Sun 26 Mar, 2006 10:01 pm
I watched a PBS special based on Jonathan Kozol's book, Savage Inequalities. This book and/or video should be required media for all citizens of the US - adults and students. I was horrified by what I saw in this documentary. Has anyone seen it?
The Black Commentator
Aware of Kozol's work. Horribly depressing stuff. Extremely important stuff.
a sick and broken system we have
husker, how would you begin to fix it?
Soz, how about you?
I don't know because it's going to take such a radical overhaul same as health care needs - it's just darn scary to think to hard about it
step one, abolish local school boards/funding. we (the US of A) has not been an agricultural society for over 100 years, it's time to move on.
I read the book almost ten years ago - and Bushco hasn't made things better since then. Dys, have you read it?
If you'd asked me 10 years ago (when I was still steeped in all of this) I'd have a more cogent answer.
One thing that we've talked a lot about (especially me 'n' fishin') in discussions about education here is that there is no magic bullet. There are a zillion interwoven problems, and they really all need to be solved before the problems are all solved in a substantial way.
Things I like:
1.) "Teach for America"-type programs, where people get financial incentives (forgiveness of loans, etc.) to teach in disadvantaged areas for a certain amount of time.
2.) Better salary, more autonomy, and more prestige for teaching to get and keep the best people possible.
3.) School lunch programs like Alice Waters'.
4.) Get rid of NCLB and the whole "teach to the test" mentality.
5.) Headstart/ early intervention funding.
I've soured somewhat on charter schools, don't know if it's concept or execution, if there are ways they could be improved. Right now there is too little oversight and they're too often a waste of money.
All of this is just in the educational realm, while poverty itself is a huge part of the problem. A bunch of other stuff on how to deal with THAT -- not allowing the equivalent of a third-world country (no working sewers?) in our own backyard would be a start.
I read your comment about Ohio in the other thread, Kay. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled years ago that the system in place was unconstitutionally unequal. To my knowledge, the Legislature has never provided a solution acceptable to the Ohio Supreme Court.
In Ohio, some municipalities have an income tax, with part of which they fund their schools. In all other cases, wage earners are subject to a School District Income Tax, which runs from .25% to 2% of gross income, and is withheld exactly as are the State and Federal income tax withholding amounts. But each school district determines what amount they will levy, if any (many have no SDIT). There is the additional income source of property tax levy initiatives on the ballot, which appear on every yearly ballot in some part of the state or another, just as is the case in so much of the country. The disparities are unbelievable in Ohio, and even the Supreme Court's mandate seems to have had no beneficial effect.
Dys' comment is the most perceptive short comment i've seen on the topic to date.
All good points. I guess I'd like to see the US gov oversee a more fair distribution of tax revenue, but leave the testing alone. I am to write a paper on one of the tenets of the NCLB act. The legislation is based, in part, on comparitive testing between the US student population and the the student populations of european countries and japan. This is a faulty argument (that the US students aren't keeping up) because the school systems and testing methods are so wildly different in these three geographic areas.
I am particularly focused, in my thinking on this threads topic, on Sozobes 2nd, 3rd and 5th points.