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Education

Grade School And High School, School Free 123

shadowlight1 writes: "This CNet article discusses a complete virtual classroom environment under development over the 'net. It would be especially geared towards the developmentally disabled." The venture this story focuses on is called K12 -- and it's for profit. (You may be surprized by it's spokesman / backer here.) The story also touches on other online education efforts, though, some of which blend well with what homeschoolers have been doing for many years.
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Grade School And High School, School Free

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  • .. They'll just go about it a different way:

    iCQ UH-OH Sound "Hey, geek, PayPal me your lunch money, or I'll packet your webserver back to the stone age!"

    ------------
    CitizenC
  • This for profit school online is a stupid idea.

    Just give more money to the public school system, improve the quality of teaching from k12 to college (introduce computer science or coding ?) and you'll have better results !

  • Non-virtual schools haven't been able to keep corporations out, with crap like Channel One and the like. You just know that a virtual school would have plenty of targeted advertising forced on the kiddies.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just give more money to the public school system ..

    I hope you're joking. Have you seen American test score results lately? Public schools are a disaster. Furthermore, there is a very real case to be made that public funding for education is unconstitutional. Public schools are not so much centers of learning as they are centers of indoctrination into all sorts of unsavory things that concerned parents do not want their children exposed to (sex education, evolution, etc.)

    If America's educational system is to be saved, we must get the government out of it. Children are better served by sending them to parochial/religious schools or independent private schools run by competent education professionals. Corporate America does nearly everything better than the federal government; there is no reason to assume that education would be any different. Children would be far better off in modern, high-tech corporate schools than they are in the festering cesspools that our current "public" schools are.
  • Without teacher and peers present, who's going to stop all these kids from eating paste?!
  • ...what would happen if this e-school, for want of a better word, were to fail?

    A school like this surely can't have masses of targeted advertising (and if they did, there'd be an outcry from privacy and parent groups), so where is the funding coming from?

    Assuming it does get up and running - what if it fails? You have quite a lot of pupils suddenly out of school, some with disabilities and with no other option than an expensive home tutor.

    To me, this just sounds... too risky.
  • A significant bonus to 'online schooling is the fact that it could be used by and for people who otherwise would slip through the cracks. This includes children of people who are 'homeless' either in a real sense, or just have to move from city to city due to legal problems. Children of divorced parents who have 'joint custody' in different cities are a good example. Foster children are another. A consistent online 'classroom' to learn in could be an island of stability and growth for them in an otherwise harsh world.

    Another section of the population to consider are the children of migrant workers. Many are ignored by uncaring, understaffed or simply prejudiced school districts. Even if they had to go from public library to public libary to access their 'homeroom', it would still be heads and above any other kind of education they manage to eek out.
  • Seriously,

    I know a few homeschoolers in Rochester, and a few parents who wanted to but were too depressed/stoned to attmempt it, and I've noticed that parents of homeschoolers usually have such severe personality defects that public schools were traumatic for them.

    So, rather than hope their children will do better than them in public schools and not become such social misfits, they keep them home. Have you ever seen an 8 year boy who has more social interaction with his psychotic mother than his peers? It's not pretty.

    Of course, there are valid reasons for home schooling, particulary those of Christian persuasion who are disgusted with the secular humanism forced down their throats, but for most kids, they need more interaction with their peers and less with computers.
  • Just give more money to the public school system, improve the quality of teaching from k12 to college (introduce computer science or coding ?) and you'll have better results !

    Spending on education has gone up severalfold in real dollars since 1950 while math and reading test scores have been flat. Kansas City was forced by a judge to spend billions on its school system, and produced educational palaces. Result: no improvement on test scores. Simply tossing more bales of money on the fire isn't a solution; bring in market forces if you want to see improvement.

  • I agree with you in that we should put more money into the public school system, but the problem remains that as technology becomes more apart of our lives, we should include it in education. That's why some colleges have included laptop computers as a part of tution. Now I'm not quite sure if this for-profit school is the best answer, but we'll never know unless someone tries.


    Project: To Take Over The World
  • Heh. Trouble is, most school bullies wouldn't have the intelligence to even read this comment, and even if they did, they'd have ... hey! What are doing in my computer room? What's with the... OW! AAGH! AAAHHH! No! Not again! I'm sorry!!!
  • ... that a college hasn't developed a complete college-free, accredited undergraduate degree program. Everything I've seen requires regular classess along side of online classes.

    ----

  • I doubt that the homeless, as it stands, would have convenient Internet access.
  • I certainly hope an educator didn't come up with this one. This solution merely serves to heighten the problem that most developmentally disabled students have, namely that of missing out on day-to-day interaction with children their own age.

    Because of the resource expense and the distraction in the classroom, many schools separate "special" students from mainstream education, which, for purposes of instruction, makes the education process easier.

    The problem is that this impairs these students' abilities to functionally interact with other people. Teaching adults that have been separated all their lives to function in "normal" society is nearly impossible, so some of these people become more of a burden than they would have been if schooling were looked at as an experience instead of just an instructional process.

  • When I was in school (this was only a few years ago), 20% of school time was spent watching a movie so the teacher could slack off. Another 60% was spent with guest speakers from DARE, AIDs clinics, Planned Parenthood, learning about how to have safe sex, how to do drugs safely, how smoking is bad for us, how drinking is bad for us, how we need to save the environment and how men are the bane of the world.

    Most of the other 20% is spent learning the basics. Reading, math, science.

    I don't mean to sound like an uptight right-winger (I'm not at all) -- but these really were the things school time was spent on the most. If we spent time being indoctrinated about how good smoking is and how men rule the world and how corporate america is god, I would be complaining about that, too.

    My point being, indoctrination and propoganda can be presented through video just as well as live in a physical classroom.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • This for profit school online is a stupid idea.

    Government schools are a stupid idea. I don't think the idea of having a school online is that great either.

    Just give more money to the public school system, improve the quality of teaching from k12 to college (introduce computer science or coding ?) and you'll have better results!

    The public school model is fundamentally and hopelessly flawed, and that won't change regardless of how much money is dumped into it. I'd rather see schools competing for students than the one size fits all, bureaucratic monopolies we have today in the U.S.

    --
  • I think it's a cool idea. I know some people that home-school right now, this kind of thing should help them out. It also gives me a chance to catch up on my math skills from 9th grade, which I was to stoned to really understand back then. :)



    Dive Gear [divingdeals.com]
  • The one thing that concerns me, and this should be seperate from the issue of electronic schooling for disabled children, is the lack of interaction that goes on between students if a digital curriculum loses focus on the social nature of human existence.

    Children need to run and play and not spend too much time in front of devices that don't help their neurons expand and create new connections. How come we don't see more music training in schools, which is one of the great neuron stimulators and has effects on mathematical ability for starters. I think a lot of questions need to be asked, and when education becomes cause for profit... who are we selling? Our children?

    Just thinking.


    Yoink
  • That reminds me of the movie "Class of 2000" where robots teach a class of students. However that was for a different reason....

    CBT and web based training is already popular. However they don't provide what a young student requires the most.... personal touch, interaction, and pressure.

    As it is most of the people here are geek already... without being taught by a bot. I hate to think what the next generation of geeks would look like who may not even know what a school-friend means....

    You know you are geek when you have 23 friends... 22 of which are from IRC, and the last one is your UPS delivery agent whom you meet every other day.

    rkt
  • Another section of the population to consider are the children of migrant workers. Many are ignored by uncaring, understaffed or simply prejudiced school districts.

    Even worse, schools have a perverse incentive to give these children an inferior education. The more kids that can be classified as 'learning disabled', 'non-English-speaking', or 'poor,' the more money the district gets. Until recent reforms in California, many Hispanic kids were dragooned into bilingual-ed classes, even if they spoke no Spanish and even if the parents objected. All because the school districts got extra money for bilingual-ed.

  • I somewhat agree, I think they more need to look at HOW they're spending the money.

    People spend over 20k/year to go to school to become a teacher, sometimes going for masters degrees then what happens, they get put in this shithole public school making less then 30k for the first 5 years of their teaching jobs.

    Once they peak at around 50k they get slowly pushed out so they can bring in the next tearch for 25k to cut costs.

    The biggest problem is all these soccer mom's and football dad's that bitch and bitch and get all this money spent on stupid ass sporting equimpent so there's no money left for books or tearchers salars, hell Joe Blow the coach is probably making more the the princapal because they pushed for the good coach from upstate or whatever.


    --

  • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @10:29AM (#1391030) Homepage Journal

    Man, without shitty highschool experiences, where would the crop of angsty goth and industrial musicians be?!? In twenty years we'd have nothing but happy shiny crappy whiny oops-I-fucked-up-again music from the mutant prozac-gobbling offspring of Britany Spears and NSuck.

    Like Trent Reznor said, "I could go to therapy but it might ruin my musical career." :^)


    --
  • The gap between public schools and their private counterparts is growing, and quite frankly, public schools are falling flat on their faces. Online schools solve the problem of educating the physically disabled by bringing education to *them*, as opposed to bussing them to a public school where they won't learn anything outside of sharing and being special, simply because they are placed in a class with mentally retarded students. Unfortunately, state and federal governments just don't *get* it. If the students aren't succeeding, maybe we should pour more money in, build more ramps, etc. Maybe if they would realize that the physically disabled aren't the same as total wackos and retards, the physically disabled would do better in school. But no. So I'm glad to see someone making an effort to educate these kids. Now if only public schools would follow this example...

    --
  • Offerings such as this (coupled with home schooling) can lead to greater and closer family bonds. Family members can support one-another during school and after school hours. There may be less pressure with this model and it could be safer for children. It could bring the traditional so-called "quality" of a private school into the comfort of one's own home.

    Public schools, on the other hand, offer children a chance to enter a cultural melting pot (at least, my high school was) not available via the home-schooling model. Children interact with more people in a public school and can build strong social skills from the experience.

    Sadly, this model may not be available to everyone. It has requirements ($2000/yr, a computer, and internet connectivity) not available to all families.

    I suppose it's just like most things *shrug*. It has ups and downs.

    -- Pyre
  • Kansas City was forced by a judge to spend billions on its school system, and produced educational palaces

    In other news, Kansas City just spent millions on a new stadium, track, baseball field and other sporting equipment.
    They also forced 40 teachers to retire and they hired 30 new young unexperienced teachers to take their place and cut costs to pay for the new parking lot.
    --

  • I was originally against this idea, but I thought of a few angles that have merit. I think there is an opportunity for something beyond the mindless "video-game spelling bee" crap that most educational packages are today. Problem is, I doubt the best content creators would go work for education software companies: I suspect the authors would recieve huge salaries from major entertainment companies (Disney, Time/Warner, Seagrams, etc.). So lets look at a few things...

    Everyone had at least one or two teachers in highschool who were amazing, right? Teachers who kept you interested, even if you didn't particularly like the material, ja? For example, I hated history in highschool, and I had two teachers who I looked forward to seeing: one was a really funny guy, who made a joke out everything in the 19th century; the other was a complete babe who had every guy's attention, even during the most boring history lessons. Regardless, I learned quite a bit about a subject I didn't like b/c of who/how it was taught.

    IMO, it was too bad that not every student in my school could have one of these two teachers. So this leads me to the idea of virtual content that has had mass appeal.

    Look at the gaming world, especially well written I.F. games that aren't gib-centric (like FPS games, and hack/slash RPGs). I'm thinking Myst, Riven, Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, etc. These games had broad appeal to large audiences over a long period of time.

    I think that if LucasArts put some its s/w and entertainment muscle behind teaching software, they could make some fairly compelling teaching packages. Based on the two teachers I mentioned above, I think there is potential for a killer education suite.

    Obviously, this would be an enormous challenge because in reality, school really does need to be an 8-hour a day, 200 day a year venture. You can't learn fundamental concepts in a few weeks. The games I mentioned only take 20-100 hours of playtime, whereas school is 1600+ hours a year. That would be a whole-lotta content coding. However, it would only need to be done once every decade or so, and only the initial coding would be a beotch, updates would be easier.

    Bottom line: probably any class (except a discussion class) could be converted into a compelling software package for online education. But to really make it something worthwhile, it would take a band of content-creation geniuses to make it happen, and I dont' think there are enough to go around right now.


    ---
  • If you are refering to why the test scores of the U.S. are so low compared to other countries especial countries like Korea and Japan, the answer is that these tests are not conducted equally. We in the U.S. test everyone up to the 12th grade. Meanwhile, in countries like Japan and Korea, they have yearly exams that determine not only the placement but advancedment of students. That is to say, they have exams each year and based on the test results, students are sent to schools ranking from A-1 to X-N (where X is a letter and N is a number and A-1 is the best school at that level and X-N is the worst). Additionally, students who "fail" the exam are put out of school. They don't continue. This ensures that only the best portion of their students are being tested especially those going onwards to college.
    Also you've got to consider their methods of teaching. It's almost complete recital of facts and very little creative thinking. Classes are usually lecture types and most successful students usually go to supplemental instruction after school to relearn what the teacher taught that day. I suppose if we adopted such a harsh and tough school system we too could be on the top of the list as well.


    Project: To Take Over The World
  • We're forgetting the most important aspect of school here - riding the school bus!

  • Parents even dial in for an online PTA meeting.

    Yea, I can see it now:
    *** Parent has jointed #PTAmeeting
    Parent: Hi
    Teacher: Hello, I am Dr. Sbaitso. I am here to help you...

  • This is a wonderful idea. Kinda.

    I'm not a big fan of correspondence schools; the lack of socialization is killer. But there lies here a great opportunity for embarrassed adults to "go back" to high school.

    Even those of you who hear the words "for-profit" and begin to write a check to Ralph Nader likely would not have much of a problem if the adult populace was educated in such a fashion. The good part about for-profit institutions, especially in this case, is that no one cares where the money comes from. I could make a $5k donation to the school (assuming I didn't have $4.21 in my wallet), a corporate sponsor could fund a virtual "wing", or students could pay the tuition. Who knows.

    There are a good amount of people -- adults -- who would gain from this. That's why Sally Struthers has a job.
  • The public schools, where teachers get transferred to as a "disciplinary action" need to be shut down. If schools aren't teaching kids, yank their federal funding. Don't just keep pumping more money into a corrupted school and hope it gets better. Have private schools COMPETING for federal dollars. If they do well, they keep getting funds, if not they fail, and money goes to other successful schools. But **require** all money to come from the fed. No partial payment from student's parents. That way, schools remain tax payer funded but reap the benefits of competition.
  • Just wanted to say, I play music, Heavy Heavy Music... ala NIN, In Flames, Slayer, Lightest I go is Megadeth... trust me, if one is "deprived" of the horrid public school system, it's not a bad thing, it's a "very" good thing. You actually get to see "ALL" of the bad stuff, not just a little. Anyway, the reason I say this, is because I was home schooled from 6th grade through what would have been 10th, but then OH "heaven forbid" I dropped that and went to College!!! oh no I dropped out... some say... well I smile at them as I tell them, it's ok, I have a degree, and 90k+ a year as a computer consultant to keep my depression from getting out of hand! hohohooo
  • I must admit I only did one quick search, found free school course links [ilos.net]
    but was curious where everyone else goes to learn? (ie howstuffworks.com, etc...)
    Anyone know of better sites that have it all put together, preferably with professor type of input and quality and material kept current? It seems like the person who put together the above site took enough time to get links to the basic classes.
    Having a non profit type page I think would be difficult to keep material up to date and for some courses it would be better to just have links to the horses mouth (ie java.sun.com for Java)
    I like the idea even though it has its pitfalls ( example- less than perfect human interaction, although I think this will get better. If high speed multiple video connections were used, along with that smell box, course touch will have to wait for that full body sensory suit)
  • The problem is that this institution is not run for profit and therefore has no accountability to anyone.
    If they were forced to compete against other schools you would immediately see improvements (for one money would be spent more wisely)
  • Actually I believe there is a way to get an undergraduate degree online from a couple schools. I believe University of Pheonix offers this, among a small list.
  • and promises eventually to offer lessons in all grades from math and science to arts and sex education.

    The only ones there that seem revolutionary to me are math, science, and arts. And there have been online resources for those for about as long as there have been for the other.

  • Ok high school and even middle school I could see.

    But kindergarten?

    What are they going to do? Paste cutout construction paper apples to the monitor? Fingerpaints on the mouse?

    And for nap time do we really want to teach them to fall asleep at the keyboard like we do at that age?

  • >Just give more money to the public school system,
    >improve the quality of teaching from k12 to
    >college (introduce computer science or coding ?)
    >and you'll have better results !

    I doubt that this would do you any good, as you're obviously too stupid to benefit from education delievered either via in-person or virtual means.

    If you were capable of learning, I'd point you at the Voices from the Hellmouth series.

    Or at the numerous statistics that demonstrate that private schools produce better education for less money.

  • I agree that randomly throwing money at schools and calling it good is no solution at all. Still, you can't raise teacher pay (which is desperately needed) by cutting funding. You can't reduce classroom size (again, which is needed) by cutting funding. You can't wire schools and classforms for Internet access by cutting funding. You can't .. and the list goes on and on.

    Throwing money at schools simply for the sake of throwing money at them is certainly the wrong approach. But increasing funding with specific, measurable goals and a definitive chain of accountability would do wonders to improve the current educational system.
  • They get the funding from the $2000 a year you have to pay to use it... At least that's their plan.

    And if they do fail, the student could just enroll in the local elementary school the next semester
  • The above is a great idea...except for one thing. Private, "charter," for-profit schools are certainly not going to help educate the disenfranchised, especially not online. Contrary to popular belief (and you can see a little evidence for it in the C-Net article where they mention the number of people with whom the child is interacting online), online education is often more capital-intensive, and expensive than classroom education.

    Online education is definitely more labour-intensive for the teachers and the institutions, and has much higher maintenance costs than many people suspect. That's why, in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education [chronicle.com] Live Colloquy, Dr. David Noble suggested that most online education is really only for the rich [chronicle.com], at least at this point.

    For more information, see Hara & Kling on student frustration with technology
    http://www.slis.indiana.edu/CSI/wp00-01.html [indiana.edu]
    and LaRose, Gregg, & Eastin on "low-tech high-tech"
    http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol4/issue2/larose.html [ascusc.org] ;
    Mason on online education at http://www-iet.open.ac.uk/pp/r.d.mason/GlobalEdu.h tml [open.ac.uk] ;
    Morgan on online learning economics at http://multimedia.marshall.edu/onlinecosts/distanc elearning.pdf [marshall.edu] (you will need a PDF reader for this one!);
    and Noble's famous and justifiably critical "Digital Diploma Mills" series -- One--The Automation of Higher Education [ucsd.edu], Two--The Coming Battle Over Online Instruction [ucsd.edu], Three--The Bloom Is Off The Rose [ucsd.edu], and Four--Rehearsal For the Revolution [ucsd.edu].

    In any case, charter schools are just a bad idea whose time has come. They take money and authority away from the state, whose job it is to provide education and some sort of societal standard...which is why Canadian universities don't have entrance exams. Canadian schools are strictly enforced by a centralized, federal government, so school in one place is much like school in any other. Don't you wish you could say the same thing about US schools?
  • The public school model is fundamentally and hopelessly flawed, and that won't change regardless of how much money is dumped into it. I'd rather see schools competing for students than the one size fits all, bureaucratic monopolies we have today in the U.S.

    Unfortunately, noone has come up with a mechanism that allows everyone to go to school without the public school system.

    Do we really have one-size-fits-all schools? Heck no. We have magnet programs, and special education, and "tracked" curriculums. What we don't have are enough resources, in terms of personnel, facilities, and supplies, to enable 5-children-per-gifted teacher learning experiences.

    Personally, I think the schools we have today are a remarkable example of the free market in action. We can't find enough qualified, capable teachers because those individuals are also gifted enough that they can find better-paying, less-strenuous, more-respected jobs elsewhere.

    You want to blame someone for our schools? Blame the parents who:
    - Don't care enough to be involved
    - Won't pay for the public schools (through taxes, etc.)
    - Use their kids' scholastic performance as a competition with other parents.

    The ones who don't get involved - well, there's not a lot you can do. The ones who are TOO involved - in the wrong ways("How dare you give my little Johnny detention! You're not challenging him enough to make him pay attention in your class - it's your fault he talks out of turn!") need to be "sentenced" to teach for a month - that'd educate them on those "cushy teaching jobs."

    Wow - that sounds bitter - and I'm not even a teacher.

  • who's going to stop all these kids from eating paste?

    The simple solution is to put poison in the paste and let natural selection run its course.
  • Statement #1: (roughly)Expenditures on public
    education have gone up severalfold since...
    Reply#1: Compared to inflation during the same
    period?
    Statement#2: (roughly)Kansas City was forced by
    the federal government to spend $1bil...
    Reply #2:That was the result of a lawsuit brought
    by graduates of that last segregated school
    district in the country which sought to end that
    situation. That school district hadn't passed a
    bond issue in over 20 years, and hadn't built a
    new school in much longer than that.
    If one considers the increase in costs of
    construction over those years, that incredible-sounding
    sum almost put kcmsd back to
    even with the surrounding districts.
    Statement#3:(roughly) Results: no improvement
    reply#3: ostensibly the goal of this construction
    blitz was to "lure majority students back to
    kcmsd." The attempt was both an insult to the
    minority population still resident in the district
    and an obvious impossibility; more than once it
    was said in public but never in the media, "Why
    do you think I (we, they, whomever) moved in the
    first place?"
  • For a kid who has had problems going to a traditional school environment, the online school is an excellent way to stimulate his/her interest in learning and confidence in their selves. My younger brother had school problems at the traditional high school, so my parents put him in an online school. He goes to "class" online at set times each day, where he interacts in real time (teleconference style) with teachers and students. The teachers uses a virtual chalkboard which is displayed on the screen. Moreover, the students cannot distract each other, so a student can concentrate more on the teacher. Another plus is that fact that parents can sit in with their child in their classes, therefore making the parents more involved in the learning process. That is always a problem in traditional schools.

    As for those of you cry that someone such as my brother is missing the social, face-to-face interaction, there are ways to compensate for some of that. My brother is allowed to participate in sports at the local high school, he still can go to dances, etc. as well. He obviously still has his friends in our neighborhood as well of course.

    The bottom line is that if implemented correctly a online-charter school can be a boom to a kid's self-esteem and confidence in learning. The lessening of pressure on a kid is the key.

    ************
  • by update() ( 217397 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:07AM (#1391054) Homepage
    At the state-funded Valley Pathways online school based in Palmer, Alaska, roughly 300 students take one to six courses a semester on the Web.

    Roblimo? Wouldn't a group of these students make a terrific Slashdot interview? I'd love to hear how well this does and doesn't work and what tech they'd need to make it more usable. Even if they're not pudgy or strange.

    By the way, the comment about the risk of increased paste eating made my laugh so hard an Altoid flew into my sinus. Ouch.

  • That's such a load. There is accountability - it's called an election. In most parts of the country, you vote for your school board. Even in the parts where you don't vote for the school board, you vote for the state legislature. If you care, then this is where you make a difference - the political process.

    Don't start thinking that a corporation is going to be more responsive to the public's desires... unless you want your schools to be run like HMOs.

  • It is a good idea to provide distance education for people who understant what they want to learn, and have stimulus for this.

    Online education in beginner's schools is stupid idea, school boys and girls need more mentoring than just feeding with knowledge.

    By the way, Physicon [openteach.com] has a good distance learning system, take a look.

  • by john@iastate.edu ( 113202 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:11AM (#1391057) Homepage
    While the case can be made that the federal government has no constitutional authority in the area of education (although, as far as I know, no court has agreed with this position to date), that does not impinge upon the state's rights to do so (and the federal contribution to education funding is well under 10%).

    As for the rest of your assertions, you provide no evidence to support any of them. Let us take them in order.

    1. they are centers of indoctrination into all sorts of unsavory things that concerned parents do not want their children exposed to (sex education, evolution, etc.)

      First, I must say, I resent your implication that parents that are not opposed to the teaching of sex education and evolution, etc are not concerned about their children's education and that they are party to "indoctrination".

      Second, I don't know about your child's school district, but my child's district has written policies on both the teaching of/about religion and controversial subjects -- in the unlikely event there was something I objected to my child being taught I would know how to handle the situation -- have you looked into your district's policies? If not, who are you to be calling me unconcerned?

    2. If America's educational system is to be saved,...

      As laywers like to say "assumes facts not in evidence" -- where is your evidence that it needs saving (and from what)?

    3. Children are better served by sending them to parochial/religious schools or independent private schools run by competent education professionals.

      Again, a statement without proof. In fact, most reserach shows that, for example, "the average private school student has large advantages in terms of family income and parental education" and "the composite measures of reading, mathematics and general knowledge do not show advantages from attending any of the three broad types of non-public kindergarten" (this study, http://www.nd.edu/~iei/hoffer.pdf, was of kindergarteners).

      The number 1 determinate for school success is parental involvement -- and private schools have much fewer "low involvement parents" (obviously, they went to the trouble of enrolling their children in private school).

      Personally, I think most people would rather have the Board of Directors of their school answerable to the community rather than the stockholders.

    4. Corporate America does nearly everything better than the federal government;...

      In addition to being laughable on its face, this statement neglects that the federal government has a quite small impact on public education, most of the control is at the local school board level (with varying levels of interference from the state governments).

    5. festering cesspools that our current "public" schools are.

      I know that our son's public school is anything but a 'festering cesspool'. I know this largely because I (and my wife) are regular volunteers in the classroom. I also know this because the district routine has average scores around the 90%ile on national and state standardized assesments.

    But, hey, feel free to ignore the facts if they don't fit into your frame outlook way of life and everything -- after all, I'm just another commie (school board member).

  • It would be especially geared towards the developmentally disabled.

    So, anyone in the American public education system should apply. A few years of that junk and anyone can become "developmentally disabled".
  • by goliard ( 46585 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:14AM (#1391059)


    Geez. From all the belly-aching here, you'd think that selling education was a crime against humanity.

    Haven't any of you people ever taken karate lessons, ballet lessons, music lessons, etc as kids? Haven't you attended computer camp or a G&T summer school? Haven't you ever learned a new language at an intensive language school or took (or worked at!) a test prep service?

    If it's OK for me to hang out my shingle and take piano students at $30/half-hour, why on earth should it not be OK to run an entire school which charges per semester? Sheesh.

  • Not quite true. The parents of school district #9 in Oregon kept Channel One out of the schools once they found out there would be ads specifically aimed at the students.
  • "statistics that demonstrate that private schools
    produce better education for less money."
    For the same reasons the Japanese & European
    systems do; they get to pick and choose who
    they take as students.
    America says everyone gets an education, whether
    they want it or not...
  • This reminds me of the current open learning situation. It won't work for a long, long time. I've been to many sites, made many searches for material provided so that I can learn remotely for a reasonable fee (and I'm not talking about computer-related stuff, necessarily). All I can find are behind-closed-doors trial programs from 3 years ago, or extremely platform-discriminatory software restrictions.

    If we can't get the simple transfer of materials and tutor support right, how is this going to work?

    If I'm wrong and there is a decent open learning program out there, I'd be interested to find a participant.


  • Why is it that when homeschoolers are wierd, homeschooling is quickly blamed, but no matter how badly behaving someone who was "socialized" in schools is, no one ever says "those schoolers, they're bizarre"?

    That was a rhetorical question, of course: Most people have deep emotional reasons for wanting to argue the superiority of their own culture. Lots of (otherwise) bright people prefer to let their emotions overwhelm their reason where their own upbringing is concerned. Dissing homeschoolers is a cheap and easy way to stroke one's own ego. Double standards are always indicative of an inferiority complex.

  • Trust me, I know what I am talking about. I have worked as a temporary teacher and a substitute teacher for a period of three years. We need discipline in the schools. The number of kids that are being raised to have no respect for authority, to the others that know that they don't have to do any work, so they don't; just exacerbate the current problem with schools. Then you get dipsh!t administrators and legislatures that don't know jack about how to run a school and tie everyone's hands so they can't teach. And finally you get stupid testing that decides the basis of funding so, the schools in the poorer sections of town get less funding because of, of course, naturally lower test scores. Then a vicious cycle starts up, where they have no money, and can't get any money to educate the kids, because education is going to cost money. Private schools are not the answer. The kids that go to private schools already come from well educated backgrounds and are going to do well weherever they are. If you were to throw in a bunch of the kids I had to teach into a private classroom, you would just end up with the same sort of situation as you get in public school, except that in a private school it is easier to get rid of the trouble makers. Show that there is a real penalty for acting out and disrupting class, and you will find in short order that one is able to teach the little rugrats.
  • Elections have little to do with accountability, because candidates espouse more than one view.

    People who vote for candidate A likely do not believe everything candidate A does. In fact, you could find two people who rationally voted for the same candidate who do not agree 50% of the time. It is very, very rare that elections are decided "on the issues" for this very reason.

    You imply something that bothers me, so I'll ask to be sure I am understanding correctly. Let's assume that there are two candidates running for the swing-vote on the local school boar. One of them wants to put more public money into schools; the other wants to close all the public schools. (As these issues rule out all other issues, it dodges the problem I mention above.) If the latter candidate is elected, the school board folds. In effect, a vote for candidate B is a vote for privatization of schooling, and an end to your elections-as-accountability system. Should we allow for that? You imply that we should not, as then there would be no accountability.
  • It's not. There are lots of private schools out there - but they're not the only game in town.

    It's when the public schools disappear that we realize exactly how few people those private schools can support... and how few people can afford to go to them.

  • I guess I'm a bit biased since I was homeschooled from 1st through 7th grade, but it was a very positive experience for me. The primary reason my parents chose to homeschool me was the extreme inefficiency of a traditional public or private education. Think about how much time is utterly wasted in a typical schoolroom of 20 to 30 kids. People learn different subjects at different rates and yet it is very difficult to teach each child at his or her own rate in a classroom. If you "get it" you still have to sit there while the other kids who "don't get it" ask questions and stumble through it with the teacher. Conversely, if you are slower than the majority of the class, chances are good that you'll be lost as the class forges ahead. This will often lead to falling further and further behind, possibly requiring extra tutoring and out-of-class study-time to get back on track.

    In homeschooling (at least as my peers and I experienced it) we could learn at precisely our own rate. My study time every day was approximately 1 to 2 hours for text-book reading, assignments, and writing, followed by about 2 hours of reading (everything from novels to biographies). And of course I had other assignments which were not so regular (research papers, science labs, etc.).

    Some common criticisms of homeschooling are that it doesn't enhance social skills and that parents don't generally have the resources that a school has to offer (chemistry lab, etc.). Depending on where you live, you might be surprised how well you can network with other homeschoolers. The truth is, I had more time each day to pursue my own interests (both social and academic) than would a typical student. I met regularly with other homeschoolers for field trips, study groups, and group classes. We shared our resources (very much in tune with the Open Source/Free Software philosophy). I took classes from other parents in subjects such as poetry, literature (we read various works from the Great Books collection), Latin, and science. Businesses (such as Monsanto, headquartered here in St. Louis) are often quick to donate equipment and resources.

    Homeschool isn't for everyone, and requires a lot of dedication on the part of the parents and students, but it can provide an excellent social and educational foundation.
    ----

  • I think people are going to miss read what Dr. Bennent said about computers, he was refering to the use of technology getting a "F-." We all know that the TYPICAL teacher does not like technology to the point of thinking it is encroaching on their jobs.
  • by thex23 ( 206256 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:52AM (#1391070) Homepage
    I agree that a lot of people who keep their kids home to "educate" them themselves are pretty marginal and weird. And that a borderline bi-polar mom becoming the focus of her kid's life 24/7 is not a good thing.

    But what is wrong with secular humanism? People can worship or not worship whatever they like in their religious communities, but to complain that kids aren't being properly indoctrinated into one religious tradition or another in the public educational system is a little hypocritical. I don't buy the argument that secular education destroys or diminishes the value of religious convictions. I would prefer to see religion taught at home and in the community, not in state-funded institutions.

    My main problem with your position though, is that you think interacting with "peers" is a purely positive thing. I would argue that the artificial way we stratify peer groups damages society: how can kids identify with the wider social context when the only culture they know comes from what is popular within their own age group (+/- one year)? What is wrong with kids socializing with younger and older humans, and hearing the stories of a wider group? I think a lot of youth culture's shallowness has to do with the lack of any foundation: each generation leaves nothing behind, because they have no ties to the generation before or after them. The "generation gap" is precisely that: a chasm between humans based solely on when they were born, seperating them from the experiences of others who may have similar interests, values, and problems and forcing them to surrender to the elitist power structures that function even in the lower grades. (being a reject from the system, I have seen first hand what happens when you don't "fit in"... and the former bullies are always the first to complain "What are they whining about? EVERYONE gets teased, it's no big deal.")

    I would think geeks in particular can see how damaging this is: do you think that a 12 year old, a 16 year old, and a 20 year old are ever going to be able to make a connection and interact in a positive way? No, because we actively discourage children from interacting with other age groups (both younger and older) for fear of the things that we were too afraid to educate them about in the first place (ie: sex, drugs, crime, etc.). I think kids have a lot to contribute to society, but we force them to take a passive role, denying them a voice in the media and society in general.

    Of course, all this makes them much easier to market to, to control and pacify via the culture of conspicuous consumption, and we even play them against their parents, teachers, and other authority figures to "win them over" to our commercial messages. You should be more concerned about the culture of alienation that our school systems are reinforcing than what kids are (or are not) being taught in class, or what they're being taught at home.

  • Hmmm... you posit an extreme. Apart from the fact that I can't ever recall hearing of a legislative body voting itself out of existence (might be nice occasionally, though)... you don't give enough details to make me feel comfortable with your result. The worst a local school board could do in most areas is to abdicate its responsibility and let the state take over the local schools. In a few exeriments around the country (don't have the references here, sorry) there have been attempts to let private contractors and companies take over the public schools, most of which have had mediocre results. Simply closing all the public schools simply won't work.

    If I imply that elections should be single-issue things, then I retract that implication. However, the election process is the primary way to exert pressure on these institutions. Where's the accountability if a private corporation takes over the schools? Don't tell me it's in a contract - I know too many lawyers. Don't tell me it's in their profit/loss - all I have to do is look at industries that routinely "lose" or "barely make" money (Hollywood, old-style utilities) to see a problem with that.

    Now, legislatures have their own problems - special interests and lobbyists, corruption, incompetence... but if people care enough, they can get together and make an impact, even if it's only in their own district/county/state. Don't think there's enough student accountability? Write letters for required testing before graduation (a not-so-hot idea, BTW). Don't think teachers are competent? Organize petitions for teacher testing and standard teacher accredidation. Don't think there are enough teachers? Stand outside the local Safeway with a sign and get people to agree to that local option sales tax that would go to raise their pay. Don't like the curriculum in your daughter's social studies class? Go to the school board, get on the agenda, and speak - and if that doesn't make you happy, get off your duff and run for office. That's citizenship, which is how the public schools remain accountable to the public.

    Where, exactly, is the accountability in privatizing education?

  • I know some people that homeschool and have not heard any problems related to a lack of interaction with others. More often, I hear that their son did this or that with the Boy Scout troup. Not being in school does not (necessarily) mean a lack of interaction with others their age.
  • One of the problems with the American education system is that nobody steps back and asks "why are we doing this?". There is this intertia that causes us to go blindly forward because this is what we've always done.

    This is why so many "geeks" feel oppressed by the American education system. The ruling principle is that students won't learn information unless it is force-fed to them (the image I'm trying to get at is the geese who have corn shoved down their gullets in order to get those englarged fatty livers for patte-de-foi gras). These virtual classrooms are just an extension of the force-feeding principle.

    An example of this is the American principle that we should teach students how to think rather than teach them facts. Geeks think differently, and therefore get oppressed. For example, I failed numerous math tests in high-school because I solved the math problems in ways other than was tought by the instructor. In college, I had to spend several hours proving to my instructor not only that my lab experiment calculating the Thevinen resistance was correct, by that my method produced creater accuracy. (I still only got a "C" on the experiment).

    Virtual classrooms are just an extension of this. Rather than giving children a list of what to learn an resources to do it (taped presentations, books, discussion e-mail lists, etc.), people instead create virtual classrooms where people have to sit down at fixed times and watch live video feeds from the professors.

    The reason I try to get back to first-principles here is that there is a lot within the education system beyond the subject matter. Schools are where children learn to interact with other people. The social interaction on the playground is every much as important as what happens in the classroom.

    Therefore, this distant learning crap fails on all counts. Emulating the classroom is even more oppressive than having no classroom, and not having social interaction for children is even worse.

  • Wrong. Utterly and completely wrong. In fact, one of the main problems in special ed these days is the overwhelming drive towards "inclusion," not away from it. The legal concept is a "least restrictive environment", as set up by the American with Disabilities Act (the ADA of the early Clinton era) and other laws. This is where the whole trend towards mainstreaming special ed students into regular classrooms comes from. In most cases, this means students stay in a regular classroom and get sent out to other classrooms for assistance. The result is that more and more teachers are being overwhelmed by students that they don't have the training, resources or time to deal with. We're talking kids on respirators, kids with trachiotomies that need cleaning every two hours, kids with Tourette's and so on. While the idea is sound, teacher selection and training is just not up to it. That's not to say that some schools don't lump all of the kids with special needs into one classroom; they do. However, those kids are one federal suit away from being in a completely different situation. There are also a number of programs for students that do need "life experience." I have seen some truly wonderful residential schools that worked. Of course, with education budgets getting slashed right and left, they aren't there this year. Just a few words from a former special ed instructor...
  • You've hit on the exact reason why I'm not teaching anymore. I got tired of seeing schools trying to get blood from the proverbial stone while school boards continuously passed budgets that were always bigger, yet managed to actually get less and less to individual schools.
  • This is a company run by Bill Bennet (sp) and he is a firm believer in school vouchers if you look at the price structure of this program it will almost match that proposed amount (2000 - 3000) a year It looks like this is targeted at this
  • Reply#1: Compared to inflation during the same period?

    What part of 'real dollars' is unclear?

    As for the rest of your replies, I'll just refer you to the report [cato.org] on the Kansas City debacle put out by the Libertarian Cato Institute. Here's the executive summary:

    For decades critics of the public schools have been saying, "You can't solve educational problems by throwing money at them." The education establishment and its supporters have replied, "No one's ever tried." In Kansas City they did try. To improve the education of black students and encourage desegregation, a federal judge invited the Kansas City, Missouri, School District to come up with a cost-is-no-object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers to find the money to pay for it.

    Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil--more money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any other of the 280 largest districts in the country. The money bought higher teachers' salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.

    The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, integration.

    The Kansas City experiment suggests that, indeed, educational problems can't be solved by throwing money at them, that the structural problems of our current educational system are far more important than a lack of material resources, and that the focus on desegregation diverted attention from the real problem, low achievement.

  • by AntiBasic ( 83586 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @12:26PM (#1391078)
    As a dropout who was in the gifted program, I feel cheated yet again by the schools. There are so many programs out there to help a seventeen year old with the mind of a nine year old but none that promote the opposite. We're expected to succeed simply because our IQ's were scored over 130 (and some of us 150+). I found myself bored to tears after funding for the gifted program was dropped and the best the schools offered was "Honors" classes where we still used colored pencils in our sophomore year.

    No I'm not bashing this idea. It may be a God-send for some of the slower kids but there has to be a program for the extreme opposite.

  • I'm a homeschooler currently, in high school, and I basically agree. for the first 14 years of my life I had little or no social interaction because of wacky psycho-conservative Christian parents trying to shelter me, and it's a problem I never recognized until recently. I've been socially crippled in a lot of ways that are going to affect me for my whole life.

    the bright side of homeschooling is, however, that I've come to appreciate the time that I have by myself, alone, for deep thoughts and such. that's an advantage I have that some homeschoolers really don't.

    generally homeschoolers end up either TREMENDOUSLY insecure, or so sheltered and deluded that they think they're ok. it's really sad how some turn out.. but if given the chance, I wouldn't change how I was raised at all, because it's helped me build character I may not have otherwise. OTOH, perhaps nullifying everything I just said, I'm definitely sending my kids to public school. :)

  • In other news, Kansas City just spent millions on a new stadium, track, baseball field and other sporting equipment.

    You're not going to get a pro-arena argument from me. I live in San Diego, where the city council inked one of the most boneheaded deals (and that's saying something) in the history of sports. The city commmitted to guaranteeing the Chargers tickets. No limits on how much the Chargers can raise prices, no requirement that they do more than make a 'good-faith' effort to even sell the damned things (what a surprise, they don't even take out ads now). It's now costing the city $5 million net outlay each year, plus the costs of paying off the bonds that they floated to upgrade the stadium. All of this was supposed to keep the team in San Diego, but the owner is already talking about moving it.

    So yeah, as far as I'm concerned, every sports franchise can build their own freekin' stadiums.

  • second paragraph, '....advantage I have that some homeschoolers really don't...' change 'homeschoolers' to 'public schoolers' :\
  • I would like to say I am insulted at anyone saying that public education is poor. It is simply what you mke ofm it. I live in Johnson County, kansas, one of the richist counties there are. Parental involvement is so high that some of my teachers have actually said it is TOO much. The AVERAGE score is arouns the 90th percentile. Why is my school so good? Its a simple fact. My county has put fowards a larger ammount of money. This not only causes us to attract better teachers, but alsoost parents actually take an interist in their childrens education. Anyway, I have not had too much sleep...
  • "Where, exactly, is the accountability in privatizing education?"

    In the fact that in competition for students schools will have to make sure that academic standards are high or they will go out of business.

  • The company I work for [plato.com] has been providing computer based instruction for decades, if you count its years as a wing of the once mighty Control Data Corporation. They have been profitable for the better part of its existence, so I don't see them going away too quickly. Presently, we make money in two ways -- content licensing and support contracts.

    We have have an extensive library of web based curricula coming online this quarter (some via Flash, some via Citrix). We plan to make money by selling the various content and services on a subscription plan. They keep exact dollar figures hidden from non salespeople, but I can tell you that the cost is fairly high -- then again, it's reasonable compared to the annual cost of teachers, materials, and textbooks. I suspect that we could cover the majority of what the e-school handles, if not more (we DO have decades' worth of content), and if the school did fail, we would pick up some of the pieces.

    E-schools are limited. I would be concerned with the breadth and the depth of its content. We have everything from basic science to second year physics, but can only cover two of the 3R's -- reading (vocabulary, skills, etc.) and 'rithmetic (from basic math to calculus) are easy, but writing is a serious PITA. We have licensed some supposed writing IP, but I'm skeptical. Brick and mortar schools aren't going away...

    (end comment) */ }

  • Now we can get Math classes taught by Troy McClure:

    "If you have 5 Pepsi's, and you take 2 Pepsi's away, how many Pepsi's do you have?"

    "Pepsi?"

    "Partial credit!"

    --
  • Just like a Florida election, huh? "Let's do the same thing again, in the exact same way, and maybe, this time......."

    --
  • Uh, huh. Riiiight. Attention, attention - this is NOT a buyer's market! There is NOT a glut of schools out there competing for your kids and their dollars - even at the college level there's not much meaningful competition. In fact, if more private schools were to open where I live, the public schools would probably love it - they'd have to put up fewer portables, and might even be able to scale their building programs back.

    IF we close the public schools, where are the students going to go? Anywhere they can. Just like child care at the preschool level, the parents who can afford better send their kids to "preschools" (like my daughter's Montessori program) and those who can't send theirs to "day care centers" that offer far less.

    We'll end up about where we are today - the rich will be competing to send their kids to "the best" schools, and the not-rich will be doing everything they can to get by - which means their kids will get a worse education, doesn't it? But then, what incentive will the rich have to improve everyone's lot overall by forcing improvement on those sub-standard schools?

    This is an improvement how?

  • I suppose I'd keep my kids at home and teach them from a purely secular humanist and scientific perspective. It's better to tell your children truth than myths. Then again my mythology lessons would include most world religions, since they are no better or worse at teaching strong moral lessons..
  • I'd really like to see a well-monitored voucher program tried somewhere. Some supplemental appropriation, so the standard education lobby couldn't scream "The schools are being robbed!" (although they will anyway - "That money should go to schools!") over a meaningful period (4-6 years). Do it right, get good evidence - then sit down and figure out what to do, based on those results, and not just a bunch of people engaging in knee-jerk reactions to the latest edu-fad.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @01:32PM (#1391090)
    I was homeschooled all through junior high and highschool, and knew a lot of other homeschoolers (through attending various meetings or homeschool sports leagues) - I noticed very little in the way of personality defects in the parents as whole.

    As others have said, generally homeschooling parents either want an education based more in religion, or they are of the "unschooling" variety which just want kids to learn at thier own pace (which can be faster than public school in some/all areas, and slower in the others). My parents were the latter group - For me, that meant a lot of time to be able to pursue computers as a hobby (note that does NOT mean to the exclusion of studying art or literature or other areas of science!).

    Homeschooling can be as much or as little about peer interaction as you like. The nice thing about homeschooling is that generally Homeschoolers get a much broader range of peer interaction from all age groups, and so are better equipped to deal with real life and larger groups of people than public school students. Of course, that's just my observation.

  • The computer is no replacement for genuine social interaction, which a "real" school provides. Social interaction is just as important as academic knowledge. If anything its more important. What good is all your knowledge if you dont have the social skills to convey it to others?

    Keeping kids out of school earlier and earlier is ridiculous. Can you learn how to share through a computer? Can you learn manners? Things that are extremely important to the way you develop can ONLY be taught by in-person interaction. Teaching them purely through a computer is ridiculous. The computer is a useful learning TOOL..but it is no replacement for genuine interaction. You would not build a house with nothing more than a hammer.

    This reminds me of the conference about how companies can help 3rd world countries by donating computer systems, and bill gates giving a speech on "How is this going to help when those people don't even have enough food or medicine to live? A woman will see this computer and say 'But can it save my sick child?'".. computers are not the solution to everything.

  • Enough with the "Homeschoolers are bizarre" junk. Sure there are a few bizarre homeschoolers
    out there--I know a few-but most aren't. I should know, I was homeschooled for 12 years. I have
    met quite a few other former homeschoolers at my college. Most people don't even realize that
    we were homeschooled. Homeschooling usually results in an education as good or better than a
    public school education. Most of the calling homeschoolers bizarre is just a poor argument against
    homeschooling. (BTW: I'm 19, a junior studying Computer Science and Physics at a well known
    university, and play on the school lacrosse team. If you want to argue against homeschooling with
    me, you'll have to come up with some good arguments.)

    ANYWAY: about the article. Why waste the money on an online classroom? All of the ones that I
    have seen are pretty lame. Including most of the college ones. (I've worked for one for the past
    three years.) All the homeschool curriculums that are sold stink too. Do highschool the right way:
    get a computer and internet access, use the public library, and read college textbooks. It works.

    -thz
  • as usual, technology tries to recreate a space when what is really needed is augmentation of what exists. help the teachers focus on what they should do--foster learning. what if your average programmer ordered his/her office supplies, cleaned their office, planned the project for the day, tested their work for the day/week, and where asked to add features for the developmentally disabled the week prior to launch... this would really facilitate great code, don't you think? creating stimulating environments is much easier after one takes care of the basics. teachers should be professionals and supported as such. "the teaching gap" is a great book on the subject.
    1. Education is, by and large, indoctrination...

      If by indoctrination, you mean:

      1: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : TEACH
      then, of course, I agree. However, when you say indoctrination, most people think of:
      2: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
      and that is a perjorative view that I do not accept.

    2. ...in the business of teaching according to the wishes of their master - the government

      Right, and that government, the local school board, serves at the pleasure of the populace. I would argue that, as a general rule, the smaller and more local a government is, the better it reflects the wishes of its consituency, and therefore, most school boards are, I would argue, among the better functioning governments.

      If you are an anarchist and see NO use for government, then we probably have no common ground upon which to continue a conversation.

    3. ...outperforming even high-income public school children...

      High family income is actually fairly far down on the list of factors for success. Of course, "parental involvement" is hard to measure in objective ways, but IIRC, (don't have it here in front of me) recent studies have shown mother's educational attainment to be at the top of the list (which I would suggest is probably a good predictor for valuing and therefor being involved in their childrens education).

    4. ...the government compells them at gunpoint to place them in schools...

      Not true, else home schooling would be illegal.

      You can argue it, but it has been ruled by the courts that society has a compelling interest in seeing that each generation is educated.

      BTW, the study was literally the 1st one Google gave me, I keep that 'school stuff' at home. so I did not have any at hand.

    5. ...filled with grammar and spelling mistakes...

      I can't speak to the items you mentioned in your school district, nor am I in a position to correct them, but you are...

    6. ...it takes 25% of the budget to hire the bureaucrats to implement and oversee the regulations. If you don't understand that, please resign in favor of someone who might have the balls to tell the feds to go to hell and retain local control.

      And you, obviously, have a corresponding ignorance about our district. In our current budget, our federal revenue is $557,839 out of a total of $33,682,860) Of that $33.6M, $26.3M is personnel costs, and of that only $1.9M goes to administration (bureaucrats, to use your word, but in fact, the largest share of those are elementary principals). Hardly 25% of our budget!!! Sheesh!

  • I think that the "online school" idea is one that won't work. Learning stuff is one major component, but the "online school" concept compleatly neglects the other main part, learning to socialize with other people. No, chat rooms and ICQ don't count as socializing. The lower the grade, the more of a need for socialization there is. They shouldn't even think of having this for any grade before 8th, period.

    Also this idea of an online gym class totally misses the point. Gym (at least when I had it) was more of a structured play time, it wasn't some exercise that you could do on your own. I wish these people would realize that you can't do everything online.
  • It's not emotional, it's a matter of statistics. I know probably hundreds of people who had a public education, and most of them are well adjusted people. I know about half a dozen who were home schooled, and they are all a little messed up. If there is any superiority complex involved, it is in my definition of "messed up".

    Obviously my experience is not a valid statistical model, but it is enough to convince me that the home schooling agenda is seriously myopic. I'm not saying that it isn't possible to raise a well adjusted child who is home schooled, but it seems to me that home schooling movement itself is self-selecting for parents incapable of raising well adjusted children.
    --
    Bush's assertion: there ought to be limits to freedom
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @02:05PM (#1391097) Homepage Journal
    Recently we had a wealthy backer of a School Voucher initiative on the California ballot. In the reading I've done, I haven't found much on the motivations of the backer, Tim Draper, other than the usual parents-deserve-more-choices-public-schools-should -be-held-accountable line. After hearing Bennett berate the public schools, it's not suprising in the least that he's backing this.

    The fish or cut bait is: Is he doing this out of some moral obligation or is this the kind of drive which could be picked up by, say, George W. Bush as a sterling example of how education ought to be done and jammed down everyone's throats.

    It's worth reading what the reviewer had to say on Amazon, regarding The Educated Child [amazon.com] and Bennett, et al's conservative views.

    --
    +++ Out Of Cheese Error +++
    +++ MELON MELON MELON +++

  • $1,000,000,000 / 35,000 (# of pupils in
    kcmsd) = $28,700 approx. Whence the $11,700?
    And the usual expend.per pupil figure is cal-
    culated per annum. This $1bil figure for the
    KC suit's settlement was money spent between
    '87 and '97, when the suit was held to be set-
    tled by a judge newly assigned to the case who
    described himself as "the finisher" or words
    to that effect.
    What about replies #2 & 3? Even allowing for
    the apparent enormity of the sum, compared to
    the wrong it was intended to right (50-70 yrs.
    of neglect by the local and state boards of
    education, the last 30 in direct defiance of
    Brown v. Board of Ed.) it measures out to be
    a fairly average amount that would have been
    spent by any conscientious school board over
    the years in question on a district this size.
    And reply #3? Why the neglect in the first
    place? Why the "white flight"? Who's left
    behind when that happens, and what is the
    effect?
  • There is school out there that's already been doing this for 3 years. It's called Laurel Springs (http://www.laurelsprings.com). I graduated from it this year after going through grade 10 to grade 12 there. I think it was a lot of fun, and I learned more than I would have in a normal school. I have to admit, it doesn't have as much peer-to-peer interaction, but the teachers are nice and the costs are reasonable. I believe that Jennifer Love Hewitt has a diploma from there also. A lot of actors and musicians who don't have time to attend high school full-time go to alternative schools like this one. -ipaspro
  • Well, there's always MyHomework [myhw.net] for existing schools...
  • but for most kids, they need more interaction with their peers and less with computers

    True, but more importantly they need more interaction with adults and all age groups and less with their peers too.

    Putting kids in a 30-to-1 ratio with adults seems like a remarkably brilliant way to teach them to be adults. No wonder so many college graduates here on Slashdot have the socialization skills and well-roundedness of a sea cucumber.

  • I'm quite offended at your lopsided view of the America Public Education system! I (as I would assume most /. readers are) am a graduate of the public school system. And I believe I've turned out quite all right. I don't think there is anything in need of saving. We're do OK thank you.

    Could we do better? Sure. Do many private schools turn out highly educated students? You bet. I sure as hell would prefer my children to learn "unsavory" things such as sex education and evolution than psuedo-science like "creationism" or be bored to sleep by demonstrably false religious indoctrination. As to test scores? Statistics lie! As far as unconstitutional? In Washington (state) just about the only thing the state government is required to fund (as per the state constitution) is education.

    Please, please, please take your kids out of public education! I'm sure the rest of us will be glad to have them gone. I would like you to teach them about sex education though. Especially birth control. I'm sure we can all do without any more "Evolution" from your gene pool.
  • And in my school district you had to qualify for the gifted program by 2nd grade. i didn't get here 'till 3rd, now i get to take classes with people who get drunk durning passing time. i have never done homework, but my lowest grade has been 97%. if you want to fix education, don't give the retarded kids 2 teachers EACH, give at least some to the smart kids, and don't limit those teachers to the kids with the doctor parents.
  • i've seen the argument hinted at in several posts, but i would like to just reiterate. School is not, specifically, about knowledge. Or at least not about the kind of knowledge that parents are berating public school teachers for not imparting on their bright little gang-banging children.

    If you take away the classroom, children miss out on the most important part of school: Social interaction. I personally hated high-school. I had fun in middle school, and elementary school wasn't so bad. But all told, i have to say that i did most of my learning outside of the classroom, while still at school. This proposed K12 system takes away the advantage of students being placed in a social setting where they can interact with other children and learn the most important lessons of their lives; the social ones. Sure, students can play with their friends after they're done with their lessons. But they won't be (yes...i'll say it) forced into a situation where they have to deal with good as well as bad. The bully, the friend, the cute girl you just can't seem to work up the nerve to talk to. The miscreant, the outcast. All of them are an integral part of any childrens social development. If you take that away, you severely retard the social and intellectual capabilities of the very students you are so righteously(sp) trying to help.


    FluX
    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @07:52PM (#1391118)
    Ok, so it shall be said; booooooo! Why must everyone insist on sticking computer screens in front of little kids all the fucking time? Little kids ought to be having books read to them (maybe teaching them to fucking read while you're at it) and do some artwork their moms can stick on the fridge. Having a terminal in front of them is only going to limit their creativity more than being force fed Power Rangers and Card Captors. Hey great and wonderful if you want to let kids play games on a computer but make it a reward for something rather than a curriculum. Legos, blank sheets of newsprint paper, and crayons are going to get their underdeveloped neurons moving. Oh yeah, I realize this is for home schooling purposes. A learning environment is a fucking learning environment. If it is a garage or classroom, it is still going to follow the same ideology. Computers and technology in general should be an additional medium of information exchange not the focus of the learning or the only medium you're going to convey information with. Stop treating disabled kids like some super special extraordinary case. If someone needs a little extra help in any context be it a learning disability or blindness help them where they need it but keep them in the mainstream; no one is being done a bit of good by being segregated.
  • I'm always astounded when the anti-school choice crowd calls giving parents more freedom through more education options "jamming it down everyone's throats".

    If you want to send you kids to public schools, then fine. But it's mighty arrogant of you to make that decision for poor and middle class parents everywhere, particularly ones in inner cities where the schools are atrocious.


    --

  • If you really want to know why inner city schools are in so much trouble all you have to do is look at 20 years of tax cuts.

    Voucers, as was pointed out, do not guarantee the child will be accepted in a private school, only that funds will be available. When it becomes Bennett & Drapers Schools, Inc. where do you honestly believe the inner city school student will be? At Eaton, I suppose?

    --
    +++ Out Of Cheese Error +++
    +++ MELON MELON MELON +++

  • Heh, I know how you feel about the homework and the test bit. I didn't do any homework for almost two years but getting an A on an AP test was easy.

    It reminds me of Brave New World where all the intellectuals were sent off to Iceland because the drones of society couldn't understand anything that wasn't subjective. People like us are merely forsaken. Hate to break it to you.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"

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