I actually very much enjoy this sort of conversation; I've had this particular one numerous times before. Unfortunately it's not presently feasible for me to keep up with this one. I do want to address several things said, though. If there are further replies I may well follow up on them, but it's likely to take longer than I'd like.Jared: When I talk about privatization, I try to avoid talking about specific policies. One of the great virtues of free enterprise, in my opinion, is that people try lots of different things; some ideas float, some sink, and even in a mature system you inevitably have multiple approaches co-existing, and providing choice.That having been said: grouping kids strictly by age seems one of the weirder, and more unfortunate, ideas in our educational system. I think throwing out that practice would allow you to do a lot of interesting things with your students.Twilly: I think that partial deregulation of a given industry is frequently perilous... that's a point I too seldom hear made. I do think you take it much too far, however, in saying that getting the government (or a particular state's government) out of education would require taking government funding completely out of our lives. Careful consideration, and a readiness to make further changes as new information becomes available, is not too bold an approach.Ankle Picker: The United States Postal Service has been an independent agency, run mostly like a corporation, for many years now. Discussing the relative virtues of the USPS would make for a lengthy topic, and almost entirely a digression. A short version of my view would be: the Postal Service used to be absolutely awful, and to the extent that it is now otherwise, it is due to competition from the likes of FedEx and UPS.Note that I don't expect to convince you of much; it would be unreasonable to think you'd change your opinion without my expanding greatly on this. Since I don't have time, I'll just respectfully disagree with you.This, however, I think is simply wrong: "I heard a lot of complaining from Ray here but I don't hear any ideas on how to fix it." I gave one big idea as to how to fix it: privatize it. How I'd like to see schools run is another topic entirely.Matt K: I think perhaps you underestimate the extent of the changes which would be possible under a privatized system. "If everyone was in private school then it seems to me it would essentially be a public school" seems to assume that for each public school there would be a single private replacement. I would expect a multitude of schools, large and small, pursuing different educational philosophies and catering to different sorts of students.A particular school might not want kids who caused problems, but why would we think that none of them would? They're still customers; indeed, serving their needs might be a task better suited to specialized schools.I also don't find the point about discrimination compelling; here the restaurant analogy is useful. At one point, "Colored Dining Room in Rear" was a policy a restaurant could legally adopt. Now it's not. We've simply decided that certain constraints on business are acceptable. This doesn't require throwing out free enterprise entirely, or even modifying it all that drastically.In any case, though, we indeed agree that something needs to change. I'd be quite happy to see a single state try putting education directly into the hands of the people, so that we could judge the results (and possibly find that my idea is awful). That we have such uniformity amongst the states as to make this a far-fetched scenario is, to my mind, the result of a very similar problem on a different level.
Zeb Miller » The First Day of Kindergarten
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The First Day of Kindergarten 2743 views
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Uploaded by Zebulin Miller | January 24, 2010
Ray Brinzer talks about being so excited about going to school and learning, but it being the exact opposite of that. Ray talks about letting schools privatize similiar to the restaurant industry and not involving government in education.
RayWhat are your thoughts on multi age grouping? Would this align students, teachers, parents, systems, etc. ?http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/instrctn/in500.htm
I totally agree. I could listen to him for hours. The average persons head would explode if they thought like he does for ten minutes. I am glad he doesn't have a box because he forces me to think outside of mine.
That is all I want people to do, whether you agree with Ray or not, hearing different philosophies and ideas and interesting stories is not a bad thing. Ray is a forward thinker that has no box, he is outside of any thinking that I have ever heard and that is what is refreshing about the guy.
Matt K:1) There is no reason to equate blaming the school system with blaming teachers. Teachers function within the school system, and are limited by it. It's certainly possible to put the best of teachers in situations where it is impossible to teach effectively.2) There is no reason to put "Bored" in scare quotes, as if there were some doubt that kids are often genuinely bored at school. For that matter, given that teachers are often obliged to repeat the same lesson a half-dozen times a day, it's pretty certain the students aren't the only ones bored.3) "Bad grades" should, in theory, indicate a failure to learn the material. When a student masters the material, and has bad grades anyway, grades aren't indicating what they're supposed to.4) In considering the relative merits of the school system, there is no reason to place blame anywhere outside the school system. Indeed, it's counter-productive to do so. Coaches do not improve by blaming their athletes, but by considering how they can coach better. Likewise schools and students.5) If you hire someone who has a great desire to do exactly what you want him to do, and soon thereafter you find him performing badly at work, it should raise questions. If it happens repeatedly, with different people, you're doing something wrong almost by definition.6) "Enough work" isn't a problem. "Productive work" is. People want to be productive, and kids want to learn. When work is divorced from productivity, morale suffers. Getting additional "guidance" (i.e. useful work) at home doesn't give back the 8 hours you just wasted.7) Nothing I suggested requires raising state taxes. Indeed, since I propose taking education out of the state, one would hope that this would mean lowering taxes.8) One cannot properly judge the pay of private schools in a system where people whose kids attend private schools are essentially paying for school twice: once in taxes, and again in tuition. In any case, better teachers will not always choose better pay, any more than talented people will always choose more lucrative professions than teaching. Most teachers (to their credit) care about their ability to be productive.
I like Ray but I think this is way off base. First of all let's look at wrestling. Everyone knows how to do a single leg but guess what, every year we go back over and over and over a single leg all the way through college. The postal service is run by the government and I think they do a tremendous job. I can send a letter literally across the country in a couple of days for a very, very reasonable price. The restaurant analogy is dumb. What makes you think all of the food would be the same if run by the govt.? I have a bunch of different options when I go to the post office alone. I'm certain restaurant choices would be even more diverse. The problem is at the elementary level the kids are all grouped together so the smarter kids will get bored, but once they get to middle school and HS the smarter kids can take more advanced classes and can select the courses they want to take according to their level of intelligence. There's no reason the parents can't subsidize what the kids are learning at school. I heard a lot of complaining from Ray here but I didn't hear any ideas on how to fix it. If you want to push yourself academically there is certainly a means to do so. I agree there is some time wasted but the fact is parents do have to work so what do you sest we do? Send them to a baby sitter where they will learn absolutely nothing?