June 24, 2011

"The problem is with adults... If they say we’re becoming more stupid, it’s perhaps because we’re in a school system they invented."

"We need better teachers and talk about more relevant stuff in class... Maybe they should ask us for some advice."

Hey, that's what we Boomers used to say. Then we grew up and put our ideals into practice. How do you like it? Are you going to grow up an put your dreams into practice? Good luck making the Boomers' grandkids stupid.

ADDED: "Relevant" was a 60s buzzword. I remember that well, and Wikipedia backs me up in its crazyWikipedian way:
Relevance
Relevance describes how pertinent, connected, or applicable something is to a given matter....

Politics

During the 1960s, relevance became a fashionable buzzword, meaning roughly 'relevance to social concerns', such as racial equality, poverty, social justice, world hunger, world economic development, and so on. The implication was that some subjects, e.g., the study of medieval poetry and the practice of corporate law, were not worthwhile because they did not address pressing social issues.[ citation needed ]

78 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Public schools do suck. They need more competition so they can be more market driven and efficient. Ever wonder why many private and parochial schools get far better results with far less resources and costs than public schools? Granted self selection is part of it, but it is also higher expectations and more discipline.

Scott M said...

Hey, that's what we Boomers used to say. Then we grew up and put our ideals into practice. How do you like it?

Speaking as an X'r, not one bit. Things like this appear to move in a pendulum, which swung way, way too far to the side the Boomers wanted and threatens to tip over the whole damned machine.

The pendulum will swing back inexorably to a much less touchy-feely bullshit education. It has too or someone else will be in charge of American education.

Dan in Philly said...

All I can say is, as a product of the public school system, I am constantly amazing at what I didn't learn in school (and college), but then again, they were teaching to the lowest common denominator, so I suspect that fact I was fabulously undereducated is just an unintended consequence of this.

I'm no expert, but I'm in favor of making free public schools only for the poor and then lowering taxes thereby. This would make private school actually affordable for middle class schmoes like me. We kind of need to recognize that nothing will affect the quality of education for the uneducatable.

gerry said...

From the article: But most of the Facebooking teens I met among the 1,280 students here are also infinitely more international-minded (sic), flexible and tech-savvy than we were 20 years ago. They can study for a math test whilst IMing and listening to music

Ah, international-minded. Retain math concepts while doing other shit. Uh-huh.

These guys -- Germans -- are going to have to take care of their Greek neighbors' debts.

What could possibly go wrong?

William said...

I remember that relevance crap. As it turns out, the best way of handling pressing social concerns is distance and avoidance. Metaphysical poets. Summers in Maine. Whatever gets you or your head out of the grit....I'm talking about NY. In Madison, you seem to have made pressing social concerns an arts and craft activity, and a good time is had by all.

The Crack Emcee said...

he's got a point, as Suicidal Tendencies pointed out years ago. I was totally with him until he got to "Maybe they should ask us for some advice."

Nope - sorry, kid. As Ann just said, they tried that, which is why you're complaining. Why we're ALL complaining.

The answer is to put adults in charge who have some grounding in reality. We haven't tried that yet, and it's about fucking time we did.

Richard Dolan said...

"Maybe they should ask us for some advice."

Asking for directions from someone who has no clue about the lay of the land or the destination of the journey is not often a good idea. But anyone with a teenager will have heard that, or some version of it, many times. There's a problem when the student doesn't know what he doesn't know, as Rummy famously said (although the kids wouldn't know who he is). It all becomes worse when the kid decides that there's probably nothing worth knowing in the unknown unknown category anyway.

Ann's reference to the 60s buzzwords sounds the (unintended?) note of optimism here, reminding even the most despairing parent or teacher that the kids will not always be thus.

W/V: chear, which is the right idea but spelled in the way that most of these kids would come up with.

MadisonMan said...

Granted self selection is part of it,

I think it's a huge part of it. The school at the Church I go to has very few problem children (defined here as those who need special attention for various reasons -- I don't necessarily mean problem to be pejorative). They all transfer to the Public Schools where they can get better attention. Great for them. A serious drain on the Public School budget as the Private School moves along unencumbered.

Dose of Sanity said...

Why the hatred of Public Schools? I've been a public school student my entire life. K-law school, if you will.

I'm sure I've made your point for you in your mind, but rest assured some of us DO like the system.

Chip S. said...

There's variation among observations at a point in time--such as public vs. private schools--and there's variation over time, such as in the kinds of generational aspects the entire NYT article is about.

Didn't anybody here think that the article was worth discussing?

garage mahal said...

Why the hatred of Public Schools?

Can't make any money off them.

Carol_Herman said...

Sorry. Not true.

Ancient Alexandria had a library. The locals didn't burn it down. Just the arrival of thugs, when their society was devastated.

The loss of that library is still a great tragedy.

As to education, it went south when the major universities in America, tossed out the dead white males. And, stopped making tough requirements, like Latin, and math, exclusively part of admissions.

Blame what you want. You can start with the SAT. Invented at Harvard, in their hopes to limit Jewish admissions. So, they only got the most brilliant minds.

Then, came along Affirmative Action. Where the new criteria was vulgar and stupid.

You didn't know the credential, once written on sheepskin, would crash?

Just look about you, now. A man in a collar, since the pedophilia got exposed, isn't respected as he once had been. Even to people who weren't catholic. But the priests and the nuns were respected when they'd walk down a town's streets. No more. (Also gist for a few comedians. Who were in plays about catholic teachers. Dan Akroyd comes to mind, as coming up with scene stealers.)

Oh, yeah. I blame it all on the way schools went about their quota-ing Jews our of education. They lost their standards, then.

And, now we have a president who graduated harvard, proving it was just about certification. Education be damned.

Obama didn't want an education.

People that do search out "stuff."

Sofa King said...

Why the hatred of Public Schools? I've been a public school student my entire life. K-law school, if you will.

Nice strawman. It's not a hatred of public schools. It's a hatred of failing public schools.

I had a decent public school experience, too, but then again I was white in an almost completely-white, relatively well-off suburb. I'm not utterly self-absorbed as to believe that my exeperience is universal.

The problem with public schools I see today is that they are simultaneously far too lax academically and far too strict on nonsense (like penknives and such). In many cases, simple bureaucracy is choking any vitality out of the system.

David said...

We won't have a decent public school system until we get over the cult of the teacher. It a literate society, teachers (at least until high school, and mostly not even then) are low skill individuals who should spend all their time on rote drills of basic knowledge. Almost all "new" curricula are designed to entertain teachers, not educate students.

PatCA said...

I remember "relevant" meaning leading to a job. I was an art major and, as you can imagine, job opportunity for painters (except for house painters) was dim.

Now students are complaining that they want a broader education and not so much job training!

Seeing Red said...

Ahhh, if only there was a way for public schools to make money off the religion of man-made global warming, they'd be swimming in dough.


And still stupid.

Seeing Red said...

Bring back corporal punishment.

It would focus their minds.

Carol_Herman said...

My son went to public school.

In high school, he had a Latin teacher. From the old school.

He learned to play a clarinet. And, participated in orchestra and band classes.

He had the choice of taking "advanced classes" in high school. And, he did. I didn't force him. I asked him, once, why he didn't want the "easy A." And, he said because those classes are boring.

And, he actually picked his teachers. Who were teaching advanced classes. He loved school!

When it was time for college, once girl in his class had won the Westinghouse Science Award. (Working for years with slugs. Studying their hearing.) She came in second.

By then, my son, and she, had both picked Mudd. My son, on early admission. While, once the award was once, this fantastic student saw the vault opening up at Caltech. And, she was offered a slot, FREE. (All her parents had to pay for was room and board.)

I asked her if she got a good education at Caltech. Or if the professors, with all their prizes, ignored her. Baltimore was the president of the school.

She told me the wonderful professors didn't ignore her. But participated very much in what she was learning. And, learning, basically, is a ladder you climb, alone.

But you need the opportunities.

You need to know your schools go out of their ways to hire the best.

When my son was at Mudd, by the way, "data mining" was a new math subject. Fascinating. They had hired the USC profosser who was teaching this subject, to Mudd students. That's another thing about great schools ... the professors move around a lot.

You are offered spectacular opportunities to learn.

While Caltech, Stanford, Mudd ... schools like that ... attract the top 1% of available students in any high school graduating class.

In some cases, it is still a privilege to get in.

carrie said...

It is my understanding that Middleton High School is changing its history program so that regular 10th grade us history classes from a survey course of all use history to a course that will only cover post 1960 us history because that is the history that it is "relevant" for students today and that kids who want to learn more history will need to take the AP us history class. I think that they were listening to the current students when they came up with that plan. I don't think that teaching kids less history will make them smarter. If you want to learn more about why kids should be taught less history, see http://www.mcpasd.k12.wi.us/admin/board/121310socialstudies.pdf

Seeing Red said...

The schools are teaching "relevant stuff."

That's why they're failing.

rocketeer67 said...

Can't make any money off them.

You're accidentally almost right, Garage. Blind squirrel, etc. The reason for the hate is that for the money we spend, we get a damned shitty product in return. We spend money on public schools, and we (not unreasonably) expect teachers who can teach to help produce educated, productive members of society. We get way too few of both.

Shanna said...

All I can say is, as a product of the public school system, I am constantly amazing at what I didn't learn in school

I thought I got a fair education in public high school but when I went to college it was very interesting to hear from other students what their schools had and mine did not. College credits, economics classes, model UN, etc... Schools are very different in what they offer. I think my high school did a poor job of teaching writing skills.

The other interesting thing is that you can get a completely different education at the same high school. My education and my brothers were quite different at the same school because I took all honors/AP classes and he did not.

Phil 3:14 said...

Uh, point of order:

-the article was basically about technology, not education
-the schools in question are German schools.

Has this become "Coffee Talk"?

Talk amongst yourselves

Shanna said...

far too strict on nonsense (like penknives and such)

In my 9/10th grade school you were not allowed to carry a backback! They even gave me crap when I stuffed a bag in my locker to take stuff home. I WALKED home. And I had a trumpet. How did they expect me to study/do homework/practice?

And you know who are the worst about that petty crap? The coaches who get to roam the halls as "administrators".

Phil 3:14 said...

My Dad would also refer to the Depression when the topic of "how hard it is" came up. It was his reference point

-AND-

It was irrelevant to me.

We Boomers have become our parents

madAsHell said...

I put my kids through private schools. I found it to be a complete waste of money.

They pass the kids on because they can't afford to flunk them. Daddy might put that tuition money to some other use.

Chip S. said...

@Phil:

Germans?

Forget it, they're rolling.

Shouting Thomas said...

The relevance bullshit was the weapon used to dismantle the tradition liberal arts curriculum and replace it with victim grievance studies.

Which led to the shit house that is now the liberal arts in any college.

Original Mike said...

"... and talk about more relevant stuff in class ...Maybe they should ask us for some advice."

Same mistaken idea as the one we were discussing yesterday: Telling the kids "all" the theories and letting them sort it out.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...Why the hatred of Public Schools?..."

Let me turn that question around. Why the demand for ever increasing taxpayer funding for less than optimal performance?

When I am constantly reminded how poor we rate internationally despite higher than average per capita spending, I think a little hate is justified.

Chip S. said...

When I am constantly reminded how poor we rate internationally...

...I wonder what things are like in those superior German schools.

Scott M said...

Can't make any money off them.

Bullshit, Garage. This has nothing to do with why most people that are critical of public schools have so much criticism of public schools. Most people that do are parents that are dealing with them every day. The most liberal profs I had in college complained long and loud about how our K-12 system was failing our students, who show up as freshmen in college with severely lacking critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Original Mike said...

"...Why the hatred of Public Schools?..."

I wouldn't call it hatred, but the animosity stems from the critical nature or their mission, the vast resources provided to them, and the resulting product.

Carol said...

It galls me when people recycle critiques that are 50 years old or more. Schools have been trying to make learning "fun" and "relevant" for as long as I can remember. How's it working out? It even predates the 60s and goes back to John Dewey/Wm Kirkpatrick and the Columbia U progressive ed movement.

Yet all the time idiots will propose that we make schools more "fun" and more "relevant," like no one ever tried it before. And people give it credence because their memories are so short.

Fowl Ideas said...

We don't need better teachers. We need better parents.

Public school teachers in Massachusetts require a Masters Degree while any bigot, bully, batterer, felon, pervert, drunk, or insane person can reproduce as often as they like and call themselves parents.

carrie said...

Since this is a constitutional law blog, I want to add to my previous post that up until this year, the 10th grade US History class at Middleton High School spent spent a whole quarter on the US Constitution. Beginning next year, the 10th grade US History class won't have any time at all devoted solely to the US Constitution, although it will come up incidentally in discussions of post 1960 history.

MadisonMan said...

Why the demand for ever increasing taxpayer funding for less than optimal performance?

Federal and State Governments think they know better what will work in a local school than the locals do, so they pass laws requiring things to be done, but don't give out any money to do it.

Methadras said...

I say do away with the public school system altogether. Have a mandatory curriculum, but let citizen within a school system have a share as a means of investment by keeping property taxes and local sales taxes within that school system to only go to that school system. Get the fed out of there. They don't belong, probably the states too. Since school systems/boards are vastly local, let them, their students, and the parents of those students have a say so that matters. The government has taken that process out of our hands and in many cases many parents have just given up.

So now, the next question becomes, what do we do about the disproportionate differences in wealthier schooling regions vs. ones that are poorer? I don't have an answer to that.

BJM said...

Garage accidentially backed into the answer.

Can't make any money off them.

A few years ago I needed to set up a call center for a client who didn't want to go offshore. 90% of the applicants couldn't pass standard fifth grade math and 8th grade reading comprehension tests.

Before you start whining; the job was not minimum wage and offered HMO health insurance, 401k contribution and vacay benefits.

If you haven't tried to hire in the last ten years you have no idea how poorly the school system is equipping kids for the real world.

David R. Graham said...

"Relevant" was indeed a 60s buzzword. Often went along with "you're not listening [to me/us]."

It was not ideals, it was petulance, as evidenced by the system of education the "boomer" created from their ideals.

Boomers dumbed down the joint, subverted national/local sovereignty/security. Will be remembered in tandem with the generation of the Borgias for their corruption, self-centeredness, looting.

Scott M said...

If you haven't tried to hire in the last ten years you have no idea how poorly the school system is equipping kids for the real world.

I've not been hiring, but my brother is a spec ops troop in the Army that's had occasion to work with fresh recruits in basic training a few times over the years. He's told me over the last ten years that they've gotten progressively worse in reading skills and math.

How many private school kids go straight into the army versus public?

Original Mike said...

"Public school teachers in Massachusetts require a Masters Degree while any bigot, bully, batterer, felon, pervert, drunk, or insane person can reproduce as often as they like and call themselves parents."

Nancy Pelosi mused a couple of years back that maybe being a parent should require a license. You two would hit it right off.

Dan in Philly said...

"Shanna said...

The other interesting thing is that you can get a completely different education at the same high school. My education and my brothers were quite different at the same school because I took all honors/AP classes and he did not."

The intresting thing is that I was an advanced student in high school, and took every single AP class offered, was on the math and debate team, was a passionate reader, etc etc. I can't say I failed to take advantage of the opportunities presented.

However, how in the world did I get out of high school with no real understanding of world history? Or rhetoric? Or much more than a get along knowledge of the English language?

If I were home schooling my own children, I could pretty easily devise a coursework which would teach them everything I learned through high school by the time they were 12. I could teach them about 95% of what I learned in college by the time they were 16.

DADvocate said...

Can't make any money off them.

Nope. It's that liberals want to use public schools as indroctination machines rather than teach anything useful or necessary.

gerry said...

A man in a collar, since the pedophilia got exposed, isn't respected as he once had been.

According to Phillip Jenkins, who was Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Penn State, wrote "research of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination -- or indeed, than nonclergy." [emphasis added].

Some facts don't make it into some minds.

Quaestor said...

A student is, or ought to be, one who has submitted himself for instruction; ergo a student is in no position to determine the relevance of any material presented to him in the context of said instruction.

This simple conclusion was lost to Ann's generation, and I have little doubt it shall be lost to the current generation.

Alas, each generation is doomed to repeat the errors of every generation before it. Sophomoric is an old word for a reason.

Lucius said...

OMG!! These kids today are so wonderful, so, so-- *unhierarchical*!

They're sharing their study notes online!!

In case you didn't miss the point the first time, the article develops it a 2nd time later.

Their *prized* study notes!! They're sharing them with the whole world!

These kids are going to change **everything**!!!

garage mahal said...

Nope. It's that liberals want to use public schools as indroctination machines rather than teach anything useful or necessary.

Here is what we get to look forward to in Wisconsin:

Miami New Times investigation on Fla. school voucher program: ‘a cottage industry of fraud and chaos’

While the state played the role of the blind sugar daddy, here is what went on at South Florida Prep, according to parents, students, teachers, and public records: Two hundred students were crammed into ever-changing school locations, including a dingy strip-mall space above a liquor store and down the hall from an Asian massage parlor. Eventually, fire marshals and sheriffs condemned the “campus” as unfit for habitation, pushing the student body into transience in church foyers and public parks.

DADvocate said...

We don't need better teachers. We need better parents.

It's convenient for teachers to have someone to so easily blame for their failings. Yet, the teachers and administrators seem to give little consideration to concerns and suggestions of parents.

An M.S. in education is one of the easiest M.S. degrees you can get.

That said, in my experience with my kids in schools, parents do seem to have a greater impact on a child's success in school than the teachers. Since this is the case, give parents a much larger role in deciding to hire/fire, choosing curriculums, etc in schools.

BJM said...

@Mathadras

So now, the next question becomes, what do we do about the disproportionate differences in wealthier schooling regions vs. ones that are poorer? I don't have an answer to that.

California addressed the issue in the 80's, they equalized the school district budgets. Wealthy districts couldn't accept contributions for extracurricular activities or donations of facilities...it worked spectacularly well...now all districts are equally disadvantaged.

The results were predictable to everyone but legislators and educators; wealthy and middle-class parents organized private extracurricular activities and sports, thus leaving poorer districts worst off as they could no longer fund with bake sales, candy drives, service organization donations and such.

The left has been applying wealth redistribution memes for 60 years and they continue to fail.

wv =zellot...say no more.

Lucius said...

--Of course, public libraries and "Encyclopedia Brittanica" share knowledge too, but--

Shit, these are teenagers sharing their study notes!! They went to so much trouble to make them!! They're *precious*!! AND!!!: they *selflessly* share them--

With the WHOLE WORLD!!! Through the INTERNET!!!

wv: quess. "Can you quess the ensur 2 ?4!!??" --"Sheet juz luk et ma stoode noot!$$:)"

DADvocate said...

gm - Good article. It points to another government agency failing to do its job.

a lack of oversight of the private schools

the Florida Department of Education should do a better job of protecting consumers of private education.

I imagine they could do a better job of protecting consumers of public education too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"......I wonder what things are like in those superior German schools...."

Ich weiss nicht.

BJM said...

Let's back up that glib Boomer blame truck for minute, shall we?

The majority of Boomers were not part of the hipster leftie crowd...you are confusing advertising/merchandising of the Boomers with political beliefs.

In the 60's only about 30% of high school grads went to college. They went to work, married, had kids, and bought homes. Most of my non-hipster peers were apolitical as well, voting as their parents had done. Boring as shit shoulder-to-the-wheel stuff that deepened and solidified the middle class the WWII generation began and their hipster peers were/are so keen on destroying.

Don't blame all of us for the left's excesses...we didn't embrace it then and don't do so now.

Chip S. said...

Der Times-Artikel ist informativ.

Hoosier Daddy said...

That's terrible garage. Private industry wasting taxpayer money before the government could.

Film at 11.

Then again if the sacred public schools performed commensurate to what is spent on them, vouchers wouldn't be in demand. But it'd just easier to cry TAX THE RICH!!! and shake your blue fist.

Lucius said...

The article is the kind of "so I decided to find out" journalistic bunk I can't stand. Somebody paid this person for a junket to hang out at their old high school so they could tell us all this?

The "Brave New World" moment of making-out while scanning facebook is far more telling than any fatuous complaints from know-nothing teenagers about their designs on cracking the DJing market while Changing The World.

And god, the fatuous mental masturbating over the miracle of Sharing Study Notes. Not just like Study Notes of generations past, but formulated while IMing [who IMs anyway?] and playing Katy Perry and, and-- shared! not just with peers but, you know, "peers"-- their "friends" all over the world!

Cause Christ, I couldn't find the answers on wikipedia, bitch. Or just, you know, hack the teacher's Commodore 64 and put the answers on my iPad. Sheesh.

garage mahal said...

Private industry wasting taxpayer money before the government could.

And wasted it is. One way around accountability to gauge performance in voucher schools? Just get rid of the exams that are used in public schools to assess it! Then the charter school can claim anything they want without having to show the taxpayers.

"It's a MIRACLE!"

BJM said...

Yeah, Garage, here's another glaring example of voucher fraudsters that the Dems shut down in 2009.

Why to do you continue to beclown yourself?

Peter said...

Multitasking is an illusion. Attention is a limited resource. One can truly only attend to only one conscious task at a time. Productivity loss from rapid context switches (switching between tasks) is huge.

If these teens are truly “always connected” then they’re never giving their full attention to anything.

And if you actually want to learn something, you must give it your full attention.

jamboree said...

Well, there is relevance as in "relevant, MAN" including racial equality, genderisms blah blah blah, and then there is *relevance* as in becoming fluent in Mandarin, problem solving for event-based coding, and biochem JUST SO YOU CAN SURVIVE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY.

Phil 3:14 said...

Garage said;
Miami New Times investigation on Fla. school voucher program: ‘a cottage industry of fraud and chaos’

Well its a good thing public schools don't waste any money by giving it to criminals (or worse)!

The centers have been a source of embarrassment for both the Bloomberg administration and the United Federation of Teachers, as articles in newspapers and magazines detailed teachers running businesses out of the rubber rooms or dozing off for hours on end.

Phil 3:14 said...

Addendum:

As the schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, has increased efforts to get rid of teachers the city deems ineffective, the number of teachers in rubber rooms has grown. There are now about 550, costing the city $30 million a year.

Thirty million a year; pretty soon we're talking real money!

garage mahal said...

Yeah, Garage, here's another glaring example of voucher fraudsters that the Dems shut down in 2009

If you think I support sending public dollars to Sidwell, I don't. Anyone that can afford 30k per year to send their kid there doesn't need my help. Did you have a point?

Fernandinande said...

Check this:

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=Relevant&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=1

Usage of "relevant" looks like the left side of a bell curve with the 1960s about halfway to the peak in 2000 (perhaps still rising).

Lucius said...

Moneyshot quote from Carrie's cited article (11:13):

"Current SS-10 Course: The SS-10 course as it currently exists does not fulfill the spirit of civic education. Using one quarter of SS-10 to teach the Constitution limited the amount of contemporary U.S. history we could teach."

Ah, seeeee: that damned Constitution was getting in the way of "fulfill[ing] the spirit of civic education."

It all falls into place . . . .

Seeing Red said...

Anyone that can afford 30k per year to send their kid there doesn't need my help. Did you have a point?

The Real Cost Of Public Schools
Network NewsX Profile

WaPo
Sunday, April 6, 2008

We're often told that public schools are underfunded. In the District, the spending figure cited most commonly is $8,322 per child, but total spending is close to $25,000 per child -- on par with tuition at Sidwell Friends, the private school Chelsea Clinton attended in the 1990s.

Bruce Hayden said...

Dose said:

Why the hatred of Public Schools? I've been a public school student my entire life. K-law school, if you will.

I'm sure I've made your point for you in your mind, but rest assured some of us DO like the system
.

Not surprisingly. But do you know if you like the system because the values that it espouses conform to your liberal beliefs, or your liberal beliefs are a result of programming by government workers?

And, yes, a lot of us here would use you as a poster boy for the evils of public education.

Seeing Red said...

Cottage industry of fraud vs. public school fraud.


They got a long way to go to catch up to our public schools.

Seeing Red said...

So, GM, did U ever take a look at the KC, MO school experiment c. 1986-2001?

Michael said...

I went to private schools and my children have all been educated in private schools. I dont mind paying twicw, once in the form of property taxes and once in the form of tuition, knowing that my kids are excellent writers, critical thinkers and deep and enthusiastic readers. In one sense i am happy that their poorly educated peers will not show as well as my children though i am sad for us as a country that we are satisfied with so little. The schools i attended and to which i sent my children had no interest in the input of the student body, nor of the parents for that matter, since they had been doing what they do and do well for quite a long while.

Scott M said...

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what acronym twicw stood for and even went to go look it up...before I realized it was just twice misspelled.

Ah, context. You are a stubborn bitch.

Bruce Hayden said...

A talk show host yesterday pointed out that the purpose of a bureaucracy is to perpetuate and grow itself. The longer the bureaucracy has been around, the worse they become.

Public schools are not strangers from this dynamic. They are run for the benefit of those within the bureaucracies, and not for the customers (i.e. the students and their parents).

There are plenty of horror stories about public education, and here is one of mine. My secretary in AZ had three kids in the PHX school system. The school system got their federal money the first day of school. So, the school district made their cuts a couple of weeks later, yearly throwing a lot of their HS students each year. So, they got the advantage of being paid for those kids, without having to actually take up class space for them. Bonus all around, and everyone happy, except, of course, for the kids thrown our and their parents.

Another thing that I saw there was the school system's use of credentialism. They all had those MSs and EdDs, etc. And, whenever the parents challenged them, would trot out their credentials, and essentially call the parents stupid and illiterate. Never mind that the educrats had failed to educate the kids. What was scary though was the extent that this disempowered those parents.

WV:duckpen - one way of looking at public schools.

Bruce Hayden said...

I went to private schools and my children have all been educated in private schools. I dont mind paying twicw, once in the form of property taxes and once in the form of tuition, knowing that my kids are excellent writers, critical thinkers and deep and enthusiastic readers. In one sense i am happy that their poorly educated peers will not show as well as my children though i am sad for us as a country that we are satisfied with so little.

I went to public K-12 back in the 1950s and 1960s, and it was ok. But, then I got to college and saw how much better the private school kids were prepared for college. And, so decided to send my kid to private school.

I was quite happy with private K12, despite double paying. I will admit that the very best pubic high schools were comparable for their best students. But not for their average students.

There were a lot of advantages. One is that the school went to great pains to make sure that each of the kids had a path for excelling, whether it be math, music, sports, art, speaking, etc. Another is that they required a rounded education. Sports and fine arts were mandatory (but the sports were pass/fail, so the spastic among the students didn't have their gpa's destroyed as a result).

Also, there was effectively no bullying. It was ruthlessly suppressed. But, interestingly, both the bully and the bullied got counseling - the later in order to be bully proofed. And, yes, it works.

glenn said...

Lost me at "Then we grew up"

edutcher said...

Boomers didn't invent the schools as they exist today, but they did allow people like that "distinguished educator", William Ayers, (much to the cheers of all the closet Communists allowed back into positions of trust and authority after the 50s) to do it without any real objection.

PS Yes, I remember all the "relevance". Even then, I thought it was nonsense.

Mickey said...

Well, the ones that went and taught at Montessori schools had some pretty good ideals. The rest of you... eh.

Thumbs up for Steve Jobs, though. Your generation wasn't all bad.

Mike K said...

I gave up on public schools with my oldest son. In Middle School, we got a request to meet with the school psychologist. I rescheduled my day and we arrived at 8:30. The psychologist breezed in at 9, did not know who our son was, had not read the file and finally finished up by telling us he was a good kid and would be fine.

A few years later, he was underachieving in high school. I learned that kids on probation had to pick up a form every Friday and have all teachers sign off that the kid was keeping up. My son wasn't on probation but I thought it was a good way to keep track of his work. I had already tried to get the teachers to send the week's assignments home on Monday and most would not cooperate.

Half his teachers refused to sign the form.

I went to Back-to-school night and met with his algebra teacher, an aging fat guy with a pony tail and a motorcycle. I tried to talk to him about my son's homework. He told me that he wasn't sure about the homework (of course, he didn't have his records)but my son was a good kid.

All the other four went to private school. Also, he actually turned out OK and is a lawyer, a partner in a big national firm and heads their Bay Area and Las Vegas offices.