A Mother\'s Love

Think about this the next time you encounter a school choice opponent:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - For $10,000, Kari Smith has gone ahead and had her forehead tattooed with the Web address of a gambling site. Bountiful, 30, who sold her unusual advertising space on eBay, said the money will give her 11-year-old son a private education, which she believes he needs after falling behind in school. "For the all the sacrifices everyone makes, this is a very small one," she said. "It's a small sacrifice to build a better future for my son," she said. "To everyone else, it seems like a stupid thing to do.

To me, $10,000 is like $1 million. I only live once, and I'm doing it for my son," she said. Tattoo artist Don Brouse said he and his staff spent nearly seven hours Wednesday trying to talk Smith out of putting "GoldenPalace.com" above her face. When he did go through with it, he kept the inch-tall letters close to her hairline, where bangs or a hat could provide some cover.

Smith's eBay auction attracted more than 27,000 hits and 1,000 watchers. Bidding reached $999.99 before Goldenpalace.com, an Internet gambling company in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada, met Smith's $10,000 asking price.

Thanks to Peter Eyre for the link.

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Matt, We do have a

We do have a hierarchical school system of sorts now, especially where schools are funded by the local property tax base (several states have had lawsuits over school funding inequities created by such a system). There's also a hierarchy created when some schools have parents who form organizations and raise money so the school can buy or do more stuff, and some schools don't. But I don't think more money can necessarily solve that. What I see as the most difficult, stubborn problem is that we expect schools to make up for bad parents. I'm not talking about poor people=bad parents. I mean that there really are people in this world who are simply not equipped to raise kids, emotionally, psychologically, financially, or in terms of their ability to manage their own lives in the first place, much less someone dependent on them. We expect public schools to make up for whatever chaos and dysfunction is happening in a child's home, to educate them and meet all the needs not being met in their home environment. I'm not sure what kind of system will meet the needs of these kids, but we treat public school as though it can. Do you see anything in a public, private, or voucher system that could help?

By what measure? Have they

By what measure? Have they always been horrendously underfunded? If not, when were they better funded, and how much more funding did they receive?

I'm not crazy about public schools- but I don't think the current privatisation movement is going to help (supposing that the ultimate goal of education is to educate the populace.) I'm sure we both agree that schools are statist (conceptually statist in fact- funding was justified to "mold patriotic citizens" and so forth.) But with NCLB, there is effectively a national curriculum instituted (which is illegal) and there's not enough funding for many of the scools to reach the standards. The measure is simply the requirements of the current act (NCLB.) I don't think it does anyone any favors since teachers now have to teach only to the tests, further narrowing what they can discuss.

Ideally we'd see some sort of a voucher system, but with more options in place. I'd prefer to see Deweyite types of schools, and I agree with Jonathan Wilde that ideally schools would be set up more like a system of voluntary internships. The voucher system will probably not produce such a thing currently though- it'll just eradicate public schools in favor of private schools, and we'll likely see a heirarchical school system, with the poorest schools getting worse and worse (because the poor kids families will have the least money, and the teachers will require alot of money because of how hard their job would be.)

These aren't easy answers, and of course there's no point in answering questions about how many millions we'd need to spend- that's just a way of distracting.

I completely agree: public

I completely agree: public schools are horrendously underfunded.

By what measure? Have they always been horrendously underfunded? If not, when were they better funded, and how much more funding did they receive?

I completely agree: public

I completely agree: public schools are horrendously underfunded. Let's increase the quality so people don't have to degarde themselves in such a way.

I'm in favor of Vouchers by the way, so long as funding for public schools is increased by 1/3. I agree there should be a choice, but I think we should make the choice a meaningful one.

How are voucher systems

How are voucher systems heirarchical? If anything, they give poor families an opportunity that rich families already enjoy. That seems to be the very oppposite of heirarchical.

Lisa, you're completely

Lisa, you're completely right about the property tax issue, which creates a big problem. You're also right to be concerned about parenting as a major factor, of course. I suppose expecting a "solution" is a bit much, but in my opinion it's important to preserve what's left of a sense of community and solidarity (which will be hindered by a more fully heirarchical voucher system) via stronger public schools, before moving on to a more apprenticeship-based school system, for which vouchers would probably be approriate. Voucher systems have the ability to undermine the "we're in this together" community spirit under current scenarios, leaving us even more helpless to battle community problems like general bad parenting (as it becomes more often perceived to be "someone else's problem".)