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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:39 pm 
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I have to agree with good old Ed Brayton here on a point that didn't immediately spring to mind:

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The Louisiana state Senate passed the scam "academic freedom" bill by a vote of 36-0, following on the heels of the House passing it 94-3. Gov. Bobby Jindal, a creationist, will certainly sign it. Americans United issued a press release saying that if local schools use the law to allow in creationist material of any kind, they are prepared to file lawsuits.

Americans United and other groups contend that those "supplemental materials" are likely to be anti-evolution books, DVDs and other items produced by fundamentalist Christian ministries. The measure is being pushed by the Louisiana Family Forum, the Discovery Institute and other Religious Right forces...

"If this new law is used to promote religion in Louisiana public schools, I can guarantee there will be legal action," Lynn said. "Louisiana students deserve better, and Louisiana taxpayers should not have their money squandered on this losing effort."

Anyone who doubts that simply hasn't been paying attention. This bill will be viewed as a green light to bring in a whole range of supplemental materials just like the Dover school board tried to do. That's why I've said that such bills are inviting local school districts and teachers into a Dover Trap. They invite teachers and school boards to bring in such material without providing any guidance at all on which materials can legally be used and which cannot.

Anyone who has observed these things for any length of time knows exactly what is going to happen. This fall you will see teachers and school boards bringing all kinds of supplemental materials into their science classrooms - books like Of Pandas and People and The Design of Life, videos and books like Icons of Evolution and The Privileged Planet. In short, all the major ID texts and videos are going to be used all over the state now.

And then those school districts are going to be sued. And just like in Dover, they're going to lose. We have vast amounts of evidence establishing that all of those books and the people who wrote them are thinly disguised creationist texts. The state legislature is rolling out a red carpet that leads from the schoolhouse to the courthouse and they're going to end up costing local schools a great deal of money. Eric Rothschild, I hope you're getting your rest.
http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/06/louisiana_creationism_bill_goe.php#more

One of the unfortunately side-effects of this bill is it is going to cost school districts a lot of money in legal fees for nothing when they can ill-afford to lose that money. As someone mentions in the comments, even if they luck into a Roy Moore in the initial trial, the appeal process is eventually going to take them down unless McCain wins and appoints a few Scalias to the bench.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:21 pm 
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That is a very good point, EAllusion. No matter how carefully the Discovery Insitute has scrubbed their textbook of all references to creationism, the bill that was passed does not specify any particular book... thus creating a minefield for teachers. The best legal advice for school districts would be to play it safe and ignore this new law. Let some other district take the first step into uncleared "Supplemental textbook" territory.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:40 pm 
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asbestosman wrote:
I think the way science is taught in classrooms is fundamentally wrong. Science should not be some list of facts (data) and theories (models) that you memorize. Science should be about how to do science, not what to believe.


I think it should be a bit of both. You can take what's known, make that interesting and stimulating and go from there. There are basic things children should know and from that point they can go further and explore. Yet, make the learning of the fundamentals an exploration in itself.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:06 pm 
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The Nehor wrote:
bcspace wrote:
Even better, abolish the public school system altogether.


Finally, someone talking sense. Abolish government-sponsored daycare.


I suppose we are to all go in lockstep again, marching one by one in a serfs paradise, indentured for life to someone who can read and do math.

Or were you joking...I can't tell anymore.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:15 am 
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Mercury wrote:
The Nehor wrote:
bcspace wrote:
Even better, abolish the public school system altogether.


Finally, someone talking sense. Abolish government-sponsored daycare.


I suppose we are to all go in lockstep again, marching one by one in a serfs paradise, indentured for life to someone who can read and do math.

Or were you joking...I can't tell anymore.


Nope, I just think we can end public education and let private schools of all types rise up to replace them.

Public education was not created to educate the people. It became popular and was reinforced in eras where the government had genuine fears that the poorer classes would rise against them. So they had them give the Pledge of Allegiance every day and taught them about the wonders of Democracy and how great America is. They threw in the 3 R's to fill up time.

Our current education system is built around the lowest common denominator and is more interested in making sure dunces and their parents don't feel inferior then actually educating people.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:28 am 
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Private school education is not always superior -- I wonder why this is repeated so often. Those that send their kids to private school are ensuring that they will be about other children that are from a similar socioeconomic background -- those from this background usually have the means to help their children with stimulating activities, have higher educations themselves, and their children start out with some luxuries that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have. There is a direct positive correlation between students being at risk (to drop out, failure, learning disabilities) and being low on the socio-economic ladder -- these children fill our public schools -- their backgrounds, economic status, parental involvement, and parental education level is not going to magically disappear if they went to a private school.

Private schools do not usually accept children with learning disabilities and this of course sways how their student population is seen. Private schools do not usually have the finances to offer a variety of languages, art, drama, etc... classes that are seen in many public schools. Private school teachers (in many instances) are not certified teachers and actually could not be hired on in public schools because they are not qualified to teach as determined by the state. I've known many private school instructors that teach so that their kids get a discount -- one had a degree in journalism and she was teaching High School Biology.

The public school system has issues and there is no doubt that there are some teachers and administrators that don't care -- yet, these schools are also filled with teachers and students passionate about learning and helping ALLL children -- from all socioeconomic spheres and with all types of learning from gifted to severely disabled.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:35 am 
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Moniker wrote:
Private school education is not always superior -- I wonder why this is repeated so often. Those that send their kids to private school are ensuring that they will be about other children that are from a similar socioeconomic background -- those from this background usually have the means to help their children with stimulating activities, have higher educations themselves, and their children start out with some luxuries that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have. There is a direct positive correlation between students being at risk (to drop out, failure, learning disabilities) and being low on the socio-economic ladder -- these children fill our public schools -- their backgrounds, economic status, parental involvement, and parental education level is not going to magically disappear if they went to a private school.

Private schools do not usually accept children with learning disabilities and this of course sways how their student population is seen. Private schools do not usually have the finances to offer a variety of languages, art, drama, etc... classes that are seen in many public schools. Private school teachers (in many instances) are not certified teachers and actually could not be hired on in public schools because they are not qualified to teach as determined by the state. I've known many private school instructors that teach so that their kids get a discount -- one had a degree in journalism and she was teaching High School Biology.

The public school system has issues and there is no doubt that there are some teachers and administrators that don't care -- yet, these schools are also filled with teachers and students passionate about learning and helping ALLL children -- from all socioeconomic spheres and with all types of learning disabilities from gifted to severely disabled.


I agree with what you've said but I think private schools would expand rapidly if the public school system were dissolved.

I don't mean to imply that all teachers and administrators in public schools are bad but in many ways they're hamstrung by the system. I had teachers get in trouble with parents for teaching things in class. Inevitably these would be the kinds of things we actually need to learn and even enjoyed learning. This essay describes many of the problems I see in public education. http://hometown.aol.com/tma68/7lesson.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:36 am 
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The Dude wrote:
That is a very good point, EAllusion. No matter how carefully the Discovery Insitute has scrubbed their textbook of all references to creationism, the bill that was passed does not specify any particular book... thus creating a minefield for teachers. The best legal advice for school districts would be to play it safe and ignore this new law. Let some other district take the first step into uncleared "Supplemental textbook" territory.


It's still a violation of the establishment clause to teach children in a public school bad criticisms of evolutionary theory to achieve a religious goal like undermining student confidence in evolutionary theory. That's almost certainly what teaching, say, Behe's Irreducible Complexity arguments minus the design inference would be.

The kind of criticisms of evolution that pass constitutional muster are already legal as it is. This bill does nothing to make legal what is currently not. All it does is wave a red cape in the face of school boards to begin incorporating creationist antievolution arguments. If they do that, they will be sued, and they will lose out in the end. They're being made into the latest testing ground for the latest creationist toned-down attempt to get around the past few decades of establishment clause jurisprudence.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:42 pm 
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The Nehor wrote:
bcspace wrote:
Even better, abolish the public school system altogether.


Finally, someone talking sense. Abolish government-sponsored daycare.
And you speak with what experience?

Do you have children in school?

Oh nevermind, you are not even married.

Tell ya what, get married, have kids, and when they reach school age, come back and pitch your fit.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:12 am 
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Boaz & Lidia wrote:
The Nehor wrote:
bcspace wrote:
Even better, abolish the public school system altogether.


Finally, someone talking sense. Abolish government-sponsored daycare.
And you speak with what experience?

Do you have children in school?

Oh nevermind, you are not even married.

Tell ya what, get married, have kids, and when they reach school age, come back and pitch your fit.


Ummm......No.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:09 pm 
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Now Nehor, you know you're saving yourself for me...you're going to be my second husband, remember?

I never looked at the private school system from Moniker's point-of-view, but she does make a lot of valid points.

The city that I spent most of my school years in was for a long time filled with teachers who did not know how to handle the rediculously rambunctious kids that I went to school with. I had a math teacher who literally sat on her desk each day and let the kids go wild, saying that she was going to get paid regardless, and she didn't care. First grade teacher threw desks around (I hid in the closet) and cried about her dead dog. Second grade teacher took a big black marker and scribbled all over a letter I was writing to a pen pal, in which I said I was shy. Ok...do you know me better than I do?

For years our only high school in this city wasn't even accredited. We were the ghetto of the Northern Virginia school districts. It's far different now, but it was a long road, believe me.

I actually enjoyed the two years I was in Catholic school...outside of my teacher who didn't like anyone who wasn't white. It was hard being a black Jew (who had heard of that? they assumed I was Baptist), but I found my education very interesting. But I was definitely not in my socioeconomic background, and Moniker is right, there were no special education/special needs children there at all. However, the curriculum was very broad for 5th and 6th graders. Was definitely a shock when I got back to public school.

I would imagine that if you had a special needs child, if you could find a private school to enroll them in, you'd be paying out the butthole.

I'm a fan of head start, because many of these kids in my area have young mothers who don't give a rat's buttcheek, and left to languish with their crackhead parents, they probably would be worse off come time to actually hit full day school...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:37 pm 
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bcspace wrote:
And while you're at it, stop legitimizing homosexual behavior, planned parenthood, and socialism in the schools too please. Even better, abolish the public school system altogether.



Indeed. And while were at it, let's stop the environmental hysteria, Kinseyan based sex ed, condom and birth control distribution, death education, the covert sneaking of New Age philosophy into teaching materials, and amateur psychotherapy that passes in many modern schools for "counseling".

Oh, and let's stop controlling and inducing compliance in public school children with powerful psychoactive drugs (we could return to standards and discipline in lieu of Ritalin).

And let's abolish the public school system to ice the cake.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:48 pm 
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Unlike Nehor I actually have a child in high school right now. She's just finished her freshman year and in a few weeks will start her sophomore year. The public high school she goes to is one of the top high schools in the state academically. I was very actively involved with her schooling and following what assignments she was working on and whatnot, and I was absolutely astounded just how hard and how rigorous her classes were. She probably did more homework and projects in her freshman year alone than I did in three or four years of high school. She would come to me and discuss her tests, her projects, etc. so I knew a great deal about what was going on.

I find it hard to imagine she would have gotten a finer education anywhere else. She might have gotten a finer education somewhere else if we had perfect knowledge of all schools, perfect freedom to choose her school, and unlimited funds to pay for it, but the law of diminishing returns definitely would apply - I think the education she's receiving at her public high school is fantastic.

The utopian vision of people who clamor for the public schools to be shut down so every kid can go to Philips Academy, or Eton, or whatever, is just r____. Private schools are not some ultimate answer to a question public schools just can't even grasp. Private schools are just other schools, run by other people, who are a lot freer to do what they please.

Personally I think there are too many private schools around, especially those founded and run by members of particular religions, for the "benefit" of the children of their own members. Think orthodox jewish schools, or fundamentalist Christian schools. Imagine schools where they really do use "Of Pandas and People" as a textbook.

For heaven's sake, before Warren Jeffs abolished the FLDS-run school in Colorado City and required all the FLDS parents to home school (ie: keep in ignorance) their children, they actually had a textbook on plural marriage. One of the audio recordings of Jeffs teaching plural marriage to young girls that's on Youtube is actually from a classroom where he's teaching them, and giving them assignments to read particular chapters from the plural marriage textbook. That's their idea of a private school. No thanks.

I had a decent public high school growing up in Massachusetts, and my daughter's got a fantastic public high school here in Arizona. Are their crappy public schools out there? Yeah, I'm sure. These schools should be improved.

The whole "abolish public schools, they were only ever created to keep poor kids ignorant so they couldn't challenge the establishment" meme is one I regard as on a par with other stupid conspiracy theories, like "the CIA created crack cocaine to keep the black race poor and subservient" and "we need to move to Montana with guns and years of food and ammo because the New World Order is coming to rule the world and destroy Christianity".

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:04 pm 
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Nehor is, for all intents and purposes, correct. The government schools have become a dumping ground for the bottom of the barrel of the academic landscape. One tends to go into education when one's intellectual abilities will not allow him to go anywhere else (which explains why most private schools won't touch certified teachers when hiring academic staff).

Many, if not most people teaching in the public schools today do not have degrees in any substantive subject such as history, the humanities, sociology etc. They have an education degree; that is, they have studied pedagogy, a discipline riven with fluff, trendy political correctness, and intellectual stuffing of no known value in teaching (as our national NAEP scores continue to indicate).

As Myron Lieberman pointed out years ago in his book Public Education: an Autopsy, the public schools are managed and maintained, not for the consumers of education, but for the providers; for the educracy, the teachers unions and their members. It is their school system (though publically funded, or perhaps, because of that) and it is run to fulfill their needs. Hence, our national test scores and the gross decline in educational standards over the last 40 years or so.

The public schools have become a vast playground for special interests (sometimes on the Right, but almost always on the Left) for the hearts and minds of impressionable children at taxpayer expense and involving the promulgation of ideologies and philosophies that many parents find repugnant, if not outrageous, and which have nothing to do with the primary task of public schools in a free democratic republic.

The public schools are, as a class, failing, and all previous attempts at reform have fallen under to boot of the teacher's unions, the Dept. of Educaiton, and other interested parties.

Moniker is partly right that private schools do not always turn out better students. The rub is, they turn them out statistically much more often (as does homeschooling) then do most public schools, which is reason enough to essentially abolish them. By "abolish" I do not mean a statutory destruction of the public school system. What I do mean is the complete and total end of the public school monopoly; that is, the de-unionization of all public school teachers, an end to tenure, across the board introduction of merit pay to attract the best and brightest into the field (not necessarily the certified), and the complete opening up (through a massive voucher program, educational savings accounts, or some other similar approach) of the public education system to the disciplines of the marketplace; to vigorous and dynamic competition in a free market in which both public and private schools would compete with each other for the presence of the student in the classroom. Of course, those public schools that could not delver a quality education (as most are not doing now) would disappear (and this is good). Those that could adapt and raise standards would remain, but only so long as they were able to compete with a burgeoning private market for educational services along the dimensions of quality and cost effectiveness.

In other words, a much better system would be to allow the the market (parents themselves) choose the best schools for their children as opposed to education system bureaucrats and the teacher's unions for whom the continuation of the system as presently constituted is in there interests.

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Last edited by Droopy on Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:19 pm 
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The whole "abolish public schools, they were only ever created to keep poor kids ignorant so they couldn't challenge the establishment" meme is one I regard as on a par with other stupid conspiracy theories, like "the CIA created crack cocaine to keep the black race poor and subservient" and "we need to move to Montana with guns and years of food and ammo because the New World Order is coming to rule the world and destroy Christianity".



Judging by the entirety of Seth's post, from which this snippet is taken, he is so out of the loop on this issue as to make virtually anything he says here irrelevant.

There are some islands of excellence in the public schools, but present empirical data make quite clear they are relatively rare within a sea of mediocrity and failure. Further, Seth just cannot hide the fact that he is a secularist liberal who wants to keep the indoctrination machine of the public schools (per the opening post of this thread) free from serious competition or alternatives. so that all the little Mormon, Evangelical, and Catholic children will turn out to be good little secular humanist liberals like himself who do not question the orthodoxies of the liberal faith. The road to serfdom (or "a better world", as the "progressives" would have it) is being paved in the public schools, and there is no conspiracy theory about it (nice dance Seth, but try something a little substantial, such as perhaps actually engaging the argument. There are plenty of real conspiracy theories to criticize here, all from the leftists on this board, but this isn't one of them). Others want no part of it, and have every right to want out of the Orwellian education matrix.

The cultural Left knows very well that the minds of the young are the key. When The Thing has absorbed all those around it, it has no more enemies: it has won.

One must also realize that, given the general standards prevailing within most public schools in America today, even the best, a High School diploma is, intellectually, worth little, in basic subject areas, compared to the knowledge base of even grade school children in the late nineteenth century. A child who is an "honor" student at the typical public school is probable doing 'C' level work by earlier academic public school standards.

Look at the national stats. This country is at the bottom of the industrialized Western world and even lags some non-western countries in a number of basic subjects, and has been for sometime. Seth's anecdote may be true, but hardly tells us anything about the state of American education as a whole, which bottomed out almost thirty years ago (as A Nation at Risk made clear).

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Last edited by Droopy on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:33 pm 
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Looks like Droopy's copy of The Limbaugh Letter came today.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:37 pm 
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never mind - not worth it


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:54 pm 
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Here are just a couple of scholarly studies on the issues at hand for consideration:

http://www.nas.org/polimage.cfm?doc_Id=87&size_code=Doc

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Educat ... otes37.cfm

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/wm1965.cfm

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/bg2125.cfm

http://media.hoover.org/documents/0817939717_3.pdf

Since our Mr. Kemp is probably not accustomed to much serious reading, he may be exempted from the above.

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Last edited by Droopy on Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:01 pm 
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Paul Kemp wrote:
Looks like Droopy's copy of The Limbaugh Letter came today.



I don't expect the slightest substance from you at this point Kemp. Thanks for meeting my expectations.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:15 pm 
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Droopy wrote:
Paul Kemp wrote:
Looks like Droopy's copy of The Limbaugh Letter came today.



I don't expect the slightest substance from you at this point Kemp. Thanks for meeting my expectations.


Did it or didn't it come Droopy and have you rubbed one out to it yet?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:34 pm 
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Private school education is not always superior -- I wonder why this is repeated so often.


Because it is superior in the a majority of cases, if not all. The very fact that private education is so well established as a superior alternative to what is, at all events, the worst public school system in the western world, is reason enough to institute massive reforms of the present system.


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Those that send their kids to private school are ensuring that they will be about other children that are from a similar socioeconomic background -- those from this background usually have the means to help their children with stimulating activities, have higher educations themselves, and their children start out with some luxuries that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have. There is a direct positive correlation between students being at risk (to drop out, failure, learning disabilities) and being low on the socio-economic ladder -- these children fill our public schools -- their backgrounds, economic status, parental involvement, and parental education level is not going to magically disappear if they went to a private school.


False. Read the link above regarding the D.C. experience. Further, being poor has no necessary relation to exposing one's children to books, a love of learning, and a respect for the life of the mind. You're confusing cultural attributes with socio-economic status, something that never stopped the depression era generation from succeeding the way its stopped some classes of the modern "poor" who are in no conceivable way "poor" in the since people were "poor' in the thirties.


Quote:
Private schools do not usually accept children with learning disabilities and this of course sways how their student population is seen. Private schools do not usually have the finances to offer a variety of languages, art, drama, etc... classes that are seen in many public schools. Private school teachers (in many instances) are not certified teachers and actually could not be hired on in public schools because they are not qualified to teach as determined by the state. I've known many private school instructors that teach so that their kids get a discount -- one had a degree in journalism and she was teaching High School Biology.



Utterly facile. Certification has nothing whatsoever to do with competence in any subject. Its nothing more, in essence, than a credential for entering the public school system and an entrance into the local teacher's union. As I've pointed out time and again, many private schools will not touch certified teachers because they don't actually have a competency in a specific subject. They've graduated from schools of education where they've been stuffed with fashionable pedagogical theories, multiculturalism, and pop psychology. This is fine for many public schools, where according to the empirics, little substantive teachings is going on.

In any case, in a vigorous free market, private schools would appear specializing in the needs of special ed students. That is as inevitable as anything could be. Further, I'm not aware of any specific successes within the public schools regarding special ed students. With half of our normal students unable to construct coherent sentences, engage in basic logical argument, answer basic historical questions (even about very recent history) or do much beyond rudimentary arithmetic, what is the point of pleading the special ed cause?


Quote:
The public school system has issues and there is no doubt that there are some teachers and administrators that don't care -- yet, these schools are also filled with teachers and students passionate about learning and helping ALLL children -- from all socioeconomic spheres and with all types of learning from gifted to severely disabled.


Some?

Here are some excellent discussions of the issues:


http://www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/ ... _Jan08.pdf


http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... 8/19/more_
than_half_of_minority_teacher_applicants_fail_test/?rss_id=Boston+Globe+--+Globe+West

http://www.mail-archive.com/ista-talk@l ... 00419.html

http://www.aim.org/guest-column/public- ... -fail-act/

http://4brevard.com/choice/internationa ... scores.htm

http://www.azstarnet.com/dailystar/238273

The rot has been growing overseas as well:

http://www.aim.org/guest-column/public- ... -fail-act/

The results of the recent NCIE survey of teachers shows some utterly incredilbe things, including the following:





Quote:
Public school teachers are strongly opposed to using “academic progress of students as measured by standardized test scores” to determine whether or not a teacher is qualified to teach. Only 2 percent of public school teachers surveyed “strongly agree” that this would be a good measure to use; about one-third (35 percent) “somewhat agree” that it would be a good measurement to use; about one-third (34 percent) “somewhat disagree” that it would. One in three (29 percent) public school teachers “strongly disagree” that using academic progress of students would be a good measurement to use in determining whether or not a teacher is qualified to teach.

* Public school teachers think schools should adjust to student needs. Three out of four (76 percent) public school teachers agree that schools should adjust to the needs, interests and learning styles of individual students, rather than expecting students to meet the norms of the school. Nineteen percent – up from 15 percent in 1996 and 13 percent in 1990 – think students are the best judges of what they need to learn and when they are ready to learn it. Sixty-nine percent of teachers surveyed in 2005 – compared to 68 percent in 1996 and 77 percent in 1990 – agree that standards of academic achievement should be flexible enough that every child can feel successful.

What we see here Moniker, is the almost utter, total, and complete success of the cultural Left, and the result, the thorough destruction of the public education system and the mediocritization or outright rape of the minds and potential of generations of American children.

If I were really given to conspiracy theories, this would be the greatest temptation I've ever run across. Truth be told, the dumbing down and politicization of the American school system is a long term, systematic project of the Left, even if many teachers are not aware of that reality and are simply, as public school victims themselves, aping the can't and sophistry of their peers. The "long march" through the institutions of the cultural Marxists is pretty much complete, as the attitudes above well express.

_________________
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Last edited by Droopy on Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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