Proposed Tax Bill's Effects on Education

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Nov 3, 2017.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2017

    A lot can be said about the academic impact of family/parental support. A lot can also be said about how the classroom and school atmosphere can impact a child's academic performance.

    Little Johnny comes from a family that really values education. His family struggles financially, so he goes to a rough, inner-city school. In his classes are many (mostly?) students who have difficult home lives and whose academics aren't very supported by their families. They act out at school and have no consequences at home. At home they are more likely to witness or experience domestic violence; they may be more likely to act out violence at school because of it. They may be hungry, wear dirty clothes, have shoes that don't fit, and need glasses. They are probably behind academically. Little Johnny struggles to be successful at school because he is surrounded by kids who make it difficult for him to learn and for his teacher to teach.

    Little Johnny switches to a private school where 60% of the students do not come from a culture of poverty. Most of the class has supportive home environments and caring adults in their lives. His classroom atmosphere is less chaotic. There may be some behavior problems, but they are likely fewer and less severe. Little Johnny, with his drive and family support, is likely going to perform better in this environment than at his zoned school. There are fewer roadblocks in his way.

    I think that private schools are valuable and a good option for families that want to send their kids to them. I think that they often seem "better" than public schools because they have a different clientele and can get away with having different, often higher, expectations for their students and their families. Private schools can require parents to volunteer at school, kick kids out for underperformance or behavior issues, and limit class sizes, none of which can be required at a public school (except maybe the limit on class sizes). I know that there are great teachers at private schools, as there are great teachers at public schools. It's all the other factors that create a frustrating disparity, comparing apples to carburetors, making it seem like public teachers must be absolutely terrible at their job when really they are just contending with many, many serious issues far beyond their control.
     
  2. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2017

    Very well stated. And I would also like to mention that there are great teachers at public and private schools, but there is nothing wrong with sending students to private schools who previously attended public schools, especially if the private school has a proven track record and is WASC-accredited.
     
  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Companion

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    Nov 4, 2017

    In my experience, and I know this is not true for most people, the private schools in my area have lower standards and/or they inflate grades to appease the parents who are paying for their kids to go there. In a way, they are paying for the grades. I teach in a top-ranked public school, and every year I have a few kids transfer into (or in some cases back into) our school after spending a few years at a private school. I teach precalculus, and many of these students come into my classes with transcripts that read "A"s in algebra 2, geometry, and algebra 1 in their previous math courses from private school. Surely enough, many of them struggle to maintain a C in my course, or they have to transfer to a lower level course in our school. They struggle with concepts that need to have been mastered at this point, such as factoring or understanding the properties of the parent functions. I am not trying to brag that my course is challenging by any means, because students who come to me with a transcript that says "A" or "B" from their previous math courses taken at my school have no problem maintaining that level of performance through my course. It's when they are placed into my course after a few years of lower expectations and grade inflation from a private school (or in some rarer cases, a different public school) that they struggle.

    I know there are areas where private schools are necessary, but in my area, it seems like a waste of money to send kids there, especially when they are paying so much in property taxes for our strong public school district as it is.
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2017

    I agree. I'm all for families being able to make whatever educational choices they want for their kids. What I am against is government dollars going to private schools.
     
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  5. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    I am not saying this does not happen, but it doesn’t at my school. Our results speak volumes and we wouldn’t be so highly ranked if we did this. Our ranking is NOT based on class grades.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2017

    I think the concern is, in part, that some schools inflate grades to make themselves look better. In this instance, I support standardized testing, particularly in the form of a state-created common assessment like an end-of-course exam or something.

    Full disclosure, I've seen grades inflated at public schools, too. Mostly it is done at overcrowded schools so that students can move up and out of a course instead of repeating it due to failure. It's a bad practice for many obvious reasons, not the least of which is that students enter the next course in the sequence without the requisite skills.
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    My school is very big on state standardized tests and your continued employment is dependent on your students not just meeting but exceeding the state benchmarks. We don’t base our successes on just grades and test students routinely.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nov 4, 2017

    So how do you feel about new laws that weaken public schools and pull support for all teachers?
     
  9. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2017

    This is Indiana's voucher program. Lower SES students stay in public schools, while vouchers overwhelmingly go to wealthier students. Research on our vouchers proves this, but our legislators turn a blind eye in the name of choice. It's segregation at it's finest.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    No, it’s segregation when minority students and other disadvantaged students are forced to stay in underperforming schools with no alternatives. If the parents of said students choose not to use the vouchers, then that is their decision. You can’t fault people for taking advantage of opportunities that are provided to them. You can, however, fault people for doing the opposite.
     
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  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    My administration is incredibly supportive, as are my state legislators (CA). I have never felt unsupported, so I’m not sure what you mean.

    My main takeaway is that if lack of funding was the problem, then more funding/resources should eliminate most of everyone’s woes. However, there are many public schools that are highly funded (in CA and elsewhere) and they are still doing badly. If more money was the answer, then this would not be the case.
     
  12. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Comrade

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    If part of the reason to do vouchers is to help poor disadvantaged students and it’s not working (clearly there’s a reason these families aren’t using them), then it’s a failing program and either needs to be fixed or another solution needs to be found. I don’t know a whole lot about vouchers, but if the vouchers only pay for a certain amount to send their kid to another school, possibly the families just can’t afford any extra money out of their pockets. Or they’re just not that informed about the program and their options.
     
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  13. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Nov 5, 2017

    Has there been any study on why certain populations aren't taking advantage of the vouchers?
     
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  14. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nov 5, 2017

    Private and charter schools need to have a vibrant public school system or they would need to take in all the severely disabled students and the poorly supported economically deprived children whose parents lack the wherewithal to get them to a charter or private school. This new bill will weaken public schools.

    Does your school provide tuition reimbursement when you take a class? This money would be taxed as income by the new law, thus making it more expensive for teacher to raise their skill levels. This bill is anti-teacher.
     
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  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Nov 5, 2017

    Then it’s the school district’s job to make them informed. Just send out an email explaining how they can be used to parents. That, or distribute flyers. This really isn’t that intricate. Create a website, perhaps?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Excellent question!
     
  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Nov 5, 2017

    Also, the state could start a public campaign and get the word out that way. It needs to be a concerted effort on the part of elected officials and school administrators.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 5, 2017

    People living in poverty are often severely disconnected from everyone else. Do you think they have access to big data plans, cable TV, wifi? In addition, there is often a substantial, deeply-rooted mistrust of big institutions like banks, the education system, the medical system, etc., that can go back generations and generations. It's not as simple as sending out flyers or building a website. Poverty is a truly enormous hurdle to overcome.

    Before becoming a teacher and working closely with people stuck in the cycle of poverty, I really had no idea about these things and would likely have had opinions similar to yours. I have had a checking and savings account since I was 9 years old; my parents served on the board at our credit union. I had no idea that there were and are people out there, many people, who have never had an account at a bank or credit union. Living where I do now, there are a number of typically low-paying jobs that pay wages in the form of a gift card. People who have those types of jobs never have to enter a bank or credit union much less set up an account, which has other, likely unintended consequences. They are less likely to become homeowners, are more likely to be the victims of financial scams, etc., keeping them and their children trapped in the cycle. It's messy and complex, and will most definitely require a well-researched, sensitive solution.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
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  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Newsflash: voucher systems have never been, are not currently, and will never be about helping people in poverty become better educated or get out of poverty.
     
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  20. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    This is not an opinion. It's fact. The 20 year-long failed experiment with Milwaukee vouchers proves this. They don't improve outcomes for children of poverty, but they do weaken the schools these children attend.
     
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