Wed Jul 11, 2012, 03:39 PM
Steerpike (2,363 posts)
The possible and impossible of education
I posted most of this in a thread regarding education in LBN. I feel it deserves its own thread, so here I post.
Right now I feel that the American education system is fatally flawed. It seems we try to do as little as possible with the least amount of money and for that matter without coherent planning or leadership.
There is no plan. No child left behind is not a plan. It is a scheme to destabilize an already unstable system. There is very little money. Every year budgets go down because of lack of funding. Some people say (republic-pigs) that money has nothing to do with it. I only agree to the extent that it is not only money that is lacking but leadership and resources as well.
It is about resources and money as well as leadership. We spend untold billions of dollars and assign at least as much in resources on killing and controlling people in endless wars and yet as a nation we cannot find it in our hearts to devote as much to the education of our children. That shows a lack of leadership...a lack of vision.
There are many options we could explore. Teachers with complicated curriculum's should be assigned Teachers Assistants to aid in grading and assist in guiding students in assignments. It is crucial to get the student teacher ratios to a realistic balance.
Advanced Placement Students should have the opportunity to attend special advanced classes. Children with higher IQ's need to be given challenges that suit their strengths.
Children who are musically or artistically inclined should have dedicated academies they can be bussed to that offer prep classes that lead to Masters Skills in the arts. It is important to not only stress Math, Science and Reading but the Arts as well.
Classes should be offered in Industrial Arts: Auto Repair, Culinary Arts, Carpentry, Welding and other skills that can begin at the High School Level.
Not all children want or need a college-centric curriculum. Many students would love to learn a trade skill that can lead to higher incomes without the benefit of a degree.
Free Lunch and Transportation Should be available to all students.Certainly we can do this. We can afford to do this if we just cut back on bombs and bullet. For every woman or child we neglect to kill overseas we can feed hundreds of or own children here in the United States.
Special Needs students should receive as much funding as they need to not only teach personal skills but also how to navigate in their cities. I have often heard people blame these children for the lack of funding available to advanced students. This is untrue we have enough money for all. We just prefer to spend that money on other things.
Physical Education should continue to be offered not just as simple calisthenics but also in a variety of team sports available not just for boys but for girls too.
In this country and in the administration of this country we would rather spend our money elsewhere. Such a pity...such a waste. As in so many other areas that we are concerned with as Democrats, real answers are neither addressed nor even acknowledged. We are living in an intellectual vacuum created by our leaders and the media.
It is not just about money. Without money, resources and leadership together, nothing is possible.
4 replies, 672 views
The possible and impossible of education (Original post)
Response to Steerpike (Original post)
Wed Jul 11, 2012, 05:49 PM
Spike89 (1,569 posts)
2. Mostly agree, but we don't have 1 national system...
for better or worse (and it is a mixed bag) the U.S. does NOT have an education system--it has about 10,000 locally-controlled and most locally-funded school districts. Most of the reforms you've mentioned are local school issues. The almost ignored reality is that that the federal government only contributes about 5% of the average public school's budget. This is by design. It is enough that states and districts must pay attention, but it isn't enough to really force a strong federal control.
Schools are hurting for money, that is not in dispute. However, it isn't because Washington doesn't put enough money directly into schools, it is because the states and local districts are broke, often because anti-tax zealots have been very successful at killing property tax and local bond issues.
If you really want to create a true federal education system, you could go a long way (potentially) toward equalizing opportunities. Economically-challenged communities and prosperous communities might finally have the same educational financial support. Textbooks, and curriculum could become standardized across the country. Students could transfer much more easily between schools, even over state or region lines.
The price for such a system is high, and doesn't involve money (up front at least). The obvious problem is the loss of local control. Sure, that can be either good or bad as far as policies go, but it will certainly constrain local participation and "ownership". From a curriculum standpoint, it could be a disaster. The feds already use their puny 5% funding rate to play politics with our kids--giving them more power is a dangerous idea. For instance, W. pushed as hard as he could on the whole sex-ed/abstinance issue, but really didn't have a huge effect on how most schools responded. Double, triple, or go 20X the funding percentage to create a federal education system and you'd have an entire generation of pregnant teens wondering why no one told them about the pill, condoms, or other birth control options.
You might even think it would be great to pull all the "backward" districts into a homogenized system where every government school taught evolution, the facts on global warming, etc. That is a pipe dream--much more likely you'd get a national curriculum so full of compromises that it might as well be the "backward" version.
There's more, but the point is that school reform isn't as simple as taking the money from the Pentagon and giving it to the schools.
Response to Spike89 (Reply #2)
Wed Jul 11, 2012, 06:30 PM
Steerpike (2,363 posts)
3. Hey Spike89!
Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply! You have definately supplied fuel for some thoughtful fires lit in my mind.
Anyone else care to dream on line regarding education and what we should do? Perhaps a thought on what you feel we can do?
Response to Steerpike (Reply #3)
Thu Jul 12, 2012, 12:08 PM
Spike89 (1,569 posts)
4. Left out my "positive" steps...
I really would like to see the federal government shift money from the pentagon into supporting states. I just don't want to see them do it directly in the area of education. Help states fully fund medical, transportation, social services and then the states can afford to fund their local education systems. I do think the feds could and should provide more lump sum "non-directed" educational economic support to the states, but the trend is actually the opposite--more and more federal money for schools is coming with significant strings attached.
I think the biggest problem in education today is really the same one that is wreaking havoc in virtually every other government service area--the unAmerican and deeply destructive "anti-tax at all cost" movement, aka the tea party. Refusing to invest in this country is so misguided--it is Orwellian that they claim to be patriots!
In short, I really do believe that if you make more funds available for local schools, most will show rapid improvement in virtually every category.