Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down

Author Topic: "Community Schools Initiative"  (Read 18458 times)

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5724
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
"Community Schools Initiative"
« on: February 08, 2003, 05:03:10 pm »

Here I post some ideas on improving the educational system in the Free State, beyond the privatization plan I've promoted before.

The plan is a "Community Schools Initiative."  It would be a multifaceted project, operating at the state political level, the local political level, and through the nonprofit sector.  At the state political level, our non-partisan league would push a "community schools initiative act", which would provide state support for local communities that decide to transform their publicly owned & operated schools into private, nonprofit corporations managed by the community & the teachers.  The state support would be in the form of an end to "Robin Hood" payments by the local community to the state government for public education equalization, a tax rebate on state taxes to all individuals & businesses in the local area equivalent to the state subsidy, if any, foregone by moving to a private system, and perhaps also setting up a $500,000 endowment for the new community school for scholarships & financial aid.

At the local political level, we would work to elect candidates who are willing to set up community schools under this incentive structure.  In the beginning, we may need communities to set up some of these schools on their own initiative in order to force the state legislature's hand in dealing with the trend.  This brings to mind a question I have: who is responsible, ultimately, for funding and overseeing the local public schools?  Do school boards have power over the budget?  Could a school board decide to privatize?  Or is the city council ultimately responsible?

At the nonprofit level, we would raise money from the community to set up a community school.  We could do this even before the politicos act.  If they do not act in time, we would set up a competing private nonprofit school.  If they do act, the money we raise could go to support the transformation of the local public school into a private, nonprofit "community school."  The community school's Board of Directors would consist equally of people elected by the teachers at the school and major donors to the school.  Perhaps parents of students could have a seat or seats as well.  We could tailor the state-level legislation so that only new schools meeting these criteria would receive the benefits of state support.

In short, I think this is a way to: 1) work to implement private alternatives & show we are good citizens; 2) achieve a significant policy success; 3) gradually transform public schools into private schools statewide, with minimum disruption; 4) secure the support of both teachers, the community (donors), and parents for reform.  Obviously, many details still need to be fleshed out.
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Zxcv

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1229
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2003, 08:49:48 pm »

Sounds too complex to me, so it will be too complex for the general public. It also has some unrealistic elements, i.e. setting up competing private schools (in what buildings? with what money?) while the pols debate.

It also has the undesirable element of requiring people who want relief to lobby (beg) their neighbors or school boards, to support the plan.

We don't need government solutions to government-created problems. We need government to get out of the way.

There is a much simpler way, as I said before. Increase the attractiveness of alternatives (eliminating homeschooler regulation & oversight, providing tax credits - not subsidies - for those whose children are educated outside the govt. schools, etc.). Something individuals can take advantage of, on their own initiative (no need to lobby the neighbors). Then squeeze tax revenues down. After a while, people will bail out and the market will provide.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2003, 08:53:27 pm by Zxcv »
Logged

Ron

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2003, 12:15:04 pm »

Logged

heyerstandards

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 89
  • Who's guarding the guards?
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2003, 11:29:38 am »

Whatever "solution" we come up with, it needs to be viewed through the filter of this basic fact:  parents are responsible for educating their own children. It is immoral for the Uncle Sam (or the state equivalent) to reach in my pocket with a pistol at my back and extract funds to pay for my neighbor's education.

I would eliminate the Robin Hood effect as well.  Education is best held as a local solution, and the closer the decisions and the dollars are to the parents, the better off everyone (student and taxpayer) will be.

Obviously, this will involve a transition period.  We cannot in one fiscal year defund all public schools. I believe if our message is consistent: parent know best and parents will pay, the transition will happen.  (Woe to the school district saddled with magnificent new buildings and bond issues.)

"But parents can't pay $11,000 for each student like it costs at the public school," one might reply.  My point exactly.  The costs will drop as the schools are forced to respond.

Please understand my personal situation. I have three kids, the oldest of which finishes kindergarten tomorrow. Our school is funded by our church, and all children attend without tuition.  The school is a mission function of the church (Wisconsin Lutheran), as children need both an educational foundation and a moral foundation.
 
Parents with students understand that tuition isn't free.  Our fellow members are paying most of the freight, since most members don't have children in school.  But it is their personal choice to contribute, and one for which they are rewarded in the long run with smart and moral kids (plus the treasure laid up where it doesn't rust ;D).

Yes, people will step forward to help educate kids when the real need is there.

We only support $11,000 per pupil education costs because the gun is to our backs, and we don't have a clear view of alternatives.
Logged
Is government sometimes useful? Answered Mencken:

So is a doctor. But suppose the dear fellow claimed the right, every time he was called in to prescribe for a bellyache..., to raid the family silver, use the family tooth-brushes, and execute the droit de seigneur upon the housemaid.

MajesticLeo

  • FSP Participant
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 299
  • Am neither Dahlai nor Lama
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2003, 08:16:17 am »

So we have a thread here called "Abolish Public Schools" and one called "Community Schools Initiative".  Seems to me they are at odds with one another, unless I am mistaken in thinking that members of the "community" are also members of the "public".  After reading all this, as I have stated on the other posting, what you are after is not the elimination of Public Schools, but changing the way they are funded and perhaps the curriculum.  Changing the name from Public schools to Community schools would appear to only be an exercise in semantics.  While I have to agree with ZXCV that this proposal is much to complex and complicated as stated, resolving it will require complex and complicated actions.  
You first of all need clear and simple goals:

-eliminate the influence of Department of Education
-eliminate reliance on federal funding
-replace dumbed down textbooks with books of value
-replace "teachers" who only hold jobs because they are union members with those who are qualified and want to teach
-require students to succeed based on ability and effort instead of social policy criteria
-eliminate social service aspect of schools and replace with education
-change the focus of schools from creating members of society who must be "counselled" over any incident which might possibly "upset their delicate sensibilities" to self-sufficient people who are able to think critically and become productive members of society.

Then you can think about how to do these things, if indeed the "Community" wants these goals accomplished.  
Logged
I'm off to be the Wizard!!!!

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5724
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2003, 09:03:46 am »

Well, the issue of funding/ownership is precisely what makes for the "public"-ness of schools: remove the public, tax funding, and they're not "public" schools anymore, but they might still be "community" schools.  (One of the arguments I heard against privatization in Vermont was that public schools are the social centers of many communities.  IMO, we can retain this attractive feature while eliminating the anti-choice, anti-competitive, soft-budget-constraint aspects of government-funded schools.)
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Karl

  • Guest
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2003, 09:54:02 am »

Quote
"But parents can't pay $11,000 for each student like it costs at the public school," one might reply.  My point exactly.  The costs will drop as the schools are forced to respond.

$11,000 would get your kid into a pretty good school.  Most of the statistics that I've seen place avarage public school costs per pupil around $6000, and average private school tuition around $3000 per pupil.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 09:59:06 pm by ManchVegas »
Logged

heyerstandards

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 89
  • Who's guarding the guards?
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2003, 11:20:13 am »

In frugal states, public schools spend $6-7k on the low side. High states (NY, NJ, D.C.) the average is ABOVE $11-12k.  Those are for all schools, dumps and Taj Mahals.  Using Dept of Education stats, I calculated the average across all schools in Wisconsin is $11k.  That includes state and local expenditures.

Do not be mislead by your local district that says "WE only spend $x."  You have to add in the cost of the state bureaucrats the design the curriculum and the "Area Education Associations" or auxillary districts that support the local schools.

I have no idea what the pupil-weighted average is across the country, but suffice it to say, private eduation is half of that, and home schooling is less still.
Logged
Is government sometimes useful? Answered Mencken:

So is a doctor. But suppose the dear fellow claimed the right, every time he was called in to prescribe for a bellyache..., to raid the family silver, use the family tooth-brushes, and execute the droit de seigneur upon the housemaid.

RhythmStar

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1886
  • Imagine there's no Heaven.
    • RhythmStar Records
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2003, 07:00:43 pm »

I like this approach.  There are many facets, but they are not necessarily presented to the public all at the same time -- they can stand independently as practicality requires, achieving their synergies over time.  

As to the objections vis a vis community vs public, etc., there is no way to get to the end-point many desire on political grounds in a single stroke.  It must be a process.  Moreover, it must be a process that consists of small steps, each well thought-out  and executed, so that the process goes from success to success.  Over time, with these successes to point to and the good will of the community obtained, a more theoretically perfect state of affairs may be achieved.  In the meantime, aspects of this plan could be moving forward, showing that FSP folk are not only Dreamers and Doers, but folks who can accomplish goals and make the best possible use of their opportunities.

RS
« Last Edit: June 20, 2003, 07:01:49 pm by RhythmStar »
Logged
Irony is the innate perversity of circumstance. -- William House

MajesticLeo

  • FSP Participant
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 299
  • Am neither Dahlai nor Lama
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2003, 08:26:14 am »

One way to increase the level of education in any school system would be to change the "Teacher Certification" process currently espoused by the National Eduacation Association and in effect at all education departments today.  Basically, this amounts to anyone with a GPA of 2.5 can enroll in the education major and  be certified as a teacher following a period of supervised instruction.  The greatest problem with this, in my opinion is the focus is largely on taking so-called "education" courses at the expense of subject matter courses.  Most of these could be replaced with a couple courses in presentation of material, childhood development and classroom management.  Education should not be a major for a degree.  The real need is for people who understand the subject(s) they intend to teach, not for someone who managed to just get passing grades in a minimum of courses in that area.  We need people who want to teach instead of being social workers. (I realize there are teachers out there who are like that but are forced into the social services role because of the political clout of the NEA and drive to eliminate personal responsibility from our youth.)  Just an idea.  I have no problem with everyone taking standardized tests as long as the tests reflect what we want them to know.  Of course, if schools would not simply pass people on longevity instead of accomplishment, most of that problem would be gone too.  Get rid of bi-lingual training as it only delays learning English and fosters separatism.  Institute foreign languages into grade school curricula (preferably with choices of language).  I realize there are those here who cringe at the word "mandatory" always jumping in with the idea that I want to do this at the point of a gun, so I leave out calling any subject mandatory)
Logged
I'm off to be the Wizard!!!!

etphonehome

  • FSP Participant
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 118
  • Have a nice day!
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2003, 02:47:16 am »

I have no idea what the pupil-weighted average is across the country, but suffice it to say, private eduation is half of that, and home schooling is less still.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with part of your statement. You say private education costs half of what public education costs, but I believe this is simply untrue. In Minnesota, where I live, the average amount spent per pupil last year was $7,664. I think that, while many private elementary schools (that aren't fully subsidized by churches) may charge slightly less than this, most private high schools will charge amounts in excess of $10,000 per year. Another important thing to keep in mind is that federal regulations require public schools to spend tons of money on special education students, significantly raising the average expenditure, while private schools have no such requirement. Because of these factors, I do not see how you can make the assertion that current private education is half the price of public education, when the prices are in fact higher for most private high schools.

I'm not saying that the current levels of spending are acceptable, or that the system is perfect, because it is far from perfection. I have posted in another thread my ideas for making the school system completely free from government funding, while still allowing everyone an opportunity to obtain an education. However, I do not believe you should state that current private schools are much more efficient than public schools, when this is not the case.

Sure, a private elementary school in a rural area probably does spend half as much as a public school in the middle of a bad city neighborhood, but if you had to be able to teach students who have 40 different native languages at the private school, as well as deal with all of the other issues that inner-city schools have to face, the private school's expenses would probably shoot through the roof as well.
Logged
“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.”
   â€”Captain Picard

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5724
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2003, 12:02:24 pm »

My mother teaches at an urban private prep school where tuition cost (about 10 years ago) $6,000 per year.  The per child expenditure in government schools was certainly higher than that.  The average salary for a government school teacher was about 250% that of my mother and the other teachers at her school.  At the same time, the quality of education was much higher at this private school than almost all government schools in the city.
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

ShadyG

  • FSP Participant
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 82
  • Como se llama
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2003, 04:39:31 pm »

Institute foreign languages into grade school curricula (preferably with choices of language).  I realize there are those here who cringe at the word "mandatory" always jumping in with the idea that I want to do this at the point of a gun, so I leave out calling any subject mandatory)

Truth be told, I cringe at the word "curricula."
Logged
-- ShadyG

MajesticLeo

  • FSP Participant
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 299
  • Am neither Dahlai nor Lama
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2003, 08:22:52 pm »

Institute foreign languages into grade school curricula (preferably with choices of language).  I realize there are those here who cringe at the word "mandatory" always jumping in with the idea that I want to do this at the point of a gun, so I leave out calling any subject mandatory)

Truth be told, I cringe at the word "curricula."

I am not at all sure why that would be.  Since you homeschool, you must have some idea or plan as to what you wish to teach???  Whatever that plan is, however well formed it may be, is the curriculum for your child/children.  It just means the plan of what is to be taught.  What is so scary about that, other than it is latin?
Logged
I'm off to be the Wizard!!!!

jeanius

  • Guest
Re:"Community Schools Initiative"
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2003, 10:48:08 pm »

I understand the cringe.  Depending on your method of homeschooling curriculum can indicate a narrow subset of educational materials.  Unschoolers I know in particular don't like the concept of curriculum since it implies a set of materials rather than an open ended exposure to learning.  With respect to schools curriculum can mean not only a narrow subset of educational materials but also often a biased subset.  After two years of homeschooling my 7 and 9 year old I find that I am more flexible about the materials and methods I use depending on what's happening at home, locally, in the news, etc.  Set curriculum matters less than reading good books, talking about history and politics and exposure to music, art, etc.  My "curriculum", that which is fixed, is Saxon math, Spelling Workout and G.U.M. for grammar.  Much of the rest can and does change.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up