Re: Wish they all could be California Schools
- Subject: Re: Wish they all could be California Schools
- From: "Flanigan, Allen" <Allen.Flanigan@USPTO.GOV>
- Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 18:55:37 -0400
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
I am very curious to know which three states top Calif. in per-capita prison
spending. I vote for Texas and, of course, my adopted state of Virginia,
the Old Dominion. Not only are our test scores on the rise, but dadgummit,
we here in Virginny ain't afraid to invest a little of the taxpayer's
hard-earned cash in the security provided by lots of big ol' shiny new
prisons. Thanks to former Gov. George Allen's "no parole" policy, not only
are we spending lots on prison construction and operation, but our crime
rates are falling at about half the rate of the national average (9 percent
vs. 16 percent). Nearby Maryland, which has no "no parole" policy, saw its
crime rate drop 23 percent. How's that for a guvner who gets results?
I am of course being oversimplistic in attributing the difference solely to
incarceration policies (crime experts have varying opinions about why crime
rates go up and down), but Allen is inexplicably touting our pathetic
relative drop in the crime rate in his US sentate campaign. Inexplicable.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: gsheridan@BOMUSD.EDCOE.K12.CA.US
> Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2000 6:33 PM
> To: ARN-L@listsrva.CUA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Wish they all could be California Schools
> You are right on several counts.
> Dan Walters' obiter dicta about decline of the schools was not, of course,
> what most interested me in his column. But as to what kind of decline
> has been, and why, and how we know it:
> Most voters in California have no children in school. How do they form
> opinions about how well the schools are doing? In one poll respondents
> indicated that the biggest influence on their opinion was the way schools
> looked as they drove past. Many of our schools look like slums. By some
> definitions, they are slums--badly in need of paint, with leaking roofs,
> mold, vermin, and non-functional or nonexistent heating and cooling
> Proposition 13, the Gann limit, and a host of other tax-cutting measures
> mark the decline of California schools from among the nation's best-funded
> to among the worst (for years now, but the new state budget may move us
> of the bottom quartile).
> California has a higher percentage of children in poverty than other
> states, and a huge number of children who enter school speaking little or
> no English. (The number of English Language Learners in California exceeds
> the total school enrollment in most states.)
> Prison construction has been in the many billions. And prison operating
> costs are just as high. Today California ranks 4th in the nation in per
> capita spending for prisons, 4th in police and fire protection, 12th in
> health and hospitals, 29th in higher education, 50th in K-12 class size,
> 51st in library services.
> One could conclude that given such a needy student population and such
> meager funding, California schools have accomplished a near-miracle.
> high-stakes accountability was in place (and, therefore, before any
> significant number of teachers began teaching to the test) test scores of
> English-speaking students in California's public schools were generally at
> or above the national average.
> There is a huge need for improvement, but it's not so much about "decline"
> as about these two issues: higher expectations for all and appropriate
> assistance for English Language Learners. The latter issue has not been
> addressed, except in the most casual and dismissive way, by the
> "accountabiliy" mandates from Sacramento. But it, more than anything else,
> will determine how effective our schools are overall in their primary
> mission of democratic empowerment.
> At 04:10 PM 6/11/2000 -0400, Allen Flanigan wrote:
> >Regarding California's slide to the educational cellar, I recall reading
> >more seemingly honest appraisal that laid at least a portion of the blame
> >for the slide (assuming the schools' quality has actually declined;
> >reporters seem to just look at test scores and draw their conclusions) at
> >the feet of politicians and the electorate, which bought into the
> >tax-cutting ballot initiatives with a vengeance. Of course, isn't
> >California the land of "3 strikes and you're out", necessitating spending
> >millions of tax dollars on prison construction?
> >Allen F.
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: gsheridan@BOMUSD.EDCOE.K12.CA.US
> > > [SMTP:gsheridan@BOMUSD.EDCOE.K12.CA.US]
> > > Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2000 3:44 PM
> > > To: ARN-L@listsrva.CUA.EDU
> > > Subject: No Heroes
> > >
> > > Dan Walters, influential political columnist for the Sacramento Bee,
> > > criticized California's high stakes accountability system as "a dumb
> > > to do" and a "mess." that "simply flies in the face of rationality."
> > > the
> > > Bee for Sunday, June 11, Walters wrote:
> > >
> > > "No Villains, But Also No Heroes"
> > >
> > > "There are no villains in the two-decade-long decline of California's
> > > public
> > > school system from a national model to a bottom-feeder in comparative
> > > testing.
> > >
> > > <SNIP>
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