If you needed evidence that lack of money is not the problem with our schools

Sorry for the long post title, but it pretty explains why I'm including in my blog this long quotation from the Marin Independent Journal:

Poor academic achievement in the Sausalito Marin City School District has rendered the concept of public neighborhood schools largely meaningless as dozens of children in the district, both black and white, flock to private schools.

Even the district's relative wealth – it spends $22,232 per pupil annually, more than three times the state average – is not enough to coax students into the district.

"They are really being deprived of an education," said Marin City resident Catherine Shine, whose youngest daughter, Olivia, 6, attends private St. Patrick School in Larkspur, and oldest, Ashley, 13, briefly attended the district's Willow Creek charter school before attending Mill Valley Middle School.

"These kids are getting a (poor) education and nobody seems to care. I can't figure out where the money goes."

George Stratigos, president of the Sausalito Marin City School District board said Shine's complaint sounds familiar.

"Those were my words from 10 years ago," he said.

Nearly a decade ago, Stratigos led "Project Homecoming," a successful recall campaign of the school board that culminated in his ascent to the position of board president. In an interview at the time, he vowed to change "the long-standing culture of failure of the Sausalito Schools District to a culture for excellence."


The district has a long way to go, many parents say.

"I don't want my son to be a petri dish," Sausalito resident Cindi Osborn said of her son, Luke, 3. "I don't want to take a chance that it will get better. It is frustrating that we have such poor public schools that the parents are forced to either move or pay thousands of dollars a year per child for private school, and they continue to pay taxes into a school system that doesn't serve them."


In 1990, the school district was evenly split between blacks and whites. Now, just 15 percent of the 283 students is white. [Emphasis mine.]

By the way, this is a story that is repeated in Sausalito Marin City decade after decade after decade. This district always has massive amounts of money thrown at it, with truly abysmal results.

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  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    “These kids are getting a (poor) education and nobody seems to care. I can’t figure out where the money goes.”

    start with Board of Education and end at Teacher’s Unions.

    My solution is this. Secure the schools with security guards, that pile on gangs like a load of bricks, sometimes literally. Don’t arrest six year olds for kicking people in the shin, arrest the gang bangers that tried to shoot at the Graduating Student President in a drive by.

    Get rid of the certificate required to teach, or make it shorter, an online program like TEFL. Then make part of teacher’s wages, tips and gratuities, provided by parents or students. Thus kindergarteners make less than High School/College, which is already true right now. This gives free market forces reign, without upsetting the Federal Government Edu/Tax boondogle.

    Teach children logic 101 starting in Kindergarten and upwards. Change test questions to MAKE people think of a unique answer, instead of just regurgitating what the teacher said. Rote memorization doesn’t teach people anything because people who don’t know how to think will not understand what they are memorizing, thus forgetting most of it later on.

    Once you get rid of the violence and intimidation, once you make the teacher’s job more competitive, and once you BEGIN to teach HOW to think instead of WHAT to think, then things will get much much better.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I just remembered that my 4th grade teacher gave me Peter Pan as a Christmas present. It wasn’t until like the summer or next summer, when I got bored, that I started reading it. After that, I couldn’t get enough of books and exercising that much reading helps people comprehend text books and abstract ideas that are foreign to the childish imagination.

    The mind can’t be taught if it is stuck into a little ball of prejudices and ignorance, because of a lack of nutrition. THey should spend the money on books, and some “forbidden” books at that. The more exotic the more children will be interested in them, but it need not be anything overtly dangerous like sex or drugs. Martial Arts, Eastern meditation, the stuff you just don’t see or hear in normal discourse. Science fiction, military science fiction, war history, etc etc. American history as taught by my teachers was either boring as all hell or extremely interesting. It was because they tied them in. It wasn’t a bunch of dates with made up characters that you couldn’t hear. Try and explain to people why people did things in history, and students would be more interested. Give them books, and they can actually understand the history texts. As well as test questions.

  • erp

    There are three things wrong with our public schools: Teachers Unions, Teachers Unions, and Teachers Unions.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    There are three solutions that have the *potential* to fix the public (that is: government) school mess: School choice, School choice, and School choice.

    That won’t solve the problem if the parents aren’t actually parenting, of course. If you do not read aloud to your children daily, but allow them to use electronic media for hours each day to distract them so you can do what you want to do, they are NEVER going to have a decent attention span, so they aren’t going to learn to read and write at what we used to consider a normal level.

    It ain’t rocket science, but it takes lots of time and attention — first by the parents, and then by the teachers. Too many of us are too selfish to properly raise kids these days……