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comment by mk
mk  ·  4346 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Starving Public Schools
IMHO one of the biggest failings of public education is the local-based funding mechanism. Here in Southeast Michigan, we have different types of public education. If you live in a wealthy district where property taxes bring in a lot of money, public education is excellent. However, if you live in the inner city, where property taxes (and corruption) results in little money, public education is a joke.

As a result groups like ALEC have no problem finding fault with the system. The system simply does not work for all kids. Personally, I think education funding should be nationalized, but actual spending controlled at the local level. Some adjustments could be made for cost of living, but students in Detroit should have a similar amount of money spent upon them as compared to students in Grosse Pointe. Until this is the case, we have institutionalized inequality in public schooling, and vouchers and charter schools are going to be an attractive alternative for parents living in underfunded districts.





NotPhil  ·  4346 days ago  ·  link  ·  
    we have institutionalized inequality in public schooling, and vouchers and charter schools are going to be an attractive alternative for parents living in underfunded districts.

These things might seem more attractive, but vouchers take money from already underfunded districts, and charter schools appear to be more corrupt and no more effective than the worst public school districts.

steve  ·  4345 days ago  ·  link  ·  
"and charter schools appear to be more corrupt and no more effective than the worst public school districts."

I only skimmed the linked article, but I think throwing charter schools under the bus because some have engaged in sketchy behavior is dangerous.

Our kids have done public neighborhood schools and are now in a charter school. I can tell you, both systems SUCK ASS. The first public school my kids attended was great - but we were renting a home in a nicer neighborhood. When we bought our home, and moved, of course we couldn't afford to stay in the nicer neighborhood and despite our new neighborhood school being brand new, it was garbage. The local funding is hugely problematic.

The charter school, though it is a great fit for our current situation, is horrifically underfunded and I feel this constant anxiety that if we don't fund raise half a million dollars every year - my kids are back in the crap-ass neighborhood school.

But lest we think funding will solve the education problem in america, the real thing that is needed is better parents. Sorry. We suck at it. I don't mean my wife and I (although I have my shameful moments). Funding is part of the overall equation, but it starts at home. That is the root cause of the education problem in america (IMO). The problem is then magnified by improper funding, fraud, greed, and mismanagement.

but that's just an idiot parent's rant.

mk  ·  4346 days ago  ·  link  ·  
I don't disagree on those points. But parents in those districts are desperate. Also, I should mention that these don't just appear as attractive alternatives to the parents in under-funded districts, but also to those outside the districts that vote on these issues. It's a much easier sell than equalizing the funding.

It's odd, my parents were both teachers and usually voted Democratic, and they supported property tax based funding, partially because they moved to a better district for that reason.

cgod  ·  4346 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Parents in Grosse Point would just stop sending their kids to public schools. I think in the long slow run this would clean all the quality out of any public education.
steve  ·  4345 days ago  ·  link  ·  
people in grosse point have kids anymore?
mk  ·  4346 days ago  ·  link  ·  
So you think unequal funding is more sustainable than equal funding? My guess is that a large number of Grosse Pointe kids go to private school now. Still, it would require overall education spending to increase.
cgod  ·  4345 days ago  ·  link  ·  
They are probably equally sustainable, but it's about where you want your peaks and valleys. I think that the baseline would be set to at best the current average or somewhat lower. I think letting communities decide how much they care about education and then buying the product they want at least creates pockets of better education, which standardized funding wold snuff out or send to the private sector in lower numbers then we are now providing.

My single mother moved to a good school district in an area that was spendier then she probably wold have lived in if she were childless so I could get a better education, poorer people do in some cases have some options.

Personally I think how we teach kids money or no money is a shitty soul crushing factory for dysfunction and unhappiness. Or at least I don't feel like I got much out of my 13 or so years of public schooling when I compare it to what I learned from reading books or asking people questions. I think school did help me become anti-authoritarian, for which I might owe it some kind of debt. Band and art classes were fun, but I doubt that we would have those if we severed communities ability to go the extra mile.

mk  ·  4345 days ago  ·  link  ·  
    Personally I think how we teach kids money or no money is a shitty soul crushing factory for dysfunction and unhappiness. Or at least I don't feel like I got much out of my 13 or so years of public schooling when I compare it to what I learned from reading books or asking people questions. I think school did help me become anti-authoritarian, for which I might owe it some kind of debt. Band and art classes were fun, but I doubt that we would have those if we severed communities ability to go the extra mile.

True enough, and teaching has only become more codified, not less, over the last decade. Teachers need the respect and trust that it takes to sit back, and let them do their job.

Just posted an article to that point:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/print/2012/04/to-fix-ame...

Actually, I think that might be a trend across this whole country. No one seems to trust employees to do what they were hired for without some sort of prodding and patronizing.

cgod  ·  4344 days ago  ·  link  ·  
The bureaucracy of a totally federal funded education system would be paralyzing, otherwise the so many places that don't value education would just spend the bread on football programs or steal it ala Detroit.
riemannman  ·  4346 days ago  ·  link  ·  
It's so bad, that public schools will fight for large industries to build their facilities in districts that fund their school. Why is something so arbitrary as surrounding property value the thing that determines our school's budgets?

I agree with you completely. The current system of allocating money to schools just serves to increase the privilege that wealthy families enjoy.