American school children and Russian cows

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

When Allison Benedikt says “worth it,” she is insisting that you consider all other children more important than your own child. Those of a totalitarian disposition might consider this idea worthy of debate, but, short of government forcing it, no one could consider it practical. Even president Obama has rejected Benedikt’s dictum.

One wonders how Progressives like Ms Benedikt reconcile their relentless public school focus on self-esteem training with their opinion that the collective is more important than you are. You’re special because your parents decided to sacrifice your education to the common good? You’re just as important as everyone else who can’t read or write?

It reminds me of an old Russian joke about a peasant with one cow who hates his neighbor because the neighbor has two cows. A genie offers to grant the envious farmer a single wish. “Kill one of my neighbor’s cows!” he demands.

Ms Benedikt is not arguing on behalf of children, or the “common good.” She’s arguing on behalf of public employee unions and big government, so ignore this report from Harvard: Students Learn Less in States with Stronger Teachers’ Unions

For Ms Benedikt that’s not a bug. It’s a feature. Of course, she would probably object that that’s an example what she wants to change. However, she also probably would object to education system reforms like those in Wisconsin and Michigan.

And, by the way, somebody should tell Ms Benedikt that calling president Obama a “bad person” is racist.

Detroit Charter Schools 47, Detroit Public Schools 0

A Stanford University study suggests attending Charter Schools in Detroit results in significantly better educational achievement than attending government schools. Stanford University study finds charter pupils gain an extra three months of learning

Detroit school children are learning at a rate of an extra three months in school a year when in charter public schools compared to similar counterparts in conventional Detroit Public Schools, according to the findings of a Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) study done by Stanford University on students in the Detroit area.

It isn’t perfect, of course,

“While on average the Detroit charter students have higher learning gains than their traditional school counterparts, when we look at the school results, only about half of the Detroit charter schools perform significantly better than their local alternative,” said Dev Davis, research manager for CREDO at Stanford University.

It isn’t certain what a comparison of the Bell curves for non-Charter vs Charter schools’ performance in Detroit would be from that statement, but here is a crude example which I think satisfies all the criteria Ms Davis specifies. Blue is the Detroit Public School System, green is the Detriot Charter schools.

Which curve would you prefer for your child?

Ms Davis seems to be soft pedaling the Charter story, at least for the Detroit study. I find it interesting that she does not mention a number important to this study; How many Charters are doing worse? CREDO generally does look at that:

A Credo study in 2009 of charter schools in 16 American states found almost half of the schools were no better than public schools; 17 per cent performed significantly better, while 37 per cent performed worse.

In fact, the CREDO report states that 47% of Charter schools in Detroit perform “better than their market,” and “Slightly more than half of Detroit charter schools were not significantly different from their market.” So none are performing worse than government schools.

That’s not the end of Charter advantages, though. I am fairly certain that no weight was given to the reduction in anti-capitalist, blame America first propaganda to which students are exposed. And, while I’ll agree that some Charters probably surpass even government schools in such polemics, at least the parents are choosing the slant they want. I would also contend that the improved educational outcomes are positively correlated with less time spent on social justice indoctrination and more on math and reading.

"…labor cartels with no interest in their customers"

That’s what I said Monday.

Today, Investors Business Daily asks, “Why Are Tuitions So High?”

An IBD analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 1989-2009 the number of administrative personnel at four- and two-year institutions grew 84%, from about 543,000 to over 1 million.

By contrast, the number of faculty increased 75%, from 824,000 to 1.4 million, while student enrollment grew 51%, from 13.5 million to 20.4 million.

RTWT You’ll soon see that it is the confluence of Federal interference in K-12, Federal regulation of higher education, Federal student loans and Pell grants, and teacher’s unions political clout which are responsible for the perfect storm of rising costs.

Higher Education Bubble Rent Seekers

It’s not the students. It’s the ADMINISTRATORS.

A Senate bill that would encourage the growth of alternative training programs for teachers and principals, some of which would not be based at colleges or universities but would have the authority to give certificates considered the equivalent of master’s degrees, has come under fire from higher education organizations that argue Congress should focus on higher education institutions in efforts to improve teacher quality…

“While our organizations support the reform of educator preparation programs, we have several concerns about this legislation, and we ask you not to support it,” they wrote in the letter, which was signed by the American Council on Education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, among others.

“[H]igher education organizations” = arrogant closed shop public employee unions pretending to be professional associations. AKA labor cartels with no interest in their customers.

Of “higher education organizations that argue Congress should focus on higher education institutions” one can only ask, “Where have you been and what have you been doing to improve teacher quality while Congress was solely focused on your votes institutions, whose costs have risen vastly more (439% from ’82 to ’07) than any other segment of the economy? Why is the biggest category to increase in your bloated spending that of administration? Why are you still propagating useless ‘diversity’ and ‘feminism’ studies? What does the term “intellectual diversity” mean to you?”

The education monopoly

Ken Shelton, Middle Schools Computer teacher: “…the ultimate goal is to educate the children…”

In contrast to Mr. Shelton, the goal of a teachers union is to perpetuate the teachers union and the political objectives of its leaders, and the goal of the typical school board is to be re-elected. That is, the major players are players of politics. They do not care about winning a game called education. The worst part of this is that these education-indifferent interests are allies in lobbying. The general government is the entity they strive to “educate.” This system does not prioritize children’s education as even secondary.

The vast majority of those who do consider children to be the point of the whole exercise are neither union activists nor school board members. They are teachers. Not all teachers admire education over self-interested politics, but all the ones who should be paid to teach do.

The unions have devolved into a means of protecting bad teachers and paying them the same salary as great teachers. This is an example of a union secondary objective.

Good teachers are not paid enough. Great teachers are woefully underpaid. They teach anyway, even now. How many more good and great teachers might there be if we were able to value teaching skill, passion for educating children and results? I think at least enough to replace the bad teachers at no net present cost. And it would be far cheaper in the longer term.

Average teachers are probably overpaid, and bad teachers should be served with restraining orders keeping them 1,000 feet from students and any educational dollars.

Does our system allow that to be recognized? No. Here are some teachers speaking about why that is.