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October 24, 2008

The Socialist Utopia Through Education

This just slays me. Jefferson County, the county in which I reside, is currently proposing a massive mill levy (tax increase) for the schools. Now, keep in mind that my daughter's elementary school principal makes over $96,000 a year. I pay several thousand dollars a year in property taxes already. So I'm not overly inclined to pay more. So, I just voted "No" on the tax increase and went on.

But my fishing buddy clued me in that a prankster slipped the following sarcastic comments into the measure that were mailed out in the analysis of Issue 3A to every resident in Jefferson County:

"This tax increase furthers the goals of our teacher unions. It is consistent with a presidential candidate's promise for change, and hope for progress toward the Socialist utopia through education. This increase could create a pad until the oppressive TABOR measures can be repealed, and the Amendment 23 extra millions for schools be made permanent. The same criteria and logic should be applied in consideration of ballot question 3B, resulting in a resounding approval of the $754 million debt. This will add as much as $69 million to the $34 million for 3A, annually, a picayune amount considering the future of our youth and well-being of the District's employees."

The sad thing is that a government bureaucracy is probably the least effective and least efficient organization ever devised by man.

What percentage of high school students would have to rank below "proficient" in order for the school system to be shut down? If the answer is "10%", then start shutting Jeffco down. Because that's the right number. Less than 10% of the 10th graders in Jefferson County School District ranked "proficient" in math. But don't take my word for it. Look at the CSAP scores online yourself. (Select District:Jeffco and Grade/Subject:10th Grade Math.) Or download the CSAP Score Data directly from the Colorado Department of Education website as Excel Spreadsheets.

The Department of Education, in general, and the Jefferson County School District, in particular, should be shut down. The schools are accomplishing nothing. I used to work for Jefferson County School District. I should know. I'd argue that 10% of the kids could learn math on their own. The schools should be shut down tomorrow.

If, on the other hand, you don't care if your kids are learning math, then maybe you just see the schools as a fairly inexpensive secular daycare program. In that case - carry on, komrade. Spread the wealth.

Update: After downloading the excel spreadsheets and analyzing the data locally, on my own computer, instead of relying on the data I saw on the maps, the data for Math proficiency for 10th graders in Jefferson County doesn't look as abysmal as I'd originally imagined. It looks like, county wide, 40% of the students rank as proficient or better in 10th Grade/Math. So, only 60% of the 10th graders can't do any math. I stand corrected.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 24, 2008 at 11:25 AM


Maybe JeffCo's math curriculum isn't so great, but what about the wonderful job they're doing with foreign languages?

I'll wager that half of the students are fluent in Spanish before they leave high school.

Posted by: anonymous on October 24, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Actually, you probably won't be surprised to know that they're taking Spanish as a language for an easy 'A' in school. Of course, it's a win-win. Meaning, the child gets and 'A' and the school looks good because the student gets an 'A' and the fact that Spanish is their first language so they're not learning anything is just sort of ignored.

Posted by: Rob Kiser Author Profile Page on October 24, 2008 at 7:04 PM

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