Comments about ‘In our opinion: U.S. schools still separate and unequal’

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Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Officials in each state would do well to ask themselves what type of education system they would devise if they could completely eliminate the current system and start over . . . ."

Yeah, that ought to do it. Let's just embark into hundreds of brave new mandatory educational worlds created by leftist "educators" and their gritty, greedy trade-union bosses.

That would certainly guarantee equal outcomes -- all bad.

The real truth "educators" are attempting to cover up here is that our system is one of the very best in the world. It does exactly what it was designed to do -- give every child an opportunity for a good education. In a real world, equal outcomes will never happen, no matter how much money we throw at teachers and their unions.

Notwithstanding incessant union bleating, truth is -- class size doesn't matter. Per-child expenditure doesn't matter. Tightly-controlled, centrally-dictated curricula don't matter.

Student and parent motivational levels do matter. That's something outrageously expensive, tightly union-controlled, socialized-curriculum school systems can never address.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

The same habits which bring wealth to a family also bring scholastic success. They include work, preparedness, self-reliance, literacy, wise management of personal resources, maintaining physical health, and all other aspects of provident living. Teaching these habits to families is the single most important element in a successful program to improve education. Any program which doesn't address them will likely fail.

Pumping money into a school system does not address root problems. The focus should be on creating good habits in the family. Civil society will be more instrumental in this regard than government.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

So the report shows there is little or not correlation between test results and money spent and class size, yet the solution proposed to fix the low scores among poor people is to shift money from some schools and districts to others to "equalize" funding. Did I read that right?

Maybe the kids from poor families do not score well because their parents (if they have them) do not emphasize the importance of a good education. If parents do not teach and discipline their kids, don't read to them, or make them do their homework then the kids are at a severe disadvantage (no matter how much money government tries to throw at the problem).

If the "redistribute wealth" crowd would instead focus on the task of "redistributing work ethic" to poor people, the problem would be largely taken care of. Some poor people do work very hard, but usually hard workers work themselves out of poverty just like motivated students work themselves out of low test scores.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Well the haters are up early this morning.

What's disappointing in all the vitriol is once again there's no solutions here just name calling, blame throwing, and ridiculous suggestions that boil down to make everybody like me.

There are reasonable solutions out there that actually get at the core problem of behaviors and aren't money centric. They are school programs that help teach children self management.

It's wrong to think the parents don't want their children to be successful. They are just too lazy to help. There are hundreds of reasons parents don't teach children good habits. Everything thing from working 2 jobs and not being home to not having the skills themselves.

There's a book that talks about these programs in some details. The title is something about successful children, I can't remember it exactly, and can't find it in my library right now. The point though is self governance can be taught in schools. It is relative to class size but not a direct result of class size.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

JoeCapitalist2 - You stated exactly my thinking.

Insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Most affluent parents value education, impress on their children that they are expected to do well in school and learn a lot, and for the most part make sure the kids know that learning is their 'job' from age 5 - college graduation.

Too many poverty parents view school as free babysitting, impress on their kids that it is the schools job to educate them, and fail to teach children that they must work at it. (victim/entitlement mentality)

Redistributing more money to lower income schools only reinforces the dependency low-income parents are already teaching their children.

A real change would be a massive effort in the early grade school years at character education focused at bringing low-income kids into the mindset of high-income kids. They need to be filled with the idea that they are capable young people, not victims of society.

If children are indoctrinated to be victims, they will continue to be victims. Schools and parents are proving this now. This (liberal) indoctrination is what needs to be changed if we are to improve student outcomes.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

pragmatist: So everyone who suggests that it is a bad idea to follow the liberal mantra of "throw more money at the problem", is a hater???

Before you blame others for "vitriol" and "name calling", I suggest you look in the mirror.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

"Children from wealthy families perform well, while those from poor families typically do not."

------------

My family "poor" and from the poorest area of SLC. I had relatives and some acquaintances whose families were more wealthy and lived in much wealthier areas. Most of the kids in my neighborhood were much less successful later in life than most of the people I knew from the wealthier areas. A phenomenon I witnessed personally.

However, though our father's highest lifetime wage was the $750/mo. to which he was raised 6 months before his death at 60, everyone of his 6 children obtained college degrees, some of them advanced. Only one of us achieved monetary "success" but all have been successful.

I attribute our relative success compared to most of our "poor" neighbors to one thing. College was for us was nothing more than the next grade after high school, and we were expected to do whatever summer/part-time job and/or scholarship necessary to pay for it.

From that unstated expectation of higher education came all the opportunities that allowed us to move beyond the very humble beginnings in which most of our friends, whose parents cared little for education, remained.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Badger says, Most affluent parents value education, impress on their children that they are expected to do well in school and learn a lot, and for the most part make sure the kids know that learning is their 'job' from age 5 - college graduation.

Most affluent parents also feed their children sufficient nutritional food, provide adequate medical care, clothe them for the weather, and are home at night to put them to bed on time. These things are tough to do when you are working 3 minimum-wage part-time jobs, don't have insurance, and are struggling to keep a roof over your head.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

I disagree with DN on the issue of class size, especially in areas with high rates of poverty.

Why do colleges/universities tout class size and pupil-per-instructor statstics? I know my learning experiences were enhanced in smaller class sizes throughout college.

The Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the United States Department of Education has concluded that class size reduction is one of only four, evidence-based reforms that have been proven to increase student achievement through rigorous, randomized experiments -- the "gold standard" of research. (The other three reforms are one-on-one tutoring by qualified tutors for at-risk readers in grades first through third; life-skills training for junior high students, and instruction for early readers in phonics -- and not one of the policies that the corporate reformers are pushing.)
(HuffingtonPost)

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . in all the vitriol is once again there's no solutions . . . ."

Sure there are. Just leave education alone for awhile.

It's already doing a fair job of offering an opportunity to those interested in taking it. And, the culture-wide change necessary to increase across-the-board student and parental interest in a good education is simply not the job of "educators."

Their track record shows they'd muff it, if given the job, anyway. Most teachers are simply ill-equipped to teach motivation, ambition, love of hard work, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Besides, their union wouldn't let them teach such "reactionary" material, anyway.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Who doesn't want the most what they can possibly get for the least they can possibly do.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Those who say $ don't matter are strange people. Somehow the law of supply and demand doesn't apply to education? Everybody knows that schoolteachers come from the lowest third of college students because of the mediocre pay. Paycheck-to-paycheck salaries, no "stock options," and now thanks to our Republican legislature a lousy benefits package. In my opinion, anyone who applies for a teaching job should undergo a sanity check. (BTW, private school pay is even worse.)

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

There is literally no possible way we can guarantee ALL schools are equal.

Understanding that it's literally impossible to guarantee that everything for everybody is equal is just something you have to come to terms with. IMO the solution is to dedicate yourself to doing everything YOU can do to make YOUR school and YOUR district as good as possible. You can't change all the schools in the United States... so focus on changing what you can change.

Even IF all schools were equal... you still can't guarantee equality of outcomes.

So let's focus on getting as much out of what we have instead of pretending we can make all schools equal (which we can't do).

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Joe,"pragmatist: So everyone who suggests that it is a bad idea to follow the liberal mantra of "throw more money at the problem", is a hater???

Pretty much yes, and here's the reason. You see the problem as.."If the "redistribute wealth" crowd would instead focus on the task of "redistributing work ethic" to poor people, the problem would be largely taken care."

You assume that poor people have a poor work ethic. Poor people are poor because they work for slave wages. Todays poor are the working poor. The vast majority of SNAP recipients who can work do. They are not lazy. They are poor.

the culture-wide change necessary to increase across-the-board student and parental interest in a good education is simply not the job of "educators."

Once again the assumption is that poor parents who's children struggle are not interested in a good education for their children. You are dead wrong with this.

And it is the job of teachers to help students learn self management skills. It's all involved in how you teach and the methods and skills are available.

Look for new solutions. Clearly the past hasn't worked.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I've read a far more detailed review of this report. A big problem that I see for us is that there are many other countries in which the children of poor parents excel at a far higher rate than do ours. We should see what those countries do differently and try to learn something.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Look for new solutions. Clearly the past hasn't worked."

That's the tired, discredited liberal bleating that translates to, "Give us more money. Give us more control. Give us the right to make all decisions for you. We're better than you, better than anyone who has come before us, and we deserve to rule over you."

Nothing more.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

And now you can read how the victim mentality adults jump to the rescue of their narrative. [i.e. "slave wages" (they work to prevent a beating?), lack of food (has been addressed by free breakfast, free lunch, food stamps, food bank,) etc etc etc.

The victim crowd can run around demanding that others give them money for whatever, or they can change the one thing they rightfully have control over, themselves.

I came from a family that qualified for government food programs, and WE NEVER TOOK PART IN IT! My father taught me that we make our own way, and that his small wage was sufficient if we were frugal. All 6 kids are college graduates. None are on government supplement programs, nor did we go to college on government grants or loans. We earned scholarships, (back in the day when they were not based on need), or we earned the money and paid for it ourselves.

It ain't the money! It is the choices and the self motivation. Equality and justice are not found in redistributing money, which includes education money. We have tried redistribution and it is a failure. Something completely different is needed.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

pragmatist: I am not a hater as you suggest, I am an optimist.

I believe that just about anyone who truly wants it and is willing to work for it, can gain success in this great "land of opportunity" of ours (even in this bad economy). Those families that are "multi-generational poor" do have a bad work ethic. There is no reason why poverty should be anything but a temporary condition.

Like Badger, I came from a poor family that would have qualified for all kinds of government welfare today. I worked hard in school and in a variety of menial jobs in order to save for college. I stayed off drugs, stayed in school, and worked my way out of poverty.

Poor people today need to cast off the victim mentality and be shown the path to success. Unfortunately, too many realize that path is often a steep climb up a hill instead of a paved highway complete with a sports car and decide to "sit it out". I want everyone to have a fighting chance, but I have no sympathy for those who refuse to try.

If that makes me a hater, so be it.

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

Part of the problem is the "patchwork quilt of reform efforts from coast to coast."

"per pupil expenditures do not translate into better results." Maybe not in jumbled up country to country data, but put demographically similar school populations together (not urban and rural or high cost with low cost) and give one the funds to hire more and better teachers and other resources and see which one performs better.

If we truly are convinced that money and class size have nothing to do with education then we have a simple fix. Let your child (not mine, just yours) go to a school that spends a quarter of what the other schools in similar circumstances and areas do. Let their class size grow to 50 or (heck, if it makes NO difference) even 100 kids per teacher.

Would you do that? Why not if money and class size make NO difference?

"Children from wealthy families perform well, while those from poor families typically do not" because they select better areas to live with better schools and have fewer kids with significant issues to attend to.

BTW - For those offering "the poor create their kids' problems" answer, do other countries have no poor?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

pragmatistferlife,
Nobody had resorted to name calling until you came along.

You called the other posters "haters"... and complain "no solutions here just name calling, blame throwing, and ridiculous suggestions that boil down to make everybody like me"... but what suggestions did YOU bring?

I agree name calling is NOT the solution.

IMO we need to learn to do the best we can with what we have. If Utah doesn't have a lot of money we can give to education... we need to do the best we can with the money we DO have, not keep saying give me more money (when we are already one of the highest taxes States).

We also can't insist that all schools be equal. That's just an unrealistic expectation.

But we CAN make each school as good as it can possibly be.

Some don't agree that money is the solution. That doesn't make them a "hater".

Maybe the solution is for parents to be more involved... volunteer to help. Donate more money (more than you are required to pay in taxes). Donate your time, money, and other resources they need to your school.

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