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View Diary: The Myth of Failing Schools (216 comments)

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  •  Sorry, that was overly snarky (14+ / 0-)

    But I think that sometimes we come at the problem too tightly tied to our own personal experiences rather than recognizing the diversity of the problem.

    I do not think there is much 'wasted' money in education. Frankly, the dollars are very tight.

    There are a lot of innovations, and ways that more innovations could make things better.

    I wish I had better answers for reaching the parents who don't participate in our school. It's important, especially to reach our ESL parents, and to get their feedback and assistance.

    One thing the school did recently was that a spanish-speaking administrator set up a tour of the school campuses with as many ESL parents as she could get. It sounded like the result was very positive and that this will help bring these parents to other events. Fingers crossed that a stronger relationship will develop there.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 07:50:01 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Most of the waste is at the administrative level (11+ / 0-)

      Even then, I'm not sure how much of it is truly "waste" - beside the obscene amount of money paid to the stupid testing companies.  

      I was a great student, and even I hated the tests.  Hated them all.  I can't imagine what kids today go through with those tests occurring twice a year. Testing days were terrible, especially since back then the kids never actually learned the results of the test unless they failed or scored so astronomically high they were tested for the gifted program.  The school system considered it none of our business, but I really would have liked to have known at the time.  

      Conservatives: They love America. They hate actual Americans.

      by catwho on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 08:21:10 PM PDT

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      •  Some districts probably do waste at the admin (5+ / 0-)

        level, and probably more so the larger the district. However, administrators do a lot of important tasks, and good ones work as hard as good teachers do.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 09:37:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Since teachers generally don't run their schools.. (5+ / 0-)

        the people with the real decision making power are at the district or even state level.  They require an entire infrastructure between them and the actual teachers and students in the school that they are managing from afar to give them feedback and carry out the decisions that they make on that feedback.  I think there is a lot of money paid to maintain those degrees of separation.

        Also I think this separation and resulting standardization creates the needs for standardized textbooks rather than teachers having the power to set their curriculum based on more local, more natural, less formal and expensive curriculum resources.  The billions spent on ever changing textbooks takes away from the money spent in the schools themselves on the learning environment including teachers' salaries.

        Finally the separation between far away decision makers and the recipients of those decisions created the need for all the standardized testing, which also sucks billions out of the school environments.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 08:25:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Different problems in different places (4+ / 0-)

          For example, some districts (including LAUSD) have the problem of lots of kids that move frequently. In those cases, having a set curriculum and having every grade in every school on the same schedule is very important to supporting those (generally low achieving) kids.

          I hate the idea of a fixed curriculum everywhere and I value choices, but in some places it's being done for a significant and important reason.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 09:26:00 AM PDT

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          •  My kids were in LAUSD & my concern... (0+ / 0-)

            was that it seemed that only half the kids were interested in that sort of pre-digested standardized curriculum, while the other half were not, did not want to be in class and tended to drag down the energy of the classroom for the teacher and the kids who wanted to be there.  That other 50% needed other options than the conventional instruction.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 11:05:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I would argue exactly the opposite... (0+ / 0-)

            with kids that move a lot, the teacher would better be able to serve his/her class if the curriculum was flexible. It could change to the needs of that classroom that year.

            •  The issue is that you might have the same child (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              in 4 different classrooms during the year.

              The idea of all the classrooms in lockstep is personally distressing to me, but people I respect tell me that for these kids, who get very lost in the system, this change has made a positive difference.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 06:08:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's actually part of the problem, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

                I was a kid that was jumped around like that.

                We moved from England to California. I was ahead in reading and behind in math.

                When I arrived they put me in 1st grade. Teachers felt I was not well served. They skipped me to 2nd.

                The second year they decided that I wasn't ready for third so they kept me in 2nd.

                The third year they decided that I needed to be in 4th grade so they had me skip 3rd.

                I learned how to write cursive and do my multiplication tables at home because I missed them in 3rd grade.

                What a mess. If the school would have had a system designed where kids could progress as needed with mixed age students, the process would not have been anywhere near as painful.

                And, yes, my own experience as an elementary student and military kid lead to my decision to homeschool my boys as we moved around from base to base.

                Schools that experience large populations of moving families should adapt.

      •  Or in areas that have been privatized (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        i like bbq, Neon Mama

        E.g. janitorial services. These things "save" a penny at the expense of poorer quality work, which then falls onto the teacher to make up for, degrading the quality of the school and the morale of the teachers.

        There was a great diary on this a month ago, I don't have the link :(

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 08:28:15 AM PDT

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        •  That's the problem with having guilds in place (0+ / 0-)

          of Unions.

          All over the country, through the 80's and 90's, the unions the maintenance and janitorial staffs of our public schools belong too were broken, and the Teachers Guilds did nothing.

          "I'm tired of hearing that it's "pragmatic" to support positions that most people oppose." RFK Lives

          by JesseCW on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 10:27:14 AM PDT

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    •  Have you been to Texas? (5+ / 0-)

      School districts spend millions of dollars on, get this, football stadiums.

      27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-07 (originally), liberal-leaning independent

      by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 01:21:37 AM PDT

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      •  And in our school district it's spent on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, i like bbq

        new school buildings. Doesn't sound bad except they close community schools which results in reducing the number of teachers and increasing classroom size.    

        -if there is hope it lies in the proles.

        by nipit on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 08:18:08 AM PDT

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        •  Often buildings are funded out of different (0+ / 0-)

          (one-time) money that cannot be used for operations.

          Also, don't underestimate the need in many cases. School buildings take a lot of abuse and for example may not be able to accommodate the extra wiring needs for computers and the like.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 09:30:15 AM PDT

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          •  The schools were built with (0+ / 0-)

            money from bonds. Voters actually voted for it thinking their kids would get a better education because they were getting a new school. After the older schools were shut down, the communities where schools closed deteriorated and property values sunk. Their kids were bused instead of walking to school and the classroom size increased. The school board put forth another school bond last year and the voters voted it down soundly. The school board and superintendent are out of touch because they are trying to pass another bond. It's not going to happen. I believe they could pass one if they used the money to upgrade existing schools and fund more technology initiatives.

            -if there is hope it lies in the proles.

            by nipit on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 12:54:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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