The school budget wars

In the tri-county area various school districts are working on or have recently worked on a budget. In this post I want to highligh the Beaverton School District and the Portland Public School District.

I’m not going to go into the technical details of the school budgets because you can get all that information at the websites I’ve linked to.

I thought I would discuss the hyperbole that sometimes rears its silly head when discussions about school budgets are afoot.

I seriously doubt teachers are overpaid and I seriously doubt teachers’unions are bringing about the demise of western civilization as we know it.

Unions are generally formed by groups of citizens with something in common, usually work related or trade related. Teachers’ unions are to further the welfare of teachers. So to say, as some do, that teachers’ unions are bad for society and that teachers’ unions are causing students to not get a quality education is ridiculous.

I don’t think the two major political parties have a monopoly on ideas for what is considered a quality education. When I hear the two major political parties calling each other names I laugh. I know that not only do the two major political parties have different funding agendas, but they also have different ideological agendas.

Sometimes their agendas become ridiculous. For example, on the far right I’ve heard that creationism should be taught in science classes. This is silly. Creationism should be taught in churches if it is to be taught anywhere. There are different schools of thought when it comes to crationism. There’s the creationism of various doctrines of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and on and on.

On the far left side I’ve heard that using schools to achieve social goals, such as self-esteem development, is the way to go. This is silly.

The main purpose of schools (other than football and basketball games) is, in my opinion, to teach math, English, history and civics, geography, science, and a foreign language. When the basics have been taught, then bring out the electives.

Testing! This new fascination among some folks about constantly testing students for this or that has gone to the extreme. It has now entered the realm of the superfluous.

Testing students has its good points and bad points and when done properly, testing can give one a sense of what has been learned. However, when the sole goal of teaching is to pass an arbitrary test, then the testing becomes not only superfluous, but actually becomes an impediment to the education process.

The Portland Public School District has instituted new graduation requirements for the newest freshmen class.

I don’t think it goes far enough when it comes to math and science, and I think all students should take a foreign language for at least three years, but it seems to be a start.

The No Child Left Behind Act was such a hodgepodge of stuff that the good parts have pretty much been negated by some of the idiot parts.

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