Public Education, Private / Charter Schools versus Home Schooling Our Children Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

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Public Education, Private / Charter Schools versus Home Schooling Our Children

2 January 2008 at 6:49:22 PM

Children who are homeschooled generally do very well in college and are better prepared to succeed in society.

There are many studies that are showing these facts more and more.

In fact, there are more state officials who recognize this. Here's one comment on the issue:

“The children I know who were homeschooled and then went on to college were often ahead of their peers who had come from either public or private schools. No system is perfect, but home schooling is an option that is growing in national use, and I applaud the families who choose to dedicate their time and energy to their children in this way.”

-- Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller

So, my first question is, "Why are the parents of homeschooled children being taxed by local school districts?"

While the Texas Comptroller may commend those parents who homeschool their children, the state penalizes them for doing so.

Obviously, fairness is NOT one of the urgent issues being faced by our legislators.

While parents homeschool their children, many have to pay up to $12,000 per year for their district's public education when their children don't attend public school. It's called yearly property taxes of which more than 80-percent goes to the local school district.

Next question is, "Why do homeowners who don't have children and don't use the public schools have to pay public education taxes?"

My last question is, "Why do parents who send their children to private / charter schools have to pay another tuition public school tax when their children are not attending public schools?"

Clearly here are 3 issues that have amounted to unfair and overburdened district public education taxation for Texas homeowners.

If the reason we all have to pay for public education is that the entire community benefits from an educated work force, then why during the last 10 years hasn't the corporate business sector paid their franchise taxes, which were to go towards financing public education? And why has the state refused to pursue those businesses to pay for the years they didn't?

Could it be that big business has purchased the best state government money can buy?

Making homeowners pay for public education when they don't use it makes about as much sense as the 10-year old "Robin Hood" clause that takes tax dollars away from a "wealthy" district to give to a "poorer" district.

In today's world of taxation most school districts are now claiming to be "poorer" districts and with good cause.

Isn't is time to revamp the methodology used to provide the financing for public education? The Texas constitution still has laws that claim that it is the responsibility of the state, NOT local districts, to provide the tax dollars needed to provide each Texas child with a quality education.

The state has circumvented its responsibility over to local government and onto homeowners via property taxes.

The state pays merely 40-percent compared to the local districts paying 60 percent of the public education budget. It is unconstitutional for the state to turn over the burden to Texas homeowners!

It's time our legislators determine new and more fair methods of paying for public education or they need to amend the constitution.

This is a long-time problem that hasn't been resolved for at least 10 years. Rep. Kent Grusendorf lost his reelection bid because people did NOT like the way he was managing the endless array of Committees on Public Education.

If the governor and elected officials don't want to fix public education, fine. But they had better NOT continue to overburden local government and homeowners with their constitutional obligation.

At least, that's what I believe.

How do you feel about it?


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1 - whitkat   3 Jan 2008 @ 12:31:32 PM 

The figures on home schoolers' success in college doesn't surprise me.  Those who truly believe in education for their children have three choices:  find and live in a truly exceptional public school district, send their children to private school, or home school them.

The last works if the parents are able to actually monitor their students'  progress and find tutors when academic subjects exceed the academic grasp of the parents.  Also, generally one parent is a stay at home parent which means that sometimes financial sacrifices must be made.

Parents who care enough about education will do whatever it takes to get their child reready for higher education and instill within them the importance of learning. 

Those who take education for granted and regard schools as convenient daycare and teachers as overeducated babysitters will produce children who do not care about academic progress.

Sometimes what is "free," as in public education is not valued.  It is as simple as that.  Some of the brightest and most motivated states are the sons and daughters of 1st generation immigrants who have overcome language and cultural challenges and know that education is the key to their success.

All states seem to be trying to figure out how to pay for education and the easiest way is to put it on those who own property.  Why?  Because they have NO lobby to protect them from the legislators who always overburden those who have no one to protect them. 

And why aren't education issues protected by high-powered lobbyist?  Schools are not in the business to make money; therefore they don't have the funds or inherent interest to sway legislation to benefit their product.  Schools don't have to be have little competition and don't have to be profitable, so they don't have the mindset that is necessary to function in a political system that rewards financial achievement.

Teacher's unions have lobbyists, paid for by the dues of underpaid teachers, but they generally do a poor job of trying to protect the interests of students and learning. 

In Texas we have been given two sure fire ways to solve school finance problems. 

Lie #1 - the Texas Lottery brought to us by the witty Ma Richardson, God rest her soul.  

"The lottery money does not supplement current state spending on education. It simply allows a billion dollars of general revenue funds to be spent elsewhere in state government," the staff member said.

California freely admits that only $150 per student from their Lottery is spent per student. I wish Texas would be at least that transparent.

Lie #2,  the School Finance Reform Package of 2006 brought to the people of the great state of Texas by Pretty-boy Rick and all his gutless cronies.   In New York this plan would be called a shell-game with the added handicap of the victim wearing a blindfold. 

Why doesn't it work?  Any six year-old can tell you.  If the ice cream man is coming down the street and you need $1 to buy a Nutty-Buddy, where are you going to get the money?  You can dig through the couch and find 30 cents, break the piggy bank for 60 cents and fish around in the washer for another 10, but in the end you have to come up with 100 pennies to get the goods.  It doesn't matter how you move around the places you find the money, it still doesn't change the price.  The same thing is 1 with financing for education.  Make the balloon smaller in one place; it will just get bigger somewhere else...the amount of hot air is still the same.

Taxing the property holder is not done primarily because they have children that will benefit the school system; it is because they are the venue of least resistance.  The other option is the blasphemous concept of income tax. 

But in essence, they are the same.  Taxes are taxes whether you see them once a year from the CAD, your 1040 form, or the bottom of your receipt from Walmart.  The only questions is who pays how much.

Income tax is based on the ability to pay. The federal income tax system is progressive, the higher the income the higher the tax rate. Many states have similar systems. Illinois has a flat tax system. An Illinois wage earner pays 3% of his/her adjusted gross income minus deductions for dependents. But regardless of system the taxpayer has some protection, when or if their income level drops, from the taxes s/he must pay.

Real estate ownership is a measurement of wealth as an asset. It is also a primary source of debt for most homeowners. Failure to pay property tax, voluntary or involuntary, results in the loss of all money invested. A decline in income due to loss of job or spouse can result in the loss of a home for someone who cannot afford their property tax bill.

One more thing, here is a graphic indicating how some states fund education.   What I woul really like to see is dollar for dollar, which state gets the best education for their children.

Data: Rankings and Estimates 2004-05, National Education Association, EdSource 7/06Data: Rankings and Estimates 2004-05, National Education Association, EdSource 7/06


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2 - somervellsally   4 Jan 2008 @ 9:14:20 AM 

Having homeschooled one of our children, I have something to say about why this homeschooler chose this path along with a comment regarding why we did NOT fuss about taxation.

Homeschooling was a choice made by us and our child jointly. She came from a C student to a B+ student quickly in our doing so. She was able to participate in 4H and also to excel in arts as a homeschooler. It was our choice. Also she went on to college, graduated from a academically acclaimed school, and is a productive citizen today. More time to learn "family values" as well as "social interaction" and what did she miss......daily exposure to drugs until old enough to make sound choices on her individual maturity issue.

No compaints on taxation because: 1) We didn't look for tax relief because when you do, you get gov't rules and interference in the private issue of raising the child. 2) If the populace without children asked to be tax exempt for education.....well that speaks for funds for the schools. 3) Although I see the taxation numbers as HIGHLY unfair and wish there was some way to make those that participate in noneducational or extracurricular activities had to pay more fees or dues for those activities than they do........such as it will be when they actually hit the REAL WORLD.....we laid quite and low while we homeschooled to prevent gov't interference in what we considered a parent responsibility and privilage ...that is to homeschool responsibly.

Oh and by the way, we did participate in regular end of school testing and should any homeschooler, to evaluate our progress with the public schools. This prevents misuse or neglect by the non responsible homeschooler parents of which there are many .....just like there are many public school parents that are neglectfull regarding what the child is getting.

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3 - salon   4 Jan 2008 @ 10:45:27 AM 

I agree with you, Somervell Sally. I strongly beileve in public education, which is for ALL-how else is it going to get paid for if not with taxes, at least *some* type of taxes? If a person decides to opt for home schooling, charter schools, private schools, religious schools, then let that person prioritize it in his/her own budget. Seems to me that there's been a plan afoot to gut public education, and make education strictly for-profit ventures.

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4 - pstern   5 Jan 2008 @ 1:46:08 PM 

I used to believe as you do, Salon; however, these days public education and financing it can be under the "umbrella" of UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

I say this because people should have a choice.  Public education should be the choice for those parent who want it.  Not only is it UNFAIR to force people who do NOT use the public education system, it really is unconstitutional.

That stated, I know it is legal currently for the state to mandate taxes to pay for public education; however, overburdening homeowners is unconstitutional.

There are some basic flaws in how we maintain our public school system.  One of the main issues is class sizes.  It is documented in many reports that children are more productive in smaller sized populations.

We don't do that for public education and it shows.

If we are going to charge EVERYONE in Texas for financing public education, before we do that we must make positive changes in class size, curriculum, make each community district more independent of state rules and regulations and stop making our kids pass exams as a model for success.

I was an Administrator and Teacher for 8 years in public education and it just does NOT work.  Kids fall through the cracks mostly because the system sets it up for failure.

The children fail, the teachers fail, the community fails and so does the state of Texas.  In fairness, the same can be documented for other states.

Until we make those necessary changes and then create a fair and rational system of taxation to finance it, public education will continue to fail.

I know this is 1 and I wish more people would see that.

The biggest problem is that wealth special interests do NOT want public education to succeed.  To remedy this, we need to hold our legislators more accountable.  We need to cut down the dollars permitted re: campaign contributions.

Only then will public education successfully teach our children to succed in life.

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5 - salon   5 Jan 2008 @ 2:30:06 PM 

Taxation itself as an issue is a whole topic unto itself. Since we DO tax for various things, since we as taxpayers have very little sayso over where our taxes go, even when we don't agree with it, I continue to believe that education is for everyone, ie, having public education, and that tax dollars must be taken for it. I know that what the Texas Lege has done to fund education is a travesty-Texas does NOT value education or teachers and it shows every time the Lege meets. But that just means that there must be champions who stand up to fix and root out the corruption in public education, rather than choking it off by routing money away into other choice pursuits.  And make sure that money actually goes FOR education and, as you said, the legislators are held accountable, as well as local school districts.

I am so with you that campaign finance reform is one of the top priorities if we really mean to let the people's voice decide not only elections but laws passed.

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6 - whitkat   5 Jan 2008 @ 7:23:05 PM 

I have always thought that a lower pupil teacher ratio was the key to successful classrooms However, after doing a college research assignment comparing the effectiveness of the Japanese education system versus the US, I found some interesting data.

The first was that despite appearances to the contrary, class sizes in the US are declining

Additionally, I came to the conclusion that based on the evidence available “was although “Japan and the United States have quite similar pupil-teacher rations, but, because of choices in how to organize school and to use teachers, Japanese class sizes are much larger than U.S. class sizes (Stevenson and Stigler, 1992). The Japanese student performance is on average much better than U.S student performance.”

The factors that I found most conducive to successful academic progress of students were the involvement of students and their parents in the educational process and the adherence to high-level objectives in instructions.

In Japan there is virtual no disciplinary action needed within due to the high respect held by students for their teacher There is no wasted time keeping students on task. Students take a leadership role within the class and work within a cooperative environment

Additionally, there is no variance in curriculum to make sure that all students progress at a minimum level, as is the formula for the Texas TEKS/TAKS assessment. Japanese parents enroll their students who fall behind academically in Saturday and Sunday tutorials to help them keep up with their classmates

Since IDEA was passed in 1990, the move toward “least restrictive learning environment” has led to students of almost all abilities to be educated in the same classroom as their age group peers While the intent might have been noble, the end result has been that “equal education” is now mediocre education Brighter students are not challenged, lower level students still struggle with concepts sometimes far beyond their abilities, and the middle-of-the-road students are left to vie for what limited time the teacher may have after addressing the inherent discipline problems created by such a hodgepodge of needs.  All the while working furiously to make sure that students are ready for the all important TAKS test.

And for proof to how much the dumbing down of education has gone, look no farther than the arbiter of the standards

In what other test can a student achieve less than 50% and still “pass” And everyone is told to take heart because “No Child (is) Left Behind” which is 1 only because no child is being propelled forward

In the last 50 years, more money has been expended on a continual rate of diminishing return My contention is that the one factor that has decreased that should be increased is the amount of parental influence on the academic success of their students.


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7 - pstern   6 Jan 2008 @ 10:40:02 AM 

Whitcat, I think it's great that you provide documentation with the presentation of your opinions.  I wish more people would also do that.

That stated, you do have to be careful regarding the facts you accept.

The data you provided above --- in my opinion --- has been "manipulated" by the presenters.  That is, the studies are NOT providing the reasons why similar-sized groups have better learning outcomes.

I was solely discussing the public education system of the U.S. and as such, I stated that there are many reasons why our schools don't work.  One major reason for OUR schools not functioning properly is that the way they are being operated is NOT conducive to positive learning outcome, which also means that the higher number of students in our classrooms will ensure that learning outcomes are more negative.  But that was only one issue.

If you review the differences of the education systems of the U.S., Japan and even Germany, you will see documentation that provides additional information that is NOT present in the studies you presented.  The additional info is critical in determining why there ARE differences in the learning outcomes of these nations.

There are many studies on this comparison issue, but let me provide all of you with the following summary comparison:

(I could not repaste the figure graph so you may want to review it directly at the website link below)

Prisoners Of Time - April 1994


International comparisons of education are difficult. Cultural factors influence performance and school systems differ. Despite such problems, international comparisons are not impossible and a great deal can be learned from examining schooling abroad. In fact, unflattering comparisons of the academic performance of American students with those from other lands spurred attempts at school improvement in the United States throughout the 1980s.

From its review of other nations, the Commission draws several conclusions:

Students in other post-industrial democracies receive twice as much instruction in core academic areas during high school.

Schools abroad protect academic time by distinguishing between the "academic day" and the "school day."

Many of our economic competitors supplement formal education with significant out-of-school learning time.

School performance abroad has consequences and is closely related to opportunities for employment and further education.

Teachers in other countries enjoy freedom and respect as professionals.

In short, education abroad is built around high expectations. Schools hold themselves and the adults and students in them to high standards; in consequence they enjoy high levels of support from parents and the community. As the Commission observed first-hand, schools overseas reflect a cultural passion for learning.

Recent comparisons of the number of annual "instructional hours" in different countries indicate that Americans rank in the top half of the nine countries examined. By the standard of time as an instructional resource, American education measures up well.

This standard, however, provides 0 comfort. As the Commission saw in Germany and Japan, learning is serious business abroad. "Academic time" is rarely touched. Distinctions are made between the academic day (which the Germans call the half day) and the school day (in Germany, the full day).

When asked about the school day, officials produce documents outlining a time frame similar to that in the typical American school. They feel no need to explain extracurricular activities within the school day, because these activities are not allowed to interfere with academic time. Academic time, by and large, is devoted to core academic study-native language and literature, mathematics, science, history, civics, geography, the arts, and second and third languages.

The use of "instructional" time in the United States is markedly different. The Commission analyzed time requirements for core academic subjects in 41 states and the District of Columbia. (Nine states did not provide information.) The results are startling: on average, students can receive a high school diploma-often sufficient in itself for university entrance-if they devote only 41 percent of their school time to core academic work.

It is conceivable that American students devote more time to demanding coursework than states require. That hope, however, is misplaced: 1993 data from the U.S. Department of Education indicate that the course of study most students follow is very close to what states require.

2 - Sources: United States estimate developed from The Digest of Education Statistics (NCES, 1992), State Education Indicators (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1990), and the commission's review of academic requirements in 41 states and the District of Columbia. The estimate for Japan was developed from Monbusho (1993 publication of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture) and site visits to Japanese secondary schools, and confirmed by senior Japanese ministry officials at a meeting in Washington. The estimate for France was developed from a French publication, Organization of the French Educational System Leading to the French Baccalaureat, and confirmed by French officials. The German estimate is actually the number of hours of required coursework for one state, Berlin.2 - Sources: United States estimate developed from The Digest of Education Statistics (NCES, 1992), State Education Indicators (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1990), and the commission's review of academic requirements in 41 states and the District of Columbia. The estimate for Japan was developed from Monbusho (1993 publication of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture) and site visits to Japanese secondary schools, and confirmed by senior Japanese ministry officials at a meeting in Washington. The estimate for France was developed from a French publication, Organization of the French Educational System Leading to the French Baccalaureat, and confirmed by French officials. The German estimate is actually the number of hours of required coursework for one state, Berlin.

Figure 1 compares requirements for core academic instruction in the final four years of secondary school in four countries: Germany, France, Japan, and the United States. It displays minimum time requirements at the secondary level in core academic subjects, based on our observations abroad and official state and national publications. In their final four years of secondary school, according to our estimates, French, German, and Japanese students receive more than twice as much core academic instruction as American students. Although these estimates are approximations, we are convinced they reflect the magnitude of the academic time trap in which American schools are caught.
Figure 1 speaks for itself. No matter how the assumptions underlying the figure are modified, the result is always the same-students abroad are required to work on demanding subject matter at least twice as long. In practical terms, this means that most foreign students are studying language, literature, science and two or more languages, while many of our young people spend their time in study halls, pep rallies, driver education, and assemblies.

Even the most committed advocate of the status quo will concede that American students cannot learn as much as their foreign peers in half the time. By this standard, our education system still has a long way to go.

One need look no further than Figure 1 to understand why European and Asian visitors to the United States commonly understand English while their children outperform American students on tests of student achievement. Americans abroad, by contrast, assume they will deal with people who speak English. Our high school students have trouble reading, writing, and solving simple mathematics problems.

The emphasis on core academic instruction abroad does not mean that other activities are ignored. Up to 50 percent of German students, even in farming areas, remain at the school after the academic day to participate in clubs, sports, and additional classes of one kind or another. In Japan, students clean their school when the academic day ends and then enter activity periods.

The formidable learning advantage Japanese and German schools provide to their students is complemented by equally impressive out-of-school learning. Large numbers of Japanese students (two-thirds of all students in Tokyo; nationally about 15 percent of all students in grade four rising to nearly 50 percent by grade nine) attend jukus-private, tutorial services that enrich instruction, provide remedial help, and prepare students for university examinations.

A Japanese research institute official told the Commission that elementary school teachers teach to the "middle of the class." Gifted students who might get bored or students who need extra assistance are expected to turn to the juku for help.

Jukus are a big business in Japan. Spending on the estimated 35,000 jukus reaches about 800 billion yen annually (over $7 billion), costing the average family, according to Japanese officials, about $2,500 per year, per child.

In Japan, schools and the larger society generally ignore "ability" or "aptitude" as factors in school success. The Japanese are convinced that hard work can help every student meet high standards. Diligence, application, and enterprise are the keys-if a student is not "getting it," more time, usually self-directed time, is the answer.

Jukus do not exist in Germany. But if German students are similar to their peers throughout Europe, 50 percent of them spend two or more hours on daily homework, and only 7 or 8 percent watch television for five or more hours a day. In the United States, only 29 percent of students report doing as much homework and three times as many watch television daily for five or more hours.

In sum, compared to American students, German and Japanese youth are exposed in high school to much more demanding academic subjects, for many more hours. They spend more serious time learning outside the school. And they fritter away less time in front of the television.

Another distinction that can be drawn between American education and schooling abroad is in consequences for school performance. In Germany and Japan, learning matters. Performance, not seat time, is what counts. Students understand that what they learn in school will make a real difference to their chances in life. In the United States, paper credentials count. Apart from the small percentage of students interested in highly selective colleges and universities, most students understand that possession of even a mediocre high school diploma is enough to get them into some kind of college or job.

Students in German vocational schools know that what they learn in class is closely related to what they will do on the job, because their apprenticeship experience (an alternating routine of learning in class and learning on the job) demonstrates the relationship every day. German students interested in pursuing a university career also understand that they will have to pass the Abitur, a demanding examination covering secondary school preparation.

Examination pressure is even more severe in Japan. Since attendance in upper secondary schools (grades 10-12) is not compulsory in Japan, young people take examinations even to enter public high schools. Although 90 percent of Japanese young people complete high school, the particular high school attended is critical to the chances for university admission. Moreover, Japanese students also must sit for intense, pressure-filled, competitive examinations for admission to the best universities.

Teachers are held to much higher standards in both Germany and Japan. In Germany, teachers are expected to be more knowledgeable in their subjects than are teachers in the United States. Teacher preparation, consequently, takes up to six years (compared to four in the United States). In Japan, aspiring teachers are required to pass a rigorous examination prior to certification. The organization of school time in both societies encourages continued development of teachers, who are given the time they need to grow and cooperate as professionals.

Japanese teachers generally deal with more students in each classroom, but teach fewer classes; the typical class has between 35 and 40 students, compared to an average of 23 in the United States. However, Japanese teachers are typically in "front of the class" for only four hours a day. Time spent outside the classroom is not considered wasted, but an essential aspect of professional work. The same phenomenon can be seen in Germany-teachers are in front of a class for 21 to 24 hours a week, but their work week is 38 hours long. Non-classroom time is spent on preparation, grading, in-service education, and consulting with colleagues.

In both countries, the Commission sensed considerably greater encouragement of teacher professionalism than is apparent in the United States. In Germany, for example, teachers select the texts they will use to meet Länder (state) standards; in 15 of the 16 states, teachers design and administer their own tests for the Abitur; and teachers validate colleagues' testing by sharing examinations with each other and discussing test questions.

It is clear from these observations that the issue of improving student performance is not simply a matter of time. Time is clearly critical. In the context of a global market for educated people, the fact that youth abroad receive the equivalent of several additional years of schooling cannot be ignored. But other factors are equally important. Elsewhere, core academic instruction is emphasized. Academic time is protected. Expectations for out-of-school learning are high. Teachers are held to high standards and treated as professionals.

All of these are critical factors in the success of schooling abroad. And all of them are feasible, because foreign schools understand that effective learning depends on freeing schools, teachers, and students from the bonds of time.


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8 - pstern   6 Jan 2008 @ 11:07:20 AM 

Salon, let me say that I agree that we do need a public school system in the U.S.

In the U.S. virtually every state has a Constitution that outlines the state's responsibility to provide a quality education for every child resident.

The constitution then highlights that taxpayer dollars with provide the financing for it, but the methodology of the sources and collection of those taxes are left to the State's determination.

Here in Texas it was determined that local school districts also would tax homeowners significantly for their school budgets.

More than 1 decade ago the ratio of the State's tax burden vs. local districts was 60 percent : 40 percent.  However, over the years the state has diverted a large portion of its share onto local districts who have little methods to collect the additional taxes except to place the burden on its homeowners.  Currently the ratio is reversed from what it had been --- State pays 40 percent : local districts 60 percent.

Legislators and various groups headed by individuals like Perry-appointed Tom Pauken like to point their fingers at local districts for increasing home appraisal values as the culprit for all our school tax ills.  He and others try to take the heat off our governor and legislators.  However, how are local districts supposed to make up the difference in financing their school budgets?

In addition, 10 years ago and because our elected officials would NOT step-up to resolve the school financing issue, the courts were made to determine a solution to "unfair" taxation.  Among other things, the court came up with the now infamous "Robin Hood" clause, which was designed to make education equal for all districts, those who had more wealthy districts and those who were poorer.  The clause is now antiquated and actually is illegal because it still penalizes one district over another, a.k.a., unequal tax payments.

Still, our state government refuses to resolve the tax inequity.  The previous 10 years shows that few elected officials honestly want to fix the ailing public school system and how we pay for it.

Most people can't comprehend why there is such an issue.  One of the main reasons is that we have a governor with special interest ties to private education and also to the corporate sector, which has been avoiding its own responsibility to paying for public education, a.k.a., the Business Franchise Tax, which recently was "overhauled" so that businesses will pay a fair share to educating Texas children.

That was a placebo change and so was the governor's "effort" to reduce home taxes by 33 percent over the next several years.  It's been 2 years now since the legislation was approved, but how many of us have seen any significant tax decreases on our homes?

So, instead of arriving at REAL decisions and resolutions for financing public education and for determining new and fair tax resources --- and instead of resolving public education itself and to develop strategies for better learning outcomes --- our state government continues to shirk its responsibility and it's only a matter of time before the whole system crumbles.

We've seen the disintegration of the "American Dream" --- the owning our our own homes --- we need only look to the increased record high number of foreclosures to recognize the significance of this issue.

Until the voters in full force demand that the governor and his legislative lackies provide REAL resolutions for both these ongoing critical issues, the record high foreclosures and school closings will continue until the system totally fails.


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9 - salon   6 Jan 2008 @ 11:21:56 AM 

I'm with you. I think most people of all parties want to see an overhaul of government and the bums, which of COURSE includes Rick Perry and his special interest express, thrown out. You probably saw that posting I did in the last couple of days about watching the watchers-the author of the message said we ought to have cameras in on every single lobbyist meeting in government so that there is NOTHING hidden about what they're doing.

Heck, our frustration about how crooked the system is is why we keep speaking out!

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10 - pstern   6 Jan 2008 @ 12:16:44 PM 

"Heck, our frustration about how crooked the system is is why we keep speaking out!"

You got THAT right!

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11 - whitkat   6 Jan 2008 @ 5:01:53 PM 


I appreciate your additional thoughts and information on a subject that is close to both of our hearts.  I will keep it in case I ever get around to working on that thesis I have been putting off.

I think we are closer together in our thinking than apart.  The additional factors that you brought in regarding "class time" and "academic time" and rigor of course components were also part of my original research.  Again, as you have pointed out, US students came out on the short end of the stick and many with a diploma that is not worth the paper it is written on..

I also believe that education is best handled by the local entities with minimal state oversight..  Who better than the parents and community members should be the setting the parameters of the education demanded by their district.  Parents have become the missing element in the process for too long.

Salon and Psteren:  There has not been enough backbone in Austin to make a decent pot of bean in years.  Until there is, you are right, the education system, among other things, is doomed.


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12 - salon   6 Jan 2008 @ 6:46:47 PM 

Write it! Your thesis sounds as if it will be very interesting. My sister taught for awhile and what I remember is how the parents changed from being involved on behalf of their children's education, on the side of the teacher,  to being involved to prevent children from accountability, in an adversarial relationship. I also think the emphasis on teaching to the test is a mistake and I sincerely hope that the NCLB baloney gets rethought and gutted.

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13 - pstern   6 Jan 2008 @ 7:53:15 PM 

I agree, Write it!

We also need to recognize that education for those outside it is a business first and NOT a method for educating our children.  Interesting always that business folks and legislators are the ones who try to fix it and finance it.  Those people don't have a clue what to do in either case --- and they don't really want to.

Seven years ago I sent our elected officials a list of new ways of financing education and ways to ensure its success.  Apparently, they wanted nothing to do with resolving these urgent issues.

BTW, 5 years ago Perry still was telling the media and constituents that public education was NOT in crisis! 

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