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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:16 AM
Original message
Kerry Calls for Higher Teacher Standards
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLTON, Calif. (AP) - Democrat John Kerry says if elected president he would hold America's teachers to higher standards and give them higher salaries as a reward.

On the final stop of his three-day education tour Thursday, Kerry is calling for tougher teacher testing and financial rewards up to $5,000 for teachers and up to $100,000 for schools who boost student achievement or make other improvements.

"Its time for a new bargain with America's teachers and children - I will offer teachers more, and I will ask for more in return," Kerry said in a campaign statement.

Kerry's goal is to recruit or retain 500,000 teachers during his first term in the White House. He would give a minimum bonus of $5,000 for teachers who choose to work in high-need schools and subjects like math and science. He also would give college students who commit to teaching in those areas help paying their tuition.

more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-elect/2004...
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm sick of teachers being scapegoated.
Public teachers are hard working dedicated people. Society must put its money where its mouth is or STFU.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. I am totally with you. This is ridiculous. Teachers are not the problem
and as long as we focus on "teachers" as the problem, we will continue to suffer educationally.
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stryker18 Donating Member (84 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #18
59. Well...
First of all, let me say that I have two parents who are/were teachers (one's retired). My mom teaches history at a public high school, and my dad taught math for 34 years before becoming principal and retiring after two years of that. Heck, I even had my mother for history! Twice! (freshman and senior years.) So I have to say that I do NOT believe that -all- teachers are the problem.

But I went to public school as well, and I can tell you that while a lot of the teachers I had were good at what they did, some were not. The system is scapegoated too often, but the people who are to blame escape too often. Public school teachers should be held to a higher quality than some of those I had*, and I think increases in salary for those who pass the tests is a good incentive.

*This is conditional. It depends on what the criteria are.
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wubbathompson Donating Member (211 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
26. What the hell does money do
If the teachers aren't held to a higher standard. Studies have shown that we are spending more money per student than we ever have been and the quality of education is dropping. Teachers rightly are seen as somewhat scapegoats because they teach our children. We as parents hold the rest of the blame.
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keep_left Donating Member (158 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #26
44. Check out this link:
http://www.america-tomorrow.com/bracey/EDDRA /

Bracey has been at the forefront of debunking some of the distortions like the one above: "...we are spending more...than we have ever been...". Even in cases where that is true, it is a misrepresentation of the facts, done conveniently by the enemies of public education. Mainstreaming of special ed and EBD kids is an enormous expense that is reflected in some of the raw numbers. The numbers don't mean anything without context.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #44
56. Thanks for the context!!! MUST READ stuff
I also hate that blame is always placed on the teachers. Thanks for sharing that information!
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #26
48. Let's put it this way:
You got busted for possession of a kilo of heroin.

Do you want the $150-an-hour attorney or the $1000-an-hour attorney representing you?

Hint: One is most likely better than the other.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
2. STOP IT! Schools are NOT corporations, You CAN'T tie
performance to pay. You get one special ed kid in a class of 9 in a rural school and OOPS, the teacher is ^&%&*$^ out of luck in getting a raise.

There are other, better, ways to improve the performance of students in schools. Stressing the teachers out in this manner is not one of them.

My husband, who was an amazing teacher, quit his job because of this kind of nonsense. And you can bet that many more wonderful teachers will be leaving the education system rather than put up with all the hoops the Feds are forcing them through.

So public education will be in the toilet, and I guess we'll get stuck with being privatized. Which was the goal all along, wasn't it?
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Do you believe that privatization is Kerry's goal?
:shrug:
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Yep, indirectly at least.
Edited on Thu May-06-04 01:17 PM by sybylla
The plan he just described doesn't sound much different than No Child Left Behind, except his attacks teachers instead of schools.

Once again we're getting a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem as diverse as kids. My state already had plenty of hoops for students and teachers that were there before NCLB which now have doubled because of NCLB. Pretty soon we'll have to extend our school years so that we can get some actual teaching done in between all the testing, mentoring and monitoring.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Did you read the article?
Where did you get that Kerry "attacks teachers" in his plan? Giving teachers who go to poor schools a $5,000 bonus sure doesn't sound like an attack to me.

Once again we're getting a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem as diverse as kids. My state already had plenty of hoops for students and teachers that were there before NCLB which now have doubled because of NCLB. Pretty soon we'll have to extend our school years so that we can get some actual teaching done in between all the testing, mentoring and monitoring.

What are you talking about? NCLB is NOT Kerry's plan and Kerry's plan is nothing like NCLB
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Testing, testing, testing and more
Attacking by creating a system in which "poorly performing" teachers can be booted quickly and replaced. By what parameters are we going to judge them? By testing? By credentials? By their students' ability to amaze and astound on tests? By some grudge a principle holds against one or three or all?

What about the teachers' unions? They aren't going to like this one bit. Kerry just eroded their power down to what? Negotiating pay and vacations? Kerry just pissed off a large part of his core support, especially in my state.

It's not like NCLB you say. NCLB was all about testing, holding shools accountable by testing, testing, testing. The only difference here is that Kerry includes teachers in the attack and actually promises to fund his NBACT. I've studied NCLB since it was proposed. The language used by its proponents sounds the same, the means for accomplishing the one-size-fits-all goals looks the same. Its the same cart only its been painted and has a different horse hauling it around.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I don't see where Kerry calls for more testing
Attacking by creating a system in which "poorly performing" teachers can be booted quickly and replaced

The difficulty getting rid of poorly performing teachers is widely acknowledged. Even the president of the UFT, Randi Weingarten, agrees that this is a problem. She recently agreed on some proposals to make it easier to get rid of bad teachers.

By what parameters are we going to judge them? By testing? By credentials? By their students' ability to amaze and astound on tests? By some grudge a principle holds against one or three or all?

Well, we have several dozen teachers who are being paid to sit at a desk at Bd of Ed HQ because they've been accused of sexually molesting students. Some of them have been collecting a paycheck for years. I'd say that molesting a child qualifies a teacher as a "poorly performing" teacher.

Your alternative, preventing the removal of criminal teachers, is an even worse suggestion.

What about the teachers' unions? They aren't going to like this one bit. Kerry just eroded their power down to what? Negotiating pay and vacations? Kerry just pissed off a large part of his core support, especially in my state.

The UFT supports Kerry, and their president approves of making it easier to remove poorly performing teachers. Also, nothing in Kerry's proposal limits the powers of unions or teachers. Teachers have contracts, LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACTS, which set forth the process for removing teachers. Kerry's proposal doesn't change any of those contracts. It only provides money to those school systems which agree to participate.

I've studied NCLB since it was proposed. The language used by its proponents sounds the same, the means for accomplishing the one-size-fits-all goals looks the same. Its the same cart only its been painted and has a different horse hauling it around.

Now you're just repeating yourself without explaining again. You've really done a poor job. While you have explained some of your criticisms of this proposal, you haven't explained how this is similar to NCLB. You only repeat your claim that is like NCLB.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #14
17.  To start with, words from the campaign itself
Edited on Thu May-06-04 02:25 PM by sybylla
http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2004_050...
<snip>
"First, Kerry said his plan will require rigorous testing for all new teachers.

Second, Kerry said he will require states to have or develop fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform on the job. "This is a matter of fairness to children and to all of the great teachers in our schools," Kerry said.

Third, Kerry said he will establish new systems that reward teachers for excellence in the classroom, including pay based on improvement in student achievement. (um, mignt that mean testing?)

Finally, Kerry said that his plan will establish a "Great Strides" incentive fund that will support schools that are trying to turn around and reward them when they do."
<snip>

In my opinion, getting rid of teachers without cause is unacceptable. Therefore we need a means to determine or state difinitively, that a teacher is "bad". Obviously if a teacher has committed a crime, you now have evidence that a teacher is bad. If you have a problem getting rid of that kind of teacher, you've got a bigger problem.

NCLB is a program to test kids to death, then fail the school if kids don't perform. Kerry's NBACT will test kids to death and fail the teachers if the kids don't perform. Of course he's sweetened the pot for teachers and school districts with a little cash and I'm sure when he proposes a new program, he will at least fund it. But at the core, when it comes to accomplishing its goals, NBACT is no different than NCLB.

My opinion that the unions won't like it is just my opinion, but it stems from my experience in Wisconsin, now considered a swing state. Here, the NEA and WEAC are very powerful. You don't mess with them if you want their support. They didn't like NCLB. I can't imagine, when they have a chance to look at it in depth, that they will like NBACT any more. But I'm sure you have a better understanding of the situation than I do.

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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Quoting out of context
"First, Kerry said his plan will require rigorous testing for all new teachers.

wrt that point, here's what Kerry is proposing, from the link you provided:

"Require Rigorous Tests for All New Teachers: Certification tests for new teachers are often too simple, and the bar for success is often too low. Kerry will invest in a national initiative to determine the right high standards for tests and require states receiving federal funds to implement tests with these standards.

As you can see from this clearly worded proposal, there will be NO ADDITIONAL tests. What Kerry is speaking of here is that he will review the current certification tests (which I believe most, if not all, states use) and establish standards for them, and provide money to help implement the new accreditation standards.

IOW, BETTER tests, not MORE tests.


Second, Kerry said he will require states to have or develop fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform on the job. "This is a matter of fairness to children and to all of the great teachers in our schools," Kerry said.

I could be wrong about this, but I don't remember NCLB havig anything major to do with removing teachers. ISTR that it involves failing SCHOOLS, but not failing teachers.

Third, Kerry said he will establish new systems that reward teachers for excellence in the classroom, including pay based on improvement in student achievement. (um, mignt that mean testing?)

Here's what Kerry says:

Ensure Schools Can Replace Teachers Who Perform Poorly: While teachers deserve protection from arbitrary dismissal, no teacher deserves a lock on a job. John Kerry will require states to develop or maintain fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform on the job, such as establishment of inadequate performance as a ground for dismissal.

IOW, Kerry is NOT proposing any reasons for why a teacher should be removed. It would only require that the States "develop or maintain fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform on the job"

IOW, it's up to the states, who have to get it by their constituents. I believe that's called democracy.

Finally, Kerry said that his plan will establish a "Great Strides" incentive fund that will support schools that are trying to turn around and reward them when they do

I'm sorry, but is there something wrong with this, in your opinion?

In my opinion, getting rid of teachers without cause is unacceptable. Therefore we need a means to determine or state difinitively, that a teacher is "bad".

And Kerry agrees with you. He hasn't called for getting rid of any teachers "without cause". All he is calling for is for the states to develop standards for removing a teacher. Nothing more.

Obviously if a teacher has committed a crime, you now have evidence that a teacher is bad. If you have a problem getting rid of that kind of teacher, you've got a bigger problem.

Well, yes, we do have a problem. It's such a big problem that the president of the US's 2nd largest teacher's union, the UFT, agrees that we need to make it easier to remove poorly performing teachers.

NCLB is a program to test kids to death, then fail the school if kids don't perform. Kerry's NBACT will test kids to death and fail the teachers if the kids don't perform.

Not true at all. You are conflating several of his recommendations together. He has NOT said that teachers who teach students that fail the tests should be removed. According to his plan, the only ramifications for teachers that result from the student's test-taking is the possibility that they will get a bonus if they do well on the test.

The ONLY suggestion Kerry makes concerning getting rid of bad teachers is to require states to develop standards for what a poorly-performing teacher is. Kerry has NOT said that this standard has anything to do with the test, nor has he made it a requirement to use the tests to determine who the poorly performing teachers are.

My opinion that the unions won't like it is just my opinion, but it stems from my experience in Wisconsin, now considered a swing state. Here, the NEA and WEAC are very powerful. You don't mess with them if you want their support. They didn't like NCLB. I can't imagine, when they have a chance to look at it in depth, that they will like NBACT any more. But I'm sure you have a better understanding of the situation than I do.

Well, like yours, my opinion is nothing more than my opinion, but I can tell you that this proposal sounds a lot like one the Sandra Weingarten of the UFT has proposed. I wouldn't be so certain that the teacher's unions are going to object to this plan.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Determining a teacher is "bad"
"Therefore we need a means to determine or state difinitively, that a teacher is "bad"."

If it needs to be done, how do you propose to do that and if it needs to be done, why is Kerry wrong for saying so?
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
31. They are saying a teacher is "bad" if her kids don't test well.
It is just that simple. If a teacher has a class that is not up to par academically, and they are just unable to test as well as the class next door.....the teacher is blamed. Yes, because her kids, who are not capable, did not score well.

My last year I had well over half my class on ritalin. The county did not place ADD in special programs....so I had them all day. I did the best I could, but most had other problems in addition. Like kicking the teacher, hitting other children, running out the door and leaving campus.

I was not allowed to touch them,even to hug them to calm them down. I could not stop them running out of the room unless I grabbed them, which I was not allowed to do.

So I was bad teacher by those criteria. I taught many years, never had a bad evaluation. If I had stayed on at that school in a community where drug use abounded.....I would have been a "bad" teacher.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. No they are not
and I challenge you to post an excerpt where Kerry says "a teacher is "bad" if her kids don't test well"
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #31
43. Well actually...
I was asking the other poster what his/her proposal was to deal with teachers who are "bad". That's all.

But I think by evaluating both the teacher and the school, it helps target where the problem lies. And by giving you a bonus for teaching in a troubled school, and working to create programs to help new teachers and the like, it can create some steps forward to solving education problems. I've never heard of a school district that doesn't assimilate ADD and LD kids, that's just the way it is today. But we have to start identifying what works and make sure schools are implementing programs and curriculum that work. Schools just can't stay the way they are.
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keep_left Donating Member (158 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #2
45. Right. And the only time I was truly paid for performance...
was when I was working for myself. Most employment in this country, even in professional fields, is fitting cogs into a machine. Look at the way doctors are treated, starting with the day they graduate medical school. And the reason is that unlike teachers, they're not unionized.

How the hell do they determine _which_ teacher caused _which_ particular group of kids to do better on "X" standardized test, where "X" always seems to be a company associated with the Bush family. (As in Ignite, Neil Bush's "education software" company, nothing more than a test-prep/cram course). Doesn't this seem like a situation that is rife with possibilities for fraud, abuse, and political favoritism?
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #45
60. Hey, I was paid for meeting test score goals!
Two years ago. Six months after we got the scores back, we all received a whopping $1.36 merit pay check. Woo Hoo!

Not that any of us thought that paying teachers for test scores is appropriate anyway; I have my check framed as evidence for what my state thinks I "merit."
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cosmicdot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. is this what elementary and secondary school teachers want?
Edited on Thu May-06-04 12:07 PM by cosmicdot
I'm not talking about the more pay part ... teachers never are paid enough ... when I started teaching, the pay was @$7150 and in 6 years it inched up to around $10,000 ... and, I had to buy most of my teaching resources ... being allotted one ream of copying paper each semester barely did the trick ...

$5000 is $5000, but the idea of schools competing, and the idea ... being professionals, who generally are dedicated and aspire to high standards to begin with ... to be held to higher higher standards through testing ... I don't think this is what teaching professionals will agree with ...

I taught high school in the 70s, and aside from the extremely poor pay which needed to be doubled ...

... what was wrong with the general system as it was? Teachers were dedicated or disciplined ... teachers had to continue education or lose accreditation ... master degrees moved one up the pay scale ...

there are often petty local politics involved ... I taught in a system which, at the time, had around 7 high schools, and, because of rivalries ... the school I taught at (also, my alma mater) was the step-child of the system ... the money went to other schools ... and, it was obvious ... it was wrong, but that's how those in power ran things ...

offering $5000 (which isn't a whole lot of money these days) to teach in certain schools is nice, but doesn't guarantee the best teachers ... and, even that designation could based on someone's subjective opinion ...

some people do standardized tests better than others ... I wasn't all that good at it ... where I taught, the student body voted me the most dedicated male teacher one year ... thank goodness I didn't get 'best dressed' ... I never did well on standardized tests ... I did do pretty good on the tests (teaching requirements exam which tested both my knowledge of 'education, psychology, as well as my history/social studies knowledge) I had to take (at college graduation) to establish my teaching credentials in the first place ... those scores helped me to be hired ...

I had a state teacher scholarship, which was repaid through years of service back to the school system ...

things were already in place, and seemed to work well

I think the fundamentalists and right-wingers in our communities have gotten us way off the mark ...

I would conjecture that the same people who have gotten us off an OK path are the same folks who fought social integration, and are seeking 'vouchers' (back door segregation), and they place blame on everything but themselves ... and, probably tune in to Pat Robertson ...

so, I sense nothing much is being offered here by Sen. Kerry ... and, we shouldn't cheerlead every offering as if it's the best thing since apple pie ... and defend his every word as if doesn't have flaws ...

who is advising him on this?

he needs to get off the pretty photo-op path and visit the nook and crannies of America ... and take the media cameras to see how the other half lives ...





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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. If they want standards, then accountability MUST be . . .
Edited on Thu May-06-04 12:32 PM by Dinger
equally enforced. If I could teach for free, I would, but that isn't realistic. In Wisconsin (as in most U.S. states), private/voucher/charter schools do not have to take standardized tests, and IF they do, they do not have to report it. A voucher system devastates (further) the public school systems, and we sure as hell don't need more of that. I am a 4th grade teacher, and my class takes these tests each year, and by the way, our school (elementary) has been awarded for our performance on these tests, and are being designated an "exemplary school," and will be recognized in Madison on May 11th. Why should I, as a taxpayer, give my tax (public) dollars to a (private) school? Public money, with NO accountability? I don't think so!
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Welcome, DInger
From a fellow Wisconsinite, I have to agree with you resoundingly on the voucher school issue. It's a huge debacle and I can't help but think if McCallum had been elected, that he would have opened up the voucher program to the whole state.

Keep fighting for the Dems! :toast:
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. What's up with the voucher talk? Kerry's plan has no vouchers
He would give a minimum bonus of $5,000 for teachers who choose to work in high-need schools and subjects like math and science

That's not a voucher
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. You're Right, It Doesn't
I was just pointing out the role of standardized testing in piblic vs. private schools, sort of in response to some of the posters on this thread. I have never heard Kerry say he wants voucher schools, so I sure didn't mean to give that impression. Sorry if I did : )
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keep_left Donating Member (158 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 01:08 AM
Response to Reply #7
47. John Witte, at UW-Madison, wrote a report...
on the voucher system that showed NO effect on performance. Now the voucher schools are claiming test scores are some kind of trade secret, and Witte has basically said that the system is broken; you can't even evaluate these schools anymore. It's a mess, that's for sure.
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #47
54. A Story In The Journal Sentinel Said
that there were (approximately) 80 schools in Wisconsin who were underachieving on standardized tests, schools "in need of improvement." Of these 80, 60+ were in the Milwaukee area. I'm not sure, but I think almost all of them were private/charter/voucher schools. The article was sometime within the last 2 years. Sorry I'm not sure when, but I'll try to find a link if I can. You're right, they are a mess, and expensive???
Hundreds of millions of dollars, just in the Milwaukee area, and draining school budgets all over the state, even way up north.
(I teach in a northern Wi. school district)
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keep_left Donating Member (158 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #5
46. This is exactly the problem.
The voucher advocates are in fact extremely hostile to the idea of open enrollment, standardized tests for all children, and other measures of basic fairness. I don't understand why people can't figure out that these people want to destroy the schools.

Interestingly enough, many of the trendy charter schools here in MN failed not because of lousy test scores or other "accountability" measures, but for totally unforgivable reasons. We're talking about total incompetence: books not distributed to kids six months into the school year, computers sitting around in unopened boxes until they were obsolete and couldn't run the software, 75% staff turnover per year, teachers not getting paid for weeks and even months, and gold-plated perks for management executives. Yes, all these things happened--often all at once, and in repeated cases.

If that kind of cr*p happened in the public schools, parents would lynch the school board. Yet even with a fairly strict law on charters, the school system here found it almost impossible to shut them down. The charter schools literally collapsed, leaving the taxpayer with the mess. And it later turned out that the charters weren't even paying their way for transportation and were bleeding the rest of the district dry.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #5
49. okay. Take a deep breath here.
1. No public money for private schools. Period.
2. No privatization of any kind.

The accountability issue is huge. Why? Because we are asking schools and teachers to be accountable for the wrong things, and we are using the wrong tool.

Doctors are not asked to be "accountable" for the care they give their patients by proving that every patient is "cured," and that no patient dies or is disabled.

Dentists are not asked to be "accountable" for the care they give by ensuring that no person every has a cavity, suffers from gum disease, or loses their teeth.

Law enforcement officers are not asked to be "accountable" for making sure that no crime is ever committed on their watch.

And teachers should not be "accountable" for test scores. Period. We can be accountable for what we have control over; nothing more. That means we can be accountable for offering every student every opportunity for success within the system/structure/environment we work in. Nothing more.

I don't know how you measure that. But Kerry will not be respected or supported by teachers as long as he holds to the high-stakes testing method of mass public education destruction.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. If a teacher graduates from college, they are capable. Stop the testing.
They are now testing the kids until they are nervous wrecks. Florida is testing the schools, testing the teachers, forgetting all the while that if you hire capable people from accredited colleges.....then you do NOT have to test test test.

This testing is out of control.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. You might want to read this post
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Not every graduate is prepared to teach and capable of doing so
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Yes madfloridian, they shoud call it nclu instead of nclb . . .
"No child left untested, or unscathed." Hey, doesn't neil bu$h own a company that makes the standardized tests in Florida???
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Yes, Neil Bush owns Ignite, I think.
I believe it has been estimated that by 2013 all schools will be failing schools. Some of our best here in Florida are already failing.

WHY? Because if you are an A school, there is no way to improve.
If you can't improve every year, you fail.


Vicious circle.

For the record, I know what I speak of as I am a retired teacher. Gladly retired, would not set foot back in a classroom in Florida.
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SidewalkShuffle Donating Member (22 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
55. Graduating college does not mean they are capable
I know many teachers and graduated from a college that had a heavy emphasis on teacher education and is often referred to as a "teachers college."

My wifes best friend is a HS teacher. Her first year as a teacher she was given Earth Science to teach. Number of Earth Science classes she took in her 18 years of school... ZERO.

She was in no way qualified to teach that class. And to be honest with you, I think she is one of dumbest people I know. She can't even balance her check book!
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
21. higher standards than WHAT?
:shrug:
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wubbathompson Donating Member (211 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Out of curiosity
If those who are teaching our children are not held to higher standards, how do we improve our quality of education, which is admittedly horrific. We can't force parents to do it, so why not force those who get PAID to do it, at least by making them more accountable. Just my two cents
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. the quality of education in the United States,
where poor, is the result of a great many factors. Are there some folks teaching who probably shouldn't be? Sure, but replace every last one of them with someone else and the majority of problems will remain...and remain unaddressed because no one has the goddamned political balls to take on anyone or anything except the people actually in the classroom.

If you really want to improve the quality of education in the US, reduce class sizes to no more than 20 kids. Fifteen would be far better. I don't care what standard you're held to or how dedicated you are to working long hours for low pay - rare is the person who can adequately teach any subject, in an hour a day, to 30 kids of varying capabilities, many of whom arrived at school with no food in their stomachs.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. HIRE good teachers who are qualified. Go by yearly evaluations.
Why test someone over and over who is a college graduate, observed frequently by principals, under close scrutiny, and who had to meet all the standards in the first place. Teachers are visited in the classroom by and evaluated by principals constantly!

Why not put some responsibility on the parents and the children? They stopped that here a long long time ago. They started blaming the teachers for everything as a PR gimmick that did NOT work.

I once had my principal tell me that during PE one child had picked on another child, and then she said, "Fix it."

I said did you talk to the coach. She said it is your problem, fix it. I explained the mother of the child was a serious drug addict who had attacked another parent outside my classroom door. She said quit making excuses....fix it. This was the same parent who while reeking of alcohol and totally high had nearly attacked the principal and myself in her office!!! Fix it...my hind foot.

That is when I told her I was retiring....that she could "fix it."

Start making parents come to the school for meetings, start making children take responsibilty. You would see a world of difference.

Teachers care, there are very very few bad teachers......it is all a plan called NCLB, which is intended to result in failing schools.
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wubbathompson Donating Member (211 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. I agree to an extent
But that is the job teachers get PAID to do. I know at work that I get paid for the results I can produce and if my firm isn't producing, at times, we have revamped and worked to hone our skills. I recognize that teaching is unique because once the students leave school so many things can go wrong, but the only option is to make teachers more accountable because we cannot monitor parents.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. Children are NOT commodities. They are little human beings.
You can not treat children like they are a business. I have never met a teacher who was not accountable, and who did not care. It is the new mantra of calling teachers unaccountable. It is a bunch of baloney.

You can not treat children like that.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #22
50. Here's more than 2 cents.
Holding me to "higher standards" is a way of blaming me for a wealth of things I have absolutely no control over.

Ask my colleagues, my principal, my students, my parents...my standards are plenty high, and they have not a damned thing to do with long laundry lists of isolated skills or corrupt standardized tests.

I will be happy to tell you how to improve the quality of public education. First you need to understand a few basics. You cannot "force" me to work miracles, for a start. You cannot "force" me to produce results which are statistically, realistically, and physically impossible. Understand that, and we can get started.

Let's improve public education:

1. Smaller schools. Cap enrollment at 500. In a small school, everybody knows everybody, students are real people, not just numbers or names on a list, and it's harder to fall through a crack.

2. Smaller classes. Research has shown, over and over, that when you get beyond more than 15 students in one class, academic growth and performance suffers.

3. Curriculum. The U.S. curriculum is miles wide and centimeters deep. Give us less to "cover," and we'll actually learn more.

4. Time. Time in the school year and school day for planning, for conferencing with students, for meeting with colleagues. And quit scheduling outside activities during our instructional time.

5. Materials/support. We'll tell you what we need; you provide it.

6. Philosophy: instead of a business model, where schools are factories and kids are widgets, let's treat our students as individuals. Allow us to meet them where ever they are at, and give them everything we've got to grow from there. Let it be expected and approved for them to achieve their personal best, at whatever level they are at. Quit comparing them to each other.

7. A parallel curriculum. When a student is failing, we have 2 equally bad options. We can send him on, where he will be even further behind. We can hold him back,which research tells us doesn't work. And it doesn't work in the vast majority of cases. Instead, we could offer a parallel curriculum/classroom for these kids. Smaller classes...no more than 5. Intensive one-on-one time and attention. All day. All year. Focused, not on grade level expectations, but on whatever it is they need. Not based on being identified as "learning disabled," or anything else. Just based on identified need for more.

8. Support services for those failing. Tutoring, etc.

9. Parent ed starting at conception. To address how to create an environment from birth on that stimulates the formation of neural connections and intellectual and social development.

10. Restructure the power. Put the decision making in the hands of the stakeholders; parents and teachers. Take it out of the hands of administrators and politicians.

11. Make assessment about student need, and about finding ways to meet the need; not about blame and punishment. Make assessment appropriate to the individual.

There you go.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Higher standards than the ones in place now
I hope that helps
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. which are what?
Surely you must know. What are the current teacher standards?
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wubbathompson Donating Member (211 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. I think the point is that
No matter what they are, they aren't high enough
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. will they ever be high enough?
I think it's perfectly valid to ask what the goal is.

Kerry can actually do something about education or he can scapegoat teachers in the best American political tradition. He can't do both.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. uly, as a teacher, you should already know
Edited on Thu May-06-04 05:29 PM by sangh0
that the various states have varying standards for certifying new teachers. Kerry's has proposed that we develop national standards for teacher certification.

That's all there is to it.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. you conveniently overlook the "higher" part.
I'm all for national standards. I think that's fine. In fact, I'd love to see a national certification offered.

What I don't like is the tacit assumption that teachers are operating under substandard beliefs about what their jobs are.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. Do you think he should call for lower standards?
What I don't like is the tacit assumption that teachers are operating under substandard beliefs about what their jobs are.

The only tacit assumption I see are the ones you (and others) are making. However, I would point out that about half of the teachers that NYC currently hires are UNCERTIFIED. That being the case, I do think one could argue that some of the people teaching our children are not qualified.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. um, no.
But I think calling for higher standards equates to scapegoating teachers. Nice try.

However, I would point out that about half of the teachers that NYC currently hires are UNCERTIFIED.

Citation? Statistics can be very misleading. Georgia offers temporary certs to new teachers who aren't, technically, certified, but who must go through certain steps within a certain amount of time in order to gain "clear and renewable" certification - when they're first hired, they can be called "UNCERTIFIED".
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. Good gracious, do you have children?
Do they ever meet your standards?

I loved every kid I ever taught. I spent hours with the parents.
Sometimes you can set teacher standards too high to be met and still be human with the kids.

Children are not little business robots to make a profit for corporations. They are people, and they are not all alike.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. unless I miss my mark
madfloridian was responding to wubbathompson, who is working the "schools are like businesses" angle.

And you're still ignoring the "higher" standards part of Kerry's plan.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. You're probably right
Edited on Thu May-06-04 05:56 PM by sangh0
I see those posts now.

wrt to the "higher" standards - You don't really expect Kerry to call for lower standards, do you?

If your concern is based on one word that you seem to think connotes all sorts of evil, I'd say you are making a mountain out of a molehill. How about we discuss an issue that has something to do with what Kerry actually proposed, and not discuss what you fear one word might mean?
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. let's not play semantic games.
How about we discuss an issue that has something to do with what Kerry actually proposed, and not discuss what you fear one word might mean?

Kerry is proposing higher standards for the teaching profession, is he not? Perhaps we can start from there. Yes or no.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #42
58. may I take your silence as a "yes" to the proposition, sangha?
An agreement that Kerry is, in fact, proposing higher standards for teachers?
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
51. This is why so many teachers don't like Kerry. n/t
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
52. There are several holes in this as far as I can see...
One is the idea of offering bonuses of up to $5,000 to teachers to teach in "high-risk" areas. Where I live in the NYC metro area, that $5,000 doesn't even come close to covering the disparity in salaries between teaching in, say, the South Bronx and Scarsdale or Chappaqua. The drain of good teachers from tougher areas would continue almost unabated. Such a program also does little to address the effects of administration incompentence or uninvolvement, which is a major cause of those same teachers leaving NYC schools for the suburbs.

Trust me on this, because it's exactly what happened to my wife. She taught her first two years in Co-op City (in the Bronx). She received absolutely ZERO support from her administration. The experience almost soured her completely on teaching, and she is a VERY talented and committed teacher. She now teaches in an affluent area of Rockland County for significantly more money -- and more importantly, more respect and support.

Second is the continual emphasis on testing standards as a measurement of teacher effectiveness. If you talk to any teachers who have been involved in systems that emphasize testing, you will find that it actually helps to shield the bad teachers while handcuffing the good ones. My mother's best friend from HS and college (my mom is a retired teacher as well) taught HS math in Texas. I have never heard her say ANYTHING good about the standardized testing program down there that was put into effect before she retired. Now, my aunt (a Kindergarten/1st Grade teacher in PA) is subjected to the rigors of NCLB testing in a poor rural district in PA. As a result of that testing, they spend all of their time with the "bubble" kids in order to boost testing results -- while the ones needing the most help are left behind AS THEY ARE JUST STARTING SCHOOL!

It used to be that the administration was actually responsible for monitoring teachers. Tenure doesn't remove their ability to get rid of bad ones -- it just has to be fully documented. Now, the emphasis has shifted to "testing" as a means by which to do this.

I'd be interested to know exactly who Kerry's advisors are on education, and how much time any of them have actually spent inside a classroom teaching. Judging by the main proposals, I'd say not many, if at all. I appreciate his interest in improving our education system, but I just always have to shake my head when I see politicians who attended exclusive private schools, whose kids attend exclusive private schools, believing that they somehow know what's best for the public schools they know next to nothing about.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
53. NOBODY, including Kerry, has the balls to do what's REALLY needed
If you want to know what's needed to fix public schools -- especially those in low-income, "high-risk" areas, pick up the book Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins and Lou DuBose, and read the chapter on Bernard Rappoport.

B. (as he likes to be called) Rappoport is a man in his 80's in Texas who made a fortune (several hundred million dollars) in insurance. He's also a huge philathropist who lives like a "regular person" and has his main goal as giving away as much money as possible before he and his wife die. His son, a professor at UT, doesn't WANT an inheritance!

B. and his foundation set up a charter elementary school in Waco, TX. It takes its students from the poorest kids in Waco by a lottery. The majority are African-American. Many of the kids show up without such basic skills as knowing to eat with utensils, or dressing themselves.

The kids in the school are reading, on average, significantly above their grade level. They sign out library books in droves. The overwhelming majority are extremely well-behaved, respectful, and truly full of life. How did they do it, considering the state of the kids when they first arrive?

The answer is really quite simple. B. Rappoport values these kids enough that he's willing to make a significant investment in them -- $20K per year, per kid. Class sizes are no more than 15. Teachers are given whatever resources they need to help the kids learn. He describes his principle as "truly doing God's work". IMHO, it's Mr. Rappoport who's doing God's work here.

That's all it really takes -- people saying that all our kids are worth it, and making the necessary investment to show that they really believe it.

We dump almost half a trillion dollars into the Pentagon now, and there are still wars. Yet, we don't hold the Pentagon accountable for that, and call for "higher standards" to Pentagon officials and high-ranking officers to either achieve total peace or to see their plans "taken over" by someone else.

Why in the hell do we treat our teachers so shabbily then? Because they're an easy target, that's why. The problem is, our kids end up suffering.

Would Kerry, or any other national politician for that matter, be willing to stand up and call for the investment that is REALLY needed to make our educational system work for every child? Of course not. In the end, Kerry's call for "higher standards" will probably help him win votes. But it won't do a damned thing for the state of public education in this country, and will only entrench the scapegoating of educators for what is really a much more political and societal problem.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #53
57. yes and yes again
That's all it really takes -- people saying that all our kids are worth it, and making the necessary investment to show that they really believe it.

:thumbsup:
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #57
62. It takes much more than that
Nobody in Congress was more eloquent on education than the late great Paul Wellstone, who as you know had been a teacher. You think schools aren't funded enough because he didn't have "the balls" to say something? There is another reason: REPUBLICANS. As passionately as he argued, not even Wellstone could get the Republicans to do the right thing.

You may not like it, but Congress is full of games, deals, bribes, paybacks, compromises, bargains, etc... Proposals need to *pass.* For that, they need support from two parties. For that, they need support from representatives' constituencies back home.

You want to change what's happening? Change the constituencies at the grass roots; join organizations; lobby hard; contribute, write, protest, call, persuade everybody in reach from your neighbor to advertisers to readers of your local paper to your PTA. THAT can affect change much more than idle complaining about the highest echelons ever will.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
61. Is he going to push vouchers?
No.

Is he going to put more money into public education?
Yes.

Is he going to make it easier to go to college?
Yes.

So there you have it: there's a difference between Kerry and the Chimp.


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jsw_81 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-08-04 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
63. Ha!
Edited on Sat May-08-04 01:05 AM by jsw_81
I called for some of these exact same reforms only a few months ago, and virtually everyone here attacked me. Vindication is sweet!
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Egnever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-08-04 06:00 AM
Response to Original message
64. Just another reason why Kerry is crap
Edited on Sat May-08-04 06:00 AM by Egnever
Blame the teachers and ignore the real problems what an asshat.

You want to fix our schools start with class size move on to making sure that the suplies that are needed are there (my wife is a teacher and last year she got one ream of paper from the school to last a whole year wtf?) move on and hold children responsible for thier performance children are not held back anymore if they dont perform or learn the material. Hold parents more responsible ! one of the largest problems in our system right now is that parents dont care about thier childs education they dont get involved and make sure that thier children are doing thier homework.

Sure there are some bad apples in the system but its not the main problem.

If bush didnt suck so bad I would vote for Nader over this asshat in a second!
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Democat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-08-04 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
65. Who is he trying to impress with this? Not the teacher's unions I guess?
Why is it that the paper that printed the article links to both Bush and Kerry's campaign sites at the bottom of the article about Kerry, but at the bottom of this article about Bush on the same site, they don't link to Kerry's website?

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sun/2004/may/...

More liberal media bias? :(
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