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A simple parable for the Wisconsin news
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Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9850

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you go again mrgybe. Fact free opinions, long on hostility towards unions and the environment. Devoid of a factual context about education. But quick with the easy solutions, cribbed off the right wing playbook.

Try reading one of the very good books about education and the difficulties in modern society. Then think about what we do about improving the performance of the 4 million teachers who are out there, and mostly decent but not great, without disrupting the education of a generation or abandoning the poor. Give me a citation about solutions that are something other than public relations and I'll go there in a fat minute. But spare me the panaceas of the far right who want to either abandon public education, impose business world solutions without paying any attention to whether they work, or teach religion in schools.

There is a popular fascination on the right about charter schools, but a lack of rigor in holding them accountable. The best research that I've seen is that you can get substantial improvement in performance with charter schools--if you allow them to pick and choose their students. I watched that in Oakland, where Jerry Brown's two favorite schools, the art school and the military academy, were showered with money--and he abandoned the rest of the City's schools. The Art School, which skimmed off the cream of Oakland high achievers and spent about 50% more per pupil, had very high achievement. The military school was a disaster in performance measures, and had a steady turnover in students because of constant expulsions for behavior issues.

Read Diane Ravitch, or any other reputable author who has looked at the performance of the San Diego and New York "reform" and/or charter efforts to discover either poor performance or demographics that would guarantee success in any school system.

Maybe mrgybe would prefer the Texas system where the curriculum is pathetic compared to California, but reflects the values and delusions of the evangelicals who took over the school board and imposed their religious teachings on the science curriculum. Science teachers all over the country (more than 60% if memory serves) report being afraid to teach evolution because of attacks by the religious right. Without unions, a "solution" proposed by mrgybe, the religious right will fire science teachers who dare to teach science.

I don't know what the solutions are, and I think it takes multiple solutions, and none are easy. I've volunteered in public schools in Oakland and Berkeley for over 8 years. Every time I've seen a great student I've found a great mom behind them. Every single time. And I've been told harrowing stories by kids and about kids that make me shake my head and think that more kids deserve better parents.

Most of the solutions that I see coming out of the right look more like abandoning the kids who are hard to educate, or imposing their political values within the educational system. Come with some facts about what works and you'll have a little more credibility.
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Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems that Bill Gates is less dismissive of my opinions. Here are a few extracts from a Washington Post article last week.

"Over the past four decades, the per-student cost of running our K-12 schools has more than doubled, while our student achievement has remained virtually flat. Meanwhile, other countries have raced ahead."

"The value of measuring effectiveness is clear when you compare teachers to members of other professions - farmers, engineers, computer programmers, even athletes. These professionals are more advanced than their predecessors - because they have clear indicators of excellence, their success depends on performance and they eagerly learn from the best. The same advances haven't been made in teaching because we haven't built a system to measure and promote excellence."

"The United States spends $50 billion a year on automatic salary increases based on teacher seniority. It's reasonable to suppose that teachers who have served longer are more effective, but the evidence says that's not true. After the first few years, seniority seems to have no effect on student achievement. Another standard feature of school budgets is a bump in pay for advanced degrees. Such raises have almost no impact on achievement, but every year they cost $15 billion that would help students more if spent in other ways."

In a different venue he said:

"Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life."

Who has been at the forefront of perpetuating these ineffective practices? Yet anyone who suggests reform is branded anti-union. Change is needed.....those who have been running the show for decades are not producing.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can lead the proverbial to water sir but you cannot make it drink!

Pupils nowadays have (and know) all the rights, but have no responsibilities. Teachers MUST follow current doctrines or give up all hope of promotion at best, or be forced out at worst.

I could write a million words on the problems faced by teachers in schools today, but I long since retired (read got out) and would rather not 'get wound up' anymore.

I'll leave that to others!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still believe that parental involvement is the key to academic success. We seem to use the excuse of being too busy, but I dont think it holds water. Children need to feel confident, and that confidence comes from a loving family, who are involved. When that falters, It doesnt matter who the teachers are or where the kid goes to school, he will end playing 6 hours of Mortal Combat a day , or hit the crack pipe. Filling the down time with productive, adventerous activity is critical for kids, otherwise they are gone doing something stupid, and they develop negative associations with going to school. They dont see the benefit to staying at school, becasue they dont like it, and do poorly as a result.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nowhere did I say that reform was not needed, continuously. But today I spent time teaching both reading recovery to first graders, and thesis statements and pursuasive arguments to fifth graders. Both are reform programs that have come out of local efforts, not out of NCLB.

It is hysterical that in the oil arena, mrgybe thinks that the only relevant expertise is his of having managed an oil company of some sort. Real world experience, like living in a country he is wont to say, is worth more than anything gleaned from a book or web site. He has argued that Any other experience with the oil industry, such as managing or regulating the clean-up after their shoddy practices, is inexpert. But he has somehow become a classroom expert.

The Gates foundation is in fact looking for creative solutions, and is constructive, notwithstanding their anti-union bias. They have also discovered that charter schools are not quite the panacea they once thought, and they have softened their anti-union language considerably.

Meanwhile, the reading is fundamental program which has worked to improve reading and comprehension? On the chopping block under Republican cuts.

Boggsy--you are right. When parents read in the home, their kids want to read. When they control the amount of TV and games, kids do their homework. Somehow the obesity epidemic must be the teacher's unions fault too, don't you think?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points Mac. When Repubs argue, they base their argument on blame. Unions, taxes, handouts, etc etc. When liberals argue , they try to think of a way to make things better, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but its a progressive mindset. "lets get rid of unions" then we can finally fix things..."lets lower taxes", then we can grow..."lets stop gay marriage", then we can start to repair family values..."lets get rid of Fannie/Freddie" and return the housing market to private enterprise. All blame based arguments. With schools , and dropouts, and the fact we dont graduate any engineers, we have to turn things around quick. I am a parent of young kids , and I get home as soon as I can everyday(unless its blowing 30) to play with my boy, and hang out. If parents simply got more involved , the results would be much different.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:14 pm    Post subject: the other cookie store Reply with quote

Three guys walk into union cookie store. Its not to busy , but the union cops demand a police detail anyway. When they get into the store they are told to sit were ever they like, just do not move your chair or table, only the union thugs can move furniture within the union shop. They order and pay for twelve cookies, but only six arrive, 2 went to union fees, 2 for the teamsters that delivered the flour, and the last 2 two hot cookies went to the union baker to put on his soon to be sore back, he is getting old(44) and needs an early retirement. Before they get to eat the last six cookies an aclu lawyer walks in , and determines the cookies have too much vanilla and not enough chocolate , so he files a Discrimination lawsuit against the cookie store. Store goes out of business becaues cookies are to expensive, and shop is closed on all possible holidays, including, groundhog day, flag day, plant a tree day, st patricks day, union day, and doctor SUMMEROFFS BIRTHDAY.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was responding to a post that got deleted - Ignore

Last edited by coboardhead on Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey matty, just as Mr. Hand told Spiccoli"Im a funny person, if you're going to tell a joke, please make sure that it is funny". Nonetheless, its good to have you back after such a horrific winter in the North East.
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Joined: 10 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for these comments.I used to talk school as if I had some idea of what I was saying, so I built a high school where there was none and set out to reform the whole system nationwide with my conservative ideas.
When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is easy to forget that you came here to drain this whole swamp
Parents are everything in a kids education as noted by Mac and boggsy
" Even worse, most teachers have never left school, and we have a generation or two who were taught that failure is not really bad."
Not by any teachers that I know. We teach them that failure means standing up and going for it again.
" they resist moves to loosen almost guaranteed employment and introduce meaningful performance measures? "
Many teachers out of work now.
Every teacher I know is interested in meaningful performance measures. Perhaps the confusion lies in the fact that no pol has ever proposed a meaningful measure, so teachers want something far better which takes into account the students.
Example: any measure which standardize math based on oriental kids will simply fail the students in South LA and most others.
Same in reverse.These bright kids need to be put to a standard that challenges their considerable abilities in this subject. Teachers try to do this.
Gates is the real thing in education worldwide. He is a smart guy who consults with well informed others and changes his game plan often.
We have a no fail school. If you get the answers wrong you are put straight into tutoring after school and get a similar test while the rest of us are out at the beach or windsurfing for P.E.
Fail again? Manana same deal until you get it.
Rather just take your bad grade and move on?
Not an option. You get tutored until you get it. Rather windsurf? Study harder next time.
" When in the real world do you get to answer a problem again until you get it right?"
Nearly every day I make a not so good move and then try another.Then something else. In antique schools if you answer wrong on the final you are screwed. Aren't you glad real life doesn't usually turn on one days performance while sailing? Even Gates is wrong sometimes.
Boggsman- Thanks in advance from all your kids teachers
Gybe- good stuff.not dismissing your views.
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