Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 8, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

OVERSIGHT....According to the New York Times, 57% of Ohio's charter schools recently received a grade of D or F on the state's school report card. Ezra Klein comments:

On the bright side, in this case, these schools are accountable to the public, and so we have data on their failures and can actually do something about their decline. So this would seem to be a positive outcome: Various new schooling experiments are being tried, many are failing, and were going to close down the catastrophes. What's strange, though, is that I keep hearing that a total absence of public oversight mixed with financial incentives for schools to stay open — and continue making money — will fix education totally. Yet those two things appear to behind the failures here.

This is all part of the great voucher debate, of course, which often seems to proceed as if actual results don't matter. And many times that's true, because an awful lot of voucher proponents are motivated either by some Platonic devotion to the free market as a panacea for everything or by a desire to make sure their kids attend only schools with the right racial or religious makeup. Ditto for things like hating on teachers unions or the endless textbook wars, which are mostly articles of faith untouched by questions of whether they actually make a difference in educational outcomes. It's great fodder for the culture war hucksters, but not so good for actual children.

Kevin Drum 2:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (79)

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If I'm not mistaken, that's fairly typical of charter schools nation wide. Same's true for most of the home schooled. For every family with a degreed parent staying home to educate the kids, you've got a couple dozen Bible-thumpers with GEDs skooling da chidren.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

My experience with charter schools is that many of the children who are in them were brought there because they were not as successful in traditional public schools as the parents wanted. This self-selection means that the students are typically more difficult to teach and require additional resources and input.

This need for additional input is many times defeated just by the chaos of a new school, with new staff, administrators and boards who are feeling and blundering their way through the issues of staffing, cirriculum, funding, facilities--everything that is already suborninated into the bureaucracy of the public school systems.

I admire the people who have the vision to start a charter school, but I think that few, if any, are really prepared for the mountain of work that is needed to be done, but has little to do with face time with the students.

Posted by: Neal on November 8, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think the idea is that the "market" created by vouchers is supposed to reward the good schools and punish the bad ones via parental choice.

Of course, the reality is that there are few things easier to do than to convince parents that they're getting great value for their dollar on the basis of all kinds of specious appeals. I mean, every parent of a certain sort just knows that if their child is dressed in a uniform, they're getting more discipline, and if they are surrounded by like-minded children of the same religion and color and economic class then they are being taught to function to their optimum. It just feels so true.

Of course the reality is that, even if, or especially if, one is 100% committed to objectivity, there are few questions harder to answer than whether a child gets a better outcome at one school than another. This exactly the sort of equivocal situation in which charlatans can best ply their trade.

And, of course, that's exactly what they do.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 8, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

I admire the people who have the vision to start a charter school, . . . Posted by: Neal

I don't understand this attitude. Why would anyone admire people setting up a charter school when they just make it more difficult for school systems that are already underfunded?

If parents are dissatisfied with the local public schools, they have two options - they can work to improve the local schools or they can opt out for private school. Taking funds from school systems already struggling to start yet another public school within the same district is pretty retarded. There is no other way to slice this.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Until they can overthrow public education, they can't have their guaranteed under- / defacto-slave- class.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 8, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is all part of the great voucher debate, of course, which often seems to proceed as if actual results don't matter.

Nonsense Kevin. The reason why conservatives and economists support a free market solution to public education is because the result of capitalism and the free market is a spectacular success. As you yourself pointed out just yesterday
"Within the mainstream of the economics profession there are lots of arguments on the fringes about regulation and network effects and institutions and so forth, but no one denies that, fundamentally, market capitalism is the only feasible way to run a modern economy."
If capitalism and the free market works so well for everything else, why should it not work to educate our children? Thats the question we conservatives and economists ask and so far you have yet to give an adequate response.

Posted by: Al on November 8, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

as much as I am skeptical of charter schools, in general, I find this article really frustrating, b/c it gives no context for how the general public schools are doing. Are they better, worse, or the same in terms of acheiving graded evaluations? I would guess that they are better, but that bit of data would be nice.

Posted by: chris brandow on November 8, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

I was homeschooled as a youth. My parents pulled my out of the public education system because they were horrified by what they saw that passed mustard as public "eduction". When I was 14, I tested out at a 156 IQ and was able to get my HS diploma early to begin my college career. I am thankful that my parents made that bold but wise choice.

A voucher program would be the next best thing to having the children homeschooled. That's because schools will now be forced to perform by the market, as apposed to being propped up by the state. OUr children's lives hang in the balance.

Posted by: egbert on November 8, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Charter schools are run by incompetents mostly to make money. The problems lie in the children. Many of the children in America are children of single mothers. Such children are denied the attention and support of the other parent, and if there is poverty, these children almost cannot succeed. Solve the poverty/single mother problem and the schools will really improve.

Posted by: POed Lib on November 8, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Charter schools demonstrate that the free market is, of course, a total failure with schools. That's obvious, and only a total moron would believe otherwise. Why is the free market a total failure with schools? Why is and was and always will be Milton Friedman totally wrong?

Children are not disposable, is why. When a bad lot of food comes thru, it can be dumped. When a bad steel ingot is found, it is disposed of. Statistical control leads to continuous improvement.

This will never happen in the schools. Changing schools leads to poorer performance. Changing teachers is usually a disaster, since the child and the teacher much establish a relationship.

The biggest reason why the schools are failing is the Repukeliscum Party. The Repukeliscum Party has waged a continuous, endless war against the schools since 1964. The war has included damaging the status of teachers, trying to make teachers into slaves instead of professionals and so forth. This war on the schools has had a lot of success and the schools have been badly damaged. We need to put the blame where it belongs.

Terminate the Repukeliscum Party's war on the schools and the school improvement will be immediately apparent.

Posted by: POed Lib on November 8, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, eggmoron, if you have an IQ of 156, how come you are unemployed?

Posted by: POed Lib on November 8, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

I was homeschooled as a youth. My parents pulled my out of the public education system because they were horrified by what they saw that passed mustard as public "eduction". When I was 14, I tested out at a 156 IQ and was able to get my HS diploma early to begin my college career. I am thankful that my parents made that bold but wise choice.
Posted by: egbert

Who knew baboons could make such a bold choice? But considering the lack of quality of your posts, I'd ask for my money back on that obviously incorrect IQ test, dunce.

Posted by: DJ on November 8, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as an educator since the 1980s. . .

Actually, genreally speaking, home-schooled kids perform quite well on examinations, standardized tests, etc., on average. (Social-emotional may be a different story) They perform much higher than charter school kids.

Often, before a large segment of students go to charter schools, they're actually doing OK - the parents want better. Then the charter school messes them up. And then, when charter school kids' schools close, or the kids go back to the public schools, they come back way behind grade level and undisciplined. The proponents of charter schools never figured this piece out; it was never on their radar or design loop. It's up to the public schools then to fix this. (So take a wild guess as to who gets blamed when they subsequently bomb on the state tests.) The kids would have been better off if they had stayed in their public school.

In my experience, most founders of charter schools are actually very well-meaning, and I've known some very good and competent folks. It's just not that easy. Not everyone can do this work.

As one long-time educator I worked with noted, it will ultimately be the parents that pull the plug on charter schools. But a lot of money has been poorly spent, a lot of kids' lives have been adversely effected.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I guess that IQ has no relation to spelling, grammar or punctuation.

Posted by: Matt on November 8, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, genreally speaking, home-schooled kids perform quite well on examinations, standardized tests, etc., on average. (Social-emotional may be a different story) They perform much higher than charter school kids. Posted by: MaxGowan

"Speaking as an educator," Max, care to document that since I've read the exact opposite? As I wrote, the home-schooled are only as good as the parent schooling them. And as most home-schooled children come from lower income extremely religious families (aka the religious right) I doubt that they test any better than children in the local public schools.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII - I can get that data, but not today. I know in my urban district (mostly poor, btw), these kids perform quite well. Anyway, you have to control for SES, right? It's not a large portion ( 1%-2% of the total population, last I checked), and I believe the SES is more evenly distributed than your assertion, for what it's worth. Where are you getting your data?

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Do they teach kids in voucher schools that "mustard" = "muster" or is that just a home-school thing?

Posted by: Brautigan on November 8, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

When I was 14, I tested out at a 156 IQ...

And mine was tested at 389 at the same age!

(I love the internets!)

Posted by: frankly0 on November 8, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Here in Utah, the reddest of the red Bush-lovin' states, a comprehensive school voucher program just went down to significant defeat, 60% against in a referendum. The hard-right Utah legislature tried to slip it into law; it made it by one vote in the last session, and our finger-in-the-wind Repub governor signed it, but the public was outraged and gathered over 120,000 signatures to get it on the recent ballot. After an $8million campaign, the pro-side paid for by non-Utah right-wing groups and the CEO of overstock.com, a Utah company, the public soundly rejected it. Now of course the Utah lege is already threatening retaliation (by saying "what, us, retaliate? Never!"), changing the referendum process, cutting funding for our already last-in-the-nation schools, politicizing the state school board, whatever; you know they'll get back at us for this, the bunch of thugs. To them it was about "freedom of choice"; to me it was a cover to create state-funded Mormon Madrassas, where they could teach the "Gospel of John Birch" and let the rest of us pay for it.

Posted by: rdale on November 8, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Both sides on the issue tend to be dead wrong about their central convictions and arguments: there is nothing inherently superior about a public school or a charter school that makes one more likely to succeed than the next. Success tends to boil down to cost and accountability.

Think about the arguments after 9/11 about whether airport security should remain private or be taken over by the government. Ideology blinded both sides to the simple reality that you generally get what you pay for. If the government paid Post Office wages, they'd get pretty much the same results as the comparatively low-wage employees the TSA employs; if the government put FBI agents in charge (or if the airlines paid top dollar for people with real security experience) we'd have much better security at our nations airports.

Voucher schools could work, and work well, much like our private system of universities. But they are deliberately ham-strung - the vouchers tend to be worth only half the tuition of local public schools. If you want to use your voucher to send your kid to an already established private school, you'll need to come up with the difference (this is in effect a subsidy for parents who can afford these costs, and turns into a nice barrier against parents - read: poor minorities - who cannot). It's also a great way to use state money to subsidize religious education. [not all voucher schools are operated the same way, so these examples don't apply everywhere; but when you listen to the rhetoric on the right, it becomes fairly clear that these are their ultimate goals. They have taken a system with a lot of potential and corrupted it for very narrow, shortsighted and divisive purposes]

Accountability is also crucial to success, and it is often lacking in both public and private sector contract jobs.

Where's the accountability for the TSA who routinely lets 50% of all weapons and bombs through (as per FBI testing)? There is none. Republicans aren't interested in results and accountability so much as they are doling out contracts to their campaign contributors, or finding a way to subsidize things like religious and/or segregated schools.

The same goes for schools. If a school is failing, it needs to be fixed and/or the parents need to have the ability to move their children to another school that is performing better.

In other words, you can achieve these results in either a public or voucher system. But private or public, you'll need to pay the money to attract qualified personnel. You'll also need to provide accountability.

Most public schools have the money, but no accountability. Most voucher schools have accountability (or at least better transparency) but don't really have the full resources to succeed.

So yet again we see blind ideology and narrow interests on both sides subjecting generation after generation of Americans to inferior education in an increasingly global marketplace.

But hey, what's new? We're doing the same thing with airport security, national security (most money is going to red states that have no targets), our military venture in Iraq, the national debt, our energy policy, our environmental policy, and so on.

I sincerely believe if you're registered with either party these days, you're as much as part of the problem as not. Both parties have not only failed this country horrible, but also continue on a daily basis to betray our interests to those of their campaign contributors (Democrats and Republicans alike). I'm not suggesting you vote for third party candidates or worse, Republicans, but rather that you should try to distance yourself from blind alliegiance to either party. And if both parties saw their rolls of registered members continue to drop, they might, just might, start to pay a little more attention to the interests of the average citizen for a change.

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Any assertion that "most public schools have the money but not the accountability" is bereft of any acquaintance with the actual facts. Here in NY, the State Education Department intends to name 100 schools that will go on the dreaded SURR list (Schools Under Registration Review - the next to last step to closing). The Commissioner has the constitutional power to close a school tomorrow, take over an urban district tomorrow, etc. We closed a school last spring. We've had variations of this for literally generations. Certainly NCLB has big accountability provisions. (I'm neither pro- nor anti- but believe the bad is about to drown out the good, another topic.)

One of the things that amazes me any time Kevin posts things on education is that people posting opinions devoid of actual facts.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

egbert: I was homeschooled as a youth.

You don't say.

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

The private schools I went to were generally better than the public ones in academics and poorer in terms of extra-circulars but we still took those same god damn standardized tests every year.

And I got PHS on every thing except math where I was only at 12th grade level.

Posted by: MNPundit on November 8, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Ideology blinded both sides to the simple reality that you generally get what you pay for. "

I think your "everyone is just as bad as everyone else" ideology is blinding you to the fact that if the last seven years have proved anything it is that with privatization you don't get what you pay for, instead a bunch of cronies get rich and make campaign contributions.

Posted by: jefff on November 8, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Where are you getting your data? Posted by: MaxGowan

Hardly an exhaustive list.

http://www.edweek.org/rc/issues/home-schooling/


"Religion was cited by 33 percent of parents . . ."
http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0053.html#data


http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=16302&sec=29&con=4


http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/PB_V3N7_Summer_2005_Homeschooling.pdf
This article addresses the fallacy that home-schoolers uniformly perform better than children educated in public schools.

What inflates home-schooling's status is the citing that X% of home-schooled children scored X on the SAT versus X% of students publicly schooled, ignoring the fact that this doesn't tell us what percent of the home-schooled simply didn't bother with the SAT because they we're college-bound to begin with.

Again, home-schooling is only as good as the parent doing the schooling and the native intelligence of the child. It isn't the magic solution that many adherents claim, and too many of the children being home-schooled are taken out of the public schools for religious reasons.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of weeks ago Kevin posted someone who he made a good case for charter schools and "choice". What that person failed to mention and Kevin did not reiforce, is that most, more than half, fail. And they fail at a much higher cost than would result if, instead, school officials just went in and tightened up procedures and practices.

Posted by: David Triche on November 8, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

My parents pulled my out of the public education system because they were horrified by what they saw that passed mustard as public "eduction".

Posted by: egbert

Hey, passing mustard as public eduction takes incite and diligance.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 8, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Success tends to boil down to cost and accountability. Posted by: Augustus

No. Success boils almost entirely down to the socio-economic standings of the parents. Teachers can augment this or hinder it, but not change it. Hang all the swords over the necks of all the "bad" teachers and administrators in economically depressed areas you want, but it won't do shit for the performance of the school. You can't make teachers and administrators alone responsible for the performance of students. The home environment is paramount to determining how the majority of children will perform in school. Anyone that claims otherwise either has no children or seems to think that raising his children is somehow the sole responsibility of the schools.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting and mostly valid point, JeffII. The problem here (apologies to those who have heard this schpiel before) is pretending student performance and school performance are the same. We use the same measure - test scores - as a proxy for everything else.

As to answer the implied question: What is the relationship between poverty and student achievment? It's about 62% - 68% of the variance. So it's not 1% nor 99%. A genuine accountability model can take this, er, into account - use poverty as a control variable to find out which schools are really doing the proverbial value-added work. (NY had this model in the early 70s but dropped it under pressure from - you guessed it - upper middle-class schools found to be just coasting on their parents' high incomes. It will come back, though.)

When you see your local newspaper "grading" schools, there is generally a near-perfect relationship between the scores and the wealth of the community. But if you control for SES, you will find startling different rankings - you will see who has the instructional excellence, and who does not.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ezra gets the story half right: charter schools are accountable to the public, but as long as they have new gullible parents lined up at the door, and little state regulation (as in here in Texas), publicizing the results mean little.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 8, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus, I'm confused. Do you equate voucher schools with charter schools? They aren't the same thing at all - vouchers are funds diverted from public education to parents so they can send their children to private schools; charter schools are public, but remove themselves from district control.

As for your contention that public schools have the money, but no accountability - what planet are you living on? Public schools are so underfunded that teachers often find themselves paying for supplies out of their personal bank accounts. Yet public schools are tested to the max, and are held strictly accountable even for things which should be laid at the feet of parents or politicians, like student health and welfare. Private schools (which is what I think you mean when you say 'voucher schools') are generally exempt from testing requirements, although reputable ones will voluntarily test and post results.

Comparing public education to the TSA is simply bizarre. The only way in which these subjects are similar is that they are both functions of government.

You are correct in your assessment of vouchers as tools to supplement the resources of the middle class while denying lower class parents a foot in the door. So that's good. At least we agree on something.

Posted by: cmac on November 8, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK
My parents pulled my out of the public education system because they were horrified by what they saw that passed mustard as public "eduction".

Passed mustard?

Wow ... that had to hurt, especially if it was the spicy brown kind. I mean, that had to burn, didn't it?

Maybe some ointment could have cleared that up. I'm sure you mother had something available ...

Posted by: Mark D on November 8, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who has started a charter school, I thought I'd add my two cents worth. First, please seperate voucher plans and charter schools. They are two seperate ideas. I support charter schools but not vouchers. Also, recognize that charter schools vary accross the country because the laws establishing charter schools are state laws, and the type of charter schools in one state will be different from another state.

My charter school is a public school of choice. We were supported by our local school board, the school district administration, and the teacher's union when we created the school. Our funding comes from the state government and passes through the local school district. Our school is the only high school in our district where the entire staff is highly qualified under NCLB, and we have made AYP or adequate yearly progress 2 out of the last three years. Our students have equaled or surpassed all other high school students in standardized testing. Our students are required to take the same benchmark tests under NCLB and the same high stakes graduation test as every other student in the our District.

Our charter school was an existing program in the local school district. Because of inadequate funding, the District was considering closing our doors. We suggested converting to a charter school, which kept us in operation, and took us out of the local Districts funding problems. We target students who have dropped out of high school or are at risk for dropping out. Most of our students qualify for free or reduced hot lunch, many are parents, many are supporting themselves. All want to graduate from high school. Opening our charter school was a win-win situation for our students and our District.

My point is - please don't lump all charter schools together and don't lump charter schools and voucher programs together. There are lots of charter schools doing wonderful work with students and lots of charter schools that should be closed down; just like traditional schools.

Mark Rippy

Posted by: Mark Rippy on November 8, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Any assertion that "most public schools have the money but not the accountability" is bereft of any acquaintance with the actual facts. Here in NY, the State Education Department intends to name 100 schools...

Define "accountability". I said "most" not "all"; this generality is hardly rebutted by your specific example in NY, which is unfortunately more the exception than the rule.

But even for the SURR program, the reality is that only a fraction of under-performing schools in NY receive extra assistance. The extra assistance going to the 100 SURR schools is a start, but it doesn't really come close to meeting most of their basic needs, yet alone close those gaps. Nor does the SURR system ensure that all teachers have been trained in the standards or that all schools are equipped to meet them.

Accountability also comes in other forms. The example I mentioned was the ability of parents to be able to move their schools from a failing school to another that is succeeding. Most public schools simply do not allow parents/students to go to public schools outside of the districts they reside in.

Nor is it uncommon to see schools in poor districts under-perform decade after decade after decade with little or no consequence or change to the way they are organized or run.

One of the things that amazes me any time Kevin posts things on education is that people posting opinions devoid of actual facts.

Right back at you.

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Prety much wrong on all counts, Augustus. And you obviously know absolutely nothing about SURR, which isn't even a program. "D-. See me after class. With your parents."

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Mark Rippy - thanks for your hard work and observations.

Posted by: F. Frederson on November 8, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII:

As far as documentation goes, the National Center for Education Statistics study "Homeschooling in the United States: 2003" finds that, on average, homeschooling parents are somewhat better educated than the norm and somewhat lower income. This probably comes from college-educated parent(s) choosing to invest their time in their children instead of their career track. By the way, the same study found that of homeschooled children only "30 percent had parents who said the most important reason was to provide religious or moral instruction."

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/homeschool/

Posted by: pls on November 8, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus, I'm confused. Posted by: cmac

No. Actually, it's Augustus who is confused. A concern troll full of "accountability" pus.

"Make all these students learn or I'll fire your ass."

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

jefff: I think your "everyone is just as bad as everyone else" ideology is blinding you to the fact that if the last seven years have proved anything it is that with privatization you don't get what you pay forinstead a bunch of cronies get rich and make campaign contributions.

I assure you it has not. The level of corruption and incompetence from the GOP is staggering to be sure. But just because they have abused the way government contracts are given out and run does not undermine the basic fact that private enterprise can and does excel (and fail, but private entities that fail usually go out of business whereas failing bureaucracies can continue to exist indefinitely) even in education (many of the best schools and universities are private).

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Be honest,

How many of you read the comments just to see what absurdities are uttered by Al, Egbert, Norm Rogers, Orwell, and their ilk?

A 156 IQ, Egbert. Honestly.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on November 8, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Speaking as an educator," Max, care to document that since I've read the exact opposite?

Try this dated but still useful study.

From the Abstract:

This report presents the results of the largest survey and testing program for students in home schools to date. In Spring 1998, 20,760 K-12 home school students in 11,930 families were administered either the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) or the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP), depending on their current grade. The parents responded to a questionnaire requesting background and demographic information. Major findings include: the achievement test scores of this group of home school students are exceptionally high--the median scores were typically in the 70th to 80th percentile; 25% of home school students are enrolled one or more grades above their age-level public and private school peers; this group of home school parents has more formal education than parents in the general population; the median income for home school families is significantly higher than that of all families with children in the United States; and almost all home school students are in married couple families. Because this was not a controlled experiment, the study does not demonstrate that home schooling is superior to public or private schools and the results must be interpreted with caution. The report clearly suggests, however, that home school students do quite well in that educational environment.

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on November 8, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, why are you always so down on charter schools? There are not just a Repub conspiracy, there are plenty of those on the left involved. As has been pointed above, the success of charter schools depends on the program, the resources and the state regulations. They can work but are no panacea. But trying getting something done in your local public school system - almost impossible. Most districts are run for the convenience of the administrators and the teachers, not for the benefit of students (or parents).

Posted by: RK on November 8, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Taking funds from school systems already struggling to start yet another public school within the same district is pretty retarded.

Quite frankly, I don't understand this mindset. The ideal is that the parents are supposed to control the schools. Given that this isn't a reality for most school districts in towns larger than 10,000 people, it makes sense that parents would want the option to drill down to the finest granularity possible-- the ability to start a local, neighborhood school.

Schools that are "struggling" normally have institutional problems that go far beyond being solved by parents "getting more involved." I also detest this mindset that somehow the parents are at fault for not "being involved" when the teaching is poor, the discipline situation is a problem, and the central office administration is sclerotic.

Posted by: Tyro on November 8, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus, I'm confused. Do you equate voucher schools with charter schools? They aren't the same thing at all - vouchers are funds diverted from public education to parents so they can send their children to private schools; charter schools are public, but remove themselves from district control.

I understand the difference, but they also have overlapping commonalities. They both divert funds from public school districts and reduce their influence/control. They can both be abused politically as end runs around desegregation (poorer families have a harder time providing transportation - so charter schools and private schools that take vouchers have an added soft barrier against poorer students).

As for your contention that public schools have the money, but no accountability - what planet are you living on?

Comparatively speaking public schools do tend to have more money per student than your average private school, charter school (not counting start up funding), or the value of a voucher. Nor am I talking about the tiny nominal amount that public schools receive per student per day, but their entire operating budgets, districts offices and included, divided by the number of students.

You see the problem - my posts are already long enough without having to qualify ever single generality.

I've found with discussions about education is that it often ends up being more contentious than discussions on religion. If you speak specifically about one district your argument gets rebutted because there is so much difference district to district, yet alone state to state. If you speak generally, you get attacked with specific examples (never mind that those specific rebuttals are themselves are not necessarily generally true, either), such as your example of teachers having to buy supplies for their students.

I've seen district offices that seem to have plenty of money for a constant stream of new furniture as well as bureaucrats earning six figures who have no teaching credentials, that never step on a school campus, and who regularly put in less than a full work week. Some districts simply have an unacceptable level of waste and inertia.

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

egbert: I was homeschooled as a youth.

You don't say.
Posted by: Gregory

now, now, be nice to egbert's mom. it isn't her fault the poor boy didn't pay attention.

i did wonder if the person who administered the i.q. test was the same person who taught him to spell, though.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on November 8, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

No. Success boils almost entirely down to the socio-economic standings of the parents. Teachers can augment this or hinder it, but not change it.

Nonsense. This attitude is such a typical American cop-out that evinces thinly veiled racial prejudices. The other top 20 industrialized nations manage to do a better job educating their poor kids than we do. Blaming "socio-economic" factors for under-performance in education is just the middle-class way of saying it's difficult to teach "blacks" and "Hispanics".

If you take the time to break this attitude down more precisely, you will find the average person fully expects that a poor white or Asian kid will succeed if they are placed in a good school early enough.

Hang all the swords over the necks of all the "bad" teachers and administrators in economically depressed areas you want, but it won't do shit for the performance of the school.

Threatening teachers usually isn't the answer, but lack of accountability from school administrators often can be. It's no magic bullet, but it's simply insane for anyone to suggest that it's bad to have any accountability at any level of a school's management.

The home environment is paramount to determining how the majority of children will perform in school.

True. But that's only because our school systems are generally so poor at providing any real substantive guidance and encouragement on their own. Funny that the quality of education in so many other industrialized nations isn't so dependent on the parents.

Anyone that claims otherwise either has no children or seems to think that raising his children is somehow the sole responsibility of the schools.

This has to be one of the single most asinine but widely accepted notions, that somehow having a child gives you some kind of special insight into everything, such as how a complex government bureaucracy should operate. If the down-syndrome meth addict next door had a kid, by your logic she'd know more than congressman Barney Frank on how schools should be run.

Wow, and I'm against vouchers and not especially keen on charter schools.

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

[oops] Wow, and I'm against vouchers and not especially keen on charter schools... and yet I'm getting attacked in part because I dared to suggest that a public (government run) school system wasn't inherently more likely to succeed over a privately run school. (Nor did it help to say that it's bad to have blind allegiance to any political party... because that always provokes blind hatred).

But the truth is that Democrats too often roll over too easily to teachers unions while Republicans see charter and voucher schools as a way to weaken the teachers unions and make an end-run around government-mandated rules (desegregation, prohibitions on teaching religion in the schools, etc.

Decade after decade America's schools continue to under-perform the other industrialized nations in almost every single subject. And usually for a fraction of the cost.

And yes, a big part of the problem is that you can't even carry on a semi-rational discussion about it without people accusing you of being a troll, a Republican "accountability" apologist, people blaming parents and everybody else while demanding zero accountability for teachers and school administrators, and so on.

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Try this dated but still useful study. Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi

Yep. Horribly out of date (1998) and, nope, not particularly useful because of this

. . . this group of home school parents has more formal education than parents in the general population; the median income for (these) home school families is significantly higher than that of all families with children in the United States; and almost all home school students are in married couple families. Because this was not a controlled experiment, the study does not demonstrate that home schooling is superior to public or private schools and the results must be interpreted with caution.

Gee, do think they might have gotten the same dramatic results if they'd tested kids going to expensive, non-parochial private schools?

Again, home-schooling is only as good as the parent(s) doing the schooling.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Let's stick to the established facts:

Poverty accounts for approximately two-thirds the variance of student performance. Not nothing; not everything. Two-thirds. The good news, as I see every day in my job, you can do a helluva lot with that remaining one-third. From what I've seen being in a large urban district since the late-80s (second career), to achieve this in a high poverty city, the most imporant metric is, qite simply, the principal.

As for parent variables, the single most powerful SES indicator (Socio-economic status), is mother's education. It accounts for 82% of the variance of SES. (Add father's education in the mix and you have 96% of the variance.) Not even a combination of other SES indicators (income, census tract, the federal Lunch Code, which is used by all schools) even comes close.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Results? We don't need no stinkin' results...

Posted by: Kit Stolz on November 8, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK
As I wrote, the home-schooled are only as good as the parent schooling them.

The best predictor of educational success, homeschooled or not, in the studies I've seen is the educational attainment of your parents, so I'd say that's true, but not just of the home-schooled.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 8, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

"How many of you read the comments just to see what absurdities are uttered by Al, Egbert, Norm Rogers, Orwell, and their ilk?"

Guilty as charged, although I don't read them all. The first few stanzas are enough.

cmdicely is always worth reading.

"A 156 IQ, Egbert. Honestly."

Adults who cite their I.Q. are looking for the respect they never get for some obvious reason.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on November 8, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

This attitude is such a typical American cop-out that evinces thinly veiled racial prejudices. . . . Blaming "socio-economic" factors for under-performance in education is just the middle-class way of saying it's difficult to teach "blacks" and "Hispanics".

No. Poor white kids typically perform as poorly or worse than Hispanic or Black kids in the same schools.

In a bad family environment "anchored" by a one or even two parents that never went beyond HS (or maybe didn't graduate), it is unlikely that even natively intelligent children will perform well in school.

This has to be one of the single most asinine but widely accepted notions, that somehow having a child gives you some kind of special insight into everything, . . .Posted by: Augustus

So, in other words, you have no children, at least none in public schools?

Having children doesn't give one "special insight into everything." But is does give one a pretty thorough understanding of how public schools work.

Back to LGF concern troll.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Having children does give one insights. You see people without children who have great insights, but it's rare. Another step, also: Have a child with special needs.

Careful about performances of poor white versus poor Black and poor Hispanic - or middle class. There are still gaps, although controlling for SES does bring it down a lot - but it can still be present. Boys of color are clearly the most at-risk for school failure. And gender gaps are often larger then racial/ethnic gaps. In an annual early grade study of which I am an ongoing author, we see as large as a one year gap between white girls and boys of color, at the end of Kindergarten - those who attended a quality Pre-K - e.g., a comparative elite. Watch gender gaps be one of the next big things, as it should be.

Oh and Augustus, "quality" at Pre-K means use of the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale - Revised (ECERS-R; Harms, Clifford and Cryer), the most internationally adopted instrument for classroom environments. The inter-rater reliability coefficients on this measure (which has "well-behaved psychometrics," btw) was greater than .95 for 2006-07. This is the most rigorous in not only educational research, but any research. Right back at you.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "The reason why conservatives and economists support a free market solution to public education is because the result of capitalism and the free market is a spectacular success."

My late grandfather, a vice-president of First Western Bank of California back in the 1920s and '30s, and one of the founders of the American Institute of Banking, would have disagreed vehemently with your simmplistic and quaint notions as to the predatory nature of unfettered capitalism, and upon further discussion with you would have publicly dismissed you as an ignorant bimbo -- just like I will.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 8, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII,

I at least provided some data. You made a (so far unsubstantiated) claim about what you had "read."

Max, care to document that since I've read the exact opposite? As I wrote, the home-schooled are only as good as the parent schooling them. And as most home-schooled children come from lower income extremely religious families (aka the religious right) I doubt that they test any better than children in the local public schools.

The fact is, you're ignorant when it comes to homeschooling. Most home schooling families are NOT poor and extremely religious. The latest NCES study indicated that religious reasons were not even the most common reason for choosing to homeschool. But that study came out in 2003 and is, I'm sure, horribly out of date, too.

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on November 8, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

As for parent variables, the single most powerful SES indicator (Socio-economic status), is mother's education. It accounts for 82% of the variance of SES.

Forest for the trees. We're dealing with two entirely different things: relative performance of students to one another within a closed system (America) versus how American students compare as a whole to students in other industrialized nations.

Thus the correlation between parental education and a student's performance will explain why Abe (whose parents are college educated) will outperform his classmate Bob (whose parents only went to high school). But it doesn't explain why American students as a whole (Abe and Bob) tend to dramatically under-perform almost all other students from the other top 20 industrialized nations on the planet.

Blaming mom is a shallow cop-out that serves the suspiciously convenient expedient of absolving American schools of responsibility for the exceptionally poor product they produce, as compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

And yes, Europe has a similarly high correlation to student performance and parental education. And yet as a group they - and most other industrialized nations - manage to outperform American students as a whole EVEN THOUGH America is near the top (top 7) of nations with people holding college degrees.

To put it more simply, we have more college educated parents than the next dozen industrialized nations whose children nevertheless beat our children in just about every academic subject.

You can blame socio-economic factors all you want, but they simply do not explain this huge under-performance.

Nor should anyone forget that there is a very common perception that minority kids are the ones bringing down the averages; part of the unspoken appeal of charter schools and private schools that accept vouchers is that they can provide an added soft barrier against the inclusion of poorer students, e.g. poorer parents are less likely to take advantage of these programs, and these schools are less likely to provide transportation to their students.

Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

I at least provided some data. You made a (so far unsubstantiated) claim about what you had "read."
Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi

I provided three different links, including the NCES study. It was in the NHES study for 2001, cited by in the U.S. Census, where the most commonly cited reason for home schooling was religious (33%) and "moral" reasons (10%). Nothing else stated as a reason for home-schooling had the same response.

Yes, the 2003 NCES study shows only 30% citing religious reasons, just behind "school environment" at 31%, which are actually overlapping reasons with regard to religious concerns. Educational standards came in as third most important.

The 2003 NCES study also shows that the household income of

Both homeschooled students and public schooled students were less likely than private schooled students to be part of households with annual incomes above $75,000 and more likely to be part of households with annual incomes of $25,000 or less. Twenty-two percent of homeschooled students and 25 percent of public schooled students lived in households with annual incomes above $75,000, compared with 50 percent of private schooled students. Twenty-six percent of both homeschooled and public schooled students lived in households with annual incomes of $25,000 or less, compared with 9 percent of private schooled students.

Reading this suggests that, at best, most home-schooled children are from lower-middle to low income households. Perhaps not "dirt poor," but if the $75K is for a household of four, that's barely middle-income.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

80% of the restaurants out there suck. 80% of the CDs out there are trash. 80% of the mp3 players out there can't hold a candle to the iPod. You know what, they are out there, but nobody buys them. Of if they have one bad meal, they never go back. That is the discipline markets put on every other product out there. It may be that isolated private schools can still be bad today, because the only alternative is public schools that are worse. This argument about lack of accountability of private products is just absurd. The only lack of accountability is when the government uses force to ensure a total monopoly.

Oh yeah, and I am really sure the school district evaluators were totally disinterested in grading their competition. I am sure Burger King would give McDonalds and F too if they were allowed to be the one to provide the grade.

Posted by: coyote on November 8, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

God, Augustus, you are pathetic, devoid of actual truth, facts, etc. Fellow posters: Find out what Augusts thinks; know the opposite is true. The rest is not even worth dignifying.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 8, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

You can blame socio-economic factors all you want, but they simply do not explain this huge under-performance. Posted by: Augustus

That's pretty much the only reason, as the U.S. population is greater than "the next 12 industrialized nations" and has a great number of people in poverty. Furthermore, America has, unlike a lot of other nations, a single secondary educational track. I know the UK has essentially tow, and Japan has three tiers of secondary education and removes from graduation statistics those students who leave school after the 8th grade, thus inflating graduation rates by perhaps 5%. There test scores there are from the students in the highest education track. I know this for a fact having taught in Japan.

No one here argues that American schools couldn't do a better job overall though, again, it's primarly "inner city" schools and rural schools struggling the most and bringing test scores and the like down, Again, these are the schools that serve the children of primarily lower income families where, more than likely, neither parent went beyond HS.

You cite test scores as an indicator of how poorly American students fair internationally. Well, look at the Iowa test scores or the scores on state specific tests state-by-state, and you will find that scores are, predictably, higher in school districts, typically suburban, serving the children of middle and upper-middle income households in which at least one parent has graduated from college. So, again, socio-economic factors are the most reliable indicator of student achievement. It's easy to be "accountable" when the overwhelming majority of your students enter the 1st grade "ready to learn." It's just not the same in South-Central LA, the Bronx, most of Detroit, etc., etc.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII:

"Yes, the 2003 NCES study shows only 30% citing religious reasons, just behind "school environment" at 31%, which are actually overlapping reasons with regard to religious concerns."

Uh, they're overlapping because why? You say so? Yea, left-wing parents who are concerned about bullying or a consumer-driven social structure are really, deep down, just right-wing religious fanatics.

I'm overwhelmed with your logic there.

Posted by: pls on November 8, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are soooooooooooooooo full of shit pretending that others' motivations are ideological here while your are "for the kiddies". Spare us.

Besides, nowhere in that NYT article does it tell us how those students were performing in conventional schools. You're smart enough to realize this, but you omit mention of it because your are an ideologically motivated bigot who seeks to mislead.

Posted by: am on November 8, 2007 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

The other top 20 industrialized nations manage to do a better job educating their poor kids than we do.

The top 20 industrialized nations have less poverty, and it's less concentrated. The social safety net is more robust, and destitution is not as severe.

The most insightful comment I read on how to alleviate problems in schools was this: school are very good at teaching people with no children who come to school on a full stomach and have enough space at home to do their homework in peace and quiet. If we can ensure that all students have those things, then the schools can teach them.

Posted by: Tyro on November 8, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Where did the whole crazy idea come from that if local schools are underperforming, the solution is to begin a whole new school presumably to serve the same population? This is so stupid that there have to be other motives. And of course there are---de-unionization among them.

As to home-schooled children and their eventual educational attainments: I read some years ago that listeners of the Rush Limbaugh show rated themselves as "very highly informed" but when submitted to a test of actual current events they almost uniformly failed even with a modest "passing" grade.

Home-schoolers think they are well-educated. It's a faith-based thingie.

Posted by: jprichva on November 8, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII:

The idea of starting a charter school isn't a bad one simply because it takes money from an established public school. Many of the schools that would support your contention that poverty is the main problem -- schools in poor urban areas -- are also very large. There's no obvious economy of scale for education, once you get beyond the point where it's not prohibitively expensive on a per-student basis to equip science labs. In addition, large schools have larger bureaucracies (big cities with unified school districts, or the state of Hawaii with its single superintendant are hugely bureaucratic). So establishing a charter school may allow students to be educated in an environment with fewer students and less of the money going to overhead. I doubt that's actually what you get in most cases (I'm pretty well acquainted with charter schools Waianae and Kaneohe Hawaii), but the concept isn't simply designed to saboutage public schools.

I take it from your remarks on Japan that you were in the JET program. That doesn't really make you an expert on Japanese education, and I suspect the Don Rohlen and Akiko Hashimoto would be surprised by your contention that "test scores there are from the students in the highest education track." From my experience, students at night school, which is definitely not in the highest track, are tested just like the kids at Tsuchiura ichi-ko, and their test scores are included in government statistics. Of course, since you once berated me for being geographically and culturally ignorant when I pointed out that the state of Hawaii is not "an island" and that Shimonoseki is in Japan's southwest, you should feel free to ignore this...

Posted by: keith on November 9, 2007 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus:
Public schools are not "government run," except in the sense that their employees are paid by either the local or state government. In fact, public schools are run by teachers and administrators who are members of the public, and who are answerable to that public. That's why it's called public education.

And, while it is certainly true that public schools are not inherently more likely to succeed than private schools, it is also true that there are no cases of purely private schools successfully educating a majority of any nation's high school age youths... not unless you consider some school systems in northern Europea and maybe Hong Kong, which are nominally "private" but get their funding from public funds and have their curricula dictated by ministries of education.

You might also factor into your "underperformance at higher cost" equation the fact that U.S. schools mainstream the children of migrant workers and kids with physical and emotional disabilities which are often profoundly disabling and which can greatly increase the cost of educating all the students. These same students can obviously lower the cumulaltive test scores for the school at which they're being educated.

yet I'm getting attacked in part because I dared to suggest that a public (government run) school system wasn't inherently more likely to succeed over a privately run school.
Decade after decade America's schools continue to under-perform the other industrialized nations in almost every single subject. And usually for a fraction of the cost.
Posted by: Augustus on November 8, 2007 at 6:33 PM |

Posted by: keith on November 9, 2007 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Thus the correlation between parental education and a student's performance will explain why Abe (whose parents are college educated) will outperform his classmate Bob (whose parents only went to high school). But it doesn't explain why American students as a whole (Abe and Bob) tend to dramatically under-perform almost all other students from the other top 20 industrialized nations on the planet."

What a huge lie. Mean results are totally bogus. The Repukeliscum have been using bogus garbage like this to attack schools unfairly for years.

Posted by: POed Lib on November 9, 2007 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

No other first world country puts the screws to its working poor like America does. Not even close. Sorry, there's just no comparison there.

The fix for bad schools really is universal health care, more jobs, and a much better labor code for those jobs. Probably add on top of that affordable transportation and housing as well. (Including heating costs)

This really is an issue that requires outside the box thinking.

Posted by: Karmakin on November 9, 2007 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

The latest NCES study indicated that religious reasons were not even the most common reason for choosing to homeschool.

No, they were the SECOND most common reason for choosing to homeschool, cited by 72.3% of respondents.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/homeschool/TableDisplay.asp?TablePath=TablesHTML/table_4.asp

Posted by: Pee Cee on November 9, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

The fix for bad schools really is universal health care, more jobs, and a much better labor code for those jobs.

Ah, but "more jobs" is not a policy prescription, it is a policy goal—in terms of policy prescriptions I'd say replace "more jobs" with "a more labor-friendly tax system". Reducing taxes on labor makes it more affordable to hire American workers, and therefore produces more jobs.


Posted by: cmdicely on November 9, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

egbert,

My parents pulled my out of the public education system because they were horrified by what they saw that passed mustard as public "eduction".

Even then you had problems "getting along with others," eh? Why don't you go back and homeschool yourself a private blog.

Posted by: Tripp on November 9, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Thus the correlation between parental education and a student's performance will explain why Abe (whose parents are college educated) will outperform his classmate Bob (whose parents only went to high school). But it doesn't explain why American students as a whole (Abe and Bob) tend to dramatically under-perform almost all other students from the other top 20 industrialized nations on the planet.

Actually, it does. The intense income discrepancy in the US, and in local areas in the US, mean that a really poorly performing Bob is likely to be in the same school, often the same classroom, with the really highly performing Abe. Bob, doing poorly, feeling alienated because of that, and likely acting out as a consequence will consume a lot of the schools resources, reducing Abe's potential.

American society failing Bob educationally—largely a factor not of the schools' failings but the broader social context of the US—leads to American society failing Abe, as well. Sure, Abe will still do very good compared to Bob, but will do badly compared to Abe's counterparts in nations without the same broader problems the US has.


To put it more simply, we have more college educated parents than the next dozen industrialized nations whose children nevertheless beat our children in just about every academic subject.

We also have more non-college educated parents than the next dozen industrialized nations. Proportion, not absolute numbers, is what would make this a bit more relevant.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 9, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The other top 20 industrialized nations manage to do a better job educating their poor kids than we do.

One of the things that appeared in the last school thread was that US students don't underperform all that much. Aside from the East Asian education fanatics (Chinese diaspora + Japan + Korea) There are only three countries significantly higher than the US in math (if you count Estonia as a country-It 's more like an overgrown village). (TIMMS 8th grade Math) Only seven countries ahead of the US in 8th grade science (Two outside East Asia).

Also note a recent study:
that math, science, and reading test scores at the primary and secondary level have increased over the past two decades, and U.S. students are now close to the top of international rankings.

Posted by: mcdruid on November 9, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I also taught in a Japanese High School way back when. I always wondered how they kept my students off the rankings. In general only about one-third of the class would be paying attention, another third talking amongst themselves and a further third sleeping.

Posted by: mcdruid on November 9, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Interestingly enough, in the NCES table that Pee Cee posted, only 16% cited "Dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools" as a reason for Home Schooling. Pretty wimpy, especially considering they were allowed multiple responses.

Posted by: mcdruid on November 9, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

I take it from your remarks on Japan that you were in the JET program.

Nope. Junior college. I've lived in Japan a total of seven years, my wife is Japanese, and my master's from Columbia is in Japanese political-economy. So I've got a pretty good handle on how the country runs.

That doesn't really make you an expert on Japanese education, and I suspect the Don Rohlen

Actually, that's Thomas Rohlen, and his book is crap.

Of course, since you once berated me for being geographically and culturally ignorant when I pointed out that the state of Hawaii is not "an island"Posted by: keith

Last time I checked, Hawaii is an island, several hundred actually.

Posted by: JeffII on November 9, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

One thing I have no doubt is that if we lengthened the school year we would improve learning. The same if we had all day everyday kindergarten, like they did in England when I stayed there.

BUT - the next time a GOOPER starts bad mouthing the schools just offer that suggestion to them and watch them slowly implode. On the one hand the idea of 'being tougher on kids' sounds real good, and they think of that first, but on the other hand paying MORE money sounds real bad. Once they realize that the cognitive dissonance starts revving up and they retreat to spouting slogans. It happens every time.

Posted by: Tripp on November 9, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

In now days we have come through with the some changes in the environment of United States but we have just seem the advantages and disadvantages of this.

In the midst of the call for change in our nations educational system, the officials out in New Hampshire have come up with an idea all their own, which is to push high-schoolers to graduate by 10th grade, or at least some of them. The proposed program will create board exams that students can sit for by the end of their sophomore year, and those that pass can move on to community college or technical schools. However, are 16 year olds really prepared to handle those kinds of responsibilities at that age? Most of us are barely prepared enough by 18, let alone the age we were when we finally graduated. A 16 year old trying to navigate the murky waters of higher education and its burden of tuition, textbooks, and transportation costs is difficult to imagine, and they dont need to grow up any faster. If they fell short, and didnt have parental help to rely on, they wouldnt be old enough to get payday loans if they needed one to cover school costs.

Click to read more on Payday Loans

Posted by: Lisa P on November 14, 2008 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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