Profile

Cover photo
Keith Cheng
Attended Tunghai University
Lived in Taipei
211 followers|53,106 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideos+1's

Stream

Keith Cheng

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Pet peeve of the day: Oregon is trying to make it harder to have exceptional public schools. Which kind of sucks.

Background for non-Americans: the US school system is a disaster, with very uneven quality. You have some good school districts, and you have some really bad ones, and it's all just pretty crazy. Very different from back in Finland, where education isn't just good, it's fairly reliably good. You don't have to worry too much about which school you go to, because while there are certainly differences, they simply don't tend to be all that marked.

In the US, if you care about education, you end up having to make sure you live in a good school district. Or you do the whole private school thing, or try to make sure you can transfer, or whatever. The one thing you do not do is to just take it for granted. You work at it.

I'm not a huge believer in private schools, and I actually wanted my kids to be able to walk to their friends houses, so we made sure to move to one of the better districts in Oregon.

Now, living in a good school district means that you end up paying a lot more for housing, so it's not actually necessarily really any cheaper than sending your kids to a private school. But you do also end up being in a community where people care about education, so it's not just the school: it's the whole environment around you and your kids.

But it's unquestionably unfair, and it unquestionably means that people who can afford it get a better education in the US. Despite the whole "public" part of the US public school system, it's like so much else in the US: you don't want to be poor. The whole "American Dream" is pretty much a fairy tale.

So the Oregon legislature is trying to fix the unfairness. Which I very much understand, because I really do detest the whole US school system - it was always one of the things that we talked about being a possible reason to move back to Finland when the kids needed to go to school. We ended up learning how the US system works, and made it work for us, but that doesn't mean that I have to like the situation. Because I've seen better.

So why is trying to make things fairer a peeve?

The way the Oregon legislature is trying to fix things isn't by making the average school better, it's by trying to make it hard to have the (fairly few) bright spots around.

In particular, let's say that you do have a good school district, where people not only end up paying for it in the property taxes (which is what largely funds the school), but also by having special local tax bonds for the school in addition to the big fund-raisers every year. Because the public US school funding just isn't that great, so the local community ends up fixing it - to the point of literally raising much of the money to build a new building etc.

And I realize that this all just sounds completely insane and broken to any sane person, but hey, Americans are so used to it that they seem to think that it's how things should work. The whole school bake sale is a part of the whole American psyche (and I'd be a big proponent of using that funding method for the military too, but somehow it never works that way).

Anyway, if you actually were successful, had people who cared deeply about the local school, and built a good local public school around such a community, such a school district used to be able to accept out-of-district kids, but charge them extra tuition to make up for the fact that they obviously aren't paying the local tax bonds etc.

And now, in the name of fairness, there's a bill (HB 2748) getting pushed through to make that kind of "out-of-district tuition student" not be an option any more. 

And I really do understand the fairness question. Why should public schools be able to charge some people, just because they don't live in the right place? It's a public school, isn't it?

I'd be frickin annoyed too about the kids of well-to-do families who get to go to a better school in their nice district. I absolutely get it. I grew up in a country where private schools were for odd people who wanted their kids to be in full-time foreign language immersion classes and learn more than just four languages. Where one of my buddies transferred to my school not because it was more convenient or a better school, but because it was the only Swedish-speaking one that taught Latin, for chissake. And it was all free, and we didn't need to have cookie bake sales.

So I really do understand why people would want to get rid of the special schools and find them odious. I find them odious, and they are a sign of how broken the US school system is.

Except HB 2748 doesn't actually do anything to try to fix the breakage, it just says "you can't charge out-of-district students". It doesn't fix the bad schools, it just makes it harder to be a good school. Suddenly local tax bonds etc don't make much sense, because you can't make non-residents bring in the equivalent funding.

Oh well. I bet nobody wanted to hear that whine, and I guess I should put the "First world problems" meme picture here, but hey, I wanted to get that rant off my chest.
1
Add a comment...
People
Have him in circles
211 people
Paul Callan's profile photo
Yu-Lung Ma's profile photo
J.C Huang's profile photo
Avon Bai's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Engineer, Software Engineer
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Taipei - Banciao - Yilan
Links
Other profiles
Contributor to
Story
Introduction
I'm Keith
Bragging rights
咖啡 啤酒 巧克力 每天的必需品
Education
  • Tunghai University
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
matsufan
Keith Cheng's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley's most celebrated CEOs conspired to dr...
pando.com

In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple's Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google's Eric

A visual history of the Apollo missions
www.theverge.com

When NASA's astronauts went into space, they took a 70mm Hasselblad camera with them, taking more than 17,000 photos over the course of 13 m

Does Google Need Managers?
www.fastcompany.com

37000 employees. 5000 managers. What are they good for? And how can they do good?

Out in the Open: Say Hello to the Apple of Linux OSes | Wired Enterprise...
www.wired.com

There are myriad Linux distros, from Red Hat and CentOS and Ubuntu to Google Android. Most are typically used on computer servers that run t

Stupid Things Finance People Say
www.fool.com

Foot, meet mouth. - Morgan Housel - Financials

博客來OKAPI-《大唐李白》張大春:我愈寫李白,我就愈寒
okapi.books.com.tw

說起李白,多數人都能隨口吟出「床前明月光,疑是地上霜」這首膾炙人口的〈靜夜思〉,或是浮現〈長干行〉裡「妾髮初覆額,折花門前劇;郎騎竹馬來,繞床弄青梅」的兩小無猜畫面;甚至腦海中彷彿響起〈將進酒〉「君不

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Uncorks a Cool Cameo
tvline.com

ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. embarked on their second mission this Tuesday night -- the messy repercussions of which necessitated a dressing

While We’re Trying To Follow His Game Of Checkers, Jeff Bezos Is Playing...
techcrunch.com

A few years ago, I just didn't get it. I couldn't for the life of me understand how a company like Amazon could operate, let alone flourish.

雲端空間不嫌多,AT&T 限時贈送 50GB 免費空間 | T客邦 - 我只推薦好東西
www.techbang.com

雲端空間、尤其是免費容量常會讓人搶破頭,無論是前陣子 Copy 新雲端空間開幕推薦朋友就能獲得免費空間、甚至是 Dropbox 透過學校信箱或解謎取得容量,都會引起網友一陣瘋狂...

OLPC 捲土重來,推出 149 美元孩童專屬「OX Tablet」平板,只在 Walmart 販售 | T客邦 - 我只推薦好東西
www.techbang.com

還記得多年前的 OLPC 低價電腦嗎?其訴求為提供貧窮地區的小孩人人有筆電可用。隨著時代改變,該協會於推出全新的低價平板「XO Tablet」,同樣是為了孩童學習為訴求,只不過鋪貨地點改成美國本...

Top iOS apps and games go free ahead of App Store's fifth anniversary
www.theverge.com

A host of highly regarded apps for iPhone and iPad have gone free today in what could be a major celebration to mark five years since Apple

Why iOS 7's design is bold but flawed
www.macworld.com

I’m standing at the front of a darkened room full of middle-school girls, telling them about user interface patterns and trying to get them

Why Warp Drives Aren't Just Science Fiction
www.technewsdaily.com

How a mirror could create a wormhole, and why FTL starships will need supercomputers.

Edward Snowden, The N.S.A. Leaker, Comes Forward
www.newyorker.com

Do we think that the answer is to collect and collect, classify and classify, and then hunt wildly and angrily when a guy in his twenties wa

The NSA Has Your Number (Comic)
allthingsd.com

Here is the latest comic from our Joy of Tech friends at Geek Culture, Nitrozac and Snaggy. Joy of Tech appears three times a week in the Vo

Well played, Mayer. But it still may not turn Yahoo around
pandodaily.com

Every week, a little more incremental evidence emerges that Yahoo is pushing to turn itself around. In the past week, Yahoo reported a profi

Java Code Geeks
plus.google.com

From Java developers to Java developers, help develop the largest Java Geeks community today

Mathigon
plus.google.com

Redefining Mathematics Education!

Let's Limit the Effect of Software Patents, Since We Can't Eliminate The...
www.wired.com

Patents threaten every software developer, and the patent wars we have long feared have broken out. Software developers and software users –

How does Apple keep secrets so well?
www.quora.com

Kim Scheinberg's answer: Fear? I've been meaning to tell this story for a while. The year is 2000. My husband (JK) has been working at Apple