Friday, December 19, 2014

Want to Freak Out?

Well, here you go from Freakonomics and their podcast on education.  (No, it has nothing to do with Chic and you have to be a person of a certain age to get that one.)

I have not yet listened to these podcasts - one on teacher skills, the other on a community-based project called Pathways to Education.  From Freakonomics:

The response from listeners was huge — and, often, very opinionated. It seems as though everyone had a concrete idea for the one thing that would really improve our education system.
So we’ve decided to make an episode about … what you think is the one thing that would really improve our education system. If all goes well, the episode will be made up primarily of listeners’ voices — that is, your voice.
We want you to answer the following question:
If you had to pick one thing to change about the education system where you live, what would it be? and why?
Note, that "where you live" so they are not asking for general answers.  It will be interesting to hear what listeners around the country say.

We want you to record your answer on your iPhone, Android phone (or other recording device), and e-mail us the file at Along with your answer to the question, please include your name, where you live, and what you do — student, parent, teacher, school administrator, taxpayer, etc.

Thank you to reader, Tami, for this info.


Funding said...

The one thing I'd want to change? The funding.

The current system of funding is too low and too localized. Localized creates inequities, with some schools having much lower per pupil funding than others. And too low is probably the biggest problem (the excellent Garfield public high school get by on only $5700/year per student, while many private schools spend $30,00/year per student).

Much higher federal funding for all levels of education is the one thing I would change. Maybe if we saw the strength of our economy and citizenry as a national security issue, then part of the defense budget might be available for education?

Anonymous said...

Uh. No. Garfield manages to make sure that nearly all students with disabilities get to go somewhere else. Anything greater than the Basic Education Allowance - comes from a specialized pot of money for a need that usually costs much more than what's available in the pot. That isn't a "localized" inequity, at least one that hurts Garfield.


Eric Fisk said...

Be warned that freakonomics fawned over joel klein in their last education podcast. Their mission is to see everything as a marketplace, so they are very given to blaming teachers and pushing charter schools. They believe in all competition, no community.

Funding said...

Oops, a typo, I meant $30,000. Many private schools (like Lakeside) spend over $30,000 per year per student, over five times as much as many of our public schools get. I am saying that, if the private schools require that level of funding to do a good job, it is amazing how good a job our public schools do on a fraction of that, and imagine how much better they'd be with a comparable level of funding.

Reader, that seems like a strange reaction, attacking Garfield. Are you really so obsessed with fighting over scraps here in Seattle's public schools that you can't support someone calling for more public education funding? What do you think we should do to improve education?

Jet City mom said...

My child who had an IEP found opportunities at Garfield, we didn't find in other schools.
The other high schools we considered, wanted students to be at grade level at least in everything before taking an advanced level course.
Garfield allowed students to have support in courses where they struggled, but honors/AP in courses where they were strong.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, I knew that about Freakonomics and am hoping that voices of reality might be heard.

Anonymous said...

Please quit asking for more money, ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR is more than enough unless you have a BLOATED administration like SPS, the longer they work there the more pension we are on the hook for, it's those pensions that will eventually place the whole system in to bankruptcy.


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