No child left behind?

How about 75% of the children left behind? That’s the statistic for children in Detroit Public Schools. They are the worst in the nation, but a glance at major cities across the country shows a graduation rate lower than 50%. No child left behind? What the hell were they thinking when they wrote that rubbish? Bush’s pet project is an absolute failure. You want to improve education? Give our schools and our teachers money. Quit spending billions on futile “wars” that can’t possibly be won, and give just a tiny fraction of that to education. It would make a world of difference. Pay teaching positions enough that qualified people actually want to become teachers, instead of pursuing careers that offer more money.

In low-income schools, students have less than a 50 percent chance of
being taught by a mathematics or science teacher who holds a degree in
the subject he or she teaches

How can we produce smarter children without smarter teachers? Granted, you don’t need a math degree to teach 2+2=4, but wouldn’t you want a physics teacher who is actually a physicist? A calculus teacher with at least an associates degree in math? But the people who pursue those degrees shun the low-paying field of education.

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  • Jay  On June 21, 2007 at 7:22 am

    I strongly disagree with the idea that the school/teachers make the students. The “best schools” are the best because they have the best students. Because their parents give a crap and place a stong emphasis on school and take the time to find out where the “best schools” are and move there so their kids can go there.

    According to you, college professors (with PhDs and Masters degrees) should be much better teachers than middle/high school teachers with bachelors. That is certainly not the case. In my own anecdotal experience, the only really good teacher I had was in high school. That is 1 teacher out of perhaps 50 that was really good.

    Teachers are already generally overpaid. But, let’s suppose that was the problem, so we offer teachers more money and all of a sudden really smart people want to teach. Do we fire the crappy teachers and replace them with the good ones? Do only the new, expensive teachers get this great salary? Go ask the teachers’ union and find out the answers.

    If you truly wanted better teachers (and, overall they still wouldn’t be much better) you’d get rid of the unions, which reward people for longevity, not ability.

  • wolfger  On June 21, 2007 at 7:43 am

    I agree with some of what you say, but I think the idea that the best schools are “best” because they have the best students is laughable. I don’t think the quality of the student is determined by zip code. There are bad students in good school districts and good students in bad school districts. I don’t think you’ll find many (any?) poorly funded schools on the “best” list, and I don’t think you’ll find many (any?) well-funded schools on the “worst” list.

    Yes, parents need to give a crap. That is a huge factor. But unless the parents are willing and able to homeschool their children (which removes the need for schools), there’s very little they can do about the quality of education their child receives. The quality of education is based solely on the teachers and the school, and money plays a huge roll in that. Good teachers flee the poorly funded districts as soon as they’re able to, because there’s better money elsewhere.

    As for the union, I agree completely! Teachers need to be rewarded based on performance, and not how long they’ve been around, and the union fights that. Tenure needs to be abolished.

  • Jay  On June 21, 2007 at 9:17 am

    How do people determine the “best” schools? By test scores, tests taken by the students. Move those students to a “bad” school and suddenly, that school will be better. Bad schools are bad because the only kids that go there are kids who’s parents don’t care or can’t afford to move.

    In NJ several years ago, the NJ Supreme Court ruled that inner city schools were getting short changed because most school funding came from property taxes and so rich area had better schools. They forced the state to make up for the funding shortage. Incredibly, the worst schools are still the worst.

  • Jeff  On June 21, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I’ll wade in and really get into trouble. Two things have changed since my public education – which I think was pretty good.

    1. Teachers aren’t allowed to spank kids anymore. The PC bullcrap has empowered disruptive students to disrupt with impunity.

    2. Busing killed the neighborhood schools. When I was a kid, my elementary school was within walking distance. When they sent a note home to my parents saying that”this weekend is going to be a clean-up day” at teh school my parents showed up. Now the kids elementary school is on the other side of town, to achieve racial balance, and I couldn’t give a crap about going over there on a Saturday and doing the same work…

  • wolfger  On June 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Jay: Of course if you take a student from a good school and put him in a bad school, it makes the bad school *look* better. But the fact remains that the “good” student is a product of the good school, and not a product of the bad school. Of course, this is a chicken and egg argument that I don’t think either of us can win, but I think your insistence that the students have more impact on a school than the teachers is truly backwards, since the teachers are supposed to be in the lead. As for “can’t afford to move”, thanks for re-affirming that it is, indeed, about the money. 😀

    Jeff: I agree completely that the PC bull that removed a teacher’s ability to hand out effective punishments is a major factor in the decline of school discipline, and a decline in discipline leads to a worse education. I’m less sure about busing being an issue. I was bused to a distant school, and it didn’t impact my education so far as I can tell. I’m sure it does decrease parent involvement, though.

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