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American PBS Independence Under Attack - Bill Moyers
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
Why should my tax dollar be going to clean up an environmental mess that some wealthy company made and found a loophole to get out of cleaning it up? Go after the people who ran the company and their board of directors, stock holders, etc.

Because you got cheaper products that in the end turned out to be not that cheap really ?
Quote:

Why should people be punished for making more money?

50% of a lot still leaves a lot and I'm happy to pay 50% over my top income, would not mind the percentage to be higher even when a real need for society would arise. I sense no punishment here.

But I don't realy believe in the free market economy solving all problems.

Jan.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Even in the days of Feudalism (which we now consider primitive and very unjust) there was the concept of noblis oblige, where the wealthy accepted an obligation for the welfare of those who are not as wealthy. When the income tax in the US was first established it was a progressive tax, meaning those who have more pay more to support the government. There was a time when people were proud to accept responsibility that came with wealth.

Now the focus is on greed. People say, "I have a lot of money so I should get to keep it; I have no obligation to the rest of humanity. My wealth implies no responsibility." They hide this selfishness by calling it freedom - the word responsibility is rarely used. Responsibility is not punishment.

I worked as a volunteer teacher in the Allentown public schools for many years. I can assure you that most of the professional teachers are very dedicated. They work many many more hours than they are paid for. In many cases teachers buy supplies for their classrooms because the taxpayers don't fund the schools enough. Not only is teaching very important, it is very difficult. I respect teachers a lot. They represent the best in our society. My wife is a teacher.

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DES



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
[Because you got cheaper products that in the end turned out to be not that cheap really ?
.....
50% of a lot still leaves a lot and I'm happy to pay 50% over my top income, would not mind the percentage to be higher even when a real need for society would arise. I sense no punishment here.

But I don't realy believe in the free market economy solving all problems.

Jan.


If a product is being sold for less then the more environmentally friendly version would be - it is the company that is making the profits responsibility - not the citizens of the country of manufacturer. The question the company needs to ask itself - 'do we make this product the responsible way or the more profitable way?' You can almost guarantee they will choose the profitable way every time because they will want to try and keep market share against their competitors - some who are not in the same country and not bound by the same rules. I am really glad to see that the European community is doing something about this - in particular the recent move toward using more environmentally friendly solder in electronics.. that is something that is way over due.

The problem with making a statement about "50% of a lot" is - how do you define a lot? How much is that? In one country $10,000USD/year may be a LOT of money. But in other places like New Jersey or other places in the US you won't be living in the lap of luxury - in fact you won't be far above the poverty line. And unfortunately there are those who are making FAR less then that and are in serious trouble. Howard - this is where the wealthier should help the not-so-fortunate, morally speaking. Taxing them a higher percentage rate is not the answer...most of them are already doing a lot to help those less privledged by providing jobs - some even with benefits like health and dental insurance. A friend of mine told me today that it doesn't make sense for him to employ anyone anymore because of what he has to pay out. He has three employees and has to pay around $6k a year just for workmans comp. This in addition to healthcare, unemployement, and the other costs of running a business. He said he would make more money by letting the employees go and only being open three days a week. Of course by doing that 3 people would have no more income. So again, why should he be penalized with a higher tax rate? He is already contributing to those less fortunate by being in a position to provide jobs.

Jan - I agree that a totally free-market society may not solve all the problems... The question is what part of it can be used and what part needs to be changed...
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DES



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Howard - first off I want to say up front that by no means do I mean any disrespect to any of the good teachers out there. Indeed a good teacher is an invaluable resource and a boon to humanity A lot of the people that I know that became teachers did so because they truly believed that they could make a difference. Those teachers are not the problems. It's the system that has the problems. And I am talking in reference to the US school systems - I am not familiar with how they are run/funded in other countries but perhaps we can learn something from them.

You say that your wife has had to supply some of her own supplies for class. That should never have had to happen - but it is not because the taxpayers need to pay more - the SYSTEM needs to be adjusted so that the money that is available is going to the right places in the required amounts. This almost never happens and every year the school boards - at least in Jersey - are trying to get more money. For example, in some school systems it is required that certain items are purchased only from certain educational suppliers despite the fact that those items can be purchased for far less through other means. Why? If you try to question how they spend the money, you are accused of being anti-education.

Teachers - the good ones at least - do work hard. But I don't think that they work any harder then anyone else trying to make a living and who does their job well. In Jersey - if a teacher makes it through I think 3 years of teaching, they get tenure which means they basically have a permanent job unless they do something illegal or extreme gross misconduct. What other jobs out there have that luxury? Supreme court justice maybe. Not many I know of. And honestly - I would love to make $50k/year and have summers off. I know - some teachers - the good ones - go back to school and do other things to make themselves better teachers during this time - but a lot don't. And there are also a lot of salaried employees that work many hours after their normal work day to get projects done. This in and of itself is not unique to teachers.

The way money is being spent by the school systems needs to be audited and accounted for. THEN and only then, once the existing money is used up should an increase in school taxes and federal and state aid be considered.
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DES



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
When the income tax in the US was first established it was a progressive tax, meaning those who have more pay more to support the government. There was a time when people were proud to accept responsibility that came with wealth.

Now the focus is on greed. People say, "I have a lot of money so I should get to keep it; I have no obligation to the rest of humanity. My wealth implies no responsibility." They hide this selfishness by calling it freedom - the word responsibility is rarely used. Responsibility is not punishment.
..


The other thing during that time was that the government was set up by wealthy people who had more to lose then those of lesser means. Those at the bottom of the food chain could barely survive - and there were not nearly enough people here to fund a fully functional government, so it would make sense that the wealthy would pay more - they had more to loose.

Greed. Yep that is the culprit. And it doesn't care about what country, political system, religion or anything else - it's in all of them. But again we come up with the term " A lot of money". Compared to who or what? Compared with some African countrys - just about everyone on the planet is guilty of being "greedy" and hording money. Compared to Bill Gates? that same group of people just became paupers. Where do you draw the line - if one should be drawn at all? And who should be the ones drawing that line?

Millions of people in the US give billions of dollars per year voluntarily to charities. Some very well off and others not so well. They are being responsible and helping others. And more importantly, the government is not telling them how much to give or who to give it to. This is freedom to chose.

There are greedy people out there in all walks of life - they don't donate money or time or contribute to helping fellow man and in all probability use the less fortunate to increase their own wealth. It is unfortunate that others have to bear the burden that the greedy ones put on the rest.

Quote:
They hide this selfishness by calling it freedom - the word responsibility is rarely used.


If it was only a problem in the US I might be tempted to agree. but this problem is found everywhere on this planet. I think it might be more appropriate to say "they hide this selfishness by saying I earned it by myself when in fact it was earned with the help of and at the expense of others".

However, making people pay a higher percentage because they have more is just as greedy - it's just looking at it from the other side of the coin.
"I have a lot - I want to keep it"
"You have too much - I want some"

The only difference is the perspective.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

50K/year is quite a bit for a public school teacher. Most start off less than 20K/year. 17K/year is the official poverty line, mind you. Anyone can dance around and say greed is in everyone, yet at the same time point the finger at the SYSTEM for being wrong. The SYSTEM is a group of people called government. Yes, many dollars are wasted on not buying the absolute cheapest books or tools available. But honestly, the difference amounts to far less than 10% of spending. When the government argues that post-graduate education doesn't deserve spending, and will debate at length if an education budget is worth 100 million dollars spent over 5 years, vs. deciding over a weekend to spend $128 BILLION to rebuild a country we just spent $25 BILLION destroying, I have to say the government, and the PEOPLE running it, are making BAD decisions.

And the topic of discussion is how these PEOPLE are able to make others believe the decisions they make are "good" for the rest of us, and many of the tactics used to do this involve media control (it was Reagan who created the law & sign it to allow media outlets to become conglomerations). I have stated my political position before, which doesn't align left or right. but the media has gone from an EXTREMELY critical view of a past president 10 years ago, and these days, they are EXTREMELY lax.

Ever read about a presidential appointed cabinet member who modified a scientific study about the impact of fossil fuels on the ecology? That was big news a few days ago. Will you hear about how the presidient defended him next week? No. Will he take resposibility for his action, or will the president force him to? Probably not. There's an obvious link between the conservative party & the large media conglomerates that can't be blamed on laziness. Greed, probably, but not simple laziness. Remember, the media works just as hard as all the great teachers in America, or anyone else for that matter.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I still tend to agree with Jan on this. I guess we are on the wrong side of the pond.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
If a product is being sold for less then the more environmentally friendly version would be - it is the company that is making the profits responsibility

Ok, I agree that the company has a responsibility here, but I think I have a resposibility as well. They should not make it, I should not buy it.

In practice It of course is often very hard to see what the real cost of production is, costs for pollution cleanup only come up after decades sometimes. A company will tend to underestimate those costs to keep the share holders happy. When I think this underestimation is happening I should buy another product to make the share holders unhappy. This seems the only sensible way to act in a capitalist system, the end-buyer should have an idea of the true cost, otherwise the control loop is incomplete and the feedback loop will add distortion instead of removing it.

In a world-wide economy this is more complex, and I don't think we have adequate means at this time to run a world wide economy. Essentially what is being done now is that we keep out at least 2/3 of the people. Those people will someday come come out to ask questions, what will we answer them then ? Saying things like you're too lazy or too stupid will not really do I'm affraid. My government doesn't really care right now, well probably more than yours, but still not really - this needs to be changed.
Quote:

The problem with making a statement about "50% of a lot" is - how do you define a lot?

I know this is a problem, but a discussion here and now over actual amounts seems rather pointless. Personally I like to think on a world wide scale, meaning all people in my country have a lot, an awfull lot even.
Quote:

Jan - I agree that a totally free-market society may not solve all the problems... The question is what part of it can be used and what part needs to be changed...

Good !

And I agree that some market working could work as long as the true cost of production is known and brought in somehow, this would not be stricly financial cost but also social and environmental cost - we do not have a good mechanism for that it seems to me.

But some market working could work as not all people seem to be able to find a drive for doing things without it.

How this should be accomplished I would not know, this is really hard in a world whre people lie about their true objectives - sometimes even to themselves. And often of course the whole story can essentially only be known after decades, or even longer (like with climate change, nuclear technology, bio engineering etc.)

But for a start we should try to share with everyone on the planet, it will be a better place then for all.

Ah well, my silly dreams :-)

Jan.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
I think that the only way taxes are ever going to be fair is through a flat tax - 10% or whatever is calculated. Get rid of all the bogus deductions and other loop holes. i.e. "Your gross pay was $100k - your tax is $10k. Your gross pay was $50k - your tax is $5k" Why should people be punished for making more money? Having wealthy people pay more percentage for tax is doing just that. Why should poorer people not get the same breaks as wealthy people do just because they own only one house or rent a place? Flat tax - the only way in my opinion.....


That would be sensible, were it not for constants. There is a certain amount of money that you need to stay alive; have a roof, have food, clothes, healthcare and heating in plcase where this is needed. Agreed? Well, let´s call this amount "n". n is differend depending on where you live but it can be calculated for any place.

Now, everybody who supports himself will make (n+x), where x can is between 0 and (the sumtotall of money in existance - n). x can be spend as you please on toys or conveniences, the larger x, the less n will matter to you; if you make a million a month the cost of food or heating won´t be signifficant to you while for people who make 100$ a month over n n will seem quite high. It stands to reason that there must be gradual scale between the minumum and maximum values of x in taxation. After all; in the hypthetical case that somebody´s or a small group of people´s "x" will indeed aproach the sumtotal of money in existance there won´t be anything for the rest at all and so unless we are to allow people to die of hunger they will have to part with nearly all of their money.

Sadly we are quite close to the situation where a small group has nearly everything.

I also think there should be aditional rules about taxation depending on how much strain people put on society and the world in general. I feel that due to the state of our finite resources people driving inneficient cars should pay heavily for this. Considdering the state of the world´s population exceptionally heavy taxation should IMHO be applied to people who feel the hormonal or emotional need to breed is inescapable. Since childeren get more childeren who in turn tend to continue to breed and so place even more strain on the environment. In my opinion it´s entirely reasonable to ask of those people that they pay to compensate for the damage they are causing. Currently the situation is reversed, at least in my country where relatively responcible people are made to pay in the form of tax cuts and even outright donations from the government to people who procreate. Why I need to pay for my neigbour´s offspring, first financially, then environmentally because there will be less space and water left for me in coming decades is beyond me.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
DES wrote:
Why should my tax dollar be going to clean up an environmental mess that some wealthy company made and found a loophole to get out of cleaning it up? Go after the people who ran the company and their board of directors, stock holders, etc.

Because you got cheaper products that in the end turned out to be not that cheap really ?


Yes, on a large level, no on a personal one. We don´t know that DES actually used those products so I agree with DES he doesn´t nesicarily need to pay for them. I feel the real customers of those product need to pick up the tab there. I´ve long pleaded for a very simple system of taxation on products; Every product should have taxes added to the exact amount it takes to compensate for the damage it´s doing. So; if your suplier of paint is dumping chemicals in it´s backyard, we´ll take the cost of cleaning up the backyard, devide that by what percentage of the factory´s output is your pot of paint and that´s what you pay extra.

If your "EKO" stamped biologically sensible rice hardly puts any strain at all on the world then there will be no extra tax. Some products that contribute to the world may become cheaper, perhaps some will even get a negative price.

Of cource my masterplan for saving the world will quickly put entire branches out of business.....

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:

In practice It of course is often very hard to see what the real cost of production is, costs for pollution cleanup only come up after decades sometimes. A company will tend to underestimate those costs to keep the share holders happy. When I think this underestimation is happening I should buy another product to make the share holders unhappy. This seems the only sensible way to act in a capitalist system, the end-buyer should have an idea of the true cost, otherwise the control loop is incomplete and the feedback loop will add distortion instead of removing it.


Whoops, I read the entire thread, then started replying to some points while also phoning and missed this one. Clearly we agree completely (except perhaps on the childeren thing, people tend to object to my thoughts there).

Self-serving egoïstical people that we are, wanting to take away other people´s pleasures in order to save our own world :¬).

I´ve been thinking that we should have perhaps have a worldwide referendum on how long we want to sustain humanity. Clearly some people feel a decade or two would be more then enough, perhaps because they don´t like it that much anyway and would rather move on to the next soon while others see to desire a nigh infinite time. Those people are at odds and in conflict. I say we have a election about this worldwide, then base any laws that may be needed on the outcome.

I´ve been wondering what people would do if we´d decide on one or two decades. Would they still have childeren? Right now many people´s behaviour is implying that that period is enough for them yet still procreate, then cheerfully claim they do love their childeren. I wonder what they would do if the question was phrased more directly instead of implied by scatered sources.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:

"I have a lot - I want to keep it"
"You have too much - I want some"

The only difference is the perspective.


If you take all of the money in the world and divide it up by the number of people you get $1,300,000 each. (I heard this recently in a talk by a preacher who was extolling his congregation to go get more of their fair share).
The most vulnerable victims of poverty are the world’s children.

Nearly 30,000 children die every day — almost 11 million per year — most from preventable diseases and malnutrition. Yet, the handful of preventable diseases that kill the majority of these children can be treated and prevented at very little cost. Measles can be prevented with a vaccine costing just 26 cents. Diarrheal disease, which results from poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water, can be treated with pennies’ worth of oral rehydration salts. Malaria kills nearly one million children each year, despite the fact that treatment for acute malaria costs just pennies.

From my "perspective" something is seriously wrong. I live in the "richest" country in the world. 1 in 6 children here live in poverty. Carol Bellamy, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said, “The lives of children and women are the truest indicators of the strength of communities and nations.”

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If the human race is to survive, I guess a further development of the human trait of compassion is called for. I hope evolution selects this trait.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
I would love to make $50k/year and have summers off.

So would a lot of teachers. A teacher with 20 years of experience in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania makes $35,000. Out of that comes her retirement, medical, union dues and taxes.

In almost every industry people who work overtime get paid - not teachers. There is no overtime pay for them. They are required to take continuing education at their own expense. Dave, you blast the teachers union. What do you think teachers would get if they didn't have a union? More importantly, what do you think teachers deserve?

The problem isn't the SYSTEM, it's the citizens. BTW, I have worked both in big companies (AT&T, LUCENT, and IBM), and for the public schools (as a volunteer in the later case). Believe me, there is much more corruption and dishonesty in the corporate SYSTEM than in the public one. There is no comparison.

DES wrote:
If it was only a problem in the US I might be tempted to agree. but this problem is found everywhere on this planet.


I don't get this. Are you implying that since people in other countries are greedy (unjust, or whatever) it's OK to behave similarly in the USA? Should we link our cultural values to some sort of moving average set by the rest of the world?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
(except perhaps on the childeren thing, people tend to object to my thoughts there).


Yeah well, if there is any human future you'd need kids for it to happen I guess. So it depends a bit on your optimism here, I tend to be optimistic for the long term, so I guess we disagre indeed :-)

But we should realize that in the end we are just a toy of nature, not the other way around.

Jan.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
A friend of mine told me today that it doesn't make sense for him to employ anyone anymore because of what he has to pay out. He has three employees and has to pay around $6k a year just for workmans comp. This in addition to healthcare, unemployement, and the other costs of running a business. He said he would make more money by letting the employees go and only being open three days a week. Of course by doing that 3 people would have no more income. So again, why should he be penalized with a higher tax rate? He is already contributing to those less fortunate by being in a position to provide jobs.


Good point. His competition in China doesn't have this problem because the government provides the people with healthcare, unemployment, workmans compensation and other benifits. The capitalists in China have certain advantages. Isn't it ironic that the fastest growing and soon to be strongest economy in the world is run by communists?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
So would a lot of teachers. A teacher with 20 years of experience in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania makes $35,000. Out of that comes her retirement, medical, union dues and taxes.


Then apparently your school systems in PA are managed better then in NJ or are kept in check by the residents. In NJ $50k/ year is a valid number for some teachers. I am talking about the elementary through high school teachers, not college. My father lives in Forks Township PA and pays $3500/yr in SCHOOL taxes alone which is significantly more then what goes to the Township for running the local government.

Quote:
In almost every industry people who work overtime get paid - not teachers. There is no overtime pay for them. They are required to take continuing education at their own expense.


I don't know what industries you are talking about - but in every job I have had or known people to work in that was SALARY based you put in the time required to finish ths job and you did not get overtime. If you finished early you started the next project. If it took you 20 hours to do the job, you did it. If you were able to manage to get compensation time that was great for you. Hourly - which is what I switched to several years ago DOES pay overtime as mandated by law. Employment guidelines address this directly through the Exempt and NON-Exempt employee status. Exempt are not entiteld to overtime. In commission based sales in particular - you might get a base pay and a draw on your potential commission - but you most likely will not get overtime...

Some of your larger companies may still pay for continuing education but that is becoming more the exception rather then the rule. That is part of the continually dwindling compensation packages that workers are able to get now.

Quote:
Dave, you blast the teachers union. What do you think teachers would get if they didn't have a union? More importantly, what do you think teachers deserve?


Unions have served - and do serve - a valid purpose as long as they don't become corrupted and overly greedy like so many of them do. Even then they can still do some good and in some cases they do a lot of harm. There was a news story recently about GM and how much it is costing them to pay benefits...something like $1500/car goes to medical alone. This is not directly the fault of the union = they don't set the insurance rates. BUT they require the medical insurance for their members..which is good for the members. The union has requested and demanded so much more in salary and such from the company that there is talk of bankruptcy. Why? Well, when you have a broom pusher at a GM factory making $30/hour - how is the company supposed to survive? Well, they raise prices for the cars but then the overseas car manufacturers - who are not saddled by the same unions - bring in their product for far less. Sales drop, union wants more, factories close, people unemployed. Everyone looses. Unions - just like companies and governments - need to look at the big picture - not just thier own little corner of it. Unions are there to protect the employees from being taken advantage by the companies but a lot of them are now doing the same thing TO the companies.

Teachers = THE GOOD ONES - deserve our gratitude and respect. They also deserve a fair wage. What amount? That is going to depend on a lot of things - how much will the local economy bear. What is the local cost of living, etc.. Sure they deserve medical and retirment benefits - but doesn't everyone? It is getting harder and harder to make a good case for our teaching system - which in a lot of cases are NOT being managed by teachers but people with business degrees or political appointees - when you have so many students getting FORCED through the system till graduation! It's NOT all the teachers doing this - a lot of them would keep students back until they learned what was needed. But rather it is the "upper management" in the school system that has to show "productivity" by passing and promoting every child that goes through the school system. ( this is abig thing in New York City now) And sad thing is they have not been able to grasp simple concepts like reading, spelling and basic math. How much technology or extra expenses are needed to correct this? None. It is a matter of cutting out the "production" mentality from the school boards and letting the teachers do what they do. In our local Vocational Technical school there are a lot of good teachers that are teaching trades and such. But when it comes to the english and other general study curriculum, a lot of times those teachers end up sending the students to the library (one of the county branches is located at the Vo-Tec. where my wife worked) to get movies to watch because they can't be bothered with teaching. Even some of the shop teachers do this. Every now and then the library will have a Dr. Seuss day and the teachers send the students to participate. The last time the kids were sent back to their classes BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT READ! We are talking about kids in a high school level enviroment that have not managed to grasp basic educational concepts! Is this the citizens fault? The teachers have tenure - it is next to impossible to fire them to put GOOD teachers in place.

Now not to pin it all on the school system - a lot of kids don't take school seriously and their parents are constantly demanding that their kids are victums and need to be passed/promoted. They put pressure on the school boards and the board members - because they want to keep their jobs, come up with plans that don't help the students, just themselves. Well, too bad - if the kids can't pass the curiculum they should not go to the next level. If the kids have learning problems THEN different teaching methods/classes should be used. I don't think anyone would have a problem paying for that.

Quote:

Believe me, there is much more corruption and dishonesty in the corporate SYSTEM than in the public one. There is no comparison.


Oh I believe 100%+ Can anyone say ENRON? Worldcom? The big difference is in the scales of money. Business is dealing with huge amounts of money compared to what the school systems are. The other difference is that the local tax payers are affected more directly by their local school system corruption/mismangement then by the large corporations unless they happen to work for one of the offending companies and have bad school management...then they are screwed. In the long run - putting out poor students hurts EVERYONE.

Quote:
I don't get this. Are you implying that since people in other countries are greedy (unjust, or whatever) it's OK to behave similarly in the USA? Should we link our cultural values to some sort of moving average set by the rest of the world?


What I mean is that the US is not the only country with the greed problem. Aid is sent to African nations only to confiscated and used by the government in charge to keep control. Saddam Hussein and the oil for food scandle? Enough said. And you could keep going. It's NOT limited to the US but so many people point their fingers at us and make us seem like the bad guys all the time. I'm saying we are not the only ones and if there is going to be finger pointing - make sure you look in your own back yard too!
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
We are talking about kids in a high school level environment that have not managed to grasp basic educational concepts! Is this the citizens fault? The teachers have tenure - it is next to impossible to fire them to put GOOD teachers in place.

There are indeed teachers that should be fired for incompetence. In my experience as a parent I came across two. When I brought these to the attention of the local school superintendent one was removed from teaching and given staff position, and the other retired within six months. If problems in public institutions are not the responsibility of the citizens, then who is responsible?

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DES



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

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50K/year is quite a bit for a public school teacher. Most start off less than 20K/year

This of course is dependent on where you are. IN the NY/NJ/CT area quite a few will start off higher then the $20k. $50k is quite a bit...but that is my point. That would also be dependent on how long they worked in the school system,. 10 years +? Sure - if they are a good teacher they would be worth it.

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Anyone can dance around and say greed is in everyone, yet at the same time point the finger at the SYSTEM for being wrong. The SYSTEM is a group of people called government.


Well, I was baptised a Baptist, so technically I am not supposed to dance.. Laughing Your point though is exactly on - the system is comprised of people - a lot of them are very greedy...hence dipping into everyones pocket "supposedly" for the good of the system...

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Yes, many dollars are wasted on not buying the absolute cheapest books or tools available. But honestly, the difference amounts to far less than 10% of spending.


This is one of the areas the schools are being mismanaged. Basic curriculum for example has not changed in a VERY long time. So why are schools replacing basic text books with new ones on a yearly or every 2 years when the content is the same? Well, one reason is that the management NEEDS to justify their high budget requests. If they were able to get by for less during one year they might have problems requesting more the next to use for valid purchases. So, new books every year. And yea, it is a small amount - but that small amount could be used to pay for the tools the teachers really need instead of them having to go out and buy their own.
Quote:

When the government argues that post-graduate education doesn't deserve spending, and will debate at length if an education budget is worth 100 million dollars spent over 5 years, vs. deciding over a weekend to spend $128 BILLION to rebuild a country we just spent $25 BILLION destroying, I have to say the government, and the PEOPLE running it, are making BAD decisions.


Can't argue with that..

Quote:
And the topic of discussion is how these PEOPLE are able to make others believe the decisions they make are "good" for the rest of us, and many of the tactics used to do this involve media control


Anyone will try and justify their position and use whatever means are at their disposal. I find it rather funny that most conservatives view the media as being liberal and the liberals view the media as conservative. IF the media does it's job properly, in my opinion, it should fall somewhere in the middle because both sides have their good points and bad points. I guess it depends on where you expect your media of choice to be. I expect the media to report the facts - not slanted with a reporters or his companies personal bias either way. Unfortunately you see just this sort of thing happening on both sides of the camp. I consider myself to be intelligent enough to draw my own conclusions. The media focuses on what makes THEM the most money i.e. sell more copy/advertising time - whether it's a conservative or liberal issue. why else would so much time be spent on a item like Michael Jackson's case? Is it REALLY that important the world needs to know about it? Frankly I could care less about him other then if he is guilty he should be punished.. What happens to him either way is not going to help the average person on the street. BUT the media knows that a lot of Jackson fans will be 'tuning in' to get the latest bit of news. So, when certain fossil fuel issues are not reported on completely - it is probably not politically related - it is cash related.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
If problems in public institutions are not the responsibility of the citizens, then who is responsible?


I am norwegian so I tend to agree with you.

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DES



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

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Ok, I agree that the company has a responsibility here, but I think I have a resposibility as well. They should not make it, I should not buy it.

Jan - this is great in theory but the problem arises that how do you know the method of manufacturer? If the item is being made by questionable means the company is not going to publish that information. This is an instance where the government may need to step in and require disclosure of manufacturing methods. The media too could do a lot more good by looking into stuff like this...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Aren´t these different issues really? Public funding of schools is not a bad thing. Health care for everyone is not a bad thing. If not the state cannot handle the responsibility, then why do we need the state? As it is now the state seems to break down basic fabric of society.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

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The media too could do a lot more good by looking into stuff like this


With few exceptions the media are about creating a product fit for placement of ads. In this context journalism is counterproductive.
Say, consider how "Deep Troat" used two inexperienced kids to take out Nixon. That book and that movie... both were serious falsifications of what really happened.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
The media too could do a lot more good by looking into stuff like this...


Ahhh. Back to the topic... Very Happy

The media is VERY important if our so-called democratic society is to function well. It must be independent.

Personally, I'd like to see more media outlets, not less. I'm happy if they have a bias to the left or right, as long as there are multiple outlets and they go into depth to make their cases. We are not well-served by media conglomeration.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
DES wrote:
We are talking about kids in a high school level environment that have not managed to grasp basic educational concepts! Is this the citizens fault? The teachers have tenure - it is next to impossible to fire them to put GOOD teachers in place.

If problems in public institutions are not the responsibility of the citizens, then who is responsible?


Ideally that would be great - have the citizens control who is hired and fired. It isn't real practical because of the enormity of doing this. Can you imagine having everyone in a township vote on whether to suspend a teacher? That is what the school board is "supposed" to be doing. The problem in Jersey though is that if you try to remove a teacher for incompetence, the Union steps in to protect the teacher and it becomes a very costly fight. A lot of times - probably what happened in one of your experiences - the teacher is put in an administrative job. Well, what position is it - is it something that requires a teacher or is it just to keep the teacher employed and to placate the Union? Could that position have been filled by someone with fewer skills/training at a lower cost to the township? It still doesn't rid the system of a bad teacher and a bad investment on the part of the citizens.

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I am norwegian so I tend to agree with you.

Elektro80 - do you have teachers unions in Norway? What does your country do if there is a poor teacher in the system?
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