Education

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Charlie Self said:

Well, that's a no brainer. A classroom partially comprised of ill-behaved kids vs. a nice quiet office and more pay. No taking tests home for grading, fewer whining parents. What's not to like? Not having kids, I don't know the current breakdown for salaries, but I have little doubt it is bloated and rewards are based on politics rather than genuine performance.

The disparity you mention has exponentially increased in the past 15 years or so. It seems to me that attitudes have changed considerably since I first entered the work force. Avarice appears to have become the philosophy of modern business. Why? Who knows - probably a variety of reasons, including television, unpredictable, vacillating costs of doing business and living, and political trends. Healthy for society? Not.
As an aside, what I find appalling and befuddling is the 42 million in salary plus bonuses that are routinely awarded to CEO's who run the company into the ground or bankruptcy. Then they move to another company and continue the trend. What the hell is with that? Why are we rewarding corporate raiders and incompetence so handsomely?
Greg G.
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Now is as good a time as any to ask why so many school districts are funded thru property taxes. This of course results in smaller, wealthier cities getting far more of their share of state funding than they need per student.
A good example is here in Los Angeles county CA. There's a small incorporated city named San Marino that has one of the highest per capita incomes in the state that borders the city of Pasadena. The San Marino school district spends far more per student than does the Pasadena Unified District yet they're held to the same testing standards by the state. Is spending more necessarily better? Maybe, maybe not but giving students in a publically funded school more of the means to succeed than others merely because they get more money from the state is simply wrong.
To my mind, public schools should be funded as needed on a per student basis, not on what the value of the homes are which surround the school.
John E.
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"John E." wrote

You get that passed, Bubba and I'll kiss your ass anywhere/time/place you want and give you time draw a crowd.
Don't get me started on property taxes ... I'm ready to f*&^$$ murder over that issue ... I'm going to cough up in excess of $14K in three weeks (75% of that going to "school taxes), while my neighbor across the street will pay 1/4 of that for the same SERVICES!!
Gimme a f(*&^ break!
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That doesn't work either. Took all of two contracts to eat up a doubling of per student funding in our district when they went to your system.
The property tax still comes up for anything but "operating expenses," so there's no running from that, either.
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Competition......making the public schools compete in both product and price. Society (rightly so) has decided to fund education (approx. half of most states budgets)....realistically the cost is based on number of students.....taxes pretty much come from everybody including parents......If a private school is taxpayer supported or a public school the money doesn't really care.....By adding competition to the mix with required quality standards, education can only improve.....Rod
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Rod & Betty Jo wrote: ...

It's a simplistic, nice-sounding "solution", but ignores entirely the problem inherent in any process -- effect of the quality of the input material to the quality of the output product.
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Amen to that. Along those same lines, my sister teaches an advanced science course (8th grade level) as well as the 'normal' level for the same course. On parent night, 100% of the advanced students' class came to talk to her. Only one parent of the 'normal' level class showed up. Hmmmm....... Maybe there is something to this whole parent-involvement thing.
jc
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True, but today's kids, "hewers of wood,..." ain't exactly accurate. Maybe if these kids had some meaningful chores as was the case 100 years ago and earlier, they wouldn't be so hard to teach. They'd already have some self-esteem, and deservedly so because they earned it.
Today's kids are too often handed money and ignored. Too many parents that I've seen confuse discipline with punishment, too, so never discipline their kids. Parenting is in the toilet today in far too many cases.
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Stewart Schooley wrote:
snip

Well since we've tried, and are still trying, to spend a BUNCH of money to keep THEM in jails and prisons, and away from US (last I heard it was about $40,000 per year per inmate), it seems like the ROI on education would be a great deal better than the ROI of incarceration - which, coincidently, works like a criminal college. And some of our "institutions" graduates learn really, really well - and apply what they've learned. They're not as good as the "real college educated", like the ENRON folks, but still pretty good.
Wonder what would happen if we paid the best teachers the most money to teach in the "worst areas" - AND provided them with the resources they'd need. At $150,000 per year in salaries and overhead, it'd only take four Not Bound For Prison Graduates per teacher per year to become cost effective.
charlie b
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"charlieb" wrote

Wouldn't do a damn bit of good ... throwing more money at the problem will get you more of what you've got already. Teachers, and their salaries, are only half the problem ... and we have about two generations of irresponsible parents to overcome..
Better to give parents an economic choice by letting education funds follow the kid, instead of the school.
IOW, open up education to competition and let the parents decide where to best spend education dollars by giving them the economic choice to send their kids to schools that have a proven ability to actually educate, public or private.
Once that $150,000 in your plan above is free to reward those who actually _educate_, is when you will finally see a "ROI".
... tuppence provided, free of charge.
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You present some intering twists so I'll take one last shot at this thread by offering you the example of the East St. Louis school system.
A Federal judge forced the city to spend 3 billion dollars on new schools, equipment, and programs.The ROI on that money was that test scores went down and the school system was offering free daily taxi rides to suburban students who would transfer to the city system.
Allow me to present a personal example. I started 1st grade in 1937 in Fairmont, WV. What kind of financial shape do you think the WV schools were in during the Great Depression?
A memory I have is that the text and library books were plastered with Scotch tape. That early tape was not transparent, but had a milky translucent quality that forced you to tilt the book in order to read through the tape.So we tilted and read and learned because we knew our parents expected us to.
Charlie, looking for new ways to spend money as you suggest is not the answer.
Stewart
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Cast a glance around at the rest of the world and you'll discover that it's not the price of education, but how education is valued that counts.
The parent in the box with the colorful face is the one that counts most, and it's not even a parent any more as when Wally and the Beeve were growing up, but a peer, where kids are already smarter than elders as preteens. Add that to the hormonal mess called adolescence and it really can get tough.
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Have any of you been in a public school in the last 5 years? Roger

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Yes, and in Biology class I had to teach a bit of Greek and Latin to help them understand and internalize the vocabulary.
In History I had to remind them that there were more white people involved in the underground railroad than black, that the preponderance of invention was accomplished by males, and that assimilation not separation was how immigrants became Americans.
I answered the question of "what use" in literature by pointing out that the themes are universal, and tell us a lot about ourselves as human creatures even when its Hercules or a couple of kids in Verona who are really the descendants of many others in tales where the parents don't understand the love of two who should by culture hate one another.
I have to do this because it's not in the books nor the curriculum. I can still remember my first encounter with the "whole language" advocates who were going to by God teach Johhny to read using this new method, and weren't interested at all in finding out how McGuffey readers, phonics or Dick and Jane, became the basics for generations of readers. Most of the wholes are out now, but our reading texts still carry some of their stamp when females are not portrayed as mothers and nurturers, but professionals, each minority of color is represented as often as the majority, and Joe and Mary are now a letter longer at Jose and Maria.
What are we teaching?
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George wrote:

You are a better man than I. A bit over a decade I got I had the great joy of teaching graduate school for a bit. Now grad school is a place you go "on purpose". Mommy and Daddy are not making you go, and it takes actual effort and money to get there and survive.
Imagine my horror in discovering that a good many people had poor writing, spelling, and thinking skills. Even the most elementary math skills (this was a computer science course) were a stretch for some of these students - all of whom had undergrad degrees or the equivalent thereof. And this was at a fairly well-regarded big city university, BTW, not Swampwater College. Even more disheartening was the fact that it was almost universally true that my foreign-born students worked way harder than their U.S.-born colleagues - not just to overcome the language barrier, but for the sheer desire to *learn*.
For decades, we've been accommodating the tender sensibilities of the *students* in K-12, we've failed to hold parents accountable for their end of the education process, and we've let the NEA mafia hijack the process to serve their political ends. We now reap what we've sown. The only fix is to go back to local/private schools and make the connection much more clear between those who pay for education, those who conduct education, and the results they produce.
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I thought the solution was more money. All we ever hear is how we don't spend enough on education and how we need new buildings and new computers.
Education sure went to hell when the draft dodgers became teachers to avoid Viet Nam, later became administrators, and the politically correct factions came in. We really have to get back to basics and demand an education and don't push kids ahead that have not learned in the grade they were in.
I just hope I did not hurt anyone's self esteem with my post. That would be bad for them.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

You may have also failed to properly norm for socio-economic variations, gender bias, the oppressive white males, and the general lack of transgressive inclusivity, nor have you demonstrated sufficient multicultural sensitivity. I, for one, am shocked, just shocked by this display ...
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Buzz buzz. Gotta have those buzz words. Lots of folks out there care not a bit for education as a pursuit or children as individuals, but they know those buzzwords.
They learn them while getting their "advanced degrees in teaching" rather than in subject.
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I'll buy your last premise, but the draft dodger bit is pure nonsense. First, there were not all that many draft dodgers. Second, it is difficult to figure which ones could become school teachers; for the most part, they had to run like hell away from the law for most of their college years, so they weren't licensed to teach or do much else. You may be confusing draft evaders with draft dodgers--draft evasion, such as mine (I enlisted in the Marines) is legal, as is coming up with specious excuses for not enlisting or being drafted: just ask Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney ("I've got better things to do").
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Charlie Self wrote:

No, but there were a lot of anti-establishment "poor little rich kid" radicals who avoided the draft serially by getting student deferments or their equivalent. I recall fairly vividly that one strategy for staying out of 'Nam was graduate school. So we produced a generation of "educators" who were radical in their politics, suspicious of Western intellectual tradition, and not honestly interested in teaching particularly. The results speak for themselves. Go peek under the covers of pretty much any state or secular private university and see what is being taught in the schools of Liberal Arts and it will make you want to puke.
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