Submitted by madhedgefundtrader on 10/23/2010 11:47 -0500
Don’t bother taking an apple to school to give your favorite teacher, unless you want to leave it in front of a machine. The school teacher is about to join the sorry ranks of the service station attendant, the elevator operator, and the telephone operators whose professions have been rendered useless by technology. The next big social trend in this country will be to replace teachers with computers. It is being forced by the financial crisis afflicting states and municipalities, which are facing red ink as far as the eye can see. From a fiscal point of view, of the 50 US states, we really have 30 Portugals, 10 Italys, 10 Irelands, 5 Greeces, and 5 Spains.
The painful cost cutting, layoffs, and downsizing that has swept the corporate area for the past 30 years is now being jammed down the throat of the public sector, the last refuge of slothful management and indifferent employees. Some 60% of high school students are already exposed to online educational programs, which enable teachers to handle far larger class sizes than the 40 students now common in California. It makes it far easier to impose pay for productivity incentives on teachers, like linking teacher pay to student test scores, as a performance review is only a few mouse clicks away. These programs also qualify for government funding programs, like “Race to the Top.” Costly textbooks can be dispensed with.
Blackboard (BBBB) is active in the area, selling its wares to beleaguered school districts as student/teacher productivity software. The company has recently been rumored as a takeover target of big technology and publishing companies eager to get into the space.
The alternative is to bump classroom sizes up to 80, or close down schools altogether. State deficits are so enormous that I can see public schools shutting down, privatizing their sports programs, and sending everyone home with a laptop. The cost savings would be enormous. No more pep rallies, prom nights, or hanging around your girlfriend’s locker. Of course, our kids may turn out a little different, but they appear to be at the bottom of our current list of priorities.
To see the data, charts, and graphs that support this research piece, as well as more iconoclastic and out-of-consensus analysis, please visit me at http://www.madhedgefundtrader.com . There, you will find the conventional wisdom mercilessly flailed and tortured daily, and my last two years of research reports available for free. You can also listen to me on Hedge Fund Radio by clicking on “This Week on Hedge Fund Radio” in the upper right corner of my home page.
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on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 12:32
Login or register to post comments by ZackLo
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 17:09
I’m down with firing the teachers in my town maybe with the exception of like 3…coming from someone who is 19…teachers these days don’t know how to teach they don’t know how to control they’re classroom so kids can actually learn…computers sounds good…teacher can press the mute button and the kids shut up….how about make school a social meeting place….instead of learning and leave that to computer classes…and hey if the cost of schooling drops maybe we can fire some of these phd professional intellectuals up in the university campuses like krugman and what bernanke was before he was fed chairman and then we’d really be getting ahead…what we don’t have to buy text books anymore? sorry mcgraw hill we need not pay for any of your gruelingly boring textbooks….maybe we might actually get some comptetition in the education information sector…but I’m sure government will roll up and cartelize everything like it does and snuff out any innovation that happens…
Login or register to post comments by Chartist
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 12:46
Even in poor school districts, teachers serve one important function: they’re baby sitters…..
Login or register to post comments by bugs_
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 15:05
Yes k12 are day care centers, indoctrination centers, and free meal centers.
Login or register to post comments by Oppressed In Ca…
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 13:29
Yeah, but they’ll be pro-union, Big Government, capitalist-hating machines…..
Login or register to post comments by tomdub_1024
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 14:12
I don’t see the problem with this…
We homeschool, even when we buy a curriculum (Calvert), it costs far less than the per student cost of the public schools. The public school paradigm was always intended to just teach enough to make corporate/govt drones, imo (see John Gatto, http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/).
My oldest with no work experience is becoming a core person at his first job, due to flexible thought, the ability to learn, think, reason and not have to wait for an authority to tell him what to do. He is learning more about the real world than he ever did in the couple/few years he was in public school. His current reading list includes lots of theoretical physics, economics, etc.
Public schools are not necessarily necessary.
Login or register to post comments by Chicago bear
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 16:03
Chicago started a “virtual” charter school with one day of public school and 4 days of computer school. Very interesting.
What distinguishes best schools from average is parental involvement. Nothing beats homeschooling in this regard. Maybe as more people leave the workforce (voluntarily or otherwise), they will choose such. The love of learning at public schools was long abandoned for functional learning. My three kids will be encouraged to avoid public schools.
Login or register to post comments by Jim in MN
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 15:30
Re-run from the Reagan recession in 1982. One reason the schools are so mediocre is so many good young teachers were laid off then. In fact here in ‘good old liberal Minnesota’ we lost teachers with 15-20 years of seniority then. Because of ‘bumping’, more senior teachers could switch subjects and bump a more junior teacher in that subject. I saw science teachers who hadn’t taught science since before Sputnik and lasers.
It’ll be just as bad this time, however much people will bitch about the unions. There’s no hope for America unless we can get into a non-partisan mode.
Login or register to post comments by blunderdog
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 15:32
…our kids may turn out a little different, but they appear to be at the bottom of our current list of priorities.
I think there’s a great deal of truth in this, but I’d be very interested to see our current list of priorities, because as near as I can tell, we ain’t got one.
That seems to be part of the problem, really.
Login or register to post comments by ebworthen
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 15:37
Simply another tool of the Kleptocracy to eliminate real people and jobs, save the bean counting beauracrats cash up front, and make their corporate bedfellows robotic cash in the long term.
Yes, the current and future generations will be well trained to shop online with their credit cards and phones and believe that the 0’s and 1’s in the database mean they have money in the bank and rights of some kind, as they are led by the nose and genitals down the road to serfdom.
The left vs. right and government vs. free-market arguments are stale and becoming meaningless.
The torrid illusory battle between “the people” and “the establishment” only serves to allow the elites in government and industry to oppress greater numbers of the populace.
The real battle is the sanctity of the individual against the hegemony of the collectivist groupthink consumption/taxation machine.
Login or register to post comments by Bartanist
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 15:38
What a completely bogus article.
It may be the choice of the public sector to cut back or cut out teachers as another banker generated method of dumbing down America. What difference does it make if you want a nation of slaves.
The public schools in our area cost a lot and part of the problem is that they have to have the best facilities, the best technology and equipment, artificial turf in the stadium, they over-pay for the teachers and administrators (the union argument is always, but don’t you want your kids to have the best possible education? … which is of course bogus since all they do is teach to the test these days)… and then give them big bonuses and force them to retire at 55 because they are too expensive. BUT … the state pays for their retirement after age 55 with a defined benefit program, including medical.
On the other hand, the catholic schools spend 60% per student and have teachers of at least the same quality and test BETTER than the kids who are taught to “the test”.
The schools and teachers, while saying they have the same priorities and have the best interest of the kids at heart, clearly do not. And as a result of not having the same priorities, the results are different. Just bad and over-payed management, like most organization that are not spending their own money.
Login or register to post comments by Chicago bear
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 16:05
A new friend of mine has a $450,000 / year pension, which matched his last year’s pay as a senior Illinois school administrator. He consults with several groups and refuses to take pay for his consulting time.
Login or register to post comments by ebworthen
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 18:20
Only in Illinois, hmmm…, and Maryland, and Virginia, and California, and…
Login or register to post comments by Escapeclaws
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 16:20
The latest group to hate: teachers.
Are we just a nation of haters?
Login or register to post comments by Milestones
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 16:23
Maybe this is just dumb ole me, but all those numbers shown on the page add up to 60 countries in a 50 state USA. Surely all the commentators caught that didn’t they! ??? Milestones
Login or register to post comments by MarketTruth
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 16:24
FACT: 80% of current 8th grade students in the USA can NOT read at grade level (even with the now highly lowered standards).
Login or register to post comments by Dollar Bill Hiccup
on Sat, 10/23/2010 – 18:46
Since BRICS are doing so well, maybe we can outsource teaching … Kids assemble in class, big TV in front, and presto, Political Science from China, Physics from Brazil, Mathematics from Russia, English from India …
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