As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Education thread: because it's been a month since the last one.

ArkadyArkady Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
I saw this in the Sarah Palin thread and I also saw that it was generating some responses so I figured what the Hell, may as well start a new thread wherein we beat some dead horses and possibly make fun of GOP governors rejecting free money that's going to be spent regardless. So;
Buttcleft wrote: »
tallgeeze wrote: »
wow, she turned down money for the schools. Isn't improving schools brownie points 101?

School's don't need more money.

They need less bureaucracy and more accountability.

We spend more per child than almost any other nation and have terrible scores to show for it, thus proving that throwing money at a problem does not in fact fix it.

To some degree, I agree with this post. School's definitely need less bureaucracy and decidedly less kowtowing to parents. The inability of school administrators to tell parents to, for lack of a better term, fuck off when they try to pull, "my child is a beautiful snowflake how dare you fail him!" Or maybe, "Of course our *favored sports team* needs new uniforms every year, forget that our science classes are using 15 year old textbooks, they probably teach evolution and climate change anyway the libruls."

On the flipside, there are far too many dumb fucking rules handed down from on-high. Things like mesh backpacks only, cell phone bans (though those have probably been lifted by now, my last year of high school was 01), zero tolerance policies about fights in the face of several witnesses including a teacher vouching that one student didn't fight back at all. Hell, how about this one put into place in my old district. No shorts. Too many girls were wearing daisy dukes so they banned shorts. Did I mention I live in San Antonio, where our seasonal average temperatures are something like 80 in the fall, 50 in winter, 90 in spring and 100 in the Summer?

I feel that more accountability would be good in the future, but wouldn't do shit in the immediate. Everyone always complains about how they've had X crappy teachers in their time in public school and they can't possibly understand how those teachers never got fired and if only there was better oversight! Bullshit. Those crappy teachers are there because there is nobody to replace them. Teaching is one of the "safest" job markets there is, because there is such a massive demand for them that unless you molest a child or shout racial epithets (and this might fly in some small towns) you're pretty much safe. Combine this with the fact that the average burnout for new teachers is 4 years and, well, now you know how that shitty math teacher who teaches straight from the textbook has been there 20 years.

Which isn't to say I don't think more accountability is bad. It just wouldn't solve a damn thing right now. In order for accountability to matter you need to have enough teachers seeking work where the "beggars can't be choosers" syndrome doesn't kick in.

So what are some of your ideas for fixing the school system? The most obvious one to me is pay teachers more. I live in a really low cost of living area, and I believe the starting salary for teachers here is 30k a year. I think upping that to 50k would do a lot to make the job attractive to the people we want teaching. The guys who excel at their chosen field, and who want to teach, but look at that starting salary and go, "why the fuck would I do that when I could make mad bank in the private sector?" I think better benefits are in order as well. In all seriousness, my mom is a school librarian, and the employee health insurance they recently switched to has a five-thousand fucking dollar co-pay or something. Basically her health insurance is meaningless unless she has already spent five grand on health costs (I'm not really up on insurance lingo). This number resets every year. She was really worried this last year, she had to get cataract surgery this last year and they planned to do it one eye at a time. If they hadn't gotten the second eye in before January, the first 5 grand she payed wouldn't have mattered for covering the second eye.

Anyway, in addition to higher starting pay, they should also get yearly performance-based bonuses based on how well their students perform on whatever shitty useless standardized test they have to take and how many of their past students graduate. Yeah, standardized tests are terrible, but I just don't find it likely that they're going anywhere any time soon. I'd have this system lean hevy on the graduation part and less on the test scores part.

I've got a couple other ideas, but this op is long enough. So denizens of D&D, what are some of your ideas for fixing the school system?

Besides the total devastation of teacher's unions!
Kidding!

untitled-1.jpg
LoL: failboattootoot
Arkady on

Posts

  • Options
    ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tl;dr, but I do agree that more money does not equal better schools. Here we have a number of charter schools, and there's a growing movement to implement more, because they're not only more efficient fiscally, but they're generally a higher quality education. The local public school has a "school supplies" list that pushes $300, where as the charter schools around here don't even hit $100.

    Edit: Not to mention that the charter schools do a better job of instilling a sense of responsibility and discipline. Students clean their own classrooms. They clean the chalkboard, the erasers, take out the trash, wipe down the desks, I think some even have students sweep the classroom, but don't quote me on that one. These are good things, to me, as it helps reinforce some of the basic concepts that parents are already trying to teach their children. That, I agree with. As long as the parents are trying to teach their children a social value, I think schools should support that. It has to start with the parents, though, of course.

    Tox on
    Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • Options
    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2009
    Tox wrote: »
    tl;dr, but I do agree that more money does not equal better schools. Here we have a number of charter schools, and there's a growing movement to implement more, because they're not only more efficient fiscally, but they're generally a higher quality education. The local public school has a "school supplies" list that pushes $300, where as the charter schools around here don't even hit $100.

    Edit: Not to mention that the charter schools do a better job of instilling a sense of responsibility and discipline. Students clean their own classrooms. They clean the chalkboard, the erasers, take out the trash, wipe down the desks, I think some even have students sweep the classroom, but don't quote me on that one. These are good things, to me, as it helps reinforce some of the basic concepts that parents are already trying to teach their children. That, I agree with. As long as the parents are trying to teach their children a social value, I think schools should support that. It has to start with the parents, though, of course.

    One of my old history teacher told me that this is how they do it in Cuba (my school had some of the most interesting teachers. He was most likely a member of thew socialist party, my stats teacher was a former hippie and also the son of the then CEO [I think] of America's oldest publicly traded company who was once arrested for possessing what turned out to be dill weed and got his degree online after years on the road since dropping out of college, and another of my history teachers was the son of William Joiner).

    My idea: offer to house the labs of researchers on the condition that they also teach.

    Scalfin on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • Options
    MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I hear a lot that we spend a lot more on education than other countries but then I see urban schools falling apart with maybe enough books to go around while I see rich suburban schools with flatscreen tvs in the halls and lunchrooms.

    So I'm wondering, anyone know what the difference is between how much is spent per student at a rich school and a poor school?

    MalaysianShrew on
    Never trust a big butt and a smile.
  • Options
    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2009
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    Sterica on
    YL9WnCY.png
  • Options
    MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    That's basically it. If you don't want to send your kid to public schools you get a state subsidy to send them to a private school. While rich schools get a lot of money from local taxes, poorer schools get a larger percentage of their funding from the state which dolls out the cash on a per student basis, at least in Michigan. So less students = less funding. I'm sure most districts have a required critical mass of students to stay open, so I'm worried about vouchers slowly driving districts into collapse forcing everyone in the area to send their kid to a private school. Then we'd have low end private schools popping up that would only charge you whatever the voucher pays and fancy private schools for people who can afford it. Some people would love this to happen. They are rich and want the government to pay for their kids posh private schooling despite their ability to pay for it already.

    MalaysianShrew on
    Never trust a big butt and a smile.
  • Options
    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2009
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    Pretty much. It gets even worse when you look at the stats showing that private schools perform worse when you adjust for income (and the private schools parents would send their kids to would be in the same income bracket as the original school)

    Scalfin on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • Options
    MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    Pretty much. It gets even worse when you look at the stats showing that private schools perform worse when you adjust for income (and the private schools parents would send their kids to would be in the same income bracket as the original school)

    Yeah, it's also worth noting that while currently a lot of private school teachers make less than their public counterparts, they also have an easier time. If a child is disruptive or simply a bad student, they can just be kicked out of a private school. Whereas a public school teacher is burdened with the full spectrum of kids.

    MalaysianShrew on
    Never trust a big butt and a smile.
  • Options
    ArkadyArkady Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I hear a lot that we spend a lot more on education than other countries but then I see urban schools falling apart with maybe enough books to go around while I see rich suburban schools with flatscreen tvs in the halls and lunchrooms.

    So I'm wondering, anyone know what the difference is between how much is spent per student at a rich school and a poor school?

    I believe nation-wide (and at least in Texas) the majority of education funding comes from property taxes. I don't know what the exact spending difference is, but as I'm sure you can guess, inner city property is worth spit compared to nice suburban homes.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    That's pretty much it. Conservatives will tell you that it gives parents the freedom to take their kids out of a failed public education system and send them to the superior private system, or at the very least, a less shitty public school. This basically ignores all the reasons that some private schools do perform better the public school system (ability to kick out troublesome/stupid students, a generally more affluent clientele and by extension students with a cultural background that values education highly) and ignores the fact that most don't. It also ignores the complete and utter gutting it would unleash upon the public sector.

    It would serve our best and brightest better, but doing so at the expense of everyone else when the entire point of the school system is to have an educated workforce, is a bad idea in my opinion.

    Arkady on
    untitled-1.jpg
    LoL: failboattootoot
  • Options
    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2009
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    Pretty much. It gets even worse when you look at the stats showing that private schools perform worse when you adjust for income (and the private schools parents would send their kids to would be in the same income bracket as the original school)

    Yeah, it's also worth noting that while currently a lot of private school teachers make less than their public counterparts, they also have an easier time. If a child is disruptive or simply a bad student, they can just be kicked out of a private school. Whereas a public school teacher is burdened with the full spectrum of kids.
    Oh man. My mom has had, two years in a row now, a kid in her class who is mentally handicapped. The parents refuse to admit the kid has problems and she gets saddled with the burden until a test is finally done.

    It worth noting that she is in no way trained to handle kids with such needs. Not to mention handicapped kids have a lower pupil-to-teacher ratio and her class was already quite full. Both years she was worried as hell about the kid because she had no way of giving him the attention he needed. She just wasn't trained for that shit.

    And this happened two years in a row. With two different kids.

    Sterica on
    YL9WnCY.png
  • Options
    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2009
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    Pretty much. It gets even worse when you look at the stats showing that private schools perform worse when you adjust for income (and the private schools parents would send their kids to would be in the same income bracket as the original school)

    Yeah, it's also worth noting that while currently a lot of private school teachers make less than their public counterparts, they also have an easier time. If a child is disruptive or simply a bad student, they can just be kicked out of a private school. Whereas a public school teacher is burdened with the full spectrum of kids.
    Oh man. My mom has had, two years in a row now, a kid in her class who is mentally handicapped. The parents refuse to admit the kid has problems and she gets saddled with the burden until a test is finally done.

    It worth noting that she is in no way trained to handle kids with such needs. Not to mention handicapped kids have a lower pupil-to-teacher ratio and her class was already quite full. Both years she was worried as hell about the kid because she had no way of giving him the attention he needed. She just wasn't trained for that shit.

    And this happened two years in a row. With two different kids.

    At my school, they'd have probably hounded that parent until having an aide was added to his IEP (my school is a special needs mecca, apparently)

    Scalfin on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • Options
    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2009
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    What's all this about vouchers? I've heard of it, haven't looked into, but it sounds like taking money out of schools to prop up private and, more importantly, religious schools. I'm wary.

    Parents are really key. It's important to have positive feedback at the home and an environment that encourages continued education. My mom teaches kindergarten for poor kids and it's pretty hopeless because the parents just treat school as free daycare.

    Pretty much. It gets even worse when you look at the stats showing that private schools perform worse when you adjust for income (and the private schools parents would send their kids to would be in the same income bracket as the original school)
    Yeah, it's also worth noting that while currently a lot of private school teachers make less than their public counterparts, they also have an easier time. If a child is disruptive or simply a bad student, they can just be kicked out of a private school. Whereas a public school teacher is burdened with the full spectrum of kids.
    Oh man. My mom has had, two years in a row now, a kid in her class who is mentally handicapped. The parents refuse to admit the kid has problems and she gets saddled with the burden until a test is finally done.

    It worth noting that she is in no way trained to handle kids with such needs. Not to mention handicapped kids have a lower pupil-to-teacher ratio and her class was already quite full. Both years she was worried as hell about the kid because she had no way of giving him the attention he needed. She just wasn't trained for that shit.

    And this happened two years in a row. With two different kids.

    At my school, they'd have probably hounded that parent until having an aide was added to his IEP (my school is a special needs mecca, apparently)
    All the kids are pretty much from low-income homes. They already cuss up a storm and some have been suspended for fighting. It's fun times.

    EDIT: She also had one kid that didn't speak English. His parents were fairly middle-class, and my mom says the poor kid would be huddled up in a corner muttering the only English he could speak, "Momma's coming."

    Sterica on
    YL9WnCY.png
  • Options
    Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    The problem with education threads is they always turn into a really long list of anecdotes.

    To say that schools don't need more money is to completely ignore the system that we have in California. This year we're probably going to be cutting school sports in many schools. This is after we've cut music and arts and other 'unimportant' subjects.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    EDIT: She also had one kid that didn't speak English. His parents were fairly middle-class, and my mom says the poor kid would be huddled up in a corner muttering the only English he could speak, "Momma's coming."

    Maybe you come from a very different part of the country, but I don't exactly see anything wrong with not speaking English.

    Lord Yod on
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2009
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    EDIT: She also had one kid that didn't speak English. His parents were fairly middle-class, and my mom says the poor kid would be huddled up in a corner muttering the only English he could speak, "Momma's coming."

    Maybe you come from a very different part of the country, but I don't exactly see anything wrong with not speaking English.
    Where I come from, being a young child in a classroom where nobody else speaks the same language as you is a very bad thing.

    EDIT: And I hail from the south, so being unable to speak English is a sin, naturally. But in all seriousness, the kid needs a teacher who speaks his language. My mother did not. Clearly you can see the problem there, right?

    Sterica on
    YL9WnCY.png
  • Options
    ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Yeah, that wasn't a slam on the non-english speaking student, that was a slam on the system for not recognizing that the child had not been adequately prepared for that school.

    The problem is multi-fold. Some students need to be failed. In my opinion, both the handicapped student who's parents refused to acknowledge his condition and the non-English speaking student, should have been failed. This seems ludicrous and counter-intuitive, but in the former case, the parents are to blame. They are insisting that their child be treated as a "normal" student, and as a normal student the child would not have performed to standard, therefore should have been failed. When the parents come back to complain, point out the obvious facts, and tell them to face the truth or suck it. In the latter case, the student should never have been able to advance to that point without either a) an understanding of the language in which the classes were to be taught; or b) a class structured to address his need.

    Both of these students are, to me, special needs students. I say this because they are not able to cope with the expected normal classroom setting. I don't know, and I'll never be an expert on the matter, but it seems to me that if the parents have done nothing to help the child prior to age of admission, then the teachers should follow the standard curriculum, and grade the children accordingly. I'm all for special needs education, whether those needs derive from biological or social conditions is irrelevant to me, excepting that in the latter case, the objective should be "catching up," where as the former case is clearly something which will never be completely overcome.

    Tox on
    Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • Options
    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Seriously, we need to educate parents about their kids' education just as much as we educate their kids.

    Fencingsax on
  • Options
    ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Seriously, we need to educate parents about their kids' education just as much as we educate their kids.

    Mixed feelings, honestly. I mean, we shouldn't have to need to educate parents about their kids education. Parents should be proactive. That's the optimist in me speaking, though. If we have to push education on the parents, aren't the kids probably screwed either way?

    Tox on
    Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • Options
    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Tox wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Seriously, we need to educate parents about their kids' education just as much as we educate their kids.

    Mixed feelings, honestly. I mean, we shouldn't have to need to educate parents about their kids education. Parents should be proactive. That's the optimist in me speaking, though. If we have to push education on the parents, aren't the kids probably screwed either way?
    I think that if parents knew how important their involvement was, and so on, I think they would take a more proactive stance. I think part of the problem is that there are honestly parents out there who think "teacher's problem" is a valid reaction and simply don't know any better.

    Fencingsax on
  • Options
    ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Tox wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Seriously, we need to educate parents about their kids' education just as much as we educate their kids.

    Mixed feelings, honestly. I mean, we shouldn't have to need to educate parents about their kids education. Parents should be proactive. That's the optimist in me speaking, though. If we have to push education on the parents, aren't the kids probably screwed either way?
    I think that if parents knew how important their involvement was, and so on, I think they would take a more proactive stance. I think part of the problem is that there are honestly parents out there who think "teacher's problem" is a valid reaction and simply don't know any better.

    While I'll concede this is definitely true for some, it hurts me on a very deep level to think there are people out there who want their children to go to school, yet don't think education is important enough for them to be involved in. This creates a very odd scenario, and it seems that, given the choice, the parent would simply pull their children from school.

    I don't know, I can't wrap my head around that concept. People who honestly think that it is in no way their responsibility to educate and raise their own child. I mean, I know they're out there, but it's alien to me, I simply can't comprehend the idea.

    Tox on
    Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • Options
    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Tox wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Tox wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Seriously, we need to educate parents about their kids' education just as much as we educate their kids.

    Mixed feelings, honestly. I mean, we shouldn't have to need to educate parents about their kids education. Parents should be proactive. That's the optimist in me speaking, though. If we have to push education on the parents, aren't the kids probably screwed either way?
    I think that if parents knew how important their involvement was, and so on, I think they would take a more proactive stance. I think part of the problem is that there are honestly parents out there who think "teacher's problem" is a valid reaction and simply don't know any better.

    While I'll concede this is definitely true for some, it hurts me on a very deep level to think there are people out there who want their children to go to school, yet don't think education is important enough for them to be involved in. This creates a very odd scenario, and it seems that, given the choice, the parent would simply pull their children from school.

    I don't know, I can't wrap my head around that concept. People who honestly think that it is in no way their responsibility to educate and raise their own child. I mean, I know they're out there, but it's alien to me, I simply can't comprehend the idea.
    See, I think it's more that they don't know that their involvement will help at all. They may not even realize it's an option. So they may not disregard it (I'm not saying there are not those who disregard education, but I choose to believe they are in the minority), but they don't know or think that they can help in any way.

    Fencingsax on
Sign In or Register to comment.