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Smarmie Doofus

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 12,319

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LGBT History Project

This is an oldie (Oct 2011) but I'll reprise it here.... if you don't mind.... so I can move it to my "new" DU2 journal.


Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Wed Jan 7, 2015, 05:19 AM (2 replies)

Steep Drops Seen In Teacher-Prep Enrollment Numbers

Posted this to GD yesterday... hoping for some illumination; found none from the general DU public. ( OK: Some, but not much.)


Isn't the absolute BEDROCK premise of the ed "reform" movement the assumption that the *quality* of US teachers is deficient? We need to attract the "best and brightest"? How 'bout this: "The single most important variable in educational outcomes is not poverty or SES but rather THE QUALITY OF THE TEACHER IN THE CLASSROOM."?

Point: if their aim is actually to raise the quality of teachers... wouldn't the strategy include a way to INCREASE enrollment "in the pipeline" so to speak? ( Then you have a bigger pool from which to select the "best and brightest" among them. No?)

But Obama era "reforms".... onerous, if not odious, to active teachers and ( it would seem to follow, onerous as well to "high quality" candidates that would otherwise be interested in replacing them) .... appear to have turned the flow of ALL candidates DOWN to a trickle. Inevitable result: LOWER, not HIGHER quality teachers. ( Because there's fewer candidates to choose from. That follows. Right?)

In short, if Obama/ Duncan/ Gates and the crew are... as they purport.... trying to "improve the quality of the teacher in the classroom", they SEEM to be going about it the HARD way.

Maybe I'm missing something GLARINGLY large here. ( Or maybe *they* are. Or perhaps they speak with ""forked tongue"?)

Comments and analysis welcome. What's ACTUALLY going on here?

>>>>Steep Drops Seen in Teacher-Prep Enrollment Numbers

California and other big states particularly hard hit, raising supply concerns

By Stephen Sawchukrticle

Fresh from the United States Air Force, Zachary Branson, 33, wanted a career with a structured day and hours that would allow him to be home in time to watch his kids in the evening. But just a month into his online teacher-preparation program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he had something of a crisis of faith.

It was brought on, he said, by the sense of being in the middle of an ideological war that surfaced in everything from state-level education policy on down to his course textbook, which had a distinct anti-standardized-testing bent.

"I feel like teachers are becoming a wedge politically, and I don't want anything to do with that," Mr. Branson said.
He's not alone in having qualms about entering the teaching profession.

Massive changes to the profession, coupled with budget woes, appear to be shaking the image of teaching as a stable, engaging career. Nationwide, enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have fallen by about 10 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to federal estimates from the U.S. Department of Education's postsecondary data collection.

Teacher-Prep Enrollment Trends by State
Enrollments in teacher-preparation programs (including alternative-route options) have fallen dramatically in some states in recent years, while holding steady in others.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Act Title II Data Collection
Some large states, like heavyweight California, appear to have been particularly hard hit. The Golden State lost some 22,000 teacher-prep enrollments, or 53 per>>>>

the rest at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/22/09enroll.h34.html
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sun Nov 2, 2014, 11:04 AM (3 replies)

Barbara Bush, Rye's most famous native, might have the best insight into Rye's seeming apathy.

In other words, they, the citizenry, don't want to spoil their "beautiful minds" thinking about such unpleasantness.

That may hold true for now... but if/when they have to pay-up big settlements out of their school tax because of admin malfeasance... the dynamic may quickly change.

Rye is not the Bronx.... where there is basically NO accountability of provider ( DOE) to consumer.

The bigger issue here, though... and the problem fundamental to this current epidemic of lawlessness and malicious prosecutions of teachers and whistleblowers around the country but especially in NYS... is the limited immunity ( unreasonably and illogically) conferred on school admins for repeated reckless and vindictive actions. SUPPOSEDLY performed in their official capacity.

Laws have to be changed to make them pay out of pocket when they are acting in the way they are acting in Rye. And elsewhere.

Certainly the Portelos and Howrilka's cases in NYC. The prosecution of these two cases in particular are suggestive of criminal activity ... including possible conspiracy... on the part of the NYC DOE. At the very least, civil malicious prosecution; in which case I want the perpetrators of the the malicious prosecution to PAY for it; not the NYC taxpayer. (That's me, BTW.)

Good overview of the Rye case here:


South Bronx School does his customarily thorough job in tracking down the details. The link above will help some folks to follow along.

What a great OP. K and R
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Tue Apr 22, 2014, 09:42 AM (0 replies)

Not many people go into teaching to make "the big bucks."

If they do... they're stupid and probably become administrators within the first 5 years. ( It occurs to them: "Like, uhh, this is HARD.")

Most teachers like kids, like the relative autonomy that teachers ( used to) have, the chance to develop intellectual interests that would be denied them in a typical corporate office and ... at least in a lot of cases .... like the fact that their work schedule follows the school calendar.

So... you're right, the idiotic merit pay schemes floated by these corporate "reform" geniuses ( who are completely convinced that everybody n the world thinks EXACTLY the way THEY do) are dead in the water; completely lost on teachers.

I think you have teachers clamoring for better schools for kids because that IS in their own material self interest as well. It sounds self serving because it IS self serving. But in fact, the interests of both consumer and provider tend to be aligned on many issues in education ( not by any means ALL) and pretty much ALL of the biggies: safe schools, good funding, classrooms and curricula that *work*, limited bureaucracy, and administrators who understand teaching and learning. These things help EVERYONE.

We haven't had a raise in NYC since.... I think.... 2009, and are not going to get one soon. But that's far from what teachers here are worried about these days. They're worried about being fired over nonsense, having no real union, and being worked to exhaustion ( i.e. burnout) by "reform"-generated paperwork and statistic-gathering.

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sat Aug 17, 2013, 05:47 PM (0 replies)

It's true. The politicians... and the people who OWN them... have to get over the idea that they....

... have any useful role to play in how schools are designed and run.

The truth is they understand *nothing*.

Teachers go into teaching and not investment banking because they care about kids. Investment bankers and politicians go into investment banking and politics because they care about INVESTMENT BANKING AND POLITICS.

It's a titanically bad idea to turn education policy over to people so inclined. Schools need to be places where teachers can teach and not obsess about not meeting political benchmarks and aligning the instruction with politically-inspired "standards". And they need to be run by principals who know how to teach and can develop that ability in others.

That ain't happening anymore.

I wonder why.

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Thu May 23, 2013, 09:42 PM (1 replies)

Rec. 1. Greenwald's article is scathingly brilliant. Read it and re-read it.

2. This Lisa Williams person is beyond belief. Who is she and where did they find her? SHE's the "President of the Bd."? She sounds..... ummmmm.... let's just say "ill-equipped."

3. This issue is interesting and important on so many levels. Some of us date back to the days when the "parades" were actually political *marches* designed to challenge universally-imposed invisibilty and generalized ( I mean in the sense of "permeating every facet of life") heterosexism.

They've gradually become less political, less edgy, more commercial and frankly... to me anyway... less purposeful and less interesting. They've become essentially corporate exercises and , now --- the dim-witted ramblings of Ms. Williams have alerted us to this fact --- politically conservative.

There are reasons for this evolution; some of them are positive. Increasing acceptance of non-standard expressions of sexuality and gender. ( More sexuality than gender, but still, we've made a lot of social progress.)

The lgbt movement has to figure out where it's going next. With marriage equality now pretty much a matter of just waiting for the rest of the dominos to fall, and legal obstacles to military service also on the way out, we have to identify a rationale to continue as a movement.

Should we just assimilate completely... and have a once -a-year celebration of ... well... not much of anything ? Sort of like St. Patrick's Day for lgbts?

Or does being lgbt mean more than just showing up as another essentially meaningless sliver on the American demographic pie chart?

The Manning issue is kind of a crossroads here. I myself don't know the answer. But it will be interesting, and probably instructive, to see how this plays out.

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Mon Apr 29, 2013, 09:43 AM (0 replies)

The old GOP was WAY to the left of where the RW of the DEM party is now.

Can you imagine Obama saying something like ( or even *quoting* ) what Eisenhower said in 1960 re. the "military-industrial-congressional ( "congressional" was in the original text; he should have left it in, obviously) complex"?

It's inconceivable. The reality is, he'd be describing himself.

As a party we DEMs still claim to champion labor. But where did that 1 billion dollars come from that just paid for the president's campaign ? It didn't come primarily from working people, I can assure you. And since it mostly came from corporate interests it's less "contribution" than "investment".

Money expects, and *gets* a return on its investments. That's how it got to be "money".

re. History: the under 50s think of "impeachment" as a circus having something to do w. a semen stained dress. Need I say more? It's a different mentality altogether.
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sun Dec 2, 2012, 06:30 PM (1 replies)

At some point in time, the Nixon wing of the GOP was absorbed by the....

.... RW of our party and the attitude toward Manning among these neo-Dems is kind of a case in point.

There's also a generation-gap type thingie going on. People in their forties and younger missed VN-Watergate, etc etc etc and were brainwashed by the post VN revisionism with which the general public was swamped via gov't and ma$$ media in the 80's.

That revisionism is now their perception. ( I'm speaking in GENERAL terms. Not everyone under 50 was successfully brainwashed. But AS A GENERATION their brains are spic and span.)
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 08:30 AM (1 replies)

I dislike all three terminologies.

Esp. 'queer' and 'faggot'. Word meanings *evolve*. They bring along some element of their earlier meaning as they do so.

Yet, the evidence suggests that , in real life, there is nothing "queer" ( weird, strange, unusual) about my sexuality. Nor am I in any sense like a "bundle" of kindling wood. Though a few ---- I hope *only* a few --- would doubtless like to put me to the torch.... as they did in the 'not so good' old days. Most of the remainder would be happy to see me merely socially marginalized, one suspects. I can live w. that; quite literally. ('Course it would be better if I didn't HAVE to).

I was around when "gay" was more-or-less adopted by the nascent lgbt movement; our predecessors as you put it. (No Ts or Bs in the early days. Not may Ls for that matter. At least not many that preferred to identify as such.) I never liked the presumption that the word implies that I have to 'feel" a particular way, or BE in particular mood. ( Yes, I understand it has a long and complex etymological pedigree that I have not completely accounted for here. But the presumption of mood and/or feeling is basic to the word. )

Fuck it. I wanna have the same emotional latitude that the society affords everyone else. "Gay" or not.

Plus which... I'm not so big on "reclaiming" things. Esp. nasty terminologies so that we.... the targets of their original coinage... can "own" it or "take the sting out of it."

That never really works. Hence the socio-cultural chaos attendant to the reclaiming by some African Americans of the "n word", and all of its myriad pronunciations and spellings. And if reclaiming "gay" was a successful move , why --- forty+ years later --- does it alone ( as in 'so gay') rival "faggot" as the epithet of choice among the , ummmm.... "non-gay".

It doesn't seem to me that we've won the war over that word. Social opprobrium has merely evolved to attach itself to "our" terminology. ( Sort of like a antibiotic-resistant bacteria.) Point: there's a lot more wrong here than we can fix by simply experimenting w. language.

But if I have to vote, "gay" is preferable to the other two. That's what we USE and , bottom line, it's about communication. "Homo", with its detached, objective neutral yet descriptive qualities is preferable to all three. Now THERE'S something to reclaim.

But I'm not holding my breath.
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:43 AM (0 replies)

If ya got good admins... turnover is bad.

If they're corrupt ( or just clunkers) we want 'em turned over. Sooner the better.

I can see your point though. I'm from SpEd background, exclusively. Our parents don't fuss about a B+ or worry about getting into Harvard. Basically, they want to see their kids as independent as possible before they... i.e. the parent... dies.

We occasionally get an intractably hostile parent but it's usually because their circumstance... including the dysfunctional system set up to "help" them... has made them crazy.

Most of the SPED parents though, want what we want: they want the school to teach their kids what they need to know to survive in the world. They want that. We ( the teachers) want that. It's the admins that get in the way: they want to introduce "reform" dogma into an area to which it is ENTIRELY irrelevant. They want to teach kids algebra even if the kids can't count money or tell time because the common core curriculum says that's what ALL kids should be doing at age 15.

And the admins *evaluate* the teachers on the basis of how well they do THAT , i.e. teach common core and related school "reform" corporate orthodoxies that are totally out of place here. ( They're out of place *everywhere*, but they are mind-bogglingly out of place here.)

I realize the issues are not precisely the same in gen ed as far as teacher evals go. Also , it's been a real long time since I've had a supervisor who could knew how to "motivate and balance people's needs." Early on.... yes. But not in a long time. Now they're just soulless bureaucrats.

Also, i didn't mean to imply that ONE parent should have any kind of veto-power type influence.... even in gen ed. I'm just saying that the dynamic is such that ... correct me if I'm wrong.... in GENERAL terms, parents in gen ed will recognize and wish to see retained effective teachers. No?

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Mon Sep 17, 2012, 06:29 AM (1 replies)
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