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Changing schools for the 21st century

June 3, 2013

The constant battles and halfway measures that represent most current merger efforts in New York are wasteful, both in money and time, and generally unsuccessful....

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Jun-05-13 9:07 AM

(con't) What good is it if there are no employers and no good family sustaining jobs? We are the victims of our own greed and poor government leadership.

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Jun-05-13 9:05 AM

Many of our problems can be traced to basic economics. Ross Perot was right when he talked of that giant "sucking sound" of our jobs going to foreign countries. Lousy trade agreemnts like NAFTA and GATT made the situation even worse. So, why did we forfeit our manufacturing to other countries? Does anyone remember "the misery index" when inflation and unemployment exceeded 20% annually? We got away from the principle of a days work for a days pay. We got greedy expecting a days work for TWO DAYS PAY! We saw nothing wrong with unjustified annual pay raises, extended vacations, company paid benefits and other perks that simply made it too expensive to do business in America. Beginning in the 1980's America went through a de-industrialization process that changed our economy from manufacturing based to service based and we are now paying the price for bad decisions. We could give our kids the greatest education in the world but what good is it if there are no employer

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Jun-05-13 8:45 AM

Hey marcia you are like cronig, you followed the money but to the wrong spot , excellent democratic analytical skills. Cronig thinks we can tax and spend our way to prosperity. marcia, just who is running most of the colleges ? Liberal minded people thats who.Cronig must think europe is a success, where youth and college educated unemployment is 15-20 %. success says cronig, pay more taxes too. the democrats think the schools are a success, christopher in a way agrees as he wants the govt in the teaching business.Never has so much been paid for so little as in our system of education and the libs want it to continue. You are not too bright libs.

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Jun-04-13 10:51 PM what's YOUR solution, or do you think the status quo is just fine?

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Jun-04-13 3:41 PM

I don't see parental responsibility in educating a child within 20 miles of this essay -- except to say that parents should gladly cut taxes wherever possible.

Nor do I see ANY economic analysis, nor any researched notation of current studies -- except to say that we should cut taxes wherever possible.

Rigid dogma -- as well as adding a bunch of short term tactics doesn't equal one bit of strategy -- is a zero substitute for any policy, which has long term strategic repercussions and ramifications, as messing with our public education.

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Jun-04-13 11:10 AM

Ask the trades people, they can't get young people with any advanced knowledge into the trades. As for Europe testing higher, they are comparing apples with oranges. They don't test everyone, like we do, only the college bound. We would serve our children better be actually preparing them for the world. Good suggestions Paul, and they could help solve some of the issues we face by people not wanting to consolidate, although that, or one county-wide school district, would be a better solution in my estimation.

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Jun-04-13 11:08 AM

Astounding how all of us from different points of view agree with this article. If only the state board of regents could read this (hint, hint, Observer.) They are the ones that decided that every child needs a regent's diploma and should go to college. High schools are rated on how many grads go to college, but no one does any follow-up to see how many achieve a two or four year degree. The drop out rate is outrageous, and they are pushing our children and their families into college loans they cannot pay back. Perhaps they reap from the college loan business. The need for a regent's diploma also increased the drop out rate, and some schools encourage kids to drop out, because they can't make the mark.

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Jun-04-13 7:26 AM

hey paul, if we did do what you said and it did lower costs, people like dcronig , a great liberal would actually say that our costs are rising ! education for me ? Only a 4 year degree. I had to learn early on that education was simply a matter of figuring out what the teacher was going to put on the test.My real education came from industry , the people who did not build that, the libs say, and seeing what we use and take for granted and how it was made and works. i was shocked when I got a job in industry and realized schooling prepared me for none of this. But I had a 4 yr science degree. Imagine that .Since then libs have beome more entrenched, industry closed and everyone got dumber. wait, who is running the education system, from elementary to college it is the beloved dumbocrats, thats who.Now Paul wants help from the private sector achievments. Cant figure it out Paul, can you ?

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Jun-04-13 7:13 AM

Posters here have said follow the money. the money trail in the schools leads to the teachers unions. they fight any change under the mantra , children are our future. Paul is advocating technology , wow, from a guy who worships at the feet of govt, he wants somethig from the private sector to help his beloved govt employees, technology. there can be nothing more private than technology. From electricty to run it, from the vacuum tube to the transistor and chip, private minds at work. Hey Paul, that tells me that the govt people are so mentally challenged that the govt needs to get out of the education business. The teachers union with the govt is making everyone dumber and dumber.Oh, I forgot nitrate power , do feed us and blast things. Paul, you gotta do better than this. private mibds are superior to you govt minds all the time.

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Jun-03-13 5:27 PM

repealing NAFTA would be necessary and should be done the minute it became law it was like a vacuum sucking jobs out of the area.

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Jun-03-13 1:10 PM

Mr. Christopher, for all our disagreements on other topics, have to say you are spot on with this commentary. Nice job!

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Jun-03-13 11:33 AM

OMG! You would think it is 2013 and we are reading about our future. No wait we are doing NOTHING like this, this letter is about on target as anything ever was printed in this paper about education. SOLID! Try reading up about PARCC and then wonder why it is not done here. Can you imagine how transformational it would be if we made state and national news because we decided to transform our school districts and BOCES. The sad part of Chautauqua is it such a wonderful place to live, you just can't make a living here.

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Jun-03-13 11:15 AM

Maybe the parents need to be a little more active in the student's life. If a child can't pass the regular courses then the parents should be pushing in another direction like a tech school. Its not always the teacher's fault. They are sometimes caught in the middle.

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Jun-03-13 9:38 AM

(con't) I asked how he would deal with job reduction in government. He answered my question with one word "attrition". At some point this is a question that will need a reasonable solution.

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Jun-03-13 9:36 AM

The test scores of American students are often compared to foreign students to illustrate how far behind our country is. However, foreign countries do not require their students to take college entrance courses so it is not a level playing field. Why are our kids expected to take regents courses when their true aptitude may be for mechanics, electronics, masons oe some other trade where they could make a great living. Is our education system simply trying to boost admissions to colleges to promote the financial security of the college bureaucracy? The Europeans have it right and maybe it's time that we admit it. As for consolidations and mergers, it is inevitable because the current system is not sustainable in both government and education. Part of the fear factor is the loss of employment that would occur. There needs to be a plan to protect the interests of long term employees to relieve the fear factor. When former Mayor Snyder was running for office in the 1970's I asked (con't)

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Jun-03-13 9:19 AM

DarkStar, I agree. There are options other than college, e.g., technical trades or the military.

The Washington Post had an article yesterday regarding personnel costs for the military. It noted the average enlisted soldier earns more than 90% of those who have less than two years of college.

I know two guys making low six figures in private industry with high school educations who gained telecom skills (repeater tower and satellite hookups) in the Army. Another was in the Navy and now makes six figures as an electrician. And if you leave the military with a clearance? Around DC, we have job fairs here for “cleared individuals only” – and they typically out with multiple offers in hand.

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Jun-03-13 9:18 AM

@DarkStar - great comment. College is seen as success, BOCES is seen as "stupid". The stigma was there when I was in school, and probably was when you were as well.

In reality, a much higher percentage of kids should actually be pushed towards BOCES programs and steered away from college. There are many successful trade-school graduates and many unsuccessful college graduates. One needs look no further than the bleak plight and outlook for 100s (if not 1000s) of FSU liberal arts and performing arts grads.

The schools need to end the stigma. But they're judged based on getting HS freshman through to a 2 or 4 years college. So they push it and label anything other than college "failure".. and that's BULLS---. But public education is "all about the kids". Gimme a break.

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Jun-03-13 7:37 AM

For whatever reason schools today tend to want to direct every student to college, even when it's to their detriment.

So many kids who go on to do poorly in college could have done very well in technical trades.

I mean which do we need more of, college drop outs or plumbers, electricians, welders, etc...?

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Jun-03-13 7:25 AM

Much to think about in this article.

I agree so much with the need to expand vocational training opportunities for young people. Many people do not realize that vocational training is NOT available for ALL students. Each school district "buys" so many slots. So, say Dunkirk bought 20 slots for vocational training and your child is the 21st child who want to go for say auto mechanics..they are out of luck.

Why did they ever close the Industrial High School?

Every child who wishes to pursue a vocational education should be given that opportunity. Training programs should be linked to job opportunities, with internships, on the job training, and apprenticeships.

Wished that they would have a public forum on education so that we, the people who fund it, could have a say it how it is provided.

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Jun-03-13 6:26 AM

Paul,well thought out,interesting, and certainly food for thought. Now about that "elephant in the room"!

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