education in the news

Spring break must be over. Education issues are in the news everywhere today. Three of them have my attention.

First, Knox County gets a new Superintendent today. Sadly, no matter which of the three candidates is chosen, someone will cry foul. I have a personal preference, but I’m not going to stomp my feet and scream conspiracy if someone else is chosen. If the “watchers” would put just a fraction of the effort they put forth looking for wrong-doings into noticing the good stuff, they would be much happier people.

Second, TN may try to have lower standards for special education students under NCLB. Yay and Boo. Parents who are just now entering the special education system with their children are frequently surprised and underwhelmed. No, the system isn’t where it should be. What new parents don’t realize is how very, very far schools have come in the education of students with special needs. From Tommy’s kindergarten class to his senior year has been like going from a log cabin without electricity to the Beverly Hillbillies house with indoor plumbing and a cement pond. We haven’t made it to a NASA lab yet, but we will. Schools should have different goals for different children, but there still needs to be accountability. Without goals and accountability, we risk sliding back to the log cabins. Special needs children should not count as drop-outs or failures if they take until their 22nd birthday to graduate. GEDs should count as successes. Some students will never reach traditional milestones. Give more weight to the goals agreed upon by administrators, teachers and parents at IEPs. Somehow, we must stop using teachers’ scrap booking talents as the measure of a severely disabled student’s progress. Portfolios are too subjective.

Third, a Cookeville democrat is proposing that we deny the children of immigrants without proper paperwork an education. How is ignorance going to help anyone? This is no different than denying women the right to attend school or slaves not being allowed to read. Gender, race and country of birth don’t make you a lesser person. All children deserve an education. Stop punishing children for someone else’s actions.

6 thoughts on “education in the news

  1. I am going to play devil’s advocate here. I understand what you are saying about leaving the children uneducated serves no real good purpose, however, I disagree on the analogy you have drawn.

    Denying these kids education is not about who they are, or even where they are from, but an issue that stirs up emotions in everybody. Money. Schools continue to struggle to find the money they need, with Dubya preferring to blow it in Iraq than worry about education, and people tired of paying ever increasing taxes, the question obviously becomes, why do “we” have to pay to educate the kids of people who (by nature of their illegal status) do not contribute to the tax base (because you can’t pay taxes if you are illegal), and thus their kids get to go for “free” while we (through property taxes) have to pay for the privilege?

    (Please remember, I do not disagree that you don’t want to make the children pay for the mistakes of others, but it isn’t as simple as that when people and money is involved)

  2. Conceptually they don’t pay income tax. If I had to guess, employee 000-00-0000 probably pays quiet a bit to social security and medicade and Uncle Sam. Regardless, they still pay sales tax on products purchased.

    Illegal does not imply invisible or getting completely around the tax structure.

  3. I guess it depends on where you are (and the type of work done), but I know around here there a great many are employed “off the books” meaning they pay them a slave wage (no argument about that, but it is another issue). In this case, they are not taxed (by the government, just screwed by the employer, but like I said another issue), but their children are in fact still an additional “expense” to the school system.

    Again, bear in mind, I agree with the argument that you don’t hurt the kids like this, but am simply playing the other side, because it is the “reason” for the laws like the one that is proposed.

  4. I understand also some are wanting to standardize the school year state wide. The brief I read was attempting to restrict schools from restarting in the fall before August 15 as a first measure.

    I am of the opinion it is a subject best left to the individual counties as they all have needs that are different and should be decided by their majority.

  5. Jed – Unfortunately, the “Save Our Summers” group has enough money and influence to get their later start date legislation passed. Their arguments are meaningless to everyone but the wealthy who spend the entire summer at one of their “other” homes.

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