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March 16, 2013

Our country’s higher education system is made up of state run universities, community and junior colleges, technical and trade school....

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Mar-16-13 12:27 AM

"We have colleges and universities that are private, religious, business, medical, military, music and art based. This combination of choice and competition has resulted in a higher education system for the United States that is "second to none"." Don't forget that these institutions have the right to refuse students, public schools do not. Picture a business that must accept products or raw materials from anyone who shows up on the receiving dock and pay what ever that supplier charges. That business wouldn't last very long. Public schools must take all students regardless of the baggage they bring in terms of mental/physical handicaps and dysfunctional home life. Regarding schools in other developed nations, you will find that they are not as inclusive as our public schools. This is especially true in terms of which students are allowed take the tests that are used to compare how they do to how our students do.

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Mar-16-13 2:05 AM

I think the author of this letter paints a fairly rosey picture of the quality of the education received at the university level in America, while trashing the primary education system and its cost. Well, I would have to say that one is definately the product of the other. Could it be that quality of a public education has declined because the quality of the educators that the states are forced to hire has declined?

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Mar-16-13 5:41 AM

The quality of public education?

Like in New York City?

New York City spends over $18,000 per year per student and nearly 80% graduate and cannot read at grade level nor do math at grade level.

These graduates go into colleges and universities who must first provide remedial programs for these students.

Of course, this is not isolated to NYC. We see this across the nation.

Taxpayers give more and more to public education and then our universities must still finish the job that should have been done at the grade-school level.

It is a disgrace for our nation.

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Mar-16-13 5:43 AM

The issue is more complicated than what the LTE author proposes and I will share one observation that is only a partial cause and solution.

I have seen where parents treat school as day care and send their children at the youngest age possible. They are: too mentally underdeveloped to grasp the information or too socially immature and it detracts from the chance to learn.

Schools are also pushed to educate some concepts and topics at a lower grade level and this makes the situation worse because now less children can grasp and comprehend the information.

Parents need to learn that it is okay to hold back their child a year before they start school. This can sometimes be the wisest decision they can make.

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Mar-16-13 6:04 AM

Is it a coincidence that the letter writer ignores the cost of post secondary education in the US? Or are they saying it should cost $150,000 a year to educate an 8th grader?

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Mar-16-13 6:31 AM

Tedeaux-"Could it be that quality of a public education has declined because the quality of the educators that the states are forced to hire has declined?"

Not sure what you mean by this Ted. Schools aren't 'forced' to hire anyone. If you mean that the pickin's are getting slim for those who want to teach, you have to wonder why that is. I know that if I were a young person looking at a career I sure wouldn't be looking at teaching. The kids are disrespectful and ride, backed up by their parents, there is no real discipline in our schools, the public perception of teachers is mostly negative and teachers are forced to teach to standardized testing, not the ability of the students in the class.

Really, look at the comments here at the SG in regards to teachers. All you see is a bunch of teacher bashing; teachers aren't worth what they are paid, they don't teach, it's the teacher unions fault, too much money being spent on teachers salary and benefits and not enough on educ

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Mar-16-13 6:35 AM

cont'd- and not enough on education (that one always baffled me, if you're not spending the money on the person teaching, what are you spending it on?), etc.

It's not the teachers, it's the methods and curriculum they are being forced to use and the kids they are forced to deal with on a daily basis.

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Mar-16-13 6:44 AM

David, good post. Here is another thing that changed a while back. Up until the end of middle school our daughter (now a freshman in college) was in class with others who were more advanced and learned quicker. That changed when the school (through regulations?) decided that classes should no longer be arranged by student ability and threw everyone of all learning abilities into one classroom. Immediately she complained that she was now bored in school because she 'learned that stuff 2 years ago). SO you've got her and her other advances classmates bored, those in the middle learning at their ability, and those on the bottom end struggling. And the truth is all of them are being cheated out of being able to learn to the best of their ability.

That is not the teachers fault, that is regulation and administration's fault.

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Mar-16-13 6:54 AM

Texas brings up another problem.

It is not just that so many parents use school as day-care, but many parents are not involved in their child's education.

Too many parents think education is solely the school's job and do not push their children to do homework, understand concepts and support what the school has done through the day.

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Mar-16-13 7:03 AM

I don't know if it occurs here in Pennsylvania or not, but in Louisiana, the teacher hiring standards were lowered a couple of years ago accommodate the graduates of Louisiana's predomonately black universities, Southern University in Baton Rouge and Grambling University near Ruston, LA. These universities were graduating so many students that couldn't meet the State of Louisiana's minimum requirement standard, so in their infinate wisdom, the State LOWERED THE STANDARD TO ACCOMMODATE THEIR POOR PERFORMANCE!

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Mar-16-13 8:20 AM

Todays headline and article about LHU stands in stark contrast to the complaining coming out of that university about the lack of state funding for the past 2 years.

Think about that.

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Mar-16-13 8:30 AM

Francine, you have a good point about the unions. I think that it would be more accurate to say that unions are happy to have good teachers in their ranks, but they don't put enough pressure on the poor ones to improve or leave. Mike, I totally agree about the situation your daughter experienced. I saw first hand how wholesale inclusion made it impossible to maintain a rigorous curriculum.

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Mar-16-13 8:45 AM

If the young lady recently hired at my workplace is any example of the product of the local school district, good grief. Her spelling is terrible, and she writes like she's texting her BFF. I hope she's just being lazy and really does know how to spell and write a proper sentence. Otherwise, I have no idea how she would have passed a middle school English class, let alone graduated with a diploma.

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Mar-16-13 8:45 AM

Another letter blaming teachers and unions. He demands choice and competition. Well there is competition; charter schools and private schools and at home schooling and schools operated from various churches. This constant running down of public schools has to stop. You have too many people deciding how a teacher is to teach and how a school should operate. People claim they value education and how important it is until you mention the actual cost then it is not so valuable nor is the teacher.

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Mar-16-13 8:49 AM

Then there is the factor outside of school that play a part in how well a school performs. Health of the children, poverty, malnourishment, parental involvement, income inequality, funding.

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Mar-16-13 8:54 AM

Every time somone says get rid of the union it is so they can fire 'incompetent' teachers. Incompetent to who? All it would take is on outrage parent the other 29 or more parents have no problem or issue with that teacher but all it would take is that one parent who doesn't like the fact that this teacher under perform for them.

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Mar-16-13 8:59 AM

Our public school system is another example of what happens when you center all your efforts and money around the lowest common denominator, rather than on the achievers.

It is the same with our gov't......focusing too much on the poor and lazy rather than on the wealthy and productive.

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Mar-16-13 9:32 AM

Chuck,"Another letter blaming teachers and unions."

So when the job is not getting done, who do you blame? You would blame everyone except the one whose job it is to teach. Of course much of the problem is that the curriculum is controlled at the state and even the federal level, but that too is at least partly due to pressure from the union. Good teachers should be aloud to teach and poor teachers should be aloud to find other employment. Our current rules do not allow either of these things to happen. We need to release the schools from the restrictions of regulation and union interference and let them teach the way they used to. That way it would be obvious who the good and bad teachers are.

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Mar-16-13 10:00 AM

No enigma you are only blaming the teachers. More than teachers are involved in the education of our children. Starting with parents right up to highest reaches of government. But because they are the most visible it must be the teachers always.

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Mar-16-13 10:00 AM


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Mar-16-13 10:02 AM

"We need to release the schools from the restrictions of regulation and union interference and let them teach the way they used to"

From which era? One room school house, where anyone could teach as long as they could read and add.

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Mar-16-13 10:03 AM

When you stop protecting teachers you stop protecting children.

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Mar-16-13 10:12 AM

No Chuck, I am not just blaming the teachers. Did you miss most of my post? I mostly blame the union and the government for interferring. When a school system has an 80% dropout rate, you can blame the community, but when 80% of graduates cannot read, you have to blame the schools. Is it too much to ask that children who can't read, don't graduate? Isn't that a minimum standard that we can all agree on? We need the legislature to stop trying to control schools and to start protecting them from stupid parent lawsuits, so the schools can get back to teaching. They also need to spend less (no) time on politically correct ciriculum and more time on classical education.

Sorry about 'aloud', I guess I should have my coffee before I comment.

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Mar-16-13 10:53 AM

Just thinking out loud.. but I wonder how many people that post here, pro or con, have actually been inside a classroom in the past year.. or two. Or 5, 10.. pity my current work schedule doesn't allow the opportunity to volunteer, it was something I only did sparingly but thoroughly enjoyed..

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Mar-16-13 11:09 AM

I'm going to agree with CaveFelem. Back in 2009 I was going to hire a gentleman to work for me that graduated from a local High School that could not read or write.

I asked him how he was able to graduate and his response was "I played Football and was on the Wrestling Team so they just passed me". Needless to say I could not hire him, what a shame that couches and teachers and his parents would let this happen.

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