Education: My Take

The Daily Texan is having a series of editorials about education. I have some strong opinions and I thought I'd throw out my two cents on the matter. For those of you who don't know I grew up going to DISD schools until high school. To be completely honest I went to St Rita, a private parochial school for 3rd and 4th grade which I absolutely hated but I will get to that more later. I went to high school in Coppell which is the epitome of suburbia. So when it comes to education I have pretty much run the gamut. Inner city schools, private schools, and white washed suburban schools.
I am a conservative and I believe in a free market. Most of the time I believe in the privatization of everything on the basis that competition makes things better but education simply does not fit the bill. The first thing I want to talk about is the idea that private schools provide better education than public schools. I am whole heartedly 100% against private schools at least at the sub college level. Most of this came from my own experience but it socially divides kids on a premise that doesn't hold water. The premise? That private school is better than public school. As someone who has spent time in both systems I call bullshit. In fact when I transferred from DISD to St Rita I was actually behind in math. And here is the reason this happens. In Texas we spend over $7,000 per student. So for a private school to compete they have to require tuition of over $7,000 which some do especially the high schools in North Dallas (Jesuit, Ursuline, etc). In general private school teachers are paid less. I'll put either of my public school educations toe to toe with any private school any day. Nevertheless people still believe private schools have that edge and they want the best for their kids so they pay that premium.

That brings me to my next point. Private schools are social hell holes. Elementary and middle school education are just as much about the social development as they are academic. Private schools divide kids. They separate themselves from normal public school kids and there are intense cliques formed amongst them.

Some people like the idea of voucher programs but they would never work. The reason there are private schools is to separate themselves. If you give underprivileged kids a $7,000 voucher then tuition at private schools will be $8,000. They aren't just going to sit there and let the government tear down the border they have created by making themselves private. And my point is they shouldn't even try. Save you money, time, and effort because it's not all its cracked up to be.

My second point is to diffuse the notion that inner city kids don't have a chance, that the system is built against them and that these suburban students are predestined to succeed. Giving kids excuses that they are predestined to fail sets them up for failure. I went to DISD schools where the high school graduation rate is 46% and I went to Coppell High School which was a Blue Ribbon winner for being one of the best high schools in America. And I can tell you that the difference in those schools were not the schools themselves it was the parents. Parental involvement goes much farther in education that the actual school. You take the kids I grew up with in Dallas and put them in those Coppell schools and vice versa and the difference may be 3-5%. If instead you swapped the parents the difference would be more like 20-30%. The reason nobody talks about this is because politicians are responsible for making changes in education and it is much easier to force teachers to change and blame them then point the finger at the parents. They may make a comment or two about it but I don't know anyone whose solution to fixing education is through using creative ways to get to the parents. AND that is the solution! But how do you force parents to take an interest in their child’s education, and to challenge them, and to stay on them, and to encourage them? You can't.

The third thing I want to address in education is the idea that affirmative action is a good idea. All the black men and women who fought for civil rights did so in an attempt to bring equality. So that people would stop looking at race and just look at merit. Well affirmative action has created a system of inequality that looks at race as a factor instead of just merit. When I am applying for jobs and I see "Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer" followed by a statement explaining how they do not hire on the basis of race, I ask myself then why the hell are you asking for my race on this application? Quotas mean you are taking something into consideration.
Besides the fact that it creates inequality, deserving minorities are wrongly stereotyped. Most people resent this system and because it is nearly impossible to distinguish amongst those who benefit from it all minorities suffer especially the deserving ones. Did this guy really bust his ass to get here or did he get bumped ahead of 20 other people because he checked a box?
Affirmative action is also a lot of times argued to be designed to help poor people. That’s a pretty rough stereotype in itself that a system that helps minorities helps poor people. The fact is there are a ton more poor disadvantaged white people in this country than minorities just because of the shear numbers involved. The fact is that poor more times than not means white not minority. This country is predominately white trash meaning middle class white people. Are the numbers disproportional when it comes to minorities in education? Sure but so are a lot of things. Should crimes be tougher on blacks or less tough on whites because of the disproportionality? Of course not, because that would be racist.

My points:
There is a divide and it splits along the lines of race and social status.
The people making the decisions are not focusing on what really influences the issue at hand.
Regardless of the situation opportunity is there.

-hj

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One Response to “Education: My Take”

  1. joscelyne Says:

    Very Very nice information here… Thanks

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