Stupid in America XI

Wingard Report:
Stupid in America XI : Perverse Incentives, Sick Results

Just in the last couple of weeks, the Willamette Week has challenged the immoral policies of the Portland Public School Board.

Meanwhile The Oregonian shocked it’s liberal readership on Sunday by admitting that the OEA Emperor has no clothes. It turns out the $1 billion that is about to flow into the Oregon public school system will end up mostly in the hands of the employees and tests results won’t likely change much. Shocking. The “O” is so out of touch they actually believe the teachers’ union has been in some sort of drought until recently. Yeah like Tiger Woods.
Even former Education Secretary Rod Paige admits the single greatest impediment to raising standards in public education is the teachers’ unions. Who knew?

VIDEO: Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert gets it. Instead of raising the bar to meet No Child Left Behind standards, state’s are lowering the bar. Nice. “Soon proficiency will mean you move when poked with a stick.” –Stephen Colbert

Let’s end with a well-known joke within the homeschool community:

When my wife and I mention we are strongly considering homeschooling our children, we are without fail asked, “But what about socialization?” Fortunately, we found a way our kids can receive the same socialization that government schools provide. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie and take his lunch money. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease our children for not being in the “in” crowd, taking special care to poke fun at any physical abnormalities. Fridays will be “Fad and Peer Pressure Day.” We will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, the most expensive clothes, and the loudest, fastest, and most dangerous car. Every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hall and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality….And we have asked them to report us to the authorities in the event we mention faith, religion, or try to bring up morals and values.

  • Jerry

    I have said it before and NO ONE has ever been able to answer this question: Name one thing the OEA has EVER done that helped students.

    Can’t be done.

    Fools all. Union protections are only needed when the workers are ineffective, lazy, and bad at what they do. This pretty much sums up the teaching profession in Oregon, with a few exceptions.

    The Oregonian’s main delusion is that they still think they are relevant while their circulation plummets each and every day.

    Pouring more money into failed schools is the biggest joke ever. Nothing will happen – nothing will change – as long as the unions are in charge of the schools and the legislature.
    You have to give them credit – they have taken over without firing a shot and everyone has simply rolled over and said we surrender.
    So the union can continue to push for shorter work years (hard to imagine any job in the world shorter than the teacher’s year), shorter work days (if that is even possible), less student contact, protection for the incompetent, etc., etc.

    About half of all teachers employed in Oregon could not get jobs in the private sector if their lives depended on it. I know, I was a teacher and an administrator in Oregon for 17 years. It is that bad.
    Plus, how would they deal with actually working in June, July and August? And how would they handle not having two full weeks off at Christmas? It would be a big problem, I can assure you.

    Don’t get me wrong – there are good teachers in Oregon, but they should be paid double what they are earning now and the bad ones should be fired. That would solve a lot of our problems, but it will never happen, so Oregon education will continue to hold its place as one of the most mediocre in the nation.

    • eagle eye

      I don’t know if you were really a teacher and administrator, I have my doubts, but I can’t know for sure.

      One thing I do know: your characterization of the teachers and schools is not what I am hearing from many, many parents in Eugene. (I don’t have any connections with the schools myself at this point.) There are a few who are very dissatisfied but they are a small, small minority.

      The teachers and their spouses that I know don’t have the same view of their jobs as you do, nor people I know who’ve volunteered in the schools and seen what it’s like. Many of the teachers are burnt out and on the verge of bailing; some of them already have. Their spouses tell me how busy the teachers are at night, not how soft their hours are. I know one person who’s thinking about throwing in the towel, and she’s just finished her practice teaching!

      • Anonymous

        It was an oregon school. We were working people,our child was a student.

      • CRAWDUDE

        I think that might be one of the reasons why some of us have a lower opinion of schools than others. As the article healines, the original statement is about the mismanaged, top heavy / corrupt Portland Publis School system. If you lived here and had to read about how poorly the PPS is run and the low quality education but luxurious employee benefits they produce you might have another opinion.

        Eugene may have a fine school system that no one has a problem with. I’m in the David Douglas district and they seem to run a pretty tight ship also.

        While I’m no huge fan of the OEA or any other public employeee union my condemnation of the lack of quality education comes directly from the PPS not Oregon as a state, I don’t know enough about the entire state to make a blanket condemnation of this just because PPS bites!

        • eagle eye

          You may be right about Portland. There seems to be an awful lot of unhappiness there. There’s not so much in Eugene, as far as I can tell. There has been a move to cut back on all the alternative schools here, but that seems to have been blocked. It seems there is a lot more public school choice here, and that seems to help with public approval. The middle and upper middle class people seem to do the best here with the schools. I have heard some loud complaints from a few people mostly conservative Christians who don’t like the curriculum, don’t like the lack of discipline in their local school, don’t like the general liberalism. From that point of view, it’s understandabale that there would be unhappiness. Some of these people put their kids in one or another Christian school or they do homeschooling. As far as I can tell, though, this is a distinct minority. I bet the vote for school vouchers in Eugene was much lower than statewide, though I’m not sure without going back and checking.

    • Anonymous

      There are a lot of students coming out of Oregon schools that cannot read or write. They have no clue how the real world operates. Yes there are a lot of exceptional students out there. I believe they are exceptional because they are, not because of Oregon’s school system. I pulled my child out of the public school system because he wasn’t learning. He got colored blocks to learn math in the third grade. He attended a private Christian school after that who required all students to maintain a C average to remain in the school and to keep the state off their backs. My child who could not add 2 and 2 and come up with 4 became that C and higher student. Why didn’t public school bring that out in him. My child isn’t a rocket scientist, nor the dummy the public school system made himout to be while they wanted to put him on medication. Now you all can knock what i just said, but I was there, It did happen.

      • eagle eye

        Your experience sounds pretty bad. I have no idea what school district you were in or what the circumstances were. I’ve run into others like you. All I can say is that most of the people I encounter have had better experiences. They are mostly highly educated professional people, highly educated, some of them professors at UO that I respect quite a lot. Some of them, by the way, rather conservative, some of them people from foreign countries who’ve seen quite a lot of variety in school systems. Maybe they’re better able to manipulate the system to get what they want for their kids. Eugene has quite a lot of variety and flexibility in the public schools. Most of the people I know live in areas where the schools perform well on standard measures. For the most part, they are happy, or at least content.

  • Britt Storkson

    As detailed on public schools nowadays exist primarily to benefit teachers and administrators, not students. I could cite many examples to prove this. Here in The Dalles I teach electronics as a volunteer because there’s nobody in the district that knows that subject. The School District could give me a contract to do this but they won’t. I haven’t received a dime from many hours teaching electronics over the years. Instead they hire a teacher (read: big wages, PERS retirement, etc.) babysit the students for the class period and they learn absolutely nothing.

    The School district is only required to give a teacher (a union member, of course) a job. It doesn’t matter whether that teacher is qualified in the subject they supposed to be teaching. It doesn’t matter whether the students actually learn anything. All that matters is that teachers have gravy jobs. And we wonder why Johnny can’t read?

    • Anonymous

      You really mean the District could give you a contract but won’t? That it would be legal? Then whose fault is that? It sounds like it’s the fault of the schoold district, not the union.

    • Captain_Anon

      if it is a great gravey train, why haven’t you asked for a contract and tried to join the district so you can be paid for your work? that sounds REALLY interesting why you would work for free. why do you do that?

  • Homerf12

    The OEA does take of teachers from rowdy abusive principles which do exist. Beyond that help, that is where the gravel ends.

  • eagle eye

    Talk about who’s out of touch. The Republicans in the legislature — first Minnis, then Boquist, how many others? — are bailing because they see which way the tide is going. The pulbic unions in Oregon are getting stronger, not weaker, because the elections are going their way. Whatever the merits of some of the ideas here, it’s not working with the public. Better try something different, or keep losing.


      It’s a never ending cycle EE, eventually things will circle back around to the center, then the right then back to the left.

      I don’t know your age but I’ve seen all this many times, it might be what makes this country great or may be what eventually brings about it’s demise.

      If the GOP wins the next national election then they will probably take back at least one of the Oregon Chambers. If the DNC wins they will retain both.

      Minnis was in charge when the GOP got crushed last election, she should leave. Glad to see her go!

      Boquist is in the national guard and has been deployed to Iraq so much over the last few years he probably doesn’t feel he’s able to give give his people quality representation. I think that’s an honorable thing for him to do; doing a service for his country and allowing his district to get a full time representative.

      • eagle eye

        I’ve seen many summers come and go. I have been in or watching the Oregon scene for a long time. I can remember when the Republicans were quite competitive here. Slowly, things have been drifting away from them. First they were no longer competitive in statewide races, especially governor. When was the last time they had a good chance? Probably Dave Frohnmayer back in 1990, and look what happened to him.

        Now they’ve lost the legislature. I don’t think it was mainly the nationawide reaction against Bush and the national Republicans. I doubt that they’re going to win back one house of the legislature. Maybe I’m wrong about that.

        I’m a good example of the trouble they’re having: registered Republican who didn’t vote for Saxton, in fact left a number of blank spots on the ballot last time, toying with the idea of dropping Republican registration. Increasingly turned off by the Oregon Republican party. That doesn’t mean I like the Democrats. Increasingly I say a pox on them both.

        • anon

          Dave Frohnmayer was about as Republican as Ben Westlund, but without the courage of Sen. Ben. Dave was a whiney two-faced politician, not a legislator like Ben. Ben did the right thing and went to the party that best matched his philosophy. Why didn’t Dave? It think it had to do with courage, or lack there of.

          • eagle eye

            Why didn’t Dave switch parties? You’d have to ask him. One thing I know, he ran in the Republican primary for governor, and won. Whose fault is that? As I remember, he was generally expected to win. That was the last time anybody expected the Republican to win. Of course, he lost because of the candidate running from the right and because of his own lackluster performance.

            Anyhow, if Frohnmayer was a faux Republican, that sort of just proves my point. The Republicans in Oregon are increasingly non-competitive.


    I’m with you on the curse,lol! I joined the libertarian party a few months ago, it might not be any better but at least it hasn’t been corrupted by special interests……….yet.

    I don’t vote on party lines normally anyhow, have my issues that I support and generally will vote for whoever supports them.

    Not sure if I’d write off the GOP here quite yet though. It looks like the national tide for the DNC is starting to turn a bit, due to the poor leadership being given in the congress by their speakers. A year of bad press might change some views here, though I don’t think the GOP will ever be able to get a Gov. elected again.

    When a sales tax proposition passes here, it’ll be time to stick a fork in the GOP. They just don’t seem to have many high profile people anywhere in this state that have the ability to draw people from all sides or at least the swing voters, weird……..haven’t figured it out!

    Oregon is either the most conservative liberal state I’ve lived in or the most liberal conservative one. For as much bitching as I do about the politics here, it is a nice place to live………of course I’ll be outta here when I retire but not out of spite for the state its self. Have a great weekend!

  • bald eagle

    “Borquist, a rising star in the Republican Party announced his retirement from politics. “You get to the point of, is it worth it?” Borquist said. Conservative strategist Tim Nashif, political director of the Oregon Family Council says Republicans will have a difficult time just keeping their minority gap of two votes in the senate.
    Republicans got control of the House in 1991, Democrats has it the previous 18 years. There would have to be a major shift in public opinion for the Republicans to get back control next session. There will be a substantial exodus by Republicans who don’t see much of a futire as the minority party at the capitol. Republicans favor “big tobacco” over children’s health.”

    Written by Harry Esteve
    Oregonian 6/30/07

  • Jerry

    I note with pleasure that no one has been able to name one thing the OEA has ever done that helped students.


      Sorry, couldn’t think of a thing.