A Suggestion to U.S. School Boards

I’m hesitant to speak out about the Florida school shooting, especially since I haven’t read every news account, but, I’d like to make a suggestion to school boards across the US. I suggest that if a student is found to have concerning posts on social media and/or threatening encounters with other students or teachers, rather than simply expelling the student, please consider offering that student free counseling by a valid psychologist. Give that student an opportunity to work out their feelings with someone who is qualified and offers a confidential setting. It would be a small expense that could save many lives.

Reforming K-12: Scarborough Blames Teachers Unions

Today on Morning Joe, Joe went crazy accusing Howard Dean of being a liar when it comes to education reform and blaming Democrats and Teachers unions for the state of our k-12 system. Public schools just like reproductive rights attract Republican attacks often.

Scarborough was not just rude, he is wrong and it is easy to blame the teachers unions for everything. Joe is wrong when he first begins to speak about education reform, he says: “Republicans love to talk about education reform, it’s the Democrats that don’t like to talk about education reform.” This is where is he is not just wrong he is lying.  Republicans like to talk about getting rid of teachers unions and charter schools, that is all they talk about when they address reforming the k-12  They never discuss the actual problem educating large diverse population with a variety of needs. It is easier though to present the problem as simple, with easy solutions, but if there were such easy solutions as Joe seems to believe, the problems would have been solved 30 or more years ago.

Joe happens to be continuing to rant on this issue on twitter, which is how I found out he went on this epic rant this morning against Howard Dean. He is ranting to prove himself right. Joe doens’t offer facts though, just opinions. He is only convincing people who already believe what he believes, he isn’t convincing anyone who knows the facts.

Let’s discuss real reform and why we have many underperforming school districts, this will be something Joe Scarborough and his ilk will not discuss because there is no way to gain the political upper hand if  he were to really talk about how to reform our k-12 public schools.

Let’s take Joe’s biggest talking point he said: “We as a nation spend more money per child than any other nation in the world.”

Wrong, we are third coming in behind Switzerland and Norway but that doesn’t mean anything really. Our funding mechanisms, student populations are completely different.

But let’s talk about the Charter School panacea, that Republicans never stop talking about. We know now that Charter Schools more often than not do not educate students adequately. And yet they never ever stop with the “We need more charter schools and we need to get rid of teacher unions”.

Charter schools are notorious for not taking students with special needs, public schools are mandated of course through title i, to educate special needs students. This is part of the reason that the job of the traditional public school system, which still educates about 95 percent of all school children, is far more complicated than Republicans and conservatives who advocate reform want you to know. Reform to them is no teacher unions and no title i funding, I wonder how many kids would remain uneducated if Joe and his Republican goon friends got to do what they really wanted to do, complete the circle, subpar education for everyone who doesn’t have money and no college education for those who don’t have access to at least 50,000 for tuition.

We also have some facts now on charter schools, let’s take Florida’s charter school the International Academy, funded by public dollars and run by a private businesses. Well when all the schools took the FCAT, the International Academy garnered a grade of F. Yeah, even though they get to reject subpar students, they still scored an F.  In Miami-Dade a greater percentage of charter schools failed the FCAT than did public schools and in Broward county all the schools that failed were Charter schools. According to a CBS report in Florida;

“A CBS4 News analysis of Department of Education numbers shows fewer than one percent of public elementary and middle schools received an “F” in grades released last week.  In contrast, nearly six percent of charter schools received an “F.”

Charter schools got failing grades at a rate more than seven times that of public schools.”

But Florida isn’t the only example of this of course, let’s talk about New York State and charter schools.

Charter schools in New York City and everywhere else have yet to prove that they can solve the problem that is America’s education system. In the South Bronx, the Academic Leadership Charter School has been put on probation this week for not randomizing admissions—as charter schools are supposed to do—and possibly testing or interviewing applicants, which they are not, the Times reports.

This is a typical tactic of charter schools, yet empirical evidence exposes that despite their built-in test-score advantage of not accepting every student, they don’t outperform public schools in any meaningful way.

Then of course we have the Houston, Texas scandal. Is privatizing public schools really the way to educate students? Doesn’t seem to be, unless you want uneducated students. Charter schools over and over again, in state after state do not educated children any better than public schools, although in many cases those schools perform worse than public schools and are not educating students. I imagine it is because those private companies who are running these schools care more lining their pockets than they do about educating students.  With Republicans corporate profits = #winning, educating all students = #losing

New Jersey is just another example of the failure of charter schools. This more progressive state has the same problem with their charter schools that the other states have had, they have a high rate of failure, in fact 40 charter schools in New Jersey have lost their licenses to operate.

According to the article:

Advocates continue to argue that charters’ freedom to innovate allows them to provide an intense focus on achievement lacking in many traditional public schools, particularly in poor urban communities like Trenton, where test scores remain far below state averages and large numbers of students drop out.

I have to ask Joe Scarborough why this is adequate for children whose parents can’t afford private schools, why it is okay to not serve special ed students equally, and why it is Republicans always blame teachers unions for the failure to educate students when the issue is much more complex and has very little to do with teacher’s unions and much more to do with how states and levy’s fund school districts and educating diverse populations?  Public schools continue to do a better job in educating our students over-all. Charter Schools have yet to achieve the rigor and standards of public schools. Hey Joe, it’s easier to play politics with issue of public schools then solve problems! Yelling a Howard Dean proves this.

Next blog: Complexity of school funding and educating disaffected populations

Crossposted @TheAngriestLiberal & @ DagBlog

Why Education is this country SUCKS !

Education - Vectorportal
Education Word Cloud – Vectorportal
And why Finland’s is so much better than ours……From The Atlantic Monthly.

Finland’s approach to education is very different than ours and even that of most of the rest of the world.

Finland’s schools owe their newfound fame primarily to one study: the PISA survey, conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey compares 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science. Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore. In the most recent survey in 2009 Finland slipped slightly, with students in Shanghai, China, taking the best scores, but the Finns are still near the very top. Throughout the same period, the PISA performance of the United States has been middling, at best. Continue reading “Why Education is this country SUCKS !”

How the Technocrats Get it Wrong on Education…and Everything Else

Scanning the Huffungton post I came across this little item.  Not a particularly  new sentiment in and of it self but the total jest of it does hit home quite well. Having to attend school after my father died, the family was quite impoverished. Little in the way of breakfast and for me, generally no lunch for the first year after this occurred.  The next year I was able to work in the lunch room and get lunch that way. And our finances improved. I was able to get a job in a local TV repair store.
Continue reading “How the Technocrats Get it Wrong on Education…and Everything Else”

Hurry Hurry Hurry…Get your red hot degrees here ! Guaranteed to make you rich !

One of the people in chat posted this link from Chronicle of Higher Education.  It is very telling but hardly surprising. The cheating that goes on in Colleges and Univeristies especially the Ivy Leagues and the rich kids that attend them. Continue reading “Hurry Hurry Hurry…Get your red hot degrees here ! Guaranteed to make you rich !”

Why Public Education Sucks Even More Now

I remember the first day of Kindergarten. Playing with blocks and interacting, sometimes not so well, with the other kids. First grade, not so much but 3rd though 6th fairly well. One of my sixtth grade teachers would even take us out side in the afternoon some times to play touch football.  All that is gone. School has become mearly a place of robotic indoctrination as this piece explains.

Continue reading “Why Public Education Sucks Even More Now”