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  • just a conservative girl 12:50 PM on 08/29/2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education reform, ,   

    Only Bad People Want a Good Education for their Children 

    So says Allison Benedikt of Slate Magazine.   Seriously, she said that.

    This article had me laughing out loud.  Of course I was laughing in a way that is really just to cover my utter shock, disbelief, and total dismay.

    I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

    Apparently it is perfectly fine for at least a few generations to get a lousy education because down the road it will help all.  Now that is logic isn’t it?  Insert primal scream here.

    Now correct me if I am wrong, but I thought liberals thought there was nothing better than education.  Matter of fact don’t they say that public schools are a human right?  I seem to remember former congressman and convicted felon Jesse Jackson, Jr. talking about that on the floor of congress.  Yeah matter of fact there is video of that conversation, oh and don’t forget the constitutionally protected iPad too.

    What is really funny about this entire article is that by the end she completely contradicts herself:

    I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one bookThere wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

    Again, correct me if I am wrong, if she is doing just fine without AP classes and no organized soccer teams, why wouldn’t future generations do “just fine” as well?  I mean why would anyone need it regardless of what generation they come from?  It would seem to me that everyone will be able to find their dream job, such as working at Slate Magazine even though they learned virtually nothing after 17 years of education.  Now I did take AP Calculus and I don’t work at Slate.  So apparently my “better” education didn’t really help me that much did it?

    She believes that if all children go to public school we will have a better school system.  Lets think about that for a minute.  Because it seems what she is saying is that people are stuck living in the neighborhoods with horrible public schools don’t care that their kids are receiving a bad education.  Because after all if they did they would push for change right?  Oh wait, they are pushing for change and the unions stand in the way of those changes and much-needed reforms.  She never mentions that part of the equation.  I guess she didn’t get algebra in her crappy public school either.  You know the thing that has you put all parts of the equation together to come to the correct solution.  There are millions upon millions of parents who are fighting to make changes in their local schools only to be met with hostility and resistance.  We have the NAACP suing to keep open the worst performing school system in the country all the while the lawyer filing the suit sends her child to boarding school in another state.  She knows her kid will be cheated if she attends those schools.  She has money, to heck with the poor and struggling middle class that can’t afford the same.

    Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation. Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

    I totally don’t get how getting drunk at trailer parks makes her feel strongly about public schools and that leading to the willingness to allow at least two or three more generations to have a substandard education, but that’s just me.

    Education reform is a passion of mine.  I would love to see every child in this country have the best education possible.  The problem is that, as of today, the last thing that will get us there is the public school system.  We are failing in virtually every measure and it will become a national security issue when people in this country can’t compete on the world stage.  The system needs serious reform, unions and the government have far more power over the system than any PTA will ever have.  The current system doesn’t allow those types of changes nor does it give parents many options when trying to push for change.

    No one is a bad parent for wanting their child to get the best possible education that they can give to their child, for this woman to say that they are makes me wonder if she has any children of her own.  If so, doesn’t her great job at Slate pay her enough to live in a neighborhood that has a better school system than say the ones in Harlem or the south side of Chicago?  I would venture to say the answer to that question is yes.

    But I have to say I really appreciate one line in the article:

     Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt—listen to it.

    Ah, the reasoning behind most of what liberals do.

  • just a conservative girl 10:51 AM on 02/05/2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education reform, , , rhee,   

    Quote of the Day – Michelle Rhee Edition 

    Here’s the question we Democrats need to ask ourselves: Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost?

    Michelle Rhee on her transformation of supporting school vouchers.

    Sadly, we already know the answer to this question.

    • signpainterguy 6:10 PM on 02/06/2013 Permalink | Reply

      Oooooh, straying from the dem party line could be dangerous ! Watch for attacks from teachers unions and service workers unions and dem party leaders. Vouchers to dems are like water to witches and wooden stakes thru the hearts of vampires ! Dems are beholden to the public school system at any and all costs, the children are just pawns.

  • just a conservative girl 4:28 PM on 05/06/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: career track education, college, education reform,   

    Education Reform – Do What Works, Not What Feels Good 

    Any thinking person in this country has to admit that our public education system is broken.  We only rank #21 in the world for the population with the most high school and college graduates.  The system is stuck on stupid and continues to go down hill.

    The literacy rates among fourth grade students in America are sobering. In a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one out of three students scored “below basic” on the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Reading Test. Among these low performing students, 49 percent come from low-income families. Even more alarming is the fact that more than 67 percent of all US fourth graders scored “below proficient,” meaning they are not reading at grade level.

    Reading proficiency among middle and high school students isn’t much better. On the 2009 NAEP Reading Test, about 26 percent of eighth graders and 27 percent of twelfth graders scored below the “basic” level, and only 32 percent of eighth graders and 38 percent of twelfth graders are at or above grade level.

    No matter where you fall on the political spectrum you must realize that this is quickly becoming an issue of national security.  We cannot continue to perform on the world stage if we can’t get fourth graders reading at grade level.  Public schools are not going anywhere and they must be fixed.

    The problem becomes how do we fix them.  Conservatives and liberals have different views on how this should be accomplished.  Typically conservatives are for school choice and allowing the money to follow the child.  Liberals are putting more money into the system.  Neither one of these solutions on their own will solve the problems that we have.  We need to move beyond political ideology to find the solutions that are right for the local population of school aged children.

    One of the latest trends in education is college prep courses for everybody.  Some children are not going to go to college, and it is not always about money.  Some kids just are not cut out for post-secondary education.  A case in point, I have a family member who had some issues while in high school.  Nothing major, but enough that he could have easily gone down the wrong path.  After graduation and shortly after 9/11 he decided to join the marines.  He signed up for a four-year stint and was given some educational incentives.  After serving his four years and spending some time in Iraq at the onset of the war, he decided to get out of the marines and go to college.  He believed that is what his mother wanted him to do.  His mother wanted him to be happy and a well-adjusted adult.  He went to college for one semester and dropped out.  He then flitted around doing some interesting jobs; including fishing in Alaska.  What he realized is that he liked the structure that the corp provided for him.  He is back in the marines, happily married and a daddy of a beautiful baby girl.  The military is something that works for him.   He has served in a theater of war, he understands what he has committed to.  It may not be everyone else’s choice of a career, but for him it is a fit.  He is happy, so his mother is happy for him.

    But we continue to push the narrative that a college education is mandatory.  It is not, nor is it the best thing for every kid.

    Over time, it morphed into the theology that every child should go to college (a four-year liberal-arts college at that) and therefore every child should be required to pursue a college-prep course in high school. The results have been awful. High school dropout rates continue to be a national embarrassment. And most high school graduates are not prepared for the world of work. The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates who are not in school is a stratospheric 33%. The results for even those who go on to higher education are brutal: four-year colleges graduate only about 40% of the students who start them, and two-year community colleges graduate less than that, about 23%. “College for everyone has become a matter of political correctness,” says Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University. “But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than a quarter of new job openings will require a bachelor of arts degree. We’re not training our students for the jobs that actually exist.” Meanwhile, the U.S. has begun to run out of welders, glaziers and auto mechanics–the people who actually keep the place running.

    One of the solutions for our educational system is being played out in Arizona.

    Two years later, with the $2.4 million agricultural- and technical-sciences building up and running, Martin says, “It’s without doubt the best program we have. It’s an alternative way to teach them math, science and reading. They love it. They’re attentive, working hard, hands on.” McBride imports veterinarians from around the country to visit the reservation and work with the 226 students, who assist in both operating theaters, prepping animals for surgery and learning how to suture, draw blood and give injections. The veterinary clinic has become a valued resource on the reservation, but more than that, the academic results have been spectacular. “Nearly every one of these kids passed the state comprehensive test we give to 17-year-olds in Arizona,” Martin told me. “Less than about 40% of my non-vocational-education students passed.

    Clyde McBride pushed and pushed to get this program into place at one of the reservations.  These kids are doing well, they are excited to learn and are happy to be in school everyday.  They are learning, but more importantly they are gaining a work ethic that will follow them for the rest of their lives.  Some of these kids are college bounds kids, but they have a step up on many others who go to college, for one thing they have already been given a skill that will be useful to their professional lives.  They have direction in their lives.  They are not in college to go to parties and “find themselves”.

    School systems are beginning  to see that doing away with career path education programs was a mistake that was made 40 years ago.  They were considered racist, as many in the programs were people of color.  It wasn’t that the programs were wasteful, they were just not done properly.  There are many high schools popping up all over the nation that are giving career skills to students.  Not all of these schools are in poor urban areas or have a majority of minorities in them.  One of my local high schools has a career track for students.  I am not sure of all the different offerings that they have, but one is in retail fashion and the other is in hairdressing.  Both will give high school students a marketable skill that they can use immediately following graduation to find themselves a job.  I have not been to this hairdresser in quite some time, but I used to pay $300 to have my hair highlighted and cut.  She and her now husband paid for their rather large wedding themselves.  He is a chef.  My only point being that obviously they made a good living in order to pay for that wedding and still own a home.

    What sense does it make for students to take out tens of thousands of dollars in loans when so many don’t graduate?  College has become like a rite of passage instead of what it should be; a means to an end.  The end result being an education that will give that person the ability to obtain marketable skills and a job.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that college is a waste of time, but it certainly is not for everyone.  There is a student loan bubble getting bigger all the time and sooner or later this bubble is going to burst.

    We need to stop thinking in terms of a one size fits all mentality that post secondary education is mandatory for all.  It isn’t.  There are plenty of jobs that are good paying and do not require a 4 year college degree.  We need to change the paradigm of education in this country and realize that what worked in the 70’s is obviously no longer working.  We need to look at the programs around the country that are successful and adapt them to different community needs.  Obviously a school that offers vet clinic services isn’t going to work in the inner city.  But other programs will.  Inner city communities need bus drivers, truck drivers, mechanics, machine operators, construction workers, and a variety of other skilled workers.  It is time that we stop being so snobby and realize that those jobs help make America run too.

    • stlgretchen 5:47 PM on 05/06/2012 Permalink | Reply

      You raise some valid points. I especially like your term the “theology that every child should go to college”. I agree not every child should go to college and many adults are more vocational bound. That’s the way our brains are wired and our innate talents are skewed. Inner drive for goals is immeasurable by any governmental longitudinal data system.

      What my concern is the current educational system pushed by this administration is based on Goals 2000. This is career ready education and it has been renamed Race to the Top. I know the current alleged stated goal of Arne Duncan is to have every child go to college but that is not realistic. It will just get more kids in debt…and in fact, indebted to the government. If you are not familiar with Goals 2000 and Marc Tucker’s 18-page letter to Hilary Clinton in 1993, you can find it here:


      “The “Dear Hillary” letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), lays out a plan “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.”

      Tucker’s plan would change the mission of the schools from teaching children academic basics and knowledge to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards. Nothing in this comprehensive plan has anything to do with teaching schoolchildren how to read, write, or calculate.”

      Please read the 18 page letter. Many of these “reforms” are being instituted today. With the Longitudinal Data System information being shared with various Federal agencies (DOEd, Health and Human Services, Labor) with over 300 data sets to be implemented on children from birth through the workforce, the idea is…your child will be channeled into a college path or a career path BASED ON HIS/HER DATA. It will not be a CHOICE.

      I think the biggest fight currently is to fight the common core standards (because that allows these assessments to be shared with each state and Federal agencies), Race to the Top mandates and this cradle to grave tracking of students and families. The DOEd has eviscerated any semblance of states driving their own educational direction. The DOEd needs to be abolished or severely restricted to thwart this cradle to grave programming.

      Thanks for your post. Career training should be available to students and parents based on THEIR decisions and interests, not based on data information supplied to businesses so they can find YOUR child to fulfill THEIR needs. We are truly in dangerous times. Tucker’s letter, common core standards and Race to the Top should scare parents to action. A managed economy with a managed workforce. Not quite what the Founding Fathers intended, eh?


  • just a conservative girl 10:25 PM on 04/28/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education reform,   

    Yet Another Feel Good Gov’t Program Going Awry – Free Breakfast Increases Obesity in School Children 

    We have heard a great deal about the obesity levels of young children in this country.  I agree they are startlingly high.  But the answers that the government has come up with don’t seem to be working.  Who would have seen that coming?  

    Turns out that the free breakfast that is being offered to low-income children is actually increasing the levels of overweight children.  It seems that these parents are not as irresponsible as the government has thought that they were and the vast majority of these kids are now eating two breakfasts every morning, which of course increases their caloric intake for the day. 
    Nearly half of New York’s elementary and middle-school students are overweight or obese, according to a public health official quoted in the news story. Thus the concern in expanding a free meal program created for malnourished kids from poor families that can’t afford food. Parents from low-income New York schools who were interviewed for the piece expressed concern that their kids were getting breakfast in class because they eat at home every morning.

    One mother said she actually reduced what her five-year-old eats at home because he has a second breakfast at school. This obviously creates doubts about the need for this taxpayer-funded meal program. Uncle Sam is already feeding a record 45 million people via food stamps and the number is quickly growing, according to the most recent government figures.

    It also turns out that many of the school systems in lower-income areas are completely skipping the cafeteria and feeding the breakfast right in the classroom.  To remove the stigma.  So we are feeding children who are not even necessarily low-income, because they don’t anyone to feel bad so every child receives a free meal and the number of these free meals in the morning has more than tripled in school districts like Chicago.  

    Wouldn’t the money we are spending on this program be more effectively used to improve the education that kids are receiving?  The drop out rate in the city of Chicago was 55.7% in 2008.  Well above the national average of 30%.  Other major metropolitan areas don’t fare much better.  In the city of Detroit kids are going without school books in schools that are falling down. 

    We need to look at how we are spending our educational dollars and realize that the main goal is educate our children and we are failing big time in giving the next generation the tools that they need in order to thrive in a competitive world.  We continue to lower standards; instead of raising our children up we are letting them down and continue with the dumbing down our kids.  

    …the mathematics components of the Common Core State Standards Initiative are a bitter disappointment. In terms of their limited vision of math education, the pedestrian framework chosen to organize the standards, and the incoherent nature of the standards for mathematical practice in particular, I don’t see how these take us forward in any way.

    Says Grant Wiggins, curriculum expert.   

    But hey, at least they are getting fatter.  

    • A.Men 7:23 AM on 04/29/2012 Permalink | Reply

      We are broke. Start every spending conversation with we are out of money. Do not borrow from China or print this money .

    • Ike 9:01 PM on 04/29/2012 Permalink | Reply

      The money we might save by doing away with free breakfasts, lunches and dinners for school children will not (would not?) produce any better ‘educational outcomes’ for those kids. Ye Gods! More money is spent on primary, secondary and college educations in this nation than can be imagined and at each level the children come out knowing less and able to understand less than they start each level with. The entire system of public education in in the U.S. is broken beyond all possibility of repair and needs to be done away with and replaced with less system, less centralization and less authoritarianistic notions. If that last adjutive had too many syllables, for a more concise label, we need teachers and head teachers in American schools who would never consider having student sing hymns to the President of the United States, nor take home notes to their parents to read which lecture them on their ‘carbon footprints’, nor be required to act out central ceremonies in a religion that is not the parents’ (nor the children’s I might add), nor for pre-pubescent children to be “counselled” at their schools that they may well homosexuals and tutored on how to become the opposite sex, nor for foreign flags to be given pride of place at the schools and other children at the same schools being told not to show the American flag as it might hurt some ethnic minority’s feelings …. shall I continue? Time and money are being wasted in vast quantities in public schools as, to add insult to injury, mainstream American culture is being denigrated and belittled while the majority religion – like it or not that is Christianity of some variety or another! – is criticized and made the butt of obscene jokes. Yes, I think that pretty well sums up the reasons why we ought to throw the education establishment out of work and hire someone with better qualifications to pass on the values and traditions of America to the young. And perhaps teach them to read, write and do simple arithmetic would be nice, too.

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