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Old 05-21-2006, 12:49 AM #1
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Free Market Education +/-

I'm going to post an article on here and leave some remarks right after it as to start a HEALTHY discussion on the issue.

"The Separation of Education and State
by Jacob G. Hornberger
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Americans, like most people around the world, have become so accustomed to the role that government plays in educating children that the idea of separating education from the state usually comes as a complete shock to them. While everyone is aware of the ever-growing problems associated with public schooling, the answer for most people is the standard one: “The system needs reform.” Yet decade after decade, as reforms are implemented, new bond issues passed, new schools built, and new schoolteachers hired, the problems remain, only to be addressed with the same answer: “The system needs reform.” And since most people attended public schools, the thought of bringing an end to the very system to which they attribute their own success is, well, shocking.

But why not reject all the reforms and instead raise our vision to a higher level? Why not end all government involvement in education, just as our American ancestors ended all government involvement in religion? Aren’t the arguments for separating church and state the same, in principle, for separating education and state?

What I am suggesting is amendments to the 50 state constitutions that would read, “No law shall be passed respecting the establishment of education or abridging the free exercise there-of.” (The same type of amendment could be added to the federal constitution, but this discussion will be limited to ending state government involvement in education.)

What would be the practical consequences of such an amendment? The same consequences that accompanied freedom of religion. Just as we don’t have federal subsidies of religion, or public (i.e., government) churching, or state-licensed private churches, or state-approved home-religious education, there would be no more public schooling, no more state-licensed private schools, and no more state-approved home education. Education, like religion, would be left entirely to the free market, where families would have the same sovereignty and independence with respect to the education of their children as they have with respect to religion.

Socialism and its consequences

Why has public schooling been riddled with so many problems? The answer is that public schooling is an absolutely perfect model of socialism and central planning. The entire system is based on the same top-down, command-and-control system on which the military is based, with political and bureaucratic committees planning the educational decisions of multitudes of children under their jurisdiction. Participation is mandated, with criminal penalties imposed on recalcitrant parents. Funding is also based on coercion, with taxes taken from everyone – even those who don’t have children – to fund the schooling of those who are sent into the system.

Nearly everyone knows that socialism produces shoddy products and services. So why should anyone be surprised that public schooling does so as well?

Is the situation any different in private schools or home-schooling? It has to be, if for no other reason than that the child is not under the direct supervision and control of a government employee who is filling his mind with government-approved doctrines. But the situation is still far from ideal, given that the state, through licensing of schools and certification of home-schooling curricula and results, still wields ultimate control over the education of everyone’s children.

What is amazing is that after so many years of government involvement in education, with all its dismal results, so few people ask basic and fundamental questions about the education of their children, such as: Why shouldn’t families have the same sovereign and independent control over the education of their children as they have over religious matters? Given that the free market produces the best of everything and socialism produces the worst of everything, why are people willing to submit their children to a second-rate product in an area as important as education? Why should providing education to people be considered a legitimate function of government?

What is also fascinating is that most parents hardly pay any mind to the potential damage that educational socialism wreaks on the mind and life of a child, especially after 12 continuous years of mandatory participation in such a system. All that seems to matter is that parents have a “safe” state-run place to park their children every day for 12 years, a place in which they will supposedly be taught the basics of a good education. Some parents have even embraced the state’s suggestion that resistance to such a system by their children reflects dysfunctional conduct that can be remedied only by state-administered drugs (e.g., Ritalin), ignoring the distinct possibility that such resistance is instead a very healthy and normal reaction to a dysfunctional socialist educational system.

Why are people so unwilling to look at such potential damage to the mental well-being of their children? Because they operate under the assumption that, despite its many problems, public schooling can be relied on to educate their children. After all, the argument goes, if it was good enough for parents, it’s good enough for their children. This ignores the state's position that generation after generation of public-school graduates cannot be trusted with making educational decisions for their family because they lack the competence to do so.

The methodology of education

The teaching methodology that characterizes public schools (as well as many licensed private schools) is one that is based on cramming and memorizing. Education is viewed as a process by which information is fed into the minds of the students, who are then expected to memorize and regurgitate the information on tests that are given to judge whether the student has become “educated.” Students are then judged by a grading system that informs them whether they are “A”-, “B”-, “C”-, or “D”-level students.

Permit me to share with you a bit of my personal life to show how different education and education methodology are in a free market. Like most adults, I have had occasion to take educational courses simply “for the fun of it.” For example, I have taken ballroom dance classes as well as foreign-language classes here in the D.C. area. The difference between those classes and public schooling is night and day.

My dance and language classes have been composed of people of all ages, including high-school students. In a beginner class, everyone pretty much starts out as a complete novice. Over an 8-week course, however, everything starts to change. Some people study harder than others. Some practice what they’re learning while others just show up to class every week. Some people excel much more quickly than the others. Sometimes people skip class, returning the following week. No one is given mandatory homework but everyone seems to know that practice is key to getting better. Everyone has a very enjoyable time even though the sessions can be tiring. Whenever a teacher asks whether people mind if he goes over the allotted time, no one objects and most stay to take advantage of the “free” teaching.

At the end of the course, everyone is at a different skill level, but such a determination is entirely subjective because no test or final exam is given. The decision to move to the next level is entirely up to the student. Many decide to repeat the beginner level and others immediately move up to the next level of difficulty. No student is ever criticized or demeaned for having an insufficient skill level but usually figures out for himself that he might be in “over his head” at a higher level and voluntarily decides to stay at a lower level. No one is “graded.”

The teachers treat everyone – even the worst dancers and linguists – courteously and considerately. In all the private classes I have taken, I have never heard an instructor insult or abuse a student for having poor dance skills or not speaking the foreign language well.

In this type of educational system, one of the big differences is that the customer is paying the school directly for his education, unlike the public-school system which relies on taxes from everyone, including people who don’t even have children. Thus, like any business that strives to survive and prosper, the private education company must be nice to its customers, especially because satisfied customers can bring in other customers.

I should also mention, however, that not all the dance and language courses are provided by for-profit companies. Some are provided by nonprofit educational foundations. In fact, one nonprofit dance studio offers students free lessons in return for helping with dance classes.

One of the crucial differences concerns the mindsets and attitudes among the students. In the private classes, students are engaged in a seeking process rather than being subjected to a cramming process. That is, they are there because they want to be, because they are interested in the subject, and because they want to learn that subject. They (or their parents) are paying for it directly. Therefore, they listen intently, soaking up every word the instructor speaks.
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Old 05-21-2006, 12:50 AM #2
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Most important, the course is fun for everyone, even those who clearly lack the skills of other students. Everyone enjoys himself primarily because he has chosen to be there to learn something that he wants to learn.

Did I mention that no one cares that everyone is of a different age in such classes, even though the ages range from the teens to the 70s?

That’s how a free-market educational system works. The sovereignty is with the consumer, and businesses pop up in response to their wants and interests, serving them and, in the process, bettering their own economic lot in life.

While it is impossible to predict the marvels of a free-market educational system that would arise from the separation of education and state, these types of adult-education classes give us a hint of how a free market in education would work for children. No longer would children lose their natural sense of awe and wonder that the regimentation of state schooling slowly but inevitably grinds out of them. Instead, that sense of awe and wonder and love of learning that they have to age 6, when they enter the public-school system, would continue to be nurtured and cultivated as parents and children worked together to figure out which educational vehicles would be best suited for them at their different stages of growth. My hunch is that in a free-market educational system, children would continue to badger their parents with “Why? Why? Why?” throughout their entire pre-teen and teenage years.


Finally, let’s examine the funding mechanism for public schooling – the taxation imposed on everyone to fund the schooling of those who have children. Where is the morality of such a system? That is, under what moral authority does the state take one person’s money and give it to another person, even to fund the education of his children? We wouldn’t do that to help a person attend a church, would we? To put it another way, why shouldn’t people be free to keep their own income and decide what to do with it?

“But people wouldn’t educate their children if they weren’t forced to.” Balderdash! But if that’s true then what better argument to rid ourselves immediately of public schools, given that that’s the type of parent that public schooling has produced? The fact is that the parent who doesn’t care about the education of his children is a rarity. The problem is that everyone has become so accustomed to the “one size fits all” public-schooling system, they have a difficult time accepting the idea that families should be free to fashion their own particular educational plans for each of their children. In other words, we need to develop the same degree of tolerance toward education that we have developed toward how people raise their families generally, including religious matters.

One of the finest gifts that the American people could bequeath to their children and to the world would be a free-market educational system. Just as our ancestors benefited themselves and future generations by separating church and state, Americans today should follow that path of liberty by separating education and state.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/hornberger/hornberger86.html "



I like the idea. Simply because I don't believe in having one's money stolen for some program to which one is not receiving something in return for.

The problem I see is that a force like clear channel could come in and buy schools and subject entire regions to one voice to which people may not have a choice to choose differently from. Yet, then I see that as public education.

Another issue, the poorest of the poor would not being going to school and receiving an education. Well these people already do not go to school and are simply forced to stay in school to avoid joining the labor market, to the next point.

Our education system is formatted in the socialistic ideal, but with a military complex to form a supply of labor to produce at factories, but we aren't in the industrial revolution anymore.

Many people may also think that those poor that could have come through the public schooling system and would now be dropped from the system would be a potential waste of talent for society. To that, the skeptics must look to colleges where talent is drafted like sports teams. Higher level of students=higher level of education=higher demand=higher revenue.

Surely you may think that this system would increase stratification, well doesn't the public system do that as well. In this system as well technology advancements increase as students in their early years are not bogged down by the weak and are able to make a better transition to upper level college classes so more time and money can be spent on classes at the graduate level to undergrads.

My whole push for the idea is to rid government involvement in social services that the market can achieve in a better more efficient way.

I understand that a highly educated populace is a boon to the economy and a positive to the destruction of crime, but this is just a better way to do it.

Let's see how STP feels.
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Old 05-21-2006, 01:09 PM #3
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Is this simply a thread that cannot be discussed?
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Old 05-21-2006, 04:29 PM #4
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while this wouldn't be neccessary OUTRAGEOUS, if this prevails to urban cities with relatively low mean incomes, it will abridge some kids of education. you can still afford to send a kid to public schools even if you make only 30K a year, but the percent school tax from income works out to be less than someone making 50K. same schools? no, but different argument.
Let's say Brookyln High School A (privatized) charges a reasonable 7K a year for tuition. A single mother in Brooklyn, depending on skills, STILL may not be able to pay that. and unless these institutions are federally subsidized, they have EXTREMELYlimited scholarship ability.


this will ultimately preclude educations for 3-400000 kids in America, so...
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Old 05-21-2006, 05:18 PM #5
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That went in one ear and out the other. Can someone please elaborate on what it means. In lehmens terms.
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Old 05-21-2006, 05:54 PM #6
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I think the real problem stemmnig from our Education system, is the bland ideas of the people running it. Don't forget to keep in mind the people who are running our school systems (Public) went to school when such things as individual learning techniques (Visual, Audio, Kinesthetic) weren't even fathomed. I for one, am an EXCELLENT test taker. I can't remember the last time I studied, and failed. As a matter of fact, I can't remember studying since Elementary School. And I rarely fail a test. I also have an excellent memory. If you tell me something in class one day, and ask me the next to recite it, I undoubtedly will. But when it comes to homework and long writing exams, I find difficulty in paying attention. I'm obviously a kinesthetic learner. And from what I've gathered, I have yet to have a class/teacher/cirriculum address this issue. Sure, in Science you have Labs/Experiments/etc., but that doesn't address all three. I'm sure if I spent enough time researching, I could come up with a lesson plan that addresses all three learning types. I'm willing to bet that if you seperated every single child in the Public School System by their learning ability, and cognitive skills, and came up with a lesson plan geared toward each one, you'd have an IMMENSLY successful education system. I really don't see why a centralized education system isn't effectice, it's just the lack of enguinuity and intelligence.
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:12 PM #7
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The problem with corporate education is that many poor families cannot afford to pay for education. Thats why education has to be supported by taxes which are scaled to a families income.

I usually have Libertarian tendancies, but I seriously think that plan would backfire...
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:31 PM #8
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Exactly right, Oconnore. And decentralizing the education system also creates more problems. For instance, if you leave education up to a private organization, you'll have all different areas of the country with different agendas, and maybe even poor education. Some areas will reign supreme. And many families move to certain areas because of the good education system, so not only will you have poor school systems, but you'll have a declining local economy in some spots.

A few more things about education; today, kids diagnosed with ADD and ADHD is on the rise. Many school systems will tell parents to get Ritalin, which may calm the effects, but in a lot of cases, Ritalin is not so effective. A lot of kids are also misdiagnosed (I was, when I was in Elementary School. My 1st grade teacher said I had ADHD, but she failed to realize how boring the lesson plan was. I wasn't being challenged, and the school never even noticed.) because they are simply bored of the norm and need to be pushed to see any real improvement.

Education is a HUGE problem today, and it only gets worse. I hear comments from kids all the time saying that if it weren't for their friends, they wouldn't come to school. What does that tell me? Students need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, instead of throwing 20-30 kids in a single class, with a lesson plan that really isn't compatible with kids today. Like I suggested earlier, acess children several times during their Elementary Years and put them in classes that are compatible with their learning style. If you're a good visual learner, you can do map activities, watch movies, etc. And so on. High School ALSO needs some reform. Today, everyone gets the basics. Math, Science, etc. But what about the people who plan on going into a career that does not involve math? Or biology? Kids in High School should be able to 'Major' in certain areas. Just like in College. (Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida is implementing this strategy starting in 2008, and is expected to be very successful)
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:23 PM #9
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Large burecracries create innefficiency and poor product.

Open market competition makes efficiency a necessity and creates the best product possible to entice customers.

Whether or not the poor will get a good education is not in question. In public schooling they are already not suceeding or having any positive growth, the super poor that is.

This idea emphasizes efficiency and pushing the production possibilities curve of the student's output to a new level. An economic boost in both low taxes and higher technological and social innovation.
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:03 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furious Ge0rge
A few more things about education; today, kids diagnosed with ADD and ADHD is on the rise. Many school systems will tell parents to get Ritalin, which may calm the effects, but in a lot of cases, Ritalin is not so effective. A lot of kids are also misdiagnosed (I was, when I was in Elementary School. My 1st grade teacher said I had ADHD, but she failed to realize how boring the lesson plan was. I wasn't being challenged, and the school never even noticed.) because they are simply bored of the norm and need to be pushed to see any real improvement.
ADD and ADHD is probably two of the most over- and mis-diagnosed disorders in America. Its just too much of an escape for the teacher.

The real problem, in my opinion, is the parents. They just assume that the government will take care of their kids and they can dedicate themselves to their career. They assume their kid will do the work, but never bothered to teach their children the idea of responsibilty.

Now, does the education system need reform? Sure. But I don't think that farming it out to the highest bidder is the answer. I think that would just leave more kids out cus their parents couldn't afford to pay for school. Franily, I like the idea of "Majoring" in HS. I also think that education should be more classical. I've actually found HS kids who have never read Shakespeare or Homer
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:08 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slateman
ADD and ADHD is probably two of the most over- and mis-diagnosed disorders in America. Its just too much of an escape for the teacher.

The real problem, in my opinion, is the parents. They just assume that the government will take care of their kids and they can dedicate themselves to their career. They assume their kid will do the work, but never bothered to teach their children the idea of responsibilty.

Now, does the education system need reform? Sure. But I don't think that farming it out to the highest bidder is the answer. I think that would just leave more kids out cus their parents couldn't afford to pay for school. Franily, I like the idea of "Majoring" in HS. I also think that education should be more classical. I've actually found HS kids who have never read Shakespeare or Homer

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Old 05-21-2006, 11:12 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furious Ge0rge
Exactly right, Oconnore. And decentralizing the education system also creates more problems. For instance, if you leave education up to a private organization, you'll have all different areas of the country with different agendas, and maybe even poor education. Some areas will reign supreme. And many families move to certain areas because of the good education system, so not only will you have poor school systems, but you'll have a declining local economy in some spots.
This is already happening.

Quote:
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I also think that education should be more classical. I've actually found HS kids who have never read Shakespeare or Homer
How relevant are Shakespeare and Homer in the postmodern era? I like Shakespeare and I usually enjoy reading translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey (depending on how well the works are translated) but they are little more than anachronisms when compared to modern and postmodern authors such as Hemingway and Timothy O'Brien.
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Old 05-21-2006, 11:20 PM #13
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How relevant are Shakespeare and Homer in the postmodern era? I like Shakespeare and I usually enjoy reading translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey (depending on how well the works are translated) but they are little more than anachronisms when compared to modern and postmodern authors such as Hemingway and Timothy O'Brien.
Because its art. Because it requires critical thinking to read it, understand it, and apply it to modern times. If we went by what is "relevant" all people would ever read were definitions and mathematical equations.

Shakespeare and Homer are probably some of the most pivotal moments in literary history.
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Old 05-22-2006, 10:58 AM #14
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Because its art. Because it requires critical thinking to read it, understand it, and apply it to modern times. If we went by what is "relevant" all people would ever read were definitions and mathematical equations.

Shakespeare and Homer are probably some of the most pivotal moments in literary history.
Oh, please. Modern literature is art too and requires the same degree of critical thinking if not more so, not that it matters as most literature is often interpreted for students anyway. Ignoring more recent writings in favor of the classics is akin to paying tribute to Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky or Beethoven without acknowledging the contributions of Miles Davis or other influential artists.

Shakespeare, though fun to read, has been analyzed and interpreted so many times that thinking critically about his works has been replaced by repeating what someone else has already said about his plays. Critical thinking exercises would be more effective if they focused on works which have been influential in literature yet remain relatively unknown to most people.

As far as definitions and mathematical equations go, I don't know where the hell you got that from. One of the most notable characteristics of postmodern writings is their lack of definition.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:12 AM #15
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Oh, please. Modern literature is art too and requires the same degree of critical thinking if not more so, not that it matters as most literature is often interpreted for students anyway. Ignoring more recent writings in favor of the classics is akin to paying tribute to Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky or Beethoven without acknowledging the contributions of Miles Davis or other influential artists.

Shakespeare, though fun to read, has been analyzed and interpreted so many times that thinking critically about his works has been replaced by repeating what someone else has already said about his plays. Critical thinking exercises would be more effective if they focused on works which have been influential in literature yet remain relatively unknown to most people.

As far as definitions and mathematical equations go, I don't know where the hell you got that from. One of the most notable characteristics of postmodern writings is their lack of definition.
I said the definitions part because you asked how relevant is WS and Homer. If we went by what is "relevant" to today's world, than we would only give students definitions and equations.

And I didn't mean to imply that modern lit should be ignored in favor of Willie and Homer. I'm just saying that they should be required. I frankly don't see why you can't cover those two and other, more modern literature, in 4 years of highschool. The reason you study them is because they are a foundation for modern literature. I guarentee you that every author that came after them was influenced by Homer's Odessy or Shakespeare. Kind of like how med students still learn "Grey's Anatomy" even though there is much more modern work on the subject. I, in no way, meant that other authors should ignored or neglected.
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Old 05-22-2006, 02:26 PM #16
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be it useless or not, we as strudents grow from exposure to classical works, and shakespeare. Well, that is, we grow if taught by the teacher ideally and if discussions are led.

If high schools would not have specific, standard curicumlmnae (<-is that what it should be?) than some students, regardless of grades or content of education, might be INSTANTLY disadvantaged. Most colleges require 4 years of passed social studies. if your school only even offers three, or does not emphasize taking the last, college is that much harder to attain for you. Colleges would have to communicate with the school and reassess standards.
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:25 PM #17
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Originally Posted by I love Impulses
Large burecracries create innefficiency and poor product.

Open market competition makes efficiency a necessity and creates the best product possible to entice customers.
Education should not be about competition. Education should be about opportunity, equality, and effeciency. It does not matter where, be it Silicon Valley, or Inner City Harlem. Intellect and Genius do not come from mainly upper-class white citizens, it comes from a select bunch of people, and is not discriminate among class and race. Wouldn't it be in our best interest to educate everyone, further advancing our culture? Throw out the bureaucracy, and substitute a system of effeciency and progress. Teaching methods have remained the same since the early 1900's, what kind of progression is to be seen there? All I see is regression. Kids are becoming increasingly bored. Television programs these days are geared more towards education, which are exposing our children to learning at increasingly lower ages. It is only natural that when they being school, behavioral problems will occur.

Making education an open market will only increase the gap between performance in school districts. The failure in Inner City schools will only perpetuate, and the success in Upper-Class neighborhoods will only increase. I fail to see where the moral responsibility is due with this proposed open market education. I think we both agree that bureaucracy is the problem, but converting education into a competitive market is questionable, moreso than leaving the bureaucracy in control.

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Originally Posted by I love Impulses
Whether or not the poor will get a good education is not in question. In public schooling they are already not suceeding or having any positive growth, the super poor that is.
Which is why decentralizing education is a horrid idea. If we established a strong central department for education, did away with horribly inefficient county school boards, this problem would be solved.
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:33 PM #18
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Originally Posted by slateman
ADD and ADHD is probably two of the most over- and mis-diagnosed disorders in America. Its just too much of an escape for the teacher.
Exactly why we need more student-friendly teachers. Too many teachers are there for the check at the end of the month, and not the satisfaction of raising and teaching our future. Teachers who can teach children life lessons, not just the lesson plan provided by the school board. That is how you inspire a kid, and get them motivated.

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The real problem, in my opinion, is the parents. They just assume that the government will take care of their kids and they can dedicate themselves to their career. They assume their kid will do the work, but never bothered to teach their children the idea of responsibilty.
I totally agree, but the problem is; no matter how much you tell parents they are fudging up, they still won't do anything to change. It's called Piss-Poor-Parenting, and it's the very base of every and all social problems in this country. Until someone steps in and does something (Since the parents won't, who is left?) the problem will only perpetuate.

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Originally Posted by slateman
Now, does the education system need reform? Sure. But I don't think that farming it out to the highest bidder is the answer. I think that would just leave more kids out cus their parents couldn't afford to pay for school. Franily, I like the idea of "Majoring" in HS. I also think that education should be more classical. I've actually found HS kids who have never read Shakespeare or Homer
That is very much against the democratic ideals that this country was founded on. Just shrugging off our problems like you just did is absolutely irresponsible. If we all took that attitude, what would become of this country? Education should be at the top of our agenda.

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Originally Posted by DreadLock Doc
This is already happening.
It would only get worse.
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:36 PM #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furious Ge0rge
Which is why decentralizing education is a horrid idea. If we established a strong central department for education, did away with horribly inefficient county school boards, this problem would be solved.
Oh please

When has federalizing anything lead to better efficiency and output?


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Old 05-23-2006, 02:06 PM #20
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To some extent, there already is a "free market" for education. Parents can choose to home school, or can send their children to private schools. As far as private schools go, however, there is limited access due the the cost which is prohibitive for many.

A voucher system could go a long way to promote greater school choice. By giving more families the means to choose a private school over public school, more private schools will be formed (supply/demand). Increased choice/competition will force the public schools to offer a better product. Public school does not need to be eliminated, but it does need greater incentive to improve. Improved public schools would force private schools to improve what they have to offer. Now thats a vicious cycle we would all welcome.
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Old 05-23-2006, 02:53 PM #21
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Oh please

When has federalizing anything lead to better efficiency and output?


That's why we need to elect better officials into office. That includes Department Heads.
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