Sunday, April 30, 2006

Education, big business, maybe worse

Education, if you haven't noticed, is big business. It is no longer about teaching children the important and neccessary subjects required by adulthood. It has become an institution that doesn't educate in the first place and then introduces remedial education to make up for shortfall. Emphasis is placed on making schooling enjoyable and low stress instead of pushing, challenging and if necessary coercing students to attain their best performance. The big business aspect is quite visible if you observe the makeup of local school boards and the Parent Teacher Associations. Almost exclusively, the boards are composed parents with children in school, active teachers and an occasional outcast representing the oppressed taxpayer. The Parent-Teachers associations are by their very nature populated by parents of school age children. When you add up the forces representing the Education Business and who is representing the bill payers, the unbalance becomes very apparent. The net result is that school taxes are ever increased beyond the cost of living. The ancillary "educational" products include more after school activities, such as ice hockey, Ultimate Frizbee, fencing and drama. All of this,of course, requires facilities, which have to be the best available. In the meanwhile, foreign schools are turning out students that outperform ours at every stage of education. The teachers are protected by tenure against all but the most heinous of crimes. They work an abbreviated year, get well paid medical care, accrued sick leave, are unionized so they can strike for additional benefits. And observe what opposes this power, a school board beholden to the education business, teacher-parent organizations that can't oppose what teachers want for fear of retribution against their children and the taxpayers. The taxpayers, for various reasons, don't turn out to voice their concerns because, A) the value of their properties are tightly tied to the "perceived quality" of the local education system, B) It's too much trouble to stay current with the school issues, C) the increase will "only" be several hundreds of dollars per year. And, at the lower end of the "education system" food chain are the senior citizens who have footed these bills all their working lives. Now that they no longer can expect increased incomes, have to reallocate their resources to afford living in the homes that they bought and paid for. The fact of the matter is that seniors, more than working homeowners, are just leasing their homes from the school systems, local and state governments. If you don't believe this state of affairs just stop paying your property taxes and see how long it takes to be evicted from "your" property.If you stop paying your heating bill you may freeze but your house is still your home. Not so with governments, they don't bother turning off services, they just take your house for unpaid taxes.


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