A big thank you to all our participants. After two days of cleansing, spleen-venting, freeform comments, today the monopoly reasserts itself and you get to answer my questions. In keeping with our liberal, touchy-feely, soft-bias-of-low-expectations mission, you may answer as many or as few as you like, and there'll be no self-esteem-damaging "grading" or "labeling". But do try to color within the lines:
1. What is the purpose of public education? a) exposure of students to the widest possible variety of learning and instilling lifelong habits; b) achieving student competence in "core" subjects; c) identifying student aptitude; d) gearing students towards the current job market; e) providing comfy slots for low-SAT scoring college students.
2. Tying teacher "merit" raises, or job retention, to standardized testing should include: a) simple comparison of raw test scores; b) only improvement over baseline scores; c) comparison to national averages adjusted for socio-economic factors, class size, and per-student spending; d) giving teachers the right to fire underperforming students.
3. Vouchers: a) are a union-busting canard; b) are a wealth-redistribution system akin to Lotto; c) amount to taxing individuals without school-aged children without representation when used to send children to private schools or outside their district; d) should be prorated to the amount the parent pays for his own student, not the full per-pupil cost; e) are peachy.
4. The "single manager" principal system: a) will introduce accountability into the public schools; b) will result in petty-tyrant bean counters following the safest possible course; c) will replace the collective wisdom of specialists in various subjects with the careerist decisions of a desk jockey; d) should do wonders for domestic bullhorn sales.
5. Art, music, athletics, and vocational training: a) should be maintained as full partners in the educational process; b) should be eliminated and left to the private sector; c) should be paid for by a tax on museums, CDs, and professional sports.
6) The high relative performance of US fourth graders on international tests suggests: a) comprehensive public education in the US works well but we need to understand the reasons scores fall off by age 15: b) our primary teachers aren't unionized; c) there must be some hidden competition in elementary schools the Liberal Media won't tell us about: d) now would be a good time for a clip from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
1) The period during which an IPS teacher can be dismissed for incompetence is: a) his first six months; b) his first year; c) his first two years; d) never, without a union-mandated flow chart as long as your arm.
2) The period after which an IPS teacher has tenure is: a) three years; b) five years; c) dependent on the subject; e) no tenure.
3) I choose a barber or hairdresser based on: a) his algebra scores; b) his grammar; c) whether he makes my hair look the way I want; d) trade union affiliation.
Thanks again. There's apple juice and healthy snacks in the lobby.