Old 03-17-08, 12:40 PM
But on the road more
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I voted no. I agree with some of the others who feel that public schooling is an outmoded concept- it was invented in a largely agrarian society that bears little resemblance to where are now. And, like others have said too- the systems are so completely overburdened, underfunded, and poorly designed that in general (not everywhere, but definitely in most urban and rural districts), they are bound to fail, or at least perform only marginally.

All that said, I do believe that the state has a vested interest in the education of its citizens. As far as I'm concerned (I'm a faculty member of an Ivy League university, FWIW), this interest should be second only to health. Not nearly enough is done to ensure that education is equitably distributed (yes, it's basically a commodity) and freely available to all. I live in a major city, where the cost per student is in the $5K range. Less than three miles from where I'm typing this right now, the cost is nearly $8K/student, where taxes are higher, the demographic is overwhelmingly white, upper middle class, college-educated, and kids tend to matriculate to top-tier colleges and universities. In this town, the demographic, especially of public school families, is quite the opposite, and they're lucky if they graduate HS. Hardly equitable, and it shows in such horrors as our high school kids not having textbooks. An awful lot of that has to do with tax base, for sure, which means we need to re-think how education is paid for in this country. Property taxes are not the right way to fund education. If we can re-think that model, and come up with a model that funds education equitably, things could change, and only for the better.
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