So.. How About That School System?
Perhaps this may sound like I'm in the position as a teacher here because this is generally stuff anyone how doesn't work in the school system doesn't really give a fuck about. Well, they'll say "Teachers get a bad rap" or "We should support our teachers", and yet still live in a society that really doesn't care.
If you've spent any time in or around public school since the original No Child Left Behind Law was enacted back in 2002, you've probably heard teachers complain that: "It makes them teach to a test" and "it punishes low preforming schools by giving them even less funding". Well no more! President Obama's secretary of education Arne Duncan is here to end this nonsense by making sure those low preforming schools can't even tell how much money they're going to get because that's entitlement. And entitlement is wrong.
Public education funding has been falling off a cliff in probably every state in the country. In California, my great land that I call my home, they finally seized that much sought after price of lowest per capita public education funding for K-12 education! YES, WE CAN! This has gone hand in hand with the promotion of charter schools and "merit pay" both locally, state wide, and nationally with Obama's "Race to the Top" where states who end barriers to charter school creation and merit pay can compete for a pool of 4 billion in federal education funding for this year.
The main goal of this push is the weakening and destruction of the teachers unions, one of the last strong public sector unions in the country, and the privatization of K-12 eduction, to allow companies to finally squeeze some profit out of a largely untapped market. I'd have to say I doubt Bush could have gotten away with proposing anything like this. There's barely any room to the right of this politically, outside of pure voucher programs.
I know this all sounds pretty boring to you, the parents and future parents of this shitty public education attending children. But if anyone of you is interested, here's an article on why Charter Schools are complete and utter shit. Why Charter Schools Suck Dick
For those who don't want to click, the short version is this; They are better funded (for now) and can discriminate on who they admit, allowing them to artificially select for higher test scores and non-special needs children. Here's an article basically saying that the school systems are about as racially integrated now as before Brown v. Board of Education, and with the recent rise of charter schools, seem to be trending farther downward. JUST CLICK HERE TO READ IT...
If you can't afford to pay for a private school you have no business living in America to begin with nor are you properly able to bring up a child. So please don't try to do so. Charter schools are so fucking bad. They're barely better than homeschooling. I went to a charter school before private school and I got a really piss poor education as well being fucked up socially. That sort of shit happens when you have to wake up dawn to catch a bus to get across town. I'm not saying Private school is so much better.. but as shitty as my private school was when they pimped out their stupid religious message, they still taught a whole lot better than when I was going to a charter school.
Charter schools have also been statistically shown to not be any better academically so it's basically all they're good for is fucking up your kids. Much like throwing a sea water fish you get at the beach into a fish tank and hoping it survives a couple of days.
I have to say that reading about the failure of education makes me more depressed then reading about the failure of Health care. It does make you feel like if public education was the nation's #1 priority and had the same kind of funding our military does, with only absolutely brilliant people teaching K-12, we'd be well on our way to a utopia in a couple of decades. But as it currently stands, I can't decide if this is more or less depressing then the fact that southern schools are basically turning into christian indoctrination camps.
Now you'll probably ask how one would be able to measure what students learn in school in the absence o standardized testing. Maybe we can easily judge it by all sorts of metrics like literacy rates. Plus measuring achievement or whatever is okay, we just shouldn't tie in funding into it.
We also shouldn't close down low-performing schools and move the kids to other low-performing/borderline schools, increasing the amount of time they spend on the bus (decreasing the amount of time they have for schoolwork, etc.) and increasing the chances that their parents won't be able to meet with the teachers as often, since those low performing schools are usually in poor neighborhoods where car ownership is not as high as the suburbs.
It's a very simple way to kill off public education. Sure, closing the school they transferred from removes that school's scores from the district, but all they are doing is movng the problem around and creating a cascading effect, since those kids are going to eventually drag down the schools they are transferred to. They need to address the problems in the original school.
I'm actually really surprised by all this. I would think Republicans would not those schools closed as some of those kids could end up in the same schools with their kids and possibly drag their kids' schools down in the scores... Ha ha ha ha. Just kidding. Everyone knows those rich families sent their kids to a private school that actually cares about the level of education they give.. unless it's catholic. Then it's just bible camp.
In all this the district has been looking at bonuses for experienced teachers to go into low-performing schools, but they aren't going to have time to help raise the scores, because the state/feds can exert so much fucking pressure on them by hanging a huge pay check over their heads slightly above their reach. Instead the vicious cycle of deliberately underfunding/fucking over public schools and then using that as an excuse to underfund/dismantle public schools has always infuriated me.
You see, once a school fails to meet the minimum requirements for the standardized testing, they are in trouble. Even if they make changes and start bringing the scores back up, if they don't meet the acceptable ratings pretty fast, the school is closed by the state and the school staff is reassigned to other schools, and the students are bused to other schools.
Sure, they can re-open the school under a new name (what the fuck does changing the name does for test scores, I do not know) such as making it a magnet school and with only a fraction of the former students (I don't know why either). Some of it's suppose to change with some new legislation going into effect this year - there is suppose to be more time for schools to get back up, but it's still a lot of pressure - without the bonuses, they get paid the same as teachers at a good school and if the school doesn't come up fast enough, they can get reassigned elsewhere.
There was a debate over the district being pro-active and closing low-performing schools before the state got the chance to and then allowing them to re-open as charter schools run by private companies. It really fucks over low-income neighborhoods, which is where most of these schools are. The way it's been done in Texas, it's literally a great way to fuck over minorities and non-English speakers.
So yeah.. That's my long winded opinion on the state of our public schools. How can we fix it? Well, Waldorf schooling does seem like a good option. But ultimately I would be talking out of my ass if I even suggested I knew how to fix the problem here. All I can tell you is that the solutions that have come up so far are not going to improve on the situation.
I'm sure this has something to do with Waldorf schooling... HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR