59 thoughts on “Michelle Rhee

  1. Leland

    More than the message is her ability to make the message: Most people in this country do not favor vouchers in education, because they don’t want public dollars going to private institutions or businesses. But the logic holds absolutely no water.

    We have federal Pell grants that low-income students use all the time to attend private colleges. Pell grants aren’t limited to use at public universities. We have food stamps that low-income families redeem at nongovernment grocery stores. And let’s not forget about Medicare and Medicaid.

    Nice.

    1. Trent Waddington

      The logic behind vouchers is just bizarre. That a free market economist came up with the idea (or advocated so strongly for it) is even more so. What’s the difference between a public and private school? The amount of government funding, right? Okay, so what happens, tautologically, if you inject government funding into a private school? It’s not private anymore! The argument that there’s already plenty of government money being injected into private schools is hogwash: those schools which receive government funding are not private schools. School vouchers were simply Milton Friedman’s attempt to have his cake and eat it too.

      1. mrmandias

        When I was in the military and when I worked for the federal courts, I’d get meal vouchers, travel vouchers, and hotel vouchers when on temporary duty postings. I thought I used them at private restaurants, hotels, and airlines, but I guess I converted them to government institutions.

        Or not, because that would be silly.

        Students at Harvard can receive federal funding through Pell grants, GI Bill, and subsidized loans. Is Harvard now a government school?

        Its not accepting government funds that makes you a government institution, its government ownership. The real question is whether accepting government funds subjects you to so much regulation that it makes you de facto government-owned. That’s a real concern, but at least with universities it hasn’t happened yet.

    2. Jim

      I thought Rhee was smarter than to use such a stupid argument. The objection to vouchers is not that public funds will go to private institutions, it’s that they take funding away from public schools. The most motivated, easiest-to-educate students will flee to private schools. The public schools will be left with the most challenging students and reduced budgets, making it impossible for them to attract decent teachers. It’s Robin Hood in reverse.

      1. Larry J

        The objection to vouchers is not that public funds will go to private institutions, it’s that they take funding away from public schools.

        If the students attend other schools, then the money doesn’t need to go to the public schools. As things are now, parents who send their kids to private schools still pay taxes to support the public schools. Those taxes should be for the education of the students, not the funding of the public school system where over 80% of the money goes to salaries and benefits.

        1. Jim

          the public school system where over 80% of the money goes to salaries and benefits

          I think you’ll find that 80% of the money at private schools goes to salaries and benefits as well. Education is a labor-intensive activity, whether it’s public or private.

          1. Gregg

            “I think you’ll find that 80% of the money at private schools goes to salaries and benefits as well. ”

            I think you’ll find that you are horribly wrong if you only take the time to do a little research before you blather on…

            Teacher salaries at private schools are notoriously low. They choose to teach there because they want to teach, and like teaching at places where they have disciplinary authority so there’s no nonsense in the classroom, and the ones I know that teach at places like that told me they believe in the order and discipline that such schools employ. They think it’s good for kids and want to contribute to that.

            And you have tried very hard to deflect the discussion away from teh centralmessage but you have failed:

            The central message is that a lib-dem drone who used to automatically spout lib-dem nonsense actually showed some initiative and went and did a little research for herself and saw the truth:

            Lib-Dem policy is not geared towards solving the kid’s problems NOW. In fact it’s not geared towards solving the problems at any time.

            Stories like this must frighten you out of your birkenstocks.

          2. Jim

            Teacher salaries at private schools are notoriously low.

            Tell me about it (my first job out of college was teaching at a private school). Nonetheless, salaries are still the biggest expense at private schools. What do you think they spend money on?

          3. Gregg

            “What do you think they spend money on?”

            Unlike public schools they don’t get Town property tax largesse………….

            Nor do they get State money………

            Nor do they get Federal money……

            Public schools get all of these.

            Private have to pay for EVERYTHING out of tuition and endowments. Physical plant, books, pencils, paper, custodians, computers, teachers, training, office assistants.

      2. Leland

        Jim,

        What’s the intelligence in your argument?

        The most motivated, easiest-to-educate students will flee to private schools.

        Oh, so the students actually movitated to be educated will seek a place to be educated? You’re argument is these children should shackled to the ones that don’t care to be educated? Why do you insist on this?

        It’s Robin Hood in reverse.

        That’s an unsupported statement. There’s no evidence that a Private School has to be more expensive than a Public School. In fact, vouchers don’t even preclude a student from opting out of one public school for another public school. Your statement is pointless rhetoric to support your cruel notion that students motivated to learn must be educated with those unwilling to learn.

        The public schools will be left with the most challenging students and reduced budgets, making it impossible for them to attract decent teachers.

        The challenging students will always make it difficult to attract good teachers. Nobody likes wasting their time with people who don’t care for their time. Money is not the issue with this situation. The issue is the attitude of the students, which is a factor of their motivation. If the child isn’t motivated, throwing more money at a teacher won’t solve the problem. The issue is providing the education to the student that will motivate the child. This means not training the kid to be a would be scientist, doctor, historical scholar, or whatever college bound course work you insist all students must take. Rather, you offer the student the course work that interests them, such as shop classes, how to work with their hands, sports activities, and so on. You know, some of the happiest people I’ve met work as trainers at resorts. They don’t have college educations, but they do have skills in whatever activity they are training folks on. Why make those people sit through Jim’s curriculum for all, when that doesn’t motivate them? Give them a voucher, an option, to learn something other than what Jim demands they learn.

        1. Edward Wright

          Of course, Jim assumes that parents of challenging students will stupidly choose to leave them in public schools where they are failing. Because, obviously, that’s the best environment for them.

          In the real world, private military academies are filled with “challenging students” whose parents have removed them from the public school system — who often succeed brilliantly in an environment with more discipline. But, that goes against the socialist meme that private schools are elitist instructions who only accept the best students.

          1. Jim

            the socialist meme that private schools are elitist instructions who only accept the best students

            It is not a “socialist meme” that private schools are selective. They teach the children they want to teach, and turn away the rest. As a nation we need to teach every student, not just the ones some school wants to teach.

          2. mrmandias

            Nonsense. Catholic schools and many other private schools will take anybody. Its not a ‘socialist meme.’ Its a ‘falsehood.’

            College education is basically on a voucher model, given pell grants, GI bill, etc. And it turns out that there are institutions willing to take just about anybody.

        2. Jim

          your cruel notion that students motivated to learn must be educated with those unwilling to learn

          My notion is that every child should get an education. You start with a population of children, and a pot of money. If you take away the 50% of the children who are easiest to educate, and 50% of the money, you make that lucky 50% happier, and make it near impossible to deliver a decent education to the 50% left behind. It’s Robin Hood in reverse — taking from the unfortunate, to help the fortunate.

          1. Leland

            Your notion assumes “easiest” is based on the need for 100% of the children needing to learn the exact same things. The success of magnet schools suggests your notion is meaningless to reality.

          2. mrmandias

            Why is it impossible? Most voucher proposals only offer a part of the public schools per capita funding as a voucher, so every student that leaves concentrates more money in the public schools to deal with the problem cases. You have yet to offer a compelling rationale why capable students whose parents aren’t rich should be forced to attend bad schools to offer marginal benefits to failing students with severe behavioral problems who are practically ineducable anyway.

      3. Gregg

        “The objection to vouchers is not that public funds will go to private institutions, it’s that they take funding away from public schools.”

        Well Jim explain to all of us how the school needs the funds for that student, if the student isn’t there.

        And of course this is aside from the property taxes the schools get – even from the parents of the private school kid.

        If there are any dumb arguments around here they are coming from you.

        1. Jim

          Well Jim explain to all of us how the school needs the funds for that student, if the student isn’t there.

          Vouchers are based on a bogus assumption that every student has the same cost. But in fact the cost of educating a student varies widely from student to student. You can give a good education to a motivated, healthy student with a good home life and supportive parents for much less than it costs to give an equivalent education to a learning disabled or handicapped student, or one from a dysfunctional home. And the differences become more extreme the more you concentrate like students with like: a class full of smart, motivated kids practically teaches itself, while a class full of disabled/deprived/damaged kids requires super-human teachers and staff.

          Private schools don’t accept every student — only public schools make that commitment. The students that private schools accept will on average be cheaper to teach than the ones they won’t accept. The students who are motivated to go to a private school will on average be cheaper to educate than the ones who aren’t.

          Voucher advocates play a very cynical game. They want better choices for particular students, at selective schools. But where money is concerned, they act as if every child is the same. The natural result is to give the public schools an even harder job — educating the students no one else will — while taking their resources.

          1. Al

            There’s nothing preventing vouchers from being applied to even the “regular” public schools.

            And yet, we discover immediately that this line just isn’t so: Private schools don’t accept every student — only public schools make that commitment.

            The interesting thing when systems like this are attempted is that -not- everyone attacks the single “best” school. Some schools gain an ‘artsy’ rep, others the ‘math/science’ rep, yet others athleticism. Some college-track, others good shops.

            But in many places you don’t even get much choice amongst the public schools.

          2. Gregg

            “Private schools don’t accept every student — only public schools make that commitment. ”

            No Jim. Nice try at a deflection but you aren’t allowed to get away with that here.

            If the school doesn’t have to teach the kid, then the school doesn’t incur the costs for that kid. So the school doesn’t need to get the money for that kid.

            Trivial math makes hash of your argument that diff students cost differently to educate:

            The smart kid (by your twisted logic) costs less to educate so that more of the pot is there for the slow kid.

          3. Leland

            Vouchers are based on a bogus assumption that every student has the same cost.

            Jim, I have no reason to except your premise that such an assumption exists. But I am LMAO at your insistence that we shouldn’t treat students with equality.

            Here’s a question for you, Jim: Can you show us where the current handling of federal education dollars takes into account your concerns? How would it do this? Is there some geographical association with who has difficultly learning or not learning? Is that geographical association tracked at such a minute level as to be relevant in the discussion of vouchers?

            In short Jim, you making an argument that affects funding regardless of vouchers or no vouchers. It’s irrelevant as a point of comparison. It’s not a discriminator.

          4. Jim

            you making an argument that affects funding regardless of vouchers or no vouchers

            Yes, I am. Today we have some schools with kids who are much harder to teach than others, and we have schools with much more money than others. The money does not tend to correlate with the challenges faced by the school, instead it’s the opposite. Vouchers would make the situation even worse.

          5. Jim

            The smart kid (by your twisted logic) costs less to educate so that more of the pot is there for the slow kid.

            Yes, as long as they are in the same school. But if the smart kid takes his voucher and goes elsewhere, the school is left with half the money, and a slow kid who needs more than what’s left.

            Imagine if an entrepreneur came to your town and offered to educate half your town’s kids, for 45% of what your town is currently spending on schools. The only catch is that the entrepreneur gets to pick which kids. Is that a good deal for the town?

          6. Leland

            So learning is a geographic thing? How does geography make a person more or less capable to learn?

            And note I said geography, not local environment. If you want to argue local environment, then why the hell are you opposing vouchers, which would let students get out of bad environments? So to keep you on track; explain how geography allows some students to be motivated and others not to be motivated.

          7. Leland

            The money does not tend to correlate with the challenges faced by the school, instead it’s the opposite. Vouchers would make the situation even worse.

            These are assertions backed by absolutely nothing. Seriously Jim, Rhee can back up your claims. You haven’t made a single claim that can be supported with logic or facts that might defy simple logic. You are simply asserting vouchers would be worse, without any factual evidence to support the claim.

      4. Alan K. Henderson

        “It’s Robin Hood in reverse.”

        The “in reverse” part of your statement is wrong. Robin Hood took from the government and gave to the citizen. Public schools are the government.

  2. Der Schtumpy

    I think the other thing that gets left out of these discussions is how much money the Public Schools get now. In many cases the Public Schools get MORE money per child than Private Schools charge, and they do a crappy job with more money to boot. It’s crazy.

    At least I can see better schools here in my rural county than I supported when I lived in the city.

    1. Edward Wright

      That’s no secret. On average, public schools spend about twice as much per student. But somehow, people still get away with the argument that private schools are only for the rich.

      Public education isn’t solely a red/blue issue, though. A lot of Republicans will tell you socialism never works — except for education and space, of course!

  3. McGehee

    I think what you mean is the school systems get all that money. And an unconscionable proportion of it goes to union featherbedding, bureaucratic bloat, and the endless pursuit of brainless “educational” fads.

    1. Daver

      Public schools have better facilities–bigger fields, bigger libraries, newer furniture, greater variety of classes. I know of one private school that is better equipped that the standard public school around here, but it’s really pricey.

      1. Edward Wright

        In the 19th Century, schools didn’t have any of that stuff but a high-school graduate was expected to able to read the Bible in Greek and Latin. Today, many high-school graduates cannot read it in English (even “modern” translations, much less the King James Version).

        I don’t think bigger athletic fields and newer furniture translate into better schools.

      2. Edward Wright

        There are also numerous studies which show homeschooled students scoring singificantly higher than public-school students, despite the lack of all the things you mention.

          1. mrmandias

            Selection bias. In other words, you think that homeschoolers are smarter and more motivated than the population at large.

            So your argument in favor of public schools is that people who are smart and motivated want out of public schools so much that they are willing to to take on the task themselves for no compensation? That’s some high-class advocacy right there.

          2. Gregg

            “Because the facts disagree with his selected bias.”

            Oh yes right….

            Sorry Ed I forgot….. every once in a while I stumble and assume logic and thought on the part of people like Jim.

            Terribly sorry….

          3. Jim

            Ed is trying to show that facilities have no effect on education quality, and his supposed proof is that homeschoolers succeed without them. But homeschoolers are a small, self-selected subset of the population in question (hence, selection bias). The population in question is all students, and the question is whether the quality of facilities has an effect on the quality of education delivered to that population: all students.

            You could set up an experiment to answer the question: pick a few thousand school-age kids at random, randomly assign half of them to be homeschooled and the other half to go to public school, and see how things turn out. The parents in question probably wouldn’t be thrilled by this idea, so it has to remain a thought experiment. But if such an experiment was run, does anyone really think that the homeschoolers would do better?

          4. Gregg

            “Ed is trying to show that facilities have no effect on education quality, and his supposed proof is that homeschoolers succeed without them.”

            Quit dodging the question…doesn’t matter what Ed said. I am asking you to show us some support for what YOU said prior to Ed’s reply.

          5. Jim

            show us some support for what YOU said

            I said “selection bias”, i.e. I pointed out that homeschoolers are a self-selected subset of the student population, not a random sample. Do you honestly think that’s a matter of dispute?

          6. Gregg

            “I said “selection bias”, i.e. I pointed out that homeschoolers are a self-selected subset of the student population, not a random sample. Do you honestly think that’s a matter of dispute?”

            I honestly believe you said only two words:

            “Selection bias”

            And I demanded support for your assertion.

            As usual you tried to deflect the requirement to back up what you say, and continue to do so.

            Where is there selection bias?

            If you take homeschooled kids ans a group and compare their test scores with public school kids, how is that biased?

    2. ken anthony

      All I know is when my teenager got into some trouble at school I went to a meeting thinking it would be the four of us, him, his mother, me and the principle… well, add to that about six more, none of which was a teacher. I think two were lawyers representing the school.

      He had taken a bicycle home somebody had throw under a bush thinking it abandoned. Where he grew up in the Ukraine, there would have been no doubt. He also built a tree house in the woods. That one I dealt with without any official help.

      Does a school need more than a principle and a secretary?

  4. Barbara Skolaut

    “Most of them don’t recognize the cruelty of their policies and “solutions.””

    Unfortunately, I think most of them do – and don’t care.

    It’s a feature to them, not a bug. >:-(

    1. Larry J

      Vouchers would let students from poor families choose which school they attend. Many of the self-proclaimed elite send their kids to private schools to get them away from those poor children. So do many public school teachers. They don’t want those poor kids in the same schools with their children.

    1. Larry J

      When students start paying union dues – which can then be turned into donations to Democrats – then Lib-Dems will care about the kids. In the meantime, their own kids will go to private schools.

  5. Bilwick

    “Most of them [statist Democrats] don’t recognize the cruelty of their policies and ‘solutions.'” Or if they do, they don’t care. As Thomas Sowell has put it, modern statist pseudo-“liberalism” is The Vision of the Annointed; and as long as the Annointed are feeling good about their own superiority and getting their jollies forcing their will on the tax-serfs, that’s all that counts.

  6. Dale Amon

    Lets just cut to the chase. I really do not give a damn whether troublemakers who disrupt schools and make it impossible for the smart kids and the hardworking and motivated kids to move ahead as fast as they possibly can. We are all better off if the bright and the motivated are pushed hard. They are the ones who will make the future better for all, including the assholes who would rather terrorize their classmates, steal cars and deal drugs and. From each according to their ability; to each according to their ability.

  7. Tom Hill

    Does anyone have solid statistics on the growth of administration in public schools? I believe that’s a major source of budget growth. When I was growing up, my high school had one principal and one vice. Nearby high schools today have multiple vice principles, athletic directors and huge guidance departments. Administrators get paid more than teachers, so increasing their numbers increase the budget disproportionately. Where I used to live, school administrators had their own union.

  8. Josh Reiter

    “My notion is that every child should get an education.”

    I just love the righteous chest thumbing of busy body do-gooders that say such things and act as if the parents themselves by and large don’t hold these same values. What parent that truly cares for their kid doesn’t want them to get an education. They don’t need technocrats and organizers to tell them these things. Yet they continue to think that they can run you and your families lives better than you can. Here’s a shocker but surprisingly enough parents will make the education of their kid happen because THEY want whats best for them; not what the state wants best for them. The part the state shtuppers can’t wrap their little pee brains around is that private institutions provide the same level of competent education at a far greater value. Because education of the kids is the #1 priority, not creating jobs for administrators and teachers. And not only are parents that are sending their kids to private schools fronting the tuition for their private costs but they still pay into the public system all the same. Plus not only do private schools pull in revenue from tuitions but they also fund raise and have charity auctions to raise even more revenue. So, you also have the moral impetus of willfully donating to the good cause of education rather that forcible extraction through taxation whereas 10% of that money gets funneled into the Dept. of Education to exactly squat shit. The education dept. is supposed to improve the competency of American student exiting into the workforce, yet for the past 30 years since the creation of this department the test scores have remained flat. And this despite the estimated 1 million dollars per student cost for k-12 education. As they say, if the public sector were held to the same standards as the private, they’d be tarred and feathered.

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