Education

A War on Teachers? Let's Hope So.

Betsy DeVos's modest insurgency against failing public schools should be applauded.

|

"Are Trump and DeVos waging a war on teachers?" asks the Center for American Progress (CAP). A little reading reveals that by "teachers," the painfully establishmentarian CAP means one-size-fits-few, government-run institutions. Given that such institutions have spent decades waging their own sort of hostilities against children, innovation, and choice, we should certainly hope that the new Education Secretary has some sort of pushback in mind to give kids a better chance at a real education.

What gets CAP so hot and bothered is that Secretary Betsy DeVos is a fan of allowing families to make decisions about their children's education with something like the freedom they exercise when deciding on food, clothing, housing, and most other areas of life.

"Providing choices to parents promotes increased involvement in their children's education and empowers them to seek out the schools and services that best meet their children's unique educational needs—no matter their zip code, the color of their skin, their family's income, or their own educational backgrounds," she told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies last week.

That, and the Trump administration has proposed (don't hold your breath for it to happen) to cut the Department of Education's budget by 13 percent and slightly reduce the federal role in education. DeVos explained these changes to the committee as the result of exasperation that the D.C. behemoth has failed to improve learning after years of wasted effort by bureaucrats who "tried top-down accountability systems driven by rigid rules and requirements, incentivized the adoption of the Common Core, and mandated the implementation of prescriptive school improvement models."

And she has a point.

"The latest global snapshot of student performance shows declining math scores in the U.S. and stagnant performance in science and reading," the Associated Press reported this past December, citing the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment, which looked at students from 70 nations.

"We're losing ground—a troubling prospect when, in today's knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world," complained DeVos's predecessor, then-Education Secretary John B. King Jr.

Is that because government was too tight-fisted, as CAP and its allies would have it? Not so much.

"The performance of 17-year-olds has been essentially stagnant across all subjects since the federal government began collecting trend data around 1970, despite a near tripling of the inflation-adjusted cost of putting a child through the K–12 system," a 2014 Cato Institute study found.

But what about the federal role in all of this? Too tiny?

Federal spending per student experienced "a 117 percent increase" between 1984 and 2014, adjusted for inflation, Politifact acknowledged in the course of parsing Rep. David Brat's (R-VA) claims about rising education spending.

That means decades of rising expenditures on government schools, and stagnant results at best for students.

So, what does work?

It's worth noting that there's no one magic bullet, but allowing families to choose how their children are educated means that they can select options that please them, and abandon those that don't. Unsurprisingly, all options that parents can select–including private schools, charters, and homeschooling–are preferred over public schools by Americans when they're asked about their levels of satisfaction.

They also produce results.

"Students in poverty, black students, and those who are English language learners (ELL) gain significantly more days of learning each year in both reading and math compared to their traditional public school peers," according to a 2013 study.

"Detroit charter schools are producing significantly greater gains than traditional public school alternatives — gains that are only slightly smaller than those in New Orleans," writes Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas.

And families are voting with their feet.

"Between fall 2004 and fall 2014, overall public charter school enrollment increased from 0.9 million to 2.7 million," reports the National Center for Education Statistics.

Homeschooling looks like a successful strategy, too. Homeschooled students "score, on average, at the 84th to 89th percentile" on tests according to Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute.

Unsurprisingly, the option is growing in popularity. From 1.1 million kids in 2003, the ranks of the homeschooled increased to 1.8 million in 2012—and an estimated 2.3 million last year.

Vouchers—a favorite strategy of Betsy DeVos that allows families to use their allotments of public education funding on the schools of their choice—also seem to produce results. While controversial, in part because they often come with strings attached, voucher programs in cities including Washington, D.C., and New York have apparently improved education outcomes, including graduation rates. "Our analyses revealed positive effects on math scores for children who applied to the program from certain types of schools—those with average test scores below the citywide median," researchers said of New York City's efforts.

Vouchers can have particular importance for families with children who have learning disabilities, and who need tailored education rather than the cookie-cutter offerings of traditional public schools.

Obviously, not all education options are successes. But when schools attended by children of families free to shop for options fail, those families can leave them behind to look for something better. That's important because "early research suggests that school closures may work as advertised, in that they steer students toward higher-performing schools," NPR reported last year.

But forget families trapped in faltering government institutions and a federal government that intrudes and spends with no positive results. CAP complains that DeVos "proposes eliminating the Public-Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program provides aid to borrowers in public-service jobs, including government organizations, tax-exempt nonprofit groups, and teachers in public schools." And the organization complains that, after a visit to a Washington, D.C. school, "she criticized the school's teachers, claiming that they seemed to be in 'receive mode.'"

Receive mode for student loan subsidies from the taxpayers, maybe?

Honestly, Betsy DeVos's alleged war against failing, government-run institutions looks more like a modest insurgency against a long-established occupying force. She proposes to ease "teachers'" grip on the country's children a tad, only so families can choose other teachers who will get the job done. That's not much of a "war" when it comes down to it—not like, say, completely dissolving the unproductive federal Department of Education.

Which, given the record so far, is an escalation in this supposed war for which we should all hope.

Advertisement

NEXT: Pennsylvania's Pension Reforms Aren't Perfect, But They're Pretty Good

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Just about everywhere you look, government screws things up. Coercive government cannot fail, whereas free markets thrive on failure. Every other aspect of government would be acceptable if it could be held accountable by markets. Bureaucracy too big and unwieldy? Lose customers, go bankrupt. Product no longer desired in the market? Lose sales, go bankrupt. Customer service sucks? Lose customers, go bankrupt.

    I’m an old fart. I remember elementary school as being pretty basic. There wasn’t even any sex ed. Basically just readin writin rithmetic. History was the closest to any indoctrination, and once I discovered libraries, the school history books held no fascination and I quickly learned all the stuff they didn’t have the time for, or the nerve. I don’t think historic revisionism actually does much bad anyway, since most people only remember the very biggest picture — Pearl Harbor, the Alamo — and if they remember the wrong things about it, well, it doesn’t really affect life anyway.

    Any thing which can hold schools accountable will help rid them of the nonsensical trivia they waste time on today. I bet half the classes are an utter waste of institutional propaganda, the kind that is better left to parents or dropped altogether.

    Go Betsy!

    1. I agree. Once I discovered public libraries, the viewpoint of the school books seemed pretty narrow.

  2. I understand the allure of standardized institutions. If you assume a static society, no innovations, no inventions, no new processes, and can somehow get the population to stabilize and mother nature to cooperate, then yes, you could gradually work out the most efficient way to parcel out jobs and life and the whole shebang. But it can’t allow for even the most ordinary of weather challenges, or people dying in accidents, and you can’t stop people from innovating or finding ways around rules to make their lives easier, and then all your careful planning is for nought.

    That’s why one-size-fits-all doesn’t work and never will, why you must have the flexibility and adaptability of markets, and every tingle intrusion and disruption by governments just means society must spend more time and effort in working around those obstacles. The the status quo fans chortle in glee about market failure and throw in more misregulation.

    It’s so funny in a strangled kind of way. The people who make the loudest claims for compassion are the ones who do the most damage, both short term and long term, and the ones they denigrate the most are the ones who do the most, not because they want to lift billions out of poverty or make people happy, but because they see ways to increase their own happiness with voluntary trades.

  3. Government schools are best understood as a hostage situation: your money or your child’s future.

    Unfortunately, once you pay the Danegild, you never get rid of the Dane. It’s the usual government shakedown where perpetual failure is used to justify perpetual increases in funding. If they every actually did a good job, they’d lose the rationale for further increases. Hence, perpetual failure.

    1. I think that’s a little simplistic. The government approved schools are failures in large part because the educational establishment (largely Liberal Progressive) has tended to get all excited about the wrong things. The problem is that one of their central tenets is that ‘learning should be fun’. Unfortunately, this is pigswill. HAVING an education opens up all kinds of possibilities, and is fun. Acquiring that education, done right, necessarily involves a good deal of tiresome slogwork, and tinkering with that to make it ‘fun’ all too often undermines the foundations. So, teaching the little monkeys reading, writing , and basic math is tiresome. No surprise, then, that the educationists get distracted into the warm-and-fuzzes of teaching tolerance, diversity, sex-ed, and whatever else has come bouncing down the trendy pike.

      1. I do not understand how some here truly believe the issue is primarily with the governmental control of education. Most countries that test significantly higher are primarily public educational systems. Granted these countries are much smaller, but at some point we need to point at the parents and our culture

        In relation to “The problem is that one of their central tenets is that ‘learning should be fun'” to every Japan or Singapore and their tremendous pressure on kids from an early age, there are Finland and Netherlands and their focus on fun

        I do not think the way to fix it is to create a bunch of charter schools, and then have us, the parents choose between them based on their religious or political views and/or focus on academics (or even what type of academic concentration) or sports, since the end result will be polarized education, limiting the individual to those concentrations

        As a parent, I also want the best for my child. So I get it, and believe you me, sometimes I wish nothing more than to have my child go to a school with a greater concentration of resources to her, to eliminate the ones that do not “wish” to be there, but in the long run, that is not the answer either. If we put out a generation of mostly poorly educated citizens, the risks to the minority that will be educated will increase severely

        Personally, I think the solution would be an application to be a allowed to be a parent, in my mind, it would resolve most issues

        1. “since the end result will be polarized education”
          Uh, really? WIH is that supposed top mean?

          “If we put out a generation of mostly poorly educated citizens, the risks to the minority that will be educated will increase severely”
          We’ve got more than a generation already, and yes, the danger is real.

          “Personally, I think the solution would be an application to be a allowed to be a parent, in my mind, it would resolve most issues”
          In fact, here’s the evidence right here; indoctrinated people supposing the government is a solution to all their problems!
          You did go to government schools, didn’t you?

        2. “Personally, I think the solution would be an application to be a allowed to be a parent, in my mind, it would resolve most issues”

          Only if you suppose an impartial and very wise authority. Push such thoughts from your mind; governments tend, historically, to be venal and stupid. Examine you idea in that light, and if you don’t feel sick there is something wrong with you.

          1. This unwavering faith that individuals will in the end do the right thing, respond correctly to outside pressures, self correct for the benefit of all, when their primary motivation is personal gain is utopian. So little examples of that working properly, meanwhile, there is an extensive list of governments doing well by their people, right now. Japan and South Korea and their educational systems, to my understanding, are even more centralized and bureaucratic system than ours, and it does well. Even in Singapore most attend public schools, and their top educational program, the schools for the gifted, are public and ran directly by their DOE.

            Something is wrong with me because I want to control the population growth, but there is nothing wrong with the concept of taking away the opportunity for those that already have limited choices. I get it how most here just want the government to protect their property and themselves and not much else. To me that is phony Darwinism, but every one is entitled to their opinions.

            1. Re: Ankah,

              Something is wrong with me because I want to control the population growth[…]

              I won’t argue with that. Something IS definitely wrong with you if what you want is to control other people’s reproductive decisions.

              […]there is nothing wrong with the concept of taking away the opportunity for those that already have limited choices.

              This idea that poor people don’t value education as much as you do, from which you conclude it must be given to then for free albeit in a compulsory manner, is the kind of notion that narcissists tend to harbor in their minds.

              There are two facts. One, what you think you know is not the standard upon which everybody’s education should be judged. You’re NOBODY. Second, you’re conflating education with teaching. Education is a PERSONAL CHOICE, as no measure of insistence is going to turn an unwilling dunce into a Rhodes Scholar. What public education does is make teaching something provided for free, regardless of the quality of the teacher or the teaching. This turns public “education” into a jobs program for connected individuals, which is why governments always lie about its achievements.

              You can get educated any time you want. The resources are there. Self-taught individuals go to the library. Nobody needs public teaching. This is why it is compulsory.

              1. Are we even talking about the same thing? You speak of kids as if they were adults, capable of thinking for themselves, and making these life altering decision. It is compulsory for a list of reasons, including to keep minors out of the work force, give them some socialization, etc…

                “as no measure of insistence is going to turn an unwilling dunce into a Rhodes Scholar” correct, and how do you find the next Rhodes Scholar

                “What public education does is make teaching something provided for free, regardless of the quality of the teacher or the teaching.” Your point? 9 out of the 10 top schools systems in the world are primarily public. They achieve it by having responsible oversight.

                “I won’t argue with that. Something IS definitely wrong with you if what you want is to control other people’s reproductive decisions.” The hypocrisy here is thick. You want the hooker, the meth head, the pimp, the dealer to be able to have kids, but you do not want for your kids to go to school with them. So instead of thinking of ways to fix what is wrong, you just want to pull your kids and any associated educational funding and place them in a setting that would be free of such offspring.

                1. Ankah|6.13.17 @ 9:31PM|#
                  “Are we even talking about the same thing? You speak of kids as if they were adults, capable of thinking for themselves, and making these life altering decision. It is compulsory for a list of reasons, including to keep minors out of the work force, give them some socialization, etc

                  It is compulsory because scum-bags like you think they know what is right, and they (and YOU) are willing to use guns to force people to do so.
                  People like you have a common name here, and properly so: You are a “slaver”; you would treat the world’s population as if they were your slaves.
                  Fuck you and your supposed morality in limiting offspring.
                  Fuck off, slaver.

                  1. Ohh, just saw this one, a beauty!

                    Good for you for using all the elements of Stalinism/authoritarianism, while disengaging from the conversation at a disagreeable point

                    First, create a common enemy, and give examples of their wrong doing.
                    Second, identify the individual, and attribute, purpose and outcome if allowed to continue. Create fear.
                    Third, assume leadership by exposing your personal opinion on the subject and the individual.
                    Fourth, present a solution.
                    Fifth, and missing, present the best way to achieve the solution.

                    1. Ankah|6.14.17 @ 12:10AM|#
                      “Ohh, just saw this one, a beauty!”

                      Given your rambling ‘response’, I doubt if anyone here has a clue regarding the comment to which you are replying.
                      Care to give us a hint?

            2. Like Scandinavia, those are highly homogeneous societies and deferent to authority to boot.

              I don’t think you’re helping your case particularly where it relates with North America.

            3. Ankah|6.13.17 @ 12:11PM|#
              “This unwavering faith that individuals will in the end do the right thing, respond correctly to outside pressures, self correct for the benefit of all, when their primary motivation is personal gain is utopian.”

              This constant invention of strawmen is a symptom of lefty thinking and government indoctrination.
              You did go to government schools, didn’t you?

              1. I did go to public schools.

                http://www.cleveland.com/metro….._says.html

                You could blame the state.

                http://indianapublicmedia.org/…..ican-plan/

                Well, not sure who is worse on that scenario.

                Now, as far as this indoctrination,that is a guarantee in any system, both politically and socially. If we became a truly open market society, we will teach our kids the benefits and the positives of such a system. The same for communism or the white society in the South not too long ago, or how the earth is flat and the center of the universe because God made it so, and then it wasn’t, etc….

                1. “…If we became a truly open market society, we will teach our kids the benefits and the positives of such a system….”

                  Why do you keep making things up?
                  If it were a open market in education, there would be people like you selling people on getting their kids to rely on the government to supplant mommy when they grow up and people like me offering schools where the kids could grow up and learn to take responsibility for their actions.
                  You see, don’t you, that the market operates by persuasion rather than the coercion you prefer.

                  1. In your schools, would you not teach “we will teach our kids the benefits and the positives of such a system….”? Are you not trying to teach it to me now? Or is this straight out conversion? You speak of coercion, when it is June, and hot, and kids want to go out and play, doesn’t some one have to tell them to go to school? Parents do it all the time.

                    You make it sound as if privatization is without fail, as if problems can only exist in a public school setting.

                    “on the government to supplant mommy” the opposite of what I have been saying, and 100% not related to vouchers and Charter Schools.

                    1. Ankah|6.13.17 @ 11:58PM|#
                      “In your schools, would you not teach “we will teach our kids the benefits and the positives of such a system….”? Are you not trying to teach it to me now? Or is this straight out conversion? You speak of coercion, when it is June, and hot, and kids want to go out and play, doesn’t some one have to tell them to go to school? Parents do it all the time.”
                      OF COURSE I and We would do so, you stupid shit!
                      But we would do so without holding a gun to the heads of the parents to force them to go to ‘our’ school. Are you so lefty you can’t understand the difference between persuasion and coercion?

                      “You make it sound as if privatization is without fail, as if problems can only exist in a public school setting.”
                      You’re either willfully ignorant or just plain stupid.

                      “on the government to supplant mommy” the opposite of what I have been saying, and 100% not related to vouchers and Charter Schools.
                      Got it. Just plain stupid. You majored in “Idiocy” in the gov’t schools.
                      Fuck off, slaver.

                    2. Oh, and you slimy piece of shit, I see you have avoided the bullshit calls at the bottom.
                      It’s tough when you’ve been proven a liar every time you post, isn’t it? Maybe you should learn to be less of an ignoramus, slaver.

            4. Yeah you’re a scumbag the moment you advocate for population control. Fuck your utilitarianism or Marxism or whatever it is that guides your politics. It’s immoral and wrong

        3. And I’m beginning to increasingly be skeptical of studies from those countries – including mine here in Canada – are overstated or over rated. In fact, I don’t even know anymore how these things are culled, calculated and turned into rankings. Is there a ‘common method’ all nations share? For example, if country A excels in math over county B are they even using the same metrics and standards? Maybe Country A does better because it’s easier? And so on.

        4. Re: Ankah,

          Most countries that test significantly higher are primarily public educational systems.

          And countries that test significantly lower are also primarily public education systems. Your premise is a red herring.

          […] at some point we need to point at the parents and our culture.

          Ah, yes. “If only we were all perfect.” Always the same justification for impositions from above, by people who think Perfection envies them.

        5. Get off your knees, if you still can.

  4. The people that want to keep a failing system are fully aware their gravy train is over. Teachers, administrators and others in this public education system will have to compete for funds and that scares them more than having a nation of dumb kids.

    The real unfortunate thing is that new better changes to education will take many years and possibly decades to see the benefit. The old kids wont see the benefit and are almost done with high school. The elementary kids will see the basic education benefits but won’t be able to utilize the better education until graduating.

  5. All that business about home schooling is fake news. I know for a fact that parents aren’t dues paying members of a teachers union, and do not vote in block for democrats, so they can’t possible be any good at teaching.

    1. Besides, how can an education be good if spending per pupil is so low?

  6. Betsy DeVos’s modest insurgency against failing public schools should be applauded.

    Absolutely. I still remember the flailing about among my lefty gf’s lefty friends (one is a public school teacher who said she mourned the election with her students. I personally think it is disgusting for a kindergarden teacher to bring their politics into the classroom, but I digress) during the confirmation process. I kept hearing accusations of DeVos being “unqualified” without any explanation as to why. I chuckled. Nevermind that the federal DOE has no constitutional basis for existence in the first place. Anywho, I hope she burns the whole thing down.

  7. The problem with public education is it kills critical thinking. That is why business keeps begging for visas for foreign workers.

    1. I hate to break it to you but most of those foreign workers went to public schools too.

      1. and have to be taught by the americans who are being replaced by them so much for that foreign education

        1. The Indians I’ve worked with in IT don’t need to be retrained by their American counterparts. Who exactly, are you talking about?

          1. You can’t retrain someone who has nor been trained in the first place.

  8. Pretty much every country testing better than us use the public school model. So….fail.

    The problem is us as Americans. We’re fat, lazy, and stupid. Our children eat garbage for food, just like us. They play video games all day, while we sit on the couch watching reality TV and moronic sitcoms. We value material things above everything else. We watch Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC and consider ourselves “informed”. Half of us reject settled science like evolution. The other half treat science as a religion.

    1. Re: Eric,

      Pretty much every country testing better than us use the public school model. So….fail.

      So are those countries testing worse than the US. Your premise is a red herring.

      The problem is us as Americans.

      Ah, yes. “If only we were perfect.”

      Has it crossed your mind the possibility that those “countries” that presumably test better than the US only test better because their governments claim they test better and not because of anything more extraordinary than that?

      1. “So are those countries testing worse than the US. Your premise is a red herring.”

        – And any conclusion that simply blames the concept of public education despite its success elsewhere is illogical.

        “Has it crossed your mind the possibility that those “countries” that presumably test better than the US only test better because their governments claim they test better and not because of anything more extraordinary than that?”

        – It has crossed my mind. But for it to be true, we have to accept the premise that we are honest, and those ranked above us aren’t. And then we’d have to potentially accept that our education system is one of the best in the world. Which would put to rest the argument against it.

        1. “- And any conclusion that simply blames the concept of public education despite its success elsewhere is illogical.”

          Fortunately, that’s not a problem here. The article isn’t simply blaming the concept. That’s not the point of school choice. In fact, public schools would be valid options with school choice.

          The problem is that public schools have a government-enforced near-monopoly on k-12 education. And some (not all) parts of the public education system are failing horribly. Whether it’s at the district-level, school-level, or individual teachers, there are failures throughout the system. But, instead of being the ones to ensure these failures are eliminated, the government acts more towards insulating them from accountability.

          Until there is accountability, our education system will continue getting worse. School-choice provides the accountability by allowing the customers to reject failed educators/schools.

          1. To be clear, the lack of accountability and the accompanying failure is not an inherent problem that is guaranteed with public education. That failure is the result of government officials (the ones who should be holding the schools/teachers accountable in the current system) being beholding to the educators’ unions. And, to those unions being so soulless that they are willing to continue defending their shitty members (not saying all members are shitty) to ensure that the overall group continues without fear of accountability. The exact same problem with law enforcement and their unions.

            School choice shifts the responsibility for holding accountable from politicians to parents. And that’s why unions hate it… they can’t buy the parents. In a school choice world, the seniority of a shitty teacher would no longer outrank a great teacher who had very little seniority. The parents could demand the services of good teachers and refuse to accept continuing shit performance from others.

      2. many of those countries only report the testing of certain students who are going on to university, they leave out the students going to trade schools. BTW those students have no choice in the matter either the government tells them where they are going.

        1. I don’t think we even need to compare the US to other countries when evaluating the core issues in our government provided educations system.

          We have tripled spending and lost performance in year over year measurements of our own student’s results. That’s it. Full stop. The system is broken. Begin repairs.

  9. Beside how ED shouldn’t exist in the first place, there is also a good argument that the federal government should not be responsible for incentivizing charter schools and voucher programs. The sad thing is that if you talked to teachers two years ago, most would agree that ED is doing too much. Now that the well has been poisoned with Trump, school choice is another good policy that is going to face strong opposition because of mainstream perceptions.

    1. When the government takes money from you for public schools and you choose not to use government schools you should get that money back for your choice in schools

      1. As in a bacpavk voucher program?

      2. That would be ideal, around where I live we have had five Catholic schools close within the last two years that plenty of people would have loved to attend if they could have afforded it. But has anyone successfully implemented such a policy without obstructive conditions?

  10. Applaud Betsy DeVos all you want. As an ex-teacher from a family of teachers, I can truly agree we have problems with our system of education. That problem is closely related to an upswell of anti-intellectualism and debasing of teachers as professionals, coupled with our absurd focus on passing tests rather than teaching kids to think. Nowhere in DeVos’ plan does she fix those issues. In fact, she was instrumental in the collapse of education in her state as displayed in articles such as these:

    ** A sobering look at what Betsy DeVos did to education in Michigan ? and what she might do as secretary of education

    ** DeVos’ Michigan schools experiment gets poor grades

    ** DeVos Design Flaw: Math and Reading Scores in Michigan are Tanking

    Perhaps being able to ‘donate’ $200 million to the GOP shouldn’t be a benchmark for becoming our Education Czar…Quite possibly a real understanding of the issue and qualifications should be.

    1. I can’t take any claims of anti-intellectualism as a recent partisan phenomenon that seriously anymore. It is and always has been a factor on both sides. The only difference is that one side pretends it isn’t

      Anyway, have you heard of Thomas Massie’s bill for the Department of Education? He’s the one Congressman from the GOP who is brave enough to keep Betsy DeVos out of power. Call your Congressman today and tell them to pledge support!

    2. “That problem is closely related to an upswell of anti-intellectualism and debasing of teachers as professionals,”

      Is it a debasing of teachers, or an increasing reluctance to elevate them above others professions?

    3. “That problem is closely related to an upswell of anti-intellectualism”
      An assertion trying to act like an argument.

      “and debasing of teachers as professionals,”
      Another assertion absent evidence, with a heapin’ helpin’ of victimhood tossed in..

      “coupled with our absurd focus on passing tests rather than teaching kids to think.”
      Well, ‘passing tests’ is pretty much what most people do all day and every day when they work. Except, that is for the pub-sec drones who can’t be fired.
      BTW, it is nowhere written that those tests can’t test for critical thinking.

      “Nowhere in DeVos’ plan does she fix those issues. In fact, she was instrumental in the collapse of education in her state as displayed in articles such as these:”
      How about some links to those articles instead of un-supported claims?

      1. I think he was talking from his personal point of view as a teacher.

        “”and debasing of teachers as professionals,”
        Another assertion absent evidence, with a heapin’ helpin’ of victimhood tossed in..”

        How about “No surprise, then, that the educationists get distracted into the warm-and-fuzzes of teaching tolerance, diversity, sex-ed, and whatever else has come bouncing down the trendy pike.” or “I bet half the classes are an utter waste of institutional propaganda, the kind that is better left to parents or dropped altogether.” One thinks they are easily distracted professionals, going above and beyond their mandate and the other thinks of them as political officers. Who knows, they may be right, but I can see where he is coming from when he complains about his profession.

        1. So you agree s/he’s whining with no evidence at all and you agree with the whining equally without evidence?
          Is that your point?

          Oh, and let’s deal with one other bullshit claim:
          “Perhaps being able to ‘donate’ $200 million to the GOP shouldn’t be a benchmark for becoming our Education Czar”
          Not quite:
          “Over the past two and half decades, the couple donated more than $7.7 million to Republican candidates and parties across the country, the analysis found.”
          http://www.politico.com/story/…..ors-232792

          And for reference:
          “California Teachers Association, $118,238,531” (ten years)
          rainmaker.apps.cironline.org/
          Now tell us who is buying votes?

        2. “….the other thinks of them as political officers.”

          And one MORE bit of bullshit:
          “San Francisco teachers union offers anti-Trump lesson plan challenging President-elect’s controversial rhetoric”
          http://www.independent.co.uk/n…..22216.html

          Political officers, anyone?

    4. …we have problems with our system of education. That problem is closely related to an upswell of anti-intellectualism and debasing of teachers as professionals, coupled with our absurd focus on passing tests rather than teaching kids to think.

      Two things come to mind from this quote:
      1) “debasing” is a result not a cause of ongoing failures, and if being criticized causes further performance degradation then you need to be fired.
      2) this quote assumes teachers are equipped to teach kids to think. Some may be, but I doubt that it is an across the line skill held by teachers in public government schools.

  11. Soooo…more teachers, better organized, making more money?

  12. It’s not the “schools” or the “teachers”.

    Public, private, parochial. Don’t matter!

    It’s da’ parents.

    Engaged and active parents. Smart and successful parents or low-income parents who care.

    Many parents spend more time selecting a new tattoo than thinking about their child’s education–choice might change that.

    1. sam bucus|6.14.17 @ 6:05AM|#
      “It’s not the “schools” or the “teachers”.
      Public, private, parochial. Don’t matter!
      It’s da’ parents.”

      In which case, why are we paying for teachers?

  13. I found a great site that focuses on stay at home mom’s complete guide to gaining a serious amount of money in very little time. While being able to earn an passive income staying home with your kids. If you are someone who needs more money and has some spare time, this site is perfect for you. Take a look at…

    follow this link?..????????????

    Trump”s New Opprunuties See Here

  14. I found a great site that focuses on stay at home mom’s complete guide to gaining a serious amount of money in very little time. While being able to earn an passive income staying home with your kids. If you are someone who needs more money and has some spare time, this site is perfect for you. Take a look at…

    follow this link?..????????????

    Trump”s New Opprunuties See Here

  15. “the painfully establishmentarian CAP means one-size-fits-few, government-run institutions”

    While it’s true that the government seldom does a good job on things, it might help to remember that the public schools weren’t always this bad. I would like to suggest that the current state of things has less to do with bad teachers and more to do with other factors:

    1. The Americans with Disabilities Act, as interpreted by the courts. It used to be that children who wouldn’t behave in class were sent to the Principal and then, if necessary, sent home. Those who persistently disrupted the class were transferred to another school, and would eventually end up in a “continuation school” (aka “riding the short bus”)

    But the ADA requires “mainstreaming” the disabled. That includes not only those with physical disabilities, (wheelchair users, those with hearing problems, etc.) but also those with mental disabilities. So now, if a child disrupts class, the parents will likely find some doctor to certify that the child has a mental “disability” that affects his ability to refrain from interrupting the teaching. And the child stays in a regular school, making it hard for teachers to teach.
    [To be continued]

  16. [continued]
    2. “White flight”. In the 1970s, the concept of school segregation was widened to include the intentional drawing of boundaries to sort children into “black” and “white” schools. I can’t really fault this decision, but it resulted in moving children from the nearest school into some other school to achieve a greater degree of “racial balance”. But it turns out that in many cities there are *large* sections of mostly segregated housing. Not by (current) law but by the individual choices of millions of people as to where to live and who to sell to. [Some of this housing segregation was due to “racial covenants” which forbade selling the house to non-white buyers.] Los Angeles is a good example: most of “South-Central LA” is black (and relatively poor).

    So to achieve this desired racial balance, the courts and the school board worked out a scheme whereby children were transported to schools a long distance from their homes. Money had to be diverted from teaching to transportation, and some of the bus rides were two hours or more, each way.

    This was unpleasant for the children and sometimes left little or no time for homework. Not surprisingly, the people who could afford it moved their children to private schools. And created a large segment of the population who no longer had any interest in supporting the public schools with bake sales, by voting extra taxes, etc.

    1. A fundamental problem with government: who decided “racial balance” was a necessary feature of public schools? How much “racial balance” would suffice? How much will “racial balance” cost?

      The 1st and 2nd questions were presumed and the 3rd was never asked.

      Also, if you have 4 hours of bus rides per day, you have 4 hours to do your homework.

  17. 3. The “Serrano Decisions”. A CA state court found the “wealth-based disparity” between school districts to be unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. Comparatively wealthy districts (like San Francisco and the just-getting-started Silicon Valley) could get a lot of money from property taxes to support their schools. Poorer districts — especially those in rural areas — had a much lower tax base and had less money for schools — or had to raise the tax rate to make up the difference.

    So the property tax money was now to be redistributed from well-off districts to less-well-off ones. This meant that some of the property taxes you paid were sent elsewhere. ANd people became even _less_ willing to vote for property taxes to support schools.

    Part of why schools don’t do as good a job as they did in the 1950s is because they get less money per student (adjusted for inflation). Teachers have to spend their own money to provide pencils and other materials to their classes.

    [Continued]

  18. [Continued]

    California has an additional problem: Proposition 13. Until Prop. 13, a simple majority of voters could raise property taxes, for schools, highway construction, etc. California was famous for the quality of our roads. After Prop. 13, it takes a 2/3 majority to pass a tax increase, and any special tax on property is applied on a per-parcel basis rather than ad valorem. Not surprisingly, this makes it harder to vote more money for schools.

    In short, increase school funding to (inflation adjusted) 1950s levels and get the disruptive children out of class, and I’ll bet you’ll see performance return to 1950s levels as well.

    As others have pointed out, there are countries that have public school systems that way outperform the US. And the public schools did a fine job in the 1950s — at least in my area. Children came out able to read, write, and figure, knowing _some_ history and a little bit about how our government works. Most could qualify for the UC system (even if not for the two most prestigious campuses).
    [end of comment]

    1. Since public spending on education is at near record levels (corrected for inflation), the idea that there is a funding shortage is critically flawed and cannot be used as any sort of justification for school failures.

    2. “California has an additional problem: Proposition 13. Until Prop. 13, a simple majority of voters could raise property taxes, for schools, highway construction, etc. California was famous for the quality of our roads. After Prop. 13, it takes a 2/3 majority to pass a tax increase, and any special tax on property is applied on a per-parcel basis rather than ad valorem. Not surprisingly, this makes it harder to vote more money for schools.”

      Prop 13 was just a good start, and it should be harder yet to raise taxes, but lefties seem to think no amount of taxation is sufficient to fund the incompetence of government.
      So let’s just say your claim is bullshit.

  19. I found a great site that focuses on stay at home mom’s complete guide to gaining a serious amount of money in very little time. While being able to earn an passive income staying home with your kids. If you are someone who needs more money and has some spare time, this site is perfect for you. Take a look at…

    follow this link?..????????????

    Trump”s New Opprunuties See Here

  20. I found a great site that focuses on stay at home mom’s complete guide to gaining a serious amount of money in very little time. While being able to earn an passive income staying home with your kids. If you are someone who needs more money and has some spare time, this site is perfect for you. Take a look at…

    follow this link?..????????????

    Trump”s New Opprunuties See Here

  21. “DeVos is a fan of allowing families to make decisions about their children’s education with something like the freedom they exercise when deciding on food, clothing, housing, and most other areas of life.”

    No, unfortunately under DeVos’ plan, families won’t have nearly as many choices in their kids’ education as they currently have when deciding housing, food, transportation, etc. That’s why it’s so mindboggling to see the left reak out over DeVos, whose plans are really quite modest. A true free market in education would yield so many amazing choices, our heads would be spinning. Oh well, baby steps in the right direction …

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.