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Louisiana To Privatize Public Schools

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:

[quote]Bambi wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
[/quote]

Parents are usually the problem.[/quote]

I’ve actually heard this as well. A lot of teachers have reported that dealing with parents is the worst part of teaching. [/quote]

Bambi and raj – Do you think the teachers know better than you what’s best for your children?[/quote]

I’ll jump in on this even though it was not directed at me.

In my experience, every parent believes that their child is the most gifted, talented, unique little snowflake ever created. Unfortunately, the objective evidence usually suggests otherwise. Parents tend to overestimate their children’s skills to a large degree. Sometimes it is really helpful to counterbalance that view with a more objective viewpoint. Teachers, coaches, etc can provide this service.

It is not a simple answer to your question. But given my educational background, I am pretty sure that my children’s Spanish teacher is better at teaching Spanish than I am. Ergo- she knows better than I do.

jnd

Watch American kids soar, when teachers and schools have to compete with each other. This is a wonderful idea whose time has come.

[quote]ephrem wrote:
What teachers really want to tell parents

[/quote]

Yep. Worst professional job I can imagine. I have 3 kids and I actively discourage them from my profession.

It worked – one is headed for ‘jet jockey’ school in Pensacola, the middle one wants to do Mech Eng at MIT, and the youngest (in middle school) want to own a restaurant. LOL!

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools
[/quote]

Good thread SteelyD. I hope this works. I think it has a chance. It is good to see a state trying something new (especially if they are finding they are failing).

[quote]Dr.Matt581 wrote:
While I do not think this is going to work out very well for the taxpayers or the students, it is nice to see someone at least trying to seriously reform the education system. I am not too sure how I feel about taxpayer dollars being used to send students to private education centers. I know that I am not a fan of using taxpayer dollars to pay for tuition at religious institutions, but the more I think about it the less I like the idea of using tax dollars to send students to any kind of private schools. One of the main reasons that private schools exist is because the people who run them do not want to follow the standard educational guidelines, which is fine as far as it goes, but by doing so they forfeit government funding for their school. I think this should include allowing using taxpayer dollars to pay for tuition at those schools. If a parent would rather send their kids to a private school, fine. I am even okay with exempting them from paying taxes that would go towards paying for public schools, but if they can not afford it then it is not the responsibility of the community to send their kids to a private school.

Another major problem I have with this is the lack of a standard curriculum in private schools as well as the quality of the private schools who are willing to accept the most students. They tend to be the smaller and understaffed schools who are not any better then or even worse then public schools. The top schools are doing just fine and the $8000 or so dollars they would receive from the state would not even cover the cost of tuition there, so they lose money by accepting voucher students. Also, the schools that charge less then the $8000 or so that would normally go to paying for public schools have the right, according to this law, to claim up to that amount in unspecified fees. How much do you guys want to bet that nearly all of the schools are going to charge that amount?

Also, think about it financially. The article said that those who make up to $60,000 per year will get vouchers for full tuition and cost up to the $8,000 or so that would have gone to paying for a public education. The money that is used sending those kids to private school is taken from the funding for public schools. People who earn $60,000 or less do not pay $8,000 in education taxes. I make over twice that and I barely pay more then $10,000 per year. This means that a lot of people who pay less in taxes will take out more then they put in, meaning that either parents in income ranges higher then $60,000 will not get vouchers for $8,000, probably not even the amount they paid in taxes, and will have to pay out of pocket for private schools causing them to spend even more on education, or they will have to send their kids to the public schools who have lost most of their funding to sending low income students to private schools. I just do not see this working out very well.[/quote]

Good post and I think you bring up some very valid concerns.

[quote]Bambi wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
[/quote]

Parents are usually the problem.[/quote]

Sometimes. Not usually. In my experience anyway.

Also, I think we will have a few different problems. The parent’s who think the kids are special little snowflakes will take their kids to private schools. Those parents are usually engaged but deluded. That is a (lesser) problem, but not the problem that I think will come from vouchers.

The “problem parents” are the ones who don’t give a shit. The “whatever” parents that Kamui was referring to above. These kids tend to have MORE problems and eat up MORE resources. These will be the one’s left in public schools with less resources to work with. For this to work, I hope Louisiana will make more “magnet” schools so that “good students/parents” will have a public school option to send their children too. Regardless, if all the kids with problems do end up concentrated, hopefully the state education board will allow the schools to cater to these children’s needs (visions of “the Wire” are flashing through my head making me doubt it).

eh, my 2 cents.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:

[quote]Bambi wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
[/quote]

Parents are usually the problem.[/quote]

I’ve actually heard this as well. A lot of teachers have reported that dealing with parents is the worst part of teaching. [/quote]

Bambi and raj – Do you think the teachers know better than you what’s best for your children?[/quote]

Most of the time yes, but I also think teachers require a certain level of autonomy to be successful.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:

[quote]Bambi wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
[/quote]

Parents are usually the problem.[/quote]

I’ve actually heard this as well. A lot of teachers have reported that dealing with parents is the worst part of teaching. [/quote]

Bambi and raj – Do you think the teachers know better than you what’s best for your children?[/quote]

This is a very loaded question. The correct answer is sometimes. The problem is that a lot of people do not know the difference between teachers and parents. As a physics professor, my job and duty is to teach young men and women physics, and usually math since math teachers do not seem to want to do it. I also usually have to go over basic study skills even though those should be developed before students get to me. And, yes, when it comes to how to teach kids those subjects I know better then their parents how to go about it. That is it. Anything else is for the parents to do and I flat out refuse to fill in the gaps that some parents choose to leave in how they have raised their children for whatever reason.

It is not my job to teach or reinforce personal values and it is not my job to teach other people’s kids priorities. As a professor, my contact with the parents of my students is much lower then secondary and primary school teachers, but I usually have to meet with more then a few students each semester to discuss their performance. I get all kinds of excuses, and they are the same ones that high school teachers say parents tell them. These are usually the students who talk about all the parties they go to and come to class hung over or high or not at all. They ask for extra credit and for extensions on deadlines. This tells me that instead of holding their children accountable for their mistakes and showing them how to learn from those mistakes, they are teaching them to make excuses and try to weasel out the consequences of their actions. This also tells me that their parents are not teaching them proper time managements skills (i.e. how to choose between having fun and studying). If some parents do not want to teach their kids these things, fine, but do not expect me to do it and do not expect me to cut your kids any slack in my classes.

Some of the more popular excuses are:

“I am just not good at taking tests.”
You mean you are not good at the part where you prove to me that you know the material? If you are not good at proving that you know something then science is not for you. If you can not handle the stress of taking a test then how do you expect to be able to handle the stress of doing research and getting published? That is much more stressful then taking a test.

“I understand the science, but I am just not good at the math.”
This is one of my favorites. It may even be a good excuse for other scientific disciplines, but in physics the math and science are so very intimately related that if you do not understand one, then you do not understand the other. If you are not good at math, then pick another discipline because you will never understand physics without understanding differential calculus and other more advanced mathematics.

“I had this or that come up and couldn’t study or finish the assignment.”
Sometimes this will actually be true, but most of the time it isn’t and after many years of teaching I can tell when students are lying to me. If you come to class smelling of alcohol or weed or appear to be hung over often and talk about your weekend of partying then do not expect me to buy your excuses. People these days seem to think they need to relax for 8 hours a day and that they deserve to have their entire weekend off. This is just plain not true.

8k a year?!? That’s more than a year of university cost me.

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:

[quote]Bambi wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
[/quote]

Parents are usually the problem.[/quote]

Sometimes. Not usually. In my experience anyway.

Also, I think we will have a few different problems. The parent’s who think the kids are special little snowflakes will take their kids to private schools. Those parents are usually engaged but deluded. That is a (lesser) problem, but not the problem that I think will come from vouchers.

The “problem parents” are the ones who don’t give a shit. The “whatever” parents that Kamui was referring to above. These kids tend to have MORE problems and eat up MORE resources. [/quote]

I agree with this.

Apathy is the worst ill of education. Level of parental involvement and sense of responsibility are large pieces of student success.

I would argue that parents are not the problem per se, but the lack of involvement.

For those that think the teachers know what’s best for the student, you’ll have to let me know how you feel when you have kids in the school system. One of my kid’s teachers thinks that 2 hours of repetitive homework every for a skill that the kid has mastered is required. We had a talk, and it turns out that the parent (cough) knew that assigning less, but more challenging work benefits the student more than ‘busy work’ assigned so that the teacher can deal with the “inclusive” children.

I would argue that “inclusion” laws (ie. those that require problem students be included in otherwise normal functioning classrooms) has diminished the quality of education as much as anything. I’m am speaking from the experience of my wife as an elementary school educator and other family members/friends as well.

The voucher system isn’t perfect, but it does allow the money to travel where families feel it is best for their family. For those that will show their ignorance of ‘religious’ school education, our Catholic School and local Christian Schools out perform every public school in the state in every subject, including science. Several years ago they stopped testing against the local schools and opted for a regional test because the public schools are failing so bad.

Lose the bigotry.

Oh, and student/classroom cost is about 1/3 of the public schools…

[quote]
Apathy is the worst ill of education. Level of parental involvement and sense of responsibility are large pieces of student success.[/quote]

Actually, the number of involved parents (and grandparents) is the most useful variable if you want to predict which kids will succeed and which ones will fail.

[quote]For those that think the teachers know what’s best for the student, you’ll have to let me know how you feel when you have kids in the school system. One of my kid’s teachers thinks that 2 hours of repetitive homework every for a skill that the kid has mastered is required. We had a talk, and it turns out that the parent (cough) knew that assigning less, but more challenging work benefits the student more than ‘busy work’ assigned so that the teacher can deal with the “inclusive” children.

I would argue that “inclusion” laws (ie. those that require problem students be included in otherwise normal functioning classrooms) has diminished the quality of education as much as anything. I’m am speaking from the experience of my wife as an elementary school educator and other family members/friends as well.[/quote]

That’s because knowing what’s best for YOUR children is not our job.
A teacher is not a private tutor.

His job is to know what’s best for all the children in his classroom.
On average.
And in some places, his job is actually to keep the children busy enough to prevent them to roam freely in the streets, playing with your hard-gained property, and ruining the fragile edifice of civilization.

In this case, the teacher apparently knew his job, and he did it.
It’s not his fault if you expect him to do another job than his own.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:

[quote]Bambi wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
[/quote]

Parents are usually the problem.[/quote]

Sometimes. Not usually. In my experience anyway.

Also, I think we will have a few different problems. The parent’s who think the kids are special little snowflakes will take their kids to private schools. Those parents are usually engaged but deluded. That is a (lesser) problem, but not the problem that I think will come from vouchers.

The “problem parents” are the ones who don’t give a shit. The “whatever” parents that Kamui was referring to above. These kids tend to have MORE problems and eat up MORE resources. [/quote]

I agree with this.

Apathy is the worst ill of education. Level of parental involvement and sense of responsibility are large pieces of student success.

I would argue that parents are not the problem per se, but the lack of involvement.

For those that think the teachers know what’s best for the student, you’ll have to let me know how you feel when you have kids in the school system. One of my kid’s teachers thinks that 2 hours of repetitive homework every for a skill that the kid has mastered is required. We had a talk, and it turns out that the parent (cough) knew that assigning less, but more challenging work benefits the student more than ‘busy work’ assigned so that the teacher can deal with the “inclusive” children.

I would argue that “inclusion” laws (ie. those that require problem students be included in otherwise normal functioning classrooms) has diminished the quality of education as much as anything. I’m am speaking from the experience of my wife as an elementary school educator and other family members/friends as well.

The voucher system isn’t perfect, but it does allow the money to travel where families feel it is best for their family. For those that will show their ignorance of ‘religious’ school education, our Catholic School and local Christian Schools out perform every public school in the state in every subject, including science. Several years ago they stopped testing against the local schools and opted for a regional test because the public schools are failing so bad.

Lose the bigotry.

Oh, and student/classroom cost is about 1/3 of the public schools…[/quote]

You are making good points and this is in large part why I like vouchers and charter schools. I think it comes from simply liking “specialization.” That said, we as a society do need to watch out for too much “tracking” from an early age…but I think that should primarily be a job for parents.

I “kinda” understand inclusion, but I think that those kids then need to be allowed to fail or be given a different grading requirements. That said, “hiding away” certain populations isn’t the problem either. I’ve seen some schools where special needs kids are in the school, some participate in A FEW classes, and some are only in the special needs area. That seems about right to me. Can a student who is “a little slow” sit through a class? Sure. But the teacher shouldn’t “teach down” to the kids.

Private schools do better with less, normally. Personally, I think that is primarily because of parental involvement not because private schools have some sort of “magic.” When you are paying thousands a year for little Billy to go to school… “he’d better damn do well/take advantage!!” If Louisiana passes this, I hope that private schools can maintain the level of parental involvement. That will mean a world of difference, I think.

Anyway, I think I’m pretty much just completely agreeing with SteelyD with different words. I do have concerns about vouchers, but I think it’s time a state tries. This is especially true in states that are achieving poorly. I guess my opinion is it’s kinda like training…the best training program won’t do shit if there isn’t intensity involved, and some bad programs can have great results with lots of intensity. Here is to hoping that Louisiana puts a lot of “intensity” into it.

[quote]kamui wrote:

His job is to know what’s best for all the children in his classroom.
On average.
And in some places, his job is actually to keep the children busy enough to prevent them to roam freely in the streets, playing with your hard-gained property, and ruining the fragile edifice of civilization.

In this case, the teacher apparently knew his job, and he did it.
It’s not his fault if you expect him to do another job than his own.[/quote]

Interesting argument. Basically, it was the same one my HS football coach used when he scheduled 6:45am workout sessions M/W/F in the summers. lol

Gambit_Lost:

I don’t disagree with your last response.

re: Inclusion – The problem isn’t necessarily inclusion from a learning ability perspective, but more a behavior perspective. 1 problem child in a class of 30 can absolutely tilt the scale for those in the middle who are on the verge of success or failure. The brilliant students will shine regardless. Some schools up here actually go with multi-grade/multi-teacher (eg. 3,4,5) classrooms where the brightest young kids can learn at a higher level, and older slower kids can get the help they need. Kids learn how to mentor. I don’t know the specifics of the curriculum, but we’re seeing it more adopted, especially in the smaller/poorer schools.

re: Private School resources. I agree. And, in fact, parental involvment is required in a lot of cases. Number of volunteer hours, classroom attendance, etc, not substitutable by ‘paying their way out of hours’. Another difference, and this is a whole another conversation is the lack of a government union and MUCH lower administrative costs. It’s easy to see that much of government education costs go to things not directly related to classroom. I think that thread exists already somewhere :wink:

re: states trying. My understanding is that LA has a pretty horrid public school system. They likely have nothing to lose by trying. There need not be 100% success for the program to be successful IMO, just results that show it can work, then they can adjust from there. The government school model is far from perfect so the low bar is already set.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

The voucher system isn’t perfect, but it does allow the money to travel where families feel it is best for their family. For those that will show their ignorance of ‘religious’ school education, our Catholic School and local Christian Schools out perform every public school in the state in every subject, including science. Several years ago they stopped testing against the local schools and opted for a regional test because the public schools are failing so bad.

Lose the bigotry.
[/quote]

EXACTLY. And the ignorance the breeds it.

I DARE anyone to compare private Catholic school performance results with those of public schools in the same area in any region they choose in the US.

EDIT: Damned typo.

I have no problem with religious schools so long as they don’t replace real science with Biblical “truths.”

I’ve read absolute horror stories in the way evolution is taught by religious teachers in secular schools. As well, in many Christian schools it is not taught at all and in its place creationism/intelligent design is taught.

The same goes with comprehensive sex education

All the Catholic schools I am aware of teach evolution. Correctly, too, so far as I know.

Can’t speak for some of the other ones, but to focus on evolution alone when kids are getting their heads filled with so much crap and oftentimes downright political indoctrination is shortsighted, to say the least.

[quote]Cortes wrote:
All the Catholic schools I am aware of teach evolution. Correctly, too, so far as I know.

Can’t speak for some of the other ones, but to focus on evolution alone when kids are getting their heads filled with so much crap and oftentimes downright political indoctrination is shortsighted, to say the least. [/quote]

Please share with us what you mean when you say “political indoctrination” and give examples.

[quote]Cortes wrote:
All the Catholic schools I am aware of teach evolution. Correctly, too, so far as I know.

Can’t speak for some of the other ones, but to focus on evolution alone when kids are getting their heads filled with so much crap and oftentimes downright political indoctrination is shortsighted, to say the least. [/quote]

I focus on evolution because it is one of the main points of contention amongst religious and non-religious with respect to school curriculum.

I thought we were discussing religious schools? Sorry but evolution (aka the foundation of modern biology) deserves the attention I gave it.