Archive for January 2007

Why public schools are doomed

January 25, 2007

A question: If you are the board of General Motors and your top Sales Manager retires, who do you choose to replace him/her? Do you go down to the mail room and choose good old Barney because he has been with the company 20 years and “deserves it,” even though he knows nothing about sales?

I don’t think so. I think you would go looking for the best Sales Manager, with the most qualifications for the job, the best reputation and a track record of success. That’s the way businesses work. They have to – or they are doomed to failure.

Unfortunately, public school systems use the “Good ol’ Barney” system of filling open positions and as a consequence they will continue to decline (it’s inevitable) until they are even more worthless then they are today.

Example: My wife, in her fifties, has a Ph.D. in Special Education and Gifted Students. She has taught teachers at West Virginia University, Ohio State, and Georgia State. She has been employed by the State of Georgia Education Dept. (twice), she has been the Principal of an Alternative School, an Elementary School, and a Middle School. She has certificates in School Law and Leadership. She is currently a “trouble shooter” for the State, helping schools who are deficient in meeting state and government standards – helping them to grow to meet those needs.

She has applied for and been interviewed over a dozen times for a principal’s position in DeKalb County, one of the largest and fastest growing counties in the Atlanta Metro-Plex.  Each time she has been passed over and the job given to Assistant Principals, “long-time” employees, coaches – anyone who is already employed in the Dekalb system.

In one instance, she had applied for a school which had FOUR special education classes (her specialty), yet she was denied the job in favor of an Assistant Principal who had no background in special education at all, and had never even been a principal – but she was already an employee of DeKalb County.

This incestuous practice of passing over highly qualified and specially trained educators for obviously unqualified employees is not restricted to Georgia – it seems to be a universal policy in public schools across the nation.

What does it mean? It means that the quality of education, by always selecting the lower quality educators (the “Barneys”) for these positions, guarantees that the education your child receives will become worse and worse, poorer and poorer, until it will be worthless to send your children to public school. In the meantime, the cost to maintain these halls of lousy teaching continues to rise.

The law of diminishing returns will not be denied. The public schools in America are doomed.

Great things…but not yet

January 6, 2007

Hooray! We have a new congress, and one that Nancy Pelosi (The San Francisco Treat … no, wait a minute. That’s Rice-a-Roni) anyway, Nancy is going to get things rolling in a hurry. Unlike the last congress which accomplished nothing, this one is raring to tackle the really big issues in a hurry. Raise the minimum wage, and I could tell you the others but I’d have to watch TV and that’s asking too much. But they are equally world shaking.

I notice that I haven’t heard much since the election about the promise that congress people would actually have to work five days a week. What, are we crazy? The brilliant people we send to DC have done enough damage with their usual Tuesday through Thursday noon schedule. I’m all for giving them more time off.

The unimportant issues, such as terrorism, illegal immagration, the war in Iraq and Afganistan, genicide in Somalia – those things can wait until the minimum wage gets raised.

And how long do you bet it will take for taxes to be raised? It really is an insult to normal intelligence that Democrats refuse to accept an historical absolute. Look at the record – every time taxes have been lowered, revenue for the government to waste has gone up. Every time taxes have been increased, revenues go down. Why is that such a difficult concept for Democrats to accept? Obviously, when taxes go down we spend more money (because we have it) and that roars throughout the economy like a sunami. And everybody from the Korean corner store to General Electric collects and sends more tax money to Washington.

I saw a reporter ask Steny what’s-his-name (second in command after Nancy – and do you really want someone named “Steny” making government policy?) a simple yes or no answer question the other morning. He asked, “Are the democrats going to raise taxes?” And good ol’ Steny replied, “Well, we are going to institute a pay as you go policy. If we don’t have the money, we won’t do it.” I’ll take that as a “Yes,” Steny. It works like this: First, a good ol’ boy pork bill is passed, and then taxes are raised to pay for it. Pay as you go. Jesus, Steny – we’re not third graders out here. We know a scam when we hear one.

I’m waiting for them to get to a really big issue, like fixing the pot holes. There’s one even the Republicans were afraid to tackle.