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View Diary: The problem with NBC's Education Nation -  where are the voices of parents and teachers? (279 comments)

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  •  I did not say it was but I was addressing the (0+ / 0-)

    assertion that our schools are doing a decent job of educating our children and that is just not true.  It is true for the first group but not the others.  Vouchers are not entirely bad...there is a subset of students that have such special needs that public schools cannot help them, even by throwing lots of money at them.  Those students should be considered for exceptions to the general support of public programs.    

    "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

    by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:03:13 AM PDT

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    •  To me, the problems of schools in highly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster, cassidy3, Azazello

      underfunded districts are a result of those communities (governments?) failing the schools - not of the schools failing the community. I don't claim that they're doing a great job at educating our children, but I do suspect that many of them are doing about the best job we can expect, given the lack of support they've been given. It may be a cliche, but you really do "get what you pay for".

      There are many dedicated teachers (and probably a few bad ones) in any school system, but I don't fault educators who work in schools with systemic violence not being addressed by administrations, buildings falling apart and not being repaired, students lacking books that were never ordered, etc etc, for those problems.

      I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:16:43 AM PDT

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      •  It could be but even in country will fewer (0+ / 0-)

        resources one of the things that makes a difference in length of time in the classroom. At risk students lives need more structure because they may not get it at home...longer school days and years would go a long way to giving these students a better basis for success.

        I do not understand why we still think it is necessary for children to have so much time off, it is not done in other countries and it certainly should not be the case for our most at risk population.

        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

        by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:26:06 AM PDT

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    •  sorry, vouchers are pretty bad (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassidy3, Azazello

      in most cases they do not pay the cost of education in a non-public setting. In far too many cases those receiving them were not enrolled or planning to be enrolled in public settings.

      If a private organization wants to fund charters that is not as bad as removing funds from public schools for such a purpose.  Even so, the way tax laws are often set up one can gain a tax advantage in contributing to a privately run voucher program and receiving a voucher back for one's own child.  

      They were proposed by Milton Friedman as a way of moving away - completely away - from the idea of having public schools.

      As matter of state law, using such a voucher, if publicly funded, in a religious school, may violate provisions of state constitutions.

      As a practical matter, the data on students who have used vouchers to go to non-public settings does not demonstrate a superior performance than they were making in the public schools, even by the standard of test scores, which ain't a particularly good measure to deal with.  And too many receiving schools since they are non-public and the voucher is given to the family as a benefit and not the school will not even participate in such tests, thus denying the ability to do meaningful comparisons on the basis of test scores.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:24:44 AM PDT

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      •  I have to respectfully disagree. If a school (0+ / 0-)

        allows a student to reach the seventh grade doing third grade work...what is a parent to do.  The school is clearly not meeting the child's needs and a parent needs the option of doing something different and since their tax money is involved...they should be able to leverage it and opt out.  

        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

        by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:36:16 AM PDT

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        •  sorry to inform you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sandblaster

          but in some cases that is directly a case of parental pressure.  Trust me, I have seen it in high school as well.

          Yes there are cases where that happens where it shouldn't.   The teachers might have too many kids to address the needs of all.  The child might have an undiagnosed learning disability.  Hell, in many school systems we do not check for vision and hearing issues that have serious impact upon how a child learns.

          I don't think you will ever find me saying that simply passing a child through is an appropriate answer.  But there is overwhelming evidence that holding a child back does as much if not more damage to the long term academic success of that child.

          The issue should be why the child is not able to read at a level appropriate to the task before her/him.   And then what can we do to address the needs of that child?  Such a problem needs to be examined in terms of the individual child, rather than merely using such examples as sticks to beat up on people to achieve a particular educational policy we favor even if does nothing to help that child.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:22:38 AM PDT

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          •  So my question is, are these stats still true and (0+ / 0-)

            if so...how in world did this happen with all the money we have thrown at education.  

            According to the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 37 percent of fourth graders and 26 percent of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level; and on the 2002 NAEP 26 percent of twelfth graders cannot read at the basic level.

            Does it make any sense to move students forward that cannot read.  Isn't it a complete waste of time and money.

            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

            by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 11:38:22 AM PDT

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            •  NAEP proficiency levels are problematic (0+ / 0-)

              to begin with

              but of greater importance, children develop at different rates.  Some children who are considered lagging middle elementary grades are simply developmentally behind.

              That then raises a question not of whether or not they should be promoted, but whether the underlying problem is actually our insistence on moving children through a variety of subjects in cohorts when they develop at different rates for different subjects.

              Some behind in reading are ahead in math, and similarly the other way.   That is not accounted for with the gross statistics you cite.

              Further, a good chunk of those behind catch up, but others fall behind, even though they were on level on 4th grade.  Why?  

              And even for those legitimately behind, how much of that is directly due to the kinds of programs we have been pushing at a national level?  In the case of reading, we spent millions on Reading First when in fact there was no data to support its purported success.  Eventually even the Department of Education had to agree with what a Congressional investigation clearly showed.

              It helps to understand how statistics are obtained, and in what context, before attributing too much weight to them.

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 11:52:39 AM PDT

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