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EDUCATION: Stand up for children and teachers

Letter by Elana Lindquist, Mary Frank, Gig Harbor on April 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm with 135 Comments »
April 20, 2011 2:19 pm

Teachers and education are easy targets now for cutbacks in this time of economic woe. The News Tribune has been surveying readers about slashing teachers’ salaries, with most Hot Button responders voting in favor of the cuts. The public seems to easily accept these cutbacks to balance the budget on the back of the schools.

During the past 10 years, starting with No Child Left Behind and now with Race to the Top, teachers have been condemned in the media for students’ poor academic performance. Compare that to the idealized “superhero” teacher in movies such as “Waiting for Superman” – the warm-hearted teacher winning the love of poverty-stricken students who go to college.

These superheroes are identified as the role model for teachers, and teachers whose students don’t succeed on high-stakes tests by a certain percent are demonized.

Most teachers are very dedicated, hard-working and effective. Regrettably, teachers are an easy target because politics needs a scapegoat for our nation’s failure to grow economically.

We ignore the reality that education is only a reflection of our society. In the past, an eighth-grade education was enough. Fifty years ago, one could graduate from high school and support a family. We are going through a cultural revolution where we are competing globally for work. Half of our largest companies’ new hires are now abroad.

Balancing the budget on the back of students and teachers is a short-sighted way to invest in the long-term goal of building a better America.

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  1. Fibonacci says:

    What exactly is the difference (to the teacher) between a 3% pay cut and a 3% Income Tax? Nothiing, except that teachers are the only ones that are effected. I realize that many others have taken a pay cut so how about a temporary 3% income tax on anyone that has not had a cut in pay to help balance the budget. That would raise much more money than simply reducing teacher pay by 3%. Gasp, not an evil tax. Those antitax zealots sure have no problem with someone else (teacher) giving up 3% of their salary to balance the budget, but God forbid EVERONE lost 3%.

    For the record I am not a public school teacher, nor is my wife. This will have absolutely no effect our our household, but it just seems unfair that only one segment has to lose 3%. Yes, yes yes, I know that teachers are not the only ones, but again, how about EVERYONE that has not already taken a pay cut, just to be fair.

  2. Evil scary unions!

  3. alindasue says:

    Fibonacci,

    Under your suggestion, I too would be exempt, since the state already reduced my “authorized hours” by about 10% to help balance the budget. Even though my hours (and pay) have been cut by 10%, what really ticks me off about the 3% reduction in pay for teachers is that they are expected to do the same amount of work for the same amount of hours as before, yet get 3% less money for doing it. I don’t care how much their salaries are. Asking them to do the same work for less money is just wrong.

    Personally, even though my pay has been cut by 10%, I wouldn’t mind a slight tax increase if it were everybody paying it and if it would help balance the budget while helping preserve vital services currently on the chopping block, such as Basic Health and education.

    We don’t have a state income tax, but a temporary (stated beginning and end date) increase in sales tax would not be a bad idea. Of course, the people who demand loudest that the teachers take a pay cut are going to be the first to scream “no new taxes” when it comes to themselves paying.

    It’s always easier to ask somebody else to sacrifice…

  4. In response to alindasues, temporary increase in sales tax,knowing how the Legislature seems to treat the term Temporary,it seems to me as if the Lawmakers think the voters were confused and really meant for,Temporary,to be Permanent!If the Voters allows a Temporary Tax on any thing,they will find the tax will become Permanent. Temporary taxes always seem to be extended again and again until,magically they become permanent.

  5. Fibonacci says:

    sincere
    How about the “temporary” pay cut for teachers? Are you opposed to that too because the state seems to make “temporary” into “permanent”?

  6. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    More whining on behalf of the teacher unions. 61% of TNT readers recently said that teachers should take the 3% paycut.

    I say tie teacher pay to results. Our scores go down 5%, they take a 5% pay cut. Throwing more money at teachers only strengthens their union which is at the root of all evil in education.

    No more money to school until parents have other options than sending our kids to failing government schools. Throwing good money after bad is not smart.

  7. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Let teachers opt out of the mandatory union dues they have to pay. That would help make up the 3% paycut.

    Oh, I forgot. In WA State they will be fired if they don’t pay blood money to their masters.

    xtp855, union are not scary, they are a cancer on this society and dooming our kids and society in general. Go ahead and convince us that unions have made the school better. The great majority no longer by your talking points.

  8. Evil scary unions!
    (look at me I’m a rightist!)

  9. klthompson says:

    As long as teachers choose to belong to a union I will support teacher pay cuts. If they want to be listened to I would suggest dumping the WEA.

  10. I remember, from the 2010 elections, the right wing screaming about how un-American it was to raise taxes on a single group.

    Of course that was when the tax increase was aimed at the rich. Now they all for adding a special tax on TEACHERS.

  11. nokoolaide says:

    Simply end public schools. There is nothing the government does that can’t be done better by the private sector.

  12. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Fibonacci and allindasue, both of your proposals are specious.

    The income tax idea is unconstitutional in this state and, if some tiny measure of sanity prevails, will remain so.. forever. And any state-wide increase in the sales tax would require a vote, and approval, of the people – as would local sales tax increases. Given the mood of the electorate vis-a-vis new taxes (as evidenced by the gates-led attempt at a back-door income tax last fall), I would say any sales tax increases – statewide or local – are beyond DOA.

  13. Lots of anti- union nonsense today which, if enacted, only weakens their ability to counter the power of corporate America. No wonder the wingnuts like to bash the unions.

  14. bobcat1a says:

    nokoolaide, how many families do you think would be priced out of education if your plan were to come to fruition? Do you realize that roughly 25% of families could not afford to send one child to a private school and 50% of all American families with more than 1 child could not afford to educate both children in a private school. Welcome to the third world.

  15. alindasue says:

    taxedenough said, “I say tie teacher pay to results. Our scores go down 5%, they take a 5% pay cut. Throwing more money at teachers only strengthens their union which is at the root of all evil in education.

    No more money to school until parents have other options than sending our kids to failing government schools. Throwing good money after bad is not smart.”

    I just got back from conference day at my daughter’s high school. Our appointment was one of the last of the day because I had to work around appointments that other daughters had the same day. Out of the 25 or 30 students in my daughter’s advisory class, only three parents showed up for their appointments that day. Another teacher came into the room while we were there. Only three parents had come to her class also. The attendance was similar at the back-to-school night last fall. In two classes, I was the only parent that showed up.

    I’ve read reports that say that students whose parents go to conferences and get involved with their child’s education tend to do better in school. So, if only 10% or 12% of the students have parents that are involved with their education, is it really the teachers’ fault if their students don’t do as well on tests?

    You are right; just throwing money at education isn’t going to automatically lead to test scores. However, you are also wrong. Parents already have options. One of those options is to act like they actually care about their children’s education and get involved.

    I’d say with the work it takes to teach the students whose parents don’t care, the teachers earn every penny they are paid. GET INVOLVED or don’t complain about the results.

  16. Regardless of any complaints about unions, teachers, test scores etc. Until you are truly willing to go after the parents of these students that are failing and hold them accountable for their children, schools will still have failing students. Teachers can definitely do more. But what are you going to do about the abusive parents? the parents who let their kids stay home? the parents who provide alcohol and drugs for their kids who are underage and condone it? the parents who don’t care about school?

    These are also the parents complaining when their kids fails school…You are so willing to blame teachers, yet you REFUSE to do anything about the failing families that bog the system down.

    What if you simply removed SPED from the schools? That would save an exhoborant amount of money. Yet, no one addresses that issue as kids with special needs seem to be a sacred cow. What about low income kids who are failing in droves? No one addresses that issue either.

    Until the public is willing to address hard issues, some things will not change in schools.

  17. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Where were the teacher protests when the other state employees took reductions in pay, paid higher percentages for benefits, lost pay in the form of reduced work days?

    Only now, when they are being affected by a potential 3% pay cut, do they begin to protest the “unfairness” of the pay cut.

    What is fair is for all employees to have their pay reduced, including teachers. It is unfair to exclude one group and not others.

  18. Vox,
    State wide tax increases require a 2/3 majority in both houses, OR be approval by the voters (by a simple majority, not a supermajority).


    ‘Dump the union’ I can just see every school district having to negotiate a contrac with each teacher.

  19. commoncents says:

    Every extracurricular activity from Art to clubs to athletics should be eliminated from the budgets before a single pay cut or teacher is let go. I realize that it’s not popular but the core product is education and during tough times a company has to retract to it’s core. This is no different. Athletics will still be around – just at the club level instead of at the school level.

  20. bristoldog says:

    Commoncents, I agree with you 100%. I also agree with alindasue. I am married to a teacher. Every day she wakes up at 4am and starts correcting papers or preparing for what she will be teaching that day. She leaves work between 4 and 5 pm at least 4 days a week. She also goes in on the weekends and prepares. She loves her job. Sure she is off in the summer time but I tell you, she spends a LOT of her summer educating herself, so that she can be a better teacher for her students. She does not get paid enough for the amount of work she puts in. Sadly she will continue to work just as hard with a paycut, because she does this for the students. I honestly feel that the state knows that they will get the same level of work from all the teachers that teach for the kids, not for the pay. Teachers are taken advantage of. If you really want to fix the education problem, go after the parents. The parents are the ones that do not support their own kids. They are the ones that scream when the teacher is too tough on their darling kids. The parents are the ones that make their kids work side jobs to help with the family leaving the student with out finish home work or too tired to stay awake in class. Over the last 20+ years, I have seen and heard it all. I tell you, fix the parents, you will fix education.

  21. LarryFine says:

    “Stand up for children and teachers”

    Yea! “Stand up Chuck … oh god, let’s all stand up for Chuck”…

  22. Republicans hate education and teachers simply because their cult masters tell them to hate teachers. I suspect those who contribute letters to this forum, also, didn’t do too well in school. When you read their letters their lack of education is glaring.

    An educated population will not believe stupid crap like Obama is a Muslim. America is not only divided by rich and poor it is also divided by the educated and the non educated. Unfortunately the uneducated vote.

  23. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Before criticizing others here, you may want to check your grammar. And remember the old biblical adage; judge not, lest ye be judged.

    ”Unfortunately the uneducated vote.”

    ‘Yep, and some might ague those ”uneducated” types brought us the likes of 0bama, Reid, Pelosi, and our democrat controlled state – irrespective of their level of… education.

    Education, not indoctrination.

  24. First off, teachers and the failing education system in WA has always seen 25-30% of the budget. Yes that is correct and roughly 3/4 of the monies spent on education is to the salaries of teachers and staff. With an avg of 8bill per yr to education 6bill is salaries. We have seen what an avg of 400% growth in monies spent in the last decade and half to education. Really! You tell me we don’t spend enough.

    Education was fine tillthe government and unions stepped in education was flourishing.

  25. Bobcat: if we had a choice a voucher system no one would be priced out of education. The money we spend in taxes to fund a failing education system would instead go to schools (private, public and government) ran schools that shows the best results. We would have a CHOICE!

    Spotted: I to agree with you. My sister has Downs and what did they make her do, 6 yrs in a high school. She has the mentally capacity of a 7yr old. Yet 6yrs in high school. She has not the ability to be educated further and never will she.

  26. If you don’t like public schools, send your kids to private school.

    Personal responsibility.

  27. Bristoldog: well I am glad that your wife works so hard (and the smoke clears with a breeze of truth). Now I have 10 family members and countless friends who are teachers. This you can try and blow up someone else’s rear. Well I have one uncle who is a great educator. He actually goes to the students home, speaks with the student and parents. He is constantly is in disagreement with his union. They constantly threaten him that he will lose his job if he keeps it up. Its not in his scope of work as they put it.
    Curious what’s school district does your wife work? Would like to know her name so we.could see what she makes. I know you know its public info so there is no problem getting this info. Weird your say she is up grading papers at 4am. What does she teach?
    The many teachers I know, never miss a vacation, never miss billiard league, bowling league, family’s and friend functions. Thought they were to busy. Oh by the way so everyone knows, teachers receive additional pay on top of the base salary this is called TRI or PRAD pay. Its for the so called extra work they do. Please be transparent.
    Its not parents job to educate their children when teachers are paid to so. If you want me to educate my son I will be glad to. As soon as I get the choice to stop paying taxes that fund teachers and their unions.

  28. Polago: so we can pay twice, once to government (public) schools and then again to private. I would love to send my son to a private school. If l had the choice to give them my tax dollars I would.

  29. “Regrettably, teachers are an easy target because politics needs a scapegoat for our nation’s failure to grow economically.”

    Oh I dont know, but seems to me that when most kids seem to finish high school these days without the basic knowledge as to how to balance a checkbook, compute simple arithmetic WITHOUT a calculator, or construct a simple sentence — verbally OR written–then taxpayers wonder why every other Friday seems to be a teacher “in service day” where kids are out of the classroom and the failure suddenly becomes the fault of everyone but those entrusted to educate…Nope, so much for scapegoats.

  30. Sue1234: Republicans hate education. Is this your personal view because your a Democrat. If it wasn’t for the government, the unions and the religious extremists our education would have thrived. If they would have left the LANCASTER system alone our education would have flourished.
    This bit about olamaa l, oshamma, whatever our Pres. Really.

  31. Most of us who are lucky to have a job bust our tails on avg. 240 days out of the year and here in WA that’s an avgerage pay of $16 per hr without benefits, which is less than half what the average teacher makes at $64k per 182 days of contracted work.
    Now I know.someone will comment that teachers went to college blah blah blah. So did an electrical engineer who on average makes $75k per year. Now compare the education.

  32. Man I love the android phones. Lets me stay in touch. If your a teacher all cell phone providers especially Verizon give discounts to teacher up to 27% per month. Lets look at a few others who hand them out. Bank of America, lower interest rates on personal and mortgage loans. Geico, farmers, AAA, state farm… discount if your a teacher. Oh sorry gotta run have to run this cat6 data cable to a classroom

  33. Fibonacci says:

    dic
    Tuition at Lakeside in Seattle is $25000 per year, Bellermine is over $12000 per year. Just how much do you think you would get with your voucher? Thje vouicher would not even be CLOSE to the tuition at a private school, so only those with the money to make up the difference would be able to afford to send their kids to school.

  34. Are you kidding me. The amount of money from property taxes, state sales taxes and lottery, not to mention the federal funding WA receives. Your telling me that we would not have enough money for the voucher system. Lets get real.

    More than 70% of the funding comes from our state wide sales tax and property tax. Our education budget amount is 27 to 30% of our yearly budget in WA. Which again 3/4 is spent on salaries of teacher and staff. If the voucher system and the Lancaster system was invoked so many teachers and staff would not be needed. Not to mention the higsouth americaher quality of education our children would receive.

    For profit voucher and not for profit voucher schools out perform any government ran school (public). We see this all over Europe and South America.

    WA spends, when correctly reported, $10k every year per child.

  35. Now don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of wonderful and outstanding teacher. I really believe that. Its sad that the majority are out for the money and prestige.

  36. alindasue says:

    dic,
    I have three issues with your running tirade of comments:

    “Are you kidding me. The amount of money from property taxes, state sales taxes and lottery, not to mention the federal funding WA receives. Your telling me that we would not have enough money for the voucher system. Lets get real. ”

    If we had enough extra money from all that to pay for education vouchers, then why are teachers being asked to take a pay cut to help balance the state budget?

    “Now I know.someone will comment that teachers went to college blah blah blah. So did an electrical engineer who on average makes $75k per year. Now compare the education.”

    OK, let’s compare the education. To become an electrical engineer generally requires a bachelors degree and maybe some apprentice time on the job. For a teacher to “average” $75k per year, he or she would have to attain a significantly higher level of education.

    I referenced the Tacoma teachers’ 2010-2011 salary schedule found at
    http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/employment/Documents/Teachers%20Salary%20Schedule.pdf

    A teacher would have to earn a doctorate degree AND be on the job for nearly 20 years to attain that same $75k average.

    “Spotted: I to agree with you. My sister has Downs and what did they make her do, 6 yrs in a high school. She has the mentally capacity of a 7yr old. Yet 6yrs in high school. She has not the ability to be educated further and never will she. ”

    This comment told me the most about you, and I’m not sure I care much for what I see. Do you really think so little of your sister?

    My son is autistic with severe developemental delay. He functions at about a 4 year old level. No one “made” him go to high school for 6 years; he went willingly and with my blessing. During those six years, his vocabulary doubled, he learned to understand the concept of time, he learned to function in a working environment, all difficult concepts given his disability. He’s 27 now and has been out of school for nearly 6 years, yet with our teaching he continues to learn new skills and abilities. He definitely has the ability to be educated further.

    If your sister functions at a 7 year old level, then she no doubt was able to learn even more during the 6 years they “made” her attend high school. She can probably read a little and write and even do some simple math, all skills that help her function in society. Even after high school, she can continue to be educated either at a school or at home with family. People, even people with disabilities, never stop learning as long as the opportunity to learn something new is there.

    How can you honestly think it was a waste to send her to school?

  37. “Polago: so we can pay twice, once to government (public) schools and then again to private. I would love to send my son to a private school. If l had the choice to give them my tax dollars I would.”

    Spoken like a true two faced Tea Party member, dic.

    Where’s your sense of personal responsibility? Many of us are subsidizing your son’s education. How do you like being on the dole?

    If everyone sent their kids to private school, we wouldn’t have to subsidize their educations, either. Don’t be a dic, privatize.

  38. You wouldn’t be paying twice because you’re not paying once, yet.

  39. alindasue says:

    “What if you simply removed SPED from the schools? That would save an exhoborant amount of money. Yet, no one addresses that issue as kids with special needs seem to be a sacred cow. What about low income kids who are failing in droves? No one addresses that issue either.”

    So, are you saying that only highly intelligent kids with plenty of money should be in our schools?

    How long has it been since you’ve been in a public school? Low income kids are not “failing in droves” in most schools any more because the issues have been and still are being addressed. Of course, some of those programs, like Head Start, are now facing the budget ax…

    Special Ed is a “sacred cow” for a reason. It took decades of hard work by parents and supporters to bring forth the legislation that now guarantees that disabled children can be taught also. Gone are days when a disabled child would be ignored in a classroom or worse warehoused in an institution to be forgotton – and our society is better for it. Not only that, but it was found that keeping kids home and teaching them in the schools is actually less expensive than running the institutions.

  40. Fibonacci says:

    For all you people that think everyone could just go to private school, with or without vouchers. How many private high schools in and near Tacoma?Bellarmiine, Cascade Crhistian, Life Chritian, Tacoma Baptist, Annie Wright, Charles Wright, Ranier Lutheran. Any more? Now, if you emptied all the pucblc schools how many thousand of kids would be looking for schools? How many could these private schools take? I have had kids in both public and private schools and news flash, the private schools CHOOSE who they take since there is normally more demand than room. Oh yeah, we cold just open more private schools. Right, you just keep telling yourself that. Public schools are one of the best bargains we have. Contrary to right wing bull puckey, any kid with a desire and parents that care well get a good education.

  41. David1964 says:

    Dic said, “There are a lot of wonderful and outstanding teacher. I really believe that. Its sad that the majority are out for the money and prestige.”

    Money? Prestige?? OMG! You sure make me laugh, Dic!

  42. commoncents says:

    DIC

    Approximately 60,000 teachers in this state with an average experience level of 12.4 years. 66% of them have Masters Degrees. Avg Salary will be what you say it is…64k.

    Electrical Engineer 5 typically requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering and at least 8-10 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Avg salary ? 113k

    Now, I’m not going to compare the two jobs…they require differing skill sets and value different competencies. You were the one to compare….so thing is…if you’re going to try to compare salaries then you have to compare them at similar stages of their careers. Neither of these two positions that I list are managers and both report to supervisors. This is more valid of a comparison than the one you trotted out.

  43. commoncents says:

    DIC – Any company that employs 60,000 people gets discounts. My company gets far better discounts than the PSD. Best discount my spouse gets that I don’t? Borders Books on educational materials. but hey…it’s still a discount!

  44. Thank you Fibonacci and let me add if we take out the religious run schools we are down to 3. What a savings we could have by allowing them to educate our kids. Annie Wright is a great school and high school day only no boiard is a modest $21,050.00 a year.

    Might we consider passing out vouchers for 21 gran to each student and closing our schools, can you imagine the savings. At that price it would take 3.5 students to pay the annual wage of a public school teacher,now thats class size reduction.

  45. Roncella says:

    What is it about the Liberal brain, that they cannot understand the Tax Payers are Broke !!!

    Where in the heck do you think the Tea Party came from, it came from folks all over the Nation gathering to demonstrate against higher and higher taxes, and Government waste, and inefficiency. . Hello, this is not brain surgery even you stubborn liberals should be able to comprehend the fact that folks are broke.

  46. spotted1 says:

    alindasue….special education is not fully funded in public education in this state or any state. Those students require not only a classroom teacher, typically they also require a specialist teacher, plus an assistant. In many cases, there are specialists involved to educate your child in areas such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychologist, and others. Some of them require medical training by the staff just to toilet them or take care of medical needs.

    So, yes, they are a drain on the system. The “normal” kid takes on teacher at elementary and six a middle and high school. The SPED student requires the same number plus support staff that is not fully funded by the state or feds. Most of them will not go to college and many will require additional support after school. So yes, they are expensive and the money could be better used.

    Low income kids are failing the state tests at or above the level of other students. They do not attend college at the same level as regular kids. Those that are not going to college, and we know this, should not be educated like they are going to college. Use the money better to train them in skills that they will do.

  47. Fibonacci says:

    Rncella
    You antitax nut you. This cut of 3% on teachers is in effect a TAX on their income. Why doesn’t EVERONE take a 3% cut and donate it to the state so they can balance the budget? You say everyone is broke so wouldn’t that include teachers? They are broke but you are fine with THEM losing 3% of their pay so YOU don’t have to–selfish on your part? What is fair for teacher is fair for all that have not taken a pay cut to this point righjt? Are the police and firemen taking a 3% pay cut? Oh wait, in King County the Sherrif’s Deputies are getting a 5% RAISE. Are you hollering about that one? No, you aren’t because righties are either too unintelligent to see the hypocrisy here or just to self absorbed. Which are you?

  48. If education vouchers are anything like the Ryan Health Care vouchers parents could not afford to send kids to public schools, let alone private schools.

    The whole charter school/voucher idea is just a right-wing agenda to bring ‘separate but equal’ education back to America.

    If ¾ of the education budget goes to pay teachers, who pays the salaries for the district staff and other non-teachers working for a school district?

    Washington State Average Teacher Salaries for the 2006-2007 school year was about $47,000.

    http://www.erdc.wa.gov/faq/pdf/raq003_teacher_salary.pdf

    Roncella,
    Go tell the Oil, Agribusiness, Drug, and Defense Hogs that we have to cut their subsides.

    Some things that are just too important to not fund. Yes, the ed systems need some work, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

  49. “taxedenoughintacoma says:
    April 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm
    More whining on behalf of the teacher unions. 61% of TNT readers recently said that teachers should take the 3% paycut.”

    Tell us what you do and lets take a poll as to how many people think you should take a pay cut

  50. “So, yes, they are a drain on the system. The “normal” kid takes on teacher at elementary and six a middle and high school. The SPED student requires the same number plus support staff that is not fully funded by the state or feds. Most of them will not go to college and many will require additional support after school. So yes, they are expensive and the money could be better used.”

    Didn’t Sarah Palin have something to say about the government, death panels and her son?

  51. “Its sad that the majority are out for the money and prestige.”

    CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT!!!!!!!!??????

    Teachers want money???? Why don’t they donate their time, you know….like bankers and stock brokers do????

  52. First off alindasue: The love for my sister is not in question here. Now you should take a look at yourself for saying such a thing. She learned nothing in school. We taught her. Her family taught her. She was thrown in a room with other disabled children. Yes her learning is capped. PERIOD. She cannot learn more than what she has. Your son might be different and I am glad he is. Yes sending her to an all day daycare was horrible.

    The allocated salary is the minimum salary they can make by law, as with all school districts its negotiable after the minimum.
    Also we should again not confuse that they work 2 months less than the avg person in WA.

    How can you compare the education of said teachers to any kind of engineer. I have family who are teachers with MA-ED in either ECD or General education. Seriously, what a joke.

    Now on the voucher. Did you not read what was said. It has nothing to do with extra money just floating around. I will let you research on the subject.

  53. Polago says:
    April 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    “Polago: so we can pay twice, once to government (public) schools and then again to private. I would love to send my son to a private school. If l had the choice to give them my tax dollars I would.”

    Spoken like a true two faced Tea Party member, dic.

    Where’s your sense of personal responsibility? Many of us are subsidizing your son’s education. How do you like being on the dole?

    If everyone sent their kids to private school, we wouldn’t have to subsidize their educations, either. Don’t be a dic, privatize.

    Now you accuse me of this. You are truly unreal. Thats all I will say about this comment.

  54. You wouldn’t be paying twice because you’re not paying once, yet.

    I pay with every tax dollar I spend. Your not making any sense.

  55. Most teachers are very dedicated, hard-working and effective. Regrettably, teachers are an easy target because politics needs a scapegoat for our nation’s failure to grow economically.

    I wish this was true- I am a teacher and love what I do and the really good teachers take my breath away, but we as a profession have to stop covering for the really bad teachers and there are a lot of them. We all know who they are- we all feel terrible for the kids who end up in their class. I saw Waiting for Superman with several teachers and all of us were so sad after the movie because we know it was true. Really bad teachers are allowed to stay until they retire. The sad thing is no matter how good of a parent you are- you won’t know until it is too late that your child got put into the class of a teacher who everyone knows in that school, and probably in the district, is a really bad teacher. The “dance of the lemons” is alive and well.
    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/#ixzz1KD1Jehrk

  56. “Your not making any sense.”

    You say your sister learned from the family??????

  57. Uh…rosie…just a question…..what makes you such a super-duper teacher and makes others “really bad”???

    Please be precise with your answer. I’m going to grade you.

  58. Let’s start with your run-on sentence:

    “I wish this was true- I am a teacher and love what I do and the really good teachers take my breath away, but we as a profession have to stop covering for the really bad teachers and there are a lot of them.”

    It should have been:

    “I wish this was true. I am a teacher and love what I do. The really good teachers take my breath away. As professionals, we have to stop covering for bad teachers.”

    Now, rosie, instead of saying “there are a lot of them”, you should have qualified your statement with data. “A lot” can mean 12 or 12,000.

    So, my initial ranking of you is that I find you less than average in terms of the communication skills that I would want my children to learn.

    Should you be one of the people that teachers should not cover?

  59. I believe she was speaking in more of a general way. Thank you for showing us your wonderful communication skills.

  60. “I pay with every tax dollar I spend.”

    So does everyone else whether they have children in public school or not. We subsidize your child’s education, dic.

    You’re not paying your child’s full tuition. We all are. You’re on the dole, dic, no differently than if you received food stamps.

    Many parents send their kids to private school and don’t begrudge the public schools the use of their tax money. By sending them to private school every one pays less in taxes.

  61. (+/-When speaking of the voucher system its not just about private schools its about all schools. Its about choice. Where one might receive a better education. Lets look at voucher schools in other countries which have both for and not for profit schools. The for profit schools out perform the non profit voucher schools by 10%. The not for profit schools out perform any government school by a minimum of 15% (+/- a few points). No its not because the rich can send them. These voucher systems are for the poor. The lower class.
    Lets tackle this tea party issue real quick. How about the 100’s of 1000’s of poor hard working people busting their rears to barely make a living. Yet they are made to pay for SPED children who will never be economically independent. These people may not be the most gifted or intelligent people but again they are economically independent taking care of themselves their families. Now they are taxed horrendously to pay for this failing education system. They are continuously asked to give more to teachers

  62. spotted1 says:

    dic…not disagreeing with you that profit schools outperform other schools. But are you comparing apples to apples? The reality of a profit, or voucher school, is that only those kids whose parents can or will get them there will go. If the kid can’t get there then they can’t attend. If the parent won’t provide support, then the kid will not be allowed to attend. If the student doesn’t work, then the child is sent packing and does not return.

    The dynamic of a private, voucher, or profit school is different than a public school. Public schools are required to educate everyone. Other schools can pick and choose and send everyone else home.

    How many private, voucher, or profit schools do you see that are purely ethnic minorities from low incomes? They don’t exist except in very special cases with a lot of parent support. Look at our private schools around here, what is their ethnic diversity?

  63. Excellent letter. In education one gets what one pays for in most cases. The highest graduation rates go to the states that spend the most on education. The statistical evidence of that is very convincing when one understands statistical analysis.
    It is not unlike the statistical evidence that says legalizing marijuana use will lead to increased auto fatalities. Those conclusions are not based on “smoke and mirror” evidence. There are hard facts from real numbers for proof.
    Why don’t we talk about the “birthers” here too while we are at it?
    Changing the subject is always the easy way out for people who have no idea what they are talking about.

  64. Well I disagree with the attendance you speak of when it comes to a voucher system. Children taught in voucher systems in many countries (Chile, Brazil etc) are of very low income as well as orphans and children who are homeless and without family. The issue is they have both for and non profit system. Family support is not what we have here in the US. In a voucher system (especially in non profit) children are not turned away in the slightest. Well except if they are trouble, I mean real trouble or they will not perform intentionally.
    You speak of ethnicity in a voucher system. We really have no voucher system here in the US. Unions and their pocket books for officials prevent such a great idea. Also a voucher system is the best idea for the low income and minority populated districts.

    Take a look at AIPCS in CA. 99.5% minority, low income students and the school only spends roughly 5k per student to educate. Which we here in WA spend nearly 12k. Oh I know they tell us its only at 8k. Ranked #1 out of all middle schools in CA. Not that I totally agree with charter schools. Family and parent support not as strong as you might think. We need to stop blaming parents, though I do agree in some sense. If I see that my son does not do well with book learning we as parents should not be forced to send our children to school. Learning a trade has always been shown to produce wonderful, economically independent and sociably sound citizens. That is a whole other subject. My son is 100% responsible for his education. I will continue with that later.

    Wanted to put also that there is no union control of teachers in voucher systems as of yet. The teachers are compensated pretty good too.

  65. Joseph Lancaster, “one master can teach a thousand students.” More money does not mean better education. More teachers does not mean better education.

    Sounds like someone just finished the statistics course.

  66. alindasue says:

    dic said, “First off alindasue: The love for my sister is not in question here. Now you should take a look at yourself for saying such a thing. She learned nothing in school. We taught her. Her family taught her. She was thrown in a room with other disabled children. Yes her learning is capped. PERIOD. She cannot learn more than what she has. Your son might be different and I am glad he is. Yes sending her to an all day daycare was horrible. ”

    To begin with, noone’s learning is “capped”. It may be slow, very slow at times, but that’s not the same as capped. As long as your sister is alive, conscious, and thinking, she has the capacity to learn – even if it is at her own speed. Once you and your family understand that, you can continue to teach her.

    One thing I failed to take into account is your age and the age of your sister. How old is your sister and where did she go to high school? If you guys are anywhere near my age, her Special Ed experience may be different than what I am familiar with. That easily could have colored your view of special education. Much has changed in special education since the 70s.

    My son went to Foss for four years in the late 90s/early 2000s, then he went a vocational program at Park School for two years. I visited the classes many times. What I saw there was much more than an all day daycare. They had some activities that they’d all do together and they had times when the kids were separated into smaller groups to work on IEP goals. His teachers and I would often talk about what he was learning and ways we could re-enforce what he learned at school when he was at home and how routines at home affected his learning at school.

    My son joined the regular classes for PE and music. A para-educator helped him join in with the activities. Some of the kids joined the regular classes for math or reading also, as their abilities allowed. The point is, everyone was learning. It was a good program.

  67. I am sorry to say everyone has a cap on what they can learn. There is a difference in learning and remembering or being familiar with things.
    Let me ask you a question. Will your son ever be economically independent? I doubt it. My sister will never be. Still people who are economically independent barely making a living, barely able to feed their kids and yet are stuck paying for your child, my sister to be babysat. So people and parents can feel good about themselves.

    Don’t force parents to send their children to school.

  68. You see. You said it yourself, he had to have a para-educator. Economically its not a sound decision.
    Now it cost somewhere in the area of four or six times more to try to educate a Mentally retarded or mentally disabled child. Those figures might be a bit old I think it has gone up especially for the mentally and physically disabled. Now this is driving costs up. The heavy taxes, the cost of food, gas.

    Furthermore, that’s all SPED is, its daycare. What do you think they do in daycare.

    Four years in a high school. Two year at CP. Do you know how much that cost the taxpayers! Again economical independence is the question at hand.

  69. While you’re applying for vouchers, dic, you might just as well pick up some food stamps, too. A government handout is a government handout.

    Please explain to me how the Right can endorse vouchers for themselves, and at the same time criticize the Left for wanting to help the truly needy.

  70. Once again.. idiots with no education trying to assert they know what to do and how education works.
    Educated people know the more education you have the more you realize what you dont know.

    Uneducated, like the gop idiots in here, KNOW EVERYTHING.

  71. “dic says:
    April 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm
    I believe she was speaking in more of a general way. Thank you for showing us your wonderful communication skills.”

    In words that you might understand – “your wrong”
    I was demonstrating the ambiguous means of “grading” a teacher. Although a run-on sentence isn’t technically improper grammar, a student would get a lesser grade for using it.

    Now, as to educating mentally CHALLENGED – My nephew was born with Down Syndrome. He learned sign language faster than his “normal” siblings and his parents. Maybe your sister’s challenge was her instructors.

    “dic says:
    April 22, 2011 at 3:36 am
    I am sorry to say everyone has a cap on what they can learn.”
    speak for yourself

  72. One of the benefits of the mentally challenged attending school is the education that SOME of the “normal” people get by having to work with them and not ignore them in the social chain.

    Of course, I’m reminded that certain people have a cap on learning….

  73. commoncents says:

    DIC actually got me thinking. I would be for a voucher system but only for those who have a household income that is at or below the free/reduced lunch program amount. In addition, those on the voucher system must be tested annually to ensure that are at or above their peers in the public school system.
    The voucher amount would be at the cost per student amount indexed for inflation (currently about $9,500). The key to me is the testing. Without the annual testing requirement I would never approve. In addition, I would never approve of any voucher money being available to me…I can send my kid to a private school if I wanted to. I don’t need or want to reduce any funds available to public schools on my behalf. Besides, a weakened school system reduces my property values substantially. Don’t need that tacked on to the current pricing woes.

  74. Don’t force parents to send their children to school.

    Another vote for ignorance.

  75. LarryFine says:

    How are school vouchers a government handout Po ?

    The rest of your post is a false dichotomy…

  76. Is that so. The education one receives while teaching the disabled. So that’s why they have para-educators.
    You all again totally ignore the point. Investing in something that will never produce or become economically independent. But hey that’s the government for you.
    It takes no money away from anything. You would have the choice to send your vouchers to public schools if you thought your child would receive a better education there.

  77. The question is how are vouchers not a government handout?

    The government collects taxes. Some people want the government to pay for their private education, so the government hands out vouchers. Sounds like food stamps to me.

    Explain your claim of false dichotomy, Larrry.

  78. Polago: your truly amazing. You speak of the right and left as if you know something about it. The idea of not invoking a voucher system is more right than anything. The poor not having a choice is terrible. The single mother working at the local 7/11 or am/pm.for minimum wage trying to feed her child still must pay for others education. The rising cost of food, gas, rent, insurance because we want to try and educate babysit someone who never will produce.

  79. polago:
    A lot of people want government to pay for their private education in a government school. This is also a government handout every bit as much as a education voucher can be called a government handout.

  80. Beerboy please explain.

  81. “I don’t need or want to reduce any funds available to public schools on my behalf. Besides, a weakened school system reduces my property values substantially. Don’t need that tacked on to the current pricing woes.”
    Just what I always thought, the wealthy don’t care about educating children, all they ever care about is the value of their private investments. They’ll use the children, the poor, the disabled and any one else as long as the money keeps rolling in. Never mind the single mother working two jobs at $9 an hour hoping to be able to provide a few extras in life for herself and her children.
    By the way a voucher system would not weaken the school system, it would actually strengthen it, while providing equal opportunity to all. But the rich don’t want that.

  82. I purposely stayed out of your conversation concerning educating someone who never will produce because there was someone with first hand knowledge speaking to that issue.

    –“The idea of not invoking a voucher system is more right than anything.”–

    Some on the Right would like nothing better than to financially gut the public school system by taking what they believe to be their child’s portion (or more) of the educational pie and using it to offset their private education.

    Those same people would rail about government handouts to the poor and the needy.

    We taxpayers willingly provide the tools necessary to educate any and every child in America. If someone doesn’t like that educational option, they’re free to explore other options, at their own expense, home school, or get involved and make the most out of their public school system. If that’s not enough, I’m sorry.

    I’ve been on all sides of that fence, so I can speak without bias, as I didn’t expect the taxpayers to subsidize my private education, and I don’t want others to use public money for their private education.

    –“A lot of people want government to pay for their private education in a government school. This is also a government handout every bit as much as a education voucher can be called a government handout.”–

    Agreed.

    –“By the way a voucher system would not weaken the school system, it would actually strengthen it, while providing equal opportunity to all.”–

    Please explain that.

  83. LarryFine says:

    False dichotomy > “…the Right can endorse vouchers for themselves, and at the same time criticize the Left for wanting to help the truly needy.”
    .
    Vouchers don’t “pay for private education”, they help offset the cost of education choice. Since the tax payer is already “paying” for public education, how is allowing them the choice to use the money they have already payed a “handout” ?
    That’s just kooky logic on your part.

  84. LarryFine says:

    “Some on the Right would like nothing better … ”

    • Polago wrote on 04/02/2009 02:34:58 PM:
    “Obviously, your mind runs wild with your little perceptions of what you think other people are thinking…”

    LOL…

  85. “A school voucher, also called an education voucher, is a certificate issued by the government which parents can apply toward tuition at a private school (or, by extension, to reimburse home schooling expenses), rather than at the state school to which their child is assigned.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_voucher

    If those parents receive more than they paid in school taxes, they are receiving a handout from the government. Not that they even deserve any refund.

    As a taxpayer, I don’t get a full refund if my neighbors send their children to private school, why should they?

    If you truly believe in privatization, then private school at your own expense is the choice for you. If everybody did it, we would not need public schools.

  86. Polago asks; “Please explain that.”

    So called private school in this country spend roughly half the money that government schools spend per student. Most voucher proposals in the past have called for vouchers to be set at between 50 and 70% of the per pupil costs in government schools. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that a student taken out of the system along with the cost of the voucher would leave in the government system the remaining moneys that would have been spent on the exiting pupil. That extra money could then be used to lower taxes which would strengthen the community, or remain in the government school budget resulting in an increase in per pupil expenditure and thereby strengthen the government school budget.

    Of course if the highly unlikely occurred and all the students exited the government schools , then we would have a vibrant public funded private school system. In either case, the increase choice would lead to greater parental control leading to a more responsive and stronger school system.

    Giving parents of all economic classes the democratic power to vote with their share of the education dollars (choice) would give them the same decision making power and alternative opportunities which today are reserved only to the more wealthy members of society. Its time we move beyond this old system of granting power only to the privileged elite, all the people should have equal rights of opportunity.

  87. LarryFine says:

    So folks that receive a public education who don’t pay yaxes are getting another handout…

    So Polago is against choice… kooky.

  88. I see Polago that you quote a wikipedia definition of school vouchers. While the definition used is not inaccurate, it is far from complete lacking very little relationship to any of the major voucher proposals of the last 30 years. Most voucher proposals that have surfaced in the past three decades have called for the vouchers to be used primarily for disadvantaged children where the costs of the education would be entirely covered by the voucher.

    Yes you are right, it can be said that if parents receive more for the schooling of their children than they pay in taxes for schools, they are receiving a handout from government. This is true regardless of voucher choice, charter school choice, or regular government school without choice. Your point therefore is not relevant to the subject.

    You appear to have a hang up on the word “privatization.” The fact that you and others have found a convenient coincidence between freedom of choice and privatization, with some hailing it as a positive attribute, while others, such as your self, using it as a bogeyman term, only shows how far extremists will go on both sides to push their pet causes, be it privatization or government schools. The issue is not privatization, but rather the making education more public by allowing the consumers of that education to be able to directly vote with their education dollars for the best education available.

    By the way, over the course of most peoples lives, they will pay our far more in taxes for education than was spent on them for their own education. Blanketing it as “handout” without careful explanation is so grossly misleading as to be inaccurate.

  89. You’re trying to take the public’s money and use it for your personal private use, dic. If the governor or any other public official did that they would be prosecuted.

    The taxpayers and the voters have provided, for you, a means to educate your children. If your public school isn’t good enough for you get involved and help to make it better place. If parental involvement was the same as in private schools, public schools would exceed expectations.

    Or send your kids to a private school at your own expense, or home school them at your own expense. Public money, public schools. Private money, private schools.

    If everyone paid for their private education, the taxpayers wouldn’t have to provide public schools.

    Private schools are filled with the children of parents who have made that personal choice, take personal responsibility, and personal sacrifice. They continue to pay taxes to support public education. You seem to want your cake and eat it too.

  90. LarryFine says:

    “public’s money” interesting. The government took it from someone.

    Hey, you wouldn’t happen to be Philip from the current survivor would you?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSuY6xoSJGk

  91. “So called private school in this country spend roughly half the money that government schools spend per student.”

    Someone has been getting their “facts” from the pro-voucher people.

    Bellarmine charges $12,000 per student. The cost of a public school student is about $9,000

    A simple fact that can’t be misrepresented.

  92. “The government took it from someone.”

    We tax ourselves.

  93. alindasue says:

    Polago said, “I purposely stayed out of your conversation concerning educating someone who never will produce because there was someone with first hand knowledge speaking to that issue.”

    beerBoy and KARDNOS’s comments already added to my position nicely. I don’t think there’s much I could add to this issue that dic would listen to.

    He must be suffering from that “cap on learning” that he keeps talking about – although it’s been my observation that the only caps on learning that truly exist are all self imposed… although why anyone would want to “cap” their learning is beyond me.

  94. Alindasue: look up the term ad-hominem. I am bored with your posts. On the other hand the others here have brought a great deal more to the discussion. Facts and figures (although at times inaccurate) but none the less they offer more to speak of. Again you never answered the question, will your son ever be economically independent.

    Getting their facts from voucher people. When all is considered in calculating per pupil spending (not just what comes out of the general fund) in WA, we are roughly at 11k per ye pee student. Of course there are schools for the rich. Again the proposal for voucher is 50 to 70% of government ran schools.

  95. Excuse my missed doweled words.
    We tax ourselves?

  96. Yes, dic, we tax ourselves.

  97. Explain…

  98. Where do I begin? What is it about civics that you don’t understand, dic?

    Do you understand Democracy?

    We the people tax ourselves and spend that revenue for the common good.

    We are the government.

  99. alindasue says:

    dic,
    Your comments about an educational utopia where everyone would receive vouchers to “choose” the schools their children remind me of 1988. That’s the year my husband’s work situation changed while I was four months pregnant. He was only unemployed for three days, two of them being a weekend, and so we had medical coverage again pretty quickly. The problem was that I had to find a doctor who would accept our new insurance. Even though I had had regular prenatal checks to that point, there were doctors who wouldn’t take on new patients that “late” in the pregnancy or who were booked up on diliveries for the month I was due. It wasn’t until I got to the last doctor on the list that I finally found someone. He was two cities away, but he did have an opening.

    I relay this story because. I see the same thing happening with an all-voucher system. You see, if you are finding studies showing private schools averaging higher in tests, that’s because they can choose which students they want and how many will be accepted. That means that even if all the students have vouchers to pay for the schools, they still have to get into the schools. Over 90 new private schools would have to open in order to handle all the students currently attending public school in Tacoma. (28,000 students/300 average students at private schools=roughly 93)

    Addressing the so-called “waste”, “overspending” , and “overpaid” teachers and administrators in our public schools, I decided to do a little research this morning. The following figures for the 2010-2011 school year are from the schools’ own sites:

    Average price per student (lumping together all grades and special ed) at Tacoma Public Schools is $12, 690. That price includes “tuition”, books, most supplies, food service, and bus transportation.

    By comparison, it’s $15,500-$20,000 per student at Charles Wright Academy. That covers tuition (and maybe books). It’s an additional $2,000 for bus service.

    Annie Wright Academy charges between $15,000 and $21,000 for it’s 5-day non-residential K-12 programs. It’s an additional $2000 for bus service and $820 for music lessons. Boarding school options run upward of $40,000 per student.

    St. Charles Borromeo (K-8 Catholic school) charges $5,220-$18,000 per year for its tuition – just over half that for members of the St. Charles congregation who no doubt support the school with their offerings.

    Bellermine Prep, where most St. Charles Borromeo students would go for high school, attempts to keep it’s tuitions affordable, so students only have to pay 79% of their costs: $11,865. The remaining $3,200 per student comes from endowments and community support. Students have to buy their own books ($300-$500) and uniforms, etc. I couldn’t find anything about bus service on either the St. Charles or Bellermine sites.

    So, we have $12,690 cost per student in public schools verses over $15,000 per student at “efficient” and “run like a business” private schools. Where is this “overspending” we are supposed to be doing?

  100. Yes Polago, philosophically speaking “we are the government” in the protracted theoretical sense of things. But day to day practical realities separate us from government. When the government is the master of our private affairs, grants privilege to its own private selected few agents, we become its servants. Its actually a mixed bag and always will be.
    Your notion that I’m “trying to take the public’s money and use it” for my “personal private use,” is no more accurate than if I claimed that you are trying to use public property and employees for your personal private use at the public expense.
    Oh, and by the way, everything the governor or any other government official does is done for private reasons, its just not advertised. Officials do not get prosecuted for such. Prosecution depends on the methods and circumstances of that private use.

  101. “Yes Polago,” is the correct answer, dic.

  102. My dear alindasue, I made no “comment about an educational utopia.” If that is what you are looking for you won’t find it in voucher, charter, or pure government school systems. Nor will you find it in my preferred combination of the three. Utopia is not an option.

    I’ve also done quite a bit of research on private vs. public school costs. Yes, here in Washington State private schools are predominately far more expensive than those that can be found in other states. In short, private schools in Washington are either religion supported or reserved only for the wealthy. But a voucher or charter system would do much to reverse that disparity, while simultaneously leaving more money per student in government schools.

    Vouchers for example, could be offered at 60% of the costs per pupil in government schools, to be used only in those schools where they pay 100% of the tuition, books, uniforms, etc. If no such schools can be found or come into existence , then nothing changes from the current arrangement. But I and the teachers unions know that with that kind of money such schools would quickly spring into existence.

    Using your figures from Tacoma government schools, that would be a voucher equivalent to $7,614 per student. I’d say even if we set the voucher at 50% of the cost per student (that would be $6,345), we would find many ready and able to take up the challenge. If I’m wrong, the cost is nothing to the government schools. If I’m right, the government schools would get a windfall in extra money per student for students remaining in government schools. That is called a win win situation. Of course the teachers union which has a different agenda than providing education wouldn’t like it.

  103. alindasue says:

    dic,
    “ad-hominem”, latin, means “until it sounds the same” (or in this case, until you quit listening no matter what people say). I didn’t have to look it up because I already knew what it meant, although I do have a dictionary close at hand should I encounter a word I haven’t yet learned. As I said, I don’t believe that learning can be capped – not unless you want it to be capped.

    Is my son “financially independent”? No, but if being financially independent is the qualification for being considered a productive and valuable member of society, I can thing of a few college educated “normal” 30 or 40 year olds that don’t qualify yet either. My son is continuing to learn and gradually develope more independence skills. He helps out around the house, goes shopping with me, and is a valuable member of our society.

    As to the matter of school vouchers: I already pointed out that giving people vouchers so they can choose is not going to save the state taxpayers money. Private schools are more expensive to run.

    So, let’s look at it from a right to choose perspective. You feel that it should be your right to receive the money you paid in taxes back in the form of a voucher, so you can put your child in the school of your choice. OK, let’s ignore fact that the amount you personally paid in school related taxes is probably less than the cost to educate your son in public school, much less a private school. You get your tax money in a voucher.

    Now, what about your neighbors who don’t have any children. Is it really fair that you get your taxes back in a voucher while they are still paying to support the schools? Or are you suggesting we don’t fund public schools at all?

    “Of course if the highly unlikely occurred and all the students exited the government schools , then we would have a vibrant public funded private school system.”

    Ah, I see. So it seems what you really want is for us all to pay private school prices for what my daughter reading this thread dubbed “public schools with less regulation.” Interesting.

  104. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz… alindasue,
    Where are you,
    Haven’t read a thing,
    But types away,
    Ding ding ding.

    Since all you have said of any significants in this last post of yours has already been well covered in my last 10 posts, I see no reason to repeat myself.

  105. Roncella says:

    fibonacci, you called me an anti tax nut. I am just trying to enlighten some as to whats really happening out here in the Real World.

    Apparently you and some others are not living in the same World as the rest of us are.

    Finonacci, You must be wise enough to see what so many folks are going through. Our homes have been devalued, yet our property taxes continue to go up higher and higher, because of School levies and other demands.

    Most folks Cannot Sell Their Homes because of a depressed real estate market, and tight lending restrictions now being imposed on everyone trying to buy or sell a home.

    Many owe more on their mortgage then there home is worth. Along with that bit of news fibonacci many folks like my self have lost thousands and thousands dollars of investments and retirement funds we thought were safe. They are gone and we have no way of making up for those tremendous losses.

    The price of a gallon of gas is about 4.00 a gallon and according to the experts by july it will be about 6.00 a gallon. Why can you and others understand how this affects everything we all do. From shopping to getting to and from work to taking a vacation or just taking a ride for a short vacation week end.

    Folks are cutting back alot in their driving habits. This will affect all businesses and eventually will affect all of us if something is not done soon to correct this problem.

    Our leaders our busy taking spring vacations or flying around the country campaigning for President blaming the price of gas on speculators or President Bush. Its time for them to act in what ever way possible to get the price of a gallon of gas back to 2.00 or less.

  106. alindasue says:

    “Vouchers for example, could be offered at 60% of the costs per pupil in government schools, to be used only in those schools where they pay 100% of the tuition, books, uniforms, etc. If no such schools can be found or come into existence , then nothing changes from the current arrangement. But I and the teachers unions know that with that kind of money such schools would quickly spring into existence.”

    I’m sure lots of school would spring into existance, but how many of those schools funded at such a level would be able to provide the same quality AND variety of school subjects necessary to prepare our children for the work world or college entry?

    Before you mention Joseph Lancaster again, at your suggestion I did study about him a bit. Some of his methods, like teaching students who then mentor other students, make sense. In fact it’s a method that I and most other parents with more than the minimum 2 or 3 children tend to use naturally on a regular basis in our homes. It’s a great way to teach rote learning subjects like the “three Rs” or historical facts or when teaching a single vocational skill to an entire class. I could see incorporating his ideas within a school curriculum.

    However, education standards and college/university entry prerequisites have changed considerably since the early 1800s. You can not teach a thousand students with one teacher any more. (According to the several articles I read, the opinions were very mixed about whether he could teach a thousand students effectively even then.) Universities now require the basics PLUS foreign languages, computer technology, critical thought, and other things that can’t be taught effectively by Mr. Lancaster’s method. You not only need teachers who know the various subjects they are teaching, but you need class sizes small enough to allow for discussion and asking of questions.

    I could go on for hours, but the long-and-short of it is that Mr. Lancaster’s methods may sound like a shortcut to running a cheaper school, but his methods alone are not enough to run a modern high school. The schools that do effectively prepare students for college cost more than $6,000 per student to run.

  107. Yes alindasue, educational standards have changed considerably since the early 1800s. Today’s standards are much lower than they were then.

    You are also right about articles having been written challenging Joseph Lancaster’s claims when he first made them. But those articles, mostly written by conservatives who proposed that poor children of low breeding were incapable of being taught in an academic setting, ceased after he demonstrated over and over again the validity of his type of monitor school system.

    Then as he traveled the world setting up schools the old attacks gave way to new attacks, mostly by the Catholics, the Masons and the upper bourgeoisie classes, that his system was dangerously teaching poor children to be atheistic and independent, when what they needed was to learn obedience and a trade. I do not wish to cast dispersions on Catholics or Masons here. The Catholics had a legitimate religious based competing school system and the Masons were sincere proponents of creating a government school system.

    At any rate when those attacks failed, the attacks became personal, centering on Mr. Lancaster’s character as well as his poor business practices. But in the end what spelled doom to Lancaster’s system as well as all the other various monitor school systems was the introduction of fully tax funded government schools with a lot of very low paid teachers. The propaganda was that one teacher could teach fifty students better than one teacher teaching five hundred, though most of Lancaster’s schools had less than 250 students per teacher.

    Admittedly, there are obvious limits to the Lancaster’s system. But for children through the 8th grade or through 14 years of age where education needs to primarily focus on teaching facts (ie reading, grammar, math, logic, foreign language, using a computer, basic beginning American and world history) a revised Lancaster system would be ideal. Obviously in higher education (senior high school and above) where students need to analyze the differences between probabilities and possibilities of any given topic Lancaster’s system would not work.

    Your suggestion however that “Mr. Lancaster’s methods may sound like a shortcut to running a cheaper school,” is not the virtue that proponents see in the system. That is just an added benefit. The virtue of the system is that it is a well tested, better method of teaching children.

    Setting Lancaster aside, your opinion that “the schools that do effectively prepare students for college cost more than $6,000 per student to run,” says nothing, as there are no schools currently teaching students for less than $6,000 per student, and no substantial impartial studies have been conducted on the topic.

    I want to thank you for encouraging me to sit at my home computer and write a very short brief one sided history of certain aspects of the Lancaster school system. Thank you very much.

  108. Many owe more on their mortgage then there home is worth. Along with that bit of news fibonacci many folks like my self have lost thousands and thousands dollars of investments and retirement funds we thought were safe. They are gone and we have no way of making up for those tremendous losses.

    And yet, none of the banksters who have done this are going to go to jail…..

  109. educational standards have changed considerably since the early 1800s. Today’s standards are much lower than they were then.</i.

    Far fewer went on to college, far fewer finished high school – or even grade school, and far fewer poor, female and minority students……yep….the good ol' days!

  110. It’s apparent that dic’s intent is to waltz round and round the same hedge, beating it to death, attempting to rationalize the taking of public funds away from the public school system, and using it to pay for his own private education desires.

    As a taxpayer, I can only conclude that this is, clearly, a misappropriation of public funds, and should not be allowed to happen.

    Public education is there for all of us to use. If we choose otherwise, it should be at our own expense, as it has been for everyone before us. His child(ren) are no more special, or deserving than ours.

  111. LarryFine says:

    … vouchers are your own expense if you’re paying taxes.

  112. Taxpayers expense, Larry. What we earn is ours, after taxes.

  113. Palago, as seen from prior posts, is a master at misrepresenting opposing views. When challenged as to accuracy, Palago over and over again has disregarded all challenges, and moves on to a new claim. In poor taste, I quote an earlier comment I made to him.

    Your notion that I’m “trying to take the public’s money and use it” for my “personal private use,” is no more accurate than if I claimed that you are trying to use public property and employees for your personal private use at the public expense.

    Polago seems to view improvements to the education system which would make it more efficient and responsive to the needs of everyone in society as a “misappropriation.” His view of public education appears to be having high paid government agents take control of the children, indoctrinate them to stay in their proper place, and train them to serve his needs. Opportunity should be limited by how much money you have.

    My view of Public education is having the government provide the means for every person in the state to get an equal and meaningfull education, limited only by their ability to learn. In other words, equal opportunity for all regardless of how much money they have.

  114. Ah ha, bearBoy, the truth finally comes out. So todays lower standards are partly because we have far to many “poor, female and minority students.” That kind of arrogant, sexist and racist bull that you advocate is a large part of the education problems we have today. Though disproven by Joseph Lancaster, the leading pioneer in challenging those assumptions of his day, who became the first to set up schools which put the poor, the females and minority children on an equal curriculum basis with boys from more wealthier families, this problem still exists today as seen from your post.

    This subtle form of sexism and racism that you preach is usually more disguised these days, but it is, as seen from your post, still being used as an excuse to implicate the poor, the females, and minorities as the cause of our educational failures. Shame on you.

    Your tongue-in-cheek implication that I would view those earlier days as the “good ol days” is an obvious cheep shot to cover your racist and sexist statement.

  115. Even though you try to deny doing what you are actually doing, dic, it’s obvious, even to the most casual of observers, that you are attempting to take public money and use it to fund a private education. Can you be any more transparent with your lame reasoning, that it’s for the good of the education system?

    “My view of Public education is having the government provide the means for every person in the state to get an equal and meaningful() education, limited only by their ability to learn. In other words, equal opportunity for all regardless of how much money they have.”

    You don’t say?

    Welcome to the public school system, dic, provided by us taxpayers, just for you.

  116. dic – prove your contention that in the early 1800s the poor, women and minorities were receiving equal education opportunities as they are now.

    Yes….there were some exceptions….but we are talking numbers.

    Show me the numbers.

    Love how you claim that I am racist, sexist and classist for pointing out that the situation is better now than it used to be……how is the weather there in Bizzaro World?

  117. “LarryFine says:
    April 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm
    … vouchers are your own expense if you’re paying taxes.”

    As if you paid enough taxes to pay for one voucher…

    Math not your best subject, Lar?

  118. “Although Lancaster had rejected corporal punishment, misbehaving children might find themselves tied up in sacks, or hoisted above the classroom in cages”

    A leading pioneer????

  119. BeerBoy, go up two posts to my 1:39 pm post that you are replying to. And re-read it. I didn’t even imply that the poor, women and minorities were receiving equal educational opportunities in the 1800s that they receive now. In fact I specifically set out the opposite, and made it very clear that they were not getting equal educational opportunities in the 1800s.

    Likewise, I never claimed you to be a “racist, sexist and classist for pointing out that the situation is better now than it used to be.”

    I did however respond to your post (of 7:17 am) where you were excusing lower education standards in part due to far more poor, female and minority students. I call that a sexist and racist statement. I don’t blame the increase numbers of these students in the system for even the smallest portion of the failing of the school system as your comment does.

    I repeat, shame on you.

  120. Purposely obtuse.

  121. KARDNOS, Joseph Lancaster was no saint, nor is his ideas worthy of being followed as though they are some kind of final word. Like everyone and every idea in history, a magnified examination of Lancaster will reveal many flaws, short comings, and other imperfections. If that makes a person less of a pioneer in your eyes, so be it.

    Most taxpayers in this country will pay far more public education taxes than they will ever receive in public education regardless of whether the education in in pure government schools, charter schools, or voucher schools. Math as you say, may not be LarryFine’s best subject, but it appears not to be your subject in the slightest.

  122. “Most taxpayers in this country will pay far more public education taxes than they will ever receive in public education”

    And reality isn’t your best subject. My property taxes were less than $500 for the school district. Considering the price of education per student, my share was nothing

    If you call someone that would abuse children “flawed”, I think the problem is obvious.

    Shame on YOU.

  123. Wow! How do you get away with it? I’m not exempt form all the sales taxes when I shop in stores. Nor do I, nor anyone else I ever heard of, get discounts on products/services equivalent to all the hidden taxes and fees (property, business, license, etc) that the businesses pay and pass along to consumers in higher prices. But I guess you are the exception.

    Yes I call someone who abuses children flawed, I guess from your comment that you don’t. I challenge you however to produce one source that says Lancaster tied children up up in sacks, or hoisted above the classroom in cages. Not an editorial speculation of what might happen in one of his schools, but an actual accusation that he did such things or advocated such behavior.

  124. I did however respond to your post (of 7:17 am) where you were excusing lower education standards in part due to far more poor, female and minority students.

    Perhaps you could have benefited from better education regarding critical reading skills. Where exactly in my post did I excuse lowering education standards?

    And – Your ad hominem labeling based upon your misreading of my post doesn’t really inspire a whole lot of confidence in the quality of your training in rhetorical arguments either.

    I’m not certain that Polago’s summation was correct – I’m thinking that your obtuseness isn’t intentional, you just can’t help it.

  125. The following is your complete post. I quote by pasting:

    “beerBoy says:
    April 24, 2011 at 7:17 am
    educational standards have changed considerably since the early 1800s. Today’s standards are much lower than they were then.</i.
    Far fewer went on to college, far fewer finished high school – or even grade school, and far fewer poor, female and minority students……yep….the good ol' days!"

    This is the kind of thinking behind the institutionalized sexism and racism that is rampant in out society. Clearly it blames part of the educational problems we have today on to many "poor, female and minority students," rather than placing the blame on the system itself as I do.

  126. dic – thanks for demonstrating that you really are that obtuse. And stubborn about it too!

    If you are so convinced of the truth of your posts, please share where, in my post which does not make any claims regarding causation, i have blamed the educational problems of today on anything, let alone the poor, female and minority students.

    Or…realize your mistake. Apologize profusely for your vile accusation of various isms and go to your corner to lick your ego. Here’s a hint for you “the good ol’ days” is meant sarcastically.

  127. Since you seem to have missed this from a previous post:

    “Where exactly in my post did I excuse lowering education standards?”

  128. Is there no limit to your rather incompetent practice of sophistry beerBoy? Now you write :

    “Here’s a hint for you “the good ol’ days” is meant sarcastically.”

    You know quite well that I already knew this and that I already had covered your sarcasm in my reply on April 24th at 1:39pm where I said:

    “Your tongue-in-cheek implication that I would view those earlier days as the “good ol days” is an obvious cheep shot to cover your racist and sexist statement.”

    Of course you conveniently choose to miss that and now write as though it was me who missed the sarcasm. As you already knew, I did not miss it, but you choose to disregard that inconvenient fact. Is this purposeful on your part? I ask, because I don’t claim to do mind reading.

    You now, quite innocently sounding, state that your post did not make any claims regarding “causation.” Lets see, you wrote on April 24th at 7:17am:

    “Far fewer went on to college, far fewer finished high school – or even grade school, and far fewer poor, female and minority students.” You wrote this as a direct answer to your quote of me that “today’s standards are much lower than they were then,” speaking of the 1800s educational standards. That statement of yours in its context, was clearly a statement of causation.

    Now you can say that you were not speaking of causation all you want, and you can try to twist in the sarcasm about “good old days” that you tossed in at the end of your reply, but your words were in a clear unambiguous context, and they were your words.

  129. Purposely!

  130. alindasue says:

    “Yes alindasue, educational standards have changed considerably since the early 1800s. Today’s standards are much lower than they were then.”

    In the early 1800s, an “educated” person was someone who could read and do numbers. Most only attended school a few short years, if they attended school at all, before moving on to college or to learn a trade. With that in mind, I don’t think todays standards are any lower than they were then. We have incorporated the poor, women, and minorities into our schools (a thing Mr. Lancaster did avocate) and society did not fall apart because of it.

    “You are also right about articles having been written challenging Joseph Lancaster’s claims when he first made them. But those articles, mostly written by conservatives who proposed… ”

    …which is why I read articles about him from several sources, including reading a good ways into a transcript of Mr. Lancaster’s own writing.

    “At any rate when those attacks failed, the attacks became personal, centering on Mr. Lancaster’s character… ”

    This is something I am very familiar with. Note your own words:
    “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz… alindasue,
    Where are you,
    Haven’t read a thing,
    But types away,
    Ding ding ding.”

    With that out of the way, let’s get back to the debate.

    “But for children through the 8th grade or through 14 years of age where education needs to primarily focus on teaching facts (ie reading, grammar, math, logic, foreign language, using a computer, basic beginning American and world history) a revised Lancaster system would be ideal.”

    Accusations about Mr. Lancaster’s character aside, I do agree that a modified Lancaster system might work well for teaching rote subjects like grammer and math. I do disagree with your implied statement that only higher education students would “need to analyze the differences between probabilities and possibilities of any given topic…”

    Logic is almost entirely the ability to analyze differences and apply that analysis to finding a solution. It is a very important skill that can make or break a child’s ability to fully comprehend what he is learning.

    History could be taught by Mr. Lancaster’s methods, I suppose, if all you want to get out of history is names and dates. If you want a child to grow to be an informed member of the electorate, then you need to teach him to see beyond the bare facts and to analyze how things happened and why.

    Foreign languages (a personal fascination of mine) can, and have been, taught in a method similar to a modified Lancaster method, but they haven’t been taught very well that way. To properly learn a language, you need to be able to use it, to analyze it, and to learn the cultural meanings behind the words. You need to be able to play with it. The Lancaster method doesn’t leave much room for play.

    That rigidness is why I think that his methods alone (revised or otherwise) would not be suitable for a class of 20 students much less a class of hundreds, even if it is theoretically less expensive to do so. For one or two subjects… maybe, yes, but not as a basis for a whole school.

  131. dic – the only thing accurate about your posts is your name.

  132. Yours is an example of circular logic – you state a premise (that my post was racist, sexist and classist) and then restate it thinking that the restatement of your original premise is proof of the original statement.

    I just erased a paragraph trying to explain the obvious fault with your claims of my belief in causal factors but I reread my first paragraph and remembered that it is useless to try to use fact and logic with someone who is convinced of their beliefs due to the closed loop they are in.

    You are a waste of time.

  133. The early 1800s were important because it marked a huge expansion of educational access through public education due to the efforts of Horace Mann, Noah Webster, and William McGuffey. Until the 1840s an organized system to provide for common schools did not exist – the quality of teacher preparation was wildly disparate. To pretend that there was a universal high standard of education throughout America at that time is just ignorant – private academies for schooling wealthy males was the primary source of quality education. .

  134. There were no “standards” because there was no universal system. Perhaps individual institutions maintained high standards but – to attribute a systemic level of standards throughout the educational (non)system of early 19th century America requires one to ignore reality – you cannot claim systemic standards when there was no system in place.

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