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“Friday Fellows” Viewpoint Wrong on Education

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Sunday’s local government newsletter (the CO) brings us two more diatribes opposing the actions of the Republicans in the state legislature.

65 cosigners to this letter in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer oppose every change made including one enhancing the choice of vouchers for some students. They write:

“A new voucher program will draw resources away from our children who attend public schools. ….These vouchers will allow our tax dollars to flow to ideological schools that fail to provide the type of broad-based education that ensures our children are prepared for life.”

To be polite, this is the pot calling the kettle black.

What, for instance, is the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System if not ideological? Their purpose is to force feed their beliefs on all comers, using public money to accomplish their ends, which are not always educational, nor do they necessarily prepare one for life, as has been proven by the low graduation rates, low test scores and the fact that colleges have to offer remedial courses to incoming freshmen who aren’t capable of college level work. Further, for those who don’t want or need college for their lives, the offerings are pitifully limited.  But Mr. Friday believes all money for schools should go only to so called public schools. What if the parents would rather their children get a different education? Is this not the true purpose of taxing the citizenry, so all children are offered an education? Do their parents have no say in how that education is accomplished? Not according to Friday and friends. Parents and their beliefs should be shoved to the side in his Brave New World. Then their are the complaints about teacher pay. So much ado about nothing. We are always told where NC ranks according to other states. Maybe other states pay too much, or maybe they have higher costs of living which is reflected in a higher pay scale. What difference does it make.

The question is: do we have enough teachers to fill the available positions? Which brings up the matter of teachers being paid more for getting a master’s degree in education.

According to this article, teachers no longer get a 10% raise for getting a masters degree. Well this has been a long time coming. There is very little proof that a masters degree leads to better results in the classroom, so why was it a policy? Let us guess.

One, it sends money to the colleges offering master’s degrees – so they lobby for the law – and two, it gives school administrations a selling point for raises, even though the point is false. They can say – we have so many teachers with master’s degrees – even while the students continued to suffer from a poor educational system.

Some years ago the CO published a list of schools, math and English test results, demographic data of students by schools, teacher longevity, age of schools etc. From this it was simple to do regression analyses on the various data to see which had influence on the success of students in school. Master’s degrees and teacher longevity had little or no influence, they were associated with how old the school was. What had influence then as now was whether or not a student was poor. So teachers and their proponents want the taxpayers to pay them more money. Why? Because they want more money.

The question should be: what are they doing to help the students learn and what extra efforts are being made to help the poor? If a poor parent has the opportunity to send their child to a different school because of the voucher program then that parent and child feels like they have some control over their lives when they have so little otherwise. This, it seems, would be a good thing. But that is not what we are told. It is always about more money for teachers or about teacher tenure which keeps the bad teachers from being fired. So since they aren’t getting their way, the teachers protest, waving signs, threatening elected legislators with loss of votes.

Which brings me to my final point. Those who are paid by government should not be allowed to vote for the legislators who determine how much they are paid. Thus teachers should not be allowed to vote for state legislators and, since the taxpayers of Mecklenburg contribute so much, that exclusion should extend to the county commission also. It is bad policy when those who are paid by taxes are able to vote for those who decide the level of taxation.

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