Funding Education - Re: Why Socialism is Evil

Bob Hubbard

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You get a water bill, an electric bill, a gas bill, etc.
Why not a police bill, a fire dept bill, etc?
California and Oregon are both reportedly looking at programs that will charge you per mile driven. Combine GPS and black box and phone-home tech, and it could work.

Make all education private too. Charge each students family say $200/month (12 month payment plan), limit classes to 30 kids.
 

cdunn

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I'd suggest a small retainer, then an itemized bill when used. Kinda like the 'delivery' fee and the 'use' fee on my electric bill.


Now, the real question is this: What happens when a poor girl in the ghetto somewhere gets raped, and runs up a 'law bill' of a $100,000 getting the rapist convicted, and can't pay it? Will you garnish her wages for the next thirty years to pay - punishing her for getting raped? Will you attempt to garnish the wages of a man that's sitting behind bars for the next twenty years, and might have ten felonies to pay off already? Will you force the police to do it anyway, and charge more to their richer clients, functionally socializing the process anyway? Will you set the man free when she runs out of money to keep him behind bars? Will you allow the police to create lawless zones, where they won't respond, because the residents typically can't pay the bill? Will you look the other way when organized crime moves into these lawless zones and implements order by killing everyone that doesn't answer to them?

On average, it costs approximately $10,000 per year to educate a child. Let's assume there's fat to cut somewhere, and you can do it for $9,000. What do you do with the child of a parent that cannot pay $750 per month? Do you put him in a cut-rate school that might teach him how to read, write, and do basic math, and no more, and expect him to spend his life pushing fries at McDonalds? Do you tell him to F-off and act surprised when you find him pushing drugs or pimping whatever uneducated fifteen year old he can terrorize in one of those zones where the police won't go because the residents won't pay them?

In the old days, functions such as the law were socialized because the general order of society was in the interest of the politically powerful. In the modern day, functions such as the law are socialized because we recognize that for a for-profit function to exist, it can, and must be able to deny service to those who are unable to pay for the cost of the service and we find that these functions cannot be denied to those who cannot provide recompense, because the general order of society is in the interest of all.
 

shesulsa

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You get a water bill, an electric bill, a gas bill, etc.
Why not a police bill, a fire dept bill, etc?
California and Oregon are both reportedly looking at programs that will charge you per mile driven. Combine GPS and black box and phone-home tech, and it could work.

Make all education private too. Charge each students family say $200/month (12 month payment plan), limit classes to 30 kids.

Our neighbors south of the border have a similar program for education and Oregon and Washington already have the per-mile-driven program for the vehicles on the road who do the most damage to them: large trucks (and, I think, school buses). Licensing fees and vehicle registration fees and gas tax are supposed to pay for the upkeep and repair of the existing roads. Sorry, we need to pay per mile why again? Oh, to keep it fair, I see.

I believe in Washington and Oregon (I might be mistaken) we already have programs in place where if you get stuck on Mt. Hood or Mt. St. Helens and you have to be rescued, you have to foot the bill for the rescue. If it isn't established, then it's definitely been talked about.

As a Libertarian It should all be private business.

So ... the Libertarian way is survival of the fittest then, eh? Private business paves your roads ... then they own the road and you have to pay a fee to use it each time. If you can't afford to then you can't use it. You can't afford to if you can't work. But with unchecked capitalism and limitless executive perks, bonuses and salaries you can't get a job unless you travel far away ... but then, you can't afford to use the road. So you cut a new one. Well then that interferes with each other's property rights and you have to negotiate easements ... but not everyone would have to comply because it's your problem you can't get to work or afford to use the road. So you have to walk ... but then ... walking on the road comes with a fee too. In fact, since private business owns the road, you have to wear a certain type of shoe to walk on it in order to preserve its quality. These shoes can be purchased for $300.00 per pair 200 miles from here.

Ya see what I'm getting at? Pure libertarianism doesn't work either unless you'd like to live in third world status. It would be kill or be killed, pay or get raped, die if you're poor.

The programs we have now - supplemental security income, disability income, welfare - though unquestionably exploited by some, have been put in place for a reason and that's not so that we can keep a rank and file of poor on the books. It is to protect consumerism and thwart most poverty which keeps the economy going and helps to protect free enterprise.

Of greater concern is the limit on property ownership rights in America.
 
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Bob Hubbard

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Now, the real question is this: What happens when a poor girl in the ghetto somewhere gets raped, and runs up a 'law bill' of a $100,000 getting the rapist convicted, and can't pay it? Will you garnish her wages for the next thirty years to pay - punishing her for getting raped? Will you attempt to garnish the wages of a man that's sitting behind bars for the next twenty years, and might have ten felonies to pay off already? Will you force the police to do it anyway, and charge more to their richer clients, functionally socializing the process anyway? Will you set the man free when she runs out of money to keep him behind bars? Will you allow the police to create lawless zones, where they won't respond, because the residents typically can't pay the bill? Will you look the other way when organized crime moves into these lawless zones and implements order by killing everyone that doesn't answer to them?

All very good questions, and all things that have happened in this and other countries as recently as, oh, today I'm sure.

On average, it costs approximately $10,000 per year to educate a child. Let's assume there's fat to cut somewhere, and you can do it for $9,000. What do you do with the child of a parent that cannot pay $750 per month? Do you put him in a cut-rate school that might teach him how to read, write, and do basic math, and no more, and expect him to spend his life pushing fries at McDonalds? Do you tell him to F-off and act surprised when you find him pushing drugs or pimping whatever uneducated fifteen year old he can terrorize in one of those zones where the police won't go because the residents won't pay them?

I used the following numbers to come up with my data.
1 teacher @ $30k per year
Rent for the classroom ($2,500 / month) $30k
Consumables $500
===
Total $60,500 / year
Per month $5,042
$169 per month per student, rounded up to $200/month/student

Charities can of course front the costs, set up their own "public universities" that are supported not by tax dollars but by private and corporate sponsors (there are several in the US now btw)

Regardless, today with all our "free" education, kids still end up McD lifers, getting substandard education in substandard schools, pushing drugs etc.

Maybe if mommy and daddy were paying out of pocket little "Billy" might be 'encouraged" to go to school, and be more concerned when their little spawn is caught skipping.

In the old days, functions such as the law were socialized because the general order of society was in the interest of the politically powerful. In the modern day, functions such as the law are socialized because we recognize that for a for-profit function to exist, it can, and must be able to deny service to those who are unable to pay for the cost of the service and we find that these functions cannot be denied to those who cannot provide recompense, because the general order of society is in the interest of all.

Well said.


Our neighbors south of the border have a similar program for education and Oregon and Washington already have the per-mile-driven program for the vehicles on the road who do the most damage to them: large trucks (and, I think, school buses). Licensing fees and vehicle registration fees and gas tax are supposed to pay for the upkeep and repair of the existing roads. Sorry, we need to pay per mile why again? Oh, to keep it fair, I see.

Actually, it's just a cash grab to continue funding bloated and inefficient government under the illusion of public safety.

I believe in Washington and Oregon (I might be mistaken) we already have programs in place where if you get stuck on Mt. Hood or Mt. St. Helens and you have to be rescued, you have to foot the bill for the rescue. If it isn't established, then it's definitely been talked about.

Works for me.

So ... the Libertarian way is survival of the fittest then, eh? Private business paves your roads ... then they own the road and you have to pay a fee to use it each time. If you can't afford to then you can't use it. You can't afford to if you can't work. But with unchecked capitalism and limitless executive perks, bonuses and salaries you can't get a job unless you travel far away ... but then, you can't afford to use the road. So you cut a new one. Well then that interferes with each other's property rights and you have to negotiate easements ... but not everyone would have to comply because it's your problem you can't get to work or afford to use the road. So you have to walk ... but then ... walking on the road comes with a fee too. In fact, since private business owns the road, you have to wear a certain type of shoe to walk on it in order to preserve its quality. These shoes can be purchased for $300.00 per pair 200 miles from here.

Whoever owns the property makes the rules. Roads used to be mostly private, and they were toll roads. Drive through NY sometime, it's toll booth heaven. So's part of Ohio, and NJ and PA.

Ya see what I'm getting at? Pure libertarianism doesn't work either unless you'd like to live in third world status. It would be kill or be killed, pay or get raped, die if you're poor.

Just like now.

The programs we have now - supplemental security income, disability income, welfare - though unquestionably exploited by some, have been put in place for a reason and that's not so that we can keep a rank and file of poor on the books. It is to protect consumerism and thwart most poverty which keeps the economy going and helps to protect free enterprise.

SSI is there because people stopped understanding how to manage their money and invest/save for the future. It's a poor system, and pretty much bankrupt due to half the pork being funded by it over the decades.

You want to thwart poverty, take 10% of your income, and start donating it to charity, or just give out cash to that bum on the corner. At least it'll be your choice, and not someone in Washington, and at least 100% not just 10% will get where it's intended to, and not to pay some paper pushers salary.

Of greater concern is the limit on property ownership rights in America.

What about property ownership being limited to the government isn't fair?
 

cdunn

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If I turn the soil, plant the seed, weed the garden, nurture the plants, and harvest the bounty, who has the right to take a portion of that from me, and give it to he who did nothing to contribute to it?

If WE turn the soil, weed the garden, nurture the plants, and harvest the bounty, together, then we all should share it. But again, who has the right to take a portion of that, who is not one of us, to give to another who is not one of us?

If I choose to give a portion away, that is one thing.
If you choose to give a portion of your portion away, that is one thing.

But why should it be ok to steal my/our reward, and give it to someone else?

Because we must. There is more to being human than being individual. For better or worse, we have bonded into complex societies, and loyalty and support of the greater society and it's tools of culture must become paramount to the individual, provided that the society continues to benefit the majority of individuals. There are far too many of us now for us all to pretend to be rugged individualists.

Taxes are one part of the price of being a society, and the government is the provider of choice, due to stability, order, and willingness to do the things that no one else wants to, without tangible reward for the government as a whole. In theory, too, the government is accountable to the governed - a profitable corporation is only indirectly accountable to the customers, but directly accountable to its owners.

The other part of the price of society is measured in human lives - Defending us from other societies, and from those within who have chosen to throw off the bonds of that society. In World War II, over 416,000 American soldiers died - You can be sure that the majority of them were drafted, as, after all, we tore ten million men from their homes and ordered them to fight. What right did we have to demand that they fight and die for us? Is that 416,000 murders? In 2007, 57 American policemen were killed by felons in the line of duty. What right did we have to demand that they die for us? Is that 57 murders, committed by society? No. (That it is 57 murders committed by felons is separate.) That too, is the price of civilization. We call them heroes, and bury them with honor, for standing willingly, or unwillingly, in the defense of our society.

Now, we can argue until we're blue in the face about the proper services that government should be providing, but so long as it exists and provides services there will be taxes. The alternative, of course, is a structure over which society has little to no control, with modern corporations replacing the feudal barons of old. I'll pass.


Also: The average US teacher's salary is nearing $50,000. You can expect that the total compensation package averages approximately $65-70,000 dollars. Without the security of a government contract, expect that to be higher - the teacher's unions aren't the UAW, but they do make monetary concessions to have things like tenure. That's $200 a month before rent (Or, realistically, buying / building a specialized building for 100 of these classes), heat, electricity, consumables, cleaning, books. And we haven't even started in on subjects that require specialized equipment - like chemistry, biology, music, shop (Hey, let's teach a kid to do something useful!). We don't have a cafeteria or a school nurse, which, while not technically necessary, are bloody good ideas to have around, when you have 3000 students sharing a building to defray costs. We haven't transported students to the school, either en masse with a bus, or $20-100 a month for your parent to drive you there 20 days a month. This stuff adds up... fast. Really, though, if you want to know what it costs, go look at the tuitions for your local private schools. The local Catholic school charges a yearly tuition of $7,400. They have never shown a profit. $620 a month. Downtown, where property is sort of valuable, it is $8,800 a year... and these schools are supported by the diocese and by significant alumni funds.
 

CanuckMA

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All very good questions, and all things that have happened in this and other countries as recently as, oh, today I'm sure.



I used the following numbers to come up with my data.
1 teacher @ $30k per year
Rent for the classroom ($2,500 / month) $30k
Consumables $500
===
Total $60,500 / year
Per month $5,042
$169 per month per student, rounded up to $200/month/student

1) teachers make more than 30K per year
2) where is your figure for other overheads? janitors, admin staff, non-teaching managerial staff
3) $2,500/month is too low. A school size building is expensive to build and maintain. You can't just look at classroom square footage, you have to factor in overhed cost od shared suqare footage (gym, library, lunch room, admin offices, hallways, etc)

Most private schools charge between 10-15K per student, and do not generate profits.
 
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Bob Hubbard

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1) teachers make more than 30K per year
2) where is your figure for other overheads? janitors, admin staff, non-teaching managerial staff
3) $2,500/month is too low. A school size building is expensive to build and maintain. You can't just look at classroom square footage, you have to factor in overhed cost od shared suqare footage (gym, library, lunch room, admin offices, hallways, etc)

Most private schools charge between 10-15K per student, and do not generate profits.
Funny. In my business, I don't have a huge support staff, janitor, etc. I take out my wn trash, do my own paperwork and filing. Run schools like a business, eliminate bloat, and aim for efficiency.

But lets look at this.

Hallways - why?
Library - perfectly good one a 5 minute walk from me.
Gym - 5 perfectly good parks within 10 minutes of me.
Lunchroom - I have a nice desk.
Hall ways - Don't need em in a single room.
Admin Office - see desk.

My rent figure was based on a single room, located in a local strip plaza, run by the highest priced local landlord, in a good area.

Lets raise the numbers.

Per Teacher $75,000
Per Room Per Month (holds 30 students) $2,500
Consumables per classroom $500
total gross $105,500
Number of students 30
cost per month $8,792
cost per month per student $293

1 administrator per 10 classes $75,000
1 maint. Per 10 classes $75,000
supportstaff $150,000
ss per month $1,250
ss per month per studet $42

So, $300-350 per month per student. $3,600 or so a year.

What am I missing?

Mind you, this works for K-8. High school works better under a college type system, IMO.
 

Gordon Nore

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Hallways - why?

They're handy for moving kids from room to room.

Library - perfectly good one a 5 minute walk from me.
Which will take you half an hour each way, when you're done zipping and unzipping snow suites for the Kindies. Adult library users will go bug nuts over kids coming regularly, and your principal will be dealing with it.

Gym - 5 perfectly good parks within 10 minutes of me.
See above. Difficult to teach a range of motor skills in snowsuits in Buffalo! A nightmare of keeping watch over children if you're not loaded with extra adults. Also, this is physical education we're talking about, not gym. Children today have to be taught to be active. They have to be shown how to use equipment. Rules of conduct and fair play have to be constantly taught and reinforced, particularly as they have become irrelevant in popular culture and sport. The 'gym' is actually a living laboratory of ethics and cooperation.

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/health18curr.pdf

Trained gym teachers know quite a bit.
Lunchroom - I have a nice desk.
Your room will stink of old food for the entire year. You'll have roaches and mice. If your school operates year round, it will never be clean again.

Admin Office - see desk.
Runs from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and beyond. Office staff deal with kids, parents, complaints, police, children's aid, community groups, contracts, ministry of ed, etc. The school office is a MASH unit.

Per Teacher $75,000
Per Room Per Month (holds 30 students) $2,500
Consumables per classroom $500
total gross $105,500
Number of students 30
cost per month $8,792
cost per month per student $293

1 administrator per 10 classes $75,000
1 maint. Per 10 classes $75,000
supportstaff $150,000
ss per month $1,250
ss per month per studet $42

So, $300-350 per month per student. $3,600 or so a year.

What am I missing?[/quote]

Insurance, plus people to fend off endless lawsuits
Hardware, software, networks
Social workers
Mental health specialists
Curriculum leaders to upgrade staff
Supply teachers
Special education -- your budget is pretty much blown if you have a child in your school who can't toilet him/herself
Literacy specialists
Subsidized lunches and breakfasts
Art room
Computer lab
Security

Bob,

I know that you're simply trying to think outside the box and stimulate discussion. Classroom based funding sounds like the right thing to do. It presumes, however, every dollar spent outside the classroom is misspent.

Sadly, I will be the first to say that anytime there is financial crunch in education, it will be felt first in the classroom. Your model is appealing in that I might not be subjected to well-intentioned communications from high above assuring a commitment to excellence while doing more with less.

You set your room at 30 students as a model, which, as an elementary teacher, concerns me. Get that under twenty, and we might witness absolute miracles in public education, and we just might avoid a lot of (but not all) remedial catch-up. This is the innovation that no one ever wants to talk about. I say turn public schools into palaces of learning. Make them spacious and clean and colourful. Put green grass around them. Suggest to children that going to school each day is an adventure of possibilities.
 
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Bob Hubbard

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I'm looking at a 1 room school house situation with my base numbers. This worked well for centuries.

Now of course there are things I'm assuming are there. Desks, chairs, computers, text books.

When I went to college, I bought a text book, new or used, that was pretty current. How any schools are still using maps that show the USSR though?

Now of course, today the little red school house idea doesn't work in most cases. A centralized location makes more sence.

But I offered an alternate solution.

Desks, etc, ccould be provided by donation by corporations.
Microsoft, Apple, IBM, HP, Dell, and hundreds of other companies regularly donate billions of dollars in equipment, software and cash to education around the US. Bill Gates and his wife have donated millions to libraries and other institutions. Niagara Falls NY recently built a new state of the art high school. Every student got a laptop. It was heavily paid for by corporate donation.

My point is, the existing system where I'm taxed and part of that money goes for paying for crowded classrooms, outdated training materials, and 10 support for each teacher, hasn't really worked all that well.

Maybe something else is what we need to really meet our 2st century needs?


BTW, thanks for pointing out the holes Gordon. Much appreciated. :)
 

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You don't move into the 21st century by going back to the 18th.

The educational rift and the mass of the ill-educated dis-enfrachised is already getting scary over here, so lord knows what it's like in the States.

If you fail to engage the poor and working class in the system then the system fails. It's as simple as that. If the system does not work to provide jobs at a living wage for the output of the education system, then the system fails. It's fairly plain - keep the wheels oiled and turning or the wheels come off, no matter how fancy the canopy on the wagon is.

It takes a while for a nation wide 'organism' to die but it will die if it's not cared for and it is doing so.

I've just watched a documentary about the Class system with our (now ex) Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, in which some young northern girls, of poor academic achievement, conversing with him, not only did not know what the Houses of Parliament looked like but had no idea who Gordon Brown was (clue ... he's now Prime Minister :eek:!).

That is the level of failure evident in a system much more dedicated to the ideals of socialism than the USA has. What black canker is lurking underneath the flashing lights and supposed wealth on your side of the Pond?
 

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Our neighbors south of the border have a similar program for education and Oregon and Washington already have the per-mile-driven program for the vehicles on the road who do the most damage to them: large trucks (and, I think, school buses). Licensing fees and vehicle registration fees and gas tax are supposed to pay for the upkeep and repair of the existing roads. Sorry, we need to pay per mile why again? Oh, to keep it fair, I see.
When CA talked about this a couple of years ago, one of the STATED reasons for it was the decline in the amount of tax revenue as direct result of having vehicles (all types) that get much better mileage than those in production when the taxes were first enacted. On quite a few trucks you can see "Apportioned" plates, they only pay taxes/fees for that portion of the year they are actually IN those states.
I believe in Washington and Oregon (I might be mistaken) we already have programs in place where if you get stuck on Mt. Hood or Mt. St. Helens and you have to be rescued, you have to foot the bill for the rescue. If it isn't established, then it's definitely been talked about.
Lets have a law that anyone doing excessively dangerous things is solely responsible for the consequences. I'd hope medical bills of the guys from Jackass weren't paid by the state...
Of greater concern is the limit on property ownership rights in America.
 

Makalakumu

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The problems with education are complex and manifold. They range from disparities in everything under the sun and a huge bloated beuracracy that sucks the life out of people who work under it.

IMHO, what Bob is doing is absolutely essential to FIXING public education. We need to zero sum. We need to wipe the slate clean and find our priorities. We need to learn about the history of modern education. We need to learn about the elite Foundations that control the whole leviathen for their own needs...I meant the good of society.

Then the real changes can happen.

We need to zero sum everything. Not just the budget, but all of our assumptions, regulations, and objectives.

Or like Ron Paul says, dynamite the DOE.
 

Makalakumu

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I'm going to repost this post from another thread because I think it makes a good argument for keeping the funding for education public.

The problems with education are manifold and I do not think people would have the time to read the 300,000 words or so that it would take me to describe them in detail. I'll give you a case for for spending money on items like this based off our basic assumptions regarding education in this country. You may disagree with those assumptions and I think it would be a great thread all by itself, but as we stand now, this is what we deal with in this country.

Before we begin, I want to discuss my perspective as a science teacher as I see items like the Hayden Planetarium. As a science teacher, I have a budget for my lab expenses that fluctuates based on the school I teach at. At one school, it was $0 dollars and I bought all of the supplies and lab equipment (and raised a family, payed a mortgage, and managed to have a little fun on a salary of 25,000 dollars a year). At another school, I had a budget of $500 dollars to fund a lab for a section of biology, earth science, and physics. At my current school, which is a private school, my lab expenses are funded completely by private donations and grants. I write letters and applications for money during my class prep in order to purchase the equipment that I need. As the economy has soured, these sources have all but dried up to a trickle.

In an environment like this, schools will never be able to afford items like projectors for planetaria. We can't even afford simple things like van de graff generators, wave tanks, or bread boards. Thus, I see expenditures like those made for the Hayden's projector, as essential peices of equipment for my lab. I will never be able to privately utilize this resource, but when its a collective sacrifice that is owned by all, it makes it a lot easier. I still have to pay costs for transporting my class out of whatever budget I have.

When I say, "we will never be able to" I mean me and others like me. There ARE schools that COULD fund a project like this. Let me describe one in my state. Punahou school is the most prestigious private school in our state. Incidentally, Barack Obama himself went to school at this school. Tuition at Punahou hovers right around $17,000 dollars a year. They have millions of dollars in endowment from private donations and only 20% of the students at Punahou recieve financial aid through this endowment. I toured Punahou when I moved out here. Their science labs are better equiped then all of the labs I had in the state colleges that I attended. The teachers told me that they can purchase just about any lab equipment they want if they can justify it with the curriculum. The size the endowment alone could build a planetarium on campus without even putting a sizable dent in it.

This would be a good argument for privatization except for the fact that only a small fraction of students ever go to schools like Punahou. Lets examine who goes to Punahou in order to see what I mean. In order to even be considered for acceptance, your child must take an IQ test, either the Standford/Binet or the Woodcock/Johnson. Your score on this test must put you into the 98th percentile. In other words, you need to be "smarter" (according to these tests) then 98% of the populace in general. On top of this, you and your parents need to be active in the community in a demonstratable fashion, your child must demonstrate significant athletic ability, and/or your child must show some sort of extraordinary promise as an individual. You need to be extremely gifted to go to this school.

Other countries have privatized systems of education. Most of them are small or third world or have governments that are largely disfunctional. In countries like this, the amount of schools like Punahou "may" expand if the economy of the area can handle it. Or they may not even have a Punahou, which is often the case. In our country, we have made a basic assumption that states that all children will be educated. We have decided that this sacrifice is necessary for the health and survival of our nation. This basic assumption is attacked by the concept of privatization. You cannot educate all children fairly or at all in a privatized system because ability and means are never equal. The students and the resources that go to schools like Punahou will always appear, but they will never be available to all or even a significant fraction of those students.

So, how do we as a society, deal with the assumption that we made regarding students and education? Do all students deserve education, even the poorest and most downtrodden among us? If you think so, then you can't escape the conclusion that public planetaria like this are exactly like lab equipment in my classroom. If not, then you will limit the exposure to these items to the most giften children whose parents can afford to send them to the most prestigious schools. Consequently, if two equal students apply at Punahou and one comes from a family that can contribute to the endowment and another does not, you can guess who gets in.

In closing, I'd like to state that their is room for "privatization" in our schools. I can see some competition improving education and diversifying to better fit the individual students. However, the State will always have to pay for education as long as we make the assumption that all children deserve to be educated. The only way a true private system can work is if we are willing to write off a certain percentage of children and deny them the basic tools for success in our society.
 

Big Don

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How has education in the US improved since the 1980 establishment of the US Department of Education?
 

Gordon Nore

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I'm looking at a 1 room school house situation with my base numbers. This worked well for centuries.

The one-room school house is a model of education that has always intrigued me. My father was educated, partly, in such schools in the 1930s in rural Alberta. In terms of North America, I'm not sure they can be called 'centuries' old.

See http://pages.suddenlink.net/wvsfm/school.html which I found on Wikipedia, here http://www2.johnstown.k12.oh.us/cornell/states.html

This US link looks interesting...
http://www2.johnstown.k12.oh.us/cornell/states.html

They appear to be a late 19th to 20th century phenomenon as far as North America is concerned, which is what I had suspected. Expectations were significantly different. I don't have the figures at hand, but in the early 1900s a very small number of high school graduates in Canada made it into university. Similarly, a smaller percentage of our populations completed high school. On my dad's side of the family, one of five siblings finished high school, my dad's youngest brother, born much later, in 1950.

My mother had six siblings: four girls finished HS and went to nursing school; three boys left school and found good paying jobs. To my knowlege, virtually all of my cousins (something like 30) finished HS, and many went onto university. I find that pre-post WWII transformation quite an amazing leap. My parents later attended university in their 30s (1960s), making them the first of their generation to go beyond HS, and even then elevating them in their peer group.

My BA (1983) and BEd (2001) didn't impress anyone I knew.

My historical sense is, that along with an expansion of industry and everything else, there came an expansion of public schooling into the larger schools and boards we now have. Early one-room school houses probably met the needs of an agrarian economy in sparsely populated communities. Those schools, in all likelihood, were very homogeneous in every sense. School teachers were probably among the few considered to be highly educated in their communities. Getting everybody into school became a priority, and that part of it worked pretty well. Generations did move forward. In the simplest of equations (though adult illiteracy exists in alarming numbers in our time) people in North America are far more literate than they were in 1900.

Now of course there are things I'm assuming are there. Desks, chairs, computers, text books.

When I went to college, I bought a text book, new or used, that was pretty current. How any schools are still using maps that show the USSR though?
That's a very valid point you raise. Since I'm a librarian, I'll use that as an example. It's prudent to weed out reference materials every five years. These are high end items. A really good single copy of a library quality reference atlas is probably about $250. You mentioned the USSR. Heaven forbid any of my collection is that dated; however, I can give you a more recent example for Canadian collections: April 1st, 1999 -- a new Canadian territory was created, http://www.gov.nu.ca/english/ Globes, atlases, texts, and countless non-fiction titles came off the shelves. Now, the flip side of this is that some print resources have become virtually irrelevant. My kids wouldn't look at a print encyclopedia if there were fifty dollar bills stuffed in it -- they go online. I don't fault them for that because I have looked in a phone book in the last five years. Nowadays, paid subscription databases -- essentially online encyclopedia -- prove more up to date and more effective.

In a very recent instance, we updated our grade eight geography books to the tune of $60 a copy. The concession was to purchase two sets coordinated to service six classes on a rotating bases. I've bought cars for less. In my elementary years (60s) I was educated in the same system, but the books were already there when you walked into the classroom. We didn't have teachers running up and down stairs with hundreds of lbs of books. Now teachers and staff can coordinate all of this, but coordinating the traffic of books, the endless minutiae and logistics, comes at the expense of teachers having a thoughtful conversation with eachother about what they are teaching. It comes at the expense of teachers having a little more time just to be with their students.

Now of course, today the little red school house idea doesn't work in most cases. A centralized location makes more sence.
I think it evolved that way. As we're seeing right here in Toronto, bigger ain't better. In 1998 the former Provincial gov't implemented municipal and school board amalgamation here. Six municipalities and six school boards of the former Metro Toronto became one city and one megaschoolboard -- TDSB, for which I work, now has 575 schools, placing it among the five largest in North America. This does not include TDCSC (Roman Catholic), nor the many independent schools. Within the last several months, active discussion has begun about breaking the board up into manageable bits.

There still is much to be learned from that era. In my board they've managed preserve Century School House, a one room school from 1910, which stands, ironically, the shadow of a large general hospital and a school board building. A retired teacher, Mr Church I think is his name, devoted much time to researching the era and the manner of instruction. My son went on school visits there twice in elementary school. The first day he had to sit on a stool with dunce cap from throwing stones at cows. Note: There were not cows, or pastures, surrounding the school, just post war brick bungalows for returning soldiers to settle.

Still, as my dad recalls, grade one kids listened to grade two lessons, and so on. The mysterious teacher's day book was essentially open to children for years.

But I offered an alternate solution.

Desks, etc, ccould be provided by donation by corporations.
Microsoft, Apple, IBM, HP, Dell, and hundreds of other companies regularly donate billions of dollars in equipment, software and cash to education around the US. Bill Gates and his wife have donated millions to libraries and other institutions. Niagara Falls NY recently built a new state of the art high school. Every student got a laptop. It was heavily paid for by corporate donation.
I keep hearing about these. I never actually see them spread around -- a project here or there. A photo op and ribbon cutting. My readings of Jonathan Kozol's works on US education suggest an economically divided system of schooling, where quality of education seems to depend on property values. Per child expenditures vary from district to district. I'm suspicious of all this being righted by corporate largesse. The Socialist in me tells me that the private sector invest based on opportunity not need.

At the time I met Alliyah in the school year 1997-1998, New York's Board of Education spent about $8000 yearly on the education of a third grade child... If you could have scooped Alliyah up out of the neighbourhood where she was born and plunked her down within a fairly typical white suburb of New York, she would have received a public education worth about $12,000 every year. If you were to lift her up once more and set her down within one of the wealthiest white suburbs of New York, she would have recieved as much as $18,000 worth of education every year and would lkiely have had a third grade teacher paid approximately $30,000 more than her teacher in the Bronx.
Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation. Crown: New York, 2005. pp. 44-45
Equal or equitable funding, as Kozol has pointed out throughout the years, is part of the equation. He sees the rest as an ethical issue of how much we really value all children.

Not to place Ontario above it all, I am seeing schools in a physical state of decay. I've also seen example of public schools in very affluent communities benefit from donations within the community. I once worked in an inner-city school where the income levels were so low that an attempted school fundraiser actually lost money. A Vancouver school, several years ago, sparked some controversy when it hired a fundraising consultant. You can imagine the ire that would have been raised, except that by the time the story broke, the bagman skipped town with the money!

My point is, the existing system where I'm taxed and part of that money goes for paying for crowded classrooms, outdated training materials, and 10 support for each teacher, hasn't really worked all that well.

Maybe something else is what we need to really meet our 2st century needs?
I don't know what your mean by "10 support." I absolutely 100% agree with you. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I see something quite diabolical in the failure of large public institutions -- the opt out. Keep the system expensive but just out of range of hitting its goals, and people will opt out. On both sides of the border, we've heard seniors and those without children say, "I don't have kids. Why should I pay for this?" Or in some cases, "Give me a voucher -- I'll spend it on a private school." If it doesn't work, cut it and gut it.

The less return perceived, the greater the opt out.

BTW, thanks for pointing out the holes Gordon. Much appreciated. :)
It did come across as though I were trying to punch holes. I was sitting at a computer table over lunch hour staring at a carpet that should have torn out and replaced five years ago. Believe, I get where you're at. Thank your for replying the way you did -- I spent two hours on this post. What we're talking about here is very important to me.
 

Makalakumu

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How has education in the US improved since the 1980 establishment of the US Department of Education?

It hasn't. The elite foundations wanted a DOE for decades and they created what we have right now. The system isn't broken, it's working exactly as it was designed.
 
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Bob Hubbard

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Here's a question.
Does is make sence that a kid who at 18 has trouble doing single digit math, tends to get more support and help, than a kid who at 10 is doing 4th year college calculus?
 

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