Give Me Failing Schools Or Give Me Death

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Democrat Cory Booker, a supporter of school vouchers, is making his second run for mayor of Newark. Last time, the voucher issue helped Mayor Sharpe James head off the challenge and smear Booker as a right-wing crypto-Republican (who, of course, wasn't really black). James isn't running again, but a group called Concerned Residents of Newark is loading up to attack Booker on vouchers all over again. They're running (only online for now) one of the nuttiest ads you'll ever see. Somehow, Booker's support for school choice is tied in to Hurricane Katrina, George Bush, "the uncaring Republican party," and caviar.

Keep in mind—this is how voucher opponents are attacking a liberal Democrat and trying to sour black voters on him. It doesn't bode well for the black Republicans making runs in other industrial states this year.

Below the fold, you can see a screenshot of the oh-so-subtle ad.

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  1. That’s funny, I thought vouchers were wildly popular among African Americans in poor cities, and it was those evil white liberals keeping them down.

    Guess not.

  2. savenewark.org

    There’s a job that won’t go away any time soon.

  3. What’s sadder is the number of people who will recognize the “logic” behind this ad. Because clearly, people who support vouchers wanted everyone to drown in New Orleans.

    That’s funny, I thought vouchers were wildly popular among African Americans in poor cities, and it was those evil white liberals keeping them down.

    What evidence are you presenting that they aren’t wildly popular in Newark?

  4. Oh, and for any Newark natives out there, is it really pronouced New-ark? I thought it was more like New-werk.

  5. They aren’t popular in Newark because Newark doesn’t have the variety of schools to make the “choices” with in the first place. School vouchers make some voters nervous because they sound like code for “destroy public schools,” or “destroy what few good professional opportunities we have in this damn city.”

    JMJ

  6. MP — I think it’s New-erk, NJ. The University of Delaware is in New-ark, DE.

  7. MP — I believe it’s “New-erk”, or possibly “Noork”, NJ. The University of Delaware, on the other hand, is in “New-ark”, DE

  8. Damn, that time the hamsters secretly held on to my post before doubling me up.

  9. Watching that ad is like being in bizarro-world. But then, so is living in Newark 🙂

    As far as I know, it’s pronounced NEW-erk.

  10. *I know I’m going to regret this*

    ——-

    “…Newark doesn’t have the variety of schools to make the “choices” with in the first place.”

    A substantial portion of the idea behind “school choice” is not differentiation of curriculum; it is about choosing between schools which are run well, and schools which are run poorly.

  11. “What evidence are you presenting that they aren’t wildly popular in Newark?”

    The defeat of the last candidate who supported them at the polls, largely on the strength of the anti-voucher argument; and the confidence with which Booker’s opponents continue to deploy the “he supports vouchers!” attack.

  12. P Brooks-I think JMJ’s point (and it’s a fair one for once) is that all the schools in Newark are run poorly. Of course, the standard pro-voucher argument is that competition will encourage the formation of well-run schools. Some districts, though, may be beyond salvation.

  13. PB,

    Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, Neqwark has only the latter. It’s an “Abbott” district, which means that the city state-constitutionally failed the schools so the state had to step in to help.

    It’s a mess.

    JMJ

  14. joe,

    Do we know that the anti-vouchers thing is what swayed black voters? Or even what percentage of voters in that election were black? It is possible the anti-voucher rhetoric has more to do with energizing white middle-class voters or donors from the teacher’s unions or something.

    Oh, and I’m from New Jersey and “Newark” is pronounced, “That town the train passes through on the way to midtown Manhattan.”

  15. Joe- I don’t recall anyone saying that the pro-voucher position is universally loved by poor african-americans. I do recall a link to an article suggesting that people in one area tended to support them.

  16. If I read correctly, the incumbent was re-elected last time. I find it hard to read too much into that result, other than “Huh! The incumbent was re-elected. I’ll be damned.”

  17. Rex Rhino,

    Sometimes you hear Democrats calling conservatives “radicals.” I think Newt Gingrich got that treatment, and Reagan, too. I don’t know if it pissed them off; I doubt it did.

  18. As for the “all schools are bad here” response, I say, “fair enough.” Maybe there are a few which are less bad than the others.

    The current system is obviously not working; we have to try to create conditions which will foster improvement. If there are incentives for improving individual schools, and a means to judge those improvements (voluntary increasd enrollment), that is good.

  19. Hmmm. A political attack ad that connects a bunch of random dots and draws ridiculous conclusions from it, in defiance of reality and common sense.

    Never seen that before. Nope. A first.

  20. joe is right, I’m afraid. The teachers and their great union have built themselves a fortress. No matter how bad a job they do, they don’t catch any heat in public opinion. Popular opinion holds that the existence of a building called a public school is good enough. If you populate it with spider monkeys instead of teachers, nobody would care. Caring about students, especially at risk students, means that you can’t under any circumstances hold the public school system accountable for anything.

    The whole thing is depressing to me. The arguments can make a cynic out of anyone. The implication seems to be that supporting the institution of public education as it has always existed is the ONLY way not to be racist and elitist.

  21. The defeat of the last candidate who supported them at the polls, largely on the strength of the anti-voucher argument; and the confidence with which Booker’s opponents continue to deploy the “he supports vouchers!” attack.

    I’m left wondering how strong the anti-voucher argument really is when the people that deploy it feel the need to tie it to Katrina, caviar, and Republicans. It seems to me, opponents of the voucher plan are trying their darndest to convince people to vote against the voucher candidate on anything BUT the merits of whatever plan would be considered. Much like, say, Republicans get poor southerners to vote against Democrats by tying them to Godlessness even though they would be a sympathetic audience to the donkeys’ support of a more expansive welfare state.

  22. PB,

    Newark is a ruined city. It’s been that way for a couple of generations. It never recovered from deindustrialization and the turmoil of the 60’s. Heck, you can still see the scars of the riots all those years ago.

    Here in NJ, where we have this “home rule,” property taxes pay for the vast majority of school costs – Newark has no propert tax base and so no money and so shitty schools. There’s no great private industry to step in here. Charter schools have proven useless. The archdiocese is flat broke (believe me, I know, my wife is a Newark archdiocese teacher).

    What can ya’ do?

    JMJ

  23. It’s a little-known fact that the New Orleans levees were actually constructed from recycled school vouchers.

  24. “School vouchers make some voters nervous because they sound like code for “destroy public schools,” or “destroy what few good professional opportunities we have in this damn city.””

    You are right that that is why voters are made nervous. I think that this seed has been planted by many who stand to lose the most (ie: teachers Unions).

    The reality is giving some kids vouchers to go to a private school would actually free up some class space and resources in the public system (if done in moderation). I beleive there is a balance on this that could be struck. Vouchers could go to some poor kids who would otherwise only see the inside of a private school whilst watching The OC.

    A believe starting vouchers as a “progressive” program for lower income folks would be a good way to transition it and test it out. I agree that if anyone could get a voucher regardless of their income it would harm the public system.

    I believe the general libertarian idea of just go private is too simplistic at least as far as how to get there. Maybe as an ultimate goal it is good to have less public schools, but to get to that point one can not just pull the rug out from under the existing system.

    I guess I lose my libertarian purity card for that. It’s ok, between credit, insurance, and Blockbuster cards it was getting crowded in my wallet anyway.

  25. AL,

    You are not going to find any private schools in Newark for the kids to go. And you are going to drive teachers right out of the profession if you destroy the NEA et al. Teaching is HARD WORK. Teaching 120 inner-city high schoolers is INSANELY HARD WORK. They deserve whatever they can get. My wife works for a perochial school. She makes shit. She has to leave this year. She doesn’t want to but needs the money. Otheriwse she’d have to quit the profession, which would be a blow to thousands of kids and their futures.

    Give it an ideological rest, will ya’? You can’t always be “on.”

    JMJ

  26. Another thing that frightens some voters about school vouchers is that the more widely-known private schools are Catholic schools. Might be some resentment about that. And some may view it as a kind of corporate welfare, especially those voters who do not have school-age dependents.

    Certainly those against vouchers are a large, vocal bloc. Those in favor of vouchers don’t appear very united in their support. The squeaky wheels get the lazy journalist grease.

  27. “What can ya’ do?”

    I don’t know. But as a fundamentally optimistic person (Cynical; not same as Pessimistic) I will continue to believe that answers can and will be found by motivated, freely acting individuals.

    Many minds, many solutions. Not all experiments succeed, but no experiment is a failure if you can learn something from it and move forward.

  28. “Teaching is HARD WORK.”

    Workin’ 9 to 2 (170 days/year), what a way to make a living.

  29. What can ya’ do?

    Well, if you’re JMJ, you can redistribute all the wealth from Hoboken down to Newark via state taxes. Remember kiddies, wealth redistribution solves all social ills.

  30. There was a PBS documentary on this race that is a real good watch for anyone interested in politics.

  31. It’s a fairly Libertarian idea that I know what’s best for my kid, and only wish for more freedom of action over what I invested in it.

  32. Workin’ 9 to 2 (170 days/year), what a way to make a living.

    Clearly, you have never worked as a teacher, sage +P. I briefly did, and it was the hardest I’ve ever worked (I’m currently an investment banker). By far. For starters, school hours were 8 to 3. When you added in planning lessons and grading papers, I frequently worked until 11 or 12 at night. When you combine a job that difficult with a general perception in our society that you have it easy–well, that was enough to push me out of the profession.

  33. Well, if you’re JMJ, you can redistribute all the wealth from Hoboken down to Newark via state taxes. Remember kiddies, wealth redistribution solves all social ills.

    That’s a pretty unfair characterization of JMJ’s opinion. Money certainly doesn’t solve all ills in the education system, but it doesn’t take a great leap of faith to figure that using local property taxes to fund education will ensure that already-advantaged kids’ education will be better-funded than that of the kids in Newark, and that that will make it harder to equalize educational opportunity.

  34. Here’s the website for the PBS documentary

    http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/streetfight/

  35. “You are not going to find any private schools in Newark for the kids to go.”

    Yeah I read your post above. I was talking more in general other than NJ, but I should clarified.

    “And you are going to drive teachers right out of the profession if you destroy the NEA et al.”

    The NEA should work more on increasing the standards of those in their Union instead of doing everything within their power to keep the stock of shitty teachers they have on the job. If the teachers suck then no amount of money thrown at the school will fix it.

    Honestly instead of clinging to the same failed system maybe you should think of some other ideas other than throw more money at the public schools. Especially since you know firsthand how screwed they are. Talk about ideological purity.

    Honestly my post was pretty even and not very radical from a libertarian perspective. I am interested in any type of solution that would improve the public system but also make it easier and less of a financial burden for folks like myself to send their kids to a better private school.

    You seem to want to see a neo-con at every turn. It’s too bad. You could almost be cool if you weren’t so shrill all the time. Ever thought of drugs?

    “What can ya’ do?”

    You could get creative instead of the same left-wing fist shaking give us more money bullshit and try to form an original thought. I think the fact that you just want conflict and not dialoge has been well established, so I won’t take your post very seriously in the first place.

  36. Thank you, Brian. Sage’s comment was really insulting. My wife works harder and cares more about those kids than Sage ever could dream of.

    JMJ

  37. What if there was a stipulation that vouchers could only be used at schools that had Unionized Teachers? Might not jive with some state constitutions, but might not this be a school choice compromise teacher’s unions could agree with?

  38. “My wife works harder and cares more about those kids than Sage ever could dream of.”

    I actually believe you JMJ, teachers that actually give a damn are rare. My hat is off to her.

  39. AL, I am so friggin sick and tired of blame-everyone-but-myself mentality. The school system we have today is basically the same as it always was in good times and in bad. It’s not “bad teachers.” It’s bad parenting. We have a self-absorbed, anti-intellectual, insipid culture and the effects are showing on the kids. I am so sick to death of all the blaming – before you point your fingers at the NEA, immigrants, teachers, whatever, look at yourself.

    JMJ

  40. Tahnk you AL – that was really really nice to hear from you.

    JMJ

  41. “What if there was a stipulation that vouchers could only be used at schools that had Unionized Teachers”

    Nope never work because their teachers would REALLY be under the microscope then. When the Teachers Unions get serious about kicking out the crap teachers I’ll get behind them. As long as they are protecting the jobs of folks that have no business teaching kids anything then I’ll get behind them.

    Teachers Unions don’t want improvements, because that would mean some of them would have to go.

    I am not anti-Union, just anti-BadUnion

  42. Just kidding, Jersey. I have a tendency to strike while the target is soft – it’s the Art of War in me. I actually think it’s sad that thugs who happen to be able to play (fill in sport) are held in higher esteem than teachers. But as far as some of the school *systems*, those are definitely a target of my loathing.

    Seriously though, no offense.

  43. That’s a pretty unfair characterization of JMJ’s opinion.

    Oh really? Here’s a classic JMJ quote from today:

    “What [a flat tax] doesn’t take into account is that the damage wealth does to those without wealth. Progressive taxation (and I think you can do that without deductions) helps to alleviate class stratification”

    And BTW Brian24, “equalize educational opportunity” is typically code for “wealth redistribution”. It’s like Canada, it’s not simply enough to guarantee a minimum of health care…you have to set a maximum too because you wouldn’t want the wealthy to be healthier (and yes, I know that recent Cancuck court put this policy on the shelf).

  44. There is no logical or socially justifiable reason to obstruct vouchers.

    Clearly public schools across this country are not providing children with the resources, training and academic skill necessary, yet the left continues to oppose giving low income children a choice…damning them to an endless cycle of poverty (and stupidity), so long as their elitist compatriots continue to exercise absolute control.

  45. I wouldn’t teach in the Newark public school system for eighty grand a year, and I don’t really hear anything objectionable to what Jersey’s saying here. I tend to think that some sort of public schooling is desirable as long as people can reasonably choose a private alternative (thus why I support Vouchers), but if there aren’t any private schools then what do you do? Well, you throw your hands up in resignation and say “what can you do?” Still, opening up an avenue for privitization can’t help but improve things. At any rate, can’t we all at least agree that the Government has pretty much fucked that community and its kids over? Perhaps letting local citizens handle this thing in their own way is better than having a purely dogmatic response.

  46. Thanks Sage. Very big of you. I appreciate it. You libers are a pretty cool bunch.

    MP, what should the kids of Newark do?

    JMJ

  47. Money certainly doesn’t solve all ills in the education system, but it doesn’t take a great leap of faith to figure that using local property taxes to fund education will ensure that already-advantaged kids’ education will be better-funded than that of the kids in Newark, and that that will make it harder to equalize educational opportunity.

    When exactly did equalizing educational opportunity, assuming the phrase is even definite enough to be meaningful, become an agreed upon objective?

  48. ++++
    Theodore Dalrymple writes:
    http://www.city-journal.org/html/5_1_oh_to_be.html

    In the neighborhood in which I work, there are many immigrant groups. The largest are those from northwest India, Bangladesh, and Jamaica. There is also a large and settled white working class. The children from all these groups go to the same bad schools with the same bad teachers, but the results are dramatically different. The children of poor and unemployed immigrants from northwest India are never illiterate or semiliterate; a very respectable number go on to further education, even at the highest level, despite overcrowding in the home and apparent poverty. The other groups vie with each other to achieve the lowest educational level.

    ++++

  49. MP, what should the kids of Newark do?

    The question is: “What should the parents do?” And the answer in a free society is “make do with what they have” and “work harder if they want more”.

    Disclaimer: I support Friedman vouchers and providing a minimum education level via taxes for all children, which is one of the places I part ways with the LP platform. However, one should not confuse minimum with equal.

  50. We have a self-absorbed, anti-intellectual, insipid culture and the effects are showing on the kids.

    Ah, now we have it.

    Like I posted on that 4 Horseman thread, “Hatred of the Commons” is something I simply do not understand. I utterly reject this point of view. It ranks right up there with other forms of mindless bigotry, like religious intolerance, sexism, ageism, blah blah ad fucking nauseum.

  51. It’s attitudes like Sage’s that make teachers’ jobs even more thankless–the teachers I know are talented, dedicated folks who (as Brian points out) work much longer hours that many of us who are more highly paid do. Plus in the summer they’re often taking classes, and/or teaching classes and/or working summer jobs.

  52. Bee, if the schools are the same but the families have been utterly destroyed and debased, what the friggin hell does that f’n tell you?

    JMJ

  53. “It’s bad parenting.”

    I completely agree, sorry you read into my post that teachers were the only issue. I do believe they are a major block in getting any type of change into the system as they benefit from the status quo.

    “I am so friggin sick and tired of blame-everyone-but-myself mentality.”

    Um you will not find any of that in me. That is pretty much a stereotypical liberal trait. I happen to believe myself that it takes up a good portion of the right. It actually is one of the more refreshing things you have said. Count me with you there.

    No prob. on the shout out to your wife’s good work.

  54. On a side note, I watched the clip and came to the conclusion that the narrator is definitely not from New Jersey.

    He consistently pronounces the name of the city as ‘new ark’ (as in Delaware) instead of ‘new wurk’ (as in New Jersey).

    So I checked the Whois record for the SAVENEWARK.ORG domain name and found the following result:

    Registrant Name:Ken Briscoe
    Registrant Organization:A6 MEDIA
    Registrant Street1:409 E. 8th St.
    Registrant City:Wilmington
    Registrant State/Province:DE
    Registrant Postal Code:19801
    Registrant Country:US

    So much for grassroots credibility, eh?

  55. People from the Newark NJ area pronuonce it sort of like “Nurk.” Kinda of like the president with “Terist.” 😉

    JMJ

  56. I think the parenting issue is a largely unsolvable problem. You can’t really make people do things, and if kids don’t have parents who value education…well, it’s pretty goddamn hard to make the kids care.

    I see a few major problems with the public school system as it is now.

    Firstly, it is impossible to get rid of bad teachers and the Unions like it that way. Note: this is not to say that all or even most teachers are bad or uncaring, but inflexibility in the labor market is a problem and I think the best thing is to recognize that. We can argue about the solutions, sure, but like anything else there are folks who stink at that job for whatever reason and should be let go. Better for everyone that way.

    Secondly, at least in my anecdotal experiences, it seems like there’s an awful lot of administrative overhead in the public schools. My 1100 student highschool had 15 or 20 administrators, which is patently ridiculous. I think there’s a lot of fat that can be cut that way, to redirect funds into, you know, teaching things to kids.

    Thirdly, there’s definitely too much centralized control of curricula and methods. I don’t think the Department of Education should exist to start with, but if they’re going to they should leave much more of the decision-making to states. There should be accountability, but exactly how you get there shouldn’t be an issue so long as you have to count ever student’s results and you get to the goal of some basic level of education.

    More local control and more choice seem like obvious answers to these problems, the implementation will be the tricky part. Obviously.

  57. I grew up in Essex County, NJ, Newark (Noork) is the county seat. There are so many things wrong with the city, it is almost impossible to list them all. The schools are a mess, the Abbott designation only complicates things and many people in the towns around Newark are getting fed up with constantly having to “foot the bill” for all of Newarks woes (several towns, most notably Millburn/Short Hills have voted to secede from Essex County to a neighboring county where the property taxes are much, much lower.)

    Then there is that idiot Sharpe James who lobbied and finally got the NJ Devils to build an arena in Downtown Newark. As all loyal Reason readers know, stadiums are not the key to generating revenue and “revitalizing” a depressed area of a city. If you’ve ever been in or around Newark, you know there is no infrastructure to support throngs of fans attending a Devils home game 41 nights a year, hell the NJ Turnpike is a disaster on game nights.

    Newark sucks, I wish it would return to its glory days and hopefully Mr. Booker will start to get things on the right track.

  58. Vouchers are a way for government to give equal opportunity to choose education for poor people, the same choice that wealthy people already have.

    If you don’t support vouchers, you don’t support equality between poor and rich students, because public schools will always be missing the element of choice by definition.

    If you DON’T support equality of education garanteed by the government, I am not judging you. I actually agree that vouchers are bad. But at least only admit that you don’t give a shit about providing equal educational opportunities to everyone. Proudly say that you feel that strict government control over children and the educational process is more important than equality. But don’t dare claim that you are in any way concerned with equality!

  59. If you’ve ever been in or around Newark, you know there is no infrastructure to support throngs of fans attending a Devils home game 41 nights a year, hell the NJ Turnpike is a disaster on game nights.

    That won’t be a problem, there are no throngs of Devils fans.

  60. David,

    that is true, but even if 10,000 people show up, there still isn’t the infrastructure to support the added traffic volume

  61. THAT AD IS FAKER THAN A MOTHERFUCKER!!!

    NEW-ARK? Where IS that bullshit?

    Brick City, Stand UP!

  62. “This web site was established to infromed the residents of Newark, New Jersey of the FACTS!
    We want to shed light to little known facts and expose the truth only.”

  63. H & R’s okay but y’all need to check out the NYTimes blog on this (non-)race

    http://newark06.blogs.nytimes.com/

  64. When exactly did equalizing educational opportunity, assuming the phrase is even definite enough to be meaningful, become an agreed upon objective?

    I agree the phrase in some sense is too broad to be really meaningful, but to the extent it is meaningful, it’s certainly one of my objectives. I think part of the point of the free market is that the best outcomes result when everybody is given an equal shot at providing whatever goods and services they are best suited to provide. Certainly I’d say there is a societal interest in making sure that each individual has enough of a chance to productively participate in our economy so that they don’t decide the rules are stacked against them and they might as well not bother trying.

    If you don’t support vouchers, you don’t support equality between poor and rich students, because public schools will always be missing the element of choice by definition.

    I do support vouchers in concept, but there are problems with how they get put into practice. First, there is the problem of capacity at better schools. If 100 kids from the South Bronx decide they want to come to my excellent 1,000-student suburban high school, do we have to accept every one of them? If not, how many do we have to accept? If none, how will any of them get into better schools?

    And what schools qualify for vouchers? If some kids want to use them to attend madrassas that teach the American way of life is immoral, is that ok?

    I’m not saying these questions are unanswerable, but I think even the pro-voucher side does not have unanimous answers to them. The issue is more complex than a simple “yes-vouchers, no-vouchers.”

  65. “I’m not saying these questions are unanswerable, but I think even the pro-voucher side does not have unanimous answers to them. The issue is more complex than a simple “yes-vouchers, no-vouchers.””

    Well said Brian24, I don’t think vouchers are a complete answer. I just want some sort of changes to be looked into. Too many folks stand to benefit from keeping things as they are, and it is not the students themselves.

  66. Millburn/Short Hills have voted to secede from Essex County to a neighboring county

    No way! Really? Well I guess that’s where redistribution of wealth gets us. Push the rich folks hard enough and they vote with their feet. Holy moly. Where are they trying to go? Morris?

  67. AL,

    Totally agree.

  68. I’m not saying these questions are unanswerable, but I think even the pro-voucher side does not have unanimous answers to them. The issue is more complex than a simple “yes-vouchers, no-vouchers.”

    First of all, it is a matter of “yes-vouchers, no-vouchers”. The teachers union, has said “UNCONDITIONALLY NO!”, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    I do support vouchers in concept, but there are problems with how they get put into practice. First, there is the problem of capacity at better schools. If 100 kids from the South Bronx decide they want to come to my excellent 1,000-student suburban high school, do we have to accept every one of them? If not, how many do we have to accept? If none, how will any of them get into better schools?

    That is an excuse for not supporting vouchers. The answer is simple, if there is only room for 100 kids at a private school or a neighboring suburban school, 100 kids get a good education and the rest get no education. As opposed to everyone getting no education.

    Those who oppose vouchers, support the concept of totalitarianism (complete control over the mind of children is very important), more so than equality. Those who oppose vouchers hate equality. They want to do everything they can to make inner city folk stupid, helpless, and dependent. The goal is to have a poor uneducation urban black slave class who are permanently dependent on the paternalistic white masters.

    We can’t really have an honest discussion of school vouchers and publich education, until we admit that all those who oppose vouchers and want government to be the only one providing education, are moditivated primarily by a white-supremesist idiology on enslavement of what they percieve to be inferior races.

    If the teachers unions, and people in the forum who support manditory public schooling over school choice, were to admit their radical white-supremisist agendas, then we could debate their hate idiology on it’s merits. But unless the Neo-Nazis, KKK memebers, and racial seperatists who control the teachers union and democratic party come “out of the closet”, then all people against ethnic oppression and slavery must universally condemn them.

  69. “As for the “all schools are bad here” response, I say, “fair enough.” Maybe there are a few which are less bad than the others.”

    Expecting people to choose the “less bad” option in order to move towards “good” is anti-libertarian.

    Sincerely,
    “I would have been worse”

  70. I wish impressionable 18-year-olds weren’t lied to so much and encouraged to go into teaching. I understand the concept of wanting to help children as a decent-paying vocation, but is there any honesty as far as telling prospective teachers all the administrative bullshit they have to live with in the public sector versus the oversupply of teachers forcing wages down in the private sector?

    It doesn’t surprise me that Jersey’s wife gets paid shit in private schools. There’s a huge supply of teachers, her school will find another teacher rather quickly, whether they find one of equal quality one can’t say. Certainly “quality” is a rather subjective measurement, usually substituted with things like “Credentials” which don’t actually measure one’s ability to teach.

    Meanwhile, the teacher’s union makes sure their members aren’t subjected to the brutal supply/demand curves thereby making wages much better. But tenure doesn’t really measure teaching ability so much as it measures one’s patience in putting up with horseshit management, bad parents, and a somewhat hateful union.

    I really wonder how much reality prospective teachers are exposed to prior to choosing their profession. My niece is going into teaching, but her first real exposure in an actual public school is coming with just one more semester before her college graduation. If she winds up absolutely hating it, is that going to be 4 years of preparation for the wrong career?

  71. Remember, the problems of your local school district are not the problems of another school district. There is neither a monolithic problem with education in this country nor a one-size-fits-all solution to the myriad educational issues that local school districts face. Keep the discussion local or you are just blowing hot air. This includes discussions surrounding the NEA, vouchers, class size, or whatever.

    Having worked in education for the past two decades, I can say that the only way to combat parents that don’t care about their kids education is to work with the kids. Not all of them are going to get it, but if even a few percent break the cycle, you can have a big impact on a community.

    Nothing will shape up a community school faster than involved parents and a demanding school board. Injecting accountability into the system ain’t really that tough.

  72. I have to laugh – because there’s no evidence at all that school vouchers do, or will, make any difference at all: exactly the opposite is true.

    So, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  73. Rex,

    I realize the teachers’ union has said unconditionally no to vouchers. That makes them among the many people who don’t understand that the question is more complex and nuanced.

    I don’t think I understand the rest of your argument, but you’re clearly pretty exercised about it. Frankly, it sounds like an argument that Al Sharpton would make in the opposite direction. Weird.

  74. …the teacher’s union makes sure their members aren’t subjected to the brutal supply/demand curves thereby making wages much better.

    Translation: public school teachers are overpaid.

  75. I don’t think I understand the rest of your argument, but you’re clearly pretty exercised about it. Frankly, it sounds like an argument that Al Sharpton would make in the opposite direction. Weird.

    Part of the problem with the internet is that it is hard to express emotion in what you are saying.

    The commercial linked above was about a left-wing black Democrat from NJ being accused of being a white wing republican who was responsible for Katrina. I was just going along with the spirit of thing – accusing people who disagree with me of having sinister right wing agendas (OK, I don’t actually support vouchers, so I wasn’t arguing with people who disagree with me exactly).

    Part of the story is about education and vouchers. The other part of the story is how fun it can be to throw around accusations of a right-wing conspiracy, especially at people who consider themselves left wing.

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