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Crocodylus
10 Mar 10,, 23:29
Would this idea work for US public schools? It might make it easier for those children moving with their parents across State lines :))


Math, English classes could be standardized

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP,
Associated Press Writer Donna Gordon Blankinship, Associated Press Writer
28 mins ago

.SEATTLE – Students across the nation might eventually use the same math and English textbooks and take the same tests if states adopt new rigorous standards proposed Wednesday by governors and education leaders.

The standards are meant to replace a patchwork of systems across the country in hopes of raising student achievement nationwide.

But it won't be an easy task to implement the standards on such a large scale. Two states — Texas and Alaska — have already refused to join the project, and everyone from state legislatures to the nation's 10,000 local school boards and 3 million teachers could chime in with their opinions.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed new standards until April 2, and the developers hope to publish final education goals for K-12 math and English in May.

The state-led effort was coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Experts were called in to do the writing and research, but state education officials and teachers from around the nation were actively involved.

After the standards are complete, each state will still have to decide whether to adopt them as a replacement for their existing education goals.

The stakes could be high. President Barack Obama told the nation's governors last month that he wants to make money from Title I — the federal government's biggest school aid program — contingent on adoption of college- and career-ready reading and math standards.

Already, the federal government has opened bidding for $350 million to work on new national tests that would be given to students in states that adopt the national standards.

But some critics worry the federal government, which is enthusiastically watching the project but not directing it, will force them to adopt the results.

"Texas has chosen to preserve its sovereign authority to determine what is appropriate for Texas children to learn in its public schools," Robert Scott, Texas' commissioner of education, wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "It is clear that the first step toward nationalization of our schools has been put into place."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is helping pay for the effort, believes most states will value the new national standards.

Vicki L. Phillips, director of foundation's K-12 education program, said every state she's talked to thinks high school achievement isn't high enough and that more students need to graduate ready for college.

"The standards make those aspirations concrete and tangible," Phillips said.

One state, Kentucky, already adopted the standards in February, before the process was complete.

A look at the math standards reveals the changes are not dramatic. Kids would still learn to count in kindergarten, not multiply and divide.

But each grade will have fewer goals in each subject area, and the goals are written plainly with little or no educational jargon.

Also, some learning goals may start to show up earlier than expected.

For example, second-graders will be expected to add and subtract triple digit numbers. Fractions will start in third grade. Kindergartners will be expected to learn to count to 100.

One math expert who was not involved in writing the draft standards questioned the value of moving lessons earlier.

Cathy Seeley, senior fellow at the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, has been involved in the revision of math standards in more than a dozen states. She saw a lot of similarity between the recent state revisions and the national plan.

Seeley said she didn't think making kids learn things earlier translated into higher standards.

"It's not that they're learning it well but too late. It's that they're not learning it well," Seeley said.

The new standards are based on evidence and input from educators, researchers and mathematicians to determine when students should study certain topics, said Chris Minnich, director of standards and assessment for the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Some states' existing standards aren't tough enough because they were formed based on consensus among all parties, he said, not evidence of what works.

"We really used evidence in an unprecedented fashion," Minnich said.

____

AP reporter April Castro contributed to this story from Austin, Texas.

____

On the Net:

Common Standards Initiative: Common Core State Standards Initiative (http://www.corestandards.org/)original article: Math, English classes could be standardized - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100310/ap_on_re_us/us_schools_standards)

highsea
10 Mar 10,, 23:39
When I moved from Alaska to Washington in the 70's, I was about 2-1/2 years ahead of my class in Washington. I had algebra in 8th grade and geometry in 9th. They were taking algebra in 10th. :eek:

Hate to see the states that are doing it right dumbed down to the national level.

gunnut
10 Mar 10,, 23:44
Public education should be abolished.

Standardized format means we cater to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest.

Wait until we get to charges of "racism" start to come out about "standardized" education.

Freeloader
14 Mar 10,, 07:08
Public education should be abolished.

Standardized format means we cater to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest.

The second part of what you said is what needs to change, but the first line seems a bit extreme.

I hear this argued as a "state's right" issue, but I can't agree. The entire nation is not on the same page when it comes to standards. Massachusetts has students on par with Japan while knowing how to read.... READ..... in neighboring Rhode Island, is basically an accomplishment at some schools. The deep south isn't any better. Lowering standards should be illegal and considered a crime against children and humanity.

I think the other thing this country does now that is wrong is we cater to teh low students more than the high ones. "Oh you're smart, just read a book while I teach this 14 yr old how to do his 3's times tables." Way too much of that and it really irritates me. I teach and I push the high kids and consider them a higher priority than the lower kids if push comes to shove. Need more scientists and engineers in this country - not more McDonalds managers.

astralis
14 Mar 10,, 07:19
highsea,


Hate to see the states that are doing it right dumbed down to the national level.

it's not a hard fix-- simply put the bright kids in a gifted class. the public school system i grew up in (northern california) actually had two accelerated levels; the superbright kids were learning calculus by 10th grade; the "merely" bright in 11th or 12th.

once you finished with single-variable calculus and you wished to push forward, they would assign you to the local community college for multi-variable calculus and linear algebra. i re-call one kid whom finished calculus in middle school and was doing advanced topology by 12th grade :eek:

JAD_333
14 Mar 10,, 08:07
Public education should be abolished.

Ok, I'll bite. What's your plan?


Standardized format means we cater to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest.

Yes and no. Lowest and highest are relative terms. In a French high school the lowest would rank about in the middle of an average American high school. The average would be graduating at the level of a freshman in college. It's not the French are smarter but that they are handed a much fuller plate and extracurricular activities are played down.

My point is, most US public high school have a weak curriculum. I saw that when I went to a French-American high school in Washington. One side did it the US way: final exams every year. The French side aimed for one major final at the end of the last year, called the Baccalaureate, a very tough set of oral and written exams. If they passed, they'd be accepted as a 2nd semester freshman or sophomore in a US college. That system probably wouldn't work here, but we could compress subjects so that, say, 8th graders would be working on what is now a 9th grade level and so on up and down the line.

That said, I oppose Fed control of the schools and education standards. Help, assist, fund...ok, but not control, not even through the power of the purse. Over federalization will lead to homogenization of the country and the blurring of regional diversity. The country strength is its diversity. Sacrificing it for a common education standard is a bad deal.



Wait until we get to charges of "racism" start to come out about "standardized" education.

Why, of course.

zraver
14 Mar 10,, 08:12
Texas and Californian won't sign on because of the power they have over the textbook wars.

Freeloader,


I think the other thing this country does now that is wrong is we cater to teh low students more than the high ones.

We do not cater to the lower performing students but suck money away from things that could bring them up in order to fund AP courses. You generally find the worst students in the worst schools. But that is what a reasonable person would expect when scarce resources are funneled to support only those who are both smart and lucky enough be in a good school. There are districts where the best schools are superbly equipped, while in the same district other schools haven't gotten a new text book in years.

IIRC, Detroit had schools using cold war era social study books, globes and maps into the new millennium.

Mihais
14 Mar 10,, 08:46
IIRC, Detroit had schools using cold war era social study books, globes and maps into the new millennium.
I remember you mentioning stuff like this in another thread.My question to you is how that affects maths,chemistry,physics,biology?Those are the same now as they were 30 years ago(new advancements happened,but teenagers must learn the basics before pursuing a career as a scientist).These are also the most important things(well,at least that's what my whole indoctrination since I was 7 tells me:biggrin:).

In reference to what JAD said about the French system(which we follow as well for some 150 years).It offers everyone who passes a bac. a solid general knowledge.There is a of course a difference on emphasis between those that have a science heavy curriculum or a humanistic one.When I was there I met my Americans or Brits of my age in various programs.It was obvious who was the more ''stupid'' at that level.But the difference is made at Univ. level.The amount of practice and work a student in a serious American Univ. has,as well as the amount of equipment and technology he has access to is way superior(for now ).At least for science.Gender studies and other pseudo qualifications don't really deserve a mention.

Bigfella
14 Mar 10,, 11:01
highsea,



it's not a hard fix-- simply put the bright kids in a gifted class. the public school system i grew up in (northern california) actually had two accelerated levels; the superbright kids were learning calculus by 10th grade; the "merely" bright in 11th or 12th.

once you finished with single-variable calculus and you wished to push forward, they would assign you to the local community college for multi-variable calculus and linear algebra. i re-call one kid whom finished calculus in middle school and was doing advanced topology by 12th grade :eek:

We had something similar where I went to school in rural NSW. It only required 2 pupils to apply & advanced classes could be set up in virtually anything at year 12 level. I did advanced English & Modern History & would have done advanced Ancient History if I had been able to timetable it. Others did the same in science, art etc. Because demand was high advanced Maths classes were large & began in year 11.

Students who really wanted advanced subjects in areas of limited demand (languages, music) were able to transfer to other area schools where these were offered.

zraver
14 Mar 10,, 15:00
I remember you mentioning stuff like this in another thread.My question to you is how that affects maths,chemistry,physics,biology?Those are the same now as they were 30 years ago(new advancements happened,but teenagers must learn the basics before pursuing a career as a scientist).These are also the most important things(well,at least that's what my whole indoctrination since I was 7 tells me:biggrin:).

Science and technology have changed even more than national borders. When the Soviet Union fell cells phones were rare and 1g, DNA was only a promising new technology, the human genome had not been unlocked, Hubble HST was brand new and broken....

Mihais
14 Mar 10,, 15:12
And how does that affect geometry or botany?:confused: What's the point of teaching the human genome to someone that never heard about Mendel's Laws?Or cannot recognize symbols on the Mendeleev table?Look I'm not advocating going back to 19th century.I simply state that fundamentals that the kids need to learn before going to more advanced stuff can be teached using infrastructure and manuals that existed for decades.Granted,the kids must want to learn and the teachers must want to teach.Otherwise you won't be invaded by Indian,Chinese or East Europeans engineers.

Kilo 2-3
14 Mar 10,, 19:01
Standardizing the standards across the nation it to put it bluntly, a very bad idea.

Different states have different cultures and different educational issues and a state-run, state-standardized system is better adapted to handling it than a more federalized system. You lose flexibility from an already cumbersome system by centralizing it.

For example, in Southern California (where I live) many students do not speak English or are not fluent in it, consequently bilingual and ELD (English Language Development) courses are a priority. Thing is, a state like Utah isn't going to have these kinds of problems or at least have them on the same scale as California.

So creating a uniform standard would probably result in some local issues being either ignored or overstressed.

Officer of Engineers
14 Mar 10,, 19:09
I always thought that colleges and universities are the great equalizers. They don't believe a thing high school teaches you. First year is always a rehash of what they want you to know.

sappersgt
14 Mar 10,, 19:17
...they would assign you to the local community college ....

It was a good deal, college courses met only twice week and counted as double credits (triple if you were continuing on AFTER high school). Meant I got to go home after lunch, even with study hall. Downside was I kept getting stopped by SO, looking for truants. Pain in my ass, made me late every time.:rolleyes:

highsea
14 Mar 10,, 19:42
I always thought that colleges and universities are the great equalizers. They don't believe a thing high school teaches you. First year is always a rehash of what they want you to know.These days the first year is spent teaching the kids what they should have learned in high school or junior high.

It's the biggest complaint you hear from university administrators- the new students are completely unprepared and mostly illiterate.

Wirbelwind
14 Mar 10,, 20:06
ZRaver,

"You generally find the worst students in the worst schools."

I dont know if this is an outlier or rebuttal to that statement, but Ive often read that D.C has some of the best funded public schools in the country yet has one of the worst levels of academic achievement(correct me if Im wrong). Obviously, there has been a lot of discussion about the correlation between the level of school funding and the output of its students. I dont have any solid data to bring to the table, but I dont think funding is a major variable in education. In regards to the quoted statement I would say: Put it backwards and you would have it right. Bad neighborhoods and students create bad schools.

In regards to the OP, would any state really want a standardized education cirriculum bred out of DC? If my state was doing better than most (like the example stated in above post) I would run not walk from this initiative. JMO

BenRoethig
15 Mar 10,, 03:12
highsea,



it's not a hard fix-- simply put the bright kids in a gifted class. the public school system i grew up in (northern california) actually had two accelerated levels; the superbright kids were learning calculus by 10th grade; the "merely" bright in 11th or 12th.

once you finished with single-variable calculus and you wished to push forward, they would assign you to the local community college for multi-variable calculus and linear algebra. i re-call one kid whom finished calculus in middle school and was doing advanced topology by 12th grade :eek:

I wish it worked that way. Having seen the education system from both sides of the issue, we give the most resources to those with lesser ability/desire, give the table scraps left to the normal kids, and spend no time or effort on the best and the brightest who are every bit in need of a specialized curriculum as those with a learning disability. I've seen some truly brilliant kids get really bad grades because they aren't adequately challenged and get bored.

If they standardize, they will standardize for the lowest common denominator. The system is set up to make kids feel good about themselves and not piss off the parents instead of actually teaching them what it requires to be successful.

astralis
15 Mar 10,, 05:45
ben,

in my experience it works as a bell-curve, so it was fairly proportional. in fact, the smarter kids usually got the most resources, as their usually wealthy parents could afford to send them to private tutoring and classes.

interestingly enough, i do notice what you're saying, but this is usually for elementary schools. by high school, the opportunities/resources afforded for the brightest students usually far out-class the stuff given to the remedials-- all the merit scholarships and science/history/literary prizes, for instance.

in the bay area and southern california, quite a few schools are very heavily meritocratic, because it is the high test score students and the brilliant science fair winners that drives the high school rankings and the resulting influx of parents desperate for their kid go to an ivy league.

JAD_333
15 Mar 10,, 07:34
These days the first year is spent teaching the kids what they should have learned in high school or junior high.

It's the biggest complaint you hear from university administrators- the new students are completely unprepared and mostly illiterate.

That's generally untrue except perhaps in community colleges. But it's true when it comes to history and so-called social studies subjects. High school history books don't tell the unvarnished truth.

highsea
15 Mar 10,, 18:55
That's generally untrue except perhaps in community colleges. But it's true when it comes to history and so-called social studies subjects. High school history books don't tell the unvarnished truth.Unfortunately it's absolutely true.

The 2009 ACT College readiness scores showed an average 77% of students were not ready for first year college courses in the 4 main areas- English, Reading, Math, and Science, combined ethnicities in all 4 subjects.

Read the report (see page 20 for the combined averages):

http://www.act.org/news/data/09/pdf/three.pdf

gunnut
15 Mar 10,, 19:48
Ok, I'll bite. What's your plan?

Same thing we do when there's no public anything.



Yes and no. Lowest and highest are relative terms. In a French high school the lowest would rank about in the middle of an average American high school. The average would be graduating at the level of a freshman in college. It's not the French are smarter but that they are handed a much fuller plate and extracurricular activities are played down.

My point is, most US public high school have a weak curriculum. I saw that when I went to a French-American high school in Washington. One side did it the US way: final exams every year. The French side aimed for one major final at the end of the last year, called the Baccalaureate, a very tough set of oral and written exams. If they passed, they'd be accepted as a 2nd semester freshman or sophomore in a US college. That system probably wouldn't work here, but we could compress subjects so that, say, 8th graders would be working on what is now a 9th grade level and so on up and down the line.

I understand all that. I went to elementary school in Taiwan and was placed in advanced math course. Other than geometry, I didn't learn anything new in math until I hit pre-calculus in 11th grade.



That said, I oppose Fed control of the schools and education standards. Help, assist, fund...ok, but not control, not even through the power of the purse. Over federalization will lead to homogenization of the country and the blurring of regional diversity. The country strength is its diversity. Sacrificing it for a common education standard is a bad deal.

He who pays the bills, set the rules. It's impossible to take the government money and not have any strings attached. Government money means tax dollars. Tax dollars mean some constituents somewhere will be offended at the way they are spent. Some congressman will introduce some bill to do something to appease his constituents. Before you know it, the federal government will have very detailed rules on what to teach, how to teach, when to teach, where to teach, who to teach, to whom they teach, and the why to teach.



Why, of course.

There you go.

highsea
15 Mar 10,, 20:37
The Department of Education was created by Jimmy Carter in 1980, formerly it was housed in HEW.

The budget back then was ~$6 Billion
Today it's ~$71 Billion, plus an additional $97 Billion from the stimulus package.

How have the public schools improved since then?

gunnut
15 Mar 10,, 22:22
Here's the budget for California's Department of Education.

Governor's Budget - K thru 12 Education (http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/StateAgencyBudgets/6010/agency.html)

Note: the unit is in "thousands" of US dollars. :rolleyes:

$57.35 billion for education in CA K-12 public schools. How much does Greece owe again?

highsea
15 Mar 10,, 22:48
As I read that, they are spending $1.25 billion in K-12 teacher's retirements and cutting $97 million in community college retirements.

Obviously they have different unions...:cool:

edit to add: correction- it looks like they are taking the 97 million from that account and using the money to offset other expenditures.

You're the accountant gunnut- am I reading that right?

gunnut
15 Mar 10,, 23:20
As I read that, they are spending $1.25 billion in K-12 teacher's retirements and cutting $97 million in community college retirements.

Obviously they have different unions...:cool:

edit to add: correction- it looks like they are taking the 97 million from that account and using the money to offset other expenditures.

You're the accountant gunnut- am I reading that right?

It's really hard to read government accounting.

It looks like the state will take away $97 million from that account. This could be a savings from layoffs. Or this could be made up by using another source not within this "accounting" method. Notice the state of California only funds $32 billion of the $52 billion budget of the California Department of Education. The rest of the funds could be from the federal government.:confused:

Either way...what do we have to show for with this massive public education campaign?

highsea
15 Mar 10,, 23:48
Well, I don't know how you would layoff a retirement account. I think they are just raiding it.

The differences between the State's portion, from that web site:

Total funds include state funds, federal funds, other non-governmental cost funds, and reimbursements.

What do we have to show for it?

Lol. Multiculturally educated youth that are fully qualified for any college level coursework in ethnic/gender/transgender studies, underwater basketweaving, and/or climatology.

gunnut
16 Mar 10,, 00:24
What do we have to show for it?

Lol. Multiculturally educated youth that are fully qualified for any college level coursework in ethnic/gender/transgender studies, underwater basketweaving, and/or climatology.

Ha! Ain't that the truth!

I learned the difference between "Chicano Studies" and "Latino Studies" when I was in college.

Chicano means Mexican American.

Latino means any Spanish-speaking culture that is not Spain and doesn't speak Latin.

I am so glad that we have "diversity" on college campuses. Meanwhile they all think getting an education is a "right." Just the other day 17 students were arrested at UCI for disturbing the peace. They demanded that the UC system immediately hire all janitors as full time employes, give them retirement pension, a labor union to represent them, and boost their wages. Of course the same group of people also complain that their tuition is going up. :rolleyes: By the way, I believe UAW had a hand in organizing this protest.

Public education is good indeed...for the benefit of the public employee unions.

highsea
16 Mar 10,, 01:05
ROFL.

Here's another something you are getting for your money-

This is the headquarters building of the California State Teachers Pension Fund.

Opened in June 2009, the CalSTRS headquarters building in West Sacramento is expected to meet members' needs through 2049. Growth in membership, the difference and complexity of the needs of a new generation of retiring teachers, and the need to operate more efficiently and sustainably led to the decision to build a new headquarters.

The building, a $266 million, 13-story office tower above two levels of public space, is part of the Sacramento Riverfront Master Plan.

gunnut
16 Mar 10,, 01:44
ROFL.

Here's another something you are getting for your money-

This is the headquarters building of the California State Teachers Pension Fund.

I hope California teacher's association goes broke before that building could be occupied.:mad:

JAD_333
16 Mar 10,, 18:48
Same thing we do when there's no public anything.

Naw, public ed thru high school is a good thing. Beyond that, well...I take your view in most things.



I understand all that. I went to elementary school in Taiwan and was placed in advanced math course. Other than geometry, I didn't learn anything new in math until I hit pre-calculus in 11th grade.

Precisely what I see is the problem...the US schools are 1 to 2 years behind what they should be teaching.




He who pays the bills, set the rules. It's impossible to take the government money and not have any strings attached. Government money means tax dollars. Tax dollars mean some constituents somewhere will be offended at the way they are spent. Some congressman will introduce some bill to do something to appease his constituents. Before you know it, the federal government will have very detailed rules on what to teach, how to teach, when to teach, where to teach, who to teach, to whom they teach, and the why to teach.

Once a social program takes hold, it's hard to get anyone, including many conservatives to end it. Once someone feeds at the trough, principles be damned. The only solution is not government-made, but government caused...piling up entitlements then running out of money and nowhere to get it. Argentina, for example.

JAD_333
16 Mar 10,, 18:59
Unfortunately it's absolutely true.

The 2009 ACT College readiness scores showed an average 77% of students were not ready for first year college courses in the 4 main areas- English, Reading, Math, and Science, combined ethnicities in all 4 subjects.

Read the report (see page 20 for the combined averages):

http://www.act.org/news/data/09/pdf/three.pdf

My own local survey among teachers at Lord Fairfax Community College is that 1 out 3 students should repeat high school. That's 33%. But I agree that at least 70% of US educated incoming students aren't prepared in English. Hell, a lot of college grads come out almost as bad as they went in. Even a lot of teachers have poor English skills....there, their, they're...:):)

gunnut
16 Mar 10,, 19:11
Naw, public ed thru high school is a good thing. Beyond that, well...I take your view in most things.

The intent was good, just like any social programs. But it invariably morphs into a gigantic bureaucracy with centralized control that caters to the lowest denominator.

Even our original implementation wasn't that bad, but it turned bad when the teachers were allowed to unionize and vote for the bosses who sets their salaries and pensions. UAW isn't allowed to vote for the board members at GM or Ford. Why are public employee unions allowed to vote for the politicians who negotiates their compensation?



Precisely what I see is the problem...the US schools are 1 to 2 years behind what they should be teaching.


I don't believe in a one-size-fits-all school system. Some people are better at certain things than others. I was better at math than linguistic skills. Some may be more creative than methodical. I know I am the least creative and artistic person, probably in the entire world. You know how I know that? Normal people doodle in curves and circles. I doodle in geometric shapes of triangles and rectangles. I hated music and art classes ever since I could remember them. Standardized national curriculum would not be good for people like me.



Once a social program takes hold, it's hard to get anyone, including many conservatives to end it. Once someone feeds at the trough, principles be damned. The only solution is not government-made, but government caused...piling up entitlements then running out of money and nowhere to get it. Argentina, for example.

California is getting there. I really hope California bankrupts soon. The fix is easy, but the public employee unions are dead set against it.

astralis
16 Mar 10,, 21:30
gunnut,


Even our original implementation wasn't that bad, but it turned bad when the teachers were allowed to unionize and vote for the bosses who sets their salaries and pensions. UAW isn't allowed to vote for the board members at GM or Ford. Why are public employee unions allowed to vote for the politicians who negotiates their compensation?



interestingly, one of the impetus for forming teachers' unions (as well as the now-dreaded tenure) was due to machine politics of the gilded era-- ie politicians would buy votes by promising the local rich guy's son a sinecure job as a teacher, or unceremoniously boot out teachers if no position was available, or if the teacher didn't vote for him.

the US used to have a solely private school system-- which, as you could imagine, was only attended by the wealthy to begin with. with urbanization and the first public schools, becoming a teacher might just mean a kickback to the local school board, winning the lowest-bidder award, or knowing the right people.

gunnut
16 Mar 10,, 22:18
gunnut,

interestingly, one of the impetus for forming teachers' unions (as well as the now-dreaded tenure) was due to machine politics of the gilded era-- ie politicians would buy votes by promising the local rich guy's son a sinecure job as a teacher, or unceremoniously boot out teachers if no position was available, or if the teacher didn't vote for him.

So this "public" system without a union had problems? But the same "public" system with a union also has problems. The solution is as bad as the sickness.

And isn't nepotism illegal? These politicians should have been thrown in jail rather than have teachers form a union that selects the guy who signs their paycheck.



the US used to have a solely private school system-- which, as you could imagine, was only attended by the wealthy to begin with. with urbanization and the first public schools, becoming a teacher might just mean a kickback to the local school board, winning the lowest-bidder award, or knowing the right people.

Private schools doesn't mean an estate in the English country side, attended by noblemen's offspring playing polo and speaking the Queen's English. It can be a small room tucked away in an apartment building with a teacher or two teaching kids the basics of reading and math.

I read a article in the opinion section of OC Register a few months back. It was written by a former UN education guy...or something. Basically he was a staunch public education guy, until he saw how a total free market system could work, even in the poor areas of India. I wish I can find that article again.

I understand the market system is not perfect. My whole point is that it's better than a command system. We may need to tweak it a bit, like maybe 3 to 5 years of mandatory, primary public education that is free to all kids, and then go into a private system.

astralis
17 Mar 10,, 00:06
gunnut,


So this "public" system without a union had problems? But the same "public" system with a union also has problems. The solution is as bad as the sickness.

i don't think so. compare the education kids receive today vice the educations kids receive circa 1860.

that's not to say there aren't problems-- there are, and they're serious-- but the problems are a different kind, and a different degree.


And isn't nepotism illegal? These politicians should have been thrown in jail rather than have teachers form a union that selects the guy who signs their paycheck.

it was a different era. same with the industrial unions of the early 20th century. public laws simply weren't enforced the same way they are today.

i don't mind the idea of an union, because otherwise employees find it difficult to successfully deal with the overwhelming power of an organization alone.

however, i do mind when the balance is completely off, as it is today. that's also one problem with american democracy in general-- the way highly motivated, small groups can have utterly disproportionate power vs the rest of the general apathetic populace.


until he saw how a total free market system could work, even in the poor areas of India. I wish I can find that article again. I understand the market system is not perfect. My whole point is that it's better than a command system. We may need to tweak it a bit, like maybe 3 to 5 years of mandatory, primary public education that is free to all kids, and then go into a private system.

a wholly private system isn't tenable, because education costs are relatively high. for the poor, the only way they could afford a private education would most likely be religious, and i'm uncomfortable with their agenda.

something which might work, though, would be to transition some schools to a private system, while keeping others on a public system. force public schools to be deficit neutral, force private schools that take vouchers to have certain guidelines ("no religious teaching") and teaching baselines, and give parents vouchers that can be used for either. that would introduce much greater competition within the system, and curb the current teacher union abuses.

gunnut
17 Mar 10,, 01:14
Here we go. I think this was the article I read. But I remember it seemed to be much longer in the newspaper. That one cited more statistics from the book.



Private Schools for the Poor
By Christopher Chantrill

When President Obama visited Ghana last week, he went to teach. Africans could harness education "to create new wealth," said the president. "Yes you can."

But what if Africa has something to teach the president about education?

For decades we have taught Africa that it needs to copy the West's model of free, compulsory education. Everyone knows that he poor can't afford to pay for education. And anyway, there are some parents who don't understand the importance of education.

But now we know that what we knew just isn't true. In his new book, The Beautiful Tree:A personal journey into how the world's poorest people are educating themselves, James Tooley shows from his comprehensive research, that the Third World poor can teach us a lot about education. Because in the Third World the poor are educating themselves, with their own money, in spite of a dysfunctional government education system, meddling regulators, and ideology-driven international development experts.

Tooley's journey began in Hyderabad, India, in 2000, on an auto-rickshaw ride from his "posh hotel... to the Charminar, the triumphal arch" built in 1591 and now located in the middle of the Hyderbad slums. All along the route, in the middle-class suburbs, Tooley was struck by the number the signboards advertising private schools.

But the signboards continued into the heart of the slums.



For the stunning thing was that private schools had not thinned out as we went from one of the poshest parts of town to the poorest... I was amazed, but also confused: why had no one I'd worked with in India told me about them?

After a couple of inquiries, Tooley found himself in the tiny office of the owner of the Royal Grammar School, an "English-medium" school in the heart of the slums. "English-medium" means that all the classes are conducted in English-in the middle of an Indian slum.



I was introduced to the warm, kind, and quietly charismatic Mr. Fazalur Rahman Khurrum and to a huge network of private schools in the slums and low-income areas of the Old City.

The reason that nobody had told him about these schools is that nobody knew about them. Private schools are for the rich, he was told by experts all over the world.

But when Tooley told the development experts about his discovery he was in for a shock. They didn't want to know. These schools were selective, they were no good, they were "untenable in modern educational theory;" they were crammers, "ripping off the poor."

But Tooley found similar schools, thousands of them, in the Makoko slums of Lagos, Nigeria, and in Ghana, and Kenya. There were even private schools for the poor in the remote areas of China.

Nobody was going to believe his anecdotal evidence, so Tooley obtained funding to test 24,000 school children from all types of schools in Africa, India and China. His results were unequivocal. Except in China, the unrecognized slum schools out-performed government schools by a wide margin. They performed only a little below the regulated private schools for the middle class.

There is no mystery about this. Regulated or not, the slum schools work because there is a chain of accountability. "[P]oor parents [are] keen education consumers." School owners must deliver to their fee-paying customers. They must offer the programs that parents want, and they must deliver results in the government school qualifications exams. And they do.

One thing parents want in India is "English-medium" instruction.



In Hyderabad, 88 percent of recognized and 80 percent of unrecognized private unaided schools reported they were English medium, compared with fewer than 1 percent of government schools.

Why the difference? In India, the politicians and the experts have decided that children in government schools must be taught in their mother tongue, and not the language preferred by parents.

"Never trust experts," said British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury over a century ago. You can see why. When James Tooley took his findings on the road to conferences of education and development experts he ran into a road block. In fact a professor of education in Britain took Tooley aside after one talk.



He was trying to be helpful. "You're very silly, saying all of that. You'll never get another job. Be sensible, old chap."

Well, of course. If people were competent to educate their children who would need experts?

So Tooley has heard it all. Private education for the poor woutd lead to the death of government education. It would be a "market failure" because parents wouldn't choose education "of the right sort." The education wouldn't be "pro-poor." Try this one. Education is a human right, and thus must be free and compulsory. And of course, everyone knows that universal education in the West was achieved by government not the market.

If this sounds familiar, it is because we have all heard before. Our liberal friends use these arguments to justify their power, not just in education, but in all aspects of the welfare state. Tooley uses an entire chapter to argue against them.

For if James Tooley is right, and the poor are perfectly able to direct and fund the education of their children without supervision, then what is the point of government education, or even government health care, or the rest of the welfare state, except as a patronage system.

The liberal one-size-fits-all solution to education is a stark contrast to the authentic approach preferred by the Third World poor. The liberal solution is long on jobs for liberals, long on expensive facilities and short on accountability. Third World education of the poor, by the poor, and for the poor is different. It is long on jobs for the poor, short on expensive facilities and long on accountability.

Maybe President Obama should not be offering help to Africa, but offering to learn from Africa.

For instance, he and his advisers could consider that, in those ramshackle Third World private schools for the poor, they typically provide about ten percent of the places free for the children of the poorest of the poor.


American Thinker: Private Schools for the Poor (http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/private_schools_for_the_poor.html)

gunnut
17 Mar 10,, 01:22
James Tooley's white paper



White Paper

December 7, 2005
Private Education is Good for the Poor: A Study of Private Schools Serving the Poor in Low-Income Countries

by James Tooley and Pauline Dixon

James Tooley is professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle and director of the E.G. West Centre. Pauline Dixon is international research coordinator of the E. G. West Centre in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle.

Many observers believe that the private sector has very little to offer in terms of reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of "education for all" by 2015. Private education is often assumed to be concerned only with serving the elite or middle classes, not the poor. And unregistered or unrecognized private schools are thought to be of the lowest quality and hence demanding of detailed regulation, or even closure, by governmental authorities.

Our findings from a two-year in-depth study in India, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya suggest that these conclusions are unwarranted. Private schools, we argue, can play—indeed, already are playing—an important, if unsung, role in reaching the poor and satisfying their educational needs.

The first component of our research consisted of a systematic census and survey of all primary and secondary schools, government and private, in selected low-income areas. The second component examined a stratified random sample of between 2,000 and 4,000 children from each of those areas. Tests in mathematics, English, and (in Africa) one other subject were administered. Children and teachers were also tested for their IQ, and questionnaires were administered to students, parents, teachers, and school managers or headteachers.

In each area, we found the majority of schoolchildren attending private schools. In the areas officially designated as "slums" of three zones of Hyderabad’s Old City, we found 918 schools, of which only 35 percent were government schools, fewer than the 37 percent of unrecognized private schools. In total, 65 percent of schoolchildren in those low-income areas attended private unaided school. In the Ga District of Ghana (the lowincome suburban and rural area surrounding the capital city of Accra) we investigated 779 schools in the same way, finding that only 25 percent were government schools and that 64 percent of schoolchildren attended private school.

In the "poor" areas of three local government districts (one rural, two urban) of Lagos State, Nigeria, we found 540 schools, of which 34 percent were government, and the largest proportion, 43 percent, were private unregistered. An estimated 75 percent of schoolchildren were enrolled in private schools.

We also conducted research in the small shanty town of Makoko, in Mainland, Lagos State, and in the slum of Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya (reportedly the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa). In both cases, the large majority of poor children attended private, not public, school. Moreover, in Kenya we were able to observe the impact of free primary education on enrollment. Despite the fact that huge increases in enrollment have been noted in government schools by commentators, our research suggests that, at best, children appear to have transferred from private to government schools. Given the advantages of private schools and problems found in government schools, that may not be to their advantage.

In each location, the private schools are run largely by proprietors, with very few receiving outside philanthropic support and none receiving state funding. Roughly equal numbers of boys and girls attend private unaided schools, which have better pupil-teacher ratios, higher teacher commitment, and sometimes better facilities than government schools. A significant number of places in private unaided schools are provided free or at reduced rates to serve the poorest of the poor.

The raw scores from our student achievement tests show considerably higher achievement in the private than in government schools. In Hyderabad, for instance, mean scores in mathematics were about 22 percentage points and 23 percentage points higher in private unrecognized and recognized schools, respectively, than in government schools. The advantage was even more pronounced for English. In all cases, this achievement advantage was obtained at between half and a quarter of the teacher salary costs.

Our research indicates that a great success story is taking place, usually beneath the government’s radar. The mushrooming private schools, if noticed at all by the authorities and development experts, are assumed to be educationally inadequate. Our research shows that this assumption is false. Moreover, because so many children are in unrecognized private schools that do not appear in government statistics, achieving universal basic education — the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of "education for all" — may be much easier to reach than is currently believed. In Lagos State, for instance, including enrollment in private unregistered schools would reduce the percentage of out-of-school children from 50 to 26 percent.

Certainly, the private schools for lowincome families could be improved even further by creating revolving loan programs to help infrastructural investment or, following the private schools’ own example, creating targeted voucher programs to enable the poorest of the poor to attend private schools. But above all, the existence and the contribution of private schools to "education for all" is a cause for celebration.


Private Education is Good for the Poor: A Study of Private Schools Serving the Poor in Low-Income Countries | James Tooley and Pauline Dixon | Cato Institute: White Paper (http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5224)

gunnut
17 Mar 10,, 01:37
Here's James Tooley's research on private schools for Africa's poor.



From The Sunday Times
June 26, 2005
Give Africa a private schooling

Poor African children benefit more from independent schools than government ones for a fraction of the cost, says James Tooley. Why are aid groups and pop stars against them?

On BBC’s Newsnight last week the international development secretary Hilary Benn showcased free primary education (FPE) in Kenya — supported by $55m from the World Bank and £20m from the British government — as the shining example of aid to Africa not being wasted. He’s not the only one clutching at this example for reassurance: Bill Clinton told an American television audience that the person he most wanted to meet was President Kibaki of Kenya, “because he has abolished school fees”, which “would affect more lives than any president had done or would ever do . . .”

When Gordon Brown visited Olympic primary school, one of the five government schools located on the outskirts of Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya and in Africa, he told the gathered crowds that British parents fully supported their taxpayers’ money being used to provide free places at that school. Bob Geldof and Bono rave about how an extra 1m-plus children are now enrolled in primary school in Kenya. All these children, the accepted wisdom goes, have been saved by the benevolence of the international community — which must give $7 to $8 billion (£3.8 to £4.4 billion) per year more so that other countries can emulate Kenya’s success.

The accepted wisdom is wrong. It ignores the remarkable reality that the poor in Africa have not been waiting, helplessly, for the munificence of pop stars and western chancellors to ensure that their children get a decent education. Private schools for the poor have emerged in huge numbers in some of the most impoverished slums and villages in Africa. They cater for a majority of poor children and outperform government schools, for a fraction of the cost.

My research has found this in Kenya — where the international community might excuse the inadequacy of state education as a blip while free primary education beds down. But it’s as true in Ghana and Nigeria too — where free primary education has been around for a long time, supported by generous handouts from the British government and the World Bank.

In the poor areas of Lagos State, Nigeria — the same is true in poor areas of Ghana — my research teams combed slums and villages and found 70% or more of all schoolchildren in private school, more than half in schools unregistered and therefore unacknowledged in any official statistics. In the teeming shantytown of Makoko alone, where 50,000 people live, many in wooden houses built on stilts sunk into the dark waters of the Lagos lagoon, we found 32 private schools serving some 4,500 children (75% of those in school from Makoko) from families of impoverished fishermen and fish traders, and all off the state’s radar.

Parents gave the same litany of complaints about government schools, that teachers don’t turn up, or if they do they don’t teach. I visited the three government primary schools on the outskirts of Makoko; although my visit was announced, and I came with the commissioner of education’s representative, I saw the headmistress beating children to get them into the classrooms, and found one teacher fast asleep at his desk. The welcoming chorus of the children didn’t rouse him.

The commissioner’s representative, however, described parents who send their children to the mushrooming private schools as “ignoramuses”, wanting the status symbol of private education (saying this, without irony, standing by her brand new silver Mercedes), but hoodwinked by unscrupulous businessmen.

“They should all be closed down,” she told me. At least she admitted that these schools existed — the British government’s representative, co-ordinating the Department for International Development’s £20m aid (all to government schools) denied flatly that private schools for the poor exist.

But was the commissioner’s representative right about the low quality in the mushrooming schools? We tested 3,000 children in maths and English, from government and private schools, controlled for background family variables, and found that the children in the unregistered private schools, so despised by the government, achieved 14 percentage points higher in maths and 20 percentage points higher in English than children in government schools. Teachers in the government schools were paid at least four times more than those in the unregistered schools. The private schools were far more effective for a fraction of the cost.

Would Kenya be the same? Although the education minister told me that, in his country, private schools were for the rich, not the poor, and so I was misguided in my quest, I persevered, and went to the slum of Kibera, home to half a million people crowded into an area of some 1Å square miles.

Within a few minutes I found what I was looking for. A signboard proclaimed Makina primary school outside a two-storey rickety tin building. Inside a cramped office, Jane Yavetsi, the school proprietor, was keen to tell her story. “Free education is a big problem,” she said. Since its introduction her enrolment had declined from 500 to 300 and now she doesn’t know how she will pay the rent.

Her school fees are 200 Kenyan shillings (about £1.45) per month, or about 10% of the expected earnings of someone living in Kibera. But for the poorest children, including 50 orphans, she offers free education. Yavetsi founded the school 10 years ago and has been through many difficulties. But now she feels crestfallen: “With free education I am being hit very hard.”

Jane’s wasn’t the only private school in Kibera. Right next door was another, and then just down from her, opposite each other on the railway tracks, were two more.

My research team scoured every muddy street and alleyway and found a total of 76 private schools, enrolling more than 12,000 students. In the five government schools serving Kibera, there were 8,500 children — but half of these were from the middle-class suburbs. The private schools again were serving a large majority of the slum children.

Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa concedes that mushrooming private schools exist, but reports that they “are without adequate state regulation and are of a low quality”.

But why would parents be foolish enough to pay for schools of such low quality? Exploring further, I spoke to parents, some of whom had taken their children to the “free” government schools, but had been disillusioned and returned to the private schools. Their reasons were straightforward: in government schools, class sizes had increased dramatically and teachers couldn’t cope with 100 or more pupils, five times the number in the private school classes.

Parents compared notes when their children came home from school, and saw that in the state schools, notebooks remained untouched for weeks; in contrast, in the private schools children’s work was always marked. One summed up the situation succinctly: “If you go to a market and are offered free fruit and vegetables, they will be rotten. If you want fresh fruit and veg, you have to pay for them.”

The final rub was that “free” primary education was not only poor quality, it was also not “free”. Perhaps to keep slum children out — certainly the headmistress from Olympic, where the chancellor visited, was candid that she objected to the “dirty, smelly and uncouth” slum children in her smart school — state schools insist that parents purchase two sets of uniforms before the term starts, including shoes — prohibitively expensive to parents from the slums. One parent told me: “I prefer to pay school fees and forget the uniform.”

Curiously, the success story of private schools for the poor is not being celebrated. But poor parents want the best for their children, and know that private schools are the way forward. The question is: will anyone with power and influence listen to them?

James Tooley is professor of education policy at Newcastle University. His film Educating Africa will be shown on Newsnight on June 29



Give Africa a private schooling - Times Online (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article537377.ece)