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Old 09-17-2003, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Seattle
public education -- are we throwing money away?

From the Cato "Daily Digest":
-------------------------------------------------------------------

MORE MONEY DOESN'T EQUAL A BETTER EDUCATION

"Given its investment in education, the United States isn't getting the return it expects when compared with the performance of other nations, a report shows," The Associated Press reports ( http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ation_compared )

"Among more than 25 industrialized nations, no country spends more public and private money to educate each student than the United States," according to an annual review by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"But American 15-year-olds scored in the middle of the pack in math, reading and science in 2000, and the nation's high-school graduation rate was below the world average in 2001."

David Salisbury, director of Cato's Center for Educational Freedom, made the following comments regarding the report: "In spite of the fact that the U.S. spends more than any other nation on education, U.S. students show only mediocre performance on math, reading, and scientific knowledge in comparison to their international peers. What this should make perfectly obvious is that putting more money into education will not raise student
performance. What will? Cut out the bureaucracy in public schools at the federal, state, and local levels; give teachers and schools more autonomy to select their curriculum, textbooks, and methods; and, most importantly, allow student funding to go to whatever public or private school the parents choose for their child. Giving parents control over the dollars being spent on education is critical if we expect to see improvement in education."

------------------------

This of course isn't unbiased, but I'm interested in hearing what people think.
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Old 09-17-2003, 11:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'll I got to say is school should live within their means. At what point does underfunding no longer hold up as an excuse to piss poor test results? I think private vouchers could help, not to mention that in same cases in might even cost less money. Seretogis do you know what the figure of cost is to educate a public school student up here in Minnesota?
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Old 09-17-2003, 11:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.
 
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Location: Grantville, Pa
Alot of the money waste goes out in the bloated administration. My fiancees mother is a teacher and she has to answer to 8 vice principals.
Schools need a reform, and money needs to be redistributed so the inner cities and rural areas get as good an education as anyone else. But I fully believe public education is good.
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Old 09-17-2003, 11:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I am a public school teacher, and I will say this for the upteenth time. The only way to to fix the schools is this.

1 Pay the teachers a better salary. THe average new teacher lasts three years before they decide to do something silly like have a family or buy a house.

2 Lower the class size. 48 kids sitting on floors and window sills aren't going to learn much.

3 Give the teachers and schools back their authority. If I leave a kid back or send him to summer school, the parents should not be able to overide me because they feel it will hurt their child's self esteem. I guess being 22 and not knowing how to add DOESN'T hurt the child's self esteem?
And when the teacher or principal says something to a child or a parent, the courts or such should toss out all theses cases that undermind the school's authority.

Why is it that Bayside, which gets the same money as Long Island City, does fantastic each year, but Long Island City is in the pooper?

Its not the teachers, money, principals or materials, its the attitude of the parents and community. You want to fix a school, then fix the attitude and community it services.
But politcals wont say that to the people that vote them in. Its easier to blame the NYC school system as most of the teachers live out side the NYC voting district.
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Old 09-17-2003, 11:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The problem isn't really the amount of money so much as the use of that money. First, we have to take into account that the US has a lot more kids to educate than any other country (save China) with first tier public education system. This tells us two things. So logically we will have to spend more. As for the question at hand though. The problem is that most of the money goes to already wealthy metro schools and not to urban or rural schools. The money also goes to the wrong places. Our teachers are ill-payed, we have overcrowded class rooms in many urban areas, and our admistrators are overly paid. What we simply need to do is create a base minimum that would go to each school in America, create a higher, more competitive, teacher minimum wage, then after paying that amount out divide the remaining education budget allotted to schools by the number of students in America and compensate each school accordingly. However, this isn't likely to happen in the near future as the wealthier schools don't want to give up their niceties and the parents of the students who attend said schools are the power brokers here in the states.
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Old 09-17-2003, 12:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Seattle
Another article which may be interesting: LINK

Quote:
Pulling Up Stakes from Failing Public Schools
by Casey J. Lartigue Jr.

Casey Lartigue is an education policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

In his 1970 book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, economist Albert Hirschman discussed the ways that people negatively respond to failing organizations. In short, they either flee or attempt to change the system from within. But many people working in the failing public schools apparently don't want to leave and don't want to fix anything. And they criticize those who want to reform the schools.

For instance, public school defenders often denounce school choice advocates as "political opportunists." That's what National Education Association union leader Reginald Weaver said Oct. 19 in the keynote address at a fundraiser for the Greater Kansas City (Missouri) Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He warned the audience of about 1,000 people that vouchers were efforts by "political opportunists" seeking to divide minority communities.

Weaver acknowledged, however, that many black parents rightly have grown disillusioned with public schools, saying, "In past times, speaking before a largely African American audience and standing up for public education, I would be preaching to the choir. But I am acutely aware the choir is not as united as it used to be."

One reason the "choir" may not be united is that Weaver was speaking in Kansas City, where residents were familiar with the song-and-dance he was bringing to town. Just about everything Weaver wants done (reducing class size, paying teachers more, ensuring sufficient funding) has been tried in Kansas City. In a 1998 study for the Cato Institute, author Paul Ciotti tells the story of the Kansas City, Missouri, School District's attempt to improve the quality of education. In 1985, a federal judge took partial control over the troubled district on the grounds that it was an unconstitutionally segregated district. The judge invited the district to come up with a "cost-is-no-object" education plan.

Kansas City public school leaders responded by greatly increasing per-pupil spending, increasing teacher salaries, reducing the student-teacher ratio to about 12 to 1, building such things as 15 new schools, an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and paying for field trips to Mexico and Senegal.

The results? As Ciotti reported: "Test scores did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, integration." By 1997 even the federal judge who had taken over the district took himself off the case, expressing his frustration at not being able to raise test scores after devoting 20 percent of his time over a dozen years to the case.

Despite the numerous amenities featured in Kansas City's public schools, parents continue to flee those schools for private or charter schools. About 20 percent of public-school students living within the Kansas City School District are now enrolled in charter schools (Weaver, by the way, told reporters that he opposes charter schools).

If there is an indictment of the public school system, it is the fear exhibited by its defenders. They worry that if people are given a chance to leave with vouchers or tuition tax credits, public schools will be abandoned like ghost towns in the Old West. And that may not be such a bad thing.

When an institution no longer serves people well, they react negatively either by complaining or exiting. Some towns in the Old West were abandoned overnight because the town no longer had gold, or a different town nearby was seen as being more attractive because a railroad would be going through. The result was towns with more tumbleweeds than people.

Parents should be encouraged to abandon public schools that aren't educating their children. They can complain, as Cleveland City Councilwoman Fannie Lewis has. She says she has been trying to fix the public schools in Cleveland since 1951 (more than five decades now!).

If trying to fix the system doesn't work, parents need to have the option to pull up stakes and move on instead of subjecting their children to schools that can't educate.
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Old 09-17-2003, 12:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Anyone else besides me remember the G.I. Bill? Easy to argue that a significant percentage of the prosperity U.S. citizens enjoy to this day can be attributed to that chunk of public education.

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Old 09-17-2003, 12:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by seretogis
"Cut out the bureaucracy in public schools at the federal, state, and local levels; give teachers and schools more autonomy to select their curriculum, textbooks, and methods; and, most importantly, allow student funding to go to whatever public or private school the parents choose for their child. Giving parents control over the dollars being spent on education is critical if we expect to see improvement in education."
Yet another sterling example of why you should vote Libertarian. The party wants to do away with the Dept. of Education altogether, as they spend too much money trying to set policies and implement plans that only end up helping bureaucrats put money in their pockets.
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Doing away with the DoE would only make things worse. Cutting bureaucracy does not mean abolishing it. Plus the problem is not within the DoE which serves the critical function of making sure that schools throughout the nation are equal and balanced (though it success is up for debate). The bureaucracy that is the problem is the administration of most schools that recieve a significant portion of school funding as their salaries and who have no direct contact or stake in the children.
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Agreed. Libertarian philosophy is heavy-handed in a lot of cases. Privatizing everything and setting up a system where every dollar is a vote puts all the votes in the hands of a minority - the super-rich.
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I love how everyone wants to cut bureaucracy, but then it comes to the federal goverment, you liberal democrats LOVE to expand bureaucracy.
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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What are you talking about? No ones mentioned about expanding bureaucracy here. Not cutting the DoE is a far cry from calling for bigger government, especially when in comes in the same hand with reducing school bureaucracy.
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Old 09-17-2003, 02:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Conservative Republicans expand government just as much as liberal Democrats do. DHS anyone?
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Old 09-17-2003, 02:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by MuadDib
What are you talking about? No ones mentioned about expanding bureaucracy here. Not cutting the DoE is a far cry from calling for bigger government, especially when in comes in the same hand with reducing school bureaucracy.
You are correct, I was shooting off my mouth. I apologise.
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Old 09-17-2003, 03:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: Los Angeles
Oh I agree almost completely with Food Eater Lad.

I recently visited my old high school where my youngest brother is now and I can tell you - shit has not changed in years.

Money is still being spent on the wrong reasons. The principal-s- get to sit around in lavish offices, air conditioned, etc.

Even in a budget crisis they opt to spend their money on cable TV which most classes will *never* use.

Don't even get me started on the district offices, the superintendents, etc.

The money goes there while teachers suffer.

I remember when I was going to shcool and I can tell you, people are still the same shit. There is absolutely no discipline / respect or anything given to teachers. My former high school is still considered one of the top high schools in all of the Los Angeles/Orange County areas.

Yet the usuals such as disrespect, cutting, etc. are all there, and people don't do shit at all.

Its too much of the community/society problems. People don't want to learn, they want to play, they screw the education system up. Teachers give up because they simply can't handle this shit. Hats off to a lot of teachers who have to teach the normal classes, because Honors and AP classes and what not always get the better students (generally, tho not always, and cheating is rampant).

Money isn't a matter IMO other than for teachers and for the inner city and rural schools - the biggest part is student mentality.

Honestly though, enough with the bullshit places like Hollywood spew out about how cool it is to do the shit you do. Thats why I still say, society is fucked up and it starts right at the beginning with it all.

And yes the GI bill gave a lot to educate people - but I'll say that the generatoin then was a lot better than the one now.
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Old 09-17-2003, 04:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by MuadDib
Doing away with the DoE would only make things worse. Cutting bureaucracy does not mean abolishing it. Plus the problem is not within the DoE which serves the critical function of making sure that schools throughout the nation are equal and balanced (though it success is up for debate). The bureaucracy that is the problem is the administration of most schools that recieve a significant portion of school funding as their salaries and who have no direct contact or stake in the children.
Schools will always have a hard time being equal; having a federal department that tries to make it so doesn't help anything. By setting the bar at a specific height, you only set a limit that no one has to exceed. What's wrong with letting families choose another school because they're not satisfied with the one their child is in?
Quote:
Originally posted by SkanK0r
Privatizing everything and setting up a system where every dollar is a vote puts all the votes in the hands of a minority - the super-rich.
Er, no one said anything about dollars being votes. And schooling can (and should) be like any area in business: if a competitor offers equal services at lower rates, they will succeed. The easiest way to get ahead in business isn't always necessarily to offer the best product, but is instead to offer the lowest price. If you want higher quality, you pay a bit more.

The freer the economy, the freer the person.
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Los Angeles
No I don't think that would work privatizing everything in school. Its true you can pay more then again a lot of people will get shut out, and honestly that can be make things worse off than it already is.

In an ideal world, yes, it would be awesome if everyone had the same ability to succeed. But alas, humans are humans, and privatizing schools IMO would be worse than it is now (which is kinda hard to believe.)
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: Los Angeles
I'd also like to say that I think one of the most ironic parts of the American system is how ingrained it is in society:

Money spent on schools is wasted because the ones that really need to change are the students. Yet that means giving up independent freedom and so on. Which ironically is against what many label as the "American spirit." And yet that is somehow counter-productive.

Then again, who cares. It separates those who flip the burgers and those who make money in higher jobs.
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Old 09-17-2003, 08:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
"Among more than 25 industrialized nations, no country spends more public AND private money to educate each student than the United States,"
If they wanted to write an article about the efficacy of public education, why did the Cato Institute not find statistics on public funding ONLY? And are we including universities like Yale and Harvard here?

These statistics are the equivalent of saying "all combustion engines are polluting, therefore we must ban Ford SUVs"...a total non sequiter.
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Old 09-17-2003, 08:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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"no country spends more public and private money to educate each student than the United States"

Ever consider that most everything costs more to make in the US? It's called "we have an inflated currency." Its why you can get cheap shit in other countries....and why that kind of comparision makes me think that it's not saying all that much.

Education is what makes it possible for a person to contribute more to an economy. It is an investment that makes sense for a society...if we require this education, we have a better tax base later...that's why we have public schools. As a nation, i don't want some dumbass figuring it's cheaper not to educate his/her kids. It is short term to that family. It is not long term to me, and society as a whole.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:29 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zeld2.0
Oh I agree almost completely with Food Eater Lad.

Money is still being spent on the wrong reasons. The principal-s- get to sit around in lavish offices, air conditioned, etc.

Even in a budget crisis they opt to spend their money on cable TV which most classes will *never* use.

The money goes there while teachers suffer.
And I almost completely agree with Zeld2.0

When my high school had the option of air conditioning the old main building (where they had recently moved a majority of the classes) and badly needed funding for the science classes and music they chose instead to renovate the main administration building and give the new superintendent a brand new office.

And when the budget crunch came instead of belt-tightening they gave the basketball coach (he'd recently led them to state) a substantial raise along with the administration (cause they needed more money to sit in their fancy new offices.)

It's not about pumping more money into the schools it's about finding a way to use the money better. My nephews schools is one of the best in the region and they operate at a substantially lower cost than the "better schools."
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Old 09-18-2003, 01:31 AM   #22 (permalink)
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You can put some or all the blame on the overhaul of the schooling system at the beginning of the century.
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Old 09-18-2003, 04:13 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Every single one of you that have posted on this or any other site should first stop and thank a teacher. It is teachers that took the time to help you learn to read and write. It is a teacher that helped you develop your communication skill so you can "get along" in this society. Teachers, underpaid and underappreciated, are the people that give of themselves in order to educate future doctors, lawyers, and yes, even computer geeks.

Let me share with you a little of what today's teachers face in comparison to teachers less than 100 years ago. In the 1920s less then 50% of the adults in the U.S. graduated from high school. If a kid didn't like school, was too active, or just had a difficult time learning, s/he dropped out. In the 1950s through 70s, less than 25% of high school graduates attended higher education institutes. These were the students that took the standardized test to which we now compare test scores. In the 21st century college is no longer an option. In order to make a living wage, most citizens must go to college. Therefore, more than 80% of todays students (including those who would have dropped out in the 20s or chosen manual labor at a decent wage in the 50s-70s) take standarized college entrance exams. These are the test scores that are compared to those taken 40 years ago. Education data is weak and is like comparing apples to oranges.

When data is disaggregated, the results of public education are astonishing! Every minority group has had an increase in test scores in the last 40 years. The drop out rate has fallen substantially, more people then ever in our history are graduating from high school, and more citizens are attending college.

To say that our education system is failing is to not take an honest look at the tremendous results.
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Old 09-18-2003, 04:30 PM   #24 (permalink)
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...and women are taking higher education by storm, as well, sexymama.
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Old 09-18-2003, 06:03 PM   #25 (permalink)
Cherry-pickin' devil's advocate
 
Location: Los Angeles
Yes, sexymama, its true that more people are going to college and what not.

But thats because there is a large population of students in the country but there are MANY people out there who don't give a shit and many don't even care about high school, seeing it as just the last few years of class.

I always treated high school as just the end of the basic education and I plan to go beyond college.

The fact is, if you compare the US to other nations, many many other nations (modern ones i guess) - the U.S. system lacks a lot compared to them.

I don't remember which one it was, but I think it was singapore or one of the countries / places in Asia where they were #1. Out there, the world, they can get much better results than what we have here.

The problem here IMO is two fold:

a) Money wasted in the wrong places (bureacracy and the system)

and

b) Society - (the negative image of learning, rebellious attitudes, etc.)
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:04 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I don't get the comparison between the U.S. and other countries. The U.S. educates 100% of the population to the fullest of our capabilities -- including "special needs" students. We also test whoever wants to be tested -- not just those who are going to college -- but all those who will pay the bucks to take the test. When other countries make the high claims they do, they only inlcude data from those they educate and are college bound, which does not include high needs students. Again, you are comparing apples and oranges.
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