On The Issues: Education

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posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 01:26 PM
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Alright everyone, with the ground rules now laid for the new political discussion here at ATS, I thought I would try and kick things off with a little discussion on an issue I find very important, that of education. I’d like to start by giving you the policy plan of John McCain in regards to this issue, and welcome your comments about this. Also please feel free to contrast this plan with that of Obama’s. Hopefully we can kick things into gear around here and get some real discussion going.


Public education should be defined as one in which our public support for a child's education follows that child into the school the parent chooses. The school is charged with the responsibility of educating the child, and must have the resources and management authority to deliver on that responsibility. They must also report to the parents and the public on their progress.


McCain suggests in his plan for education that we allow parents to have more choice over which school their child attends. According to McCain, this will hold schools accountable. I see this as basically taking a “free market” approach to something that is generally considered as being a government entity. Personally, I find this approach to be the most reasonable in this field. This way, schools will want to keep the teachers who do a good job, and kick the ones who don’t to the curb.


John McCain believes our schools can and should compete to be the most innovative, flexible and student-centered - not safe havens for the uninspired and unaccountable. He believes we should let them compete for the most effective, character-building teachers, hire them, and reward them.


I truly believe giving more power to the parents is the right thing to do in this case. After all, they are our children, not our governments.

The external sources used in this post were taken from John McCain’s official site, which can be found here.

I invite all of you to take a closer look at this plan, and compare and contrast it to that of Obama.

[edit on 11-9-2008 by nyk537]




posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 01:31 PM
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Good thread, but before I delve into the issue, just wanted to point out that in your OP, you state that you want to discuss Health Care, but then go into education.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 01:36 PM
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reply to post by sensfan
 


Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 01:54 PM
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Maybe I am missing something, where and how if we make our schools compete with each other do we determine who gets funding and who does not?

Sometimes I am not the brightest bulb in the house, but to me this sounds as if we are making the schools literally have to worry about keeping the paint brighter and the test scores phenomenal to keep running and have students?

How is that any different then no child left behind? If someone can explain it to me that would rock.

If we want a better education system in America it's simple really, pay the teachers more, give them better benefits and reward them for excelling in their field. Provide them with resources and have mandatory parent teacher meetings every quarter.

The future of America and our culture, advancements in medicines and technology should be one of our main concerns as a nation. Putting more money and resources into education would literally give our children a chance to have a stable secure and brighter future.

McCain may be on to something, but I don't really see this as an answer to our problems we face in our schools.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 01:58 PM
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reply to post by nyk537
 

so in your opinion who is better on education?

in my opinion it sounds like a tie.
I believe public education system should be done away with and handed over to the private sector and paid for by the government. The company best qualified, not the lowest bidder would win the contract. This would create competition and greatly increase our school system



[edit on 11-9-2008 by Fathom]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by Fathom
so in your opinion who is better on education?


McCain by far. Not even close.

McCain's plan calls for school accountability. It will reward teachers and schools who honestly seek to teach and prepare our children. It will also punish those who do not. It will provide parents with more control over where their children go to school.

Obama's plan calls for things like...


High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities, Expand Summer Learning Opportunities, Support College Outreach Programs


Granted there is nothing wrong with these things, but they don't address the overlying issue here. The problem is that schools face no penalty for not educating our children. Under McCain's plan, if a parent feels their child could do better at another school, they can move them there. This will lead to under performing schools who don't care about our children becoming a thing of the past.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 02:46 PM
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So basically McCain wants to turn all schools into Universities per se that compete with each other for prestige and numbers?

I still want to know how schools get graded performance wise? Does it get taken to account that certain schools with geographically be in a less productive area? Who decides what is a good education and what isn't? How do you measure a child's performance? Tests?..sounds a lot like no child left behind.

How do these schools get funded? Won't privately funded schools obviously have an advantage?

I guess I am confused how this works to help anything really. The popular schools will fill fast and the kids who don't get in will be left with what?

And what happens to the schools that no one wants to go to? Will they close leaving kids who cant afford to drive 20 miles to the closest school out of luck?

Like I said, I am not the brightest bulb in the house. but I want to understand. If you can explain to me how this is a good plan thats great !



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 02:57 PM
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Just a few tidbits from the site before I go into my thoughts.


The deplorable status of preparation for our children, particularly in comparison with the rest of the industrialized world, does not allow us the luxury of eliminating options in our educational repertoire. John McCain will fight for the ability of all students to have access to all schools of demonstrated excellence, including their own homes.



Where federal funds are involved, teacher development money should be used to enhance the ability of teachers to perform in today's technology driven environment. We need to provide teachers with high quality professional development opportunities with a primary focus on instructional strategies that address the academic needs of their students. The first 35 percent of Title II funding would be directed to the school level so principals and teachers could focus these resources on the specific needs of their schools.


I hope these two segments begin to answer your questions.

What we can see here is that this plan calls for accountability. Parents will receive school vouchers that will enable them to choose a school that fits their needs. This could be a public school, private school, or perhaps in home education.

We can also see that funding will be funneled directly to the principals of each school. This leaves no excuses for a school that fails.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 02:59 PM
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The main opposition McCain will encounter if elected regarding his education plan will be the all powerful teachers union.This union makes it almost impossible to fire any under-achieving teachers. The UTF power needs to be broken.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 03:00 PM
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reply to post by nyk537
 


government control the education and brainwash from the young they should have more of a chance to realise the truth than be forced



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 03:01 PM
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reply to post by ferretman2
 


Exactly!

That's one of the issues that really speaks for this "maverick" image McCain talks about. He isn't afraid to go after these entrenched unions who refuse to hold teachers accountable for their students performances.

I think he would take this fight directly to them. I also think he would win it.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 03:08 PM
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I agree that McCain has an advantage over Obama on Education (not on all subjects though). Still, in my opinion McCain is still too timid in his approaches. Much more funds would have to be re-allocated from secondary sectors (health, energy, military) to the sector of primary importance.

Education is, afterall, where it all begins.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 03:17 PM
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I agree with you on that Skyfloating.

One thing I would caution though is that these are just preliminary plans for education. I would imagine, and this is obviously speculation, that once President, if the above mentioned funds were insufficient, that more funding would be allocated for education.

I do believe that McCain values education immensely and would do what is necessary to get things on the right track.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 04:21 PM
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It will reward teachers and schools who honestly seek to teach and prepare our children. It will also punish those who do not.


That's hilarious.

So - please do tell - how will this unerringly accurate, popular, appropriate and educationally valid punishment of schools and teachers be administered?



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by nyk537
 



. The problem is that schools face no penalty for not educating our children.


The problem is that parents no longer teach their children anything.

Why do parents think school is where children are taught basic social interaction and politeness values?

Those values should be taught at home, not by governments.

Instead, there is this day-time TV notion that when their disruptive child fails all over the place, it is somehow the fault of everyone except them and their child.




[edit on 11-9-2008 by undermind]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:24 PM
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The deplorable status of preparation for our children, particularly in comparison with the rest of the industrialized world, does not allow us the luxury of eliminating options in our educational repertoire.



"What clown wrote this?", should've been his first question.

If McCain had any idea of what to do on education at all, he would've read the above, picked up the phone and fired the speech writer who wrote it.

It passes beneath McCain's gaze, unhindered.


























[edit on 12-9-2008 by undermind]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 07:25 PM
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I think that when ever you put any kind of government agency and that include schools IMO to fight over funding BAD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN!

To me this is an issue that should be dealt by parents, local municipalities and the state, with some federal government oversight. The programs put forth by BOTH candidates are very similar with some slight variations but not much.

I like about Sen.McCain plan that ot gives a provision for parents to choose the school that their kids want to attend to. That by itself shouold place the necessary pressure on schools to make sure they are giving quality education.Why? Less students, less funding and they run the risk of getting close.

I like about Sen. Obama's plan that it places a greater interest on teachers and their quality, because lets face it, no all kids can move from their school, so we need to make sure that we have quality teachers in every single school.

I think both candidates mean well with their education programs.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 07:51 PM
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I just want to say that schools in my area have tried "school of choice" and it does not work as well as planned. It was only in affect to the full extent for a short time. I believe it can still be done in some areas, but the parents have to jump through hoops to do it. It overpopulates the desired schools as it takes students away from the less desired schools. Automatically parents were enrolling their children in different schools, without giving those schools a chance to "compete" in the way they were meant to. Also, the funding would have to be changed. As of right now, public schools are funded partially by property taxes. As you can imagine, in the areas where property taxes are higher the schools are nicer, and where property taxes are lower the schools are suffering more. So, then, what happens when all of the students in one district decide to hop over to another district? What happens with the funds from the property taxes? And how does the desired district pay for all of the new students? I'm sure McCain's plan mentions these issues, and I am not saying that it is a terrible idea, it is a good idea to let families that can only afford to live in low income areas send their children to better schools. However, I think the real issue should be bettering our schools, not shifting around the students.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 09:04 PM
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Originally posted by justxxme As of right now, public schools are funded partially by property taxes. As you can imagine, in the areas where property taxes are higher the schools are nicer, and where property taxes are lower the schools are suffering more. So, then, what happens when all of the students in one district decide to hop over to another district? What happens with the funds from the property taxes? And how does the desired district pay for all of the new students?


Excellent points justxxme. I was about to attempt to talk about that myself. I do research on federal funding to students in higher education so this is a little outside my area.

As justxxme pointed out, most schools get significant funding from property taxes. So what would happen to those monies? Are they to go back to taxpayers? (I really don't know). I'll go on the record as saying that I am totally on the fence on the issue of vouchers. However, I would fear that using vouchers could sap the system. All the states are already dealing with having to "teach to the test" for No Child Left Behind and in my state (Kentucky) we have the CATS test as well (our older version of NCLB) so teaching to the test is pretty common due to the penalties of not making goal. If we are going to be setting a system where the high achieving schools are being sought after then voucher money is sent in by an influx of students then there is more pressure to teach to the test to keep up the goal. Couldn't we end up up with a vicious cycle where the kids are really only learning what is on the test? Memorization is important but that is not really education.
I am also a big proponent of neighborhood schools. My son started kindergarten this year and we are lucky enough that we can walk him to and from school each day. If we move to a voucher system wouldn't we make busing a larger problem? I think the major advantages of the neighborhood school is that it is easier for parents to get involved. If you are busing your kid across town to school but you don't have a car it makes it hard to do anything with PTA or school volunteering. If the same child is in a neighborhood school the parent has a much easier time getting involved. Which I think leads to kids performing better and teachers feeling more accountable and doing better themselves.
It also concerns me that the system could privatize totally since private companies have a fiduciary responsibility to make money they will eventually bounce out slightly slower kids to maintain high scores in ensure they are making money. I don't think providing education should be a for-profit enterprise.
So in the end I am not against vouchers if there is no other way to fix the system but I don't think we have exhausted our ideas yet.

I hope this is not too convoluted!



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 10:54 PM
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This next bit may not be exactly on topic, but an issue nonetheless:



Couldn't we end up up with a vicious cycle where the kids are really only learning what is on the test? Memorization is important but that is not really education.


This is exactly a concern of mine as well. observer mentions the fact that students could be learning for the sole purpose of scoring high on standardized tests. Since I am a secondary education major, I have been working and volunteering in schools. I have already noticed that teachers are starting to focus more on preparing students for the tests. It frightens me, as well as most of the teachers that I have talked to. High standardized test scores do not necessarily mean that the student is learning what they should be at the level they are in. Also, imagine the material that teachers are pushing aside so that they have the time to prepare for, and give, the tests.

side note: In an internship class I took last year, one elementary ed. major noted that her class of first graders was taking a standardized test - a test that lasted almost an entire school week, doing one subject each day.
First graders?!? I was even more shocked when she recalled that some of the questions were confusing to her (a second-year college student) and the teacher was not allowed to repeat the questions. ... I remember being praised for being able to tie my own shoe in the first grade...

[edit on 11-9-2008 by justxxme]





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