Monday, February 4, 2013

Education Misdirection

There's a study making the rounds which you'll probably hear about soon. It ranks the states by education. The moment I saw this study, however, I immediately knew something was wrong. Arkansas and West Virginia are in the Top 10 of the nation’s schools? My ample rear end! So I dug deeper, and as you would expect, the truth is rather different.

What this study did was rank each state’s education systems by six factors to let people know who has the better schools. They then put out an article identifying the Top 10 and the Bottom 10 schools. Here’s the complete list. Read it with a grain of salt:
1. MD - 83.9
2. MA - 85.9
3. NY - 70.2
4. VA - 74.4
5. AR - 66.3
6. FL - 72.4
7. GA - 70.5
8. NJ - 84.8
9. WV - 58.3
10. KY - 71.5
11. VT - 78
12. OH - 71.2
13. WI - 71.3
14. TX - 71.0
15. LA - 59.1
16. CT - 71.2
17. RI - 70.9
18. PA - 74.6
19. DE- 67.9
20. IN - 67.2
21. NC - 70.7
22. TN - 64.1
23. WY - 69.1
24. MI - 64.4
25. NH - 78.0
26. SC - 63.4
27. ND - 70.3
28. IL - 70.6
29. HI - 69.1
30. AL - 63.9
31. OK - 65.4
32. CO - 73.8
33. ME - 73.4
34. IA - 64.7
35. NM - 62.1
36. CA - 65.7
37. KS - 69.1
38. UT - 67.3
39. MN - 74.4
40. WA - 70.1
41. MO - 65.4
42. OR - 62.6
43. AZ - 67.6
44. MT - 75.1
45. DC - 56.3
46. NE - 65.3
47. AK - 64
48. MS - 56.6
49. ID - 70.9
50. NV - 65.6
51. SD - 67.8
Wait a minute, what are those numbers next to each state? They don’t seem to make any sense in the order they are in! That’s the point to this article.

The list above is the order in which the states come out if you use the formula this study used. The study ranked the states by six factors. These include (1) equality of funding in the state, (2) how good the state is at attracting teachers, (3) teacher training, (4) whether or not the state offers programs to “transition” kids between grades, and (5) whether or not the schools use testing/standards to measure child progress. Then there’s a sixth factor: quality of the education, i.e. how well their kids do.

If you don’t think too hard about these first five factors, they kind of make sense, right? After all, having standards and quality teachers and enough money to teach seems like it would affect the quality of the education itself. BUT since we have the sixth factor, which is how the kids do, why should we include the first five when ranking the schools?

Think about this in terms of cars. Do you care about the quality of the car or do you care about the way the factory works? In other words, does it actually matter to you that Company A has better educated workers, a better pension plan, and conducts more testing if the cars they turn out are still junk? This survey assumes you do. This survey assumes that procedure matters more than the substance the procedures produce. In fact, it matters a lot more.

Consider this.

The numbers next to each state are the state’s score for quality of education, i.e. the substantive effect of all their procedural efforts. If we re-arrange the list according to only education quality, you will find the following:

1. As you would expect, West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas fall out of the top ten. West Virginia is actually 49th, and Arkansas is 43rd. To include those in the top ten is malpractice at best.

2. New York and Georgia tumble as well. New York goes from 3rd to 24th and Georgia falls from 7th to 22nd.

3. By adding irrelevant factors like “equality of funding,” all but one state moved around on the list. The overall average number of places jumped was 12, with the thirteen most distorted states moving an average of 27 spots and the next nine most distorted states moving an average of 16 spots.

What this tells us is that there is no possible statistical link between the other five factors and education quality. In other words, whether or not a state has a “pension portability plan” for teachers and whether or not a state spends its money equally does not affect the quality of education within that state. To the contrary, it seems to be inversely related given the amount the states moved.

Consider West Virginia. West Virginia was tied for 8th in the survey but is 49th in terms of education quality. The reason West Virginia jumped 41 spots was because (1) funding is “more equitable than any other state,” (2) the state has the third highest rate of state spending on education (4.7% of state spending), and (3) the state has established state standards. YET, West Virginia was one of only three states to receive a failing grade in education quality. Clearly, these factors were meaningless in that instance.

In fact, check out this admission buried within the article, “[Georgia] is also one of just 10 [states] where student performance data has a direct correlation to teacher education programs.” In other words, a statistical relationship could only be found in ten states. Translation: there is no statistical relationship between the factors we used to rank schools and student performance.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying that teachers should be abused or that standards don’t matter. What I’m saying is that it’s fraudulent to rank schools using these generic criteria which clearly don’t correlate to education quality. Offering a failed state like West Virginia into the top ten just because you like their procedures and knocking down South Dakota 21 places just because they don’t have a portable pension plan for teachers is obscene.

So what do you do? First, you ignore analysis like this because it’s garbage and you let people know why it’s garbage. This study would tell parents to send their kids to horrible school systems just because the study authors approve of the procedures by which the system is run. . . procedures which show no correlation to education quality.

Secondly, if you want to reform education, you need to dig deeper. We know instinctively that standards matter. Yet, no relationship was found between having standards and quality of education. . . look at West Virginia as the perfect example of this. This means either that we are wrong and standards are irrelevant OR that only certain standards will help. Hence, it’s time for conservatives to dig deeper and to understand what standards are needed. Don’t just advocate “standards,” find the specific standards that work.

The same is true of the other factors (1) does teacher quality matter, (2) does teacher education matter, (3) does incentive pay matter, (4) does helping kids “transition” between grades and to college matter, and (5) what exactly is the role of funding? These are questions we don’t know the answer to. These are things that need to be researched with specificity. It’s time for conservatives to dig into these issues, to do specific studies, and to come up with an agenda that helps reform America’s schools.


LL said...

% of students who graduate from high school and complete at least two years of college with a 3.0 GPA or better. What about that for the standard? The rest of the numbers can be (and likely are) gaffed.

Who cares whether the teachers are happy, well paid or have an adequate portable pension? Either the students learn, move past high school and are successful in the basic education courses (which are nothing more than extensions of high school) or they aren't.

Angry, miserable teachers won't do a good job teaching. The cause and effect doesn't matter if you are ranking education by state.

Figures lie and liars figure.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, Exactly. What this study does is grade states based on the procedures the study authors like rather than on the quality of the product, when all that ultimately matters is how well do the children get educated.

I think this study tells us two things. First, it shows the kind of bait and switch you see in education studies. Rather than focusing on the ONLY thing that matters -- outcome -- they mix outcome with procedures so they can create these lists of "good" schools to encourage states to adopt the same procedures, whether or not they result in a good product.

Secondly, I think this exposes a flaw in education thinking (both in liberal and conservative ranks) that we are all talking about very big picture ideas like "standards" and "teacher retention" and those just aren't useful ways to predict quality of result. We need to dig down and figure which standards matter and when teacher quality matters.

In other words, if we were talking about cars, we would be taking about "goes fast" and "can stop" whereas we really need to be talking about specific engineering level features.

Anthony said...

Like I've said before, I think family plays a huge role in education. Parents who aren't actively involved in their kids' education, who say 'That's the teacher's job' are doing their kids a disservice.

Tennessee Jed said...

this reminds me of the ranking of countries for Healthcare by the W.H.O. that places two thirds of it's weighting criteria on how nationalized a country's healthcare system is.

And, I agree, once we determine, which states rank the highest in outcomes, we can look at other factors in our quest to understand why, to "make postulates" as to what factors contribute to the outcome.

But this is why politicians love to make political ads touting statistics. You can make any point you wish and come up with a set of numbers that proves it.

Patriot said...

"The world needs ditch-diggers to!"

We all know the reason for the disparity in states educational systems and results lie in teachers unions. Just think if every state had a tiered educational opportunity system. Everyone would get a basic "education" with basic knowledge. Starting around junior high (middle school these days I guess) those that wanted, had the desire and aptitude would select certain types of schools that catered to their individual skills. You could have math, science, writing, sport, and vocational (electricians, plumbing, mechanics, engineering, etc) schools of study. Right now we put everyone through the same "standard" educational system. And we wonder why many drop out. Not everyone is destined to go to college and study liberal arts.

Point is, where and when does the "state" step in and identify aptitude and then what do we do with those children? If we find a skill for math in an inner city kid, what opportunity right now do they have to excel if there own parents could give a hoot about education? So do we abdicate the skills choosing to the state? Conundrums.....

Because, like it or not, the world needs ditch diggers too.

Tennessee Jed said...

Patriot - I'm not certain teacher's unions are THE reason for disparity, because off the top of my head, I can't say for certain they all don't have teacher's union. Intuitively, though, I am against teacher's unions because they champion equality of pay, or factors like seniority instead of the only basis that matters; individual merit. In some ways, I'll grant, we have no method of objectively doing so, and I'll grant there is always room for cronyism or favoritism. Hell, in business, a new boss almost always picks his or her top staff based on knowing them, and being comfortable with them (which includes loyalty to him or her.)

T-Rav said...

No, those first five factors don't make sense to me even if I don't think about them too hard.

In fairness to Arkansas, I have seen a lot of studies that put it much higher on the education list than one would think, even in the top 10. Of course, this may say more about the quality of education surveys in general.

tryanmax said...

Piggybacking on Jed's comment, I generally get the sense that these sort of "studies" are intended to make the case that the US is a horrible place--at least as a secondary goal. The primary goal, of course, is to anchor the cyclical reasoning that supports a liberal education agenda. "OMG! The US only gets a 'C' in education funding equity! More equity would solve this. We should get right on that!"

I did some digging and located the study. Apparently, the only state in the nation getting an "A" for its students' "Chance for Success" is Massachusetts. I suppose in that light, the rest of us are doing remarkably well, since we're all doomed anyway. Still, it remains that not enough of the nation is like Boston /sarc.

I also couldn't avoid noting that my state of Nebraska is in the bottom rankings, which is odd considering that the study ranks us 13th on "Chance for Success" and reveals NE has the 16th highest graduation rate. Where we come in dead last is "Standards and Assessments" and we're 49th on "Transitions." Just a one-state example of how this study is clearly correlating things that have little to do with one another.

One final thought: wouldn't a low degree of teacher accountability seem to correlate to a higher level of teacher autonomy? Just a little something to consider in the way of reframing the debate.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I agree and I think that something needs to be done to bring parents of failing kids into the mix or, truthfully, kids need to be taken away. I know that is totally anti-libertarian, but I think that's the only way to break the cycle that has developed in some communities.

I would suggest that the parent of kids who get Ds and Fs be required to attend parenting classes. Kids who fail repeatedly get sent to boarding schools.

That said, there is a LOT of failure in schools. As someone whose father was Air Force and thus I moved around the country, I can tell you that there was maybe 4-5 years difference between the better states and the worse states. That's the sort of thing that needs to change.

Similarly it makes sense to reform the education system to run along the best lines possible, even if parents are largely the problem.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's exactly true. This is a political study, not an informative study. The idea is to confuse the issue and to promote education funding equality and increased benefits for teachers... even though those don't show any correlation to performance according to this study.

What I think is really cynical, yet also clever, is that this study gives both the left and the right exactly what they want: (1) look leftists, teacher pay works! and (2) look rightists, testing and standards work! even though neither statement is at all true -- in fact, the opposite appears true according to this study.

But I'll bet both sides jump on this and claim it proves they were right. Then they will pass another school reform bill that includes both, when the reality is we need to dig a lot deeper to find out what kinds of standards work and what kinds of "quality" teachers matter.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Let me add, this is precisely the kind of thing these supposed right-wing think tanks should be jumping on -- not just dismissing a study like this because it's utter garbage, but figuring out what I've done here and then performing studies to see how various factors actually work or don't.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, The world doesn't need that many ditch diggers.

I agree about the standardization. Right now, education is designed the needs of middle-class female students with limited goals for their lives, and everyone is force through that mold. That's why boys do so poorly in school, because the whole system doesn't fit their psychology. That's why poor kids do poorly because the system assumes a middle class support system. That's why rich kids go private, because their parents don't want mediocre/average kids.

The best reform would could ever make to schools is to get them to look at each kid as a "client" and to get schools to offer programs that meet their client's needs. Right now, students are viewed as a raw material to be turned into a product.

Kit said...

re Colleges. My dad, who works at a bank*, suggested that we grant fed money to colleges according to the default rate of student loans.

Or we could create two lists: One ranking them according to default rate on student loans and the other on tuition costs (and rate of increase).

*Shut up! They didn't take a bailout!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree that teachers unions aren't the only problem, but they are the biggest roadblock to reform. They stand in the way of any reforms because they don't want things to get harder for their members. They care only about the money/benefits of their members, not the quality of education of the students.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The problem with those studies is that they almost always rank states by process -- Arkansas has nice process because it's done what the education lobby asked of it. But it has failing marks in terms of outcome, and that's all that matters.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Believe it not, I'm not as cynical about the purpose of this study. I think this was meant genuinely.

I think the education lobby has been so deep in this way of thinking for so long that they honestly just don't understand that they are babbling nonsense at this point.

This study uses all the buzzwords, all the latest ideas from both political sides, and it grades the states on the same criteria that everybody's been talking about for six years now. The problem is that the underlying assumptions are nonsense, but it's been conventional wisdom for so long that they can't see the nonsense factor.

So I don't think the purpose here is to push some negative view of the US, I suspect the study authors genuinely think that they are trying to push the states to do things that "everybody knows work," even if the evidence isn't there to support that.

The statement about only ten states fitting the statistical correlation is the perfect example. That statement should send up huge red flags to impartial observer that there is no correlation at all. Yet, clearly, what they've done is they've looked for evidence to support their belief. That's a very human thing to do, but it's just a way to delude yourself.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I'm not sure what the point would be. I don't think people will see any connection between default rates and quality of education.

tryanmax said...

I suppose a less inflammatory way to state what I mean is that the purpose of the study is to confirm what the authors already "know" to be true, which is that the state of US education is a mess and in need of the reforms it recommends regardless whatever realities might confront that belief.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think that's a good way to put it. I don't think the intent here is cynical, I think it's genuine... it's just wrong. I think the authors of this study set out to prove what they already "knew" to be true and they were determined to find it, even if they thought they were being impartial.

But again, what people should be saying back to the education lobby is what I say above -- this is nonsense and you need to do deeper research.

Koshcat said...

Has everyone here seen the documentary, Waiting for Superman?

If you haven't, I recommend it. Heartbreaking to see kids stuck in drop out factories.

I agree that I don't think anyone knows what is the right metric to measure. Drop out rates and high school diplomas are a start but we all know people who have these and still can barely read. The idea behind no child left behind act was to "standardize" what a child knew when he left school. I still think a standardize test at the end of school may help to have a goal to reach, such as the SAT.

It would seem to be a problem that would be ripe for using a LEAN approach, but the animosity among the different parties are so tense, I'm not sure they would work together. I do wish they would start with the goal of 100% graduation rate with >10th grade reading level and math understand up to calculus. If you can read and write well and understand algebra and trig, you can do just about anything.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I have seen "Waiting for Superman." I even reviewed it. On the one hand, it's fascinating seeing this guy's eyes opened up. On the other hand, there's still a lot of blame aimed at bad people damaging the system rather than realizing that the system itself is the problem. Still, it's a start.

And leftists are starting to realize that school funding is not the issue. They've settled upon the idea that a minimum amount of funding is needed and everything after that is a waste -- which is a big change in their position.

I think ultimately the problem with education reform is the lack of genuine research. As this study indicates, none of the five factors everyone seems to think apparently matter. So either we are all very wrong or (more likely) we are just being too generic in our assessments. That's why I think researchers need to dig down and ask what kinds of standards matter and what kinds of teachers matter.

In terms of graduation rates, I consider that a worthless measure. An assembly line turns out 100% of product... that doesn't mean it's all up to standards. Comparative testing of actual skill is the only thing that can really gauge the quality of the output. Comparative between their peers and comparative with prior classes so we can track it over time.

Personally, I think the biggest thing that could change reform is a change in mindset, to make teachers responsible for turning out 100% of kids who hit the standards. Right now, everything is one-size-fits all with an allowable failure rate built in to account for the kids who won't fit the model. They need to change that and look at each kid as a separate client who needs a tailored program that fits their needs. It's the same thing every other profession does -- from lawyers, to doctors, to marketing people, to financial planners, to job placement people, etc. Only in education do we think that one size should fit everyone.

Patriot said... standardization. Some states don't use/require SAT tests, they use ACT or somehting similar.

Again, I think most states and their political leaders recognize the need for a good educational system in their state. The problem is they run up against federal mandates and national union issues, like the variables used in Andrew's example above.

We need to remember that the DOEduc and NEA/AFT are all about the money. It's all about the money. That is the solution to improving education in this country....more money, according to them. More money equals greater power in DC for the dept. and more dollars for the unions and their leadership.

Exhibit A: Take a look at where the "stimulus" money went. Most went to the states. And in the states it went to what? Education. Oh good you say, I can get behind that maybe. No, it went to the teachers unions pensions and bureaucracy. Very little made it to the actual school systems in the form of infrastructure, IT, books, etc.

But let a conserv rant about reducing the amount of $$ for education and what are they branded as?

Do we realize how many "assistant" this or that are out there? Look into your states and see how much goes for admin versus books, IT, structural fixes, etc. You'd be shocked.

Patriot said...

One other point, if school systems in the South are so horrendous, why are so many people moving there for the jobs? Because the "Yankees" are opening up private and charter schools to put their children in to. So when these types of studies are done, they look at the public school system as a whole and usually leave out the higher performing schools. Why? So they can get more federal money for their failing public school systems and unions.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Agreed. Many on the left are starting to wake up the idea that more money does not mean more quality, yet the unions will not hear of any change and they control the DOE and the Democratic Party. It's going to be some time before anything changes on the left -- if ever.

I think that conservatives should support a law requiring that a certain percentage of money actually reaches the classroom to start cutting out the administrations. Massive amounts of money are getting wasted on bureaucracies, and I think the public would support a law that required that the money spent actually reach the classroom. That would have the benefit of actually forcing the education establishment to find real uses for the money and it would neuter their bureaucratic mindset.

I'm also a fan of breaking the unions through private and charter schools. I would give principals much more power to hire and fire and to look outside the ranks of education-degree holders to do so.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, That's true. Private schools are booming in places with bad public schools but aren't doing so well in places with good public schools.

If you want a "market measure" of how consumers perceive the quality of education, look at the size of the private school market in each area.

Koshcat said...

I don't want to suggest that the SAT is the answer, personally it was a horrible test. I also agree that one size doesn't fit all but I also don't want the ultimate goal to get lost. If you haven't looked at the bs they spend time teaching kids. If they spent a little less time teaching interpersonal relationship and community stewardship and more time on multiplication tables, many of the problems would be better. Also, there are a lot of kids who have the basic reading and math skills by 15 or 16 but may not be quite mature enough to go to college. It would be good to get these kids out of the high school and into college courses than to keep them around. Might loosen up teacher time for the slower kids.

Koshcat said...

...It would be good to get these kids out of the high school and into college courses than to keep them around...

it would be better...ugh, I need an editor.

Patriot said... go to a Southern school?! LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I agree. You don't want to lose focus of the bigger picture. And to me, when I say "treat everyone as a separate client," I mean to develop different methods to get kids to the standard goals.

Then, if they exceed the goals, there should be some track to take them higher. But at a bare minimum, everyone should be brought up to the same minimum levels of quality in certain basic areas. I would suggest those areas are reading, writing, arithmetic, basic science, cultural knowledge/history, and logic/reasoning.

After that, you can create tracks for college prep or vocational and you can even create separate tracks for skill level. Unfortunately, right now people won't agree on what schools should be teaching or how student progress should be measured. And that allows the system to clunk along with the one-size fits all approach.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, LOL! Back in the 1980s, I did a year at a public school in a rich part of Memphis -- all rich, white kids, tons of money and great facilities. I was shocked to discover that they were literally two years behind what I had been learning in Colorado. Literally, the eighth grade curriculum was the sixth grade curriculum in Colorado.

Then, when I went to college, I found out that the kids from the magnet schools in NYC were about a year ahead of everyone at Colorado in math and science.

So there used to be real variance. I don't know if it's still true or not.

Patriot said...

Andrew....I think anytime you select the "smart" kids and group them together in one school (charter, magnet, private, etc.) then you will have the situation you describe in NYC.

Here in Northern Virginia, we have Thomas Jefferson magnet H.S. US News and World Report rated it the top high school in the nation from 2007 - 2011. So, no matter what state someone came from (CA, NY, MA) they would invariably be behind these brainiacs at TJHS.

So the variance is inherent in every state and across states. Bottom line, you will have smart kids in every state....are they all aggregated in a couple areas is the real question.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, True. And Colorado has done that too in some cases with magnet schools.

What shocked me though was that the school in Memphis was supposed to be one of the better ones in the state and the school I attended in Colorado wasn't anything special, yet we were literally two years ahead in the same grade.

Patriot said...

Andrew.....I experienced that with my kids when we moved from North Carolina (Charlotte area) to Pennsylvania (Philly area). The quality of the teachers was much better and the focus was on learning not social justice through busing as it was in NC.

Not to say individually there were some kids that would kick ass academically no matter where they were in school. Bottom line, my kids were much more challenged in PA than in NC.

As an know what the Mecklenburg County School Systems Mission statement at the time (1990's) stated? Something to the effect that "CMS schools will strive to be the #1 integrated, urban school district in the nation."

How's THAT for a academically challenging goal!!

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Yeah, that's a heck of a goal. It's basically an admission of defeat... "we may be the in the bottom half of the league, but by God, we're going to be at the top of the bottom half!"

That's something I find so frustrating about the whole education industry -- left and right -- which is that people buy into this idea that somehow where you start is where you should finish, that "a little better" is a worthwhile goal, and that it would take years to change things. That's all bunk.

There is no legitimate reason that every child in this country (excluding a few true special needs kids) shouldn't be at 100% of the basic standard by the end of the year if we truly wanted it to happen. It would take more effort, more time in school, fewer vacations, more teachers, and a focus on individual kids... but we could do it. And it's shocking to me that people are willing to accept less.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, what was the name of the Memphis school? I was in that area long enough I might have heard of it.

For the most part, Memphis public schools today are poor and black--and academically terrible. The county schools, which are middle-class and racially mixed, are much better, as are the handful of city private and charter schools.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It was a suburb actually -- Germantown. And I believe the school name was Germantown Middle School (I'm trying to remember if it had a second name). This was all rich, white kids, and they weren't learning jack.

T-Rav said...

Oh, okay. I think their standards have gone up since then--relatively speaking, anyway. And last I heard, they're trying to secede from the Shelby County district altogether to avoid a merger with Memphis City Schools. So good or bad, I guess they have standards (sort of).

T-Rav said...

Patriot, we actually have a Thomas Jefferson magnet High School in Missouri, too. I know because the Quiz Bowl team I was on twice made it all the way to the state championships, and then they beat our pants off. Apparently they're really good, or something. (grrrr)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I would hope their standards have gone up. I think everyone upped their game significantly in the past decade. I just mentioned it as an example of how divergent the states have been (at least in the past). If you figure a two year difference between Colorado and TN and then another year with NY, it's kind of shocking that the same country could turn out people who are three years behind.

Individualist said...

I like the Florida system although I don't know where a 72 places it.

Schools are graded on how well kids do on standardized testing. IF the school is given a D or F grade than any parent with a child in that school has a right to a voucher to go somewhere else. Either a private school or a magnate school.

I am not sure how this works out, I know the teachers' unions hate it. But they may have changed the system after Crist took office, so I am not sure.

End of the day : Can Johnny read?

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That is the ultimate point... can Johnny read. That's what is lost in all of this attempt to rank states by their procedures.

If I remember correctly, Florida is now in the high teens -- which sure beats the days there were near the bottom!

T-Rav said...

Andrew, speaking strictly for myself, as someone who spent my K-12 years at the same rural school (and loved it), it always astounded me when I encountered other schools with lots of whiz kids in math, science, the arts, etc. I found it hard to believe--and still do, I guess--that there were that many people like that out there.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The engineer school I started at was one of the top schools in the country. You haven't seen genius until you attend a place like that. Most of the people on my hallway had aced the SAT and I sat in classes with people who were able to offer valid criticism of Einstein on the fly. It was enlightening to meet those people and to see the difference between them and the rest of us.

Commander Max said...

Andrew, here is something for you. My mother is a retired high school teacher, she has all sorts of things to tell. The waste, how the unions break good teachers. Later she became what I called a union goon(recruitment). Out of the blue she went on a union rant(she is prone to go on rants out of the blue). It was all predictable, protect teacher jobs, how poor the districts were treating teachers, bla, bla. But thing was noticeably missing, she never said anything about the students, or education itself.
It shows where their priorities are, which fits right in with the list.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, There's a famous quote from the head of one of the teacher's unions (can't remember which) who said that he would start caring about students when they started paying dues.

It's obvious to me that the teachers unions simply don't care about the kids. They care about money, power and working conditions. The kids could be animals or computers to be assembled for all they care.

Commander Max said...

If you want to turn a good business into a bad one. Bring in a union. Sadly since the kids do not have a voice, they are out of luck. Or on their own. That's one thing I can say, I have learned far more out of school than I ever learned in it.

The intercity schools are like that. While the teachers blame the parents for the kids attitude. But how many teachers do you remember taking a kid, and making a difference in that kid's life.

I think the whole education thing has turned into one big con. It's all about the money, the kid is just a piece of meat.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Isn't that the truth. It is very fashionable to blame the parents, but the reality is that few teachers really care. Even in my largely middle-class education background, it was the rare teacher who actually cared about us rather than drawing the paycheck.

Commander Max said...

That's what the system does, it either grinds down or forces out motivated teachers. My mother told me that a few years into her teaching career.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, It was the same thing with the government. If you had talent, they either worked you to death as everyone watched until you burned out or they drove you out so you didn't make everyone else look bad.

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