Is k-12 more important than higher ed in Georgia?

The folks at DOE may be breathing a little easier today, but that is probably not the case in the Regents offices. See the comments below on funding priorities made by Nathan Deal in an interview with the AJC’s Jim Galloway. (Read the full interview here):

In addition, the new governor’s “Hang in there” speech met with skepticism from posters here who work in school policy. (To RBN, we are looking at the budget and will have some thoughts soon.)

Here is a passage from Deal’s State of the State that raised a few eyebrows: “My budget will have a net increase of $30 million in formula funding and no reduction in Equalization Grants.Earlier this school year, the Federal Education Jobs Bill directed $322 million to Georgia schools. Local school systems should have been able to set aside local funds to be used in FY 2012.”

And here is why. From a poster:

Interesting that Deal expected local districts to set aside local funds for 2012 because of federal stimulus but the State did NOT. Also, given the magnitude of the state cumulative state cuts the last eight years, who had funds to set aside? How could local districts set aside funds when the state consistently underfunded the Quality Basic Education Act? The State is NOT following the law it passed to fulfill the adequacy clause in the State Constitution. The gap grows bigger each year, and a trend that will continue with Nathan Deal. This means that more and more of education funding comes from local property taxes and this will cause larger and large disparities in educating funding per student across the state.

I also suspect that a net increase of $30 million does not make up for student enrollment growth, especially when you factor out the federal funds.

And here is the relevant slice of Galloway’s interview with Deal:

Insider: Your biggest round of applause came when you announced an end to teacher furloughs. Was that a primary object of your budget proposal?

Deal: That was one of the top priorities, to deal with ending the teacher furloughs and allow funding for a complete school year. In one of the rehearsals, I said, “…and keep children in school for the entire year.” And they said, “Boy, you are going to have a riot on your hands.” I said, “Parents may like it, though.”

But that was a priority in our approach to the budget. Once again, it demonstrates we can’t continue to do just across-the-board cuts. That we have to be very selective.

Insider: Looking very quickly at your budget, it seems that many of the cuts in education were shifted to the state university system. Was that the trade-off for salvaging K-12 funding?

Deal: They’re going to take about a 6 percent reduction. I did not feel that they had the same priority as K through 12.

– From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

65 comments Add your comment

catlady

January 13th, 2011
10:18 am

I suspect a lot of folks are waiting to see how it shakes out. My system has an 8M hole for next year, while we still are pumping money into “Fair Share.” I think we “qualified” as being “rich” with our 70% student poverty rate because of the hyperinflated evaluations given property here, which resulted in the downfall of 2 of our 4 banks so far. Apparently there is a 2 year lag, and eventually we will go back to being the poor county that we really are. Meanwhile, local folks support counties like Gwinnett, which by the formula are considered “poor.”

BTW, no county should receive “Fair Share” funds unless they are taxing at the 20 mil maximum.

I would like it if Mr. Deal would demand that the legislature follow the law and appropriate funds to the QBE standard, OR JUST GET RID OF QBE and admit it. When you have laws you obviously don’t follow, it leads to other laws being ignored.

I am trying to be hopeful, but the devil is in the details. We don’t need to waste money on more chiefs. Give us the true boots on the ground troops in K-12.

And is K-12 more important than postsecondary? That’s like asking if education is more important than public safety. Or is water more important than air. Your right leg or your left leg. The truth is, we have a number of areas that are necessities. How do we accommodate them? (The question is NOT, “How do I get re-elected?”)

JAT

January 13th, 2011
10:44 am

Isn’t the state only responsible for providing an “adequate” education for K-12 as far as funding goes? Maybe Mr. Deal has decided to “focus the funding” in/on education that the state MUST provide rather than in the education that it doesn’t.

With that said, of course higher ed. is important, but if you don’t focus on K-12, will there be enough students qualified to take advantage of higher ed.?

Progressive Humanist

January 13th, 2011
10:45 am

K-12 and postsecondary schools are equally important. If students receive only a K-12 education these days, they are at a disadvantage and lack the prerequisite knowledge to be successful in many walks of life. On the other hand, if they do not receive a quality K-12 education they obviously cannot excel at the more sophisticated and focused postsecondary schooling.

However, I would say that the state should pull back on funding college remedial classes and the Hope scholarship funding for those “student success” programs. If students do not learn the basics that they need to while they are in high school (even with teachers, parents, and community leaders stressing their importance continually), then the state should have no part in paying for them to learn K-12 material when they get to college.

In that case they need to get a job at a fast food restaurant, pay for tutoring services themselves, and try to get accepted into a college just like any other student when they have developed the necessary skills. All too often students blow off high school, graduate with a 7th grade reading level (yes, it can be done and is very common), knowing little to nothing about math, science, or history. Then they realize, “Oh, cr@p! I’ve got no place that will feed me or to hang out with my hundreds of friends. I’m too cool to work at Taco Bell, but even they won’t hire me. I better get to college!”

And hence we have places like Georgia Perimeter just booming while students repeat the same process and material they did in high school. Everybody should have a second chance at an education (50% of all college freshmen these days don’t come straight from high school, but are adult learners returning from a depressed employment environment). They just shouldn’t be able to do so on the public’s dime. We already tried that with them for 12 years.

d

January 13th, 2011
11:02 am

Is K12 *more* important, probably not, but that being said, it is constitutionally required to be funded and I am cautiously optimistic that we may see a few brighter days for K12 in Georgia. I do find it interesting, however, how many international students come to our state colleges and universities. I took four classes at Georgia Perimeter and had quite a few international students at that institution and then I can’t tell you how many I encountered when I was completing my master’s at Georgia State. I tell my students there is nothing wrong with our state institutions. They are highly respected. I think the two systems have to work hand in hand to improve the future for Georgia.

Now, as the previous poster stated, we do have an issue with the remedial courses. I think we are setting students up for failure with the expectation that college is the only answer. We need to let students know there are other options. Very few know that. I’ll admit I only took the SAT once in high school – I got a 1150 on the old 1600 scale (I did much better by comparison on the ACT). I see most of my students’ SAT scores and quite a few aren’t exceeding my old score even though it is now out of 2400. What is in the future for these students if they aren’t able to do well on the college entrance exams (and who knows when they take the COMPASS for math and English placement once they are admitted).

Let’s take this breath of fresh air the governor is given us and look at how we structure K12 in Georgia so that the higher ed can be saved.

say what?

January 13th, 2011
11:10 am

K-12 is more important than college. Colleges have started using funds for parent centers (who cares that you are experiencing empty nest syndrome, and tag along to college with your last child). These centers are made to have parents “feel” comfortable with sending their students and THEIR money to the college/university. So comfortable that they would be willing to make more donations to the school. This should be a function of the alumni or the foundation, not student fees and higher matriculation.

If students have a strong k-12 foundation, they can go to any college not just in GA.

K-12 funding

January 13th, 2011
11:15 am

All children need to go to k-12. Not all people should go to college. Fund k-12 and provided a good base there, and college will take care of itself.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
11:26 am

d says: “Is K12 *more* important, probably not, but that being said, it is constitutionally required to be funded …”

Just for the record, no where in the US Constitution does it says “education” or “school” if you do a search for those words at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

The federal government is not required by the US Constitution to provide education for its citizens. Now, I have not checked the Georgia state constitution, but public education is the jurisdiction of the state, which was why every state had its own standards up until the National Core Standard adopted by Gov Perdue last year.

Thomas Jefferson first advocated public education because an educated mass is part of the “eternal vigilance” for democracy, as opposed to the aristocracy where only the elite could afford education therefore maintaining their ruling control.

But nowadays with the budget cuts to education, the mass does not seem to care for education or the eternal vigilance, because that requires too much work. Any classroom teacher can tell you by observing the students.

say what?

January 13th, 2011
11:29 am

@math maestro. GA’s constitution does.

Just A Teacher

January 13th, 2011
11:31 am

Yes, K-12 is more important than college. I have said it on here many times, but the people on this blog don’t understand what I am saying. Most jobs do not require more than a high school education, but they do require mastery of basic skills taught in K-12. Unfortunately, the readers of this particular blog do not understand this since it is targetted towards a college educated audience. I understand that many people don’t agree with me, but a college education should be reserved for the most intellectually gifted portion of society. Allowing people with little or no intellectual curiousity or ability to attend college leads to a watered down collegiate curriculum which, in turn, weakens the value of a college degree. Moms and dads might not want to admit it, but, if their children have been mediocre students in K-12, they need to be prepared for a life of physical labor not academic research. There is no shame in digging ditches or driving a bus for a living; they are both important and difficult jobs. There is shame, however, in attempting to perform a job for which you are unqualified because you do not have the intellectual ability to do it adequately.

d

January 13th, 2011
11:33 am

@Math – I’ll save you the time, look at the Georgia Constitution article VIII – starts out that a priority of this state is K-12 and it shall be free and funded by tax dollars…. and then it even goes in to set up the Board of Regents.

Frankly, with the fact that the most qualified of the 15 candidates for any of the DeKalb BoE elections came in last it makes me wonder about some of the voters and if they truly care.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
11:47 am

say what? says: “GA’s constitution does.”

To elaborate my point further, education is NOT a fundamental Constitutional right like life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. Georgia Constitution does not trump the US Constitution. Our students value the pursuit of happiness over education, which by constitutional design is what we have now, whether it is flawed or not. And no where in the US Constitution does it say that the US has to maintain its economic superiority.

So does this design allow for the US to maintain its economic superiority with educational inferiority?

Just look at how our education has declined over the past 40 years, all the while US grew to be the only superpower. And I contend we can save more money by NOT funding public education, as long as the few initiated and motivated have the freedom to pursue their enterprise and support the rest of the mass.

d

January 13th, 2011
11:53 am

@Math — we are bound to two constitutions, The Federal and State…… now if you want to get real specific, Amendment 9 states that there are rights not specifically enumerated by the bill of rights and Amendment 10 says that powers not granted to the United States by the Constitution or forbidden to the states by the Constitution are delegated to the states. I would put these together to say that we have a right to education as granted by our state constitution and protected by the 9th and 10th amendments. If you want to get specific on rights spelled out in the Constitution, no where in our Federal Constitution do you have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

justin

January 13th, 2011
11:57 am

Isn’t compulsory education until students turn 16 – starting at 7? That puts 1/2 – 10 as the state required education. K-1 and 11-12 are at the same level as college.

JAT

January 13th, 2011
11:59 am

@ Math Maestro: You obviously are not a public school teacher and are a proponet for vouchers,private schools, etc.

As for NOT funding public education, that has been going on for many years now in Georgia, so you should be happy!

d

January 13th, 2011
12:02 pm

@justin – Currently 6-16, but I wouldn’t want to be teaching a class full of first graders who haven’t been through and mastered the Kindergarten curriculum. I do remind my seniors that they are in school by choice and should make the most of it.

Michael

January 13th, 2011
12:12 pm

I totally agree that providing K-12 education, free, to Georgia children is more important than paying for higher education regardless of need. Georgia must wake up and find the resources to ensure all youth the basic education that is the key to all future higher education. The lottery program that supports the HOPE scholarships should be refocused on getting all Georgia’s students the basic foundation that could lead to their higher education. When this program was initially begun, Georgia was in a windfall economy. Now, it is in a seriously suffering economy with little hope for any quick turn-around. Yes, Georgia residents need to wake up and support K12 education as a primary priority. We cannot survive in the current situation unless some costs to the government, and the taxpayers, are reassessed. On this issue, I feel Governor Deal is right on target. I support him.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
12:12 pm

d says: “we are bound to two constitutions”

It is easier to amend the State Constitution than the US. If the public education is failing, then let’s reduce it by amending the Georgia Constitution.

justin says: “Isn’t compulsory education until students turn 16″

That can be changed as well. Let’s make education not compulsory, but an alternative service no different than say the public health clinic. The student can choose to be there or not. I don’t know one teacher who would not love to have a class full of students that want to be in the classroom, and let the students that do not leave.

Before you go off and make the argument about how much it costs in welfare and prison to support the uneducated, we are already facing those costs because student dropout rates are increasing. But I contend, by letting more students who do not want to learn leave, we will not have to lower the educational standards any further (as many posts have alluded to). Therefore, allowing the students that do want to be in the classroom to be better educated, so they can create the enterprises that will support the rest of the mass.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
12:21 pm

JAT says: “You obviously are not a public school teacher and are a proponet for vouchers,private schools, etc.”

I was in the classroom for 6-years at a Title1 (low-income) and Title3 (immigrant) high school. I wasted more time having to deal with students that do not want to learn, than the ones that did. I just want a system where teachers can teach the students that want to learn, and remove those who do not.

JAT says: “As for NOT funding public education, that has been going on for many years now in Georgia”

And it is called private schools and home schools, which is growing as the public education is decreasing. And this is even more reason to not fund public education. Problem solved for public education, and we would not need this board for teachers to vent.

JAT

January 13th, 2011
12:22 pm

Math Maestro: I have an idea…why don’t you run for Gov. next time (or any public office) using your non-compulsory education platform and see how you do?

It’s sad, but here in GA..you might just have a shot!

d

January 13th, 2011
12:23 pm

@Math I can see it now – the advertisements stating that the state is wanting to take away your free babysitting services if you vote yes on Amendment 1….. You may be correct about amending the state constitution – especially now that that 2/3 of both the State House and State Senate are one party again. Always easy to get stuff through when you have those kinds of numbers. Just because we can amend the state constitution doesn’t mean we should.

Ole Guy

January 13th, 2011
12:24 pm

When one considers the educational realities du jour, this question becomes all but moot; all the funding in the world won’t change a thing…until the powers that be dare to tread upon the bare essentials. Unfortunately, these basics do not involve huge sums of public monies, therefore, they will, if ever seriously considered, die on the vine of good intentions.

K-12 education, in large part by virtue of NCLB, has become the new birthright of the younger gens. With hs diplomas essentially guaranteed in exchange for the “hard work” of simply showing up (most of the time) for class, K-12 ed means next to nothing short of yet another excuse to celebrate national mediocrity. At least higher education (for the most part) places demands for acceptable levels of performance.

When are we ever going to face the hard, harsh, and bitter reality that 1) NCLB is a national failure, 2) ever-increasing funding of K-12 is tantamount to painting over the rust and corrosion of long-ignored shortcomings in the public ed camp, and 3) “drop back and punt”…that is, admit past failures and aggressively reformulate new tactics in addressing public educations’ woes. ALL OF THIS, OF COURSE, TAKES GUTS. The fear of appearing unpopular with a constituency which has grown too lazy and slovenly to look beyond their own backyards of self-concern all but dooms any real potential for success. We, as self-satiating Americans, can continue with the flag-waving and self-congratulatory back-patting of psuedo accomplishments. K-12 or higher ed…is it really going to make much of a difference? Under current political thought, I think not.

oldtimer

January 13th, 2011
12:29 pm

Ga needs to look at the salaries in K-12 and higher education. The top leaders, administrators, professors, make huge salaries. Many have MUCH better benefits than teachers and lower level people. That is where the cuts come. Administrators do not need twice as much as teachers. In some colleges senior professors don’t even hardly teach. College people retire with WAY better and cheaper insurance than any other state employee. There are ways to make education cuts without cutting education itself.

Shar

January 13th, 2011
12:31 pm

Nathan Deal thinks that K12 education is more important than secondary, so de jure in Georgia it is. The legislature has been cutting both educational budgets for years, but in the case of the university system they have been complicit in sleight of hand – redirecting the tax money that should have been spent on education and relying on the Regents to bump up tuition to make up the shortfall, all covered by HOPE funds. In reality, legislators have therefore been stripping HOPE for years in favor of their pet projects.

The real question is whether secondary education is more important than Go Fish, Perdue’s horse grounds or the raft of similar giveaways and hometown re-election investing that has been funded with money that should have gone to education. Looking at the crowd of jokers lapping up lobbyist dollars at the Wild Hog Supper and waiting for the taxpayer-provided limos to arrive and take them to work (while the rest of us are dismissed to wait for Mother Nature), I’d have to guess that it is not.

d

January 13th, 2011
12:34 pm

@Ole Guy – I’m going to have to both agree and disagree with you. First, I agree that NCLB has really messed up an entire generation of Americans. When I have students coming to Economics not knowing basic graphing skills and who can’t write a grammatically correct sentence, that is a problem. I would argue, however, that we have not properly funded schools in this state for the past 8 years. Nearly $4 Billion cut from QBE is hardly throwing money at schools, and this $400 million that we’re getting from RTTT is a joke.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
12:39 pm

JAT says: “using your non-compulsory education platform and see how you do?”
d says: “state is wanting to take away your free babysitting services if you vote yes”

I have to plant the seed somewhere, and if teachers do not see the logic in this, then neither will the general public. At least this idea is more novel and simplifying than Michelle Rhee’s StudentFirst.org, which is really just increasing the complexity of the public education problem.

Ole Guy says: “all the funding in the world won’t change a thing…until the powers that be dare to tread upon the bare essentials. ”

Exactly! Reduce public education to be non-compulsary, and it gives people like Michelle Rhee nothing to argue about, especially against the teachers.

oldtimer says: “Ga needs to look at the salaries in K-12 and higher education”
Shar says: “secondary education is more important than Go Fish”
d says: “I agree that NCLB has really messed up an entire generation of Americans”

It does not look like anyone has anything good to say about public education. So why continue to fund it? Are the teachers here afraid that they will only have students that want to learn at a private school?

Top School

January 13th, 2011
12:40 pm

In one of the rehearsals, I said, “…and keep children in school for the entire year.” And they said, “Boy, you are going to have a riot on your hands.” I said, “Parents may like it, though.”

His comments…”Parents may like it, though”…this says it all.

As I said…The parents are part of the problem, too.
It is a systemic problem.

Parents and Politicians want high test scores by any means…
EVEN IF THAT MEANS CHEATING…

Our SOCIETY wants the money to flow…EVEN IF THAT MEANS INCREASING THE DEBT AND BAILING OUT THE CORRUPT FOLKS THAT PUT US IN THIS sinking boat.

The PARENTAL public is mirroring the behaviors that created the chaos. The general public will turn a blind eye to the issues of BUSINESS/GOVERNMENT /EDUCATION corruption as long as it is not disrupting their routine…eating out…keeping up with the Jones’ …and keeping up appearances that make it appear they are still in the middle to upper middle affluent circle.

Unfortunately, due to the drastic cuts and current state of the economy…More middle and upper-middle income White FOLK and Black FOLK and OTHERS are suffering and can’t keep up.

This comment … “Parents may like it, though”…has a deeper meaning.
The parents are worn out from work conditions that forecast doom and gloom.
They depend on the school house to take up the slack of what they cannot provide.
The parents would love to have more structure to the child’s day…so they can figure out how to continue to provide all the needs for their families.

K-12 Education is necessary because our lower/middle and upper middle income parents are struggling already.

The ELITE upper middle class will just hire more nannies and tutors. They will send their children to the CAMPS and to other countries for enrichment.

The K-12 Public Education system …is The BASE…The FOUNDATION…

As a former 1st grade teacher…
I was but one small piece that hoped to influence the proper development of a child to a productive adult. TEACHING ethics involving HONESTY AND INTEGRITY in the process of teaching the basic skills is necessary in the hope for a better day.

The foundation is slowly crumbling due to the lack of ETHICS in everything.
Bubbling in the test scores to make a child succeed is considered OK…
Borrowing more money than you make is the norm…and we are numb to listening to another story about the corruption in the business/government community that has made off with more money than we can imagine…

Governor Deal…and most of those he knows…will never feel the struggle of lower…and quickly declining middle/upper middle income families.
Deal depends on these lower socioeconomic families to keep government running.
Throwing crumbs of removing furlough days…and increasing the school year are his ideas of feeding the hungry. The people in his circle will never do without quality education…or the additional help they will need to raise their families. They are the ELITE…AND THEY define SUCCESS…without the including the ethical words…HONESTY and INTEGRITY.

Keeping children the entire year will allow the tax paying parents CHILDCARE so they can WORK TO PAY THE TAXES FOR THE government to continue business as usual. MAYBE PARENTS CAN WORK two, three or four jobs to keep up with their dwindling neighbors.

No Teacher Left Behind

January 13th, 2011
12:59 pm

Personally, I breathed a little sigh of relief when Deal proposed ending teacher furloughs. However, I am waiting to see if the Fulton Count Board is going to stick it to us again by furloughing these “snow days” this week. Federal stimulus money was streamlined to some Black Hole in the DOE.

K-12 educations is more important than higher education in these current times. College education is a choice, K-12 is required by law. Students can work and pay for their college education; college professors work less than K-12 teachers and get paid as much or more; this is a no brainer.

Thomas Mann

January 13th, 2011
12:59 pm

Thanks Maureen for continuing the dialogue. On K-12 vs higher education, I agree with Cat Lady: both are necessities. To back that up, two links of interest:

1) A report by the Atlanta Regional Council of Higher Education: “The More You Learn the More You Earn” (http://www.atlantahighered.org/default.aspx?tabid=627&Report=3&xmid=255). People with college degrees are twice as likely to be employed and earn twice the per capita income of those with just a high school degree. And not everyone needs a four year college degree but two years for technical college a must.

2) A report by CEO for Cities on the “Talent Dividend” (http://www.ceosforcities.org/work/talentdividendtour#More). Cities that have higher rates of college attainment have higher per capita income. While this looked at cities, I’ll bet the same correlation applies for states.

The Georgia Constitution, which does require the State to provide for an “adequate education” was written at a time higher education was not the necessity it is today. The dominant job sector was agrarian, or labor with your hands, not your mind.

We need to invest more in K-12 and higher education if Georgia is going to attract and retain competitive well paying jobs for its citizens.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta

January 13th, 2011
1:01 pm

Both K-12 and higher education are so important that we citizens have a right to know that the monies our legislators appropriate them are well-spent. When were the last external audits of our K-12 and USG systems conducted? When and where were any such audits publicized?

d

January 13th, 2011
1:01 pm

@Math – I’d ask you not to warp what I’m saying. I’m not and have never said nothing is good about public education. The problem we have is that a program that was an abysmal failure in Texas was spread nation-wide and right now politicians aren’t seeming to get off their collective rears to do anything to fix it. ESEA was up for renewal 4 years ago and we should have fixed it then, but we’re still under the rules of the last authorization…. so in 3 years, if one student fails a standardized test, then the whole school is labeled as failing. That’s a problem with the system. This isn’t a problem of the components, it’s the problem with the 1)unfunded mandates and 2)people who don’t have a clue trying to dictate from above.

To quote Dr. King: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” In the current and previous administrations, the thought process is that the function of education is to preform on standardized tests. I know plenty of educators, myself included, are trying to fight the current model, but I fear that the politicians are thinking that if children grow up into adults who know how to analyze situations, they may vote more intelligently. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I fear it is.

Tony

January 13th, 2011
1:03 pm

Easy question to answer. Yes. K-12 education IS more important than college when it comes to budgeting. Public schools provide a foundation that goes much deeper than many are willing to give credit. Without that foundation, it does not matter how much funding higher ed receives.

To those of you who still think educators are rolling in the dough, you are delusional.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
1:12 pm

d says: “I’d ask you not to warp what I’m saying. I’m not and have never said nothing is good about public education. The problem we have is that a program that was an abysmal failure in Texas was spread nation-wide and right now politicians aren’t seeming to get off their collective rears to do anything to fix it. ESEA was up for renewal 4 years ago and we should have fixed it then, but we’re still under the rules of the last authorization…. so in 3 years, if one student fails a standardized test, then the whole school is labeled as failing. That’s a problem with the system. This isn’t a problem of the components, it’s the problem with the 1)unfunded mandates and 2)people who don’t have a clue trying to dictate from above.”

Then why perpetuate the problem? Throwing more money at it will solve the problem? It has not been solved by throwing more money at it before?

d says: “To quote Dr. King: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” In the current and previous administrations, the thought process is that the function of education is to preform on standardized tests. I know plenty of educators, myself included, are trying to fight the current model, but I fear that the politicians are thinking that if children grow up into adults who know how to analyze situations, they may vote more intelligently. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I fear it is.”

So the public education has failed in Dr King’s goal and on standardized test performance. And throwing more money at it has not helped. So let’s get in more debt and throw more money at public education. Note Dr King said “education” not necessarily “public education”.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
1:18 pm

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta says: “When were the last external audits of our K-12 and USG systems conducted?”

See? No one trusts the public education on how they spend the money. Let’s just reduce funding and not making it compulsary. Eventually we will have a system that is lean and mean with only students that want to learn and teachers that want to teach, and get rid of the deadweight students and teachers.

JAT

January 13th, 2011
1:20 pm

@Math Maestro 12:21: “As the public education is decreasing”- In my county, our student enrollment continues to grow every year. As a matter of fact, just after the Winter break, I received a student who was previously in a private school in another county. Tuition was increasing, so they moved to our school district (which has very good public schools).

@Thomas Mann-”The more you learn the more you earn”-So why is it that the “powers that be” in GA want to do away with masters,specialist and doctorate pay for teachers who want to further their education and earning power? We are constantly told that our students should want to become lifelong learners (and I agree with this), but then we are told that (new) teachers will not be paid for any higher degrees. This is not practicing what we preach.

Sade

January 13th, 2011
1:21 pm

K12 is important and if a student is serious about attending college they will make the effort to do well in HS. What most people who have not been in a classroom fail to realize is that all students are not cut out for college. Offer a variety vocational tracks for the non-academic student. Teach the skills needed early on (in middle school) so that students who are not college bound can earn a decent living in the trades; don’t make them wait until they graduate from HS to learn a skill by then they will have given up. Our educational system needs a serious overhaul but college for everyone is NOT the answer.

CB

January 13th, 2011
1:21 pm

So what happens to the kids that don’t get an education at all, whether it’s because they’re happy to skip out, or because their parents are lazy, abusive, or simply misguided about their abilities to educate their children themselves?

Sounds like an awesome way to expand the permanent underclass.

God Bless the Teacher!

January 13th, 2011
1:31 pm

My two cents worth on the Math Maestro blog today…K-12 is more important. Without quality education and opportunities taking place at the K-12 level, post secondary will not have the qualified customers they want. Funding K-12 at a higher level will help attract highly qualified teachers and will help improve deteriorating facilities so students throughout the state (not just north of I-16) will have the best learning environments in which to thrive. Yes, they have to want it as much as we’re willing to give to them, but you have to lure them into the mix some way.

Ole Guy

January 13th, 2011
1:38 pm

D, thanks for your observations. It just seems that concentrating solely on funding levels is tantamount to lighting cigars with paper money…let’s see, do we light up with dollar bills, 100 dollar bills, etc…OR would we be wise to explore alternative (and certainly more cost-effective) means of achieving the objective.

On the educational front, those alternative means would include an entire re-invention of current systems dynamics. These issues have been dicussed, at length, in previous comments. They include: 1) TEACHER-DRIVEN objectives, and the means of achieving those goals, 2) ABSOLUTE control on student behavior, and ABSOLUTE consequence for deviation from established standards, and 3) teacher autonomy in “practicing the trade”. If any professional group…medical, legal, etc…were obliged to perform under the administrative/supervisory microscopes with which teachers must contend, all hell would break loose. THIS is why I continue my drumbeat of the teacher corps taking command of your (collective) chosen fields.

All this is based, not so much on funding levels, but on steping outside the box of demonstrated failure. K-12 or “collij edication”…it’s all a dismal failure…and NOTHING is going to change for the better until you, the teacher corps, recognizes this. Good luck and Godspeed, D.

Maestro, we saw, during the Vietnam era, how compulsary service was not necessarily the path to developing a “quality labor pool”. While many draftees went on to become excellent defenders of the American ideals we all-too-often take for granted, the very concept of mandating service went over like a turd in the punch bowl.

The very same concept applies in Constitutionaly-mandated education. First of all, how many times have we seen the stipulations of a constitution, be it at the fed level or lower, become situationally applied at the political pleasure of a few? As I have often advocated, if the kid, by the age of, say, 16, cannot value the PRIVELEGE of a public education…OUT! Let the kid’s parents fund further attempts at “preping for the future”. That, in and of itself, is a current achievement of tenuous value, evidenced, in no small part, by the numbers of college freshmen/A/B level hs grads who must take remedials in the basics from which kids are routinely socially promoted.

Gotta love this Pacific weather!

Toto

January 13th, 2011
1:43 pm

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Question

January 13th, 2011
1:45 pm

Sorry to be off topic but is Math 123 and its elementary and middle components the same as Everyday Math created by the University of Chicago?

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
1:46 pm

JAT says: “In my county, our student enrollment continues to grow every year.”

That is because we have compulsary public education. If we vote to get rid of that law, then the students that do not want to be there, don’t have to be, and you will have a smaller classroom with students that want to learn. Isn’t that the ideal teaching environment?

Sade says: “K12 is important and if a student is serious about attending college they will make the effort to do well in HS”

Same can be said for students of every grade. If the student is serious about the 3rd grade, then they will make the effort to do well in 2nd, etc. By not having compulsary public education, the students then have the motivation to do well and have background to advance instead of the “social promotion” practice we are cheating the students with.

CB says: “Sounds like an awesome way to expand the permanent underclass.”

It is already there and have been there with our public education. And as I stated above. So does this design allow for the US to maintain its economic superiority with educational inferiority?

Just look at how our education has declined over the past 40 years, all the while US grew to be the only superpower. And I contend we can save more money by NOT funding public education, as long as the few initiated and motivated have the freedom to pursue their enterprise and support the rest of the mass.

Ole Guy says: “The very same concept applies in Constitutionaly-mandated education. ”

Look at the earlier posts. Public education is no where in the US Constitution, but it is in the Georgia Constitution. And US trumps the Georgia. It is easier to amend a change to the Georgia Constitution than the US. But the basic premise is that education is not a fundamental US Constitutional right, but a privilege instituted by the state. And we should not be throwing more of your tax dollars at a program that is not working. Reduce the compulsary law to the students that only want to learn, and teachers want to teach, and you have a better system.

RBN

January 13th, 2011
1:51 pm

To me the most important issue is long term sustainability of funding for both k-12 and higher ed. Federal funding helped us survive the last two years, barely. But, that funding source was only for an emergency. How will the state deal with continual underfunding of k-12? Georgia’s 18% population growth has fueled a corresponding growth in higher ed with no additional funding. How will we fund the demand? The tax cut mantra rules at the Gold Dome now, but what happens when reliable suburban voters realize that the cuts their representatives have been promising mean their children’s education? Surely, it is in everyone’s best interest, those wanting to be perpetually reelected, and those who want the best future for their children, to come up with a long term plan to fund pre-k to adult education. If not, Georgia’s future is doomed by more than no water, no snow/ice removal, and no way to get from Lawrenceville to Carrolton.

North by Northwest

January 13th, 2011
2:01 pm

The best investment in K-12 education the State could make would be to offer classes that relate more to real life. Especially in high school. Geometry, Latin and Victorian literature are nice for some kids but they all need to know how to balance a checkbook, fill out a tax return, interview for a job, do routine maintenance on a car, that sort of thing. For most of us what we learned in GA public schools was just irrelevant in the real world.

JAT

January 13th, 2011
2:03 pm

I’m not sure it (non-compulsory) would help class sizes at the elementary level. My students loooove learning and being at school with their friends and the majority of our parents are happy with our school. We just received a gold rating from the state.

Only limiting class sizes (which requires money) would help at the elementary level.

Now at the middle or high school levels…you may be on to something!

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta

January 13th, 2011
2:06 pm

Have you contacted our new SOS, your state representative or your state senator today?

justin

January 13th, 2011
2:10 pm

@ d,

Actually, I think it is ridiculous that Grade 1 teachers should expect students to know anything more than perhaps their own names and being able to communicate verbally since Kindergarten is NOT required. You cannot start the first year of required schooling with more than the very basic prerequisites. If students have gone through Kindergarten, let them start at the different grade levels.

As for the question if K-12 is more important than college, I would say K (maybe 1) – 6 is more important than college, but beyond that, there is no difference. Grades 7 – 16 are probably additional enrichment more students should pursue, but some will stop at 12, or 14 and others will go beyond 16.

justin

January 13th, 2011
2:12 pm

@ Question,

Everyday Mathematics is a K-6 curriculum (textbook series) published by the University of Chicago Press. Although it may be used in some GA schools, it is no different that any other textbooks in its relationship to the state standards. It definitely has nothing to do with the high school mathematics program in GA.

Math Maestro

January 13th, 2011
2:20 pm

JAT says: “Now at the middle or high school levels…you may be on to something!”

So that gets cut. But the elementary students have to have the motivation to meet the standard or they don’t get promoted to the next grade level. This will reduce the elementary teachers complaint that they are inheriting students not prepared for grade level. So this filtering system continues throughout K-12, and by the time they get to college, only the cream of the crop is left and we should have the best graduates.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta says: “Have you contacted our new SOS, your state representative or your state senator today?”

As I mentioned earlier, I’m planting the seed of thought here. If the teachers don’t buy the logic, then neither will the general public. Teachers have to recognize that non-compulsary education is actually pro-teacher if you can follow the rationale.

North by Northwest says: “The best investment in K-12 education the State could make would be to offer classes that relate more to real life.”

When you have whittled down to the students that want to learn, now there is a basis to build a true academic curriculum and standard, instead of dumbing the standard down to the standardized tests that students, who do not want to learn, can pass.

d

January 13th, 2011
2:21 pm

@justin – I have a few good friends who teach Kindergarten and you’d be amazed how many of their students come in not being able to do even those basic skills. Yes, Kindergarten may technically be optional, but nothing says you have to enroll a 6-year old in first grade, you can always start him or her in Kindergarten.

Question

January 13th, 2011
2:24 pm

@ Justin Thank you. I’m trying to find reliable research on the effectiveness of this new way of approaching math.