How do we pay for public education?

Discussion in 'West Mall' started by FridayNiteLites, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. FridayNiteLites

    FridayNiteLites 500+ Posts

    Larry I think we are advocating the same type of program, but I know you teach lower grade levels, so I have not gone back that far. I am a big proponent of splitting the academic track when kids reach a certain age. Vocational and academic. I think once kids hit 15-16 they need to take a test developed by the school district that more or less pushes them into either continued academic courses of study or vocational courses. Students now are being told they must be "college ready" even though only 25% or so will ever complete a college education. We would be saving ourselves a lot of time, energy and money by allowing kids to have choices. We need people who can operate heavy equipment, plumbers, electricians, masons, and many other building trades, or manufacturing trades that have long left the high schools in lieu of getting students college ready. Students would stay in school longer, and I think the dropout rate would actually go down if students were getting training in something they could use. Our administration is somewhat getting this and we are going to offer more classes next year that address some of these issues. But the question still remains, how do we pay for it?
  2. UTChE96

    UTChE96 2,500+ Posts

    Its time to move to mostly a private sector solution such as vouchers as it is clear that the public school system is an abysmal failure in nearly every aspect. Property taxes should be reduced and capped at a certain limit while increasing sales tax to pay for the remaining portion. There should also be a pay for service component. It should not be very high maybe $1k per child per year. I would not consider this overly burdensome. Of course, this would be waived for lower income folks.
  3. Larry T. Spider

    Larry T. Spider 1,000+ Posts

  4. theiioftx

    theiioftx Sponsor Deputy

    Tax every baby. From the day a kid is born, every parent is levied a tax each year until they graduate from high school. Eliminate the property tax and make each parent pay for the cost of education. Maybe this would curb irresponsible parenting.
  5. FridayNiteLites

    FridayNiteLites 500+ Posts

    Good info Larry. There is a fallacy that private education is somehow the holy grail of education and if we just gave vouchers to everyone that would solve the problem. I would venture that most private schools pay teachers much less than public schools which in turn attracts lesser talented teachers. You can't make a silk purse out of a sows' ear. Putting irresponsible, non-motivated students into schools that demand respect and responsibility won't all of a sudden cause that student to be a better student. I'm sure it could help in some instances, but overall, I doubt it. Students don't see the value in the education they are receiving. The biggest question I hear from high school students is "why do I need this?" and quite honestly I don't have a good reason. So they are not motivated.
  6. UTChE96

    UTChE96 2,500+ Posts

  7. Larry T. Spider

    Larry T. Spider 1,000+ Posts

    It's data I would love to see but most private schools will not release that data. It also gets very confusing because some get money from a church. I have no problems with private schools as many are very good even with very poor kids that they give scholarships to. But it's very different to introduce one or two kids from rough backgrounds into a class of upper income kids than to teach an entire class of them at a time. If we went to a full on vouchers system, private schools would be taking on a role that we just don't have significant data to support on a humongous scale. The schools that have been made up almost entirely of low income kids on vouchers and have done well are made up of parents that were willing to wait in line, drive farther, make commitments, etc. I'm all for giving them that opportunity, but don't expect the deadbeats that kill public schools to do it.
  8. houstonearlers

    houstonearlers 100+ Posts

  9. NEWDOC2002

    NEWDOC2002 1,000+ Posts

  10. Larry T. Spider

    Larry T. Spider 1,000+ Posts

    Anecdotes vs peer reviewed studies involving thousands of students. I'll take my chances with the research. BTW, Im sure that the christian school your kids go to is great. So are the public schools with the children of doctors. I went to westwood and would put the AP classes there up against just about any private school.
  11. Roger

    Roger 1,000+ Posts

  12. Roger

    Roger 1,000+ Posts

    A system I've thought of would have every school public or private start competing for your tax/school dollars. The state collects all school taxes and then distributes to each school based on the number of registered students. So here is the catch every parent can choose where to send their kids of course the school (public or private) would have to accept them. Then each school gets that money and can operate how the want. This would allow principals to run their schools as they see fit with the exception of each school would now need a board of trustees.

    It would create competition and the truly failing schools would cease to exist or would reopen with a full new staff.
  13. NEWDOC2002

    NEWDOC2002 1,000+ Posts

    Apples and oranges. You deal w hundreds of kids and I deal with two. And I know that my kids education will trump anything within a hundred miles except for some other private schools.

    By the way, thousands of patients in studies for Vioxx and Bextra showed the drugs to be safe. Guess what, they cause heart attacks come to find out. Now they are off the market. That can happen when you put your faith in studies.

    Yes, I could stick my kids in Allen ISD or Plano or Alamo Heights or Woodlands and they would probably do great but i dont have that option and Im not sure I want it.

    Are you going to sit there and tell us the TAKS test and it's mutant off spring along with D.C. improved public education?

    Do you really think this is a viable model to help our students compete internationally?

    You obviously chose UT. Why not some local community college with cheaper tuition? It's just as good???
  14. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    FNL and Larry,

    I'm in the middle of moving to Germany, so I haven't been able to read everything you've linked to. You guys make some good points, and there's no question that private schools are not necessarily a holy grail. However, your perspective is very different from mine. You guys look at broad studies comparing private to public schools and find that private schools aren't a perfect answer. (As the Doc pointed out, studies can and often are wrong, especially when they're conducted by groups who have an interest in the outcome. However, I'll presume that they're true for the sake of discussion.)

    By contrast, my concern is with what's good for individual students. The beauty of vouchers is that they aren't a one-size-fits-all option. If the public school is the best option for a kid in a particular area, he can stay there. However, he's not trapped. If it's not his best option, he can leave.

    One other thing, the fact that private school teachers aren't paid as well as public school teachers is a complete non-issue to me. My wife works with who are undoubtedly the highest paid teachers in the country. They're nothing special. Furthermore, the longer I'm married to a public school teacher, the more I learn that degrees, certifications, and salaries aren't what make a teacher good. A heart for teaching and a motivation to help children has to be there. If it's not, you can pay a teacher with a doctorate $300K per year, and she's going to suck.
  15. FridayNiteLites

    FridayNiteLites 500+ Posts

    Deez, good luck in Germany. I love that country and the beer! There is no holy grail for education, but there could be such a better system if we could just get the right people in place to make some decisions instead of lobbyists ragging on the ears of legislators about how their textbook, study guide, curriculum, etc. will be the magic pill. I'm not sold on vouchers, they might work, they might not. Is it worth a try? It is possible we are going to find out soon enough. You are correct that higher paid teachers don't mean better teachers. I know some teachers who need to do something else. They don't have passion about what they do, have no relationships with their students and all they do is gripe. I want to make an impact on my students, not just in the courses that I teach, but about life after high school. I am fortunate to teach in a community where our greatest problems in school is generally absenteeism. Sure we have other things going on with the usual suspects in regard to drugs and whatever, but for the most part we have kids who want to succeed and want to have something valuable when they leave high school. That's where the problem lies with me, we don't offer all students something valuable to take with them after they leave high school. If we want to compare ourselves, or be compared with schools around the world, then we better start making some changes in how we educate our students. There is another thread about the $10k bachelors degree that pointy boots wants to offer. I believe I received a very good education at the university I attended, a small private school. My degree might have cost that much back then, but would cost 10 times that much now. The question to me is did the teachers get that much better and the education that much better now because they are paid more? Or is it just a matter of economics and free enterprise? I think it's the same with public education in the fact that teachers and schools get more money per student than they did thirty years ago, but is the education that much better? It doesn't matter how much money you throw at education if the teaching is poor. I'm not advocating more money, although it would be nice, I'm advocating changes to the system that would give value to students. I want them to leave high school with skills to succeed whether they go to college or go into the work force. We don't do that now. I get home schooled kids in my classes from time to time and they are usually good kids. They come to high school because their parents don't have the expertise to teach them the upper level courses that they need in order to be college ready. Usually those are science and math classes. Since we are a rural community there is not a lot of choice where they would be able to use a voucher. There is a private school within 20 miles, but the pay is very low, so they don't attract very many teachers who have expertise in their fields. There are some who are retired teachers, and there are a few who I know that teach there now because they were non-renewed from their previous school. If we are going to offer school choices to parents/students then we are going to open a whole new can of worms, and I'm not sure we want to do that.
  16. ut1969

    ut1969 100+ Posts

    The main contributing factor to learning is the home life of the child and that's something that nobody can change. My sister is an AP in Austin and has very interesting stories about the home life of her students. Many of her students only meals are when they are at school. She has had students that live in cars or never see their parents. Many of her students come from homes where education is not important. Going to work at 15 and help paying the bills is the main priority.

    Another problem is there is no discipline or respect in the schools. Just yesterday she had 3 students verbally assault her and just walk off. This problem goes back to the 70's when all that feel good crap came into society. If a student does not want to learn, then take them out of the regular population. This is the one big advantage private schools have over the public schools. They get to pick and choose who they want and if you misbehave, your *** is gone. Last time I was over at St Stephens, I don't remember seeing any gang members running around the campus.

    So if vouchers are allowed, how is the state going to handle when the private schools don't allow a student in because they cannot score high enough on the entrance exam or is kicked out for not behaving? Then you can start all the lawsuits.
  17. Vol Horn 4 Life

    Vol Horn 4 Life 5,000+ Posts

    The reason private school is better is not because of teacher quality, but accountability and parental involvement. Most and i would venture to say all under performing schools have parents who are absent from their kids education and aren't really held accountable for anything.
  18. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

  19. FridayNiteLites

    FridayNiteLites 500+ Posts

    Good points, but if you offer vouchers as a pilot program guess who is going to do the evaluation? That's right, the legislators who want to see it work. That way they can prove they are right and everyone in opposition is wrong. They will want control, and I'm not sure private schools are going to go along with that. Plus we have the whole "separation of church and state" issue. Kids attending private parochial schools will most likely be required to attend Bible classes. How will the state address those issues? I'm not so sure that private schools are going to want vouchers. Then what do you do? Travel is going to be an issue with lower income people who receive a voucher but can't get their child to a school that will accept them. Logistics will be a hindrance.

    Now how about athletics? You think recruiting is not going to be a problem? Will the UIL allow TAPS schools to all of a sudden join them? Can of worms...
  20. Larry T. Spider

    Larry T. Spider 1,000+ Posts

  21. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

  22. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

  23. dheiman

    dheiman 1,000+ Posts

  24. Larry T. Spider

    Larry T. Spider 1,000+ Posts

    Found this to be an interesting article about vocational classes and the results one district is seeing. Also found it interesting as far as the reasons districts shy away from these programs.[/url]

    In Arizona and more than a few other states, that is beginning to change. Indeed, the old notion of vocational education has been stood on its head. It's now called career and technical education (CTE), and it has become a pathway that even some college-bound advanced-placement students are pursuing. About 27% of the students in Arizona opt for the tech-ed path, and they are more likely to score higher on the state's aptitude tests, graduate from high school and go on to higher education than those who don't. "It's not rocket science," says Sally Downey, superintendent of the spectacular East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, Ariz., 98.5% of whose students graduate from high school. "It's just finding something they like and teaching it to them with rigor." Actually, it's a bit more than that: it's developing training programs that lead to jobs or recognized certification, often in partnership with local businesses. Auto shop at East Valley, for example, looks a lot different from the old jalopy that kids in my high school used to work on. There are 40 late-model cars and the latest in diagnostic equipment, donated by Phoenix auto dealers, who are desperate for trained technicians. "If you can master the computer-science and electronic components," Downey says, "you can make over $100,000 a year as an auto mechanic.",9171,2113794-1,00.html

    Edit to add from article:
    Still, Huppenthal finds vocational school is a tough sell to the state's education establishment. "It doesn't have the prestige of a college-prep course," he says, "and it costs a lot more than two-dimensional education to do it right." Traditionally, Democrats have tended to be opposed on ideological grounds. They're the strongest believers in college for everyone. Republicans are reluctant to spend the money on state-of-the-art equipment like the veterinary center on the Navajo reservation, although some concede that CTE programs that prepare students for actual jobs are a good idea.
  25. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    Excellent article, Larry. And this is the kind of education spending I would even pay more taxes to support, because it's a real investment. Teach these kids who may not be "college material" to build homes, repair cars, weld, etc., and they learn a real, marketable skill that can translate into a good job or starting a business. If you can get a good job, who cares if you haven't read "Invisible Man" or "Catcher in the Rye?"
  26. FridayNiteLites

    FridayNiteLites 500+ Posts

    There are a couple of bills being introduced to move back toward this type of choice for students. I don't expect it to make miraculous changes in the short term, but I'm hopeful for the long term. I know that our rural district is trying to move toward offering more vocational classes as electives. Good article Larry. Deez if you ever get an Andechs in your hands you are going to be spoiled for life. [​IMG]
  27. Larry T. Spider

    Larry T. Spider 1,000+ Posts

    Luckily the idea is becoming more popular in colleges of education and is being promoted at the graduate level. For many professors, its about widening the box that that we deem acceptable for children to fit into. Right now, the only talents that are deemed acceptable are purely academic. The business community is looking for skilled workers, some of which will be paid very good wages. This is something that I think both sides will eventually support but for different reasons.

    For it to happen:
    1. It has to be paid for. The start up cost certainly wouldn't be cheap. Property taxes are crazy as it is. With the surplus, now might be a good time to start setting money aside for this.

    2. Transition. I would guess that there would be a slow transition. As more traditional teachers retire, some will be replaced with people qualified to teach these classes. I'm guessing that districts will fund one program then gradually add more.

    3. Accountability. How are we going to determine which of these programs are successful? How are we going to evaluate the teachers? I can evaluate typical teachers all day. I would be the least qualified person on the planet to evaluate an auto mechanics teacher.

    4. It cant become a dumping ground for poor and minority students that schools don't want to deal with. This happened 50 years ago so the programs went away.
  28. wewokahorn

    wewokahorn 250+ Posts

  29. FridayNiteLites

    FridayNiteLites 500+ Posts

    I agree with your points Larry. There will need to be some type of application process for kids to choose, coupled with aptitude test to help students get into the areas that they would be most suited for. I hope it doesn't evolve into a partisan battle. It would be nice for a change to do something that benefits kids instead of a political party.
  30. BrntOrngStmpeDe

    BrntOrngStmpeDe 1,000+ Posts

    yes, it is this 'sub-population' requirement that seems to get many school districts.
    IMO, it is not typically the school districts personnel that are so different, although this may account for some of it. It is primarily the school populations (parents and students) that are so different from district to district.

    It is the culture of the community that sucks rather than the teachers and administrators. Hate to keep picking on Edgewood but if the parents and kids in EISD really gave a dang about school performance as a community culture then the school would be better over night.

    there needs to be a critical mass of parents/students that care enough to demonstrate an academic attitude
    before there will be a shift in achievement.

    We went from S. Austin where most of the parents were degreed professionals to a sort of E. Texas sports focus district. They still have good schools but the academic attitude difference is apparent and the scores show it.

    Let's face it, school districts in minority dominated areas have a poor academic culture. While they may have the potential for academic success, kids stuck in these communities with poor academic culture will have an uphill battle. Not because the teachers and administrators suck, but because their parents and neighbors suck.

    Two of dallas magnate schools are minority dominated and achieve very high scores. It is not because they have substantially more money. It is not because the teachers there are 'genius' teachers or there are 'genius' kids. it is because the population of students come from homes where education is considered important and the student body has achieved a critical mass of students that have a good academic attitude.

    Money doesn't fix it...unless you can pay parents and kids to CARE ABOUT SCHOOL.

    you can lead a horse to water but, you can't make them drink.

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