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Author Topic: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).  (Read 1590 times)

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Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« on: February 19, 2010, 06:51:31 PM »
http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=125713

I kept it pretty simple. Parents have a child they are supposed to be the ones seeing to all the needs of the child with the state (government) not overly involved. I did the math and figure the numbers add up so dismantle the public education system as it is for something far simpler. And since no vouchers are used its not public money its open to be used anyway the parent(s) or guardian(s) choose. And with all that money I trust the free market to develop options for education ages 5 to 18.

Just to start a debate on education funding with a Libertarian approach.

Offline Bishrook aka Fate sisters

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2010, 12:14:17 AM »
The Libertatarian view is mostly interesting because it challanges the orthadoxy by questioning some underlying assumptions people take for granted.
The purey private option has some real problems however.
Generaly one of the assumptions that justify public money being used for education is that an educated work force and citizenry are a public good. The premise is that a well educated population is good for society.
I find it hard to question that assertion.
In a private option education would be like medical care is at present. Middle class and upper class children would receive some form of education but probably the working and poor classes would recieve little or none.
 This would be a terrible waste of potential national talent and make our economy less effecient I beleive.
So this is why Milton Freidman and others suggested three decades ago that the public continue to pay for education but that the public schools be abandoned.
Why should one want to abandon the Public school system anyway?
Friedman argued against government administrated schools on several grounds.
First they argued that in most cases childrens interests are best represented by their parents who presumably have an emotional interest in advancing the childs welfare.
The state on the other hand he argued often doesn't. It has it's own ends to advance.
Second he argued that State run institutions were by nature inefficient, bureaucratic and political. All of these factors got in the way of an efficient and effective education.
So Friedman suggested each parent make the primary decisions regarding thier children s welfare and that the state pay for it in vouchers. The vouchers of course would have conditions attached to them to prevent fruad, abuse and to assure quality. The state would still set standards and set objectives.
Then the parents would go out and shop for schools making judgments as to the effectiveness of the school concerned.
Thus instead of centralized education system you would have privatly run schools that would compete to educate children. Cometetion the Friedmans argued would make the schools better.
Teachers already in public employ of course would be absorbed into the system of private schools and no doubt most of existing infrastructure would be transferred or sold to such schools.
That is of course a thumb nail sketch of the many ideas that have been presented over the years to install an alternative to publicly controlled schools. As objections have been brought up (the teaching of racism and so forth) the proposals have been modified.
In several states such proposals have made onto the ballot.(in Californai the proposal was voted down by a huge majority)
In most state there have grown up an alternative to both the public model and the voucher system. Charter schools remain under public supervision and allow parents to transfer their children to independent schools. In many state this has been allied with the magnet school idea to create schools that specialize in one types of education. The state requires the schools be funded by some type of per capita payment per child.
But are Friedman and other free market critics assumptions valid? Certainly some public schools are over loaded with bureaucratic staff and highly inefficient but many public schools , maybe even most, are not and go on to graduate capable students ready for the work force of college education.

Let me begin where I began. I think it is useful to question ones assumptions on a constant basis as it easy to just assume what is being done is the only way to do it.
I think some of the free market critique needs to be looked at carefully. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from teachers and parents is what is seen as a bureaucratic labyrinth in education.
On balance however I think that if we do make changes the Charter school approach offers more control over possible abuse while still testing out the crique of the public control model.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 12:27:42 AM by Bishrook aka Fate sisters »

Offline Jude

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2010, 12:38:05 AM »
I have no doubt that if we privatized the education system parents would be happier with the short-term results they got out of it and we would spend less money on education.  However, there are some undeniable downfalls as well.

1)  This system would rely on the parents to select the perfect school

And while I'm sure a good number of parents would want the best for the children, how many of them would purposely pick something cheap in order to save money?  Not every parent is as selfless as people would lead you to believe.  What would stop people from choosing the bottom of the barrel because they simply don't care to spend that much on their children?  And in that case, it would mean people with poor parents would suffer even more as a child (they already do in many ways).  Plus, even those who have their kid's best interest at heart would still make bad decisions because people make mistakes.

2)  There would be more segregation

Based not only on ethnicity, but even more heavily on religion and economic status.  I don't care for the "celebrate diversity" crap which is often shoved down our throats, but people do need to be accustomed to dealing with diversity and surviving in that environment or they will not be able to succeed in the work force.  Sending your child to a private, religious institution is a good way to shelter them from the rest of the world in a way that would make struggle when they have to deal with people who are different from them.

3)  Private education................ because college works so well.

It certainly is far from cheap.  They rape you on books and tuition even more at private universities.  I don't know why anyone would think pre-college would be any different.

Offline Neroon

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Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 09:10:00 AM »
Just out of interest, what exactly are your criteria for a successful education?

I ask as without a clear definition of what a good education is, no amount of money will give you an education system that is fit for purpose.  I don't know how it is over there in the US, but over here the Education system has been well and truly buggered about with, ever since James Callaghan made education a political issue in his first speech as Prime Minister  in 1976.  Since then every new Secretary of State for Education (or in New-Labour newspeak Secretary of State for Children, Families and Schools) has tinkered and adjusted the system for reasons that have been less grounded in educational research and more in political dogma.

So, what is necessary for a good education?  Is it simply about exam results or more about the development of a child as a rounded individual?  What should happen in a child's education?  Once you know that, then you can address the matter of how they should be funded, because without it, any system set up won't be worth a damn.

Offline Cecilia

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2010, 10:27:12 AM »
Not to mention every private school I know in my area STARTS at $15,000 per year.  The "really good ones" are upwards of $25,0000 per year.  That $6500 per year would certainly need to be raised, and would you really want to see everyone else who cant afford it "homeschooling" their children?  The public school system would work if it were infused with huge amounts of money to bring in teachers who deserve to be paid more for what they do (many would be teachers end up in different sectors simply because they can't afford to live on a teacher's salary)  and to increase the number of different programs at most schools that have been cut (music, art, PE). 

The concept of public good is one that I believe comes in here. It is in the public interest to have well educated citizens, and leaving the education of said citizens to themselves would be pure folly.  Remember, half the population is below average.  Let's not leave half the population's education up to them.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 10:46:41 AM by Cecilia »

Offline Neroon

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Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 11:58:31 AM »
Remember, half the population is below average.

That reminds me of a quote by the then Secretary of State for Education, Ken Clarke in the early nineties.

Quote
It's deplorable that half of eleven year-olds are below average at mathematics.

After using such brilliance to bugger up reform the education system, he then went on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer and set the pattern that governed the UK's fiscal policy right up to the credit crunch.

Of course, these facts are in no way related.

Edited to deal with my general ineptness with bbcode
« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 12:23:03 PM by Neroon »

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2010, 10:23:06 AM »
Replies from me on this.

1. You want the best results you get the goverment out as much as you can. Why is phone service so inexpensive and full of options the goverment deregulated it and let free market forces react. I can say the same helped the computer industry, internet services and most other areas. And airfares dropped hard after the government pulled out unless you missed that one. So letting parents freely choose how to educate their children would produce comparable free market results.

2. Private schools well this is not a voucher and parochial schools say the Catholic ones in my area are cutting tuition a K-5 student at one right next door would have to pay $4400 plus fees and uniforms well under the $6500. And with this they could educate the child as they wished homeschool, unschool (newer version), chip in and hire a teacher having a micro-school, send a child to a private school or other reforms. I tend to feel most students if truly gifted will focus on their love and go with it and others will gravitate to some interest that inspires them towards a vocation. You put the money out there the Free Market will offer options in that amount. And the wealthy always will have advantages we have to accept that.

3. Segregation is not my issue parents can decide that issue its not a matter for the government. If say I wanted my child someday not to hang out with people not white well its my choice. I think forcing this is a major issue with public schools and must I add how much class time is wasted with students not wanting to be there, fighting, bickering, cliques and other distractions. I attendined private school ,parochial, and my High School each year cost under $6500 and I'm well-adjusted really just making my point. Its not the governments job to make people get along they must want to get along and I would argue most do. The odd racists would naturally have their rights.

4. A good education for me is can a student be employed when an adult. Period. Most jobs require around an eighth grade education, not more and many can get by below that. For those going to college there are options that could be given private schools or tutoring if say they are homeschooled or unschooled. But I agree a basic tst of knowledge should be given at age 14 to assess their knowledge - adjusted if a child has issues like mental retardation maybe a review by a state official panel. Testing that the child can perform at the eighth grade level focused more on applied uses of mathematics and english literacy for employment.  But an example I made what if a parent is a tradesperson say a carpenter I would argue the father teaching his child carpentry and making them fully trained by age eighteen would be productive education. So would a child going to a private school and going to college. And I will add a student inclined for college could earn an associates by eighteen if that is their goal paid for by the government, that would be a good thing to.

5. And a note the fact is to many students are going to college pressured by parents, teachers and the system even if they are not suited for it. This would be for a four year or higher degree not an associates career based degree or certificate program. Letting children have some say as teens in their educations and following their interests might be a good thing instead of wasting time in college they might love being a barber or a LPN or massage therapist or like me running a hot dog stand I own. (I dropped out of college it just wasn't for me and now have debts to pay off but I love running my own business and have a knack for that. If given a choice I would not have gone to college over two-years.) The fact is half of students drop out the first year of college clearly these would be best served by many options.

5. Some careers don't need college and are learned on-the-job so to speak, artists and musicians come to mind and most writers just have a talent for it. These might find flexible educational choice good for example spending four years in an art colony honing their craft or working on their music.

Offline Jude

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2010, 11:06:24 AM »
1. You want the best results you get the goverment out as much as you can. Why is phone service so inexpensive and full of options the goverment deregulated it and let free market forces react. I can say the same helped the computer industry, internet services and most other areas. And airfares dropped hard after the government pulled out unless you missed that one. So letting parents freely choose how to educate their children would produce comparable free market results.
Deregulation doesn't always produce good results.  The Glass-Stiegal Act amongst other deregulation legislation is basically responsible for the current financial shape we find ourselves in.
2. Private schools well this is not a voucher and parochial schools say the Catholic ones in my area are cutting tuition a K-5 student at one right next door would have to pay $4400 plus fees and uniforms well under the $6500. And with this they could educate the child as they wished homeschool, unschool (newer version), chip in and hire a teacher having a micro-school, send a child to a private school or other reforms. I tend to feel most students if truly gifted will focus on their love and go with it and others will gravitate to some interest that inspires them towards a vocation. You put the money out there the Free Market will offer options in that amount. And the wealthy always will have advantages we have to accept that.
And leaving all of this up to the individual will in many cases result in children who have parents that don't care doing absolutely nothing or the bare minimum to get by.  That puts a bunch of kids outside and running around while everyone else is at work, able to do all sorts of things that are risky for their own safety as well as the property of others.  One of the reasons we have compulsory public education isn't the education itself as much as it is keeping tabs on a segment of the population, unfortunately.  Crime will go up under this plan.
3. Segregation is not my issue parents can decide that issue its not a matter for the government. If say I wanted my child someday not to hang out with people not white well its my choice. I think forcing this is a major issue with public schools and must I add how much class time is wasted with students not wanting to be there, fighting, bickering, cliques and other distractions. I attendined private school ,parochial, and my High School each year cost under $6500 and I'm well-adjusted really just making my point. Its not the governments job to make people get along they must want to get along and I would argue most do. The odd racists would naturally have their rights.
I actually don't think parents should have a right to indoctrinate and shelter their child.  Your rights guarantee how you live your life, I don't think they should guarantee your ability to determine how your child lives theirs as well.  They aren't your property, they're a human being.  We already have issues of people being sequestered within their own cultural cliques and the ways this leads to intolerance, I don't see how magnifying the issue is going to resolve any of the problems facing our country.
4. A good education for me is can a student be employed when an adult. Period. Most jobs require around an eighth grade education, not more and many can get by below that. For those going to college there are options that could be given private schools or tutoring if say they are homeschooled or unschooled. But I agree a basic tst of knowledge should be given at age 14 to assess their knowledge - adjusted if a child has issues like mental retardation maybe a review by a state official panel. Testing that the child can perform at the eighth grade level focused more on applied uses of mathematics and english literacy for employment.  But an example I made what if a parent is a tradesperson say a carpenter I would argue the father teaching his child carpentry and making them fully trained by age eighteen would be productive education. So would a child going to a private school and going to college. And I will add a student inclined for college could earn an associates by eighteen if that is their goal paid for by the government, that would be a good thing to.
By your standard there of a measure of success being getting a job, I'd say the current system is doing just fine.
5. And a note the fact is to many students are going to college pressured by parents, teachers and the system even if they are not suited for it. This would be for a four year or higher degree not an associates career based degree or certificate program. Letting children have some say as teens in their educations and following their interests might be a good thing instead of wasting time in college they might love being a barber or a LPN or massage therapist or like me running a hot dog stand I own. (I dropped out of college it just wasn't for me and now have debts to pay off but I love running my own business and have a knack for that. If given a choice I would not have gone to college over two-years.) The fact is half of students drop out the first year of college clearly these would be best served by many options.
I agree our current educational system does a poor job of fostering the interests of the individual.  I for one came out of college with a degree that has little to do with my passions in life because I wasn't given the chance to explore those in high school; that isn't to say everyone's that way, there's programs for a lot of people, just not the people as atypical as I was.  No one saw what I needed and helped me through with that because our schools are very mass-results oriented.  A more individualized approach is needed, and perhaps your way of doing things is one way to get onto that, but I think it puts too much responsibility on parents who are already overburdened with the gigantic workload that the average parent is facing.  They don't have the time or the energy to educate themselves on what's best for the children (and that's amongst those who bother) and even if they tried there's no guarantee that they'd make the right choice.
5. Some careers don't need college and are learned on-the-job so to speak, artists and musicians come to mind and most writers just have a talent for it. These might find flexible educational choice good for example spending four years in an art colony honing their craft or working on their music.
Going to college is pretty much requisite if you want to succeed as an artist today in any financial manner, because very few people make money selling creative work when it comes to being an artist.  Most of them get the equivalent of a "day job" doing Graphic Design for corporations.  You can be trained to use flash and other things as well.  College ensures you're given a chance to sample a wide variety of artistic tools and learn lots of different ways to make money as an artist, a lot of which are completely wasted and forgotten after the fact because they're simply not practical.

College is, in all honesty, a terrible program.  You spend four years learning abstract (albeit interesting) bits of information, most of which isn't applied in any way.  It works OK for certain career paths I'd argue, namely Science and Math oriented options, but for things where you're learning to apply a particular skill or technique, it's a complete waste of time.  It should be self-apparent that the college approach is worthless when you consider that the majority of degrees take the same amount of time and credit hours to complete, when the reality is that it's not going to take the same amount of time studying to apply knowledge in all of those fields.  You're going to need more time to become a mathematician than you are a computer scientist.

Our one-size-fits-all approach is failing in both private and public institutions, in both higher and lower education.  There a lot of smaller things we could change too if we really wanted to better education, such as...

1)  Focus more on developing proper educational/academic skills in elementary school
Example:  Learning the order of the planets is a complete waste of time for fifth graders.  That knowledge will not be applied again before it is forgotten.  Scientific fact is meaningless to teach unless it can be applied, it's the scientific method and approach to critical thinking that's important.  Teach methods, ideas, concepts, and tools in elementary school.  Lay the foundation.

2)  Set school later in the day for high school at the very least
I understand with young kids parents need them out of the house by the time they go to work in order to be able to know that their child is safely taken care of, so that they can do fulfill their responsibilities.  That's fine, elementary kids can remain as-is.  But by the time kids are hitting middle school/high school ages they should be able to get themselves to the bus stop/to school, so there's no immediate need to get them off to school as early as possible.  If you're not getting proper sleep, you're not going to learn very well, and in some places in the country kids are coming into school at 7 a.m. and getting out at around 2:15 p.m. or so.  Push that back 2 hours, and it's much closer to a 9-5 working schedule and far easier on the students.  I bet you'd improve attentiveness and attendance by a lot.

3)  A more focused educational path
I took music class in grade school, where we learned how to sing various songs and play simplistic instruments (the triangle, the glockenspiel, and the recorder).  I liked it quite a bit.  But it was a complete waste of time for me.  I have zero musical talent and despite what a lot of people like to say, there's no good science linking musical education to better overall grades.  The few studies done on that were not replicable.  The only study I can recall that was credible about music having a positive effect on intelligence was in children of a certain age because it served as a de-stressor and provided mental stimulation during a growth period (and I believe it was pre-kindergarden).  This was merely listening to music every now and then as well; learning how to make it is useless.  However, exposure to music early on is not useless for all children.  We need to come up with a way to figure out what direction people are likely to go in and help guide their progress from an early age.

4)  Cut out the educational learning styles B.S.
Studies have shown again and again that the supposed visual style or verbal style learning all of that nonsense is... well... nonsense.  They've had people choose their preferred style of learning and it showed literally no benefit.

5)  Change the cultural perception of intelligence
We have a depressingly shallow society in many ways. How any culture can expect to survive and thrive when "intellectual" is considered an insult in many groups is an enigma.

6)  Critical thinking needs to be taught better
This one thing I think would make a gigantic difference in making our citizens better at making political decisions, formulating opinions, problem solving, so on and so forth.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2010, 11:09:26 AM by Jude »

Offline Vekseid

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2010, 11:51:47 AM »
Replies from me on this.

1. You want the best results you get the goverment out as much as you can. Why is phone service so inexpensive and full of options the goverment deregulated it and let free market forces react.

I realize you don't remember AT&T, but this displays an unwholesomely profound level of ignorance on a truly epic scale. At best. At worst it's a deliberate lie.

For crying out loud, when AT&T owned the market, you rented your phone. Not the line. The phone itself. Line quality standards are the reason the public Internet was even possible.

Actual quote from service representatives "Well if you don't like it, you can go someplace else."

For another example of deregulation at work, see Enron, brownout blackmail and the California energy crisis.

Quote
I can say the same helped the computer industry,

Do you have any idea what you are paying for when you buy a computer?

Quote
internet services

Do you even know what ICANN is? IPv6?

Hell, no regulation, no Internet period. Not 'worse', it simply would not exist without a government and associated regulation of some form.

Done. Period. Nothing. End of story. No Facebook, no Google, no Wikipedia, no email, no messengers, no silly churches, no websites, and nothing to support them. Nothing of remotely comparable quality would emerge in the private sector, either - the likes of every site on the Internet and nearly the entirety of the functionality they offer, is possible because of the regulation that the modern Web is built on, allowing open source software to flourish so Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Wikimedia, Automattic, Amazon, Baidu, QQ, Ebay... etc can provide their services. Over a heavily governed Internet.

The only reason it's not thoroughly broken is everyone involved is smart enough to realize that government regulation here is in fact an extremely good thing. You can not name one website that has not benefited from this regulation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. They are either lying about their competence, or lying straight up. Either way.

Oh, AOL would still exist. And still charge you $2 a minute. It would not let you meet that cute girl from Japan.

Quote
and most other areas.

Like?

Quote
And airfares dropped hard after the government pulled out unless you missed that one.

Pulled out of what? They damn well still have the FAA and safety regulations to content with.

Quote
So letting parents freely choose how to educate their children would produce comparable free market results.

Parents already do this - parents choose where to live based on the quality of the schools. This is actually a problem, as their increased property taxes pay for better schools while lower income schools are forced to have ever-tighter budgets. It becomes a cycle.

Offline Oniya

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Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2010, 12:28:58 PM »
Two things that I would like to mention.  One, in regards to rescheduling the high-schools and/or middle-schools to closer to the 9-5 schedule.

This would be a wonderful idea, if it weren't for the fact that the high-schools and middle-schools use the same buses and bus drivers as the elementary schools.  I get my little one to the bus stop by 7:45.  I'm back at the house by 8:00.  The school day - per the handbook - is from 9 AM to 3:30.  The bus drops her off somewhere between 4:20 and 4:30.  I know that either the high-school or the middle-school drops off an hour earlier, since I've seen the bus come down the street while coming back from the grocery store.  This tells me that the bus finishes the earlier run and then heads right back to the elementary run.

'Hire more bus drivers' only works if people are willing to pay.

The other thing I'd like to weigh in on is the 'learning styles' comment.  I can't speak from studies, only from personal observation.  I know people that can't grasp a concept like fractions without seeing a pie cut into pieces.  I know people who can't handle negative numbers without something concrete like debt and earnings to associate it with.  I know people that have been told that they were 'stupid' or 'stubborn' or 'hopeless', because they didn't learn in the same precise manner as 'everybody else'.  I can study a math book in the tub and come away with a fair understanding of the subject.  Other people require pages of homework and hours of lectures to come to the same understanding.

Offline Xenophile

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2010, 12:32:18 PM »
I got two words that'd help the US education.

Higher.

Taxes.

It's not a big and long and fancy argument, but I believe it needs to be said in a straightforward manner. With more funds being put into the cash register, more numerous projects and systems, that would increase the efficiency and standards of education, can be performed and maintained.

Offline Neroon

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Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2010, 12:54:12 PM »
My answers:

Replies from me on this.

1. You want the best results you get the goverment out as much as you can.
Why?  There is no causative link between government involvement and the quality of result. There is a causative link between personnel in charge and the quality of result, namely that if you put morons in charge you get poor results.  However, the source of the morons is not always the government.  It *is* possible to have able people in government, just as it is equally possible to have complete and utter dipsticks in industry.

Your statement here speaks more of political dogma than of evidence based argument.

Quote
Why is phone service so inexpensive and full of options the goverment deregulated it and let free market forces react. I can say the same helped the computer industry, internet services and most other areas. And airfares dropped hard after the government pulled out unless you missed that one.
You're cherry-picking your evidence here.  There are as many cases where deregulation has caused a serious decrease in standards.  I could cite the fact that the privatisation of the UK railways produced short term benefits to the consumer but, in the longterm led to a degree of underinvestment that required a partial renationalisation.  If you want to check the facts on this, look up the sorry story of Railtrack.

However, a better example is the air industry.  In case you've not noticed (to use your turn of phrase), many of the carriers are introducing sneak fees.  The prime example of this is Ryanair which became a very successful business as a result of deregulation.  However, the cost to the passenger is great, with a large number of stealth charges and incredibly poor customer service, staff training and hygiene.  While they might be the cheapest airfares out there in terms of ticket price, charges for online check in and a greater charge for at the airport check in and a lack of lavatories on their planes mean that I'm not going to be flying with them any time soon.

However, such things are beside the point: the education of children is not an industry but rather the most important investment any culture can make for its future.  If it fails, then society itself will fail since the point of education is not merely to process children so that they come out of the other end with exam results but to socialise them so that they can cope in the society in which they will take their places as adults.  Thus comparing education to transporting people from one place to another or providing cables and the infrastructure to allow telecommunications is a false comparison.  You might as well compare a mouse to an oak tree.  Both are living things but few meanigful comparisons can be made.

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So letting parents freely choose how to educate their children would produce comparable free market results.
You're right, it will, but which free market results? Those where things work well or those where things went to hell in a handbasket?  Remember: while privatisation and deregulation can free people up to do great things, people can be freed up to fail spectacularly too.  Or did the cause of the Credit Crunch pass you by?

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2. Private schools well this is not a voucher and parochial schools say the Catholic ones in my area are cutting tuition a K-5 student at one right next door would have to pay $4400 plus fees and uniforms well under the $6500. And with this they could educate the child as they wished homeschool, unschool (newer version), chip in and hire a teacher having a micro-school, send a child to a private school or other reforms. I tend to feel most students if truly gifted will focus on their love and go with it and others will gravitate to some interest that inspires them towards a vocation. You put the money out there the Free Market will offer options in that amount. And the wealthy always will have advantages we have to accept that.
I've taught in both private and state run schools and in one that was a weird hybrid of the two.  They've all had their good points but equally they've all had disastrous flaws.  And this brings me to the questions I asked in my earlier post:  what do you think constitutes a good education?  From what you've put here, it seems as though cheapness is the sole criterion you're using to judge systems, though I am sure that such is not the case.  The point is there have to be objective criteria to judge the quality of education provided to students, otherwise some students will receive no education at all.

So, once more I ask, what makes a good education?

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3. Segregation is not my issue parents can decide that issue its not a matter for the government. If say I wanted my child someday not to hang out with people not white well its my choice. I think forcing this is a major issue with public schools and must I add how much class time is wasted with students not wanting to be there, fighting, bickering, cliques and other distractions. I attendined private school ,parochial, and my High School each year cost under $6500 and I'm well-adjusted really just making my point. Its not the governments job to make people get along they must want to get along and I would argue most do. The odd racists would naturally have their rights.
Actually it is a government issue and is not an issue for parents to decide.  I've seen some remarkable parents in my time as a teacher, some of whom are the most gifted people I've ever met.  I've also had to deal with a child who had no idea what toilet paper was, because his parents were too stoned to teach him how to wipe his arse and parents whose political opinions were such that they encouraged their children to attack other children because they had a different coloured skin.  I would be happy to agree with you if all parents were in the first of the three types I mentioned but there's no way in hell that I would allow either of the other two groups any more say in my country's educational system than they get every five years with the ballot box.

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4. A good education for me is can a student be employed when an adult. Period. Most jobs require around an eighth grade education, not more and many can get by below that.
And how will such people compete with those who are better educated and cheaper to employ in India and China?  Such a view is shortsighted in the extreme.

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For those going to college there are options that could be given private schools or tutoring if say they are homeschooled or unschooled. But I agree a basic tst of knowledge should be given at age 14 to assess their knowledge - adjusted if a child has issues like mental retardation maybe a review by a state official panel. Testing that the child can perform at the eighth grade level focused more on applied uses of mathematics and english literacy for employment.
Hang on.  Are you arguing for a state role here?  Who would administer the tests?  Now if you're suggesting that these tests are summative tests, how will you judge if the education a child is receiving is adequate early enough to correct any mistakes.  The mantra I live by, as a teacher is "While I might have many more chances to teach a particular topic correctly, my pupils have only the one chance to learn it correctly and so I had better damn well make sure I do my best for them: their life chances depend on it."  Formative tests need to be carried out throughout education if that education will be successful.

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But an example I made what if a parent is a tradesperson say a carpenter I would argue the father teaching his child carpentry and making them fully trained by age eighteen would be productive education. So would a child going to a private school and going to college. And I will add a student inclined for college could earn an associates by eighteen if that is their goal paid for by the government, that would be a good thing to.
And what of the right of a child to determine his or her own future?  There are plenty of parents out there who "know better than their children" what their children should be.  Who decides if that parent's choice is in the child's best interests?

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5. And a note the fact is to many students are going to college pressured by parents, teachers and the system even if they are not suited for it. This would be for a four year or higher degree not an associates career based degree or certificate program. Letting children have some say as teens in their educations and following their interests might be a good thing instead of wasting time in college they might love being a barber or a LPN or massage therapist or like me running a hot dog stand I own. (I dropped out of college it just wasn't for me and now have debts to pay off but I love running my own business and have a knack for that. If given a choice I would not have gone to college over two-years.) The fact is half of students drop out the first year of college clearly these would be best served by many options.
That's exactly my issue with your proposal.  You argue that parental pressure can force children into educational paths unsuited for them and yet you seem to argue that the parents should choose at the same time.  That's what your carpenter analogy seems to suggest unless I'm missing something.

I will agree that too many people are pushed into following university courses where (in the past) they would have been inappropriate.  However, that is not the result of parental pressure so much as it is of grade inflation.  A bachelors' degree twenty-five years ago held the same currency that a masters holds now.  In the same way, students with O' levels were able to get work easily while those with the modern equivalent, the GCSE find that they need to go on and study for A' levels to get the same employment chances.

Who drives this grade inflation?  It's certainly neither the students nor the parents (I'm dreading having to pay my daughter's college fees in two years time).  The cause of it is an unholy combination of free market forces, I'm sorry to say.

Firstly, with high unemployment, employers tend to choose students with better qualifications.

Secondly, deregulation of state schools has allowed parents to choose which schools their children go to, rather than sending them to "the local school".  The criteria used is almost universally the number of C+ passes achieved at age 16.

Thirdly, deregulation of the exam boards allows them to produce courses that are easier to pass.  Since school funding is determined by exam results and how many students they get (also indirectly determined by exam results as noted above) schools choose  courses which student are more likely to pass.  An example of this is one of the reasons I walked out of my last job.  I was asked to bring in a science course which would give students the equivalent of 4 C+ passes but didn't actually require them to know any science.  Nationally, nearly every student that takes the course passes it because there is no exam and the coursework is marked by teachers whose continued employment depends on them getting good results.  I left rather than continue such a farce.

The consequence of all of these forces acting together is that the exam boards produce qualifications with less and less rigour which are chosen by schools eager to get better results for their students so they get better funding and so get more parents sending their children to them.  As a result, the value of qualifications is driven down.  The knock on from this is that employers get applicants for jobs with degrees which previously only required A' levels and so they get the jobs that only required O' levels in the past.

In short, the education and qualifications system is in a mess because of deregulation.
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5. Some careers don't need college and are learned on-the-job so to speak, artists and musicians come to mind and most writers just have a talent for it. These might find flexible educational choice good for example spending four years in an art colony honing their craft or working on their music.
I agree, however, I think that the changes you envisage will make this an increasingly rare state of affairs.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2010, 03:36:11 PM »
People forget this I would set a demand to educate the child as a parents obligation on par with feeding, clothing, housing, getting medical care and tending to the childs other needs. Failure to meet minimal education standards that could be tested for would mean a charge of neglect and state social workers intervention. And likely oversight just like if parents failed to feed the child or the child lived in a poor living environment. So the parent would be expected to educate the child. Just how would be up to them in most cases unless they refused to educate the child.

So the state would oversee it and have light regulation but since most of you agree most parents would do right by their children what is the big issue here, if a parent clearly wasn't performing their obligations the state could get involved.

As for education I did anser its to have a child not be a burden on the government as an adult as far as being employable in a productive capacity, an eighth grade basic amount of knowledge for typical students as an aim. And then some education in a trade or a vocation or pre-college. I would argue a student working on college could earn a GED and leave an associates degree program by the age of eighteen. If that is what they wanted or could at sixteen go into a trade education or some other meaningful option. That would suffice I see too many students going to college for a bachelors degree anyway I was one that shouldn't have gone more than two years. I'm not unique.

Offline Jude

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2010, 08:17:28 PM »
People forget this I would set a demand to educate the child as a parents obligation on par with feeding, clothing, housing, getting medical care and tending to the childs other needs. Failure to meet minimal education standards that could be tested for would mean a charge of neglect and state social workers intervention. And likely oversight just like if parents failed to feed the child or the child lived in a poor living environment. So the parent would be expected to educate the child. Just how would be up to them in most cases unless they refused to educate the child.
One of your main justifications for getting rid of the public educational system is to reduce bureaucracy; how is this going to happen if we end up fragmenting the school system but still trying to analyze the job that each individual fragment is doing?  Maintaining oversight plus less consolidation means more overhead designed to measure the job that private institutions are doing and less money being spent directly on education.  Maybe the costs wouldn't be more, but I don't see how you expect to save that much.
So the state would oversee it and have light regulation but since most of you agree most parents would do right by their children what is the big issue here, if a parent clearly wasn't performing their obligations the state could get involved.
Even if we agree that parents would try, are we really willing to accept that parents are qualified to make these sorts of decisions and would make the right choice?  I'd say my parents did a pretty good job raising me in general, but they still tried to homeschool my younger brothers for awhile (and were very confident it would work out).  It failed miserably.  Good intentions aren't enough to produce good results in an area as complicated as education.  Especially when the adults in our country are largely ignorant in certain areas of history and often divorced from reality factually.
As for education I did anser its to have a child not be a burden on the government as an adult as far as being employable in a productive capacity, an eighth grade basic amount of knowledge for typical students as an aim. And then some education in a trade or a vocation or pre-college. I would argue a student working on college could earn a GED and leave an associates degree program by the age of eighteen. If that is what they wanted or could at sixteen go into a trade education or some other meaningful option. That would suffice I see too many students going to college for a bachelors degree anyway I was one that shouldn't have gone more than two years. I'm not unique.
Using yourself as an example doesn't mean anything though, statistics are what matters.  It's true a large amount of people who go to college don't pass.  But to assume that's because college 'isn't for them' is a gross assumption.  There's plenty of potential explanations for why the college experience tends to weed so many people out.  Without evidence you can't claim it's not a valuable experience that would enrich our country if more people went through it.

I'm mixed on the issue, I realize parts of college are bullshit but in other ways there are benefits.  College isn't all it's chalked up to be, the numbers which claim the financial benefits we gain are skewed, and it's possible to start working right away and find yourself on better economic footing.

EDIT:  I just want to make a point of saying, I realize I gave a personal example while discounting personal examples.  Perhaps there was an error in logic or judgment there.  Personal examples can be proof of existence, but not proof of trend.  I don't have any data to back up a lot of my ideas, much of it is just pointing out potential flaws that I see coming.  ...I'm not entirely sure what the point of this afterword was other than recognizing the shortcomings of my own opinions.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2010, 08:21:13 PM by Jude »

Offline Serephino

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2010, 09:07:02 PM »
So exactly how is a low income family supposed to educate their children?  For homeschooling, who provides books and other materials needed?  My boyfriend and I would like to adopt, but even if you cut private school tuition in half, we couldn't afford it.  And right now private schools are competing with free public schools.  Take that away, and they can charge whatever they want because you must educate your child and would no longer have a free option. 

Costs of phone and internet have gone down.... Are you fucking kidding me????  Do you have any idea what I pay for cable?  We have Comcast, a huge franchise, and they charge an $8.95 franchise fee.... as if we had choice....  Thier medium speed is $49.95.  We tried economy, but we think they deliberately slowed us down to get us to upgrade because we were having trouble getting pages to load.  I had dial-up deja vu.  I think they need more regulation.

Phones.... I really hate Verizon at this point.  Their basic service fee wasn't too bad, but if you wanted any extras you were gouged.  I believe is was $12.95 just to have long distance, and then they charged you per minute.  I have Vonage now and I like it.

Airlines....  Have you like not been watching the news or something?  As someone else said, they're charging hidden fees.  On average, it's $25 per bag you check.  They charge extra for food and drink now.  When I flew to Miami for a cousin's wedding about 8 years ago our bags were checked for free and we got free drinks.

I agree that kids shouldn't be pressured to go to college, but as someone else said, parents do a lot of pressuring too.  It isn't for everyone; it wasn't for me.  I don't like how they have to make everything well rounded.  They should tailor things to what you're studying.  Though college should be encouraged because it does better your chances of getting a good job, and not a minimum wage one.

I agree with Neroon on your Carpentry analogy.  Are you suggesting we go back to the days where one's parents decide what career they're going into?  You argue that one shouldn't be forced into going to college because it might not be right for them, but what about a child who wants to become a doctor, but his father is say.... a chef... and decides to train the child as such because it's cheaper and easier?  What about that child's happiness and welfare?  A kid could want to go to a private school, and want to get into engineering or something, but if the parents can't afford that kind of education or wants the kid to carry on the family business, they're SOL.  Sure, you argue it would be mandatory for parents to educate their children at least to an 8th grade equivalent, and the father forcing his child to be a chef would have done that. 

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2010, 03:08:23 PM »
I would like to point out most people that WANT to become something like a doctor will find a way to become a doctor or a scientist or another profession. A good example Kinsey his father wanted him to go to be an engineer and he wanted to be a biologist, and he worked his way up. I would argue most go getters do that. Hell many never went to college and did well its their natures and personality to get there and do it or not. But if a parent wanted to teach the child to be a chef they have a way to earn a living while they go for the higher education.

As for homeschooling that is ONE option I noted there are others since many parochial schools manage on less than I noted per year to educate a child any private one should be able to if they keep the programs sensible and control costs. For example have the administrators also teach classes at least part-time. And couldn't say ten parents chip in and hire an educator that would be $60,000 a year. As for books there is this wonderful American institution a public library its that big tax payer funded building full of books, magazines and dvd's one can rent these from at no cost. So go there. And I'm all for parents chipping in to form educational groups for children or come up with new ideas via the free market.

As for the internet oddly my high speed dial-up costs $13.95 a month and works I'm typing here and your getting the message.

And I just pointed out the Wisconsin vs. Yoder standard of a Federal Court that a parent is required to make sure a child is literate in English and is not a burden as an adult a very simple standard. The state would need minimal oversight a few tests maybe two or three times for monitoring.

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Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2010, 04:40:15 PM »
Sarcasm is not needed, so please leave it at the door. Thank you. :)

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Re: My ideas on how to fix US education (posted elsewhere also).
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2010, 05:04:04 PM »
I would like to point out most people that WANT to become something like a doctor will find a way to become a doctor or a scientist or another profession. A good example Kinsey his father wanted him to go to be an engineer and he wanted to be a biologist, and he worked his way up. I would argue most go getters do that. Hell many never went to college and did well its their natures and personality to get there and do it or not.

A delightful urban legend, but nothing more than that. Economically speaking, a college graduate will earn, on average, more than a million dollars more than a high school graduate over his or her working lifetime. One million dollars. And if your retort is "Well, money isn't everything." I'm sure that the millions of Americans living on the financial edge would heartily disagree with you.

Yes, we've all heard the stories of Bill Gates, et al, who managed to succeed despite their lack of degree. They are anomalies. The majority of citizens need a college degree to provide a better life for themselves and their families.

And as for this:

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Most jobs require around an eighth grade education, not more and many can get by below that.

What is your proof of this statement? No, you needn't be a Rhodes scholar to pick strawberries in a field in California, but that 'job' isn't going to properly provide for a family, either. A lack of education does absolutely nothing for our citizens except continue a cycle of distressing poverty.

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As for the internet oddly my high speed dial-up costs $13.95 a month

Oxymoron of the day.