My Education Is Making Me Dumberer… Re-Hashed

education-mugSo I spent far too long talking to some people tonight that I had neglected far too long. A good long discussion with Revolution2010, who’s current mad schedule robs us of her keen intelligent insight on this blog. And another with a good friend from school who I had missed for the last week or two. But that left me with very little time. As I write this it is already almost 4:00am. I was going to write an article tonight discussing economics, because there was some good discussion about it yesterday and I wanted to continue it. But I found that I didn’t have time to do the research I wanted to do in order to do that article. Therefore, that article will be tomorrow night’s post, and it should be good! So I have fallen back on an old article that I wrote in December. We had far fewer readers then (I think I got about 15 comments on that article. We got over 400 yesterday on open mic!). And I think that this is a good discussion that we need to re-hash and discuss. There should be far more insight into the topic now than there was then, so I look forward to that because it is a topic that I hold near and dear to my heart…. 

Public education. The school systems today are failing. And we are seeing that despite this fact, states that are struggling see this as one of the first areas to cut. California made public education one of the first areas they eliminated some funding for. It seems that providing welfare to illegal immigrants is more important than providing a decent education for our children. The federal programs that are supposed to make America’s schools better are doing anything but making them better. “No Child Left Behind” is a Joke. 

public-educationAs far as how our students are ranking against the world after going through the public education system in the “greatest country on earth”, the results are dismal. In OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment 2003, 15 year olds ranked 24th of 38 in mathematics, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving. In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science. Reading scores could not be reported due to printing errors in the instructions of the U.S. test booklets. U.S. scores were far behind those of most other developed nations. I got this information HERE .

To say that I am disappointed with the public school systems in America would be an understatement. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any good schools out there, but let’s be honest with each other shall we? I mean I think we have all started to get to know one another pretty well here and I wouldn’t say this to just anyone, the public school system in America is broken. Here are some of the issues that we are seeing today:

Inner city schools and low income schools don’t get the supplies or the funds to operate the same as other schools. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to get the level of education offered in the schools raised. When my wife and I were looking at schools it was amazing the disparity that exists within a single school district. Ask any parent and they can tell you what local schools are good and which ones are not. And there is no incentive to really improve.

School curriculum is ridiculous. There is no art or music in half the schools. They rarely teach budgeting or manners or civics the way they used to. Some ultra-liberal schools think 6 year olds need to learn about same sex partnerships or how to use a condom. 80% of the country is of the Christian faith but they aren’t allowed to mention the word “God”. 

Forget that 80% of America believes this... DO NOT expose children to this madness

Forget that 80% of America believes this... DO NOT expose children to this madness

And I don’t want to take a partisan twist here, but I am going to, because what fun would it be to not do so? 🙂  The ultra liberal movement in this country has invaded the system. They are so concerned about not hurting someone’s feelings that they have removed any meaningful part of school out. There are no “losers” at anything. No mention of religion (or for that matter a religious child cannot even pray silently to themselves). They are forcing the liberal agenda down the throats of children in order to indoctrinate them into the cause early. We have discussed this fact extensively on this site. The state of our country is what it is because of a highly liberal (statist) public education system that ruins our children’s concept of liberty and common sense. 

Parents have exactly ZERO say in what their child learns anymore. If a parent doesn’t like the school curriculum, tough. “The government knows better what is right for our children than we do as parents.” Bullshit. And I do believe that this is on purpose. It drives a wedge between parents and children so that parents will not have a say and the state will be the ones to shape children into what the state believes children should be. What better way to ensure that you mold a child into government’s way of thinking than to remove the only people who really do care about that child, the parents, from the equation. 

The Democrats claim to be the party of education. A false claim (because they certainly don’t support any education programs that offer a choice like charter schools and voucher programs), but backed up by the fact that they are willing to throw more money at the failing public education system than Republicans. Despite the billions of dollars of increase in spending on public education every single year, scores in math, science, and reading have remained flat or gone down. The same liberal elites that so vehemently oppose charter schools, voucher programs and private schools, certainly do their level best to ensure that THEIR children don’t attend a public school. 

There is so much more than what I have already said, but I will leave it for the comments. I will instead offer what I think the solution is: PRIVATIZATION.

Well They Should Be. Our Politicians Sure Are.

Well They Should Be. Our Politicians Sure Are.

That’s right schools get privatized and paid for through tuition. No school taxes. Parents pay to send their child to school. The Constitution does not give the right to public education for a reason. The free market will raise the level of education and solve the problems that we see in schools. A few examples:

Attention and Dropout Rates- Privatized schools set their own curriculum meaning that parents send their children to the school that is best for the child. If a child is a math whiz they go to a school that does that well. If they love music they go to a school that does that well. You get the drift. Kids stay interested because they are studying what they care about.

Quality of Education- Nothing says increased quality like healthy competition. Will a school let a horrible teacher teach if they know that parents have the choice to not send their child there anymore? I think not.  The competition for students will cause every school to continually raise the level of education they provide. They will do so because no parent wants anything less than the best education for their child. In the history of our public education system, we have never allowed the natural forces, such as competition, to work to increase the level of education.

Instead, we hear all this useless rhetoric of equal outcomes from the left and decide that every child should leave the education system on equal ground. Even if that means that everyone leaves reading at a 5th grade level. That is certainly better than having some poor child come out of school and realize that those wicked smaht kids who actually studied are better prepared to succeed in the world. Lord knows, we can’t have anyone leave high school with a better opportunity than anyone else. Otherwise we are obviously favoring the rich white kids and dooming the rest to failure. Because the chance that someone of color can excel without government’s assistance is nil.

There are other things that this idea solves, but again we will leave room for the comments. I know this is not the only idea out there so lets discuss them all. What ideas do you have that will improve the education system today? What are the obstacles to the current system? Why is our system not working? As parents what do you want to see happen? If it has to do with education then let’s talk about it here. I know there are a ton of parents reading my blog that have been silent thus far. This is your chance to help figure out a solution so it is time to speak up.


  1. I believe the teachers union plays a negative role in the education system. The union does not allow for adequate evaluations of teachers and as all unions do, it protects those who underperform.

    The teachers should also be graded as the students are. An underperforming teacher should be given ample opportunity to improve, and if they do not, they should be fired.

    • Terry,

      I agree with you on this. Another thing the media failed to report on Obama,
      he was endorsed and supported by the Chicago teachers union, which has forced reduced school hours to the point they now have a 5 3/4 hour day.
      New York pays over a million dollars a year to teachers their union will not allow to be fire, but who cannot teach due to offenses committed.

    • The unions run the schools, IMO. Whenever there are changes, it is not what is best for the students, but what works best for the union.

  2. I had a chance to talk to my cousin this past weekend who is a teacher in Chicago. Her whole family are teachers ( 4 generations of teachers). I was shocked at what she has to deal with to try to educate kids today.
    First- illegal aliens, she said about 40% of her school are illegal ( about half mexican/half Mideast), they get everything free. If they can not pay for a field trip-free, lunches etc. Meanwhile, half live in million dollar homes, and drive Lexus. She had to have a talk to a couple who kid wouldnt stand for the pledge. The rule is you have to stand, you do not have to say, but stand is required. Child wouldnt stand. So she had a meeting with the couple to discuss the rules. They agree (shocked) that she would stand. At the end, my cousin asked (she is very outspoken)why be in a country where you dont respect the flag enough to want to stand for it. Their answer-because this country gives everything for free. That pretty much sums everything up!
    Second- We have programs that are no longer teaching our children. The first thing they are cutting in my state also is programs for schools. I am shocked at what the kids are not learning. I went to a private school for a couple of years as a child and was shocked at the difference. For one-we didnt waste anything. We used everything we had to its max. It was a non tradition school ( no one religion base). We not only learned about the bible, but we also had discussions in class about how we thought different parts meant. I really saw both sides of the coin.

    Truly sad that we are allowing our kids to fail with no effort to save this system of ours

  3. Sadly, US, your proposal will never even be considered. No congressman would dare support a plan that is so obviously racist (isn’t it?) and built to make the gap between poor and rich bigger. (For those of you who can’t hear my sarcasm, it is there, trust me) In my humble opinion, I think some of the blame should rest on parents and students, though there is a lot to fix in the system itself. If a child is not learning something you think is necessary, or not learning it well enough, parents should take a hand and teach them. It shouldn’t be that hard to pick up a textbook and help your child learn. It is also the parents’ responsibility to encourage the child to work hard and make sure they study.

    Like with pretty much all of our current troubles, it seems that government officials think there is only one solution to the problem (government run health care, throw money at schools, banks, automotive industry,… that are failing) and deride opposition as though they don’t want to fix it. I shudder at the direction we’re going…

  4. Good Morning to All, Raising a 17 year old in high school (public), I can give some answers based on recent experience. Here, in Youngstown, Ohio, there are a number of problems, beginning with funding. Each year there is always a big issue about school funding, as in not enough, despite the tax levy’s that have passed. I don’t have a theory, but an actual answer from the powers that be. In their own words, the problem is we have about 60% of the kids in school have parents who don’t pay taxes, because they are on welfare!!! This is just one reason why I can’t stand the welfare system, it hurts everybody in some way.

    Secondly, I’d like to talk about desegregation and it’s effect on the school I attended, and my daughter does now. If you’ve ever seen a movie about a school predominately black, and the daily chaos that occurs, those movies are far more factual than anyone would like to believe. I spoke with the Attendence Administrator just last week, and to make along story short, She said that the white kids are very frustrated and have little chance at a quality education because of the chaotic environment that the non-white students are promoting. The day I spoke to her, there were two fire alarms pulled, two fights, and frustrated kids just getting up and leaving school! This is a daily problem.

    I would agree with USW about privitization, the government can’t handle education, and they never should have. Everytime they THINK they are doing the right thing, the system breaks down even further.



  5. “the solution is: PRIVATIZATION”? Maybe, I would not be opposed to that. I think allowing parents to chose their school(and take their money with them) would have a similar effect. One of John Stossel’s stories found public schools improve when they have to compete with private. So throw in vouchers and charter schools as well. For a “free” country, it is outrageous how difficult it is to transfer to a different school. And that’s all about the money, each child is worth thousands of dollars to the school, so they fight transfers, home schooling, and refuse to suspend disruptive children.

    The problem with no child left behind, is how do you teach a kid that doesn’t want to learn? Whose parent(single mother)regards it as the schools job to raise their child, and see nothing wrong with a third grader taking a condom to school. Its hard to blame the kid who goes home and hangs out with drug dealers, they are his role models, and the rapper’s chanting about rape or killing a cop or cracker.(and this is not a racial problem, as many white or mixed children are living this life)

    • Naten53 says:

      I think parenting is a huge problem the schools are failing, my wifes little brothers do whatever they want after school. They bring home failing notices that spell out what their grade for each assignment is. For both of them they will get 90% on the one test and then get 0/5 on every homework and they have a failing grade. Talking to them doesn’t work because the mother “grounds” them and they have friends over the same day, playing on their video games and by the next day they are running around town but somehow the mother refers to them being “grounded”

      • Naten, I will agree that parenting has much to do with it. I’m old school, and if my kid makes a bad decision, it’s a$$ whoopin time. Grounding is useless, and 99.9% of kids just need some old parenting, usually once or twice, to straighten out their attitudes. Far to many parents think that counselling is the answer, to that I say BULLDOOKIE! When I screwed up as a kid, I got my butt kicked, and I respected authority because of it. Many kids just don’t respect authority, and it carries over to school and life. It is sad, but sometimes old school is the only affective answer.


        • Agree with you both, and the bad kids disrupt the class which robs the good kids of their chance for an education

          Some GOOOH questions,

          you vote for or against a law that requires the removal of the bottom 3 percent of teachers in each school district each year?

          you vote for or against eliminating the federal Department of Education and returning all authority to the states over a period of four years or less?

          you vote for or against a law requiring the children of elected officials to attend the public school in the district in which they live?

          My favorite!!! Will
          you vote for or against removing juveniles from their parent(s) after the juvenile’s third arrest, sending them to live in a boot camp that focuses on education and discipline?

          • GOOOH answers.

            1. Against, this would be a crime against teachers that teach the most difficult courses.

            2. For, although I still prefer more private options, the FED breaks everything they touch.

            3. Against, contradicts individual freedoms.

            4. Against, however that option should be up to the parents, not the govt. If a judge passes it on as part of a sentence for the crimes committed, then I would support that.


            • 1. Against, although something needs to be done, this is not the answer.

              2. For, the more successful states will become models for other states.

              3. For, those we elect are out of touch, and need to interact with the people they supposedly serve.

              4. For, if a juvenile has been arrested three time, the parents are failing, and this is a kid that is holding the others in a classroom back.

              • So LOI

                How do your answers fit the ethic of individual freedom and liberty?


                If they have been arrested but released, what crime have these children committed to give the State the right to imprison them regardless of a Judge’s ruling?

              • Not very damn well, but to justify, if we are stuck with this system, then we have to address problems from within the system. I like the ideal of individual freedom, but if a school system will not expel students that violate their rules, then something needs to be changed. I know of a student that had his jaw broken at school by another student in an unprovoked attack. The violent student was suspended for three days.

                Have more thoughts, but out of time, got a thing
                this weekend. Have a great one.

  6. Naten53 says:

    I was told by a co-worker whose wife is an elementary school teacher that they cannot use RED to grade papers because red is a sign of failure and we don’t want the kids to think they did bad. Also they have to grade by giving points (+1) instead of taking away points (-1) because a minus sign could make you think you did bad. I didn’t graduate high school that long ago, or maybe it is because I am now in a drastically liberal area of the state then before but we didn’t have this feel good crap yet. But there were classes that there was very minimal work that I breezed through with little effort. I think there is also a problem with the fact that teachers have to worry about parents accusing them of doing something inappropriate now with their kids. They have to worry about disciplining them and having the parent blow up at the principal when they hear little Johnny got detention for goofing off in class.

    I think the biggest difference that you can make is to teach your children from an early age in addition to school. I was never given easy answers from my parents, I had to go research it myself (before the internet what a shock! I didn’t think it was possible).

    Did anyone read the article about the Obama Effect?
    Wow, who would have thought that kids can do better on tests if they put forth effort. Think about it, how many people that you know are smart but did poorly in school. I know plenty of people that just didn’t put up much effort in school because they didn’t need to or didn’t care.

    So I guess my rant is about the easiness of the school system, the liberal touchy feely caring for the students, and little effort from the parents and students. By this rate they will be handing out applications to McDonalds with your diploma.

  7. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I am going to say some things that some people might find inflammatory here, but if you do find what I say to be inflammatory, sit back and analyze WHY you think it is inflammatory. I suspect the main reason will be that THE TRUTH HURTS!

    First of all, in a Public education system, the only way to ensure that all students get an equal education is to teach down to the level of the lowest student in the class. To teach at a high level and expect that everyone “get it” just wouldn’t be fair, now would it? Studies have shown that if you expect great things from kids, they are probably going to meet your expectations, but that does not seem to matter in the public school system. What matters is that the kids with the lower IQs and the broken homes and the welfare parents and the illegal immigrant parents FEEL GOOD.

    I am sorry, but there is something WRONG with feeling good about yourself if you cannot read, cannot write, cannot do math, and cannot behave in a reasonable manner in a classroom.

    Most adults realize that you learn as much or more from your failures as you do from your successes. Children who succeed in performing reasonable or even difficult tasks should be rewarded. Children who fail should not be punished per se, but the failure should be analyzed and the cause of the failure should be used as the basis for further education to correct the failure and get that student up to speed on whatever subject the student is failing to get the concepts of.

    Secondly, the concept of discipline has disappeared not only from the classroom, but largely from society in general. If you find a particular behavior to be objectionable, it is not the perpetrator of the objectionable behavior that is at fault, it is YOUR fault for not being open-minded enough to understand why that person behaves that way and accept them as they are!

    If a teacher attempts to discipline a child for unacceptable behavior, the teacher risks a lawsuit for abuse, discrimination, or God knows what else. As a result, even the teachers that genuinely WANT to teach spend the majority of their time dealing with the BS that is going on in the classroom. If the average class period is 45 minutes and the teacher spends 5 minutes dealing with BS at the beginning of the class, 5 minutes dealing with BS at the middle of the class, and 10 minutes dealing with no one wanting to pay attention at the end of the class, that leaves 25 minutes of actual teaching time, and it is so broken up that everyone has lost their train of thought and learned nothing.

    Thirdly, (to agree with USW) parents have almost completely zero say in the cirriculum at a public shool. Even if you are on a school board, you have almost no influence whatsoever on which books are used at the school, which subjects are taught, and how they are taught.

    Lastly, is it not ironic that a Christian student at a public school can be FORCED to learn about Islam, but an Islamic student at a public school CANNOT BE FORCED to learn about Christianity?

  8. Your timing is right on, USW. Just got this in a weekly newsletter this morning on things going on in our state capital:

    “The budget contains a number of provisions that gut Wisconsin’s wildly popular Milwaukee School Choice Program. These changes have nothing to do with fixing the state deficit, and everything to do with crippling a successful program that helps low income children succeed. The regulations would make the choice program more costly by adding restrictions and requirements that have not improved Milwaukee Public Schools.

    Even the national media is taking notice. From the National Review:

    Milwaukee is home to America’s most vibrant school-choice program: More than 20,000 students participate, almost all of them minorities. They have made academic gains and boast higher graduation rates than their peers in public schools. They even save money for taxpayers. Inevitably, Democrats in the state capital are trying to eviscerate the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

    Sometimes onerous regulations are at least well-intentioned blunders. Not these. The enemies of school choice in Madison know exactly what they’re doing. In the name of “accountability,” they attack the quality of voucher schools with deadly precision. The goal is to make them as mediocre as the public schools they routinely outperform — and to leave parents, once again, without a choice.
    The Wall Street Journal has also taken up the cause:

    The irony is that satisfaction and enrollment at Milwaukee public schools has steadily declined despite these very policies that choice opponents want to impose on successful private schools. A recent evaluation of the Milwaukee choice program found that its high school graduation rate was 85%, compared to 58% for students in the city’s public schools. Between 1994 and 2008, the voucher program saved taxpayers more than $180 million. Yet opponents insist these schools need additional regulations to make them more like the public schools that cost more and produce inferior results.”

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      The key thing that we must ask ourselves regarding the case of the situation is Milwaukee is who benefits? (Follow the money)…

      Right now under the current situation, 20,000 students are benefiting from having a choice of which schools to attend (85% graduation rate for the children participating in the program vs. 58% graduation rate for students not participating in the program.

      Right now, the taxpayers are also benefiting (over $10 Million per year in tax savings because of this program).

      If the Democrats want to force more regulations onto the program, who benefits from the increased regulation?

      (HINT: it isn’t the students or the taxpayers!)

      • Public schools, ie public school teachers, ie unions, ie Dem politicians who get votes……

      • Not only that- but they are losing money to help get more teachers in the public school that speak Spanish for those kids who do not speak English.

  9. Hi everyone

    Here in Reno, the schools have made some cuts to their programs, such as sports, music classes, and arts. If a student wants to participate in sports for the school, the parents has to pay for it. The same thing with music and arts. When our 2 son’s were in school, they got rather bored because the teachers really didn’t take the time to teach, just had them read the chapters for that class and do the written assignment at the end. We took our oldest out of school in the 10th grade and he went to Washoe High, got his GED, and went into the Army where he’s been for the last 6 years. He is now ammo manager for the state of Nevada, and is also attending school to get his real estate license. The same thing with our youngest son. We took him out in the 10th grade because his teachers weren’t teaching, except for his auto shop, Italian class and one other I forget. He did online schooling, got his diploma in half the time. He then went into the Marines, did 2 tours in Iraq, been out for about a year and a half, joined the National Guard reserves and is now going to UNR to become a doctor. He said he was very disappointed in his History teacher because he did not do anything but sit at his desk reading the newspaper, only had them read chapters and do the the questions at the end. He said he thought the teacher would be a good one, because he was an older man and thought he would have some stories to tell while he was in the military and some of the places he was at to go along with the history class. My son said he looked like he was old enough to be in WWII, and tenure in his school. I also think it’s a bad idea for teachers to pass kids even though they did not do hardly anything in school. I guess they call it, social passing just to get them out of school even though they didn’t learn anything. How are they ever going to get any where without an education. A lot of the blame I think goes with the parents as well as the teachers and schools. That’s my opinion anyway.

    • Juds S:

      Is Washoe High an Alternative school? I have never heard the name so just assumed it is.

      Good Day to You

      • JudyS.NV. says:

        Hi JAC

        Sorry it took me a while to get back to you ,but I was doing things around the house before I came to work, to which is where I am. Yes, Washoe High is an alternative school for those who either drop out, or haven’t graduated from high school even if you’re not a teenager. Older people have gone to that school in order to finish their education and get their diploma if they didn’t get that chance from their earlier years for some reason or another. It’s not a bad school, just different. A lot of kids who might have gotten into trouble at regular schools, or are on some kind of probation go there. Girls who might have gotten pregnant and don’t want to go to regular school go there. The thing about that school is, it’s not at regular school hours, they also have night school there in case you work during the day. When my son went there, the classes were a lot smaller, and the teachers there took their time to work with you if you needed help with anything. You have to take your regular courses like history, math, english or whatever. The sad thing is, is that that school might be closing because of budget cuts here.Hope that answers your question and then some.

        You have a good say too.

        • I am sorry to hear it may close. These schools have done wonders to save kids who can’t handle the regular routine.

          Reno used to have some really good schools, esp. high school. Things have obviously changed, like everywhere I guess. Been in Reno long?


          • Judy S. says:

            Hi JAC

            Again, I’m sorry if I took to long to answer, but duty called, had to type some water reports here at work. We’ve been here for 19 years now.Moved here from Burbank Calif. My husband used to work for Lockheed, and retired from there 2 years before they closed the doors there. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to Calif. I hope that Washoe doesn’t close either, and it has helped people who may not have had the opportunity to go to school. Yes, things have changed quite a bit here over the past 19 years we’ve been here. Too much building going on, but yet places closing down because of the lack of patronage because of the economy, Places that were opened for kids after school has closed down because of the budget cuts, Too many people are coming in, and a lot of them are from Cali, because of their situation there. We have jobs, but not a lot of them. In fact our unemployment rate has gone up to 10%.


            • Judy S:

              No problems with delays. Been doing laundry and other chores all day myself. Getting ready for my annual June road trip. Which will include Reno and Carson City.

              Reno was in much worse shape in 70’s yet the schools were never targeted for reductions. I think sometimes our politicians use the schools and police/fire to blackmail us for more money. The answer then was to abolish inventory tax which caused the great warehouse explosion in Stead and Sparks. I hear they finally got the Helms Pit to hold water and now there is a new shopping center going in there. I also heard there are Federal Funds involved in the shopping center. Do you know anything about this project?

              Did you know that the sales tax when first approved in NV was passed only because it was 100% dedicated to schools. Its approval was one of the greatest political battles ever fought in the State. With increased property values there, plenty of money should be available. Something is smelling very bad to me. I will do a little checking around when I’m down your way and report back what I find, if anything.

              Until then, best wishes and I suggest you spend some time at Pyramid chilling out. Go out to the needles and listen to the spirits talk. If you don’t know where just go north to the lake and turn left. Go past Sutcliff to the far end of the lake. You will see the “needles” rising up there like old petrified warriors, standing guard. If you can’t camp there just come back towards Sutcliff and take one of many roads to the lake shore. Find a sandy beach area and camp out the night. With any luck you will awake to an absolutely calm lake with a finish like glass. It is one of the most calming places I have been on this planet.


              • Hi

                I know where Pyramid is, not too far from we live. Don’t need to chill out really. As for the Helms Pit, it is now call Sparks Marina, and there are several shops there and a bunch of apartments there too. There is a sport shop there called Scheels, ever hear of it. It’s a 250,000 square foot store. They have everything there you can possibly want and then some. I haven’t been there but my 2 son’s and husband have, and they said it would take at least a week to go through. There is a lot planned for that area, but not too sure on exactly what though. Speaking of Pyramid, you do know that it’s a reservation for Paiute and Shoshone here right? I have several friends who are Paiute and Shoshone and I admire them a lot. They are a very real people and I always enjoy talking with them. This weekend in Carson City we have what you call a Rendezvous where all kinds of things go on. there will be Native American dancers, a Civil War encampment, Pioneers, Mountain men, and all kinds of other things there, and we go there every year, nd have for as long as we have been here. Just hope it doesn’t rain though. We have been having a lot of rain lately and I just hope it won’t ruin this weekend. So where are you coming from to make Reno part of your trip? Well listen, I’m going to get off for now, I’m am very tired from working today and doing all kind of other stuff before and after work. I will check back tomorrow to see if you answered. You have a safe and fun trip now ok,. Hope to chat with you again soon. Take care


              • I grew up there. Brother in Reno along with hundreds of friends.

                Wife’s family from Carson City. Also lots of friends there.

                Dad went to Reno High. The original was a park last time I saw it. Somewhere north of 6th I believe somewhere around St. Maries Hosp. I could find it but can’t remember the street names anymore. It was called Central Jr. High after Reno High moved to where it is now.

                Wish I could be there for the Rendevous, guessing I would see some long time friends and family. But won’t get down until mid week. I have many friends in the Paiute, Washoe, and Shoshone tribes as well. Don’t forget the Washoe.

                Saw your post to BF. It seems our blood lines are crossed at least by proximety. Spent a few days sipping whiskey and cold beer in the Bucket of Blood myself. I assume they still have VC days and the camel races?

                When you get back to this just slide down to the bottom. I left you a question there as well.

                Look forward to talking tomorrow.

  10. The public school system varies greatly, state to state, city by city and school by school. From personal experience I found that the schools in Ohio and Indiana were far better than the schools in California and Florida. Some places do have schools designed to a specific childs skills such as math or science, but these schools are far and few between and there’s not nearly enough of them. Privatization of schools would work at times, but in light of today’s economic spiral, a lot of parents would be forced to choose between keeping a roof over their kids heads or sending them to school.

    Parents do need to be more involved in their children’s schooling at all levels. When my kids were in school not only did I help with homework every night, I assisted in their classes 3 days a week, attended the school board meetings, was room parent and volunteered to do whatever the school needed help doing daily. My husband and I agreed to make whatever sacrifice necessary to make sure one of us was at home with the kids at all times. This by all means was not easy to do and was even harder when his ship was on cruise (which was most of the time) and I was alone with them until he returned, but we got by.

    My suggestions are as follows:

    1)Parents should be able to review the curriculum, books and, materials to teach their children a few months before class begins. 1st grader parents should review 1st grade curriculum, 2nd grade same, so on and so on. If enough of the parents find something they disagree with then they should hold a meeting to find alternate study materials.

    2)All children should be tested to determine their actual learning level. If little Suzy is doing work at a 3rd grade level but only suppose to be in the 1st grade, than little Suzy should be enrolled in the 3rd grade or in some kind of a mixed class that teaches at a high 2nd grade level/low 3rd grade level. Forcing Suzy to stay in a class that she is well ahead of will bore her and she will eventually either cause problems in class or just give up and not try to excel any more.

    3)Children who are a continuous problem in class should be suspended and/or expelled. If the problem persists, parents should be held accountable and those children be home schooled with bi-weekly testing at school to make sure they are being taught the materials required until they are able to behave and return to class. If for some reason they are not learning the materials required, then they should be sent to schools that specialize in problem children that the parents have to pay a portion of that’s deducted directly out of their paychecks.

    4)Classes should be taught in English only! Parents of non English speaking kids can home school their kids until they can understand English or they can hire a translator to stand in class to help their child.

    I have more suggestions but my pesky boss wants me to work now. I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there that are just foaming at the mouth to roast me so nows your chance.

    • I’m foaming at the mouth:

      Your ideas are good generally, and they would help, but even the best public schools are pitiful campared to what kids should/could be learning. I homeschool my kids and I went to a “good” school. So I can compare the differences.

      My 11-year-old, not a genius, is studying algebra and acing all the tests. My ten-year-old is studying pre-algebra and ditto on the scores. They study latin, spanish, geography, economics, art, music, and history (we never allow the term “social studies” to escape from our mouths). We do all this in about half the time of the public schools.

      Parents choosing the class materials would be huge bonus. As homeschoolers we have total choice over the books we use and believe me we do not choose ANYTHING that the public schools use. This idea can only happen though if jurisdiction over schools is moved from the federal and state level to the local level.

      The problems with schools are so systemic that a few bandaids like you suggest will do nothing for the vast majority of kids.

      • Your right, jurisdiction should be at the local level. Here though if you home school your kids you have to use the schools materials for their education and have to attend regular school 1 or 2 days a month for testing and so the teachers can observe your childs social skills around other kids. The majority of home schooled kids are far advanced of the kids attending regular classes or so I saw anyway. Keep up the great work with your kids, sounds like they are doing awesome.

      • Homeschooling works! Ten-year old children are more than capable of learning Latin and higher math. Look to the examples of our Founding Fathers…while I am certain they were intelligent men, Latin and Greek were in the normal course of studies for young boys back then.

        A few years ago I was teaching Latin to 7-year olds…not only did they enjoy it, they thrived.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          I have seen six year old children that can learn Calculus and perform the operations correctly.

          I am fairly certain at that age that they do not fully understand the underlying concepts, but they CAN DO THE MATH.

          My first wife had a son prior to our marriage, and he simultaneously frightened and greatly pleased me at the ripe old age of 4 1/2. He received a small puzzle in his Christmas stocking which was roughly square in shape and had a total of 25 pieces. We put the puzzle together, and I said to him, “See, the puzzle has 5 pieces down this side, and 5 pieces across the top, so it has a total of 25 pieces.” I then said, “if the puzzle had 10 pieces down the side and 10 pieces across the top, how many pieces would the whole puzzle have?” Without even 3 seconds of time elapsing, he replied “100”. I was kind of amazed, so I then asked, “If the puzzle had 8 pieces down the side, and 8 across the top, how many pieces would it have?” Again, less than 3 seconds later, he answered, “64”.

          To this day, I am still amazed at what kids know.

  11. Public schools should be abolished absolutely. Parents will step up to the challenge and be parents if the state stops taking that role, but i think it’s a long shot to hope for that anytime soon. Perhaps some baby steps (well not so small after all).

    1.Get rid of the Federal Department of Education

    2.Get rid of all federal funding

    3.Communities establish their own schools in the charter school tradition.

    4. Parents choose which school their kids attend based on their religious preference, certain skills the school caters to and so forth.

    5. Schools do not provide meals, bussing, before and after care, counciling, or extra curricular sports and music (those can be provided in a community by parents paying).

    6. There are no federal or state standards so parents have a say in the curriculum and materials used.

    7. Teachers have the constant threat of firing hanging over their heads if the parents/school board are not happy with them.

    8. Teachers do not neccesarily have to have advanced degrees in order to teach. The level of teaching and educaiton should be the standard, not the level of degrees from a university.

    Parents should be livid about the education their kids receive. Even good schools are pitiful in what they produce. Why don’t more parents care? Becasue they have been convinced to give over responsibility for educating their own children and because they don’t know how much better it could be.

    • The Department of Education was created in 1979, because Carter had promised it to the National Educators Association, and both Houses were controlled by a democratic majority (58 – 42, 277 – 158), looking to secure votes for reelection.

      That was a turning point I remember…having a sibling 4 years older, we saw the difference in our educations at the same schools, by the same teachers. Gifted and Talented ceased to be the top 0.5%, and became the top 10%. Algebra was moved from 7th grade to 9th. Did we all of a sudden become less capable? Or did we get dumbed down?!

      Interestingly enough, the Cato recommendations for the 108th Congress included:

      “The U.S. Department of Education, formed in 1979 during the Carter administration, represents an intrusion by the federal government into an aspect of American society for which there is no constitutional authority. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress no authority whatsoever to collect taxes for, fund, or operate schools. Therefore, under the Tenth Amendment, education should be entirely a state and local matter.”

    • Bama dad says:

      Michelle said:

      “ Schools do not provide meals, bussing, before and after care, counseling, or extra curricular sports and music (those can be provided in a community by parents paying).”

      I will take issue with this statement, but first let me give you al little background on where I am coming from. We live in a rural area and our 6 children went to a smaller public school. Being in the “country” we did not have a lot of the problems that most schools face. Discipline was required of students (my kids knew if they got in trouble at school just wait till they got home) along with responsibility. We did the open houses, the PTA’s and volunteered our time for special activities, and we stayed involved. It was a wise investment. Believe it or not we still had open prayer at football games until about 6 years ago.
      I do not have a problem with schools providing a lunch meal for students; I have a problem with free lunches. It really rubs me the wrong way to see kids get free lunches wearing designer cloths, jewelry and wearing expensive shoes. If their parents can afford that stuff they can afford lunches. I am ok with bussing. I agree with you on the before and after care, it is not the schools responsibility to baby sit your child. I have found that educational counseling was very helpful in guiding my children in our decisions on what courses to take to prepare them for college. Three of my children were in the band and 2 of them played football. I will make the statement right now that those two extra curricular activities had a lot of positive influences on my children. It taught them how to be effective team players, it taught them about hard work, it taught them how to achieve goals, it gave them satisfaction, it keep them focused and it keep them busy. Hard to get into trouble when you are busy. With that said I will always vote for sports and band.
      Even though my last 2 (twins) children have been out of school for 5 years, I still volunteer to help. I see the lack of parental involvement as one of the main problems in our school system. Some parents don’t care, so some of the children don’t care. They expect everything to be handed to them without effort on their part. 😎

      • I too was an athlete (state champ in the Washington 4X4 relay) and it made a huge impact on my life as well. I’m not denying the importance of sport, I’m just suggesting that sports not be paid for with tax payer dollars.

        As for meals, even the kids who pay are heavily subsidised by the govt. The amount they pay for their lunches doesn’t even cover the cost of the food, let alone the cafeteria staffs salary or the extra janitors requied to clean up after. Also if kids brought food from home they could eat in their class rooms and save the cost of constructing cafeterias.

        As for bussing, if parents want to pay market cost to put kids on the bus to and from school, more power to them, but I believe it’s the parents responsibility to get kids to and from school. Bussing a hugely wasteful public expenditure.

        • I have had an issue with the school food program. I make a good living, and should not qualify for assistance, but we had to insist to them that we did not want help. The more they sign up, the more money they can get.

          • Naten53 says:

            Makes you wonder how cheap the food is that they might get more money by having the government pay for it then having you pay for it.

  12. MyNameIsEd says:

    There are so many different ways I see education. Probably because I work solely in special education, and truth be told aside from reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards in my state, I know very little about the regular education curriculum. My experience ranges from students with deficits in regular education, learning support, life skills support, autism, selective mutism, emotional/behavioral disorders, medical/other health impairments… you name it, I’ve probably seen it and worked with it in the schools.

    There are a few key differences in regular education compared to special education. A great deal of that comes from something called progress monitoring, which is required by my state for special education and must be reported on every 3 months. this is not like a report card, where a letter or number grade is slapped on a sheet of paper to take home. This is charts and diagrams and hard data on goals we want our students to achieve. If they fail to make progress, re rewrite the goal and implement different strategies based on evidence-based practice, which means that the strategy used to teach a skill has been clinically tested as effective by members of the profession.

    I’ve noticed in regular education, this idea of evidence-based techniques does not exist, primarily because it doesn’t have to. Regular education teaching strategies and techniques come and go like bad fashion fads. a prime example? “Hooked on Phonics.” It taught sound-symbol acquisition and phonological processing, a huge skill needed for reading, but it neglected areas important in comprehension, problem solving, drawing conclusions, inferential thinking and other skills needed for the mastery of reading passages. As far as I know, this fad is dead in many of the schools. Now new ones take their place.

    I personally feel that if teachers were forced to look at their teaching methods and use only techniques proven effective in clinical trials and research-based settings, we may see more results. However, this does not infer that teachers should not have creative licsence on how they implement those skills. As any teacher will tell you, its one of the joys of the profession, to have the creative ability to problem solve and teach students to explore the world around them in new and exciting ways that challenge students and other staff members to think outside the box.

    I know that so many feel that the teacher’s union is a large part of the problem. In some cases, I agree, in some cases I do not, perhaps because of my unique position in special education. Are there abuses? you betcha. no doubt about it. But it is my personal belief special education teachers in my state anyway (or at least the good ones) join the union for one reason: legal protection. It is no small secret that parents of students with special needs can and will file due process and take a district to court for a variety of reasons. In my profession (I am not a teacher) when I am put on the stand, I am treated as a professional; an expert in a chosen specialty. Special education teachers are not and are typically under the idea in due process that they are guilty of not giving the student adequate education until proven innocent. Districts pay the settlement and then typically try and get rid of the teacher that cost them money.

    Privatization isn’t the worst idea, so long as it is also something that considers special education as well. (yes I know I’m ridiculously biased.) I have not read much on the studies for or against privatization, but of the ones I’ve read, no one seemed to touch on vouchers and privatization of special education schools. I would be curious to see how that would pan out as under FAPE, the schools will be eligible to pay all costs for special needs students, regardless of where they choose to go. And students with special needs are in no way cheap.

    • Ed:

      I am curious as to which state or city you hale from?

      It took me 4 years to get our old school district to adopt the reporting you describe. I met monthly with short team to review progress and issues and make adjustments. We set Quarterly objectives to match general reporting periods. Rarely did we change goals but we did change objectives and mostly the tactics or teaching strategies.

      We moved 2 years ago and now I find myself back there 10 years ago. And in a town with a major University that teaches modern special ed. techniques.

      I am with you 100% that regulare education could learn from Spec. Ed. I can tell you that I became a better baseball coach after learning how to teach an Autistic child. Break it down into small steps and rebuild one at a time. It works wonders on many things.

      Glad to see you are still hanging around.

      • MyNameIsEd says:

        I hale from Pennsylvania, which has had one hell of a lawsuit that has just now settled and has begun implementation of all of its ramifications; including progress monitoring and the like. We still trail Maryland and a few places in the northeast. Believe me, I’ve been in plenty of battles with everyone from teachers, to BSC’s, to members of my own field, to parents, to administration… it can make life interesting from time to time. At the end of the day though I work for the students and no one else. At least I try to 🙂

        I’d be curious to know how this idea of privatization would effect special education. As I’ve said before I don’t necessarily disagree with it, but I’d be curious to see who could afford such a tuition rate. These are expensive kiddos to teach, no doubt about it and it takes a very different lense meshed with different professional insight of many different disciplines to get it right with these kiddos; and even then we can miss the mark. Special Education is a completely different world in my view and a private school might have difficulty regardless of competition between other institutions.

        • Funny you should ask.

          I was involved in starting a private school for children with Autism. The first step was a pre-school with later plans for elementary and middle school. We actually had the support of the local public school Superintendant. He wanted to use us as a model to others in the country. Needless to say wer weren’t as popular with the old guard who ran the public school programs.

          The big issue is funding for sure. We used private funds for the regular kids who then acted as peer tutors in the integrated setting we constructed. The other kids were funded primarily by Medicaid as we had the highest skilled staff available with emphasis in early intensive behaviorial intervention.

          I think with a little awareness we could have replaced the Medicaid money. That was my goal as Medicaid brings with it massive Federal and State bureaucracy that just cost money without improving care. And for others reading this it costs over $75,000 per year to provide the proper education for an Autistic child from age 2 to 6. But if you spend that money up front you can get almost 50% off major public support as adults.

          If you don’t, you can get a public expenditure of over $100,000 per year for life.

          Most current private schools can’t handle special education because they were built to handle the other special children or to provide a religious based education. They struggle just as much. Our school did provide therapists to children in private schools as part of our services. This helps except very few schools have the physical layout to truly accomodate. That has always been the biggest problem I saw. No space.

          If we are true to the freedom and free market ethic then we must rely on charity and payment for services. But as you, I do wonder if it would work. I think it would if we all believed in the system. It would not work if we tried it before most people awoke to the new ethics.

          We have a 16 yr old Autistic child who is in regular school but can not attend regular classes. He needs aids with him most of the time. If we moved east, where would you recommend?

          Thanks for sharing today.
          Best Wishes

          • MyNameIsEd says:

            KUDOS to you for such an accomplishment! In the area in which I work there are quite a few pilots currently going on as it stands now, in particular for children with autism. I stand to be providing services for an ABA model classroom next year. The BSC and I are already planning it out this summer. FUN STUFF! What’s the name of your school? perhaps I’ve heard of them.

            I’m trying to rack my brain for places over this way that would more benefit your older charge as many of the ones I know of focus on younger clients, particularly preschool and early intervention. However, I know of Kennedy Krieger, a fantastic clinic for children with disorders which is a branch of hopkins in Maryland. I’ve heard of fantastic things coming from there. I know of a collegue who worked down that way and I’ll see what she recommends. She’s my to-to gal!

            Best of luck yourself!

            • Thanks Ed for info and let me know what your friend offers.

              I know dealing with older kids is more of a challenge.

              Our pre=school also used the ABA model. Unfortunately it never got past the pre-school step. I left and no one else had the same vision.

              One hint if you haven’t discovered already. You need a quiet room or more than one to do your discreat trials and other one on one work. Tell them it needs sound proofing, including the door. The door will need a window to comply with other rules, teachers need to be seen with kids. It is best if the quiet room(s) are adjacent to the general room. You can then slide in and out with little disruption. Anything less than this and they won’t be paying you enough.

              If you contact USW and tell him to share emails I will send the school names and other info. Just as soon not make to much public if it isn’t needed.

              Thanks again for the help. We may have to move and I have absolutely no knowledge of what exists in the D.C. area. or other parts of the counrty.

              And most of all, thank you for your desire and willingness to work with these children. I am thankful that most folks don’t know just how challenging, frustrating, and exhausting it can be. But when you finally see results, it is quit rewarding. I always try to take the time to have my son stop by and visit his “good” teachers. I want them to see the results of what they went through so many years ago, and how it made a positive difference.

              God Bless You and All You Do

          • The area around Madison has a lot of offerings for Autistic children. I don’t know a lot about all of the services, but remember some acquaintenances that have an Autistic son talk about “Katie Beckett program” (???? not sure I’m remembering the name correctly) along with other services available through the University here.

            People move here from around the country for the services so they must be good, or at least better than other areas of country.

            • Is that Madison, Wisc or some other?

              Katie Beckett is the name of the law, passed by Reagan, that allows kids to receive Medicaid funds for home based therapy. It is fantasitic for early intervention as it allows team work with therapists, aids, and parents.

              We used it for a couple of years while transitioning our son from home school to public school. You can guess the problems that little ideas caused with the old school administrators.

              Thanks Kathy for info

  13. Black Flag says:

    After reading some of the responses, I see an important gap.

    People insist that parents need to get involved with educating the children. I agree.

    Then, these same people send their children to the State to educate them! By doing this, the parents are abdicating their involvement in the children’s education.

    The State is NOT the same a private (free-market) education.

    The State has NO responsibility to the parents, and the parents have NO POWER to enforce quality upon the State. All the yelling and screaming – and worthless promises and plans yield no results of improvement – indeed, worsens the situation.

    The free-market is a servant of the consumer because the consumer can withhold the very item the market place desires – money.

    The people are the slaves of the State because the State can extract money from the people without the requirement of providing any (or adequate) service. Regardless of how or what the State provides, the State demands the money from the people.

    The solution to education is parents reclaiming responsibility for their children’s education and removing the State completely out of the picture.

    • “Regardless of how or what the State privides, the State demands money from the people” BF

      Couldn’t be more true BF. In PA, everyone has to pay school taxes, even the retirees! Yet, the schools in PA are no better than anywhere else. Even some rural schools I’m aware of can’t get the job done right.

      As far as “removing the State completely out of the picture.”, here in Ohio, it’s legally impossible to completely remove the State, as laws have been passed that keep the State involved. I know, I need to own an island and move there LOL. Even homeschooling requires State involvment. ARGGHH!


      • Black Flag says:

        I hear ya.

        The more people ignore the State and take their children back, even if the State demands and takes more money, the People will win if they do not shy away. Even if it appears they are paying twice.

        Eventually the State will expose itself – taking money but offering nothing. More of The People will see it as illegitimate, and that will frighten the State to its core.

        The State WILL relent – it will always abandon a position that it has been found to be illegitimate so not to risk the entire system.

      • Not in Idaho. It’s a great place to homeschool!

        • Black Flag says:

          Do you?

          • Yes, all six kids. Well, two are not yet “school age” but homeschoolers don’t believe so much in state established ages at which people must learn.

            • Black Flag says:


              We (by which, of course, I mean my wife 😉 ) homeschool our daughter.

              I agree about age – when did we start? The day she was born!

  14. Chris Devine says:

    I don’t know where to begin (or whether I should even try). This article seems like a laundry list of the same conservative BS about intelligent design, school prayer, etc. I went to both public and private schools. The reason I attended public school was because my parents could no longer afford the private tuition. Should children whose parents can’t afford private tuition remain uneducated? If you think the price of education is high, try ignorance.

    I went to the same high school (public) as our moderator. I took the SAT’s and got around 1300. I took AP classes. Many of my classmates went on to graduate from some of the top universities in this country (Yale, Harvard, Georgetown, et al.). I graduated from UC Berkeley (the top-ranked public university in the country).

    At that same school we had a bible club. We had moments of silence during the morning announcements. I find it difficult to believe the author’s stance here because it doesn’t reflect his own experience (from what I know).

    There is nothing wrong with holding teachers and students accountable. However, solely relying on standardized test scores to determine achievement is not a good idea. Students are often taught to just pass a test. High scores don’t mean everything.

    If I had to pick the single biggest problem with schools it is the way property taxes are used to fund them. California used to have some of the best primary and secondary schools in the country. Then came Prop 13 which froze property tax rates. It was all down hill from there. Say what you want about the need to have a sensible tax policy, but as long as rich districts have good schools and poor districts have crappy schools you are only setting up a system of inequity. Taking funding away from failing schools isn’t going to fix that problem.

    One final note, you can’t argue about falling math scores and at the same time say we need to teach religion in science class. Most of the world looks at us like we’re nuts for the supposed 80% who believe in creationism. Believe what you want on Sunday, but Monday morning science class should be about science, not mythology.

    • Black Flag says:

      The reason I attended public school was because my parents could no longer afford the private tuition. Should children whose parents can’t afford private tuition remain uneducated? If you think the price of education is high, try ignorance.

      Embedded in this statement is the idea that public education is “free”.

      Parents can’t afford to pay for their kid’s education because the Government has seized their money to do so. Many people cannot afford to pay twice to educate their children – once to government (called, perversely, “free education”) and then again to private school.

      The market place delivers goods and services at costs so low, the average person has substantial discretionary income. There is no reason the market place couldn’t do the same with education – EXCEPT when in competition with the Government <- who has no need of efficiency or quality as they can seize money at a whim.

      There is nothing wrong with holding teachers and students accountable.

      The People CANNOT hold them accountable. It is not the People who control the money.

      All that comes from this is moving lips – but nothing substantial as there is NO LEVERAGE that a parent can apply upon the system.

      However, solely relying on standardized test scores to determine achievement is not a good idea. Students are often taught to just pass a test. High scores don’t mean everything.

      The only thing most tests accomplish is to teach kids how to pass a test. Real learning is lost.

      • Black Flag says:

        PS: I was ‘public’ schooled – and it nearly destroyed me.

        Either the system tried to crush me or it tried to shove me aside and isolate me.

        And by any measure, my school career would be claimed to be an incredible success!

        I can’t imagine the disaster that was wrecked upon the other kids….

      • Chris Devine says:

        I am under no delusion that public education is free. However, making people to pay for their childrens’ education individually sets up a system where the rich kids get smarter and the poor kids get the shaft. We already have schools for profit. Let the people who can afford to send their kids there do so.

        If we don’t build schools now we’ll be building prisons later.

        • Black Flag says:

          The knowledge of the world does not change just because I am rich and you are poor!

          2+2=4 regardless of how rich your Daddy is!

          That IS THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE – it is divisible and shareable without any degradation of its source!

          So to claim that the poor receive a worse education ONLY OCCURS in a government system!

          In the free market, as we see in food – there are price/quality choices for food all the way from pennies a pound to thousands an oz!

          The same choices would exist, comparatively, in education in a free market.

          As with all Socialist systems, it is a race to the bottom – lowest quality and huge costs.

          The continuation of Socialist educational models can only result is an ever-increasing demand whilst quality degrades. It can do nothing else but.

          Without the discipline of the marketplace – Socialist system have no economic measure able to judge the mix of quality/price.

          Socialist systems are completely economically blind.

          It is no wonder they eventually crash into walls or fall off cliffs.

          As long as Socialist government compete with the marketplace – where the government holds no concern of profit as it can seize whatever funds it requires to carry its deficiencies, the marketplace cannot compete at the same level that government operates.

          Any attempt for the market to respond to competition of government will only be made on quality = not quality/price = for the government under cuts the marketplace.

          Hence, only the most expensive education will exist in the market place – since quality is the only thing left and the market place will compete at that level only – and the lower quality level has already been seized by government. All that is left in competition of the marketplace is higher quality – higher price; hence there is no wonder why we see that today.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


      Where do you get that this is a laundry list of the same conservative BS about intelligent design and school prayer? Because that is the way you WANT to see it?

      To quote USW: “80% of the country is of the Christian faith but they aren’t allowed to mention the word “God”.”

      That is ONE SENTENCE in the entire article. Now before you continue to spout off about how the article was simply a laundry list of the same conservative BS about intelligent design (which wasn’t even mentioned) and school prayer (which was only indirectly mentioned in this one sentence), why don’t you go back and ACTUALLY READ THE DARN ARTICLE!

      I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but if you actually read the article, you would have seen points in the article that EVEN YOU would clearly agree with, such as, “Inner city schools and low income schools don’t get the supplies or the funds to operate the same as other schools. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to get the level of education offered in the schools raised.” You WOULD agree with those 2 sentences, wouldn’t you?

      So before you spout of about the article being conservative drivel, try reading it first. Your response indicates to me you are attacking the article based solely on the one sentence you actually paid attention to when you skimmed the article, and then you blew that one sentence way out of proportion.

      Perhaps USW should have pointed out that in some States schools are now REQUIRED to allow Muslim students to pray, but Christian students are still not allowed to even utter the word “God”. Even if he had worded it that way, that one sentence was far from being the main point of the article, it was just one example of the things he thinks are wrong with the public school system.

      If you disagree with the article or certain points in the article, bring up the ones you disagree with, tell us why you disagree with them, and we will be happy to discuss them with you. However, if you simply dismiss the article as the typical laundry list of conservative BS, you are simply asking for a reply like the one I just gave you here.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        To expand on some of the things you actually brought up in your response,

        “At that same school we had a bible club. We had moments of silence during the morning announcements. I find it difficult to believe the author’s stance here because it doesn’t reflect his own experience (from what I know).” I believe you will find that this is no longer permitted, although I could be wrong. It may vary from school district to school district, but the ACLU would probably be bringing lawsuits against schools that allowed anything even vaguely resembling school prayer (at least for the Christian students).

        “There is nothing wrong with holding teachers and students accountable. However, solely relying on standardized test scores to determine achievement is not a good idea. Students are often taught to just pass a test. High scores don’t mean everything.”

        I totally agree. I believe that USW also totally agreed when he said in his article “No child left behind is a joke!”


        “One final note, you can’t argue about falling math scores and at the same time say we need to teach religion in science class.”

        I defy you to show where USW advocated that particular position ANYWHERE in his article.

        I am sorry if I seem to be simply singling you out for a temper tantrum today, but a few of the things you wrote just make it clear to me that either A) you did not really read the article, or B) you singled out a few select sentences in the article, distorted them to fit your agenda, and then made claims based on these distortions.

      • Chris Devine says:

        “Forget that 80% of America believes this… DO NOT expose children to this madness”

        “No mention of religion (or for that matter a religious child cannot even pray silently to themselves).”

        My apologies if I reacted more to the comments than the article. I did read the article, but I misdirected my ire and frustrations.

        Mea culpa.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Chris, I re-read my own comments, and it may have indeed seemed that I was being personally harsh towards you. If that was the case, I sincerely apologize.

          I usually respect your point of view, even when I do not agree with it.

          I do agree that at times, USW does use some catch phrases and talking points that may be “the same conservative laundry-lists” that you hear elsewhere. I just happen to feel strongly in this particular article that was not entirely the case.

          I not only want your perspective on the topics we discuss, but if we are to be honest, we NEED as much diversity of opinion on this site as possible.

          Without any difference of opinion, it would be impossible for anyone here to figure out when we are wrong about something and recognize that other people might actually see a better way forward on certain issues.

          Again, if my attack was too personal, I apologize.

    • USWeapon says:

      Perhaps you shouldn’t even bother? What fun would that be?

      Let me be clear. It is the elimination of any christian thought while simultaneously teaching other religious learnings that is my issue. I don’t wish the schools to teach that christianity is right, but something so predominant as the christian faith in America being completely outlawed shows how clueless those running the public school systems are. I didn’t say christianity should be taught in science class. But I sure think that when you are taking those “social studies” courses you should be talking about all religions, not just all of them except the main one in this country.

      Where you are getting that this is simply a laundry list of conservative BS about intelligent design baffles me. My main issue with the public school system is that it sucks, and it is failing. It is nice to say that you and I attended a public schools and we both graduated as intelligent folks with good SAT scores and excellent college prospects. But you know better than to think that this is a true representation of the realities. Bill Gates and George Soros both made their fortunes in the American economic system but I don’t see you using them to show that it works just fine.

      I propose that you get a few facts to back up your position, because what I am hearing from you are the same old arguments from the left. Allow me to respond to them for you:

      Taking funding away from failing schools isn’t going to fix that problem. Well throwing money at them isn’t going to fix the problem either. Despite the doubling of the funding for public schools over the last 30 years, the graduation rate for our public school system is less than 75%. And the rankings of US versus the world certainly don’t show that anything the left has done for the last 30 years is going to fix the problem, either.

      Should children whose parents can’t afford private tuition remain uneducated? and but as long as rich districts have good schools and poor districts have crappy schools you are only setting up a system of inequity. Here we are back to that same old liberal rant, which is false at its premise and based more on emotion than facts. Your first mistake is that you willingly believe that privatizing schools would mean that all children have to go to some expensive private schools. Not true. You know as well as anyone that the market would provide cost effective alternatives.

      Second, this notion of setting up a system of inequity is a scare tactic. In the first place, inequity is natural. This notion that every child is the same is ridiculous. You and I came from the same public school. Have you been back to our hometown lately? It is quite clear that the majority of those who graduated from there did not achieve our level of success. Some kids are just dumber than others. And that is OK. Stop trying to make this into some race thing where those against public education because it is a failing institution are supporting the wealthy and saying screw the poor. That is not the case.

      The bottom line, Chris, is that despite your arguments, despite doing things your way for the last 30 years, despite the violent adherence to the liberal doctrine of the public education system, our public school systems have gotten worse, not better. That is a fact. At what point will you see that your version of how things should be is not working. There is no way around this fact. There is NOTHING that you can point to in the public education system and say “see, I am right about this”. Nothing.

      The left is so stuck in this mentality that they simply will not allow any changes to be made that might correct it. They are so steeped in a flawed way of looking at this problem that the system is paralyzed. This notion of not letting anyone fail, of doing our level best to make sure that everyone gets the same extremely low level of education rather than having anyone excel above another has netted us embarrassing low results versus other industrialized nations. Even China sees the failing of public education, and has moved to be the world’s leader in montessori schools programs.

      What is the opposition to competition against the public school system from the left based on? I suggest that the purpose is to use class warfare to eliminate anything that the government cannot control. It has been shown again and again that private schools, montessori schools, voucher programs, etc. WORK. If you had your choice as to where to send your child to school, where would you send them, public schools or private schools? We all know the answer to that. We also know that all those politicians you are following that refuse to acknowledge that the system is broken also refuse to send their own children into that system.

      On many issues, Chris, you make solid arguments and make me think. But you haven’t given me one good reasoned response here that shows me that privatization of education would be a bad thing. And you haven’t given me one thing that shows that the public education system is not broken far beyond repair.

      • Chris Devine says:

        It is well documented that tax base correlates into school quality. Poor areas don’t generate enough revenue to maintain schools and pay for good teachers.

        The higher graduation rates at private schools have more to do with their ability to expel poor performers. Public schools can’t just throw bad students out (I’m not talking about violent students).

        What should we do about people who have no money to pay for their childrens’ education? I’m not talking about people who can’t afford the expensive school, but people who literally don’t have the money for any school. What about highly intelligent children with extremely poor parents? If we want this country to succeed due to the merit of its citizenry why should well-to-do but sub-par students have access to better educational resources than poor geniuses?

        I’m not trying to say that public schools don’t have problems. But we should try to fix those problems before we abandon them. I’ll try to get some numbers for you to support my view. In the meantime give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m not just reiterating some tired and baseless argument.

        • Once again I have seen exactly what Chris is talkig about. But rich school districts also have poor children…..parents with no vehicle to run their kids back and forth to ballgames….some can’t even afford paper and pencils. It is truly sad, but you know what???? Government intervention has not changed this….and I don’t believe it will either. Alot of students in these districts are helped by the teachers paying for students supplies, field trips ect. Charity really does start in the community. The teachers I know do not make very much money…they could use their math and science degrees somewhere else making alot more money….but when you see them take from their measly pay to help a child who really can not afford anything extra…you know that teacher teaches because they care.

    • The premise that you can teach a child in a “neutral” atmosphere devoid of a belief system of some kind is completely false. If kids are not taught creationism or God, then they are taught something. Why should I pay to have my kids or other people’s kids taught beliefs that directly conflict with the values that I wish to pass on? The answer coming from the state is that my beleifs are not valid. The only valid belief is that of the state, because they are “enlightened”.

      Evolution requires a greater leap of faith than creationism, by the way. I suggest you read “Darwin’s Black Box” by Micheal J. Behe. He completely debunks the conventional wisdom regarding the theory of macro evolution, but he is not a “creationist”. He is in fact an athiest, if I read him right.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Feel free to teach your kids creationism. But when it comes time for them to take biology in college they should be prepared with a solid background in science, not religious dogma.

        I have read Darwin’s Black Box. I’ve also read:

        The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
        Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth R. Miller
        Darwin’s Ghost by Steve Jones
        The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
        Evolution and the Myth of Creationism by Tim M. Berra
        Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism by Robert T. Pennock

        Evolution (and science in general) is not about a leap of faith. It’s about finding tentative answers that best explain current observations and accurately predict future occurrences.

        • I have a degree in biology. There is no conflict between creationism and science. You are failing to understand that the theory of evolution is not based on science. It has thoroughly been disproven by science. It is taught because it is the ideology that humanists (progressives) wish to see taught. They want to do away with God so they can usurp that role.

          The global warming garbage is in the same camp. There is no scientific basis for it, but it is promoted as being science so it will be infallible. The shift has not been away from religion. It has been been away from worshiping God to worshipping science.

          • Chris Devine says:

            Seriously? Where from, Orel Roberts University?

            As a biologist have you ever heard of the cell theory?

            Science and religion are different in one key area: science is about making your understanding fit your observation, religion is about making your observations fit your understanding. While I don’t have a degree in biology I have taken college biology courses. I think you are grossly overstating your belief that evolution “has thoroughly been disproven by science.” Evolution has nothing to do with ideology, it has everything to do with a theory that best explains observed phenomenon.

            You’ll probably get a lot of support here for your conspiracy views on global warming, even though the only people who still remain skeptical all tend to have the same political views or are employed by the petrochemical industry. No scientist worth his salt thinks science is infallible. It is, however, a much better way of understanding the world that relying on ‘revealed’ truths.

            • I’m curious Chris – how old are you? What is your vocation? How long have you worked at that job?

              • Chris Devine says:

                I have worked many jobs from electronics for the USAF (7 years) to aerial mapping (3 years) to chef (3 years) and a few more here and there. I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of things. Now I write for a living while taking care of my two sons.

                Why do you want to know? Perhaps you think I’m some kid fresh out of college who thinks he knows everything. I assure you my opinions and beliefs are well tempered with real world experiences (in addition to a formal education and personal research).

      • Chris Devine says:
    • Chris, While you and USW went to the same school back in the day, I also attended public school back in the day. What my schooling was like is a far cry from what it has become now. See my post (#4) above. Trying to argue a point an not acknowledging that a couple of decades of change has occured, kinda dilutes your argument.


    • Amazed1 says:

      You said ““There is nothing wrong with holding teachers and students accountable. However, solely relying on standardized test scores to determine achievement is not a good idea. Students are often taught to just pass a test. High scores don’t mean everything.”
      I couldn’t agree more….Teacher’s are forced to teach to these tests…it is all about passing so the government does not cut of funding. To me this is the worst mistake made in our education system today. It tied the hands of the teachers and crippled our children.
      The second problem is parents using schools as a baby sitting service…

      • I have this argument with my wife, the teacher, all the time.

        If not standardized tests then what? The problem in the past was that there was no way to make comparisons between lower and upper Slobovia. So, standardized tests were re-implemented. Note that I said re-implemented. I remember taking them all the time in the 50’s and 60’s.

        Ever since the mid sixties, accountability has been impossible to implement precisely because there was no way to judge performance.

        Back in the old days, you would actually split up kids into classes in a large school by ability on grade level. Then you would project progress based on past performance and decide if you were succeeding or not. The rage then became something like homogenization. All of a sudden, there was no way to judge performance.

        So, without testing to establish a baseline, what can we do?

  15. JudyS.NV. says:

    When I was in school, some 40 years ago, we had one teacher with about 35 to 40 kids per class, and there was no problems what so ever. If you didn’t want to do your work, you sit in the hall way or go to the principle’s office and do it there or had detention. Teachers taught, didn’t take any guff from anybody, and they were the boss until you got dismissed from school for the day. Now, if a teacher says anything to the kids or reprimands them for anything, the parents threaten a law suit. I think a lot of teachers today are afraid of being sued or threatened by a student and are intimidated, so they won’t say or do anything. I’m not just talking about high school, I’m also talking about elementary school as well. Seems like to me teachers don’t get a lot of help from the school they teach in because they don’t want to get involved with the teachers problems. Here in Reno because of cuts, teachers are told they can take a pay cut, or quit. A lot of them quit, and are going into other things for now. It’s really a shame too, because we need more teachers. More and more people are moving into Reno, and there isn’t enough schools here and the students are being crowded into classes. Some of our schools are year round here because of overcrowding.

    • You are 100% right Judy, it was the same way when I was in school. 30+ students per class and not one of us didn’t know what would happen if we lipped off to the teacher. Today their hands are tied as to what they can say to a child regardless of what that child has done. Alot of the teachers I dealt with while my kids were in school were extremely frustrated with kids being disruptive and just plain rude most the time. They got very little help from the principal and virtually none from the parents to solve the problem.

    • Judy, I think it is because people take education as a “right” instead of a privilage. When the mentallity changes so will the disipline in the school system.

  16. Black Flag says:

    As far as public schooling, it suffers from the same effect as any economic product.

    If a product/service is subsidized below its real value, it will be consumed to exhaustion.

    Why education is thought to be immune to this is a demonstration to the lack of economic fundamentals that Socialist systems suffer.

    The costs of education continues to skyrocket – for no other reason as the ‘public’ perceives that its cost to it is ‘free’.

    • “If a product/service is subsidized below it’s real value, it will be consumed to exhaustion”.

      Great statement Flag, this very sentence can be used as a cause of our healthcare problems as well, which is heading in the same bad direction as education. Seems that subsidation (if thats a word LOL) might be the real problem.


  17. 8th grade final, Edited short version. I find it interesting that my grandfather learned to read and speak Latin in a rural school some 85 years ago.

    This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 from Salina, KS. USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

    8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS – 1895 Grammar (Time, one hour)

    1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
    2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
    3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

    Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

    1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
    2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
    3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lb., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu., deducting 1050 lb. for tare?

    US History (Time, 45 minutes)

    1. Give the epochs into which US History is divided.
    2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
    3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

    8. Name events connected with the following dates:

    Orthography (Time, one hour)

    1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
    2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

    Geography (Time, one hour)

    1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
    2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

    8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?


    Imagine a college student who went to public school trying to pass this test, even if the few outdated questions were modernized.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Holy crap! I don’t even know the answers to some of those questions! I need to go to THAT school! I would love to give that test to current graduating high school students… they would FREAK!

    • Black Flag says:

      The only great teacher I had was an elderly man at the end of his career.

      Because he had done his time, and was immune to the politics of the school system, he did his own thing – much to the frustrations of the Powers.

      He mentored me tremendously in more things then just math, and he is the direct cause of my rich career by writing a letter to the dean of the local university and insisting that he give me a computer account – because he felt I would make great use of the experience! Remember this was quite a few decades ago when most people had never seen a computer. Boy, was he right!

      He also almost caused me to almost commit suicide.

      As a math wiz, I was significantly more advanced then my classmates in Calculus (self taught).

      One day we got an exam, and when I read the questions it was like reading Chinese! I couldn’t even understand most of the questions, let alone try to solve the problems! I struggled with a few questions, while checking out my classmates – who seemed busy and unconcerned about the difficulty level of the test.

      A week later our grades came back – 54% Gasp! I’ve never, ever, had a mark that low! – My heart sank! I was embarrassed! I hid my paper from my classmates as I asked around about their score – 75%- 60%- 80%… and I knew I was far superior in math then they and they all got better scores!

      I decided to really pay attention in class – I obviously missed something – I didn’t know what – but it obviously had to be a fundamental lesson that I slept through.

      About a month later, another test. Oh gawd – it was harder than the previous one! And again, it appeared my classmates were unfazed.

      The score came back…. 30% Oh my gawd – I failed! In Math..I failed a math test… I was beside myself – the end of the world – I was near tears….thoughts of cliff diving raced through my head…

      After class I shuffled to his desk and asked “I’ve obviously got something wrong – I’m in real trouble in class~!”

      He was shocked – told me to sit down and tell him what was happening. I showed him my test…..

      He laughed!

      “I’m so sorry, BF – I see now I should have told you!”

      “I’ve been giving you university course level calculus tests. I’ve been telling my friends at the university about you and your talent – and we wanted to see what level you are capable of! That is a 4th year calculus exam! You answered questions that I couldn’t even possibly attempt! My friends were amazed!

      And please don’t worry, you’ve already got your ‘A’ ”

      I almost killed him…..

      • So a suicide/murder? With the suicide being first. Interesting.

        • Black Flag says:


          Of course, neither was an option – but the heartache was …. heartfelt…. my world ended (as my self perception caught a pin into a very large balloon of ego…) only to find it was … merely a test.

          But it, ironically, prepared me for my future.

          I’d be tested that way consistently from then on.

          Who is this guy?? What can he REALLY do??? Even though my mediocre was better than the best of most, my mediocre became unsatisfactory to everyone if it wasn’t my best!

          And – it made me rich. People will pay a premium for the best – whether you can put a puck into the net, hit a ball over a fence, or make machines sing digits.

          He was a mentor – he has passed away, but what he taught me and guided me and he strengthen my mind – he is as responsible for my success as any man in my history.

          When we met – I knew that he knew who I was.

          He never demanded from me anything rote nor bureaucratical. He ALWAYS treated me as his peer.

          He protected me from the administration and tested me in every mental way – with kindness and joy.

          But the point of my story was…. he could do it because he no longer cared about the ‘system’.

          He was old – done his time – and there was nothing “they” could do to him. SO he spent all his ‘coin’ and ‘tokens’ that he earned over the decades of his career and then he spent them on me.

          He set me on my life-long career.

          He petitioned (successfully) my attendance to the UN Youth Conference, where I made a speech as the Representative of Indonesia in favor of Palestine – that (since I was in a mental fog and freeze and never really knew what I said because I was a kid, scared to death in front of the REAL UN Undersecretary General and about 2,000 people…) was so moving, the Undersecretary requested my presence at the Head Table, to introduce him as the key note speaker of that night. It was a honor at the time, and obviously, a huge impression of the school I happened to represent. At the end of that year, I was given an award by the Principle for some ‘made up’ award for best representation of the school that year internationally.

          Mr Thomas is one of only 3 or 4 people – outside my family – that have set me on my life.

          And I believe he spent his entire life to prepare for someone like me, as I had – to that time – prepared myself for someone like him.

    • LOI….we had to pass a test on the consitution before we could pass the 8th grade… took 4 hours to take the stupid test and it was a standardized test.

    • Chris Devine says:
      • Not Bogus, not false. Read the Scopes article all the way through. The critic mentions that it purports to be an exam but offers no evidence it is not real.

        His complaint is actually totally different and twofold: that the test consists of studying for the test (now, where have we heard that before) and that the information is ethnocentric to the US and no longer relevant.

        To that I say Bull—-. My 13 year old Boy scouts cannot find Iraq on a map. They cannot identify the Middle east on a map. They believe in global warming but don’t know why they do. They cannot do simple math, cannot properly lay out a simple business letter, cannot spell, have no clue about percentages. When doing the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge, they cannot articulate why the American Revolution was fought. So, to the Scopes contributor, I say wrongo brother.

        Robert Heinlein, I believe in his testimony before congress towards the end of his life laid out what a rural high school curriculum was like in the late teens. The curriculum he had that got him into the naval academy. It was impressive. Black Flag could probably find it for us.

        When I was in High School struggling with Latin and trig, I wanted to know why I had to learn such things that I would never use again. Brother Cronin explained to me, “to exercise your mind son”. Good explanation then, good explanation now.

  18. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I wanted to bring up the issue of Milwaukee again, because many of the people here may not be completely familiar with the program they have there. The program was actually recently expanded so that up to 15% of the population of the Milwaukee School System could participate.

    It is a REAL voucher program, and it is targeted to students that would have absolutely no possibility of attending a private school if the program did not exist.

    Here is an interesting source of information on the Milwaukee voucher program. It also contains a lot of information on the Cleveland program which has some similarities to the Milwaukee program.

    Click to access d01914.pdf

    It is interesting to note that this study (and some other studies) show that there is little to no difference in academic performance between the kids attending private schools vs. the kids attending public schools, and yet the graduation rate for the kids attending private schools is 85% whereas the graduation rate for kids attending public schools is 58%. I am not personally sure of the source of this seeming discrepancy, so I am not going to speculate.

    Even if the academic performance is essentially on par, the one thing that the Milwaukee program has demonstrated is that IT SPENDS LESS MONEY PER CHILD that participates in the voucher program than it does per child in the public school system!!!

    The voucher system actually saves Milwaukee approximately 11 Million dollars per year. In my view, even if the academic outcome were exactly equivalent, the savings alone would be a clear demonstration that private schools are more efficient than public schools.

    The article I provided is a long read, but I thought that it would definitely shed some more light on the subject. My parents live not far from Milwaukee (I grew up sandwiched between Milwaukee and Chicago), so I still try to follow things in that area as much as I am able.

  19. True story, while Bill was Arkansas Governor, he appointed Hillary to head an education reform committee. They decided to REQUIRE all teachers to take an exam to prove they had the required knowledge to teach(any HS senior could have passed). They spent about three million having the test designed in California.
    Any teacher that failed could get tutoring and re-test. Arkansas usually ranks
    #47 to #49. Impact was zero. Typical government, form a committee, throw money at it until it is fixed or covered-up.

  20. The only meaningful comments here are from the actual teachers who posted. Not to take away from parents and the students themselves, but it is the teachers who firmly exist in the center of the debate.

    It has nothing to do with left or right or whatever political talking points people are capable of justifying. It has to do with teachers being forced to attempt to please everyone out there, all the while being systematically stripped of their ability to manage their own classroom. While some of the more simplistic responses above point out many valid problems and issues, teaching remains a complex set of skills and outcomes that do not follow the logical form of A+B=C. Instead it is more akin to managing a family, a very large family. So, the minute anyone is ready to have the “free-market” control what happens inside your homes, then you should be ready to have corporate america turn our schools into profit-engines, that produce the most single minded perfectly controlled body of citizens the world has ever known. The whole notion of one side being right or wrong, or more specifically in power, is the single most detrimental factor in ALL of our current crises. As soon as a group gathers in the name of superiority, then it is not long until the mythology of exceptionalism is widely believed and the power-mongering can begin. It is not “US against THEM”, it is and always has been “US against US”.

    The overriding question remains can humans and their societies ever rise above the “authority” that we have willing granted the various organizations of control (dare I even list them), and instead live our lives to the genuine benefit of each other. In my opinion, the days of “fight or flight” and religious zealots waging wars in the name of peace are not only tired, but completely against our own best interests.

    • Black Flag says:

      The free market produces no such thing as you claim.

      The free market only delivers what you voluntarily purchase.

      If you want to buy brainwashing for your child, I’m sure someone will sell it to you. But that is your choice – I’d suggest, however, you chose better than that.

      Teachers are not the center of the debate – no more than a car dealer is at the center of debate in buying a car.

      The choice of purchase resides solely upon the parent – on their needs, wants and desires. The good/service best meeting these requirements at a price that is affordable will be the one purchased.

      Education is no different an economic item than anything else.

      • Yes indeed Black Flag, you matter too. However, it seems your whole point is that you are right and I am wrong. I stand corrected, the “free-market” IS the answer to every problem we face. I now understand that not only goods and services, but ones’ personal thoughts, opinions and, in fact, the physical body itself are nothing more than extensions of said “free-market”. As an aside, I also now understand that advertising, collusion and monopoly have played no part whatsoever in the shaping of the “FREE-market” that will clearly be the saving grace of humanity. Your argument goes something like this: As long a group gathers in the name of making profit, the best interests of the consumers(citizens) will ALWAYS be first and foremost because of the effects of competition. My first thought would be applying this logic to the food/agri business of today. I guess it was simply consumers who decided (using their high powered tools of individual thinking and logic) that eating empty calories in gigantic quantities while endangering their own health was best. This must be true, in light of the wonderfully “free”-market industry of health “care” that profitably meets their needs after their health begins to decline. I guess those that can’t afford doctor #1 or have pre-existing conditions will just mosey down the street to the “competition” that will of course be affordable and will be accept ALL patients without question. It is a hard lesson to learn that one can’t ALWAYS be right all the time. I have learned that lesson myself and truly hope that you and others will as well.

        • Black Flag says:

          Black Flag’s are always right 😉

          Kidding….moving on….

          I stand corrected, the “free-market” IS the answer to every problem we face.

          It is!

          It is the freedom of choice.

          If you deny this, you are admitting that people should not be free to choose.

          Are you willing to live with someone else (like me) making the choices for your life? I surely hope not.

          I now understand that not only goods and services, but ones’ personal thoughts, opinions and, in fact, the physical body itself are nothing more than extensions of said “free-market”.


          You are either free – or you are not.

          Even that is your choice.

          As an aside, I also now understand that advertising, collusion and monopoly have played no part whatsoever in the shaping of the “FREE-market” that will clearly be the saving grace of humanity.

          Study deeply.

          There exists no monopoly that hasn’t been a consequence of government writ.

          If you complain about a monopoly, do not blame the free market – blame government that created the monopoly.

          I assume your complaint about advertising means you have a mind of mush, unable to discern for yourself – that dancing colors and half-naked people are enough for you to lose your senses.

          If it isn’t, the what is the complaint?

          Your argument goes something like this: As long a group gathers in the name of making profit, the best interests of the consumers(citizens) will ALWAYS be first and foremost because of the effects of competition.


          A supplier of a good/service is someone who has something he does not want. (Think about that – IBM does not want computers. Kellogs does not want Corn Flakes – if you can grasp that concept, you’ll be miles ahead of most economists.)

          A supplier of a good/service wants what you have – money. (Money is merely something that is very easily converted into something else of value)

          There interest aligns with yours because you will not part with what they want from you unless you are satisfied in a trade with thing good/service they no longer want.

          Alignment of interest is not the same as caring or their best interest.

          Their best interest is holding on to your money. It is because that is their interest, they will align with your demands.

          My first thought would be applying this logic to the food/agri business of today. I guess it was simply consumers who decided (using their high powered tools of individual thinking and logic) that eating empty calories in gigantic quantities while endangering their own health was best.

          You spit upon the consumer – are you not a consumer?

          The people make their choices for reasons that are theirs. So be it.

          If they chose differently, the products are there for them too.

          People ride motorcycles and jump out of working airplanes. Are you suggesting you have a right to spit on them too, and ban their right to live as they see fit?

          What is your complaint? People make bad choices – I’m POSITIVE you’ve made hundreds of them – is that an excuse for me to come in and run your life?

          Trust me, you’ll just love the hell of a life I’ll make you live!

          This must be true, in light of the wonderfully “free”-market industry of health “care” that profitably meets their needs after their health begins to decline.

          There is nothing special about medicine that makes it immune to economic conditions.

          The belief that it is somehow different will guarantee that you will not get the health care you think you deserve.

          • It would appear that we are having two different conversations. In your world of “freedom” and “being free”, if we eliminated the government entirely, that would solve all our problems ??, Would that also essentially mean that the free-market would lead us politically and morally as well ?? Would we eliminate “leaders’ as a whole, or only those that weren’t part of the current sales campaign… Also, didn’t understand your point about health care at all….

            • Black Flag says:

              It would appear that we are having two different conversations. In your world of “freedom” and “being free”, if we eliminated the government entirely, that would solve all our problems ??


              Entirely depends on what you believe government is compared to what government actually is.

              I have found most hold some ideal – yet, cannot demonstrate its existence in society anywhere at anytime.

              Would that also essentially mean that the free-market would lead us politically and morally as well ??

              Free market is a consequence of free people.

              It does not make people free.

              Would we eliminate “leaders’ as a whole, or only those that weren’t part of the current sales campaign…

              Government is not leadership.

              Leaders do not require government.

              Also, didn’t understand your point about health care at all….

              It is nothing unique economically.

              It responds to economics like bread and automobiles and computers.

              To pretend that by some power, it will act differently, will ultimately cause the health care industry to completely collapse.

          • BF, I would like to expand on the idea of monopolies being a result of government interference. I have never heard this idea before. Perhaps in a guest post?

            • Black Flag says:

              I’m not sure it would suffice as a guest post on its own – but it could be part of a bigger economic essay.

              Thanks for the great suggestion!

              I’ll discuss with USWep for the future – he’s always after me for more economic writing….!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “The only meaningful comments here are from the actual teachers who posted.”


      I don’t know if you meant your statement this way, but the literal translation of what you ACTUALLY SAID is “If you are not a teacher, you have no input of value into this conversation.” I submit that that simply is not the case.

      Teachers are the people who teach our youth. That is all well and good, but the impact of what the teacher is teaching affects the student, the parents, and ultimately all of society. To state that only a teacher can have meaningful input into a conversation about education is simply a false statement.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “So, the minute anyone is ready to have the “free-market” control what happens inside your homes, then you should be ready to have corporate america turn our schools into profit-engines, that produce the most single minded perfectly controlled body of citizens the world has ever known.”

      Please provide any concrete evidence of this claim.

      I personally had parents with the financial means to choose the school I went to. I started out in a Catholic school, but by the end of the 2nd grade, it was painfully obvious to everyone around me that the Catholic school was not academically challenging enough for me, so I went to a college preparatory school from 3rd grade through all of high school.

      In the ABSENCE OF any free market options, I would have been forced to go to a public school. More than likely, the education I received at said public school would not have been challenging enough for me, and I would have ended up being a “problem child”.

      It is not the free market that produces a single-minded perfectly controlled body of citizens. Rather, it is the ABSENCE OF A FREE MARKET which produces precisely what you describe.

      Corporations do not control a free market. Corporations are an extension of the government which actively tries to suppress the free market. Feel free to disagree with this statement, but I think we can clearly see with cases like AIG, Bank of America, Chrysler, and GM, that the corporations really are just an extension of the government (they were before they became government owned, it is simply even more clear now that they are government owned).

      • Black Flag says:

        Administration, Congress seek to rein in exec pay

        Democrats pushing administration to do more to rein in excessive corporate pay, bonuses

        Business groups dare Obama to limit pay for union bosses

        Citigroup on Wednesday said it was moving forward with a plan to convert a large chunk of its preferred shares into common equity. The long-awaited move is expected to give the United States government a 34 percent ownership stake in the troubled bank.

        Edward E. Whitacre Jr. built AT&T Inc. into the biggest U.S. provider of telephone service over a 43-year-career. By his own admission, he becomes chairman of General Motors Corp. knowing nothing about the auto industry.

        Welcome to the Fascist State.

      • Yes Peter B, your input can be meaningful too… Uuuummm “concrete evidence” of corporations controlling entire industries to single-minded ends and systematically excluding those that do not comply. Coupled with the classic black and white argument of either ALL free-market or Soviet-style socialism, nothing in between. No examples I could provide would actually have any impact on you, since in today’ world of information-overload, examples can be found to meet any set of ideas. I also loved your personal narrative about what “would” have become of you if you hadn’t been able to choose a high-powered private school for your high-powered intellect. Powerful stuff !! Have you ever been wrong, or did your elitist “prep” school teach you that those in power are never wrong ??

        • Black Flag says:

          There is nothing between freedom and slavery. There is no third choice, JoJo.

          What is your complaint? You waiver between free market and corporations as if they represent the same thing.

          They do not.

          Clarify your complaint – is it corporations or is it freedom?

          • Uhhhhhhhh, is my complaint “freedom” or “corporations” ?? I have no idea how to answer that particualr query. From where I stand your “complaint” is that I don’t seem to fit into your black and white world of good vs evil, Us against them or more specifically might makes right. I would guess your concept of freedom does even resemble mine. It seems like you might get more of the attention you’re seeking over at Faux News. Just a thought…

            • Black Flag says:

              Uhhhhhhhh, is my complaint “freedom” or “corporations” ?? I have no idea how to answer that particualr query.

              No problem – certainly think about the question.

              From where I stand your “complaint” is that I don’t seem to fit into your black and white world of good vs evil, Us against them or more specifically might makes right.

              Freedom is binary. You have it or you don’t.

              There is no third way.

              A glass of sewage with a drop of fresh water is a glass of sewage.

              A glass of fresh water with a drop of sewage is a glass of sewage.

              I would guess your concept of freedom does even resemble mine.

              If I were to assume – it probably doesn’t.

              Though I haven’t yet discerned yours – I have found that most people think they know what they mean, but when they start writing it down, they find they really didn’t understand it at all.

              But we’ll see…..

              • USWeapon says:

                I replied below at #24 as I think it is a discussion that will run us out of room!

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Why do you feel the need to be insulting of my personal story? Because it doesn’t apply to YOU PERSONALLY and therefore it cannot affect anyone?

          Not everyone has the same experience, not everyone has the same intellect, not everyone has the same writing ability, but EVERYONE’S OPINION SHOULD BE HEARD.

          Does that mean everyone’s opinion is equally valid? Heck no! However, we need to analyze opinions from as many sources as possible. It may SEEM that a particular opinion has no merit, but upon further analysis it may actually be brilliant!

          From your conversations that you are having with BF, I can tell that you suffer from the following delusions:

          You seem to not be able to separtate economics from government, you think that there is no logic in explaining them as wholly separate entities. They are indeed wholly separate entities, but the government seems to think it is ok to meddle in the economy to the point where they attempt to control it.

          You seem to think that the government is the people and the people are the government. I assure you this is not the case, in this country or any other.

          You seem to think that BF is saying that in a society with no government and a free market everything would be absolutely perfect. Your assessment is wrong. No matter what form society takes, bad man is gonna do bad things. However, I am sure that even you realizes that government provides a legitimizing forum for bad men to do bad things (usually in the name of “the public good”).

          You need to figure out that government is not the economy, government is not the people, and government has no interest in the well-being of people, beyond what is required to get re-elected. The sole interest of government is to amass and retain power.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          “Have you ever been wrong, or did your elitist “prep” school teach you that those in power are never wrong ??”

          First of all, your use of the term elitist to describe a prep school is purposeful. You want people to think that only the elite can get into a prep school, and the elite defend the prep school like it was their territory. However, you do not (at least explicitly) deny that a prep school provides a better education than a public school.

          On the point of the whole elite thing, this is LARGELY true. The corporations and the government (which are really the same thing) have combined to virtually assure that anyone who does not at least have money cannot access the education offered by a prep school.

          As to whether prep schools provide a better education or not, check the statistics for yourself.

          As to whether my “elitist” prep school teaching me that those in power are never wrong…. obviously you are not paying attention! You seem to think that I hold some sort of position of power (pretty much no, I really don’t), and you seem to think I agree with those who are in power (pretty much no, I really don’t).

          What in any of my posts made you think that I agreed with anyone who was in power? Were you just not paying attention?

          You also asserted in a post to Black Flag that his idea of free market equated to Might Is Right. If that is what you think Black Flag’s philosophy is, you are about as wrong as humanly possible.

          A true free market means that YOU have the ability to decide for yourself what is right. If you are capable of making that decision in a reasoned, moral way, you will be fine. And by moral I do not mean “religious”, I mean moral.

    • I take it you are a teacher?

      I agree that teachers have been hamstrung in their attempts at order in the classroom.

      To think though that only teachers can possibly understand education is a bit . . . out there!

      Thousands of kids are being educated very well, far better than either public or most private schools can accomplish all without the help of a professional teacher.

      How you can possibly claim that students or parents (the direct beneficiaries or victims of education) cannot join the debate is beyond me.

      The only side that should be in power is the side of the students and parents. I want neither govt nor corporations making educational decisions for me or my kids.

  21. I have read everyones ideas, and I did like some. But some I disagree with or I dont see how it would work. I grew up in a relative poorer family. My Mom worked two most of my life. I was lucky enough to have a Aunt who paid for a couple years of private school for me. But outside of that I was in public. Yes it was a world of difference. But compared to today my school was calm.
    I stay out of trouble because I was involved in school activites:so taking them away I think only hurts the kids who really are trying to do well. I lived out in the middle of nowhere, bussing was the only way I could have arrived at school. My family were hard working and worked long hours. So I dont know if it would been possible but to take the bus.
    My family was very involved with my homework, made sure I did behave.
    I agreee we are teaching to the students who are slower on learning, which is sad. We need to do it differently.

  22. Judy S. says:

    One of the reasons why our youngest has joined the National Guard Reserves, is so he can go to school to be a doctor. There’s no way in heck he could afford $300,000 for medical school. The Marines Corp doesn’t pay for schooling otherwise, he would have stayed in there. He gets his monthly VA checks in the amount of $1300.00, and that will run out in another 2 years or so. He has to pay for his own books, then he submits a reimbursement stub to the guard, they in turn refund him for his books. They pay 100% of his tuition as long as he is in the guard, which will probably be for another 8 years. He wants to work in ER.

    • Black Flag says:

      My brother joined the Army to be a Doctor as well.

      But he also wanted to be a solider. So he joined the Airborne for a stint to get his wings. He always raised eyebrows – a ‘paper’ officer but with airborne wings???

      My parents – my Dad wanted a son in the Army or Police and Mom wanted a Doctor.

      I disappointed them both.

      My brother made them both happy.

      • Judy S. says:

        Hi Black Flag

        I congratulate your brother on his duty. Don’t say you disappointed your parents, I’m sure you did good. My son would have stayed in the Marine Corp if they paid for his schooling, but since they don’t, that’s why he went in the guard. He’s been wanting to be a doctor since he was 10 years old, and this is his chance of achieving that. He also wanted to be a Marine, which he did. He lost 5 buddies in Iraq and that has changed him like you wouldn’t believe. That hit him really hard and it has aged him 10 years on top of that. He seen things there that to this day won’t talk about, and some things he will. He was only 18 when he went to Iraq the first time around. He was 17 when he went in the Marines. He’s 23 now and doing something he’s been wanting to do for a long time, and that’s help people. I am very proud of both my boys for doing what they wanted to do. My older son is also in the guard and is going to school to get his real estate license. I think they found their calling, and they seem pretty happy about themselves for what they’re doing. We couldn’t be prouder of our 2 boys.So don’t say you disappointed your parents, I’m sure they are just as proud of you as they are your brother.


        • Black Flag says:

          It took a number of years, and different reasons, we are a family again – and yes, I’m have always been and still am very proud of my parents.

          My father is the most honorable man I’ve ever met – I trust him more than any other human on earth.

          My mother – a survivor of severe child abuse from her mother, my grandmother – is an angel of mercy and forgiveness.

        • Black Flag says:

          And my brother served in Bosnia as a senior medical officer – his stories are telling, poignant and occasionally sent terrifying chills up my spine.

          He would call be via SatPhone whenever he had problems – asking for my advice (but not really, he knew the answers, the hard answers – his soul just needed at least one other human being to say “yes, it’s ok, and it’ll be alright, one day..”)

          • I’m glad things worked out for you Black Flag, makes my heart feel good that everything has come together for you and your family. My dad was in WWII in the Air Force and his brother as well. My dad was in Europe and his brother was in the South Pacific and they used to tell stories of when they were in. Me and my dad were close and was always there for us when we needed him. He died in 1998 of brain cancer at the age of 77, his brother died a few years before him from a rare blood disease, but can’t remember his age. My mother lives with us because she has dementia and can not be left alone for any amount of time. It’s not a really bad case, but enough. She will be 87 this August and makes the most of her days the best she can. She goes to work with me everyday because her Medicaid and insurance won’t cover senior day care, and we can’t afford it either, so she comes with me. Besides I work for my brother-in-law and he doesn’t mind because his mother-in-law has a slight case of it, and he knows what we’re going through.I really miss my dad and the chats we used to have. He used to tell some good stories growing up around Reno, actually he lived in Virginia City and went to the school up there. His mother ran a boarding house for the miners there and he and his brother used to do odd jobs for people there just to make movie and popcorn money. So I do have some history here in Reno. My aunt and uncle used to own a saloon called the Bucket of Blood back in the 30’s. Sorry if I went too long here, but sometimes I can’t help it. I truly hope things work out for you and will always have happy times. I’m going to go for now, and I hope we can chat again soon. Please take care and will look forward to future chats.


            • Black Flag says:

              Isn’t true that every life could be a best seller, no matter how modest such a life appears!

              I, too, look forward to our chats!

              Kindest regards!

  23. Without reading any of the other comments, allow me to put my two cents worth in here.

    I, my wife, and our children are the products of a public school system. I am from the state of Washington, my wife from California. Our children were educated in California.

    I left school at the age of 16 after failing the eighth grade and entered the Military. My wife was a high school graduate and had attended a junior college but did not finish her first semester. She is dyslexic and did not know it until we had been married for almost 15 years, that was her educational problem. She is a very intelligent woman, and we have worked on her dyslexia since discovering about it, yet she still has trouble reading, but she is a mathematical whiz and takes care of the household finances very well, thank you! I, on the other hand was reading and writing by age four, and attended first grade in a catholic school (got the ruler-on-the-knuckles treatment almost from the very beginning) but attended public schools from second grade on. I was considered a disruptive student in each school I attended, and since we moved a lot after my mothers divorce I attended four different schools by the time I made it to third grade. I have a problem understanding abstract mathematics, from the concept of fractions through the higher levels like algebra, etc. I have no problem reading or comprehension of the written word in math problems, just the concept of math other than the basics(add, subtract and multiply – division has always been a problem). Our daughter seems to have inherited my math problems as well even though she did graduate from high school.

    I completed my high school obligations through an adult school at the age of thirty three. My daughter is the reason that I went back to school since she came home one day from her first grade class with a letter outlining the school curriculum that was totally foreign to me, and I could not see me trying to help my own child if I could not understand simple first grade concepts. I have been an education junkie ever since, I suppose.

    Our daughter has two boys that have special needs. One is ADHD and the other is Mosaic Down Syndrome. Aged 9 and 6, respectively. She is divorced and trying to raise them by herself with little or no assistance from her ex husband. They are currently residents of Virginia and she likes the school system there.

    Now that you know a little of our educational history I feel that you might be able to understand my position on this very touchy subject a little better. Here goes . . .

    Privatization is not the answer. The reason being is that private schooling seems to have a tendency to focus on whatever the “sponsor” of that private school is interested in. This has been the case in past history in Europe, mainly in Germany – the only country in Europe that I am even vaguely familiar with due to my German heritage. Schools there in the past were focused on what their sponsors deemed important. Engineering, Metallurgy, Physics, etc. In my opinion this is not good since it only gives the student a narrow view of the world in general from the students very beginning in education.

    In this modern era that we now live in, I believe that a combination of state(NOT Federal) sponsored and partially privately funded education is the actual answer. Here’s how; The cost of building and maintaining a school systems physical structures is astronomical and that can best be accomplished by donations/funding from the private business sector – ie the corporate level. Corporations such as Boeing, IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and the like could benefit immensely by providing school systems within the individual states with the modernized buildings and educational equipment needed in today’s high tech educational world. The Sciences, Engineering, Aerospace, Info Tech, and the like would be greatly enhanced with new intelligent minds to populate their individual corporations and give them a competitive edge in the global business environment. The states could provide a basic salary for the teachers that could be supplemented by tuition from the parents of the students by giving those parents the option of sending their children to the school that would best teach their children. A student with a reading problem, like dyslexia, could be sent to a school that had a program to teach a student with just such a problem and a student with math problems could be sent to a school for just that problem.

    I believe that this could reduce the number of disruptive students (like I was) and give those with a little different learning curve a better chance at learning and achieving their own personal goals in life. Being the grandfather of a couple of special needs boys has given me a greater understanding as to how we each learn, and I have discovered that we all have different planes of learning and different learning curves within those planes. That is why I believe that a combination of state, corporate, and tuition funded educational systems that allow parents to send their children to the schools that would benefit their children is the best thing I can think of.

    I am not so naive as to think that this is the only way, it is just the only thing that I can think of on my own.

  24. USWeapon says:

    Freedom is binary. You have it or you don’t.
    There is no third way.
    A glass of sewage with a drop of fresh water is a glass of sewage.
    A glass of fresh water with a drop of sewage is a glass of sewage.

    I have seen you make this statement several times over the course of our discussions. I won’t come right out and say “you are wrong”, but I am going to say my piece in order to begin a dialogue about it. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your meaning.

    I don’t think freedom is as binary as you say. I think that there are many varying levels of freedom. To those living in Cuba, we are free. It seems to me that you are saying that there are exactly two choices of where we can be:
    1. We can be free to make any choice whatsoever, in which case we are free.
    2. We can make no choices whatsoever, in which case we are not.

    Yet neither of those two realities exist in this world. I understand that you are living in the philosophical realm here, but there are varying degrees of freedom. To deny that this is true would be to deny the ability to look around you and see the world. You seem to believe that we can either choose to be 100% your version of free, or we choose to not be free at all, when that is not the case. What I choose is that I would like to be MORE free than I am now. I do not believe, in an organized society, the freedom that you talk about can exist. But then again it seems that even your version of freedom has rules, such as no initiation of violence. True freedom can’t have rules. Your non-violence clause is your proverbial drop of sewage is it not? Which is why I opt for more freedom as opposed to total freedom, which I am not sure is possible. Help me understand your position better.

    • Black Flag says:

      I don’t think freedom is as binary as you say. I think that there are many varying levels of freedom.

      Perhaps it is a glass half full vs. glass half empty.

      However, as exampled by sewage analogy – could it be degrees of slavery?

      A drop of sewage is less severe than 100 drops, I’ll give you that, – but it is still sewage, not?

      If forced to drink – indeed, I’d prefer the single drop vs. the alternative of a full glass.

      But I’d rather have a glass of pure water.

      1. We can be free to make any choice whatsoever, in which case we are free.
      2. We can make no choices whatsoever, in which case we are not.

      That is not freedom. Freedom is NOT a “do anything I want”.

      Freedom is best expressed by what it is not

      Freedom is not being imposed upon by another

      Chris raised this in another post (thanks, Chris – in favor or against, you’re arguments add clarity) even though his example was an attempt to shove mine aside.

      He said, paraphrased, “A man alone has no need of freedom”

      I say, a man alone is equally free as a man in a group, when no man imposes upon him because that is what being alone accomplishes. There is no other person imposing on him – thus, he is free.

      SO, when a man is not imposed upon – alone or in a group – he can call himself “free”.

      I hope that explanation helps with the rest of your post here – freedom does not allow a man to harm another – for that is imposing, etc.

      Important – we can create a society that does not LEGITIMIZE violence on non-violent people. It won’t STOP it – but we can say, if it happens, we called it “EVIL” and call it as a ‘wrong’ – just as we do regarding ‘murder’.

      We do not legitimize the killing of an innocent person. It doesn’t STOP it, but we don’t accept any justification for it and deal with it as a society under that philosophy.

      It is a small step to do the same with initiation of violence, as well.

      • USWeapon says:

        Thanks for the clarification. I guess the question is does that glass of pure water exist in a civilized society? I can accept your definition of freedom as legitimate. I will have to think a bit on whether I would accept it as my own definition. Perhaps a bit more thought needs to go into what my definition is.

        I do completely agree that we can create a society that does not legitimize violence on non-violent people. And I think that this is where you and I find common ground in what we strive for.

        • Freedom is a term that describes a specific condition of man’s existence and his relationship to others. As BF said, it is the abscence of the use of coersive or physical force by others. And by the way, this is the definition of freedom used by our Founders. Liberty is the abscence of force by Government. Thus individual freedom requires Liberty. In traditional thinking they were not the same.

          So if you have anything less than this it is not Freedom it has to be something else. If you call it “less free” then in reality it is “more slavery”. Thus it is not Freedom any longer. The presence of any coersive force precludes freedom, period.

          If our society chooses to live with Not Freedom, as many here seem to wish, then my hope is that they at least realize they are Not Free. And that they have little to complain about regarding the loss of Freedom. If one subscribes to this view then at least accept the reality that what you are trying to do is limit your level of “Not Freedom” or “Slavery” by the mechanisisms you use to control the government. But don’t delude yourself into thinking you are protecting “Some Freedom”, because you are not.

          We say that we are free to choose our own job or where we will live. The freedom to make invidual choices is not Freedom in the ethical or political sense. It simply means our choice is not controlled by others. Perhaps that has been our defense mechanism these past 200 plus years. We are free to …… therefore we live in a free country. As we know from our studies of history, this has not been a country of Free Men for a long time. Perhaps we didn’t really want to think it was true so we always focus on the minutia instead of the big picture, the one we call Reality.

          I submit it does not exist in our “stereotypical” “civilized” societies. That is because we have assumed for over 3000 years that “civilized” required central govt. The good ol’ USA is the first time men actually tried to create a “civilized” society organized around the principle of “freedom”. They almost got it right. But as you know, almost only counts in games of horeshoes and handgranades.

          I had noticed your comment about differing levels of freedom the other day but thought I would hold off until our next philosophy discussion. I’m glad you put it out there today. Can’t wait to see what you come up with after stirring the old gray matter.

          Best to you and yours

          • Black Flag says:


            As usual, you articulate with clarity that the rest of us soak up like the summer sun!

            • Thank you for you kind words.

              So it seems we have found at least one thing we can completely agree on.

              It’s always nice to have someone to share with.

              Weather has finally turned nice here. How about you?

              Best to you this evening

              • Black Flag says:

                Ah, storm clouds.

                But the temp. is nice!

                Take the good and ignore the …. so its all good!

                Best to you, too, sir!

          • USWeapon says:

            Thanks JAC… I have plenty stirred up in there. I was, at this point, just wanting to clarify with BF a bit and make sure I am understanding him correctly. I don’t want to assume the position of anyone.

        • Black Flag says:

          “If classical liberalism spells individualism, fascism spells government.”
          ~ Benito Mussolini, Fascism: Doctrines and Institutions,

  25. My story, Mom was out of school after 6th grade, her dad didn’t think women need an education. Dad loved school but as the oldest of five at home in 1932, when his dad died, he became the breadwinner at age 15. All of his siblings finished High School thanks to him.

    I am an early boomer, class of 1946. Started Catholic school in NYC in 1951, there was no kindergarten. first through fifth grade was split session, Never had fewer than fifty kids in a class. First to fourth was co-ed with nuns. Fifth through eighth was same sex with LaSalle Christian Brothers. Fifth grade was the first year I had more than four hours of school per day.

    Went to an inexpensive Catholic Prep school $ 300.00 per year in 1960 to 1964. Classic curriculum, Latin 3 years, three or four years of math, three of science, four literature. Two years modern foreign language and four of religion we had exactly one elective in senior year. Our small (400) student body was predominantly blue collar with a sprinkling of wealthier kids. My SAT scores were 1225 without sweating it (my fault, I was able to fool my Dad). Received a full NY State Regents Scholarship which paid over 80% of my private college tuition. I was accepted to a Catholic College, affiliated with the High School in Junior year. Took the limited AP classes in History and got college credit. Those classes were on your time.

    I was an average college student had a program steeped in the classics. Did not take a single course in my major until Junior year because of the classics. I day hopped and worked all four years after school. I never felt it was fair to ask my parents for that remaining 20%.

    My wife’s story is almost the same . I have sent all four kids through Catholic school including three through Catholic colleges the other had it easy, he went to a service academy. All aced their SAT’s and pulled down hefty scholarship monies. It is the bast damn education that you can get for the money. I have, as a result, a lawyer, an Air Force Captain, a mechanical engineer and a multi state certified speech/hearing pathologist.

    Chris, we did not dump “troublemakers”, we cured them. In the New York of the 1950’s we received several new non-english speaking students every year. Without bi-lingual teaching and through the same immersion my grand parents had imposed on them,they learned, they were off and running within a year.The kicker is, with the exception of the colleges, the Catholic Schools educated these kids for approximately 1/3rd the going rate of the local public schools and still do. By the way, I and parents like me in my area who use religious schools or who homeschool have contributed and financed the folly of unproductive schools and continue to do so. My neighbors do not like it when I vote no on the school funding/bond issues and they certainly don’t like it when I explain I have educated their children and have SAVED them big bucks by not asking them to educate mine.

    I guess my point is that the idea that if you don’t go broke building Public Schools, you will have to build prisons is just more of that Teachers Union, Liberal, Progressive BS. There are good solid alternatives that will offer an education to every child and WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THEM. We are forced to continuously subsidize ineffective public schools.

    In light of the current economic climate people in my county are actually asking if it was really necessary for a local “magnet” school to spend 1.8 million dollars on electron microscopes when they could have worked out a deal to send their AP students to one of four local hospitals to learn about them as if that were even necessary. I still want to know why my town passed a bond issue to build a state of the art culinary kitchen in the local High school and three, that’s right, three band rooms in the new High School extension. We also wonder why there are so many very normal looking (and apparently functional) special ed kids in town and every two of them rate one full time aide. Our state test scores were so poor last year that the local board of ed had to take a full page ad out apologising to the town but pointing out that “If you just pass our new budget” everything will be fine next year.

    • S.K.

      You have touched on what appears to be a growing problem in some areas. The new schools I am dealing with are included.

      That is the placement of kids with simple behavior problems or other learning problems in the full blown special education program. I had to deal with the resulting problems last year when the behavior problem child started getting the othe spec. ed. kids agitated. A child with autism or aspergers in the hands of a delinquent is not pretty. I am thankful my son had a strong and well trained teacher that saw what was happening and nipped it in the bud. The other spec. ed teacher in that school didn’t and her class turned into a disaster.

      If there is an Aid with two kids though, you can be 90% plus sure the aid is necessary. They don’t like putting aids with kids if they can avoid it because it costs more but they don’t get anymore revenue to cover it. Most Spec Ed programs are given funds on a per head basis just like the regular programs.


  26. US Weapon

    I want to say how much I enjoy your site, I have been enjoying the chats here with people. It’s nice to be able to say things without getting filtered all the time, or having to rearrange your wording for fear of getting chopped off. It’s also nice to see how people can chat without calling each other names or the derogatory words, it’s really refreshing. Thank you very much for this site, and all you do to keep it going. I enjoy reading your daily writings to see what the subject of the day will bring, and what everybody has to say. Please keep up the good work you have been doing, I commend you for it.

    Judy Sabatini

    • OK Judy now you really have my curiosity up.

      Are you related to all the other Sabatinis in Town?


    • USWeapon says:

      Thank you very much Judy. The two great pleasures that I get from this site are people who tell me that the discussion here has caused them to think, and people who tell me that they enjoy coming to this site to discuss issues. I have strived to create a site where we can debate different ideas without resorting to name calling and lack of respect for one another. I dare say that thus far I have been successful in doing so. I hope that all those presenting ideas different from the norm on this site feel the same.

  27. I’ve been lurking for a while. Ran across this article about paying public school students for good grades in NYC. I think it might get some reaction here.

    With all the different areas of my business, I’ve got quite a lot of employees helping me do what I do. And as much as any of them like me or believe in my message, I’m positive that none of them would do their work for free. I want their work, they want money—it’s a perfect arrangement. That’s a cornerstone of capitalism—motivating people with money. It worked yesterday, it works today, and it’ll work tomorrow (that is, unless President Obama has his way…but that’s another column). But as well as this arrangement works with work, it doesn’t and shouldn’t in every scenario.


    One of the greatest disservices we can ever do to our children is to blunt their need to try.


    New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has instituted a plan to pay kids for doing well in school. These are public school kids who are given an education for free, yet Mayor Bloomberg feels it makes sense to also pay them for doing well…compensating them for enjoying the gift of a free education. I think that’s a bad idea for a host of reasons, and I talked about it on the air this week with my radio producer Stu. He was able to see things from a different (wrong) point of view, so I thought I’d use the transcript of that radio show to continue that discussion with him. Unfortunately, once I make my points, Stu won’t be able to respond because he’s not here. Too bad Stu—get your own column.

    Before I bring “Stu” into the conversation, let me make one thing clear. Since Mayor Bloomberg started this program of paying public school kids to get good grades, it’s been working. I can’t argue with the results, but just because the program is having success doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do. I believe that free public education in America is a gift, and you shouldn’t have to pay anyone to accept it. Now let’s see what Stu had to say about it:

    STU: Isn’t this, though, just – I mean, isn’t it essentially the same thing as an allowance for chores? I mean, you should be doing chores anyway, helping around the house. But you give an allowance. I mean, it teaches – it’s essentially using the principles of capitalism to get things done. I’m generally in favor of that.

    The difference here is that families work together to take care of the “business” of the family. With chores, you don’t just live in the house for free. So really Stu, it’s not the same thing at all. It’s comparing apples to oranges, so let’s move on.

    STU: So in essence they are giving a little bit of money back. What’s the problem? A performance-based incentive…I don’t know what your issue with that is? I don’t know how these people can figure out that capitalism works in this scenario and it doesn’t work in any of the other ones. This is the only time they can ever figure it out. But in essence you are rewarding good performance. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that.

    The problem is that public education is one of America’s greatest gifts. Imagine if I gave you a birthday present, but you said you’d only accept it if I also paid you to do so. If that sounds absurd, that’s because it is, and it’s a perfect analogy. Gifts are to be accepted or declined. Those who choose to “accept” the gift of free education perform better in college and the workforce…in life—they prosper and excel. That’s the reward for their work. Those who “decline” the gift and don’t take full advantage of a public school education that is the envy of the world over…they enjoy less success and fewer opportunities in life.

    One of the greatest disservices we can ever do to our children is to blunt their need to try. You have to apply yourself in this world, and when we teach our kids that making an effort should only happen when you get paid…then we’re dooming their future and that of our country. Stu…?

    STU: But here if they do apply themselves, they get rewarded. That’s a principle that is taught.

    Wrong again (wow—this is easy…maybe I should have all my conversations with Stu this way?) The reason that too few kids don’t take their education seriously enough is the fact that it is free. When things are handed to us—and not just tangible things, but also opportunities—we value them less. I feel it’s much like public housing versus private housing. If someone’s had to work to get their home, chances are they’re going to take good care of it. But if it’s just given to them for free, they too often don’t care for it. For instance…

    STU: But if you are talking about results, I mean, again no one would ever propose this. But if you are talking about results and you paid the people living in public housing to take care of it, you can be sure that they probably would.

    I hate it when he cuts me off, especially in my own column. Look—it’s like a car rental. If companies like Hertz didn’t make you responsible for the car, you might not be as careful to not ding it up while it was in your acre. But since they require you to be careful by charging you if you aren’t, you take better care of the car. But getting back to the example of public education, it’s free!

    STU: But isn’t there a possibility that you actually are teaching a kid a capitalist principle?

    OK, fine—I’ll give Stu this point. But…while they are in fact teaching a capitalist principle, they’re not making an effort to tell these kids that by participating in this program, they’re teaching them a capitalist principle! It’s a little abstract, so it’s likely that the only kids who’ll get that this is a capitalist principle are the kids who are smart and taking full advantage of their free education and thus not partaking in this application of a capitalist principle! Oh boy, I can feel the blood welling up and getting ready to shoot straight out of my eyes, and the cleanup after that takes forever. I better wrap this up.

    Yes, I am a capitalist and will be ‘till the day I die. But at the same time, I’m also a passionate believer in the very American ideals of hard work being its own reward…of our need to take responsibility for our own betterment…of the idea that a hand-out hurts a man’s desire to give himself a hand-up. We must teach our children these lessons as well, and Mayor Bloomberg’s plan does the exact opposite.

    The old saying goes that you shouldn’t look a gift horse ion the mouth. Well, too many of New York City’s public school kids are looking that gift horse in the mouth, and they’re hoping to find some extra cash in there as well. It’s got to stop—we owe our children and our country more.

    This was a Glenn Beck column. I don’t agree with some stuff he says but in this case I agree wholeheartedly. I’m not going to say more because he summed up my reaction very well.

  28. Chris Devine says:
  29. Great post. this is what I looking for, thanks

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