27 January 2004

THIS JUST IN: More spending on public education doesn't create improvement

[source, source]

Seattle school officials are learning a valuable but surprising lesson — throwing money at schools doesn’t always help kids achieve. And spending more money on some students rather than others does little more than cause trouble.

Under Seattle’s weighted student formula, schools with kids who are poor, not fluent in English or have special needs get more money to help them compete. Only it doesn’t seem to work.

“If money is the only thing we need to make better schools — to increase academic achievement for students — then we would have seen that by now,” said Lynn Harsh of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based group that focuses on state budgets and tax policy, welfare reform, health-care reform, education and governance issues. “Instead we’re seeing the opposite results.” [emphasis added]

Imagine that - spending more money on a failed system leads to more failure!

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That just proves that they don't understand their own needs

[source, source]

[T]he most significant reaction was the less seen in the West. That is the voice of the underdogs, the dissidents and the had-enough-of-it people. Kuwait applauded the speech. So did the Governing Council in Iraq. But beyond these two liberated countries, other civil societies expressed their support to the State of the Union. In a sense, it was their state of misery acknowledged in Washington. Students and reformist in Iran cheered. Opposition in Syria and Lebanon breathed better. Southern Sudanese and Nubians reinforced their will. Berbers and liberal seculars in Algeria clapped hands. And from the deepest underground of activism, dissident web sites, with writers around the Arab world, including women in Saudi Arabia, started to count the days. In short: the lowest layers in the region’s make-up received their state-of-affairs with the voice of the most powerful man on Earth, the President of the United States.

How ironic. Inside Byzantium (read Washington’s beltway), the debate had no respite. It is still about “where are the WMDs?” and “what are we doing in Iraq?” But down-under, in what will become the future generations of the entire Middle East, Shiites, Kurds, liberal Sunni, democratic Arabs and oppressed minorities, women and students are reading President Bush’s speech in disbelief. “Who among our own Presidents-for-life and Fundamentalist Monarchs have ever mentioned the mass graves and our vanished human rights?” Let it come from the American President. And if he is not serious, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Truth was said.” This is from the underground chat rooms. The people have hope.

Who’s really out of touch with the masses, President Bush or the western liberals who live in the world of the Washington Beltway?

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Too smart for his own good

[source, source, source]

Recently, I interviewed with a school in one of the metro Atlanta counties, only to receive an e-mail from the principal stating, “Though your qualifications are quite impressive, I regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate. It was felt that your demeanor and therefore presence in the classroom would serve as an unrealistic expectation as to what high school students could strive to achieve or become. However, it is highly recommended that you seek employment at the collegiate level; there your intellectual comportment would be greatly appreciated. Good luck.”

Obviously. The author is able to construct clear, understandable sentences. Clearly those students unable to do so would be mocked for that, making it legally perilous.

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Education equality in action

[source, source]

The school honor roll, a time-honored system for rewarding A-students, has become an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.

As a result, all Nashville schools have stopped posting honor rolls, and some are also considering a ban on hanging good work in the hallways — all at the advice of school lawyers.

After a few parents complained their children might be ridiculed for not making the list, Nashville school system lawyers warned that state privacy laws forbid releasing any academic information, good or bad, without permission.

As someone noted in the comments, when has a child in the American public school system ever been ridiculed for not being on an academic honors list?

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Western journalists: hostile or scum?

[source, source, source]

Ultra-left “journalist” John Pilger is openly supporting the “resistance” in Iraq:

Q: Do you think the anti-war movement should be supporting Iraq’s anti-occupation resistance?

A: Yes, I do. We cannot afford to be choosy. While we abhor and condemn the continuing loss of innocent life in Iraq, we have no choice now but to support the resistance, for if the resistance fails, the “Bush gang” will attack another country. If they succeed, a grievous blow will be suffered by the Bush gang.

Pilger’s a bit caught here, because being who he is he can’t join up with any group that’s “choosy” in its allies.

Also, as many have noted, this is just another data point showing that the “anti-war” coalition isn’t anti-war at all.

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EU is fed up with the voters not behaving

[source, source]

In her new book, Danish Liberal EU spokesperson Charlotte Antonsen questions the use of referenda as a useful way to build up European democracy.

The book - “Towards the European Constitution” warns that the EU could fall apart if the Danish practise of consulting the people in referenda over important EU treaties is copied by other member states.

“Referenda have a very conservative effect on development. If the other countries copy us, the EU will fall apart”, she writes. […]

“Referenda are in fact pure gambling. There is no guarantee of a positive outcome, unfortunately”.

The most interesting statement here is not the utter disdain for the citizens of the EU, but the admission that the EU is so contrary to public opinion that widespread accountablity to the voters would destroy it.

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