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April 06, 2006



Some Dems have just come up with idea of getting rid of bad teachers. I would suggest this is the only reason for a positive NYT article on vouchers.

If Bush was smart he would push to revise NCLB. At the very least it would put the Dems in the Senate in abind.


Charters not vouchers. Charters can bring accountability and involvement by all paarties, teacher, students and parents, and it is done by contract. Charters are public.

I recently ran across a discouraging meme and that was that 'charter' schools were unaccountable. The only source for that might be that they are often somewhat disinvolved from Board of Education surveillance despite being funded by public money. The meme is destructive becasue it incorrectly ascribes to charters the unaccountability that is present now in public schools. There is not enough gleaning of poor teachers(and probably not enough reward of good ones). That was one of the agendas of NCLB.

Yes, reform NCLB; fund the testing, make less draconian the expectations, and push for public charters not private vouchers.

Gabriel Sutherland

I loathe the lottery system. But Charter schools and limited available voucher programs across the country are overloaded with demand and short on supply. Thus, a lotteyr system is used to place students within these educational subsystems.

I feel bad when I lose $1 on an instant win game. What if my kid lost in the lottery for their future? *gulp*

It's terrible that the greatest threat to students from low income homes is their own school.


GS, a terrible irony I find is that among the worst of the places for 'captive' public education are the bluest of the blue, politically. It's almost as if there is a deliberate attempt to keep them on the plantation. Alas, I think it is neglect, and smugness, not deliberate enslavement.

Some of these bluest places are creating charters among them. Good lord, will they be Republicans, next?

Gabriel Sutherland

kim: If not a plantation, it's pretty dang close to one. Combine poor public education with tobacco taxes, sales taxes, the lottery and public transportation fee hikes and you basically have a massive weapon pointed and fired at low income urban Americans every minute.


Yeah but Kim what is your argument against vouchers? Are not schools accepting vouchers directly accountable to the parents particularly if said parents have a choice as to where they spend their voucher?

I served in the Army and as a result received essentially a voucher to spend at any one of the elgible institutions. All sorts of schools sprang up to serve the vocational needs of veterans. Children deserve no less since the evidence that I have seen indicates that Charter schools are marginally better at best than ordinary public schools.


A fully funded voucher program open to all children would transform public education for the better within 5 years in my estimation. We have been fiddling while Rome burns so to speak about this problem for 3 decades at least.


I think the 'marginally better at best' rap is NEA propaganda. I can't fundamentally argue against vouchers. I have faith in public education.


If federal mandates were kept to a minimum it would also marginalize the multiculturalist pap that dominates public school curricula that even the kids know is crap.


Kim: Got any data? Why the faith? Poor kids are suffering, "reforms" have largely failed. They may have jacked up test scores a bit...but kids are still dropping out in large numbers. Clearly the schools fail to "inspire". I went to public schools in Texas in the early 60's and I was inspired. My kids never were.


I saw Mark Steyn on C-SPAN one time where he revealed that he had barely graduated from high school. A viewer called to ask how he could call himself a journalist with such a poor educational background. Steyn opined (that has a nice ring!) that perhaps he was a bit over-educated...that by the time one finishes the eighth grade one should have all the basic tools to learn just about anything if one is so inclined. He's right...but of course our educational establishment does not seek to inspire that sort of confidence in our children!


Vouchers and Charter schools are the answer for the future. Old non-working habits die hard for the NEA only concerned with protecting their jobs whether the teachers are good or not. Why not have some public schools have a buy-out where you get rid of some of the burned out teachers and make way for some fresh blood and enhanced enthusiasm?


Paranoia never sleeps - the story cites a Rock Creek school which teaches English, Spanish, and Arabic. Naturally, one suspects some sort of Joe Wilson connection (no seriously - maybe there are interested donors behind both).


Maryrose...ever talked to a young public school teacher? The ones I have met are fully indoctrinated soldiers intent on marching us over the same cliff. Mostly concerned with process, not learning. None exhibited the slightest passion about the subject they were teaching.

They work for the government. Enough said.

Gabriel Sutherland

The overlooked dilemna in public education is the declining rates of students from American public schools entering the hard sciences. Leon Lederman, chairman emeritus of Fermi Lab outside Chicago, says that it is the lack of enthusiasm and educational background of public school teachers that is failing today's and tomorrow's children.

Steve White

I went to college with a voucher. Actually several; one from the state of Ohio and a couple from the federal government. I used these 'vouchers' (state and federal non-loan grants) to select a college (in my case, a small, Catholic liberal arts school).

The point is this: we permit college students to do this all the time. The result is a combination of public and private colleges that comete intensely and reward students (those who work at it) with a decent education. Very few colleges fail to meet the standards for these vouchers (e.g., Bob Jones University). Whether you wish a Catholic, or Methodist college, or a large, secular public university, these vouchers permit students to have more choices.

I must ask why, if it's good enough for an 18 year old student, that it isn't good enough for a 7 year old. Just as accreditation councils and some (modest) federal and state regulation ensure that the colleges conform to broad principles that ensure adequate education, so too state laws and accreditation could ensure that primary and secondary schools that wish to accept vouchers meet expected standards. Perhaps the small, vehement bible-study school won't make the grade (or will choose to ignore the voucher program in the interest of 'freedom'), but I would bet that most schools would.

In the end, one would have in primary education what we have in college education: a mix of private and public schools that compete for students and have the ability, in the aggregate, of tailoring programs to meet specific needs. This would generate some fair enthusiasm amongst students, parents and teachers.


"None exhibited the slightest passion about the subject they were teaching".

This because they are not subject matter experts in anything except the process of education. History, math, lit... its all the same.

Half Sigma

It occurred to me recently that vouchers will not fix our education problem, becuase the real problem is that political correctness prevents us from acknowledging that some children are less intelligent than others.

So there's a post at my blog entitled A better way to fix education than with vouchers.


I expect this guy will be seen next as NEA's Teacher of the Year:

Undoubtedly a candidate for NEA's Teacher of the Year:
[b]Rudy Rios was stripped of his duties as junior varsity baseball coach at Chavez High School last week after using a district copying machine to make a flier encouraging Latino students to attend a rally protesting restrictions on illegal immigration.

Rios, who still retains his duties as an English-as-a-second-language teacher, was copying and distributing a flier that read: "We gots 2 stay together and protest against the new law that wants 2 be passed against all immigrants. We gots 2 show the U.S. that they aint (expletive) with out us (sic)," according to district officials.[/quote]http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/3771915.html

Patrick R. Sullivan

Half Sigma, whatever the merits of your reform idea, it could be accomplished with vouchers.


Half-Sigma: it is those ferocious and tenacious PC assumptions that strangle damn near every thing we try to do. Vouchers would decentralize the leadership of schools away from PC into the hands of educators who are passionate enough to start a new school or those entrepreneurs who think they can do a better job. Word would get out and parents would make choices for their child...no need to rub "your kid is a dummy" in their faces. I was pretty sure that the prettiest girl in school would not go to the prom with me...nobody had to tell me.


The most pernicious soul deadening PC sentiment is that everyone must be treated exactly the same despite the nauseating lies peddled by public school educators about tailoring teaching to each child's "needs".


Ohio has a rigorous program for certification of teachers. I see a lot of enthusiasm in young teachers who end up getting riffed when schools don't pass levies to support them. They are protecting there seniority systems that enable burned out bad teachers just phoning it in to stay on the payroll. I was riffed and then went to a 3000 plus high school which helped honors and AP students but had very little left for the average or struggling student.


I posted on education reform some time ago here. The long and short of it is that the current system has not helped Johnny to read since 1958. 25 years of the Dept. of Education has done little good at high expense. When a problem has an institution made around the problem itself becomes a part of the institution and a fixture on the landscape.

I am not only for accountability but for feedback via proportional payment according to performance. Outside of not paying for religious instruction and proselytizing, the doors should be wide open to new ideas and payment should be done all the way down to home schooling. The system is broken and tinkering with it for decades has yielded little and lost much in the way of international standing.

Simply put, bad schools and teaching methods should perish by not being funded. Good methods should flourish and promulgate via being funded well. Meet full testing standards and you get full amounts. Exceed the standards and get more in proportion. Push accountability *down* off of the national stage and if the folks in the school districts don't want to shoulder the burden of figuring out how to make better schools, then they should not complain.

If you *want* Federal dollars, which is Our tax money, expect to have some say on the proper way it should be spent. Paying for bureaucrats is not what I like in life. For my tax dollar I want high return on the value put in for such *optional* things as funding education on the Federal dime. This entire system is dysfunctional because of the grandstanding and needs to be given shock treatment.

Direct, proportional funding for performance will do just that. Nothing else tried to date has done that. If some school systems find themselves with an excess or locals from other districts or regions willing to pay to have expanded systems with good teaching and accountability methods, then go for it! If local districts do not have the *tax* base to get good funding, then they should address their county and state governments first. If you ask for more than your due from the Federal government, expect to be in bankruptcy and that your district has failed so badly and that *no one* is willing to step in and support you. In that case I hear the schools on military bases are run just fine, and they can step in and take over while the State and local governments find a way to re-make the entire system as it is obviously busted. Perhaps asking for successful schools to step in and take over might be an obvious solution in such a system.

Paraphrasing Jerry Pournelle, 'If the current school systems had been forced on us by an invader, we would be having a revolution.'


woof, aj, once again, I whine in praise.

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