Friday, June 26, 2009

E D U C A T I O N ? (No!)

These posts will concern education.

Democrats are certainly on the side of the students their union workers teach. Of course, that's why in Democratic-controlled New York City hundreds of public school teachers accused of myriad offenses from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid to...sit around or do whatever they want...because their union contract makes it almost impossible to fire them. They are sent to, not the hall, but off-school-site offices to wait for disciplinary hearings which take months even years. 700 or so of them get their pay of $70,000 or more, holidays, weekends and summer vacations. Union boss Ron Davis of the United Federation of (228,000) Teachers says teachers cannot be neglected on their due process. Indeed. New York's 1,100,000 students don't pay union dues or vote.

Since government has become fully involved in higher education, costs have blown up. The law of supply and demand. Pour government money in and prices go up. Total college costs are up 67% over the last decade at private colleges and 84% at public 4-year universities, that's 6.6% a year, 2.4 times U. S. consumer price increases. Did that money go to better teaching? Not at all. With administrators in charge of all this money, administration costs have skyrocketed twice that of teaching costs: the money went to empire building, bureaucrats' salary increases, student services (non-classroom), but not teachers. Actually most of the new instructor jobs created have been part-timers, "adjunct" faculty.

Especially the declining achievement in the United States and the vehement opposition to "reform" in the sense of chartering non-public schools ("charter sachools") in competition to public schools. Teachers unions bosses who, it seems, care first about retaining union-dues-payers by getting them public money and easier working conditions, and remotely about the success of the students themselves. All this speaks to the abuse of money and power by the unions and the Democratic Party, which depends on union bosses obtaining workers' dues to "invest" in the election of Democrats to enable union bosses to keep their cushy jobs.

While there are some isolated support of charter schools by Democrats, when that happens the unions do their best to shut them up. The mayor of Democratic forever Boston, Tom Menino actually changed and now supports "what works" -- privately chartered schools which accomplish increased achievement of students. Yes, predictably the union bosses went beserk. But for now Mayor Menino is firm, in part because of instances of abuse by crippling union-boss monopoly control over public schools. When ExxonMobil gave a struggling school a grant to reward teachers for their students' excelling, the union bosses sued and effectively killed the bonuses and the grant. This might put pressure and Democrat Governor Deval Patrick who, like President Obama, throws out words of support for charter schools with no mandates, no money to actually perform. Polls say his re-election in 2010 could be in jeopardy...THAT'S the only thing that could get a Democrat to act.

California has the highest teaching salaries in the U. S. And the second-LOWEST math and reading scores. Answer: (from the unions) get rid of testing. Answer: (from rational human beings) get rid of unions.

Most states have educational-union monopolies.

How does America stand up to its foreign competitors? Great, it's number 20 of 30 other countries, lagging Finland, Japan, Germany, Belguim and 19 others. But it's better in math, scoring 25 of 30...meaning only 4 are worse. Oops, I mean worse.

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