Proposed Tax Bill's Effects on Education

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

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Nov 5, 2017

    I don't think they ever were intended to, at least not so directly.

    I always interpreted them as if people were paying school taxes they could get more of a choice on how to educate their kids. Not praising or knocking vouchers, just giving my understanding.
     
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  2. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    https://news.stanford.edu/2017/02/2...tudent-achievement-stanford-researcher-finds/

    “But there’s no evidence that voucher programs significantly increase test scores, according to a new report by Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) Professor Martin Carnoy.

    At best, they have only a modest impact on high school graduation rates, Carnoy found – and the risks they pose outweigh any advances.

    Carnoy analyzed research conducted over the past 25 years, including studies of programs in Milwaukee, New York City, Washington, D.C., Indiana and Louisiana. Most studies have evaluated the impact of vouchers through test scores (as a proxy for student achievement) and high school graduation and college enrollment rates (indicators of school performance).

    In cases where test scores did improve, Carnoy said, the increase appeared to be driven by increased public accountability, not vouchers. A four-year study in Milwaukee found no greater gains in state test scores among voucher students attending private schools until the legislature announced that all private schools accepting voucher students would be required to take the test and that the results would be made public. Researchers concluded that publicizing the results for the first time pressed these schools to focus more teaching on elements that might appear on the test, which helped increase their scores.

    One alarming long-term cost of a voucher system, Carnoy said, is the impact it could have on the teaching pipeline. Public education’s tenure and pension system offers security that compensates for relatively low pay and that helps to retain experienced teachers. Without these benefits, he said, fewer young teachers would be likely to enter and remain in the profession.”

    What all this tells me is that we should NOT increase access to school vouchers nationwide as it would increase public costs, but that we should increase awareness in high-risk areas only. Elsewhere, public options should be emphasized. This is fair to public schoolteachers.
     
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In my state it was definitely the advertised purpose of a voucher system. "Your precious children no longer have to attend their local failing schools. With a voucher, they can go to good schools and get a real education to help secure their futures."
     
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  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    To be fair, since parents are paying property taxes, which pay for teacher’s salaries, they should have a choice where there children are educated and to rate the quality of education they receive. I’m not married, nor am I a parent, but if I were I would be extremely upset if my child had to attend a failing school with significant disciplinary problems. If those schools were the only options, then I would homeschool them.
     
  5. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Companion

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    The families who can afford to have one parent stay home and home school can also likely afford to move to an area with better schools. I'm guessing many of the families in this situation may not be educated enough to provide home schooling either. I am not sure what the answer is, but I don't think that would work for most. I don't have kids yet either. The neighborhood I live in has questionable schools, but fortunately, the district where I work allows the children of staff members to attend school in our district at no charge, which is a nice option to consider.
     
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  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nov 5, 2017

    To be fair, people who pay taxes and don't like what the US military is doing, should be able to take their tax contribution and give it to a local skinhead militia. People should have choice with all government institutions.

    Maybe we should look at Finland, which outlaws private schools, so all parents demand a well-funded public school system.
     
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  7. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Careful with that assumption. Many families that keep one parent at home aren't rich but on the poorer side because they do have a stay-at-home parent.
     
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  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    They do have a choice. The thing is that some of the available options require $$$. If they want to choose an option that requires money, then they should have to come up with that money. I like the car scenario above, and I think it's a fair representation of school choice. I'd love to send my kids to the fancy Catholic school in town, but it is cost prohibitive for our family, so we won't be doing that.

    My state has a unique public education system in that there are only around a dozen school districts in the entire state. District boundaries are county boundaries, so each county is a single school district. All the property taxes from the county go into a single pot to be distributed throughout all the schools in the county, mostly based on student enrollment. Public schools in the wealthier neighborhoods don't receive more money than schools in poorer neighborhoods, at least not from that pot. (There may be other money in the form of grants and whatnot.) I know that most states don't do it this way. Here, though, that's how it's done. Families who don't like their neighborhood school have a few options, including requesting a zone variance to attend a different public school (free), applying for a magnet program at a different public school (free), enrolling in a charter (mostly free), enrolling in a private school ($$$), or homeschooling (mostly free).
     
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  9. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    I would also note that I know several rather poor families who manage homeschooling, even private school, and a few private schools with some amazing scholarship programs.

    It's not like help isn't out there for your choices. If you really want such-n-such school, generally you'll find a way.
     
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  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Precisely.
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 6, 2017

    (To be fair, I haven't read through the rest of the comments before replying to this.)

    Careful with this statement: every one of us teachers at my school have 90ish percent of students passing the state test each year (compared to 50% state wide). However, that is not indicative of our strength as teachers, but by the population that is being served (academic strength entering and likely socioeconomic status). When you add on the fact that your students are a select group (no, not necessarily by you, but refer to my previous post) and not a random sampling, it makes it even harder to compare. You can somewhat compare within your own school with the same grade level, but even then it's not a perfect comparison.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    I love it when people talk numbers. You are correct to a certain extent, but one thing my school does it compare our results not only to national and state averages, but surrounding schools and schools from several other different locales to get as representative of a sample as possible. We don’t just take a one-size-fits-all approach.

    Moreover, the student body at the high school where I work is an incredibly diverse bunch. 10% are international students who know very little English, 20% are African-American, 15% are Hispanic/Latino/Mexican, 10% are Asian-American, 50% are Caucasian, and the remaining 5% is comprised of Pacific-Islander, Native-American, and students from other ethnic backgrounds. As aforementioned, 40% of the students are on financial assistance (from lower-middle and working class families) and 60% are middle-middle class families with the occasional upper-middle class or upper class family. The vast majority of the student body comes from families with two working parents and the vast majority of said parents make 85k or less individually or combined.

    Demographically, we have students from instate and out of state, as well as several immigrant families. Many come from public schools and some come from other private schools. We have many issues that we have to contend with and disciplinary action is oftentimes needed. In spite of all this, we still have great successes, academic or otherwise. My colleagues and I are very much dedicated to the profession.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think part of the concern here is that you make it seem like your students are successful primarily because teachers at your school "are very much dedicated to the profession". I'm sure that you are, but I would also argue that teachers at my school are exceedingly dedicated as well--but my school is a rough school in a very poor area and we usually have failing scores. In my experience, albeit only at underperforming schools, teacher dedication means a lot less than you think it does when it comes to student performance. Skill, policies, management, experience, class sizes, family support--those all matter a lot more than teacher dedication. Dedication matters, don't get me wrong, but to me it's not the key to solving everything.

    I hear you describe the demographics of your school as being "incredibly diverse", but to me they seem pretty average. Every school sometimes needs to take disciplinary action. I guess the thing is that, to me, you're crediting teachers with a heck of a lot and dismissing the other, very real problems that plague poor, underperforming schools. I'm not sure what types of disciplinary actions you're talking about and for what, but I can tell you that at my school this year we've had loaded guns on campus, drugs, violence. At a a few schools down the street there have been stabbings on campus during the school day. At one of our feeder schools the football players and coaches were pepper-sprayed during the middle of a game because of violence. It's a mess. Surely you can see that at schools where this kind of thing is happening, even the best teachers would struggle to be as effective as they want to be.
     
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  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    My last statement was not saying the successes are due to dedicated teachers. I think that was taken slightly out of context and I did not intend for that to happen. My response is in defense of private schoolteachers and private schools, which from what I've noticed, are often thought of as lesser, secondary to public schools, only accessible to the uber rich, and <insert other misconception here>.

    Also, I’ve detailed several disciplinary actions that I’ve individually taken in a previous post to you. (It was in a different thread.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  15. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    This is so true. I taught in one of our state's lowest income schools for 10 years. The staff regularly performed miracles with that difficult, fragile population. Yet, based on test scores, we were considered a failing school. When I transferred to a school in one of our highest SES neighborhoods, suddenly nearly all my students exceeded state standards on the yearly state tests. I was the same teacher.

    Although I have nothing against private schools (unless they take tax dollars from public schools), but they serve a different population than the public schools. The families of their students choose to be in that private school. Economically stressed families make great sacrifices to put their students in the private schools, so are very much invested in having their children succeed.

    It shows a profound lack of understanding and professionalism when some smug private school teacher touts his success with a select population already destined for success and slams other teachers as failing.
     
  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    The students I work with are not destined for success. You don’t work with them or know their life stories so who is the one showing a lack of understanding? And I think it shows an extreme lack of professionalism to label other educators as racist, bigoted, or discriminatory just because you may not agree with their teaching practices, so who’s the smug one? You seem to be throwing generalizations around.
     
  17. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    I must agree with you on this: if you don't know a student's life story, you shouldn't make a judgement on the teacher. That shows a lack of understanding. Why, then, do you toss around the term "failing school" so easily? You know nothing of how skilled the teachers are, nor do you know what they are dealing with.

    You earlier said your poorest student's parents had to get a second job to afford your school. This would represent the elite in an economically deprived public school.

    We teachers, private, charter and public, have one of the noblest professions in the world. We should be supporting each other and not putting our brothers and sisters down because they teach in a different school. The purpose of this thread was to discuss the impact of the pending new tax legislation on school and teachers. Should't we be united on this?
     
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  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    You’re absolutely right and I would like to apologize if I inferred you were a subpar teacher. Ironically, I am a product of the public schooling system, haha, so I’ve had great teachers!

    I just don’t appreciate that SOME, not all, public schoolteachers seem to think that private schoolteachers have it easier or don’t work as hard or don’t have disciplinary problems. For instance, I once had to deal with students rubbing poop on the bathroom walls and they were seniors for goodness sakes. I also had to deal with students who set up stink bombs and a student who would masturbate on school grounds. This is just one of many things I’ve encountered in my day to day.

    Again, sorry for my earlier abrasiveness, but please stop generalizing private schoolteachers, please.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  19. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    futuremathsprof, I'm not sure if you felt that I was generalizing towards you, but I promise you, I am not. In actuality, I was speaking from actual experience with teachers in similar positions that I highly respect...not to mention many of the colleagues that are not in a different "school", but automatically jump to 90% passing being an immediate success.

    I have full respect for what you've accomplished. Throughout this entire discussion of charter vs. private vs. public though, I think it's important that one recognizes that there are distinct differences in points of entry, even though there'll still be plenty of diversity in each kind of school. Kudos to your school and you for its accomplishments, but as educators, celebrating success (and figuring out how to grow from the struggles) should also be grounded in an understanding of the context, as should decisions that will be affecting charter vs. private vs. public vs. choice schools.
     
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Thank you! Very well said and you are indeed correct. I should have been more careful with my words. I should not have lumped in the teachers when I said “failing schools.”
     

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