Let’s talk about ‘throwing money’

I just had to share this response I sent to Bob McAlister, in response to this post he put up:

    Bob, how can you write, "So ya’ll just want to keep throwing money at public education without changing it, huh?" I can see the twits at SCRG doing that, but you know better. We were talking the other day about some mutual acquaintances who serve on the Palmetto Institute. (Bob knows who I mean, but I’m referring to Bill Barnet and Larry Wilson.) Why don’t you say that to them, and see what kind of reaction you get? "Throwing money?" "Without changing it?" That floors me, coming from you.
    What on Earth do you think the "choice" advocates want to do besides "throw money," except they want to do it with blinders on, demanding no accountability for where it lands?
    Meanwhile, it is NO surprise that higher standards are cited as ONE of the causes of the problem. It’s an absolute fact that between having instituted some of the highest curriculum standards in the nation and raised the number of academic credits required for graduation, we’ve made it an awful lot more appealing for more kids just to give up.
    It’s just one of the many factors, but it certainly and obviously is one, which should be recognized by any reasonable person who is not bound and determined to tear down the public schools.

Bob usually doesn’t write with his brain on autopilot, but this time he did.

264 thoughts on “Let’s talk about ‘throwing money’

  1. Captain Worley

    Accountability? I know more than a few teachers, and any notion of accountability is a joke. Administrators force (through overt and covert means) teachers to teach to the PACT. Everything is geared to getting better scores on this test.
    The true failing in SC’s education system is in the students’ home. There is no accountability here. Everyone, from the teachers on up to State Superintendant knows it (or should) but will not say it, lest they be swept benath the rug and have their careers torpedoed.
    If you guys and gals at the State really want to do some investigative journalism, look at Richland 1. Their is probably enough shenanigans there to keep y’all busy for quite some time.

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  2. Lee

    In the private sector, best practices for managing money, especially new money spent on new projects, is to audit every project with teams not including those who proposed, implemented and justified the projects.
    In order to do that, each project justification and plan includes measures of success and tests. Smart businesses want to learn from mistakes and not repeat them, to learn what works best and disseminate that.
    Public schools seem to have no such concern with success. Everything is nebulous. Initiative come and go, money is spend by truckloads, no failure is ever admitted, no salaries capped, no demotions, no resignations or firings for gross failure.

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  3. Scott

    Brad – do you ever stop? How can you ever claim to not have a bias when you accuse a citizen group of being twits, reactionaries and criminals?
    Have you no shame?

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  4. Ready to Hurl

    Bob usually doesn’t write with his brain on autopilot
    Brad, you must be reading another Bob McAlister.
    The Bob McAlister that writes the Politically Incorrect blog on your site is the same uber-Republican partisan, extreme conservative who ran Caroll Campbell’s staff and wrote speeches for unrepentant segregationist Strom Thurmond.
    Please give us a link to the other Bob McAlister who doesn’t “write with his brain on autopilot.”

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  5. Ready to Hurl

    Initiative come and go, money is spend by truckloads, no failure is ever admitted, no salaries capped, no demotions, no resignations or firings for gross failure.
    What’s your problem? That’s the same way that George W. Bush runs his administration.

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  6. olekinderhook

    “Public schools seem to have no such concern with success. Everything is nebulous. Initiative come and go, money is spend by truckloads, no failure is ever admitted, no salaries capped, no demotions, no resignations or firings for gross failure.”
    One wonders why people who believe this sort of thing think we shouldn’t try to fix these problems, but instead “induce market reforms” through programs that are unlikely to do any such thing?
    Ah yes, it’s easier to attack straw men with “Educrat” signs tacked on their chests. Ultimate responsibility for lack of oversight lies with elected officials on the district and state level who aren’t intellectually curious enough to push for real institutional reform. Schwarzenegger was willing to put such reforms on the ballot in California. Why isn’t Sanford?

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  7. mark g

    South Carolina has a long way to go in education, but it’s not as bad as many portray. I think Newsweek recently ranked SC 14th overall in education, or something like that. Recent news stories had our reading and math scores 20-something in the nation. It seems to be a consensus that SC’s standrads are rigorous and on the mark.
    We can all agree we have a long, long way to go. Especially in graduation rates. But I have kids in the public schools, and the teachers and administrators I’ve met have been terrific and care deeply about their success.
    I think this is where Sanford has done the most harm during his term– using his bully pulpit to denigrate public education in the state he is supposed to govern. Many begin to parrot the governor– like some on this blog.
    I think both sides are so shrill, it’s turning off most average citizens. I can’t imagine how siphoning off public money to private schools is going to help our state. But then again, just directing more money into schools, without additional reform, isn’t either.
    This is where the leadership vacuum hurts our state the most.

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  8. Randy E

    Private school choice is getting a great deal of attention, and some even offer it as some sort of silver bullet. Let’s discuss this option.
    The basic motivation behind choice is the notion that Smith’s invisible hand will push through reform. I find this notion flawed for several reasons.
    First, our education system is a highly regulated entity. Lee pointed out, we have to know our customers and deal with the students who come from nontraditional homes. By mandate, we have to KEEP ALL of our customers even if they don’t want our services. What business works with that requirement?
    Second, I’ll ask the same questions that have yet to be answered about the nuts and bolts of this plan. How will the expansions of “good schools” and new teachers be paid? Do the private schools want to expand? Will private schools work as well with this new population as opposed to the population THEY hand select? Businesses don’t leap head first into a new projects. They have business plans to address such issues. If we want a market economy, then apply all these rules.
    Third, what evidence do we have that this approach will work? Milwaukee has had the system for 15 years. Their system has not be revolutionized. 15% of their students make use of this choice. What about the other 85%? Some respond to this with why not try it? What do we have to lose? What business plan would use this justification? A venture capitalist would feed that plan to the shredder.
    So let’s approach this choice plan seriously. Advocates, answer these questions.

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  9. bud

    I agree with Mark G. Things in the public schools are not nearly as bad as they are portrayed. From what I can tell from my kids district 1 education is that most teachers are dedicated, hard working professionals. Are there exceptions? Yes, a few. My biggest problem is the discipline factor. I’m actually a conservative on this. We just simply need to get rid of the disruptive kids. Does the Alternative School still exist? If so, we need to make full use of it. If not, bring it back.

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  10. kc

    Bob usually doesn’t write with his brain on autopilot
    I’ve read his stuff, and I beg to differ.
    I’m sure he’s a pleasant man in person. I suggest your friendship with him has clouded your judgment about his writing.

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  11. some guy

    One thing I think folks tend to forget with public education is that they truly are PUBLIC, meaning that the decisions of VOTERS matter.
    Yes, bureaucrats have a lot to do with how schools work. But the state legislature makes all kinds of decisions that affect education in SC — case in point: the new property tax law that largely takes funding out the hands of local districts. And within local districts, school boards have a great deal of impact on what goes on. They hire superintendents. They set discipline policy — and they choose to either back up or not back up that policy. They decide whether to have middle-schools or junior high schools, ninth grade academies or not, neighborhood schools or choice within the system, etc.
    Democratically ELECTED members of the community have a tremendous hand in how our schools work. It’s not all about “educrats” or about Inez Tenenbaum or Karen Floyd or whoever.
    And, so, when people like Lee talk about initiatives that are started and then dropped, he’s partly right….but it’s not all a matter of “the system” — it largely comes down to direction set by leaders chosen by the voters.

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  12. Randy E

    Bud, if you are talking about Rich 1, the school board is too permissive, too responsive to the parents whose kids get into trouble, and too worried about the perception of too many kids being suspended and expelled.
    I taught in that district and saw this first hand. Kids would be suspended 10 times and were returned to school. The administrators were told to handle these problems with means other than suspensions or expulsions. The biggest trouble makers were empowered to cause problems because they suffered little in the way of consequences.
    This is a big example of how it’s not entirely a deficiency of the educators, but elected officials. Your kids who are there to learn, become spectators as teachers spend time with these discipline issues.

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  13. kc

    I’m a little disappointed that I can’t seem to get Lee, et al, interested in my proposal for highway repair choice and law enforcement choice.
    Why does Lee want to leave decisions about what to investigate and whom to arrest in the hands of arrestocrats with no accountability?

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  14. Randy E

    KC, don’t confuse some of these people with your rational perspective.
    I asked one to explain how we’d pay for his choice plan and he responded “who knows?” [sic]

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  15. Dave

    KC, developers building gated communities with security guards at the entrance are already practicing law enforcement choice. Private security is a booming industry if you havent noticed.

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  16. Randy E

    Still waiting for private school choice advocates to address the 3 problems I posed in a post above.
    This is an opportunity to “put the cards on the table” for this plan.

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  17. kc

    KC, developers building gated communities with security guards at the entrance are already practicing law enforcement choice.
    Indeed they are. The difference between them and you is that they’re not asking for government handouts.

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  18. kc

    I asked one to explain how we’d pay for his choice plan and he responded “who knows?” [sic]
    Posted by: Randy E

    Oh, I think he knows.
    Honestly, I can’t get over the spectacle of people who call themselves “conservatives” baldly demanding government handouts. 😉

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  19. Randy E

    I am amazed at the lack of possible solutions for or even dialogue on education aside from bashing schools or rallying around private school choice as a panacea. Are the bloggers really this limited in their take such an important issue?
    Doug is an upset taxpaying parent who has been willing to point out specific problems and to offer suggestions. Why do we not have more like him – on this site or in general.
    The choice advocates have also been unable or unwilling to address the questions raised about choice. Are we more concerned with partisan bickering or addressing societal issues as citizens of a democracy should?
    If you are for private school choice, explain how we pay for it and find the staff. Explain how we increase the good schools to accomodate the new students.
    If you are against private school choice, what do we freakin do to fix the problems in our schools? Atleast the pro-voucher group is offering up a suggestion.
    Are we becoming a “fat” lazy society that is living off the hard work of our ancestors.

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  20. Lee

    So it’s gone from “the parents’ fault” to the “voters fault” for electing the school boards, superintendent of education, and legislature which has failed to implement quality control in the education processes.
    How would the voters know whom to elect, without being told the truth, and the whole truth, about the success of various programs?

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  21. LexWolf

    Randy,
    It saddens me to see you trot out the same bogus questions as on two other thread. Anyway, once again with feeling:
    “1. Do these private schools want or can they handle an influx of new students?”
    Who knows, but what would be the problem with giving parents vouchers anyway? If the private sector doesn’t step up to the plate then parents would have to sign over their vouchers to, and students would simply stay in, their current public schools. Status quo and nothing lost. Of course, we all know that there would in fact be significant private investment in new schools once vouchers became available to large numbers of students, and that’s precisely why the educracy is fighting vouchers tooth and nail. Anything that would make the educracy directly accountable to parents is anathema.
    “2. Who will teach these new students at the private schools?”
    You know, this is a very strange question. Why would you even care where the teachers come from as long as they are qualified? Maybe some will come from the public schools. Others may come from people highly qualified in their field, as opposed to educrats who usually just take a bunch of worthless education school pap and often don’t know all that much about the actual subject they are supposed to be teaching. The military constantly has people leaving who would be highly qualified as teachers. This is just like any other business. I generally don’t care where a business gets its workers as long as they are qualified to do the job and are employed legally.
    “3. What evidence do we have that such choice reforms schools to the degree we want?”
    None, especially since you didn’t define the “degree we want”. But we do have plenty of evidence that the old approach doesn’t work. Just on that basis alone, we owe it to our kids to give school choice a try. Just think of it as the latest educational fad. If it was something dreamed up by the educracy you wouldn’t hesitate to give even the most harebrained schemes a whirl so why be so reluctant on this promising and eminently reasonable proposal?

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  22. LexWolf

    Randy said: I asked one to explain how we’d pay for his choice plan and he responded “who knows?”
    If you mean me who allegedly said that, just check the post above and you will see that it didn’t refer to funding of school choice in any way, shape or form. I would appreciate it if you would correct your snide and incorrect little post.
    There is no question or difficulty at all in funding school choice. Simply determine how much your school district spends per student now and give a voucher for that amount to the parents. No “who knows?” about it at all.

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  23. Randy E

    Lee focusing on pointing the finger. Blame schools and no one else. Kid drops out, it’s the school fault. Lee offered nothing constructive there.
    Lex wants us to follow the market path but doesn’t want to justify his position as he would in the market. In business you wouldn’t get away with answering tough questions about your plan with “who knows”, there is no evidence my plan will work, and “who cares” how we get the personnel.
    Does anyone else have anything to add, or are we stuck with bashing schools and offering a plan with no details as “reform?”

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  24. LexWolf

    What on Earth do you think the “choice” advocates want to do besides “throw money,” except they want to do it with blinders on, demanding no accountability for where it lands?
    Brad,
    how do you figure that choice advocates want to “throw money” anywhere? Correct me if I’m wrong but I haven’t seen anywhere that choice would entail even one penny in additional expenditures. If anything, the increased efficiency might lead to a reduction of money spent on education.
    Define “no accountability” for us, wouldya? I submit that there is no more direct, immediate and complete accountability than under school choice. If the school doesn’t meet parents’ expectations, parents would be free to switch to another school, no questions asked, just as they are free to shop at Walmart if they are dissatisfied with Target or Kmart.
    Compare that with the socalled “accountability” in public schools: you can complain to the teacher who doesn’t work for you and can mostly ignore your concerns. Try the principal, ditto. Try the school board or the district superintendent, ditto. Sure, we could try to elect a new school board and hope that might change things. Ooops, what if all the candidates don’t see things your way? Even if you manage to elect your candidate, what if the rest of the school board opposes your candidate? Before you successfully change the PS system and get any accountability whatsoever, your kid will probably have graduated, reading at a 6th grade level and unable to make change.
    Oh, there might be some “accountability” within the system, i.e. the teacher has to follow the instructions of the principal etc., but direct accountability towards the parents? Puuhleeeeazze, GET REAL!! There is no real accountability in the PS system at all, and that’s a major reason why the system is in such bad shape.
    We need to put the customers in charge of the system, not the educrats.
    Competition is GOOD. Choice is GOOD.

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  25. LexWolf

    Lex wants us to follow the market path but doesn’t want to justify his position as he would in the market.
    Randy, you clearly have no earthly idea how the market works. In business, you can “justify” your position until you’re blue in the face and it won’t amount to a hill of beans. The only “justification” is the votes of your customers in the form of dollars. If you meet or exceed their needs and expectations, they will reward you with their business. If you don’t, then your customers will go to another business that will meet their needs and expectations. This is exactly what we need for education as well, rather than some high-falutin’ “justification” and bureaucratic mumbojumbo.

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  26. Randy E

    Does anyone that supports private school choice have details for how this will work or are you letting Lex justify your position with “who knows” how it will work?

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  27. Randy E

    “some high-falutin’ ‘justification'”…no, we wouldn’t want any of that. We’ll solve our problems with blind faith, just like they do in business? I’ll try that when I apply for a business loan at the bank.
    What section of a business plan do they use “who knows?”

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  28. LexWolf

    Randy,
    you really should abandon that stick-your-head-in-the-sand approach of yours. I have given you the following link before. It would really behoove you to read it so you don’t have to come up with those same bogus questions over and over. Check it out:
    http://www.friedmanfoundation.org/schoolchoice/index.html
    Perhaps you could also tell us why you want school choice to come up with some grand “plan” that addresses all imaginable problems while your failed PS system gets off with simply saying ‘don’t like our performance? Tough, you’re stuck with us!”
    How about a grand plan from the public school system??

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  29. Bob McAlister

    First, Brad, there’s nothing wrong with operating on autopilot. Andre should try it sometime.
    Second, as long as you want to get into personal discussions that you and I have, we’ve debated the school choice thing to death. I have said to your face (or at least over the phone) that I support school choice, think our public schools are a mess and, because of it, I support Karen Floyd. What I wrote here was just a rehash of our oral debates, so you shouldn’t be surprised. And on Feb. 18, I posted a column which ran in several newspapers in the state (don’t recall if you ran it) that summed up my position. A few points I made:
    * From 1960-02, South Carolina increased education spending 426 percent, the largest percentage hike in the country.
    * Georgia was ranked 5th in the survey while North Carolina came in 10th. Yet NC graduates 60% of its ninth graders and Georgia 53%, both higher than SC.
    * NC spends $1,200 less per student than we do, yet has a higher graduation rate.
    I say that’s throwing $$$ at education without getting results, or at least major results to get us off the bottom.
    You mentioned two dear friends, Larry Wilson and Bill Barnet. I know of no two men whom I respect more. I know I’m not in sync with them on this issue, but they don’t get their panties in a wad like you do just because we disagree about something. And they don’t pout.

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  30. Randy E

    Bob, I agree with a reliance on “throwing money at the problem” but when comparing stats, you have to take into account the economic and societal conditions as well.
    Graduation rates are not merely a function of school spending. You seem pretty reasonable, so I think I can get a straight answer from you. How do parents get a pass on the graduation rate issue with the responsibility being heaped entirely on schools?

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  31. Randy E

    I think of no better example of sticking one’s head in the sand than justifying a position with “who knows” or “who cares?” Again, please show us where you would use that in a business plan.
    Bob, you support private choice. How would you answer the following:
    1. When students go from bad schools to good private schools, how will the expansion of these schools be paid?
    2. How will the increased need for staff be addressed?
    3. Do these private schools want to expand?
    4. Can these private schools, which have a markedly different student population, handle a dramatic increase in low socio-economic students?

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  32. LexWolf

    Come on, Randy, can’t you come up with something better? Here some definitive answers for you:
    1, 2 and 3: None of your business. That’s the private schools’ problem. If they can attract enough investment, they will be able to expand. If not, those students will simply have to stay on your plantation, whether they have vouchers or not.
    4. Are your public schools doing even a minimally acceptable job with this now?

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  33. Lee

    Restaurants come and go without government planning. Good ones expand with new locations. Bad ones close.
    Public education believers simply have no concept of how the free market works. Their mindset is like that of Soviet factory workers, kept in fear of the chaos that would engulf them were it not for the central planners.

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  34. Randy E

    The school system has numerous serious problems which is why I’m asking for dialogue.
    “none of your business” is no better than your previous responses, “who knows” and “who cares”.
    To summarize, you justify your plan with “I don’t know how it will work and if it doesn’t, we’ll stick with the status quo.”
    Does anyone else have a suggestion?

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  35. Randy E

    Lee has suggested that the schools should take responsibility for the attendance of students from nontraditional homes. He then likens schools to the Soviet Union. Contradiction!
    The bash brothers are hogging up the blog. Does anyone have meaningful input?

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  36. kc

    Public education believers simply have no concept of how the free market works. – Lee
    You know how the free market doesn’t work, Lee? It doesn’t work by governments doling out my tax dollars to you in the form of vouchers so you can purchase whatever consumer goods you want. How can you extol the free market in one breath and demand handouts in the next?
    The fact is, public education is NOT a mere consumer good. You want to act as if it’s a mere product, like cars or canned goods or cereal, but it ain’t.
    Competition is GOOD. Choice is GOOD — LexWolf
    You already have competition and choice. You just want the taxpayers, i.e., ME, to fund your choice of a private school. A private school that will be unaccountable to me. In the meantime, you would drain resources from public schools.
    So forget it. I’ll never support that, and I will actively oppose any politician who does support it.

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  37. LexWolf

    Randy,
    in private business if a company has “numerous serious problems” it either shapes up in a hurry or it goes bankrupt. Public education on the other hand, has been having “numerous serious problems” for decades. Unlike that private business PubEd still managed to quintuple its revenues over the past 40 years, with no improvement whatsoever in its performance or service.
    “None of your business” is exactly the right answer to your bogus questions. If Kmart wants to open 10 new stores in SC, do they have to “justify” their plans to Walmart? Do they have to explain to Walmart where they will get their workers or how they will finance those new stores?

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  38. LexWolf

    KC,
    I think I’ve asked you before but didn’t get an answer. Do you also have a problem with state support of private colleges? If not, why not? How support state support of private grocery stores through food stamps and WIC? Is there any basic difference whatsoever between food stamps and school vouchers? Both allow parents to choose where the state money is spent.
    I will actively oppose any politician who does support it [choice]”
    By all means, KC. That’s your right in a democracy. I’m sure you’ll also understand that I will actively oppose any politician who does not support choice, such as Ken Clark against whom I will cheerfully vote again next week.

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  39. Herb

    Here’s a suggestion:
    1) End all football programs at all SC schools
    2) Substitute soccer programs (after all, it is the world’s most popular sport)
    3) With the savings, invest in a pilot program of vouchers in a small rural area of the state
    4) Use the rest of the savings to help upgrade existing rural schools

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  40. Dave

    Randy, What I see as odd is the absolute position from the status quo people against trying to give choice a chance. Hey, that’s a slogan.. I posted long ago that it would make sense for one or two counties to initially have full choice and vouchers in a new system. Or two general areas encompassing a few counties. Take Marlboro (Brad’s old homestead) and Darlington for example. Business people don’t commit all their resources into any one program or trial to avoid risk and across the board failure. Why not the same approach for school systems. I think we all know the answer however. The entrenched educational leaders are truly afraid the trial may work. Imagine that, being afraid that students may actually have an improved learning situation, and improved results. Can someone convince me that this is not true?

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  41. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, why would SC want to “re-invent the wheel” when we can look at the example of Milwaukee? When you can tell us why the Milwaukee example isn’t instructional as to the success of vouchers then maybe we could move on to the next step.

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  42. Randy E

    I like Dave’s idea about a pilot program – atleast something along those lines. There are still problems out I’d like to have answered about vouchers, but getting information to make informed decisions is a good move. I also think we should study other programs like Milwaukee closer.
    This beats the crap out of Lex’s “who knows” problem-solving approach.
    Dave, I agree that there are some who simply avoid the choice approach at all costs. I think it’s bad not to look at the possibilities. BUT, I believe it has nothing to do with a fear of competition. The idea that a school would “go out of business” as happens in business doesn’t seem plausible. There is a sincere concern about draining resources from public schools. That’s an important distinction. Again, I also think we should consider all options.
    Is Brad really from Marlboro? There has to be some good jokes here…

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  43. LexWolf

    When you can tell us why the Milwaukee example isn’t instructional as to the success of vouchers then maybe we could move on to the next step.”
    Clearly you are not familiar with the Milwaukee example or you wouldn’t ask this question. The choice program in Milwaukee, like all others that have been in effect so far, was limited by the vociferous opposition of the educrats to 1.5% of children in the Milwaukee system and even then only for those kids whose parents were at or below 175% of the national poverty line, then at about $21,000. Note that this was the upper limit – the average income level was about $12,000. Clearly not a representative cross-section of the population, nor even remotely an example of full school choice.
    In other words, Milwaukee teaches us nothing!!

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  44. Randy E

    If we wanted to know how a private school will accomodate an influx of new students and where they get their teachers, we can look to Milwaukee or watch Ohio this upcoming year.
    Of course, some of us “don’t care” about such insignificant details like space or teachers for our students.

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  45. LexWolf

    “There is a sincere concern about draining resources from public schools.”
    This is as clear an admission as we can possibly get that public schools are indeed substandard. If they managed to keep their customers reasonably satisfied why would anyone even want to change schools? Keep in mind that the public school is usually the most convenient alternative – reasonably close, school bus service etc. etc. – while private schools can be a good ways away and can require significant time and effort from the parents.
    Thus if choice opponents claim that resources would be drained they are admitting that they fully expect a significant portion of their customers to desert them for a better alternative. I can’t think of anything that is more damning to the public schools than this argument.

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  46. Randy E

    I’ll give you that one Lex. You made a good point. It may be more from trial and error, like the guy who asks out 20 girls before one says yes but a valid point none the less.
    That doesn’t diminish your inability to support your plan unless you really expect people to buy your “who knows” answers to valid questions.
    You have plenty of energy and “research” to justify your blind hate of public schools but stick your head in the sand when it comes to supporting your own position.

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  47. LexWolf

    The Ohio program is also severely limited and not representative of full school choice. As of the June 9th enrollment deadline, 2,568 kids were enrolled out of 46,215 eligible.

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  48. Randy E

    Full choice is still full of holes which need to be addressed to some degree. Again, we can learn from these other programs in terms of how to handle the nuts and bolts like expanding the “good schools” and finding teachers for these “good schools.”
    Dave made a good suggestion about a pilot program – collecting some meaningful data…oops, I forgot. You are against that:
    “some high-falutin’ ‘justification’ and bureaucratic mumbojumbo.” – Lex
    We wouldn’t want any justification for our plan.

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  49. LexWolf

    Randy,
    heh. that’s one more point than you’ve scored so far!
    You don’t understand. I don’t hate anything or anyone, least of all public schools. I simply despise the people who basically say ‘let them eat cake’ to parents and kids who want a better education than the educrats currently grant them grudgingly.
    Right now we are in a situation similar to the US auto industry in the mid-1970s. Imported cars were still a minor factor and were usually small and/or boxy. GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC had close to 90% of the market and they were all sitting fat, dumb and happy. If you didn’t like what Chrysler had to offer, trying one of the others didn’t do you much good because they all had more or less the same uninspiring clunkers.
    Then the oil crisis came and gave imports a big foot in the door. The resulting competition not only gave consumers a much improved selection and better vehicle performance but also forced the US companies to vastly improve their own offerings. It was a win-win for consumers. This is what I expect would happen with full school choice as well. Even the public schools would finally have to improve if they wanted to stay in business.

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  50. Randy E

    It wasn’t just fuel economy. Deming had the Japanese companies putting out quality product, while the US stuck with their good enough product, which is still the point you are making.
    I agree with the accountability of educators and schools. I think the market approach, in theory, would help light a fire which absolutely needs to be done in many areas. I personally have to see justification in the form of explaining these same questions I have posed. Otherwise I say there has to be other approaches. For example, Doug, an outraged taxpaying parent suggested that if a student fails the PACT he or she should not advance.
    Your comments about schools and “educators” (you repeatedly used the quotations apparently to imply they don’t really educate) are absolutely hateful. There are many that are deserving of criticism and even anger in how they conduct their jobs. To paint every SC educator with that same brush is simply misguided and reprehensible.

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  51. LexWolf

    Randy,
    I detest the term ‘educator’. What in the world is/was wrong with ‘teacher’?
    “There are many that are deserving of criticism and even anger in how they conduct their jobs. To paint every SC educator with that same brush is simply misguided and reprehensible.”
    I disagree. As long as the educracy tolerates the incompetents, timeservers, and plain idiots in the system, I’m afraid you’ll have to tolerate that brush. Clearly there are some good people in the system but it’s just like the bad apples that taint the whole bushel.

    Reply
  52. Lee

    Good teachers don’t have many job alternatives in a system dominated by government schools. With vouchers funding new schools, good teachers wouldn’t have to tolerate working with sandbaggers and for incompetent managers. They could walk out, change employers, start their own school…

    Reply
  53. Ready to Hurl

    Lex, you may not think that a principal is an educator but I suggest that, even in a shiny, new, free-market school, teachers need administrators to function.
    And, you know what? Sometimes an administrator will teach a student important, though extra-curricular, lesson, too.

    Reply
  54. LexWolf

    RTH,
    then call them administrators. The heads of USC or Clemson may also “teach a student important, though extra-curricular, lessons” but would you call them professors?

    Reply
  55. LexWolf

    “Good teachers don’t have many job alternatives in a system dominated by government schools.”
    Of course that’s a major reason why some of the best are leaving the system. Why would a good teacher want to be paid the same as some incompetent slug just because they both have masters degrees and have been teaching for 10 years? I would support some serious salary increases for the good teachers. They could even be funded by pay cuts for the bad teachers or outright firings. The system as a whole would be much better off if compensation were closely tied to performance rather than time served.

    Reply
  56. Ready to Hurl

    As long as the educracy tolerates the incompetents, timeservers, and plain idiots in the system, I’m afraid you’ll have to tolerate that brush. Clearly there are some good people in the system but it’s just like the bad apples that taint the whole bushel.
    So a few “bad apples” give you and the rest a license to carp non-stop, eh? Are you also fighting the battle to have doctors’ discipine records posted by the AMA; and, lawyer’s discipline records posted by the ABA?
    You “free market” zealots really piss me off with the consistent implication that “incompetents, timeservers, and plain idiots” don’t exist in the private sector.
    It sure is odd that I run into customer-unfriendly companies, rude clerks, incompetent lawyers, “time servers and plain idiots” in many private sector companies. To some extent the prevalence of the miscreants depends on how large and bureaucratic the company is.
    Where is the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith in curing these problems in private sector situations?
    How about a converse example, where private sector companies actually create a customer-unfriendly situation in order to make a larger profit. For example, when Dell outsources tech support to India. Do the customers call tune? At least school districts have elected representatives answerable to their constituents.
    I’m sure that Lee will call “red herring” on my objections. Too bad. You free market zealots are unwilling to take off your rose colored glasses to see where the “free market” could very well fail to educate.
    Lee’s silly comparison of schools and restaurants is the perfect brain-dead example. What happens to customers when a restaurant’s quality declines or it closes its doors? No problem. Customers choose another eatery or accept the lower quality. Students (and their parents) may not even perceive the decline or they may be “stuck” due to the “tightness” of the school market. And, when a school goes out of business? Well, there’s always the public schools but, since it’s highly unlikely that the private school mimicked the public school curriculum, the unlucky students may spend a year (or more) attempting to “regain ground.”
    In short, the free-markets are not some magical answer for all human endeavors. In case you forgot, there was a little bump in the road of “free markets” called the Great Depression.

    Reply
  57. LexWolf

    You “free market” zealots really piss me off with the consistent implication that “incompetents, timeservers, and plain idiots” don’t exist in the private sector.”
    Of course they exist but they usually don’t last very long, unlike in the public sector which attracts a well above average share of incompetents, timeservers and plain idiots (mainly because they can’t hack it in the private sector), and makes virtually no attempt to get rid of them. Just tell me, oh great defender of the unfree plantation, how many educrats or other government employees were fired in the past year or two?
    “To some extent the prevalence of the miscreants depends on how large and bureaucratic the company is.”
    Quite correct, and that’s precisely why smaller, more nimble companies usually run rings around the behemoths. And what organization is larger, more bureaucratic and more customer-unfriendly than the government, of which the public schools are obviously a large part?
    How about a converse example, where private sector companies actually create a customer-unfriendly situation in order to make a larger profit. For example, when Dell outsources tech support to India. Do the customers call tune?
    They most definitely do. You obviously don’t know this but it didn’t take Dell very long to bring its customer support back from India after its customers complained.
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/biztech/11/24/dell.call.centers.ap/
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-06-02-dell-tennessee_x.htm?POE=TECISVA
    How long would it take the educracy to respond to parents’ complaints?
    “when a school goes out of business? Well, there’s always the public schools but, since it’s highly unlikely that the private school mimicked the public school curriculum, the unlucky students may spend a year (or more) attempting to “regain ground.”
    What planet are you living on? Regain ground? Get real!! If anything, a kid switching from private to public school will be able to skip a grade or two!!
    “In case you forgot, there was a little bump in the road of “free markets” called the Great Depression.”
    Aah yes, and even liberals will widely acknowledge that the Great Depression was caused not by the free market but by grossly incompetent and ill-advised government actions interfering with the free market!

    Reply
  58. LexWolf

    ‘Toe-Hold Strategies’
    Democrats for (school) choice.
    BY CLINT BOLICK
    Thursday, June 22, 2006 12:01 a.m.
    PHOENIX–When the Arizona legislature concludes its 2006 session in a few days, it will set a record for school-choice legislation by enacting four new or expanded programs allowing disadvantaged children to attend private schools. Even more remarkable: The programs were enacted in a state with a Democratic governor.
    Yet Arizona is not an aberration. Already in 2006, a new Iowa corporate scholarship tax credit bill was signed into law by Gov. Tom Vilsack; and in Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill increasing the Milwaukee voucher program by 50%. Gov. Ed Rendell may expand Pennsylvania’s corporate scholarship tax credit program, as he did last year. Messrs. Vilsack, Doyle and Rendell are all Democrats.
    And last year, hell froze over: Sen. Ted Kennedy endorsed the inclusion of private schools in a rescue effort for over 300,000 children displaced from their schools by Hurricane Katrina. As a result, tens of thousands of kids are attending private schools using federal funds, amounting to the largest (albeit temporary) voucher program ever enacted. Before that, a voucher program for the District of Columbia was established with support from Democratic Mayor Anthony Williams and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Joseph Lieberman.
    What gives? MORE HERE

    Reply
  59. Doug

    Just for clarification, I don’t “hate” public schools. Up until a month ago, I had three kids in the public school system. 30 years (12+10+8) total experience in the same system (Richland 2).
    My “outrage”, if you want to call it that, is due to my observation over the course of the past twelve years that these same schools are very different than they were when my wife and I sent our firstborn out the door and into first grade. And that difference is not positive in my opinion.
    There are three main factors that I think have contributed to this (in this order):
    1) Uncontrolled growth
    2) PACT testing
    3) Public relations, self promotion, and
    a “marketing” mentality at the administrative and Board of Education levels
    4) A relationship between schools and
    construction companies that borders
    on unethical
    5) A “please don’t sue us” mentality
    that allows certain parents to keep
    their brats (sorry, that’s what they
    are) in school
    6) Parents who think schools should provide a custom tailored education for their children
    I don’t “hate” public schools. Probably due to my computer programmer’s mentality, I see something that appears to be broken and I want to fix it. I also tend to see things simplistically and trust my gut and personal experience over research, so my views typically do not reflect the majority. I’m fine with that.
    I would guess that many of the so-called haters fall into the same category – they see something that needs fixing and are willing to break the system to fix it.
    A trial voucher plan (with an income cap) for our worst performing districts would not bring about the end of public education. It just might save a few kids from a life of poverty.

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  60. kc

    “There is a sincere concern about draining resources from public schools.” – someone
    This is as clear an admission as we can possibly get that public schools are indeed substandard. If they managed to keep their customers reasonably satisfied why would anyone even want to change schools – LexWolf

    No, it isn’t. When I talk about resources being drained from public schools, I’m talking about the money you want the state to hand you so you can send your child to private school.
    Where the heck do you think that money is that money going to come from, LW? Do you think Mark Sanford and his aides will take a salary reduction so you can have your $8K a year?

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  61. kc

    LexWolf:
    KC,
    I think I’ve asked you before but didn’t get an answer. Do you also have a problem with state support of private colleges?

    I didn’t see you ask this before, and I’m not sure what you’re talking about. What state support of private colleges? Anyway, the answer is yes, I would have a problem with that. (If you’re talking about the lottery, I voted against it)
    How support state support of private grocery stores through food stamps and WIC? Is there any basic difference whatsoever between food stamps and school vouchers?
    There are a number of differences but this is the HUGE one: The state isn’t otherwise providing food for people. It IS otherwise providing education.
    A better (though still imperfect) analogy would be if the state provided free chickens for every family with children, and then LexWolf started saying, “No, I don’t like chicken, I demand cash vouchers from the state so I can buy beef tenderloin every night . . .”

    Reply
  62. Randy E

    School bashers take note of Doug’s post. He expresses “outrage” at many parts of the system without disparaging the whole system. I for one appreciate this.
    He hits on some great points:
    1.The school board is very reactionary. These politicians often put politics ahead of what’s best for the kids. As I posted earlier, in Rich 1 we had kids that were suspended TEN TIMES and were sent right on back to school.
    2.There are parents who push what’s best for their kid and get results because of the “squeaky wheel” principle. There was a parent in rich 2 who wanted her sophomore to be enrolled in a class which was already maxed out with seniors who needed the course. She DEMANDED that her son be enrolled even if it meant withdrawing a senior (not an isolated event).
    3. Doug previously made points about using standardized test scores to hold students accountable, e.g. if you can’t pass the 8th grade exam you stay in 8th grade. Students know what they can get away with. If they can move on to high school despite failing an exam, many aren’t as concerned about passing. The problem here is after holding back 200 kids, the chorus of squeaky wheels is deafening to a school board politician. I suggest an alternative setting so they are not with the younger students.
    Doug has also lobbied for teacher accountability, which I believe is essential. The problem is how to measure performance. It is entirely too complicated to simply use PACT scores. Not all teachers have their content measured by scores and the scores of a teacher with low socio-economic students at one school is apples to oranges with a teacher with high students at another school.
    Clearly this issues involves a great deal more than only holding educators accountable.

    Reply
  63. Lee

    Whenever you “…run into customer-unfriendly companies, rude clerks, incompetent lawyers, time servers and plain idiots in private sector companies…”
    you have the choice to leave and take your business elsewhere. Those businesses with poor service are replaced by better ones.

    Reply
  64. Randy E

    Three situations that make fitting schools to the market model an extremely difficult task:
    Most customers do not want the services. Students often resist the service but are forced to accept the service schools provide. To make this a true market based institution, let the customers, the students, decide if they want to be in school.
    As Lee suggested, schools are responsible for knowing their customers and if a student is from a single parent or no parent home, the schools are responsible for their attendance [sic]. In general, schools HAVE to accept all customers. In business, aside from walking in and getting a burger, a business can make a proposal to win over customers. Not every business will accept, win, or even want every customer. For example, Wendy’s doesn’t cater a wedding reception. Libby doesn’t get the local ambulance chaser to represent him. BUT, schools have to take on ALL customers.
    There is no single metric for success. Success in business is measured by a bottom line as seen daily on CNBC. Name the metric we would use for schools.
    What business has dealt with these fundamental issues successfully.

    Reply
  65. Doug

    >Name the metric we would use for schools.
    How about a combination of metrics:
    1) Replace PACT with a nationally recognized test.
    This answers the question “How are we doing compared to the rest of the country?” and would eliminate much of the overhead associated with collecting unused PACT data.
    I’d be happy with Math and English/Reading Comprehension scores done every other year
    from 2nd through 8th, then use SAT/ACT scores for high school.
    2) A Parent Report Card that would have to be returned in order to get a student’s report card at the end of the year. Let the parent’s give the school a grade on a one question:
    How did we do on educating your child?
    Then post the results on the billboard outside the school. I can imagine there would be a lot more local interest in a school that showed a majority of C’s or worse from parents.

    Reply
  66. LexWolf

    “When I talk about resources being drained from public schools, I’m talking about the money you want the state to hand you so you can send your child to private school.
    Once again with feeling, KC. If the public schools were doing a good job, very few people would even think about private schools and we wouldn’t have this discussion right now. Even I wouldn’t keep my daughter in private school. I could easily find other uses for that money.
    However, the fact that schools know that they aren’t doing a good job and that their customers would jump at a chance to get off their failed plantation speaks volumes, don’t you think?
    I didn’t see you ask this before, and I’m not sure what you’re talking about. What state support of private colleges?
    I’m talking about state-sponsored scholarships, such as LIFE or the HOPE system in Georgia, ROTC scholarships, Pell grants, government-subsidized student loans and lots more. Those go to students/parents, just like school vouchers would, who are then free to use them in public and private colleges. Do you have a problem with those?
    “There are a number of differences but this is the HUGE one: The state isn’t otherwise providing food for people. It IS otherwise providing education.”
    Then privatize the schools and get out of the business of operating the schools. As I posted before, I’m all for providing all kids with equal resources through public funding of education. I’m NOT for government actually operating those schools. There may be a few schools which function relatively well despite being government-run but by and large you can expect to see public schools operate with the same lack of efficiency and responsiveness as the good folks at the DMV.
    In any case, I’ll grant you that there are no government grocery stores (except maybe the commissaries in the military). Nevertheless you are supoorting state money going to privatre businesses. Maybe the state should just buy up one or two grocery store chains so it could then insist that food stamp recipients support only “public food”?
    “A better (though still imperfect) analogy would be if the state provided free chickens for every family with children, and then LexWolf started saying, “No, I don’t like chicken, I demand cash vouchers from the state so I can buy beef tenderloin every night . . .”
    Here’s the exact problem with your approach. Somebody somewhere decided that chicken was all the people would be allowed to have. Don’t like chicken? Too bad! But why should I be forced to continue eating chicken if I cant’t stand the taste of it?
    My approach would be to let the people make that choice themselves. Here’s a voucher for X dollars, buy whatever meat you want (except junk food). You are the paternalistic big-government fan who thinks the people couldn’t possibly function if you didn’t make their choices for them. I’m for individual choice and responsibility and think that the people as a whole, even if some make bad choices, would do a far better job in their choices than a bunch of educrats.

    Reply
  67. kc

    However, the fact that schools know that they aren’t doing a good job and that their customers would jump at a chance to get off their failed plantation speaks volumes, don’t you think?
    You have hardly established that “schools know that they aren’t doing a good job.”
    Some “customers” would jump at the chance to switch school districts. Speaks volumes about the way education is funded in this state, doesn’t it?
    Here’s the exact problem with your approach. Somebody somewhere decided that chicken was all the people would be allowed to have. Don’t like chicken? Too bad! But why should I be forced to continue eating chicken if I cant’t stand the taste of it?
    Here’s the exact problem with your approach: You’re not being forced to eat chicken. As you have repeatedly noted, your child is in private school. Obviously, you had exercised your choice.
    Here’s the other problem with your approach: I’m already paying to support public education – which I don’t mind doing. But I don’t want to be forced to pay on top of that to send your kid to private school. There is no reason why the taxpayers should have to subsidize your expensive choice.
    You just can’t get around that.

    Reply
  68. LexWolf

    In general, schools HAVE to accept all customers. In business, aside from walking in and getting a burger, a business can make a proposal to win over customers. Not every business will accept, win, or even want every customer. For example, Wendy’s doesn’t cater a wedding reception. Libby doesn’t get the local ambulance chaser to represent him. BUT, schools have to take on ALL customers.”
    I think that problem would solve itself with full school choice. Currently you have mortgage and finance companies ranging all the way from the elite company catering to customers with near-perfect credit histories through subprime lenders down to the local title loan company. You also have cars all the way from Rolls-Royce down to a bare-bones model. Why would education be any different? Some schools would try the generalist approach but others would target a specific market and I bet there would some for hard-to-teach kids.
    There is no single metric for success.
    Why? I would submit to you that the main reason is that the educracy hates to be measured by ANY standard. They will find fault with any proposed system because then they might actually have to measure up to an objective standard. Much better for them to obfuscate and distort so that parents can’t tell just how bad their schools really are.
    Why do we need a single metric anyway? Why not take a basket of say 4 or 5 indicators (SAT scores, graduation rates, poverty rate for the school etc.) and use some predetermined formula to combine them for a composite score.

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  69. Lee

    Liberals never had a problem with vouchers being used to pay for Head Start programs run by churches, psuedo-churches and private businesses.
    Jesse Jackson became wealthy by running a Head Start program in Chicago, paying himself $92,000 a year out of a $1,200,000 federal grant, way back in early 1980s.

    Reply
  70. Randy E

    Lex’s approach is to follow the conservative attack dog script. Attack anyone that does not support his plan.
    Ironically, his responses to how his plan would work include “who knows” and “who cares.” He actually claims that those are acceptable responses in the business world.
    The broad brush disparging attacks on all schools as terrible and anyone in authority in education as “educrats” is simplistic, sophmoric, and is a smoke screen for a lack of critical thought.

    Reply
  71. LexWolf

    Here’s the exact problem with your approach: You’re not being forced to eat chicken. As you have repeatedly noted, your child is in private school.
    No, I’m not being forced to eat chicken but if I don’t eat chicken I get nothing at all unless I pay for it myself, even while I’m still being charged taxes to pay for the chicken that I’m not eating. In other words my option is to either take what the state deigns to give me or have nothing at all. Doesn’t seem fair or logical, does it?
    Here’s the other problem with your approach: I’m already paying to support public education – which I don’t mind doing. But I don’t want to be forced to pay on top of that to send your kid to private school.
    How exactly would your taxes change in any way whatsoever if we had school choice? Surely you would still be assessed by the exact same methods as before. Further there would be absolutely no change in the amount of your taxes that goes to any particular kid’s education. The only difference would be that the parent decides which school gets that money, instead of some educrat making that choice.
    If I don’t get a choice in whether or not I want chicken, surely you shouldn’t get any choice in where your tax money goes either!
    You just can’t get around that.
    And you can’t get around the fact that you apparently have no answer for my question why state support of private colleges is OK with you but not for K-12!!

    Reply
  72. Randy

    Car dealers and mortgage companies still have thresholds for accepting customers. They do NOT have to take on all comers.
    Give us the 4 or 5 metrics that would satisfy the vast majority of consumers.
    SAT scores are a faulty measure of high school performance. They have been clearly correlated to socio-economic level. They also measure a narrow range of learning.
    Graduation rates are largely functions of homelife (as Lee pointed out) and can be addressed by making the path easier for students.
    How does poverty rate measure the bottom line?
    Don’t forget to include a measure for PE, art, vocational classes, computer classes, leadership (ROTC and courses), social studies, music, driver’s ed, home-ec… unless you are suggesting we eliminate those courses.
    The metric is probably the single most important key to basing schools on a market system, but this is tremendously more difficult than you make it out to be.
    Your remark that educators and educrats are against such accountability is misguided. We simply want it to be fair. Show us a fair metric to evaluate school performance.

    Reply
  73. LexWolf

    Ironically, his responses to how his plan would work include “who knows” and “who cares.” He actually claims that those are acceptable responses in the business world.
    It would be nice if you could stop trying to put words into my mouth, especially when you totally ignore the context in which they were posted. Besides, can you prove me wrong?
    You obviously don’t know much about business or you wouldn’t post nonsense like the above. While businesses try to cover as many bases as possible before starting a new venture, I can tell you for a fact that numerous ventures are started on HOPE and not much else. Take the Iridium satellite venture a few years back. Nobody had any firm idea that it would work or pay off yet they tried it anyway. Oil companies drill new wells all the time, without any assurance that they will actually find oil.
    And no business ever has to “justify” its plans to its competitors!

    Reply
  74. Randy E

    Hysterical. Lex is a proponent of a market based school system but dismisses any need of justifying his plan – dillusions that businesses don’t have to justify anything, only rely on “hope.” I’m sure you’ll have lots of investors jumping on board.
    Meaningless issues like how to pay for expansion and finding teachers are answered with “who cares” and “who knows” and businesses find that acceptable. At what point are you selling that beach front property in Nebraska?

    Reply
  75. Randy E

    Once again, Red Herring Lexie has side-tracked the discussion. Let’s get back to reality.
    Doug posted some good points.
    1) Replace PACT with a nationally recognized test [math and English]
    2) A Parent Report Card
    I agree with Doug in giving the parents some input as part of the evaluation of the school and the teachers. He suggested one question, but I think it should be comprehensive.
    I posted earlier that I believe the metric has to include more than math and English. Doug is big on meeting standards on the basics. I agree, if it’s part of the whole chimichanga.
    Again, I absolutely agree with holding teachers and schools accountable, if it’s fair.
    Lex suggested graduation rates, SAT, and poverty level. I think we are generating some ideas that can be pooled as both Dave and Lex suggest.

    Reply
  76. Lee

    Schools don’t want to take all students, but they get money by the number of seats they fill.
    Since the State is their primary customer, they don’t have to attract those who fill the seats. They can use police to round them up and jail their parents for not sending them to fill their seat.
    When those students graduate, serve their 12 years, or drop out, the school knows that another crop is right behind them.
    Low birthrates threaten the money flow for filling seats. The schools have a financial incentive to not intefere with teen pregnancy and illegal alien students.

    Reply
  77. LexWolf

    “Your remark that educators and educrats are against such accountability is misguided. We simply want it to be fair. Show us a fair metric to evaluate school performance.”
    The problem is there is no metric in the world that will meet your standards of perfection. Here’s a newsflash for you: all metrics will be unfair in some way! Life isn’t fair! That’s why your best approach is probably to use a basket of indicators, each unfair in some way but as a whole reasonably fair and accurate. Instead the educracy again and again rejects every metric that’s offered so that in the end we have no metric at all.
    The metric is probably the single most important key to basing schools on a market system
    Wrong. In a school choice setting the ONLY important key is customer satisfaction. You could come up with a metric that basically shows you walking on water but if parents are not satisfied you will still fail.
    Business history is full of failed companies which produced an objectively superior product (call that a metric, if you will) and still lost out to its competitor(s).
    (How does poverty rate measure the bottom line? — It doesn’t but it can provide a fairer comparison between wealthier schools and poorer schools. I stuck that in there for your benefit!)

    Reply
  78. LexWolf

    “Lex is a proponent of a market based school system but dismisses any need of justifying his plan – dillusions that businesses don’t have to justify anything, only rely on “hope.” I’m sure you’ll have lots of investors jumping on board.”
    You just don’t get the point, do you? I don’t know if this is intentional or if you are just unable to comprehend the concept.
    Of course, a business venture has to be justified in some way…but only to the shareholders and investors! I don’t know of any business that has to justify its plans to the competition. How is it any of the competition’s business how the new venture will recruit its workers and finance itself?

    Reply
  79. olekinderhook

    There are major problems with this discussion that make it non-pertinent to South Carolina. The first is that we’re assuming that the school choice programs on the table are ones that will shift enough students to create an open market in education. Read the actual legislation. The state of South Carolina estimates that out of the somewhat less than 80,000 students who would be eligible for the tax credit scheme of PPIC, only about 10,000 would be moving from public to private schools. A shift of 10,000 students out of 700,000 is hardly enough to qualify as competition, and hardly enough to force our dozens of school districts into the actions these free-market follies are supposed to spur. Somewhere near 50,000 of those 80,000 qualifiers will be students who are already in private school.
    The plan being proposed is not a transformation of education by any means. The Floyd/Sanford/SCRG plan for education is to promote a program that placates the libertarian wing of the Republican Party without spurring any substantive change in education. After PPIC, South Carolina’s schools will be faced with the same problems that continue to cripple them now – problems that other states and governments have at least attempted to discuss and address. Mark Sanford’s false solution and lack of initiative on how to change the schools that the vast majority of students attend can’t be masked by the fig leaf of PPIC, just like his lack of ability or accomplishments as governor can’t be overshadowed by his quixotic, albeit earnest, ideology.
    Yes, Lee, is it the voters’ fault if they continue to send under performing, bland and unimaginative politicians to government. And if the voters don’t have the whole truth, it’s not because some shadowy, nonexistent cabal of educators is hiding it from them; it’s because the media doesn’t give them straight facts, not only about the flaws in education, but about the lack of real, systematic solutions.

    Reply
  80. Lee

    I don’t think the school administrators are hiding information from the customers as much as it is they have no information.
    They don’t keep good records for monitoring performance and factors in quality, because they don’t know how to, and they don’t dare bring in experts from outside the education community to set up quality plans and look at their books.
    If 10,000 students are insignificant, why does the public school crowd fight so hard to keep them on the plantation?
    IBM dismissed minicomputers and the PC for a long time. Microsoft dismissed Linux and the Internet. I don’t think the geniuses in the state legislture and Department of Education are better at market analysis than IBM and Microsoft.

    Reply
  81. Randy E

    Lee spent two days bringing some paper to some kids and he’s an expert on education. Likewise, I pumped $25 into my car today and figured out the energy problem.
    Lex finally admits that businesses actually have to justify their plans – welcome to reality. Now he’s on some kick that it’s none of the public’s business how these private schools will expand and find find teachers to accomodate the new students.
    Newsflash Lex, in order for your plan to come to fruition, the PUBLIC will have to vote on it. Are you seriously asking the public to vote on a plan that is full of holes? And your response to how these holes will be filled is “who knows” and “who cares?”
    He also suggests that using metric evaluation to measure a company’s performance is not necessary. Yes, CEOs don’t bother with numbers when they evaluate their company.
    Lex, when you get some legitimate answers for these questions about your plan, I’ll be glad to discuss them. Until then, back to Doug’s suggestion.

    Reply
  82. Randy E

    Let’s move on.
    Doug posted some good points.
    1) Replace PACT with a nationally recognized test [math and English]
    2) A Parent Report Card
    I agree with Doug in giving the parents some input as part of the evaluation of the school and the teachers. He suggested one question, but I think it should be comprehensive.
    I posted earlier that I believe the metric has to include more than math and English. Doug is big on meeting standards on the basics. I agree, if it’s part of the whole chimichanga.
    Again, I absolutely agree with holding teachers and schools accountable, if it’s fair.
    Lex suggested graduation rates, SAT, and poverty level. I think we are generating some ideas that can be pooled as both Dave and Lex suggest.

    Reply
  83. Lee

    I spent 12 years in public school, 8 years in college and graduate school, and 40 years paying taxes to become expert enough in education to raise issues that shut up the “professional educators”.
    Randy, you still don’t have a clue about how business plans and audits, even after several of us have explained it. Maybe if you started your own business, let’s say, teaching math, you might begin to understand. Better yet, work in company with stringent quality and performance metrics, like GE, where the bottom-performing 10% of employees are replaced every year.

    Reply
  84. Randy E

    LOL, yes Lex explained business plans alright. In response to explaining his plan, he said who needs “hi-falutin’ justification, beauracratic mumbo jumbo.”
    You explained how schools are socialist institutions that indoctrinate students. Then you stated that these same schools should take responsibility for students from nontraditional homes (“know our customer”) because single parents couldn’t handle them (sounds like socialism).
    You’d last 1/2 a class period as a teacher because the experience would shatter your ivory tower perspective.
    Regarding the bottom 10%. You actually have a very good point there – a definite flaw in our system!

    Reply
  85. Randy E

    Ok, moving on. We were pooling some ideas for how to hold schools and teachers accountable. See post a couple spots above.

    Reply
  86. LexWolf

    Randy,
    do you get some kind of kick out of mutilating others’ quotes so that you completely change the original meaning? Do you think this somehow enhances your own feeble comments?
    Lee,
    I don’t think Randy could hack it running his own business teaching math. He doesn’t have what it takes to keep customers happy and coming back. That’s why he’s teaching in the public school system where he can just imprison customers on his plantation. Otherwise he might have started up a tutoring company by now.

    Reply
  87. Randy E

    Lex, everyone can see for themselves how you answered the questions about your plan.
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 20, 2006 7:48:41 PM
    That Huh guy made it obvious to everyone what Lee’s quotes where.
    I’d rather discuss the issues and have a meaningful exchange of ideas. You two seem more intent on pushing your own ideology and criticizing anyone that disagrees.
    If you look at my posts on this thread, I have made an effort to discuss education reform. I have taken into consideration other people’s ideas. I have been highly critical of many aspects of education. Open mind.
    You are welcome to join us if you are up for meaningful dialogue in lieu of bashing schools and teachers and denouncing anyone that dare question your plan.

    Reply
  88. Lee

    Jesse Jackson made $92,000 a year off vouchers, by running a Head Start program. That shows that you don’t have to be Mr. Chips Holland to make it in the education industry.
    Seriously, good teachers are going to wake up one day and realize they have been pulling the wagon for too many free riders.
    Private industry already spends tens of billions of dollars annually on private training, remedial education, management training, engineering seminars, etc.

    Reply
  89. Lee

    Randy, if your idea of education reform involves, more spending on public schools, go back and start over.
    Your mischaracterization of my criticisms, and of the ideas of others, is not an accident. You are not as dumb as you pretend to be, in order to avoid facing the music.

    Reply
  90. Randy E

    Freakin A, Lee you made another two good points.
    The “free riders” are the educators that aren’t up to snuff- ability or effort wise I take it? You are so right.
    Private industry has to train largely because schools release alot of knuckle-draggers into the world. I wil be the first to agree that we have a ton of students leaving the system at a low level, and I am embarassed.
    My engineer/conservative friend pointed out that BMW, I believe, has a long training process in place to make sure their employees are qualified. This way they don’t have to worry as much about their education.

    Reply
  91. LexWolf

    Lex, in order for your plan to come to fruition, the PUBLIC will have to vote on it. Are you seriously asking the public to vote on a plan that is full of holes?”
    Randy, I have no earthly idea why you keep obsessing about some grand plan. Universal vouchers don’t need some grand plan. It could be as simple as the school district sending parents a little voucher once a year simply saying “little Billy is entitled to $8,765 payable to any school, public or private”. They could even avoid additional postage costs by simply including the voucher with the propaganda crap they send us every few months, trying to tell us how great the public schools are.
    Then it would be up to private enterprise to evaluate the potential business opportunities. If they are confident enough that they could make some money somewhere down the road, they will build the schools, or lease existing buildings. They will also hire qualified teachers and management. This entire process is of just as little concern to you as the process of Kmart building and operating a new store would be.
    Your bogus questions are simply a gigantic red herring. All the voters have to be convinced of is that it would be a good idea to give each parent a voucher. The rest will either take care of itself or the parents will have no choice but to “spend” the voucher at the public school, just as they are now. I have no doubt that you know as well as I do that the mere existence of vouchers for everybody will bring about massive investments in private schools, as well as massive improvement in public schools to avoid the loss of their customers.

    Reply
  92. Randy E

    Lee, IF we were to spend more money I ABSOLUTELY agree with you guys that there has to be an overhaul of how the spending is monitored. TONS of waste.
    One of you guys pointed out how many low-performing districts get extra money. I also question how it’s being spent.
    It’s not just education specific, it happens in the business world too. But government agencies seem to do alot worse.

    Reply
  93. Randy E

    Lex, keep dodging. It’s better than the “who knows” responses.
    Yes, we’ll all vote for a plan that will just work itself out.

    Reply
  94. Randy E

    I have to take a break. I have agreed with Lee 4 times now…I’d better start watching CNN or reading the DailyKos.

    Reply
  95. LexWolf

    “I’d rather discuss the issues and have a meaningful exchange of ideas.”
    Bullhockey, Randy. All you do is demand perfect plans and solutions from school choice while providing absolutely zero suggestions for how the public school system would ever improve on its own. You’re sitting in an absolutely atrocious system yourself, with no hope of significant improvements unless it is radically reformed, yet you demand perfection from the proposed alternative. How dare you!
    I’ve asked you this several times, with no answer each time, but how exactly would you improve public schools? It’s easy to knock school choice for not having a perfect plan but what is your plan?? Be specific.
    If you can’t come up with a realistic plan of your own, I would submit to you that you might just want to be quiet. School choice isn’t a panacea that will solve all our problems, nor is it perfect, but it’s a heck of a sight better than your current plantation.

    Reply
  96. kc

    Randy, if your idea of education reform involves, more spending on public schools, go back and start over.
    Why? YOUR plan involves more spending on you (and LW).
    I thought you conservatives didn’t believe throwing tax money around to solve problems.

    Reply
  97. LexWolf

    Randy,
    you can call it dodging all you want but the acid test is right here:
    1. Give every parent a voucher for the same amount the school district spends per kid now. That by itself changes virtually nothing but it introduces sorely needed competition and choice into public education.
    2. If public schools were doing a satisfactory job, parents would have no reason to send their kids to private school, with all the additional time and effort that entails. Status quo stays the same.
    3. If public schools were not doing a satisfactory job, some number of parents will try to change schools.
    a. if no private schools or other public schools are available, then the parents would be stuck with the same school their kids are attending now. Status quo stays the same.
    b. if other public schools are available and/or additional private schools have been built, parents would use the vouchers in those schools and the old school would lose X number of customers.
    In other words, the only scenario in which public schools might have “resources drained” is when they are not meeting parents’ needs and expectations, and alternatives are available. Why would that be a problem? Shouldn’t we all be glad that those parents found a better educational provider? How can you justify condemning them to inferior schools?

    Reply
  98. LexWolf

    “I thought you conservatives didn’t believe throwing tax money around to solve problems.”
    We don’t, and school choice would do no such thing anyway. I know of no universal school choice plan that would increase spending on education. The only significant change would be in who gets to decide where the money is spent: parents or educrats.

    Reply
  99. Randy E

    Lex, I didn’t realize you were so amusing:
    “Bullhockey, Randy. All you do is demand perfect plans and solutions from school choice while providing absolutely zero suggestions for how the public school system would ever improve on its own.”
    First of all, watch the poopie mouth.
    Second, “perfect plan?” Asking someone how they will pay for their plan and not acceting “who knows” is demanding pefection? Geez, call me a stickler.
    Third, I have offered suggestions and perspective. On the Actual Reality thread I offered lots of discussion beyond asking you simple questions about your plan.
    Offering Lex any thoughtful perspective or suggestion is a waste of bandwidth because he has shown absolutely no desire to even consider any other point of view. His broad-brush bashing of schools and educators reinforces that notion.

    Reply
  100. LexWolf

    On the Actual Reality thread I offered lots of discussion beyond asking you simple questions about your plan.”
    Hmmmm….could you point me to at least some of that “lots of discussion”? I must have completely missed it amongst all your SCEA-shilling and distortions.

    Reply
  101. Randy E

    You aren’t helpless Lex, take a look.
    If you read carefully enough (big IF) you’ll see that I specifically dismissed the NEA positions because they are biased. Again, you’re not interested in facts though, just criticizing anyone that doesn’t swallow your ideas whole.
    ONCE AGAIN, if you decide to engage in meaningful dialogue in lieu of bashing schools and educators and in lieu of blasting anyone that asks you questions about our plan, I’m game.

    Reply
  102. Randy E

    Ideas for holding schools and educators accountable:
    Doug posted some good points.
    1) Replace PACT with a nationally recognized test [math and English]
    2) A Parent Report Card
    I agree with Doug in giving the parents some input as part of the evaluation of the school and the teachers. He suggested one question, but I think it should be comprehensive.
    I posted earlier that I believe the metric has to include more than math and English. Doug is big on meeting standards on the basics. I agree, if it’s part of the whole chimichanga.
    Again, I absolutely agree with holding teachers and schools accountable, if it’s fair.
    Lex suggested graduation rates, SAT, and poverty level. I think we are generating some ideas that can be pooled as both Dave and Lex suggest.

    Reply
  103. LexWolf

    Randy,
    instead of continuing to distort and mutilate my quotes, here’s a great article you might want to peruse:
    Education Myths
    By Jay Greene
    Myths aren’t lies. They are beliefs that people adopt because they have an air of plausibility. But myths aren’t true, and they often get in the way during serious problem-solving. This essay identifies seven common myths that dominate established views of education these days. Dispelling these misconceptions could open the door to long-awaited improvement in our nationÍs schools.
    The money myth
    If people know anything about public schools today, it’s that they are strapped for cash. Bestselling books, popular movies, and countless lobbying groups portray urban schools as desperately underfunded, and editors of the New York Times write without fear of contradiction that “providing quality education for all America’s children will take…a great deal of money.” Bumper stickers declare, “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.” No matter what aspect of education is being debated, activists generally find the solution in more school spending.
    This is the most widely held myth about education in America–and the one most directly at odds with the available evidence. Few people are aware that our education spending per pupil has been growing steadily for 50 years. At the end of World War II, public schools in the United States spent a total of $1,214 per student in inflation-adjusted 2002 dollars. By the middle of the 1950s that figure had roughly doubled to $2,345. By 1972 it had almost doubled again, reaching $4,479. And since then, it has doubled a third time, climbing to $8,745 in 2002. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

    Reply
  104. Randy E

    Lex, when was IDEA passed. Do some research on that.
    Oh, for the 10th time, because I asked you questions about your plan (the nerve of me) and took issue with you blindly bashing educators and schools you try to paint me as for the status-quo. Try reading my posts, but with comprehension.
    I absolutely agree with making the system more accountable for the spending.

    Reply
  105. Randy E

    Oh, read up on the Sputnik scare as well. While you are researching this, also investigate when public education became mandatory in SC.

    Reply
  106. LexWolf

    What are you babbling on about now, Randy? Your shtick is really wearing off, you know. I couldn’t care less about yet another of your educrat fads that never worked so why should I research it? Why don’t you just come right out and tell us what your point is, if there is one at all?
    Sure you agree with “making the system more accountable”. That’s why you are so adamantly opposed to the one way to truly make it accountable: school choice! How exactly would you make the system more accountable?
    BTW, have you made any progress on your plan for improving our schools? Inquiring minds want to know about your solution to get schools back on track!!

    Reply
  107. Randy E

    Lex, here’s a website. Take a look at the sample business plans. No one else seems to use “who knows” and “who cares” or we “hope” it works, or if it doesn’t, back to square one as their justification.
    http://www.businessplans.org/
    Again, very ironic that you push a business model as the panacea for our schools but won’t use the principles of a business plan to sell your idea.

    Reply
  108. LexWolf

    Where’s YOUR PLAN for saving our schools, Randy? Heck, I suspect you can’t figure out one on your own so I’ll even accept the NEA’s plan or the SCEA’s plan. After asking you probably a dozen times, almost anything will do at this point. It would certainly make sense for people to be able to see how you would do it before you disparage all other attempts, wouldn’t you agree? They might be distinctly underwhelmed at your “solution” but give it a try anyway, won’t you?
    When did you figure out how to do a search for “business plans”? Was Google real helpful to ya?

    Reply
  109. Randy E

    Lex, look around. I’ve posted alot of ideas and discussions. I take other people’s points into consideration. That’s called dialogue.
    “Was Google real helpful to ya?” “Who knows.”

    Reply
  110. Randy E

    Using Google to look up a business plan is something I suggest for you seeing how you assume business people would accept justification like “who knows” and I “hope” it works.

    Reply
  111. LexWolf

    YOUR PLAN?!!
    Spare us all the obfuscations. Just tell us what YOU would do!! Once we know that you might even gain a little credibility.

    Reply
  112. Dave

    Let’s hope Karen Floyd wins so the state can get started with choice and vouchers. That is the first action on the plan.

    Reply
  113. Randy E

    Please explain what happens after a turbo PPIC law is passed. Every parent suddenly has choice, the first action is complete. What’s the second action?
    Do you’all really think that there’s no beauracracy involved in this plan? Who administers the money? You think the Tax commission simply adds a couple lines to the tax form and families get the money in their pocket?
    Anyone can open up a school, like the rapist did in another voucher system?
    There is no oversight of what’s being taught. Criticize the system now, but atleast you have standards against which to measure the school’s performance. The majority of parents now are NOT involved in their student’s education enough to know what’s being taught at the high school level. Johnny can bring home good grades and the parents will think everything’s hunky dory. Parents like Doug right now can see PACT scores and rightfully raise holy heck.
    The fact is the system now has many terrible flaws, and the same old tinkering around the edges is simply a waste of time. But this doesn’t mean full choice is automatically the only alternative.
    If you guys are so convinced this plan will work, justify it beyond The Invisible Hand making all the pieces fall into place. We as a community are the customers because education affects us all. And we are the voters who will decide if this plan comes to fruition.

    Reply
  114. LexWolf

    “Anyone can open up a school, like the rapist did in another voucher system?”
    Link for that, please. I’m not sure why you think this is a promising argument for you, considering that public schools are doing their usual poor job in this area as well. Even if you could find one miscreant in a private school that’s still a long way from the pervasive wrongdoing in the public system.
    Law would ID criminal teachers
    Better background checks urged
    BY DANA DiFILIPPO
    The Cincinnati Enquirer
    When Cincinnati police arrested a popular teacher accused of improperly touching some of his sixth-graders at Heberle Elementary last February, his colleagues were stunned.
    It might not have come as such a surprise had they known that the teacher had faced similar sex charges more than a decade earlier in Covington.
    The teacher, William J. Gray, was found guilty Monday of sexual imposition, a misdemeanor, for touching a sixth-grade boy’s genitals.
    Such cases are why one Ohio lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require school districts to more thoroughly investigate the backgrounds of aspiring teachers and others who want to work in schools……
    Under Ohio’s law, the Ohio Department of Education yanked the licenses of 65 teachers last year and 76 in 1998, including several from Cincinnati.
    Offenses ranged from welfare fraud to voluntary manslaughter. Forty percent involved theft charges; 33 percent, fraud or falsification; 20 percent, sex offenses; 10 percent, drugs.The figures add up to more than 100 percent because some teachers were charged with more than offense.
    But with nearly 400,000 licensed teachers statewide and another 10,900 receiving certificates last year, experts say, many districts barely keep up with background checks and more offenders might lurk in the teaching ranks.

    SOURCE

    Reply
  115. Lee

    Lex, you forget that any alternative to government schools must be perfect, staffed with perfect people, and have written plans detailing how they will do everything that the state schools are unable to do, don’t know how to do, and don’t know who is doing it or what they are doing.

    Reply
  116. Randy E

    And this represents what percent of all public teachers? No background check vs an imperfect background check. You guys want the system to be perfect with perfect people and written plans, eh?
    Yes, the people on here are real sticklers for details like “How will you staff the schools?” “How will you pay for the expansion?” Yes, asking questions like that is “demanding perfection.”
    This is a great example of hypocrisy from the two Bash Brothers who have screamed and hollered about spending in public schools but can’t answer the money question for their own plan.
    Lex, your plan is before the voters aka customers. Once again, your answers to the problems in your plan have consisted of “who cares” “who knows” “hope” and “if it doesn’t work, we’ll just go back to what we have now.” Call me naive, but I don’t see people accepting such weak justification.

    Reply
  117. Lee

    If the alternatives to government controlling the schools are such a bad idea, why all the effort to use laws to stop the competition?
    Won’t they just be put out of business by the public schools?
    As LexWolf already pointed out, the questions asked are relevant for public education, but not for people outside a private business to ask. And it is public school administrators who don’t want to answer any questions from the riff raff parents and taxpayers.

    Reply
  118. LexWolf

    “And this represents what percent of all public teachers?”
    I have no idea but what percentage of private schools does that one alleged rapist represent? That’s assuming this alleged rapist even exists – you still haven’t provided any supporting evidence for your claim.
    I’m not asking for perfection – YOU ARE!

    Reply
  119. LexWolf

    Here are a bunch of bad apples in the SC public schools:
    Teacher Suspensions
    More Teacher Suspensions
    Many More Here
    But hey, private schools are supposed to be perfect, according to Randy.

    Reply
  120. Randy E

    Let’s see, I’m a “perfectionist” because I didn’t accept the following lame answers from you:
    How will you pay for your plan? You said, “who knows.”
    where will you get the extra teachers? You said “who cares.”
    I guess the voters will be “perfectionist” too when they don’t accept “who cares” and “who knows.”

    Reply
  121. Randy E

    Lex (and Lee), you have the plan that’s before the voters so let’s hear some solid answers to these questions about how it will work.
    You can’t which is the reason for all these smoke screens. The reason you can’t is because you haven’t thought this through. You both are ideological drunks who won’t or can’t reason so you pull playground bully tactics to argue your case (yes Lex, I have been critical of you too, but that was in response to you simplistic and hateful bashing of schools).
    Bashing all schools and educators, criticizing anyone that doesn’t swallow your plan whole, and offering justification unworthy of a 5th grader (“who knows”)is all you offer as critical dialogue on this blog.
    Try your best to paint me as a defender of the status quo, it can’t work because I’m not and I’ve showed that repeatedly (yes Lex, you want me to show you…look it up yourself, you’re not that helpless). I’ve had meaningful exchanges with others who are just as unhappy with the schools and/or want school choice. You don’t see them playing the school yard bully.
    Do us a favor and either justify your plan or move on to something you do know something about.

    Reply
  122. LexWolf

    And YOUR PLAN is….?
    Our plan is quite simple (and I’ve told you often enough that you should have comprehended it by now):
    Rather than the educracy deciding the school a kid attends, the parent is given a voucher for the exact same amount the school district currently spends per kid. That voucher can be used in any public or private school. Simple as that.
    If parents are happy with your services, you public school guys don’t have anything to worry about. The kids will stay right where they are. If parents are not happy with your service, you can expect a significant loss of customers.
    The simple fact that the educracy is so vociferously opposed to any form of school choice is a total admission that you know your “product” is substandard and not competitive. How dare you coerce people to stay on your plantation anyway?

    Reply
  123. LexWolf

    “Let’s see, I’m a “perfectionist” because I didn’t accept the following lame answers from you”
    No, you’re a perfectionist because you trotted out one alleged rapist who allegedly started a private school – an allegation for which we still have no evidence from you – while there are hundreds of public school teachers with a criminal record. If I were you, I would attend to that beam in your own eye before you point at the mote in the other guy’s eye!! Your blatant hypocrisy and double standards don’t sell well, you know.

    Reply
  124. Randy E

    LOL, Slick Lexie,
    twist that rhetoric to suit your needs.
    Here’s how it went.
    Lexie: “Vouchers will cause those eductrats at these terrible schools to shape up. Our kids have suffered enough in this worthless system. By the way, I’m not against public education.” [sic]
    Randy: “How would these private schools pay for the increase in students?” (what a nitpicky question)
    Lexie: “Who knows.”
    Randy: “Where would you get the teachers for these additional students?” (I’m assuming he doesn’t want to use the same poor teaching staff he had disparaged.)
    Lexie: “Who cares.”…”Why does my plan have to be perfect?” [sic] “The pieces will fall into place.”…”Did I mention I’m not against all schools and all teachers?” (even though I reclessly dispared all of them)

    Reply
  125. Lee

    It should be obvious by now that public school advocates don’t expect their schools to meet the same high standards that they set for private schools.

    Reply
  126. LexWolf

    And that’s precisely why we need full school choice…so parents can choose the schools which will meet those high standards.

    Reply
  127. Randy E

    Yes, schools that will “meet those high standards” with what teachers? And the students will sit on the floor of the classrooms because they don’t have room for these students?
    I know I’m a real stickler for details like having a teacher and desks for students…call me a perfectionist. Maybe someone else will be more willing to overlook those minor details…check with the other ivory tower down the street.

    Reply
  128. Randy E

    Lex and Lee, I’ll give you credit for one thing. Your position gets a beat down every time you are asked about those minor details like having teachers, desks, room, and money for these students but you keep coming back. Keep getting back in the saddle of that dead horse!

    Reply
  129. Lee

    The very idea of government “educators” who are failing to satisfy the customer, demanding that startup competitors justify their business models to the very failures who created customer demand for alternative schools!
    That’s like the management of Yugo demanding that VW justify a new car model to be sold in Serbia.

    Reply
  130. LexWolf

    The voters are already becoming convinced, Randy. Look for Karen Floyd’s victory in November, and Sanford’s reelection as well. If you can’t wait quite so long, wait until Tuesday to see Ken Clark knocked off. Things aren’t going your way.
    Where’s YOUR PLAN?

    Reply
  131. Randy E

    Myopic Lex, let’s see, the REPUBLICAN legislature and REPUBLICAN governor have not passed the PPIC…hmmm…and you suggest that the state super will swing the legislature “your way?” I don’t know if that’s naive or ignorant.
    You still can’t justify you plan without using “who knows” and “who cares” so you are trying all the smoke screens to cover this up.

    Reply
  132. kc

    The voters are already becoming convinced, Randy. Look for Karen Floyd’s victory in November, and Sanford’s reelection as well.
    Heck, I’d vote for’em, too, if I thought there was a chance they’d give ME the $8K a year you’re panting for.

    Reply
  133. Randy E

    I think Lex is a product of these “terrible schools” he disparages recklessly. He can’t formulate a substantive and credible argument for his plan. This is the same plan which is on the table for voters and all of SC.
    The are questions about this plan:
    1. Do these private schools want the influx of new students?
    2. Can they handle a student population vastly different than they handle now?
    3. Where are the finances for the expansion for these schools?
    4. Who will teach the students added to these schools?
    These are reasonable questions that would interest many if not most voters. Let’s see if Lex will or can give us meaningful answers.

    Reply
  134. Lee

    Consider the possibility that free market education entrepeneurs are more creative, more motivated, and more flexible than management in public education.
    I think most people already have considered that, which is why Randy and his ilk are so determined for the government to use laws to stop the competition.

    Reply
  135. LexWolf

    KC,
    I’ll never see those $8K. They would go straight to the schools. Again, you forget that vouchers are nice to have but hardly essential to the people who can afford to send their kids to private schools. They are paying now and they will not stop paying, even if no vouchers are forthcoming. Just ask the head honcho at the State who is currently sending his kid to the same school as the one mine attends. I’m sure he’ll agree with me.
    The people your approach is really hurting are the lower-income and poor people who now are stuck in your abysmal system. For them there is no way out from imprisonment on your plantation. They are the ones whose kids are condemned to a subpar education which will follow them throughout their lives and hold tehm back from achieving their full potential.
    I’m sure you’re either happy with this or just don’t care.

    Reply
  136. some guy

    Lex and Lee: Just a couple points to consider, not that I think they’ll derail your libertarian stance, but just for information/consideration.
    First of all, Lex, perhaps you are aware, but schools do not spend the same amount of money per student. It’s very, very difficult to break out a pure per-student dollar amount spent in public education. Generally speaking, more money is spent on students who are struggling and those who are poor. Certainly, special education students are more expensive, by and large, to educate. In some cases, high achievers are among the most expensive — AP programs with small class sizes and the like.
    There may be a way to make sense of it. But it’s not as simple as just dividing the pot and giving every student the same amount of money. Well, you could, of course, but that would not accurately reflect how much the state spends on each ACTUAL student.
    And, Lee, putting money into the market place may very well create entrepreneurship among educators — indeed, I think some new schools would likely crop up, though I don’t know that it would be nearly enough to serve all students.
    But I think it’s badly off the mark to compare education to most businesses. In private business, there is often the hope of making tons of dollars, getting rich. That just isn’t likely to be there with K-12 education, so I don’t know that the same entreprenuerial instincts will apply.

    Reply
  137. LexWolf

    Some guy,
    you’re quite correct that for special needs students it’s not quite as simple as just dividing the pot of money but I had to keep it overly simple just so that KC and Randy could keep up. Clearly for learning-disabled students there will have to be a separate system just like there is now.
    For gifted students the voucher should also be higher than for “regular” students but we can’t afford not to make this investment. These are our future highly-trained people, leaders in many different fields. We owe it to them, and to our state, to make sure that these kids can reach their potential.
    There will certainly need to be special consideration at both extremes of the student spectrum but for the 95+% of “regular” students the divvy-the-pot approach should work just fine.
    For my part, I wish the educracy would participate in designing a real school choice program instead of doing their usual No-No-No routine. Or Randy’s What’s-Your-Plan shtick. If the educrats had any sense, they would be trying to offer some real solutions instead of stonewalling. Given their current and past poor performance, school choice will come whether they like it or not, and it would behoove them to at least try to be part of the solution instead of continuing to be the problem.

    Reply
  138. Randy E

    “For my part, I wish the educracy would participate in designing a real school choice program ” – Lex
    Ok, how will you pay for the increasing capacity and find more teachers for these private schools?
    Oops, I’m not supposed to participate like that. We’re supposed to swallow this plan whole without asking questions. If we do ask unreasonable questions like “how do you pay for this?”, we are simply for the status quo.
    This is quite a shtick, I welcome dialogue on the issue as long as you agree with me. Is this the best an ideological drunk has to offer, an adult verson “nanny nanny boo boo?”

    Reply
  139. Randy E

    “For gifted students the voucher should also be higher than for “regular” students” – Lex
    This proposal begs for clarification, but if you ask questions you will be disparated as the defender of bad schools, the destroyer our future, and accused of stealing candy from little kids or kicking puppies.

    Reply
  140. Randy E

    What I find disconcerning about addressing the problems in education is the complete focus on private school choice.
    The SC state government has been in republican control and we still can not pass the PPIC legislation. The most recent was watered down to the point that even Karen Floyd is luke warm, at best, in her support of it.
    It’s clear that if we can’t get vouchers (or whatever you want to call it) for even a portion of the students, we’ll never even get close to the choice that Lex and Lee propose (but can’t justify). Yet, the discussion centers on this “plan.”
    I’ve battled Lex and Lee repeatedly on this and the Actual Reality threads because I won’t sit idly by while they recklessly disparage all schools and educators and offer up a “pie in the sky” solution that is nothing but a red-herring.
    Doug and Dave have been reasonable critics of our current system and made many valid points. It’s time they, and others, stepped in to push meaningful dialogue. I encourage them and others to do so again.

    Reply
  141. Doug

    How about we start by calling our representatives and asking them to cut the $3 million dollar budget for awards to Palmetto Gold and Silver schools and shift that money to real classroom instruction? I had been assuming all along that those awards were just plaques. Providing monetary awards greatly increases the opportunity/incentive to cheat on the application process.
    I’m also having a hard time digesting my breakfast this morning after reading this quote from Bill Cotty in The State this morning in the article about the new system for funding schools in 2008:
    >The new tax law, Cotty said, should
    >provide increases in school operating
    >revenue of at least 6 percent. Factor in
    >annual growth in property values that
    >Cotty says is typically 3 percent, “and
    >you can live within 9 percent — unless you
    >are throwing it away.”
    You can LIVE WITH 9%???!!! Gee, so could I. But I don’t have uncontrolled power to take other people’s money and spend it without any accountability.

    Reply
  142. Randy E

    You make a good point Doug. This is an area that can be improved now. Instead of focusing so much energy and time on vouchers, revamp the oversight of spending. This is what Staton proposed.
    The politicians prove they are for education by their willingness to increase spending. The voters allow this to happen. For example, Staton made spending accountability one of his primary initiaties. Floyd doesn’t address this. Not only will there not be a far reaching PPIC law, there won’t be an advocate for controlling spending.
    I don’t know about the Palmetto Gold and Silver awards. But I agree with the notion that we should prioritize spending.

    Reply
  143. Randy E

    Brad, if you’re still reading this thread, I have a suggestion. Why not have a meeting of educators, parents, citizens, and politicians to hash out this debate on education and determine the biggest problems facing education and some possible solutions?
    I think an article on these “real issues” would help sway the debate from vouchers.

    Reply
  144. Lee

    Most small businesses are not started to get rich, but because the founders believed they could provide service and quality which is generally missing, and have a creativity in finding ways to do that, than than they have as employees of a giant organization.
    The 500,000 private tutors, instructors, and academics in private business have the same motivations as other entrepreneurs.

    Reply
  145. LexWolf

    “Why not have a meeting of educators, parents, citizens, and politicians to hash out this debate on education”
    That would be rigged at least 3-1 in favor of more spending. Instead how about a meeting of just taxpayer representatives to determine what we are willing to pay?

    Reply
  146. Lee

    Agreed, Lex. We apparently aren’t going get much in the way of new ideas from the politicians, administrators and media lapdogs.
    A summit hosted by taxpayer groups, with parents, PTO leaders and teachers would generate more constructive ideas.
    Of course, the teachers would have to be retired or otherwise out of the public system, to avoid retribution.

    Reply
  147. Randy E

    Lex, you don’t want to meet because you can’t justify your position. Saying “who knows” and “who cares” in response to questions about your plan would elicit laughter in person.
    Now that I think about it, I don’t blame you. Hide behind that computer screen.

    Reply
  148. Randy E

    I liken the education reform effort to the gun control debate. Gun-rights activist take the position that there’s not a need for new laws. The current laws should be enforced and utilized better.
    The current education system doesn’t need to be replaced. The accountability and other aspects need to be utilized better.
    Two examples provided on this blog have been accountability of spending and and of teachers and students.
    While we spend our time listening to the market model for education advocates NOT justify their plan, we lose time to address this accountability and other ideas.

    Reply
  149. Randy E

    Dave, I agree with charter schools. There’s already some movement in this direction. I suggested this in an earlier post.

    Reply
  150. Lee

    Charter schools are a relief value, to let some of the better students and pushier parents get relief from ordinary public schools, and take pressure off for general reform of education.
    It also serves as an escape route for some teachers, to help keep them quiet.
    Nothing will ever justify reform to die-hard supporters of the status quo, who are not coincidentally unable to justify customer dissatisfaction with their service.

    Reply
  151. Ready to Hurl

    LexWolf sez:
    …how about a meeting of just taxpayer representatives to determine what we are willing to pay?
    Don’t you think that educators, parents, and citizens are taxpayers, too?
    You want is to rig a group of like-minded ignoramuses who don’t want to pay the price for continuing to live in one of the most advanced and diverse societies on earth.

    Reply
  152. Lee

    Less than 1/3 of adults are taxpayers.
    49% of those who file an income tax return receive enough credits and refunds to pay zero, or even offset their sales taxes.
    Educators and politicians can attend a meeting hosted by taxpayers and grassroots education reformer. They just don’t need to do much talking. They have lots of meetings of their own which exclude the taxpayers and parents.

    Reply
  153. Randy E

    Lee, 1/3 of adults are taxpayers?
    Did you willfully make up those statements about charter schools or did your dog tell you to type that.
    Please go play outside. Adults are talking in here.

    Reply
  154. Randy E

    “A charter school operates within a public school district and is open to all eligible students within that district. It is accountable to the local school board, which grants its charter.” – SC charter school home page
    One school is designed for “learning disabled” and another is for “slow learners.”
    The contradicts the statements about charter schools Lee apparently pulled from his butt.

    Reply
  155. Lee

    Randy, your examples prove back up what I said. Charter schools are not bad, they just offer a means of counteracting “mainstreaming” and forced racial integration of schools. They are halfway measures to offer some of the things that private schools offer, in an effort to diffuse the demand for private alternatives.

    Reply
  156. Randy E

    The idea they are designed to defuse the demand for private alternatives and to counteract mainstreaming is a joke. It’s on par with your fantasy statements that 1/3 of adults are taxpayers and black single parents don’t care about their kids.
    This reveals your blind notion that any action public schools take have an ulterior motive. You have no basis for these statements other than your paranoia.

    Reply
  157. Ready to Hurl

    Lee sez:
    Less than 1/3 of adults are taxpayers.
    49% of those who file an income tax return receive enough credits and refunds to pay zero, or even offset their sales taxes.

    Now we get to see just how regressive and anti-democratic Lee and LexWolf are: Just being a “citizen” doesn’t, in their view, allow people to participate in governing themselves.
    They want to turn back the clock to, what… 1790, or 1850?
    1850 Property ownership and tax requirements eliminated by 1850. Almost all adult white males could vote.

    Reply
  158. ezgoing

    It is hard for me to fathom the debate that has gone on here with little or no substance. I am not an advocate of public tax dollars being used for private education in the k-12 arena. I believe our emphasis needs to be on designing public schools that meet the needs of the many and varied students they serve. As a teacher, I know the student is often the last variable considered in the directives I receive from administration. Of course, they are the first variable considered in the way I manage my classroom and deliver my curriculum and I’ll be happy to get fired before I change that. Many teachers have the same intent, but not the same luxury. The individual emphasis of the EEDA will go a long way to shift our focus back to the student and, given the proper time, support, and implementation, it could be a giant step in the right direction. Any diversion (including vouchers) from initiatives that are just coming online to reform the way we deliver our curriculum and manage our student population would be a mistake (one that is oft repeated in academic circles).

    Reply
  159. kc

    LexWolf sez:
    …how about a meeting of just taxpayer representatives to determine what we are willing to pay?

    I’m a taxpayer. Guess what I’m not willing to pay? I’m not willing to pay $8,000.00 a year to LexWolf and people like him.

    Reply
  160. Lee

    Why are you folks content with mediocrity, especially when it is for rural poor children?
    I guess that answered the question.

    Reply
  161. Herb

    Let’s just ask the taxpayers what they are willing to pay. Yeah, right. The British have saying that covers that: setting the cat to watch the pigeons. Or the German equivalent: making the goat into a gardner.

    Reply
  162. LexWolf

    KC,
    It wouldn’t be your money. You said earlier that it’s the state’s money and the state can spend it as it pleases. Besides, I’d be highly surprised if you paid more than $1,000 in state income taxes so giving me $8,000 would mostly be other people’s money anyway.

    Reply
  163. LexWolf

    “Let’s just ask the taxpayers what they are willing to pay. Yeah, right. The British have saying that covers that: setting the cat to watch the pigeons. Or the German equivalent: making the goat into a gardner.”
    Really? And what would be the saying for educrats refusing to allow any school choice whatsoever? Maybe the chicken sitting on its eggs? Maybe it’s time taxpayers, just like the farmer, takes back what belongs to them.

    Reply
  164. Randy E

    ezgoing, we’ve had some meaningful exchanges. The discussion digresses when two individuals disparage all schools and educators (one of them disparaging minorities) and push a “pie in the sky” plan that they can’t justify. (inmates running the prison type of situation)
    The rational bloggers take issue with the disparaging remarks and challenge the lack of substance in the voucher plan. This is time and energy that could be spent on the real dialogue for improving schools.

    Reply
  165. Lee

    I have actually given examples of excellent public schools that should be emulated by those that are failing. Mediocre teachers and managers don’t seem to want ideas that work, or a comparison with those who perform better. Odd that “educators” are so unwilling to learn from their mistakes, or the success of others.

    Reply
  166. Randy E

    Lee, give us the link to your post in which you gave examples of excellent schools.
    Either you are lying (big surprise there) or you have contradicted yourself after calling schools socialist institutions that indoctriante students, disparaged all schools, and stated that teachers are not professionals.

    Reply
  167. LexWolf

    Still hankering for that justification, huh Randy? Now tell me, of all the dozens or hundreds of educrat fads over the past 30 or 40 years, weren’t all of them “justified”? Yet they all failed miserably!
    I’m convinced that there is no imaginable school choice “justification” anywhere that you would accept. Ever.Yet surely even you would have to accept that no justification at all would be just as good as all those grand justification for those failed educrat plans.

    Reply
  168. Randy E

    Lex, the questions are simple.
    1. How would you pay for the increase in students?
    2. Where would you find the teachers for the increase in students.
    3. How will Floyd pass the PPIC if the republican governor and legislature won’t?
    Come on Lex, your plan is up for a vote. Don’t run off with your tail between you legs.

    Reply
  169. LexWolf

    Come on, Randy, you haven’t answered the question yet. What good were all those “justifications” of all those edufads that failed miserably anyway?

    Reply
  170. Randy E

    Lex, if you don’t have responses better than “who knows” and “who cares” (which were your answers the first time I posed those questions) then just admit it.

    Reply
  171. Randy E

    “Lex, when asked where we’d get new teachers for the expanded good schools in your plan you responded ‘who cares.’
    When asked how this expansion would be paid for you said ‘who knows.’ ”
    Posted by: Randy E | Jun 23, 2006 2:40:20 PM
    “1. Do these private schools want or can they handle an influx of new students?
    Who knows…
    2. Who will teach these new students at the private schools?
    You know, this is a very strange question. Why would you even care where the teachers come from as long as they are qualified?”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 23, 2006 3:54:27 PM
    Come on Lexie, do a little more research. Helpful hint, stop using the ficton section.

    Reply
  172. LexWolf

    As I said, Randy. You turn steak into spam. The full and in-context quotes are easily available in two posts above yet you seem to think people are so stupid that they’ll just gobble up your Spam instead of the steak. The fact that you as an educrat would have such contempt for the intelligence of other readers all by itself is justification for school choice!

    Reply
  173. Randy E

    Lex, why don’t you take responsibility for your statements?
    The bottom line is you think The Invisible Hand will make all the pieces fall into place. That’s no better than a high schooler who doesn’t study for his test and just hopes he does well.
    I asked “how will you pay for the expansion?” Your “intext quote” was a bunch of crap that had NO DETAILS. That was clear from the beginning when you wrote “who knows.”
    “Who knows” does a good job revealing your thoughts on the matter. If you have more details, let’s see them. If not, move on to a subject in which you can offer more than “who cares.”

    Reply
  174. Randy E

    “‘Who knows?’ isn’t quite a solution to the problem. I doubt this response is accepted in the business sector.” – Randy E
    “But of course it is! There are constantly new business ventures where there is no “proof” that they will ever work but if they do, the payoff could be enormous. Thus investors give it a try, sometimes to the tune of $billions.”
    Posted by: LexWolf | Jun 20, 2006 9:18:41 PM
    Lex, I copied your entire quote. How will you try to Bill Clinton you way out of this one? Will you suggest the quote in it’s entirety is taken out of context? Will you go back to defending “who knows?” Will you ignore it and criticize me?
    You tried a pure ideological appraoch ignoring any justification for you plan. It’s clear from your QUOTE that you not only admit to using “who cares” but you try to support it. I blew it out of the water with REASON – shedding some light on how weak your plan is. Now you are trying to get out from under your own quotes – running away like a roach does with the lights on.

    Reply
  175. Lee

    Randy is a broken record of hypocrisy.
    He demands a detailed plan justifying private schools, but rejects the notion that public schools should justify their spending initiatives.
    As for all the past programs which failed, he shrugs, “So what?”
    As to why they failed, and who is responsible, Randy says, “Who cares?”

    Reply
  176. Randy E

    Lol, Lee the racist is now making up quotes. It would be more believable if you made up quotes that weren’t exactly like Lex’s misguided quotes.
    Lee, the blogger who said black single parents don’t care about their kids.
    Lee, the blogger who said most Hispanics are illegal.
    Lee, the blogger who demeaned his wife and mother, who are supposedly teachers, by stating that they are “not professionals” and took “rinky dink classes” in college.
    In lieu of lying, making up statistics, and making racist statements, how about simply giving us meaningful dialogue that’s truthful. Try it one time.

    Reply
  177. Randy E

    Lee, any time you want to have meaningful dialogue without made up statements let me know.
    Lex, any time you want to justify your plan or discuss possible reforms for education, let me know. If you can’t justify your plan, don’t criticize others for not accepting it.

    Reply
  178. Lee

    Yes, I admit to making up quotes which express your attitude that public expenditures do not need to be justified to the taxpayers, either before or after the fact. I was throwing back you your face, your broken record of posting LexWolf’s quotes to that effect about private schools. He is right because it is none of your business. Public expenditures ARE our business.

    Reply
  179. some guy

    Lee — I think Randy E is simply pointing out that if we have a state-funded voucher scenario that funds tuition to private schools, then that’s a major PUBLIC expenditure….and it would be important to have accountability for such an expenditure the same as for the public school system.
    As for accountability for the way public school dollars are spent, I don’t expect to change your opinion, nor am I all that concerned with that, but there are, in fact, any number of accountability measures. Some of them work well; some are left up to politicians at the local or state level to hash out; some perhaps work poorly; others show promise but haven’t been proven yet to work.
    — Democratically elected school boards can hire and fire superintendents and they can put pressure on when they hear of poor performance by principals. This is not a scientific form of accountability. But, indeed, it makes sense for voters to elect people with the sense to hold education administrators accountable.
    — The whole issue of PACT is somewhat divisive, as it isn’t a perfect test. It also isn’t diagnostic and seems to squelch a certain degree of teacher creativity. At the same time, it does apply what seem to be pretty sensible academic standards, and scores are improving. Test scores aren’t improving as rapidly as many would like, and the dropout rate continues to be a major issues, but the bar has been raised via PACT and little-by-little scores are improving.
    — I mentioned ideas to improve kids’ success in school such as after-school and early childhood education and enrichment programs. To me, it’s a pretty logical stuff, and there is research to back it up. There are also naysayers. I don’t know that we’ve ever had sustained enough efforts in this regard to demonstrate that such programs either completely will or won’t work.
    — I do think it can be tough for schools to send lousy teachers packing, and that’s a problem, as I see it, with the public school system. Still, parents who are paying attention to what’s going on can have a good deal of sway, I think, at least in many systems.

    Reply
  180. Randy E

    Someguy, good post. I’m sorry it will be wasted on Lex and Lee. Their interest in sharing ideas involve them giving you their plan and you accepting it whole without question. My responses to them are, in effect, standing up to bullies.
    Go ahead and ask them questions about their plan. You’ll see they won’t give you justification aside from a “pie in the sky” belief that Adam Smith’s principles will allow all the details to fall into place.

    Reply
  181. Randy E

    “Admitting failure can be the ticket to success.”
    Lex, you mean like, “Randy, you’re right. I can’t justify my plan and I was wrong to disparage all schools and teachers as being terrible.”
    That would be a good start Lexie, but I hardly expect you to admit your mistakes and to accept any point anyone else makes if it does not unconditionally support your position.
    I’d rather focus on something else, but I know if I don’t throw your bull back into your face, you’ll continue with your unsubstantiated plan and hateful remarks about educators and teachers.
    Again, I agree there are MANY schools and teachers that do a terrible job and deserve the criticism. I agree the status quo and continuous use of fad approaches are absolutely unacceptable. But until you can justify your plan, how can you honestly expect people to accept your plan.

    Reply
  182. Lee

    Thanks for taking time for a thoughtful post, someguy. It will anger some for me to restate my points, but I will do that directly to your points.
    – The accountability measures we have are better than the nothing we did have, but it took 30 years of fighting the education establish to get each one.
    – Our PACT is actually considered to be among the best in the nation. PACT and other testing does not directly address programs.
    – No program should be started without the metrics for success in place, and any program which fails to meet those metrics after 3 years of tweaking should receive no more funding. There is too much of “we just know” that after school or pre-school or 4-year-old kindergarten is valuable, and not enough hard definitions of how valuable, and is it worth the money.
    – A lot of the disrespect for schools and teachers is residual, from the hordes of sorry ones who were immune from scrutiny during integration in the 1970s. Most of those duds are gone. Their students are today’s parents, and they don’t want their children being cheated the way they were.

    Reply
  183. Randy E

    “No program should be started without the metrics for success in place…There is too much of ‘we just know'” – Lee
    You mean like the private school choice plan you and Lex keep pushing but can’t justify? How do you “know” it will work?
    “A lot of the disrespect for schools and teachers is residual” – Lee
    You mean like your statements that “schools are socialist and indoctrinate our students” and “teachers are not professionals” and “teachers take rinky dink college courses?” That’s just residual?
    How many mouths are you talking out of?

    Reply
  184. Lee

    Public education is a huge government industry, very similar in the USA to France and Russia.
    Randy, you worry about justifying public school spending to the parents and taxpayers.
    Private schools can justify their spending to their parents and their paying customers. How they do it is none of your business. Some public schools may decide to copy new methods which work. Other public schools won’t care.

    Reply
  185. Ready to Hurl

    Randy, it’s extremely entertaining to watch you, Lee and Lexie argue in circles but I’ve got some questions that might take the discussion in new directions.
    (1) In your public school, do you find discipline adequate for effective teaching?
    (2) Do you find yourself “teaching the (PACT) test” rather than the subject?
    (3) Would you advocate a formal annual evaluation process for teachers and administrators? If so, what metrics would you like to see utilized?
    (4) Would you advocate returning to a “dual track” system where students choose between college prep and job prep curriculums?
    (5) Do you think that “amoral” sex ed courses lead to sexual experimentation?

    Reply
  186. Ready to Hurl

    Here’s a more general question, Randy: What three reforms do you think would make public education more successful?

    Reply
  187. LexWolf

    RTH,
    I doubt that Randy will have any answers for you but it would certainly be interesting to see his proposals.

    Reply
  188. some guy

    I think anyone looking for specific reforms that going to — BOOM! — fix everything will be disappointed. Indeed, it varies from school district to school district….some need better leadership, some need to enforce discipline better, some may need better community involvement, etc.
    Still, here are a few ideas:
    — Making it EASIER, not more difficult, to get certified to teach. I think there are a number of sharp people graduating from college each year who would have an interest in teaching, but they don’t want to endure two years or whatever of certification courses. I think public school teachers need some training — certainly some in-class experience — but we should be trying to make the process much quicker. More training doesn’t necessarily equate a better teaching force — in fact, it may be just the opposite. I’d open the doors to more sharp young people, and I think we’d get better teachers, overall.
    — Alternative programs. School choice advocates have a point when they say that one size doesn’t fit all children. Essentially, they are correct. But that doesn’t mean that the public school system can’t provide a more varied curriculum at all levels. There are a range of good ideas, from magnet programs in the arts to intense remedial programs for elementary kids who are struggling to night programs for high schoolers. Much of this can be done, I would think, without spending more money. However, there may be staffing and facility issues that do cost more.
    — Better career education. The state has been working at this for years, and I would think we’re making some strides. Still, there are a great many kids who just seem not to have a clue about possible careers out there and how to attain them. There is no easy answer to fixing this problem, as so much of it has to do with upbringing, life experiences, and a general social awareness. But schools must continue to come up with better formalized ways of getting students to understand that there are good opportunities out there if they do well in school.

    Reply
  189. Randy E

    RTH: it’s not arguing as much as standing up to ideologica bullies who disparage all schools and teachers and criticize anyone who doesn’t blindly take to their “plan.”
    For example, I asked “how will the expansion of private schools be paid?” They criticized me for being for the status quo. I have clearly demonstrated with many posts that I am not for the status quo. BUT, I am not for their plan because it’s filled with big gapping holes that they can not address.
    Watch how they respond if you ask for specifics.

    Reply
  190. Randy E

    (1) In your public school, do you find discipline adequate for effective teaching?
    I have in 3 of the 4 high schools at which I taught. The 4th is in Rich 1 and the school board allowed students with 10 suspentions to return to the school.
    (2) Do you find yourself “teaching the (PACT) test” rather than the subject?
    My hs students are not tested by PACT. Teaching to the test as a general practice in hs is simply nonsensical because the majority of classes are not measured by a standardized test. In grades and courses with such tests there is teaching to the test IF you know is specifically on the test – some are too broad to make that possible. I don’t agree with creating a situation that allows that to happen. But if you tell a cop his job rating is based on how many speeders he catches, guess what he’ll focus on – DUH!

    Reply
  191. Randy E

    3) Would you advocate a formal annual evaluation process for teachers and administrators? If so, what metrics would you like to see utilized?
    Yes, and contrary to Lee’s and Lex’s blind asserstions, I am for accountability of educators. The system now is weak, BUT the problem is accurate measurement.
    For example, I was evaluated this year by a handful of 5 minute visits and 1 or 2 20 minute visits by administrators. I also submitted a portfolio of my work. My AP scores will come out in July, but that only covers 2 of the 6 courses I taught. The others had no measurable outcomes other than the student grades. If a teacher knows he’ll be on the hot seat for low grades, he can simply inflate grades.
    This is obviously a poor system.
    (4) Would you advocate returning to a “dual track” system where students choose between college prep and job prep curriculums?
    We have that now and always will. The job prep is called tech prep. It’s simply another name for the same curriculum. This is the route through which many kids get out of hs knowing squat – a despicable situation.
    Fanatics like Lex and Lee won’t have the critical ability to dig into the various causes for this. They will simply blame the educators. It’s a systemic problem for which politicians are just as guilty as educators.
    BTW, the private schools hardly deal with this issue which is why their plan is laughable. It’s like using Burger King to cater a wedding reception or expecting Al’s Upstairs to have a drive through for a quick lunch.

    Reply
  192. Lee

    Randy, try to answer the questions without asserting that this or that parent and former student knows nothing about ths subject.
    The fact that you can’t answer us contradicts your ad hominem evasions.
    We’re used to getting a bit more steak and less smoke for answers in our jobs, so move beyond you general feelings and describe how you would test performance objectively.

    Reply
  193. LexWolf

    ‘Lex and Lee won’t have the critical ability to dig into the various causes for this. They will simply blame the educators. It’s a systemic problem for which politicians are just as guilty as educators.”
    Randy, I agree that it’s educrats and politicians but here’s the difference between us: you look at excuses for why schools are failing. I look at results. I don’t particularly care why the school is failing.
    If I go to Burger King and they give me a half-raw whopper I don’t care why it’s undercooked. I don’t need to know that the cook took the wrong patty off the grill or that he miscalculated the cooking time or that the grill temperature was set too low or…or…or…. I expect to get a fully-cooked whopper. That’s what I’m paying for and that’s what I want. If I don’t get that it’s highly unlikely that BK will ever see me again, especially if this is just one in a long series of incidents of poor service, as it is for our public schools.
    That ability for the customer to just walk away from the failed public schools is exactly what’s missing.

    Reply
  194. Randy E

    Lee, go back to making racist statements. Your two days “volunteering” at a school bringing paper to some kids or whatever you claim to have done has done squat to enlighten you as to the problems that face our schools.
    Doug and Dave have mad great points and I gave them due credit. It’s not a matter of having taught, but having the ability to reason.
    I did offer to let you take a class as a substitute, but you ran off tail between your legs – hiding behind your computer. You’ll make some other bogus claim as to why you can’t. You just sit there at your computer playing games while us adults talk.
    BTW, does your teacher wife know you claim that teachers are not professionals and take rinky dink classes in college?

    Reply
  195. LexWolf

    “I did offer to let you take a class as a substitute, but you ran off tail between your legs – hiding behind your computer.”
    What, now you want not just me, but Lee also, to do your job for you? Do you have to flip burgers at BK first before you can complain about a bad burger they gave you? Do you have to work at GM’s Chevy factory before you can complain about a lemon they sold you?

    Reply
  196. Randy E

    “exactly what’s missing” is your ability to offer a shred of justification for how your fantasy pie in the sky plan will work.
    When you come up with something better than “who knows” and “half a cooked whopper” then come back and talk. Until then, why don’t you write your republican legislature and republican governor and cry to them about your fantasy plan that they have not passed. I guess they are for the status quo too.
    As I offered Lee, if you ever want to actually see what’s happening in the schools step up to the plate and sub for a class one time. Of course, that would mean atually seeing first hand instead of following some script you have memorized.
    You won’t because you know you can’t do any better than sit at a computer and cry about how no one listens to you. So, you and Lee sit there sucking your thumbs while us adults talk about this issue.

    Reply
  197. Randy E

    You have some idea of what’s happening as a consumer, but it doesn’t make you an expert as you seem to think.
    I pumped some gas into my car and now I know exactly how to fix the entire energy problem. If you don’t agree with my plan then you favor big oil and high gas prices!

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  198. Randy E

    If you look, I offered specifics. I am not afraid to justify my positions with supporting statements. You don’t see me resorting to “who knows” and “who cares” like you do Lex.
    You don’t see me resorting to reprehensible racist statements like Lee.
    You don’t see me disparaging everyone in a group because part of the population is guilty of an offense. But you and Lee disparaged all schools and teachers.
    These simplistic approaches to dialogue are mere playground tactics. Why don’t you and Lee just cover your ears and taunt us with “nanny nanny boo boo?!”

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  199. LexWolf

    “These simplistic approaches to dialogue”
    Yep, it’s really, really simplistic for taxpayers to demand results, not excuses, for the many $billions thrown at your failed public school system. Really simplistic!

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  200. Randy E

    “really simplistic for taxpayers to demand results” – Lex
    I have no problem with you and taxpayers demading results. I am unhappy with the results. You suggest otherwise, but can’t find a single quote where I am for the status quo.
    On the other hand, what’s simplistic is your explanation of your plan. I have provided quotes showing how you can’t explain your position.
    So keep crying about how no one listens to you push your feeble plan that even the republican legislature has not passed. Go crying to them.

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  201. Lee

    Tell us exactly how much time we parents and taxpayers have to spend as teachers in order to qualify to raise questions.
    Randy already told us that substitute teachers and teaching assistants didn’t know enough, even after years of being in the classroom all day long. What is the secret initiation process which only gives certified teachers and administrators the basic knowledge?
    And why can’t these education gurus fix their own quality problems?

    Reply
  202. LexWolf

    “plan that even the republican legislature has not passed. Go crying to them.”
    Heh. Maybe next year, maybe in 2 or 3 or 5 years you will be the one crying, along with the rest of the educrats.

    Reply
  203. Randy E

    Let’s see, Sanford is the biggest proponent of private school choice. There’s a state legislature that is solidly republican. And PPIC, even in a completely diluted form, still can’t get passed. Lexie then fantasizes about full choice being passed in 5 years.
    There’s a better chance of Sanford supporing Hillary in 2008 and SC2 adhering to the speed limit than your “plan” being passed. Keep chirping. Maybe someone other than Lee will agree with you.

    Reply
  204. Lee

    No, after the voters speak, and a new legislature passes some education reform, the recalcitrant government teachers will go to court, shopping for a leftist judge to invoke some voodoo law…
    … just like they are doing now to grab more money than the flood provided by the EAA.

    Reply
  205. Randy E

    Lee, I forgot you don’t need to substitute to see what happens in our classrooms. You asked your wife who’s a teacher.
    When you asked her about the challenges facing our school, did you also tell her that “she’s not a professional” and belittle her for “taking rinky dink classes in college?”

    Reply
  206. Randy E

    “After the voters speak?” So the legislature went against the voters these past few years to vote down PPIC? That’s one of your most laughable statements yet, and that’s saying something.
    The legislature knows the majority of voters don’t want PPIC otherwise they would push it in an election year. DUH!!
    Of course, according to you, the democrats run the legislature by using “stealth tactics” so it was probably them that took charge and voted down PPIC. Right RTH?

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  207. Lee

    Quit dodging and tell us what qualifies us taxpayers and parents to complain about lousy service from a public agency.
    Do you actually think that quality and operations experts who run million dollar and even billion dollar projects are incapable of giving public schools any constructive criticism?

    Reply
  208. Lee

    Many of the teachers I know call their continuing education classes “rinky dink”, but they have to get their ticket punched in order to stay in the game, get pay raises, and hang on for retirement the first day they are eligible. Job protection.
    There are surely a few classes that would be of value to a retired engineer seeking to teach, who already knows more math and science than he will ever need in class. But most of certification process is for the teacher unions, administrators, and colleges to maintain power over the teachers. Job protection.
    If Randy thought the classes were so valuable, why did he oppose my idea of the schools paying for those with college degrees and lapsed credentials to take th classes necessary to become full-time teachers? Job protection.

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  209. Randy E

    Lee, you Dolt! I am strongly in favor of people offering their perspective and criticism of schools. But I do not accept the broad-brushed disparaging and reckless comments you and Lex and made. I do not accept your criticism simply because some of us ask questions about “plan.”
    Dave and Doug have offered serious criticism about schools and we’ve had a good exchange of ideas.
    I am horrified by many of the problems in our schools. As a member of this institution, I am often embarassed by many of the results.
    But I do not blame all teachers and all schools. I also blame parents and politicians. It’s not just a teacher problem.
    To answer your question, everyone is qualitifed to criticize the system. We need this perspective. What we don’t need is your simplistic bashing of schools and reliance on vouchers as the ONLY possible solution.

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  210. Randy E

    Job protection? You know squat about these issues.
    “To address critical teaching shortages in South Carolina, the South Carolina General Assembly provided for the establishment of an alternative route to certification and prescribed the eligibility requirements for participation.” SCDE
    If you don’t like the requirements for engineers to become teachers, take it up with the legislature!
    This is another example of how you recklessly and ignorantly skew the issue.

    Reply
  211. Randy E

    Lee, make some more statements that I can blow out of the sky. It’s like skeet shooting in here when you post your gibberish.

    Reply
  212. LexWolf

    Lee,
    join the club. Apparently you’re the dolt and I’m the jerk. These reality-based guys on this blog sure know how to advance their arguments, don’t they?

    Reply
  213. Lee

    Randy, you flail at straw men.
    LexWolf, Dave, myself and others keep talking about ways to improve the public schools, but you don’t want to hear any of it.
    You reject normal management and quality procedures.
    You reject the comparison of schools that succeed with schools of similar demographics which fail.
    You reject parental choice via vouchers, but defend the high rates of public school teachers who send their children to private schools.
    You reject any social changes to cure the problems at home, because you dare not say anything critical of anyone else. Everyone is equal, blah, blah, blah.
    That is why you and your ilk have to step aside and let others fix it.

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  214. Randy E

    “high rates of teachers of public school teachers who send their children to private schools.” – Lee
    Lee, are you knowingly lying, pulling more stats out of your butt, of making a wild guess because you can’t argue on the points.
    I have had good dialogue with Dave and tip my hat to him. Doug will listen. I have repeatedly asked for him to post more statements. Lee and Lex listen to their own voices as they read from a script that has nothing to do with critical thought.
    “LexWolf, Dave, myself and others keep talking about ways to improve the public schools” – you and Lexie offer a single plan and you can’t justify it! LAME!
    Lee, you never did answer my question about your wife who is a teacher. Did you tell her that she is “NOT a professional” and only took “rinky dink classes in college” as you told us? Talk about stabbing someone in the back, and I’m supposed to listen to you? How can you let this question go unchallenged?!

    Reply
  215. Randy E

    Lex and Lee, birds of a feather.
    Both disparage all schools and neither can justify their pie in the sky plan.
    Joined at the lip.

    Reply
  216. Randy E

    L and L,
    IF full private school choice is not available, what else would you suggest?
    This is an honest, serious question.

    Reply
  217. LexWolf

    Stunning numbers in this study, Randy. Let’s see if you can explain them away!
    Public schools no place for teachers’ kids
    More than 25 percent of public school teachers in Washington and Baltimore send their children to private schools, a new study reports.
    Nationwide, public school teachers are almost twice as likely as other parents to choose private schools for their own children, the study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found. More than 1 in 5 public school teachers said their children attend private schools.
    In Washington (28 percent), Baltimore (35 percent) and 16 other major cities, the figure is more than 1 in 4. In some cities, nearly half of the children of public school teachers have abandoned public schools.
    In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, 41 percent; Chicago, 39 percent; Rochester, N.Y., 38 percent. The same trends showed up in the San Francisco-Oakland area, where 34 percent of public school teachers chose private schools for their children; 33 percent in New York City and New Jersey suburbs; and 29 percent in Milwaukee and New Orleans.
    Michael Pons, spokesman for the National Education Association, the 2.7-million-member public school union, declined a request for comment on the study’s findings. The American Federation of Teachers also declined to comment.
    Public school teachers told the Fordham Institute’s surveyors that private and religious schools impose greater discipline, achieve higher academic achievement and offer overall a better atmosphere.
    (Click on the headline above for the rest of the article)

    Reply
  218. LexWolf

    Looking at how many public school teachers send their kids to private school, maybe the 2nd best reform idea (after school choice) would be to require that all teachers employed by a school district also send their own kids to that district’s schools. Preferably the same school where they teach. That sure would light a fire under their fannies, too!

    Reply
  219. Lee

    Lex,
    I already suggested that here, somewhat tongue in cheek, and was met with the hostility you would expect from hypocrites.

    Reply
  220. LexWolf

    I must have missed that. At least Randy’s not pestering us about justifying the plan under which those PS teachers send their kids to private school.

    Reply
  221. Dave

    I would like to see a requirement that all teachers carry concealed from the 7th grade on up. At a minimum, those who are “afraid” of guns should be required to carry a stungun, with complete immunity from lawsuits when using it. The BS in the classes would come to an end after a few habitual punks got their stunning. That alone would likely raise SC scores by 10 to 20%. STop the disruptors from letting other kids learn.

    Reply
  222. Lee

    Some states have almost universal mandatory firearms safety training, and have greatly reduced accidents and crime. Minnesota is an example.

    Reply
  223. Dave

    Israeli teachers are all packing heat. That is mainly due to Muslims attacking the schools, but the same theory would work on the gangstas and other rebellious jerks who routinely threaten teachers and openly laugh at verbal punishments.

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  224. Ready to Hurl

    Ding, ding, ding!
    DAVE WINS!
    Israeli teachers are all packing heat. That is mainly due to Muslims attacking the schools, but the same theory would work on the gangstas and other rebellious jerks who routinely threaten teachers and openly laugh at verbal punishments.
    This takes the prize for the stupidest post that I’ve ever read on this blog. Hands down.
    And, with Lee for competition that’s saying a lot!
    If I hadn’t read so many of your other posts, I’d think that you were really just trolling for reaction with outrageously absurd posts.
    Sadly, you probably really think that a teacher should blow away a mouthy teen.

    Reply
  225. Lee

    Hurl, you sure latched onto Dave’s post as your life preserver from the whirlpool of other topics that was dragging you down.
    Randy is already gone, finished off by yet another thing he didn’t know about public school: how many government teachers send their children to private schools.
    PS: Remember that attempted school shooting here that was stopped by an armed teacher? Probably not. The press edited that part out of the stories. PLO terrorists used to target Israeli schools, until the faculty started carrying their handguns and Uzis to class.

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  226. Ready to Hurl

    I sure don’t remember that incident, Lee. I’m sure that you can (and frequently do) pick an exceptional incident and try to make it typical.
    Comparing maintaining the safety of our public schools to those in Israel is, of course, absurd on the face of it. Just as introducing any firearms (with the exception of police officers’ side arms) to American schools is absurdly dangerous and paranoid.
    Israeli teachers have a legitimate danger to arm against. “Packing heat,” as Dave pants lovingly, in order to intimidate students or maintain classroom discipline is, again, absurd and ludicrous.
    Really, you should take up Randy on his offer to get you a substituting position here on Earth. It may not be as exciting or dangerous as your fantasy world but it’ll calm your mind so that you don’t have an itchy trigger finger in school zones.

    Reply
  227. Lee

    Do I also need to work at the County Treasurer’s office in order to complain about property taxes? How about the Assessor’s Office? I have already done both.
    Maybe you should stop expressing your opinions on education until you have worked as teacher, Hurl.
    Better, yet, maybe Randy should get a job in the private sector for a while.

    Reply
  228. Lee

    Try again, Pile of Hurl. Admit that we have the RIGHT to complain about the way our government spends our tax money.
    Then go ahead and admit most of us that do care, know a lot more than those of you who don’t.

    Reply
  229. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, you’ve got the right to complain and you exercise it vigorously.
    We who actually know something about the problem, don’t have to pay attention, though.

    Reply
  230. Lee

    If you knew any facts, you would be using them to describe the problems and the solutions, instead of Hurling your childish smears and bragging about how much more you know but won’t share. Stop acting like such a punk.

    Reply
  231. LexWolf

    Lee, that’s a general problem with people on the Left. They “know” so much that just ain’t true. Plus they were in power for so long that they don’t even know anymore how to justify and back up their opinions. That’s why the general modus operandus for these guys is to assert their opinion, then if they are challenged they don’t defend their opinion but instead they go straight into the usual sexist-bigot-racist-homophobe spiel. As soon as they try that, you know you’ve beaten them on the field of ideas.

    Reply
  232. Lee

    All that is true, Lex, but the simple matter is that most of them are just uneducated on the issues, but still think their opinion has some value because of their feelings.

    Reply
  233. some guy

    I thought I gave you guys some pretty good suggestions for education reform back 40 posts or so ago…..but most all there’s been since then is the same hardliner bashihng. Oh well.

    Reply
  234. Ready to Hurl

    LOL. You guys ought to take the Lee ‘n Lexie act on the road. Talk radio seems particularly open to rightwing know-it-alls who can parrot the talking points of the day.
    Lexie says: “…they don’t even know anymore how to justify and back up their opinions.”
    You mean like the very effective way that you demonstrated the way that “free markets” can remedy rural health care problems?
    In your minds you have all the “facts” and all the solutions. It’s just that when presented with a societal problem that the wingnut commentariat hasn’t boiled down to a meaningless sound bite, you’re stuck with the Marie Antoinette solution: let the poor, the “dumb,” and those unfortunate enought to live in the hinterlands eat cake.

    Reply
  235. Lee

    You forgot to hurl any facts, again.
    Nothing but personal invective from the non-intellectuals at the Anti-intellectual Left.

    Reply
  236. Ready to Hurl

    Well, you two were just chit-chatting, i.e. rehasing old wingnut canards and unfounded memes.
    I just thought that you were naturals for the Rush Limbaugh thinking-impaired audience.
    Why let facts or rationality spoil a good story-line, eh?

    Reply
  237. Lee

    Go ahead, just once.
    Try to respond to Lex’s facts about public school teachers sending their children to private schools, with something other than hurling a schoolyard insult.

    Reply
  238. Ready to Hurl

    Oh, no! My time is up?
    Gee, I drop back into a discussion only to find that Lee’s setting fake ground rules and is calling childish names.
    Tsk, tsk, tsk.
    Lee, I’ve been kinda busy explaining how the Party of Lincoln, Grant, Sherman etc. mutated to the Party of Strom, David Duke, Lee, Dave and Lexie. It’s time consuming, ya know. I’m trying to tell Dave and Lexie the facts of life when they HAVE to believe a nice fairy-tale.
    BTW, did you ever hear about the immaculate, color-blind conception of the Republican Party in the Old Confederacy? Too bad that African-Americans aren’t buying it.
    Anyway, here’s my inital take on what you obviously think is some kind of ace– the teacher survey.
    It’s fake. It’s cooked. It’s produced by an advocacy group whose aim is to destroy public education with vouchers. Rightwing advocacy groups pull this disinformation stunt all the time. The sweetest part for them is that opponents are suckered into wasting time disproving red herrings.
    That’s what you think is incumbent upon me– to disprove this survey because you believe it.
    Sorry, bozo. When I get a spare minute I’ll look into it further. Until then, I’ll take my personal experience as a better indicator. I know quite a few public school teachers. None of them have their kids in private school.
    BTW, did it ever occur to you that RandyE could be on vacation?

    Reply
  239. Lee

    The only “argument” the statists ever use is, “It’s a lie! The author made it up! Everyone challenges the state is a liar!”
    That’s all. Never any facts to counter the facts they hate. Just smears.

    Reply
  240. Dave

    RTH is the typical liberal American, who, when hearing the word gun, reacts with horror. He or she should read some history and realize this nation was founded on guns. That is why the forefathers stressed the second amendment, the one liberals would like to truly abolish if they could. I still like my gun idea, especially the stun guns. Getting stunned a few times could turn some little mouthy punk who doesn’t pay attention into our next Albert Einstein. We know the present disciplinary approaches don’t work, so lets try it. I would mandate it in the alternative schools.

    And about the African Americans not buying the GOP, sorry but that is slowly changing. OTOH, Hispanics are buying the pro-life, pro business platforms of the GOP, much to the dismay of the Democrats. Guess which population is booming, since they dont advocate killing of their offspring.

    Reply

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