Published: Thursday, Jan. 16 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
Dear 2 bits: You ask for an amount so I have a proposal. How about spending
just a national average amount? We spend an average amount for the average car
or bag of groceries or tank of gas. We don't seem to expect other
products for 2/3 of average national cost. Is it not amazing that
we get an average education (it varies a bit depending on the measure) for 2/3
of the average cost?Of course average expenditure would require
nearly a 50% increase above current funding levels so that proposal is sure to
be rejected. So how about just enough to make us second to lowest? or perhaps
even third lowest?
"1. Everything is underfunded - roads, Highway Patrol, state buildings and
every other type of infrastructure, department and salary."Yep.
Now do you understand why so many here in Utah are outraged at the state wasting
millions on this gay marriage debate? Now do you understand why so many
Americans are upset with the endless wars that Bush started? "2.
When referring to education, just what within education is underfunded? Is it
teacher salaries, staff salaries, buildings, utilities, tables and chairs,
books, band programs, busing, floor polish, UEA/NEA dues or what?"Spend one week in a classroom and you will find out. Undercompensated, huge
class sizes in small classrooms, old facilities which are falling apart,
severely outdated textbooks, and lack of materials.
Volunteers are the answer. One more adult in a classroom can make a huge
difference. Many schools that are middle income and above, have enough parents
that will volunteer. If we want to make a huge difference we need to volunteer
in the more impoverished schools, and schools where there are twenty different
languages spoken within the school boundaries. (I know. I taught at a school
like this and know how much difference volunteers make. I had members of my
family helping, but the principal no longer allowed this.) With the Common Core
Curriculum, the federal government will have more and more power over our
schools. They can force the school district to teach the children the
propaganda they want them to hear, even though the local school community
doesn't want it to be taught. Also, parental expectation of their child,
and the willingness to help and encourage children at home, is a huge factor in
success at school. Parents and students who want to achieve can excel at any
school they go to. We have a vast amount of knowledge available on the
internet,"Google," etc. Libraries have computers, also, for student
joe5,First, college kids are (nearly) adults mentally. Kids in
grades 1-12 are not.Second, the huge auditorium based classes tend
to be the introductory classes – not the more advanced classes where more
individualized attention is necessary. Note that what is “advanced”
depends on the kid’s age and learning status.Third, my
elementary education was in the 1960s. I recall plenty of testing.You think there is no way to assess education? Sure there is. Is it perfect?
Of course not. It likely works only somewhat to measure the knowledge of a
single person but much better to compare educational efficacy among different
populations.Class size is like so many things – there is a
sweet spot. A little bit of variance one way or the other is not very
important. But start to get outside the norm and efficacy will suffer.Class size is one of several things that must be in line for education to be
"With the Common Core Curriculum, the federal government will have more and
more power over our schools. They can force the school district to teach the
children the propaganda they want them to hear, even though the local school
community doesn't want it to be taught. "Propaganda?
Examples please.Darn that common core for teaching kids propaganda
like evolution and how the founding fathers weren't perfect and owned
slaves. Dang propaganda!
To "Twin Lights" unfortunately there is even more testing now than in
the 1960's. The kids have at least 4 different national standardized tests
in addition to the testing that Utah has set up to determine if you meet the
state standards.It used to be that the students were given national
standardized tests once every 2 years. Now they have multiple tests each
year.If class size is so important, explain Korea. For elementary
school they average 30 to 40 kids per class, and in Highschool they average 35
to 45 kids per classroom. If class size was so important I would expect them to
do worse not better than the US on the international testing.What
you, and most liberals, have ignored is that the key to success in school is
determined by their parents. You can't legislate parents to care about
education and ensure their kids have a desire to learn.
RedShirtCalTech,First, I am no more liberal than any Eisenhower
style Republican.Second, I essentially agree with you on the
testing. One or two testing periods a year are enough. My point was that we
were tested then too.Comparing us to Korea would be difficult.
There are so many differences that I could not account for. Nor do I believe it
is the only issue. But the point was made about large lecture hall type classes
and I responded to that.In my teaching experience and classroom
experience (in both professional education and church), class size does make a
difference. Too few - the discussion can languish. Too many - and you cannot
really talk to everyone and guarantee the type of participation you want.I stipulated earlier that parents are key (see prior post). My point
here was simply that there are other things too.
That's because they waste money fighting lost causes like trying to derail
gay marriage, which will soon be accepted nationally. And spending those dollars
on outside sources. And other states like California.
The old adage that in college we can have huge auditorium filled classes and it
works just fine is a false premise. It doesn't work out just fine. Half of
college students will probably wash out. Do we want that percentages in our
high schools. Do you think we could put 500 kindergarteners in a auditorium and
it will all work out? Plus, like said above, once you get past the
"survey" classes, most of my classes were much smaller than what I see
in our high school's today. My post-graduate courses never have more than
20 students. You see, college use large auditorium classes as a way to weed out
students. I hope our public schools can do better. I hope any of the above
that think this is quality education and we need to spend less and just house
hundreds of our students in an auditorium because it might have worked for them
or some others, is totally ridiculous. Those who argue against this letter need
to bring more to the intellectual table.
I have to address how what in college really works.1) Large lecture
hall classes don't work. They are weed out courses. Those who are
intelligent and good test takers will do well. The lecturer may be
entertaining. But a good share of students drop out of college after the first
year. Perhaps, this is the way it is designed.2) Will you continue
to have large classes as you go deeper into college and in your post-graduate
studies. Well, no. Because here good teaching comes with smaller class sizes.
In many cases you will develop strong one-on-one relationships with your
professors, class sizes rarely are over 15 students.3) Does anybody
really believe that putting 100 seniors or 100 9th graders or 100 first graders
in a lecture hall with one teacher will really work because it supposedly
"works" in college.?
Schools have too many functions that have nothing to do with education.
(Teaching political correctness for one.) The record keeping required of
teachers and other staff is overwhelming and is largely a waste of time. Too
many school resources are wasted because we have become extravagant with paper,
technological equipment, food, pencils, educational knick-knacks and a thousand
other things. Students are not respectful of what is provided for them so
maintenance and repair are costly. Too many people believe that new buildings
and equipment are necessary for academic excellence. I do think the
teachers should be paid salaries appropriate for the job they do, and I think a
lot of administrators are not worth their salaries. I don't see greater
expenditure as the answer. I see better use of what's available is a better
solution. I also see greater family stability and students with greater
character development a big step in the right direction. I have been there
(teaching in four different states over several decades, with spaces in between
when I had small children).
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