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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Education Entitlements, and HGTV Rule. Empty the Room First.

I. Reforms in Education.  First, Empty the Room. The HGTV Rule of Redecorating.  

To redo the room, empty the room.  Three boxes for the resources, including human ones:
1) Keep and use, or
2) Give away, or
3) Dumpster.

Read that again. Set the budget.  Then empty the room.  Let all the contracts expire.  Everybody fired.  Then start over on how to allocate the budget, with the kids first, not job security or benefits for the adults.  What do kids need most in education.  Fund the teaching and assets to do that.  Weigh carefully current issues such as the child's family and cultural and economic environment as dispositive of many work ethic issues.  More money to fixed institutions may not be the answer. Look at virtual education, for example, see ://

Price what first is needed.  Put it and only it back in the room.  What do the kids need next?  Price it and place it.  And so on. 
  • Put that 15% for salaries and benefits.  Period. 
  • School year-round.  Kids go 3/4 of each year, but not the same 3/4 for everyone. 
  • Keep the high salaries, but make it an annual amount, paid weekly, for each week worked, with two weeks' vacation.  During school holidays, teachers work.  They are being paid $95,000 per year here, excluding retirement benefits. 
 Budget again.  Apply that 15% cap on funding to be used for any and all salaries and benefits for adults. Need more?  Do a specific wish list for all desired expenditures, and let the community decide whether to increase the budget and how:  including consideration that property taxes * may need to be increased to do specifically listed additional things; and/or that more money may not be the answer at all.  Here, locally:  salaries plus benefits, excluding retirement, for experienced teachers at some $90,000 per year, full listing has been distributed to the town).  Does that correlate with student benefit?  Wouldn't most of these privileged kids do well anyway? And, in our area, home values are dropping or holding, while the grand list has no growth left, and unemployment is at 6-7% unemployment.

If the health insurance companies have to provide $85 of every $100 to patient benefit, why not school systems.  That means the overhead, buildings, computers, athletic fields, books, all that, and then the $15 goes to salaries and benefits for teachers and administrators.

II.  Facts before Marches

School proposed budgets are to be produced with parallel amounts to be given or cut in other town government needs. No isolated requests. **

III.  The Role of the Students' and Cultural Work Ethic

Families, cultural groups, step up.The real problem is here, not with money taking the rap entirely.

There is no shortage of remedies proposed in the media for education shortfalls in performance. But in all these, culture seems most important.
  • Superior achievements of Asian-group children, for example. 
  • Reconfigured high school design and curriculum at see :// 
  • Sense of entitlement on the part of kids; educators; and the parents.  Schools and entitlements; and work ethic. Look at the schools. See :// 
Even USA Today notes the issue, see ://  Religious groups speak out against the effect of entitlements on kids' work ethic, even at their religious schools, see ://

So how to get that across?

IV.  Control what we can - Quantify and Identify
  • The NEETs -- and their experience.   In Britain, they count NEET's, who are (to the Brits) young people Not in Employment, Education or Training, ages 16-18).  They may well say that they have not felt successful at anything since fourth grade.  And their numbers are rising.  See ://