« What Does She Really Mean? | Main | A Good Question »

April 05, 2011

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83452a92569e20147e3c3362a970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Role of Money in Education:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

David,
Some of your ideas are not too far off..some are misinformed, some are Limbaugh talking points, and some are spot on. I give you a B.
Your criticism of teachers has followed a national trend, starting with Arne Duncan and following through with the movie "Waiting for Superman." It is new tactic. Why not blame the teachers? We have tried blaming everything else to no avail.
In all of your entry however, you fail to mention a few things:
Any public school employee in Texas at least, has his/her salaries, what they teach, what book to teach from, days on duty, the setting of qualifications, all set by politicians.
Teacher's in El Paso have salaries that are set by politicians in Austin and in El Paso.
So, if you really want to rant on what you perceive as a broken system, why not start at the point of entry: The politicians who run the show.

How long has the GOP been running the state house and Governor's mansion now? In all that time, have they changed the system? They COULD have if they really wanted to, but they haven't. If they wanted to put into place a true teacher accountability system, they could have. They haven't. One reason is that they are so far into the pockets of big $$ ed companies like Pearson that they cannot extricate themselves long enough to make true change. You didn't mention the role of really big money like Pearson pulls in for just testing and the textbook companies make for their products.

It is easy to blame Superintendents, teachers, and faceless administrators in an evil "central office" because they are all local. It is quite another to start looking at where real waste of funds takes place at the enormous statewide initiatives that are purchased without any type of teacher input, or education relevance.

(David, did you know there has never been any study that showed that high stakes testing like the TAKS or the new STAAR do anything to increase student achievement? Yet how much money do we as taxpayers spend on these tests? It literally is hundreds of millions a year, with no demonstrated benefit.)

Since Texas is a right-to-work state, teacher organizations are paper tigers, no real teeth, and since tenure is not an issue in Texas teachers can easily be defeated. Yet the powers in Austin have refused to do anything.

Perhaps a better blog entry from you might be "Why has the GOP, which controls the Texas Political Machine, has control of the SBOE, has a political appointee in charge of the TEA and as much money God, not been able to change Texas education for the better?"

THAT would be an interesting blog entry.

I have found that many of the teachers in our area do not have complaints about their salaries at all. Many first year teachers start off with salaries over 40k which is excellent for El Paso.
The major point of irritation is with pending budget cuts and selfish, corrupt administrations. It is ridiculous to increase class sizes and cut student programs when there are so many admins floating that have nothing to do with students.
Many teachers have no problems with state testing either. But principals often come up with busy work and bogus program of the month inservices that take time away from the classroom.
If someone were to take time and study the amount of money wasted on administrative perks, in-services, & travel I am sure the results would surprise everyone.

Funny how this issue dove tails with the bonding issue.

Very few teacher or administrators that I know of "hate (HATE!!!) any effort to measure their ability to teach children." Far from it. Most teachers are in it to help students succeed and most try their best. However, the measures that you speak of must be fair.

Consider this analogy:
If I hired a contractor to fix some broken drywall in a bedroom and he did a good job, but then I said I wouldn't pay him because the foundation of the house was cracked, the contractor would say something like "I had no control over the foundation, I did not build this house, and I did what I was supposed to do. You told me to fix the drywall. I did that." If I evaluated the contractors performance based on the drywall AND the foundation, it wouldn't be fair would it? I should only evaluate on the drywall being fixed.

Yet, that is what happens in many of the proposed teacher evaluations. Teachers in say, 8th grade, are evaluated on how well their students perform that year on some test. But essentially, they cannot be evaluated just on their work. The student brings with him or her the other 7 years of learning. If they were good, then the teacher is lucky. If the previous seven years were bad, (Or if there were a ton of other possible variables that affect student performance including home life) then the teacher is screwed.

A better measure of course would be something that measures a growth of a students during the time that student was with that teacher. But most evaluations are not designed that way, which goes back to my previous post that it is the politicians that are in charge of all of these things, INCLUDING teacher evaluations. They have to give the thumbs up or down to any type of evals before they are used.


I happen to know many teachers. They are the ones that stay after school and tutor students that are having problems learning. They pay out of their own pay to buy supplies that the school does not get. It is so many administrators that have their hands in their pockets. Why do we need a dozen administrators for one school district? Also, we have to pay for those illegals that go to our schools. Their parents do not have to pay a cent, but we the tax payers do. I agree some with Mr. Tim Collins, look into the real heart of the matter and you will find out what needs to really be done in order to advance with education.

Lupe
It is a different Tim commenting - not me

That is right, YOU BETTER NOT talk bad about Star Wars!

Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't even teach work for their parents.

Jose,

would have been funny had you not mangled the quote... Now you just look like an idiot who doesn't read much.

Tim,
You have some good points, but you still don't really get what testing does. The new line is that it's expensive and it doesn't "teach" the kids anything. It's not supposed to "teach" kids anything. It's used to measure what kids have been taught. You're buying the many lines the teachers have to try and convince people that they don't need to be graded themslves via the results of these standardized tests.

You analogy doesn't work. Kids get passed on from grade to grade and it's the teachers passing them. They create their own problems. Standardized exit exams for all grades should be required.

You keep talking about the politicians and their role, but you don't speak much on what the teachers are using their lobbyist for. They don't lobby for you what you mention - they lobby for more money and that's it. They aren't working to change the system. They aren't making any other effort on the education front other than benefits.

This year during an audit of classloads at Montwood High School, 19 experienced teachers were found to be teaching "1 or fewer" classes while 95 sections (including AP) were overloaded with 30+ students. This occurred because of administration preference. The 1 year cost was $1.5 million in salaries, benefits AND stipends and 1400 students sat in at least one class that was overcrowded. Montwood was not the only offender, just the worst offender.
Over spring break I took a trip up to Dallas where a brand new state of the art high school sits unoccupied. Not only does the district not have sufficient students to open it, the high school it was going to "relieve" is only at 62% occupancy.
As a system from top to bottom education is broken. More money is not going to repair core deep problems. Much of the current legislative debate could be dealt with by going to a straight up "per student" formula. Stop pitting rich districts against poor districts and picking winners and losers. Everyone gets the same starting line and what they do with it is up to them. Does that mean Trophy Club has better local funding than San Elizario? Yep, too bad, no matter what socialist plan you come up with TC will always have nicer things because their parents are millionaires. But their kids have no greater academic advantage than anyone elses - our parents generation pretty much put men on the moon with a slide rule.

DK Flint,
"More money is not going to repair core deep problems." That is an interesting statement, and one that has been repeated over and over by the right for years. But let us look at your words:
You said that Trophy Club would have better local funding because their parents are millionaires. In just that statement, you negate your previous statement at money does not make a difference.Money does make a difference.

So, you are saying that the kids in TC should get a better education than the kids in San Elizario because of genetics and geography? Their daddies are rich and they live on the golf course, so they get deserve a better education? That seems fair.

By saying everyone starts at the same point (Everyone gets the same starting line and what they do with it is up to them.) you equate education as a race. Ok, fair enough. But the kids in San Elizario, starting at the same place as the kids in TC, or Flower Mound, or Plano, or HEB-CSD are given donkeys to race, while the kids in those other districts are given Kentucky Derby Quarter Horses. There simply is no way the SE kids will ever win the race without help. And help is money. Sorry.

Dee Margo likes to talk about how he tells his colleagues in the House that the tax base in El Paso is 64% home owners and 36% businesses, which is 180 degrees opposite of most other cities in Texas. That is why we are screwed each year when it comes to taxes, because there is a a small business base here. (Of course, Margo has done nothing to help that situation in his distinguished term in the House..but I digress.)

Money DOES make a difference. I will wholeheartedly agree with you that the WISE spending of money as opposed to poorly chosen spending makes a difference, and that all goes back to politicians. School Boards control the purse strings at the local level. If those elected officials are making poor decisions, then you need to run them out of office.

The right likes to always point out and say that money does not make a difference when it comes to education. Is there anything else that money does not make a difference? How about in the Military? Should we spend as much in the military as we do? Why not use weapon systems from the 1950's? They worked just fine for us back then. Let's fly those fighters jets from the 1960's. They kept the commies at bay, and that was good enough. No, we spend a lot on the military to keep it up to date and we never say a thing about that.

Funny how that is huh?

David,

Of course testing is not supposed to teach anything (other than how to take a test). What I thought I said, and maybe I was not clear, was that high stakes testing has never been shown to improve achievement. In other words, just because there are high stakes tests in schools, there is no correlation that they actually improve the learning process. So we are spending gobs of money as a state and a nation hoping that the test does something when in fact it probably does nothing more than lines the pockets of the testing companies, and makes third graders so nervous they vomit.

When this type of testing began, thanks to H.Ross Perot and Bill Clements (R) back in the early 1980's, it was designed to be a diagnostic tool, exactly what you are saying: How much has the student learned.

What has happened however because of NCLB (another Republican initiative) , is that over the course of the years, tests have mutated into a punitive tool. If your school does poorly, we will close it and you lose your job kind of stuff. So it no longer is about what the kids have been taught, but rather teaching them how to pass a frikkin' test.

So essentially what has happened is that lots of time is taken out of instructional days to teach kids testing skills, taking practice tests, mock tests, benchmark tests, and the actual tests. Could time be used more wisely? Sure. But the mandates require schools to test. And the law requires schools to pass the test.
So, the schools spend lots of time on testing stuff.

The current legislation in the Texas House and Senate (see how everything goes back to politicians in charge of education?) would require school districts to set aside a total of 45 school days for all of the testing in all of the grades over a course of a year (STAAR Test, end of course exams, TPRI, etc.) Could we make better use of that time? Sure. But your legislature says we cannot.

Just to add to that, yesterday my son told me how he spent the entire day taking the STARR test. He told me it doesn't count and that he was told by the teacher that the testing company is using there test to make any needed changes and tweaks to the real test. How wonderful, my child is now spending an entire school day taking a benchmark test for a test. He also told me that another student made a comment that they should all do horribly on the test so that they will make the questions easier on the real test.

And just a quick side not, I don't see why teachers using lobbyist for their own interests as a bad thing. If we took money away from every organization that used lobbyists selfishly rather than for overall improvement then we'd be saving trillions of dollars in subsidies and funding. Why is it the teachers job to change the system? Shouldn't the teachers job be to teach? Shouldn't an effective one already being provided to them by elected officials and school administrators?

Tim
It's funny that you went for a horse race analogy... as I've spent a part of my life working with a variety of 4 legged transports including mules and thoroughbreds. If you give the mule the same education you give the thoroughbred, you will get a racing mule and if you teach the thoroughbred to pull a plow, you get a plow horse.

San Elizario has received millions in Robin Hood funds for I can't even guess how many years, but can you name one thing that the additional money has done for their students. Likewise Trophy Club hands over more than $100 million to the state every year and yet they still have pretty nice stuff.
The current funding "formulas" are insane and contorted and require more administration from the state and locals to follow them than is useful. A simple straight up, per student funding formula means that all kids start with the same number of state dollars and local districts make the investments that their taxpayers approve.

Of course, don't mind me, I'd be perfectly happy with the abolition of the bureaucracy that is known as public education.... it's time for the free market to step in and do it's thing.

I'm tired of the pathetic cries that "40k not bad for El Paso"

Does a gallon of milk cost the same or close to it in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio. What does a $250,000 home buy you in Dallas in Houston and in San Antonio; more actually. Compare a $250,000 home with what you get there compared to here in size and in amenities; its more there. Why do we continue to accept that its ok for El Paso.

Exception: Austin Realestate Market and Downtown Urban Living Areas in these big cities.

Does it cost Doctors any less here to treat a patient on Medicade or Medicare. Why do Doctors in other parts of the state get more money for their services.

Stop selling El Paso short. last I checked we pay more for gas, property taxes, and food due to distribution costs.

dk flint is right on funding formulas are whacked.

At a time when teachers and their unions are under fire across the nation, my eldest daughter just had a much-anticipated interview with Teach for America. She will graduate from college in May and hopes to be a teacher in the fall.

She was worried that I'd be disappointed she didn't feel a desire for graduate school.

But I was thrilled. Since graduating from college in 1984, I've taught GED courses, English as a second language, composition at a city college and now writing and literature at a public university. I have loved every year, and I don't think there's a more important profession.

Think about it: We aren't legally mandated to spend as much time with any other kind of person as we are with teachers. An American who graduates from high school has been taught by more than 20 teachers and has spent more than 10,000 hours in their company. It's no wonder almost everyone has a story about a teacher who changed his or her life.

Still, with all the contempt and anger being hurled at teachers right now, it's alarming to be sending a daughter into the crossfire, especially when new teachers are the first to be threatened with pink slips.

The growing scorn for public school teachers is at every level of education. Teachers are blamed for bad test results, for disrespectful students, for failing schools. They are thought to be lazy, draining public coffers with their monthly salaries and pension benefits (although they actually contribute to their pensions like everyone else).

Last fall, a video posted by blogger Shannyn Moore showed Sarah Palin and her daughter Willow confronting a woman protesting during the filming of Palin's reality TV series on a fishing dock in Homer, Alaska. When Palin asks the woman about her profession, she replies that she is a teacher, and Palin and Willow, who is of high school age, exchange knowing looks. Palin turns back to the woman. "Oh — a teacher," she says, her voice oozing condescension.

This kind of conservative contempt for public school teachers began decades ago with white flight (remember the private schools that sprang up in churches and homes in the southern states during integration in the 1970s?), and it continues today. In Southern California, it can be seen in the flight of so many families to religious schools — not just the traditional Roman Catholic schools but numerous new church-affiliated facilities. I've been told by parents of students who attend private religious schools that public schools are beyond redemption, and they resent their tax dollars subsidizing poor-quality education.

Meanwhile, parents often consider their kids' teachers as mere service providers. Last fall I met a teacher at an exclusive private school on New York's Upper East Side who told me parents pressure her to ignore bad behavior, missed assignments and cheating, in the belief that nothing is more important than their children's success. One of my best friends, a second-grade teacher at the public elementary school I attended, told me about a student who consistently returns math work undone. "I don't do math," he said. "My mom says I don't have to." My friend explained: "The state says you have to do math." But the child was adamant: "My mom says I don't."

A teacher at my youngest daughter's public high school told me parents often call and email to protest assignments. My child just "isn't feeling Dickens," one said. "He needs to be reading something he can relate to."

At the very moment my daughter hopes to become a teacher, Detroit is talking about closing half its public schools. In Rhode Island, teachers are being laid off wholesale. California has issued thousands of pink slips.

All over the world, people sacrifice to send their children to school. Afghan girls are threatened yet still walk to school; Chinese children are sent to schools in faraway cities by parents desperate to give them better lives; Kenyan students study by kerosene lamp in one-room schools built by grateful parents.

Here, access to a free education is an essential part of the American dream. I was sent to kindergarten at 4 by my mother, a Swiss immigrant. She taught me to read when I was 3, worried that the school wouldn't admit me unless I was already literate. I went daily to a kind teacher who let me read advanced books in the corner. I remember her hair, her lips when her mouth moved, and her fingernails. Decades later, she remembers me, and says I told her stories.

I believe it. Because teachers are often therapists, friends, mentors, coaches, sometimes providers of food and school supplies or holders of secrets. And in that way, they are some of the most important people in children's lives.

And sometimes, despite all the disrespect that's out there, teachers are appreciated. Last week, I got an email from a Cambodian American student from San Bernardino who now teaches English in South Korea; she was writing to say thank you.

My students, many of them first-generation immigrants, have brought me gifts and invited me to their weddings and New Year celebrations. I have gotten calls of thanks from their parents. And sometimes they have called me not by my name, but by the most reverent word they could summon: Teacher.

I try to imagine my daughter in a classroom this fall, looking out at the faces of children who are thinking of numbers and letters and secrets. I remember the woman who taught me to form the alphabet, the man who taught me long division. I remember my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Wolf, playing Cat Stevens songs on the guitar. And I wonder about the children who may one day remember my daughter's teaching, and in what ways she may have changed their lives.

Susan Straight's new novel, "Take One Candle Light a Room," is about an orphaned young man whose life is changed by teachers.

For a nice overview of how testing has destroyed the public school system, read former Bush administration Assistant Sec't of Education Diane Ravitch's book: "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education."

Here is the link: http://snipurl.com/27r4j6

And please don't say that it a left-winged nut job case. Her case is well founded and reasonable. She isn't a pro-Union pinko with an ax to grind.


Tim,

I know you're on this testing kick, but you're flat wrong. Every single country that whoops our ass in education year in and year out have MORE testing and their teacher's jobs and student's future are tied to those tests.

If you don't test, you don't know if children are learning.

Bottom line - you hate testing and teachers hate testing because it's a measure of performance - THE ONLY ONE TEACHERS HAVE. If teachers can get rid of testing they can get rid of the ONLY evaluation factor in their job. At that point the only thing they can get fired for is not showing up or committing a crime. What a job!

The testing is not the issue. The issue is how our schools approach the testing. Rather than teacking classes in a manner that covers the material and objectives defined in the TEKS, they spend hours on test prep. (as mandated by the administration.

I have reviewed the TEKS on a variety of subject areas, they are not all that bad. Now let the teachers teach.

If the learning objectives are good/acceptable, and a teacher designs their classes to make sure those objectives are understood and retained there would be no need for the test prep as a separate time stealer - the classroom instruction would be as it should be - the prep.

PS most of the TEKS in my opinion are MINIMUM Standards, no reason a good teacher cannot and should not exceed the minimum

Tim,

We'll probably never meet all the way on this, but I can say that I'm not a defender of how we teach kids.

I think math, science, reading and writing are important. Memorizing historical dates, figures and events is pointless. that time should be used to teach children how to problem solve. The biggest thing I learned outside of school was problem solving. You will never be asked to identify Lincoln's vice president at work, however you will be asked to problem solve constantly.

I could go on and on, but just know that my kids are going to private school and my goal is to have created my own school by the time they are old enough to go.

David,
I do not hate testing. Far from it.
I hate what testing has become:
It has become a monster that has overtaken schools. We have become a nation of test takers (students) and test givers (teachers). (See the note above from RC as an example.) We have stopped teaching problem solving and are teaching test taking skills instead. Who would you rather hire for your business, a student that can problem solve or that can pass a multiple choice test? The exact same businesses that complain that they can't find a single good worker are the exact same people that complain that there should be more testing, not realizing that the amount of testing is the problem. Tim Collins is correct above.

If "the tests" were truly a measure of what a student knows and what a teacher taught, then by all means they would be a good thing. But they are not. They are a snapshot of a kid on a single day in a single class in a single hour. Would you like your entire career and future based on a single randomly selected client's survey of how you did? Maybe, but maybe not.(Don't dismiss Ravitch's book above simply because the thesis of it is opposite of what you think. You really should read it.)

You have to have a test that is truly a measure of what you want it to measure, which most are not. If you think that they are, you are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

In all of those countries that you mention like Finland, Japan, Togo (believe me, I am very familiar with these tests)...the group of students tested is either a homogenous group (all of a single cultural or ethnic group), or the children of the countries elite. Do you really think that China tests EVERY SINGLE STUDENT IN CHINA? Really. Do you really think that Saudi Arabia tests the kids of nomadic tribesmen? No. They test the kids in their schools, who happen to be the children of the elite class. India? Really? Do they test the Slumdogs? No they don't.
There is no possible way. They test their best and brightest whose parents have the money to get them to a school.

We test everyone. Even our special ed students. Do they test their special ed students in Finland? In Togo? Do they even have Special ed in Togo? Bring on the comparisons, but make sure that the apples are compared to apples.
(As an aside, I once saw a Texas science test for elementary students that had a picture of buoy that asked the students "What is this used for?" Now you tell me, how many 4th grade kids from the southside of El Paso would know what the answer to that would be? Yet that was the kind of question on the test. Real fair.)

We often hear that the US education system is broken, a favorite refrain of the right wingers that want to send their kids to private schools and hate the idea that they have to pay their tax dollars to send some brown, black, or retarded kid to school (see dk Flint's first response). But I never REALLY hear what exactly is broken. Yes, we have problems with 4 year graduation rates, yes we have problems with some things, but we are one of the few countries in the world that actually tries to educate every single child, black, brown, white broken or not.

So when you make the claim that those other countries "whoops our ass" on a single test, ask yourself this question:
What country do they send their kids to for post secondary education? What country do they send their kings to for heart surgery? The answer is that very country that the education system sucks so badly in.

Tim,

I don't believe that "teaching to the test" is a bad thing. If you're being tested on spelling, the teacher is going to teach the kids how to spell, which is "teaching to the test." Why would they teach things not on the test? We don't care if they know how to knit, we want to know how they do in core subject, which the test... tests.

Am I making since/sense/cents? Without a test, I'd never have learned the difference between all those.

David, let me ask you this:

When you took that spelling test when you you were but a lad, and you did not pass it, did your parents and/or legal gaurdians blame you or your teacher?

If you brought home a bad report card (theoretically of course, I am sure all your performances were stellar) did your parents look at it and say "Well little David, it looks like your teacher did a bad job. They didn't teach you anything.It isn't your fault. The system is to blame. We spend too much on education and all we get is a kid that can't spell. Stupid teachers." I doubt it.

I know that if I brought home a crappy grade, I got a spanking or sent to my room. My parents NEVER blamed the school, the teacher, the Superintendent, the principal...it was MY FAULT that I didn't do well.

So what has changed?

You guys that are always pining for the olden days of education should put up or shut up: In the old days, the burden was on the kid to learn. Okay so is the teacher to blame when learning does not happen or is the student to blame?

Think back as a kid...who was to blame? You or the teacher?

Now, today, who is to blame when learning does not take place?

Why has that changed?

I know that this will not change any minds here, but this is a link to a document that shows how every penny of every dollar spent on education is divided in Texas:

http://fotps.org/htdocs/TrackingTheEducationDollar-released%202011.pdf

Tim,

As for question about who my parents blamed... well, I was a very special case. I got mine everytime the teacher called even if she was calling to say I was suprisingly well behaved that day (yes, teachers literally called my house niightly). I was always at fault.

But... my parents later realized that the teachers didn't cause my behavior, but the enabled it. A close examination of my history showed that some teachers were worse than others. "Good" teachers had no problems with me. "Bad" teachers had problems with me. My grades went up with good teachers and down with bad.

David,

You touched on a good point in your last comment. You cannot buy a teacher who takes the time to establish a good relationship with the kids/young adults in the classroom. A good relationship is one based on mutual respect, clear rules, and meaningful rewards and consequences.

Something to add as someone who is a product of both public and private schools. Private schools aren't that great. I went to Cathedral for 2 years and left for my junior year to a public high school. I soon realized Cathedral had no academic superiority over any of these other high schools. The only superiority Cathedral had was the parents in that they either easily had the means to send their kids to college or that they were very successful, driven people that passed that on to their children, or a combination of both and this is what made the average Cathedral student so superior, not the academics. Especially when the curriculum was completely identical to that of a public school not too mention that part of our day was wasted with a completely useless class forced on us, Religion.

Now understand, I'm not knocking that the parents were driven and successful, since I believe this is a good thing and a big part of what makes Cathedral successful, I just want to disspell the notion that the private school offers some vastly superior academics as this is hardly the case as I witnessed. And if anything, one thing public school was far superior at was installing skills to better prepare you for college life and real world life, where as private school really only prepared you for college life...from my humble perspective anyways.

During DavidK's entire K-12 years in school not once was he ever taught how to diagram a sentence. I know most people think its stupid but its fundamental to sentence structure, reading, writing, etc. I asked at Morehead School why David's 8th grade English/Grammer teacher wouldn't teach diagramming. I was told by another teacher that "she doesn't understand how it works, so she doesn't teach it". I was appalled when David was in grade school that the english/grammar/spelling books were absolutely useless compared to what I had in school. I would read those books and try to help David with homework and they made no sense. It seems that in the 80s all the basics of reading, writing and math were thrown out and a "new age" came in that dumbed down the lessons. David is right - he excelled in classes with "good teachers" and was a pain in the butt and barely passed when the teacher was "bad". His K-12 years I spent more time in the principal's office and teacher conferences than I care to count. By the time High School came around I became thoroughly convinced that 1 out of 10 teachers actually had a clue and actually cared. The rest couldn't manage their way out of paper bag and those teachers need to only teach extremely intelligent, quiet, shy unimaginitive students - because those teachers can't discipline and can't control a classroom. I would beg the school to put David in In-house suspension because then he would behave and he would get all his work done and make good grades - because there were no distractions. But the teacher would beg to keep him in the classroom because as they said "he is the only one that understands what I am trying to teach" - now that was sad. I always backed up the teacher/principal but by the time junior high and high school rolled around I figured out some teachers just don't belong in the classroom - they can't lead, discipline or teach. David's last year at Coronado he decided to "collect referrals". He got 34 referrals (I still have them all). Not once did he get called into the principal's office, not once did he get suspended, disciplined - nothing. Then I was told - he plays varsity baseball - nothing is going to happen to him. After graduation his English teacher confirmed that he was on a mission to collect referrals and she purposely would not give him one no matter how bad he behaved. So - is it the kids - or is the system?

Yet Mom stayed silent the entire time...
See, parental apathy is part of the problem.

It all makes sense,

I don't think that's what she said.

David,

You have a point. However we will never see real education reform until some laws are changed. Yes merit pay is important and yes tenure is an issue however that is just the beginning. Unless public schools have the power to act and behave like private schools there will be no change.
This would require amending FAPE, FERPA and gutting the bulk of the feel good education legislation from the 70's.

The fact is that a teacher cannot instill an appreciation for education in the 40 minutes a day they see a child if their parent's do not have a respect for education. Allowing (and in my opinion, encouraging) your child to accumulate referrals as some sort of game shows an absolute disrespect for the teachers themselves. If you had no respect for his teachers then how was he going to???

Children spend only 7 hours of their day at school (and that includes lunch). That leaves 17 hours under the supervision of their parents. Where do you think the greatest influence is???

I can only hope David has greater aspirations for his daughter than he had for himself.

the way i judged teachers was how well i was prepared for classes in college due to them. i remember i was way ahead in math, physics, and chemistry than the other kids, but my biology class was a whole new world. my biology teacher in high school only cared about the science fair and how well we placed than teaching biology. i dont know if there is a way, but having past students come back and review their teachers would be a good method of telling you which ones did their jobs and which ones need to go.
the english paper i wrote in high school i made a c plus. i used that same paper again in my private college and made a B. later when i transferred to utep i loaned it to my mexican girlfriend who could barely speak english. she made an A with it at utep and i got laid. so i guess you could say i had a pretty good english teacher in high school too.

No I never stayed silent when it came to dealing with school officials/teachers and my son. I spent countless hours dealing with those issues. David spent a great deal of time grounded from "fun" and especially driving when he got in trouble at school. The best program that kept him from flunking was the "no pass no play". He wanted to play sports so he made sure his grades didn't fall below a C at any time. Believe me - what's out there for teachers today is not even close to what I had growing up. We had respect for teachers. I recall David's speech teacher in 12th grade at Coronado. She wanted to meet with me. She arrived in a pony tail, no makeup, faded jeans, a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt on and tennis shoes. I had no clue she was a teacher - and you want me to respect you when you don't even care enough to try to present yourself as something more than "just another student". I don't know if she was experiencing a desire to retain her "youthful looks" or just trying to be "the kids best friend". Listening to her she did a great job of convincing me she had no clue how to handle a classroom and David was the band leader - because she's didn't know how to conduct the band. So - I was never silent, never apathetical - but always suspicious of the system and the motives. I learned it is all political when it comes to educating the children and the sacred cows were the best athletes, the kid whose mom was PTA president, etc. I could go on and on.

"He wanted to play sports so he made sure his grades didn't fall below a C at any time"

I really dont want to sound harsh here, but from what you're saying is either he wasn't intelligent enough to score good grades or he did just the bare minimum that would allow him to continue playing. So while you are stating that you yourself were not apathetic, apathy seems to certainly be something he consistently demonstrated from the picture you are painting. To blame this on his teachers would quite frankly just be a cop out.


Were the teachers to blame for his DWI? Parents? Nobody?

RC,

Not to toot my own horn here, but I figured out in 8th grade that if you did zero homework and got an "A" on every test you would average out at a "C."

I paid attention when they explained how they "weighted" our grades and applied the math the schools taught me to figure out the path of least resistance. It's not my fault that their system is flawed.

I was able to get away with that scheme and 100 others because the teachers were disengaged clock watchers. My parents spent lots of time and money trying to figure out what was wrong with me. In the end, an industrious kid (me) figured out that the State of Texas was going to "educate" me whether I was a good kid or a bad kid for eight a day, five days a week. I chose the fun route and then put it into over-drive.

My parents found out along the way that most of my teaches were morons and easily manipulated by a barely pubescent shithead. The good teachers figured out how to handle this shithead and never had a problem with me. Unfortunately there were very few good teachers.

Don't say my mom and dad didn't care about my education - they did. I got an belt across the ass every singe time the phone rang and my mom said "what did he do today." Sometimes the answer to that question was "nothing, he behaved" - I still got an ass whooping anyway.

Lazy teachers created our problem and they continue to carry on their tradition of doing the minimum for what they describe as "short pay." Funny how they get real enthusiastic about their job when people start talking about cutting their pay, or position.

As for my DWI - that was all me and I have admitted that it was all me a million times.

It looks like I better throw my enormous brain into the mix before this completely spirals out of control. So, here it goes: Am I the only one who wonders why we don't teach the kiddies stuff that they are truly going to need to know despite the fact that we have the most costly educational system in the world?

Ok, here's what I'm getting at. Since these little monsters are going to spend 13 years (k-12) in school why not have a technology class? Teach them EVERYTHING about PCs, the net, i-phones, digital cams, i-pads, the smart way of buying/selling over the net, etc. It may take 3-5 years to teach and keep up with modern technology but so what? Kids love high-tech stuff anyways.

Real estate- teach the utes what to expect when buying/selling a home, tips on what to look for before signing an apartment lease. Same thing with automobiles-how to not get snookered when buying from a new/used dealer. How to get the most value when selling your vehicle.

Job interviews, creating a monthly budget, nutrition, etc. Some of these classes will take a few years and some will take a very short amount of time, but so what? We could call this institution the "Real Life Jr. and Sr. High School."

Now if you'll excuse me, The King is going to reward himself with ANOTHER bowl of ice-cream.


On the DWI,

Do you think mom and dad created a sense of entitlement and that had something to do with your decision? Or do mom and dad get a pass, yet when it comes to school its the teachers fault?

On the lack of success in the classroom,

Do you think that you had any personal responsibilty in your education? Where is that pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentality? You have some teachers who didnt "do it" for you. Guess what? That is life. Same goes for bosses and jobs. I doubt you would know considering your sheltered life.

On the fact you work for mom and dad,

Do you think your sense of entitlement has made it nearly impossible for you to hold a real job?
Working for someone else who has ties to mom and dad doesnt count as a real job, sport.

David,

Wow..just imagine what you could have become if you had applied yourself and your parents hadn't thought that the only way to make you understand was to beat you.

Instead of just writing about the laws, you could have been making them.

Instead of complaining about how stupid the people in El Paso are, you could have made a difference changed our society and city for the better.

Instead, you complain. And you blog about how everyone is dumber than you are.

No doubt many of El Paso's ills are all because of that speech teacher's pony tail.

If you had applied yourself, and perhaps if your mother was a bit more worried about your future and less about how hot the speech teacher was, maybe you could have made a difference. Maybe, instead of a blog read by hundreds, you could have written books read by millions, or, if you had paid little attention in that speech class, you could have been writing speeches for all those 'publicans you love so much.

curious, im not a david fan but im gonna tell you that everyone who post here could probably have received a dwi at least one time or another if they were pulled over. most of the time it comes down to bad luck(like a road block) or liquor makes you think your richard petty which usually those types will have more than 1 or their licenses revoked(not david). im a paranoid driver when i know im on the border line and have never had a dwi, but still i believe i am one of the lucky ones who has gotten away with it. im sure there are many others.

(:p) i agree with why dont schools teach real life courses. my father took physics and calculus as electives in college and law school, but to this day he told me the best course he ever took was the "dale carnegie" course he took after college. maybe all males should have to take at least 1 home economic class and learn to cook. my kids need me to fix their computers. why isnt there a computer class that starts them from scratch. building a computer, formatting the drive, learning dos(just so they know), installing video cards and other cards, networking, and more ?

how about a dale carnegie course in high school. if past students would've had that course maybe most everyone wouldnt be in credit card debt up to their ass.

Hmmm,

paying attention in sophomore speech class isn't the key to being successful in life - believe me.

I appreciate your woulda, coulda, shoulda speech, but it's lost on me. I'm only 32 years old. So far I've managed to marry the best woman on the planet and have a beautiful daughter -that's pretty damn good in my book. If I didn't have those two, I'd have nothing. I have tried to change El Paso - I ran for office. And that says a lot since you're too scared to even use your real name on a crappy blog, much less put it on a ballot and defend your ideas in a public forum.

And I don't blog saying evreryone is dumber than me - just those people who post on my blog are dumb. You guys are a special brand of stupid that is only found here in El Paso.

Curious,

Your name should have been "ignorant." I just fits you better.

I've spent more time working for people my parents have never met than working for my parents. Nice try. There's nothing wrong with working for the family business, anyhow.

What sense of entitlement? Are you hallucinating? Nobody has said anything about that.

It's a little early to be drinking a commenting, but hey - that's the quality of reader I attract. My bad.

I feel good knowing that you'd have literally nothing to do if you weren't make poorly informed statements about my life from a fake name. Don't use "boot straps" when you're hiding your identity because you're too embarrassed to stand behind your thoughts. What would you do without this blog you hate so much? My wife swears that my biggest success has been turning all of you into junkies... In a weird ways she's right.

I accept your jealousy of my efforts in life as a compliment. I didn't see it before, but I see it now - you like me so much that you hate me. it's childish... but it's at least something.

But David, do you not see your own hypocrisy? You "toot your own horn" and brag about how, even though you could have done better if you had applied yourself, you chose a path of mediocrity and least resistance. You even admit that your parents were forced to "spend lots of time and money".

So the hypocrisy lies in the fact that you embody all that you complain about in your blog. You not only embrace, but boast about a life of being a financial drain and nuisance merely for no other reason than you could be. It'd be even worse if you ended up having to use student grants or aid to help you pay for college since a mediocre student is not about to have a scholarship thrown at him.

You continue to say that lazy teachers created our problems, but state that your parents did everything they could think of to try and figure out what was wrong with you. Well if your parents couldn't break through to you then its not really fair to expect a teacher to be able to, not to mention the fact that your parents only had you they had to try and fix.

So I would add that maybe perhaps your future lies not in local politics, but national politics. Because your level of hypocrisy is a special brand of stupid that is only found in D.C. Now write something new damnit, this junkie needs his fix!

RC,

Youthful idiocy isn't the same as being an adult liberal. And there were about five teachers who got it right.

Youthful idiocy would have been a valid argument, had you you not proudly boasted about your exploits at 32. But this brings me back to hypocrisy, you suggest that 5 teachers got it right while countless others got it wrong. Perhaps these countless others saw in you, your disinterest and apathy and felt their time was better spent on those that cared. Kinda like..ummm..well..why does the government continue to waste resources on those that are unwilling to help themselves.


Down goes David K! Down goes David K! Down goes David K!

RC is the new heavyweight champion of the world!

RC, YOU DA MAN.

RC,

I was a funny kid and I don't mind at all bragging about my exploits. I was nothing short of legendary in my day. It waS youthful idiocy, but I was in my youth. The same behavior isn't okay for an adult. I made that clear, but not clear enough you. I will use smaller words and pictures in the future.

As for the bad teachers - wrong again. The five good teachers had entire classes that benefitted. The bad ones were bad all the time to everyone. And believe me, I was their focus every minute of class.

Also, as people are pointing out via email to me, you don't know what the word "hyopcrisy" means. You are using it to say that I am "mistaken" in my conclusion. Maybe the teachers let you down too?!?! Don't worry people make your mistake with the concepts of ironic and coincidence all the time. Public education... whatya gonna do?

And... your anology doesn't work. You say the teachers focused on the non apathetic students. And then you compare them to a government that is focused on apathetic people. You see how you got that wrong? Those teachers didn't teach you how to properly form anologies i.e. yellow is to the sun as blue is to the sky. Your two fans also had teachers who failed them because they failed to catch your bad logic.

Anything else you need me to correct you on?


Amazing, you still don't see?

You were/are upset that the teachers didn't do more for poor little David. You do/have advocated for the government to do less for poor little poor people...aka bootstraps.

Incredible

Ahh David, David..

Well, its quite lovely that you not only have your mother help with your battles, but your ministry..err..I mean e- mailers as well. But I don't really see my statements going anywhere towards whether or not your overall argument is correct or incorrect, but rather that(and let me dumb this down for you since it was in fact YOU that went to public school)you don't practice what you preach.

You also overlooked another key point because you were more interested in attacking what you perceived was an analogy rather than the point that was being made. Which takes us once again back to the word of the day "hypocrisy". Being your inconsistency between what you claim to believe and what you actually display.

You incorrectly viewed this lesson for you as a response to whether your arguments are right or wrong, mainly because you decided to go into defense mode. When it was in fact a lesson on, now children say it together, "Practice what you preach"

You continue to say that this was merely youthful idiocy, but in the same breath you regard this behavior as "funny" and "legendary". This same behavior that you consistently advocate against in your blogs. So it just makes me wonder, are you this inconsistent on all your arguments? Should you be taken seriously? Although you'll probably argue that its neither your concern or objective as to whether or not we take you seriously because we are all a bunch of stupid El Pasoans wasting our life on this worthless little blog yada..yada..yada.

Now please, bring on the condescension before you blow an o-ring.

Howard Cosell,

I hate having to explain things to a dead man, but here we go.

Teachers are PAID to help people. Expecting them to do their job is inherent in that whole "pay in exchange for work" agreement we came up with several thousand years ago. Teachers now bitch about any means being used to assess how their keeping up with their part of the "pay in exchange for work" agreement.

The government has not been set up to "take care of the sick and poor." There is no relation to the teaching situation. It's a moronic anology and I can't believe you're trying to defend it.

Buy hey, this comment section has been over-populated with morons, so I guess you feel right at home and are letting it all hang out.

AND REMEMBER - MY PREMISE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME! I explained the problem in the original post quite clearly. If you can't speak to that, go bother someone else with your dislike of me. Nobody here cares to hear it.

howard, i guess if you and rc dont like david then he doesnt want you to post on his blog. he wants his posters to agree with him or if you dont he calls you a "moron". as far as being a legend at coronado ive never heard a thing about david and my kids went there too. maybe david is a "legend in his own mind" ? or maybe a legend in mom's mind. howard, both you and rc make good points. you have to remember david is only 32. one day he will grow up and realize that most of our problems are caused by decisions we make and not some teacher.

add another moron to the mix.

what kind of idiot brags about his wealth on a blog?

Guess who needs to grow up...

See the newest post. Disagree - fine. Attack me and do a bad job of it - only makes you look bad.

If I didn't want people to disagree with me, I'd simply erase their comments. I guess you didn't think about that before you commented...

RC,

Please show me where I have railed against talking in class out of turn and playing practical jokes in high school.

In order to prove your hypocrisy theory, you're going to have to put up the time and date of the post where I said being bad in school is wrong.

Don't waste your time. I've never have preached against having fun when you're a kid. Where you got that is beyond me.

Maybe you could show me where I preach about how you should act in school. That would be a good place to start. Then find where I say we should all shut up and be good little sheep.

You can't save the point you couldn't make five comments ago by trying to re-invent your argument here now.

Your defense mechanism needs you to admit when you are wrong and move on. Why are you pushing an issue you can't back up? Curl into a little ball and admit you're wrong. It won't hurt for more than a minute.

I'll wait to see what you come up with in the way of your "practice what you preach" argument that you're not making so well. I can't wait for this.

RC you are a bore. Sounds reasonable that you got a lousy education at Cathedral. Everyone knows the best Catholic boys high school was Jesuit and unfortunately it closed. The who's who of El Paso went to Jesuit - not Cathedral.

David,

Its funny that you accuse me of trying to re-invent the argument when you are here trying to divert it. So let me try this again.

What was revealed to us, accidentally I assume, is that you were the very thing that you often condem(making you..ahem..a hypocrite). When you were called out on this you decided to offer up the excuse that it was youthful idiocy which is actually a very good excuse I must say. But instead of leaving it at that, within the same breath you proudly boasted about your youthful idiocy which quite frankly negated it as a credible excuse and turned it more into a cop out.

Now you are trying to magically transform the argument into that you never said what you did was wrong so therefore its not hypocrisy. But now all you've done is state that you now condone being a waste of resources(financial, educational, etc..) making you now into a truly conscious hypocrite. So please, for the love of god man, quit while you are behind.

RC,

I gave you an easy way to prove your claim and you refused to doo it... why? Because you can't. Just needed you to reference one of the few thousand blog posts on here and you couldn't do it.

Who said I was a waste of resources? My parents spent money on me and my education and I'm now a pretty damn succesful guy. I have never faulted anyone for excercising free will with their own money. I have exaulted the practice of taking money from people against their will (taxes) and giving it to the losers in life free of charge. There's a big difference between my parents being willing to spend the dough on me and being forced to spend it on a stranger. Your pea-sized liberal brain doesn't understand that concept, so I will give you a pass.

A little reading comprehensin would have saved you lots of time and the ultimate embarrassment of being flat wrong. You say you are addicted to this blog, but yet it seems you don't even read it.

But David, why should I waste time researching your blog when my point was in reference and evidenced by statements made in THIS comment section. Perhaps a little less time with the practical jokes are more time paying attention would have worked wonders on your cognitive skills.

And look at you now, not only are you guilty of 1)not understanding the argument 2)diverting the argument, but now 3)being inconsistent as to what your argument even is. First, you try to use youthful idiocy as your argument to being a waste of resources..now you've decided to run with arguing that you never were a waste of resources. Pick a horse and run with it.

But it is nice for you to give us a new revelation of your inner way of thinking. That being your belief that it is acceptable to embrace mediocrity and apathy as long as at some point you have well-off parents there to bail you out.

Now lets see what you have to say and please make it as insulting as possible. All this attention I'm getting from you is making me feel like I am the actual blogger here.

Serious question. With all the hand wringing about the performance of our students in public schools and cuts to funding, why is it parochial schools with far less funds and bells and whistles seem to succeed? What is the "winning" difference?


From my own experience (God bless my parents they found a way to send me to Catholic Schools, which I could not do for my own kids), we had no high tech equipment, a laughable library, no science lab (computers did not exist, and calculator...s were ver botten), and yet I honestly think my education was heads and shoulders above what my kids received having all those things and in fairly impressive buildings. Why can't the public schools get the same results? To my knowledge parochial school teachers are even paid less and have fewer benefits - so what is the difference? These are after all statistically the same kids

Tim Collins,

I will address your great question in a separate post.


Parental involvement.

Parental involvement can't be the only answer. My kids all went (or go) to public schools. We were involved (not hovering) parents, yet honestly I think their education still left much to be desired despite the fact the two oldest went on to be accepted to College and the oldest to law school.

There has to be more to it than parental involvement

RC,

Who was mediocre? I wasn't. That's where your argument is wrong. I did zero homework and aced every single test - that's not mediocrity, that's living efficiently. I tested out of college english completely. I also paid for the last two years of college out of my own pocket... just so you know.

I would like to relent here and make you feel good about yourself, but you are wrong. So wrong in fact that you'll do anything to try and ware me down so you can regain some self-confidence. Sorry, you haven't proved anything other than you like to invent facts to bolster your weak argument.

Start over and find my words to prove your hypocrisy theory. Find where I write that I "embrace mediocrity". And quote that to me. Then you can have one part of your argument verified.

You can't. But I will be around to shoot down your next attempt to save yourself.

And let's face it, if you knew you were right, you wouldn't even have had to post a single word in response. Peole confident in their premise don't spend ages trying to prove it. The burden is on you and you can't step up. When making an accusation, get your facts right first... prererably verifiable facts, not stuff you invent in your head to rectify whatever personal slight I dealt to you in the past. It is just not intellectualy honest to operate like that.

Be at peace with your dislike of how I'm right and you are wrong. Acceptance can set you free. Now go fly like a bird... into the side of a glass building.

RC,

You used "cognitive skills" incorrectly. Those don't apply here unless you are referring to ability to communicate and the "cognitive dissonance" that your rants are filled with.

Get a dictionary and look up these big words before using them in public.


Ability to cull the student body?

Public schools have to take all. Private do not.

I know for a fact of teachers calling a home and explaining that little David is disruptive and not paying attention. Response of parent? (explitives)

You think that goes on in private school?

Answer to tim,

Does it go on in private schools? To a much higher degree! You don't know much about private schools, do you?


I have had lots of experience with public and private schools. My kids who are in college now had public and private school growing up. My experience tells me that with private school you are paying for environment. That's it. The teachers and resources in public school are, on the whole, far better. The discipline, morality and competitive environment of a private school are far better. If I had the money to send my kids back east to a private boarding school they could have had both. My resources only allowed me to have one or the other. My choice was to mix it up with each kid getting a dose of both systems.

David, let me try and dumb this down for you and put it as simply as it can possibly be put. You were content with being a "C" student even though you'll have us believe that you were capable of better grades had you only done your homework..therefore..you embraced mediocrity. Why rely on a direct quote when you already painted the picture for us.

You are also now stating that I am wrong and then offer a list of your accomplishments ("did zero homework" "tested out of college english" la la la) as proof that I am wrong, but you missed something. What you missed is that I never said you were mediocre. I said you were a waste of resources, but I never said you were mediocre. I said that you "EMBRACED mediocrity" or welcomed it(in case you cant fully grasp what is meant when using the word embraced). Much like the man who is capable enough to get a job, but instead decides he much rather just stay on unemployment as long as he can. Get where I am going here? No of course you don't.

Now you are trying to say I am wrong because I am responding to you? Really? What kind of childish argument is this? Its almost as ridiculous as your "Advice Column" post which is basically a long bitchfest about if you guys aren't nice to me I'm gonna take my ball and go home. All any of this is showing us is that you actually ARE what we all suspected you are. A very sheltered boy. As soon as you saw that people who read this blog might be realizing who you really are you felt it necessary to post a novel about how you are always going to win no matter what you say because you created this world and have therefore deemed yourself incapable of error and ignorance. So I'm sorry if I made you all butt hurt. Please drop the poo poo face. And carry on, because while you may think you are the king of the castle, most of us just see you as the village idiot.

P.S.
Being that cognitive skills are the brain's skills to be able to think, remember and learn..I'd say it was used correctly. You should call me out now on the incorrect use of the comma, because that I certainly know I am guilty of.

RC,

I was going to read your post... and then I just didn't. I moved on, you should too. You're arguing with a stranger (and not doing it so well) on the internet. Time to go take a walk and get some fresh air.

Ban yourself from the blog for a week. You'll feel better. Read my advice column if you need further instruction on blog comments. It was such good post, nobody commented.

Thank you for relenting. Shame you didn't read the post though, it actually mentioned your advice column post.

I just hope you take your own advice, being that you created and maintain a blog to argue on the internet.. with strangers..and not do it very well. I would suggest that if you have such a distate for people being critical of your thoughts you either not have an open comments section or develop thicker skin.

By the way, we'll just keep it between us, but we both know you read my post *wink wink*

RC,

You're welcome

Also, I'm not arguing on the internet. I'm posting my thoughts. You don't have to read them. You have to have a captive audience to argue. I have no such audience.

What I'm doing with you is humoring you and helping you with your self-esteem. The longer you're wrong, the more you get comfortable with with it. You look very comfortable.

Thanks for playing, now move on to the new posts so that you can continue with your childish fixation on everything David K.

And please don't start a fan club for me. I hate making appearances.

So much for relenting, but I knew you couldn't help yourself. I was surprised that disproving your arguments would be so easy, who'd a thought manipulating you could be even easier.

RC,

yep, people think you're a real "manipulator." Remember who attracted you here in the first place. Are you not being manipulated into continuing to embarrass yourself? I think so...

Nice try.

I await your next comment.

But I'm an anonymous comment David, all my arguments according to you does not carry any weight. Yet you cannot help yourself from continuing to engage it. Even when you say you quit, you don't quit.

Though you would never admit it, I'm betting that this comment section has now become the first and last thing you read everyday. So let me just say that I really appreciate your visits to my blog within your blog. And please, come again.

RC,

The miracle of technology that is this blog platform sends me an email every time someone posts a comment.

So it's pretty easy to see when you're at it again.

The difference - I have to be here several times a day, it's my blog. You don't, but you drop by anyway. You're driving by my house, not the other way around. Read my post on blog commenting advice.

See you in a few hours.

And thank you for visiting again David. David, not only am I driving by your house, but it would seem that I am now sleeping in the guest bedroom. It's nice here, think I'll stay awhile.

You got mail!

The comments to this entry are closed.