« When laws become lawless | Main | Ideologies and Governance – a structured look »

22 February 2013



George, I still owe RR a piece on the local education scene. I've not forgotten, but I've not yet carved out the time to do the data mining to have something real to say.

Palo Alto is something of a special case. Yes, they are wealthy, but they also have the bad luck to be adjacent to Stanford U, the home of some of the most progressive constructivists (the dominant ed department theory) the world has seen. When the Grass Valley School District went whole language and whole math, Palo Alto had already started their experiments with the same results. "Honest, Open Logical Debate", HOLD, was the first Parents with Pitchforks group opposing this after the Palo Alto math and reading scores plunged in the early '90's.

I drove to Palo Alto for a mid-90's HOLD meeting arranged by Hoover's Bill Evers and featuring the likes of Bill Honig and Maureen DiMarco, and it was an eye opener. The plunge in Palo Alto test scores that raised the ruckus, after they adopted the wretchedly misnamed College Preparatory Math from Davis (CPM, which began as a *remedial* program for older kids who were failing, was also Grass Valley SD's choice) is shown on the bottom of this page:

George Rebane

Gregory 220pm - Thanks Greg, and we do look forward to your assessment of the local education scene. I can hardly wait to see the reaction of some local teachers I know.

Russ Steele

I recently read The K-12 Implosion by Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, but is perhaps better known as the Instapundit in the blog-o-sphere, where he often comments on the growing education problem: We're spending more and more money for an out-of-date system that is producing worse and worse results.

Some excerpts:

"So at the K-12 level, we've got an educational system that in many fundamental ways hasn't changed in 100 years - except, of course, by becoming much less rigorous - but that nonetheless has become vastly more expensive without producing significantly better results."

"When our public education system was created in the 19th century, its goal, quite explicitly, was to produce obedient and orderly factory workers to fill the new jobs being created by the Industrial Revolution. Those jobs are mostly gone now, and the needs of the 21st century are not the needs of the 19th."

I downloaded The K-12 Implosion on my Kindle from Amazon. I was finished reading in about 90 minutes, in three 30 min sessions on excercise bike. Every day the news brings a reminder the current systems is collapsing, as parents remove their children from the broken system they deprive much needed funds to serve the remaining students. Between 2005 to 2010 the number of students fell approximately 5% a year. This decline is unsustainable and could set in motion the implosion Reynolds foresees.

Locally more public schools have been closed and more are on the block. Seven schools in Sacramento will close next year due to under subscription. Parents are fleeing a broken system. I am looking forward to a discussion of what needs to be done to correct a systems was designed to churn out workers for 1925-style labor market and it will not work for kids entering school today who will be entering the 2025 job market.

Joe Koyote

RE: money and education -- a very good and long time friend of mine participated in a state wide study at USC while finishing her EdD that looked into district funding and student success. The results: money and zip code made no difference in student outcomes. The main indicator of student success was parental attitudes on teachers and the value of an education. A self-fulfilling prophecy: regardless of school location or funding if the parent/s thought an education was beneficial the students did well and if parents thought an education a waste of time, so did their children. So given the constant harassment the teaching profession has received over the last few decades (as part of a larger plan, I suspect, to discredit, then privatize public education as well as weaken collective bargaining) it is no small wonder the students are doing poorly. My entire family (parents, aunts, uncles) were teachers and administrators at various levels through university, and they were all Eisenhower Republicans. I don't think my parents ever voted for a Democrat in their lives. They saw themselves as educated professionals with often as much schooling as lawyers and doctors, typically anti-union (they called their bargaining units associations because 'unions" were the trappings of the working class) .Teachers now seem to be mostly Democrats. What happened to alienate all of these people?

George Rebane

re RussS 720pm and JoeK 742pm - My wife Jo Ann graduated as a kineseology major going into secondary education. Her friends and fellow students were also bound for the education trade and spent their lives there, retiring as senior administrators across California. They hit their stride during the Great Society years and drank the koolaid to the dregs. I am ashamed to say that it is our generation, not tat of our kids', that started the plunge during the last half of the 1960s. They all became super-liberal Democrats and backed every crackpot idea to ever hit the schools during the interval.

The Vietnam war and the rebellion it generated was a material factor. In those days technology and a technical education was looked down upon as being part of the despised military-industrial complex. I recall carefully stepping through throngs of sitdown demonstrators who surrounded the entrances to UCLA's science & math quad as I was studying for my masters. Hollywood and the media were complicit in framing the national narrative which reshaped the attitudes of our young.

And it's been downhill ever since as the exquisitely named Equity and Excellence Commission has again confirmed in their report. Of course, they (and you JoeK?) would most likely reject my analysis.

Michael Anderson

George wrote: "The Vietnam war and the rebellion it generated was a material factor...And it's been downhill ever since. [T]hey...would most likely reject my analysis."

Not in the least, you have it spot on. In America, the decision to embrace the Domino Theory destroyed relations between the Traditionals and the Boomers forever. It poisoned this country in a deeply horrific and tragic way. The perpetrators of the Domino Theory were un-American traitors to the US Constitution and should have received the same treatment as the Rosenbergs, once it became clear that they were guilty of genocide and sedition.

Instead, they carry on with quasi-fascist groups like the Oathkeepers. The good news is that GenX, GenY, and the next generation after, have had enough of this battle and they could care less who was right or wrong. They just want the the Traditionals and the Boomers to die as soon as possible, and if they die in pain and agony, all the better. They hate us George, and they hate our battle that has been going on for half a century. We should be deeply ashamed.

What a sad legacy after winning WWII. It could have been so different, but alas, I suppose this is how these things go. Yin and yang, that sort of thing.

I have great hope for the future. I'm sorry that the kids you've come across didn't impress you, but perhaps that has something to do with NU. Try some of the alternative schools around here, you might get different results.

I have no doubt that the future in America is going to be spectacular, once everyone who was around during Vietnam is dead.


Michael's right. Our parent's generation made some real bad decisions with issues like race and war, but I wouldn't put all the blame on them. The "Red Scare" had its roots in the real battle of ideologies back in the fifties. There were many countries that were ready to go the Marxist route after Hitler's fascism. The problem was it got out of hand with things like the Hollywood blacklist. Lots of regular folks attended communist gatherings in the thirties to see what it was all about, and many rejected it. The blacklist tried to paint with too broad a brush. It's a stain on our history.


Earl, Mike was off the wall with that one. George, unless I read him wrong, was making a point about the k-12 public education culture being relentlessly Democratic politically, and that jives with my experience, too. For example, I was shocked visiting the home of one retired music teacher I know, noticing he had the National Review on his coffee table... he told me about keeping his mouth shut for 35 years, not challenging the political BS around the break room, in order to not make waves or risk his programs being cut. He'd seen others being squeezed out

From my reading of the Oathkeepers info and news, in order to consider them "quasi-Fascist" you have to both misunderstand quasi and Fascist. Anti-fascist would be more accurate; there's just no way to spin an oath, that, in essence, is to not take away the people's right to keep and bear arms no matter what Washington DC commands, into a totalitarian movement.


I meant to say "jibe", not "jive", above, but I have a bad cold and my consonant pronunciations are affected...

George Rebane

Gregory 801am - Yes, the Left's profound and enduring misunderstanding - a misrepresentation? - of the political spectrum has now seeped into the public mind through the teaching of a grossly revisionist post-WW2 history. When I talk with high schoolers and college undergraduates, the magnitude of the misinformation they carry hits like a ton of bricks. Having lived through the era in a more intimate manner than most, the evil described by Orwell is real and palpable.

One of the major planks in the great Liberal Lie, started by Stalin before WW2, is that fascism is a rightwing ideology, that as you distance yourself from the purity of Marxist thought, you enter a domain of state thuggery that is clearly reprehensible to all people. The argument, of course, was the primer for Saul Alinsky's dissertation to America's Left in which he taught that to discredit the Right, loudly and continuously accuse them of exactly the opposite of what they are really doing. Stalin introduced it during the 1930s in his attempt to hide the vast and total thuggery of his communist state by pointing to the then still mild ministrations of Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco.

Stalin had to distinguish between two rapacious forms of collectivism - fascism and communism - that performed identically with respect to their own citizens while each labeling themselves as a brand of socialism. The 'Left' had been taken by Marx and Engels, so the fascists had to be consigned to the 'Right'. America's compliant media and the already leftwing education industry had no trouble swallowing and parroting that in its entirety. Our government induced Depression helped.

Fortunately for the Left, the post-Barbarossa WW2 history allowed that narrative to be refined and perfected to a point where there is not public school student alive who knows of the Ribbentrop-Molotov treaty. Liberty and individual enterprise must be squashed wherever it is found, and telling the young that the natural evolution of such beliefs results in the thuggery of "rightwing fascism" continues to be an extremely effective tool.

And that is why the chorus of the ignorant (perhaps perfidious?) starts bleating immediately that Oathkeepers, Constitutional Sheriffs, and the tea parties are fascists. Saul Alinsky is alive and well - the Sixties still live.


Let us agree that fascism and communism both suck big time. Why quibble over who killed more people? I was speaking more to the sixties "revolution", which is proving to be a disaster in the making. A pity that the opposition has become so radical in the other direction. The Gen-XY&Z kids will be lucky to have a country left to make their mark on the way things are going.

George Rebane

earlcrabb 934am - There is no quibbling "over who killed more people?" - communism did and has by more than an order of magnitude, and we're only talking about non-war deaths of their own citizens. The disaster in the making is that one side continues to publicly mischaracterize the goal and aims of the other with regard to its preferred mode of governance. And I have no idea what is the 'radicalism' of the tea parties or even of outfits like Oathkeepers. Can someone just make a list of these radical tenets instead of calling out the crickets when asked?


Earl, perhaps Mike can chime in with a list of the first ten amendments to the Constitution that are Fascist rather than Libertarian. Mike?

The problems in Education are not caused by grand generational conflicts with Boomers still pissed at McNamara and Xers and Ysers wishing slow and painful deaths of their elders, with politics aligning with age. The problems with Education are more about failed pedagogical theories and systemic inabilities to recognize and reward success or to recognize and penalize failure.

Joe Koyote

Any discussion of education, particularly K-12, needs to encompass textbooks and the textbook industry. There is only one independent American owned textbook company left in the world.. the rest are all conglomerated. The largest publisher of English language books in the world is German media giant Bertlesmann. So, there is a natural corporate bias in the information presented in textbooks. Our children get the sanitized version of things. Not many column inches given to the labor struggles of the past, but plenty of praise for the robber barons and the industries they developed. Another issue is the Texas factor. Texas is the only state where K-12 textbook purchase are made at the state level, in the rest the country this is done at the district or county level. This makes Texas the single largest textbook buyer on earth. So if publishers want to sell books to Texas, they will align their content with Texas values. Currently the Tea Party controls Texas and one their stated goals, textbook wise, is to diminish the role of Tom Jefferson in the founding of our country because he was not a Christian. The problem is that the publishers do not print different editions for Texas and then the rest of the country, so the books that are out there have a Texas slant to them which is then distributed throughout the nations schools.

Another example at the post secondary level: I got a couple of dozen or more free textbooks every year from publishers hoping to have me adopt their texts for my classes, usually in the Spring. Prior to the presidential election of 2008 I received a Public Speaking text for review. As I randomly thumbed through the book, I noticed pictures of Rudy Gulliani, (sp?), John McCain, and other Republican presidential hopefuls being given as examples of good public speakers. Upon closer scrutiny, I found that somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of the photos used as examples in the text were Republicans. Only two photos of the next POTUS, who was by far the best speaker of the bunch were included. The text was printed just in time for the fall semester, bias? Subtle electioneering? brainwashing our children? Culture wars?


Well, it looks like "Koyote" found the one corporate Republican textbook in existence to blame for underperforming schools.

It's never teacher performance.

Joe Koyote

Gregory - I didn't "find" nor did I look for the afore mentioned text. It was sent to me without solicitation.. And nowhere did I blame anyone for anything. I was just passing on information I have personally experienced rather than post a bunch of crap that I read on some biased think tank's website or heard from some talk radio buffoon. I pointed this out because what is taught in our classrooms is greatly affected by the textbooks that are used and how they portray the world. It is just another factor to consider in the discussion of education, just as the effects of cell phones, texting, TV, facebook, etc. also play a role. It used to be that if you asked a kid what they wanted to be when they grew up you would get teacher, policeman, fireman, doctor, now you get "celebrity" or sports star as the top answers. Have you ever considered that the problem is not with the teachers at all, but students who simply don't care? I would be curious to know your expertise in this area? How many textbooks have you reviewed? How many years have you taught in a classroom?


Well,,, K-8 is where the wussification of our children begins.
You should see the garbage my Grand kids brings home as "homework".
I'm not too impressed with teachings of today.

Gerry Fedor

You guys don't seem to understand one valid point...... (Not everyone is going to be a engineer!)

Especially up here!

Now we have @40% of the high school population that is not moving onto secondary education, so how do we help these people gain the job skills that they need to get viable employment?

There are no real types of craft (Welding, woodworking, machining skills, auto repair) training going on here, so do we expect @40% of these people to work as a cashier at B&C making minimum wage?

Sorry guys, you can't live up here making $17,600 (before taxes) especially when rent sucks off $6,000 of that right off the bat.

Look at the arrest records, as they seem to be the same group of unskilled young people that do not have any skills other than the ability to manufacturing and selling meth.

If you guys really cared you'd stop crying, and see how we can help as we're miles off track and I haven't seen any of you volunteering to go and tutor......

All you do is cry about how bad things are with no answers, or personal responsibility as to try to help fix these problems.

(BTW, I do volunteer at the Continuation School 4 times a week, and it may not be much, but I am making a very small difference, as I did teach IA, Ag and math in a High School many moons ago....)

Bill Tozer

I sort of look at the education system the same way I feel about the market: Short term bearish, long term catastrophic.

The data clearly points to a foul wind stinking up the classrooms starting in the 60's. I expected somebody to jump in and take the data to blame the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for this change. Or the Tea Party. I was not disappointed. Perhaps the decline in education is all Bush's fault.

I do know that someone graduating from "jr high" from a one room school house in Pinole in the 30's received an education equivalent to today's college sophomores. I have had the pleasure of meeting several foreign students of grammar school age that can rattle of more information about each and every of the 50 states in the Union than any US kid I met. Its all the Koch Brothers' fault and not enough money. The lib answer is to blame someone else and say more money will fix it. More of other people's money is the answer, and never blame those stinkin' up our classrooms and filling America's young minds with instant oatmeal.

Russ Steele


Before you go too far down that road and cannot recover, I suggest that you visit the SESF web site HERE: http://sesfoundation.org You might want check out who sponsors this non-profit foundation.

SESF had an active tutoring program. We recruited skilled people to assist students identified by their teacher as needing help in math and science. In highly liberal Nevada City, many parents refused the help. SESF was too conservative, supporting free market economics and did not believe that humans were responsible for global warming. They were fearful that the SESF tutors would pollute their child's mind with facts. We suspended the program, and have been adding resource to the SESF web site for parents to pick and choose some of the online resources that they can use to help their child succeed. Please see the TechTestTutor navigation tab.

I was one of the founding members and the CEO for a number of year of the Nevada County Community Network which brought free Internet to Western Nevada County Schools, including charter schools. NCCN was responsible for bringing the Internet to the NC Libraries in the 1990s. NCCN was a non-profit supported by many volunteers in the community. We also established the Internet Docent program at the library to assist users, including students and seniors, to learn how to use the power of the Internet. NCCN supported the ROP program teaching students how to be on-line support techs.

Doing a little research on your own and you might discover there is more going on than you think.

Russ Steele


You wrote: There are no real types of craft (Welding, woodworking, machining skills, auto repair) training going on here.

Have you ever wondered why? I was writing a story for Comstock’s Business and interviewed several manufacturing companies in El Dorado County. Asking them about the challenges that they face. One of the biggest was finding machinists and metal workers with math skills. I knew that Sierra College had a program and they were scheduled to abandon it. My question was why, if their was a demand for the those skills?

I interviewed the Sierra College Instructor to determine why the program was being eliminated. He said the program was being eliminated because the high schools were not preparing students for entry into the program. Administrators were eliminating shop programs and the students were avoiding math classes. With no flow of qualified students the classes were being eliminated, even thought there was a demand for the skills in the business community.

During the housing boom there were not enough skilled framing carpenters to meet the demand and the Nevada County Contractors Association started a training program to bring high schools graduates up to the required skill levels.

I think that our education systems, with it’s strong focus that all students go to college, are failing the 40% who need job skills. Welders, woodworker machinists, and auto repair mechanics today need strong math skills, however our high schools are failing to prepare students for these professions. Why?

George Rebane

[Michael Anderson emailed me his response to what I presume to be my 825am above. It seems that TypePad selectively does not accept long comments from at all times why? I don't know. So here is Michael's comment as received.]

Well, it appears that I am once again the skunk at the party. Sorry about that. I know this was supposed to be about K-12 Edu, and then I took a little piece of George's comment and spun it large.

Here are my responses.

George wrote:
"One of the major planks in the great Liberal Lie, started by Stalin before WW2, is that fascism is a rightwing ideology, that as you distance yourself from the purity of Marxist thought, you enter a domain of state thuggery that is clearly reprehensible to all people."

George, the fascism that I know conglomerates state and corporate terror. It has nothing to do with labor unions and collectivism. You and yours are trying to re-write history. I will agree with you that Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and to a lesser extent FDR, were all totalitarians.

George wrote: "Stalin introduced [the fascist idea] during the 1930s in his attempt to hide the vast and total thuggery of his communist state by pointing to the then still mild ministrations of Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco."

"Still mild ministrations"?? Seriously? Wow. That is some seriously messed up Estonian revisionist history. I will make a note of it.

George wrote: "Saul Alinsky is alive and well - the Sixties still live."

Well, no. The sixties are NOT still alive. In fact, they are dead. That was the entire point of my comment. The three generations that are now in the pipeline after the Boomers couldn't give 2 shits about this whole argument. And BTW, the whole Saul Alinsky nonsense was brought into the discussion by right wing think tanks who thought they could get some leverage on someone most people had never heard of before, by making him into a scary guy who "wants to take away your individual liberties." Pathetic.

George asked: "Can someone just make a list of these radical tenets instead of calling out the crickets when asked?"

It's not complicated. The Oathkeepers are saying that they will not follow directions that they interpret to be "unconstitutional." Unfortunately, that's not how it works, not for a long time. These decisions are not made at the grass roots level. Sorry guys, I know it's a bummer. Look, I feel for you. Back in 2002, I saw the illegal, immoral and unsustainable Iraq War being ramped up, and I went to San Francisco to protest several times. But once Shock & Awe was launched, I did not take to the streets with guns a blazin', even though the Commander in Chief was committing war crimes and should have been impeached first, then found guilty of treason second, and taken to The Hague in chains third. Eventually, the system worked itself out. That's what I count on. So should you.

Then GG chimed in: "Earl, perhaps Mike can chime in with a list of the first ten amendments to the Constitution that are Fascist rather than Libertarian. Mike?"

Gregory, this discussion is not about the Bill of Rights. I don't know anyone who thinks those should be rescinded, not a one. This is not about what the Oathkeepers will adhere to, but how they will adhere to it, and to whom they will be answerable. Something I found interesting on their website was the difference in the two oaths--for enlisted personnel the oath is toward the Commander in Chief, whoever s/he is; for state and local officials the CiC is nowhere to be found, by design. Great Divide, indeed.

Sure wish I had been at that meeting. I know it's hard to discern what folks are up to via a website. George, please keep us posted regarding any future meetings. Thanks.

Joe Koyote

Here is another piece of the puzzle told to me by an elementary school teacher of 30 years and backed up by other teachers and administrators who tell the same stories..The kids who get good grades are harassed and bullied by the kids who get bad grades. My children and their friends have told me that most kids hate the standardized testing and they know of MANY students who when taking those standardized tests don't bother to read the questions but just fill in the answer sheets at random. It is no wonder that the test scores, by which people apparently want to judge teacher competence, are bad. Back to my premise.. the teachers aren't the problem.. the students and a standardized test based curriculum are the problem. Another story from one of my oldest friends who taught 2nd grade for 30 years: She retired when, in order to improve test scores, her school implemented a learning program (a package deal from a textbook company). The program was on a time line.. ie. at 8:45 you did this.. at 9:00 you did this over here.. at 9:20 you did something else. The entire day was blocked out in time chunks and the teachers were required to follow it exactly. We aren't educating our children.. we are teaching them to pass a test. The kids have lost interest in learning.. the emphasis and pressure on testing has taken away the fun. Besides who needs an education, all you have to do is make your own video and put it on U-tube and wait to be discovered.

Joe Koyote

I have to disagree with Russ' statement that our education systems "are failing the 40% who need job skills". That number is more like 75%. I read that that is the percentage of new jobs in the coming decade that will not require a college degree. Of course those jobs are mostly emptying bed pans. The greatest need we have is in the health care field. Sierra College has a two year wait to get into their pre-nursing program. Why? no teachers. You must have a nursing degree to teach it, but the starting pay for nurses is almost double that of a community college professor, so no one wants to teach.. no money in it by comparison.

Ben Emery

I find it very sad that these conversations always focus on symptoms at the surface level of issues.

Without the correct questions being asked the correct answers cannot be found.

K-12 performances are a reflection of our nation as a whole as we go further and further down our profit motive culture and society. Some things in our lives shouldn't be for profit and education is one of those things.

Russ Steele


I agree, the smart kids get bullied by the lower IQ or just disinterested students. It happened to my four girls in local grade schools and at NU. However, our girls are scientists, lawyers, communicators, designers and administrators. The bullies are pumping gas, waiting tables, teaching assistants, and delivering packages. Go figure!

Steve Enos

George, what are you thoughts on the local "STEM" education effort? Looks to be a good effort that is focused on where we need to go.

Bill Tozer

One reason some high schools have dropped metal shop is because of people like me. I blew up a acetylene welding booth on purpose. Sure made a loud boom when the bricks went flying through the ceiling and out the windows and thru the windows of the adjacent student cafeteria. Never seen those rather large cooks run so fast in all my life. Think they we late for their lunch break or something.

On a wee bit more serious note, I have been guilty of blaming the teachers primarily. I would not last a day in today's classroom as a teacher nor as a school bus driver. I would not last an hour. It would be all over the Union about some teacher or bus driver that slapped the crap out of some snot nosed punk.

It is the educational system that should be indicted. Buffoon administrators and unknown folks in Ivory Towers coming up hare brained schemes to experiment and do social engineering with the K-12 grades. How many "new maths" does each generation have to endure? Take something that works and try to improve on that is not wise nor prudent, at least the way its been a top down experiment that sounded so good at some liberal cocktail party. Those buffoons are miles away from the classrooms and further yet from where the rubber meets the road. They are nowhere close to the targeted market: the student and parent who foots the bill. They never get close to the stink they created.

Old construction joke: What do you call a nail pounder who can't drive a straight nail? A: inspector. You can but a new twist on that: What do you call an teacher that can't teach worth a darn? A: administrator.

PS to Mr. Anderson. Maybe it will be a good thing when all the Nam vets die off. At least for them. Maybe then the pounding sounds of screeching buddies losing body parts and burning Cong and screaming monkeys will stop waking us in the middle of the night.

Russ Steele


Wood shop 1953, one of the local low IQ types shoved a steel bar into the running wood shop band saw. Sparks flew until the blade broke and started wiping around the room cutting anything in it's path, including the leg of the idiot who shoved the steel bar into a running bandsaw. The rest of the year, we did not have a band saw to use in the wood shop, but we had one less student to share equipment with.


One reason the high school shop classes were dropped was insurance.
Some poor kid might get hurt using a welder or a lathe. So the classes were ended. That's what happened at NU.
Craftsmanship is seen as being "uneducated".( BOY... Do I know THAT!)
Look at all the grief that I get for my chosen profession. Operating heavy equipment. Some on the LEFT have got it in their head that that's one of those jobs no American citizen will want these days. ( Let the illegals take those jobs)
Miners are also looked down upon as well. We are " uneducated" because we dig in the dirt and rocks for our supper. ( Again... second class citizens)

Maybe some will remember the noise I got not long ago. " Go back to school... retrain.. etc,,etc...." That's all well and good,, but who is hiring anyone right out of school with zip for experience?
May I direct your attention to the OWS gang? Fresh out of collage ( or still in it for that matter) demanding their two hundred grand a year job the second the diploma hits their hand.

Our kids have been told for decades that the only way to get anywhere is to have a college education. Sorry to inform you,,, that not true.
There is great demand for people who know how to use their God given skills building things.

Need a hint? The miners that built the water systems that NID uses today didn't have college educations. But they still managed to get water to flow overlong distances will extremely minimal drops in elevation.
How many years of study, planning, and EIRs would it take today to get the same work done it took those uneducated miners to build in far less time? ( and those water systems are still in use today....

I have done well without the Lib collage indoctrination.
Today, our young kids become criminals just by playing cops and robbers on the playground. or for saying something that's not "politically correct". ( which they have no clue of,,)

We have schools that fly off the handle if a kid writes an essay that is deemed "pro gun". Suspension is guaranteed.
This is what our schools have become today....NOT a pretty picture.

George Rebane

MichaelA (cf GeoR 829am) - "... Estonian revisionist history ..."??!! Well, I think that this thread has come to an end. Your knowledge of what actually happened in Europe in the first half of the 20th century exhibits some extremely narrow reading and profound ignorance as you ascribe to me (and Estonians?) your first acquaintance of which tyrants were doing what to whom and when. There is no prior evidence that this kind of knowledge base responds to remediation, so we'll just have to leave it there.

For the more open reader, I will be posting a little dissertation on the space of governance as reflected by the gross dimensions of ideology.

SteveE 1050am - I do believe that the STEM message is getting through both locally and nationally. But its implementation is lagging because of 1) ideological barriers, and 2) the shortage of qualified STEM subject teachers. Also the fact that more than half the kids, motivation and teacher skills aside, are not able to absorb the STEM subject matter is a hindrance to increasing the numbers in that sector of the workforce.

(And I fully agree with the commenters that all kids don't need a college education to have fulfilling lives; and that building/repairing physical things, and caring for the expanding older demographic will provide good careers.)

Locally, my continuing experience with the STEM kids is that their math instruction is sorely deficient. The math tools that they do master are targeted to an extremely narrow problem domain. During the TechTest seminars which precede the exam, I introduce many surprised students to 'thinking outside the box' of problems they think are their limits - 'I didn't know I could also do that with (algebra, trig, geometry, arithmetic calculation, calculus, ...).' In talking to math teachers over the years, this shortcoming is due mainly to the teachers' limited experience with math in the realworld; the overwhelming share of them know it only as a sterile topic to be taught in the classroom.

BenE 936am - "Some things in our lives shouldn't be for profit and education is one of those things." Ben, it sounds again like you know exactly who should be telling whom about what those things are. I am glad that such prohibitions were not enforced in out past when all teachers attracted their own students taught for profit, whether they sat under a tree with their charges, or were allowed to rent a classroom in one of the early universities in Renaissance Europe.

Russ Steele

Walt one to the most enjoyable jobs and one of the most boring jobs I ever had was operating heavy equipment. The enjoyable job was digging sewer lines in Wyoming with a backhoe. The trenches had to be over six feet deep due to the extreme cold, and the ground was hard and rocky. At the end of a shift, I could look back and see what I had accomplished. My brother was the other operator and he had the larger backhoe. It was very satisfying knowing that I had dug more ditch with my smaller machine than he did with his big boy machine. It was all about developing a technique that fit the soil composition. It took some skill to beat the dirt.

The most boring job was driving a D-9 pulling plows and harrows around a pea field. It was in those boring hours that I kept asking my self if this was the life I wanted. One afternoon as I finished the last field, I decided to joint the Air Force and become an Electronics Warfare Officer. A decision that worked out quite well for me. When I told Mr White I was leaving the job, Mrs White step forward and declared I was the best operator they ever had, even better then their son and all the relatives that worked on the farm, and I would be missed. That felt really good, but knowing I would would no longer be going around and round in the pea fields anymore felt even better.

Operating heavy equipment is hard on the body, but I sure felt a strong sense of accomplishment at end of the day, the yards of dirt moved, the length of the ditch, the miles of road graded, the number holes drilled, and best of all I had not broken the machine, even thought I had operated it at or near capacity for 8 hours. It takes some skill to be an effective heavy machine operator.


Hat's off to ya' Russ, you summed up the gratification nicely.
Some can go through the motions, but it takes a skilled hand
to actually get the job done.
Yes, plowing a field a trained chimp could do today with all the electronics
and GPS we have. ( but not back when you hand was on the Johnson bar.)
A string strait furrow took a keen eye, and anyone that could do that was in high demand. (But still boring)

Russ,,, were you a little like me back then? Your own worst critic?
For me, good,,, just wasn't "good" enough.
Just like the work I did for Mr. R. I still worry about a hint of standing water ( bird bath a 1/4 in. deep) somewhere on the gravel pad. And that was a couple of years ago.

Now.. If the resurrected mine in French Corral goes operational this spring, things will be even better. ( I worked there about 21 years ago. I want my job back!)

Russ Steele


I was at broadband meeting on Friday and a USDA Agent was telling us that John Deere has developed a driverless tractor that goes round and round the field without an operator. It is controlled with GPS, broadband network and an iPad. The farmer monitors the tractor with the iPad and can control it operations from the side lines. All the fields near Fresno did not have broadband connection so John Deere built a network using antennas on the silos, water towers and tall barns in the area. So, if in the Fresno area and you see a driverless tractor do not panic, some where on the property a farmer is monitoring it’s process with his iPad and broadband network, as it navigates the field by GPS. He does not even need an illegal or legal farm worker to drive the tractor. More automation is coming to a farm near you creating fewer jobs and fewer participants in ObamaCare. “Danger, Danger Will Robinson, there is trouble ahead,” a message from my favorite robot from the 70s.

Russ Steele


Working with the machines as a young man, I was always looking for ways to improve my performance: straighter rows, less spill off the blade, flatter bottomed ditches, less bucket spill. Every day was a new opportunity to excel. It was the challenge to be better than the next guy. While that paid off in my AF career, I still have some weaknesses to work on, spelling and punctuation is one. But, maybe just getting too old to fight the battle.


Ya,, they may have us "out dated" on rock less potato dirt, on flat ground.
But mass excavation and underground, well,,,, not in MY lifetime.( then again....)
They may have the tech. for me to operate any given machine wearing bunny slippers from an easy chair, but not much would really get done.

As for your 3:23,, it seems we have the same work ethics and personal quality control.
And I don't believe you demanded higher pay for the better quality work.
The quality of said work helps the odds of getting the next job, If not by the same person, then by the other person that heard about the superior craftsmanship.


Don't worry about the spellin' police raiding the joint. So,,, make it a point to spell everything wrong, and when the bitch about that, put it right back at'm with it's " their Idea in the first place" that you spell like that. Your a graduate of that "outcome based education" they have pushed all this time.
Close is good enough. And now that they are complaining about you spelling, it's hurting your self esteem, and they are not being sensitive as they claim to be.


I lost a nice long note after Posting yesterday, and managed to fumble the keyboard this morning and lost another one. Here we go again...

Sticking with Koyote quotes:
"And nowhere did I blame anyone for anything."

Sure you did; tsk tsk, such bad textbooks. I hate to break it to you, but if a bad textbook is purchased and used, the blame goes to the school for buying it and the teachers for using it. As long as there are good textbooks that are available, and there are, there is no call for blaming bad ones for piss poor school performance.

"I was just passing on information I have personally experienced rather than post a bunch of crap that I read on some biased think tank's website or heard from some talk radio buffoon"

Let me share with you what I personally experienced locally. Mathland was rolled out in the Grass Valley and Pleasant Ridge districts in 1995. The GVSD, which had "Whole Language" as a report card category for at least a couple years by then was a natural for whole math. I was apparently the only parent who actually showed up to read the teacher's materials for Mathland, and while some of it was interesting, there was very little math in Mathland. My wife spent a lot of time volunteering in the classroom at Hennessey, and more than once told me a boy would start crying at the start of another coloring book exercise that he 'just wanted to do the math'. Sorry, actually doing the math wasn't the Mathland way. But the master teacher in charge of both implementing the program, and for reporting to the board how well it was working out reported to the board that all the teachers and kids loved it and everyone is learning so much math.

The reality... when my kid's class was tested in the 3rd grade, the average STAR math score of that near lilly white, english speaking class was 30%.

Fortunately, my kid had by then moved out of the clutches of the GVSD and into the St.Sensible down the street.

At Pleasant Ridge's Alta Sierra school, they started with Mathland in the Fall of '95, but before Winter (the district had it for only a month) when they'd sent it back to the publisher. They didn't think their kids were learning very much math at all, so they cobbled something together for the moment and eventually bought something else. At the same sitting that had Hennessey's kids scoring 30% on average, Alta Sierra School 3rd grade kids scored 80%.

GV Superintendent, when I made a point to attend the board meeting after that disastrous STAR showing, thought that Mathland just had a few holes that needed patching. IIRC it took them another 4 years to give up on Mathland and go with the text that Pleasant Ridge was using, Saxon, which has its problems too, but it's easier to add conceptual work to a programmed text like Saxon than it is to add mathematics to a nearly math-free curriculum like Mathland.

In short, yes, Mathland was a really lousy text but it was the darling of the California State Dept of Education at the time, and incompetent districts like the Grass Valley School District couldn't tell the sh*t from Shineola, either. Not coincidentally, back in the 95-96 year, I'd found out that Saxon was giving out free books, enough for one class at each grade level as a pilot. All they asked for in return was for the school to administer any standardized test before, and after, and make the results public. When I proposed this to Ass't Superintendent and Hennessey co-principal Linda Brown, after playing phone tag with the publisher John Saxon himself to get the details, Ms. Brown recoiled in horror, stating it was just "Drill and Kill", what modern educators say to denigrate the old standard, "practice makes perfect"... or, 'If you drill the child with math problems, you kill their enthusiasm'. Brown thought the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) "Standards" were the key to success, and Mathland were the fuzzy NCTM standards in spades. Perhaps if you want to continue down this road I'll also chat about my publc email arguments with NCTM Chairman at the time, Jack Price, and how my wife attended a Price chat at the California Math Council Asilomar meeting, the last one before Teri died of cancer. She was an adjunct professor of math at Sierra College at the time, mostly teaching remedial math to prospective Nursing students who didn't know enough math to qualify for the program. She got them ready to take 8th grade algebra.

What Price said amongst friends at Asilomar was worse than my wife imagined, and all was forgiven. She thought I'd been exaggerating.

"The kids who get good grades are harassed and bullied by the kids who get bad grades." Koyote

No sh*t, Koyote. Did you really think that didn't happen when you were a kid?

"Back to my premise.. the teachers aren't the problem.. the students and a standardized test based curriculum are the problem. Another story from one of my oldest friends who taught 2nd grade for 30 years: She retired when, in order to improve test scores, her school implemented a learning program (a package deal from a textbook company). The program was on a time line.. ie. at 8:45 you did this.. at 9:00 you did this over here.. at 9:20 you did something else. The entire day was blocked out"

Where was that school, and what was the grade? Perhaps if the union had allowed the school to fire the worst teachers (and face it, your friend might have been a target), a programmed approach wouldn't have been tried.


It's probably apropos to share P.J. O'Rourke's paraphrasing of William Bennett's view of American K-12 education:"“Anybody who doesn’t know what’s wrong with America’s educational system never screwed an el-ed major.”

Gerry Fedor


I don't think you know anything about the farming economy or man-power as farming families are shortly going to be a thing of the past.

Because of this there are less and less of those workers that are willing to drive your farm equipment, and even less that are willing (or able) to go out and pick that beloved fruit for a living.

We all have our farming stories (as I remember bucking 160 pound Alfalfa bales from the time I was a small lad, but could I do this same job now? No!

You guys all complain about pricing, but in reality you're not willing to pay someone a realistic wage yo get that food out of the field and onto your table, much like you're not willing to pay someone who has breasts the same amount as the exact same worker with a penis.

It's the same old parade as we'll complain about the schools, but we won't provide them with the funding, or resources that the majority of the world realizes that the teaching profession deserves.

I find it rather sad that in our demented little world we give oil companies yearly tax breaks that would fund schools for 10 years? Only in America can we complain that we have stupid uneducated children and we care nothing about providing the funding to fix this problem, but we have cheap gasoline!

I realize that there are some serious problems with the teacher issues and the pension, but until you want to pay a teacher the same amount as a engineer, don't expect the same results.

Bill Tozer

Mr. Fedor, have you compared funding per pupil in the USA with the funding per pupil with those countries that are kicking our tail in education performance and cold hard results??? South Korea spends something like 22% per k-12 student than we do. Look up Japan. Maybe Asians are just more intelligent than us, but I seriously doubt that. They simply demand and expect results.

Cry for more money until the cows come home. Like beating a dead horse. How many times does someone need to point out that we have poured more mula (inflation adjusted dollars) down the primary education cess pool since around 1970 and the results have plummeted in direct correlation to the added funding since 1970.

So, you think paying fruit pickers more money and giving schools more money is the cure all for our dismal results?

I do not agree with your last sentence. Paying Chicago teachers 33% more has not solved Chicago's heart stopping drop out rate. Paying teachers more has not worked very well over the past 40 years. Whatever happened to the good old days when a teacher or civil servant accepted a low wage in exchange for a life time pension? Now they want higher wages to go with their life long pension and bennies. Just don't look at any results....No one sees the Wizard, no way, no how. Nothing to see here.

Ben Emery

Support in the home is the number one indicator whether a student will excel in k-12 or not. Financial issues either directly or indirectly are the number one factor in whether there is support in the home or not. If a parent has to work long hours and the student is a latch key the physical support isn't there. Chances are books and teaching the student to enjoy reading doesn't take place due to the lack of time and most likely energy of the parent to share with their children. Lack of nutrition from parents not in the home creating healthy eating habits to develop a high functioning brain. A parent feeling content in their parenting skills who can without hesitation and with consistency set a structured home environment e.g. bed times, screen time, study conditions, and chores. Good health from diet, clothing, shelter, and safe living environment. All these things come before even one of your standardize tests, unions, schools, texts, teachers, and curriculum. Since the early 70's the working class family has been hit hard financially and my guess it would correlate with the dropping k-12 outcomes.

The other factor is since the Reagan Revolution we have changed as a nation to believe in ourselves strictly as individuals that are unique and that fitting into a bigger scheme of things goes against this identity shift.

"In national tests given to 4th and 8th graders, results showed that low-income students in Connecticut performed at dramatically lower levels than non-low-income students – sometimes up to three grade levels behind."



The "family farm" A'? Hummmm.... Don't ya'think death taxes have anything to do with that? The old man keels over and the wife and kids have to sell off.
( been there,,, done that.) How about all the Ca. regs that the "small farmer"
has to deal with? From CARB to the Ca. Waterboard. ( state sponsored torture dept.) The little guy just can't compete.
Hell.. Even the eco kooks believe vineyards equate to urban sprawl.
Think the "little guy" can keep up with just the price of fuel? ( how much is diesel per gallon?) Any given farm tractor will burn a minimum of 50 gal. a day.

So sit down with that LIB approved math and figure out why the day of the "family farm" is just about over.
Our own Dizzy Izzy couldn't pay the bills with "hers",, otherwise she wouldn't be running that local eco nut house.

Ben Emery

Coming from a family that farming and ranching goes back over a century the family farm was finished during the Reagan years due to the shift towards industrial agriculture policies. Unless a family farmer owns their property outright they cannot compete. But very few family farms are subject to estate taxes. 0.3% of 1% are actually negatively affected by the estate tax.

The Estate Tax and who opposes it. Here is a shock, Tea Party supporters are on the same page as the establishment and billionaires once again.


"The Waltons have joined a coterie of wealthy families trying to save fortunes through permanent repeal of the estate tax, government watchdogs say. The election of President Bush and more conservatives to Congress gave momentum to the long-fought effort. The Waltons add more.

"To see the wealthiest family in America weighing in is scary," says Chuck Collins, co-founder of Responsible Wealth, a non-profit group that tracks the super-rich."

George Rebane

re BenE's 1043am and 1150am - For what it's worth, growing up in Indiana I knew kids from many immigrant families who, as we, had arrived from post-war Europe. The common denominator for us all was that we were latch-key kids. We all came home to empty houses and apartments. Both dad and mom had full-time jobs as, starting with zero, we struggled up the economic ladder. Well, it wasn't exactly 'zero', we were products of a strong culture. Immigrant moms and dads in those days didn't attend PTA meetings or supervise their kids' study habits, let alone counsel us on what courses we should be taking (they didn't have a clue).

But in no uncertain terms they did encourage us to go into respected fields, and taught us from day one that getting educated was job one. Parental monitoring and encouragement, such as it was, came from standing tall in front of your mom/dad with your grade card while trying to explain why you hadn't received top marks in everything. The bottom line is that we were all on our own, and completely free to fail. But none of us did.

Instead, we all also worked at jobs that had to fit into our time with the books. And all of us went on to advanced degrees and the professions. Culture counts more than today's "home support" translated into parent involvement hours, and face time with kids. Politically incorrect corollary - instilling a healthy sense of shame in a kid works.


"I realize that there are some serious problems with the teacher issues and the pension, but until you want to pay a teacher the same amount as a engineer, don't expect the same results." -GF

We're not expecting 5th grade teachers to design 21st century spacecraft, we're expecting them to teach 11th century arithmetic to children. Here's another perspective:

"In 2001, the National Center for Education Statistics reported the average SAT score for intended education majors to be 481 math and 483 verbal. Only those interested in vocational school, home economics and public affairs scored lower.

But while the SAT is considered to be a generally reliable intelligence test, the 2001 SAT is not the same SAT that many of us took prior to attending university. Those 2001 scores on the 1996 SAT, which was replaced this year by the New SAT 2005, are equivalent to pre-1996 SAT scores of 451 math and 403 verbal...
Examining an SAT-to-IQ conversion chart calculated from Mensa entrance criteria [that score] indicates that the average IQ of those pursuing an education major is 91, nine points lower than the average IQ of 100. In other words, those who can’t read teach whole language."

Joe Koyote

Gregory 11:46
Even though the situation you describe in GV and Pleasant Valley occurred 18 years ago, it is exactly what I am talking about when I say textbooks are a part of the poor performing student problem. Beyond that, your attempt to partially blame teachers for the situation is totally wrong.

“ the blame goes to the school for buying it and the teachers for using it.” Yes and no. Teachers in K-12 don't get to pick the books nor can they refuse to use what the school says they will use or they can be fired for insubordination. (source: a retired high school principal) Textbooks and supplemental materials are chosen by district administrators from a state approved list for each grade and subject. They are free to choose any books on the list. Those decisions are ultimately approved by school boards that are mostly made up of political wannabees who try to use the position as a springboard to further elected office (as in some of the members of the Sierra College board) or disgruntled parents who have an axe to grind over a coach, administrator, or teacher who they think mistreated their brat kid (Nevada Union). Most of these people no nothing about education, yet they make the decisions.

"The kids who get good grades are harassed and bullied by the kids who get bad grades." Koyote
No sh*t, Koyote. Did you really think that didn't happen when you were a kid?

I was one of the smart kids and that never happened to me, nor did I ever observe or hear of such harassment. Were you harassed or were you one of the perpetrators? (sorry for the cheap shot but the following is a cheaper shot, so I am just responding in kind.

“Perhaps if the union had allowed the school to fire the worst teachers (and face it, your friend might have been a target), a programmed approach wouldn't have been tried.”

Your innuendo that my friend was somehow a poor teacher was baseless and nothing more than rude personal attack about something and someone you knew nothing about to make a point you know nothing about. Her student scores were the highest in the school.

Besides mentioning that your wife was a teacher's aid (a noble endeavor for sure), in your ramble you never did answer the question of your personal experience as an educator or how you came to become such an expert on education.


"Beyond that, your attempt to partially blame teachers for the situation is totally wrong"

JK, I am gobsmacked at your apparent willful blindness and lack of reading comprehension. Try again; I really can't reconcile your self identification as one of the 'smart kids' growing up and not getting even the basic facts from my post straight.

Besides that, you can't have it both ways; wanting teachers to be treated and paid as respected professionals, yet thinking everyone else even peripherally related to the learning process must be without sin before one can even consider any teacher might not be above average.

That first day of Mathland was 18 years ago, and the equally defective CPM was at about the same time but the damaged students are still not all graduated from NUHS, the teachers and administrators who believe in constructivist tenets remain, and it just doesn't work very well.

Joe Koyote

Like all professions, there are people who are good at it and those who are not. I am not stating that all teachers are good and none are not. All I am saying is that teachers as a whole, cannot be blamed for the decline in the quality of education in America. It is a far more complicated and multi-faceted issue than just bad teachers.

George Rebane

JoeK 915am - Here you may be defending a hill not attacked. Of course our educational disaster has a "complicated and multi-faceted" causal basin. Most of us focus on the teachers because it is such a visible and risible locus of failure that can be understood by everyone not in the education business. And stepping back a bit, we all agree that it is the system (much described in this debate) that subjects kids to teachers, a large share of whom are 'bad' (again a multi-dimensional attribute).


I think "that the average IQ of those pursuing an education major is 91" says a lot. That's one datapoint with very large error bars, but it's clear that K-12 not only accepts those with the weakest academic preparation into the teaching profession, it erects barriers to climb and hoops to jump through such that the most prepared go elsewhere.

George, the biggest barrier to real "STEM" in high school is literacy and numeracy in the earliest grades. There is a great deal of intellectual capital built up in the earliest years, and while an older child can make up for lost time, most don't. Two straight years with a lousy teacher in the first three grades and a child, not to mention their parents, may have a real crisis on their hands but would probably not know it until the kid is in high school and needs to grok enough math and language to squeak past the exit exam.

Michael Anderson

George wrote: "MichaelA (cf GeoR 829am) - '... Estonian revisionist history ...'??!! Well, I think that this thread has come to an end. Your knowledge of what actually happened in Europe in the first half of the 20th century exhibits some extremely narrow reading and profound ignorance as you ascribe to me (and Estonians?) your first acquaintance of which tyrants were doing what to whom and when. There is no prior evidence that this kind of knowledge base responds to remediation, so we'll just have to leave it there."

I apologize George, it was not my intention to offend. And you're right. I was ascribing revisionist history-making to all Estonians when clearly you are only Estonian I know who is trying to move Nazi fascism from the right-authoritarian quadrant to the left-authoritarian quadrant.

My assumption was that Estonians during the first part of the 20th century loathed the left-authoritarian communists on their eastern flank to such a degree that they were willing to accept the flaws of the right-authoritarian capitalists to the southwest. Neither group did much regarding liberty and justice for all, that's for sure.

Russ Steele

The Union's Did It

“Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children,” California Gov. Jerry Brown said in his January State of the State address. “If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify.”

Bad news, governor: California is already failing its children. And it wasn’t always this way.

According to RAND Corp., as late as the 1970s California’s public schools still had an “excellent” reputation. Then, in 1975, Brown (in his first stint as California’s governor) signed the Rodda Act, giving government unions the power to take money directly out of government employees’ paychecks.

The California Teachers Association quickly poured this new revenue stream into an organizing drive, more than doubling the union’s ranks. The Golden State’s politics have never been the same since — nor has the quality of its public schools. Between 2000 and 2010, the CTA spent more than $211 million to influence California voters and elected officials. That is more money than the oil, tobacco and hospital industries combined. . . .

At an average salary of $69,434 per year, a family of two teachers would bring in almost $140,000 in income per year. That is almost triple the state’s $57,000 median family income — and teachers get summers off.

But all of that money for teachers salaries hasn’t helped students in the classroom. By 1992, the first year for which state-by-state comparisons are available, California ranked second to last among states tested (ahead of only Mississippi), in reading proficiency among fourth-graders.

More HERE: http://washingtonexaminer.com/conn-carroll-the-california-spending-rush/article/2522627

Ben Emery

re BenE's 1043am and 1150am

Did you have support in the home? Did you eat nothing but processed foods? Was our education system being built up or knocked down at that point in time? Did you own a tv and watch it excessively because there was no adult supervision around? It is a different time that is full of profit motive marketing schemes that help produce over sugared, under nourished, under nurtured, economically stressed, divorced riddled, and bleak future students. Two parents vs a trillion dollar marketing industry is not a fair fight. That is why we need to build up individuals within a community not individuals that just happen to live in the same community.

You were lucky to grow up in FDR and the progressive policy era. Where I got Nixon - forward in the Reagan and corporate era.

Ben Emery

Sorry I went off Georges response not his time. George @ 25 February 2013 at 12:45 PM

George Rebane

MichaelA 1051pm - This thread on right/left governance actually belongs under 'Ideologies and Governance ...' where I'll respond.

BenE 822am - Actually I and the country were lucky that Truman cut short the 1946 recession by wiping the slate clean of almost all FDR's progressive policies (most notably SS was allowed to survive), and the economy soared. And I mostly grew up in the Eisenhower years with my own profit motive in full swing. On a Willimantic, Conn sidewalk I started selling used comic books to astonished citizens, that was unheard of in 1949. And I never stopped working.

A "trillion dollar marketing industry" is no match for any parents worth their mettle, and culture provides the best mettle. We have always known (and to this day know) dozens of parents who have raised their kids properly in a very commercialized environment. The biggest problem arises when the state enters the picture to destroy families and put insane legal strictures on parents.

Joe Koyote

George 9:51 -- Again, I disagree with your focus on teachers. Is it because they are an easy target to get people upset about? Many resent the fact that teachers make more money than they do, work fewer paid hours (without calculating in, of course, grading, prep, etc that is done at home and off the clock), and get more vacation. Why not focus on the hard targets (and I think the real culprits) like the marketing of "cool" to our children (it's not cool to be smart or get good grades but it is cool to stick a bottle rocket up your rear and light it off or mutilate an animal, or rape a girl and laugh about it and then put it on a U-tube video. Another focus might be why, unlike the countries whose students are doing better than ours, teachers are constantly devalued and attacked. It is a mindset.. How does anyone expect kids to respect and learn from teachers when they are constantly being blasted and blamed? I refer to the study cited earlier where the primary determinate of student success was ultimately parental attitudes about education not per pupil spending. I read a business analysis 15 years ago that predicted that the two main targets of corporate privatization in the first portion of the 21st century was water and education. The bottled water craze is already upon us The forced implementation of NO Child Left Behind (now largely discredited and being dropped like a hot potato) was part of the scheme as most schools in the nation could never meet the absurd requirements and thus were failures and in need of being privatized. Talk about government intrusion and forcing laws on people. Where were the anti-government voices on that one? No where to be found because anti-government is very exclusive. It seems to be just fine to regulate and dictate education, but not to regulate pollution.

Gerry Fedor

I find it rather "interesting" that Administrators salaries have risen by 870% over the last @20 years, but teaches have received an additional 12%.

You want to look at costs of schooling this is where we should be looking as why do we have numerous superintendent's of schools, when they could be effectively combined thus saving millions.

George Rebane

JoeK 1031am - You can be sure my problem with teachers is not salary envy or working hours, I lived in a different world and taught only as a labor of love (still do). And I don't put the entire blame of failure on the teacher segment - unions, administrators (agree with GerryF's 1113am), university education departments (e.g. UCLA's History Project), and insane government regulations all play their part. But the teacher is where the rubber meets the road as I tried to convey in my 951am. I owe a lot to my K-12 teachers, even the bad ones taught me some life's early lessons.

Joe Koyote

Teachers are where the rubber meets the road, but they don't make the tires. My statement about envy was more in reference to the general population most of whom make less money than teachers.

The comments to this entry are closed.