Sad, Really Sad

by lewwaters

Once again we are being asked all over the state to approve levies to send more money to schools, just as we have done nearly every election. School levies usually pass easily and funding never seems to be enough, according to the Teachers Union.

As our legislature focused primarily on homosexual marriage so far this session, some sorely needed education reform bills died in committee.

As you contemplate giving more of your money to schools, consider the following video taped in Washington State where High School students were asked basic questions that even Grammar School students should know. Ask yourself, are we getting our monies worth?

Read more at the Huffington Post

16 Comments to “Sad, Really Sad”

  1. I suppose a person’s mind can go blank when caught off gaurd, but really, “Utopia” is a country??? I guess her parents must be liberals…they actually believe there is a Utopia somewhere.

    I had to chuckle at the student who, when asked to name a country that borders the United States, says “Canada…no wait, that’s a State”. She exactly fits the stereotype that Canadians ascribe to Americans.

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  2. Part and parcel as to why I’m a “no” on the Hockinson levy.

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  3. There are plenty of holes in the K-12 education system – but I’m fairly certain you won’t see improvement by further cutting their budget. You’re already at 35+ kids in the classroom.

    My wife is a part-time teacher, working about 2 hours for each one for which she’s actually paid, and often having to come up with needed supplies out of her own pocket, so I have some experience in this area.

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  4. Tom, while I have no doubt your wife falls within what I called the good teachers along with a few others I personally know, there are others, tenured that are out for money only, kids second.

    I’m not necessarily calling for cuts, but a reassessment of how education dollars are spent. We keep sending more and more money and it never seems to be enough.

    So is it administrative costs too high? Union leadership too much? Benefits too generous? Extra curricular spending unwisely?

    I don’t know all of the ends and outs, but do know something must be done to change things.

    Pouring money every election hasn’t helped.

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  5. How is it that I received a fairly decent education? I wasn’t really trying all that hard, but I still was able to learn a few things. This was long before the “experts” began their experiments in education, then when those failed, states started throwing money at the schools. If I hear “let’s do it for the kids” one more time, I think I’ll probably vomit. As Lew says, they keep throwing money at education, and have been doing that since the ’70’s, but the problem is still the same.

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  6. My previous post shouldn’t be construed to blame the teachers. There are a lot of very fine teachers in the Evergreen School District who care about their kids and work hard to give them a good education. Something is broken, but it’s not the fault of teachers. Maybe the unions or administration or the State and Federal governments who keep interfering…I know that it’s hard to get rid of the slackers and the incompetent, and Washington D.C. keeps mandating stupid things…

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  7. It may sound heartless, but one of the problems is that a very disproportionate piece of the total budget for teachers and para-educators is allocated to “special needs” (sometimes severely mentally handicapped) and that greatly reduces the amount left for mainstream or exceptionally talented kids. A classroom with 6 mentally-handicapped special-needs kids may need a full-time teacher and two paraeducators to keep up, and that budget is the same as we spend on a full classroom of 35 mainstream kids. The idea of “mainstreaming” mentally-handicapped special-needs kids sounds good, but in reality doesn’t work very well and takes away from what should be the primary K-12 mission – educating kids to excel in technical fields so we can compete with China and other emerging powerhouse economies. Another approach is needed.

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  8. One other comment, the school budgets (and teacher compensation) have been declining, not increasing, for the last few years. That’s caused by a failure to fund at the state level, not the local communities.

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  9. Smart kids teach themselves. (Approximately 15%). Obviously, none of them were interviewed.

    Average kids would do better with interactive teaching methods (computerized). Didactic lecture (traditional teaching) is archaic, inefficient, and expensive.

    Dorks and trouble-makers need authority – perhaps the military?

    Our education system discriminates against males, and is dominated by people who would be unsuccessful in business. It’s a one-size-fits all, lowest-common-denominator environment…

    But I still SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION!
    http://www.martinhash.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=158

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  10. Ok, here is MY question. Why can’t we as a community in the several school districts that are in Vancouver do two things:

    1) Raise the bar of the education our kids get? That means there is no good exception for people that just get by?

    2) Are any of us here complaining in a classroom? I know Lew has shared with us several times he has done it.

    3) I agree with the comments about throwing money for bad to bad educational situations, teaches, non-performing students….

    So what do we have to do to change #3? Repeal the state constitutional amendment that makes the states primary duty to fund education that was voted by initiative above all other state programs. And it would take another initiative to kill it.

    So until that time, we’re stuck in this quagmire with the teachers unions, the legislator and government trying to fight it out on how to determine “what” is a basic education.

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  11. You are right, Martin, smart kids do teach themselves.

    But we are paying for all kids to at least receive a basic education, not just the “smart ones.”

    It is not that we want an end to Public Education, but a different approach. A reassessment of how it is done and why even with devoting so much money to it, we are getting poorer results often.

    I read recently where a school district was boasting of seeing their graduation rate increase to 59%. 59% graduation rate is pathetic today with all of the money spent on education across the country.

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  12. Lew, there are two ways to look at that 59 percent. That school district might have lowered its standards for a graduation certificate to even make it the well or raise grades to make sure people passed the classes to graduate. Very similar to pass the failed student on to the next grade.

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  13. I realize there are many ways to look at the 59% graduation rate, Jeremy. But bottom line, I believe it to be a very poor rate.

    If any school has 41% of their students failing to graduate or dropping out of a free education, something is wrong.

    These are also those who will end up being lifetime welfare recipients that the rest of us pay for, along with paying for an education system that is not adequately serving parents, teachers, students or the community.

    We have several younger teachers with a real zeal to teach and some I have witnessed who have an amazing ability to connect with the children. However, should layoffs occur, they are the first to go while those who got comfortable and now only wish to ride it out to pension time are retained.

    This is why I favor individual assessments of teachers just like on any other job. Teachers Unions seem reluctant to allow proper assessments and students lose.

    But, continually throwing money hasn’t worked, so we need to all sit down and work out something that will.

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  14. “We have several younger teachers with a real zeal to teach and some I have witnessed who have an amazing ability to connect with the children. However, should layoffs occur, they are the first to go while those who got comfortable and now only wish to ride it out to pension time are retained.”

    Yep. Thank the union for that. But keep in mind that rank-and-file teachers have 0% influence on this, many don’t like it but are forced to pay union dues anyway.

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  15. It should be noted, that video is from Olympia area. What a great coincidence?

    src: http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2012/02/06/whats-the-capital-of-washington-these-kids-dont-know/

    And yes, I agree with you Lew. There are great teachers out there around town. I would love to see individual, merit-based teacher evaluations that could lead to improvements.

    Why are there not procedures to remove bad or problematic teachers, just like you could do in a retail store setting? By simply saying, I’m sorry this isn’t working out and start the process of getting rid of them.

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