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Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334

0 posted 02-29-2012 10:28 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


"Only about one-half (52 percent) of students in the principal school systems of the 50 largest cities complete high school with a diploma."

How after all the money spent is that possible?
How do you justify spending even more?

Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA

1 posted 02-29-2012 11:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Money can't buy smarts....but stupidity can spend it.
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA

2 posted 03-01-2012 11:50 AM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

The quote in this post is both strange, from a dubious site, (Breitbart) and alarmist.

"Only about one-half (52 percent) of students in the principal school systems of the 50 largest cities complete high school with a diploma"

Even the diction is weird.  What do the other half complete high school with? And where did that number come from?  

Actually, high school graduation rates are improving overall, even in major cities.[/URLThe

Los Angeles (LAUSD) had a 28% drop out rate in 2011. New York City had a 35% drop out rate 1n 2011.  Both of these figures represent improvements, and while NEITHER is acceptable, the 50% figure is some kind of skewed baloney]

Part of the problem might be one of having a single City Wide board as here in Los Angeles and New York,trying to manage "corporations" if you will, larger than General Motors.  GM has about 74,000 US hourly employees. The Los Angeles Unified School has about 695,000 students.  New York City has more.  LA has seven elected SUPERVISORS who oversee this chaos.  Wiki provide a surprisingly good look at the problems, programs, and tiny bit of progress in this enterprise.

The LAUSD also suffers from a bloated bureaucracy, 38,494 non-teachers, and a corp of 800+ consultants.  But downsizing districts and using a more streamlined approach may not be the answer.

Often unnoticed, is that about 40% of students in the Rural Southwest, with small school districts, fail to graduate!

The single most common factor in the drop out rates is poverty.  If I could solve that one, well heck, I'd run for President, too.

Best, Jimbeaux  

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334

3 posted 03-01-2012 12:13 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“The single most common factor in the drop out rates is poverty”

We have been hearing that and spending accordingly for decades . . .

I first heard the comment about the 1 in 2 failure rate in a discussion
involving Condoleezza Rice who considers it credible enough to be a major concern,
(I witnessed myself in Rhode Island the performance of its school systems).   No business operation,
(without  government money ),could have anything approaching such a failure
rate and survive.  

“The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States,[2][3] representing public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers.”

"Substantial criticism has been leveled against the NEA and other teachers unions for allegedly putting the interests of teachers ahead of students and for consistently opposing changes that critics claim would help students but harm union interests.[24] The NEA has often opposed measures such as merit pay, school vouchers, weakening of teacher tenure, certain curricular changes, the No Child Left Behind Act, and many accountability reforms. In a 1999 interview, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan said that "ever since the judges have gotten heavily into education, and the National Education Association has gotten into control of that Department of Education, test scores go down, there’s violence in classroom, things are going wrong". David Frum has correlated the drop in student achievement since the 1960s with a simultaneous increase in teacher pay and recruitment of less-qualified teachers, beginning in the 1970s.[47] Frum writes: "The inept and lazy gained a huge new increment of job security. Assignments would be distributed by seniority, rather than skill."[47]

Apple Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs, has criticized the NEA and other teacher unions for its lack of support for voucher programs, merit pay, and the removal of bad teachers. On February 17, 2007 at an education reform conference in Texas, Jobs said, "What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn’t get rid of people that they thought weren’t any good?”


Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710

4 posted 03-01-2012 03:06 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Here's some useful data for anyone interested in graduation rates.

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334

5 posted 03-01-2012 04:18 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


On what page do I find
the High School graduation rates for
students in the city public
school systems?

Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860

6 posted 03-01-2012 08:20 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


How after all the money spent is that possible?
How do you justify spending even more?

     I don’t know the details of Mr. Breitbart’s death.  I do know that many on the Right were very fond of him, and to them I offer my condolences.

     To get to the questions that you are asking, John —  you are making some assumptions that I’m not sure I follow.  To give you a decent answer, you’d have to supply the information you’ve omitted.

     First, as is the case with much of the information supplied by Mr. Breitbart, as in the case of the Acorn brouhaha where Mr. Breithart actively seemed to push a fabricated agenda about the nature of Acorn, — is this information true?  In the case of Acorn, where Breitbart suggested that Acorn was supplying advice on how to fund a prostitution ring, the allegation was not true.  Is the suggestion that the graduation rate is 52% in the principle cities true?

     It wasn’t with Acorn?  Why should we believe him here?

     And, for that matter, how does one graduate without a diploma, unless perhaps Mr. Breitbart is trying to suggest that certificates are not equivalent?  And what other school systems do the 50 largest cities run than their principle school; systems, and are the graduation levels substantially lower or higher in those systems.  And how do the rates in those systems, if in fact there are any, affect the rates that Mr. Breitbart is quoting?

     The notion of “all that money” is an elastic one.  I recently spent about $9.00 dollars and got a very nice Chinese fountain pen which pleases me a great deal, and about $12.50 for some great ink in  a turquoise that I simply love.  It helps my writing.  I spent at the same place about $20.00 for another great fountain pen from Noodler’s Pens, just wonderful, and I feel pleased as punch.  I also picked up two Chinese pens for about three bucks each, knock-offs of old parker 51s and 61s, and they really aren’t so hot.  Six bucks makes me feel, How could I have wasted all that money.  Close to $50.00 makes me feel like a very smart man indeed.

     Which money spent on education makes us feel like fools and which money spent on education makes us feel like wise men seems to me to be a better way of thinking about the question, John?  And then we can go about looking at the whys and the hows of the matter a little more closely, in a way that allows us to apply our critical thinking skills, the ones that they tried to teach us in school.  If we don’t apply those, then the education money that our parents spent on us really was wasted; if we do, then we’re doing ourselves, our parents and, if applicable, our kids a favor.


How do you justify spending even more?

     That’s what research is all about, isn’t it?

     I mean, quite literally, that’s what research is designed to find out.  All sorts of  tricks can be done with research results, of course, like the one where the drug companies compare new drugs against placebos to see if they’re any good, but somehow they never seem to get around to comparing them to the older drugs that they’;d be competing against in the marketplace.  Yes, our new Happystatin will make you feel much better than a sugar pill and it’s only five dollars a dose.  Sign right here.

     Nobody mentions that the old drug, fix-you-up-finestatin, out of patent protection and available at $1.00 a dose does just as good a job.  Happystatin is new and improved and does joyful things for the cholesterol in your blood.  It makes your fatty plasma party.

     That’s for drugs.

     There’s educational research, social work research and psychological research as well, and you can misuse them just as easily, but if you keep you focus, you can actually get some decent answers if you try.  The way you justify spending more money is you look at what you’ve already spent money on, and you see where it’s been well spent and you see where it appears to have been wasted and you see where somebody seems to have been fiddling around with the questions in the same way that a lot of the drug companies have been fiddling around with their questions, to get answers that aren’t really to the point.

     That means, we don’t care if educational programs have a party in people’s plasma.  We care if they improve people’s chances getting good jobs in later life, on a pragmatic level.  The more abstract measures are harder to quantify.  I believe I know “A Noble Man” when I meet one, what the Chinese call “The Superior Man” in the I Ching and the commentaries, what the bible might call “A Righteous Man.”   I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with them for any length of time, though the Taoist Immortals might be fun.   The research, though, would tell you that you were on the right track.

     The notion of “throwing money at a problem,” which seems to be the solution you’re critiquing here, is not a solution I’ve ever seen seriously advocated by anybody.  If it makes you feel any better, I’ll say I think it’s a foolish idea, too, and we can both say we’re on the same side of something; but the truth is that I believe that most plans seem to have some sort of rationale and target, even if I don’t happen to agree with either, and the whole notion of “simply throwing money at a problem” seems a red herring for the most part.

     The way you justify spending more is by following up on success.  That’s a military principle, too, as I understand it, to reinforce success.  

     I would suggest that we ought to evaluate a lot of our educational programs with that in mind.  

     We need to spend more on real science and on math and on languages.  We need to spend more on real history and art and geography, not the Texas versions of any of these things.  There are lots of things where opinions are important.  Religion is one of them.  Science should not be, and a child should be able to learn to give his parents the answer his religion requires in the religious context, and to plug the correct figures into the formula for the math test so that he can do research in chemistry and physics in competition with the folks in India and Great Britain  and Germany.

     If parents can’t supply their children with that sort of education, they are crippling their kids as solidly as though they were to break their right ankles every year as an extra birthday present.  They are presenting the world with a generation of purposefully crippled American children as an example of what Freedom can do for you.  Once again, I am reminded of Viktor Frankl’s comment.  He said that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast ought to be balanced on The West Coast by The Statue of Responsibility.  

     I say there is a difference between Freedom and License, and that we justify spending more on education exactly to prevent Freedom from becoming License, and to ensure that we have an educated population, able to distinguish between the two, not an ignorant population unable to tell the difference.  An educated population doesn’t need forests sacrificed to print laws specifying distinctions that would be obvious to those who are practiced at thinking and discussing the issues of democracy.  For an ignorant and uneducated population, no number of laws are sufficient to cover the gaps in their willfulness and in their inability to understand the needs of the society as a whole.

     That is why an adequate education is vital for a democracy, and why failing to advocate for it is against the interest of the democracy as a whole and of every individual who is a citizen of it.  Other than that, clearly education is a waste of time unless, of course, one plans of spending the rest of one’s life talking with one’s self and finding all one’s entertainment needs fully met in doing so.   I would find this a problem, personally.
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