We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, February 17. 2011
Here they come! Egyptians reach Italy amid worry about Arab exodus. Also, here come the Tunisians.
From Steyn's Where's the Muscle?
Dr. Sanity rants: Sharia Sucks!
More links later today -
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Stop blaming us for the overindulgent youth comprising our public school populations and you'd see less of a push-back from teachers. When the public and media cannot frame their analysis in terms other than our "failing schools"and when everything is tossed at teachers, we circle the wagons. One of the last kitchen sink initiatives in my school was the removal of the gatorade machine from our football locker room. When miniscule reaches such as that don't stem the decline of academic achevement, what's next? Oh I know, let's drug screen the teachers because that must surely be the problem.
I liken this to the understandable push-back the NRA embraces as ineffective gun law after ineffective gun law does nothing to curb violent crime commited with guns. Once reasonable means are exhausted, the silly stuff just gets more silly. If the line isn't drawn i the sand now, it will continue without end.
We have good jobs and we'd like to keep them. We earned at least two degrees to get them. We have survived 40months of scrutiny to reach tenure and I'm sorry if it nauseates some of you but yes, we do most of that we do for the youth we're committed to. I am not contracted to conduct conferences, parent's night, directing the NHS chapter, staying late with students, assisting with the golf team, supporting the drama department etc, but I do that stuff all year long. How many "pretentious laborors" offer that much extra time without compensation?
Here's my two step approach to school reform that only lacks one thing; it doesn't blame teachers. 1) If your child is failing a major subject class, a legal guardian MUST appear at a conference with that subject teacher or that child's name is removed from the list of those we're expected to get to State standards. 2) Your child must attend school 95% of the time or their name is similarly removed. That alone would advance acheivement tenfold but alas, it places the responsibility on parents....er, I mean, voters and we can't have that.
Are there a few teachers on any given faculty that should have hung it up a while ago? Sure. Are they the reason why other Countries are kicking our asses at math and science? No. If an American student does well in school they go home to their bedroom that has a tv and computer and they text their friends all night long. When they do poorly, they go home to their bedroom that has a tv and computer and they text their friends all night long. No other Country coddles students and extends the level of special plans and services that we do. I'm not envious of societies that expell and dismiss struggling students but it does explain why their median students outperform ours.
I would be all for merit-based assessment of teachers if I could trust the means by which it's determined and people who will administer it. If my students were the determiners, I'd be all for it.
Excuse me but I have to run off to set up a lesson and milk the taxpayers out of their money~
I don't disagree with a lot you say, DA, but that is only a small part of the issue (the link related pretty directly to unions and not to teacher performance).
Getting our kids to learn is not just the responsibility of teachers, the parents and the students themselves should be at least equal partners. However, in the last forty years, there has been a lot of goofy, touchy-feely, clap trap that has been passed as education. For example, in the lower grades, it seems that teaching things like times tables is a thing of the past. Is it any wonder that kids don't know how to make change, determine which product gives the best value, etc? Could this be part of the reason that US kids are less interested in technical disciplines? Another example is that there is less emphasis on homework and reading (especially the classics). My daughter was a senior in one of the better high schools in town and one of her assignments was to WATCH the Disney ANIMATED movie (cartoon), The Sword in the Stone and write a report on it. This is joke that is not funny. Certainly, my daughter had some good teachers too, so I do not condemn them all, but there seems to be an establishment that is directing education in a bad direction.
I understand that many teachers have advanced degrees. I think that is fine, but it doesn't necessarily determine quality of teaching. Two points about that: 1) I don't know if it is still the case, but in the dark ages (1980s) when I was in college, the undergraduate education school in my college was a joke. I've heard similar stories from all over so I don't think that was a unique situation. 2) Prospective teachers who know a topic can not get in to teach in spite of the fact that there a lot of teachers who teach who don't know their subject. Advanced degrees are nice, but when I went to school, I don't think any of my teachers had a Masters and I suspect that the overall quality of teaching was at least as good as now and likely better.
I also dispute the necessity of tenure for teachers in primary education. The original reason for tenure was so teachers with unpopular ideas could not be fired for them. This is an argument for college professors, not primary education teachers. It has become a way for some teachers to have a job for life with little accountability.
That being said, the article was about the unions and I am hard pressed to find anything good to say about them. I don't know the specifics of the demands (how do you like that?) of the unions in Wisconsin, but if they are anything like New Jersey, I don't know why anybody puts up with them. (In NJ) They don't want to even pay a little toward their health insurance and they want to retire early with generous benefits and pensions. My daughter's first grade teacher has already retired - I don't think she's 50 yet. Do the math. This is unsustainable. You don't think their protesting the fact that parents and students aren't doing their share or that when compared to the rest of the world, our students rank toward the bottom, do you? NO, they're protesting for their own benefit. Since the unions have come into into vogue, our education system has declined relative to the rest of the world and relative to our past.
As I said, the (lack of) quality in our schools is not the sole responsibility of teachers and they should not shoulder all the blame, but let's not kid ourselves that there shouldn't be massive reform in the way we deal with teachers and school administrations.
I think the credentials(degrees) are mostly a scam, designed to keep people out of the profession. There are people out there that have had real jobs and real world experience that would make excellent teachers, but it is not worth the hassle and expense of gaining the so-called "credentials'.
My sister-in-law is a teacher and every so often she has to take courses to keep her "credentials' up to date.
She will be the first to admit that no one learns anything and it is just another shakedown to fund the education industry.
An Epiphany if you will: How about we shut down the the Department of Immigration and the US Bureau of Immigration Services for about six years. The only services that would continue our visitor's passport/visa services for both citizens going abroad and visitors coming for short term (30 days or less). We would save billions of dollars and stop the argument over illegal immigration--it would all be illegal for the next six years! I choose six years as a preliminary figure so that we can determine how to work the new system, and long enough to see the impact, also long enough to make sure neither political party gets full credit for the results.
This is NOT about blaming teachers for all the ills of society. Every profession has good and bad folks in it. Most teachers ARE dedicated, work hard, try to make a difference in their students' education, often under very difficult circumstances.
However, this is about unaffordable pensions, union rules that hurt education, asking teachers to put in extra to help pay for their own health insurance etc, nothing more, nothing less. WHEN the teachers decide that it's ok to strike via a fraudulent sick-out, and haul the kids off with them to the protests, in a move that is beyond cynical, then to hell with them. Fire 'em all a la Reagan and the air traffic controllers.
I just took a bit of a "haircut" because the lying sack-of-crap governor of Illinois just increased taxes 66%. Should I and every working stiff I know in Illinois just call in sick, drag whoever we feel would make a sympathetic look to help us to Springfield, and start screaming at Gov. Quinn?
Well, I sure as hell feel like it, because he lied, he stole money from us workers, rather than deal with the cause of the money problems (vast corruption, overspending and all the usual liberal CRAP programs that don't work), but I can't do it, and neither can anyone else I know. We'd all be fired in a heartbeat.
Ah, but the teachers...the holy, untouchable teachers, who are shaping our youth. Well, I am to the point I just don't give a damn if the best or worst teachers are on sick-out in Madison, I'd boot every one of them, and start over, because the kids are now getting the WORST education; learning how to bully, intimidate, yell and scream and extreme selfishness.
Yes, it sucks to lose money, I feel their pain after Gov. Quinn stuck his hand in my pocket, but life goes on. Oh, I'm in the medical profession, btw, should I be screaming that I'm MORE important because I have peoples' lives in my hands, and am BETTER or more important than teachers?
No, I can't, I won't. Every job is important, and no one is better than anyone else. So yeah, to hell with the teachers. We don't doubt you have it tough, and that the majority really do want to teach the kids, but this is not about education or the kids. Get over it
Agreed with most of your post mudbug but this did give me pause:
"The original reason for tenure was so teachers with unpopular ideas could not be fired for them. This is an argument for college professors, not primary education teachers."
Why would teachers at any level be immune to the whims of whichever current Administrator an uninvolved school board hires?
As for Mo, all you needed to type was "So yeah, to hell with the teachers." The rest was academically suspect; anecdotal at best.
I don't defend tenure on any level, but I understand the need for it more for college professors.
Better teachers is not an idea void of merit, however, instead of retracting guarantees, we might do a better job of initial certification.
I was an undergraduate Junior before I applied to the professional department of education at my college. I had decent grades but the dean who approved me to complete my program had no clue whther I had any skill at making connections with youth and other people. This equates to 5 semesters of classes before being evaluated and allowed to continue.
What kind of a prick Dean would decline a candidate who had paid the institution $60,000 in tuition? Teacher candidates should go out into the field to actually teach the very first year they enroll. In short order, those who are unable to engage and persuade others may be identified and steered to a profession that suits them better without credit loss. Trust me, staying academically one chapter ahead of a teenager doesn't take a Chomsky. People who are sterile geeks (often those with the best subject matter grades) sometimes make poor teachers because they lack a certain intuition that allows them to reach a wide array of personalities.
Get the bad ones weeded out earlier.
Lest we forget that terrible day in the late 1970's when the teacher's associations across America voted to join with the teamsters. You may or may not remember that at that time it was quite clear how corrupt and evil the teamsters (AFL/CIO) are. However, "teachers"--those we trust to care for our children--couldn't wait to jump into bed with the bad boys! Our education system has gone down hill from there. D'ya suppose any of those ever-so-loving-and-caring types want to give up their affiliation with the underworld today? Not likely!
Got any links to what you're saying 'cause a current search of teachers association teamsters brings up this:
"couldn't wait to jump into bed with the bad boys!"
Yeah, that's what happened. Cripes.
Muslim bro's in the hood;
Qaradawi: Egypt's New Hitler