Education system faces wrong direction

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I am amazed and angry when I see the direction of our educational system. True, some of what we see happening locally is a result of policies that come from state and national levels. Regardless -- Houston, we have a problem!

When we hear that schools are proposing having larger classes with fewer teachers, and our performance is already low, there is a problem. How can we sit by and allow the system to throw at us policies that cannot possibly work? How do you have low performance with 30 kids in a classroom, but expect to do better if you increase a class of 30 to 40 with no more help for teachers? Wait -- maybe that's it. We are not planning to do better.

Solution: We must, as parents, make our voices heard. Too long we have been played by the system. While we play race cards; do not support our teachers; often do not maximize our involvement in the school system; and allow our children to go to school ill-prepared, our children in many cases are being cheated.

When did we make education so low a priority? If it was No. 1, we would see totally different results. We could have a system in which people would be proud to send children to public schools; where pupils are excited about school because the morale and expectations are so high that it is contagious; and where kids are prepared for their next chapter in life when they graduate high school.

But on our current course, it is like watching a train wreck!

My heart goes out to teachers who work hard and have a vision for kids but have become disheartened because they feel no one really rallies for them -- so from day to day they just exist, wondering if their jobs are secure. Passion declines daily as they hold their breath and count days to 180 -- then another school year has passed. What a career!

The Rev. Roscoe F. Perry

Martinez

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Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/10/10 - 09:13 pm
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Roscoe, what you want is

Roscoe, what you want is people to support the system and pay for it. Paying for it means they might lose their iPhones, 4x4 trucks, premium cable channels or God forbid, the materialism-based self-esteem. You need to understand that before the tax payer is asked to give up 1 cent, the school system must spend hours of manpower looking for a nickel of waste in the system. You need to get your mind around the idea that teachers go to school for years to deal with parents who refuse to discipline their children and insist you to take a pay cut to deal with them. No clearly, the system is consumed by liberal and other waste-mongrels whose reason for getting up in the morning is to waste your tax money. Surely you can't expect people to pay for that!!

KSL
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KSL 03/10/10 - 09:21 pm
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Pay, you were disrespectful

Pay, you were disrespectful calling him by his first name.

Ayetidiosi
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Ayetidiosi 03/10/10 - 09:42 pm
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Solution: We must, as

Solution: We must, as parents, make our voices heard.
__________________

How can this happen when far too many troubled youths have never heard the voice of "parents" only "parent"?

If parent wants to make their voices heard, prepare your child before sending them to school, be vigilant about their education and associations, and for God's sake, give the kid a complete set of parents.

This is the only solution.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 03/11/10 - 12:42 am
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The government schools will

The government schools will produce students that follow government guidelines. It's all they know. As long as the education is paid for with federal money, things will not improve. The education and the relevant taxes must be handled at the state and local level. Until the "department of education" is deconstructed, no improvement will take place.

Roeschen
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Roeschen 03/11/10 - 06:19 am
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Parents, or lack of parentS,

Parents, or lack of parentS, is one of the greatest problems facing education. Better education will not be had by throwing more money down an endless pit. Nor will more teachers help. Far too often the parents no longer parent. Their children do no wrong. This problem is further complicated by the federal government dumbing down education. Instead of insisting on higher standards, lower standards are the norm. Education has been taken from the hands of the few remaining parents who actually care and has been placed in the hands of the beaurocrats. Nothing good will ever come of that. Until parentS learn to control their children and education is again controlled by parents at the local level, our children will be receiving a third world education.

csrareader
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csrareader 03/11/10 - 06:29 am
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KSL, Just because someone has

KSL, Just because someone has a title, even Reverend, doesn't mean that he/she no longer has a first name. Roscoe writes a letter challenging our residents to get behind education and all you can add is that someone called him by his first name?

southernguy08
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southernguy08 03/11/10 - 07:54 am
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I love sports as much as the
Unpublished

I love sports as much as the next guy. I just wonder why we can't cancel sports programs in schools, including all these "away games." The money saved in gas not burned would be considerable. Consider it BOE.

Talkatoast
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Talkatoast 03/11/10 - 09:09 am
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Canceling sports wouldn't

Canceling sports wouldn't save money because their are things called budget lines. Its fundraisers and the money earned from games that pays for the sports.

dstewartsr
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dstewartsr 03/11/10 - 09:27 am
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It is not a matter of money.

It is not a matter of money. Real, adjusted for inflation, money has been thrown at this problem for the past three decades; there has been an almost doubling of per-pupil expenditure during that period, while achievement has actually declined the same amount. SAT's if not for the 'readjustment' done several years ago would actually be lower than in 1980, despite an increase in spending every year. If spending alone would produce better results, then under that logic, Richmond County schools would have better achievement levels than Columbia County, whose per-pupil spending is markedly lower. Is that the case?

As to classes of 30-plus; I attended a Catholic boarding school where that number or more were the rule. The quality of the education I received can be reflected in the fact I was able to CLEP my entire college freshman credits upon graduation from high school.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/11/10 - 10:40 am
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The answer is probably

The answer is probably simpler than that. In the 1970's, we begin to vigorously enforce truancy laws and raised the standard by which people could drop out of high school. As a result, the drop out rate has fallen from15 to 10%, effectively retaining millions of borderline students in the system.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009064.pdf

If you have three quarters and you add three pennies, the average value of the coins you have decreases and thus everyone claims the education is decreasing. This generally untrue since a good kid can get a good education in the public schools pretty much the way he always has. The presence of the penny does not per se devalue the quarter.

The challenge is what to do with this large body of kids who are pulling down the average. We could try to educate them, but in many cases that is not supported and America's general suspicion-based, anti-intellectual culture won't pay for it. The basis of this education would have to be on the idea that having smarter people in society is worth something, even if it does not change job outlook, but again, social conservatives see that as a threat to their existence (rightly so, ignorance is generally extinguished in daylight) and support anti-intellectial, anti-education political candidates who run on the aforementioned bad stats.

We could also just admit that education does not need to be that important in the job market. The BLS tracks these things and have tabularized it here:

http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm

Look at Table 2, job growth by mass (the percentage stuff is too normalized). The top 7 jobs (2.5 million positions) do not require a college education and indeed, probably require not much book-learning at all. With these data, one is hard-pressed to make the argument the advanced education is a good investment in terms of increasing your competitiveness in the short-term job market.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/11/10 - 10:52 am
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The author asks "When did we

The author asks "When did we make education so low a priority?"

Well sir, that happened when state governments took over education and again when they allowed federal tax dollars to infiltrate their system with a flurry of new rules & regulations. Don't forget to also take a look at the point when the unions entered the education picture. They demand enormous resources from the budget and those resources are certainly NOT helping the kids, in fact it redirects monies that should be used FOR the kids.

The government simply cannot run effective programs (except military and even it is too bureaucratic from what I've been told). It's been proven over and over again. The Govenment is a non-productive entity. Did our Great Grandparents & Great-Great Grandparents really think that the govt would do a good job with schools when nothing else they run works?! Or was it just convenient or easier to let them handle it?

Take the "burden" away from them since they are failing, give each child an annual allowance of $7500 and let them choose a good private school. We will save money and kids will get a better education.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/11/10 - 11:08 am
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The actual average of a

The actual average of a private school is about $10K so like most voucher proponents, you come up short. Also, while I deal mainly with post-graduate level education, I have never seen any benefit (and indeed often significant deficits) in private education in terms of the intangibles (i.e. the ability to handle new and unknown situations). Private schools reinforce the expectations of those who pay for it but the real test is in handling the unexpected.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 03/11/10 - 11:14 am
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"Solution: We must, as
Unpublished

"Solution: We must, as parents, make our voices heard" PROBLEM: Most parents DON'T GIVE A RIP!

chascush
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chascush 03/11/10 - 11:20 am
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Throwing more $ at the

Throwing more $ at the schools is not the answer. In DC they spend almost $25,000 a student and the kids wind-up with an 8 grade education at best.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/11/10 - 11:21 am
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There will always be private

There will always be private schools that cost more than $7500. Those who can afford more, spend more, those who can't choose a school that they can afford.

Aug. Christian is around $8000, Aquinas is around $7000, Westminster is almost $11,000, Evans Christian is $4930. And these are high school costs which are much higher than elementary and middle school costs.

You nitpick over the amount, make it $8000, make it $8500, its still less than we spend per pupil on government run schools. The national average is $10,000 per student, Georgia spends $7340 per child.

I've had my kids in public and private school. If you can afford it, private is hands down a better option.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/11/10 - 11:33 am
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Christian schools are

Christian schools are generally at a significant disadvantage in the wider job market. Graduates may fare better in ordinary 9-5 jobs in small towns than grads of public schools in South Augusta but their potential is permanently capped by the 19th century level of technology education. I would object pretty strenuously to you taking my tax dollars to produce a child with a "Christian education", not because I am not Christian (I am ) but because the product is lacking potential. Augusta Prep is a better example but try getting into that. Moreover, your model requires you to accommodate everyone else in GA since the voucher requires half the money I pay in GA State Taxes and almost all of my property taxes. You can decide what is an acceptable education when you can pay for it yourself.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/11/10 - 11:41 am
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Don't you think non-Christian

Don't you think non-Christian schools would pop up? Good grief, government employees are incapable of thinking out of the box. It's not even worth the argument or my time.

By the way, there is a foreign school system actually doing this with enormous success. Their testing blows American kids door off. But, it will never work....not here.....our government is better....government IS the answer....bring on more of it....socialize us all.

nash63
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nash63 03/11/10 - 12:06 pm
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Try between $25,000 and

Try between $25,000 and $30,000 for a year at a top-notch private school (in DC and surrounding counties). It's mind boggling (and yes, we sent our sons to one of them back when the price was "only" $16,000). Those schools offer great financial aid to those who can qualify to get in and can't afford to pay full freight, so I would guess the Augusta private schools would do the same. In any case, I agree with Chillen--if you can afford it, private is hands-down a better option.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 03/11/10 - 12:13 pm
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We killed our education

We killed our education system in the 60s and 70s and the death had nothing to do with funding. We already spend way too much money on education per student and get almost nothing for it. In the 60s and 70s, after desegregation, their was a nationwide problem in that many minority kids were having problems keeping up in school, supposedly because they had been deprived of a good schools prior to desegregation. Fine, I agree with that. But then we really blew the solution by lowering the standards in all of our schools. Instead of working with these kids, we listened to some psychobabble that it was bad for a kid's self-esteen to hold any kid back until they passed the grade. About that same time we decided that teachers could not discipline a student with a paddling or whack of a ruler. A bar graph of our students performance compared to the rest of the world would show the downturn began with that "no fail, no discipline" policy. We used to hold kids back (both non-minority and minority) that did not make a passing grade. For some, that was an incentive to go to summer school and pass the grade or try harder the next year. Those that continued to fail eventually dropped out and became laborers (which we need). Some students were habitual "skin of the teeth" students who hung in there and got their high school diploma and became tradesmen and retail workers (which we need). And some students who always did well went on to go to college. So now we don't want to hurt little Johnny's self-esteem and we pass all of them up the line and tell them they are all college bound. Since there is no challenge in school and everyone passes, some students get bored or see our system as the joke that it is and they just drop out. The ones who "do their time" and graduate or get a certificate (what the heck is a certificate) come out the other end with a less than acceptable reading and math level and they go out and pollute our workforce as sub-par employees or sign up for welfare when they can't gind a decent job. The problems, or solutions, in our school system have nothing to do with money, race, desegregation, bussing, sports, school boards, administrators, coffee pots, or any of the other things people rant about. It all about the basics in the classroom. Discipline, enforcing standards, reading, writing, and arithmetic are the answers but nobody wants to hear that because it requires work and it requires holding back kids who don't cut it and holding teachers accountable who don't produce. It requires bringing the class UP to the standards of the best students, not lowering the standards down to that of the worst. Throwing money at a broken system does no good and we have 40 to 50 years of proof that makes this quite evident. When you look at our standings worldwide that only place we are on top is the money we spend on teacher salaries, benefits, and retirement plans. For this we get the least competent students of all the industrialized nations. There must be another reason besides money. Maybe I'm wrong about the reason. But there must be a reason we spend the most money and turn out the least educated kids. Think about it. It is a fact that we spend twice what others do so money isn't the problem. That leaves two other possibilities. Either our system, which used to work great, no longer works after we changed the standards; or we have mentally defective kids. It's got to be one or the other.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/11/10 - 12:14 pm
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Actually, I have no real

Actually, I have no real objection to gov't funded, privately managed educational systems (which is what you are proposing - 90% of the people in this town could not go to school without the voucher being gov't subsidized). What I find tiresome is the false dichotomy offered around the issue - gov't priorities vs. parental priorities. It's a false choice. The real answer is empower the teachers. Teachers have access to depths of experience, data and information on what does and does work in education. National level educators have a good grasp of what are and are not strong statistical trends in job growth and the skills you need to be competitive. The role of gov't is to coordinate funding and set standards. The role of the teacher is to use culturally appropriate (Californians do indeed have different reference points that Southerners), population-specific teaching methods to hit the standards. Parents make sure the students are engaged and hitting the metrics. Do that and who actually pays the water bill really won't matter.

nash63
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nash63 03/11/10 - 12:21 pm
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Amen, dichotomy.

Amen, dichotomy.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/11/10 - 12:31 pm
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agreed dichotomy. Very well

agreed dichotomy. Very well put. And I like your first option better, mentally defective kids won't help us at all.

pay what u owe "The real answer is empower the teachers" I agree and as it stands they are held back by rules, restrictions, parents, unruly kids, and many of the things dichotomy outlined. I have friends who are public school teachers, my Mom was one for almost 20 years. It is very different today than it was 25 year ago. Today's teachers can't make anyone happy. And the kids aren't learning like they used to. For the money, changes need to be made, soon. The movie Idiocracy keeps playing in my mind.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/11/10 - 02:08 pm
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Here's a link to 2 very good

Here's a link to 2 very good articles about school choice for those interested. Libertarian viewpoint.

http://www.creators.com/opinion/john-stossel/education-too-important-for...

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1500338

ron_rlw
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ron_rlw 03/11/10 - 07:04 pm
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The problem with our

The problem with our educational system is not class size or teacher pay or the computers system they use or any of the usual things folks throw money at to fix.

These things can be of great benefit, but they alone cannot fix our problems with the schools.

The real solution is for the parents to realize that it is our job to educate our own kids. Most of us use the public school system as one of the tools to educate our kids … sad to say that many use the public school system as their only tool.

The parents should take an active role in their kids’ education. It should be noted that education involves much more than just what is taught in school, it involves day to day living and knowing how to make the right choices.

As far as our school systems are concern the parents need to be involved with their children’s homework, ensuring both their work is done and correct. For those that don’t know how to do the homework, you would be surprised how much your child can learn by explaining it to you as he/she completes their assignment. For those that don’t have time … shame on you … it’s your kids and they should be tops on your priority list.

Also if you don’t understand what’s going on at the school … go ask. You may find some reluctance on the part of the school to support your inquire, but remember they work for us.

corgimom
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corgimom 03/11/10 - 07:30 pm
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My parents, my grandparents,

My parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents were educated in public schools. It's not government that is the problem. I went to some of the finest public schools in California.

An out-of-control child cannot learn. Parents are way too worried about their child's "self-esteem" and not making them mad or unhappy. When a child is mad or unhappy, that means that an adult is doing the right thing- because children, by nature, are selfish tyrants who want their own way, and who thinks the world revolves around them.

Temper tantrums by school children are now a daily occurrence. Was it like that when you were in school? It wasn't for me. If nothing else, the other kids shamed a child having a tantrum by saying "Hey, you're acting like a baby" and shunning them (ie societal disapproval). Now, that's not allowed- because their precious little feelings might be hurt.

GGpap
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GGpap 03/11/10 - 09:22 pm
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Here 'tis, in a nut shell: 1)

Here 'tis, in a nut shell: 1) PAY WHAT U OWE: "teachers go to school for years to deal with parents who refuse to discipline their children." 2) AYETIDIOSI: "prepare your child before sending them to school, be vigilant about their education and associations." 3) JC: "Until the "department of education" is deconstructed no improvement will take place." 4) PAY WHAT U OWE: "In the 1970's, we begin to vigorously enforce truancy laws and raised the standard by which people could drop out of high school---effectively retaining millions of borderline students in the system." 5) CHILLEN: "unions entered the education picture---They demand enormous resources from the budget and those resources are certainly NOT helping the kids." 6) DICHOTOMY: "In the 60s and 70s---we really blew the solution by lowering the standards in all of our schools we listened to some psychobabble that it was bad for a kid's self-esteem to hold any kid back until they passed the grade---the downturn began with that "no fail, no discipline" policy." To continue:

GGpap
528
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GGpap 03/11/10 - 09:22 pm
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Continued: 7) (PAY WHAT U

Continued: 7) (PAY WHAT U OWE: "The real answer is empower the teachers" and "it requires holding back kids who don't cut it and holding teachers accountable who don't produce." I believe each of these posters are quite correct, and none have high-lighted "funding." Education is far more complex than just dollars more in the pot year after tear. And finally, 8) GGPAP: States must write new legislation that would empower local school boards to get rid of ALL incompetent school personnel (not just teachers) without being handicapped by the restrictive interference wielded by most unions." GGpap

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