SCHOOL CHOICE NOT A PANACEA

#education #PublicEducation #PrivateEducation #SchoolVouchers #CharterSchools
Advocates for school choice – that is, allowing parents the ability to choose where to send their children to school, vs. being forced to attend their neighborhood public school – have argued that putting the power in parents over how their children are educated will provide the best education results.
As parents, one could certainly argue that having the ability to choose schools is desirable. But how to give parents such choice has come under scrutiny.
Of course, for the well-to-do, choice has always been there. They have the resources to send their children to any school they want – public or private.
For the not-so-well-to-do, school choice has come in two forms: vouchers and charter schools.
Vouchers are taxpayer-funded certificates that can be used to pay for private-school tuition. These vouchers deliberately siphon money from public schools that desperately need it. Remember, as discussed last week, education is compulsory in America. Private schools can pick and choose their students. Public schools, largely, cannot.
Charter schools are considered “public” schools, but operate with less regulation, as long as they can show performance. They are usually operated by non-profit organizations, away from the local Board of Education. These charter schools, which can also pick and choose students, have had a mixed record. Some have closed. Some have thrived.
New legislation on school vouchers has cropped up in Georgia, according to Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She discussed this in a March 26, 2019, column.
“The resurrected legislation, which now has a lower cap on the number of student who could used the vouchers – passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee … and may reach the Senate floor,” writes Downey, who points out that the legislation has the backing of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
The Georgia lawmakers point to success of vouchers in Indiana and Louisiana, even though neither state has seen big leaps in academic achievement as a result, Downey writes. Yet, she continues, Massachusetts, the nation’s highest-performing state for academics, excels by concentrating on improving teaching and curriculum, not by offering vouchers.
As for charter schools, USA Today reports that many charter schools have closed, while some states have not created a new charter school in years. The first charter school in Nevada is set to close in the spring. “In New Jersey, the charter system is making real estate investors rich,” as they use federal money to build school buildings to sell (to) the charter schools at a hefty profit, the article, also published March 29, 2019, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says.
We all WANT choice in education for our children. Sometimes, it’s just not practical. Sometimes, individual choice deprives the community of much needed resources. Students will have different levels of achievement in school, but no one wants some to have more opportunity to succeed than others.
The best solution is to make sure your community has good public schools, with appropriate funding to improve teaching and curriculum. Certainly, there should be private, or even charter, options for those students who may want to specialize in a tailored curriculum, or be educated among students with similar beliefs.
Remember, too, that no matter how much a student is educated, no matter their background, or which schools they attended, there are vehicles out there that will allow anyone the potential to really succeed financially. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
We can tinker with education. We can offer gimmicks to make it seem as if we have some options. But there is no substitute for a good, well-funded public education system that EVERONE benefits from. It’s up to each community, and its residents, to make that a priority.
Peter

WHY WE NEED PUBLIC EDUCATION

#education #PublicEducation #PrivateEducation #SchoolVouchers #CharterSchools
Public education is getting bad grades.
Wouldn’t it be better to put education in the private sector?
After all, the education bureaucracy is bloated on all levels – federal, state and local. It eats through a lot of tax money and, in some areas, produces dismal results.
We need school choice, the viewpoint goes. It’s better to give vouchers to families and let them choose where to educate their children.
Why should families get stuck sending their children to inferior, neighborhood public schools?
These arguments and questions are consistently forthcoming from public education foes. Recent studies have shown mixed results when comparing student achievement in public vs. private schools.
So why the big push against public education? It seems some people hate that public school teachers are well protected by their unions. It seems that people hate that principals and other administrators are making six-figure incomes in many places, while they, who pay their salaries, are making far less.
Teachers, and probably administrators, in many private schools make far less than their public-school counterparts.
So why can’t one use the tax money he pays for public education to pay for private education for his children, if he chooses?
There’s a reason we have public education in America. That reason is that education here is compulsory. That means every child has to go to school somewhere.
If education were privatized, those schools, as they do now, will pick and choose the BEST students, and reject the ones that might cause trouble – or who they believe might cause trouble.
So if education were entirely privatized, where might those students rejected by private schools get the compulsory education they have to have?
Where would the students whose families can’t afford the private tuition go?
The public school teachers, because they have to take all comers, have a more difficult job than those in the private schools. Private schools should definitely be an option for families who want to, say, educate children around certain religious beliefs, or whose children may have special needs or who just want the prestige of having their children go to a certain school.
But, public education should be the center of any education policy. It should be properly funded and teachers, and other school employees, should be properly paid and treated with respect.
It’s certainly OK to look for efficiencies. But many governmental entities, for largely political reasons, have given public schools short shrift for years. Teachers are now fighting back with strikes.
Remember, too, that good students will succeed no matter what school they go to. It’s the challenging students, who need the most help, who should be at the center of education policy.
While we’re on the subject, do you think all students should go to college? College is not for everyone, but there are ways for children to succeed as adults without going to college, if they are not college material. There are vehicles out there that allow anyone, regardless of background or education, to earn a potentially significant income without having a traditional job. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Remember that public education is a necessity, much the way police and fire protection are. Don’t give it short shrift. Don’t believe that the private sector can do EVERYTHING better. Because it is compulsory, American education should remain in the public domain.
Peter
(Next week: A look at vouches and charter schools)

ACADEMIC FRAUD?

#education #AcademicFraud #college #CollegeDebt
Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading. Only 25 percent did so in math.
Yet, the high school graduation rate is better than 80 percent.
Columnist Walter E. Williams, who writes for Creators Syndicate, quoted these figures from the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ 2017 report, also known as The Nation’s Report Card. His column on the subject was also published April 25, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He also writes that not only do 80 percent of high school seniors graduate, 70 percent of white high school grads were admitted to college in 2016, as well as 58 percent of black high school grads. Here, he quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Colleges, then, have to provide remedial courses, dumb down their courses so ill-prepared students can get passing grades and/or set up majors with “little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits,” Williams writes.
Williams’ conclusion: there is academic fraud being committed at all educational levels.
“How necessary is college anyway?” Williams asks. “One estimate is that 1 in 3 college graduates have a job historically performed by those with a high school diploma,” he writes.
We’ve all heard the stories, particularly in recent times, of students coming out of college and hitting the job market with degree in hand, college debt on his or her back and slim prospects not only to earn an income appropriate for his or her education level, but even to find a job at all – at least one in a field to match his or her education.
There is a teacher shortage, however not every college graduate is fit or prepared to teach. Besides, many of them might think that teaching doesn’t pay well enough for them to cover payments on their college debt, let alone any other life expenses. (Some loan programs allow college debt to be written off if the student goes into teaching for a certain number of years).
The pressure is on most children from grade school to go to college and get that degree, so they can get that good job. The pressure is so intense that families – ultimately, the students – go into debt to pay for that education.
They then spend some of their most productive work years paying that debt off, and probably delaying things like buying a house or saving for retirement. In the extreme, these graduates move back home with mom and dad and stay for several years, thus delaying their parents’ progression toward retirement.
As Williams points out, the cycle is that many students get through high school ill prepared for college academically, yet go to college anyway. They really can’t afford college, yet they view it as an investment into a great career. Again, as Williams asks, “How necessary is college anyway?”
First, if a student isn’t prepared to cut it academically in college, it’s perfectly OK not to send him or her, especially if you are going to saddle that student with a massive debt upon graduation – presuming he or she can get TO graduation.
Then, if they wind up waiting tables or doing some menial job that doesn’t require a college degree, what was the point of the education, or the debt?
Fortunately, for a student like that, he can take his menial job, work as many hours as he needs to and, in some of his off hours, pursue one of the many ways to earn money without taking a second W-2 job. Many such vehicles can eventually provide an income that could surpass any income from not just the menial job, but also from a job that would be appropriate for one with a college degree.
But, to pursue this, the student has to be willing to check out such a vehicle. If you’d like to examine one of the best, message me.
Otherwise, one could struggle to get through high school, get into college and take a lot of “gut” courses or major in something that will not have much value on the open market – and pay dearly to do it.
No education is really wasted, but one must have eyes wide open about the economic potential — and cost — of what one wants to study. Try to enjoy school at all levels, if you can, then look for ways to support yourself, and perhaps help others do the same.
Peter

RESULTS VS. PROCESS: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

#ThinkingOutsideTheBox #task #process #PaperAirplane
Some kids in a class are asked to each make a paper airplane.
After each made his or her airplane, they would compete to see which one flew the farthest.
One kid waited forever, then, at contest time, never made his plane.
Instead, he took his piece of paper, crumpled it in a ball and threw it. It went farther than any of his classmates’ planes.
This story is the premise for the book, “Paper Airplane: A Lesson in Flying Outside the Box,” by Michael McMillan.
If you were the teacher in the class, would you applaud the crumpled-ball boy for thinking outside the box? After all, school is based on rules, process etc. In school, one learns to follow a process, perhaps to the letter, even if his or her results might be better going a different route.
“Maps (or processes) simply explain the territory you’ve yet to explore,” McMillan writes. “They are based on information and understanding gained by earlier travelers. (But), they can also be detrimental to creative thinking. If you follow them too closely, you can miss information not yet seen or understood by the map’s creator,” he writes.
The boy’s crumpled ball, in McMillan’s mind, was seen as a “breakthrough idea,” or “paradigm shifter.”
Certainly, when we send children to school, we expect them to follow the rules, obey the teachers and not misbehave.
We have also seen school settings in which children were allowed to “express themselves” in ways they see fit. We sometimes look upon those settings as unruly.
But what if children were taught to think of ways, on their own, to solve problems, while, at the same time, not hurting others or interfering with others? How can we discover “breakthrough” thinkers, or paradigm shifters at a young age? How will they show themselves in a forum governed strictly by rules and process?
Perhaps it depends on the teacher – how he or she was trained, what the school administration encourages, or discourages, etc.
We’ve all, at one time or another, have been told that following the rules was the best course of action. There was security in following the rules. You were less likely to get in trouble. You will get what you need in life by following the rules.
Yet, so many brilliant people have made their mark by NOT following the rules. In fact, all, or nearly all, of us may have to, at some turning point in life, be put in a position to think outside the box. Our following of the rules did not pay off. What we thought was safe has been suddenly taken away. We get kicked in the teeth for being good boys and girls, and following the rules.
If you are in that position, there are many different ways to get out of it. But, you HAVE to be willing to think outside the box. To check out one of the best ways out, message me.
With less and less security looming for most of us, it will likely become necessary to think of different ways, from what we know, to live, and to make a living. Instead of getting angry about what has happened, crumple up a piece of paper and throw it as far as you can. Then, go about thinking about which Plan B is going to help you the most.
Peter

POWER: IT’S ALL IN HOW YOU USE IT

Every dispute, situation or dynamic is centered around power.
Those that have it tend to want to use it to control others.
Those that don’t have it look to find something they can use as a weapon against those in power.
When terrorists cannot implement their agenda, they use terror tactics to inflict damage against those whom they cannot conquer.
When a criminal wants what someone else has, knowing that person would not give it to him willingly, he gets a weapon to force the exchange.
Our only hope is that those who gain power use it to help others, not hurt others.
Anyone can gain power. Most of those who are successful in business, for example, didn’t get there without hard work, good fortune and some help from others. Now that they have achieved their success, are they using it to take from, or give to, others? And, in the process, are they using, or otherwise taking advantage of others to achieve their goals?
Some see power as evil, unless they have it. Power does not have to be evil. It can be very good, if used properly. Of course, it can be evil if not.
How do we use power for good? We use power to empower. We use power we have achieved to empower others. For example, we use our power as parents to empower our children. How? By acting toward others in ways you would want your children to act toward others.
You see, you can tell children anything, but what you tell them won’t matter unless they see you acting the way you are telling them to act. You can tell a child to stay away from drugs, but if you are taking them yourself, chances are your children will follow your actions.
If you are an employer, you can’t expect your employees to give you their best if they believe you are not giving your best to them. They have to see you act in the way you want them to act, and you have to reward them the best way you can if they perform well.
If you are a teacher, your students will follow what you DO, more than they will follow what you TEACH. Actions are the best teacher. Students can learn from books, but they will learn best when a teacher not only acts professionally, but shows the students respect. A good teacher empowers.
Anyone can get power. Almost no one is powerless. One just has to think right, find what they need to get power, then empower.
You are just a “working person,” you say? Your current job may not give you the power you want, but there are many ways outside of your job that you can gain power. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You may find the classic tool to not only give you power, but give you the power to empower.
We all believe that if we had the power, we would use it wisely, and for the benefit of others. For some, achieving power changes them for the worse. Still others who gain power change for the better.
Some who gain power just want more of it, and will do what they must to get it. Others who gain power just want to give themselves to others and empower.
If you had power, would you distribute it or hoard it? Doing the latter could eventually come back to bury you. Doing the former could change the world for the better.
To paraphrase an adage, power can corrupt. Absolute power can corrupt absolutely. But the opposite can also be true. Power can enhance. Absolute power can enhance absolutely. It all depends who has it.
Peter