Saturday, October 12, 2002

The Older the Kids, the Smarter the Parents

There's a very sincere letter in the Public Pulse of The Omaha World-Herald today from a parent who has three sons, a 7-year-old and 6-year-old twins. She is all for the proposed tax lid override in the Omaha Public Schools and writes: "Yes to music, yes to art, yes to more magnet schools, yes, raise my taxes! Yes, to the opportunities a superior education can deliver. A resounding yes!"

'Course, that's not what the EDUCRATS want to say "yes" to. Yes to more union wonks! Yes to more nonteaching staff! Yes to junkets for assistants to the poohbahs of paper-towel procurement to go to Japan to see first-hand how the assistants to the poohbahs of paper-towel procurement do it THERE!

This poor lady has a lot of schooling ahead of her: the education that comes with years of experience with kids in the public schools. She's going to be changing her mind, as time goes on and she learns more.

I wonder how many parents of college-aged kids she knows. She'd probably feel a lot differently if she talked with them about what they wish their kids had received . . . and how little it would have cost the schools. I wonder how much time she has spent looking at the schoolwork of the kids in the high school where her three itty-bitties eventually will go.She'd probably think hard about private schools if she saw that more than one third of the kids in high school would have to be deemed functionally illiterate. From what I've heard, not a private school in the city will let a kid graduate without at least functional literacy skills.

I wonder if she has ever looked at OPS' budget or read many books by parent activists who have pointed out so many, many better ways to spend the public's money in public education, but have been mostly ignored. If she read even a little bit about where the money goes, I bet she'd view this tax increase a lot differently.

It's good to express an opinion on multimillion dollar wealth transfers like the OPS override. But what's better is to know what you're talking about, not just what you feel.

I have a college sophomore, two high-school students, and a 2-year-old. I've observed and dealt with the public schools for a lot of years. I've read probably 50 books on education and put in thousands of hours of time online doing research. I've served on lots of school committees and done lots of school volunteer work, coaching, tutoring, even gardening. I've been there, done that, bought the school supplies a few times, and will soon have one more round of it when Maddy comes of age.

And I disagree totally with the lady in the Public Pulse. For what it's worth . . . from the voice of experience . . . more money doesn't make education better.

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