Indeed we have. Allow me one last thought though. You seem to dislike the idea of students being thought of as customers. But that's exactly the way they should be thought of. And a school system is a supplier or vendor. In a competitive environment, the customer has the freedom to shop among multiple suppliers for the best product -- in this case education. A vendor that provides a poor product will take steps to improve his product if he doesn't want to go out of business. The result is a high level of product quality for customers in general. Today our system delivers the educational equivalent of Yugos. And the most tragic victims are the poorest, most disadvantaged kids who aren't allowed a choice.
"Teachers count." Totally agree. That's why we should encourage the better teachers with higher salaries.
BTW, your family's story sounds amazing. Twelve kids! College educated! Wow. Sounds like material for a documentary. Me, I'm an only child, educated in Catholic schools in the Bronx.
Temperence, I'm afraid you have yourself in a Catch-22 world. You acknowledge that our public school system is flawed. That's good, cuz the first step toward a solution is to recognize there's a problem. But then you simply "wish" that the system will improve . . . How? Of its own accord? If people like you and I just keep bitching about it? Hoping beyond hope that the unions will suddenly realize that they're in it only for themselves and will now change their ways?
The reality is that government schools are a monopoly that, like all monopolies, deliver inferior goods at exorbitant prices. That's just the nature of the beast. The only effective solution is to let the money follow the students. That way, public schools will have to improve if they want to retain their customers. Right now, public schools don't have customers; they have captives. Without competition, they will never improve. With competition, you will get your wish.
By that logic, aren't you saying that the $150k for OHPA must come out of the Head Start budget? What if the BoE says no, it's coming out of the BoE budget? What if the Police Dept. says no, it's coming out of the police budget? See the problem?
By the way, I'm still wondering, since you laid the blame for the Head Start results on the poor-performing public schools, what you think about the idea of school choice. View Comment
Temperance, conflating Head Start funding with a loan for the golf course is a weak rhetorical trick and it makes no sense. There was never an either-or connection between the two. And "give money" is not quite the right word for a loan. But may I infer from your comment that you're a proponent of school choice? That is, introducing some competition with the public school system? View Comment
Good points, Paige, and I sympathize. Those problems can be better addressed with programs at the state and local levels, in my humble opinion, and not by a grossly mismanaged bureaucracy out of Washington that wastes most of the money. View Comment
Nice defense of the status quo, Paige. You say, "the District is Norwalk's largest employer and it has our most precious resource, the children." (By "the District" I presume you're talking about the Central Office of administrators.) That statement implies that our children are a resource who belong to the administrators, sort of like the Xerox and coffee machines belong to the administrators. I agree that our children are precious, but they are not the property of the Central Office, although they are, in my opinion, used by the Central Office. View Comment
Barnstorm, you're right, "We simply have too many administrators who soak up a giant portion of the funds available, leaving the kids short of valuable resources." Spot on. Bingo. etc. etc. But why do you think that is?
It's because there's not only a public school teachers union, there's also a public school administrators union. And both hold monopolistic power. Their political contributions effectively co-opt the politicians (Democrats, mostly) who are theoretically negotiating on our behalf but are really doing the unions' bidding. Our interests -- yours and mine -- and our children's interests get kicked to the curb. View Comment
"So, what the Council is saying is it's ok to withdraw support from a longstanding successful Headstart program . . ."
Connected, you might want to reexamine that argument. President Obama's own Department of Health and Human Services recently completed an exhaustive review of the Head Start program. The basic conclusion: It's a bust.
Don't take my word for it. Here is the key statement from the HHS report:
"[T]here were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children." The full report is here:
Of course, few people with any knowledge of federal govt programs will be surprised. Ringo Starr, my favorite political scientist, put it in a nutshell. He said, "Everything the government touches turns to sh*t." View Comment
Every year it's the same show. The teachers union lines up a dozen or so parents to beg the Big Bad Council not to cripple little Billy's future with horrendous "cuts". Every year the recommended school budget -- the one that's so horrendous -- is actually more richly endowed than the previous year. Unlike most taxpayers' paychecks -- those lucky enough to have a paycheck.
Every year, the same BS. And nobody seems to know -- or pretends not to know -- that 40 years of solid evidence proves that more money does not equate to better education. Indeed, we spend three or four times more per pupil now (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than we did in 1970, and our children are even less well educated. View Comment
Nice tirade, Connected. But to pick out just one example of your mangling of the facts, that $150,000 is simply a bridge loan to cover one season hit by unusually bad weather. A loan is not a grant, as you imply. It's expected to be paid back. The rest of your rant is similarly marred by distortions. View Comment
Hey, Connected, I don't see McCarthy questioning anybody's right to speak. He's questioning what they say. If I were you I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that nomination to the Supreme Court. View Comment
Why indeed can't residents of the greater Norwalk area have a golf driving range in their vicinity? Those of us who might enjoy that kind of recreation now have to go 15 or 20 miles away. All this caterwauling by a handful of nyetniks is ridiculous, and their arguments make little sense. View Comment
Bruce's problem with his fellow Democrats on the Council and the local Democratic organization is that he, unlike so many of them, has the day-to-day concerns of his constituents as his top priority. The same can be said for Councilman Michael Geake, who became so disgusted with the hyper-partisan, go-for-the jugular style of his fellow Democrats that he switched to Unaffiliated. The local Democrats have a problem. Their lust for power blinds them to how they are viewed by ordinary people. View Comment
Because of Reagan's low-tax policies, the economy boomed and revenues into the federal treasury doubled. Repeat: revenues doubled! The problem -- and the reason the national debt increased -- was because Reagan was dealing with a Democrat-controlled House during the first six years of his administration. Democrats being Democrats, they always found ways to spend more money than was coming in. During the last two years of his administration, Democrats ran both the House and the Senate. To say it was Reagan who "tripled" the debt is either ignorant or deliberately misleading. View Comment
Bruce Kimmel is a rare Democrat these days, and that's unfortunate. He is a thoughtful and fair-minded participant in debates on issues facing Norwalk. That contrasts sharply with the preening windbaggery, the grandstanding, and the brass-knuckles partisanship to which too many of his fellow party members are addicted. View Comment