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The Perfect "Public" School System


cinepro

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In another thread, the issue of public education for was discussed. Several different "models" were introduced, each with a varying component of governmental involvement and religious presence.

If you have an opinion on the subject, what do you think is the best (or better) form of providing education, compared to the current system. Would you totally scrap the current system, or just improve it? Would you take steps to provide education for every child in the country, or would you leave it up to the parents to decide how much education (and what type) a child should get and make schooling entirely optional? What do you see as the biggest problems in the public education system in our day?

In other words, suppose you got a call from The President, confiding in you that education in the USA is an absolute mess and asking your advice on razing the system and starting from scratch, or improving the existing system.

This is applicable to an LDS discussion board because of the different ways LDS interpret the statements of Church leaders on the subject, the ways the Church has been involved in education in the past and present, and the ways in which LDS deal with the challenge of education today.

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I'd also be interested in what people think the role of "prayer in schools" should be, especially in light of this situation that presented itself in Texas 10 years ago:

How Could A Mormon Family Sue Over School Prayer?

Kent Larsen 23Jun00 N1

SANTA FE, TEXAS -- This week's news that the Supreme Court had ruled against allowing the Santa Fe, Texas Independent School District to have "student-led voluntary prayers" before high school football games was disappointing to many conservative Mormons. It was also shocking for many that a the lawsuit had been filed by a Mormon family. But an analysis of the case history shows why a Mormon family might file such a lawsuit.

The case was originally filed in 1995, in response to the way that the Mormon family, and a Catholic family that joined them in the suit, were treated by teachers and other students in the school district. Both families felt that their children had been discriminated against and harassed for belonging to a minority religion in the majority Southern Baptist town, according to Mormon News' analysis of news reports and contacts with those involved in the case.

Both families experienced a pattern of teachers and students promoting their religion at school. One junior high school teacher passed out fliers for a Baptist revival in class. Invitations to religious camps and other religious materials were handed out in the classroom. Teachers included denominational religious teachings in their lessons. Bibles were distributed in the schools by the Gideons. At lunch time, students were told to bow their heads and pray before eating.

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I'd also be interested in what people think the role of "prayer in schools" should be, especially in light of this situation that presented itself in Texas 10 years ago:

In light of the sad fact that the Saints in this case had submitted their defenseless children to the gctf-welfare schools, I am in complete agreement that the quasi-formal prayers forced down their throats should not have been sanctioned, nor even offered. I do not believe that the state (at whatever level) has the righ to coerce religious activity, nor to suppress it. But the real question is whether those children should have been in a gctf-welfare school in the first palce.

The Brethren have warned us against that, time and time again. We just don't listen very well.

Lehi

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This is applicable to an LDS discussion board because of the different ways LDS interpret the statements of Church leaders on the subject, the ways the Church has been involved in education in the past and present, and the ways in which LDS deal with the challenge of education today.

No one here has ever even tried (or, having tried, has failed miserably) to show any place where the Brethren have condoned the gctf-welfare schooling of children.

It's not a matter of differing interpretations of official or unofficial statements by the Brethren on the subject, it's a matter of not listening to what the Brethren have actually said, and then not applying that counsel to their children's lives and education.

BTW, we're not alone in this. See "On Being Salt and Light" and "Salt and Light: The Great Commission".

Lehi

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In light of the sad fact that the Saints in this case had submitted their defenseless children to the gctf-welfare schools, I am in complete agreement that the quasi-formal prayers forced down their throats should not have been sanctioned, nor even offered. I do not believe that the state (at whatever level) has the righ to coerce religious activity, nor to suppress it. But the real question is whether those children should have been in a gctf-welfare school in the first palce.

The Brethren have warned us against that, time and time again. We just don't listen very well.

Lehi

Is there anything that could happen at the state level to improve schools, or is this a purely federal issue? I ask because if the Bretheren are against "gctf-welfare schools," perhaps the Utah legislature could do something about it. Of course I'm not suggesting that the Bretheren control the Utah legislature, but they certainly have quite a bit of influence.

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I would teach the basics in school and leave all the rest to private instruction.When I was a child there were a lot of Japanese immigrants in the area,they went to public school and after went to Japanese school. Rote prayer and political recitations should be saved for the private instruction.Education today is asked to do way too much and hence does poorly on what it could do well if the time was not diluted.

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More money for some public schools (with safeguards for spending it well) would help (We didn't have this issue in Wyoming, but Montana has been a different story). Better quality checks for teachers would help as well.

I don't think public prayer should be a part of public school.

I don't think it's possible to make public schools perfect. What's perfect for one child or family would be horrible for another.

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Is there anything that could happen at the state level to improve schools, or is this a purely federal issue? I ask because if the Bretheren are against "gctf-welfare schools," perhaps the Utah legislature could do something about it. Of course I'm not suggesting that the Bretheren control the Utah legislature, but they certainly have quite a bit of influence.

Theoretically, it's a state issue, but the feds have really jumped in with sea boots.

The case cinepro mentioned is but one example (the earlier opinion another) where the whole of USmerica has been forced to kowtow to the whims of the US Dept of the NEA*.

* When Carter established the Dep't of "Education", the NEA bragged "we have our own department now." And they did, in return for their unstinting support of the NEA leadership.

The 7% of money states get for schools levereges vastly greater amount because it all comes with strings, nay, howsers, attached.

It is conceivable, and extremeley unlikely, that a state could reject the money and go it alone, but even then, there would be mandates like the Kansas City high school and its olympic sized swimming pool, ordered by a federal judge, along with a judicially imposed tax increase to support it, because he thought it would improve the scholastic achievements of the inner-city students. It didn't work (and no amount of money would have), but KC is still stuck paying the bonds.

I hope that answers your question. There's more (much more), but this may suffice.

Lehi

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More money for some public schools (with safeguards for spending it well) would help (We didn't have this issue in Wyoming, but Montana has been a different story). Better quality checks for teachers would help as well.

Interesting. I guess I agree about the "with safeguards for spending it well". NY spent the most I beleive or NJ did and they are one of the worst places in the union for education. Yet Utah spent the least and has some of the best education. So throwing money at something does not seem to be the issue here.

What would be some of those safe guards?

One thing I would suggest is that we fire bad teachers. Non of this 10 year crap.

I don't think public prayer should be a part of public school.

Hmmmm I don't really have an issue one way or the other. It should not be forced on all but if some people wanted to do it it should not be forbidden.

I don't think it's possible to make public schools perfect. What's perfect for one child or family would be horrible for another.

I agree.

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More money for some public schools (with safeguards for spending it well) would help (We didn't have this issue in Wyoming, but Montana has been a different story). Better quality checks for teachers would help as well.

Pie-in-the-sky.

More money has not worked anywhere it is tried. The District of Columbia spends more money per pupil than any other school district in USmerica, but their scores are the lowest of all. New Jersey spends more than any other state, but its scores are not the top of the chart. Utah spends very near the bottom, but by all measures is well above average.

I don't think it's possible to make public schools perfect. What's perfect for one child or family would be horrible for another.

That's another reason gctf-welfare schools need to go the way of the Dodo: they cannot meet the needs of each student because they are essentially assembly lines, stamping out identical products with unvarying methods.

They cost too much, by far, as it is now, and making them "better" has never worked.

Private education, including private schools, apprenticeships, Dame schools and Mom schools (look them up), Family-Centered Education (misleadingly called "homeschooling"), and uncounted more options could exist in sufficient numbers to meet the individual needs of every child in USmerica, and at far lower cost, not all costs being monetary.

As many people even wiser than me have said, "All educatoin is religious." The qursdtion is, which religion do you want your child raised in? Schools are temples of learning, but they are not temples of God. (I said that.)

Lehi

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I have a friend who teachers in Utah and according to her, the lack of money for education is greatly felt. She's an elementary school teacher and has had to deal with some issues because of lack of funding (as well as 30+ kids in her classes). I personaly don't have any experience with schools in Utah though, so if other's say funding isn't an issue, then i can't argue.

In wyoming, the state revenue from oil and natural gas production goes to the public schools, so they are very well funded. In my home town (population 6,000) every kid in middle and high school got a brand new ipad this year (cost the school district $700,000). Their high school is 5 years old and they are putting in a brand new football stadium/track field as i type this.

Class size is about 15-22 kids per teacher.

In Montana, every year its a disaster. They have no money for new schools, they are running out of space for the number of kids enrolled. My kid's kindergarten class last year had so many students that the state threatened to take the school's accredidation away if they didn't bring in another teacher and split the classes. Of course, that created more problems because they had to figure out where to put them. Their elementary school has more kids than my high school did.

In montana, they get money from the casinos to support the public schools. Unfortunately, the casinos take way more from the community than they provide.

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I would teach the basics in school and leave all the rest to private instruction.

This is quite close to what Thomas Jeffereson advocated.

While I disagree with him (and you) on the question, I could live with his three years of voluntary (based on the parents' decision) education in basic math and writing. A person needs to be able to take care of his own affairs. Annything more is well beyond the bounds of governmental purview.

'Course, the schools we have now can't teach basic math and writing in three years, so the idea is vain.

Lehi

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Pie-in-the-sky.

More money has not worked anywhere it is tried. The District of Columbia spends more money per pupil than any other school district in USmerica, but their scores are the lowest of all. New Jersey spends more than any other state, but its scores are not the top of the chart. Utah spends very near the bottom, but by all measures is well above average.

I don't think money alone can help, but in some places, more money being spent responsibly is needed.

I would guess that part of the reason that Utah does so well is because it has a lot of two parent households who are not desperately poor, who take an active role in the education of their children outside of a school setting.

More money on it's own will never be able to overcome a turbulent homelife and parents who aren't invovled or don't care.

That's another reason gctf-welfare schools need to go the way of the Dodo: they cannot meet the needs of each student because they are essentially assembly lines, stamping out identical products with unvarying methods.

They cost too much, by far, as it is now, and making them "better" has never worked.

Private education, including private schools, apprenticeships, Dame schools and Mom schools (look them up), Family-Centered Education (misleadingly called "homeschooling"), and uncounted more options could exist in sufficient numbers to meet the individual needs of every child in USmerica, and at far lower cost, not all costs being monetary.

In certain areas, like Camden NJ, this would never work. I think it's the best option over public schools, but i think it's completely unrealistic when dealing with some of the social issues that plague certain areas.

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My ideal would be funding the public schools to the level that they were from the 1957 to the early 1970's in California, adjusted for inflation of course. Free public education through college, or trade school as the student/parents so desire. Strenthen and enforce high state standards in such areas as science and math in private schools. Strengthen and enforce proficiency goals for each grade level in a broad range of subjects. Reduce maximum classroom occupancy to no more than 15. Require K-12 attendence.

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More money has not worked anywhere it is tried. The District of Columbia spends more money per pupil than any other school district in USmerica, but their scores are the lowest of all. New Jersey spends more than any other state, but its scores are not the top of the chart. Utah spends very near the bottom, but by all measures is well above average.

Money itself doesn't work to fix the system because educational success corresponds to household economic stability, not how much money gets pumped into each school. You point out D.C. which most Right Wingers do in order to create their Federal Government boogey-man, but the fact is D.C. has one of the highest (indeed the highest) violent crime rates in the nation. So no wonder they like to use this as their prime example of the "failure" of public schools. Why not point out the public schools in zip code 90210? Because that would be self-refuting wouldn't it?

What you folks never seem to understand is that a kid is going to be successful in school not based on the school he or she attends. A kid is going to be successful according to what happens at home.

To refute the silly Right Wing notion that "government" is the problem all I have to do is point out the easily verifiable facts that public schools in wealthier districts do much, much better than those in poorer districts. They also compete quite well with some private schools. For example, we purchased a home a few months ago. Parents in the market for new homes almost always consider school districts when purchasing a home. Various systems grade schools or rank them on different scales, such as 1 to 10. Without exception, schools within wealthier neighborhoods were ranked substantially higher than those in poorer neighborhoods. Even in a generally poorer county in which most schools are ranked between 3 and 6, a school found within the wealthiest corner of the county - where homes average well above the median- see rankings as high as 9 and 10. Most of these rankings are based on the success/scores of the children who attend.

But all these schools are part of the so-called "welfare" school system provided by our taxpayers. My best friend who baptized me is now a doctor. He attended the same "welfare" school I did. It was rated 10 and has been rated between 9 and 10 consistently for decades. Why? Because it is located in East Cobb County. So were our teachers really that much better than those at level 3 schools? Of coruse not. The difference is found at home. Children who are raised in economically stable environments aren't guaranteed success, but the fact is they are more likely to be successful because they are more likely to receive the necessary support and parental guidance. Those who are raised in economically unstable environments are more likely to be raised within a single-parent household and those with a history of domestic violence.

So this is what LeSellers and the Glenn Beck faction of talk radio don't get.

They are right to say the answer isn't just money. But knowing what the answer isn't doesn't tell us what the answer is. They don't know what the answer is either because they think it is all about being public or privatized. This is easily refuted, as the answer requires fundamental change in society where the middle-class is lifted. As families are lifted out of the lower classes, they become more economically stable. This is always good news for the children. Unfortunately, Right Wingers blindly support policies that are without exception, against the poorer classes. They support policies that make it easier for the rich to get richer and more difficult for poorer families to reach middle-class status. This has been true since Reagan. This is why they attack public schools so much. It is all about a well-paid lobbying effort by the same capitalists who brought us the University of Phoenix, Kaplan "university" etc (those dime a dozen "schools" that offer worthless "degrees" and use deceptive and high-pressure marketing techniques to get naive people to register for classes using, of course, federal loans which they hand out like candy!) . Those who want to privatize all education in America for the sake of making money. This would be devastating to the majority of children of America who are raised in households that would never be able to afford to pay for education. Do you think the kids in poorer neighborhoods who go to school as a refuge from their sad life at home, will ever be in a position to attend a private school in the event that the Right Wing gets its way and shuts down the Dept of Education?

Do you think America is dumb now? Then try getting rid of public education for a decade, then you'll see what dumb is all about. The idea here is that public education makes it possible for children to succeed. It doesn't guarantee success any more than private schools do, and the fact is privatized schools are only more successful for the simple reason that they know what "kind" of students they're going to get. In many cases they only admit those students who can pass their specialized tests. So they take all the smart kids from wealthier families and that of course leaves the public schools to deal with all rest. The rest that mostly consists of social misfits. In many schools in poor neighborhoods teachers spend just as much time trying to prevent a drug deal from taking place in the bathrooms, as they do trying to teach math to their inattentive students. Students who don't even bother to go home after school because the mother works three minimum wage jobs and the father is either in jail or abandoned the family at an earlier time. Students who find acceptance and a sense of identity on the streets because that is the only way they know how to live, which doesn't involve being a smart kid and paying attention in class.

So for the love of all that is holy, please stop with this nonsense about how the "problem" with education in America caan be reduced to federal involvement. This is just a talking point on the Right, concocted and funded by those seeking to get richer by making Americans have to pay more for education.

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I never thought i'd agree with Xander, but on this issue, i think he's got some good points.

Is there a private school option that could guarantee success in an atmosphere with zero to little parental invovlement, high crime/high substance abuse within the community, and excruciating poverty? If not, then private schools are ultimately no better than public schools at dealing with biggest ills of education.

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I never thought i'd agree with Xander, but on this issue, i think he's got some good points.

Is there a private school option that could guarantee success in an atmosphere with zero to little parental invovlement, high crime/high substance abuse within the community, and excruciating poverty? If not, then private schools are ultimately no better than public schools and the answer to the ills of education isn't getting the government uninvovled.

I do not know what the solution is. And I am not an advocate for getting read of a public option. Just that there seems to be no accountability in the public sphere. And we just learned a few weeks ago how in some states teachers have been basically cheating for the students on their tests so they schools get more money. Some states also have an issue of people graduating illiterate. Fancy that.

more money being spent responsibly is needed.

I will say, that I agree with a previous statement of yours. I think in Utah more money could be spent and it would be better. I was only responding to the argument that "more money = better educational stats". Carry on.

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I would shift to more privatization. The funds being spent now would still pay for buildings, books, and supplies, etc. But the parents and students would select the curriculum, teachers, and schedules. Perhaps the teachers would receive a base salary from the state, but families would also pay tuition. The teachers/subjects in more demand could command a higher tuition. I would also significantly relax requirements/barriers to entry for teachers so more could enter that workforce and provide a good supply, an economic force to keep tuitions down.

It is a significant step towards full privatization (which is not necessarily what I'm angling for), but it puts the power of decision and control where it ought to be. Standardized tests? Colleges and similar institutions would handle that (if they want a test) and parents and students would be apprised of the best types of courses to prepare for such tests.

The Dept. of Education would, of course, be abolished and the teachers unions would be rendered powerless in this system allowing us to realize significant savings and better educated kids.

So if you want to be taught creationism, have at it. If you prefer evolution, have at it. You prefer a musical cirriculum? Have at it. More science and mathematics? All yours. No problem requiring some basic English, Math, and History. Up to you to decide if you want real history and social studies, or the revisionist kind.

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Do I even dare respond. I bet I get a 12 paragraph response.

Some responses require more explaining, depending on the level of ignorance ruling the thread.

Funny no one argued any of these points in this thread.

I'm familiar with LeSeller's take on this matter and I have tried to educate him on this matter in the past. The source of this antagonism towards public schools is entirely on the shoudlers of RIght Wing politics. Their answer is to privatize education and get rid of the Dept of Education.

The issue here is that DC spends near the top yet has some of the worst educational stats. Nothing about government boogie men nothing about high VC rates. I fail to see what 90210 has to do with anything.

Obviously, but I think I explained why it is relevant.

After all we are talking about public school systems not private.

And by attacking public schools because they are public, you're indirectly and necessarily recommending a privatized approach. If on the other hand you say you do not support getting rid of public education, then you cannot at the same time say you don't want to further fund it with money. That's all you can do really. Saying you don't have the answer is at least being honest. However I do have the answer. The difference between a great public school and a bad public school can almost always be reduced to geography.

I can't wait until you bring up media matters. Lol. Like media really matters to them.

You wouldn't know since you only know what FAUX Noise tells you about them.

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In another thread, the issue of public education for was discussed. Several different "models" were introduced, each with a varying component of governmental involvement and religious presence.

If you have an opinion on the subject, what do you think is the best (or better) form of providing education, compared to the current system. Would you totally scrap the current system, or just improve it? Would you take steps to provide education for every child in the country, or would you leave it up to the parents to decide how much education (and what type) a child should get and make schooling entirely optional? What do you see as the biggest problems in the public education system in our day?

In other words, suppose you got a call from The President, confiding in you that education in the USA is an absolute mess and asking your advice on razing the system and starting from scratch, or improving the existing system.

This is applicable to an LDS discussion board because of the different ways LDS interpret the statements of Church leaders on the subject, the ways the Church has been involved in education in the past and present, and the ways in which LDS deal with the challenge of education today.

Here are some of the problems, with solutions, as I see them:

1) Considering certain things to be things "everybody" needs to learn even though some people may never use that knowledge.

Solution: Give each student the choice about what they want to learn, as it pertains to their individual interest(s), and if there are certain things they need to learn before they can learn what they really want to know, help them understand how that knowledge ties in to what they want to learn.

2) Trying to squeeze in teaching a certain amount of knowledge within a very limited time frame.

Solution: Give each student as much time as they need to learn whatever they want to learn. Drop the "grade" system, such as "First" grade and "Second" grade and "Third" grade, etc, as well as ideas that people need to go to "college" or a "university" to learn certain things.. "Where" you go to learn something shouldn't really matter, and all teachers should simply focus primarily on teaching a certain subject, or a certain aspect of a subject, with a child being able to go back to a teacher or set of teachers... wherever they are... until they become experts in their chosen subject(s).

3) Teaching theory without enough practical hands-on or "on-the-job" experience.

Solution: If a child wants to become a doctor, for example, arrange to have them spend time with doctors while watching what those doctors do as well as giving them opportunities to assist the doctors with various tasks while the doctors supervise them. There's no reason why a child can't become qualified to do the work of a doctor before they reach the age of 20,. first starting out with basic things and then working up to more complicated things. Even doctors don't know everything about being a doctor, but a child can learn enough to do what most doctors do long before they reach the age of 20 and without having to go through all of the hubub that doctors have to go through now before they can even start acting like a doctor. Other occupations that require less knowledge would be mastered in even less time than it takes to become a well-rounded doctor, and people could become qualified to do those kinds of "jobs" while still in their early teens.

4) The idea that people need to spend money to learn something, as if money has anything at all to do with receiving an education.

Solution: Find people who are willing to teach what they know how to do and without requiring any money for their services.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

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Mola Ram Suda Ram:

You can thank No Child Left Behind for that. I tell you what let's make your pay check dependent on how well some ignorant little brat of a child does on a test.

How long would it be before you "helped" that child on the test?

What are you talking about? And "No Child Left Behind" was a total waste.

My pay check is dependent on how well I produce. And there are strict audits in place to check my work. I would expect nothing different for public school teachers.

Now, on the other side of the coin, I will state, that I had great teachers all through out my k-12 endeavors. But....... There were some really crappy teachers there that should have been fired.

I think the school systems could benefit from an auditor.

maybe I fully understand your point??

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