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  • Morning Bell: Prolonging Education's Race to the Bottom

    In perhaps President Obama’s most stealth campaign to date, the federal government has been slowly tightening its grip on the education sector to little fanfare. Rather than working through the democratic legislative process, this Administration has circumvented Congress to enact an ill-conceived education agenda that will weaken accountability, reduce transparency and minimize choice while only adding to the national deficit.

    For close to four decades, the federal government has operated under the seemingly simple premise that increased spending on education will translate into academic achievement. This line of thinking has resulted in inflation-adjusted federal expenditures on education increasing 138 percent since 1985. Per-pupil expenditures have ballooned to over $11,000 per student, and are even higher in most urban areas including the District of Columbia where the government spends $14,500 on each child. Billions upon billions of dollars have been poured into our public school system because the federal government, backed by powerful teachers unions, is convinced that it is best suited to administer our country’s education system. Unfortunately, this approach has been a miserable failure.

    The high school drop out rate continues to skyrocket and academic achievement continues to be stagnant despite decades of increased federal spending and involvement in education. Of course, the consequences for our failures threaten our future as we hopelessly watch other countries outpace us in math and the sciences.

    Unfortunately, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan remain impervious to the education crisis and are committed to strengthening the federal stranglehold over our country’s education system. Just months after taking office, President Obama signed into a law the gargantuan “stimulus bill” stuffed with wasteful spending adding to the federal government’s girth. The Department of Education received an unprecedented $100 billion in additional money through the stimulus. But months after the bill’s passage, two things are clear: the stimulus bill is not growing our economy and more federal money towards education is not improving our schools.

    Undaunted by the obvious, liberal lawmakers in the House are planning on making yet another push this week to include an additional $23 billion dollars for emergency education spending to prevent “catastrophic” public education layoffs. But for decades, states have continued to bloat their staff rolls, particularly non-teaching staff positions. Since 1970 for instance, student enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools has increased just 7 percent, while public elementary and secondary staff hires have increased 83 percent. Another bailout from Washington could exacerbate states’ fiscal problems by creating disincentives for states to tackle out-of-control spending and make the difficult budgetary decisions necessary to produce long-term education reforms.

    But unlike the federal takeover of the banking and health care industry, this time around Obama and his liberal allies are shrewdly avoiding another public fight by moving their education agenda forward without even going through Congress. The administration is supporting a move to implement national education standards, using the $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant program to secure those ends. National standards will give the federal government – not parents – more power over education. Now, instead of petitioning their local schools boards for curriculum changes, parents will have to trek to Washington to lobby D.C. bureaucrats for input in the content taught at their children’s school.

    Progressives dream of making us more and more dependent on big government, and that has never looked so promising after Obama victories in widening government’s hold in health care, banking and now education. If this past year and a half is any indication of what’s to come, two things are clear: (a) we will see more and more of our freedoms diminish and (b) the girth of our federal government’s waist-line will surely grow.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    62 Responses to Morning Bell: Prolonging Education's Race to the Bottom

    1. Liberty Card, OC, CA says:

      I keep hoping this will change, but neither Dems nor Repubs seem capable of fixing this. We throw millions at the "education problem" via the budget and the lotteries, but apparently spend little on education.

      When will this get fixed?

    2. Robert D'Andrea says:

      vouchers for all students.

    3. Pam Krasinski, Granv says:

      It is not the teachers. It is the administration and the government's regulations on spending. The administration wastes so much money because grants are stipulated to be used for certain concerns. For example: My school district received money to be used for the "school to home connection". They are spending about $300 per K-2 student for a key ring telling parents which learning indicators are met. The parents that already know how their children are doing will love getting this acknowledgment. The parents that teachers need to reach won't even look in their child's backpack. Meanwhile, there is already an online progress report available to parents to tell them the same thing.

      Of further note, I requested to be dropped from our union. I was told that I certainly could, but would still need to pay my "fair share" which amounts to the full union due fee!

    4. Amy says:

      If I had it to do over again, I would never have put my children through public education. I can only urge parents that care to find another route. School is just indoctrination in America. I lived in California for the last 40 years, so you can imagine the liberal bent. I recently moved to Virginia and find it isn't as left here.

    5. John, Colorado says:

      Perhaps a complete economic collapse would be a good thing. The federal government being completely broke would be a darn good thing as the baloney would stop. The only trick would be keeping it from implanting us all with microchips and requiring a number to buy and sell.

      Give me $11,000 or $14,500 per pupil for even just 15 or 20 pupils, and though I know nothing about teaching, that would be enough money to hire a teacher, build a classroom the first year, and provide the best education possible for that small group, and make a living, too. And this teaching would include leading each child in whatever it is that God has given them a born interest in learning.

    6. dick, Arkansas says:

      Instead of looking at the value/student, look at the total cost per classroom and per school. The figures are unbelievable and demonstrate clearly, how the education system is completely out of control.

      The teacher union and the various educational associations i.e. Superintendents Association, etc. have provided the Democrats with a block vote in exchange for getting "paid" with more grandiose education spending programs. In addition, the ed system is showing it's respect to the benefactor by teaching only what is politically correct.

      No wonder home schooling is becoming more popular. But watch, it will be outlawed or taxed out of existance.

    7. marilyn lingenfelter says:

      With the circumvention of the legislative process going on in this administration, I can hardly wait for all of the liberal incumbents (democrat and republican) to be thrown out and some sanity be restored to what is supposed to be our constitutionally limited form of government. It seems incomprehensible that the President of the United States isn't brought up on impeachment charges for this and other egregious assaults to the Constitution, not to mention the culpability of numerous members of congress going along with him.

    8. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      Progressives have supported teachers unions for votes not quality of education. Educators have been busy indoctrinating children with socialist ideas at the expense of academic achievement. An ignorant population is easilly manipulated as we have seen with the election of Reid, Pelosi and now the "piece de resistance", Obama!

      Progressives are and have been like termites. One doesn't realize the damage they do "out of sight".

      The thinking people of the USA must be the ones to rid the Country of these destructive vermin and hopefully will begin the process in November 2010 and then rid the Country of the "king of the nest" in 2012.

      If not, our "house" will collapse from these enemies within, and the USA will have been destroyed.

    9. Randall Holland, Ari says:

      You are correct to point out that 40+ years of politically correct (PC) education hasn't worked. Yet everyone in the education business fails to acknowledge this and think the only solution is more money.

      It's time to get back to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetics. Higher education, college, is not a right and should not be guaranteed. College is primarily a recruiting ground for liberal and progressive indoctrination.

      Return responsibility of education back to the local and state level. Get big government out of the education business. Eliminate the department of education.

    10. Mary.... WI says:

      Has anyone noticed most kids can't correctly spell nor complete a sentence……and yet they continue to receive A's! I spoke with one friend that said his daughter was never taught about the constitution of the US. He took it upon himself to educate her on this and many more topics. These are the public schools. Students educated in private schools receive a much better education. Teachers don't belong to unions and there's no wasteful spending of tuition money. Most of all the parents have more of their time and money invested in their childrens education. There is no singing of "Barack Hussein Obama mmmmmmmmmm"

      It's important to vote the progressives out in 2010 and 2012.

      Let's restore America's honor.

    11. Dan Hollywood Chicag says:

      I live in Chicago and Arne Duncan was in charge of our School System and it went down the drain, now hes out to destroy the Nation's Schools. The only cure is Private Education and away from the Liberal bent.

      Our current Teachers in Public Schools are all Graduates of our liberal Colleges and they are brainwashing our children in their Liberalism.

    12. Kara, Washington DC says:

      As the daughter of a teacher, I understand the needs of the education system fairly well, and to be fair, while government does pour a lot of money into our schools, they are still under funded. Teachers don't really make that much and programs offered for students are diminishing. Flawed ideas such as "No Child Left Behind" don't particularly help the situation very much. Thowing money at the issue is just putting a band aid over the real problem, because the real issue in America is that a good education is neither affordable or pursued. The places where a good education can be obtained such as private schools or private universities are extremely expensive, costing thousands upon thousands a year, and leaving many students in debt when the job market is awful. My own school, with it's lovely $43,000 a year price tag, isn't costly because of the good education it's costly because our fitness center is state of the art, the food is organic, and our washers text us when our laundry is done. Perhaps the Obama adminstration should work on making school more affordable for students, through initiatives such as providing incentives for college bound students. And perhaps we should look at the rest of the world when modeling our own system. Russian students learn three languages over the course of their schooling and are challenged daily with difficult math and science courses. When I was in high school, I just had to take 3 years of algebra. If Obama wants to revolutionize the education system, maybe he should stop throwing more money at it, and look at the core problems that really need to be addressed. He should look at the cost, the programs we have, and ask the question "Why is school a joke these days for so many students in America?".

    13. William Cole, Texas says:

      Two things about education in the USA.

      #1 There is no hope for improvement until the fundamentals of education are returned to their rightful place and the agenda based system is abolished.

      #2 Virtually all school districts use a one on one reporting system in their management structrure. Reporting school expenses on a per child basis is very misleading when one gives due consideration to the fact that most of those dollars are spent to support an outdated management structure.

    14. Dave, Utah says:

      While I appreciate this statement of the obvious, when are we going to do something about this? It is time for parents and communities to take their schools back. This will not involve charter schools or vouchers. Communities need to operate schools privately until they starve the public schools out of existence. Then we need to demand the elimination of education taxes from the federal government.

      We need any private interest group, including churches and corporations, to get behind this effort. Then we can support school start ups by people in our communities we know and trust. Teachers and local school officials are as fed up as parents with the current education "system." Let's work together for the right change!

    15. Donald Thorin - Glen says:

      Education! The theory spawned initially by subtle Federally imposed curriculum changes in the 1960s and immediately endorsed by educators and "news media" began a downward spiral of true educational content. "Political correctness", hostorical content revisions, the ten commandments removed from our judicial system, the removal or limited factual United States history ("Declaration of Independence", the "Constitution of the United States of America"). A comment or quote "the dumbing down of America" comes to mind and has been around for many years.

      How can we change and restore some semblance order to the system? I don't know where to start discipline, curriculum or ?????. A simple answer – there is none.

    16. toledofan says:

      I guess when you look back at all the great inventors, business people, innovators and the average people who make this country great and understand that many never made it past the 8th grade or high school and you see the accomplishments, you have to wonder what was the secret. I mean how did my grandfather who immigrated, legally, from Poland, raise 5 children; all went through high school, one through college, own two houses, managed to live through the depression, never missed a day of work in 47 years, could read and write three different languages, was a journeyman tool and die maker, and could tell you about everything that happened from the beginning of time. I think that we have dumbed down ourselves, wasted tons of money, just to try and be non judgement so no one would fail.

    17. Sue Marie, Detroit says:

      The educational problem will continue until the feds get out of it. Education should be under local laws and funding. The problem is not money but lack of parental involvement in their children's lives.

    18. Tommy Gioscia, Bonit says:

      Education is the responsibility of parents, not government. All 6 of our home schooled grandchildren are way beyond the children their own age. The two oldest are going to college in the fall with full scholarships. If the union control of teachers was eliminated along with the reams of binder pages outlining their behavior and job descriptions, the education would be much better.

      When did we come to the conclusion that Federal government control would result in something good, economical and high quality.

      Didn't we learn anything from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, The DMV, VA health care, the Railroads and fiscal management. They create huge problems then show up with the only answer they know. Spend more of your money, give us more power, and shut up.

    19. Don, Texas says:

      Does everyone have their seat belts on?

    20. KC - New Mexico says:

      As an ex-public school teacher, this article again shows us how a lack of leadership and vision will only further hinder the educational system. I use the word “system” because our education process is and should be considered a system. The system is broken and has been since the 1980’s.

      I agree that we have thrown money at the issue in hopes that this would improve the output and processes of educating our students. Money has not been the answer since no one has spent the time in determining the cause of the failure of the system. If they actually knew the cause of the failure, then applying money or true change management would benefit the system.

      There are many issues with the system – these are only a few – 1) We do not understand this system from both the academic or business view. 2) We have spent more time focusing on the special interest groups than the majority (this does not include special needs students). 3) We have “dumbed-down” the output so that more can pass through and graduate – an indication of why universities have huge classes in introduction Math and English/Writing. 4) We waist an incredible amount of time during the teaching day for non-educational actions. 5) We cannot discipline those who do not want to be in class – parents are not involved and do not drive accountability to the student.

      There are successes in education – like charter schools that are progressive, self paced, technological, etc. One that I work with has made AYP every year, has 100% graduation with college prep courses, and has 3600+ waiting on a lottery list to get in. Educational success can work but we need to get politics out of the administration and get leaders who are in the system, that are making a significant difference, involved with leading the change to this system.

      The current administration and president do not have a clue on this issue – and this is the change that many (not me) voted for!

    21. Kenneth Close Chriti says:

      I say we take the templete for the books from the 60's add and update instead of this revisionism and the notion we don't need the three r's anymore cuase we are Hi Tech. I have college students that worked for me could not make change or tell you 25% off of $10.00. The current educational system has been the best thing for Jay Leno's Jay Walking.

    22. Gary says:

      People think that just throwing more money will solve the problems of education, when it's values and motivation. The values of Socialism/Marxism will never understand that "motivation" only happens when the individual has personal freedom, and is not part of a collective. All concepts which are far beyond the intellectual capacity of the current administration.

    23. Timpclimber Provo, U says:

      There are four changes needed to "fix" education (I just retired after 40 years of teaching K-20).

      1. No student promoted until they show mastery of the the grade learning skills

      2. Drop all freebies, lunch, books, pencils, school cleaning, landscape care, etc.–Have a plan where every student comes 30 minutes early and stays 30 minutes late to help clean, organize, repair schools to learn responsibility. (I couldn't pay for school lunch so helped clean lunch room every day to earn it.)

      3. Every student tutors another student. Peer tutoring helps both students.

      4. Teach real modern society survival skills such as budgeting, financial management (using credit, insurance, saving), dealing with legal problems, vehicle care, civic responsibility, wise shopping, anger management, etc

      In our misguided compassion to provide a "free education" we have created generations of people who believe they are entitled to a free lunch and do not have to pay for anything.

    24. Kay Loftus says:

      I saw today where Harry Reid's people are calling Sharron Angle, the woman who won the Republican nomination for senate in Nevada, a kook. Her beliefs include some truths that we make not like to think about but will eventually have to face. One of the things Ms Angle believes is that the US Dept of Education should be eliminated. Millions of dollars can be saved here. Not only will it be one small step to decreasing the deficit but many thousands will be saved on the state and local level. We can well afford to fund our schools without some of the money wasting programs demanded by the Feds. Just look at Pam from Granville, Ohio's comment to see one example of the foolishness of the Feds. Imagine what it costs to fund one dumb demand put upon every school district in the country. We are talking quite a few dollars at the local level. School District tax rates would be effected in a positive way as would the credibility of our administrators. They are required to make decisions based on Fed foolishness and in many cases the taxpayers don't understand or know the reasoning.

    25. Rick L says:

      There is only one answer to this problem. Parents who want their children to get a quality education have to send them to private schools. Work 2 jobs, cut off the cable, stay home for meals, whatever it takes to get your kids out of the public school system. They will be the leaders of our future because so few who stay in the public school system will be able to function in the working world.

    26. Kathryn Paeske, Keiz says:

      Here's a subtle irony…

      On one side of the balance, the Feds give grants to 'steer' the education agenda. Administrators bring in grants in the name of 'innovation'. On the other side of the balance, the antithesis often occurs when union locals rail against imposing on teachers the nit-picky details of grant implementation which compete for staff time meant for teaching and planning. This issue has been at bargaining tables.

      To further add insult to injury, federal grant funds can be significantly reduced by administrative agencies (before they ever reach schools) by the retention of substantial percentages of the dollars as 'indirects' to cover 'administrative' costs.

      I wonder to what extent unions are involved at the federal level in promoting the giving of funds through grants? I wonder what data might be out there that could answer this question.

    27. Pattyf says:

      It doesn't make sense that more spending on education will result in better students. The desire to learn and exert oneself to the learning process doesn't cost money. It takes an internal motivation. That comes from values instilled by society. It's clear that our society is falling apart morally and ethically, and that is revealed in these dismal educational statistics. We need to begin with all of our leaders putting their differences aside and standing on a firm foundation of integrity in this land. THAT does not take money, only guts.

    28. Al Smith says:

      Here,Iin Washungton State,One of our Prof. makes more then the highest paid elected offical, that would be the Governor, cannot say her name, it hurts my head.. Ask any offical this fifth grade question, Name the Fifty Sates and their Capitols, Eighty Percent would not give the correct answers in twenty seconds, name the longest river in the US, they cannot do it. But still we still elect some-one who is this Dumb about this beautiful Country. The Dudes dont get out of DC, bars and the parties. Fire all of the middle adm. in schools and you would cut the budget in HALF. The whole Bunch are dumber than a Pile Of Rocks………

    29. Norbert Stager, Ohio says:

      There is still far too many people who are still asleep. We must strive to wake up as many people to these insidious attacks on our liberties. If we don't, we shall absolutely suffer the consequences.

    30. iAnnC says:

      Given what's going on in our colleges it was only a matter of time before this trickle down progressive education was bound to hit K-12 public schools. I fear Charter schools will no longer offer independent curriculum choices.

    31. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      Is there any way YOU could get the HF

      to explain WHY they hate Obama so much.

      Every day, ALL they want to do is Complain.

      Today it is Education.

      They DON'T GIVE A SPIT

      if Kids get a GOOD education

      ALL they care about is RUNNING OBAMA DOWN.

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    32. John Roane Sarasota, says:

      One way that we can halt out of control government spending and improve the level of service is for each State and the Federal Government pass legislation stating all government employees shall not unionize.

      Cost will first level and then drop to meet the private market which has an average salary of $41,000 verses the public employee average of $71,000 if you take in to account benefits it get worse? Who is paying for all this you the tax payer and remember public employees don’t really pay tax on their government salary they just give a portion back which cost the government to get. So in reality the cost goes higher and you pay that as well.

      An example would be: Performance whether Postal or Educational will continue to improve until the public demand is met. Collective bargaining with the government is not necessary as they are the final authority anyway. Think about, and save your tax dollar.

    33. Sanford Trado says:

      We need to stop this madness. Another indication of how the Federal government in the establishment and oversite of a program cost the taxpayers billions with no direct or tangible results.

      The leadership is failing the people of this country.

    34. Gary Wise says:

      How soon is it uintil we see a course in "Turning in your parents for disagreeing with the government 101". This is just another way of taking the children and molding them to the governments way of thinking, like all dictors and as in most colleges today. Socuialism is a infection that is spreading like a plague. When will America wake up and arrest this traitor and Anti-American?

    35. Dorothy DeCaro, Vero says:

      The state of education in our nation is sad. Where is the money going? Nothing but wasteful spending in a monster bureaucracy. In the meantime, new teachers can't find jobs, even at low salaries. My daughter just received her M.A. elementary education with a 4.0. Nobody is hiring. The money is not being spent on teacher's salaries. In fact, teachers are being laid off. I also have two bright nieces that have their degrees in education. They aren't hiring where they live, in N.C. either….one is working in a pet store..so sad.

    36. Elaine Pruner, P.O. says:

      You know we can save out collective breaths debating wheather to fund or not to fund more money for public education as it appears the White House and their friends have figured out how to accomplish this without bothering getting our approval by "IMPLIMENTING NATIONAL EDUCATIONS STANDARDS "RACE TO THE TOP" GRANT PROGRAM" transfered to the Department of Education. How comforting is that?.

      Read this Heritage article VERY CAREFULLY.

      THINK.

      I understand CAP AND TRADE has been transfered to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That pretty much covers everything don't you THINK.

      Demoncrat's beware. Your Party has been circumvented e.g."screwed"

      As for the rest of us. just "screwed".

      BUT DO NOT DESPAIR, WE STILL GET TO PAY THE BILL.

      Not much else is left.

      Just the Unions. and

      OH YES………. THE BILLS.

      T

    37. Ann, Philadelphia says:

      If true, this is eye-opening. Where are the sources to back up your claims? How do I know what you are saying is true?

    38. Blair, Franconia, NH says:

      According to a new study, there are students who can't name the Supreme Court

      justices with the exception of David Breyer. We should concentrate more on having

      our students learn the the three R's, history, and science. We used to be a nation of

      builders and engineers. Now we're fast becoming a Third World country and Obama's

      the one responsible for it. It took us two hundred thirty-four years to get to where we are today. And what are we doing? Teaching students that Arizona's immigration law is illegal. Having students in Wisconsin say the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish so that Spanish speaking students don't feel left out. There's an answer for that. No bi-

      lingual education. Bi-lingual education makes classrooms separate and unequal.

      When immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe came here, they didn't have the

      crutch of bi-lingual education. They were totally immersed in American culture and that included English. We've had bi-lingual education since the '70s and it hasn't worked. But that's what the Democrats want isn't it? A compliant population who'd be comfortable with bread and circuses.

    39. RennyG Maryland says:

      They are strong, devious and don't care. We are weak and law abiding. Guess what, we loose!!

    40. bigdave ocala fl says:

      Lets pick out a state, how 'bout New Jsrsey which will soon be turned around hopefully. Last year $24,000 per student!!!!!! And a dropout rate of over 30%!!!!!! Tell me why any teacher in New Jersey deserves to be paid!! The PUBLIC SCHOOL system is just another UNION MONEY GRAB!! ALL UNIONS should be disbanded immediately. Want to see UNION SUCCESSES? How about GM and CHRYSLER. If their cars were priced per UNION COSTS, NO ONE could afford to buy one of these cars…no one anywhere!! What does Obama do with OUR TAX DOLLARS STOLEN FROM US? Bail out UNIONS!!! CORRUPT UNIONS!!! This must END NOW!!!

    41. Drew Page, IL says:

      The Mr. Obama couldn't have found a more siutable candidate to head up the Department of Education than Arne Duncan. Perhaps Mr. Duncan can achieve the same success with the rest of America's schools that he had with the Chicago school system, which is now of course an incredible success — NOT.

      I agree with Sharron Angle, we don't need a federal Dept. of Education, nor the guy in charge of it. They are both colossal wastes of money.

    42. John Clancy, Wyandot says:

      The above comments point to a growing awareness that we are at a critical point in our country–in a number of areas: economically, politically, culturally, and especially in education. Yes, we have been duped by the elites.

      This awakening is taking root across the country in tea parties and in the soliciting of potential leaders who are conservative and will begin to take our country back in November. This movement is directed by people like Newt Gingrich and Senator DeMint.

      I encourage all to get involved in any way you can. We, the people, will stop the out-of-control government, not the present incumbents

      .

      Now is the time for all good men and women to take back our country by becoming engaged. Call a tea party. Contribute. Go to a meeting. Become a precinct delicate or help the leader in your precinct. YOUR involvement will counter the present malaise.

    43. Nancy, California says:

      Well, that makes four so far that Obama is seeing to it that the feds completely control: health care, finance, energy and education. Next: the media. Right out of "Rules for Radicals". When are Americans going to wake up?

    44. stevor - sacramento says:

      When I started my teacher credential program about 25 years ago, I learned about the "holding power of schools". What is that? It's the power of schools to "hold" (or babysit) kids and keep them out of the job market (for their own sake, for sure).

      We thus require kids to go to school. Even though many see their uneducated parents getting along fine and the kids could easily do the same, we require them to become "educated" so they have more "opportunities".

      Yeah, "opportunities" are great. It's great that some kids from the ghetto have the opportunity to get enough knowledge to break out of poverty. Unfortunately, there's at least 5% that have no interest in it and since they're forced to "cooperate", they cause trouble all along the way. Then those same kids influence the next 5% that are "on the fence" and could cooperate but that takes work and isn't too fun (these days education has to be fun, remember).

      There are kids at my high school (which has half the kids move elsewhere each year to be replace by other kids moving here. Many just give up on "learning" so even when my program is great, they either miss the first half of it or leave before getting the whole thing) that come from homes where the parents are drugged out, constantly fighting so the kids can't get sleep, possibly starving because the family money was spent on drugs, they might have been sexually abused, and all kinds of other things that just doesn't make life good.

      So, the decline in education seems, to me, to be a decline in society. So, fix society (yeah?) and then education can be fixed.

    45. WM, La says:

      This is another form of redistribution of wealth. Some students and schools will profit while others fall by the wayside.

    46. Gary says:

      Let's hope Sharron Angle, a former teacher, can start to do what all intelligent freedom loving Americans know must be done to preserve our Constitutional Republic. This nation hasn't been in this much trouble since the Civil War.

    47. Linda, Louisiana says:

      I am repeating myself: The man who sits in the United States President's chair does not know what he is doing. He has no clue of what he is suppose to do. He is merely groping in the dark. This goes to his advisors, cabinet, and others who are working (I use that term loosely) for or with him.

      I agree with the comments from the man in Provo, Utah.

      Also, the candidate from Nevada who wants to do away with the U.S. Department of Education. I don't see anything they are doing.

      It will be one happy day with the candidate from Nevada defeats Harry Reid. I hope I can see his face when the final vote comes in, also Obama's. Next on the list is Pelosi. One by one to go by the wayside.

    48. Frank, PA says:

      Get back to paper and pencil and let the brain retain all the information. Not a bookmark, not a calculator, not a Contact list… Let's face it, we have the computer to do everything some of us older folks had to do by hand and brain power. And from my personal experience, Private School or not, had nothing to do with retention and a good whippin' when needed. But i guess that's the governments fault and has nothing to do with parents sitting and helping their own children like my working Mom and Dad did…

      PS, pre Obama!!! Then again, there is always home schooling, but then we couldn't blame someone else…

    49. LeonidasOfSparta says:

      Mary..WI, I will go you one better. The kids can't spell is one problem, but THEIR TEACHER'S CAN'T EITHER.

      The saddest thing I find is that the teachers coming out of COLLEGE with a degree to teach– can't spell, can't structure a sentence, have no clue about grammar, can't punctuate.

      In short we have IDIOTS teaching our students– and in our district they earn between $34,000 (starting wage) plus 26% benefits up to $68,000 (top pay rate) plus 26% benefits.

      I wish I could earn $68K and not be able to do my job and still remain employed!

    50. Norm Klevens says:

      It is the union leaders, in my opinion that direct everything to their own benefit. However are teachers helpless against the union leaders ? Can the teachers get together and protest as a group, as a force ? Or do the teachers just want to feel good; they did their best and walk away. Like most, I'll bet they would rather feel they accomplished educating their students. Obama is bought and paid for by the unions. He did deny Washington students the same benefit he took for himself with his children. The unions have ruined everything they have touched. Here in California, they demanded tax hikes so they could get a raise in salary.

    51. Al Kirke Plano, Texa says:

      The Harvard symposium on the Coleman Report concluded that: "When the performance of a child in school is adjusted for the educational and cultural level of his parents, there is nothing left for the school to affect."

      I've come to believe that public education is a risk, and is not the same as when

      I went to school some 65 years ago. For instance, double-promotion for kids who are exceptional, is uncommon, because my Plano,Texas School District loses $50 for every day that the bright child skips. However, the District does have money for five (5) indoor football fields.

    52. SueD - Phoenix, AZ says:

      A certain percentage of Americans will never wake up, unfortunately. The Heritage Foundations' Morning Bell: Prolonging Education's Race to the Bottom, puts the whole educational situation right where we are: Losing the fight or have almost lost it to more and future governmental control. Very sad indeed!

    53. Carv'n. Indy says:

      Get the fed govt. out of our schools and the unions out of our schools. That is a good place to start. Then you can weed out the teachers that are coasting to retirement. Restore civility to the classroom and require attention and participation and excellence. Our kids, our Nation and our future depend on us to act now.

    54. Pam Chicago says:

      For those states in which public education enjoyed some successes, Obama brought his crony, Arney Duncan, (Chicago) to insure a complete failure of the entire system. While Chicago's educational system wasn't the worst in the United States, it came in about third from last. Be prepared to see all the kids getting free book bags at the start of school. Call me crazy, but if you take over the educational system, wouldn't you look for the leader who showed some success ?

    55. Pam Chicago says:

      Save the children. Send them to private schools. If I could send mine, anyone could do the same. It's a commitment, but worth it.

    56. Anita Dragoo, Coupev says:

      While I agree with much you have written, I do take issue with the comparison that since 1970, student enrollment only rose 7% compared to staff hiring at 83%. Part of this is due to changes in class size. When I taught beginning French in 1969-1977, I often had as many as 40 students in each class—impossible to check their oral expression on a daily basis. One good thing teachers' unions accomplished was limiting class sizes. Most schools where I taught set a maximum of 24 students per class, and students improved because they received the close attention they needed. Granted, sometimes the class size dropped to 10 or 12 when divided into two sections rather than placing all the students in one group of 34-36. —Anyway, be careful how you make comparisons.

    57. Pingback: Sunday Weekly Summary

    58. Neal, Michigan says:

      The article doesn't even mention the takeover of student loans by ever growing big government.

    59. Marilyn, Ferndale, WA says:

      I am a conservative high school teacher in Ferndale, WA. I agree that education should be the locals’ charge; however, please keep in mind this fact: the federal government has mandated huge unfunded mandates to public schools that private schools have not had to participate in. An example of this is the early 1970s passing of the Special Education bills during the Carter presidency. No extra funding was given to accomplish this. To state that student numbers have increased only 7% while faculty numbers have increased over 80% seems incredible until you look at the whys and wherefores. The Specia Education Act alone increases our budgets in staffing because so many of our Special Ed students require a one-on-one, teacher/student ratio. Private schools do not carry this load; to compare the costs of the two entities is to compare apples with oranges. This is just one of the indicators of why we are spending beaucoup dollars in education. Another unfunded requirement comes with this Information Age. Computers and their advent…though powerfully wonderful…require schools to furnish what a student-provided pen and pencil used to perform.This addition requires support staff, thousands of dollars in equipment, programs and their frequent updates, infrastructure, educational updates for teachers, regular textbook replacements…that cost on average over $50 a textbook….One student lab costs nearly $60,000 to set-up with that same amount to refurbish it every 3-5 years. Don’t forget the expense of controlling computer viruses, maintaining back-up servers, and all the rest. This is an astromical expense and accounts for much of the 80% increase in educational expenses and faculty growth.

      As public school teachers, we are to produce the same percentages in educational growth among our students as in the 60s and early 70s not factoring in that the Special Ed stats…again not a part of private schools or foreign countries’ numbers…are part of the formula. In order to statistically erase a 0 from one of our many Special Ed students, we have to produce a huge number of 100%s from students in the regular classrooms to equalize these numbers. With inclusion into the regular classroom, many curriculums have had to be “adjusted” to meet their “needs.” Please, I am not against educating our special needs students…at all. However, please do the math when you criticize our public schools as compared to other countries who single out only their top students in these “studies” to demonstrate the “failing public schools” of the United States. And…factor in little or no Special Ed for private school numbers, as well. Private schools can choose to serve this population, but seldom do.

      I witness regularly powerfully competent young people who graduate from today’s US public schools. These young people make my generation pale (the 60s) in their accomplishments. Please check your statistics and factor in these facts that I am stating when you criticize our youth and the public school system. Can we improve? Yes!! Do we have some overstaffing? Sometimes…but rarely at the teacher level. Should the federal government control local education? No!!! Who should? Local parents and communitees,

    60. joel, Long beach, ca says:

      I recently retired from a southern California School District after 20 years as a 5th grade teacher. There is one fact that cannot be disputed. California consistently ranks among the bottom four states insofar as spending per student is concerned despite having among the 50 states the highest percentage of students who come from impoverished, illiterate families who are general limited or non-English speaking.

      The school that I taught at for most of those 20 years was considered a California Distinguished School. During that time my school received two huge federal grants totaling over $6,000,000. In my opinion approximately $5,000,000 was wasted on programs that did very little to improve learning. This waste was directly related to ineffective administrative leadership on the part of the school principals and district administrators. Teachers at our school were required to hold monthly grade level meetings supposedly used for planning purposes. We were periodically told that we had for example $50,000 to spend for instructional materials and that we had one or two weeks to turn in purchase orders. Rarely were we informed of the specifics of the curriculum we were to be teaching which should have been included in the grant application; hence, we often made last minute purchases guessing on the materials we would need to implement the curriculum.

      It seems very fashionable nowadays to blame teacher unions and teachers for poor student achievement and to suggest that teachers are overpaid. In my 20 years of teaching I rarely encountered incompetent, uncaring teachers in elementary schools. Middle and high school was an entirely different matter. Regardless, class size from grade 4 to 12 was ridiculously large relative to other states (35 – 40) to the point where it significantly affect the morale of teachers. And elementary teachers were expected to teach reading, language, math, social studies, science, health, music, art, technology, and P.E. Try preparing nightly for 11 subject areas. By comparison other states have separate teachers for art, music, technology, and P.E. Incidentally, since students were tested annually at the 5th grade level in reading, language, math, and science the other subjects were generally skipped particularly P.E. Anyone wonder why American kids are overweight.

      My teaching day began at 7:30 a.m. standing in line waiting to use the one school copier which only worked half the time. Class began at 9:00 a.m. till 12:30 when there was a 40 minute break for lunch. Most teachers ate lunch in their room while tutoring students with needs or standing at the copier. Then class resumed at 1:10 until 3:10. I generally left the campus around 6:00 p.m. having stayed to clean the room, grade papers, arrange bulletin boards, call or send email to

      parents, mentor student teachers, attend meetings, and prepare for the next day.

      After dinner I generally worked at home from 8:00 p.m. till midnight. I also spent most of Sunday completing lesson plans and/or grading papers or calling parents to inform them of academic issues or behavior problems. And for this with 20 years experience and a Master's degree I was paid $80,000 a year. Still think teachers are overpaid for an 80 hour work week. On top of all this twice a year there were parent conferences from 2:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. AND if I was sick, I had to complete lesson plans for a substitute teacher. Which is why teachers generally worked even though they were sick.

      In summation, problems in education were generally not the teacher's fault but rather due to Ineffective leadership at the school, district headquarters, state, and federal levels. The biggest problems of all though were parents without parenting skills who were often non-English speaking and illiterate in their own language,

      students with no concept of respect or appropriate classroom behavior, the inclusion in every class students with learning disabilities, and students with mild to severe emotional disabilities. Quite frankly, it's a wonder students learn at all.

    61. Eric Potter MD says:

      Dear Parents,
      Government is not responsible for educating your children in morality, ethics, skills, knowledge, and wisdom. YOU ARE!
      Government does not have your children’s best interests in mind when they make policy decisions. They protect their agenda!
      YOU are responsible! Step up and take charge.

      Eric Potter MD
      http://www.parentalrights.org

    62. Donna Newkirk says:

      Tell you what William, You want a cap on malpractice? One of your hosts on your SEA ISLAND Fundraiser is invlolved in what happened to me, go to photobucket.com user hopenewk. sugery photos, then decide if you would trade bodies with me for a day if possible and then say 350K is enough! Tell the doctors to raise their standards and there will be no need for a cap. Wouldnt be so bad if it were just me but there is an entire family ruined here because of this

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