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Lorax Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:11 AM
Original message
This teacher has had enough.
The public education system in this country is broken. The reasons are many, and the solutions are complicated. But rather than look at all those problems, it has become easier to blame the teachers. After all, they are the ones teaching, right? Well that might be true if teachers had more control over curriculum, or class size, or even classroom management. But they don't.

I worked my heart out in my classroom. I worked myself into a significant health problem. When it got to the point where my doctors told me if I continued working the way I was, I'd end up having a heart attack in the classroom, I STILL struggled with leaving. I loved my job and I loved my students. I struggled with that choice but ultimately I love my life and my own family just a little bit more.

I didn't go into teaching for the money. I knew the money wasn't great. I knew I'd be putting in extra hours. I knew good teachers go "above and beyond" and I was willing to do that. I probably would have done the job for less money. It wasn't the lack of money that forced me to leave. It was the stress of being in an untenable position day after day.

If we really want to attract and retain the best and brightest to be teachers, then we need to provide them with what they need to be successful.
* Reduce class sizes to more manageable levels
* Provide curriculum and resource materials so teachers don't have to spend their own money to make things for their classroom on their own time.
* Provide more guidance counseling and social services type people in the schools to help students deal with the myriad of issues they come to school with each day.
* We need more special educators and early intervention programs.
* Those special educators need support personnel in the school to help deal with the crushing amounts of paperwork and scheduling of meetings (this alone is a full-time job but a special educator is expected to do this after teaching students all day).
* Fix the infrastructure in schools. All students deserve to be educated in a building with running water, working toilets, working heat, windows that open or working air conditioning. I have worked in a building that didn't have those things AND no one can concentrate when it is 84 degrees in your windowless classroom and there are roaches walking under the blackboard. Fix the infrastructure!
* Enforce behavioral expectations and stop coddling narciccistic children. I've had parents tell me, "well we don't really have rules for him at home, so I can't share any ideas for what might get him to follow rules at school".
* Provide better and more effective mentoring for new teachers.

As I said earlier, I probably would have done the job for less money. But I couldn't have continued to do it even if I had been paid twice as much because there were too many other factors that were broken. All I wanted was the tools to do my job
and maybe just a tiny bit of respect. It absolutely breaks my heart to read post after post on DU from people who think we are all a bunch of whiny, incompetent boobs. It breaks my heart to think that most of the American public thinks that teachers ARE to blame for the sorry state of our public schools. I think of how hard I worked, how much I gave up and how much I asked my family to sacrifice, and I want to cry.

Good luck with fixing the schools by insulting teachers and blaming them for the failures of society as a whole. Good luck attracting and retaining the best and the brightest when it is so obvious how little respect anyone has for teachers. If it wasn't for the Cooking and Baking forum, I'd probably stop coming to DU entirely. For now, I think I'll just restrict myself to that forum. I've really had enough of the teacher bashing on this board.

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Bluzmann57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. No teacher bashing from me
I have a great deal of respect for the majority of teachers out there, especially in these troubled times. Thank you for trying.
And as far as blaming teachers, I believe that the conservatives and as a result, the mass media has helped to spread the "blame teachers" mantra. And that is shameful.
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Voice for Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
106. One improvement that would be easy to implement would be to have high school and
perhaps college students work as teaching assistants in the classrooms -- for educational credit. I think everybody would win -- help for the teachers, learning & valuable life experience for the teaching assistants, and more fun for the classroom students -- who would tend to be more enthusiastic about learning if they had young teaching assistants.
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
208. Years ago, on 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney said "We don't need better teachers. We need better parents."
And I couldn't agree with him more.

In nearly every case that I know of, the child is in a family with way too many problems (single parent, poverty, substance abuse, child abuse, lack of structure/discipline) but on top of that, that parent(s) do not value education and don't make an effort to help their child get an education.

It's heartbreaking to see what these children have as their home environment, their role models and their mentors.

The teachers are the heroes but they cannot provide everything that child needs to succeed.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks for posting, Lorax. I'm sorry you quit teaching when you loved it, but I can't blame you,

considering all the crap you had to deal with.

Lots of people WANT the public schools to fail. Want to end the public school system.

SOmeone told me once there was a conspiracy against the public schools. I thought then she was paranoid. I don't think so any more.




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WinstonSmith4740 Donating Member (266 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
100. BINGO, Racoon!
Two years ago, I returned to teaching after many years away. I still love it, even tho the kids (and their parents)can drive me bat-shit crazy. But the demise of public education started with Reagan, who took a meat cleaver to the education funding in this country. I said it then, and I'll say it now. These people (primarily Republicans) DON'T WANT an educated populace. Educated people know how to think for themselves and are much tougher to control than uneducated one. They want a nation of "ditto-heads" that will take what is spoon fed to them and never ask "Why?" I refuse to give "study guides" to my students, or allow them to use their books during tests. You'd think I was standing over them with a whip and chair!

As far as I'm concerned, beyond the lack of funding, the parents today are a huge part of the problem. I tudor elementary kids after school, and I had one parent actually tell me a couple of weeks ago that she doesn't "tell my kid what she has to do." (Her child had stopped coming to tutoring, after getting her math grade up from an "F" to a "C", so I called her to find out what was going on.) Her child is 11!!!! If parents won't raise their own kids, who's going to?

Sorry we're losing you, Lorax. Burn-out is a bitch. Best of luck in your future endeavors.:fistbump:
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #100
115. she doesn't "tell my kid what she has to do."
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 01:58 PM by AlbertCat
Her child is 11!!!!


Let's see.

So she was born in 1998.

Let say the parents were in their early 30's, late 20's, in 1998.

This means they were born around 1968. So they started elementary school around 1974, were in the dreaded 7th grade (puberty, y'know...and the 1st time you really start acting and having school like an adult) around 1981 and high school around 1984 -1988.

No wonder they have no rules! Their "adult" lives start with Reagan ideals. "Government IS the problem"...y'know. No rules!

Oh...and "greed is good".
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #115
205. Bingo! That is exactly where it took a nose dive
Reagan has poisoned that generation and they don't know how to function any other way. Not all but many.
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vietnam_war_vet Donating Member (60 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #100
235. Winston, you're so correct, RE: the GOP's deliberate effort to "dumb down" America
Edited on Wed Mar-18-09 12:48 AM by vietnam_war_vet
Winston, although I agree with you that Reagan budget cuts for public education have greatly contributed to the decades-long sabotaging of our nation's public education system, this deliberate Republican effort can be traced all the way back to the Nixon administration -- the same administration that fostered so many of the key officials (elected and appointed) in the Reagan, Bush41, and Bush43 administrations. You know, the "Dick Cheneys", et al.

Perhaps a few DUers recall that Reagan's first Secretary of Education (Theo Bell from Utah) was appointed and directed that his sole objective was to close down/eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. Thankfully, once sufficient numbers of the general public realized the implications (no more federal student financial aid, no more federal educational research grants, etc...), the ensuing public uproar resulted in Reagan and his advisers rethinking their objective to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. Theo Bell resigned and William Bennett (yes, THAT William Bennett) became Reagan's new Secretary of Education.

Bennett and his advisers came up with a new strategy that still had the goal of sabotaging his department's effectiveness and negatively impacting our nation's public education system. Bennett turned the department's policies, regulations, and procedures into a frustrating, usually irrational and illogical maze. From the federal education department's end....to the delivery system's end (i.e., postsecondary student financial aid offices all across our nation)....to the financial aid application end, the entire process under Bennett became a nightmarish maze and deliberately so. I was a postsecondary student financial aid officer from the mid-80s to early '90s. I watched as long-time financial aid colleagues threw their hands up and left the field out of pure frustration. I watched as parents and their college-bound children struggled and struggled with the ever-more maddening, irrational financial aid application process....with many either failing to successfully negotiate the application process or getting snagged by one of a myriad of nonsensical regulations and being ruled -- unfairly so -- as being ineligible for federal student aid. And on and on and on.....

You get the idea. The bottom line is that it has long been part of the Republican leadership's hidden agenda to dumb down our nation's citizens -- specifically by deliberately sabotaging/weakening the effectiveness of our nation's public education system. Yep, decrease the public's knowledge/information base and their capacity to think critically in order to create more manipulable/gullible citizens who will be more and more likely to believe the GOP's deceitful spin and partisan propaganda.

BTW, two of my brothers and both of their spouses are long-time public elementary and/or secondary educators, plus my wife is an university professor. Collectively, they have shared countless stories with me over the years about the ongoing deterioration of our nation's public education system. :-( -- Michael
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lib_wit_it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #100
261. I should have read this before I tried to say the same thing, below. You said it better!
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #2
146. She was not just paranoid.
The undermining of public education started way back with the John Birch Society and caught hold because of integration.
And it not a conspiracy theory they were pretty open about at first. At first they tried to paint teachers as communists and later switched to the more effective...teachers are incompetent and lazy.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
3. the real shame in this is that it is probably going to be allowed to fail
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 09:22 AM by DrDan
particularly in red states.

In Florida, the GOP is just not going to raise taxes to provide the fixes you suggest. Instead, their solution is to cut budgets, cut teachers, increase class size, cancel new building projects.

Absolutely NO TAX INCREASES. Screw the kids. Screw the next generation. They will allow the schools to fail, blame the teacher's unions, blame the liberal teachers. Push for vouchers.

I HATE these bastards. They are willing to sacrifice this entire generation with their acceptance of failing schools.

I have no kids in school. But I am more than willing to pay more taxes to improve the schools. I think most are willing to do this. But the GOP just continue to play their no-tax-increase agenda - regardless of the outcome.

Unless of course, we can wage a new war.
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distantearlywarning Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
4. I'm sorry. You'll get no bashing from me.
My mom was a teacher, and I know exactly how hard she worked with so little. There were many times she bought materials like textbooks for her students out of her own pocket because the schools wouldn't pay for it. And that was in a so-called "good" school district. I can't imagine what it must be like in lower socio-economic areas.

Some of us here aren't assholes, and we support teachers. And we know how hard you work!

:pals: :yourock:
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
5. Our public education system has been taken in by a fundamental fallacy
thought up by some badly-educated idealogue a couple decades ago - that everyone is "equal" in every conceivable sense of the word and by God if it isn't we'll just enforce it by lowering educational standards to match the lowest common denominator.

"...all men are created equal" was never meant to be taken literally, it means equal with respect to treatment under the law and basic human rights (it's perfectly clear when read in context.)

The fact is, not everyone has equal abilities to learn and not everyone needs, deserves, or benefits from educational efforts that exceed their limits.
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Lost in CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
42. Hear Hear....
I got flamed a few days ago for pointing out the exact same thing... (Or course I called it teaching to the stupid which probably didn't help matters.)

:thumbsup:
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #42
47. I'm amazed nobody has yet called me a racist or classist or god knows what other kind of ist.
:shrug:
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Lost in CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #47
49. Make it an OP and then be prepared to duck...
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #49
54. I would, but I have to leave for Seattle in a few minutes. I sure as hell don't need to be
accused of hit 'n run posting.
:D
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #47
79. NAZI !!
just thought I'd throw that in there so you don't feel neglected. ;)
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #79
96. LOL
Best post of the day! :D
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #47
157. Ha! I just delivered a sermon on Sunday about how valuing equality is absurd.
I thought I was going to get my head handed to me, so I was glad to get the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received.

I'll back you up on this every time. If anyone wants to claim every single person on this planet is equal they are going to have a lot of explaining to do. I do value diversity and justice, but to claim everyone is and should be equal flies in the face of reality.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
52. LOL
"it means equal with respect to treatment under the law and basic human rights (it's perfectly clear when read in context.)"

Public education is a matter of law, and a basic human right.

Ergo, everybody is afforded the benefits of educational efforts. Even the untermensch.
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #52
53. What part of
"The fact is, not everyone has equal abilities to learn and not everyone needs, deserves, or benefits from educational efforts that exceed their limits."

is too abstract for you?
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #53
57. "too abstract for you?" I get it, and I'm loving the irony.
What's also hilarious is the false premise that teachers don't understand that not everyone has equal abilities to learn.

Kind of reminds me when fat couch potatoes tell professional athletes how to do the job, only it's even more absurd.
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #57
63. I see that one of our
resident teacher-bashers is back. Get off your keyboard and go help out in a literacy program, teacher-basher. I was going to say go help out in a classroom but I'm sure this teacher would want your "help."
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #63
64. 3rd grade teacher here: Check it out:
I had a 100% passing rate on our reading test this year with 14 students earning "commended performance." I teach in a Title 1 school. You would not believe some of the home-lives 1/4 of my students come from.

So teacher bashers, do us all a favor and GO PLAY MARBLES IN THE FREEWAY!!!

That did feel good.
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #64
94. You are ranting at yourself.
:silly:
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #64
114. Whomever is sandwiched
between this post and my other post immediately above is on ignore, so go kick your dog and pretend it's a teacher.
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #114
122. I'm sorry....I don't see any teacher bashing here.
In fact...the post you complained about actually praises teachers for understanding their students.

I don't get what you're all upset about.
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #122
139. I don't use ignore lightly:
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 03:17 PM by callous taoboy
If a person is on my ignore list it means that in the past few days they had not nice things to say about teachers. I won't listen to that shit on this progressive board, no matter if he / she is now playing nicely. "I works too hard!"
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #139
147. It's the system! No one is saying
it's all the teacher's fault. Did you read the OP at all?
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #147
149. Not disagreeing with the OP. Have been thumped repeatedly
in other posts re: merit pay for being a "whiny," "ungrateful," "lazy" teacher. If I have someone on igonore in the whole of DU it is because they have personally attacked me for being a teacher. Well, one jackass on ignore, a fellow teacher no less, gave me a dressing-down over something that I had posted BEFORE he had bothered to ask for details that would've helped him understand my actions.

SICK OF IT. Sick of the scapegoating, and the teacher-bashers can go to hell!
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #114
123. "Whoever,"
not "whomever."
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #123
137. Whatever!
:P
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #57
97. You still can't read. I've defended teachers a hundred times, it is the SYSTEM
I find to be FUBAR.
jeezus
:eyes:
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #53
119. no one is arguing about that
I am not sure what you are trying to say - education is wasted on the stupid, we are coddling people, and equal opportunity has its limits, or....?

But I do not think that anyone is arguing that all people are literally equal, which makes your argument a straw man argument.

Interestingly enough, the exact same argument you are using here was used in the 1850s against the Abolitionists and against the anti-slavery politicians. For example, Stephen Douglas famously - or infamously - used this straw man argument repeatedly in the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

The false and malicious thinking behind these arguments is that the smarter, or better, people will somehow suffer if we help the less fortunate or disadvantaged among us. This is then followed by the false claim that others are trying to enforce equality by dragging people down so that everyone is the same.

This is an extremely reactionary argument, and a favorite of the right wing for decades.



....
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #119
127. Thank you, Two Americas. nt
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #119
202. I see it as "from each according to his/her abilities, to each according to his/her needs"
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 08:54 PM by MedleyMisty
People do actually argue that all people are literally equal. Try making a thread about gifted education some time and see all the people come out to say that everyone's brains work in exactly the same way. Try getting school administrators to differentiate a bit for a gifted kid and you'll see people trying to drag people down to make sure everyone is the same.

Of course I have seen a couple of posts about giftedness in the last few days that makes me realize why people react the way they do - some people are elitist classist assholes about it. But NOT everyone.

You're bundling concepts and not seeing the ways that people can have different ideas and motivations behind arguments that you perceive as similar on the surface to some concept you have of a rightwing argument again. For instance, I really don't get how you get "equal opportunity has its limits" from that. Or what the fuck it has to do with slavery, other than it being illegal to teach slaves how to read for much the same reasons that our education system has been destroyed.

I don't think that the post is saying that smarter people will suffer if we help the not so smart. I don't see anything like "Special education for the developmentally delayed is taking money away from special education for the intellectually gifted, oh noes, how are we ever going to have our pure Aryan race?! Better start sterilizing mentally disabled people now!!!"

Why is it not possible to help everyone? Why is it not possible to acknowledge everyone's abilities and help everyone in their weak areas? Why can't intellectual ability be treated as just another difference that makes us all unique? Well - I was going to list some but then I realized that although I personally think those are just physical differences society as a whole does actually hate and discriminate against and privilege people based on those physical differences.

I don't know. I really don't want to live on this planet anymore.

Anyway, I am not sure how thinking that it might be better for everyone to go at their natural pace rather than trying to keep everyone in some arbitrary age/grade lockstep and teaching to the lowest end of ability in that age/grade lockstep leads to an argument for slavery. Unless you think that only rich white kids are intellectually gifted? Judging from the behavior and choices of those rich white kids when they're adults in power and comparing that to the poor and African American people I worked with at Arby's, I'd say that's a horribly wrong assumption.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #202
212. I agree with you
I agree with what you are saying here.
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unapatriciated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #119
253. yes thank you...
It's the kind of argument used by rwingers to further their goal in completely destroying public education.
The masses are just too stupid to comprehend anything past the basic skills needed to work the low paying jobs provided by the corporations.
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kenfrequed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #5
66. I disagree
I think changes in ciriculum, broadening the variety of knowledge that is taught, and teaching to tests has caused far more damage than any supposed reduction in standards.

I also don't think this is the result of some inherent skill or natural ability.
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zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
87. Nor do we know who is whom
Everyone does not have equal abilities, however, we are rarely able to discern those who have them and those who do not. "All men are created equal" is a working assumption we know is wrong, but accept as an assumption because we have no ability to sort us all out other than through living. We presume that all children "can learn" until it is otherwise demonstrated. Furthermore, a poor performance can be due to several factors, not all of the permanent. Quite honestly, the current demands for education in this country are significantly low such that the vast majority of students should be able to be successful. The problem is the obstacles to achieving that are numerous and often outside the direct control or influence of the teachers.

I suspect one of the problems to which you allude is that there will always be children who excel well ahead of their peers. The goal generally is to try to "catch up" the weaker students. In there is the flaw that the weaker students can some how "learn faster" than the stronger ones. The flip side of that of course is that learning isn't linear and slower students may still be able to make progress through the early work that will, within reason, catch them up to within a reasonable working distance of the stronger students. Furthermore, especially in the younger ages, once a student has developed some competence in a skill, they can often then become stronger students. This can be especially true of reading and math. There may be fundamental obstacles. But once they are surmounted, they can excel much faster, even than the originally strong students. As such, it is relatively important to not "classify" or "give up" too soon on students. Of course, it is also beholden to us to not impede the stronger students in order to keep them at pace with slower students.
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #87
102. Thanks, you did a very nice job of expanding on my observation!
:D

I like your somewhat opaque allusion to the virtual "Catch-22" in which the only way for underachieving students to 'catch up' is to excel.
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zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #102
121. Yup
In the end many don't. I was in a small enough town that I went through school with some students that were in 1st grade with me. I was a "jet" in the reading department. I was reading the "see Jane run" crowd on day one. There were kids there still working on the alphabet. They "caught them up" to me, but predominately these kids were always a step behind. By high school graduation, I was headed off to engineering school, and most of them were lucky to be getting a degree (a couple never did). My guess is that these kids never really were "caught up", but merely were able to pass some test (potentially more of a subjective test than an objective one). And I'd bet I spent the summers going to the "book mobile" and reading 5 or more books a week (many psuedo nonfiction subject books of inventors and historical figures) while they probably watched alot of TV and hung out at some play ground.

It's not that kids can't be helped to "catch up", it's that the reasons they are behind in the first place rarely go away. Exceptions abound of course, but to presume that a teacher/school can "catch up" a kid without really addressing how or why he is "behind" in the first place would seem to me to be an institutionalized form of "betting against the house". Apparently they see that with Head Start. They get these kids up and running, but as they progress through elementary school, with out the cointinued help, they just fall behind again.
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #87
150. That's the same crap that the teachers use to dismiss
TAG students. They all even out by third grade. Such a load of manure. Every child has their own rate of learning. If one child's rate is significantly ahead of another's the other isn't going to catch up or suddenly learn faster than the quicker child. You've contradicted yourself.

*************

"The goal generally is to try to "catch up" the weaker students. In there is the flaw that the weaker students can some how "learn faster" than the stronger ones. The flip side of that of course is that learning isn't linear and slower students may still be able to make progress through the early work that will, within reason, catch them up to within a reasonable working distance of the stronger students. Furthermore, especially in the younger ages, once a student has developed some competence in a skill, they can often then become stronger students. This can be especially true of reading and math. There may be fundamental obstacles. But once they are surmounted, they can excel much faster, even than the originally strong students."

***********

With this sort of thinking, you're making the point that tag students really can't get a an education at their rate and level of learning! Great job.
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CubicleGuy Donating Member (271 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #5
113. According to Albert Jay Nock...
... in his book "The Theory of Education in the United States" (written back in 1932, a compilation of lectures he gave in 1931), we stopped educating people here long ago. Google the title, and you should be able to come up with an online copy of it in short order.

What we do do is to train people to enter a vocation. The purpose of education, however, is to teach people how to think. We don't do that any longer, because it is the rare individual who is ever exposed to the great thinkers of the past.

The economic mess that we are currently in is all the proof we need that we, as a society, are by and large uneducated. An educated people would not have come in this direction, because they would have seen early on that the course they were taking was madness.
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #113
126. we stopped educating people here long ago.
Yes. There's no critical thinking. There's no teaching of how to solve real problems by thinking things through. If there were, we wouldn't be worrying about shit like "Teaching the controversy" of Evolution vs Creationism. This is something that should be dismissed after .02 seconds of critical thinking.

Of course...and this is something people should pay attention to...it's the PARENTS who are all bent out of shape over crap like this. The students are just worried about their homework.

If we could just keep the parents at bay....
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tooko13 Donating Member (12 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #113
148. Response
In the case of the U.S. the purpose of education is to pass on the Republic as it moves forward to the youth. I believe that you are correct and that in the "passing on" we must help the youth to be innovative, think logically and critically, solve problems, and appreciate others and their differences. Currently, we do train people, but not for a vocation. If we did then we would have a vast skilled workforce, but we don't even do that. We train the youth to obey and follow rules...that is the part of the explicit, implicit, and hidden curriculum in every school. Look at schools particularly the ones in urban environments and think for a moment how similar they are to prisons...where all daily movements and actions are controlled by bells and traffic patterns...the system and where it is enacted are designed for control and not necessarily learning. With respect to using vocations as a means of learning... that in and of itself is not a bad idea and does not inhibit "higher order" learning. It all depends on how it is operationalized. For example, John Dewey, made the case that we should be teaching the youth through authentic applications of core academic subjects which engage the youth in critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation. Agriculture for example from the perspective of a tree farmer, could be used to teach and connect all kinds of concepts in biology, physics, chemistry, math, history, economics, and social studies in authentic ways.
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #148
175. With respect to using vocations as a means of learning... that in and of itself is not a bad idea
How about the guild system!


OK..seriously, it's a joke sometimes what is expected from employees and employers. I used to make period clothes for the movies and theatre. Pretty obscure job, I'd say. But I had to work with idiots who, because they had just last year graduated from some college, thought they were designers. I mean, I had to tell one designer what "ochre" meant! "What's this in your drawing, on the sleeve?" "Uh...uh...." "Pleats?" "Yeah...pleats, small pleats...." I would save their shows!

There is much to be said for an apprentice/journeyman type system of teaching some vocations....after of course some good general schooling.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #113
151. "What we do do is to train people to enter a vocation" --- yes yes that's the way Repukes want it...
and it is appalling how many students go along with it. They have their minds made up that they are going to work at some particular job and that's it, before they even go to college ... so when they are presented with the opportunity in college to study literally anything they want, they reject everything that isn't a required course for their degree objective, no matter how narrow that requirement is. They don't want to broaden their horizons, and they don't want an education to change their lives in any way except the one they've already chosen.

Then, ten years after graduation, the world has changed enough that the job market in their field is collapsing, but it's the only job they're trained for. That's a very PRACTICAL reason for favoring a broad-based education, even for those not particularly interested in such.

To get back to the Repukes, it was the language of "student (or parents) as consumer", that Gingrich et al used to frame the debate, that has hurt higher education so much, and helped open the door wider to debates about "school choice" for K-12. Newt was truly a venomous fiend, and we are still paying the price for it.
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #113
153. Short history tour
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
140. Your fallacy doesn't exist.
Virtually all school systems track kids, though it often isn't called that. These days the higher performing kids are called "gifted and talented" and have work geared to their level of ability. Ever heard of magnet schools and International Baccalaureate programs, which are essentially college classes in high school?

The school systems haven't been dumbed down. There are a variety of programs to meet the needs of students of differing abilities and ambitions.
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #140
154. The system has been dumbed down!
Just because you've heard there are programs for tag kids doesn't mean they're everywhere, that they are implemented in any reasonable way and that they are not sabotaged by people who see
tag or gifted as an elitist label instead of a descriptive one. Yes, it is an unfortunate label, as many see it as "better". Tracking of any sort is seem by manner as very negative and always wrong. It also can be easily abused as many kids are not correctly identified due to economic or other factors.
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #140
214. My high school didn't have IB
It only had four AP classes. Which were complete jokes - I had to inform the other people in my senior AP English class that yes, angst is actually a word.

Also, there weren't any magnet schools anywhere near me.

Ever heard of poor and rural gifted kids?
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #214
218. but you had AP and non-AP
that is tracking in an of itself.

A school also can't be dumbed down if it wasn't good to begin with.

I went to a rural high school like that for 9th grade.
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
145. delete.
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 04:13 PM by sense
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
176. President Kennedy
said just that in a speech about racism, he said that of course not everyone was born with equal abilities, but that everyone must have an equal chance to best develop THEIR abilities.
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BobTheSubgenius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 03:21 AM
Response to Reply #5
243. OK. Guess I'll trot out my Political Incorrectness here.
A parent of a child at a school here told me this tale some years ago. I know it's true at least in part, because I have seen some of the physical evidence. I also remember bits and pieces of the legal challenge(s) made by the parents of the child that is the nexus of the story.

The child, God love him, is PROFOUNDLY handicapped. Non-verbal - almost completely non-responsive, even - totally incontinent, and wheelchair bound. A tragic case, but I do have to say that our medical system gives a pretty high level of support, which is about the best one might expect, unfortunately. <1>

However, that wasn't good enough for the parents. Their child needed to be "educated", and in the most mainstream way possible. (mainstreaming is a very popular buzzword here) Fine, he can attend the highschool in his area and "audit" the classes. For this, the child would be provided with a caregiver paid by the school district for all the hours necessary to travel to and from school, and while actually at the school. I'm not sure whose vehicle was to be used.

The school had wheel-chair ramps, but that wasn't good enough for the parents. Not because the ramps didn't provide access to the main floor of the school, where all classes for children with special needs of access were held. Oh, no. The fact that at least one class that the parents chose for their son's curriculum was going to have to be moved from the upper floor to the main floor was ghettoizing and stigmatizing their child.

The solution? AN ELEVATOR was installed. Naturally, they couldn't give up a classroom on each floor to accommodate said elevator, so a small addition to house the elevator had to be built onto the school. $500,000 to enable a child without even basic language skills to "audit" highschool classes, plus the ongoing expense of the care-giver. Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that the caregiver had to be an accredited Teaching Assistant.

That money couldn't be better spent elsewhere? 12 teacher-years of salary, for example? 10 teacher-years and full-time tutoring for this child?

The foregoing may seem pretty small-minded and mean-spirited of me, but the fact remains; resources are finite. I could even find some justification if the child was learning something, but that was not the case.

<1> Because of socialized medicine, the parents don't even have to quit working and go on welfare to get said medical services that would otherwise be ruinously expensive. They get to keep working and own a home.


*** The preceding was a totally gratuitous plug for a RATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM....as if that message was needed here. Don't stop working, lobbying and fighting for it. I can't tell you what a feeling it is to know that I'll be treated for whatever illness or injury befalls me, for as long as it takes to cure me, for the rest of my life. ***

Yes, I know this was long, rambling and barely on point at the best of times, and the last 2 paras were terrible thread drift. Sue me. It's late and I've had a couple of tasty beverages. :D I do mean it, though. As Al Franken said "No one is rushing to copy our health care system."
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Strong Atheist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #5
247. Welcome to DU!
:toast:
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
259. I'm not going to call you racist or classist, simply ignorant
You obviously haven't taken any education classes, nor know anything about the pedagogy, or even rudimentary concepts like Gardener's Multiple Intelligences or Bloom's Taxonomy and how these concepts are used in the classroom.

Until you do know such basic things, all you're doing is spouting ignorant bullshit on a subject you know nothing about.
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PufPuf23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
6. Generic teacher bashing is scapegoating BS nt
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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
7. Let's see how many on this "progressive Democratic" board will support your (IMO) accurate
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 09:24 AM by T Wolf
and impassioned post. I am betting, not many.

On practically every topic, the DU population seems to be becoming more conservative as time goes on.

Education is NOT really valued in this country, as illustrated by the paltry funding compared to our military spending and the funding that other "civilized" nations devote to teaching their young (and not-so-young).

Simply put - until the US provides complete medical care to all and free education to all, we will not legitimately be joining the rest of the "first" world.

Spend the money. Allow teachers to teach. Your list is excellent.

I wish we would listen.
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distantearlywarning Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I agree.
I've been quite disturbed by some of the so-called "progressive" viewpoints I've read on this board in recent months, not only about this issue, but several others. :puke:
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Chorophyll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #7
88. Agreed. Good post. nt
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
128. Exactly nt
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
9. Do all of that and also quadruple teacher pay...
and remove all barriers to entry into the profession for non-education majors.

I like all of your suggestions, and have a couple of others.
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Lost in CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #9
45. So teachers should make 200k a year on average????
They already are often the highest paid people in the communities they teach... you wnat them to pull in a cool 200k topping out at half a mill????
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #45
65. Highest paid?
Really? Got a link or something to back that up. I have a masters degree and 15+ years of experience (i.e. near the top of the pay scale) and my neighbor, who works at a factory making cardboard boxes, makes more money than I do. So do the large number of people that work at Kimberly Clark making tampons and diapers.

I call bullshit. Add to that the fact that those "average" numbers you read about include benefits which AREN'T included when comparing to the blue collar sector. I don't know that I need to have my salary quadrupled, but I am certainly underpaid for my education.
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Lost in CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #65
85. Teacher pay averages do not include benifits... which are many
not to mention hours and vacation days.... reality is that there are many school districts where municipal jobs are the only union jobs and 90% of the school gets free or reduced lunch... do you think their parents make 50k a year?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #85
93. They do include benefits here.
Because when they say what the average teacher makes in our community, it is what I make at the top of the scale. So they are either a lie or include benefits, I guess.

And again, you have nothing other than your conjecture to "prove" teachers are the highest paid. Sure you can give me anecdotal examples of communities where the might be (though do you think that the communities with 90% free/reduced are paying their teachers 50K a year?) but that does NOT support your claim which was much more universal.

50K is only $25/hour (though I still maintain it includes benefits because that just isn't the average when first year teachers start under 30K and you can't tell me most pay scales go up and over 70K). Not uncommon around here for factory work.
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #93
255. Here is teacher salary information from NY
2006-2007 NYS teacher salary information

This information had to be acquired using FOIA as NY does not post their information as other states do. Teachers in my area start at about $42,000 and top salary is over $70,000. NY state teachers are paid about $8,500 over the national average.

Personally, I think that the pay in NY is not the issue, it is more the working conditions and the degree of autonomy that is afforded professionals to pursue their mission.

I don't believe the education issues are to be laid at the teacher's feet since they essentially are removed from the decision process or curriculum, standards and content. They would not have to waste so much time in training on different ridiculous curriculums if the districts would make sane and long range decisions and stick to them and if the state/federal government weren't always jumping in and stirring up more shit-- new goalposts, new testing standards new funding hoops for schools to jump through.

I think for some districts, a concentrated period of time of teaching children to properly behave in class, self discipline and respect to others as well as organizational and study skills (you could call it "socialization to civilized norms" or give it an ironic name like "Joy" because for all the issues regarding reading math, history and critical thinking... none of those will sink in unless a student can sit at their desk and not behave like a literal menace to his/her neighbors and can address his superiors (his teachers) with respect. It's almost like a Maslowian Hierarchy for learning. I think that if there were year round schooling, perhaps this could be a class that students could repeat until they get it together.

I don't have enough information or knowledge to comment on special education mainstreaming. However, I do know that certain diagnoses are not really appropriate for a mainstreamed class, while others could be with adaptive communication assistance. Classrooms are not therapy gyms or stim labs.
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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #85
98. Hours? Most work plenty at home
Not to mention parent-teacher conferences, open houses, etc., so I have no clue where you're getting this idea that they have some massive benefit when it comes to hours.

Are you arguing they should be paid less with fewer benefits? Because, frankly, you're making no sense.
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Lost in CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #98
105. I wasn't saying they are overpaid now I am saying they don't need a 400% raise,
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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #98
206. family literacy nights---home visits eom
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krkaufman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 02:40 AM
Response to Reply #65
241. re: "certainly underpaid for my education"
That, and relative to the criticality of your job performance to the long-term health of our democracy.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #45
194. I have no problem whatsoever with teaching being paid commensurately with...
the value I attach to the function they're (supposed to be) performing.
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Justyce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #45
267. No kidding. That salary & summers off, sign me up!
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krkaufman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #9
240. I really don't see how quadrupling pay and negating the value ...
... of training in the education process will improve the situation, but if we're brainstorming no ideas should be off the blackboard.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
10. Public education is NOT broken, except in some school districts.
I work in an excellent public school system with plenty of resources. Of course, we always want more than we have, but that is normal. We are next to an urban school system that due to the pressures of poverty is one of the worst in the nation. The suburban schools surrounding them are all very good. It is all about socio-economic status.

I agree with ALL of your points about what is needed in schools, and we have most of those things, though I think the mentoring for new teachers is a little weak.

I don't think that public schools, charter schools, or private schools can be painted with broadbrush generalizations about quality. The variance is huge.
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NC_Nurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
11. Agreed. Blaming teachers is the easy way out. It's bullshit. Of course there are
some sub par teachers, just like there are some incompetents in EVERY field.
That has always been the case. The reason the system is in the crapper is because bad
PARENTS seem to be proliferating at an alarming rate. Some families are under stress, others were never
going to be involved parents, but an alarmingly large amount of kids are basically raising themselves.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #11
24. "Of course there are some sub par teachers" - Nope - it's not possible to say that...
Since there's no was to *measure* it. "Sub par" according to *what*?

:rofl:
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tangent90 Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. sub par = better
:shrug:
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #24
162. According to par I guess.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 04:04 AM
Response to Reply #24
244. At what point does one stop spreading propaganda
Teachers are evaluated regularly by their principals and from their students' test scores.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #244
269. You're welcome to go right ahead and alert me.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #269
271. Alrighty, thanks. Carry on. nt
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Sancho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
12. You express the feeling of many teachers!
I am also amazed at the number of posts bashing teachers, and I have also experienced the work conditions that you describe. I fear the propaganda machine is winning. Teachers in the US don't get respect, and the pay usually adds insult to injury. I can tell from your post that you have the dispositions that make good teachers, and it's too bad that the schools lost you.

I honestly don't think that some of the critical DUer's represent the silent majority.
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Possumpoint Donating Member (937 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
13. Having Grown Up In The Catholic School System
with an average of 60+ students per teacher I soon understood the value of discipline in the class. Parents also had to support that discipline. Though I saw that abused on one occasion, the system worked.

I can't believe the stress put on public school teachers without the discipline system in place. Both my younger Sister and my Sister-in-law are teachers in the public school system and their stories of the antics of the kids and lack of support from parents are classic.

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driver8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
14. My wife is a teacher and left the classroom for many of the reasons you mentioned.
Teachers deserve so much more than what they are paid, and so much more respect than what they are given.

I am so sorry to hear that you left the profession that you love so much.
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peace13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
15. Number one, don't judge the world by DU comments.
Number two...don't judge the world by DU comments. Depending on the topic you will hear only from the most toxic. I don't think that teachers are to blame for the demise of our education system. It is the fault of parents who park their kids in school and think that that is where all of the learning takes place. Some of the best learning happens at home, no offense to you. I will say that in the middle and High School years respect is the problem. Students respecting the teachers and teachers respecting the students. I have seen some awful interactions in both directions. You are correct we need respect for the teachers and for the students and we need parents who actually give a dam*. Don't let the turkeys get you down. Peace, Kim
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Uzybone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #15
62. Especially when only 2 or 3 people are teacher bashing
everyone else is defending the teachers, yet we act like there is a pogrom going on.

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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #62
129. 2 or 3 is a gross mischaracterization, sorry. nt
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #15
117. blame, blame, blame
So the alternative to blaming the teachers is to blame the people?

Wages have fallen, it takes both parents working to support a household, sprawl and the collapse of public transportation has made everything more difficult - but we are going to blame the people who are struggling to make their way through this nightmare?

Here is a novel idea: how about we blame the political right wing, and their appeasers and enablers among us? How about standing up and speaking out for some positions that are even vaguely left wing? How about being Democrats for a change?



....
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #117
185. Blame? I didn't read about blame. I did read the OP's suggestions
to attract and retain good teachers. BLAME the republicans? These problems outlined in the OP have been around through both Democratic and Republican administrations.

News flash!!! Teachers are struggling to make it through this nightmare too. They too often come from two income families.

Despite all the struggling going on, we all, teachers, parents, school administrators and school boards must work together. I, like the OP, quit teaching many years ago due to a health concern, heart problems. I loved my job....but even back then I ran across many parents who thought that giving birth and getting their children to school was the end of their involvement. Parent night was usually a handfull of parents from 2500 students. Frankly, I think the handwriting was on the wall. Education, despite all the rhetoric, is not all that important to Americans. I can understand this when the athletic programs out pace academics in some school districts and how many can afford to go on to higher education? And, NOW, if they do go on, they are often-times strapped to huge student loans and little for job prospects. We need an attitude change in this nation and shouldn't put all the blame on the teachers because we don't like the overcomes.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #185
193. the political right wing
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 07:51 PM by Two Americas
I said blame the political right wing, in both parties and everywhere else, not merely the Republicans. Yes, Democrats are complicit.
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #193
220. My mistake. nt
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #193
221. My mistake. nt
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peace13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #117
196. My reply had to do with personal experiences as a parent.
No blame, just observation. Sorry but you are off base.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #196
215. understood
Thanks.
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kickysnana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
16. I have been using my "Ignore" button liberally this month for the idiots who type without thinking.
I find that it is better to ignore them than give them a platform.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
17. Teacher here, checking in.
I've stayed out of a ton of threads this week so I don't get banned. There have been lots of posts by people supporting teachers. I reward them with recs and praise...just like I do when I'm teaching. :)
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Serial Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
18. Wow, your anaylsis of what to fix is spectacular! One to add..
get and teach the parents to be MORE involved in their children's education both at HOME and at SCHOOL!
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
19. Lorax- most of us have a great respect for teachers.
Do not let a handful of jerks run you off.

Just put those people on ignore.

The internet is full of hateful people who thrive on the ability to behave badly anonymously.

Your input and the input of our other educators is valued far more then those types ever will be.
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trayfoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
20. From a colleague WELL SAID!!!!!
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Catshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
21. Thank you for your post.
I too have found the teacher-bashing on DU to be very disheartening. I went away for a couple of days and things seemed to calm down a bit. But...use the hide button -- it helps!

:grouphug:

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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
22. We get the education system we pay for
If Americans wanted a good public education system, we'd fund it, and we wouldn't have so many of these problems. Year after year and failed school levy after failed school levy, Americans indicate that they don't actually want good schools.

The problem is that those of us who *do* want a well-educated citizenry have to deal with the fallout.
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
23. Thanks Lorax. Keep us in your prayers or send good vibes
our way! I hope I can make it just a few more years.:hi:
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peacefreak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
25. Thank you for this post &
thank you for all your hard work. Your pupils were lucky to have you.
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jjanpundt Donating Member (284 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
26. No bashing from me either. Not only do class sizes need to be
manageable, but some measure has to be taken so that the seriously disruptive, potentially violent, children can't run the classroom either. I'm not sure of the solution but there are teachers in our city that are terrified of speaking out about the problems in school because of possible retaliation by the students or their families. That's just wrong on every level.
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Lost in CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #26
48. I agree this is a serious problem... nt
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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
27. K&R
Between the teacher bashing and the charter school bashing, I'm dismayed at the stongly-worded opinions from people who have never taught, nor ever set foot in a charter school. I have done both. Like everything else in life, there is good and bad, both in the teaching profession and in the realm of charter schools. Some work, some don't. The blanket condemnation is insulting.
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ATOMain Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
28. There is simply not enough respect for the honorable profession of teaching anymore
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nichomachus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
30. The destruction of the educational system has been deliberate
like everything else in our current mess. It wasn't an accident. Dictators function much better when they have an uneducated populace to control. Most of it dates back to Reagan.

A large reason for parent involvement -- or the lack of it -- is a respect for education.

When I was coming along, my parents -- and the parents of my friends -- valued and respected education and, although most of them were millworkers, they were determined that we kids wouldn't go into the mills and that we would get into college, or at least a good job. They rode herd on us day and night and they paid attention to what we were doing in school. My parents would have crawled over broken glass to make sure I got an education.

Educated people were held in esteem (rightly or wrongly) and even people who had no access to a formal college education worked hard to educate themselves. My parents were two of the best read people I knew outside of an academic environment. In my whole life -- until both of them died -- I never saw either of them without a book in progress, even though they both worked in mills right out of high school.

Today, in case you haven't noticed, we live in a society where educated people are openly mocked. Education is belittled. In fact, the current meme is that if you're educated, then you're an "elitist" who doesn't know what "real Americans" are all about. If you speak more than one language, you are some kind of a freak. If you speak in sentences longer than five words, you are "boring." You should be ignored and people should pay attention to poseurs like Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. With that thinking in place among parents, what hope is there for education?
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EmilyAnne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. Excellent points here. Especially....
"Today, in case you haven't noticed, we live in a society where educated people are openly mocked. Education is belittled. In fact, the current meme is that if you're educated, then you're an "elitist" who doesn't know what "real Americans" are all about. If you speak more than one language, you are some kind of a freak. If you speak in sentences longer than five words, you are "boring." You should be ignored and people should pay attention to poseurs like Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. With that thinking in place among parents, what hope is there for education?"

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FloridaJudy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #31
144. Amen!
I'm beginning to hope that electing President Obama can begin to turn this around. The American people really did vote for the smartest, most educated guy in the room.

Of course, that's not everything: the guys who ran Enron were pretty smart too. But it's nice to see an educated, articulate man who isn't ashamed to be seen as an idealist held up as a role model for a change, instead of the thugs who've been in charge for a while.

Geek chic: it rocks!
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prairierose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #30
40. Thank you for that very articulate response...
I remember my childhood as a time when everyone I knew read. My parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins were always reading. If you were a kid who did not like to read (my middle brother) you were thought of as strange. So many of my family were teachers that it seemed normal. I tried for many years to avoid teaching but ended up there.

I have watched in dismay and rising anger, the demonization of the public schools since 1981. The constant sneers against intellectuals and those who think. The rise of predators who can not create a sentence or coherent thought, either orally or in written form.

Thank you Lorax for your years of service and thank you nichomachus for that beautiful paragraph of truth.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #40
111. 1981...hummmm....who took office then, I wonder? nt
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RufusTFirefly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #30
55. Yes. Son of a teacher and a newspaperman weighing in here
Come to think of it, I'm a grandson of both as well.

I always grew up with the belief that teaching and journalism were two secular "callings," that you went into each not to profit personally but to benefit society as a whole.

As Nicho suggests, the destruction of the public education system is deliberate. The goal has been to create an underclass uneducated and incurious enough to be able to stoke the corporate furnace with little or no resistance. At the same time, the goal has also been to privatize education for the "elite" and through a kind of extortion force them to pay large sums of money for a caliber of education they used to receive by paying their taxes.

My siblings and I all had excellent public educations, and I'm profoundly grateful to all the teachers who changed my life for the better, especially my mother and grandmother.
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lib_wit_it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #30
99. Exactly--institutional anti-intellectualism is right wing philosophy and policy
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lib_wit_it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #99
101. I had to leave teaching for very similar reasons. The best-loved teachers in my school were
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 01:03 PM by lib_wit_it
anti-intellectual babysitters. Those of us who tried to actually teach and hold the standards high were mocked.
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wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #101
226. Some of us...
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 11:47 PM by wolfgangmo
... were also fired. I told one administrator that I was a hardass and a pain in the ass and I demanded the best from my students, parents, AND ADMINISTRATORS right when I interviewed for the damn job.

I guess the principal didn't think I was serious. I didn't babysit. I engaged at all times. My kids were FORCED to think critically every class. They were FORCED to work every class. They were FORCED to engage others as personal leaders. Those kids still call me and write me years later. I earned their respect by showing them how to earn their own.

I was fired. Excellence is not it's own reward.

As for the idiots who say that teachers have; great pay, great benefits, stable jobs, etc.. You have not idea what you are talking about. The playing field has been changed drastically since you were a pain in the ass, er, student. The pay is substandard, the benefits eroding or going away entirely, and tenure is more a myth than reality. This isn't the 50's or the 70's anymore. Reagan happened. And the dittoheads.

I made more money on unemployment, I had better benefits working as a guard, and I had more job security as a contractor. I own a medical clinic now and despite the long hours, I would not go back to teaching because of the lack of respect, stability, and ability to do the job.
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lib_wit_it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #226
260. And this is how the shysters take over, Destroy those who dare
educate the masses and create a populace who wouldn't fall for the tricks and poor excuses for logic used to sell RW bullshit! I truly think it is part of the plan to destroy the public school system.
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Chorophyll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #30
107. Right! And from what I've seen
on DU over the last few months, even Democrats (well, alleged Democrats) are buying into this meme. It doesn't matter that we've got a Democratic president and a Democratic congress, because our Democratic ideals have become so eroded over the last thirty years. The demonization of public education (and free lunch programs -- remember those threads?) goes back to Reagan. To see this stuff parroted on DU is disheartening, to put it mildly.
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datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #30
249. it is idiocracy
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #30
252. agreed and thanks. nt
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
32. You won't hear any bashing from me. My daughter is a teacher
and from what she tells me, I wouldn't want to teach. It's really a 7-day job.
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TWiley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
33. You quit in the Ninth Inning...... major funding for schools on the way
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #33
83. Not under Duncan...he wants the money to go to more testing and charter schools.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/3757

He is not supportive of traditional public schools. And he only wants the "best" in charter schools.

And did I say he wants more testing?
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QueenOfCalifornia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
34. As I dropped my kids off
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 10:30 AM by QueenOfCalifornia
at their public school this morning and was taking my husband to the trolley station for his ride downtown, he commented "The teachers work so hard and do so many little extra things for the kids in their classes. I don't remember my teachers doing that kind of stuff for us when I was that age."

We interact with our kids teachers on a personal level. They come over for dinner and an occasional happy hour drink. :) We love our teachers.

Hurray for them!

edit to fix typo
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erinlough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
35. First thank you for your post. You know what?
I have decided to hell with it. Everyone wants us to have merit pay??? Bring it on. I will earn it just like I got kids to meet the variety of tests that have been thrown at us following the passage of NCLB. Just like I have met every condition of teaching as it bounces along the 35 years of change and trial and error pushed by each administration just to further themselves in politics.

All the teacher bashers who are jealous of teachers because we have the summer months "off". The universities are still taking applications for teacher training....get on board. Want teaching to be more like business??? OK, but look what "business" policies have done for us.

I know what a disaster and waste of money this merit pay and testing will be, but you know what? I will do whatever you say and be successful in it and you will push public education even further into the hole.

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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #35
112. excellent post
Thank you for this.
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 08:09 AM
Response to Reply #35
254. we are starting down this road in health care also.
insurers not paying unless particular criteria are met. but some of these criteria will never be met because health care is run like a business and nurses are too expensive for the bottom line. education and health care are sacred community activities, not "businesses", and need to be treated as such by all. can you imagine paying health care workers only if the patient gets better? that's essentially the same thing as merit pay for teachers.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
36. Great post
From one who is the son of teachers and going back to college to become a teacher, thank you.
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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
37. You'll never hear teacher bashing from me, Lorax!
Some of my best role models were teachers! I'm so sorry about your situation & sorry also, that I don't think it's unique. I can't imagine being a teacher in today's culture! I don't have children, so it's like an alien world when I hear my friends with kids talk about what goes on in school, & in general, with today's youth. I was stunned when I watched "Super Size Me" & saw what constitutes a school lunch program these days.

:hug:




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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
38. I have the utmost repsect for public school teachers
It's a thankless job, and I believe that instead of griping about teachers' long vacations, other Americans should demand the same for themselves. Then they wouldn't be so ornery.
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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
39. I am Sick of the Bashing, Too.
Teaching is one field where people who have no clue what it is like to do the job proceed to be experts simply because they went to school or have kids in schools. These people are impossible to reason with, and then you have people who will defend Obama's neoliberal attitudes about education policy, but if a Republican spouted off the same thing as Obama, they would call for his or head.

Your special education suggestion alone is worth the recommendation. I despised doing special education because of the ridiculous amount of paperwork and other clerical work, like trying to schedule meetings. I went to college all of those years just to do something I was doing anyway before I went to school.

Even though I was sacked unjustly, I doubt I will return to the field.

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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
41. Anyone who bashes teachers is an idiot.
I've spent lots of time in my kids' classes and I always come away in awe of the jobs teachers do. I get exhausted after only 1.5 hours in the classroom.
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Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
43. Coming from another teacher...
I have to ask... Think back to your own education or your children's education. Was it okay? Mine was. And the one that I continue to give is. So to say that the system is broken is faulty. It's not broken, it's just not meeting our expectations. The only way that I know to make it meet our expectations is to be the change you want to see.

As for DU. From what I've seen, 90% of the dissent arising lately is coming up because of misinformation and ignorance about the proposed Obama Administration plan for education. So to blame people for their actions when those actions came out of ignorance is a bit disingenuous. You could teach them, defeat ignorance. But clearly we're beyond that now.

Fearless.
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BleedingHeartRN Donating Member (226 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
44. Well I have my listening ears on!
As a member of your sister "pink collar" profession, I couldn't agree more. Teachers are constantly expected to do more with fewer and fewer resources. The sense of entitlement that many parents possess is astounding as well, I don't know how you did as long as you did. Many of my friends in the public education sector also site complete lack of support from administration, and here in NC their toying with the idea of having educators work 5 days and be paid only for 4 in order to allow people to keep their jobs. The system is so screwed up.
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gaspee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
46. Only a simple minded person
Or a republican - oops, I think I'm being redundant - would believe teachers are the problem with schools.
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
50. This former teacher agrees with everything you said. n/t
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
51. I blame...
a Culture that creates people unwilling to pay a realistic price for quality public services. That teaches us to fear phantoms rather than realistically prepare for the future. No amount of tinkering with the system will make a whit of difference until we change our minds about what we really value.
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arthritisR_US Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:09 AM
Response to Original message
56. blame the teachers, blame the Unions and then bail out Wall Street thieves all
the while giving the latter millions in bonuses...now how fucked is it all? The teachers are not the problem but then looking at what really is would be too much for some "pretty minds".
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RiverStone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
58. 20 year educator here in full agreement
Well said Lorax!

BTW, a have a cat named Lorax. :hi:
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damonm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
59. Thank you SO much...
This needed to be said, and puts the issue into perspective nicely.

Blaming the teachers is much like blaming the workers for the big 3 going under - the failures are in LEADERSHIP, not on the front lines.
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
60. People that have lived overseas and see the difference knows that the system is broke.


We also know that the reason is not structural, pedogogical, or personnel.


The problem is cultural.


We are no longer a cultural that thirsts for knowledge or welcomes hard work.


Even those parents who have their kids participate in valuable after hour programs do it in a highly choreographed dance that is designed to deliver the children to the event and 'plug' them in.


President Obama knows this, has seen it in his own life, and hammers away at it.


I would never have had the patience to do what you do.


Thanks.
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enigmatic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
61.  I agree
:thumbsup:
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
67. This teachers says "right on!" Thank you! Please see how well my kids did this year up thread.eom
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Stargazer09 Donating Member (625 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
68. Thank you for posting this
I'm not a teacher, but I do have a large family and a strong dedication to making sure that my children receive the best education possible.

I know that teachers are overworked and underpaid, and I really wish this country would recognize that fact.

As a military family, we've been in many different school districts and have seen many different things. You're absolutely right. Kids need a good environment for learning, and teachers need to be supported by the school district AND the parents.

I'm a parent of a special needs preschooler, and I get overwhelmed with the amount of meetings and paperwork that goes along with that. I can't imagine how my son's teacher manages to do all of that with 20+ kids!

I'm sorry you had to leave a job you loved because the stress was literally killing you. That's very sad, and I wish things were better for all teachers. However, you and your family need to come first, and I think you made the right decision (as heartbreaking as it was).

:hug:
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dbonds Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
69. I have great respect for teachers.
It is a very important and difficult job. You have never heard any teacher bashing from me - although I will bash the 'no child left behind' program.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
70. Deleted message
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #70
73. welcome to DU! And good for you!
Good luck in grad school and in your career! :hug:

I absolutely adore teachers. My kids have had a few duds (and even then, I understand that their teachers were doing the best they could--I would have had a nervous breakdown after about a week if I had their jobs, with kids that don't listen, and NCLB, etc), but the good ones... oh, I couldn't possibly say enough about them. They are WONDERFUL. They will always have a warm place in our hearts.

It's such a challenging and frustrating job, but I hope good teachers know how fondly they are remembered for the rest of their students' lives. They really do make such a big difference--maybe not to all their students, but to many of them. I'm so grateful to my kids' teachers, and to my own, too.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #73
80. Deleted message
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
71. Deleted message
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zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
72. Three of your issues are at home
I don't dispute your list, but I'd point out that at least 3 of your issues extend from the "home". Counseling, special educators, and narcissistic children. The western model for modern education comes out of relative "mono cultures" of western europe. It is also an educational model for educating predominately children of educated parents. Even in the US, truly universal education was only through about 6th grade, and beyond that it was "educating the educated". The massive degradation of our public schools correlates to our desire to universally educate all children through 12 grade, and to some extent beyond. This is being attempted with multiple, and massively diverse, cultures in existence throughout the country.

It isn't working, and for the reasons you allude, education cannot be separated from culture and behavior. We want to use our schools to be points of integration, but that goal is in conflict with the larger goals of education. Although we don't want our children to be separated by race, ignoring the larger cultural context in which they come to school isn't working either. An education model in Evansville, Illinois probably isn't going to be optimum in south central LA. Education is a national issue, but it is also true that it needs to be structured on a local model. I am constantly uncomfortable at our attempts to nationalize the issue of education. Education needs to be structured around the needs and abilities of the student and the cultural realities in which they live. I rarely see how that can be done effectively on a national, nearly continental, level.
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #72
184. well thought out,
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Left coast liberal Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
74. Don't let the knuckle draggers get you down...
Teachers have the hardest, most important job in the world.

Your list of how to fix things sound just about perfect.

From your list to our president's ear.

Thank your for your service.
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
75. My kid's charter middle school has "No Excuses" posted over every doorway
That's the direction we're headed, sadly.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
76. Quite. I too dislike people who blindly blame schools (and/or their unions).
They probably all tune into Steve Jobs' morning radio talk show too, though in his defense he probably started throwing tirades because schools couldn't afford to buy Macs any longer...
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #76
159. Jobs is extremely gifted and didn't fit into
the public system. He's bashing the unions, because they don't care about children and enable the bad teachers to remain in the system, ensuring that it's broken. The union is a problem because of what's at stake when they guarantee adults a job, regardless of the damage to children. It's a unique situation and it's not working well for the kids. I'm not bashing unions, most are absolutely necessary. The NEA is intended to help teachers, yet many times in trying to ensure fairness for teachers, they unintentionally deny children the education they need.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
77. Thank God for the Cooking and Baking Forum.
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #77
152. Maybe thank a home-ec teacher for some of the fine ideas there?
:shrug:
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #152
192. Or not
as I learned cooking and baking at home and in (horror of horrors!) the Boy Scouts ;)
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JPZenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
78. No one allowed to learn - to help test scores
In my son's high school, one grade is taking the big standardized tests. So for an entire week, the entire high school is starting 2 hours late, so that the kids taking the tests can get extra sleep. Some of the kids are being kept in the gym, so that they don't make noise that could bother the kids taking the test, and to free up classroom space for the tests.
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
81. schools have become too dangerous to even teach in anymore
the society problems are too big and are in the forced school education - there are kids who just want to be trouble and need a different environment to act out their stuff
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Usrename Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
82. Smaller classes.
We know this works, in any and all cases. It isn't a big mystery.
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knixphan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
84. K&R from the son of a teacher
:fistbump:
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Chorophyll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
86. No teacher bashing here.
My father was a special ed teacher in the public school system. It was a thankless job in the 70s and 80s and it still is -- probably even more so now. The teachers that I know work goddamn hard in tough conditions for very little reward and very little respect. Summer vacation doesn't begin to make up for it (and most public school teachers keep teaching even in the summer.)
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
89. I agree with you 100%
I, for the life of me, can't figure out why DUers would bash teachers.

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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
90. no bashing from me either.
I have much respect for Teachers, just like Nurses, you guys go through alot.
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LeftHander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
91. But that would mean higher property and income taxes.....
no self respecting Republican would allow taxes to increase to educate "those people"....

The money the rich republicans save in taxes helps to pay for those outrageously expensive private schools that don't let many of "those people" in.


...
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
92. parents play a bigger part in a child's education, and deserve more blame/credit than any teacher.
one of the biggest problems in this country is that not enough parents realize that.
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #92
136.  I realize it . . .
This is exactly the point I have been preaching for years. Parents have had their confidence eroded over the years in their ability to parent. The school is an extension of that parenting yet most parents feel that has been taken away from them or just don't understand it. We have home schooled our son since he was in 4th grade after being in a disaster of a small public school. That was the best decision we ever made. We finally "took charge" because the school system did not want our input, only our tax dollars and our son's physical body there every day in order to keep that average daily rate up to par. That's okay, my son is more than a financial commodity and we were willing to make the sacrifices to give him a great education.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #136
155. i disagree that parents have "had their confidence eroded over the years in ... ability to parent".
most of them are just plain lazy and selfish, and had/have no business being parents in the first place.
and i would have to add that for most parents, the option to homeschool is not an option, as both parents are generally working.
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #155
172. I disagree that MOST of parents are plain lazy and selfish . . .
Most parents are fine and are doing the best job that they can. I also disagree with the statement that both parents have to work. We make choices about lifestyle in order to home school. For us that is living in a cozy house that cost us $45 thousand dollars instead of 500 thousand, we do not have cable, we do not even own a TV. Our son doesn't own a Play-station anything but he does have an electric guitar that we bought used and that he taught himself to play. It all comes down to choices. I think in this economy we are learning that we really do not need all that the media has convinced us that we do. Our parents and grandparents did not have this type of lifestyle and they raised decent, responsible human beings.
(I did want to add that some parents both work and still home school by juggling schedules and being creative in how they school. For us, it was me working part time and then starting my own business. My son has benefited greatly from that extra time and being part of our family business.)
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #172
200. i was referring to the ones that have problems raising their 'problem' children...
i probably could have been more specific on that...and i don't mean kids with learning disabilities either...
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #172
217. My father died when I was seven
And I have never had cable in my life. And after my father died without a will, we lost the house and moved into a singlewide trailer.

What "lifestyle choices" should my mother have made in order to not have to work? Eating only every three days, maybe?
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #217
223. There are single mother's who work and still homeschool . . . .
It takes a really good support system though. But your situation is not really the one to which I am referring. I have had many Mom's tell me they can't afford to stay home when really what they are saying is that they don't want to give up having all extra's that a second income brings. I worked with a girl a while back that wanted to stay home after she had her second baby and her husband went out and bought a new car so she would have to stay working in order to make the payments. Her plan was to get pregnant a third time so that surely he would let her stay home with the kids. Sadly, that didn't happen either. She is in a job she hates in order to afford the lifestyle that her husband wants them to have. I am just saying that many people, not everyone, but many people can make lifestyle adjustments and stay home with their kids.
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #223
233. I agree
It's what we chose also. We homeschool because the schools failed our children. We make choices around that decision so that we can live on one income and provide the best education for our kids. It's not something we ever planned to do, but once you start doing it it's very freeing and gives you so many choices. Plus you get to skip all that fighting with the school every day. What a relief!
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kaygore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
95. I have taught pre-service teachers over the year and none went into
teaching for the money. Most cited making a significant difference in the life of a child as their motivation.

At best, teachers are equipped to perform triage, at worse, the environment imposes no chance of success...only failure.

Change the environment as you have suggested and schools will change.

More testing, out-sized salaries, and merit pay will only make the system worse.

I am so very disappointed in Obama on this issue, health care, and Iraq.

Arne Duncan was among the worse selection he could have made for education.
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
103. great teachers rock
great teachers rock - bad teachers hurt the system - hopefully people who have been critical have been aiming at the bad and not the good - i have not see the terrible posts that are discussed, but i would hope they were railing against the ones at fault and not entirely at all teachers
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nichomachus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
104. Driving through a redneck area of CA a few months ago, I saw a sign for a "Christian School"
The sign said "Registration Now Open -- No Homework." That tells you everything you need to know.
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wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #104
229. Of course there is no homework.
There is only one book and they don't have to read it.

Kind of like Liberty Law School; Monica Goodlings' alma mater, er, diploma mill.
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happygoluckytoyou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
108. does everyone understand.... it is NOT in the RICH's interest to train the POOR, class warfare is ON
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specimenfred1984 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
109. Yeah but the new camara looks great
It's made in Canada and the press lies says that with a 427 cubic inch engine it still gets 25 mpg highway. Let's talk about what's really important!
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
110. Kicked, rec'd & bookmarked
This is hands down the BEST OP I've seen regarding the state of our public education system. What a shame you feel unwelcome in General forum.

I guess I'll have to add Cooking and Baking to my forums list. :hug:
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emmadoggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
116. K & R from me.
I have 2 children who started Kindergarten last year (now are in 1st grade). At the same time, I signed on to work as a substitute teacher's associate (I had never done that type of work before). For the first time in over 20 years I was back in the schools - witnessing what it was like not only as a parent, but from the teaching side also. The changes in the schools and the school environment overall are dramatic.

Based on what I have seen, I know that everything you said in your OP is true.


:hug:
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
118. Right, teachers have been getting blamed for what has gone wrong with the ...
public school system which is nonsense --

Repugs don't like public education and they've long worked to destroy it ---

especially in keeping people of color and women from education.

Bush's "Leave no Child Behind" should be tossed out the windows of every school ---

and we have to start funneling money into the schools -- not private property tax money --

but Federal/State/Local tax funding.

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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
120. 100% unqualified support here
K and R, and thank you for the great OP.

Public school teachers have my complete and unqualified support.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
124. Many good ideas here. nt
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 02:26 PM by woo me with science
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
125. IMO a major problem is that teacher pay is too low to attract enough good teachers.
Most of the people who would be good teachers go into better-paying fields. In my neck of the woods there is a stereotype of education majors as airheads because of that.
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Lorax Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #125
131. It's not about the pay!
It's not about the pay! It's the conditions under which we are expected to perform miracles. That's one reason why discussions about merit pay are an insult.

Lets provide enough funding to take care of the other problems in the schools first. If there is still money after that, and IF merit pay can be decided in a fair way, then we can discuss it.

Discussions about teacher pay are insulting because they imply that teachers don't work hard enough because they don't get paid enough. I don't know many people who could challenge my work ethic. I worked as hard as humanly possible, right up to the point where my body threatened mutiny. My drive had nothing to do with money, it was based on wanting to see the best for my students. Most teachers are motivated by the same.

And saying that people go into better paying fields is also an insult. Is that supposed to imply that those of us who choose to make a difference in the lives of children had no better options? Nothing could have been further from the truth. I graduated with a GPA ranked in the top 3% of my university, not just the teaching program, but the entire university. There are many other things I could have done. But I loved teaching.

All teachers want are the tools with which to be successful. Spend the money addressing those issues first.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #125
138. Attract? "RETAIN" is more the problem.
Teachers beginning their careers often can't afford to pay their college debt, let alone save for a house and family. In principle, I agree, pay is too low especially for new teachers.

School districts often behave just like businesses, cutting higher paid, better experienced and often superior educated teachers to save money. How does paying higher salaries to attract "better" teachers address that?

In WA state a MAJOR problem is funding. We can't even talk about paying new teachers more because the funds aren't there and many teachers will soon be laid off. At my wife's school district, 10% of the teachers are being cut and this is just a first wave of cuts. Voters here in WA approved smaller class sizes and cost of living increases but the legislators have been doing doing their best to ignore that even before the economic contraction. Education here is supposed to be the paramount responsibility of government but even in this blue state the government really doesn't mean it.

The op said personal salary wasn't the problem and was trying to reframe.

There are so many problems but it seems like teachers are the only ones talking about the ROOT CAUSES of our mess.

I am for higher pay but this mess is so much bigger than higher pay to attract "better" teachers. I can't help but think that using the attract "better" teachers argument is like heads and tails to the Republican's bad teachers arguments. I may be wrong, just need some time to think about it.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #125
182. puting a price tag on human beings
The idea that what people are paid is what earns them respect, or that more money gets better talent, is part and parcel of the problem here.

This stereotype you mention, that people think less of teachers because of what they are paid, is not a problem that can be solved by paying teachers more.

Maybe we don't necessarily want people who are primarily motivated by money to be attracted to teaching. Maybe the thinking here - "sell your talent on the open market" and measuring success by income - is the problem.

Also, you are promoting and reinforcing the notion that we don't already have the best talent, that it is the teachers who are the problem.

Pay teachers well, yes. Provide the resources and support they need. But let's not buy into the libertarian ideas about this and place a price tag on human beings as a measure of their value, and let's not inject these "free market" ideas into public education discussions.


...
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
130. Teachers need to be thanked for their service and sacrifice. nt
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
132. we home school so we get bashed too!
Unfortunately, most of it comes from the public school system, teachers, guidance counselors,etc., who apparently either fear us or think we are out back skinning possums for a curriculum. Just like any profession, there are good and bad. When I wanted to enroll my son in Driver's Ed here, the school administration gave us nothing but grief. The guidance counselor treated me like I had three heads until I came to the point I just flat out refused to deal with her. On the flip side of that experience, Wisconsin is a state that allows home schooled students to take two classes each semester, by law. The guidance counselor in a school there was a lovely person who helped us select a couple of good classes for our son and we enjoyed a good relationship with a teacher who took the time to communicate with us
I think part of the problem is that parents have lost control of educating their children, in all ways. It has created a situation where parents feel incapable of doing anything for their children in education, discipline, daily living skills, etc. I remember at at small school in Oklahoma when we lived there many years ago, the School principal looked at me during an IEP meeting and said WE are the experts here. I told her I was the expert of my child, not here and that ended that meeting rather quickly.
If we want parents to be involved in their child's education, we need to mandate it and make it easy to do so rather than the patchy system that we currently have. In my generation, parents had more control over their children and were actively involved in school and in their child's education. Every mother served as a "room mother" and was there for holidays and special events, working in the classroom, the lunch line, raising money for special events and so forth. Parents were a part of their child's education and you didn't get by with ANYTHING bad because your mother was generally there or your best friends mother and your bad behavior would be relayed before you made it home from school that day. Yes, parents work but it is really more of a psychological barrier than one of time. My husband and I both took off work to go to our son's school and do special things in the classroom. When my husband was off work for a period of time, he asked if he could volunteer in the classroom and was told no because "if he was allowed to volunteer on a regular basis, all the parents would want to volunteer on a regular basis and then it would be chaos." (I kid you not! Yes, that ranks up there with one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard anyone say!)
The next year, after getting the teacher from hell who actually yelled at my husband in front of our son after I sent her an email requesting some email communication in regards to our son's progress, we pulled our son out of public school and have never looked back.
I don't "blame" anyone in particular for the school mess. Yes, it falls on administration, teachers, parents, the kids themselves, but there are good and bad in all those examples. I just know for me what I see more than anything is parents who need to feel they are parents and that the children they have need to be treated with care and respect. More and more, children are seen as a commodity, (ask any administrator what the per day cost is of a child who is not in class and they can whip out those statistics in a second.) Ask a parent who has a special needs child how the school feels about them. Most administrators will flat out admit that the "special needs" children are a drain on the system and they would really prefer that they were not there. Every child is precious, every child is deserving of love, kindness and the opportunity to grow and reach their potential. With a few exception, I just don't see this attitude much anymore in the public school system.
For us, the choice then wasn't difficult. Our son needed to feel that he was more than x amount of dollars per day at his school. He needed to loved and valued. Today our son, even with some special needs, is a kind hearted, respectful young man who has never been in trouble, even though lots of his friends and former classmates have been arrested on underage drinking charges, drugs, etc. He has a great relationship with us and knows he can come to us with any problems that he has. I just shudder to think what would have happened if we had allowed him to continue in the public school system. It's a gamble and with limited options for most parents, you can't pick and choose your child's teacher or school if they get one that is bad. So everyone shares a part of the blame in this mess but the first step is telling parents that they need to do what they deem best for their child and providing supports in the system to do that.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #132
160. Some home schoolers follow no curriculum. nt
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #160
169. Agreed . . .
But the point that I was trying to make is that we are treated as if we are illiterate backwoods hicks without a brain in our head. There is just a certain amount of prejudice directed at those who home school and we get it from both the school system and the general public.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #169
177. I understand that
I went to both private and public schools. My parents in no way whatsoever were qualified to school me. I went on to teach in public schools after receiving my degree in Biology at the University of Michigan. I am not currently certified, but I am more than adequately capable of teaching the life sciences and physical sciences to high school aged students. Imagine how I might think of an English teacher teaching Chemistry? Or even suggest that I could teach History, oh my god no. I have higher standards. Now, apply that reasoning to someone who is home schooling their child that doesn't have training in the subject area. People can teach themselves without formal schooling. Don't get me wrong, I get that. I wish I had at least one good history teacher but I never did. I have learned more history on my own then any teacher ever taught and I still feel inadequate to teach it properly. What I am saying is that people will be prejudiced against home schoolers for a variety of reasons that may not apply in your situation.

Home schooling is also possibly a statement that the schools are inadequate. That alone may cause some resentment. Considering all the attacks on public education, how do these folks in the school system know that you aren't requesting their resources and then getting online or in any conversation and shooting them in the back? I am not making excuses, I am just thinking through what may be the reasons for the resentment.

Then there is the argument about learning social skills by being around others a home schooler's own age.

You might be doing everything right, but it won't stop prejudice or people making snap judgments. If you feel confident in your skills, why not become a professional teacher yourself?

And it is not just home schoolers that have problems with other staff at schools. Teachers do too.
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #177
190. Let me address a couple of things . . .
First, the socialization issue is the number one used myth for those who oppose home schooling. My son has friends and is quite active socially. He is also one of the few in his age group that have not impregnated a girl or been arrested for underage drinking, smoking etc. Is that is the socialization that public school offers, no thanks, we are doing just fine without it.
Home schooled kids probably get more socialization than public school kids because we do not have the time restraints of public schools. We meet with other home school families on outings and have the option of taking classes taught by other home school parents in specialized subjects like Karate or band. Many of us are in home school organizations that offer many group opportunities. Last year, our home school organization went together and rented a couple of 15 passenger vans and went to Washington D.C.
The plus side of this is that our socialization does not include drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, violence and all the other issues that public schools have to cope with and from what I can tell, have very little success in controlling. I can also pass on my values to my son and know that he is being taught in a progressive and creative environment. My son turned 18 this year and got to vote in the Presidential election. We talked at great length about this and he did vote for Obama. He was so pleased with himself. Within hours he was coming home and telling me about chastising his friends who did not vote. Apparently the pride of voting was not something that is being taught in the local public school. I am confident that our son knows how to vote and will do so the rest of his life because he has been taught our values, not the values of a stranger at public school. It is time to put away the "socialization" stereotype.
Second, I did consider becoming a public school teacher. Then I had a life changing moment in high school when I working in a practicum situation for classroom credit. I was assigned as a teacher's aid in a fourth grade classroom and was very excited about this opportunity. What I saw was the teacher's preference for the little girls with the blond curls and the perfect clothing while the little boy who smelled and looked like hadn't washed his clothes in a week, sat in the corner and was left behind. I gravitated toward that little boy and worked with him as much as I could and by the end of the year that little boy was reading at grade level and had a smile that spread from ear to ear when he saw me come in the classroom. I remember the day when he brought me a gum machine ring and asked me to marry him! I was so touched, I think that was the greatest compliment of my life. But that experience taught me that I couldn't teach children when they had needs far greater than knowing the gross national product of China. After I finished college, my husband and I became foster parents and did so for 11 years. We took a child that was considered mentally retarded and who did not know how to even use a knife or fork or bath herself. I remember on her IEP the teacher's goal was that she learn to read a digital clock. By the end of the year, we had her reading a regular clock. She also volunteered during the summer as a Volunteen at the local hospital and the next year she volunteered at a camp for children with developmental disabilities. She left foster care at 18 with the ability to buy her own groceries, make change, write a check, care for herself and even learned to french braid her own hair. (I can't french braid my own hair!) That is why I say that parents are the key to education and being at home with a child and teaching them,especially when they need the extra help, is the key to them having success. Parents need to be told again and again that they are the experts of their child and the work that the do will help them succeed whether it be in the public school or in the private school (home school is considered private school in most states) setting.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #190
198. Good for you and best wishes. nt
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wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #190
232. One caveat.
Dolly, I agree with many of your conclusions although for different reasons. I must take you to task for this statement, "because he has been taught our values, not the values of a stranger at public school." Children are not taught values, per se, but rather assimilate them from those they emulate. If their parents are their biggest influence, then they will emulate those values. If the parent is persona non grata or just AWOL, then the child will pick another to emulate.

The fact that they are strangers is irrelevant and a right wing meme. It is, frankly, beneath you.

Also, your child is the expert on your child. Your job, until they can translate their thoughts into adult actions, is to translate, advocate, and advise. You may be a close second in the expert area, but your child is still the ultimate arbiter of their understanding.

Final point, or in this case question. Are you from the Oklahoma area? If so that might explain the schools, which have taken the Reagan gospel and gone to town with it.

Cheers on much of the rest, however.
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #232
264. We did live in Oklahoma!
My son came home from his kindergarten class mock elections and told me he voted for George Bush. From that point on he was in love with George Bush (Senior)he even cut out a picture of George Bush from his magazine and put it up on his wall. We moved to Illinois when he was seven to the small town I grew up in. Trust me, things aren't much better here. I am not sure anyone in this town has had an original thought in 100 years. But it is a largely a safe place for our family and I am near family (my great grandfather was the first settler here nearly 150 years ago) so I am related to just about everyone here. I still have many conservative viewpoints from my upbringing but what bothers me the most is the the school system does not challenge kids here to think out of the box. It is pretty much just status quo, the kids are expected to go to the local junior college and stay around the area or work at a factory, most of which are non existent anymore. So yes, I want my values of being progressive, creative and accepting of new ideas to go to my son. It is the only way he will escape the acceptance of the mundane here. The school system here is so anal, if you looked closely you would see a giant stick running right through the middle of it, if you get my drift. I want better than that for my child. I truly believe that what makes the difference in the lives of kids and helps them avoid things like substance abuse, is understanding that they have options. I was never taught that growing up, I am not sure where I got it from as my parents did not support the idea of me going to college or leaving the area. I want my son to know that he does have a future beyond Saturday night and engaging in drinking, drugs, promiscuity, etc. will only hurt his chances of having a bright future. The time that I spend with him, which is exceptionally more than the average parent with a child in public school, is giving me the opportunitiy to impart my vision to him so that he has a clear path to opportunites.
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #132
167. Thanks for coming over and joining our DU homeschooling group.
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 05:37 PM by Maat
Homeschoolers, come over and join us.

We give each other emotional support.

Take care, DollyM.

:hi:
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sallylou666 Donating Member (135 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
133. K&R from former teacher
Education is really important in my family. I have 4 degrees and my husband has 3 degrees. No lip service here. We practice what we preach.

I was a secondary math teacher. The year that I quit, several math and science teachers left. It's hard for schools to find math and science teachers any more.

It's gotten worse since kids are mainstreamed without any support. A teacher may have a bipolar kid, a kid with a physical impairment, a kid with learning difficulties, or any other assorted issue in the classroom. It's impossible to met those needs in addition to the other "normal" kids' needs.

Kids referred to the principal are often sent back to the classroom without any consequences. It's the teachers fault that the kid misbehaved.

My son's elementary school teacher always seems stressed out. She's got two kids who are major behavior problems. I know this because I volunteer frequently.

I'm sorry that you had to leave the profession of teaching but your physical and mental health comes first. I respect you and commend you for your efforts. Don't let the neanderthals get you down.
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winyanstaz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
134. America cannot blame the teachers when our government wants to dumb down the population
How can any teacher be expected to be able to teach when their classrooms are so overcrowded, the rules tie their hands and the government wants to dumb down the population?
The same people that have done so much damage to our Nation are the same ones working so hard to bring forth the New World Order.
They do not want an educated public. They do not want the people to learn how to think for themselves.
If they just gave a measly 10 percent of the money they waste on bombs and wars and assassinating other nation's leaders, we could have decent schools.
If they spend the billions we give away to other nations on our own infrastructures, we would also have decent classrooms.
Don't blame the teachers America if you are not screaming at your congressperson and representatives to get off their way too fat asses and fix the problems that they have created.
History teaches the same lessons over and over and over. Why don't we learn from the past? History has shown that whenever a dictator wants to take over, or a particular religion or ideology is trying to take control..they will first eliminate the teachers, the educated among the people, the artists, the healers and the leaders of the opposition. Because without these people, a nation cannot stand.
Without removing these people, then people will learn to think and a dictator cannot have people that think for themselves. Its as simple as that.
It was the professors and teachers and local leaders that Hitler rounded up first.
I hope that you can find a way to still share your gifts of teaching Lorax and I also hope that America can fix our schools so we don't lose any more good teachers that truly care such as yourself. Thank you for all the hard work and times you have tried.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #134
188. "Serfin USA"
Thanks for the breath of fresh air and truth.

The dumbing down is accompanied by degrading the culture at every opportunity.

Episodically, we see Santa break into his former in laws home and shoot up a bunch of people --
all on Xmas Day. How thoughtful they are!

Then, on a regular basis, we have to put up with the no talent culture of miscreants knowns as
pop stars. What group of people could reflect a lower level of art than Brittany and the bunch.
But there is an alternative, a bigot bohemian named Amy Whitehouse.

Be stupid, be vulgar, be ready to obey continuously. That'SWAT it's all about
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Joey Dog Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
135. I Agree--Enough Is Enough
I started teaching in a one-room country school in 1965. I ended my teaching career teaching online classes at a community college. I loved the students and my colleagues, but I didn't love what went along with being a teacher. The work is never-ending and exhausting and, even though we have to get professional credentials to teach, we aren't treated like professionals. We don't get paid worth squat and many of us in the public school end up spending our already short lunch period babysitting kids to keep them civilized as they eat.

One of my friends, a newspaper reporter, came to speak to my journalism classes one day. Halfway through the morning, this friend ask when we got a coffee break. I laughed and told her to forget coffee breaks--we didn't even dare turn our backs on the students.

When I went from teaching high school to teaching at a community college, my life changed for the better. I had planning time, I had an office, I had small classes, and I worked under a contract (which I helped to negotiate) that allowed me some perks that all teachers should have. However, my public school teacher friends were and are still dealing with large classes, lack of supplies, lack of planning time, and too much paperwork. Yet, I still hear people say, "I think I'll teach awhile before I get a real job."

Anyone who wants to bash teachers should spend a month or so in a classroom. Then we'll see how cocky you are.
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dcindian Donating Member (881 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
141. Thank you for your service. Teachers are heros in my book.
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 03:34 PM by dcindian
I can't even begin to understand how teacher are able to take the constant bashing and keep up the great work they do. Our media, GOP, and now Democrats are constantly bashing and blaming them for societies ills. You won't find such in societies where students are preforming better and that should tell us something.
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sellitman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
142. Maybe because I'm not a teacher I have not noticed the bashing here.
But, if you say it is so then I believe you.

It is shameful and I am glad you called those out who do.

Kicked & Rec'd
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
143. I support teachers. I want the education system fixed. Most teachers are great and work for far to
little money, but........and I hope you can agree, there are bad teachers. I am not bashing teachers but the system that allows bad teachers a job for life. These teachers can ruin education for children. I have seen it first hand. Teachers that humiliate and/or are inappropriate to children. The system does nothing about this. And don't tell me what's supposed to happen, because it doesn't happen. The administrations know that their hands are tied by the teacher's union, so the administrations don't even try.

The teachers themselves could do a lot to fix the system. Demand that their union allow bad teachers to be fired. Until then, the public knowing that there are teachers that don't teach, find it way to easy to rationalize voting against teacher pay raises.

I hope you don't view this as a teacher bashing post, because it is intended to be an education system bashing post. I know lots of teachers and like lots of them (even some that don't teach worth a damn), but it bothers me terribly when teachers will show the movie instead of having the students read the book. Some show movies that are not even related to the subject. Some surf the internet during class time. These are a small minority but need to be dealt with.
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Lorax Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #143
158. Are you a teacher?
tenure ≠ job for life
tenure = established set of procedures that must be followed before someone can be fired
established set of procedures ≠ job for life

Why do you believe that teachers don't deserve that respect? The reason the system is in place is to protect teachers from the firestorm of complaints they regularly deal with.

You complained that some teachers just show the movie instead of making kids read the book. What if I was your child's teacher, I showed the movie, and you complained to the administration? What if you were a very politically active parent and I didn't have as much clout because I spent most of my time on lesson planning and paperwork instead of brown-nosing at happy hour with the Principal? What if you and I just clashed (because human beings do that sometimes) and you demanded I be fired?

What if I made kids read the book and some other parent decided that I shouldn't make her child work so hard when there is a movie the kids could watch instead? What if that parent complained and demanded my job?

What if one of the emotionally disturbed kids in my classroom accused me of doing things to him that I didn't do? This actually happened to me. The student was mad that I sent him to time out and he yelled, "Mrs. Lorax hit me, she beat the s$$t out of me!" Thankfully, I was on the other side of the room when this occurred and there were three other adults in the room. And this kid was known for making false accusations. Later he apologized to me and said he was mad so he wanted to get me in trouble.

What if the Principal of the school is some kind of crazy and decides that she wants to get rid of all teachers that are not her drinking buddies at the local happy hour? What if I've been working my butt off at this school for a number of years before crazy Principal arrived. I'm not one of her drinking buddies because I'm working my butt off after school. I personally have seen this situation at three different schools.

As a teacher, I am doing a job most people don't want and even fewer would be good at. As a special educator, I am doing a job most people are afraid of. I'm going above and beyond on a daily basis. But you don't think I deserve the respect of being protected by established procedures before I can be fired at a whim.

Yeah, good luck attracting the best and brightest with that one.
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #158
173. Please believe me that I support teachers. But the current system has failed.
Until there are standards and evaluations and accountability, you will have a broken system. Good teachers should be rewarded and bad teachers fired.

I know a teacher that lets students play guitars in his room while he is supposed to be teaching. He also lets students leave his class and run around the halls. The principle walks around the halls carrying his coffee when there is a no food outside the cafeteria rule. Another teacher I know well, shows videos in lieu of teaching. Another berates and humiliates students in class, actually I know two of these. When the students complain, they get no help from the administration. Students are pushed thru that can't read, write, spell or do math. Class control is a disaster which I don't think should be completely the teachers responsibility. But how can you teach the good kids when the class is out of control? When you talk to the administration about the problem, they (all former teachers) shrug and say their hands are tied by the union.

And again, I am not blaming teachers. I am blaming the system.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #143
178. "so the administrations don't even try" umm
Your argument hinges on principals not doing their job. They are not protected by unions are they?

"And don't tell me what's supposed to happen, because it doesn't happen."

How can I argue with that?

"...allows bad teachers a job for life." That is utter nonsense. Tell that to the 1000s of teachers losing their jobs because of this engineered economic contraction.

Your tone is gentle, I get that, but you are being intellectually lazy saying it is the system. If President Obama talked like that I would be even more angry with him about his views on "fixing" education.
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #178
227. Thank you for your interest and response. See below.
"so the administrations don't even try" umm.

Speaking only from my experience no they dont even try to ensure that teachers teach. They might go into a class room on occasion but they announce their visit well ahead of time. Evaluations are a joke as you must know if you are a teacher.

Your argument hinges on principals not doing their job. They are not protected by unions are they?

No principles are not protected by a union. As far as I can tell, there is no one that a principal is answerable to. If all the students fail the standard tests, they take them again with tutors and adjustments. I have never heard of a principal fired because they didnt do their job.

"And don't tell me what's supposed to happen, because it doesn't happen. How can I argue with that?

What I meant there is although there are very strict policies about harassment, humiliation, and intimidation, I have never seen a teacher disciplined or even spoken to about these issues. I see teachers, not a lot, badger and humiliate students. These teachers need to get another job.


"...allows bad teachers a job for life." That is utter nonsense. Tell that to the 1000s of teachers losing their jobs because of this engineered economic contraction.

Of course I didnt mean that teachers cant lose their jobs when there are cut backs. But they arent laid off based on poor performance. I have seen many a great teacher laid off while the poor teachers stay. I meant that teachers are not fired for poor teaching performance.

Your tone is gentle, I get that, but you are being intellectually lazy saying it is the system.

LOL. I dont at all claim to be intellectual, and will admit the being lazy. But my point is that the educational system is broken and there is blame to go around including the administrations, the parents, the children and believe it or not even the teachers.

Please answer me this. Do you believe the educational system is broken? Explain.

Do you recognize that there are teachers that may be doing a poor job, even if a small percentage? If so, what needs to be done?

For the record, I have always supported teachers and always have supported the tax increases requested by our school district.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 01:07 AM
Response to Reply #227
236. Alright
Please answer me this. Do you believe the educational system is broken? Explain.

Where to begin? People have written whole books "answering" this question. I believe that the minimum needs of the majority of students in most schools are being met. However, I do not believe we are helping students reach their full potential. I also think for many young people, not just schools, but our whole society is failing them and their families. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how schools fail students. In some cases failure was built in and intentional. In every discussion about the problems with our school systems, only teachers seem to be the ones that are talking about the significant causes of failure. Every community, every parent, every school board, every administrator, every teacher and every student is different but the causes of failures can be categorized.

And not to be completely annoying but what part of American life isn't broken? How many failures in American society are simplified to just blame the workers, in this case teachers? I wouldn't call the system broken but it requires regular maintenance, needs to allow for upgrading as educational research and practices improve, and needs more control by the workers and by that I mean teachers.

Couple ideas I will just throw out there. I have only met a couple principals that were not wastes of our education dollars. Eliminate principals to be replaced by a committee of the best teachers in every school. Legislate smaller class sizes and more teachers in every classroom. Ideally if there need to be 30 students in a classroom, have two teachers. I just like the idea of two teachers per class anyway. I can argue why but who has the time to argue every point. Eliminate NCLB now.

The system isn't so broken that we need to eliminate public education or create in every community a two tier system of publicly funded schools. People that want to discuss what is wrong with the education system need to understand that the fight is much bigger than whether unions prevent bad teachers from being fired or not.

Do you recognize that there are teachers that may be doing a poor job, even if a small percentage? If so, what needs to be done?

Yes, I have a response to that, rehabilitation, even a year off to return to college and acquire fresh skills or recharge with the understanding that their will be a position available for them when they return that is contingent upon their continuing improvement. Teachers that do things for which contracts require they be fired, should be fired. The unions should continue to ensure that teachers are given due process.

Your bad teacher is not necessarily a bad teacher to me though. I bet I would agree with you about what is a bad teacher but not necessarily with the next person. If the actions with regard to these "bad" teachers are accepted by the teachers unions then I would accept them.

I will continue to think more on this.
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #236
265. I agree that firing teachers is a little drastic. I believe that most of the ones I am talking about
would do fine with some decent supervision. Teachers like most employees need supervision and guidance. There should be curriculum and lesson plans that are reviewed and followed. And administrators should spend more time in class and make unannounced visits.

One of the most important things i believe is class control. All teachers handle this different. Some can keep the classes under control but others can't. I don't blame them. I don't think it is their job. However, they should get administrative help when needed. This is an area that I think the teachers via their union should work on. Insist on class control. And when there are substitutes, the administration should visit the class, and see that the students are under control. Too many times I have seen poor substitutes taken advantage of by rowdy classes with the admin ignoring the problem.

I do ramble, but I am very passionate about this. Give good teachers more pay and give the poor teachers more supervision.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #265
268. Agreed, nice chatting with ya. nt
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #268
272. Same to yah. nm
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jazzjunkysue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
156. Bashers can go get 6 years of college, pass all the tests and then wake up at 5:15
180 days a year like I do, just to make enough money to live a long commute from the town I teach in, and by the way, there will be cuts coming.

So, even if I keep my job, the conditions will continue to deteriorate.

I have 7 years until I can retire. I wish it was now.

I love the kids and what I do, but just praying I won't get cut again is eating away at me.

Every time someone named George Bush is president, I lose my job.
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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #156
270. Yeah, I've always wondered about the teacher bashers who
complain that "it's a part-time job with tenure."

Well, if they're so jealous about what a sweet gig teaching is, why don't they get in on it?
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
161. Step One: Get a government who cares.
We're still working on that one.
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #161
186. It has to be all levels of Government
The local governments that actually operate the schools, the state government that sets the standards and evens out the funding for the many school districts in the state. And lastly the Federal Government. All must be caring players in the education of the countries children.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #186
263. Correct. But the big kahuna are the 3 branches of the federal gummint.
Gotta get a judiciary who cares, a congress who cares, and an exec branch who cares. Need 'em all. Just one or two won't do.
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #263
266. The Federal Governments roll in education
is limited by the constitution. They can provide money and recommendations but really are not in a position to exercise control of school systems of the country. They operate now by bribery. Want Federal money, follow NCLB rules or not money. Education remains a function largley reserved for the States to exercise.
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cooolandrew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
163. Well, from me personally there's been no teacher bashing it's a tough job I respect that.
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zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
164. Here's an idea...
Teach the parents.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
165. Republicans are openly trying to destroy public schools. Arne Duncan is trying to do it politely
but the end result will be the same.
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antimatter98 Donating Member (537 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
166. I tried teaching at the Univ. level--they told me I was too good to the students.
...that I spent too much time tutoring them, helping them with homework and lab assignments,
and that THIS was why the students rated me so highly---obviously an invalid situation. So, I quit, because
my efforts were not respected and appreciated. I taught from the heart, and did spend a lot of
extra time with the students, but being essentially ridiculed by the faculty for doing this, which
affected my long term potential with the university seemed to me to be a fork in the road: treat the
kids poorly, or quit. I quit.

America is NOT the nation I grew up in when JFK was president. We've become hard hearted, a nation
of scammers and politicians, not real, and we're teaching our kids to be scammers too.

America RIP.

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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
168. I would add give the teachers autonomy about how to reach goals instead of giving them
a strict script they all must parrot.
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Daphne08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
170. K & R by a former teacher. n/t
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
171. I Thank all of you incredible people called"TEACHERS" I respect you and your job
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 05:52 PM by flyarm
And I apprecitate you so much for teaching my child!! ( who is now an adult in MBA school)

But I always respected teachers, because I almost became one of you!!

And I made my son respect all his teachers..always.

My son knew better than come home complaining about a teacher..because he knew ..the teacher would always win with me!!

I salute all teachers, and I want to Thank You all for doing such an incredible job teaching my son ..You opened his eyes to learning and as an adult now..he loves to learn and study..and you helped me make him a successful adult!!

a forever GREATFUL..fly

oh and PS..don't let the pathetic people who post group think..keep you from posting here....after all it is you the teachers, who teach us to think for ourselves..and to grow and be individuals who can think for ourselves.

You are not alone being called names.

This group think attitude got us where we are today..and that is a sad state.

We all need you teachers to help us save this nation ..by teaching the children today to think for themselves.

again..thank you from the bottom of my heart!!


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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
174. You'll love this quote! "Everyone thinks that anybody who went to school can teach. ..."
Everyone thinks that anybody who went to school can teach. Thats about as dumb as a person who has had brain surgery thinking he can perform brain surgery. Its one of my pet peeves. Big Time.

39. Vera Lynn - July 7th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

http://listverse.com/people/20-great-mark-twain-quotes/
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jazzjunkysue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #174
213. Very well said. Same thing goes for root canal, and heart surgery,
Hell, most of us can't even hem a pair of pants, but we wear them every day....
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ourbluenation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
179. Brav fricking ro!!!! K and R!!!!
This merit pay discussion on DU has vexed me no end. and I'm worn out talking about it. Great, great post. Well done.
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VermeerLives Donating Member (287 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
180. Lorax, you deserve a medal!
You have articulated so well the real problems here. It isn't teachers, for the most part. Teachers such as yourself obviously teach because they love it, and want to make a difference. You are definitely NOT an "incompetent boob"!
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
181. Silimar problems in my job as a nurse.
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 06:44 PM by tavalon
Too much responsibility and not enough power.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
183. And those are the fixes being proposed
Funny thing about this thread - all the teachers who want to pretend they're being bashed aren't here because they know good and well that the fixes suggested in the OP are what people like Arne Duncan are actually proposing. And merit pay is a red herring to oppose any changes at all.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
187. k*r You're the best! Thank you
Thanks for doing an important but very difficult job and thanks for post. It's a kicker!

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cmd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
189. This retired teacher can't add anything to your post but K&R
.
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
191. K&R
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muntrv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
195. No teacher bashing from me. I blame the parents who don't care if their kid
gets educated. I also blame the reich wingers who say educated is "elitist' while uneducated freepers are "real Americans."
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
197. Lorax, you speak for the teachers. I know many of them. They would agree.
I'm a better person having learned from many great teachers since first grade through college.

My kids (now grown) both had problems in school. The teachers that Ms. stevedeshazer and I worked with were terrific, and went beyond what was required.

And, yes, this was all public school.
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
199. Thank You Lorax
You express your views (and mine by the way) eloquently and beautifully! I wish I could express myself like you do. Thank you, from a third grade teacher (19 years now, hopefully more). I'm tired.
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trickyguy Donating Member (461 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
201. I teach piano privately and even that is getting dicey these days. Good luck to us all.
O8)
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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
203. Take this, teacher bashers.
Two teachers at my school are giving some days of their spring break to take one class to an historic fort on an overnight field trip. Those selfish, lazy teachers. Of course, that will not be counted in their 'merit' pay since it is not on the test.
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starzdust Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
204. Teacher had enough
Well, I've been teaching for over 30 years now, and am still
going. I took a break from teaching form 2000 to 2002 to work
on a second masters degree. I could not finish then, ran out
of money. So, I got another teaching position, moved around a
bit and finally settled in on the Navajo Reservation. 

I am a strong advocate for teacher unions as a steward now and
see how, in too many instances, staff is abused. 

I've taught at one of the top 5 high schools in my state and
teachers were once held in high esteem until the "Saint
Reagan" administration in the 1980's and then things
changed, for the worse. Experienced teachers were encouraged
to take advantage of a "VIP" program aimed at
getting rid of highly educated and experienced teachers for
cheaper, younger ones due to budget constraints.

I go so fed up with this crap, I resigned. Lack of respect,
poor working conditions on top of declining standard of living
[budget cuts on the back of teacher salaries], and as it
turned out, affecting my physical and mental health.

Now, I find myself struggling with additional physical and
mental health issues, in part, caused by the stress of this
job. NCLB, AYP and the yearly piling on by all sides more and
more tasks to do. I really want to retire ASAP, but can't due
to my age, 54. I am too thinking of quitting provided I can
get a different job...

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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
207. I think it's insane that most people take the word of their kid over the teacher when there is a
conflict. I've had plenty of people, whose kids are complete, narcassistic assholes, tell me the teacher has it out for their kid. Uh, no...the problem is your fucking kid....you and the teacher need united front. My parents used to kick my ass (figuratively speaking) if the teacher so much as disapproved of one of my assignments.

Even the worst teachers has something to teach you. And most of the time, the teachers you think are bad, are not.

I agree with this post.
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tinkerbell41 Donating Member (722 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
209. Bigger Problem
I worked in Chicago Public Schools for about a year and a
half, as an outside employee of a contractor. All I can say is
those POOR teachers. Personally I don't care how much money
you throw at the "problem" it will not go away. I
cannot say in one response how to fix it, but I feel it stems
from a complete erosion of stable well paying jobs. First,
parents need to see their role as working along with teachers
and the school to have their child succeed, but really it
can't happen
 when your main concern is how to put food on the table.
Granted some parents can deal with this, but when you live in
a community that is violent and most of the money is coming
from dealing, and you don't see any way out, or you yourself
don't have the education or skills to make a life for
yourself.... The problem is bigger than Bad teachers and Bad
Parenting. It is a whole circle that just keeps feeding
itself, crooked cops, politicians,slumlords,etc.. 
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DissedByBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
210. One more, get rid of zero-tolerance policies
Every kid is different. Every situation is different. Teachers and administrators need the discretion to deal with situations using an appropriate response. Zero-tolerance teaches kids that they can't expect fairness and reality-based reactions from adults.

One more request. Quit wasting valuable teachers' time with feel-good and politically-correct instruction. No more underwater basketweaving courses.
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
211. you paint everyone with the same brush. n/t
Edited on Tue Mar-17-09 09:46 PM by cynatnite
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Tab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
216. Remember THIS?



Apparently STILL nothing has changed.

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Unca Jim Donating Member (405 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
219. Nice to see
...a little support for my NEA brothers and sisters; I've been wondering if I was in freeperland the last few days.

Well, I need to get to bed so I can get up at 5:30 to selfishly rake in my piles of money I don't deserve tomorrow! :)
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
222. Lorax, we live on opposite coasts but share almost the exact same experience...
...as teachers. Your words describe my journey as a teacher perfectly. I retired last year because of stress-induced illness. It was the hardest decision I've ever made, because...as you said...I loved teaching and the children, but my family needed me, too.

Know that you have made the world a better place by both your teaching and your words here.:hug:
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The_Casual_Observer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
224. You deal with rooms full of unmotivated screwed up people all day
Who want only to be entertained like a video game. I don't know how you lasted this long
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lostnotforgotten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
225. Lorax - I Love Teachers - No Teacher Bashing From Me - Your Words Ring True To Me
eom
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ekwhite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
228. Gladly kicked and recommended
I showed this post to my nephew, who had to retire from teaching for his health. He said "It's like I wrote this post!" He also had to deal with incompetent administrators, parents who didn't do their job, and crumbling infrastructure. Teaching is one of the most stressful and unappreciated jobs in the US.
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Liberal_Christian Donating Member (387 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:06 AM
Response to Original message
230. I am very thankful that I've never seen DU forums on teachers being "whiny incompetent boobs"...
because I probably wouldn't be on DU if I did. People who leave comments like that are no better than the union busting conservatives that websites like DU are suppose to stand against. I'm sure people have thanked you for your sacrifice AND for your dedication to a trade that is perhaps the most important to an American citizen (next to the soldier, the police officer, the fire fighter, the laborer, the spiritual councilor, and the scientist) but here's another one; THANK YOU. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, I appreciate people like you and do not blame you and people like you for a very broken system that obviously needs reform. I went to school. I had some teachers that were amazing and some that were terrible but when I received a good grade or a bad grade; the only excuse or explanation I ever had was -HOW WELL I APPLIED MYSELF... and that's something no one can "teach". So the next time you're bothered by those who say that those like you are to blame for a failing educational system or you're "incompetent boobs"; just remember, there are millions of people, like myself, base our opinions off of more than the mindless drones of pundits, slothful blame, and easy rage.
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Hugabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
231. We need to eliminate private and home schooling
Education should be on an even playing field. Instead, what happens is that those with money pull their children out of public schools, and then develop a "to hell with them" attitude. It's the exact same reason why we need to eliminate the health insurance industry and move to a single-payer system, where everyone is treated equal, has the same access regardless of their standing.

If EVERYONE had a stake in public schools, then we'd be more apt to see improvements.
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sense Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 01:59 AM
Response to Reply #231
238. What an idiotic thing to say.
You have no idea! We home school because public school failed our children. Are we really just supposed to leave them in a system where they are abused? The government does not own my children and I will not hand them over to just anyone. The schools are broken! You go ahead and let them do what they will with your children. That's what we need in this country. More drones. You must not have any children or you would never say such a thing.

Stick to what you know.
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 12:22 AM
Response to Original message
234. Oh, Lorax...
:hug:

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mackerel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #234
237. The reason I left teaching was mostly do to the parents not
reinforcing our instruction with their child at home. I also found that many parents did not want to address disciplinary issues with their child. Having said that there were also some amazing parents out there.

My children go to private school and I'm of the opinion that I'm actually supporting the public school system by freeing up three seats students who need them.

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krkaufman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
239. I feel for you.
I'm deeply disappointed that any critical emphasis is being placed on existing teachers when there are so many other systemic problems afflicting our educational system.
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BobTheSubgenius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 02:45 AM
Response to Original message
242. I couldn't have more sympathy, Lorax.
A man I know taught English and English Lit. in a high school near here quit and went back to sheet metal work, a trade he'd learned from his father as a part time job while going to school. He said he couldn't stand being treated by some parents as a "necessary evil" (his words) at best, and an impediment to the children of others. And that from the very few that were involved enough with their children's education to even show up.

This in a high school that typically ranks near the top of province-wide grading, and in a catchment area that is the second-wealthiest of all the schools in the city. Not that that is any guarantee of academic excellence or anything of the sort, but it's not exactly a school where kids have to duck bullets in order to arrive alive. The kids are fed, clothed and housed way beyond subsistence level, and their parents, by and large, can afford all the supplemental materials their progeny could need. Hell, the student parking lot must have 80-100 slots. It's hard to imagine what truly desperate schools must go through to try to educate.

What the hell can we expect from the future if these things you describe are what we think are the acceptable standards needed to teach the eventual leaders of that future? I'm very sorry for your experience, and its eventual outcome. We need legions of you.
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olegramps Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 04:18 AM
Response to Original message
245. The biggest problem is the lazy parents.
Much of what is wrong with the school system could be overcome if the parents did their part in educating and controlling their little brats. Disruptive kids should be kicked out of the system and their parents made to pay to have them educated in some nitwit religious school. I have seen it in my own extended family where the parents have so damn many things going that they don't have any time left to assist their kid. They just shove them out the door and expect the school to do wonders.
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carlyhippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #245
251. agreed
Carly
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olegramps Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 04:36 AM
Response to Original message
246. I would venture to say we have more sub-par politicians than teachers.
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Sarah Ibarruri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
248. I agree! Blaming teachers is a total cop out and doesn't help identify why kids won't learn
It's not the teachers. There are as good teachers now as when I attended school.
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carlyhippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 07:26 AM
Response to Original message
250. No teacher bashing here, kids were "taught" by their parents 4-5 years before they enter the system
Edited on Wed Mar-18-09 07:33 AM by carlyhippy
or lack of being "taught". Some parents paid attention to their kids, read to them, talked to them, took care of them, nurtured them and instilled a love of learning early.....then there are the parents who did not do any of the above, and those are the brats who disrupt the class, don't want to learn, and they make it hard for the kids who WANT to be there. This frustrates the bright young minds who want to learn, and our society needs these eager kids to get an education, they are our future. Bravo for you being at the front lines, we need our teachers.

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martigras Donating Member (29 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
256. This teacher has also had enough!
Lorax your numbers are legion in the teaching profession. After 36 years, I'm finished.
We just had a "Fashion Design major" who is our newest administrator gut a terrific, award winning English curriculum even though she has no expertise in the field. It's the administrators who come in and want to "shake things up" by proposing ridiculous programs that are ruining education in this country. They don't do their jobs weeding out poor teachers and the hard working folks in the trenches get all the blame.
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TornadoTN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #256
257. WELL SAID! My wife feels the same
Edited on Wed Mar-18-09 09:19 AM by TornadoTN
I'm sending this on to her because she's been feeling really down lately about how things are going in her school system. The administration does NOTHING to control discipline issues, review teachers fairly, or advocate for a strong curriculum along with teachers. They merely do the minimum necessary to look good for the Superintendent.

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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
258. Best teacher post ever!
:kick:
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
262. great post! Teachers rock!
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