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Archive for the tag “Scholastic Aptitude Tests”

EDUCATION TEXAS- IS TOP DOWN THE ANSWER?

 

Recently I read an article on chron.com, headed “Texas Politics” that got my attention. This article announced that a diverse group of Texas business, philanthropic and community leaders have formed a group named the “Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education”. It was described as a “nonpartisan group” of more than 200 founding members, innovators, job creators, former office holders and education advocates. Their mission was for Texas to lead the nation in higher education. It noted that this was done in support of governance proposed by Rick Perry.

The article went on to say that they were alarmed about the cuts in funding of research and professors. It was predicted as a prescription for mediocrity for Texas. I commend this group of concerned citizens for forming this movement.

It is a shame that our Governor, the legislature, these distinguished business leaders and scholars have no time or desire to improve our K-12 basic education. With all of the interest in higher education Texas has decimated the primary education programs. With no facts to support the spending of billions of dollars by adding more testing in lieu of discipline and better teachers is idiotic at best. Adding additional math and science courses with no foundation or preparation will be another disaster. Creating new testing programs appear designed as a way to evaluate teachers rather than improve our children’s knowledge.

We can’t afford to downgrade education in Texas as our current standing in 43rd place out of 50 states in K-12 schools is unacceptable. Testing does not improve knowledge, teachers do.

This new higher education drive does not even follow the laws of nature. To get an pecan tree we plant, water andFertilize a pecan. We do not wait until it reaches adult life to nourish its growth.

Most of the people who formed this new group, our academics, legislators, business leaders and Governor Perry were educated in another era like myself. We did not have discipline problems, aliens, and a welfare society to distract K-12 education. We also had fewer one parent children and parents who shared education responsibilities. Now we expect a teacher in K-12, who is responsible to teach, to also provide nurturing and discipline that is a parental obligation. Teachers spend an enormous amount of time defending their actions with parents.

Common sense will prevail that not every teacher is perfect and some will need guidance and some removed from education. If anyone believes that every K-12 child is 100% angel, they need an awakening. Our Texas leaders have decided, without any facts that the solution will be to use outside testing agencies to evaluate teacher and administrator performance.

We now live in a technological era where the entire problem could be isolated and corrected at a fraction of the costs of the STAAR testing program.

All that needs to be done is to install a digital sound camera in every classroom, office and board room from kindergarten to graduate school. This would provide the facts necessary to know exactly what to do to improve education at every level. This would pinpoint teacher, administrator, student and school board performance evaluation. Parents could witness discipline problems; administrators could review teacher performance; school boards could evaluate administrators and the state could evaluate school boards. This is what a business would do if their costs keep increasing and the performance diminished. Doing the right thing right, every time, is called success and common sense. Unfortunately politicians have little business or common sense.

How many teachers, administrators, school boards, university/college professors and trustees will fight these suggestions? All of them will. Unfortunately politicians will just ignore them.

Hoping that a child will be smarter with testing, so the professors in college task will be easier is a pipe dream. From my perspective our leadership in Texas has their education priorities bassackwards. Pardon my east Texas vocabulary.

Clyde Brewer

U.S. EDUCATION GONE WILD

 

Last week there were two articles written by Kyle Olson and published on http://biggovernment.com . I encourage everyone to read the articles in this publication daily. You will find a link on this blog-site with every issue. I will share and paraphrase some of the highlights that will reveal some disturbing facts that our education system is broken. We the people must force Congress to eliminate the US Department of Education. In addition it is beyond too late to stop the runaway waste caused by the teacher unions. If we don’t we are destined to see our 2009 position of 22nd in Science, 27th in Math and 32nd in reading out of the top 32 industrialized nations. This is sick. 

Take a look at some facts. In too many places school districts have no funds for text books, laying off teachers and increasing class sizes beyond common sense.

One public school superintendent in Wayne Township, Indiana recently retired with a $1,000,000.00 golden parachute provided by the local school board. This consisted of a lump sum payout of $817,000.00 plus an additional $200,000.00 for 150 day assignment as Superintendent Emeritus. No one is sure what he was supposed to do for the $1300 per day expense to be paid by the taxpayers.

Kyle cites another example in Central Falls, Rhode Island where the school system and the city are on the edge of financial ruin. The Wall Street Journal reported that the district’s teachers are paid four times as much as the US median household income.

It is not over as last month the US Department of Education awarded a $1,300,000.00 grant to the Central Falls School District as part of our government’s effort to help improve the nation’s worst schools.

Kyle said; “The second realization I had was that taxpayers have been played for a bunch of dopes. Teacher unions and their political surrogates continually tell us we need to “invest” more and more in education. The reality is that while education spending has skyrocketed, student achievement has flattened. Taxpayers are getting a rotten return on their investment.” I think Kyle is too kind in his assessment!

In my blog last week, I mentioned a new film released named “Kids Aren’t Cars”. Kyle noted the following; “For teachers unions, it’s all about the money. A protester we encountered at a pro-tax increase rally last year in Springfield, Illinois underscored the point.” “Where is the money?” she asked as she rubbed her fingers together. “Save our children! Give us the bucks! Where’s the cash? We need it fast,” she said. Of course she does, or she may need to take a pay freeze or start contributing to her pension plan. She was savvy enough to work children into her demand.”

From 1980 to 2007 the U.S. increased K-12 education spending 571%. It was $101 billion in 2000 and $581 billion in 2007. That is $10,000 per student per year.

I bet you think that we had a big increase in learning for all of that expense? Wrong, every year our high school seniors take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT’s) to assess readiness for college. The average score for critical reading in 1980 was 502. The average score in 2007 for critical reading was 502. Not much bang for the buck. There was some improvement in math. The 1980 score was 492 and in 2007 it was 515, a modest 4.6% improvement in 27 years. I suppose this is why our world ranking in math was 27th in 2009. Our standing at 32nd place in reading out of the 32 nations measured should tell someone something other than money must be necessary to solve the problem. When kids can’t read they can’t learn. With our new texting language they can at least communicate with each other.

I am dedicated to reporting on our education problems until Congress has the courage to bite the union hands that feed them. I do not expect this to happen soon. I pray that the people will keep throwing them out until we find some who will serve our needs rather than get re-elected.

C Brewer

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