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Author Topic: Eliminating economic segregation in schools
LetterRip
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I was thinking that a lot of problems in our society is that we have different classes that largely don't mix. That students are generally limited in their ability to network and socialize mostly to those of quite similar socioeconomic background. That that in turn limits ones ability to empathise/understand those from other socioeconomic backgrounds; but also results in the opportunities of those at lower SES being more limited since opportunities are generally based on ones network.

Perhaps if schools were required to seek to match the SES composition of the nation this issue would largely go away - ie no schools that are predominantly the children of the extremely wealthy, or of the extremely poor.

Ie perhaps we need busing based on economic status as we once had busing based on race.

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Grant
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I have to agree that the effect of integration of the races and the classes have always had beneficial results. The problem is that I don't know if it was integration in schools, particularly lower education.

The best examples I can think of was military service integration. The integration of the classes had far reaching impact on the UK during the World Wars. The integration of the races during World War II had far reaching impact in the United States.

Today, we have integration of the classes in the workplace and in school, though not exactly perfect. Certainly I have never quite been or heard of a profession or workplace whose members sprung entirely from a single class. It might not always be representative, but it is integrated. There are doctors and lawyers who sprang from the lower classes. There are students in Harvard and Yale and all Ivy League schools that are there on scholarship.

The question remains whether further class integration within lower education, even higher education, would have results.

I think there is a lot of trepidation from parents these days, lower, middle, and upper class, about finding a proper peer group for their children. Certainly many lower class parents would like their children to mingle with upper class children, but many may also feel a certain amount of fear towards it. A certain amount of "my child will not fit in" or a child's fear that they may not fit in. This will simply result in cliques forming in schools based on class.

The flip side is the fear that the rubbing off may work both ways. Lower class parents or children may look forward to advantages brought by integration with upper class children, but upper class parents may in particular be trepidatious about lower class children bringing less favorable habits with them that their children might pick up.

That's all fear. Not reality, just fear. But it has roots in reality. People are motivated by fear and treating people who are afraid contemptuously is arrogance.

I have an idea. Manditory socio-economic integrated team sports participation by all youth. Take the football teams, baseball teams, bowling teams, math teams, all out of the school system. Make it an AFTER-SCHOOL system, and make it mandatory. Every kid has to be on some sort of extra-curricular activity. I don't care if its' the drama club. Kids make their friends and networks in these teams and clubs anyways. They're joined by joint interests. They're brought together by team competition.

[ July 16, 2013, 04:52 AM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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Grant
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Then of course there is the problem that the upper classes all send their kids to private school anyways. Hard to enforce mandatory integration there.

I'm sure that somebody here believes this should not be a problem at all, LOL, but this is probably where the concept of "role of government" is going to pop up and divide everyone on political grounds and start a bomb match.

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Seriati
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This seems like a horrible idea to me. It may just be my region, I live in between one of the richest towns in the country and the poorest towns in the North East. If you tried to mix those students you'd see an increase in violence and hard feelings, not a reduction. And I don't think it would work in either direction, busing kids to a school where the other kids are arriving in sports cars is going to be as hard on them as sending kids with a pair of shoes for every day in the month to a school where the majority has two pairs of shoes.

I understand the desire to get at the problem early, but the costs to the kids involved in the program in physical violence and self-esteem are going to be dramatic.

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D.W.
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I see logistics of moving kids around being the biggest if not unsurmountable problem with this suggestion. It sounds like a fantastic ideal. I don't see how we can achieve it without integrating our neighborhoods.

Maybe when all the children stay at home and go to school via V.R. integration will be complete. I just hope that if that spooky posible future happens we manage to get over the sense of anonymity leading to bad behavior when communicating over the internet is overcome.

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Seneca
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For this to be effective you'd have to deny upper income families the freedom to put their children into private schools. Are you willing to do that?
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D.W.
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^ I think this is a superb idea. They can dontate all they want to improve the public school system if they want to improve their child's education. And that money should go exclusively to schools, not the overall state budget.

[ July 16, 2013, 10:07 AM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Seneca
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Are you ready to repeal the 9th and 10th Amendments first?
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Greg Davidson
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I have seen data that the US has actually become one of the less mobile societies (as compared to major European countries, for example). So that's a big issue to address only with schools, but if you were to try, how about reducing class size to ~20 kids on a universal basis and providing enhanced police support in particularly rough districts. The reason that this usually can't be done is that public schools are generally funded by property taxes, which enables wealthier communities to have better schools (and to segregate out those from lower SES because they can't afford to live in the community).
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D.W.
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quote:
Are you ready to repeal the 9th and 10th Amendments first?
Way rusty on constitutional law. Why would this be necessary? Not that I think my suggestion has a chance in hell, but I'm curious.
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Seneca
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The 9th and 10th Amendments give authority on education to the states and to the people, and also serve as a hedge against the Feds attempting to define powers simply because they are not listed.

ie: the constitution does not mention the regulation of purple dinosaurs so the 9th Amendment is there to ensure that the feds don't think they have the ability to regulate them.

The 9th Amendment also serves to limit the states as well, and reserve general freedoms to the people.

You generally won't be able to get rid of private schools or homeschooling, or go out of your way to target people who use either with special taxes or fees that others don't have to pay.

[ July 16, 2013, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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D.W.
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You couldn't do so at the state level?
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
You couldn't do so at the state level?

You would have to push that in 50 different legislatures and then you'd still have private citizens suing in court arguing that the states did not have the constitutional power to end private schools and homeschooling either.
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D.W.
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So I'd be wiling, but unable in answer to your question. If it magically shows up on my ballot, I'm voting for it.
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Pete at Home
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My solution to this is a federal property tax which pays for all schools.

Even if you level the school funding playing field, the rich and middle class will still probably get better educations, for no other reason that their parents tend to be more involved in the child's education. But anyone that wants to limit/penalize parental involvement for the sake of forced equality is a serious left-o-path, and hopefully will not be listened to.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
So I'd be wiling, but unable in answer to your question. If it magically shows up on my ballot, I'm voting for it.

You'd be willing to push for the repeal of the 9th and 10th Amendments just for this issue? Aside from how valuable I personally think the freedom to have private schools and homeschooling is, do you know what else the 9th and 10th Amendments do?

Without the 9th and 10th Amendments the Federal government could literally do almost anything it wanted to, legally.

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Pete at Home
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Agreed on the Ninth Amendment, Seneca, and I'd say there's a bit of the first as well supporting your position, but you are mistaken as to relevance of the Tenth, as to preventing the *states* from ending home school on their own initiative.

There is also some protection against the Feds using school funding to coerce states into banning home school.

My understanding of the case law is that SCOTUS feels that home school/private school is a fundamental right at the high school level, but they expressed reservations in dicta about whether a state might make elementary school compulsory. With that said I agree with your position about what the 9th should mean here.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
My solution to this is a federal property tax which pays for all schools.

Even if you level the school funding playing field, the rich and middle class will still probably get better educations, for no other reason that their parents tend to be more involved in the child's education. But anyone that wants to limit/penalize parental involvement for the sake of forced equality is a serious left-o-path, and hopefully will not be listened to.

How do you account for the unfairness inherent in this plan? It's already unfair that we have a progressive tax system that doesn't account for cost of living. Which causes middle class families in NY and LA area to pay rates that only apply to the very wealthy in other parts of the country. Now you'll add a federal property tax on property that has a carrying price that is often between 5-10X more expensive than the same property anywhere else in the country, so you can "redistribute" the money from those communities that need it to pay the inflated costs of living of their teachers to those that do not?

Local control and funding exists for very good reasons. The state's are more than capable of channeling extra funding to districts where it creates inequity.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
My solution to this is a federal property tax which pays for all schools.

Even if you level the school funding playing field, the rich and middle class will still probably get better educations, for no other reason that their parents tend to be more involved in the child's education. But anyone that wants to limit/penalize parental involvement for the sake of forced equality is a serious left-o-path, and hopefully will not be listened to.

How do you account for the unfairness inherent in this plan? It's already unfair that we have a progressive tax system that doesn't account for cost of living.
I'm as baffled by the conservative definition of "fair" as I am by the leftist definition of the same word (was just talking to scifi about that on another thread).

As far as I know, children are not making all the money and being taxed.

How is "fair" to say that a child of rich parents should be entitled to a better PUBLIC school than the child of poor parents?

I'm saying that the wealthy are not entitled to a bigger slice of PUBLIC funds.

I don't believe in compulsory communism; I think that taxation should not be so high as to remove work incentive, and being able to leave their kids some financial cushion is a major incentive. But that's with regard to their own PRIVATE funds.

I cannot grasp or stomach the idea that it's "fair" to give the wealthy a bigger slice of the PUBLIC pie, i.e. government services.

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D.W.
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quote:
You'd be willing to push for the repeal of the 9th and 10th Amendments just for this issue?
If you think that's what I said then I'll wave the white flag right now and let you "win" this "discussion".
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

As far as I know, children are not making all the money and being taxed.

How is "fair" to say that a child of rich parents should be entitled to a better PUBLIC school than the child of poor parents?

Why do you equate money with better? My point is that with the cost of living, the equivalent schools have dramatitcally different costs. I'm also aware of research that indicates that increased funding DOES NOT result in better outcomes.

And I'm very aware that the most common result of increased funding to a school district is increased salaries and benefits to the SAME TEACHERS that are already there. How will paying the same teachers more result in a better outcome?
quote:
I'm saying that the wealthy are not entitled to a bigger slice of PUBLIC funds.
And do they recieve it? Do they get higher per capita disbursements from the states or feds? I'm no expert, if you have information on this I'd be willing to hear it.

Aside from the state and federally directed funds, do you believe that your local community should be excised taxed to pay for services in other communities? Should your town pay for police services in the next town (in additional to the amounts directed there from the state and federal government generally)?

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
You'd be willing to push for the repeal of the 9th and 10th Amendments just for this issue?
If you think that's what I said then I'll wave the white flag right now and let you "win" this "discussion".
I'm not one to assign you a fake position and try to score points, I was just unclear what you meant by what would you vote for if it appeared on your ballot?
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D.W.
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quote:
You would have to push that in 50 different legislatures and then you'd still have private citizens suing in court arguing that the states did not have the constitutional power to end private schools and homeschooling either.
So despite this fight, if it appeared on my ballot. I would vote for it. You appeared to support that the states could attempt this. (Though likely loose.) What is unclear?
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
You would have to push that in 50 different legislatures and then you'd still have private citizens suing in court arguing that the states did not have the constitutional power to end private schools and homeschooling either.
So despite this fight, if it appeared on my ballot. I would vote for it. You appeared to support that the states could attempt this. (Though likely loose.) What is unclear?
Would you knowingly vote for something that you could be reasonably sure would be overturned by a court due to clear precedent? Seems like a huge waste of time and money to me.
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D.W.
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While typically I’m against waste and political statements made by proposing or enacting laws I’ll say this. If it showed up on my ballot, despite the known hurdles, some (enough?) people believed they could overcome those hurdles.

I personally find that while private education, charter schools and homeschooling may have advantages to a specific child their existence as an option does harm to public schooling. As a selfish single person with no “horse in this race” I can make detached decisions like this. That does not mean you or anyone else should heed my opinion. In fact it probably is a damn good reason to ignore me if you are a parent.

I thought we were spit-balling utopian wish list ideas. Should we start slower and stick with more practical baby steps?

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LetterRip
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Greg,

reducing class size was one of the worst mistakes our education system made. It probably cut the average teacher quality drastically. Essentially teacher quality is on a bell curve - but you hire almost exclusively from the top of the curve if you can (ie if you have 100 candidates, and hire only 50, you hire the top 50%). So if class size is cut in half - you double the teachers, and now you hire 100 out of the 100. Each standard deviation away from the mean in teacher quality tends to result in acceleration of learning by a 1 years. Thus you go from each student averaging 1.7 years of learning by only getting the top 50 percentile teachers; to each student averaging 1 a year of learning when you get the full teacher distribution; in our example - thus you cut the averatge learning rate almost in half. And you go from the worst students averaging a year of learning; to the worst students falling 3 or 4 years behind for each year with a poor quality teacher.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

How is "fair" to say that a child of rich parents should be entitled to a better PUBLIC school than the child of poor parents?

I'm saying that the wealthy are not entitled to a bigger slice of PUBLIC funds.

I cannot grasp or stomach the idea that it's "fair" to give the wealthy a bigger slice of the PUBLIC pie, i.e. government services.

First, let me say that I think that LR was not making this proposal in an attempt to equalize the quality of education, and an attempt to increase empathy, understanding, and networking opportunities for the lower class.

quote:
That students are generally limited in their ability to network and socialize mostly to those of quite similar socioeconomic background. That that in turn limits ones ability to empathise/understand those from other socioeconomic backgrounds; but also results in the opportunities of those at lower SES being more limited since opportunities are generally based on ones network.

That's what he said. Nothing about giving everyone an equal education. It's more about socialization then education.

Second, Pete, do you think it is fair that Texas and Nevada have more money to spend on it's public schools then Louisiana and Mississippi? Should Texas be giving some of its' citizens wealth to the state of Louisiana so that Louisiana can have a public education of the same quality of Texas?

Personally, I don't think this is quite right. I agree it isn't necessarily fair, but I wonder if taking Texas's money is fair as well. Because I feel this way, I seem to see things in the same light on the local level. If community A has more money, they're going to spend more money on their schools then community B. I don't see how that means I can take community A's money to help community B's schools. I understand that it's not fair, but to make it fair, you're going to have to make school funding occur at a level higher then a local level. You can certainly take it to a state level, and I agree that all state schools should get identical state funding based on the number of students they have.

I also don't really believe that education quality is completely linked to money. I think money helps, especially if it goes to increasing teacher salaries IF it directly effects teacher quality. We've talked about this stuff before.

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D.W.
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Baring Federal getting involved where States should, what about a mandatory funding rate for education based upon cost of living of the community the school services? (or some other metric)

If it costs more to run a school in one location over another than they should both be funded up to an operational standard not a dollar standard.

The only thing in a state's / city's budget that I see being equal in importance and as immune as possible from under-funding as education is emergency services. Everything else should go to absolute poop before you touch education dollars.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Baring Federal getting involved where States should, what about a mandatory funding rate for education based upon cost of living of the community the school services? (or some other metric)

If it costs more to run a school in one location over another than they should both be funded up to an operational standard not a dollar standard.

The only thing in a state's / city's budget that I see being equal in importance and as immune as possible from under-funding as education is emergency services. Everything else should go to absolute poop before you touch education dollars.

Interesting you said that. Here in WA our state constitution requires that the legislature funds K-12 education before anything else in the budget. We also have a balanced budget requirement in our constitution.

In the past couple years some groups sued the state arguing that we were not meeting our financial duty under the state constitution to fund education, and the WA Supreme Court agreed with them, called the McCleary decision. They ordered the state to fund an addition 4 billion by 2018 or else the court would take over the state budgeting process...

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:

The only thing in a state's / city's budget that I see being equal in importance and as immune as possible from under-funding as education is emergency services. Everything else should go to absolute poop before you touch education dollars.

I think that sounds nice, but power and water and transportation/communication infrastructure are necessary for all those other things to function. What is more important, the central nervous system or the skeletal system?
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hobsen
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The idea in education is to take students from where they are and move them forward. Having greater diversity among students makes this harder for administrators and teachers. Yes, there are benefits to having diversity among students, but the resulting difficulties are great also.
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Grant
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What about the extra-curricular program I suggested? Nobody has commented on that and I felt it addressed the goals without bringing all the negatives that people raised.
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D.W.
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Grant, if we can't manage to run the state and fail at everything but education, maybe the next generation won't suck as bad as we do at the job.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Grant, if we can't manage to run the state and fail at everything but education, maybe the next generation won't suck as bad as we do at the job.

I dunno. Since Plato's Republic people have argued that the primary responsibility of the state is to create good citizens. How much of our education goes to creating good citizens? How much value do we place on liberal education these days, and how will money change this?

Do we not spend more wealth funding on public education then at any time in the history of civilization? Are we better off today with all this funding then we were 200, 500, 1000, 2000 years ago? As the technological and scientific knowledge of our species has increased, and our education we give our children about them have increased, have we spent just as much time increasing the amount of time we spend on liberal education?

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D.W.
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So now we should discuss how education dollars should be spent as well? Valid points but separate in my mind to how to provide or if we are providing adequate funding.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
So now we should discuss how education dollars should be spent as well? Valid points but separate in my mind to how to provide or if we are providing adequate funding.

My point was the explore the connection between the education of the citizenry and resulting good government. If good government is the goal, then we need to answer that question first before we start funding anything. Sure they're separate questions, but I think one has priority over the other.
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D.W.
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It depends on the level of funding schools are receiving. I will agree that many schools may benefit very little or not at all with more dollars. Other schools that is not the case.

The two items do both need addressed. That said I think teachers should be one of our most high paying jobs and competition for those jobs should be fierce so that those unwilling to put forth a lot of effort don't ever end up responsible for our kids. That would require a lot of cash.

But I'm mostly rambling. I hardly know how to start shifting reality to reach my ideal or if there are anywhere near enough people who would agree or even accept that ideal were it possible.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

How is "fair" to say that a child of rich parents should be entitled to a better PUBLIC school than the child of poor parents?

I'm saying that the wealthy are not entitled to a bigger slice of PUBLIC funds.

I cannot grasp or stomach the idea that it's "fair" to give the wealthy a bigger slice of the PUBLIC pie, i.e. government services.

First, let me say that I think that LR was not making this proposal in an attempt to equalize the quality of education, and an attempt to increase empathy, understanding, and networking opportunities for the lower class.

quote:
That students are generally limited in their ability to network and socialize mostly to those of quite similar socioeconomic background. That that in turn limits ones ability to empathise/understand those from other socioeconomic backgrounds; but also results in the opportunities of those at lower SES being more limited since opportunities are generally based on ones network.

That's what he said. Nothing about giving everyone an equal education. It's more about socialization then education.

Second, Pete, do you think it is fair that Texas and Nevada have more money to spend on it's public schools then Louisiana and Mississippi? Should Texas be giving some of its' citizens wealth to the state of Louisiana so that Louisiana can have a public education of the same quality of Texas?

First, I wasn't responding to LR re "fair." Reread above. I was responding to conservatives who said that my proposal was not fair.

Second, No and No. "Fair" is not an issue when it comes to jurisdiction. It is not fair that a kid in India starves because of where the kid's parents live. But a government's first responsibility is to its own people, and that applies to states as well as countries. We give governments a limited sphere in which it is to administer fairness, because we've learned from sad experience that unlimited government results in unfairness and a host of other problems.

Our constitution makes each state sovereign with regard to issues such as education of children. Until we arrive at the perfect education system, I respectfully submit that the federalist system of different systems in different places, is ideal for experimenting to find out what works and what does not work. And that too is, I believe, in this situation, more important than a national sense of fairness.

OTOH, the idea of sovereignty WITHIN specific city districts, the lines of which have been gerrymandered by the rich and powerful, has no constitutional basis, is unfair, and subverts the public good. When rich individuals and institutions control the government and manipulate it for their own private and unjust ends, that looks too much like fascism to me.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

As far as I know, children are not making all the money and being taxed.

How is "fair" to say that a child of rich parents should be entitled to a better PUBLIC school than the child of poor parents?

Why do you equate money with better? My point is that with the cost of living, the equivalent schools have dramatitcally different costs. I'm also aware of research that indicates that increased funding DOES NOT result in better outcomes.

And I'm very aware that the most common result of increased funding to a school district is increased salaries and benefits to the SAME TEACHERS that are already there. How will paying the same teachers more result in a better outcome?
quote:
I'm saying that the wealthy are not entitled to a bigger slice of PUBLIC funds.
And do they recieve it? Do they get higher per capita disbursements from the states or feds? I'm no expert, if you have information on this I'd be willing to hear it.

Aside from the state and federally directed funds, do you believe that your local community should be excised taxed to pay for services in other communities? Should your town pay for police services in the next town (in additional to the amounts directed there from the state and federal government generally)?

I don't have objective data on that, and I think you have a valid point that I had not adequately considered. The only thing that comes to mind is a very subjective datum: I've known good teachers that left a poor district because they were underpaid, including the ONLY teacher that ever got through to my disabled son.

OTOH, even if you are right (and I'm not certain that you are), I don't think that you can argue against the fact that one aspect of "better" schools is a greater diversity of options, and that PE, music, field trips, and other educational options, are more available to schools with better funding.

Not to mention security, quality of the facilities. Hell, my kid's school in downtown Las Vegas didn't even have a proper handicapped ramp. And strange men stood outside the high school fences, staring at the children with undisguised lust.

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Viking_Longship
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My high school and junior high were pretty well mixed economically unintentionally. Most of the poor kids and most of the black kids still got stuck in the basic level classes and the wealtheir kids were still concentrated in the general and honors level, so I'm not sure during actual class time how much interaction there was between the rich and the poor.
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