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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Last week, 35 former Atlanta educators were forced to take a perp walk, reporting to law enforcement authorities for arrest in connection with the nation’s biggest (so far) academic scandal. It was a disturbing spectacle. Once among the pillars of metro Atlanta’s middle class, they’ve been reduced to pleading that they don’t belong in jail.

And that may be true. The charges of a widespread conspiracy to cheat may represent the ambitions of a local prosecutor rather than any top-down plot carried out by a confederacy of criminals. But I don’t waste sympathy on the defendants: They deserve the ignominy of association with thugs.

I’m reserving my pity for the students in Atlanta’s public schools. They’re the victims of this massive fraud, the helpless pawns of adults who callously overlooked the needs of their charges and focused on preserving their careers.

Unfortunately, that’s been a recurrent theme in 40 years of school-reform efforts across the country. Whether represented by unions or organized as a powerful voting bloc or both, public school educators have put their paychecks front and center, discounting the needs of their students. Even good teachers — dedicated, hard-working and inspiring ones — have rallied to protect their peers, some of whom don’t deserve their support.

Atlanta’s scandal has reinforced long-standing criticisms of widespread testing in schools, a strategy that was exalted by George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. The critics are right: The overdependence on standardized tests has calcified instruction, failed students and encouraged fraud. Educators in poor neighborhoods, where students are more likely to score poorly, are singled out for official reproach.

Conversely, teachers, principals and superintendents who show miraculous results — turning failing students into suddenly brilliant ones — are showered with praise, promotions and, frequently, money. It’s no wonder, then, that some Atlanta teachers had after-school “parties” where they erased students’ answers and replaced them with the correct ones.

While Atlanta may have the best-documented case of test-related fraud, it’s by no means the only one. In an exhaustive investigation published last year, USA Today found evidence of fraudulent test scores in six states and Washington, DC. Even the vaunted Michelle Rhee, who led a reform effort in Washington, has been implicated, accused of turning a blind eye to suspicious test results.

But for all the problems associated with No Child Left Behind, Bush deserves credit for this much: He recognized the failures of public schools that are not doing very much to educate children from less-affluent homes. He described a culture freighted with “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” a phrase that still rings true.

  • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

    Considering that lots of AMERICANS have been left behind, who cares?

    • WhutHeSaid

      I care.

      • idamag

        Yes, Whut, I care also. An illiterate nation is a weak nation. We should care enough about this country to want it to have the best educated people. Instead, we expect teachers (who are far more important to society than lawyers and football players) to work for poor wages and take anything thrown at them.

    • Everyone should care. The long range results spell catastrophe for our nation if the current trends continue.

      • idamag

        Harry, you actually get the picture.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        I agree, everyone should care.

        However, it does little good when most people would rather serve their own self-serving greedy nature, than the public good.

        It is also a matter to what degree one cares as well. For example, it’s one thing to give lip service to believing America First, but how fast that tune changes when someone goes to WallMart, which sells 90% Communist-Made imported products. Or a Union Man fighting tooth and nail to keep his union intact, but next thing you know, he’s shopping at Wallmart.

        There are unlimited amounts of examples where people give lit-service to many causes and concerns, but don’t carry it out themselves.

        I try my best, but it is getting extremely frustrating.

  • OwnDog

    Look Standardize tests are not new. ACT’s & SAT’s have been around for generations. These teasts have demonstrated student potential capabilities for millions of future college students, across state lines from New York to Hawaii.

    The current outrage about testing is not really about tests, it’s about the disemination of these “standaredized” test results comparing various state or local standards (4th grade reading in Virginia may not equlal 4th grade reading in Texas).

    States like Michigan continously tinker with requirements for graduation. Test result conclusions are like hitting moving targets from year to year. Yet ACT & SAT standards remain fairly stable across the country.

    So is it the testing that is the trouble or is it the clumsy reporting & erratic review of jumbled standards that cause so much concern?

    • idamag

      There are school teachers in my family. They tell me that preparing students to pass tests is not teaching. The no child left behind program withholds money from schools whose students don’t pass the tests.

      • OwnDog

        Congratulations on having family in the education field. I’ve long said most teachers are underappreciated and often unerpaid and in some cases working in very difficult situations.

        However the fact still remains that most college bound students have in the past & present & into the forseeable future still take standardized ACT & SAT tests to help gain access to higher education.

        So back to my original conclusion “So is it the testing that is the trouble or is it the clumsy reporting
        & erratic review of jumbled standards that cause so much concern?”

        • idamag

          Sat tests and college entrance exams are different from the entire curriculum being geared for test taking.

          • OwnDog

            Are they truly different or are they just used differently? Are they really different from any other test a student takes today. a midterm or year end Final or are the percieved as having some higher function?

            I assumed they were tests to evaluate the level of knowledge a student has ascertained and to demonstrate a level of knowledge and skills that allow them to move forward in thier pursuit of higher education.

            Over the years I have discussed this with many Teachers, Principles and Superintendants who look at the scores of thier graduating students and listened as they discussed the fact that low ACT and or SAT scores demonstrated a percieved weakness in thier cirriculum. It seemed to concern them that thier students appeared to be less equipped to advance in higher education.

            No test is a final statement of a students capabilities but, tests in conjunction with other (?) evaluations should be used as a guide to evaluate how good a job we all do in educating our children. That includes Adminidtrators, Teachers and most importantly, Parents. Testing provides a basis of discussion for those three groups to have a common grounds discussion.

            Evaluating and discussing without a benchmark that demonstrates continuous improvement? Please explain how to do that without some form of testing.

            In that context ACts and SATs are just one more test to further that discussion.

          • idamag

            If I remember the arguments for the “no child left behind” program, the testing to test the teacher. There is a tacit accusation that if students fail it is the teacher’s fault.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            It certainly can be the teachers fault, IF the teacher is a BAD teacher. And, there are bad teachers in these school systems which should be weeded out.

            Here is where the Teachers Union has too much power. Other than committing murder, its nearly impossible to get rid of a bad teacher.

        • plc97477

          Testing becomes the problem when it is used to hurt the schools which is what is happening with “no child left behind”. No one has to take the act or the sat unless they plan on furthering their education beyond high school and when they do, the scores are not used to keep schools from getting what they need to teach.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            A school should be harmed a lot if these scores are too low. WE have no other way of guaging how a school is doing on a national level.

            And, yes, kids today are expected to go to college. If not, stats show, they’ll always be poor with the high probability of jail, drug use, abuse, you name it.

            But, this is ALL corporate driven as well.

      • whodatbob

        I also have teachers in my family, including my wife and three of my children. They tell me the same thing, teaching to the test is not education the students. But what would you expect from W?

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          But, I bet a life’s wages, their biggest complaint and problem(s) are parents themselves.

          Their hands are tied in many ways. If they do their jobs correctly, they’re screwed. If they don’t do their jobs, they’re screwed.

          Somewhere down the line, a parent somewhere is going to complain one way or the other. Teachers, overall, are in a no-win situation.

          Teachers today, should be paid a lot more than they are and given a lot more authority then they have, IF they do their jobs correctly.

          I couldn’t do their jobs. I simply don’t have the patience. It is an honorable and noble profession. But, not here in the US. In many other parts of the world, teaching is very different and it shows in the public respect they have for their teachers, professors, etc.

          • idamag

            Most other countries place a high value on education and teachers are treated with respect.

          • whodatbob

            Not here!

          • whodatbob

            Many moons age a student got in trouble grades or behavior. in school he was in thouble at home. about 45 to 50 years ago it became the theachers fault that a student was having trouble in school “my child would not do that,” “why is that teacher not teaching my child” etc. Next came social promotions, it hurts the child emotionally to fail a grade.
            It is not just the parents, though they are a large part of the problem, blame can be spread to most segments of society

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I agree.

            But, the final arbiter of every single problem involving children is the Parent.

            We can gloss it over by claiming this or that social problem is effecting a child’s behavior. Nonsense. The way you raise your children at home is the exact way that child will behave in school and out in the public at large.

            The Teachers Job is to teach and educate as they are trained to do. They are not psychologist, therapist or counselors. Yet, more often than not, Parents want these teaches to do exactly that, raise their children and do the job of the Parent…………..

            That’s why, these teachers are in a horrible no-win situation.

          • whodatbob

            I agree the parents are the final arbiter or should be for all problems involving their child. But some parents are clueless about what is happening in school and care less.

            Public Schools in the upper and upper middle class suban school districts partents are of the opnion thachers are lazy and not too bright. If they were not lazy andor bright the would not be teachers, therefor, teachers are always wrong. The student is always right.

            Shrinks are the ones fostering the notion that no child scould be retained because it is emotionally harmful to the child (social promotion). Main streeming (intregrating into the normal classromm) of mentally deficient and or behavior disruptive stucents etc. another problem caused by influence other than parents. These are some of my reasons for stating blame can be spread to most segments of society.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You pointed out THE biggest problem. SHRINKS!

            I believe there is a hidden agenda mostly from the Women’s Liberation Movement, social engineering child abuse advocate groups to quash the energy of young boys and masulinize girls in our classrooms too. Why is it, the bulk of children who are put on Psychotropic Medication ARE boys?

            Giving the excuse to claim these kids have some form of mental illness is too easy of an excuse. Boys are naturally overactive. These people are trying to reverse traditional gender roles.

            Or these female teachers and counselors are just too dam lazy to do their jobs. So instead of doing their job, just send the kid to a shrink, have it diagnosed with some fake disorder, sedate the kid till its numb for the rest of its life. This also makes lots of money for these shrinks, social advocacy groups, therapist. It’s quite a money generator.

            I know one family, mother, father, 2 boys, ALL on Psychotropic

            Something REALLY STINKS.

          • Kathryn Murray

            Oppressive gender roles are slavery and are not the cause of the problem. Equality is not the cause of your the boys being put on drugs it is a combination of lack of disipline and teachers catering only to one learning style. Not all the kids being labled and medicated are boys as I have a high IQ and was often bored and combined with the fact I was severely bullied (I have a degree to be a para-educator and I have studied the problem as I have firsthand seen the misery it causes and the kids who are selected to be victims are the ones who act mature for their age especially kids with strict parents like mine) and I was threatened to be put on ADD meds for not doing the same stupid assignments over and over and I ended up spending the recess time in the library in elementary school teaching myself and by the time my family moved to another city and the school thankfully lost my files, I was retested and the found out that I was ahead of my grade by several levels in language, science and social studies and was almost grade level in math after the tried to say I coundn’t learn. I currenly am the bread winner for my disabled fiance and I and taking away my rights and demanding I go home and make dinner will destroy my life so think before you demand my career to be babymaking.

          • whodatbob

            Michael, Don’t know that it is Woman’s Lib or not. But it is social engeneering. This will PO must on this bolg, It is partly the result of oru bigest liberal movement, Hippies, love and peace we can all get along. Oh, yes, I was part of that and am still a lib.

            Having raised 5 daughters and 2 sons, boys are much more physical and a hell of a lot more agressive then girls. All my children played sports K-8 some in high school. Girls are a lot meaner on the field the boy and equally as agressive. There are always exceptions to these norms.

          • idamag

            Okay, parents play a big part. That is true. My oldest daughter’s first grade teacher told me she could tell that I read to my children. So now you pointed out a problem. However,there are parents who never should have had children and they are not going to be good parents no matter how much you tell them what their duties are. The only stability those children have is in the school. It is also their introduction to society.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Well, you’re right.

            But, we can’t force adults to NOT have children. I wish we could at times.

          • plc97477

            Unfortunately in order to survive in this country both parents need to be in the work force and there is no one home to raise the children. No one to make sure they are getting what they need too be healthy and productive.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            It isn’t always necessary to have both parents working in a household, unless they both are basically making poverty-level wages.

            The problem with this, as I see in a lot of upwardly mobile families, is what values people place on THINGS versus what they place on their kids.

            Instead of working towards a million dollar house, million dollar bank account and two Mecedes in the driveway, these parents should take their kids out once in a while for a decent Malted Milkshake.

            These dam parents treat their kids as if they were a commodity. If they do that, they might as well trade their kids on Wall Street too.

          • whodatbob

            Michael, Yes it is! And not just for those in which both parents are making poverty-level wages or those who value things more things then their children.
            People are marring later some wait several years for the frist child, others have their alloted children asap. When the cost of rasing childern, including project cost of a degree is calculated two incomes are needed for al but the upper level income earners. Add in job market instabillity and a safty net becomes necessary.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Projected cost of a degree?

            Parents should start, immediately after their kid is born, a college fund to secure the necessary funds when the kid starts college. This is partly what I meant by things versus the child’s needs.

            I’ve seen this happen all the time. Parents just don’t give a crap about their kids future. Then by the time the kid is nearly an adult, they trying to figure out why their kid ain’t going no where in life. The kid gets involved with drugs, then its downhill from that point on. Then the parents got more problems if the boy gets a girl preg, then ya got two families living in one house, or they’re collecting welfare. In either case, its a bad situation, not only for the new parents, but especially for the child. And, the original father mother didn’t give a crap while the kid was growing up. Now they’re stuck with it up to their eyeballs.

            I believe in traditional gender roles in a straight marriage. Yes, while the child is growing up, the mother should be HOME taking care of the kid and NOT working. After the kid can be trusted to be alone, say around mid teens, then the mother can go find a job and support the family in other areas. This is IF the father can make enough income to sustain and support their family with everyday normal needs. IF he can’t make enough money, maybe they should think about not having any kids.

            HER first priority and her only sole duty in life is their children, nothing, absolutely nothing else is more important. And, the fathers duty is to support his family, nothing else matters here either.

            People tend to forget these priorities towards their children. These adults brought these children into the world. They both now are 100% RESPONSIBLE for their well being, their health, their education up to and including adulthood.

            IF they can’t follow this one simple rule, they shouldn’t have any children at all.

            I put in only one disclaimer to this general overall view – this is IF we live in a PERFECT WORLD…………………..

          • whodatbob

            Your last line says it all. As I read your post tears wrer runnung down my eyes from laughter. Yes the real world does not work that way!
            We had been married a few years, proud parents of 3 children under the age 5 when I read an article on how much a month parents needed to save to put a child through college multiplied by 3 that number was more then my monthly salary. We had a mortage, and were payments on student loans. Were my children not to get a complete education? No!
            We skipped vacations, expensive cars and many other fancy items. The children never did without. My wife returned to teaching I worked second jobs. By the time our oldest stated HS we were the proud parents of 7 children. When the oldest started college mom had earned a Masters and the youngest was in 2nd grade.
            We chose to use the parocial schools, our school district was not viable, has been unacredited for several years now. Six of the seven have earned masters degrees. The seventh, every family has one.

            We never had our hand out nor needed to. The children’s needs always came frist. We were lucky, grandma watched the children before and after school, mom was off in the summer. Our children paid most of their college expenses with scholarships, loans and work, same as mom and dad. We picked up a portion.
            Many of family problems today result from parents forgetting that children come frist not them.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Congratulations to you and your family:)

            You’re both good parents and it shows in the achievements of your children.

            If the rest of parenthood would dedicate themselves to their children as you have, achieve half of what you have, this world wouldn’t have so many problems.

            I consider it a honor and privilege to know you:) It has been a rare joy talking with you.

          • rustacus21

            … which is the intent of the intentional impoverishment of of the nations Middle Class since Reagan. Prez. Carter saw this, but we were too busy being mesmerized by ‘Grampa’ Ronnie & the supply-side ‘con-games’ that began immediately funneling wealth upwards & employment offshore. We knew what it would take to provide support for families to ensure communities – & thus – our Public Schools would provide what children needed to become successful adults. The debt explosions of the Reagan/Bush/bush years is the curse of conservatism we now suffer thru, made even worse w/NCLB…

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Actually, this all started with Nixon “opening” up China to American Corporate Greed.

            Reagan just did a better job of capitalizing on it and involved the Evangelical Movement which really screwed up everything every since.

          • rustacus21

            Indeed! & making the chore of ‘fixing’ things far more difficult, as Nixon’s decision to remove Civics Instruction as a Junior & High School subject requirement. We can see w/out a doubt, that the (pardon my bluntness) stupidity of some occupying the right wing & T-bag party is a direct result of being so vacant about where to go to self-enlighten, even in spite of being educationally short-changed. It’s a problem so deep & pervasive & far beyond where it became WORSE w/NCLB…

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Ha, and they want to replace solid science subjects with Creationism?

            Next thing ya know, they’ll start teaching we live on a 2-dimensional flat planet. Some people will actually start believing that crap cause, after all, god is in the mix too.

            We’re all gonna fall of the edge…………..

  • David Turrentine

    All education reform is based on the idea that the poorer classes in our society are overcoming the standard obstacles to success and must have more obstacles to proevent them from moving upward in society. The state competency exams are not relevant, have little to do with academic content and are designed to fail poor and minority students. No Chilld left behind is a misnomer, it would better be called Every Child Lost and No Teacher Left Standing.

  • stcroixcarp

    The whole idea of education reform is based on a false premise. When educational success is based on standardized multiple choice tests. all you have is numbers and standard deviations. Real education is something else. It starts with creativity and leading children into the rich possibilities of life. It starts with art and music and literature and add math, history, social studies, technology and extends into the real world and gives hope that the world can be a better place. Real education need a safe place to experiment and grow. It provides real ideas to think about. Real education is a subversive activity. I like to believe that there are still teachers out there who value the “ah-ha” moments in their students’ lives more than the basic standards test.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      These are all nice words, but, in reality, it don’t work in the real world.

      As as adult you are expected to perform your job as your boss dictates, not as you think it should be performed. You learn these facts early in your school years by being disciplined in the three R’s. and how to act in society. Later you learn even more advanced three R’s in college. But, this is all directed towards landing a job and being able to keep a job and being able to function in society as a normal citizen.

      Yes, you still can have individuality. This is what makes us special in our own ways. But, the first priority is to be able to hold down a job, provide for yourself and hopefully conduct yourself as a contributing member of society.

      All societies function in the same exact way and all perform their duties in the same fashion. We are all “programmed” to be square pegs that fit into square holes, with a little wiggle room for individuality………….

      Sorry, this is how the real work works.

      • stcroixcarp

        How sad. We are educating our children to be slaves.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          I agree with you.

          But, we have no other way of educating our young.

          However, we should educate them also to recognize when they are being used against their own intuition and common sense, especially when it concerns the need for control by Corporations and Government.

          There is a huge difference between a dumb slave and a slave with a brain that can think for their own purposes:)

          But regardless, whether we like or not, we are all slaves more or less. It all depends on what degree and who for…………..

          • sigrid28

            Well, some of us aren’t slaves, even though we call them public servants.

          • plc97477

            I feel sorry for you and your dismal world view.

      • elw

        Unfortunately you are correct about what is currently happening in the real world work place. Today’s bosses have eliminated creativity from the work place: Too many are looking for robot employees that will adopt their ideas of what should be done rather than allowing creativity and individuality to flourish. Perhaps that is why our Country is slowly and steadily slipping when it come to leadership in innovation.

        You are wrong when you say all societies function the same way. This Country was built on individuality; it is individuality and creativity that has been responsible for most major inventions and other contributions to humanity throughout history. Those square pegs that fit in the square holes of society were the one who stayed home when their peers travel to the New World; they didn’t take the leap that found antibiotics in the mold on bread; if what you believe was true, mankind would still be living in caves eating raw food that they caught with their hands. Not allowing children to explore their own ideas and thoughts by standardizing what they learn and how they learn it will only produce a society full of robots who cannot think. It is not enough to read and write, children also have to learn to use their brain so they can think, compare and question the world around them. That is what makes societies successful.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          Hell yea, innovation is slipping in this country. That’s because the importance of corporate and government goals are superseding individuality.

          I’ve left open the square peg fit into a square hole by allowing some wiggle room, meaning individual styles, educational goals and individual agendas.

          Yes, many people were innovators which created much of our modern world. But, don’t make any mistake with this, if they didn’t fit into a square hole, they wouldn’t have been able to function in the corporate world and run their own businesses. In sort, they had to learn how to “Kiss A**” to get along with other people.

          Even as radical as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was/are, they still had to function in the corporate world.

          We really didn’t do anything different here than nearly every other place in the world, barring extremely repressive governments, of course. The only real difference is that here, we used greed, capitalism and the corporation as the driving force of innovation. Other countries use societal goals, for the good for the entire society of that country, to drive innovation and not just for a chosen few who stand to profit from it.

          It’s only been in the last few decades other countries have adopted our capitalistic business models. And most of these countries today are having the same problems we are having controlling it. What they have allowed is greed to creep into their business models and forsaking the overall goals of their society in favor of the corporation. Same as here.

          So, more than anything, today, innovation is driven by corporate goals, not the individual.

          • elw

            Which means little real innovation and many more failures, which is what is happening in the large corporate settings. When there is no room to be different – there is no room for change. Too big to fail is the down-fall of society.

          • Michael Kollmorgen


        • idamag

          elw, that is a fantastic reply. I wonder if electronic media is also inhibiting creativity.

      • RobertCHastings

        One basic thing that has kept America the economic powerhouse it has become for so long is our ability to think outside the box, to innovate, to invent, to challenge ourselves and the status quo. To look beyond the horizon and see a sunrise before it happens, to change paradigms. Teaching to the test deprives our students of the creative process which has been the trademark of our society for generations. I was shocked to hear that in my state’s legislature they were considering a measure to bring back cursive writing and memorization of the multiplication tables. Whay were they ever removed? While cursive writing is not all that important, knowing things like the multiplication tables is a vital function in problem solving, and not just multiplication problems. We are problem solvers, or we should be, if we want to maintain our place on top of the world.

        • 4sanity4all

          cursive writing is important if you want to be truly literate. If you cannot read and write cursive, how could you read original manuscripts, for example. And I think we should all know how to do basic math, so that we are not at a loss when our calulators are not handy.

          • RobertCHastings

            I don’t run in those circles whee people read original manuscripts and I would guess neither do you. However, your point about math skills is right on. It is frustrating, to say the least, to be in a store and have their cash registers or computers go down and the clerks can’t make change. Basic arithmetic is a skill that should have never been abandoned, even though kids taking standardized tests to exit HS or get into college are largely allowed to use calculators. A previous poster even intimated that what are called optionals are as important as the basics. Learning to appreciate music, and to play an instrument and read musical notation have been clearly demonstrated to help kids develop math skills. If the basics of math are not adequately understood, then it is increasingly difficult to move into geometry and algebra, and thence to calculus. Even disciplines like Logic are founded upon mathematics.

          • 4sanity4all

            Oddly, I have called upon my cursive reading skills when doing research. And I agree with your point about optionals, although I believe they are anything but! I have noticed a correlation between music education and math skills. It seems to me that understanding music construction predisposes the brain to understand mathematical concepts. I have also noticed a correlation between art study and reading and comprehension. I believe art creates pathways in the brain for literature comprehension. My “proof” is anecdotal, so it would not be accepted by a researcher, but I think some people have done actual studies that would show these things to be true.

          • RobertCHastings

            And many professional teachers know of research supporting what you say, about the connection between music and math, and the connection between art and other cognitive skills. Most teachers I know, including both my wife and I, have a hard time understanding why these things are among the first to be cut when there is a budget crunch. There is a great deal more to the three R’s than just reading, writing, and arithmetic.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Yes, the fine arts such as Music is being cut out of school programming. This is a dirty shame. The Vocational Trades are also being cut out. What this all means, is that the creativity you learn, you won’t. And, you’ll have to hire someone from China to fix your faucet.

            We are also becoming a Throw-Away Society. Products are made now to last just a few years, then throw them away and get a new one at greater prices in a lot of cases. You used to be able to take a product to a repair shop and get it repaired. Nearly every neighborhood had a small repair shop. Most of them are all gone now.

            When I buy appliances, I first go to Flea Markets or Yard/Garage Sales. Here I’ll find old, solid steel products that are just as good if not better than in the stores.

            Then, if I am forced to buy anything new, if I can afford it, I’ll buy Industrial or Commercial Grade products. All of my personal tools like drills, saws, etc. are commercial grade. Most of my kitchen appliances are restaurant/commercial grade or nearly so.

          • RobertCHastings

            We have learned to buy our appliances from Searswho, for a fee, will service what they sell, while places like HHGregg and Ashley Furniture do not. While what you say is undeniably true about BOTH the skills to repair things not being out there AND the old products that are still running are still GOING to run better than a lot of the newer products, those two truths, for me, make it a crap shoot to buy any of the older appliances. However, flea markets present the opportunities afforded of buying the lottery ticket. All too frequently we hear of someone buying something at a flea market or yard sale that turns out to be practically priceless – like the recent find of a Honus Wagner baseball card, or a Renoir (recently questioned as to authenticity), etc.
            The tip about commercial grade tools is excellent. However, even some of what used to be commercial grade (like the old Dewalt tools) is no longer as good as it used to be because of having merged with some other company. And even though Craftsman has the reputation backed by Sears, it is not of the same quality as someother tools. Do your homework,first. Even Stihl, which used to be some of the finest equipment available has become second rate, two of my most recent purchases of Stihl not even lasting through the first season.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            OH I know exactly what you mean.

            Yes, some of the commercial-grade stuff ain’t made here, but in China now. I like trying to find the older equipment if possible. Even Milwaukee is now made in China.

          • RobertCHastings

            And why is it that we continue to buy this crap from China? We know from experiences over the past decade or so that recalls of Chinese products are frequent, that they are often toxic (remember the pet food issue just a few years ago, and there was one more recent involving Chinese tires) with many products for children having lead paint that is well above the level accepted by consumer watchdogs and product safety watchdogs. I remember some infant clothing from several years ago recalled because, while advertised as fire-retardant, was anything but. The one thing Jessie Helms(former Rep. senator from NC) did that I approved of was removing Chinese products from the shelves of the store at his International Studies Institute at Wingate University. I apologize for digressing, but your post just seemed like an opportune time to vent and the subject seemed appropriate. My wife and I almost always look at the labels to see where things are made and, unfortunately, all too much says “made in China” and,again unfortunately, there are no good alternatives made domestically. While this gets into an issue of international trade, there is still the issue of adequate education of our workforce to compete with foreign workforces, so the manufacturing jobs will come back here, something that is just beginning to happen. While economies like that in China offered, at one time, the allure of cheap labor costs, the rise of their middle class is making it more attractive forcompanies to relocate, BACK to the US.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I predicted a long time ago that the average Chinese Worker would get fed up with low wages eventually and demand change.

            I hope their demand does force US companies to come back to this country and start hiring our own people again.

            But, there wages, based on the value of the dollar exchange rate, is going to have to reach parity before this happens. Their wages over there are so low, its going to take years for this to happen. And, China isn’t the only low-wage earner country either, based on exchange rates.

            If this does happen in China, they, our corporations, just might decide to pull out of China and relocate to Viet Nam, Indonesia, Africa, parts of South America.

            We’re going to be fighting this crap for centuries to come. And, this is especially true if we allow our Corporations the latitude to do this to our country.

            They all ought be tried for Treason!

            Now, if you were a US Vacationer in most of these countries, according to its exchange rate, you could live like a King. Well, almost!

          • RobertCHastings

            Several corporations, including GE, are already considering moving back to the US. However, as the Exxon/Mobil commercial states, 60% of the jobs in the not-so-distant future will require degrees in math and the sciences. We only have the capacity to fill 20%, primarily because our education system is second-to-most. However, we do have students who are great at taking tests.

    • Well Said my Friend!! I’m Not Catholic But I Sent My Son To Their Schools For 13 Years It Cost Me, But Our Public Schools SUCKS Big Time!!! 🙁

  • itsfun

    In our efforts to give all children opportunities for a good education, we may have forgotten a major factor. Public education is a fine idea, but we seem to have made that the cure all. When public education is compared to schools like Catholic schools, the Catholic school grade out much higher than the public schools. The leads me to think the public schools need competition. Instead of just sending our children to public schools, I feel parents should be able to send their children to charter type schools with no additional costs to them. Instead of the states giving x amount of dollars for each student, in the public schools, the state should give the dollars to the school the parents choose for their children. I the private charter school prove to better educate our children and get more and more state dollars, the public schools would be forced to step up their performance to be able to keep their doors open. I think all parents want their children to have the best education possible and giving them the ability to choose the schools of their choice may help achieve this. Competition has always been the driving force behind making all types of businesses improve or disappear. Why not try this with public schools instead of giving them a free pass to do as they please.

    • bandrulz

      That competition is not on a level playing field. Charter and private schools do not have to meet the same state requirements as public schools and therefore are free to eliminate things like special education and acceptance of ALL students regardless of abilities. Behavior problems are sent back to the public schools to deal with. Those are all things that drag down public school performance scores. Good students are good students wherever they go. If you can eliminate the poor students, then your numbers go up.

      • idamag

        Well said.

    • idamag

      Public education is a privilege. It is also a right. I do not think my taxes should go to support private schools. It Is robbing public education. We need to fix our education system, not rob it to pay corporate schools.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Education IS NOT a right.

        IF it was a right, it would be in the Constitution. It isn’t. It should be though, just like a fair wage, a place to live. This should all be GUARANTEED RIGHTS in the Constitution for any citizen of this country.

        This and many more examples is why I consider our Constitution a piece of Swiss Cheese, full of holes and holes which are exploited by the rich and powerful and for the rest of us to try and figure what the hell they’re trying to do to us.

    • RobertCHastings

      The problem with the voucher system you advocate is that the state (or local authority) will provide a voucher for $5,000 to apply toward the cost of a charter school that costs $15,000. The wealthy can afford that, the middle class and poor cannot, which results in a society of castes, one well educated, the other able only to be trained for menial positions. Charter schools aren’t cheap and, as someone else said previously, they can pick and choose whom they like.

      • itsfun

        These are all problems that can be fixed. The Government can change what it gives to charter schools. Charter schools can drop their prices to be competitive. Seeing as how the Government would be paying them, the charter schools can be forced to meet all state standards. There is no magic answer to the problem, but the current system is not working. We have been throwing money at the problem for years and years with no good results. I just know competition always makes one better. Public schools have proven that more money is not the answer, so lets find a solution.

        • rustacus21

          ‘Charter’ schools are ‘private’ schools in whatever configuration U imagine & in NOW WAY should be receiving ‘public’ tax dollars! If U want a private education for U’r child, fine. PAY for it then. Out of U’r own pocket. ‘Public Schools’ have been designed for the purpose of ensuring equal opportunity for ALL of America’s children. Not JUST a select, elite, monied, entitled few. Charter schools don’t certify & regulate instructors or curricula nor do Public Schools NOW that funding is split between it & privatized education. People have been lazy long enuff & the results show in the disintegration of our institutions across the board. There’s a reason why wages & Union wages have declined precipitously equally over the last 40 sum years, but refusing to engage conservative initiatives to destroy Democracy is NO solution… i.e., NCLB…

          • itsfun

            The idea is to give all children the chance for a better education. The “private” schools appear to do a better job. If we give every child a chance at this type of education, we will be better off. This has nothing to do with being rich or being a conservative or being tall or short or fat or skinny. The idea is to come up with a better way to educate our children. I am just throwing ideas out to think about.

          • BDC_57

            Thats because a private school can afford more books and stuff than a public school because it gets better funding.

          • plc97477

            Wow. well done. I like the way you think.

    • plc97477

      Catholic schools seem to be doing better because they don’t have to take any kids who have learning disabilities or kids who have parents who should never have had kids. Public schools have to take all kids and do their best to try to teach them.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Basically you are totally right.

        But, you do know what this is creating. It is creating a two-tier society and as usual between the haves and have nots.

        Our country was originally not designed to tolerate this situation – at least in ideology and concepts.

        You might want to get this book, it’s titled;
        The Shock Doctrine, The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism.
        By; Naomi Klein.

        It’s quite an Eye Opener. And, I think you might like reading it. I just started reading it. It has really made me aware of what has been going on.

        • plc97477

          I will look for it.

    • rustacus21

      In an effort to confuse issues, conservatives refer to this same ‘straw man’ of competition, which is not the issue at all. Private schools require private dollars & a level of autonomy from state education boards. The system NOW is so corrupted & compromised, we’re confusing competition w/competency b/c of $$$. Again – if U want U’r child in a privatized, ‘whatever’ kind of school, that’s U’R CHOICE! The STATE (our government) has NO BUSINESS subsidizing that choice. This has been FORCED upon us w/the ‘fad’ of charters. These are children. Not race horses. & educating them is not some ‘game’ between greedy elites & impoverished parents of disintegrating communities w/out economic options (which, coincidentally have been relocated offshore!). This is where the over $10 trillion in losses to our U.S. treasury comes in. That same $10 trillion, given over to the rich between 2001 to 2012, is doing what (aside from being that ‘free pass’ U refer to)? How is it of benefit to anyone else? Where are the jobs tax cuts were to create? What might those $$$ have done had the rich been paying that $10-plus trillion to the treasury & allowed to fund civic society – the way it’s suppose to? What’s better, the benefit to the 2% or the 100%? This is what U’r alluding to in telling US that Public Schools MUST now compete (as NCLB is the result) w/private (charter) schools for funding that wouldn’t have been problematic, if not for an underfunded civic societal structure to the tune of nearly $20 trillion dollars (counting war, corruption, institutional theft, etc., from) 2001-now. WE as a nation, are the result of devalued education, knowledge & enlightened, affirmative intelligence. Competition is simply a game for children. Democracy is real life requiring MATURE, informed adults to administer it. That xcludes conservatives, obviously…

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        The Elite do not want an enlightened society. That threatens their power base and hold on power and control.

        The Christian Right does not want an enlightened society either. That would mean us questioning their power base and hold on power and control as well.

        In either case, an enlightened society breaks the chain of control and as a result controlled knowledge and wealth.

        If you want to see what could be our future, look back at the history of the Dark Ages. Power was centralized to only a very few, usually royalty, made holy and justified by religious institutions, usually the Catholic Church. Like today, education was quashed to only a chosen few. Wealth was centralized to only a few also, as it is becoming here today.

        History, once again, is repeating itself. With all the education, colleges, libraries, all the knowledge we have accumulated over the centuries, THIS country hasn’t learned a dam thing. Europe, it seems, is just behind us following in lockstep to oblivion.

        I hope I’m wrong. But, I don’t think I am.

      • itsfun

        You have missed my whole point. I want a better way to educate our children. The United States has spent more money on public education per child more than any other country in the world. More and more money is not the answer. You complain about tax dollars going to private schools..I don’t have any children in school, why should I be forced to pay public school taxes? We are all forced to pay taxes for thinks we don’t use. My taxes pay for food stamps, public housing, museums, public TV, etc. I am talking about competition between schools, not the children. Look at what happened in Georgia. The public education teachers were giving answers to children for tests, so they could raise the average and get more tax money. That money went to salaries, not children. How many more cases are like that in the public schools. I feel public education is a fine and good thing. We need to find a way to make it better is all I am saying.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        If you want competition between schools, there is only one way to do it. Give a grade between A and F on the end-of-the year accumulated final test scores of each school, public and private.

        The End-of-the-year test score would also include a small section where the students would give a grade between A and F of their former teacher too. Any teacher getting a grade of B or above gets a Raise, anyone getting a F gets Fired.

        Institute pay-as-you-go totally out of the parents pocket would force competition also. A Parent seeing a bad grade of a particular school wouldn’t send their kid to that school, probably wouldn’t even more into that area. That’s IF the parent actually wanted to get the biggest bang for their buck (as they harp on, on everything else it seems).

        Pay-as-you-go would open up the possibility of the parents sending their kids to whatever school they wish, including religious-orientated private schools. At least with this issue, the public would no longer be funding private schools with our real estate tax dollars. The Public would be totally out of the school funding racket we all are forced to pay into.

        Any school getting caught cheating on these test scores would be automatically closed down. And only re-opened again, once the cheaters (staff) were found and jailed.

        Also, instituting pay-as-you-go would give a major incentive to the parents to make dam sure their kids are in class every day. And, learning!

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    The best overall solution for this problem is to stop all public funding of all public schools using the homeowners realestate taxes as a bottomless money pit.

    Funding for all public schools should come directly from the Parents of children who are attending a public school.

    Anyone who doesn’t have any kids in any school systems should not have their portion of their payment taken out of their realestate tax base.

    Parents, since they are now paying directly for their childrens education, should have complete control where their children are being taught, meaning they should now have the choice of what school is doing better than the next and then be allowed to send their kid to that school, private, religious-orientated or public.

    All costs, education, materials, transportation, after-school activities must be paid by the parent directly out of pocket, no exceptions.

    This choice of where to send their kids should be based only on standardized federal tests. Any school that does not meet the necessary levels of excellence gets closed down, no appeals. They will be allowed to reopen once they get their act together.

    The teachers pay must be based on the results of federal standardized test results. Any teacher being caught cheating the system is fired and never hired again anywhere in any school system. They should also do jail time. The Crime should be made a Federal Felony.

    This plan will introduce into the system, competition between schools. The better ones will profit, the poorer ones will close. The Parent will get as a result better educated children and the cost of education should go down also.

    Also, institute a policy in the school system a “no fault” clause, meaning the school can not be sued by the parent for any minor injury to the child while the child is on school property. The school system can be sued if a teacher is found not doing their jobs, or are abusive. The teacher is fired period.

    Institute back into the school system Corporate Punishment. Mild Spanking should be allowed in the classroom, right in front of the students peers. Give back to parents control of discipline of their children in the home. Give back the rights of the parent being more important than the childs’ rights.

    • idamag

      Educating our nation is strengthening and our nation. People, without children in school, helped pay for your education and your kids’ educations. We care about each other, don’t we?

      • Michael Kollmorgen


        I used to care, not anymore. Parents have done a job on us people who have no kids for a long long time, basically legally twisting our arms to support their kids by using real estate taxes to do it.

        Enough of this crap. Parents should be held totally responsible for their children’s education. I’m tired if hearing their complaints about how bad their school system is when for all practical purposes, they have been given one of the best educational systems in the world. And, I as a citizen who has no kids in it, and pay roughly half of their educational expenses, have NO say in the matter only because I have no kids in it.

        I blame parents totally for the lack of discipline in the schools AND at home. I blame parents totally for breeding under-achieving brats. I blame the Parent for sending to school a Bully that could and has, sooner or later, turns one of its bullied into a mass murder. I don’t blame the shooter at all. I blame the Parents of the Bully, the Bully itself and the school system that let the bulling go on so long, that in his mind, the kid had no other choice.

        I have absolutely no sympathy for parents whatsoever. When I was in school 50 years ago, I never heard a peep out of any parent complaining about their school systems, if any, just minor problems. Parents today will Sue a school system at the drop of a hat. I never heard any parent complaining about the school curriculum and religion was only spoken of in their churches and homes. Religion was never brought on in a public school. Science class was Science, not attempted Creationism. I never heard any parent complain when all of us kids had to get our shots either, all in a row, one after the other.

        It’s been past due way too long that PARENTS start taking full responsibility for their children, do their jobs and get off the backs of the rest of us. Their first priority is their children. And, they’ve neglected their duties for the past 2 or 3 generations, maybe including mine.

        • english_teacher

          I agree with you that the parents are at fault for the majority of the problems faced by schools and teachers. This attitude, however, is not limited to the U.S. I’ve also seen it abroad, in Europe.

          Parents of my generation, and after, have forgotten or ignored the fact that their job is not to be their child’s friend but rather to be their child’s guide and tutor. That means, when necessary, taking a tough stand against your child’s desires, siding with the authority figures at school and outside the home, and holding them responsible for their actions when they misbehave. We have done our children no favors by trying to always protect them from the consequences of their behaviors and always taking their side even when it’s obvious that they’re in the wrong.

          I’ve met children I didn’t like because of the way that they behaved and felt bad for not liking the children. However, the fault for the children’s bad behavior was directly due to a lack of firm parenting.

          I disagree with you about not supporting public schools and, like you, I do not have any children. We need to support public education and all be more active in seeing that our children are provided with the tools and skills that they will need in the future. We all need to work to ensure that public education continues and has the support of parents and non-parents for the future of our country and the world.

          With that said, however, I’m not very optimistic about the future. I’m not sure that I’ll live long enough to see the pendulum begin to swing back towards a saner world. I can only hope that the younger generation will be up to the task.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You may be right.

            Since Europe adopted our capitalistic business models, and ruining their country just like we’re doing with ours through greed, why shouldn’t they also adopt our other problems along with it, such as the problems we’re having in our school systems.

            I haven’t been to Europe. So, unlike yourself, I don’t have first-hand knowledge of what is going on over there. I haven’t read anything about this paragon shift as you have directly seen.

            Maybe in the end, this might prove to be just one aspect and a natural progression of a declining society? If this is the case, ALL of western civilization is in deep trouble.

            If this is actually true, as you have seen, there is at least one shining point of light and hope in Europe. They have now become THE place for higher education and advanced research. We LOST this edge when we didn’t complete our plans on building the next largest Super Collider in Texas and now closing down another one. Europe now has the scientific edge with their LHC (Large Hadron Collider), the world’s largest Super Collider. They have already surpassed their wildest expectations by finally finding the Higs Bozon, the so-called badly phrased, God Particle. They have positioned themselves to be in the Vanguard of advanced scientific studies for years to come. And, yes, most of our brightest scientist are now over there learning and putting into practice what they learn, rather than here.

            We’ve also lost the edge in Space Sciences as well. We no longer support actual manned space travel. Russia now supplies our need for heavy-lifting capabilities to the Space Station. China has current plans to place a man on the moon within 10 years, in 15 years start to colonize the moon. They will be the dominant player in space travel in the future If they succeed. In all probabilities, they will.

            I’m 63 and I also don’t expect to see any major swings back to a saner world in my lifetime. And, I have very little hope for any future generations, at least not here in the US.

            There still is hope for Europe IF they get their act together. The Far East, specifically China will be leading the way.

            Our upcoming generations had better start leaning a second language, some form of Chinese and start carrying around that Little Red Book. They’re gonna need it.

        • old_blu

          I agree with some of what you say, but I have also seen many houses with lets just say five children all are great kids but one and that one is a bully and brat you know it wasn’t raised any different than the other kids so you can’t blame the parents on all of it, sometimes you just have a bad seed.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Studies show constantly that in raising kids, every child born in a family is raised differently, at least to some extent.

            But, I agree, there are situations where a bad seed is just a bad seed. There are such things as just plain bad children, just like there are just plain bad parents.

    • plc97477

      Everyone has a stake in education even if they have no children in the education system. Do you want the doctor who takes care of you on your death bed to know how to spell? Would you like to know that the person making change for you at the store can add and subtract? Would you like to know that the airplane pilot taking you across country can think well enough to land the plane safely in the case of trouble?

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        As far as the Doctor is concerned, how many times have you been to a doctor that you can’t understand what the guy is even saying, let along read what he wrote on your prescription?

        This is NOT quality education and they’re turning out thousands of em. Half of them don’t even pay their loans back.

        I could say a lot of the state of our “educational” system and it don’t have a lot to do with how much money you pour into it. Seems to me, the more money we pour into it, the worse results we get. This is primarily due to Parental Influence in what the teachers are supposed to do, versus what they are allowed to do.

        What?, my Jimmy didn’t do that! I’m sueing. I don’t want my child learning that sort of thing in your science classroom. I’m sueing! I don’t want my kid getting “that” shot. I’m sueing!

        Do you need more examples why I won’t support school systems anymore?

        Only In America!

  • David B

    High stakes testing & bonus/merit pay will be put on trial by the defense. It’s a flawed way to educate children. Testing is fine over time (e.g., classroom testing to high standards); however, other factors must be taken into account when judging whether children can succeed in college and the job market (e.g., work ethic, project-based learning, etc.). Merit pay & bonuses have no place in a public servant environment like education and the military. The sight of once dedicated servants going on trial & possibly going to jail is sickening. However, I agree with Ms. Tucker, the real tragedy is the impact on the children and their families. Those who involved children in this travesty should go to jail. Now we need solutions. I’ve outlined one below. It’s long, so bear with me.
    As the former superintendent of a major urban school district, I have learned that
    complying with the science and continuum of learning (full day, 50 weeks, very early childhood education is core, staring not later than two years old), adding more days and hours to our agrarian era school system (240 days vs 180 days should be the new norm), and stabilizing under served children in schools by adding wrap around services (social, health, education & job training for their parents, many of whom are single female parents, etc.) are the solutions. In defense of our educators, it’s nearly impossible to educate under served children whose parents are constantly moving them from school to school because of their economic situation. Some schools experience greater than >25% mobility rates (i.e., 25% turnover every year of new students).

    The Solution – It does indeed Take A Village. A community-based education system, like the 18 year-to-date Tangelo Park Prog (TPP) in Orlando, is germane. The TPP is a full day, 50 weeks Pre-K, starting at two years old, through college graduation/post-secondary school and career tech model, in a traditional (as opposed to charter) K-12 school feeder pattern, augmented by holistic family support services and philanthropy. The results for this poor African-American community are compelling: 98% high school
    graduation (100% in the last 10 years); 75% college acceptance; 75+% college
    graduation (national average – 58%; African Americans -41% ; Latinos – 48% ;
    Whites – 60%, & Asians – 69%); and a 52% reduction in crime, resulting in a doubling of housing values in the last 10 years. This prog is producing Ph.D’s vs prisoners. These results revival the best schools & communities in suburbia. (Note: Harlem Children’s Zone is a charter model that will also work.)

    There are approx 2500 poor communities like Tangelo Park in our nation. If we implement this type model in these poor communities, then we will fundamentally
    change America. We can expect a return-on-investment (ROI) of seven dollars for every one dollar invested ($7:1). This ROI has been documented in a study of the TPP by Dr. Lance Lochner & his professor, the Nobel Laureate economist, Dr. James Heckman in his compelling Oct 2004 research working paper, Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children = very early childhood education is core (repeated for emphasis). Thus, a true stimulus investment of $500B in public and private funds would yield a return of $3.5 trillion in increased productivity of our citizens, lower crime and incarceration rates, lower social and medical costs, increased tax revenue and more globally competitive citizens, which will yield an increase in U.S.-based international businesses.

    Bottom-Line – This model requires a 20+++ year commitment. Thus, politicians can’t get us there. They are constrained by their two, four or six year election cycles via which they are looking for quick fixes to problems that require long-term systemic solutions. Plus any programs they propose are subject to be changed by the next administration or party in control. As citizens, we must take control of our education system and implement the changes required to ensure our children’s future. Teachers will be our biggest allies in this quest and, as documented in the Heckman ROI study, we will be able to pay them more in salaries vice merit pay and bonuses, and mitigate the pressure to cheat or scam the system. If we don’t, then we’ll be having this same or similar conversation 10 years from now.

    • RobertCHastings

      No, we will be having a similar conversation next year, for the same issues will obtain. At least Obama is promoting experimentation, and mayors like Corey Booker are seeking change, also. While the federal investment is minor compared to overall cost in each school district, a small increase of 1 -2% would have a huge impact, IF that money were directed toward innovation, as you suggest.

      • rustacus21

        The election next year may, may not change U’r prediction, but for those in the know, its up to us to ensure we don’t & action gets done ASAP – for the sake of OUR children, OUR nation & THEIR future…

  • The biggest problem with standardized testing is that it does not allow for diverse cultural, economic, locational, etc differences.

    As an example, a person brought up in an inner city, low income, high violence environment faces the same testing as someone brought up in a gated community with the best educational, financial and environmental background.

    The testing favors those in the latter environment.

    What if the “Standard Testing” favored the inner city, low income, high violence environment? Would that be fair to those brought up in a gated community with the best educational, financial and environmental background? Of course not.

    And the present testing baseline is equally unfair to the poor and disadvantaged.

    My point being, this type of testing does not provide a good baseline to predict a persons potential for future growth.

    It only predicts the favorable potential for those who already have the most advantages.

    • Standardized testing would only be an effective measure if we were producing standardized children. Each child is different, even children in similar situations, and should be taught and tested to their potential. Exceptional students, regardless of background, should be allowed to excel while the less than average should be encouraged without being faulted. In my opinion, testing should only be used to identify where a student could use more help rather than as a badge of honor or shame.

    • RobertCHastings

      Most such tests are “weighted”, giving consideration to the largely cultural differences that you describe. However,it is easy to see how even “weighting” could introduce some biases,either way. That is why it is extremely important that those who DO NOT have the educational advantages afforded by a two-parent family, books and someone to read them to small children, educational toys that exercise the mind and the imagination, etc. have access to something that will make up for the differences, such as Head Start, or some standardized neighborhood/community preschool program. It is well documented that if a child is not reading on grade level by the third grade, his chances of graduating HS, getting a decent job, and staying out of jail are greatly diminished. By keeping a certain demographic from the advantages afforded the rest of us, we are intentionally creating an underclass of people who will 1)become dependent upon government largesse, 2)perpetuate our problems with prison overcrowding, 3)not understand or be able to utilize their rights and responsibilities as citizens of this country.

  • Pamby50

    Let’s get rid of no child left behind and standardized testing. In the good old days, we had teachers who taught us in the beginning to read, write and do math. Each year we were expected to do a little more. Geography, civics,history. Then came science. In 8th grade we had algebra & we had to take a constiution test in order to graduate. Then we moved & I never brought home a book the first year of high school. No teacher was challenging me. I had to take algebra. Already did that. Had to take of year of science. Already did that. In my junior year we had to take US History and pass the consitution test. Is was more in depth that my 8th grade one. If you didn’t pass it, you had to take it again in your senior year. If you didn’t pass, you didn’t graduate. We had to take a language in high school. You had a choice between French, Spanish or German. There was automotive, woodworking, & drafting classes. Not everyone went to college. Some went to trade school. We need to go back to those days but add in new technology. There is an old saying, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Don’t you think we have wasted to many?

  • NoPolitician

    Standardized testing is the redlining of the 21st Century. People are given officially sanctioned reports as to the precise neighborhoods in which they should not reside.

  • rustacus21

    Leave it to Ms. Tucker to present us the raw edge of the hidden life of society we collectively tend to ignore. This problem bares the naked, the problem of racism at its most stark – the ‘un-education’ crisis’ facing non-White cultures in America. I have tried, in various forums, to point peoples attention to a widely known, but oft-ignored mid-1960’s study, by Daniel Moynihan, which alluded to the problems facing a post-slave culture in a still racist society, but which offered nothing in the way of solutions – which would have been the responsibility of Congress & the Prez. As a result of his report being ignored & largely misinterpreted – not the least of which involved Civil (or Human) Rights movement coming to a head, in the midst of Vietnam, he & his report were forced to the background. Events subsequent to the period, show the active effort, starting w/Richard Nixon, to disable the Public Education system, so there would ‘obviously’ not be a repeat of children having leaned the basics & foundations of our Democracy & thus, offsetting the potential of children challenging authorities (or ‘authoritarians’) in power when made to act in un-Democratic (i.e., the Vietnam war, institutionally racist entitlements for the children of elites, etc) ways. Now, in order to simply survive & ‘try’ to teach under such dire circumstances, we’re faced w/having to start yet again, from square 1, resulting in what transpired in GA. Public Education – as opposed to ‘Privatized’ models, educates children in the broadest panorama of life in a Democracy. How is that achieved, 1 may wonder? Read U’r Constitution, the Declaration, the Federalist Papers & maybe, just MAYBE, advocates will NOW become activists to help immediately HALT public funding of privatized schools which only test – NOT teach & produce ‘citizens’ w/all the qualities of warm, cuddly robot, but lacking in critical thinking skills necessary for becoming responsible for the future of America’s vital Democratic in ‘THEIR’ future – as this is the real crisis facing Public Education…

  • 4sanity4all

    When the Bush administration trotted out NCLB, I knew it would fail. Here is why: It rewards high test scores with cash for the schools. Sounds good, right? Well, here is the catch: as long as your scores KEEP GOING UP, you get the cash. When your scores level off, or if they dip, you do not. Now, the teachers are threatened with having their school close if scores do not improve. But the students have no skin in the game. There is no consequence to the students if they fail. Now, when students bring a good attitude from home, and they come prepared to learn, teachers can do their magic. Many parents really don’t like the schools, they failed when they were students, and they really do not want their kids to like school. Does that surprise you? Then you are not a teacher, my friend. If NCLB had been structured differently, for example, send LOTS of learning materials to the teachers, give workshops to the staff so they know how to use the materials, furnish all supplementary materials to the schools on an ongoing basis, so the students have the tools they need to learn. If the scores go up, reward the schools with more learning materials of their choice. If scores do not go up, give the school remedial materials, and more workshops to use them properly. And here is a big one, provide materials to have meetings for parents so that they are convinced that they need to support their childs educational mission,mostly by sending their child to school fed, well rested and ready to WORK. Obvious to me, but not to the great minds that foisted the crap that is NCLB on us. And now the present administration is much too enamored of charter schools to see a common sense solution like the one I proposed. For the love of God, will somebody listen to the teachers? I bet a LOT of them would agree with me.

  • We are all aware of kids whom perform great in the classroom and do well with homework assignments yet ‘sink like a stone’ when it’s time to test. We also know how poverty can victimize children just beginning the learning process, and unless things start out in a positive manner, a long hapless school experience is likely. Are there some teachers we prefer not be in the profession? Sure. However the vast majority have a love and passion of the occupation for the right reasons. That being, having an impact on opening up the ‘critical thought process’ of children. This is as ‘altruistic’ an endeavor as can be. What is more valuable in life (with the possible exception of sound health) than receiving a well rounded, rigorous education? Elementary teachers typically do not get rich from teaching. Often teachers pay out of pocket to provide necessary learning tools for the young minds they’re trying to open. In many regions of this country, both inner city and rural schools are open that, have no books or even pencil and paper. The willingness to give up their income for learning materials for our children, is a mark of ‘high character’ and ‘dedication’ to the future of our children…and by extension our country. Yet, there exists a highly organized, effort toward villifying and undermining these outstanding exemplars of ‘decency and patriotism’ toward turning our young minds and future, over to private industry.
    My 30 year old niece just acquired her masters in teaching and due to the assault on teachers from our Tea Party run state, she is considering leaving the profession she loves. Scott Walker (asked to leave Marquette for cheating) has low regard for the fact Wisconsin’s schools historically have produced very high graduation numbers and continuously rank at (or) near the top in college entrance exam scores. We must beat back this faux movement. Our country must make public education the top priority toward accomplishing a more humane future for us all.