Monday, November 21, 2005

School Rebellion

I have noticed a big trend in schools now is to cut the programs that will hurt children and their parents the most to make a political point. My middle school just cut the Talented and Gifted program (TAG) due to "lack of funds" which I find rather ironic--given that Tennessee started a lottery last year with the promise that some of the proceeds were to be given to the schools--don't know where the money went but apparently not to the TAG program. I suspect if Tennessee implemented an income tax--we would see the same results--more money supposedly raised for education, yet somehow the programs it was meant to implement never would appear and some important ones would continue to disappear.

Recently, more and more physical education classes are being cut by schools who say they cannot keep up with all of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Just ask any teacher involved with the NCLB act and watch his or her reaction--it's often amusing as most teachers hate the politics behind the Act as much as the Act itself. The protest is also a way to avoid accountability according to some:

"It's been my experience that schools quick to seize on the requirements of NCLB are using the changes as an excuse for why they can't do these things," said Hayes Mizell, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the National Staff Development Council, an organization dedicated to the professional development of educators. "They're really trying to avoid accountability," he said. Mizell believes schools need to use imagination when faced with reforms.

In a recent book entitled, Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why It isn't So, author Jay Greene exposes eighteen widely held myths about education. He states that it is a myth that accountability systems impose large financial burdens on schools. In addition, states that have adopted acountability testing have students that achieve a higher lever of basic skills than in other states. Now, if we could just have schools be accountable for making sure our kids get phys ed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen:

Good book recommendation!

I don't have the statistics, but my ex-wife is a schoolteacher in San Diego. She believed that the problem with the schools was never funding...but instead that most of the money goes to creating and supporting administrative initiatives instead of schoolrooms, books, and "in the trenches" teachers.

It might be interesting to plot "number of classroom teachers" and "number of administrators" versus time in some school districts. I suspect we won't like what we would find...

"Eric Blair"

4:40 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The state had an outside evaluator look at the school systems. In our area, we had the second-highest results, the second-lowest per-pupil expenditure, the second-highest teacher pay, the lowest administrative expenditure per student and....the lowest school board travel expenditure.
The worst system had nearly the highest per-pupil expenditure and, by far, the highest school board travel expenditure and good although not tops teacher pay and the highest admin cost per pupil.


4:53 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Mr. Blair,

Yes, that would be an interesting study--like so many bureaucratic organizations--the schools never seem to have the funding for the basics but can find money for programs like Dare that don't work and for administration that is deadwood. The "Education Myth" is quite a good book and opens your eyes to the problems with our schools.

5:06 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again, Dr. Helen:

I am just reminded of the college at which I used to work. A number of faculty complained that they were underpaid. The administration thought otherwise. So the faculty got together, and complied statistics for the faculty at the group of 12 "comparison colleges" that we use.

Sure enough, we were second to last among those institutions in terms of professorial pay.

I had them do a similar analysis of the salaries of mid to senior level adminstrators. Guess what?

Our administrators were the best paid among all the comparison colleges.

Our administration, when confronted with this during a faculty meeting, replied with two answers: (1) it cost good money to get the best administrators (apparently faculty were hungrier), and (2) that comparison group was "heavy" with much better funded institutions.

So we asked the administration to pick a new comparison group, which they did.

You have guessed what came next. Among the group of colleges that the administration had selected, we were third to last well paid, and our administrators were still #1.

Does that transfer to other schools? I can't say for sure. But I do see an awful lot of "administrators" on the roster for our local schools. There ought to be more teachers than administrators, I would think.

Anyway, I could be wrong. I'm not about the college situation, no, but I am aware that things in K-12 might be very different. Still, I have my suspicions.

"Eric Blair"

5:17 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is quite a lot of wasteful spending in school systems. There also seems to be zero accountability. If businesses were run like that - they would fail within a few years. Yet people are constantly bombarded with whining about how the schools need more money... "it's for the children" seems to be a mantra that gets them cash. Because if you question the fact that they need more money... you are a heartless beast and the children will suffer!

As for lotteries and school funding... Illinois has been using that old lie for years. All that tax money was supposed to go to the schools. Yet my taxes - for the schools - more than doubled - nearly tripled - in the 9 years I lived in my last house... and they threatened every year to cut funding for something - AND there were constant fund raisers for all kinds of junk.

Yet - as far as I can tell - kids learn less and less every year. Funny how that works.

6:23 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Teresa,

Funny how schools have all these fund raisers--it drives me crazy. Everytime I turn around, I am being asked to buy some kind of pie, coupon or nonsense. They have turned the kids into salespersons who solicit wares for the school. And you feel so bad for the kids, its hard to turn them away. I really don't think its the school job to ask kids to do this--afterall--if they do not have time for phys ed with all the testing they have to do--how do the kids have time to run around selling coupons? Funny how that works.

6:38 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teacher says:

First of all I want to say that yes there are some bad kids out there that get a lot of publicity. I am 45 and I set around and gripe about these kids just like everyone else. But I truly believe that there are even more really good kids today than there were when I was a kid (long time ago).
They are dedicated and motivated to doing good things for others. They work harder than we ever did.

I am a sponsor for a school organization here and I am responsible for helping them do fundraising. And believe me, I agree with you, I hate the constant selling. And my kids hate it too. We are going to do something that involves their labor instead of just selling things. We will use a lot of this money to help with certain charatible causes. The kids are excited about doing this.

I am not going to get into NCLB. It is like all government programs, sounds good but goes to hell in a handbasket as soon as the bureaucrats get a hold of it. And yes, the teachers unions are full of it too. But you would really be surprised how few teachers actually beleive in what the unions say.

So now that I have gotten that off my chest I guess I can get to the original point that I wanted to state. Yes, schools have learned how to selectively target cuts to get peoples attention. Just like all other government agencies, they know exactly which programs they can threaten to keep the funding for their own pet projects. Amtrak, EPA, Parks, they all do this every year to save their budget.

Well this has been long and not very focused but I really do want to emphasize once again that we need to remember just how many good kids there are out ther.

10:17 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you are describing is a system and a culture addicted to failure.
The educrats are used to getting everything it wants, and used to using the 'education crisis' as an excuse for more and more resources.

But ... Education is a mess partly because of TOO MUCH money, not too little. I'll add my own anecdote:
our kids went to $3300-per-year private school; low amenities, high academic standards, where they learned to read, write cursive in 1st grade, and got math instruction well above other schools. A christian school that also had bible study.
This year, they are in an 'exemplary', blue ribbon, top public elementary school. Great amenities, huge gym, TV studio (in an elementary school!), laptops for many classrooms, etc.

You know the punchline: Our kids arent learning as much in the new school. Little homework, not as much 'push', curriculum not as rigorous. PUBLIC EDUCATION AIMS FOR MEDIOCRITY NOT EXCELLENCE, and they are afriad to push too much either to offend parents, or to expose the truth that might cost many an administrator their jobs:

Amount of learning has almost no relationship to cost of education these days. Learning is cheap, but building bureaucratic empires is not!

11:20 AM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS. btw, it is nonsense to think that removing TAG is a big money-saver anyway because *some* teacher will be teaching high IQ kids. They should have every child challenged up to their level of ability, anyway.

Another thought to respond to the loss of a TAG program as a 'statue of liberty' play by the edu-crats:
The response is to get schools to cut the overhead, via the 65% rule - at least 65% of spending needs to go into the classroom. This is being pushed in Texas (eg by Gov Rick Perry), and while it is no cure-all, it at least serves notice on the school districts that are too top heavy with bureaucrats.

The group in Texas pushing this has the slogan: "More education per dollar, not more dollars for education."

5:36 PM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, here in Alabama the first thing they threaten to cut is the football team. Always good for getting the tax increase thru.

11:43 PM, November 24, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have noticed a big trend in schools now is to cut the programs that will hurt children and their parents the most to make a political point."

This isn't new. It's a result of bureaucrat-think. Funding comes from elected officials, not from the people being served. Elected officials respond to squeaky-wheels. Cutting services in an area that won't be missed leads to no budget increase. Therefore, they cut the programs that will provoke the most outcry. Then the officials scramble to throw money at the "emergency".

Observe that Amtrak never threatens to end service on little used routes, but the popular Crescent is always endangered. National Parks always closes popular services at popular parks first. The Postal Service always threatens to cut Saturday delivery and home delivery. And we're always in a state of "Crises". An effective strategy.

12:16 AM, November 25, 2005  
Blogger Serket said...

In Utah we are at the bottom in almost every category of education spending, but our students perform at about the average for the nation.

12:34 PM, January 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting site... Mitsubishi heavy industries america inc. vmc secound hand ice makers hummer body plans Car stereo installation info. 90 honda ct 70 hiking trails on oahu business travel preston little porn pic hairy Home mortgage lender student loan consolidation11 black fat pic sexy woman Hummer hill hummer h4 for sale shaved pussy

2:08 PM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

視訊做愛視訊美女無碼A片情色影劇kyo成人動漫tt1069同志交友網ut同志交友網微風成人論壇6k聊天室日本 avdvd 介紹免費觀賞UT視訊美女交友..........................

9:58 PM, May 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

av美女美女美女遊戲無碼a片美女寫真xxx383美女寫真日本美女寫真集玩美女人a片網aio交友愛情館tt1069同志交友網情色交友0401成人交友拓網交友pc交友小魔女免費影片sex383線上娛樂場xvediox免費A片 - 微風成人日本美女寫真集咆哮小老鼠影片分享區免費成人電影小魔女自拍天堂av1688影音娛樂網成人交友0204movie免費影片咆哮小老鼠論壇85cc免費影城85ccfoxy免費音樂下載成人視訊交友免費視訊

2:38 AM, June 07, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home