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Saturday, January 17, 2004

State of the education

Iíve been thinking about how our governor lambasted our state board of education in his State of the State speech this past Thursday. Instead of calling it the State of the State address, he could have called it the State of Education Address. He really did a number on them Ė for what seemed like hours. The state of education is pretty bad around here. But, to give him some credit, instead of just placing blame, he set forth a plan to make the board less political. Yes, he has a plan to solve our education problems. Basically, he wants to reorganize the board into a department whereby the department would be accountable to him. Yeah, thatíll take politics out of the process. Further, he plans to remove junk food from school vending machines and force high school kids to perform community service.

The board of education came back swinging, placing the blame for their alleged failures on the legislature for underfunding education and setting up unnavigable red tape laws for teacher certification. As of yet, the board doesnít have a plan.

To sum up, bureaucracy of the first part blames bureaucracy of the second part. Bureaucracy of the second part blames bureaucracy of the third part. So far, we havenít heard from bureaucracy of the third part.

In other education bureaucracy news, congressional investigators found five million dollars worth of computers wasting away for years in a Chicago school board warehouse. (ABC7: Investigators say Chicago schools left computer equipment unused).

Posted by Marie at January 17, 2004 8:04 PM


And after you do here from the bureaucracy of the third part, you still have two or three or four or five levels to go. It's hard to find anyone who's willing to be accountable for what's happening until you get to the level of teachers, and some of them have thrown in the towel, too (my wife's a teacher in Oakland, and this is a big topic around our house). I happen to believe that to the extent the schools fail, it's because parts of the community that could make a difference have bailed on them (here in the Bay Area, it's generally the white middle class (or maybe upper-middle), which would rather pay $10,000-plus per year for private schools rather than dig in and try to make their districts decent places for all the kids in town. That's made school districts in the big cities almost as segregated as anything you might have encountered in the pre-civil rights movement days, when we as a nation supposedly got enlightened about equal educational opportunity.

Posted by: db at January 17, 2004 11:16 PM

I meant "after you do HEAR from the bureaucracy." Of course.

Posted by: db at January 17, 2004 11:18 PM

well, as a product of the school district you are talking about, Marie, it has to be said that it seemed as though having every classroom networked to the attendence office [so teachers could take roll off the computer] was more important than buying new textbooks. it does come down to funding and yes there is some funding, but the schools spend it all on the wrong things. in 2001 i was using books from the late 70's and early 80's. what is wrong with that picture? if i was getting the same eduction as they were in the 70's and 80's why were my parents paying for a 2001 education?

Posted by: Allie at January 18, 2004 2:18 AM