151 comments

    • ByteMe says:

      You missed: “Public school is a monopoly (even if it isn’t). Ergo, Public School is bad.”

      This has been another edition of “Simple Messages for Simple Minds”.

      • IW says:

        Byte,

        Yeah they probably shouldn’t be categorized as a “monopoly” since they are government institutions. However they should be categorized as socialistic (socialism).

          • ByteMe says:

            You’re free to have the level of economic freedom and liberty in a country where there are no government services, like Somalia. However, here we have services that the people want, so we the people will take as much money as we need from you — by force if necessary — to provide those services. Welcome to America! This is how we do it in the developed world.

          • IW says:

            Hey, at least you are honest about it. It’s not about the freedom or liberty of all citizens, it’s about forcing everyone to comply with whatever the majority feels is right at the moment? And that to me is not freedom at all.

            And I have to question the rationale behind the “people” who want “government services” that provide substandard results and are allowing other “developed” countries to surpass us in education scores. Good job big government! Makes me feel good being “forced” to surrender MY money to them. ๐Ÿ˜€

          • ByteMe – you certainly are pro-Somalia these days aren’t you? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think a war torn country like Somalia probably is the best place to seek any sort of freedom. They have no ability to even think about stealing peoples’ money to offer government services because they’re a bit more concerned about various invasions and wars going on from what I’ve read.

            I wonder what our founding fathers would think about the level of taxation and government services of this day and time. I believe our elected officials rarely think about the original scope which the founding fathers intended for our country and instead wish to serve their own interests.

          • benevolus says:

            The Founding Fathers would probably have differing opinions on this, just like they did on most everything else.

          • ByteMe says:

            Not “Pro Somalia” so much as anti-anarchy. The anarchists amongst us want you to believe that having a society that decides to tax itself and create shared services is somehow bad for us and that’s just a bunch of horsesh*t. So I bring up the example of a society where the government doesn’t do either, since they have no example to counter it, given that their idea is nothing more than a dumb hypothesis with no basis in reality.

            As to what the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) would say? That’s all conjecture, but I’ll bet airplanes and TV would freak them out, since that was beyond the scope of their understanding as well. Perhaps we should get rid of those as well.

          • Airplanes and TVs weren’t developed by the government though. Private enterprise, free markets and competition created them. I agree that the founding fathers (and mothers) would have differing opinions. But do you ever think they foresaw the government running health care services or welfare? Those types of things were typically handled by the church with donations voluntarily given.

            While I’m not an anarchist, I am a Libertarian. I believe that the government has overstepped it’s boundaries as to what it should and should not be doing. While I can’t provide any examples of countries successfully operating on a libertarian philosophy, neither can you provide any examples of where this level of taxation and services works successfully on a large scale. Smaller countries, sure. When you’ve got a population smaller than that of California, it might work. But what works for one country doesn’t necessarily work for one of 300M+. Especially when we have such large numbers of citizens who believe they are entitled to OPM – Other Peoples’ Money – without needing to work to contribute anything back to society.

          • ByteMe says:

            Europe as a whole has over twice our population, greater social services, kick-a$$ rail service… but yet somehow it can’t be done right here, huh? Are we really dumber than they are?

            As for what the founding people foresaw: they had trouble seeing the end of slavery. They dealt with malaria in the summer that killed thousands. Used blood-letting to handle illnesses. Using what you can only imagine was their viewpoint on governing 300 million people is like using Fred Flintstone’s viewpoint to make a financial decision.

          • ByteMe says:

            Nope, I’m fine with where we’re going here. It’s you who is complaining about the founding fathers and all that.

          • ByteMe,

            Twice the population, half the geographic size equals four times the population density – and maybe that’s why rail works there.

            There is also 10% unemployment on a regular basis and a reduced work week. Hmmm.

          • benevolus says:

            One thing the Founding Fathers DID foresee was that they wouldn’t be able to foresee everything, so they gave us the ability to adapt our government.

            We can argue about whether we are adapting the government properly or not, but the discussions about how close we should stay to an 18th century model are pretty pointless.

          • ByteMe says:

            Ken, let’s toss out the Rockies and most of the middle of the country — since no one wants to live there anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ — and the population density starts to look about the same. And rail in the dense corridors here vs. in Europe still favors Europe.

          • But if what you want is a country exactly like Europe, why not move to Europe? That way those of us who actually want to live in a limited government (like this country was envisioned to be, adapted to modern times) can. Why try and change this country into something just like another country when what you really want already exists somewhere else? Why must you try and push this country down it’s current path of removing peoples’ liberty and freedoms when you can already become a subject to the king or queen somewhere else?

          • “Ken, letโ€™s toss out the Rockies and most of the middle of the country โ€” since no one wants to live there anyway”

            Soooo…. where do you propose we grow all the food that’s needed to feed these new dense areas instead, since a large quantity of this nation’s food is derived from the middle of our country?

          • ByteMe says:

            Resistance is futile, David. Leave your childish beliefs behind and embrace the future. You’ll feel better.

          • ByteMe – if you’re so set in your social programs run by the government are good type beliefs, I invite you to voluntarily up your tax rate to 100% of your income. After all, it’s for the good of the whole, right? You’ll feel better.

          • ByteMe says:

            Nope. We’re going to drag everyone along to a less childish thought process when it comes to taxes. The Fake Myth Of Reagan will die a horrible flaming death finally.

          • So wanting the government to take care of you is now considered the adult line of thinking while wanting to take care of yourself is now considered childish? I guess you’ll just have to continue to count me in the childish group then. Pass the crayons.

          • Joshua Morris says:

            Byte, my brother has lived in the UK for the last 4 years with his family. I have visited him there twice and ventured over to France both times.

            I would urge you to ask some of these ‘lucky’ Europeans how they feel about the tax rates they pay. I’ve had discussions with some of them on the Tube and on the streets of Paris. While they may enjoy some of the services, the typical response I got was that it’s not worth the exorbitant taxes they pay (especially regarding healthcare in the UK).

            Government is inherently inefficient at providing social services, whether here or on another continent. This has always been the case, and it is not going to change.

            American education was better before the Dept of Education was created by Jimma Carter. Government bureaucrats keep throwing stupid ideas at education (calling them ‘innovative’), and our education system as a whole continues to falter.

            Why not allow educators to do what they do well without having government bureaucracy try to micromanage their every move? Why not just have an Office of Educational Standards that oversees testing/benchmarking of every student every year and shuts down those independent schools that don’t perform? The market will work if government will keep its nose out of the small stuff.

        • ByteMe says:

          The FOX News “reporter”? You want a columnist to be a source for your confirmation bias? At least try a well-researched study.

          • ByteMe says:

            Again, back to confirmation bias. You really should consider investigating sources of independent studies instead of commentary you agree with.

          • IW says:

            How’s the Cato Institute then? Not exactly the same discussion that Stossel was addressing, but it’s in the same vein of what we have been talking about.

            Public Schools = One Big Jobs Program

            http://j.mp/bzClV2

          • ByteMe says:

            Cato is a “commentary tank.” (I can’t bring myself to use ‘think tank” when they start with a premise and then look for evidence to support it)

          • IW says:

            Know you dislike Stossel as a source… even though he cites the Dept of Education as his source. But I have to throw in this latest example on the DC school situation.

            This is about vouchers… and it clearly shows how private education kicks government education in the butt! DC government spends $26k per student, private school cost $6,600 per student – which students received higher test scores?

            http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/02/18/education-show-tonight-killing-school-choice-in-dc/

          • ByteMe says:

            I got an idea: let’s start a football team and I get all the draft choices and you get whatever is left and you MUST play with those players.

            Who do you think will do better?

          • IW says:

            Sounds good… the first couple of seasons you’ll kick my butt because I’m at a disadvantage. But then I’ll get smart (or else die) and realize that I’ve got to up my coaching skills and kick it into high gear in order to compete with you. Then what do we have? Some real competition. End result? Two teams of players who are both better than they were before when playing on the same team.

            That’s what competition does for anything – sports, business, or even education. About the only place that competition doesn’t work well… marriage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • ByteMe says:

            Oh, I forgot to add four caveats: half your players won’t want to play at all and will be disruptive to your coaching the other half of your players; you can’t pay your coaches more than what a secretary makes, so you can’t keep the good ones long; your backers think your team will suck, so they won’t want to pay for it; and you have no more than 4 years with any player before they move to another team in another league.

            Me? I have enough money to hire the best coaches, create the best facilities, and can select only the best candidates to play for me and kick out the ones who don’t play up to my standards and you have to take those players as well.

            I win. Every time. So you say that students at private schools do better? Wooo, big surprise.

            Oh, and his figure for costs are skewed by religiously affiliated schools that underwrite much of the cost of the tuition. Unaffiliated schools run $12-18K, depending on the age of the student. Been there, done that. You can call around if you like to see that I’m right on that point.

          • benevolus says:

            I could probably find some links at the Center for American Progress or even the Rockridge Institute to counter this. Do you think it would be helpful?

  1. John Konop says:

    If you take any money away from public schools after the massive cuts this will be political suicide. The PTA is already sending out e-mails making it clear they do not support anymore money leaving public schools.

    I have a kid in private school and would love the tax advantage. But this is not the time we do not have the money!

    • IW says:

      Konop,

      Missing the point on the PTA emails? Why are they the authority on whether MY money should leave the public schools?

      As for “not having the money”… they NEVER had the money to begin with. It’s OUR money – you and I are subsidizing other people’s kids – so IMHO it’s time for them to start “finding” someone else’s money to spend out of control, not mine!

      • John Konop says:

        The father of the free market system Adam Smith was very supportive of public schools. He pointed out that we must have an educated society to advance capitalism.

        A Few Facts Before We Debate:

        1) The average good private school cost about 12k for elementary, 14k for middle and 16k for high school. Also if you add in feesโ€ฆ.it is about another 1 to 3k more depending on extra activities ie sports, bandโ€ฆโ€ฆ

        2) Public schools on average spend about 11k per pupil.

        3) The reason only about 7% of people use private schools is because not many people can afford them

        4) Even with the 5k tax rebate per kid this is still out of reach to about 90% of parents if not more in this economy

        5) The other alternative is home school/ private schools but once again most parents are just scrambling to stay alive in this economy and that is not a macro solution.

        6) The massive cuts to public schools will create major backlash from voters and any more money taking out of the system would be ugly for anyone supporting it statewide.

        I think a smarter idea would be to use the joint enrollment program as well as promote the use of resources between colleges and vocational/Tec schools at the middle and high school level.

        And we would have a competitive system between the public schools offering the curriculum and the colleges and vocational/Tec schools fighting for the kids.

        For instance why not let colleges and vocational/Tec schools teach classes at the high schools at night? Why not let them over on-line courses at the high schools?

        We must use the resources more efficiently while increasing quality.

        • IW says:

          On 3-6… sounds a lot like the healthcare debate. It’s too expensive, people can’t afford it on their own, private options are out of the reach of people, etc…

          On 6, I agree that it’s an “ugly” political stance because of the “me me” mentality – however sometimes the “ugly” way is the right way.

          And I’m not suggesting that things can be fixed or changed in one swoop… it’s a gradual change back to allowing individuals the freedom and liberty to choose what is good for their children.

          I agree with most of your suggestions… they are great ideas! I think they would drive down cost, increase efficiency, and probably result in a better education for the kids. So if all of that results in lower costs, shouldn’t that mean that they really don’t “need” my money afterall? And it’s not really a requirement for us to socialize the educational system in “developed countries” (as Byte said) in order for it to work.

          • John Konop says:

            IW,

            The problem is even with the proposed ideas it will be very tight until the economy picks up.

            G. Moxley Sorrel,

            The idea I proposed uses the private side and public ie colleges/vocational/Tec schools to drive efficiencies.

        • G. Moxley Sorrel says:

          “We must use the resources more efficiently while increasing quality.”

          For government this is an oxymoron. Show me anywhere in history that any government has accomplished this.

          • IW says:

            Good point ๐Ÿ™‚ My argument basically is; if you want to send your kids to the government to educate them, fine. Just don’t make me pay for it, which causes MY kids to suffer because I don’t have the same amount of resources available to spend on my kids education. All of the sudden I’m required to come up with $12k per year, per kid in addition to all of the taxes I’m paying for “YOUR” kid.

          • analogkid says:

            IW,

            What about those of us with no kids? Should we not have to pay the portion of property taxes that goes toward public schools? I would love to save that $3000 per year I’m spending on your kids and everyone else’s, but I also recognize the value of an educated society.

          • analogkid – it appears to me that your presumption is that without government funded schools, nobody would recognize the benefits of education, thus seeking to educate their children in some form or fashion. It also appears to presume that person A’s kids are person B’s responsibility. I as well recognize the value of having an educated society, but would argue that people should be able to opt out of paying those taxes and in return not receive any educational benefits from the government such as public schooling for their kids.

          • analogkid says:

            David,

            My point is this: If choosing to send your children to private school qualifies you for a tax break, then taxpayers with no children should receive an equal tax break because neither receives a benefit from public schools. I assume you would agree with that, right?

          • IW says:

            analogkid,

            I agree, those without children should not be taxed for the services which they CANNOT use even if they wanted to.

            As for how this would affect our “educated society”, which is arguable according to the stats :), we already exempt seniors in some counties (Forsyth and Cobb to name a few) from school taxes. And apparently that hasn’t crippled the system as of yet. So the argument that we can’t exempt those who don’t use the system is bogus IMO.

            Another argument against the “educated society” philosophy is… who benefits more from an educated society? You/us? Or the family and person who needs to be educated? I would argue that it’s the person and their family who stands to benefit more from being educated, because otherwise they are going to be living on the street and will not be able to provide for their family. And in our old society our parents would have a vested interested in their children’s education because the kids took care of them in their old age, not the state/social security, which means that they would desire for their kids to be well educated and not living on the street. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • analogkid – yes, I agree. By saying people should be able to opt out of those taxes if they’re not going to use the services, I was implying that if you have no kids you probably won’t be sending your dog or cat to public schools… so public schools won’t benefit you at all. The same should apply to anyone choosing to home school their children or send them to private school or whatever the case may be. People who actively choose not to participate in the public schooling system should not be penalized by stealing their money anyways.

          • analogkid says:

            IW and David,

            Obviously, we disagree on what the effect on society would be, but at least you’re both being intellectually honest, which I can appreciate. The problem is that the way “vouchers” are always proposed would do exactly what I described above. That is, it would maintain property taxes on those without children, while giving discounts to those with children, which runs counter to the argument of “I don’t benefit, so I shouldn’t pay”. On the flip side, if you remove those people from the obligation of paying school taxes, you’ve only succeeded in making public school less affordable for those that do want it.

          • IW says:

            analogkid,

            I wasn’t advocating vouchers… I am advocating not taxing people to begin with if they don’t utilize the public school system – regardless of how old or young they are, or whether they have kids or not.

            I agree that in it’s current state it would become “less affordable”. However that’s the whole point… they taking money from me to “make it affordable” for others. And I don’t buy the argument that there’s no where to cut expenses in schools right now, besides teachers pay. If you reduced the sports programs and made parents/kids who wanted the huge stadiums, etc… to pay for it, then you could reduce quite a bit of overhead right there. Just cut everything down to the bare educational stuff (you know school stuff :)) and you’ll be able to keep the teachers, and probably pay them more than they are making right now.

          • IW – well said. I’ve never come out as being for or against vouchers. Unless you can give me a voucher to use in some form other than school… like to use towards the cost of a new horse trailer or something… then I have no use for them currently.

          • analogkid says:

            IW,

            I understood that you were not advocating vouchers. That’s why I said I appreciated your intellectual honesty. The point I was trying to make was that when a politician supports “school choice” it inevitably means “vouchers”. And voucher programs do not lead to fewer subsidies; they lead to greater subsidies paid by fewer people.

            The other point I was attempting to make was this: If I understand you correctly, you believe that parents should pay the true cost of educating their children. So, if the true cost of public education was, say, $5,000 per child, would you support allowing parents to decide whether or not their child gets an education at all? I’m assuming you would agree that there are some families who could not afford to pay that amount due to income and/or the number of children, etc.

          • IW says:

            analogkid,

            In short, yes I would support that. I do not believe it’s the government’s role or authority to regulate what level of intelligence everyone “must have”, which is basically what mandatory education laws are.

            I think we need to step back and really consider what all of these laws are doing, what they are based on, and whether or not they are even effective.

            We need to remember that the BEST motivator for anything (whether business or personal interest) is failure! Without the option to fail then people lack the drive to succeed! Why? Because it’s all going to be taken care of for them by the state.

            So when you consider that in the realm of education, the same principles apply, and people will by and large choose to succeed. However, there will be the few who choose to fail… and they would fail regardless of whether they were “made” to attend school or not. Just think of all the great people in history who were NOT forced to go to school and yet achieved unimaginable success! Dave Thomas, self made billionaire with 9th grade education through much of his life. Thomas Edison, public school reject who was homeschooled by his mother when the teachers said that he couldn’t learn. Not to shabby for not being mandated to learn.

            As to your second point – yes not all parents would be able to afford the average cost, whatever it is $2k, 5k, etc… However, that’s where I think the free market would really stand out. Consider this… 1) In those situations they could get a lower quality education for cheaper – because lower cost options WOULD be available in a truly free market. 2) Private charities would evolve to help give scholarships or open schools for these children. Just think of it, you could have a George Clooney High School, Warren Buffett Middle School, Bill Gates Elementary School, and on and on you go. There is tons of money out there that people want to use to help those who need help… so let’s let them!

      • Mayonnaise says:

        At the end of day, these folks believe that one must sacrifice their freedoms and liberties in exchange for government run programs like education. It’s the same in the developmental disabilities world. You want services? Hand over ownership of your child. Government knows what’s best.

        • ByteMe says:

          In Georgia, that’s debatable. In places where education is actually valued, “government” does a better job. You ever wonder why there are more top-ranked schools in the Northeast than in the south, but the SEC rocks in football? Wonder where our priorities are?

          • IW says:

            Huh?? What “government” top-ranked schools in the NE are you talking about? Harvard, Yale, MIT, Dartmouth, Princeton, etc…? Oh that’s right, those are all private universities! So never-mind, scratch those… so what schools were you talking about?

          • IW says:

            “In places where education is actually valued, โ€œgovernmentโ€ does a better job. You ever wonder why there are more top-ranked schools in the Northeast than in the south, but the SEC rocks in football? ”

            Maybe I missed something… but it appeared that you were saying that the SEC focuses on football and therefore doesn’t rank as high intellectually, which I’m fine with. My point was that I’m not aware of the “government” schools in the NE that “actually value education” and therefore are better than the SEC schools as far as education goes. My point was that the highest rated schools in the NE as far as education goes are private, NOT government schools.

          • ByteMe says:

            You ever compare our SAT scores with their SAT scores and our graduation rates with their rates? You want to compare EVERY measurement of learning at all levels and tell me that it’s only because of private schools? Good luck with that argument.

            We value high school football (and college ball) more than we value education.

          • ByteMe says:

            Agreed that I wasn’t clear. Just annoyed that Georgia puts more emphasis on football games and harvesting peanuts than on learning. And if you think about it: why arethe awesome private (and public, like UMass) colleges up north or in California instead of down here? Not for the weather, that’s for sure. Why does the private money go there instead of here?

            UGA was the first chartered state university in the country! What a squandered legacy.

          • Doug Deal says:

            Byte,

            I have to second your point about the south not valuing education. When I moved to Georgia to attend Tech, I was shocked at the complete lack of ability to write the English language among people in my freshmen English classes. The papers that we had to peer review were hilarious. So much so I found myself stifling laughter at the bad grammar used by top tier Georgia students, many from supposedly great private schools.

            The other thing I noticed is that almost no one in Georgia seems to own books about subject other than sports, celebrities, religion or pretty pictures. House after house that I have visited over the course of the 20 years I have lived in Georgia and few own books on science, history, or even encyclopedias or dictionaries. There are exceptions, of course, but take a look the next time you are a visitor to someone’s house and count their books. If you are lucky, you might have to use a second hand.

          • Kellie says:

            DD – So you were scoping out my house for books? lol
            Yes, I am one of those dumb southerners; born and raised.

          • polisavvy says:

            I hate to admit it; but, other than a bunch of politically-related or history-related books, the rest are sports books. Like Kellie, I’m a dumb Southerner, too. I do say that I am a Southerner with great pride, though.

          • polisavvy says:

            Thanks for the heads up on that one. I’ll be sure to put the best books out for his review and approval. Are you ready for spring, yet? I’m definitely ready!!

          • Doug Deal says:

            Just sayin’

            And Kellie, you had not only that one Glenn Beck book, you had two of them, so you know, I wasn’t talking about you.

            Seriously, though. For some reason education does not seem to be as valued, and I tend to agree that it is not just a statistical anomoly that the southern states are at the very rock bottom on every measure of academic success. Not to say there aren’t brilliant people like Kellie and polisavvy running about.

          • polisavvy says:

            DougDeal, you are so true and it is so very sad that education is so low down the totem pole of life here in the South. Where I grew up, and then raised my family, most of the families we encountered who had kids in the various sports around here were more preoccupied with the kid’s athletic achievements than the kid’s academic achievements. My husband and I expected the academic achievement first and foremost. If either of them were successful in sports then they got a good job and trip to Dairy Queen. Also, our children both knew that if you, for any reason, got in trouble in school that you were in far greater trouble once you got home. We expected good behavior and good academic performance or privileges were cut. We weren’t challenged because they knew we weren’t playing.

            DD, I don’t know exactly what the answer is to improving education. I do strongly feel that parents, to a large part, have to take some responsibility in the education of their children. The apathy of parents has ruined the education to me by them accepting status quo performance from the state, the county, the school, and the teachers. Apathy and lack of interest in the education of their children are two huge obstacles facing education today. These are just my opinions, for whatever they may (or not be) worth.

          • These days it would be a shame to base someone’s wits and education on the number of books in one’s house. Personally, you won’t find many science or history or any other type of book in my house other than fiction. (I also don’t own any sports books.) You’ll find all of Dan Brown’s, John Grisham, JD Robb and various others. But when it comes to knowledge, I really don’t own any of those (except for a few of my wife’s old college text books – stored in boxes that I suppose we’ll probably get rid of at some point). You will, however, see multiple computers. When I need information, I look to the Internet. I find it a waste of space to fill a bookshelf with thirty volumes of something that gets outdated by the year (encyclopedias), dictionary, thesaurus, and other reference materials when I have all of that information at my fingertips on a Blackberry or one of my Macs (or PC if I’m at work).

          • Doug Deal says:

            David, classic. That was a perfect example of the type of ignorance that I was talking about. Your satire of comparing the trash that one reads on the internet with real literature or thought provoking information was one of the funniest things I have every read.

            Oh, you were serious?

            The internet is a useful tool and has a lot of merit. It is not (currently) a replacement of a real library. And Dan Brown? Give me a break, you might as well read Harlequin Junior Romances for that quality of writting.

          • Kellie says:

            DD – Next time you visit I will show you my vast selection of literary works in my library located on the north end of my estate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Doug – so your 1983 set of Encyclopedia Britannica makes much more sense than just going to Britannica.com? Or should one just purchase a new set every year and build additions onto their house as needed to house these volumes upon volumes of a “real library”? Sure, there’s a lot of trash on the Internet, but name one book that you can’t get in electronic form that you use even on a semi-regular basis that you consider real literature or thought provoking….

            Yes, Dan Brown isn’t exactly a non-fictional work, but I enjoy his books as the works of fiction that they are. So what? But I wouldn’t be able to compare anything to Harlequin’s Junior Romances, as I’m sure I’ve read fewer of those than you have.

            I like my fiction books in a paper format, whereas I prefer my research and information in an electronic format. For instance, I’m currently reading “The Pillars of the Earth” and just finished the book “Into the Wild”. But if I’m not feeling well, I’ll look to WebMD first. If I need some information, I’ll look to Reference.com, Wikipedia (though yes, it’s not always accurate), britannica.com and other websites.

          • Doug Deal says:

            My objection was not to fiction; it was that Dan Brown is a hack writer. Sure, he may be entertaining, but he is not literature, he is escapism.

            Literature, say something like Moby Dick, is thought provoking and speaks on many different levels, not just surface details.

            I know that you can get the classics via the internet, as I have a Kindle and do myself, but most people do not have shelves devoid of books because they are buying them on the internet or on a Kindle. They are lucky to “read” anything that isn’t a scrolling sports score on television. What percentage of the people that you know actually read anything on the internet that isnโ€™t a shopping site, wikipedia, sports, or some TMZ like celebrity site?

            Unless parents teach their children to make education a priority, it does not matter how competent teachers are or how much money is spent, the children will fail.

          • Doug – I can’t say I spend much time traveling to peoples’ homes, so I can’t say I really analyze too many peoples’ bookshelves. However, my response was geared to this:

            “David, classic. That was a perfect example of the type of ignorance that I was talking about.”

            Ignorance is different than simply achieving the same result in a different manner. As a member of MENSA, if I want thought provoking topics and conversation, I’ll go to the online MENSA forums to discuss topics ranging anywhere from politics to religion to whatever. If I want to engage in conversation about Georgia politics with people who mostly vote based on the letter beside someone’s name, I come to Peach Pundit. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Doug Deal says:

            Mensa? From my experience, they are a group hung up on showing people how smart they supposedly are. I think I now understand your main objection.

            Don’t get so hung up on what other people think of your intelligence.

          • Doug – I couldn’t care less about how people think of me. In the end, we’re just two people debating on a small political blog. My insinuation was that Peach Pundit is along the lines of “trash that one reads on the internet” versus an actual intelligent debate. If you want to profile me based on a membership to a particular organization, that’s fine. I was merely stating that I’m here for the political conversation, and was simply pointing out the flaws in your logic of lack of books on one’s bookshelf equaling lack of intelligence. No need to take it so personally. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • (Unless of course you’re a salesman for Encyclopedia Britannica, in which case I suppose you can take it personally if you want, but I’m not ordering any of your books. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

          • Doug Deal says:

            David, yes I would agree with you, that PP would constitute the trashy part of the internet. But there is nothing wrong with that, as long as we are not looking toward it as an example of “scholarly debate”.

            But I hope that we can also agree that when scholastic achievement is not stressed as important at home (a symptom of which could be the number of books found there, whether electronic or printed) it shows up as deficiencies in the classroom.

            With that, I think we have committed the greatest sin that can be committed in an internet forum. We have become boring.

  2. Guese says:

    There is another video posted on youtube titled “Stupid in America” that goes to great lengths to show how our classrooms matchup with the world. One trend that appears is that our education system fails based on the longer a child is enrolled in the public schools. Standardized tests given to our children and children across the world show that American kids rank in the top percentiles, whereas by the time they get to high school, our kids have fallen completely behind.
    Money is not the issue, in every case were the solution has been to throw more money at the problem, the problem has gotten bigger. Competition works in every market where it is given the chance to compete without interference. I believe it was Plato (please correct me if I am wrong on this one) that said, “the 2 most important questions any society must answer are, Who gets to teach the Children? and What will they teach them?” If a monopoly is allowed to thrive, then there is no checks and balances to ensure the best quality teachers and the best quality education.

  3. ZazaPachulia says:

    The charter and magnets school routes make sense because they open the door innovation without skewering public education.

    Anyone who really thinks private school success in test scores and other criteria compared to public schools has anything to do with the schools being private or “benefiting from competition” is clinging to a terribly short-sighted false cause and effect.

    It’s all about the money, stupid.

    The high cost of private schools (even with tax credits or vouchers) pull kids from the upper-crust of the socio-economic strata and lump them together in an exclusive classroom. Kids from the same private school socio-economic class do just as well in the public schools that serve the wealthy burbs. Look at Fayette, Cherokee or Forsyth public schools… Most of the kids who excel in those places are the same kids that would be attending Woodward, Westminister or St. Pius if their families happened to live in Atlanta or Jonesboro or College Park.

    Kids whose parents are wealthy and educated do better in school. Public, private, wherever.

    What kills so many public schools is the burden to educate everyone in the district — including special needs students and English-as-a-second-language kids that private schools won’t touch. Rich parents segregate their kids by either moving to the suburbs with the most exclusive public schools or enrolling their kids in high-priced private schools. Losing theses “rich” kids is a huge blow to struggling public schools. Not only are the better performing kids gone, but the parents with the time and resources to form booster clubs, viable PTAs, fund school supply and library drives and volunteer in and around the school — they’re gone too.

    If you really want to fix education in America, you hit private schools with big taxes (jacking up the price further — sending more of the better students back to public schools), you consolidate BOEs into region bodies that serve a set number of kids (something like state senate voting districts), you continue to fund charter and magnet schools, you kill the teacher unions, you make it easier to fire bad teachers, you open up district lines and you force busing again to even out the socio-economic playing field.

    Our schools are more segregated now (racially and economically) than they were in the late 1960’s. Look that one up. Of course, my suggested solutions will never happen…

    • Guese says:

      I agree with you points such as getting rid of teachers unions (maybe not completely rid of them, but eliminate their influence over the system) and making it easier to fire bad teachers, I believe that you are way off in calling for the state to impose high taxes on privately funded schools. Having the “better students” back in the public schoool systems will not fix anything, other than causing them to lose opportunities that would have been provided for them in private school systems.

      Your statement about a good student succeeding in any system is very true, it doesn’t matter public or private, but the key ingredient for that is not found in the school iteslf, it is found at home. If the parent/parents of the child encourage and foster that childs ability, then that child will (in time) see the value of such a wonderful educational opportunity.

      As for the money issue, the state spends over 56% of the state’s entire budget on education…for what? For our kids to be consistently ranked 48th out of 50 states. Money is not the problem. If you were to attach the money to each kid, and allow that kid/parents to choose what school they want to attend ( and no i’m not talking about going strictly from public to private…because private schools would all in likely raise tuition anyway) allowing the choice of school would ecourage good systems, encourage good teachers, and foster a competitive environment that would foster growth. Bad schools would lose kids, lose money, and as being that all those students would be given the choice to attend somewhere else, they could leave, and the school itself would fail, but the most important thing would be that the kids wouldn’t fail.

      Also, the whole idea about forcing the “good student” out of private schools seems to me a bit social in nature. Using the police power of the state to dictate such thing would be impeding on freedoms granted to citizens. Sure, some parents of those kids would tend to be the out going, motivated ones that establish strong PTA boards and such, but really, school isn’t about PTA, athletics, or whatever, it is about education and the quality that one receives. The focus in many schools as moved towards sports and administration.

      One of the biggest problems that face the education system in this state is the failure by the government to regulate adminstrative costs. Why does one school with appox 1000 students need to 4 principles….if the administration was capable of doing their job, then that many “heads of school” would not be needed.

      • John Konop says:

        Guese,

        Administrative cost soared with the NCLB Kathy Cox one size fit all teach to the test curriculum. If instead we used a multi track system you would need less administrators to monitor the lobbyist driven new failed curriculum of the day like math 123. The amount of money wasted by Kathy Cox on this failed gimmicks curriculums which hurt the kids is nuts!

        This is a smarter approach that will save money and get much better results:

        Save our schools from No Child Left Behind

        http://www.peachpundit.com/2010/01/25/save-our-schools-from-no-child-left-behind/

        • Guese says:

          NCLB was a decent idea in thoery, but as it has been well shown, especially through the “teach to the test” methods employed by school systems, it continues to be a failed system in practice. While I am not entirely sure if it works the same in all counties, i can only assume that is probably does, In Houston County, almost everytime a teacher (good or bad) retires from the school system, the board of education creates a position within the board for that person to fill. The board of education is so burdened with positions that are not needed that the majority of funding delegated for kids gets spent on paying salaries for employees whose job was “created” because the school system decided they just couldn’t let a teacher retire. WHY?

          To correct education in this state, it requires a multi faceted approach that begins with the Parents (yes that is supposed to be plural), includes revamping local board of educations, and distribution of funds by student, for the student, not for the school they are zoned for

          • ByteMe says:

            I’d start with taking teacher salaries out the hands of state legislators. Let each district be responsible for their own personnel decisions provided they meet the state minimum guidelines for teacher certifications and competence. Then make sure the school board budgets are made public.

            And get rid of about 80 counties. No reason in the 2000’s for Georgia to have the second-most number of counties for any state in the country. Combine the school districts along with the counties.

            Oh, and get rid of the Sheriff elected position while we’re at it. Why on earth do we elect the person to run the county jail??

            All good fodder for blog comments, none of it will happen, because the legislators are scared of making real changes and would rather blame Washington for all their woes.

          • polisavvy says:

            While your idea is good, how could you get counties to do what you’re suggesting? A lot of people take pride in their communities and probably would not want that taken away from them. They would feel like their identity was stolen, in a sense.

          • ByteMe says:

            I live in Dekalb and we’d happily break into 1000 different counties if we could ๐Ÿ™‚ We don’t take pride in our county, we do take pride in our cities. You’d have to ask those that live in the boonies if they take pride in their county or if they would adapt just fine if their county was combined with the ones on all sides of them to form a bigger county with a smaller (than the total combined) government to run the whole thing.

          • polisavvy says:

            Well, now that you’ve worded it like that, it sounds like a plan. I live in a county where there is tremendous waste, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way. Maybe if the smaller ones were combined that could help with the waste factor, plus it might be a way to end some of the inept politicians’ futures. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • I can agree with combining counties to gain efficiencies while saving taxpayer dollars. Take Towns County and White County for example. There’s how many cities in those two… Hiawassee, Cleveland, Helen (along with Sautee Nacoochee if you consider that a separate town)… errm… am I missing any? I would think these two could easily combine.

          • ByteMe says:

            We have 159 counties. Only Texas has more. And Jan Jones wants to make it 160 (which, by the way, will require a constitutional amendment). Completely ridiculous. You could probably turn the entire southern third of Georgia into 3 counties and no one would care about anything except for the High School football games that would be lost.

          • IW says:

            Byte,

            I can definitely agree with eliminating waste in the school system! And I agree that each district should be in charge of salaries for their teachers.

    • ByteMe says:

      As soon as a politician can come up with a way to have the Fed’s education money held accountable in a more realistic way and then sell it to a fractured Congress that can’t seem to agree on the color of today’s sky.

      Will next week be ok?

      • John Konop says:

        Mayonnaise,

        The 11k changes by county from my understanding, the number changes relative to the tax revenue from each county. That is a mean number if I remember right not by a county number.

        • G. Moxley Sorrel says:

          School Choice Myths
          http://www.edchoice.org/schoolchoice/myths.jsp

          The Facts: Vouchers Benefit State And Public School Budgets

          Voucher programs typically result in a savings in state budgets when students use vouchers to attend
          private schools. Vouchers usually redirect state education spending from school districts to parents.
          If the vouchers are not equal to the state per pupil expenditure, as is generally the case, then the state
          saves money on the difference. For example, if a state spends $6,000 per student annually in public
          schools, and offers a $5,000 voucher, the state saves $1,000 each year for each participating student. In
          some cases, the voucher is worth the same amount the state spends on public school students, making
          the program fiscally neutral.
          At the same time, school districts typically receive a fi nancial benefit because their costs are reduced
          much further than their revenues. When a student uses a voucher, the local school district only loses
          some of the revenue associated with that student – a large portion of school revenues come from
          property taxes and other funding sources that donโ€™t change with enrollment levels. However, the district
          loses the entire cost of educating the student. This frees up more money for school budgets and helps
          increase per-student public school spending.
          School districts do have some โ€œfi xed costsโ€ that arenโ€™t reduced when students leave, such as the cost
          of keeping the lights on in the building. However, studies have repeatedly found that the savings from
          school choice are much larger than the fixed costs left behind in schools.

          The Evidence: Studies Highlight Savings From Voucher Programs

          Susan Aud conducted the largest study on the fiscal effects of school choice. Aud examined all existing
          voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs in the United States from 1990 through 2006. To ensure that
          the study accounted for fixed costs, she only included public school cost reductions in the category of
          โ€œinstructional expenditures,โ€ which excludes transportation, lunch programs, administration, and many
          other non-instructional expenditures. As a result, the savings calculated in the study reflect a conservative
          estimate of the real cost reductions from school choice programs.
          Aud found that no school choice program had a negative overall fiscal impact, and most of them saved
          signifi cant amounts of money. Her results showed that school choice programs saved a net total of $22
          million for state budgets and $422 million for local school districts between 1990 and 2006. Total savings
          to taxpayers: $444 million.
          Aud also found that every city and state with a school choice program had seen instructional spending
          per student rise since the enactment of the program. Data from the U.S. Department of Education confi rm
          that the same holds true for total education spending.
          Many other studies have confirmed that school choice programs save money for state budgets and local
          school districts, even after fixed costs are taken into account. A large number of these studies are available
          in the research archive on the Friedman Foundationโ€™s website, http://www.friedmanfoundation.org.

          The Bottom Line

          Vouchers save money for state budgets because private schools provide a better education for a much
          lower cost, and they also have a positive fiscal effect on public schools because school district costs are
          reduced much further than their expenses.

          • ByteMe says:

            So basically, the only way this actually is a net-positive to state/local budgets is if the state offers a voucher significantly less than it costs the state to educate the child.

            Pretty sure we’re already doing that. Here’s a “voucher”, it’s worth nothing. Go pick the private school you want to attend.

          • John Konop says:

            YOU SAID:

            The Bottom Line

            Vouchers save money for state budgets because private schools provide a better education for a much
            lower cost, and they also have a positive fiscal effect on public schools because school district costs are
            reduced much further than their expenses.

            THING AGAIN;

            The problem with your statement is 90% of parents cannot afford the private school even with the voucher. And good private schools cost more than the cost of a public school. That is why this issue will be political suicide for the GOP after the major cuts hit especially in this economy. You will see a soccer mom revolt if 1 dime leaves the schools after the cuts! THE PTA IS ALL OVER THIS ISSUE!

          • ZazaPachulia says:

            Ok, vouchers may save state budgets some cash, but there’s no indication that they “provide a better education for a much lower cost.” There’s that tricky “false cause and effect” that the voucher crowd can’t seem to get their heads around.

            The families with kids in the state’s poorest struggling schools will be unable to afford even a highly subsidized private school tuition. They won’t be able to provide transportation to the private schools and as usual, your voucher stump speech ignores the elephant in the room: special needs kids. (you know, the ones the state is mandated to educate, yet private schools won’t touch — they’re the pre-existing condition kids, if you will.)

            All vouchers will do is widen the already disgracefully wide gap between the “good” schools and the “bad” schools. You can substitute the word “rich” for good and “poor” for bad. Vouchers are not the answer for better statewide educational performance. State coffers and a small sliver of the middle class who currently cannot afford private schooling are the only ones who will benefit from this hair-brained idea.

            If you think moving ten percent of the students from a decent (middle class) school district like, say, Henry County, into private schools is our test score/performance/spending savior, then I’d like to have some of what you’re smoking. That’s all that vouchers will do.

            There’s one cost saving measure I mentioned earlier that the conservative school voucher crowd would seemingly get behind — eliminate about 50 percent of the admin jobs statewide by consolidating local school districts. It wouldn’t be easy, but it could be done.

            By the way, Eric Johnson’s inability to grasp the real facts and economics about vouchers makes him unqualified to be governor (he’d get killed by King Roy anyway).

            Get behind Austin Scott, folks. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not too late to support competence and ethics in the Ga. GOP

          • ByteMe says:

            Zaza: the real thinkers in the room get what you’re saying because they grasp how private schools really work. They get that private schools are self-selecting and keep out the underachievers that public school is mandated to accept and who drive up the costs of public education. They get that only the upper-middle and upper-class benefit from vouchers, because those are the only ones who can afford the time and expense of providing transportation to public schools outside their normal traffic pattern.

            It’s the “useful idiots” who are buying into the “monopoly bad, so public schools bad” mantra being perpetrated on the rest of us.

            There really is a class war going on out there and the middle class and under-class is measurably losing.

          • John Konop says:

            G. Moxley Sorrel,

            Let me help you with the some math. If 7% of the parents currently in private schools get vouchers that would cost around 400 to 500 million dollars. As I pointed out the average parent would need about 20k a year even with a voucher to send their 2 kid to good private school. In a declining economy a logical person would conclude, you would not see a major pick up of new students leaving public schools and going private at most 1%.

            Please help me understand how you think this would save money for public schools? And after the currents cuts please tell me how the schools can absorb another 400 million? And please tell me why you think 93% of patents with kids in public school will not be pissed?

          • Mad Dog says:

            ByteMe,

            We need that voucher plus one that says, pay your property taxes and use the worthless voucher to send your kid to private schools at $18,000 per year. (h.s. years.)

            Saves the education costs, increases revenue, and gives the taxpayer a sense of pride in their community.

      • IW says:

        Either way it’s a disaster and losing BILLIONS every year. Yet another example of how great the government is at providing “services” for it’s citizens ๐Ÿ™‚

        • benevolus says:

          It’s not a disaster. It’s losing money because the market is changing and people are using email and the internet a lot more, but we have this giant infrastructure built to handle a much larger volume. It just takes a little time to downsize. Just ask GM, or even Home Depot. Mail is one of those things we do not want to FAIL, however, so we can’t leave it up to the “free market” where a company can just go belly up and stop delivering… in which case the government would have to step in and you would be complaining about another bailout.
          But your mail would get delivered.

          • We can leave it up to the free market though. Where there is a demand for a product, someone usually sees that need, steps in, and fills it. If for some reason DHL, FedEx and UPS all went belly up tomorrow, there would still be thousands of independent couriers willing to carry a letter or package somewhere for you. The only thing I get by USPS these days are credit card offers, bank statements (which I don’t ever look at, as I’ve got those online… just changed banks though so I haven’t gotten around to asking if they can stop sending them), and advertisements. The chances of all three major delivery companies simultaneously failing though I would think would be pretty slim.

          • ByteMe says:

            Actually, NOT ONE of the independent carriers or big three is willing to carry a letter anywhere in the USA for $0.44 and deliver it on Saturday without a surcharge. Just take a letter to them and ask if you don’t believe me.

            As for what you get in your mail, that sounds like a personal problem. I get customer payments in the USPS mail all the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • My customers pay while they’re on our premises or electronically. Any e-mail that I send on a Saturday (or even Sunday for that matter) gets delivered usually instantaneously. And I don’t have to pay per e-mail that I send. Imagine that! Can you imagine the USPS offering an option to pay a monthly fee and be able to send all the mail that you want? I have no need to actually write letters when I have plenty of other much faster means of communication.

          • ByteMe says:

            I noticed you decided to focus on your claim that it wasn’t needed instead of the market providing an equivalent service at a since it’s the “free market and more efficient”, right?) better price. Perhaps it’s not needed for you. Millions of pieces of paper mail say otherwise for the rest of us.

          • Oh, I’m not saying a free market would make a company spring up to deliver your letters at 44 cents a piece. The postal service already has in place a lot of efficiencies and infrastructure that allow it to operate so cheaply per letter.

            I am saying, however, that your letter would still be delivered by DHL, UPS, FedEx or a private courier if you sought out their services instead. I’m also saying that I highly doubt the three of those companies would all of a sudden go belly up, but that if they did, someone else would be there to step in and fill their shoes to deliver your letter. Sure, the USPS continues to deliver many pieces of mail every year, but what portion of that mail is advertisements vs mail that people want to receive that doesn’t go right into the recycling bin or trash?

            I heard the other day that the USPS is delivering an all time low number of first class letters per household, but that the volume of total pieces of mail continues to remain high due to the continuing growth of the number of households. As builders continue to build more residences and our country grows, the USPS has to add more routes to cover those households.

  4. Game Fan says:

    Y’all want to really educate your kids? Find them some OLD kids books/textbooks. I just finished a couple of older books about Pirates and Buccaneers and the USS Constitution too.

  5. Game Fan says:

    Dana Perino could have driven more traffic as a teacher for this video. IMHO she has an uncanny resemblance to “My favorite Sex Ed Teacher, Mrs. Starr”. But again, this is just my opinion.

  6. MSC says:

    If government is less efficient and more wasteful than private owners of property, doesn’t that mean we have less product and service if government is the provider, than we otherwise would? Do government school advocates prefer to have less quantity and quality of this product and service they value?

    Or do you argue that government is efficient and frugal?

    Doesn’t human nature dictate that without competition, quality goes down and cost goes up?

    Or do you argue competition doesn’t increase quality and decrease cost?

    Isn’t it true that the argument for quality education as provided by the government schools is absurd, since government schools teach revisionist history and false ideas about money and production? We are beginning to teach that the founders were terrorists and we have long taught people to misunderstand how our monetary system destroys the earning and retirement of both teacher and student.

    On what basis does one argue for a system paid for with legalized plunder which eliminates competition, increases costs, lowers quality, teaches nonsense and eliminates important knowledge, thereby crippling the productive capacity and quality of life of the students, teachers, parents and other citizens? Our teachers, who love their jobs and the kids they teach, and our students deserve better. Teachers shouldn’t be paper pushers and students should be taught what is true and useful to successful living.

    • Game Fan says:

      This argument works great short-term and there’s plenty of good examples of Charter schools that are better than their public school counterparts, but the proponents don’t seem any more apt to fix the problems here then they do with “private” prisons, “private” security forces, “private” toll roads, ect… Nah, the corporatists are about “making money” off the “merger of government and corporate power”.

  7. Game Fan says:

    Er, my bad. This is about vouchers. So since there’s a concern for total cost per student, then what’s the additional cost per student when a large number of students wants to attend the brand-new school across town that has a class in jazz poetry? And what’s the cost to the taxpayer when the “bad performing schools” don’t have any students left? So with competition (with taxpayer support) what’s the additional cost for the teachers who don’t have anyone to teach in the school that nobody wants to attend?

      • Game Fan says:

        I just made up the thing about Jazz poetry. Not sure if there is such a thing. As for werewolves and Ms. Starr, they’re for real. I saw ’em on TV. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now if Ms. Starr were teaching sex ed within a 100 mile radius of where I lived THAT’S where I’d have to go to school COME HELL OR HIGH WATER!! Of course I’d make something up to tell my mom:
        “But mother, Mr. Jenkins is the best darned history teacher this side of the Mississippi.”

  8. Goldwater Conservative says:

    I can’t believe you people are still trying to sell this dead horse.

    I pay for a particular school district for a reason. Its performance has a great deal of bearing on my property value. It performs well with the kids we have in it now. The same is true for nearly the entire northern arc. Sure every child has a blank slate and deserve to be put on as equal grounds as possible when we are concerned with education. The bar just should not be so low…it should be appropriately high.

    What I do not want, and I know I speak for more than just myself here, is a solution that will arbitrarily allow underperforming children from schools near or far to come into my school district and bring performance ratings down…along with my property value.

    For those of you in north fulton, east cobb, south cherokee, most of gwinnett, southern hall, and dekalb down to about midtown…it is not in you economic interests to absorb underachieving students into your districts because their schools failed (and yes, I realize, as you should, that most of in state political contributions come from these zipcodes).

    Is there a solution? I believe so, but I am something of an elitist. Honestly, I would rather have my taxes raised than take on additional risks in my property investments…or hand over control of the state public school system to the University System of Georgia. Afterall, I still believe much of the problem lies in the nature of modern school board elections.

    • John Konop says:

      Goldwater Conservative,

      The problem is many parents have lost all faith in the NCLB/Kathy Cox teaches to the test one size fit all education system. I think education would get more support if rational adults were in charge!

      What I see is parents will be pissed when see the cut backs, but unless the above is fixed than you will see people as agreeable to tax increases for education.

    • btpull says:

      Goldwater,

      I really doubt it is in your economic best interest to create a permanent under class that has to be supported cradle to grave via welfare, food stamps, schip, medicaid, etc.

      • Goldwater Conservative says:

        btpull, actually it is. It is in the interest of everywealthy capitalist to have a permanent underclass. It provides a steady supply of cheap labor to be exploited.

        Besides, we are the ones that run for office and get elected…after all, we have more free speech than you. Do you really think we are going to pay for it? The wealthy capitalist has sold their American soul for 30 years lying to you about how beneficial it is for the economy to cut our taxes. Whats the harms…we aren’t the ones that will be paying of the deficit.

        Eliminating medicaid, schip, foodstamps, tanf, etc will do nothing to assist the “underclass.” Furthermore, the cost in taxes to me and my fellow classmen is miniscule compared to the ROI from agribusiness investments.

        Of course, this is not how I feel personally. I led that life and regret it now. Not because I was wrong…I wasn’t…it worked and I was right (look at modern day coal mine country and witness for yourself how this benefits people like me)…being able to live with yourself is the problem.

        The problem is that opportunity is not equal. The above list of programs does assist in leveling that playing field and acts as an economic safety net for the middle class. It is not the redistribution of wealth. that is garbage rhetoric from angry conservatives….such a conclusion can not be deduced logically. It just so happens that in the US everything costs money. To get those programs running to level the playing field of opportunity costs money.

  9. slyram says:

    I have always said that the voucher or charter school discussions should include schools for the worst 10% of students (assuming the top 10% or more will be cherry-picked away.) If veterans/retired military personnel opened schools for those students, regular school would be so much better.

  10. Goldwater Conservative says:

    How many sizes should our education system have? There is a fundamental question. When do we allow these distinctions to be drawn for a child in the course of their schooling? This is another fundamental question.

    I do not think it is a situation in which a dichotomy can be drawn between vocational and college preperatory. This has been the state’s policy for some time now…it is a policy, not aimed at improving the educational system, but, like so many other political instruments, its sole purpose is to put off making tough decisions.

    What is tough about changing the way in which our children are educated? It is unlikely that the problem lies in one place. Parents do not take an active enough interests in their children’s schooling. They outsource that responsibility to the schools. Americans do not make informed political decisions. They use partisan heuristics and listen to those buzz words politicians and pundits use. Another problem…no American wants to be told, by test scores or report cards, that their child is average or below average…or that they are not college material.

    There is this false hope in the United States that your children will be better off than you. Well, when your generation (I speak to the baby boomers) spent its time putting off reform and racks up $12trillion in debt to sustain its standard of living…not much is left for the next generation to do. They can not continue adding to the deficit and reform costs money…alot of money. All for what end?

    I look at all of this…the deterioration of the healthcare system, the education system, the industrial military complex,…better yet, the deterioration of everything American. The political and economic system is crippling all so you can be told what you want to hear. It is about time you are told the truth. You will not hear the truth from talk radio or Fox news. You will not hear the truth in church, from CNN or from Sarah Palin. Glenn Beck and Mark Levin…all of these people merely tell you want you want to hear. You do not want to hear that the deficit will only be paid off if taxes are increased. You do not want to hear that Medicare and Social security will not be there. You do not want to here that you are really not middle class. You do not want to hear that your child really isn’t a B student. You do not want to hear that you have to work harder to maintain the same standard of living. You do not want to hear that the taxation and economic policies you have supported since Reagan only work for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans…and you do not want to hear that the only thing that “trickles down” is debt and risk.

    As far as education is concerned: I personally err on the side of democracy. It is undemocratic to form an education system around the India or China models. Quite honestly, supporting an education system based upon its role in determining the value of my assets is also undemocratic. Our children are taught in what appears to be a cirricullum geared toward the lowest common denominator. This is your fault though. It is your fault that you do not want you child to be measured accurately. It is your fault that you do not want to pay taxes high enough to hire the best educators. Competitve teacher salaries will not be solved by vouchers or any such mechanism. Start pay for teachers fresh out of college at around $60k or higher….give these young scholars of education an incentive to teach in the public school system rather than seeking employment at private schools or toy companies.

    We live in a marginally democratic society. You have got to want something and express that desire, or will, if you want something to happen. You wanted to be told your child is above average didn’t you? How did our elected officials make that happen? They lowered the standards. That is the easy political solution.

    • polisavvy says:

      Excellent post. I agree with you. I just don’t know how to fix the problem that we are in because we have been in this rut for so long. As far as the teachers’ pay goes, you are correct that the salary should be high enough to make people actually want to go into education. The apathy of parents is one problem which I can’t figure out how to correct. Parents don’t seem to want to participate in the school and they don’t seem to want to encourage their children like they should by expecting the best their children are capable of producing.

      As far as the vocational versus college preparatory diplomas for high school. It can be done. As a matter of fact, back when I was in high school (graduated in ’72), there was that option. The only difference is that the college preparatory diploma required more credits than the vocational diploma. The kids that were going for the vocational diploma were able to go only half days, by their junior and senior year in order to go to work, while the rest of us were in classes. They were applying whatever skills they learned in vocational classes on actual jobs. It can be done.

      As far as parents not wanting to accept the fact that their children are “just B students or below,” well facts are facts. Some children just don’t have any desire to excel and achieve, others may have medical reasons. A good bit of that lack of desire is because of the parents. Too many parents put more emphasis on sports than education. That should never happen, but it does. Not all “little Johnnies” are going to one day end up playing for the Braves, but the parents think that (at least they do where I live).

      I believe what’s going on in education can best be described as the “dumbing down” of our children. They are not teaching the basics like they should and parents aren’t demanding that it revert back to the basics. Education is trying failed math programs and the kids are the guinea pigs. They tried whole language and literally lost four years of children by teaching them to spell phonetically for two years and then telling them that that was wrong and that they needed to spell it correctly. With whole language, reading skills dropped. That’s the very reason that my husband and I put out children in private school for two years in order to give them a strong reading background.

      I don’t know what the solution is. I do know that there is a huge problem with education. I am glad that my sons are no longer in school; however, I am concerned for future of the children who are in school. It’s pathetic at best what’s happened to education in Georgia. I swear, I feel very strongly that the education I received in public school in Georgia in the 60’s-72′ is far superior to what the kids are receiving today. In this day and age that should not be the case. It should be much better. Sorry for the long diatribe; but, this is how I feel.

      • ByteMe says:

        People seem to care more about their taxes than whether their kids are properly educated. Politicians are afraid to tell them the consequences of that.

        • polisavvy says:

          I know what you mean, ByteMe. I don’t understand why people don’t realize that education is vitally important. An uneducated or improperly educated society can yield an uneducated or improperly educated country. That, in turn, makes the country weak. If taxes need to be raised in order to protect the country’s advancement, then so be it. I’m not real big on higher taxes (especially if the money is going to continued to be wasted), but there comes a time when it is necessary and, in this particular case, it’s necessary for education. I will have to say that, in my opinion, money is not the only answer to the all the problems of education.

          • ByteMe says:

            We have a saying in my line of work: you never want an underpaying client. Clients who think they can get the moon for $200 are the same ones who won’t care about the outcome, since they haven’t put anything at risk. The fastest way to get a better quality client is to raise your rates so that the client has some skin in the game.

            Let’s pay our teachers $60K to start and raise taxes to match. That’ll get some parent attention, don’t you think?

          • polisavvy says:

            I think raising the salaries would be a good thing; however, I think that the quality of the teachers hired should improve. Georgia should be competitive enough with the salaries offered that they attract some of the best teachers instead of some of the worse. I’d like to see Georgia hire teachers who were A students themselves, than settle for the apparent (and personally known to me) ones who were at the bottom of their graduating class. I am amazed at the lack of grammar skills and spelling skills that some of the teachers I have run across with my own children. The butchering of the King’s language. It is appalling to me that someone who is supposed to be educating the children has such a lack of these skills. I was told years ago by a teacher that Georgia hires the dregs. In my experience with the teachers my own children had, I think that person was correct. I read what they post on Facebook and cringe. It’s totally pathetic. The teachers I had were all very smart and very polished. These today, not so much.

          • polisavvy says:

            As an aside, there is a difference between a job and a career. A job you dread, a career you enjoy. A job you do, a career you excel. I have had teachers tell me that the only reason they went into teaching because it was such a good JOB to have and raise a family and the fact that you had so many days off (holidays, spring break, summer break, etc.). I was a legal assistant for 24 years and thoroughly loved it. I didn’t view it as a job, I viewed it as a career and gave it 100%.

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