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Do we need more common sense and freedom in K-12 education -- not more government programs and money? Your Thoughts?

By Star Parker
I share President Obama's concerns about education. We certainly need to do a better job, particularly in our low-income communities.
But, from what I see so far, we're on very different pages regarding how to think about the problem.
For Obama, the solution to everything seems to be government and spending. But in improving education, more of neither seems to work.
According to Department of Education data, reported by the Cato Institute, K-12 spending per student, adjusted for inflation, went from $5,393 in 1970 to $11,470 in 2004. Over the same period, there were tiny increases in math scores among 17-year-olds and no improvement in reading scores.
In his address to Congress, Obama was clear that he understands it's not just money but howit's spent. " ...our schools don't just need more resources, they need more reform," he said

Answer Question

Asked by grlygrlz2 at 2:49 PM on Mar. 13, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Level 39 (106,530 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • But can we really believe that over the thirty-five years that per pupil spending doubled it did not dawn on any educator that reform was in order?

    There are endless new ideas about how to spend money to manipulate kids into learning.  The problem with professional bureaucrats is that they think we learn about human beings in laboratories and academic studies. It never occurs to them the problem is a bankrupt culture, which they themselves often reflect, and what's needed is a return to traditional values.


    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:50 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • grlygrlz2

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:51 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • I personally think we should start by giving our teachers a better education. I don't see how are kids in any fault when teacher just don't know what they are doing in their job.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:54 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Having been in the thick of education since I started to work in schools 33 years ago ( my husband and I have been Waldorf teachers, public school teachers, and educated our 3 children with Waldorf, public, independent study and homeschooling), I'm pretty opinionated. We learn when we can absorb and understand new ideas or new skills.The very set-up of our schooling sabotages learning. Think about it: Being disoriented, confused, distracted, interrupted, rushed, hassled ... feeling invisible, unappreciated, defensive ... all these stresses PREVENT calm thinking, PREVENT learning. But the very structure of our children's school days makes most of these stresses commonplace. From the tender age of 4 or 5, they are expected to fend for themselves among other kids and a parade of adult strangers. Add to the school structure the fact that they're often underslept, undernourished and addicted to (cont'd)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:15 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • We need to quit teaching to age and start teaching to learning style. Group kids together based on how they learn, and once they learn something, then move them on - if kids were put with teachers who teach the way they learn, they'd get everything faster, so the kids "held back" would be few and far between.

    Instead of these stupid IStep tests, they need to teach to THIS test.


    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:16 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Administrators are the reason the government allowances don't make it to the students! If true school reform were to happen it should be cutting down on the number of "assistants to the assistant administrator" type positions, and use THAT money on STUDENT supplies. I feel teachers are paid appropriately--WHEN you factor in their benefits package and LIFETIME pension they earn after about 20 years on the job.

    My mother is a retired Boston City English teacher...she retired at age 57, after 34 years, and has FULL medical, dental, and vision plans, and TAKES HOME $52,000 a year for the rest of her life...she's 64 now.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 3:19 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • If schools were held accountable by allowing parents to choose were their child went to school, then the public schools would do so much better, or they would die out. Vouchers are the answer.. introduce competition and let those who can't keep up fade into the past where they belong instead of forcing students into a mediocre education.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:22 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • (cont'd) addicted to the facile entertainment experience of TV & video games from their home life. It is no surprise that children are not learning. It is a hard fact that learning reading, writing and arithmetic are INTERNAL, personal accomplishments. That "Ah-ha!" moment must occur again and again - and it CANNOT happen without the ability for reflective internal thinking. In the past, parents took it for granted that they were their children's main source of introduction to the world. During the last couple of decades, the "hands-off" parenting style has been an increasing trend - while at the same time dissatisfaction with the excellence of their children's education has ALSO increased. Note: according to professors who must give incoming college students the basic skills needed for college classes, 1972 was the peak of well-educated students. Since then it has declined - DRASTICALLY in the last 10 years. Read J T Gatto !!

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:26 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • Inner city schools spend from to 1/3 to 1/2 more per pupil to try and educate their students and do a worse job of it, certainly MONEY is not the problem. Maybe we need to stop pouring money down an bottomless hole and come up with a plan that really educates students, not just throwing more money at the problem on quick term fixes or cosmetic touch ups

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:31 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

  • You'd think a guy who benefited from scholarships--most notably Punahou High School would be more sympathetic to kids trying to get out of tough situations and possibly raise their station in life. SOME of these DC kids attend the SAME school Obama's daughters go to--until the end of the school year, when they get shipped back to the public schools...nice, huh?!

    More "people-centric" policy...out the window!


    Answer by LoriKeet at 3:32 PM on Mar. 13, 2009

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