Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I think that Michael Bloomberg could put an air conditioning repair man in the chancellor's seat. Or a neuroscientist. Or, frankly, a university president. It doesn't much matter, and here is why: They do not know Miguel. Or Maria. They are just too far away. They do not know that these kids' survival, right now, is not derived from brilliant test scores or good grades, even. Or, the allocation of money from one place to another.
Today, if my students find their way to Room 146 with some peace, they are a success. If they make it into the building without a security guard hollering at them because their shirts are untucked, they are a success. If an assistant principal doesn't suspend them because their ID cards aren't hanging on their necks, well, it has been a marvelous school experience. If they can forget for 50 minutes that their brothers are in jail for selling cocaine at an elementary school, they are doing okay.
This public school district is not terribly different from other large urban machines, where kids are passed along without proper skills, ex-cops parade detention-goers through the campus like a prison work gang, and poorly paid teachers learn on Tuesday what a flawed curriculum says they need to teach on Wednesday, maybe.
An account worth reading. And a valuable perspective completely lost on people like Bill Gates. Consider this:
Of course, administrators will have you think the place is Choate Rosemary Hall, what with "Pre-AP" classes (entrance criteria: compatible scheduling, not academic ability) and college posters plastered on corridor walls. Work hard, go to Princeton. Dally amongst the Ivy. Aspiration is good, except when the goal is so utterly unreachable. Then, it is a tease, a reminder that the cycle is not nearly broken, that only 43 percent of students will graduate from high school, that repeat teenage pregnancy in this city is the highest in the country, that kids are not allowed to take home textbooks because the principal believes they won't come back.
In order to fix the schools, as is the common parlance, the Bloombergs and Blacks need to fix the kids. First. But this would require a tectonic shift in philosophy, from penal to uplifting, from frenetic to calm, from dictate to reality. For there to be any hope for true achievement, these kids need to feel safe, respected and secure before prepositional phrases and periodic tables can penetrate their bodies and brains. They need social workers and psychologists in every classroom, and teachers who resist screaming at children even when administrators tell them to. They need longer classes and fewer subjects each day. They need physical exercise, even if they can't afford the $10 for the mandatory check-up. The need hugs and cookies, yes, at 13. They need people to listen when they are told, finally, that their father was killed in a drug deal, not a car crash.
Then, perhaps, they can learn to write a paragraph. Or dream about a place like Princeton.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Every release of PISA scores is a measurement of a culture's seriousness about education - or simply about testing. Far too many people simply allow kids - and themselves - to "get by." When you can get in to college with a D average or no diploma - and you still think you should go - there is a problem with the culture.
And, of course, the system is way too lenient and lacks serious competition at all but the elite levels. This is why I was recently writing about whether "school choice" advocates should also be arguing for the right to not choose education. Allowing earlier graduation or competency-based rather than age-based education or a la carte choices on curriculum or simply much high standards and requirements to access state-funded higher education might bring about some change.
But the culture remains the problem - Always has been.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Public schools are understandably troubled by this skewed emphasis on sports and questionable tactics by private schools to recruit for sports with little regard to their educational role. The most recent case is a huge fine against a Florida private school for recruiting violations. Mandarin Christian high school was fined $142,000 for 25 violations of illegal contact with student athletes. While the excessive nature of the fine is of concern, I applaud the Florida system for taking such a serious interest in a serious issue. The problem with this issue is it is so hard to prove, and thus, when they can, I believe regulators really have to make it hurt. Colorado did not do so with Regis, thus basically condoning the behavior. Florida may have gone a bit over, but hopefully schools will rethink what has become a really ridiculous game.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
So, what happened? Well, here's a theory. This is all the fault of former Denver coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan the long-time Denver coach, and leader of two Super Bowl Championship teams - albeit with John Elway at the helm - led to this caused this meltdown with one naive, wimpy act in in the 2007 season. That mistake? Bowing to pressure and benching Jake Plummer for NFL neophyte and Jeff George impersonator, Jay Cutler.
The Broncos were 7-3 at the time, and their quarterback Jake Plummer - who led them to the AFC Championship game the year before losing to eventual champion Pittsburgh - was the third highest ranked QB in the league (behind Manning and Brady). If Shanny doesn't bench Plummer and instead makes a few changes on defense - which was and has been Denver's problem all along - then the Broncos arguably still make the playoffs. That gives Jay Cutler one more year of grooming, and without disrupting team unity, Jake Plummer is allowed an out as he seeks a new team for his services.
Thus, in the off season, the Denver Broncos make some necessary changes to their defense, which includes excusing Mike Shanahan of personnel duties - a task he was never suited for and continues to flounder with in Washington. After Shanny gives up some hubris and control, the Broncos can bring young Cutler in a more reasonable manner. They keep the high powered offense, Brandon Marshall is still catching passes, 1000-yard rusher Peyton Hillis is chewing up ground for Denver instead of Cleveland, and the Broncos make the playoffs for the past three years.
But Shana-who? screws it all up, a testament to a monstrous ego that never truly understood how much his success was linked to a guy named John Elway. And if you doubt the size of Shanny's ego, there is a 35,000 square foot house in Colorado and a new over-the-top steakhouse in the Denver Tech Center - which is more glitter than good food - which are evidence of an ego gone wild.
Thanks a lot, Shanny. Think how nice things would be in Denver if you had just grown up four years ago.
Friday, December 10, 2010
At Christmas-time, we let in light, and we banish shade.
And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy.
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas-time.
I remember first hearing this in my homeroom class freshman year in 1984 ... and it still gives me chills every time. It was a time when I began to be filled with an infinite sense of hope - hope that we could, a small group of people could, change the world. From BandAid to the 9/11 benefit concerts to the relief efforts for the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, I still believe.
This Christmas, believe.
Throw your arms around the world this Christmas-time
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Last week the American Enterprise Institute convened a debate between Rep. Paul Ryan and New York Times columnist David Brooks on the subject of limited government. As advertised, Rep. Ryan was to deliver the case for limited government and Brooks was to counter with the case for "energetic" government. The debate was triggered by the Wall Street Journal column co-authored by Rep. Ryan with AEI president Arthur Brooks and David Brooks's column responding to it. (Rep. Ryan continued the exchange here. Charles Murray commented here.)
As is clear from many of my links, I'm a big fan of Brooks, and I think people like Ryan and the AEI tend to way overshoot on "free market paradise." They also overestimate American's knowledge of just what they are voting on when they say they want "limited government." Without doubt, the Democrats way over-extend the reach of government and the welfare state. At the same time, the GOP's faith in the market and limits on regulation is so pie-in-the-sky that it puts a level playing field, the opportunity to compete, and quality of life for average Americans at serious risk. I simply don't trust either of them, as their ideologies blind them to hard core reality of everyday life. But I'd rather have Social Security, public pensions, Medicare, public education, school lunches, the FDA, the CDC, the NIH, PBS, and a well-funded infrastructure spending than not. At the same time, there is much frivolous spending that could be reigned in, and both the states and the federal government have to be rational about entitlements - and that includes public employee pensions that are far too generous.
At this point, I am rather disappointed in a deal that continues to hold down revenue and increase spending after all the hysterical campaign talk about the debt and deficit and sticking our grandchildren with the bill. In terms of tax rates, I would argue that 39% is too high for the top bracket, but that's only true if people are paying them - and members of the top tier have the greatest ability to lower their tax burden through deductions. So this argument about "rates" continues to be disingenuous. Thomas Friedman weighs in with a pretty succinct explanation for how we are still in the hole and we "keep digging." Both the White House and the GOP ought to be ashamed of themselves for this senseless inaction.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Certainly, these results of mediocrity, in which Americans are so completely average, are disturbing. And there is no doubt that American schools are lacking the rigor and effective instruction that many Finnish and South Korean schools exemplify. Much of this has to do with the entitlement of public education here, and a lot has to do with the conflict of skills versus effort that I mentioned in a previous post. Certainly, there is much we can and should do. Yet I am always suspicious of standardized test evaluations, knowing many American students asked to take the test simply don't take it seriously. My experience is the our best still compete with the best in the world, and even if they trail in test scores at fifteen, our top students are still turning into top doctors, engineers, scientists, inventors, businessmen/women, humanitarians, activists, parents, neighbors, and citizens.
So, Arne Duncan can call it a "wake up call," but he can't change the culture from Washington. That happens on a small scale with committed communities and individuals.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Interestingly, an earlier law in Colorado was struck down by the state supreme court precisely because it violated constitutional rights of local control. Because this would be decided at the local level, advocates argue it would pass constitutional challenge. The initial school board meetings were largely attended and hotly debated, as some people argued for the right to use their tax dollars as they see fit, while others protested taking away money from public schools to support more exclusive private ones. People could reasonably argue that perhaps the individual can only request a voucher for the amount he paid in taxes, as opposed to being able to use state and federal funds as well as dollars paid by other community members.
Because Colorado has open enrollment, there has been less apparent need to push the issue of school choice. Thus, this does seem to be simply an ideological battle. And, of course, some have amusingly speculated that the debate would immediately be squashed if someone were to open a muslim school teaching sharia law in the district. That's an interesting qualifier.
Monday, December 6, 2010
The New York Times profiles this issue in an article about schools in Minnesota and administrators who began to seriously, and rightly, question the discrepancy in results. It seems that we are developing a population of kids who are quite adept at "doing school." They do their homework, take notes in class, get by on tests, and (in my opinion) earn "extra credit" for work not indicative of true knowledge or skill - the EC for a box of Kleenex is one of the biggest abominations of grades.
Thus, it's no surprise that half the students who go on to colleges and universities don't actually earn a degree. Clearly, the issue is "rigor" or more specifically a serious lack of it in the classroom. My students have long complained about how hard it is to get an A in my class, and it often seems they expect the A, or at least a high B, for effort. That's simply should not be the case - and it will have huge ramifications for them later on.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thus, it's refreshing to see the approach taken by the inspiring leader of a long-struggling school in Denver. Principal Antonio Esquibel is exactly the type of leader needed in a school like Abraham Lincoln High School of the struggle Denver Public Schools. Reform efforts in Denver have begun to key in on the importance of parent buy-in. And when Esquibel can report that Parents' Night which used to draw fewer that 100 adults is now pulling in 1,500, we know he's on to something.
Of course, the argument has always come - but what if the parents simply don't step up? What about those kids? Are they destined for failure? While there's a lot of evidence for that, it is simply unacceptable to abandon them. Schools need to do everything they can to help kids succeed in spite of their home lives. But if the emphasis on academics begins in the home, it will be all the more likely the schools will succeed.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
So the issue of education reform continues to go round and round, and some areas improve while many others stay stagnant. One former teacher and current education consultant argues that education has reform has "jumped the shark." His recent commentary in the Washington Post has a lot of compelling information and a copious number of links that are certainly worth investigating.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Alas, some - like the Glenn Beck's of the world - are resisting this common sense action out of naive ideological bias and irrational conspiracy's of government regulation. It is astounding that in nearly a century of existence, the FDA does not have the authority to test food for pathogens or require a recall. Seriously - the FDA cannot demand/force a recall of food products it knows to be dangerous, even lethal, to consumers. All food recalls are voluntary on the part of the industry. This is corrupt and dangerously foolish.
Two of our strongest and most eloquent critics of the food industry - Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser - have a well argued and succinct commentary on the issue in the New York Times today. It is well worth the time.
Pass the "Food Safety Bill."
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
I wish I were that effective at mixing music and film. Have a great Friday.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Occasionally, students will not ask, but "recommend" - "We should watch the movie. I've heard it's really good." In the case of a book/movie like To Kill a Mockingbird, I completely agree. I even tell them You're right. You should watch the movie. Why don't all of you get together at [Amy's] house this weekend and watch the movie. [Joe] can bring the popcorn. That's a great idea. They sneer as they smile back at me, not appreciating my smug recommendation. I sneer as I smile back, believing there is absolutely no reason to just "watch a movie" at school. It's not our job, it's not our purpose, and it is, in my opinion, a colossal waste of time and the taxpayer's money.
This is not to say, I'm opposed to using clips of movies to accent a discussion, or even using a film as a unit unto itself. I actually use a four-minute clip of The Jungle Book while teaching Lord of the Flies, and I have developed an entire unit on documentary film using Supersize Me. We watch the film, deconstruct the argumentative strategies, analyze it as commentary, take an objective test on the strategies and content, write an argumentative deconstruction of it, and develop our own piece of commentary about a social issue. That is a reasonable use of film in the classroom. Watching the movie for three days for fun after finishing the book is not.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
That's a tough one. And teachers have argued that taking away a planning period when they could tutor and counsel individual students will be even more detrimental to students. I certainly agree with that point, as I teach five classes in an eight period day with one period for lunch and two for planning and conferencing. Even then, it's tough to get everything done, and I put in at least two hours after contract time every day. And that is for the kids. And that's at a high performing school.
No way the teachers can look good in complaining about this. And I have to disagree with the extreme behavior some took in response. No easy answer and an unfortunate conflict.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Interestingly, this is something people in "the real world" will never truly understand. Often, friends and acquaintances will talk about a "big presentation" they have coming up at work. And, I think, "so do I. All day. Everyday." To be on stage as much as teachers are, we really have to be performers. Yet, it's never a problem for effective teachers because they, in the words of Bob Dylan "know your song well before you start singing." Outside of the classroom is something altogether different. Outgoing teachers are often rather reserved in public and at social functions. They often get nervous giving presentations to their colleagues. They are often quiet when away from the classroom.
Marlo Thomas, who is doing interviews for her new book, recently spoke of a similar situation for entertainers. Comedians, for example, are often troubled by the expectation that they be funny all the time. And they're not. The show takes a lot of work, and it's not always so easy. In fact, in most interviews with comedians, they will reveal that they were not the class clowns or the life of the party. They were, instead, the observers. They watched very carefully what was happening, and that understanding of humanity is what drives their art.
This issue tends to come up regularly as I talk to student about the task of figuring out who they are. As teachers, these kinds of conversations are important to have. Even as we project confidence and knowledge in the classroom, we are still human, and it takes a lot of effort to put on the show each day.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Of course, the criticism I hear from my students is "OK, but what about the costs for a good school." Obviously, the prejudice against state schools will always be there, though many studies argue that the elite college prices are not always worth the excessive price tag. That has to be decided on an individual basis. The reality is higher education needs to be more affordable, and consumers need to be more practical about where they are choosing to invest their education dollars.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
In today's column, he addresses the problems for the United States in the lack of ideas for how to put blue collar, working class Americans back to work in "the Heartland." The reality is that since America lost its manufacturing base, this segment of the population has been losing ground. For that reason they voted in droves to oust the GOP in 2006 and 2008. However, since that time, they feel like they have seen no benefit - other than unemployment benefits - from the Democrats and the attempts to "stimulate the economy." Thus, they sent the Democrats home.
The reality is that we need skilled labor, and we need jobs for the laborers. The jobs need to provide a living wage for working class people, so they can buy houses and send their kids to college. Brooks addresses some of the irony of this demographic that struggles to pay the bills on $40,000 a year, yet seems to have an Xbox and a smartphone and cable. Of course, those items cost a couple hundred dollars, but health care is $12,000 a year, and college educations run into the tens of thousands.
Something needs to be done, and my feeling is that it will take a complex blend of taxpayer backed infrastructure and higher education spending, along with a tax code that frees up money for small business investment and the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that has always driven American society.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The connection between these sort of stories and a student's ability to be successful "in college" is certainly the focal point of much education reform talk these days. At issue, as I've noted before, is exactly what sort of post-high school education most people need. The country's myopic focus on "seat time" and a k-16 system is a hindrance to any real reform.
Hopefully, more discussion of alternatives to the bachelor degree will surface as the education reform movement marches on.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Waking up on November 3, 2010 in suburban Colorado after the mid-term elections, I had only one question on my mind: Was Josh McDaniel re-elected as Broncos coach? I couldn't find the returns on this one anywhere.
Now that the elections are over, and my phone can stop ringing non-stop, and it's safe to watch a commercial again in between possessions of the Broncos games, it's time to be proud of ourselves and our democratic-republic. Congratulations are in order for the American people in once again making "democracy" work. Something that is so fragile and often chaotic worldwide seems so seamless and easy here, and we should never take that for granted.
The republic survives, and no one should feel to good or too bad about the results. For, despite all the rhetoric, Congress will still not tackle the deficit by making cuts in military spending or entitlements, and, thus, nothing will really change. National health care reform will not be repealed, but it will probably not survive its current form either. Hopefully, the major tenets desired by most Americans will survive, some untenable components will be reigned in, and some additions, such as easing "state-line" restrictions can be added.
Perhaps the Congress will begin to listen to the best parts of budget ideas from the Wyden-Gregg plan, as well as Paul Ryan's Roadmap. But I don't hold out too much hope. Perhaps some government spending will come under control, and we can reach compromise on tax rates. Perhaps dogs and cats will start living in harmony. Regardless, the republic survives. Feel good about that.
And, finally, in the words of Wil Rogers:
Don't vote for politicians - it only encourages them.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Starting next fall, students in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont will be allowed to "test out" of the remaining two years of high school. Students who qualify will be allowed to enroll in associates degree programs or technical schools. This is an idea that is long overdue, and one that I wish was the norm, as opposed to an experiment in a few states that will try to encourage some of their high schools to join. This very idea is the benchmark of countries such as Singapore, Finland, Germany, and practically every other foreign school system that are so adored by politicians and critics of American education.
What has taken so long? And how long before this becomes the norm?
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
After hearing Rep. Mike Coffman’s recent comments about furloughing federal workers and using tax cuts to “grow the economy,” I fear he’s become too comfortable in his safe Republican district. While I supported Mike in 2008 because he was a rational, pragmatic fiscal conservative, his lack of any real ideas for limiting the deficit and lowering debt casts doubt on his credibility as fiscally responsible.
It’s not simply about tax rates and public employees. Since campaigning to reign in spending and debt, Coffman has cut no spending, only recently proposing furloughs for federal workers. Prior to that, Coffman’s only significant stand had been to campaign for continued spending on NASA programs to the Moon and Mars. Clearly, those programs equal jobs in the 6th CD; however, they are simply “stimulus” based on government spending. One man’s “pork” is another district’s job. Does Coffman’s furlough proposal include private sector workers on government contracts? Does the proposal include suspending government payments to private companies with government contracts?
Additionally, despite concerns about jobs, debt, and deficits, Coffman seeks continued marginal rate tax cuts that produced no jobs in the last decade, but radically increased the debt and deficit. At the same time, he voted against tax cuts for small business and a stimulus plan that was 40% tax cuts. If Coffman wants to represent fiscal conservatism, he needs to cut spending – including his district’s projects – as well as pay down the debt by replacing lost revenue. At this point, I’ve not completed my ballot, as I am curious about candidate John Flerlage’s ideas. While Flerlage isn’t a guarantee on lowering the debt, Coffman’s recent commentary indicates he certainly isn’t.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
If literacy skills are low, nothing else matters. And too many teachers in the content areas simply assign reading rather than teach it. English teachers in lower grades teach how to decode, then read. After that it becomes about content. Thus, at the upper levels, they teach the kids how to read various genres. Social studies teachers should do the same. And same with math and science. Once students have memorized the times tables and the formulas for basic math, it's about problem solving. That's why story problems matter - it's application of the abstract concept.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I'm not committed to anything that is going to exacerbate the debt or deficit. But, I am certainly not committed to any policies which fueled a decade of zero job growth and ballooning debt.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
While William Maloney correctly asserts that Colorado needs to re-think the way it funds education, his reasoning behind the need for change is fundamentally flawed, and his naïve comparisons to private and foreign systems will produce no practical solutions. Certainly, there has been incredible growth in funding and staff in the past thirty years. Yet that mostly reveals expanded mandates and an increased efficiency in reaching under-served populations that were long neglected.
Mahoney notes that parochial systems operate on 2/3 of public school funding. However, he fails to mention that they do not provide any special education or English to non-native speakers. In fact, they use the public system to meet those needs, and the public schools are mandated to provide the services. Private schools don’t struggle with the same discipline and security needs as public schools, and they don’t require the cost-heavy administration that comes with meeting requirements under NCLB legislation. Additionally, parochial schools aren’t mandated to accept all students regardless of ability. Thus, you won’t find any Catholic schools educating many, or any, autistic children or mentally/physically disabled students. Parochial schools also aren’t required to assign caseworkers and establish specialized education programs for students of special needs. Thus, while Catholic schools are successful with the students they admit, there is much they don’t do.
Additionally, Maloney’s praise for the lower costs in Asia ignores the fact that foreign systems don’t compare to America’s in many areas. They do not have large immigrant populations, and thus do not have to provide any native language instruction. They do not provide special education on the level of the United States, and they are not under mandates to provide fair and equal access to all students. They do not optimistically seek to educate all students for college, and thus a considerable majority of their students are graduating and entering trades or vocational schools by the age of sixteen. Maloney also seems to target PERA pensions as a conflict for funding. Yet, he ignores the high taxes and retirement systems that are prevalent through the foreign systems he praises. Clearly, those systems provide more benefits, national health care among them, not less.
Most education researchers are acutely aware of the flaws of comparing the U.S. to foreign systems, and I would have expected Maloney’s tenure as education commissioner to provide him with a wider and more credible understanding of the problems. Perhaps having such misinformed people in charge is indicative of America’s problems. Yet, Maloney is correct in a need to review funding. Colorado should follow the lead of education reforming states like New Hampshire and Louisiana by allowing students to graduate at sixteen and enter vocational training or associate degree programs. In a state that has large numbers of students successfully completing college-level classes – AP and IB programs – state schools should expand dual credit courses to allow advanced students to begin college early and complete bachelor degrees in less than four years.
Clearly, the system has a considerable degree of cost inefficiency, and the reason is the public’s unrealistic and fragmented understanding of the goals of public education. We need to re-think our obsessive focus on “seat time” and a K-16 system that seeks bachelor degrees for all students regardless of interest or ability. Mandates for individual and specialized education and expensive accountability testing are not going to change. But Colorado can change its preconceived notions of what education means, and that can lead to a more cost-efficient, productive, and high quality system.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I concede many criticisms of the Democrats and the Obama Administration. However, as an independent, I don't see the reason for overwhelming faith that the GOP can effectively run the government, especially with the loss of people like Bennett in Utah and Crist in Florida. At least they still have people like Lindsay Graham and Olympia Snow, and someday Paul Ryan will be worthwhile when he grows up.
I'm no apologist for Pelosi or Reid, but McConnel and Boehner bring nothing to the table.
"Republicans run on the premise that government can't work, and then they get elected and prove it." - PJ O'Rourke
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Responsible conservatism is so important in our democratic republic, and it is a shame that the moderate voices of the GOP have been so crowded out. Hopefully, the Lindsay Graham's and the Judd Gregg's become the new leaders of the party.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In twenty years of teaching, I have never encountered teachers who argue they should be paid like professional athletes. However, I regularly hear that suggestion from others outside teaching. When people discuss education with me, they will inevitably lament the fact that pro athletes and movie stars are paid so much, while teachers aren't. I'm not so outraged, as I know it is basic economics.
Pro athletes are paid as they are for one simple reason - the money is there. Advertising for popular sporting events generates huge revenue. And I do not fault athletes for earning the money they do. By contrast, teaching generates no advertising revenue. Though, I am intrigued by the idea.
Perhaps, teachers could wear corporate logos on their shirts, as well as post ads around the room. Teachers could hand out tests and quizzes "sponsored by Subway or Nike." I envision coupons at the back of the textbook, encouraging students to do well and support the companies. Incentives for achievement could be provided by corporations. The highest test score could receive $50 off their next purchase of Reeboks. And the best teachers who hosted the most popular classes and produced the greatest results could generate even more endorsement deals. This could radically restructure school funding, and might even solve many of our budget issues.
Hmmmm. Rosen might be on to something.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
While the government has passed reform based on the ability to regulate inter-state commerce - certainly a reasonable idea considering the GOP always offers "buying across state lines" as the panacea for reform - critics argue that citizens can't be forced to buy insurance. They claim it as a "tax just for living." They argue that is unconstitutional, and that it will not stand up in court?
Just how do they explain FICA? What about Medicare and Social Security? Citizens are already taxed to participate in an insurance program - one is medical, the other retirement. Citizens are already automatically enrolled in federal programs as a matter of birth. Clearly, the requirement that citizens participate in these insurance programs has been upheld as constitutional for thirty-five and seventy-five years.
Am I missing something here?