Thursday, April 9, 2009

Education stimulus needs to stimulate students

From a guest opinion in this morning's Courier Times . . .

The stimulus package provides $5 billion to modernize our educational infrastructure. Schools, especially in urban areas, are in dire need of modernization (wouldn't hurt to start with clean and safe bathrooms). But until we confront the educational system's failure to keep kids from dropping out before graduation, the billions in expenditures will only be putting a pretty and expensive face on a half-empty future for both the kids and society as a whole.

The author of the opinion, Steve Young, ultimately concludes that "Accountability, such as what was pounded into the system through No Child Left Behind, should not only come in test scores, but in what should be the goal of any educational system: How well it works as the student transitions out of the theoretical trappings of memorized test answers and into the real world."

You can read Mr. Young's opinion in its entirety by clicking here.


TFR1984 said...

Interesting thoughts by Steve Young but the taxpayers are too focused on cutting spending. Every one says they want results, but in the end they don't care. When a senior from flower mills says at a meeting that we must think of the children and educate them the best that we can, what he is really saying is cut the budget so he and his friends can go to AC, and the kids will just have to suck it up and learn with whatever resources we feel like giving them. I'm glad there are people out there like Mr. Young who care about a greater good when it comes to educating our students, unfortunately he is in a minority.

neshaminy101 said...

Mr. Young talks of real world education but gives a completely unreal expectation to public education when he says "Today, we may need to tap into music, sports, video games, even the street to reach some students." Public education fails when it tries to reach "some" students because money is diverted from teaching the core base of students. There just isn't enough money to go around, so where should you spend your dollars - on the students who already show a desire and aptitude to learn, or on those students who don't care and aren't as likely to succeed?

Nobody wants to admit it, at least not in public, but special ed is hurting our public education system because it is sucking up a disproportionate amount of money. Any money from economic stimulus should be used for the education of our core students.

Steve Young said...

The cost to society (and the taxpayer)of losing these kids is far more than the cost necessary to keep them engaged and in school.

JS said...

Thanks for playing politics with the public's money Mr. O'Connor and Board.

All of you know that the Teachers will never take the contract on the table. It will inevitably be higher. That just means that the Administrators will get a more expensive contract as well. Any "savings" you say this contract will bring will never materialize.

Also we all know the Administrators never had to formally approve the contract anyway because they aren't a Union. So in essence you used this vote as a PR stunt with the public concerning the NFT negotiations.

Thank you, because all you did was ensure we'll pay more than this offered contract to both the Teachers AND the Administrators.

FYI, all you did is now put the Administrators on the side of the teachers to get a better contract than your current offer. I hope the public understands and calls you out on it.

That hissing sound? That's your public support balloon with a leak.

William O'Connor said...

Sorry you feel that way, JS. I understand your concerns about an equity agreement with the Admin contract. From my perspective, the equity clause actually gives us an added incentive not to back down on our offer to the teachers union for the very reason you cite - we would lose the savings that we have brought to the taxpayers. That would be political suicide.

JS said...

But all of us know that there is NO leverage for the Teachers to sign your offer. Any arbitration that occurs will again not go as low as the Board's current offer. A middle ground would most likely be picked.

This "incentive" is hollow, plain and simple. It's a PR stunt by the Board, and I'm sorry, but it infuriates me because I thought some on this Board actually cared about the taxpayers.

Now all we'll here is about how "the Administrators accepted this contract, so should the teachers". Never mind that the Administrators never actually had to accept it, and most likely knew they wouldn't be limited to this offer even if they did.

I only urge you and any other board members to not harp on the "savings we'll see from this offer" when you all know we won't actually see those savings.

I doubt that will happen though, because if you can't publicly pat yourselves on the back for this, then why bother doing it. Thanks again. I'll be sure to send my bigger check next year at tax time.