Sunday, June 18, 2006

Coulter on Education

Ann Coulter takes on the mantra that educators are saints. In any profession there are dedicated professionals and hacks. The media went balistic at the evils of the Church pedophelia bit yet said little about similar cases involving educators.

There are plenty of dedicated educators like AOW and Mustang. However I am sure they are aware of some hacks. Yet this is to be expected in a large profession. Does a corrupt police officer imply all cops are corrupt?

The problem is the far left has wasted to much energy in brainwashing the youth. There has never been a need for Marcuse victimology in the classroom. A simple reading selection or two on respect as a value is enough. The peversion of history is another matter. The very people who should be bombarded with PC guilt trips are absolved of evil. 1400 years of Islamocolonialism/Jim Crowe with a turban and 100,000,000 dead via manifestoshould be placed front and center.

The public educational system has under performed for years. Lets allow the private sector to compette but keep licensing a state function. No profession should be regarded as saintly. Lets get the PC out of the classrom and focus on turning out a high quality end product or at least a better one.


Always On Watch said...

The peversion of history is another matter.

It is getting more and more difficult to get history books which are not revisionist in nature. As a homeschool teacher, I use history texts published by a Christian publisher, but those texts also have their slant. The needed balance of facts is required on the part of the teacher--and that effort requires a bit more preparation on the teacher's part. I find the material I need in the blogosphere and in certain politically-incorrect books.

For the most part, I escaped leftist instruction when I went to college in the Dinosaur Age. Sure, there were a few leftist profs at the university I attended, but when I had to take a course from one, I was able to sort out the lies from the truth. I credit my parents with that ability; they saw to it that I got an exceptional high-school education. In those days, VA had tuition grant, which enabled my parents to send me to a private school which emphasized learning the facts before spouting off any information. If not for that tuition grant, my parents could not have afforded to pay for a private education; Mom was disabled at the young age of 43 (cardiovascular disease), and Dad was a blue-collar worker. Fortunately, they never had a house payment because Dad got his acreage from his father's farm and, along with a certified carpenter-electrician, physically built the house we lived in--not a mansion but functional and in a beautiful rural setting which was perfect for a child who loved to run and stretch her legs. My life there was downright idyllic, and the emphasis was family life and education.

Saying which my neighbor has: "A parent is able to buy only one permanent thing for a child--the opportunity for a good education. Nobody can ever take away someone else's education."

Elmer's Brother said...

amen to that AoW. The underperformance of the public schools is one of the reasons my wife and I have homeschooled all of our children.

Possum said...

I have to disagree with you about privatized education. I saw a move to it in Catholic schools. A complicated scheme, and who knows where the money goes? I figure the businessmen and bishops were in cahoots, hoping for tax dollars and privatized education to make it profitable.

There are some things that should not be for profit, and education is one of them. What we saw was tons of money spent on window dressing, much obsolete. Not spent where it should have been spent--on things that actually improve education. Parents aren't informed enough to know that though. They are impressed by the window dressing. Teachers' salaries slashed drastically. THAT hurts the quality of education. Ended up with rapid turnover. All young, inexperienced teachers. It was the same with everything. Business is to make money. Cut costs. Not to deliver the best education possible for the money.

That Catholic school was one of the best in the Midwest, with the lowest possible tuition (so that the average family could afford it and scholarships were available for those who couldn't). In just a few short years the quality of education plummeted. I couldn't believe how fast that happened.

What's more, private schools are segregated. Give it a few years -- the courts WILL find that. Do you know what happens in a school district when the courts say you must desegregate? It's chaos! An unbelievably expensive bail-out.

They lied about teachers being certified in these schools. Many private schools are not accredited. In the old days, that usually didn't mean much, but now it does. It means the school can't get accredited. Courses were not acknowledged by universities.

Privatization is not the answer. I agree that education has performed miserably in this country. But Bush is actually on the right track (though off in some of the details) with No Child Left behind.

How ironic. Teachers afraid to have to pass a test, to have their performance measured.

The best proof of good teaching I know of was reports from the state university about how well students from that school did in each subject during their first year of college. Statistics like that don't lie, though they can't be used for every case.

In just a few years, Americans grades 1-4 have caught up to European students. So, accountability WORKS.

There's a common joke among teachers. It goes like this:

Q: What do you teach?

A: As little as possible.

Unfortunately, many get their attitude ruined and that becomes true of them. They give kid's credit for incoherent scribbles of opinions and all sorts of things -- everything except proof that they know/learned something in the unit.

Result? Lots of high grades and empty heads. That's why accountability for teachers works. It forces them to quit doing that.

Elmer's Brother said...

Personally I think teacher certification is overrated. The two children that we are still homeschooling are in 6th and 9th grade, yet each after taking a college placement exam can begin freshman level math and english courses next semester. Individual attention, courses geared to not only keep the kids interested but also have the latitude to change are big reasons our children have succeeded. We also have a form "unschooling". For e.g. when we moved into our new house out in the country you could actually see stars..less light pollution..the children were fascinated. So we bought a telescope, studied astronomy and the constellations. It kept the kids attention because THEY were interested in it and we enjoyed it as a family. You can't do that in a public school or even a private school for that matter. I am not a home school nazi like some people but it has worked for us.

More and more colleges have recognized the outstanding benefits from accepting students that have been homeschooled. Both of my children as I said can attend the local college this coming semester if they choose.

Always On Watch said...

I have no knowledge as to what you mentioned in Catholic schools. The private schools with which I'm familiar in my own geographical area (These are not Catholic schools) do not accept any state or federal funds. Not all the schools are excellent, of course; but many are. I know of some private schools which are all about the money, but most which I personally know of don't work that way.

Many private schools are not accredited. In the old days, that usually didn't mean much, but now it does. It means the school can't get accredited. Courses were not acknowledged by universities.

If the graduates can perform well on the SAT's, most universities here in the East don't much care about accreditation.

You alluded to something I've observed: The best proof of good teaching I know of was reports from the state university about how well students from that school did in each subject during their first year of college.

Recently, the debate team from Patrick Henry College, which is fed largely by homeschoolers, trounced the debate team at Harvard.

The proof of seconday education lies in the success that these students have when they go to college.

NCLB would work if the curriculum were coordinated to meet certain educational standards.

Also, unfortunately, many certified teachers today don't really have the calling to be teachers.

BTW, I love your term "window dressing." Public schools are good at that. Bells and whistles, which satisfy parents but which don't result in significant learning.

home school nazi

I know a few of those, but not many. I know several public school nazis, however; they will not admit that the system doesn't work for their children.

MissingLink said...

Private schools work fine in OZ.
Of course they aren't supposed to make any profit.

I don't think the issue here is private vs. public but how the system is organized.

The biggest problems as I could see it (I taught in NSW public school sector for 10 years) were caused by following blindly 'invented' new trends in education, lack of common denominator in student assessment (feel good), and also lack of alternative vocational education or all those who couldn't care less about Sheakespeare and such.

Elmer's Brother said...

ML - some places here in the states have turned around on the voacational training. They might call it something akin to school to work program or some such. It's a great idea..65% of the jobs out there require vocational training, only about 20% require a college degree.

AoW, we retain a lawyer through HSLDA as do many home school parents, they are the same people who started Patrick Henry aren't they? I think it's wonderful.

the merry widow said...

EB- Yes they are, I also belong to HSLDA! They were the ones who recommended our lawyer in Cal.!


Always On Watch said...

Yes, HSLDA is Mike Farris, who started Patrick Henry College.

Lately the college has been having some troubles on the faculty. Almost half the faculty resigned at the end of this term.

PH offers online courses as well and has done quite well, considering the few years it's been in operation. I guess that it remains to be seen whether or not a PH degree will open doors, but I'm certain that the degree will be respected in certain circles.

Some private schools here are non-profit and some are for-profit. Typically, the non-profits are the better schools as far as education is concerned, but not always.

In the for-profit schools, the PTA's are non-profit, so that donations can still be made, tax-free.

Often, non-profits are just that way in name only. They can still set themselves up for the administrators to get a rake-off.

Possum said...

Yes, the issue isn't so much private schools as it is for-profit education. Private schools traditionally were among the best. But when businessmen get involved and started funding Catholic schools and virtually buying them, the quality of education plummetted. The ownership is foggy too -- kinda like some condos in Florida owned by the diocese of Chicago through a third party a few years back. The dollars corrupt.

I have known good teachers who weren't certified, but you have to draw lines of qualification. You just have to. People like doctors, nurses and teachers must meet certain standards. Otherwise there will be abuse. Homeschooling excepted of course.

Mr. Ducky said...

Beaker, i would certainly want "PC" out of the classroom. All of it. That includes, but certainly isn't limited to, the clowns who give us the "freedom isn't free" tap dance.

That junk is as PC as anything being pushed by the left (and I certainly admit the left is often in error). However, until you take the log out of your own eye, I'm not listening.

Now, how do we go about establishing a healthy, factual discussion?

Brooke said...

I think that the classroom should be as nuetral as possible, both from the left and the right.

"Just the facts, ma'am."

Politics and values should come from the home ONLY.

That's not to say that a teacher can't be a good role model. I was public school educated, and I had some FANTASTIC teachers, as well as some less than desirable ones.

I agree with Possum on maintaining standards for teachers. Every job I have ever held had competency reviews annualy. Why should we not expect the same level of proficiency from those who are educating children?

Jason_Pappas said...

I can’t speak for rural areas but government education has be a disaster here in New York City. The poor suffer the most but even for the buck everyone gets shafted. I went to NYC public schools and I have relatives who teach in NYC public schools. The institution by its nature is a failure. I’ve known good teachers destroyed by the “system.” And surviving a public education is a challenge. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have scares.

Teachers should be esteemed as the second most important influence on a person’s life (after one’s parents.) But the government schools and forced-funding has decimated the education industry. It institutes regimented thought and zaps the motivation of most teachers. It leaves people with crumbs, after taxes, to try to finance a better education for one’s children. There’s nothing to salvage, the system is too far gone.

Jason_Pappas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elmer's Brother said...

jason - I agree with you. Teachers are not honored as they should be and they are often hamstrung by the system.

While I was serving as a recruiter I saw high schools pull some stuff that just pissed me off. We had an applicant who was in delayed entry who was failing a required course. He had been in academic trouble from the get go. He found out about two weeks before graduation that he wasn't going to graduate because of this class. His mom called the school and pitched such a fit that the teacher gave him a D- instead of an F. They just taught the kid to cry loud enough and you'll get your way. We would have rather discharged him than teach him this lesson. In another instance a teacher (I was in uniform, so I somehow represented the government's position in this matter) who was teaching 10th graders how to read at a 6th grade level got angry with me because the gov't was pulling the funding on her program. My question was how did they get into 10th grade in the first place?

My wife and I have taught our children for far less money and they have gotten a better education. I think that the system should give parents a choice. All I want is the tax money I put into the education system back, nothing more and let me decide where my kids go to school or how to spend it. I'll do a better job.

Mr. Ducky said...

"and they have gotten a better education" can establish reasonable evidence without resorting to dogma, I assume.

Look, can the tax argument. I pay a lot more in taxes than you do (85,000 last year, I pay more than you make) and there is some money I would like back, like the 300,000,000 a day we are spending on Chucklenut's Most Excellent Iraqi Adventure or "faith based" initiative cons or useless defense spending.

Those are of no value to any of us, well except Mother Courage, while schools to accomplish at least part of their mission.

Elmer's Brother said...

you assume way too much about my income Ducky. You can have your taxes back too, I don't care. Just allow me the choice on where my kids are educated and allow me to pay for it.

If you want reasonable evidence check out this study. Homeschoolers on average perform much better than their public school counterparts.

Elmer's Brother said...


I suggest the voting booth and the campaign trail to get your money back.

Elmer's Brother said...

while schools to accomplish at least part of their mission.

You're talking about schools like Columbine and Kent State I assume.

Jason_Pappas said...

Defense is inherently collective: the country as a whole is defended against foreign powers. Education is consumed individually. Parents are responsible with providing for their children’s education as much as they are responsible for providing food. Feeding the mind and feeding the body are both parental responsibilities.

It's absurd to think about each and every person providing for his own defense against foreign powers. It makes sense to let individual responsibility take over the realm of education. Individual initiative is what made this country great. We need more of it in realms that individual consumption is the rule.

Mr. Ducky said...

elmer, it sounds as if you already home school. Knock yourself out but don't expect me to vote to take more money from the public schools to fund your little exercise.

What do you do if a student has a talent for differential equations?

Elmer's Brother said...

Whatever they excel in we cater the curriculum to them, can't do that in a public school.

We also test our children with the standardized tests (the same ones the public schools use) only twice as often to see where our children are so that we can tailor our curriculum, supplement it, outsource it (another homeschool parent for example may teach chemistry and have all the equipment). It's quite simple Ducky and more people are choosing to do it.

Elmer's Brother said...

I would think Ducky that as poorly as the public schools perform you of all people (putting in ALL that tax money) would want more bang for the buck. So why throw good money after bad when people who homeschool do it for a tenth of what it costs the public schools. I learned that in economics.

Jason_Pappas said...

Differential equations? I took all the advance courses in math in my High School and was on the Math team. I assure you there were no differential equations.

After CUNY had Open Admissions, you should see how many graduates from my High School couldn't solve a simple algebra problem of a linear equation in one variable in their 1st year in college. It was so bad that most CUNY colleges had 15-20 sections of remedial math. There was even pre-remedial where they were learning to add fractions.

For over $100K to education from K thru 12, you'd hope they could do that and much more.

the merry widow said...

Ducky- There is a little thing called coops, they are "staffed", run and attended once a week by homeschoolers. They(we) don't want public school involvement! So don't worry, what you pay in goes to public schools, homeschoolers pay for public schools(property taxes) and for thier own curricula and supplies!