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#1 May 08 2012 at 1:29 PM Rating: Decent
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I am writing my term paper for my political science class and the professor is asking for a fairly simple and broad “issue” that we want fixed and how we would fix it. I decided to do a boring one since I already did a presentation on legalizing ferrets, figured I’d tone it down a bit: education reform in California.

To keep it simple I’d focus on the teacher aspect of education, I would end tenure to add competition, increase teacher pay to increase the appeal of teaching, and I would increase the number of teachers as well because here in California having 40+ kids in a classroom and growing is not good. The only thing is I can’t really think of where to take the funding from. California already spends upwards of 50% on K-14 education.

Any input or help would be great. I am not asking for anyone to write my paper or do my research but if you have an original idea I can cite you in my sources! Also if someone has a more interesting topic that is doable I might be inclined to look into it.
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#2 May 08 2012 at 1:32 PM Rating: Good
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K-14? Is that a typo? If not, how about dropping grades 13 and 14. There's some extra funding.
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#3 May 08 2012 at 1:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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From my exhaustive research, I'd say to make it less like Beverly Hills 90210 and more like Saved by the Bell. Those SbtB kids had all their issues wrapped up within 20 minutes with a positive lesson for all involved.
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#4 May 08 2012 at 1:46 PM Rating: Decent
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The State of California considers junior colleges grades 13-14 but since there are so few teachers and so many people wanting cheap education it usually takes 3 or 4 years to get the 60 units required.
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#5 May 08 2012 at 1:46 PM Rating: Decent
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Woops. Double post.

Edited, May 8th 2012 3:46pm by Internuncio
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#6 May 08 2012 at 2:31 PM Rating: Good
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Does the state completely cover those years or is it partially funded and you cover the rest?
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#7 May 08 2012 at 2:43 PM Rating: Good
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Internuncio wrote:
I decided to do a boring one since I already did a presentation on legalizing ferrets


Wait, you did a ferret paper and we didn't get to participate!?

Hurrmph. Smiley: bah


Internuncio wrote:
The only thing is I can’t really think of where to take the funding from. California already spends upwards of 50% on K-14 education.


Option 1: Raise taxes.

Option 2: Nickel and dime them for every elective class, field trip, sports program, after school program, lab fees, using school transport, etc. etc.

Option 3: Say the resulting economic growth will solve the funding deficit and pray no one holds you to it in 10 years. Smiley: clown

Edited, May 8th 2012 1:44pm by someproteinguy
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#8 May 08 2012 at 3:04 PM Rating: Good
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Our JCs have really low fees, with the $10 raise we are seeing this year its still only $41 a unit, with no overall tuition. And it is super easy to get them waived. My girlfriend comes from a well to do family and gets the fee waiver.

And yeah, I did a ferret presentation. It was fairly entertaining and a nice deviation from the *** marrige, weed, and death penalty presentations. One of my classmates introduced me to the british "sport" of ferret legging.
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#9 May 08 2012 at 3:15 PM Rating: Good
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Internuncio wrote:
Our JCs have really low fees, with the $10 raise we are seeing this year its still only $41 a unit, with no overall tuition. And it is super easy to get them waived. My girlfriend comes from a well to do family and gets the fee waiver.

And yeah, I did a ferret presentation. It was fairly entertaining and a nice deviation from the *** marrige, weed, and death penalty presentations. One of my classmates introduced me to the british "sport" of ferret legging.


Awesome.

So we combine the two then. Raise class fees and offer a discount for whoever can keep a ferret down their trousers the longest. Smiley: nod
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#10 May 08 2012 at 3:17 PM Rating: Good
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So we combine the two then. Raise class fees and offer a discount for whoever can keep a ferret down their trousers the longest.


So should I cite that as someproteinguy in my paper or do you prefer something else? That has to go into my paper.
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#11 May 08 2012 at 3:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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I imagine if you said some protein guy from an online gaming fansite recommended we solve California's education problems by shoving ferrets down people's trousers that would probably suffice.
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#12 May 08 2012 at 3:43 PM Rating: Good
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Perhaps as a testament to the education system in California my professor at my JC would probably consider that sufficient. Thank goodness I am leaving the state for my education next year.
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#13 May 08 2012 at 3:52 PM Rating: Good
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........ Why are ferrets illegal in CA?
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#14 May 08 2012 at 3:57 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
........ Why are ferrets illegal in CA?


Because?



Edited, May 8th 2012 2:58pm by someproteinguy
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#15 May 08 2012 at 4:13 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
........ Why are ferrets illegal in CA?

Because?

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#16 May 08 2012 at 4:22 PM Rating: Good
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According to the Dept of Fish and Game:
(From memory so don't hold me to it)
1. They bite
2. They carry an incurable form of rabies (only 14 cases in 300 years iirc)
3. They can destroy the ecosystem if released

The main counter-argument is that if we use that list as a basis for banning animals than cats, dogs, horses, etc. should be illegal.
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#17 May 08 2012 at 4:54 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, ANY non-local pet could propagate and alter the local ecosystem. Thing is, it will take significant numbers for that to happen. Isolated escapes or releases of ferrets isn't going to cause that...
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#18 May 08 2012 at 6:02 PM Rating: Good
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Ferrets are 100% domesticated are they not? They can't survive in the wild. There's a "Black Foot" ferret that isn't domesticated, but it is not able to breed with the kind of ferrets you buy at PetCo.
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#19 May 08 2012 at 6:04 PM Rating: Good
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Thing is, it will take significant numbers for that to happen. Isolated escapes or releases of ferrets isn't going to cause that...

That was a point I brought up in my presentation, which is further strengthened by the fact that they are domesticated, as in not from the wild, they therefore would not be fit to survive as well as people think. Most registered ferrets in the US are sold fixed as well.
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#20 May 08 2012 at 7:18 PM Rating: Good
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You're looking for sources, which can come from anywhere within the state and is a much broader question than where you began. It's easy enough to just say you'll increase the gas tax by the amount necessary, and while I think you could write high grade paper on the subject I believe it'd be intellectually dishonest.

As soon as you ask how you're going to pay for this, your paper is no longer about education, and is now about how to create a budget opening of the amount you need.

It may be more work than it's worth for the paper, but for a paper about education reform, I'd say you should focusing on analyzing the most cost effective methods of reform. You want to increase teacher pay. Why? Does it improve student performance? Can you prove that? By how much does it improve student performance? You want to increase the number of teachers. Does that also improve student performance? Would we be better off not paying teachers any more but instead using that money to higher more teachers or vice versa? Could this money have been spent on something else that would improve result even more? What are the best tools to measure student performance? Are these tools flawed in any way?

That's the kind of paper I'd like to see you write, but that's just me.

Edited, May 8th 2012 8:19pm by Allegory
#21 May 08 2012 at 7:49 PM Rating: Good
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Well, it turns out I wrote my paper on unemployment insurance and welfare reform. Education reform was good and all, but if I am honost the topic I chose was easier and less risky. It really helps that my prof. is my local assemblyman so I can write to his political tastes.
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#22 May 08 2012 at 8:31 PM Rating: Default
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I know you decided to go a different/easier route, but I'll comment on the original idea anyway (cause that's just how I roll).

Internuncio wrote:
To keep it simple I’d focus on the teacher aspect of education, I would end tenure to add competition, increase teacher pay to increase the appeal of teaching, and I would increase the number of teachers as well because here in California having 40+ kids in a classroom and growing is not good. The only thing is I can’t really think of where to take the funding from. California already spends upwards of 50% on K-14 education.


As Allegory mentioned, you seem to be tossing out ideas you've heard, or are popular, but not really asking if they would help anything. It's interesting that you talk about ending tenure to increase competition, but then also say you'd increase teacher pay. Is that across the board, or would you implement some kind of merit system? Also, how do you square the idea of increasing pay with also increasing the number of teachers? Shouldn't any sort of education reform address costs? And I don't think that simply raising more revenue in order to pay for a higher cost is the right solution. That's just masking the problem IMO.

I think the core problem with our education system is the lack of competition and accountability. Teachers are paid a union scale that is the same whether they are a "good" teacher or not. They just have to not be fired and they get the same pay as someone busting their ****. This is one of the core reasons really good qualified people tend to balk at entering the profession or leave within a few years after first starting. Those who are really good at it realize pretty quickly that their pay isn't based on their own capabilities, so they leave for jobs which do pay based on those things, leaving a combination of those who rely on the guaranteed wage rates to cover for their own incompetence and a scattering of those who are just so dedicated that they'll deal with the insane conditions anyway left behind to teach our children.

Of course, this requires greater institutionalized changes. You'd have to make schools accountable for performance somehow, so that the administrators would be forced to use "real" measurements of classroom performance to judge teachers by merit and thus judge wages and advancement within the profession. This is something that every other field manages to accomplish, but some insist just can't be done for teaching. I say that's BS. There's just so much power and money involved in keeping the status quo that it's nearly impossible to change anything.


Specifics get a little harder to nail down, but I believe that if education in a state were run more like a business and less like a bureaucracy, we'd see much better results and much lower costs. How you tie funding to performance can be done several ways, but nearly any method would be better than what we do right now. It would be interesting to tie funding to some function of economic success of graduates (or future academic success in the short term), and then distribute that out in some sort of vouchers to actually pay for the schools. This way, total funding is based on how successful the whole system is and individual funding would tend to go to those schools that are best performing within that context. At the end of the day, from a societal point of view, the purpose of paying for education with public funds is based on the assumption that the students thus educated will be more productive citizens. One can argue that if they aren't more productive by a dollar amount equal to or greater than what we spent educating them, then we are really wasting our time. So why not use some measure of that as a base starting point for the whole thing and then encourage competition within the system itself?


Just a couple ideas to toss around. I just think that the usual suspects of classroom size and tenure only scratch at the surface of the real problems.
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#23 May 08 2012 at 9:23 PM Rating: Good
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Heh, only you would write five paragraphs about a paper that was never written :)
#24 May 09 2012 at 9:25 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
Heh, only you would write five paragraphs about a paper that was never written :)


What do you mean never written? Copy -> Paste -> Print and you got at least a B- right? Smiley: wink
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#25 May 09 2012 at 10:23 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm in Texas, so my gut response is "F***" your state, you have it 100x better than we do. You don't need more money, you need more creativity. Also standardized tests like the TAKS and STARRs are crap. Schools here focus so much on passing those tests, that students aren't prepared for college. In fact, they are so unprepared that we are adding more intro courses (pre math for pre math)
#26 May 09 2012 at 11:27 AM Rating: Decent
Texas actually has some pretty noteworthy school systems, especially around the DFW area. In fact, in the Newsweek Top 500 Public Schools in America, both #1 and #2 are in Texas (magnet schools in Dallas, incidentally). Overall, Texas has 38 out of the top 500 schools. And if you want to talk colleges, then three top tier public universities, and a private university estimated at #17 in the world are nothing to balk at either.

Granted, California has 53, but it's less that California is much better, and more that both states have pretty good schools systems.

That said, I'm completely with you on the standardized testing thing. For those of you outside Texas, you probably have something similar [Edit: Just checked. Yeah, you do, as per the NCLB act], but every year our students have to take a state-distributed test (Formally called TAKS, now called STAAR). It's pretty much a typical standardized test, with the added pressure of requiring you to pass the test to proceed to the next grade, and with the newer tests, even affecting your grade for that course.

The issue is, teachers end up spending too much time teaching how to take the test. No, really. I remember teachers every year telling us, slowly and clearly, how to freaking fill in a bubble on a scantron sheet. Between practice tests, reviews on how to not be an idiot, and general going over stuff far behind what we were already on in class, it takes up far more time than it needs to.

Edited, May 9th 2012 1:42pm by IDrownFish
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