Overmanwarrior's Wisdom

Official Site of Rich Hoffman. Connecting the dots in a complicated world.

Lakota Principal Openly Complains about Taxpayers: The Words of Michael Holbrook

with 25 comments

NOTICE: THE FOLLOWING LETTER WAS PUBLISHED JUST AFTER THE DEFEAT OF THE LAKOTA SCHOOL LEVY IN NOVEMBER OF 2010.  IT IS BEING PUT ON THIS SITE BECAUSE I NOW HAVE PERMISSION FROM THE PERSON THAT GAVE ME THE LETTER TO MAKE IT PUBLIC.  THERE ARE OTHER SUCH LETTERS LIKE THIS THAT COME TO US FROM PEOPLE WORKING FOR THE SCHOOL, BUT FEAR OF GETTING CAUGHT BY THE SCHOOL SYSTEM FOR PASSING US THIS INFORMATION, MAKES PEOPLE RELUCTANT TO LET US DISCUSS IT.  WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT THOSE PEOPLE UNTIL THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE IN DISCLOSING THEIR INFORMATION, SUCH IS THE CASE OF THE LETTER BELOW.   

Michael Holbrook is number 11 on the top 434 Teachers at Lakota list.  He is a principal at Plains Elementary. On the first Monday after the election of the second school levy attempt, this is what he sent out to everyone that would listen working directly for him at the school.  Remember when reading this that Mr. Holbrook is the direct supervisor in that particular school, and his email was sent to his entire staff.  This letter says much about not only his political affiliation but also where his loyalties reside.

This letter speaks for itself. This is a person that is dramatically out of touch with the outside world. He has become so accustom to life within the comfort of his academic environment that he has fantasies of what the lives of businessmen and women are truly about. The jealousy and class warfare bias is clear in this letter.

I think it treacherously irresponsible for the leader of a public school, a principal for that matter, to seek among his peers anger and community division. The comments about playing golf, and going to the restroom are further attempts to incite anger in all who read this letter. It displays clearly the mentality of the author. 

Now, lets study Mr. Hobrook’s welcome letter to parents:

 Michael Holbrook Dear Students and Parents:Welcome to the Lakota Plains Junior School web page. We hope this page is a source of information for you and anyone considering Lakota Local Schools.Lakota Plains Junior School is a proud and enthusiastic school community of life-long learners where every staff member contributes to a positive learning atmosphere in which students can flourish. The mission of every staff member at Plains Junior is to promote a supportive and positive learning environment which encourages personal growth, academic achievement, and social learning.Every staff member at Lakota Plains is dedicated to lifelong learning, productivity, and enlightened citizenship. Students at Lakota Plains will be in an environment that promotes acceptance of personal responsibility, respect for self, and respect for others. The Lakota Plains school community is committed to exemplify the following virtues: caring, courage, honesty, justice, self-discipline, and wisdom.The Junior School years can be challenging and filled with anxiety for students. In addition to our excellent academic program and outstanding staff, we offer numerous extra-curricular opportunities, including but not limited to the following: band, choir, athletics, school dances, and numerous additional programs sponsored by our Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). We encourage all students to take advantage of these opportunities and experiences.With the combination of engaged students, supportive parents, and a caring and talented staff, we will achieve educational excellence and look forward to a successful 2007-08 school.Sincerely,

Michael Holbrook
Principal

 

Sounds different from the letter he sent to his staff doesn’t it.  This letter sort of reminds me of the campaign, where the Pro side put up a great front, but behind the scenes, they behave differently.  In this case, do you think Mr Holbrook took his own advice and displayed self-discipline, and wisdom in his comments?  It shows how the same person can put on two different fronts depending on who he’s talking to.  This isn’t an email that he received from someone else and he passed on like some office joke.  He actually authored it, and then sent it around with full knowledge of what he was doing. 


And the tasks listed are inflated to extremes in an attempt to infuriate the teachers he is responsible for. And for most of us paying the taxes for such a person to be the leader of one of our schools, the comments he inflates sound reassuring as a welcome trade-off.  Most of us would love to have the problems he discusses with such labor. 
In sales, there is a saying that the owner of a property be it a car, or a house, or even an item of clothing, has an inflated value, and that a buyer will see the same property at a much less value. That is because the buyer has no history and therefore no emotion to the property. But to the seller, they have sentimental value attached, and often confuse the true value of something with their sentimental value. Such is the case here.
We have a lot of people working for the school system that truly do care, and got into the business for the right reasons. But at some point, they become sentimental in their work, and lose the sense of value. And for people like Mr. Holbrook who is commanding a sum just shy of six figures, they lose sight of value altogether. And instead of doing the job of a principal, and working as a steward to our children and school system, and being thankful they work in a community where making that type of income is even possible for the responsibility level applied, they instead seek to radicalize others to turning against the community. The odd fantasy is that somehow they truly believe that such methods will command respect and reassure the community of their intrinsic value.


But all it really does is show that in many factions, our tax money is funding this type of radical behavior, which ultimately drives up the cost of education for which we must all find ways to fund. It is sad to witness that someone like Mr. Holbrook, who diligently constructed this “Survivor” metaphor against those of us that stood against the Lakota School Levy can show such lack of wisdom.  Believe me, it doesn’t make us feel good that we have had to say that such people are about 30% overpaid.  And this is also evidence of why reforms in education simply aren’t possible.  Remember the attempted strike of 2008.  Doesn’t it make you feel good to see what our hard-earned tax money is paying for?



Speaking of those of us that stood against the school levy, we received this letter from a businessman that is offering to help for free, the school board. After reading the letter from Mr. Holbrook, it is obvious that such help is needed. Can you imagine being the school board, and if Mr. Holbrook is one of the esteemed leaders within the school system, what are the teachers like? Can you imagine the complaints and requests that are made from such people who have such compressed perceptions of the world? The below letter shows what kind of people inhabit the Lakota School System. And reading such letters should make everyone that voted no proud. Because a yes vote would only appease people like Mr. Holbrook.

Mr. Hoffman

I have two children in Lakota schools and one recent graduate. My wife and I both voted no on the levy and will continue to do so. I’d like to offer my assistance to proactively prevent the next levy from passing. In my opinion, the reason the gap narrowed this time was that the teachers union mounted an incredibly successful campaign that worked well. My children and all of their friends passionately pressured us to vote yes because their teaches, the very educators we hired and pay, spent the last few months brainwashing our children to come home and pressure us. My oldest, a freshman in college was sent emails as an alumnus of Lakota and asked to vote absentee for the levy. Wednesday morning, the day after election day my fifteen year old daughter was told by a teacher that the homework assignment handout was printed on a piece of paper one-quarter the size of the normal handout because the teacher had to cut costs to save teachers jobs! I suggested that my daughter ask that teach why he hadn’t been that cost conscience the day before Election Day but just got a dirty look. My children are mad at me because they were told by their teachers that Lakota will lose its rating and they will not be able to get a quality education because we voted down a levy that is hurting them and their teachers. When this approach is done again and coupled with the bus reductions and sports cuts the next levy will pass, and the union will have another 10 years of sacrifice free-living.

I think it is time to put pressure on the teachers union and school leadership by putting them into a position that will expose their shallow attempts to make any meaningful cuts in sacred cows such as teacher pensions, salaries, Cadillac medical plans and other extravagant benefits.
My idea is if we can’t beat them doing what you and others were brave enough to do to date, let’s join them. I’d like to collect a bi-partisan group of business leaders to offer free consultation on how to run the district as a business and not a bottomless pit of money. I’d like to publicly suggest that the district not only consult with business leaders who make these cost reduction decisions daily but also ask that the district set up an advisory board consisting of charter and private schools to help objectively evaluate Lakota costs and consider ways to reduce cost. Every time a levy fails the only costs cut seem to be those designed to intentionally hurt students and parents, while preserving the union. If/when the district refuses to work toward a business based solution and refuses to at least talk to charter school professionals; I suggest we mount a publicity effort that exposes the union’s true intention to protect them regardless of how it impacts the community.

I love the Lakota schools. I own a home and business in Liberty Township. I don’t want anything to negatively impact the quality of education or property values. I therefore want to volunteer to help Lakota to help themselves to become a more efficient and cost-effective business that doesn’t over pay and protect the union at the expense of the children, parents and tax payers. If you think this has any merit or I can help you to prevent yet another levy assault by the teachers union, please let me know how I can help.

Timothy

Don’t worry.  We’re not going away just because the levy was defeated.  In fact, for more info that will be coming fast and furious, SUBSCRIBE to this blog for the updates as they come.

Rich Hoffman

www.NoLakotaLevy.com

25 Responses

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  1. I doubt that Mr. Holbrook actually composed that letter. It was probably written at OEA or OSBA headquarters and sent by principals across the state. Only union members could have such exaggerated opinions of themselves. They believe they are indispensable to the educational process. I assume that tenure gives them those feelings.

    Feelings and attitudes are the core elements of todays carefully developed curriculum. As we know, American students have the highest scores regarding “self esteem” in the world. Unfortunately, they do not score so well in the core subjects of math, science and history.
    It will be interesting to see if the union really cares for the students by consulting with the businessmen. Will they take a chance on seeing if the education of our children could be accomplished in a better more efficient and effective manner? Would they be willing to jeopardize their tenure in exchange for the possibility of better and more motivated teachers standing at the head of our classrooms? Somehow, I don’t envision that kind of sacrifice from loyal union members.

    What lucky school district is going to inherit Mr. Holbrook? Or, is he going to join his fellow school administrators on the golf course?

    Sandra

    May 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    • I’m not sure where he’s going. And I don’t know why this letter was such a secret, but there were people that were worried about it getting out, and what might happen if it did. The way I see it, the idiot should have not sent such a thing on a company email unless he wanted the whole world to see it. This letter shows how those people think, and it also shows why they cost so much as employees. I think it’s just pathetic.

      overmanwarrior

      May 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

  2. Although you spelled “Principal” correctly in your title you continued to spell it “principle” throughout your article. Your attack on public education is sad and I find it somewhat disturbing that you have enough time on your hands to update this blog as frequently as you do. Maybe you should go to one of the local elementary schools and volunteer as a reading coach instead..

    Roger

    May 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    • Thanks for the catch. With as much as I’m writing, I’ve considered hiring a professional editor for this work. But then again, that might not be a good idea, because some of the authenticity might get tossed out with the wash. As it stands, I have a few of these articles that are about to exceed 60,000 views. That looks like it will happen today as a matter of fact. So people seem to enjoy these articles, so I’ll keep writing them.

      I think it’s sad that something that is so broken gets swept under the rug so often. My wife used to volunteer like you suggested, and she ended up making the teachers mad. She did this at Mason when we lived there for a time. My feelings about public education are rooted in my experience. With my kids, I had to do the extra work that the teachers are claiming they are doing. Kids are only getting the basics in school despite the claims, and those basics are not worth 6 figures. I wouldn’t pay attention to it if the school system wasn’t taking money out of my pocket and wasting it, which is what is happening. So I spend about 2% of my day updating this site. With technology being what it is, time is much more efficient than it used to be, so I can work on this when traditionally I might have just stood in line waiting for an airplane at the airport. Or while I’m eating lunch. Or while I’m waiting for court to begin. Time doesn’t need to be wasted, as much as people waste it.

      Public education is teaching kids to waste time. They see adults wasting time, so they learn to waste time. If public education were up to me, I’d have kids learning three languages, performing advanced math, and having a firm grasp of history before they leave the 8h grade. If for those that wanted to get started in life after their 10th year, I’d let them go with full blessing from the school. There’s actually a lot I’d do differently. But for being a reading coach, I’ve seen where that road leads, and it doesn’t get the proper results despite the intentions. So it’s not worth doing. That is the parents job, and if some sap does it for them, then the parent will typically chose to not do the job, otherwise the kid wouldn’t need help to begin with. This is the core reason well-intentioned teachers, who are being paid very well, perform these jobs, because the parents are too lazy to do it themselves. So my next question is, why should I pay for such a foley when it is bad for society in two ways, the parent is allowed to be lazy and produce a child that will develope a dependent attitude growing up, which will cost money. And I have to spend the money on a teacher to do the job the parent isn’t doing. Because the evidence is firmly in place, if adults are allowed to “game” the system, they’ll take everything they can. In public education there is a lot of “gaming” the system going on at all levels. And all that “gaming” costs money. Money that a well-funded district like Lakota seems to never have enough of. So I realized that I could spend my extra 2% of time trying to make more money to off-set the cost of higher taxes, or I can spend my 2% fighting the increase. Either way, 2% of my time will be wasted because of public education. So I chose to fight the tax increases because that is a better use of my 2%, because it means that my time consumption won’t increase in the future to something like 3% or 10%.

      When public school starts understanding the value of money, time, and social needs that are traditional, I’ll stop writing about it. But as stated, 60,000 viewers on some of these articles is a lot, so people are paying attention and want the informaton.

      But thanks for the catch. I try to catch them all, but with the sheer number of words, some do get by me at times. I’m not going for a polished final product with this site, but a ever evolving news source that isn’t under the control of the special interests. The OEA has their news letters and email campaigns, all funded by us. The tax fighters have this site, and they use it. So that’s a good use of 2% of my time.

      overmanwarrior

      May 29, 2011 at 11:35 am

  3. Well said overmanwarrior. I agree. I’ve already been throught it with Fairfield back in 2004. And looks like we are going to go through it again this year. Thanks for the good reads.

    SassyDebs

    May 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm

  4. The Warrior’s point was made that the principal has no principles and that is a clear fact.

    More money is not the answer. Current facts state that the federal government has spent roughly $2 trillion (adjusting for inflation) since 1965 on efforts to raise test scores. Results zero!!!! In fact math and reading scores are unchanged and science scores dropped. Even Headstart has had no long-term effect on test scores. With actual facts hitting them in the face, what do the feds do? Send more money and attach more rules and regulations regarding curriculum and how that money MUST be spent.

    Facts tell us that as spending skyrocketed. test scores remained flat or lower. This is a disaster unparalled in any other field. The only accomplishment that is duly noted is that trillions of dollars are being taxed out of the productive sector of the economy and funneled into totally ineffective, union controlled programs.

    During the same timeframe, one sector of providing education to our children has cost two thirds less and shows progressively higher test scores. Jump on board to SCHOOL CHOICE.

    For a few recent years, in Washington, D.C., vouchers were made available at a cost of $7,000 per student (vs. $28,000 for the government schools). So at virtually one fourth of the cost scores were going progressively up. So what does the union work feverously to accomplish? (For the children, of course.) They managed to get rid of the mayor, get rid of Michelle Rhee (the Chancellor), lobby congress, lobby the president and destroy the Opportunity Scholarships Program. Socialists want the population to remain equally poor and equally dumbed down. An informed electorate would not fall for the tactics of the left. Unfortunately the much smarter students were not able to vote.

    When you are in a battle of the mind, you must know ALL of your enemies.

    Sandra

    May 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    • And the best way to win a war is to cut off the supply lines. Cut the money that feeds the NEA and they will dry up like sea weed without an ocean. When the Fairfield levy hits, we’ll be there to help you! Arnie is a good guy that’s been doing this kind of thing for a long time. But this time we’ll put it on a bigger stage. : )

      overmanwarrior

      May 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  5. Arnie has helped us and we will help him and the taxpayers of Fairfield and every other district that has to fight the union’s attempt to pass another levy. The group of Patriot Fighters is growing by the second. The former blind are now seeing. The ignorant are now learning facts. The brainwashed are regaining their senses.
    Thank God! There is still time to save our nation and to save our children. Get on board and help us fight for our nation. It all starts in our schools.

    Sandra

    May 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm

  6. After discovering Rich’s blog a few months ago I sat down and read every single one. As a man schooled by ruler-wielding Catholic Nuns and a mother who was an English teacher, I could not help but notice a few spelling and grammatical mistakes. I’m not going to take Rich to task for this for two reasons. First, it’s clear that Rich is a highly intelligent individual, irrespective of said mistakes. Secondly, I do not use occasional spelling or grammar mistakes as the “yardstick” by which I judge a man’s ideas or worth. If Barack Obama wrote a blog espousing his philosophy which contained such mistakes I’d be much more concerned with disputing his ideas, not his spelling.

    I did think at one point though that I’d be happy to volunteer my services as Rich’s proofreader, as I do for my wife’s papers. I could do it in the downtime while waiting for the bus or in line at Starbucks. Rich, have your people get with my people :)

    Phil

    June 5, 2011 at 11:50 am

    • Thanks, Phil! When you write this much, there are bound to be some little mistakes like that. When someone makes me aware of them, I usually go back and fix them. The important thing is that the ideas presented cannot be disputed by “those” types. LOL They can only bitch, moan and cry about “the rules” of which they are the masters.

      overmanwarrior

      June 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm

  7. Can I ask how you arrive at the 30% overpaid amount you state for Mr. Holbrook and teachers in the Lakota School District? If Mr. Holbrook makes “almost six figures” as you state, let’s say $99,000. I will add in the deferred compensation (the school district’s portion of the STRS compensation) and so we can go with $113,000. You believe then that correct salary for Mr. Holbrook should be about $69000, or $79000 with deferred compensation. So how did you arrive at this amount?

    Greg King

    August 26, 2011 at 3:23 am

    • Are you saying $69,000 isn’t a lot of money, for being the head of a school? A building where everything is set for him, he just has to make sure the “plan” happens and must care for all the employees of that building. I think many of your people need to be calibrated as to how much money that really is. He’s not a lawyer who must build a case. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a CEO. Just because he has an education doesn’t mean he has any quality that makes him worth 6 figures.

      I arrived at 30% based on the average salary of the average employee in the very well to do West Chester demographic. And that says that he makes 30% too much.

      overmanwarrior

      August 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm

  8. I didn’t say that $69,000 was or was not a lot of money. It is a lot of money, the question is whether it is excessive. You said it was an excessive amount of money, by 30%. I asked how you arrived at that figure. You pretty much didn’t tell me.

    Greg King

    August 27, 2011 at 12:27 am

  9. To be clear, what I would like to know is how you determined that Mr. Holbrook’s “near six figure salary” was 30% to high? You say you based it on the average salary of the average employee in the very well to do West Chester Demographic. So I am assuming that you think that all of the salaries are 30% too high in West Chester? But based on what? Are you comparing the average employee salary to the average salary of a resident of West Chester?

    Greg King

    August 27, 2011 at 12:36 am

    • I answered your question. It is interesting that you are getting hung up on regions and demographics. In fact I was being very generous of Holbrook’s salary expecations, because taken against West Chester’s demographic he is about 50% overpaid.

      Keep in mind that West Chester has an average of around 49K per year per person. That includes employees who are professionals, with master’s degrees, who run business, who are lawyers, doctors, etc. So if the high number of that average is 80K and the low number is something like 25K for those who are only working as basic labor, then you can conclude easily that six figures for any position is high. I use West Chester as a base from which to consider. If you take other districts, like Mt. Healthy where Holbrook went for his next job, that do not have nearly as high of an average personal income as West Chester, ironically the wages for those same positions is comparable. How does that happen? What’s that based on?

      I think education professionals should be well compensated, that is not the issue. But, because of the organized labor element here, they are being artificially inflated. Each levy request is a kind of “bail out” of that artificial inflation, and that simply can’t continue on.

      I know many of your associates would like the system to stay in tact long enough to get through the system. But that’s not my concern. Someone is going to take a hit somewhere down the line, and my concern is for the long term health of the community. Not the people on the current payroll. The value of these positions are inflated, market values are not applied because they can’t be, because of the union element. That’s good for you and Holbrook, but bad for everyone else.

      I think there may be some positions at Lakota that are worth six figures. Maybe even a few teachers. Mr. Duff comes to my mind. But not a majority of them, and certainly not 600 employees making over 65K per year. That’s crazy. I am 100% sure that all those employees are not Grade A employees, because I know some of them personally. And as to Holbrook, the comments he made on the letter above shows me what kind of man he was, and I would not pay a guy like that more than a basic labor wage, because a guy like that should not be in charge of anything.

      overmanwarrior

      August 27, 2011 at 11:05 am

      • You still aren’t really answering the question, but you are closer now. You are giving a few more numbers to sort of show how you are arriving at your 30% and 50% estimates. If I am understanding you correctly, Mr. Holbrook’s “real value” should be the median salary in the Lakota School district? I think your comments that the numbers include “employees who are professionals, with master’s degrees, who run business, who are lawyers, doctors, etc.” is very misleading in the context you cite. Yes those people are included in computing the median, but will almost all be above the median. I couldn’t find any data for the Lakota School District alone, but I was able to find data from 2000 for Butler County as a whole, and the median salary for such individuals was just double the median salary for all employees. The median for professionals who manage other employees was well more than double the median salary for all employees. Which means in 2011 you would be looking at six figure salaries for a comparable position to that of a school principal. But from what I have read, you probably don’t think that being a principal is in any way comparable to being a business executive.

        Greg King

        August 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      • If that’s not a direct answer to your question…………then the question needs more work. As to the pay of a principal of a school building, where they are responsible for 700 to a 1000 students and employees, that’s right, I do not think it is comparable to a business executive. Just because both wear a suit does not make them equal. I would consider such a job a vacation, and I know many of my friends in the business community would consider such an examination much less taxing than their daily concerns as well.

        overmanwarrior

        August 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

  10. In you reply (but not the original post) you said that you based it on the average salary of the average employee in the very well to do West Chester demographic. You did not say how you arrived at the 30%. Not even that the salary was 30% above the median or the mean. You didn’t note whether you were using salary figures or income. They aren’t the same because of things like Social Security and investment income, which are income but not wages. It looks to me like you are using income, based on your 49K assertion. You didn’t say whether you were using mean or median either, for that matter.

    I probably could have asked a better question. Something like: “How did you arrive at your 30% overpaid assertion?” A good answer would have been: “The median salary in West Chester is $49,000 per year, which is 70% of $70,000, so he is (or teachers are) 30% overpaid.”

    I have no doubt that you and many of your friends in the business community would consider the job of principal a vacation, at least in the abstract. Have or any of those friends ever been a principal? You might try looking up people who have done both. I know at least three people who were business executives and became principals (2) or superintendents (1) as well four people who were principals and are now business executives. Two people in the first group think that being a school administrator is easier than what they did before, but both of them worked as medium to high level executives on Wall Street. And they make less 20% of what they made on Wall Street. (Actually, one makes less than 5% of what he made on Wall Street.) All four in the other group think that they make more money for a job that is not harder now that they are working in the private sector. I have never been a principal or a business executive. (Technically I have been a business executive but when the only employee you manage is yourself it doesn’t really count.) So I will not make a blanket assertion about the relative difficulty.

    Greg King

    August 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  11. Hey Greg, the bottom line is that government schools cost too much. They are ineffective for most students. Those students with higher IQ’s will move past what the teachers have to offer. Many teachers have the smartest students actually running the class. Slower students and troublemakers are lost in the shuffle. So, we have millions put in the workforce who cannot perform basic math skills and who cannot read their own diplomas. What should the teachers who “taught” these lost souls be paid? What is too much? What should the Atlanta (and many other) teachers be paid? Cheating and teaching to the test is a known and admitted epidemic.

    Greg, I am sure, that in your humble, union member opinion, there isn’t enough money out there to pay a teacher, no matter how bad, I am sure you believe that the taxpayers should give up breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep you up to your expectations of a high-end lifestyle.

    Rich has been much too patient with your stupid questions. Do your own research if you don’t like his facts.

    Teachers and school administrators all make too much and we can’t afford them.

    Sandra

    August 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    • Sandra, I have done my own research. Quite a lot of it actually. Hazards of being trained as an actuary. I have income, spending and performance data on more than half of Ohio’s school districts. I asked because the 30% seemed kind of arbitrary. And because I find that engaging on these topics makes look at what I believe. Oddly I think my browser search brought me to this page because of your post about DC schools. Fenty was a teammate of mine (and friend) from college, so I followed the DC schools pretty closely for the past few years.

      But you say I “don’t like his facts.” Opinions are not the same thing as facts, and adding numbers doesn’t make an opinion fact. You make a lot of assumptions and assertions, about my stupidity, my high end life style, my union membership, that I am a teacher, that I want to take your breakfast, lunch and dinner… Just because you assert them does not make them facts.

      You assert that government schools are ineffective for most students. From your other comments it seems that you think that private schools are more effective. This is not actually born out by the data. Even before you control for socio-economic factors private schools don’t do better than public schools. What some people in the education debate like to do, however, is to show how private schools near high poverty rate public schools score higher on tests than those public schools. Sure students at private schools in DC outscore students at the DC public schools. And the patients of oncologists die more frequently than the patients of orthopedic surgeons. That doesn’t mean you should go see an orthopedic surgeon if you get cancer. The real question about private schools vs. public schools is whether each individual student will do better at a private school than at a public school. Here the data say no. It is actually relatively easy to study because of limits on vouchers and the attendant lottery systems for assigning students. So we have a bunch of nice randomized trial experiments going on all across the country. The one place where there is some evidence of success is in Milwaukee, which has the oldest and largest program. Interestingly, it is also the costliest. At some point this decade in fact the tax cost of the vouchers exceeded the tax cost of the Milwaukee city schools. In the Cincinnati area the top public schools clobber all but maybe one or two private schools in most measures of academic success.

      By the way, if you want to know what I think should be done with the teachers who cheat, it’s simple: fire them. That is actually what happens in most places, because cheating deprives you of the teaching license, which prevents you from teaching. I also think that ineffective teachers should be forced to get better or they should be fired.

      But as I said, I like engaging on these topics. Not what’s going on here. So I will leave you all to your own devices.

      Greg King

      August 31, 2011 at 1:47 am

  12. Wow … I can not believe how this has been misrepresented as I just came across this site and post. I was a staff member at Plains JH during this and this is not how this went down.

    Holbrook addressed this email in a staff meeting days after it went out. He was in a hospital waiting room was his father was very ill. He told how he was gathering this email with several others to show exactly what not to send. The was in the middle of pasting these emails together and sending them at once to address it and was called into his father’s room by doctors. The email went out by mistake, not completed.

    I suspect this is the reason for the individual being hesitant on giving it to you – they knew the situation and give you information out of context.

    The reason I remember this is because it was an emotional meeting, which was rare for Holbrook. I believe his father died later that year.

    I also remember this issue was an ongoing battle with teachers as Holbrook addressed it in the past to try to put a stop to it. He lived in the community and took offense to the critical nature of these emails.

    I have absolutely no dog in this fight and haven’t spoken to him in years, but was moved to post this information.

    He worked hard for his 4-5 years at Plains to bring some accountability and we had many disagreements, but he was alway upfront and honest with people, even when it wasn’t popular.

    I bet you have more in common with him than you think.

    I have read several of your most recent posts, and the information from Julie Shaffer on misrepresenting info is what I think has happened here.

    Just wanted to present the entire story.

    Edwin

    April 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm


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