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The ‘Kansas Revolution’ And School Funding Equity

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that underfunded poor schools are unconstitutional. So now what, in Kansas and across the country?

In this Jan. 23, 2014 file photo Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, left, leans in to listen to Xen Hesse as the two each lunch at Roesland Elementary School in Roeland Park, Kan. On Friday, March 7, 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state's current public school funding levels are unconstitutional. (AP)

In this Jan. 23, 2014 file photo Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, left, leans in to listen to Xen Hesse as the two each lunch at Roesland Elementary School in Roeland Park, Kan. On Friday, March 7, 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state’s current public school funding levels are unconstitutional. (AP)

Everybody talks about Americans lifting themselves up, competing in the 21st century, through education.  But what we spend on the education of children of the affluent versus the middle class and poor is often quite different.  This equity issue has just come to a head in Kansas.  In a time of economic setback and conservative supremacy, Kansas cut back on state spending that had helped balance educational resources.  Last week, the Kansas Supreme Court said no.  Some equity between rich and poor districts matters.  This hour On Point:  the Kansas story, and educational equity in America.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dion Lefler, government and politics reporter for the Wichita Eagle. (@DionKansas)

John Robb, attorney representing the schools districts, parents and students who brought the case against the state of Kansas.

Sen. Jeff King (R), State Senator for Kansas’ 15th District.

Molly Hunter, director of Education Justice and the Education Law Center. (@MollyAHunter)

Eric Hanushek, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Author of “Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School” and “Schoolhouses, Courthouses and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America’s Public Schools.”

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today: States sued over education funding – “Across the country, litigation is pending against 11 states over inadequate or inequitable school funding. That is nothing new: Over the years, all but five states have been the subjects of such lawsuits. The change is that in many of the recent cases, higher state standards lie at the heart of the arguments.”

Kansas City Star: Kansas Supreme Court: Change school aid formula and study whether to spend more — “The high court ruled that cuts in education funding since 2010 led to an unconstitutionally imbalanced playing field between rich and poor schools.Its decision means lawmakers by July 1 must close the gap — estimated by state education officials to be $129 million — or a panel of three district court judges will decide how to do it for them.

The Atlantic: Why Doesn’t the Constitution Guarantee the Right to Education? — “Every country that bests us in the education rankings either has a constitutional guarantee to education, or does not have a constitution but has ensured the right through an independent statute. Each has constructed law around education as a fundamental right of citizens, at least until the age of adulthood. Finland, the world leader, succinctly asserts, ‘Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge.’(Chapter 2, Section 16). South Korea’s Article 31 on Education has six sections. Switzerland’s constitution mentions education more than two dozen times. “

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  • Human2013

    How do we have a democracy without equal schools? I was friends with an Army wife who had an Associates degree and no teaching credentials when her husband was stationed in Kansas. She quickly landed a teaching job and was surprised by the inferiority of their schools. In MA, I believe an advanced degree is required. The point is that everyone is not suited for teaching, and our teachers should have above par credentials. This is not good for America — not good at all.

    • Yar

      Democracy depends on educated people, but political power depends on powerless people., Do elected leaders want power or democracy? Where is the servant? It is supposed to be the one in office, yet they desire to be served. Money in politics robs us of our democracy and we don’t even vote. They tell us politics is dirty and not to get our hands dirty, so we become sheep lead to slaughter.

  • Yar

    Follow the money, as school funding has gone down what has increased? Homeland security! How can we have security without funding education? We have rampant abuse in that agency. On the Media did a piece this weekend that made me sick. Along with sex abuse in the military, our nation is in big trouble. What does it take to build a real community? It begins with proper care of children and respect for women.

    • Jasoturner

      Follow the money indeed. Scary how well that simple phrase can explain so much of the craziness we see in this country…

      • Yar

        In the picture above, where is the most profit? I suspect it is in the milk carton. The farmer gets Between 11 and 17 dollars per hundred pounds and the dairy gets a dollar a pound.

  • Jay

    There won’t be any real reform in education until parents have a choice as to where they will send their children to be educated. Parents should be the ones to decide where their children will be educated, and not politicians, or the teachers unions. Every parent should have the choice of sending their child to a: charter school, private school, or the local public school (which is often failing to educate).

    • Shag_Wevera

      Choice is just a way for some to dodge the challenges that the rest face. Don’t like the local school? Don’t fix it, run for school board, or lobby the appropriate politicians. Just open up your wallet and ship junior away to a better school and the rest of the children be damned. You are an elitist who TRULY is NOT interested in fixing or improving American education.

      • HonestDebate1

        If everybody has a choice then who are the “rest”?

        • Ray in VT

          The ones left over when more desirable schools fill up. The ones who don’t have the ability to travel to other schools. The ones whose choices are limited.

    • Yar

      Typical monolithic polarization, when public schools were first started it was by choice, choice of the community to educate their children. Now communities are choosing not to invest in poor areas. So, what does school choice really accomplish? It becomes a filter where those with resources get a better school environment than those without. Why is it important that everyone have an adequate education? Because anyone you exclude becomes your responsibility for life. We build prisons and gated communities, living in fear with our guns and dogma. Blaming Unions while attending the Chamber of Commence. How can those without ears hear? Who will die for our sins? As we sit on our high seats of power, where is Nicodemus? There is no simple answer to years of exploitation. Why are we trying to protect a class system that fails our Country? Isn’t this what got Jesus killed by a Government in cahoots with the Church? Your choice is not a choice for many people in failing schools, it is a way to undo the choice of communities to educate all children by allowing tax dollars to go to schools that chose to exclude certain children.

    • keltcrusader

      You have always had a choice – if you choose an option other than public school, you just have to pay for it yourself. That IS your CHOICE. I pay my taxes to support PUBLIC schools, not your choice of private, religious, or charter schools.

      • Jay

        Paying twice for the same thing, that’s really smart.

        • jefe68

          And you can’t have a society with people who think like you do.
          “I have mine go screw yourself mentality.”

          • Jay

            So you think it’s fair that some American children, who happen to come from a poor family, should be sent to a failing a public school?

          • keltcrusader

            Removing money from the school district to help private schools won’t help those children either, it will just punish the ones who can’t afford to go elsewhere. Why don’t you try to improve your public school system, instead of tearing it down. Novel idea, I know.

          • Jay

            Then give those students a voucher so that they aren’t forced to attend a failing public school.

          • Bluejay2fly

            You should be able to “voucher” your school tax to any school of your choice wether you have children or not.

          • Don_B1

            What level of monetary value will that voucher have?

            Where are the students going to find a selection of enough good schools, when there are currently not enough?

          • Don_B1

            The country, all of its citizens collectively, needs to ensure that there are no failing public schools, and that will take more spending by government, not necessarily on the schools, but on support to poor people, preferably by raising the minimum wage and improving the EITC, so that lower-income families have the ability to provide more equal opportunities for their children.

          • jefe68

            Turning the argument around, the right wing circle game. Typical right wing tactic, wont work.

        • Yar

          Which do you resent more, money spent for education or money spent for prison?

          • Jay

            If so many public schools weren’t failing so miserably at educating their students, the prisons wouldn’t be so over crowded.

          • Yar

            And who profits by not properly funding schools? It is good for business, if you are in the business of exploitation.

          • Jay

            One place where money could be saved and used to improve public schools, would be to start by firing all the unqualified and incompetent teachers and administrators.

          • Don_B1

            And how many times have you visited your school system and tried to determine just how many teachers there are unqualified or incompetent?

            Just how many teachers are not up to your standards and how much are the ones that meet your standards paid?

            Would you work as a teacher at that salary?

        • keltcrusader

          yup, you choose and then you pay for it yourself.

          • Jay

            How about negating the school (property) taxes for a parent who wants to send their child to a private school? That’s only fair.

          • keltcrusader

            Nope, not how it works. Taxes pay for Public schools, not private schools. Pay for it yourself or work to change your local school system.

          • Jay

            Changing your local school system is a lot easier said than done, particularly when it’s nearly impossible to fire ineffective teachers and administrators, thanks to the teachers unions.

          • keltcrusader

            yes, those darn teachers who dedicate their lives to teaching other people’s children who then turn around and vilify and demean them for doing their jobs. If you are going to attack anyone – go after the Administrators – that is where the real money is made and spent.

          • Jay

            So you’re against firing ineffective teachers and administrators? Wow.

          • keltcrusader

            no, I am against painting all teachers with a broad brush that demeans their chosen profession. One which the vast majority of people couldn’t or wouldn’t do. There are certainly teachers who shouldn’t be teaching, but they are the few, not the majority, and yet they all get treated by people like you as if they are your personal punching bag when you probably couldn’t last a day in the modern classroom.

          • jefe68

            Yep, and this is an area that has been expanding tenfold.

          • Don_B1

            How do you recognize an ineffective teacher? There are no really effective methods to do that well except in cases where the teacher is grossly ineffective and there just are not that many teachers who fall below that level.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that attempts to rate or measure a teacher can be difficult.

          • Don_B1

            That was the point of my question. I suspect that Jay has some flaky ways of determining teacher qualifications.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe. He has made no indication. I think that using things like test scores can be hazardous, as it likely would not take into account the abilities of students.

          • Don_B1

            Actually, there are even more problems with that method; in poor schools there is usually a big flux in students over the year, new students coming in and others leaving. A teacher has big problems keeping all the students on the same page of the course work. Also many students have problems at home, come to school hungry, and not from just missing breakfast, etc.

          • Ray in VT

            Very true. There’s a lot that goes into these sorts of things. The principal of my sons’ school has talked about the challenge of getting and keeping students up to speed, as there is something close to 25% turnover on an annual basis, as students move in and out of the school throughout the year.

          • Ray in VT

            I do not like the idea of giving people tax breaks for sending kids to private schools. In some ways I think that that is a way of supporting religious institutions via the tax code.

          • Jay

            What business is it of yours how other people spend their money?

          • Ray in VT

            Spend your money how you like, just don’t expect me to back a tax break for you for something with which I do not agree.

          • keltcrusader

            amen!

          • Jay

            Then why isn’t that rule applied to abortions?

          • Ray in VT

            Care to give up any tax deductions for medical expenses for procedures with which I do not agree?

          • jefe68

            There it is, the libertarian in all his glory.
            I’ve got mine, and the rest of you go fend for yourselves.

            You can’t have a modern society run on libertarianism.

          • keltcrusader

            It already is, you just choose to ignore that fact

          • Don_B1

            You are comparing apples with oranges!

            A tax break for you is distorting the economy for your advantage.

            Providing the money for a poor woman to get a medically necessary abortion is allowing that woman to continue to live a productive life which helps the whole economy (and reduces the need for further or additional support to that woman in many cases, thus lowering everyone’s taxes).

          • Don_B1

            Anyone reading your stream of posts here today can see that all you are interested in is lowering your taxes and withdrawing to your (effectively) gated community where your can use your money however you wish, with no obligation to your fellow citizens. But as soon as the economy falters because the people you wish to leave behind “suddenly” are not buying or producing the goods you want to sell or buy, then it will be two late for your wakeup call.

          • jefe68

            I agree, it’s not right.
            Mind you, everyone I know who went tot a Catholic school have impeccable hand writing and organizational skills. But that’s a different topic.

          • Ray in VT

            When I was a kid there were a couple of religious schools, and while some went there for religious reasons, others went there for the status, as I think that some families thought that they were too good to go to school with the rabble.

        • Don_B1

          What about those who do not have children, and that is true for many but not by their choice?

          It is in their interest that all the children in the community get the best education that they can use, as their work will generate the earnings to support them when they retire to live on their investments. If the companies that you and I invest in do not have educated workers, they will not have the revenue to pay out to their investors.

          But it seems you cannot see beyond a year or two, like too many of the current companies in this country.

      • HonestDebate1

        Then that means we are not paying for education, we are paying for bureaucracy.

        • Ray in VT

          Yup. No bureaucracy or administration and such in the private or charter schools.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t say that. If we want to pay for education then lets pay for education and empower people with choice.

          • keltcrusader

            what part of they have always had a choice don’t you get?

          • HonestDebate1

            The premise. They don’t have a choice.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m fine with a measure of school choice, although the promise of charter schools have often been oversold. In general I would much rather work on fixing the public school system.

            I, like a strong majority of Americans responding in one survey, oppose the use of public dollars to support private schools. I want to pay for education, and not for profits for for-profit school companies or for religious instruction that teaches highly suspect information.

          • HonestDebate1

            The emphasis should be on education. I don’t want to line the pockets of the NEA and the Department of Education. Let parents decide what is best for their kids.

            It would be one thing if, for instance, we bought milk for school kids, fine. But what if the law was we must buy it from your brother. Then we’d have a racket. Same thing.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. Let the parents decide the curriculum. So if there are enough morons on my school board my kids can get taught creationism in a cheap suit. We sure don’t want educators and experts making those sorts of decisions.

            Not at all the same thing. It may just seem that way because you have a poor record of comparing things.

          • HonestDebate1

            Exactly. If you as a parent don’t want your kids to decide for themselves send them the Atheist High.

          • Ray in VT

            Decide what? If science is real or if the Bible is an unerring historical and scientific text? That isn’t the job of a science class. The job of a science class is to teach scientific facts and not myths.

            Why should my kids have to go elsewhere in order to get taught science in science class and not religion? You know, even non-atheists believe in science.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are making some leaps there Ray. Don’t worry there isn’t much intelligent design taught. Schools do not teach the Bible is an unerring historical and scientific text, that’s nuts.

            No one can look up at the sky and contemplate what is on the other side of the edge of the universe. No one knows what happens to your soul when you die. No one knows with certainty how life began. There are things science does not explain.

          • Ray in VT

            Thankfully “Creationism in a cheap suit” isn’t taught in many public schools, but some would like to see it allowed

            http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/01/31/id_in_sd_south_dakota_bill_to_allow_teaching_of_creationism_in_schools.html

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/creationism-controversy-state-map/

            Plus there have been the kids who’ve gotten public dollars that allow them to have the “freedom” to be taught religion as science:

            http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

            Religion has its place in the curriculum. It’s called comparative religion or philosophy. It is not in the science class, where facts and research are what matter. It is not the place of the public schools to be promoting a religious belief.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are entitled to your opinion as well as your schools. So is everybody else.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, I am entitled to my schools. A free public education is guaranteed by my state’s Constitution.

            People are not entitled to their own facts, and public schools should not be endorsing a particular religious view. Perhaps you disagree.

          • jefe68

            Actually HD has a point. The amount that school administrations have grown in the last decade is way to much. More money is going towards that then hiring teachers and education in general. This is more of a problem in wealthy suburbs than the poor areas, as they have the money to expand.

            He’s just not coming up with a good solution. The right goes on about choice, which is not about real choice, but about the privatization of the public school system. We should be having a discussion about how to change education in this country, but like health care, it’s not possible due to rise of libertarianism. Which one can see on this forum.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m not saying that there isn’t bureaucracy and administrative costs, which can sap a community’s resources. I just don’t think that “choice” is going to fix it in any meaningful sort of way.

      • hennorama

        keltcrusader — you’re really embodying the “crusader” part of your moniker today. Well done.

        In addition to your point, if “people are not chained to the station in life they were born in,” they are also free to choose to move to an area with a public school they like.

        • keltcrusader

          Public education is near & dear to my heart. :)

          • hennorama

            keltcrusader — that is readily apparent, and again, well done.

    • Jasoturner

      Many parents are ill equipped to understand the academic strengths and weaknesses of individual schools, for a few reasons that I will not get into. So parental choice sounds simple and useful in the abstract, but is much harder in execution.

      Private schools should not be on this list. As places like Milton Academy show, private schools can quickly become huge “margin” centers for the corporation. I will not say “profit” centers because they are ostensibly not for profit.

      One problem with unfettered parental choice in student education is that poorly conceived curricula can waste a year or two or three of a child’s education. For instance, I seem to recall there was some charter school that focused on self-esteem as a core component. To me, emphasizing self esteem over academic excellence is a recipe for disaster and a serious disservice to the student.

      • Jay

        I see your point. I just happen to believe that a student who comes from a poor family should not be forced to attend the local public school, if it failing to give them a proper education.

    • http://xoanna.wordpress.com/ aawsm

      What? You do have a choice – some of these include: moving to a better school district, pay tuition to send your kid to private school, homeschool, truancy, etc.

  • lobstahbisque

    It’s Obama’s fault.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Isn’t everything?

  • Shag_Wevera

    It can’t be fixed, because the things that need to be done cannot happen in America as it now exists. We need one federally set and agreed upon standard for educating children. Letting creationists in Texas and atheist/ communists in Massachusetts each design different schools gives us a ridiculous patchwork quilt of unequally educated children. Schools also ought to be equally funded, but that’ll never fly in America. The folks WITH stuff don’t generally want to share their money and resources with those WITHOUT stuff. Those with also tend not to care much about the children of those without. So, as I first said, we aren’t capable of doing what needs to be done.

    • Yar

      We must call out those who profit through polarization. Punch down the dough and kneed it, and let it rise again.
      It can’t be fixed if we don’t fix it! I have hope in the 35 and other crowd. When they vote at an 80 percent level the polarization of this country will no longer work politically.

    • Bluejay2fly

      We need to nationalize many things like they have in many civilized nations ,but you are correct, that will never happen. Sadly, we can have a huge failure rate in our school system because we really only need a fraction of them for the work force. Those ill-equipped for college will just stay there longer earning their degree, making colleges and bankers more $$$$$. I also agree with Yar we need a revolution of thought in this nation.

    • NewtonWhale

      I live in Massachusetts. The education system is not run by “atheists and communists”, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say.

      Whoever is behind it, the system does seem to be working:

      “As it did last year, Massachusetts received the highest grades of any state for its student achievement and chance for success. Massachusetts elementary students also outperformed those in every other state in reading proficiency, as did middle schoolers in mathematics. Last year, the number of advanced scores on national assessments more than doubled in the state, a larger increase than any other state. More than 18% of eighth graders achieved an advanced level in math that year, the highest proportion to achieve such excellence in the country. The percentage of children with at least one parent who works full time and the percentage of children with at least one parent who has earned a post-secondary degree were higher than every other state in the nation.”

      http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/01/14/states-with-the-best-and-worst-schools-2/3/

      • Shag_Wevera

        That’s why I chose your fine state for my example. A good system that Texans surely would regard as atheist and left-leaning.

        • NewtonWhale

          I figured you were being facetious.

          Unfortunately, I suspect you’re right: in current political discourse it has become fashionable to equate a sense of community with being un-American and the desire to separate church and state with hostility to religion.

          Ironically, the first public school in America was established by Puritan settlers in 1635. It was the Boston Latin School, and was attended by founding fathers Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.

          A portrait statue of Benjamin Franklin overlooks the former site of Boston Latin School, which later served as the site of Boston’s Old City Hall.

          http://www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/firstpublic.asp

  • AC

    can the senator discuss text book policy of Kansas schools? thanks…

  • John Cedar

    Sounds like it would be a lot easier, cheaper and give better outcomes, if they just overturned the courts ridiculous ruling..For some reason when you put a robe on a dictator, the people put up less resistance to the concept of being governed by dictators.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Who are they? Who is a dictator? Better outcomes for who?

      • John Cedar

        “They” are the elected state government being usurped by the activist court.
        The “dictators” are the activist jurists.
        The better outcome would be for our country.

        • MrNutso

          So the courts reading of the state’s constitution is meaningless.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, that’s those “activist judges” for you.

            Funny how the right uses the term “activist judges” when they don’t like the outcome.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Imagine if they had this message board when the Oliver Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas ruling was issued.

          • jefe68

            Well, guess what, you’re seeing the same people voicing the same mendaciousness.

          • Ray in VT

            A couple of board members of an organization that helped to found CPAC belong to a white nationalist group that calls Brown v. Board of Education “arguably the worst decision in the Court’s 216-year history.”

          • Bluejay2fly

            As a WF Buckley Jr Republican the current GOP makes me believe it committed intellectual suicide many years ago.

          • Ray in VT

            That is the position of my boss, who left the party some time ago. He also very much enjoys Buckley.

    • jefe68

      It’s early yet, but this comment does seem to be vying for the “crazy right wing meme award” of the day.

      • John Cedar

        You seem to have trouble using that word meme properly.
        Conservative ideas and truths are are self evident and recreated in all minds with noetic capacity.

        This differentiates them from the virul like liberal ideas that spread like STD’s through the minds of the unwashed masses because they don’t use protection in the form of critical thinking and observation, coupled with intellect.

        • Ray in VT

          Critical thinking isn’t something that I see much of in the modern American conservative mind.

        • jefe68

          Nope, you’re posting meme’s.
          You think it’s an idea, but it’s a meme.

        • StilllHere

          He’s got problems using most words correctly. It’s worthwhile to ignore him as most do.

          • jefe68

            Be gone troll.

            By the way, you should have used: “He has problems using…” not he’s got problems…

            Hilarious, and so telling of the kind of horses behind one is dealing with here.

        • Human2013

          “This differentiates them from the virul like liberal ideas that spread like STD’s through the minds of the unwashed masses because they don’t use protection in the form of critical thinking and observation, coupled with intellect.”

          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
          they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
          these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
          Please resurrect your strongman and dear conservative leader, Strom Thurmond, from the dead and have him read this bit. There is nothing self-evident about a “god” you can’t see or the “race” myth that undermines conservative credibility.
          This is what is self-evident, that kids are going to bed hungry in the richest nation on earth, income inequality has reached a fever pitch, college costs are unfathomable, the planet has fintie resources and capitalism will decimate it.

        • hennorama

          John Cedar — thank you for adding to the list of Typos/Freudian Slips/Autocorrections That Make Me Smile:

          “virul like” vs. viral-like or virus-like.

          That you were criticizing jefe68′s word usage and expounding about “noetic capacity” and “critical thinking and observation, coupled with intellect” only broadens my smile.

          Thanks again.

          • John Cedar

            I’m glad I could provide some entertainment for you. Spelling was never one of my strong suits, and I am more interested in ideas and concepts.

            But I am happy to report that my spelling has improved immensely the last few years since I get practice spelling when skoolin guys like jefe68 on the www. Not to mention the valuable feedback I get from pedants such as yourself.

          • hennorama

            John Cedar — TY for your good-natured(-ish) response.

            Glad to read about your self-improvement. You are obviously not alone in having spelling/keyboarding/autocorrectionissues, as I can personally attest.

            Had the context been different, “virul” would have passed unremarked upon.

            Thanks again.

        • jefe68

          One can only respond with this:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxGgnI6kCrs

    • jimino

      What aspect of the court’s reasoning do you disagree with, or have you even read the decision? What do you know about Kansas’ school funding?

      • John Cedar

        Have not read the decision.
        Do not agree the court should order spending.
        If they feel they need to even things up, they should order them to stop spending in the rich schools instead.

        • jimino

          I think that’s an option as long as the constitutionally-mandated education standards are met. The decision indicates that similarity of educational results, rather than spending, is the legal obligation.

          Or maybe you just oppose equality of opportunity for what you term the “unwashed masses”, which of course would make you a true conservative.

  • Jasoturner

    If one believes, as I increasingly do, that we are living in a virtual plutocracy, it is plain to see why equitable public school funding is not a concern in America. Our ruling class has no need for public schools (save those living in communities like Winchester or Weston) and funding said schools only takes money out of their pockets.

    As for the commons, most millionaires have far more in common with their financial counterparts around the globe than they do with working class citizens in their own country. Thus, very little civic motivation to have educated middle and lower classes.

    I find it amazing how many people I know who live in communities with fine public schools who still send their kids to places like Milton and Worcester Academies because the public schools are not quite elite enough. Does that not speak volumes? Will their poor children ever be forced to travel is the same circles as my unfortunate, publicly educated child?

    For some of them, the answer is probably, “Let’s hope not…”

  • HonestDebate1

    The black community supports school vouchers but some don’t want to give them a choice.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2014/02/26/solutions-to-black-education-n1799802

    • Ray in VT

      The black community also supports increased government spending for the public schools in their district, but some don’t want to do that.

      • HonestDebate1

        Increased spending means nothing. Removing the chains from the oppressed with choices means everything.

        • Ray in VT

          “Increased spending means nothing.” Research disagrees with you.

          The magic bean of choice is a fairy tale for many, as the record of charter schools is less than stellar. Just another overly simplistic right wing solution that fails in reality. Some kids, though, have been freed from the oppression of science facts by getting publicly funded vouchers to go to schools that use textbooks that say that dragons were real and that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, overly simplistic is throwing money at it. What are we spending on? Salaries for teachers in rubber rooms? Lunch menus the kids refuse to eat? Curtains? It’s meaningless.

            And even when it sounds good like with “Head Start” it’s useless after gazillions spent.

            Put the money in the parents hands and give them a choice.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, who needs lunches and curtains. How good do they want it? Next thing you know they’ll want doors and windows and such. Teachers in rubber rooms? That must be some new innovation of which I am unaware.

            Check your facts. Head Start has been shown to have quite a few lasting benefits, despite what your sources may tell you.

            Please explain what choices the families shut out of the schools that will fill up or who have no ability to transport their kids to schools further away have. Just magically throwing some “choice” or “freedom” at something doesn’t solve problems.

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            Well, I guess that it is a good thing that I didn’t advocate spending just for the sake of spending. Try teaching biology or chemistry without a lab. Try hiring good, qualified people without being able to pay them well. Try teaching computer technology without them. Spending may not cure all, but not having money certainly isn’t going to aid struggling students.

            Yes, I have seen Heritage’s take. Surprise, surprise, they both don’t like Head Start and don’t give a full picture of the benefits.

            http://www.nber.org/digest/aug01/w8054.html

            http://home.uchicago.edu/~ludwigj/papers/NYAS-LudwigPhillips-HeadStart-2008.pdf

            http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/01/16/media-cherry-pick-facts-to-falsely-label-head-s/192284

          • HonestDebate1

            Who suggested no labs for biology class? You are not interested in solutions.

            Head start s a waste of money. Don’t give me the practitioners writing a review. I’ll take heritage and any of the numerous studies any day.

            More money does not equal better results. Don’t try to understand.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, go ahead and believe Heritage’s flawed and ideologically biased take on it. It’s far easier to do that than actually do a little thinking and look at the social science research in the field, which might challenge your biases.

            I am not interested in the bogus “solutions” pushed by the right, and I cited research that concluded that indeed money does play a role in producing better results. Feel free to wallow in your preconceived notions.

    • geraldfnord

      Every school voucher scheme I’ve seen fell far short of what a good education needed. This is yet another way that we have of saying of the poor ‘Let them eat choice.’, as if the magic word ‘choice’ used without reference to what choices are actually available, and in many cases imposed, could in itself turn off our brains from really thinking and seeing. (Well, like 419 spam, it’s cheap enough that it doesn’t have to work that often…which, unfortunately, it does.)

      • HonestDebate1

        I just don’t think we should leave them with no choice but to attend failing schools.

  • Bluejay2fly

    The way we finance public education is barbaric. They should be state funded with each school getting basically the same amount of money. No upper class districts v. poor districts.

    • Yar

      Property taxes made more sense when the farm was the primary source of community wealth. Property taxes were essentially business taxes. Now most business is not farm based so property taxes fail to raise enough money in poor communities. We need tax and wage reform, pay a living wage and people can pay taxes to fund their local public schools. Government is tasked with making the system fair. Money in politics has its thumb on the scale of justice.

      • Bluejay2fly

        My School and Property taxes are 6K per year. That means if I pay off my mortgage and I chose to live outside the economy, I could not. Even though I could live off my land like humans have done since the beginning of time, coming up with 6K every year means I would have to have a well paying job to pay 500 per month. I think ALL taxes that are outside of employment should be rethought. This would allow citizens the right to live as they please instead of being forced into the economy. To that end, schools and other functions of governance could easily be financed through other forms of revenue.

        • Jay

          That’s why I rent an apartment. I’m not going to pay the confiscatory property taxes in my state.

          • jefe68

            And yet you are.

          • Enuff_of_this

            But you will vote to raise them

          • Bluejay2fly

            In 7 years I am retiring. I will sell this house and NEVER fall into that property tax scam again. I would rather pay $100 a day and live on a cruise ship before I get abused again like this.

          • Bluejay2fly

            By not owning a home you are free to vote with your feet. Good move.

  • AnneDH

    Vermont put a formula in place that equalizes money spent on public education among our towns by shifting money from wealthier towns to poorer towns. Of course a lot of objection to this method, and it’s still in early days, so we’re still working out some kinks.

    • Ray in VT

      There were also towns like Stowe, where they created some sort of fund that wasn’t via town spending. That way they could raise and provide money to the school without directing raising the money through taxes and having to contribute to the state education fund. I think that that is the way that it did or was supposed to work. I’m not sure if they are still doing it, but I think that they at least tried it in the early days of Act 68.

      • TFRX

        Sounds like one hell of a…bake sale. Yeah, that’s the ticket. A “bake sale”.

  • Jay

    It’s hypocritical of President Obama to be against school vouchers (‘choice’), when he sends his own kids to Sidwell Friends School, where tuition is over 20 thousand per year. If you’re rich and live in Washington, you can send your child to an elite school to get a great education, if you’re poor and live in D.C., then the local public school, good or bad, will have to do. It gives new meaning to the term, separate but equal.

    • Yar

      It is hypocritical to criticize the President for sending his kid to a private school when the cost to the public would be greater to provide security for the public school system. His children are not a proxy for the average school student or the quality of public schools. It would be cheaper to home school the president’s children. It takes a hypocrite to point out a hypocrite, so I am guilty.
      Parents are free to do what is best for their children, the hypocrisy is when they chose not to pay for the education of other’s children. We are in the same boat, we can’t just bail out our side.

    • Don_B1

      So you would agree to pay taxes so that each child in your city/town could get a voucher for $20,000 for schooling of the parents’/child’s choice?

  • Bluejay2fly

    Here is a good one. I pay 6K a year in school and property tax. However, when I applied for a teaching job guess who gets hired. A school board member’s daughter and the son of one of the teachers. My tax dollars gets to support their blood line dynasty. That same system DOES NOT exist for all other state employees who are hired based on civil service test scores.

    • jefe68

      That’s about your local school district, not taxes.
      What you have there is nepotism.

      • Bluejay2fly

        It’s about how a fair and enlightened system has turned into its own ugly corrupt universe. I worked in the public school system for years in many different districts and many districts operate on a similar basis. They are like their own private fiefdom. They hire who they want, teach what they want, and do what they want within the loose framework of state regulation. In the end should tax payers finance this?

        • jefe68

          There are federal guidelines, that all public school districts have to meet as well as the ones mandated by the state. And guess what, funding is based on this.

          I’m starting to have some suspicions about your motives.

  • Ray in VT

    Gee, schools with poorer kids are getting the short end of the funding stick. Is that really a shock? Some schools have been suing their respective states for years in order to attempt to gain some level of funding equity.

  • Jordan Davies

    Equal per pupil spending is the law in Vermont.

  • MOFYC

    I have a very simple idea for funding of schools.

    If the federal government mandates a program, it funds the program 100%. If a state government mandates a program, the state funds it 100%. Local property taxpayers should only be responsible for funding the programs their local school board chooses to offer (AP, sports, music, etc).

    State and federal legislators love dumping mandates on schools because they get the credit for caring about [important pet issue] while passing the buck to someone else to figure out how to pay for it.

    My idea would force legislators to think a little more carefully before they mandated something.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Having any taxes mandated on a non working citizen is abominable. Schools should source their financing for extra’s through lotteries, bake sales, etc.

      • John Shannon

        DO non-working citizens use public services? infrastructure? police protection? if the answer to any of these are “yes”, they should pay taxes.

  • MOFYC

    If standards are “universal” then so should funding be.

  • Jordan Davies

    Because schools were unequally funded in Vermont an act was passed in the legislature which provided for equal spending per pupil. This law allows for equal funding per pupil throughout the state.

    • Enuff_of_this

      And that act was a joke because it did nothing to reign in or equalize per pupil spending. Individual districts still voted additional funding to continue the practice of attracting the best and the brightest teachers from other districts better facilities and materials. The law should have included a statewide teachers contract to really level the field.

  • StilllHere

    How much is actually spent on instruction versus excessive pension and health care benefits?

    Please cite definitive, peer-reviewed, research indicating dollars spent is the only factor that matters in educational outcomes.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Those healthcare and retirement benefits are no different than what a fireman, soldier, politician or other civil servant receives.

      • StilllHere

        Exactly.

      • jimino

        And what were considered as standard benefits for all workers in the “greatest generation”, during which we had our highest overall economic growth and a huge middle class was established.

        Where did all that money go?

        • Bluejay2fly

          Something like 135 people own half of the planets wealth.

    • Ray in VT

      We could probably bring down those health care costs by adopting a health care financing and delivery model consistent with the rest of the developed world. You are behind that, right? Think how much money could be saved.

      As for research, there is plenty out there. I’m sure that you have thoroughly reviewed it.

      “An Exchange: Part I*: Does Money Matter? A Meta-Analysis of Studies of the Effects of Differential School Inputs on Student Outcomes” by Hedges, Laine and Greenwald in Educational Researcher concluded that the data “shows systematic positive relations between resource inputs and school outcomes. Moreover, analyses of the magnitude of these relations suggest that the median relation (regression coefficient) is large enough to be of practical importance.”

      • Bluejay2fly

        Ray too many middle men are involved in our healthcare system to make it cost effective. First Colleges way overcharge, next the bankers make their cut on student loans, next the insurance companies for both patient and malpractice, next the pharmaceutical companies, next the medical suppliers. and that is why a broken leg costs 20K.

        • geraldfnord

          We should also not forget that the roll-out of government health-care was limited by political factors to precisely those groups most prone to needing it, and so it has ended-up costing more per person than it would have done for the general public.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Healthcare costs have changed the world. Countries in Europe have now made it nearly impossible to move there, in part, because you will be added to their national health. Gone are the days when you can just decide to move to France or Ireland.

        • Ray in VT

          Creating middle men seems to be one area where we have performed very well as a nation.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Sadly, that was never outsourced to Mexico.

      • geraldfnord

        I agree, but do they control for {liking learning}’s being an hidden variable here, indicating correlation rather than causation? (That is, people who want good education are more willing to pay for it, but the ‘wanting good education’ component would help even if they _couldn’t_ pay more.)

        • Ray in VT

          Hard to say without reading the full article. Parent participation and student interest and motivation both play significant roles too, I think, but an interested student would be hard-pressed to learn much about anything in school about IT if the school didn’t have computers. Same goes for chemistry or biology and so forth.

      • StilllHere

        Please reread the request, your response is non-responsive indicating a lack of critical thinking.

        • Ray in VT

          Only because you seem to lack the ability to think in any way.

          • jefe68

            You think?

          • Ray in VT

            As much as time allows. One of the nice things about working on the farm is that so much of it pretty basic and repetitive that one has plenty of time to think about stuff. I once solved a challenging database problem in the barn when I just couldn’t get a handle on it in the office. But then I had to wait two days to see if my solution actually worked.

          • jefe68

            Funny how that chap is under the illusion that he’s engaging in critical thinking.

          • TFRX

            Surely you’ve heard of Philo Farnsworth, who came up with the idea of breaking down and reassembling TV signals electronically, row by row, while plowing row by row.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed I have.

  • Jay

    Teachers unions oppose education reform

    http://teachersunionexposed.com/blocking.php

  • Alchemical Reaction

    mofyc is right – universal funding per student should follow universal standards.

  • DeJay79

    affluent areas are always going to have inequitable better schools even if the school systems are funded at an equal rate. Other meaningful intangibles still exist. Parent involvement, local business support, and even teacher and student perceptions.

    I’m not making this point to argue that nothing should be done, but I want to point out that inequity will exist and can’t simple be budgeted away.

    • geraldfnord

      Certainly, at least for the near future…but the impossibility of finishing a task does not free one from the obligation of starting or of continuing it, and in practice we already have enough other excuses for doing nothing (it’s God’s Will or The Market’s, Those People can’t really benefit from education, learning is bad for you…).

  • William

    Kansas City went down the same problem a few years ago.

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html

  • Bluejay2fly

    Schools should be the center of the community. Instead they become a walled fortress because we are afraid letting in molesters and gunmen. People who pay crippling school taxes despise the school for costing them so much money. They complain incessantly about fancy teaching pay or how the union is corrupt. Until the community starts bonding with the schools it will just limp along as another great American failed institution.

    • geraldfnord

      It would help if “we” liked learning, but (broadly speaking) we don’t—many of us know that we’re supposed to _say_ that we do….

      • Bluejay2fly

        Imagine a school where the public can run on its track, swim in its pool, or lift weights and play basketball in its gym. Where people can a meal if they are needy. Where classes are taught and book clubs meet after hours. Instead you feel like a criminal going anywhere near the school.

        • geraldfnord

          Either it would fail and so be a waste, or it would succeed and mislead people into blasphemously thinking that government _can_ do something right.

          And if we didn’t have security theatre to make us feel our children were safe from predator strangers, we’d have to deal with the fact that parents, relatives, and family friends compose most of the predators…and that the obedience we expect from children when we want and need such is also the main enabler of their abuse. (See also: entrepreneurism and consumer culture create the drugs, self-direction mindlessly worshipped makes us more vulnerable to manipulation…in all these cases, bogus causes have to be found to avoid knowing how much things we want are bound to things we don’t.) (‘… and brothels of bricks of religion. ‘)

  • Scott B

    This is like listening to a chapter “What’s the Matter with Kansas” book-on-tape. It’s a prime example of Orwellian “double-think”, holding two contrary ideas at the same time:Educate the kids well , which requires funding, while cutting taxes and funds that would go for education.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Finland is roughly the size of arizona or montana… That’s a much smaller population to educate.

    • Bluejay2fly

      But like Norway about 50 years ago it was in abject poverty. How did they build such a prosperous society?

      • tbphkm33

        Norway was not in abject poverty 50 years ago? Maybe 150 years ago amongst the fishing villages on the western coast. Lets not forget that Oslo hosted the 1952 Olympics.

        Norwegian culture leans toward a group culture. Individuals have a higher moral sense of social responsibility. A reality that is not seen in the USA.

        • Bluejay2fly

          That was my point. They are hard working and responsible people. Values that are lost here in America.

        • Human2013

          Do you think we lack that sense of “group culture” because we’re heterogenous? I hate to always look at race, but I think this is much easier to accomplish when everyone looks the same.

    • northeaster17

      With much fewer resources

      • jefe68

        I think it’s more complicated than that.
        Finland does not have to deal with children from a dozen other countries with the language problems that this brings to the table. That said, they do offer up a model that can work if we had the national will to make some huge changes.

        Finland also has a robust national health care system and a decent social safety net.
        We will most likely never have a single payer system in this country, for a host of reasons, but all of this is tied to the idea of what kind of society do we want? As one can see by some of the conservative posters here, that their vision is not exactly one that lends itself to what Finland has done.

        • Bluejay2fly

          You would not believe the college degrees I see working in the NYS prison system. Education does not guarantee employment ,and many ultimately work outside their field. In short, our dysfunctional education system helps churn out a group of uneducated unemployed. This is a far better scenario then having too many unemployed educated people stewing on how badly the government is treating them. The brains of most social revolutions do not come from the peasantry.

          • jefe68

            Speaking of education. Your diatribe or screed, whatever it is you’re trying to do here, seems to be a fools errand. In terms of making any sense.

            As to people in prison earning degrees, well, how’s that a bad thing? They could do a lot worse. Of course having a record does not help them when they are released, which is something you negated in your diatribe.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Firstly, I was talking about prison guards having degrees not inmates. It becomes a huge problem in society when intelligent articulate people have to take public “work fare” jobs rather than generate capital in the private sector. Many tout education as the solution to solving the unemployment problem. Unfortunately, this is nothing more than people trying to sell their over priced and useless product. I will also assure you that being well educated and articulate and being forced into working in a prison or other menial labor does not make for a happy work force. People feel angry and lied to. In retrospect I would have been better off not ever becoming educated if my destiny was working in a prison. At least that way I could sit there with the other HS educated guards and rant about Obama being an African born muslim and how the UN is planning on taking all our guns away.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        And much more concentrated resources. The US is a perpetual family reunion with everyone hailing from different states, and everyone with different notions about everything. But they can agree on the potato salad.

  • geraldfnord

    Once you accept the principle that it were only right that the children of the poor be housed in far worse conditions than other children, fed far worse than other children, and live in neighborhoods far more dangerous than other children, the principle that it were only right that they be educated worse follows immediately. Isn’t a good education for children just one more incentive for adults to strive and work and create that we must not touch, lest Most Holy Market damn us?

  • amazonjn

    What Kansas did to my MO professor is abominable and reflects the lack of education and the rise of hateful, fundamentalist superstitions. It’s not much different from Uganda. R.I.P. Prof. J’Noel Gardiner

  • Alchemical Reaction

    every student should have an individualized education plan. The feds should pay only for the courses and instructors they want according to national need, STEM. States should pay for the courses and instructors relevant to their values. local communities should pay for art, enrichment and culture. Starting at middle school or junior high, half the courses should be online.

  • John_Hamilton

    The discussion is focused on periphery. What is really taking place is the predominance of a movement of ill will towards others, euphemistically called “Conservatism.” This movement has grown over the decades by masking its essential ill will in a fake ideology of small government, low taxes, extreme law enforcement, laxity in regulating business, low environmental standards, and thinly veiled racial supremacy.

    “Democrats” aren’t very good at opposing this ill will movement because they are addicted to “playing” politics, which means maneuvering within existing circumstances to maximize their position in the “game.”

    This won’t last forever. The “game” will change with global climate change and the encroachment of the unsustainability of our economic system. Ill will can only get you so far. When suffering starts to seriously effect those who have ill will towards others, they might start looking for actual solutions to problems rather than demagoguery. We’ll see. This is a critical test for our society. Do we, as a people, have the wherewithal to rise above ill will.

    • Bluejay2fly

      At this point in time I would be happy with just one state or one city advancing out of that paradigm.

    • northeaster17

      I think you are too much of an optimist. There are always means to divide and conquer for the benifit of the elite. Wether they eat caviar or squirrls.

      • Bluejay2fly

        “You can always hire half the poor to kill the other half” Gould

        • harverdphd

          Keyboard Kommandos Unite!

    • tbphkm33

      Ah, you mean the movement that has transformed the USA into the richest 2nd world nation with pockets of statistically 3rd world socioeconomic metrics.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Both parties are guilty of that sin which is why nothing gets better.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Heresy! Quiet, or thing might change!

    • Salty

      After careful consideration… I would say the opinion state above is deluded at best. So JH knows what is “Really” going on? He knows my heart as a conservative. My conservative heart is that everyone has opportunity and need the liberty to chase their dreams. I started out the child of poverty and a single mom who never completed high school. I worked hard, sacrificed the present for the future and caught my dream. It is possible. The system works. I am proof. With liberty comes opportunity. Big government restricts opportunities and dampens dreams.

      • Bluejay2fly

        A woman once fell 3KM onto the ground and survived. If you made it good for you but when the system fails 9/10 it needs a reboot.

        • Salty

          Assuming the 9/10 is true… most or a lot of the 9/10 had the power to change the outcome. Stay inside and do your work instead of running the streets. Pull your pants up, put on a belt, say “Yes Ma’am” and “No Sir”. Read a book instead of playing X-Box all night. Be an example to your children – get a job, any job to show that work matters.

          Our system needs work but we have the power to create our outcome.

          • Human2013

            No, not everyone has the power to change the outcome. Please remeber that even the highly educated, who did as you requested, are not getting a fair chance. Please explain to me how some of our most talented youth leave college with a small mortgage, but they can change the “outcome.” How are they suppose to purchase a home with the burden of student loans?

          • Salty

            Why is a loan assumed to be a requirement? People work their way through school every year. Community college for two years, sling pizzas at night, work construction in the summer, rent a cheap apartment and drive an old banger for a few years and nail the debt before raising the lifestyle.

            It is possible. I did it an I am of normal.

          • Human2013

            Seriously, what year were you born? You are certainly revealing your archaic ideaology. NOT POSSIBLE, NOT IN 2014.

          • harverdphd

            well…my kids were born in 1983 and 1985, got much of their college paid for by being smart, paid off their loans within 5 years of graduation, and are both employed building futures and buying homes…what’s in your useless ideology?

          • Human2013

            So, I’ll safely assume you were born in the early 60s. And there it is, a disconnect from modern reality. A longing to hold on to the idllyic past.

      • John_Hamilton

        If the “opinion state above” is deluded at best, what might it be at worst? Or on average? Just so you can become even better proof that the system works, an “opinion state” cannot be deluded, at best, worst, or anything in between. The person might be deluded, but an opinion is either based on fact or fancy. In my case, my observations are based on fact, on the demeanor of “conservatives,” the things they advocate, and the effects of what they advocate.

        A good example is the attitude towards perceived “others,” such as African Americans, Mexicans, Muslims, and selected other “others.” I have seen this first hand, i.e., in person, among “conservatives” many, many times, enough times to non-delusionally conclude that there is a pattern.

        This is but one example. So it is not merely an “opinion state.”

        Nice try, though. Try again.

        • Salty

          Deluded at best… That is, giving the benefit of the doubt, not assuming ulterior motives or lack of knowledge.

          I have a vast collection of examples of conservatives caring for their communities, families, neighbors and self without regard to background or characteristic. I interact with hundreds of them each week, enough times to clearly state a pattern…

          Notice I did not denigrate those with a “liberal” ideology or dogma. Hopefully the irony is clear, subtle… but clear.

          • John_Hamilton

            Again, nice try. Like I said previously, an opinion can’t be deluded. As for conservatives caring about their communities, etc., it’s what I call stylized caring, specific to types of care, for whom, and degree.

            Again giving one example, a (former) friend of my dad announced one evening that he had joined the John Birch Society. I had worked for the guy in his gas station. He was a crook, cheating me on wages while being a slave driver, and selling off-brand “generic” gas instead of the brand name gas he franchised (he got caught, kicked out). He cursed his customers under his breath after exuberant greetings.

            That made him zero for three – crook with the parent company, employees, and customers. Also an extreme “conservative.” After his announcement my dad never had anything to do with him again, including never buying his gas.

            I have many examples. This is but one. I have “conservative” relatives who are unbelievably callous racists, along with being in the upper five percent-or-so income category.

            You can blah, blah all you want about what great people “conservatives” are. If there are any, they are in the extreme minority. “Conservatives” I know who are decent people are deluded. Like I said before, opinions can’t be deluded, but people can. Their opinions are in error.

            This is a “movement” of arrogant, selfish, dishonest people. The word xenophobia didn’t come from nowhere. It means fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners. There wouldn’t be such a word if it didn’t describe something that has existed in real life. Such as in the U.S. Congress, throughout the state of Arizona (one example), and, of course, on Fox News and AM radio. The term “hate media” didn’t come from nowhere.

          • HonestDebate1

            One day you’ll understand.

          • John_Hamilton

            Only one day? What might it be that I would understand one day?

          • Ray in VT

            All of the stuff, from the likes of Rush and Heritage, that he believes even if facts don’t support it.

      • Human2013

        Your perserverance and discpline are to be applauded, but this is but one story. Consider the color of your skin, your gender, your lack of serious health issues. Try to uncloak your bias and put on a different lens.

        • Salty

          Just what is my gender, my race, my health status? None of those played a role in my catching my dream. What is my bias? Well, perhaps my health did a little. If I were healthier, I could have been even more successful.

          My “one story” is an example of the possibilities out there for all, well nearly everyone. Those bedridden by illness or infirmity will have a tough row to hoe.

        • Sy2502

          Very Lib to downplay one’s hard work. Of course the poster must have succeeded because of the color of his skin, not because he worked his rear end off, not because of sacrifices, not because of his moral fiber. So lame.

          • Human2013

            Lame? Very Conservative to downplay race, gender and good health in an individual’s success. You also conveniently forget that the “indivdual” is created in his community, his home, his school and place of worship. You have a hard time agreeing that when the “indivdual” has none of those support systems, their phsyical and mental growth is probably stymied. You folks do everything by “yourself” with only your brawn and brain — get real.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      This attempt to impugn a word, a concept, “conservative” is so lame.

      Are you “conservative” with environmental issues? With you own paycheck?

      Notions of accountability, paying for what you consume, being skeptical of centralized power, and thus being conservative with giving it away, are completely valid, and intelligent, let alone, proven by historical empiricism.

      Just because modern Republicans may largely bastardize the words for their half of the Establishment bamboozle, I think most folks are not so foolish as to be convinced by you to discard whole notions, or philosophies.

      Baby, Bathwater, per usual.

      • John_Hamilton

        All the blah, blah attempts at “ideology” by “conservatives” are just cover for the things I mentioned, which create an overall pattern of ill will, which is what I already wrote. The “ideology” is just facade. I know this from long personal experience. Some get so deep into the cover that they confuse the facade for the essence.

        I have an example. In the mid-90s I had to quit my outdoor job due to too much sun. I signed up with a temp agency, and one of the jobs they sent me out on was to telemarket for the Republican Party. It was surreal. I lasted longer than any of the other trainees – a day and a half – and talked to a wide variety of Republicans. They were universally irate, mad at Bob Dole for not coming to Wisconsin. One was the mother of Rush Limbaugh’s producer (the office manager knew exactly who she was).

        On a file cabinet there was a bumper sticker that said “Life’s a Hillary.” After a day and a half I started getting ill, and left. There wasn’t much political talk there, because they assumed everyone was a Republican. It was just bizarre, an air of smugness, superiority.

        • jefe68

          That’s how they roll. Mitt Romney came off just like that. So do his sons.

    • ExcellentNews

      Ill will and fear ARE the psychological underpinnings of conservatism. Most progressives are unaware that there are a lot of people who simply do not have the same mental model as they do…

      • harverdphd

        ..hence making them as irrelevant as you are….

        • jefe68

          Proving the point, way to go.

    • harverdphd

      you mean ill will like yours?

      • ExcellentNews

        No – fMRI “brain scans” have indicated that people who describe themselves as conservative are also more prone to experiencing fear. That is the data. I guess the “ill will” is the natural product of fear… One can certainly see ill will towards working Americans in the Republican Part political platform since 1996.

        • hennorama

          ExcellentNews — on a side note:

          Colors, alone and in combination, can affect one’s mood.

          Multiple sources, including the link below, indicate that red and black, alone and in combination, have strong impacts.

          “Black and Red: violence, viciousness, satanism, evil, innocent blood shed by the wicked”

          The Fox News Channel uses significant amounts of red and black on its telecasts.

          Quoted source:
          http://lightworkers.org/blog/178353/color-combinations-and-their-meanings

          • HonestDebate1

            I kick my cat everytime Fox has red on the screen. I can’t help it.

        • John_Hamilton

          I forgot about that. Psychologists have found that in the process of unraveling anger the next stage is fear. Which explains much about American society. Very angry, very fearful. Cr@ckpot religion fits in by covering anger with aggression. I was confronted by a fanatical “Christian” at a funeral recently – totally tasteless and inappropriate. I dealt with it, angered a lot of people, yuk, yuk. The angry people weren’t religious fanatics, so I wonder what fear was behind their anger.

          By the way, beneath fear is love, which reminds me of a song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_WVPoWNYLs

      • John_Hamilton

        You could have made it more colorful. How about “So’s your old man?” Of course, if one is a Harvard PhD, one would have to present a facade of decorum.

        I seem to remember “harverdphd” from previous encounters. This would be the kind of pretension a “conservative” would attempt. Just so you know for future attempts, Harvard is spelled h-a-r-v-a-r-d. A Harvard PhD would tend to know this. Of course, there may be a “Harverd” university somewhere. One can imagine. Then pretend.

    • HonestDebate1

      As long as people view those with opposing ideas as uncaring monsters, nothing will improve. Conservatives are not monsters.

      • jefe68

        No, conservatives are not monsters.
        The extreme right wing are not either.
        They do seem support the idea of social Darwinism, which is a monstrous idea.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Says who?

          So if you believe your choices and actions have consequences you are a social darwinist?

          If you recognize the competition brings out better prices and quality, you are a social darwinist?

          If you don’t believe in handouts to distribute everything equally between citizens because you know there is a connection between work and effort and choices and self esteem and benefit to society you are a social darwinist?

          I think a more proper labeling would be that those who favor more entitlements and less responsibility, more state and less creativity by a free people, as Zoo Keepers.

          Here is some interesting reading if you truly care….

          http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2013/07/social-darwinism-and-social-justice/

          “Unfortunately, people who use the term “social Darwinism” aren’t terribly careful about providing a clear definition of the term, so my first essay is devoted largely to figuring out what it is supposed to mean.”

          http://www.libertarianism.org/blog/william-graham-sumner-part-1-laissez-faire-social-darwinism

          • jefe68

            So you don’t believe in the idea that societies should have social safety nets or decent health care systems. That’s fine, but it’s regressive. Maybe you should read some Dickens instead of trying to pass on links to a libertarian site. In my opinion libertarianism for the most part is juvenile as a political construct.
            Libertarians fail to realize that there has never been–and never will be–a government that functions according to their principles because it runs entirely contrary to human nature.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that it fails for the same reasons that other sorts of utopian systems, like communism, fails. It depends upon humans acting in the best possible ways, which we have shown time and again that people will not do. If men were angels…

          • HonestDebate1

            I disagree, it doesn’t depend upon humans acting in the best possible ways. It relies on the premise that being independent and free makes you more valuable to your community.

          • jefe68

            You through around that term free and independent a lot. You can be as free as you want, but without decent infrastructure and the upkeep to keep it going, that freedom and independence is just an abstract concept with no way to get to market.

            Right now, due to negligence, our nations electric grid is at a state where it could collapse. There could be a cyber attack and that could plunge the nation into darkness for days. Even weeks. What’s being done about it? Not much.
            So you keep preaching from your soap box about your libertarian ideology, your small government screeds while our nation descends into what could resemble a third word nation.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea, that’s what I want.

          • Ray in VT

            One wonders, then, how countries with their soul crushing, liberty and freedom destroying robust social welfare states are attaining higher levels of economic mobility, lower rates of poverty and many report having happier populations. I think that many would much rather not have the “freedom” to go bankrupt if they get sick or the “liberty” to work for less and in more dangerous environments. To me it seems that it relies on undermining and destroying community in favor of short-sighted self interest.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Do you really believe the founding principles of our Constitution and Country were CONTRARY to human nature? Its the best formula for containing human nature in creating government that the world has yet tried.

            You disagree?

            Human nature- corruption, abuse of power.

            Government- a monopoly on power.

            So would you rather put MORE power in the hands of ONE entity, or try to spread it out as much as possible.

            Similarly with economic models, would you rather have ONE government, with no alternatives hence competitive accountability control the markets for things, or would you rather have that distributed by multiple entities competing for price, quality and accountability.

            Libertarians, who as much as knee jerkers love to deny, are the MOST PRO-RULE OF LAW as opposed to Discretion of Men, of political persuasions, and the most for distributed power, competition and accountability.

            You and many have it completely backwards, precisely because of your own “juvenile” or naive belief that good intentions by government type is enough to proven human nature.

            Also, as I’ve said many times, a basic social net is completely reasonable and is supported by all but the most extreme libertarians.

  • Salty

    Ultimately big government is NOT the answer. I have worked at every level of education (elementary to university, children and adults) for 25 years. If a community values education you get reasonable outcomes, if a family values education – the children succeed. When a group (families, communities, states…) thinks someone else will take care of them, then folks tend to sit back, want and receive. When a group realizes that success is theirs to achieve, they make it happen.

    Some families don’t encourage, push or support education. Some communities don’t fund education, some states treat politics more important than the education. It is in our control. We just have to decide what we want and do something about it.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Agreed, but do believe in accountable, competitive public/charter schools for all citizens, with equitable funding based on taxes, along with rigorous accounting.

      When the outliers in the more negative communities you mention decide to make a good effort, they should get sufficient teacher/resource experience to get the results of their positive choices.

      Don’t need bureaucrats running schools, but we do need public (tax) funding, of well managed, and accountable school programs. Public fund/Private run?

      • Salty

        Sounds good to me.

    • georgepotts

      “Investing in Education” has nothing to do with outcomes, it has to do with increasing the size of government. Nothing brings more money into government coffers than failure.

      We couldn’t accomplish the mission because we didn’t have enough money. Give us more money and we will continue to fail.

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

    We need a taxbot or robotax.
    If we are not learning what you want us to learn then what are we learning?

  • jefe68

    True, school systems are a reflection of their communities via school boards and such. My guess is the Catholic schools payed for that service. They did in the town I grew up in.

  • ExcellentNews

    We need to give a tax cut to the billionaire land owners in Kansas so that they can go and fund more creationist museums…

    • harverdphd

      Let me guess…you made poor education and career choices and now you need to blame others…I get it

  • David Kimball

    In the 2008 elections, I did a correlation-test showing which States went to Obama and which States didn’t and then a correlation with that State’s ranking educationally. Out of the top 16 States educationally, all but one or two went to Obama. The same was true in the lowest 15 States – hardly any of them went to Obama.

    We need to consider education to be part of society’s infrastructure. We cannot have a strong society without an educated society. These other countries have realized this. We can learn a lot from other countries if we weren’t so provincial.

    • HonestDebate1

      What is your conclusion drawn from the correlation regarding Obama? Has he done anything about education?

      • David Kimball

        The correlation showed that the States with the best education could and would exercise more critical analysis in their voting preferences. States with the lowest educational rankings, like Mississippi do not. In order to see that our society can apply critical analysis when voting, they need a good education. Not like the educational system in the Tea Party States where they act from emotions rather than critical analysis.

        • Murph262

          Agreed. Ideology: as pointed out in the program, there is a political/policy ideology which says that the government cannot do anything right. Clearly, such states will have sub-standard education and education results.

          • HonestDebate1

            Nobody says government can’t do anything right.

        • HonestDebate1

          You draw all of that from a correlation? Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to be equating critical analysis in voting (and education) with voting for Obama… twice. That is a debate you will lose.

          And do you really want to talk about emotion driven politics? What is a “fair share”? It’s not a number it’s an emotion. What is a “living wage”? It’s not a number it’s an emotion. What is “Hope and Change”… exactly?

          • jefe68

            And you just proved his point.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

    • Cooper

      Not that we were previously bereft of good examples or anything, but this comment does demonstrate nicely the patronizing undertone of Liberal politics. Good Lord.

  • outdoor_michael

    I will point out the obvious which is that most judges were CJ majors in school. Why CJ? Perhaps they lacked the critical thinking skills to be science majors? When 1st generation foreign students (many of whom are the first in their family to speak english) outperform students who have lived in the U.S. for generations, one needs to ask why. Hint: it isn’t the money!

  • StilllHere

    The gap between U.S. public-pension costs over workers’ expected lifetimes and the money currently earmarked to pay those costs has grown to $2.7 trillion, according to a 2013 estimate by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. So we face a choice, excessive pensions or instruction for our kids.

    • Murph262

      So, cutting the tax base further is a solution to this gap? Hardly. Purposely eroding the tax base is exacerbating the problem. The Kansas Revolution, so-called, is more Voodoo Economics, more trickle down — and how has that worked out?

      It is ironic that the very people who are de-funding education are those who blame the un-educated workforce. Some of those voices are on this comment board — blame the victims.

      • StilllHere

        What? Paying public employee pensions with taxpayer funds in order to increase the tax base is nonsense.

        It’s not about de-funding education. It’s about reducing the funding for non-education education expenses.

  • Ray in VT

    Another issue regarding education in Kansas: to some teaching science in science class is controversial:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/kansas-evolution-lawsuit_n_4005717.html

  • causeby

    What is this about the FBI at ~7:00?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Did I say competition? Accountability may have some competitive component to it, but why you would be against accountability when using tax dollars to fund something as massive and important as primary education is beyond me.

    But of course we do live in the era of good feelings, dreamy notions, and good intentions, as opposed to Rule of Law and Accountability, as Iraq and the Financial Bubble brought to us by you favorite bipartisan shows,

  • John_Hamilton

    I was giving an example of “Conservatives” I have known. After I posted it I realized it was a weak example, but an example nonetheless. I volunteered for the recall of Wisconsin’s governor in 2012, and, yes, you are right, the “Democrats” took over and ensured defeat. Just unbelievable. They wanted us to tell lies about Walker, when the truth would have sufficed. I won’t make that mistake again.

    As to the hodgepodge of intellectual terms, I don’t have any further parsing. My basic approach is civilization and its survival. Number one in that survival is facing the unsustainability of our infinite growth economic system, and the impending threats to our ecosystem that are being brought on by global climate change.

    The biggest impediment to facing these challenges is “conservative” disinformation about anything related to the environment, and about anything else, for that matter.

    I didn’t mention this enough before. “Conservatism” is a fake propaganda movement, in tandem with its propagation of ill will towards others. Its half-life is very short, being a movement largely of older people. No doubt they are trying to come up with ways to fool the young and get them to “join” the movement.

  • John_Hamilton

    Fake response, typical of “Conservatives,” proving what I have been saying. A fake movement can prevail for a while, but eventually will run out of b.s. It’s only hope is infectious national psychosis, which indeed happened in the Bush 43 years, but those years have passed, hopefully not to return.

    • HonestDebate1

      Alrighty then.

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