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    Thread: I kind of see the other side now about theory on public schools....

    1. 05-18-2017 11:51 AM #1
      .....but I don't agree with abandoning them or vouchers for rich people. Yet.

      Let me explain......our kid hasn't even had a first day yet before the August start date, but we're already about to have sit down meetings with a superintendent and perhaps a lawyer.

      Essentially they botched the enrollment/lottery process, lied/hid it, we found out, they lied about fixing it, and overall the incompetence of individuals we've dealt with on every level is astounding. And they screwed up and sent us mails/screenshots proving their screwups too.

      Given there isn't accountability, I can see why one side wants to create that environment through competition. Competition drives internal accountability to survive. But that's a tough call on public education. This isn't In'N'Out Burger, Old Spice deodorant, or internet service providers battling it out. This is our kid's education.

      The screwup that occurred, it's one of those "you had/have one job, and you managed to screw it up to the worst degree". In my job, that gets you fired, and may make you unhire-able locally.

      It makes watching Parks n Rec seem like art imitating reality in all the worst ways.

      So far, I still give most teachers the benefit of the doubt. But school admin........how do any of them manage to crawl out of a wet paper bag? At this point I wouldn't trust them with a plastic spork.

      Perhaps all private and vouchers isn't the answer. I say maybe a blend. Keep the schools public, but privatize the administration below the board/super level. But make accessibility to the administration public, they can't hide data/info or hide themselves behind a wall.

      I don't know what the answer is, but this amount of incompetence this early is laughable.

    2. 05-18-2017 11:55 AM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post

      Given there isn't accountability, I can see why one side wants to create that environment through competition. Competition drives internal accountability to survive. But that's a tough call on public education. This isn't In'N'Out Burger, Old Spice deodorant, or internet service providers battling it out. This is our kid's education.
      Why is it a tough call? Education outside government is hardly a novelty.
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    3. Member bave's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 11:58 AM #3
      Shocking that there is no accountability in a place where you can't be fired, your compensation is entirely independent of your performance, and no matter how bad you screw up you can just shrug your shoulders

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      05-18-2017 11:59 AM #4
      You'll have to deal with incompetence regardless of where your kids go to school. I support public schools wholeheartedly, I only wish our elected officials would too.

      But this will not end well.
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    5. 05-18-2017 12:17 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by bave View Post
      Shocking that there is no accountability in a place where you can't be fired, your compensation is entirely independent of your performance, and no matter how bad you screw up you can just shrug your shoulders
      I think the issue most people have is the profit motive of a fully privatized school system.

      The risk is you end up with a fiasco like the privatized prison stuff. Someone figures out the key metric to profit and maximizes it, like anyone would. In the prisons this was capacity/headcount. We see how that ended up.

      Vouchers and fully private kind of throws the baby out with the bathwater.

      But having some private admin could help, they could actually hire/fire. Doesn't mean they'd own the building, or hire the cleaning crew, or make the teachers or cleaning crews private. Just the admin.

      I'd be ok with starting there.

    6. 05-18-2017 12:36 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
      I think the issue most people have is the profit motive of a fully privatized school system.

      The risk is you end up with a fiasco like the privatized prison stuff. Someone figures out the key metric to profit and maximizes it, like anyone would. In the prisons this was capacity/headcount. We see how that ended up.
      The other risk is that your child is provided an excellent education. Worrying about whether someone makes a buck providing you a benefit isn't just an argument against private education; public school employees are also motivated by the prospect of income, as public school teachers' strikes illustrate.

      Prisons are unlike schools in that education is not an inherently government function. People involved in prisons often are involved involuntarily.

      The market in education predates government monopoly systems.

      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post

      But having some private admin could help, they could actually hire/fire. Doesn't mean they'd own the building, or hire the cleaning crew, or make the teachers or cleaning crews private. Just the admin.

      I'd be ok with starting there.
      I believe you have that reversed. Privatising administration that would run public schools according to existing public school system employment restrictions wouldn't allow teachers to be fired any more readily than they are now. It would only be the administrators who could more easily be dismissed.

      I hope the issue with your child is resolved to your satisfaction. One of the reasons you may be encountering poor customer service is the inability of your local government schools to go out of business.
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    7. Member bave's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 12:59 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
      I think the issue most people have is the profit motive of a fully privatized school system.

      The risk is you end up with a fiasco like the privatized prison stuff. Someone figures out the key metric to profit and maximizes it, like anyone would. In the prisons this was capacity/headcount. We see how that ended up.

      Vouchers and fully private kind of throws the baby out with the bathwater.

      But having some private admin could help, they could actually hire/fire. Doesn't mean they'd own the building, or hire the cleaning crew, or make the teachers or cleaning crews private. Just the admin.

      I'd be ok with starting there.
      Yes and no. There are crappy private schools that are money motivated. There are private schools that are expensive because their goals require significant funding. They are more like legitimate non-profits than for-profit corporations mostly. The problem, imo, is that most public schools are public government employees, complete with entrenched unions and the ability to totally distort local elections. They are very difficult to uproot and change work rules/termination procedures.

    8. 05-18-2017 01:15 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by bave View Post
      change work rules/termination procedures.
      This is where I agree with the opposition to my traditional view.

      If you can't drill out the rot, the tooth dies.

      Honest question, how did accomplishing getting a man on the moon before the Russians work? Did we just throw enough money at it? Nasa is a government institution. They contracted companies to deliver the rockets and many other things.

      How in the hell did we do that in what, 11 years? I base that on the official program start date of the Mercury program to the point a man set foot on the moon.

      Was it that massive of a budget that money talks? Was it mostly private with a public face?

      However that worked, schooling needs the same kick in the rear end.

    9. Member bave's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 01:28 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
      This is where I agree with the opposition to my traditional view.

      If you can't drill out the rot, the tooth dies.

      Honest question, how did accomplishing getting a man on the moon before the Russians work? Did we just throw enough money at it? Nasa is a government institution. They contracted companies to deliver the rockets and many other things.

      How in the hell did we do that in what, 11 years? I base that on the official program start date of the Mercury program to the point a man set foot on the moon.

      Was it that massive of a budget that money talks? Was it mostly private with a public face?

      However that worked, schooling needs the same kick in the rear end.
      The Apollo project worked for a few reasons, absolutely massive (and totally inefficient) capital and resource allocation combined with an existing massive correlating military R&D environment. Further, you had a very different type of person. Comparing a "rocket scientist" type engineer to a school teacher isn't the same. One is a top performer in both ability and motivation the other is an employee who after a year or two is unfireable for anything short of a serious felony. It's not a great analogy, but it is basically the same problem in communism. Humans generally require motivation in order to do a good job. Whether that motivation is keeping a job, financial reward, recognition, personal goals or something else that is how you drive someone. When you take several of those away in one fail swoop it is hard to expect people to really give a ****.

      So, when you have union rules (at least when I was on the school board in SEPA) that demand everyone is paid the same, no one gets merit bonus, seniority is protected first, tenure is attained after 2 years, etc you suddenly wiped out most of the motivating factors. The only one that really remains is the "make a difference" factor and in my experience that tends to die very quickly in most related professions. Most people in healthcare, law enforcement, and education start out that way and it dies real quick.

      When you get to a good private school many of these motivations are re-instituted. People can be fired, performance is rewarded, jobs are not secure and demands are increasing. The flipside is that you are dealing with a better student, better parents, and more resources. You can see why a truly motivated teacher is going to go that route.

    10. 05-18-2017 01:41 PM #10
      Nevermind, that didn't make much sense at all comparing rocket scientists to school admin.

      I was drinking a fair amount at a birthday party recently and had the moronic idea of making parents have a tiered tax credit based on their kid's performance in school. Not a new tax credit, just part of your existing child tax credit that you wouldn't get if you let little Johnny be a dip **** in school all the time.

      But I soon realized this would drive a prison-like black market for grade-fixing.

    11. Member bave's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 01:44 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
      Nevermind, that didn't make much sense at all comparing rocket scientists to school admin.

      I was drinking a fair amount at a birthday party recently and had the moronic idea of making parents have a tiered tax credit based on their kid's performance in school. Not a new tax credit, just part of your existing child tax credit that you wouldn't get if you let little Johnny be a dip **** in school all the time.

      But I soon realized this would drive a prison-like black market for grade-fixing.
      The real problem with any material education reform is that you further separate the good from the bad. If you are a "good" that is great, since your kid is now going to go to a school with better teachers, more resources, and less distractions. However the concentrated "bad" turns that school into thunderdome. When .1% of the national population goes to private schools it isn't a big deal. If the top 20% skims off, it is a big deal.

    12. 05-18-2017 01:47 PM #12
      Wernher von Braun and the people who came along with him also had a work and management culture that wasn't typical of US government programs.

      The Apollo project worked for the same fundamental reason soviet space programs had early success, the best engineers german schools could produce.
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    13. 05-18-2017 02:07 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      the best engineers german schools could produce.
      Did we find the answer? Contract out 1950's/60's Germany for our public schools?

      I joke, but what did they have going so right for them back then?

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      05-18-2017 02:22 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by bave View Post
      The real problem with any material education reform is that you further separate the good from the bad. If you are a "good" that is great, since your kid is now going to go to a school with better teachers, more resources, and less distractions. However the concentrated "bad" turns that school into thunderdome. When .1% of the national population goes to private schools it isn't a big deal. If the top 20% skims off, it is a big deal.
      ...which is why people socioeconomically self-select where they live based on the quality of the school system. Housing in towns with top school systems tends to be extremely expensive compared to the town next door with the lousy school system. Those towns zone to keep out high density housing and have things like minimum lot size.

      In metro Boston, the top 20 towns have school systems that are comparable to a mid grade private school. It has little to do with the teachers employed by the school department. It's engaged, college educated professional parents who make sure their children are prepared and perform well. In those towns, you're not getting particularly good value for the big comp you're paying your union public school teachers since a prep school teacher at 50 cents on the dollar for fully burdened cost would give you the same results.

      Personally, I think the problem with K-12 public education is that the parents aren't held accountable. If your kid is turning a school into thunderdome, there should be some huge penalty. You lose that kid tax deduction. You lose that EITC.

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      05-18-2017 02:34 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      Wernher von Braun and the people who came along with him also had a work and management culture that wasn't typical of US government programs.

      The Apollo project worked for the same fundamental reason soviet space programs had early success, the best engineers german schools could produce.
      That's mostly a myth. The engineers who built all the systems for the US space program were 'Muricans working for the defense contractors. Chrysler. Boeing. Rockwell. Douglass Aircraft. They got a jump start from the 1940's German V2 rocket technology but in the 1960's, the expertise was 100% home brew.

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      05-18-2017 02:47 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by bave View Post
      here are crappy private schools that are money motivated. There are private schools that are expensive because their goals require significant funding. They are more like legitimate non-profits than for-profit corporations mostly.
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    17. 05-18-2017 03:14 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      If your kid is turning a school into thunderdome, there should be some huge penalty. You lose that kid tax deduction. You lose that EITC.
      See my post above about having this idea during a night of drinking.

      This would lead to black market grade fixing. "I'll give you half my EITC if you fix Johnny's grades/report so I get it".

    18. 05-18-2017 03:17 PM #18
      The idea that the american space program benefitted from von Braun and hundreds who came with him would be "myth" accepted within NASA and a fact that can't be squared with a claim of 100% home brewed expertise.

      Quote Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
      Did we find the answer? Contract out 1950's/60's Germany for our public schools?

      I joke, but what did they have going so right for them back then?
      We don't treat students the way pre-war euros did. You were packed off to a gymnasium in which physical violence was routine. Technical training was respected even amongst the population we might call tradesmen. They had a history of wealth and enormous educational momentum.

      We are a relatively bigger deal now than we were then. I don't see us recreating a boarding school system complete with caning; it just isn't something we want the way people wanted it a century ago.
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      05-18-2017 04:32 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      That's mostly a myth. The engineers who built all the systems for the US space program were 'Muricans working for the defense contractors. Chrysler. Boeing. Rockwell. Douglass Aircraft. They got a jump start from the 1940's German V2 rocket technology but in the 1960's, the expertise was 100% home brew.
      That's not accurate - it was a shared effort. Read the bios in the article below and tell me those German wartime scientists weren't critical to NASA into the 1960s (and even into the 80s). And you can google for articles that provide info on more than just those (operation paperclip) guys. Several worked at Goddard when I was there for 2 yrs, in the early 90s. They would work into their 80s if they could, and they worked on the shuttle and the Hubble telescope. Braun ran the NASA facility in Huntsville until 1970.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/nazi-...program-2014-2
      Last edited by tbvvw; 05-18-2017 at 04:38 PM.

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      05-18-2017 04:48 PM #20
      The first task of ANY bureaucracy, for profit or not, is self-preservation. The main difference between public and private schools, in my paying-out-the-ass opinion, is that private schools are more focused on actual education, both by teachers and administration. Public schools have so many mandates thrown at them that they aren't allowed to dodge, including taking all comers, that the actual teaching gets slighted.

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      05-18-2017 05:13 PM #21
      As others have indicated, we just have to make bad teachers easier to fire and we have to make good teachers get paid for performance. Same for administrators. As an old boss of mine once said "there isn't much motivation when there is only a 1% pay difference between those kicking a_$ and those licking a_$". Yup. That means bust the teacher unions. That said, my kids had a fantastic public school education except for one horrible teacher each.

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      05-18-2017 05:48 PM #22
      In FL, where every strip mall seems to have a charter school (some are nice new buildings) - actually more complaints about those, at least in the parent circles.

      Next year should be interesting, they just opened up choice programs for all levels of public schooling in the county.
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      05-18-2017 06:41 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by vwtool View Post
      The first task of ANY bureaucracy, for profit or not, is self-preservation. The main difference between public and private schools, in my paying-out-the-ass opinion, is that private schools are more focused on actual education, both by teachers and administration. Public schools have so many mandates thrown at them that they aren't allowed to dodge, including taking all comers, that the actual teaching gets slighted.
      doesn't your kid have special needs or something?
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      05-18-2017 06:41 PM #24
      Based on my own K-12 public school education, the experiences of all the public school teachers in my extended family and the 33 yrs of public school education my 4 kids have received thus far...home life/parenting/community is the lion's share of what makes up the quality and outcome of a kid's education. Find me the top public school district in any state and rotate out the faculty and staff with the lowest performing district in that state and I'd bet the kids will turn out pretty much the same. My kids teachers are non-union and make $50K after 10 yrs on the job - and it is one of the top ranked districts in the SE and the exam stats and where these kids end of is quite remarkable compared to some of the best private schools in the area. It's who/what the kids go home to at 3:30 every day that's the difference between success and failure.

    25. 05-18-2017 06:45 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by vwtool View Post
      The first task of ANY bureaucracy, for profit or not, is self-preservation. The main difference between public and private schools, in my paying-out-the-ass opinion, is that private schools are more focused on actual education, both by teachers and administration. Public schools have so many mandates thrown at them that they aren't allowed to dodge, including taking all comers, that the actual teaching gets slighted.
      That's a fair critique. Viewed from the other end, the private school's authority is more likely to be part of a seamless wall of authority in a child's life. The mandates in a private school are part of what the parent is paying for, so the school is more likely to have the active backing of the parent. That itself will produce a more invested and focused student than a student whose parents have sent him to the closest factory model government school because its "free".
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