Education with a Twist—An Oliver Twist

by run 75441

In response to Newt Gingrich’s comments on failing schools, work, and rising bootstraps,

Peter Dorman at Econospeak replies in: Education with a Twist—An Oliver Twist”

“why take it out on the janitors? If the school was failing it wasn’t their fault. According to Gingrich, it’s the teachers who can’t make the grade. So why not put the kids to work following lesson plans, going over last year’s standardized tests, etc.? There would be as much pride in this as in cleaning toilets.”

Usually when we focus on schools, the focus is on the failing city school model, teachers, and then the students themselves. One commenter draws the following conclusion:

“I spent weekend pass time as an English conversation resource person at a high school in Taejon. I was able to have a first-hand look at how education was done in what was at that time a very poor country with big ambitions. Most villages at that time were without running water or electricity and people still wore the traditional clothing, both men and women. There was no doubt that we were in a foreign country.
Because there was not enough money to provide free public education to everyone, students had to pass examinations starting with what we would call middle school if they were to be allowed to continue. Same for high school and, of course, post-secondary education.

Those who could not pass the tests were not accepted. But some children of families with enough money were able to continue their education through private schools. The system was exactly opposite what I had seen in America where private schools were generally the place where many of the most accomplished students were sent.”

and another:

“The idea seems to be to give the kids some kind of work other than school work; and to build up a work ethic, which could well be more valuable to them than academics if they are in such a dire situation. I know that a friend of mine who runs a small business says he finds it very hard to hire for low end jobs: too many of his new employees don’t really “get” the whole work concept

I expect anybody who comments here is probably at least middle class. The work ethic is something our parents drilled into us by example and through discipline. That’s unfortunately not true for a lot of the poor, and it is one reason they have so much trouble improving their lot.”

Is it really the student’s fault or have we just taken our own fifties, sixties, and seventies values and applied them to a dysfunctional economy and educational system believing there is still a ray of hope if one works hard enough they can still pull themselves up by their boot straps?

Maybe it is true that Korea has been able to lift the boat of equality for all of it students; but then too when all are at the same level of, efforts to lift the outcome are equally divided and not skewed toward the suburbs over the inner cities. Review the difference in tax revenues for Detroit as compared to Rochester Hills, Farmington Hills, etc. if you wish to see inequality. One way to fix the problem is for Detroit to annex the suburbs to provide a better tax base. It is no longer a society which provides an equal chance to all people and the chance for upward mobility we used to experience in the sixties, seventies and eighties is long gone. Tom Hertz does a nice study defining upward mobility in a short study: “Understanding Upward Mobility in America.”
The days when a good work ethic and a high school diploma being the ticket to the middle class have also disappeared. I am sure you would not solely blame the high unemployment percentage rates on those with just a high school education on a lack of work ethic? And what of college with the high costs of student loans to finance college which has certainly contributed to closing the door on many. I suspect the Korean Vet went to college on the GI Bill the same as I and when it paid for tuition. Loyola of Chicago used to be ~$300 a course in the Masters Program. I am sure it is more now. Dr. Elizabeth Warren reviews what has happened to the chances to enter the middle class; “The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class.”
Why is it we are willing to finance prisons at an average $24,000 per prisoner and keep captive ~1% of the total adult population, heavily skewed towards minorities, with ~50% being nonviolent, and yet we quibble over financing public schools? Is that expenditure for prisoners reaping a better result? Maybe we should teach high school students to be prison guards as it is a growing business both private and public. Another good and not a terribly long read is Dr. James Gillian “Violence: Reflections on A National Epidemic.” A lack of chance in upward mobility with this generation and the previous ones will result in other economic consequences.
“Are there No Prisons??? Are there No Union Workhouses???