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Modern School

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Member since: Sun Dec 12, 2010, 01:09 PM
Number of posts: 794

Journal Archives

Teacher Shortage or Glut?

It is often said that we are suffering a teacher shortage and that terrible pay and working conditions are only worsening it. However, due to several years of mass layoffs, combined with increasing class sizes, most districts have plenty of teachers to fill current needs.

The problem is no longer a shortage of teachers, but a shortage of teaching services. There are sufficient teachers to cover the desired number of classes, but there are far fewer course offerings and desired classes offered to students. They have far more classmates in the remaining classes, which results in less one on one attention from their teachers. Because of the increased workloads, teachers are resorting more and more to multiple choice exams, instead of open ended tests that requiring more reading and team; less inquiry-based labs and more pen and paper or computer simulations.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/teacher-shortage-or-glut.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue May 29, 2012, 10:26 PM (8 replies)

Michelle Rhee’s $1 Billion Union-Busting Superpac

According to the Ed Deform movement, teachers unions are the main impediment to student success. All they care about is protecting incompetent or perverted teachers, keeping working hours short and salaries high and blocking real and meaningful reforms like private charter schools, abolition of due process rights, increased high stakes tests, and dumbed down Common Core Standards.

Education reformers should thus be excited to hear that Students First, former Washington D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee’s fake student advocacy group, has dumped $2 million into a Superpac created to counter the corrupting influence of teachers unions in upcoming California legislative races, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Rhee hopes the new Superpac, called “Parents and Teachers for Putting Students First,” will ultimately raise over $1 billion in its fight against the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers. One of their first campaigns has been to back Democrat Brian Johnson, a charter school executive running for the 46th assembly district in Southern California, pumping over $400,000 into his campaign.

Just Another Superpac to Benefit Corporate Interests
Unions, especially teachers unions, have been increasingly relying on political campaign funding as their primary tool for promoting the interests of their members. From the standpoint of workers this has been disastrous as it has taken resources, time and energy away from organizing and the promotion of direct actions like strikes and working to rule and focused them on the very indirect and fickle beneficence of political leaders whose interests lie primarily with business, not workers. The consequence has been a continuing downward spiral in workers’ wages, working conditions and living standards, with legislation increasingly favoring the interests of bosses over those of workers.

The most explicit recent example of the bankruptcy of this strategy is the teachers’ unions’ continued support for President Obama despite the fact that Obama has promoted numerous programs that are terrible for students and teachers (e.g., private charter schools, Race to the Top, Common Core Standards, evaluation reform, etc.). It is irrelevant that Romney might be even worse for teachers. A union is supposed to promote the interests of its workers and therefore should never endorse a political leader with a demonstrated track record of attacking those interests. They should especially not waste their members’ dues on that campaign, when those resources would be much more effectively spent resisting the candidate’s anti-worker policies.

From the perspective of the ruling elite, however, this strategy by unions has been much more of a frustration than a disaster. It has not stopped them from consolidating political power and increasing their wealth to levels unseen in nearly a century. Yet unions are one of the few remaining entities with bankrolls large enough to mount even a modicum of resistance and contest the wealthy in the political arena. Hence, destroying unions outright, or at least their ability to make campaign donations, has become one of the main priorities of the ruling elite. (An example is the Payroll Deception initiative being proposed in California).

MAD Madness
Amassing a stockpile of nuclear weapons large enough to annihilate the world several times over was a cold war strategy that proponents argued would make us safer by deterring the Russians or Chinese from using their huge stockpiles against us. If you nuke me, I’ll nuke you and the planet will be destroyed—Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

This arms race contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union by redirecting limited resources away from human needs and increasing their public’s disgust with their regime. However, according to many historians, it was the drawn out proxy war in Afghanistan between the U.S.-supported Mujahedeen and the Soviet-backed communist government that really blew their wad and brought down the U.S.S.R.

There has been an ongoing political arms race between wealthy individuals and the corporations versus unions and liberal nonprofits. It has always been an unequal race with the wealthy almost always outspending their opposition, often by a ratio of ten to one (or more). With the Citizens United ruling and the super spending by the Superpacs, this has only become more extreme and it threatens to do the same thing to the unions that military spending did to the Soviet Union.

It may not happen immediately. Unions will continue their copious spending in a desperate attempt to elect the lesser evils and block the most onerous legislation, all the while resisting strikes and other direct actions, discouraging their members from fighting back and continuing to give away more and more concessions to the bosses.

In the end, how different is this from withdrawing completely from political campaigns? In either case, the workers lose out. However, by withdrawing from the political game, unions at least retain their war chests, which can be used to organize and mobilize their members to directly pressure the politicians and the bosses, make their lives uncomfortable, cut into their profits, and make some real gains instead of always fighting just to make the losses less bad.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/michelle-rhees-1-billion-union-busting.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue May 29, 2012, 10:25 PM (2 replies)

Michelle Rhee’s $1 Billion Union-Busting Superpac

According to the Ed Deform movement, teachers unions are the main impediment to student success. All they care about is protecting incompetent or perverted teachers, keeping working hours short and salaries high and blocking real and meaningful reforms like private charter schools, abolition of due process rights, increased high stakes tests, and dumbed down Common Core Standards.

Education reformers should thus be excited to hear that Students First, former Washington D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee’s fake student advocacy group, has dumped $2 million into a Superpac created to counter the corrupting influence of teachers unions in upcoming California legislative races, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Rhee hopes the new Superpac, called “Parents and Teachers for Putting Students First,” will ultimately raise over $1 billion in its fight against the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers. One of their first campaigns has been to back Democrat Brian Johnson, a charter school executive running for the 46th assembly district in Southern California, pumping over $400,000 into his campaign.

Just Another Superpac to Benefit Corporate Interests
Unions, especially teachers unions, have been increasingly relying on political campaign funding as their primary tool for promoting the interests of their members. From the standpoint of workers this has been disastrous as it has taken resources, time and energy away from organizing and the promotion of direct actions like strikes and working to rule and focused them on the very indirect and fickle beneficence of political leaders whose interests lie primarily with business, not workers. The consequence has been a continuing downward spiral in workers’ wages, working conditions and living standards, with legislation increasingly favoring the interests of bosses over those of workers.

The most explicit recent example of the bankruptcy of this strategy is the teachers’ unions’ continued support for President Obama despite the fact that Obama has promoted numerous programs that are terrible for students and teachers (e.g., private charter schools, Race to the Top, Common Core Standards, evaluation reform, etc.). It is irrelevant that Romney might be even worse for teachers. A union is supposed to promote the interests of its workers and therefore should never endorse a political leader with a demonstrated track record of attacking those interests. They should especially not waste their members’ dues on that campaign, when those resources would be much more effectively spent resisting the candidate’s anti-worker policies.

From the perspective of the ruling elite, however, this strategy by unions has been much more of a frustration than a disaster. It has not stopped them from consolidating political power and increasing their wealth to levels unseen in nearly a century. Yet unions are one of the few remaining entities with bankrolls large enough to mount even a modicum of resistance and contest the wealthy in the political arena. Hence, destroying unions outright, or at least their ability to make campaign donations, has become one of the main priorities of the ruling elite. (An example is the Payroll Deception initiative being proposed in California).

MAD Madness
Amassing a stockpile of nuclear weapons large enough to annihilate the world several times over was a cold war strategy that proponents argued would make us safer by deterring the Russians or Chinese from using their huge stockpiles against us. If you nuke me, I’ll nuke you and the planet will be destroyed—Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

This arms race contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union by redirecting limited resources away from human needs and increasing their public’s disgust with their regime. However, according to many historians, it was the drawn out proxy war in Afghanistan between the U.S.-supported Mujahedeen and the Soviet-backed communist government that really blew their wad and brought down the U.S.S.R.

There has been an ongoing political arms race between wealthy individuals and the corporations versus unions and liberal nonprofits. It has always been an unequal race with the wealthy almost always outspending their opposition, often by a ratio of ten to one (or more). With the Citizens United ruling and the super spending by the Superpacs, this has only become more extreme and it threatens to do the same thing to the unions that military spending did to the Soviet Union.

It may not happen immediately. Unions will continue their copious spending in a desperate attempt to elect the lesser evils and block the most onerous legislation, all the while resisting strikes and other direct actions, discouraging their members from fighting back and continuing to give away more and more concessions to the bosses.

In the end, how different is this from withdrawing completely from political campaigns? In either case, the workers lose out. However, by withdrawing from the political game, unions at least retain their war chests, which can be used to organize and mobilize their members to directly pressure the politicians and the bosses, make their lives uncomfortable, cut into their profits, and make some real gains instead of always fighting just to make the losses less bad.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/michelle-rhees-1-billion-union-busting.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue May 29, 2012, 10:24 PM (0 replies)

LAUSD To Apply for Paltry RttT Grant

3 Easy Tricks to Maximize Profits From the Public Sector
1. Demand low taxes to increase personal income while decimating school budgets, thus making public education look like a disaster in need of corporate management
2. Claim your private enterprise will solve these problems and should be funded with public tax dollars (e.g., charter schools, Common Core Standards, laptops for every child, new textbooks or ebooks, tutoring services, etc.)
3. Insist that teachers’ unions are the main impediment to reform and lobby to have them weakened, eviscerated or outright banned

All of the above have been on the table for years at Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), one of the 176 California school districts currently at risk of going bankrupt. The district’s budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year was projected to be $390 million as of 3/13/12, according to the LAUSD website.

There is no question that record low tax rates combined with revenue losses due to the housing market collapse have contributed to LAUSD’s budget woes, which in turn have led district officials to attempt all sort of ludicrous shenanigans, like asking teachers to take 20 furlough days (and consequently asking students to give up 20 days of instructional time). The latest absurdity is Sup. Deasy’s plan to plug the nearly $400 million dyke with a measly $25 million federal Race to the Top (RttT) grant (see the Los Angeles Times).

For the first time, RttT grants will be offered to individual school districts, and not just states, willing to sell their souls for chump change. Aside from the fact that the grant would only cover 6% of the current budget hole, the one-time grant would expire at the end of the school year, leaving the district with the same problem the following year unless it can increase its revenue stream or find longer-term and bigger cuts.

There are those who would argue that $25 million is better than nothing and in these dark times one must take what one can get. However, one must consider what must be sacrificed in order to get this “free” money before one can call it a good deal.


Interestingly, the state of California found the eligibility requirements for RttT so burdensome that it voluntarily withdrew its grant proposal because the money was too little for what was being asked. Unfortunately, it did not make this realization until after it had already implemented some RttT requirements, like adoption of Common Core Standards (CCS), which are projected to cost the state more than $1 billion in new textbook and curriculum costs—far more than it would have won in RttT grants.

One of the biggest sticking points is that the state or local districts would need to get union support before moving ahead, since RttT requires the use of student test score data in teacher evaluations, something that cannot occur without changes to teachers’ contracts. Some NEA and AFT locals around the nation have rolled over and accepted this, despite the fact that the data is inconsistent and often inaccurate even when used properly and, in many cases, it is not even used properly (see here, here and here). Consequently, many good teachers could be mischaracterized as ineffective and possibly fired as a result, thus depriving students of good teachers. Worse, it could drive many good teachers away from challenging lower income schools, or from the profession entirely, thus worsening the problem evaluation reform purports to fix.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/lausd-to-apply-for-paltry-rttt-grant.html
Posted by Modern School | Fri May 25, 2012, 09:20 PM (0 replies)

California School Pressures Parents to Buy IPads

The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) is challenging an elementary school’s drive to put technology into the hands of every student, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week. Tierra Bonita Elementary School, in Poway, California has initiated a technology program requiring every fourth and fifth grader to have an iPad or similar tablet-style computer. Students were given the choice of using their own device, buying one from the district for $379 (plus $79 warranty and $25 case), or renting or borrowing one from the district.

The problem with their program, according to the ACLU, is that they warned parents the program would be halted if more than 10% of families had to borrow a device. Furthermore, the principal told parents “We are just 15 commitments away from being the first school in Poway to equip all students in 4th and 5th grade next year with a digital device. If you have not turned in a response, we need you.”

The ACLU is arguing that the email and survey “go far beyond assessing interest” by placing “significant pressure on families to either provide or pay for a digital device. This pressure is dangerously close if not tantamount to directly charging an illegal fee...”

While one could easily come up with numerous pedagogically sound ways to use personal tablets in the classroom and for homework assignments, the real driving force behind the “laptops for every child” movement is lobbying by the tech and textbook companies which stand to profit handsomely from it (see here and here).

It is also a boondoggle for school districts. Sure, they could put all their textbooks on one laptop instead of issuing many books to each student. However, they (or their students) would still be responsible for upkeep and maintenance, which could quickly become prohibitively expensive if students treat their tablets as carelessly as many treat their paper textbooks.

As a high school science teacher, when I think about what my students really need to succeed, personal laptops or tablets are pretty low on the list. Those who are struggling most in my classes are the ones who lack the prerequisite skills to succeed in a college preparatory level science class. They lack these skills not because they lack computers, but because they lack proficiency in reading, math, English language and study skills. What difference does it make whether they are having trouble reading from a textbook or an ebook?

While the ACLU is probably taking the correct stand on this, the case is symptomatic of a much bigger problem in education: We continue to gut K-12 funding and then waste what little is left on lame solutions to nonexistent or exaggerated problems. How can anyone think it makes sense to fire and furlough teachers, balloon class sizes, eviscerate support services and then try to compensate for these losses and also shrink the achievement gap by purchasing laptops or tablets for every student?

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/california-school-pressures-parents-to.html
Posted by Modern School | Thu May 24, 2012, 08:39 PM (12 replies)

Teacher Raises in Omaha

As unlikely as it might seem, there are a few people other than CEOs and Wall Street Bankers receiving raises these days. Even more unbelievable is that some of these are teachers.

Members of the Millard Education Association (Omaha, Nebraska), have won a 1.5% raise for the 2012-13 school year and a 3.3% raise for the 2013-14 school year under their new contract, according to Omaha World Herald. The contract also increases stipends for coaches and other extra duties like band directing. Millard Public Schools is the state's third-largest school district with roughly 1,700 teachers.

Under the new contract, head football coaches will receive a $7,500 stipend next year and $8,600 in 2013-14. High school band directors will get a $7,560 stipend for the next two years. Head varsity basketball coaches will earn $7,150 stipends next year and $7,740 the next year. And high school golf, tennis and cross country coaches will get $3,300 stipends next year and $3,870 in 2013-14. Other extra-duty stipends include $1,740 for Academic Decathlon coaches and $580 for club sponsors. For those who also teach, these stipends are in addition to their base salaries.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/teacher-raises-in-omaha.html
Posted by Modern School | Thu May 24, 2012, 08:38 PM (1 replies)

Record Number of California School Districts Face Bankruptcy

A record number of California school districts face bankruptcy, state schools’ chief Tom Torlakson announced Monday. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that 12 school districts, mostly in northern California, are currently on the verge of financial failure, while an additional 176 school districts are at risk. And the problem could worsen if Gov. Brown’s tax initiative fails in November. Only 53 of the state’s school districts are in sound financial health.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/record-number-of-california-school.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed May 23, 2012, 10:23 PM (0 replies)

DfER Defiles the Holy Name of Democrats

Democrats for Education Reform (DfER) is a veritable who’s who of Education Deformers, privatizers, vultures and union busters. In California the group includes Gloria Romero, an anti-teacher Democratic state legislator, as well as Ben Austin, a leader of the astroturf organization Parent Revolution. One of DfER’s primary objectives is to get pro-charter school, anti-teachers’ union officials elected to office.

Eric Bauman, chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, says the group’s name sows confusion and implies Democratic Party support for DfER-backed candidates when none exists. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Bauman sent a letter to DfER accusing it of violating California’s election code and ordering it to "cease and desist" its "unlawful" use of the word "Democrat."

Bauman said his fight was ". . .about preventing voters from being fooled."

However, the Democratic Party itself is engaged in the much larger deception of suggesting that it is somehow defending Public Education when many of its members have supported and promoted the same agenda as DfER.

It is true the DfER is all about gutting teachers’ unions, tenure and due process rights, as well as promoting charter schools, vouchers and other privatization schemes. But what has the Democratic Party done for education lately? Gov. Brown is currently extorting the public by threatening to slash another $5-6 billion from K-12 education if it does not support his tax increase this November, a tax increase that would temporarily increase taxes on the wealthy, while also imposing a regressive sales tax increase that would disproportionately harm lower income residents.

The Democrats did virtually nothing to halt the looting of $20 billion from K-12 education over the past four years. They have sat idly by as class sizes have mushroomed, while nurses, counselors, librarians and course offerings have been decimated. They have worked side by side with Democratic Gov. Brown to slash teachers’ pensions. They willingly participated in the corporate sellouts known at Race to the Top RttT, Common Core Standards (CCS) and NCLB.

The Times’ article framed the situation as turf war between various factions in the Democratic Party. And to some extent they were right. However, what is most unpalatable about DfER to Democratic Party hacks is not its disingenuous adoption of the name “Democrat,” but its presumptuous challenge to the teachers unions’ status as the preeminent non-corporate donors to Democratic Party candidates.

However, from the perspective of teachers, students and those who care about the quality of education in California, DfER’s party affiliations are irrelevant. DfER, like many of its allies on both sides of the aisle, still wants greater privatization and weaker unions and job protections, and it wants these things not because they will help children (they won’t), but because they will help business.

Obama Chooses Charter School Shill as His California Spokeswoman
According to the Times, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) is irate over Obama’s decision to choose a Parent Revolution executive as his spokeswoman in California and has even threatened to back out of his reelection campaign if he doesn’t fire her.

The Times portrayed the CFT’s response as petty Party politics, suggesting that the CFT was simply refusing to work with someone it didn’t like. Gloria Romero went even further, calling it “threatening” and “bullying,” thus lending credence to the argument that it is a turf war between Democratic Party factions.

Yet one must remember that Parent Revolution’s main purpose is to rally parents to demand that their neighborhood schools be turned over to Educational Management Organizations (EMOs) and private charter school operators, thus abolishing existing teacher contracts and union protections and reducing parental and community control by allowing management decisions to be made behind closed doors by EMO board members.

Hence, Obama’s California spokeswoman is not just a shill for the charter school and privatization movements, but further evidence of his general hostility toward teachers’ unions and K-12 education. Considering his extortionist Race to the Top competitive grants program, and his support for increasing privatization through charter schools and Common Core Standards, teachers should NOT be supporting his campaign, regardless of his choice for California spokesperson. Obama, in practice, as well as intent, has been as antagonistic toward public education and teachers as the Bush Administration.

This brings us back to the question of Party factionalism versus Party loyalty to Capital. If Obama, DfER and so many other prominent Democrats are supporting vouchers, charter schools, CCS, RttT, evaluation reform, and other questionable, unproven, yet highly profitable changes to public education, it would seem reasonable to presume that they are in it for the money, just like their Republican counterparts. That is to say, they support these “reforms” because they are good for business.

The only significant difference between overtly anti-union Democrats like Gloria Romero and ostensibly pro-union Democrats like Jerry Brown is their rhetoric and their funding streams. Romero’s group, DfER, takes in much of its funding from anti-teacher philanthropies, while Brown takes in much of his funding from the teachers’ unions. In the end, they both are bad for teachers and for students.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/dfer-defiles-holy-name-of-democrats.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed May 23, 2012, 10:22 PM (1 replies)

New Astroturf Group Calls Tenure, Seniority Unconstitutional

A right-wing astroturf group, Students Matter, has escalated the war on California’s teachers with a lawsuit seeking to overturn five state laws related to teacher tenure, seniority and the dismissal process.

The law suit, which was filed on May 14 in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of eight students, argued that "A handful of outdated laws passed by the California Legislature are preventing school administrators from maintaining or improving the quality of our public educational system," the Los Angeles Times wrote this week.

The suit is full of logical inconsistencies. For example, it argues that teachers can earn tenure too easily (in two years), well before their actual skill in the classroom can be determined. If successful, this would make it much harder for teachers to earn tenure and the right not to be fired without cause. Yet at the same time the suit aims to abolish seniority rules that protect experienced veteran teachers (i.e., those who have demonstrated skill in the classroom) during layoffs. This would make it much easier to fire veteran teachers with a proven track record, exactly the teachers districts should want to protect assuming they were really interested in providing the best teachers possible for students.

The suit cynically claims to be fighting for the rights of low income students under the equal protection provisions of the California Constitution. It argues that the current law protects ineffective teachers and “creates arbitrary and unjustifiable inequality among students,” according to Thoughts on Public Education. In short, the suit is saying that tenure, seniority and due process violate the state’s constitution, a claim that would be laughable if there wasn’t a powerful national movement behind it.

While it is true that low income schools tend to have higher percentages of younger teachers, it is not because of seniority, tenure and due process. Rather, these are the toughest schools to teach at and require teachers to work much harder than at more affluent schools, but for the same pay. In districts like LAUSD, where student test score data are used to evaluate teachers and where teachers’ Value Added (VAM) scores are publicly posted, there is a significant disincentive to teach at these schools.

One should also question why we have an Apartheid system in which some schools are filled predominantly with low-income students, while others within the same district (and sometimes only a few miles away) are predominantly affluent. Likewise, California continues to have among the lowest per pupil rates of K-12 funding in the nation. These are the real stories of educational inequality and they have nothing at all to do with the teachers or their job protections.

In reality, abolishing tenure, seniority and due process rights has nothing to do with protecting children or making their schools better. It is really about three things: union-busting, increasing administrators’ power, and cutting salary costs so they can be reallocated to other things, like administrators’ salaries or irrational and unproven reform efforts.

The lawsuit would provide administrators with much greater flexibility in getting rid of higher paid veteran teachers, as wells as union activists and vocal advocates for student and teacher rights. By stacking schools with rookies and novices who must keep their mouths shut and suck up to their bosses longer in order to avoid being laid off, administrators can more easily push through “reforms” like increased class sizes and teacher evaluations based on student test scores and student surveys that are detrimental (see here, here and here) to both students and teachers.

This suit could have monumentally negative consequences for students and schools. Making it easier to get rid of experienced teachers could result in a large influx of novices who not only lack the experience to teach well, but who also have a much higher attrition rate than veteran teachers, thus increasing the turnover of teaching staffs. It could also accelerate the exodus of experienced teachers from teaching to other professions. And while it could save schools money by allowing them to replace relatively expensive veterans with much cheaper rookies, it would hurt K-12 education in the long run through its tacit acceptance of educational defunding by the state.

Students Matter, which is a relative newcomer to the teacher bashing game, was founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch and, not surprisingly, has received much of its funding from Ed Deform Czar Eli Broad. Its advisory committee includes Students First, Michelle Rhee’s fake student advocacy group; teacher-bashing former state senator Gloria Romeo; and the Parent Trigger charter school front group, Parent Revolution.

The Thoughts on Public Education (Toped) blog says that California’s dismissal law can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per teacher to fire a teacher for unsatisfactory performance, thus compelling districts to find workarounds, like shunting teachers from school to school .

This really misses the point. If a teacher is truly doing a bad job of teaching, but really wants to continue teaching, he should be provided professional development, mentoring and other support at the district’s expense. This would be far cheaper than going through the 10-step dismissal process and all the accompanying legal costs.

It also glosses over the important question of what really constitutes bad teaching and how is this being assessed? In my 15 years of teaching I have seen very few truly rotten teachers and only a handful of mediocre ones. This may be coincidental; however, I think the whole bad teacher hysteria is really a red herring, something intended to rally the public to support union-busting in the guise of children’s innocence and safety.

Indeed, Toped notes that while the suit claims 8 students suffered because of ineffective teachers, it did not cite any evidence of any specific teachers having a negative impact on the plaintiffs. Rather, if focused on research by the National Council On Teacher Quality and Eric Hanushek. The latter concluded that by dismissing the weakest 6-10% of teachers, students’ academic success and earnings as adults would increase.

“Weakest,” however, does not necessarily mean bad, inadequate or worthy of throwing into the unemployment line. As in any profession there is a spectrum of different skill levels and this is not necessarily detrimental. For example, I may not be able to see the same physician who treats the 49ers, but that doesn’t mean my orthopedist is doing a bad job or should be banned from practicing.

Furthermore, there is no accurate method for determining who the weakest 10% of teachers are. Even if there was such a method, we could find that 100% of teachers were effective, but there would still be a bottom 10% who would be fired just to fill Hanushek’s quota and mollify the Ed Deform wolves.


Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-astroturf-group-calls-tenure.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue May 22, 2012, 11:38 PM (3 replies)

Bumper Crop of Working Seniors

As pensions are gutted, retirement ages raised, and nest eggs still enfeebled by the recession, more and more people are finding they cannot afford to retire. The New York Times reported this week that recent Labor Department figures show that the percentage of workers toiling on past the age of 65 is at a record high.

For the first time in 30 years, more than 10% of men over the age of 75 were employed, while nearly 5% of women that age were working. At the same time, employment for men under 55 fell sharply during the recession and is only now starting to recover, while the number of unemployed women under the age 55 hit its lowest level in two decades.

The Times also reported that overall household net worth declined by 15% during the recession—one of the reasons why so many people no longer can afford to retire.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/05/bumper-crop-of-working-seniors.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue May 22, 2012, 11:36 PM (4 replies)
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