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Comment Archives: Stories: Politics

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@grove

Ain't nuthin' communist about caring about the children in your community.

Ya'll keep saying there ain't no world standards, but if that's true why is tech support that used to be local through Stream now run out of Mumbai? Why are the cars that used to be made in Detroit now made in Japan? The standards I'm referring to are recognized by world class industries, not set by any government or regulating body.

You keep talking about your precious little communities and their special needs, but "special needs" is a new euphemism for good ol' fashioned retardation. Your communities have literally become educationally retarded.

That's how America stopped being great; settling for mediocrity.

The people have spoken. Make America Great Again. Drain the Swamp. No more small town bureaucracy. Time to go big league. We need a new educational funding system. A yuge one.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/15/2017 at 4:16 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@Apop

http://www.businessinsider.com/wef-ranking…

According to these guys (business interests) the USA doesn't even make the list of places to look for world class education. Ouch. They say Japan currently sets the standard of excellence, so we should probably start there. The state level is definitely too small of a pond to have real big fish education.

You don't get big fish in small ponds, axiomatically. We do agree that our children deserve the best, yes? By definition that means not letting Japan one-up us, let alone leave us in their dust.

Today's students are the voters of tomorrow. Nobody has more grass-roots political power than a teacher. It might be power with a fuse attached to it, but teacher's aren't just firecrackers. When an educational system blows up, there's very real damage. Just look at Frayser in the fall-out from Frayser Academy as an example.

It is true that the majority of education funds come from the state level.

"Federal contribution to elementary and secondary education is about 8 percent"
https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/rol…

And if this traditional system of education were producing world class results, America would have made list of countries with the best educational system as ranked by business.

Except it didn't.

Tradition has failed us.

Seems to be happening a lot lately.

However, as Americans, when tradition fails, we innovate. We change with the times.

Maybe it's time we change how we fund education, before the times change us from being the America we remember to an America the world has forgotten.

Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/15/2017 at 3:06 PM

Re: “Another Tale of Two Cities: How to Deal With Donald Trump: PART ONE

I remember the good ole days back in 2008 when two Ole Miss students lit an Obama sign on fire the night of his election, and it was called a riot by the media.

It's amazing to see all the "rioting" that's still going on over Trump's election.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by GroveReb84 on 03/15/2017 at 3:01 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@AP,

The big power that school boards do have (even though it's at the behest of the state) is over contracts. If you've got a school board of 200,000 students, contracts for anything to do with that district are BIG money contracts. If you can get a handful of representatives on that board to make sure that the right people get those contracts, it's a big money making venture for those people.

On the idea of some sort of world education standard, I don't think that exists. If you're talking about state and federal curriculum mandates, that's one thing. I've got no problem with standardized testing. Keep that if the state wants to be able to measure the production of school districts.

However, leave it up to the small districts and the residents in them to determine whether they think the test results are adequate or not.

@FUNK,

If you really think you can approach kids from vastly different backgrounds with a standardized education approach, you haven't been involved much with kids. Kids from poorer backgrounds are often going to have different needs and different base education when they enter a school system. If you try to teach everyone exactly the same way with the exact same things, you under-serve almost everyone.

Again, be careful, because you're starting to sound slightly Communist in some of your thoughts. Yes, we are all created equal, but it's foolish to think that means that we all start with equal circumstances and will therefore have the same needs when it comes to education.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by GroveReb84 on 03/15/2017 at 2:58 PM

Re: “Another Tale of Two Cities: How to Deal With Donald Trump: PART ONE

Make sure and wash really good after you get out of Nashville. You don't wanna have that Nash Trash stink on your clothes when you get back to a real city.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/15/2017 at 2:33 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@Funk

I might also add that school boards wield very little political power, primarily because they are not legislative bodies. They are policy making bodies only, and even then, their ability to make policy is severely restricted by the state in the form of the Legislature and the State Department of Education.

In fact, school boards legally only exist as agents of the state. The state, at its pleasure, could come in, dissolve the local board of education, seize its schools, and give policy making power to anyone the state chooses.

Of course, that has never happened, and probably never would, either. But that power exists.

Don't confuse real political power with noise. School boards have the ability to make plenty of noise.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by ArlingtonPop on 03/15/2017 at 2:32 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@Funk

Is there someplace I can go to review the educational world standards whereof you speak?

In two posts yesterday, at 8:48 and again at 11:55, you speak of them as existent. I have some degree of familiarity with public education but have never seen or heard of any world standards.

Could you help me out and point me to them?

Posted by ArlingtonPop on 03/15/2017 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Another Tale of Two Cities: How to Deal With Donald Trump: PART ONE

I think the best way to deal with the Donald is to let him screw himself. The Donald did a good job deflecting back attacks by both repubs in the primary, and a over the hill Hill in the general election.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by LoveBC on 03/15/2017 at 2:09 PM

Re: “Tennessee, Shelby Parties Organizing for 2018

Ms. Mary Mancini, I will again urge you and the democrats to find out why you have pissed off working and middle class white males, and what you all can do to bring them back into the democrat party.

Posted by LoveBC on 03/15/2017 at 2:01 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

As much as I want to believe communities would be better served with smaller educational boards that would have more capacity to act specifically to help individual schools and students, I can't help but think such an outlook lends itself to a "divide and conquer" strategy that will ultimately work against education quality.

For example, a school well below national standards would attract many students if all the surrounding districts were of terrible quality. This would make that school appear to be excellent by comparison, even though it lagged well behind world standards. Put a bad enough school system next to anything, and you find parent satisfaction will increase without education quality increasing at all, in fact, it could fall quite a bit.

In order to hold education to world standards, it must be regulated by a world class body with world spanning authority. I worry that also having many small bodies reporting to that world class regulating authority would ultimately result in too many middlemen between the funding and the students.

There is no case where a school system should be locally sovereign. The standards can't be locally sovereign, because the competition certainly isn't locally sovereign. I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired of Americans losing their shirts (literally) to China. Even other major American cities are eating SCS's lunch right now, let alone Beijing and Mumbai.

School boards will always wield lots of political power. Teachers are inherently leaders, and so by definition are difficult to boss around. This lends itself to a good bit of political obstreperousness, but then again so does every other aspect of child rearing. King Willie is a perfect example of the kind of toughness that comes from this: many people thought poorly of Herenton, but nobody thought he was weak willed.

I certainly agree with Oak and Grove in that respect: education is worth fighting over.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/15/2017 at 1:22 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@Grove - I should also add, that I think that teacher unions (specifically the NEA) have so long been Democratic partisans, that they have in fact turned into a medieval guild, which ossifies educational inequity, rather than working to resolve it, because it furthers the strength of their guild to continue the status quo. They no longer even represent teachers' real issues, but are more a fund-raising arm of the Democratic Party than anything else. This also needs to be addressed.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by OakTree on 03/15/2017 at 10:47 AM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@Grove - Yep. The bigger a school system, the more the people running it act like feudal overlords, and less like teachers. My real problem with this whole 'voucher' issue though, is that it displaces the real discussion we need to be having, about the fact that in much of this country, the only real purpose of the educational system, is to keep the kids occupied for a few years, until they either graduate to prison, or to the unemployment lines. The whole concept of how we educate our population needs to be broken up and redesigned, to include more technical and post-secondary schooling. All at public expense. The idea that people could afford to pay for investing in their own human capital is on shaky ground, based upon the stagnation and sometimes actual decrease in real wages in America. As we have discussed before, using speculative public spending in capital projects is really no cost to the Feds. This is a better place than even roads, bridges, and dams, where we could invest, and get a larger return on that investment via subsequent tax growth. And no one is even thinking in these terms within our current administration. We need to talk about this. Hell, we need to SCREAM about this.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by OakTree on 03/15/2017 at 10:37 AM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

Back on topic, I'm a big believer in handing down education funds to the smallest entity possible.

If there was one regulation I would put in place at a federal level, it would be that school systems can't be larger than a certain number of students (around 50,000 max would be a good number) in order to try to keep school board jobs from being too politically powerful. If districts want to come together to negotiate deals on certain contracts, they can, but keep the districts to a reasonable size.

Other than that, I would funnel almost all decision-making down to those local boards. If they want the district to focus heavily on the arts, go for it. If they want to focus on STEM, go for it. If they want to focus on general life skills, fine. Let them decide what extracurricular activities they want to offer. Put the ownership in the hands of the local residents of the area. They're the ones that need to make the decisions about what to do with their children.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GroveReb84 on 03/15/2017 at 8:57 AM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

Occupy was an extremely wealthy movement. There's a certain kind of indigence only the extremely wealthy can afford. You don't develop a taste for art until your taste for food has been satiated. Those dirty kids may have seemed fashionably poor, but nobody puts up a tent in the financial district unless they're fairly sure a bailout call to mumsy and daddums can get them a lawyer if they need one. The problem of trustee oogles has mainly dodged Memphis because of our reputation, but there's an entire class of indigent rich kids treating the planet like a summer camp.

All education should be based on the truth. You can't say there is a different truth for a given value of money, and that the rich deserve some sort of better truth to learn than the poor. Any attempt to improve the truth merely renders it a lie.

And that's the real problem. People think there's a dollar amount on the truth, and somehow they can buy a better truth. The truth, like all the best things in life, is not for sale.

Yes, I agree that freedom is what has made America great. Part of what that freedom means is the American dream of having the freedom to rise to the middle class without the need for a helping hand from your parents. Once you enshrine the class struggle in multi-generational terms, you place class in the hands of family provenance instead of individual merit. Basically, you pave the road to a descent back into the ages of Kings instead of the age of Presidents.

In my world view, private primary school is at best a shake to defraud the well meaning poor of their money, and at worst a cynical attempt to return to a segregated school system based on economic class in direct contravention of Brown v. Board. Separate in inherently unequal, whether that separation is an attempt at achieving superiority for your children, or forcing inferiority on the children of others. The quality of a child's education is not determined by the success of the children sitting in the surrounding desks. The quality of a child's education is a direct function of that specific child's own hard work at learning the truth, a truth that does not change with the name of the school, or it's district, or it's regulating body.

I went to public school. I learned not because of my parents, my teachers or my school, but because I studied my books on my own. That's how self-determination works; personal responsibility.

Many of the lucrative office positions that made the American dream possible a generation ago have been replaced by computers. Detroit's lucrative automanufacturing jobs have been replaced by automation. Even dirt poor field labor has been replaced by combine harvesters. Even ditch diggers have been replaced by backhoes.

In such a world, no amount of education can promise a better job. The meterman is going the way of the milkman and the iceman, leaving behind only the burgerflipper and the toilet scrubber, jobs much more closely related to the biological truth of the human condition.

And this is where the dirty OWS kids come from. They have extremely expensive educations, but no jobs and no opportunities. If it weren't for their parents many of them would be homeless, and if you are going to be homeless, you might as well set up your shanty town on Wall Street. Educated about their rights to assembly and redress of grievances, their irritation to the establishment is only exacerbated by their educations, instead of their will to power satiated.

Realizing that the educated are more of a threat than a benefit, the state has decided to slash education quality.

And here we are, with this "voucher" shake, designed to do exactly that.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/14/2017 at 4:28 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

One quick point, the Occupy movement was not a wealthy movement, at least as far as I could see. That was a starving artist, anti-corporate movement unless I'm missing something. It was a movement against the wealthy, a socio-economic movement more than anything.

On the schooling, I do think we need public school reform. However, I can't stand behind the idea that private schooling is a bad thing or that it should be eliminated. What makes this country great is our freedom. That freedom extends to the right to choose where to live, who to associate with, where to send your kids to school, etc. If a group of people want to get together, pool their funds, and hire the best teachers to teach children in small classes with immaculate facilities, that's part of the American dream. It's something for others to aspire to be able to do.

Yes, we recognize that there are certain standards that need to be achieved for schools, but I have no problem with people with means choosing to do something different with their children if they can. They've earned that right.

The great thing about America is that if you think that's advantageous for those kids to attend elite private schools, you have the chance to find a way to build your own wealth and afford to send your own kids or grandkids to those schools some day.

Take my wife's grandfather. His family lost everything in the Depression. He grew up wearing burlap sacks in many cases for clothing. He started his own business though, and it grew into a highly successful small town business. With that success, he was able to send his two kids to college, and he was able to afford to pay for my wife, his only granddaughter, to attend the best private school in the area. He literally started from nothing, built himself up, and he passed along opportunity to his kids and grandkids. Anyone can do that if they have the desire, intelligence, and work ethic.

A great example is our most recent President. Barack Obama's parents didn't grow up wealthy, but they both made enough of themselves to provide him with more opportunity. He obviously had just a little bit of success himself, and with that success, he sent his daughters to an elite private school and now on to Ivy League education. That's the American dream. Maybe you can't always realize it all in one generation, but if you build for your kids and they build on the start you've given them, they can realize the dream and achieve major levels of success.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GroveReb84 on 03/14/2017 at 2:38 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

America is one country, not several coexisting countries separated by class.

Americans should attend one set of schools, not several stratified educational systems separated by class.

The purpose of public education is assimilation into society, and not to put too fine a shine on it, military readiness. In a war situation, a soldier will have to put aside previous distinctions of race and class in favor of rank and file. If privately educated students are consistently failing to assimilate into the military melting pot, those failing educational systems should be rightfully abolished.

If we could get along by allowing some people to have a lesser education, whether because they had the privilege of being able to afford a privately inferior school, or the poverty to be in an inferior public school, we would. However, we can't. It doesn't work. We end up with protests, we end up with crime, we end up with no go zones, we end up with devalued property and the need to build again from the ground up.

We are one nation. We are one family. When we fail to teach the skills necessary to assimilate into society, we end up with outcasts that do things like stage huge protests and intentionally block and destroy infrastructure. It doesn't matter if they are outcasts because they are rich or poor. OWS was rich. BLM is poor. Both are intentionally disruptive, and would not need to exist on a level playing field.

Would I be comfortable with a private muslim school turning out a class of students that are racially, linguistically, and religiously distinct from a public school? No. Absolutely not. Forcing children to learn scientific truth that contradicts their faith is not an oppression of religious freedom. If their faith is strong, they will not be affected. However, by learning what other people believe, even if they disagree with it, they will be better suited to live in society.

By the same token, allowing private christian schools to do the exact same thing is also anathema.

I remember well the lesson I learned with Frayser Academy, an un-accredited private segregation academy that hid behind religious freedom to create a white school in Frayser. I did not attend that school, but many children from my church did. However, because that school did not teach science, but religion, they were unaccredited, and thus their diplomas were worthless, meaning each of those expensively educated children had to pass the same GED dropouts had to take. All the money that had been invested in them was wasted, the money that would have paid for their college educations squandered in private highschool. Thus, the poor whites of Frayser were boondoggled out of their futures, and Frayser still has not recovered from the loss.

Like it or not, all schools should be forced to conform to world standards, and according to No Child Left Behind, they are. No school is truly private; all schools are government regulated by the accreditation process. Is it socialist to admit you are a member of a society? Is it wrong to demand that children learn real life social skills, like how to mix with children from different educational levels and economic backgrounds, in social studies?

I know you may be tempted to all my argument national socialism, but before you do, keep in mind no one is ashamed to called Kindergarten by it's German name, and it's effectiveness speaks for itself.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/14/2017 at 11:55 AM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@FUNK,

Are you suggesting a shut down of private education?

Good luck with that. This isn't a Communist country and never will be. As long as we have freedom of choice, there will be people who choose to pay to create better schooling options for themselves.

And yes, there are often plenty of issues with kids in private schools, usually to do with having funds available and parents that are often busy with high power jobs that require a lot of travel and attention. You give a kid access to money and unsupervised time, and yes many will go astray.

It's really not that much different than the kid who goes unsupervised because he lives with a single mother that has to work two jobs to pay rent. Unsupervised free time is bad for kids from most walks of life. The only difference between the two is the types of trouble that are available to them.

There are certainly advantages to being born on third base. However, I don't think that trying to eliminate those advantages is good for society. For example, my parents were both born to blue collar families. Both grandfathers were military. Both made modest livings.

My parents wanted to do better for their kids, and they did. They were able to afford to live in better neighborhoods with better public schools. They were able to send me off to college and pay me an allowance to live on, so that I didn't have to work through school. They also introduced me to people who have helped me through the early parts of my career. I was very privileged. I wasn't born into a trust fund, and I didn't inherit a business to run, but I had a lot of opportunity afforded to me, more than my parents had. My parents had more than my grandparents.

My goal is to provide at least as much for my children, and maybe more if possible. That's a big motivation for a lot of people, how you're able to improve chances for your children. If you took that away, you take away a lot of the motivation people have to try to have success.

Don't get me wrong, part of what I want to do is to set myself up for a comfortable early retirement where I can travel and enjoy my Golden years, but right now, my focus is on achieving more to provide the best opportunities for my kids. A big part of what drives the economy is the desire of people to provide for their families.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by GroveReb84 on 03/14/2017 at 10:49 AM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

Even with a fancy version of a GED, poor kids will still be from poor families, and the rich kids they meet will be taught that blood is thicker than water in history class.

Meritocracy only works on a level playing field. Having a class divide between public and private highschools causes a class divide. Public education needs to be on par with world standards, and that means not letting the prissy rich kids get out of compulsory service in public government run schools.

So many times I've seen kids from private schools end up spun out on dope because they were honestly never taught how to deal with it in school. That's an education that can only be had by mixing with other children of every socioeconomic level. Segregating certain children based on wealth only paints targets on their foreheads for every pimp on the street.

The best thing you can do to keep your kids on the straight and narrow is to let them see what happens to other kids who are not.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by FUNKbrs on 03/14/2017 at 8:48 AM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

@barf

Probably not that clear cut, but that is about the size of it.

Please note that students already on scholarship at these private schools would not qualify, and could never qualify for a new voucher. The student would have to be a new incoming student.

There is also the proposition that these seats can certainly be filled with full pay students, and there will be a cost to the schools to accept those vouchers, as you have pointed out. From the parent's side, there is going to be the cost of transportation which might not be so easy. The student of course will be under the gun academically from day one. The elite private schools are touchy as hell about their academic reputations and they are going to be very careful who they admit. Saying all that, there are going to be some deserving inner city kids who are deserving of a shot and some of these private schools are going to make sure they get it. Just not very many, I think.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by ArlingtonPop on 03/13/2017 at 10:05 PM

Re: “John DeBerry: An Outlier on Vouchers

Bingo!

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by CL Mullins on 03/13/2017 at 6:38 PM

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