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School Super Asks Governor To Make His School District a Prison

Roblimo posted more than 3 years ago | from the go-directly-to-jail dept.

Education 505

quipalicious writes "A Michigan school super asks the state governor to make his school district a prison, highlighting the various rights and privileges that prisoners get and public schooling students don't."

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Very well written (5, Insightful)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318658)

Sometimes I would like to be able to give +1 Insightful to articles outside Slashdot :)

Success, not failure (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318730)

We rank nationally at the top in the number of people we incarcerate. We also spend the most money per prisoner annually than any other state in the union

In the business of government, that's called success. The more spending you can justify, the more you can leverage that cash flow for personal gain.

Am I saying the people at the top of the pyramid are there purely for personal gain? You're damn right I am.

Re:Very well written (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318750)

Rating articles is a great idea. That way when poorly-written or troll posts could get voted into oblivion.

Re:Very well written (1)

Lillebo (1561251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318758)

+2 Insightful

Re:Very well written (4, Insightful)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318814)

Well written maybe, but the comparison is ridiculous. Of course it's expensive to keep people in prison. I mean they live there with access to nothing else. Is he suggesting, for example, that we don't provide health care for inmates? If he wants to gripe about prisons and money, complain about the fact that 2/3 of all that money is for people in prison on bullshit drug changes...there's your biggest waste of money.

Re:Very well written (2)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318918)

He misses an important point, kids already get most of those things at home. Prisoners, on the other hand, *are* home. Also, I must say $7000 per student per year actually sounds like quite a lot to me. This doesn't seem like an argument to spend more on schools so much as it is one to spend less on prisoners. The reason we give prisons libraries is to try reform prisoners. If that expenditure lowers re-offending and re-incarceration rates by some measurable percentage, then it actually saves some money. It would be interesting to study how effective they are though.

Re:Very well written (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318950)

Also, I must say $7000 per student per year actually sounds like quite a lot to me.

Indeed. I went to an independent school in the UK, and the school fees were less than that, even accounting for inflation. This was a school that managed to pay its teachers well above average, to attract some of the best, and which had a wide range of extra curricular facilities.

Re:Very well written (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319016)

That is a steal! The district I pay taxes to spends more than $17,000 per student. And the graduation rate is less than 50%.

Re:Very well written (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319320)

As I said in the other post, I messed up the inflation calculation, so my figures are a bit off, but my old school now charges about $15000 per pupil per year. I suspect the costs are slightly lower than a comprehensive school, since intake is restricted to the top 20%, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could provide a good education for somewhere in the $10-12K ballpark. $17000 sounds excessive.

Of course, the amount of funding is only part of the problem. Making sure that it is well spent is a larger part. It's no use a school spending $100,000 on a well-equipt computer lab, if they don't have anyone competent to teach using it. It's no use employing the best teachers if the class sizes are so large that they have to spend all of their time maintaining order and not teaching.

Re:Very well written (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319242)

Actually, looking more closely, that's not true - my mental approximation of inflation was off by a long way. In the UK, state schools receive around $8700 per pupil and the fees for the school where I went are now a shade over $15000. My mother taught at a state school, and the funding was really tight (it's increased by about 85%, ignoring inflation, since then, about 50% factoring in inflation). So $7000 per pupil is probably below the minimum I would expect. My mother was having to teach classes of over 40 pupils, with one textbook between two and a lot of them so old that they were falling apart. With $7000, maybe they could afford a few new textbooks, but class sizes would still be too large.

Re:Very well written (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319122)

Most kids in the worst-performing schools DON'T get that stuff at home. The worst performing schools are almost always in the poorest areas, and it's not because poor people are naturally stupid or because teachers in those schools are naturally incompetent.

Parental involvement is the most significant single indicator of student success. Parental involvement also decreases as income decreases. Sometimes it's because parents have to work multiple jobs. Sometimes it's because the cycle of poverty creates despair which leads people to make bad decisions like turning to drugs and crime, which often lead them into our well-funded prison system. Schools have gotten worse as the gap between rich and poor has widened. This is not a coincidence.

It's wrong to say all schools are failing. In wealthier districts, schools are by and large doing very well, even the public schools. The ultimate solution to repairing schools is reducing that gap between rich and poor back to a more reasonable level. Unfortunately, since any attempt to help the poor is seen as socialism and there's a pervasive feeling in this country that poor people are poor for a reason and don't deserve any help, we debate endlessly over symptoms rather than fighting the root cause.

Re:Very well written (1)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319150)

Interesting. Focusing on prisoners to lower reoffend rates, instead of focusing on kids who if aren't raised and grown well, become criminals.

Re:Very well written (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319274)

kids already get most of those things at home

Not all of them. Kids from lower class working families don't get health care or internet access, let alone freeweights and nautilus machines. If it wasn't for LINK (which the Richpublicans would like to eliminate) they wouldn't get fed well, either.

The letter was tongue in cheek, of course. The point being made was that Michigan is at the top of per prisoner spending, the bottom of per student spending, and that's ass-backwards. Especially considering that prisoners are seldom rehabilitated, but rather prison is a school for criminals to learn new and novel ways of screwing people's lives up.

Spend more on education and you'll likely have fewer criminals.

Re:Very well written (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319338)

The documentary "Waiting for Superman" is well worth the watch. It's available on Netflix streaming. (Not sure about Hulu, RedBox, or any other service.)

Re:Very well written (1)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318958)

You mean the Facebook Like button?

Re:Very well written (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318962)

No it's not well written because it makes all the wrong assumptions.

Children that go to public schools aren't supposed tackle society's problems. They are supposed to be cheap, barely educated workers. Unless you go to a private school, you are not supposed to get educated because education breeds dangerous thoughts, like equal rights and all that pesky annoying stuff those in power do not want to put up with.

A broken, underfunded education system works as intended.

Re:Very well written (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319114)

My private school education was crap, and I went to one of the usual British boarding schools.

No schools teach much to kids below 18. Before university, it's all about innate potential + knowing the right thing to say. As far as entrance requirements, the best universities care about both; the rest only really notice the latter.

That's England, anyway.

Re:Very well written (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319130)

From reading the comments that follow, I think satire is beyond the understanding of mos technical professionals.

Another Benefit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318660)

Don't forget that it would take also take care of the truancy problem.

Whats a school super? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318678)

Is he/she a student or someone in the administration?

Re:Whats a school super? (1)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318718)

Sounds like someone with the incredible powers of learning and studying.

Re:Whats a school super? (2)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318736)

Sounds like a school which has become self aware and has begun to address some of the flaws in its existance

Re:Whats a school super? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318784)

Haven't you watched The Simpsons? It's short for "superintendent", as in "Superintendent Chalmers", the guy that Skinner is usually showing around doing inspections.

Re:Whats a school super? (1)

MikeDX (560598) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318894)

ah, you mean Super [youtube.com] Nintendo [wikipedia.org] Chalmers [snpp.com] ...

Skinner (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319368)

I've always wondered if Principle Skinner was named after B.F Skinner (inventor of the operant conditioning chamber).

Re:Whats a school super? (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318876)

super is short for superintendent basically the chief school administrator for a district of schools.

Re:Whats a school super? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319142)

A school superintendent is the person who oversees the whole school district and the school principles. Principals oversee individual schools.

Terrible Writing, Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318694)

I noticed many grammatical errors in that letter, which all would lead me to believe that this was not actually written by a school superintendent. Or if it was, it was not very seriously considered before being sent. As with any document that other human beings may read, proof-reading is an essential skill that his school should be reinforcing. If not, it is no great surprise to me that his students lack the funding he so desires them to have. We should be rewarding results, not inadequacy.

Re:Terrible Writing, Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318912)

Like what?

Re:Terrible Writing, Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319244)

Like what?

Quality writing, for one.

Re:Terrible Writing, Actually (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319042)

The output from the bottom 90% will be buying "Made in China" not "Designing in the USA". $7000 is more than enough to contain, feed, medicate, test, stream and scholarship out the very few that are truly gifted but trapped by poverty.
That $30,000 and $40,000 is part of an often private prison–industrial complex and generates real wealth for generations of investors.
The $7000 number should be seen as more as an introduction to a life on food stamps.

Schools are Prisons (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318700)

Public school teachers are in much the same position as prison wardens. Wardens' main concern is to keep the prisoners on the premises. They also need to keep them fed, and as far as possible prevent them from killing one another. Beyond that, they want to have as little to do with the prisoners as possible, so they leave them to create whatever social organization they want. From what I've read, the society that the prisoners create is warped, savage, and pervasive, and it is no fun to be at the bottom of it.

In outline, it was the same at the schools I went to. The most important thing was to stay on the premises. While there, the authorities fed you, prevented overt violence, and made some effort to teach you something. But beyond that they didn't want to have too much to do with the kids. Like prison wardens, the teachers mostly left us to ourselves. And, like prisoners, the culture we created was barbaric.

from "Why Nerds are Unpopular [paulgraham.com] "

For a school superintendant (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318722)

he's not very good at writing English.

We also spend the most money per prisoner annually than any other state in the union.

Yes, I know, cheap shot. Also IDK if school superintendants are usually teachers. But if he is, that doesn't bode well for his students.

Re:For a school superintendant (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318788)

You're not very good at writing English.

For a school superintendant [sic]

Yes, I know, cheap shot. Also IDK if Slashdot commenters are usually this pedantic. But if they are, that doesn't bode well for this thread.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318842)

I thought you were being a bit nit-picky, but the next sentence is this ...

Now, I like to be at the top of lists, but this is one ranking that I don’t believe Michigan wants to be on top of.

At least the commas decided to show up this time, but the preposition at the end... ugh

Aside from the horrible presentation of the argument, I really like the point that is being made.

Re:For a school superintendant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318936)

There's nothing wrong whatsoever with the preposition at the end.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

portraitofsanity (870052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319054)

There's nothing wrong whatsoever with the preposition at the end.

That is actually not hyper correction. You generally don't want to end it a preposition if the meaning of the sentence can be preserved without it. The sentence is however written so badly I'm not sure whether or not it would change the meaning of the sentence. It should be written as "... for which Michigan wants to on top". Both the rule of don't hang a preposition and that it's okay to end a sentence in a preposition are not entirely correct for modern mainstream usage.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319356)

Of course, your modification sounds twisted and convoluted in colloquial speech. The voice of the letter is colloquial, and this sounds like how people talk, so the way he constructed the sentence is fine.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

jguevin (453329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318946)

Really? You think he should have said "Now, I like to be at the top of lists, but this is one ranking on top of which I donâ(TM)t believe Michigan wants to be"?

This sort of awkward construction is exactly why many experts on grammar have recently dismissed the "no preposition at the end" rule as an artificial restriction introduced thoughtlessly by 19th-century grammarians. I was taught as you were--but sometimes the rules we were taught are wrong.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319162)

or just take a second or two to reconstruct the whole thing .... Now, there are times that I want to be number one, but I believe Michigan wants to be at the top of this list.

The completed prepositional phrase make a little bit of sense, and I spent almost no time re-phrasing this. Ending the sentence with the word "of" just looks and sounds bad. I can forgive a lot of these issues, and maybe this should be relaxed, but when you are the head of a large budget, writing a public letter to a Governor of a state discussing allocation of money, taking the time to edit your thoughts is probably a good idea and may even help the success of your campaign.

Re:For a school superintendant (2, Interesting)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318980)

It is not incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. Citation: every single link on the first page of search results:

http://www.google.com/m?q=ending+sentence+with+preposition [google.com]

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319072)

As Winston Churchill said, 'that is the kind of language up with which I will not put.'

Re:For a school superintendant (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319138)

Most of modern day english was "incorrect" before it became common in usage - english is an evolving language, suck it up.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319196)

I am not correcting someone speaking in the vernacular. This is a letter to a governor. Take a second to make it look like you took some time thinking about what you want to say, and care about its presentation.

Re:For a school superintendant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319204)

Yes, it is. Didn't you take English in school? I don't give a damn what some random link says that you found. Six years of a real college education tells me you're wrong.

Re:For a school superintendant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319406)

Yea, either you didn't listen or you went to a really shitty college. In middle school, you learn "never end a sentence in a preposition". Kind of like how you learn that Columbus discovered America when the rest of the world thought the earth was flat and that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Basically, you learn the easy answer because they don't feel like arguing the difficult answers with children. By the time you get to college you should be learning that this is all a bunch of crap. You generally don't want to end a sentence in a preposition because it probably means the sentence is poorly composed and can be restructured to make your thought clearer. However, there is no grammatical rule forbidding the practice.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318850)

Yes, I know, cheap shot. Also IDK if school superintendants are usually teachers. But if he is, that doesn't bode well for his students.

Nope... Purely political position, and one usually outright antagonistic to actual teaching staff.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318872)

It's strange, but after enough time spent on the internet, I just parse through sentences like this without blinking now. Upon second glance I notice the errors- but ordinarily when I read, I am reading for comprehension and extraction- not grammar. Or it could be all the time I spend in a second language- that I am constantly simply trying to comprehend and not validate grammar.

Re:For a school superintendant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319264)

Dude, you are a moron. I can barely decipher your sentences. Please stop putting multiple random hyphens in your sentences.
 
If you had learned to read in high school, you might know the difference between quality writing and complete garbage.
 
  captcha: vomited

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

DesertJazz (656328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318886)

Most superintendents tend to be teachers, turned principals, turned superintendents. In a lot of states, such as Texas where I teach, they base retirement based on the last 5 year average of salary earned... When a superintendent may make 80k-130k per year that's a pretty big incentive. That does not mean they were good teachers, and for the most part means a large gap between college and becoming a superintendent.

Overall I thought the premise of the letter rang very true.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

Coffee Warlord (266564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319404)

Good lord, your supers are only making 80-130? Average superintendent salary in Illinois is ~150k, with more than a few making over 300k/yr - there's a reason I'm hoping I can convince my wife to move from teaching into administration down the road, despite the political bullshit that comes with the job.

And of course, they're axing teachers left and right due to financial difficulties. Shock.

In my experience, the administrators are/were rarely all that great of teachers, they're the ones who play the political game the best.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318908)

That sentence is perfectly clear, and gets his point across. I mean, you could surround "annually" with commas, but who cares?

Re:For a school superintendant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318916)

Hey moron, that sentence is grammatically correct. Maybe it's you that needs more schooling.

Re:For a school superintendant (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318984)

Not his fault! he got his education in Michigan schools.

Re:For a school superintendant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319410)

Too bad he didn't get it from the Michigan prison system. I hear they have a great program. It seems to be used as a model for other systems as well.

Don't some cable co's give free Internet to school (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318728)

Don't some cable co's give free Internet to schools? I know that directv has free SCHOOL CHOICE programming. http://support.directv.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2466/~/how-much-does-school-choice-programming-cost%3F [directv.com] Prison cable tv is not free it's payed for with over priced prison commissary food and goods. Why not go all the way and rent out the cloakrooms to the prison system.

Huh (1)

TimeElf1 (781120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318746)

I grew up near Ithaca, MI. It's out in the middle of BFE. I can't really see him being superintendent for much longer though ballsy move but not really smart.

Re:Huh (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319060)

That makes me applaud this move even more. While it's great to ask people to change what they are doing and do the right thing when there's no backlash against you, only demanding change when it's easy on us and just going with the flow when it's not is part of why things are slowly going to hell. That he's willing to take a stand when it risks negatively effecting him also shows that he's really trying to make a change for the better rather than just picking an easy battle to make himself look good, with little care for seeing any real improvement.

Clever but inane (5, Insightful)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318754)

While I appreciate the point that the superintendent was trying to make (especially given the relative funding difference per person), I'm sure that the students would have some things to say about being forced to remain inside the school for 24 hours a day. Prisons spend so much money and provide items such as health care, exercise facilities and food because those people are forced to be there. You can't really just offer lunch in prison. Besides, I think the dollar argument is disingenuous. Comparing dollar figures for people that are in prison 24 hours a day / 365 days a year to those that are in school for 180 days a year / 8 hours a day on a per capital basis isn't exactly fair. From the article itself, $35,000 a year for a prisoner divided by 8,760 hours (24 hours * 365 days) is roughly $4.00 an hour. $7,000 a year for a student divided by 1,440 hours (8 hours * 180 days) is $4.86 per hour. By that metric, they are spending 22% MORE per student on an hourly basis than they are on a prisoner.

Re:Clever but inane (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318900)

I would mod you up had I the points. It is disingenuous, and really to me all it indicates is how much egregious waste there is in the corrections system.

Re:Clever but inane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319030)

while agreeing whit your point, do you think it is ok to spend only 22% more on schooling than on incarceration? it might have something to do with the US having such a humongous prison system

Re:Clever but inane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319044)

By that metric, they are spending 22% MORE per student on an hourly basis than they are on a prisoner.

Wow! $0.86 per hour more? A whole $0.86?

On students - the inarguable future of our country?

Versus incarcerated criminals?

Well. This country is in good hands, no doubt.

Re:Clever but inane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319052)

teachers are paid on a yearly basis, they work much more than your 1400 hours, 2000+ is common, with this correction the disparity is obvious. quit cherry-picking your data.

And no cable TV (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319108)

The old "these guys sit around all day watching cable TV" crap is also a tired old myth. AFAIK, no mainstream prison system in the country offers prisoners cable TV (some will allow a prisoner to purchase a small TV for their cell on their own dime and watch whatever over-the-air broadcasts they can get). And, far from sitting around, all juvenile prisoners in the U.S. go to school every day (just like their non-prison counterparts) and most adult prisoners have some sort of job (either in the prison or, for lower risk offenders, outside). So the idea that these guys in prisons are on some sort of vacation is just ridiculous.

Re:Clever but inane (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319112)

Prisons spend so much money and provide items such as health care, exercise facilities and food because those people are forced to be there.

Prisons provide healthcare and food for free because prisoners are forced to be in prison, thus preventing them from earning their own money to pay for those items. Similarly, school is a full-time requirement for those under 18 (or 16, anyone know what the law is in Michigan?) and also prevents you from holding a full time job (let's put child labor laws aside). So it's actually a much fairer comparison than you think it is --- daytime wage-earning hours are much more valuable than sleeping time.

The reason we don't provide students with healthcare or meals is because it's assumed that their parents will provide for them. If students routinely had to pay for those items themselves you'd see a huge backlash against mandatory schooldays --- or else the government would provide meals and healthcare just as it does for prisoners.

In other words, I think your counterargument is a lot less reasonable than you think it is.

By that metric, they are spending 22% MORE per student on an hourly basis than they are on a prisoner.

And I think the point is that in terms of the value to society, basic education should probably be worth a lot more than 22% more than imprisonment, your somewhat arbitrary calculations aside.

Re:Clever but inane (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319118)

While I agree with your overall point, breaking it down on a per-hour basis seems disingenuous because the cost doesn't scale that way. It doesn't cost much to lock prisoners in their cell for 8 hours during the night.

Re:Clever but inane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319188)

While your points are valid, I think you missed the most important point he was making. It wasn't dollar for dollar or a $/hr that he was arguing. It was that (at least according to him...I haven't verified the numbers) Michigan spends more per prisoner than any other state, yet they don't rank the same for education. He didn't mention the actual spending rank for schools, but I looked it up and Michigan is ranked 26th in spending per student. So we rank #1 for prisons but only #26 for education.

So can you at least appreciate and agree with that point? All those other figures you quoted are meaningless because they're extremely difficult to compare meaningfully, due to them being completely different things. But making state-to-state comparisons is a lot more meaningful since your are comparing prisoners vs. prisoners and students vs. students, rather than prisoners vs students.

Re:Clever but inane (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319272)

More importantly, all he really does is point out that Michigan spends way too much on its prison population.

Re:Clever but inane (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319374)

I think you're missing the point.

Why are we willing to pay for these things, out of our taxes, for criminals in jail - but not for schoolchildren?

Why is it that when somebody is in prison we're willing to all chip in to make sure they've got access to food/clothing/shelter/healtchare/education/etc... But when they're free like the rest of us, it's their problem, and it's just too bad if they can't afford food/clothing/shelter/healtchare/education/etc.

This man is superintendent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318756)

"One solution I believe we must do is take a look at our corrections system in Michigan. We rank nationally at the top in the number of people we incarcerate. We also spend the most money per prisoner annually than any other state in the union. "

Fire him and hire someone who can construct a sentence.

What an embarrassment.

He is relying on ingorance (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318986)

and by the graduation rates in Detroit and the surrounding area I am very sure he has an audience who buys into this.

If anything I would love to ask him the same question I would pose the law enforcement. Each year we spend more and more money per person served in your respective professions but where is the improvement or meeting of goals?

School spending alone has increased at an incredible rate since the founding of the Department of Education but scores and graduation rates aren't on the same course. The War on Drugs hasn't exactly benefited this country either, if anything it has gotten us some of the most onerous laws (think seizure laws) that only were trumped by the current War on Terror

Re:This man is superintendent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319008)

There is nothing wrong with those sentences. YOU are the embarrassment.

Re:This man is superintendent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319120)

Might as well stop teaching Faulkner, too...that fucker could never follow inane rules of grammar while writing creatively.

And you thought... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318778)

...your teachers and principals were tough!

Child Labor (1)

cgfsd (1238866) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318796)

If schools were prisons, the children would be forced to work during the day making stuff.

About time those little bastards become useful.

Re:Child Labor (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319090)

Prisoners in the United States are not forced to work, thus your comment is invalidated.

Re:Child Labor (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319100)

its technically forced labour anyway - we force the little buggers to learn stuff so that when they grow up and are let out of the pris^H^H^Hschool system, they will be productive and make things that will keep the economy rolling and basically fund our lazy lifestyles in our old age.

If we couldn't do that, then we'd have to invent a lifeforce-sucking machine to keep us all youthful from their essences. Remember that next time you say school sucks!

Re:Child Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319140)

At least they couldn't complain about not having "prior work experience" upon graduation!

Simpsons (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318806)

Was anyone else reminded of The Simpsons episode where they did this?

Didn't work out so well for them.

Re:Simpsons (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318926)

yup

Re:Simpsons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319132)

IIRC, it only came up within the last minute of the episode. Nice try, poseur.

hell yes to the max. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318824)

Having thought about the children in question Im in agreement but only if they keep the inmates chained to their desks 23 hours a day , only let them out into the yard for 1 hour every 2 days - sorry bye bye college football et all.

Finally they get the electric chair if they fail to graduate, its a win all round. The tax payer saves money as the role of teacher/warder/social worker can be roled into one and society gets a better class of citozen at rhe end of it all.

Not the school's place to provide those things (2, Insightful)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318860)

Does this guy know what public schools are for? They're for education. If people don't have a roof over their head, they get public housing. If people don't get three meals, they get food stamps or go to the local soup kitchen. If they don't have access to a fitness center, they get the Y. Want to earn a degree? Earn some scholarships, grants, or go the loan route, or get out into industry and go to night school. Books and computers? Public libraries typically have those.

It sounds like he does actually want to make a prison, because prison is likely the only place you'll find all that together. That doesn't mean they're not provided to the non-incarcerated. This type of thinking sends the school systems down the path of being replacement parents. That should not be our end goal.

Re:Not the school's place to provide those things (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319292)

From the fine article:

This is why I’m proposing to make my school a prison. The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding. Please give my students three meals a day. Please give my children access to free health care. Please provide my school district Internet access and computers. Please put books in my library. Please give my students a weight room so we can be big and strong. We provide all of these things to prisoners because they have constitutional rights. What about the rights of youth, our future?!

Depending on the child's family, and the location of the school, many of these things are not available.

There is no assurance that anybody is going to have a roof over their head. Sure, there are public housing programs, but they aren't a sure thing. They're chronically underfunded. I guess there are homeless shelters, too, but they aren't any better funded.

There is no assurance that anybody is going to get three meals a day. Yup, the food stamps program exists - again, chronically underfunded. And with lots of hoops to jump through. And there aren't soup kitchens everywhere.

Fitness center - you want them to go to the Y? You realize the Y isn't free, right? YMCA membership around here is ridiculously expensive. It's cheaper just to sign up at some other health club.

Earn a degree - scholarships, grants, loans, night school... None of those are guaranteed. Lots of competition for limited scholarships and grants. And several of the banks in my area have stopped offering student loans.

Books and computer - public library. Well, that's nice if you have a public library. And if that library actually has computers and a decent selection of books. Again though, they're chronically underfunded.

It sounds like he does actually want to make a prison, because prison is likely the only place you'll find all that together. That doesn't mean they're not provided to the non-incarcerated. This type of thinking sends the school systems down the path of being replacement parents. That should not be our end goal.

These things are apparently important enough that they're provided for prisoners. Nobody says "I'm sorry you can't earn enough money to pay for your own health care, it's your problem" when you're a prisoner. And yet, if you aren't a prisoner, that's basically the response. Same thing goes for pretty much everything else you mention.

So, culturally, we think healthcare is essential enough to provide it to the people we've locked away from the rest of us... But we don't think it's essential enough to make sure that our schoolchildren have it no matter what...

Seems a little messed up to me.

Re:Not the school's place to provide those things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319308)

You mean they get put on a wait-list for those things. Because when the economy takes a hit and those services are actually needed more, they're the first programs cut. It's not the government's responsibility to provide those things, it's ours. We need to help those in our own communities, because waiting for someone else to step in is just not going to work.

Re:Not the school's place to provide those things (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319376)

The point being made is that as a country we are still spending $40,000 per inmate whenever schools across the country gets their budget slashed. My former High School had to lay off 40% of the teachers and are now teaching the kids in classrooms of 50 students. Its a satirical piece that while students are being sacrificed for the budget, prisons still have cable television and accessible health care. Its a call for more progressive thinking: cut the prison's budget before going after education.

Done already (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318862)

Turning the school into a prison for the government benefits... Simpsons did it first!

Also, most students would agree that schools are prisons already, anyway.

Re:Done already (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319070)

Any student who would think that is an idiot and has no idea what prison is like. Or, are you saying that the male students rape and shank each other and the male teachers have 2,3, or more student girlfriends they bang in the staff lounge?

Re:Done already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319212)

I don't know how it was done in your fancy school but we had a ridiculous amount of shanking and male on male rape going on. As a kinky homosexual with a rape and blood fetish, I really enjoyed my time at school.

would spice up the senior class song competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318902)

The contenders could be two songs about working on the chain gang: Sam Cooke's original [amazon.com] and the sequel from the Pretenders [amazon.com] .

Hey Republicans: (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318922)

If you don't fund public education, what do you think the kids will do?

I mean, they've committed the crime of being born poor.Obviously, only people who can afford private school should be able to educate their kids, right? This must be the meritocracy I keep hearing you talk about. You do understand a true meritocracy requires you to SPEND to make sure everyone starts out on equal footing right? Oh i"m sorry, nevermind, that's "socialism."

Oh I agree, there is a lot of waste in the system and teachers and administrators are paid too well with too many perks. But with that valid complaint, instead of trying to REFORM where public school funds go, you just want to defund it. Those evil poor people, trying to get educated. Tsk, tsk. Let us keep our focus on where our concerns should naturally be: keeping taxes low for the rich. Those poor rich, people trying to rob them of the money they made completely by themselves, without any input from the infrastructure their country made possible, right? (The country they SAY they love.)

Anyway: I'll tell you what those kids will do without good public education: they'll become criminals. You've taught them with your priorities that poor Americans should hurry up and die as far as you are concerned (healthcare anyone?). With that kind of leadership, the poor will hear you loud and clear and return the amount of respect you give them: it's not about helping each other as Americans, it's about "I got mine already, so fuck you." That's a perfect segue to a gun in your backside and a request for your wallet, no? You reap what you sow Republicans. The quality of your society is dictated by your policies and your attitudes towards your fellow American.

See, the funny thing about education costs, healthcare costs, is that if you don't pay these expenses, they don't just go away. They still COST you, but in terms of the quality of the society you live in instead. What, too "socialist" for you? Reality. Learn it.

Of course, Republicans are "tough on crime." So this principle will get what he wants in jest, in reality: more prisons, less schools. No costs there, right Republicans? It's what the poor deserve: prisons, not schools, right? Tells us all we need to know about your love for your country and your fellow citizens. Just stop believing anyone buys your lies anymore, you selfish shortsighted assholes.

Re:Hey Republicans: (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319248)

On the state level, I would leave it up to the towns. I would give them an adequate amount of funding and then let them sort it out. If a town wants to have overpaid teachers and administrators, more power to them. And it looks like that is what a lot of states are doing.

Juvenile prisons actually have their own schools (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318960)

First of all, juvenile prisons actually have their own schools (sometimes their own special school districts), and those schools are often even more poorly funded than public schools (since they don't have a property tax base to rely on). Most of the money for juvenile justice agencies and their facilities goes toward security, probation/parole supervision, facilities maintenance, etc. NOT just for education (as this letter writer seems to presume). And some adult prison systems don't have any real education system AT ALL.

So the average prisoner is getting much *less* per person for actual education than the average student in any given state. As to his points about free health care, threes square a day, etc.; well that's getting in much larger social issues that has little to do with direct school funding.

Ever hear of parents? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319022)

They get three square meals a day. Access to free health care. Internet. Cable television. Access to a library. A weight room. Computer lab. They can earn a degree. A roof over their heads. Clothing. Everything we just listed we DO NOT provide to our school children

Last I checked, students have parents who are, or should be, responsible for meals, healthcare, clothing, and "a roof over their heads". I have never been to a school without a library. Computer labs, weight rooms, and internet access are nice to have but not necessary. Cable TV has no place in school. And, every student who graduates earns a degree.
 
Maybe that school superintendent should propose all kids be put in government run creches until they reach maturity so the parents don't have to be responsible for providing for and raising the kids at all.
 
But, then, I don't think prisoners should have Internet, Cable TV, weight rooms, and computer labs. Library access and courses should be earned privileges if they are available at all. I think prison and jail are too comfortable.

This may well be the right step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319062)

Yesterday's story [slashdot.org] had many references to research in the comments about how children did, in fact, have a net negative effect upon their parents. Not when they recall the decision of being a parent; in that moment, they tend to remember the decision of doing it, or some other little positive tidbit. Rather, the day-to-day horrors involved with the whole process.

Incarcerating the child instead for K-12 would have many obvious benefits. First, there would be no doubt about what the "home environment" is really like. A big thing now among lower income families, such as in the south, is that when the student goes home, there isn't a chance to study or do any school work. The environment is loud and abusive; it creates, if anything, the exact same type of individual.

Second, schools already are a prison for the students. The distinction between prison and non-prison is small, and that between prison and boarding school even smaller. It is often only a matter of the freedom to be taken out (by an outside source, usu. the parent, never the student itself), and curriculum. The term "prison" as used for a school may be inflammatory, but "prison with curriculum" is more along the desired result. Instead of doing sub-minimum wage labor, there is educational content being delivered to the students.

The largest benefit is squaring the apparent parenthood circle. A parent, particularly the smart ones, may be motivated to breed just so they can have their DNA put into another individual. We then ignore every good thing we know about the division of labor, and have parents raising their own children at great expense to what they could be doing to advance scientific frontiers and so forth, when the reality of it would likely find a true minimum of what parent and child would actually need for any actual emotional rewards associated with parenthood.

Remember, the choice isn't between some idea like this and every part of how it violates some ideal. It's between this kind of choice and what occurs today, where the prolific breeders are the uneducated, the stupid if you would like to call them, and where that ideal genetic parent decides not to do it at all or only have one, because they know the negatives and aren't given real incentives otherwise.

Money != Good Education (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319082)

If you think spending money is how you obtain a good education, I invite you to send your kids to Camden, NJ. One of the poorest crime-ridden cities in America. Which happens to spend upwards of $13K per student (last time I checked).

The keys to a good education are parenting and hard work. And while money helps, you don't need lots of money to get a good environment. From what I've read the best thing you could do is kick out troublesome kids.

Was it really that long ago... (1)

Caraig (186934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319160)

...that Jonathan Swift wrote "A Modest Proposal?" I mean, I've seen some people make rather ham-handed attempts at a satirical suggestion, and everyone goes 'Yeah, yeah, Modest Proposal, uh-huh," but are folks on /. actually thinking this guy is being anything but satirical? Yeesh.

This is a stupid comparison (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319360)

This has to be one of the stupidest comparisons I've heard in a while. Children are not prisoners. The intended goals are different from the start. We must, out of necessity, keep prisoners confined at all times, for the safety of society. Things like TV, libraries and weight rooms are not luxuries, but investments, because studies have shown that if you stick a violent psychopath into a cell for 20 years, you get a violent psychopath out. These things are intended to help reduce the recidivism rate for criminals, not to make them comfortable.

The educational system doesn't need to provide healthcare to students. Unlike prisoners, we haven't taken away the students' (or more accurately, their parents) ability to provide healthcare for themselves. We don't need to house them at night because that's not in any way part of the mandate of the educational system. Our educational system isn't charged with keeping students separated from the general populous, and it isn't responsible for punishing them for crimes they have committed.

This is like saying "The government provides NASA with $65 million per astronaut trained. I demand that the government provide my school with $65 million per student." When we have idiots like this superintendent running school systems, it's no wonder they're in trouble.
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