Tuesday, April 17, 2007

So, How Do We Fix the Public School System in Ohio?

Do homeschoolers here really care?

This one does.

Because if they [governement officials] are looking to reign in other choices [vouchers] for reasons like:

"It's undemocratic," he said, and it signals an abandonment of the public school system. Vouchers "represent the use of public tax dollars without any public oversight, without the public having the ability, through their elected representatives, to have any influence over (school) hiring, firing, curriculum, or discipline procedures. It's an attempt to help a few students shine, when I think our goal should be to improve our public schools so that every student would have a high-quality education. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland from:Parents fight to keep vouchers BY DENISE SMITH AMOS, Cincinnati Enquireer, Friday, April 13, 2007."

The potential for a scrutiny of the homeschool laws that are already established is there. Though this particular state official seems more focused on the bottem line and in getting more dollars to the schools. This homeschooler hopes that Gov. Strickland recognizes that homeschoolers, as do families who send their kids to private schools, contribute to the tax base for the schools, but many of us don't even use any part of the public school system and for good reason. On any one day, you can find stories like these portraying our schools as failing or dangerous:

Gunman dead after bloody campus rampage
POSTED: 4:14 p.m. EDT, CNN.com, April 16, 2007

A lone gunman is dead after police said he killed at least 21 people and perhaps more Monday during shootings in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech -- the deadliest school attack in U.S. history.

At least 31 people were killed Monday in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, according to two Virginia congressmen -- making it the deadliest school shooting incident in U.S. history. "Some victims were shot in a classroom," university police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.

Study gives teachers barely passing grade in classroom
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY, March 29, 2007

The typical child in the USA stands only a one-in-14 chance of having a consistently rich, supportive elementary school experience, say researchers who looked at what happens daily in thousands of classrooms.

The findings, published today in the weekly magazine Science, take teachers to task for spending too much time on basic reading and math skills and not enough on problem-solving, reasoning, science and social studies. They also suggest that U.S. education focuses too much on teacher qualifications and not enough on teachers being engaging and supportive.

Just one test can hurt
BY DENISE SMITH AMOS , March 13, 2007

Even so, about a third of the 10th-graders who took the test last March failed one or more parts. State figures show 58,548 out of 147,605 students had to retake the tests.

Students get six chances to take the test to graduate on time.

Cincinnati Public Schools, which had a 52 percent passage rate last March, has high schools offering practice sessions and tutoring before and after school and on Saturdays.

You can also find success stories, but these in general aren't about things that really matter to someone who has already made the decision to homeschool.

So why offer a solution to fix the public school system?

To keep officials busy with trying to fix a dyke already riddled with holes, so they'll leave homeschooolers alone?
Once they have a public school system that is attractive, or at least interesting to those of us who homeschool, maybe then they can find good ways to reel us in. Maybe we'll want to be reeled in. But I think the day of the little red school house is gone. Our culture has forgotten what it means to educate offspring, this much is very clear to this homeschooler.

If Parents Controlled the Schools
Ned Vare May 1996

IF PARENTS CONTROLLED the schools, would we...

  • Insist children learn the same things at the same time?
  • Create a bleak artificial environment and lock our kids in it for years, knowing that most of what they learn is irrelevant or wrong?
  • Allow them to have no standards, no goals, and to dumb down the kids?
  • Allow our property to be confiscated if we didn't pay their bigger bill each year?
  • Hire unionized teachers with binding arbitration who could vote for their raises?
  • Let them give our kids mind-altering drugs (Ritalin) to control behavior as insane asylums do?
  • Suspend the band and sports for a year to coerce ourselves to vote for a tax increase?
  • Believe that 10 to 15 percent of our kids are "learning disabled" when figures show only a 1 percent likelihood?
  • Allow our children's and our lives to be so dominated by school's synthetic experience that there's no time left for real experiences?
  • Use standardized tests that have no education value and can damage kids?
  • Use only "certified" staff when private schools have no such restriction and avoid hiring them?
  • Assign 60 percent of every day to non-academic indoctrination like "social values?"
  • Allow the state to dictate who can run our schools?
  • Let teachers use our children as shills for their pay raises?
  • Pay twice what private schools charge and get half the learning?

The answers are either no or hell no.

Parents are encouraged to relinquish our natural roles as educators. Feeling guilty about that, we are easy prey for schools that demand more taxes to raise our children badly. Educationists have learned to hustle us, shake us down in a shell game for control of money and our children's lives.

What's wrong here in my city is what is wrong everywhere — school is a state monopoly that can neither educate effectively nor inform the public honestly. To become responsive and accountable, education needs to be separated from government. Otherwise, it will continue to serve only itself and we will remain its slaves.

I think the regular guy would shocked as to the laws that are on the books regarding the education of junior.

When did we decide the state was better suited to educate our children than we are as parents?

Why do we hand our kids over to the state and allow them to determine what they ultimately learn?

What education is?

Are we really that stupid? We used to afraid of Communism.

The one thing that always gets me is how silly things are with spending for education in our state. The public education system is a starving beast that never seems to have enough, no matter how much we throw at it. At every turn in the road, the beast wants more:

Opinion: Cut fat at top; get involved at bottom
Sunday, March 18, 2007

Every time I read about the idea of a new levy on the ballot for the Cincinnati Public Schools I just cringe. You asked for my thoughts, and here they are. Don't put a new school levy on the ballot, and do something smart with the money you already receive from the taxpayers, like hiring experienced business professionals to manage the books.

Here's the list of reasons I feel justify my attitude:

Cincinnati Public Schools are giving up $40 million during the next four years to get $54 million a generation from now - partly to help out Hamilton County and its attempt to stave off a stadium deficit.

The "gift" mentioned above is supposed to return meager interest over 10 years, though if the schools have that money to "invest," why not invest it in a more reliable, higher-yielding investment ... maybe coins? Why not invest it in teaching kids how to learn and in how to enjoy learning? It's a pity only 70 percent of our seniors can pass the Ohio Graduation Test.

A day after Cincinnati Public Schools lopped 13 schools from its $1 billion construction plan, some school supporters say the district should do immediate damage control to avoid losing more families who are unhappy with the changes.

Every day I drive by Kilgour Elementary School and see it is under construction and wonder why this is so when it seems all the students from Hyde Park and Kilgour seem to be doing just fine in one building at the corner of Edwards and Observatory.

I also wonder why if we have so many commercial buildings sitting empty, why we don't use these as schools instead and spend the billion in construction money on educating kids?

In a 1997 landmark case called DeRolph vs. State of Ohio, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the state's school funding system unconstitutional and ordered the General Assembly to find a solution within a year and amend the process. It's still unconstitutional in 2007. Why is that?

I pay what amounts to a private school's tuition for a year in property taxes in the city of Cincinnati. I home-school my student. Where does the money for what would be earmarked for my student and many others who home school in the CPS district go?

Call me crazy, but these items just don't make sense to me as a taxpayer that doesn't even use what they are paying for. [read on ]

What if we all got together in the state of Ohio and wrote laws for public education simialr to what they wrote in Utah regarding homeschools:

The Best Homeschool Laws in the USA are the ones in Utah.
Senate Bill 59: Homeschool Freedom Bill, passed both houses of the Utah legislature unanimously early in 2005. and the governor signed it into law on March 18, 2005.

The bill provides that a school-age minor shall be excused from attendance upon the filing of an affidavit by the parent stating that the child will be homeschooled. This bill makes it clear that a parent is in charge of the child's education. It states that

  1. The parent is solely responsible for the selection of instructional materials and textbooks, though the required subjects must be taught.
  2. The parent is solely responsible for the time, place, and method of instruction, though a child must be taught "for the same length of time as minors are required to receive instruction in public schools."
  3. A school board may not require a parent to keep records of instruction or attendance.
  4. A school board may not require credentials for individuals homeschooling their children.
  5. A school board may not inspect homeschool facilities.
  6. A school board may not require standardized or other testing of homeschool students.

Why is it the responsibilty of the state to educate it's citizens anyway?

Why did we give our power as parents away?

The solution to education in Ohio might take on these ideas:

  1. Encourage parents NOT to relinquish their natural roles as educators.
  2. Put parents in charge of a child's education. Hold them accountable for their kids successes and failures in the schools. Reward them with tax breaks when they remain in control of their kid's education.
  3. Fund schools in parternship with parents and require a tuition structure based on number of kids per family actually using the public schools and impose a property tax, on not just the house, but all the toys, on those same familes. Accountabilty in the schools would improve immensely, I am sure of it.

The March Edition of The Eclectic Telegraph is out. Here's what we wrote about:

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