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Re: Education

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
The reason I mentioned welfare reforms in the US was to point out a similarity
with school reforms--the exaggerated fears.  When welfare reforms were first
proposed, pudits predicted massive homelessness, increased drug abuse, child
abuse, social unrest, starvation, and deaths.  I remember when Michigan
Engler declared in the early 90s (well before Tommy Thomson) that all able
bodied would stop receving support after specified period, Ann Arbor
were just waiting for the first winter to undertake "studies" and declare the
Governor murderer.  Unfortunately for them the winter came and went and
after that.  You know the stats on this one.

Similar fears are created against school reforms--glorious public education
system would be gutted.  Well, may be it isn't glorious and needs to be
US gutted the welfare system as they knew it and they are better for it.  It
must be true, Hillary says so.  These are really the radical ideas of the 21st
century, no imitations of the past.

"Tiwari, Umesh K" wrote:

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.indiapolicy.org/lists/india_policy/2000/Feb/msg00072.html
> The welfare system reform ( I have personally been part of managing
> information systems in the State Government of Wisconsin, when Governor
> Tommy Thomson was the President of Governor's conference as well as the
> pioneer in welfare reform initiative), which deals with poor people and
> single Moms dependent on welfare checks they receive from Uncle Sam for
> their survival, is quite different from the school system reforms. The
> welfare reforms implemented in fact take away the welfare checks or vouchers
> that used to be given to individual people. In any case, it won't be fair to
> drag the US welfare reform issue in this forum.
> School system reform, on the other hand,directly challenges the very
> existence of public schools. Yes, there is some merit in your argument that
> powerful teachers union is strongly against school voucher programs and
> hence there is a force working in favor of status quo. However, that is not
> the whole story. You can hear strong voices from all across the political
> spectrum that very genuinely talks about the difference the public schools
> have made, should make and that the alternatives don't deal with the issues
> that a public school does, such as providing education to inner city poor
> neighborhoods etc. In any case, the fact is, school voucher program is not
> implemented in the United States, and barring a fringe minority of radical
> republicans, nobody even talks about them,and I can quote even prominent and
> influential republicans, including some Presidential candidates, who
> strongly oppose doing away with public schools. I myself pay over $4000.00
> per year as City Tax, and part of the reason why it is higher then other
> neighboring areas, because it partly funds a quality public school in my
> neighborhood. I know that with this little amount of money I couldn't afford
> to provide the kind of education facility that, together ,all citizens in
> the neighborhood and the Government, have made possible, where my son could
> go to, and of course I am going to have a say if the quality of education
> deteriorates or teachers don't do their job properly.
> Coming back to India. I agree with you fully that scholarships to individual
> students from non-profit organizations in the form of vouchers or whatever,
> are the way to go, and I think that's how it is done even now. While in
> school in India, I got scholarships from Government as well as from a
> Private Charity Organization, and they were all direct assistance to me the
> student and not to the school or college I went to. At least the private
> Charity never forced me to enroll in any specific college, the only
> condition was that I had to keep gaining good grades in all of my classes.
> The reason I am against government paying out vouchers to every child or
> his/her parents in India are the following facts :
> 1. Vouchers are only as good as the takers of such vouchers. While larger
> cities and towns which have alternative public as well as private schools,
> could manage to improve (hopefully) under the pressure of competition, and
> in their desire to earn more by attracting more voucher paying students,
> there is not much such voucher holders could do in places where there are no
> schools, and I am sure you know there are lot of such places in rural India.
> 2. Governments have been said to have been paying salaries to their
> employees on borrowed money, that speaks volumes about the state of economy
> our states are in. May be a lot has changed in 7-8 years (for better or for
> worse that you local people can tell), but I talk about a personal tale of a
> professor I met at the regional engineering college of Patna some 8 years
> ago. He said the teachers were not paid their salaries in six months, and
> somehow they were surviving, hoping that the state government would wake up
> and think about them soon.
> I am sure there are still some budgetary constraints our governments have to
> work under, and there are numerous constituencies which generate little or
> no tax revenue, and hence the question comes, where the heck such vouchers
> are going to come from, and in so much amount and so many numbers that all
> of the children could be given the opportunity to choose from among
> alternative schools?
> Sure this would be a nice thing, if it can be achieved. However, knowing the
> way our state of economy is, and knowing that there are at least 30-40% of
> geographical locations which don't have any schools, I would prefer to
> settle with a government commitment that a school is provided to every child
> of India.
> On Accountability :
> --------------------------
> Yes, I think in this front you and I are not too far apart. The key word is
> LOCAL CONTROL. I prefer local control in two ways :
> 1. Administrative and functioning/hiring/retaining of teachers etc. :
>    Local city or village government (Municipality or Village Panchayat,
> which is elected by local citizens). Such a government will be
>    answerable to the local citizens. Central and State Governments can
> direct all local school related funds to the village government.
> 2. Citizens control over day-to-day quality of education, and
> teacher-parents conferences should have the authority to make qualitative
>    decisions, and of course parents can approach the village government to
> seek redressal of their irreconcilable differences with the
>    school.
> This, in my view, is the most cost effective and workable solution to start
> with. Again, this is not a permanent solution, just as nothing, no policy
> should be carved in stone in a living breathing democracy, and every
> generation should be given the opportunity to make changes to meet their
> requirement in their times.
> Thanks.
> Umesh
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
> Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------

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This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/