Tag: school systems

Alabama Steps Up

I rarely say this: good for Alabama:

Republicans dropped a legislative bombshell tonight as they slammed through a dramatically revamped education bill that will give tax credits for families at “failing schools” to send their children to private school or another public school.

Lawmakers voted mid-day to send a school flexibility bill — that would let school systems seek waivers from some policies — to conference committee. The conference committee reported a dramatically different bill that included the flexibility measures plus what some lawmakers called school vouchers.

Republicans heralded it as a historic day for education and life-altering for children stuck in poorly performing schools. But tempers boiled over as Democrats called the maneuver “sleaziness” and a “bait and switch.”

If the Democrats think this is sleazy, they are apparently unfamiliar with how the sausage is made in a democracy. If they had the numbers, they could have easily voted this down. If they had the governorship, they could veto it. But they have neither, so they are reduced to decrying sleazy tactics and throwing the race card.

Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, as she was leaving the House chamber threw her hands over her head and shouted, “Welcome to the new confederacy where a bunch of white men are now going to take over black schools.”

Actually, this about removing children, including black ones, from a system that is centrally managed and controlled; about giving the more control of their future not less. The bill includes provisions for corporations and individuals to set up scholarships for kids to escape the failing public schools (Alabama is in the bottom portion of spending per pupil and almost at the bottom in achievement). What we are talking is potential liberation from the Soviet-style education system that places kids in schools based not on ability, need or disposition but location. A system that has created a horrific divide between functional suburban schools and failing city schools.

The fact is that the states are growing desperate. They see ever more money poured into public schools with no results. A game-changer is needed. Is this the magic formula? I have no idea but it’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

As for the sleazy tactics, I would prefer that the Republicans have put this on the table earlier so that proper debate could have been had. Ultimately, the voters will decide on that. But this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The unions and their allies have pulled out all the stops in the past — including using children as political shields — to oppose even modest attempts at reform. Last year’s voucher bill went down in flames because of these tactics. I know I should be objective here but I’m finding it hard to fault the Republicans for not giving their opponents enough time to drag some kids down to Montgomery for yet another staged protest.

Is this the China the marxists in our government love so much?

I way too often hear stories how evil our school system is because only the rich, those that can afford to pay for private education, make out, while those stuck with public schools are facing a crap shoot. My kid landed in one of the better school systems in Connecticut. Don’t get me wrong, I pay for it in taxes. My property taxes have all gone up by ridiculous numbers. The taxes on my home went up 5 fold in the 17 years since I bought it. The taxes on my vehicles all but doubled in the same time span, even though the relative value of the vehicles stayed about the same. My kid lucks out. Move about 17 miles north of me to Hartford, and you have some of the worst public schools in the nation. In Hartford they spend far more money per pupil than where my kid goes to school, and yet, they have some of the most frightening drop out and failure rates. They do have some strong ass unions and are hard core leftists, though, so I guess you can call it all Karma.

Anyway, we have all the marxism lovers here in the US, and especially those that were or are members of this administration, telling us they wished they ran the show here like they do in China. I wonder if they mean that they would like to run the public school system – the only one allowed in China – like they do there:

BEIJING — For Chinese children and their devoted parents, education has long been seen as the key to getting ahead in a highly competitive society. But just as money and power grease business deals and civil servant promotions, the academic race here is increasingly rigged in favor of the wealthy and well connected, who pay large sums and use connections to give their children an edge at government-run schools.

Nearly everything has a price, parents and educators say, from school admissions and placement in top classes to leadership positions in Communist youth groups. Even front-row seats near the blackboard or a post as class monitor are up for sale.

Zhao Hua, a migrant from Hebei Province who owns a small electronics business here, said she was forced to deposit $4,800 into a bank account to enroll her daughter in a Beijing elementary school. At the bank, she said, she was stunned to encounter officials from the district education committee armed with a list of students and how much each family had to pay. Later, school officials made her sign a document saying the fee was a voluntary “donation.”

“Of course I knew it was illegal,” she said. “But if you don’t pay, your child will go nowhere.”

I guess the first observation I can make is that if we did the same here, all that loot that these bribes would yield could be used to solve all the teacher’s union’s fiscal problems in one fell swoop. Of course, it is ironic that the very system that our marxists worship clearly has the worst aspect of an egalitarian system going for them: the hefty bribe that thus favors the well off.

And things are changing in China. The leadership just went from being one run by engineers to one no longer run by them. The new leader, Xi, has a double degree – chemical engineering and law – but he is the exception rather than the rule. Maybe with lawyers taking over China it will end up as fucked up as we are here. One thing is for certain: these leftist paradises are all always rotten to the core.

The system is broke, but we do not really like the fix, so let’s cheat..

The current abysmal state of education is a particular sore subject of mine. While we as parents made good choices and lucked out as far as school systems go, we remain intricately involved in my son’s education, stressing it’s importance and working hand in hand with his school to make sure he is being educated to the best of both his and the teacher’s ability. However, the more I talk to people or read about the subject, the more I am convinced that education here in the US is going to hell in a hand basket. Cases like this one, where educators simply decided to fudge scores for the kids, not only rob kids of the necessary learning experience of consequences to actions or lack thereof, but drastically undermine the credibility of the teaching profession.

Now let me start off by saying that I admit that I feel the bigger problem here is simply that these kids are already disadvantage, not because of their race or economic status, but because of over 50 years of leftists bullshit that has basically convinced both them and their parents that they will always remain excluded from the American dream, and can only get ahead if democrats hand them things. Going to school thus is simply seen as killing time. When your parents tell you school is a waste of time, you are not going to work at it. And let’s face it, no matter how great the teachers are, someone that doesn’t understand or value the education tax payers are providing them – and the fact is that the kids in this story likely all belong to parents that don’t pay any or minimal taxes – isn’t going to care much about it.

Mandating basic education by law is not enough to educate people. They have to work at it. In fact, I often wonder how much the impact of making education mandated instead of something earned, and thus prized and worked for, has been. We have also seen our school budgets become bloated because of the massive bureaucracy needed to do the paperwork that comes with government regulation. Yes, I know this bloated bureaucratic machine heavily abuses the system. And as hist_ed once pointed out in a comment on a post, whenever we need to reduce spending the powers that be never cut that bloated bureaucratic monster, but always target teachers, out of a callous political calculation that people will feel a lot more inclined to let them increase the pool of educators again when things get out of hand or better.

But all these drawbacks and problems with this system, despite the other players and problems, don’t give educators a pass. Especially when they have if not been the main culprit, actively participated in repeatedly and continuously lowering the bar, focusing on self esteem bullshit instead of rewarding hard work, and more importantly, pulling stunts like this one, likely to cover their asses. And the problem here is simply the following:

Cheating is wrong. Cheating by teachers, who are supposed to be role models, is worse. And cheating by teachers that harms students is worse still.

Weingarten, however, is correct that there is a “bigger issue.” It’s not that tests are terrible but that accountability, the principle behind testing, is under attack, and leading the assault are those educators who fear the consequences of being held accountable. If we allow accountability to be undermined, then school reform –necessary for improving children’s lives and for gaining higher economic growth – will wither and die.

Accountability has been the driving force behind school improvement since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in early 2002 on a vote of 87-10 in the Senate and 381-41 in the House. NCLB drew on a broad consensus in America that meeting high standards, verified through testing, was absolutely necessary to the success of every schoolchild.

The parents are uninvolved & kids don’t care about education because the man is holding them down, the bureaucratic machine is consuming the lions share of the education funding and teachers are treated as cannon fodder by the machine. Most of what is called or passes for teaching these days is focused on self esteem and massive feel good liberal indoctrination, instead of teaching kids what we commonly refer to as the “three Rs”. The valuable and traditional classical education that made the western education system amongst the best and helped us create the modern western world is being abandoned and replaced by insane fringe special interest bullshit to make subgroups in society feel relevant and more disconnected from the whole. And as a consequence of all that, the educational system is in shambles. But instead of dealing with the underlying issues, the damage 50 years of pure bullshit and ownership by one political party of the school system has caused, what these teachers did is try to cover their arses from people now demanding results for all the money the system gobbles up, and thus they cheated. That basically removes any sympathy I might have had for their plight. Worse, it arms those that feel and say that the onus is completely with the educator class with powerful ammunition. Of course, the big losers for the last 2 or so decades are the kids pushed through the system. But who gives a crap about them anyway.