Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Seeds of inspiration

60 Minutes took a look at the SEED school of Washington, D.C. This is a public urban boarding school with the goal of taking kids from middle through high school and preparing them for college. And they are succeeding magnificently. They are taking in children who had little hope if left in the miserable Washington public school system and changing their lives and making dreams come true. This is truly inspirational.

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As with my post yesterday, the pattern is clear of what works. Having a boarding school adds a new twist, but the basic plan of having long hours and high standards is the same. The teachers seem dedicated beyond compare as they stay and work with students until after 10 at night. I am in awe of their efforts. But seeing such results and knowing that they are changing lives must be so fulfilling. To see the two seventh graders talk about how they know that this school is where their future is going to start is just so moving. The only drawback is that more students can't be touched and changed by such an educational environment. The good news, however, is that the men who began this marvelous school are spreading it to other cities. Just remember, however, that such a school could never exist in a union-dominated regular public school environment.

13 comments:

bobdog said...

Clearly this dangerous practice requires tightly regulated federal government oversight. Congressional hearings should be scheduled immediately to determine how many union jobs are being undermined.

mark said...

Yes, the school and the dedication of the staff is amazing. On the flip side, it is a sad reminder that much of what kids need (and get at the school) is a positive environment and tons of support. Way too many kids get neither in their homes.
While I agree with conservatives that we can't just throw money at the problem, it should be noted that the cost of the school is $35,000/student.

Cas said...

Even worse, the DC Teacher's Union are now pushing a new radio ad bragging on how they have finally settled with the DC Public Schools on their new contract. KNOWING that they produce an inferior product, they are still getting a large raise! It makes me sick...for all those parents in DC who want better for their children, but all the get are the failing DC public schools!

tfhr said...

mark,

Do you know how much money DC spends on each of the children it currently cheats in the District's public school system?

Bonus question: How much do the Obama's pay in tuition for their two girls to attend Sidwell Friends?

Consider this money quote from the 60 Minutes clip: "It's called 'opportunity', we've never had that before." I believe her - see's a DC resident and what's more, she isn't looking for an equal outcome, just an opportunity that has been sadly lacking for generations in this city. It is sad that this is the lot of DC parents and children. It is sad that a chance at opportunity has to begin with a lottery. That room full of desperate but hopeful parents reminds me of the scenes of crowds trying to get their kid on the last plane out of Saigon.

Try comparing the costs of DC charter schools, school voucher programs, and the DC public system. Where is the value?

http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/02/19/correction-on-dc-school-spending/

Bottom line: Which is most worth saving - DC children or DC union jobs?

mark said...

tfhr,
As usual, I'm not sure about the point of your post.
Great program, but it costs big money: About 4x the national expenditure per student.
Perhaps you just wanted to take an (off-thread) shot at Obama. I'm all for anyone sending their kids to private school if they think it is best. I just wish people would stop asking for a govt. handout to help send their kids to one. But I guess that's the kind of socialism that repubs find acceptable.

tfhr said...

mark,

You ALWAYS miss the point.

The DC public schools spend nearly $30K per student, much higher than the national average you mention. The product of that expense is a disaster. For about the same amount of money spent on each DC student, Obama sends each of his daughters to Sidwell Friends. Don't you think the DC public schools should be able to do better with the money they're given?

The unions and the politicians that support the unions are failing these children. Obama has thrown his support to the unions and shares responsibility for the damage done. Do you understand?

Read the Stossel article I linked to and learn.

mark said...

tfhr,
Actually, my post was right on point. I said:
a. it is a great program
b. it is unfortunate that the school is often the sole provider of what all children should receive - encouragement and support.
c. the school costs a lot of money

All valid to Betys's post. All true.

You decided to go off-topic to criticize Obama. Now you're blaming him for the dismal performance of DC schools. You're fear/hatred of our president is becoming

I believe you said you live in the DC area. Since you're retired, why don't you become part of the solution and volunteer in the schools. Bet you'd be a great role-model for some kids. Or would you rather sit around and whine and moan about everthing not in accordance with your worldview?

tfhr said...

mark,

You're so sensitive for Obama and I understand that since the Liberal/Progressive set has elevated him to deity status but step back and see the point: DC spends nearly as much money per student as does the most prestigious private school in DC (Sidwell Friends) or SEED, which also covers room and board, but the disparity in results is massive. Do you see anything at all wrong with that?

President Obama could make a difference in DC and so could his comrade from Illinois, Dick Durbin, who has great sway over all matters fiscal in DC. But they both continue to put the interests of unions ahead of DC children. I will volunteer my time to drive them both from office this next election.

As for my retired status - it may end soon. I have been approached by several government contractors and one of the three letter agencies I worked for in the past and depending on whether they come through with various enticements, I may decide to come out of retirement. It's a tough call. I've looked at teaching - there is a lot of interest in bringing former military personnel into the school systems in this area - and I've also considered volunteering at our local fire department as an EMT. We lost one in a helicopter crash not long ago and I've been giving it a lot of thought.

Stay tuned.

Pat Patterson said...

tfhr-Not to try to disuades you but the retention rate among 2nd career teachers is horrendous. In LA county something like 50% leave after one year and 75% are gone after five.

mark said...

Yes, please keep me informed. I'm all tingly with anticipation (and a healthy dose of doubt).

tfhr said...

Pat Patterson,

I'd like to hear why there is such a high rate of attrition in LA county.

mark,

You sound like Chris Matthews fantasizing about Obama - "tingly" - ICK. I'm going to have to shower now.

Pat Patterson said...

tfhr-New teachers and especially 2nd career teachers rarely get good assignments but as a rule are sent to the poorest performing schools. So you get a situation of inexperienced teachers, second and third rate administrators and students who often are bused in from over crowded schools. A perfect storm of mediocrity and all for 42K a year.

tfhr said...

Pat Patterson,

I believe it.

I've always felt that busing was the perfect way to allow schools to deteriorate in one section of town while allowing politicians to thump their chests about "improvements" that are little more than sweeping the problem under the rug.

As for pay, I've always felt that the salaries paid to school system administrators and other municipal employees often exceed their true value whereas teachers rarely seem to be compensated for theirs.