Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We Got Ours! The Selfish Generation Makes “Tough Decisions,” Abdicating Their Responsibility to Educate our Children.

Society has had an obligation to educate its young, free. In in our state constitutions. It's one way to maintain a good quality of life and compete globally. Shockingly, that responsibility no longer applies, and you can blame bad economic policy and the use of disaster capitalism.

An educated society, is now to costly; You wanted kids, so pay for ‘em! Good-bye the American dream:
WSJ: Budget shortfalls have prompted Medina Senior High to impose fees on students who enroll in many academic classes and extracurricular activities. The Dombis had to pay to register their children for basic courses such as Spanish I and Earth Sciences, to get them into graded electives such as band, and to allow them to run cross-country and track. The family's total tab for a year of public education: $4,446.50. Public schools across the country, struggling with cuts in state funding, rising personnel costs and lower tax revenues, are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.

At high schools in several states, it can cost more than $200 just to walk in the door, thanks to registration fees, technology fees and unspecified "instructional fees."… many are now asking parents to pay for supplies needed to take core classes—from biology-lab safety goggles to algebra workbooks to the printer ink used to run off grammar exercises in language arts. In some schools, each class comes with a price tag, to be paid at registration. Some schools offer installment plans for payment. Others accept credit cards—for a processing fee.

Public-school administrators say the fees allow them to continue to offer specialty classes and activities that would otherwise fall to the budget ax.
As a society, we are now complacent, and willing to except mediocrity:
Some parents support that approach, saying they'd rather pay for honors physics or drama than see those opportunities eliminated altogether … Some educators, too, argue that fees are good public policy.
No, it isn’t “good” public policy. It’s crazy.
In a time of fiscal austerity, they say it's not fair to ask taxpayers to fund an all-inclusive education … school revenue has plunged, mostly due to cutbacks in state funding … Squeezed by lower tax revenue and higher expenses for programs such as Medicaid.
We are now slowing down the gifted, boring them in yearlong classes, souring them on school. 

Nationally, district after district has eliminated or cut enrichment programs for gifted students, help for struggling readers, advanced math and science courses, music, art, foreign languages, drama, sports. Even worse, the education community no longer believes a public education is beneficial to society as a whole. The excuse is, “it’s not fair to the entire community.”
Yes it is, and we all benefits.
Collene Van Noord, superintendent of the Palmyra Area School District in southeast Pennsylvania, said, "If we can pass on the added costs for some of our more expensive courses to direct users, it seems more fair than to pass them on to the entire community" in the form of tax hikes, she said.
That’s bullshit. Check out what this family had to pay:
In Medina, the charges imposed on the Dombi family's four children include $75 in generic school fees, $118.50 for materials used in biology, physics and other academic courses, $263 for Advanced Placement exams and $3,990 to participate in cross-country, track and band. That's not counting the $2,716.08 the Dombis paid in property taxes specifically earmarked for the schools.

To shave costs, the Medina school board eliminated 106 teaching positions, or 20% of the teaching staff, over two years. Class size increased—from 25 kids per teacher, to 31 or 32. Many AP science and math classes were eliminated, along with the German and French programs. The district also reduced its offerings in art, music and other electives.
Referenda on tax increases for education no longer galvanizes a community to look to the future:
"We can't afford to get our teeth fixed because it's too expensive," said Joyce Harris, who is 70 and voted against the proposed tax hike. "If we have our taxes go up to pay for little Joey's football, that's not exactly fair." The track team, for instance, shrank from 191 to 92 student athletes. "It's like half your family is suddenly gone," said 15-year-old Tessa, a runner.

Some academic costs also jumped. The school cut advanced calculus to save money, so a handful of top students were left with no math class. Worried that would look bad on her son's college applications, Cindy Fotheringham shelled out $850—plus $150 for books—to enroll him in an online calculus class. At the elementary school level, many parents will pay $30 per student next year to cover math workbooks and writing journals, which will bring in about $68,000 for the district. Administrators say the cuts and fees prompted about 100 students to switch to private schools.

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