In response to Surprising Inability To Think Clearly About Privatization; Teachers Unions, The Child Molester’s Best Friend, please consider two emails.

The first is from a parent concerned about administrative overhead and other public school inefficiencies. The second is from a teacher who does not want to be held accountable for performance unless he can expel kids.

Terry Writes:

Mish,

Keep on hitting the education front. As you say, unions take care of their own.

A further point which I did not see mentioned, the non-teaching costs in government schools are extremely high. Check out the size of the buildings devoted to educational administration in your city, you will probably be shocked.

Japanese educators touring the Chicago Department of Education thought they were looking at the National Department of Education, it was so large.

A New York reporter had to make half a dozen phone calls to find someone who knew how many administrative staff were in the New York City Department of Education; it was about 5000.

The reporter called the Diocese of NYC, which has about 1/5 as many students, and asked the secretary “How many people administer the Diocese schools?” She replied “Hold a moment,” and he thought he’d have to make several calls … then he heard her counting. “1,2, 3, … 22. We have 22 people.”

I once had a son in Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, and a daughter in North Catholic High School. I asked for my children’s attendance records. At Schenley, I spoke with five people before finally speaking to an attendance clerk, who finally released the information; this took about 30 minutes. At North Catholic, the secretary greeted me by name, I explained what I wanted, she reached behind for the attendance book, and had it in front of me in 60 seconds.

Government schools are extremely top-heavy. In addition, the entire idea that it takes 12 years times 180 days times 6 hours to teach children is absurdly inefficient.

My grandchildren are home schooled; they spend about an hour or two per day “in class”, and their level of achievement is way beyond that of their peers. At the age of 7, the eldest tested at the 6th grade level in math.

Public schools cost far too much in both time and money, and deliver far too little.

Give Us Back Our Classroom

“Cloud 9” Writes

Mish

If you want to hold me accountable for what happens in my classroom, you need to give me control of what happens in my classroom. Let me expel the little ESE hellion that turns seventh period into absolute chaos. Let me expel the kid that comes to school five days out of the month. Let me expel the kid that refuses to work. Let me expel the kid whose only purpose for being on campus is to get a free breakfast and lunch, socialize and sell drugs.

You must decide whether we are a daycare facility or an educational institution. Give us back our classroom and you will get results.

No Inept Teacher/Administrator Left Behind

I would be quite happy to let you expel kids. Unfortunately that will not happen in public schools with public unions with administrators whose mission is to have a state of the art administration building instead of looking after the kids.

Expelling kids does happen in private schools, so does firing of inept teachers.

Parents should be given a choice where to send their kids instead of having to send them to a school based only on where they live.

Things are so bad in California that parents lie about their home address just to avoid bad teachers who cannot be fired. School administrators go around checking addresses making sure kids live where their parents say they do.

This is for the kids?

Unions are against magnet schools, home teaching, firing teachers, allowing parents to send their kids out of the district, vouchers, and merit pay.

Thus, public unions are the greatest threat to children’s education. The irony in “No Child Left Behind” is that together with union rules, we have a system that would be better described as “No inept teacher/administrator left behind”.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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