The Bankrupt Agenda of the Save Our Schools Movement

True progressives would embrace school choice, not teachers' unions.

Matt Damon, in my book, could do no wrong. He is way too cute and his acting has something that thinking women find attractive: gravitas. Alas, that was before he opened his mouth at a Save Our Schools rally in Washington, D.C., recently.

Damon, the son of a public school teacher-cum-activist, upbraided a Reason.tv reporter for her “MBA-style thinking” because she suggested that public school teachers might teach better if they didn’t have tenure. “A teacher wants to teach,” he lectured. “Why else would you take a s****y salary and really long hours and do that job unless you really love to do it?”

Great response, except that teachers don’t earn lousy salaries and don’t work long hours. Still, the liberati went giddy, calling Damon “brilliant,” “cheer-worthy,” and “perfect.”

But if Damon were so smart, he wouldn’t be supporting his mama’s organization and cause. Indeed, notwithstanding its radical billing, SOS is not a force against the establishment but an agent for the status quo.

(Article continues below video.)


To understand how wacko the organization is, consider the fact that Damon was the most sensible speaker at the rally. All he did was wax bathetic about the love public school teachers bestowed on him to “unlock his potential.” But at least he stuck to the subject. Not so with Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who aimed a broadside at every ill in American society: poverty, segregation—and volunteer teachers. Then there was Sam Anderson, a founding member of the Black Panther Party, who advocated a Black-Latino alliance to “eradicate the onslaught of privatization” in education.

But stripped of all the radical-sounding babble, the only radical thing the organization wants is radical unaccountability. Its entire “reform” agenda amounts to: More money, fewer questions.

Nearly every speaker complained about “underfunded” public schools, even though per-pupil education spending in America in 2006—before the Obama administration poured even more stimulus money into K-12—was 2.5 times higher than in 1970 in inflation-adjusted dollars. On average, America spends $13,000 annually per child now compared to $6,037 then.

Yet graduation rates have actually dropped four percentage points. The average reading and math scores for 17 year olds on the National Assessment of Education Progress, the nation’s gold standard for measuring student achievement, are no better today than they were in 1971. SAT verbal scores have declined from 530 in 1972 to 504 in 2009 and math scores have essentially flat-lined.

The only upward trend has been in the staff-to-student ratio—up by 70 percent since 1970.

In light of this, is it so unreasonable to demand that our education dollars actually educate? But SOS is a mortal foe of all accountability measures—big and small, Republican and Democratic.

It hates rewarding good teachers through merit pay and penalizing bad teachers by eliminating tenure and firing them. It is implacably opposed to President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, even though the act pumps tens of billions of extra federal dollars into K-12 every year. Why? Because it requires states to develop tests to measure student progress and threatens to withhold funds from chronically failing schools. A few days ago, the Obama administration, infuriating Congress, unilaterally handed waivers to states unable to meet the law’s proficiency goals. But that won’t earn it any brownie points with SOS, which wants the law’s testing requirements scrapped. What’s more, the organization has condemned the administration’s Race to the Top program that hands $4 billion in reward money to states with the best reform plans to raise academic standards, improve teaching quality and—horror of horrors!—expand charter schools.

But of course the organization’s ultimate bête noire is school choice measures—vouchers, tax credits—that give parents options outside the public school monopoly. On this SOS is by no means alone among liberals, something that speaks volumes about how unmoored from its own principles the American progressive movement has become.

The whole point of government involvement in K-12 is to offer universal access to a quality education to kids, not provide guaranteed employment to teachers. Hence, if anyone were talking about actually cutting back the government’s commitment to education, then progressive fury against school choice might be understandable. But all that school choice proponents want to do is use the existing funds to transform public education from a soup-kitchen to a food-stamp welfare model, to put it in non-MBA terms that Damon understands.

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  • ||

    But all that school choice proponents want to do is use the existing funds to transform public education from a soup-kitchen to a food-stamp welfare model, to put it in non-MBA terms that Damon understands.

    Brilliant line Shikha!

  • O2||

    local voters must be allowed to vote whether local property taxes may be transferred outta the local district.

  • ||

    Brilliant line Shikha

    Nice phrasing, maybe, but when you compare public school education to "gruel" served at "soup kitchens," you sound just as condescending and melodramatic as someone who uses the phrase "intrinsically paternalistic," Shikha. The "gruel" I was served in public school was better than what I got in private school.

  • Apogee||

    The "gruel" I was served in public school was better than what I got in private school.

    Which therefore means that your experience is universal and not subject to actual testing and graduation statistics.

  • ||

    Funnily enough it is subject to testing and statistics, but if you cite just the overview statistics like this author does, you ignore what's really going on.

    For example, the "26 point drop in SAT verbal" she quotes is misleading, because the statistics reveal that every ethnic category has improved SAT scores since 1981:
    White +8 Verbal, +24 Math
    Black +19 Verbal, +36 Math
    Asian +27 Verbal, +57 Math
    Mexican +8 Verbal, +10 Math
    Puerto Rican +18 Verbal, +23 Math
    Native American +8 Verbal, +20 Math

    It's just that the test-takers' demographics have shifted from higher-scoring populations to lower-scoring ones: 88% whites and asians in 1981, to 75% in 2001.

    The same thing applies to the 4% decline in graduation rates: populations with lower graduation rates have grown in proportion to others.

  • ||

    Interesting, Lackwit Bingo.

    You've made the case that SAT scores have fallen because there are ever more inferior peoples living in the USA as percentage of the total population. Said another way, there are ever more people of non-white, northern European ancestry who constitute a greater share today of the USA population than they did in 1981 or in 1972, which is the base year Shikha Dalmia used.

    So by your reasoning, Lackwit Bingo, you're arguing that difference in intellect exists among races, right?

  • ||

    Al, you're a asshole. No one said anything about the "inferiority" or "superiority" of races, so fuck you.

    My point was to admit that there are differences in levels of actual educational attainment between races, not differences in intellectual capacity.

    Difference in attainment is a fact, and a problem to be solved - a problem made harder to solve because sanctimonious assholes like you automatically draw the race card on anyone who points it out or tries to do something about it. So thanks for that.

    I believe that the problem - disparity in test scores - is about the quality of education received by different ethnic groups; In case you haven't noticed, Al, I'm the one on here arguing for equality of opportunity in education. I work for an civil rights group for goodness sake, so you can shove your righteous indignation right up your ass.

  • yoda||

    actually race card was by you drawn.

  • Brett||

    It could well be that for better of for worse there are more college applicants.

  • Hyphenated American||

    "I believe that the problem - disparity in test scores - is about the quality of education received by different ethnic groups"

    So, you are saying that quality of education for non-whites is bad. Hm. Well, and then you argue that the drop in test scores should be ignored. Why?

    "I work for an civil rights group for goodness sake, so you can shove your righteous indignation right up your ass."

    Al Sharpton, is that you?

  • S4B||

    what if ur 1/2 white, 1/2 asian & 1/2 black

  • R||

    If you claim to be "1/2 white, 1/2 asian & 1/2 black", then I'll direct you to the nearest remedial math course.

  • ||

    Thats funny.

  • ||

    (This kind of shift in proportions is called a "Simpson's Paradox" if you want to read up on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson's_paradox)

  • Apogee||

    It's also called an excuse.

  • ||

    Fight the power!

  • ||

    local voters must be allowed to vote whether local property taxes may be transferred outta the local district.

    So, teachers should not be allowed to live outside the district unless the voters graciously agree to let them?

  • cynical||

    I was wondering the same thing, then I remembered that Urine is a retard and not worth thinking about.

  • Matt Damon||

    Huh?

  • Vake||

    Matt Damon! (Team America voice)

  • Hodor||

    HODOR!

  • SIV||

    if progressives were really serious about saving American education

    They're not, unless you mean saving the bureaucracy and "public educator's" job security and perks.

  • ||

    Why not protect a self-perpetuating system that entitles the participants to the "good life" in exchange for feality to a doctrine that is morally and ethically corrupt?

    Progressives care not for the uplifting of the Citizens of the Nation, only rewarding the faithful chosen ones.

  • ||

    They're not, unless you mean saving the bureaucracy and "public educator's" job security and perks.

    Jesus. Just because progressives don't want to slash and burn the whole public education system doesn't mean they like bureaucrats. So how bout you stop setting up straw men and recognize that progressives want to fix the problem just as much as you do, they just don't think that crushing educators is the best way to do it.

    PS: when you say things like "Progressives care not for uplifting the Citizens of the Nation" (note the ominous capitalization), you know you sound like a bit of an apocalyptic nut, right? "Repent ye, foul derps, for the Kingdom of Freedom is at hand."

  • Apogee||

    Just because progressives don't want to slash and burn the whole public education system

    Why would allowing parents a say in their children's education slash and burn the entire system?

    In which school district do you teach?

  • ||

    "Allowing parents to have a say in their children's education" is not what most people on this chatboard are asking for, Apogee. They're asking for "complete and total control over what their children learn and the manner in which they learn it, and the right to opt out of providing this basic social service to anyone else's kids."

    "Having a say," though, is already achieved through school boards, the PTA (both of which you are free to join), by the options of home schooling or sending your children to private school (no the government doesn't have to help you to make it happen), by supplementing your kid's education, or by telling them not to believe everything those nasty teachers say.

    You also have a say at the ballot box. But it just so happens that on the national level you're outnumbered by people who believe that requiring everyone to contribute to provide a basic social service isn't such a bad idea. :)

  • ||

    People don't want merely having a say, they want enough power to decide the outcome. After all, it's their money getting confiscated under the rubric tax dollars.

    And that is the exactly failing of socialism -- living by a council of bureaucrats who decides who gets what and often, who does what.

    Bureaucrats want power without having to compete for it in the marketplace of ideas.

  • Apogee||

    They're asking for "complete and total control over what their children learn and the manner in which they learn it, and the right to opt out of providing this basic social service to anyone else's kids."

    Not true, as was proven in the D.C. scenario. Parents want the best education for their children, and a large, unaccountable bureaucracy does not self-correct as that equals an abdication of power, as does all accountability. Without the say as to which school their children attend, there is no reason for the bureaucracy to respond to the parents.

    Your continued mischaracterization of the wishes of parents only serves to highlight the bunker mentality of the bureaucracy.

  • yoda||

    Just because progressives don't want to slash and burn the whole public education system

    Definition it is of "straw man" argument.

  • ||

    Good point, it was exaggeration on my part.

    I was only trying to draw an analogy to privatization of schools: destroying the current system in hopes of creating fertile ground for your new private system that you think would better serves society's needs (ala agriculture).

  • The Chicago Democratic Machine||

    That's not true!

  • Mr Whipple||

    and saving the political contributions of the unions.

  • ||

    thirteen major metropolitan cities with graduation rates below 50%, tell me that anyone with a brain in their head would think this is a success and needs not just continued funding but more funding...
    but we shouldn't look at things through a business model lens because that would just be intrinsically paternalistic

  • Apogee||

    Fuck the business model lens. What about the lens of the actual parents, who have no choice about their own children's education?

  • DLM||

    They're not, unless you mean saving the bureaucracy and "public educator's" job security and perks.

    The problem is they don't seem to see any difference between the two.

  • Sinic||

    On average, America spends $13,000 annually per child

    Holy shit! Imagine what the private sector could do with 13K a head.

  • some guy||

    Holy shit! Imagine what the private sector could do with 13K a head.

    I doubt the private sector could do much more. The problem isn't about the money, or how the teachers are hired, or how the schools are run. It's about whether the parents give a damn. I suppose the private sector could take its savings and use them to bribe the parents into caring....

  • Mr Whipple||

    If the parents don't give a shit, why should the government force them to send their kids to school?

  • ||

    I can see the benefits of an educated citizenry, although they're going about it all wrong.

    But, they're hardly giving us an educated citizenry now, making it a moot point.

  • anarch||

    However, they're giving us a trained citizenry Hey, what's the collective noun for a group of subjects?

  • ||

    Herd or flock works just fine for me.

  • anarch||

    ...making it a moo point.

  • What you did there.||

    I see it.

  • ||

    A surfeit of serfs?

  • King Ludd||

    Because when the shit hits the fan and they are are working a shitty job or unemployed they need to remember that despite it all America is God's best greatest country and we are the best and God Bless America. Because my fourth grade teacher said so.

  • In Time of War||

    My civics teacher told me one of the reasons we were better than the commies was because we could travel freely around our country without being stopped and questioned by the authorities.

  • ||

    The private sector, at least as much of it as is allowed to exist in education, is ALREADY doing more with less.

    Why is it that morons can perfectly understand the benefits of competition to the "consumer" when deciding between an I-phone and a Blackberry, but can't seem to fathom it in education?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    But...poor people can't afford I-phones so... that means they won't be able to afford education (Even though poor kids in Africa can go to private schools that beat the shit out of our public schools).

  • ||

    The market for education is entirely different here than in Africa Drax. In Africa there's very few consumer dollars pushing up the demand for private school, which keeps prices low. Here the demand for good private schooling is already huge, even with COMPETITION from a cheap alternative good (ie free public school) that pushes prices down.

    Eliminate public schools and the massive influx of demand for private education would spike the price of private schools. Think about what happens in colleges: they can charge $60k per year because people are willing to pay anything to assure their kids go to a good school.

    Prepare yourself for the same kind of price gouging in K-12 if you're serious about "school choice."

  • DD||

    Eliminate public schools and the massive influx of demand for private education would spike the price of private schools. Think about what happens in colleges: they can charge $60k per year because people are willing to pay anything to assure their kids go to a good school.

    You mean when the govt takes over the financing of said educations? You take the govt guarantee of student loans and you will probably see the price of education stabilize.

  • tarran||

    Wow. The demand would spike prices?

    And what would that do to the supply?

    a) Nobody would want to open a school so the supply would stay the same.

    b) Teachers, being altruistic, would be disgusted with the rise in prices and quit.

    c) More people would want to become teachers causing the supply to increase.

  • ||

    Wow, tarran you're right. Just look at what happened to colleges: the supply of great schools like Phoenix University, Kaplan University and Kaplan University has increased about a dozen times over.

    Wouldn't you say that Harvard is the most highly demanded school in the world aside from Oxford? I hear that Harvard is going to split itself like an amoeba and build campuses all around the country to accommodate all that demand for its services.

  • ||



    Eliminate public schools and the massive influx of demand for private education would spike the price of private schools. Think about what happens in colleges: they can charge $60k per year because people are willing to pay anything to assure their kids go to a good school.
    ~~ Lackwit Bingo

    HA HA HA

    Only in Lackwit Bingo's economy, does supply remain fixed forever. No one would have incentive to enter the marketplace, innovating, delivering high quality education at low prices.

    In Lackwit Bingo's economy, everyone is forced to shop on Rodeo Drive or go without.

    HA HA HA

  • ||

    Again, analogy to colleges: please point out the many colleges which offer "high quality education at low prices" which aren't subsidized by a state.

    The CPI over the last 20 years was usually 3-4%, whereas inflation for the education sector was 8%. Guess there just hasn't been enough innovation or incentive enter the education marketplace...

    Or is it that colleges have realized that they have a product with very inelastic demand, where marginal price increases have little impact on demand?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    There is high demand for college because there is (in the short term) "cheap" "money" available for kids to go to college. For every engineeirng major at a big university there are (at least) 4 psychology majors. I'm not bashing psychology, but we all know 3 out of 4 of those psych majors go to school to party. That's also partially why the demand is high. Kids have a guranteed (at least) 4 years of drunkeness paid for by someone else in the short term. They go to college because they are told by state official that that is what they are supposed to do. In the end, many college graduates can't find viable work in their field and are forced into a life of self-indentured servitude as bartenders and waiters to pay off a 4-8 year party because student loan debt cannot be washed away in bankruptcy (another element exacerbating the lending).

    So what would happen to college demand if:
    -The State didn't provide a buttload of cash (directly or through incentives to private lenders)
    -State-run education didn't promote college as the end-all-be-all of a young person's life while at the same time, demonizing "blue-collar" skilled trade work.
    -State-run high schools didn't enforce truancy laws so kids who are unruly and don't learn anything anyway can just go into the world to work. In the end, some of these kids help swell the ranks of colleges because of the previous two issues and they will be the most fucked when they find out that their Underwater Basket Weaving degree was not worth a lifetime of debt.
    (How can this stuff not be increasing demand?)

    "Education" is a goddamned bubble just like housing is/was. It's a mummer's farce in which too many resources have been wasted exponentially and too many entitled people have become invested in. When the value of our money drops to what its actually worth (used toilet paper), do you think people are going to keep telling kids that they should rack up 50K worth of debt to major in Womyn's Studies just so they can make $8 Bucks an hour at Applebee's?

    Back to public schools themselves, kids who consistently perform poorly through...say...7th grade (it's arbitrary), should be allowed to fucking quit. The "demand" for public school is high because a good 5th(or more) of the people there, don't want to be there, and are not getting anything from it while they are holding everyone else back through reduced standards, bullying, and various disruptions. Part of this is the result of poor public school performance, part of it is that these kid's parents don't give a shit (Hmmm...I wonder if their parents went to public school as well), and part of it is their own faults. As John Taylor Gatto, New York City Teacher of the Year 3 years in a row, once wrote (I'm Paraphrasing) "Teaching a child who does not want to learn, is not difficult--it's impossible."

  • In Time of War||

    Eh, every "poor" person I run across has a cell phone. Don't know if it's an i-phone or not, don't care.

  • Cy Nickelfuque||

    Why is it that morons can perfectly understand the benefits of competition to the "consumer" when deciding between an I-phone and a Blackberry, but can't seem to fathom it in education?

    The morons will lose that ability also when they realize that government-provided phones are a right.

  • ||

  • ||

    Why is it that morons can perfectly understand the benefits of competition to the "consumer" when deciding between an I-phone and a Blackberry, but can't seem to fathom it in education?

    Spoken like rich white guy: you really think lower-middle class families can afford smart phones? They won't be able to afford quality private education either.

    My question is this: are you naive enough to believe that they will be able to afford it, or are heartless enough to not care that they won't?

  • ||

    Spoken like rich white guy: you really think lower-middle class families can afford smart phones?

    Hilarious. Our ER is full of "indigent" families staring at smartphones.

  • ||

    Right, and the irony is that they buy them, but they can't afford them, can they? I guess the "school choice" advocates here are hoping that all lower class families will go into debt to get basic education, too?

  • cynical||

    If the education is useful, it will produce returns that outweigh the debt. If not, then why get it?

  • ||

    ....

    So, if only those unintelligent folks had your foresight, then they would see that their best chance at a prosperous future might not be worth the investment and would cut their losses and just start work in a McDonalds at age 10, right?

  • In Time of War||

    No, the "irony" is they can afford smartphones but expect you to pay for their medical care.

  • Cloudbuster||

    The irony is that where we've allowed the market to work -- as with SmartPhones -- the market has succeeded in making them so cheap that Verizon is giving Android Smart Phones away as incentives for its basic plans.

    Where we don't allow the market to work -- as with public education -- we have decades of bloated spending and increasing costs for a product that's on a par with a 70s Slimline land-line phone, in comparison.

  • Apogee||

    Why is it that morons can perfectly understand the benefits of competition to the "consumer" when deciding between an I-phone and a Blackberry, but can't seem to fathom it in education?

    Because said morons can't comprehend their own logical contradictions.

  • ||

    [I doubt the private sector could do much more.]

    You are kidding, right?

  • some guy||

    No, I'm not kidding. The most important factor in education is, by far, the attitude of the parents. Private sector education would cost less and would be more just, but I don't see how it could "do more" because I don't see how it would cause POS parents to start caring.

  • ||

    And what, in your estimation created this apathy among parents?

    I have my own answers, but I'm curious what yours are.

  • anarch||

    You're not being fair. ;-)

  • ||

    That's his problem.

  • ||

    And what, in your estimation created this apathy among parents?

    Public education. Duh.

  • some guy||

    Public education. Duh.

    How? Please be specific.

  • ||

    Let me answer that question by posing another: Why is there a permanent welfare class?

  • some guy||

    Why is there a permanent welfare class?

    Because it is animal nature to want something for nothing and to cling to the status quo until forcibly changed.

    The apathy caused the public education. Not the other way around.

  • EggChickenEggChickenEgg||

    But it perpetuates it. Giving those people that do give a shit a choice in education allows them rise up out of the apathetic cycle they are in. There still will be "set it and forget it" schools for kids with apathetic parents. The world still needs a bottom 5% to run.

  • Big Cat Kahuna||

    Actually, I can see many factors: the lack of opprobrium for poor parenting among their peers; the pervasive sense of victim hood and entitlement that I believe reaches into all strata of society; the endless river of time & discipline dissipating activities; and yes, the impotence of public education--or public institutions generally--to help any of these issues.

    Education is a choice. Initially made by parents--or caretakers--it must ultimately be made by their charges. No school can guarantee success in cultivating that where it does not exist. But private schools have a better shot than public.

    I fear the singularity is our only hope.

  • some guy||

    Thanks, Big Cat Kahuna. You stated my opinion better than I did.

  • ||

    Well stated indeed Cat. Thanks for resisting the temptation to boil the problem down to a single cause.

    But your note that "Education is a choice. Initially made by parents..." illustrates the flaw in the libertarian's position. Here, you have an entire chat-room of people content to allow the kids of poor families to be damned by their parents' choices: if the parents can't afford private school, then screw the kids.

    I think that in pursuing freedom of choice for schools, you all might've lost sight of another creed of this country: equality of opportunity.

  • Apogee||

    Here, you have an entire chat-room of people content to allow the kids of poor families to be damned by their parents' choices: if the parents can't afford private school, then screw the kids.

    So your solution is to remove the choice of all their parents, while simultaneously removing any accountability to the bureaucracy that is failing kids today.

    You admit that the wealthy (Obama, et al) send their children to private schools to avoid damning their offspring, and at the same time pretend that by keeping the schools as they are is the solution to the problem.

    Where do you teach?

  • ||

    You have a choice! You can send your children to a parochial school, home school, private school, boarding school. You can buy a home another high-school's territory, or if you live in a larger city, you can move to another school district entirely. If you feel as strongly as you talk, you can move to another town or another state.

    Of course I don't think zero-accountability is the solution. Tenure is a terrible idea. Horrible teachers shouldn't be fired - they should be shot out of a cannon. And standardized tests serve a purpose so long as they don't distract from actual education.

    But I don't think the solution is to privatize the current education system.

  • Apogee||

    Of course I don't think zero-accountability is the solution. Tenure is a terrible idea. Horrible teachers shouldn't be fired - they should be shot out of a cannon.

    Now we're getting somewhere.

    You do realize that changing the above is impossible when the teacher's unions control the legislature?

  • ||

    some guy|8.16.11 @ 8:46AM|#
    Thanks, Big Cat Kahuna. You stated my opinion better than I did.

    That would be because you completely evaded the question and let others answer for you. Congrabulations.

  • some guy||

    And what, in your estimation created this apathy among parents?

    Their own bad parents, genetics, the growth of the welfare state, the prosperity of our society as a whole, etc.

  • ||

    Genetics is at least 50% of the answer. That, and a society that no longer needs manual laborers or people who have no aptitude for abstract tools like reading and math.

  • Sparky||

    When the cash registers at McDonald's have little pictures for food items instead of words and change dumps that automatically calculate the change, you know the school system has failed succeeded.

  • ||

    I'm sure the causes of apathy are multifarious, but its a lot harder to be apathetic about something you are paying for than something you are not.

  • ##||

    Uhhh....I'm sure some parents just send kids to private school for show, but don't you think that if most the parents didn't care more than common about their children's education that they wouuldn't go to the trouble of sending them to a private school in teh first place?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yeah, well if you're going to get a shitty service, you shouldn't be paying top dollar for it.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's about whether the parents give a damn.

    Maybe if the kids are home schooled, but otherwise that's a cop out.

    It's about whether the kids give a damn. If the educators don't give a damn, then it's unlikely the kids will.

    The "it's the parents' fault" meme is just the latest bit of blame shifting from the incompetent couldn't-give-a-shit-less-about-anything-but-keeping-their-job public school drones.

  • Matt Damon's Mom||

    ...incompetent couldn't-give-a-shit-less-about-anything-but-keeping-their-job public school drones.

    PRESENT!

  • some guy||

    It's about whether the kids give a damn. If the educators don't give a damn, then it's unlikely the kids will.

    Do you honestly think the teachers have a bigger influence over kids than their own parents? You're also kind of begging the question because kids won't even interact with educators unless someone makes them go to school (either their parents or lawmakers.)

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you honestly think the teachers have a bigger influence over kids than their own parents?

    At school, yes.
    In class, yes.

    Kids can pick up real quick if a teacher gives a shit or not. If the kids pick up that the teacher doesn't care, then they won't care.

    Teachers blaming the parents for what goes on in the classroom is a cop out.

  • some guy||

    Kids can pick up real quick if a teacher gives a shit or not. If the kids pick up that the teacher doesn't care, then they won't care.

    I disagree with you on this, but I doubt either of us has anything more than anecdotal evidence to support our opinions.

    Teachers blaming the parents for what goes on in the classroom is a cop out.

    Parents get access to the kid first. They get exclusive access to the kid for the most important 5-6 years of the kid's development. A bad parent can cause irrevocable harm to a kid's attitude during that time. Teachers can't be and shouldn't be expected to undo that harm, especially when the damage continues to be re-inforced every time the kid goes home in the afternoon.

  • sarcasmic||

    A bad parent can cause irrevocable harm to a kid's attitude during that time.

    Children are not clay to be molded by their parents. There is as much nature as nurture when determining what kind of attitude the kid will have.
    That and a person can change their own attitude if they so choose. A good teacher can be a catalyst in helping that to happen.

    This meme of "it's the parents' fault that we can't teach" may contain a grain of truth, but only a grain.

  • some guy||

    @sarcasmic

    There is as much nature as nurture when determining what kind of attitude the kid will have.

    Neither teachers nor parents have control of the "Nature" part of the equation, no matter how big a role it plays.

    I think you have it backwards. Occasionally a teacher may be able to catalyse a change in a student, but that tired Hollywood storyline is the exception, not the rule.

  • DLM||

    Kids can pick up real quick if a teacher gives a shit or not.

    The best teacher we had in school did come across as caring whether we learned, but he expected us to care, too. If we didn't, we could leave. He wasn't going to waste his time. Of course, this was in the seventies in the midwest.

  • Maxxx||

    The problem isn't about the money, or how the teachers are hired, or how the schools are run. It's about whether the parents give a damn. I suppose the private sector could take its savings and use them to bribe the parents into caring....

    Bullshit.

    Two reforms could produce instant results at little cost.

    1) Kick out trouble making future felons.

    2) Fire the bottom 10% of teachers.

  • Numeromancer||

    1) Kick out trouble making future felons.

    FAIL: The parents of these kids may not give a crap about education, but they sure-as-hell give a crap about whether they have to put up with those felons all day. Having their felons at home is likely to put them in a fighting mood.

    2) Fire the bottom 10% of teachers.

    FAIL: Whose going to fire them? The "bottom 10%" of teachers, in the eyes of a bureaucrat (ie school principal or district administrator), are those who tend to buck their idiotic approved-book lists and brainless no-tolerance policies.

  • ||

    On point 2, you doth protest too much, Numero. Just fire the 10% of teachers whose students consistently do the worst standardized skills tests compared to the rest of their school, all things being equal.

  • ||

    But Maxxx: in case you haven't noticed, most future felons tend to kick themselves out (ie drop out).

  • Apogee||

    most future felons tend to kick themselves out (ie drop out).

    So why the need for a bureaucracy? Aren't you abandoning those poor misunderstood youth?

  • ||

    ...? This is unclear. What's your point?

  • Apogee||

    My point is that many times the argument for the preservation of the current bureaucracy is that any changes (calls for accountability, etc) would, in effect, be abandoning the disadvantaged.

  • ||

    This has actually been put to the test on multiple occasions. Alternative schools frequently do a great deal better, with students from inner city poverty backgrounds, for less money than the Public Schools. Yes, those students are the ones with parents who care enough to find alternatives, but the present system makes that harder than it should be. The Public schools seriously discourage parental involvement unless it is on their terms.

  • Realist||

    This country has too many low IQ students that can not learn.

  • Tango Mike||

    Not to mention too many low IQ teachers that can not teach.

  • DLM||

    This country has too many low IQ students that can not learn.

    Half of the population is of below average intelligence.

  • ||

    This country has too many low IQ students that can not learn.

    "Can not" means you have the ability to not learn. "Cannot" (one word) means you don't have the ability to learn. Not so fast on the IQ, Realist.

  • cynical||

    Only if you're talking about IQ, and only because that's deliberately normalized such that the mean is equal to the median.

  • DailyKos||

    This country has too many low IQ students that can not learn

    "PRESENT!"

  • Hyphenated American||

    "The problem isn't about the money, or how the teachers are hired, or how the schools are run. "

    Damn, let's cut education spending by half - according to you, spending does not make better education.

  • some guy||

    True progressives would embrace school choice, not teachers' unions.

    I'd like to introduce you to Scotsman I know...

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

  • Trespassers W||

    You don't get to invoke the TSF any time someone uses "true" as an adjective.

  • some guy||

    My comment was perfectly valid.

    Everyone knows that true progressives always side with the union!

  • Uh||

    What does this have to do with Rick Perry?

  • 2008 Redux||

    Rick Perry is already replacing Michelle Bachman as the handy, go-to reason supposed "libertarians" will be giving, come 11/12, for their allowing the current Redistributionist-In-Chief another four unfettered years of punitively stealing from the productive, and lavishly rewarding the unproductive.

  • Uh||

    Oh. OK.

  • Question||

    Do you really think McObama would have been any better than Obama?

  • Aqua Buddha||

    McCain = Obama - Obamacare

  • ||

    McCain = Obama - Obamacare + a war or two .... oh wait.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    And

    Obama = McCain + Obamacare + ...a drone war or two?+ broken promises + outright lies? + Bailouts galore?

    Math is hard. In reality Obama almost equals McCain (any idea on how to make a squiggly equals sign?). They are interchangeable like their puppet master parties.

    Just accept it people, we would've been fucked either way. Just inject some heroin, lie back and relax, before a swat team busts down the door and "accidentally" shoots your children.

  • Maxxx||

    Bullshit

    You fucked up when you voter for that piece of shit, but you can't admit it to yourself. Hence the false equivalence.

    McCain would not have signed Obamacare, the Stimulus, given steroids to the regulators, guns to Mexican drug cartels, a trillion in bonds to Wall Street or constantly threatened businesses.

    A McCain presidency would have seen congressional pushback over the patriot act, increased federal enforcement against medical mj and the wars.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I didn't vote for either piece of shit. Voting for shit is not something I would aspire to. Recognizing shit for what it is and calling it out is preferable.

  • Realist||

    If McCain had won we would be in 20 wars.

  • Real Realist||

    we would be in 20 wars.

    Oh, what the hell. I'll call:

    List them. One through twenty.

  • Hyperbole v. Sarcasm||

    See who wins! Will you care?! NO!

  • Jim Shooter||

    ::crickets::

    ::crickets::

    ::crickets::

    Huh. Must be SECRET Wars, I guess.

  • Peter Parker||

    Aw, geez. Those never work out well.

  • ||

    My crystal ball is broken, can I borrow yours so that I may gaze into what could have been with you?

    Also, I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • Bombed Libyan Babies||

    Obama almost equals McCain

    ... or... you know... NOT.

  • Bombed Iranian Babies||

    We beg to differ from an alternate dimension's hell.

  • Art Vandelay||

    The alternate dimension where you weren't still being bombed right up to the present day, you mean?

    Must be the same one where Obama shut down Gitmo, I guess.

    Pffftt.

  • Barack Obama||

    Bombed Libyan Babies

    Shut your filthy, brown terrorist traps, you lot. I have a Nobel fucking PEACE Prize!

  • Yasser Arafat||

    We are not so very different, you and I...

  • Barack Obama||

    Neither are you and the First Missus, assuming photographs don't lie.

  • mnarayan||

    McCain = -care?

  • Better, Saner Questions||

    1.) Do you honestly believe we'd be lumbered with "McCainCare," right about now?

    2.) Do you genuinely believe that there are only two options ("Red," "Blue") in any given presidential election? Because it seems to me I remember reading something or another -- maybe even right here, on this very site! -- to the opposite effect.

  • IceCreamBunny||

    Absolutely mind-boggling, how reflexively so many here revert to hardline Red/Blue dogmatism. And then wonder, wide-eyed, why Paul didn't end up with more votes last time out.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    1.) No; and --

    2.) HELL, no.

  • Better, Saner Questions||

    The fact that not one poster here is/was willing to posit an affirmative to either question is as damning as it is conclusive.

  • DLM||

    Do you really think McObama would have been any better than Obama?

    Yes. Unless McCain switched parties, there is no way he would have made half the mess Obama has. He would still be relying mainly on Republican support, not Democratic.

  • Feral British Youths||

    punitively stealing from the productive, and lavishly rewarding the unproductive.

    Well... WE like it.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Who is Rick Perry? Is that Steve's brother?

  • Uh||

    I think he wrote a book or something.

  • anarch||

    You know who else wrote a book or something?

  • Barack Obama||

    "PRESENT!"

  • Restoras||

    Not Welch and Gillespie

  • Uh||

    Never heard of them.

  • Welch and Gillespie||

    We're the Milli Vanilli of Libertarianism!

  • John Holt||

    Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and 'fans,' driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.

  • Uh||

    Just...wow.

  • SIV||

    Do they still teach you in Education courses? What about Illich and AS Neil?

  • .||

    A Graduate Says:

    "I didn't really think about getting an education. I didn't understand the idea of having to artificially "get" an education. I thought that you lived in the world and you got smarter because every day you were learning. I thought that there was no way you could get dumber unless you were erasing stuff out of your brain. It seemed to me that one day you were talking to someone about one subject and another day you were talking to someone about another, and eventually you'd get around to all of them."

  • Mr Whipple||

  • ||

    Like.

  • ||

    Like.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is a difference between learning and being taught.

  • ||

    vouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchers

  • Mr Whipple||

  • Mustakrakish||

    I vomited a little.

  • ||

    Somehow that didn't make me want to respect authority very much.

  • Rich||

    Where's Warty with the antidote?

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    This is much more better:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-Yihs6S0Ac

  • ||

    I think someone needs to run for office claiming that the country should spend 100% of its GNP on education. When someone objects, just say "don't you care about our future and our children?"

    This whole thing goes to the complete inability of liberals to engage in any self reflection. If liberals ever admitted that we were spending enough on education, they would have to answer for the actual condition of the schools. And that would require them admitting that maybe their policies don't work. And that means admitting that they are not smarter and more noble than their opponents. And liberals will never give up their smugness. So instead of having a rational debate about just how much the country should spend on education, they just scream for more. That way no matter how badly their policies fail, they can always blame it on lack of funding.

  • mr simple||

    Did you watch the video, especially the pat where the woman says we should be spending $1 billion per child, as if there were no such thing as scarcity. I don't think these people understand enough to understand the point you're trying to make. I blame public education.

  • ||

    No they have no idea that there is such a thing as scarcity. If you think about it, poor areas ought to be spending less on education than rich areas. Places like East St. Louis have more pressing needs than ensuring every brat has a laptop from the 1st grade on. But good luck explaining that to these people.

  • sarcasmic||

    "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
    -Thomas Sowell

  • Maxxx||

    I don't think these people understand enough to understand the point you're trying to make teach anyone anything.

    FIFY

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Priceless moment on John Stossel's show about a year or so ago. Debate on school funding included a school union official. Of course he declared that his school district was underfunded. Stossel asked him how much would be enough funding. The union official could not answer the question.

  • ||

    the real question is weather the current system needs to be replaced...
    just a thought...
    www.kahnacadamy.org/

  • Srsly||

    I think someone needs to run for office claiming that the country should spend 100% of its GNP on education.

    Brilliant! Those educated kids'll have the infrastructure back in shape in no time, probably as a science project.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    That way no matter how badly their policies fail, they can always blame it on lack of funding.

    That's a feature, not a bug.

    Part of this mindset stems from their wealth envy, which leads many of them to think that rich people can just cause problems to wash away with money alone. As result, they assume that if THEY could take that money from rich people, their pet problems(education, health management, forcing kids at gunpoint to eat vegetables, destroying cigarette companies, causing worldwide starvation by gutting the energy industry) would just solve themselves. Of course, we know the real issue their problems won't solve themselves is not because the bleeding hearts don't have enough money, it's the bleeding hearts themselves. The people who think a monolithic top-down control apparatus infused with endless pointless busy-bodies that manages children like they are criminals can provide an "education" are the problem, not a lack of money.

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberals base everything on intentions.
    If you point out that the results of their policy is shit, they react as if you attacked their good intentions.
    If they do not achieve their intended result, then obviously the flaw was in not enough funding, or not enough "teeth" to enforce policy.

    People only cooperate when government makes them.
    People only work towards a common goal when government makes them.

    To liberals, force is the only means of achieve a intended outcome.
    So if the intended outcome is not reached, more force is needed.

  • mr simple||

    Force is necessary when your ideas are unpopular or, in there words, "the people are too stupid to vote for what's best for them."

  • ||

    Thomas Frank made an entire academic career and best selling book based on just that premise. When you think about it, Frank is either mind numbingly stupid or one of the most brilliant marketers of the last 50 years. Say what you want about his idiotic book, the man knows his market.

  • ||

    ..."the people are too stupid to vote for what's best for them."

    I don't know who you think you're quoting, but I notice that the Democratic candidate got exactly 132 times as many votes as the Libertarian one in the 2008 election (running a black candidate with a middle-eastern middle name at that).

    A libertarian has no room to talk about unpopular ideas, simple.

  • Apogee||

    A libertarian has no room to talk about unpopular ideas,

    First, which libertarian ideas? Can you completely separate them from the ideas of the two main political parties?

    Can you also tell us which ideas are 'popular' with each of the main parties, despite who occupies the White House?

    Libertarian ideas are not profitable to those currently receiving those profits (teachers unions, for one example), but they are becoming increasingly popular - despite their near blackout in electronic and print media.

    Is Ron Paul a libertarian? Are any of his ideas libertarian. Is he (and those ideas) any more popular now than during the previous two elections?

  • dude||

    +1

  • ||

    Good point. Seriously.

    But do you honestly think libertarian ideas on education (either vouchers or full-on privatization) have majority support?
    ABC News Poll: 55% against, 40% for
    CNN: while 45% of parents support vouchers, 75% believe it would be less effective than implementing standard tests, and 84% believe it less effective than paying teachers better.

  • ||

    Also, the main thing that differentiates a Republican from a libertarian is a laissez-faire attitude towards social issues like gay marriage and drugs, and those aren't exactly taking flight in the party that most of you vote for, are they?

  • ||

    Yeah, most libertarians vote for the Libertarian Party or don't vote at all.

  • Apogee||

    Also, the main thing that differentiates a Republican from a libertarian is a laissez-faire attitude towards social issues like gay marriage and drugs

    I think the LP rejection of crony capitalism might even outweigh the socon differences.

  • jblow||

    Again, the race card.
    Do you think of yourself as racist?
    Yeah he's blackish, but ultimately he just spews the party line, as do you. "Government knows best..."

  • ||

    You need check your definition of "racism." At one point in our country's history, "racism" meant abusing or hating people of another race. Then, about 50 years ago, it meant professing or believing in racial stereotypes. Now, it apparently means mentioning anything to do with race, even to note that it was near miracle for a black man to get elected in a country with a deep legacy of actual racism. My point being: the fact that he overcame that barrier is a testament to the country's support of his character and his ideas, at least until the recession soured that support.

    But yeah, it's quicker and cleaner to just slap a label of "racist" on someone simply because they mentioned race, even if that someone clearly voted for a black man and plans to do so in the next election. So go ahead.

  • Maxxx||

    I think someone needs to run for office claiming that the country should spend 100% of its GNP on education. When someone objects, just say "don't you care about our future and our children?"

    You obviously don't, you parsimonious bastard.

    That's why I'm running on a platform of spending 115% of GDP on education.

  • ||

    Matt Damon! Morning Links! Matt Damon1!!!!

  • ||

    In high school, I had a history teacher who once told us that dumping money into schools was pretty worthless. He said "I could teach this class in my basement - all we need is the books."

    Of course he was one of those rare teachers who worked picking fruit during the summer (at his dad's farm).

  • ||

    I bet if you adjusted for inflation, the richest kids going to private prep schools back in the 1930s didn't have more than the current $13K a year that is spent on every child's education. But the problem is lack of money always lack of money.

  • steve||

    I prefer the $billion per kid proposal. That'll fix it

  • ||

    Weird - on the Reason front page, I can see the Morning Links - but clicking on them brings me to the Hit & Run page with no Morning Links.

  • some guy||

    This is going to turn into another 1,000 comment clusterfuck, isn't it?

  • Matt Damon||

    No.

  • Former Teacher||

    "except that teachers don’t earn lousy salaries and don’t work long hours."

    The salary claim is true, but the teachers don't work long hours claim is bullshit. If you do it even halfway right, you end up putting in 10-20 hours outside your normal school day.

    So, a 50-60 hour week. Long hours by pretty much anyone's standards.

  • Contrarian P||

    Oh, that's right. And none of the rest of us put in any work-related activities when we're not "on the clock". Of course the three months off teachers tend to get a year don't figure in to your hourly calculations, I'd imagine.

  • Former Teacher||

    "Of course the three months off teachers tend to get a year"

    Don't exist. Recert requirements eat up a ton of that time.

    "And none of the rest of us put in any work-related activities"

    No one anywhere said you didn't asshole, so maybe stop being an asshole and have an adult conversation, ok asshole?

  • Concerned Parent||

    No one anywhere said you didn't asshole, so maybe stop being an asshole and have an adult conversation, ok asshole?

    Wait...so why should I let those like you teach my kids?

    The last time my oldest kid said asshole, he spent a week eating oatmeal, bland chicken, vegetables, with a healthy dose of backbreaking yardwork. Are you telling me he learned that in school?

  • Former Teacher||

    "Wait...so why should I let those like you teach my kids?"

    As opposed to assholes like you who make stupid assumptions so you can fire off at your token straw men?

    Or do you think every teacher everywhere coddles moronic twats like you?

    ANd what kind of idiot thinks I treat students like I treat trolling assholes on the internet? Are you so fucking stupid that YOU can't change how YOU act towards assholes versus others, that you assume NO ONE ELSE is able to do so either?

  • Apogee||

    ANd what kind of idiot thinks I treat students like I treat trolling assholes on the internet?

    Your inability to form a counter argument speaks volumes about your ability for logical thought.

    That is the biggest argument against your automatic job protection.

  • Southerner||

    I sure hope the reason you're a "former" teacher is that you got fired for being such a foul-mouthed dunce, parasite. The only worthwhile thing I ever learned from teachers like you is my deep and abiding hatred for the totalitarian brainwashing centers you tyrants so euphemistically refer to as schools.

  • ##||

    Considering that you're pretty much the only one acting like a trolling asshole tells me that that's exactly how you treat everyone. In fact, I would expect you to treat students WORSE than you treat trolling assholes because you've obviously got a chip on your shoulder the size of Wisconsin and that's the kind of thing that makes a small minded person abuse whatever little bit of authority they might have. You're a disgrace to decent teachers everywhere.

  • GAME||

    SET, MATCH

  • ##||

    Nice. The best argument that you can make is grade school name calling and you accuse the other person of not being an adult?!? You really do need to either stay away from children or let them know that you're teaching by example. A perfect example of what NOT to do, that is.

  • Former Teacher||

    "The best argument that you can make is grade school name calling"

    NO actually, it wasn't, but you're either too disingenuous or too stupid to read it.

  • ##||

    Once again, you resort to name calling. What part of you repeatedly calling someone an asshole at the same time that you accuse them of not having an adult conversation is my being disingenuous? No, I don't have to be stupid to read you calling someone an asshole but you do have to be pretty darned stupid to say it.

  • Pudgeboy||

    Bullshit! What supposed 'recent requirements' are forcing teachers to work throughout the summer? And 50-60 hours a week during the year may be a good talking point, but it isn't true. Becoming defensive and making absurd claims proved dick.

  • Former Teacher||

    "What supposed 'recent requirements' are forcing teachers to work throughout the summer?"

    12 credit hours of continuing education credits per year, in my district.

    "but it isn't true"

    Calling me a liar doesn't make your assertion true, it just makes you wrong.

  • Pudgeboy||

    Sorry, 12 credit hours of continuing education isn't work. Are you pretending you don't know what goes on in those courses? Can you fail continuing education? No, I didn't think so.

  • ||

    So you have to take 12 credit hours of CE. Let's assume that each credit hour is 8 hours of "course time". That's 96 hours a year you have to spend taking CE or roughly 3 weeks. What exactly are you doing for the rest of the time you don't HAVE to see your customers? (You know the children you're supposed to be teaching.)

  • JCR||

    Former Teacher|8.16.11 @ 9:46AM|#
    "Of course the three months off teachers tend to get a year"

    Don't exist. Recert requirements eat up a ton of that time.

    I call BS. Most every profession has either A) A formal continuing education or certification requirement or B) informal tickets to punch just to stay competitive. They pursue these in their own time, without summers off to work on them.

  • Former Teacher||

    "I call BS."

    No one cares.

    "Most every profession has either A) A formal continuing education or certification requirement or B) informal tickets to punch just to stay competitive"

    1) no they don't
    2) b is bullshit.

  • You're an idiot||

    And none of the rest of us put in any work-related activities

    How does that in any way pertain to his statement?

    And you don't, you're lying to start shit.

  • Maxxx||

    8 month a year, averages out to 33 - 40 hours a week.

    Good lord, it's almost like a full time job or something.

  • Former Teacher||

    "8 month a year"

    Stop assuming, if YOU'RE DOING IT EVEN HALFWAY RIGHT, your summers are spent doing certifications and continuing education.

    Teacher's haven't had summers off for years and you firing off that old canard is telling, you're so far out of the loop when it comes to this argument you use 20 year old debate tactics.

  • ||

    But you are assuming that every teacher is "doing it even halfway right". Boo hoo you have to do certs during your summer vacation. You know what? I have to continuing education every fucking year for the rest of my career and I don't get a three month hiatus from seeing my clients to do it.

    Asshole.

  • Former Teacher||

    "But you are assuming that every teacher is "doing it even halfway right""

    No moron, that was THE QUALIFIER that made MY STATEMENT ACCURATE, there was no assumption.

  • ||

    Not every single teacher is "doing it even halfway right", thus you made an assumption. So not only is your statement not a qualifier, it is also fucking inaccurate.

  • ##||

    Flagrant BS. There's a certain amount of summer work but I know teachers who in no uncertain terms will tell you that the only reason they stick with the job is to get most of the summer off.

  • Former Teacher||

    "Flagrant BS."

    Oooh you said "nu uh" and expect people to take it at face value.

    The req's are online, feel free to find out you're lying.

  • ##||

    No thanks, I'll take the first hand word of multiple people who have been teaching for years instead. Unless, of course, they're lying.

  • Esteban||

    My mom recently retired as a teacher and she has many teacher friends. The teachers I know in NYC still get the summers off, unless they want to teach summer school to make more money. Your experience where you live is not necessarily representative of teachers as a whole.

  • Former Teacher||

    DO you fucking idiots even attempt to understand what "doing it right" means?

    Or do you just idiotically assume that knowing a teacher who sucks makes you an expert on teachers?

  • ||

    You're not doing your position any favors with all this petty crap. On a normal day I'm inclined to agree with some of your positions, but jeez, how can I agree when you react to even Esteban's benign comments with profanity and name calling? Grow up or join the kids you teach.

  • Apogee||

    You're not doing your position any favors with all this petty crap.

    On the contrary, it's an absolutely illuminating example of the mindset of the entitlement class that is our public sector workers.

  • Puff||

    No, but we do know what sucking a teacher makes you an expert on...

  • Former Teacher||

    Little known "fun" fact: after factoring in certifications and continuing education, the typical teacher actually spends just under twenty-seven months out of every year "on the job"; earning only the scant amount required each paycheck for a daily mouthful of warm belly button lint and thumbtacks, in desperate attempt to stave off starvation so hellish and absolute, it makes even swollen-stomached New Delhi toddlers piss hot blood in blind, unreasoning terror.

    Oh, it's true.

  • ||

    Please provide actual fucking numbers NOT provided by a union rep or STFU.

    What's that? You can't? Color me fucking shocked.

    Fun fact: My mom works with mentally handicapped kids and I have quite a few teacher friends. None of them spend 40 hours a week during the summer getting certified and doing continuing education.

  • Former Teacher||

    "Fun fact: My mom works with mentally handicapped kids"

    Well, she's your mother...

  • Former Teacher||

    "Please provide actual fucking numbers NOT provided by a union rep or STFU.

    What's that? You can't? Color me fucking shocked."

    How about we color you leveled and stupid instead? Cause you got leveled and the level was stupid.

  • Thread Barnacles||

    See, we told you he was a liar!

  • Joe M||

    27 months? Most amusing.

  • Former Yorkshire Teacher||

    "Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, pay the mill owner for permission to come to work; and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing 'Hallelujah!'"

  • Ancapistan||

    Seriously the 27 month comment makes you look like a retard. The average person works 2080 hours a year. If you divide that by 12 months it equals 173.333 hours a month. Using that average work month and multiplying it by 27 you get 4680 hours a year. Divide that again by 12 months and you get 390 hours a month that this supposed average teacher is working. This comes out to 13 hours a day 7 days a week using a 30 day average month. Another words you are full of SHIT!!!!

  • DLM||

    I suspect it varies. Some teachers work hard outside the classroom grading papers, etc. Others work summer jobs. Others put in the minimum required time to keep the job and paychecks.

  • DLM||

    I'd just like to be able to reward those teachers that work hard and penalize those teachers that just put in their time. That's verboten by the unions, though.

  • Former Teacher||

    "Of course the three months off teachers tend to get a year"

    Don't exist. Recert requirements eat up a ton of that time.

    "And none of the rest of us put in any work-related activities"

    No one anywhere said you didn't asshole, so maybe stop being an asshole and have an adult conversation, ok asshole?

  • Bonobo Glands||

    "Don't exist. Recert requirements eat up a ton of that time."

    That's your assertion. Mine is this: I have known plenty of teachers and NO, none of them have ever spent their summers fulfilling "certification requirements." In fact, several of them get bored and look for part-time jobs at retail stores and the like.

    But of course, as a "former teacher," you've gotta step up to defend what you see as an assault on your (purportedly ex-) rice bowl, so color me un-surprised.

  • Former Teacher||

    "That's your assertion. Mine is this: I have known "

    I don't give a fuck about your self selected anecdotal evidence that is worthless.

    The requirements are online, my "assertion" is reality, your attempts to claim otherwise notwithstanding.

  • ||

    The requirements are online

    Indeed they are.

    In Texas, it is 150 contuinuing ed hours every 5 years.

    That's thirty (30) hours a year. Less than a week a year, in other words. And in the ballpark of other license CE requirements.

    Leaves your summer pretty frickin' free.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Busted.

  • Former Teacher||

    Plus, of course, absurdly archaic laws in most states still require that we purchase our own wood and nails, prior to self-crucifixion; and, cripes, you try typing whiny, self-pitying letters to the editor of the local paper with huge, honking holes in the palms of either hand -- !!!

  • adam||

    Hmm...normal school day is 8-3 where I live. That's 35 hours per week. Plus 10 equals 45. Plus 20 equals 55. That's a slow week for me. Plus I don't get 3 months off in the summer.

  • Former Teacher||

    "Hmm...normal school day is 8-3 where I live."

    The teachers don't show up at 8 when school starts at 8.

    THIS is your evidence? You're THAT stupid and oblivious, and you think you can add anything to this discussion.

  • Former Teacher||

    "That's a slow week for me. "

    And? You're not even remotely representative, stop implying otherwise.

    "Plus I don't get 3 months off in the summer."

    Neither did I, anything you'd like to be wrong about and make a fool of yourself over?

  • YukYuk||

    From your other comments here I can only gather that the reason you didn't get summers off like the rest of the teachers and had to spend all summer taking certification classes is that it took you all summer just to pass with a D- while all the other teachers finished in a week. Be honest now, you rode the short bus didn't you?

  • ||

    It is obvious from his comments and writing style that he is a 13 year old boy and obviously not worth the shi... You know what I'm not going to stoop to his level but when you say stuff like

    "How about we color you leveled and stupid instead? Cause you got leveled and the level was stupid."

    You are showing you don't mean to have a serious discussion.

  • ||

    So, a 50-60 hour week. Long hours by pretty much anyone's standards.

    I don't know a single professional, middle or upper management type, or small business owner who doesn't consider that a totally typical, if not somewhat light, workweek.

  • Tym||

    One billion per student... Lets see...

    In the year 2000, there were $76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. One billion per student is $76,600 Trillion. Divided by 13 years (k-12) is $5,892 Trillion per year. US GDP approximatelly $14.12 Trillion US dollars at current prices. This is 417 times US GDP. World GDP is $58.26 Trillion. This is about 101 time WORLD GDP.

    I hope she doesn't teach math.

  • Tony's MiNGe||

    YOU CAN'T PUT A PRICE ON TEH CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Roman Polanski||

    You can if you direct Chinatown.

  • Woody Allen||

    That's the problem with eating Chinese, though: half an hour later, you're horny again.

    [::rimshot::]

  • Scott Ritter||

    See, that's why I've always preferred Burger King, myself.

  • Andrew Sullivan||

    Nothing the typical British schoolboy loves more than a mouthful of Spotted Dick!

  • Sir Elton John||

    PRESENT!

  • Corey Feldman||

    Is it getting really ass-raped in here, or is it just me...?

  • Bob Crane||

    I'll be in my bunk.

  • Paul Lynde||

    Need someone to repopulate post-apocalyptic America with...?

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Oh, fucking spiffy. Now I'm getting flashes of Paul Lynde, voguing amidst the radioactive rubble in a leopard-print bikini.

  • Bob Crane||

    I'll be in my bunk. Again.

  • Tony||

    Hey! OCCUPIED, dammit -- !!

  • Ayn Rand's Social Sec. Check||

    I have friends who are teaching in the Texas public school system. Despite excellent evaluations and local support from parents, they constantly look behind their backs for fear of being let go once their 1-2 year term contracts are up. Teacher morale in this "at-will", non-tenure setting is abysmal.

    This is what happens when billionaires control the puppet strings of corrupt politicians to enact educational "reform".

  • ||

    Then the problem is that they are signing 1-2 year contracts, not that they don't have tenure.

  • ||

    welcome to the working world...
    billionaires, bullshit. if you would just look around to any industry, you are only as good as your last review...
    what makes teachers so special, just because they teach our children?

  • ||

    I didn't mean that they were special, I was just trying to point out that if they didn't like the terms they should have negotiated for a longer contract.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    what makes teachers so special, just because they "teach" our children?

    FIFY

  • ||

    That 1 - 2 year contract is about 1 - 2 years longer than any contract I have ever had.

  • Tango Mike||

    Color me unimpressed. Just like the vast majority of workers, I work "at will" and am subject to dismissal at any time for any reason. That's why I work hard and do a good job. Why should they get a better gig than everyone else?

  • DLM||

    This is what happens when billionaires control the puppet strings of corrupt politicians to enact educational "reform".

    Naturally, it's impossible to find something in between the extremes.

  • Ray||

    American education is by far the single most leftist dominated industry in the US. Ironically, It is also touted by the very same leftists as the single greatest failure in American domestic policy. I told this to my leftie friend and it was nice watching him do the TeaBerry shuffle trying to explain this away.

  • Tony||

    Ray, you are a fucking racist.

  • ||

    Ironically, if you correct for race, American education is one of the most sucessful industries in America. White and Asian children do very well compared to peers in other countries, and our universities are still considered the best in the world (they probably actually are, if you think US education is leftist try, well, anywhere else on the planet). Of course, no leftist would ever admit that the quality of the students might be the problem.

  • MikeS||

    We bought a house in Texas for 5% down. We had to get two loans, however, one for 80% and anoher for 15%. The 20% thing came in wrt equity loans. When we were moving and trying to buy a house in another state, we were no allowed to take out an equity loan unless equity + all other loans were less than 80% of the value of the house.

  • Tony||

    So "school choice" is like the opposite of what the Koch brothers are spending money on, "neighborhood schools"? Or do they go hand-in-hand? First you segregate the schools all over again, then you let people choose which racially homogeneous school they want to go to?

  • ||

    Oooo shocker, Tony went straight to the race card.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    For Tony, you either accept a gun in your back and shuttle your kids off to some piece of shit prison-like facility every weekday or you are racist.

  • Tony||

    No the Koch-funded campaign to promote "neighborhood schools" and be against "forced busing" played the race card, though you may not have been around in the 60s when those terms were first used.

  • Pudgeboy||

    You should see if you can get your straw men to unionize and save the educational system.

  • Tony||

    What's the straw man? Are the Kochs not funding a movement to re-segregate schools using the exact same language of segregationists from the past?

  • Pudgeboy||

    No, they gave money to Tea Party candidates, not to a movement to re-segregate schools. Do you have evidence that they are controlling the school board?

  • Shorter Tony||

    [::shrieking, red-faced::] RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSTS!!!
    [::passes out::]

  • ||

    Oh yes, because what we need is MORE ignorant Christians destroying the the math and science infrastructure of America. Most of those people advocating for my tax dollars to go to school choice want to send their kids to religious schools; the Christian equivalent of madrassas that do not so much educate as indoctrinate.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Annnnndddd? What's your point? If anything, this means you should get to keep YOUR tax dollars, so these types of people can't spend your money on shit you don't like. What a fucking insane idea!

    And when your kids have a top-notch education from a private school that isn't infused with dogmatic horseshit(NTTAWWT), you shouldn't be surprised when they excel in the math & science fields, while the fundamentalist children you-hate-so-much wallow in Wal-Mart greeter careers or as dumbfounded missionaries in some godforsaken place.

    And what if the fundamentalists actually do fine in life despite their villified "educations"? What does it fucking matter IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR IT?

  • ||

    For once I agree with Bonobo and Drax: fuck you Michael.

    Religious schools do a great job of teaching core math and science (the main part that's skewed is evolution, and that's, what, one unit of biology class?). Religious teaching alters your worldview, not your ability to succeed and be productive in society, you snot.

  • Bonobo Glands||

    "religious schools; the Christian equivalent of madrassas that do not so much educate as indoctrinate."

    So they'd be using the same indoctrination techniques employed by public schools, but instead of Leftist "social values" and Marxian Labor Theory of Value and touchy-feely Eco-greeny instruction they'd be receiving an education in subjects their parents would prefer -- which you obviously don't want them to have. Gotcha.

    Oh, and fuck you.

  • Tony||

    No schools should definitely teach children to be ruthless capitalist assholes with no social conscience whatsoever, either that or Christian fundamentalists, but I repeat myself.

  • soonerliberty||

    This idea of capitalists without a conscience is a broken record. Come to Germany and see how generous your lefty compadres are. One of the worst parts of social democracy is that citizens feel relieved of their burden to help their fellow man. Of course, this is mostly because Germans are paying 70% taxes in the end. Still, common decency is severely lacking. I had a German tell me he visited NYC and found it the friendliest place he'd ever been. That ought to tell you something.

    Capitalism does not require good intentions. That is the beauty of it. However, it does require voluntary cooperation, something anathema to your guiding theology of leftist progressivism, aka forcing your version of morality on the world with the guns of the state.

    But, thankfully, we can at least find common ground concerning Christian fundamentalists. They should be nowhere near the levers of power, just as leftists should steer clear of anything related to the economy.

  • soonerliberty||

    And parents and kids should be free to learn whatever they wish. Let ideas compete. I think that is what you find so repugnant, that your ideas might fail without the force of the state.

  • Tony||

    In practice that tends to mean children being forcibly exposed to religious indoctrination instead of, say, science. And people without a decent concept of science are more easily controlled. Kids don't exactly get a choice here regardless, I'm sure you'll agree--hence the need for public education with standards. Despite what many libertarians seem to think, science is not a statist conspiracy.

    No the state shouldn't indoctrinate, but, in this country, the threat of indoctrination is not coming from the state but from the religious establishment. Why should children be forced to compete in a marketplace where they may be woefully underprepared because of the poor choices of their parents?

  • Praise His Hopey Changey-Ness||

    the threat of indoctrination is not coming from the state

    "Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm!"

  • soonerliberty||

    State schools can never prevent children from being "miseducated" by their parents. State schools of course indoctrinate their students by teaching them about how great the state is and by distorting history. They also manipulate economic choices.

    I'm probably a bigger opponent of creationism than you are, but I would not give science a pass. Science has been used in the past by politicians and states to manipulate the populace. Think of Galileo or the Lysenko affair.

    The point is that parents, whether right or wrong, should be left free to choose the education their kids obtain. I mean, you wouldn't Bush educating your kid any more than the other side would want Obama educating its kids. Why not let it be more independent?

    I say this while having two parents that are public school teachers. They can attest to the disaster that is public school education (indoctrination, too much influence from unions, overbureacratization, etc.). In any case, kids would be freer to pursue interests outside of the mainstream, such as art and music. There would be many more specializations that do not even exist now in the cookie-cutter, McDonald's happy meal that is public education. One-size-fits-all is a bad idea for teaching such a diverse population.

  • soonerliberty||

    Which reminds me, how is it possible that the left simultaneously spouts off about diversity but promotes collective rights? That's illogical and dangerous. Groups are the first enemy of the individual. See Nazi Germany.

  • Tony||

    Which reminds me, how is it possible that the left simultaneously spouts off about diversity but promotes collective rights? That's illogical and dangerous. Groups are the first enemy of the individual. See Nazi Germany.

    How is it possible that libertarians are for individual rights, just not the rights of individuals to form collectives to increase their bargaining position relative to greater powers? Sounds like a rigged game, not freedom.

  • ||

    Libertarians are against individuals forming a collective and then using that collective to fuck other people who didn't want to be a part of it in the ass.

  • soonerliberty||

    Libertarians, au contraire, are the first to recognize that people have the right to form collectives to increase bargaining power. There is nothing wrong with that. It only need be voluntary. The problem comes when the collectives are backed by the guns of the state.

    If you and I create a club, we can hardly arbitrarily designate Old Mexican a member and then extract fees for his membership.

    I take this principle so far as to include polygamous marriage. I see nothing wrong with consensual agreements between individuals.

    By greater powers, I assume you must mean corporations but somehow neglect to think of the state as a greater monopoly power. One of the reasons corporations are so powerful is exactly because of the state. The state regulates away the competition of politcally connected corporations. It's called corporatism. See bank bailouts. Small businesses are left without a chance in the harsh regulatory environment.

    There is no collective bargaining "right". It is purely fiction. I believe if the school system was open to competition, then we could see if such collective bargaining works. I'm more of a fan of voluntary contracts than forced "rights".

  • Tony||

    I'm open to quite radical reforms in how education is done in this country, but I don't think removing the collective bargaining rights of teachers has anything to do with it, and I certainly don't trust people who think that teachers having rights is the real problem to come up with the best solutions.

    Parents of course should have freedom to choose the best course for their kids, but that's only up to a point, as everyone really agrees if they think about it. If the market has the virtues it's claimed to have, then some provision has to exist for a minimum universal education standards to create a somewhat level playing field, and I'm just not enough of a relativist to think that these standards are completely unknowable and should all be up to the whims of parents that children had no role in choosing.

  • J_L_B||

    Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26, Section 3

    It's almost like you don't know that exists, or choose to ignore it.

  • Apogee||

    the cookie-cutter, McDonald's happy meal that is public education. One-size-fits-all is a bad idea for teaching such a diverse population.

    But it's a great idea if your purpose is to guarantee funding to a particular political group.

  • Numeromancer||

    Despite what many libertarians seem to think, science is not a statist conspiracy.

    Is science statist? No. Are some scientists statists? Some are, probably. Are you a statist? Definitely.

    So I won't put the teaching of science of my children into your hands, or the hands of anyone who thinks they know better than everyone else what is best for them.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    No schools should definitely teach children to be ruthless capitalist assholes with no social conscience whatsoever, either that or Christian fundamentalists, but I repeat myself.


    What is wrong with being a ruthless capitalist asshole?

  • Tony||

    Oh I dunno, the using up of the planet's resources for personal enrichment and the forcing of this system on the people of the world, causing mass starvation and misery, and justifying it by slapping a bumper sticker that says "freedom" on it?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Oh I dunno, the using up of the planet's resources for personal enrichment and the forcing of this system on the people of the world, causing mass starvation and misery, and justifying it by slapping a bumper sticker that says "freedom" on it?


    The planet, not being a person, does not own those resources.

    And how do they cause mass starvation? Do they steal food from others?

  • ||

    I don't care if you are a sockpuppet, that is industrial grade stupid right there.

  • Tony||

    Because capitalism is perfect in every way and cannot, by definition, lead to misery and starvation?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Because capitalism is perfect in every way and cannot, by definition, lead to misery and starvation?


    You equate "failure to prevent" with "lead".

  • ||

    No because, with all of it's faults, it's the best system we as humans have come up with to raise people up from the abject poverty they live in under all other economic models.

    Or were those bread lines in Russia just for show?

  • Tony||

    You mean "The People's YummySnack Lines."

  • Tony||

    We don't just have to choose between laissez-faire capitalism and totalitarian communism.

    I'm for capitalism that is heavily monitored for its tendency to fuck people over.

  • Liberaltopia||

    "... and, really: that's our job."

  • ##||

    That sounds good in theory but who monitors the monitors? Laissez-faire capitalism can be ruthless but I'm not sure that regulatory capture and crony capitalism is any better.

  • Tony||

    The people monitor the monitors. That's why we have democratic government.

  • ##||

    Except that we don't live in a true democracy where the people vote directly on these issues, we have a representative democracy where the people elect someone who monitors things for them and when our only choice of representatives is between this set of corrupt and/or politically driven monitors or the other one, then that's where it all tends to fall apart. GW Bush is either hailed or vilified depending on who you ask as being the great deregulator but he passed far more regulations than he removed however they were regulations designed to produce favoritism. Heavily regulating anything because it tends to fuck people over also tends to produce regulations that tend to fuck people over. As I said, I don't necessarily disagree in theory but I'm afraid that due to inherent problems with our political system that putting it in practice doesn't so much solve the problems as just move them around. In the words of Monty Python, "Help! Help! I'm being repressed! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!"

  • South Park TV Announcer||

    Or were those bread lines in Russia just for show?

    "Did we say 'death camps?' We meant HAPPY camps!"

  • DLM||

    Oh yes, because what we need is MORE ignorant Christians destroying the the math and science infrastructure of America.

    Lefties seem to be doing a very good job all by themselves. That just shows how much of an idiot you are if you honestly think religion and science (and I don't mean scientism) are necessarily opposed to each other.

  • Southerner||

    Well yeah. When some moron at the PuffHo was going on about Perry recently and mocking Christians for believing in a "fairy godfather in the sky" or some such, I remember thinking as a comeback, "If you're not into fairy godfathers, why'd you vote for one back in 2008?"

  • EcoDude||

    After years of teaching intro economics to undergraduates, I was amazed at all of the education majors who "never got anything less than an A" to realize they were getting a C (or worse) in a moderately difficult ECON 101 class.

    The education degree itself is a major impediment to reforming K-12 schools, IMHO.

  • ||

    Of course there is no education crisis whatsoever in white America. White and Asian American kids perform as well as any children in the world. What we call an "education crisis" is a crisis of immigration and cultural incompatibility. School choice will do what exactly when neither the parents nor the children who are the "problem" are not interested in a quality education, don't even understand what that means or why you would want it. If you want a good school system, the sad reality is that a proven model exists - it's called Germany/Austria, at least prior to recent socialist reforms. Segregate the wheat from the chaff, but give the chaff something meaningful and productive to do.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Of course there is no education crisis whatsoever in white America. White and Asian American kids perform as well as any children in the world. What we call an "education crisis" is a crisis of immigration and cultural incompatibility. School choice will do what exactly when neither the parents nor the children who are the "problem" are not interested in a quality education, don't even understand what that means or why you would want it. If you want a good school system, the sad reality is that a proven model exists - it's called Germany/Austria, at least prior to recent socialist reforms. Segregate the wheat from the chaff, but give the chaff something meaningful and productive to do.


    This is so true.

  • DLM||

    The main effect of vouchers is to help those parents who care more about their childrens' educations but don't otherwise of the financial means of doing anything about it.

  • INFORG||

    Unfortunately, all I ever see in this debate is teachers and unions coming out to defend the status quo. The conflict of interest is just too powerful for them to overcome.

    I would love to see a true free market in education, uncoupled from government. Here is a school that I have some experience with, that is primarily attended by those most would consider "far left", while at the same time does not rely on force, coercion, or government funding.

    They do it for less than the 6K it cost in the 70's:

    http://www.villagefreeschool.org

    As a libertarian, I think the largest impact we could have toward our goals would be to throw every ounce of energy into remaking education. If we could fix that, everything else would take care of itself.

  • DLM||

    You know what else SOS stands for?

  • Qetesh||

    "bathetic", fantastic word choice!

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

  • 4chan||

    I would like everyone who can to join a program like Teach for America. I think you really need to see the issues personally, and if you're young and can sacrifice a few years of your life, I suggest you do it.

    You can say school choice, crappy schools, teachers are the problem, but I don't think you can really understand the issues presented unless you see it with your own eyes.

  • 4chan||

    I would like everyone who can to join a program like Teach for America. I think you really need to see the issues personally, and if you're young and can sacrifice a few years of your life, I suggest you do it.

    You can say school choice, crappy schools, teachers are the problem, but I don't think you can really understand the issues presented unless you see it with your own eyes.

  • 4chan||

    Teachers are holy, blameless things, you see. Like cattle, peacefully wending their way through the streets of New Delhi.

  • 4chan||

    No, but the people arguing how horrible schools are really need to see the places they're trashing. Yes, a lot of these schools suck, but they still need to see it for themselves. At this point, all they're saying is stuff they're read somewhere else.

  • ||

    I know we all joke about having monocles a d top hats, but I'd wager that most of us actually graduated from a public school so we actually DO know what we are talking about.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Matt Damon has gravitas? Seriously? If this were a female actor, I'd suspect that was some sort of euphemism for "big tits."

  • Brett||

    Did that lady say the US should spend 76, 000, 000 trillion on education when the current Us budget is 14 trillion?

  • Brett||

    Sorry US GDP, which is even crazier.

  • clearsmith||

    he people arguing how horrible schools are really need to see the places they're trashing. Yes, a lot of these schools suck
    MIZUNO WAVE CUP FG Football Boots-Black/White/Blue
    MIZUNO WAVE CUP FG Football Boots-White/Blue/Red

  • San Antonio Spurs||

    nice

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