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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:40 PM

The utter insanity of blaming teachers only and letting parents and students off the hook.

Last edited Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:31 PM - Edit history (1)

That is the policy of the education "reformers", and it is not frowned upon by the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Did he and the president intend for the reforms to be so degrading to teachers? I don't know. Could they have stopped it before it went so far. Yes, they could have done so. They did not.

It is totally unfair to the students and their parents to sit back and let the teachers be blamed and fired over test scores. It takes away from the students a sense of responsibility for their actions.

The main difference between the Democrats and the Republicans on education policy is pretty simple: The Republicans push vouchers, the Democrats are content with charter schools. Both policies take per student funding from the public schools and give it to the private or charter schools.

I would honestly say I knew of four teachers throughout the over 30 years I taught who were really inadequate in the classroom. Two of them were inept. My last two teaching interns were obviously not going to be successful as teachers. But I never saw anything that would begin to reach the level of incapability that public schools are accused of now by the "reform" community. Most teachers are good teachers who have to take the child as he comes to them from his home, his parents, his life. All of those are factors in success and failure in school.

What's happened to the grades given by the teachers on classroom tests? How can it be that honor students end up in remedial classes because of one test?

Here are some of the things I did when I was teaching, and in fact almost every teacher at our schools did the very same things. I cared, they cared. We were in a low income school in a neighborhood with much drug activity. Tough teaching but we loved our students and got the best cooperation we could from the parents.

At the time we did these things we were not resentful, just wishing things could be better. Now when I look back I do feel resentment and anger at the way things have evolved.

I feel frustrated to see funds being taken from public schools because high stakes test scores were not met. Those funds are being given to charter schools who are not required to provide information on finances or student success and failure.

More than teaching, much more.

During summer vacation I bought a new broom and a new mop. I bought cleaning supplies in spray bottles to make clean-ups easier. I kept extra rolls of paper towels. I bought chamois cloths to make board cleaning easier.

I got estimates from a local printing company on my weekly run-offs for each child. Use of the office equipment was limited to school secretaries and teacher aides specially trained to use the copiers. They did not like teachers using the expensive machines. I never did figure out why.

We were smart enough to teach the children, but not bright enough to use the copiers.

So I paid for the worksheets I needed done because half the time the aide got tied up elsewhere, and the secretaries did not have time.

Our custodians were often absent. The students and I would pitch in and sweep, clean the sinks with spray cleaner disinfectant, dust the counters. A few times when we had a rest room in the room I would have to clean that, too. I would not feel right asking the children. They loved the cleaning, but it took time from class....not good.

I bought bulletin board displays from teacher supply stores. Lower grade teachers had to have shiny happy rooms with pictures of animals, flowers, or displays of what we were studying. I had 6 bulletin boards....not my choice. But my job to fill them.

One principal called me in right after I was moved into a portable because of overcrowding....he said my room looked too bare. I had to actually defend the fact that my class had only been there two days, just moving in.

That's just how things were. High school teachers do not have to worry about bulletin boards and making rooms pretty. It was fun, but it was hard work.

Some of the students who walked to school liked to stay later and help me get the room in order. Since most teachers stayed late anyway, that was very helpful. It made their parents happy to have the extra quiet time.

I think the children learned valuable lessons about responsibility for their surroundings by cleaning and helping, but it did take from my class time and planning time.

Then there was bus duty. That's what they called it when we had to supervise the kids before and after school as the buses brought them and took them home. It was done a week at a time on a rotating basis. If a child got on the wrong bus, or wandered off with a friend...we stayed until they were found. It was our job, and they were our responsibility.

We also had lunchroom duty. What fun that was. There were always visiting parents for lunch. If we tried to get students to comply with the rules, some parents would report us for being too strict. If we let them get away with too much, some would get upset with that. Lunchroom duty was the worst.

The last few years I taught, the county offices decided that principals'offices were to be authoritarian, not disciplinarian in nature. That made life easy for them, but we had nowhere to turn for the real discipline problems. I had one boy who did not qualify for a special class (don't ask me why), but he had serious problems. He would start kicking the walls and banging his head against the blackboard until it was a dangerous situation. If I tried to intervene, he would kick me as well.

Luckily the assistant principal and I had an understanding. He would come to the class and take him down to his office to calm down. He got kicked also. The parents were at their wits end, and gave permission for us to do this. We never knew what triggered his outbursts. Calm one minute, violent the next. No help in sight. At the end of the year his parents gave me a hug and a small gift. They did care but they were victims of the system as well.

We did do some teaching in between all the realities of life in a community that harbored drug dealers. We did good teaching, and there was a lot of good learning that went on.

We had a guidance counselor who had all the materials of James Dobson lined up in her office. He was for tough love, and wrote proudly of hitting his little dog Siggie, a dachsund, with a belt. When I discovered she shared those materials with the parents of the children she was counseling...I just handled things myself. I wondered often if the county approved those materials. In this area they probably did.

Did I tell you about the head lice? Once our principal decided head lice were annoying the office staff and bothering him, so he decreed there would be no more. We had one of the worst outbreaks ever about that time. We spread them out across the room and tried to be casual. Parents came to me asking what to do about the situation. I said go over my head to the county. They did, and the supervisor took care of it at once.

Once I was told by the principal that a mother called and said her son was being bullied during PE time. I told him that the coach and I had discussed it...that her son WAS the bully. He terrorized the other kids. The coach and I had already had a conference with the mother before she called the principal. Still the principal told both of us to fix it, and not make the mother angry. An impossible task among many other impossible tasks.

There were great successes along the way. I saw students with severe learning disabilities get the help they needed to be productive citizens. Some with IQs in the 170s who simply could not read but were math geniuses. I know some went to college, I don't know about the others. I saw a 4th grader with attention problems so severe he could not sit still, could not function. His parents and I worked with a physician for needed help. By the end of the year he was in a program for gifted and was teaching science lessons to our class.

I would like for Arne Duncan to come to classrooms like those I saw and worked in and tell those teachers they are inept and failing. That we need merit pay. That the students we loved and taught were to be tested to show if we were good teachers or not. They would have worked their hearts out to please, but reality would set in. Some could not do the tests that were made for one size to fit all.


Arne Duncan recently announced that during this four years "our basic theory of action is not going to change".

That's unfortunate. That says to the teachers that the politicians are not listening, that the agenda is already set.

As a favorite blogger, Jersey Jazzman, said:

Jersey Jazzman
September 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

There are many good reasons to vote for Barack Obama.
Education policy is not one of them.

From the comments Obama's education plan


59 replies, 5813 views

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Arrow 59 replies Author Time Post
Reply The utter insanity of blaming teachers only and letting parents and students off the hook. (Original post)
madfloridian Dec 2012 OP
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #1
immoderate Dec 2012 #2
madfloridian Dec 2012 #6
madrchsod Dec 2012 #3
Smarmie Doofus Dec 2012 #4
savebigbird Dec 2012 #9
madfloridian Dec 2012 #12
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #5
radical noodle Dec 2012 #7
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #8
AverageJoe90 Dec 2012 #19
laundry_queen Dec 2012 #44
SharonAnn Dec 2012 #52
savebigbird Dec 2012 #10
Sen. Walter Sobchak Dec 2012 #11
Eddie Haskell Dec 2012 #13
Iggy Dec 2012 #14
Rosa Luxemburg Dec 2012 #15
kiva Dec 2012 #16
kylie5432 Dec 2012 #17
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #18
kylie5432 Dec 2012 #25
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #26
madfloridian Dec 2012 #24
SheilaT Dec 2012 #27
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 #37
Le Taz Hot Dec 2012 #38
Buzz Clik Dec 2012 #20
NashvilleLefty Dec 2012 #21
madfloridian Dec 2012 #23
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #35
Heddi Dec 2012 #39
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #42
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #43
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 #36
Mr. Blue Sky Dec 2012 #47
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #22
exboyfil Dec 2012 #28
LostinRed Dec 2012 #29
midnight Dec 2012 #30
madfloridian Dec 2012 #31
wickerwoman Dec 2012 #32
madfloridian Dec 2012 #34
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #40
blackspade Dec 2012 #33
madfloridian Dec 2012 #58
LWolf Dec 2012 #41
Mr. Blue Sky Dec 2012 #46
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #48
madfloridian Dec 2012 #49
Mr. Blue Sky Dec 2012 #45
madfloridian Dec 2012 #51
progressoid Dec 2012 #50
madfloridian Dec 2012 #53
progressoid Dec 2012 #57
Lifelong Protester Dec 2012 #54
madfloridian Dec 2012 #55
trayfoot Dec 2012 #56
madfloridian Dec 2012 #59

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:46 PM

1. kr

 

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:58 PM

2. It's like they went to Finland, to study what makes them the best...

And then they came back here, and did just the opposite of what their studies indicated.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:09 PM

6. Heh heh, that is the truth.

I read about Finland's schools and compare what they are doing to ours...it tears me up.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:58 PM

3. well.......

good to see ya back in tip top form. it was sort`a lonely around here if one wants to post about obama`s education policies.

the chicago crew is doing quite well..another school chief is history and rahm and the machine got their asses kicked by the teachers union. other school districts in the chicago suburbs struck and had most if not all their issues resolved. maybe there is hope.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:03 PM

4. Sounds like Duncan's found his "comfort level" and can't bring himself take a step outside.

>>>Arne Duncan recently announced that during this four years "our basic theory of action is not going to change". >>>


Where did I hear that before? Hmmmm.............

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:39 PM

9. Teachers call that "low level thinking." n/t

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Response to savebigbird (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:50 PM

12. Good point.

Yes, we do.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:06 PM

5. K&R

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:13 PM

7. This is true everywhere

My daughter worries herself sick about the kids who do poorly because they come to school tired and hungry, many from neglectful homes. And lice? One child in her class had bedbugs. I wish everyone could spend a few weeks in your shoes Mad, they would understand. When do we start asking the professionals (the teachers) about education, instead of the so-called experts who wouldn't know a classroom if it bit them?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:25 PM

8. I agree that parents should sholder a big share of the blame.

But I am at a loss to decide how we as a society can make parents more responsible.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:25 PM

19. It may be more of a battle than some people think.

Even today, there are either parents who neglect their children's well being altogether, or, more commonly, treat them like complete and total garbage; beating them, calling them "useless", "pathetic", etc., and yet, our lame-ass mainstream media INSISTS on blaming 'spoiling', or hip-hop, or violent video games, etc. for kids' problems. They rarely ever look at the real causes......if at all.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:51 AM

44. + 1 nt

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:10 PM

52. Andy Rooney said, years ago on a 60 Minutes commentary, "We don't need better teachers."

Andy Rooney said, years ago on a 60 Minutes commentary, "We don't need better teachers (schools) as much as we need better parents."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:40 PM

10. K&R

I think there needs to be more discussion on DU about so-called "education reform" these days. I'd K&R this thread all day if I could.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:49 PM

11. Shitty communities full of people with shitty values make shitty schools

It is a cultural issue, not an administrative on.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:56 PM

13. That's because the parents don't belong to a union.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:58 PM

14. Great Post...

 

Kids are constantly texting, playing video games... WHEN is study/homework time? 30 mins a day?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:11 PM

15. this local education system is falling apart

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:58 PM

16. I see the end result of this.

College students who are *shocked* to discover that they are expected to spend time outside of class reading or researching or writing. Parents who think they should be able to intervene on their college student's behalf about grades or assignments - thank Ceiling Cat for FERPA.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:15 PM

17. The system is scary

 

Today 8 kids ditched my class and 10 ditched my colleague's class..why? Because they felt like it and it is an options school. Tomorrow they will come in demanding "their work" and will be shocked when I don't give it to them until I have a parent conference. But wait, two of these kids already are parents and they are ditching school. They are also the most disrespectful.

So they missed the causes of the Great Depression and there will be a quiz and they will squeal like pigs that they don't know the material...yet they never connect the dots....the district I teach in has no way to retain these kids or hold them accountable- if they had to turn in an extensive portfolio every year then they would actually have to show up and produce meaningful work..But they just take a test that doesn't affect them at the end of the year. And that test will hold me accountable.

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Response to kylie5432 (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:16 PM

18. Welcome to DU!

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:53 PM

25. Thank you

 

Thank you for the welcome.... I have subscribed but haven't posted in forever

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Response to kylie5432 (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:00 PM

26. Glad to have you aboard my friend.

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Response to kylie5432 (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:53 PM

24. Wow, thank you for that post.

So well said. I am just coming back to DU after a year, and that post made me teary. That is exactly how they are acting, according to some old buddies of mine still teaching.

You have my best wishes and my thanks for trying to brave the system now.

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Response to kylie5432 (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:49 PM

27. An options school?

As in attendance is optional?

Too many high school kids, even those from "good" homes and who are going to be just fine in the end, think that the various rules don't apply to them. Whatever those rules are. I've been known to tell a kid like that to keep in mind that when they're in the workforce, the workplace rules will apply to them.

I'm not a teacher, but I have no qualms about telling young people what I think.

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Response to kylie5432 (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:20 AM

37. one more example of why our school system needs more funding

We need the resources to find out why these kids are behaving the way the are and try to help them. They should not be throw away kids. I do understand it would take more resources that what we have now but that is the point. We need more funding and more ways to help our students, teachers, and parents.

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Response to kylie5432 (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:02 AM

38. Welcome to DU.

We need teachers like you (and, of course, MadFloridian) to post OFTEN to remind us what being a teacher is like these days. I used to teach and you could not pay me enough money to do it in today's environment. No support from Administration, no support from the parents and don't even get me started on NCLB.

Just know there are many of us who appreciate what you do and look forward to your contributions on DU.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:26 PM

20. There are good teachers & horrible teachers, just as there are bad students & irresponsible parents

The whole system needs to be fixed.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:30 PM

21. So, it's BLAME THE PARENTS

or BLAME THE STUDENTS and none of it is the teacher's fault??????

Actually, I think a lot of the issue is the Parent's involvement, or non-involvement. So many parents expect our Public Schools (read The Teacher) to raise their child for them. This is ridiculous on the face of it. Teachers can only present one side of a child's education. Yet, when a child fails to live up to a parent's expectations, who gets the blame? The Teacher.

New legislation recognizes that The Teacher is the person who gets all the shit and does all the work. The Teacher is the most important cog of this machine. Teachers who are good at their job should get special recognition and commensurate salary. Teachers who can navigate the delicate waters between Parents and Administration and still provide results deserve special recognition.

And what is the best way to determine these results? Well, obviously, by the progress of their students. Now, by the Law of Averages you are going to get good student and troubled students. Teachers, more than anyone else should be familiar with the Bell Curve. A teacher's performance should be measured against the increase of knowledge over the course of a year by their students. I don't care if you followed all the "rules", either you got through to the students or you didn't. I don't care if the Parents were a problem or not, following the law of averages if you got through to the parents then the averages will go up - if you didn't then the averages will go down.

So, we can play the "blame game" all you want, but the bottom line is that it takes Teachers to engage both Parents and students, but the bottom line is that we need to get the students engaged either with the help of the parents or in spite of them.

So, basically, it does come down to the Teachers.

Personally, I think that good Teachers are just as important as good Doctors and should be paid just as much as a Doctor. Please tell the TEA party that. We do need a good system of teacher evaluation, but that is a small point. We need to PAY teachers a decent salary in the first place. We also need to fund their needs. Because these are our FUTURE! Yet, they are always the first to get cut.

As for Charter Schools, it all depends on their Charter. The advantage of Charter Schools is that they are not subject to stupid local school board rules, as long as they fulfill their duties as outlined in their Charter. This could be very advantageous in such States as Texas, which has declared that only their Approved text books be allowed in the Public Classroom. A Charter School would not be subject to those restrictions. The good thing about Charter Schools is that it allows each school to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The bad thing about Charter Schools is that it allows each school to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Obviously, this is not a simple issue.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:49 PM

23. The term "blame game" reeks of talking points.

If someone wants to fund, run, a charter school, fine with me. All for anything if it works.

What does NOT work is taking public funds and not demanding accountability for those who run such schools.

I never said not to put on teachers their fair share of the blame. Yes, indeedy, I do blame parents in many ways for what their students become in school. Of course I do, so should you. I also blame students when they don't take advantage of opportunities.

I would say teachers have a share in the success or failure. But so do parents. I taught 2nd grade for years, and the parents had them for 6 or 7 years before I ever saw them. They were pretty much molded by then according to most experts.

The new legislation is highly flawed in favor of those who want to make a profit from children and their education.

I don't mind criticism, but please make it about what I actually said. And don't talk down to me please. Avoid talking points if you can. Those of us who write about education pick up on them very quickly.

And there IS one very simple issue involved....don't give taxpayer money away to companies to manage our schools without accountability.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:40 AM

35. Gosh, education advice from a self-described rapist.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #35)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:55 AM

39. FYI your post was alerted on. Here are the results

AUTOMATED MESSAGE: Results of your Jury Service
At Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:05 AM an alert was sent on the following post:

Gosh, education advice from a self-described rapist.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1924233

REASON FOR ALERT:

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

No comments added by alerter

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:19 AM, and the Jury voted 3-3 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #3 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: the poster is a rape apologist based on the linked posts. I think the poster should be banned. I hope I'm not the only juror that lets this stand (would be interesting If this thread pointing out the rape apology is hidden, but NashvilleLefty's 'was I rapist when I raped passed out chicks because they were sluts and everyone did it so hey what's the big deal?' thread was left as a-okay by jurors and the poster was given thumbs up by other DUers who thought he was a stand up great guy because hey! at least he is admitting he was a rapist!! (and who cares anyways, they were just drunk sluts who probably had rape fantasies and it was 'rape', not rape, so who cares, right?)

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.

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Response to Heddi (Reply #39)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:14 AM

42. Juror #6--my new hero!

Thank you for the results, Heddi. I figured I would be alerted on.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #35)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:38 AM

43. +1

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:01 AM

36. teachers, students, and parents should not be blaming each other period

They should be coming together and saying what do you need and how can I help you get there? Each group needs help. Parents need community centers that can teach them parenting skills and maybe even some tutoring so that they can help their student with their homework. Not every parent knows how to help their kids with their homework. Teachers need the schools to have proper funding, smaller class sizes, and better curriculum so they are not just cramming facts down kids' throats and can maybe have a chance to teach critical thinking. Teachers also need chances to advance their training. The better teachers know their subject matter and teaching techniques the more kids learn. Students need to have a school system that encourages participation, not just how much curriculum the school district can cram down their throats. Kids love it when they can engage, when they can analyze, offer opinions, and gain confidence through finding solutions to problems. I believe when given the proper tools parents, teachers, and students all want to do well.

NashvilleLefty, while I don't like who is behind this charter school push I agree with you that our public school systems can learn something from charters, and that is flexibility.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:33 AM

47. A lot of students come to class with "pre-existing conditions"

It is extremely difficult for even the most qualified, competent and experienced teacher to overcome a negligent home environment, behavioral disorders and/or learning disabilities. The quality of parenting can make or break a child’s education.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:40 PM

22. K & R

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:03 AM

28. I agree that I am sickened by children

who throw away an expensive education because they do not participate in the process. We are spending $250K over the K-12 for the child, and parents and students that do not appreciate that expenditure should be criticized. At the end of the day I think that is at the heart of the homeschool and charter/voucher movement. With homeschooling the garbage associated with learning in the classroom is eliminated. With charter/voucher parents are trying to select their children's peers to be ones that are engaged in the process.

Recent example. My 11th grade daughter had a study hall with her journalism teacher. She used the study hall to get additional work done for her broadcasts (such as putting shows together and editing the content of her stories). In our school's infinite wisdom they decided to go to a study hall model in which the struggling students are in smaller classroom study halls while the non-struggling students go to the cafeteria study hall. That is bad enough. My daughter cannot get any studying done in this environment because of the noise. She can't get her stories done now during the study hall time either. The cherry on top is that the person running the study hall would not even release her so that she could practice her violin. My daughter is a 4.0 student who is also a full-time preengineering student at a community college. She can't get released to practice her violin?

The same thing with my 9th grade daughter last year. She had her study hall with the life sciences teacher. He was allowing her to do extra dissections in the study hall. His class was benefitting from the specimens which I purchased for her to dissect as he could expand his presentation of the material. She gets put into the cafeteria model as well because she is not struggling.

Homeschooling is looking better and better for my younger daughter. We may decide that getting the High School diploma is not worth the additional garbage associated with retail education. I already Homeschooled her in English and Social Studies to avoid substandard instruction/curriculum. She hit the jackpot on good teachers this year so she went back to full-time. Next year? I am not so certain.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:53 AM

29. Thank you!

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:01 AM

30. Very Happy to read your writing Madfloridian....

How can it be that honor students end up in remedial classes because of one test?


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Response to midnight (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:25 AM

31. Here's a couple of instances told by honor students in Florida

I am looking for a certain article that tells of several who had to take remedial classes...know it's around, just can't put my finger on it. Here's some articles,

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-05-02/features/os-fcat-video-school-board-20120502_1_fcat-exams-school-board-member-florida-comprehensive-assessment-test

"The Freedom video showcases seven students who take honors classes and have good grades — but failed the FCAT reading exam needed for graduation.

It opens with the teenagers reading aloud passages from novels. Then they describe their FCAT experience.

"You just take it, you fail it and then all those good GPA's, all those good grades, all those good test grades, they're nothing," a girl says.

The video ends with the teenage narrator urging students not to let an FCAT score write their future.

"Failing a test does not now, nor will it ever, define who you are and what you are capable of," she says. "Each and every one of us is capable of doing extraordinary things."

Another:

http://www.wusf.usf.edu/news/2012/04/20/inside_fcat_2.0_how_teachers_students_are_impacted

Contreras is an honors student. But she says her performance in class doesn’t matter anymore.

“Because you can be an A student the whole year, but if you don’t pass the FCAT they make you take easy classes,” she said.

FCAT results determine whether students go into remedial courses, called “intensives,” or honors classes.

She says it seems like flawed logic.

“To everybody they give the same test. And I think if they give you more easy classes they don’t want you to expand your mind,” she said."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:34 AM

32. I've taught in the US and in China.

The standard of teaching was much higher in the US but the standard of achievement was higher in China. Why?

1. Parents in China accept nothing less than straight As. In the US, if a student gets a bad grade, the parent is as likely to blame the teacher as the kid. In China, there are no excuses. Even with a "bad" teacher the student is expected to get an A.

2. The general culture stresses hard work, learning and achievement. There's a saying "Give your kid a happy childhood and you have given them a failed adulthood." Kids are not allowed to sit around playing video games and watching TV seven hours a day. When they aren't in school, they're at music lessons or sports or language classes, etc. Even very poor families spend every last spare penny on their kid's education.

I'm not saying that the US should emulate China's model. All of that pressure and regementation is terrible for kids and crushes their creative spirit.

But I am saying if you want to see *genuinely* inept teaching, go to China. The kids succeed anyway because the message they get from their parents and from society is much more powerful and enduring that what they get from their teachers.

Another good example is Jamie Oliver's Dream School experiment. He hired world-renowned charismatic experts in the fields of biology, history, music, photography, etc. and gave them unlimited budgets to design lesson plans and then put them in a room full of the British equivalent of high school drop-outs and for the most part, the kids didn't learn a thing. They talked over the teachers, got into fights, slept, skipped classes.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Putting the best teachers in the world in front of kids that just don't give a shit because they know they can drop out and make millions on Jersey Shore and then evaluating the teachers based on how the kids perform remains a fundamentally stupid idea.

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Response to wickerwoman (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:38 AM

34. Love this part of your post.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Putting the best teachers in the world in front of kids that just don't give a shit because they know they can drop out and make millions on Jersey Shore and then evaluating the teachers based on how the kids perform remains a fundamentally stupid idea."

I once had 2 boys sit in my class during testing and absolutely refuse to take the test. They put their heads down and refused to respond to me, the test monitors, or even their parents who were at school to convince them. They told us ahead of time they would not take the test, just smirked and said make me.

Two of my best students who hung around with lousy companies with bad attitudes.

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Response to wickerwoman (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:03 AM

40. +1000000000

 

"The standard of teaching was much higher in the US but the standard of achievement was higher in China."

"The kids succeed anyway because the message they get from their parents and from society is much more powerful and enduring that what they get from their teachers."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:36 AM

33. Awesome post as always.

Duncan is a conman for the education industry.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #33)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:56 PM

58. I fear you are right about Duncan.

He said from the start that there should not be much input from teachers' unions. Gave away his agenda right there.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 08:47 AM

41. Instead of blaming,

we ought to be looking at the real sources of failure and addressing them.

Poverty is #1.

Right below that is a culture that does not value intellect, that prides itself on ignorance, and thrives on displacing blame everywhere but on itself.

Then there is the corporate machine, cranking out propaganda and taking over, bite by bite.

The failure to provide adequate resources.

Before you get to any teacher, parent, or student, all of the above should be addressed.

When a student doesn't value his or her educational opportunities, when a student wastes the resources invested, whose fault is that? Who teaches and enables that kind of value system?

I've seen all kinds of kids messed up by parents; you can't spend the years in public education and NOT see it. Very rarely, though, is it that the parent doesn't care. Often it's because they are exhausted and overwhelmed trying to keep a roof overhead and food on the table; often it's because they don't know any better, don't have any other frame of reference. Often it's because they are addicted to the blame game.

We make more progress working to build constructive relationships with parents. We don't fire failing parents, except in the most extreme cases. It sure would help, though, if there were some real education out there about child development, and what parents should be doing to foster their children's healthy development.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:25 AM

46. Totally agree...my wife is a teacher in an inner city school...

She's been teaching there for over 20 years. The teacher is an extension of the parent/authority figure in a child's life. If the parent doesn't establish positive expectations and continuously monitor the progress of the child from grade to grade, then the chance of success in learning is extremely difficult.

Most of my wife's students come from one parent families (14 out of 18 last year), usually female, and a lot of those are grandmothers. These are children born out of wedlock to teen age women (some as young as 12) with no parenting skills. The father abandons them in most cases and the kid is passed off to the grandmother many times. A typical parent/teacher night or open house attracts maybe 2 or 3 parents in her class.

A child born to a single parent family is at a huge disadvantage and if that parent is 12-14 yrs old and on drugs then a successful education for that child is virtually impossible.

Although this is based on anecdotal evidence form my wife's experience, I do believe it's a widespread problem especially in inner city schools. 14 out of 18 students in one class were from single parent families... that's a pretty high percentage. Only 2 or 3 parents at parent/teacher night... this is the norm at her school and it's the same year after year. Parental apathy is directly related to student performance and parental apathy is very much related to UNWANTED children. These teenage mothers do not want these babies and there is a big psychological effect of the child feeling abandoned - there's no connection between the parent and child. They can sense they're unwanted. This goes to the core of who a person is and how they see themselves. This is highly stressful and stress is a huge factor in learning disabilities.

Something needs to be done to prevent these teenage mothers from having babies at such a young age who eventually enter the school system and drag all the other students down with all the attention they demand with their personality disorders and learning disabilities. So much one-on-one time is spent on kids with major behavioral problems, and kids with way below average IQ’s that the "normal" kids who have the desire and ability to learn and achieve are neglected. There is no shortage of aids and tutors in her public school but they are all focused on the unwilling and unable... trying to bring their test scores up so the school is not classified as in "academic emergency". This is what's killing education in our schools.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:52 AM

48. How many woes in our society would be solved if we would just address poverty?

Excellent post, LWolf.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:32 PM

49. "a culture that does not value intellect, that prides itself on ignorance"

Amen to that, LWolf

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:18 AM

45. Just like patients--students come to their teachers with "pre-existing conditions"

and the teacher must try to help--given the student's past, current life conditions and problems.

Blaming teachers in general when students fail is like blaming all doctors in general, when patients die.

We can't place all of this squarely on the shoulders of the teachers. It doesn't make sense.

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Response to Mr. Blue Sky (Reply #45)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:08 PM

51. Good point about "pre-existing conditions".

And you are right, it doesn't make sense.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:05 PM

50. Why oh why couldn't Arne Duncan offered his retirement.



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Response to progressoid (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:29 PM

53. He should have done so.

They can pretend they don't know how teachers feel, but they do know. I think since the election is over and won, it is probably too late.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:35 PM

57. One can hope.

But I fear you are right.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:31 PM

54. K & R for future reading

and thank you!

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Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #54)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:58 PM

55. TPTB know this foolishness is happening, yet they don't say a word. Not a word.

They are allowing teachers to be scapegoats, and I much resent it.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:03 PM

56. From this educator...

I could not have said it better!

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Response to trayfoot (Reply #56)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:46 PM

59. Thanks.

It is really upsetting to see way teachers are treated nationally now.

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