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Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Mrs.PatsFanInVa, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Class sizes of 60.

    DETROIT (AP) -- State education officials have ordered the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools to immediately implement a plan that balances the district's books by closing half its schools.

    The Detroit News says the financial restructuring plan will increase high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidate operations.


    Detroit Schools Closing: Michigan Officials Order Robert Bobb To Shut Half The City's Schools

    This is not intended as an indictment of Detroit, of the governor, of the state itself, of the teachers or of the unions. It's everyone's fault and it's no one's fault. The town went belly-up for multiple reasons. Bad contracts, sure, but Detroit also lost a huge percentage of their population and another huge percentage of those remaining have no jobs and pay no taxes as a result.

    I would appreciate it if this thread did not turn into a fault finding mission or a finger pointing exercise. There are several other threads available for that or someone can start one if they're unhappy with those already available.

    I want to know where everyone expects this to move forward to...what they think is going to happen to the children (gasp! yes, I know.....Not THE CHILDREN.) But this IS about the children. Not just Detroit's children but all of our children. The end result of any cutbacks, salary freezes, tax cuts, pension removals, etc., is going to be that class size increases as the number of teachers decreases.

    And so, my questions are these - how do kids learn anything in a class of 60? How does a teacher even teach 60 kids at one time? Do you think that good teachers will even stay on the job when the reality of trying to get to know and contain this ungodly number of kids becomes their primary concern and teaching is, out of physical necessity, relegated to the back burner.

    To those of you who are parents or grandparents, is this satisfactory to you? Are you ok with your child being 1 of 60? Do you think he or she will get a good quality education sitting in a classroom designed for half the number of bodies now crammed into it?

    The logistics of even a parent/teacher conference day boggles my mind. An entire day of scheduled conferences would allow each child's parent a whole 5 minutes of the teacher's time.

    You are talking about forcing teachers not only to take pay cuts, pay more in health and pension benefits, but to work twice, maybe three times as hard and take on several hours more worth of work each day just in grading papers and checking assignments.

    Is this acceptable to you, as parents? As citizens who are going to be impacted by the kind of graduates set loose upon graduation?

    If not - what are the solutions?
  2. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    Last night I watched Freakonomics the Documentary, A great program. One of the chapters they ran a test to pay students to bring up their grades, every month, if they achieved all C's or more, they got 50.00, and then 1 student out of those with grades can win 500.00.

    The Idea was great, as an economist, his job was to find the right incentive to make kids care more about their grades. In the end 50.00 resulted in 5-7% more kids passing 9th grade.

    They ran this with 900 kids, that equates to 45-63 more kids who passed, at a potential cost of 45000 a month if all 900 passed ( which they didn't ) so I don't know what the total costs were.

    The end result was that the incentive wasn't really what the kids were looking for, and they felt that it was money better spent by incentivizing kids to learn at an early age as when you wait for 9th grade, they are already stuck to their level of moditivation for learning.

    I mentioned this becuase my wife and I discussed this last night, ( her mom is a teacher ) and she felt that the money spent directly to kids could go to hiring another teacher and make the class size smaller.

    I said "Ahhhh! But Class size does not factor into a KIDS incentive, I don't think they would care much more if they had a smaller class size. We need to find out what incentive most kids want to achieve, which is important to them"

    If you figure that out, you fix education.

    My idea, For all students who achieve a 3.0 or better have 1 hour less of school a day. OR... They don't have to show up on Fridays.

    Giving 1 day for teachers to focus soley on the struggling students, and rewarding those good students with more free time and social interaction with friends, which IS what motivates Kids.
  3. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Not a bad idea, and I thank you for playing nice!! LOL

    My only devil's advocate question is this:

    Given the current state of economics and the fact that many families are single parent families and that the necessity even in most two parent families is that both parents work - won't that create a babysitter crisis? Granted, it is not the school's job to babysit, but the fact is, parents rely on a 5 day, set amount of school day hours and schedule their work day around it in many cases. Cut the school day by an hour and there's a babysitter/after school program that's going to need to be found and paid for by the parents - cut an entire day and that's more money to be scrounged around for. Either that or you've got unsupervised kids running around and that's not good, either.

    I'm not saying your idea is a bad one - I actually think it's pretty good - but there are practical considerations which need to be recognized.

    My own parent's bribed me to pass geometry by promising me I could drop out of school at the end of the semester if I passed.

    It worked.

    But looking back, I wouldn't recommend it.
  4. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    One of the biggest challenges to our educational systems is the acceptance that school is not day care. Teachers & school systems aren't responsible for anything other than EDUCATION. If the school closes and your child needs day care, in the eyes of public education, the answer should be "Oh well"

    Parents' needs should never influence educational policy.
  5. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Spoken like a true non-parent.

    Be that as it may, PR, the fact that parents use school hours to their own advantage is a fact of life right now that you're not going to be able to change just because you, personally, don't believe it's right. That fact alone doesn't make it go away. The way to deal with problems is to recognize them, acknowledge them as valid, and work towards solving them.

    "Get over it," is not a solution.
  6. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    I think most high school students already stay home by themselves. Parents that both work, or single parents that work, typically don't get home until 5 or 6, high school students are typically out at 3 - 4, so they are already for the majority staying home by themselves. I did it when I was younger, and I assume the 15 kids who get off the buss at 3:30 in my neighborhood aren't going home to moms waiting for them.

    Again, not the schools responsibility.

    Here is why I love my idea. It's a double win. First, you offer 1 day a week where the struggling kids get more personalized attention. Second, the School would instantly save a ton of money becuase they don't need as many lunches 1 day a week, as well as a whole host of costs that are associated with a reduced amount of kids in the school. Also, I bet Teachers Morale is improved as they have an easier day by not dealing with full class loads.

    It's win win because politically your creating savings, as well as providing better, more focused attention to those who need it.
  7. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    We can not deny that the sole "Raisson D'etre" of our educational system is to educate our children. The challenges they face are many and the last thing they need is to worry about day care needs.

    I'm not saying parents don't have their own challenges, but I don't believe our educational system can afford to make their needs a part of educational strategy.
  8. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    I used to go home with both parents working by the time I was 12. A lot of kids did and nothing has changed to make anything different today other than parents over-protecting their children.
  9. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    I'm also only talking about High School Students... and I bet that most High School Students do not have a parent, baby sitter, or Day care they go to until their parents are at work.

    Yes it may effect some students, and it's not like those students who can take Friday off HAVE to... They can go to school and act as a tutor on those days or learn other job skills while at the school by helping in other non class room areas of the school...
  10. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    If a parent of a high school student won't let their child go home by him/herself, then they have "issues" they need to deal with.
  11. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    But when discussing ideas, taking your stance alienates potential policy adopters, accommodating those that say they need it, is they way change is made.
  12. DarrylS

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    Huge fan of freakonomics.. this is not a bad idea. Believe it or not, some of my grandson's friends actually like the "solace" that school provides, it gives some of them respite in a very crazy world.
  13. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #12 Jersey

    I was not thinking of only high school student when I voiced my concerns.

    My kids spent a few hours alone when they were in high school, but I did try very hard to make those hours as minimal as possible, as I assume most parents do. While teenagers are certainly "old enough" to be left alone it sometimes seems as though some of them, at least, are not "mature enough."

    Too much time alone can lead to trouble, even for teenagers - especially for teenagers in some cases - PR seems to disagree with me and that's his right - but I'd have to ask him at what age he began drinking and did the fact that his parents left him to his own devices after school factor into the relative easieness of getting drunk while still in high school - if indeed, he began drinking at an early age. He very well may not have - but alot of teenagers do, and they generally do it at someone's house while the parents are not home.

    Same for doing drugs, having sex, browsing porn and all those other things we'd all prefer our 12 to 19 year old kids not have the time or space to do it in.

    And no, PR, I don't think that's a personal "issue," I had as a parent, I think it's a concern of all decent parents everywhere and most of us would prefer to do something other than hand our kids a key and trust they'll know what to do with an empty house and several hours or a whole day of unsupervised time.
  14. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Do the right thing: the people's ... - Google Books
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #12 Jersey

    Sick quote, sick man....but then again, does the state have the interest of the child at heart, either, or do they basically negotiate in favor of budgets and such? Does closing half the schools in Detroit (a move being taken by the state not by the union) have the best interest of the child as it's basis?

    I guess that's what I'm asking, and why I asked that this not devolve into a discussion about "whose fault it is."

    I want to know what, if anything, can be done to keep good teachers (and regardless of what anyone thinks, even "good" people, people with the best interest of their pupils at heart,) are going to follow the money and they are going to protect their own sanity.

    If a person can make the same salary with comparable benefits working as a clerk in a grocery store or as a receptionist in a doctor's office with virtually no responsibilities is that person going to choose to face a classroom with 60 unruly ghetto kids on a daily basis instead?

    Is cutting salaries, lowering benefits and doubling or tripling class size and responsibility going to encourage teachers to keep teaching or is it going to send them in another direction?

    Do we, as parents, find it acceptable to send our kids to a school with 60 kids in a classroom?

    This can't be the only answer, can it?
  16. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    Mrs P.... I think you are coming around to the conclusion that you can not rely on government to run and provide the best education for you and your family. You are sounding more and more like me in your last post.

    What's the best solution? Government stops taking a huge chunk of tax money and giving it to schools who can't compete, or perform the duties it is paid to perform.

    Now you take that money back and you find the best solution you can afford to send your kid too.

    Government is in the business of lowest common denominator. They are not going to provide services over and above expectations, only to meet the lowest level which will keep you wanting to pay your taxes to support it.

    Now the honest answer, pay for your child to go to private school and ensure they are getting the best teachers, with the best tools, and the best environment, which will dramatically increase your kids chances of being successful.

    now I know your going to say "But not everyone can afford that! It's not fair" and then i'll remind you of what your dad, or grandpa said to you when you were a kid... "Life isn't fair"

    I could even see a market for local work at home moms, hosting a small local Home Schooling business / Daycare in which you send your kids down the street, pay the one person to watch and educate your child, and I bet you end up with a better education without all the pit falls and distractions of public education.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  17. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Child rearing is 100% the responsibility of PARENTS. No one else is responsible for them. My point is that public school systems can't afford to worry about the needs of parents.

    Could it work against them in discussions with parents? Sure it will. But again, PARENTS need to accept the fact schools play no role in making their lives more "convenient"...nor should they.

    The last thing a teacher needs to worry about is who is at home watching "The poor children". Its not their concern.
  18. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    My opinion on funding public education is that all tax revenues from each town that are earmarked for public education should be placed into a pool at the state level and every town should get the same funding (per student).

    Wealthier towns shouldn't have better schools and better teachers than poorer towns...in my opinion.

    Now, poorer states would still get less, but it's still more fair than the current system. The LAST thing I'd want to see is public education handed over the federal gov't. So let's keep it at the state level.

  19. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    You will as long as you feel government run education is the best form of education for your children. You don't have a choice do you? As long as you want to rely on government education, you are FORCED to send your kid to a 60 student classroom.

    On a side note...

    Parents such as your self have a major problem sending their kids to a school with 60 students in them, however you will more than likely within the next few years be either taking out 40k worth of loans, or paying for your kids to go to a college where the class size is easily 250+

    Explain that phenomenon
  20. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    So me and my neighbors work our ass off to make a lot of money, so we have to pay taxes in order to ensure my kids school is the lowest common denominator? If I am paying for it, I want my money going to the best, most competitive situation for my kid. Why should I ensure the people who live 300 miles away in a town that produces very little tax money have the same quality of education? I want to ensure MY kid gets the best, yet your offering me the best that can be afforded to all? Or the lowest common denominator...

    This is why it's broken... We aren't creating schools which are centers for advancing educational standards, we are ensuring that areas who are known for innovation, and generating jobs via businesses are getting a lesser education, and therefore ensuring the levels of innovation and growth slow with the next generation.

    And I 100% understand that it's not a very "fair" situation. However, the goal should be to have your kids just a bit better off than yourself... and you don't go from po-dunk to CEO in 1 generation... it may happen, but it's not the norm. If you live in one of the areas with poor services, your aim as a provider should be to find a job which afford you the ability to either send your kid to a better school or move to a better area. Easier said than done, I understand this... Life isn't fair, it's hard...
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

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