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Crisis In Our Schools

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I am contemplating this discussion that I have been having with my friend.

I welcome greater Objective perspective from anyone interested.

I want to learn how to speak more productively with people I disagree with.

It helps that I have a personal interest in Amy for her other values.

name='Amy' date='February 24, 2010 at 6:01pm'

Public Education in California is facing the worst crisis I've ever seen...the horror, the horror!!!

name='Kamela' date='February 24,2010 at 6:04pm'

That sucks

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 6:33pm'

In a district that's already totally lacking in resources and adequate staff to meet student needs, 900-1,000 lay off notices will be going out in about a week

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 6:34pm'

The school I work at has 15 classroom teachers this year...we will be losing 5 (1/3 of our teaching staff)

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 6:35pm'

The class size for K-3rd grade which was previouysly protected to be no larger than 20, will go up to 27 and 4th and 5th grades will probably go as high as 33 or higher...this year we had a 5th grade of 35

name='Kamela' date='February 24,2010 at 6:36pm'

Oh no....what the frick?

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 6:36pm'

when you compound this with all the unidentified "special needs/at risk students" we are sent you have what ends up being a RECEPIE for DISASTER

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 6:38pm'

It goes way beyond sucking...you have no idea...I'm trying not to panic about next year but...THIS IS SERIOUSLY FUCKED UP

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 6:56pm'

sorry to vent so hard...but this is seriously freaking me out

name='Martha' date='February 24,2010 at 7:09pm'

I know, Amy! Crazy! I talked to JoLynn today and she told me that I would have been consolidated even if I hadn't wanted to be. I wasn't expecting that! I don't know who the other 4 are.

name='Peyton' date='February 24,2010 at 7:10pm'

sorry to hear that amy!

name='Kamela' date='February 24,2010 at 7:11pm'

Don't apologize for venting silly lady! I don't mind....especially if it makes you feel even a tiny bit better. :confused: that's what friends are for.

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 7:20pm'

I know Martha...soooo crazy...I'm not sure who the other 4 are either...but I no for sure that the Cantonese bi-lingual program will be completely gone by next year, so I'm thinking those two teachers are definitely gone and then the person who was filling your spot...but I think including you it's a total of 6 people...it was a really sad meeting...Jolynn left it in tears

name='Amy' date='February 24,2010 at 7:21pm'

thanks for understanding Kami :D

name='Emily' date='February 24,2010 at 9:12pm'

holy crap Amy - any chance you want to move??

name='Karim' date='February 25,2010 at 12:00am'

Damn. Education is extremely important. You can't cut corners in this. I wish I had the nerve (and finances) to volunteer but what can one do? Hopefully there will be some people who put their hand up.

name='Roland' date='February 25,2010 at 2:51am'

Jeez, I didn't know California and France could share the same problems in public education. I'm just facing the same stupid decisions : less teachers, more pupils in our classes...

name='Martha' date='February 25,2010 at 6:17am'

I'm assuming the cuts in education are coupled with increased projections for prison spending. They go hand in hand. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

name='Martha' date='February 25,2010 at 6:25am'

I don't know what to say, but this is an APPALLING situation.

:-{

name='Amy' date='February 25,2010 at 4:20pm'

yes...I don't know what to say either...part of me does seriously question why I even bother staying in California or in the teaching profession...but another part of me also sees that you can't really run away from your problems...and someone needs to stay here and fight for these poor kids!

name='Tym' date='February 26,2010 at 5:26pm'

There has been a huge baby boom in the last 3 years, but its too hard to raise a family here. Everyone is leaving Los Angeles because the cost of living is impossible. Too many vampires feeding off the system. All of the film work is going to Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

quote name='Amy' date='February 26,2010 at 5:34pm'

It seems like it's almost too hard to raise a family anywhere now a days

name='Martha' date='February 26,2010 at 6:02pm'

Michigan began offering huge tax incentives to film makers, and they're coming here in droves.

name='Amy' date='February 26,2010 at 6:03pm'

I noticed there were a lot of skaters from Michigan in the Olympics this year too

You may not have control over politics or the economy, but you do have the power to improve the quality of what remains. Research more education tactics that work better, find more ways to inspire students to want to learn. Find ways to get the kids interacting with one another in a developmentally positive manner.

name='Amy' date='February 27,2010 at 11:11am'

Yes, I agree...and believe me, this is something I (and my fellow colleagues) work on every day. However, there also comes a time when a completely unfair burden is placed on some individuals in a society because others in power are misinformed, unclear about the situation or greedy...I believe this is wrong, so I call attention to it so that hopefully others can be more aware and use their power to help resolve the situation as opposed to letting it remain the same or get worse.

name='Tym' date='February 27,2010 at 11:42am'

I wonder if there are more ways for the school to earn money. Are there other schools connected on the web who have plans and ideas that might help?

name='Amy' date='February 27,2010 at 12:17pm

Schools do have internet sites now and in someways the internet has helped to make it easier for people to share ideas...but also information is also still quite guarded...by school district officials and others in charge of these websites and decisions that effect us get made by others (and it is not made clear why certain decisons are made over others). A lot of times the process seems to make no sense (for the students) and seems almost arbitrary.

Also, the problem is just not for my school but for all public schools in the entire state of California. many of the schools are still quite segregated (in terms of socioeconomic status) and so what often happens is that the wealthier parents with better connections and resources tend to gather at certain schools and are thus able to give more monetary support to those schools to pay for things like additional classroom teachers (to help reduce class size and meet the needs of more needy students), librarians, P.E. teachers, music teachers, art teachers etc...And at schools without these parents they do not get these extra supports and resources...so basically you still have that trend going on of "the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer."

name='Tym' date='February 27,2010 at 12:51pm'

There are thoughts and words and ideas that can inspire the poorer parents to get more involved with their children's future. I'm sure the administrators and counselors of the richer schools care about kids in general, maybe if you visited some of them, and ask if they know of any programs or ideas that might help.

name='Amy' date='February 27,2010 at 8:02pm'

Yes, and it is always a good idea to work with parents to help improve the education of the students and to support them and give them fresh ideas...the parents are KEY and educators understand that. However I don't see this as the main issue.

For the most part, I think the parents are quite interested in their children's educations and do most everything they can to help...but so many of the parents (and people who work at the schools!) are over-worked and over stressed (especially in our current economy/culture)...so in my mind, the main issue is not one of educators or parents who are not inspired enough or who are not working hard enough to tap into every resource they can, but of:

INEQUITY/An IMBALANCE of POWER and yes, I'll say it,

INJUSTICE

You can't just address the problem of the people who are suffering as a result of injustice by trying to get them to solve all of their own problems becuase it's an uphill battle if you don't also address the forces that are greatly contributing the injustice to begin with...you have to look at the situation in the entire context of what is happening, in my opinion.

name='Martha' date='February 28,2010 at 2:30pm'

Amy, you hit the nail on the head. Injustice and Inequality are major problems in education, and not just in California. The situation you describe exists here in Michigan too where schools are also staggering under major cutbacks and staff reductions. The children in, for instance, Ann Arbor, Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills have the benefit of a stronger tax base than, for instance, the kids in Detroit and Flint. The parents of the Detroit & Flint children are barely holding their families together, if at all, in the face of layoffs and foreclosures as the auto industry and other manufacturers close plants. These parents are so stressed just trying to feed their families and keep roofs over their heads that to put the onus on them is just too much to ask. Something MUST be done to force the Powers That Be to realize that education has to be our #1 priority. This is one subject that makes me want to sell the family business and jump into local politics. But on the other hand, politics is so daunting and dirty that it makes me CRINGE. So, like so many of us, I just sit here and gnash my teeth and hope someone, and LOTS of someones, take up the banner and do something about it. I am SUCH a chicken-shit!!

name='Tym' date='February 28,2010 at 8:30pm'

Telling the rich that they are greedy isn't going to make them want to help. Forcing them to give money through legislation doesn't work because they just move their business elsewhere.

You have to convince the people who produce money of the value of what you want them to invest in. Develop programs that prove a significant reduction in teen pregnancy, drug addiction, and theft in high risk areas and investors will flock to you.

Being raised by teen drug addicts myself, I understand the hardships these kids are facing.

I'm not saying all poor people are teenage drug addicted thieves. The reduction of those destructive elements in their neighborhoods will naturally open them up to making more money themselves, and encourage people with more money to move in.

Edited by Tenderlysharp
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Damn.

First a 12 year old kid gets arrested for drawing on a desk in magic marker

Then a bunch of Rhode Island teachers get laid off because they refused to work 25 extra minutes, when they make $75000/year in a town that averages $22500/year.

Good thing Ayn Rand Institute is playing a major role in the Tea Parties. Maybe we could convince the conservatives to stop "conserving" the socialism, and start going in a more libertarian direction

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These teachers have such a huge affect on the generations of students that are coming out of their classrooms.

What is it going to take to get them to look to themselves for answers rather than the 'greedy' man on the hill.

How can they be convinced of the importance of the position they have to accelerate the powerful young minds that are currently at their disposal?

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These teachers have such a huge affect on the generations of students that are coming out of their classrooms.

What is it going to take to get them to look to themselves for answers rather than the 'greedy' man on the hill.

How can they be convinced of the importance of the position they have to accelerate the powerful young minds that are currently at their disposal?

Why do they need to be convinced? Maybe they already are convinced of their own position?

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Why do they need to be convinced? Maybe they already are convinced of their own position?

I think of being convinced as a part of rationality. I'm not sure what to call the act of clinging to emotional justification, but they don't seem to be convinced as much as horrified deer in headlights.

I want to investigate the mind of a socialist inclined school teacher to see if there is an opening in her rational faculty that will allow her greater perspective.

The hands off approach to opposition that Objectivism seems to take feels a lot like preaching to the choir.

Of the dozens of teachers I experienced in my years of public grade school there were only three who seemed interested in their job. It wasn't until my senior year that one helped me to understand that I had to take my education into my own hands. Previous to that school seemed like daycare. Many public school teachers seem to end up there because they couldn't succeed in a regular profession. Uninspired teachers produce uninspired students.

I showed 'Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life' to Amy three years ago. Her response was to say Ayn Rand seemed to lack emotion. I disagreed with her, I think Ayn Rand was an intensely emotional person. At the time I wasn't prepared to debate philosophy with her.

A fact she seemed to miss was:

Refusing to be emotionally manipulated is not the same as feeling nothing.

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To Original Poster:

One of the best things that can happen in the United States is to do away with tax funded Public Schools. They are run by government parasites and manned by creatures of the teacher's unions. The intellectual welfare of the young pupils definitely is in third place.

The people with the greatest interest in the intellectual well being of the youngsters are the parents. The parents are the ones who should be paying for the schooling of their young. If schooling were sold as a service in the market, the normal forces of competition and the interest of quality for the education of the young would produce the desired results quicker and better than all of the tax funded grinding and groaning of the public funded illiteracy mills.

Here is what to do: Get rid of the Public Schools. Undo Horace Mann's abomination.

Bob Kolker

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Get rid of the Public Schools.

Private schools do educate children better, but how do I get rid of public schools today?

What are the first steps I can take to make the ideal a reality?

If I say to my friend that the solution is to get rid of her school she will stop talking to me, because she doesn't understand where I am coming from.

I am interested in loosening the grip of socialist philosophy on the individuals involved.

There has to be a way to begin getting the administrators of public schools to start thinking the way the administrators of private schools do.

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The government that gives takes away.

In California you have a socialist enclave in the USA, and as M. Thatcher noted the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money. The parents are already paying through the nose in Taxes but they have little or no say in where all that money goes, so instead of spending it according to their values (on their children's educations) it ends up going to useless wind farms or another Supermax prison to house the strikeouts of the three strike rule.

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The people with the greatest interest in the intellectual well being of the youngsters are the parents.

This should be true.

I cant say that was true for my parents in regards to me, they can somewhat appreciate what I have done with my intellectual well being but, they had little to do with it. Because they don't have enough interest in intellectual well being in general.

What avenues are open to me to inspire parents to have greater interest in intellectual well being?

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Inspire the kids. Most parents want to be proud of their kids. As second handed as it may be, there is a reason why there are bumper stickers that say "My son/daughter is an Honours Student/terrific kid/eagle scout/whatever"

The parents that don't care can be written off, but that doesn't mean that an inspiring teacher won't make a difference in the kids life.

"Inspiration is the infusion of a person with a thought, feeling or desire directed toward a select course of action." The teachers job is to do that with regard to a child with the select course of action being an education.

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The parents are already paying through the nose in Taxes but they have little or no say in where all that money goes,

The two party system is efficient in distracting people into teams. Teachers don't want to admit that the government is the problem, because the government is giving them money, so they gripe about a certain part of the government as the problem. If they could find a better way to fund their schools they might begin to believe in other options.

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The two party system is efficient in distracting people into teams. Teachers don't want to admit that the government is the problem, because the government is giving them money, so they gripe about a certain part of the government as the problem. If they could find a better way to fund their schools they might begin to believe in other options.

I keep trying to get my daughter to start her own private school once she graduates. :D

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You would think government would be relieved of the burden of funding education if private schools were unhindered in their success. But the government holds onto education because they know they will lose public support if they don't have that carrot to hang in front of the public's noses. Frightened public school teachers who see their friends losing their jobs are powerful free advertisement to all of the parents in their blast radius.

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You would think government would be relieved of the burden of funding education if private schools were unhindered in their success. But the government holds onto education because they know they will lose public support if they don't have that carrot to hang in front of the public's noses. Frightened public school teachers who see their friends losing their jobs are powerful free advertisement to all of the parents in their blast radius.

Loose public support? They take money under the threat of seizure of property, money, etc.

It's about power. Power over individuals.

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What does it take to open a private school?

Well I guess that would depend on where you were doing it. My Daughter is in Ontario so she would have to teach the Ontario curriculum. Then there are 1,000,000,000,000 other governmental hoops to jump through. Everything from sizes of classrooms to standardized testing...

Is your daughter ambitious about such a venture?

Not really, hence the convincing. She is worried about being employed on graduation though.

Does she have perspective and ideas about education?

She does but I'm not sure they are fully formed yet.

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Loose public support? They take money under the threat of seizure of property, money, etc.

It's about power. Power over individuals.

I keep asking myself...What can be said to people who are comfortable in their powerlessness?

What is going to move the majority to vote against the governments corruption?

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I keep asking myself...What can be said to people who are comfortable in their powerlessness?

What is going to move the majority to vote against the governments corruption?

Why don't you start at home with your objective, rational ideas? Don't expect someone else to provide leadership in something you already recognize.
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Why don't you start at home with your objective, rational ideas? Don't expect someone else to provide leadership in something you already recognize.

I want to develop a wedge into public education to begin privatizing it.

I don't mean for my questions to sound like I am dependent on others for answers. Its more of an invitation to anyone interested in contemplating and conversing over solutions.

But you are right, it should take a serious investment of my time and effort to answer these questions for myself.

I was inspired by Ayn Rand recommending that anyone interested in spreading Objectivism learn it well, and use every avenue open to them to spread the right kind of ideas. I see Amy as an avenue, I see this forum as an avenue, I see my art as an avenue.

Edited by Tenderlysharp
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name='Amy' date='February 25,2010 at 4:20pm'

yes...I don't know what to say either...part of me does seriously question why I even bother staying in California or in the teaching profession...but another part of me also sees that you can't really run away from your problems...and someone needs to stay here and fight for these poor kids!

name='Tym' date='February 26,2010 at 5:26pm'

There has been a huge baby boom in the last 3 years, but its too hard to raise a family here. Everyone is leaving Los Angeles because the cost of living is impossible. Too many vampires feeding off the system. All of the film work is going to Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

I interrupted Amy's series of complaints to interject some solutions. She wasn't in the 'mood' to focus on the solutions, but the solutions are what will empower her to make the value of her work her main focus.

There are certain aspects I can address that will make her want to converse further, and certain aspects that will shut her down.

I am focusing on what we have in common as a starting point.

Edited by Tenderlysharp
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I am focusing on what we have in common as a starting point.
Tough to know how to proceed with someone like that. You obviously have very fundamental ethical and political differences, and you're basically asking how you can lightly chisel away at her viewpoint. I don't think it can be done without addressing differences that you have on justice; but, you could possibly chip away there.

Consider one idea: everyone must have an equal education, even if they cannot afford it. (In other words, just because the rich kid can have all sorts of spending in school, the government should provide that to poor kids too).

Now, consider a second idea: everyone must have a basic education, even if they cannot afford it. Fact is, the U.S. government has over-spent and cannot afford the money it spends on school and healthcare and all sort of other things. What would the government do if it had less money? Well, whatever it is, it should start doing that now.)

Do you think you can take your friend from the first idea to the second?

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...addressing differences that you have on justice; but, you could possibly chip away there.

Do you think you can take your friend from the first idea to the second?

One avenue might be her dislike for the kind of thievery that she can acknowledge as unjustified... We share a friend who's laptop was stolen, it had two years of his screenwriting work on it, music, photographs... If empathy for the one being stolen from can be expanded in the consciousness it might help.

I remember being shown films that were pathetic excuses for social programming when i was in grade school, there is a lot of room for improvement there. Perhaps I can work toward a video that illustrates the various effects thievery has on victim and perpetrator; the psychological implications involved. If the majority can gain a greater understanding of thievery in general they will have a stronger premise to understand what they are doing to the people they take taxes from.

Thieves let themselves get away with what they do by dehumanizing the victim and not thinking about it much, focusing on the 'prize'.

Consider one idea: everyone must have an equal education, even if they cannot afford it. (In other words, just because the rich kid can have all sorts of spending in school, the government should provide that to poor kids too).

If kids come to understand that school is an investment rather than a charity, they might have a greater desire to repay the loan. If the money a school receives is in proportion to their performance they will see from the beginning how effort yields reward. You would think there would be capitalists who would have a self-interest in harnessing the power of any young mind.

Now, consider a second idea: everyone must have a basic education, even if they cannot afford it. Fact is, the U.S. government has over-spent and cannot afford the money it spends on school and healthcare and all sort of other things. What would the government do if it had less money? Well, whatever it is, it should start doing that now.)

I should ask my friend what she will do if the economy continues to go down. Clamoring for more money from the government isn't going to help if there isn't any. If she can find private funding for her school it will be a healthy step toward privatization. I wonder about the jobs the students in her school will move into. Wouldn't those employers have an interest in investing in the education of future employees?

There is a transition children make out of the helplessness of infancy. I see it with my two year old son. He is very emotionally driven. There are things he can do, yet he pretends he cant because its easier if I do it for him. I think of it as my job as his parent to not let him get away with that, but I try to guide him without igniting his indignant resistance. His irrational behavior and limited communication ability is frustrating for both of us. The greater his ability to reason becomes the easier it gets to promote his self sufficiency.

A similar approach can be useful toward people who don't get Objectivism. It's a process of understanding levels of ability in communication, self-esteem, and rationality leading to self sufficiency.

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I should ask my friend what she will do if the economy continues to go down. Clamoring for more money from the government isn't going to help if there isn't any.
California is almost certain to see worse times. Anyhow, the money comes from Californians, and when the economy goes down and 16% are out of work, government needs to at least cut down by that much. If teachers like her were to take a 20% pay and benefit cut, that would solve the need to lay some of them off. That way, they would be on parity with the economy at large, and then kids will have all the services she wishes for them! :P
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  • 2 weeks later...

My friend stopped responding to the thread. I thought I would give her some time to reflect. I just sent a message asking if her school could raise money from the private sector.

I want to think of all of the influences involved in public school. Where reason can begin to infiltrate the system. The teachers in public schools seem to think differently than the teachers in private schools. I wonder if anyone in private schools would be interested in influencing teacher training. Public school teachers could come to understand the basic difference in the psychology of a child who grows up to become a Doctor or innovator vs. one who works at McDonald's for 20 years.

The more I come to understand Objectivism the clearer problems become in my mind.

I noticed that Amy and her other teacher friends tend to overwhelm themselves with problems like the entire state of California in order to avoid looking at what they can do in their own school. An aggrandized sense of helplessness. Taking for granted the careless 'powers that be' as the only solution to their problems. This is a tricky issue to work around. I'm trying to focus on the most basic aspect, the foundation to build upon. Self-esteem, self-respect, self-empowerment. Is the extent of their vision of self-empowerment holding a picket sign, and complaining to their friends on facebook?

There are things that I love about Amy which keep me interested in trying to communicate with her. She is an emotion based person, if I want her to hear me, I cant let her forget about the things she loves about me. I believe in her rational capacity, I believe in her desire to make the situation better.

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