Comment on Entry: Where the action is on education reform, authored by Ron Hebron
1. One big detail - Don't forget the Governor needs to sign said bill before it has any effect.

Posted by KDS at February 5, 2013 08:41 PM
2. KDS -- no fair, pooping in the punch-bowl! Ron meant this as a triumphalist sneer at the majority of voters in our state, not as any kind of reflection upon, let alone any recognizance of, so-called 'external reality'! (You should know well by now, that Ron has no truck with any reality except his own.)

Shame on you, for pointing out this legislation has no future and no hope, and just represents a complete and utter waste of the taxpayers' time and money! For shame, sir! For SHAME!

Posted by tensor at February 5, 2013 11:09 PM
3. I'd be happy if the kids were coming out of the system able to function at some minimal level. We're graduating kids who can't read or write, much less handle a decent job in our ever-advancing technological society.

Posted by Politically Incorrect at February 5, 2013 11:10 PM
4. Children need to know how to read and write, but they each learn differently. Some are right- brained, some left-brained, some have specific learning differences. Some have anxiety from bad home situations or test fears . School curriculums have been notoriously geared toward the left- brain learners. What good does it do to hold back a third-grader because he or she cannot pass a reading test, when the child may have been able to learn to read if taught by a different method? The child will repeat the same curriculum that didn't work the first time. Curriculum should be individualized. Neither political part suggests this.

Posted by Pru at February 5, 2013 11:41 PM
5. Children need to know how to read and write, but they each learn differently. Some are right- brained, some left-brained, some have specific learning differences. Some have anxiety from bad home situations or test fears . School curriculums have been notoriously geared toward the left- brain learners. What good does it do to hold back a third-grader because he or she cannot pass a reading test, when the child may have been able to learn to read if taught by a different method? The child will repeat the same curriculum that didn't work the first time. Curriculum should be individualized. Neither political party suggests this.

Posted by Pru at February 5, 2013 11:42 PM
6. We're graduating kids who can't read or write, much less handle a decent job in our ever-advancing technological society.

But they are seriously over-qualified to become front-page posters at this site. Surely that counts for something, no?

You're right, no.

*Sigh*

Posted by tensor at February 6, 2013 12:05 AM
7. I enjoy that when the Washington Policy Center posted this about the testimony received:

The findings confirm what Washington Policy Center research has shown for some time: simply pouring more money into an unreformed monopoly system does not help children.

the author of the research took them to task for misrepresenting her work and offering conclusions that simply were not borne out by it:

Pointing out the disconnect between spending and outcomes wasn't meant to imply funds can't help our school children. Part of what we see in that graph are examples of terrific outcomes in many parts of our state that could help point the way for all schools. Rather, the data provide an important perspective as we build a more productive education system that does a better job of connecting spending to outcomes. In fact, doing so just may be the best way to convince voters to spend more on schooling over the long run.

Posted by demokid at February 6, 2013 05:43 AM
8. Demokid @5:43 am supports the Senate approach - what can we change to improve student learning? Where should more money go? Not the House approach - more money, more money.

Posted by Ron at February 6, 2013 07:11 AM
9. I wonder if the Dems are ceding control so they can excitedly place blame when nothing changes. THAT is the lesson of president Petulant.

The place to start is back to basics: phonics, memorization, grammar, cursive handwriting, CIVICS, American History.

120 years ago 8th graders had to KNOW something to move on. Today they know Heather has 2 mommies, they plan diversity, ignore traditions and teach to the dumbest rather than the smartest.

45 years ago I was learning Arts and Humanities: literature, music, art and it's place in World History and American History.

25 years ago my son was learning to diagram sentences in 1st grade.

Today they tell a kid with a WRONG answer to anything that he gets an A for effort. PUHLEASE. tell him he's WRONG: HUMANS learn BY their mistakes, not by being patted on the head FOR their mistakes.

There is absolutely NO reason our kids can't learn the same thing kids their age learned 125 yrs ago, 44 years ago or 25 yrs ago. NONE. Children are still children. They haven't evolved into morons in 4 generations.

We're all about throwing money and technology (oooh we MUST have that latest shiny thing) at these kids but we ignore the fact they can't read, can't make change, can't write a decent sentence, let alone a resume. High school and college professors have written that these kids are now using text abbreviations in their essays) at these kids but we ignore the fact they can't read, can't make change, can't write a decent sentence, let alone a resume. High school and college professors have written that these kids are now using text abbreviations in their essays, that they seem to be incapable of doing otherwise. That is absolutely disgraceful. And yes, I lay it at the feet of the lefty supported unions and the lefty colleges sending these 'teachers' out well equipped to indoctrinate but totally unequipped to TEACH.

Home schooling is rising. Thank God for that. It might be the only savior of this country educationally.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 10:09 AM
10. Frankly, I think if you haven't taken an hour or so to watch WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, you are unqualified to comment. King County Library has 48 copies.

Michelle Rhee: My Break With the Democrats
Feb 4, 2013 8:45 PM EST

As a lifelong Democrat, controversial education reformer Michelle Rhee never thought she'd support school vouchers. Until she did.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 10:28 AM
11. "I wonder if the Dems are ceding control so they can excitedly place blame when nothing changes. THAT is the lesson of president Petulant.

The place to start is back to basics: phonics, memorization, grammar, cursive handwriting, CIVICS, American History.

120 years ago 8th graders had to KNOW something to move on. Today they know Heather has 2 mommies, they plan diversity, ignore traditions and teach to the dumbest rather than the smartest."

@9 - I think you are on to something, but shame on you for pointing out the misgivings of our educational (oops indoctrination) system controlled by the an appendage of the Democrat party. I still hope that the Senate is able to push through some meaningful legislation to begin to transform this archaic education system that pols have been negligent about for so long.

Liberal Progs- this vision for change is not evil (anti-big government) if you take some time to study it instead of spewing your typical knee-jerk reaction, so why be defensive about it ? Do you actually deny that the WEA is not an appendage of the Democrat party ?

Posted by KDS at February 6, 2013 10:30 AM
12. Liberal Progs- this vision for change is not evil IN YOUR EYES (anti-big government)... In other's eyes, it is seen as progress.

Posted by KDS at February 6, 2013 10:34 AM
13. I still hope that the Senate is able to push through some meaningful legislation to begin to transform this archaic education system that pols have been negligent about for so long.

The problem isn't "archaic", the problem is PROGRESSIVE. In "archaic" times children were EDUCATED.

And I missed a 'generation': 80 yrs ago my mother, aunts and uncles entered public school speaking only Italian - and by the end of that year were fluent in English. Again, the school didn't cater to their need to speak Italian: they TAUGHT them the language of the country to which they were born.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 10:37 AM
14. Some old garbage. Throw some more money at. Invent some new programs. Alter student to teacher ratios (for more unionized teachers). More middle managers sucking up budget money. A free laptop for every student.

And we get kids that still can't read and do math but they are well indoctrinated into all of the liberal/Socialist memes (corporations are evil, rich don't pay their "fair share", noble poor and all the other cr*p).

Why not just cut to the chase? Charter (or private or Christian) schools for those that want them, education money attached to the student so he/she can go where they want and drag it with them.

The solution is simple but the teachers unions are far to powerful. And it's not about the kids.

Posted by Oscarphone at February 6, 2013 10:55 AM
15. Oscarphone is correct. You have no power or influence.

Posted by Angelus Novus at February 6, 2013 11:13 AM
16. Rhee: Argument Against School Vouchers 'Holds Absolutely No Water'

From her book:

Most people in this country do not favor vouchers in education, because they don't want public dollars going to private institutions or businesses. But the logic holds absolutely no water.

We have federal Pell grants that low-income students use all the time to attend private colleges. Pell grants aren't limited to use at public universities. We have food stamps that low-income families redeem at nongovernment grocery stores. And let's not forget about Medicare and Medicaid.

Think about it this way. Say your elderly mother had to be hospitalized for life-threatening cancer. The best doctor in the region is at Sacred Heart, a Catholic, private hospital. Could you ever imagine saying this? "Well, I don't think our taxpayer dollars should subsidize this private institution that has religious roots, so we're going to take her to County General, where she'll get inferior care. 'Cause that's just the right thing to do!"

No. You'd want to make sure that your tax dollars got your mom the best care. Period. Our approach should be no different for our children. Their lives are at stake when we're talking about the quality of education they are receiving. The quality of care standard should certainly be no lower.


Rhee seems to have realized that we have generally approached education policy backwards. We discuss education policy in terms of the education system rather than the goal of providing a basic education for kids. Most of the debates center on the adults who are employed by the system, rather than the parents who are simply seeking the best education for their children.

A public commitment to education should be focused on providing the best education possible for each child. Our approach, however, has been to create and fund one particular system and throw additional money at it when it inevitably fails. Monopoly providers never provide the best services or products. Public education is no different.

In Holland and Sweden, parents, at the beginning of each school year, tell the government where to send that portion of taxpayer funds supporting their child's education. The school could be public, private, secular or even religious. The principle is that the public's commitment is to a child, not a system.

Simple Justice: Kids Deserve School Choice

... What's more, for more than 150 years, and often despite bias and bigotry, Catholic schools have relieved governments of huge financial burdens while providing communities with immeasurable civic benefits. Indeed, America's Catholic schools represent one of the most dramatic donations of time, talent, and treasure to the common good in our history.

... Last week's events should not cause us to sigh and look back wistfully. Instead, they should wake us up, and fire us up. Kids in the situation that Justice Sotomayor faced and neighborhoods like the one in which she grew up don't have to lose out, and schools like Blessed Sacrament don't have to close. The school-closing epidemic is not caused by a decline in demand for Catholic education but by our foolish and unfair unwillingness to support financially the good work of Catholic schools and students' choices to attend them.

Schools like Blessed Sacrament are closing not because big-city kids don't want to attend them but because they cannot afford to attend them. School choice can help and, in a growing number of places, is helping. Despite determined opposition and unfounded attacks by well-funded teachers-union opponents, public support for school choice is increasing, as is the willingness of policymakers to embrace innovation.

... Although the Supreme Court affirmed, in its landmark 2002 Zelman decision, that the First Amendment allows governments to experiment with school-voucher programs that include religious schools, the canard that such programs undermine the "wall of separation" between church and state continues to distract and mislead.

The anti-Catholic bigotry that for many decades drove and animated opposition not only to public support for parents who chose Catholic schools but also to Catholic schooling itself has receded, but many state constitutions still contain no-aid provisions that reflect this prejudice. And, of course, the teachers unions are among the most powerful special-interest organizations in politics, and they often succeed in casting their self-interested opposition to school choice in student-oriented terms.

... It is not only wrongheaded, but also morally wrong, for our communities and governments to pretend that public education--that is, the education of the public--only happens in government-run schools, and wrong too to deny low-income parents meaningful choices regarding their children's education. After all, public education is the goal, and this goal should not be equated with, or reduced to, the interests of those who are employed in state-operated schools.

School choice is best viewed and framed as a moral question, as--again, in Coons's words--an "issue of civil rights and basic justice," constitutive of the common good, and a crucial aspect of parents' responsibility and vocation to direct the education and formation of their children.

School choice is constitutional, but we should not imagine that the lawsuits will end any time soon. School choice "works," but we should not hold our breath waiting for education researchers to achieve consensus. The arguments against school choice are unsound, but opponents are not going to stop making them.

... There is no good reason to think that concerns about the job security of public school employees should trump the dreams of low-income children for something better. The late William Raspberry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning longtime columnist for the Washington Post, put the matter well: "Look at it from the viewpoint of parents who grab at the chance to get their children into better schools. Should they be required to keep their children in bad schools to keep those schools from growing worse?"

**Emphases mine.

And let's look at what's going on in schools just this week: not reading, writing and arithmetic. Nope. ACTIVISM

Three-year-olds chant 'union power' after reading new children's book

Texas 6th graders design flags for a new socialist nation

Seven Year-Old Suspended For Fighting Pretend Evil Forces (Video)

"So we've moved past suspending and disciplining kids for talking about bubble-shooting Hello Kitty guns to punishing them for having imaginations. Great. PROGRESS."

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 11:43 AM
17. One article about one book TOTALLY encapsulates what is wrong with public indoctrination... er education.

I is for indoctrination.

"This is an amazing book for toddlers," wrote Oakland teachers union activist Mary Prophet.

"This beautifully illustrated alphabet reader brings a whole new vocabulary to board books," the organization wrote about the book. "For example, 'Kings are fine for storytime/Knights are fun to play/But when people make decisions/we will choose the people's way.' As a spirited and humor-filled introduction to progressive values, A is for Activist is a book to grow on, and return to again and again for many years. It could also be used as a prompt for older students to create their own alphabet books with a conscience."

One might ask how anyone with a conscience could even think about exposing little children to this sort of political garbage, or how any parents would allow it.

East Bay Express - an "alternative" Oakland news outlet - said the book is for "grooming your future activist."

... There is a war on for the minds of our future leaders. And judging by Nagara's book, they're targeting children at younger and younger ages.

The question remains: As a parent, do you know what your student is learning?

And what they ARE NOT learning??

"One might ask how anyone with a conscience could even think about exposing little children to this sort of political garbage, or how any parents would allow it".

And now, think how the loud lefty's howl when conservative and traditional values are taught.

Yep, hypocrisy writ large, proof it's not about education, but about power and indoctrination.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 11:57 AM
18. @14 - I agree on principle and that is the path of least resistance, which will make a difference in the final analysis. The system is broken and needs a significant overhaul whenever the political will is there.

Posted by KDS at February 6, 2013 12:09 PM
19. "Three-year-olds chant 'union power' after reading new children's book"

"Texas 6th graders design flags for a new socialist nation"

You may clutch your Bible and cling to your guns, but you are powerless, even with your Texas school books void of Jefferson and filled with the love of Jesus. Nice try, but to no avail. You can only watch as your children are transformed into smiling little commie-fascists who are no longer God's fallen Angels, but Darwin's risen apes and tomorrow's liberal arts majors.

Posted by Doctor Steve at February 6, 2013 12:09 PM
20. Charter schools are a racket. It's just another instance of the gullible (mostly rightwing) being taken in by the politically well connected to support another rip-off of taxpayers. One of the most vocal supporters of the charter movement inherited the family fortune that was made by supplying Union soldiers with inferior shoes:
cribfromthis.blogspot.com/2010/04/charter-schooling-racket.html
sync.democraticunderground.com
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Jeanne%20Allen/charter-schools-and-sausa_b_1421328.html
http://edushyster.com/?p=1888
http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/achievement-racket
>>>>>>>>>>>:D

Posted by Angelus Novus at February 6, 2013 12:25 PM
21. re 19: Keep telling yourself that even as loud lefty hipsters realize other nations are producing superiorly educated children while theirs are low information students who can't read or make change from a buck. AND by your braggadocio, it's fairly clear you prefer uneducated youth with no values. Thanks for clarifying it so well and so publicly.

"A pendulum swing like a pendulum do..."

Education in America: Homeschooling on the Rise
The homeschooling movement continues to gain momentum as home-educated students and graduates demonstrate success academically and socially.

Homeschooling On The Rise In Minority Communities

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 12:31 PM
22. Charter schools are a racket.

Oh my. LOL! Must be a publicly educated low information sort of info searcher
->The Democratic Underground - yeah there's an expert!
->The Center for Education Reform: "Supporting and enabling grassroots activism"
->http://edushyster.com - yep. pretty much self defining.
->The same capitalism competition hating shyster wrote the last article cited

Charter School Market Working
Posted by Michael Van Beek on January 16, 2013 at 1:10pm

A new study of Michigan charter public schools from Stanford University -- the most rigorous one to date -- found overwhelming positive academic results for charter school students. Measuring average growth in reading scores, 35 percent of charters did better than conventional public schools, while only 2percent did worse. In math, 42 percent of charters did better and only 6percent did worse. These overall findings are impressive, but also promising is the study's evidence suggesting that the charter school market is working too.

The students who took advantage of school choice had academic growth 82 percent above the state average in reading and 72 percent above the state average in math.

The report from Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) followed more than 85,000 charter school students in 273 schools and took into account grade level, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, special education status, gender and prior test scores on state achievement tests.

Michigan public charter school students had larger learning gains than any other state that the organization has studied.

"These findings show that Michigan has set policies and practices for charter schools and their authorizers to produce consistent high quality across the state," said Stanford University's CREDO Director Margaret Raymond. "The findings are especially welcome for students in communities that face significant education challenges."

The study showed that 35 percent of charter schools did better in reading gains than conventional schools and 42 percent made better gains in math. The majority of charter schools (63 percent and 52 percent, respectively) did about the same compared to conventional schools. Only 2 percent of charter schools did worse comparatively in reading gains and 6 percent in math.

It also showed that public charter schools are helping close the racial achievement gap: black and Hispanic students were significantly better performers in charter schools than in conventional schools when compared with their white counterparts -- though all three races made large gains in charter schools. Low-income students also did better in charter schools compared to those in conventional schools.

Public charter schools also enrolled a higher percentage of minority students, students in poverty and English language learners than the traditional public schools. The percentage of students with special needs was only slight different, making up 9 percent of the public charters versus 11 percent in conventional schools.


Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 12:44 PM
23. Sen. McAuliffe is a dim bulb who has done more harm to the kids of this state than anyone else.

Posted by Moondoggie at February 6, 2013 12:45 PM
24. I am very much pro-life and very much pro-choice in education.

The evil brat that sometimes sits on my left shoulder hopes loud lefty's keep aborting their future and keeps those that slip past abortion ones stupid.

It can only bode well for the rest of society.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 12:55 PM
25. @22 Your data is scewed by the educated progressives who home school their kids. Of course, when intelligent progressives school their kids it turns out well. Obviously. Most six year-old home schooled progressives are hip to string-theory, microbiology and the history of the labor movement. Six year-old wingnut kids can only recite the Ten Commandments, which for them apparently covers math, history and civics. Indeed, the only real problem with home schooling is with uneducated Tea-party types teaching their kids whack ideas such as this being a Christian nation and silliness like the flat, 6,000 year-old earth of Genesis.

Posted by Doctor Steve at February 6, 2013 01:20 PM
26. I know someone who home schooled his kids through the eight grade. When the first one went to public school for the ninth grade, the kid got straight A's and went on to become a college grad with a good job. The two other younger kids did pretty much the same thing when their turns came to go to public school.

Unfortunately, we've "dumbed down" our schools so much that the kids are coming out ill-prepared for life.

Posted by Politically Incorrect at February 6, 2013 02:31 PM
27. I know a family of 12 who home schooled EVERY child - the oldest went on to Notre Dame, med school and is now in residency in Boston. He was one of the barrier breakers with Notre Dame and home schooled kids. The rest who are old enough for college can claim UW, Catholic University and Purdue. They were all accomplished musicians as children and the most polite well rounded conversationalist children I have met. Their Dad is a physicist.

The more I read about and by Michelle Rhee, the more impressed I am. An honest liberal - how novel!

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 03:40 PM
28. @8: Demokid @5:43 am supports the Senate approach - what can we change to improve student learning? Where should more money go? Not the House approach - more money, more money.

That wasn't the point I was trying to make. The Washington Policy Center simply lied in the first post when they said: "More money doesn't help school children, says UW professor". They're fixated on cherry-picking and selectively interpreting evidence to reinforce their beliefs in school privatization, and not on real reform.

@26: I know someone who home schooled his kids through the eight grade. When the first one went to public school for the ninth grade, the kid got straight A's and went on to become a college grad with a good job. The two other younger kids did pretty much the same thing when their turns came to go to public school.

Unfortunately, we've "dumbed down" our schools so much that the kids are coming out ill-prepared for life.

Hardly. I've met outgoing public school students that are absolutely amazing people, and incredibly bright and motivated, and I've met home-schooled students that are as dumb as a bag of hammers and completely unsocialized. The opposite it true too. But if you consider that schools today are including more learning disabled and ESL students, you'd find that regular students today are likely the same or (more likely) brighter than students from 20-30 years ago.

The difference, of course, is that you can't simply leave school nowadays and find a job in manufacturing. There were more jobs available to high school grads decades ago, and if you weren't really suited for college, you could make a pretty good life for yourself without a bachelor's degree. Today, there are some skilled labor jobs which pay well, but a lot of grads are railroaded either into menial labor or go to college with no real plan for what they want to do with the education they receive.

Posted by demokid at February 6, 2013 04:10 PM
29. @22: Oh my. LOL! Must be a publicly educated low information sort of info searcher

And then... you link to a story from a group that champions union-busting and privatization, and headlines conservatives at major events.

You must be "low information" then, right? Care to blame public schools?

Posted by demokid at February 6, 2013 04:17 PM
30. Dr Steve,
Why do you feed the nonsense? Just ignore and realize that the SP posts become a soapbox for a certain couple of posters. Without feeding them, maybe they (or the moderators who post the articles) will soon realize that the site has become a meaningless soapbox for a few and not really a site to discuss the region's politics. The more your respond, the more they bully back. They won't listen anyway, so just move along. Nothing to see here.

Posted by tc at February 6, 2013 04:30 PM
31. OMG, quick question Rags...when you get ready to check out of this world do you think you'll be saying 'I wish I would have spent more time commenting on SP'. Doubt it. :)

Posted by Duffman at February 6, 2013 04:33 PM
32. And then... you link to a story from a group that champions union-busting and privatization, and headlines conservatives at major events

And had you READ the article you might have been honest enough to note the LINKS to the SOURCES of the data upon which the article is based.

Why do you feed the nonsense? Just ignore and realize that the SP posts become a soapbox for a certain couple of posters. Without feeding them, maybe they (or the moderators who post the articles) will soon realize that the site has become a meaningless soapbox for a few and not really a site to discuss the region's politics. The more your respond, the more they bully back. They won't listen anyway, so just move along. Nothing to see here.

Pot meet kettle. I suggest you take your own advice.

OMG, quick question Rags...when you get ready to check out of this world do you think you'll be saying 'I wish I would have spent more time commenting on SP'. Doubt it. :)

Annoying loud lefty's is harmless entertainment in which I enjoy participation. I can ( and do) do other things while thinking, check back at SP and firing off a comment. I don't neglect the things I need to do, the other things I enjoy nor my family, friends, dog home or garden. I think the issue is that conservatives have a voice that cannot be silenced. How progressive.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 04:43 PM
33. @30: Thinking about it, you're right. Best to leave the crazies to rant by themselves.

Posted by demokid at February 6, 2013 04:48 PM
34. RE: 28, 30, 31, 33

Thanks, but we already understand why you don't want to discuss the subject of your union dominated public schools failing children.

We understand you are more interested in the power held by the institution rather than the failing uneducated children forcibly held under it. We got it.

Now, have you anything to offer? Anything about the recent spate of articles again referring to to ugly failure of HeadStart? Any concrete, provable statistics showing a trend toward educational success? Improvement? Any ideas that buck your union thugs?

Bueller?? Bueller?

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 6, 2013 05:03 PM
35. @34: Now, have you anything to offer?

Nope. Bye! :)

Posted by demokid at February 6, 2013 06:11 PM
36. Ragnar, you know who else is an honest liberal?
Camille Paglia. I would love to hang out with that girl over a Starbucks drink.

Posted by Princess Leia at February 7, 2013 01:31 AM
37. Demokid: Speaking of privatization, what say we privatize the U.S. Postal Service? They have proven they can't operate at a break-even rate, much less be profitable. Their solution is to reduce services. They wouldn't be in this mess if they had pay, pension plans, and benefits comparable to the private sector. However, as federal employees, they are a captive voter resource, so no fear. They'll just go on and on sucking up tax dollars.

Posted by katomar at February 7, 2013 08:54 AM
38. I wonder if there is a politician with the courage to look back at education over the last 4 generations and ask 'what's changed?'. I doubt it. Rare is the one who would sacrifice the power of re-election for courage.

So what's changed?

Children have not changed. They are still giant open maws excited to learn, eager to know.

Facts have not changed. 2+2 still = 4; the rules of grammar and spelling haven't changed; the rules of science haven't changed although they have expanded and grown in number. What has changed, especially in history is bias, bias of omission, bias of social engineering. Kids aren't learning the facts of history, they are learning someone's interpretation of history.

Textbooks have changed. LOOK at your kids math book: it looks like People magazine with pictures, asides and tidbits in colored boxes that have nothing to do with math. I would advise parents to search Ebay, used book stores, Amazon and call Powell's to find older text books to keep as reference for your kids. Two that I found particularly useful are Grammar & Composition by Prentice Hall from 1982 - a basic, no nonsense grammar book that actually explains grammar. I have 2 copies and hope to find a third. Another is Core Mathematics by John Leslie and Larry Whitworth from 1970. Again a basic, no nonsense book that actually explains arithmetic and mathematics.

Control. We have gone from local control over content and hiring to the most distant uncaring federal government control. Has it improved? Statistics tell us a resounding "NO". Should there be uniform standards? Absolutely. But who is best to implement them for their own community, for their own children?

Unions. Unions are the selfish bastards of any industry, but most especially education. Unions are not concerned with the institution or the product - they are only concerned with the SYSTEM as it involves them. When a car is a lemon or a dishwasher doesn't clean - no one blames the controlling system, the union thugs who built it, they blame the institution. We never hear the unions talking about their failing product - the children - they only talk about THEMSELVES: what they want, what they need, what they demand.

Activity. Children fairly hum with energy. It used to be, in the time of our grandparent and parents, they expended that excess energy with hard work in the form of chores and family responsibility. In my day it was walking to school. I looked it up. When I was in school in the city of Cleveland, we walked about 3/4 of a mile to school in the morning, back home for lunch, back to school, then back home again. When we moved out of the 'big' city into a smaller neighboring city for high school we were put on a school bus. But even then, there were crisp fall days, brisk sunny winter days and the gentle days of spring when we got to the bus stop and just kept walking to school. There was gym, where we climbed ropes, vaulted gym horses, played field hockey. We took hated showers because we sweated our energy off in gym. Not only are kids transported everywhere like cocooned eggs, they aren't allowed to PLAY. Liability attorneys trump the running, the climbing, the tag, the jump rope, the monkey bars, the baseball, the dodge ball we played at school. Play 'dates' and organized activities of helicopter parents trump exploring and imagination play. Granted, it's a less safe world. But kids need to MOVE. They need to explore and expend their own energy. They aren't allowed to and then are punished with horrible medications to make them sit still. It's a tragedy, but it gives the union 'teacher's' nice little soldiers that all sit quietly in rows.

The real world. Kids today don't get to know it. They do not have the opportunity to learn the natural order of society and nature. In both there are leaders, followers, stronger, weaker, packs, loners, winners, losers and bullies. Today's schools do not allow children to learn that. Why are we surprised when they fail in the real world, when all their lives they have been told they deserve a prize for trying? I'm reading a novel about the imaginary friend of a child with Asberger's (The Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks). There was a line I read this morning that perfectly illustrated this: "Lions eat giraffes so they can survive even though the giraffes didn't do anything to the lions and nobody thinks that the lions are wrong". Think about that. Think about what the GIRAFFES must learn in order not to be eaten. THAT is what we no longer allow our kids - YOUR kids - to learn.

Technology. Yep, it's a wonderful thing that makes my life easier, from my chores to my hobbies; it affords me the opportunity to give my opinions here. But it makes our children lazy, not just in the sense of activity, but in learning. No longer do they know how to use a dictionary. Spell check auto corrects. Ditto grammar. Actual research in libraries is disappearing. Why learn to add when your kid can whip out a cell phone. Of course, whipping out that cell phone or calculator explains why they can't make change from a dollar. Ask any of my kid what was the oddest thing their mom kept (still has) in the car - they will each say "A dictionary". Yep, when asked 'what does that mean?' the default answer 'was look it up.' - and not look it up in an hour when we get home. Today's kids watch movies on the way to school (really??). We listened to books on tape I chose. The rule was they had to listen to at least one side of the first tape before they could complain they didn't want to hear it. In all the years, all the books, there was ONE.

Discipline. I was a handful. I am still as 'busy', talkative, opinionated and obstinate now as I was then. THEN, I was disciplined, yelled at, had my bum swatted and my hands smacked by parents (mine and friends!), relatives, neighbors and nuns. I spent time in detention where I wrote and/or worked. I cannot think of one of those folks that I hated or did not respect. Today, kids are 'suspended' which to them means 'yeah, I get to stay home, sleep in and play video games!'. They are 'talked to'. They are 'counseled'. But they have no real consequences - and they know it. Again, why are we surprised when they are shocked and ill-equipped as they are held responsible as adults?

Respect. Few kids have it. They talk in class, they dress like thugs and whores, they sneer at authority, they swear, they're rude. And why not? Their 'teachers' wander in wearing jeans and t-shirts. Their 'teachers' treat them as friends rather than students and responsibilities. No one expects more of them. No one, certainly not popular media, models respectfulness for them. And parents are their enablers: 'Don't you DARE. I'll sue/go to the media'. Then, the same parent wonders why their little precious is as rude, foul mouthed and dismissive to them.


Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 10:27 AM
39. Tangentially, 3 illustrative articles:

1: My son wrote another article:

This is What a REAL President Looks Like

The reason I love Bill Whittle is that he gets it. The big picture.

The true evil that has to be defeated is ideological, and its name is Collectivism - along with its twin brother Statism. Those two things should be on your mind EVERY SINGLE TIME you start going at it with a liberal (or even a moderate/independent). Has anyone here noticed it's always what I'M talking about? Collectivism is the backbone of their entire ideology. EACH AND EVERY VIEW THEY HOLD is ultimately derived from it. You take ANYTHING a liberal says, and when you strip it down to brass tacks it is UNILATERALLY nothing more than pure Collectivism.

But here's the dirty little naked secret they don't want to admit:

Collectivism is bullshit. Never mind the fact that, eventually, it LITERALLY kills the people who practice it - it simply doesn't work in any way, shape, or form. It is inherently flawed. Why? Because it denies The Self as the highest moral value and highest moral priority. And the thing about The Self? It is from where EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOUR RIGHTS as a human being is derived. That's WHY societies that hold sacred The Individual are always the most free (AND the most prosperous). Because they're a society built around the inherent rights of the Individual.

But Collectivism builds itself around the rights of "the collective." (Which, you'll note, is a term that NO self-proclaimed collectivist has EVER been able to specifically define.) As a result, it ALWAYS, ALWAYS, proves itself a SELF-destructive ideology - preferring instead to value The Community over The Self.

That, my friends, is a direct flight to suicide. Or, more likely, your murder (and possibly, your cannibalization). At the hands of The Collective. Usually at the behest of their representative, The State. And, of course, this is easily proved by looking at their rationale for ANY argument. You ever notice how it's almost unilaterally an argument that relies on the notion of "the greater good?"

"The greater good," in their minds, meaning (of course) "everyone except you - the individual." Think about it. Pick your liberal argument.

Health care. They want it nationalized and freely provided. People need to be taken care of - it's for the greater good. Problem is, health care isn't free. Somebody's got to pay for it. Guess who. The person who already affords it for himself and his family, and resents the hell out of providing it for everyone else. The individual

Guns. You have them. They don't want you to have them. They're dangerous. It's for everyone's safety, they claim - the greater good. Guess who, not only has to give up his property, but also has to leave himself at the mercy of the State's protection. The individual.

Abortion. It's wrong. It's the intentional killing of an in utero human being. They don't care. They don't want to be inconvenienced by the burdens that are the consequences of their own actions. Abortion frees them of that inconvenience, those consequences - it's for the greater good. Who suffers? About 1400 Individuals per day, 120K per year. (Incidentally, this is also probably the best example of Collectivism's murderous means to reach their Collectivist ends.)

Collectivism is anathema to a free society. But, of course, Collectivists - though they're remiss to admit it - don't actually WANT to be free. They want to be subjects (if not outright slaves). They want to be ruled. They want to have their livelihoods provided for them. They want people to tell them what to do, what to eat, what to drive, what to read, to whom to listen, how to live, how to think. You know why Collectivists hate Rights? Because Rights come with personal responsibility and accountability. And personal responsibility and accountability are EXACTLY what Collectivists do not want. Because responsibility and accountability are Individual concepts. Collectivists want to rely on the collective - where everyone and no one is responsible and accountable for everything at all times. Collectivists want a life free of responsibility, and thus, devoid of Rights. (What they want instead are permissions from the Collective/the State.)

Why do you think that every single thing a Collectivist says and does, every effort they make on a political scale, is an effort to and geared to LIMIT or REMOVE the Individual's rights? Look at it closely sometime. It's everything for which they stand. Take ANYTHING they're going on about, and look at it closely. Every single time, you'll find that it's an effort to deprive people's rights. Every. Single. Time.

Take any liberal, take any Democrat - from Barack Obama to his bleating mindless sheep that are the "99%". Take any socialist, populist, communist, marxist position - take any person holding them - and take them apart. Every single time, it's Collectivism.

Bill Whittle knows it. I've known it (and said it) for years. Collectivism is the backbone of their ideology. It is the spine that we, as Individuals, must CONSTANTLY be engaged in an effort to rip from their bodies and break across our knees. Or, if you prefer, to let it take its natural course and do your best to endure its inevitable fallout. Either way, the result is the same.

Collectivism DOESN'T work. It NEVER will. And let me tell you something else. If YOU are and truly recognize yourself as an Individual, and not part of some amorphous, undefined "collective" - then, I kid you not, ANY AND EVERY Collectivist (whether self-proclaimed or through his actions) is your mortal enemy. Make no mistake - he is either trying to subjugate you, enslave you, or outright kill you.

I wish that I could advocate that we find them and take them out - but the creed of the Individual does not permit that. What it DOES permit, however, is the RIGHT of self-defense and the FREEDOM of individual thought and speech. To defend, with extreme prejudice, against those who would come to take our rights; to use our mind and to use our words to break the spines of the Collectivists in the world.

I've done it before. I have literally broken men on an ideological level, to the point where they've either come around to reality (if they have integrity) or to where they can no longer look at themselves in the mirror without knowing they're frauds (if they lack integrity).

You can do it too - but only if you're an Individual. The Individual is sovereign. The Collectivist will always be a subject to someone, and trying to make you the same.

So DO it. Break them. Attack them at their core. Rip out their spines, and break them. On an ideological level. ALWAYS attack them on an ideological level. Every time. And don't let up.

Because the ideology is what must be defeated.

Oh, and btw, this is a hell of a lesson on how wealth creation REALLY happens, for all you idiot liberals out there as well - and an explanation of why your fundamental premise on the subject - like your overall ideology - is also flawed.

and as PROOF:

2: Dem Congressman: It's The Government's Responsibility, Not Families, To Take Care Of Grandma And Grandpa
Rep. McDermott: Thanks to Medicare, 'My Brothers and Sisters and I Did Nothing for' Our Parents

It's the job of government, not families, to take care of grandma, says Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

And lastly, a short letter-to-the-editor of a Newtown , CT newspaper. It is wonderfully encouraging to read this man's opinion and note that his thoughts were ... apparently ... actually published.

3: Elected Officials Are Fundamentally Dishonest

To the Editor:

This letter was forwarded to Barack Obama, John Boehner, Chris Murphy, Dick Blumenthal, Elizabeth Esty, and Harry Reid

I live in Sandy Hook, CT. My family and close friends weren't harmed on December 14. That day impacted 26 families with an indescribable, staggering pain and anguish. For most of Sandy Hook, it merely affected us with an inescapable intensity of sadness and grief.

Gun control has long been a focus of many in this country. Though I'm not knowledgeable of all the nuances of the Second Amendment, based on the Founding Fathers' circumstances, it had far more to do with enabling the citizenry to protect themselves against tyrannical government than against local psychopaths. It is about providing a balanced firepower so when King George's successor came knocking on your door, you could fight back. Government today is no less inclined to abuse its authority than it was then. Based on the absurd and ongoing power grab that is present day Washington, it's as threatening as ever.

That so many of you view the NRA with its resistance to further restrictions on firearms as intransigent lunatics has far more to do with how you conduct yourselves in office than it does with the NRA's actions.

You in public office are fundamentally dishonest people. You lead lives of deception at every turn, structuring your lives as comfortably as you can while governing with an indifference and arrogance that is absolutely maddening. When the country is reeling from financial disaster, you waste a trillion dollars on a health care bill we can't afford and you've never read. You claim it's critical because health care costs are killing this country... no they're not, you are! You are killing this country. You endorse the ongoing slaughter of millions of unborn children and whine when terrorists are water boarded. You can't lecture us right in Newtown High School about not doing enough to keep our children safe, while simultaneously slaughtering the unborn. You fabricate the intense, media laden drama of the fiscal cliff and lack the courage to do anything about truly reforming the obscene gluttony of government. You know you'll be out of office before the bill comes due... you don't care and have no integrity nor honor.

You lie whenever and wherever you need to to move forth your agenda. Were you able, you would purge the US of guns... every last gun in the country, if you could. So please forgive Wayne LaPierre and those of us who don't trust you as far as we can spit. You're a dishonest lot, motivated by a distorted worldview. If mass murder prevention were truly your goal, you would welcome armed security wherever needed. It is outrageous that we protect our money with far more firepower than we protect our children.

I have never owned a gun, nor wanted to as intensely as right now. You'll stop restricting guns when only you have them.

Brendan Duffy

4 Chestnut Knoll Drive, Sandy Hook January 8, 2013

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 12:37 PM
40. Private enterprise is very good at finding ways to lower costs and increase quality. They do it in every industry we let it dominate in rather than governments.

Why is neither side suggesting we amend the state constitution to elliminate the mandate for funding education as a first priority?

Posted by lysander at February 7, 2013 01:00 PM
41. You know lysander, I think it's because the state has an interest in and benefits from HAVING educated citizens, (just has the state has a concrete interest in marriage and in intact, two parent families) and because the citizens should have some skin in the game.

What's utterly wrong, what's unfair is paying the taxes and having no VOICE in the quality of the product.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 01:09 PM
42. "Why? Because it denies The Self as the highest moral value and highest moral priority."

I've noted before how the Randian "Self" would displace "God, Family, Country". And yet you claim to be more patriotic, better Christians, and to have better families than all other Americans, left or right, who put God, Country and Family before self.

"It is about providing a balanced firepower so when King George's successor came knocking on your door"

Balanced firepower? With the good ol' US of A? OK, they have krazy people living in Sandy Hook. Got it. You do know that your 12 ga. is woefully inadequate for the task of taking on America, don't you?

"Were you able, you would purge the US of guns... every last gun in the country, if you could."

Well, not all, Rags. Since I'm a known commie-fascist collectivist, I get to keep my dear friend, Mr. Detonics .451 magnum.

Some friends and I are having dinner tonight with a good Christian woman who has a charity she runs in Africa. We're going to discuss what we can do to help them. She's the daughter of a woman we know who runs her own charities. Her brother runs yet another charity. All Christian-based and they do wonderful good for people who are less fortunate. My friend and I have joked that we should ask the mother to share her secrets to parenting. But we already know. Values are instilled at a very early age and the values this woman instilled in her children are nothing short of remarkable. I somehow doubt that they had much to do with displacing "God, Country and Family" with "Self". I bring this up because the krazed diatribe by your son is so similar to the krased diatribes that you write and post here.

I've said before, with a simplistic, binary world-view consisting of only makers and takers, there's no room left for any thought of giving, although there certainly appears to be plenty of space left for incessant whining.

Posted by Doctor Steve at February 7, 2013 01:27 PM
43. Are you suggesting if the state does not pay for and compell people to get an edcuation that they would not do it? Eveidence suggests that is a very inaccurate statement.

At worst you could say that the state must pay for it, but not provide the education. The state has an interest in having a well fed population but they do not feed people.

Posted by Lysander at February 7, 2013 01:39 PM
44. The subject is not Rand, it's education. My sons article addresses that because today's education system is the embodiment of failed collectivism. Enjoy your dinner.


continuing #38, 'what's changed'?...

Tracking. Kids aren't stupid: they know when they don't excel and they know who does. No amount of 'everybody wins!' and or 'Yeah for you! You tried!' will fool them. The difference now is that schools, rather than teaching to the individual strengths now teach to the lowest common denominator while the highest languish. When my boys were in elementary school, there were two classes for each grade and the teachers of those grades worked as a team in math and reading. The kids were 'tracked' according to their ability in both subjects. Some kids were great readers but poor in math, so they were on different tracks for the individual subjects. At math or reading time, the track A and track D students would go to teacher one while B and C would go to teacher two. The teachers would teach to each track separately, while the other was working independently. Then they would work WITH each other, the better students helping the ones less so. The single most valuable result of this system, besides the individualism, is when the kids worked with each other. They learned humility, they learned patience, they learned pride, they learned responsibility.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 01:39 PM
45. Are you suggesting if the state does not pay for and compell people to get an edcuation that they would not do it? Eveidence suggests that is a very inaccurate statement.

At worst you could say that the state must pay for it, but not provide the education. The state has an interest in having a well fed population but they do not feed people.
Posted by Lysander at February 7, 2013 01:39 PM

First, the state does not pay - the taxpayers do.
Second, it's a false comparison: the state has an interest in a well educated population because they benefit the state with higher earning that usually results in more taxes for the infrastructure of the state, in better business climate, in rational thought-out decision making.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 01:46 PM
46. Lysander
Article IX Education of the State of Washington Constitution
SECTION 1 PREAMBLE. It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

Are you asking for a constitutional amendment or not abiding to the existing state constitution? Otherwise, it is the state's job to abide by their constitution.

Talk about your strict constitutionalists.

Posted by tc at February 7, 2013 01:55 PM
47. "I've said before, with a simplistic, binary world-view consisting of only makers and takers, there's no room left for any thought of giving, although there certainly appears to be plenty of space left for incessant whining."

Posted by Doctor Steve at February 7, 2013 01:27 PM

Splendid job of projecting who you really are ! Read that back slowly to yourself while standing in front of a mirror. Are you really that impervious to self-awareness ?

Repeat after me, Communists - righteous, Christians - misguided souls.

Posted by KDS at February 7, 2013 01:58 PM
48. Steve, something you said resounded and frankly proves my point:

My friend and I have joked that we should ask the mother to share her secrets to parenting. But we already know. Values are instilled at a very early age and the values this woman instilled in her children are nothing short of remarkable.

I believe the same about the values my husband and I instilled in our boys. That's great for her family and kids (I noticed you never mentioned Dad) and for mine. The schools we CHOSE mirrored and modeled those values. But, in our failed educational system where does it leave the kids that loud lefty's claim to care most about? The fatherless ones, the too busy parent ones, the uneducated parent ones, the uncaring parent ones, the 'at risk' ones?

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 02:01 PM
49. BTW, the last sentence was tongue-in-cheek, but a person who upholds both communists and christians is hypocritical and void of principles.

Try to untie that Gordian knot.

Posted by KDS at February 7, 2013 02:05 PM
50. Salient point, Rags about Dad not being mentioned. I think have uncovered some of Steve's inner darkness. I leave the rest up to the discretion of the reader.

Posted by KDS at February 7, 2013 02:11 PM
51. Salient point, Rags about Dad not being mentioned in Steve's diatribe. I think you have uncovered some of his inner darkness. I leave the rest up to the discretion of the reader.

Pardon for the double post.

Posted by KDS at February 7, 2013 02:16 PM
52. "I noticed you never mentioned Dad"

Their father died 27 years ago. I didn't know him but I assume he took part in instilling the values I spoke of.

"Salient point, Rags about Dad not being mentioned. "

Even for a Nazi-libertarian-idiot, you're one nasty piece of work, KDS.

Posted by Doctor Steve at February 7, 2013 02:18 PM
53. @42, 46, 52: Seriously, guys, I'm betting that if the three of us don't even bother provoking these last remaining idiots, SP will finally collapse upon itself in one big reeking ball of hate and self-centeredness.

I mean, seriously, once the Rag referenced how her son wanted to "take out" liberals, isn't that all that we need to know about self-centered, morally compromised, almost self-parodying conservative thugs? I can't see how regular people that would come upon this site would think that these idiots

There are probably more intelligent conservatives we can poke that don't want to kill people... making fun of mental patients has just lost its appeal. Any ideas, my collectivist/communist/fascist/Islamist/kitchensinkist brethren?

Posted by demokid at February 7, 2013 04:23 PM
54. I mean, seriously, once the Rag referenced how her son wanted to "take out" liberals, -Posted by demokid at February 7, 2013 04:23 PM

I wish that I could advocate that we find them and take them out - but the creed of the Individual does not permit that.

I wish demokid could read.

I wish demokid was intellectually and morally honest enough not to take things out of context.

I wish demokid was intellectually and morally honest enough not to reinterpret that which he takes out of context to suit his own agenda.

35. @34: Now, have you anything to offer?
Nope. Bye! :)
Posted by demokid at February 6, 2013 06:11 PM

I wish we could take demokid at his word.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 04:34 PM
55. "Their father died 27 years ago. I didn't know him but I assume he took part in instilling the values I spoke of."

You ASS-umed ? Too bad - that would have spared criticism if you didn't ASS-ume and had mentioned the father in first place, Stevie the cherry picker. Too damn funny - you have no valid argument for my other comments, hence the innuendo and middle-school mentality name calling.

Speaking of nasty pieces of work, they speak of you and your ilk in "Liberal fascism", by Jonah Goldberg one of the more enlightening exposes in recent past. I'd bet that you would revile it for that very reason too !

I'd be surprised if you have the cajones to read it. Of course, that also would be treasonous to you and possibly cause your head to explode !

Posted by KDS at February 7, 2013 04:38 PM
56. TC,

What defines "ample provision"? If WA State is in the top 1/3rd in terms of spending per student, is that not "ample"? What level is "ample"?

Posted by Shanghai Dan at February 7, 2013 04:41 PM
57. What I find fascinating is not one single rebuttal to my challenge regarding the lack of courage in politicians nor one regarding what has and hasn't changed in education.

Not one.

Nor has anyone else offered ideas, suggestions or thoughts.

Our loud lefty's seem hell bent on changing the subject though, with some focusing on name calling and invective as their MO of distraction. And that is IN context.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 04:44 PM
58. Ragnar,

I have a limit on comments. No more words than the number in the original post.

Posted by Ron at February 7, 2013 04:46 PM
59. Ragnar,
I have a limit on comments. No more words than the number in the original post.
Posted by Ron at February 7, 2013 04:46 PM

??? Am I over a limit I was unaware existed?

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 04:59 PM
60. @54: I wish demokid was intellectually and morally honest enough not to take things out of context.

You're the one that is not honest here. From what you yourself posted, he specifically said that he wished he could murder people that have a different political philosophy.

I'm tired of it. If you'd seriously entertain the notion of killing people in cold blood simply because they'd prefer not to privatize, say, Social Security, you've given up any claim to being a rational, reasonable, contributing member of a modern liberal democracy. Getting your rocks off with political revenge fantasies is not rational policy discussion in any way.

I wish we could take demokid at his word.

I'm just communicating to the folks that you and your kids would like to murder, not you. Go back to posting long manifestos you copy and paste from random right-wing websites.

Posted by demokid at February 7, 2013 05:48 PM
61. You're the one that is not honest here. From what you yourself posted, he specifically said that he wished he could murder people that have a different political philosophy.

You QUOTE that. In it's entirety.

Posted by RagnarDanneskold at February 7, 2013 05:58 PM
62. Comments are comments, Ragnar. Put three-page sermons on your own blog.

Closing.

Posted by Ron at February 7, 2013 08:55 PM