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GEORGE KENNEDY: How good our schools are depends on how much we want to fund them

Thursday, May 12, 2011 | 5:49 p.m. CDT; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 16, 2011

When it comes to the Columbia Public Schools, I make no pretense of objectivity. I’m a fan, and not only because my three kids were well served at Blue Ridge, Oakland and Hickman. Our public schools, it seems to me, are the most important of our local institutions.

That’s why it has been so painful to watch the last couple of years as declining revenue and rising enrollment have squeezed out valuable services and personnel. That’s why the School Board session planned for 7:30 a.m. Thursday is so important. And that’s why we voters should approve the tax increase the board will almost certainly decide to ask for.

Columbians have been spoiled by the consistent high quality and low cost of our schools. For years, we’ve basked in the reflected glory of a steady flow of National Merit and Presidential scholars. We’ve prided ourselves on being a kind of real-life Lake Wobegon, where, if not all, nearly all the children were above average. When beloved superintendents Russell Thompson and Jim Ritter asked for modest tax increases, we approved.

Well, as you may have noticed, times have changed. The school population has changed; students’ needs have changed; state and federal expectations have changed. The dropout rate is too high, and test scores are too low.  Meanwhile, state support has declined, and it’s about to fall off a cliff.

A few numbers tell the story: This year, 39 percent of the system’s 17,550 pupils are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. That’s a standard measure of poverty. Among black pupils, 78 percent are eligible; among Hispanics, 68 percent. At Benton Elementary, it’s 92 percent.

Poverty, of course, correlates inversely with academic achievement. In 2010, on the state-required MAP test, just 18 percent of black third-graders scored proficient or above in communication arts. For whites, the number was 55 percent. A third-grader who’s scoring below grade level is 13 times more likely to become a dropout.

The headline in Tuesday’s Missourian summarized, “Less money, more costs.” After reading that and scanning the numbers on the district website, I went to see Chris Belcher, who’ll be laying out the facts and the alternatives before his bosses on the School Board just after dawn Thursday.

He provided a few more numbers, along with some background.

While enrollment has grown by the equivalent of about 20 elementary classrooms since 2008, the staff has shrunk by 250 positions. State support, which accounts for about one-third of the local budget, has been reduced by $5.7 million over the past two years. The projection is that it will be cut by another $6.6 million in 2012-13, as federal stimulus money runs out and our notoriously tax-averse legislature refuses to respond.

Only three states fund education more cheaply that Missouri, and we seem to like it that way. Neither the Republican legislature nor our Democratic governor is willing even to consider raising our lowest-in-the nation cigarette or alcohol taxes.

How serious is the funding problem? Superintendent Belcher calculates that the district will need next year an additional $12.7 million just to meet needs already identified, such as providing early schooling to all the poor kids who need it, maintaining facilities and reducing class size to at least the level the state recommends. (Thirty-seven classrooms will have too many students next year.)

The choice is clear. As Superintendent Belcher told the board Monday night, “We either have to look at radical and significant program changes and reductions, or we will have to have a discussion about adding revenue from a local source.”

When I suggested that he was being a bit coy about a tax increase, he laughed.

My guess is that the laughter will stop when he recommends a 60-cent increase in the district’s operating levy. That would produce, he’ll tell the board, about $12.4 million. With that and drawing down the reserve that has been carefully accumulated, the schools can do what we expect, if not everything we’d like, for a few more years.

Chris Belcher is a smart guy. He understands that, as he told me, “there’s been no worse time in the last 20 years” to ask the public to vote for a higher tax. He’s keenly aware that three of the last five proposed tax hikes have been rejected at the polls.

The way I see it, he really has no choice but to try. Nor does the board.

The choice will be ours. That’s the way it should be in a democratic society. No public decision will be more important.

George Kennedy is a former managing editor at the Missourian and professor emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism.

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Comments

Ellis Smith May 13, 2011 | 6:00 a.m.

"How good our schools are depends upon how much we want to fund them." True, but only to a point. Obviously if we don't fund them, they won't be very good.

How much money will be required to keep that third grader who is scoring below grade level from dropping out? Can a dollar cost even be put on that? If so, what is it, and don't that third grader's parents have any responsibility for improving his/her performance? If they don't,WHY don't they? They're called "schools," not public baby sitting services.

Is there EVER going to be that much money? The question answers itself. This community has done a better job than most of funding its public schools and I'm in favor of an increase, but believing we can "fund" our way to success (or even just to avoid failure) is folly.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 13, 2011 | 7:11 a.m.

"we will have to have a discussion about adding revenue from a local source.”

Here's one: CPS should cap taxes at their current rate and then have parents pay the difference between the school portion of their property tax and the annual cost of educating their child(ren). Parents who complain should reminded that, for example, they already receive federal tax breaks for their children and that non-parents are already paying a significant amount toward schools.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 13, 2011 | 8:45 a.m.

I've heard the educational adage "More money fixes all" many times over my 62 years, and I've yet to see it happen.

How many billions of dollars have we spent on education over the last 45 years since I graduated from high school?

What did we get for it....except all of the "problems" accurately outlined by Kennedy?

Kennedy states, "...our notoriously tax-averse legislature refuses to respond." With such a statement, Kennedy swings and misses the target, becomes a voter victim, and treats the legislature as a dictatorial vacuum sans voter input. The more proper statement would be, "For decades, voters of this State have seen billions of dollars spend on education....and those voters don't see much bang for their buck. Instead, they see more problems than solutions. This increasing skepticism is reflected in the way voters think...and vote. With decades of experience, voters of this State simply do not trust those who say, "More money fixes all." And that thought process is reflected in the legislature that voters elect.

As for me, I'm on a voter strike. That means no more money than you have currently. I want changes first. I want it to be tough to get into the teaching profession (higher entry standards), and I want it tough to stay there. I want teachers periodically tested. I want no K-12 tenure...I see no reason teachers should have greater job security than any other Joe or Jane Doaks out there. I want schools to compete with one another for teachers. I want schools to compete for students. I want fewer, more competent teachers making twice what they do now. I want teachers to have the responsibility AND legal immunity/ability to keep those who would disrupt their classes OUT. I want kids to truly pass their grade level....not just get passed on. I want vouchers. I want parents to have the ability to take their school tax dollars elsewhere if their local school fails to deliver. I want schools to quit milque-toasting the lessons obtained from success versus failure. I want year-around school except for a 3 week vacation hiatus. I want local control of schools and their curricula rather than federal control. Keep federal money out...it is an abomination with strings. I want more chalkboards and less electronic crap.

I could go on.......

Then, and only then, will we talk about my vote.

(Disclosure: One of my daughters teaches 4th grade in another district.)

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 13, 2011 | 9:21 a.m.

To Michael's list, I would add that by dropping out of high school, you should automatically forfeit access to all welfare (e.g, TANF) for the rest of your life unless you achieve at least a GED. Some will argue that that's harsh for a decision made when the person is still a teenager. Two rebuttals: 1) The rest of us are forced by law to pay for the drop-out's choice and 2) If the drop-out's plight bothers you that much, why not take him or her into your home?

At the state, federal and local levels, the education system must change to force parents and students to be fully accountable when they demonstrate a lack of commitment to education. It's shocking how few show up for parent-teacher conferences. If your kid is left back, and you didn't even show up for conferences, the cost of educating your child an additional year -- $9,343 in 2010 -- should be added to your taxes.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin May 13, 2011 | 9:30 a.m.

Cuts to teacher salaries and student services followed by a hefty tax increase (looks like 15%) for the average voter.

The worst possible "solutions" for these economic times.

Instead, the "local source" CPS SHOULD be looking at to "add revenue" are big bucks property owners banking development land as "farm land."

Billionaire Stan Kroenke -- who just announced he's buying the rest of UK's Arsenal Soccer Team he doesn't already own -- is my favorite example, but just one of dozens (if not hundreds).

This is 133 acres he paid $2 million for 10 years ago, across from his castle on Nifong and Mill Creek Elementary on Sinclair, all stubbed in with utilities and ready to develop:

http://www.showmeboone.com/ASSESSOR/Real...

Notice the tax he paid on that? All of $281.83 -- less tax than most people pay on their cars -- for one of the largest plots of ultra-prime land in all of Boone County. What a huge increase he faces when the school board raises the levy (NOT)!

As for more savings, how much administrative overhead has been cut?
We mostly hear about teachers and programs, but rarely administrators.

In a 2008 CPS salary survey of 125 mostly directors, managers, assistant principals, and assistant superintendents online here:

http://archive.columbiatribune.com/2008/...

Eighteen administrators made more than $100,000/year.

Fifteen made more than $90,000/year.

Twenty two made more than $80,000/year.

Roughly 35 made more than $70,000/year.

Only a very few teachers/instructors showed up at these levels.

By contrast, Springfield Public Schools had just 10 managers earning more than $100,000 -- with 7,000 more students than Columbia.

Along with administrators, add 91 administrative support staff, including 29 who earned more than $50,000 a year.

Have we hired teachers who can't function without twenty layers of management? No.

The quality of our schools and the education they provide hinges on teachers -- not managers.

And everyone should help -- including wealthy developers. Or are they not supposed to be asked if they value our schools, too?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 13, 2011 | 9:51 a.m.

Jimmy,

Your addition to my list sums things up rather nicely.

Accountability for all.

Without a bailout. If you are accountable for it, you deal with it.

Yes.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock May 13, 2011 | 11:45 a.m.

Great article. See George I knew we would eventually agree on something.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 13, 2011 | 11:52 a.m.

"The quality of our schools and the education they provide hinges on teachers -- not managers."
I totally agree.
I suggest it's a part of the corporatization of education - managers extracting the wealth from the enterprise at the expense of the (1) end users (students, families, and community) and (2) those that create the value (teachers).

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 13, 2011 | 12:19 p.m.

"Instead, the 'local source' CPS SHOULD be looking at to 'add revenue' are big bucks property owners banking development land as 'farm land.'"

I'd be interested in knowing exactly how our peer cities handle this. For example, how do they assess the land's worth when they can't predict how it will be developed or what it might sell for?

And what about smaller plots? For example, suppose I pay $40K for the lot next to my home because I like the green space. Under new rules, would the city tax me based on what it thinks the land will be worth if I sell it or what it would generate in taxes if a home were built there?

I'm sure there will be lots of proposals. For example, California is considering allowing school districts to impose an income tax on residents. If enacted, residents would have their income taxed thrice: by the feds, by the state and by their school district.

Other governments are considering a tax based on imputed rent, which argues that people who have paid off their mortgage should be taxed based on the amount that they would be paying if they still had that debt or had to pay rent. A local property tax is one way to collect imputed rent.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin May 13, 2011 | 1:00 p.m.

@Jimmy: Good questions.

Our peer cities/counties have handled this by simply following the law.

Under Missouri law (RSMo 137.016 and 137.119), working farmland is taxed far lower than commercial or residential land.

But the key word is "working."

To qualify for the tax break, the law is clear: The land must be ACTIVELY farmed.

Land that isn’t farmed (which can include logging) doesn’t qualify.

These laws and rules have been affirmed by the Missouri State Tax Commission many times, e.g. in 2004, when developer Northtown Village challenged Jasper County Assessor Tom Davis.

"The essential element in this case...was to establish the agricultural USE of the subject lots," the tax commission wrote. "No documentation to establish either the person or persons who had cut hay or timber was presented. No documentation was presented to establish the frequency of either hay or timber cutting. No documentation was presented to establish the most recent hay and timber cutting activities."

You can read that case here:
http://stc.mo.gov/2004/Northtown%20Villa...

Like his many peers in the Boone County land-banking business, Kroenke isn't farming his land and long ago established its intended (highest and best) use.

He stubbed in utilities (gas, water, power, cable, etc.) for development, and paid $2 million for it a decade ago. Today, the assessor says it's only worth $40,030.

How can that be??

And here's another example: 18.2 prime residential development acres in Thornbrook, complete with utilities and finished cul-de-sac!

http://www.showmeboone.com/ASSESSOR/Real...

Use the Map It function and check out the cul-de-sac.

Then check out the 2010 property tax:
$50.76

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 13, 2011 | 1:28 p.m.

@ Mike: Thanks for clarifying. So why doesn't our assessor simply follow the law? For example, is he claiming that the laws can be interpreted multiple ways, and his way benefits certain landowners?

On a side note, what about homes where it's the person's primary residence but he/she rents out a basement apartment? Regardless of whether the apartment was constructed legally (e.g., permits, ordinance), wouldn't that affect the property's tax?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 13, 2011 | 2:17 p.m.

Jimmy I'm surprised you aren't thinking that Kroenke's tax burden should be reduced and citing all the jobs he creates. After all, nobody rang cash registers before they invented Walmart.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin May 13, 2011 | 2:30 p.m.

@Jimmy:

"So why doesn't our assessor simply follow the law?"

Ask his 2008 campaign donors:

Greenwing Development (Tom Atkins)

Little Dixie Construction

Otto Maly, who gave twice: once through Maly Commercial Realty; and again personally.

Fairway Construction and Fairway Management (Jeff Smith)

R. Anthony Development (Rob Wolverton)

Elissa Odle, whose family runs Trittenbach Development

Emery Sapp and Sons, whose principals Billy and Elvin Sapp co-founded the Central Missouri Development Council and built two of Columbia's largest residential developments, Old Hawthorne and Bristol Lake

Developer William Coil, who once got caught up in a tree-clearing controversy with former city councilperson Karl Kruse back in the day when Karl, as he would freely admit, was an outspoken tree-hugger.

All those developers giving to the property tax man. There must be an Arlo Guthrie song in that somewhere!

As for your other question, it probably depends on who owns the rental.

Before I brought it to the world's attention, the assessor valued a 2,373 square ft, 4-bedroom Boone County duplex owned by mega-developer Jeff Smith at only $739 for property tax purposes!

Under the school district's currently proposed levy, Smith would pay just $4 more for his duplex -- which was built with an $800,000 state tax subsidy, by the way.

Yes -- there's definitely a good old fashioned "this ain't right, this is downright un-American" folk song in all this.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 13, 2011 | 4:40 p.m.

@ Paul: I'm more interested in seeing the tax base broadened so that the nearly 50% of taxpayers with no federal liability start to pay their fair share of the services they use.

@ Mike: So has no one tried to sue the county for failing to follow the law?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 13, 2011 | 5:02 p.m.

Jimmy, you know as well as I do that the people who are earning high wages at big companies would not be able to do so without the labor of those fifty percent you persistently complain about. You also know that many people are in that lower fifty percent for many years before they work their way up to being in the upper fifty percent. And clearly from this discussion it is apparent that you know that the federal INCOME tax is only one of many taxes and that much of the remainder of the taxes are regressive. The property taxes you have been discussing are a case in point.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 13, 2011 | 6:22 p.m.

"I'm more interested in seeing the tax base broadened so that the nearly 50% of taxpayers with no federal liability start to pay their fair share of the services they use."
I agree, JB.

This is Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, David Cay Johnson - "John Paulson, the most successful hedge-fund manager of all, bet against the mortgage market one year and then bet with Glenn Beck in the gold market the next. Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero."
What a freeloader!
Here we have the world's awesome military keeping his personal property secure, and he won't even contribute a dime.
http://bit.ly/fieFYp

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 13, 2011 | 9:09 p.m.

Gregg and Paul, do I really need to link yet again to that table showing how people in the lower brackets receive several dollars in government spending for every $1 paid in? Or the one showing how the vast majority of taxpayers with zero federal liablity make less than $50K?

For every John Paulson — or Arianna Huffington — there are tens of thousands of people paying nowhere near what they cost the rest of us. When nearly 50% of taxpayers pay no federal income tax, there's no way that even a majority of them, let alone all, are millionaires. As Christopher Foote pointed out on here several times, the non-income federal taxes that people pay cover only about 30% of the budget.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 14, 2011 | 9:02 a.m.

"Or the one showing how the vast majority of taxpayers with zero federal liablity make less than $50K?"
I agree with you, JB. I mean, it's much better to go after 90,000 free-loading families that made less than $100,000 over two years ($9 billion/($50,000*2) than a single individual. After all, that single individual with $9 billion has access to a host of lawyers and accountants that could drag the process out. And those 90,000 free-loading families can barely afford housing, medical care and food, so you know they can't tie up the process with fancy lawyers. Easy pickins!

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin May 14, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.

Jimmy asked, "So has no one tried to sue the county for failing to follow the law?"

Not here, but in other counties. Courts of Law turn out to be the wrong places to take such disputes.

The court of public opinion, public education, and the ballot box turns out to be the best place for such issues.

Missouri State case law generally restricts the right of school districts and other beneficiaries of property tax dollars to sue county assessors, preferring to leave the job of righting any assessment wrongs in the hands of the Missouri State Tax Commission and voters. Most assessors are up for election every 4 years.

The thinking is similar to the protections and indemnifications other public officials receive in the conduct of their duties.

It would be unlikely, for instance, that Joshua Kezer or Dale Helmig could successfully sue Kenny Hulshof for false prosecution. They could certainly file such cases, but prosecutors -- like assessors and many other public officials -- are granted broad indemnifications in the performance of their duties.

Finally, third parties -- like school districts -- have no legal standing to sue over someone else's property assessment (say Stan Kroenke).

The most recent example of a school district suing a county assessor for alleged malfeasance is West Platte School District vs. Platte County Assessor Lisa Pope.

The district essentially alleged a gross under-assessment of property belonging to a prominent landowner (a power plant).

http://www.plattecountylandmark.com/Arti...

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 14, 2011 | 5:55 p.m.

"I mean, it's much better to go after 90,000 free-loading families that made less than $100,000 over two years ($9 billion/($50,000*2) than a single individual."

That's some weird math, kind of like assuming that if we raise taxes on only "the rich," the deficit will disappear.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 15, 2011 | 10:06 a.m.

JB, I don't know why you gotta dog me - I'm on your side! We've got to go after the widows and orphans; they're the low hanging fruit that use services and don't pay! Plus there's lots of them, and they can't hire fancy, shmancy lawyers and accountants. Let's focus in on those greedy freeloaders and problem solved!

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 15, 2011 | 11:52 a.m.

Greg - Our problem will never be solved as long as those of your ilk have control of any part of our legislative system. "Those of your ilk", includes the ones with the delusion that the "poor" must be protected with money taken from the "rich". You demean "rich" except those having become wealthy in the effort to help poor as stated above.

Our jobs and wealth are created by the rich and those intent upon becoming "rich"(most of the rest). Government only hinders this process. Just deal with it.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin May 15, 2011 | 12:55 p.m.

You guys have wandered way off topic,
confusing a local property tax issue with Federal taxation.

The "poor not paying their fair share" has virtually nothing to do with increasing local tax and fee burdens, especially since Columbia and Boone County governments don't do much to support the poor.

In fact, it's mostly the opposite problem.

Local government provides wealthy backers with targeted tax give backs, breaks, and incentives, while raising taxes and fees on the rest (after all, they have to get the money from somebody).

We're being suffocated by this stuff in Columbia and Boone County, from TIFs and TDDs to this property tax land-banking scheme.

The result: everywhere we look, local government is looking to raise taxes and fees on average folks, with the latest hikes coming with property taxes, storm water fees, parking fees, etc.

(Columbia just finished a round of utility rate hikes).

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 15, 2011 | 2:39 p.m.

Mike,
I know you're clever enough to spot irony and absurdity. But back to your points - there's all types "tricks" that the connected and crafty use to dodge their civic obligations. The 37 permutations of TKG Biscayne LLC, both here and in Ohio, and the multiple enterprises using the same office with different names.
I will admit though, all of my solitary searching through the clerk website is rookie compared to your investigations.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 15, 2011 | 3:15 p.m.

"We've got to go after the widows and orphans"

But first, we've got to go after HIM!!!!!!!!!

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 16, 2011 | 7:49 a.m.

"The 'poor not paying their fair share' has virtually nothing to do with increasing local tax and fee burdens."

Sure it does, and it includes the middle class, too. For example, suppose that a couple with one child owns a $300K house, with a $2,900 property tax bill, of which $2,300 goes to the school district. In 2010, CPS spent $9,343 to educate their child, or $6,443 more than they paid in property taxes.

Where does the rest of the $6,443 come from? Some of it from the state and feds, including whatever the parents paid in income taxes, minus the dependent-child deduction. But they'd have to have a heck of an income, one not reflected in the price of their home, to pay enough in federal and state taxes to cover that $6,443. And if they have two kids, the gap is even larger.

Are they paying their fair share?

@ Gregg: If Congress and the Prez are serious about slashing the debt and the deficit, they'll have to raise taxes on all brackets: http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/23/news/eco... The feds could confiscate 100% of all income on those making $250K or more -- "the rich" -- but it still wouldn't be enough to cover the deficit, let alone make a dent in the debt.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 16, 2011 | 8:58 a.m.

Jimmy - Another note in regard to taxing the rich to balance the Budget.

"using the very data provided by the Progressive Institute for Policy Studies, if the federal government confiscated 100% of the net worth (not annual income, but actual every penny they own) of the “Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans in 2007,” the government’s take would only be

$1.5 trillion."

The notion that more taxes are needed to solve the problems of any of our governments is utterly ridiculous.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 16, 2011 | 10:04 a.m.

Jimmy, when using your math I am wondering if you paid your way through the sixth grade. Should someone have established a work program to make that possible?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 16, 2011 | 10:16 a.m.

Paul, are you trying to argue that my parents' taxes didn't cover the cost of my education and that therefore it's okay for most today's parents not to pay their fair share, too? If so, your red herring has at least two flaws:

1) I grew up in a state (NY) where property taxes in many districts were - and still are -- astronomical enough to cover nearly 100% of per-student spending. My district was one of them.

2) It's not financially sustainable to continue to allow parents to avoid the shortfall between taxes paid and the cost of educating their children.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 16, 2011 | 10:32 a.m.

So then you favor higher property taxes?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 16, 2011 | 10:49 a.m.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Oh wait, we already are. Nevermind, carry on.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 16, 2011 | 11:51 a.m.

Paul, CPS should cap taxes at their current rate and then have parents pay the difference between the school portion of their property tax and the annual cost of educating their child(ren). Parents who complain should reminded that, for example, they already receive federal tax breaks for their children and that non-parents are already paying a significant amount toward schools.

If you, Derrick and others believe that schools won't have enough money under that system, maybe you could lobby the state to add a line on income tax returns where you can donate an extra few grand specifically for schools.

The bottom line is that when people are forced to pay more of the full cost of something, they get serious about controlling that something's costs. For example, parents who suddenly have to fork over an extra $6K annually might start lobbying CPS to force parents of troublemakers to pay for SROs. Or they might shut off the TV at night in order to spend time helping their kids with their homework because they know that if their kids flunk a class, they have to pay for them to repeat it.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 16, 2011 | 12:34 p.m.

I agree in spirit with much of what you are saying. However, the ugly reality is that many of the people who are having children this year are the least able to afford anything, and at that point it is likely that they will also not be able to afford much of anything for at least eighteen more years. That's one of the perks of having and raising children. I could even go so far as to say that some of them probably shouldn't. But imagine a world where people have to go to their government in order to get permission to procreate. I would not want to live in such a society and I believe that few people would. Therefore, there will be children growing up in families that lack the ability to pay for much more than a few school supplies. It is the nature of the capitalistic society that we live in. Allowing half of the children to go uneducated would only serve to widen the gaps between everyone and guarantee an extremely unpleasant class struggle.

I might not be opposed to allowing the government to levy some sort of education tax on couples or individuals who have had more than a certain high number of children and who then proceed to have more. But imagine what your religious right wing nuts would do with that.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 16, 2011 | 1:25 p.m.

Paul, I think you're underestimating the average person's capabilities. For example, many middle-class parents already do what it takes to send their kids to private school. So do some parents who are in lower brackets. I know a few. They do what it takes because for them, their children's education is a high priority.

That's one reason why it's a mistake to assume that the system I'm advocating would allow "half of the children to go uneducated." The other reason is because I'm confident that Derrick and others would step up and pay more than just what they owe in order to cover any shortfalls.

It's also a mistake to assume that this system is a "world where people have to go to their government in order to get permission to procreate." They would still be as free as they are today, except they'd be expected to pay their fair share for the societal costs of their choices.

Today they don't, and this mindset is unsustainable. One similar example is WIC, which was created mainly for poor women who couldn't nurse but now is used by half of all infants and about one-quarter of all children 1-4 years of age. Whether it's school or food, parents need to be responsible for the children they chose to create. The safety net should be there for extreme cases, such as a family whose breadwinner has died. It shouldn't be there to free up money so parents can, for example, buy a big-screen TV or get their nails done once a week.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 16, 2011 | 2:45 p.m.

I have an idea, not a new one but a good one. Let’s put public schooling, on an even footing with private schooling.
Private schools, for example are free to charge anything they want for their education. If they want to charge $100,000 per year well that’s okay. (The Council for American Private Education says the average tuition for private schools is $8.549) They also get to teach anything they desire, accurate history or fictional history, real math or ‘new’ math, spelling or ‘spellen’, chemistry or drug use, morality or murder. The choice is completely at the schools discretion. Let’s give the public/government schools the same options.
No more worrying about pesky parents forcing their provincial and arcane ideas about education on the lofty, highly educated, professional, all knowing, never wrong, mighty faculty. Teach whatever you want, whenever you want. Don’t teach at all, teach made up facts or teach the truth it does not matter. You want to teach ‘spellen, fine, go ahead. Johnny thinks 1 plus 5 equals seventeen and your okay with that then seventeen it is. Also, you want to charge $100,000 per year, that’s fine by me.
Private schools accept checks, cash, credit cards, debit cards, gold, silver, a direct pipeline to an oil well, stocks, bonds almost any form of currency the parents want to pay with. They also depend on car washes, bake sales, penny drives, endowments and many other forms of fund raiser to pay the bills. However, they must wait until the parent pays the bill if they pay at all.
P/G schools receive their government check on time. They may object however saying that the money they receive is sometimes less than what they anticipated, to which I would say; welcome to the real world. Private schools frequently accept less in tuition to aide families in economic trouble. Sometimes the school does without sometime scholarships are provided both of which P/G schools could do. If however they are unable to collect all the monies owed to them they simply trim their budgets.
In order to correct this inequality however between P/G school and private school funding P/G schools will need to collect payment directly from the student’s parents. The alternative would be to allow private schools to draw from state and federal tax coffers, a solution that I believe all parties would find unacceptable. Therefore, making P/G schools collect payment directly from parents is the only way to level the playing field. If after doing so they cannot meet their budgets them they will need to trim spending.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 16, 2011 | 2:45 p.m.

Also, private schools can accept any student they want, they are also free to reject or expel students for any reason they choose. Let’s allow P/G schools the same option. They should be free to reject or expel students for poor grades, excessive absences, fighting, disrespect towards faculty and staff, or the wrong style glasses, whatever.
Parents of private school students have no public provided bussing; they must transport their children to and from school at their own expense. So again to level the playing field we need to remove this advantage from P/G schools which incidentally would save P/G schools a great deal of money.
Private schools also have no public funded lunch program so we need to remove that from the P/G schools. And that should about do it.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 16, 2011 | 3:44 p.m.

"I'm confident that Derrick and others would step up and pay more than just what they owe in order to cover any shortfalls."

Jimmy, would that be in the same way you are willing to pay more than "your share" of taxes, to cover any shortfall?

Fred, I read your rant with bemusement. I will leave that as it stands, for others to ponder. I didn't really look forward to attending school either, but I think you have a really bad grudge.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 16, 2011 | 4:34 p.m.

Actually, Paul I went to a vocational high school, top rated in the country at the time and I had a great time. I learned quite a bit as well, great shop instructors and general education teachers. That however was over thirty years ago and education was in a downward spiral at the time; I did not realize it, and in my youth might not have cared.
I have even taught in a public school, elementary and high school. Granted it was only as a substitute teacher and only for about 3 ½ semesters but it did open my eyes to a few things. My wife has also taught in the public school in two very different school districts so I have nothing against schools or teachers general. My difficulty and what I hate is being lied to.
I especially hate being lied to regarding education as it directly affects this nation’s young. Anyone who would lie and hurt our youth just to line their own pockets, such as corrupt teacher unions and corrupt teachers deserve to be greeted with strong opposition.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 16, 2011 | 5:27 p.m.

No, Paul, I'm not interested in voluntarily paying more taxes because I think there's still a lot of waste that CPS can cut. I'm married to a teacher and hear plenty of examples of such waste. I also hear plenty of examples of parents who march in to browbeat principals and teachers when the problem is that they and their child don't put in enough effort. The latter example is why the district needs to do more than just beg parents to do basics such as showing up for parent-teacher conferences, but the state also needs to give CPS the sticks necessary to force parents to step up. Carrots aren't cutting it.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 16, 2011 | 7:12 p.m.

Fred, could you share some specific examples of the corrupt teachers and teacher's union lying and hurting our youth? Otherwise I will continue to not understand your contention.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 16, 2011 | 7:22 p.m.

"No, Paul, I'm not interested in voluntarily paying more taxes bec..."
What makes you think ANYBODY is?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 16, 2011 | 9:19 p.m.

"What makes you think ANYBODY is?"

George Kennedy is one example: "And that’s why we voters should approve the tax increase the board will almost certainly decide to ask for."

Other people prefer to live in a fantasy world, where raising taxes only on "the rich" will be enough to pay for everything they want. But fantasy is not fiscal reality, which is why Congress won't peg the AMT to inflation, why Clinton raised taxes all the way down to $30K and why Krugman advocates for a VAT of 5% or so atop income taxes.

People who publicly argue for higher taxes should be careful what they wish for.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 17, 2011 | 6:41 a.m.

Agree with Bearfield, but will reiterate my remark (first one on this thread): given some people's attitude and lack of fiscal discipline (and lack of discipline in general) THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH MONEY, because the problem(s) cannot be solved with money alone.

In the United States these days we don't solve problems; we just throw money at them and pray they'll go away.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 17, 2011 | 7:49 a.m.

Ellis - Bravo! "In the United States these days we don't solve problems; we just throw money at them and pray they'll go away."

Most want to correct this syndrome and have only liberal Democrats in opposition. They are formidable, only while allowed to control our government, or, unfortunately, any part of it.

True waste goes in the trash, or down the toilet. Every dollar of Gov't waste, "thrown" at our problems goes into the pocket of the liberal that is there to "catch" it.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 17, 2011 | 9:31 a.m.

"THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH MONEY, because the problem(s) cannot be solved with money alone."

Exactly. To his credit, Obama has said as much. For example, during his campaign, he said:

"It's not good enough for you to say to your child, 'Do good in school,' and then when that child comes home, you got the TV set on, you got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there is not a book in the house, you've got the video game playing. So turn off the TV set, put the video game away. Buy a little desk or put that child by the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don't know how to do it, give them help. If you don't know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets. Give 'em some breakfast. Come on... You know I am right."

The problem is that his actions don't back up that advice. Instead, they send a completely different message: "If you don't do these things, no worries. We'll just take more money from responsible people to try to make up for your unwillingness to be a responsible parent."

The government does this all the time. Here's another example: "You shouldn't have kids as a teenager. But if you do, no worries. We'll just take money from other people so you can have a Pell grant, deeply subsidized child care, food stamps, Medicaid, etc."

Why be responsible when you know that the government will soften the effects of irresponsibility? Add in a sucker relative to provide for whatever taxpayers don't, and it's not only possible, but comfortable, to slouch through life as a parasite.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 17, 2011 | 10:25 a.m.

"Every dollar of Gov't waste, "thrown" at our problems goes into the pocket of the liberal that is there to "catch" it."

I see. So then since both Jimmy and Fred maintain that their wives teach school, they must also be "liberals". I suppose that the people who pave your streets are also "liberals" and probably most of the defense contractors as well...

Oh wait a minute. I just read another one of your lines. I suppose that J. P. Morgan is a liberal organization that is run by liberals. What you say? NO???? Oh.. THAT must be why you defended their handout.

Go somewhere and come back when you can be honest.

Alright, that IS too much to ask of you. As you were.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 17, 2011 | 10:42 a.m.

The same person who said this:
"I'm confident that Derrick and others would step up and pay more than just what they owe in order to cover any shortfalls."
Also said this:
"The problem is that his actions don't back up that advice. Instead, they send a completely different message: "If you don't do these things, no worries. We'll just take more money from responsible people to try to make up for your unwillingness to be a responsible parent."

The government does this all the time. Here's another example: "You shouldn't have kids as a teenager. But if you do, no worries. We'll just take money from other people so you can have a Pell grant, deeply subsidized child care, food stamps, Medicaid, etc."

Why be responsible when you know that the government will soften the effects of irresponsibility? Add in a sucker relative to provide for whatever taxpayers don't, and it's not only possible, but comfortable, to slouch through life as a parasite."

So I'm going to understand that you are speaking for Derrick and others rather than yourself Jimmy when you talk of people paying more than they owe. And how did you know that it was Obama who instituted the pell grant and medicaid? Was he also the one who provided people with "sucker relatives"?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 17, 2011 | 11:46 a.m.

"So I'm going to understand that you are speaking for Derrick and others rather than yourself Jimmy when you talk of people paying more than they owe."

No, I let them speak for themselves. Hopefully they'll put their money where their mouths are. As I noted, George Kennedy says he will. Derrick argues that "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance," and I hope that if things do reach that point, he would step up and pay more than just what he owes. Ditto for Warren Buffet and others who believe that that they're undertaxed.

"And how did you know that it was Obama who instituted the pell grant and medicaid?"

I never said he did. I'm saying that out of one side of his mouth, he urges people to be responsible, while out of the other, he continues to enable irresponsibility. It's kind of like the wars in the Middle East: He didn't start them, but he hasn't ended them, either.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 17, 2011 | 1:41 p.m.

Here you go Paul.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnCqvRgzj...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdqQTIQhn...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yt2SwDuh...

Paul said, “So then since both Jimmy and Fred maintain that their wives teach school,”
Just a minor clarification Paul, I said my wife “taught” school, past tents. She has not taught in three years. As for me it’s been about five since I taught in a G/P school classroom.
Also, not all teachers are hacks but enough are as to make the system on a whole bankrupt in terms of public value. When teachers as a whole stand with parents and not their thug union leaders that may change and I will commend them.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 17, 2011 | 3:16 p.m.

"Just a minor clarification Paul, I said my wife “taught” school, past tents."

My goodness. I was unaware that the schools were using tents.

Maybe someone should spend more money so they can have a classroom.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 17, 2011 | 5:02 p.m.

Paul said, “My goodness. I was unaware that the schools were using tents.
Maybe someone should spend more money so they can have a classroom.”
Really Paul, really? Do you ever have anything of substance to say?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 17, 2011 | 5:20 p.m.

Most certainly! You just made an EXCELLENT illustration of the inadequacy of your school system. They couldn't even afford to hire a substitute teacher who was proficient in the English language.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:54 a.m.

Paul, you msseid the pniot of my cmmotent. A msis seplled word is not what I was cmmoentnig on. Tinhk auobt it, see if you can fruige it out.
For the grown-ups I’ll say: Public/government schools are a scourge on society. Corrupt union officials and school faculty, like educational vampires suck the academic potential from this nation’s youth. Then they graduate some of these students with A’s and B’s or various honors, from a school system where 40% of 8th graders are not proficient in math and over 90% of graduates are not proficient in reading. I ask you of what value is a diploma from an institution where 90% of graduates are NOT proficient in reading? Because, if people are really satisfied with that it seems to me we could produce the same result for say, a third of what we’re now paying.
Also somewhere in this thread or another I read a comment that violence in P/G schools is down or on the decline. But according to the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2009 7.7% of students reported being threatened with or injured with a weapon ON school property at least once during the previous 12 months. This number is up from 7.3% in 1993. If we call it 1 in 10 that’s no decrease from 1993 to 2009 therefore, it is clear not all violence in P/G schools is on the decrease.
The insane among us want to keep pouring money into the system i.e. trying the same thing we have always tried to repair it. Well pouring money into the system has not worked therefore it’s time we try something else. To continue on the current course is tantamount to a life sentence of academic subservience for our youth. I do not find that acceptable.
Some suggestions: First any school system where 90% of the graduates are not proficient in any academic discipline should be immediately defunded. Second, all teachers should be immediately striped of tenure and the practice of awarding tenure should be barred from all P/G schools. Third, P/G school teachers should not be allowed to unionize.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnCqvRgzj......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdqQTIQhn......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yt2SwDuh......

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 18, 2011 | 10:42 a.m.

Fred;

“National Center for Educational Statistics in 2009 7.7% of students reported being threatened with or injured with a weapon ON school property at least once during the previous 12 months. This number is up from 7.3% in 1993.”

You pick one stat out of a 180 page report? Did you not think that other people would look up the report and actually read it? Moreover, you miss the point of your own stat that the paper goes into length explaining; students are not in more danger they think they are in more danger. The number of fights are down, number of weapons actually found are down, and the number of homicides are down but kids are reporting that they feel and think they are up. Let’s look at other findings of the report;
“The percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being in a physical fight on school property decreased from 16 percent in 1993 to 12 percent in 2007.”-Pg48

“Between 1993 and 2007, the percentage of students who reported carrying a weapon on school property declined from 12to 6 percent”-Pg 50

Number of student-reported non-fatal crimes (Table 2.1)

1992: 3,409,200/144 per 1,000 students 2007: 1,510,900/57 per 1000 students

Percentage of students reporting criminal victimization (Table 3.1)

1995: 9.5% 2007: 4.3%

Percentage of teachers physically threatened by students (Table 5.1):

1993: 11.7% 2004: 6.8%

Percentage of teachers physically attacked by student (Table 5.2):

1993: 4.1% 2004: 3.4%

Here is a link to the full report by the BJS:IES for anyone who actually wants to read it instead of getting Fred’s BS propaganda view…

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf...

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice May 18, 2011 | 10:52 a.m.

the .4 difference between 7.7 and 7.3 would likely be well within the MOE. There's no measurable or meaningful change in that statistic btwn 1993 and 2010.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 1:50 p.m.

Jack slow down and read what I said which was” it is clear not all violence in P/G schools is on the decrease” which is an accurate statement according to the statistic I used. I understand what you are saying that is that overall violence in schools is down. I am not arguing your point although I suspect a point could be made that even the NCES numbers are not revealing the entire picture of violence in public schools. For example in a recent article from the Philadelphia Inquirer which can be found here (http://www.philly.com/philly/news/118724... ) we read, “The Inquirer spent a year looking into violence in Philadelphia public schools, interviewing hundreds of teachers, parents, students, and education experts about the district's problems.
It also commissioned an extensive, independently administered survey by Temple University that sampled the opinions of more than 750 teachers and aides - 6 percent of the 13,000 the district employs.
More than two-thirds of those who responded to the survey reported that the violence and disruption in their building hindered their students' ability to learn. And more than half said violence had worsened during the last three years.”
In another Inquirer article we read, “Teachers and union officials, meanwhile, spoke of constant pressure from senior district and school administrators - sometimes subtle and unspoken, sometimes blatant - to hold down the reported numbers. At the same time Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman has been trumpeting a decrease in school violence.” (http://articles.philly.com/2011-03-28/ne...)
My point however, is that the schools are failing our children academically AS WELL AS 1 in 10 students being threatened or injured with a weapon in school. I find the situation, both academically and with respect to violence, to be unacceptable. Jack, do you find it acceptable for one in ten students be threatened or injured with a weapon in school? I would wager that you do not. Therefore where you and I might disagree is the rate at which this situation is being corrected, if in fact it is. Simply put, I find a 0% decrease in weapons violence over 16 years unacceptable. We must correct the situation now.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.

Don’t just look at one aspect Jack; after all do you think other people will not actually look at the situation as a whole? The overall point is public/government schools are failing our youth on a number of fronts including violence. Why it is in that when statistics regarding violence in schools are published they frequently start with the early 1990’s? The answer is not many numbers are available for those time periods to which I would ask why? Could it be that the rate of violent incidents in public/government was insignificant so as to not be worthy of tracking? In which case, a real look at the numbers would make it clear that violence in schools today is off the charts compared to then.
Also if we’re going to look at all the numbers, consider this. One in ten students is threatened with a weapon over the past 12 months and you say things are really getting better. Let me ask you, what you would do if one in every ten persons you work with were threatened with a weapon in the workplace. Would you say well, it could be one in five? Or maybe you would not be bothered by it but I believe most people would be up in arms if that were the situation in their workplace. I can also assure you it would not take sixteen years and a billion dollars to affect the change need. Yet, in public/government schools it goes on every day!
My suggestion, closes the doors of all public/government schools, takes away all funding to P/G schools, fires every P/G school teacher and rebuilds the education system from the ground up.
What more does one need to say or do to get real change? We lock our kids in mini prisons every day where they face violence on a daily basis and the promise of an education proves to be a lie.
Leaving our children in schools where millions are threatened every year with weapons, where 90% cannot read proficiently at their graduation, where they place 13th worldwide in math scores needs to end now.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 18, 2011 | 1:58 p.m.

And maybe someday they will hire a teacher that can show students how to use youtube.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 18, 2011 | 2:28 p.m.

Fred,

First, "Let me ask you, what you would do if one in every ten persons you work with were threatened with a weapon in the workplace."

I don't work with children; I work with adults like the majority of the population. Bullying tends to be an issue with children across time and across the globe. There are bullies in schools now and there were bullies in schools in the 50s. Statistics show that schools are getting safer; until you come up with reliable data that proves otherwise stop beating a dead horse and please think things through before making statements like that.

Second, the countries with the top education systems in the world, Finland and Sweden, both have public education systems with very strong teachers unions. In fact, most of the countries that are beating us in test scores are doing the exact opposite of what you think we should be doing.

The problem with our education system is not the schools. Any school today has far more resources to offer a student then the best school in the world in 1950. Every school today has books, computers, internet access etc. The difference today is this growing culture of anti-intellectualism. Turn on the TV and listen to how many commentators rag about "intellectual elites". Until adults start putting focus on education and start showing respect and admiration instead of disdain for the educated how can we expect our children to aspire to great academic heights?

Last, you keep citing statistics on student’s and teacher’s OPINIONS on violence instead of the actual statistics on violence (I assume you do this because the actual numbers do not support your beliefs and you don’t care about what is really best for the kids you care about union busting because some right wing TV talking head has convinced you that unions are evil);

“…Temple University that sampled the OPINIONS of more than 750 teachers and aides...”

Did you not see what was pointed out to you earlier? Children FEEL that there is more violence even though actual reports of violence are down. So, in reality schools are getting safer but in YOUR HEAD and the head’s of American children they are getting more dangerous. I chose to live in reality; please come join us.

BTW, the last 6 Americans to receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry or Medicine went to public schools. Over 96% of US Army officers went to Public schools.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 18, 2011 | 6:34 p.m.

Send them to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:04 p.m.

Jack said, “Did you not see what was pointed out to you earlier? Children FEEL that there is more violence even though actual reports of violence are down.” “…Children FEEL that there is more violence. … but in YOUR HEAD and the head’s of American children they are getting more dangerous.”

One in ten kids ARE being threatened with a weapon. The POINT IS some kid has a weapon in school. Kids taking weapons to school is a bad thing. It causes people, students and teachers to have a LEGITIMATE cause for concern. What about that do you not understand.

Also, the statistic that 7.7% of students were threatened with a weapon is FACT according to the National Center for Education Statistics. I understand that it bothers you that this statistic is real; I assure you it bothers me also. But as it is fact we need to deal with it. Spin it anyway you want, 7.7% or one in ten if you will, students being threatened with a weapon is simply unacceptable.

Jack said, “I don't work with children; I work with adults like the majority of the population. Bullying tends to be an issue with children across time and across the globe.” Jack its not called bullying its called assault and if a weapon is used its called assault with a deadly weapon.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:04 p.m.

Also, if the only problems were bulling and the fact that the offenders are children then we would see the same problem wherever children congregate as a whole. Bulling we do see with youth in general I agree, but not assault with weapons. Has your child ever assaulted anyone with a weapon? If he/she were to would you wait sixteen years to solve the problem?

Also it is far from typical youthful behavior. You notice we do not see assaults against one in ten say Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church kids, kids at soccer practice – in the US anyway – youth football games, etc. It is a phenomenon associated with kids in schools not kids in general. And you did not answer my question you sidestepped it; what would you do if one in ten of your coworkers were threatened with a weapon every year? I can assure you it would not be allowed where I work. If it did happen at my place of employment I have great confidence that it would not take my employer sixteen years to correct it.

In school such offenders should be expelled and never allowed to return.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:05 p.m.

And what of my other question regarding the lack of statistics for school violence prior to 1993, where are the numbers. I have never seen any perhaps you have, if so please do share them with me. Until then I am left with believing they were insignificant to the point of not being worthy of consideration. From that I would extrapolate that the rate of violent incidence in schools prior to that time was a great deal less than today? Why the increase in a mere eighteen years?

As I understand it Finnish children start school at seven and have only nine years of compulsory education. Also the Finnish matriculation examination which is the first compulsory test a Finish student takes includes: “tests in evangelical lutheran religion, orthodox religion, ethics,…” http://www.ylioppilastutkinto.fi/en/

So if you are suggesting that we abandon daycare and preschool and kindergarten and keep our children home until age seven I am all for it. Also, if you are suggesting that we introduce classes on the evangelical Lutheran religion and Orthodox religion I am again all for it. Many others like myself have often said that removing the bible and prayer from schools in the sixties was a mistake. People such as myself have also advocated keeping children away from daycare and kindergarten, as they are destructive and create aggressive behavior in young children; the Finnish school model supports those positions.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:06 p.m.

Jack said, “The problem with our education system is not the schools. Any school today has far more resources to offer a student then the best school in the world in 1950. … has books, computers, internet access etc. … The difference today is … culture of anti-intellectualism. … Until adults start putting focus on education and start showing respect and admiration instead of disdain for the educated how can we expect our children to aspire to great academic heights?”

Jack you have this completely backwards. First you equate resources, computers, Internet etc with best or better schools. The fact is the schools of the fifties did a far better job of educating children without all the resources of today. Student discipline, test scores, respect towards teachers everything was better except the resources.

You say the problem is lack of respect for teachers and the educated. I am educated, my children are educated, my friends are educated, my parents before they died were educated, most everyone I know has been educated at least through high school and a great deal of them through college. Nobody I know has any disdain for ‘the educated.’ However, I am greatly displeased with the so-called ‘educated’ that have destroyed the greatest education system know to this world. Yeah, I’m a little peeved with them.

Any lack of respect displayed towards teachers, administrators and union officials has more to do with their failure to maintain the American education system to its former level of performance. Such a failure is worthy of a little disdain. The easiest way to end the disdain educator’s feel however is not by getting upset with those who have a reason to be peeved. Rather restore what was broke and the disdain will go away.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:07 p.m.

Jack said, “BTW, the last 6 Americans to receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry or Medicine went to public schools. Over 96% of US Army officers went to Public schools.” You should have said ‘ despite their government education’, as their successes are more a testimony to their personal ability than the government school system. In fact you might inquire to the US Armed Forces in general how much remedial education they must administer to bring the troops to battle ready. And imagine they do it without any help from the unions.

Jack said, “Finland and Sweden, both have public education systems with very strong teachers unions.” Fact is, in Finland the unions have not positioned themselves between parent and teacher as they have here in the US. Teachers there have a closer working relationship with the parents because there it is understood that a parent has a better understanding of the child’s needs than any union. Could you imagine what the unions here would do if the teachers began to consider parents impute above that of the unions? If they did I believe there would be no need for the unions as the parents would advocate for the teachers and the unions would become superfluous.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 18, 2011 | 9:14 p.m.

fred smith - Outstanding!

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 18, 2011 | 9:23 p.m.

Frank - keep up the good fight!

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 19, 2011 | 7:13 a.m.

Fred,

Your whole weapons argument is ridiculous. You act like this is a new thing. Switch blades were a problem in public schools in the 50s like guns were in the 90s. Every generation has had violence and bullies in school and that will most likely never change. The FACT is that schools are getting safer. I have provided actual data on actual violence in schools while you have provided opinions, until you have FACTS and actual data to back up your argument I don't want to hear from you on this topic again.

"The fact is the schools of the fifties did a far better job of educating children without all the resources of today."

No they didn't. You cannot provide any facts or statistics to back this up, it is pure opinion.

"Fact is, in Finland the unions have not positioned themselves between parent and teacher as they have here in the US."

Again not true. In Finland the unions are much stronger and teachers are paid much better. Parental involvement comes through a very similar medium as it does here with the PTA.

"Also it is far from typical youthful behavior. You notice we do not see assaults against one in ten say Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church kids, kids at soccer practice – in the US anyway – youth football games, etc."

You didn't read the report that you initially cited did you? They go in to depth over this topic. Students are more likely to be assaulted and threatened with a weapon outside of school than in school (Figures 13.1/13.2 Pg 49).

Do we need to make changes to our school system? Absolutely. Do we need to get rid of public schools? Absolutely not and even suggesting it is not only un-American but completely idiotic.

This is not about education, schools, teachers or students. This is about unions and you could not be more transparent.

What we need is regressive like you and Frank to shut up and let the rest of us move this country forward. We are not going to catch up with the rest of the world be going backwards.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 19, 2011 | 7:22 a.m.

“Also the Finnish matriculation examination which is the first compulsory test a Finish student takes includes: “tests in evangelical Lutheran religion, orthodox religion, ethics,…”

Here is the full quote for those who don’t want Fred’s abridged version:
“The general studies battery includes tests in Evangelical Lutheran religion, Orthodox religion, ethics, philosophy, psychology, history, social studies, physics, chemistry, biology, geography and health education. Furthermore, the tests incorporate questions which cross the boundaries of these disciplines. Depending on the test in question, the candidate answers six or eight test items.”

Orthodox religion defined by the Matriculation Examination Board includes Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu and a few other world religions. They are not teaching religious indoctrination in school, they are teaching world religious studies which are also classes available in most US high schools.

Did you not understand what you were reading or did you purposefully misrepresent things again to further your point of view?

“In fact you might inquire to the US Armed Forces in general how much remedial education they must administer to bring the troops to battle ready.”

Why don’t you drive down to Fort Benning and ask a couple of the boys in OCS their opinions on their lack of education and see how long you stay on your feet. Personally I am shocked that Frank didn’t call you out on this aspect of your rant even though I’m sure he loves the rest of it. At least Frank has respect for our fighting men and women; you should look into it. Some role model you are for the next generation; insulting our teachers and soldiers…pathetic sad and all around un-American.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 19, 2011 | 9:33 a.m.

Send him to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 12:40 p.m.

Jack said, “Your whole weapons argument is ridiculous. You act like this is a new thing. Switch blades were a problem in public schools in the 50s like guns were in the 90s. Every generation has had violence and bullies in school and that will most likely never change. The FACT is that schools are getting safer.”
Jack your taking us from the 50’s – 90’s but what I do not see are your statistics across this date range. So where are you FACTS?
Jack said, “until you have FACTS and actual data to back up your argument I don't want to hear from you on this topic again. But I see Jack that you are willing to espouse your opinion without FACTS.
And I will continue to quote the FACT that 7.7% that is one out of ten students in public/government schools are assaulted. If you choose to keep your head in the sand or worse that is your choice.
Jack said, “You didn't read the report that you initially cited did you? They go in to depth over this topic. Students are more likely to be assaulted and threatened with a weapon outside of school than in school (Figures 13.1/13.2 Pg 49).”
I did rear it, evidently you did not or you failed to comprehend what was or was not being said; perhaps a failure of your public education, or are you intentionally twisting what the report says? Simply saying that students do or do not claim to have fought ‘ANYWHERE’ does NOT address my question regarding kids at, church gatherings, Boy/Girl Scout meetings and outings, Football games, soccer practice or the like. The situations I have put forth are specifically in regards to GATHERINGS of youth NOT random ‘anywhere.’ Why is it that SCHOOLS are the only place where kids GATHER that has a one in ten assault rate? And get it straight, it IS assault. You don’t think so; just take a weapon and threaten your coworker and see what you are charged with.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.

Jack said, “Do we need to get rid of public schools? Absolutely not and even suggesting it is not only un-American but completely idiotic.”
The only idiot is the one who proposes spending more money on a system that has FAILED to provide the desired and necessary result, especially after billions have been spent.
Jack said, “Some role model you are for the next generation; insulting our teachers and soldiers…pathetic sad and all around un-American.”
What’s un-American is allowing one out of ten students to be assaulted in public/governments school, allowing over 90% of High School graduates to leave school without being able to read, allowing 70% of colleges graduates to fail at reading proficiency, to allow union thugs and incompetent teachers to band together against students and parents. Anyone who does not understand that is a dolt. It’s time we take education out of the hands of the dolts that have left it shipwreck on a sandbar of failure.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.

Jack said, “This is not about education, schools, teachers or students. This is about unions and you could not be more transparent.”
I find it interesting that you put schools and teachers before students. In my mind and I believe in the mind of most parents the STUDENT comes before the school or the teacher. Your bias could not be plainer.
As for unions let me spell it out for you; I believe that unions and tenure are the tag team partners that destroyed good public education in this country. I further believe that private schools and apprenticeships would better serve our youth and the nation.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 12:42 p.m.

Jack said, “Some role model you are for the next generation; insulting our teachers and soldiers…pathetic sad and all around un-American.”
Regarding remedial training necessary for US Military enlistment consider the following as reported by The Education Trust (http://www.edtrust.org/dc/press-room/pre...) : ““Too many of us, including educators, have comforted ourselves with the notion that kids who aren’t ready for college can find a place in the armed services. These findings shatter that myth and strip away the illusion of opportunity available to underprepared students,” said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust.”
Do you understand how the US military prepares its officers and from where they get them? All branches operate OTS or Officers Training School. Do you understand where these officers come from? A good number of them come from within the Military itself. All enlisted personnel with college degrees are eligible to apply. However, it was not uncommon when I was in the Military, some thirty years ago, for soldiers to acquire an undergraduate degree through the base education office. It was also not unusual for these same individuals to then pursue OTS as a way of advancement. Today this road to advancement is less traveled due to high school graduates that cannot read - thank you Jack.
The 70% of college graduates cannot read proficiently, do you think they will qualify for OTS? Are you saying the US Military recruits officers that cannot read proficiently? I can assure you they do not and as such their pool of potential offices is diminished because of it.
Also, I served in the US Armed Forces from 80-83. I never went into combat or faced the difficulties attributed to such deployment and would never pretend such a thing however, I did serve. Did you? Also, my grandfather was in the US Army during WWII, my uncle Louis went to Vietnam twice. In fact he was a POW during his first tour after escaping and returning home to recover he chose to return for a second tour. I would never disparage the US the US soldier.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 12:42 p.m.

Jack said, “They are not teaching religious indoctrination in school, ….”
In fact Jack that is exactly what they ARE doing. Prior to 2003 when Finland's Freedom of Religion Act was amended they taught specifically the Lutheran religion, however since then if three or more students are in a class parents can DEMAND that their religion be taught. That would be teachers bending to parent direction NOT union.
http://www.finland.fi/Public/default.asp...
From the Expat – Finland website: Schools provide religious teaching according to the confession of the majority of the pupils in the school. If at least three pupils belong to a particular denomination, their parents or guardians can demand instruction in that confession. Pupils who do not belong to any denomination study different philosophies of life, if their parents or guardians so wish.
http://www.expat-finland.com/living_in_f...

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 12:43 p.m.

Did you get that Jack?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 19, 2011 | 1:26 p.m.

"Also, I served in the US Armed Forces from 80-83. I never went into combat or faced the difficulties attributed to such deployment and would never pretend such a thing however, I did serve. Did you?"

I did. I am a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. BTW, it is only the OTS in the Air Force. In the Army, Navy and Marine Corp it is OCS. If you think what you have said would not offend the vast majority of our Military's officer core I think you are strongly mistaken.

As for the rest of you nonsense rants; it is pointless replying to you. You are not thinking rationally or logically and you cannot reason a man out of a position that he did not reason himself into. Instead you are basing all of your arguments on opinions and personal anecdotal evidence. You have no way of proving that schools are any worse or better than they were 20, 30 40 or 50 years ago. There are no statistics or standardized tests to compare schools now against schools then.

"allowing over 90% of High School graduates to leave school without being able to read, allowing 70% of colleges graduates to fail at reading proficiency"

Where did you get these numbers? Or did you make them up? You did not get them from the NAAL obviously. You should look into their literacy test. By the way you have misinterpreted so many of the reports you cite I imagine you would fall into the group labeled non-proficient.

(Report Comment)
Diana Billington May 19, 2011 | 1:36 p.m.

Fred,

Are you trying to come across as a psycho posting 5 rambling posts that make almost no sense like that? Step back son and calm down. Maybe try turning off the boob tube and picking up a book while you are at it.

Also, before criticizing our schools and college grads on their ability to read you should make sure that you have a firm grasp on spelling and basic grammar. Those posts were insults to the English language.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Sommer May 19, 2011 | 2:01 p.m.

“As for me, I'm on a voter strike. That means no more money than you have currently. I want changes first. I want it to be tough to get into the teaching profession (higher entry standards), and I want it tough to stay there. I want teachers periodically tested. I want no K-12 tenure...I see no reason teachers should have greater job security than any other Joe or Jane Doaks out there. I want schools to compete with one another for teachers. I want schools to compete for students. I want fewer, more competent teachers making twice what they do now. I want teachers to have the responsibility AND legal immunity/ability to keep those who would disrupt their classes OUT. I want kids to truly pass their grade level....not just get passed on. I want schools to quit milque-toasting the lessons obtained from success versus failure. I want year-around school except for a 3 week vacation hiatus. I want local control of schools and their curricula rather than federal control. Keep federal money out...it is an abomination with strings. I want more chalkboards and less electronic crap.”

I could not agree more with everything you wrote in this paragraph; most importantly the increase in competitiveness and the year round schooling. This is the only reasonable and well thought out conservative view on this topic that I have seen in awhile. Unfortunately the conservative point of view has turned into lunatic tirades that you see from people like Fred Smith (or more often Frank) and Corporate lackeys who care nothing but lining their own pockets at the expense of this country. Bravo Michael

I should note that I took out two sentences;

“I want vouchers. I want parents to have the ability to take their school tax dollars elsewhere if their local school fails to deliver.”

It is not that I disagree with where you are coming from on these it is just that I think if we do everything else you say then this will not be necessary. I also think that it would open up to great a risk of some areas having truly awful schools. Our goal should never be to abandon or quit a school; it should be to correct or improve a school.

I did not see a post from John Schultz on here. I am curious to his point of view on the topic

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 2:49 p.m.

Jack, for your Military service, I honestly and sincerely thank you. Your sacrifice was no small gift to this country.
Diana, I would never think of calling you a psycho.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 3:00 p.m.

“If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.”

Elbert Hubbard

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 19, 2011 | 3:52 p.m.

Fred,

You do not have an argument. Arguments are a processes of reasoning. There is no reasoning in your posts; only ranting and raving of hyperbole and opinions that are not rooted in reality. There are no facts. At least 3 people have called out the lunacy of your posts and the only person supporting you is the resident lunatic Frank. If anything you should take that as a sign that you need to step back and reevaluate your stance and possibly actually go look up some facts on the subject instead of repeating Glenn Beck taking points over and over.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 19, 2011 | 4:14 p.m.

Again, the poster child of poor education resurfaces.

Fred, do you know about liars and statistics. Did you look beyond the headline of your link?

"Using data from the nearly 350,000 high school graduates aged 17-20 who took the ASVAB between 2004 and 2009 to qualify for enlistment in the U.S. Army..."

I would never think that the bottom twenty percent of 350,000 people who tried to join the army were exactly representative of the remainder of their peers who didn't. For instance, if one were to give a similar test to students who were attempting to gain entry into a private college one would find a completely different range of scores.

Since you claim that you did serve it should come to no surprise to you that there was never a shortage of teenagers who spent the first seventeen or eighteen years of their life putting forth little effort and who later found themselves desiring to enlist in the service when their resultant lack of opportunities became readily apparent. Do you think that if we gave the same exam to people who applied for admission to Mizzou that the scores would compare?

"I find it interesting that you put schools and teachers before students. In my mind and I believe in the mind of most parents the STUDENT comes before the school or the teacher. Your bias could not be plainer."

This statement indicates your lack of reading ability more directly, since you cannot blame your deficiency on the author of an article that you cite. You inferred your statement from this:

“This is not about education, schools, teachers or students. This is about unions and you could not be more transparent.”

Since you missed the meaning of what Jack plainly said to you I will attempt to explain it plainly enough that even you can understand. He is stating that your actual concern is with the unions and not with the students, teachers, or schools. In no way should the arrangement of four nouns in a sentence indicate any level of priority, particularly when they fall between a set of commas. Since people tend to remember the first and last words in a string rather than the words in between we could make a case for thinking that he prioritized education and students above teachers and schools. But that also risks reading more into a sentence than is actually there.
If you think I'm nitpicking, I'm not. I detest people who make stupid and baseless arguments, whether it be due to their own lack of ability to think or due to their erroneous perception that the people reading the bile that they spew will not be able to notice their ineptitude or falseness. So you're beginning to be an annoyance. However, I do enjoy showing people for what they are. So, by all means, continue.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 19, 2011 | 4:15 p.m.

"Jack, for your Military service, I honestly and sincerely thank you."

No need to thank me. I would gladly give my life to make sure that things like this never happen in this country while I am around...

"Many others like myself have often said that removing the bible and prayer from schools in the sixties was a mistake."

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 19, 2011 | 4:16 p.m.

“If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.”

If you can't find anything significant to say you can always copy a quote from somebody. Or use more capital letters.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 7:47 p.m.

Good to see I have finally flushed out the Alinsky types. Not an original thought in the bunch.

I’m glad to see Paul you understood that Jack was talking about unions. I understood the instant I read it. Sorry it took you this long.

And Jack, thanks for showing your colors. “I would gladly give my life to make sure that things like this never happen in this country while I am around...”

Now that everybody can see the pair of you for the union loving thugs you are they may better understand why you never let truth get in the way of your agenda.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 19, 2011 | 8:52 p.m.

I don't believe either of us has much concern about the unions. Way to paint your concern on someone else. Do you believe what you say? Or do you expect someone reading this will? It appears that you are willing to sacrifice anyone's education over the likes of a union that has little consequence, if any.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 19, 2011 | 9:00 p.m.

"Now that everybody can see the pair of you for the union loving thugs you are they may better understand why you never let truth get in the way of your agenda."

I am not a member of a union nor have I ever been and no member of my immediate family is a union member. I also have not let Fox News and right wing radio brainwash me into believing that unions are evil or there is a socialist takeover happening. Please join the the rest of us in reality Fred.

What were you saying about name calling earlier?

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 19, 2011 | 9:04 p.m.

Seems my name has come up a couple of times in this liberal defense of the status quo, this time in the field of education. A couple of notes about previous posts.

Diana Billington - "before criticizing our schools and college grads on their ability to read you should make sure that you have a firm grasp on spelling and basic grammar."

If one is a product of our schools and colleges and this education has denied one the "firm grasp" you refer to, should one just shut up until he/she can relate their problems in the manner you are accustomed to receiving them? Sounds somewhat elitist to me.

Andrew Sommer - You are most amazing! You write line after line espousing the very things that most responsible parents should expect from their school system, then blame Fred S. and (I assume) myself, then corporate lackeys?, who only want to line their pockets?, for "lunatic tirades"? Do you think that anyone else posting here will ever enact the changes you, with the rest of us, want and need? No way! Don't forget the great Jack Hamm proclamation, "It is getting better"!

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 19, 2011 | 9:45 p.m.

Let’s see the last time I watched Fox was during the Acorn scandal. How long ago was that? I did catch an hour of Rush about two weeks ago. Before that the last time I heard him was months ago.

My home page on my main computer is CNN and I occasionally read the Missourian.

No Jack, unlike you and Paul I do my own thinking.

I however notice that it was my mention of unions that caused Paul to blow a gasket. Jack, you chimed in with you anti Christian bigotry. So I am confident that I have nabbed one union thug and a socialist.

Jack said, “What we need is regressive like you and Frank to shut up”

Don’t count on it Jack. Education in this country is a disaster because of the stupidity people like you have espoused and I will not stop calling attention to that fact.

Jack said, “What were you saying about name calling earlier?”

Well Jack, you caught me. I was just trying to speak your language.

Jack said, “I would gladly give my life to make sure that things like this never happen in this country while I am around...”

Jack I would never give my life on the battlefield to defeat the arguments you espouse because I know truth will defeat them every time.

Paul, I hear your mommy calling, your Kool-Aid is ready.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 19, 2011 | 9:54 p.m.

Andrew: Thank you for commenting on my missive.

You mentioned the possibility of "awful" schools.

I have little confidence my "wants" will happen. BUT, if they did, there would indeed be a time, probably measured in a few years but less than a decade, where we WOULD have some awful schools housing only the worst students and teachers. Those parents who care would be empowered to take their tax dollars and children to schools that truly educate using the best teachers. The rest would remain behind in failing schools.

But, this thing called "accountability" has the mysterious and rather consistent property of making people change their habits and philosophies and behaviors (which is why we have so little accountability these days, imo). Many of those remaining uncaring students/parents would look around and come around; as for the rest, they are already lost within our schools, and they'll remain lost no matter what.

The problem is that losing "some" is unpalatable to many. It evokes feelings of "failure", of not caring and not helping.

Well, perhaps those folks should weigh THAT feeling against where we are right now and where we are headed. Which is the greater failure?

What IS palatable is shoving more money at the problem and pretending you are doing something good and better...but you're not.

NEVER, NEVER forget.....each and EVERY dollar spent on education (or any other product/profession, for that matter) eventually pays a salary. EVERY DOLLAR. There are no exceptions.

So, pray tell, when does paying a higher salary increase performance for more than 6 months?

I've met very few people in this world motivated purely by money. In fact, I can think of only one in my 62 years. No, the motivation is having control over your life, your profession, your education, your preferences, your freedom...and public recognition for a job well done.

Let's give those things to our teachers and students. In ways we aren't right now.

It's time to hit the reset button on education. My vote is "no" until that reset button is punched.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 19, 2011 | 10:04 p.m.

"the only person supporting you is the resident lunatic Frank." If Mr. Hamm is not into name calling, where is he?

This is a guy not able to give an opinion on the time of day, until he has gleaned the answer from the internet. He writes, Canadians coming to U. S. for healthcare is a myth. A lot of studies show that is true, none that it is not. My God, there are untold factual reports about Canadian health care, from a member of their legislature (name provided upon request) bringing his wife here for cancer operation she could not receive there, to the hundreds of millions that gov't is spending here, annually from hospital facilities to medical instruments that they don't have and cannot produce, to the fact that they are privatizing the system to achieve an affordable cost. Does Hamm not know this because he can't find a"study" on the net? Is he too intelligent to gather his information from mainstream reports, or is he so dumb he must wait for an opinion from someone's "study"? You decide.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 19, 2011 | 10:19 p.m.

More:

It's tough to get into med school, law school, vet school, the best business and engineering schools.

Why isn't it tough to become a teacher....a person, by the way, partially responsible for the education of those so-called "high-level" professions listed above?

Teachers make low salaries because TOO MANY PEOPLE WANT TO BECOME TEACHERS AND OUR STANDARDS ARE TOO LOW FOR ENTRY AND RETENTION IN THAT PROFESSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make it more difficult to become AND remain a teacher, then watch what happens. Watch competition and accountability blossom. Keep the school decisions on a local level, ban federal money and the attached strings, keep out the bullies and disruptors, give teachers more legal immunity and protection in maintaining respect and discipline within the classroom, graduate students to the next level ONLY if they pass the community education standards, and watch the taxpaying voters give you more money than you know what to do with.

I'll support you and your requests for increased money.

But, you first....

(PS: Was it Einstein who said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.")

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Dick May 19, 2011 | 10:59 p.m.

Actually, there are several cases where Canadians do come here for treatment, but the number is tiny. A lot of that is derived by what province they're from or the medical condition, and the proximity to available care near the international border. Canada ran a study and found the number to be about 0.05%, half a percent of Canadians come to the US. US citizens use Canadian care as well, but many more Americans get prescriptions drugs from Canada where they are much cheaper.
To really drive the point home, a comparison between the two countries shows Canadians live three years longer than Americans. The infant mortality rate in Canada is 2 deaths per thousand lower. There are fewer doctors and nurses in Canada while Canada's health care costs are almost half of what the costs are here in the US.
As with every instance, there are special situations which the US has better care than Canada. This is almost always the case with extremely rare medical conditions. Due to the larger population the US usually will have a better treatment facility for those instances, but again, we're talking about extremely rare conditions.
At one time the conservative faction in Canada started to discuss dismantling this system, but the Canadian voters refused to allow it to happen. Democracy in action or as many would say, they know a good thing when they see it.
There is going to be a universal national health care system here in the US sooner or later. We have the ability to make a good system (which the Obamacare is not) so we should put our energies into doing so. The current system is archaic and inefficient while costing many billions of dollars more than it should.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 20, 2011 | 7:27 a.m.

J Dick - More baseless, worthless, commentary from one of the other self described "elite" liberals around here.

Fraser Institute:
"We are an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with active research ties with similar independent organizations in more than 75 countries around the world." http://www.fraserinstitute.org/publicati...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 20, 2011 | 9:32 a.m.

Andrew, thanks for your interest. Here are my broad thoughts on education. The federal government shouldn't be involved. I don't see a role for them to be involved in the Constitution, whereas most state constitutions (including Missouri) do. Federal programs just seem to be a waste of money in my opinion and an avenue for pandering and/or interference. Education should be as local as possible.

I'm not a big fan of vouchers, but I'll admit I haven't investigated them much. I would like to see charter schools enabled in others of the state besides KC and St. Louis so we can see how well they might work.

I will disclose that my kids do not attend public school, but that's more a function of my ex wanting them elsewhere and my older son missing the kindergarten cutoff by a couple months and us thinking that another year of preschool would be a wash.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 20, 2011 | 2:13 p.m.

Well of course they are Frank. And, like a good STARK RAVING MORON, I believe exactly whatever they said. Just like YOU do.

No, really.

(Report Comment)

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