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It’s Time to Leave the Government Schools

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It’s Time to Leave the Government Schools

By Linda Dobson

The education news headlines speak for themselves about the state of America’s schools today, so I’m just going to collect them in one handy spot for your consideration. These problems, they’re just beginning. If you choose to homeschool, you can bypass it all and give your child an excellent, joy-filled education.

The following are just snippets from news reports about schools. To see the entire article, just click the title which is a link.

ILLINOIS – A Parent Revolution

Emanuel has a lot of big decisions to make. None will be more important than his choice to run the school system. We’re confident he will find someone who is as impatient as he is for change in public education. And that the mayor-elect will stand by his CEO when the political heat comes. Because it will come, if the CEO does his job.

The new chief will complete a teacher evaluation system based on student growth, rewarding the best performers. The new chief will enlist parents to be more active and require principals to sign a performance contract, both part of Emanuel’s platform. The new chief will demand in a new labor agreement a longer school day and year.

The new chief also will have to close a $750 million budget gap.

Emanuel will have to become chief cheerleader in Springfield for a reform agenda. Reform doesn’t stop at Chicago’s city limits. Lawmakers in Springfield are considering dramatic changes statewide: freeing school districts to make layoffs based on performance, not seniority; making it easier to pay good teachers well and fire ineffective teachers; prohibiting teacher strikes.

None of that will be easy. As the parents are learning in Compton, you can make some powerful foes when you put kids first.

WASHINGTON –Seattle Superintendent Fired in Wake of Finance Scandal

Maria Goodloe-Johnson, who has led the 47,000-student Seattle district since early 2007, was ousted by a unanimous vote of the school board after a state audit brought to light improper activity in the district’s small business contracting program.

The audit, which was released Feb. 23, said that the district spend more than $1.5 million for a “questionable public purpose,” and close to $300,000 on services that it did not receive.

The program was originally created to help small businesses learn how to bid for contracts at the school district. It provided training and technical assistance to companies at no cost. But the district administrator who ran the program steered contracts toward companies that charged the district inflated prices for questionable services, the audit said. For example, Seattle schools paid a vendor nearly $75,000 for training materials that appeared to be copied from other sources. The administrator, Silas Potter, resigned in 2010, and the program has been shut down.

NEW YORK – New York’s School Testing Con

In a stunningly short time, from 2006 to 2009, New York schools celebrated what was presented as a tremendous turnaround. The number of city students passing statewide math tests in the third through eighth grades surged from 58% to 82%. At the same time, the Big Apple graduation rate rose from 49% to an all-time high of 63% last year.

The figures were miraculous.

They were also, for the most part, a lie.

While the scores have risen, real achievement has lagged. Behind the curtain, an erosion of standards has led to a generation of New Yorkers who have been handed high school diplomas but can’t handle the rigors of college or careers.

A new state report finds just 23% of city grads leave high school ready to succeed in college or the work world. About 75% who enrolled at CUNY community colleges flunked the entrance exam, and must take one or more remedial classes in math, reading and writing.

TEXAS – Leaving Children Behind

Texas likes to portray itself as a model of small government, and indeed it is. Taxes are low, at least if you’re in the upper part of the income distribution (taxes on the bottom 40 percent of the population are actually above the national average). Government spending is also low. And to be fair, low taxes may be one reason for the state’s rapid population growth, although low housing prices are surely much more important.

But here’s the thing: While low spending may sound good in the abstract, what it amounts to in practice is low spending on children, who account directly or indirectly for a large part of government outlays at the state and local level.

And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.

But wait — how can graduation rates be so low when Texas had that education miracle back when former President Bush was governor? Well, a couple of years into his presidency the truth about that miracle came out: Texas school administrators achieved low reported dropout rates the old-fashioned way — they, ahem, got the numbers wrong.

IDAHO – Wisconsin In Idaho: Fighting for Teachers

The fight in Idaho is targeted directly at teachers, the only union with any strength at all in this “right-to-work” state. The superintendent of public education, Tom Luna, has proposed a new education plan that would slash 770 teaching positions across the state (a significant chunk in a small-population state), increasing class sizes and picking up the slack with online learning—every high school student would get a laptop.

The Idaho Statesman ran what in another state would have been a deal-breaking story, detailing how Luna’s major campaign donors and cronies in for-profit education will cash in on his plan.

See also”Education News from Around America: RI; NM; OR; WA; ID

schoolsIf you have children in government schools, I highly recommend you read John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education. It won’t cost you a cent. It’s available in its entirety free online, and will help you understand why our schools are in the shape they’re in today; one day your children will thank you.

 

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2 Responses to “It’s Time to Leave the Government Schools”

  1. Ben Bennett says:

    Most of our problems with government schooling today can easily be explained, once you realize that what we have created, is a Government Education Complex. Just like we have a Military Industrial Complex that feeds upon the taxpayer and inefficiently perpetuates itself, the same can be said of our system of public, taxpayer supported schooling.

    The GEC is explained here: http://skippingschool.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/th

  2. You're right, Mr. Bennett…thanks – once again – for reading and adding your wisdom.

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