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  2007-06-07 04:49:30 PM
If you are not worried about the survival of our Republic, please read the following:



September 2006 Imprimis Issue:

"Freedom and Justice in Islam" by Dr. Bernard Lewis

Dr. Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies,
Princeton University

Bernard Lewis, born and raised in London, studied at the University
of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, where he earned a
Ph.D. in the history of Islam. After military and other war service
in World War II, he taught at the University of London until 1974 and
at Princeton University until 1986. He is currently Princeton's
Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies. For
many years he was one of the very few European scholars permitted
access to the archives of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. In addition
to his historical studies, he has published translations of classical
Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Hebrew poetry. Professor Lewis has drawn
on primary sources to produce more than two dozen books, including
The Arabs in History, What Went Wrong? and The Crisis of Islam: Holy
War and Unholy Terror.

The following is a portion of a lecture delivered on July 16, 2006,
on board the Crystal Serenity, during a Hillsdale College cruise in
the British Isles.


"....The third and most recent phase of the Islamic revival is that associated with the name Al-Qaeda-the organization headed by Osama bin Laden. Here I would remind you of the events toward the end of the 20th century: the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan, the withdrawal of the defeated armies into Russia, the collapse and breakdown of the Soviet Union. We are accustomed to regard that as a Western, or more specifically, an American, victory in the Cold War. In the Islamic world, it was nothing of the kind. It was Muslim victory in a Jihad. And, if we are fair about it, we must admit that this interpretation of what happened does not lack plausibility. In the mountains of Afghanistan, which the Soviets had conquered and had been trying to rule, the Taliban were able to inflict one defeat after another on the Soviet forces, eventually driving the Red Army out of the country to defeat and collapse.

Thanks to modern communications and the modern media, we are quite well informed about how AlQaeda perceives things. Osama bin Laden is very articulate, very lucid, and I think on the whole very honest in the way he explains things. As he sees it, and as his followers see it, there has been an ongoing struggle between the two world religions-Christianity and Islam-which began with the advent of Islam in the 7th century and has been going on ever since. The Crusades were one aspect, but there were many others. It is an ongoing struggle of attack and counter-attack, conquest and reconquest, Jihad and Crusade, ending so it seems in a final victory of the West with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire-the last of the great Muslim states-and the partition of most of the Muslim world between the Western powers. As Osama bin Laden puts it: "In this final phase of the ongoing struggle, the world of the infidels was divided between two superpowers-the United States and the Soviet Union. Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two. Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy." And then followed what has become the familiar description of the Americans and the usual litany and recitation of American defeats and retreats: Vietnam, Beirut, Somalia, one after another. The general theme was: They can't take it. Hit them and they'll run. All you have to do is hit harder. This seemed to receive final confirmation during the 1990s when one attack after another on embassies, warships, and barracks brought no response beyond angry words and expensive missiles misdirected to remote and uninhabited places, and in some places-as in Beirut and Somalia-prompt retreats.

What happened on 9/11 was seen by its perpetrators and sponsors as the culmination of the previous phase and the inauguration of the next phase-taking the war into the enemy camp to achieve final victory. The response to 9/11 came as a nasty surprise. They were expecting more of the same-bleating and apologies-instead of which they got a vigorous reaction, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. And as they used to say in Moscow: It is no accident, comrades, that there has been no successful attack in the United States since then. But if one follows the discourse, one can see that the debate in this country since then has caused many of the perpetrators and sponsors to return to their previous diagnosis. Because remember, they have no experience, and therefore no understanding, of the free debate of an open society. What we see as free debate, they see as weakness, fear and division. Thus they prepare for the final victory, the final triumph and the final Jihad.

Conclusion

Let's spend a moment or two defining what we mean by freedom and democracy. There is a view sometimes expressed that "democracy" means the system of government evolved by the English-speaking peoples. Any departure from that is either a crime to be punished or a disease to be cured. I beg to differ from that point of view. Different societies develop different ways of conducting their affairs, and they do not need to resemble ours. And let us remember, after all, that American democracy after the War of Independence was compatible with slavery for three-quarters of a century and with the disenfranchisement of women for longer than that. Democracy is not born like the Phoenix. It comes in stages, and the stages and processes of development will differ from country to country, from society to society. The French cherish the curious illusion that they invented democracy, but since the great revolution of 1789, they have had two monarchies, two empires, two dictatorships, and at the last count, five republics. And I'm not sure that they've got it right yet.

There are, as I've tried to point out, elements in Islamic society which could well be conducive to democracy. And there are encouraging signs at the present moment-what happened in Iraq, for example, with millions of Iraqis willing to stand in line to vote, knowing that they were risking their lives, is a quite extraordinary achievement. It shows great courage, great resolution. Don't be misled by what you read in the media about Iraq. The situation is certainly not good, but there are redeeming features in it. The battle isn't over. It's still very difficult. There are still many major problems to overcome. There is a bitter anti-Western feeling which derives partly and increasingly from our support for what they see as tyrannies ruling over them. It's interesting that pro-American feeling is strongest in countries with anti-American governments. I've been told repeatedly by Iranians that there is no country in the world where pro-American feeling is stronger, deeper and more widespread than Iran. I've heard this from so many different Iranians-including some still living in Iran-that I believe it. When the American planes were flying over Afghanistan, the story was that many Iranians put signs on their roofs in English reading, "This way, please."

So there is a good deal of pro-Western and even specifically pro-American feeling. But the anti-American feeling is strongest in those countries that are ruled by what we are pleased to call "friendly
governments." And it is those, of course, that are the most tyrannical and the most resented by their own people. The outlook at the moment is, I would say, very mixed. I think that the cause of developing free institutions-along their lines, not ours-is possible. One can see signs of its beginning in some countries. At the same time, the forces working against it are very powerful and well entrenched. And one of the greatest dangers is that on their side, they are firm and convinced and resolute. Whereas on our side, we are weak and undecided and irresolute. And in such a combat, it is not difficult to see which side will prevail.

I think that the effort is difficult and the outcome uncertain, but I think the effort must be made. Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.
 
  2007-06-07 10:33:24 PM
gtnickolas: What we see as free debate, they see as weakness, fear and division. Thus they prepare for the final victory, the final triumph and the final Jihad.

So your (or his?) conclusion is because the enemy sees open and free debate as weakness, we should ditch it? Basically if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?

Where does our enlightened professor's speech end and your post begin?

Whereas on our side, we are weak and undecided and irresolute. And in such a combat, it is not difficult to see which side will prevail.

Because we disagree we are weak? Sure, lets just let the terrorists terrorize us into ditching our system of government and ditching our principles.

Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.

Talk about over generalizations, hyperbole, meaningless rhetoric... I mean come on. This statement cannot be taken seriously.

It also contradicts this:

Different societies develop different ways of conducting their affairs, and they do not need to resemble ours.

And this:

stages and processes of development will differ from country to country, from society to society.

...from earlier in his speech.

Just because he's a professor at an Ivy league school doesn't mean he's a) right or b) wise.

Furthermore, we need to bring "them" freedom or "they" will destroy us... who are "they"? The same as "them?" The elusive "other" that we must be afraid of...?

The vast majority of middle easterners to whom we would be "bringing" democracy are not those elusive "others" who seek our destruction.

What is the logical conclusion of what he's saying? Stop disagreeing with the people that want to violently install democracies in the middle east because it "looks weak." Get in line. Follow orders. Stop questioning your leaders.

That to me sounds more cowardly than anything.
 
  2007-06-07 10:40:05 PM
dottedmint: BUT IF I am going to live in the US I really do not need to know anything other than English.

It's not about need, its about opening your mind to discourse with people from other cultures. I personally come from a family of bilingual people, and I am (basically) monolingual. I can get by in spanish and french, but speak them at a level below a pre-schooler. I am insanely jealous of my friends and family when I travel, that they can sit there and strike up a conversation with a foreign stranger and I just have to sit there like a dumbass. It's embarrassing to be in a country such as France or Spain or Tunisia and not know the language, that's how I feel, which is why I still stumble through with my paltry french and spanish whenever I travel to countries that speak these languages.

So of course living in the states only requires english, but thats not why you learn another language- you learn it to expand your horizons. You know? I don't really have a better way of putting that, sorry.
 
  2007-06-07 10:53:41 PM
Matt M.: On the Dem side, I "like" Kucinich because at least he's consistent.

I actually like Kucinich, from what I've heard of him. He just seems more honest than everyone else, because he knows he'll never win. He was the only candidate who didn't give a canned bullsh*t response when asked about how he felt about the Israeli wall, for example, during the last democratic debate back in '04.

But if I have to vote for someone who I thought had a chance, it'd be Obama I think. He also seems to me to be more honest than others, he was one of the only candidates who recently spoke out about his reservations over the immigration bill, for instance. Although, I tend to ignore some of the stories about the candidates, because I find generic stories about them aren't very revealing or trustworthy, so there could be some stuff about both these guys I've overlooked.

As for the republicans... I don't know much about any of them except Romney from when I lived in Mass... If I had to choose, I'd take the one who is least likely to put crazy people on the SCOTUS... I dont know. McCain has done some good stuff, and some really stupid stuff, but I like that he's been against some of the more egregious Bush administration actions regarding Guantanamo and detainees in the war on terror.

The one senator who I consistently see in the news and say "yes! I agree" is Leahy. He always seems to be in the stories about challenging some of the more messed up practices of the Bush admin., such as detainee abuse and the stripping of habeas.

I just like politicians who are honest and stick to their principles. Which means I like none of them. ;)
 
  2007-06-08 12:39:15 AM
Damn it, C-S, stop kicking so much ass. It's embarrassing...;)

Great posts...:)
 
  2007-06-08 07:04:26 AM
C-C: "So of course living in the states only requires english, but thats not why you learn another language- you learn it to expand your horizons. You know?"

Well since I pointed out that I know some Korean, Spanish, and Sign Language yes I do know.

But that is different than what you said before,

"For the record, I think every American should be forced to learn a second language for graduation from high school."

I simply think there are far more important things for high school students to learn than another language.

And if someone is going to come to this country and become a citizen they should learn English.
 
  2007-06-08 08:56:31 PM
dottedmint: I simply think there are far more important things for high school students to learn than another language.

Well thats where we disagree. That way of thinking is why Americans are stereotyped the way they are. Learning another language should be important, not merely a luxury or an after thought. It should be on the same level as learning basic math, history, and so on.

I mean, what are our high school students really learning anyway? What are they really coming away from high school with? Another language would be a concrete skill they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Being bi-lingual is a great asset when you're looking for a job also, and the way things are going more and more young people need to work during college, if they even go.

And thanks whidbey, you're not too shabby yourself bud ;)
 
  2007-06-08 09:52:22 PM
dottedmint: And if someone is going to come to this country and become a citizen they should learn English.

If that's true, then why isn't that condition of being a citizen enforced? Could it be that most naturalized citizens do know enough English to get by?

And what's it have to do with you, anyway? Who cares if someone speaks English or not? Many immigrants do just fine without it.

Not to mention that their kids end up speaking English in school, so I don't really see why it's an issue.

Cleveland-Steamer: Learning another language should be important, not merely a luxury or an after thought. It should be on the same level as learning basic math, history, and so on.

Absolutely. Learning another language teaches people about their own.

It really bothers me that there's such a level of xenophobia in this country. OMG the Mexicans are coming! The Chinese! The Vietnamese! We don't even bother to understand other cultures, we just look at them as cheap labor.

It would be incredibly insulting if someone had the audacity to post "English Only" signs in Chinatown here...
 
  2007-06-08 11:12:16 PM
C-S: "It should be on the same level as learning basic math, history, and so on."

No.

Learning how to speak Spanish is NOT even close to being as important as having good math or science skills.

Have you ever had the mispleasure of going to a store when the power is out?

I have.

I had some high school kid acting like making change for my purchase was as hard as rocket science.

But you think it is as important that they can say gracias when they give me the incorrect change.

I don't.

I might change my mind if our students had top ratings in math and science but they don't.
 
  2007-06-09 02:15:04 AM
dottedmint:
I might change my mind if our students had top ratings in math and science but they don't.

I dunno, you're making a very good argument for education reform in general.

There are probably CEOs that get paid millions that can't wouldn't be able to count your change back to you for that matter...
 
  2007-06-09 07:38:24 PM
Education reform? I'm all for that. Only problem is, who decides what is taught? And, what should every American know when they graduate from school?

I've always been of the opinion that parents should be allowed to choose what their children learn and where the learning is done. That's a completely different topic, however.

Whidbey, I'd fight with you some more about "talking" with Mexico about immigration, but I'm not in a discussing mood right now. Maybe tomorrow after work or something.

As for the POTUS candidates, I really like Gingrich, except he's not a candidate, and I don't know if he will be. Thing is, though, that he's very polarizing, so I don't know if he would be appealing enough to actually garner a lot of votes. Yeah, he could beat pretty much anyone in a debate, but I don't think that's enough.
 
  2007-06-10 10:15:26 AM
Matt: "And, what should every American know when they graduate from school?

I've always been of the opinion that parents should be allowed to choose what their children learn and where the learning is done."


I would say that every student coming out of high school should have top scores in Math and Science to start.

When I hear of students from other countries having higher scores in these subjects I worry a bit about our future.

I also think they should have a strong knowledge of History and Reading/Writing.

I wish high schools would teach more about US Government and The US Constitution.

I admit that they might teach more on those subjects than I realize but my school didn't cover those too much.

Granted...it has been a few years since I left high school.

And I fully support giving parents vouchers to have the chance to decide where their children go to school.

IF a private or even religous school would better fit my childs needs I (as a parent) should be able to send my child where I wish by using vouchers.
 
  2007-06-10 02:52:10 PM
dottedmint: And I fully support giving parents vouchers to have the chance to decide where their children go to school.

Why not just put that voucher money straight into the public school system?

The more hands money passes through, the less efficiently it's spent.
 
  2007-06-10 05:52:21 PM
C-S

That is an option I've seen kicked around for the voucher system. Let me oversimplify and generalize what a voucher system is supposed to do.

State/local government determines that X amount of money is spent each year per student. Let's just say it's $100.

Under current laws in pretty much every state and local government, each student is assigned the school which they are to attend by the area/district in which they live.

Under vouchers, a parent could say, "I want to go to the school in the next district over (The Cleveland-Steamer Academy for Gifted Students), because they have better teachers/higher percentage of graduates/whatever." The parent fills out the required paperwork and voila! the kid is enrolled the other school. (Interestingly enough, I've never heard any voucher advocates talk about transportation issues with students attending schools in another district or area.)

By doing this, the parent has effectively taken that $100 from the old school (The Matt M. Memorial Middle School) and given it to the new school (The Cleveland-Steamer Academy for Gifted Students). The money never passed through the parents' hands, but was simply redistributed. See, the voucher money we're talking about is already in the school system. In this case, the money would be spent more effectively and more efficiently.

Effectively, schools get rewarded by the results they provide. And of course, schools that don't provide good results lose funding, causing them to, hopefully, clean up their act and change things up to be more competitive.

Private schools should be affected the same way as public schools, as long as they meet some pre-determined criteria for education quality or whatever.

So, maybe not as short as I intended, but hopefully it's good enough.
 
  2007-06-10 07:38:33 PM
Matt M.: Private schools should be affected the same way as public schools, as long as they meet some pre-determined criteria for education quality or whatever.

Having placed a grandchild in a voucher-paid private school, I'd have to say that we have a long way to go, as far as voucher system in Arizona. When placed in a (admittedly much better financed) public school, my wife and I found out that, what had been glowing reports of accomplishment last year from the private school was as informative as Bush's WMD reports. She is now RETAKING 2nd grade.

Effectively, schools get rewarded by the results they provide. And of course, schools that don't provide good results lose funding, causing them to, hopefully, clean up their act and change things up to be more competitive.

So what happens to the schools forced to attempt teaching the not-so gifted students, pushed on them because good students are at the high-scoring schools? How exactly do they clean up their act? they're not gonna be able to get the good teachers to come in because they are being punished financially, and the seasoned pros are already making more at the high scoring schools. As a retired union worker, allow me to blaspheme here and say that the Teacher's unions need to cull some dead wood from the ranks, and the only fair and efficient way to do this is for the districts be allowed more leeway on this subject. Believe me, after approximately 10 years of the 'No more free rides for slackers' work policy, we were able to negotiate much higher wage packages because the contractors admitted we were worth every penny.

After reading such well written posts by previous responders, I feel like I tracked mud into your just mopped thread, what with that unneeded Bushism thrown in! I will endeavor to not make a habit of it.
 
  2007-06-10 10:22:47 PM
Having placed a grandchild in a voucher-paid private school, I'd have to say that we have a long way to go, as far as voucher system in Arizona. When placed in a (admittedly much better financed) public school, my wife and I found out that, what had been glowing reports of accomplishment last year from the private school was as informative as Bush's WMD reports. She is now RETAKING 2nd grade.

I'm sorry to hear that. However, no system of fixing the school system that we presently have is perfect. I'm not saying that a voucher system is a panacea, but is certainly better than what we've got now. The best system in which a child can succeed is where the parents and teachers work together.

So what happens to the schools forced to attempt teaching the not-so gifted students, pushed on them because good students are at the high-scoring schools? How exactly do they clean up their act?

Survival of the fittest, I guess. At some point, someone will have to figure out what is working and what is not. The problem with most of the opposition I have seen to the voucher idea comes from people who want to be sympathetic to the districts or the teachers or the administration, when it's our children who would benefit the most and it's our children who need this change. Why should we reward substandard teaching practices and administrations who don't care to fix those substandard practices?

Those not-so-gifted students weren't "pushed" on those teachers. They were already there. No change for those students. In fact, they might do better, since there's a lot of research that a smaller teacher to student ratio helps children learn. Hopefully the good schools would remember that, too.

Our education system didn't get screwed up in a matter of a year or two, but over a period of decades. It's not going to take a year or two to fix the problem. Like I said earlier, too, vouchers are not a panacea.

After reading such well written posts by previous responders, I feel like I tracked mud into your just mopped thread, what with that unneeded Bushism thrown in! I will endeavor to not make a habit of it.

Hey, no problem at all. Your points were valid and your story compelling. Bushisms are fine. I think we're all grown-up enough that we can take a little punching around. You are welcome here. :-)
 
  2007-06-11 10:56:49 PM
School Choice

School choice is not intended to be a fix all for the whole education problem.

What school choice does offer is competition and accountability.

Without choice there is none of that.

You have a monopoly that is unaccountable.
 
  2007-06-12 11:45:24 PM
Matt M.: Survival of the fittest, I guess. At some point, someone will have to figure out what is working and what is not.

I really gotta say I don't like the idea of educational learning facilities as something whose purpose is to "compete" with each other, especially for funding.

Every school should have a certain standard of quality for the education they provide. I can't help but think our tax dollars are going through many middle men.
 
  2007-06-13 08:34:37 PM
I really gotta say I don't like the idea of educational learning facilities as something whose purpose is to "compete" with each other, especially for funding.

The main purpose of a school, governmental or otherwise, will always be the education of children. Competition simply makes an opportunity for everyone to be better. The purpose will never be competition. And if it does become the purpose, then that is only better for the children because either 1. the competition will make the schools better because they desire to get more funding, or 2. the schools that "look" competitive but don't deliver the goods will likely be exposed, and parents will move their children to the good schools. Win-win for the children and parents, who should be the focus for this change.

Every school should have a certain standard of quality for the education they provide.

I'm sure they do. But, like immigration, it's obvious that something is broken because the law isn't being enforced and children aren't being taught to standard. We have a 30% High School dropout rate and an alarming percentage (read: I don't know the actual statistic) of students that actually graduate who can't read. So, if what we are doing isn't working, we need to do something else.

I can't help but think our tax dollars are going through many middle men.

Yeah, I agree. The problem is, we have a Congress that spends someone else's money on stuff that doesn't affect them. That's the best recipe for waste.

So, what do y'all think about term limits?
 
  2007-06-13 10:04:12 PM
Matt M.: By doing this, the parent has effectively taken that $100 from the old school (The Matt M. Memorial Middle School) and given it to the new schoo

The voucher systems I've read about don't work that way. Instead, the money is coming from a general fund of tax payer money which was previously going to a public school and is being funneled into a private school. Why not just put your child in the private school and pay for it yourself?

See, the voucher money we're talking about is already in the school system. In this case, the money would be spent more effectively and more efficiently.

What I've classically seen is voucher systems where the money goes out of the public school system and into the private system. That's government tax payer money that's leaving the school which, hypothetically, needs improvement because its students want to leave. How does that help that school? Not all the students can just go somewhere else. That school needs to be improved. Schools are one of the areas where, yes, throwing more money at them will help, so long as the money is spent wisely. Like, for instance, hiring more teachers, buying more computers, newer textbooks, etc. That's the route we need to go. Vouchers just seems to leave schools behind to fend for themselves, with less money and less resources.

From NEA: (Nat'l Education Assoc.) "Each year, about $65 million dollars is spent by foundations and individuals to promote vouchers. In election years, voucher advocates spend even more on ballot measures and in support of pro-voucher candidates."

$65 million! If they care about education, maybe they should spend that on schools?

From the NEA: "...vouchers remain an elitist strategy. From Milton Friedman's first proposals, through the tuition tax credit proposals of Ronald Reagan, through the voucher proposals on ballots in California, Colorado, and elsewhere, privatization strategies are about subsidizing tuition for students in private schools, not expanding opportunities for low-income children." (NEA (pops))

This is similar to what I've always thought about the voucher system. It doesn't seem to be intended to help low income families go to better schools. Instead, it seems geared towards helping those who qualify for the voucher system (and there are too many different systems for me to make an accurate assessment of who qualifies) get out of problematic schools, or schools which, for whatever reason, parents don't want their children in, without fixing the problematic schools in the first place.

How will these schools get better if a) their money is being taken away, and b) they are (theoretically) losing smarter students? (Since in theory it would be the students who are accepted at the private schools who leave, or the students who are doing better on the tests and whose parents want out.)

Other problems also exist. Namely, 85% of private schools are religious based, and are not regulated by anti-discrimination rules and federal laws the way public schools are. Not to mention that tax payer money going to religious based schools brings up a host of constitutional issues. Also, what if they discriminate? What if there are other problems?

In general, it just doesn't seem to solve the main problem-(but actually seems to create more)-our schools need more money! How about we stop spending $400 billion a year on our military, and maybe pay more attention to the education and social welfare of our citizens?

dottedmint: What school choice does offer is competition and accountability.

From the National Education Assoc.: "Where vouchers are in place -- Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Florida -- a two-tiered system has been set up that holds students in public and private schools to different standards."

That doesn't seem right. If you're holding two sets of schools to two sets of standards, how do you accurately compare them? How do you know one is doing better than the other?

Competition: I am unaware of any evidence to show that any "free market" school system improves education. However, there are other tried and true ways which have been shown to improve schools, such as scientifically studied and implemented reading programs,(hooked on phonix! I still remember rules from that 2nd grade program...) reducing class size, etc.

"In fact, the most dramatic improvements in student achievement have occurred in places where vouchers do not exist - such as Texas, North Carolina, Connecticut and Chicago."

All the quotes above are from the NEA (pops)site.

Free market and competition doesn't solve everything. The voucher system seems to be more of the same thing I've seen from certain sectors of the right, i.e. taking money out of the government system and privatizing it, such as social security programs, changes to low income health care programs, etc.
 
  2007-06-13 10:49:13 PM
Matt M.: So, what do y'all think about term limits?

What kind of term limits?

I think SCOTUS and judicial term limits are an interesting discussion... are life time terms for judges really that smart these days, considering life expectancy has risen significantly from when this country began, and that judges are being installed at younger ages than they were previously? (Younger relatively speaking, like in their 50's instead of in their 70's.) What purpose does it serve? As long as they are not voted on, isn't the primary goal of our system of checks and balances still maintained?
 
  2007-06-14 10:00:04 AM
C-S

I'll respond to your individual comments later on tonight, but I want to get something off my chest here.

The thing that gets me about political discussions is the polarization. C-S, I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt because you asked me to give it to you, back when we talked about the pre-war intelligence. So now, I've presented a topic (school vouchers) that is relatively undiscussed anywhere I've gone. There's rarely any talk of it in the media, very little discussion on left or right talk radio, and I have yet to have even one discussion with a real person about it. Maybe my frame of reference is off, but I can only talk about what I know.

You expressed your general opinion of it, which seemed as though you didn't know much about the issue. That may or may not be true, I'm only basing my statement from what I've read here.

I then attempted to give a broad overview of the subject, overgeneralizing of course, but hopefully presenting an understandable explanation of the subject.

And you countered with some research that you conducted that disagreed, which is fine. We're here to discuss ideas after all. Even though the NEA is the largest politically active teacher's union in the US and would lose a significant portion of their powerbase (because the power would be taken from the teachers/government and given to the parents/children) if vouchers were enacted nationally- so it's no wonder they are against them... But that's another topic.

However, what concerns me is that you appeared to do no research that would be in favor of vouchers. It appears to me that you simply took up a position that is contrary to mine simply because we have opposite world-views, yours on the left and mine on the right. I see this a lot in other places: the other guy is wrong because he's a liberal/conservative and I must find out why he is wrong. Period. Honestly, talk radio is a huge reason why this is so prevalent in our society today, especially right-wing talk radio. But that, too, is another discussion.

I'm not trying to attack you personally, and in fact, my statements aren't completely about this discussion. They simply express a general frustration with political discussions, that people make knee-jerk reactions based on what other people say and automatically assume they are wrong simply because they don't hold the same world-view as we do. Granted, I do it at times, and I think I've done it a couple times on this board, but at the very least I'd at least like to point out that after those discussions, I've done a bit more research into those topics and in many cases, I've changed my viewpoint.

Anyway, sorry for being personal and my purpose was not to offend but simply express a frustration. I can say, however, that I feel you've been honest with us at every step of the way and most of your posts seem to be well-thought-out and intelligently written. I enjoy reading your stuff, really.
 
  2007-06-14 08:57:00 PM
Matt M.: However, what concerns me is that you appeared to do no research that would be in favor of vouchers.

Well, it appears that you did no research against vouchers...? You can really say that about anything, I don't really see the point of your comment.

I was answering your comments. If I look into the voucher issue, I look into it trying to find out information, good or bad, whatever it is. Obviously, a predisposition is going to slightly skew what information I find relevant or informative, the way two opposing attorneys looking at a case will both pick the facts they want to highlight in a case. In this kind of debate, it's not my job to try and support your position, as much as it is to simply make a compelling argument for a position which I agree with and refute whatever arguments you put forth. Then you refute mine, you cite your evidence, we both learn a thing or two, and maybe once in a blue moon someone's opinion changes.

As far as actively searching for positive things about vouchers, if you have research that backs up vouchers and their effectiveness I'd love to hear it, but I found none. I found zero evidence which concludes that vouchers are an effective way of improving education. I have always disagreed with vouchers, and I'm taking that position now, and I found relevant websites which cite studies and evidence and so on which support my conclusions. It has nothing to do with disagreeing with you for the sake of disagreeing, and it's not a knee jerk reaction. There are far more posts on Fark that are worthy of your reaction than mine, I think. I really find what I did perfectly reasonable, so sorry but I don't really find what you said relevant to me.

You make an argument, I respond with my arguments, seems pretty standard stuff. I can't really say I share your concern on this one or that I really understand what the problem here is. You posted what you thought, I posted what I thought. Like I said earlier, I could sit here and say it appears you didn't do any research against vouchers either. What does that accomplish? If I want you to think vouchers are wrong thats my job to convince you or at least make a compelling argument that they are not effective. Same goes for you.

I understand your frustration, but I don't think it applies here.
 
  2007-06-14 10:59:21 PM
I am sorry for not having figured out how to post links (I know some of you have tried to explain it to me but for some reason it escapes me) but I do have the addresses of a couple of articles that point to some positive effects of School Choice.


http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Papers/dnw00x.pdf

Test-Score Effects of School Vouchers
in Dayton, Ohio, New York City, and Washington, D. C.:
Evidence from Randomized Field Trials

In the late 1990s, three privately-funded school voucher programs for students
from low-income families were established in the Dayton, Ohio metropolitan area, New
York City, and Washington, D. C.

In the three cities taken together, the average, overall test-score performance of
African American students who switched from public to private schools was, after
one year, 3.3 NPR points higher, and, after two years, 6.3 NPR points higher than the
performance of the control group remaining in public schools. In each city, the
difference after two years was statistically significant.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2595

In Milwaukee, for example (where children receive vouchers worth up to $5,783), the improvement in the public schools has been impressive. Students in public schools where at least two-thirds of students were eligible for vouchers scored 8.1, 13.8, and 8.0 national percentile rank points higher in math, science, and language, respectively. Although still positive, achievement gains were somewhat smaller for students in public schools, where fewer students were eligible for vouchers.

The story in Michigan and Arizona is similar. In both states, public schools raised achievement in response to competition. The largest achievement gains were in those public schools that faced the most competition.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/ednotes73.cfm

Dr. Aud, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, studied eleven school voucher programs in eight states. She found that the programs saved state and local taxpayers $444 million from 1990 to 2006-$22 million for state budgets and $422 million for local school districts. Those savings mean that more can be spent on those students who do remain in public schools.
 
  2007-06-15 09:46:33 AM
C-S

We both basically said the same thing: I present my side, you present your side. We discuss. Essentially, I agree with most of your most recent post.

If I have you pegged wrong, my apologies. But understand I made my assessment based only on what you said, which up until your second post was basically nothing and then your second post was mostly verbatim from the NEA's website. I try not to Poison the Well (attack sources) in debate, but using the NEA to talk about solutions to education problems makes it very difficult for me not to.

I found zero evidence

Zero? Really? Then it's pretty obvious that you didn't look for any, which makes my previous point accurate and relevant.

Do a Google search for School Voucher Success. Or, just click on that link. Opposing results can be found with "School Voucher Failure" typed in the search field, but it appears you've already done that search, so I won't put it here.

I don't blame you, though. We have 75 million years of neurobiological evolution working against us. Our brains aren't wired to see things with which we disagree, for the most part. And why should I expect you to even try to agree with someone you don't know or have never met?

I understand that school vouchers are not the perfect solution and not every district or city even needs school vouchers and there are some negatives that come with vouchers. I have said before and I'll say again that vouchers are not a panacea. But they are better than what we have now. And I also don't believe that a "vouchers only" system is the way to go. There are other proven methods that will improve schools and in some cases, they might work a little better in some places than they do in other places. But, school vouchers are at least a start. The voucher idea is still in the infant/toddler phase and needs a lot of refinement. They are not a blanket cure for what ails the schools, which is one thing the NEA site was trying to argue that proponents of vouchers were saying. Problems with the school systems are extremely complex. One method, like vouchers, won't fix everything.

Before I quit, here is an interesting article about the state of public education.

-snippet-
The problem with [this] is that they leave out the simple fact that one of the surest ways to leave a kid "behind" is to hand him over to the government. Americans want universal education, just as they want universally safe food. But nobody believes that the government should run 90 percent of the restaurants, farms, and supermarkets. Why should it run 90 percent of the schools - particularly when it gets terrible results?
...
What about the good public schools? Well, the reason good public schools are good has nothing to do with government's special expertise and everything to do with the fact that parents care enough to ensure their kids get a good education. That wouldn't change if the government got out of the school business. What would change is that fewer kids would get left behind."
-end snippet-

dottedmint, thanks for picking up my slack.
 
  2007-06-15 10:01:13 PM
Matt: "I understand that school vouchers are not the perfect solution and not every district or city even needs school vouchers and there are some negatives that come with vouchers."

Right.

Some school districts do not need a voucher system. They are true professionals who want to bring out the best in their students.

In other districts vouchers might be the best option for the district and the students.

Simply pouring more money into a district will not always improve the situation.

Basically some schools are unwilling to improve their performance.


I found this comparison of what teachers make in Wisconsin.

http://www.wpri.org/WIInterest/Vol11No3/Niederjohn11.3.pdf

Public School Teachers 4-Year College Degree ($40,976) Master's Degree ($52,208)

Private School Teachers 4-Year College Degree ($33,384) Master's Degree ($43,576)

I find this interesting because most studies show that private schools will outperform public schools.

This would suggest that paying teachers more is not the answer to having better scores.

This is also considering that most teachers don't work 3 months during the summer.

IF they worked year round their income would be even higher.

And most unioned teachers have gold plated benefits packages....
 
  2007-06-16 12:04:33 AM
Matt M.: What about the good public schools? Well, the reason good public schools are good has nothing to do with government's special expertise and everything to do with the fact that parents care enough to ensure their kids get a good education. That wouldn't change if the government got out of the school business. What would change is that fewer kids would get left behind."

First off, let me say that I am willing to give vouchers a chance to work, in certain circumstances. Having said this, and being far too lazy to follow up on your link's methodology, generalizing that proper parenting makes for better scoring at school seems like only half the picture. I do know, and can confidently state that schools that do well in the testing scores are overwhelmingly from well funded districts. It seems obvious to me that when the kid's parents aren't scraping to get by paycheck to paycheck, the children are going to have much more resources to aid their education. While being an apologist for neglectful parents is extremely non-PC, I know from personal experience that money problems have a tendency to bleed onto other areas of a family's life. When someone from a disadvantaged childhood pulls themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed, it's news because it happens so infrequently.

dottedmint: The story in Michigan and Arizona is similar. In both states, public schools raised achievement in response to competition. The largest achievement gains were in those public schools that faced the most competition.

I wonder if they authors of this study took into consideration the state of school funding in Arizona,especially during the '90's.(the only state I know anything about.) The State Supreme court was on the verge of $10,000 a day fines assessed the legislature due to the overwhelming(yeah, we lefties loves that word) lopsided school tax base. Rich districts had indoor swimming pools, while the poor districts had to scrape to fund repairs to the dilapidated school rooms.

This would suggest that paying teachers more is not the answer to having better scores.

I have never felt that pay has any bearing, whatsoever, as to performance. Nonetheless I have seen the private school teachers in action; In most cases privateers(heh heh) have nowhere near the stresses of their public school counterparts.
 
  2007-06-16 05:33:51 AM
The problem with [this] is that they leave out the simple fact that one of the surest ways to leave a kid "behind" is to hand him over to the government. Americans want universal education, just as they want universally safe food. But nobody believes that the government should run 90 percent of the restaurants, farms, and supermarkets. Why should it run 90 percent of the schools - particularly when it gets terrible results?

What a terrible analogy. Public schools are bad enough as it is; the idea of creating a series of McDonaldesque private schools for the lower classes is just disgusting.

The public school system struggles with equality as it is; but the answer is not create a tier or franchise system of private schools that will do nothing but further entrench the class divisions within the country.

Equality in education is something that every civilized nation should strive for; the moment you privatize education is the moment in which we revert to a wonderful period in which the wealthy receive an education, while the best the poor can hope for are apprenticeships in a vocation or trade.
 
  2007-06-16 08:56:54 AM
Trog69: "It seems obvious to me that when the kid's parents aren't scraping to get by paycheck to paycheck, the children are going to have much more resources to aid their education."

Well...

Vouchers are usually set up to try to help the students of the poorer districts.

And usually vouchers are not given to the star students. They are usually given to the students who are struggling because the public schools have failed them.
 
  2007-06-16 07:35:09 PM
dottedmint: And usually vouchers are not given to the star students. They are usually given to the students who are struggling because the public schools have failed them.

My point being that to say that the public schools failed them is to ignore the fact that the failing public schools are in predominantly poorer districts.

Public school in a poor neighborhood performing poorly due to a lack of funds= take more money away from them.
 
  2007-06-16 07:42:28 PM
dottedmint, while typing my response to you, it occurred to me that I had read that the US school system spends much more per student than other industrialized countries with similar setups. Just as in Health Care, we seem to do things rather inefficiently. I realize that vouchers is at least an attempt to right things; I haven't been sold on it's value just yet. Maybe because I think that teachers, by and large, are doing the best they can while their hands are tied behind their backs.
 
  2007-06-16 11:44:06 PM
Trog: "Maybe because I think that teachers, by and large, are doing the best they can while their hands are tied behind their backs."

I would tend to agree with you.

MOST teachers do the best that they can.

And for those teachers I would say they probably do NOT get paid as much as they should.

The problem is that there are enough teachers who don't.

That's one problem with having teachers being unionized.

The bad teachers are treated the same as the good teachers.
 
  2007-06-17 05:39:57 AM
dottedmint: That's one problem with having teachers being unionized.

The bad teachers are treated the same as the good teachers.


As I stated before, there should be much more accountability and the ability to scrutinize the study plans of individuals. I don't think there are as many bad ones as you seem to infer.

I really am curious; is the anti-union kool-aid you've been guzzling taste that good? You have obviously seen the outrageous pay and work schedules the NY janitors unions(moppers mob?) have bamboozled the city out of, and decided that every union is the same shiatheads as them. BS!
 
  2007-06-17 07:22:04 AM
QUESTION FOR LEEROY JENKINS' LAWYER:

If someone drunk attacks you and so you then try to lure them to their death by running into traffic, and they are smushed, are you then guilty of manslaughter?
 
  2007-06-17 08:26:13 AM
Trog "I really am curious; is the anti-union kool-aid you've been guzzling taste that good?"

"anti-union kool-aid"??????


I find that rather funny since I basically said the same thing that you posted in your user profile.

Trogs profile: "Admittedly, there were some layabouts and hack-artists, guys who put up a whole lot of crap work, but honestly, many more were like me; proud of the quality of our work and giving them 8 for 8."

All I had said is, "That's one problem with having teachers being unionized.

The bad teachers are treated the same as the good teachers."


and you accused me of drinking "anti-union kool-aid".

Funny......

I don't have a problem with teachers being unionized.

I DO think that they (as well as other unions) should do a better job of dealing with (as you put it) "layabouts and hack-artists".
 
  2007-06-17 12:34:02 PM
Yay! More people!

I was trying to determine how to update my profile, like Trog has done, but I could not find the right link. However, I did take the political test in his profile and got:

Social Moderate
(43% permissive)
Economic Conservative
(66% permissive)
You are best described as a:
Centrist (66e/43s)

I also noted that the final graph with the doughnut describing where the test-taker might fall only names the extremist slices on the Right, but has no names of recognition for extremists on the Left. For instance, they left out Communist, under the Socialist area and they left out Dictator-style rule (Monarchist, I guess) on the other side, near Totalitarian. Additionally, under the explanation of results, they listed that "a highly permissive system" which is described as folks on the Right would lead to "unrestricted child labor and millions of poor people with black lung." However, "a highly regulated system," which would be folks on the Left, would only lead to "stagnation, sameness, and unhappiness." Yeah... no bias there.

So, on with the discussion....

Aeonic Blue

Equality in education is something that every civilized nation should strive for; the moment you privatize education is the moment in which we revert to a wonderful period in which the wealthy receive an education, while the best the poor can hope for are apprenticeships in a vocation or trade.

Yay! Generalizations and a slippery slope! First of all, it appears you don't truly understand the concept of vouchers. Vouchers would actually equalize the gap between the "rich" and "poor" students' education. Really, it's got quite a jolt of Leftyism, equalization of upper and lower class education... as if there were only those two levels of education.... It's one of those things that I think a conservative probably thought of first, but the Left doesn't like for the primary reason that it is endorsed by the Right, for the most part. I won't get into a discussion about "rich" versus "poor" but we can at another time. In fact, I'd love to have that discussion at a later time.

Trog, I was with you until the "kool-aid" comment. The biggest problem I have with unionized teachers is exactly what dottedmint said, that bad teachers are treated the same as good teachers and that every employee is basically a pawn of the union to be used against the employer, while the employer can't fire the bad employee to make the job better for the good employees and thus the students. The problem is, it is unlikely a union will ever penalize a "layabout and hack-artist" simply because that diminishes the power of the union itself, and adds a little power to the employer, which is unthinkable.

One thing that's not being said is that just because a school is in a poor district does not mean that the money spent per student isn't high. Bigger cities, like D.C. spend loads of money per student, yet look at the conditions of student bodies. Money does not solve the problem, just as the lack of money does not create a problem, though I will admit that the lack of money exasperates a problem.
 
  2007-06-17 10:48:54 PM
All right, already. I'll take back the "kool-aid comment. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. On way too many occasions I've battled it out with ignorant gits who, for reasons they can't articulate, just hate unions. GRRRR!!!

AS I've said before, the construction trades, by and large, have learned their lessons and pruned the 'deadwood'. In the academic realm, it's not as easy pointing to some teacher and saying "yep, you gotta go; lower test scores during the last two semesters. Here's $20 bucks for the pencils you bought; now, beat it."

"Yeah", say the poor, miseducated runts.

How many momma's boys did she(is it ok to be non-PC and just say 'she', since men teachers are goobers who are too afraid to work in the real world? J/K) have to put up with? How many dull normals did the noob get stuck with? As I said, the administration must have more leeway to can the bad ones, but the obverse is blatant; the front office is waaaay too worried about lawsuits to ever back up the teachers. In my example with my 2nd grader, you would have laughed your asses off watching the principal and the teacher try to tell me, in very nonthreatening terms, and in the nicest way possible, that my grandchild just isn't 3rd grade ready yet.When I cut to the chase and said "Why don't we just put her back in 2nd grade, the relief was obvious. Very sad. I would guess, by their worries, that more than one parent, hearing similar news, would just come undone. "My little Heather/jason is SMART, so you people just shut up, or I'm calling my..."

So, how 'bout them Bears?
 
  2007-06-17 11:45:37 PM
Trog: "All right, already. I'll take back the "kool-aid comment. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. On way too many occasions I've battled it out with ignorant gits who, for reasons they can't articulate, just hate unions. GRRRR!!!"

Do I "hate unions"?

No.

But I have seen the negative effects some unions can have.

Perhaps "effects" isn't the best choice of words but I have seen the failings of the union mentality.

"In my example with my 2nd grader, you would have laughed your asses off watching the principal and the teacher try to tell me, in very nonthreatening terms, and in the nicest way possible, that my grandchild just isn't 3rd grade ready yet."

And it sounds like this school failed your grandchild.

A friend's grandchild is disabled and the school that he was enrolled in did not have the programs to help him reach his fullest potential. Vouchers were not available and the best option was for him to move to a different school district where they had the programs to help his grandchild reach his fullest potential.

Luckily for him and his grandchild moving was not that big of a problem but for some people moving to a different district isn't an option.
 
  2007-06-18 08:39:42 AM
dottedmint: A friend's grandchild is disabled and the school that he was enrolled in did not have the programs to help him reach his fullest potential. Vouchers were not available and the best option was for him to move to a different school district where they had the programs to help his grandchild reach his fullest potential.

Exactly. Why is it that one school district has program to help disabled children and not the other? (For the record, it was 3 weeks into the school year, and she was a little bit younger than most of the other 3rd graders. Now she's just a little older than her classmates.)

Matt M.: We have a 30% High School dropout rate and an alarming percentage (read: I don't know the actual statistic) of students that actually graduate who can't read. So, if what we are doing isn't working, we need to do something else.

I have never understood why thy school system is blamed for dropout rates. If the parents don't instill a sense of self-worth/responsibility in their kids, how does that all of a sudden become the teacher's/school's fault? I think that if both parents didn't have to kill themselves working in this 'have money or get f'ed' society, they'd have the time to spend with their kids.
 
  2007-06-18 10:26:21 PM
Matt M.: but using the NEA to talk about solutions to education problems makes it very difficult for me not to.

What's wrong with them, then? Explain why they are full of it, or why the issues posed on their site, some of which I mentioned, are wrong.

Zero? Really? Then it's pretty obvious that you didn't look for any, which makes my previous point accurate and relevant.

The only person that hasn't really said very much in the way of pointing out evidence and making arguments is yourself, because that's two posts to me which have basically attacked me and my sources without really citing anything or answering any of the points raised.

Do a Google search for School Voucher Success. Or, just click on that link.

OK. Did you search for evidence to support your position? If this link is the fruit of your search, then I must say I am relieved, because it appears you couldn't find any evidence either.

I clicked that link and here is what I found:

The very first hit is attacked about 4 hits later in a USA Today article, with this little gem:

"Education Secretary Margaret Spellings claimed an administration "success" with publicly funded private school vouchers in Washington, D.C. There is no factual basis for her claim. Neither the administration nor Congress has produced a shred of evidence that the D.C. vouchers increase student academic performance."

No evidence.

The first link also has some interesting info:

The program provides as much as $7,500 a year per student to cover fees and other educational expenses. It is open to families earning less than 185 percent of federal poverty-level wages, or $34,873 for a family of four.
Annual tuition rates at participating schools range from $3,000 to more than $22,000.

So in some instances the scholarship covers no more than a third of the cost of tuition. The article also mentions that those students who were not accepted receive no money and the article made no mention regarding what extra money those schools were receiving, or whether those schools which were losing students were actually improving.

No evidence.


Next link, which cites the Harvard study mentioned by dottedmint:

"He reports that students in the program gained 4 percentile points in reading and 6 percentile points in math, compared with a control group of students who had applied for, but did not win, a spot in the program."

The students which didn't leave remained in their same percentile, while students that did leave gained a small amount. OK, different schools can have a positive or negative effect on how well students learn. Is that a revelation to anyone? Did the study show improvement in the school which lost the students? Isn't that the point-- that competition will motivate the old schools to shape up? After all, as you said:

Competition simply makes an opportunity for everyone to be better.

Hmmm, that study doesn't show that to be happening. In fact, it definitively says that is not the case.

No evidence.

Another article talks about the Utah voucher debate which raged in that state:

"A key difference is that the second bill does not include money to help public schools whose students leave for private schools. "

So... students leave, and then the school loses the money which that student's spot earned. How does that help that school improve?

In many of those links, the supporters of the voucher system cited opinion polls which showed Americans "agreed" with them. They didn't cite studies, they didn't cite anything. I commonly see this tactic used, actually, as it appears in almost all the sites which support vouchers:

"As more states and parents are experiencing choice and seeing the change that it has in the lives of students, I think as a culture we're opening up to it," said Matt Warner, the education task force director at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization of conservative state legislators that puts forth model legislation.

"National public opinion polls show that school voucher programs have become more popular over the years and are actually more popular with Democrats than Republicans."

Those are from two separate sites in your link. I've seen that more often though. Is that really relevant, what people "think" about the programs, before their effectiveness has been proven or disproven?

That's not evidence.

Next link:

"In early 2001, the Manhattan Institute published a widely disseminated report that supported this view by claiming that Florida's voucher system had generated significant improvements in the performance of the state's lowest performing schools. However, according to Duke University researchers Dr. Helen F. Ladd and Dr. Elizabeth J. Glennie, the improvement of Florida's low-performing schools probably had more to do with the implementation of that state's accountability system than with the threat of students leaving the schools via the voucher system."

The article's conclusion:
This and similar studies conducted elsewhere suggest that the results cited in the Florida study have little or nothing to do with vouchers.

Little or nothing to do with vouchers.

No evidence.

So your link which you cited has little to no evidence that vouchers are indeed successful in any of the ways you are describing.

What do we have? We have vouchers, which your own links cannot prove as effective, along with a handful of questionable studies which show little to nothing of significance, as well as a lengthy list of backers who pump millions of dollars into lobbying for vouchers instead of into schools...

or, we have evidence of programs which do help education, such as:

- smaller class sizes

- accountability of schools

- hiring quality teachers and removing those who are ineffective

- adopting scientifically proven curriculum choices which are shown to improve student test scores

- improving school safety

All of this, which has been proven to work, or a system whose basic solution is take students out of the school in which they are scoring low and spend money on that student to receive a private education at a school that may or may not accept him, while leaving the old school to fend for itself, in many instances with less money.

With no evidence that shows a general improvement in education.

Still doesn't really sound very effective to me.
 
  2007-06-18 10:31:20 PM
Trog: "Exactly. Why is it that one school district has program to help disabled children and not the other?"

Well.

Because it wouldn't be logical.

You think it would be logical for each district to spend money on programs to deal with each and every different disability that is out there???

It would not be....

Why should a school spend money on a program to deal with Autism when they do not have students that have Autism???

Should a school spend money on a program to help with Deaf Students when they do not have Deaf Students???

And perhaps I should clarify....

The old district could have taught my friends grandchild but it did not have the same specialized programs to help him reach his fullest potential.
 
  2007-06-18 10:43:37 PM
Competition simply makes an opportunity for everyone to be better.

C-S: "Hmmm, that study doesn't show that to be happening. In fact, it definitively says that is not the case.

No evidence."


UM??????

I posted this in an earlier comment.
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2595

In Milwaukee, for example (where children receive vouchers worth up to $5,783), the improvement in the public schools has been impressive. Students in public schools where at least two-thirds of students were eligible for vouchers scored 8.1, 13.8, and 8.0 national percentile rank points higher in math, science, and language, respectively. Although still positive, achievement gains were somewhat smaller for students in public schools, where fewer students were eligible for vouchers.

The story in Michigan and Arizona is similar. In both states, public schools raised achievement in response to competition. The largest achievement gains were in those public schools that faced the most competition.

And you said....

"No evidence."??????
 
  2007-06-19 12:06:02 AM
dottedmint

Some critics (pops)of your study:

There is no credible evidence that Milwaukee public schools have improved due to the existence of the voucher program. The one study that did show such improvement by Caroline Hoxby has been dismissed by researchers at both Stanford University and the independent, non-partisan Public Policy Forum in Milwaukee. Through their own independent research, Forum researchers state that it is "very unclear when the test score increases she is talking about really happened. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, April 12,
2004)

The research of the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum found that the voucher program is not causing either public or private schools to improve. In addition, their study concludes that "the response of public schools to competition from voucher schools does not follow 'market theories.'"(Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Jan. 21, 2004)

In fact, researchers at Duke University and the University of Texas both found that improvement in low-performing public schools occurs at the same rate in states without vouchers as in states with vouchers. ("School Vouchers: Examining the Evidence," Economic Policy Institute, 2001)

Researchers at Stanford, Columbia, Princeton as well as Duke unanimously state that "Private schools that accept vouchers do not force an increase in quality in public
schools despite strong claims to the contrary."
(Conclusion of researchers from Duke, Stanford, Columbia and Princeton Universities, conference call, 2003)

Others (pops)are not sold on it:

The enrollment data trends confirm that competitiveness among private schools differs. Given that fact, it seems obvious that MPS's ability and desire to compete with them differ as well. Religious schools in Milwaukee are an attractive choice to parents with or without a voucher, but are they truly competition for MPS or do they serve a group of students that would never have chosen public schooling? If the latter, how can their success, if any, be expected to improve outcomes in MPS?

According to Helen F. Ladd, (pops) Duke University professor of economics and professor of public policy:

Without further corroboration from other researchers, however, it is premature to accept Hoxby's results as definitive. While her research is extremely sophisticated in many ways, it is flawed in that the unit of analysis is the school rather than the individual student.

I also mentioned Ladd's research in the post to which you are responding.

What's the moral of the story? At best, there is one prominent researcher who has data which indicates achievements similar to those claimed by pro-voucher people. In one city. In one state.

Fine. I'll give you that. Is that enough to make what amounts to a radical shift in how we run our public school system? No.

It also doesn't eliminate other research indicating other well known and easy solutions which can be done within the system we currently have, namely, lowering class sizes and hiring more and better teachers.

It doesn't eliminate research showing the opposite effect, in Florida, or in the other Harvard study which you cited. Both of which I raised in my previous post.

It also shows that we can sit here and cherry pick google searches all day. I don't want to hold one side of a debate to an unreasonably high standard, but the amount of controversy, questions, and general lack of evidence for vouchers seems fairly apparent.
 
  2007-06-19 02:20:52 PM
dottedmint: You think it would be logical for each district to spend money on programs to deal with each and every different disability that is out there???

School District, not every school. I think the difference between us is that you see vouchers as an answer to problems in public schools, while I see them as a shoehorn for a two-tiered US educational system.

Union mentality. Care to break that down for me?
 
  2007-06-19 11:07:47 PM
Trog: "School District, not every school."

I think it is unrealistic for each district to have the top of the line program to deal with each and every disability that is out there.

Some districts have the top of the line program for Autism.

Some districts have the TOTL program for Deaf Students.

Some districts have the TOTL program for students with phyiscal disabilities.

No district has the TOTL program to deal with all disabilities.

"I think the difference between us is that you see vouchers as an answer to problems in public schools,"

No.

Not an answer.

I see vouchers as one (of many) possible options to try to improve problems of public schools.

"while I see them as a shoehorn for a two-tiered US educational system."

We already have a two-tiered education system.

Those who can afford to send their children to private schools will typically send their children to private schools.

This includes many politicians who vote against school choice.

Vouchers give low income students a chance at what those with money can have.

"Union mentality. Care to break that down for me?"

Well....

Let's see....

How about everyone treated the same reguardless of skill, talent, drive, or work ethic...

How about seeing five guys doing the work that one or maybe two could do...

No...

No...

No...

Not all unions are the same.

Not all union members are the same.

C-S: "What's the moral of the story? At best, there is one prominent researcher who has data which indicates achievements similar to those claimed by pro-voucher people."

"at best"
???

I suspect that if I really wanted to dig deep into this subject I could find other studies that support pro-voucher claims. I really don't want to do that. There are pro-voucher studies and there are anti-voucher studies.

I spent a few minutes with google to find the links that I posted.

"Fine. I'll give you that. Is that enough to make what amounts to a radical shift in how we run our public school system? No."

I don't think there is anything radical in letting parents decide where they wish to send their children to school.
 
  2007-06-20 08:58:59 AM
Guzzle guzzle slurp.
 
  2007-06-20 11:50:55 AM
Trog I can only guess that your childish response "Guzzle guzzle slurp." is in response to my posting.

I have to guess that you think I am drinking that (how did you put it?) "anti-union kool-aid".

What part of my comment was not reasonable?

What part of my comment was not truthful?

What part of my comment was not an accurate representation of some unions/union members?

I really am curious.....

After today it might be a few days before I can respond but when I can I will look to see if you clarified your comment....
 
  2007-06-21 09:06:43 AM
In today's business climate, and with illegal immigrants taking blue-collar jobs left and right, do you really think anyone who doesn't work their ass off, everyday, is going to stay on the job more than a day or two? Your post on 'union mentality' sounded like something from the 1970's or 80's, from someone who has no idea what the guys on the floor are really doing. Most of the building trades are having a hard time manning jobs, much less having "five guys doing a one or two man job".

What part of my comment was not an accurate representation of some unions/union members?

Your statement indicates that you believe there are entire union halls that have no talent or worth, and have 5 people doing a two man job. I need local #'s, please. I'm willing to come out of retirement to work some of that gravy. And the ones who have no talent, the truth is in a lot of cases that I have seen, the company makes these dildoes foremen. (seriously, the bigger the dickhead for a foreman, the greater chance that they put up crap work when they wore the tools.) In today's work environment, after laying off as many workers as possible, the next best money saver is the hack-artist. The company knows that the guy does crappy work, but he sure puts up a lot of it, and that's all they care about. When their work starts falling apart after 3 months, they just send some schmucks to repair it.

Hey, and guess what? The union workers of today have seen way too many of our fathers/old timers put in their 30 years, retire, and then live maybe 5 or 10 more years, because they killed themselves doing it the company's way. The companies see us as TOOLS, and when a tool breaks, just get another one. Well to hell with that, and to hell with anyone who thinks that if the unions were gone that the companies would start treating everyone just great. Yes, there are less than perfect union guys, just like in any arena, but to claim that there is a 'union mentality'; we're all just a bunch of lazy bums; obviously you've been listening to the company side for way too long. Next time you're standing by the water cooler with the company boys, check out what's in that cooler.
 
  2007-06-21 11:47:57 AM
ROLMAO

I really hate to have to point this out but I am a member of a UNION.

Yep....

Hard to believe but it is true.

I have seen guys spend more time and energy trying to avoid work than simply doing their DAMN JOB.

And when these guys get in trouble for being slackers the union protects them.

So don't tell me that I am drinking anything...

I've seen it first hand.

Maybe some unions have cleaned up their act .....

Mine sure the hell hasn't...
 
  2007-06-21 08:59:03 PM
dottedmint: Maybe some unions have cleaned up their act .....

Mine sure the hell hasn't...


So what's your solution?

Do you think we can do without unions?


I have seen guys CEOs spend more time and energy trying to avoid work than simply doing their DAMN JOB.

And when these guys CEOs get in trouble for being slackers the union Company protects them.


Fixed that for ya.
 
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