Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

A Radical Fix for Schools? This week on NOW

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 » Topic Forums » Education Donate to DU
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-01-09 11:16 PM
Original message
A Radical Fix for Schools? This week on NOW

Do we need to gut our public schools in order to save them?

How is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan going to spend $100 billion in stimulus moneyalmost twice the education budgetto fix our nation's schools? During his seven years running Chicago's public schools, Duncan went head to head with the teacher's union and skeptical parents by closing down low-performing schools, getting rid of all the teachers, principals, even the janitors, and reopening them with new staffs as "turnaround schools."

It's a drastic step, but the results have been promising. This week, NOW travels to Chicago to investigate the collateral damage of a top-to-bottom school makeover, and to get a glimpse of what the future of education might look like for the rest of the country.

"We have to be willing to experience a little bit of pain and discomfort, but our children desperately need it and deserve it," Secretary Duncan tells NOW. "Just as we have to do it, unions have to change, principals have to change, teachers have to change, parents have to step up... business as usual is not going to get us there."

Watch it here -> http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/518/index.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
rwheeler31 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-01-09 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. This guy is too into the $.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-01-09 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. What do you mean?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-01-09 11:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. Has your opinion changed at all? And thanks for posting this. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-01-09 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Not really
I agree with the union president in the show. It's ridiculous and counter productive to fire every adult in a school.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-01-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Big doings in my district
Yesterday we elected a new union president and the board hired a new superintendent.

Lots of changes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. That has to be good! Ya think? nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Union prez - yes
She is a very good friend I used to teach with. And she will be a great prez.

Supt - don't know yet. :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I was talking about Duncan. What do you think? nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Did you watch that show?
It was interesting. But I don't understand what he did. Merely changing the staff isn't the answer. It's also too radical. And counter productive.

He replaced the principal. Smart idea. But then I have a bias. I have worked for far too many incompetent principals.

They trained intern teachers in a year long program with mentors. We do that now. It's a great program. But nothing new.

They hired new teachers. Most were brand new. We do that a lot in my district and it rarely works. You need SOME seasoned veterans to help those new teachers. To staff a building with 90% new teachers is stupid. I have seen it in action and it's sad. We have one building in my district this year like that and it is chaotic.

The teachers were trained. Well, we do that now. And it's always considered top notch, up to date, cutting edge. Don't know why that particular training is so much more special. They didn't show enough of it. But it sure looked like every training session I have sat through.

They restored order to the school. Principal stood at the door and greeted the kids as they arrived. Duh. All good elementary principals do that. Hallways were quiet and orderly. Well that new and improved school's hallways looked just like the hallways in every school where I have taught. (I happen to be one of the teachers who is a stickler about order in a school. Can't stand chaos. And neither can most kids.)

Side note: one of my darlings came back today after a 10 day suspension. He threatened to burn down the school. He was in my class for 20 minutes and threw a paper clip across the room at another kid. I put him out. Time out next door. Called his parent. She yelled at me, couldn't believe I was already mad at him when he just came back today. Of course, she saw nothing wrong with throwing stuff in class. :mad:

See where I am going with this? :)

Meanwhile, good teachers who used to work at that school are now unemployed. 30% did not find new jobs. That's bad.

Every time I see Arne Duncan I remember high schools turned into military academies. Yuck. Double yuck. And from what that program showed, he isn't doing anything too radical in the elementary schools.

Radical would be reducing class size and increasing teacher pay. But I don't think he did that.

Still largely unimpressed.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Radical would also include treating LD & behavioral-problem students properly.
Not just throwing them out into classrooms w/reg. ed teachers who are not prepared to deal w/their problems & have too many students to adequately accommodate them just because they need to have a class period filled in their schedule.
I spend the majority of my time on a handful of LD & severe behavior-problem students, while the other kids go wanting, simply because there is not enough of ME, or my time, to go around. I do not feel I can offer the LD kids what they need. I am not a Sp Ed teacher. I could have chosen that path, but I DID NOT for a reason. These kids need to be in classes where the teachers can effectively help them. As it stands now in my school, EVERYBODY is loosing.

As you say, some parents "don't get it". We've got to find a way to DEMAND parental responsibility in our society again. Make it inconvenient for THEM when kid is constant disruption.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. That's why I left regular ed
I knew how to teach but was frustrated by the large classes and the sped kids who took up way too much of my time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. This will be the reason I will most likely leave after this year.
The education system has become a bizarre carnival of mirrors from my perspective.

May I ask what you do now?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I teach special ed and I love it
I have only a few kids at a time. I can zero in on what they need to learn and I see real progress. If you like to teach but get tired of managing a large group, special ed is wonderful.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Taitertots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. About the trouble student
He threatened to burn down the school and didn't get resuspended or expelled?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. He was suspended for the threat
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
11. Instead of asking educators
what changes need to happen to make schools successful, and what support is needed to effectively enact those changes, AND THEN PROVIDING THE NECESSARY SUPPORT, Duncan decides that it's okay to close down schools and re-engineer them from the top down.

Authoritarian, top-down, forced "change" will not beget the generational, foundational, grass-roots change that will create a flexible, vital, thriving system that will best serve ALL learners.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. You have been around as long as I have
When the hell have they ever asked teachers what to do?

Not only are we never consulted, but when we do offer ideas, we are belittled and called all kinds of names.

I want to see ONE school where the teachers really get to make decisions and determine what is best for our kids. Wouldn't that be a switch? :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 07:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. I worked at one school like that, once.
It was designed by parents, teachers, and district admins. It lasted a few years, and was highly successful. It went away because there was a concerted effort from the district to take that power back, and from our union, because our colleagues in other schools were disgruntled at not having the same freedoms.

I didn't blame them. This is why I've been against charter schools, although we were not a charter. We were just given more autonomy than the rest of the schools in the district. I think every school should have that same autonomy.

It wasn't privatization; it was allowing more local control.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
unschooler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-20-09 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Sad story. Sorry to hear it. n/t
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 Wed Aug 27th 2014, 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Education 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