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End government schools

Discussion in 'Education Policies' started by Rick, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. Rick

    Rick Active Member

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    Any reasonable person will admit that the government school system overall has been a failure. The whole system should be privatized, with ideally parents paying their own education bills. The education costs of poor or handicapped children can be paid for with taxes.
     
  2. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack New Member

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    No. Any reasonable person would say the system has not been as good as we'd like it to be. "Complete failure" is a joke because it implies that we'd be a more educated population without it. Hogwash.

    The last part of this makes the system government schooling, does it not?
     
  3. Rick

    Rick Active Member

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    Read any of the results of No Child Left Behind? We have publicly identified failed schools that continue on. Teachers to be tested to see if they know the subject they are teaching. Would the free market allow any of this? Absolutely not.


    No, it's just government spending - the school system itself should be dismantled.
     
  4. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack New Member

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    Could the free market provide universal education?
    Our school system will always be a "failure" to some extent so long as it is universal. However the lousy education some kids get is better than none.
    I've yet to see anything suggesting that top students are in any way hindered by our education system.
    The question is how to help those at the bottom better. I'm skeptical of privatization's ability to do that. I get the feeling it's more likely to simply shift school's focus further toward corporate interests and from civics and good citizenship.
    Our schools will merely become a subsidy for the private sector's training programs... which is not the original purpose of the school system.
     
  5. Rick

    Rick Active Member

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    Yes.

    Universality has little to do with it. What has to do with it is inability to fire incompetent teachers, lack of competition, dumbed down PC curricula, imbecilic pedagogical methods du jour, top heavy administration, and politicization.

    The best you can say about the government schools is that they don't hinder students?? :p

    Corporate interests are served by satisfying the customer (parents), else the parents will go to a different school.

    What???? :confused: Like saying buying bread is just a subsidy for bakeries.
     
  6. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    If anything we should be redistributing the wealth between all schools by the government to give all kids an equal start, rather than purely making the money you are paying straight to the school the basis of the standard of your education thus giving all children a more equal start.

    At the moment, you get good school and bad schools. Making people pay straight out of their own pocket, rather than through taxes, will just make the situation worse and more uneven.
     
  7. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack New Member

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    Considering that the best public schools do well... it seems universiality is the problem. Areas that are poor and have parents that are mostly not educated... tend to be lousy school districts. The variability is high.
    I'll agree that the teacher unions are a problem, and to some extent top-heavy administration (eventually a universalized private system would encounter that). I think the rest of your problems are mostly politicized doom-and-gloom.
    For one thing, competition will lead to niche schools... which will hinder universiality of education. It will only increase the variation between utility of education at various places. Being that this is not the kid's choice and yet the kid will be the one to ultimately pay... at the very least government must set standards...
    Meaning that the system is not fully privatized.



    That doesn't sound like much, but it suggests that we might not want to get to jumpy and scream "total failure!" The top public schools are still top notch. The problem is getting the bottom rung schools caught up.
    Frankly I don't think privatization is the magic answer.



    And by training their new recruits. If this becomes the staple for success, that is what parents will demand.
    Say goodbye to civics and the hope of someday throwing entrepreneurialism into education... Say hello to workplace training as school's primary function.



    No. It's like saying that paying for yeast to cultivate it and giving it to the bread company so that you can later buy bread from them is a subsidy.
    Before school became about preparing for jobs" rather than about preparing productive and responsible citizens with the intellect to make good decisions and open-mindedness to think about them, businesses trained people. Now school functions as a way for them to cut down the number of interviews and do as little training as possible.
    In addition to being an individual good, education has always been a public one... thus the public pay. With schools going more corporate, they are an individual and a corporate good... paid for totally by the individual and the public.
     
  8. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    A little more than a year ago I graduated from public high school. I encountered a little of everything there - one of the history teachers there was one of the best teachers I've ever had, whereas one of the other history teachers just showed movies all class and assigned meaningless projects. We endured budget cuts to programs for the Arts (my principle area of interest) and we endured government micro-managing (we received bonus funding for teaching abstinence-only sex ed).

    Out of 140 students about thirty or so decided not to go to college. I haven't caught up to any of them lately so I don't know exactly how they're doing. Most of my friends, myself included, went off to college. None of us got into an Ivy League school, a first for my high school.

    Was the quality of our education substandard? At times. Most of the biggest problems amongst the teachers (including the inept history teacher who didn't know what I was talking about when I asked her about the Battle of Stalingrad) were weeded out quickly - she only had a year's contract and it was not renewed by the school. All the micro-managing was our biggest issue - from budget incentives to directives regarding what had to be taught in order to prepare us for the dreaded MCAS (a test which, in MA, must be passed in order to graduate).

    The biggest thing to remember in regards to education is that the student will make of it whatever he/she makes of it. There's a gentleman who just graduated from my high school with a 4.23 GPA who is going to Harvard this fall. There's also a gentleman who just barely managed to graduate, isn't going to college because all of them laughed at his grades, and doesn't have a job or even the slightest inkling what he's going to be doing five, ten years down the line. They got the same education.

    Remember, it's all subjective.
     
  9. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack New Member

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    Exactly. Though a lot of it has to do with parental upbringing and I think schools should have programs that attempt to make up for parental ignorance with tutoring and good admissions counseling.
    But the most important function of our education system is to ensure that all kids are given the opportunity to work to their potential. All these "sky is falling" complaints about falling test scores are overlooking that point. The main reason other countries do better, especially Japan, at these arbitrary test scores is that they weed out the lousy students early.
    We give up high scores by teaching even lousy students and by teaching innovation as well as basic competence. The more we focus on test scores the less this will happen.
    But a private system is likely to be rated on the basis of such tests... How else would it be rated? There has to be some rating if there is competition. College programs are rated similarly (though mostly based on job-earning potential).
    The strength of the public education system is that it is based on universal education on principle and it should focus more on helping all students of the nation than being absorbed in competition.
     
  10. SW85

    SW85 New Member

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    Saying that the public education system is a failure implies no such thing, merely that the public is generally no better educated with it then it would be without it.

    It does so de facto, if not de jure, but only because where government subsidizes it inevitably regulates.

    Well, first of all, the fact that one student did phenomenally while another failed utterly shows that public education did nothing for either of them -- the smart kid's still smart (though maybe not as smart as he could be), the dumb kid's still dumb. This rather suggests, as I said earlier, that the public is not particularly better off for having a public education system.

    Second of all, what one student is willing to make of the educational resources available to him is not the only factor in the equation -- what other students are willing to make of theirs matters, as well. School violence, bullying, the demonization of academic achievement, etc., all contribute to the failure of otherwise promising students. This is precisely the reason why inner city schools fail to turn out as many achievers as suburban schools -- not because of low-quality top-tier students because of lower-quality bottom-tier students, a problem aggravated by poor administrative practices and lazy, uninterested parenting.


    I don't know that ending public schools entirely is sound. I don't think it's a matter of public vs. private per se, in that public schools don't suck merely because they're public and private schools rock merely because they're private, but that because of the nature of the system the public schools are forced to accept the rabble that private schools wouldn't take. Private schools work because they have high standards of admission intended to weed out those ne'er-do-wells who don't try, waste educational resources, and make education hell for those who care about their own futures; those kinds of standards would never fly in public schools, partly because they would exclude large swaths of students, mostly poor and minorities, who would litigate the whole system into administrative oblivion.

    But it goes without saying that dramatic reform is necessary. For starters, the collective back of the teachers' unions must be broken. They have frittered away our educational standards over the years by demanding financial accomodations (which must logically occur at the expense of the students on whom money would otherwise be spent), like payment merely on the basis of showing up for work rather than the quality of the education their students' receive. Expulsion guidelines should be relaxed dramatically and repeated troublemakers should be removed from public schools much sooner then they presently are; concordantly, some degree of legal protection needs to be provided to school administrators to shield them from the inevitable backlash of litigation from uninterested parents who view schools as a daycare system obligated to take care of their violent, disobedient kids. Curricula need a massive overhaul; I don't see anything wrong with a classical education, except the fact that most teachers (who, in turn, are failed by our top-heavy politicized universities) are too stupid to handle them.
     
  11. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack New Member

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    And I can accept all those as legitimate problems.
    But I've yet to see any direct connection between these problems and the fact that the school system is public.
    What I see happening is a big rush toward privatization... only to find that nothing really changes (with a slight possiblity of unexpected consequences) because the problem is misdiagnosed.
    These problems all highlight that education is a PUBLIC GOOD. So I fail to see how it makes sense that privatization will do a better job. Rather privatization, if it changes anything, will make schools more a tool for individual success and take away the ability of government to ensure that the lowliest get good education.
    Since the problem with the public schools is the failings to those who are the lousiest students or in the worst environments, I don't see where taking government's ability to do anything away and turning education into a private good will help.
    It will take us back to the reasons we started a public education system in the first place.
     
  12. SW85

    SW85 New Member

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    Well, as I said, I don't think the problem is it's being public explicitly (which is why privatization won't solve all of them or even necessarily most of them), merely that it being public opens it to a swath of problems that private schools don't have to face -- namey that public schools are legally obligated to accept rabble-rousing dregs who lower educational quality across the board. Labor politics also prohibits them from dealing fairly and effectively with teachers.
     
  13. Castle

    Castle New Member

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    I find the public school system to be a mess. I recently moved to South Florida from Northern Virginia. The school system in NVA required a much larger financial investment from parents but the children were getting a much better education overall by today's standards. Here in South Florida the schools have all the funding they need but the education is a joke. My son is getting straight A's without even breaking a sweat in middle school here which is the equivalent of grammar school where we're from. a 60 is a passing grade!!! In my day a 75 was a D-.

    The standards are far too low in public education these days. Why is that?

    -Castle
     
  14. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    In order to encourage individuality, the passing standards were lowered. That way, students who weren't as talented in things like math or English would still be able to pass while pursuing things that did interest them - like art or automotive studies.

    That's why they were lowered here in MA anyway. There's still a standardized test that everyone has to pass in order to graduate from high school - that makes sure that everyone's at least got the basics.
     
  15. Castle

    Castle New Member

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    Ah yes! Here in Florida it's called the FCAT. Students can take it over and over again until they pass and move to the next grade level. I remember either spending vacation in summer school or repeating the grade you failed. By today's standards, you are considered "talented" if you complete your homework and actually study for tests. I was always under the impression that it was a requirement if you wished to excel in your studies.

    I'm not sure whether to be jealous or concerned that my son has it so easy.

    -Castle
     
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