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  • Public Educational System Good or Bad?

    Hello,

    For once, I'd like to post a conservative article on the American educational system.

    This isn't your typical conservative article, it's written by a 14 years old boy, Kyle Williams, yes, I know, I was genuinely surprised and pleased to see a young man well-versed in the English grammar.

    Williams was home-schooled until by his own volition wanted to try out the public school system to see what it was like in such environment.

    He wrote this article out of his own experience, though he has been in the public school for only three weeks, it's worth time to read this one.

    Before you decry that this is a conservative article, let me remind you, many times, I've read some of your liberal articles, I did not ignore them out of loyalty to my personal beliefs, I would urge you do the same. I realize that this board is populated by liberals, but please do give me a break.

    Kyle Williams's article on the public shool system

    This is only meant to simulate debate on the benefits and negatives of any public school system for that matter. Frankly, I've gotten a bit tired of Iraq, bashing of right-wing conservatives, church and state separation, etc.

    Dan
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

  • #2
    If someone is decrying something because of where he/she thinks the author sits politically, something is wrong.

    Anyways, about the article, I don't think anybody is going to disagree with the assessment that the US public school system has problems. They all do, everywhere, though it seems particularly bad in the US. As for solutions? Well what exactly is he getting at? He touches on the problems, but how do you solve them? He offers some clues but they're pretty vague. Saying the equivelant of "make school more interesting" and "motivate kids to want to learn" is of course the idea, but how do you do that?
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MikeJ
      If someone is decrying something because of where he/she thinks the author sits politically, something is wrong.

      Anyways, about the article, I don't think anybody is going to disagree with the assessment that the US public school system has problems. They all do, everywhere, though it seems particularly bad in the US. As for solutions? Well what exactly is he getting at? He touches on the problems, but how do you solve them? He offers some clues but they're pretty vague. Saying the equivelant of "make school more interesting" and "motivate kids to want to learn" is of course the idea, but how do you do that?
      Hello,

      The solution would be to get rid of the public school system and restore the age-old fix -- the homeschooling.

      I'm sorry if this offends some women and men who have children of their own. But when anybody decide to become a parent, it is his or her responsibility to ensure his or her children are getting the best education available.

      I am only 24 years old, will be 25 in December, I am single, but someday, I hope to marry and have children. This kind of public school system is not something I want my own children to grow up in.

      MikeJ, it is true that Williams didn't offer a good solution, I believe the best one is to decentralize or deregulate the public shool system and leave it to the local communities.

      Granted, America had its first public school in Boston in 1680s, but it was under the community's control, not the state's (again, granted, it was a small colony but my point is nonetheless valid). For over 150 years, this was successful, Abraham Lincoln and many other presidents never received formal public school education, yet, they went on to become famous and reputable in their characters and personalities.

      It was only until 1950s under Thomas Dewey (I believe) whose personal beliefs reflect the humanist philosophy that influenced the rise of federal regulations in public school systems that led to a gignatic bureaucracy losing the sight and focus of public school systems.

      I don't see any real way to halt this trend unless we immediately get rid of the public school systems.

      For your information, I was raised in the worst kind of public school systems. I was born deaf and attended a hearing elementary school at first then transferred to a deaf state school, where the education sucked real bad. I saw the firsthand of how horrible the educational system can get. So, I know what it is like. I even took some courses at a nearby hearing high school, where even the hearing students are only a bit above the deaf people's skills and qualities in education.

      Dan
      Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

      "Aim small, miss small."

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, if you go to home schooling, who exactly is going to do the teaching? Can every family afford to have a parent stay home to do that?

        Are all parents qualified to be teachers? I have my doubts the majority of parents would do a better job than teachers - the fact that the small % of homeschoolers do well doesn't mean that would be the case if it was applied on a broad scale. Parents who feel qualified to teach consider homeschooling. Those that don't, won't and that's with financial considerations aside.

        I'd imagine it turn the US into a financial mess with ever larger segments of its population not even having basic skills required to work many of the minimum wage jobs out there now.

        Shrug. It'd be interesting to see a homeschooling experiment tried on a large scale, but I think the financial disaster that would probably ensue would drive the US to... foreign policy even more rash than it has right now.

        Right now, in the US, you have a choice. You have vouchers if you hate your public school. You have private schools if you hate public schools. You can home school if private schools aren't good enough for you.

        Why disband the entire system?
        "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

        – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'll bite on some of these issues, because I teach in the American public school system for a living (high school English).

          Get rid of the American public school system? Now this seems a wee bit rash doesn't it? Would young people then be issued clubs and fur loincloths? Because we'd shortly revert to the stone age if we got rid of public education. It generally seems to be something that you need to do to be a "civilized" country.

          As far as homeschooling goes, my experience as a teacher has been 1) students that are homeschooled and then come into my classroom generally cannot put together the most rudimentary of sentences, and 2) homeschooling in my district is largely for behavior problems with major authority issues. I also know that I myself am a teacher, and if I were to homeschool my own son he would have a good English education, but he probably wouldn't even be able to do long division. Very few parents are knowledgable enough to be six high school teachers rolled into one.

          We can theorize about education all we want, but the bottom line is nothing can replace a good teacher and a willing group of students. When these two forces meet learning generally happens in a major way.

          As a teacher, I'd really like to see a reduction in class size. Hell, make the student/teacher ratio 10:1. In my experience this really does help. A smaller class size allows me to focus more on strategies for effectively delivering instruction than on grading papers. I've spent most of my teaching life chained to foot high stacks of essays. My current load is about 130 students. If every single student writes a two page essay. . . the math starts to become pretty scary here.

          It also wouldn't hurt to make students accountable by taking a decent exam that they need to pass to graduate. Washington state (where I teach) has a good one in the works that focuses more on critical thinking skills than rote memorization--and naturally students are having trouble passing it.

          Anyway, the American public school system is indeed imperfect, but I think its worked pretty well in the past hundred years or so.
          Last edited by Fading Captain; 07 Sep 03, 14:16.
          ". . . those who win every battle are not really skillful--those who render other's armies helpless without fighting are the best of all." Sun Tzu, The Art of War

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Fading Captain
            I'll bite on some of these issues, because I teach in the American public school system for a living (high school English).
            AH *HIT! I guess it's time to ask Don to add a spell/grammar check prog.

            Originally posted by Fading Captain
            As far as homeschooling goes, my experience as a teacher has been 1) students that are homeschooled and then come into my classroom generally cannot put together the most rudimentary of sentences, and 2) homeschooling in my district is largely for behavior problems with major authority issues.
            Now I feel special. When I was eleven I fell extremely ill and required home/hospital-schooling for several years. I still maintained a high GPA.

            Homeschooling is very difficult. After a few years, I elected to return to school and go as much as I could. I missed an average of 180, and spent most breaks doing make-up work, but it was easier than home schooling.

            One reason public schools are failing is because many parents seem to believe teachers are solely responsible for educating the child. Parents willing to pay $500-$1500+ for their child to attend a private school supplement the teacher's work. Mothers and Fathers must take be actively involved in the education process. Children will live up to or down to the expectation of parents.

            Mr. Williams is clearly an intelligent young man. However, the article he wrote convinced me of something I noted in an interview he gave promoting his book. The kid thinks he's smarter than everyone else because of his mature interest.
            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello Fading Captain and Deltapooh,

              I am sorry, but I must disagree with your opinions of homeschooling.

              It is true that if the parents are more involved in their children's educational actitvities, there would be a marked improvement in the system. It is true that not all parents are highly educated and knowledgeable about every essential area. But all of this can be said the same of the public school teachers.

              Fading Captain, it has been known historically that the educational system was not meant to educate the future generations of children, but to indocrinate them to be loyal and submissive to the state. This was true of Europe. Today, granted, this isn't the case, however, one must not forget the origins of the educational system in any case.

              In America, it's a bit different from Europe. During the colonial era, the parents are usually responsible for the education of their own children. As it was today, not all of these parents were knowledgeable in every area, nonetheless, it was sufficient enough for their children to find their own direction and be motivated to succeeded in their lives. When America became independent, the local churches usually took over the education, but it was always understood it was merely to supplement the parents' instruction of their children. Afterwards, for years, mostly the local communities worked together to create a local schooling house for the children to attend. Fading Captain, it was not until 1950s, a public educational system finally appeared.

              Okay, I'll give you this one. I realize we can't really get rid of the current educational system, however, one would remiss my point. It was supposed to supplement the parents' responsibility to educate their own children, not to replace them. This is what we are witnessing today. The educational system is taking over the parents' authority.

              As it is, I agree with some of your minor points, Fading Captain. For example, I agree that the ratio of students to teachers should be 10:1. I am deaf, and the ideal class for the deaf students are 10 to 15 per teacher. I have sat in the hearing classes with fewer than 15 hearing students, and it works very well. Mind you, it's rare to see that one.

              It's also true that it requires both students and teachers to work together in order to make the system successful. But the problem is that the teachers are burdened with additional work and must watch out for the students lagging behind the work. If most of these students were homeschooled, even if only partially, the parents would know their strengths and weaknesses generally better than even the most qualified teacher available could possibly analyze. As it is, not all teachers are capable of this.

              Just because a person passes a few teaching courses and graduated with a BA in education doesn't mean that person is qualified to teach at all. I have had several teachers with PhDs and MAs who are really lousy teachers and couldn't teach an old dog a trick or two even if threatened with their lives.

              I suppose you could argue that way with the parents, however, the children are born to them, not the teachers, therefore, it is their sole responsibility to educate them in the best way possible. The children aren't something to be delightful over for a short time or pass on wealth, but the future generations of this great nation (America).

              Maybe it would be better off if one parent stayed at home to educate their own children. Yeah, I know this is a bit old-fashioned, but why fix if ain't broke? This worked in the past, and I'm certain if some of us give up greed and vision for our future, the children wouldn't turn out to be merely weed to be cut down as the time marches on. Oh well, it's another issue for another post.

              Dan
              Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

              "Aim small, miss small."

              Comment


              • #8
                Dan,

                You are out of touch with reality. First, perhaps the general public could afford to send their children to private schools if the wealthy would offer higher wages (something that's not going to happen). Secondly, do you actually think most parents have the ability to teach? Besides, are you aware that in this country both parents work in many instances? Many are forced to because $6.00 an hour jobs don't go very far. Thirdly, in line with your thinking, do you also suggest "home colleges". I guess my wife could just teach my kids to be physicians or aero-space engineers.
                Okay, here is the answer. It's really rather simple. Have the federal government form a commission on education and study the best educational systems throughout the world. We then take the best ideas and implement them into all the educational systems in the states. Of course it might cost some money, However, we could probably pay for it if we would get our butt out of places like Iraq and spend some money on the American people instead of meddling where we need not be.
                Dan, don't you get it? The conservative right don't want public schools. They don't want to pay for public education. They can afford to sent their kids to the best private schools but want the middle class and poor to teach their own. They just want to aquire more wealth by saving on education costs.
                Sincerely, Lew Fisher

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a working parent, I (and my wife) put our trust in the public school system:

                  - We cannot afford to home school our children or to send them to a private school,
                  - We understand that education is a partnership between the public school system and ourselves,
                  - We understand the public school system is under difficult budgetary pressures, and we provide volunteer time whenever we can,
                  - We know that teachers have gone through university and through teachers college, and have a greater chance of educating our children successfully than if we had home schooled them.
                  - The public school system also provides a social environment for our kids.

                  In conclusion, I think that home schooling may have its place, but not as a sole method of education in our family.
                  "I'm all ears." - Dolph Lundgren

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Liberals?

                    I would highly doubt the majority of warfarehq.com are
                    liberals There seem to be more people who are willing
                    to raise questions about issues, that's a great thing! Everyone
                    has opinions, expressions of uncomfortable ideas & thoughts
                    have to be tolerated as free speech. I believe the majority
                    of us have to rely on the public school systems to do the best they
                    can w/the limited tax dollars we give them
                    Black & blue from the TOAW learning curve!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fishkoff
                      Dan,

                      You are out of touch with reality. First, perhaps the general public could afford to send their children to private schools if the wealthy would offer higher wages (something that's not going to happen). Secondly, do you actually think most parents have the ability to teach? Besides, are you aware that in this country both parents work in many instances? Many are forced to because $6.00 an hour jobs don't go very far. Thirdly, in line with your thinking, do you also suggest "home colleges". I guess my wife could just teach my kids to be physicians or aero-space engineers.
                      Okay, here is the answer. It's really rather simple. Have the federal government form a commission on education and study the best educational systems throughout the world. We then take the best ideas and implement them into all the educational systems in the states. Of course it might cost some money, However, we could probably pay for it if we would get our butt out of places like Iraq and spend some money on the American people instead of meddling where we need not be.
                      Dan, don't you get it? The conservative right don't want public schools. They don't want to pay for public education. They can afford to sent their kids to the best private schools but want the middle class and poor to teach their own. They just want to aquire more wealth by saving on education costs.
                      Hello,

                      I never said let's drop the educational system now, and force everybody to go through homeschooling. In my world, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with this imperfect world, and I realize not everybody can homeschool their kids.

                      I am a right-wing conservative, and I do believe that the real education starts in home, not in public school. We have always formed commissions on the education, and what happens? Nothing. The Democrats are throwing money at everything they can get their hands on, and you accuse us right-wing conservatives of wrongdoing, please, give me a break!

                      Okay, my point was that the real education should always start at home. I never said let's set up "home colleges." I don't advocate this. I would oppose this for various reasons, however, I was talking about the educational system from kindergation to high school, not colleges. Once a kid is out of house (over 18 years old), it is his or her responsibility to find the direction and career to stick with.

                      We do have plenty of money to fight a war and improve or fix the educational system here in America. We have over 2 or 4 trillion dollars in GNP, and the educational system costs perhaps just one or four dozen billion dollars, which is really tiny, though it looks like it's way too much for us. I believe that the national security must come first, then we can at last focus the problems here in America. If we ignored the threat Iraq posed to us, then we would be in grave danger.

                      Don't you get it? The left-wing liberals just want to build up a gignatic Social Welfare State where everybody is forced to depend on the government from diapers to health insurance. No, I don't want this. The government's purpose was not to feed and cloth us much like European governments, but to ensure the order and justice exists in our society. Moreover, having said this, I do seriously believe that it is the parents' responsibility to teach the moral values and some education to their own kids, not the government's.

                      I know, there are parents who work and cannot afford to homeschool their kids or send them to private schools. However, many of these parents ignore their own responsibility to train their kids. I have seen wealthy kids grow up lazy and are pretty much idiotic or moronic, if you like, in everything simply because the parents think money is everything. Also, I have seen poor and middle-class parents ignore the responsibility just the same way as ignorant wealthy parents do.

                      Really, the money isn't everything, it's just about dedication and willingness to scarifice the time to educate the children. I've seen the best and worst in the public schools.

                      Dan
                      Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                      "Aim small, miss small."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The solution would be to get rid of the public school system and restore the age-old fix -- the homeschooling.

                        Dan,

                        Those are your words. You responded to much of my post but failed to mention my fix: Form a commission and try to institute an improved, more efficient system. I haven't seen the Bush administration do much to improve our schools.

                        BTY, we do spend time with our kids helping them with homework and keeping the educational process going during the summer.
                        Sincerely, Lew Fisher

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hello Fishkoff,

                          originally posted by Ceetah772
                          Okay, I'll give you this one. I realize we can't really get rid of the current educational system, however, one would remiss my point. It was supposed to supplement the parents' responsibility to educate their own children, not to replace them. This is what we are witnessing today. The educational system is taking over the parents' authority.
                          This was my reply to one of the other posters. My quote certainly applies to your quote of me, "The solution would be to get rid of the public school system and restore the age-old fix -- the homeschooling."

                          Second, about the commissions, here is my direct quote:

                          "We have always formed commissions on the education, and what happens? Nothing. The Democrats are throwing money at everything they can get their hands on..."

                          This quote was replied to one of your earlier post. We can always form commissions on education, however, the debate would be quite fierce and wouldn't get us anywhere close to the solution. But I suppose it's worth a try even if I do doubt it would do us any good.

                          Whatever you think of Bush administration, many Americans didn't elect him to give us good education, we elected him to create more jobs, protect our nation from external and internal threats, and for many of us who are right-wing Republicans, we thought Bush would restore a sense of upholding moral values that Clintonites have ignored completely during their eight years of horrible regime.

                          Besides, I still think it is the local communities and parents' responsibility to educate the children.

                          My post was not meant to criticize anybody who has children on the issues of education, however, I was just bored and wanted to simulate a good debate, this was good as any I've seen since I registered on this forum.

                          Dan
                          Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                          "Aim small, miss small."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Let me say I don't believe homeschooling is a solution, nor is the public school the real problem. I would agree with Fading Captain that if all of society would do homeshooling, it would be a throwback to 200 years ago. Industrialization finally happened and we got out of rural economies because a public education system finally happened and people with better teaching abilities (I didn't say people more knowledgeable here, but really more abilities to teach stuff to children) started doing a job that most parents could not do.

                            That being said, parents need to take up the responsibilities of getting involved in their children's education.

                            My girlfriend is presently pregnant with our first child. I know public schooling (or we might send him/her to private school, we'll see in a few years) will provide the basic education such as how to read, count, etc. And I am happy with this. And I would not want to do all of this myself. I have a day job, my girlfriend too, and we need the money. And I believe the interaction my child will get by being with other people outside the family during the day is good for the development of the child.

                            Now, public schooling will provide the basic knowledge, but all the rest is up to me: culture, religion, politics, fitness, health, etc. And I certainly intend to do so.

                            When you look at social issues and problems, the worst thing you can do is being ideological about it. Children - thankfully for them - don't know about "left-wing" or "right-wing" way of doing things and just don't give a damn . We need to take what's good on both sides of the political spectrum. So yes, I do borrow from the left the idea that a public school system can be a efficient way of insuring that all citizens get basic and equal access to education. On the other hand, I also do borrow from the right-wing the idea that parents play a major role in the education of their children. In fact, once all children get basic education from the public system, the rest is up to the parents to further and refine this education.

                            So there's no need to revert to homeschooling on a grand scale, and there's no need also to throw away the public school system. There is a middle of the road that offers the best of both worlds, but it's up to the parents to take responsibility for it.
                            Last edited by Tzar; 08 Sep 03, 10:23.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Dan,

                              I'm sure you realize this, but we "not of the conservative right" are not so concerned with the moral aspect of leadership. Sure, I don't want a pediafile for president. However, it's universal that men have sexual failings. Give most men an attractive girl and the right situation and they will cheat on their spouses. Besides, the Right always makes it seen as if Clinton was the only president to have sexual affairs while in office; and, to impeach him for sexual missconduct (or lying about it) was totally uncalled for. The truth is that the Republican party was just angry because he easily cruised to a second term and did such a tremendous job running the nation. They were looking for any excuse to get back at him. What shocks me is his deplorable taste in women. That was better grounds for impeachment.
                              You are correct, a commission probably woudn't work. Both sides have to want to obtain a goal. We spend much of our time spinning our wheels and getting little accomplished. I agree, throwing money at a problem doesn't always solve a problem. But, you have to admit that student to teacher ratio is a primary problem. I feel that if nationwide we had a 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio it would solve many problems.
                              Sincerely, Lew Fisher

                              Comment

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