Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thoughts on Paramount Duty ... Education k-12

Charlie Hoff responds to an article
How much does it cost to do your “Paramount Duty?”

As a former school board member I have to disagree with your editorial, and the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance regarding school finance.

I can find no evidence of any school district in this state that is currently spending the dollars that the state and the local community give it on the current definition of “education.” Instead every school district I know of is “enhancing” the education of some limited groups of its children at the expense of those who are in the most needed category.

The “pass rate” for some of our minorities on the most minimal mathematics is less than 20% and the majority of these students are in the “well below standard” category. If school districts were “serious” about “educating” students, “their paramount duty,” schools would look quite differently.

In a past lifetime I taught in one of the most expensive public school districts in the nation, spending over three times what is spent in this state, and I find that the activities that our districts have in common with the wealthy districts are “extra curricular activities!” I guess that is the “paramount duty!” I believe that many of our secondary schools are nothing more than “juvenile social halls” for a very significant portion of the attendees.

How much will it cost to “educate” kids that come to school reluctant to learn?

Until we can enlist the adults in our communities in the “paramount duty” of seeing that all of the kids in the community are coming to school to obtain knowledge and skills that will allow them to become responsible adults further expenditures on education are not justified.

The Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance regarding school finance needs to start from a different premise. What does it cost to “educate” not only the “learners” but the “reluctant learners” and what does a community have to do to show evidence that they are supporting education for all.

Out here we talk about “All means All,” but our numbers don’t suggest that we are even close. Education cannot be a “passive” activity for students.

President Obama put it quite well when he was in Seattle. “No amount of money can buy achievement.” He is so right! More dollars are not the answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From what I've seen of Washington, the WASL is only being used to segregate children into failures and possibles. Failures go to alternative programs, where there are no extracurricular activities. What's left are primarily white kids and practically the only extracurricular activiies left are sports. There is little fun left in school, unless you enjoy making kids and teachers feel miserable. These schools are reforming to make themselves look like a great school. Beauty is only skin deep and its white.