Third Party & Independents Archives

Free Trade Doesn't Work - #2

As to why ‘Free Trade’ doesn’t work, here are some highlights from Ian Fletcher’s , “Free Trade Doesn’t Work”. He relates that since the 1990’s it has been repeatedly suggested that we are on the verge of an export boom and that will solve our trade problems and produce a surge of high paying jobs. Our debt is now so large that exports would have to grow 2% yearly for more than decade to eliminate the deficit alone. Exports have grown sharply, doubling from 1992 to 2008 to $1.8B. But, much of what we export is in raw or unfinished goods that come back to us as imports of the final products. A losing race in itself as a products inputs can never exceed the value of the final product sold at a profit.

At a ratio of 1.24 : 1 our imports to exports unbalance is the world’s largest. Our imports are 17% of GDP and our entire manufacturing sector on 11.5%. Thus, we could export our entire manufacturing output and still not balance the trade deficit.

Exporting services relative to our deficit in goods is like $136B vs $507B, not near large enough to balance trade.

In 2009 we had a good year in agriculture with a surplus of $25B, about one-fourteenth the size of our deficit. So, that’s not a solution.

Perhaps through productivity growth, relying on education and technology to give us an edge. Nope. For example, it takes 3.3 man-hours to produce a tone of steel in the US and 11.8 in China, a ratio of almost four to one. But the wage gap is far wider than that. And, while US mfctring productivity doubled from 1987 to 2008 inflation adjusted mfctring wages rose only 11%. From 47 to 73 productivity and growth were fairly close in the US, but since workers are running even faster to stay in place.

Compensating the losers in free trade might make the medicine go down better. But, identifying specific jobs lost to free trade is not so cut and dried. The harm done by free trade doesn’t necessarily relate to the number of jobs; it can reduce job quality, wages and benefits. Wages can be driven down industry-wide, region-wide or nationwide.

Ok, let’s educate ourselves out of this mess. Approximately the top third of the population is degreed at the college/university level. But the remainder is less educated, on average, than their competitors in other competing nations. Hard to believe that could happen in a 30 year span but, here we are. We still lead in education among 55 to 64 year olds, folks who were educated over 40 years ago. We rank 11th among 25 to 34 year olds. S. Kor. is first. College grad rate is 34%, behind 15 other nations and does not reach the average for developed countries. A 2006 assessment found that US 15 year olds were outmatched in math and science by students from 22 other nations. A 2003 report found that two-thirds of adults in Los Angeles Country were functionally illiterate.

Education has lost some of its magic over the past few years. Workers between 25 and 34 holding a BA experienced an earnings decrease of 11% between 2000 and 2008. We can’t expect that those with superior educations can deliver technological prowess to save the country as we no longer possess the technology. Today, the US ranks 15th in broadband Internet penetration which will limit our developing the next generation. The US share of world patents is declining rapidly and federal funding for basic science is not keeping pace. The annual budget of the National Science Foundation equals less than four days of our military spending.

In 2005, China, whose economy is less than a third that of the US, was number three for spending on R&D, surpassing the US in high tech competitiveness, as has the EU too.

Creativity and freedom won’t save us. The fact that China is an authoritarian regime with central planning has done much to expedite their growth and development. Doesn’t take them long to reach a decision as it might in a democratic nation. Internet censorship hasn’t slowed down e-commerce there. And, free trade will not bring democracy to China. A rising tide floats all boats and the Chinese see their boat rising rapidly. Fewer than 1000 well educated Chinese are coming to the US for citizenship yearly.

No big advantage to cultural diversity. The EU has 23 national languages and has us beat hands down in the cultural diversity department.

And, we can recall when Newt Gingrich was touting his post-industrialism game plan for the service industry during his Republican Revolution in 1994. You would think he would be ashamed to show his face these days but it’s hard not to show your face when your running for President. In 2009, GE’s Chairman, Jeffery Immelt stated that “this philosophy transformed the financial services industry from one that supported commerce t o a complex trading market that operated outside the economy. Real engineering was traded for financial engineering.” High tech parts are now made in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, S. Kor. and other countries while China and developing nations conduct the final assembly. The US is still somewhat competitive in the high tech area as high tech wages are only about 17% of the cost disadvantage in the cost of product development. But, outsourcing of ever higher caliber jobs is putting pressure on high tech mfctring. Offshoring of Finance, accounting, sales and personnel mgmt is growing at 35% yearly.

Immelt has stated that the US should strive for a mix of about 20% mfctring jobs, double what we now have. A few years ago that idea would have been dismissed as ignorant and reactionary.

Heard on the street: Expedite citizenship for those who will come to the US and purchase a home as a way of jump starting the housing market. Also heard that we have 2 or 3 more years of foreclosures ahead of us.

Heard on cspan from a retired UN emp: Globalization has produced stupendous benefits for the US.

Posted by Roy Ellis at September 25, 2010 7:38 PM
Comments
Comment #309272

Roy, well resourced article. Thanks.

As Americans become more powerless over their fate, they will exert more effort to acquire power. The Tea Party is an excellent example. But, exerting more effort, doesn’t necessarily achieve the desired results, as a mechanic once taught me regarding frozen nuts on bolts. More effort, or a longer wrench (more leverage) only results in stripping threads or shearing the bolt, making matters far worse. Penetrating oil and patience, produces far better results with far less effort.

Working smarter is often preferable to working harder. But, that requires, as your article points out, significantly better educational results. The Texas book publishing industry and Board of Education are at it again, attempting to remove references to Islam from our children’s text books. Ideology is a poor substitute for practical and empirical education, and yet, ideological warfare is consuming ever more of our nation’s educational resources. Education is where so many other societies are outpacing Americans in substantial ways, and you are absolutely right to highlight this in your article.

If Islam is not referenced from an historical and empirical vantage point in our children’s education, they will be forced to learn of it from the biases of their family and community, and partisan media. Will they then be adequately prepared to understand and deal with Islamic peoples around the globe? Of course not. Just another example of ideology impeding our nation’s ability to manage its future.

One of the more significant ways America could lift the economic status of all of its citizens is through energy decentralization and independence. Rather than rely on grids for home and small to medium size business electrical delivery, site production of electricity, where feasible, could constitute significant energy cost savings, using the grid only as a backup. Add in the future savings of less greenhouse gases, fewer losses from grid failure, and less vulnerability to grid failures, and the financial situation improves even more. Invest in putting the grid underground, and decades of savings from lightning strikes, animal damage, pole rot and replacement, and the enormous amount of labor costs required to maintain an above ground grid, guarantee substantially lower energy costs over the long run. Is anyone in a position to discuss these energy policy changes promoting them? Of course not. There would be short term profit losses to a small group of energy magnates and their shareholders, and they have the ear and bribery funds to insure policy never goes in this direction.

And this is but, one example. Similar long-term economic benefits could be realized through local community food production facilities and distribution centers, and electronic commuting to work, investments in efficient mass transit systems, and constructing homes and small businesses with earth bermed roofs and walls, literally immunizing them from lighting, wind damage, and the high cost of exterior maintenance. Water recycling and rain water capture and storage at the home and small business site level, would eliminate enormous amounts of economic and financial losses for the American family as water shortages become ever more prevalent, not to mention insuring locally captured water is contaminant free.

One of the truisms lost to all but college business majors, is that if you can’t increase your income, you can become wealthier by reducing your costs. Business thrives on this bit of wisdom. But, so could homeowners and families, and individuals, if only they knew that option were available and how very smart it is when implemented. All of the measures I discuss above, would increase wealth of individuals and families and small businesses in our future. We have but to teach our children that these potentials exist and why they would be profitable for them as working adults. But, vested interests like the Board of Education in Texas controlling text book production for nearly a third of the nation’s schools, would consider this ideological heresy.

Here is a new trusim that Americans have yet to grasp. Until there is a global event that sends civilization back to the 18th century, globalization of the market place is with us to stay. But, to succeed in that environment, Americans must become more competitive, not at the individual production level in the work place, but, in the management and conservation of resources at the family unit level. Less dependence upon foreign imports, increases the value and benefits of our foreign exports. Innovating greater family independence and self-sustaining lifestyles could become America’s greatest export industry. Half the people in the world are dying and suffering from the lack of just such innovation.

Our children are inevitably spending more years at home with parents as a result of diminishing opportunity and real wages in America. We could turn that fact of life into an enormous asset and strengthening of our family ties and unity and interdependence, if we would also embrace family unit and small business independence and site produced resources and management techniques for family living.

College education via the internet at home, could save Americans and our nation 100’s of billions of dollars per year. We have the technology and infrastructure to make that a reality. What we lack is an informed and educated public capable of demanding it in return for their vote. What we lack, is an optimally functioning democracy as our founding fathers envisioned its fundamental principles, an informed electorate, vested in the actions of government, and willing to hold their own representatives (not other’s representatives) accountable for government and its actions. There is the fundamental prime mover of nearly all our nation’s difficulties and challenges going forward. America is witnessing a failed democracy. If we do not rectify this, our nation will fail in due course.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2010 1:23 PM
Comment #309275


David, a very good assessment and you made some excellent recommendations for improving the status of the nation. As usual, your recommendations are in the context of the society, the people, or individuals taking some corrective actions. And, while I agree I don’t see such actions as feasible or efficient. I always come at the problem from a political perspective, we must first change the gov’t before we can reasonably expect such corrective actions. It is through gov’t reform that we can create an atmosphere where such actions as you suggest can germinate and flourish.

I’ll be the first to admit that reform of gov’t is extremely difficult. But, we can look at what the TEA Party has done in short order. I would point to Ross Perot’s 3rd party effort and the TEA Party of late as exemplars for the potential of gov’t refom. It is possible.

On the issues: I see you did call out the TEA Party as an ‘excellent example’. I agree the TP may not achieve the desired results but, perhaps from a different rational. While the TP has the organization to place candidates for elected office they have no power beyond that to ‘enforce’ or ‘hold accountable’ these candidates who become elected officials. With open-primary states, the TP vote towards holding their congresspersons accountable will be diluted by the voters-at-large. Most often political parties/organizations are similar to the WTO, a good ole boys/girls club where the rules are what you make up as you go along and there is no enforcement power from a higher order. Cut to the chase - - we need a 3rd party with a different political attitude, established in rules to prevent the party from being corrupted by the money influence and, where pols don’t follow the party agenda they can be subjected to an up/down vote whereas, they may be rejected from the party if receiving less than 66% of favorable votes. And, you can vote up/down on any US congressperson, political appointee or Ambassador irrespective of your state of residence.

Would that not be an excellent way to rid Congress of ‘porkers’ or ‘switch hitters’ like McCain on immigration or the Senator from Pa. who recently switched parties, etc? Or, how about twisting the New Yorker out of his seat with his district heavy in his support regardless of his actions? These guys are playing on the national stage and spending ‘your’ money in so doing. We should have a means to hold them accountable.

That, IMO, is REAL accountability and such a party, www.republicsentry.com is sorely needed if we are to reform gov’t in any meaningful way and along the lines of your suggestions.

Agree completely that working smarter is desirable. Education should be a major priority for this country and there is much room for improvement. It’s clear that, since the 60’s, gov’t has taken a more direct role in education while the cost has increased bigtime, to no avail. In a Wash Post article by Margaret Spellman, ex-Sec. of Education, she alludes that gov’t has failed us and sums it up with “Rather than targeting a crucial sector, the admin should take steps to promote innovation so that more students may have affordable access to high education. It should support accountability and transparency so that students have a better idea about the value of the education they are buying and should oppose efforts to remove educational opportunities to which underserved populations are finally being given access.” She laments that only 30% of African Americans in the age group 25 to 34, and less than 20% of Latinos have an associate degree or higher. And, she can call out numerous gov’t programs to change that dynamic.

How about going back to the ‘good old days’ when many high schools were operated as ‘college preparatory’ entities. There should be direct links between state colleges/universities and high school educational programs. A good way to measure teachers is how well their classes meet the average grade in a college prep learning environment.

And, not all students will make the cut, which is ok IF you have jobs where those folks can make a DECENT living. Which is why this country still needs a blue collar mfcting capability despite what these globalized talking heads say. Jerry Immelt has the right idea, about 20% of US jobs should be in mfctring.

Get gov’t out of education and implement a HS education program based on a college preparatory curriculum and IMO, our educations problems will be solved relatively quickly.

Again, I agree on a decentralized energy concept but, David, there are so many monopolizing factions involved in energy that, IMO, your suggestions aren’t feasible unless we can get to a new pol party with a different attitude. You correctly state that it’s not feasible with: “Is anyone in a position to discuss these energy policy changes promoting them? Of course not. There would be short term profit losses to a small group of energy magnates and their shareholders, and they have the ear and bribery funds to insure policy never goes in this direction.” But, good suggestions, all.

One ‘economic benefit’ you suggested, I might have a problem with; earth bermed roofs and walls. While this type of construction would likely provide an economic benefit I don’t believe it would find favor to be implemented on a large scale. And, housing structures below ground are prone to leakage problems at some point in their lifespan. Still, for those who would opt for this type of construction, I agree there would be an economic benefit associated.

Right on, in that a great way to make money is to save money. It seems that so many folks spend money because they have money. And, you see folks who are using food stamps or similar services who continue to buy cigarettes at something like $4/ctn.

It seems sensible that as the world population grows in number and in the ability to purchase we, as individuals, will be required to become more conservative in general. For example, we used to love our ‘big boat’ cars back in the 60’s and 70’s but now most are amicable in having a smaller family vehicle. And, I suppose there is some savings on the use of gas, even as the price as skyrocketed.

Your following para should be framed and acclaimed in the highest places across the land, IMO.

“Here is a new trusim that Americans have yet to grasp. Until there is a global event that sends civilization back to the 18th century, globalization of the market place is with us to stay. But, to succeed in that environment, Americans must become more competitive, not at the individual production level in the work place, but, in the management and conservation of resources at the family unit level. Less dependence upon foreign imports, increases the value and benefits of our foreign exports. Innovating greater family independence and self-sustaining lifestyles could become America’s greatest export industry. Half the people in the world are dying and suffering from the lack of just such innovation.”

Also, like to agree on your concept of family interdependence. The family is the glue that makes it all work, and all worthwhile. In many cases it would be advantageous for the family, as a unit, to stick together in a business fashion. You see that in most immigrants who land on these shores, especially in Asian immigrants. It’s way easier to take risks when you have the support of other family members backing you up. A very good recommendation.

Agree as to college education via the Internet in that we have, as you state, the technology and infrastructure to make that a reality. What passes for college Internet studies these days is pathetic, should be outlawed, IMO. Internet education should more closely mirror the on-campus classroom. We have ‘skype’ type technology where all students could participate in a like-on-campus-classroom with live communications between the student and instructor. This BS of just feeding a student a line of reading work followed by some written work is near stupid as far as a learning environment is concerned. If that’s all that is required to become educated why not get rid of those highly paid, tenured professors? Education via the Internet could be as effective as a classroom setting with the right application of technology. But, seems the learning institutions are more interested in education on a technical shoestring while raking in big tuitions, IMO. Doesn’t seem like it would take much entrepreneural effort in that regard.

Some debate required on you last para. I believe an optimally functioning democracy is part of the problem. Entrepreneurism goes only so far as to get plugged into some government agency and then sit back and let the corpocracy/political system take care of business for you. Education and unions a good example. As I so often write, ‘we have to much democracy’. The world is giving $2 billion dollars in aid to China yearly. The US was giving a lot more but, diminished to $60 million a year after the Tineman (sic) square incident. Democracy in action? China has the world’s second largest Navy. Expanding from 66 to 78 subs by 2020, China will match the US sub fleet in quantity. I agree, we are witnessing a failing democracy. Democracy may be the death of us. That’s why I’m advocating for more Republic and less Democracy, as in REPUBLIC sentry.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 26, 2010 4:37 PM
Comment #309278

Some add-on’s, David, relative to a Wash Post article today.
As to the horrific waste of humanity by having so many people locked up in prisons. We have 4% of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners. We have twice as many locked up as China and most are non-violent.

Should we not go back to some kind of work for pay for non-violent prisoners? Joe Arpio houses his prisoners in tents which requires a certain amount of innovation on the prisoners part and fer shure saves the taxpayer money. I would like to see prisoners used for public work crews, taking care of highways, parks, buildings and the like. Also, at least half their day should be spent on education or job training. We should take a position toward helping prisoners succeed in life rather than kicking them to the curb. Big, big savings there and improved quality of life for millions. Republic Sentry advocates that prisoners who have served their time be allowed to vote.

I agree with your post in that production of energy and agriculture would be greatly improved by going local. Raising animals in these high density animal farms is beyond the pale for most Americans. But, like our political situation, most seem to accept it. I am thankful that our county is probably self sufficient when it comes to local production of beef cattle. It’s been a long, slow process but has finally come about. The animals are grazed on open fields and have wide range. I’d like to see hogs and chickens treated the same. Yup, energy and agriculture, where possible, is best done locally.

And, the infirm senior citizens. Again, you were talking of the benefits from interdependence within the family structure. It is so sad to visit these ‘nursing’ homes were people are basically warehoused for about $5-7k/monthly. What happened to the extra room added on the house, or the ‘dawagers’ (sic) cottage, attached dwelling, etc whereby family members can ‘look in’ and take care of many of the elderly, giving all a better quality of life while saving gallons of money. I think if I were given one chair and a bed in a small confining room I’d pdq hit the bed and stay there, forever.

Seems if people have enough money to warehouse their elders, they will. Not to say there is not a time and a place for such facilities, there is. But, I think they are way overused in this civil society.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 26, 2010 5:48 PM
Comment #309283

Roy wrote; “A 2003 report found that two-thirds of adults in Los Angeles Country were functionally illiterate.”

That is an astonishing figure. I wonder, 7 years later, what the figure would be. And, considering that California spent more on education than any other state per student, it certainly would seem that just spending money is not the answer.

Since I graduated from high school in 1958 I have witnessed many changes in education. The biggest change is the ever increasing role of the federal government. Every federal dollar comes with strings attached and reduces the ability of parent input and school district decision making.

We now have the huge and ever-imposing NEA dictating its wishes and mandates thru the department of education. Are we getting better results than we did in the 40’s and 50’s? I don’t think so. My high school graduating class I believe was characteristic of the nation and every single graduate could at least count change, tell time, find Europe on a map, knew why and how our nation was formed, and was literate. Many learned a trade in high school and girls were taught how to cook, sew, shop, and even basic accounting skills.

There are necessary roles for our federal government but education is not one of them. I believe we are worse off that we were for their having taken such a huge role in education.

Today, we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on just one student who, if lucky, may by the time he/she graduates be able to tie their shoes. This is not “social justice” but rather, social suicide.

If we could remove politics from education I believe we could once again lead the world in learning and innovation.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 26, 2010 6:29 PM
Comment #309287

RF and Roy, nearly every other nation that has better education than our own, have government sponsored and regulated national education systems. A fact which entirely undermines your argument that government is the problem.

I refer you back to my rusted nut and bolt analogy. OUR government keeps trying to apply more leverage to the rusted bolt (more money), but, all that happens is the bolt gets stripped or twisted off just below the nut, compounding the problem. The solution is to implement education in a much smarter fashion. The idea often heard argument by local school boards that what works in Ottumwah, Iowa wouldn’t work in Atlanta, Georgia, is both stupid and political sophistry. Children and learning capacities are the same everywhere, and what works in one place will work in other places. What is lacking in America is a system in which, what works, is implemented throughout the nation.

The best educational techniques combined with the money to implement them uniformly throughout our nation, is what is missing, and why those nations with better educational results are cleaning our outdated and cobwebbed educational clocks. The first step to America improving education is to remove politics from the system, implement national standards, and funding which insures that implementation, with oversight and corrective actions for failures in implementation.

But, I will be the first to say, that such thinking is about as removed from American culture as Martian microbes are removed from our oceanic plankton. The truth be told, great education produces adults who question authority - validating what authority says or overturning what authority says if it doesn’t validate. Our political system, liberal and conservative, wants no part of such an educational system. We had a strong beginning in creating such and educational system after the end of WWII - and what we got for it was Civil Rights - Space exploration - independent citizen action against the war in Vietnam, and the greatest boom growth in the middle class and innovation and entrepreneurism the world has ever witnessed in a 25 year span of time.

But, the price of Civil Rights and the anti-war demonstrations and dramatic political party shifting by voters, were deemed too high a price to pay for excellent education in this country, despite the enormous economic gains. Which brings us to the present, a decentralized local, politically controlled hodge-podge of thousands of differing educational systems, with enormously divergent results, with increasingly negative consequences for our nation’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2010 7:43 PM
Comment #309288

Mr. Remer wrote; “The first step to America improving education is to remove politics from the system, implement national standards, and funding which insures that implementation, with oversight and corrective actions for failures in implementation.”

I agree, and also wrote about removing politics from education. But, one can never have government funding without political input in our system of government. Perhaps we could supply some of the funding from Washington on a per student basis with no strings attached, thus no political interference.

As for other countries Mr. Remer, I have not studied their programs. It may be that they are not nearly as political as we are in micromanaging education at the local level.

And, you are absoutely correct about education in the 40’s and 50’s as being superior to what we have today. What do you think went wrong?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 26, 2010 7:57 PM
Comment #309289

Royal Flush, a Wash Post commentary by a once education reporter, related that on a given day at a Washington DC high school only 25% of the students would be show up while the attendance report would show near 100% for that day. The writer places most of the blame on lousy parents.
What is important above all else IMO, is that a college prep curriculum be presented to the students. Then begin working the problem areas, be it parents, unions, teachers, bad lunches, etc. If you can’t provide that level of learning then you (parent/teacher/union/instructor/etc) have failed all the students, all the time. Keep it local/regional and keep the FED out of it.
Also, noted an article where Va. Gov. Robert McDonnell is on track to restore voting rights to more felons. His admin has approved 780 of 889 applicants. His predecessor, Tim Kaine, restored voting rights to 4,402 felons. Va. still has 300,000 felons who have served their time but have not had their rights restored. Maybe next week we can abolish corporate personhood!!
On another subject, a Wash Post writer states that there is a mega payoff in increased immigration and that is being lost on the pols. Wow! Gimme a pair of those rose colored glasses!! He has the ‘studies’ and ‘graphics’ to back up what he writes. Then I looked at his wiwi-bio and found that he is a liberal, writes some for Newsweek. “In February 2007 Klein created a Google Groups forum called “JournoList” for discussing politics and the news media. The forum’s membership was controlled by Klein and limited to “several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics.”[16] Posts within JournoList were intended only to be made and read by its members.[17] Klein defended the forum saying that it “[ensures] that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions”. JournoList member, and Time magazine columnist, Joe Klein added that the off-the-record nature of the forum was necessary because “candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private.”
“On June 25, 2010, Ezra Klein announced in his Washington Post blog that he would be terminating the Journolist group. This decision was instigated by fellow blogger Dave Weigel’s resignation from the Post following the public exposure of several of his Journolist emails about conservative media figures.
Klein had justified excluding conservative Republicans from participation as “not about fostering ideology but preventing a collapse into flame war. The emphasis is on empiricism, not ideology.”

Guess writing keeps him employed…
Otherwise, - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 26, 2010 8:06 PM
Comment #309290

David & Royal Flush, I don’t know the history of our education system. Could it be that our schools were not better in the 40’s – 60’s but that developing countries became more competitive beginning in the 60’s-80’s? Also, the huge influx of immigrants, prior to the Regan era thru current, may account for records of lesser achievement over the years.

David, I liked your suggestion that local/regional is better for energy and agriculture in general. Empirically, it makes sense that education is no different. Rooted by the fact that with big programs the buck stops somewhere, we dunno where, above your pay grade. With local programs the buck stops with local folks, those you can reach out and touch, etc. I believe that each state’s colleges/univ’s could put together HS college prep programs that, when compared on a nationwide level, would not be that different. In fact, there might even be some competition as to which state could produce a ‘better’ program.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 26, 2010 8:30 PM
Comment #309291

When you went to school in the forties and fifties how many TV sets did you have in your house and how many hours were the sets on?

How many telephones did you have in your house and how long were you on the phone during the school week?

Were both parents living in the house while you attended school during the 40’s and 50’s? Did both parents work at least one job?

I could go on but maybe it is time to look at something other than the government as the cause of all our problems.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 26, 2010 9:17 PM
Comment #309296

Royal Flush wrote: “Perhaps we could supply some of the funding from Washington on a per student basis with no strings attached,”

That, RF, could be the solution. Even the best solution, to politicization in education. It is a concept I reject out of hand when called for within our current system. But, in a national standard system as discussed previously, it could and very likely would work as intended.

RF, you asked what I think went wrong. Don’t have a comprehensive answer, as it is multi-variable and complex, and educational history in America is not my area of expertise. Some variables however, seem clear enough. In the 40’s through early 60’s, there was a mass influx of American population into the cities, and these city’s school boards were being challenged to improve their systems to accommodate. Of course, mass influx of city tax payers also meant funding was readily available to innovate in those school systems. But, here is where I think the lynch-pin lies. From the 40’s into the ‘60’s, the American people in general, and educators in particular, fully embraced empirical research as the paradigm for innovation. It was just as true of city educational systems as it was for growing space program community.

Of course, this also meant that a great many of the really capable and talented teachers with their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees were migrating to the schools in cities and their suburbs, where culture and salaries were considered better than in more rural areas, and smaller towns and cities which were not for various reasons, magnets for population growth and increasing tax bases.

In the late 1960’s however, urban blight and flight was well underway, reversing the educational uplift that had occurred in the previous 25 years, favoring suburban communities and townships, instead. The politics of funding education in our inner city schools became a real and challenging problem for inner city schools from that point on. The era of centralization of educational innovation in our cities was over by the late 1960’s, or at most, the early 1970’s. Decentralized suburban school systems continued to be the loci for education innovation by virtue of their becoming a magnet for the best teachers seeking ever increasing compensation packages, while city educational systems remained centralized, but, increasingly lacking the tax base to support competitive teaching salaries and innovative empirically based teaching practices.

Nothing politicizes social institutions like a loss of financial support. Thereafter, both urban and rural school systems became ever more politicized, and failed ever increasing numbers of students. Failing city school systems became ever more liberal in their pursuit of educational funding, looking for additional funding sources from their State and Federal government. Rural school systems went in the opposite direction, becoming ever more political in pursuit of conservative support and increasing their tax base by fostering right to work, anti-union companies to move into their tax base, and of course, sit on their school boards as directors.

Now, like I said, the history of this period regarding our educational shifts is much more complex than what I have outlined here. But, there is a very strong correlation between evolution taken for granted in large city school systems of the North and far West, and its rejection or, addition of creationism in the more rural, South, and Mid-West school systems. It reflects the schism that took place between empirical research based educational design adopted by big cities and their suburbs, and the more culturally based educational designs which have come to dominate rural and Mid-western schools.

There are great teachers to be found in all of America’s school systems, and poor ones as well. But, it is the school boards that have been challenged to create the financial base for their school systems, and the paths to maintain or improve their financial bases were very different between large cities and their more rural counterparts, resulting in these differing bases for educational curriculi, empirically based vs. more culturally based which include religious foundations in the curriculum and skepticism of empirical research bases for curriculi.

Add the fact that most school boards are elected, and the politicization of large inner city vs smaller more rural school systems, laid the foundation for a highly decentralized and variable hodge podge of educational approaches and objectives from one school system to another. That’s my take, from what I have learned, so far. There is, as I said, much more to it than this somewhat over-simplified analysis, I am sure.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2010 10:45 PM
Comment #309297

Roy asked, “Could it be that our schools were not better in the 40’s – 60’s but that developing countries became more competitive beginning in the 60’s-80’s?”

Well, to be sure, other countries continued to improve their educational systems as they became part of the globalized economy and more entrenched in democratic processes to find solutions. But, no, our school systems on the whole, have deteriorated since the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, except for wealthier suburban community schools systems, in general. The reasons I outlined to RF above, seem to make a very compelling historical case for this assessment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2010 10:54 PM
Comment #309299

j2t2, excellent points. There were many complex variables involved in the deterioration of America’s educational performance, and you mention some applicable variables.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2010 10:55 PM
Comment #309312

Easy for me to conclude that lousy parenting is THE problem. Some schools still put 20-30% of students into college. I just asked the question of my daughter and she said its the lack of good role models. But, what do I know.

You’ve got these educated talking heads recommending A to Z. We’ve beat education around on WB a couple of times and my suggestions remain the same.

Get the FED out of education. Each state work with their higher learning institutions in presenting a college prep level curriculum for HS students.

Include in the curriculum paid/volunteer retired professionals (babyboomers) to give motivation and some rational/meaning to students as to what they might do with an education in this field or that. Many good teachers with no background in the workforce at a professional level can’t do that for the students.

Strong motivation of students through interaction with college counselors, field trips to places where professional work is taking place, and HS counselor interation with the students parents throughout the school year.

But, fer shure, get the FED out of education. That would help to weaken the gov’t/union relationship that tends to put teachers in front of teaching ability, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 27, 2010 10:11 AM
Comment #309313

On the flip side, or a ‘what if’ - -

Every high school graduate in the nation fell between a 3.4 and 4.0 GPA.

Of the 20% or so of students graduating college only about 20% of them end up working in the field in which they were educated. Or something close to that.

Engineering jobs have decreased by something like 4% thanks to globalization/free trade.

Companies want the foreign worker with a visa who will work for less. They aren’t looking to hire the native professional. 50% of graduate student positions are filled with foreign students now.

Come this Spring I expect we will see a glut of young graduates who can’t find work.

Many are questioning the value of a higher education based on the cost in obtaining an education. These days an eduation loan can be similar to a home mortgage.

Which would be cheaper for the US? Continue like it is or build a shining temple on the hill type university, one in China and one in the EU for foreign students and fully paid for by the US taxpayer. I would think just the savings on plane fare alone getting them back and forth across the sea would fund 1/4 of the cost.

Question is - what would we do with all these educated young people? I try to get beyond McDonalds, UPS, hair cuttery, and the like, but I can’t.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 27, 2010 10:36 AM
Comment #309314

So Roy what specific problem is eliminated by “getting the fed out”? It seems to me teachers have the right to bargain for wages and benefits as a group. The teachers seem to be blamed for the student not performing yet other students in the same class do well. I would think that as long as we continue to buy into the myths surrounding the education system perpetrated by conservative ideology we are missing the real issue.

Desire in the student to learn what they consider to be worth their time is a key to successful learning. Ability of the student to comprehend what they are taught is a key to successful learning. Awareness of how to learn is a key to successful learning. Developing the appropriate skills required for critical thinking is a key to successful learning.

Complaining about government participation in learning, condemnation of public schools to obtain a voucher system, altering curriculum to advance conservative religious and political ideology and union busting at the expense of our children are all non productive in creating successful learning IMHO.

Is there a cause effect relationship between conservatives forcing their agenda on school boards and lower success rates for children in public schools? Conservatives classified ketchup as a vegetable, in a cost saving effort, which lowered the nutritional quality of school lunches. The evolution disagreement/religion as science debacle is another example of negative political influence.

How does corporate influence affect the education system? Advertisements on school buses and sugar laden soft drinks in schools are two examples of negative influence.

Perhaps we are not looking in the right place as we search for answers to this problem. Perhaps it is time to teach parents as well as children the keys to successful learning, if parents are a big part of the problem. Something as simple as a class to help parents with the skills to help their children to be successful at school would increase the chances children would learn more.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 27, 2010 11:06 AM
Comment #309315

j2t2, if ketchup was labeled a vegetable relative to public schools would that not require approval/implemention/enforcement by gov’t, possibly the Federal gov’t?

How are things imposed on the public education system if not through gov’t?

I’ve no idea what a voucher system is, or charter schools, etc. I’m pretty sure people want local control of their schools and a single program that offers the potential for quality education delivered on an equal and fair basis for all students.

Jimmy Carter said last evening, on L. King, that the nation is more divided than during much of Lincoln’s time as President. Only thing I could point to is that the rush to diversity with little thought of assimilation may be a root cause.

On religion in schools, I recall my schooling in N. Ga. where religious activites were limited to none. Seems the teachers worked hard but just weren’t well respected and way to much grabassing went on. In xferring to middle-Tenn. I noticed right away that students sat up in their seats, were attentive and respectful and did well under a college prep curicula. On Wed morns, for half an hour, one of the county’s church leaders would meet with the entire student body for something resembling a pep talk. I think that was outlawed in 62, about the time the great slide began.

Otherwise, I’m hopeful we can survive as a nation in this ‘tower of Babel’ environment. Democrats fightin Democrats, Repubs fightin Repubs and if you don’t like something about your church you just move down the street and start one up according to your likes.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 27, 2010 12:10 PM
Comment #309318

When you went to school in the forties and fifties how many TV sets did you have in your house and how many hours were the sets on? (RF, one TV in mid 50’s and perhaps 1 1/2 hour on weekdays)

How many telephones did you have in your house and how long were you on the phone during the school week? (RF, one telephone and limited to five minutes during weekdays.)

Were both parents living in the house while you attended school during the 40’s and 50’s? Did both parents work at least one job? (RF, both parents living and mom did not work outside the house.)

I could go on but maybe it is time to look at something other than the government as the cause of all our problems.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 26, 2010

Very good points j2t2 and there is no doubt in my mind that my education was greatly enhanced by having two parents at home with mom there full time. Homework always came before entertainment or playing and talking with friends.

My dad and mom made it thru 8th grade with no high school. Yet, both could read and write well, could do arithmatic, had good social skills, and understood the value of a good education. Out of five children, one sister and I graduated from college. My brother was killed in an accident before he could attend college and my other two sisters married early and ended their formal education with high school graduation.

The work ethic was very strong during the 40’s and 50’s and young folks were either in school or working. Anyone who wanted to work could find a job. And few didn’t work as there were no state or federal assistance programs.

Unwed mothers were not common as it was socially unacceptable and not supported with taxpayer funds. Unwed mothers usually lived with their parents and went to work.

We were more self-sufficient in those decades knowing that we were responsible for our success or failure with no significant safety nets. We knew that our actions had consequences for US…NOT SOCIETY.

Patriotism was alive and flourishing during this period and veterans were honored. We had great respect for our elders, whether family or not. Church attendence was high as was parental involvement in the schools. There was discipline at home and in our schools. Being expelled from school carried grave consequences at school and at home.

Many of my fellow students lived on farms and worked hard both before and after school. I started earning my own money at age ten mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, and at age 12 acquiring a paper route. One of my proudest moments in life was being able to purchase a new Schwinn bicycle with my own money. I had a savings account at the local bank by age 12 and, with my parents help, managed my own money.

I understand that we can never return to those glorious days of my youth, and that not every child was so fortunate. Yet, we can return to a time when self-reliance counted and wean our society off of the government teat. It will take time, but we will all be better off for the effort.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 27, 2010 2:21 PM
Comment #309321

RF, I actually agree with most of your last post!
My life growing up was pretty much as you described yours, except my pocket money was earned through babysitting.
I was the only child for eight years, then my brother came along. I earned my allowance by doing things around the house…..setting the table, doing dishes (without a dishwasher), cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming and dusting on the weekends. I rarely remember buying lunch at school..my mom always made one for me. I didn’t get to watch any TV until homework was done and checked. Same thing for talking on the phone. Their was always family time somewhere between coming home from school and bedtime. I actually looked forward to that, and listened. I respected my parents, and aunts, uncles and grand-parents and really did learn things from them.
These kids now are essentially growing up alone. Second and third generation latch-key kids. They have no guidance, no control, no limits or advice given them and are incredibly lacking in common sense. Next time you pay for something, give the kid at the register the change amount exactly, and don’t let him look at the computerized register. See how long it takes him to panic…….
This is equally the fault of parents, school officials and the asinine laws and rules which have helped to hogtie society in dealing with children.
I certainly don’t condone abuse, but I’ve never known a child to suffer irreversibly from hearing the word NO.

Posted by: jane doe at September 27, 2010 3:32 PM
Comment #309330

“if ketchup was labeled a vegetable relative to public schools would that not require approval/implemention/enforcement by gov’t, possibly the Federal gov’t?”

“The ketchup as a vegetable controversy refers to a proposed United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Drug Administration directive, early in the administration of Ronald Reagan, that would have reclassified ketchup and pickle relish from condiments to a vegetable, allowing public schools to cut out a serving of cooked or fresh vegetable from hot lunch program child-nutrition requirements. The White House Office of Management and Budget estimated a potential US $1 billion annual savings in the cost of subsidized meals for low-income students.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketchup_as_a_vegetable

“How are things imposed on the public education system if not through gov’t?”

The state had a choice whether or not to implement this option Roy.

“I’ve no idea what a voucher system is, or charter schools, etc. I’m pretty sure people want local control of their schools and a single program that offers the potential for quality education delivered on an equal and fair basis for all students.”

Usually when local control is used as the reasoning it is because those that use the argument do not want education delivered on an equal basis, IMHO, Roy. It seems vouchers usually means using taxpayer money to send some children to private schools. Local control usually means by a few to promote their personal ideology or religious beliefs.

We all seem to talk equal education but the more we have the more equal we want it to be for our own children. The problem with that is the children of those that don’t have much get left behind and the cycle repeats itself.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 27, 2010 5:36 PM
Comment #309331

“In the late 1960’s however, urban blight and flight was well underway, reversing the educational uplift that had occurred in the previous 25 years, favoring suburban communities and townships, instead.”

Bingo! Educational systems in the suburban communities function very well. Educational systems in the urban communities function very poorly. The flight of the upper and middle class from the cities correlates with the decline of the urban school systems. We no longer have a mixed socio-economic public educational system. It is highly segregated by socio-economic class. The cause of the decline of the urban educational systems is apparent. Solutions for reversing the decline are not so apparent.

Posted by: Rich at September 27, 2010 6:02 PM
Comment #309334

j2t2, I’m suprised that state had a choice. Seems these days its a carrot and stick approach, either you do it or will punish you, etc. I would suggest that the Ketchup & Relish companies designed that bill from scratch. Most always you find the Corpocracy involved in the legislative process, be it nukes or ketchup.

I like the idea of giving the parent the choice of private or public and refunding the parent that portion of the parents cost for public education. Also, people should relocate if they don’t like their local school. Makes no sense to me to ask the FED to come in and make everything just so so and expect everybody to agree with it. Most would opt for a veggie rather than ketchup, IMO.

RF and Jane Doe, my upbringing was much as you relate. At 10 I started earning money keeping boats cleaned out, properly tied up and assisting people renting boats/motors at a boat dock 1/4 mi. from my home. By 13 I lived at the dock 24/7 and remember my mom bringing me supper to make sure I had a good meal daily. Life was good. Had a cuz and a friend or two who hung with me. Boy did we have fun. The boss worked in town and left me to run the dock, Hardly anyone around during the week so you can imagine …

Well, 1st grade, while playing Peter Rabbit in a play a kid punched me in the nose and broke it. 3rd grd chased a kid, he jumped a ditch and broke his arm. 4th grd chased the same kid down a hallway, his arm shot through the door glass cutting a 4” strip of meat off his arm. 5th grd, picked up broken pieces of ice from a ditch and cutting down on a classmate. He ran through the schoolhouse door and the meanest teacher in school stepped into the doorway just as the piece of ice caught her square on her shin, blood everywhere, she wanted my body bad, stood me in the hall so the class could hear a blow by blow description, took a 2 foot piece of 2 x 6 with 3/4” holes bored all through it for effect and nigh raised me to my tiptoes for what seemed like several minutes. 9th grd algebra, a girl cuz had a camillion and I would spend the class period catching flies for it with my hand. Sometimes the teacher would get frustrated and put me out of class. This day I was outside and throwing white gravels in the school windows at my classmates. The teacher turned me over to a DADT type for a whoopin. I knew he was DADT because he had taken some boys camping up on the river. That night me and a friend went further up the river, then up the branch and by flashlight, went in a took a fat hen, back to camp and here this teacher is setting on a rock masturbating. Didn’t seem a big deal. My first swing with the axe I cut half an inch of the chickens beak off but got the head with the next swing and cooked and ate the hen up in the night. None said a word to anybody about the DADT but a senior ratted him out a few months later an he was fired. But, it was double embarrassing to get a whoopin in the 9th grade by a DADT type. \

I’ll try not to wax that personal again on WB, I promise. But, I would ask, how many of you got a whoopin in the 9th grade or later?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 27, 2010 6:37 PM
Comment #309335

I certainly don’t condone abuse, but I’ve never known a child to suffer irreversibly from hearing the word NO.

Posted by: jane doe at September 27, 2010

Amen to that Jane. I am glad your childhood experience was as wonderful and gratifying as mine.

Roy, I enjoyed reading your childhood adventures as well. I didn’t get a whooping in the 9th grade but did have a teacher thump a book on my head for too much talking.

I would love to read the childhood stories of other writers on WB. I believe it is good for us to share some things we have in common since we mostly argue about everything else.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 27, 2010 6:53 PM
Comment #309337

Roy wrote: “Companies want the foreign worker with a visa who will work for less.”

That’s a fallacy and myth, and has been for a number of years, now. This was covered some years back by Wall St. Journal and NPR. Most foreign graduate students go back home after graduation. The cost of living in their home country is so much lower and their wages excellent, comparable to ours as a ratio to cost of living, there is no incentive to remain in a strange land and fight social prejudices and absence of family and cultural context. The days of cheap foreign graduate degreed workers have been over for quite some time. The ones that do stay, stay for entrepreneurial reasons, for the most part, if successful.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2010 7:37 PM
Comment #309339

RF, those of us whose childhoods were not good, are not likely to rehash that past and how we overcame it, now that they, we have. Growing up in America wasn’t so great for more than you would think. And its not gotten any better for a growing percentage in broken homes, and combative, or alcohol or drug dependent parents, or, truly uneducated parents who couldn’t cope with the transition from rural farms to big cities and all the challenges, intellectual and psychological, that transition posed. There is a darker side to the “greatest generation” that historians can’t find much of a market for, though glimpses of it can be seen in the biographies of some in the entertainment field, like Chuck Berry, Liza Minelli, or Marilyn Monroe. People for whom not even success and wealth could rectify their broken and battered child hood experiences in America.

Compound that with growing up African American in America. No, growing up in America was not a Norman Rockwell affair for millions and millions of Americans who carry the scars and compromises on their potential required to survive their childhood experiences.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2010 7:49 PM
Comment #309341

I know its off topic but the thread has wandered into education a bit. lol whatever happened to the head-start program? most pre-schooling is private now it seems.

there has to be significant change in our educational systems and its not the politicians that are the problem, its educators. now i have no empirical evidence to support the following, so perhaps its just a rant.
our children learn in completely different ways than we did I’m early gen X. and you boomers learned in a different manner than I did, however we are generationally speaking close enough for some of the methods to be effective in in producing an educated citizen.
Today’s children live in a highly electronic age, unlike any other time in human history. we are global now. our methods of teaching must evolve. i graduated high school in 1986. When i attended college i graduated in 2004. the only change i could see to any of the curriculum other than updated history texts and the like was half of my books where on CD. schools have computers, most don’t integrate today tech in their methods. they are still teaching boomer methods. doesn’t work so well on gen y and Z.

Posted by: john in napa at September 27, 2010 8:17 PM
Comment #309342

“I like the idea of giving the parent the choice of private or public and refunding the parent that portion of the parents cost for public education.”

Private schools may seem to be a good option on the surface but the corpocracy being what it is how long do you think it would be before the corporate schools were ..well…like the health care system, to expensive for most people to afford?


“Also, people should relocate if they don’t like their local school. Makes no sense to me to ask the FED to come in and make everything just so so and expect everybody to agree with it”

Relocation is expensive Roy as well as tough on kids. The housing market and job market being what it is sometimes it is better to stay and change the school your in for the better.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 27, 2010 8:17 PM
Comment #309343

David, just because the foreign worker with a visa returns to his country of origin doesn’t mean the corporations in this country doesn’t want them to work here for less. Some companies still pursue the foreign worker at the expense of the American worker here in this country.

http://www.examiner.com/populist-in-sacramento/american-workers-are-given-the-boot-to-make-room-for-foreign-workers

Posted by: j2t2 at September 27, 2010 8:24 PM
Comment #309351

I have a grandson who spent his first few years in a very small school…actually two rooms.
I wasn’t around close enough for a few years, and I didn’t have the opportunity to see and hear how any of the kids were faring.
Last year I became more involved due to a move closer to them. I found out first-hand that the one boy has some definite learning disabilities, and due to the schooling situation prior, did not get the help he should have.
We’re dealing with behavioral problems as well as learning ones now. Last year I was called to pick him up from school to start a 3-day suspension due to misbehavior. During the ensuing conversation with the vice-principal, he imparted a few words of BS on me: “Tell him to show up on time, sit in his chair and be quiet, don’t cause problems, and three years from now, he will be able to graduate.”
I’m actually quite surprised that I wasn’t asked to join him as penance for my outburst.
This isn’t some backwoods town…it’s in central California. It was my first up-close encounter after several years of being away from the kids, to see that a lot of things have gone to Hell in a hand-basket, but the education system is taking our kids with it!

Posted by: jane doe at September 27, 2010 11:29 PM
Comment #309352

Sorry about hijacking the thread again…

Posted by: jane doe at September 27, 2010 11:31 PM
Comment #309357


This morning FOX noted a school in Colorado, I believe that had received $1M for doing so well by their students. I believe that for the last 4 years every student had been accepted by a college. The representative educator said that we have to believe that all students can achieve. I have to believe they are presenting a college prep level of education.
Some have suggested extending the school year. Check this url: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/teachers/wr/article/0,27972,58281,00.html
I believe we just need to offer a college prep curricula and use retired professionals as ‘how to’ and motivators and most students would do just fine.
Jane Doe, we can’t know the circumstances re your grandchild but it sounds like the teacher had gone her last mile with the youngster and was giving their best advice to the parent(s). Be there on time, be attentive in the class, respect the teacher, etc. Seems that is a natural learning posture one has to have. Why did you consider his remarks BS?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 28, 2010 10:07 AM
Comment #309358

Roy, I found Jane’s remarks at odds with reality also. The teacher’s requests were reasonable and why wouldn’t we expect students to follow, and parents endorse, those simple instructions?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 11:06 AM
Comment #309360

j2t2, agreed. I was commenting on the myth that foreign visa students are staying here to work for lower wages than Americans are paid in comparable jobs. Used to be true. Not nearly as true today. A global economic uptick lifts all boats, and this foreign students in America are now returning home to ride that tide in their home countries.

It is incumbent upon business to keep their operating costs the lowest possible, ergo, if labor costs can be reduced, they have a fiduciary duty to achieve those lower costs, legally. Trying to blame business for observing fiduciary duty to their lenders, shareholders, and investors for wanting to lower labor costs is an exercise in futility. You can blame them, but, the fiduciary duty trumps, always has, always will.

Increasingly, American employers are going to have to rely upon American workers. Which is going to mean employers are going to have to step up to the plate in innovating better education and more promising paths for students to transition from school to job. The days of cheaper foreign labor, especially college educated labor, are fading.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2010 12:52 PM
Comment #309361

I found this fascinating article concerning education in today’s NY Times.

“BROCKTON, Mass. — A decade ago, Brockton High School was a case study in failure. Teachers and administrators often voiced the unofficial school motto in hallway chitchat: students have a right to fail if they want. And many of them did — only a quarter of the students passed statewide exams. One in three dropped out.

Then Susan Szachowicz and a handful of fellow teachers decided to take action. They persuaded administrators to let them organize a schoolwide campaign that involved reading and writing lessons into every class in all subjects, including gym.

Their efforts paid off quickly. In 2001 testing, more students passed the state tests after failing the year before than at any other school in Massachusetts. The gains continued. This year and last, Brockton outperformed 90 percent of Massachusetts high schools.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/education/28school.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 12:59 PM
Comment #309362

I forgot to add something else that astonished me in the NY Times article I linked above.

NOTICE…the article does not mention, at all, any federal government involvement or any extra expenditure of funds by the taxpayers. ISN’T THAT SOMETHING?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 1:02 PM
Comment #309363

Royal Flush, but, the school DID receive government funding during that whole time. Without it, that school would have closed. All but private schools, are government funded, and even many private schools receive government funds. Just because the NY Times didn’t mention funding as relevant to the turnaround in performance, doesn’t mean government funding wasn’t underwriting the school’s efforts. Because, it was, as it does all public and many private schools.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2010 2:33 PM
Comment #309365

Roy and RF, tell me, just what are your implications that my comments are “at odds with reality” ?
The reality is that your comments and responses here are exactly the same as was encountered for years by this kid.
“Lost kids” just don’t happen on Sunday TV movies. They are all around and only a small percentage of them become found and then helped. If you are so arrogant, and fortunate, to have not been blessed with a child like that, then the story ends here.

Posted by: jane doe at September 28, 2010 2:40 PM
Comment #309366

I graduated from high school in 2008, so I think I might offer.

I know that I succeeded academically because I have wonderful parents who really went the extra mile to make sure I would learn. If I wanted to watch TV or play video games, I had to earn it. Whenever I did a chore, my dad would give me pennies; each worth 5 minutes of electronic recreation. Reading and playing outside were free, so I did a bit more of that than a lot of my peers. I especially did a lot of reading; I lost interest in sports at a very young age. I’m really glad that I was fortunate enough that my Dad was able to do the things he did. He was raising me as a single parent and working full-time, although my grandmother helped we out quite a bit as well.

I attended school in an affluent suburban distrcit ranked in the top 5 in Massachusetts (which in turn is the top ranked state in the USA). So I can’t comment much on how impovershed urban districts are doing, but I can say this:
Our current education system certainly has a lot of problems dealing with the diversity of students that are coming in. Some students have severe disabilities that prevent them from ever achieving self-sufficiency, yet a lot of money is spent on them anyway. I have to admit, that some of this stems from leftist inclinations to believe that all children are equally capable of learning the entire curriculum. I know my father was absolutely shocked when I came home from elementary school with my first report card. There were no letter grades or any sort of marker to denote whether I was learning the curriculum. My dad was also shocked when he learned that all reading and math class were taught to everyone, regardless of ability. I entered elementary school already reading, but I was put into the same class as other students who had never picked up a book. The same goes for math, my dad taught me arithemetic over the summer before second grade, yet I was placed in the same classroom with students who had zero experience with arithmetic.

In Middle School and High School, I found out why my school district was considered top notch. The teachers there were wonderful, many were willing to the extra mile to make sure all the students were learning everything correctly. Previously, I’ve already mentioned how my 8th grade US History teacher taught the Constitution to my class. She assigned each of us one founding father; we had to research that founder’s position on a plethora of issues using mostly primary source documents. Then we wrote speeches in the spirit of our founder’s ideology and held our own Constitutional Convention. Other teachers in other subjects did similar things to connect students with the curriculum on much deeper level and to make learning much more interactive. I attribute the high quality of these teachers to the fact that my affluent hometown could afford to pay them high salaries that adequately compensated them for their efforts. Many of my teachers also had experience in the private sector before becoming teachers; the history teacher mentioned earlier used to be a lawyer.

RF, your example from Brockton shows what happens when teachers buckle down and get things done. Kudos to them; neither your article nor this article from the Globe explains how these teachers were able to pull off their reforms, so I don’t know what other conclusions to make. Obviously, the costs of educating students will be borne by the government; the question is which level of government (local, state or federal) is best able to do this.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 28, 2010 2:58 PM
Comment #309367

Well of course that should be obvious Mr. Remer. The article clearly stated it was a public school.

I am surprised that you focused your rather negative comments on basic funding for this result rather than on the surprising and fantastic results employing such simple methods accomplished by teacher efforts without costing additional funding or mandates from Washington or the state.

Perhaps your response wasn’t more enthusiastic because there was no direct government involvement in the improvements made by this school. If so, that is disappointing as I have thought you were one who embraced the concept that individual initiative among our educators should be praised.

Clearly, this article is refreshing to all who would see our educational system change in a way that benefits all the students without government mandates or additional taxpayer expense.

I found it commendable that the efforts of a few, working within union rules and restriction, were able to enlist the help of the entire faculty for a common goal of helping students do better. I have emailed that article to everyone I know who has an interest in better education methods.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 3:01 PM
Comment #309370

Jane wonders why her statement quoted below is; “at odds with reality”.

“During the ensuing conversation with the vice-principal, he imparted a few words of BS on me: “Tell him to show up on time, sit in his chair and be quiet, don’t cause problems, and three years from now, he will be able to graduate.”
I’m actually quite surprised that I wasn’t asked to join him as penance for my outburst.”

Jane…I can’t fathom why you would consider the vice-principal’s words as BS or prompt an “outburst” by you.

You wrote; “Last year I was called to pick him up from school to start a 3-day suspension due to misbehavior.”

And then, you mention something about your “outburst”. Are the suspension and your outburst connected? If so, we need more information to understand why you had an outburst.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 3:14 PM
Comment #309372

WR wrote; “RF, your example from Brockton shows what happens when teachers buckle down and get things done. Kudos to them; neither your article nor this article from the Globe explains how these teachers were able to pull off their reforms.”

I believe you answered your own question WR…the teachers themselves took the initiative rather than waiting for Washington or the state to issue more mandates. Instead of whining about government regulations, union restrictions, lack of ever more funding and so forth, they worked with what they had and applied their desire to teach the basics.

The article I linked gave good examples of ways in which all the teachers used reading and writing as part of their daily lesson plans regardless of the class subject.

And, the article addressed the resistence faced, at the beginning, by some teachers and how that was overcome.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 3:28 PM
Comment #309374

I’m still left searching for more details regarding the Brockton story. For example, it says that students practiced reading/writing in PE class. I don’t think most PE teachers are qualified to teach Reading/Writing or even to evaluate the quality of the student’s work. There must’ve been an extra cost somewhere to train the PE teacher to do this or to replace the PE teacher with someone who was qualified. Where did this money come from?

Also, it’s silly to think that Brockton was operating outside the normal system whereby State and Federal agencies award money in the form of grants with strings attached. They obviously still pursue these grants.

Posted by: Warped Realtiy at September 28, 2010 3:43 PM
Comment #309377

Good Lord Warped…arguing with success is just silly. Read the article again as it explains and answers your questions about PE teachers teaching reading and writing and how that was accomplished. It also explained how math teachers incorporated reading and writing into their daily class discussions and work.

It is just a mystery to me why some can’t accept good results that come from something that is not mandated by government at great expense or for some political advantage. From your comments and those of Mr. Remer one would think this was some kind of conservative conspiracy.

I can hardly wait for Mr. Daugherty to weigh in with what I expect will be negative comments.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 3:57 PM
Comment #309378

WR provided a link from which I quote; “The Brockton Public Schools is one of 17 recipients from across the country to receive the U.S. Department of Education’s Grants to Integrate Schools and Mental Health Systems award in the amount of $397,758.”

He somehow links this grant with the success story about Brockton that I linked to in the NY Times. There is absoutely no connection that I can find. If I am wrong, please furnish me the connection.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 4:03 PM
Comment #309381

A few comments on the Trade Deficit:

1. Free Trade must ALWAYS come before any form or iteration of Protectionism. NAFTA, while not perfect, was absolutely necessary vis-a-vis China/S.Korea, et al. The aforementioned countries were trying to preempt the Canada/US/Mexico alliance. We could of been locked out of our own back yard!

2. The US has the 2nd highest corporate tax in the industrialized world - approx. 35%. The average of the rest of IW is approx. 18.5%. Clearly, our largest and some of our best tech companies and other multinational companies seek to go ‘offshore’ with respect to costs. I’m sure Intel, Microsoft, Google, GE, Automakers, Nike and other large companies would love to build new plants, facilities and tech centers here in the US. That would be a boon. However, the current corp. tax system doesn’t incentivize US companies to do business domestically.

3. The currency manipulation in China has long been problematic. The devaluation of the Yuan, along with ‘other’ trade barriers must be fixed. Currently, China’s position on this is: we’ll fix the currency issue if you give us the Intellectual Property / know-how to the US multinational that currently do bussiness in China (i.e., Coke, GE, IBM, Nike, Intel, etc.)

4. The US can’t be ‘afraid’ of China b/c they hold so much of our debt! Without our imports from China, they’d be without their biggest market. We need each other.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at September 28, 2010 5:12 PM
Comment #309383

Kevin…great post. Regarding our corporate tax rate compared to the rest of the world, you are correct. Not long ago I posted a link to a speech given by the CEO of Intel in which he compared the cost of building and staffing a new plant in the US versus overseas. The cost was nearly 4 times higher and was insignificantly due to cheaper labor. It was the cost of taxes and regulations.

You’re right about China and our debt to them. I am glad to see the administration beginning to talk tough with China on their currency manipulation. We hold as many cards to play as they do…perhaps more.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 5:29 PM
Comment #309388

Royal Flush, MY COMMENT CORRECTED your error, alluding to the positive results having no ties to government funding.

Thank you for acknowledging that this public school would not even be open, let alone achieving positive results, WITHOUT government funding.

They are integrally entwined. The issue then, becomes, why aren’t other public schools achieving the same results with comparable government funding?

The answer, as with all systems, is multi-variate, and complex, requiring multiple approaches and sophisticated problem solving to resolve. One solution will not solve all educational problems. One can provide other schools with the template of the Brockton schools success, but, that provision alone, will not achieve the same results in all other schools.

Just as money is not the answer to solving all educational issues, the Brockton school’s answer won’t either - their physical, social, political and financial context, as well as talent pool and labor resources, are not the same for all schools. Ergo, results will vary even if the exact same procedure is followed in all schools.

To be sure, what worked at Brockton should be made available to other schools lacking good performance, and implemented because it did work at Brockton. But, it won’t have the same level of outcome in all other schools because not all other schools are identical to Brockton in myriad other ways.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2010 6:09 PM
Comment #309389

Mr. Remer wrote; “Royal Flush, MY COMMENT CORRECTED your error, alluding to the positive results having no ties to government funding.”

Unlike Mr. Remer, I had confidence that others would read the article and then know for certain that this was a publically funded school. I write for the adults on this blog and just don’t feel the need to spoon-feed them with superflouous information.

He also wrote; “One solution will not solve all educational problems.” Hmmm, sure wish those in Washington were aware of this.

The remainder of his comments were much like the first, written for children.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 6:28 PM
Comment #309391

Should have known to not try any kind of logical dialogue with you, flushed!
What part of “learning disabilities” got away from you?
That should have been your first clue that he has problems. You don’t fix problems by putting them in a corner and just asking them to be quiet for several years. His folks have asked for them to test him….put him with a special class or teacher, give them a referral for some advanced guidance, all to no avail. So they just sit him as far away from the normal kids as they can get him and ignore him. Somewhere along the line, something is going to give.
What I’m trying to get past your “short bus” mentality, is that any educator worth a dam is not going to put a kid with problems in the back of the class, ignore him/her, allow them to be picked on, teased and tormented and expect them be fine and dandy.
Maybe you need a few rides in the back of the bus…..

Posted by: jane doe at September 28, 2010 6:37 PM
Comment #309392

Well shame on me Jane for not being able to devine this information absent from your first post. Are learning disabilities inheirited?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 6:42 PM
Comment #309394

Sorry Jane Doe, I ‘read through’ some of your first post. Now it sounds like this small school system doesn’t have the resources or funds to provide the kind of learning support your grandchild might require. Only thing I could suggest is ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’. Maybe try and locate other parents with similar problems in the local area and try to get the ‘system’ to respond.

I wish I could find some info on the school system that was given a million bucks for teaching excellence in that they have been able to get every graduating student, four years in a row, into college. Any info?

David, I’ve no problem with education funding by local and state tax dollars. Just as you stated, no one size fits all and that’s why education is a local thing, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 28, 2010 7:15 PM
Comment #309395

Here flushed, maybe this will help you out………

Last year I became more involved due to a move closer to them. I found out first-hand that the one boy has some definite learning disabilities, and due to the schooling situation prior, did not get the help he should have.

Thanks Roy. I was simply trying to show that if there may be school personnel at any level, who were to feel that the additional and dear resources might be a “waste”…..then the efforts are never put forth and that child is lost.
If none of you have ever been in this position, then that’s a wonderful thing.

Posted by: jane doe at September 28, 2010 7:24 PM
Comment #309396

RF,

When I first read your comments, I got the impression that you were claiming that this school had succeeded by shirking existing funding mechanisms and forging their own path. Upon rereading your comment, I see you said there was no “extra expenditure” of taxpayer funds; so I’m sorry that I missed the word “extra” the first time around. I probably shouldn’t be reading/commenting on WatchBlog unless I have the time to invest to fully comprehend what’s going on, otherwise I’ll say something foolish.

Returning to Brockton:
After doing a bit of reading, I see that the school made its achievements while working within the preexisting funding framework. I got some more info from Dr. Ron Ferguson’s website. There I learned that the teachers converted time that was allocated for announcements and whatnot into literary workshops to make sure teachers of all disciplines were on the same page regarding the literacy initiatives. They also focused on the MCAS exam like a hawk. Some people complain about standardized testing such as the MCAS, but as someone who has taken it myself I know that a lot claims made against it are bunk. Training the students to write their assignments in the MCAS format was an excellent way to improve the overall literacy of these students. I guess we should credit the commonwealth for instituting the MCAS that helped turn Brockton High School around as well.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 28, 2010 7:30 PM
Comment #309397

Warped…thank you very much for your post and extra effort to obtain more information.

Good reading and writing skills are as important today as they ever were. The students and faculty at Brockton are to be congratulated for working within the system and applying their desire for better education to find a way to enhance all student learning. My hat is off to them.

Jane, I have a good knowledge of “special education” as I am married to an educational diagnostician whose task it is to qualify, by testing, those students who need special ed.

Students who have behavorial problems do not necessarily qualify for sp ed. They may or may not. Testing standards are set by national boards and there is considerable funding available for sp ed beyond that of regular education.

Special Education is designed for those students who can learn, but need special techniques designed to offer different ways to learn. And, there are sp ed teachers who have education beyond that of regular ed teachers to provide these children more time and alternative learning paths.

Only an educational diagnostician can qualify a student for sp ed in Texas. Teachers with students who have behavioral problems sometimes exert considerable pressure on diagnosticians to qualify these children for sp ed so they can get rid of them. But, if testing reveals an ability to learn in regular education, the diagnostician may not qualify them for sp ed. There are numerous regulations which they must follow and violation can result in dismissal or worse.

Perhaps your grandchild does not qualify for sp ed or perhaps the school just has lousy faculty. I wish you and the child the very best.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2010 7:55 PM
Comment #309406

Royal Flush wrote: “Teachers with students who have behavioral problems sometimes exert considerable pressure on diagnosticians to qualify these children for sp ed so they can get rid of them.”

Or, could it be, that these students with behavioral problems actually have special needs, like security needs, that average students don’t, and which teachers are not able to provide for in the regular classroom?

Yours is a prejudged statement, which lacks any evidence, whatsoever, to back up the assertion. And I suspect your comment is a gross distortion of reality. Students with behavioral problems ARE special needs students. Young people do NOT elect to be behavioral problems for their parents and schools and peers. I worked in a school in Texas for students with behavioral problems in the regular system, and I know from experience, these students do, in fact, have special needs, ranging from bio-chemical and organic to behavioral exhibiting maladaptive learned responses. Children don’t choose to have behavioral problems, I assure you. They are special needs children.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2010 10:30 PM
Comment #309409

Roy Ellis wrote: “Just as you stated, no one size fits all and that’s why education is a local thing, IMO. “

No. That’s not why education is a local thing. NOT AT ALL. It is a cultural evolution thing, like racism in America. It evolved that way from the beginning because in the beginning there were colonies and no national approach to anything, whatsoever. It remains a local thing due to inertia and tradition without any productive rational basis at all in modern times. It was as arbitrary as the concept of property taxes funding public education.

America has the best colleges and universities in the world, and they are not locally controlled, managed, or even funded, and have appeal to students around the world, which kinda blows the whole local controlled education defense out of the water, in terms of producing the best education product and outcome. Our locally controlled K-12 system can’t begin to compete on a quality basis with our post secondary school system, with national standards, national review boards and certification, and international top ranking.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2010 10:40 PM
Comment #309412

Royal Flush wrote: “I write for the adults on this blog and just don’t feel the need to spoon-feed them with superflouous information.”

So, government funding of our nation’s educational system is a superfluous piece of information, is it, in your mind? I rest my case. You have already answered the question.

And which definition of superfluous were you intending: 1) “being more than is sufficient or required; excessive.” or,
2) “unnecessary or needless”?

Since the best national educational systems beating ours in quality in the world are all government regulated, subsidized, and standardized at higher quality outcomes, your reference to government involvement in education being superfluous, regardless of your usage of the term, is ignorant. Either you didn’t know the definition of the word, or, you entirely failed to recognize the overarching relative importance of government’s role in producing quality educational results.

The opposite of government sponsored education is parents teaching their own children the confines of their parents limited educational experience. As far as I know, only aboriginal tribes along the Amazon and in the South Pacific choose to retain that educational option. Superfluous? That’s a real kicker.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2010 10:55 PM
Comment #309413


Recall that only about 10-15% of trade qualifies as free trade with about 85% being whatever one can get away with or make your own rules on the fly which the WTO is prone to do. The NAFTA/NAU thing was mostly done in secret. Many of us still remember when Al Gore laughed at Ross Perot’s statement that millions of jobs would be lost to NAFTA. We aren’t laughing now.

I can find nothing about Asians protesting the NAU.

http://www.conservativeusa.org/northamericanunion.htm

Here is an article where the Progressives/Socialists are planning a get-together on the mall. Surprised to find the Communist Party endorsing their outing but, I shouldn’t be.

http://action.onenationworkingtogether.org/partners

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 28, 2010 11:02 PM
Comment #309432

Mr. Remer wrote; “Yours is a prejudged statement, which lacks any evidence, whatsoever, to back up the assertion. And I suspect your comment is a gross distortion of reality. Students with behavioral problems ARE special needs students.”

No prejudgement at all…my comments are based upon conversations with my wife, an educational diagnostician with 33 years in Texas public schools. As I wrote in my post, behavioral problems may or may not qualify a student for special ed.

As for Mr. Remer’s comments on superfulous information…is there any reader on this blog that is not aware how public schools are funded? Some assumptions must be made about the knowledge and literacy of the reader and I feel no need to lenghten my posts with the obvious.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 29, 2010 12:46 PM
Comment #309436

Royal Flush wrote: “As I wrote in my post, behavioral problems may or may not qualify a student for special ed. “

By Texas standards, qualification is a legal distinction, NOT a clinical or behavioral distinction. Texas prison systems are bursting their seams due to your wife’s thinking that youth behavioral problems DO NOT require special education remedial action.

My reference to your use of the word superfluous in regard to government funding as enabling, was appropriate since you left it out of your assessment, ENTIRELY! Holistic solutions require taking into account all applicable variables and their relative importance. Your citing individual’s actions as seemingly responsible solely for the positive results left a lot out of the picture. Government funding is not superfluous by either definition. Your oversight. Your attempts now to defend your oversight by the ASSUMPTION that readers knew what was in your mind, at the time, is ridiculous.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 29, 2010 2:40 PM
Comment #309437

Mr. Remer wrote; “Texas prison systems are bursting their seams due to your wife’s thinking that youth behavioral problems DO NOT require special education remedial action.”

Apparently Mr Remer isn’t aware how foolish this comment appears to the readers. My wife’s thinking has nothing to do with federal regulations regarding who qualifys for special education. Perhaps Mr. Remer may next suggest, in a comment, that my wife determines funding as well.

And, once again, Mr. Remer’s comments would suggest that the readers don’t understand from where public school funding comes. The next time anyone writes the words…”sunrise”…be certain to include the qualifer that the sun rises in the East. As I recall it was not long ago that Henry S. corrected me about even that.

I wonder if any of my conservative friends writing here have noticed how confused and easily aggiatated liberals have become recently in their writings. Facing a huge defeat in November the liberals and some dems seem to rail and whine even about insignificant missing qualifiers, that are obvious to everyone but them, in comments.

I believe it is a symptom of the mental disorder that afflicts many of them. Since they can no longer argue, with any believeability, that liberalism is acceptable or popular among a majority of Americans they quibble and posture over mundane belly dust.

I know…I know…we conservatives must be careful with our words so we don’t inadvertantly push these poor souls over the edge upon which they are now tottering.

One of my favorite presidents, Harry Truman, said…”If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I would add, let’s not block the door as we may get trampled by the crowd of liberals retreating.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 29, 2010 3:21 PM
Comment #309441

RF is now going to flat out LIE, or reveal his ignorance on the topic, in defense of his erroneous comments: “My wife’s thinking has nothing to do with federal regulations regarding who qualifys for special education.”

SOrry, bub, Republicans in the State of Texas, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, decide whether behavioral problem students receive special education or punitive measures. Do you know NOTHING nothing about jurisdictional boundaries? Apparently not. That, or you just flat out lying in desperation. Either way, thanks for conceding this debate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 29, 2010 5:25 PM
Comment #309446

Federal funded colleges and universities are limited to military personnel and government employees. Members of foreign militaries and governments also attend some schools. These schools include the United States military academies, Naval Postgraduate School and military staff colleges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_university_system

http://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/

The following is how the Federal Gov’t usually plays into the education system.

http://boingboing.net/2008/01/20/congress-moving-forw.html

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 29, 2010 6:34 PM
Comment #309454

Thanks for the good word Royal Flush!

Ironically, the ONLY issue that I’ve come across where both Obama and I agree on (we are passionate about), is Education.

Did anyone ever see how engaged and passionate he is when he talks about education reform? I’m a bit blown away that he’s not backing down much from the teacher’s unions (AFT and NEA). Clearly, he’s given Education Secretary Arnie Duncan the green-light to drive the status quo out of unions.

At the same time, however, there are numerous ‘other’ educational reforms needed and plenty of blame to go around (administrators, school boards, parents).

Tenure, for all intents and purposes, kills creativity, continuous improvement and accountability. There is no panacea. I am very encouraged by the recent ‘uproar’ about the state of our public school system. This narrative must continue until these so-called ‘Drop-out Factories’ cease to exist. The fact is, the 600,000 drop-outs per year (2008 figures), means we’ll have that many more US citizens who will end up in poverty, involved in crime and end up as part of the entitlement programs that our taxes pay for.

On a personal note: I struggled with math thoroughout Middle School and H.S. I needed ‘extra’ help here and there. I squeeked by somehow, but I never was fully ready for the ‘next’ progressive math lesson (e.g., formulas, basic algebra, word problems).

Now, my son is in Middle School. He is in the top percentile in Math for his grade nationally. I found out that the 8th grade DOES NOT have ‘advanced math.’ Thus, I was told that I had to wait for ‘next year before he could take this class!’ I said NO WAY! I consulted with the teachers and administrators (I even had to use my own experiences with math to help the school personnel understnad the importance of not ‘dumbing down’ my son or other students who were clearly ready for more rigorous study). No wonder why the US is tracked at about #25 in the world in Math! Well, they ‘found’ a program for my son…thankfully. I was seriously considering taking my son out of an otherwise ‘GOOD’ school b/c of this issue.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at September 29, 2010 10:08 PM
Comment #309466

Kevin wrote: “Did anyone ever see how engaged and passionate he is when he talks about education reform? I’m a bit blown away that he’s not backing down much from the teacher’s unions (AFT and NEA). Clearly, he’s given Education Secretary Arnie Duncan the green-light to drive the status quo out of unions.”

That is truly laudable, isn’t it? Did you know that the Civil Rights legislation was accomplished in 4 pieces of legislation and enforcements over the course of nearly two decades. I wasn’t, until this morning. Reminded me of health care reform. Too big and too complex to accomplish in one piece of legislation in one administration, in one moment in time, same as civil rights. Universal suffrage took many more decades and many more pieces of legislation to finally effect.

Those progressives lashing out at Obama for not having gone far enough, have need to return to their history books, as well. More than 60% of Americans wanted that public option. But, they are the TV consumer generation. They want what they want, and they want it immediately, despite reality dictating they can’t. Diminishing American education is truly underwriting the absence of follow through on the big changes that have to be made. Switching parties back and forth with each undoing what the previous has done, fails to move the nation forward with progress on the really big and complex challenges.

That is why, if the VOID Incumbents movement does not take over, the future for our nation and children will surely emulate the demise of the British Empire and Roman and Persian civilizations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2010 2:39 AM
Comment #309470

Read today’s LA Times article about China’s Yuan and US trade:

http://tinyurl.com/2a8k5f5

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at September 30, 2010 8:49 AM
Comment #309471

This China/US trade battle reminds me A LOT of the mid-1980s where unions and US autoworkers lashed out against Japan and their unfair trade tariffs. US couldn’t sell American-made vehicles in Japan without a huge tariff.

Americans rebelled and began to smash up japanese-made cars in parking lots in protest. Unions and Congress considered countering this trade issue with Protectionist legislation. Congress wised up and held off on a knee-jerk reaction. I remember coming to work one day (in GM employee parking lot) and witnessing a huge crowd of union officials, along with UAW employees, taking baseball bats to the windshield of an old Honda vehicle! Local TV crews were there from the Philadelphia stations filming this event.

I don’t recall what was resolved to eventually settle down this emotional issue. I do recall that it took several years though. Soon thereafter, the ‘Made-in-the-USA’ campaign began in earnest throughout the US - spurned on by union organizations. Boycotts by the union of various corporations that had ‘labor-agreement’ issues were all the rage. Finally, my local GM plant passed a ‘local’ rule that forbid any employee who drove a foreign (read Japanese) vehicle from parking in the company parking lot. That rule was quickly seen by management and others as unconstitutional and wrong-minded. However, the union did convince management to REVISE the rule to ‘create a special area,’ far at the end of the massive parking lot, for ‘Foreign only’ parking. Even though we had 4 separate parking lots in different geological parts of the plant, any ‘foreign’ owner had to park in the one, designated one (at least a half-mile from some employees’ work areas.).
How backward thinking we once were. Many employees’ vehicles were vandalized too during this time. Sad commentary. I hope this sort of thing don’t happen with the ensuing China trade war.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at September 30, 2010 9:09 AM
Comment #309472

This China/US trade battle reminds me A LOT of the mid-1980s where unions and US autoworkers lashed out against Japan and their unfair trade tariffs. US couldn’t sell American-made vehicles in Japan without a huge tariff.

Americans rebelled and began to smash up japanese-made cars in parking lots in protest. Unions and Congress considered countering this trade issue with Protectionist legislation. Congress wised up and held off on a knee-jerk reaction. I remember coming to work one day (in GM employee parking lot) and witnessing a huge crowd of union officials, along with UAW employees, taking baseball bats to the windshield of an old Honda vehicle! Local TV crews were there from the Philadelphia stations filming this event.

I don’t recall what was resolved to eventually settle down this emotional issue. I do recall that it took several years though. Soon thereafter, the ‘Made-in-the-USA’ campaign began in earnest throughout the US - spurned on by union organizations. Boycotts by the union of various corporations that had ‘labor-agreement’ issues were all the rage. Finally, my local GM plant passed a ‘local’ rule that forbid any employee who drove a foreign (read Japanese) vehicle from parking in the company parking lot. That rule was quickly seen by management and others as unconstitutional and wrong-minded. However, the union did convince management to REVISE the rule to ‘create a special area,’ far at the end of the massive parking lot, for ‘Foreign only’ parking. Even though we had 4 separate parking lots in different geological parts of the plant, any ‘foreign’ owner had to park in the one, designated one (at least a half-mile from some employees’ work areas.).
How backward thinking we once were. Many employees’ vehicles were vandalized too during this time. Sad commentary. I hope this sort of thing doesn’t happen with the ensuing China trade war.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at September 30, 2010 9:10 AM
Comment #309473

oops, sorry for the dual post.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at September 30, 2010 9:12 AM
Comment #309477

Kevin, so-called ‘free trade’ has never worked, doesn’t work and can never work. Plethora of reasons. The U.S. has always used foreign trade as an instrument of foreign policy. In the four presidential and VP debates leading up to the 2008 election imports were never mentioned and the trade deficit was never mentioned but China was mentioned 15 times. One has to wonder why the US has not implemented the VAT as a trade tax as have 153 other nations around the world. Germany and Scandinavian Europe usually run healthy surpluses and the EU usually has trade figures that are near balanced since the euro was created in 1999. Thirteen EU countries have high factory wage scales than the US. Germany was the largest exporter as late as 2008, overtaken by China in 2009. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution explicitly authorizes Congress “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” Is this congressional activity being pursued to rein China in or is it political grandstanding for the coming elections? Kicking the can down the road just makes negotiations more difficult and more dangerout, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 30, 2010 10:17 AM
Comment #309478

i am glad to read all this comments written here…all the discussions is quite informative.it is excellent i must say…
business for sale sunshine coast

Posted by: adams at September 30, 2010 10:17 AM
Comment #309482

Mr. Remer writes; “SOrry, bub, Republicans in the State of Texas, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, decide whether behavioral problem students receive special education or punitive measures. Do you know NOTHING nothing about jurisdictional boundaries? Apparently not. That, or you just flat out lying in desperation. Either way, thanks for conceding this debate.”

Well BUB, rather than calling your comments a lie or total misinformed nonsense I will just post this.


“STATE AND FEDERAL SPECIAL EDUCATION LAWS

Special education mandates on local school districts are required by both state and federal law. Connecticut’s special education law (CGS § 10-76a, et seq. ) predates the federal law, having been first passed in 1967 while the federal law was passed in 1974. The federal law essentially supersedes the state law and the state law has been frequently amended to remain in conformity with the federal one.

Both laws require school districts to identify children requiring special education, prescribe suitable educational programs for eligible children, and provide special education for any eligible child. Children are eligible for special education if they have one or more of the following conditions, listed in federal regulations and incorporated by reference into state law, that affect their educational performance: mental retardation, hearing impairment including deafness, speech or language impairment, visual impairment including blindness, serious emotional disturbance,

orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment, specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities. Federal law also allows states to include as eligible children aged three through nine who are experiencing a “developmental delay. ” Connecticut law makes such children eligible.


Both laws define “special education” as specially designed instruction, developed in accordance with federal and state regulations, to meet the needs of each exceptional child, including related services recommended by the child’s planning and placement team. It must be provided for children who require it from age three until they either graduate from high school or turn 21 years of age.”


http://www.cga.ct.gov/2005/rpt/2005-r-0892.htm

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 30, 2010 12:36 PM
Comment #309492

Mr. Remer wrote; “One of the truisms lost to all but college business majors, is that if you can’t increase your income, you can become wealthier by reducing your costs.”

Such a shame that the libersocialists can’t figure this out. They just don’t believe this “truism” applies to government.

One of the truisms lost to some union workers is don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. And to think, American taxpayers bailed these idiots out. Just more insanity.

http://townhall.com/columnists/VincentVernuccio/2010/09/29/united_auto_workers_local_costs_650_jobs_in_indiana

“Norman agreed to save the supplier from closure under the condition that UAW workers bring their pay closer to the industry average. The result would be a 50-percent pay reduction. That would amount to $15.50 an hour down from $29 for unskilled workers, and $24 an hour, down from $33 for skilled trade workers Employees who continued working at the plant and agreed to the reduced salary would retain GM seniority and receive a cash bonus up to $35,000. Employees who did not want to accept the pay cut would be free to transfer to other GM plants for up to two years.

Yet rather than agreeing to a pay cut and receive a cash bonus or transferring to other plants, union members of UAW Local 23 balked. On Monday they voted 457 to 96 against the giving into concessions, which will likely result in the shuttering of the factory. Chicago Business.com reported Norman announced after the vote, “We are withdrawing from pursuing the plant any further.”

After the vote, Secretary Roob reprimanded the workers reminding them of the $50 billion in taxpayer dollars GM received last year. “We’re exasperated by this …. The taxpayers of this country bailed out General Motors and their workers. Now, those workers here turned their backs on future generations of people who might have had their jobs in Indiana,” he was quoted in Forbes.”


Posted by: Royal Flush at September 30, 2010 3:36 PM
Comment #309493

Royal Flush, where is your reading impairment coming from. Nowhere in that list does it include students with behavioral problems. They all list learning impairments resulting from organic or psychiatric disorders.

In Texas, the execute the worst of the behavioral problem adults. Texas does NOT treat behavioral disorders in the same way as organic and psychiatric disorders. I worked in a school for behavioral disorders, and the school system routinely washed their hands of students whose behavior did not accommodate their regimen.

While the psychiatric community generally regards character behavior disorders, CBD’s, as a psychiatric condition, the State of Texas does not. The State of Texas regards character behavior disorders, often and erroneously also called socio-pathic disorders, as criminal, not psychiatric disorders; disorders of choice, not having an organic cause. That is not true in most other states, where rehabilitation programs exist even for character behavior disorders. In general, Texas views such people as just evil, to be punished, not sick, to be treated, and rehabilitated.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2010 4:02 PM
Comment #309498

Mr. Remer wrote; “SOrry, bub, Republicans in the State of Texas, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, decide whether behavioral problem students receive special education or punitive measures.”

Well, I blasted that nonsense out of the water so Mr. Remer returns with…”Nowhere in that list does it include students with behavioral problems.”

Just prior to that comment he wrote; “Texas prison systems are bursting their seams due to your wife’s thinking that youth behavioral problems DO NOT require special education remedial action.”

It is difficut for readers to understand such conflicting comments. But, I consider the source and understand the need for some to always be correct despite how it may injure their reputation for organized thinking.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 30, 2010 4:56 PM
Comment #309509

Roy,
Like Trickledown Economics Free Trade does work provided your goal is to have other nations use their natural resorces and labor force to create the goods required by their population as well as export to other parts of the world. And in theory back in the 80’s and 90’s when our World Leaders were looking for solutions to end poverty, the idea one could purchase a pound of coffee from the Farmer in Brazil for about the same price they could buy a pound of coffee at their local store sounded good.

However, as we are discovering about Trickledown Economics the Idea of Free Trade has been hijacked by those who would rather game the 20th Century System instead of working to create the 21st Century System which will allow the Consumer to have the Best of the Best at prices cheaper than the Status Quo of the Industrial Revolution can deliver it.

And by no means do I claim to have the answer on how one can use today’s technology to create a better Global and National Trade System. I often wonder how long it will be before the Children of the 21st Century learn how to acess all the Farmers Markets around the World so they can purchase the fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the source.

Now, the only problem with that Free Trade System is the “Middle Man” will be out of a job. And as such, I do believe they will use their power and money to block the promoters from selling such a system. Thus, why Free Trade may be the Issue I do believe the Conservative and Liberals in America would do a better job debating on why the Enities want to place roadblocks in the way of the “Middle Man” so we can avoid them as individuals.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 30, 2010 8:55 PM
Comment #309514

Foreign aid for foreign policy example, the US is telling Pakistan that it must tax its people more based on the billions in AID being given. The US is complaining that the elites and landowners pay little if any tax and may cut aid if Islamabad doesn’t raise more tax revenue. Gee, maybe the Paks should come over and help us with our tax system. This url re Warren Buffet:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/tax/article1996735.ece

An energy article in today’s Wash Post relates that in spite of the energy reduction schemes employed by the US over the last few years our energy usage remains the same. And while US cars are more efficient and powerful the average gas mileage of cars and light trucks has barely budged since 1945.

The US is the world’s largest consumer of oil, far outpacing China and Japan combined. The US was self sufficient in oil until the 1950’s and now imports 24%. The transportation sector is 94% dependent on oil.
Russia and China signed agreements this week on energy cooperation. Russia hopes to supply all of China’s natural gas requirements beginning in 2015. Petrobras sold $70B in shares as part of a planned $224B five year investment plan to develop a 50B barrel field in Brazil. Great Britain began operation the world’s largest wind farm last week which uses 100 turbines to power 200k homes. Britain now has the capacity to produce 5GW in wind energy, sufficient to power all the homes in Scotland. Germany is looking to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 which would double its current production in ten years. India is negotiating with GE Hitachi on six nuclear reactors and will begins talks with Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric Co unit for another six reactors. China is operating a 400kph fast train, electric I believe.

A bill to end alleged tax breaks for sending jobs overseas died in Senate Tuesday. Current tax code provisions permit corporations to deduct the cost of moving operations overseas immediately but defer US taxes on money they earn overseas until they transfer the cash back to the parent company. But, it will make good talking points prior to the election.

A bill passed the House today that would punish China for currency manipulation. Many countries are engaged in working to improve their competition by changing the value at which their currency is traded. The IMF was founded to help coordinate world exchange rates and Geithner recently noted that the agency “has not covered itself in glory” in its handling of China. The Senate will vote on the bill after the election.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 30, 2010 10:19 PM
Comment #309521

Roy,
Why alot of these problems come from the time America and Europe attempted to help China, India, and other nations industrialize in the Late 20th Century I do believe many of today’s concerns are due to Americas’ Corporations failure to expand the number of high paying service jobs and instead worked hard to expand the low paying Service Jobs.

And why nothing we can do now will have an impact on the past, I do believe in looking forward Americas’ Grass Roots should look at expanding Information and Technology as well as provide the necessary advanced industrial sites which can meet Americans Basic Needs.

For why Commerce and Trade in the 21st Century will improve as more and more citizens realize Free Trade means they can go to the source themselve to secure such things as fruits and vegetables with the help of the internet. I do believe we will have to fight an uphill battle as the Planes, Trans, and Automobiles of the 20th Century are replaced to handle the 24/7/365 Trade of the 21st Century.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at October 1, 2010 3:11 AM
Comment #309546

Henry, so-called ‘free trade’ is, while a major part, only one part of America’s political problems. The major-major is the push, in secrecy – behind your back approach, for a one world gov’t. All the groundwork and infrastructure is complete except for taking the big political plunge as to where, who and how ‘One World’ would be established. There has been 15 years of ‘harmonizing’ security, admin, trade, finance and judicial laws across nations in making us ready. The US and other nations have given up much in sovereignty and the US will have to give up way lots more to join One World. Of course, we will be told that we can keep our Constitution and just work a little change around the fringe to incorporate One World. Not a problem!
But, while we still can, the people can opt out by voting out incumbents this November and in 2012. Nothing is in concrete. For example, NAFTA is not a treaty by Congress. It is an agreement by Executive Order which can be broken with the stroke of a pen. How anyone who has watched ‘globalization’ for the past 20-25 years could vote to continue this mess is way, way beyond me. \
Meanwhile, Obama is trying to dilute US voting rights at the IMF to representatives from emerging economic nations like Turkey or Poland. You know, the IMF that is just beating the crap out of China over currency manipulation. Millions more foreclosures to come. 279 banks insolvent and 800 on the still-growing list of problem banks. Commercial real estate is down 40%. A Citigroup rep stated that regulators were to force banks to fess up to all of their losses, hundreds more banks would likely fail, forcing the gov’t insurance fund to borrow as much as $300B from Treasury, read China, to meet its obligations. A professional in commercial real estate noted that accumulated real estate losses due to the recession will easily exceed $1T and another $T in fresh equity, read China, will be required to adequately recapitalize the industry.
Henry, you and I are going to take the hit, just a matter of time. Likely through deflation, inflation or taxation but it’s coming like a freight train, IMO. We can either vote to end it or go with the flow and hope we like it.
The Fed is mandating that $27M of your tax money be used to replace signs on New York City streets to improve ‘readability’ or something like that. I’d rather NYC pay for their own signs. I never voted for anything like that. We need the FED out of our lives, too much democracy. Where, in the Constitution does it say - - -

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 1, 2010 6:49 PM
Comment #309555

Roy,
Why one has to take care discussing a New World Order, with the idea of a One World Government having already being settled among World Leaders I do wish they would do a better job in explaining the different Economic Regions of the Global Market. For why America, China, India, EU, and other nations have worked together over the last 20 years to establish business and market principles and standards. The fact the Hiearchy of each Society and cultures of their citizens do not lend themselve to the same Rule of Authority and Conduct makes even World Regional Government almost impossible.

For example; 30 plus years ago there was a movement in America to change our measurement system from ozs. And pounds to metric. And why we adopted putting the information on our products, the fact today the World still has several standards of the metric system is a testament on how hard it would be for a One World Government to be formed.

Yet, with the Commerce and Trade being fairer and thus cheaper if the Global Market could use the same measurement principles and standards the idea of a New World Order which would treat their members fairly and make international travel easier is something even Americas’ Founding Fathers of America were aware of and gave “We the People” the ability to lead.

So why some would like to abuse the idea all Nations and Societies must use Commmerce and Trade or stand in the way of improving the system. I do believe with New York City being a major international tourist destination that international road signs would only help make our neighbors visits a more pleasant time. For why I don’t know how you feel about driving on the left side of the road. Aware that most countries drive on the right side of the road, try and tell an Emglishman that he needs to learn how to drive on the right side of the road in his own country.

No, IMHO a One World Government could never survive just based on the fact even a Superpower has never been able to hold the Powers-that-Be together long enough for its government to take roots. However, seeing that all Citizens require the same basic things to live in a civilized world I do find a New World Order of Commerce and Trade being created between the Rulers of the Nations and the Consumers of the World.

Especially given that with the help of the internet and overnight shipping a customer in Iowa could have a fresh New Zealand Lamb right off the farm. So why rumors will always fly about how free trade is being abused by the Middle-Man, hopefully as our children grow up they can learn how Free Trade and Regional products can reduce their costs and improve the quality of their basic needs.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at October 1, 2010 10:28 PM
Comment #309569

Henry, some still out there who don’t believe the NAU was/is real. On the back burner, but it’s still there. And, there is Agenda 21 from the UN attempting to give world bodies ever more control of your government.

People should decide now, while they can, as to whether they want a world gov’t or not, IMO. Which UN type Army do you want fighting your wars for you? I’m not so much worried about getting fresh meat flown in from NZ as I am about which Army will protect me when a few Mongol types get together and decide to overthrow the new World Gov’t. Actually, my worries are for my grandkids but my level of concern is no less.

The $27M for NYC street signs is being carried out under a ‘federal mandate’. No carrot and stick here. NYC has signs in all caps and the fed doesn’t like that. Actually, all cities will change their signs out by 2020, having both capital and lower letters, for improved ‘safety’ you know.

Too much democracy, get the FED out of our lives. Hit the polls in November and vote incumbents from office in large numbers, and again in 2012. We can get their attention and we can DOWNSIZE the federal gov’t.

Otherwise, = = =

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 2, 2010 10:26 AM
Comment #309592

I watched a documentary this afternoon on genetically modified plants and animals. The documentary alluded that the EU requires source labeling on their food products. Just us Americans that are being used for guinea pigs. The documentary also relates that there are no rules for these companies dabbling in GM plants and animals. Some India GM watchers are complaining that companies are making some minor genetic modification to a plant species and then claiming patent rights for the species.

Some Canadian organic producers are saying that nearby fields of GM are polluting their organic crops which can’t be sold as organic.

Showed some video of GM’d animals that were grotesque. GM’d salmon is being sold as 100% clean but some scientist are saying the GM’d salmon are more agressive and have shorter life spans among other things.

The GM’ers are saying the fish will be raised sterile and only females will be GM’d. But, who is checking to see if every GM’d fish is sterile? The GM’er, and would you trust the gov’t to do this job?

We have been eating GM’d plants since the 80’s and there is no controlled group study being done to measure the effects. Once a plant or animal is GM’d there is no taking it back, or turning around the results produced.

With no gov’t oversight and behind closed doors, proprietary you know, these companies are playing God in changing plant and animal life that once released there is no putting the genie back in the bottle.

Rather than playing GOD with our plants and animals would it not be wiser to work on holding, reducing, or moving people around to balance out populations?

I want my food labeled as to source and content. I demand to know which mud puddle my CHinese Tilapia came from.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 2, 2010 8:38 PM
Comment #309594

Get the FED out of Education??? The FED is barely in Education and that is the problem. In many states, like NJ, the state has not even had much control. Schools are paid for mostly with local property taxes. So live in a town with expensive homes and you’ll have a better school systme. Live in a poor town and you classroom might be a rest room.
School funding should come from the state or even better from the FED. And the FED should provide the needed guidance.

Posted by: DrTom at October 2, 2010 8:51 PM
Comment #309600

DrTom, a review of these URL’s suggest the Fed is into education bigtime and spending is increasing exponentially. Of course, the Fed wants something for OUR money so they use the old carrot and stick approach.

Like two kids fighting over a basketball. What does the Constitution have to say about education? Why not leave the various states to develop competitive programs and build concensus through competition?

Why should taxpayer funds be collected by the Fed and passed back to the state? The states generally roll over for the Fed as money as a way of persuasion. The Fed should stick to putting a man on the moon or fighting our wars or something close to that recommended by the Constitution, IMO.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue-breakdown.cfm

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue.cfm

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/01/28/federal-education/


http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/248421/education-spending-rich-lowry

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 2, 2010 11:00 PM
Comment #309610

http://newsok.com/school-spending-not-linked-to-successful-schools/article/3500371
DrTom, a review of these URL’s suggest the Fed is into education bigtime and spending is increasing exponentially. Of course, the Fed wants something for OUR money so they use the old carrot and stick approach.

Like two kids fighting over a basketball. What does the Constitution have to say about education? Why not leave the various states to develop competitive programs and build consensus through competition?
Why should taxpayer funds be collected by the Fed and passed back to the state? The states generally roll over for the Fed as money as a way of persuasion. The Fed should stick to putting a man on the moon or fighting our wars or something close to that recommended by the Constitution, IMO.
http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/index.html
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue-breakdown.cfm
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue.cfm
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/01/28/federal-education/
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/248421/education-spending-rich-lowry

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 3, 2010 10:34 AM
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