In The K-12 Implosion, an Encounter books "broadside", I suggest that public education may be in trouble. The problem is not so much that public schools are getting worse -- overall, they're more or less stagnant. We've been putting more money in and not getting better results out.
The problem for public schools, instead, is that the alternatives are getting better. Not long ago, there weren't many other choices: You could send your kids to a traditional private school (either religious, or socially upscale, usually) but that was about it.
Now there are other choices. Large urban school districts are losing students at an alarming pace. They're going to charter schools, to online schools and to home-schooling. But now there's another reason for parents to think about moving their children out of public schools -- the boys. It seems that teachers -- overwhelmingly female -- just might be prejudiced against boys and it's hurting their grades.
Stereotyped as "naughty," boys quickly learn that they are thought of as dumber and more trouble than girls. And that has consequences. "When boys aged seven to eight were told that they tend to do worse at school than girls, they scored more poorly in reading, writing and mathematics tests than those who were not primed for failure. And telling children aged six to nine before a test that both sexes were expected to do equally well improved the boys' performance." But the message that boys get is that they're not as smart. And not just in USA
She's simply doing her job and the vision of the left g(r)om. The indoctrination of the youth and acceptance of feminized workforce supervisors and leaders must begin as early as possible. Old white men are so 60's.
An interesting, and humorous dynamic that I have observed for decades in fly-over country dealt with female PE teachers, and their lack of ability to become tenured. They would simply quit and disappear, or not be extended for a second year. No discussion or comment from the school board, no cards and letters, very hush, hush.
P2k has the truth of it. Outside of a very few women the "movement" was never about fairness or equality or equal work for equal pay. it was about intergenerational grudges and vengeance and establishing superiority for economic advantage. Ditto for other movements like blacks etc.
White men didn't have to, but they ended up, voting to end a society which abridged the rights of women and minorities. It is safe to say at this point that had the situation been reversed, and men/whites were the oppressed class, that women/minorities would never have voted the same way to free whites/men. The data on the ground permit no other logical conclusion. Their behavior in the now is object proof of this.
Posted by: no mo uro ||
My thought on vouchers is simple: it works for college education, why shouldn't it work for primary education?
I had the equivalent of federal and state vouchers when I went to college: the NSDL, Pell, and State of Ohio grants. Wasn't ashamed to claim them, either, as they got me to where I am today. I could go to practically any college without a problem (the Ohio grant I did have to spend in Ohio, of course).
Do the same for primary education: here you go Mr. and Mrs. Jones, here's a voucher for your kid. Pick a school and off you go, public, private, secular, religious, whatever. Schools are licensed and meet the minimum state board standards. Teachers teach.
I'd make one more reform: an end to truancy. Hate to say it but if a kid doesn't want to be in school then I wouldn't force it. Kid isn't going to learn anything anyways in that situation. Find something for the kid to do other than deal dope on the streets and live with it.
Posted by: Steve White ||
I believe the problem with vouchers is much like food stamps/EBT cards. There's no accounting when its spent not on vitals but on non-essentials. When I was in Korea, the local elementary school kids came home about one in the afternoon, had a lunch and then, by families pooling their own resources, spent the rest of the afternoon with a tutor. The families were spending their own money and damn well expected the kid to make an effort for that consumption of personal income.
Doesn't matter to me how the vouchers are spent. The whole idea is a refund of money you were taxed for public education and didn't use. It's a tax refund, which is always good. Comparisons to food stamps and the like make no sense. Those are transfer payments. Tax cut vs transfer payment is a no-brainer.
[Dawn] A MULTI-PARTY conference called by the Awami National Party recently endorsed talks with "law-abiding" Pak Taliban. The topic was picked up by the media. From what I could tell, the mood seemed to be amenable to giving the idea a shot.
Then came the Quetta tragedy. The media's tone changed completely. The conference's wisdom is now being questioned and parties like the Pakistain Tehrik-e-Insaf ...a political party in Pakistan. PTI was founded by former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist Imran Khan. The party's slogan is Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem, each of which is open to widely divergent interpretations.... who have called for talks with the Pak Taliban for long are being put on the mat. The question is an emotive variant of: 'how can we talk with those who carry out such heinous acts?'
Let us first be clear on what we are talking about.
The issue of talks has come up in the context of the insurgency in the northwest where the Pak Taliban have fought for control of territory against the Pak state with some success. This implies that we are approaching the Pak Taliban as an bad boy force (even though they use terrorism as a tool as well), distinct from the many other purely terrorist outfits. Otherwise, our purview for talks would have been much broader to include the likes of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi ... a 'more violent' offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistain. LeJ's purpose in life is to murder anyone who's not of utmost religious purity, starting with Shiites but including Brelvis, Ahmadis, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Rosicrucians, and just about anyone else you can think of. They are currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of al-Qaeda ... (LJ), Sipah-e-Sahaba, Sipah-e-Muhammad, etc.
The LJ-perpetrated incident in Quetta then has little to do with the idea of talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain.
Second, an objection to talks on the basis of the bad boys' past violent actions is comical. By definition, when states talk to bad boys, they are talking to people who have committed heinous crimes against it. That is the whole point: to talk them out of violence. So the common objections to talking with the Taliban are off the mark.
In deciding whether to approach the Taliban is a good idea, the calculus has to revolve around: (i) who are we talking to; (ii) what are they likely to ask for; and (iii) what is the most we can offer them? Talks will potentially be worthwhile if we can answer the first question clearly and find at least some overlap between the second and third.
So who do we wish to talk to?
The multi-party conference's endorsement of talks with the Taliban who respect the law of the land is an oxymoron. You can't possibility respect the Pak constitution if you are part of a proscribed organization and have been fighting the state.
But let us be a bit more liberal in interpreting this: parties like the PTI correctly point out that the Pak Taliban conglomerate is not a monolith. They say we should talk to the amenable ones -- read, the less violent or least recalcitrant actors. If so, then this is about talking to the periphery.
Fair enough. We can talk to the periphery and see if they are willing to rejoin the mainstream. But this is neither here nor there for two reasons.
One, the periphery won't be able to dent the overall momentum of the conglomerate's activities. Two, no one is stopping the periphery from joining the mainstream even now. There are many who have broken off from the Taliban ranks and have been allowed to live within the framework of Pak laws (as long as they were not part of the core of the movement and were not involved in major attacks).
To be of any consequence then, the initiative has to be about pacifying the core of the Pak Taliban. A formal politically backed process makes little sense otherwise.
Can we pull this off?
The answer depends on what we are willing to put on offer for the Taliban. If it is a demand for them to give up violence, lay down arms, and ask for forgiveness, it's a non-starter. It will defy all benchmarks for successful talks between states and bad boys.
Insurgents will accept your demands when they are the defeated party and face obliteration if they resist any longer. The states will cede territory or allow power to faceless myrmidons if the result on the ground is the opposite. In stalemate situations, successful talks will necessarily entail give and take.
Our situation can most accurately be defined as a stalemate. The Pak Taliban have fought the state for almost a decade. They have failed to defeat it even in their strongholds but more importantly, they have not lost either. They have maintained their clout in Fata and seem to be raising their head again after facing major setbacks since 2009-10. The Pak state has fought them courageously but is visibly bruised and battered. Incidentally, this is why we are even thinking of talking to them in the first place.
Before broaching formal talks then, the state needs to be absolutely clear on what the Taliban's demands are and whether it is willing to concede on any of them.
We don't have any clear indication from the TTP except that their demeanour is not that of a defeated party. They are thus most likely to put forth maximalist demands: allow them to rule the roost in their strongholds; impose Sharia in and beyond their strongholds; remove military presence from much of Fata and the adjacent territories; and force the US to end drone strikes or break ties with Washington.
The state should negotiate seriously if it is willing to concede on some of these demands. But if we want to stay away from providing them a legitimised "Wild West" where the Pak state will lose all control and if we want to avoid remaining a persistent worry for the world, this is a bad idea.
Giving in to these demands will only strengthen the Taliban further. In all likelihood, the state will have to show up again with its military might a few weeks, months, or years later to confront a much more defiant Pak Taliban.
Let us talk about talks with the Taliban only after the military has packed the punch successfully enough to leave no doubt as to who the winner is. Short of that, the TTP's demands are likely to be unacceptable for any Pak who wants to be part of a moderate, progressive polity.
Word from Tehran is that there's some unhappiness in Iran over the Academy Award-winning movie "Argo." It's the story of six American diplomats who escaped after Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy in 1979. A self-described specialist in "anti-Iranian films" recently told the New York Times that "we need an answer to this and other films" that depict Iran in a less than flattering light. Maybe they could start by not seizing embassies, not celebrating the anniversary of the kidnappings, abandoning their nuclear ambitions, ending support of terrorist groups and respecting the human rights of their own citizens.