Archive for the education Category

Open Letter Regarding Education

Posted in Economics, education, Policy, Politics with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by Josh Wittner

I recently sent the below letter (as an email) to my state representatives, if you have an interest in this issue I encourage you to ask similar questions and/or help me track this down.

Dear Senator and Representatives,

During my perusal of Governor Gregoire’s proposed education plan, which seeks to take steps to meet the standards necessary for receiving funding from President Obama’s Race to the Top program I found myself deeply fascinated about our current education expenditures, in particular respect to K-12 education. During my research on the state Office of Financial Management website I ran across several graphs that show that since 2000 Washington State has fallen, and continues to fall more and more, behind the national average of per capita and per $1000 of income spending on K-12 education. Why is this? Are there specific policy changes or lack of policy changes that are directly responsible for this? Do we know why this is happening? Are the numbers misleading, and if so, in what ways?

If we don’t know, how do I go about encouraging research into finding the answers? If I were to go about researching this, would you be interested in the results?

In my opinion education is the most powerful tool we have for improving the general welfare, empowering individuals, reducing income disparity, and expanding Washington’s economic prowess. If we’ve begun to slack in this regard, as it appears we have, I’d like to know why.

Thank you very much for your time,
Your respectful constituent,
Josh Wittner

Texas School Boards are Dumb

Posted in education, Policy with tags , , on January 15, 2010 by Josh Wittner

I hardly read anything about Texas without getting upset these days. I don’t know if I have ever read anything about a Texas school board that didn’t piss me off. This week a Dallas school board voted to suspend a 4-year old boy from prekindergarten because he had what they referred to as “Beatles” hair. Their argument was that the dress code was there to limit distractions in the classroom. My question is whether his hair had distracted anyone besides the school board. This quote was particularly telling:

“It’s a trade-off,” said one board member, Gary Bingham, an insurance agent, in an interview. “Do the parents value his education more than they value a 4-year-old’s decision to make his own grooming choices?”

The real trade off is whether they value his education in a system that so frequently fails to do the reasonable thing and their right to respect their child’s decisions about his looks.

Also, lets not forget that we’re talking about the length of a child’s hair. Did I miss something? Did we all get time warped to the 1950’s?