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Saturday, January 19, 2013

On state education reform.

Last night I was on the TV show "politics  knoxville" with Steve Hall. We touched on several education issues I have been working on as well as some I have worked on in the past that are coming up again now.

"What  about charter schools?, should there be the limits on vouchers?". "Should vouchers only be for the poor and if so, what is poor? Should it only be for kids in failing schools? Or should it be for kids in all schools?" We ran the gambit.

My personal feeling  is"Go big or go home". We have been ranked 46-48 for as long as I can remember in public education. It is time we tried something different.

The state has made an obligation to "free" public education but not all costs are fixed. Yes, the state has to pay a set percent for each child in fixed costs (buildings, heat and air, lights, repair men, etc.) but some of the costs go with the number of children in the class. If by chance say 30% of the kids went elsewhere costs to that school would diminish also. I think that amount should be used as the amount for a scholarships. They are working on a formula for that now. I think it could be in the 80% range. After that, I see little reason to set any other limits.

As for charter schools,  I traditionally support local control as long as it is being done in a fair and judicious manner.  In Nashville that is not the case, while the state had set the standards that had been met by the charter applicants  the locals were refusing to grant any  applications. I suspect heavy pressure from the teachers unions (who traditionally fight such advancements)  on the school board members was the key factor.

The state cut the Nashville school systems funding by millions as a result but the school board refused to budge. I guess the school board members personal income outweighed the needs of the school children.

If the locals continue to refuse any reasonable changes for failing schools you can expect to see more state involvement.


  1. Voucher tax dollars in FL are going to satanists for children whose parents are part of that "church". I don't want my tax dollars going to fund satanist teachings by pretending they are "educating" children.

    Education tax dollars have been funneled to a Turkish cult that runs a chain of charter schools around the country called Gulen Charter Schools.

    How do you plan to regulate these private schools that are taking our tax money? Will the curriculum of these programs be made public?

  2. How can you improve public education by reducing funding?

  3. Funding for education is not being reduced.

  4. When you take money from public education and give it to charter schools, how can you say funding for public education is not being reduced?

    I would support charter schools if they took ONLY the bottom third of the academically challenged students from public schools. That would prove the benefit of charter schools as far as improving education while raising the performance level of public schools. It would be a win/win for everyone.
    How about proposing that legislation.

  5. You seem to be confused as to who the actual customeri is. it is not the education burocracy. it is the student and the taxpayer. if we can get a better result for a lower price sign me up.

  6. How does a charter school lower educational cost? The bills I have seen proposed takes the average per student cost from public education and gives it to a charter school. The purpose of education systems is to serve the students. Taking the top students from public schools leaves only those students that needs extra instruction in public education with less funding. Again, in my opinion, that is the wrong approach. Take the students that are performing below state standards and put them in the charter schools.

  7. Please re read the above post I wrote on what I thought might be offered as the rate for scholarships. As for who should've allowed to go and the result, if there were 30 kids in a class and suddenly there were only 15, each child would suddenly receive twice the amount of individualized attention.the end result of improving a child's overall performance would go up. With our new scoring system that rates performance on a student by student basis allowing the "dumb" kids to be the only ones who can get a scholarship would have little impact. In fact, if I were a teacher I would prefer that those are the kids that not get a scholarship. Those are the kids that can make the greatest gains and potentially get me more bonus money. An A+ kid can't grow as much as a c- kid.

  8. If you remove half of the students from a classroom (half of the funding), what makes you think the teacher would have only half the students? That is not how reality works. The school system would have to combine the two "15 student classrooms" into one and dismiss half of the staff. Now the teacher would have 30, using your description, dumb students. How could that improve the education of the students?

    Again, if charter schools are the superior method of teaching, let them have the low performing students and let public education have the better students. This would be a win/win for all concerned. All of the schools and students would then be meeting or exceeding the state standards.

  9. I think all kids deserve the best education we can provide. Let the parents choose who is getting the best results for their children.

  10. The problem with your reply is that some parents could care less if their children gets an education.

    The major problem with public education is that classrooms are all inclusive. They have the best students included with children with learning disabilities and just plain disruptive students. Teachers have to spend a large portion of their time trying to maintain discipline. With such a wide selection of learning abilities, teachers must teach at a level that the average student can comprehend. This leaves the best students getting bored while the below average students are getting further behind grade level. If the teacher tries to teach at either the high level or low level, then you have a majority of the class not being prepared for the next grade level. Classes should be grouped based according to the learning abilities of the students.

    If any school, private or charter, had to content with the problems of public schools, their results would be similar.

    You know as well as me that public education nationwide is under attack from special interest groups. To undermine public education is a major mistake. It is obvious that we are not going to agree on this issue. You are anti-public education and I am a supporter. I trust that you will eventually see the importance of public education.

  11. Ah yes, the typical charter school ploy by the public school monopoly. Create a "lottery" to pretend admission is by chance, however, only allow the most academically bankrupt schools to participate. Give the charter school a year (or less than a year if you are Andy Berke) to correct all the poor academics the students have accumulated in the public system, then declare the charters a "failure" when they can't catch the worst-of-the-worst up in a year. This is repeated all over the country.

    See the current whining about Tennessee Virtual Academy for example. You will never be given those students' academic performance BEFORE they left for the charter - just the NEA water-carriers complaining they are behind today. For some reason, they just don't trust that those TVA parents can freely choose to return to the brick-and-mortar public school if they wanted to.


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