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Monday, August 09, 2004

Vouchers for this?

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A chain of private California schools that taught immigrants there are 53 U.S. states and four branches of the U.S. government was ordered to stop handing out phony diplomas this week, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said on Friday.

Students learned that Congress had two houses -- the Senate for Democrats and the House for Republicans; that the U.S. flag had not been updated to reflect the addition of Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the "original" 50 states; that the federal "administrative" branch oversees the Treasury Department and that World War II occurred from 1938 to 1942.


I certainly hope that you are advocating for education reform by implication, as opposed to just merely decrying the poor performance of a singular charter school.

Millions of kids are home-schooled, and I'm sure there are just as many cute misinformation stories to be garnered from that sector. Of course, there are exponentially more misinformation stories to be garnered from the public education system. Remember that a shocking number of American students can't even identify the US on a world map?

Our schools are in really rough shape. Saying no to vouchers isn't any better a solution than saying yes to them. Saying no to vouchers with a real commitment to education spending would be a start on a long journey towards real reform.


There are many reasons why some public schools are not doing as well as they should. The top 2 reasons:
  • The parents are not paying attention.
  • The kid's do not want to learn.
The reason that I brought this charter school to everyone's attention is to show that private schools are not the 'be all to end all.' The biggest reasons that Private Schools are being pushed by the Republicans are the religious factor, along with the fact that private schools can pick and choose who they want as students, which obviously keep out certain "types."

The fact that a child might not know where the United States is on a map is considerably different than being taught that there are 53 States. One is because the child did not want to learn and the other is something that is being taught.
"Of course, there are exponentially more misinformation stories to be garnered from the public education system."
Can you provide me with an example? I was never taught that Congress had two houses -- the Senate for Democrats and the House for Republicans. Or that there were 53 States. I can only go on my personal experience, though.


Honestly, is it my job to catalogue all the horror stories that come out of the US school systems? If you've honestly never heard of any of these stories, then what can I possibly say to that? I thought I countered with one, but apparently, it's not up to snuff. To me, not knowing where the US is on a map is just as bad as not knowing that there are 50 states.

More important than a battle of anecdotes, though, is your point about what's wrong with the school system, and there I've got ya dead to rights: Parental inattention and a lack of student motivation are not the problem. Lack of funding is the problem.

Classrooms are overcrowded. Teachers are underpaid. Let me throw one stat at you. I ran an afterschool program in a Baltimore school that took in 1000 ninth-graders and only graduated 250. That's 75% of a student population which is not graduating. You know why? Because there were 50 kids in a class. Because instead of funding more teaching positions, the state threw its money into creating a standardized testing system which skewed the curriculum to a point where kids who couldn't keep up got left behind.


Who asked you to catalogue anything? I asked for one example, because I can't think of one. I can only go on my personal experience, as I stated above. Being TAUGHT that there is 53 States is totally different than not being willing to LEARN where the US is on a map. Can you really not see the difference in that?

As for why Public Schools are not doing as well as they should, I only gave 2 reasons, which I believe are important. There is no doubt that schools are over-crowded and that teachers are under-paid. That is not the argument. The original point of my post was to show that Private Schools are not infallible. Not by a long shot!


True enough, but no school is infallible, which is my counterpoint. And, I'd go on to say that your projection onto the two geographical horrors we've described is just as valid as anyone else's. You say the publicly educated students simply don't care to know where the US is on a map. I say that they probably weren't taught where it is on a map, and that not teaching is the same as misteaching (A lie of omission is still a lie, after all). Jack and Jill on the street may say that they don't get enough vitamins in their USDA lunches, and therefore, can't retain what they are taught. Who knows. Your hypothesis is as good as mine.


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