Friday, July 14, 2006

Brian Schweitzer Speaks out on Education

From the Helena Independent Record:

"We don't care if you live in a big home with the richest parents and go to the nicest country clubs, or if you grew up on a farm and your parents didn't go to college," Schweitzer said. "We will give everybody equal opportunity to succeed."

See, this is the the attitiude more politicians should be taking. It would seem that the only time most politicians around here care about education or poor people is near election time. What does money have to do with education? Well, if your parents are rich then you are likely to do better in school and the majority of drop outs come from poorer families. Of course this is cyclic in nature; once you drop then you are likely to be poor and your children will be at risk.

One of the major problems here in Montana is that kindergarten is basically a joke. My youngest daughter starts kindergarten next year where she will spend less time per day than she did in pre school. We sent our oldest daughter to the Missoula International School (Spnish immersion) for this very reason, but almost all private schools have a scary religeous theme here in Helena. Our youngest will be in kindergarten for 2.5 hours a day. That is hardly enough time to get 5 year olds settled down, not to mention actually teach them something.

Another part of the agenda from Schweitzer and the board of education is to continue improving the education system for American Indians. While they account for only 10% of the highschool population, American Indians make up 25% of the drop outs. What's wrong with that picture? Remember, we can only be as strong as the weakest link. This is a problem that needs much additional work. I praise Scweitzer, Linda McCulloch and the others for what they have done so far. Keep up the good work.

How does Burns rate on Education? Let's see what the experts say:

National Education Association: 0%

National Association for College Admission Counseling: 17%

National Parent Teacher Association: 0%

National School Boards Association: 33%

You cant run from your record Mr Burns.


Emily said...

We must further the belief that a good education has nothing to do with wealth. A good education has to do with the will to learn. The rich will always have the advantage when it comes to ammenities, but knowledge has nothing to to with money.

I am the product of a rural farming community. I went to an affordable college and did well because I wanted to learn, and I had an interest in learning. My life has never been about learning in order to make heaps of money. I think that's where the politicians get confused.

I have worked as an English teacher in several inner city schools, and the worst things I've been exposed to are the expectations from parents that school is to provide not only discipline for the untrained, but a hunger for information, when it hasn't been instilled anyplace else.

We have to stop being intimidated by the rich - they have great advantages, and that's great! I don't want to take anything from all that they have. Rather, I want to give everyone - the rich and the poor - what doesn't require heaps of money. We must put the love of knowledge and experience ahead of tit for tat equality. Then we'll be more equal than we've ever been. How? Stop promoting making money by graduating from a fancy school and start distributing funds to give more families more dignity.

Shane C. Mason said...


I agree 100% When I interviewed for my current job, I realized that I was competing with candidates from Stanford, Cal-Poly and such. There I was with a degree from the University of Montana. I resolved that it's not where you get your education, but what you get out of your education.

Almost all of my success is due to the hunger for learning that my father ( no highschool degree ) and mother ( associates from night school ) put into me. They taught me the importance of not just asking questions, but finding the answers.

It is parents responsibility to put this fire into their kids bellies. Let's face it though, not all parents are going to do that. That's when we, as a society, ask teachers like you to perform a super human feat. If you succeed in just some cases, then each generation will have more and more parents that understand the importance of helping their own children.

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