Education loses out in Arizona

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. Cascadian says:

    Homeschooling is the only way to go.Report

  2. Cascadian says:

    It’s a problem to be sure. Still, I think scrounging up some friends and joining sports or cultural groups is easier than making up for educational opportunities missed.Report

  3. Ian M. says:

    E.D. – is there a large retirement community in your area? School funding was a big problem on the Oregon coast while I lived in Portland with most of the aniums aimed at transplant retirees.Report

    • JosephFM in reply to Ian M. says:

      Yeah, that’s how it is in Florida too, although we have the added madness of taxing new residents on more of the value of their property than longer residents (who keep voting themselves tax cuts via initiative with the full support of the state GOP, Gov. Crist included), which just amplifies the hostility. It’s terrible, and pretty much everyone loses, but if you’re moving somewhere to avoid taxes, the people there before you will either get screwed one way or another.Report

      • Kyle in reply to JosephFM says:

        I can’t speak to the transplant retirees but generally, the elderly tend to oppose property tax increases for education funding. Of course, they’re also the demographic group least likely to benefit from education so I’m not sure that’s curmudgeonly as it is to be reasonably expected.Report

  4. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Arizona Legislature: “We don’t think public education works – now let us prove it to you…”Report

  5. Kyle says:

    Could be worse, you could be in Hawaii. Or California.

    Well actually, I guess it’s pretty bad all around.Report

  6. Freddie says:

    Right. People always say “You can’t just throw money at the problem with education.” They’re probably right. But it’s a good start, dammit.Report

    • Tim Kowal in reply to Freddie says:

      No, it’s not. It’s no start at all. $11,700 per student, 13-1 student-teacher ratios, computers for every student, top-flight imported teachers, and an actual federal judge’s order to public school administrators to “dream” without regard to costs, didn’t even make a dent towards improving the Kansas City School District. The problem is cultural, combined with the inherent ineptitude and perverse incentive structure of government administrators. And unions.Report

      • Freddie in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Yes, yes– you see, the fact that conservatives hate unions, and they just happen to think that destroying unions is the best way to fix education– an issue that they are remarkably apathetic about when it doesn’t help them attack liberal institutions.

        People just hate unions, and want to use education as a wedge to destroy them, despite the fact that the presence of teachers unions is positively correlated with higher graduation rates and higher standardized test scores. Here on planet Earth, the worst schools in the country are in the areas that are least unionized. So maybe you should go back to the drawing board.Report

    • Cascadian in reply to Freddie says:

      Money can’t buy love, but it can be a great down payment?

      Thinking about education (rearing complex little monsters) causes my head to spin. There are so many factors that I believe are necessary it’s hard to know where to start.

      Generally there’s a social factor. Travelling in Eastern Europe immediately after the fall of the wall, I was impressed with how education had taken the place of material goods. Most people were relatively poor, what wealth there was having been spread out. How people competed with the Jones was to compete in education. In contrast, America has a long anti-intellectual history. Often youngsters are encouraged by their peers to act dumb just to fit in and are called out if they are seen to be smarter than the jocks.

      Home life is incredibly important. There are some parents who should have gotten a license. The effect of a single uncontrollable kid can ruin a whole playground or school room. I’m not sure how much socio-economics has to do with this. I’ve seen more wealthy parents that are afraid to discipline their children than those that looked poor. It could just be the particular places we go.

      Schools and Unions. I have limited experience here. My ex is a school teacher. She has generally favorable reviews of her peers. When my little one was in school she had relatively competent teachers. There was a political battle at her school between the principal and the union rep and some senior teachers. That seemed to be about power more than anything else and left a bad taste in my mouth.

      Ultimately, I doubt that a good education can be had at 25+ to 1 teacher ratio. Parental volunteers can certainly help the situation. Unfortunately, as one of these parental volunteers providing the majority of one on one interaction, I came to the conclusion that my little one wasn’t best served. This perhaps is selfish on my part but when it comes to my little one, I’m ok with that.Report

  7. Tim Kowal says:

    I hardly think the take-away lesson from the Kansas City Experiment was to increase union influence. In fact, unions were part of the problem there, resisting merit pay and entrenching bad teachers.

    At any rate, I think drawing boards are the problem. The grand designs and Great Society type objectives that come from them are the very problem.Report