19 January, 2006

The Public Education Problem

The Truth:
In the school district I taught in, only about 10% of the students had parents with the same last name. In Europe, about 95% of the students could say the same. When I visited schools in several countries there, one thing I noticed missing was–no lunchroom! Around noon or thereafter, I watched with amazement as almost every person walked home to eat lunch with one or both parents. They discussed progress so far. I saw this from the other side (at parent’s home) and noticed the love and attention they gave their children when they arrived. I doubt too many people reading this believe it.

Another answer to our US education problem would be the voucher, (an economic one). Dr. Milton Freedman addressed this some twenty years ago in his series on PBS (if you believe that) called “Free to Choose”. He said that if parents were free to choose their schools, then the outcome would be much better and more efficient. The reason this is not done is political. Many local Democrats (mostly) support the NEA-Union. The NEA-Union gives them back forced dues in exchange for legislation supporting their extortion of said agency fees or dues. The other reason is that some play the race card, saying that only the smarter (or richer) people would be smart enough to send their children to the better schools. Another try here in SC was for the income taxpayers to have a credit, or deduction. Then the opposition says that the “poor” (non-workers) would not have that option. Homeschooling has now been legal since around 1985 following the Amish Supreme Court ruling from the 70s. Independent schools, or community schools like we had in the 1800s have also been successful. Something has to be done to stop the communists from corrupting our children with liberal thinking and dumbing down to the lowest common denominator. The public schools discourage competition, learning and getting ahead, not to mention independent (or clear) thinking.

The last US census report showed NY, NJ and Washington DC with the highest per-pupil spending (see page xii in link). The other fact that most people do not know is the percentage of Federal - 7% ; State - 50% and Local - 43% of the operating expendatures (see page ix).

Anyone care to weigh in on this blog. I have seen similar questions on the blog-asphere.

22 Comments:

Blogger Kentucky Girl said...

I'm gonna give this link to my husband. He is a public school teacher. His webpage is http://www.realthought.us and he hasn't got a blogger account, so I'll let him use mine to comment back on this post.

*I* think that due to the decline of the public school systems and the financial burdens that it is now placing on society to try to educate those who do not wish to be educated, that we should stop compulsory education after 8th grade. Why waste money on those who refuse to be educated when there are a lot of children who do want to be educated? Why not spend the money on helping them get a better education?

Just my opinion. I know there are flaws.

While my husband and I do not currently have children, I know that if/when that occasion does occur, I do not wish for them to be publicly educated in the People's Republic of California. ;)

19.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Thanks, Jennifer and your husband.
PRC. That's a good one! I will visit http://www.realthought.us

19.1.06  
Blogger LinkedInUSAF said...

We do not send our kids to public school. It is a burden, but my kids future is the key. I believe that it is a parent's responsibility to make their children's lives better (in our own eyes, of course, than our own).

I also believe that more than the love you have for your kids is the knowledge that it is also your responsibility as a parent. That is one more thing missing in the current system, and the people that support it.

Bah. I've had enough of the NEA and the Teachers Union. I've had my fill of those that waste lives to make themselves "feel better". I am a Native Californian, and I have seen my home state go from bad to, well, horrible.

I have been a supporter of vouchers from the first moment I became aware. And, that was way before I was married and with kids. I believe that those parents should have the right to make their kid's lives better - my vote was yes every time.

I wish they were a reality. But I won't wait for vouchers, my kids are too important.

Socialist ideals and programs will be the end of this country unless we wrest our country back from the looney-toons, media hounds, and guilt-ridden and misguided elites.

Have I said too much? I've said a bit, there is more, but ...

22.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Linked--

No, you have not. Please keep it up. We need more patriots, warriors, and concerned parents to stand up, fight, confront, and solve this problem.

You tell the truth. We can beat them with The Truth.

22.1.06  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Jennifer's husband has a point. But only if these kids had the inclination and were allowed to go work. In the old days kids didn't continue with their education because they were needed on the farm, or to work to help support their families. Now, they can't go get jobs at that age, so what will they do, they will be out there selling drugs and guns, joining gangs and shooting each other. Trying to keep them in school is only trying to keep them out of trouble. Substitute parenting, but without any authority except that the law says kids of a certain age have to be there.

The other issue that is a concern is the methods of education. Did you see the report that boys are falling so far behind in this country? I think it is because the methods they are using these days suppress a boys natural inclination and ways of learning. I have personal experience with that with my own son.

25.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Laurie--
Kids are allowed to go work. They don't because they (in general) have bad examples at home.
The Truth: I gave a man a ride one day on the way to work. He was going to work! I used this as an example as a hero to his family and children. In that community, many people were "on welfare" and could get more money for not working than for working.
In the old days, more people were married and to the federal government, state SSS, and others kept their noses out of our business and responsbilities. They can mow lawns, rake, do volunteer work, work with relatives, work in many non-dangerous locations.

Yes, many bad examples, embraced by hollywood and others that it is OK to lie, cheat, steal and break the law.

25.1.06  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Yes, true, they can work. I was thinking in terms of the comment about not requiring kids go on past the 8th grade in education and thinking back to the days when that was the norm. In New York, there are very stringent child labor laws where only certain ages can work in certain fields of work, and certain hours. And their working papers can be revoked if they are failing 4 or more classes at school. The laws here are not set up to allow 8th graders to go out and work regularly. So if they are not going to school, then they are generally ripe for trouble.

26.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

New York has had a few interesting laws, but few were enforced.
The Truth: I took the NY Regent's exam for Algebra II in HS, in CT. Our teacher wanted us to experience what a real world test was like. I still have the practise book.
In SC, you must stay in school until the 8th grade, unless: you are married, have a full time job, or are over age 17.
We can not legislate people's time. A few students got into quite a bit of trouble at night during the school year. The argument for summer school, etc is an empty one. The bad people will find ways to break the law. We must enforce those laws.
We should encourage marriage, and strengthen parental authority.

26.1.06  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Employers who are going to use a Social Security number to report wages won't hire teens without the work papers. My son was offered a job at 16, but he could not be formally hired until they had work papers in hand. The work papers have to have the signature of parent/guardian, copy of birth certificate for proof of age, and doctor's signature of having had a recent physical exam and is fit for the work. Casual jobs like lawn mowing or whatever, those would be possible without work papers, but only if it is not in connection with any business. 12 & 13 year olds can only work in farm businesses as actual employees, and only certain hours. Children 11 and up can work as newspaper carriers before and after school. Yes there are people who try to bend the rules, but legitimate employers do have to follow the letter of the law when it comes to time and reporting, etc. I've seen that at my own job, where they have had to change timesheet reporting to accomodate state laws. In this instant electronic age, they are much quicker at catching errors or infractions than previously when everything was on paper and took a long time to go from point A to point B, to get to the paper pusher whose job it was to check it everything manually. The majority of employers payroll is done electronically with the exception of some smaller or home based businesses. Even many of those have an outside company do their payroll.

I agree that family and parental authority should be strengthened, but I think especially in the inner city areas where the parents are absent or have not taken authority, that is where the public schools are fighting a losing battle. They are trying to be the substitute parental authority, which is unreasonable to expect a teacher to do with a class of 30 kids from such totally dysfunctional homes that they don't even know the beginning of acceptable behavior on any relationship level. I have a friend who teaches high school students in the inner city, and I don't know how she does it, having to try to teach them how to live and be a contributing member of society, plus teach the curriculum they are supposed to learn. It takes a special person to be successful at that and not burn out and quit after a new batch of kids every year. All that said, I don't know what the answer is, and obviously neither do the cities and states, but it is broken.

26.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Your review of New York's work rules are informative. Most states have similar ones. Children should be taught to work at home first, under parental supervision, then allowed to take a semi-supervised job outside the home, like a trusted neighbor, then finally, at age 15 or so, maybe a college-sponsored counselor, or helper type job, and finally "the minor leagues".

I will keep your friend in my prayers. I have a couple working in urban sites. Some have left, and I heard of one death, and two permanent injury assaults. As I have stated, until and unless discipline is brought to schools, very little formal education can take place.

The answer: To tell The Truth to the public and let them decide what to do. Failing that, let those who care about their children's education be free to choose where, how, and when they will impart knowledge and proper behavior to their children.

26.1.06  
Anonymous Doug said...

There are several problems with our education system. First is the lack of discipline or real interest in their children by a large number of the parents. Having taught for 18 years in the public education system, I am shocked by the number of parents who show little or no interest in their children and don't seem to have any inclination to discipline them in any meaningful manner.

Next is the entire concept of "social promotion". This pernicious idea has taken hold at the very core of our education system. Once, children were retained if they did not do well in school. Now, due to trial lawyers, "parent advocates" and the NEA, with the complicity of school administrators, children are simply moved from grade to grade without having to learn anything. Currently I have a 50% failure rate in my history classes. This is primarily because a large percentage of my students do little or no assignments. Homework is simply not completed nor handed in. About 25% of my students have missed 20 or more days of school, not including disciplinary suspension, yet all of my current students will be passed to the next grade.

Also, the public schools are hamstrung when it comes to discipline. Parents have told school administrators that their children will not do after school detention, campus clean up nor Saturday school. As a result, there is only one disciplinary tool left, that is suspension and eventual expulsion. Since we cannot exclude the student for the parent's position, we are left with increasingly more disruptive students. This is especially true when the flight to private schools is factored in.

There is only one way to fix the public school problem, we must completely restructure public schools and demand that students pass before being promoted, expell those students whose parents do not wish their child to be disciplined and end compulsory education by the end of the 8th grade.

If public schools could operate under the same rules which private schools do, you would see a vast improvement. Unfortunately, there are those who run the public systems who do not have the will to really reform public schools.

28.1.06  
Anonymous Purplehaze said...

Doug,


Sure, I suppose you do have a solution for those students who come from reasonable homes but what about those that come from dysfunctional homes? Just suspension, expulsion and after school detentions aren't going to solve the problems for these kids, unless you you simply assume that these kids have no hope should just leave the system, they should be treated and counselled in a manner which overcomes there disadvantages at home.

29.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

purple,
I am "Chief RZ", not Doug.
The first TSWBAT (The student will be able to) in an educational lesson plan is: Follow directions! That includes keeping your hands to yourself, not bringing weapons to class, not calling other people hos, etc.

For those who refuse to conform, and 99% can, but choose not to, there are alternative schools in a different setting where the disruptors (delinquents) can not prey on the innocents who crave and education. Think of it like not allowing a person to steal your car, or food. After counseling, intervention, etc, etc, the teachers and principal are left with only one choice, remove the problem student from that environment and place them in one that better matches their displayed, and favored behavior. I am glad that you have identified one of the other major problems, "the home".

I have moderated some of your other comments because you have not answered some simple questions.
I will not respond to incorrect generalities, nor questions posed as incorrect statements. To continue, where did you go to school, how old are you and where do you live?

29.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

purple,
2 out of 3 is not bad. I don't know where to continue.
The purpose of moderation is to prevent having unsubstantiated words placed here. Opinion is OK, if at least backed with some documentation. You have offered next to nothing so are. The purpose of asking age and education was to enhance communication. After receiving my B. S. in Education, I went on to actually teach in public school for 29 years. My words are The Truth gleaned from watching, teaching, and yes, counseling students for a long time. Guessing where someone may come from is not our realm. As Socrates may have said, you can produce Gold from Silver or vice versa. He was saying that good people can come from bad parents and vice versa. The moral of this paragraph again, is: Parents should have the power to decide where, when, and how to educate their children. Who knows, one may become a Doctor and save our life!

29.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Posters--
I may have misquoted Socrates. Plato, his student, describing the dialectic, was critical of the inexperienced attempting to engage in this type of discourse. Now I am not one to strictly go by numbers, but he mentioned the age of thirty. In today's experience, that could be around forty. There are some capable at an earlier age, but in the main, without experience, it is difficult to discuss some issues apart from the theoretical.
On this blog, I will exercise moderation to keep the words concentrating on real world experience and not speculation or ideology. There certainly are blogs that are open to that type of debate/exercise, but not here.

30.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

I have received a few more generally unhelpful comments that I moderated recently on this subject. To those who think they have received answers from university, take your knowledge and put it to good use, teach, then come back and comment after your first year.

30.1.06  
Anonymous Doug said...

To answer Purplehaze's comments, let me say this. I left a short reply that outlined some beginning steps for reforming the public education system. What should be done with students who come from dysfunctional homes? Alternative programs and manditory intersession schooling for remediation. Keeping them in the general public systems is a disservice to them and the students who are not dysfunctional.

Re-read my post. I never said that suspension and expulsion are the answers. I said that quite often that is all that site administrators are left with as disciplinary tools due to the denial of parents and the meddling of "student advocates" and lawyers.

Last year, I took a temporary assignment as an Assistant Principal at my school. In that year I personally suspended 514 students and presented 11 expulsion cases. In three of the expulsions, the parents of the child retained an attorney. In two cases they solicited the help of an "advocate". All of my 11 cases were upheld. Do I like expelling students? No, but when children commit criminal assault, sell drugs or possess weapons at school, my hands are tied.

I don't have all the answers but I believe that I just might have a good starting point.

30.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Doug,
Thanks for the clarifications. I was replying to some comments by another blogger. I read your honest, obviously experienced words. They are similar to those I also encountered. Do you agree with my estimate that about 5% of the students cause 90% of the problems?
The trump, or "bottom line" in our district was to threaten to "take" the student from the "parents" and have the state place the student in foster care, then the state could respond.
You and I could probably exchange many detailed stories. One in particular: for almost one hour I had to sit in on a conference and in the end the fact came out that the "parent" present was merely the student's uncle who did not have legal custody!
The "parents" actually teach their children to lie, cheat and steal, sell drugs, and pimp girls at school for a "career". They are totally morally bankrupt.
On your social promotion comment, I too can back that up. One student failed every subject, not even putting his name on classwork or test papers. He refused to do any work. Of course, he was "elevated" anyway.
We might as well not have grades!
Just let people come and go as they please and when they turn 18, give them a "certificate of attendance" for putting their foot in the door occasionally. Better still, give them the certificate at age 12 and "graduate" them out the door so the 90% can have a healthy learning environment.

30.1.06  
Blogger JFH said...

Chief,

First time on your blog; kind of surprising as I thought I knew most SC bloggers, especially those that have posted at Rob Port's blog... You may want to visit LaurinLine for some additional discussions on politics and eductation:

http://laurinmanning.com/blog/

JFH

30.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

Where are you in SC. Sorry, I'll look first on your blog's profile.
Glad to see some more rational and educated people posting here, JFH.

30.1.06  
Blogger JFH said...

Chief, I ain't a blogger for reasons I can email ya: HammerUSNA@charter.net

I live in Greenville, and have in-laws in Charleston. Am an Air Force brat who went to Annapolis... where are you?

30.1.06  
Blogger Chief RZ said...

I just retired, live in Columbia, SC.

Please take a look at my profile, linked from the Chief RZ underline.

31.1.06  

Post a Comment

<< Home