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Dems Rail on "Re-Segregation" Ruling

HuffPo commentary:

A historically diverse field of Democratic presidential candidates _ a woman, a black, an Hispanic and five whites _ denounced an hours-old Supreme Court affirmative action ruling Thursday night and said the nation's slow march to racial unity is far from over.

"We have made enormous progress, but the progress we have made is not good enough," said Sen. Barack Obama, the son of a man from Kenya and a woman from Kansas.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first female candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, drew the night's largest cheer when she suggested there was a hint of racism in the way AIDS is addressed in this country.

"Let me just put this in perspective: If HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34 there would be an outraged, outcry in this country," said the New York senator.

Smells like pandering around here...

I still challenge the Democrats to come up with a plan to dismantle No Child Left Behind and to make education a top priority for the nation. In the absence of that, I'd just remind folks of what I said in my original post about the court ruling -- that while SOME inner-city kids benefited from being bused to the suburbs, there were many more who were stuck where they lived.


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Comments (12)

superdestroyer:

There is no way that the Democrats can reform education because the Democrats are too beholden to the teachers unions. When the Democratic party has to choose between the teachers unions or educating children, they will always pick the teachers unions.

JLawson:

Get them to approve school vouchers, and I'll beleive they've got a commitment to educational reform. You don't get better results from a large organization by enshrining it as the status quo, you get it through competition with other organizations that want to turn out a product that people want more for a lower cost. Look at how the Bell system had a monopoly for decades, and about the most innovation you saw at the customer level was the ability to choose the style of phone you had... and even then there was a hefty premium attached. Break up the system, allow in folks who could innovate, and you got goodies like call waiting, call forwarding, cheap answering machines, and then when the cell phone companies got into the act there was an explosion of user services. Two phones, unlimited long distance, and a new phone every two years for less that $70 a month? Tell me how I should want to go back to having a monolithic phone provider...

We have a monolithic educational system, that has no incentive to provide what the customer really wants if it will inconvenience the workers inside that system. You won't see real reform until it's broken up and people have a real choice in their kid's educations.

kim:

You don't even need vouchers, just charter schools. Eventually, even the unions will co-operate; their best and brightest are fleeing for charter schools.

Ask around. We'll save the Blue inner-cities yet, despite.
==================================

Paul Hamilton:

SD, could could explain why supporting the teachers union and supporting the kids are mutually exclusive?

Lawson: Vouchers are a lie. They don't even come close to covering the expenses of private schooling. Private schools should always be an option for parents, but it's not the place of the government to finance them when their role is expressed through public schools.

Kim: The charter schools of Indianapolis have no better test results than public schools. Please tell me what it is about charter schools that makes them a magic bullet.

JLawson:

We're zoned into a public school that's in the bottom 3rd ranking of the 49th state. Our wonderful school board wanted $100+ million to provide every kid above grade 6 with a laptop, but there's little money for school supplies or teacher raises.

I pay a good bit in taxes to the city for education, would you please tell me why I don't deserve either a decent school system or a rebate so I can put the little guy where he'll have a chance at an education? Don't simply dismiss the idea with 'Vouchers are a lie' - I'll take all the help I can get, even if it doesn't cover the full cost!

The system's broken. There needs to be something done to fix it. Simply throwing more money out there to perpetuate the same thing is not the same as fixing what's wrong.


Paul Hamilton:

Sorry, but they ARE a lie. You cannot pay for private education exclusively with a voucher and yet that's how they are being sold to the public. If the proponents of the idea would be honest, the support would evaporate very quickly.

The solution to bad public schools is greater public involvement. In many cases, it's the extremists who are setting the agenda, so you might get the abolition of evolution or a disproportionate investment in computers, like you suggested. But the more people get involved the greater the chance that a *balanced* response can be reached -- better salaries for teachers, some improvement in facilities and equipment, better curricula, etc.

But beyond that, schools need to be a higher priority. In Indianapolis, they're spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund Lucas Oil Stadium -- which properly would be called Indiana Taxpayer Stadium, but that's another rant -- while allowing the already bad Indianapolis Public Schools to just rot. They're firing more teachers, closing more schools, abandoning more programs. It makes no sense whatsoever.

No, throwing money at the problem isn't a fix in itself, but starving the schools to death isn't a solution either.

JLawson:

Public involvement got the $100 million laptop scam here in Georgia shut down. But it shows the attitude that the school board had - their priority isn't getting the kids educated, it's to get re-elected, and then pass out the perqs.

I realize the voucher program wouldn't cover the whole cost. I even said so above - "I'll take all the help I can get, even if it doesn't cover the full cost!" -
but I need a solution NOW, not five or ten years from now, and a voucher system is a hell of a lot better than waiting for the school board to die off and be replaced with more good old boys. Parental involvement is a great thing to ask for - but for every parent that's pissed enough, you'll have 100 that's satisfied with little Johnny's C. And that's good enough for the majority of teachers. Let the kids stay if their parents want - let those who don't have a voucher.

Bottom third, 49th state. The system's broken. Don't give me platitudes like "Parental Involvement is important!" I KNOW that it is. We ARE involved, but it doesn't make much of a difference, and in the mean time, my kid gets a fucked-up education, kids up where you are get hamstrung educationally. How is this a 'win'?

As far as coming up with a plan to actually SOLVE the problem? It won't happen, Paul. It's too useful as an election issue, to be quickly forgotten after election day.

Paul Hamilton:

I really don't think that what I said was a platitude. Our whole system is founded on the principle of the people being involved in their own affairs. Yes, there will always be some who just don't care, but you can't base your plans around that assumption.

And remember that every cent that goes into voucher will be taken away from public schools.. If you think they're bad now, just cut the funding even more and see what happens. The bottom line is that many -- MOST, I'd say -- in the poorer school districts cannot afford to send their kids to private schools with or without vouchers, so if a few benefit, many will suffer, and that goes against my populist leanings.

There are no easy solutions to this problem and certainly no quick fixes either. This might sound harsh, but if you really think the public schools are harming your kids that much, maybe you should take out a loan to finance the cost of a private education for them, but I have a real problem with the idea of expecting everybody else to pay for your educational alternatives. I strongly believe that public money should be used for public schools.

And one more thing that a lot of folks forget is that there are millions of kids with special needs. Most private schools wouldn't admit them at all, but they deserve -- and are legally-entitled to -- a free and appropriate public education.

If you remove all the "good kids" from the system, along with their funding, then we'll end up with a death spiral with public schools getting worse and worse and there STILL will be millions of people who can't afford anyting else.

So I just can't go along with using public funds for private schools. If you want to do it on your dime, that's great.

JLawson:

Paul - Each teacher has her own individual issues - some are good, some are bad. Each school has a mix of teachers, some good and some bad. If you have a good teacher this year, you might have a bad one next year. Most parents don't care enough about the bad ones to do anything, because their kid only has to spend 9 months with any particular teacher... and how much damage can a teacher do in 9 months?

I spent three years maintaining classroom computers in a local public school system. I saw a handful of teachers who cared about their charges, a lot more that didn't. I saw classes where the teacher was diligent in disipline, I saw a LOT more that didn't. Talking with friends who are teachers, the ones who care are significantly outnumbered by the ones who don't, and the parents that care are REALLY outnumbered by those who don't think they need to do more than sign the report card. When THEY recommended private school for the little guy, we took notice.

When the teachers who care tell you to go elsewhere, there's something pretty wrong with the system. We took their advice, by the way, and though it's been a BIG hit on our finances, we're very pleased with the results. We're doing what we can to make sure the little guy's future is a good one, if education is the key.

But I shouldn't have to pay twice to get him a decent education. You're worried about the good of the group - yay for you. I'm worried about the good of my son - who I love dearly - and see doing good for HIM as more important than doing good for the group in abstract.

The system is not functioning as it should - nowhere close. There's a mix of problems - teachers that don't teach and don't care, discipline problems with students, a bureaucratic organization which sees teaching to the standardized tests as more important than a good education (which isn't the same thing, as anyone who's studied for an MCSE certificate rating knows - you can get plenty of help with the tests but passing the test doesn't mean you know the material, just that you could pass the test...) and there is no relief in sight. All there is are promises of reform that never materialize. Pie in the sky, so to speak...

Hmmm. Just like this... I googled up "Pie in the Sky". All you've got to do is substitute politicians for the bad guys in this little ditty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Preacher_and_the_Slave

Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;
But when asked how 'bout something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet

(refrain) You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die

And the Starvation Army they play,
And they sing and they clap and they pray,
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they tell you when you're on the bum

Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out
And they holler, they jump and they shout
Give your money to Jesus, they say,
He will cure all diseases today

If you fight hard for children and wife-
Try to get something good in this life-
You're a sinner and bad man, they tell,
When you die you will sure go to hell.

Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we'll sing this refrain

You will eat, bye and bye,
When you've learned how to cook and how to fry;
Chop some wood, 'twill do you good
Then you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye

Funny how that's pretty much what the progressives are preaching... I especially like verse 4 -

If you fight hard for children and wife-
Try to get something good in this life-
You're a sinner and bad man, they tell,
When you die you will sure go to hell.
The song's the same - only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Politicians aren't the solution - they're a good bit of the problem.


Paul Hamilton:

That was a very good note, and you are right that my interests are more general and your's are more specific. You should do what you think is right.

You're also right about the teachers -- there should be MUCH more accountability built into the system. And believe me, one bad teacher can do a LOT of damage in nine months...

There's room for both our beliefs in this debate. The important thing is that we're both involved in the process and working to make things better.

superdestroyer:

The teachers unions have always been a maximum employment. thus, teachers unions oppose teacher competency, teacher testing, oppose expelling trouble makers, love special education because it employees huge numbers of teachers while producing little in positive outcomes, and oppose student tracking or ability grouping because some teachers do not like achievement.

The leaders of the Democratic Party know that teachers unions are bad. That is why they send their children to elite private schools with no busing, no special education, and no unions.

When John Edwards starts sending his kids to the DC public schools is when I believe that the Democrats really want to educate children.

kim:

Accountability by contract, Paul, that is the magic bullet of charter schools. That and parent involvement.

I don't know what is happening in Indianapolis. Not every charter school is wonderful. Not every ordinary public school is a disaster.
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