Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Obama education pick sparks conflict

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
 
Thrill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:06 AM
Original message
Obama education pick sparks conflict
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 06:08 PM by proud patriot
(edited for copyright purposes-proud patriot Moderator Democratic Underground)

Here we go with two more factions of the so called 'Democratic Party' whining before a decision is even made or policy is even set

WASHINGTON (AP) President-elect Barack Obama has not signaled what he will do to fix the country's failing schools, but his choice of education secretary will say a lot about the policies he may pursue.

Debate is simmering among Democrats over whom Obama should name.

Teachers' unions, an influential segment of the party base, want an advocate for their members, someone like Obama adviser Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University professor, or Inez Tenenbaum, the former state schools chief in South Carolina.

Reform advocates want someone like New York schools chancellor Joel Klein, who wants teachers and schools held accountable for the performance of students.

Thus far Obama has avoided taking sides, saying things that reassure the competing factions. Obama has said, for instance, that teacher pay should be tied to student achievement, which reformers like, but not solely based on test scores, which teachers like.

"He's a wise man," said Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, chuckling. "He left himself some room to maneuver."

(snip)

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iT--F...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. "Here we go with two more factions of the so called 'Democratic Party' whining"
Since when is advocating your position on issues of importance "whining"?

You want to shut people up? Go live in Saudi Arabia.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
polichick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. Well said.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Thrill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
36. I don't want to shut anyone up. But I do get pissed
at people bitching and complaining about something that hasn't even happened yet. About as bad as the folks throwing hissy fits about Obama before he even takes office
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. not true
Obama is moving faster on cabinet appointments than previous presidents. That is why there is more commentary now.

Using words such as "whiners" and "hissy fits" and "bitching" is malicious and divisive and betrays weakness.

"I don't want to shut anyone up?" Then why use these tactics? Clearly the intent is to get others to dismiss people's opinions or not take them seriously. That IS a common way to shut people up. There should be no controversy about that, since we have all been victimized by the right wingers using the exact same tactic.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Generator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. Well this argument is asinine
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 03:55 PM by Generator
Which I hear the cult of personality people make EVERY DAMN DAY HERE. He IS picking people NOW that will AFFECT people's lives for the next many years. It doesn't matter that he's not in office yet, assuming you think he will be in office in 43 days and his picks that he announces are going to be confirmed which they most probably will.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #36
88. Well, if we "bitch" and "complain" loud enough, maybe some bad things WON'T happen.
Isn't that kind of the point of democracy?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
polichick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #36
97. Sometimes these names are floated just to get public reaction, ya know.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #97
102. I know...and so we...
...are! :7
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Alter Ego Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
2. Klein sounds like a nightmare.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fabio Donating Member (929 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. if you live in nyc,
you probably think otherwise.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Alter Ego Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I live in rural MA.
And I have two parents who are educators--one retired, one still active--and they bridle at any attempt to tie teachers' fates to the performance of their students.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GarbagemanLB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. So...how the fuck else should their performance be evaluated? Or should they be untouchable?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Alter Ego Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. It's utter bullshit to tie teachers' fates to student performance.
It's not always because of the teacher--what if you get a group of shitty, disinterested students? You could be the greatest educator on earth and still fail miserably because students don't care. Add to that low pay, bitchy parents, and red tape up the ass, and it's a wonder ANYONE goes into education.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. Or stays there until retirement, like some here have...
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:09 PM by YvonneCa
...done. We ought to be REWARDING these teachers (including myself in that :7) , instead of punishing them, like NCLB does.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
30. Though, a question remains...
how does one evaluate a teacher?

There must be *some* function of student performance, assessed over many years, that is a reliable metric of how good a teacher one is.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #30
72. We should be judged on our instructional skills
and not on student performance.

I teach special ed. My students' test scores are never going to earn me a damn thing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #72
90. I agree, but how does one measure that?
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 12:47 PM by Teaser
instructional skills implies that one is providing instruction. Is there a good metric for that?

Honestly, I don't know. My wife is a teacher (as, at a different level of the educational system, am I) and we struggle with an answer.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #90
91. They can be measured through observations
The good old fashioned way of evaluating teachers. :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elizm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 05:23 AM
Response to Reply #91
114. But even those can be subjective...depending on the evaluator.
I have been evaluated and have served as a peer evaluator. Sometimes you need more information than just that. Maybe a combination of the two (observations and student growth) would be the best way to evaluate teachers.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 05:40 AM
Response to Reply #114
115. And the Art teacher? Or the counselor?
What test scores can you use for them?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #115
116. We just won't do those things anymore, and that way...
Edited on Wed Dec-10-08 02:07 PM by YvonneCa
...we won't have to evaluate them. :sarcasm: :7 I mean that as a joke, but what is scary is that NCLB policies actually lay the groundwork to do it. :hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
47. I'd say test score IMPROVEMENT is key.
That would even out the playing field. Obviously an AP Econ teacher is going to have smarter students, but the students should still be learning even if they're already above average.

The problem with judging ONLY based on observations, and not tests, is that COLLEGES CARE ABOUT TESTS, not how lively the classroom is. We want kids to get into college so they can have good jobs later. If colleges are judging students based on numbers, then clearly test scores are one indication of a kid's future.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #47
52. As long as it's 'growth' in test scores...
...it could be *one* factor...but certainly not the only one.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. If you're a teacher, and over time, your students show zero improvement..
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 05:33 PM by mwei924
..then that probably says more about the teacher than weekly observations. If a class is fun and the teacher is super nice, but the kids still don't learn anything-- what's the point? If they don't learn the necessary material to be on par with their grade level, what does it matter if the classroom is a fun place? They're not being helped that way.

A teacher shouldn't get fired just because over one semester, students didn't do amazing. But over many years, if there is a consistent pattern, then maybe..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. Do you know how NCLB works? n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. I'm not in favor of most of NCLB, but testing is what gets kids into college.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 05:47 PM by mwei924
Standardized tests have a lot of problems, but colleges also use the SATs to accept students.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #56
57. Testing is not the problem. It's how the results are used...
...not to inform instruction, but to punish.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. Like I said, you shouldn't get fired after one semester for bad testing.
..but if it's over a number of years, then yes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. You really don't understand NCLB or...
...public schools at all.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #56
120. That's fine; but we can come up with lots better ways to evaluate teachers
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shellgame26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #53
107. How about if
the kids show up maybe twice a week at best and when you call the parents they're drunk out of their minds...would you still expect to see an improvement over a period of time? The problem is multi-faceted and as the saying goes it really does take a village to raise a kid.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shellgame26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #53
109. I'm sorry but
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 11:28 PM by shellgame26
I really hate to pile on you but you really should maybe quit your job and try teaching in a public school classroom for about a year or so. Then you will understand why a lot of what you're saying is meaningless. ANd once again, I don't mean to be rude but let me just give you one teeny example: Do you know that since NCLB school districts tell principals to inform teachers NOT TO TEACH ANYTHING BESIDES TEST PREP? That's right. I know it's hard to believe. They actually tell teachers NOT TO TEACH SCIENCE, NO SOCIAL STUDIES, NO ART...etc. They only want teachers to do test prep in the classroom because they are afraid of being classified as a (SURR) school (school under registration review). This is just ONE PART of the problem. Besides preempting other subjects in exchange for teaching kids test prep is completely self-defeating.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #47
108. Colleges care about *some* tests. NCLB proficiency tests aren't one of them.
At least, not in my experience nor in the experience of others I know in the county where we live.

SATs, ACTs, yes.
State-administered proficiencies, no.

So long as you've scored well enough to graduate high school with a diploma (as opposed to a certificate of completion), they couldn't care less the actual score. The question wasn't even on my son's applications 5 years ago. I guess it may have changed in the years since but if so, that's a pity.

Standardized proficiency tests are what you get when you mix politicians and education: a clusterfuck. They should never have been inflicted on our children and teachers in the first place and the sooner they are unceremoniously kicked to the curb the sooner our kids will actually begin to learn to THINK again.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #47
121. You are talking apples and oranges
The tests used for college admission are different from the ones for state proficiency on NCLB.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Willo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
92. Any teacher who views their students in that fashion is a failure.
Knowing more than the students does not make for a teacher/educator. It is the ability to engage, understand their thinking, and devise ways to get the students to learn what you know and how to continue learning on their own.

True teachers are rare in comparison to number of students who need them. It is a career borne of the love of students and desire to teach them. A professional who finds themselves in over their head would recognize it, swallow their pride, move on and out of the way.

If they simply want to walk into a room spew their knowledge and walk the hell out, they should become college professors.

Shitty, disinterested students - WTF!!! That is a teaching challenge and a good one will pick up the gauntlet over the paycheck.

Unfortunately, many "shitty, disinterested students" meet the shitty, disinterested "teacher" and the students ALWAYS lose in that encounter.





Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #9
131. You can still easily measure the value added by a teacher.
No one's asking them to make lemonade from piss. Just do the best you can with what you have. If you get your kids to perform better than they did before you got to them, you should be rewarded. If you consistently fail at this, you need to be fired.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #131
159. You are making some huge assumptions...
...here. Example: Let's say there are four second grade teachers. Every one of them produces an average of 1 to 3 years growth in their class of students. But they are very different as teachers...one complains about *certain* students placed in their class every year, another teaches 'GATE' students (and they get averaged into the total class improvement), another regularly takes kids the others don't want because of a belief that you work with students as they come to you, etc.

Thanks to the current focus on 'data' and 'results' (which does have a place) at the end of the year, these four teachers get a number (data) showing average growth of their class. IMO, data is important, but it is ONE measure of each teacher. Remember, ALL these teachers added value. ALL these teachers are good teachers. But administrators...under great pressure as 'at-will' employees...see this data. Some (really bad ones) make the data public by handing it out at staff meetings. This pits one teacher against another when we should all be working toward the same goal.

Data is a tool...but only ONE tool. Anyone who has taken a class in statistics will tell you you can twist data to make a case for anything.

That's what has changed under NCLB...successful teachers who help their students grow are NOT rewarded, they are punished because sometimes even 3-4 years growth is still below standard.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Not untouchable. But teachers don't control all...
...the variables of student performance. (ie: They can assign homeowork, but not make it get done.) Teachers also don't control a student's level when they walk in their door. A fifth grade class may have students who start the year with second grade skills. Teachers may teach those kids well...maybe two years growth...and they are still performing below grade level (fourth grade) at the end of the year. NCLB punishes for that, since the student is not at grade level or above. I prefer to evaluate the teacher by growth (as only ONE measure of performance.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
40. You're asking how should a teacher's performance be evaluated?
Via classroom observations and similar methods by the school's principal and other supervisors.

Duh. Would you like your performance evaluated based on how bad the garbage dump smells?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AnotherMother4Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
76. Should their performance be evaluated by the test scores of students who have no business
taking these tests? Children who have been identified as needing accommodations because of low IQ or English as a second language, or special education needs. Those accommodations are extra time, a quiet environment, more space. You can give these students all the time and space in the world and it will not improve their comprehension of the material.

These scores are factored into the general population of the classroom and school. And if the school or classroom has a large number of children with special needs or English language learners, the teacher, or principal, or the school can be in trouble.

And more important is the student who is being forced to take a test way above his/her ability level. That is beyond cruel, in my opinion.

No Child Left Behind sets students and therefore teachers and therefore schools and therefore communities and therefore our nation up for failure.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #76
87. Your last line says it all. "No Child Left Behind sets students...
...and therefore teachers and therefore schools and therefore communities and therefore our nation up for FAILURE."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #6
130. The best approach would probably be to bring in teachers from other schools.

Anyone who thinks that student performance in tests is a measure of teacher performance has automatically proven that they don't have a clue what they're talking about and shouldn't be allowed near the education system in any capacity.

If a) all teachers had identical classes and b) the tests in questions were ones that accurately measured everything we want a teacher to impart to a student, then it might concievably not be utterly insane. But both of those are not merely not the case, but laughably, absurdly far from being the case.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GarbagemanLB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #130
134. The point is, there needs to be some mechanism for evaluating teachers performance.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #134
136. Better no incentive system than a one that incentivises the wrong things, though.
I agree, there needs to be some system of encouraging teachers to teach well and removing the truly incompetent.

Awarding pay according to pupils' performance in tests will be worse that useless, though.

The least worst method is probably to have teachers grade other teachers - either headteachers grade their employees, or else have teachers go and examine teachers from other schools in a similar way to academics acting as external examiners.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
129. Yes, because teachers should not be judged on their performance.
:sarcasm:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GarbagemanLB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
5. It would help to pick someone the unions like, but at the same time, it should be someone who
won't simply bow down to them and all their wants.

In order for there to be reform, there needs to be some accountability on the teacher's part. Standardized testing may not be the solution, but there needs to be SOME mechanism that can kick bad teachers to the curb.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
7. Getting it right on education is critical. A choice that alienates the very people...
...who will implement the policy (teachers) frightens me. As a teacher, I believe in public education and public education reform. I DO NOT believe in NCLB...because it is punitive and divisive.

The choice of Klein or Michelle Rhee is also a divisive 'attack the teachers' act. It would send a message to teachers that they are the problem...which is untrue. The problems are multiple, and many-faceted. It is time (IMHO) to create a solution that will permit educators of all stripes (teachers, principals, curriculum experts, and administrators) to come together collaboratively to fix our public schools.

The 'blame game' has to stop.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. You know, after reading some of the responses here...
...I have to add something.

People not involved in the field of education may not realize something. DU is a Democratic board, but even here, many people don't realize how 'under attack' teachers have been during the Bush Administration. It was not always this way.

I have no argument with those who say "Let's get rid of bad teachers." Bad teachers have no place in schools. But most teachers are NOT bad teachers. They work hard, love kids, and go above and beyond to teach them and set them on a path to a bright future.

There has been a need to improve education for too long now. There are many reasons to fix our schools...mainly because our country's future DEPENDS on a highly educated, competent workforce.

But only in the past eight years have teachers been so highly stigmatized. Just like Bush has done in other parts of government he wants to get rid of (FEMA, EPA, the UN, ACLU, etc.) He starts by demonizing the department, its relevance and its ability to do the work...and then he REPLACES it. THAT's what he has been doing to education for eight years (and before...remember Republican efforts to abolish the Education Dept.?)

My problem :) is that so many of you here...presumably Democrats...have bought the line that teachers are the 'bad guys'. How did that happen?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. I have to agree. The teachers I know are in complete agreement
with getting bad teachers out of the system. BUT - the idea that teachers are the enemy is a GOP/RW idea going back to Newt's famous Contract on America. This is a fecet of the anti-education anti-intelligence pro ignorance policies of the rightist repiblicans, who know that their base of support comes from the ignorant, uninformed and afraid.
Bush's policy has been a failure (Shock and Awe!) but there is a lot of good in our educational system once we get past fundie controlled school boards and administrators.

mark
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Your words: "the idea that teachers are the enemy is a GOP/RW idea ...
...going back to Newt's famous Contract on America." Thank you for this. :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #14
21. As a retired teacher I thank you for your statement.
People are just unaware of the situation.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. And I thank you for yours. I agree that...
...people are unaware. I also think it's time we teachers change that. :7
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #14
78. Thank you for laying that out for us.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 09:22 PM by annabanana
I'd love to see you put out a thread about what "teaching to the test" means in the classroom environment..

And how schools get punished if they happen to have a higher than average percentage of students who's first language isn't English.. and how the mandate to provide EVERYONE the best education possible gives the charter schools a right to cherry pick students that the public schools just don't have.

The meme of the "greedy teacher" and the "all-powerful teacher's union" has been pushed into America's consciousness with the same violent insistence as "liberal media" and "the government IS the problem"..

It should never go unchallenged!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #78
83. Great post. I can only tell you that 'teaching to the test'...
...and the effect on my classroom environment (not to mention the stress for me personally) is why I retired last June. It was like being placed in a straight jacket in regard to curriculum and instruction, while being judged more punitively and harshly than ever about the test scores of my students.

I have come to believe that ...if teachers aren't included and/or valued in the process of school change...we are seeing the end of public education. I hope I am wrong.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #83
133. The problem has more to do with the tests themselves, not the concept of testing.
Our states have decided to go with the lazy route of increasing rigor in standards by cramming in more content (which is a failure) and the cheap-ass route of testing by going with bubble sheet tests (which is equally a failure).

If the standards and the testing reflected a student's ability to critically analyze information and problem solve, most good teachers would not be in a straightjacket that you correctly characterize.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #133
138. I agree. But, as it currently is, the exact minutes for...
...each subject are micro-managed to the point that a 'teacher' is not needed. Someone to line kids up and shuffle them from room to room would do. It's really sad, IMHO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #138
142. That, however, is nowhere to be found in NCLB.
If that's your state or county's reaction to it - that's where the problem lies. But you won't find that anywhere in the federal law.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #142
145. There's nothing in there that says 'Only teach math...
...reading and writing' either...but when that's all that is tested (in the beginning), administrators only focus on what is tested. Other subjects disapppear. It affects what precious classroom time can be spent on.

NCLB has many unintended consequences.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Alter Ego Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. Agreeing with this.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:11 PM by Alter Ego
Public education as a whole needs an overhaul, because tossing more money into it as it is now will not work.

--Teacher pay across the board needs to fucking DOUBLE. My father was earning 6K when he started back in the late 60s--sure, sure, adjust for inflation and all that--but that's still a really small amount for such a heavy burden. For chrissakes, we entrust teachers with the education of the people who will determine the course of our future.

In my ideal world, new teachers would get a salary competitive with that of an entry-level corporate job--and with time and performance evaluation that would obviously increase. One of the things I disagreed with Obama on was merit pay--it's just a dumb idea. There's no metric to base it on. What could you POSSIBLY use other than performance evaluation?

--Standardized testing. I could write a long rant full of impotent anger about why I hate standardized testing, but I don't have the stomach for it right now. Suffice to say--it fucking sucks.

--The gradual phasing out of art, recess, physical education, music...all of it in favor of more math and English and science. Not that those are bad things, but early and secondary education should be a liberal arts education--students should be exposed to it all. The loss of recess and physical education is causing students to become hyperactive and less attentive, too--and the loss of music, especially, is affecting math scores.

--Shitty food. Need I say more?

--Crappy supplies/facilities. Schools are halls of learning--they should be fucking PALACES.

EDIT: Asshole parents. If I have to hear one more douchebag say to me "Them publick skule teechers got it easy--they done get the summer off," I will rip out his intestines and strangle him with them. Fucking douchebag parents making excuses for delinquent/asshole children who don't bother to do homework, bully other children, are loud, rude, disrespectful, and just general wastes of flesh...I HATE parents who do that. They are the enablers for the serial murderers of the future, in my opinion.

End rant.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. EXCELLENT post. We are in complete...
...agreement. :pals:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Alter Ego Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. You and my parents are so battle-scarred that you should get fucking Purple Hearts.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #27
100. I tell people that teachers DO work twelve months a year -- they just

do twelve months'work in nine months and then often have to go to school in summer to update their certification!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #100
104. That would be true. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
illuminaughty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #16
111. Great rant.
I've had a dance studio for 27 years and I have the utmost respect for school teachers. I can barely recognize children today as civilized human beings. For years I loved my job and couldn't devote enough hours to it.

But, now..."general wastes of flesh" sums it up. I keep telling them I'm picking them up on Christmas morning and dropping them off in Haiti for the week. So spoiled, lazy and out of control.
And these students are here because they want to be and I can kick them out if need be. The poor teacher is at the mercy of EVERYONE. They cannot pay you enough IMO. As as society bottoms out on the dumbing down scale, it will just get worse.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shellgame26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
99. I totally agree with you and I just love how
People who have never been inside one of America's public school classrooms pretend to know the answers to the problems public schools are facing. Let me tell you, unless you've worked in the classroom YOU HAVE NO IDEA what kind of a challenge it is for well-meaning well-intentioned young teachers. The things I've seen!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #99
106. Thanks for your response. I have seen so many...
...idealistic, 'well-meaning, well-intentioned young teachers'...with great potential...driven out because of the lack of respect or support and working conditions that will only worsen with all the state budget cuts. And to now have those teachers and the veteran teachers who have devoted a life to making their schools better become scapegoats of the problems in public schools...well, it's just plain WRONG.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #7
132. You say you believe in public education reform.
Please tell me which reforms you would implement, excluding more funding (which at least everyone at DU should be able to agree with).

The problem is that the teachers unions have tried to block ALL reform. I don't blame them - they're there to protect their constituency - but the status quo clearly cannot continue.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #132
139. Here are a few of my favorites...
...with the underlying prerequisite that teachers MUST be involved in designing a program in order for it to be successful:

1. Ungraded schools at the elementary level. As some have said here, mastery of concepts should be required to move on. It's WAY more complicated than that...but clearly passing kids from grade to grade does not work.

2. Integrate curriculum. Learning makes more sense to kids when connections to other knowledge can be made. We have lost that in the era of NCLB. And we can still keep standards to meet...just not in isolation.

3. Create multiple pathways/goals for graduation...all of them rigorous. Have it kick in at about age 10 or so...be flexible until age 12 (to be sure the child has made a good personal choice)...and then be the student's committed choice after that. Some kids may choose science/math, others may go into writing/journalism, others to a third choice. It's important to design these pathways well...for areas students will need to work in in the future. When they finish, they are job-ready or college ready...but THEY have some buy-in to their future goal (not just their teacher or their parents).

4. For teachers, stop demeaning them and start treating them professionally. Create career paths for them. Very few exist now, because teaching used to be a 'traditional woman's job.'

5. Find ways to involve parents in their child's education...ie. Student Led Conferences, Curriculum Fair, technology, etc. The list is endless.

I'm going to stop now. :7

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #139
143. My responses...
1) No way, no how. I agree that passing kids on from one grade to the next doesn't work, but ties more into #3, which I'm fully in favor of. I think moving away from testing actually makes it more likely to have a kid just moved along, as parents would simply pressure teachers into doing so, and without test scores, they'd have little to no recourse. Pushy parents are already a major problem - this would make it worse, and it'd be a legal nightmare for schools.

2) Abso-freaking-lutely. I disagree completely, however, that this has been lost in NCLB - I don't believe it existed in the first place outside of what I call "random acts of excellence". I think standards need to be built around this idea - it's the only way to get it into classrooms.

3) Again, absolutely. Politically, the concept of "tracking" has never been acceptable - that was a basic reaction to the Tough Choices, Tough Times report (if you haven't read it, you definitely should). Parents don't want to have their kid in the "stupid" track, regardless of whether or not it's an accurate description. It's a perception versus reality thing that you'll never win, sadly.

4) Teachers need to start treating themselves professionally first. Can you name another set of professionals that uses labor contracts built largely off of blue-collar job sectors? Or another set of professionals that would ever accept a non-differentiated wage structure based on performance? Or hell, one that completely rejects any kind of accountability for their performances? As far as demeaning teachers, if you mean the shit that parents and students give them in the classroom - absolutely. We need principals and superintendents with spines that will actually back up what their teachers do and support their decisions - not wilt at the first hint of a problem because they're scared of a law suit or being unpopular. Outside of that, teachers are not demeaned or demonized, if you're talking about policy discussions. If that's what you're saying, then that's another place where teachers need to act more professionally too. No one in this world can legitimately argue that there aren't a lot of bad teachers in this world, but there are few people praised and respected like a good teacher.

5) Absolutely, but I'm not sure governmental policy is where to start. I think Obama's message was a great place - use the bully pulpit to start societal change rather than mandating it through law or coercing it. For a disengaged parent, no conference or fair alone is going to bring them back to the table.

I will note one thing, however. Outside of your first reform, not a single one of these is exclusive with NCLB. They can be done right now, with the laws we have in place and co-exist peacefully.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #143
146. I am not anti- testing. I just want to teach...
...more hours than I test. :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #146
148. Fair enough.
As a nation, we need to focus on better testing, not more of it. Massachusetts has the right idea, but others haven't followed suit because MA's tests cost $7 a piece, compared to NC's which cost about $0.60. Time, money, and laziness - those have become the barriers to better education across our country. You said elsewhere that NCLB had many unintended consequences, but those are largely a result of two things: 1) Bush not putting enough money into it and 2) states looking for expedient answers and cover-ups rather than sound solutions. It's the whole "you can lead a horse to water..." routine.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #148
155. It also caused a CYA mentality...
...in some states, counties and districts. If the only test given was for NCLB...once a year...I'd cheer. But, in my county, tests are given three times a year...in reading, math and writing...to be sure state standards are met...in addition to NCLB. We start the school year...we test. We get to Christmas...we test. We return in the spring...we do test prep and test NCLB. After NCLB, at the end of the year...we test again. That's what I mean. And anyone who has taught knows you don't just test one day...you have all the hassle because kids are absent/makeups, etc. And then ther's the focus on scoring.

Teacher energy needs to be on the kids and teaching. JMHO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #143
147. I agree with you on #2, except...
...that in my school it absolutely WAS there before NCLB, and DID go away after...by district policy. They referred to the 'I' word...and said we weren't going to do that anymore. Now, with a new Supt., that is changing this year (I hear).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #147
152. I think too many people in the education community clinged for dear life after NCLB was passed.
It created an enormous and largely unnecessary backlash that created a lot of destructive state and local policies, such as your situation. That's (another) failure of the Bush administration for not trying to get people on board and helping people understand the law in favor of a "my way or the highway" approach that typified the past 8 years.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #152
156. It was also a failure to anticipate results. Just like the ...
...Iraq war, when people told GWB and his people what would happen and they failed to listen. It has been his pattern...and it was a pattern that he repeated with the education community.

He didn't listen to even educators who told him what the effect would be. This is the main reason that , I believe, teachers MUST be involved in Obama's plan going forward. Not that they (we) know EVERYTHING or are always right...but because we can anticipate consequences that might be unintended.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #143
149. 'Tracking' is done by educators. I am against...
...tracking, for the reasons you state. What I want are career path/education goals that are designed with teachers, parents and students' participation. The student is the one who should choose the path...with family support. I want kids to go to school for some other reason than just to hang out with their freinds. (As important as that is. :7 )
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #149
151. Agreed entirely.
I'd include that local and regional businesses need to help with that as well. In far too many areas, particularly low-income and minority ones, parents and students have no idea what jobs are really out there because neither have been exposed to them. Teachers are also ill-informed, as they are, well, teaching and not in business and industry. Businesses need to do a better job getting involved with exposing people to the career possibilities (GlaxoSmithKline actually does a phenomenal job of this in NC and PA with science careers, for example.) Education policies also have to be put in place to encourage work-based learning opportunities and job-shadowing programs.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #151
157. YAaaaY! We actually agree...
...here. :7 I know of some partnerships here in Ca. with UCSD and SDSU. The universities partner with schools and business. Teachers need more of a voice, though. ;)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #143
153. As to #4, we disagree. From an earlier ...
...post:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
People not involved in the field of education may not realize something. DU is a Democratic board, but even here, many people don't realize how 'under attack' teachers have been during the Bush Administration. It was not always this way.

I have no argument with those who say "Let's get rid of bad teachers." Bad teachers have no place in schools. But most teachers are NOT bad teachers. They work hard, love kids, and go above and beyond to teach them and set them on a path to a bright future.

There has been a need to improve education for too long now. There are many reasons to fix our schools...mainly because our country's future DEPENDS on a highly educated, competent workforce.

But only in the past eight years have teachers been so highly stigmatized. Just like Bush has done in other parts of government he wants to get rid of (FEMA, EPA, the UN, ACLU, etc.) He starts by demonizing the department, its relevance and its ability to do the work...and then he REPLACES it. THAT's what he has been doing to education for eight years (and before...remember Republican efforts to abolish the Education Dept.?)

My problem is that so many of you here...presumably Democrats...have bought the line that teachers are the 'bad guys'. How did that happen?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Right now, many principals are NOT supporting teachers at all. Many are permitting demonization...sort of like what is happening with the UAW story...to tear down unions and contracts. I believe those who demonize teachers want vouchers and privatization...not to fix PUBLIC schools.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #143
154. And for #5...I agree. The reasons those things...
...have not helped so far is the lack of political will. Obama...with a 'bully pulpit'...could (if he chooses) put some power behind those efforts and add some of his own. It is yet to be determined which policies he will support in regard to parents.

"I will note one thing, however. Outside of your first reform, not a single one of these is exclusive with NCLB. They can be done right now, with the laws we have in place and co-exist peacefully." Your words. I agree that they can be done...not only that, many have been done. I just think NCLB has been more of a barrier to success than helpful. NCLB's punitive nature excludes techers. As long as it does that and labels them as 'the problem with education,' success will elude us. IMO.

As to # 1, it's probably the most important transformational thing we could do. Again, JMHO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #132
140. P.S. ...
...about the unions:

One reason it always seems unions are blocking any reform is that the reforms being proposed under Bush are not really transformational...they're the same old tired complaints: Get rid of tenure, cut benefits (they all want this because pensions and health care is getting expensive), and try to give the teachers more paperwork to do to prove they are trying to change, vouchers (because they want to privatize public education which would eventually get rid of it).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #140
144. Re: unions
About some of those tired old complaints...

There is no excuse for tenure. Few other positions in this world offer you complete job security based on seniority. It is absurd that tenure exists in the first place. If teachers need greater job protections, they can be offered without tenure.

Cutting benefits should be largely unacceptable, however, pensions are probably going to disappear. I don't think they should cut them for teachers that have them (that would be tantamount to theft), but they should stop being offered to new teachers. They really are bankrupting the system and were very poorly conceived idea.

For paperwork: my wife used to teach, and I never understood why the paperwork couldn't be handled by a $10/hr assistant rather than a teacher. Totally absurd to have a professional dealing with that much bureaucracy. It's part of the mentality that every tax dollar should go directly to instruction, as if the indirect dollars don't have an even greater effect sometimes.

Vouchers are a non-starter. Fortunately, you'll likely never see it happen. If it didn't happen under Bush, it'll never happen. Private schools are usually shittier than public ones - it's just that their mommies and daddies are typically a) wealthy and b) engaged in their children's education, so of course their students do better.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #144
158. Tired old complaints...
"Cutting benefits should be largely unacceptable, however, pensions are probably going to disappear. I don't think they should cut them for teachers that have them (that would be tantamount to theft), but they should stop being offered to new teachers. They really are bankrupting the system and were very poorly conceived idea."

I agree pensions are going away. I DO think they are being stolen as we speak...and teachers are being pushed out the door by age (isn't that discrimination?). Many districts have stopped offering them to new teachers. Maybe that hs something to do with pushing older teachers out the door??? :7

"For paperwork: my wife used to teach, and I never understood why the paperwork couldn't be handled by a $10/hr assistant rather than a teacher. Totally absurd to have a professional dealing with that much bureaucracy. It's part of the mentality that every tax dollar should go directly to instruction, as if the indirect dollars don't have an even greater effect sometimes."


It is totally absurd. That's what I mean by teachers no being treated professionally. I used to do camp for students. It took HOURS of paperwork and fund raising. It was a GREAT part of our science program...so why didn't the district just PAY for it? Again...teachers need to have a voice in the solutions. :)

I hope you are right about vouchers...and I'll let that 'tenure' thing go... :7
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
8. Has Obama named anyone yet? Cause I hadn't heard.
:shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Not that I know of. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Because the headline of the post is "Obama Education pick sparks Conflict"....
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 11:36 AM by FrenchieCat
and I'm trying to figure out why an Obama Pick is being touted when there isn't one.

Could it be to "spark conflict"? :shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. The headline of the post is the same as the AP article linked. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
alwysdrunk Donating Member (908 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
13. The students are more important to me than the teachers.
I say this as the product of public schools and the son and brother of a principal and a teacher. Talking with them about the problems is public schools is why I know NCLB is such horrible policy. But it's also how I know that large number of teachers, and positions in the teachers unions are part of the problem.

As much respect I have for the profession of teaching, I still have to recognize that there are many areas where the interests of teachers and the interests of students can be at odds. I've been a student, been close to teachers; I side with the students.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. I've been a student and (breifly) a teacher
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:05 PM by Aya Reiko
Even then, I can safely tell you the system isn't in need of a repair or two. It's in need of a complete overhaul because the whole system is totally broken.

Schools and unions do not want teachers anymore, they want "Dr. Phil"s. There is an extreme emphasis on quantity over quality of graduating students. If Obama wants quality graduates, his best move would be to tell the unions just where to shove it.

Edit--

Added note: Obama *absolutely* must overhaul the system. If ever there is an opportunity for the Repukes to rally their troops and rebuild their base, this is it. It would not be difficult for the Repukes to appeal to the people by pointing out how misguided and outright wrong the current educational system is at the moment. And, if I'm not mistaken, most people have a rather dim view about the state of public education at the moment.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. This is what I mean about divisiveness. When did this...
...become a conflict between teachers and students? Why does one have to choose between those two alternatives? Could we add 'parents' to the equation? Could we add 'business round table' to the equation? There are many stakeholders here.

I, too, have been a student. I am a parent and a teacher. I know many educators at all levels. I am so much for the students it HURTS. But public education won't be fixed by division and pitting one side against another.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
alwysdrunk Donating Member (908 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Because the teachers are organized and have political clout
The students and parents (I group these together), really don't. When it comes to bad teachers just showing up and going through the motions, the unions push for policies that protect these teachers jobs by pushing to keep tenure policies and such. That isn't the intention of those policies, but it is the effect.

I agree that the system needs complete overhaul. If the system worked in a different way, maybe the teachers wouldn't need unions at all.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Just so you know, the Republicans also demonize unions...
...and would like them to be gone. I'm not saying unions are always good or right...but things like an 8-hour workday, child labor laws, the minimum wage, and family/medical leave act happened BECAUSE of unions. We take these for granted in 2008...but they could go away if we don't stand up for them.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
alwysdrunk Donating Member (908 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. We need unions to fight worker exploitation, no doubt
I'm not anti-union at all and I never will be for the reasons you just listed. But, the reasons unions exist is to protect the interests of the unionized workers, where they conflict with the interests of the employers. In education, the employers are the parents, the taxpayers and the community. Who, more often than not, loses out when the business loses out? The kids.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #32
35. The employer is the state...
...government of the public school. (Although it is true that funding comes from taxpayers at the federal and state level.) Teachers are the employees who do have valid interests in need of protection. The parents, community and students are our consumers. We have a duty to serve them well. We all lose out when things are not working.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
4lbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
28. We should remember what PE Obama said in his DNC acceptance speech about teachers and schools.
He said he wanted to increase teacher's wages and spending on schools, AND also hold them accountable for the performance of the students. If they aren't teaching the students well enough, replace them.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
31. Dean should get Education.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Agreed. To overhaul the system, we need a high-profile reformer (who is opposed to NCLB). (nt)
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:45 PM by w4rma
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
33. The unions represent the teachers. The teachers know what is best from a first-person perspective.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:44 PM by w4rma
Side with the teacher's unions and 90% of the time you'll have chosen wisely.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #33
43. The unions are looking out for their jobs, not the students.
I don't fault them for it, that's the purpose of unions. But they are definitely NOT looking out for the students when they refuse to let schools fire crappy tenured teachers.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. So your problem is with the tenure system? (nt)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. I'd like to see merit pay as well.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 04:53 PM by mwei924
I had a few really great teachers in high school (one who got her entire class to pass the AP US History test with a 4 or 5), and I thought they deserved so much more than the ones who just popped in videos everyday, and then sat their desk.

Both are being majorly opposed by the teacher's unions.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #46
59. No Child Left Behind and the Standardized tests penalize teachers like the one you liked, however.nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #59
63. I agree. Some here are not familiar with NCLB, other...
...than RW talking points. :(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #46
68. talk to me.
I bust my ass every day, but I teach kids with special needs who are expected to pass the standard test. If I get a child who reads at a second grade level in the fifth grade and move him up two grade levels in a year, but he doesn't pass the test, explain to me how I should get penalized.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shellgame26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #68
110. Exactly
I taught special ed in NYC and all my students were 3 or more grade levels behind when I first got them. If the students show up every day and the parents are supportive and there's no useless administrator trying to antagonize you, then the students will improve but unfortunately not enough to pass an 8th grade test when they're only reading at a 3rd grade level or lower.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #110
124. you didn't get the memo?
You're supposed to do the undoable.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #46
94. History isn't tested under NCLB
So that favorite teacher of yours would get nothing under a merit pay system that relies on test scores.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #94
103. And that teacher would also lose respect ...
...for what he/she does. It would no longer be valued. Please don't misunderstand...I think that's wrong, but it IS happening.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #33
66. well said.
Good to see you around again. :hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #66
71. Thanks, friend! And you, also! (nt)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
last_texas_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
37. Yeah, because waiting until a pick is made before expressing one's views
on the type of pick that one would like to see obviously seems like a more effective strategy...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #37
89. ...
... :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
39. Teachers held **accountable**? I thought everybody was crowing about his *pragmatism*?
:rofl:

If teachers were held accountable, about 90% of them would be summarily fired, on the grounds of simple stupidity.

Don't worry about the accountability-non-starter, just incentivize SMART people to become teachers:

(1) Quadruple teacher salaries immediately,
(2) Remove barriers to entry for people without so-called "education degrees".
(3) Make professional advancement contingent on, among other things, gaining advanced degrees in a non-education field.
(4) Substantially improve teaching conditions (time committment especially).

The idiots who are turning our kids into idiots will be smoothly supplanted by smart people, for whom teaching will now be a *practical*, as well as a noble option.

Since the teacher's unions is an active force for embedding stupidity deeper and deeper into our country, solve the problem from the OTHER direction - an infusion of smart folks!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. Lobbying hard for that well-deserved, long-overdue tombstone?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #41
48. Sounds like he's one of those people upset...
because they won't let him in a room full of children alone.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #39
60. deleted
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 06:33 PM by senseandsensibility
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #39
96. WTF?
Where am I? :wtf:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shellgame26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #39
113. Some of those things you mention have been done
States like Ny implemented a program to hire 'new people' from different walks of life who had successful careers and who graduated at the top of their class. They increased the starting salary and made it tougher to get certification. Guess what. The kids scores still didn't improve. Time to start looking at other areas of the public school system to properly diagnose the problems. I'm not saying there aren't bad teachers but 'bad teachers' are not as numerous as the anti-teacher/union blowhards will have you believe.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #39
117. That is the single most idiotic reply I've read in this thread.
And that is saying a lot.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #117
123. it's a compulstion w/ Bloo where teachers are concerned. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #39
135. One teeny problem
Edited on Thu Dec-11-08 08:35 AM by Vash the Stampede
Adding just $1000 to every teacher's salary would cost $3 billion nationwide. Quadrupling the average salary would cost the country $450 billion - more than 7.5x what the federal government spends on education overall right now.

Unless you entirely slash defense spending, it's not going to happen.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
42. He should have some distance between himself and the unions.
The unions are looking out for their own-- not the students. Someone needs to look out for all the kids who get stuck with bad teachers and end up having a very hard time catching up. Test scores are the only objective measure-- and guess what, that's how you get accepted into college too. If they can improve test scores at least, that says a lot about the kids' chances of going to college and getting a much better paying job in life. I'm not sure what other measures can really prove a teacher's effectiveness. Maybe there are some intangibles like "passion" or "kindness" but those things alone aren't gonna get your kids into college. If you're an algebra teacher who can't teach your students algebra, then the rest matters very little.

Obama took a stand during the primaries (and the unions were endorsing Hillary anyway) but then put merit-pay on the back burner for the General. I'm hoping that he'll go back to his NEA speech in 2007.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #42
54. What if you're an algebra teacher and you can't teach...
...some students grade-level algebra because they don't know how to multiply or divide? Is that the algebra teacher's fault?

Or...somewhere down the line... did the student not learn to multiply and divide because they didn't have help at home, didn't care about doing homework, didn't value learning (maybe because they knew their family could never afford college anyway and just look at the state of our economy now!) ? The algebra test score is important. It shouldn't be the determining factor for the quality of a teacher.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #54
65. Those kids should be repeating a level of math..
A kid who can't multiply or divide should not be allowed to pass pre-algebra. Classes have prereqs for a reason.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #65
67. K-8 schools assign students to a grade based on...
...their age, not their ability in a given subject. I'm sure in high school and/or college, students have to have done the prerequisite work. Not so in K-8. And we teach algebra and geometry, too.

In the area of language arts, students must meet grade level writing standards (which is GOOD)...but what about the ones who can't read at grade level yet, let alone write proficiently for their grade level?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mwei924 Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #67
69. Middle schools assign Math by level.
You can test into a high level math class before you start middle school.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #69
73. I think 'leveling' students for math instruction is...
...the only thing that works. We did that at my school for a while...but after NCLB, it became 'taboo.' We were told to teach the same grade level content to every child in the class (prerequisite learning or not). And then they held us (teachers) accountable when the scores took a dive. THAT'S NCLB in some districts.

How is that good for students?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shellgame26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 02:30 AM
Response to Reply #69
112. Ok I've got it
You have no freaking idea about what you're talking about. There's no such thing as prereqs in k through 12. Once again I appeal to you. Get your certification go and work in a public school classroom and then you might understand things a little better.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 06:15 AM
Response to Reply #67
127. No, students in high school and college don't have to have done the

prerequisite work to take a class. High school and college teachers face pressure to pass most students and not give too many Ds or even Cs. Every kid is supposed to get an A or a B according to their parents and the administrators want to keep the parents happy. At the same time, teachers aren't supposed to contribute to grade inflation! It's all crazy.

When I was in high school, the guidance counselor decided who got in college prep classes. In the high schools where I taught, the kids just signed up for college prep and probably half of them didn't belong there and weren't going to go to college,anyway. Being in college prep was just a style thing and something many parents wanted.

The only way to solve our educational problems is to stop passing kids who don't do the work or pass the tests. Kids who are years behind in math and/or reading should have to get up to speed before moving on. Most if not all schools have remedial, compensatory, and special education programs but parents can refuse to allow their child to be remediated so the problem is passed on to the teacher. Most kids can learn at least at general level but some of them need a lot of help to get there, more individual help than a teacher can give during class, especially if it's a college prep class.

Teachers are required to teach a lot of objectives -- on which the students will be tested with standardized tests. I was teaching 9th and 10th graders things they would be tested on in 12th grade graduation tests, which is a little crazy. We covered way too much material for the average student to retain for two or three years.

Having also taught college, I know that my high school students were being expected to learn college biology before they were ready for it. The text I had to use in general and college prep h.s. classes was no different from a college text. Today's h.s. biology texts include a lot of chemistry but kids haven't yet studied chemistry or have studied only elementary chemistry in a physical science class. And the reading level of the text was way above the average reading level of the students. It's all ridiculous.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
49. I for one hate seeing the endless blame placed on teachers
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 05:18 PM by tigereye
granted there are some who are not good and probably should retire, but most want to teach, and I think the system we have now (thanks in part to Bush et al) makes it even harder.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. Thank you. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #51
75. you are welcome!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
50. I'm going to repeat this, because I'm having trouble...
...with such anti-union sentiment on a Democratic board. Most teachers are excellent...not horrible. The idea that 'getting rid of bad teachers' has become the mantra for fixing our schools is incorrect. Republicans are targeting teachers to meet their own agenda and making teachers into scapegoats for what is wrong with education. Teachers are NOT what is wrong...that is too simplistic. Posted upthread:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

You know, after reading some of the responses here, I have to add something.

People not involved in the field of education may not realize something. DU is a Democratic board, but even here, many people don't realize how 'under attack' teachers have been during the Bush Administration. It was not always this way.

I have no argument with those who say "Let's get rid of bad teachers." Bad teachers have no place in schools. But most teachers are NOT bad teachers. They work hard, love kids, and go above and beyond to teach them and set them on a path to a bright future.

There has been a need to improve education for too long now. There are many reasons to fix our schools...mainly because our country's future DEPENDS on a highly educated, competent workforce.

But only in the past eight years have teachers been so highly stigmatized. Just like Bush has done in other parts of government he wants to get rid of (FEMA, EPA, the UN, ACLU, etc.) He starts by demonizing the department, its relevance and its ability to do the work...and then he REPLACES it. THAT's what he has been doing to education for eight years (and before...remember Republican efforts to abolish the Education Dept.?)

My problem is that so many of you here...presumably Democrats...have bought the line that teachers are the 'bad guys'. How did that happen?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Do you all even realize that you are spouting RW talking points about education here? They want vouchers and privatization...not to fix PUBLIC schools.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #50
62. Thanks for fighting the good fight
I agree! :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #62
64. I appreciate you saying this. This is a discussion that needs to...
...happen.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #50
70. I agree with you somewhat, but
I've met some very liberal people in my lifetime that happen to agree with the Republicans on one issue, teacher tenure. If you watched the last two season of the West Wing, the Democratic candidate for President Matt Santos is about as liberal as they come but ruffles a lot of feathers in his own party because he's against teacher tenure. The writers didn't simply pull such a character out of their asses. There are genuine liberals on every other issue who simply think that teachers' unions are problematic. Not because they want to scapegoat unions like right wingers do but because they do believe that the system is broken.

I'm not entirely sure whether or not they are right. Education is complicated and I generally defer to those who know more about it than I do. What I do know is that in New Orleans after Katrina we replaced everything with charter schools and thus there is no more teachers union here. *Thus far* and let me again emphasize, thus far, it is a drastic improvement over what we had before. Will it continue to be? I don't know. Are there other factors besides the switch to charter schools that have impacted the quality of education? Probably yes. Would such a similar transition work everywhere else? I highly doubt it.

But what I do know is that some people on DU go absolutely apeshit when the words "charter school" are mentioned.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #70
74. I would like to see a pathway for advancement created...
...for teachers. Right now, it's a dead end job in many places.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #74
81. I agree with that amongst any other things regarding reform of the teaching position
For one, we as a society need to actually start valuing the job the way we value other professionals. Not just in pay but in respect as well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #81
82. That's true about respect...
...and valuing the job done by teachers. But it's difficult to legislate respect. ;)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #70
93. I agree with much of the sentiment here.
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 07:14 PM by Aya Reiko
In my experience, I've concluded that unions and administrators are typically looking out for #1 than the students. Of course, instead of looking for real solutions, they've routinely opted to cook the books. NCLB hasn't helped matters. In fact, it made things even worse.

As it is now, public education in America is, at best, mediocre, and, at worst, abysmal. And the powers that be have no interest in fixing it. (Probably because they don't want to admit they made mistakes. So they compound their earlier mistakes with even more mistakes.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:12 PM
Response to Original message
77. Teachers need to be held accountable
The hard part is that there isn't a perfect solution to do it. Test scores are an indication, but they can be influenced by factors outside the teachers control. Subjective measures can be abused too.

Obama is doing the right thing in trying to find a balance between protecting teachers but at the same time ensuring some accountability in the system. This is an issue where getting both sides to compromise a solution would do some real good.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #77
84. You are correct that there is no perfect solution. But...
...excluding teachers from the process is a sure way to fail. JMHO. :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #84
95. But letting them dominate it has been a proven failure too. {nt}
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #95
105. They haven't done that since NCLB. IMO. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #95
118. LOL!!! When have they EVER dominated anything?
Next, I suppose we can hear about how UAW is ruining the car companies because of their undue influence and power, right?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #118
122. ...
... :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 01:52 AM
Response to Reply #118
125. Take a look at what's happening in Math
Traditional methods are supported by mathematicians as proven and effective.

Constructivism is entirely built and supported by teachers, and has been a total failure with rising numbers of college students taking remedial classes and middle/high school students' scores actually declining.

Guess which one of these many administration officials are pushing?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #125
141. That's a perfect example of why teachers MUST be included...
...in all areas of change in public schools. As someone who has taught math (and about everything else :7) for over twenty years, I've learned that both methods have a place. Sometimes constructivism helps when a child is learning a new concept...but often, they get the concept, yet need an algorithm to get it to stick.

Teachers should be considered smart enough to know what a student...or a class...needs. I have known several great administrators and a few really lousy ones. Half the time, administrators have no clue and are just going with the current pedagogical flow.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #141
150. The problem is...
Edited on Fri Dec-12-08 10:56 AM by Aya Reiko
I've read scores of research, read news reports, and even seen the textbooks. I can safely tell you the constructivist pedagogy in math is not only an absolute joke, but it is outright dangerous. Constructivist pedagogy is treated almost like religious dogma, despite the fact that there is no valid research that supports the claims the proponents make. Actually, there is plenty of evidence that suggests that constructivism, in fact, doesn't work. Especially if the student is anything but the ideal student constructivist research is based around, which is 99% of all students.

But the main problem is no one wants to be held accountable for anything. And when things go tits up, no one wants to take responsibility. I know, I've seen it happen. When reviewing test scores, a classroom of math teachers blamed everyone (and especially the students) but themselves.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #95
119. n/t
Edited on Wed Dec-10-08 03:04 PM by IAmJacksSmirkingReve
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
79. Excuse me, but it is not the teachers who are culpable for America's education
debacle. American society pampers US students, not requiring them to study,not providing much needed guidance in the world's geography, its varied culture, language, history, art, classical music, not providing adequate scientific and language expertise in daily life. Parents are failing their own children, sending them out to work, instead of insisting that they study for papers, classwork, tests. The USA does not as a nation appreciate intellect and does not promote intelligence. Look at the past 8 years...a president, who despite his fancy diplomas, had no interest in knowledge, actually not even in basic grammatical English. Teachers in general are very competent, even dedicated, and cannot fight alone against a national stigma, called ignorance
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #79
85. Thanks. Teachers cannot do this alone. But Obama's...
...election shows that the public is waking up to the idea that intelligence in a president matters...maybe even more than 'likability.'


Change is coming!!! :7
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
80. You want change in education? You want higher performing schools? Then pay for it!
Teaching is one of the lowest paying professions around, always has been. Thus when a bright and promising student is looking at possible careers in college, they take a look at teaching, think wistfully that it would be lots of fun, but they can't live on the salary, so off they go, to become MBA's, lawyers, whatever. Raise teacher's pay so that it's comparable to say MBA's and such, then you would start getting more quality teachers. You want quality, you have to pay for it.

Repair, remodel and equip our schools in order to bring them up to the 21st century. Stop taking short cuts on facilities, these are, after all, our children we're talking about here.

Take the school funding mechanism out of the hands of the locals. God bless democracy and all, but nearly every damn time a school funding issue comes before the public it gets voted down. This is a natural human reaction: "Do you want more money coming out of your paycheck? Hell no!" Instead implement either a state or federal plan, perhaps both, that insures that all schools, inner city, suburbia, rural, are funded at the levels that are necessary to provide a quality education.

Stop it with the damn high stakes testing already. We've already ruined nearly a generation of children as is, do you want to ruin more? These tests are not a valid way of assessment, what would be more valid is to have either impartial observers, auditors, who come in and make the assessment. Then we can stop focusing almost solely on math, science and reading, and reintroduce subjects like social studies, art, music and PE, all of which are as equally vital to our children as math, science and reading.

Of course this is going to take money, lots of it. And for a country that supposedly values its children so much, we are quite reluctant to invest money in their future. We have to change that attitude now, before it's too late. Otherwise we're going to wind up with a two tier education system that will be leaving millions of children behind.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #80
86. What a thoughtful post! I agree. And if people really realized...
...that history wasn't even being taught, they'd REALLY be upset. Most people have NO idea what the effect of NCLB has been.


Great line:

"And for a country that supposedly values its children so much, we are quite reluctant to invest money in their future. We have to change that attitude now, before it's too late."


Yes we do. And...Yes WE Can. :)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Zodiak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
98. For the record, I am for tenure of teachers
If bad teachers are getting tenure, then something is wrong with the tenure system, but I still think that it is necessary in spirit. In colleges and universities, tenure review is a serious matter (or should be) that goes far beyond showing up to work every day. I would imagine that it is much the same at the K-12 level, but it is really a guess.

All DUers basically have defined a "good teacher" as someone who cares about their kid's education and is possessed of an endless supply of dedication to getting those kids the best education possible.

The only problem with people like that is that they are known to take a stand from time to time and piss off the wrong people. THAT is why they should have tenure...because dedication often means you have to stand up for what you believe is right. Without tenure, they will be fired for it.


Accountability must be provided across the board. Parents, teachers, students, administrators, and the politicians. Education is a special case where everyone has a stake, and therefore everyone needs to share the burden of accountability.

Communities should be held accountable if they are not funding a school adequately.

Parents need to be held accountable if their children are failing in school.

Students need to be held accountable for not doing their work beyond some nebulous "you'll be sorry in the future" warning that they cannot relate to.

Teachers need to be held accountable if there is a drop in their students' performance during their time with those students.

Administrators need to be held accountable for noticing such patterns and taking corrective, but not necessarily punitive measures.

And at last, politicians need to be held accountable if their actions noticeably degenerate our ability to educate our kids....and it is the community that should do that. Republican or Democrat...if they make your kids dumber, they are hurting the whole community.

It is a cyclic dependence...we are all to blame, and we all need to take ownership over it and do something. It is appalling that all of this focus is on teachers. I've seen it from both sides, and I have concluded that there is a severe aversion to accountability across the board. Pointing fingers at one group by all of the rest is just another symptom of that aversion.

Lots of good ideas here...smarter teachers (I agree with removing some barriers for non-education majors to teach), more pay, more money in the system, more direct observance of teachers rather than solely standardized testing, etc. This is where the conversation should be...

That, and generating the political will to get these things done. That last part is going to be tough judging by the fact that so many here have focused only on wrangling the teachers....and this is DU!

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #98
101. Wow. I could not have said it better. Thank you so much for ...
...making the case EXTREMELY well for teacher tenure. Just like other issues that require change...we first have to make the case, educate people on the facts and that knowledge can create the political will to produce the RIGHT KIND OF change.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FlaGranny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 05:43 AM
Response to Reply #98
126. I agree with your post.
Edited on Thu Dec-11-08 05:46 AM by FlaGranny
I must add one thing that I believe to be true - but just from my own experience. Parents are the most important factor. Parents must lead by example. This is a problem that I don't have a clue about how to fix, but the drive to learn comes from the home. Children need to be encouraged to learn and be enthusiastic about learning right from the beginning of their lives. They must be exposed to people who read, who talk about the world, about science, about how things work. In my family, this person was my father, who had a deep desire to learn everything he could. It rubbed off on his kids. The attitudes of parents COUNT - a lot. I have had excellent teachers and poor teachers throughout my years in school. I learned from both and did well with both. Without going further than grade 12, I educated myself because I had the desire to learn new things. I don't know if anyone remembers it, but some years ago there was an interactive TV program about science. The panel you were competing against were all science reporters. I took that science test and beat out every one of the science reporters. I attribute that to my father's example.

If parents have not raised their children with a thirst for knowledge, it will take exceptional teachers to instill that desire into those kids. The thirst for knowledge is the key.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 06:22 AM
Response to Original message
128. Here's the bottom line on "accountability" and "merit pay":

if a physician tells a patient s/he must take a medication and/or exercise, eat better, etc., and the patient fails to follow instructions and doesn't get better, even dies, we don't hold the doctor accountable or say his/her pay should be docked. The patient made bad choices and paid for them.

So why should teachers be held accountable for the performance of students who don't do their homework and don't study as prescribed by the teacher? Students make bad choices and many people want to penalize the teacher for those bad choices. That's not logical. Students have to face the consequences of their choices.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #128
137. It's not logical...or fair to teachers. But one reason I think...
...it happens is because part of a teacher's job is to *teach* responsibility (in addition to all the regular subject matter like math, reading, writing, etc.). We are then judged by our success in not only teaching math (for example) but also whether we influenced the child to become responsible enough to pay attention in class, do his/her homework, study for tests, etc...which would lead to success in math.

Doctors are not expected to *teach* responsible patient behavior...at least they haven't been up until now. That could be changing with this whole move to preventive medicine/healthy lifestyle focus.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Sep 16th 2014, 02:47 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC