The Monitor Group

The first thing I wanted to post on this morning was my thoughts on the new study assessing S.C. public schools’ progress. But as usual, I’ve been in one meeting after another up until now, and the conversation started before I could get to it, back on this post.

Here’s what I wanted to say about it: The most interesting thing is that Mack Whittle and the other business leaders involved in this used The Monitor Group quite deliberately — because it is an organization that the governor — our most prominent advocate of giving up on public schools — likes to cite himself. Business leaders said OK, let’s see what this group will say if it actually does a study of what’s really going on in South Carolina.

That’s what makes this a particularly devastating blow to the tax-credit-for-private-schools movement, which depends so heavily on the false catchphrase, "Out public schools are failing."

Obviously, they are not. The kids actually in the system — including those in the grades before one is old enough to drop out — are doing better and better. Now that that’s established, what we need to do is stop talking about abandoning the system and start actually talking about the areas where we still have problems — such as, the horrific dropout rate.

And no, PPIC does not address that. Kids who can’t cut it or don’t want to cut it in public schools are hardly likely to do better if they go to a private one — which they wouldn’t get to do with PPIC anyway, since it does nothing for the kids with the greatest problems.

The dropout rate is an enormous issue. We have to fix it. So let’s start actually talking about whether the new programs that have been instituted to address it are working, and do whatever else is needed to keep borderline kids in school and succeeding. That’s impossible to do when all the oxygen in the State House is being taken up with PPIC and other wastes of time.

480 thoughts on “The Monitor Group

  1. LexWolf

    The kids actually in the system — including those in the grades before one is old enough to drop out — are doing better and better. Now that that’s established
    No, actually that’s not established at all. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of the truth. Just look at the last chart on page 10 or the table on page 4 in the actual study and you will see that our kids do worse the longer they stay in school. Once again, we need to look at the basic document rather than the desperate spin by The State.
    This precisely proves the need for full school choice. Obviously, many students don’t see graduation as a compelling value proposition. Too many see the PC pablum they are fed in school as useless to what they plan to do with their lives. Give these kids and parents real school choice and I have no doubt that private schools or even charter schools would be established that would cater to particular subsets of students. Once they are offered specialized curricula that appeal to their life goals, more kids would stay in school and graduate.

  2. c

    Our public school system is failing to deliver on its promise to provide an excellent education for every child. They’re actually providing an inadequate education to most poor and black children and to many white kids as well.
    Now we have to decide: Which do we love more, the children or the system?
    Here are the facts about where we stand today. [PDF form]
    I think that we should de-fund the bureaucracy and return control of education resources to parents.
    Brad Warthen disagrees. But I hope he will not censor this post.

  3. Lee

    These boards of the same old business leaders are a big part of SC being unable to come up with solutions. Many of them run old business models from the 1950s, with no experience in new manufacturing technologies and the education necessary to keep pace.
    They are interested in every school, from 9th grade to graduate programs, turning out a surplus of workers with the specific transient skills they need right now at low wages. In a few years, they will lay those off and replace them with a new set of graduates at starting wages. The brains will leave the state as soon as they can. A few will figure out how to work for themselves and remain here, no thanks to the usual cast of “business leaders”.

  4. Doug Ross

    The kids who are dropping out now have been part of the PACT testing environment for many years. PACT testing offers no value.
    It simply creates a boatload of data without any information. The test results are not used as a gating factor for student promotion, they are not used to identify substandard teachers, and they are not used to hold schools accountable. We’ve had schools performing at a Below Average or lower level for years without any significant change. A Below Average rating should trigger immediate, substansive, publicized changes to staff, curriculum, and expectations.
    Unfortunately, the educational bureacracy (like most government entities and other monopolies) is not built to be efficient or responsive.
    I’ve made my suggestions before on how to fix the dropout rate:
    1) Don’t promote kids out of 8th grade who cannot score at least BASIC on English and Math PACT tests. Create transitional classrooms at the middle school level for these kids that focus on fundamental literacy skills without all the fluff.
    2) Offer more vocational and technical options for high school students.
    3) Implement a trial voucher system at the high school level for students. Note: I said TRIAL with income caps as well as a reasonable amount of money for transportation. Would the Earth really spin off its axis if we gave 200 high school kids from lousy schools, say, $8,000 toward a private education. That’s $1.6 million bucks.. use lottery money or use the Hunley money… I don’t care. Do that for a four years and see what happens to those kids. I’ll bet it works for most of them.

  5. Brad Warthen

    “c”? Didn’t you used to head up British Intelligence?
    It’s not about who we love more, it’s about what’s working. The only thing that gives poor, rural black kids a chance of any kind if public schools. Private schools never have and never will. And if the public schools aren’t getting the job done, it’s up to us to make sure they do — something we can’t do with private schools. If they are accountable, they are by definition public schools.
    LexWolf is helping me make my argument — yes, the older the kids are, and the few the number of years they have spent of their school careers under the huge reforms instituted under the EAA, the worse they tend do to. We won’t know whether recent reforms are working for everybody until they’ve been in place for 13 years. But they sure do seem to be working for the ones who haven’t known any other system.
    And once again, my point is made. We as a state can fix public schools. We can’t do anything about private ones, except what the governor wants to do — throw money at them, in the form of tax credits or vouchers.

  6. Randy Ewart

    HYSTERICAL to watch these people grasp at straws.
    Lex, please explain your far reaching interpretation of page 4 to support your statement. Are you suggesting that the SAT is the only measure to gauge our high schools?
    I’d ask C to clarify his statement, but he doesn’t offer any points to address other than “schools failed.”
    Lee, yours is particularly amusing because you are one of the main proponents on this site of using a business model for our schools. Now you discredit these business leaders – quite the contradiction.
    Yes, Lee and Lex, assault any and every shred of evidence that contradicts your myopic vision of our school system.
    Lex’s interpretation of a single page of this report is much more credible than professionals, independent of our “educrats”, conducting the research and concluding “The quality of student performance in the state is typically on par with the (national) average, and improving more rapidly.”
    Keep grasping gentlemen, I’m enjoying the show.

  7. Randy Ewart

    Doug keeps beating the drum for accountability. I continue to agree with him in principle. The PACT is useful, but the school boards I think are too sensitive to the fall out of so many kids being held back.
    Let me also add the question; why is the exit exam given in the fall of the sophomore year if it’s required for a high school diploma?

  8. c

    Randy Ewart:
    If you think that I didn’t make any substantive points, then you didn’t follow the link. If you’re not going to read the evidentiary support for my argument, please don’t comment on it.
    The Education Accountability Act contains precise goals that SC government schools are supposed to attain by 2010. We’re nowhere close to achieving them.
    Brad Warthen, I dispute your characterization that poor/rural Black kids can’t benefit from independently-provided education. Sure, if you suppress competition via a public school monopoly—and thereby ensure that only the rich get real choices—then your statement may be plausible.
    But where does it say that poor/Black kids couldn’t proit from a diversity of approaches? Where does it say that their parents couldn’t choose among different schools just as well as others?
    Look, Mr. Warthen, if you think independent schools can’t work for minorities or the poor, I’ll accompany you to schools where it IS working. Today. Now. Despite all the obstacles presented by the intransigient power structure.
    Let’s do what’s right for kids. Let’s break the Government’s Education Monopoly.
    Thank you for engaging in a civil discussion with me.

  9. Randy Ewart

    C, posting a link is hardly supporting evidence if all you offer is “schools failed.” How about including some evidence in your post.
    While you and the other choice advocates are at it, please share where a Hammond, Heathwood, Cardinal Newman type of school has had success with a sizeable population of low socio-economic students. In the entire STATE less than 1/2 a percent of private school students who took AP exams were black. This is clearly an apples and oranges comparison.

  10. Randy Ewart

    C, scrgov is your source? That is clearly a biased organization. I won’t quote NEA sources because they are biased.

  11. LexWolf

    “We won’t know whether recent reforms are working for everybody until they’ve been in place for 13 years.”
    And at the end of that 13 years we will have yet another generation of kids who haven’t received a good education from our abysmally dysfunctional public school system.
    If we believe that insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result each time, then that’s exactly what we are doing. We have been through dozens of these fancy schemes over the years – inevitably they fizzle out after a year or two when the new, improved scheme is introduced to great fanfare. Brad may yet again fall for the deckchair rearranging of the EAA but the simple fact is that a government monopoly will never do a better job than private businesses would. Let our kids get off the PS educracy’s plantation so they can finally get the education they deserve.
    “But they sure do seem to be working for the ones who haven’t known any other system.”
    No, they don’t work for those kids either. The same phenomenon is evident all over the country, and those other 49 states haven’t had the bogus reform of the EAA. It’s an undeniable fact that kids do worse and worse the longer they are exposed to the tender ministrations of the educrat blob.
    What can we expect anyway from a bureaucracy set up to mostly benefit its own members rather than the students they are ostensibly supposed to serve? If the educracy had been in charge of our auto industry we all would still be driving Model Ts (except that they might be tricked out with New Wheels or Whole Bumpers).

  12. LexWolf

    “In the entire STATE less than 1/2 a percent of private school students who took AP exams were black.”
    Link, please!

  13. Randy Ewart

    Ok Lex, share with us an example of where a state wide school choice program has worked. Why has the entire state of Wisconsin not followed the lead of Milwaukee where choice has been in place for 15 years?
    You have made a hundred posts proclaiming the merit of this system. Other than a religious fervent belief in the market system as a cure all for everything, what evidence do you have that SC will benefit?

  14. Randy Ewart

    clarification, where I put “students” I should have put “exams”
    students may take an average of 1.5 AP exams which leaves us with approximately 36 black students taking the exams in private schools.

  15. LexWolf

    Your link doesn’t work, Randy, but please do reconcile the numbers in your 10:54:54 post with the claims in your 10:40:16 post that “In the entire STATE less than 1/2 a percent of private school students who took AP exams were black.”

  16. Alex Rath

    Some good points have been made, and some biased studies have been quoted. I can find a study to prove pretty much any point, since studies are easy to tilt in whatever direction one wants.
    My tax dollars paying for private schools? No thanks. I really don’t want more of my tax dollars teaching kids religion, which is what many private schools do in addition to a base curriculum.
    Lottery money for high school students? No thanks. They have an option for an education that’s already paid for, and works just fine if they actually take advantage of it.
    To me, it boils down to this. The system is fine, it works, but the people who are using it have to WANT it to work. You cannot force a kid to learn, they have to want to learn, and that starts at home. I was educated in public schools in South Carolina, and I think I’ve done rather well. I also know many others younger than myself, who attended SC public schools, and are doing just fine. No system will work if those people who are a part of it don’t help themselves. The schools are not at fault… the parents and kids who expect the system to implant an education through osmosis are the problem. At least in my opinion.

  17. Lee

    If student failure is the fault of the students not wanting to learn, why not identify them, throw them out of school, and save the taxpayers some money?

  18. Doug Ross

    Alex – Did your parents make more than $40K combined? Did your parents graduate from high school or college? Did both of your parents live in your home? Did you attend a school that was rated Below Average while you were there? Were you on the subsidized lunch program?
    The answers to these questions have more to do with your success than anything else.
    Breaking the cycle of poor performance by public schools will take more than, as George Bush is fond of saying, “hard work”.

  19. Alex Rath

    I think that’s what used to happen, Lee. In fact, I’m sure of it. I know of at least two kids at my high school that were expelled because they simply didn’t try, constantly failed, were held back a few years, etc..
    Unfortunately, the current administration, on both a national and local level coddles those who don’t want to do for themselves. That or they encourage them to play sports so they can get their grades based on their sports abilities rather than academics.
    I wonder if somehow linked in with the ‘problems’ is the severe cutback on the arts and physical education in schools. I read studies recently (Sorry, I cannot recall where so don’t have a link) that showed that kids who participated in the arts, and had regular PE classes, were more prepared academically. Their minds were energized, and their bodies weren’t dormant. Perhaps it’s time to take a little of the money from the pampered athletes, of football, basketball, etc.. and let the entire student body benefit from the funding. It might actually help the academics.

  20. Doug Ross

    At my fantasy school, we’ll start the day with a brisk 15 minute walk around the outside of the building. Use that time to take attendance, talk about the plans for the day, talk about what’s on the front page of The State.
    From what I’ve seen, there’s as many teachers who could use the exercise as there are kids.

  21. Alex Rath

    It varied. My father worked while my mother stayed home for a while. Then later, as the economy shifted, she got a job. I really don’t know what their salaries were, though I recall something about being in the “upper-middle” class. I never cared or paid attention to classes, and still don’t. I never wanted for anything, was an only child, was a musician, and was successful at everything I put my mind to.
    I attribute my success to the fact that my parents cared. They backed me in my academics and in my music, and wanted me to succeed.
    My father dropped out of high school to join the Air Force, and got his GED later. My mother graduated high school. No college.
    I took my lunch to school, and only on pizza day did I actually eat what the school offered.
    I honestly don’t know what “Rating” my school had. If it matters, it was Hillcrest High in Simpsonville, I was there until half-way through my senior year in 1988. I even played golf with a few of my teachers.
    There. I’ve answered all of your questions, though I almost simply responded that it doesn’t matter. Because I don’t think it does. I had black classmates who lived in less than ideal conditions, and yet still succeeded because their parent (several only had one) cared enough to encourage them to do better for themselves than could be provided.
    Don’t mistake me for a Bush Backer… personally I think he’s a disaster that keeps happening like a waking nightmare that won’t go away.
    Even with all this.. I still maintain that the most important thing in a child’s education, is the support and encouragement of their parent, parents, granparents, or whoever is their legal guardian. All it takes to study is a light, a pencil, paper, and a book provided by the school. If people don’t do it, blaming it on money, social status, lack of a father or mother, or anything else, is merely deflection, and defeatist.

  22. bud

    Since my kids seem to be doing well in a public education environment I don’t see a huge need to make big changes to it. If they weren’t learning I’d probably think differently. In any event I’ve enjoyed reading the discussion. Thank heavens we’ve moved on from the infernal civility topic.

  23. Doug Ross

    In 2005, Hillcrest’s SAT scores were a combined 1000… that’s about the average for S.C. public high schools.
    For comparison’s sake, it’s about the equivalent of Ridge View or Richland Northeast H.S. in Richland 2. Those schools were rated at least Good, maybe Excellent in the recent report cards.
    Two low performing high schools in the Greenville District where Hillcrest is located are: Berea (888 SAT) and Carolina High (851 SAT). Do you think those low scores are all related to parents who don’t care? Would your parents have allowed you to go to those schools?

  24. Randy Ewart

    Alex, I think you make some insightful contributions and hit a key point about parental support and motivation.
    All the reforms focus on block scheduling, junior high vs middle school, school choice, etc. What about the responsibility of students and parents?
    I believe we need more accountability for teachers and administrators. But we need SOME accountability for parents and students. It’s a societal issue, not just a school issue.
    One question for everyone; how is the drop out rate the responsibility of the schools alone? Isn’t this an indictment on South Carolina society?

  25. Randy Ewart

    Alex, I think you make some insightful contributions and hit a key point about parental support and motivation.
    All the reforms focus on block scheduling, junior high vs middle school, school choice, etc. What about the responsibility of students and parents?
    I believe we need more accountability for teachers and administrators. But we need SOME accountability for parents and students. It’s a societal issue, not just a school issue.
    One question for everyone; how is the drop out rate the responsibility of the schools alone? Isn’t this an indictment on South Carolina society?

  26. Alex Rath

    Interesting information, but, I honestly don’t consider SAT scores a good measure. Some schools encourage only those that intend to go to college to take them. Other schools make everyone take them. This tends to skew statistics. I don’t know the policy on the scores you cited, so it could have been an even comparison.
    I think my SAT score was around 1200. I never studied for it, never took a prep class. I just walked in and took it, and then drove like mad to get to the Carolina/Clemson game after it was over. Didn’t really care about the football, I was there to see the bands at halftime.
    As for whether my parents would have let me go somewhere… I honestly couldn’t answer that. Hillcrest looks a LOT nicer these days than it did when I was there in the late 80’s, so I’m not sure what the comparison would be for those other schools at the time. I do know that if my parents felt my teachers weren’t pushing me hard enough, they’d go talk to them.
    I think probably a great measure of success for a school, would be a study that polled studends and tracked how many of them WANTED to go to college, and how many actually DID (not counting athletes that just want a shoe contract). That percentage would be a good indicator of how well the schools do for those that actually want to use them.
    Sorry for my long responses. I tend to get on a roll sometimes and just keep typing.

  27. Randy Ewart

    Sorry about the double post – computer froze.
    The SAT is only a partial indicator of high school success. Consider this: many 10th and even 9th graders do well on the SAT. Should they skip the rest of high school and go to college based on this? If you use SAT as the basis of high school success, then based on this standard these students have mastered all they need from high school.

  28. Lee

    Brad has the misconception that education reform means “saving public education”. Not necessarily. What it does mean is educating more children without spending more money. If some public schools can adjust to the changes, then they survive. If they can’t, the need to be replaced with an array of private sector solutions.
    No one is owed an education at taxpayer expense, any more than they are owed welfare, housing, or healthcare. If any of you want to keep using parentless black children as an excuse for expanding state education spending, you need to come up with a plan to drastically reduce the number of parentless and single-parent children.

  29. Doug Ross

    I’m not using SAT solely as a measure of success. But I do think you can make general assumptions about the demographics of a school where the students score an average of 1200 versus 1000 versus 900.
    In the current public education system in SC, demographics (income, race, parents’ education) are a strong predictor of dropout rates.
    As for the SAT data, here’s the % of students who took the test:
    Berea 50% 888 combined score
    Hillcrest 59% 1000 combined
    Carolina 68% 851 combined
    Ridge View 76% 1008 combined
    RNE 62% 1004 combined
    So, fewer kids in Berea take the test
    AND they do significantly worse.
    HSAP (10th grade assessment scores)
    Berea 57% pass both tests on 1st try
    Hillcrest 75%
    Carolina 46%
    Ridge View 78%
    RNE 76%
    Brad would say “Let’s wait 13 years to see if those kids in Berea can turn things around.”
    I say, let’s do something THIS YEAR…to completely alter the way these kids are taught or else give them a chance to try
    a different school.

  30. Alex Rath

    Good information on the SAT stats, but I still don’t see them as a good indicator. But, for the sake of discussion, let’s say you’re right and the kids at those schools aren’t performing as well. Is it the school’s fault? Or is it that the kids just don’t care?
    I guess my question is this.. Why is it MY responsibility, as a taxpayer, to help kids who apparantly don’t want to help themselves? Why should *I* pay for private schools, when there’s a good chance nothing will change at home, so there’s also a good chance that they will still not be educated.
    These kids have to WANT to learn. Using race or economic status is simply an excuse in my own opinion. Either kids want to learn, and will put forth the effort, or they do not, and will not. Putting kids in a private school won’t change their parnents. It won’t change their home economics. It won’t change their drive to learn.
    I ask this honestly. Why do you think private schools are the answer?

  31. some guy

    I would argue that choice MIGHT be a key to fixing the dropout problem IF it’s directed only at the lowest achieving students. It is a reasonable theory to speculate the some private school options may open up for those kids if money is available for those children. And it’s certainly possible that those schools may do a better job than the public schools.
    I think it’s a horrendous fallacy to blame everything on the public system….but it’s certainly not inconceivable that SOME private schools might serve SOME kids better than SOME public schools do.
    PPIC, however, seemed mostly directed at middle- and upper-middle-class families. I don’t think the kids of professionals living in Irmo or Mauldin or Mt. Pleasant are dropping out of school at an alarming rate. Mostly, those students fare pretty in SC’s public schools, I would think.
    So, it seems to me that choice may be a reasonable solution to consider in very targeted ways….but that it may be no help much at all for the neediest students if it’s not intended to help them primarily.
    Meanwhile, I think there are a host of other ways of tackling the problem: more and better vocational/technical education outlets…and at earlier grades; making the teacher certification process simpler and less time-consuming in order to get better young teachers into the profession; alternative schools designed around kids’ needs while removing serious trouble-makers from regular classrooms; serious literacy interventions at an early age.
    Sorry to say it, however: I think a number of these types of innovations are going to cost some money.

  32. bud

    There used to be a very effective program (which may still exist in some schools) called reading recovery. It was a one-on-one program that allowed an individual teacher the opportunity to focus his/her attention on one student at a time and use whatever teaching method worked best for that child. It was very expensive but did help a few children who were hopelessly behind catch up. Money can make a difference if used properly.

  33. Doug Ross

    Private schools are not the only answer. But to continue funding the worst schools without significantly changing the way the kids are taught is just throwing money down the drain.

  34. Lee

    It is ridiculous to take 13 years to assess that an educational process failed the customers. 9 months is enough to assess every student in every grade in every school and the summer is enough time to fix the process.
    If you have a process which works great at one school, the other schools should adapt it.
    If they can’t make it work, they have an execution problem, which can be fixed with training or replacement of teachers or administrators.

  35. Doug Ross

    How about we discontinue varsity sports at any high school where the percentage of students passing the HS Exit Exam on the first try is under 50%? I bet we’d see a whole lot of community spirit and initiative kick in under those conditions.
    It would be painful. There would be plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth. The race card would be played, probably with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton calling for further boycotts. But, in the end, if the next Secrectary of Ed. had the guts to make a bold move like that, we would see immediate results. I guarantee it.

  36. some guy

    Folks, of course there are innovations and things that work…..but because one district can fund them doesn’t mean all can. And there are a lot of reasons why.
    At one high school, a strong AP program may lead to excellence. It may not have a great deal to do with the dropout rate, but it could have a lot to do with perceptions, parents’ happiness, SAT scores, etc. Well, a small school may have trouble offering such classes just because there isn’t critical mass to offer the classes. Some districts may simply be too poor. Still others may be in remote areas of the state where it’s harder to attract teachers qualified to teach AP. There are a host of variables.
    Other programs have similar factors that come into play.
    Bud pointed out Reading Recovery. It sounds as if it has a high success rate but is expensive. Well, in that case, money is an issue.
    Successes can occur with good vocational programs. But, as with AP, it may difficult for some districts to fund top-notch programs. Or they may have too few students with particular interests — for example, machine tool technology — to create a class for the few students who might really benefit from it.
    There are tons and tons of variables that are related to school size, funding levels, and community issues.

  37. Randy Ewart

    Tremendous discussion here, I for one appreciate the input.
    Doug, I wasn’t referring to your post in my SAT comment. Another blogger clearly stated that SAT scores is a condemnation of all SC high schools.
    I want to point out, as I have on many threads this summer, that the state super of ed race will have far less meaningful dialogue. Floyd has 4 main proposals, two of which focus on privatization. Rex doesn’t need to run a campaign of ideas. He can, and has so far, run a campaign of saving public schools from Floyd and the private voucher clan.
    He offers no substantive ideas to solve the problems I see every day at school. I think the vocational route is great. The accountability Doug pushes is the teeth the current and future reforms need. Rex, I believe, would make more of an effort to address these issues if the voters voice concerns in this area.
    Alas, the public schools are a failure we need private schools are dictating the dialogue. Even the good news that came out today falls on their deaf ears.

  38. Brad Warthen

    A couple of points…
    The “definition of insanity” schtick (possibly one of the most overused cliches in our society, and as crowded as our prisons are, I think judges should hand out stiff sentences to anyone who uses it) doesn’t even apply here. How many times do I have to say it: We’ve already started the reforms! Nobody’s trying to do the “same thing!” We’re doing different stuff! The stats show that it’s working! It’s not going to work for everybody until the kids who started in the system under this regime graduate — hence my 13-year figure! Why is it so hard to communicate such simple and obvious facts?
    Good discussion, I agree — among those on all sides who want to use facts, at least.

  39. Herb Brasher

    Brad, you need a catch-all post for those who want to propose topics. I’ll put this one out, though it may be perfectly useless, but we’re just back from helping one of our kids get started at the U. of Indiana. Interesting that U of I students ride the bus free in the whole city of Bloomington. Cuts down on traffic noticeably. Bloomington is smaller than Columbia, but I wonder if the same thing wouldn’t help the situation here, and free up the roads a bit. Any thoughts? Been proposed and/or tried before, I suppose?

  40. LexWolf

    OK, Brad, let’s just assume that this time, just this once, the newfangled reform scheme really, really is different from the dozens preceding it. Now let’s fast-forward 2 or 3 years to when the next newfangled, all-different reform scheme is introduced. Will you promise to write and publish a big column admitting that you were once again bamboozled by the educracy’s flimflam artists?

  41. Doug Ross

    What are the specific reforms that you are talking about?
    And what measurement are you basing your claim of improvement on? The Monitor Report? That thing is so full of holes, it’s embarrassing. For example, it projects 8 years for SC to catch the national average in SAT using the assumption that the rate of improvement
    stays the same over the next 8 years.
    Any moron would understand that when you’re at the bottom, your growth rate is higher than when you approach the mean. For SC to make up 20 points on average in SAT Math across the board will not happen in eight years or eighteen with the current system.
    And why are we relying on only 4th and 8th grade reading and math performance to measure the quality of education in SC?
    Don’t we have this wonderful tool called PACT that takes up two weeks of every school year between 3rd and 8th grade?
    Why aren’t you using that data to assess
    performance? That’s what it’s for, right?
    I think it would be useful for those who claim that the reforms are working to list the reforms and the specific result that has come about because of that reform.

  42. Jim

    I think that it needs to be acknowledged that universal national public education is one of the cornerstones of democracy and that any attempts to threaten or jeopardize it should be resisted as Brad is now doing. Like many on this site, I attended SC public schools from k-12 and received a wonderful education which prepared me to compete with students from anywhere in the country (my numerous misspellings and grammatical errors may be evidence to the contrary). But, academic achievement mirrors the socioeconomic status of the citizens of the state and it would be unprecedented if one of the poorest states rose to 50th percentile while lagging behind in all socioeconimic indicators. As with No Child Left Behind, are these standards intentionally designed to demonstrate failure?
    We have the highest unemployment in the nation, 33% single parent households, 41% black student population (17% national), 25% of children in SC live in poverty with 1/6th in extreme poverty, median family income of 55,000 vs 68,000 nationally. This debate in SC is really about the cause of the gap in achievemnet between racial and class groups which exists in every state, but are more pronounced here. It has been shown that poverty and class are the prime determining factors for academic performance. Will poor black kids, or white kids for that matter, ever do as well as middle or upper class kids when academic skills and potential are so closely related to family income, wealth, housing, health care, and perceived opportunity.
    Black family income is 62% of median white income, black children are 2X as likely to be enrolled in three schools by 3rd grade and their family wealth is only 8% of white median family wealth. Since 1980, “blue collar” manufacturing income is down 1% while the 99th % income is up 135%. Clearly income inequality is soaring while social mobility is at a historic low. In my opinion, the majority of schools are hardly “failing” and are doing well with what enters the door. We spend about $1000 dollars less per pupil than avg (7000 vs 8000/pupil).
    My concern is that the harshest criticisms of public education are arising from an ideological base which has had nothing but disdain for public education and as Lee pointed out, believes it is not the responsibility of the state or taxpayers. Improving public education is not on their agenda. From the issue of school prayer, to evolution, to public funding/taxation and a sense of schools being the birthplace of liberalism, the agenda of PPIC goes far beyond simply “vouchers”, hence the massive national funding campaign. For some, utopia would be no public education with only homeschooling and private schools being available options-China, India and the looming spectre of the global economy be damned. Finally, a study of public vs charter schools released today (NYT):
    The study found that in 2003, fourth graders in traditional public schools scored an average of 4.2 points better in reading than comparable students in charter schools on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, often called the nation’s report card. Students in traditional schools scored an average of 4.7 points better in math than comparable students in charter schools.
    More recently, the 2005 national assessment showed no significant difference in reading scores between fourth graders in charters and those in regular public schools, although students at regular public schools did significantly better in math at fourth grade and in math and reading at eighth grade.
    Fourth graders in traditional public schools did significantly better in reading and math than comparable children attending charter schools, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Federal Education Department.

  43. Randy Ewart

    Doug, I have been impressed with your insights into schools as a parent. With this in mind, I must take issue with your last post.
    The monitor report was conducted by professionals independent of SC educators and contracted by business leaders who have alot to gain with real improvement in our schools. Are you claiming they did a shoddy job or that you are more competent to evaluate the state of our system?
    If so, please elaborate on “the holes”. The report answers your question as to why they did not use PACT. This is a state specific test and they used only common measures. You assertion regarding the rate of SAT improvement having to slow down when approaching the national average is unfounded. The average is 1076. Why is that the magical number to impede growth? The concept of limits would kick in, and you suggest 1076 is the threshold?

  44. LexWolf

    “My concern is that the harshest criticisms of public education are arising from an ideological base which has had nothing but disdain for public education”
    If I have disdain for public education it’s only for the same reason that I generally consider government “services” substandard and overpriced.
    Let me repeat again, I am 100% for public funding of education, up to a reasonable level. Clearly poor parents can’t afford paying for this education out of pocket, and just as clearly all kids must be educated – or the consequences would be much worse.
    However, where does it say that this education system also has to be managed and operated by government? Given the demonstrated inefficiency of government bureaucracies (DMV anyone?), it only stands to reason that private enterprise would do a much better job at it. Just as government spends vast sums on medical care and nursing home care while the actual services are usually provided by private entities, so public education should also be operated by private entities.
    Even higher education operates on the full choice model where government provides all sorts of loans, grants, tax credits and subsidies while students are free to choose any college which will accept them.
    Just as people are allowed to choose their own doctors, nursing homes and colleges even while government pays all or a large part of the cost, so parents should also have full choice in which school will get to educate their kids. The resulting competition will all by itself provide a major spur to school improvement. We can also expect to see many more truly innovative approaches than the complacent, entrenched educracy would ever produce or allow.

  45. Randy Ewart

    Lex, give an example of how this has worked state wide. Why are more cities not using choice if it’s so effective? You have NEVER supported your position, even when we “went down this road before.”

  46. Randy Ewart

    Lex, citing examples of how the market model has worked in other areas as justification for using it for our schools overlooks a major difference.
    Medical patients, nursing home residents, and college students are not mandated by state law to use those services. I teach college students. I teach high school students. One group chose that route, the other has students who have no desire to be there.

  47. LexWolf

    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    get your educrat buddies to allow full school choice in just one state and you will have an “example of how this has worked state wide”. It’s really the height of intellectual dishonesty to demand such an example even while you work overtime to not ever allow any such example.
    Now how about your plan to improve public education and get us off dead last????!!!!

  48. Randy Ewart

    Dead last? You contradict the study by an independent source that shows we are in the middle of the pack. Other than SAT, cite some research or data that shows we are “dead last.”
    Yes, there is a major problem with drop outs. The same news report indicates that there is no simple explanation as to why we have this drop out rate. I guess you can explain it? Is it simply bad schools that cause this drop out rate?
    You have some strong comments. Can you support any of them? After all, you started this by blasting schools and offering up a panacea. Back it up!

  49. Doug

    Look at page 4 of the report. According to the “data” on this page, SC 4th graders will never reach parity with the rest of the U.S.
    because we have not gained any ground in the past 7-9 years. That “conclusion” is absolutely meaningless.
    The SAT data shows an 18 point gain in Math over the same time period and then projects that SC can reach parity in another 8 years by maintaining the same rate gain. There is no evidence that supporting the continued rate gain. There is also the fact that the SAT test has changed significantly in the past two years so how can any projection of the future gains be made?
    I believe you have already stated earlier today that SAT scores are not indicative of school performance. So which is it?
    I’ve pushed before for scrapping PACT altogther and using a national test. 4th and 8th grade seems fine with me, especially if it means we won’t see the entire month of May spent either preparing for PACT, taking PACT, or “decompressing” from the rigors of PACT. I’d rather see teaching than testing.

  50. Randy Ewart

    I don’t see where it indicates 4th graders will not reach parity on page 4. I believe math reached parity in 2003 and the other simply has no prediction.
    Our SAT scores have shown an accelerated growth rate. How long will that continue, I’m not sure we can answer that. My take on SATs is that this is a weak indicator of overall education performance of high schools.
    I’m not saying this is a glowing report, but it does contradict the claim that SC is dead last in education (which is a terrible over simplification).
    What’s screwed up is the graduation rate issue. First, we are 1 of 4 states that require as many as 24 credits. It’s easier for the lower level kid to get the old 18 or 20 credits. That’s a big deal! Second, how is this a major indicator of school performance? If a student doesn’t show up for class or misses too many days, how am I as a teacher accountable?
    I find the end of course tests much more informative and effective than these grade level tests.

  51. some guy

    Several thoughts:
    Vouchers and loans for higher education are worth considering when talking about K-12 education, but the comparison is somewhat weak. Because K-12 education is mandatory for ALL — not just for those who want it and who qualify — the state has the responsibility to create a much more vast infrastructure. With government infrastructure, whether we like it or not, comes degrees of bureaucracy. That’s problematic but, I think, is a reality of having the sort of infrastructure necessary to provide — or even attempt to provide –roughly equal opportunities for ALL children.
    Other issues: College-age students are more mobile than, for example, first-graders. College-age kids can work and earn money for a car. They can go and live in a dorm or rent an apartment. And 8-year-old, on the other hand, is totally captive to what transportation his or her parents can or will provide….or what transportation the government provides. That changes the entire dynamic of choice at a very fundamental level. If I’m an 18-year-old, I can get a scholarship and go live in the dorm at Coastal Carolina or I can get a job and buy a car and drive myself over to Midlands Tech. But if I’m an 8-year-old and my parents can’t get me across town to a private school — or 20 miles away in some rural counties — then a private school voucher does me no practical good.
    There is also a large degree of self-selection in higher education that isn’t realistic with earlier grades. A technical college can cater to very specific interests and academic abilities, and a university can take things in a very different direction. Elementary schools cannot operate that way.
    So while some 18-year-olds may be rejected by Clemson but be perfectly content AND well served to attend Greenville Tech and learn metal-working, it’s a different matter in elementary school. Elementary schools must teach essentially the same basic skills to provide a foundation for future learning. With that in mind, a third-grader getting turned down at Heathwood Hall and landing in a school for less academically inclined kids isn’t really analagous to an 18-year-old going to Greenville Tech instead of Clemson. Now, if a different school provides that third-grader with appropriate support to catch up, then maybe the “choice” works out….still, I think it’s very difficult to compare the choices and diversity of programs in the higher education realm to the K-12 system (especially early grades), where the same skills must be taught to all — and at basically steady intervals along the way.
    Finally, I think it’s a sham to blame everything on the so-called “educrats.” Oh, sure, education administrators may often be part of the problem. But our accountability system in SC, much derided by those like LexWolf, has its roots in the business community in statehouse politics. Many of the realities of public education are a direct result of democratically determined political leadership — largely CONSERVATIVE leadership in this state — at the state and local levels. There are things we can fault “educrats” for….but to assert that they control all policies or all practical realities in the system is far, far off the mark.
    That’s how this seems to me.

  52. Mark Whittington

    I much appreciate your well-written and well-researched piece. Liberalism may be defined as democracy tempered by the rights of property. Unfortunately, the rights of property eventually become the dominant aspect of liberalism because capitalism intrinsically (and exponentially) rewards wealth. Unreformed liberalism failed during the early twentieth century, and the world suffered a devastating depression and war as a consequence.
    History does in many ways repeat itself. Since the social democratic reforms of the New Deal have been in large part abrogated, we can expect to retrogress into being a third-world country.
    Classic liberalism not only fails because of inequality created by corporate capitalism, but also because primitive liberalism depends on outdated notions concerning knowledge itself. Empiricism and inductive thinking alone are doomed to failure in modern technological societies. I’m sure you have noticed that with the failure of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism (i.e., classic liberalism in new clothes-extremist in nature), there has been a disturbing resurgence of corporatism (fascism).
    The good news is that there are updated cognition theories and new stochastic economic models to make liberalism vibrant once again. It may take another depression however, to break the death grip of corporatism on the media and the government. It may have to get worse before it gets better.

  53. Jim

    The idea that taking public money, and many of the higher performing kids with it, out of public schools is going to improve the performance of these schools seems counterintuitive. It arises from the 3o year-old conservative mantra of government being the problem, not the solution. It is seen in countless Bush admin policies of privatization for all aspects of the economy and society-Social Security, military contracting, IRS debt collection, national parks, FEMA, etc. Rather than have a professional corps of civil servants working for the common good, we should be a nation of individuals who look to the govt for nothing and who hold nothing in common. The services govt provides will be nonexistent. Katrina may have been a precedent of what to expect in the future rather than bad judgement or an aberration. They are committed to demonstrating that govt is incompetent and that privatization and the “market” are the solutions to all our problems.
    However, with privatization comes less oversight and increased cronyism often without gains in efficiency, performance, or cost effectiveness. I challenge anyone to find examples of the benefits of privatization in Operation Iraqi Freedom-Halliburton, Blackwater,etc?? Presently our govt is run by and exclusively for the benefit of corporate America by people who think that the public interest is a “joke” and whose interests are often completely at odds with the interests of the common good. The revolving door of K Street lobbyists and short term govt officials who do their bidding and then are rewarded on their way out is truly undermining our democracy, and we are paying the price. These are the people who are committed to reforming our public schools? Public education is arguably the single most important factor in making this nation the sole remaining superpower and it must not be harmed by those who want to “drown govt in the bathtub”. Tom Frank posed the question “What happens when the machinery of government falls into the hands of people who laugh at the function for which it is designed?” We are unfortunately about to find out.

  54. Doug Ross

    >I don’t see where it indicates 4th graders >will not reach parity on page 4. I believe >math reached parity in 2003 and the other >simply has no prediction
    I question the methodology of using the past eight years data to make a projection (or not make one) as to when parity can be achieved in any of those metrics. Putting down 8 years for SAT Math parity is meaningless because there are too many variables that can affect results. As a math teacher, how much confidence do you have in the projection?

  55. Captain Worley

    I think the biggest thing we could do to decrease the dropout rate is expand the vo-tech programs. A lot of the kids that drop out have no intention of going to colleg and can’t see any reason to go on with school once it ‘gets too hard.’ Vo-tech would give these kids an opportunity to learn a trade and they could see the benefit of continuing their education. With a few years hard work, they may even see the valuae of a college certificate (I went to engineering school with more than a few who went this route) and start attending classes.
    I really think ths is a option that needs to be pursued.

  56. Lee

    It is incredible to hear the assertion that private sector solutions provide less accountability. The reason free enterprise succeeds is because those who are a most accountable to their customers are rewarded with success. The cream rises.
    It is obvious that those who prefer government control of education don’t even think in terms of customer service. Their notion of accountability is to the political system, and lots of reports explaining why you failed and why you need more money to try a new scheme.

  57. LexWolf

    Quite so, Lee. In private enterprise, many of the most atrocious schools and school districts in this state (the Allendales, et. al.) would have long gone bankrupt or been taken over by their competitors. Private businesses which don’t satisfy their customers don’t last very long. Public entities, on the other hand, get more money and resources the worse they screw up. They never go out of business but only continue forever in their abject failure to serve their customers.
    It’s just amazing how these big government can think this way. Private business is exposed to the most exacting type of accountability, just as full school choice is the very best type of accountability there is for our schools. Either they do the job to their customers’ satisfaction or they will find their customers going away. Isn’t that exactly the way it should be?

  58. some guy

    Lee —
    I think the major point here is that we have decided as a society that schools must deliver a certain standard of service and success — that’s why we look so hard at ranking, graduation rates, SAT scores, etc.
    For other service, where things take place primarily in the private sector, there is little demand for across-the-board quality. Indeed, the person with little income may purchase a car that is used and breaks down a lot. Or that person may able to afford no car at all.
    In education, we have determined that every customer must not only have access to the product, but also must be delievered excellent service….not that it always happens, but that’s the goal and the point of accountability.
    This is just fundamentally different from the way industries entirely in the private sector operate. If it were determined that every American had to have a well running car, then the entire nature of competition/accountability/choice in the car industry would, I think, be turned on its head. By the same token, free market theory would be much more applicable to education if we determined that it was just fine if some families couldn’t afford service for their children or could only afford a product with no accountability.
    The bottom line, I think, is that it is very, very sketchy to apply regular free market, private enterprise analagies to an industry in which ALL customers are expected to get good service, regardless of their ability to pay and regardless even of their own desire for that product.

  59. LexWolf

    Captain Worley,
    You’re quite right about vo-tech and other alternatives. With school choice maybe we would see some schools, public or private, catering to just this demographic. Those kids would finally see a real reason, in their minds, for staying in school, rather than “wasting” two or three years on stuff they don’t think they’ll ever need again.

  60. LexWolf

    Some guy,
    great theory but not the way it works in real life. Otherwise we wouldn’t have so many parents clamoring to be set free from the educrat plantation. Clearly, the system in far too many cases is not willing or able to “deliver a certain standard of service and success” and and it is unwilling or unable to do a better job.
    That’s precisely why full school choice is such a matter of discussion right now. Parents have found out the hard way over the past few decades that all the bogus reforms and promises to do better aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Year after year we throw more and more money at the problem – right now about 8 times as much as in 1950, adjusted for inflation – and year after year we don’t get value for our money.
    People have simply given up on the system reforming itself. It’s never happened so far and probably never will. The only way to fix it is from the outside, through direct accountability to the parents.

  61. bud

    All this gloomy talk of how our education system is failing and our students are unable to read or do math. I don’t have the numbers to back it up but my own experience with my children at Dreher High School suggests a pretty darn good educational experience. My educational experience in the 1970s was far less extensive that what my kids are getting. My moms in the 1940s from what I gather wasn’t all that great either.
    But perhaps this is the exception. I’m sure there are some terrible public schools out there. And for some private schools are the way to go. I just don’t think we need to fund private schools with public dollars. There does not seem to be a need for it.

  62. Lee

    Dreher and Hand are two of the best public schools in America, yet they still have a significant number of students dropping out, who cannot read, who have not even a basic understanding of history and science.
    That indicates that there is a certain population who should not have taxpayer money squandered upon them in a futile effort to educate them.

  63. some guy

    Lex — My argument is not by any means (and I think I’ve said this) that ALL public schools are doing as well as they should or that all parents/customers are happy.
    My point was to look into the analogies that some folks like to make — the “why don’t we just have free market competition like we do in the fast-food industry or the car industry….?” argument. Those analogies quickly break down on some levels because of the fundamental differences in those enterprises vs. K-12 education, in which we say ALL children must be served whether they can pay or not and whether they want the “product” or not, a certain standard of success is the GOAL and we’re going to attempt to hold it to account, all kids must learn the same basic stuff, etc.
    But, hey, at least Lee comes out just says he thinks the state maybe shouldn’t pay for some kids to be educated.

  64. LexWolf

    That “ALL children must be served etc.” argument is a red herring. We also all must have medical care when we’re sick – or else. We must all have cars unless we live and work near public transportation. We must all have insurance if we drive. Yet we don’t see government running all medical facilities, car dealerships, insurance agencies or companies.
    It’s simply a specious argument to claim that K-12 education is somehow all in a class by itself which requires that it be run by the government, with all the attendant inefficiencies and incompetence. Far from it, we would probably all get a much better educational product at a lower price if it weren’t run by government.

  65. chris w

    The reason why I support school choice:
    I spend much of my life dealing with state and federal government. And to the instance, it is mind-bogglingly inefficient, incompetent and insincere.
    I do not trust their fact, figures, or pronouncements. It is a self perpetuating organization that cares for itself first and the citizens secondly.
    And the person that thinks this “educational aristocracy” cares for its children more than it cars for itself…is one step away from buying the Brooklyn Bridge.

  66. Alex Rath

    Don’t think so, Lex..
    You can’t compare education to things that are not mandated by law…. such as owning a car. I also don’t think there’s a law that indicates that someone MUST visit a doctor. Though there are laws regarding required treament in certain circumstances, it is at request, and only minors can be required (to my knowledge) to have medical attention. Insurance is only required if one decides, through their own choice, to own a car. These are all CHOICES.
    Each state is required by its state constitution to provide a school system whereby children may receive an education.
    There’s the difference. Most people DO own vehicles, but it’s not a requirement by law, which education IS. So it’s not a red herring at all. Comparison to optional things like cars is illogical. If you must compare it to something, then compare it to something else that is mandated by law.
    If people want to send their kids to private school, then let them pay for it. It comes down to this for me… I don’t want my tax dollars being handed out to people to send their kids to private school, because there’s little to no oversight on the results of those spent dollars. Not to mention the fact that, since most private schools are ‘religious’ schools, I don’t want my tax dollars spent teaching religion.
    I find it amusing that all the arguments that are anti-public schools, refuse to acknowlwedge the fact that some if not most of the fault in drop out rates and low scoring, is a problem at home that won’t be fixed by a fancier school. It couldn’t possibly be the parents, or that the kid doesn’t care!! It must be the school itself.
    I’d love to see someone prove that moving someone from a low-income household that doesn’t care about their kid’s education will somehow suddenly make the kid a good student.

  67. Ready to Hurl

    Oddly enough, Heathwood’s website is
    Here are a few facts from the site:
    Number of Students= 837
    Student:Teacher Ratio= 8:1
    Student Diversity= 10 percent
    College Acceptance= 100 percent
    College Placement= In 2005, college acceptance rate of nearly nine out of ten applications; average of 4.7 acceptances per student; college merit scholarships offered to nearly 90 percent of class; 87 percent acceptance to Barron’s
    “57 Highly Competitive Colleges”— well above the average acceptance rate of less than 50 percent of applicants.
    For more info check out THIS
    Now, for your public school opponents here are some questions that you can research:
    (1) What does it cost an average high school student at Heathwood?
    (2) What percentage of Heathwood’s budget is supplemented by contributions or endowment monies?
    (3) What does the average public school district spend per pupil per year in SC?
    (4) What is the student:teacher ratio at your local public school district?
    (5) What is the “free or reduced lunch” percentage in your local public school high school?
    (6) What percentage of Heathwood applicants are accepted/rejected?
    Time to complete some due diligence before you aspire to be “experts” in solving public school problems, boy-o-s.
    Oh, yes, obviously Heathwood doesn’t offer vocational tech programs.

  68. Alex Rath

    I hate to break it to you Chris, but my teachers in public schools cared whether the students learned or not.
    Are you saying that there’s no corruption in the private sector? Anyone who thinks private businesses care about their customers on a wide scale probably already does own the Brooklyn Bridge three times over. It’s about money. Just money.
    I have yet to see any solid proof that privatization of education would be any kind of benefit for anyone other than those who would own the monopoly.

  69. Ready to Hurl

    Alex, I have difficulty believing that only Alaska outspends Alabama in spending per pupil.

  70. some guy

    Alex is clearly right here, LexWolf.
    The fact of the matter is that not ALL people have cars. Many who need transportation don’t have wheels. Many have cars that don’t function all that well. Not all have adequate or consistent healthcare. Some people eat food that is clearly not up to great standards of nutrition. Some kids do not wear clothes that fit.
    But there is no legal requirement that the government fund AND force acceptance of clothing, nutritious food, excellent healthcare, transportation, etc.
    With education, the constitutional and political REQUIREMENT is that ALL children of certain ages have access to school AND that they are forced to be consumers of that service…..Moreover, the requirements of our accountability laws, including NCLB, are that all those children go to schools that provide good service.
    For the howevereth many time, I am not arguing that every school in fact does a good job. I’m not arguing that each child actually is getting a good education. Clearly, there are problems….not even Inez disputes that.
    I am also not arguing that school choice might not work in sensibly targeted ways. There may, indeed, be kids who could be served better in a private school, and there may be conditions — especially where private schools are plentiful and public transportation is strong — that such choice can work quite well.
    My point was to simply point out that, yes, in fact education is a very different matter from most private enterprise, making the “we should just operate schools like all other free market enterprise” argument extremely problematic.

  71. Alex Rath

    RtH, Pew is non-partisan, and non-profit. I can’t think of a better group’s statistics to believe. Why would they lie?

  72. Lee

    How laughable that the public school apologists use the most expensive private school for their example, rather than the many other private schools which cost only 1/3 to 1/2 as much as public schools cost.

  73. Doug

    Ben Lippen tuition ranges from about $5k for grades 1-5 to $8K for grades 11-12.
    Cardinal Newman is between $7K-$8K and there’s a $1K credit for parishioners.
    Hammond is $12K for high school.
    Heathwood is about $13K.
    All of the above claim to offer financial assistance based on need. Not sure what percentage of students get aid. I personally know some who do get aid from Hammond.
    The Richland 2 School district web page has a link off the Finance page to a 2005 budget that shows a $135 million total. With about 20,000 students that works out to about $7000 per student… BUT that 20,000 figure includes half day kindergarteners AND that $135 million does not appear to include any of the bond referendum money passed by the lovers of sprawl and strip malls in NE Columbia in 2004. That was $175 million spread over 10 years (I think). So… after all that (and it isn’t clear whether grant money is included in the budget either), it would be pretty easy to assume that taxpayers in Richland 2 are paying somewhere between $7500 and $8500 per student with class ratios around 20 or so and results that vary from excellent to average at the individual schools.
    How about we give every kid who wants to try a private school option a voucher for $5000? That increases the per pupil spending for those who decide to stay in public school but gives those taxpayers who want something different a good start at paying for a private school.

  74. Doug Ross

    Oh, and since about 78% of the Richland 2 budget is spent on salaries, I’m confident that merging Richland 1 and Richland 2 school districts would yield at least a few million dollars that could be spent on education instead of administration.
    Vouchers really don’t matter to me personally. My youngest kid will go to public H.S. next year because it is close by and it is a good school. Everyone doesn’t have that option and deserves the best education their tax dollars can buy.
    As for the whole “education is guaranteed by the constitution” argument — there’s a thing called an AMENDMENT that can change any Constitution. They weren’t brought down from the mountain by Moses, you know.

  75. bud

    Glen Forest is probably the most expensive in the area @ $17k per student (at least for high school).

  76. Randy Ewart

    Lex, dismissing mandatory schooling as a red herring appears to be a feeble attempt to sweep under the rug a major flaw in your justification of choice.
    THE hardest part of teaching is dealing with students who HAVE to be there but do not want to be. This includes the gangbanger from LA (tatoos and all), the special ed kid from New Castle (the area behind Columbia Mall with $30,000 houses), the 8th grader who had a 1 year old at home, the Chinese girl whose English started and stopped with “Hi Mr. Ewart”, and the many students whose phones have been disconnected ALL who I have taught. Why don’t you call your Heathwood buddies and ask how many of these situations they’ve encountered.
    At Cardinal Newman, if you cut school twice you are kicked out. At RV (or any other public school) if you cut school, we HAVE to keep trying to educate you. APPLES AND ORANGES!
    Spare me the ivory tower posturing about how your private schools are capable of handling this based on how some patients get to choose their doctor or clients choose their lawyer. You have little to offer than bashing schools and offering a pie in the sky plan for which you haven’t a shred of evidence of how it’s even come close to saving an entire state system. If you can’t even discern the workings of the schools now, how can you have a clue about the workings of your plan?

  77. Randy Ewart

    Lee, Dreher and Hand are among the best in the US? I’m not dissing them, but am interested in how you form such “objective” conclusions. I would contend that Dreher isn’t even in the top 5 in the Columbia area (DF, Chapin, Lex, Irmo, SV).
    Once again, I question how the drop out rate is singularly a function of school performance. Part is performance. Part of the issue is SC students must get 24 credits, 25% more than many states. The other part is societal and family. Unless, of course, some of you parents are admitting that you don’t have control or atleast a heavy influence over your teenage students.

  78. some guy

    Doug — We certainly could change the constitution and decide that the state does not have to provide education for children.
    You’re exactly right. That is an option.
    But I think that’s an ENTIRELY different discussion.

  79. LexWolf

    Is it or isn’t it mandatory under state law that the body of a dead person has to be buried, cremated or otherwise legally disposed of? Last time I checked I’m not just allowed to bury dear old Grandpa in the backyard. He has to be taken to a funeral home which will prepare him for his final journey. Last time I checked I also noticed that this final journey is mandatory – we all will die at some point whether we want to or not.
    Now someone tell us again why government isn’t running all the funeral homes and cemeteries? Clearly purchasing this service is mandatory, both under state law and under higher law. K-12 education is only mandated by state law, yet we get a full choice of funeral service providers but not of education service providers. Why is that?

  80. LexWolf

    Some guy,
    that may indeed be an entirely different discussion but you have just conceded that this is a red herring that will only lead to a circular argument. If K-12 is different at all, it’s only because some people want it to be different and have passed a law to that effect. That law (or constitutional provision) is subject to repeal, modification or amendment just like any other law. However, there is no inherent difference whatsoever between K-12 and any other service.

  81. Ready to Hurl

    Educating the populace is a cornerstone of a well-functioning democratic republic.
    Burying the dead isn’t.
    Next red herring.

  82. LexWolf

    THE hardest part of teaching is dealing with students who HAVE to be there but do not want to be.
    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    now on this point I totally agree with you but I’m also totally mystified as to why nothing has been done about this by the educracy (and that includes the PS-friendly legislators) already. Where are the reform schools? Where are the boot camps for repeat offenders? Where are the consequences for the troublemakers?
    This problem shouldn’t be all that difficult to solve. After all, the worst offenders are a small minority and the vast majority of parents whose kids do want to learn would undoubtedly give you the fullest possible support. Either the bad elements stop being bad or we remove them from the regular classrooms and place them somewhere else. Let each school district have a separate school for the troublemakers, maybe give the teachers hazardous duty pay or something, make the parents responsible for transportation to that school.
    I will tell you right now that this is probably the main reason why my daughter is at Heathwood Hall. I want her to learn, and she wants to learn. I certainly don’t want half her school time be wasted because some idiots are acting up in class. Heathwood Hall is indeed expensive and I wish I could use all that money for something else but where is a viable alternative in the public system? If there is one, I haven’t found it yet. Any ideas?

  83. LexWolf

    I beg to differ. Where would our democracy be if we all just buried our deceased family members wherever we please, or maybe just left them lying by the side of the road, right next to the cornerstone?
    Clearly the situations are very different but the underlying principle is exactly the same. We are required to purchase both of these services at some point yet in one case the services are chosen for us, while we are entirely free to choose the service provider in the other case. Case closed.

  84. Randy Ewart

    Lex, while I appreciate the fact that you you acknowledged points of others, you still haven’t addressed the main point.
    Private schools have not handled the population we have in public schools. That being the case, how are these schools going to be the salvation of public education in SC?
    You also acknowledge a major source of problems in public education that is NOT the fault of “educrats” and “terrible schools”. Every day we face the behavior of “idiots acting up in class” because of mandatory public education. This being the case, the reform should be targeted in these areas (and others) while salvaging what is good about our schools.
    There are problems, but I don’t see how Heathwood is going to handle them.

  85. LexWolf

    You haven’t answered my question. What would you do about this problem? What’s your plan?
    I already know what I did about the problem – put my daughter in Heathwood Hall. Problem solved, at least for me and her. However, most other parents don’t have the financial means to do what I did. How will you help them?
    In a full school choice world, I would fully expect a range of schools to spring up, including probably some who would cater to the parents of these troublemakers, either by straightening them out or by making their lives unpleasant. I would even bet that many of these bad kids’ parents would jump at a chance to put their kids in a boot camp environment. In the current kid-coddling world, many of those parents don’t have any control over their kids either but a big, beefy ex-Marine drill instructor might be able to get them to see some sense.
    So anyway, what do you think our schools should be doing about this? You identified a problem, I agreed with you, so now give us your solution if you had the power to implement it.

  86. some guy

    Lex — It’s not a herring to note that the government is required to provide a free education for all. That’s the law. Yes, we can change the law, and if you want to drive the discussion in that direction, please go right ahead. We can talk about who gets access to schools, how to make it work, what to do with those are unserved, etc. It would be an interesting discussion, I think.
    But as it stands now, we are talking about an industry in which all customers must be served….again, whether they want to be or not.
    Two interesting things you brought up:
    You noted that trouble-makers are part of the problem in public schools. It’s interesting that you specified that over “educrats” as a tangible problem that you as a parent don’t want to deal with. If like private schools, public schools weren’t FORCED to teach those kids then it might be a lot easier for the public system to make parents like you happy. But the public schools can’t turn away those kids the way Heathwood Hall or any other private school can.
    You mentioned alternative schools as a possible solution. I’m with you on that. And if funding is available, I think that’s an extremely worthwhile innovation.

  87. Randy Ewart

    First, you have NOT justified your plan. Again, you offer up a zealous belief in the market model as why your plan works. These parents low on means would NOT be able to afford private schools with the tuition credit. So where do they go? Some school magically appears? What happens when that school goes bankrupt half way through the semester? Have you witnessed first hand how difficult it is for a student to change schools in the middle of the year? Besides, you admitted the private schools have not handled the same population.
    Identify ONE place that has replaced public schools with private choice. Doctors and funeral homes are hardly the same. Put some cards on the table, then I will too.

  88. Ready to Hurl

    Lex, you’re right. The situations are “very different.” So “different,” in fact, that they are not in the least comparable in importance.
    If I had a priceless sculpture which I’d like to keep safe and a yard ornament which I like to retain would I apply the same security precautions to each?

  89. Jim

    School “choice” will only benefit the children whose parents are educated and knowledgeable and actively involved in their children’s education-not exactly the children we are discussing in this thread. The poor can’t choose where they live typically, nor can they drive to distant schools on a daily basis, nor afford the 5,000+ in additional tuition to attend Hammond or Heathwood (ignoring the fundamental exclusivity of these private schools and the implausibility of their admission).
    As stated by many above, the primary indicator of academic success is the extent and depth of a families resources. Name a childs zip code and you can fairly accurately predict his/her level of achievement, chance of completing college, and even future income. As the Dept of Educ showed this summer, when socioeconomic factors were controlled, private and public schools were equal in performance. Vouchers are not the answer to the problems we all acknowledge in public education. While we certainly have some dismal schools in SC, the schools alone can not shoulder the burden to eliminate the profound physical, intellectual, and economic handicaps that are carried by many of the poor and underpriviledged students. It is the responsibility of us all. School reforms must be tied to social policies that address the inequalities outside the classroom as well-diminishing wages, health care, housing, pre-school opportunities, etc.
    As for “privatization”, the public interest must prevail, not immediate profit driven interests of the market, and especially not the corporate interests of campaign donors to the party in power. PPIC will be unlikely to benefit the truly needy and will only undermine true efforts to improve our public schools.

  90. LexWolf

    We can talk about who gets access to schools, how to make it work, what to do with those are unserved, etc. It would be an interesting discussion, I think.
    Some guy,
    Heh. We don’t even need to change the law to do that. Let’s talk about that right now, in the system we have right now.
    1. Who gets access to schools? Those who can afford it and desire to do so, send their kids to private schools. Those who can afford it but want their kids in public schools, buy or rent a house near a desirable public school. The rest is simply stuck in whatever substandard school the educracy assigns them. Poor people suffer tremendously under the current system because they are also the ones trapped in the worst schools, with no way out whatsoever. Don’t even get started on school access, at least not to reasonably decent schools – there isn’t any now unless you have enough money.
    2. How to make what work? Public schools? Got me on that one. We’ve tried all sorts of schemes and “reforms” for decades now, all without luck. We are still at or very near the bottom of the heap, despite spending 8 times as much in inflation-adjusted dollars as we did in 1950. School choice may not solve all education problems but it’s certainly way past time that we tried it as the next reform. It certainly can’t be any worse than what we have now.
    3. What to do with the underserved? With $8,000 per kid on the line, there wouldn’t be many underserved. I have no doubt that there will be lots of private schools springing up to get that money. And if not, they can stay right in the public schools where they are now. If nothing else, we could have an assigned-kid program, just like the assigned-risk program for otherwise uninsurable drivers.
    You see, things are bad enough right now that we don’t even have to repeal the school-attendance laws.

  91. LexWolf

    the public interest must indeed prevail, and that public interest is, or should be, to provide the best education for our kids. Right now we’re not doing that. Instead we are more concerned with the job security of a bunch of educrats, and with the ideology of big-government fans.
    The best way to serve the public interest is to give each parent a full school voucher, in about the amount the school district spends per student now, indexed for inflation. Then let each parent decide whether a particular school serves his/her particular public interest in getting a good education for the kid. Let the parents decide, not some self-interested educrat!
    The one thing that always comes through loud and clear in these threads is that choice opponents simply don’t trust their fellow citizens. To choice opponents, other parents all seem to be a bunch of idiots who can’t possibly be trusted with vouchers that would allow them to arrange for a good education for their kids. In some cases, the parents may indeed be idiots but those would usually be the same ones not giving a hoot right now either. I guess maybe we should simply remove kids from their custody? Probably not, but we certainly shouldn’t let those parental failures serve as an excuse to deny all conscientious parents a chance to choose their kids’ schools.
    At the same time, why should we trust educrats and choice opponents to do the right thing for our kids? What makes them so qualified to make these choices for other parents? Other than a strong desire to run other people’s lives, that is?

  92. Ready to Hurl

    Year after year we throw more and more money at the problem – right now about 8 times as much as in 1950, adjusted for inflation – and year after year we don’t get value for our money.
    Specious argument, Lexie.
    To cite just one example, schools today are required by law to educate “special needs” students that would have been institutionalized or kept at home in 1950.
    That costs a lot more money than was necessary in 1950.
    OK, I couldn’t stop at one example.
    In 1950 schools didn’t need to buy computers and pay support personnel.
    Of course, we could save a lot of money and return to the one room school house with a wood burning stove.

  93. Ready to Hurl

    …this is probably the main reason why my daughter is at Heathwood Hall. I want her to learn, and she wants to learn. I certainly don’t want half her school time be wasted because some idiots are acting up in class.
    You’ve got a number of posters on here who don’t seem to have that problem with their kids– me included.
    Here’s how it shakes out in my kids’ high school: students are separated into different classes according to grades (and the really bright or motivated ones are skimmed off for the AP and IB courses).
    Not coincidentally, the troublemakers seem to be concentrated in the class with the poorest performing students. If they get really out of hand and disruptive then they’re sent to the Alternative Academy. It’s not “boot camp” but they get healthy doses of discipline, smaller classes for more personal attention and more counseling.
    Just out of curiosity, did your daughter ever attend public schools? If so, did she experience difficulty learning because of disruptive students or is this some kind of bogeyman that you’ve constructed to support your “final solution” for public education?

  94. LexWolf

    This daughter never attended public school. My other three daughters and one son did, and all graduated. Two of them allegedly did great, AP courses out the wazoo and enough scholarships to get free rides at Wofford and Clemson. Yet when they arrived at the college, they had to take remedial courses. Guess all that “great” public education wasn’t so great after all, even for two “star” students.
    All four complained about the time wasted by disruptive students and how the teachers didn’t seem to have any effective responses. Sure, they would use whatever little discipline they could and send them to the office and all that but the kids would be right back and continue on their disruptive ways. In some cases, the parents would even storm into the office a day or two later, once with lawyer in tow to assert their “rights”, and raise heck because the teachers were “picking on” their precious little monsters.

  95. Randy Ewart

    Lex, most of your posts are little more than Katyusha rockets flying with little direction, but still causing damage.
    While we talk about a plan that is pure fantasy, focus on meaningful and REALISTIC reform is marginalized – e.g. superintedent debate focuses on Floyd-Lexwolf plan instead of dealing with the disruptive kids.
    For the 20th time, I will point out that you have no substantive support for this plan aside from you think it will work. This is more egregious given the fact that you ADMIT Heathwood schools haven’t come close to dealing with the population of student that will supposedly be served by such schools. Again, 25% of Heathwood students receive subsidies to pay for tuition (12k per year, right!?). 25% of AC Flora students receive subsidies to pay for LUNCH!
    Put some cards on the table and share some details on how this plan will supposedly work. What happens when a school goes bankrupt and closes in the middle of the year as happens in business? How will private schools handle this greatly broadened range of student as mentioned previously? What happens when kids start cutting or have severe discipline issues? Who will oversee the dispersion of funds/vouchers? What accountability is provided (if you say parents, what about parents not involved in their kids lives)? After all, it’s a law that these kids will be provided schooling. Big burden barely seen in the business world (except what, funerals).

  96. Lee

    Why hasn’t 100 years of public education been able to come up with a system that works for the customers?
    Why is it that so many teachers have no criticism of their own system, and no ideas for improvement? Why do they concentrate so hard on shouting down the ideas of parents?

  97. Doug Ross

    RTH says:
    > In 1950 schools didn’t need to buy
    > computers and pay support personnel
    Do you have any idea how much money we WASTE on unused technology in the public schools? My wife works in a local high school. Every classroom has a $10K Smartboard connected to a PC for the teacher to use. There are many teachers who refuse to use the Smartboard (usually older, tech-phobic types). Many of those who do use it, use it only as a replacement for the old overhead projector. They aren’t taking advantage of the technology in any way.
    Check out some of the school web pages that are out there. Most of them are horribly designed, have mostly stale information or broken links. The teacher pages are either non-existant or worse. And only about 10% of my kids teachers have ever used email to communicate class information to parents. Other than once or twice a year MAP testing, the computers are not integrated into the curriculum aside from doing “web research” that mainly involves cutting and pasting plagiarized material and “kewl” pictures into documents. And lets not even talk about the complete loss of handwriting skills by this generation…
    The Return on Investment for technology spending in K-12 education is woefully low. Other than small pockets of specialized classes at the high school level, the taxpayers’ money spent on computers has been wasted. Give me a good teacher over a PC anyday.

  98. Lee

    The basic concept of free enterprise is that the business owners and customers don’t have to JUSTIFY their business models and buying decisions to government politicians and bureaucrats.
    That is WHY the private sector provides superior service.

  99. Doug Ross

    I’ve seen the effects of a disruptive student firsthand with my youngest son. In first grade, one student caused so many problems, that not a single student out of 25 in that class qualified for the ALERT (advanced program). Normally, 5-7 kids would qualify. This boy (one of three brothers by different fathers) had a mother who badgered the administration and threatened lawsuits whenever discipline was attempted. When a parent says “lawsuit”, public schools dive for cover.

  100. some guy

    I and others have thoroughly explained why education is so very different from other businesses. No need to re-hash it, I suppose, but very briefly: Our current law is that ALL children (customers) must be served, regardless of ability to pay or even desire for the service; a standard of success and quality is the expectation, while the private sector leaves plenty of people unserved in numerous industries (people who can’t afford a car that works, who can’t afford a decent house to live in, who refuse to eat nutritious food, etc.).
    But Lee does raise an interesting point in remarking that public schools haven’t come up with good solutions in 100 years. He’s totally off the mark, I think, but I do think it raises a worthwhile issue.
    My argument would be that it’s quite obvious that expectations have changed magnificently in 100 years.
    **100 years ago, even 40 years ago, black students weren’t part of the regular system and were marginalized; now the law is to leave NO child behind.
    **Years ago, a high school dropout could get a job easily on the farm or in a textile mill; now that’s not the case at all.
    **If I’m not mistaken, 100 years ago schools didn’t even go through 12th grade; now they have more detailed requirements for graduation.
    The deal, quite obviously, is that in 100 years — even in the last 25 years or so — the demands placed on schools have changed dramatically. What was considered a reasonable expectation for their success decades ago no longer stands. What that means, of course, is that the “solutions” now must be totally different than in years past.

  101. Lee

    Actually, in the last 100 years, public school teachers have come up with lots of things which work. Most of them have been discarded by the educrats who now run the schools to create cushy jobs for themselves.
    There was no 12th grade until the 1950s. Those scientists and engineers who designed all those weapons of World War II, the great hydroelectric projects, roads, nuclear power plants, and rockets “didn’t finish the 12th grade”.
    That’s why you have to know the historical data in order to avoid misusing statistics, Randy.
    Some education is different from ordinary businesses. Government, socialist programs are certain different.
    But, since the private education sector is already larger than the public one, in terms of remedial, vocational and professional training, education in general conforms very well to being run as a business.

  102. Ready to Hurl

    Maybe you should have mentioned “lawsuit,” Doug, if you think that’s the “magic word.”
    To be clear, I’m not (by a long shot) suggesting that public schools don’t have discipline problems. They do.
    When a first grader and his/her parents can buffalo a teacher, assistant principal, principal and district administration then something is wrong in that situation.
    I contend that situation is the exception rather than the rule. Lexie thinks that situation is the rule and the PS deserve the death sentence.
    Lexie suggests that we dump the entire system because the public school system can’t discipline students well enough for general learning. He suggests that discipline at PS should be as rigorous as Heathwood. He totally ignores all the mitigating factors that Randy constantly repeats: private schools can expel students in short order with no second chance; private schoools start off with brighter, more motivated students; and, private schools can simply refuse to admit students with poor economic or family backgrounds.

  103. Alex Rath

    Lee Said:
    Actually, in the last 100 years, public school teachers have come up with lots of things which work. Most of them have been discarded by the educrats who now run the schools to create cushy jobs for themselves.
    For example? This is a rather vague statment, with no real meat to it.
    Re: your statement that education “conforms very well to being run as a business.” In ALL of the instances you mention, I believe they are voluntary services that are used by people that WANT it. It’s apples and oranges comparing to a system that is required to take everyone.
    I’ll bet if public schools could throw out kids who didn’t try, the scores and drop out rates of those that wanted to be there would improve so fast people would be calling it some sort of miracle.
    I’m all for kids having the option for a vocational school or something, and I think that’s an option that should be looked at by the Dept of Education.
    If people want to privatize school… Fine, let me stop paying taxes to support it, and you can do whatever you want.

  104. Lee

    Yes, all the examples of private sector education consist of the customers actually WANTING the service provided.
    Some of the public education is wanted. Much of it is not wanted. That is why the government schools have COMPULSORY attendance, and FORCE taxpayers to pay for it at gunpoint, instead of improving their services and offerings.

  105. Alex Rath

    So.. can we agree by saying that IF, even in the current ‘worst’ schools, those that did not actively WANT to learn were removed, the prospects for those that DO want to would improve, likely drastically?

  106. LexWolf

    “I and others have thoroughly explained why education is so very different from other businesses.”
    Some guy,
    on the contrary. You have merely explained why you think education is so very different from other businesses. In fact it’s not so different at all but it’s very much in the interest of the educracy to make people believe that. Just as it’s in their interest to claim that no metrics could possibly measure their performance because there is some minor flaw in everything, according to them (thus we get the spectacle of ‘if you can’t defend the poor performance, attack the data’). Just as it’s in their interest to claim that national tests couldn’t possible measure South Carolina’s performance – no, we are so unique that we must have a useless test which can’t be compared with anything else.
    This “education is different” trope is a red herring and always has been. Many private businesses also must serve all comers. Just ask Walmart if they could turn away certain customers without getting sued to kingdom come (unless the customer has previously been caught shoplifting or doing something else illegal which would allow the store to bar the customer). Ask McDonald’s and all the other businesses.
    Neither are people actually required to “buy” public education so there is no “kid has to be there” either. Private schools and home schooling are other options.
    Bottom line, there is no valid reason why public schools couldn’t or shouldn’t be run like private businesses. The only real reason is job protection for educrats, many of whom would be sent packing if schools had to be run under private business standards of efficiency.

  107. LexWolf

    “the private sector leaves plenty of people unserved in numerous industries (people who can’t afford a car that works, who can’t afford a decent house to live in, who refuse to eat nutritious food, etc.).”
    Some guy,
    this clearly wouldn’t apply under a full school choice plan with maybe $8,000 attached to each and every kid, to use at any public or private school they wish. Those kids clearly could “afford” their education.

  108. Alex Rath

    Actually, Lex.. they can turn people out.
    If a customer causes a disturbance in McDonalds or Wal Mart, then the business can have that customer removed from the premises. It it happens in a public school, they have to take it.
    Then, there’s also the issue which you seem unable to comprehend… you CHOOSE to go to Wal-Mart… you CHOOSE to go to McDonalds. Kids don’t get to pick where they go to school (or IF they go), and only the middle-upper class of parents are financially able to subsist while home-schooling, or pay for an expensive private brainwashing academy.. er… school.
    I also roll my eyes at the fact that if someone else states something, then it’s just a thought…. but if you state it (without any backup whatsoever) then it’s a fact.
    I have no problem debating an issue, but when people automatically assume anything they say is a fact without any substantive backup evidence, then, it’s pretty much wasted typing. Though it is a fun way to pass the time.

  109. LexWolf

    “It it happens in a public school, they have to take it.”
    Why? Shouldn’t this problem have been solved a long time ago? Surely the educrats could get the legislature to pass a 3-Strikes law which would put kids into reform schools after they repeatedly get in trouble. It probably wouldn’t even cost all that much, especially once the deterrent effect kicks in, and it would be far more useful than most of the boondoggles coming out of the State House.
    “Then, there’s also the issue which you seem unable to comprehend… you CHOOSE to go to Wal-Mart… you CHOOSE to go to McDonalds.
    Oh, I comprehend it quite well. I just don’t agree with your unfounded assertions. I often hear this same argument about high gas prices. Many people claim that we need price controls on gas because they have no choice but to buy gas. Gas is different from other products, allegedly. Do you agree with this argument? If so, why shouldn’t all the oil companies be run by the government, just like public schools?
    “Kids don’t get to pick where they go to school (or IF they go), and only the middle-upper class of parents are financially able to subsist while home-schooling”
    There in a nutshell you have just provided the best possible argument for school choice. Why should only the elite have access to a high-quality education? Why should everybody else have to be content with whatever the educrats deign to give their kids? Would you apply your reasoning to medical care also? Should only the well-off have access to high-quality care?
    “I have no problem debating an issue, but when people automatically assume anything they say is a fact without any substantive backup evidence, then, it’s pretty much wasted typing.”
    Then you may want to look at the posts by your side. They are remarkably devoid of facts or backup. As you say, just because you typed something doesn’t make it a fact. That simply makes it a thought of yours. Where are the links from you guys?

  110. Alex Rath

    First, a note that I use phrases like “believe” and “think” a lot.. and I HAVE posted links to information when I stated something as a fact…. I don’t represent a “side” I represent myself. It’s just that those facts apparantly weren’t arguable, so didn’t get a response.
    I just don’t agree with your unfounded assertions.
    How is the point that you make a choice to go shopping unfounded? Are you forced by law to go to Wal-Mart?
    The point there, is that people entering those business desire the services being offered. The problem with public schools is that they are full of people that do not desire the services being offered. I think the better solution is not to give my tax dollars to people so that my taxes can teach them religion, but to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children, and give kids the boot that don’t want the education.
    Many people claim that we need price controls on gas because they have no choice but to buy gas. Gas is different from other products, allegedly. Do you agree with this argument?
    To a point.. I believe that there should be a watch for gouging just as there should be on any consumable product. Like water, lumber, and such after a hurricane. There should be a watch for gouging, but that’s it.
    There in a nutshell you have just provided the best possible argument for school choice. Why should only the elite have access to a high-quality education?
    Okay.. I’m going go try this again. My theory is that if the public system could ditch the folks who don’t want to be there, then everyone could get a high-quality education. I will also fight strongly to prevent my tax dollars from being used to teach religion.

  111. Alex Rath

    Well, let me just put all my cards on the table…
    – I don’t have the magic bullet to fix the problem. If I did, I’d probably be rich.
    – I will never support my tax dollars being funneled through ‘vouchers’ to support religious based schools. Period. That’s for personal reasons which I feel I have a right to have.
    – People who drop out would not benefit from private schools, in my opinion, because I don’t feel they’d have the discipline to survive.
    – I trust politicians about as far as I can throw them, but I trust religious organizations even less, and I think it’s safe to say without research that most private schools are religious based, backed, and teach their religion within the school. Again, for personal reasons, I could never be in favor of my tax dollars supporting that.
    So, for me, private schools are simply not an option, which leaves fixing the issues that exist in the public sector. There, now you know why I feel so strongly about it. It’s not because I love the politicians, and love beurocracy, I just don’t trust the alternative, and do not feel it is a good option. I also don’t feel it would solve the problems.
    I’ve done some research, and it seems that for every study I find saying that private are better than public, I can find another that says the opposite. There just does not seem to be enough statistical data that is unbiased to draw a conclusion. The only conclusion I can draw, is the same one I’ve put forth many times before. Education starts and ends at home, and unless the parents give their children the drive to learn and succeed, then they will fail.

  112. some guy

    Lee’s a bona fide character and, for whatever reason, I find it hard not to kind of like such people.
    But, Lee — the public schools “ditch” the dropouts? Is this really how you see it?
    Lex seems to want poor students who struggle academically to have a better chance to succeed than in the public schools. If vouchers or tax credits hit the scene, I wonder if he will lobby the board at Heathwood Hall to enroll a bunch of inner city Columbia kids who read 2-3 grade levels behind?
    Of course, this is complicated stuff, which I guess the ideologues don’t like to acknowledge. For example, when public school systems talk about getting poor kids out of struggling schools in the rough neighborhoods through a busing plan, what do the folks in the top neighborhood schools do?
    They generally freak out…..and many send their kids to private school!! And then it’s the “educrats'” fault for confining the poor children to inner city public schools?!
    But, again, I’m assuming that since HH is such a well-run private school, so efficient because it’s not run by “educrats,” so orderly and whatever, LW will certainly be excited to see that school serve a bunch of the kids who are currently making bad grades and getting into trouble in the public school…..

  113. Jim

    There is no empirical evidence that private school children outperform children in public schools when race, gender, parental education, and income is considered. Actually, they do the same. That is true despite the “freedom” of private schools to exempt themselves from any restrictions on teacher qualifications, certification, testing, or releasing data for public inspection. I have three children attending school in Rich-Lex 5, despite the fact that nearly all of my colleagues proudly enroll their children in either HH or Hammond. I am routinely informed of the exotic trips across the globe, the inspiring teachers, and the post-graduate achievements which make the 10,000/year a “bargain”. Yet, my “liberal” kids continue to thrive learning French, playing in the symphony, and competing well in national testing. Are their “bad influences” -certainly, but there is tremendous value in the process of socialization and adaptation-learning to deal with those they like and don’t like, and sharing a common experience with their future peers in society. As much as we want to protect them ,”the world awaits us all” and in the end, this democratic and egalitarian experiece is invaluable.
    Many on this thread have concluded that public education is a dismal failure and deserves a death sentence at the hands of the free market and the relentless drive for profit. I think that it is possible that this condemnation may be just a bit overstated for reasons of ideology, as many on the right have wanted to kill all public schools and the Dept of Education for at least the last 20 years. There are reasons to believe that all is not lost in public educ. A major 2001 Intl Reading test of 35 indust nations placed US students at 9th with only Sweden (1st), the Netherlands and the UK marginally higher than the US. Since 1973, black students have gained 3.5 grade levels in math achievement slightly narrowing the disparity in scores. On a local level, the best schools in the area continue to excel at both state and national levels in math, science, music, debate, etc-interestingly, scores are similar in Irmo, Lex, Chapin, etc to well known bastions of academia and priviledge such as Chapel Hill High School in the “People’s Republic of Chapel Hill”.
    Our schools need help but their problems reflect those in society and are not terminal. They need our responsible stewardship, not a corporate takeover.

  114. Randy Ewart

    Lee attacks institutions in general on an abstract level and Lex contradicts himself by acknowledging that he took his kids out of public school because of the bad kids. He then dismissed the argument that public schools must deal with a different type of population. Hence, I’ll move on to meaningful ideas. Lex and Lee will fire some more Katyusha rockets, but I see others offering up great input.
    I believe we can make schools much better by doing the following.
    1st, use Doug Ross’ plan to hold students accountable. Hold students back or put them in alternative settings. They MUST learn the material.
    2nd, hold teachers more accountable (another Ross favorite). Not all teachers are in PACT content areas. Grades can be inflated. It gets to be very subjective and I have seen admins playing favorites. Tricky issue.
    3rd, reduce waste. Where is Staton when we need him? Oh ya, we get school choice lady instead.
    4th, Address the behavior problems with more alternative schools (Lexwolf idea). Parents like Doug and Lex have to make more noise to get the attention of board members.
    5th, More vocational options so teens can start working in their area of interest.
    6th, the curriculum needs to be pared down to allow more depth and less breadth. In educationese, we have curriculum that is a mile wide and an inch deep.

  115. Randy Ewart

    Jim, nice input. I have made the exact same argument.
    Public schools today can get an far superior degree than we did in the 80s, 70s and earlier. The # of AP classes has exploded. We have tons of kids taking algebra in middle school which allows them to reach higher math courses. The Spring Valley magnet program has students doing research that would qualify as serious college research.
    Doug, there is alot of technology wasted, but there’s a great deal put to use. Our labs are often filled daily for purposes other than surfing and MAP. I use email daily to communicate with those involved with students. I also use Blackboard, an online site that allows our district (USC as well) to post assessments, videos, handouts, links etc. for our students. I often post assignments or solutions and make up work for those who are absent.
    I have a projector for the computer which allows me to show news clips with statistics, show students and to collect real life and pertinent data, and to show calculator and software output.

  116. bud

    Jim notes that public schools have “bad influences”. Well I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from my step son about some of the “bad influences” @ $17/year Glen Forest. You can’t escape the real world.

  117. Jim

    I am a 1985 Irmo grad who then went on to college and grad school at 3 private “national” universities (and I still screwed up their/there in the above post-they learned me real good!)- I have stated for years that the competition at Irmo was equal or superior to any other environment I encountered in my education and that I was better prepared than the majority of prep school/private school grads from around the country. I am very grateful for my HS experience and based on my observations with my kids-the quality of the education remains outstanding. Blaming the teachers and schools alone for the gaps in student performance is like blaming physicians for the decreased life expectancy of the morbidly obese-docs need to do better to care for them but they are not the primary cause of the patients plight. The problem started before they hit the door.
    A few random questions for Lex, et al:
    * In light of the innumerable scandals, corruption, greed, need for “corporate welfare”, and general malfeasance on the front page of the business section each day-why do you believe turning over a vital social service like education to the whims of the “market” is a panacea?
    * Does the transfer of public dollars to Christian, Jewish, Muslim schools violate the constitutional separation of church and state? Are Spanish language schools OK?
    *Is $7000/student/year really like “throwing buckets of money” at the educational needs of our young citizens in light of the “bargain” of 1-2 billion dollars per week in Iraq?
    *Why do conservatives routinely block efforts to improve the education of all students such as early ed programs, universal pre-school, after school and summer programs, increased teacher pay, increased min wage, etc ? Are they really concerned about the welfare of the underpriviledged or is this a thinly veiled attempt to undermine all confidence in govt?
    *What are the results of vouchers in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and in an extreme case of nat vouchers, New Zealand? How did the transferring students fare and what was the effect of those “left behind” in the “failing school”?
    It may not be a GWOT debate, but it is intersting.

  118. LexWolf

    A few random questions for Lex, et al:
    * In light of the innumerable scandals, corruption, greed, need for “corporate welfare”, and general malfeasance on the front page of the business section each day-why do you believe turning over a vital social service like education to the whims of the “market” is a panacea?

    I never said school choice was a panacea. It would solve many problems but undoubtedly some would remain. I also never said that we should turn this entire sector over to private enterprise. What I did say is that we should turn it over to parents. All parents with school-age children should receive a voucher in the approximate amount that the school district spends on the kids’ education now. This voucher could be used at any public or private school. If the parents are happy with their current public school, then by all means let them keep their kid there – the vouchers would simply revert back to the school district. If they prefer private school, or even home school, then the voucher would pay all or a goodly chunk of the tuition. The key part is that it would be parents who would make these decisions rather than some unaccountable educrat who is simply following “procedure” instead of looking out for the kid’s best interest.
    Oh, and if you want real corruption on a monumental scale, government is the place to look. Private enterprise has nothing on government in that department.
    * Does the transfer of public dollars to Christian, Jewish, Muslim schools violate the constitutional separation of church and state?
    I don’t think so. Neither does the US Supreme Court (Zelman v. Harris-Smith, 2002).
    Are Spanish language schools OK?
    They shouldn’t be simply because English is absolutely essential for success in this country.
    *Is $7000/student/year really like “throwing buckets of money” at the educational needs of our young citizens in light of the “bargain” of 1-2 billion dollars per week in Iraq?
    What does Iraq have to do with this? $7,000 to $8,000 a year should suffice to pay all or most of a student’s tuition.
    *Why do conservatives routinely block efforts to improve the education of all students such as early ed programs, universal pre-school, after school and summer programs, increased teacher pay, increased min wage, etc ? Are they really concerned about the welfare of the underpriviledged or is this a thinly veiled attempt to undermine all confidence in govt?
    Given the demonstrated incompetence and inefficiency of the PS system at accomplishing their current job, why should we give them even more money and responsibilities? (BTW, where does the minimum wage fit into this?)
    *What are the results of vouchers in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and in an extreme case of nat vouchers, New Zealand? How did the transferring students fare and what was the effect of those “left behind” in the “failing school”?
    That depends on whether you read studies by anti-voucher groups or pro-voucher groups. Here’s one set of FAQs you can peruse. Otherwise just google – you’ll find plenty of studies on both sides. Then just pick out the ones that fit your preconceptions.

  119. Randy Ewart

    There’s no perception to it. It’s laughable to suggest otherwise. There is a miniscule number of examples of school choice. Where there is choice, it was not used to replace public schools. In fact, it was SOOOO successful that the rest of the state rushed right out and did NOT use choice state wide.
    Lex suggests that it was educracy that blocked all efforts. I’d like to see some evidence to support this wild-eyed claim. Surely it’s not the NEA that has kept the US from adopting full choice. Then again, maybe it was, with some state superintendents of education hiding in the grassy knoll.

  120. Randy Ewart

    This grasping for straws by Lex reminds me of some students I have taught. They tell me a story that is obviously fabricated. I start challenging certain aspects of the story and as they twist and dodge, trying in vain to wiggle free.
    This choice plan is built on sand, and there is one giant wave that washes away the foundation. How can these private schools handle the diversity public schools face?
    Lex explains that he sent his daughter to private school to escape the “idiots” who distrupt class. He admits the private schools do not face this problem. He then feebly attempts to suggest that claiming the fact that public schools have to teach all students is simply a red herring in the debate.
    When these teens tell me these stories, I often stare in amazement that the kids can keep a straight face. I read Lex – posts with such conviction a seasoned senior student malcontent would be proud – about how these private schools would handle this population and I stare at the screen in amazement wondering “is he smirking as he types this?”

  121. LexWolf

    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    you can check out any school choice program currently in existence and you will dind a never-ending series of court cases pushed by teacher unions. And that’s even without the cases where the educracy was successful in entirely strangling the baby in utero.
    Here’s the Arizona program.

  122. LexWolf

    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    you clearly have severe difficulty distinguishing between private schools as they are now and private schools as they would be under school choice. I guarantee you there’s a world of difference and how private schools operate now has no bearing whatsoever on how future schools will do business.

  123. Doug Ross

    There would be more data regarding voucher programs if the public schools would not fight every single attempt at even pilot programs. I would think that if public school proponents were so sure of the outcome, they would welcome the opportunity to put the issue to rest by stepping back and allowing a pilot program to be attempted. The problem is that the public school’s can’t afford the risk of ANY trial program succeeding so they MUST fight them and fight them hard.
    Would you support a trial voucher program for 8th grade students in any one of the worst middle schools in the state? Give them vouchers (with an income cap and with a subsidy for transportation). It might cost $2 million. Just to appease the public school zealots, use state money and let the trial district keep all their existing funding — so basically every student who chooses to stay in the public school is extra money for the district.
    Would you be opposed to a trial program with those parameters?
    All we’re asking for is an opportunity to be proven wrong.

  124. Doug Ross

    Also, Randy, regarding your description of how you use technology in the classroom, I commend you for doing so. Do all your colleagues do the same? As I said, only about 10% of my three kids teachers have ever communicated with us via email. And high school is about the right time for kids to use more technology in the classroom. K-5 is a complete waste of resources.
    And, I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I went to the Ridge View H.S. web page. The latest news I see is that the track team won a state title back in May.
    Then I went to the Staff Directory link off the main page. I clicked on the link next to your name for the web page:
    Randy Ewart
    and got the following message:
    “This user is not currently utilizing web publishing. Please check back later.
    Users that are publishing content are listed here.”
    So then I clicked on the link that says
    “listed here” and got this:
    “This page should refresh automatically. If not, Click Here to reach our home page.”
    So, I went back to the main page and started clicking through the links for the various staff members. Out of about 15 that I tried, most went to an empty page, about 5 went to a single page with a photo of the teacher and a very brief description of the classes they teach and nothing else.
    About 2-3 had a little more information but nothing else. Well, the Information Technology guy’s page was pretty extensive but I would guess he has nothing else to do since it appears the teacher’s aren’t asking him for help with their web pages.
    Sadly, this is about what one can expect to see in the way of our teachers utilizing technology. And it’s even worse at the middle and elementary school levels. The technology spending is no way matches the value it offers to the educational experience.

  125. Randy Ewart

    “I guarantee you there’s a world of difference and how private schools operate now has no bearing whatsoever on how future schools will do business.” – Lex
    That’s good enough for me, sign me up for school choice!

  126. Randy Ewart

    Doug, you didn’t embarass me, but I am annoyed that you performed such weak research before trying to call me out.
    Your post about our website reveals a major weakness in evaluating schools from the outside. You did NOT access Blackboard, the site my students access. I guess you’re more concerned about us putting up a pretty website versus functional use of technology.
    Here’s the link:
    I don’t think you have the ability to preview the material on BB and you certainly can’t see the emails so I’ll give you a run down.
    I have discussion boards on which my AP students communicate on homework and tests. I also check my emails nightly in case my students have questions regarding homework. TONIGHT I emailed a parent regarding an incident with her son at school today. She responded and was able to deal with her son. I had one girl not return materials to be signed so I faxed about 8 pages for the mother to sign and return. In fact, I have 50 emails in my folder for communications regarding students in 2 1/2 weeks of school. This includes my typing up notes and a detailed email to help a student catch up because she was out for a week for a funeral.
    I’m sorry your investigation into my technology use was so flimsy. Next time try asking before not trying to embarass me.

  127. Doug Ross

    Then what’s the point of the RVHS website?
    and all the links to empty pages? Why don’t you have your IT administrator take down all the useless information that is listed under your name? If a parent of a middle school student wanted to learn about the teachers and academic departments at Ridge View, would you suggest they look at the website? Or would that be a waste of time (and taxpayer dollars)?
    And I’ll ask again — do your colleague’s do the same as you do? What percentage of your fellow teachers are as technically savvy as you are? I just asked my sophomore daughter how much technology is used in her classes. The best she could come up with was one teacher displays notes and pictures on the smart board so she doesn’t have to write them on the board.
    She says her math teacher last year never turned on the $10K smartboard the entire year.
    Your use of technology does not match my experience as the parent of three children in Richland 2 schools. I have not received a single email from any teacher so far this year. (Sounding like Lee here but…) I have worked as a technology consultant for over 20 years. I know very well what could be done and what isn’t being done (having a spouse who works in the district provides me with much more information than the typical parent/taxpayer has to go on).

  128. Randy Ewart

    You called me out Doug. That’s MY NAME you used in that post and I proved you wrong. I put a tremendous amount of effort into my teaching and working with young peoplem, only to have a parent who is supposedly concerned about the state of our schools recklessly disparaging me in public. I find that distasteful and destructive.
    You want to talk about others, fine. Do some
    credible research. Don’t look up a couple websites and start blasting away.

  129. Doug Ross

    It was hardly reckless or disparaging.
    It is what it is. I presented the factual
    experience of my interaction with the
    Ridge View H.S. website. What I showed
    was that much of the district’s claims of leading edge technology are really just smoke, mirrors, and busted links.
    There are thousands of taxpayer dollars
    being spent on technology that isn’t
    being used and on salaries of IT people to support that same unused technology.
    It’s been said before, but if a private enterprise wasted as much money on technology as our school district does, SOMEBODY would be getting fired. Instead,
    we get glowing PR reports about how technology is being used and the IT budget increases every year because there is ZERO accountability.
    I asked a simple question. Are your colleagues using technology in the classroom as much as you are? You
    know the answer as well as I do.
    You are an anomaly (and I mean that as a compliment). I have three kids times 8, 10, and 12 years times all the teachers experience as evidence of how little technology is used.
    Here’s how technology should be used at
    grades 6 and above:
    1. Set up email lists for parents and students
    2. Email every day with homework, upcoming assignments/tests/projects
    3. Upload homework, papers to teacher’s secure website
    4. Secure access by parents to grades
    5. Online drills
    6. Website with notes, practice exams
    7. Online testing with instant grading
    8. Replace all textbooks with PDF and/or
    online versions
    9. Online video lessons by the best teachers available at home
    10. Tutors available via instant messenger
    11. Plagiarism checking of papers
    That’s a start… but see, that breaks the model and the bureacracy… government entities are not good with change.

  130. Randy Ewart

    If anyone looked up Doug’s link, please take the time to look around the other pages on the Ridge View website. You will find a tremendous amount of information. Then take a moment to look at the sites of other schools.
    Compare Ridge View to Cardinal Newman or Heathwood, or Lexington High School. Go to Boston public schools. Look around. You’ll see the Richland 2 sites are some of the best high school sites out there! I looked up Heathwood and Cardinal Newman and couldn’t find faculty websites.
    Our site is not complete, but it’s more than a link to a silly little cartoon and a waste of tax payer dollars as Doug states.

  131. Randy Ewart

    Doug, how many emails have you sent the teachers of your daughter? I received some this week from parents apparently interested in the education of their student. Are you waiting for them to contact you?

  132. Doug Ross

    I took your challenge. You’re only making it worse.
    The homepage has Latest News which has three items: JROTC won an award in March, Miss Ridge View pictures, and someone who won a Dance Award. The link to “More News” yields a blank page.
    The links for the academic departments start with English – a list of teacher’s names with blank entries for email, room, and website. Math = a cartoon picture of a teacher. That’s it. Science – another little picture. That’s it. Social Studies. Nothing. I guess they haven’t learned how to put a picture on the page yet. World Languages. Nada, Nein, Non, nothing.
    Let’s see: How about Clubs? One pager with brief info about the clubs. No links. No pictures. Most do not have any conatct information.
    How about the Administration link? The principal’s got a picture and a bio. Looks like a friendly guy. The rest of the 10 adminstrators get about six bullet points each of what they do. No email link. No picture. No phone number.
    I’ve already discussed the Staff Pages. They are a mostly “work in progress”.
    Empty pages, broken links, one pagers
    are the norm.
    Now, the Sports pages… the all important sports pages. Basketball team has a lot of information. Baseball, too. Other sports have broken links or “Coming soon” or were last updated in May.
    If that’s a good school website, I don’t want to see a bad one.

  133. Randy Ewart

    There’s more than what you claim. Each administrator has their extension posted. I guess you’re seeing what you want. BTW, we have a new person overseeing it so the much of the content is being revamped.
    And how does this compare to other sites? Where are the faulty pages for Heathwood?
    Is the RV site where we want it to be? No. Is it simply a waste of taxpayer dollars? No. Of course, if you have an agenda, you see what you want to see.

  134. Randy Ewart

    Doug, you criticized your daughter’s teachers for not emailing you. Have you emailed any of them?
    Again, I’ve received emails from parents wanting to touch base.

  135. Doug Ross

    Randy… talk about trying to disparage someone…. and having it backfire right in your face.
    DUH! My daughter goes to the same high school where my wife works. My wife sees my daughter’s teachers every single day
    (much to my daughter’s dismay)…
    Prior to that, my wife worked at the elementary school the kids attended for
    six years.
    You see, because we do show interest in our kids, my wife has taken a job within the district that pays significantly less than what she could make in the private sector (don’t get me started on what schools pay non-teaching staff).
    Also, most of my daughter’s teachers sent home a sheet of paper on the first day of school asking for parent email addresses.
    I guess I assumed that by asking for them, they would use them.
    And DOUBLE DUH! I went into the high school this spring to talk about technology careers with students and went back later to serve as an outside reviewer of some students’ database application design projects. I’ve been asked to come back ANYTIME… and will do so.
    I will gladly provide you with the names of a dozen teachers in Richland 2 who would say very nice things about me. Many of them supported me when I made my tragically awful run for school board in 2002. And I was saying the exact same things then as I am saying now.

  136. Randy Ewart

    “I have not received a single email from any teacher so far this year. (Sounding like Lee here but…)” – Doug Ross
    What was your point in posting this then? You use this to make your point about teachers not using technology then defend yourself for not emailing them because your wife is there?!?!
    LOL, talk about blowing up in one’s face.

  137. LexWolf

    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    looks to me as if Doug Ross just slamdunked you. This isn’t even anything you’re personally responsible for but that website is pathetic. I looked at a number of the other pages too and it’s frankly pitiful. Could you find out how much taxmoney is wasted on that embarrassment?
    Heathwood’s website is password-protected for internal parent-student-teacher information. But even looking at just the public parts of the website is like night and day, compared to your school.
    Why should parents have to contact a teacher first? Aren’t you supposed to be providing a service and wouldn’t it thus behoove YOU to introduce yourself to your parents? I can tell you that when I establish a new business relationship, I will usually get an introductory email from my personal account representative without having to bug him/her first. Why didn’t you send out a “hey, welcome (back) to school” email at the beginning of the school year? Surely it couldn’t take much time and effort, and if you’ve been at this for a few years, you could probably just change the dates and send out last year’s email again. How hard can that be? Unless of course you didn’t send out any emails last year either.
    I would also point out how you immediately went on the offensive defense. Instead of simply admitting that, yes the school website sucks (again, not even your fault), you immediately started attacking Doug Ross, trying to spread the blame to all other schools in the region plus Boston, etc. etc. You know, the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. So far, it doesn’t look as if either you, or the PS system as a whole, is willing to admit any problem. It’s always something or somebody else’s fault – never you guys.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE, something notoriously lacking in government bureaucracies. Try it, you might like it!

  138. Doug Ross

    >What was your point in posting this then? You >use this to make your point about teachers >not using technology then defend yourself for >not emailing them because your wife is >there?!?!
    Uh. Randy. Get some sleep. I expect teachers to send out general information to all the parents. Isn’t that why they asked me for my email address? And what about the five teacher’s my son has in middle school? None of them are emailing me any general information either.
    I don’t need to establish a dialogue with them… that’s what I have you for. 🙂

  139. Randy Ewart

    Doug, in your zeal to point out the problems in education you disparage teachers and other educators that are doing a good job. For example, you likened every education award to a recreation league trophy. This was based on your limited experience. Another example is calling me out by using MY NAME in a post because you didn’t realize the many ways I was using technology.
    You pick out pieces of the puzzle and try to base the whole system on those pieces. That is reckless. I do not point out the many incidents where parents were irrational and conclude all parents are irrational.
    There are problems that need to be highlighted and addressed. Don’t paint us with a single broad brush.

  140. Doug Ross

    I also looked at the Heathwood, Hammond, and Ben Lippen websites. Being as objective as possible, they are all better than Ridge View’s. More informative, fewer broken links, cleaner interface.

  141. Randy Ewart

    Email them Doug. It’s a two way street. How many students do they have? How many students do you have?
    I ask for emails so I can contact the parents when issues come up. Many teachers have over 100 students and a 45 minute planning period. Emailing everyone then responding the replies is time intensive.
    I send home the syllabus and grade reports. I provide my email and phone. If a problem comes up, I contact the parent. If the parent wants to chat, they call or email me. Many parents read the grade reports and look over the graded tests to gauge performance. You are suggesting this is substandard communication?

  142. Doug Ross

    When losing an argument, it’s not the best technique to go back to a previous argument from months ago. You think Red Carpet, Blue Ribbon, Palemtto Gold, etc. make a difference in education. I don’t.
    I don’t disparage teachers. I do strongly believe though that our teachers are not effectively using the technology that taxpayers pay for. My kids have had some great teachers and some not so great.
    Most fall on the better side of the equation. But, luckily, unlike you, I can be objective and not have to circle the wagons anytime an “outsider” dares to question the educational system.
    See, you could tell me the IT profession is full of nerds and I’d probably agree. Or that customer service for IT companies that has been outsourced to India is awful. And I would agree. Or that a piece of software was lousy. And I would agree.
    I have the freedom of knowing that in any large population of people, most of them are average. A teacher can’t admit that.

  143. Randy Ewart

    Don’t forget, many of the information provided on the private school sites include what our district site has instead of us.
    Cleaner interface? I agree. More information? I don’t see a significant edge. You specifically criticized us for not providing info on our teachers. Heathwood and CN do not either. The new guy is working on it. The other R2 high schools have better sites.
    The bottom line is I fail to see how our site is “a waste of tax payer dollars.”

  144. Doug Ross

    C’mon Randy… are you telling me you’d rather get 25 “What’s going on this week?” emails than send out one email to all the parents?
    I try to leave the teachers alone unless a real problem occurs. I know how busy they are. It would seem to be more efficient to disseminate the information rather than respond to random emails.
    Maybe Brad ought to suggest that information distribution model to the publisher of The State? Rather than put a newspaper in everyone’s box, just have a guy sitting by the phone waiting for people to call in to ask what’s going on… Brilliant!

  145. Randy Ewart

    “And, I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I went to the Ridge View H.S. web page…I clicked on the link next to your name for the web page:
    Randy Ewart
    and got the following message:
    “This user is not currently utilizing web publishing. Please check back later.” – Doug Ross
    NOOO, that was not disparaging at all. I rather enjoyed having my name used in that context with everyone to see, especially considering how much I use technology.
    Then you claim I am circling the wagons because you are criticizing education. I brought up the past because I see a pattern in your comments. You seem to be oblivious to how your statements can affect others – a lack of empathy or even consideration.

  146. Randy Ewart

    Doug, it’s not 25 emails a week. BUT, if I sent out 100 emails, I would get atleast 25 back. Except from you though since you know how busy we are…but you expect us to be the one emailing…contradiction? I keep in close touch with parents as necessary. You are going to knit pick how exactly that is done?
    Again, why did you criticize teachers for not emailing you – “I haven’t received one email from my daughter’s teachers”, but then you explain why you don’t email them – “my wife works there so she knows what’s going on.” Funny how what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander.

  147. LexWolf

    “Don’t forget, many [sic] of the information provided on the private school sites include what our district site has instead of us.”
    Then link to the dang district website. Why should your parents have to juggle between the district site, the publicly-accessible school site and the internal site? Again, this is not your fault but why be so defensive?
    And no photo available for the Teacher Of The Year? They really respect you teachers there, don’t they?
    There’s even a possible security vulnerability on the school site. It seems that anyone can claim to be a school alumnus and be added to the Alumni Database>

  148. Randy Ewart

    Lex, speaking of being defensive. Why do you get so upset when I ask simple questions about your choice plan?
    You “guarantee” that current private schools are no indication of how private schools in your plan will fare. I’d love to hear more about this. Do you have any justification or is this a thought experiment on your part? Don’t be defensive. I’m just asking.

  149. LexWolf

    “Why do you get so upset when I ask simple questions about your choice plan?”
    I don’t get upset but I refuse to “justify” the plan while you refuse to provide any plan or justification whatsoever as to what YOU would do to finally remedy the massive deficiencies of your system.
    The current private schools are maximized to the system currently in place, i.e. where no tuition assistance is available from the government. In other words, parents opting for private schools have to come up with the entire tuition amount (less any assistance from the private schools for needy parents).
    Clearly even you would have to realize that if suddenly each kid has $8K/year attached there would be an explosion of options other than public schools. Unless, of course, your guys got their act together and preemptively satisfied their customers so completely that they wouldn’t even look at other options. Highly unlikely, but……
    Those new schools will by definition have to be set up to provide a better education than the public schools for that $8K, or else parents would return their kids to the public schools after a year or two.
    You’ve never yet explained why school choice would ever even be a problem if public schools did a good job. Surely parents would keep their kids there if they’re happy with your services, wouldn’t they? You also haven’t explained why kids should have to stay on your plantation if parents aren’t satisfied with your services.

  150. Jim

    It would be interesting to know the amt of taxpayer money that is being “wasted” on technology-does the school even have an IT specialist, how much do they spend on website,etc I don’t see a great deal of money being wasted in the schools and I regularly attend a dozen or so to assist with athletics coverage. Rather, I see leaky roofs, old carpet, and the occasional “corridor of shame” in some of the older schools. In my kids elementary school, nearly every teacher has their own website and parents receive daily emails re:homework, schedule, etc. Despite the “buckets” of money, you believe are being pored down the drain, I see very tight budgets, and teachers paying for supplies out of their own pockets, coaches putting in countless hours for free, and admin fighting overly critical parents and angry retired taxpayers.
    My business employs 3 full time IT people, out of 165 employees, and spends an enormous amt of money on web maintenance, technology, etc. My guess is the taxpayers aren’t spending that much on their web programs and are probably getting what they pay for.
    I will try and find some refernces to the dramatic improvements in the voucher schools in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and New Zealand. These “schools” make RV look like Phillips Exeter. The only private schools that have consistently performed well for less money have been the catholic schools which benefit from free labor and parish donations of time and money. Otherwise, I am not aware of significant savings in private schools, despite the “skimming of the cream ” quality of their present students. Milwaukee has yet to publish their results and I don’t know how “opposition” and lawsuits from teachers orgs has impacted that-the state has forced them to certify the schools because of poor quality and publish their results to justify the use of tax money. This is after 15 years of experimentation.

  151. Lee

    Randy, instead of spending so much effort to disparage those of us who want to improve education, why don’t you name a pervasive problem that you see in public education and make a proposal to cure it?

  152. Jim

    Correction, “poured” down the drain-if I insist on being this verbose, I will consider proofreading before frantically hitting “post”.
    As we fulfill the right wing dream of privatizing/outsourcing and retreating from the modern principles of govt, will I have the “choice” of removing my share of the 40% of the GNP dedicated to military related spending? As I’ve stated ad nauseum, many of us disagree with the present policy of warmongering while ignoring more effective security measures and neglecting our deteriorating domestic infrastructure-does anyone argue that outsourcing of military functions costs us less and is less prone to corruption-have you seen the “no-bid, cost-plus” bills? I would like to have the “choice” of supporting efforts to promote peace rather than violence and to follow the 9/11 commission recs to protect my children-do I have that choice? Why not “trust” the citizens in every aspect of social spending-I want my money going to Doctors without borders, Greenpeace, and Amnest Intl-not Haliburton, Blackwater, and private “security” groups. How far should “choice” go-are we all on a “plantation” to some extent? To live in a civilized society, one relinquishes some autonomy for the “common good” and for the benefits of not living in a banana republic.
    A few carefully selected, biased paragraphs regarding the free-market educational experience:
    An investigation this June by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found problems in some voucher schools that—even to those numb to educational horror stories—break one’s heart. No matter how severe one’s criticisms of the Milwaukee Public Schools, nothing is as abysmal as the conditions at some voucher schools.
    Some of them had high school graduates teaching students. Some were nothing more than refurbished, cramped storefronts. Some did not have any discernable curriculum and only a few books. Some did not teach evolution or anything else that might conflict with a literal interpretation of the Bible.
    At one school, teacher and students were on their way to McDonald’s. At another, lights were turned off to save money. A third used the back alley as a playground.
    One school is located in an old leather factory, another in a former tire store, a third is above a vacuum cleaner shop and hair salon.
    Overall, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel estimated that about 10 percent of the schools visited demonstrate “alarming deficiencies” without “the ability, resources, knowledge or will to offer children even a mediocre education.”
    That’s a cautious estimate. First of all, reporters made pre-arranged visits, giving schools time to put their best faces forward. Second, nine of the program’s 115 schools —an additional 8 percent—refused to allow reporters in.
    Since the program’s start, voucher schools have received a total of almost half a billion dollars in taxpayers’ money. Yet, as one of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters has noted, “The lack of research and data is stunning.”
    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s investigation, released as a seven-part series, was its first attempt to systematically visit and report on the voucher schools.
    The series documented what many had long surmised: The city’s longstanding Catholic and Lutheran schools have, by and large, requirements and oversight that help guarantee a level of quality. All teachers at schools connected with the Catholic Archdiocese, for instance, are required to be either licensed or in the process of getting a license. In addition, schools with broader institutional support, or those founded by seasoned educators, tend to have better quality
    At the Sa’Rai and Zigler Upper Excellerated Academy (K4–1), principal Sa’Rai Nance doesn’t even have a teaching license. She said she opened the school after she had a vision from God. Nance also said that “excellerated” is a fusion word combining accelerated and excellent and is “spelled wrong on purpose.” The word “upper” refers to “the upper room where Jesus prayed.”
    Carter’s Christian Academy (K4–1) is described as “essentially a small storefront building with a couple of tiny rooms redone as classrooms. …There were no visible books or toys or paper.” The school’s two teachers have high school diplomas, and the highest-paid teacher makes $8 an hour.
    At Grace Christian Academy (K4–7), one staff member privately told reporters “that there was no curriculum. Several classrooms were using worksheets downloaded from the Internet. …There were few books or schools materials on [the] shelves or anywhere in sight.” In at least one case, the summary continued, “the teacher was giving inaccurate scientific information to kids. [Principal Reginald] Armstrong says teachers use Biblical principles. He taught his class the story of Adam and Eve recently, from a literalist position.” Armstrong has a teaching license, but none of the other teachers do.

  153. some guy

    Now this is about deriding schools’ Website?!
    Actually, I guess if that should be a primary means of communicating with parents, the schools should do a better job. And, indeed, I think relations with parents is something public schools constantly need to work on.
    But it stands to reason that many public school teachers are dealing with kids whose parents don’t have computers and don’t use e-mail, so those teachers naturally don’t put much emphasis on that form of communication.
    I’m still trying to figure out if among the options for poor, academically struggling students LexWolf talk about if school choice occurs, if he intends for Heathwood Hall to become one of those options.

  154. Randy Ewart

    Did someone say SLAM DUNK?!!? Thank you for actual reports and data Jim. Lex seems to have trouble finding this. He relies on his own “guarantees” and biased organizations with a clear agenda (see Heritage Foundation’s own website). Lex, how bout them apples?
    “Why should parents email the teacher first?” Lex, do you drop your kids off at the private school and walk away carefree? Is this a 12K a year baby sitting service? Maybe I can put you in touch with some of the parents from our school who can help “salvage” you (or does that only work for teachers).
    I send home weekly grade reports; I email when any issues come up; I send home a syllabus to be signed; the school sends home progress reports routinely; and we had open house last week. Keep grasping for straws.

  155. Randy Ewart

    Some guy hits two nails on the head.
    I do not use the Blackboard internet site with my lower students. Some don’t even have a phone connected, let alone internet. Think that’s a problem at Heathwood?
    It’s laughable to see the contradictions in the arguments of Doug and Lex.
    Lex claims that the issue of public schools having a different population is nothing but a red herring. He also admits he sends his daughter to private school because there they do not have to deal with the problems of such diversity (socio-economic and behavioral diversity).
    Doug criticizes the teachers of his daughter for not emailing him this year. He then explains the reason he hasn’t emailed them is because his wife works there so she knows what’s going on. Well, why would the teachers email him then?
    If you have read my previous posts on this and other threads, you will see it’s clear that I admit there are grave problems in education. Doug and Lex erroneously claim that I am a protector of the status quo. I am simply defending the good aspects of eduation from such broad brushed, disengenuous criticism in which these two generalize all teachers and schools based on limited experience (e.g. “educrats” and “waste of taxpayer dollars”).

  156. bud

    I’m in a unique position in that I have 3 children in public school and a step son in private school (Glen Forest). The two experiences are very different and both situations have pluses and minuses. For most kids public education is fine. Dreher offers a wide range of activities and frankly the accademic offerings are excellent. But for some kids the special attention offered by an expensive private school is the way to go.
    I don’t think vouchers would improve either public or private education. Let’s do like Randy says and focus on ways to improve public schools and let private schools continue without public funding.

  157. LexWolf

    Some guy,
    a link to whatever you’re quoting from is always appreciated. Do you think you could provide us one?
    I don’t have direct knowledge of the Milwaukee program so I have to rely for information on the internet. From what I have seen there, this is a classic case of the educracy first vastly underfunding the school choice program and otherwise hamstringing the program at every turn, and then have its journalist buddies concoct some expose generalizing from a small percentage of the schools. If a school is not performing up to standard then obviously there should be sanctions, up to and including the school’s shutdown. We certainly don’t need bad private schools – there are far too many in the public system already. However, this should apply to public schools just as well!! If they don’t perform shut them down and set the students free to find a better education provider. I have no doubt if the Milwaukee paper ever looked in the worst public schools, they would find far worse conditions. After all, that’s why parents demand school choice in the first place.
    The funding for Milwaukee voucher schools is about $6K per student. This at a time when Milwaukee PS spends over $10K per student and other districts in the area spend around $13K to $15K (and this is just the operating budget, without bond service or school construction spending). So yes, those extra $4K to $9K per student would probably pay for quite a few lightbulbs. Some of those schools might even be able to afford a better building.
    This is one of the most insidious ways by which the educracy defends its turf. First they make sure that the private schools get half or less of the public schools’ funding. Then they complain that the results aren’t far better than their own and that the facilities are not as nice as their own. There is no school choice program in existence, to my knowledge, that comes even close to funding vouchers at about the same level as the PS funding per kid.
    However, even with only half or less of the funding, Milwaukee voucher students as a whole are still far outperforming the public schools. Even though the voucher program only covers parents with up to 175% of the federal poverty level (175% of $20K = $35K for a family of four, 2006) and thus doesn’t have any kids from those stereotypical rich families which are always alleged to be the source of private schools’ success. For example, in 2003 64% of voucher students graduated while only 37% of PS students did.
    All this was accomplished while school choice is improving the public schools as well. “The current superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and two of his predecessors believe that school choice has had a beneficial impact on public education.” Impact on Public Schools. Some very useful links:
    Rising to the Challenge: The Effect of School Choice on Public Schools in Milwaukee and San Antonio
    How School Choice Helps the Milwaukee Public Schools
    “The lack of research and data is stunning.”
    What a crock. There are studies out the wazoo on the voucher schools. The real problem is that most of them are not favorable to the choice opponents so they obviously can’t be acknowledged. Further, choice opponents have been blocking new state studies of the program for at least 4 years. So again, the complainers are the very source of the problem they decry.
    Here’s a video that gives a rather balanced view of the Milwaukee experiment: High Speed Low Speed

  158. LexWolf

    “”Why should parents email the teacher first?” Lex, do you drop your kids off at the private school and walk away carefree?”
    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    No, I don’t walk away carefree. However, I’ve already received 4 different emails from my daughter’s teacher since school started again this week, plus 2 before school even started. Plus a bunch of stuff in her backpack, and we see the teacher twice a day when we drop off and pick up our daughter. All this without ever having to email the teacher first. Instead of making snide remarks, you should take this as a shining example for you to follow!!

  159. Randy Ewart

    LOL, yes Lex I wait outside the high school to meet the parents of my seniors as they are dropped off. Once again you take a narrow point of view and use it to paint a broad picture and rely on more apples to oranges comparisons.
    BTW, I emailed a parent last night, contacted the student’s administrator this morning and received replies from both to deal with a situation. Imagine that, the “educrat” was checking his email and the teacher was sending a parent an email. I guess you don’t know what’s going on in these schools.
    I think the reason for this myopic view is your reliance on such partisan news sources like Manhattan Institute which emphasizes the market option for everything. Maybe it’s that “” site you referenced. The third one, the Heritage Foundation, is a self-described conservative policy think tank. You are 3 for 3 in using biased sources who clearly use data to the ends they want. I can pick out plenty of studies from the NEA to counter, but I don’t bother with clearly biased sources. I think for myself.
    Did any of these partisan sites explain how, when your choice plan kicks in, a Heathwood would handle teaching gangbangers from the inner city like I taught at public schools? Are these sites the source of your “guarantee” that these private schools could handle teaching kids who don’t have telephones at home and need subsidies to pay for lunch? Or do you see the parents at Heathwood who need subsidies to pay the 12K a year and figure if HH can help them, then HH can help the free and reduced lunch kids?
    I’m still waiting for a shred of evidence that private schools can handle the vast diversity we are used to dealing with in public schools. Do you have any justification for your plan aside from some zealous wild eyed belief? If not, let’s move on to other possibilities.

  160. Randy Ewart

    “For example, in 2003 64% of voucher students graduated while only 37% of PS students did.” – Lex
    This does not support a cause and effect relationship between vouchers and success. In statistics, this is know as a confounded situation with a lurking variable. In this case, the lurking variable is the involvement of the parent in the student’s education. As several bloggers have suggested, this is the biggest key to academic success – involved parents. Don’t you think you and your wife have had a great influence on your daughter’s success aside from paying for private school? You are clearly an involved parent so I bet you have.
    In the vouchers sitations like that in Ohio and Milwaukee, the choice has NOT replaced public schools. So which parents are making the effort to get their kids into the private schools, the involved parents! The public schools then have a higher ratio of uninvolved parents. NO WONDER there’s a difference. Of course your partisan sites won’t mention that because such truth is not the means to the ends they want.

  161. Jim

    Here are some 2000 comments from Al Gore re: this topic…
    0. Gore opposes using public funds to provide private school tuition.
    0. Would close public schools that failed to meet higher standards and then reopen them with new supervision.
    0. Would provide federal funds to help communities raise salaries and recruit new teachers.
    0. Proposes $36 billion in tax credits, including making up to $10,000 of college tuition tax deductible.
    Backs voluntary national tests for 4th and 8th graders in math and reading.
    It’s not just about more money. It’s about higher standards, accountability — new ideas. But we can’t do it without new resources. I will invest far more in our schools – in the long-run, a second-class education always costs more than a first-class education.
    And I will not go along with any plan that would drain taxpayer money away from our public schools and give it to private schools in the form of vouchers.
    Q: What do you tell a mother in Cleveland who has a voucher [where they’re legal]. Are you saying that voucher program shouldn’t exist in Cleveland?
    A: I don’t want to comment on the legalities of specific court challenges that are underway. But let me answer your question in a different way. I don’t think that we can tell any parent in this country that they ought to keep their children in a failing school for one more day. They cannot wait. And that’s why I have proposed shutting down every failing school, and reopening it with a new principal, with full peer review of all the teachers; new resources; and a new school plan to make that school a success.
    Now the difference between Governor Bush and myself is this: I would shut down failing schools and reopen them. He would leave the failing school in place, and take money away from the school, and try to convince the parents that it’s enough for them to go and pay tuition at a private school, when it’s not.
    Source: PBS Frontline interview, “The Battle Over School Choice” May 23, 2000
    Gore believes in more choice and competition within the public school system. Gore would triple the number of Charter Schools and put forward a plan to bring universal public school choice and reforms targeted to helping all children reach high standards to 100 of the lowest-performing school districts in America. Gore opposes private school vouchers, which funnel public money into private schools that are not accountable.
    Source: Press release for Conference of Black Mayors Apr 28, 2000
    Give parents choice in choosing public schools
    Al Gore has fought to put 100,000 new teachers in the classroom; for tougher standards to make sure our children are learning; to give parents more choice in choosing public schools. Now, for the first time, reading scores in the key grades of 4th, 8th and 12th are going up across America. And Gore has a plan to bring revolutionary improvements to our schools: Smaller class sizes. Higher standards for teachers and students. Rebuilding crumbling schools. Turning around failing schools.
    Source: Television advertisement Mar 21, 2000
    Neither Gore nor aides would say how much his proposals might cost. Gore said, “Every one of these proposals will be fully paid for within a balanced budget.”
    Source: Boston Globe, p. A12, “Gore details plan” May 17, 1999
    But hey, what does he know, he’s just the crazy “ozone man” who invented the internets and took money from “Red China” remember?

  162. LexWolf

    disparage the sources all you want. The data don’t lie and they are attached to these studies for your analysis.

  163. Jim

    I posted that to present alternative ideas to address the problems we all acknowledge, and to painfully reminisce of what could have been (and may be in 08-Gore takes >75% of vote on lefty blogosphere). I would encourage anyone interested in a demonstration of how the leader of the free world could conduct an interview to glance at the primary source.
    (Can someone with the official “team liberal” computer, an Apple IMAC, please tell me how to link to a source so I may shorten these “War and Peace ” length posts. Feel free to send to my email.

  164. Randy Ewart

    Lex, “Data don’t lie” is a lazy reply with little merit. Data is easily distorted by bias groups with an agenda. Your reliance on such sources further undermines your position.
    Regardless, I’ll ask again; how will the Heathwoods handle the diversity? I understand that you “guarantee” these future private schools which “will pop up everywhere” will be able to handle this change. Do your biased sources or thought experiments offer up justification?
    Your inability to answer this speaks volumes. Clearly, this is a plan built on sand.

  165. Randy Ewart

    Jim, I did not vote for Gore (nor Bush) because I didn’t like either. But, the position he took on education, as posted by you, shows promise.
    The closing schools issues is so incredibly more complicated than is often cavalierly suggested. First, we have a teacher shortage in SC (go to and look at the list of positions not filled NOW). Some seem to think we are chattel or atleast a dime a dozen. Second, there is a shortage of administrators (teachers feed into those positions). Third, most schools are maxed out. Where do students go while a building is closed?
    I like the idea of helping communities in need raise funds to raise salaries and recruit new teachers. Part of the market system that is in place is where teachers migrate. No suprise the rich get richer with experienced and even better teachers tending towards better and richer districts. The teachers are the most important asset and have the greatest impact.
    The tax credit for college is an example of helping others help themselves. It’s a teaching a man to fish approach. I believe strongly in, as Tony Blair has said, “making opportunity meet responsibility.” There needs to be solid financial accountability. I would also suggest taking money that is sent to lower districts and targeting funds for tutors and after school programs to provide students a chance to do extra work with supevision they might not get at home.
    Thanks for the input Jim.

  166. Jim

    I am now a very strong supporter of Al Gore and feel that 2000 was an enormous loss for the country. I will make a remorseful public admission and acknowledge that I voted for Bush in 2000-maybe that explains my passionate “buyers remorse”. I was committed to progressive principles in college and was the editor of an alternative newspaper. In grad school, I became self absorbed and distracted while focusing on the task at hand. I have always been a “news junkie” but really did not perform due diligence before the election as my pet issue became “tort reform” which was heightened by the tobbacco and breast implant litigation. In the voting booth, I was clueless and succumbed to the “compassionate conservative”, “tired of the Clinton scandals” fatigue-I figured it “really didn’t matter” and they are “about the same” on the issues. I don’t think anyone will make those statements again.
    Since then, I have followed Gore and am amazed at his speeches and positions which were delivered at times of great risk. He has always been right on the environment, energy policy, education and social issues. But he was also one of the few Dems right on Gulf War I, Kosovo/Balkans, and on Iraq. I will link to one of his speeches, which Rush mocks constantly, where he gives his opinion on the eve of the invasion-it is dead on correct and came at a cost.
    I don’t know if he will go through the abuse of another campaign, but the country certainly needs his leadership.

  167. Randy Ewart

    Jim, here’s my take on Gore and I’d like yours and others feedback.
    Before his campaign, he seemed to be a true and loyal public servant. His effort in regarding the environment is commendable and essential. I think he was pragmatic and thoughtful for a politician. Then the campaign hit.
    To this day I believe he tried to be Bill Clinton in how he nuanced and wiggled his way through issues instead of going with his beliefs. Bush, on the other hand, was steadfast in his positions which played well because of the Clinton fatigue factor. Gore simply seemed contrived and disengenuous in many ways which alienated me.
    On the side, I think Clinton did alot of harm to the democratic party. I think he took positions to benefit himself. This left the party without a clear vision of what it stands for.
    Kerry should have easily beaten Bush. W was very unpopular and despite Kerry flip-flopping resulting in shooting himself in the foot (not in the butt to get his medal as some right winger conspiracy theorists suggest) he barely lost Ohio and the election. Bush hasn’t won either election in my view, the dems lost both. And now the dems run not on ideas but against the republicans. A sad time in America, I believe.

  168. Randy Ewart

    Lex, they can always “guarantee” results in the wake of not having meaningful ideas. That seems to be the m.o. for some on this blog.

  169. Jim

    I would argue that the problem was not with Gore, it was with the American people (myself included). Common complaints about Gore were “he is too stiff”, “I don’t like his speaking voice”, he “smirked” at Bush in one of the debates as he claimed he would maintain the surplus, balance the budget, while providing the rich with massive taxcuts. You may as well as have voted on hair color or the whiteness of their teeth. I would think we would have learned a lesson about looking deeper for more substance, but if I recall Brad’s endorsements in the past, I am not too sure.
    The Rove storyline for Bush was he is “one of us”, maybe not too bright, but he leads with his “gut”. They bought him the ranch in TX just before the election (which Laura has admitted will be vacated immediately after 08 for a more fitting corporate reward in Houston after “mission accomplished”), gave him a pair of boots and some very simple lines-no nuance. Gore was in a terrible position with the Clinton affair brewing and I don’t know what the perfect strategy would have been. He was portrayed as another arrogant, elite “out of touch” liberal , while Bush was the average Christian man defending middle America for the Lord against the tyranny of liberalism and Christian persecution in the approaching culture war Armageddon. The storyline now seems to work every time.
    I love the conservative mantra, “the Dems are a party devoid of ideas”-maybe you should turn off Fox and Rush and for once, read or listen to a speech by Feingold, Gore, and even the shrieking Howard Dean-the Fox caricature works so well because people on the “right” want to believe it and most are never going to look any further. Did you even glance at the Gore speech-he can go on ad infinitem re:any topic and could never be accused of being “incurious”.
    Likewise, the endless attacks on the NYT (and every other liberal enemy) are not aimed at anyone who has ever read the paper and has an understanding of its strengths/weaknesses, it is to elicit the Pavlovian response from the “base”. If you say it enough times, it becomes true. I mentioned the NYT in passing at work once, and a woman recoiled in horror and said “I would never read that paper! When I asked her if she had ever glanced at it , she said “No way, they try to tell you what to think!” Enough said.
    These comments will likely be seen as inflammatory but I think investigating how people shape and form their opinions and on what basis is fascinating. I posted the Clinton impeachment “Constitutional Crisis” which “shakes the foundation of our democracy” to better illuminate craven political partisanship at its most refined pious level.

  170. Randy Ewart

    Jim, I agree about the whole Bush summation. I distinctly remember early on in the Republican primary for the 00 election that Bush was garnering support because “he can win.”
    His first 6 years have been about controlling the message and eradicating dissent. As slick as Willie was, he was atleast giving in to other ideas. Bush found out the hard way that controlling the message on big issues is a category 3 levee holding back a category 5 hurricane.
    I think the US is paying the price for the past 14 years because I do blame Clinton for alot or problems and certainly Bush’s fautlts are as open as an aircraft carrier deck.
    Gore seemed stiff to me because I think he was contrived. Using a sports analogy, you are supposed to react and not think too much – let it flow. Gore didn’t let it flow until after the election; which is very similar to what happened to Dole in 96. I think Gore is a good public servant but not a good campaigner. I think Bush is the opposite.

  171. LexWolf

    Some hguy,
    You are correct. It was Jim’s Aug 26, 2006 6:05:17 AM post that is desperately crying out for some links that might convert his opinions into facts.

  172. bud

    Jim and Randy, I stand guilty as charged. I bought the “Gore is a Kook” line hook, line and sinker. The “invented the internet”, “discovered Love Canal”, “was the inspiration for Love Story” rants by the right wing spin machine and eventually the mainstream press took its tole on my ability to properly evaluate Gore’s true credentials. In the end I voted for Ralph Nader thinking a message needed to be sent to the Washington establishment.
    After years of careful reflection I now realize what a terrible mistake I made. Even though SC had no chance of going for Gore, the correct decision clearly was to vote for Mr. “Earth Tones”. How ironic, a man that was ridiculed for his earth tones look is now very much in touch with the earth.

  173. Jim

    Lex, go to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and search for “charter schools” or “school vouchers”. Interestingly from today’s NYT lead editorial entitled “exploding the Charter School Myth”:
    “A federal study showing that fourth graders in charter schools score worse in reading and math than their public school counterparts should cause some soul-searching in Congress. Too many lawmakers seem to believe that the only thing wrong with American education is the public school system, and that converting lagging schools to charter schools would cause them to magically improve.
    The study, based on data from 2003 on students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, found charter school students significantly behind their non-charter-school counterparts. But it also showed that not all charter schools are created equal.
    On average, charter schools that were affiliated with public school districts performed just as well as traditional public schools. That may be a disappointment to advocates who expected them to show clear superiority. But the real stunner was the performance of free-standing charter schools, which have no affiliation with public school systems and are often school districts unto themselves. It was this grouping that showed the worst performance.”
    “These studies argue for a more nuanced federal policy that does not just advocate wholesale charter conversion but instead defines and supports successful models only. Beyond that, Congress needs to grasp the obvious, which is that the quality of the teacher corps is more crucial to school reform than anything else. The original law required states to provide highly qualified teachers in core subject areas by this year. But the Education Department simply failed to enforce the rule, partly because of back-channel interference by lawmakers who talked like ardent reformers while covering up for state officials clinging to the bad old status quo.”
    “Four years later, the national teacher corps is still in a shambles. Until Congress changes that, everything else will amount to little more than tinkering at the margins.”
    Pretty consistent with what was presented in a # of posts above. Another interesting factoid from today, The nation’s prim/sec school pop will be 56.7 million by 2014. In 1973, 78% of students were white with 22% minorities (inclusive). In 2004, only 57% were white with 43% minority. Minorities will be the majority in 10 years and already are in CA, Hawaii, LA, MS, NM, and TX. In the 10 largest cities, 58% of students are foreign born.
    After reading incessantly about these issues, I think Gore made some good points in that, changes are much needed and Lex is right that reasonable “parental choice” may aid those not as fortunate as us limousine liberals in the ‘burbs, but we need to focus on reform of the public schools and not turn public money over to the private sector. This type of “choice” will not enhance public educ, only undermine it. But I am suspicious that is exactly the point.

  174. Randy Ewart

    Jim, I agree with more options and more parental choice. Some parents simply drop their kids off at school and expect the teachers to do everything. But the ones that care are looking for ways to help their child.
    I don’t understand why there are not more alternative schools within the current structure. Sadly, you don’t hear Jim Rex offering up anything but saving schools from Floyd.

  175. LexWolf

    I just can’t resist asking. Obviously you copied part of the NYT article from their website so why couldn’t you simply include the link to the story as well? Do you not know how to create links or do you just refuse to do so? What gives? I certainly won’t go searching all over the internet for stories that you could easily have linked to. Not providing links doesn’t enhance your credibility.

  176. Lee

    Anyone who still wishes Al Gore had won the election must be living in a root cellar somewhere, unaware of the Sept 11 attacks.

  177. Jim

    Lex, I don’t know how to do links with my apple computer-it does not seem to want to cooperate, and I would be very grateful for assistance. Send it to my email if you have some tips.

  178. Jim

    Here are the links you requested to the Milwaukee Journal Series. I am going to work with my IT guy tomorrow for some remedial training. This good for nothing self identified poster certainly wouldn’t want to risk losing the respect of the “Lex Wolf” now would he?
    I will consider your comments friendly constructive criticism.

  179. Randy Ewart

    Jim, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, especially those who are so versed in the free market that there are so many bad private schools popping up in a market model. Bad businesses pop up in all areas – the way of capitalism.
    Lee, you’re right about Gore. When he was told of the initial attack he probably would have sat there for 10 minutes wondering what to do.

  180. Swamp Fox

    The Monitor Group report only adds to our denial about how pervasive the problems are with public education in South Carolina.
    An earlier study of SC public education by Andrew Coulsen found that, “The better educated a South Carolina student’s parents happen to be, the further that student scores behind students in other states whose parents are similarly educated.
    Here’s hard evidence

  181. LexWolf

    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    I don’t know what Gore did on 9/11 but we do knwo that Kerry sat around for at least 20 minutes, “unable to think”, as he himself admitted on the Larry King Show:
    “KING: Where were you on 9/11?
    HEINZ KERRY: You know, it’s very interesting. I landed at National Airport less than 12 hours before, coming from Pennsylvania, where I was doing a prescription drugs thing — meeting. And I came in from Pittsburgh, landed at National, and that’s the last time I landed at National for quite a while.
    KING: How’d you hear about it?
    HEINZ KERRY: I was at home in Washington. I had just come in and I got a call…
    KERRY: I think I called.
    HEINZ KERRY: And they said, look at the TV. I looked at the TV and I couldn’t believe it.
    KING: Where were you?
    KERRY: I was in the Capitol. We’d just had a meeting — we’d just come into a leadership meeting in Tom Daschle’s office, looking out at the Capitol. And as I came in, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon. And then word came from the White House, they were evacuating, and we were to evacuate, and so we immediately began the evacuation.”

  182. Randy Ewart

    Swamp Fox, SC Policy Council? Throw that in the bin with, Heritage, and Manhattan think tanks. They are self-described limited government entities with an agenda. Again, I can quote the NEA and find plenty of contrasting studies. Are you willing to accept those?
    Lex, I didn’t vote for Kerry. Say what you want about him. Bush was the COMMANDER in chief.

  183. Jim

    Swamp Fox,
    Andrew Coulson is a Fellow at the Cato Inst, a think tank dedicated to “Limited Government and Free Markets”. He is the author of a book entitled “Market Education…” ,and editor of a magazine “School Choices”, and director of the “Center for Market Solutions in Education”. His think tank is sponsored by industries who would like to get their hands on tax dollars across the entire spectrum of social services. They are a committed enemy of the public schools. Kind of like asking PETA to evaluate the meat packing process-they may not be a neutral voice. But I guess you knew that if it came from your website? Lex has instituted mandatory fact/bias checking, especially on the liberals.
    Here is Coulson’s site:
    Also, is the 1st graph incorrect? 1025-993=32, not 35.
    The gap between SC and nat avg was 66 in 1998 and is now 32( or 35).

  184. LexWolf

    Jim and self-identified Randy Ewart,
    now that the obligatory vilification of the author is behind us, would you like to tell us what specifically is wrong about the data? The data are all from the federal Department of Education? Are they also a “committed enemy of the public schools”?
    Until and unless you can prove the data are wrong, we’ll just have to accept that they are in fact correct and that the only defense you have is to attack the messenger.

  185. Randy Ewart

    Ok Lex the Anonymous,
    Jim provided reports that showed how terrible the choice plan has been in Milwaukee. He provided a source with data so it must be accurate. Your plan has been blown out of the water.

  186. Randy Ewart

    From Swamp Fox source:
    table 1: “Averaged across subjects and grades, low-income students in South Carolina do about as well as their national counterparts while middle- and high-income students in South Carolina score slightly behind their national counterparts.”
    Hmmm, this seems to have conveniently left out of the analysis. No where do the naysayers admit “SC schools do about as well as the national average.” and “SLIGHTLY behind”
    Thanks for pointing this out Lex the Anonymous. So according to this study, SC schools are at or slightly behind the national average. I guess your doom and gloom analysis was a little off.

  187. Randy Ewart

    From Swam Fox source:
    Table 3 shows that 4th and 8th grade SC Black, White, and Hispanic subgroups score higher than their national counterparts.
    Lex, why didn’t you mention this as well? So if SC schools are “terrible” as you suggest, why are we above average in math?
    Alot of good info here conveniently left out by the biased pro-voucher/limited government sources. Of course, “data doesn’t lie.”

  188. LexWolf

    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    Jim provided some URLs (to Jim: URLs are perfectly fine) to 5 articles and an editorial in the Milwaukee paper. None of them contained any data nor were they reports. They simply identified a few bad private schools – that’s great, I’m all for making sure that we don’t waste money on bad private, and public, schools.
    The editorial did the usual spin on “public schools are just as good as private schools”, never once mentioning that the public schools get to spend twice as much money per student than the private schools. Based on that disparity, the private schools clearly are getting far more bang for the buck!

  189. Randy Ewart

    MSJ’s own investigation:
    “Overall, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel estimated that about 10 percent of the schools visited demonstrate “alarming deficiencies” without “the ability, resources, knowledge or will to offer children even a mediocre education.”
    Yep, just a “few” and “no data” just a first hand investigation.

  190. LexWolf

    So if SC schools are “terrible” as you suggest, why are we above average in math?
    Because you have to look at the scores closest to the end of HS. Being slightly ahead at 4th and 8th grades is great but ultimately useless. Who cares if you’re ahead in the 3rd and 6th inning of a baseball game, only to lose in the end?

  191. Randy Ewart

    So you are revising your earlier statements that “SC schools are terrible” and admitting you were wrong. Good. I guess your new declaration is SC High schools are “terrible.”

  192. LexWolf

    “”Overall, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel estimated that about 10 percent of the schools visited demonstrate “alarming deficiencies” without “the ability, resources, knowledge or will to offer children even a mediocre education.””
    What were those numbers for public schools?
    Again, I have no interest in defending the few bad private schools. If they don’t measure up, then by all means let’s cut them from the program and redirect their students to better schools. Just as long as we do the same for public schools. Never forget that the demand started precisely because many public schools were/are so bad. If public schools were doing a great job, we wouldn’t be posting on this thread right now. We’re not doing any kids any favors by keeping them in bad schools.

  193. Randy Ewart

    You still haven’t addressed how the private schools will handle the influx of diversity – the same diversity you transferred your daughter from because the private schools didn’t deal with it.
    You “guaranteed” private schools could handle this. There’s no data supporting that statement Lex. Remember, data doesn’t lie.

  194. Randy Ewart

    “many public schools were/are so bad.” – link please!
    So you now admit that the 4th and 8th grade scores are sufficient (average or above average) so your plan would now be full choice for high school students I take it?

  195. LexWolf

    Self-identified troll Randy Ewart,
    I will not go down that old road of trying to “justify” something to someone like you whose mind is closed and who will never, ever admit that the “justification” is sufficient. Admit it, Randy, you will never support school choice so it’s a total waste of time to even try to “justify” something to you.
    The private schools will be started to satisfy the demand, just like all the private schools that sprang up in Milwaukee, of which you are now (rightly) badmouthing a few. Now if only you were ever willing to offer up a few public schools to be closed for their poor performance!
    Just because our kids are a point or two better than the national average in two grades and in one subject doesn’t in any way mean that our public schools as a whole aren’t terrible. Small differences like that are statistically insignificant, as a renowned statistics expert like you, with 33 hours of training, would surely know.

  196. Randy Ewart

    Anonymous Lex, are you getting back into personal attacks? You admit the results are “statistically insignificant” between SC and the NATIONAL AVERAGE. Yet you claim we are “terrible.”
    “One subject”? Go back and look at the source YOU were pushing. There is math, reading, and writing for 4th and 8th grade for black, white, and Hispanic groups. Only in 8th grade writing was there a “statistically significant” gap between SC and the national average. That’s not “one subject.”
    You admitted we are comparable at the elementary and middle school levels; “Being slightly ahead at 4th and 8th grades” so you must be suggesting that school choice is now only necessary for high schools.

  197. Randy Ewart

    Lex, let me summarize your position on school choice now:
    You admit you took your daughter out of public schools because learning was inhibited by the discipline problems caused by “idiot” students who have to be in public school, yet you claim that the issue of mandatory education is a “red herring” in the debate.
    You suggest private schools are the solution, yet you can’t explain how they will handle these same discipline issues you saved your daughter from…aside from your “guarantee” that future private schools will be capable of handling it.
    You want to put parents in charge, but you wait for your teachers to take the initiative to email you first.
    You admit we are on par with the national average based on data you were pushing and you also claimed “data doesn’t lie”. Yet you still claim our schools are “terrible”.
    Long ago I asked where the teachers to staff these new schools would come from and you replied “who knows” then suggested that they’d come from the same public schools that are “terrible”.
    Then you call me a “troll”; make fun of my education; then you don’t understand why I am not supportive of this plan? (a plan which must be for high schools only now that you admit we are at the national average for elementary and middle schools).

  198. LexWolf

    Lex, let me summarize your position on school choice now:
    Actually, in light of your demonstrated proclivity towards misquotes and mischaracterizations, let’s NOT let you summarize!!
    You admit you took your daughter out of public schools
    No, I didn’t. I never even took the chance to let her be a guinea pig for your socialist public school system.
    because learning was inhibited by the discipline problems caused by “idiot” students who have to be in public school, yet you claim that the issue of mandatory education is a “red herring” in the debate.
    While there are obviously idiots in public schools (often including the teachers) the “red herring” comment was because you guys claimed that public schools were so different from any other service industry that they couldn’t possibly be compared to other industries or expected to perform up to snuff.
    You suggest private schools are the solution, yet you can’t explain how they will handle these same discipline issues you saved your daughter from…aside from your “guarantee” that future private schools will be capable of handling it.
    Look at Milwaukee, Cleveland, Florida etc. Private schools appeared once school choice was in place and they run rings around their public competition once we adjust for the much lower funding they receive.
    You want to put parents in charge, but you wait for your teachers to take the initiative to email you first.
    Aah Randy, what will it ever take to get you to understand the concept of customer service? I don’t wait for teachers to email me first. They email me before I even have a chance to wonder where that first email is. If only your emails would be as swift, your parents would think they are in seventh heaven!
    You admit we are on par with the national average based on data you were pushing and you also claimed “data doesn’t lie”. Yet you still claim our schools are “terrible”.
    Now here we have Randy who never saw a set of data that “accurately” described PS performance, all of a sudden pouncing on a couple of data points as if they invalidated all the voluminous other data indicating how terrible our schools are. What’s the dropout rate again?

    Long ago I asked where the teachers to staff these new schools would come from and you replied “who knows” then suggested that they’d come from the same public schools that are “terrible”.
    Teachers will show up, just as they all did in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Florida, etc.. Or are you trying to claim that, in addition to the “unique” status of education in the service industry, the employment situation is also “unique”?

  199. Herb Brasher

    Randy and Jim,
    You are doing some good work here in exposing the sources of some of Lee and Lex’s information and statistics. Keep it up. The question of sources and the proper use of them is foundational to every subject on this blog.

  200. Randy Ewart

    “all the voluminous other data indicating how terrible our schools are.” – LEX
    LINK PLEASE! Aside from drop out rate and SAT scores, what evidence do you have. Or are you once again “guaranteeing” your position is correct?
    The swamp fox source shows elementary and middle schools are on par with the NATIONAL AVERAGE. So you are amending your position for choice to be for high schools only now?

  201. Randy Ewart

    Whether your daughter was in public school or not, the reason she’ now in private school is very reason I highlighted, you don’t want her around the “idiots” that HAVE to been in public school. Yet, you say this is a non-issue (except for your own family – do I see an ivory tower).
    Once again, give ONE EXAMPLE of how full choice was implemented so your Heathwoods HAD to deal with the diverstiy. LINK! Come on Lex, not even one little example?…or are you sticking with the “guarantee” that they’ll handle it.
    Your reply before regarding where the teachers will come from was “who knows.” If the teachers make up the back bone of schools including the “terrible” ones in SC, why would you want them to be pulled from public schools – especially considering many parents wait for teachers to email them. Oh yes, I remember, you said the private school administrators would “salvage them”. Hmmm, where will these admins come from? Just guaranteeing they will magically appear or you’ll pull them from business is flimsy at best.
    Lex, I’ll keep asking, what justification do you have for this plan, aside from a zealous wild eyed belief in the market model which has yet to be proven effective in a full choice model (not even one link to a source).
    Come on Lex the Anonymous, post some links like you demand of others. Remember, “data doesn’t lie.”

  202. LexWolf

    Self-identified Troll Randy Ewart,
    I have answered all these questions ad nauseam and it’s quite incivil for you to, like a broken record, repeat the same bogus questions again and again. Read my above answers again. You don’t have to like them or agree with them but they were answers. I would also note that you virtually never respond to questions directed at YOU, probably because you have no answer. Again, not very civil, wouldn’t you agree? How can we “advance the discussion” if you totally ignore answers while refusing to provide answers yourself?

  203. Jim

    I also think we need more data on the costs of private vs public education. Many considerations: handicapped students, learning disabled, state requirements for facilities, private schools hire for less pay (or none with Catholic Nuns/Priests), teacher qualif/seniority/benefits, etc. I am skeptical that it is that much cheaper per student at Hammond despite the cherry picking and family resources.
    Certainly the tax payers are not getting a discount in the privatized govt contracts in New Orleans, the privatized drug bill, the energy bill or Operation Iraqi Freedom-no one argues that we are saving $ with this outsourcing. This assumption that we always get a better deal is falacious. Look at the effort to privatize Soc Security. No one has claimed that Wall St can run the massive program for less admin costs/overhead. The SS Admin actually does an incredibly efficient job managing an enormous program. (Glad to debate SS Lee/Wolf). We are now outsourcing tax collection and laying off accountants-this will not save us any money, but will lessen the audit rate on the rich and be ripe for corruption. The bottom line is: this admin does nothing for the common good, and everything for the “few”-the rich and Wall Street. SS? The rich could care less and the brokers want a piece of the action-kill it. Public schools-the rich don’t use ’em and they just increase their taxes-combine that with the fact they are “future liberal factories” which teach science and evolution-they are gone. Plus, a poorly educated population is much easier to manipulate. Global Warming? A liberal hoax to make the rich feel bad about their SUV’s,-and Exxon/Mobil assures us it isn’t true anyway.
    The people who stand to profit from privatization shouldn’t be the ones “reforming” our schools or starting our wars.

  204. Randy Ewart

    Lex, you mean these answers:
    Randy: “how will private schools handle diversity?”
    Lex: “You troll, how dare you question my plan. You must like failing schools. I gurantee private schools will be able to handle diversity.”
    Randy: “The mointor report indicates our schools are on par with the nation. The Swamp Fox source shows we are at the NATIONAL average in 4th and 8th grade in math and reading in all ethnic groups.”
    Lex: “I read on several bias conservative sources that the public schools are terrible. I thought you had 33 hours in statistics graduate work, you can’t read data?”
    Randy: “one of those same sources shows We are at the national average at 4th and 8th grade.”
    Lex: “You troll, it doesn’t matter how good our schools until high school.”
    Randy: “So you are now amending your plan for school choice for high schools only?”
    No answer on that last question.

  205. Randy Ewart

    Jim, it’s like having the oil companies write the energy policy…and then question why we are “addicted to oil”. Solution? Drill in Alaska.

  206. Dave

    Jim, I see you are a Global Warming advocate. By GW, I mean “man-made” GW, not natural GW. As such, since scientists believe that the earth has gone through 7 Ice Ages, can you explain what caused the requisite 6, 7, or 8 Warming Ages? Could it have been the cave men overdoing their cookouts, for example? Also, scientists are measuring increased warming on Mars. Since humans aren’t there, could it be the ghost of Bill Bixby? Now that was a good show, My Favorite Martian. Please enlighten everyone on your GW beliefs.

  207. Randy Ewart

    Dave, we are not coming out of a mini ice age with the resulting in a “Warming Age”. The caveman cookouts were not opening a hole in the ozone.
    If you can explain away this hole, maybe I’ll be more convinced.

  208. Herb Brasher

    What is interesting to me is that certain views belong out of necessity to the neocon position. Is it because we want freedom to burn as much fuel as we please, that we don’t believe there is such a thing as global warming?
    Are we getting our views from data analysis, or is the data analysis having to pass through a pre-conceived libertarian interpretation grid?
    It reminds me of evolution. As a theory, it might be a plausible explanation for how life developed. As an explanation of origins, I have to wonder if the person holding such a view really wants to weasle out of accountability to his/her Creator. It’s like finding a Rolex watch; you can convince yourself that it came together by accident, especially if you want to believe that it doesn’t belong to anybody.
    Do we not believe in global warming because we don’t want to believe in it? The ancient Israelites didn’t believe that the Babylonians were going to destroy Jerusalem , either. They remained utterly patriotic until the bitter end.

  209. Lee

    A lot of top climatologists and scientists think that “global warming” was a short term trend which last began in the 1970s and ended in 1998.
    Most of those who believe in global warming have no scientific reasons for it. For them it is just one more of their pagan religious beliefs.

  210. Steve Gordy

    References to private schools springing up in Milwaukee omit the fact that Milwaukee County has a population greater than the top 3 counties in South Carolina COMBINED. There’s a critical mass of people who are willing and able to pay for private schools (many Catholic schools have closed there over the last 30 years). Even with state aid ($8-10K/year), it’s a chancy proposition to start a private school in Allendale or Lee counties; the money just isn’t there. I would appreciate someone doing a plausible calculation (aka, business plan) as to how a private school in Allendale county could succeed, unless it’s backed by big private money for a period of several years.

  211. Lee

    Just because you cannot conceive how to start and run a private school, doesn’t mean that “it isn’t feasible.”
    Lots of people thought it wasn’t feasible for Henry Ford to mass produce automobiles, John D. Rockefeller to standardize the grades of oils, fuels, and lubricants, for Ray Kroc to create a tiny manufacturing process for hamburgers and french fries, and to auction goods worldwide on the Internet.

  212. bud

    This just in from the USA Today:
    SAT records biggest score drop in 31 years; changes to new exam cited
    The Associated Press
    The high school class of 2006 recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years, a decline that the exam’s owner, the College Board, said was partly due to some students taking the newly lengthened test only once instead of twice.
    This underscores the amazing success of No Child Left Behind.

  213. Lee

    A continuation of all federal education spending by both Democrats and Republicans. It is not a proper role of the federal government, is too far removed from the customers, and mainly serves to enrich the bureaucrats.

  214. Randy Ewart

    Lee, read your constitution. What does the Federal government use as justification in to be involved in almost all domestic affairs. If education does not influence interstate commerce, what does?
    This is the same government that is was asked to control who gets MARRIED and pass a law for a SINGLE person (Schiavo). Funny how it should be involved in those issues,but not education.

  215. Lee

    Power-hungry politicians claiming that the Commerce clause gives them unlimited access to dictate everything simply doesn’t make it so.
    The law for Mrs. Shiavo was also illegal, just like all federal spending on education is illegal.

  216. Dave

    Bud, The Federal dollars percentage outlay of state school spending is maybe in the 4% range up to at most 8%. Blaming poor SAT performance on the feds is like blaming Heinz ketchup if you dont like Burger King Whoppers. Give your anti-Bush administration rants a break. Put blame where it belongs. First, on the idiot parents who in the first place have no business procreating new idiots, and then secondly on an archaic system that has not adapted to the societal changes in 50 years. The people I do not blame are the teachers. I have said all along let’s bump their pay to a professional level it deserves, starting pay $4000 a month, up to $100k, but also lets measure and get rid of the deadbeats hanging around doing nothing waiting to collect a pension.

  217. Jim

    As with the fact that the theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation we have at this time to explain the biodiversity of life on the planet, there is no scientific controversy about the fact that climate change is occurring and that the activities of man are influencing this process. Controversy exists regarding evolution and global warming, “climate change” if you prefer, exclusively on AM talk radio in America, a TV network run by a certain Australian billionaire, and in some fundamentalist protestant churches located primarily in the Southern half of the country. The scientific consensus is not ambiguous and was summarized by Science magazine in the link below. The summary statement is that the earth’s climate is being affected by human activities with most of the observed warming over the last 50 years likely resulting from the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. In a meta-analysis of 982 scientific, peer reviewed papers from ’93-’03 regarding climate change, none disputed the consensus nor argued that the change was “natural”. The consensus statement is supported by the :
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chang
    World Meteorological Org.
    UN Environmental Program
    American Meteorlogical Assoc
    American Geophysical Union
    American Academy of Science, et al
    I would also refer to an excellent article by NASA Scientist Dr. James Hansen from the NY Review of Books. Hansen has led NASA Climatology for years and has been silenced by the Bush admin for acknowledging climate change. A 23 yo Young Republican appointee to NASA, George Deutsch, was tasked to stifle voices in NASA who did not parrott the admin’s positions. Deutsch claimed to possess a journalism degree from Texas A&M but was soon discovered to have lied and never graduated- he resigned in disgrace. This occurred @ the same time the Wash post hired another 24 yo Young Repub to present a conservative voice to the nation (they didn’t think conservatives have enough outlets to get out their message), the founder of, Ben Domenico? It turns out Ben, who is the son of a Bush appointee, was also a plagiarizer with false credentials and I believe both resigned almost simulataneously and coincidentally the same time that Jack Abramoff, the former Pres of the Young Repubs was indicted for countless felonies. But, I digress.
    The Bush admin has recently been forced to finally admit that “maybe” climate change may have scientific legitimacy, but they are of course not ready to act on it. Like the tobbacco indus, if you add enough zeros to the check, you can always find a “scientist” to go on Fox and defend your position to the bitter end. The science will always be inconclusive for Exxon/Mobile and the oil administration.
    IMHO, (I know Lex and Dave love my endorsements), the New York Review of Books is the single best source of detailed academic info on all topics dating back 40 years on the web. The articles are superb and you can instantly search the archives(for a membership fee). The past 3 months articles are free. It is a treasuretrove of data. Anyone else agree/disagree?

  218. LexWolf

    Don’t Believe the Hype
    Al Gore is wrong. There’s no “consensus” on global warming.
    ….Mr. Gore assures us that “the debate in the scientific community is over.”
    That statement, which Mr. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, ought to have been followed by an asterisk. What exactly is this debate that Mr. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over, it has never been clear to me what this “debate” actually is in the first place.
    The media rarely help, of course. When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists “don’t have any models that give them a high level of confidence” one way or the other and went on to claim–in his defense–that scientists “don’t know. . . . They just don’t know.”
    So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the “consensus.” Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore’s preferred global-warming template–namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore’s movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.
    They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don’t know why.
    The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights……..
    So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.
    First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists–especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a “moral” crusade.
    Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce–if we’re lucky.
    Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

  219. Dave

    The Gore-bot admits that scientists “just don’t know” yet he proposes elimination of the combustion engine in our lifetimes. This kind of junk science is coming from a guy who never took a science course in college, majoring in social policy or some silly easy subject.

    Jim, I agree that the activities of man influence the climate. Take Saddam Hussein who invaded Kuwait and then ordered his fleeing troops to set fire to every oil well they could find. The way the left in this country supports Saddam, you would swear he was an avid environmentalist. The Clinton administration closed down logging on millions of acres of federal land with good intentions I suppose to save trees. Then we learn that years and years of no logging and undergrowth and accumulations of fallen branches, etc. created the situation for massive forest fires. Thanks Bill Clinton for another stupid top down federal policy approach. So yes, humans influence the global ecosystem. And then we have God himself. When he flooded the earth to purge the world of evil, and told Noah to build the ark, what would Algore have said to him then. I can hear it now. God, you can’t do this, you are going to drown a lot of my favorite trees. Yes, Al, inconvenient lies would have been a better title for his book.

    And Lex, I bet the MIT professor will be attacked as a neocon, possibly a Jew, which makes him even more suspect to the anti-Semitic leftists.

  220. Randy Ewart

    “which makes him even more suspect to the anti-Semitic leftists.” – Dave
    That was not only distasteful, but little more than a mindless parroted script because you can’t think of a better way to make a point. And, it’s a violation of the “law of the land.” I’m sure you’ll be hearing from Big Daddy soon.

  221. Randy Ewart

    What’s sad about such entrenched resistance to the possibility of global warming is that it IS a real possibility. What if you are wrong?!?! While there may not be a consensus on global warming, there is clearly nothing close to a consensus that it does not exist.
    I’m not suggesting we make combustion engines extinct, but we should take serious steps to atleast error on the side of caution. After all, we are “addicted to oil”.
    Not only that, the Chinese are getting serious about environmental engineering. Clearly they are looking to gain an edge on the US.

  222. Jim

    I have seen the WSJ article (yes I subscribe) by Lindzen and seen him in Cato Inst pubs. I am aware of some offers by others to wager a bet on the avg temp in next 20 years which he has declined unless 50:1 odds are given(see Wikipedia-interesting anecdote) I don’t disparage his creds or his ethnicity. If you read his writings further, he does admit the basic premises stated above: the earth has significantly warmed over past 100 yrs and that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have accumulated. He was on the IPCC Committee that released the concensus statement. A scientific consensus does not mean that there are no scientists that disagree with any aspect of the minutiae of the topic (I will post a few point by point rebuttals to the WSJ piece which no one in their right mind should read). It is a general statement which best expresses the majority opinion regarding an issue at that moment in time and our fund of knowledge is never complete. The body of scientific knowledge is by nature dynamic and being continuously being replenished, verified, corrected, and amended. If he wants to debate the details of the science, that is his job and mandate as a scientist. For us idiots on this blog to conclude that global warming is a “hoax’ because our party leaders have enormous financial incentive to continue the status quo is certainly putting party before country (or world for that matter).
    Although I have no reason to question the motives of Lindzen, I do of the policymakers in power who are financially beholden to the oil/energy companies and would be as likely to promote alternative energy as Bill Clinton would have been to stop hanging out with loose women-it just ain’t happening. The world is looking to the US for leadership on this issue (given our perennial title of world’s biggest polluter). I think the goal of the elimination of the need for the internal combustion engine is quite noble and involuntary unless you think divine intervention is going to create a loaves and fishes effect on the dwindling oil supply. Finally to dismiss Hansen as a Gorebot seems to indicate someone has a)been spending too much time with the king of the Dittoheads, and b) didn’t even read the article or any other articles by Hansen (the given upon which Dittohead logic relies). I have heard Rush’s pronouncements as he “proves” climate change is a “liberal hoax”. Convincing stuff-the “there were hurricanes in the past you/it was hot in the past you know”, type of scientific logic. Finally, are there any nat/international orgs that have contradicted the above premises, and have other opinions?

  223. Ready to Hurl

    News flash for Dave:
    “Attacking” someone as a neo-con is a perfectly acceptable observation and characterization, not an ad hominem insult.
    I have no evidence that Lindzen is a neo-con, however. If he were a neo-con then his scientific opinion might be doubted if he were also an avid follower of Leo Strauss, the philosophical godfather of neo-cons who advocated organized lying and deception of the populace.

  224. LexWolf

    Although I have no reason to question the motives of Lindzen, I do of the policymakers in power who are financially beholden to the oil/energy companies and would be as likely to promote alternative energy….
    Has it ever occurred to you that GW proponents might be just as much, and more, beholden to:
    1. environmental groups, shaking down their members for contributions to fight GW – there wouldn’t be much moolah without neverending “threats” to be fought with your money.
    2. climate scientists, fighting for grants and contributions – not much chance of those if there aren’t many “questions” to be answered.
    3. journalists who wouldn’t have much to write about if there weren’t a new threat or study coming out every day or two.
    4. certain businesses which would benefit from any spending to “combat” GW.
    On and on and on. There is an entire industry built around GW which is far from impartial, disinterested or only trying to “protect us”.
    Finally, did you know that environmentalist groups, just like most lefty groups, get far more money from big business (including oil companies) than groups on the right do. Read this, it’s a real eye-opener!

  225. Ready to Hurl

    What a load of piffle Lexie shovels out.
    1. environmental groups, shaking down their members for contributions to fight GW – there wouldn’t be much moolah without neverending “threats” to be fought with your money.
    Environmental groups have been on the decline for years in the face of a vicious onslaught from well-funded rightwing thinktanks, faux grass roots groups and industry trade groups– all lavishly funded by companies who stand to benefit handsomely from eliminating environmental protection.
    Doesn’t meet the laugh test.
    2. climate scientists, fighting for grants and contributions – not much chance of those if there aren’t many “questions” to be answered.
    There are always “questions to be answered” in science.
    What do you think would be more lucrative: investigating a worldwide crisis with no obvious governmental bodies or private enterprises interested in challenging a super-profitable industry’s existence or investigating phenomenon that might hold out great profit for private industry?
    3. journalists who wouldn’t have much to write about if there weren’t a new threat or study coming out every day or two.
    Journalists actually haven’t cover this problem very well until Gore made the movie and popularized the crisis with easy to understand graphics and dramatic scenes.
    The media would vastly prefer to cover sexy murder cases or whatever made-for-tee-vee Bush extravaganza spoon-fed to them. Just look at the coverage of the Jon Benet Ramsay case, the girl in Aruba, the Gary Condit intern murder, the OJ trial, and on and on.
    4. certain businesses which would benefit from any spending to “combat” GW.
    I’m hard pressed to imagine any particular businesses that could muster even ten percent as much economic power as the oil, energy and pertrochemical industry.
    May be you’d like to reveal these mysterious companies. Better yet, put a list in a basement bank vault and call Geraldo.

  226. Jim

    The issue of fighting for grant $ is addressed in my referenced articles. It is actually a more effective technique to obtain money by stating inconclusive evidence (more testing and $ are sorely needed to solve the problem) rather than making a consensus statement that a problem has been worked out fairly conclusively (so why give it more $).
    Second, todays paper shows military contractor CEO pay has doubled since 2000, including the 27 mill made by Halliburton CEO last year. How coincidental the war profiteers are big W supporters. I won’t even mention stock value over past 4 years.
    Finally some info from yest: The top 1% of indiv income now control 34% of all wealth in the country with an avg of 15 mill/person (up 1.25 mill in past yr). This is 190x greater than the avg American.
    The “bottom” 90% control 19% of all assets in US with the bottom 33% having less than 10,000 in assets. The bottom 20% are in debt of 11,000.
    Other than the opposition to evolutionary science, I can think of no Repub policy position that does not benefit exclusively the wealthy and corp America. All come with huge financial incentives. I can certainly think of no Bush policy of the past 6 years that has been directed to any sense of the common good. Any help with this?

  227. Lee

    Scientists blame sun for global warming.
    The Sun is more active than it has ever been in the last 300 years.
    Ancient trees reveal most warm spells are caused by the sun.
    Climate changes such as global warming may be due to changes in the sun rather than to the release of greenhouse gases on Earth.
    Climatologists and astronomers speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Philadelphia say the present warming may be unusual – but a mini ice age could soon follow.
    merican Association for the Advancement of Science

  228. Doug Ross

    Congratulations to Ridge View H.S. for showing the largest gain in 2006 SAT test scores in Richland 2. Their 16 point gain helped balance out the 18 point drop by Richland Northeast H.S. and allowed the district to show a 1 point overall gain.
    Unfortunately, the variations in the scores across the state and the country shows that the change in the SAT exam makes year to year comparisons pointless for at least another two or three years. It will be interesting to see how districts like Richland 1 spin the results (a -28 point drop across the entire district) when their neighbor district showed a 1 point gain.
    In Lexington County, LEX 1 improved by 10 points, while LEX 2, LEX 3, LEX 4, and LEX 5 all dropped by 27, 59, 51, and 25 points respectively.
    The writing scores (which are not included in the composite scores listed above) are all over the place. Interesting to see that Ridge View’s writing score (586) was
    the highest in Richland County by 80 points over A.C. Flora and by 90-120 points over the rest of the schools. If that number is not a typo, then I hope Ridge View is sharing whatever they are doing in preparing students for the writing exam with the rest of the district.

  229. Doug Ross

    And let’s look at the results at Allendale High School. Only 23 out of 92 seniors took the SAT test and the average score was 778, a drop of over 100 points from the year before. There is no way to spin that performance as anything but abysmal.
    And it takes us full circle back to the questions about whether we should wait 13 years as Brad suggests to see if the supposed “reforms” are working. These kids have spent 12 years getting to a point where they have little chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.

  230. Lee

    In the real world, Allendale HS has one year to fix the problem for the next class, not 13 to ruin 13 more classes.

  231. Dave

    To Brad and Cindi, if we would simply just raise everyone’s taxes and give Allendale lots more money, this could all be fixed in no time at all. But the greedy taxpayers dont want to open their wallets. What I said.

  232. Randy Ewart

    In a study referred to by the Dean of Education at USC, the drop outs were surveyed as to why they left school. The biggest issue was parental involvement.
    Look at the national SAT averages correlated with family income. As income increases, SAT scores increase.
    Look at Allendale’s per capita income level and proportion of the county that has a hs diploma and you’ll see why their schools are so low, why SAT scores are so low, and why their drop out rate is so high.

  233. Jim

    For years, conservatives argued that the “schools didn’t matter”, it was the family that educated a child (this would help justify “bare bones”/ “only the necessities” bugeting to “save” the taxpayers dollars from being spent on the public welfare our children). Ironically, they had a point in that as we’ve discussed, students performance correlates directly with family resources/involvement. I’ve never visited the infamous Allendale district, but I can only imagine the dearth of family wealth and involvement-stories of children who have never had a book read to them at home or had their own box of crayons are likely typical. I would like to know how much money has been “wasted” in trying to educate the most needy in our state. My suspicion is that it is not much and that we should be doing much more. Mark Warner of VA instituted many reforms for rural schools which included doubling teacher pay in rural areas with other incentives to bring in quality teachers. The efforts are reportedly paying off. Bottom line, the worst performing schools need to be radically improved, but the performance of our children more likely mirrors our own success/failure than the specifics of the school attended (maybe it was as much your fault Lex as your daughter’s AP teacher-you know, personal responsibility)
    The effects of devaluing labor and failing to reward the workers of our society for the past 30 years, known euphemistically as globalization, are impossible to ignore. I’ve already posted the stats of wages being down 1% since 1980, while the top 1% is up 134%. Above, the stat that 20% of the population has a negative wealth of 11,000 should be alarming to all. The right has succeeded in killing off the unions which once insisted that employee paychecks rise with rising productivity and corp profit, but those days are long gone. Corp profit and productivty are at all time highs, while wages have plummeted. There are ads for starting pilot salaries of 21,000 while the comp continues to seek a 19% pay cut. The reality is that for a vast majority of Americans, work and labor don’t provide a living wage or any security.
    In light of this, today’s CEO stats are incredible. Of the top 34 military contractors, the CEO’s have been compensated just under 1 billion dollars since the start of the war (984 million). The stock is up an avg of 48%, while the S&P is down 5%. The avg oil CEO salary last year was 34 million dollars-last year! The avg worker’s pay continues to sink. This level of inequality is unprecedented since the age of the robber baron and will undoubtedly lead to social instability. It is easy for the fortunate of us to tell those in Allendale or New Orleans to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and rise up the “old fashioned way” as the decider stated Monday. But at present, the odds of someone in the bottom 1/5 rising to the top 1/5 is mathematically, almost zero (<.1%- NYT Race and Class Series). We are approaching the dawn of a caste system where birthplace determines ones fate As the life of our Pres shows, it is nearly impossible for someone in the top 1/5 to fall to the bottom 1/5 th despite a valiant effort- alcoholism into the 40's, bankruptcies, failed businesses, arrests, etc-family welfare and bailouts are much more powerful and effective than govt assistance. So now we hear calls for "privatization" of the last few (and by far largest and most lucrative) segments of our society that the CEO/Corp world hasn't gotten a hold of- Soc Sec and Education. 57 million students k-12 in the US equals very nice profit for America's billionaire class. But this assurance of savings and increased efficiency flies in the face of the realities in Iraq, defense spending, Katrina contracts,etc. These plans will simply divert billions of public funds into the coffers of GOP allies on Wall St. It also, not coincidentally, fulfills the former Pres of the Young Repubs Jack Abramoff's dream and vision: "We do not seek peaceful coexistence with the left. our job is to remove them from power permanently." To fulfill this mission, you use the power of the state to afflict their social movements, to wreck their proudest government agencies and divert their fiunding streams-"Defund the left!" But it is really only about the poor children of Allendale. Yeah, right.

  234. Randy Ewart

    2000 Census and SAT scores
    27% white persons (2004)
    60% hs diploma (25 years or older) (2000)
    9% bach degree (25 years or older) (2000)
    Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $46,900
    Median household income, 2003 $20,920
    Persons below poverty, percent, 2003 28.4%
    25% srs took SAT 778 ave
    White persons 83.6% (2004)
    84% hs diploma (25 years or older) (2000)
    25% bach degree (25 years or older) (2000)
    Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $106,300
    Median household income, 2003 $45,677
    Persons below poverty, percent, 2003 10.5%
    80% srs took SAT 1066 ave
    SAT vs Family Income 2006 HS Seniors
    <10k 839
    10-20k 880
    20-30k 911
    30-40k 950
    40-50k 974
    50-60k 994
    60-70k 1000
    70-80k 1014
    80-100k 1038
    >100K 1069

  235. Doug Ross

    From the Allendale District school report card for 2005 on the dept. of Ed website:
    Allendale dollars spent per pupil $10,651
    Average spent at similar districts $8,729 Average for all districts in SC $7,434
    Only 2.1% of the seniors qualified for the LIFE scholarship. 47% of PACT test takers scored Below Basic in English and Math… yet were probably moved on from grade to grade.
    And we can’t even try something, anything different for these kids?

  236. Randy Ewart

    I agree, something has to be done. Compare the black vs white SATs, 849 vs almost 1034. Talk about a GAP!
    I’ll keep beating the same drum. You won’t hear Rex or Floyd talk about meaningful reform for this in the state super race. Everything is focused on private choice.
    She offers the “Diverse Provider Model”, a private management approach without the market aspect, to help the Allendales. This approach was instituted in Philly 4 years ago. Not only have results have been mixed, how does this large urban approach apply to rural SC?
    So while we debate many substantive issues here, the candidates run on a single issue.

  237. Jim

    It would be interesting to see how the additional 2,000/student is spent-school lunch, teacher salaries, facilities (doubt it) etc.(Doesn’t seem like much considering the profound handicaps faced by the kids-don’t think that will overcome having educated parents, trips to Europe, internet, newspapers, magazines, and an unlimited worldview and potential) There have been many ideas posted above which could be acceptable to right and left(magnet schools, public run charter schools, inc teacher compensation, increased govt regulation of “failing schools”, etc) Is “fixing” the problem bringing their performance up to nat standards based on other impoverished schools or to state avg? The only long term solutions have to address underlying causes of poverty: namely to ensure that the benefits of growth and prosperity at the top (“trickle down”) are shared more broadly across the income spectrum, as they were from ’45-73 (all segments of society made gains economically and educationally). This can only be accomplished with restoration of a more progressive income tax (we have achieved the Forbes flat tax presently), affordable health care, an increased minimum wage and enhanced labor support and protection,etc. There is a price to be paid to live in a decent society and we are not paying it presently.
    Randy, I attended curriculum night tonight at my kids elem school and it was impressive. The AGP classes look outstanding and all the teachers have their own website which they indiv manage. The facilities are clean and safe and there were no waste or lavish accoutrements to be found-parents signed up to provide “additional” supplies. I was proud to be a taxpayer and felt I was getting my money’s worth. Parents in all districts should have the right to the same experience.

  238. Randy Ewart

    Jim, your post reminds me of a talk I had with a teacher at Flora. He commented on how “wealthy” Flora is with all the computer, media center offerings etc. compared to the rural school he had just left. I went to Flora from Spring Valley and experienced a significant drop in resources and was thinking how much less Flora has.
    Spring Valley was, I’m pretty sure, the first public high school in SC to start a foundation. They do a tremendous job and raise huge bucks for the school. I flew with the former principal to Silicon Valley to meet with and lobby an alum who had helped start the search engine EXCITE (it was a much bigger player on the Net 10 years ago when we went). He ended up donating a cool 100k to the school.

  239. LexWolf

    I agree, something has to be done.
    Self-identified Randy Ewart,
    I’m going to put you on the spot here and hope you will step up to the plate and come up with an actual answer for a change.
    Allendale spends $10,651, far above the average for SC. Allendale has been in the “reform” process for 5 or 6 years now since the whole system was taken over by the state because of its poor performance. There have been new administrators, new teachers, new almost everything, besides just lots of moolah. Yet their 793 SAT score is still absolutely atrocious and you’ll never convince any reasonable person that the “education” provided to Allendale kids meets even minimal standards.
    In short, it would seem that the public school apparatus in Allendale has done everything it possibly could and there was no shortage of time and money – yet there have been zero positive results. Wouldn’t this be the poster child for full school choice?
    Let’s take that $10,651, adjust for inflation and guarantee that this program will continue for at least 20 years (so that buildings and capital equipment can be properly amortized/depreciated). Another $800 or so and we would be at Heathwood Hall tuition levels so clearly there would be money to be made by a go-getter entrepreneur. Let’s see if I’m all wrong when I predict that schools will spring up if there is predictable school choice funding.
    It would take a year or two to build the school(s) unless the state provided the facilities so things could get started right away. Transportation could continue to be provided by the state. If the schools don’t get off the ground right away, kids could continue in their current public schools until the schools are ready. Then parents would have total choice between public and private schools.
    Where’s the downside? Even if the private system utterly and totally failed, it couldn’t possibly be any worse than what we have now, so what do we have to lose by giving Allendale kids at least a chance at a better future?? Please be specific.
    Wouldn’t you like to know for sure if I’m all wrong? Here’s your chance to find out.

  240. Randy Ewart

    Lex, in your haste to dismiss anyone who does not praise your “plan” you overlooked the fact that I agreed on more than one occasion that a pilot program for choice would be beneficial because it provides data.
    You apparently did not notice because long ago when I first had the gall to ask you some reasonable questions about your “plan” and challenged your assertion that SC schools are terrible because they are run by “educrats” you labelled me as a defender of the status quo – either I’m with you or against you.
    I contend that there are more options than simply full choice or status quo. It takes some critical thought and a realization that one has not cornered the market on brilliant thought.
    It’s a world of difference though to have a pilot program or offer choice as one of many options compared to committing the entire state to an unproven plan for which most details are lacking.

  241. Randy Ewart

    To specifically answer your question, I would agree in principle (I need more details) because something does have to be done.
    I have my doubts because I don’t think a traditional model of education, private or public, is going to work in such a poor county with such a relatively low proportion of people with hs diplomas or bachelors degrees. If the community ills are not addressed, I don’t think schools will experience long term gains.
    There are many programs that have been successful in such areas, but worked for a small proportion of the students. I’m talking affecting the majority of students.

  242. LexWolf

    So your answer is yes?
    If so, why not just let things take their course and let the private schools figure out what needs to be done? Given the extremely poor results so far, we certainly don’t need any state officials meddling in this process, as I think they’ve more than had their chance to produce positive results and have failed utterly.
    Even if only some students benefit, isn’t that still far better than virtually no students at all, as it is now?
    Besides, don’t you think that this portion of students would do far better at ameliorating the societal ills of Allendale than yet more big government programs? By getting their HS diplomas and even college educations they would automatically raise the percentages of Allendale residents with those qualifications, wouldn’t they?
    In fact, this is one of the most insidious features of the “we have to fix all the societal problems first” argument. Obviously, it would take a long, long time and lots of money to make a dent in those problems. We’ve already spent about $2 trillion on the War On Poverty in the past 40 years, without readily apparent progress. Why keep going down that failed route? Let’s just give our kids a full school choice option. A better education would probably go a long way to fixing those societal problems which are always used as excuses for why our public schools “can’t” do any better. A virtuous circle!

  243. Dave

    From what I see one of the main issues with the public schools has been the toleration of hopelessly incompetent parents who are destined to make their offspring fail. And with the present system setup, it may be nigh impossible to ever change that due to precedent, lawyers, and other issues. My proposals would be much more radical but in time would correct the situation. Because they are radical, they will not be applied and would be fought intensively by the do gooders. Here goes a few of my ideas:
    1. Stop tolerating indifference from parents. Many parents receive welfare checks and aid checks from the government. Reduce or totally phase out those checks to families where the students are not doing homework and making progress. DSS counselors would be assigned to monitor and review failing homes. Once a decision is made to remove all support monies, the children are taken out of that home and put into government funded but church run foster homes. Taken out of their failing and nonsupportive homes, these kids would have a chance. The side effect would be the end of identification with gangstas, no hiphop nonsense, distancing from the drug and booze crowds. Exceptions would be made for children with learning disabilities. This approach gives an incentive for teachers to help these kids perform or they lose them from the public schools, and parents if they want to keep their own kids. Tough and radical but it would work.
    2. Uniforms in all public and private schools.
    3. Earned entry only into the college track starting in the 9th grade. Non college track students would shift to totally different facilities for vocation training.
    4. Removal of discipline problems completely from regular schools. Problem school students would go class from 6 PM to 6 AM. This would take most of the troublemaking punks off of the streets in the evening and late at night. They would have incentive to get back into regular schools. All problem schools would be single gender. The problem schools would be similar to military boot camps with severe disciplinary measures.
    5. Bump teacher starting pay to $40k with bonuses for raising test rankings.

    These are only a few of my ideas. What I see proposed for the most part by the administrators in power are band aids doomed to fail. If education is taken seriously, then serious solutions are required.

  244. Jim

    We need to ensure that the facilities in Allendale,et al and the opportunities that the kids have is comparable to state standards. These schools should have the requisite % of “highly qualified” teachers, exposure to similar programs and additionally pre-school and after school opportunities that exceed those in the Columbia suburbs. While this is achieved, I think allowing parents to transfer to other public institutions is reasonable. Children from Allendale are not going to be going to HH or Hammond and we might as well cease in that absurd discussion. These schools were created expressly for the purpose of keeping priviledged children away from certain “other” kids. I have yet to see any headmaster of a tony private school call for open enrollment of poor kids via “vouchers”. They don’t want that element in school, don’t want govt oversight that comes with the $ and don’t want to have full exposure of results/performance. We don’t need to transfer public funds to the private sector-it is a bad idea and the proponents know, once it is started, the bloodletting of funds will continue to grow and expand. It won’t be just the Allendale kids for long. Once the public schools are defunded, they won’t be coming back.
    As for the Gerge Will 2 trillion figure in the war on poverty, I don’t know any liberal that is holding their breath until all poverty is eliminated, but significant progress has been made. 2 trill is an all encompassing figure of social spending over 4 decades. We have spent almost 1/2 that in 4 years in Iraq. In 40 years, through Medicare, Soc Security, Medicaid, etc-we have almost eliminated extreme poverty in the elderly-can you imagine a country with no medicare, where the elderly had to find private ins and pay the premiums based on market costs? Premiums are unaffordable for 47 mill younger heathier people. Combined with Soc Sec, the programs have allowed the elderly to be cared for and to not subsist on “cat food” in the final years. I have seen no one reject the govt assistance in even in the heart of red America-I am waiting for the 1st Conservative Repub (even the wealthy ones) that refuses disability payments, medicare asst,, govt funding nursing home care, free scooters, etc. We could discuss this ad infinitum. We are all “blue” when it comes to our lives and family. Ironically, the costs of medicare have skyrocketed primarily due to the Repub efforts at “privatization”-drug bill, 3rd party payers-all efforts to get Wall St in on the kill. Similarly, medicaid at least gives poor children some access to care, although imperfect. So for 2 trill over 40 tears, there have been some benefits. I don’t know if any one on this blog is part of the rising “super-rich” or on the take with these lucrative “private” contracts in Bushworld, but I think that Lex and Lee et al need to be aware that they are about to get what they have wished for. I do not thik that the grass is always greener. Which side is the one truly holding back progress in this country?

  245. Randy Ewart

    Dave, I think you are a little strong in rhetoric, but I think you have some solid ideas. I’d actually like uniforms.
    “Uniforms in all public and private schools.” – Dave
    Richland County is against the idea because it makes it harder to identify students who commit a crime – “he was wearing a blue oxford and khaki pants”. I don’t know if I buy that, but I’m not the public safety official who’s studied the issue.
    “5. Bump teacher starting pay to $40k with bonuses for raising test rankings.” – you’d have to increase the state budget by 50%
    “1. Stop tolerating indifference from parents” – I think you are on to something, in principle.
    Night school for problem students is your best idea, I think. Maybe not even night school but an alternative setting. The vocational idea fits in well here.

  246. Lee

    A lot of teachers already make $40,000 to $65,000 for 9 months work.
    Half of all the supplemental retirement plans in TIAA-CREF have over $1,000,000 in assets.

  247. Lee

    The “biggest issue of parental involvement” causing drop out rates is cover jargon for the fact that most of them HAVE NO PARENTS. They are born out of wedlock to other unwed dropouts.
    This is another example of why educrats can’t solve the problems – they can’t face the problems. They are afraid to use proper English to delineate the actual root causes.

  248. Dave

    Randy, we wouldnt have to increase education spending. I would remove layers of bureaucrats and consultants and put those who can teach into a classroom, and send the rest out to get a real job.

  249. Ready to Hurl

    Lex sez:[1]Let’s take that $10,651 […] Another $800 or so and we would be at Heathwood Hall tuition levels [2]so clearly there would be money to be made by a go-getter entrepreneur. Let’s see if I’m all wrong when I predict that schools will spring up if there is predictable school choice funding.
    Since Lex refuses to actually investigate or tabulate what it really costs to educate an HH student, his first statement is extremely suspect– if not outright false.
    As to “entrepeneurs springing up”– there has to be a profit motive for that to happen. The HH model doesn’t show a profit margin. In fact, it seems to require subsidies just to break even.
    If operating schools offered the probability of profit then entrepeneurs would be doing it NOW. There is nothing to stop entrepeneurs from opening schools. Certainly, people like Lex, Gov. Sanford and various rightwing thinktanks have spent years convincing the public that public schools are “failing the customer.” Thus, there should be a ready market for private schools.
    In fact, there are a number of private schools. Most of them are subsidized as an adjunct to their religious training. The remaining handful (Hammond, HH, Sloan, Glen Forest) serve well-heeled niche markets.
    We don’t need vouchers to subsidize private schools or parochial schools, entrepeneurs could open a charter school. In fact, one entrepeneur, Chris Whittle, has attempted this route with extremely “mixed results.

  250. Lee

    Hurl, get Randy and 13 other liberal pals together, and I will remediate your education for $10,000 each – cheaper than public education, and much better. Pay attention and your earning power will increase that much in one year.

  251. Randy Ewart

    Lee the anonymous dismisses those that disagree with him as “liberal”.
    Lee, define “liberal” as used in your last post. What threshold must be crossed to qualify?
    I understand that you have vast experience in education (as well as in economics and engineering). Please share the percent of drop outs who have “no parents” to support your statement; “the fact that most of them HAVE NO PARENTS.” If it’s a fact, you clearly have it available with a link.

  252. Randy Ewart

    “remove layers of bureaucrats and consultants and put those who can teach into a classroom, and send the rest out to get a real job.” – Dave, how much will this free up?

  253. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, I think that your five points have merit. At least they recognize and try to deal with a number of the problems which we’ve discussed ad nauseum here.
    The details of some of the solutions were a little whacked (6 p.m. to 6 a.m. school “days” still leaves all of daylight when parents are almost certain to be absent) but I saw a glimmer of hope.
    Then you bring the predictable educrat crap.
    What are you going to call the massive number of people who will be necessary to implement #1: DSS “counselors” to “monitor” the homes of “non-performing students; jackbooted DSS officials to take kids from their homes; “useless” administrators to “shuffle paper”; and, religious foster home entrepeneurs to keep them on the “straight and narrow.”
    Anyway, I think that we can boil it all down to “accountability.”
    Schools need to be accountable for providing a safe atmosphere conducive for learning; curriculum relevant to a wide variety of needs; and, standards that give value to grade advancement and diplomas.
    Parents need to be held accountable for adequately feeding and clothing students; making sure that students attend school; and, for students being prepared for school.

  254. some guy

    Things on this thread continue to be interesting. I think there are a few things to consider with the Allendale situation.
    — It would be interesting to know if the currently open private schools have any interest in serving these kids with all the low SATs…..just like I wonder if LexWolf will be pushing for poor, struggling students to get into Heathwood Hall.
    — Still, $10,000 per student ought to be enough to make SOMETHING happen. That’s enough money to at least get some churches interested in starting schools, I would guess. For others, though, school construction costs or facilities rentals may still be cost prohibitive. The $10,000 per student in public schools doesn’t even get into those kinds of costs — capital expenses. And most private schools operate not only on per student tuition….they have endowment support and donations. It’s not just the per student expenditure that makes schools work.
    — LexWolf pointed out that the public system could build the buildings, and the private schools could take over the space. Maybe that would work. I don’t know. Seems awfully complicated, though, I would say….How many buildings does the government build? How big are the buildings? Does the government have to, then, determine how many students will be in each “private” school so they can figure out how to deal with construction details? Do they build tiny buildings for schools that only intend to serve 50 students? How do the public schools make sure they’ve got room for the students who don’t get into private schools or whatever? Lots of logistical issues to be worked out, I figure.
    — Finally, if the kids ALREADY in private schools get the voucher or tax credit money, too, then that ups the costs….in other words, the $10,000 per student in Allendale gets stretched a good deal thinner. Maybe it would not end up at $10,000 per student currently in Allendale’s public schools.

  255. LexWolf

    Some guy,
    when I said that the public system could possibly provide buildings for private schools, I didn’t mean building them. That would take 3 times as long and cost twice as much as any private company would need for the job.
    I don’t believe that schools have to be these modern-day Taj Mahals with every conceivable bell and whistle that our school districts insist on building. Just keeping to the essentials would save us lots of money that could be better used on actual classroom teaching (compare the buildings of our local private schools sometime with any of the newer public schools to see the difference).
    I was thinking more along the lines of the government guaranteeing a lease or mortgage (or float a bond issue, like they do for the public schools) on a suitable available building. Maybe an old mill, office building or shopping center. In Allendale’s case, probably the best solution would be to simply throw out the public school apparatus and turn over the existing school buildings to private enterprise.
    Why shouldn’t the kids already in private schools also get the money? Somehow I don’t see Allendale County as a playground of millionaires but as I said many times before, the “rich” will continue to send their kids to private school no matter what. But what about the borderline families where the parents have to work maybe a second or third job to pay for tuition – something they are happy to do to provide their kid with a better education. Why would anyone want to penalize those model parents?
    You mention that $10,000 per kid should be “enough to make SOMETHING happen”. Quite so and that’s the key point I keep making. Even the $8,000 per kid state average probably would be enough. Why not give every kid in the state a voucher for that amount, usable in any public or private school with available “slots”. The worst-case scenario would be that all the kids would simply stay in the same school they are in currently. However, I suspect that there would quickly appear plenty of other options, even if they are not “justified” to Randy’s exalted standards and even if we don’t know yet where they will get their teachers or facilities from. This is America, after all. If there’s money available, somebody will find a way to earn that money.

  256. Lee

    Randy, I didn’t use the word “liberal” in that latest post that you didn’t dare answer. Maybe you are just feeling guilty. That would be a sign of hope.

  257. Randy Ewart

    “However, I suspect that there would quickly appear plenty of other options, even if they are not “justified” to Randy’s exalted standards and even if we don’t know yet where they will get their teachers or facilities from.” Lex
    Silly me, wanting to know if there would be teachers at these schools or how would we pay for the buildings.
    I love the “float a bond issue” Lex. Let’s do that and send the money to the private schools where the tax payers will not have any oversight. Again, how silly of me that I don’t let this meet my “exalted standards”. And I’m really nit-picky about expecting answers before turning over the entire state school system.

  258. LexWolf

    “And I’m really nit-picky about expecting answers before turning over the entire state school system.”
    Aaah, Randy but we’re not talking about doing that at all. We’re actually talking about giving parents a choice to do that if are dissatisfied with the educracy. And even then they are only making a choice for their own kids – other parents might choose differently. Who should make that choice, a parent looking for for his kid’s best interest or some educrat looking out for his job security?

  259. Randy Ewart

    “We’re not talking about doing that at all”? OH? You don’t want complete state wide choice? Are you backing down on this point as you have with the elementary and middle schools? You plan is in flux, eh?
    To remind you, YOUR source on performance of schools shows that the elementary and middle schools are mostly on par with the NATIONAL AVERAGE. You AGREED because you said it’s not “where the schools start but where they finish” in reference to the high schools being behind the national average.
    We have established that you see secondary education as the problem, so you now propose private school choice only for high school?

  260. Lee

    I’ll bet some education entrepreneurs would find a way to motivate and educate even the poorest children for $8,000 each a year.
    They might figure out how to do it profitably for $5,000 a year, and set up a reward program to those who graduate out of the remaining $3,000. That is a pool of $36,000 per pupil over 12 years. A student who makes 1100 on the SAT gets $20,000 for college. A diploma gets $6,000, or whatever.
    The free market has lots more imagination and flexibility to motivate students.

  261. Randy Ewart

    Years ago, there was a Wildewood high school. Spring Valley HS was so successful, the private high school closed. They had a ready source of parents with plenty of money to invest.

  262. Lee

    And why don’t you know the reason that private school closed? What happened to the government school argument that private schools were all about segregation? I guess not.

  263. Randy Ewart

    Lee, private schools result in de facto segregation. I certainly don’t think Lex and others put their children in private school for those reasons. But the demographics speak volumes. In SC public schools around 65% of students are white. In private it’s around 85%.

  264. Ready to Hurl

    Randy sez: …private schools result in de facto segregation. I certainly don’t think Lex and others put their children in private school for those reasons.
    Randy, you’re much too kind.
    In polite company some of the more sophisticated parents speak in demographic terms (code).
    In reality, race, class and culture are conflated. They can’t be separated– except in isolated situations (like HH) where upper-middle class, non-white students leaven the upper-middle class white student body. (And, I’m betting that, even at HH, the white kids are listening to vulgar rag and hip hop music.)
    True story: parents of a certain elementary school in District 5 opposed the last bond referendum because their kids might be changed from the Chapin cluster to the Dutch Fork cluster.
    The difference between the two schools?
    (Both schools were going to be overcrowded without new schools built with the bond. Both can claim offer equally challenging academics.)
    Chapin HS is 92% white and 7% free/reduced lunch. DFHS is 70% white and 15% free/reduced lunch.
    Draw your own conclusions.

  265. Lee

    What bothers the government teachers is that 15% of private school students are non-white, indicating that vouchers might enable more of them to make that choice.
    Public schools practice a lot of segregation, internally, with all-black classes.

  266. LexWolf

    Not just classes. Entire schools are largely segregated.
    The great thing, though, is that the pro-plantation side has now resorted to accusing the pro-reform side of racism. That’s always a clear sign that they are losing the debate on its merits. We’re making progress.

  267. LexWolf

    Lieberman’s Right About Another War: Vouchers
    September 1, 2006
    The war in Iraq is not the only war that has inspired the Democratic Party to act disgracefully.
    There’s another war that is destroying lives in a different way; that is in many ways just as bitter as the Iraqi quagmire – and it is another war that, strangely enough, involves Joe Lieberman as the outsider, at odds with his own party.
    The domestic war in which Joe Lieberman finds himself embroiled involves “school choice,” vouchers – a ticket out of town for the tens of thousands of largely minority kids stuck in hideous urban schools from which they can’t escape.
    It is the civil rights debate of the new century – a war for the hearts and minds of Americans who have become numb to the horrible sin that has been inflicted on minority populations, by dooming the next generation to mediocre or worse educational opportunities in school systems that have little incentive to improve.
    Joe Lieberman was one of the first national politicians of either party to express support for vouchers – including a proposed experiment in Washington, D.C., to voucher up a storm – an attack on the nation’s really awful public school systems.
    But the Democratic Party had long ago sold its soul to the teachers unions – what was really important was the comfort of the teachers, not the future of the students.
    When Joe was picked to be Al Gore’s vice presidential running mate, he had to shut up about the voucher stuff. It was almost comical to see him doing the little scene one has to do when the boss tells you that the world is flat, not round; that actually helping kids in trouble was not appropriate for the ticket representing the Democratic Party…… (click on the headline above for the rest of the article)

  268. Randy Ewart

    What bothers the government teachers is that 15% of private school students are non-white, indicating that vouchers might enable more of them to make that choice. – Lee
    Dang, you got me Lee. Every day I go in with this nagging anxiety that private schools have a 15% non-white population.
    Public schools practice a lot of segregation, internally, with all-black classes. – Lee
    Yes, it’s life imitating art. We watched the latest rendition of Survivor and made a conscious effort to segregate students. Funny how no parents have picked up on this. I’d better tell guidance about our segregation mandate. My AP ratio is 7:9 white to minority. We’d better transfer one of those populations.

  269. Randy Ewart

    “school choice,” vouchers – a ticket out of town for the tens of thousands of largely minority kids stuck in hideous urban schools – Lex
    Do you have a shred of evidence that this is the “ticket”?…oh ya, according to you educators control the country. America wants vouchers and we teachers are so powerful we have stopped all efforts for full school choice.
    what was really important was the comfort of the teachers, not the future of the students. – Lex
    Is this more unbiased research from or are you the creator of such demogoguery? Yes, LOL, I became a teacher and make my decisions based on comfort.

  270. Ready to Hurl

    Not just classes. Entire schools are largely segregated.
    Just out of curiousity, Lexie, what percentage non-white was the public school that your kids went to? That your HH daughter would have attended?
    It’s plain bizarre to witness the adamant denial of history by a supporter of the same SC Republican Party which rode opposition to integration to electoral success.
    Since the Dems and proponents of public schools are “pro-plantation” in your house of mirrors view, I wonder why African-Americans haven’t flocked to the SC GOP banner. Do you think that they’re just too stupid?

  271. LexWolf

    Aaah, but they are, RTH, they are. It may not be a stampede yet but the fence around your plantation is slowly, but surely, falling apart. Check this:
    Floyd gets endorsement of some black leaders
    BTW, it was actually the SC Democrat Party which rode opposition to integration to initial electoral success but ultimately to electoral failure. Remember all those Dem governors and police chiefs standing in the door of school houses all over the South?! Remember ol’ Fritz Hollings raising the confederate flag over the state house in 1962?
    Here, check out some of Fritz’ “accomplishments” while he was governor. Yeah, I know, he switched to the GOP later on so it’s all the Reps’ fault, right? Except he didn’t. He’s still alive and he’s still a Dem.

  272. some guy

    Just for the record:
    Harold Mitchell says he’s opposed to Put Parents in Charge, so he’s not supporting Karen Floyd in order to advance that issue.
    Also, while Fritz Hollings was no liberal in the 1960s by today’s standards, I think most historians agree that he was more progressive on the race issue than most Southern governors of the day. I think also that it’s historical fact that Hollings appointed a group to come up with ways to commemorate the Civil War; I do not think it’s as simple as Hollings making a defiant gesture by hoisting the flag.
    Further, it was the state GOP that in 1994!!!! put a vote on the Confederate flag on its primary ballot in order to attract the vote of the rebel flag crowd. That is clearly more relevant to any discussion of present-day politics than debating Hollings’ record of the 1960s (though, again, I think most historians would say he was among the more progressive Southern governors on the matter of race).
    And we still haven’t heard — or have we? — whether Heathwood Hall is going to accept poor, academically struggling kids when they get their voucher money.

  273. Ready to Hurl

    Lexie, I happened to point out that very article in response to your victimhood whine.
    Remember? “Po, po rich, white (mostly) male GOP can’t get coverage in the media.” Rush Limbaugh appeals to these same downtrodden masses with his bigotry. The local and national media will roll over and beg for the mostly white, mostly male power structure but we’re supposed to sympathize with the poor babies.
    You’ve got ONE junior academic bought and paid for by wingnut foundations. I’ve got quotes from highly placed Republican witnesses to the GOP Southern Strateg plus numerous books by academics and journalists.
    It was no coincidence that the GOP (the former party of Lincoln) rose to power in the South without any support from the African-American community. Either Black South Carolinians are happy on “the plantation” or they remember the racist opposition to integration that the GOP adopted in the South.
    Your faith in the “immaculate re-conception” of the Southern GOP defies what rational and disinterested observers have recorded independently. However, it meshes nicely with your blind faith-based support of Dear Leader’s abortive administrations.
    So, what about my other questions?

  274. Ready to Hurl

    Yup, there’s you ONE associate prof.
    “Gerard Alexander is associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, and author of The Sources of Democratic Consolidation (Cornell University Press).
    His essay purports to “debunk” FIVE books by academics and pundits. I’ve quoted Nixon in the White House by Evans and Novak on here which confirms the Southern Strategy. There are numerous other confirming sources just as varied as Robert Novak, conservative Rove puppet and exposer of a CIA covert operative, or Merle Black, respected non-partisan academic observer of Southern politics.
    Your ONE source publishes his essay in a Claremont Institute publication.
    Claremont is known for espousing a legal philosophy called Declarationism whereby the United States Declaration of Independence is treated as a legal document and component of the government’s organizing doctrines alongside the United States Constitution. Most of the Institute’s members are followers of the teachings of Leo Strauss including Jaffa, [Claremont founder] who was a student of Strauss.
    The Institute calls its neo-conservative philosophy “Claremont Conservatism.
    Claremont is funded by rightwing, fundamentalist billionare Howard Ahmanson. Ahmanson, who inherited his fortune, told the Orange County Register in 1985, “My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives.”
    Alexander is a “visiting scholar” at the rightwing American Enterprise Institute and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, another rightwing center for study of Hayek and the Austrian school of economics.
    The libertarian Institute for Humane further bankrolls Alexander as a “faculty member.” According to SourceWatch, “The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) acts as a libertarian talent scout, identifying, developing, and supporting the brightest young libertarians it can find who are intent on a leveraged scholarly, or intellectual, career path.
    The Institute receives funding from a number of large libertarian and right-wing foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Koch Family Foundations, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Carthage Foundation.[1]”
    As I said, Alexander is bought and paid for by front organizations for reactionary rightwing billionares.

  275. LexWolf

    Now that you’ve attacked the author (never mind that the creators of your crackpot theory are all bought and paid for by Dems and other leftwingers), how about refuting his undeniable points with real facts?

  276. Ready to Hurl

    “Attacked” the author? I just exposed the truth about him and the people that bankroll the rightwing propaganda effort.
    Someone once told Harry Truman to “Give’m Hell.” He said, “I just tell the truth about them and they think that it’s hell.”
    Can’t get down in the weeds with Alexander’s BS polemic right now… maybe later tonight.
    In case you’ve forgotten, here are the outstanding questions that you’re avoiding answering:
    “…what percentage non-white was the public school that your kids went to? That your HH daughter would have attended?”
    I won’t hold my breath for the answers, though.

  277. LexWolf

    Get Randy to answer some questions and I might answer yours. In any case, I have no idea but it’s probably the standard Lexington 1 demographic. What’s your point anyway?

  278. Lee

    Randy laughs off the racial segregation in public schools, as if it doesn’t exist. Why don’t the districts publish the racial composition of the individual home rooms? Because many of them are all black, while others are predominately white.
    We parents and PTO members notice things like that.

  279. Lee

    Randy demonstrates the socialist mentality that our children belong to The State, when he says he doesn’t want to turn over their education to parental decision.

  280. Randy Ewart

    Why don’t the districts publish the racial composition of the individual home rooms? Because many of them are all black, while others are predominately white. – Lee
    You stated your wife is a teacher. Ask her why this is done this at her school.
    At our school, homerooms are assigned alphabetically.

  281. Randy Ewart

    Randy demonstrates the socialist mentality that our children belong to The State – Lee
    I don’t any kids belong to Brad’s paper. That’s a silly idea. 🙂

  282. Lee

    More silliness from Randy, playing dumb to avoid the issue of racial segregation in public schools.
    Randy, you claim to be a teacher. Why don’t you post the racial composition of your school’s homerooms, and tell us how they are divided.
    Are you telling us that there is no separation of student into AP, college prep and other merit-based categories?

  283. Randy Ewart

    Lee, what did your wife say about homerooms in her school? Did she provide the demographics so you can post them to bolster your claim? Seems like the logical first step. You made a claim, provide some supporting evidence in lieu of expecting someone else to prove your claim wrong.
    You have a problem with merit-based classes, but you also push the market model for education? That’s quite a contradiction.

  284. Ready to Hurl

    Alexander sez:
    Now to be sure, the GOP had a Southern strategy. Willing to work with, rather than against, the grain of Southern opinion, local Republicans ran some segregationist candidates in the 1960s. And from the 1950s on, virtually all national and local GOP candidates tried to craft policies and messages that could compete for the votes of some pretty unsavory characters. This record is incontestable. It is also not much of a story—that a party acted expediently in an often nasty political context.

    So, here Alexander admits (in a mealy-mouthed and sugar-coated way) that the GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln, jettisoned any principles of racial equality. The Republicans embraced racism and racist/segregationist candidates in their pursuit of power.
    Dan Carter writes that today’s conservatism must be traced directly back to the “politics of rage” that George Wallace blended from “racial fear, anticommunism, cultural nostalgia, and traditional right-wing economics.”
    (1) “racial fear”– GOP ad star Willie Horton, nuff said.
    (2) “anti-communism”– still a GOP stalwart despite the fall of the USSR. See Lee’s posts.
    (3) “cultural nostalgia”– no doubt about it. Get homo marriage on the ballot and see the magic it works! Appeals to everyone from anti-feminists like Phyllis Schafly to “traditional” values William Bennett to “family values-oriented” Focus on the Family to holy roller Pat Robertson.
    (4) “traditional rightwing economics”– tricky because the GOP has splintered into the “deficits don’t matter, trickle down” school and the traditional “shrink the gubmint, reduce taxes and live within our means” school.
    Carter is on the money. No points for Alexander.
    There’s more fun with “logic” but I’ll have to continue later.

  285. LexWolf

    So, here Alexander admits (in a mealy-mouthed and sugar-coated way) that the GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln, jettisoned any principles of racial equality.
    Not at all. But at least you admit that the GOP had “principles of racial equality”, something nobody could ever say about the Democrats who had been the party of racism, slavery and segregation for at least 120 years by then, and who continue as the party of racism to this very day.
    (1) “racial fear”– GOP ad star Willie Horton, nuff said.
    Nobody would be talking about Willie Horton today if the Gore campaign hadn’t run commercials about him in the 1988 Dem primary. That party of racism thing again, you know.
    (2) “anti-communism”– still a GOP stalwart despite the fall of the USSR. See Lee’s posts.
    We can never be too vigilant about the evils of communism, or its socialist siblings, Nazism and fascism. Nobody deserves to have those monsters come back to life.
    “traditional rightwing economics”
    Certainly beat any leftwing economics, traditional or not.
    If you want logic, explain thi sfor me: How did racist Hollings’ voters stay with him, even while Thurmond’s voters all allegedly switched to the GOP?
    BTW, here’s a cute little quote from Hollings in the early 1990s, long after he allegedly stopped being a racist:
    “”You’d find these potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they’d just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva.”
    Fritz Hollings (D, S.C.)
    The same Hollings who publicly referred to blacks as “darkies” and Hispanics as “wetbacks” without suffering any punishment from his party.

  286. Randy Ewart

    We can never be too vigilant about the evils of communism – Lex
    So McCarthy didn’t go too far?

  287. Ready to Hurl

    Lexie sez:
    But at least you admit that the GOP had “principles of racial equality”, something nobody could ever say about the Democrats who had been the party of racism, slavery and segregation for at least 120 years by then, and who continue as the party of racism to this very day.
    I guess that African-Americans just can’t forgive the Dems “to this very day” and that’s why they there are so many AA Republicans and that’s why the AA vote goes consistently to GOP candidates… wait, that’s wrong…
    Proof is in the pudding, Lexie. Either you think that African-Americans are too stupid to have figured out who’s got their best interest in mind (for 40+ years). Or, you’re just being incredibly obtuse.
    There’s really no debate among the reality-based community.
    Like I said, you and the GOP are beating dead horses with your ludicrous scare mongering about Commies (RIP 1989) and Nazis (RIP 1945). Facism is a real threat in America today, thanks to the GOP and Dear Leader.
    Funny how what you would consider “left wing” economics has led the U.S. since 1945 to the height of its economic power. Oh, yes, it also rescued the nation from the dustbin of history where conservative GOP darling Herbert Hoover deposited it.
    I hold no brief for Fritz’ racist comments. The Dems should have condemned them like upright Republicans condemned Jesse Helms.
    Wait, that doesn’t seem to have happend, either…
    From a FAIR article:
    [WashPo columnist and conservative David] Broder offered a few examples of Helms’ bigotry. There are many.
    As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith’s opponent, including one which read: “White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.” Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham’s wife had danced with a black man. (The News and Observer, 8/26/01; The New Republic, 6/19/95; The Observer, 5/5/96; Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms, by Ernest B. Furgurson, Norton, 1986)
    Ancient history? No. Helms remains unapologetic to this day. Forty years after the Smith campaign, Helms would win election against black opponent Harvey Gantt with another ad playing to racist white fear— the so-called “white hands” ad, in which a white man’s hands crumple a rejected job application while a voiceover intones, “You needed that job…but they had to give it to a minority.”
    In columns, commentaries and pronouncements from the Senate floor, Helms sowed hatred and called names: The University of North Carolina was “the University of Negroes and Communists.” (Capital Times, 11/22/94) Black civil rights activists were “Communists and sex perverts.” (Copley News Service, 8/23/01)
    Of civil rights protests Helms wrote, “The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.” (WRAL-TV commentary, 1963) He also wrote, “Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced.” (New York Times, 2/8/81)
    And the man ABC News now describes as a “conservative icon” (8/22/01) in 1993 sang “Dixie” in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, bragging, “I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing Dixie until she cries.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/5/93)
    More recently, when a caller to CNN’s Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for “everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers,” Helms’ response was to salute the camera and say, “Well, thank you, I think.” (Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95)

  288. LexWolf

    In any case, you can drag out whatever far Left websites you want but the undeniable truth remains that the Dems are now and always have been the party of racism. In fact, the very party was founded to advance and protect slavery while the GOP was founded to abolish it. The only thing that changed is the target of their racism: blacks until the 1960s, whites from then on.
    In fact, one could say that from the late-1960s on they overtly engaged in racism against whites while covertly continuing their racism against blacks. Just look at the sorry state of black families after 40 years of Dem “help”. Every metric is far worse than it was when Dems started with their “help”. In fact, the KKK in their wildest dreams couldn’t have done as much damage to the black community as Dems have done with their “help”.

  289. LexWolf

    still waiting for an answer to this question:
    How did racist Hollings’ voters stay with him, even while Thurmond’s voters all allegedly switched to the GOP?

  290. Randy Ewart

    From the Pew Research Center:
    30% of adults are Republicans and 31% are Democrats
    35% of white adults 7% of black and 22% of Hispanic are Republicans.
    27% of white adults 64% of black 36% of Hispanic are Democrats.
    Those minorities are flocking to the party of racism. Interesting take there Lex.

  291. Randy Ewart

    type “Pew Research center” in the Google site (
    on this site you’ll see “search” type in party affiliation.
    If you have trouble, just let me know.

  292. Ready to Hurl

    Well, Lex, don’t hold your breath waiting for me to answer your questions when you don’t answer mine.
    far left web sites
    Heh! This from a man who posts from National Review, the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation, the Hip Hop Republican blog, the Claremont Institute and a slew of rightwing or pro-voucher sources.
    Be my guest with rocks in your glass house.
    the Dems are now and always have been the party of racism. In fact, the very party was founded to advance and protect slavery while the GOP was founded to abolish it. The only thing that changed is the target of their racism: blacks until the 1960s, whites from then on.
    Simply bizarre, Lexie. You need to stop reading those wingnut blogs and confront reality.
    So, by your narrative, the Democratic Party “was founded to protect slavery” but “in the 1960s” became an organization of mostly Caucasians who hate themselves and their race?
    So, by your interpretation, the GOP became the non-racist, pro-Caucasian party who just can’t convince African-Americans to vote for their candidates or join the party.
    I wonder why?
    Wait, there’s more of your fairytale: the Dems have spent 40 years “doing the work of the KKK.”
    By intimidating AA families with burning crosses?
    NO, by helping AA students get into colleges that previously wouldn’t have allowed them in;
    + by helping poor, predominantly AA students get free or reduced lunches;
    + by forcing schools to integrate so that the racist power structure couldn’t short change AA schools;
    + by making sure that the courts could thwart voter disenfranchisement in states that had a history of it; and,
    + by making discrimination in housing and employment illegal.
    Jeez, I can see where the KKK would be envious.

  293. Lee

    I had occasion to visit two public schools this week and got to walk down the halls and peer into some classes.
    It didn’t take me long to find 3 classes that had no white students, although the schools have over 50% white student population overall.
    Randy, what are the odds of that happening by “alphabetical assignment”?

  294. Randy Ewart

    Lee, I’m still waiting for the breakdown in your wife’s school. What are the demographics of those homerooms? I’m sure you’ll respond to this very soon and I’ll hold my breath.
    While you were “visiting” these schools, why didn’t you ask for their demographics in the homerooms? BTW, were you visiting these schools in your capacity as an economist or as an engineer.

  295. Ready to Hurl

    How can African-Americans (and other minorities) resist stampeding to the GOP since it’s plainly the non-racist party?
    Possible explanations:
    (1) Republican presidential candidate and Senator George Allen slurs a dark skinned American of Indian descent during a campaign stop. His campaign maintains that the North African epithet is non-sense syllables. Unfortunately, research reveals that it’s actually a North African slur on par with the “N word” in the U.S. Allen’s mother grew up in North Africa.
    Allen, a Confederate re-enactor seems to have personally sought out associations with a racist organization.
    The Nation reports:
    Only a decade ago, as governor of Virginia, Allen personally initiated an association with the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups.
    In 1996, when Governor Allen entered the Washington Hilton Hotel to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movement organizations, he strode to a booth at the entrance of the exhibition hall festooned with two large Confederate flags–a booth operated by the CCC, at the time a co-sponsor of CPAC. After speaking with CCC founder and former White Citizens Council organizer Gordon Lee Baum and two of his cohorts, Allen suggested that they pose for a photograph with then-National Rifle Association spokesman and actor Charlton Heston. The photo appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC’s newsletter, the Citizens Informer.
    According to Baum, Allen had not naively stumbled into a chance meeting with unfamiliar people. He knew exactly who and what the CCC was about and, from Baum’s point of view, was engaged in a straightforward political transaction. “It helped us as much as it helped him,” Baum told me. “We got our bona fides.” And so did Allen.
    Descended from the White Citizens’ Councils that battled integration in the Jim Crow South, the CCC is designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In its “Statement of Principles,” the CCC declares, “We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”
    The CCC has hosted several conservative Republican legislators at its conferences, including former Representative Bob Barr of Georgia and Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi. [Not to mention current Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour.] But mostly it has been a source of embarrassment to Republicans hoping to move their party beyond its race-baiting image.
    (2) Need I mention Trent Lott’s nostalgic “if only” moment where he longed that segregationist and Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond had won the presidency?
    (3) Of course, there’s David Duke, perennial Republican candidate in LA. and the modern face of the KKK.
    (4) And, then there’s the multiple, on-going racist activities of Republican Senator Jesse Helms outlined above. I note that Helms was unrepudiated by the GOP, formerly the “Party of Lincoln.”
    It’s a mystery, indeed!

  296. LexWolf

    So, by your narrative, the Democratic Party “was founded to protect slavery” but “in the 1960s” became an organization of mostly Caucasians who hate themselves and their race?
    Hmmm…you might have accidentally stumbled across the truth there. They certainly act that way.

  297. LexWolf

    1. What is a ‘macaca’, pray tell, other than something that can keep you lefties excited for weeks? Define it, please. Also prove that Allen ever heard anything North African. His comment was ill-advised, but only in the sense that it gave his opponent something to agitate about.
    2. Need I mention Sheets Byrd’s two comments about N—–s on national TV?
    3. Duke is not a Republican. He has never been nominated by them for anything and under Louisiana non-partisan primary law anyone can run and claim to be whatever party he fancies.
    4. Helms hasn’t been a senator for several years. Get with the times!

  298. Lee

    Then there’s Bill and Hillary, caught on camera several time using the “N word” to descibe black Americans.

  299. Lee

    Randy, I already have the demographics of my wife’s school, and yours. I just want to see how long it takes you to learn about your school, and summon the guts to report it, instead of trying to divert your attention with blather about Trent Lott.

  300. Ready to Hurl

    Yep, Helms retired in 2002 (decades after you fantasize that the GOP became non-racist) as a Republican in good standing with the former party of Lincoln.
    Some another “historical” tidbit: Helms won his toughest re-election campaign (a Bush-like landslide of 51.7%) because the Great “non-racist” Communicator, St. Ron Reagan helped.
    Here’s Time magazine’s 2002 take on St. Ronnie’s tendency to favor racists:
    Blacks won’t take their commitment to expanding the party seriously until they admit that the GOP’s wrongheadedness about race goes way beyond Lott and infects their entire party. The sad truth is that many Republican leaders remain in a massive state of denial about the party’s four-decade-long addiction to race-baiting. They won’t make any headway with blacks by bashing Lott if they persist in giving Ronald Reagan a pass for his racial policies.
    The same could be said, of course, about such Republican heroes as, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon or George Bush the elder, all of whom used coded racial messages to lure disaffected blue collar and Southern white voters away from the Democrats. Yet it’s with Reagan, who set a standard for exploiting white anger and resentment rarely seen since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door, that the Republican’s selective memory about its race-baiting habit really stands out.
    Space doesn’t permit a complete list of the Gipper’s signals to angry white folks that Republicans prefer to ignore, so two incidents in which Lott was deeply involved will have to suffice. As a young congressman, Lott was among those who urged Reagan to deliver his first major campaign speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered in one of the 1960s’ ugliest cases of racist violence. It was a ringing declaration of his support for “states’ rights” — a code word for resistance to black advances clearly understood by white Southern voters.
    Then there was Reagan’s attempt, once he reached the White House in 1981, to reverse a long-standing policy of denying tax-exempt status to private schools that practice racial discrimination and grant an exemption to Bob Jones University. Lott’s conservative critics, quite rightly, made a big fuss about his filing of a brief arguing that BJU should get the exemption despite its racist ban on interracial dating. But true to their pattern of white-washing Reagan’s record on race, not one of Lott’s conservative critics said a mumblin’ word about the Gipper’s deep personal involvement. They don’t care to recall that when Lott suggested that Reagan’s regime take BJU’s side in a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, Reagan responded, “We ought to do it.” Two years later the U.S. Supreme Court in a resounding 8-to-1 decision ruled that Reagan was dead wrong and reinstated the IRS’s power to deny BJU’s exemption.
    Republican leaders and their apologists tend to go into a frenzy of denial when members of the liberal media cabal bring up these inconvenient facts. It’s that lack of candor, of course, that presents the biggest obstacle to George W. Bush’s commendable and long overdue campaign to persuade more African-Americans to defect from the Democrats to the Republicans. It’s doomed to fail until the GOP fesses up its past addiction to race-baiting, and makes a sincere attempt to kick the habit.

  301. Ready to Hurl

    Lessee, Hip Hop Republicans blog vs. Time magazine… I wonder which one would even attempt to be accurate and non-partisan?
    One assistant prof on the payroll of multiple wingnut propaganda organizations vs. FIVE independent professor/authors… wow, I see some debate there!
    Obviously, the humongous “liberal academic/media conspiracy” (that has kept Republicans “owning” the gubmint for years now) is at work here!

  302. Lee

    I KNOW Randy hasn’t posted squat about the racial diversity at his school.
    KNOW that the classrooms I have seen with all-black students lack the racial diversity which socialists claim to be a great benefit of government schools.
    Therefore, I doubt the sincerity of arguments against private education which use “racial diversity”.

  303. Ready to Hurl

    Here’s a link to a guy who did a little googling on the racist use of ‘Macaca’ or ‘Macaque.’
    How might Allen have come to publically call an opponent’s dark-skinned staffer a racist epithet most commonly used in North Africa?
    From Josh Micah Marshall’sTalking Points blog:
    What did Allen mean? We now know that not only is ‘macaque’ a French language slur used to describe North Africans but Allen has a dizzyingly direct way of being familiar with the word. His mother is French Tunisian. Given that it would be amongst the French colonial population in North Africa that the word would have the greatest currency (even if only by familiarity rather than use), it seems close to impossible to believe that Allen didn’t become familiar with the word growing up.

  304. Randy Ewart

    Why don’t the districts publish the racial composition of the individual home rooms? Because many of them are all black, while others are predominately white. – Lee
    It’s your statement, you support it. It’s not up to someone else to disprove what you claim.
    Other than supposedly visiting a couple schools (dubious assertion) and “peering into a couple classrooms” you have posted squat on this.
    Either you have evidence to support your claim or you post recklessly and carelessly.

  305. Ready to Hurl

    Randy, note the difference:
    (1) You said that students in HOMEROOMS are assigned alphabettically.
    (2) You didn’t say that students were assigned to EVERY CLASS alphabetically (or even randomly).
    Let me cut to the chase: classes are actually decided on previous academic achievement. Academic achievement is closely linked to socio-economic status. African-Americans are predominantly in the lower socio-economic status in SC. Therefore, it’s not surprising that some classes will be mostly (maybe totally) AA in an SC public school.
    Private schools (like HH) take AA students from families who’ve already broken through to the middle class. Public schools give motivated AA students an opportunity to move into the middle class.
    Sucking funding and public support from public schools with vouchers will ensure that upper middle class families of any color (willing to supplement the voucher with their own thousands) will be able to attend a private school.
    Vouchers will simply make public schools into the step-child of education– community leaders won’t care about its welfare and the majority of students will just be “serving time” before they can do something that they see as more glamorous, remunerative or fun.
    It’s the perfect recipe for a permanent underclass and the destabilization of our society.

  306. Lee

    You’re the one claiming that public education was better because of its racial diversity, and that private schools would not provide that.
    We gave evidence that the private schools have student bodies which are 15 to 20% non-white.
    We also have noted that some public classrooms and some schools are all black. So it’s your turn to explain where is the diversity. The white teachers?

  307. Lee

    The 4 and 5 year old kindergarten students are not assigned on the basis of prior achievement. I doubt that alphabetical placement is responsible for 4K and 5K classes being all or mostly black, in public schools which are mostly white.
    Next time, don’t speculate and make up excuses. Research the real reason, and you won’t be smacked down.

  308. Randy Ewart

    Why don’t the districts publish the racial composition of the individual home rooms? Because many of them are all black, while others are predominately white. – Lee
    It’s your statement, you support it. Post the numbers from your wife’s school. Post ANY evidence you have.

  309. Randy Ewart

    RTH, thanks for the accurate summation. Lee picked the “all black homerooms” from the same source he generated the “96.8% of all crime is committed by illegal aliens”.

  310. Lee

    Public school segregation nationwide:
    59.3% of African Americans attend all-black schools in Illinois. That is the highest rate among the states. Overall in America, one-third of African Americans attend schools where there are more than half the school population is black. One-third of blacks attend all-black schools. The Hispanic fractions are even higher. Desegregation plans are weak. Federal Judge Robert L. Carter claimed, “More black children are now attending all-black schools or nearly all-black schools than the case before the Brown Decision and the educational offerings available to them still continue to be shamefully unequal. Our future as a people is at stake.”
    – Wasburn Law Journal, September 2000

  311. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, against my better judgement I’m going to respond to you.
    The 4 and 5 year old kindergarten students are not assigned on the basis of prior achievement.
    They don’t have homerooms, either.
    Yes, I assumed that you were posting about a high school. Mea culp.
    Why don’t you just spit out the facts and make your scurrilous allegations explicitly.
    How many classrooms did you “peer” into?
    What grade levels were they?
    Is it the school that your wife works at?
    If it is, then, why don’t you just ask her who (or what) is responsible for segregating the classes?
    Just a parting thought: did it ever occur to you that 4-5 year olds may be already segregated according to economic status. Maybe parents who can afford $60-90/week leave their kids in all day daycare rather than having them transported to the public school (for free kindergarten).
    Of course, I’m don’t know whether your district offers all day kindergarden so, once again, you can be cute and suggest that my explanations are wide of the mark because you’ve witheld pertinent information.
    I guess that you’ve got to get cheap thrills where you can.

  312. Ready to Hurl

    Desegregation plans are weak. Federal Judge Robert L. Carter claimed, “More black children are now attending all-black schools or nearly all-black schools than the case before the Brown Decision and the educational offerings available to them still continue to be shamefully unequal. Our future as a people is at stake.”
    This quote has to equal the chutzpah and hipocrisy of the kid who killed his parents; plead guilty; and, asked for leniency since he was an orphan.
    It was conservatives who fought desegregation plans tooth and nail during the 60’s and 70’s.
    Now, it’s your contention that liberals didn’t do a good enough job at desegregating American schools or housing patterns?
    LOL. Sometimes I’m stunned speechless at your bizarro world “thought” processes.

  313. Randy Ewart

    Why don’t the districts publish the racial composition of the individual home rooms? Because many of them are all black, while others are predominately white. – Lee
    It’s your statement Lee, it’s bogus to put a statement out there as fact, especially one disparaging schools, then put the responsibility on others to prove it’s wrong. You stated it so you support it! Post the numbers from your wife’s school. Post ANY evidence you have.

  314. Ready to Hurl

    Oh, btw, Lee, I note that you didn’t bother to respond to any of my other points except that 4-5 year olds aren’t sorted by academic achievement.
    Do you care that community leadership will abandon public schools (and the students left behind because their parents can’t afford to supplement tuition)?
    I’ve seen it happen in two school systems as the result of integration and white flight.

  315. Dave

    RTH – The democrat bastion of Boston, MA didnt fight desegregation huh? What other gems of illogic can you post? Of course, liberals dont care about integration regarding themselves because they already live in gated housing plans, drive Volvos, and shuttle their kids to all white soccer matches on Saturdays. Gimme a break with your conservatives fought it. Al Gore Sr. and Robert Byrd are two of many many Dems who voted against integration. Richard Russell too, and the list of Dems go on and on. Get with it and buy a history book.

  316. Lee

    I don’t have to speculate like you do, Randy, in your attempts to explain away the racial segregation in our public schools.
    District policy says the children are supposed to be placed white male – black male – white female – black female whenever possible.
    So why, in a school which is 50% black, would some classes be all black? Hint: it is not socio-economic status.
    In some grades, it is certainly the result of the black children falling further behind, and being sorted out of the way of the better students. That may be good or bad, but you teachers need to put what you are doing on the table and discuss it, not lie about it.

  317. Ready to Hurl

    You certainly like your little games, eh, Lee.
    Since you think you know why 4-5 year old kindergarteners would be segregated why don’t you just spit it out?
    In some grades, it is certainly the result of the black children falling further behind, and being sorted out of the way of the better students. That may be good or bad, but you teachers need to put what you are doing on the table and discuss it, not lie about it.”
    I haven’t noticed anyone lying about classes being sorted by prior academic achievement. I’ve explained why this might lead to socio-economic segregation which reflects the fact that Black South Carolinians are disproportionately poor.
    I seem to remember that Randy mentioned his AP class is nearly 50-50 in racial proportions. How do you explain that? A slip up in the grand plan by racist administrators to racially segregate students? Are AP classes exempt from the segregation policy?
    The very existence of 4-5 year old kindergarten is an indicator that the school system is trying to remedy the lack of developmental stimulation in poor homes.
    Why do I get the impression that you don’t discuss your theories with your wife?
    Not trying to get too personal but does she agree with your disdain for the public school teachers and educational administrators as professions?
    Does she agree with whatever your theory explaining why 4-5 year olds might be racially segregated in public school kindergartens. (Note that I’m not agreeing that they are sytematically, racially segregated based on your tiny, unscientific sample.)

  318. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, thanks for the advice. Here’s some for you: take a reading comprehension course.
    Note that I used the terms “conservative” and “liberal”– NOT “Democrats” and “Republican.” Unlike you, I don’t have partisan blinders on.
    Good luck with that course.

  319. Lee

    Randy finding an integrated class does not negate the fact that so many classes and entire schools are of one race.
    So much for Randy’s claim that public schools provide the “ethnic diversity” which private schools do not.

  320. some guy

    So if the public schools in Jasper County are nearly all-black because long ago the people abandoned the public schools and never went back, somehow it’s the fault of public school “educrats” to integrate their schools?
    Lee, surely you grasp the logical fallacy in such an argument.
    In inner cities, if middle-class people abandon the downtowns and move to the suburbs, that’s somehow a failure of “educrats” to integrate schools? You could argue that it’s a failure on their part to make their schools attractive to middle-classers, but I do not think it’s in any way reflective of intent on the part of public school officials to have all-black schools. If anything, solutions such as busing have been met with outcries on the part of conservatives.
    Now it may be that regardless of the reasons, in some communities things have gotten to the point that private school vouchers MIGHT actually create more integration in some cases. That’s most likely, I think, in large cities. In SC? I doubt the private schools along the I-95 Corridor are looking to take a lot of the poorest SC kids who are struggling in school. What about Heathwood Hall?

  321. Ready to Hurl

    So why, in a school which is 50% black, would some classes be all black? Hint: it is not socio-economic status.
    Go ahead, Lee, tell us and “show-up” our “speculating” if you’ve really got “THE answer.”

  322. Lee

    Well, if they weren’t placed there based on family incomes, or alphabetically, or randomly, that only leaves racial segregation by the administration as the reason some classes are all black or all white.
    Whatever the reason, ethnic diversity is not better in the public schools than it is in the private ones.

  323. Paul DeMarco

    Here’s some real world info for you. The ratio of black to white students in my school district (Marion one) is 75:25. The black/white ratio of the population of Marion County is about 55:40 (5% other). So where are all the other white children? They attend the only private school of any size in our county, Pee Dee Academy, which has a student body of 496 students, 99% of whom are white (see the website “private school review”).
    Yes, there are some all black classes in our district, but there is no question that students have a more diverse experience in the Marion One public schools (both racial and class diversity) than at Pee Dee Academy.
    BTW, how do you expect vouchers to have any salutary impact on Marion County. There are over 7,000 students in grades 1-12 in our county. Pee Dee Academy could serve only a few, if they were willing. And since PDA was founded at the time of integration as a segregation school, I’m not sure we can assume that, nor that black families would be eager to send their children there.
    Perhaps you would propose new schools founded in churches, etc. But where would they get capital investment, teachers and equipment? As a school board member of Marion One, I see how difficult it is for our district to find teachers.
    My children are doing fine in Marion One schools because its schools, like most other public schools in SC, offer a solid education. They have the advantage of having two loving, involved parents, which most of their classmates lack. If every child in SC public school came from a two parent family, our scores would skyrocket, a point you have made yourself.
    In addition, some public schools do better than smaller private schools because they can offer more. I graduated from Porter-Gaud HS in Charleston which is a fine private school (current tuition is over $15,000/year for the high school-BTW, I find it interesting that you insist that voucher schools would educate better for less than the public schools when the current private schools take the top students, get plenty of private donations, and still charge significantly more than public schools). When I was at P-G, it was small enough that there was no band, no baseball or softball team, and no AP Art class, all of which are offered by Marion High.
    Come out of your ideological prison and road test your ideas in the real world. In Marion County, vouchers would make little impact, and the impact, if any, would likely be negative.

  324. Randy Ewart

    Paul, what does your district do to recruit teachers? I don’t think you can compete financially and young teachers probably aren’t flocking to more rural areas. There’s a shortage as it is in the state.

  325. Dave

    Paul, you are focusing on academic excellence and the offerings in public and private schools. That is fine but most parents I talk to are willing to sacrifice some advanced academic opportunities to have their kids in a safe environment. Ask your children what it’s like in the restrooms at Marion High School. Do they feel safe there. That overrides ALL other criteria.

  326. some guy

    Dave — Many of the problems you describe have everything to do with the kinds of students in the public schools. Yes, there are discipline problems that go too far and aren’t handled well…..very, very true in some cases. But in a public system that is charged with educating every kid, there’s only so far the school system can take it.
    With that in mind, it seems apparent that despite public schools’ best efforts to provide a good program — in many cases outstanding course offerings — the issue for some parents comes down to the public schools’ clientele.
    And all this, of course, turns the “competition” logic on its head. Private schools can control who they let in the door — and who they keep out. And they also have more leeway with discipline than public schools that are expected to educate all elements of society. And this aspect of the school environment, rather than teacher qualifications and course offerings, seem to dictate the decisions of many parents…..It’s understandable, then, that people would oppose having the government giving people money to choose a school based on things the public schools have little to no control over.
    I do want to stress, however, that I readily concede that some schools operate with better discipline than others, an issue that can come down to leadership qualities of individual principals or in other cases political will within a community (not the will of “educrats”).

  327. Lee

    Paul, I don’t expect vouchers or any spending mechanism to have a major impact on the worst students. They are doomed to fail as long as our society fails to admit that the welfare state is an amoral crutch which created a squalid breeding ground of unwed dropouts having more unwanted and impoverished children.
    Vouchers will provide an escape mechanism for poor people who are moral, responsible, and determined to leave the wreckage of white liberalism’s social experimentation.

  328. Randy Ewart

    Vouchers will provide an escape mechanism for poor people who are moral, responsible, and determined to leave the wreckage of white liberalism’s social experimentation. – Lee
    So are you renouncing complete private choice? You now suggest that we have limited private choice like they do in Milwaukee?
    IF SO, then you and I have some common ground here Lee.

  329. Ready to Hurl

    …that only leaves racial segregation by the administration as the reason some classes are all black or all white.
    Lee you’re perfectly situated to investigate and blow the whistle on the racist school district that segregates kids to classes according to race.
    Segregation doesn’t “just happen” as your post explicitly states. The administration must make a concerted effort– perhaps by some code in the student records.
    Who would be in a better position to detect this nefarious system than your wife?
    Lee, you’re in the catbird seat to become the National Review’s “Couple of the Year!” Just expose how the public school system furthers the plantation system by keeping African-Americans poor and uneducated.
    All you need is some– uhm, what’s the word I’m looking for– PROOF.

  330. Ready to Hurl

    So, Dave, if public schools instituted corporal punishment, boot camp and, possibly, chain gangs, would you say that vouchers wouldn’t be necessary?

  331. Randy Ewart

    Does anyone know how successful Camden Military Academy is. I never thought of them before in this debate.
    I do think we need alternative choices for the students who are not suited for the traditional school; whether it’s vocational, behaviorial, failing 8th graders, and even tough love boot camp schools used as a last resort.
    RTH, I remember my 8th grade teacher had this HUMONGOUS paddle, taped at the grip. I was flicking staples at other kids (that was as bad as I ever was) and he took me into the hall for a “prayer session” – I was praying he’d spare me. This was a big guy who’s face is still burnt into my mind’s eye, kind of like Big Daddy’s face on this blog, but Brad’s mug looks like “bitter beer face”.

  332. Lee

    Randy, who is in better position to report the racial composition of classrooms in their school than yourself? Why are you afraid to do it?
    You could go ask your principal and higher educrats how some classrooms end up all black in schools that at 50-50% black and white.
    PS: Don’t try to extrapolate and put words into my mouth when you are unable to address what I wrote in a direct manner. You are not very adept at twisting things, even with all your practice.

  333. some guy

    Lee — I think the point has been clearly made here that some classes, especially at the high school level, are based on academic skill level and do indeed become segregated as a secondary effect…..but….that the notion that homerooms and classes where academic achievement doesn’t come into play are racially segregated has been pretty much dismissed.
    Lee, you know I think you’re an intriguing character, but, honestly, it’s becoming difficult to take much of what you’re saying seriously.

  334. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, I’m disappointed that you won’t seized the opportunity to expose your district’s segregation policies.
    Why do you try to slough it off on Randy? Randy has never charged that classes are purposely racially segregated. You have.
    Once again, you make the allegation and then demand that others support (or rebut) it.
    In the case of vouchers, you and Lexie make the proposal; then demand that others debunk it.
    Pretty nifty debating trick, really.
    I’m still waiting for your detailed analysis of my personal dirigible concept. Since you’re an expert engineer and economist, I’m sure that you will see the light.
    Unless, of course, you’re part of the conspiracy between car makers, the gubmint regulatory agencies and aircraft labor unions.

  335. Lee

    Yes, academic underachievement and inability leads to sorting out many students who happen to be of a certain race.
    That does not explain the racial segregation of 4K and 5K students.
    Whatever the reasons, public schools do not provide any advantages over private schools funded by vouchers with regards to racial and ethnic integration.
    That is just a bogus argument of the race card variety, used by those who resist education reforms.

  336. Dave

    RTH – We all know public schools will never apply punishment across the board as a boot camp school would do. First, many of the principals are weinees who would consult a lawyer before punishing a misbehavor, and the lawyers would line up with parents to file abuse lawsuits.

  337. Ready to Hurl

    “Paul DeMarco” makes the argument that public schools offer far more diversity in SC than private schools rather cogently above, Lee.
    You simply ignore his points because they nullify your weak argument.

  338. Ready to Hurl

    So, Dave, you think that Boot Camp level discipline is required “across the board” for schools to be safe places?

  339. Paul DeMarco

    I’ve been enjoying your commentary. Specifically, Thanks for the compliment above but why did you put my name in quotes-surely you don’t think that’s a pseudonym?! Brad has seen me in the flesh at the Gallivant’s Ferry stump (and taken a rather scary picture of me that he posted on the top of one of his columns-chiding me as an Unparty supporter for being caught in Democratic circles).
    I’m truly interested in your thoughts about what you would do to improve education in Marion. “Dismantle the welfare state” just doesn’t cut it. Welfare benefits are limited to five years now and I’m not sure you can argue that welfare reform has done much to strengthen the family, although if you have evidence for that I’m willing to listen.
    What you seem to be driving at is that fundamental change must occur at home for education to improve in SC and elsewhere. I agree. But how do we do that? And don’t take the easy libertarian way out and argue that each individual should be responsible for his own education and that those that can’t afford it are just out of luck.
    Whether you like it or not, this country is committed to free public education for everyone. The question is how to improve the system we have. A Libertarian Utopia where rugged individualists make their own way and ignore any obligation to the society in which they live is not an option.

  340. Ready to Hurl

    Paul, it was just a backhanded slap at Brad’s naive and ineffectual policy. Nothing against you.
    Isn’t it laughable that someone could argue that private schools like Robert E. Lee Academy (established not-coincidentally at the same time as federally mandated integration became inevitable, 1966) would accept even academically qualified African-American students.
    Paul, do you think that your school district will benefit from the new funding law?

  341. Paul DeMarco

    It’s unclear how the law will affect us. I should know more after the next school board meeting. My intuition is that it will not affect Marion much since properties here have not appreciated much in the last few years.

  342. Lee

    Paul, the problems in Marion County have the same roots as elsewhere: decades of buying into the leftist message of immorality, and reactionary laws which only punish, without rolling back the perverse culture.
    Illegitimacy, drug abuse, drunkeness, and other causes of illiteracy and poverty will only be erased when the decent people attach stigma to misbehavior, in a direct reversal of the message from the Libertine Left.
    The whites who pushed that garbage onto blacks (and all youth) will fight it, because it is a rejection of their perverse lifestyles, which some of them can get away with because they had the wealth and education before their personal lives spun out of control, or they actually make a good living by pushing drugs, alcohol, pornography, rap music and thug glorification onto the lower echelons of society.
    The black churches waking up and deciding to cut their relationship with the federal handouts from white Democrats will be the only hope for their communities.

  343. Lee

    There is no such thing as “free public education for anyone”.
    Education is expensive. The wealthy minority is paying for most of it which is consumed by freeloaders. In the middle are middle-income salaried workers who think it is free, or at least cheaper than it would be if they paid their own way.
    Those who really pay nothing also usually put the least value on education. When education becomes relevant, and is recognized as such, a poor person will find a way to buy it, as an investment. If they can’t afford the expensive teachers with their big pensions and benefits, they may find an investor who will finance their education in return for work, presentn and future, just as indentured servants came to America and raised their social and economic status.

  344. Randy Ewart

    Posted on this thread:
    Randy laughs off the racial segregation in public schools, as if it doesn’t exist. Why don’t the districts publish the racial composition of the individual home rooms? Because many of them are all black, while others are predominately white.
    We parents and PTO members notice things like that.

    Posted by: Lee | Sep 3, 2006 2:22:06 PM
    You posted this Lee, you justify it. I think you are making this up which puts EVERYTHING you post in a suspicious light. I’m calling you out.

  345. some guy

    Lee views the poor children of South Carolina along the lines of “indentured servants”.
    That pretty much sums up this discussion.
    I think we figure it needs to go no further.

  346. LexWolf

    How We Dummies Succeed
    By Robert Samuelson
    WASHINGTON — If you’re looking for the action in education, forget the Ivy League. Talk instead to Anthony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. It has six campuses and 70,000 students taking classes in everything from remedial English to computer networking. With about 12 million students, the nation’s 1,200 community colleges help answer this riddle: Why do Americans do so badly on international educational comparisons and yet support an advanced economy?
    At this back-to-school moment, the riddle is worth pondering. Those dismal comparisons aren’t new. In 1970, tests of high school seniors in seven industrial countries found that Americans ranked last in math and science. Today’s young Americans sometimes do well on these international tests, but U.S. rankings drop as students get older. Here’s a 2003 study of 15-year-olds in 39 countries: in math, 23 countries did better; in science, 18.
    In trying to explain the riddle, let me offer a distinction between the U.S. school system and the American learning system.
    The school system is what most people think of as “education.” It consists of the 125,000 elementary and high schools and 2,500 four-year colleges and universities. It has strengths (major research universities) and weaknesses –notably, lax standards. One reason that U.S. students rank low globally is that many don’t work hard. In 2002, 56 percent of high school sophomores did less than an hour of homework a night.
    The American learning system is more complex. It’s mostly post-high school and, aside from traditional colleges and universities, includes the following: community colleges; for-profit institutes and colleges; adult extension courses; online and computer-based courses; formal and informal job training; self-help books. To take a well-known example: the for-profit University of Phoenix started in 1976 to offer workers a chance to finish their college degrees. Now it has about 300,000 students (half taking online courses and half attending classes in 163 U.S. locations). The average starting age: 34.
    The American learning system has, I think, two big virtues.
    First, it provides second chances…….
    In Charlotte, about 70 percent of the recent high school graduates at Central Piedmont Community College need remedial work in English or math…….(click on the headline to read the rest)

  347. Randy Ewart

    Interesting Lex. You forgot to mention that only 33% ( of NC graduates go into community colleges so we are getting info on 1/3 of the student population. Nor did you mention what proportion of students needing remediation attend CPCC.
    Apparently, your purpose for posting such an article is that it has a nice big number to bolster your claims, which is why you used bold print. 70% sounds pretty convincing, IF you are an “un-nuanced” (Lex’s term) reader.
    I take it you’ve given up your assault on schools in general and are focusing your wrath on high schools only now?

  348. Lee

    If that many college students need remedial education, just think about the public school graduates who couldn’t get into college ( the other 2/3), and then those who didn’t even finish high school.

  349. Randy Ewart

    Interesting, I looked at YOUR link and found this at the end of the 3rd paragraph, section entitled Freshmen Remediation Overall:
    20 percent of freshmen at public 4-year institutions and 12 percent at private 4-year institutions enrolled in such courses in 2000.
    Seems to be a contradiction between your post and what I read on YOUR source. Lee suggests 35% getting “extensive remediation” is a whole lot different than taking 1 or more courses. An art person needing help with a math course is hardly a earth-shaking revelation. Are there people who get into college needing alot of remediation? Yes, and it’s a shame. BUT, hardly at the rate you suggest with your post.
    Also, this is also national data while Lex posts Charlotte data – round hole, square peg.

  350. Lee

    You don’t think it 20% of students enrolled in remedial courses is a significant indication of failure of high schools to provide a basic education?
    “Between 1995 and 2000, no difference was detected in the overall proportion of entering freshmen who were enrolled in at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course (Table 4).”
    That means there wera NO IMPROVEMENT in the quality of high school graduates.
    One reason so few students require remediation beyond 1 year is that so many of them flunk out of college. This was exposed a few years ago in the legislature’s study of remedial classes and flunk out rates of minority students in state 4-year colleges in South Carolina.

  351. Lee

    You are only diverting your own attention from the failure of public schools to prepare students for college.
    You don’t seem to know the meaning of “prove”. They must not teach that in mathmatics anymore. What a pity.

  352. Dave

    RTH – Those who need to be in a boot camp school should be there until they straighten their attitudes and actions out. If we had enough of these types of schools, then the bathrooms would be safe for the decent kids who come to school hoping to learn. The problem is the politically correct know that when the schools are cleared of the thugs and gangstas then it will all be racism, racism, racism. Meanwhile, those boot camp schools and ultimate removal from decadent homes parented by drugsters and immoral people represents the only hope those kids may ever have. Paul D. knows the real problem originates in the families and until society addresses that problem we are only tinkering with severe problems.

  353. Randy Ewart

    Dave, you make a strong point for why throwing open schools to complete choice won’t work. It doesn’t address these problems outside of school control. It’s a societal issue.
    I do question taking only the hardline approach. For example, the vocational schools which we’ve discussed before have great potential I believe.

  354. Lee

    Public education was, and is, being degraded by the same socialists who wrecked the black family. That’s why you can’t fix education without sweeping away all the social engineering schemes going back to the New Deal and John Dewey.

  355. Ready to Hurl

    Lee rants: Public education was, and is, being degraded by the same socialists who wrecked the black family. That’s why you can’t fix education without sweeping away all the social engineering schemes going back to the New Deal and John Dewey.
    Lee, I’m astounded that you’ve decided to raise a family in this cesspool of socialist degradation. How can you justify exposing them to a society so corrupted, by your standards?
    Dewey’s theories have been the bedrock of education in the U.S. for most of a century. Many of the New Deal policies and programs have been the foundation for American government during the past 50 years.
    You believe that the public schools are inculcating, indoctrinating and brainwashing students with “socialism.”
    Yet, you’ve sent your kids to these very institutions for instruction and “brainwashing.” Your wife even works in one of these “socialist” schools.
    From your comments I’m guessing that you think that the socialist American government, evil bogeymen like George Soros, and un-Christian media magnates are impelling society into a godless and immoral/ammoral state of social destruction.
    How do you stand it? How can you send your kids off to socialist brainwashing day-after-day?

  356. Lee

    It is our duty as parents to live in this wicked world but recognize socialism as one form of the elitists sowing discontent among the peasant mentalities in an attempt to stop the progress of representative government, individual liberty and free enterprise.
    Socialism in the cloak of liberalism and progressivism, attacked family life and morality. The most fragile segments of society were the first to come apart – the black family.

  357. Ready to Hurl

    Dave sez: Those who need to be in a boot camp school should be there until they straighten their attitudes and actions out.
    Fair enough. I’ll go along with that but I think that the problem is far less acute and widespread than Dave does.
    If we had enough of these types of schools, then the bathrooms would be safe for the decent kids who come to school hoping to learn.
    I’ve had one son complete 12 years in public schools and never mentioned bathroom problems. I’ve had one daughter complete ten years and has never had a problem with “unsafe” bathrooms.
    Either my district is the anomaly or your experience/impression is anomalous.
    The problem is the politically correct know that when the schools are cleared of the thugs and gangstas then it will all be racism, racism, racism.
    Not sure what this means.
    My kids aren’t afraid to attend school. I guess the “thugs and gangstas” must either be ineffective or go to other schools.
    Meanwhile, those boot camp schools and ultimate removal from decadent homes parented by drugsters and immoral people represents the only hope those kids may ever have. Paul D. knows the real problem originates in the families and until society addresses that problem we are only tinkering with severe problems.
    Now, you’ve apparently jettisoned the idea that vouchers or school choice are the answer. Instead the gubmint should seize kids and place them in residential institutions or private “homes” that will indoctrinate them with various Christian dogmas.
    Have I accurately described your solution?

  358. Ready to Hurl

    some guy, I think that you can bet that Lee is deadly serious.
    I emphasize the word “deadly” because if his faction gains power then we’re in for an Iraq-style civil war right here in the USA.

  359. Randy Ewart

    Some guy,
    Lee posts implausible facts about himself repeatedly to fit a given debate: “talked at length to McCain and it was filmed on WIS”; he was a volunteer captain firefighter for 7 years; his mother, wife, and aunts are all teachers; he volunteers at schools which allows him to walk down the halls of schools and peer into classrooms; he is an engineer; he is an economist; and he works on fingerprint identification systems.
    He also changes or fabricates his argument to fit the current debate simply to make points: he suggested the market model will solve public education but then suggested that these private schools should be held accountable by the government; he suggests private schools are as diverse as public schools but then libels school administrators by suggesting they create all black and all white homerooms; he dismisses schools as socialist, then suggests that these same schools should take responsibility for the attendance of students from nontraditional homes. He claims democrats are the party of racism, then claims most Hispanics are illegal aliens and that the parents of black students from nontraditional homes “don’t care about their kids”.
    I’m sorry for being nasty, but I won’t sit idly while he makes unsubstantiated and reckless posts disparaging schools and other races and ethnicities.

  360. Lee

    You sound frightenend and jealous, overwhelmed by the facts and your inability to come up with anything but hateful personal insults.

  361. LexWolf

    What are these “nontraditional homes” exactly?
    Would these be the results of failed white liberal policies that all but destroyed the traditional black family?

  362. Randy Ewart

    What are these “nontraditional homes” exactly? Would these be the results of failed white liberal policies that all but destroyed the traditional black family? – Lex
    Back to the broad brushed “un-nuanced” (your term) oversimplified analyses again? The same analysis method you used to defend your voucher plan which you ended up altering in the face of facts? BTW, the same plan Lee now admits should involve government oversight?
    I’d ask you to support your statement Lex, but you’d probably blame teachers. Then you’ll suggest a private organization can fix the problem, but you won’t have a shred of evidence to justify it. In the end you’ll blame me for your lack of justification and call me names per your “m.o.”

  363. Ready to Hurl

    Lee sez:It is our duty as parents to live in this wicked world but recognize socialism as one form of the elitists sowing discontent among the peasant mentalities in an attempt to stop the progress of representative government, individual liberty and free enterprise.
    Lee, as parents our overriding duty is to protect our children.
    Is this society the best (by your judgement) society that you can find in the world?
    Given your discontent with the last, oh, 116 years of our development, I would think that you’d search for a society more conducive to your values.

  364. Lee

    Deciphering Randyspeech
    “nontraditional homes” = illegitimate child, dropout mother, unmarried, father unknown
    “homogeneous classes” = racially segregated, or all dummies and all smart students together
    “progressive” = progressively less freedom, more taxes, and more control by bureaucrats
    “liberal” = liberally wasting tax money, but intolerant of anything but socialism

  365. Randy Ewart

    Deciphering Lee’s statements:
    “96.8% of crimes are committed by illegal aliens” = I have no evidence to support my statements so I made up some data even Lex disputed.
    “most Hispanics are illegal” = I tend to make discriminatory statements based on speculation (although Randy cited census data to refute this)
    “I am an engineer, economist, and finger print processor” = I read about these careers on the internet and use artistic license to claim these as my own
    “schools segregate racially” = I need something to bolster my previously unsubstantiated claims about schools

  366. Lee

    Randy, you have gone back to reposting your fabricated “quotations”, as a desperate dodge from public school reform.
    Education reform just is not a comfortable subject for you.

  367. Randy Ewart

    Lee, you posted “96.8% of crime is committed by illegal aliens.” EVEN LEX stated this was BOGUS!
    Now that’s incriminating when Lex turns on you.

  368. LexWolf

    Just because I agreed with the troll one time doesn’t mean he needs to plaster the same “quote” all over this blog on totally unrelated threads and discussions.
    Of course that’s exactly what trolls do. People trying to advance the discussion and be civil to each other don’t engage in his troll tactics.

  369. Randy Ewart

    People trying to advance the discussion – Lex
    For example, how I disproved your claim “private schools are more efficient”? Or how I disproved your claim “middle and elementary schools are terrible and private schools are the solution”?
    be civil to each other don’t engage in his troll tactics. – Lex
    This quote speaks for itself.

  370. LexWolf

    The troll hasn’t “disproved” anything, except maybe in his own mind, and I hate to even imagine what all is in there!
    He’s already withdrawn from another thread because even he realized that repeating the same mangled “quotes” over and over doesn’t constitute a valid argument. Maybe he should do the same on all threads until he can come up with some real arguments of his own.

  371. Randy Ewart

    Maybe I could call people “troll” to bolster my argument while I blame others for being “incivil”. Nah, I’ll blow your argument out of the water with facts.
    E.G. Lex states private schools are run more efficiently than public schools. Randy points out that Lex himself posted “SC public schools spend less than 8K per year” while Lex himself spends ~12K per year to send his daughter to private school.
    I didn’t use mangled quotes there Lex, just facts..and ironically, these are facts you posted yourself!

  372. Dave

    RTH – I would have to go to see the school where your kids went and see exactly how safe or unsafe the bathrooms were/are. I can tell you factually that my daughters COULD NOT use the facilities. The bathrooms were havens for girls who were essentially thugs, hitting up other kids for money by threatening violence, smoking cigarettes, let alone the overall filth that was tolerated. So what did the kids do? Basically, the band students used a special bathroom accessible to band only or held it. Some solution huh? This after I had complained many times to board members about the situation. You know what answer I got. If we isolate a bathroom for honors students ONLY, it would be perceived as racist. There you have our beloved public school system.

  373. Randy Ewart

    There you have our beloved public school system. – Dave
    Come on Dave, don’t generalize to the entire school system because of what happened at one (or a couple) school(s) and with some board members.
    I have not heard about ANY such problems in the bathrooms at the schools I taught. Students use the restrooms now during my class without issue.

  374. some guy

    ‘Tis probably true that there are problems in bathrooms in many high schools, I figure. That and other discipline issue need to be addressed.
    But it’s also true that democratically elected school boards often set the tone for how strong discipline is in schools. Concerned parents, in my opinion, should get involved in the political process — they can run for office, they can promote candidates, they can go to board meetings and raise their concerns.
    Of course, when I think about public high school bathrooms, I think back on the bathrooms scenes in “Rock and Roll High School”….that cool bathroom honcho dude and all that.

  375. Lee

    Oh, well, if Randy has no direct knowledge of a situation, event, or facts, then it never happened and doesn’t exist. Randy, like all liberals, believes he is a god.

  376. Randy Ewart

    There goes that simple-minded “liberal” attack again.
    What makes me a “liberal” Lee? Can you support this statement, or will you dodge again because you have no justification?
    I believe I’m a god? I never claim this, BUT you claim you are an economist, an engineer, a finger print technician, a fire captain, a school volunteer, and a school hall monitor. I call you out on this and you won’t defend yourself. Can you support any of these claims?
    Watch, Lee will dodge by attacking me or discussing something else.

  377. Lee

    You are actually not a liberal. You are quite intolerant and close-minded.
    But you certainly aren’t a libertarian or conservative, and you are liberal at spending tax money on yourself, and a supporter of lots of socialist programs.
    Label yourself.

  378. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, maybe you should get involved in electing more responsive school board members. It’s not rocket science but it does take energy and initiative.
    There seems to be something missing in your story. Why would the solution to the bathroom problem be designating bathrooms for honors students? Why wouldn’t the solution be to make all bathrooms safe for all students.
    As I say, my kids have no problem with bathroom safety so extrapolating your experience to the entire public school system is just a tiny bit erroneous. Don’t you think?

  379. LexWolf

    “But it’s also true that democratically elected school boards often set the tone for how strong discipline is in schools. Concerned parents, in my opinion, should get involved in the political process — they can run for office, they can promote candidates, they can go to board meetings and raise their concerns.”
    Thank you for posting such a strong case for full school choice. Why should parents have to go through so many gyrations when they could simply take their kids out of a school which is not responsive to their reasonable demands and put him in another school which is? “What, you don’t want to provide safe bathrooms – see if my son will be here again next year!”
    Not THAT’S real accountability!! That’s also why the educrats are so dead set against putting parents in charge.

  380. Randy Ewart

    You are actually not a liberal. – Lee
    Changing another one of your stories, eh?
    You are quite intolerant and close-minded. – Lee
    Because I don’t believe you are an economist, engineer, fire captain, school volunteer, finger print technician, and school hall monitor as you claim? If that’s the definition of close-minded, then I’m guilty as charged.
    you are liberal at spending tax money on yourself, and a supporter of lots of socialist programs. – Lee
    You can find jack squat on this blog to justify this statement. I assume you came up with this the same place you came up with “96.8% of crime is committed by illegal aliens”.
    Refuting your posts is almost as easy as refuting Lex’s posts…speaking of which…

  381. Randy Ewart

    Thank you for posting such a strong case for full school choice. – Lex
    Someone on this blog actually made a case for this? Maybe you can take some tips from them Lex.
    they could simply take their kids out of a school which is not responsive to their reasonable demands and put him in another school which is…Now THAT’S real accountability!! – Lex
    They can do that now in Richland 2, but I guess you overlooked that in all your research. Jim Rex offers the SAME EXACT accountability you detailed in your post – send the kids to another school.
    Of course, the other person pushing school choice on this blog is Lee and he stated that these private schools would be held accountable to the government. Lex, if you can’t convince your own bretheren, how will you convince anyone else?
    BTW, you still haven’t explained how HH, which requires 12k/year to exist would run more efficiently than public schools which require, according to YOUR data, less than 8k/year. AND these are the schools with diversity, unlike the 50% more per year schools you propose.
    Again, you really need some help justifying this “plan”.

  382. Ready to Hurl

    “What, you don’t want to provide safe bathrooms – see if my son will be here again next year!”
    Just like deciding not to patronize a local restaurant or convenience store, eh, Lexie?
    One problem is that schools aren’t small cap investments like sandwich stores, handy-pantries or, even McDonalds. You can’t just open one up; see if it’s viable and then shut it down with no worries about your former “customers.”
    Your assumption above is that there will be a thriving market of alternative schools available for you to put your student in. I’ve pointed out numerous times just one flaw in that assumption: education is a “high touch” or highly labor intensive endeavor. It doesn’t promise to be profitable and, indeed, the current examples lead us to believe that it wouldn’t be profitable.
    The magic unfettered, unregulated free enterprise world that you seem to inhabit is an imaginary paradise in an idiot’s world. In theory, it works fantastically– as long as you don’t pay attention to the details. What a coincidence. This is the same problem that doctrinare Communism ran into.
    Your “problem” Lexie is that you want people to do exactly what you want them to do. You don’t want to compromise or consider that there are other considerations that might trump your wishes. You don’t like the idea of working through elected representatives on school boards because you can’t say jump and have them ask “How high?”
    Fine. In the case of schools, that’s why there are private schools. You don’t have to put up with lower class “idiots” in your daughter’s classes. Just pay your money and you get a school pretty well segregated by economic class.
    But don’t ask other tax payers to support your decision to segregate your daughter by economic class.

  383. LexWolf

    “They can do that now in Richland 2”
    I don’t know what they can do in R2 but I do know what they can do in Lexington 1: choice is limited to between 10 and 30 students per school and between 2002 and 2004 there was no choice at all. Once those few slots are filled up I guess parents and kids are just SOL (of course, we’re used to SOL from the educracy). That’s some choice, isn’t it?

  384. LexWolf

    “One problem is that schools aren’t small cap investments like sandwich stores, handy-pantries or, even McDonalds. You can’t just open one up; see if it’s viable and then shut it down with no worries about your former “customers.””
    Exactly, and that’s precisely why private schools will do whatever it takes to keep parents and kids satisfied. They wouldn’t be able to stay in (non-profit) business if they let bathrooms get overrun by thugs, even for one minute. And if they did, parents wouldn’t have to waste a whole bunch of time and effort talking to the school board, running for it, and all the other nonsensical “fixes” proposed by you guys. If private schools don’t satisfy their customers, they WILL be out of business, something our dysfunctional public schools never even think about. Heh, in fact, the more they screw up the more money they get!
    “Your assumption above is that there will be a thriving market of alternative schools available for you to put your student in. I’ve pointed out numerous times just one flaw in that assumption: education is a “high touch” or highly labor intensive endeavor.”
    Heh. So is Walmart, and they have no difficulty satisfying their millions of customers.
    “In theory, it works fantastically– as long as you don’t pay attention to the details.”
    Actually, in practice it works fantastically, period, compared to any other system out there.
    “You don’t like the idea of working through elected representatives on school boards”
    Nope, I sure don’t. Just like I don’t like the idea of having to “work through” grocery store boards and car dealer boards and electronics store boards and newspaper boards or any other sort of “boards” for that matter.
    “Your “problem” Lexie is that you want people to do exactly what you want them to do.”
    Don’t we all? Where’s your compromise? All I hear you saying is your way or the highway: public school or nothing! And that’s just not right.

  385. Lee

    You would have better luck trying to make them undertand nuclear physics, than how private enterprise works through serving the customers.

  386. Lee

    By the way Randy, I am not a “fingerprint technician”, whatever you may think that is.
    I worked on the development of mimimal geometrical formula representations of fingerprints. That is how they are matched by computer so quickly in a biometric ID system.

  387. some guy

    Lex uses the word “gyrations” to describe taking part in the political process. I guess our views of democracy differ.
    Beyond that….we’re back to comparing schools to Wal-Mart or fast food or whatever? I thought it was pretty well established that the “product” of education is, in many key ways, very different and not comparable to hamburgers and cheap clothes.
    As far as keeping “parents and kids” happy, you know, that gets pretty slippery, too. I am comfortable with the assumption that the vast majority of parents want what’s best for their kids and have a pretty reasonable idea about what that is. But my guess is that keeping “kids happy” might involve…oh, 3-hour recess, brownies for lunch, no homework……And, indeed, there are parents who I think would be content with schools that offered “A’s” for little or no effort and didn’t require children to be at school on a regular basis.
    While we’re on the subject of “in theory” — like the theory that the free market will take care of everyone, even those kids who won’t be accepted at Heathwood Hall (or is Lex going to push for struggling students to have that choice?) — what if a group of hippies want to get together and start a school that teaches the virtues of communism? How about a group of Muslims who want to teach radical anti-Western ideology? Should they get government money?

  388. Lee

    No one said the free market WILL take care of everyone, but it provides the prosperity to make real charity possible.
    Socialism just kills of the people it cannot care for.
    Free market capitalism under a limited government will never be perfect, because it has to constrain a few people who are evil. At least it does not promote them to positions of leadership.

  389. Lee

    How would a group of hippies teach the virtues of communism in a private school which is run as a business?
    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for them to get jobs in government schools and colleges? They seem to think so.

  390. LexWolf

    “Lex uses the word “gyrations” to describe taking part in the political process. I guess our views of democracy differ.”
    I’m all for the give and take of the political process (especially since it hasn’t been very kind to the Dems in the past decade or so).
    However, we’re talking about education where it’s not at all obvious that government, in addition to funding it, should also provide the actual service by running a de-facto monopoly for all parents who can’t afford private school tuition. Once the government in essence enters the market directly (instead of just funding the service as in Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security etc.) it must be prepared for direct accountability, just as its competition is. School boards are the exact opposite of direct accountability. In fact, they are nothing but a buffer for the educracy to protect itself from parents’ reasonable demands.
    “Beyond that….we’re back to comparing schools to Wal-Mart or fast food or whatever? I thought it was pretty well established that the “product” of education is, in many key ways, very different and not comparable to hamburgers and cheap clothes.”
    Au contraire. There is no essential difference between the services and products provided by public schools and those from Walmart. The main difference is that if you don’t like Walmart you can simply go to Kmart and Target without first having to run for the discount store board and “working through” it that way. Thus these stores have an enormous incentive to satisfy their customers instead of stonewalling them, an incentive that is totally alien to public education.
    Now you will claim that educrats have to serve even people who don’t want to “buy” their services. But the police also frequently has customers who don’t want to “buy” their services – those customers usually wind up behind bars for some length of time but the rest of us isn’t denied our freedom. Similarly, there is a small minority of kids and parents who will never behave right but the proper response to that is not to deny school choice to the vast majority of responsible parents. Simply take the disruptive element and place them in separate schools. Reform schools, if you will.
    As for that 3-hour recess or teaching communism, that’s what regulation is there for. Just because parents should have full school choice doesn’t mean it’s a total free-for-all. Some boundaries and standards must be set and when schools fail to meet those, they should be put out of business, just like that handful of private schools in Milwaukee. Of course, that should also apply to the many substandard schools which have been failing any standards for years, even decades, and just get even more money. Look at Allendale where the horrifically bad schools are still alive, just like zombies. Despite spending 50% more than the state average (just as much as Heathwood Hall, by the way), even after 5 years they are still at the bottom of the heap. That county is just crying out for school choice yet our educrats have been stonewalling even there where it’s obvious to all that their socialist approach is absolutely bankrupt.
    It’s way past time for REAL SCHOOL REFORM!

  391. Randy Ewart

    “In theory, it works fantastically– as long as you don’t pay attention to the details.”
    Actually, in practice it works fantastically, period, compared to any other system out there.
    – Lex referring to his private school “plan”.
    Cite ONE example of complete private school choice Lex…oh ya, you CAN’T and you blame teachers for controlling the country.
    Here we go again. I’m going to ask you the same questions about your plan. You won’t have answers so you’ll blame me and teachers for your short-comings.
    HH costs 12k/year. SC public schools cost <8k/year. Where's the efficiency your promise?
    HH has 25% of students getting subsidies for the 12k tuition. Flora has 25% of students getting subsidies for LUNCH! How will HH handle the diversity issue?
    Middle and elementarys schools are above the national mean on 5 out of 8 tests (from YOUR source). Why is an OVERHAUL needed?
    How will these schools be staffed? (before you said "who knows" then you claimed they'd come from these same failing schools).
    Don't you get tired of being called out for all these holes!?!?

  392. Lee

    I told you they have no clue how free enterprise works, what makes it superior to dogmatic central planning of education and any other economic activity.
    This is exactly why the government wants to control education – to keep turning out students who are ignorant of how America is supposed to be free.

  393. some guy

    Wow….folks are really taking this discussion in circles, I’d say, at this point.
    I thought we could put an end to it when Lee suggested poor kids ought to be treated like indentured servants.
    Any chance we’re going to get a push for the indentured servants to be admitted to Heathwood Hall with their free market voucher dollars?

  394. Lee

    What’s wrong with elementary and high school students contracting with future employers to pay for their education?
    College students do that all the time, in co-op programs and ROTC stipends. College students also receive state vouchers to attend any school that will admit them.
    Why shouldn’t the financial assistance options used by middle-class white students be made available to poor black students?

  395. Lee

    Yes, government owned highways and railroads are socialist economic operations. Some socialist projects are pure government and more communistic, while others are public-business partnerships of the fascist model.

  396. Ready to Hurl

    Well, Lee and Lexie have finally come clean about their motivations.
    They consider public education to be socialist and therefore evil.
    Obviously, the debate about vouchers isn’t about the quality of public schools. It’s not about improving public schools through competition. Public schools could be outstanding and both Lee and Lexie would still condemn them.
    Why didn’t ya’ll honestly admit it in the beginning? Vouchers are your side’s way of destroying public education because you’re philosophically opposed to “socialism.”
    Oh, yes, a corollary to this is that private schools or parochial schools needn’t be better educational alternatives. Lee and Lexie prefer them no matter how effective they are at educating kids.

  397. Ready to Hurl

    What’s wrong with elementary and high school students contracting with future employers to pay for their education?
    Lee sees no difference between elementary school students requiring basic education and post-secondary school students aspiring to further their education.
    I thought that Lee just wanted to roll the clock back to 1870. Now it appears the he longs for the Dark Ages.

  398. Lee

    Do you think Amtrak is socialist?
    How about socialized medicine?
    How about when FDR seized the trains and ran them during WWII?
    If the government put up thousands of fast food diners and dictated the ingredients, cooking and prices to their competitors at McDonalds, Rush’s, and Hardees, would that be socialist enough for you?
    How much more government control of education would be necessary to satisfy your definition of socialism?

  399. Lee

    If education is so “basic and vital” why don’t poor people see the need to buy it?
    Why don’t employers see the need to buy education for their future workers, just as they buy remedidal education for the workers they got from the public schools?

  400. Ready to Hurl

    I’ll get to some of your questions Lee when I don’t have work pressing.
    For right now, will you admit that eliminating the public school system is your goal?
    Yes or No.

  401. Lee

    It looks like eliminating alternatives to government schools is your goal.
    My goal is to educate more children, for a full 12 years, and better than they are today. I don’t think government schools are necessary or the best way to do that. The only way to find out is to open the education business up to creative market alternatives.
    Those with their heels dug in against market choices seem more concerned with protecting their power and incomes in the public school system, than with the children.

  402. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, some of us didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
    You’re philosophically opposed to what you consider “socialism.” You consider public education “socialism.”
    It’s really simple logic. You should try it sometime.
    You want to eliminate “socialism” eg. public schools.
    If vouchers effectively destroy the path for poor kids to advance, well, that’s capitalism for ya! The rich get the gold mine and the poor get the shaft, eh?
    Now tell us how great indenturing yourself (at age six!) to some company so that you can learn how to read, write and cipher is such a great idea.
    I can’t wait.
    PS– You’re Karl Marx’s dream.

  403. Dave

    Everyone is so conditioned to believe that only this highly structured and one size fits all education is good for our kids.. See what Ben Franklin wrote about himself – most would agree he became a scholar, but he didnt sit in a public school for 12 years now did he?

    drafter and signer of Declaration of Independence, member Constitutional Convention
    Benjamin Franklin described his classroom education in his Autobiography:
    My elder Brothers were all put Apprentices to different Trades. I was put to the Grammar School at Eight Years of Age, my Father intending to devote me as the Tithe of his Sons to the Service of the Church. My early Readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read) and the Opinion of all his Friends that I should certainly make a good Scholar, encourag’d him in this Purpose of his. My Uncle Benjamin too approv’d of it, and propos’d to give me all his Shorthand Volumes of Sermons I suppose as a Stock to set up with, if I would learn his Character. I continu’d however at the Grammar School not quite one Year, tho’ in that time I had risen gradually from the Middle of the Class of that Year to be the Head of it, and farther was removed into the next Class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the Year. But my Father in the mean time, from a View of the Expence of a College Education which, having so large a Family, he could not well afford, and the mean Living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain, Reasons that he gave to his Friends in my Hearing, altered his first Intention, took me from the Grammar School, and sent me to a School for Writing & Arithmetic kept by a then famous Man, Mr Geo. Brownell, very successful in his Profession generally, and that by mild encouraging Methods. Under him I acquired fair Writing pretty soon, but I fail’d in the Arithmetic, & made no Progress in it. –At Ten Years old, I was taken home to assist my Father in his Business, which was that of a Tallow Chandler and Sope-Boiler.
    That’s it, two years of school, from age eight to age ten, enough to make America’s elder statesman of the revolution, scientist, author, businessman, and diplomat. Well, not exactly, as Franklin actually spends a lot of space in his autobiography telling about what books he read as a child. Much of that reading would look pretty advanced by today’s meager standards. Francis Bacon (born 1561; died 1626) said it first, “Reading maketh a full man,” and that doesn’t have to occur within school walls. Franklin’s reading mostly occurred in the real world outside school.

  404. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, do you live your life by extrapolating from exceptions?
    Dave thinks “Lemme see, how can I disprove that educating the masses is a Good Thing? Oh, yes, there’s Ben Franklin (or Tom Edison or Tom Paine or…), I’ll just ignore the fact that Franklin was a polymath genius and extrapolate that every ordinary student should have the same educational challenges. I mean, heck, nobody can question Franklin’s [self-guided] education AND he’s a Founding Father!”
    I bet that you play PowerBall, too.

  405. some guy

    Dave —
    Are you truly unaware of the diversity of offerings in the public school system — especially at the secondary level?
    If you think it is a “one size fits all system,” you’re very incorrect. Maybe you’re simply misinformed.
    In my local district, there are high school students taking as many as 8 AP courses before they graduate high school….there are students in special education courses getting intense support….there are students in high level arts programs….there are students in vocational courses in which local manufacturing companies give students paid apprenticeships and opportunities for employment right out of school.
    Now, there IS a SYSTEM. There’s a uniform code of conduct. There are shared experiences for students. There’s an opportunity to be part of a diverse community.
    But it’s anything but a “one size fits all” scenario.
    Of course, by Benjamin Franklin’s example, are you saying we should just close schools altogether, public and private?

  406. Lee

    Government schools certainly were successful at killing the ability of their defenders in this blog to think creatively, assuming they were ever able to do so.

  407. Randy Ewart

    Government schools certainly were successful at killing the ability of their defenders in this blog to think creatively, assuming they were ever able to do so. – Lee
    So, this is what Lee’s posts have been, “creative thinking”. And I thought you were posting facts.

  408. Randy Ewart

    The so-called private school choice “plan” has been sunk on this blog – repeatedly and decisively.
    SC middle and elementary schools are above the national medium on 5 out of 8 tests, hence they do not need a “solution” to save them.
    Private schools do not deal with the student diversity of public schools. 25% of Heathwood students get subsidies to pay for 12k/year tuition, while 25% of AC Flora students get subsidies to pay for LUNCH! 85% of private school students are white versus 65% public schools students.
    Private schools are not more efficient. 12k/year at Heathwood vs less than 8k/year in public schools.
    The proponents, like Lex, do not know how the staff positions will be filled for these new schools.
    The propoenents, like Lex and Lee, incredibly have admitted that these private schools will answer to the government (there goes unbridled captialism).
    Lex states that teacher unions are so strong, they prevent any such plan. If so, why bother discussing this?
    Lex has tried and failed repeatedly to address these issues. Eventually, he resorts to calling me a “troll” then changes his plan.

  409. LexWolf

    Oh boy, the troll posts a whole battalion of straw men. Now would he also like to show us how he “sinks” all these things we either never said at all or didn’t say in the context he claims?

  410. Dave

    RTH – If I hit that Powerball, you will hear about it.. Anyway, we buy Lottery tickets and the schools get more money, you must like that. I think its a passive way to tax and its voluntary.

  411. Lee

    Why do public school teachers send their children to private schools at twice the rate of the rest of the parents?
    * They value quality education.
    * They can afford it, because they make about twice as much money as the average America.

  412. Dave

    Newsflash – from Business Week feature article of June, 06.. The Gates foundation has now spent 1 Billion on public education with their theories and recognize that nearly every experiment has failed. More details later.

  413. Randy Ewart

    Why do public school teachers send their children to private schools at twice the rate of the rest of the parents? – Lee
    This info comes from the same source that gave us “96.8% of all crime is committed by illegal aliens”. Even Lex said this was BOGUS!
    Same source that claims to be a fire captain, fingerprint technician, engineer, economist, school hall monitor, WIS reporter, and school volunteer.
    He also claims he’s married to a teacher, son to a teacher, and nephew to teachers, but can’t explain a single thing that any teacher could explain.
    I’ve called him out on this, and he will NOT defend himself. Hmmm…
    Ok Lee, what were you saying about the rate of teachers? You had a link for this clearly made up data?

  414. Randy Ewart

    Oh boy, the troll posts a whole battalion of straw men. – Lex
    Same information about your “plan” for which you had no answers…except calling me names like a little boy on the playground. Does your daughter call people names at school or does she know better?

  415. Lee

    A 1995 Study Indicates Public School Teachers More Than Twice As Likely to Send Their Children to Private School,
    A recently released study by leading education authority and Center for Education Reform board member Denis Doyle indicates that urban public school teachers are more than twice as likely to send their children to private schools as other Americans.
    This eye-opening report, “Where Connoisseurs Send Their Children to School: An Analysis of 1990 Census Data to Determine Where School Teachers Send Their Children to School,” provides a breakdown of the level of private school enrollment of public school teachers in major urban cities. Some dramatic examples—in Boston, 44.6% of public school teachers enroll their children in private schools. In San Francisco, it’s 36.7%, Cleveland’s at 39.7% and in Chicago, 36.3%.
    Teachers from middle income households in 49 of the 100 largest cities are even more likely to use private schools than higher income households. Not surprisingly, higher income teachers (over $70,000) use private schools abundantly, however lower income teachers are often financially unable to pay for alternative schooling in greater numbers.
    Race and income are the biggest factors influencing school choices among teachers. Doyle’s study shows that minority public school teachers overall are more likely to send their children to private school, and they are substantially more likely to use private schools than minority families in general.
    “This is an incredibly thorough report and should spur Americans to ponder why the guardians of public education use private alternatives more readily than most,” said Jeanne Allen, President of The Center for Education Reform.
    “Where Connoisseurs Send Their Children to School” is available by contacting The Center for Education Reform at (202) 822-9000.
    —- comment —————–
    Nothing has changed from 1995 to 2005.

  416. LexWolf

    Why does the troll continue to pretend that there is no data for this? He’s been shown this data several times already, only to ignore it and repeat the same charge next time!
    Study: 28.6% of Metro teachers send kids to private schools
    More than one out of every four Metro teachers, or 28.6%, send their children to private school, according to a study released last week.
    Nashville ranked 11th out of 50 cities for the percentage of teachers who choose to send their children to private school, according to the report published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit group that conducts research on elementary and secondary education, including charter schools.
    ”Clearly there is a flag here,” said David DeSchryver, who co-authored the report for the Washington, D.C.-based group. ”Obviously there is dissatisfaction, or they wouldn’t make that choice otherwise.”
    ”Nashville does have something to be concerned about. Why are people willing to make that financial sacrifice and go outside the public system?”
    Attempts to interview Metro teachers whose children attend private schools were not successful…….

  417. some guy

    What does “metro” mean in this context?
    Is there ONE single school system in SC that would be defined as “metro”? Any information on how many SC teachers send their kids to private school? Is Bamberg County considered “metro”? How about Anderson County? Or Horry County? Or Greenwood County?
    PUBLIC schools, by definition, I would suppose, reflect the public. If the cities of the northeast or wherever have serious problems with crime and poverty, then it only stands to reason that public schools in those areas have serious challenges, as well. Those challenges may affect the decisions of parents.
    But are those cities reflective of SC? And does it mean that choice, as defined by PPIC, is the solution?
    Whatever…..I don’t suppose it’s very intelligent for any of us to continue discussing this at this point. People mostly are to the point of just talking past one another. And anyway, we’ve got a guy here who suggests poor people should be treated as “indentured servants”…..that’s enough by itself to point to the value of this discussion.

  418. LexWolf

    Not reading for comprehension there, are we? Metro clearly refers to Nashville.
    I wasn’t the one to refer to ‘indentured servants’ but at this point it’s pretty obvious that this is the only way our poor kids will get out of the failed public school system if school choice opponents get their way. They certainly will not get an adequate education otherwise.
    Anyway, with over 460 posts on this thread, it’s time to move on so I don’t have to keep scrolling down.
    The troll can have the last word.

  419. Randy Ewart

    More shoddy research by Lex:
    From the same article: So, how many students overall go to private schools? There are at least three different answers[sic]. The outcome depends on what data is used, and what calculation is made.
    From the website (“about us” section) of the source for this study:
    all parents should have the opportunity to select among a variety of high-quality schools for their children;
    Newsflash Lex: If you read a pro-Gamecock website, they’ll tell you how great USC is and how bad the Tigers are because they are BIASED!

  420. Lee

    Are the national organizations biased when they named Hand and Dreher as two of the best metro schools in America?
    What are they doing right that the other SC schools are doing wrong?
    How public education have such a wide disparity of quality of education, teachers and managers, district to district and school to school? Where is the analyis of this which state and country educators have done… if they have done any analysis?

  421. Lee

    Superintendent of Education Candidate Excluded From SC NAACP-sponsored Debate
    Today, select candidates for Superintendent of Education will debate, in West Columbia, but Tim Moultrie will not be among them. After several attempts to reach Dwight James of the SC NAACP, Tim Moultrie, Libertarian candidate for Superintendent of Education, was told that he would not be invited to participate.
    “I find it extraordinarily disheartening to find that the NAACP, an organization that claims to represent the silenced voice, is actively engaging in silencing choices for their members,” stated Moultrie. “Additionally, my campaign is the only campaign that is proposing a realistic method to give real school choice to everyone, rather than merely giving choice to the rich or offering an empty choice of another government school, and I am the only candidate who has proposed a solution to ending the inequity in current student funding.”
    Being a legitimate, active candidate, Tim Moultrie plans to attend the event, with the hope that the NAACP will decide to stand behind its message of equality, diversity and non-discrimination and allow Mr. Moultrie to participate.
    For more information on Tim Moultrie, visit

  422. Randy Ewart

    Lee, why should you be reading any articles on education? After all, you did walk down two hall ways (supposedly) and can induce the inner-workings of all US schools based on this experience.

  423. Lee

    That’s more rooms than Randy dare look into, and more research on education than he dares to do. The racism in public education is another reason to offer the parents and students some alternatives.

  424. Lee

    I confront racism where I find it, and today that is mostly in the patronizing attitudes of white liberals who want to use black children to advance their political programs by maintaining a condition of illiteracy and poverty, rather than solve the problems confronting black children.
    They refuse to discuss any issues directly, preferring to smear everyone else in vain attempts to shout down factual and calm discussion of the root causes of poverty and illiteracy.

  425. Lee

    Randy, we already figured out that you have no facts about the racial segregation in public schools, or lack the courage to discuss the facts, so you can stop posting your frustrated insults.

  426. Randy Ewart

    I’m not frustrated. Insult? I’m not insulting you, I’m being a smart-alec in response to your fanatical postings.

  427. Lee

    Slow down, Randy. You are being overwhelmed by new facts. Just pick one and let us explain it to you slowly, to overcome your fright. Right now, you are just flailing to keep the facts off your back.

  428. Randy Ewart

    I thought I had a monkey on my back, but it was only your “facts”?
    Just pick one and let us explain it to you slowly – Lee
    Ok, explain your assertion “96.8% of all crime is committed by illegal aliens”. Lex called this BOGUS, so when you use the term “we”, who else believes this?

  429. Lee

    That’s easy. You made up the quote.
    Even after I posted the real statistics about how much crime the illegal aliens from Mexico commit, you persist in ignoring the facts and repeating your lies. How uncivil of you!

  430. Randy Ewart

    Lee, apparently you made it up. Lex even pointed out that he disagreed with YOU.
    Atleast you’re trying to disown the quote now.

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