The future of public education

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The future of public education

Postby Rico » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:44 pm

With all its faults, widespread support for public education IMO was probably the most important factor in raising the living standards of America and Canada in the 20th century and in the creation of a real middle class. Now, it seems it's going the other way.

It's so easy to pick on my favorite target Texas, and it doesn't seem fair, but here I go again:

After wearing a bull's-eye in the state budget crunch, Texas school districts may now be forced to start classes in August without new textbooks. A reconfiguration of the Texas Education Agency's online ordering system, coupled with a delay in state textbook funding, is expected to postpone the arrival of new books beyond the start of school the week of Aug. 24 and likely into September Houston Chronical, 7/4/2011.

The public school systems throughout the country are under attack. Maybe it doesn't matter about all those students who may go with out books. After all, you only need school one day a week and require only the Good Book to be taught. So the thinking goes.

Seriously...public education? Maybe it's time to give up on it? What do you think?
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Re: The future of public education

Postby nimby » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:23 pm

What is your alternative? Do you think parents should quit their jobs to stay home and educate their kids too? Which one should it be? Who should decide? And what the hell am I paying huge taxes for? When you have stupid teachers earning $100K a year, and a job for life (because of the unions) why should they bother working hard. I don't know about where you are, but here the unions have grown too strong. I say break the unions and get rid of the shitty teachers. These ivory tower government workers have been at the trough far too long. Reward excellence but get rid of the bull shitters. With out union protection, the system will fix itself. Close to 60% of my total income already goes to taxes to pay for these fat cats. Enough. If the teachers can't teach, get rid of them. Easy.
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Re: The future of public education

Postby olywaguy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:47 am

Where in the world are teachers making $ 100,000 a year? Not here in the U.S. I can tell you that. I was a certified high school social studies teacher for the state of Louisiana before I went into the library biz., I can tell you...teachers aren't paid enough for their work. They take their work home with them and grade papers for hours and prepare for classes for the next day at the same time.

Here in the U.S., the budget has been slashed so much that teachers are providing basic supplies for the school out of their own pockets and kids selling chocolate bars to raise money for their school. That is not the way it should be at all. In order to meet budgets, a lot of schools are closing down art and music departments instead of the costly football and basketball programs. Talk to me about priorities!!

When I was student teaching, the state of Louisiana was in the process of implementing an evaluation system for teachers. However, the format wasn't very good. Evaluators were taught that certain phrases were deemed "defensive" and too watch out for them. Even when a teacher was bad, he still had a couple of more chances before you could get rid of them. The evaluation system was eventually dropped. Don't know if they found something better.

Teachers are definitely not getting rich doing what they do. Here in the U.S., they are the most disrespected profession in the country and yet, they are the ones who made it possible for quite a few of us to better ourselves...without their encouragement, we wouldn't be where we are now.
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Re: The future of public education

Postby Rico » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:02 pm

nimby wrote:What is your alternative? Do you think parents should quit their jobs to stay home and educate their kids too? Which one should it be? Who should decide? And what the hell am I paying huge taxes for? When you have stupid teachers earning $100K a year, and a job for life (because of the unions) why should they bother working hard. I don't know about where you are, but here the unions have grown too strong. I say break the unions and get rid of the shitty teachers. These ivory tower government workers have been at the trough far too long. Reward excellence but get rid of the bull shitters. With out union protection, the system will fix itself. Close to 60% of my total income already goes to taxes to pay for these fat cats. Enough. If the teachers can't teach, get rid of them. Easy.


If there is an incompetent or unskilled teacher standing in front of a group of students, then there is in administrator not doing his or her job. Union or no union, there are ways to get rid of bad teachers. Teachers don't just magically appear. They are screened, hired and supervised by one or more administrators. I'd start there.

As far as the teachers unions, it's a mixed bag. A fairly large proportion of public school teachers in the U.S. are not covered under legally binding contracts. In fact, there are some 10 states in which there are virtually no legally binding K-12 teacher contracts at all (there are none in AL, AZ, GA, MS, NC, SC, TX, and VA; there is only one district with a contract in LA, and two in AR). Study after study fail to find a correlation between high rates of collective bargaining contracts among teachers and poor performance. In states without without binding teacher contracts, the schools are among the lowest performers in the nation.

I'm with you on the taxes though. I got my property tax bill this weekend...ouch. What amazed me was that more than 80% of my property taxes go to public education. The remaining 20% is split among the silly stuff like police, fire, public safety, infrastructure, etc. Salaries and benefits are a big part of that for sure. But again...it's the elected public officials and administrators who I need to blame for being so generous with my money.
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Re: The future of public education

Postby Gaydudelaf » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:48 pm

I heard they were talking about doing away with Cursive Writing in Indiana.
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Re: The future of public education

Postby Rico » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:32 am

Gaydudelaf wrote:I heard they were talking about doing away with Cursive Writing in Indiana.

I heard that. They reasoning is that teaching cursive writing takes up valuable time that might be better used elsewhere -- like teaching children meaningless trivia so they can pass even more meaningless standardized tests.
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