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It happens in many ways. But bad policies, policies that target teachers for blame, that lower their pay while increasing their workloads, that treat them not as valued professionals but as test proctors, that ignore their experience in the classroom in favor of the whims of billionaires, are driving great teachers out of the classroom on a regular basis. New York University professors Eric Klinenberg and Caitlin Zaloom write that "the clear finding" of a recent study they conducted was that:
Many new teachers in the United States are committed to values that extend beyond expediency, narrow self-interest, and the present moment. These are precisely the kind of people who can help young people learn, not just how to make a living, but how to live and what to live for.

But the system almost forces these new teachers toward other occupations.

New teachers lack mentoring and resources for training and professional development, while teachers are pressured by test-based evaluations, all for a profession that's increasingly devalued and under attack. But these pressures don't just hit new teachers.

In Wisconsin, Whitefish Bay High School teacher Christine Kiefer was working on a master's degree and had been teaching math for 10 years when Gov. Scott Walker's infamous Act 10 eliminating collective bargaining for public workers went into effect. She's been forced to abandon both. The master's degree went first, because of funding cuts. With that route to higher pay cut off, and with increasing class sizes, Kiefer told the school board she was resigning:

"Here's my problem: When I started, I had all these incentives to improve and now I am completely stuck," Kiefer told the board. "I have no master's degree, I have no way to increase my salary and there are no incentives in place for improving my practice. Others in my department and in this school make a lot more money than I do and I produce the same, quality results." [...]

"I love teaching kids and I love the kids' families and I love my colleagues and I love Whitefish Bay, but I cannot wait any longer," she said. "I can't stay at a job that sacrifices all my time for my own family—at least two hours every school night and between six to 12 hours every weekend—time after the bell rings, time that produces such good results when there is no good faith effort on the part of the district to pay what I am worth, to pay me what you would probably have to pay an equivalent replacement for me."

Christine Kiefer isn't the only Wisconsin teacher to leave in the wake of Act 10—retirements skyrocketed after the law was passed—and Act 10 isn't the only bad policy pushing dedicated teachers out of the classroom, though, as we'll see below the fold.

Last fall, Kris Nielsen, who had moved to North Carolina specifically for a teaching job after years teaching in New Mexico and Oregon, wrote, "I am quitting without remorse and without second thoughts" because:

I refuse to be led by a top-down hierarchy that is completely detached from the classrooms for which it is supposed to be responsible.

I will not spend another day under the expectations that I prepare every student for the increasing numbers of meaningless tests.

I refuse to be an unpaid administrator of field tests that take advantage of children for the sake of profit. [...]

I’m tired of watching my students produce amazing things, which show their true understanding of 21st century skills, only to see their looks of disappointment when they don’t meet the arbitrary expectations of low-level state and district tests that do not assess their skills.

In spring 2012, the "worst eighth-grade math teacher in New York City" decided to leave teaching. Not much of a loss if she was the worst, right? Yeah, well, Carolyn Abbott was teaching at a gifted-and-talented school, where:
The material covered on the state eighth-grade math exam is taught in the fifth or sixth grade at Anderson. “I don’t teach the curriculum they’re being tested on,” Abbott explained. “It feels like I’m being graded on somebody else’s work.”

The math that she teaches is more advanced, culminating in high-school level algebra and a different and more challenging test, New York State’s Regents exam in Integrated Algebra. To receive a high school diploma in the state of New York, students must demonstrate mastery of the New York State learning standards in mathematics by receiving a score of 65 or higher on the Regents exam. In 2010-11, nearly 300,000 students across the state of New York took the Integrated Algebra Regents exam; most of the 73 percent who passed the exam with a score of 65 or higher were tenth-graders. [...]

How do her students perform on the content that she actually does teach? This year, the 64 eighth-graders at Anderson she teaches are divided into two groups, an honors section and a regular section. All but one of the students in the honors section took the Regents Integrated Algebra exam in January; the other student and most of the regular-section students will take the exam in June. All of the January test-takers passed with flying colors, and more than one-third achieved a perfect score of 100 on the exam.

Abbott left teaching to go to graduate school in mathematics.

It's relatively rare that a teacher's decision to leave the classroom gets much attention. But if we're concerned with keeping good teachers and making it easier to become a good teacher or to stay a good teacher through years on the job, it's worth paying attention to what teachers say as they're leaving the profession—just as we should be listening to them as they struggle to keep teaching. Right now, we have a lot of terrible policies that have been imposed from above, through big money and high-powered PR strategies. Let's start including teachers' voices in making education policy, before they're on their way out the door.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:25 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Teachers Lounge, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't know what is worse (38+ / 0-)

    .........these policies, the policymakers who push them, or the sad platoon of trolls here at DKos who cheer these types of policies. I understand why Republicans do it, but the asshole false progressives who troll education articles here are the most upsetting.

    Thank you Laura for putting this article forth and I hope some of the trolls that will pop up will wind up turning to stone in the sunlight of the truth.

    •  Conservatives. (16+ / 0-)

      The Democratic Party is a conservative party; as are many of its champions. It only includes some progressives.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:45:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Real Progressives are for reform. (5+ / 0-)

      The public education system works pretty well for the majority of kids. But it doesn't work at all for:

      1) Poor inner city families.
      2) Poor rural families.

      I am a parent in the inner city. The schools are very bad.

      If you are an inner-city parent, schemes like vouchers, charters, and merit-pay are the only politically feasible chance at getting a better education for your child.

      (There are plenty of politically infeasible unicorns and Easter Bunnies mentioned on dKos. "Let's do it like they do it in Finland!" or my favorite, "Let's end all poverty and test scores will rise!". But we parents need something that can actually happen this year)

      When the Educational Establishment -- which includes Teachers' Unions -- blocks reform, they play into conservative hands. They split our coalition right down the middle, ironically on class lines. Black and brown families must accept bad schools to avoid making white-collar professionals uncomfortable.

      Don't get me wrong! I'm not saying poor kids aren't learning only because they have bad schools. I'm familiar with the research showing that most of the problem is with socioeconomic issues that are beyond the teachers' control. But at least let's have some choice and accountability over that part of education that schools can control?

      Instead, the Educational Establishment acts like Congressional Republicans. They stall, they say "no no no" to everything, and they slowly let everything burn...

      •  And your evidence that teachers unions (11+ / 0-)

        are part of the educational establishment and are blocking where?

        •  I can cite... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...articles, quotes, etc. I've been down this road before.

          But before I start, let me ask, "What evidence would you accept as convincing?"

          I'm saying that Teachers' Unions are against charter schools, voucher programs, and letting parents choose their kids' school.

          They're against evaluating teachers on any criteria other than seniority and teacher credentials. In particular, they don't want teachers evaluated on how much students learn.

          There are sound political and financial reasons for this. Teachers' Unions are properly representing the legitimate economic interests of their members. But we have been maneuvered into a position where those interests are diametrically opposed to the educational interests of inner-city kids.

          And that is how our coalition will be split -- unless we figure out a better solution.

          And please don't propose that the "solution" is to End All Poverty, or triple school funding, or reduce class size to 8. We need realistic solutions, not red herrings.

          •  A study of the voucher program in Cleveland (10+ / 0-)

            showed that students who participated in the voucher program to go to private schools performed worse than the ones who remained in public schools. Here in Minnesota, recent studies show that charter schools overall produce worse test results than public ones. I would question your assertion that vouchers and charter schools are always better. That's what I'd like to see proof on. Perhaps teachers are against them because they are not better.

            I am a teacher in a public school where more than one tenured teacher has been fired, and the union did not support the teachers. Proper procedure according to the contract to fire the teachers was followed.

            And regarding your last paragraph: we don't need straw man arguments either.

            •  There are other studies... (0+ / 0-)

              ...showing that charter schools are better. In particular the ones in NYC are better than teh public schools.

              There are many differences in how these reforms are administered. For example in NYC, schools are not allowed to cherry-pick students. Charters in Pennsylvania can be (God help those kids) Internet-Only. Some vouchers are too small to provide a school with enough money.

              We need to figure out which flavors of reform work and which don't.

              But instead, whenever one reform fails, anti-reformers try to use it as an excuse to end all reform. The result? Another year of delay and another class of unprepared kids "ages out" of bad inner-city schools.

              •  Thank goodness for teh Google (8+ / 0-)


                Charter schools haven’t helped other states and they won’t help Alabama. Here are the reasons why:

                * Numerous national and state studies have shown that charters on average don’t get better results than regular public schools. A small percentage get high scores, more get very low scores, most are about average in terms of test scores. Why kill off a community’s public school to replace it with a privately managed school that is no better and possibly worse?

                * Charter schools weaken the regular public schools. They take money away from neighborhood public schools and from the district budget. As charter schools open, regular public schools must cut teachers and close down programs to pay for them.

                * Many of the “high-performing” charter schools succeed by skimming off the best students, even in poor districts. The more they draw away the best students, the worse it is for the regular public schools, who are left with the weakest students.

                * Charters fragment communities. Instead of everyone working together to support the children and schools of their communities, charters and regular public schools fight over resources and space. This is not good for education or for children.

                •  Like I said... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...there are many ways to design a Charter or Voucher program.

                  Some are good, some are bad.

                  Some work, some don't.

                  But it's not fair to assume all reforms are bad just because some aren't working.

                  Lastly, please remember that a Charter or Voucher is choice-based. If the public school was so good, why do the parents choose to leave it?

                  We should expect Charters to have lower test scores. If the kids were doing well, their parents would have kept them in the regular school! Charters attract the tough cases, the kids for whom The System isn't working.

                  •  There are also many ways to (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mostel26, drmah, Aunt Martha, madhaus

                    improve public schools which should be the first priority.  However it seems that only certain prescribed reforms are considered acceptable even though research shows them to be ineffective.  It's almost as if there is a concerted effort to see public schools fail.

                    “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

                    by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:07:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  One reason is marketing (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Aunt Martha, madhaus

                    This is a generic answer and not directed at you and your particular situation, but charter schools in many cases spend a huge amount on marketing, an amount that is far and beyond what any public school could get away with.

                    Some charter schools are spending six figures on marketing and advertising.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:12:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  There was an Imagine school here (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mostel26, madhaus

                  that went out of business.

                  I'd heard bad things about the quality of instruction -- students just copying notes off a board, doing seatwork and so on.  I had no idea how bad it was.

                  I've got the former students back in my public school classroom this year and they are telling all sorts of horror stories.  Apparently it was Bedlam, fighting, throwing books and chairs.

                  Light is seen through a small hole.

                  by houyhnhnm on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:20:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I question part of your data (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I recently read an article on a charter school in New York cherry picking to keep out special education students.

                Again, I will point out that neither I nor anyone else is advocating no reform, nor are we advocating the reforms in your first post I responded to. We also can't improve schools if we cannot fairly represent the other side's point of view. n/t

                •  Cherry-picking can happen... (0+ / 0-)

                  ....but it's illegal.

                  But consider how things work under the current system. Rich suburbs use high property taxes to cherry-pick the families with the most money.

                  These suburbs have "better" schools.

                  At least with charters, poor families have a choice!

                  •  You've just clearly identified the one reform (5+ / 0-)

                    that will work. Funding equity. Next to socioeconomic status, the best overall predictor of school quality is per-pupil spending.

                    The correlation is far from perfect, yet evident every year in PA when the Philly Inky publishes the state figures; it's more than close enough to be the one and only legitimate reform we should start with.

                    It should be no surprise that the increasing problems with inner city and rural schools lines up 100% with the cutting of federal education funds started by Reagan and continued, with minor temporary upticks, ever since, exacerbated by state funding cuts forced by the dearth of federal dollars flowing to the states in the wake of both the 2002-3 and 2007-8 recessions.

                    There is nothing whatsoever magical about charter schools. Some are good and some suck just as it the case with everything else in the world, it's that damn bell curve exerting reality on the world. The problem is that far, far too much of what is peddled as reform is a Trojan horse for shuffling public money to private hands.

                    As a former teacher who quit some 28 years ago back when things were "good" and I taught in a better than average public school, the lack of resources and relatively poor pay - I picked up something like a 17% raise when I left if I recall, was a significant reason for my leaving. The biggest issue was that teachers were rarely engaged in any effort to improve the situation. Everything came down from on high and usually was crap. The stuff rolling downhill now is by and large really stinky crap with far fewer resources available to boot. No surprise things outside the wealthiest of districts aren't doing particularly well.

                    If you want better schools you have to pay for it, pure and simple.

                    The only other reform that would, IMO, have a significant positive impact is a concerted effort to find and develop high quality administrators.

                    Education is no different than any other business or organization. If you have high quality leadership you will be far more likely to generate high quality results.

                    I worked in 3 different schools between student post-graduate school teaching (FWIW, I got my BA in Physics w. Math minor from Cornell and MS in Secondary Math & Science Ed from Penn) with 1 really lousy principal, 1 1/2 decent principal and 1 rather good principal. The overall school performance lined up pretty closely with the combination of community wealth and leadership quality. The school in the middle money-wise but better leadership performed near on par with the wealthier school with not quite the same level of leadership, while the double-whammy school in a working class community with a lousy boss pretty well sucked.

                    Democracy is a contact sport...

                    by jsmagid on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:28:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're right, but... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...funding equity is damn near impossible politically. We can't get the rich to pay even 1% more in income taxes! Do you think we can get rich suburbs to send $thousands-per-pupil to the inner city?

                      Now, as for, "a concerted effort to find and develop high quality administrators", we have a name for that. It's called School Choice.

                      If parents have the ability to leave a bad school and go to a good one, the schools with better administration are going to attract more students, pure and simple.

              •  From your link: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mostel26, elfling
                On a school-by-school comparison, the report found that 51 percent of New York City charter schools are showing academic growth in math that is statistically larger than students would have achieved in regular public schools, with 33 percent with no significant difference and 16 percent with significantly lower learning. In reading, the report found that 29 percent of charter schools are showing statistically better gains, with 59 percent with no significant difference and only 12 percent significantly lower.
                This means that, according to CREDO's own methodology, slightly more than half (51%) of charter school students are doing better on math standardized tests than their public school counterparts, while slightly more than 1/4 (29%) are doing better on reading standardized tests.

                Putting aside for the moment the obvious question about testing mania--which could simply mean that some charter schools are doing a better job of teaching to the test than some public schools--and putting aside for the moment potential funding differences between charter and public schools, contrary to your claim, the results here do not show that charter schools in NYC are better than public schools.

                And please spare us your right-wing "reform" terminology (see, e.g., welfare "reform" or tax "reform").  Thank you in advance.

                •  I don't understand. (0+ / 0-)

                  If you pick a random NYC charter school, more that half the time it will be better than the nearby public school. Those are GOOD RESULTS by any yardstick!

                  Also Charter schools in NYC get less per pupil than public schools.

                  As for "teaching to the test", I'll repeat my previous, still-unanswered, question, "What evidence would you accept as convincing?"

                  If you won't accept kids doing Math problems on a Math test as proof that they are learning Math...what will you accept?

                  •  What will I accept? (4+ / 0-)

                    1. Stop the union-bashing, teacher-bashing right-wing talking points.  Just stop them.

                    2. Honesty.  Your claim about charter school performance is simply dishonest.  51% in math with 29% in reading does not that mean charter schools are better.

                    3. Honesty.  The study about funding to which you link is solely about public funding.  As the article itself says:

                    It did not take into account private donations, which some charter schools raise in the millions, permitting some to provide students with better technology and more resources than their public school counterparts.
                    4. Honesty.  If you're going to claim that test scores = learning, as opposed to teaching to the test, provide long-term, longitudinal evidence that demonstrates that that is so.

                    If you're frustrated with the state of public education, you're not alone.  But honestly, when you spout right-wing talking points and are dishonest about what studies show, expect pushback.

                    •  Once again... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...I don't know what evidence you'll accept.

                      "If you're going to claim that test scores = learning, as opposed to teaching to the test, provide long-term, longitudinal evidence that demonstrates that that is so. "
                      OK. We plot Test Scores on the X-axis. We need to plot "Learning" on the Y-axis. What proxy should we use for "Learning"? What number? And don't say that learning is a magical, undefinable thing that can't be quantified...if you say that, then nobody can prove anything works and we might as well replace teachers with McDonald's employees.

                      As for charter school performance, I am baffled. 59% is not good enough? What must the number be...75%? 95%? 100%?

                      •  Where do you get 59%? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        madhaus, fiddler crabby

                        The only 59% I see in the link that you yourself provided shows no difference in reading test scores between the NYC charter and public schools that were in the study.  If you want to use that as the fantabulous measure of student success in charter schools, go for it, I say.

                        As for the rest of your argument, I frankly reject your overreliance on high-stakes, standardized test scores; in fact, I would argue that such an overreliance is part of your right-wing framing.  Such test scores should be one component of assessing student learning, but by themselves say as much about students' abilities to take high-stakes tests or teachers to teach to the test than they do about learning.  To truly assess learning, there are other equally important components, such as homework, in-class writing, classroom participation in either small or large groups, subject-specific tests that teachers design and give as part of every day teaching.  Things that involve, you know, teachers, even though many teachers belong to unions and, according to you, teacher unions aren't interested in student learning.

                        But then again, perhaps involving teachers and their expertise, according to you, would be magical pony thinking that only happens in Finland.

                        Such is the sorry, miserable state of your right-wing talking points that they deserve only mockery.

              •  Dude, NYC charters cherry pick (5+ / 0-)

                and if they can’t, they push the kids out.  Follow the numbers.

                I’m not wasting my time because you believe what you want, but you are very wrong. Look at a grade (1st) and look at the same group in 4th grade.  Look how many have been pushed out over those years.

                Jeffery Canada even canceled a grade because their tests results would’ve been terrible.  

            •  You're feeding one of the trolls mentioned above (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quill, houyhnhnm, Mostel26, rosarugosa, madhaus

              Anyone who calls tackling poverty a "red herring" is uninterested in solutions.

              The charter schools in Cleveland are horrible too, with a handful of exceptions.

              Jon Husted is a dick.

              by anastasia p on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:56:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Anna, we've been... (0+ / 0-)

                ...down this road before.

                Sure, many charter schools may be bad. But parents choose them, so they must be better than whatever the local alternative is.

                Bad charter schools are never a problem because parents can just avoid them.

                Bad public schools are a big problem because parents are forced to use them and have no choice.

                •  Or they choose them because (5+ / 0-)

                  they think they are better or have been led to believe they are. Sadly some people simply equate anything public (or government run) is bad and anything private is good.

                  “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

                  by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:09:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, it is true... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...parents sometimes make bad choices.

                    Parents sometimes let their kids watch too much TV, drink too much soda, and play too many video games.

                    Parents sometimes don't read to their kids, take them to museums, or teach them good manners and proper English.

                    And, sadly, parents sometimes make bad choices when it comes to schools. But we don't dare argue that they should be denied the choice. At least I hope, that's not what you're saying.

                    •  They can also choose (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rosarugosa, madhaus

                      to get involved in their local public school PTA and effect change that way.  I've personally seen active parent groups bring about major changes to their public school including changes in the administration.  The point is that public schools belong to the public and parents who are active in their child's public school education can make a huge difference.

                      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

                      by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:50:41 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If we had active... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...organized parents in every home, that would be great.

                        But we don't, so can't we make choice easy?

                        Telling parents that they must go to board meetings and yell at officials to get good schools is not right. It is also a nasty delaying tactic used to keep parents waving signs and chanting instead of demanding real choice-based accountable reform.

                        Here in NYC schools are controlled by the Mayor. To even get his attention you need to organize 3,000,000 voters and spend $100 million dollars...

                        •  Going and waiving signs isn't the way parents (0+ / 0-)

                          effect change from my observation.  Having the mayor in control of your schools may be part of the problem.  In my state, elected school boards operate very well.  Perhaps choice works for you personally.  It may not benefit others--particularly those who are unable to take advantage of it for whatever reason.  Many of us will continue to believe that it is part of the social contract to make our schools better rather than to desert them.

                          “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

                          by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:33:57 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Respectfully, I don't think ManhattanMan said that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gorgonza, ManhattanMan

              charters are always better. The evidence points against  that. But they may be locally better, and the local public schools may be especially abysmal, and parents might hope to have some way to improve the prospects for their own kids.

              Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

              by OrdinaryIowan on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:33:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Similar problem in Indiana. Since funding based on (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, madhaus

              school enrollment is based on September enrollment, Charter Schools recruit like crazy in the summer, but just after they get their State Money for enrollment they expel Special Needs children and discipline problems. These children are sent back to Public School but the money for their education stays with the Charter School.  It's a real scam!

          •  Then surely (8+ / 0-)

            these problems with inner city and rural schools shouldn't exist in states with extremely weak or nonexistent teachers' unions, right?

            Take my state, Texas, as an example. By state law, teachers' unions are not allowed to collectively bargain; teachers are not allowed to strike; there is no teacher tenure; teachers can be fired for cause or not, just like any other employee, since Texas is an "at-will" employment state. Essentially, teachers' unions here are no more than glorified professional organizations. So we should be near the top of the pile in educating poor rural and inner-city kids, according to your reasoning. But that's far from the truth.

            I'm not claiming that teachers' unions never do anything harmful - I've read plenty about the NYC schools, for example, that is just inexcusable. (This New Yorker piece, for example.) And in some places, teacher union opposition may be throwing up roadblocks to school alternatives. But I don't think it helps your cause to claim that teacher unions result in bad educational options for all poor urban and rural kids everywhere, because that's just not true.

            I like the idea of charter or alternative schools, but not vouchers, since those (1) drain public school funds, and (2) act as just another backdoor tax break for rich people who would send their kids to private school anyway. A voucher based on financial need, maybe, but no vouchers for millionaires.

            In my area, there are some high-performing alternative and charter schools that are independently run, but still technically part of the school district. This appeals to me. There has been so much financial hanky-panky and other nonsense with random, stand-alone charter schools (TX and FL are particularly bad) - it's just a fantasy to think that they will magically function well with no oversight. But schools that run on different models in partnership with a district, like the Ann Richards School for girls, can provide a meaningful option for kids who want to work hard, and whose parents value education, but can't afford private school.

            P.S. I'm a public school employee working in Title I schools with poor semi-rural children. If I had a child of elementary school age, I would not hesitate to enroll him or her in one of those schools - the teachers are wonderful, as are the principal and VP.

          •  These are... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quill, Aunt Martha, Mostel26, drmah

            Frequently GOP Talking Points...
            You may want to examine the validity of the studies...

            "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
            I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
            ~John F. Kennedy~


            by Oldestsonofasailor on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:11:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  If you're going to spout right-wing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            talking points about how teachers unions aren't interested in education, then you better have really large samples of evidence across wide swaths of the country to prove that.

            Otherwise, you're simply spouting right-wing talking points.

          •  Some of what you say is completely false. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mostel26, NJtom, elfling, Aunt Martha

            Particularly this:

            They're against evaluating teachers on any criteria other than seniority and teacher credentials. In particular, they don't want teachers evaluated on how much students learn.
            My union worked with the school system to develop a comprehensive evaluation system based on the standards of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.  It is also a peer review system.  There are similar systems in other jurisdictions and they've been heavily researched and found to be extremely effective.  Student achievement is included in the mix but it is a comprehensive view of students achievement--not standardized test scores.  There are a number of district tests that are considered as well as other student work.  RTTT will cause us to have to abandon this system which has been found to be effective in favor of one that is unproven.  Even our secretary of education, Arnie Duncan, said while visiting one of our schools that the program wasn't meant to be so inflexible.  Sadly it is having a negative impact on the quality of instruction that students are receiving as the priority is all about reading and math on the state tests.

            You can read about our evaluation system here:
            A User's Guide to Peer Assistence and Review (PAR)

            “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

            by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:04:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I looked at the PAR website... (0+ / 0-)

              ...and found nothing about student achievement.

              Getting a good PAR eval appears to depend entirely on the subjective judgements of your peers and your administrators. Can your kids actually read? Not tested.

              For a real laugh,look at how they say "success" should be measured (boldface mine):

              "Some proponents of PAR believe that its greatest benefit—an enhanced professional culture that focuses energy and resources on instruction—is impossible to measure. They might credit the program with improving student achievement, although that would be a hard case to prove since so many initiatives contribute to such progress."
              Now making teachers feel good is fine and dandy. But to use this as an evaluation tool when the designers admit that no link can be made to actual achievement is exactly the sort of mumbo-jumbo that makes parents distrust the Educational Establishment.

              Nobody cares about your "enhanced professional culture that focuses energy and resources on instruction" unless you can show how this stuff actually teaches kids.

              And you can't show that -- or at least I've not seen it.

          •  You're conflating a few things (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Martha

            They want layoffs to be by seniority and credentials.

            But layoffs should be far and few between.

            There's due process for removing underperforming teachers, and evaluations associated with that. That is different and goes on whether a district is hiring or firing.

            Just because you're running layoffs by seniority doesn't mean you can't also remove underperforming teachers as a separate exercise.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:10:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  So why are those reforms being forced (7+ / 0-)

        on schools that are, as you say it, working pretty well?

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:06:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would be fantastic... (0+ / 0-)

 exempt good schools from the reforms!

          But that would mean admitting the existence of bad schools -- and calling them out by name. Is the Educational Establishment prepared to do this? No.

          So pain is created for everybody in the hope that the outcry will become so great that all reform gets stalled...again.

          •  EVERY school in my district (7+ / 0-)

            is on the state published  'failing' list.

            Hello, my name is Sprinkles and I am a teacher who teaches in a bad school.

            I say I am a member of the teaching profession because I believe there is an important difference between being a an employee in a bad school and being a member of the the professional community of educators.

          •  My system called out a failing school by name (7+ / 0-)

            and put a lot of money into some very specific measures to help the school improve.  They extended the school year by a month and extended the school day.  They instituted after school tutoring programs.  They offered existing staff the opportunity to stay there for an increase in pay based on their current per diem rate of pay.  It was expensive but this school showed more improvement than any other school in our district (which is large--about 200 schools).  The problem is that no one wants to put money into targeted reforms--reforms that have been proven to work.  The above school is also required to have highly qualified teachers--not TFA candidates.

            “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

            by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:39:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  "works in education . . . " (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish, Mostel26, madhaus

        Specifically, what "work" do you do in education?

        Light is seen through a small hole.

        by houyhnhnm on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:36:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not willing to say. (0+ / 0-)

          It doesn't matter, really. It's the Internet, I could be anybody. I try to cite my sources which is the best that can be expected.

          "Never trust the storyteller, only trust the story."

          I also reject the notion that only teachers can have opinions about educational policy. That is like saying you can't criticize Banks, Defense Contractors, or Oil Companies unless you are a banker, war profiteer, or driller...!

          •  Ha! (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sprinkles, RadGal70, Mostel26, madhaus
            I could be anybody.
            You could be a former hedge fund manager looking for new sources of plunder.

            Light is seen through a small hole.

            by houyhnhnm on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:25:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well you can refute... (0+ / 0-)

              ...what I'm saying with facts, or you can go for the old ad hominem attack.

              I mean. you could be an America-Hating Terrorist trying to destroy the USA by keeping our failed educational system in place. The mis-education of our kids will hurt the USA more than Bin Laden's planes did!

              Seriously, let's stick to the facts.

          •  Gee Manhattan Man (6+ / 0-)

            You have been jumping into every diary discussion about education for at least 6 years now. I know almost everything that you are going to say verbatim. That child of yours that needs an immediate solution to the bad public schools in NY must be at least high school age by now. There must be some other reason that you jump so quickly into the fray these days.

            Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

            by BMarshall on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:55:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My child is in... (0+ / 0-)

              ...elementary school (public) and is doing quite well.

              Why is she doing so well?

              Because NYC allows kids who test well to escape bad schools through a Gifted program. My daughter comes from a two-parent, highly-educated household, so of course she tests very well.

              (I don't advocate letting some schools skim off the "gifted" kids as a solution, btw. But my family is grateful for the loophole).

              My daughter also does well because her highly-educated, privileged parents can afford to work part-time and devote huge amounts of attention to her education. If my wife and I were poor immigrants working minimum-wage jobs, it wouldn't be possible.

              As usual, the system works very well for privileged people like me. But I wish it worked for everybody.  Don't you?

              •  Congratulations! You managed to type one of the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus, houyhnhnm

                MOST arrogant statements I have read in a long time"

                "My daughter comes from two-parent, highly-educated household, so of course she tests very well."

                Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

                by ranton on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:00:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hey, I didn't make the world. (0+ / 0-)

                  At age 5 (when they give the test) Standardized testing doesn't measure intelligence, hard work, or goodness of character.

                  It measures whether your parents coached you for the test.

                  I wish NYC had a system that worked for every kid. But they don't.

              •  So what you're saying is... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus, houyhnhnm

                Your child's success in an educational setting is not primarily due to his or her teacher's efforts, but because of your emphasis on the importance of education and your efforts to provide an enriching learning environment outside of the classroom.

                The statistics would agree with you: a child's home environment and the parent's attitudes about education have a huge influence on how much a child learns.  So if a child fails to succeed in my class because of a poor home environment, can I include this information in my evaluation?

                •  Yes. Yes, you can. (0+ / 0-)
                  "So if a child fails to succeed in my class because of a poor home environment, can I include this information in my evaluation?"
                  Yes. It's caValue-Added Measurementement. It is not perfect, but it is much better than methods which don't evaluate students at all.

                  Also teachers in nice suburbs filled with stable home environments will get less of a free ride. Most of the gains in "good" schools come from factors beyond the control of the school. Targets for these schools must be set higher.

          •  You have a point (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManhattanMan, quill, Mostel26

            since our country allows accountants to dictate medical treatment, why not allow them to dictate educational policy as well.
            Snark aside, I don't begrudge anyone voicing their opinion on how my school-which is in one of the poorest neighborhoods of NYC- function. But starting with Guiliani and continuing with Bloomberg, WE don't have a voice in things.
            Finally, you ask the community for reality based ideas. Please hold yourself to the same standard and withdraw the assertion that Charters don't cherry pick. It may be illegal, but you damn well know it's happening.

            I STILL want to see Mitt's taxes.

            by Van Buren on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:56:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know Charters cherry-pick... (0+ / 0-)

     other parts of the country.

              But they can't in NYC. The rules are pretty strict -- admission is by lottery.

              Some say that Charters just "counsel" problem kids into leaving. Well, what about public schools that counsel problem kids into charters?

              Remember -- if you kid is doing well, you're not gonna risk a Charter. It is the kids who are having problems that seek out alternatives, not the Happy Kids.

              Even the Stanford CREDO study admitted that the cherry-picking theory doesn't hold up that well.

              Besides, even if they do cherry-pick, we are still going to need to evaluate performance based on scores normed to socioeconomic status. If my charter cherry-picks all the kids from two-parent households that is just gonna raise the bar I need to hit on test scores...

      •  Who said no? And to what? (9+ / 0-)

        I teach in schools where the students families have not much money  and not much education.  

        So long as 'accountability' means students' scores on standardized tests, and that is all it means right now, it has almost nothing to do with the quality of the students' education.  It is all about destroying teachers' unions in order to reduce the amount of money spent on public education.  The test scores are never used to improve students' education.  They are almost always used to build a case that a teacher or a school are 'failing' to educate students.

        Similarly, 'choice' is about diverting taxpayers' money to corporations and 'reform' is about reducing teachers' income or increasing their workload.  

        With respect to changes in how we teach or what we teach, those things that might but almost never are called reform, I am not aware of any unions or union members who say "no no no" to everything.  In fact, if you investigate what is going on in schools, you will find out that unions and union members are more often the ones trying very hard to change what we teach and how we teach in order to be more effective.

        •  How do you suggest we evaluate whether (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          kids are learning or not? Just curious, because I hear a lot of angst regarding testing, but not much else in using a quantitative means of evaluation.

          •  At the very least (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManhattanMan, Mostel26, rosarugosa

            testing the same group when they enter high school and when they leave to see if they've learned. Most placed just test different groups every year. That's not a legitimate test of growth. It does, however, make it seem like we're doing something, and standardized test companies make money. They're the ones that have benefited most from NCLB, it seems.

          •  Way back when (6+ / 0-)

            we had these things called report cards. Teachers evaluated students' progress, gave grades based on a variety of classroom work, made comments, sent notes home.

            Not to suggest that, or any, system is perfect. But we aren't aiming for perfect. We are dealing with human beings and learning -- two factors that do not lend themselves to strictly quantitative analysis.

            •  The trouble is... (0+ / 0-)

              ...that we can't look at a report card form one school and compare it to a report card from another school.

              But if we want to identify the best schools, that is exactly the kind of comparison we need to make.

              •  Then you need to compare the kid to the kid... (6+ / 0-)

                ... just like you rate a flight of wine from a vineyard.

                You don't rate the teacher based on a different group of kids every effing year, with no weight given to the kids' individual scores (with a variety of different teachers) from the year before.

                The metrics being used (even by NYC schools) to rate teachers are bogus.  If you want to know what's working, compare each student's test to their results the year before, and look at the deltas for each classroom.

                I've already given up on sending WarriorGirl to public school because I live in one of those "struggling" districts; I refuse to have her spend the next 13 years spending her time filling in bubbles on paper rather than learning how to to papier-mache, stop-motion-film, music, soccer, and rocket-launching.  That is, all the stuff I learned in a not-so-great public school in the '60s and '70s.  Before "No Child Left Behind" started trying to kill public schooling, or at least line the grifters' pockets.

              •  I think you mean (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DSPS owl, Mostel26, schnecke21, elfling

                that we can't look at a report card from one school and compare it to a report card from another school easily.

                This drive to distill children into quantified, easily comparable measure so that we can evaluate them and schools quickly and without trying very hard is exactly the reason we are currently engaged in a race to the bottom.

                So school A got a 3 average on the Big Important Test, and school B got a 2. School A must be better than B. Even though B has a killer music program, requires students to engage in community volunteer activites, and is welcoming to students with special needs, and all A does is drill and kill.

                This kind of comparison is an illusion. Those who perpetuate it are either woefully misguided or stand to gain financially from it.

              •  Actually with a system wide (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                standards based curriculum you can.  My system has such a curriculum  We are expected to evaluate students on the same indicators around the county.  I know what my students who come from other county schools have been taught. It's very helpful given that I teach in a low income school with a high mobility rate.

                “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

                by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:15:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  "scheme" is the key word in your post. Might (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        houyhnhnm, Mostel26, madhaus

        have been a Freudian slip----but there you have it.

        If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

        by livjack on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:00:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, I used that word on purpose. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not naive. I know that many people who don't care about kids are using the education issue to push anti-union, anti-government, free-market agendas.

          We need to be smarter than the Koch Brothers on this.

          But when Teachers' Unions fight all reforms and cede no ground, they are just standing in the path of the steamroller. They are making it easy for the enemy to isolate them.

          Instead Teachers' Unions should be fighting for:

          1) Charter schools, but not-for-profit ones
          2) Vouchers, but big ones, focused on the poorest kids
          3) Testing, so parents can see which schools are doing well
          4) Tenure reform based on sensible (but standardized and objective) measures of student achievement.
          But the "No No No No" strategy has played out. It ignores the fact that for inner-city parents, the status quo is unacceptable.
          •  Pls specify how a charter school (7+ / 0-)

            can be made better that a public school, without a big infusion of private money  that requires a profit?

            And vouchers - when all the urban schools are filled to the brink where do you propose the students go?  Out of district private schools?

            Testing - our entire district started doing online benchmark testing but had to stop because either our internet system or Houghton Mifflin goofed up.  During that time we couldn't teach or plan for the next day because of the unpredictability.

            We've been out of school for two weeks, and soon our state testing starts.

            I think you've proposed these thoughts before, and you are part of the problem. If you want to help, please provide solutions that would work, such as mandating equitable funding for all towns.


            And if not, please send me a box of white copy paper  and a printer cartridge - we  have to pay for our own supplies.

            •  Answers. (0+ / 0-)

              Charters. Here in NYC, the charter schools are better than the public schools. They spend less money. They are better because they have more incentive to pay attention to kids and they care less about Bureaucracy.

              Vouchers. If the vouchers are big enough, more schools will be started to cater to the overflow. These schools do not have to be for-profit. The most efficient ones will be not-for-profits started by concerned parents and educators.

              Testing. So you lost a few days because the testing company goofed. Why are private companies needed for tests? Can't they be designed by the state?

              Also, I'm all for equitable funding -- and increased funding! It's just not politically possible right now. And those who bring up such Pollyanna solutions are often interested in delaying feasible reforms by proposing unfeasible ones.

              Are you seriously telling inner-city parents that they must wait until Scarsdale parents voluntarily let millions of dollars be transferred from their kids to the South Bronx? C'mon...!

              •  Oh ManhattanMan, there's a quick google search (0+ / 0-)


                john January 1, 2010 at 3:47:00 PM EST

                Where can I get my hands on the study? The CREDO web site doesn't seem to have it. In their national study NY was not included. So, there must have been a seperate study. No?

                Ira GoldfineJanuary 1, 2010 at 9:33:00 PM EST

                I see that as usual the Chancellor went to an unbiased source to issue a report - it turns out that Dr. Raymond is a research fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford - they obviously are the funding source for Credo.
                johnJanuary 1, 2010 at 9:39:00 PM EST

                Hoover definately has an agenda. I guess we shouldn't be surprised. However, their national study concluded that charters were slightly less effective than traditional public schools at improving student achievement.
                carolineJanuary 2, 2010 at 9:41:00 PM EST

                This is pretty mysterious. Just from following these issues from the West Coast for some years, I can clarify:

                The Hoover Institution is Ground Zero for promoting education privatization.

                However, CREDO was not previously connected with the Hoover Institution, and did a well-publicized study a few months ago showing that charters overall on average perform poorly compared with traditional public schools.

                Larson Communications exists specifically to do PR for the charter school industry. Its principal, Gary Larson, has been a very active spokesman and lobbyist for charter schools in California for years.

                So this is all quite strange.
                carolineJanuary 2, 2010 at 9:47:00 PM EST

                Also, the link IN the Larson Communications press release to the CREDO website leads you to material about the CREDO study that I mentioned, which showed charter schools performing worse than public schools.

                After that study, Stanford's Caroline Hoxby, a longtime, outspoken advocate of charter schools and privatization, performed a so-called study of New York charter schools that purported to show that NYC charter schools outperformed public schools. The study was tainted by Hoxby's longtime advocacy of charter schools -- it was an advocacy paper, not a study-- and also had not been peer-reviewed when it was released. When it was later peer-reviewed, it was heavily discredited. Hoxby's so-called study purported to challenge the CREDO study (the one that had shown charters performing worse than public schools). On the CREDO website (as linked to in the Larson Communications release), you can see links to debate between Hoxby and CREDO about the two studies.

                So the notion that CREDO has now done ANOTHER study on NYC charters and one that now shows charters to be superior is really weird. Could Larson Communications (again, a charter PR and lobbying organization) have put out a false press release? I guess we'll know on Jan. 5.

          •  You are wrong wrong wrong about unions (4+ / 0-)

            You say that unions are blocking every reform but the facts are otherwise.

            In 2010 the UFT and State teachers union negotiated a new teacher evaluation system that helped the state get 750 million in RT3 funding. The reference is education law 3012-c. The evaluation system includes reliance on state standardized tests for educator evaluation. There have also been reforms in teacher discipline, with union support.

            Ironically, the charters you tout are not subject to the same rigorous evaluation system unless they opt in...and almost none have. What a surprise.

            Charters also rely on public funds but have gone to court to avoid audits by the state comptroller. Look it up.

            Charters are supposed to be experimental school, established to find out what works, not an alternative system that is union free and also free of the most challenging students.

            As to cherry picking, this year the NYS Board of Regents were to set retention goals for charters regarding students with special needs, who are free lunch eligible and who are English language learners but they couldn't set retention goals because at many charters there was not enough base to retain. And charters regularly dump students with problems, including disciplinary issues, back to the public schools, whose funding they are draining. These troubled kids'
            test scores are then attributed to the public school teacher/school.

            Teacher unions defend tenure answer seniority because without these protections older, and better paid teachers would consistently be targets for elimination. Without these protections, teachers can be fired for

            any reason, including illegitimate reasons.

            If you think over reliance on testing is a good way to evaluate teacher you are wrong there too. All experts will tell you that even the best value added system is highly inaccurate: up to 30% of teachers who score in the top 20% one year will be in the bottom 20% the next.

            I assume your motives are pure but if you are going to weigh so strongly on this issue you should make an effort to get the facts.

            •  Actually charter schools... (0+ / 0-)

              ...tend to attract more students with problems.

              If your kid is doing well in the regular school, why move them to a charter? You know who moves their kids to charters? Families who are having problems in regular schools.

              I know that horrible cherry-picking goes on in other states, but the NYC system is pretty good. I would bet that for every kid counseled out of a Charter there is a kid in a regular school being advised, "A new charter just opened up, you should consider it..."

              Value-added systems may be flawed but they are improving. And even a flawed objective system is better than the thinly-disguised popularity contests that we call "evaluations" today.

              The problem with tenure is not layoffs. I believe it should always be very difficult to fire a teacher. The problem is that experienced teachers get to avoid tough schools -- so the places that most need veteran teachers are stuck with the least experienced teachers.

      •  Teachers KNOW how to improve schools: (13+ / 0-)

        Reduce class sizes, increase resources according to individual school needs, expand libraries, art, music, drama, and athletic programs, every school needs a health clinic, every school needs at least 1 social worker, AND educators in charge of all curriculum and assessment decisions.

        Look at the private schools the billionaire privatizers choose for their own children and you'll understand that their rhetoric is a business plan  sell-offs to cut labor costs.

        Anyone who says that choice and accountability are necessary to improve schools, DON'T believe them. That  includes the lies of Rupert Murdoch, Joel Klien, Arne Duncan, Rahm Emmanuel, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Anthony Villgarosa, Rick Scott, Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, The Walton Family, Eli Broad, Steve Brill, hedge fund managers, DFER, Heritage Foundation, ad nauseum.

        •  But then why are private schools doing (0+ / 0-)

          so much better at educating? I am not arguing for more corporate control, but pointing out that they have the same class sizes in many instances, less per student money, often spend less on teachers's salaries, yet churn out better educations. Perhaps the problem isn't student class size, school resources and salaries since these other schools have these and are surpassing the public school system, but rather HOW those dollars are allocated by the unions. MILLIONS of union dollars are spent on supporting candidates, beaurocratic BS, and other areas that have nothing to do with teaching.

          •  Taught in two private schools... (12+ / 0-)

            There are a few major differences you are overlooking. In the private schools I taught in, all of the following was true:

            *Less than 2% of students on free or reduced lunch (which is useful measurement of poverty rates in student population).
            *No special education programs resulted in less than 1% of student population with documented learning disabilities and no severely physically or even moderately mentally handicapped students.
            *Students who were consistently disruptive or causing behavior problems were routinely asked to not return or in a few cases expelled.
            *High school students falling behind on credits for graduation were routinely asked to leave prior to their senior year.
            *No ELL students.

            Yes, test scores were typically higher. But the student population was not comparable to the local public schools. Public schools are obligated to educate everyone and they are also now obligated to test all students.

          •  Thoughts on private schools doing better?? (5+ / 0-)

             Where's the hard data that says generally speaking, they are?? Let's say some are doing well. Why? Smaller class sizes, parents have to pay a fee for the educational product. When parents pay a fee, they usually support the educational structure better.
               I do wonder if parents sign contracts indicating that they will bring the mandated class supplies, and their kid will BEHAVE, wear uniforms, attend parent conferences mandantorily, etc etc. Failure to do those things lead progressively to expulsion.  Yeah, I could understand a better performance under those condition. Given what I said above, I can see it very well.

          •  Private schools are better... (0+ / 0-)

            ....because they spend less money and the kids have better socioeconomic situations.

            When Teachers' Unions complain that most of the problems are beyond their control, they are right.

            We just need to focus on the smaller part that we can control. This is where I wish Unions would be in front helping instead of blocking and nay-saying.

            •  Correction... (0+ / 0-)

              ....private schools are better because they spend MORE money per pupil.

              •  I see teacher unions as more forward thinking than (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, Orinoco

                you do. I don't see them as blocking and nay-saying except to policies (like larger class sizes) that are bad for kids. I'm not saying they are some kind of perfect organization, but you seem to have picked teacher-unions as the problem in education.

                I don't think it is that easy. To get rid of unions and then all the problems in education would go away? It is more complex than that and we have to look at what success really is, high graduation rates, kids who are really learning, schools with positive, nurturing cultures.

                Some charter schools are really good, they are community charters with specific goals supported by the school district. Other charters are rip-offs, both for tax payers, but even worse, for the kids that go to those schools.

                This article should be paid attention to. Why are so many excellent teachers leaving the profession? We need them.

          •  Some private schools are selective, that is they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orinoco, ManhattanMan

            only except certain kids, not everybody. Some private schools are not "held accountable" in the same way that public schools are.

            Often private schools may have families who are college educated themselves.

          •  Why do you think they do better? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orinoco, ManhattanMan

            Private schools don't do the standardized tests. So, what is your evidence that they are providing better educations?

            It's worth noting that the fancy ones spend more money per child, they have few special needs kids, and they can expel any child that isn't working out in their program.

            They tend to run very small classes - 10-15 is the class size at many high end schools, and small classes are very popular with parents.

            Friends of mine have kids in private school in order to benefit from a bilingual program or because they're attracted to Waldorf type teaching or because they love that their primary grade kids don't have homework.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:31:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that teachers know... (0+ / 0-)

 to improve schools.

          Why not start a Charter School that follows these principles?

          Fire all the "assistant vice principals" and replace them with a nurse and a social worker.

          Because your educational ideas are sound, your students will show improvement, so you'll do well on the evaluation tests. Parents will line up to get their kids into your school.

          There are billionaires who will loan you money to do this.

          But when you try, you'll find that your greatest opposition comes from the Teachers' Union. Your school will represent a threat because it shows a Different Way.

          Go ahead -- try it. I bet you will learn as much as your students....!

          •  Horse apples (5+ / 0-)

            A few years ago, when Los Angeles Unified played around with the idea that failing schools needed to be rebuilt from the ground up, the Los Angeles Teachers Union (UTLA) fought hard and won the right to include a teacher led alternative to charter takeovers of various kinds.

            They then sent representatives to the schools under attack to help teachers there develop reform plans that would compete with the Eli Broad, Bill Gates and Bloomberg funded charter company plans.

            UTLA fights hard to get teachers voices included in the "how to improve schools" conversation here in LA.


            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:18:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wish this could... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              qofdisks, Orinoco

     Diaried or that a link could be provided.

              Union-run charter schools are a good thing and I'm all for it. Here in NYC, the Unions actually run a couple of charter schools.

              It can be done, but not every Union is on board. And often it only happens after the Union is faced with a credible threat (like a Bill Gates/Michelle Rhee sandwich).

              Teachers' Unions have a choice -- get in front of the reform parade or get stomped over by it...

              •  More horse apples (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, madhaus

                UTLA was not prodded into this by a Bill Gates/Michelle Rhee sandwich, but has pressed for educational reform for years. Even when I was subbing 25- 30 years ago, UTLA sponsored professional development classes were the best thing around.

                UTLA has been leading the school improvement parade in Los Angeles for decades, and, given that there are Union run charter schools in New York City as well, I suspect the same is true there.

                And I'm supposed to provide a link to the school site meeting that UTLA sent a rep to where we discussed options and the resources available to us? I was there, ManhattanMan. I was there. You either believe me or you don't.

                "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                by Orinoco on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:43:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm asking for a link... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...because I think that it is an important topic that should be discussed further.

                  I don't doubt your word.

                  I'm a proponent of Charter Schools. But I'm often accused of trying to destroy unions.

                  Well, UTLA and the UFT in NYC have shown that you can have a Charter School and still have a union. That is why I wish more people knew about it.

                  •  You are often accused of trying to destroy unions (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rosarugosa, madhaus

                    because of the content of your comments.

                    If you stopped framing your comments with 'the Teachers Unions' are the problem, are the roadblock, will stand in your way, only look out for the financial interests of their members, and so on, fewer people would accuse you of shilling for the 1%.

                    Quite frankly, even if everything you say or imply about teachers unions was true, we should still support them here on Daily Kos, since our Kossakian charge is electing more and better Democrats, and teachers unions provide a lot of the funding and shoe leather to accomplish that goal.  

                    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                    by Orinoco on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:57:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Teachers' Unions... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...have helped us elect more Democrats. I haven't seen much evidence that they help with better Democrats. Not a shred.

                      They support the narrow economic interest of a group of educated, well-paid, white-collar workers.

                      They consistently act against the interests of many inner-city and poor rural families.

                      I think we need to carefully evaluate any claims that they are not among the more Conservative elements of the party. A vital and worthy element -- but hardly Progressive.

                      Still we need them.

                      Let's not make inner-city voters choose between a good school for their kids and the Teachers' Union. We need to get the Unions on the side of reform.  

                  •  Much also depends on labor law in your state (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rosarugosa, Orinoco

                    In Maryland, charter schools must abide by the negotiated agreement bargained by the local bargaining agent.  It wasn't always that way.  Back in the 1990's the city of Baltimore hired a for profit charter (it was either Edison Schools or Educational Alternatives Inc) to run some of it's failing schools.  One of the first things the charter company did was to cut salaries which created a problem with maintaining staffing.  People would quit after a couple of months so there was constant staff turnover.  The state changed their labor laws so that charters had to pay the same salaries and benefits as the public schools.  Ultimately, the state canceled the contract they had with that particular charter group as they did not get the results they were looking for.

                    “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

                    by musiclady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:59:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  "There are billionaires (0+ / 0-)

            who will loan you money to do this."

            Loan?  How does the loan get paid back?  I don't think you have a very good idea of how the public education thing works.

      •  Maybe it's political fear. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan, sandblaster, rosarugosa

        Politicians seeking to improve schools allow themselves only one method:  demanding more of teachers.  

        It's forbidden to politicians to actually link poor performance in schools to two strong indicators:  parental buy-in to student education and parental income.  If parents are unable or unwilling to occasionally push their children to excel, unable or unwilling to offer students a quiet place to study, unable or unwilling to expose students to libraries, museums, culture and an intellectual life outside high school, then students will suffer.  Both parties are responsible here.

        Politicians are also reluctant to ride herd on administrators.  When I started school, the elementary school of 1,000 where I learned made do with two administrators:  the principal and the vice-principal.  We also had a full-time school nurse and a full staff of "lunch ladies".  This is far from the case these days, where administrators multiply and lunch ladies are consigned to history or are reduced to manning microwaves.

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:28:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are correct. (0+ / 0-)

          And I want to repeat that most problems are not the fault of schools. Most problems have to do with parents and socioeconomic situations.

          Unfortunately, we don't have the political ability to fix these problems. So we must concentrate on what we can fix.

          One good thing about School Choice is that it really lights a fire under administrators. If the parents can threaten to leave and take the money with them, we see a lot of the BS go away.

          •  In theory, yes. (0+ / 0-)

            In practice as seen in Indiana, there are a few showcase schools that serve particular populations.  Campagna Academy in Schererville was built to specialize in the teaching of students between families.  New Community School in Lafayette started as a showcase of progressive, innovative teaching -- unfortunately it got the worst grade in the county at evaluation time.  There are a couple charters in Indianapolis that are doing great work as well, and Anderson's has a very interesting link with the Air Force.

            A common case is the school that opens up shop in a disused furniture store, hires second-rate faculty, expels its students wholesale after getting the cash, then closes up shop after a year.  Indianapolis Public Schools gets livid when the charters expel students after the funding goes through -- the charters keep the cash and IPS has to teach the student.  At the adjunct conference last year, my tablemates complained of charters who convince Ivy Tech to send them instructors under a dual-credit program (why pay full-time faculty when you can get part-time?), but then complained that the instructors expected college-level work for college credit.  Ivy Tech apparently stood with the instructors and its name on this one -- it does not want to go back to being Ivy Wreck.  

            It should be noted that the charters who do not offer competitive wages to their teachers will not have first pick, unless they offer compensating advantages.  


            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 03:50:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Choice is the red herring (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I've read most of this thread and I'm saying up front: you can have choice or you can have equity but you can't have both.  I'm opposed to vouchers and fly-by-night unregulated charters because it's a scam to shift responsibility for the failures of the social contract onto INDIVIDUALS.  Is it moral to say we should dismantle public education and hand it over to a private system where a few select kids may do better while the masses get lost?  

        Charters exist (first proposed by teachers' unions, btw) to provide unique educational opportunities not as an effective "reinvention of the wheel" of mass public education.  Celebrating charters and vouchers as the solution to the education crisis in America sounds akin to wishing for more Oskar Schindlers to save the Jews.  It's heroic, but it's not helping the people who need help.

        •  You are wrong. (0+ / 0-)
          " can have choice or you can have equity but you can't have both."
          That's not the problem.

          What we have now is neither choice nor equity. Rich suburbs get an inequitable portion of resources and poor families have no choices.

          At least an inner-city charter school solves the second problem!

          •  You're advocating "choice" as a solution (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rosarugosa, elfling, madhaus

            School "choice" doesn't solve your second problem because you assume everyone has the same opportunity to exercise that "choice."  The privilege you admit your family enjoys, where you have benefit of your own education to make beneficial choices about your kids' education, as well as the resources to support your kids as they travel to the "best" school you choose, as well as the social capital you direct to get your children into the "best" school...your belief in that system as more equitable seems at best naive and at worst disingenuous.

          •  One more point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rosarugosa, elfling

            You may have pragmatic reasons to support school choice and I get that, but acknowledge that in your choice you set up a system where the gap of opportunity and economic inequality widens with each generation.

      •  you lack of will is old (0+ / 0-)

        You don't want to press for better solutions, so you'd prefer to rob Peter to pay Paul.

      •  I teach in NYC (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drmah, rosarugosa, schnecke21

        I don’t want merit pay. It’s a joke and makes teachers enemies with other teachers so they don’t work together. You want teachers to work together.

        Charters have terrible, not experienced teachers that burn out fast. They are all for profit (even those who are stated to be not for profit). If my school had their budget, my school would be amazing. Sadly, my school’s budget gets cut and services for the kids (tutoring, etc...) gets cut.

        Vouchers are a waste of public money.

        I’ve taught in bad schools and in good schools.

        Poverty makes a difference. Parent INDIFFERENCE makes the biggest difference. I now teach in a school where I get every race and eco level. Parents make the biggest difference when it comes to most kids.

        Unions are not the problem. Corporations trying to make a profit on the backs of our kids is one. The right wing trying to make the poor uneducated is another.

      •  Education reform is a slope greased with Crisco (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Part of the reason why unions fight these types of reforms is because they are usually not based on sound science and they are not easily reversible if the change turns out to be a bad one.

        Take, for example, teacher evaluation.  I will wholeheartedly agree that the most experienced and highest educated teachers aren't always the best (though there is some correlation).  So what exactly defines an exemplary teacher?  Test scores?  One of my colleagues gets better math test score growth than I do but is generally acknowledged by the staff to be a poorer teacher: she achieves her gains by teaching the better-behaved students and dropping science instruction a month before testing for extra math.

        Ok, how about National Board?  It's a hard process, surely it yields positive results?  I'll admit that it's a hard program to pass: I tried and failed.  Only one of our teachers teaching at my grade level has his National Board certification.  I should also point out that his nickname is "The 10-Year-Old" because his impulsivity has harmed students before and has led to several reprimands.

        The fact is, it is hard to measure teaching objectively because students are not identical widgets.  Standardized tests don't address this, standardized teachers don't either.  15 points of growth in a struggling student frequently means more effort, more finesse and more expertise than 30 points of growth in a gifted student.  Add to that a hundred different ways that the system can be "gamed" to show growth where none exists, and it's no wonder that teacher unions fight superficial reform.

        Don't get me wrong: I'm all for reforming the craft.  But I have a few requirements before I'll support it.  One, it needs widespread teacher input.  We have a wealth of knowledge that we'd love to share, if someone would take the time to stop dismissing us and listen.  Second, it needs to be scientifically validated.  I'm tired of studying methods that work in Mrs. Smith's 2nd grade class but can't be replicated elsewhere.  Finally, it needs to measure what we're actually looking for (this is a difficult one).  State tests can usually be distilled down to formulas: teach the kids the required formulas and they do fine.  And if you want the kid to grow up to be a calculator, that works great.  But what if you want your students to be innovators, problem solvers, inventors?  Standardized tests don't always test for that.  

    •  I wouldn't call them trolls (8+ / 0-)

      I would call them dupes.  (Except in the case of one I haven't seen here for awhile who is, I am sure, a pirate.)

      They are completely taken in by the fairytale talking points of the deformers.

      Five minutes on Google raises serious doubts about these talking points, but the dupes are too lazy or too in love with their boogeymen to do it.

      1)For example the alleged 50% graduation rate. Except that it's not true.

      2)Albert Shanker's infamous remark about representing children when they start paying dues. Except that he never said it.

      3)The Golden Age (that never was)

      When? Pre WWII when less than 50% of Americans graduated from high school?

      Post WWII, when separate but "equal" was still the law of the land?

      The 50s?
      The Blackboard Jungle

      When I think of ideologues shoving their fantasies down the throats of the public, with disastrous consequence we all end up paying for forever and ever, I think of the Right with their deregulation, Iraq war, trickle down economics, etc.  I think you would have to go back to Prohibition to come up with an example of "progressives" bound and determined to have their way with a disastrously bad idea.

      It shows no side is immune.

      "Why do the people imagine a vain thing."

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:59:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a troll (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FlyingToaster, elfling

      But there are issues here, mostly that he article does not focus on the one thing that makes teaching different from any thing else.  This is not to say that new laws attacking teachers and students are not bad.  They are very bad and are a product conservatives trying to protect rich people in the short term.  But the assumptions made here are no so great either

      Lets start with the first quote.
      "Many new teachers in the United States are committed to values that extend beyond expediency, narrow self-interest, and the present moment"
      This is directly out of the conservative playbook, attacking older teachers.  It is the new teacher, the one who is not there just to get a paycheck, that will save the students. They are innovative, they are creative.  The fact that don't have experience or deep content and pedagogical knowledge gained over years of teaching is irrelevant.  Anyone can teach.  

      This is the Teach for America model, and the model that most conservatives want.  Teach for a couple years, and go away before you are vested .  So yes, the system is set up to get rid of experienced teachers.  But no new teachers are not a benefit, they are a drag on the system. They must be trained, integrated, and developed.

      And many will drop out because Teaching t is hard.  It is taxing.  It deals with kids who really don't know how to communicate and don't understand what they are doing in school.  Teachers must be pretend to friends, confidants, disciplinarians,  and experts in developing creative methods to transfer knowledge to students who often don't or can't comprehend the subject, all while never crossing the line from professional to personal relationship.  It is a hard job, and not for everyone.

      Second quote:
      "When I started, I had all these incentives to improve and now I am completely stuck,"
      Just Like all jobs it can't always keep a person employed for a lifetime. I myself had to change careers once, and maybe will have to again.  I know many people who change jobs, if not careers, every 5-10 years.  It is the only real way increase one take home pay significantly.

      Some people just want more money, and they cannot always be accommodated. This is also a geographical thing.  New Mexico has tiers of teachers, and if you are not in the top tier one does not get a good pay.  Urban districts in other state, with lower costs of living, pay more.  It is also a harder job.

      Third quote:
      "I will not spend another day under the expectations that I prepare every student for the increasing numbers of meaningless tests."
      There are a couple things going on here.  First, many of the tests are meaningless.  They are there primarily to transfer money from the taxpayer to large private firms.  If you are unfamiliar with this, look up the Bush and NCLB and the Texas Miracle.  Testing and War were his methods to defund the Government
      On the other hand, there is the "every student" issue.  When I was in school I would have killed to be one of the selected few to be prepared for the meaningful tests.  But though I test very well, I was wild, and inattentive, and a bad risk, so I was not.  When teachers take about having to teach every kid, they are talking about me.  Which kids do we not teach? Me.
      I think a certain number of testing days are defensible.  After all, testing is a skill like anything else.  And kids will have to spend hours testing for the ASFAB, SAT, college placement, and general tests that many employers give, all of which take 2-4 hours.  How can you do well if you never practice.  Of course, the number of testing days has skyrockets to indefensibility.

      Final Case
      "In spring 2012, the "worst eighth-grade math teacher in New York City" decided to leave teaching. Not much of a loss if she was the worst, right? Yeah...was teaching at a gifted-and-talented school, where:"
      Gifted and Talented schools have hand picked students  By the eighth grade the ones that are not going to do well have weeded out.  You are left with a relatively high performing kids.  Most are one or two grade levels advanced.  Most are well behaved.  I know many students who have been kicked out of these schools because they were a little wild, and the teachers did not have skills to deal with them, which is fine.  The skills we need in these schools is delivering high level content, not discipline.  On the other hand, I have not known cases where a large number of these kids will fail a state test.Just looking quickly at my local GT school, the passing rate is about 95% in the eighth grade.  Everyone has to teach content from previous grades, and in most subjects it is tested directly or indirectly, for instance by Standford.  It is waht a good teacher does.

      But this quote also contains the worst of the article, the thing that actually drives teachers away.  You see, most of our kids are not GT.  They are not well behaved.  They are not uber motivated.  They are kids who want to please, want to do well, want to succeed, but needs someone to tech them.

      The best teachers are not always at the best GT schools.  There are good teachers everywhere.  Just because one are at GT school does not mean one can't be the worst.  It is this assumption that drives good teachers from average schools to go elsewhere.

      A few years ago a teacher from a top GT school located in the Medical District came to the ghetto to teach the ineffective teachers how to integrate computers(called technology in the lingo though everyone knows that the pencil is the greatest technological achievement ever) and science in the classroom.  Admittedly motivation was low because the career teachers knew how to use a spreadsheet, and the science teachers did not have computers.  But everyone was there with a brave face.

      Even after it was clear that the pedagogy was suspect because it wasn't really going to teach any science, and there were less complex to use data to learn a spreadsheet

      Until these words came out: "An inclined plane changes the value of gravity"  FOr those who do not, this is about the worst way to explain what an incline plane does, and would greatly confuse a student.  The science teachers tried to explain this, but the best teacher from the best school would not hear it.  Needless to say, the ghetto teachers were reprimanded and branded as trouble makers while the best teacher in the district was treated as a hero for her valiant attempt to teach the ghetto teachers that just would not listen.

  •  As a teacher (41+ / 0-)

    I say, let us teach...and pay us for our educational level and hours we REALLY work.

    Every teacher has a different style.

    In my history/government/eco classes I do quite well with what students have described as "story time."  There isn't a lot of group work in my classes or stuff like that.

    When I try group work, it works but not all that well.  Some of my colleagues get awesome results from group work and can't get away with the "chalk and talk" story time.

    We all have our strengths.  One reason I love teaching government and eco (really personal finance for us) is there is no standardized test at the end of the year.  I can teach with almost zero interference from outside the school.

    Want to see the best school system in the world- check out Finland and check out

    •  Read this report, it is long, but we need to pay (0+ / 0-)

      attention to it in my opinion.

      Sent via African Swallow carrying a coconut

      by ipaman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:54:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, subjects that are not tested are now being (5+ / 0-)

      required to support those subjects that will be tested as a priority.  Even those subjects like history etc. are having to be taught more and more from a straight jacket.

      •  I agree somewhat (0+ / 0-)

        but I also believe if you include reading and writing in your curriculum, including social studies, then you should teach students the skills to read and write better as well. If all content area teachers to which that applies did that, test scores would improve because students would be learning skills across the curriculum, not just in English.

      •  The sad thing is that they can support each other. (0+ / 0-)

        For some mysterious reason, American Literature (the standard 11th-grade lit course) and US history coincided, and coincided too closely to have coincided.  Both courses provided insights to each other.  

        The history class would probably have been improved had we been expected to research and write significant essays.  The grading of essays outside English class was, by edict, 50% based on grammar and spelling.  It was mainly a case of history and government teachers enforcing standards set by the English department, and cannot have hurt us when testing time came around.

        (Totally unrelated suggestion:  why not treat testing as a competition like football, complete with pep rallies, parades and rivalries?)

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:38:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Learning to think is underrated (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Williston Barrett

      I bet this guy wouldn't fare well in far too many current teacher evaluations in "reformed" districts.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:28:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I loved teaching children but retired early (31+ / 0-)

    because of the ever increasing test crazy madness in my school.

    Most of my teacher friends feel uncomfortable about the profession right now. Many are trapped and looking for the day they can leave.  My career advice.......If you are passionate about education, don't go into teaching until the joy of learning is restored.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:41:37 AM PST

    •  I will retire next year, thank god. (16+ / 0-)

      This work, that I loved so passionately, has become an accountability nightmare.  

      No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.--Lily Tomlin

      by Desert Rose on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:30:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was smart.... (9+ / 0-)

      They say the easiest way to quit smoking is to never start.  People tell me how smart I was for never starting to smoke in the first place.  

      I feel the same way about teaching.  I have always been gifted in math, and always been gifted with helping others learn it too.  I have tutored, and I have even taught remedial math to adults at a community collage.  I see so many people I helped who shake their head at me and ask me why I am not teaching high school math, that they are soooooo needed and I would be one of the better ones.  

      And not to blow my own horn, but it would be true.  I was in the secondary education program in college for my first three years, before I dropped the education program for a straight math degree.  This was 15 years ago, but I could already see this coming.  The arbitrary teaching to fixed tests, the lack of funding.  The Ohio State Supreme court ruled that Ohio's way to fund schools is unconstitutional around that time, and has still not been fixed.  

      It is not just the meddling in curriculum (ie letting an outside test tell you what you have teach), and its not just the lack of funding.  It is also the safety issues that have occurred since then.  It is also just the fact that a teacher has to be constantly looking over their shoulder to how they interact with the kids.  Even just teaching briefly at the community collage level, I was given a speech about protecting myself by never being in a room with only one student unless the door was open, and other related tips.  Some of this is definitely needed.  I do not know if you can go back on a local news site and find a week where there wasn't an arrest of a coach, teacher, preacher, or other 'trusted' adult for improper things they did with a minor.  So while I understand why suspicious eyes would always be on you, it sucks to have to watch your every step like that.  

      Sometimes I wish I had just bit the bullet and gone into teaching, especially considering I am a member of the chronically underemployed.  I would 15 years toward a good retirement.  While salary is low in education, I have always heard the retirement is pretty decent.  However, will that still be the case in another decade? Probably not.  So I look for a nice cushy office job somewhere (that I am not finding), and our children lose out on what could have been a good educator.

      The DNC fired people up, the RNC just wanted to fire a person.

      by magicman3315 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:37:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This says something that a mathematician is (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, sandblaster, RadGal70, elfling, drmah

        chronically underemployed.  STEM does not provide job security especially as a worker ages.
        The system of supporting society via straight capitalism and exploitation of human beings is failing.

        •  good point re. STEM--the latest craze. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks, schnecke21

          As if every student out there should only strive to be a mathmetician or engineer and the ONLY way to survive in the global job market.

          So depressing---and untrue, as gofdisks says.

          If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

          by livjack on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:09:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  STEM:USA::CNC:DPRK (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, elfling

            Kim Jong Il's propaganda machine churned out a song called "Attain the Cutting Edge", which praised computer numerical control (CNC) as the tool that would bring North Korea into a prosperous "technological paradise".  Three mass-media variations of the song (Mass Games, military choir, massed choir) have made it to YouTube, as well as one but where a military ensemble of nine singers serenades two workers and amother in which a tourist group "happens" upon Pyongyang picnickers singing the same song.  

            I teach math for a living at a community college.  It belongs in the curriculum because it offers insights into reality.  Sending every student into STEM is counterproductive -- we don't need engineers who would rather be musicians and corporations solve shortages in STEM workers by outsourcing or abusing the H-1B program.

            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:47:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  All the talk about STEM STEM STEM (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              qofdisks, DSPS owl, schnecke21

              while slashing programs in art, music, drama, languages, civics, history etc etc, tells kids that only one type of mind is of value.  We will have a very weak and lopsided society if we don't start valuing a range of talents and interests.

              Jon Husted is a dick.

              by anastasia p on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:00:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Caltech has an agreement with Art Center of Design (0+ / 0-)

                That allows its STEM students to take art and design classes from the masters there. That's not an accident.

                And Richard Feynman played the bongos and appeared in Caltech plays.

                NONE of those other disciplines are expendable if you are looking to produce great engineers and scientists and mathematicians.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:53:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  My concern: a glut of bad engineers. (0+ / 0-)

                My concern with the endless emphasis on STEM is twofold.  First, the engineering and IT fields tend to be cyclical, while research lives and dies with the federal government's largesse.  What's a great financial decision when students start their freshman year becomes the entry into a glutted field when they graduate.  Who would believe that there would be a strong demand for IT people in 1997 after that field was hopelessly glutted from 1987 to 1992?  For that matter, even journalism had moments of sunshine in the early 1990s -- and what happens when the MBAs process the sale of the Boston Globe ($100 million purchase price, $20 million in returns, all from dead trees).  

                Second, there are people who would much rather be mechanics, performers, chefs, cops, artists or poets than engineers.  Force them into STEM and at best they will slog through difficult coursework to become techies who find little joy or meaning in their work.  That's the royal road to shoddiness, and I do not want to cross bridges designed by people daydreaming about the job they wish they had.  

                "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

                by Yamaneko2 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 03:31:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Well, if the ALEC puppets have their way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DSPS owl

        teachers will not only be low-paid but also have no pensions because "Why should taxpayers pay for something they themselves don't have?" It's really about dividing those at the bottom against each other, while those at the top take everything.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:58:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you. (13+ / 0-)

      I retired this month after 27 years and although it was time for me to retire, I could have lasted a few more years.

      The Texass Legislature seems to prefer to cut public education funds, rewrite the curriculum to suggest the earth is 6000 years old, school vouchers will save Texass education and teachers should carry guns in the classroom.

      Did I mention we have a rainy day  fund that could be used to fully fund public education but it's use is off the table?

      I guess the rainy day fund could be used to train school staff how to use a weapon of war.  I am sure we would still be required to buy out own weapons of war but get a really good discount on NRA membership and the cost of the gun could be a tax deduction for educaiton expenses up to $250.

      Psst!!!......Mittens you are more of a poor loser than I thought.

      by wbishop3 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:58:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blackboard Bungle courtesy of the Conservatives nt (12+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:42:13 AM PST

  •  Pushing teachers out is the point. (51+ / 0-)

    Our corporate masters' end goal is to destroy public education so that it can be replaced by a for-profit system that does not teach any kind of critical thinking.

    So any policy that pushes good teachers like these out the door is a win-win for our masters: it dumbs down the system even further.

  •  Authoritarians are in Full Charge (21+ / 0-)

    and destroying this country very fast.  

    What is going on in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, all these places with Republican Governors, is the R's want to keep their power.  A less educated workforce (in this case, teachers) means a less future educated workforce.

    Sad but I also don't think they are representing the Will of the People and that is going to be changing, unless the R's manage to Gerrymander, Voter ID Law themselves into permanent Power.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:42:49 AM PST

  •  I suppose I'm a lucky one.....because I have a job (39+ / 0-)

       It's been three years now without any pay increase for me as a public school teacher in Texas.  My class sizes are the largest they've ever been. My workload is the largest it's ever been.  Even discipline has become a bigger concern than in years past; more so than even my first year teaching.  I know my students and the other students in my school are not getting the education they deserve and it bothers the hell out of me.  My students are sick of taking district mandated mock tests. And me, I'm just burning out.  

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:43:18 AM PST

  •  my wife is done, driven out by frustration (35+ / 0-)

    A kindergarten teacher of 6 years and the best thing that's happened to her school in a long time, she's driven to frustration by the insane assessment culture, the jackassery in Raleigh wrt performance pay, budget cuts, pay freezes with increased responsibility (while our new governor comes in and immediately gives his cabinet an 8% raise while our teachers have seen 1% in 5 years.)

    Also the localized curriculum responsibility for curriculum ushered in by nclb has created a system where some random redneck who taught 5th grade is forcing a standardized test system on kindergartners.

    Idiocy. The old teachers are burning out, the new teachers won't last. Just what the wanted with these policies if you ask me.

    He who throws mud only loses ground -- Fat Albert

    by c0wfunk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:46:07 AM PST

    •  she says it is beyond policy , it is personal (40+ / 0-)

      Societal perception, cultural blame. She gives her heart and soul to the job and is being held up as a villain. The attitude of parents thinking of her as a babysitter who will fix all of their bad parenting. Our cultures general attitude towards teachers is as much an issue as the policy.

      He who throws mud only loses ground -- Fat Albert

      by c0wfunk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:49:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This ^^^ (24+ / 0-)

        And School Administrators, and Districts that cower in the corner when a parent makes a complaint or a comment.

        They are scared of their own shadows.

        It is not a teachers job to mitigate crappy parenting, and parents should be told that.

        Personal responsibility is not something that is emphasised either to students OR their parents.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:58:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this ^^^ (18+ / 0-)

          . . . could be taken one step further.

          I think we have developed an attitude towards public education and towards education in general that it is a service, bought and paid for, with predictable and measurable results. As with any service we expect our money's worth. So the attitude that "I pay you to educate my child, and I don't help my mechanic change the oil, so why should I help you" has slowly crept into our cultural mindset around education.

          However, IMH and dramatically unprofessional O, learning is a biological and psychological process that defies standardization, and therefore is difficult if not impossible to predict and quantify. Sure, you can categorize if your categories are broad enough, but in the end each human being learns in a unique way.

          But our obsession with measuring and evaluating and "getting our money's worth" is antithetical to the goal of educating. One of the most important responsibilities of parenthood is the education of your offspring. It seems to me some feel that since they are taxed for a public school district (or, for that matter, that they pay a private school) they have somehow been relieved of the responsibility ("I paid for it, that's personal responsibility enough" you might expect some to say).

          If, indeed, they feel paying for education transfers their responsibility to the payee then they should be more than willing to pay what it takes.

          Or, simply lower your expectations, which is exactly what is happening in the current scenario.

          - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
          - Frank Zappa

          by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:27:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think public school teaching WANTED (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, WillR

            to take on part of the role of parenting, seriously. They want to control what your kids eat, what is safe, what their values are, etc. The first paragraph above even says 'how they live'. The problem is the breakdown of the family unit and the mutual decision to let the school step into the parenting role. I KNOW what is best for my child to eat, how to be safe (without obsessing over it), and what to value in life, not the school board. The result of education is what happens when you want, as many on the left do, the school boards to be involved in how to raise children not educate them. The role of parenting has been abdicated from the parents  to the schools as babysitters. And people that think it is everyone's business how they raise their kids exacerbate the problem because kids spend most of their time at school or daycare.

            •  No one I ever knew in public teaching wanted (8+ / 0-)

              any of this. Some of it was forced upon us by watching kids come to school hungry, watching kids live in horrifically unsafe environments and bringing those unsafe practices to schools, etc. Don't blame the schools for having the expectation of becoming surrogate parents hung on them.

              And you say "public school teaching wanted to take on" the roles as if it was one homogeneous entity.

              •  Whatever the reason, they took on the role. Wait (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                until children have their own rights as some here want, talk about loss of control! Some kids will be telling you how to run the schools...if you think it is chaotic now! The answer is for parents to take back their role as PARENTS. And the way to do this is to have incentives for fathers to stick around as role models, and yes, living wages so one parent can spend more time raising their children, not foisting them on school because they are overworked and too tired. If you talk to teachers, their number one complaint is always parents not be involved in their children's education. But I feel the teachers want more control over parenting, not less. You can't have it both ways. And helping to feed a hungry child that comes to school is NOT the same as a full breakfast/lunch program where people other than parent's decide what their kids can and cannot eat. It takes the responsibility to feed their children away from them, and the school becomes the parent. We have to understand as progressives that not everything needs to be the job of government, decide that which is best for the government to do, fight to get those things done, and then let people live their lives, even if they make mistakes.

            •  I hate to use a such a controversial "proverb" but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              . . . it really does take a village. School boards are the village. We vote for them, they are us. And like it or not, they represent the predominant values of the communities that elect them. Notice I said predominant. They don't represent everyone's values.

              Since they represent the predominant values in the communities they serve, it follows that the curriculum they develop reflects those predominant values. And since the curriculum reflects the predominant values, a child's contact with the curriculum does not constitute a desire to "control what your kids eat, what is safe, what their values are, etc."? The school board's values are already our values, and they are simply reinforcing those values.

              I agree that a loving and involved family environment is essential to successful learning in children. If a child is surrounded in an environment that stresses the importance of learning and provides abundant opportunity and encouragement to learn, the child is more likely to learn.

              But I would also argue that there are as many non-traditional family units who get it and provide the proper environment as there are traditional family units that don't get it and won't provide the correct environment. And for those children the school is the only backstop. School boards cannot "abdicate" the responsibility of parenting, since it is not their responsibility in the first place. They can only fill in where parents have abdicated.

              The intent of my previous comment was to note two trends: 1) that school boards today are under greater pressure to "perform" than ever before, and 2) that the current trend towards more measurable results, so we can be sure to get our "money's worth", is a difficult task. I apologize if I wasn't clear.

              - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
              - Frank Zappa

              by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:20:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  billionaires are now buying school boards, too (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rudyblues, isewquilts2, drmah

                check out what's happening in Los Angeles.

                If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                by livjack on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:16:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yep, that sucks, . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  . . . and yet another reason for increased education funding, it promotes educated voters. Can't have any of those running around!

                  - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
                  - Frank Zappa

                  by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:55:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But all of us get a vote (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Fortunately, most districts are not the size of Los Angeles, and it's very possible for grassroots campaigns to succeed.

                  We progressives need to attend school board meetings, and if the situation is not satisfactory, then we need to recruit candidates, get information out, and get them elected.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:56:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, many of those school administrators are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sandblaster, JanL

          awful.  Thank goodness I only ever dealt with them as one of the IT workers (not at the school, at a small company they outsourced the IT stuff to) and not every day.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:23:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sweeping generalization... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanL, Throw The Bums Out, Black Max

            Most administrators seem to fall into two categories - the ones who couldn't hack the classroom but where drawn to the "authority" aspects of being a teacher and the ones who really care about teaching, but are completely out of touch with the classroom and think they can do more for education in a "leadership" role than those in the classroom. The first group tends to be authoritarian and perpetually out of their depth with poor management skills. The second group tends to be be condescending toward their staff and self righteous to the point of absurdity as well as constantly looking for a higher position to move to.

            There are good administrators out there, but once a person leaves the classroom the pressures of the political and societal views of "getting our money's worth" tend to corrupt their efficacy and exaggerate the tendency toward the two categories mentioned previously.

            Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

            by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:43:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So which ones are the ones most likely (0+ / 0-)

              to be the "cupholder" type.  Or to be more specific, a principal that says "please unblock Youtube for our teachers and students so they can use it for schoolwork" and then later says "our Internet has slowed to a crawl, please fix it".  And if you don't already know, many schools Internet connections (for everyone in the school put together) are slower than your home cable modem.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:00:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Our school just got broadband this year (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gffish, twigg

                The new initiatives for using online testing and online resources are useless without infrastructure.

                It's not just broadband, either: our school doesn't have enough amps to add more computers. Not just plugs, amps. The whole electrical system needs to be redone.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:27:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Second group. (0+ / 0-)

                They have lots a well meaning ideas (unblock YouTube). They just haven't thought most of them through from a practical perspective (affect on bandwidth or instructional time). The goal of their idea is often as self aggrandizing as it is educationally beneficial (Under my leadership, utilization of technology in classrooms increased 110%).

                This often leads to ineffectual results that statistically look good on paper but achieve negative actual results (Technology utilization up 110%, time wasted waiting for everything to load also up 110%, actual result instruction time decreased by 50%).

                Who pays the price? Teachers and students as frustration and stress levels increase (I have an evaluation today - no way I'm going to the computer lab as the slow load times make students bored and discipline issues increase).

                The main complaint with this group is that their decisions are usually reactive to the latest trends, yet seldom do they ask the correct question (How can we increase the bandwidth available for our district?).

                Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:08:15 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And there's the rub . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  . . . "I need numbers to put on paper" but the numbers don't have anything to do with whether an individual child learned anything. And although there are numbers that can reflect this they are not easily understood by school boards and politicians, who are clamoring for more numbers to make sure we're "getting our money's worth". Feedback loop.

                  - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
                  - Frank Zappa

                  by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:41:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've been on the committee writing those things up (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    It's immensely frustrating to have to write a document swearing that if only we can buy new computers to replace the old ones, that our student achievement will rise 10%, and that it would be directly because of those computers. Seriously: that is what they have to say.

                    Let me tell you, we had to get pretty punchy before we could write it into the document.

                    In my more punchy moments, I proclaimed the problem obvious: we would only allow half the students to access the computers, you know, so we could measure that as our controlled variable.

                    We laughed. Then we wrote what was demanded of us.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:00:14 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  True story here . . . (0+ / 0-)

                      . . . My company spent immense amounts of money developing a "me too" product that failed to meet profitability numbers because the market share projections were insanely optimistic.

                      Rather than admit market projections were too generous, and move profitability numbers down to match real market conditions, management demanded a 15% reduction in production cost to preserve bottom line profits with the reduced market share.

                      The "cheaper" product sold even fewer units and profitability suffered even more than before the reduction. Management received bonuses for "innovation". Engineering and product managers were chastised as "not team players".

                      Sound familiar? These are the people who are driving education "reform".

                      - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
                      - Frank Zappa

                      by rudyblues on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:41:30 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I am lucky to work with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            excellent school administrators, who really care for the kids they serve, who are smart and dedicated and creative problem solvers.

            This isn't an accident. I had a hand in hiring them all.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:25:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The school district that educated me (5+ / 0-)

          in the 60s and 70s is losing good teachers at a catastrophic rate.  Teachers must spend the majority of their energies just keeping a semblance of order in the classroom.  A poor grade or (heaven forbid) a suspension brings the parent in to complain, and the principal overrides the teacher's authority.  Discipline is pretty much unenforceable, particularly as the superintendent is focused on keeping the expulsion numbers down.  

          This district can hardly even get substitute teachers anymore!  They used to have a large roster of retired teachers and newly-minted graduates ready to sub, but nobody wants to come into that environment cold anymore.  

          Fox News is to the truth as a flaming bag of dog shit is to a packed lunch. --MinistryOfTruth

          by snazzzybird on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:19:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Our corporate culture is one of TIME poverty for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sandblaster, jalapenopopper

        all working adults including teachers.
        This is a recipe for intentional degeneration.

        •  Yep! It takes two working parents to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          get by and there is no time left for parenting. The problem isn't the model which has worked for decades. The problem is the change in morals and responsibilities. Whose job is it to raise children? The schools' job or the parents'?

    •  Absolutely correct! (19+ / 0-)

      I now live in NC and teach in Early Head Start.  I was a certified Kindergarten teacher in Wisconsin 30 years ago and when we moved here, I was appalled at what Kindergarten had become and chose not to teach here.  Sadly, my home state, Wisconsin has travelled down the test crazy academic Kindergarten road.  (Wisconsin was the birthplace of Kindergarten in the US.  Margrethe Scurz is spinning in her grave).

      Sunlight is the best disinfectant

      by historys mysteries on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:57:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  8%? That's nothing! (0+ / 0-)

      Our governor, John Kasich, gave his chief of staff a 35% raise over her predecessor. He similarly raised salaries for a bunch of his other appointees. Meanwhile, he's pushed for cuts for teachers and safety forces.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:03:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our school system needs a complete rethink. (20+ / 0-)

    And unfortunately, the people that are making changes to it are doing so from the worst possible angles.
    Teach to the Test, cutting pay, cutting staff, dicking with curriculum then forcing teachers into that bad box, this is no way to run a railroad.
    Then to go on the outside and demonize teachers, that's inexcusable.
    I prefer to couch this in National Security terms: we are in grave danger of being outrun by other countries that DO educate their youth properly. Maybe THAT will get their attention.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:47:36 AM PST

    •  I'd put this differently (7+ / 0-)

      Our "school system" doesn't need the "rethink" - that's the mindset that drives our idiotic education policy. If you disaggregate the testing data by socioeconomic levels the US fairs quite well. The issue is not the education system per se as much as it is the level of poverty and economic inequality in the US.

      What needs a "rethink" is how we set education policy and who we put in charge of making this policy.

      Right now people like Arne Duncan set public education policy - although they have no experience in the classroom, no training or experience in education, and no direct experience with public education. Almost every "reformer" out there crying about how bad our public education system is didn't attend public school.

      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

      by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:53:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "who we put in charge" (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sprinkles, gffish, drmah, DSPS owl, schnecke21

        are "the people that are making changes to it are doing so from the worst possible angles"
        And of course, the outer environment that the school has to operate in is a major factor in outcomes.
        Part of that is how schools are funded. Wealthy districts have more money to hire more and better teachers and better facilities. That enforces the divergence.
        But there are many aspects of our education system that could be improved, some for next to no money, like: changing school hours.
        Little kids are awake and raring to go early in the day, they need a rest period at midday and can then go on for several more hours. That would help working parents with small kids because it coincides better with their work hours and precludes the need of daycare/babysitter/shorter work hours to care for their kids.
        Highschool kids are seldom awake before 10 am. Their school day should start later than elementary school rather than before. And their day should also run later, to match up with the parents return from work. Kids get into trouble, unsupervised after school. They won't get up early to go get into trouble.
        And their sports/extracurricular activities should be part of that longer school day, so that when they leave school, they are done with all of their school activities (including homework).
        This simple change would cost very little if anything, would fit the biological reality of the kids, reduce the pressure on the parents and improve outcomes.
        And that's just one idea.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:12:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My daughter went to school in Japan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish, drmah

        and they think completely different about education. Over there it is the child's responsibility to learn, not the teacher's responsibility. The teacher presents material and the children work to understand it, of course the teachers work with them, but it is ultimately the child's job, WITH  the reinforcement of parents. If the child isn't keeping pace, the teacher and parent go to the child, not the parent attacking the teacher for not teaching the material.  A lot of Asian cultures are like this. We need to stop expecting teachers to 'magically' handle all areas with our children, including discipline, and then expect results from our students. There was a study done (see if I can find a link) where students that were in the 'underachievers' group given a lofty assignment that involved ingenuity and creativity and yet was a lesson. And they out performed the 'overachievers' who were given a lower bar to meet. The evidence was clear: children will meet the bar that is expected of them. If they don't, you go to the child, not the teacher. This idea in Asian cultures that some children are 'left behind' to use GWB's lingo, is okay in their culture because those children go to trade school to be part of the service industry, not to a university which to me is fine; we could use some trade schools and not everyone is cut out for a university.

        •  The child poverty rate in Japan is ~12% (5+ / 0-)

          In the United States it is ~24%.

          That's right: one quarter of the kids in the US live below the poverty line, which is $23,050 a year for a family of 4.

          We don't have a failure of schools, we have a failure of communities.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:32:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. This is why focusing on schools misses (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Maple Jenny

            the problem. Fix the communities. And you do that by making the parents do their jobs.

            •  How? (0+ / 0-)

              How can parents be made to do their jobs?

              I see this solution touted whenever schools come up for discussion, but have yet to hear how this can be done.

              Beware the man of one book.

              by fiddler crabby on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:31:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  They already have three jobs (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DSPS owl, schnecke21

              I have no idea how you "make" them buy books and read them to their kids when they make $10k a year and aren't literate in any language. I have no idea how you "make" them come to school meetings when they can't take time off without losing one of their jobs, or when they don't have a car and there's no public transportation.

              In our case, we have enough functional families in our community that the school and the community can make a real difference for the kids who need it. In many communities, that is sadly not the case, and the schools are overwhelmed.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:33:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  exactly- Those who seek to privatize education (4+ / 0-)

        have perpetuated the meme du jour that our children are testing seventeenth in reading, twenty-third in science, and a demoralizing thirty-first in math.  These PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) numbers are thrown about in an attempt to lend credence to the current drumbeat that we need to privatize public education in order to achieve better results.  But those PISA rankings conveniently leave out a key factor:  poverty.  

        Consider two other major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—which break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The most recent results showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. Where the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose higher, students scored lower and lower. The average ranking of American students in the PISA tests include the twenty percent of all U.S. schools with poverty rates over 75 percent.  Let’s hope greater attention is paid to this very important distinction when tossing tests scores around.  The privateers who are aching to get their hands on public school funds find it convenient, but ignoring how poverty factors into a child's ability to learn each day and further--how it might affect those almighty test scores--is turning a blind eye to it.

        If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

        by livjack on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:32:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great post. (0+ / 0-)

          And it argues strongly for things like social justice, bumping the minimum wage, restraining the corporate piracy in the wider economy, and so on. Education is an interactive, organic process - all of it reflects everything that acts upon it.

          Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

          by OrdinaryIowan on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:28:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One part of the 'rethink' is that state funding of public schools doesn't work for poor Americans who live in poor counties (or townships, or even parts of cities) with a low tax base.  They generally get a crap education.  Education should be funded at the federal level.  That would go a long way toward making sure everybody gets a decent, basic education.  Works for Canada.

  •  Cause > Effect. DLC Style Sell Out-ism defined (9+ / 0-)

    as "compromise" from the leadershit of the AFT, NEA and at the state office level.

    Out here in Seattle, Wishy Warshy, for 4 years at union meetings I've heard over and over and over how some right wing f'king lie being pushed by the well paid liar$ of SFC, DFER, League of Education Voters, NCTQ ... is something we have to 'compromise' over, OR, the liars will lie about us and we'll lose.

    From locals to nationals, our unions collect HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS in dues every year, and the best they can come up with is meet right wing liars 1/2 way and the latest right wing defined 1/2 way?

    A facebook comment I put on a picture of me outside Gate$-ILL-Vain-IA in Seattle -

    "IF we had Karen Lewis Leadership, instead of Clamor To Have A Seat At The Kidde Table With Sippy Cup, Spork and Mush "leadership", would we have evaluations tied to test scores? MAYBE too many teachers have the "leadership" they deserve, OR, after decades of Sippy Cup, Spork & Mush "leaders", too many teachers are too tuned out?"

    Another comment I made yesterday, in response to someone telling me I (ME, MOI) need to fix the union -- as if I already don't have enough to do,

    " ... - THE PROBLEM with all organizations is that they're run for a clique, by a clique, of a clique. In this internet era, that is completely inexcusable. ALL organizations need open processes & that would make it easier for people to participate and NOT feel like they're someone's Charmin or Kleenex. I already spend more time than 90%+++ of citizens on this stuff, and I ONLY spend spare time that would be spent on NASCAR or Knitting or NFL or Keno or dog shows ... if I were more normal. Of the time I spend, I spent a fair amount ATTACKING people who have influence over my work life AND suck at improving my work life positively. They get a special dose of derision, scorn and contempt when they use phrases like "democracy" and run things by clique. Regardless of the ism du jour, or the hero du jour, or the savior du jour, IF the organization isn't open, I'm NOT their friend."

    I think I 'understand' how Wisconsin and Michigan have rulers pushing right wing crap so well - after decades of sell out after sell out, who gives a shit if you're paying dues to a bunch of sell outs, OR, voting for a bunch of sell outs?

    oh well - back to my day job.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:47:43 AM PST

  •  I am one of those Act 10 teachers who retired (46+ / 0-)

    I wanted to continue to teach for a few more years.  I loved my students and my job.  However, under our new district "handbook", a teacher with 19 year of experience had his contract non-renewed.  The school was going to give me his classes as well as mine, and I was unwilling to take on double class loads.  The result?  TWO teachers at the top of the salary scale gone, and replaced by one new teacher with no experience at the bottom of the salary scale.  Educational policy?  Nah--It's all about money--make no mistake.

    Wisconsin: It's war, you know. We didn't start it, but we'll keep fighting in it until we win

    by isewquilts2 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:57:42 AM PST

  •  My daughter is a teacher (24+ / 0-)

    she heading for a burnout. I watched her leave at 7am to drop off children at daycare, it was 6pm when she gets home. her marriage is in trouble now they are adding more students to her class

  •  Good teachers resign because of bad policy, (24+ / 0-)

    causing school quality to diminish causing more cries for privatization because of the poor quality of public schools. Mission Accomplished!

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:12:45 AM PST

  •  There is a whole underclass of (29+ / 0-)

    'permanent substitutes" that is being abused horribly by school districts. Subs are increasingly being given handicapped children, even if not trained or certified in handicapped teaching, thereby depriving the handicapped kids of the trained help they need, and the sub teacher of the types of classroom experiences they are trained to handle, as well as proper pay and benefits.

    •  True at the university level as well, (15+ / 0-)

      where adjunct status is being abused and creating an underclass.  Paid very little and often have no benefits.

    •  A friend of mine decided to sub . . . (16+ / 0-)

      . . . instead of subject herself to the indignities of working for the hack school boards in the area. She gets multiple calls every day. She can pick and choose where she works and what classes she teaches most days.

      And although she doesn't have benefits for the teaching she is able to work a second job (no papers to grade) to pay for life and she banks all the teaching money. Still, what's that tell you about the importance we place on educating our young? It is so unimportant to us that we are not willing to pay an attractive living wage for it.

      Wait till everyone has to go private and see what the cost of education does. Methinks it won't go down.

      - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
      - Frank Zappa

      by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:45:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In California, this isn't legal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and there are specific paths of complaint to be made if this is happening in a California school district.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:34:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When I was subbing in Los Angeles back in the previous millenium, at least 1/3 of my assignments, including long term sub assignments, were for special education classes. That was before I went back to school and got the credits I needed and passed the exams I had to pass to get special ed teaching credentials.

        I retired because the job turned into a data entry clerk position rather than a teaching job, and my administrators wouldn't give me the tools I needed to be a successful data entry clerk.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:47:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, the Williams complaint system (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          This is a nice graphical layout:

          Williams COMPLAINT PROCESS Cal. Education Code Section 35186
          You can file a complaint with your school if:
          (1) You do not have a book or instructional materials to use in class and to take home; or
          (2) The condition of a school building or facility poses a threat to the health and safety of students or staff; or
          (3) You do not have a permanent teacher assigned to your class at the beginning of the semester, or your teacher is not qualified to teach your class; or
          (4) A restroom is not fully operational, well maintained and cleaned, stocked with supplies, and open during school hours when students
          are not in class; or an insufficient number of restrooms are open while students are in classes.
          It's best to start with an informal discussion with the principal, but this process is available and complaints are publicly reported.

          This is the formal CDE info:

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:38:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, the Williams law (0+ / 0-)

            I guess this wasn't in effect while I was subbing. That explains it.

            This is partly designed to destroy textbooks. We forced students to take their assigned textbook home with them, to comply with the "have a take home" part of the regulation, and since the kids refused to carry the books (at 8 pounds each) back and forth every day, had to have a classroom set to have "a book... to use in class." Now, I know the intent of the regulation is to insure that every student has an assigned textbook of their own during the year, but the way our administration interpreted this meant that if a William's inspector asked a student "Do you have a book at home?" and the student answered, "No, it's on that shelf over there." we would fail the inspection.

            Classroom sets generally don't survive more than a year or two, since it's tough to hold anyone responsible for the defacement and graffitti that appears with shocking regularity whenever some students have a school book and a pen handy. The only real way around it is to assign two books per student, one for the classroom, and one for home, but the school only has enough funds provided to buy one textbook per student. The school managed, somehow, to scrape up enough money to buy a few more for classroom sets. Probably came out of the art or science lab supply budget.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:29:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I've seen districts take this seriously (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I know one district was making color copies of workbooks when they hadn't ordered enough for the students in time for the first week of school. Thousands of copies.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:40:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Copyrighted workbooks, I'm sure. (0+ / 0-)

            cost of workbook:
            $4.65 each

            cost to make color copies of one 85 page workbook at $0.11 per page:
            $9.35 each

            cost to teachers because the copier budget was used up for the semester... incalculable.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:12:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, agreed. Kind of horrifying. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The copyright wasn't the problem; the extra books were ordered but were stuck on a truck and so the copies were for the first week of class.

              But, the kids had their materials. And the adults were severely inconvenienced to make it happen. Which, is as it should be.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:07:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The details are different (15+ / 0-)

    but the effects are the same in higher education. "Productivity" (defined by state and accrediting agencies) is up, while creativity is down. More trained students, fewer educated ones. More obedient workers, fewer independent thinkers. More people prepared to compartmentalize their lives, fewer able or willing to integrate them. More individualists, fewer individuals.

    There is without question complicity in the current DoE, but these are right-wing values at their heart that are being built into this system. Faster in places like my state (Florida) and others with TP governors (Tea Party or toilet paper, can't remember what that stands for), but it's happening everywhere.

    "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter." (Homer Simpson)

    by mitumba on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:22:32 AM PST

  •  My daughter's school (18+ / 0-)

    The principal at my daughter's school is busy trying to run a treasured, and well liked teacher out of the school.  He's one of those teachers who everyone recognizes, but he also does his own thing in the classroom.  

    The weak leadership at the school is so hyperfocused on implementing curriculum so that all students are taught the same way, that he can't see the forest he's chopping down.


    by otto on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:23:19 AM PST

    •  I've been 20 years as support staff (6+ / 0-)

      in a private school.  While we don't have to do state mandated testing, we are still losing experienced teachers because of the restrictions imposed by 'accountability.'  My kids had some of these teachers and were inspired and encouraged by them.  Now they are retiring years before they planned because they are constricted by rules that don't leave time for the innovative lessons that inspired kids but no longer fit in with core standards (the latest educational fad.)

    •  It staggers me (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Faito, sandblaster, fiddler crabby, otto

      that we've spent so much time in the past decade focusing on inadequate teachers and so little focusing on inadequate administrators. A well run school is a good school, and is one where the administration does something about the bad teachers. Mine fired them. They were tenured.

    •  I have seen this happen. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rosarugosa, otto

      A friend of mine is a public school teacher in Chicago.  She has loads of experience.  She loves her job and she is good at her job.  She has a principal who requires a massive amount of kissing up to offer anybody tenure.  Those who don't kiss up, regardless of skill sets, are flushed out of her school.

      My friend has tenure but doesn't suck up, and she pays a high price for this.  She spent almost 2 school years writing lesson plans for other teachers (instead of teaching herself).  She got back into the classroom and the principal immediately saddled her with most of the learning disabled kids in the fifth grade.  Obviously the principal wants her to quit. The friend is stubborn and refuses to quit.  But she has no recourse.  The principal makes her life hell.  I feel bad for her.

      •  It's nice that there is opposition (0+ / 0-)

        This guy is a long time resident and teacher in the area, so he's got a lot of support from parents in the building.  

        It's obvious to me that the principal is insecure about his management skills.


        by otto on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:30:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Need to listen and laugh (19+ / 0-)

    From Australia....the answering service at a high school.

    As a teacher since 1972 I have never seen anything like what's going on in this country. At a PPT this past week for an 8th grade student who never remembers to bring his books home, nor turn in assignments, etc. it was determined that his parents no longer have to concern themselves with even trying to help him be more responsible. It is all on the teachers now to make that happen.

    Meanwhile, our new evaluations have a 22.5% test score component and the ability for parents to anonymously evaluate their child's teacher(s). Absolute insanity.

    "Live right. Think left." Gregory Peck

    by bookwoman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:26:23 AM PST

  •  It's not bug, it's a feature (17+ / 0-)

    It's an old strategy. Give people impossible goals, deprive them of resources, turn their best qualities into liabilities, and you'll end up with a work force of demoralized drones who will never challenge you or your authority, and can be blamed for all your failures.

    And you will be praised for it.

    In education, it's the latest demonstration of the power of management by fad. Some "great idea" will come into vogue and sweep away all that came before, both the good and the bad. The only thing education has going for it is that it can't be off-shored to some third world nation - yet anyway. (On-line schooling anyone? Education centers in India?)

    Out-sourcing; isn't that what charter schools are really about? Breaking unions, sidestepping accountability, cutting margins for profit. The economics may look good at first, but one day you wake up and find you've lost control of your 'product' and all the advantages that come from keeping critical processes in-house.

    STEM is priority one - because that's what employers want out of a system being jiggered to provide them with the next generation of disposable workers. Didn't employers expect to train their own work force once upon a time, drawing from a pool of people with a broad-based education? Didn't they budget to keep their skills up to date with periodic training and skills development? Now they expect that to have been done for them before those workers come through the door - a subsidy on the taxpayers dime. And older workers can expect to get shoved out the door when their skills are no longer up to date, unless they've upgraded on their own dime.

    Meanwhile we're turning out a generation of people who will have no understanding of history, art, music, literature, language, civic responsibility, or what it means to be a fully-empowered citizen. And those who can't thrive because their interests and aptitudes don't align with a purely STEM track, well too bad for them.

    Running education like a business works no better than running government like a business. But that's the distortion our country has developed, as more and more money and power have accumulated in the hands of the few who think money trumps everything else when it comes to organizing the world.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:50:31 AM PST

    •  "Running education as a [American] business" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, DSPS owl

      means: cutting costs, providing the shoddiest product possible, spending more on advertising and PR than quality control, looting what's yours and getting out before you get caught holding bag.

      Barack Obama for President

      by looty on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:12:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They don't just want STEM (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, raboof, fiddler crabby

      they want cheap STEM.

      "It’s not that the technology has changed the jobs, it’s just that employers are expecting more, typically trying to combine two positions into one or finding somebody who can do both jobs, that’s part of it. The simpler story is that they don’t want to raise their wages. I always ask employers that one. They say they can’t find people and I ask, ‘well have you raised your wages?’ And they always say, ‘well, we’re paying enough already.’ Well, it’s not your call as to how much you have to pay. Markets dictate that. If I can’t buy a car at the price I want to pay, that doesn’t mean there’s a car shortage. "

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:37:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The RICH do not want to educate minority children (9+ / 0-)

    or any of the children of people earning worker wages.
    They just want to make money off of education with privatization and the resulting lowering of quality that results.  Provide low quality for cheap with a high rate of turn over and a high price tag stripping tax money for disproportionate compensation at the top.

  •  Don't go into teaching (6+ / 0-)

    If you're in high school or college, just don't. Do something else. There are worthwhile careers out there that pay better and you don't have to put up with the bs.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:12:47 AM PST

  •  Public school teachers are under attack (12+ / 0-)

    For several reasons.

    First, teacher unions are the strongest unions left in America.
    Stripping teachers of their collective bargaining rights deprives them of their professional, economic and political voice. That fits right in to a corporatist agenda that would like to see the Labor Movement killed off completely.

    Second,  attacking teachers and public education is attractive to the Waltons, Kochs and Murdochs because there are
    billions of public dollars to be made in for-profit
     charter schools and in writing, selling and scoring standardized tests.

    Third, tea party types simply want all public workers stripped of good salaries, health benefits, job security and pensions. Part of their race to the bottom for American workers.

    Progressives need to beware of "reformers" like Rhee and "Democrats for Education Reform". They say they want better teachers but they have a funny way of showing it--always pushing to strip teachers of tenure and seniority rights.

  •  teachers vs babysitters (5+ / 0-)

    As sad as these stories are, the reality is there will never be a shortage of teachers - there will always be some low achieving young graduate who will be ready to take the place of the experienced, high performing teacher.

    Left to its own devices, the education space will drift slowly - or even very quickly - toward a babysitting model, in which the qualifications of the teachers and the quality of the educational experience are irrelevant.

    Which of course is reason number five million not to vote GOP.

  •  Equity and Excellence Report is a must read (7+ / 0-)

    See here:

    While some young Americans — most of them white and affluent — are getting a truly world-class education, those who attend schools in high poverty neighborhoods are getting an education that more closely approximates school in developing nations. In reading, for example, although U.S. children in low-poverty schools rank at the top of the world, those in our highest-poverty schools are performing on a par with children in the world’s lowest-achieving countries. With the highest poverty rate in the developed world, amplified by the inadequate education received by many children in low-income schools, the United States is threatening its own future.
    Our education system, legally desegregated more than a half century ago, is ever more segregated by wealth and income, and often again by race. Ten million students in America’s poorest communities … are having their lives unjustly and irredeemably blighted by a system that consigns them to the lowest-performing teachers, the most run-down facilities, and academic expectations and opportunities considerably lower than what we expect of other students....These vestiges of segregation, discrimination and inequality are unfinished business for our nation."
    Key Findings:
    --raise teacher pay to a starting salary of $65,000 per year from an average of $37,000.

    --end property taxes as the principle means of funding public schools

    --develop universal pre-K and wraparound services

    --work on ways to enhance teacher performance without demonizing unions

    --teacher evals not based solely on testing scores

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:38:48 AM PST

  •  In this political climate, who in their right mind (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandblaster, gffish, drmah

    would choose this "profession?"  I have taught middle and high school and now teach at a huge university.  We have 40,000 students and only one - that's right - only ONE science student teacher.  There is a lot more respect, security and money to be had in engineering or research if you have a strong science education.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:39:37 AM PST

    •  That ONE science student teacher is probably so (0+ / 0-)

      much in debt for college education that a teacher's salary will never catch up to the growth of interest on that debt. You are so right --- teaching is not an attractive career choice for anyone!

  •  Conservatives belong in a cave... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, jalapenopopper

    ...not on school or education boards.

    •  don't even call them "conservatives" any more-- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      they are right wing radicals intent on destroying the government.  You can even call them "seditionists" at this point, imo.

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:19:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ALEC's fingers in the education pie..AZ (0+ / 0-)

    following are links  to Blog for Arizona reporting on a bill, SB 1239 submitted by AZ legislator Al Melvin. Melvin wants to funnel millions  to a company called "Imagine Learning", to provide a statewide 'technology based' reading program for grades K-3.

    Imagine Learning is a second tier  contributor to ALEC and sits on ALEC'S education task force. The top tier involves only 2 companies,  Reynolds Tobacco and the State Policy Network (Koch Brothers and Co.). Imagine Learning sits on ALEC's Education Task Force.

  •  It happened to me after 21 years (5+ / 0-)

    and while I'm terrified about not having a job now, in some ways the stress is less. Teaching has become a maddening, zero-sum exercise in frustration for students, parents, and teachers alike. And a lot of the stress-induced health issues I was having are starting to recede.

    Imagine -- less (total) stress from being unemployed than from being employed as a teacher.

  •  I left science teaching because (5+ / 0-)

    no one in any school administration I worked for really cared about teaching any kid any science. All they care about is themselves and promoting some cockamamy program they've come up with.  In one middle school I had three different administrators in six years, each one of them with a completely different idea of how to run the school.  You can imagine the chaos.  I was teaching 7th grade science and moved from a science classroom that was very poorly equipped to a regular classroom that didn't even have a sink, in the basement of the school.  I had no supplies or equipment to teach the students.  I was told I didn't need any.  I was also told I did not need any help disciplining the kids, even though I had some kids with probation officers. There was absolutely no support for any teacher in the building.  We were all on our own.  Imagine if every police officer was on her own. No backup.  No jails. No court system. How many people do you think would obey the police?    I left completely burned out and on Paxil.  This was a suburban public school system.  You can imagine what the inner city schools are like.  

    •  I've been going out of my way to advocate for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, schnecke21

      science in our high school, to make sure that we weren't doing anything foolish like allocating classroom budgets at the same level across the board, because science and art obviously have higher material and consumable needs than social studies and math.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:40:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find it ironic (6+ / 0-)

    my wife is an early childhood educator, at a private preschool school that we can't afford to send our son to.  I work at a university that, absent going into massive debt, we could never afford to send him to for college.

    On a combined teacher's and librarian's salary, our only chance of educating this kid is public schools and a lot of educational work on our own.

    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:58:38 AM PST

  •  Surprised not to see this mentioned (5+ / 0-)

    Emphasis mine:

    WASHINGTON - February 21, 2013 – Teacher job satisfaction has plummeted to its lowest level in 25 years, from 62 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012 – a total of 23 points, according to the annual Metlife Survey of the American Teacher, released today. Teachers reporting low levels of job satisfaction were more likely to be working in schools with shrinking budgets, few professional development opportunities, and little time allotted for teacher collaboration.
    About the survey:
    The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, conducted annually since 1984 by Harris Interactive, shares the voices of teachers and others close to the classroom with educators, policy makers and the public. The Survey findings also inform MetLife Foundation's support for education.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:00:04 AM PST

  •  My lovely wife forwarded this to me (0+ / 0-)

    Probably been seen before, but from AddictingInfo, and neat article about "highly paid" teachers:Are You Sick Of 'Highly Paid' Teacher?

    •  And, as AI has ads, here's the text (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah, schnecke21

      y Author Unknown (if you know who wrote it, PLEASE let me know)

      Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!

      We can get that for less than minimum wage.

      That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

      Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

      However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

      LET’S SEE….

      That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

      What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

      Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

      The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

      Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.

  •  The quality of your local school board (3+ / 0-)

    and in turn the superintendent and the principals that they hire, has a lot to do with the environment your local teachers work in.

    If this is an issue of concern to you, attend your local school board meetings. Inform your neighbors about what you see. And if your board is not up to snuff, consider running or recruiting a candidate.

    But even attending the meetings makes a difference. The board, whether they say so publicly or not, is definitely aware of who comes and what issues they raise when they come.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:15:14 AM PST

  •  scary (0+ / 0-)
    When I started, I had all these incentives to improve and now I am completely stuck," Kiefer told the board. "I have no master's degree, I have no way to increase my salary and there are no incentives in place for improving my practice. Others in my department and in this school make a lot more money than I do and I produce the same, quality results."
    Talk about someone totally corrupted by the system. A fine example of how incentives corrupt attitudes. Yikes.

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:20:52 AM PST

    •  I see how you are reading this but (7+ / 0-)

      you should be aware that most teachers, especially new teachers, don't make a lot of money, and that most systems expect teachers to do professional development on their own time, on their own dime. It's expensive and it's demoralizing.

      By contrast, I'm an engineer, and I've been paid many times to study new techniques, to attend conferences, and the like: both my costs and my time were covered.

      Also, I can usually have all the pens I want.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:43:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

        I feel sad for the teacher. It is well known that when you are driven mainly (or even not so much) by incentives ... you lose the love for what you are doing.

        There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

        by taonow on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:13:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So being driven by incentives is bad!! (0+ / 0-)

            Maybe PAYING people is causing them to lose the love of what they do. So...Let's burn up all the money and go to a barter system!!

          •  Reality (0+ / 0-)

            This is scientifically known reality. Even at an early age give kids a reward for their drawings and they lose interest in what they draw and start focusing on the reward. This is one of the fundamental things wrong with our capitalist, consumer driven society. It is probably one of the reasons so many people hate their jobs these days.

            There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

            by taonow on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:37:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What she meant was that she went into debt (0+ / 0-)

              to get a Master's Degree because when she started teaching that was seen as "good" and she would also get a pay increase that would help her to pay off her loans. Now she is still in debt, her salary is less and they have taken away the extra pay that used to go to teachers who had Master's degrees.  

              Not only that, there are some people who are suggesting that it doesn't matter if teachers have more education, that it makes no difference at all. So it is demoralizing.

              I got the idea that this particular teacher is young enough and bright enough to find another position in another state or perhaps take courses in another field that uses math, rather than stay in debt at a low salary with what she had been promised taken away.

  •  I received an email this week from my principal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, elfling

    who wanted a revised 'Form C' evaluation - also sent to every other teacher in my school.

    (caution - this may develop into a rant).

    It's something we have to write for our mandated state evaluation (i.e. students will achieve X% increase on YYY).

    We've been out of school for two weeks - one due to snow and the other a  mandated vacation. I don't remember what I wrote for Forms A and B, and Form C doesn't ring a bell, either. I think they were about fluency, behavior, classroom management or finding the main idea - I don't remember which was which.

    I have to test my students once a week on fluency and plug their scores into a program called AIMSWeb. They also have big time math hours, which are not on my evaluation forms.

    I also have to sit in hours of meetings (PBIS, SRBI, PPTs) and have been trained to take students who are not special ed because they MIGHT be special ed. They take up an hour a day. I work in an urban district, and they are banking on the fact that parents won't notice their sped teachers see their children a miniscule percentage of their mandated hours.

    The union has hired a retired sped teacher to help us utilized our time better to cover our student's hours, and he told me it was a big joke. Most of us are expected to cover over 200 sped hours a week with mandated push in/pull out time over many grades.

    My home computer doesn't have Microsoft Word to download this Form C to fill it out - what's that, $100 out of pocket?

    This week, Bobo, my beloved cat has developed continual head seizures and will  getting an MRI and spinal tap tomorrow.  My vacation (and it's my time to use as I want ) has been spent driving him around to different specialists, handing over my debit card ($3,000 to date) sobbing, and fueling myself with grapes, ice cream and chardonnay.

    This week, I also told her I would work on 8 rough draft IEP's, annual review reports and invitations which are due March, and also should have done lesson plans for each grade level.

    So, do you really think she's getting that revised Form C  tomorrow?

  •  Our only hope in CT is John Pelto (0+ / 0-)

    who is a blogger watching what's going on. Every state needs someone like him.

  •  The writing has been on the wall... (4+ / 0-)

    For a long time...

    My children are both in their late 20's, and even while they were still in elementary school, I remember many times asking them what they did at school today, and was then told that they spent the day getting ready for "The Test."

    I've always had the opinion that "Teaching to the Test" is not a measure of education, but rather teaching "Critical Thinking Skills" & "Problem Solving" sets the plate for independent learning, and greater growth. When you have those skills, tests become almost irrelevant, as any problem on the test is solved with the application of those skills, rather than route memory. I cringed at the thought of "The Village Idiot Of Crawford Texas" applying his idea of a standardized test to all of the schools in this country...

    As a student I'll confess I was smart, but quite lazy, and often when not challenged by the material, I put my worst student hat on. I hated writing, so forget about those essays I was supposed to write, cut a deal at the end of the quarter, and write a few to get a passing grade. Algebra? So boring, snooze in class, don't do the homework, but get decent grades on tests. Oops crap. I've got to take math over, I blew that one! Biology for dummies, cool that will be a cakewalk. Oops! Bored in class socializing, and got in trouble...

    That's when the Great Teachers stepped in and blew my plan up...

    There I was sitting in detention one afternoon after getting in a little trouble in Biology Class, when a teacher that I had several years earlier in Junior High, who had recently started teaching at the High School found me, and told me I needed to be in her class. This raised the eyebrows of the administrators as she was teaching the Advanced Placement Biology Classes. I hadn't demonstrated eligibility, but at her insistence I was placed in her class, and truly challenged, I excelled completing the class with an A- grade.

    The math plan blew up shortly after when I signed up for Tech Math (Math for Dummies) figuring it was the easy way out, and it would meet the math requirement for graduation. I was in trouble, and knew it in the first class when I met the teacher for the first time. He was the youngest math teacher at the high school, and was the head of the math department for the entire school system. He taught only 2 classes in addition to running the math department. Advanced Placement Calculus, and Math For Dummies! The first class was interesting as he asked each student what they intended to do for work after graduation, and announced that he would custom tailor the education of each of the 20 students in the class to teach them what they needed to know. The writing was on the wall when he asked one of the bigger troublemakers in the class what he was going to be, and the kid says, "I don't need math I'm going to be an alcoholic." It didn't phase the teacher a bit as he said, "Oh, you'll need math! You need to know metric conversions, volume and percentage calculations, ratios, etc. just so you can figure out how to buy the most alcohol possible on a limited budget." We quickly moved on to learning, starting every class with a brain teaser math problem for a warmup then learning things like Geometry, Trig, Computer Programing, etc. doing many fun projects like surveying the new track field, and marking out the lanes and staggered starting positions. Fun stuff that I still use today in my career. I ended up taking an extra year of this class (not required for graduation) because it was so fun, and interesting. Calculus & Differential Equations came later in college, whodda thunk I would have gone there?

    I had also been blessed with great teachers in the industrial arts classes I took. I had a raving lunatic with a passion for electronics teaching me basic electricity and later electronics. I had a metal shop teacher teach me "Everything about Metalworking" machining, forming, welding, heat treating, etc. I also learned about engines and power transmission.

    Later while taking classes at a local Technical College I was challenged by the English Composition teacher that threw away the textbook, and announced that if we didn't already know the mechanics of writing that were in the book, we were hopeless. He was going to teach us to read aloud what we had written and how to apply those mechanics to make our writing smooth and flowing. It was tough writing a paper for every class, and working full time. Sometimes I'd still be writing the paper while riding in the car with my brother on our way to classes at night. I found found out that I loved to write. In each class he would go through numerous papers that had been turned in, reading them aloud, and as a class we would discuss the rewrites needed, and various options. One day he went through all the usual stuff, passing the graded papers back, but I didn't receive mine. He then announced that he wanted to share a very special paper with the class, that was in his opinion the best paper he had ever seen turned in in one of his classes... Mine! The transformation was complete! Exceptional Teachers had removed every deficiency from my education!

    Today I have a wide variety of career options that are open to me and have widely diversified income streams ranging from web based income, repairing and building equipment utilizing pumps, electric motors, gasoline motors, hydraulics, PLC controllers, and other electronics. I can do almost anything I want to do, and I frequently run into past employers begging me to come back to work for them. I've been blessed by meeting great teachers who gave me a great set of tools to work with...

    I worry a great deal about today's children and the skills they will have acquired from their education as they are turned out to enter the work force. I fear that we are turning out our youth unprepared to advance themselves, and our nation, as our "Benevolent Corporate Masters" cheapen the quality of our education system, meddling with it by their involvement in the politics of education. I fear we are turning out a generation of clerks, and a generation strapped by the size student loans they carry for higher education.

    Kudos to the great teachers among you that are fighting the good fight! Hopefully we can get through this war on education intact.

    "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
    I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
    ~John F. Kennedy~


    by Oldestsonofasailor on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:59:54 AM PST

  •  So. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandblaster, rosarugosa

    Cons in particular "target teachers for blame, lower their pay while increasing their workloads, treat them not as valued professionals but as test proctors, and drive great teachers out of the classroom on a regular basis"....  In short, cons believe public school teachers are greedy, communist, liberal, lying, thieving takers who are as useless as teats on a bull, but they also want to arm them with powerful handguns and turn them loose again in America's classrooms, because our children are so precious.

  •  And a word about the arts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, schnecke21

    STEM is big now, and that's good.  Given the right wing's denial we need people who can refute their lies.

    Life is emptier without the arts.  And they are being neglected.  State requirements combine World Language and Arts for 3 required credits - Math and Science require 3 each.

    We no longer have a concert band, they eliminated the film studies course, and when our drama teacher of 37 years leaves in a few years, I'm guessing there will no longer be 4 drama classes.  We have one visual arts teacher who teaches 6 classes.  The only art that is booming is vocal music, and that is only one class.  

    Did I mention that this little school has sent dozens of students into careers in the arts - animation, commercial art, movies, television, local theater and boasts 2 Julliard graduates who have performed on Broadway?  

  •  As a parent with over ten years in the system, (0+ / 0-)

    I've seen far more good teachers pushed out by mindless, mechanical, last-in-first-out seniority rules than by a demand for higher standards. I'll respect Laura Clawson's reporting more when she also addresses this problem.

    BTW, I am a long-time progressive Democratic organizer.

  •  I am a third-year teacher (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unduna, drmah, DSPS owl, rosarugosa, ranton

    and I came to this profession after a successful business career. This will be my last year teaching. This article nails it. I have never felt so disrespected in my life, and I am doing a good job. My evaluations are fine and my kids' test scores are very good. But the pressure is immense, the hours too long, and the lack of respect from administrators and outsiders is huge. Most teachers I know feel this way, but many don't have other options. Fortunately, I do. I'm going back to the world of fortune 500 consulting. Less stress...and that's saying something!

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

    by Libertina on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:08:10 PM PST

  •  Quite timely... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As the attrition of faculty and low teacher morale was the subject of the featured front page article in our local (and very conservative) newspaper today:

    'Enough is Enough': Teachers Leaving Classrooms in Droves

    Louisiana recently enacted three related laws that are pushing this exodus. (1) Best known is the voucher program where parents of students in "failing" schools can enroll their children in private and parochial schools using state funds originally allocated to their home schools. (2) Teachers' retirement plans are going from defined benefit to 401K type plans... but public employees in our state will still be considered "exempt" from Social Security which means that they still won't be eligible for Social Security either... so teachers anywhere near retirement are retiring now while they still have a retirement plan to speak of.  This is impacting higher ed as well. (3) We enacted a fairly draconian evaluation system where only those who are evaluated in the 80th percentile and up (it was originally 90!) are eligible for tenure.  All these laws are of course from the ALEC/Koch Brothers playbook.

    Louisiana under Gov. Bobby Jindal is Ground Zero for Kochland policies.

    And teachers are bailing. We had a hard time recruiting and retaining teachers as it was since neighboring states paid much better salaries.  There used to be billboards for Texas teaching jobs on I-10 in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. But it seems many of these more recent attrits are leaving the profession altogether.  Note that we do not have a strong teachers' union here since they are not technically considered unions and don't have the legal right to do much more than barely exist.

  •  This was me. Add me to the tally roster. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

    by Unduna on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:21:53 PM PST

  •  Biggest loss of Good Teachers in Indiana is with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Special Education teachers. Since the state legislature passed the ruling that any increase in a teacher's salary would be based soley on how students in her classes scored on age and grade-level, standardized tests, it meant that any teacher working with Special Needs children would be excluded from ever moving beyond beginning teacher's salary level. The result is that as Special Education teachers with the required teaching credeitials resign, schools are fored to combinr classes or assign additional Special Needs children into larger and larger classes. The most vulnerable students suffer the worst while the State in now begging for Special Education Teachers. Go Figure!  

  •  false capitalism (0+ / 0-)

    When public moneys are applied to for profit schools, it can never be true capitalism.  The playing field is not equal, favoritism is always in play, and the choices of the customer will eventually be wittled down to no choice at all.

    If right now charter schools are no better, and probably worse than public schools, what will happen when public schools, their main competition for profit, are defunct?  It doesn't take a genius to see that charter schools will become even worse.  They will pay teachers as little as possible, pay the CEO class as much as possible, and the students will be left with the punchline.

    Good teachers are leaving the profession and new potential teachers are looking elsewhere.  Who wants to be a teacher in this climate?  I remember my good teachers, they were not the ones who only taught to the test, but were artists in finding new ways to see, do and explain things.  The destruction needs to be stopped and reversed, or we will have failed to invest in our business, the U.S.A. in a logical manner.  Charter school favoritism is anti-capitalistic and bad business.

  •  Next year will probably be my last year teaching; (0+ / 0-)

    the new WI ReTHUGlican system of teacher evaluation imposed state-wide by 2014-15 will make it easier to leave a profession I love years before I planned.  

    I stayed even after Walker's bomb and scapegoating attacks by WI's more gullible citizens because I thought I still had much to offer my students.  I am glad I did even though the morale of my school's staff continues to plummet. While we have an administration who is basically supportive, it has become increasingly obvious that their mindsets are shifting; we are simply employees now instead of valued team members whose insights are welcomed.      

    The really disgusting aspect to "new" teacher evaluation models is what will happen to those who are least effective in the classroom...they will cover their assess and have the time to do it since they sure as hell do not spend time trying to be "good" teachers.   The form I looked at was over 10 pages long and filled with items (I stopped counting after page three) that have to be measured and demonstrated by data. Those who put students first will struggle to find the time needed to supply the ridiculous amount of data required. Do idiots who have never walked in my shoes think I just walk into a classroom without having spent hours preparing for the day's lessons?      

    The most ineffective teacher I have ever ever encountered during my 30+ years of teaching obtained National teacher certification this year...what a travesty but totally understandable!  He is a paper-pusher and hoop jumper who does nothing to help his students so he had all the time to devote to the certification process.  THAT is where this trend is headed.

    Oh yeah...did I mention that private schools who siphon tax dollars from education funding do not have to meet student testing and teacher evaluation standards...WI ReTHUGs exempted them!

    Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    by ranton on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:48:16 PM PST

  •  This leaves me speechless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Using a statistical technique called value-added modeling, the Teacher Data Reports compare how students are predicted to perform on the state ELA and math tests, based on their prior year’s performance, with their actual performance. Teachers whose students do better than predicted are said to have “added value”; those whose students do worse than predicted are “subtracting value.” By definition, about half of all teachers will add value, and the other half will not.
    BY DEFINITION only half of teachers can be found to have added value.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:53:46 PM PST

    •  It jumped out at me, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby, denise b

      I'm surprised no one has quoted that yet.  

      This is the kind of performance evaluation model used in large professional and financial services corporations.  Their performance evaluation scales guarantee that some staff members graded at the bottom vis a vis their peers, and annually the bottom tier are fired or forced out.  

      A friend who works in HR at such a corporation thinks it's a good idea because "it keeps things fresh."  Well, it also creates incredible stress, pressure, and internal competition.   I'd been in that culture for over a decade and no mas.    

      As bad as it is in the private sector, it has no role in the public sector, especially education where so many factors are outside a teacher's control.    Fundamentally, it's a win/lose performance model.  

      I used to be a corporate trainer in an intensive months-long program for incoming college recruits.   When evaluating the recruits advancement in the program, my peers would take a similar top-down ranking approach, and the bottom percentage were washed out.  I think a relativist approach--how does the current set of recruits compare to other recruits that have gone through.  My peers openly disdained my methods, but fortunately I had mentors who supported me.  My results: A unusually high track record of successful graduates.    

      •  I experienced that in IT (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        over the last seven or eight years that I was working (stopped in 07).  But I don't think they ever dreamed of getting rid of 50%.

        People will react differently to this depending on their personalities. I did not react well at all. It made me start hating the company, and then my whole attitude towards work changed for the worse. I no longer had any desire to go above and beyond. I wanted to feel each day that I'd done a day's work for a day's pay, no more and no less. And though wanting to help my coworkers is part of my nature and hard to suppress, I tried stop going too much out of my way for others.

        Once, after a layoff in which I knew new people would soon have to be hired to replace the ones fired, I took every single personal item home from my cubicle. My goal was that if they ever escorted me out of the office there would be nothing of mine left behind, not even a mug or a calendar with pretty pictures. And I kept it like that for several years, to remind myself that it was just a job and that they had no loyalty to me nor me to them. I didn't want my workspace to be homey anymore. I wanted it to be temporary and completely impersonal.

        Do you think this is what they wanted? I doubt it; they still did team-building things. But you can't pit people against each other in a race to keep their jobs and expect them to feel or act like a team.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:32:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The real issue here (0+ / 0-)

    is that most of these teachers are leaving the profession because their paths to making more money are being cut-off.  After all the BS, it turns out it's not really about loving to teach,'s about the money.

    Well, our taxes pay for that money, and at some point, "this is what the job pays."  If you want to make more, then I'm truly sorry, but you'll have to find something else to do.  Teachers in the 1970's were underpaid.  About that, there can be no doubt.  But, 30 years of increased leverage and power by their union have made it such that a lot of teachers are over-paid, relative to the level of time commitment and stress in the job.  Maybe inner city teachers have it tough, but a lot of suburban teachers are living mighty high off taxpayer money:

    9 months a year.  7 hours a day.  MANY holidays and days off during the year.  Sabaticals (who else gets those?).  Six figure incomes, with lifetime pensions in the amount of 60% of the average of your highest three years earnings (even CEO's don't get that).  Lifetime, gold-plated health care for only a token employee contribution.  All after just 30 years of work (age 52-55 for most).  All at taxpayer expense.

    It's over the top.  And, in a lot of states, the tide is starting to turn.  

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