requirements they can’t possibly meet (such as requiring them to test their students but not allowing it to be done during class time), and implement policies that leave parents screaming at teachers, not realizing who’s really at fault.

I support school choice even if test scores show students not doing any better than they did in the public schools. My own family has been involved with a charter school, where some of the parents took their kids out of the charter school and put them back in the regular public school because the process of governance at the charter school was so complicated. But that was precisely what I loved most about the charter school— it was messy because it was a democratic-type institution with checks and balances that made the trains not run on time, so to speak. Without school choice, the public schools hold all the cards and the parents and children hold none.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
This isn’t just a problem in the US either. A lot of countries with "good" K-12 educational systems actually don’t have anything of the sort. For instance South Korea has very poor public education. But like many Asian countries, they have private "cram" schools which do a wonderful job and actually get their kids to pass required state standardized tests and college entrance exams.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
"Up, down, around, we’ve paid him," said the chancellor. "He hasn’t taught, but we’ve had to pay him, because that is what is required under the contract."
Um, doesn’t this statement indicate that he’s not in the classroom? How can he be anything other than a financial liability if he’s not actually teaching?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
If you thought the Catholics were good at abetting sex abuse .....
From a New York Post investigation comes this.
At least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day in New York City schools, a Post investigation has found.
Many blame the United Federation of Teachers because it vigorously defends its accused members. One union source said the UFT is legally bound to protect them - even when it knows the employee is a pedophile.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country come this series of articles in The Seattle Times.This is what the union had to say about sex abuse of children.
When The Seattle Times asked the Bellevue School District for information about teachers and coaches accused of sexual misconduct, school officials and the state’s most powerful union teamed up behind the scenes to try to hide the files.
“There is no reason we would ever want to drag current or former employees through public attention to such matters — even those who were found to have committed misconduct,” Sharon Howard, an attorney and an assistant Bellevue schools superintendent, wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Times.
Goodness, yes, we must protect those teachers from public humiliation. Forget the shame and humiliation of the students. You Catholics have a lot to learn. For instance, teaming up with the unions to countersue.
“The best course of action was to work with the WEA to arrange for them to bring (lawsuits) to stop this,” Bellevue attorney Howard wrote to a teacher. “I’d be delighted if we could share as little as possible” with The Times, she wrote in another e-mail to the WEA general counsel.
Folks, students don’t pay union dues.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Vouchers? Not in the near future.

The evidence is compelling. The market based approach works in other sectors of society. But vouchers fall prey to what I call, "Will’s Law" (George F. Will)

Will’s insight:

"The American public is philosophically conservative and operationally liberal."

Aside from the teacher’s unions and the Democratic Party, the most vociferous opponents of vouchers reside in my neighborhood, a solidly middle class Dallas suburb. And it’s equivalents across the fruited plains.

Vouchers provide no advantage to parents in middle class "conservative Republican suburbs" like Plano, Texas. Our schools work. Children are educated, there are is minimal drug usage and violence. Teachers generally do an acceptable job. Kids graduate, they go on to college.

With those results, why would any parent in their right mind opt for change? The current situation and enlightened self interest intersect. Change would bring risk, uncertainty and complicate parent’s lives. The subset of parents with children in private/parochial schools would benefit; but their impact on the electorate is minimal.

Vouchers will not be palatable to the middle class, unless their school systems deteriorate. Even then, it would have to be a near total systemic failure. The only hope for vouchers is the demand by parents of inner city schools in dysfunctional systems, like the Dallas Independent School District. But those parents are held hostage by the so called leaders of the inner city communities. Leaders are heavily invested in the political and educational status quo. I don’t hold out much hope there because the power brokers are organized and the customers are not.

It would take a revolt of the masses, and I just don’t see that happening.

"Will’s Law" explains most of the cognitive dissonance in our politics. The failure of Social Security reform, the failure of tax reform (flat tax),the Medicare Drug benefit, No Child Left Behind, earmarks, the federal highway bill, college loans and farm subsidies.








 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Another reason for the poor state of education in America: the quality of our teachers takes a back seat to union and party interests in most of our states today.

For example, in California, Gray Davis sought to stack votes for Californian Democrats by instituting a state-wide "teacher-recruitment" scheme in the late nineties. This move sought to boost the party’s electoral chances by enlarging the Democrat’s network of dependant "payola" patrons.

A Gen-x kayaking buddy of mine (who couldn’t find Sumatra on a globe) took a subsidized "preparatory" course at a state college, and in 2000, after less than 6-months of traiining, was teaching 8th grade science on the payroll of a public school in Sacramento.

As soon as he reached the six-month hiring date and he gained the union protection, he changed. Instead of his usual dim apathy for politics - born, I suppose, of a general ignorance, he began to parrot the Democratic party talking-points: "no drilling in ANWR, Global Warming is a "fact," and Bush’s tax-cuts were "bad."

Using state subsidies to further special interests is taking our education system South.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Joel Klein once won fame as a fighter of monopolies.... Joel Klein now presides over a calcified monopoly where it’s hard to fire anyone for anything.
A former NYC public school teacher gave a few illustrative details about this monopoly in action.
 
Written By: Jim Glass
URL: http://www.scrivener.net
If kids aren’t getting a quality education it’s basically the parents fault.
While I will agree that teacher unions have gotten out of control, it’s the parents silence in pushing for changes in their respective school districts to the rules that govern teachers hiring, firing and administration. If it’s practically
impossible to fire a bad teacher then parents should move to have their respective legislators change these rules. Also educating children is a two-way street. Parents must be active in the education of their children. If your child is failing it’s your fault.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
I am interested in why you consider Microsoft and Walmart comparable monopolies?
 
Written By: Coaster
URL: http://
This post is typical, right-wing propaganda. Conservatives don’t really care about failing public schools. After all, many conservatives either home school or send their kids to private schools. In fact, many conservatives would like nothing better than to see the whole public school system go down the toilet.

What conservatives do care about is eliminating teachers as a political force. Teachers’ unions tend to support Democrats. This is pure politics, that’s all.

Stossel is of course a lackey for GOP interests. A bootlicker. He will carry their water every chance he gets. He’s a faux populist. He will never challenge real institutional power.

And his article is typical - long on criticisms, short on alternatives.

For instance, he calls for more "competition." And how exactly would that work? Well, Stossel of course doesn’t explain that. Would the students rate the teachers? Would the teachers performance be based on standardized testing of the students? (And wouldn’t the teachers simply teach for the test?) Who would judge the competition? What process would be followed? And wouldn’t that necessarily entail the creation of a new bureacracy? And who would judge that bureacracy? Another one? Of course, Stossel doesn’t address these issues. Why? Because that would require him to think.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Radical Centrist, most legislative bodies, state and local are captive to teacher’s unions, you go on and "push for change" at the state or local school board. The phrase that comes to mind is "P*SS*ng up a rope."

Vouchers, would give parents that ability to influence the children’s education via REMOVING them from "bad" schools.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It’s the parents.

Period.

The best teachers have less impact than any parent.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
This post is typical, right-wing propaganda.

Yes, mk, and your post is typical, blind leftist hatred. Par for the course
For instance, he calls for more "competition." And how exactly would that work?
Well, I understand this is a foreign concept to you since you think the government is the best vehicle for telling you what’s best but I’ll give it a shot.

My wife and I are shopping for a private school right now. We have a few years before our oldest will start, but we’ve started looking at each school, talking to parents who have kids there, looking at test scores, etc. So, we’ve found that the most expensive school around us doesn’t have many programs to offer, and that the cheapest one doesn’t have good remarks from the parents. Several of the schools offer much more than public schools do (full foreign language classes, music lessons, etc. And we’re talking elementary level here, not high school).

So, the schools who don’t perform well, by the parent’s standards, will lose money and either have to improve their services or fall to the wayside. Whereas with public school, if 90% of the parents don’t approve of the math curriculum, they can go pound sand.

Why is that so hard for you to grasp? I would assume that even in private schools there could be a teachers’ union, so (as usual) you’re totally incorrect about why ’conservatives’ want to break down the public education system.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Why? Because that would require him to think.
MKUltra.
Does “mustachiod manure” sound familiar to you?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Whereas with public school, if 90% of the parents don’t approve of the math curriculum, they can go pound sand.
Actually, they can go to the school board...heck, they can even get elected to the school board. If you think you’re going to get more power dealing with a private school other than being able to take your money elsewhere, you’re in for a rude surprise. My public school is surrounded by several private schools, and we routinely receive students who have left or been forced out of the private schools (in other words, we get the students whose parents couldn’t get their way or the students who couldn’t keep up).

Full disclosure: My wife and I are both public school teachers who currently send our kids to private schools. Why? Because their environment is better controlled, we like the extra religious education, our kids are surrounded by more academically oriented students, and the teachers don’t have to teach to the bottom half of the class.

Additional disclosure: I support vouchers and I do not belong to the union.

That being said, parents have a lot of power over their local schools. Administrators who claim they can’t fire bad teachers are being lazy. Additionally, a school’s success is determined by the collaboration of families and the school. No matter how hard teachers in a school work, the students won’t learn unless their parents value education. That is why I support vouchers. Our nation can only improve if we educate more students to a higher level. We need to help parents who value education to put their kids in the best environment for their needs.

 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG: I think the idea however is that "other than being able to take your money elsewhere" is a pretty large amount of power. In theory anyways...

I don’t know how well this will turn out in practice. It depends on how much actual choice there is in schools. There are lots of things that are privatized that don’t actually offer any choice, because of monopolies. However at this point, I’m so disillusioned with the public school system that I’m definately willing to try vouchers.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
I think the idea however is that "other than being able to take your money elsewhere" is a pretty large amount of power.
There’s more power in a democratic system that allows you to participate in the decision making.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Steve: I have to respectfully disagree with you on the issue of whether parents in successful districts would want school choice. The charter school of which I spoke opened in one of the best districts in the state. Three years later they had to open a second campus to accommodate all the people on the waiting list. The majority of charter schools in the Salt Lake City area, at least, are in "good" districts, particularly the well-respected Jordan district. I don’t know how it is in other areas. I think it has less to do with educational quality and more to do with being appreciated and involved in the education process.

JWG: Yeah, in theory parents could get themselves elected to the school board and maybe change the math curriculum. In the years it would take to do that, though, their kids would be falling behind in math. By the time they got the curriculum fixed, it would be too late. School choice allows for realtime change. The "power to take your money elsewhere" speaks softly, but carries a big stick.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
Well, I understand this is a foreign concept to you since you think the government is the best vehicle for telling you what’s best but I’ll give it a shot.
There was a time when a winger could say this and it actually could be considered credible. But since wingers are now in love with warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention of American citizens, and an all powerful chief executive, forgive me while I laugh my a** off.

Not like it matters to you, but you didn’t read what I wrote. The thrust of Stossel’s article was about how hard it is to fire bad teachers. And my point was he provides no ideas about how one goes about measuring what a "bad" teacher is. I am not talking about the teacher who gropes his students. I am talking about how one goes about judging the effectiveness of a teacher. You obviously have no ideas either. Typical.
My wife and I are shopping for a private school right now
Right. You have the choice. You can choose to attend the public school, or you can choose to attend a private school.

What you are really whining about is not competition. Anyone can start a school - and if it is a good school, parents will send their children there. You can send your kid to any da** school you want. Who is stopping you? What law says you have to attend a public school?
So, the schools who don’t perform well, by the parent’s standards, will lose money and either have to improve their services or fall to the wayside. Whereas with public school, if 90% of the parents don’t approve of the math curriculum, they can go pound sand.

Why is that so hard for you to grasp? I would assume that even in private schools there could be a teachers’ union, so (as usual) you’re totally incorrect about why ’conservatives’ want to break down the public education system.
You know what my parents did when they wanted better schools? They made more money and moved to a place with better schools. They exercised their choice. They also had the choice of sending to me to a private school. They could have home-schooled me. They had all kinds of choices.

Your suggestion that public schools are undemocratic is laughable. Last time I looked, federal, state, local, and district governments determined cirriculum. (If you think teachers are in charge of curriculum, you really are clueless.) And last time I looked, those governments were democratically elected. Quit whining about democracy.

And the idea that conservatives don’t hate unions generally, and teachers’ unions specifically, is so wrong, so violently wrong, that to spend anytime debating it is ridiculous.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Yes, MK the Middle-Classes DO have choices.... sadly minorities and the poor, the people that Progressives "care" about, DON’T! Vouchers help the disadvantaged! And "smaller class size" and "more money for education" helps the teachers and administrator’s, by-and-large union labour.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I am interested in why you consider Microsoft and Walmart comparable monopolies?
Actually neither are monopolies ... I used them facetiously.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
MK, yes you do have a choice, but if you choose to go to a private school right now, you are paying twice, once for the private school, and also for the public school you are not attending, but since you live in its district you still pay for it. Vouchers would simply let you take your tax money and decide which school to give it to. This would have the effect of making private schools much more affordable to lower income families.
There was a time when a winger could say this and it actually could be considered credible. But since wingers are now in love with warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention of American citizens, and an all powerful chief executive, forgive me while I laugh my a** off.
please try to keep red herring fallacies out of this. As far as bad teachers goes, deciding what is a bad teacher really isnt in the scope or the importance of the argument. How do you decide how to fire a bad employee? Well the boss does. Stossel contends it is near impossible to fire bad teachers and gives as evidence obviously bad teachers that we can all agree are bad teachers that cannot be fired, or took years to fire while leeching money away from the school system and ultimately from the children.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
I am interested in why you consider Microsoft and Walmart comparable monopolies?
Coaster, I believe he was using Walmart as an example of a ’perceived monopoly’ that people "rail against" like Microsoft (which is more like a monopoly)
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
indefinite detention of American citizens
If they ever graduated from school, I’m sure it would stop.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"You know what my parents did when they wanted better schools? They made more money and moved to a place with better schools. They exercised their choice. They also had the choice of sending to me to a private school. They could have home-schooled me. They had all kinds of choices."

Now this is classic! If I told you this was written by a heartless conservative rich bastard in response to a plea for more funds for disadvantaged school, would anyone call me on it?

MKUltra, if what you say is true and people can up their earning by working harder, why should we have any social programs at all?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Haran, you beat me to it.

I’d considered a few of MK’s recent answers to be somewhere within shouting distance of reality. But the posts on this thread take the cake.

MK, your response here is a prime example of "If the Republicans are for it, I’m against it." Unreasoning, unthinking, fallacious explanations, saying things that don’t even fit your own "progressive" philosophy!

Poor people who actually want better schools? Let them eat cake, according to MK.

MK, you’re starting to remind me of John Cleese in the "Argument Sketch". Whatever gets posted, you’re going to naysay it. It is asking too much for you to actually think before you post?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
A teacher’s experience in the Washington DC School system.
 
Written By: Jim Glass
URL: http://www.scrivener.net
In a PBS discussion on public education I once saw Gary Becker, Nobel economist, note that he can’t teach economics in a public high school as he is deemed unqualified because he lacks ed school certification.

A high school principal now notes the same thing about Alan Greenspan, so if Alan’s looking for a new career he’d better be considering something else.
 
Written By: Jim Glass
URL: http://www.scrivener.net
Yes, MK the Middle-Classes DO have choices.... sadly minorities and the poor, the people that Progressives "care" about, DON’T! Vouchers help the disadvantaged! And "smaller class size" and "more money for education" helps the teachers and administrator’s, by-and-large union labour.
If you want to make the argument that those on the right wing care about the poor and minorities, and progressives don’t, go ahead. I dare you. Really.
MK, yes you do have a choice, but if you choose to go to a private school right now, you are paying twice, once for the private school, and also for the public school you are not attending, but since you live in its district you still pay for it.
Is that right? So what about those people who live in the district and who pay taxes and WHO DON’T HAVE ANY KIDS. Do they get a refund? Why should you get more than the tax payer who doesn’t have any kids? Are you a socialist? Because only a socialist would demand more from the government than his neighbor is getting simply because of his personal choice, i.e., his choice to have children.

But that us the ultimate problem with wingers when it comes to this issue. They aren’t aruging for the end of public schools, because they know that is not politically marketable. No average voter is going to vote to eliminate the public school system. But at the same time, these wingers want vouchers, i.e., subsidies, to send their kids to schools where intelligent design is taught as science.

Why are wingers such welfare queens?

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Is that right? So what about those people who live in the district and who pay taxes and WHO DON’T HAVE ANY KIDS. Do they get a refund? Why should you get more than the tax payer who doesn’t have any kids? Are you a socialist? Because only a socialist would demand more from the government than his neighbor is getting simply because of his personal choice, i.e., his choice to have children.
Why, that’s one of the best arguments against public schools that I’ve read in a while, MK! I’m amazed that you made it.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
A high school principal now notes the same thing
I agree with everything this guy states in his article. Yet left out of the picture is the fact that the entire Poudre School District that surrounds his school ranks at the top of the Colorado School Accountability Reports. The families living in this school district already take education seriously. The fact that his school can provide an alternative for kids who need a different approach is great, and he’s demonstrated that the current rules regulating teachers is ridiculous.

His article also demonstrates my original point that administrators must take charge of their staff. Conduct a good interview to determine the applicant’s qualities. Follow through after a person is hired to make sure he/she is doing a good job. It’s not as hard to remove a bad teacher as administrators are leading you to believe. I’ve seen several teachers fired (who should never have been hired in the first place) by administrators who are willing to follow through.

 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
MK, you’re starting to remind me of John Cleese in the "Argument Sketch". Whatever gets posted, you’re going to naysay it.
That’s not quite true. MK rarely-to-never comments on posts critical of the Right. Presumably, that would make it more difficult for him to call us "wingers" on every other thread.

And really, that is one of his more annoying habits. For example, he writes...
There was a time when a winger could say this and it actually could be considered credible. But since wingers are now in love with warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention of American citizens, and an all powerful chief executive, forgive me while I laugh my a** off.
But who is he accusing of being "in love with warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention of American citizens, and an all powerful chief executive"? Me? McQ? Robb Allen?

Seems to me as if MK’s aim is worse than Cheney’s.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
MK, yes you do have a choice, but if you choose to go to a private school right now, you are paying twice, once for the private school, and also for the public school you are not attending, but since you live in its district you still pay for it.
Is that right? So what about those people who live in the district and who pay taxes and WHO DON’T HAVE ANY KIDS. Do they get a refund? Why should you get more than the tax payer who doesn’t have any kids?
Yes. I’ll have my refund now, thank you. In small notes. Preferably sawbucks, please.
I have no children, yet I pay high school district taxes so that my neighbor’s children can be educated. Not exactly fair, is it? But whadayagunna do, children are the future and they must be educated.

The system we have in place is flawed, no doubt. But it at least gives me an avenue for grievance. If I don’t like how the tax dollars are spent, I can vote the buggers out of office. Or, like JWG suggested, I can try to be elected to the school board.
Vouchers would take the tax dollar power out of my, childless, household and give it exclusively to households with children. Unacceptable.

I would like to see an education system where those households with children must PAY FOR THEIR OWN. And obviously they can choose where their money is spent. But then there would have to be a system in place where households that can’t afford education for their children to receive funds to allow their children to be educated.

Perhaps some kind of education welfare where poor families can receive funds solely for education and that would still allow school choice. You know, like food stamps. Taxpayers give poor families food stamps so they won’t starve, yet we don’t tell the families how to use the food stamps. They can use them for broccoli or bon-bon’s, their choice.

And similarly, education welfare would allow families to either send their children to a Catholic Sacred Heart conservative school, or to a secular Bleeding Heart liberal school.

Their choice.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Why should singles be willing to pay for education?

Beyond the normal reasons like the 8 year old annoying you now might be inventing the cure for cancer in 20 year, how about social security? The kids who will be paying for your social security need to be top earners. Hell, as a single your greatest fear is that we go back to a social system where the elderly are cared for by their offspring (see Taiwan.)

Social Security should only be offered to those who bring at least 2.1 children into the world and thus keep the scheme going...just kidding you guys.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Pogue wrote:

"Vouchers would take the tax dollar power out of my, childless, household and give it exclusively to households with children."

Not surprisingly, this makes no sense. He has as much authority over a voucher program as a voter as he does a schoolc program or general budget—they all come out of the budget. As for school boards, depending on how the voucher program is setup, they may well have as much authority over a voucher program as they do the the regular schools—the thing is, given how well the schools are doing—the point is to take the education out of the too tight, too comfortable political loop of PTAs, teacher’s unions, and school boards.

"But then there would have to be a system in place where households that can’t afford education for their children to receive funds to allow their children to be educated."

Which would be the programs you just complained about.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
MK wrote:

"wingers are now in love with warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention of American citizens, and an all powerful chief executive."

I’m sure you’d call me a winger, MK, and warrantless wire taps of communications crossing the border for wartime intelligence purposes—not domestic law enforcement—have always been fine and perfectly reasonable since there were wires to tap. When do you imagine that changed? Name some American citizens being detained indefinitely, go ahead, name one. Then make a case for it’s being unreasonable, John Walker—hey, your buddy’s not shot like he deserves, what do you want. Hamdi? He’s in court. Rattle off a few more names, and we’ll see if you can actually make a case. President Bush has claimed very few powers to prosecute the war on terror which previous administrations have not, and I know of few claims he made that were unreasonable, and those were shot down by the courts, what more do you want?

Oh yeah, I know. A do-over for 2000 and 2004.

Except if had it, you’d still be clueless.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Harun wrote:

"MKUltra, if what you say is true and people can up their earning by working harder, why should we have any social programs at all?"

Good God!!! You can’t buy humor like this! Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"But then there would have to be a system in place where households that can’t afford education for their children to receive funds to allow their children to be educated."
Which would be the programs you just complained about.
Not surprisingly, this is incorrect.

The system I envision would involve ably parents to pay for the children’s education WITHOUT THE INVOLVMENT OF THE TAXPAYER. Parents without the financial means to do so would have to be helped out.

Vouchers, it would seem, would give the ably parents their tax dollars back to them, which seems redundant, and also give them my tax dollars as well. You’re going to pay taxes and then the government would dole it back to you??? Why don’t you just pay it yourself and eliminate bureaucracy?
I am perfectly willing to send some of my tax dollars to low income families to have their children educated. Just as I am willing to send some of my tax dollars to low income families so they don’t starve.
He has as much authority over a voucher program as a voter as he does a schoolc program or general budget
I disagree, Tom. You see, in my small community, I happen to personally know some of the school board members. Which of course gives me greater access rather than a state or federal behemoth doling out my tax dollars to families that might pay for education I find lacking or offensive.

But if you were to take my tax dollars out of the equation, then I have nothing to complain about. Comprenda?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
I can relate — I’m a 9th grader in Utah right now, having just transferred into the public school system for the first time. Since the public schools have a near monopoly on the education system, it means they have no reason to do well in order to compete — they’re getting money no matter what they do, so long as they provide some level of "education" for the kids, so why bother?

I say it’s time to abolish the public school system entirely. No amount of action, government or otherwise, is able to solve the manifold and incredibly huge problems inherent in such a system. I am of the opinion that the only good school is a private one, in which the schools are required to provide higher standards and quality in their education in order to compete with others like them — if they can’t compete, the same laws apply to them as to the economy; they go out of business. If people can’t afford the schools, others will probably be more than willing to donate the money they’ll save from taxes to charities that would allow these children to receive a quality education — I know I would.

Never mind the public school system — let’s just forget mandatory education entirely. Force-feeding educations to people does little to truly advance their cognitive abilities. As a Greek philosopher once said, "Exercise, when acquired by force, does no bodily harm; but knowledge impressed in the same manner takes no hold upon the mind." And he was right! I was at a private school for most of my life, where each and every one of the students (well, their parents) had made the independent choice to pay the extra money to provide their children with an education of considerably higher quality. Above all, this school emphasizes teaching students to reason and apply their reasonings to things of actual value in the real world. Once I graduated from the school last year and moved into 9th grade, I was and continue to be stunned at how very few of the students actually care about what they’re learning and how to apply it, and how many of them focus solely on getting good grades to please their teachers and counselors. Good grades are indeed beneficial, but at the cost of quality in education and a solid basis in logical thinking skills that provide them with vastly improved abilities later in life? Rather than focusing on how to apply this to the real world, the educational system seems intent on making students memorize things for the sole purpose of passing the exam at the end of the unit/year/etc. I will bet good money that very few of the students are able to pull the meanings out of books and apply them to themselves without severe help from an educator who usually knows nothing about it himself; as a result, the lessons are forgotten within a matter of days, if not hours, after the test on the book.

(If anyone’s wondering, these ideas will provide the basis of a book I am writing on the same subject, to be published hopefully later this year. And I particularly like the "calcified bureaucracy" comment — it’s so very true!)
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Addendum to the above: Before you can tear into me for saying that mandatory education needs to go now, I apologize if anyone took what I was saying that way. I understand the way the real world works enough to know that an instant repeal of the state laws making an education compulsory would be impractical to the point of idiocy, and even if it did work for a time, we’d eventually end up with something a lot worse. Therefore, I’m now saying that we have to get rid of the laws over a certain period of time; good grief, it took over sixty years for all the states to come up with these laws, they aren’t going to let go of them instantly on the word of one fifteen-year-old! The only thing we can do is to educate ourselves in the truth — not the government’s truth, the real truth — and make good decisions from there.

By the way, I’m not an anarchist — I simply realize that a government’s only true role is to protect the rights of its citizens, i.e. from those who would take them away from us or force us to give them up. Some government is indeed necessary, lest we lose different rights to people who prey upon the innocent every day and let them rule our lives. Compulsory education fits into the category of force quite nicely.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://

 
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