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I feel so validated...

For years now, I've been saying that there appears to be almost an inverse relationship between educational funding and actual results -- that the more we spend, the worse the test scores. My main evidence has been anecdotal, mainly citing the per-student expenditure of New Hampshire versus Massachusetts and other exemplars, such as New York City or Washington, DC. But I never bothered to take a very hard look at the matter.

Well, graphmeister (and Guest Wizbanger Emeritus) Will Franklin turned his keen analytical mind to that very issue recently -- and found statistical proof to what I'd known intuitively.

Now, obviously, the 'reductio ad absurdum" argument is that if we spend nothing on education, we'll have a generation of geniuses, but I think Will's observation should take a bit of wind out of the sails of those who think that solving the problems of education is simply a matter of throwing more and more money at it.

Thank you, Will, and welcome back to regular blogging. Your keen intellect and ability to explain complex matters in readily-grasped terms and clear charts and graphs have been sorely missed indeed.


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Comments (49)

My neighbors were over last... (Below threshold)
JAT:

My neighbors were over last night, and during the conversations something bumped right and they started talking about Country Music Awards (CMA), during which their 16 yr old daughter brought up all sorts of facts on performers - my neighbor said "she doesn't know a thing about algebra, but she can tell you everything about most country performers!" Nothing new - I'd seen her do the same with NASCAR stuff! I have no idea what this kid does in school.

Here's the dirty little sec... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

Here's the dirty little secret: often the increased spending is mandated for the special needs kids who are now (thanks to IDEA) mainstreamed into regular ed classes. In some cases, an aide must be hired to assist ONE child. The per pupil costs are skewed. Many kids with special needs will NEVER be able to pass the tests.

If America decides that the "bottom line" is the important consideration in terms of achievement recorded against money spent, weed out all the special needs kids, including the economically disadvantaged who don't have the support to get to school well-fed and dressed. Let's educate only the ambitious, hardworking, mentally average and above kids. Wow, watch our test scores soar! Watch the costs drop! What a great business model!

What many Americans, including Bill Gates, need to grasp is that children aren't computers that teachers can program and for whose progress those teachers can be held accountable. Children have their own variables of ability, ambition, and attendance that no teacher can control (encourage, yes, but only to a certain degree).

Hold me accountable for teaching the curriculum--I can document that with lesson plans and student work. Chart tests scores along with ability index, attendance, and grade in the subject area. Teachers must be held accountable for their teaching; students need to be held accountable for their learning, but it needs to be set in the context of their ability.

Teachers must be held ac... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Teachers must be held accountable for their teaching

True dat! It must be frustrating for the good teachers to see the really bad teachers get the same raises, benefits, etc.

I hear the process to fire a teacher (if that can be done) is long and expensive, also. But I have nothing to back that up.

Goddessoftheclassroom,... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

Goddessoftheclassroom,

Great post and personal analysis, but I guess that is why you use your handle of "Goddess of the classroom".

Not being an expert myself, just an observer, it seems many teachers teach at the pace of the slowest student in the class. In the meantime students that are ready for advancement are stagnated.

I guess the reasoning for doing away with grouping children into ability groups was due to the "self esteem" issue of the "dumb group". Same reason of doing away with "dodge ball" because of the weak never gets to win.

So my non-scientific personal observation, piggy backing off the Goddess's post is the solution of doing away with some of the political correctness and place students in their ability groups again.

We had it in the 1960's when I was in grade school. When I was in a lower tier I remember striving to get to the upper levels.

Now look at me, I own a mansion and a yacht. (Well just a house and a more like a ski boat) But hey, it could have been worse if the entire class stayed in the "dumb group" to make the slow kids feel better. I could have ended up with a trailer and an inner tube...or something.

How about we hold some of t... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

How about we hold some of these parents accountable instead? The great turd on the rug in education is that typically, failures are based in incompetent parenting. Actual incompetence in teaching is a statistically rare thing.

One simple solution would s... (Below threshold)
ted:

One simple solution would solve the entire problem:

SCHOOL CHOICE/SCHOOL VOUCHERS!!!!!!!

Of course, it will never happen because the "education establishment" (teachers unions, dems, etc.) have nothing to do positively with education. They're all about retaining their power and if stifling education is the cost, which it most definitely is, sobeit.

Actual incompetence in teac... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Actual incompetence in teaching is a statistically rare thing.

Ever been to an inner city school? These teachers can barely speak proper grammar, let alone teach it.

Does anyone truly think kids in DC are getting a great education, even though cost per pupil is one of highest in nation? All kids want to learn, its in their DNA, NEA more interested in power and profit instead of production.

The dumbing down of America... (Below threshold)
theExecutioner:

The dumbing down of America is complete.

As long as schools are run ... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

As long as schools are run by Unions more interested in electing politicians than keeping good, qualified teachers money won't solve the problem. As long as "social engineering" and "self esteem" rank higher in importance than actual learning then money will be wasted on the failed, ill-conceived programs.

As long as the idea of "competition" is discouraged the students will continue to fail. I work in a competitive industry. If you don't have the drive to better than the next person I won't hire you.

"Lack of money" is not the cause of all the educational problems just like it's not the cause of all crime. As long as the ones running the educational system continue to think the problem lies everywhere but in their lap then the American public school system will continue to be the pathetic, third-rate system it is.

Get the government out of t... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Get the government out of the classrooms. The lack of competition that currently exist in our educational system is key reason in the poor performance.

Once there's competition, you'll find the salaries for good teacher rise. The free market will do a much better job at identifying 'good' teachers than any bureaucrat or standard test could ever hope to. You'll also find schools form to meet the differing needs of different students.

Anecdotally, the emphasis seems to be more on bringing the bottom 10% up at the cost of the remaining 90%. Some number of years ago I was in a government run high school. The school actually had a rotating schedule where a different class met twice in a day depending on the day of week. The purpose was to re-teach the material that the bottom X% of the class wasn't learning. The rest of us sat there bored for a second time.

Get the government out of the business of running the educational systems!

Goddess, I seem to remember... (Below threshold)
Bo:

Goddess, I seem to remember complimenting you on a previous comment in this arena. Your insight is not uncommon amongst teachers, but it's seldom voiced by the groups who claim to represent teachers.

Much of the troubles of the public school system today can be traced directly to desegregation (please hear my point before you start flinging "racist" accusations). The politicians who were elected on a platform of ending segregation held a view that black children couldn't perform on the same level as white children, ignoring the fact that the education provided by the black schools was truly top-notch (it was the facilities that got shorted by Plessy v. Ferguson, not the curriculum). Further, benchmarks for student and teacher performance were cast aside, again stemming from the belief that the black teachers and students weren't capable of meeting the standards of the "white schools." Nothing could have been further from the truth, but that was the attitude of those who pushed segregation most strongly. This was the most damnable form of racism, as it taught the black children that excellence was unattainable (and ultimately unnecessary) because of the color of their skin. It not only projected inferiority but also cultivated a culture of entitlement, neither of which existed prior to desegregation.

Should the schools have been desegregated? Certainly. It was grossly unfair to force black and white children to learn separately and expect them to work and live together. Was desegregation implemented correctly? Not by a long shot.

The "self-esteem" movement of the 80s was an attempt to gloss over these past failures, and certainly contributed to the pitiful condition of the public school system that we see today, but it wasn't by any means the beginnings of the problem.

Can the system be fixed? Not until a hardline approach that demands teacher and student performance be brought up to reasonable standards is instituted, without making excuses based on demographics. We'd also have to anticipate and accept the fact that when this is implemented, the first decade or so will reflect pitiful performance, high dropout and failure rates, and high teacher attrition rates. If we could "tough it out" through those times, though, we'd see a vastly improved system that would more than adequately serve dozens of generations to come.

As long as our efforts at fixing the problem are limited to throwing more money at it, the system will continue to decline.

When you're drawing water to put out a fire, and your bucket has a hole in it, eventually, it behooves you to fix the hole, even if the fire grows a bit while you're patching up the bucket.

_Mike_:--So to sum... (Below threshold)
ted:

_Mike_:--

So to sum it up, V O U C H E R S !!!

Bo, desegregation will be o... (Below threshold)
ted:

Bo, desegregation will be one of the problems wiped away with V O U C H E R S!!!

It's true that the finances... (Below threshold)

It's true that the finances are skewed because of mainstreaming, and it's true that the political correctness nonsense has redirected time and money to BS, AND it's true that it's ridiculously hard to get rid of crappy teachers and fairly reward good ones (thanks, unions!). Furthermore, it's a big problem that we demand very little from kids today. We love those based on true story movies like Stand And Deliver where the heroic teacher takes the lowest achieving kids, challenges them to do better, and they succeed, but we don't make those demands of our own children.

The problem isn't so much the schools, but the Marxist policies they're implementing, which started decades ago. It's a huge taxpayer funded Gramscian social experiment with Mastery Learning/Outcome Based Education as the current method. Now is the second, or maybe third generation of those policies. You can't blame individual administrators, teachers, or even the unions for it, it's like some huge juggernaut that even if you want to stop it, you have no idea how. People were griping about this in 1955 when Why Johnny Can't Read was published and it's gotten a good deal worse since then.

But if you want a comparison of how badly we've strayed, pick up a Little House on the Prairie book (Little Town on the Prairie has some good examples) and read how kids those days did long division in their heads out to about eight decimal points. These days you do well getting kids to do that on paper.

In fact essentially every e... (Below threshold)
ted:

In fact essentially every education problem will be solved with vouchers (school choice).

In essence, the Govt. supports education for everyone by financially subsidizing through vouchers -- thus universal education -- but the schools themselves (once meeting some minimum standards) are the choice of the parents of each student.

Quite simple, but the Dems/Teachers Unions will NEVER allow this.

I believe that this should be the #1 domestic issue in the nation, because it would, in one fell swoop, solve so much!

How about we hold some o... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

How about we hold some of these parents accountable instead?

What a tired, worn out comment. The only thing a parent should be responsible for education wise is that the student has ample time to do their homework.

TEACHING is up to the teachers. It's not the parents fault if the kids aren't being taught in class, period.

Parents shouldn't be checking the homework either. Parents can help their child with homework if they are having problems of course.

Homework re-enforces what was taught in the classroom. Parents are not in the classrooms. Teachers used to check homework but for some reason has now farmed this work out to the parents. We are doing the job teachers don't want to do.

ted,Not that I'm a... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

ted,

Not that I'm against vouchers, but I don't view them as a silver bullet for solving all the ills of education. They are but one step in a process and placing too much reliance in them is as flawed as the social experimentation concepts were.

Correlation does not equal ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Correlation does not equal causation. The real issue here is that we have entire schools crammed full of students that no amount of money will help.

Public educators -- even if they were all totally competent -- are simply no match for urban cultures (and increasingly, their suburban offshoots) that glorify being an illiterate, inarticulate, pants-sagging dopehead. Urban youths are hung up on a Cult of Stupid.

Faith+1, respectfully I mus... (Below threshold)
ted:

Faith+1, respectfully I must disagree with you. Quite literally, school vouchers/school choise IS THE SILVER BULLET. Yes, it is indeed that simple.

Faith+1, and free market ca... (Below threshold)
ted:

Faith+1, and free market capitalism is NO SOCIAL EXPERIMENT, that is, beyond the free market capitalism enjoyed in this nation since its roots.

Not only is it true that th... (Below threshold)

Not only is it true that the outputs per input decrease over time in education but there's a name for it: Gammon's Law. It's true in health care, too. All is explained in this old post of mine.

Urban youths are ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
Urban youths are hung up on a Cult of Stupid

Word, I heard dat.

Who hasn't heard that "horizon expanding" equals mimicking the "man"?

Sad but true.

ted, I fail to see how my p... (Below threshold)
Bo:

ted, I fail to see how my post indicates that desegregation itself is a problem, nor do I ascribe to the groupthink that asserts that vouchers will lead to more segregation. To assert that "all problems will be solved with vouchers" is simply asinine, however. Would you, for instance, allow curriculum control to be exercised by the state in order for a school to be able to honor said vouchers? How exactly would you establish benchmarks for performance, and would Parochial schools be allowed to keep the religious aspect of their curriculum?

Vouchers are, as was the destruction of the heterogenous classroom environment, a "quick fix" that only addresses one element of the perceived problem.

Vagabond...THANK YOU for pointing out the obvious. Teachers who aren't properly instructing their class are the ones who are breaking our kids' backs with overloaded bookbags and 3 hours a night of homework. One of the most effective teachers I ever had possessed a dogmatic aversion to homework. She may have necessitated some nightly time devoted to study, but none of this "busywork" BS that my kids are doing now.

The lost truth in all this is that school (after the first few elementary grades) isn't about learning "stuff" but rather about learning how to learn. That's why standardized testing isn't the answer.

er....should have read...</... (Below threshold)
Bo:

er....should have read...

"...as was the destruction of the heterogeneous classroom..."

Nothing like a spelling error in a debate over public education, eh?

Personal experience:<... (Below threshold)
engineer:

Personal experience:

At present I have four of my children is a local Christian school. Cost: $130.00/child/month.

They test out a couple of grades ahead of their public school counterparts. The cirriculum that they use is homeschooling material, the particular one is very difficult (we've used it when we homeschooled some of our other children).

I look over their spelling words and am amazed at the difficulty of the words for their grade level.

One of our children is 'adopted' and went to public school before we got him. He was getting straight A's. I looked at his school work. His papers would be marked 'Good' and 'Excellent'. I checked them over. Some of the pages weren't done, others had over half of the problems wrong. Yet, nothing was marked as incorrect. We pulled him out at the end of the year, and enrolled him in a private school. They tested him, and even though he was in 5th grade, he only tested at a 2nd grade level. With private schooling, Christian schooling and now homeschooling, he is up to grade level at the 9th grade. Which, by the way is better than most of the 12th graders.

He isn't alone either. I play softball and basketball with the local youth, and about half of the high schoolers can't read. But that's okay, the teachers are pulling in a salary every month.

<a href="http://www.america... (Below threshold)
Chk this out! "Socialist in pearls":
I totally disagree with you... (Below threshold)
Amy:

I totally disagree with you Vaga regarding the role of parents in education. It's gotten so that children are about the equivalent of the expensive little dogs you see Britney Spears and Paris Hilton carrying around... they're aquisitions, prizes, but parents don't want to bother with the effort to raise the kids right. They ship kids off to daycare so they can pursue their own lives (not ALL parents, of course, but this is the trend), then off to public school at the age of 4-5 where they depend on teachers to not only educate but also raise, provide moral values, etc. I personally believe lack of parental interest is a key problem with our educational system today. If parents were there to help their children more, perhaps that would make kids more interested in learning. My mother is a teacher and she does disagree with the amount of homework she's required to give, but also disheartened that parents have so little interest in what their children are learning.

I agree, if teachers didn't... (Below threshold)
Kev:

I agree, if teachers didn't have to spend so much time raising kids maybe they would have more time to TEACH the kids.

more personal experience:</... (Below threshold)
Mark:

more personal experience:

my older sister teaches english/history at a cA junior high school. A few years back I was at my parents house to watch a football game and she was there with some vocabulary tests she was grading. My younger sister offered to help grade and during the grading commented that a student had misspelled one of the vocabulatry words while using it in a sentence.
My older sister, the teacher's, answer, "I don't care if they spell the words right."

This was 7th grade english and the words were ones I had known in 4th grade. Worse my sister had just declared that she didn't care about spelling it correctly.

But then again this is the same teacher who threw a tantrum when some California politicians started talking about changing the education program so that school would be year round. "She didn't want to have to give up her summer trips to Europe."

Put bluntly. We need to remove the blocks on making education a real product and then allow parents to choose where to send their children. This will weed out the weak teachers very quickly.

Awwww... A bunch of people ... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Awwww... A bunch of people who want to make excuses for parents who can't be bothered to raise their children. Put the blame on everyone but themselves, just like a Democrat...

Listkeeper...Have ... (Below threshold)
Bo:

Listkeeper...

Have you ever stopped to consider that a) the teacher sees the child more hours of the day than even a stay-at-home parent; b) the school year has gotten increasingly longer over the past 20 or so years, thereby further decreasing the time children are around their parents; and c) much of current curriculum has attempted to undermine the authority of the parent, by insisting that the gospel of "multiculturalism" and "diversity" is far superior to the antiquated (read: western) values espoused by the parents?

While AWOL and unconcerned parents do deserve some of the blame for the state of affairs, the lion's share of that blame rests upon the failures of the public school system.

Additionally, you are exemplifying the "blame everyone but themselves" attitude by insisting that blame lies on parents, not on the system? It's certainly "Democratish" to insist that the government program is doing its job, so the problem must be elsewhere...

I personally believe lac... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

I personally believe lack of parental interest is a key problem with our educational system today.

I could not disagree more Amy. How can you compare Paris Hilton to the other 99.99999% of America? I can't believe there is a parent out there who wants the school, teacher or any government establishment to provide them or their children moral values, etc.

I don't know what side of the fence your coming from you cite extreme cases and don't account for the majority of parents. To say that parents are a KEY problem in our educational system is naive or you are covering up for poor teachers. Could you get away with that claim at a college or tech school? Of course not.

If you can't fire teachers who don't perform, how is the system ever going to be fixed? Bad teachers are the KEY problem in our educational system. Not parents.

Faith+1-----99% correct. We... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Faith+1-----99% correct. Well maybe 100%.

The Listkeeper --Correct

Nothing will change as long as the liberals insist that there should, actually will, be no punishment for crime/misbehavior.

You can put up all of the 65 MPH speed signs you want, if there is '0' enforcement everyone will drive as fast as their vehicle will go. Same with children, as long as there is no punishment, (and a time out is simple minded BS), 10% of the children will not learn and the other 90% can't because of disruption by the 10%.

The teachers unions are costing the public millions and their only accomplishment is to drive the smart college grads to go somewhere besides education and leave the bottom 10% (unemployable in the private sector) of grads to teach.

Most of the public school problems can be tracked back to the anti-american remove all faith from school crowd, aka liberal democrats, and outright communist organizations like the ACLU. My solution as a start would be to drag every ACLU member and supporter out and shoot them. Hey, that's what the commumist they support will do to you given the power.

Vouchers are not the "silve... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Vouchers are not the "silver bullet" that will save education. While it is attractive to think that merely moving a child from a public to a private school will solve all the ills of the world, it is a misguided notion.

Statistics that show that private school students perform better leave out many variables. Fr instance, private schools can be selective about who they accept. Private schools can cap classroom size to provide a better student-teacher ratio. Both of these things alone can provide a reason why a private school might appear to be better.

Once you introduce government money into the equation, things will begin to change. Private schools will no longer be able to discriminate. I guarantee that they will be required to accpet anyone who has a voucher and a means to pay. That's the nature of government money. Once you agree to accept it, you must play by the government's rules. The recent Supreme Court rulings about ROTC ina case in point. THose universities accept federal funds, so they have to allow the government programs.

Class size will increase as a result. The private schools will have to recruit more teachers. Where do you think those teachers will come from? That's right. The same public school teachers who the parents were fleeing will begin to appear in the private schools. Typically, private schools don't pay enough to lure the best and the brightest away. While there are exceptions, that is not normally the case.

Both of these factors will eventually cause private school tuition to rise. The market will dictate it. Increased demand with a limited increase in supply does that. Prices will rise to the point where the out-of-pocket cost with a voucher will be about the what the total cost was before the voucher. We will be back to square one again.

Vouchers provide parents wi... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Vouchers provide parents with a choice. We deserve that choice. Our children deserve that choice. The public schools would adjust (ie. get rid of bad teachers) or fail. Which is exactly what should happen.

If you are not giving the public a good product, why should you succeed? Amy said the parents are the KEY problem. Compare that to private schools. They have to produce or they don't get customers. Guess what. They produce. Their test scores are always higher than public schools.

Ted (SCHOOL CHOICE/SCHOO... (Below threshold)

Ted (SCHOOL CHOICE/SCHOOL VOUCHERS!!!!!!!) is right. There's no way to fix the current system except by destroying it.

I think the solution is to get rid of the existing system of public schools altogether, and give every student a voucher which can be used at the educational facility of his/her (parent's) choice. The public school system would be replaced by private schools, perhaps run by not-for-profit business entities. The success or failure of those schools would be determined by their ability to attract students.

State involvement would be limited to setting standards and measuring results (testing). For special needs kids, the state might provide special subsidies in the form of higher-value vouchers. This would provide incentives for schools to develop programs for such kids.

Existing schools would be sold to the private schools, which would then be responsible for upkeep and any further construction.

There would be uncertainty, if not chaos, for a few years after adopting this kind of scheme because no school would have a track record. After a while, it would become clear which schools were doing better and which worse, and the parents would vote with their vouchers. The pressure on the poorer schools to improve would be immense, because the alternative would be to close or to sell out to a more successful organization.

BTW, because the vouchers would be given to parents and not the schools, there should be no church/state issues. The parents would be free to use their vouchers at the schools of their individual choice. There would be no "Jihad High" (or "KKK Academy") if the state regulators who are setting standards are doing their jobs correctly.

This will never happen because there are too many vested interests that control the education establishment on a political level, but I think it would work.

Both of these fac... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
Both of these factors will eventually cause private school tuition to rise. The market will dictate it. Increased demand with a limited increase in supply does that. Prices will rise to the point where the out-of-pocket cost with a voucher will be about the what the total cost was before the voucher. We will be back to square one again.

Basic Economics. The role of prices in a free market economy is the efficient allocation of scarce resources with alternative uses. Where prices rise, good follow. Or to paraphrase William Buckley, the cure for high prices is higher prices.

As private school tuitions rise, the increase will draw more investment (i.e. other schools will open). To think that there's a fixed supply of teachers neglects the fact that many people who are capable of teaching don't because the pay is lousy compared the private sector.. which is because a meritocracy does not exist in our educational system.

Borrowing an analogy, imagine if the grocery stores were government run. Everyone was assigned a grocery store based on what 'grocery district' in which they lived. How do you think the government run grocery stores would compare to the private run stores we enjoy today ?

Class size will increase... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Class size will increase as a result. The private schools will have to recruit more teachers. Where do you think those teachers will come from?

Well the private schools would only hire the good teachers. The market drives that. Your assumption is that private schools would never get bigger. With increased enrollment comes encreased revenue which equates to expansion and adding on to the existing private schools. I can even see private schools taking over abandoned public schools to meet demand for new students.

Either the public schools can weed out bad teachers or it will be done thru free market. For the public schools to survive, it would be good for them (and us) if they did it voluntairly. If not, vouchers will ultimately take care of it.

Vagabond: "What a tired, wo... (Below threshold)

Vagabond: "What a tired, worn out comment. The only thing a parent should be responsible for education wise is that the student has ample time to do their homework.

TEACHING is up to the teachers. It's not the parents fault if the kids aren't being taught in class, period. "

Um. Teaching is up to the parents. it is the parents who have the child from day one, teaching them to obey, to talk, to walk, and to go potty. And the parents who know their child best (or should). The parent is the one who decides how to educate their child, what school the child goes to (or if they will educate at home). It is the parent that decides whether to get a private tutor after hours, or if it would be better to send the child to a program like Sylvan.

Teachers are just doing the job that the parents have chosen them to do. Some are better or worse at that job. And yes, some need to be fired. But the ultimate responsibility lies with the parents to make sure their child is educated. The parent is the one who decides what sacrifices to make to make sure their child is prepared for the world, no matter what the state system is or is not doing.

The parent's attitude toward education at home will affect the child even at school. The parents' activity in the school, checking in, keeping up on what the child is learning, will relay itself to the child in various ways and affect the child's interest in being educated.

A teacher can NOT teach a child that does not want to be taught. They can motivate, and try to interest. But a teacher is there for a year. Parents are there for a lifetime and have much greater sway over their children, and can set the tone for what is expected, etc.

I fear that some of our education woes come from a culture that believes as you do -- the parents have no responsibility in teaching their kids. It is all up to the teachers in the schools. And the kids get from this attitude that education is not important to their parents. Whether that is what the parents meant to say with their actions or not.

Um. Teaching is up to th... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Um. Teaching is up to the parents.

uhm....wrong. You try not sending your child to either a private school or a public school.

Teachers are just doing the job that the parents have chosen them to do.

Wrong again. We are not allowed to chose the teachers for our children, cirriculum or many times even the public school the child goes to.

I fear that some of our education woes come from a culture that believes as you do -- the parents have no responsibility in teaching their kids

3 strikes and you are out. We, the parents, are responsible for teaching our children our beliefs and morals, etc. The teachers are responsible for teaching their cirriculum, not the parents.

We provide our children the tools to learn. We make sure their homework is done. We help them with homework when we can.

If parents are responsible ... (Below threshold)

If parents are responsible for their children's learning, what exactly are we paying "educators" for, again? Babysitting services?

When our third-graders' standardized test results are compared to the other major industrial countries, they come out near the top. But when they are tested again in eighth grade, they rank at the bottom of industrial nations. I strongly suspect most of them, at least, have the same parents as they did in 3rd grade. Did the parents suddenly become uncaring, or just dumber, over five years' time?

Doesn't pass the laugh test.

Vouchers are no panacea, it is true. But it must also be straightforwardly declared that the public schools are a failure.

Vagabond:"uhm....wrong. You... (Below threshold)

Vagabond:"uhm....wrong. You try not sending your child to either a private school or a public school."

Many parents are doing just that -- sending their students to neither a public nor a private school. And their children are learning just fine.

Vagabond: "Wrong again. We are not allowed to chose the teachers for our children, cirriculum or many times even the public school the child goes to."

Ah. But as a parent you make the CHOICE to send your child to public school. My father did not like the high school we would have gone to, so we moved into a different district (in a different city even). He could also have put us in private school or pulled us out and educated us himself at home.

if it is just a particular teacher you have a problem with, often you can lobby the school to get your student moved.

Many districts have special programs you can put your student in.

But all of this means the parent has to take responsibility for making sure their child is educated.

Vagabond: "We, the parents, are responsible for teaching our children our beliefs and morals, etc. The teachers are responsible for teaching their cirriculum, not the parents. "

You agree with me. Parents are teachers. They teach their children beliefs, morals, attitudes, as well as the basics such as potty training, walking, talking... The teachers are responsible for teaching only those things for which the parents have given them the responsibility for (if only by choosing to send their children to a particular school). The responsibility for the teaching ultimately falls on the parents.

Jim Addison,You can ... (Below threshold)

Jim Addison,
You can be responsible for something and still subcontract the work out to someone else to actually do.

Companies do this all the time. However, we are still responsible for the quality of work our subcontractors are producing.

Is anyone going to be happy at Boeing if the plane falls out of the sky because Widget 52 was not made properly, and Boeing says "That wasn't our job. XYZ Industries was responsible for that part."?

Many parents are doing j... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Many parents are doing just that -- sending their students to neither a public nor a private school. And their children are learning just fine.

I assume you mean home schooling here and I agree. Home Schooling is superior to public schools.

But as a parent you make the CHOICE to send your child to public school.

your comment was teachers are doing the job parents chose them to do. If I could chose the teachers for my kids in public schools, everyone would be picking the good teachers and their classes would be overcrowded. That's why we don't get the CHOICE.

Private schools are out of my financial ability since my TAX DOLLARS are going to public education. If I had my TAX DOLLARS to spend the way I could, I would use my TAX DOLLARS to send my children to a private school. That would be my CHOICE.

if it is just a particular teacher you have a problem with, often you can lobby the school to get your student moved.

True, but an bad teacher won't get fired. Been there, done that.

There are a lot of points i... (Below threshold)

There are a lot of points in this discussion that I agree with on the state of our education system today. As a teacher, I can tell you it stinks.

Parents DO teach their children - a whole heck of a lot more than a teacher. Parents have had them for a full FIVE years before they even get to us and in that time they should have been taught things like, respecting authority, please and thank you, what are appropriate times to sit still and to play. By the age of five, these things are already ingrained. Or not.

When you spend any amount of time with your child, read them a story, plant a flower, go to a museum, you are teaching them. Something most of the students I teach don't get. I have a curriculum I have to teach that is reliant on a certain amount of background knowledge that my students just don't have. I have to spend time going over this background with them AND make certain they get the key concepts.

In the past month alone I've had one student robbed at gunpoint, one molested by her father, and another who thankfully sought the counselor because he was having thoughts of hurting someone. I'm sure requiring us to take a certification test in psychiatry is right around the corner.

This may seem like an "extreme" case to you, and granted it is a city school. Most of my students get free/reduced lunch. However, I've taught the white rich kids also and ran into quite a few that have no manners, do not respect their teachers and everything they do or say isn't their fault because they have ADD/ADHD/BiPolar disorder/ The excuses have really changed from "my dog ate it." This behavior of blame someone/something else doesn't come from school. I can pretty much guarantee that it isn't in any school's curriculum.

And I don't care how stupid you as a parent think your child's teacher is - you do them no favors in life by teaching them it's OK to be rude and disrespectful.

Eyeballing the graph, it lo... (Below threshold)
jpe:

Eyeballing the graph, it looks like there's a loose positive correlation between spending/gdp and rank in the OECD.

I would agree with Mareen. ... (Below threshold)

I would agree with Mareen. It starts in the home. Teachers CANNOT do their job unless parents EMPHASIZE learning at home as well. Granted that homework as it is is meaningless (boring repetitive assignments only work for the lowest 10% who can't seem to get ANY subject), I bet you many teachers find themselves running afoul of parents who won't support them when it comes to the kids they teach. Holding teachers accountable for the subjects at hand is one thing, but to forget the disruptive behavior of students who never learned how to behave in class from their parents is asinine.

My older sister is a high school math teacher, she's taught anywhere from gifted to dundernead. That and I'm only 24, so much of what went on in school I still remember myself.

See my comment above.... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

See my comment above.

Homework, vouchers, and parent/teacher efforts are meaningless as long as tennagers continue to be a bunch of barbarians.

Jim Addison,You c... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Jim Addison,
You can be responsible for something and still subcontract the work out to someone else to actually do.

Companies do this all the time. However, we are still responsible for the quality of work our subcontractors are producing.

Is anyone going to be happy at Boeing if the plane falls out of the sky because Widget 52 was not made properly, and Boeing says "That wasn't our job. XYZ Industries was responsible for that part."?


Posted by: My Boaz's Ruth at November 16, 2006 03:50 PM

Got news for you Boaz. if it was a part XYZ Industries made that broke, XYZ would be the ones who paid for the mistake. Aerospace is very diligent in enforcing a complete part tracability program. Boeing could go into its records for any plane and tell you who supplied each part, what testing the part underwent, and usually the heat lot of the metal in the part along with the date that metal was released from the mill. I have worked in Aerospace and companies keep records for up to 20 years on parts they made so that if there is a failure they can prove they made the part correctly and that it passed all the necessary tests.

We don't do that for education though




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