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Old 03-03-2015, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,303 posts, read 9,230,682 times
Reputation: 8170

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Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
I favor a voucher system where the parents decide where to educated their child; i could careless if they choice public or private. the education system is too screwed from what I have seen to fix.
Vouchers:
Where will that money come from?
Will current private school students also be eligible for it?
Will it be means based?
Will all students receive the same amount, regardless of disabilities?
Who will keep an eye on the fly-by-night organizations that will crop up just to collect vouchers from unsuspecting families?

The devil is in the details.
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:30 AM
 
3,727 posts, read 9,815,914 times
Reputation: 6467
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
Let us make no mistake about it -- the battle over control of our educational system is a central focus of our nation's current polarization.

My Seventh Grade History course focused heavily upon the U S Constitution, and this took place back in the early 1960's. The Bill of Rights took center stage, and the First Amendment, outlawing (at least in theory) the blending of religion and citizenship, took center stage,

At the time, of course, mandatory prayer in public schools was still the rule, but this would change within two years. The civil rights movement was intensifying, but several more years would pass before the nation's diversity would be fueled by revised immigration laws.

But the point I seek to establish here is that the Constitution's guarantee of religious neutrality prevented most of the abuses found, even in maturing European democracies, by establishment of a state religion.

A number of contributing factors have allowed the public educational system to substitute a secular ethic -- loosely structured around several issues usually associated with the Politically Correct. And the power of teachers' unions, backed by the point that public schools are usually all those of ordinary means can afford, has allowed that ethic to be further refined, intensified, and pushed in our classrooms as a sort of "secular gospel".

To those of us concerned over this concentration of power and influence in a setting where the concentration of authority pretty much automatically discourages dissent, the answer is obvious. Let's outlaw the "selling" of an "official" agenda by divorcing education from the public sector, just as the use of the state's monopoly on coercion to establish religion is forbidden.

The implementation of such a policy need not be as daunting as it seems; the physical plant is already in place and there is no reason why the majority of the curriculum be changed. My only concern is the use of publicly-funded classrooms to advocate a particular ideology. But it's becoming increasingly clear that the union of a near-monopoly on education with a well-established player (the NEA) with a clear agenda is concentrating power in a matter similar to establishment of religion; and that is the next great source of abuse which has to be remedied by the development of true pluralism in a free society.
by "divorcing" education from the public sector, you don't mean the old "privatize and outsource" canard do you??

Fantastic. Because instead of my tax dollars going to a non-profit educational system that may have some issues, I'd much rather my taxes went to a for profit education corporation that will do everything to maximize their earnings.

No tax savings, and the kids are outta luck.

No thank you.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:16 AM
 
3,475 posts, read 4,160,980 times
Reputation: 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
Challenge accepted: however, a detailed response might be a couple of days in coming due to job constraints

Let's say for now that I believe that all human activity should be privatized here possible. Obviously, this isn't always practical, and a "safety net" (in the case of education, vouchers) is necessary, but my principal concern is the threat of a formal policy pursued with the weight of the public sector, and those who have a vested interest within it, advocated from a publicly funded platform.


I'm not challenging you. I have a libertarian streak through me, so of all the teachers here, I'm the one who might most ally with you.

Please keep in mind that many of us are well versed in the research behind privatization attempts. Also, you should refrain from using clichés regarding supposed causes. For example, if you propose that the one of the leading causes of poor test scores are the teachers unions, have reliable, unbiased evidence; not a blog or a website. As a tangential point, I would caution you here. Although I am not in a teacher's union and don't care much for my local one, the poorest performing districts often have no unions or are in Right to Work states, so union membership is optional - thus diluting the unions' effectiveness. Not only that, but the best performing countries have nearly 100% union membership.

Please keep in mind that despite media attempts to imbue teachers otherwise, most teachers are hard-working and dedicated to their students. We are frustrated with policy as well. If you come in here under the premise that teachers are deadwood, only in it for a six-hour workday, nine-month work year, Cadillac (again, supposed) benefits, and other myths, you will not be taken seriously.

If you truly want to affect change, then you want a cogent, thoughtful, and respectful dialogue.
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:25 PM
 
7,744 posts, read 8,062,464 times
Reputation: 23936
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
Let us make no mistake about it -- the battle over control of our educational system is a central focus of our nation's current polarization.

My Seventh Grade History course focused heavily upon the U S Constitution, and this took place back in the early 1960's. The Bill of Rights took center stage, and the First Amendment, outlawing (at least in theory) the blending of religion and citizenship, took center stage,

At the time, of course, mandatory prayer in public schools was still the rule, but this would change within two years. The civil rights movement was intensifying, but several more years would pass before the nation's diversity would be fueled by revised immigration laws.

But the point I seek to establish here is that the Constitution's guarantee of religious neutrality prevented most of the abuses found, even in maturing European democracies, by establishment of a state religion.

A number of contributing factors have allowed the public educational system to substitute a secular ethic -- loosely structured around several issues usually associated with the Politically Correct. And the power of teachers' unions, backed by the point that public schools are usually all those of ordinary means can afford, has allowed that ethic to be further refined, intensified, and pushed in our classrooms as a sort of "secular gospel".

To those of us concerned over this concentration of power and influence in a setting where the concentration of authority pretty much automatically discourages dissent, the answer is obvious. Let's outlaw the "selling" of an "official" agenda by divorcing education from the public sector, just as the use of the state's monopoly on coercion to establish religion is forbidden.

The implementation of such a policy need not be as daunting as it seems; the physical plant is already in place and there is no reason why the majority of the curriculum be changed. My only concern is the use of publicly-funded classrooms to advocate a particular ideology. But it's becoming increasingly clear that the union of a near-monopoly on education with a well-established player (the NEA) with a clear agenda is concentrating power in a matter similar to establishment of religion; and that is the next great source of abuse which has to be remedied by the development of true pluralism in a free society.

Could you be so kind as to tell us what language is in this constitutional amendment that you seek? I can see you are unhappy about public education and teacher's unions. Its not clear to me what you intend to do about it.
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna.
10,628 posts, read 6,201,718 times
Reputation: 13402
Thanks to all for allowing time for a response:

My original point was that I believe all human progress depends upon freedom of opinion; that was what we came to call the Enlightenment was all about. Any powerful group will display a natural tendency to stifle anything reducing its power, and the alliance between a small aristocracy and a unified system of religion was until fairly recently in historical terms, the strongest structure of all -- it grew out of the anarchy of the Dark Ages, and came to rule Western Civilization for a thousand years.

When that structure finally weakened, due in no small part to the spread of first, simple commerce and later, industrialization, it created a vacuum of sorts and other structures arose to fill it. Most of the first half of the Twentieth Century was squandered by an epic struggle between democracy and totalitarianism, at a cost of about 100 million lives. Democracy and parliamentary pluralism have emerged victorious, but any number of new causes have emerged; no problem, as long as the environmentalists, feminists, collectivists, sexual minorities -- or whomsoever, don't attempt to use centralization of power in pursuit of their goals. I'm in full agreement with Acton's comment that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Religion has diversified to the point where, a few extremes like Islamo-Fascism aside, it is no longer a threat to individual liberty. That makes centralized organization of education -- essentially a form of censorship -- the single largest threat to the autonomy of the individual. And for what it's worth, I also have concerns over privacy and over-regimentation of the workplace.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 03-05-2015 at 03:21 PM..
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,303 posts, read 9,230,682 times
Reputation: 8170
Pending the rest of your response, as I assume this is just the first part of it, I still think that the NEA and teacher unions are not the enemy you perceived them to be in the OP.
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna.
10,628 posts, read 6,201,718 times
Reputation: 13402
I've been fortunate to have been raised in part by a "third parent" -- a career bachelor uncle who was a "Supervising Principal" (highest position available) in several of the small (500-1000 students) which were common in Eastern Pennsylvania at the time. And while I didn't major in Education, I can recall an NEA official addressing some of my classmates at Penn State of a goal of "elevating teaching to the status of other professional positions".

And obviously, several pressures -- the consolidation of smaller districts, and the rise of public-employee unionism, to name the two most prominent -- have raised teacher bargaining power at the same time that other sectors of the economy have weakened. Changes such as that are invariably going to create a pressure for counter-measures among those who have lost ground. Due to strong libertarian beliefs, I naturally view allowing the forces of supply and demand, rather than the further aggrandizement of centralized power, as the correct remedy.

But as a complete creature of politics and power-brokerage, the NEA obviously has no interest whatsoever in accepting this point. It understands, and perfectly, that the growth of market-based alternatives leaves it with no function other than the lobbyist status it lived with fifty years ago.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,303 posts, read 9,230,682 times
Reputation: 8170
I don't think anyone would dispute that the NEA is an advocacy group for teachers, and as such, lobbies in that role. What I would dispute is that they are the agency responsible for the centralization of education. Now, if you want to say DoE, or one of their corporate overlords like Pearson, I would agree with you. And it's a real problem.

I'm still curious as to what your constitutional amendment would say. As it is, public education is being privatized already, so you might not need an amendment to abolish it. But I think you'll find that it is the market-based influence that is creating the centralization of education to a far greater degree than teacher unions are.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:42 PM
 
3,475 posts, read 4,160,980 times
Reputation: 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
Thanks to all for allowing time for a response:

My original point was that I believe all human progress depends upon freedom of opinion; that was what we came to call the Enlightenment was all about. Any powerful group will display a natural tendency to stifle anything reducing its power, and the alliance between a small aristocracy and a unified system of religion was until fairly recently in historical terms, the strongest structure of all -- it grew out of the anarchy of the Dark Ages, and came to rule Western Civilization for a thousand years.

When that structure finally weakened, due in no small part to the spread of first, simple commerce and later, industrialization, it created a vacuum of sorts and other structures arose to fill it. Most of the first half of the Twentieth Century was squandered by an epic struggle between democracy and totalitarianism, at a cost of about 100 million lives. Democracy and parliamentary pluralism have emerged victorious, but any number of new causes have emerged; no problem, as long as the environmentalists, feminists, collectivists, sexual minorities -- or whomsoever, don't attempt to use centralization of power in pursuit of their goals. I'm in full agreement with Acton's comment that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Religion has diversified to the point where, a few extremes like Islamo-Fascism aside, it is no longer a threat to individual liberty. That makes centralized organization of education -- essentially a form of censorship -- the single largest threat to the autonomy of the individual. And for what it's worth, I also have concerns over privacy and over-regimentation of the workplace.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
I've been fortunate to have been raised in part by a "third parent" -- a career bachelor uncle who was a "Supervising Principal" (highest position available) in several of the small (500-1000 students) which were common in Eastern Pennsylvania at the time. And while I didn't major in Education, I can recall an NEA official addressing some of my classmates at Penn State of a goal of "elevating teaching to the status of other professional positions".

And obviously, several pressures -- the consolidation of smaller districts, and the rise of public-employee unionism, to name the two most prominent -- have raised teacher bargaining power at the same time that other sectors of the economy have weakened. Changes such as that are invariably going to create a pressure for counter-measures among those who have lost ground. Due to strong libertarian beliefs, I naturally view allowing the forces of supply and demand, rather than the further aggrandizement of centralized power, as the correct remedy.

But as a complete creature of politics and power-brokerage, the NEA obviously has no interest whatsoever in accepting this point. It understands, and perfectly, that the growth of market-based alternatives leaves it with no function other than the lobbyist status it lived with fifty years ago.
We do not need background information, an explanation of the status quo, or a manifesto.

Please delineate, as succinctly as possible (perhaps bullet points?), what you think should be in this amendment.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna.
10,628 posts, read 6,201,718 times
Reputation: 13402
If you'll re-examine my original post, you'll note that I did not propose an Amendment per se; I cited the Bill of Rights because I believe that the current struggle over control of the educational system represents a Constitutional issue parallel to the framers' desire to separate church and state 250 years ago. And neither side seems interested in reducing Federal power and influence; they only want it restructured to suit their purposes.

With regard to specific proposals, that's what I mostly want to get from the other participants here. The current system of financing is wreaking havoc on many small property owners. And the proposed "remedies" usually concentrate, rather than reduce the centralization of power.

If you don't like my response, perhaps it's because you stand to benefit by continuation of that trend. The principal difference between the private and pubic sectors; the former grows via increased efficiency; the latter never "solves" a "problem" because it would find itself without a purpose; better to aggrandize the "problem" in hopes of a bigger staff and a bigger budget.

Almost any proposal made by those concerned over this concentration of power is going to immediately be seized upon by the public education advocacy and turned into a plan which would augment, rather than streamline, the bureaucratic colossus. That's a natural consequence of a "marketplace" where those who can take their busuness elsewhere, and those who can't are torn between the conflicting desires for greater security and an affordable baby sitter / day care.

But the present cycle of tax - spend - bureaucratize - repeat can't continue indefinitely.
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