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Groundhog Day Public Education Policy

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posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 05:52 PM
I refer to Groundhog Day, the movie, because we are just going down the same path over and over in terms of education. It is a failing policy, yet we are about to dump more and more money into a system that promotes mediocre standards, the National Education Association, under achievement, lack of recognition of excelling students, teacher's jobs over a child's education and many more.

In this I will attempt to show you why we need to dump the Department of Education (DE), relinquish Federal control of education back to the states and parents respectively and in the process cut a sizable chunk from the Federal deficit and budget. Doing those things I will show how in the end, after 40 years and nearly $1.8 trillion, education will have a better chance of once again excelling within the United States of America.

To start, we will establish our baseline of where students are today. Looking to the scores from the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, we see where we stand amongst the nations of the world. In their assessment, they have ranked the education of our youth (15 year olds) as following:

Math - 25th
Reading - 14th
Science - 17th

These of course can be found here, for your verification and study: PISA

The scale they used, as an indicator is 0-1000. On average, a 15 year old barely scored 500 in reading and science. In math, it is abysmal and embarrassing; the average student couldn't even break the 500 mark. The answer? More money of course!

Yet, we continue to hear calls that we just need to spend more money. More money into the system will surely provide a better education for the children! Let me ask you this my dear readers, what do you think, on average, the taxpayers pay per-pupil yearly? I am talking combined Federal, State, Local and Private sources.

Would you say $10,000/year? According to most school districts, that is what is reported. But according to a study done by the Cato Institute, if found that those numbers are woefully underreported and misleading. In this analysis, They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools, they have concluded that on average we can increase that $10,000/year cost per-pupil by 44%! That means we are spending on average, $14,400 per-pupil to give them those wonderful average scores. I recommend reading the whole analysis and see how big cities such as New York and Los Angeles fare on the average. A hint: they spend almost twice as much the national average, yet have some of the worst failing schools in the nation.

Now that we have baseline for how our students are averaging in math, science and reading; along with how much money we spend on average per-pupil. I contend this is by design. It has to be. Otherwise why would we continue down this path? Setting up children to fail. Have you ever asked yourself that as you scoot little Johnny off to class?

I want, at this point, to bring in a personal story that I have in regards to how pathetic the schools have become. My oldest boy is in K-6 (for protection I will not reveal which of course). One day, he brought home his homework and his completed classwork. As I was reviewing his classwork I noticed there was another child's work mixed in with my son's. As I looked at the math page of this other child (simple addition/subtraction) I noticed that the child obviously is struggling with the concept of carrying over when adding say 23+17. What am I getting at here? What shocked me was what was on the paper in terms of feedback from the teacher.

On the paper, there was a sticker with a "Good Job!" on it. Never mind the fact this child failed to answer 1/3 of the questions correctly. What was even more scary was that there were no correction marks. Nothing to denote the teacher actual reviews the work of their students. I know that the parents need to be engaged too, but this was classwork. Accomplished supposedly, under the watchful eye of a teacher.

Of course the above isn't rule, but rather a growing exception that will soon become the rule. Pass the children through the system, feeding them only information that they will never really need. Don't teach them to excel at math, reading, comprehension, science and critical thinking.

Let us get back to the ongoing dismal policies that are destroying education brick by brick. Looking at the National Defense Education Act of 1958. This act was an attempt by Congress to improve our scores in math, foreign language skills and sciences for defense purposes. It was expensive and expansive. The problem is, 52 years later we have yet to see the benefits of this program.

According to PSAT math scores there has been no real improvement, rather a decline! Andrew J. Coulson from Cato points this out in his opinion piece Obama Touts Failed Federal Program.

The approaches we are taking at the Federal level, over and over as if we are stuck in our very own nightmarish groundhog day have been failures. We have spent about $1.8 trillion dollars over the past 40 years. We have reduced standards, we have lowered the bar, we have allowed teachers' unions to control policy that only benefits them and provides job security and worse of all we continually fall for the line "Its for the children..."

Next post I will present how an unleashing of free-market principles into the school system will produce highly educated, highly competitive human beings ready to take on the world...

posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by ownbestenemy

Hey OP, Obama in the SOTU speech mentioned a high school that has completely turned things around.


Bruce Randolph was a middle school when it opened in 2002. In 2007, Denver Public Schools gave Bruce Randolph School permission to operate autonomously. It was the first school in the state to be granted autonomy from district and union rules.

Each teacher then had to reapply for his or her job. A published report said only six teachers remained.

"Teachers who didn't believe in the students didn't come on board," said Kristin Waters, principal during the transition. Teachers also had to have "a willingness to learn and to grow and to work with other teachers."

Oooops, did Obama just throw the Teacher's Union under the bus?

posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 07:57 PM
reply to post by saltheart foamfollower

To illustrate the double-speak from President Obama and the continued monopoly on a failing education system:

In his State of the Union Stump Speech he cries out that there needs to be better solutions for parents in regards to schools and education. He says, and I quote " the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed."

But if we look at his mute actions in regards to he is 'willing to do what's necessary', during his term, Congress kills the D.C. School Choice program.

The Education Secretary, whom is a cabinet member and answers directly to the president professes he is for school choice but the actions don't line up. He took back 200 scholarships that were already made to parents for the next school year. That doesn't sound like in favor of school choice.

Here is a good example given by the Heritage Foundation: 38% of Congressman utilize school choice, yet kill the bill that allows those that cannot afford private schooling from choosing a public school that would best fit their child(ren).....Go figure...

So much for "willing to do what's necessary" Mr. President.

Heritage Source

posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 08:05 PM
reply to post by ownbestenemy

As they use to say "The chain is only as strong as the weakest link".

Now they say, the links will all be the same strength.

In 5th grade, they did aptitude testing in my middle school. I was bumped to the 7th grade. After about a month I was put back in the 5th grade. I do not know why, the work was still easy and I was getting high grades. Never did find out why that was stopped.

Putting on the foil-I would assume that it was the tenet of today that you cannot let people excel, that may harm the feelings or whatever of other children.

I was reading today about a home schooled child that was interviewed by a Social Worker by the order of a ad litem guardian, divorced couple. The Social Worker felt that the 10 year old girl was TOO strong in her Christian beliefs and should go to a public school to allow her to see other points of view. Other than the Christian beliefs she excelled in all other schooling. Will find the article if you would like. I think I read it from Drudge or one of my other bookmarks.

From some movie-"Rome (schools) is not burning, it is burnt"

posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 09:15 PM
reply to post by saltheart foamfollower

Home-schooled children are a great enemy to the Government Monopoly! How dare people exercise their right to educate their children how they see fit! How dare they not get a 'proper' education that the State deems appropriate. How ever will we be able to make them a good little drone in the future? How will we be able to pull the wool over their eyes if they don't believe that the State is the source of their rights...not God or Nature.

Seems ATS is afraid to touch this subject....I would like to have some progressive minded folks come in here and explain how dumping massive amounts of money into a failing system has worked out so far. How dumping endless supplies of cash into the College loan programs is directly linked to the rising costs of college. How to explain that after 40+ years there is no increase in education, but rather a decrease in education after the creation of the Department of Education. How the NEA basically owns the Department of Education. How the NEA has no interest in bettering education but rather ensuring they have cemented jobs for life.

Challenge is set....will anyone be up for it?

posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 02:04 AM
But you're implying the Department of Education was created to actually further educational goals in this country and not create a propaganda prison in which kids are sent to from ages 5 - 18 in order to crush their spirits and to chain them to accepting authority figures that often don't have their best interests (or any interests) in mind for the kids.

posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 07:04 PM
reply to post by SpectreDC

Yes, I didn't touch on that for a reason. I wanted the discussion by others, such as yourself to bring up that facet in regards to the Department of Education, its goals and purposes.

I was merely laying the groundwork to show how asinine and redundant US policy towards education is a joke. We do the same thing, over and over. Hence the "Groundhog Day". Maybe more will come to prove me wrong or even take up the questions I posed just above you in regards to this post.


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