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 Problems with Schools 
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
But thats precisely the point.... they're taught they NEED college, so they'll try anyway. And they'll apply for school loans, which they'll get because there's no credit rating needed and the government now took over all school loans. Most will never finish, or it will take them longer than usual to finish. But they'll all have large school loans with large interest payments that will be paid directly to the federal government. Talk about a steady income generator.


June 27th, 2011, 6:24 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
I'm not really sure what the problem is with education.

The simple fact is, our education is world class up until the 4th grade, then plummets in quality, before ratcheting back up in college, where our universities are the best.

Something gets lost in between. Not sure what.

One topic that I really want to address though is corporal punishment.

If you want to lightly spank your child, that's your decision, I won't decry you for that. But parents who beat their kids with belts and such sicken me. I find their behavior to be less than human.

Violence is largely NOT an effective form of discipline. Study after study confirms this. Please see: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/ ... nking.aspx

Quote: "Gershoff found "strong associations" between corporal punishment and all eleven child behaviors and experiences. Ten of the associations were negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior. The single desirable association was between corporal punishment and increased immediate compliance on the part of the child."

My father never hit me, but I was mostly always well behaved. He didn't have to hit me--in certain situations I feared his anger enough, there was no need for any physical harm.

IMO, that's how parenting should be. If you have to resort to violence to get your kids to act properly, you've completely failed as a parent. And, if you're at that point, hitting your kids is only going to hurt them psychologically.

I'm not advocating being ultra-lose in your parenting, but you should never have to resort to violence.


June 27th, 2011, 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
njroar wrote:
But thats precisely the point.... they're taught they NEED college, so they'll try anyway. And they'll apply for school loans, which they'll get because there's no credit rating needed and the government now took over all school loans. Most will never finish, or it will take them longer than usual to finish. But they'll all have large school loans with large interest payments that will be paid directly to the federal government. Talk about a steady income generator.


Don't get me started on this... too many people going to college and mortgaging their future on a history degree. I honestly might spack my kid if they tell me they want a history degree (or the like, list of degrees that mean nothing 95% of the time).

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June 27th, 2011, 6:41 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
Blueskies wrote:
I'm not really sure what the problem is with education.

The simple fact is, our education is world class up until the 4th grade, then plummets in quality, before ratcheting back up in college, where our universities are the best.

Something gets lost in between. Not sure what.

One topic that I really want to address though is corporal punishment.

If you want to lightly spank your child, that's your decision, I won't decry you for that. But parents who beat their kids with belts and such sicken me. I find their behavior to be less than human.

Violence is largely NOT an effective form of discipline. Study after study confirms this. Please see: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/ ... nking.aspx

Quote: "Gershoff found "strong associations" between corporal punishment and all eleven child behaviors and experiences. Ten of the associations were negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior. The single desirable association was between corporal punishment and increased immediate compliance on the part of the child."

My father never hit me, but I was mostly always well behaved. He didn't have to hit me--in certain situations I feared his anger enough, there was no need for any physical harm.

IMO, that's how parenting should be. If you have to resort to violence to get your kids to act properly, you've completely failed as a parent. And, if you're at that point, hitting your kids is only going to hurt them psychologically.

I'm not advocating being ultra-lose in your parenting, but you should never have to resort to violence.


I wil agree with you Blue to a point. I absolutly believe the fear of disaproval is a MUCH better aproach to disaplining a child. But I also believe that (espscially amongst younger children) that a physical form of punishment is sometimes more effrective in a more "critcal lesson" situation.

But either way, belt, hand, newspaper, switch, (my mom was a fan of the cookin spoon. she broke her last one one day went out and got a pretty sizable stick....oddly enough my brother and I started acting a heck of a lot better around the house.) a single mom needs to get whatever advantage she can get in my book. Just so long as the number 1 rule is in place. NEVER hit your child in anger.

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June 27th, 2011, 7:32 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
As far as adult education, with the university talk, i am actually encouraged by one of the effects the piss poor economy. Universities are not the only option available anymore. Community colleges are becoming more and more like vocational schools, than university wannabe's they used to be. In a workplace of ever expanding specialists, Liscensing and certifications are more valuable than an associates degree, and is closing on some bachelor degrees.

When the jobs went down one of the good things that came of it was these schools started popping up. All of a sudden a U of Phenoex online degree carried enough weight to get a paper pushing job in hospitals. And don't even get me started on the IT educational centers that are EVERYWHERE around here now...even the fricken mall!

If I could change anything on the HS level it would be to encorporate more of that adult style education at a younger lever. Vocational education needs to be more tahn just an optional outlet where a school can only send 30-50 kids to. It needs to be in every school to a certain degree.

The sad part of that is I am totally talking utopia school system. There is no where near the money needed to update Michigan schools in the ways that would be needed for that to happen.

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June 27th, 2011, 7:53 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
Another part that has gone bad in more recent years, is the school boards. They used to be active parents and retired teachers, but now they're an overpaid political position. People that have no business being involved in the education field are now being paid with taxpayer dollars and making the often political decisions that are dragging the system down.


June 27th, 2011, 9:22 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
As others have stated, the primary problems with education today are the teacher's unions and tenure. The unions keep asking for more pay and benefits to where some teachers have to get laid off and the districts have little left to spend on the teaching aids needed to benefit the kids. But of course, the union doesn't give a crap about the kids or anybody else unless they're a dues paying member. The union's answer is to raise taxes, but we've been throwing money at education for decades, and it's only gotten worse.

As for tenure, my sister is a teacher on the western side of the state, and she agrees that it's a joke. There are some teachers in her school that are horrid. The students and parents complain about them, but nothing can be done. Basically, they have a government job for life, so they're flipping the bird to the taxpayers and more importantly, the students. Until there is a way to remove poor teachers, education won't improve at all.

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June 27th, 2011, 11:32 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
slybri19 wrote:
As others have stated, the primary problems with education today are the teacher's unions and tenure. The unions keep asking for more pay and benefits to where some teachers have to get laid off and the districts have little left to spend on the teaching aids needed to benefit the kids. But of course, the union doesn't give a crap about the kids or anybody else unless they're a dues paying member. The union's answer is to raise taxes, but we've been throwing money at education for decades, and it's only gotten worse.

As for tenure, my sister is a teacher on the western side of the state, and she agrees that it's a joke. There are some teachers in her school that are horrid. The students and parents complain about them, but nothing can be done. Basically, they have a government job for life, so they're flipping the bird to the taxpayers and more importantly, the students. Until there is a way to remove poor teachers, education won't improve at all.


Two problems with blaming unions and tenure (although they are indeed flawed).

1. States without teachers' unions tend to be the lowest performing states (according to a variety of testing measures, including the ACT/SAT). Wisconsin, site of much union controversy of late, has one of the nation's top-performing systems. It is difficult to argue that the unions have ruined the schools when their students are doing well compared to non-union states. Admittedly, the correlation isn't necessarily direct in that some of the states without teachers' unions are in the deep south where poverty is more prevalent and there are more non-native English speakers--those factors could influence the statistics. However, Virginia is the only non-union state in the U.S. to have schools that are considered "average." The others are below average and several are at the very bottom.
2. Tenure can have the unfortunate consequence of protecting poor teachers but the problem is deeper than that. We all cry for better qualified teachers--wanting to clear away all the ineffective teachers; it's a natural and logical line of thinking. The problem is replacing those teachers, finding those well-qualified teachers to replace the hacks. Because teaching is a low-paying, high-stress job, it is difficult to lure the country's best and brightest into the teaching profession. Anyone with the intellectual, interpersonal, and communicative skills to be a highly effective teacher could easily make twice as much money pursuing a career in another field. So why would anyone want to be a teacher unless they just love working with kids? Once the one perk of job security (tenure) is removed from the equation, it is doubly mystifying why any person qualified for the job would want to teach.

I'm not indicating that unions are the solution nor do I mean to imply that if all states had strong unions that schools would be better. Nor is tenure a perfect solution.

So here's my question: If we want the highest-quality teachers in our schools, how do we attract those individuals to the field of teaching in the first place? Here in NC (a non-union state), a beginning teacher makes $30,000 and a teacher with 20 years of experience makes just over $40,000. How do we get bright, dedicated, passionate teachers to sign up for a career of low-wage, high-stress work when there are more lucrative options for them?

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June 28th, 2011, 11:16 am
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
mwill3, excellent post. I'll have to look into the union/performance link, a bit counterinuitive but that is what makes it so facinating - thank you.

As for the second part, I think we focus too much on pay. Would you be willing to take a pay cut to have great benefits, leave work early, have 3 months off during the summer and plenty of vacation time throughout the year? I would.

Also, those who go into teaching don't do if for the money, they do it because they have a passion to teach. Not all, but many do. I don't think tenure plays a factor in the career choice here.

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June 28th, 2011, 11:29 am
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
Pablo wrote:
mwill3, excellent post. I'll have to look into the union/performance link, a bit counterinuitive but that is what makes it so facinating - thank you.

As for the second part, I think we focus too much on pay. Would you be willing to take a pay cut to have great benefits, leave work early, have 3 months off during the summer and plenty of vacation time throughout the year? I would.

Also, those who go into teaching don't do if for the money, they do it because they have a passion to teach. Not all, but many do. I don't think tenure plays a factor in the career choice here.


I agree with most of this... but if you are forced to go to school for 4-5 years and come out with $50k-$100k in loans to take a job that pays less than a decent nanny makes you are going to get a lot less candidates who have that drive able to make it. Let's not forget the req to continue on to a masters or continual learning you pay for out of pocket.

We ask so much from so little... I think that is a big problem. It is financially not viable to go into teaching with all the up front cost involved.

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June 28th, 2011, 11:35 am
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
regularjoe12 wrote:
As far as adult education, with the university talk, i am actually encouraged by one of the effects the piss poor economy. Universities are not the only option available anymore. Community colleges are becoming more and more like vocational schools, than university wannabe's they used to be. In a workplace of ever expanding specialists, Liscensing and certifications are more valuable than an associates degree, and is closing on some bachelor degrees.

When the jobs went down one of the good things that came of it was these schools started popping up. All of a sudden a U of Phenoex online degree carried enough weight to get a paper pushing job in hospitals. And don't even get me started on the IT educational centers that are EVERYWHERE around here now...even the fricken mall!

If I could change anything on the HS level it would be to encorporate more of that adult style education at a younger lever. Vocational education needs to be more tahn just an optional outlet where a school can only send 30-50 kids to. It needs to be in every school to a certain degree.

The sad part of that is I am totally talking utopia school system. There is no where near the money needed to update Michigan schools in the ways that would be needed for that to happen.


I should reveal my own biases. I teach university so I do have some personal feeling and observations on the subject. I have also taught online courses (and continue to do so). U. of Phoenix, DeVry, and these other nationally-branded adult education centers--especially online programs--are absolute jokes. Again, I'm biased in that I work for a university with very highly regarded online programming. U. of Phoenix and DeVry are degree factories that operate for profit. They have been successful in their marketing strategies, convincing adults that they need to get their degree in order to compete in the marketplace. They've made a fortune charging high tuition for mediocre (at best) teaching, milking money from students convinced they need to get that degree. Traditional universities aren't exempt either; there are tens of thousands of students enrolled in universities across the country who have no business being in college. It's not that they aren't smart enough or dedicated enough; they just don't need this much education. University marketing is part of the issue but so is the cultural expectation to go to college; parents today expect their children to go to college.

I completely agree with you on vocational education in high schools. I was a high school teacher when "No Child Left Behind" was enacted and that measure virtually destroyed vocational programs in the school where I taught. Students can make a very good living for themselves if they learn a trade and learn it well. However, it is difficult for schools to put students in a vocational class these days because the schools need that student to perform well on standardized tests, so the student gets crammed into an already-overcrowded English or math class in order to make the school appear more successful.

Many countries, including Germany (which has highly successful schools), classify students around grade 9 and help direct them either toward vocational or university preparation. There is a kind of intermediate school as well, which can open a variety of career paths and typically culminates in a kind of apprenticeship. I'm sure there are flaws in that system but on the surface, I like that model.

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June 28th, 2011, 11:36 am
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
Pablo wrote:
mwill3, excellent post. I'll have to look into the union/performance link, a bit counterinuitive but that is what makes it so facinating - thank you.

As for the second part, I think we focus too much on pay. Would you be willing to take a pay cut to have great benefits, leave work early, have 3 months off during the summer and plenty of vacation time throughout the year? I would.

Also, those who go into teaching don't do if for the money, they do it because they have a passion to teach. Not all, but many do. I don't think tenure plays a factor in the career choice here.


Having spent my entire professional life in some form of education I've met a lot of teachers. All of them have stuck with it for one reason only: they love kids. These are some of the brightest, hardest working people I know and they could do just about anything they wanted. My fear is that eventually all of the politicizing of school issues is going to drive away the good teachers, not the bad ones. How far can we push someone's passion to teach before they simply give up and pursue something more profitable?

The "time off" perk is something to be considered. I'll share my personal experience with that--I can't speak for all teachers, of course. When I taught public school, I had to be in the building at 7am and couldn't leave until 3:50pm. I got 35 minutes for lunch. All total, that's just shy of a 9-hour day and 8.25 hours of "work" (usually 5 hours of instruction and other hours of school duty). Yes, teachers can get home earlier than the 9-5 crowd but the work day is just as long. Further, an hour of instructional time takes about 1-2 hours to prep (based on my experience). So if I'm going to prep for 5 solid hours of instruction every day, I need about 5-10 hours to do it! So when I would get home at 4:30pm, I would start prepping for the next day. Of course when there are papers to grade, meetings and trainings to attend, conferences with parents to organize, some of that prep can't be done after work. Wanna guess when teachers do most of their prep? June, July, August.

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June 28th, 2011, 11:50 am
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
A hypothetical situation pertaining to the role of "social worker" that schools sometimes play. When does a school to "too far" in questioning parents? Here goes:

What should a teacher do when a child complains about being hungry? There's no visible proof of neglect. If you were the principal of the school and the teacher reported this child's complaints to you, what would you do? How many times would you need to hear this complaint before you took action? Or is it none of your business?

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June 28th, 2011, 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
mwill2 wrote:
A hypothetical situation pertaining to the role of "social worker" that schools sometimes play. When does a school to "too far" in questioning parents? Here goes:

What should a teacher do when a child complains about being hungry? There's no visible proof of neglect. If you were the principal of the school and the teacher reported this child's complaints to you, what would you do? How many times would you need to hear this complaint before you took action? Or is it none of your business?


Good question, however, we rarely rely on such limited knowledge. For example, age comes into question, certainly a kid in Kindergarden is less trustworthy than someone in tenth grade.

Secondly, the child can answer a number of qualifing questions. What did you eat for dinner last night. Lunch, dinner, etc.

Third, there are a number of non-visable signs if the kid is being starved. Is the kid irratible, impulsive or hyperactive?

No doubt a huge grey area exist, but with kids involved one must always error on the side of caution.

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June 28th, 2011, 3:01 pm
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Post Re: Problems with Schools
mwill2 wrote:
A hypothetical situation pertaining to the role of "social worker" that schools sometimes play. When does a school to "too far" in questioning parents? Here goes:

What should a teacher do when a child complains about being hungry? There's no visible proof of neglect. If you were the principal of the school and the teacher reported this child's complaints to you, what would you do? How many times would you need to hear this complaint before you took action? Or is it none of your business?


Interesting scenario. Without a doubt, an occasional complaint is to be expected. Constant complaints are another matter entirely. When I was in grade school, I used to get migraine headaches brought on by.....hunger. This would typically happen in the afternoons. Suffice to say that what I was bringing for lunch wasn't even to tie me over. This wasn't a daily or even weekly occurrence. If it is a constant with a child, at that point I could see the school calling the parents and letting them know what's being said....particularly if it is taking place early in the school day. It could be that the parents aren't even home, and the child is left in the care of another prior to school, and as such it isn't directly the parents fault. But the fact is, hunger inhibits learning. As such, there is a genuine concern for the student and their ability to learn at the same rate as others.

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June 28th, 2011, 3:08 pm
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