Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Blight of the Bottom Feeder in Education



The importance of the U.S. Educational system can not be overstated.  It is the key to creating the mind trust that develops all of the other key powers of this nation.  We can't outsource our brains and expect to remain an independent nation.

The key to my discovery is to keep an eye on the objective of Public Education in a Constitutionally mindful manner. Education works best when implemented and controlled at the local level.

If you recall, in the first section I discussed the keys of a successful organization.  The concept of effective lines of communications is an important element in any organization.  Public Education requires the coordination of a large number of people to make it work.  For instance, parents, students, teachers, school administration, district administration, and state administration must coordinate their efforts to create an atmosphere that allows learning to take place.  This requires a great deal of communication to create the type of coordination necessary to achieve learning.

To achieve this level of coordination is difficult in a utopic environment, but when we start to add other elements to the system things are bound to come unglued.  Case in point...Unions.

I will pause while the pro-union, and anti-union groups add a collective squeal.

Unions have no place in today's educational system, in fact, they probably never have had a worthwhile place in education.  There are some extremely compelling arguments in favor of and in opposition to Teacher's Unions.  I will present both.

One argument for Teacher's Unions is the Professional Association.  It promotes the idea of professional growth by sharing ideas and methods among Teaching Professionals.  This includes bringing the best and brightest to highlight issues that they face everyday.  I fully support this idea.  It makes sense.  This type of organization enhances the lines of communications needed to improve the system of education.

Another argument for Teacher's Unions is the protection from spiteful administrators.  In his blog post titled  “Why Teachers Like Me Support Unions” featured on the National Education Association website[1], Chris Janotta stated[2],

“If a teacher does something that causes administration to get involved, it is often not looked upon lightly. It doesn’t matter if administration had to get involved simply because a spiteful parent didn’t like his or her child’s grade or only because the teacher taught something in a way that used out-of-the-box techniques when the administrator likes things done “the old-fashioned way;” once a teacher is on administration’s bad side–faultless or not–he or she must always watch his or her back. “

   This “Us versus Them” mentality is what is destroying any good a Union might do.  It attempts to paint a picture of teachers under persecution from administrators. This type of thing may have happened somewhere, out there.

School Districts consist of locally elected School Boards (your neighbors).  These Districts create the rules and boundaries for Administration, Teachers, Students, and Parents.  The theory is that these boards make rules based on the values of the community.  If a teacher feels they need to use “out of the box techniques” all they need to do is seek approval.  If denied, they can either abide by the rules or move along. Instead they want a Union to strong arm the local community..and the Unions are happy to comply.

Don't let those who attempt to cloud the issue by bringing up the specter of some grand conspiracy of the deepest order...the argument is very simple.  Unions promote their agenda in your community by removing your vote and replacing it with theirs.  This is how Teacher's Unions are destroying the Public Education System and are a threat to your children's future.

For more information on how Teacher's Unions are manipulating your school check out: http://teachersunionexposed.com/

[1]http://www.nea.org/

[2]http://www.edvoices.com/blog/2011/03/22/why-teachers-like-me-support-unions-4/


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Free Your Mind



DEVELOPMENT OF THE QUESTION

The following is my research into the issues facing the U.S. K-12 Educational system. It includes the following areas: What is the purpose, organization, planning, challenges, facts, myths, and what you can personally do to help fix our ailing Public Educational System.

A Short History of Education in America[1]

The level of education by a people is key to their survival as a nation. When you consider the contribution that education plays in support of a nation's security its importance is elevated to more than just something to keep kids busy.


In 1791 seven states in America had included education as part of their constitutions. The ideas is that these schools would have no religious bias, which was representative of the First Amendment. The U.S. Constitution makes education the domain of the States.


The first mandated compulsory school system was formed in Massachusetts by Horace Mann in 1852. For the first time schools were no longer optional, but a requirement enforced by law. This was a major change in the idea of education in the U.S. By 1918 all of the states had formed laws requiring attendance in a public school system.


Another controversy in the U.S. Educational system came when Catholics banded together and formed private schools. These schools were created around a religion and in 1925 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) affirmed that these schools were constitutional.


By the 1950's Public Schools had become well established, but still very localized. All of the funding for public schools came from state and local sources. Then another landmark court decision changed not only the face of education, but the make up of many American cities.


In 1954, in the case of Brown vs. The Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas), the SCOTUS ruled that segregation is unconstitutional. Schools could no longer discriminate based on race. Although this was a major step toward equality, it also brought about an exodus of wealthy and middle-class whites from urban and inner city areas. This move to the suburbs left poor minority students in poor urban schools.



In 1979 another controversial change took place in U.S. Education, but we will leave that for a bit later.


A Short Primer on Effective Organizations.

The most successful organizations are capable of maintaining short lines of communications, and logistics. This reduces the chance for misunderstanding, and allows for better control of the organizations goals.

Of course you will see many other keys to successful organizations such as developing the human element, the ability to meet this goal requires excellent lines of communications and logistics. That is why you will find many organizations spending millions to improve their methods of communications and logistics.

An effective organization must also have easily understandable goals. Everyone in the organization must know what these goals are, and how they fit into achieving those goals.

The goals of an organization must not only meet present needs, but must also be constantly evaluating future needs. This allows the organization to make well thought out plans that allow them to change with as little drama as possible. It is the flexibility offered by short lines of communications that make this possible.

No Bucks, No Buck Rogers”

Tom Wolfe in his book “The Right Stuff” quoted Gus Grissom's comment about how funding is what made the space program possible. And money is certainly an important factor in everything.

A key concept in government is funding. If you control the money, you control the activity. This concept is as old as government. Within the U.S. Educational System the money is controlled at the State Level (45.6%), Local Government (37.1%), Private Funds (8.9%), and Federal Funds (8.3%).[2]

State governments have learned how to play this game. If you want to know how this works just take a look at how the Feds tried to withhold highway funding from states that did not adhere to the 55 mph speed limit. For an even greater chuckle look at the waivers being given out for Obama-care.

We will investigate how the Department of Ed works this one.

One estimate states that Federal, State, Local, and Private funding cost approximately $500 billion in 2009. In Hillsborough county Florida approximately $8,700 is spent per student per year (For Brevard county that amount is ~$8,100). With this much money floating around there is no doubt that it will attract buzzards. And those buzzards are in a feeding frenzy.

UP NEXT...How the bottom feeders are sucking the life out of education.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Infinity, and the Randomness of Computers.


Infinity is a very difficult idea to grasp...it is infinite.  There is no beginning, there is no end.  What if I told you, you could observe infinity in a space as small as your hand?  If you guessed that a circle is infinite you would be right, but there are some more complex shapes that are also infinite.

The above picture is infinite.  As complex as it looks when you deconstruct it, it is just a circle. How do I know this?  I made that picture, and it is a circle. Although it is a twisted and convoluted circle...it is nothing but a circle.

An open loop is not infinite. An open loop can look like a straight line with a definite start and end.  It can also look like the picture below.


I know...I made the picture using nothing but lines.

Even the easiest of arguments can become a tangle that will ensnare its creator if they are not careful. That is why they must be extremely careful with what they call "Research". All to often the word Research is used to describe dogmatic proof of a point.  A good example of this was the research into the ability of computers to create random numbers.

Many computer professionals have set out to prove one of two possibilities.  The first being that a computer is capable of creating a random number, the second being that computers are not capable of  creating  random numbers.  Neither of these groups conducted research.  They set out to prove they were right. One group got the right answer...however, since they did not use good research methods there was no proof..or a method that others could see and reproduce their findings...they guessed and were right.

The key to real research is an open minded approach.  This is not the time to allow politics, personal feelings, or how you want things to be to flavor your findings.  It is the most difficult part of research.

The Computer Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians who set out to research the randomness of  computers asked a very simple question.  Can a computer generate a random number?  After years of research the answer was published a few months ago.  It confirmed what many of us had guessed.  Even with all the proof, chock full of examples, the answer is still debated by some who thought their guess was right.

So what was the answer?  I'll let you research that...shouldn't be too hard.

Research is not a closed loop.  There is no room for infinity in the answer...you must be able to prove the connection between point A and B.  Missing links are not allowable.  Guesses are OK while still conducting the research but not OK as part of a final answer.

In some blogs, I have seen conspiracy building hidden behind the term research.  Although the "Researcher" may actually be on to something..they create a circular argument that becomes infinite...its as if a conclusion is not possible. Then they suddenly proclaim a conclusion and statement of fact.  But they provide no point A to B connection.

Since they can not form a conclusion...I will use some of their research...the research of others..and some of my own research to Define the problem...analyze the solutions..and formulate a conclusion.  What I love about research is, I never know where it will go.