The Instigator
tttcomrader
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
bigdave
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Federal standardization of K-12 education system is more beneficial than privatization/voucher

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,906 times Debate No: 54981
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (0)

 

tttcomrader

Pro

Debate Structure:

Round 1: Acceptance (No arguments)
Round 2: Opening statements (No rebuttals)
Round 3: Arguments and Rebuttals
Round 4: Final Refutations and closing statements (No new arguments)

Burden of Proof:

BoP is on Pro, who has to prove that a federally standardized K-12 school system in terms of learning objective and fundings will yield better education outcome than one that is privatized and/or with a school voucher system in the United States.

All Con has to do is to disprove Pro.

Definition:

K-12 school system - primary and secondary education

Federally standardized education - centralized and standardized school system in terms of funding and learning objective by the federal government.

Privatization- to transfer from public or government control or ownership to private enterprise.

School voucher system - a certificate of funding issued by the government, which the parents of a schoolchild have control of and are able to direct towards the public or private school of their own choosing to fully or partially pay for the tuition of their child at that school for that year, term or semester.
bigdave

Con

I accept this debate. The terms of the debate could have been changed prior to this time . However as the debate has been accepted, the terms may no longer be edited.

BOP is on Pro to "prove that a federally standardized K-12 school system in terms of learning objective and fundings will yield better education outcome than one that is privatized and/or with a school voucher system in the United States. ( Pro's quote}.

BOP is NOT on Con. Com need not disprove Pro unless Pro sets forth a worthy argument.

GOTO round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
tttcomrader

Pro

Introduction:

First, I believe both I and my opponent (in fact, most of our voters) accept that K-12 education in the United States is broken and have failed to empower our future generations to be competitive in the global economy. The latest result from PISA showed the United States ranked number 30th in mathematics, 20th in reading, and 23rd in science. [1] US companies are not only outsource manufacturing jobs to third world nations, but they are also insourcing high skilled technical workers such as engineers and statisticians; [2] more disturbingly, STEM graduate programs in the US are also dependent on prospective students from oversea, with foreign students making up the majority of enrollments according to a study from NFAP. [3] During my time as a graduate student in Mathematics, I can attest that the majority of the faculties and students received their primary and secondary education from oversea, with products of US K-12 education system constitute less than 10% of the department. Simply put, students graduated from our grade schools are no longer the most attractive prospect nor most academically prepared individuals in comparison to their global competitors. I argue that the problem plaguing our K-12 system can be more effectively dealt with by federal standardization on primary and secondary schools in the US, and will yield better educational outcome than privatization or the school voucher system.

Argument:

1. Uneven funding for K-12 schools – about half of the funding for primary and secondary education in the US is provided through local taxes, creating huge gaps between wealthy and impoverished communities. The differences exist not only among states, among school districts within each state, but even among schools within certain districts.

Here is an example comparing the state of Vermont and Arizona: [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]

State

Spending

Per

Pupil

Cost of Living Index

Median Household Income

H.S. Graduation Rate

Bachelor’s Degree %

Ranking by Alec

Vermont

$15,925

120.7

$55,808

91%

33.1%

2

Arizona

$7,666

101.9

$48,689

80.6%

29.9%

36

While the median household income of Vermont is 14.6% higher than that of Arizona, yet spending per pupil is 107.7% higher! Education outcome are also miles ahead of Arizona’s.

Here is an example comparing the Palo Alto school district and Lynwood school district, both from the state of California: [9], [10], [11], [12], [13]

State

Spending

Per

Pupil

Average Teachers’ Salary

# of Enrollment

# of Teachers

Teacher to Student Ratio

Rank Index

Palo Alto

$13,159

$87,271

12,286

706

1 : 17.4

0.963

Lynwood

$9,330

$50,200

15,515

595

1 : 26.1

0.296

As you can see, two school districts from the same state can have much different school conditions due to the disparity in funding. Teachers from Lynwood school districts are underpaid, overworked, leading to a much lower education quality than that of Palo Alto school district, which outspend Lynwood by 41%.

The solution is to standardize school resource based on the number of pupil and adjusted by cost of living in order to achieve adequate and equitable funding. In the absence of that, school districts with less revenue cannot compete for credentialed teachers, possess less access to textbooks and other instructional materials, and obtain fewer necessaries such as libraries, counselors, building modernization, AP courses, etc.

But does that mean the wealthier school districts fare better? Perhaps within the United States but certainly not in the global market. By depriving less privileged students of education opportunities, our country has effectively prevented them from competing with the “richer” students fairly. That leads to a lack of competition for students, creates complacency and a sense of elitism/entitlement among the ranks of the students from well-to-do districts; until they have to compete against foreign students/workers from nations that embrace the right-to-education (i.e. Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Japan…), where students from across all levels of economic status have the tools to compete against each other on a leveled-playfield.

Furthermore, the unequal access to education on the basis of economic status also lead to a boarder issue – wealthier families tend to have more access to our lawmakers thanks to lobbyists and political campaign donations, result in less effective changes in educational policy since poor school districts with deeper issues are not being heard.

There is absolutely no rational reason to assume privatization or school voucher system can provide a more effectively remedy to this problem. If anything, privatization will exaggerated the problem with school funding as the richer families will then contribute even more than the poor in their children’s education. Meanwhile, school voucher system on its own would not solve the problem of unequal funding among school districts unless the general funding for each student voucher is standardized by federal standard.

2. Non-uniformed learning objectives in K-12 – learning objective of primary and secondary education, much like school funding, varies among different educational entities. For example, the learning objective of algebra in Maryland states that a student must learned how to represent a system of linear equations as a single matrix form in a vector variable [14]; while in Texas, a student will only need to learn how to multiply matrices. [15] As a math professor, it is extremely frustrating to teach a class of students with different knowledge level despite the fact that they all completed the same course from their own state. And yes, in a college level course, especially in larger universities, student body tends to be made up by people from across different states.

Federal standardization of learning objectives thus is needed to ensure each student is equipped to tackle the next level of courses. The quality of post-secondary education is affected by just a hand-full of students from state with poor standards, which leads to the same conclusion as argument (1), where students from certain areas have an unfair disadvantage.

And once again, privatization/voucher system will not provide more effective solution to this problem; private schools are, by definition, not regulated by the government, which means the gap of learning objectives will be even wider than the current system.

Note: In order to disprove my argument, Con must provide enough reasons and/or evidence to either debunk my claim that general funding and learning objectives are negatively impacting K-12 education in the US, or argues that privatization/voucher system can solve the previous mentioned problems more effectively than federal standardization.

Thank you to my opponent and voters, and I am looking forward to my opponent’s response!

Sources:

[1] http://www.npr.org...

[2] http://www.businessinsider.com...

[3] http://www.insidehighered.com...

[4] http://www.governing.com...

[5] http://www.missourieconomy.org...

[6] http://www.alec.org...

[7] http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org...

[8] http://www.census.gov...

[9] http://pausd.org...

[10] http://ballotpedia.org...

[11] http://justschools.gseis.ucla.edu...

[12] http://www.schooldigger.com...

[13] http://www.careerbliss.com...

[14] http://www.corestandards.org...

[15] http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us...

bigdave

Con

Pro and I both agree that the educational system is broken. We disagree however on the causes of the breakdown, We therefore will probably disagree on the solutions as well.

Pro is calling for federal standardization of education in lieu of privatization and / or vouchers. Pro states this standardization will "yield {a} better educational outcome".

Con is stating that equalizing the funding will produce a "race toward mediocrity" and send America back to the pre Sputnik era of Joe McCarthy.

Con will show that the idea of "throwing money at a problem" is outdated and outmoded.

Con is stating that the educational system is failing not for not lack of "equality" or "funding" but rather from a lack of purpose.

Con will show that PISA and TIMSS results are not relevant measures of national academic success.

Con will then demonstrate that a system of competition such as privatization or vouchers will "shake the rooftops " of a stagnant system. Some ideas will need to be abandoned and some child may get left behind.

GOTO round 3
Debate Round No. 2
tttcomrader

Pro

I thank Confor the response and I hope to read more of his elaboration regarding his
contention points in the next round.

Since both Con and I agree that oureducation system is broken, the outcome of this debate is therefore dependenton which side can make a more convincing case to support our claims regarding the sources of problem in K-12.


Let me first state that since Con has already accepted that oureducation system is broken, the results from PISA and TIMSS are thus not a relevant point of contention, as they were put forth to support the mentioned claim. Unless Con is making a claim that United States’s K-12 education is superior to those of all other developed nations in the world. In which case it would actually undermine the claim that our education system is broken.

Refutation of Con’s contentions:
Contention 1Con states that ‘equalizing the funding will produce a “race toward mediocrity” and send America back to pre Sputnik era of Joe McCarthy’.

Refutation – First I would like to remind Con that my ideal solution for K-12 general funding is equitable funding of all primary and secondary schools on the basis of number of pupils and adjusted by cost of living. Second, while we have not yet heard Con’s elaboration of what he meant by “race toward mediocrity”, I would like to reaffirm our voters the harms of inequitable school funding.

While our need for education is a necessity and thus not subjected to the supply and demand market model (in other words, each one of us require education in order to be a functioning part of our economy, therefore we will seek to be educated regardless of the cost – effectively creating an inelastic demand), the process of hiring faculty and staff members for K-12 schools certainly falls down economic laws. A school with an advantage in funding naturally has more spending power, which means, in a free market, that school can also afford to hire teachers with more experience and superior education, thus providing higher teaching quality for students in said school than those that are deprived of funding unfairly. That is especially true given the fact that we live in a society where many of our educated workers have to relocate from state to state to find suitable employments, and most of them incurred sizable student loans during their pursuit of college degrees. It is unlikely that a bachelor’s degree holder in mathematics with $50,000 student loans debt to accept a teaching position in a rural K-12 school that offer a salary of under $30,000. Underfunded schools likely have to contend with teachers with less qualifications, experience, and motivation. In some cases, school failed to attract enough faculties to teach their STEM classes and have to fill the vacancy with teachers holding degrees from a different academic field, or worse yet, with VCR tapes. [1] Furthermore, underfunded schools also lack an adequate teacher support system such as libraries, teacher assistants, counselors, security guards… Effectively creating a disadvantage learning environment for less-privileged students and fail to empower them to compete against students from richer schools fairly, resulting in complacency and entitlement for those are more privileged.


Therefore, I argue that an inequitable funding model actually create what Con has quoted a “ race towards mediocrity”, simply because the students from richer school districts can outperform those from poorer school districts without having to work hard to compete, they can afford to be mediocre and still have the upper hand in an unfair competition. Think of it as having a football league with only two teams with vastly superior amount of resources, they can afford the best players, the best coach, the best training facilities at the expense of the rest of teams, do you believe that will produce the best champion? The answer is no according to economic laws, because competition can drive up the productions.

Contention 2: Con states that ‘“throwing money at a problem” is outdated and outmoded’.

Refutation – this contention is irrelevant to my argument points, I have never called for higher spending in our K-12 education system; I’m merely arguing for more equity in the way we distribute general funding in K-12. In fact, some school districts will experience less spending as a result.


Contention 3: Con states that ‘the educational system is failing not for the lack of “equality” or “funding” but rather from a lack of purpose.’



Refutation – I will have to wait for Con’s elaboration on exactly what he meant by “a lack of purpose”.
Nevertheless, Con will have to debunk my claims that inequitable funding for K-12 schools is not harmful to the education outcome of the system.



Contention 4: Con states that ‘a system of competition such as privatization or vouchers will “shake
the rooftops” of a stagnant system.

Refutation – There are a number of flaws in claiming that privatization or voucher system will enhance education outcome in the United States.


a) Privatization will deepen the problem of unequitable funding for K-12 schools - since privatization will allow the more privileged families to spend more money into their children’s education. Voucher system won’t do much to solve the problem, since the money coming from voucher system will still be coming from local school districts in the absence of federal standardization.

b) Privatization and voucher system do not necessary increase school choices – most students in K-12 rely on the school bus system due to the lack of public transportation system; especially in more remote areas. It is a lot more expensive and perhaps outright unfeasible for each school to provide means of transportation for every child who wish to attend there. And if the family is made responsible to provide their own transportation, then the number of school choices are severely limited as better schools are usually located in wealthier neighborhood due to inequitable funding, and the poor will have more difficulties in attending due to lack of personnel vehicle, lack of public transit, unreasonable length of travel time to school, etc. Besides, the implementation of school voucher system doesn’t mean that a student can now choose to attend a school that is not in his/her school districts, which still suffers from the inequitable funding issue.

Also, Con has not state any alternative to remedy the problem of uneven learning objectives, and I will remind our voters that neither privatization nor school voucher will solve this issue; as per my round 1 argument, privatization will likely increase this problem due to the lack of regulation. So I’m hoping to read more of Con’s contention to my claim of this problem in future rounds.

On a final note, I found Con’s statement of “Some ideas will need to be abandoned and some child may get left behind” interesting; while I agree with this statement, I disagree on the exactly which ideas to be abandoned and how a child may get left behind. Should a child be left behind because he/she is born into an economically-deprived household and attending an underfunded school? Or should a child be left behind based on his/her own (or lack thereof) merits in hard work, intelligence, and talent?

I recall that once I heard, from the movie “Gettysburg”, that Colonel Chamberlain said that America is based upon the idea that “here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was”. If you accept that, as I do, I urge you to vote for Pro.

[1] http://tntp.org...

bigdave

Con

Pro's position, as stated by Pro, is that federally standardized funding will yield better education outcome than will privatization or a voucher system.

Pro then cites PISA results that show the USA being below par when compared to other countries. Pro then posits the solution to be standard funding and standard objectives,

Allow us to look at funding. I would agree with Pro if the facts showed education to be under funded in the US. However the facts show that the US funds the educational system at a level far in excess of most other countries. According to a report from the University of Southern California, the USA spends five times more on education than does the next highest country, [8] . On a per capita basis, we are spending more than $2,000 more per student than does the next highest country [9]. While the US spent about $8,000 per student ( in 2009 ) we were bested in math by Russia ($1,850 per student) and by Japan in science ( $3,756 per student). [10],[11].

From Bloomberg Businessweek....."The [PISA] tests also confirm that throwing money at the problem isn"t the solution. The U.S. spends more money per capita"when federal, state and local funding are added up"than most other countries. That doesn"t translate into better performance." [1]

Additionally Pro admits that uniform funding will lower funding in some schools and send those funds elsewhere to bring equity to lower funded schools. While that may reduce the RELATIVE gap between high and low funding, it does not address the ABSOLUTE goal of raising educational outcome. Transferring funds from highly funded systems , which Pro has already cited as better performing systems. would by Pro's measure send these systems toward the average ( average funding equals average performance). This is what Con means by a race to mediocrity.

Would privatization and / or vouchers do better? The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that for 4th grade students "The average private school mean reading score was 14.7 points higher than the average public school mean reading score" [2] "The average private school mean mathematics score was 7.8 points higher than the average public school mean mathematics score [3]

For 8th grade students "The average private school mean reading score was 18.1 points higher than the average public school mean reading score," [4] . "The average private school mean mathematics score was 12.3 points higher than the average public school mean mathematics score" [5]

Private schools have smaller student to teacher ratios. From the National Center for Education Statistics ...."As reported by teachers in 2007"08, among public school teachers of self-contained classes in elementary schools, the average class size was 20.3 students per class. Among private school teachers of self-contained classes in elementary schools, the average class size was 18.1 students per class." [6]

So privatization may lead to higher performance.

Additionally a system needs focus, which public schools have lost. The emphasis on education caused by Sputnik was short lived. From NPR...." But that burst of enthusiasm was overtaken by new demands. Educators became preoccupied with the effort to expand access to education during the civil rights era. More recently, the No Child Left Behind Act has focused on reading and basic math, not on science. Many educators feel that the U.S. is again losing its science lead to countries like Korea and Italy, where more advanced degrees are awarded. Stanford's Atkins says that science education needs a slow, steady approach rather than another short-lived boomlet. [7]

"At a hearing early this year, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) said that the way forward lies in the past. "We did it after the Sputnik launch, when we trained a new generation of Americans in math and science. And we inspired millions more to greater and greater innovation when President Kennedy challenged us to send a man to the moon," Kennedy said." [7]

And further , states Jean McLaughlin, president of Barry University "The public schools lack focus; instead of concentrating on education, they dabble in social re-engineering". That assessment was confirmed by the superintendent of the country's fourth largest school district in Miami-Dade, Florida who said "Half our job is education, and the other half is social work".[12]

Is the solution something that will come from a central planning form of federal intrusion? "The federal government has conspired with Big Education to cram a totally untested set of mandates down the throats of teachers and parents. Common Core, which morphs into other names as opposition rises, seeks to impose a "one size fits all" nationwide disaster. Book publishers and testing companies developed a slick marketing campaign to sell the scheme, and sell billions of dollars of totally revised books and tests. Contents of the dumbed-down curriculum horrify those who have actually studied the changes in detail. Question: When you are dead last, why not FOLLOW what is working in 8 Pacific Rim countries who consistently score at the top, instead of trusting Washington, DC to divine where the untested bleeding edge of education ought to be? " [13]

Thus it is shown that equality of funding, while it might be popular, will NOT fix the educational system.

Further Con has shown that equalizing the funding will produce a "race toward mediocrity" . Con has also shown that the idea of "throwing money at a problem" is outdated and outmoded. Con has shown that the educational system is failing not for not lack of "equality" or "funding" but rather from a lack of purpose. And finally Con has demonstrated that a system of competition such as privatization or vouchers will produce an improvement in educational achievement.

[1] http://www.businessweek.com...
[2] http://ces.ed.gov...
[3] http://ces.ed.gov...
[4] http://ces.ed.gov...
[5] http://ces.ed.gov...
[6] http://nces.ed.gov...
[7]http://www.npr.org...
[8] http://rossieronline.usc.edu...
[9]http://rossieronline.usc.edu...
[10]http://rossieronline.usc.edu...
[11]http://rossieronline.usc.edu...
[12] http://4brevard.com...
[13] http://4brevard.com...

GOTO round 4
Debate Round No. 3
tttcomrader

Pro

Contention 1: Con: “I would agree with Pro if the facts showed education to be under funded in the US”.

Refutation 1.a: Con has not addressed the problem of unequitable funding in our K-12 school system; he has merely argued that the spending per capital out of all students between the age of 6 and 23 is higher than those of other nations (as cited by the appendix section of Con’s source [1] ), which compose of students in higher education; as this debate is regarding spending in K-12 education system, Con’s contention has no standing in this debate.

In addition, nations such as Finland, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, which are all ahead of the US in terms of K-12 educational outcomes as measured by methods provided by both Pro [2] and Con [3] in the previous rounds, all have adopted a centralized funding system in which general K-12 funding is equitable – the amount of funding received by each school is based upon the number of attending pupils, not based upon the amount of tax revenue raised in that particular region. [4], [5], [6], [7].

Refutation 1.b: Even though Con was unable to provide accurate data comparing spending in primary and secondary schools per pupil between the US and other nations with higher educational outcomes, I argue that even if there were sufficient evidence to show that the US spends more money in K-12 education than others, the financial data is unreliable and meaningless since in the US, unlike other developed nations, K-12 spending includes extra costs in school breakfast/lunch, school bus transportation system, and healthcare for faculty/staff.

Nations with higher educational outcomes than the US, such as Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Euro Zone, and Canada, have implemented a fully functional public transportation system and single-payer universal healthcare system, thus lowering spending for primary and secondary education. To elaborate, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the expenditures for transportation is over $21 billion for the school year of 2009-2010 [8] ; meanwhile, from a study provided by EducationNext, teachers’ healthcare benefit increased the cost of K-12 education by roughly $31 billion. [9] Finally, food services added another $19.9 billion to the total cost.

But regardless, my point is not to show that the US spends less than other developed nations in education; rather, my point is that the funding problem with our K-12 education system is not how much we spend overall, but how equitably we spend per pupil.

Contention 2: Con: “throwing money at the problem isnt the solution”

Refutation 2: Con’s contention is constructed upon the assumption that “US funds the educational system at a level far in excess of most other countries”; now, even if this assumption is true, as I explained in Refutation 1.a, the unequitable funding for K-12 in the US deprived a number of individual schools to provide adequate educational resources for their students. I am not advocating blindly increasing school funding everywhere indiscriminately, I’m simply arguing for a more equitable way to distribute those funds to help economically deprived schools to maintain a reasonable standard.

Contention 3: Con: “Transferring funds from highly funded systems (to economically deprived school districts), which Pro has already cited as better performing systems, would… send these system toward the average.

Refutation 3: Again, Con falsely assume that I argue higher funding must produce higher educational outcome; that is not at all what I am saying. I agree that increasing the funding of an already adequately funded school will not necessary produce better educational outcome due to the law of diminishing marginal returns. However, the law does not apply to schools with inadequate funding. What I am arguing is that schools with equitable and adequate funding can properly compete for essential personnel and maintain necessary facilities.

A good example highlight this problem is the rural K-12 school districts along I-95 in South Carolina, the so-called “Corridor of Shame”. They are located in area with much lower property values, resulted the severe lack of funding and educational resources, these included: [10]

  • Teachers from these districts comprise only 2.0% of the state’s teaching force but hold 11.4% of substandard certificates or out-of-field permits.
  • Teacher salaries range from $3,000 to $12,000 less than neighboring wealthier districts.
  • Teacher turnover rates are the highest in the state.
  • In one such district, Hampton School District 2, almost 40% of its teachers have less than five years’ experience.
  • 25% of the teachers in these district leave every year.
  • These districts lack basic materials such as current textbooks, computers, calculators, and pencil sharpeners.
  • Poorly stocked libraries, some books date to the 19th century.

The resulting consequences are that these 36 elementary, middle, and high schools consistently ranks “below average” and “unsatisfactory” among the state’s 85 school districts in academic performance. Language and math scores in these schools are routinely the lowest in the state. Between 50% and 60% of the 8th grade students scored below Basic, Proficient, or Advanced levels on the state “PACT” tests. High school graduate rates in these districts range from 32% to 48%, all below the state average. [10]

Better yet, here a video:

https://www.youtube.com...

Besides, better funded schools are suffering from complacency and entitlement due to the lack of competition from the under-funded schools; they may be better performing, but are pale in comparison to schools from other developed nations. Again, I argue that inequitable funding actually result in a race to mediocrity.

Furthermore, my opponent totally ignored my argument regarding the lack of competition among different school districts due to unequitable funding.

Contention 4: Con: “privatization may lead to higher performance”.

Refutation 4: Con states that the private schools has better mean reading/math scores and smaller student to teacher ratios, even if those statistics are true (I cannot verify due to those links being broken), they are completely irrelevant to my argument. Students attending private schools, since there are tuition fees, are likely from a more privileged family with more educated and wealthier parents, who can provide more additional educational support to the students in terms of hired tutor, supplemental learning materials, and a generally more accommodating/forgiving education environment. Of course, similar disparity in family background will still exist regardless of the type of education system, but I argue that public schools, with adequate sources, can create a learning environment to foster student success. Student-to-teacher ratio is directly related to school funding, Con will have to show that private schools can somehow achieve lower ratio with less spending per pupil than public schools, after taken the extra spending in food services, school bus transportation system, and healthcare services into consideration, as I explained in Refutation 1.b.

Furthermore, Con totally ignored my argument points in Round 2, Refutations 4.a and 4.b, which argues that privatization will deepen the problem of unequitable funding and limited school choices due to lack of public transportation.

Contention 5: Con: ‘Common Core… seeks to impose a “one size fits all” nationwide disaster.’

Refutation 5: Common Core is irrelevant to my argument. I'm not arguing for a, as what Con called, “Contents of the dumbed-down curriculum” styled national curriculum. I am arguing for a reasonable set of learning objectives that a student will “know, understand, and do” upon the completion of a particular school year. I am not arguing that the government should mandate on how the teacher should educate the students, I am arguing for what each student should be able to perform academically.

Contention 6: Con: ‘a system needs focus… the educational system is failing not for not lack of “equality” or “funding” but rather from a lack of purpose’

Refutation 6: I argue that the lack of focus/purpose is attributed by the fact that our public schools lack the necessary resources and standard to become accountable. Once again I must stress that I am not an advocate of federal campaign such as “No Child Left Behind”, it is a short term formula that calculate the amount of federal funding to be spent on a state’s K-12 schools based upon a set of standards (test score, quality of teachers, curriculum, etc.) that are designed, implemented, and measured by the states themselves – blindly throwing money at the problem without any accountabilities, in fact, states has incentives to dumb-down the standards (as to water-downed learning objectives and poorly defined the term “highly-qualified teachers”) in order to not penalize their schools. I argue for a minimum standard of what a student should academically perform upon the end of a particular school year (individual schools are free to add any extra learning objectives as they wish) – school administers are to be hold accountable in meeting those learning objectives, but that is only feasible provided that each schools have enough resource to maintain a reasonable faculty, staff, and other essential educational resources.

Furthermore, my opponent totally ignored my argument regarding the difficulties in teaching a college course attended by students who completed the same course and yet with different level of relevant knowledge due to the lack of standardized learning objectives.

Conclusion:

This is not just a debate between I and Mr. bigdave, this is a debate regarding the future of this country. If you agree that every child should have a fair chance in our economy, I urge you to vote for Pro!



bigdave

Con

Let us accept Pro's contention that sending funds to under funded systems would raise their performance. The corollary must therefore also be true that taking funds away from "over funded" systems must lower their performance (and while Pro stated his opinion that the wealthy could afford a loss in funds with minimal loss in education, he offered no data - just opinion) . Since Pro is not calling for an increase in funding but rather for redistribution of current funds, the following must by necessity occur:

***** if all schools are performing across the board represented by grades F D C B A, and we redistribute funds from A and give those funds to F the result would be (according to Pro) that the systems would end thus ..... D D C B B ( because the funds raised F to D, but at the same time lowered A to B).

********* Now allow the process to continue so funds from B and B go then to D and D. The result would be both D and D raise to C and C, while B and B fall to C and C. In the end the 5 systems are C C C C C. Granted this may not occur right away, but in time this would be the necessary outcome - everyone with average funding performs at an average level.

********** This is the race toward mediocrity as presaged by Con. It could also be taken as a race to the bottom!

Note too that Pro has used PISA to show under performance in US schools. But if we take the example above we see that US PISA scores would go unchanged, as the bottom may come up only as the top comes down. The PISA scores would be unchanged. The redistribution of educational funds becomes than a ZERO SUM GAME,

Pro's argument that " nations such as Finland, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, which are all ahead of the US in terms of K-12 educational outcomes......all have adopted a centralized funding system" ignores a basic difference between those countries and the US. Those countries have much more homogeneous demographics than does the US. A "one size fits all" program would be much more successful under those populations where the make up is much less diverse than it is in the US.

Con still puts forth the idea that what is needed is a purpose, a goal, a focus for education. Sputnik led to the race toward the Moon, which put renewed interest in science and math.. As the space race slowed, the US picked up a vision for environmental progress with the resultant need for engineers and chemists. What is needed now is a new vision that produces a need in the students to move up and learn. Perhaps the vision will be an emphasis on energy or food production. This will raise the educational outcome one student at a time, each finding their own way, free from the bureaucratic burdens of yet another social program.

Programs for redistribution, be it wealth or education will always produce mediocrity. "You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich." " Abraham Lincoln [1]

Conclusion:

In this debate between tttcomrader and I, one needs to consider the effect that either plan would have on the future of this country. If you agree that absolute educational performance is more important relativistic fairness or relativistic equity, and that schools should be a locally controlled place of learning and not a place of social engineering experiments, I urge you to vote for Con.

[1] http://investmentwatchblog.com...

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Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tttcomrader 2 years ago
tttcomrader
I honesty don't think he disagree with me so much...

Oh well, no one read our debate anyway... People tend to care more about gay marriage and drone planes than education.
Posted by bigdave 2 years ago
bigdave
Why not have tttcomrader debate Oromagi ?
Posted by tttcomrader 2 years ago
tttcomrader
Points taken.

As an educator, I find that the most difficult task is to explain things to others who have yet had a grasp onto the subject. So when I present my arguments I sometimes falsely assumed what they have already know. The problem for me is how can I convince someone who have no idea about K-12 teaching on how to fund it. My argument is really just to change the direction of our K-12 funding policy to provide equitable funding and not on how we are suppose to do it (as there are many different type of schemes adapted by different nations, for example, Finland redistribute 40% of the taxes from richer school districts to poorer ones), and in my vision private schools would remain the way it is; it will be a mixed mode, my point is to improve K-12 education outcome on a board base by facilitating competitions among students from different economic status.

As for commenting during the voting phase, I honesty just want people to hear me out. Too many people have used the non-homogeneous argument against the case for public education and since my opponent never gave me a chance to address it in the proper debate, I did not want that to go unanswered.

To be honest, I am unaware that it is inappropriate to comment after the debate; it wasn't a debate rule and no one has purposed it. Voters are allowed to make up their mind and not consider our comments, and if I lose a conduct point then so be it; I'm suppose to be going for the argument points anyway.

Oh well, if Mr. bigdave would like to accept another debate with a refined topic, I am all for it!
Posted by Oromagi 2 years ago
Oromagi
I think this debate should be re-instigated with a much tighter resolution. I understand that Pro thinks that education tax dollars should be spread out equitably, but Pro never explicates whether his tax base includes all private school spending (de-privatization, essentially), the general status quo which is to tax private school families, or excludes all private school spending (general use of vouchers). Is pro advocating for a federal standard that supersedes private schools or one that includes private schools? Half of Pro's argument is that equitable funding will improve public schools beyond the advantages of private school, but we are never told whether that base tax fund comes from 100% of taxable incomes or from the 90% of taxable incomes that employ public schools but only possess 15% of taxable wealth. Con presumes that Pro wants a federal program in lieu of any private schools, but Pro never presents that idea and his examples all seem to include some mix of public/private. Con argues instead for private in lieu of current public system, which does not necessarily refute increased federal standardization. Each argument talks past the other without ever agreeing on a thesis. I won't award any points in this debate even though I would like to vote against Con's abominable use of sources. As instigator, Pro has the greater responsibility to keep the debate on resolution, so it would not be fair to only deduct points on Con. I have ignored all arguments made in comments, but I would reinforce bigdave's complaints and caution ttcomrader that he could lose future debates exclusively based on such conduct.
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
You are welcome for my accepting the debate, I noticed that no where was it specified that the debate would be in English, yet we both accepted the common practice of using English. Other common practices would include not commenting during the voting period.

I urge voters to not consider the debaters comments until after the voting phase closes. The vote is to be on the debate itself.

Thanks to Pro for the debate, and I too wish Pro much luck in the future.
Posted by tttcomrader 3 years ago
tttcomrader
Thank you for accepting the debate and I wish you good luck in the future!
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
Allow me to reiterate...YET AGAIN ....FOR WHAT IS HOPEFULLY THE FINAL TIME ....IT IS HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE FOR DEBATERS TO COMMENT DURING THE VOTING PHASE. Since Pro has initiated such commenting , Con by the concept of equity must therefore respond.

No new argument was presented in Con's round 4. Note in round 2 Con stated "that equalizing the funding will produce a "race toward mediocrity" Then in round 3 Con states "Additionally Pro admits that uniform funding will lower funding in some schools and send those funds elsewhere to bring equity to lower funded schools. While that may reduce the RELATIVE gap between high and low funding, it does not address the ABSOLUTE goal of raising educational outcome. Transferring funds from highly funded systems , which Pro has already cited as better performing systems. would by Pro's measure send these systems toward the average ( average funding equals average performance). This is what Con means by a race to mediocrity."

Now in round 4 Pro makes an entirely new argument thus "A good example highlight [SIC] this problem is the rural K-12 school districts along I-95 in South Carolina, the so-called "Corridor of Shame". They are located in area with much lower property values, resulted [SIC] the severe lack of funding and educational resources, these included: " Nowhere earlier did Pro mention this "Corridor"

Conversely Con in round 4 merely Illustrated an old argument from rounds 2 and 3.

Pro's EX POST FACTO comment has no standing.

Now, Is it over Pro? Or does Pro have JUST ONE MORE COMMENT ( WHICH IS BY THE NATURE OF THESE DEBATES, HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE)?
Posted by tttcomrader 3 years ago
tttcomrader
IT IS HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE AND AGAINST THE DEBATE RULES SET IN ROUND 1 FOR CON TO PRESENT NEW ARGUMENTS IN THE FINAL ROUND AS IT DOES NOT OFFER THE CHANCE FOR PRO TO ADDRESS IT; ESPECIALLY WHEN PRO HAS ALREADY STATED THE DISPUTED ARGUMENT IN ROUND 2, AND CON FAILED TO ADDRESS IT IN EITHER ROUND 2 NOR 3.

NO WHERE IN THE DEBATE RULE DID IT STATE THAT DEBATERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COMMENT IN THE VOTING PHRASE, NOR DID CON SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED IT.

I'm merely wishing you good luck and expressing my appreciation for your acceptance of this debate...
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
Allow me to reiterate...YET AGAIN ....FOR WHAT IS HOPEFULLY THE FINAL TIME ....IT IS HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE FOR DEBATERS TO COMMENT DURING THE VOTING PHASE. Since Pro has initiated such commenting , Con by the concept of equity must therefore respond.

Hopefully, this line of EX POST FACTO commenting is over. Is it over Pro? Or does Pro have JUST ONE MORE COMMENT ( WHICH IS BY THE NATURE OF THESE DEBATES, HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE)?
Posted by tttcomrader 3 years ago
tttcomrader
Nope, we will allow the voters to make up their mind on who is more convincing in their arguments.

Thank you for accepting the debate and I wish you good luck in the future!
No votes have been placed for this debate.