A practical application of socialist ideas (Read 1168 times)

    Okay, I think that post was probably out of line. Bad Jeff! (Didn't someone tell me to quit while I was ahead?)

      Taking this and your prior post together ("most people define what is best as what is best for ME")....

       

      Intellectually one could say if the voter only cares what is best for them personally (screw the nation), a) they are short-sighted as eventually what is bad for the nation will likely be bad for them, and b) then why should they expect their elected representatives to behave any differently?

       

      I think it is a big problem that elected representatives no longer seem to care about representing their constituents (I'm sure there are exceptions) and this has cost them trust, including mine.

       

      I think it is a big problem that, as you say, a lot of people vote according to what is best for them personally.  That's bad.  Imagine a country where everybody acted like that....when is it ever in one's personal best interest to enlist in the military and go to war unless that war threatens to land on their own doorstep?  Not often, fortunately we have brave souls who serve this country and not just themselves.  It also makes me sad that some people don't seem to care what sort of situation they leave for their kids to deal with.

       

      I agree with you on what our founding fathers intended...and I think we're now far away from that.

       

      I think one cause is "professional politicians".  I'm a big proponent of term limits on Congress, say 2 terms in the Senate and 3-4 in the House.  If it's something they do as service....and not a career....I think more would actually represent and not just look after their personal interests.  My impression of our governement in the first 50-70 years was that it was much more of an amateur affair.

       

      Spaniel, I agree with your post in general.  It makes me think, though, that maybe my post was somewhat too cynical; after all, a lot of people do enlist, or vote according to conscience, or do volunteer work.  I have to say, though, that the political process often panders to people's worst, most selfish instincts.

       

      I have mixed feelings about term limits.  There are actually some good, dedicated public servants who have been at it for many years.

      Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

        I'm not an advocate for a true socialist society, but I would like to see some more support for kids in school.

         

        I have been a teacher in a very poor school district, an average income rural district, and a rich school district and the kids and the teachers all were very similar.  The parents were the variable.  

         

        The parents in the poor school district for the large part weren't supportive of the school or their own children.  In this case, I think the government does have a responsibility to help out and contribute more money so there are after school programs and such to keep these kids in a positive environment for as much time during the day as possible.  Also in schools in a poor district, or at least the one I was in, there were full time security guards and more people in administration to deal with the behavioral problems.  

         

        The other two schools had relatively supportive parents and the kids had fairly stable environments therefore, these school districts don't need as much help and can operate more efficiently as far as finances.

         

        An example of this in practice is the "KIPP" schools.  They are charter schools in poor cities.  Basically, kids in KIPP schools do well because they are in school way longer than a typical school day.  There is also less vacation time for the kids here.  Somebody has to pay for these kids to go to school more, but it's worth it.


        Fat butt on couch

           It makes me think, though, that maybe my post was somewhat too cynical; 

           

          Whoa buddy, hold the phone.  I'm a cynical bastard.  Our kind need to stick together.

           

           

          Tief,

           

          I pretty much agree with your post, coming from a family with a lot of educators.  As a cynical bastard, I rarely think throwing money at the problem helps though.  I appreciate the idea about keeping them in school (and out of a poor home/social environment) longer, however.  Since it will make Jeff happy, I would happily pay taxes to see this idea enacted in a couple districts and evaluated for results before rolling out more broadly (and expensively).

          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

           

            I'm not an advocate for a true socialist society, but I would like to see some more support for kids in school.

             

            I have been a teacher in a very poor school district, an average income rural district, and a rich school district and the kids and the teachers all were very similar.  The parents were the variable.  

             

            The parents in the poor school district for the large part weren't supportive of the school or their own children.  In this case, I think the government does have a responsibility to help out and contribute more money so there are after school programs and such to keep these kids in a positive environment for as much time during the day as possible.  Also in schools in a poor district, or at least the one I was in, there were full time security guards and more people in administration to deal with the behavioral problems.  

             

            The other two schools had relatively supportive parents and the kids had fairly stable environments therefore, these school districts don't need as much help and can operate more efficiently as far as finances.

             

            An example of this in practice is the "KIPP" schools.  They are charter schools in poor cities.  Basically, kids in KIPP schools do well because they are in school way longer than a typical school day.  There is also less vacation time for the kids here.  Somebody has to pay for these kids to go to school more, but it's worth it.

             

            I just read about these KIPP schools and wish we had access to one.

             


            Interval Junkie --Nobby

              Such a wonder phrase we've concocted "throw money at the problem".  Intrinsically bad.  Almost always the knee-jerk reaction in a discussion of how to fix education.  I'd love to shake the had of the politico who created that gem -- just like 'death tax' and 'pro-choice'  Great way of biasing the debate through language.  Who could be for "throwing money at the problem?"

               

              Of course, it's often wielded as an excuse to keep schools and teachers poor. To starve the schools of resources.  To tell educators to make due with over-populated classrooms, antique text books and salaries nobody in their right mind would chase after (Do it for the children, no the paycheck!).   I wonder how that phrase sounds when applied to the DoD.  Well, sure our boys need better body-armor, but we can't just throw money at the problem to win the Afghanistan war.

               

              Education is the (I'd love to say 'great' but it unfortunately, isn't) equalizer in our society.  It is the root of all social mobility.  It is what lessens the penalty you incur from having the unfortunate luck to be born to parents who don't have the means (financially, educationally or culturally) to make it.  If your parents don't have a HS education, work ethic, stable home life, or kid rearing skills you are really behind the 8-ball from birth.  Is it your fault?  Who has the more difficult path, the crack baby or the white-picketed fence child?  As a society, how do we treat this injustice of birth?  We educate.

               

              We try to mitigate the parents' ability to muck up their child.  It's easy when the parents support education (PTO, doing homework with them, culturally re-enforcing the goals of education).  It's damn difficult when the values of your home-life are upside-down.

               

              There is a program that takes a systemic view on the problem: Harlem Children's Zone (http://www.hcz.org).  Their "Baby College" program tries to teach parents the "secrets" of mid-class child-rearing.  The problems of corporal punishment and rage, expanding number or words a kid hears in infancy through reading, etc.  They educate the parents even before the kids arrive.  Then there is a strong attempt at seeing the kids all the way through to college.  We're talking about Harlem.  It's a tough project with a long view.  I think we should throw money at it -- I do.

              2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

              Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon


              Prince of Fatness

                Such a wonder phrase we've concocted "throw money at the problem".  Intrinsically bad.  Almost always the knee-jerk reaction in a discussion of how to fix education.  I'd love to shake the had of the politico who created that gem -- just like 'death tax' and 'pro-choice'  Great way of biasing the debate through language.  Who could be for "throwing money at the problem?"

                 

                Well here in NJ, the analogy fits.  A lot of money is spent by the state in the poorer districts, with less than favorable results.  I provided a link on Abbott Districts a few pages back, if you cannot find it Google it.

                 

                I equate the phase to wasting money, not spending the money wisely.  When people say "throwing money at the problem does not work", don't confuse that with the idea that they are against spending more money on education.  The other problem that we have here in NJ is that there is way too much administrative overhead and corruption, so a decent percentage of the money doesn't even get spent to help the kids.

                 

                I like the idea of extending the school day, and even the school year.

                 

                I like the idea of more activities for kids outside of the classroom.

                 

                I like the idea of getting parents more involved.  I don't want us to simply become a public day care service.  And for those in the poorer districts, if you want me to invest in your children so that they have a chance, then I have the right to expect you to make an investment as well.  My wife used to be a teacher's aide in an Abbott District.  I heard some scary stories about parents.  Getting parents more involved I think is the biggest challenge that we face.

                 

                I don't object to spending on education.  I support it.  It is to our benefit.  But we need some changes because the way that we are spending our education dollars isn't working.

                Semi-retired.


                Fat butt on couch

                  Such a wonder phrase we've concocted "throw money at the problem".  Intrinsically bad.  Almost always the knee-jerk reaction in a discussion of how to fix education.  I'd love to shake the had of the politico who created that gem -- just like 'death tax' and 'pro-choice'  Great way of biasing the debate through language.  Who could be for "throwing money at the problem?"

                   

                  Of course, it's often wielded as an excuse to keep schools and teachers poor. To starve the schools of resources.  To tell educators to make due with over-populated classrooms, antique text books and salaries nobody in their right mind would chase after (Do it for the children, no the paycheck!).   I wonder how that phrase sounds when applied to the DoD.  Well, sure our boys need better body-armor, but we can't just throw money at the problem to win the Afghanistan war. 

                   

                  Thinking that increasing spend, without understanding root causes and making sure that the money is spend in such a way as to address those causes, is wasteful.  THAT is intrinsically bad.  Yet politicians do it, and then pat themselves on the back for "improving education".

                   

                  I don't think anyone here would have an issue with money well spent addressing such problems.  However, allocating precious resources first without making sure they are wisely spent is useless.  You are "throwing money at the problem" because the spending is not targeted.

                   

                  It does not do teachers justice to spend money unwisely or in a non-impactful manner, and then blame them for lack of results.  "Hey, we spent all these millions, why can't you teachers show results?  You're useless.  Let's cut your pay and lay you off".

                   

                  And yes, I am aware of examples where the DoD "threw money at the problem" and spent millions on the wrong equipment or retrofits and soldiers continued to suffer/die because the DoD did not appropriately study the problem and spend the money on the proper fix.

                   

                  MTA:  The term does not imply that spending is inherently bad, it implies that thinking the act of spending alone is sufficient to solve a problem.

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   


                  Interval Junkie --Nobby

                    Thinking that increasing spend, without understanding root causes and making sure that the money is spend in such a way as to address those causes, is wasteful.  THAT is intrinsically bad.  Yet politicians do it, and then pat themselves on the back for "improving education".

                     

                    [...]
                     

                    It does not do teachers justice to spend money unwisely or in a non-impactful manner, and then blame them for lack of results.  "Hey, we spent all these millions, why can't you teachers show results?  You're useless.  Let's cut your pay and lay you off".

                     

                    Root causes are easy to talk about and very difficult to divine.  Furthermore, there is hardly ever agreement between experts on what the root cause.  Most policies attempt to get at what they think is a root cause.  Sometimes they get it right.  Sometimes they do not.  Often they are working on theories that you may or may not agree with, but they have their reason (corruption aside).  Increase teacher salaries : attracting better talent will lead to better education.  Buy text books : antiquated/too few textbooks result in inferior educational experience.  Increase building fund : overloaded classrooms cause inferior educational experience because single teacher cannot handle large class load.  Blanket increase in school educational budget : schools themselves best know how to address their problems, rather than dictating from the top down.

                     

                    The problem with the phase "throw money at the problem" is that it frames the discussion in a way that gets no nearer to any solution but is simply a rallying cry to choke off spending: "to spend money unwisely or in a non-impactful manner"  That's trivially true.  Who would possibly disagree?

                     

                    Now, if you disagree with a certain approach, that's a completely different discussion and one that could be fruitful.  If you think the root cause is outside the bounds of the educational system, that also might result in a profitable discussion, as long as you come with ideas on how the problem can be solved.  For example, saying the problem is cultural or because of bad parents who don't give a fig, is only throwing your hands up at the problem.  We live with these people.  This is our society.  Furthermore, "And for those in the poorer districts, if you want me to invest in your children so that they have a chance, then I have the right to expect you to make an investment as well" is IMO the completely wrong point of view: the kids can't help that their parents suck.  It's the kids we want to help.  That's the point of the socialist experiment called public education, give everyone a fighting chance to become a good citizen, a prosperous member of society and an informed voter.

                    2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

                    Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon


                    Fat butt on couch

                       The problem with the phase "throw money at the problem" is that it frames the discussion in a way that gets no nearer to any solution but is simply a rallying cry to choke off spending: "to spend money unwisely or in a non-impactful manner"  That's trivially true.  Who would possibly disagree?

                       

                      Now, if you disagree with a certain approach, that's a completely different discussion and one that could be fruitful.  If you think the root cause is outside the bounds of the educational system, that also might result in a profitable discussion, as long as you come with ideas on how the problem can be solved. 

                       

                      It is hard to have a discussion on this if you are approaching this with your mind made up about what you perceive I mean, rather than listening to the explanation of what I really do mean.  Nobody here is "delivering a rallying cry to choke off spending".  It seems you have some personal experiences perhaps that have put that chip on your shoulder, but no one here is talking about "choking off spending".

                       

                      Of course I have approaches I don't agree with and ideas for what could be fruitful.  I did not think presenting them in detail was a necessary prerequisite to simply sharing one approach I do not see as fruitful -- blindly throwing money at the problem and hoping it works -- and a potential solution -- identifying real causes of the problem and applying available funds in a strategic manner...on a thread that had little to do with education before your reaction to that comment.

                       

                      If we're to get closer to a solution, don't we need to get past the assumption that many politicians make that simply throwing money at education will improve its quality and impactfulness?

                       

                      MTA:  Go back and read MrPHinNJ's last post.  Your last post reads like you didn't even read his response.  He too explained himself (with a similar thought process to me), provided a link to a concrete example, and also some possible positive solutions.

                       

                      The problem we have is that school districts are like any other organization and if given a blank check there is no guarantee they will spend it on what they are supposed to, the education of the kids.  I'm aware of a small district (<200 kids in the HS) that was caught paying their superintendent >$300,000/yr.  There's a flap now locally over a super who took >$1mil in retirement/separation, and is now suing the district for even more.  My former HS, prior to the economic collapsed, splurged their entire rainy day fund on athletic facilities (like a HS of 400 kids needs 10 soccer fields complete with digital scoreboards) then whined when the tax income dropped with the economy and they didn't have reserves.

                      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                       


                      Prince of Fatness

                        It is hard to have a discussion on this if you are approaching this with your mind made up about what you perceive I mean, rather than listening to the explanation of what I really do mean.  Nobody here is "delivering a rallying cry to choke off spending".  It seems you have some personal experiences perhaps that have put that chip on your shoulder, but no one here is talking about "choking off spending".

                         

                        Thank you.  You saved me some typing.

                        Semi-retired.


                        Interval Junkie --Nobby

                          [...]I did not think presenting them in detail was a necessary prerequisite to simply sharing one approach I do not see as fruitful -- blindly throwing money at the problem and hoping it works -- and a potential solution -- identifying real causes of the problem and applying available funds in a strategic manner...on a thread that had little to do with education before your reaction to that comment.

                           

                          If we're to get closer to a solution, don't we need to get past the assumption that many politicians make that simply throwing money at education will improve its quality and impactfulness?

                           

                          I think the underlying assumption is "many politicians simply throw money at education to improve its quality and impactfulness".  And that generalization is short-hand for "decrease school budgets".  If it weren't then there would be criticism of specific budget policies, or you'd be against the idea of bottom-up solutions.  There are good solutions to fund, and bad ones to not fund -- and the difference is usually only known after the results come in.

                           

                          The point I'm trying to make is one about politics and rhetoric, which is arguably one of the topics of this thread.  Nobody champions "wasteful spending."  Every single person, whether Dem or Rep, would vote for "effective spending" against "wasteful spending".  Generalizing govt's approach to education as "throwing money at the problem" is just too cavalier.

                          2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

                          Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon


                          Prince of Fatness

                            I think the underlying assumption is "many politicians simply throw money at education to improve its quality and impactfulness".  And that generalization is short-hand for "decrease school budgets".

                             

                            Are you a teacher?

                            Semi-retired.


                            Fat butt on couch

                              I think the underlying assumption is "many politicians simply throw money at education to improve its quality and impactfulness".  And that generalization is short-hand for "decrease school budgets". 

                               

                              You can THINK whatever you want,  and ASSUME whatever generalization you want out of it.  That doesn't make it correct.  Two of us have been kind enough to explain to you at length our intent, and you continue to disregard it so I don't see the point in trying any longer. 

                               

                              I find your whole approach to "conversation" (using that term loosely as it typically denotes a 2-way exchange) quite presumtuous and accusatory, which is an unfortunate turn for what might be the most agreeable political thread to ever be started here. 

                               

                              Perhaps nobody champions wasteful spending on purpose, but by your logic that means it doesn't happen.  Wasteful spending does result from good intentions not backed up with proper thought and strategy as to the execution.  Good intentions are not sufficient by themselves, especially when millions/billions of dollars are at stake.  I'm sure no CEO sets out to destroy his company and spend them into bankruptcy, but through poor planning and poor strategy it certainly happens.

                              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                               


                              Fat butt on couch

                                Are you a teacher?

                                 

                                Thank you for saving me some typing.

                                 

                                I'm still trying to figure out the part about being against bottom-up solutions if I wasn't for cutting school budgets.

                                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand