On social media, a post from a firearms page:

students perform better in private, charter and home schools. Government doesn’t know how to educate as is evidenced by 40 years of flat performance on test scores even though we throw more and more money at it. Now the public education system has become a soapbox for liberals to brainwash rather than educate. Critical thinking is not taught and even discouraged. The system still employees the old industrial model from the turn of the last century to teach. Innovation is discouraged in our public education system. The solution proposed by teachers and the union? Less competition and choice as is diverts resources. More money. That’s not self serving at all!

Much like anti gunners who talk about clips and firing in “full semiautomatic,” giving opinions on things while demonstrating your lack of knowledge makes you look dumb. The issues are not nearly as cut and dried as the writer suggests. Let me explain:

1 The reason why private and charter school students do better on standardized tests is simple: the schools get rid of under performing students. To use Florida as an example, students who are enrolled in a charter high school MUST graduate in 4 years. If they fail to do so, they are forever barred from attending high school. Once they begin to fail classes, charter schools convince these students that their future would be better in public school, where they are permitted for more than 4 years. (In some cases until 21 years old.) Public schools are forced by law to admit any and all students who wish to enroll, because the US Supreme Court has ruled that everyone has the right to a “free and appropriate public education.”

2 Home schooled students do better for almost the same reason. Students and their parents who do well in being motivated to teach and learn at home take the tests, students who are not very motivated either drop out entirely, or return to public school.

So basically, all of the troublemakers and unmotivated students are pushed to public schools, while the better (on average) students are found in charter, private, and home schools.

3 More money is not really fixing the problem, because the schools are not really where the problem lies. More than half of my students are chronically absent (meaning that they miss more than 20% of the school year.) About ten percent of my students have missed more than a third of the school days, and more than one of them has missed HALF of the school days. You cannot teach a child who isn’t there.

4 Teachers, in my experience, are not overwhelmingly liberal. It seems to me that we have the same sort of mix as the community in general. I teach in a rural school, and we have a few liberals, a few conservatives, and a bunch that are either moderate or keep their opinions to themselves.

5 We TRY to teach critical thinking. We all do. The kids won’t think. All they want to do is use their smartphones to get the answers, and then do something else. Usually play video games. In fact, standardized tests try to get the students to use the knowledge gained in the course to draw conclusions. (Called DQ4 questions)

6 The claim that education has not changed is patently false. There are plenty of differences in how school is being taught. This is where the complaints about common core have come from. I have already posted about how the common core complaints are mostly wrong. I did a similar post about common core for science.

I have students who barely get a C in high school biology who say they want to be a doctor. Students who have failed algebra claim that they want to be engineers.

I agree that we need to stop throwing good money after bad. We waste a lot of time and effort on trying educate kids who don’t want to learn, and on students with disabilities that prevent them from ever being more than simple manual laborers. There should be an exam at the end of the year when a student turns 15. Those who excel at a high level go to a college prep high school, students who show aptitude for it go to vocational school, students who fail are done and can go get a job.

Just try selling that idea to the public, though.

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1 Comment

Differ · April 4, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Agree with your suggestion. Sadly, you're probably correct in your assessment of viability. England used to do it that way until about 1970, though ability-streamed at an earlier age;look up "eleven-plus".

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