Oh, *how* I enjoy being an unpaid teacher’s aide.

It’s not the school’s fault, it’s not the teachers’ fault, it’s not the county’s fault, it’s not the state’s fault, it’s not the country’s fault, it’s not my wife’s fault, it’s certainly not my children’s fault, and it’s even not my fault*. But I am not well-suited for this job. Which is why I didn’t major in education.

Continue reading Oh, *how* I enjoy being an unpaid teacher’s aide.

GOP candidates to actually discuss education in August; Democrats are… meh, whatever.

See, this is precisely what we need more of

An education-focused news outlet run by the journalist-turned-advocate Campbell Brown plans to host presidential forums for both parties, with the first one held in New Hampshire.


The Republican forum will be first, in August, and Jeb Bush, who has made education a signature issue in his campaign, is among those who have committed to attending. So have Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard chief executive.

Continue reading GOP candidates to actually discuss education in August; Democrats are… meh, whatever.

Like a puppy smacked across the nose: Barack Obama to hastily drop proposed 529 tax.


President Obama, facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties, will drop his proposal to effectively end popular college savings accounts known as 529s, but will keep an expanded tuition tax credit at the center of his college access plan, the White House said Tuesday.

…Although I don’t know why he bothered to keep the tax credit: the aforementioned college access plan isn’t going anywhere anyway.  Oh, I’m sure that something will get signed, eventually.  But precisely what that is will be determined by the adults that the American people put back in control of Congress last November, not the petulant man-child who is still occupying the White House… for less than two more years. Continue reading Like a puppy smacked across the nose: Barack Obama to hastily drop proposed 529 tax.

Quote of the Day, TANSTAAFL (Education) edition.

Really. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch:

…paying for college out of tax dollars doesn’t make the cost go away; it just means you have to send a check to the IRS instead of the bursar’s office.

With the added caveat that the bursar’s office is probably going to be more efficient about processing the check. And can’t make your life a living hell if they lose said check. And the bursar can’t audit you within an inch of your life… I can go on, but you get the point.

Via Instapundit.

Moe Lane

PS: Yes, of course that means that ‘free’ community college is a middle-class tax hike. Why do you think that the GOP is being told to say ‘no?’

Department of Justice fighting… to keep poor kids in bad Louisiana schools.

The specter of Woodrow Wilson* looms over this administration, and it will not be denied.

Of course they are.

The U.S. Justice Department is suing Louisiana in New Orleans federal court to block 2014-15 vouchers for students in public school systems that are under federal desegregation orders. The first year of private school vouchers “impeded the desegregation process,” the federal government says.

Thirty-four school systems could be affected, including those of Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes. Under the lawsuit, the state would be barred from assigning students in those systems to private schools unless a federal judge agreed to it. A court hearing is tentatively set for Sept. 19.

The statewide voucher program, officially called the Louisiana Scholarship Program, lets low-income students in public schools graded C, D or F attend private schools at taxpayer expense. This year, 22 of the 34 systems under desegregation orders are sending some students to private schools on vouchers.

Continue reading Department of Justice fighting… to keep poor kids in bad Louisiana schools.

#rsrh Higher Education Bubble Watch, 12/13/2011 edition.

(Via Instapundit) So, educators are worried about the higher education bubble.  OK, that’s not true.  What they’re worried about is that that the higher education bubble has reached the point where it’s beginning to affect the schools themselves: the available money supply is starting to dry up.  Still, that situation is making some schools so worried, in fact, that they’re talking about it amongst themselves and looking for answers.

Well.  Some answers.  Read the whole thing and what strikes you is what is not being discussed as possible solutions:

  • There was no discussion – possibly not even an acknowledgement – that our current student loan system is currently designed to reward bad loans for both the universities and the lending agencies.  Or that said system is a major contributor to both higher education prices and onerous, immediate debt burdens on the young.
  • There was also no analysis of what the universities are teaching; specifically, what they want to teach – and how that compares to what our society needs them to teach.  Put bluntly: right now we’re overstocked on liberal arts majors, could use more engineers – and really, really, really need more welders, electricians, and mechanics.  It is, however, considered at best impolite (and at worst, prejudiced/racist) to suggest that we place more people into “working class” career tracks.  But, heck, there’s nothing actually stopping a university letting a student major in English lit and minor in, say, auto repair – which is to say, having them get the equivalent of an AA or a certificate degree in the latter.
  • Needless to say, there was even more of a lack of an analysis on how the universities are teaching. Specifically, whether they’re teaching the latest fashionable liberal shibboleth instead of, say, how to write a coherent sentence in English.  Which leads nicely to the last point…
  • There was a lot of complaining about how state legislatures are turning off the fiscal spigots.  What was carefully not brought up was the hint of a whisper of a suggestion of a intimation that at least some of this may have been due to largely conservative/Republican legislatures deciding that it was impractical to continue to subsidize largely liberal/Democratic local universities.

So what are they thinking of doing?  Well, some possible solutions offered were to: try to yank more money out of alumni and other donors; automate everything that they can (translation: fire as many people who aren’t tenured professors as possible); raise tuition; and create a two-tier system where the more money your dad has, the more you pay in tuition.

Interestingly, that last sentence could actually be summed up in one word, but unfortunately said word is too coarse for public use.

House GOP desegregates DC school system.

Teachers’ unions, racists, Dick Durbin hardest hit:

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program — which provides low-income District students with federal money to attend private schools — is a top priority of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The program was closed to new entrants by Democrats in 2009, but Boehner has sought to revive and expand the program. The House passed a Boehner-authored bill last month — the SOAR Act — to reauthorize the program for five more years, and that bill will be included in the final spending deal and signed into law by Obama.

More background here.  The administration was surprisingly unequivocal in its opposition to “the creation or expansion of private school voucher programs that are authorized by this bill,” probably because poor minority kids don’t contribute to Democratic slush funds to the extent that the NEA does.  Killing the DC voucher program has been a priority for Democrats since they took full control of the government in 2009; watching the President sign it back into law is going to be one of the more satisfying things that I* will personally see next week.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Not to mention the Heritage Foundation, which has been fighting this one tooth and nail, and in the streets, all along.

#rsrh Three things that I’m guessing about this Slate author.

The one worrying about her eighteen-month-old’s private school interviews.

  1. The author would have a heart palpitation at the thought that her kid should go to a NYC public school.
  2. She would probably be able to rattle off statistics about the NYC public school system that would fully justify said heart palpitation.
  3. Despite her admittedly above-average self-awareness at the essential shallowness and absurd materialism that her social class is displaying with regard to their kids’ education, the author will do nothing to alleviate the conditions that lead to #1 & #2.

I don’t know.  It’s a trivial article and a bit of a passive-aggressive whine, but it annoyed me sufficiently to be rude about it.  Maybe because I suspect that the author thinks that she’s being enlightened by telling us that rich people worry about their kids’ education, too.  Which is… nice, I guess: but given that even the merely well-to-do are saddled with the consequences of the choices made by the rich on educational and other policies, put me down as being unimpressed by her problems…

Depressing realization of the day, Mikey Kaus edition. #rsrh

After commenting on this depressing article about how hard it is to fire an incompetent teacher in the LA school system (short answer: very, very, very hard. No, harder than that. No, harder than that, too), Mickey sighs:

I know this item reads like it was written in 1984 (when Gary Hart made an issue of firing incompetent teachers in his campaign against Walter Mondale). That’s because the situation in the unionized public schools has not improved markedly in 25 years. Believe me, I wish the neoliberalism of the late ’70s weren’t so relevant.

I have no desire to get into a fight with Mickey Kaus – those never end well – but I would like to suggest that perhaps he should start remembering that last sentence on future Election Days.