Sunday Commentary: Renewing Our Commitment to Quality Public Education

schoolLast night I happened to be in Esparto and happened to see a sign in front of Esparto High School which stated, “Due to Budget Reasons School Closed February 13-17.”  Thinking about that really put an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.  That is what we have come to – students will have a week off in February because of budget cuts.

Think for a second what message that sounds to young people.  This is their future.  They will never get those five days of school back.  For some, it may not matter.  For others, it might be the difference between getting an education and making something of their lives, and getting into trouble and ending up in the system.

As I have stated more than once, the worst part of the economic crisis this nation and this state has had to endure since 2008 is that we have had to renege on our promises to invest in a public education, whether it is K-12, community colleges, CSU or UC.

One of the things that has made this country great, that has ensured the upward mobility of people of this nation, is in essence a promissory note to every American for a quality and affordable education.  Education is the great equalizer, and it is through a good education and hard work that people can escape the confines of their upbringing and forge for themselves a new path.

Sadly, in recent years America and the State of California have defaulted on this promissory note.  For too many students in too many districts, they have been handed a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

I have intentionally used the language of Martin Luther King here to illustrate the fundamental nature that education plays in a democracy.

Polling released this week shows that the public is willing to at least pass some limited tax measures in order to ensure that funding for schools is not cut for a sixth straight year in California.

But the stakes are high.  The consequence of failure of the governor’s tax means more cuts to education, that has taken it on the chin virtually every year since the economy began to falter and revenue declined, as early as 2007.

If the tax measure fails, the governor has proposed automatic cuts to education.  The governor, if he can get the measure passed, has promised not only to restore some of the lost educational funding, but to include funding to higher education.

Because of the very nature of the cuts and how steep they would be, critics have likened this to a blackmail – pass my tax budget or you will see more slashes to education spending by the state.

The problem is, what choice does the governor have?  He would have to cut billions from the budget, and education is still by far the largest share of the budget.

The problem has been that a minority of members of the legislature have the ability to force a cuts-only budget by their steadfast refusal to consider temporary revenue enhancements.

The problem is that these members of the legislature and many of their core constituents have a very limited concept for what constitutes a tax.  Traditionally, we view a tax measure as a portion of one’s income, one’s property value, the value of a sales transaction that goes to the state.

People tend to believe that taxation harms the economy and raising taxes is less than ideal.

To some extent this is true.  You need people to have money to invest in the economy, and the incentive in the form of a profit motive to do that.

At the same time, cutting government spending often has the same negative affect as taxation.  After all, you are taking money out of one portion of the economy.  For instance, when the government cut funding to higher education, the universities raised tuition.

Raising tuition is tantamount to raising taxes on a segment of the society who is sending their kids to college.  We do not think of it as a tax, but in every sense of the word it has the same impact as a tax.  That is money that will not go toward buying other goods and services and instead will go to make up for the shortfall in government revenue elsewhere.

How is that any different than a sales, property, or income tax?  The only difference is that it is more specifically directed at the consumers of the good and service.

When we cut government spending, people lose their jobs.  That is money that does not go into the economy.  When we cut government spending, people lose access to government services – more money not going into the economy.

So yes, I understand that raising taxes is bad for the economy, but so too is cutting government spending.  The only difference is whom is being harmed.

While the state has been slashing spending for education over the last five years, the City of Davis and its residents have so far bucked the trend.  In 2007, 2008 and 2011 the voters passed parcel tax measures, the last two to make up for shortfalls from state revenue.

This year the voters will have the opportunity to renew the parcel taxes passed in 2007 and 2008.

Even with the parcel tax measures passed, Davis schools have seen millions cut.  They now have fewer programs, fewer course offerings, and larger class sizes.  However, the parcel taxes passed have enabled Davis to avoid the crises that other districts find themselves in.

This week we saw the culmination of a ballot argument fight that had to go to the courts to be resolved.  Judge Samuel McAdam struck language that was false and misleading that impugned the integrity of the vote-by-mail process.

He allowed the opinions of two opponents of Measure C to remain, stating: “Granda is well within his right to challenge the mail-in procedure in the argument against, attacking both the substance and the process of the parcel tax issue. In other words, the substance and the procedure of any election are inherently relevant to each other. The voters will decide whether his opinion and argument have any merit.”

It is far from clear as to whether the public is really all that enthused about these arguments.  However, one of the chief protagonists of the opinion just cannot let it go and get on to the specious arguments against the need for the parcel tax itself.

Instead, he maintains: “We offered to change it to make it clear and unambiguous. County Clerk Freddie Oakley refused to accept our changes, knowing that no new language was before the court for consideration and the only choice the judge had was to edit the original one.”

That is certainly not our understanding of what happened.  What we were told is that they were actually offered similar language to what they eventually received from Judge McAdam, but Mr. Granda and his partner in crime Thomas Randall preferred the more dramatic court battle, hoping, I suppose, that it would generate the kind of publicity that they lack the resources to get on their own.

They argue: “Should we have had the opportunity to correct it, there would not have been a court case. The above is absolutely accurate.”

They add, “The court ruled that the all-vote-by mail process is a legitimate subject for our campaign against Measure C.”

The problem is that they are once again wrong.  Their proposed language is: “This all vote-by-mail election is an undemocratic, unconstitutional process which significantly reduces oversight to maintain the integrity of an election.”

This is precisely the language that got struck down by the court.  It may be their opinion that such an election is “undemocratic” and perhaps even less so “unconstitutional” and “reduces oversight,” but once they state: “Since it eliminates the polls, there are no poll workers, observers, counting the number of ballots with public presence at the polls.”

That language is completely false, as we have shown time and time again, and Judge McAdam agreed it was false and struck it.

These guys do not learn and have not the political sense to realize that no one is really buying their arguments anyway.

People have suggested that Measure C will be a close election.  I do not think it will.  I expect the final result to be over 70% and probably between 70 and 75% approval.  It is largely a renewal of the previous two parcel taxes.  It will not increase people’s tax bill other than to adjust it for inflation.

The polling by the district shows solid support and moreover, if you look statewide at the polling by the PPIC, 72% of Californians are willing to not just raise taxes on other people, but PAY higher taxes themselves to support K-12 public education.

If 85% of Democrats favor paying more in taxes to support education across the state, you have to think at least that percentage in Davis will be inclined to vote to maintain the current parcel tax.

Davis has stepped up to support its schools, the rest of the state needs to do so as well.  If not, we will all pay a much higher price down the line.  After all, it costs less than $10,000 per student per year to educate students; it costs five times that to incarcerate that same person for a year.

There may not be a one-to-one ratio in terms of the impact, but there doesn’t have to be in order to have to pay much more in the future.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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85 Comments

  1. 91 Octane

    Im not going to respond to most of this because most of it is merely a rehash of Democrat talking points.

    you can argue against Randall Granada’s views, and I personally don’t believe their arguments are even going to sway the voters. But to refer to them as “partners in crime” is quite a personal attack villifying two people whom are doing nothing different than what the vanguard is doing: being vigorous advocates for their own position.

    I know the vanguard supports the schools. I know the vanguard wants a high vote turnout for the tax. but there are those who do not believe as the vanguard does and are going to support their position just as much.

    As far as the tax goes you can increase them all you want, but at some point that is not going to make up for the entire revenue shortfall. Then you will have to decide what to cut. since more than half of the state budget is tied into education last time I checked, that is where cuts are going to have to be made.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    The problem from our perspective is not that the Vanguard disagrees with Randall and Granda, the problem is that they were quite simply wrong about their arguments, were demonstrably so, and instead of working with the elections office to fix the language, wasted taxpayer time and money by taking the matter to court.

  3. Matt Williams

    91, I agree with David. Randall and Granda clearly chose to include erroneous factual information in their argument . . . and that erroneous information had absolutely nothing to do with School Spending.

  4. 91 Octane

    vanguard: the problem is that they were quite simply wrong about their arguments, were demonstrably so, and instead of working with the elections office to fix the language, wasted taxpayer time and money by taking the matter to court.

    lol, as if the vanguard has never been wrong? ever admits it when it is proven so? as far as the “wasted taxpayer time and money” argument goes, I find that quite amusing coming from the vanguard.

    if you want to say they were proven wrong fine. but again to call them “partners in crime” is a nasty personal attack pure and simple.

  5. DT Businessman

    David, I’m personally a strong supporter of Measure C as is the DDBA, which officially endorsed the measure a week ago. That said, you make a couple of points in support of your argument that is either terribly faulty or counterproductive.

    1) “When we cut government spending, people lose their jobs. That is money that does not go into the economy. When we cut government spending, people lose access to government services – more money not going into the economy.”

    If one follows this point to its logical conclusion, we’d institute a government controlled/command economy. That way, 100% of the money would be going into the economy. This has been tried in the past century with terrible results. Government is notoriously bad at making economic and business decisions and even worse at delivering services. That said, private enterprise are often not much better. The difference is that when government screws-up, there’s very little consequence to the government while the customers/citizens get screwed. When private enterprise screws-up, they get punished to the point of going under and then are usually replaced by a competitor that provides better goods and services. My personal opinion is the government is currently responsible for too large a slice of the economy, the local economy in particular, and we are suffering very negative consequences as a result.

    2) McAdam and Granda are a distraction in my view to the point of almost being a non-issue. Re-airing their positions merely gives them more exposure, which doesn’t help the Measure C cause.

    3) The strongest logical argument one can make in support of Measure C is that a well-educated workforce is one of the 3 or 4 most critical elements to the community’s quality of life.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Octane: “lol, as if the vanguard has never been wrong?”

    What difference does that make? We’re not in a court of law, we’re not using taxpayer money, and these are not legal documents. Once they were shown to be wrong by the Clerk’s office, they should have tried to find compromise language. They did not.

    “if you want to say they were proven wrong fine. but again to call them “partners in crime” is a nasty personal attack pure and simple. “

    That’s ridiculous, it was colloquial phrase.

  7. Don Shor

    [i]If one follows this point to its logical conclusion,[/i]

    That is not the [i]logical[/i] conclusion. It is the [i]extreme[/i] conclusion. Most economies in the world are mixed economies. Government is part of the economy. Most disagreements between political parties are about the percentage, not whether government should the 100% or 0% of the economy. It is a factor. Cutting government, or increasing it, affects the economy in a mixed economy. Most recent job growth has been in the private sector Most recent job losses have been in the public sector. Both are a factor in the unemployment rate.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    DT:

    “If one follows this point to its logical conclusion, we’d institute a government controlled/command economy. “

    Sure, but it also misses the point I’m making here which is that a strategy for cutting government only creates just as many problems as a strategy that looks to generate revenue strictly from taxation.

    On point two, I really don’t think there is a danger in showing that those two’s arguments are faulty. To the extent that I give them more exposure, it is only to discredit their arguments, plus that was one of several points made in this piece and it was buried in the middle.

    Agreed on point three.

  9. rusty49

    David, I think what you’re trying to do is over blow this whole ballot argument problem like it’s going to help get out the Yes on “C” vote.
    Sorry, it’s a non-issue, move on.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: Is the ballot argument issue going to make a difference? No. But is discrediting the only two vocal opponents of Measure C a valuable effort? Perhaps.

  11. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Because of the very nature of the cuts and how steep they would be, critics have likened this to a blackmail – pass my tax budget or you will see more slashes to education spending by the state.

    The problem is, what choice does the governor have? He would have to cut billions from the budget, and education is still by far the largest share of the budget.[/quote]

    What the governor is doing is what politicians do all the time. Silo the money, threaten to cut the basics while paying for the frills. That way a call for higher taxes sounds more plausible. If there is money at UCD to pay bonuses to higher execs; if new building is still going on (for example the new courthouse), etc., then money isn’t quite as “tight” as the governor is making it out to be. But it is much tougher to sort out the wheat from the chaff than it is to say you are going to cut off funding to grow more wheat while the chaff is laying on the ground and could be used to generate funding from reuse, if that analogy makes any sense. To cut to the chase, I don’t feel as if the state gov’t has made a serious enough attempt to eliminate the “frills” first and foremost. It seems as if the governor’s only answer is to shuffle problems off onto local gov’t and raise taxes. Yet a new courthouse will be built??? Or has that been shelved and I didn’t know about it???

    I agree w 91Octane that the “partners in crime” comment was largely unfair…

  12. medwoman

    DT Businessman

    ” That said, private enterprise are often not much better. The difference is that when government screws-up, there’s very little consequence to the government while the customers/citizens get screwed. When private enterprise screws-up, they get punished to the point of going under and then are usually replaced by a competitor that provides better goods and services”

    I fundamentally disagree with this. When “government screws up” the ultimate consequence is that the voters can change ” the government”
    With their vote. When private business “screws up” they may or may not go out of business. Remember ” too big to fail ” ? Or they may continue to operate even though they have produced products that do great harm to individuals. Or people at the top of the organization may continue to work on and receive high bonuses even though their policies lead to financial ruin for others but they cannot be held directly accountable by the public.

  13. DT Businessman

    Don, I stand corrected. You are correct, I should have said “taking this argument to the extreme.” It reminds a quite a bit of the Republican response to any challenge is a tax cut. At some point, the tax rate will be at zero or even a negative rate.

    Right now, my sense is the government sector represents too big a share of the economy. It results in an inflexible, static economomy rife with inefficiencies and inable to adapt to new circumstances. Not to mention economic decisions dominated by political considerations. All of the foregoing is particularly true of the local economy. Do we really want a political council determining our economic opportunities? Or do we want a council that works with the community to create conditions conducive to a robust economy by establishing broad policies and then let the private sector do the heavy lifting?

    I really cringe at the notion of the council picking economic winners and losers and micro managing the local economy. That’s what I mean by a command/control economy. The community has been ill-served by this practice resulting in a very uncreative, non-innovative local economy. We are foregoing so many economic opportunities. It’ll be interesting to see whether these comments produce a negative reaction.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  14. DT Businessman

    “I fundamentally disagree with this. When “government screws up” the ultimate consequence is that the voters can change ” the government””.

    Medwoman, your statement is demonstrably false. The voters can change the electeds, not the actual government made up of the civil servants. It takes many, many cycles of elections for the voters to ultimately effect government down to the lowest operational levels. This process generally happens much faster in the private sector. A very successful company can be toast within a year if it doesn’t adapt to changing circumstances. Do you truly disagree with this notion?

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  15. DT Businessman

    Medwoman, there are specific missed opportunities that I can cite, but there is no way to truly know the magnitude of the problem. A Davis Diamonds publicly threatening to relocate to another community for lack of facility alternatives is the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of entrepreneurs simply make a move without wasting time with public hearings. And how many opportunities are generated on campus that we miss because we have so many business constraints in Davis? These constraints range from lack of broadband access to a shortage of entitled land to a shortage of convenient Downtown parking during daily peak demand.

    Identifying constraints and advocating for unwinding/addressing them will be the paramount priority for the business community this year. It will be interesting to see whether the efforts of the business community meet with any success.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  16. Frankly

    [i]”…but it also misses the point I’m making here which is that a strategy for cutting government only creates just as many problems as a strategy that looks to generate revenue strictly from taxation.”[/i]

    This is bass-akwards thinking IMO.

    Everything is connected in a spiral of economic health and social welfare.

    With a worldview tilted toward more government “business”, we can expect a long-term spiral downward in economic health while being able to claim some higher moral ground for stronger social welfare and government service. But government business does not produce revenue; it only consumes the revenue created from the private sector.

    Good governance means keeping both of these spirals (social welfare / government service and economic health) in sync. However, without government accountability for overspending, we have developed a HUGE gap in our commitments for social welfare spending related to how fast the economy has grown. The gap had grown large before the recession. It has been amplified as a result of the recession.

    Look to Europe for an example of what this growing gap eventually looks like. Look to Argentina to see how hard it is to get back on the wagon of prosperity after falling off.

    Our collective worldview needs to adjust to the reality for the requirements of revenue production to support social welfare and government service. First, we need to accept that we have grown government much too large; we have spiraled out of control in spending and our private economy will never catch up. This means closing whole programs and agencies, and telling those remaining that they have to figure out how to do more with less. It also means cutting entitlements.

    Next, we have to accept that the health of the economy HAS to come first. We need to lower taxes, reduce business-stifling regulations and focus on economic development. We need to completely reform and revamp our education system to produce more employable young adults. With more people working and more wealth being generated, we need to resist our class envy and calls for income redistribution, and instead implement policies that incentivize contributions to charities and other for-profit and non-profit businesses that can deliver social services more efficiently than government. We should offer a tax credit for volunteerism.

    As a country, we are in deep shit…

    [url]http://chartsbin.com/view/2108[/url]

    [b]The 114.5 Trillion dollar super-skyscraper is the amount of money the U.S. Government knows it does not have to fully fund the Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Social Security, Military and civil servant pensions. It is the money USA knows it will not have to pay all its bills.[/b]
    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/trillion.jpg[/img]

  17. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I really cringe at the notion of the council picking economic winners and losers and micro managing the local economy. That’s what I mean by a command/control economy. The community has been ill-served by this practice resulting in a very uncreative, non-innovative local economy. We are foregoing so many economic opportunities. It’ll be interesting to see whether these comments produce a negative reaction. [/quote]

    I tend to agree w you that too often the City Council will micromanage on issues it knows nothing about. I will never forget the time a City Council member tried to insist that a developer increase energy conservation in his new built homes by 20%. The developer appeared to develop a strong case of apoplexy, went to the podium and said something to the effect that one can only put so much insulation into a wall. Since when are City Council members construction engineers?

  18. medwoman

    Rusty49

    Here, unless you have specific data, we will just have to disagree. I feel much more empowered to make a change with my vote than I do with my dollar, especially when dealing with very large corporations. I think DT’s point was probably accurate when most businesses were small local operations, not so much now that most that have more than a strictly local impact, are large corporations unlikely to be much affected by my personal preferences. I also see his argument as outdated in another way. While it may have been true before the advent of online shopping, I do not believe it will hold true in the future. I think the trend will be more and more for on line shopping for material goods with less and less emphasis on brick and mortar stores with a few notably exceptions such as nurseries ( with a tip of the hat to Don). Business people who are truly forward looking and innovative are going to recognize this, realize that there will be less need for material goods shops in the future and thus proportionately more need for service based businesses and enterprises such as Savis Diamonds. To not make this forward looking move will consign us to perpetuating a rapidly declining model as I feel we did when we brought in the Target even though there were already nine within a 30 minute travel time of Davis depending on your point of departure. I do not see this is innovative creative or smart planning.
    I have no idea of DT’s opinion with regard to this but am interested in hearing his specific thoughts ( and those of anyone else)about what type of opportunities we should be perusing, and where.

  19. Frankly

    By the way… these are stacks of $100 bills.

    For comparison…

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/ohmillion.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/otrillion.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/ftrillion.jpg[/img]

  20. Frankly

    I note that the images are too small.

    This should help you better visualize the mess we are in…

    [url]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/usdebtstacked.pdf[/url]

  21. DT Businessman

    Medwoman, my comments here today have not been focused on retail at all. They’re addressing business in general including, but not limited to manufacturing and services. I know of several activity firms, similar to Davis Diamonds, that have either not opened in Davis, not expanded, or have relocated in 2011. The circumstances confronted by DD is not unique at all. Many local firms face an identical set of challenges. Why is the council focusing on Davis Diamonds and not the broader problem? Has it to do with the number of speakers at pc? Instead or addressing the larger problem, the council is addressing one particular occurrence.

    And I’m pretty sure you’re incorrect about the large/small businesses. I’m fairly certain that small and medium firms are responsible for a much larger slice of the US economy than large corporates.

    I’m going to check out of this conversation for now and check back in this evening.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  22. Don Shor

    [i]Look to Europe for an example of what this growing gap eventually looks like.[/i]

    You are aware that much of Europe, including the biggest economies, is being run by center-right governments? And that they are largely implementing policies of austerity and budget-cutting?
    Education spending in the EU is about the same percentage of GDP that ours is.

    [i] But government business does not produce revenue; it only consumes the revenue created from the private sector.[/i]
    It produces services. Like education. And of course, the government is a huge engine of business in areas like defense.

    [i]We need to completely reform and revamp our education system to produce more employable young adults[/i]
    The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t believe their local schools need to be completely reformed and revamped.

  23. Frankly

    [i]”The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t believe their local schools need to be completely reformed and revamped.”[/i]

    I think you are just making stuff up.

    [url]http://educationnext.org/what-americans-think-about-their-schools/[/url]

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/nclbsupport.jpg[/img]

  24. Don Shor

    [url]http://www.gallup.com/poll/122432/parents-rate-schools-higher-americans-overall.aspx[/url]

    Three in four American parents (76%) are satisfied with the education their children receive in school, compared to 45% of the general public who are satisfied with the state of schools nationwide. These findings from Gallup’s annual Work and Education survey are almost identical to what Gallup found last year, and have not changed materially since 2003.

  25. medwoman

    JB

    “But government business does not produce revenue; it only consumes the revenue created from the private sector. “

    Really? How about spin offs from the military and the space program ? Or federally funded research programs and the impact they have had on
    Pharmaceuticals and medicine in general ? The effect may not be direct, but it is certainly not negligible. If it were, you would not have such notables as Steve Jobs telling President Obama that manufacturing jobs that are now outsourced to China would not come back to the US until the government ( not the private sector) made educating enough workers to fill these positions a major priority. Now, you may disagree with
    Mr. Jobs on this issue and feel that education should be ceded to the private sector, but I doubt you would maintain that he was not a premier businessman and entrepreneur. He clearly felt that the government had a role and responsibility to do more than ” just get out of the way of the private market.”

  26. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: Just as I believe your notion of taxation is limited, I also believe your understanding of public-private partnerships is as well. UC Davis is a public entity and yet the networth to the economy in the billions of dollars – don’t tell that they are producing revenue and wealth.

  27. David M. Greenwald

    Don’s point on the differential is important. For instance, I believe my child is getting a great education at Patwin but I am concerned about the state of education in this country.

  28. medwoman

    DT

    “And I’m pretty sure you’re incorrect about the large/small businesses. I’m fairly certain that small and medium firms are responsible for a much larger slice of the US economy than large corporates. “

    Probably correct if you are only talking about businesses that sell material goods and services from actual stores. I suspect that may not be the case if you include pharmaceuticals, oil companies, on line businesses ( think Amazon ) and probably a whole host of enterprises that I have not thought of. I must do some other work this weekend, but would be interested to see the breakdown if someone has the time and inclination to research.

  29. medwoman

    DT

    “Medwoman, your statement is demonstrably false. The voters can change the electeds, not the actual government made up of the civil servants. It takes many, many cycles of elections for the voters to ultimately effect government down to the lowest operational levels. This process generally happens much faster in the private sector. A very successful company can be toast within a year if it doesn’t adapt to changing circumstances. Do you truly disagree with this notion? “

    I don’t think this is a true or false issue. I think both your position and mine pertain under various circumstances. As a local example, who we elect to the city council may very well affect who is hired as the city manager, which in turn may very well have a direct effect on the direction received by staff and thus their work output. I also would not downplay the importance of appointed positions on how government at all levels functions. And I certainly agree that companies can also rise or fall rapidly if they fail to adapt. I think this is an ” and I also believe to be true” not I am right and you are wrong situation.

  30. wdf1

    JB: Don Shor beat me to posting that survey. And I think David Greenwald’s assessment is very much on target. I have read about other surveys that show that most polled respondents think that their own schools are pretty good, but that those same folks think the education system is terrible elsewhere.

    I see it as a similar issue to the way folks tend to think of politicians. By wide margins they tend to like their own representative politicians much more than they like politicians as a whole. I think a lot of the scandalized response to education in the U.S. comes from political interests.

    There is a need for certain kind of narrative in order get a desirable response. In this case if voters/media consumers are led to think that the whole system is messed up, then it might be easier to get buy in and support for a desirable change. Meanwhile there is the reality that people see in front of them every day, and it doesn’t look as bad as the media narrative suggests.

  31. wdf1

    wdf1: [i]Meanwhile there is the reality that people see in front of them every day, and it doesn’t look as bad as the media narrative suggests.[/i]

    Except for the fact that the effects of underfunding are now more apparent. Davis has been lucky enough to understand what the consequences would be in advance. Most other school districts have had to endure the cuts first to understand what the consequences are of underfunding.

    By the way, Esparto did try to pass a parcel tax last summer:

    Esparto defeats $100 parcel tax for schools ([url]http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/13/3765840/esparto.html[/url])

  32. David M. Greenwald

    From the urban dictionary the definition of partner in crime: “good friends who get in trouble together or get each other in trouble and laugh about it.”

  33. DT Businessman

    medwoman, my background is in international corporate finance, not brick-and-mortar retail sales. I’m quite certain, looking at the entire economy, small and medium sized companies employ more workers and generate more economic output that corporate America. I’m sure there are sectors where that is not the case, but it is for the whole economy.

    Don, I recommend a bit of caution when referring to European “center-right” governments. When I lived and worked in Europe, a center-right government was equivalent to a Clinton democrat. They’re basically center-left. Their idea of the center is quite a bit left of our idea of the center. For example, the notion of free market health care would be absurd to a center-right German. Honestly, I personally don’t know of any German that would support free market health care. Not having a social safety net is inconceivable. That would be crazy talk. But I haven’t lived there in 12 years or so; maybe it has changed.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  34. DT Businessman

    I stand corrected. Based on half an hour of surfing the web, it looks like small and medium businesses account for slightly more than half the US private sector work force and around half of US economic output. However, this is based on estimates. I did not find any definitive statistics

    Frankly, I would have thought the numbers higher. It looks like I’ll have to roll-up my sleeves and redouble my efforts.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  35. DT Businessman

    JB, I’m not sure what I’m remembering anymore. Geez, middle-age-itis!

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  36. Frankly

    medwoman: [i]”Steve Jobs telling President Obama that manufacturing jobs that are now outsourced to China would not come back to the US until the government ( not the private sector) made educating enough workers to fill these positions a major priority.[/i]

    Steve Jobs didn’t tell Obama HOW to do this, so you cannot assume that he was against more private-sector involvement. I’m sure that Jobs (if still alive) and Gates would love a shot at developing a private-sector education model to replace the dinosaur public-sector model. However, while the union-Democrat political apparatus has its death grip on this adult jobs program we call education, no talented entrepreneur would waste time pursuing it.

    When polled with the following question: “Are you satisfied with the education your children receive in school,?”, 76% said “yes”.

    However, when asked if opposed to vouchers, only 15% said “yes”.

    What is really interesting to me… 40% of teachers completely or somewhat favor vouchers, versus 38% of whites. 68% of blacks and 61% of Latinos completely or somewhat favor them.

    Seems like white folk have succeeded in creating their gated communities and are more apt to want to protect them.

    What I find interesting and a bit sobering… here I am one of those much despised conservatives branded as being cruel and uncaring for our socially and economically disadvantaged; yet is my liberal friends seemingly perfectly comfortable with the gated-community school system while allowing the rest of Rome to burn. Of course it is those damn Republicans stealing all the wealth and paying a too low tax rate that keeps all those poor kids locked into their crappy school… of course that is the reason.

    With so much altruism and egalitarian impulses contained in this town, why don’t we pass a parcel tax and then pass that money to some inner-city school where their kids do not have the benefit of so much wealth and so much family support? Or better yet, why don’t we support vouchers so these inner city kids have some choice to go get some that great gated-community-style education.

  37. Don Shor

    [i]yet is my liberal friends seemingly perfectly comfortable with the gated-community school system while allowing the rest of Rome to burn.[/i]
    Davis schools are open to anyone who wishes to transfer here by interdistrict transfer.
    The rest of your post is just an insult to the motives and beliefs of Davis school supporters. I’m a little surprised to see you pulling the race card. If inner city school districts want to implement vouchers, as many have, that is certainly their right.
    [i]However, when asked if opposed to vouchers, only 15% said “yes”.
    [/i]
    Talk about cherry-picking. Quick: look at that same survey. How many had “no opinion” about vouchers?

  38. wdf1

    JB: [i]Or better yet, why don’t we support vouchers so these inner city kids have some choice…[/i]

    Again, school performance is most directly tied to family income. Unless you specifically address the childhood poverty issue, any reconfiguring of the public school system will not answer the hope of improved educational performance.

    Is there a voucher program that you can cite that improves the performance of lower income students?

    [img]http://media.journalinteractive.com/images/WKCE29G2.jpg[/img]

    [quote]Erin Richards & Amy Hetzner, Milwaukee Sentinental Journal, March 29, 2011: Choice schools not outperforming MPS: Latest tests show voucher scores about same or worse in math and reading ([url]http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/118820339.html[/url])

    Students in Milwaukee’s school choice program performed worse than or about the same as students in Milwaukee Public Schools in math and reading on the latest statewide test, according to results released Tuesday that provided the first apples-to-apples achievement comparison between public and individual voucher schools.

    The scores released by the state Department of Public Instruction cast a shadow on the overall quality of the 21-year-old Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which was intended to improve results for poor city children in failing public schools by allowing them to attend higher-performing private schools with publicly funded vouchers.
    ….
    Fuller also said that the free-market ideas upon which the voucher program was founded – that academically superior schools will thrive because parents will choose them over lousy schools – has not been borne out over the past two decades, and is not evident in the results of the state test.
    [/quote]

  39. medwoman

    JB

    “Steve Jobs didn’t tell Obama HOW to do this, so you cannot assume that he was against more private-sector involvement.”

    Correct, but totally misses my point. Jobs was telling Obama that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure the training. I am quite sure that Jobs, with his keen sense for turning a profit, would have been very happy to see public funds going to private companies directly or indirectly to Improve their profits. This flies in the face of many comments that all the government has to do is get out of the way and the free market will solve all.

  40. medwoman

    JB

    “With so much altruism and egalitarian impulses contained in this town, why don’t we pass a parcel tax and then pass that money to some inner-city school where their kids do not have the benefit of so much wealth and so much family support? “

    I am 100% in agreement with this suggestion. But I would say, let’s just make it simpler, and spread the cost out more, and call it what it is. Raising taxes on those who have the most in order to “give a hand up” as you are fond of saying, to poor children in order to help them succeed.
    And I would be more than happy to exempt those of lower income and have those of us who are the most wealthy pay more.

  41. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]From the urban dictionary the definition of partner in crime: “good friends who get in trouble together or get each other in trouble and laugh about it.”[/quote]

    Nothing like cherry picking a definition to excuse your incendiary language –

    From the free dictionary online:
    [quote]
    Noun1.partner in crime – someone who assists in a plot
    collaborator, henchman, confederate accessary, accessory – someone who helps another person commit a crime[/quote]

  42. Frankly

    [i]”Talk about cherry-picking. Quick: look at that same survey. How many had “no opinion” about vouchers?”[/i]

    Don, I used the valid data since anyone that does not reject vouchers is either a supporter or are neutral. Only 15% said they would reject them. Don’t you think that is a pretty big deal? Also, don’t you think it is a big deal that more teachers than white folks support vouchers? Lastly, don’t you think it is a big deal that Black and Latino folk support vouhcers at 2-3 times the rate of whites?

  43. Frankly

    wdf1:
    [quote]In a study published last year, Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas found that voucher recipients had graduation rates of 91%. That’s significantly higher than the D.C. public school average (56%) and the graduation rate for students who applied for a D.C. voucher but didn’t win the lottery (70%). In testimony before a Senate subcommittee in February, Mr. Wolf said that “we can be more than 99% confident that access to school choice through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, and not mere statistical noise, was the reason why OSP students graduated at these higher rates.”

    A recent study of Milwaukee’s older and larger voucher program found that 94% of students who stayed in the program throughout high school graduated, versus just 75% of students in Milwaukee’s traditional public schools. And contrary to the claim that vouchers hurt public schools, the report found that students at Milwaukee public schools “are performing at somewhat higher levels as a result of competitive pressure from the school voucher program.” Thus can vouchers benefit even the children that don’t receive them.[/quote]

  44. Don Shor

    [i]Vouchers are most popular among high-income white Catholics and Evangelicals and low-income Hispanics. In general, among white groups, the higher the income, the more popular are school vouchers. But among nonwhites, it goes the other way, with vouchers being popular in the lower income categories but then becoming less popular among the middle class.[/i]
    [url]http://andrewgelman.com/2009/06/who_wants_schoo/[/url]
    Again, if a local school district wants to adopt vouchers, fine. I see no purpose to vouchers in Davis. Nor do I think they should be imposed by the state or federal government. I thought conservatives were all about local control of the schools.

  45. Don Shor

    Regional and ethnic positions on vouchers:
    [img]http://andrewgelman.com/movabletype/mlm/vouchermaps2004A.png[/img]

    If I were drawing a conclusion from this, it would be that people who are already sending their kids to Catholic schools, or would prefer to, would like that fully or partially subsidized by the taxpayers.

  46. wdf1

    JB: Please cite your source.

    [i]Is there a voucher program that you can cite that improves the performance of [b]lower income students[/b]?[/i]

    What is the demographic of your population? There is a tendency for more affluent (middle, upper class families) to take advantage of vouchers than do lower income families. If you can speak to successes of lower income families, then you are addressing the problem. Your source makes no such reference. Do these choice schools also accept students with disabilities? It costs more money to educate students with disabilities. Many private & charter schools have had a history of limiting the numbers of students who are lower income, have a history of discipline issues, and have disabilities in order to improve their test score performance.

    JB: [i]And contrary to the claim that vouchers hurt public schools, the report found that students at Milwaukee public schools “are performing at somewhat higher levels as a result of competitive pressure from the school voucher program.” Thus can vouchers benefit even the children that don’t receive them.[/i]

    Interesting and odd twist of logic. If “choice” schools perform better than public schools, then we attribute it to the superiority of private business initiative and free markets. But if public schools perform better than private schools, then the logic is that the public schools were motivated because of competition.

    Jeff, I know that you care passionately that all students receive a quality education, as do I. But if we’re looking for those results (especially focusing on at risk populations), this is not making your case.

  47. Frankly

    wdf1:

    Part of my big interest in vouchers and choice is to explode the number of private vocational schools as alternatives to our tendency to try and fail making college professors out of each and every student. I see private vocational schools being much better than public schools for adjusting to the demands of the labor market… and because of this it will improve the odds of employment for more students.

    I care about test scores, but only secondary to the measurements:

    – Graduation rates
    – Number of students going on to college
    – Number of students getting a quality job

    There is a complete lack of vision for what our education system can be and should be compared to what is has been. You keep looking back over your shoulder for evidence that you can use to defend the status quo. However, we really don’t have evidence that reforms work or don’t work because we haven’t really reformed. It is like comparing data from sending satellites to the moon versus the data from landing on it.

    How can we explode the number of models to see what works? For example, what if from grades 9-12 the school year was 12 months and kids attended a full day? What if they could earn skills certification in various vocational subjects in addition to their three Rs? How can we attempt any of this with the public-union deathgrip preventing change?

  48. Don Shor

    Skills certifications are readily available at community colleges. Nevertheless, I would like to see more vocational training in the public schools. Unfortunately those programs tend to get cut first because of low enrollment or lack of certified teachers in those categories. Do you have examples of private schools that are providing good vocational training to high school students?

  49. biddlin

    I know there are a number of programs run by union and business(apparently in the unions’ deathgrip, but functioning none-the-less) collaborations like the Edward L. Malloy initiative in NYC and locally a number of unions offer apprenticeship programs and training for post HS/G.E.D. grads .

  50. Don Shor

    [i]”There is a complete lack of vision for what our education system can be and should be compared to what is has been. You keep looking back over your shoulder for evidence that you can use to defend the status quo. However, we really don’t have evidence that reforms work or don’t work because we haven’t really reformed.”
    [/i]
    If most parents are happy with the schools their children go to, why would they support diverting resources elsewhere. Why reform something if they are basically satisfied with the results?

  51. wdf1

    JB: [i] You keep looking back over your shoulder for evidence that you can use to defend the status quo.[/i]

    I am interested on what works best for students that come from lower income families.

    The status quo is NCLB. I don’t defend that, especially the high stakes testing. Do you?

    Also Race to the Top. I don’t defend that either. Do you?

    [i]I care about test scores, but only secondary to the measurements:[/i]

    Test scores were used for starters to define that the public education system was failing. Why change arguments now when it looks like the choice schools don’t perform better and often perform worse when using those same test scores?

    But if you want to use those other measurements, then Davis schools also perform well. As for other schools, I would be interested to see how “choice” schools perform when using comparable demographics.

    And why are unionized Milwaukee public schools out-performing their more non-unionized counterparts? I thought that kind of result wasn’t part of your framework for how a union would respond.

  52. Frankly

    Don, they are happy because they don’t know any better.

    Using a technology analogy, our education system is like an old mainframe system still being used.

    [url]http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6210622[/url]

    To date this Microsoft-Philadelphia School of the Future project looks like a failure… that is unless it is seen as a test-bed for learning opportunities for what worked and didn’t work. We need an explosion of these test-beds, so the winning formulas emerge.

    What we get instead is “see another failed example of alternative models of education” so that we all toe the party line back to education status quo. I have my own theory about why this test has not worked so well to date. Note that this Philadelphia school was run by the existing school district.

    Education outcomes in this country are FAR, FAR below what is needed. But the public has grown complacent and accepting of the status quo because they have not been shown anything else. Likewise, the education establishment is fussy about reform and resistant to change… even as a large population of educators admits that the system as designed is no longer meeting our needs.

  53. Frankly

    [i]”And why are unionized Milwaukee public schools out-performing their more non-unionized counterparts?”[/i]

    They are not.

    [url]http://maciverinstitute.com/2011/08/evidence-supports-charter-autonomy-from-mps/[/url]
    [quote]In the end, the non-district charter schools left their instrumentality counterparts in the dust when it came to college readiness.

    These schools aren’t operated or authorized by local school boards, and have been more successful in preparing students when weighed against the city’s average. In the four qualifying high schools, students averaged a score of 18.8.

    In all MPS schools, the student mark was 16.0. For district-operated charter schools, the average was a mere 14.7[/quote]

  54. Frankly

    From a Time magazine article commenting on the union-Democrat talking point that private schools do no better than public schools when controlled for by SES…
    [quote]The Center on Education Policy, however, is an advocacy group for public schools, so it didn’t look into why holy-order schools are succeeding where others fail.

    The center also downplays another finding: While controlling for SES eliminated most public school/private-school differences in achievement test scores, it did not eliminate differences in the most widely used test of developed abilities, the SAT. (As I explained more fully here, developed abilities are those nurtured through schoolwork, reading, engaging a piece of art, and any other activities that spark critical thinking. Developed abilities aren’t inborn traits but honed competencies, more akin to athletic skill gained through practice rather than raw IQ. By contrast, achievement tests measure the amount of material students have committed to memory in any particular field.) Combined with high-school grades, SAT scores are the best predictor of how kids will do in their freshman year of college. And the data in the new study shows that private-school students outperform public-school students on the SAT.

    Isn’t that just because richer private-school kids can afford to be coached more before the SAT? No — remember that this study carefully controlled for socioeconomic status. Rather, it appears private schools do more to develop students’ critical-thinking abilities — not just the rote memorization required to do well on achievement tests.

    In short, today’s study shows that sending your kid to private school — particularly one run by a holy order like the Jesuits — is still a better way to ensure that he or she will get into college. Just don’t expect all education experts to agree.[/quote]

  55. Don Shor

    “Rather than having their charter authorized by a local school board, their authorizer was the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee….This creates a strong case for a greater presence of university sponsored and other non-instrumentality charter schools. “

    [b]Those are local public charter schools, chartered with the state university.
    [/b]
    “These 2011 results are an imperfect metric, but their implications suggest that these charter schools are having greater success when it comes to college preparation – albeit amongst a selective group of students who are planning to attend college.”

    [i]Don, they are happy because they don’t know any better.
    [/i]
    I didn’t know I was ignorant. DJUSD was great for my kids. It seems to be great for a lot of kids, probably a substantial majority of those attending. Yet our satisfaction derives from our ignorance, apparently.

  56. Don Shor

    An essay by John Cloud of Time? You really might want to choose your experts more carefully. But in particular, his analysis, if you can call it that, asserts that “Catholic schools run by holy orders (not those overseen by the local bishop) turned out to perform better than other schools studied.” Of course they do. They are self-selecting.

    [url]http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1670063,00.html#ixzz1kz5i6FDJ[/url]

  57. Frankly

    DJUSD is NOT great for quite a few kids… especially those lacking academic gifts and/or family support capability.

    However, fine Don, you are happy with the status quo. Let me take back what I said about everyone not knowing any better. I assume you know the options and still support DJUSD as being so good it would not benefit from any reform. I respect your opinion even as I disagree with it.

    I think in the end we all gravitate to what works for us. Davis schools apparently worked well for you and your kids. It worked okay for my kids… but only having spent several thousand additional dollars on tutors and private lessons. Even so, it damaged them quite a bit in terms of their enthusiasm for school. These are not kids that lack enthusiasm for learning, but they learned to hate school from grade-7 through grade-12. They know exactly why… too few inspiring and engaging teachers and too many bored and grumpy teachers (this is a system issue, not a slam against all the teachers), un-engaging teaching methods, too little exercise and reward for creativity (rote memorization wins the grades), too few class options, too little attention given to mid performers (most of the attention goes to the top and the bottom performers).

    Is this any different than when I attended high school in the mid-1970s? Probably not completely. One main difference is a reduction in the number of alternative elective classes that would tend to excite my energy to make it though the uninspired teacher droning in some required class. For example, I took a class in high school to get my private pilot’s license. However, aside from this change, I think the bigger issue is the lack of change. 2012 is significantly different than was 1975. Yet, the schools are about the same or worse. They are inadequate for what we need today and going forward.

    Of course that is just my opinion.

  58. Frankly

    [i]”They are self-selecting.”[/i]

    So, because they reject gays you are making a point that they have an advantage in the quality of student?

    I think you and wdf1 have agreed on the point that outcome differences are completely explained by the family socioeconomics. In other words, poor kids tend to do less well in any school. Well, in these Catholic schools the poor kids do better… much better in fact.

    Since these private schools do not reject kids for socio-economic reasons, I don’t get the point you are trying to make… again, unless it is that you think gay students bring down test scores.

  59. Don Shor

    1. What do gays have to do with it? Where on earth did you get that?
    2. I have never said that “outcome differences are completely explained by the family socioeconomics.”

    Private schools, including Catholic schools, can reject students for various reasons, as far as I know, probably including the school being at capacity. Public schools can’t do that.

  60. wdf1

    JB: A couple of weeks ago we were dialoguing on the bulletin board site about this very issue, and there was one question that you delayed answering (said you had job evaluation(s) last week).

    It seems that you had your kids go through DHS through to the end. Why did you do that and not try something else when it seemed like DHS generally wasn’t a good fit? You had Da Vinci available to you & your kids, DSIS, and possibly various combinations of DSIS/DHS or Da Vinci/DHS scheduling.

  61. wdf1

    JB: I claim saying this, more or less, with the follow edit:

    [i]”outcome differences are [s]completely explained by[/s] [b]best correlated to[/b] the family socioeconomics.”[/i]

    wdf1: [i]”And why are unionized Milwaukee public schools out-performing their more non-unionized counterparts?”[/i]

    JB: [i]They are not.[/i]

    wdf1 citation: “the 21-year-old Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which was intended to improve results for poor city children in failing public schools by allowing them to attend higher-performing private schools with publicly funded vouchers.”

    JB citation: Thanks for offering the link, but its conclusion is off base. Your report doesn’t break down the charter school students into SES categories, and most especially, into SES categories, so how do we know that there is a specific superior benefit to lower income families? How many lower SES students took the ACT? And if Granite Bay HS has a lower dropout rate than Woodland HS, does that mean that the teachers are more competent at Granite Bay HS? This is a point that you yourself harp on quite frequently.

  62. wdf1

    Last paragraph should read: Thanks for offering the link, but its conclusion is off base. Your report doesn’t break down the charter school students into SES categories, so how do we know that there is a specific superior benefit to lower income families? How many lower SES students took the ACT? And if Granite Bay HS has a lower dropout rate than Woodland HS, does that mean that the teachers are more competent at Granite Bay HS? This is a point that you yourself harp on quite frequently.

  63. Don Shor

    A private school, as far as I know, can reject or expel an applicant for any reason it chooses. That can and does include low achievement scores, behavior problems, religion of the applicant, and apparently sexual orientation. They can give preference to candidates for any reason. If they are full, a condition which they define, they can stop accepting applicants.
    According to various sources, private religious schools reject the majority of their applicants and elite private schools reject an even higher percentage.

  64. Frankly

    wdf1: We gave a lot of thought putting our oldest in Da Vinci, but it was not a clear-cut move. He was/is generally a high performer and frankly saw many of the kids attending Da Vinci as more troubled and more trouble-making. Remember that both my kids had a B+ average and no behavior problems. He wasn’t supportive of it and we were not sure. I don’t really regret not pushing him to Da Vinci. For one thing, he could have blamed us for screwing up his education.

    However, I do regret to some degree falling for the “great Davis schools” myth. By the time my wife and I realized that we could have lived in Sacramento (where we both worked for most of years our kids attended Davis schools) and owned a nicer house and sent the kids to private school for what it was costing us to live in Davis, it was too late. The kids had established friends and roots. And, since they were earning mostly B’s and C’s with a few A’s, we didn’t consider the problem critical. It was only after my oldest son graduated DHS and then started college that the scope of the problem was discovered. It did not go well. Basically he had lost respect for teachers and had developed a negative attitude for school in general. After three years he had earned 34 units was on academic probation and his education allowance was going to be cut off. He enters Army basic training at the end of February. I think this is a good move for him considering the alternative working for Woodstocks Pizza and trying to survive on his own without a college education.

    We learned from this and forced our youngest son to attend Jr. College and live at home where we could deprogram him from his dislike of school before sending him off to earn his bachelors. We ask him about his teachers a week or two after the semester starts and tell him to drop classes when he gets a bad one. For example: one that does not speak English very well, or that drones on, or that appears unorganized, or that does not seem to know the subject matter very well, or that demonstrates political bias. He is into his forth semester and has dropped three classes due to our combined assessment of bad teacher. He commented that he wished he could have done the same attending Emerson and DHS. It is taking him longer, but by dropping his problem teacher classes, he is back to liking education again. However, now we hear that students will be penalized with a lower priority if they drop classes. Welcome to the wonderful world of public education where attempts by students to secure a better education experience are met with new rules to ensure they cannot!

    Part of the reason I want to see free-market principles applied to education in general is for education to adopt a responsive customer-service orientation to replace the captive-customer model.

  65. Frankly

    [i]”According to various sources, private religious schools reject the majority of their applicants”[/i]

    That is a pretty bold thing to write… do you have any definitive sources for this? I know of quite a few religious schools taking in troubled youth.

    In any case, how are you correlating this “various sources” claim of higher rejection rates to higher SAT and ACT scores, or lower dropout rates? Again, this has been controlled for SES. I thought controlled-for-SES was the gold standard for arguments supporting education status quo?

  66. Don Shor

    I chose a random Catholic High School that came up on a Google search: St. Francis High School in Mountain View.
    “Saint Francis generally receives 1300-1400 applications for a projected freshman class of 450 students.”
    In order to enroll, you take a placement test, and they consider the following:
    “Grades from 7th and 8th Grade
    School and Teacher Recommendations
    Entrance Exam (HSPT) Scores
    Interview
    Student Involvement Survey”

    I’m guessing St. Francis has higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and higher college entrance levels than the nearby public schools.

    I have no idea what the “gold standard for arguments supporting education status quo” is. SES, parental involvement, community support all seem to be likely factors in outcome.

  67. Frankly

    Can’t wait to see the report: [url]http://www.gatesfoundation.org/highschools/Documents/met-framing-paper.pdf[/url]

    This is encouraging for those supporting reform of high school
    [url]http://www.gatesfoundation.org/highschools/Documents/2010-transforming-high-school-experience.pdf[/url]

    What Apple is doing…
    [url]http://ali.apple.com/acot2/program.shtml[/url]
    [url]http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/[/url]

    Open Source Text Books…
    [url]http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/richard_baraniuk_on_open_source_learning.html[/url]

  68. David M. Greenwald

    “DJUSD is NOT great for quite a few kids… especially those lacking academic gifts and/or family support capability.”

    That has not been our experience.

  69. wdf1

    JB: [i]However, now we hear that students will be penalized with a lower priority if they drop classes. Welcome to the wonderful world of public education where attempts by students to secure a better education experience are met with new rules to ensure they cannot![/i]

    Availability of choices and options costs money, which the legislature does not want to make available at this time. At this time there is almost no community college class that can be offered that won’t fill up immediately and have a long wait list. If a student chooses to drop a class part way in, then another student cannot take advantage of that empty seat, at least after a couple of weeks. If there is a rule like that, that you’re dealing with, then I think it is to discourage excesses in dropping classes and to favor students more inclined to “stick it out.”

  70. wdf1

    JB: [i]Pretty succinct list of position points:

    http://www.balancedpolitics.or…uchers.htm[/i]

    How would you feel about voucher money going to a hypothetical Taliban/extreme fundamentalist Islamic madrasa, if one existed in the U.S.?

    I would also suggest that many private/religious schools probably wouldn’t care to get involved in federal/state regulation for taking tax money (vouchers), starting with FERPA.

    I have other thoughts about this not addressed in the link, but don’t have time right now…

  71. wdf1

    JB: [i]”DJUSD is NOT great for quite a few kids… especially those lacking academic gifts and/or family support capability.”[/i]

    I would echo D. Greenwald’s reaction as fitting our experience. And I don’t think we offer any more family support than any other family typically might, but I could be wrong.

  72. Frankly

    [i]JB: “DJUSD is NOT great for quite a few kids… especially those lacking academic gifts and/or family support capability.” [/i]

    I should clarify. What I hear from quite a few parents and their kids, and also from many adults that attended DHS, is that their Junior High and High School experience was less than satisfactory and did not match the hype. The common themes are a feeling of not fitting in and too many unenthusiastic, uninspiring and unhappy teachers.

    My kids attended Patwin elementary, and that experience did tend to more match the hype about Davis schools being great.

  73. wdf1

    JB: [i]In any case, how are you correlating this “various sources” claim of higher rejection rates to higher SAT and ACT scores, or lower dropout rates? Again, this has been controlled for SES. I thought controlled-for-SES was the gold standard for arguments supporting education status quo?
    [/i]

    Here’s what I see at the Jesuit HS (Sacramento)website ([url]http://www.jesuithighschool.org/requirements[/url]) with respect to admissions:

    [quote]Favorable recommendations from school principal, current math teacher, and current English teacher – in terms of both academic promise and character. The student should participate inside and outside of the classroom and exhibit excellent behavior at all times. It is expected that students will continue this involvement at Jesuit.

    Favorable recommendation from Pastor or Religious leader (Minister, Rabbi, etc.) regarding the family’s openness to the spiritual dimension of Jesuit High School. The student should be open to growth in all areas of development, with an emphasis on a Christian education, including support of and participation in school activities. We consider ourselves to be co-educators with parents and it is therefore the responsibility of parents to prioritize and provide for an active faith life within the family.

    Transcript of elementary school grades and standardized test scores (SAT-9, SRA, CTBS, etc.) for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The student should be at grade level or above grade level in all academic course work and in his standardized test scores.

    Student-Parent Interview (student and at least one parent must attend) – to complete our profile of each applicant in terms of his desire to attend Jesuit, his activities, other interests, etc. Parents should be committed to providing their sons with a complete Christian education: one which fosters high moral values and spiritual development, as well as sound study habits, self-discipline, academic achievement and leadership.

    The results of the Catholic High School Placement Test.

    We receive approximately 400-500 applications each year. While most of these applicants are qualified, we are able to accept about 60% of these applicants. Jesuit High School admits those students whose ability and previous general record indicate the probability of success in the program of studies offered here. The Diocese of Sacramento offers suggestions for preparing a student for high school entrance.[/quote]
    Elsewhere they express a desire to have a diversity of background in their students, and it seems that they’re willing to work with families if price is an issue, but if you look above, it is selective about whom they will take. At best you can probably get the best of the lower income families in this scenario. Then of course they would perform better on the SAT or ACT.

  74. wdf1

    JB: One thing I note above in the quote about Jesuit HS and in most researching I’ve done on private, parochial, and charter schools is that there is most frequently a mention of parent involvement/participation as an obligation and culture of the school.

    I personally applaud that and think that is crucial in the success of a school. Public schools can encourage parent involvement, but cannot obligate it. But earlier when I suggested this as a way to improve student performance and school environment, you actually said that while it was a good idea, it wasn’t for you because you didn’t have time for it.

    If you had enrolled your son(s) in a non-public secondary school, would you (and/or wife) have been ready and willing to get involved as a parent?

  75. Frankly

    [i]”If you had enrolled your son(s) in a non-public secondary school, would you (and/or wife) have been ready and willing to get involved as a parent?”[/i]

    First, let’s clear up a misconception here. I said I did not have time to re-educate myself on subjects like higher math so I could tutor my kids like some many other Davis parents do for various subjects on a regular basis.

    My wife has worked part-time since we had kids precisely because we had planned it that way… so she had the time to devote to the kids. She was the band-booster president for Emerson. I helped several times at Patwin (one time helping teach the class full of soccer-loving kids how they play the great American game of football.) We attended all the parent-teacher conferences, were involved in our kids choice of classes, and intervened to make correction in teacher selection and other issues when we knew about it. I helped at a high school cross country retreat. I attended as a chaperone to several of their class field trips in grade school. I attended all of my sons’ track meets and band performances. I have no regrets about the amount of time I put in. It was much, much more than my parents ever did, but still several steps below what the average Davis parent seem to spend providing direct assistance and oversight of their high-achieving kids public school experience.

    Here is the difference…

    At the Davis public school, we parents are espected to be proactive, on-top of everything related to our kid’s education, calling for meetings, checking tests and homework on a regular basis. Basically being the responsible party for driving the project to enure our kids get the best education possible.

    At a private school, we would get a phone call, emails, notes keeping us informed and suggesting things we should do… the teachers and the school would be driving the project to help our kids get the best education possible.

    This is the essence of the problem. It may seem nuanced, but it is a big deal. The public schools do not take ownership of the mission of ensuring the absolute best possible education for each and every student. They shrug accountability and continually increase expectations that parents will be the project manager working around their rules of engagement. This works in Davis because we have a large percentage of well-educated professional academics… people whose identity and background is connected to the business of education and have broad-scope knowledge and teaching skills.

    Frankly, I don’t think you get the problem because the current system provides you personal satisfaction being so connected with the business of education. You are proud of what you have been able to accomplish to help your kid(s) be successful in school. I think that is a worthy thing; however, what about all the rest of us working in other industries? What about us that do NOT have time or skills or resources to make up for what the schools lack. We want to pay for high-performing schools that will manage the project and consult with us for what is needed. Instead, our tax money goes down the rat hole and our kids are captive customers in a system that continues to do less with more.

    This concept of who is driving or who is the project manager is key and one that you and others seem to not care about. It is apparent when you blame poor parenting skills on poor education outcomes. The lack of school accountability for this responsibility of driving is why we got NCLB and Race to the Top. Now the education system is working overtime to put and end to these attempts at some accountability. Priceless.

  76. medwoman

    JB

    I have no quarrel with your comment about schools, whether public or private, accepting accountability for the education provided. I do feel that your posts gloss over some of the downsides to private and particularly to private religious institutions as a substitute for public education.
    I speak from the direct experience of my daughter having attended St. Francis in Sacramento throughout high school.

    1) As posted above with regard to Jesuit, tha application process was formidable, with multiple recommendations required. This was a highly selective process both academically and in terms of extracurricular activities, talents , and a moral/ spiritual assessment in the form of a letter from clergy supporting the application. Since we have no formal religious affiliation, the school accepted an essay from me about our family’s spiritual values. This is hardly an all inclusive process likely to benefit academic under achieving students or those from families with two working parents unable to put in the time and resources to what more closely resembles a college than high school application process.
    2) The parental involvement required by St. Francis goes far beyond what you have described as your involvement in your sons educational experience. While it is true that parents are not expected to provide outside academic support, the mandatory numbers of hours spent supporting
    Various school functions is clearly based on the expectation that one parent is not working outside the home. There is a “buy out ” option for families in which both parents work. I cannot remember the exact amount per hour, but I do know that when I calculated it out, it was substantially more than many people make per hour. While it is true that their are limited scholarships available for the tuition, there was no hardship exemption from the parental support issue. You either put in the hours, or you paid the money. Quite a hardship for some of my daughter’s less affluent friend’s families, and probably prohibitive for a single working parent.
    3) During the interview process, I had expressed concern about the issue of religious indoctrination and was assurred ( partially I am sure because my daughter was a very competitive candidate and partially because I was paying the full tuition by check up front by semester) that this was not a concern.
    Absolutely not true. The attitude from the beginning all the way through was that ideas in conflict with Catholic teaching were acceptable only as long as they remained unspoken. Fair enough if the parent is paying the whole price. Not if the education is being voucher subsidized. Girls were forced out of the program for repeatedly speaking out with different ideas. My daughter chose to keep her mouth shut. To the best of my knowledge students cannot be denied an education within the public system for expressing different ideas. That does not mean that they are made comfortable expressing them, just that they cannot be expelled for doing so. An important distinction in my opinion.

    I do not believe that the public schools are anywhere near as effective as they could be. But having direct experience with a highly regarded private school, I certainly do not see the religiously based private school as a panacea and certainly not as a substitute for the public system.

  77. Frankly

    [i]”having direct experience with a highly regarded private school, I certainly do not see the religiously based private school as a panacea and certainly not as a substitute for the public system.”[/i]

    No panacea. I agree. But they are a much better option for creating something that is much closer to a panacea.

    Note that my kids also said they learned to keep their mouth shut in public school. IMO, liberal ideology is the spiritual replacement for the secular left and their ideas are defended with no less fervor than the pious defend their ideas. One difference is that in the public schools there is a lack of transparency for this type of behavior… there is consistent denial that left bias exists even as EVERY kid attending public school tells us they experience it. Contrast this to religious schools that pretty much spell it out on the application form.

    Obviously there needs to be standards. From my perspective, if the school accepts vouchers, then it would need to comply with certain rules for acceptance and inclusion. If the school is completely privately funded, then it should be free – within the constraints of the law – to set and enforce its own standards. If those standards become too onerous or too restrictive, the school would suffer a loss of market share in a competitive environment.

    Schools can set higher eligibility requirements based on their mission and natural supply and demand forces. The more successful the school, the more demand it will generate. It works the same way in the industry of higher learning today. I don’t hear anyone complaining about UCD rejecting thousands of kids.

  78. Frankly

    Here are some links explaining some of the new technology that can be used to deliver education service cheaper (few teachers, larger classrooms and virtual classrooms) while being more engaging for students.

    [url]http://www.e-lecta.com/tutoredition.asp[/url]

    [url]http://www.polleverywhere.com/#video[/url]

    [url]http://irespond.com/products/?gclid=CPa3–mcgK4CFWyHtgodlU-g4w[/url]

    Here is a full Algebra curriculum in an iPad application:
    [url]http://www.hmheducation.com/fuse/index.php[/url]

    This is particularly good news for me because it is heading toward exactly the vision I see for a future classroom. It is one where the technology-delivered instruction is engaging, interesting, interactive and efficient. Where we could support larger classrooms and a system that supports kids moving at their own pace with access to electronic and real tutors.

    Here is a school doing great work exploring the benefits of using technology in the the delivery of education services:
    [url]http://www.acu.edu/technology/mobilelearning/[/url]
    [quote]“The research results, previewed exclusively for TUAW, are uniformly positive. In one study, students who annotated text on their iPads scored 25% higher on questions regarding information transfer than their paper-based peers. In a separate project covering iPad usage patterns, two researchers studying ACU’s first all-digital class discovered that the iPad promotes “learning moments” and helps students make more efficient use of their time. Grad students working in an online program reported a 95% satisfaction rate for online iPad-based coursework. As far as the ACU studies are concerned, the iPad in education is a success story.”[/quote]

  79. Frankly

    Watch the video here to start opening up your mind on how technology can be used to reduce costs and do a better job engaging students.

    [url]http://www.hmheducation.com/fuse/algebra1/algebra-1-apps.php[/url]

    [quote]Pilot study finds students in Riverside Unified School District who used Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s HMH Fuse™: Algebra 1 app were also more motivated, attentive, and engaged than traditionally educated peers

    Boston — Jan 20th, 2012 — Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of a yearlong pilot of HMH Fuse: Algebra I, the world’s first full-curriculum Algebra app developed exclusively for the Apple iPad, involving the Amelia Earhart Middle School in California’s Riverside Unified School District. The pilot showed that over 78 percent of HMH Fuse users scored Proficient or Advanced on the spring 2011 California Standards Tests, compared with only 59 percent of their textbook-using peers.
    [/quote]

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