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Post Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:27 am 
 

FormCritic wrote: C'mon guys.  :?

Say things enough times and they start to sound true.

Gotta agree. I'm starting to get pretty fucking annoyed at the gross generalizations and ridiculous over-simplifications I'm seeing here. I'm also beginning to take it personally, as most of my family — father, sister, step-mother, wife, and one uncle, just to name five — are either currently educators and just recently retired from the field.

I can't believe I have to actually spell this out, but here goes: administrators and teachers are just like any other group of professionals. Some are lazy and/or incompetent. Some are dedicated and/or inspiring. Most fall somewhere in between. Just like in other fields: not all cops are crooked, not all doctors play golf, not all IT guys are social retards, and on and on.

Cherry-picking news stories of ridiculous antics from various school districts in an era that features a constant, all-pervading 24-hour news cycle proves nothing. Yes, there's some good conversation-starters in there, and, yes, there will be more strange antics next week ... and the week after that and the week after that. Not a huge surprise in a country with tens of thousands of school districts!

Even for the off-topic thread, this has been some pretty weak shit. How many people who have thrown out snarky anti-educator comments here over the past couple of weeks have ever taught?

Yeah, that's what I thought ...

Grug Greyskin wrote:Perhaps I overstated the consequences, but our schools are pathetic.

Jesus Christ, more weak shit even before I can post! It's simply amazing you've had the time to do research on thousands and thousands of school districts to reach that startling conclusion. You must have more free time than I.

But, hey, I'll just take your word for it ... clearly, you've got it all figured out.

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:14 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Jesus Christ, more weak shit even before I can post! It's simply amazing you've had the time to do research on thousands and thousands of school districts to reach that startling conclusion. You must have more free time than I.

But, hey, I'll just take your word for it ... clearly, you've got it all figured out.


Well, I just wrote a three page rant. Upon re-reading it, unless we are going to start a new thread it's really overkill. I'll just summarize:

If you don't think the teaching profession is a broken as the Catholic priesthood was when the molestation scandal broke, you have your head in the sand. There is a very, very good reason the teaching profession comes under constant attack, the same reason as crooked cops, drunken doctors, or pilots who fall asleep while flying jets get hammered: teachers, like the aforementioned, are NOT like other professionals, in that many hundreds (if not thousands) of lives are in their hands.  When teachers or schools mess up the consequences, while often not immediately felt, are so far reaching and awful as to put the very fabric of our country at risk; thus people are going to get very emotional about it.

There are lots of good teachers out there; unfortunately, teacher's unions have allowed the incompetent to become unfireable (look up New York City's "Rubber Room" under google if you want to see how incredibly broke the system is), or worse, have promoted them to running the schools or districts.  The system is broke and needs new ideas; I can only speak for my local schools (my district is ok), but for example the Dallas County system narby is an irredeamable pile of puke with the inmates running the asylum; I'm hoping that most of the people here have much better districts, but I can only comment on what I see, which is horrific. I'll briefly put links to two stories (out of dozens) that illustrate what we get to see every morning, and if people in Texas over react a little, this kind of crap is why:

First, there is the TAKS cheating scandal....basically, teachers and administrators are helping students cheat on testsso they can move them along (graduate them) and not have to face an entire district of 24 year old seniors that can't read...a fricking THREE PART awarding winning story for the Dallas Morning News, read it only if you have a strong stomach:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/dmn/stories/060307dnmetcheating.433e87c.html

Then, the school credit card scandal...where several teachers and administrators stole millions  of dollars (yes, MILLIONS) from the district through district issued credit cards. Some of the accused (now convicted) are serving federal time:
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/071906dnmetpcards.17c30c2.html

Not to mention most teachers in Dallas county are under educated and grossly unqualified to teach......more scandal that has popped up in recent years are teachers barely able to read rushed through college because we have a shortage.

I have a lot of friends and relatives who are teachers...some for their entire life....and they are ALWAYS the ones who have bad things to say about the state of education, while their kids go to private school...

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:09 am 
 

I don't mean to impugn anyone's relatives or individual teachers here (I too, have relatives who are educators).  It is the system as a whole that is broken.

To say there are thousands of good school districts and those who are criticising are cherry picking the bad stories - I disagree, and believe the anecdotes only highlight the truly outrageous cases, while the generally poor education our kids are getting for the most part goes uncovered.

The number of college students requiring remedial courses to prepare them for college courses continues to be quite high.  This addresses Washington state, but you can find similar articles about other university systems.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/328864_math24.html

Our performance in international testing continues to lag.
http://www.cesame-nm.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=15

There are lots of critics of international testing - generally from the teacher's unions or education establishment.

We are failing our youth through a lack of accountability in performance in today's schools.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:38 pm 
 

That old canard... private schools are no better than public schools in many ways.  I went to both back in the day and the good ol' NYC public school system was better in more ways than the parochial Catholic schools were.  The problem with private schools is they have to pander to the students and parents in order to keep student retention and tuition up.  I recall Plato saying something in the Republic about one way a decline in a civilization can be detected is when teachers fear and flatter their students.  Only the elite private schools don't have this problem because they have long wait lists, and it works the same way in higher education.  

And why no cell phones in the post office?  Those lines are long and I don't see how a soft-spoken conversation while waiting my turn is that bothersome.  Though I often keep a few magazines in the car to bring in to read while I'm waiting on line.   :wink:

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:31 pm 
 

mandalaymoon wrote:That old canard... private schools are no better than public schools in many ways.  I went to both back in the day and the good ol' NYC public school system was better in more ways than the parochial Catholic schools were.  The problem with private schools is they have to pander to the students and parents in order to keep student retention and tuition up.  I recall Plato saying something in the Republic about one way a decline in a civilization can be detected is when teachers fear and flatter their students.  Only the elite private schools don't have this problem because they have long wait lists, and it works the same way in higher education.  

And why no cell phones in the post office?  Those lines are long and I don't see how a soft-spoken conversation while waiting my turn is that bothersome.  Though I often keep a few magazines in the car to bring in to read while I'm waiting on line.   :wink:


That's very true, private doesn't mean better in all cases. But in most of the private schools I know that turn out good kids (the ones my friends use), there is a sense of accountability for both teacher AND student. And the level of quality of education is off the charts compared to my local school district (EX the range of languages you can learn in the local private Catholic school ranges from German, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Chinese and Russian, while the local school offers only the first three).  But to put in in perspective this school had a teacher/student sex scandal lastyear (30ish female teacher sleeping with 15 year old male student), so no where is perfect....

I don't have to wait in line very often at the local USPS since I do a lot of it online, but the main cellphone offenders either A. Have overly loud conversations with their mom/bookie/significant other while standing right next to you; or B. Hold up the line while they take a call or answer someone (although my local USPS office has a sing that says "please turn off your phone when you are waited on" for those who can't get the hint)

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:34 am 
 

[ignore]

Ridiculous education "discussion."

[/ignore]

+++++

Okay, which one of you guys wee-wee'd in this guys cereal? Or maybe it was me:  8O :)

"wow, you actually found something useful on acaeum. usually it's a bunch loud-mouthed idiots harrassing newbies, standing on soapboxes, and generally being annoying. the guy running the site tries to do a good job with collector info, but the forums are just moronic flame-fests."

The post in question can be found at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/300096/page/5

(scroll down almost all the way to the bottom)

But, wait, it gets even better! Whoever this guy is, it's his first day over at BGG. I have no idea what his agenda is, but he's probably going to be gone soon; there's a fairly low tolerance for morons over there. You can be smug, you can be passive-aggressive, you can be argumentative, you can even do some thread-jacking, but they really frown on being a complete asshat over there.

My other favorite part is the lack of capital letters. The guy is either 12 or so, or he's a developmentally disabled adult or some sort. Much like here, the audience there tends to be slightly older and generally fairly well-educated ... they use capital letters, in other words. This guy, though, appears to have come directly from a video game forum.

+++++

Late edit: the guy just had his account suspended. Woot! He'll have to go somewhere else for his Acaeum-bashing.


Last edited by Xaxaxe on Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:08 am 
 

Badmike wrote:And the level of quality of education is off the charts compared to my local school district (EX the range of languages you can learn in the local private Catholic school ranges from German, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Chinese and Russian, while the local school offers only the first three).


It's ironic you cite availability of foreign languages as a difference between private Catholic schools and public schools.  My private Catholic high school, which was and still is considered one of the best in country, only had four foreign languages (Spanish, French, Italian and German) plus Latin, of course.  The local public high school I transfered into for only my senior year had all those plus Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and even American Sign Language if you count that. I jumped at the chance to take Japanese and it changed my life in an extremely positive way.  I even got a free trip to Japan provided by an ongoing program between the NYC Board of Education and the Japanese Ministry of Education.  If I had stayed in private Catholic high school, I might have ended up with a very mundane existence.  I also give D&D credit too..  :wink:

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:15 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:The post in question can be found at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/300096/page/5

Earlier in the thread, Tonya says, "I need to get a new boyfriend, maybe then I wouldn't be so uptight."

Should I tell her that I'm on the market in VGC?

  


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:47 am 
 

Is that the reason she's gone to Germany? :wink:


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:49 am 
 

mandalaymoon wrote:
It's ironic you cite availability of foreign languages as a difference between private Catholic schools and public schools.  My private Catholic high school, which was and still is considered one of the best in country, only had four foreign languages (Spanish, French, Italian and German) plus Latin, of course.  The local public high school I transfered into for only my senior year had all those plus Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and even American Sign Language if you count that. I jumped at the chance to take Japanese and it changed my life in an extremely positive way.  I even got a free trip to Japan provided by an ongoing program between the NYC Board of Education and the Japanese Ministry of Education.  If I had stayed in private Catholic high school, I might have ended up with a very mundane existence.  I also give D&D credit too..  :wink:


I don't know if there is a public school in Texas with that many languages...certainly never heard of one with ALL those (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Sign Language).  Generally you have Spanish, French and German and that's it.  Was your school on the west coast?  Sounds very much like they catered to someone interested in Asian studies.

But mostly that was just used as an example to show the number of choices available here in private vs public school. Ironically we live near two of the top school districts in Texas (Southlake and Grapevine/Colleyville), both are very wealthy districts, but hard to get into since the cities have prevented any type of low income housing in their areas and thus are able to cater to only the very well off; also, the property taxes for both are through the roof.  Even so, we've had numerous friends that despite living in these districts send their kids to the local Catholic High School (Nolan) for a superior education.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:34 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:
Okay, which one of you guys wee-wee'd in this guys cereal? Or maybe it was me:  8O :)

"wow, you actually found something useful on acaeum. usually it's a bunch loud-mouthed idiots harrassing newbies, standing on soapboxes, and generally being annoying. the guy running the site tries to do a good job with collector info, but the forums are just moronic flame-fests."

The post in question can be found at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/300096/page/5

(scroll down almost all the way to the bottom)

But, wait, it gets even better! Whoever this guy is, it's his first day over at BGG. I have no idea what his agenda is, but he's probably going to be gone soon; there's a fairly low tolerance for morons over there. You can be smug, you can be passive-aggressive, you can be argumentative, you can even do some thread-jacking, but they really frown on being a complete asshat over there.

My other favorite part is the lack of capital letters. The guy is either 12 or so, or he's a developmentally disabled adult or some sort. Much like here, the audience there tends to be slightly older and generally fairly well-educated ... they use capital letters, in other words. This guy, though, appears to have come directly from a video game forum.

+++++

Late edit: the guy just had his account suspended. Woot! He'll have to go somewhere else for his Acaeum-bashing.


That was a good laugh.  I wonder which guy we hammered?  Atari?

That Tonya thread is pretty funny also.  I have to say I enjoyed her response, particularly these lines:

We went from friendly to unfriendly pretty quickly, and I should have been able to avoid that. I need to get a new boyfriend, maybe then I wouldn't be so uptight.


Look, like you guys and gals I am a gamer. I like games. I'm a big ol gaming dork, and love to play DnD, and board games. But, "this" the selling of games - it is business to me. I either make money at it, or I do something else for money (not much call for leporous hookers, as you can imagine!).


Ok, so she likes to get laid, and she has fun with someone calling her a leporous hooker.....how many girls do any of us know that would admit to either?  Honestly I can see some Acaeum members in a few years sitting in a bar at Gencon buying her some beers as we discuss some of her more ridiculous "About Me Page" antics.

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:11 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Late edit: the guy just had his account suspended. Woot! He'll have to go somewhere else for his Acaeum-bashing.

... and now this clown is sending me nasty messages through the BGG system.  :) Big loser.

I wish I had Brian's skill with tracking people down, matching up IP addresses, etc. I have my suspicions on who this person is ... and I'm pretty sure I'm right ... but, technically, no way to verify it.

Oh, well, no biggie. I should probably let it go; like all other trolls, it's just the attention that he's after. Pathetic.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:43 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:... and now this clown is sending me nasty messages through the BGG system.  :) Big loser.

I wish I had Brian's skill with tracking people down, matching up IP addresses, etc. I have my suspicions on who this person is ... and I'm pretty sure I'm right ... but, technically, no way to verify it.

Oh, well, no biggie. I should probably let it go; like all other trolls, it's just the attention that he's after. Pathetic.


What's worse is that he's not even up to the standards of trolls like Atari, Afrika Corps, etc.  I mean, his stuff is pretty weak, not even worthy of being a foe of most of us. It's like one of Batman's villains, except we don't get Riddler, Joker, Penquin, etc. We get Calendar Man or TweedleDee and Tweedle Dum.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:30 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
What's worse is that he's not even up to the standards of trolls like Atari, Afrika Corps, etc.  I mean, his stuff is pretty weak, not even worthy of being a foe of most of us. It's like one of Batman's villains, except we don't get Riddler, Joker, Penquin, etc. We get Calendar Man or TweedleDee and Tweedle Dum.

Mike B.


Now Clay Face would be a cool moniker.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:38 pm 
 

That old canard... private schools are no better than public schools in many ways.


True. And yet, where they do differ are in the ways that parents actually care about: better discipline, higher quality networking, and superior performance.

Now while there is clearly some self-selection going on.. wealthier families can afford private school and thus will likely have smarter than average parents, which in turn will make them better students.. it is nonetheless true that the incentives provided in private schools are the right ones.

I find it ironic that you mention that teachers -- in a private system -- have to suck up to parents to keep them happy. I think this is unlikely to be true, but at the very least a moot concern, since this is even worse of a problem in the public school system.

Moreover, you also mention there are good and bad apples in all professions. This is true. Yet the problem with teachers is that the vast majority of them aren't exposed to market pressures -- if they perform poorly, they actualy get rewarded (more funding, etc).. not punished like other professions.

In my view, there is really no reason for public schooling other than the power to indoctrinate students in a certain way (i.e. further the support of the state). [Actually, this was the initial motivation for public schooling in Germany and Canada; I'm not sure about the US]. After all, if it's just "to help poor people" or the disabled, then a simple subsidization scheme would be far more effective, and at lower cost.

But politicians need control...

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:16 pm 
 

Two things to add to the education discussion:

1)  Teachers vary widely in levels of competence, just like apprentices, journeymen and masters in any profession.  Not only that, but their competence in various aspects of teaching can vary widely, including their ability to relate to students, do paperwork, manage a classroom, build curriculum and a host of other things related to the profession.   Sometimes a teacher is brilliant in one setting, but a disaster in another...and vice versa.

2)  Be cautious when comparing US schools to those in other countries, particularly when test scores are compared:

a:  In the US, we educate everyone in pretty much the same elementary to middle school to high school system.  

(That means that my special education students, many of whom are severely disabled, are still counted on testing statistics as a measure of how everyone is doing in school...even though it is obvious that their participation skews all of the statistics.)  

Many other countries have multiple school tracks which include college-bound, technical and dregs-of-society level schools.  

The test data from those countries is generally taken from their top level schools.

So, it is possible for test statistics to actually compare the top...say...25% of students in a given country with all American students.  This renders comparisons essentially meaningless...although that fact gets left out in the news reports.

Another example would be statistics of graduating seniors collected from American 16 year-olds and another country's 19 year-olds.

I'm not saying that is always the case, but it is frequently quite true.

The numbers of American college freshmen who need remedial courses is a nice example of this phenomenon.  In America, pretty much anyone who wants to can attend a school in our vast college system...including some of our lowest-performing students.  (In fact, we make special efforts to send some of the lowest-performers to college.)  In other countries, only a small percentage of any one age group gets to go to college.  This means that a brutally huge portion of the world's total bachelor's degrees are awarded to Americans...but it also means that a lot of them need remedial coursework in their first year of college.


b:  Watch out for comparisons between school systems or types within the United States.  

For instance...watch out for comparisons of public schools with private or charter schools.

The differences are so large as to amount to apples and oranges.  

Just taking one example...most charter schools and private schools do not have special education programs.  So, my severe and profoundly disabled kids are not welcome in most of those schools, even if they had the money and/or family support to get into them.

So, comparing testing scores between public, private and charter schools can be like comparing time trials between broken down VW bugs versus race cars.  (Sorry, that is very un-American, very un-PC and perilously close to educational heresy....but it is also quite true.)

Probably the best observation about the American school system is just this:  Most of us on this website were educated in US public schools. They must be doing something right.

A simple fact:  The single greatest predictor of student success is....*drum roll*....parental involvement.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:28 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:I find it ironic that you mention that teachers -- in a private system -- have to suck up to parents to keep them happy. I think this is unlikely to be true


Having worked in both public and private schools, I have to say that it is entirely true.

Private school parents pay good money and they often expect a certain amount of power over the results.  How much power they have depends upon the character of administrators and the school's overall financial footing.  For instance...the board of directors of many private schools is an equal mix of the wealthiest and most psychotic parents.  Piss off a powerful or troublesome parent and you take your professional life in your hands...regardless of who is right.

In my old, private school, we had some students with massively inflated gradepoint averages get hammered on the SAT.  

Astonishingly...many people were unable to guess the reason for the discrepancy.  (HINT:  You cannot threaten to fire the people who administer the SAT if your child does not get the right score.)

Connected to my comments in the post above this one....often, the entire point of a private school is to get one's children away from other people's children.

Public schools do not have the luxury of turning away anyone.

Whatever social problems are out there inevitably overflow like sewage into our public schools.  Blaming the schools for these problems is illogical and counter-productive.

On the downside...many private school just don't have the finances to offer some of the best programs offered in the public schools  Sometimes (and I have two sets of inlaws who fall into this group) parents assume that "private" means "better" and are shocked when their kids transfer to public school and are way behind their grade-level peers.


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:43 am 
 

For instance...watch out for comparisons of public schools with private or charter schools.

The differences are so large as to amount to apples and oranges.  


One of the "supposed" reasons for public education trot out by the teacher's union is to ensure everyone has access to a quality education. If the public schools aren't keeping up with private schools, what's the point?

most charter schools and private schools do not have special education programs.  So, my severe and profoundly disabled kids are not welcome in most of those schools, even if they had the money and/or family support to get into them.


Well it depends on what you mean by most. 51%? There are lot of options in the private schools who cater to children with learning disabilities. But..

So, comparing testing scores between public, private and charter schools can be like comparing time trials between broken down VW bugs versus race cars.  (Sorry, that is very un-American, very un-PC and perilously close to educational heresy....but it is also quite true.)


Students that have signfiicant learning disabilities in the public system are often taught separately, such as in special-ed or some such. But in any case, to the extent their performance scores are included, there is simply not enough of them to account/explain the massive differences in performance between the two types of institutions.

This is a common cop-out, and it just doesn't mesh with the empirical evidence, nor reconciles with the rationale for state-provided education.

A simple fact:  The single greatest predictor of student success is....*drum roll*....parental involvement.


This is not true, at least empirically. After all, I don't recall many studies being able to quantify the time of parents that they put into their child's education. In theory or intuitively, this might have grounds, although I would think strong teacher incentives could be just as or more important. A good alternative or proxy for this is the highest level of education attained by the parents, as I've already noted.

Controlling for this variable, it would still likely be the case that private schools perform better, although I admit I am not up to speed on the literature at the moment.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:02 am 
 

Private school parents pay good money and they often expect a certain amount of power over the results.  How much power they have depends upon the character of administrators and the school's overall financial footing.  For instance...the board of directors of many private schools is an equal mix of the wealthiest and most psychotic parents.  Piss off a powerful or troublesome parent and you take your professional life in your hands...regardless of who is right.

In my old, private school, we had some students with massively inflated gradepoint averages get hammered on the SAT.  

Astonishingly...many people were unable to guess the reason for the discrepancy.  (HINT:  You cannot threaten to fire the people who administer the SAT if your child does not get the right score.)


Again, this aspect of public or private schooling is moot because it happens in both instititutions. But, to the extent in happens in the private system, at least there is some accountability:

If private schools develop a reputation for inflating scores but not helping students, they die out. If schools take a principled stance and assign grades on merit, they persist.

By contrast, in the public sphere there is no such accountability. And, in a sense, we actually pay even more money to have such inefficiencies persist (c.f. 'no child left behind program').

Connected to my comments in the post above this one....often, the entire point of a private school is to get one's children away from other people's children.

Public schools do not have the luxury of turning away anyone.

Whatever social problems are out there inevitably overflow like sewage into our public schools.  Blaming the schools for these problems is illogical and counter-productive.


Certainly, private schools are attractive because they cater to the tastes of parents. But there are some public schools in the poorest of neighborhoods that excel using the techniques in the private system (uniforms, discipline, some form of merit pay).. and even do better than many private schools. Ironically, the teacher's union eventually find ways to shut these "rogue" systems down.

On the downside...many private school just don't have the finances to offer some of the best programs offered in the public schools  Sometimes (and I have two sets of inlaws who fall into this group) parents assume that "private" means "better" and are shocked when their kids transfer to public school and are way behind their grade-level peers.


This is exactly why broad based comparisons are good. Looking at any two schools isn't likely to give a good indication of the quality of education across the two systems. On net private schools are better, but that doesn't mean there aren't good public schools or bad private schools.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:49 am 
 

Mark (FormCritic) has been spot-on with his critique that echoes what most people who have actually stepped into a K-12 classroom to teach have told me over the years.  I remember transferring to a Catholic junior high school after being in a NYC public elementary school for K-6, and immediately being recognized as the smartest kid in the class.  These Catholic school 7th graders still had to learn things that I had already learned in 5th and 6th grade.  It was pathetic that my parents had to pay money for this "wonderful" private school education that was obviously sub par.  The supposed upside would be that I would easily get into one of the best Catholic high schools in NYC, which I did... and subsequently I was intellectually unchallenged with mostly sub par teachers.  Thankfully I transferred back to my local NYC public high school for senior year and recharged my intellectual batteries before I went to college.  Everyone who has had a similar experience to mine with public and private Catholic schools has said the public school system was better in more ways than the private Catholic school.  Maybe that's anomalous to NYC but there it is.  
As for financial incentives for teachers, how could that be arranged?  Test scores?  For many obvious reasons untenable (for example, no teacher would want to teach a class or in a district with poor students).  You can't quantify a good teacher with any statistical analysis.  

Do you really want the state to cede control of the school system to churches and clergy?  You might want to think that one over for a bit...

Yes, the $30,000 per year private school is probably better than most public schools.  I have a friend who taught in an elite Manhattan one with the sons and daughters of the rich and famous (yes, great for networking and with significant grade inflation just like the Ivy Leagues).  Those kids are getting an excellent education (and grades) with teachers who are paid very well... so should taxpayers subsidize that level of tuition for all the other kids who cannot afford it?   

Market-driven education is a disaster as its emphasis will be on student retention and ability to pay in order to pad profit and the bottom line.  Students and parents will be flattered and feared to keep the money rolling in.  It will be a shift from a teacher-student relationship to a consumer-provider one, and that will be the end of any objective learning outcomes.  Public schools are by no means perfect, but they're preferable to the systemic pitfalls of the structure of private schools.

  
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