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Old 05-16-2012, 05:04 PM   #51
Ninjahedge
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nan, coming from my own experience (or my mothers),

School gets out in late June and teachers are called back before labor Day (for prep). I will double check on that one though.

Basically summer is only 2 months long. Most classes taken are either a solid week or are taken over several weeks. You CAN go "after work" but some classes just are not offered then.

Many schools are also doing summer programs, SOME with nominal pay. The programs are relatively small, maybe 1/wk, but still involve planning and time devoted.

It just makes the money able to be earned difficult as many places will not pay you nearly the amount you "earn" per hour as a teacher. You are part time (temp) work.

There are exceptions (that teacher that worked as a porn star), but most summer jobs are really not worth the extra aggro for the few K you end up taking home for all your effort.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:20 AM   #52
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PG, on the hour thing, teachers time at home is not documented. If you do not PAY them for time spent (and do not bill a client for it), there is no need for them to log 3 hours a night at home.
The numbers I looked at (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) indicated that hours worked "off the clock" were also included in the tabulation. Thus, even if you include all those extra "unofficial" hours they spend prepping, PTA meetings and grading etc, they still work 6 hours per week less than the average worker. Your anecdotal evidence (your mom's experience) doesn't mean anything, other than she was apparently one of the teachers that did care a lot about her students and put in a lot of extra effort.

People work all sorts of overtime in all sorts of jobs. If they are salaried, working extra hours doesn't change their income. That's the nature of the beast. Teachers are no different in that respect.

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The problem is, if you make them vulnerable by removing tenure, all you get is politics
Everyone in every other sector of the economy is equally vulnerable and doesn't have 'tenure' and is equally affected by office politics and such. Why do you keep thinking teachers are so different than anyone else in the workforce that is affected by some of the same issues (or worse)?

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The system can't be pruned here and there to fix it without killing it. there are too many factions tied up in it. The problem is, the people that would suffer the worst would be the kids, and 20 years later, the country.
I agree on that one, the system needs and overhaul, and the main thing standing in the way of that is the NEA. They won't let anything get changed, no matter how desperately needed. The other issue is that no matter what education system is in place, it's doomed to fail if parents don't actively participate in the education of their children. Throwing more money, better teachers or better tools at the problem won't fix it if the root cause (parents) isn't addressed.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:22 AM   #53
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I've said it once and I'll say it again... unions are the disease, merit-based pay is the cure... for the funding part of the equation. The rest is best addressed by parents being better parents, though there is no easy or clear-cut way to make that happen.

I'm relieved that my position is non-union. I'd hate to have my pay/benefits/contract in the hands of someone else and be forced to accept an agreement that I specifically didn't arrange for myself.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:50 AM   #54
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If she's a dedicated, passionate teacher, I'd welcome her with open arms - seriously. A good, passionate teacher can have a huge positive impact on a kids life. My dad had that effect on some kids.

The problem is though, that the great packages that our teachers have is choking the community with outrageous taxes, and the teachers keep asking for more. Right now, our home values are falling, people are unemployed / underemployed, and the tax delinquency rate is climbing. The city can't sustain this, yet the teacher's union is pushing for more. I'm not down on teachers as a profession, it's just that we're running out of ways to pay them.

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Honestly thats part of what annoys me so much. People take places where teachers are paid outrageous sums of money/get insane retirement benefits etc and then apply that to all teachers. Believe me - not everyone gets those things. I can tell you that my wife does not get any extra pay for conferences, chaperoning, or open houses. Most clubs do not offer additional pay for time either

Frankly it sounds like my wife should come work at your school district. Those teachers are spoiled!
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:50 AM   #55
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I guess the only solution is just like what many (of the same people, AAMOF) say to do with things like child care, social security and the like.

get rid of it.

Let people teach their own kids.

I am sure we will get many brilliant scholars if we are responsible for our own children's education and pay for our own tutors when they need education beyond our own means.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:08 AM   #56
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I guess the only solution is just like what many (of the same people, AAMOF) say to do with things like child care, social security and the like.

get rid of it.

Let people teach their own kids.

I am sure we will get many brilliant scholars if we are responsible for our own children's education and pay for our own tutors when they need education beyond our own means.
I don't think public education needs to go away or should be eliminated, because I prefer education that's not subject to a profit motive and all the issues that raises.. but, seriously, reforms are needed! Unions are strangling public education and need to go away. We'll get better teachers, higher pay, and higher student achievement.

Pay increases should come from performance and merit, not simply because someone works at the same place for a certain amount of time. There is no inherent value in that.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:32 AM   #57
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anybody that makes a career out of teaching is in a rut or has no employable job skills in the real job market.
The profit motive is not any kind of real motivation to most of us and, honestly, we pity people like you.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:03 AM   #58
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I guess the only solution is just like what many (of the same people, AAMOF) say to do with things like child care, social security and the like.
Yeah, because there are really only two possibilities, leave it as is, or get rid of it altogether. There's no such thing as fixing problems or changing particular aspects of something to make it better ...
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:32 AM   #59
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Yeah, because there are really only two possibilities, leave it as is, or get rid of it altogether. There's no such thing as fixing problems or changing particular aspects of something to make it better ...
You realize I am going to quote you on this for other threads now...
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:36 AM   #60
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I don't think public education needs to go away or should be eliminated, because I prefer education that's not subject to a profit motive and all the issues that raises.. but, seriously, reforms are needed! Unions are strangling public education and need to go away. We'll get better teachers, higher pay, and higher student achievement.
The primary functions of unions are the protection of the workers.

People usually only argue one side. You get rid of unions and you are pretty much asking the entire teaching staff to bend over.

1 in 10 will like this, but the others?

As the "opinions" here have shown, many MANY "voters" do not think teaching is worth that much. As such, they will be paid even less and conversely respected even less.

YGWYPF.

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Pay increases should come from performance and merit, not simply because someone works at the same place for a certain amount of time. There is no inherent value in that.
Politics. What has been done to teachers where my mother has worked is that they get the reprobates. You get a class of home-tutored Calculus experts, you bring in more AP "5"s than a teacher trying to teach physical science, for the 3rd year in a row, to a bunch of high school seniors that have to be told not to play with the Bunsen Burners during class.

I agree merit should be paid, but a measuring of that merit is VERY difficult when the subjects, material, and students vary so greatly.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:06 PM   #61
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As the "opinions" here have shown, many MANY "voters" do not think teaching is worth that much. As such, they will be paid even less and conversely respected even less.
Again, you seem to have this belief that teachers are somehow a different species than every other profession out there. Other professions do just fine without unions. What's special about teachers that requires them to be more protected than someone else?

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I agree merit should be paid, but a measuring of that merit is VERY difficult when the subjects, material, and students vary so greatly.
I agree with this, measuring performance for teachers is very tricky.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:38 PM   #62
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I agree with this, measuring performance for teachers is very tricky.
Yes, and what exactly are the metrics?

grades? --> inflated grades or reduced difficulty in the class
standardized test scores? --> teach for the test mentality; material not related to the test is marginalized. What about subjects without standardized tests? What about different creators of standardized tests?


I'd say look at what Finland is doing and find out what the hell they are doing that's working and see if any of it can be applied to the US. Can we somehow engage the creative and critical thinking aspects more in our important subjects?
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #63
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Here's a good article on the main differences between Finland and US education thinking.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/...uccess/250564/

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From his [Sahlberg's] point of view, Americans are consistently obsessed with certain questions: How can you keep track of students' performance if you don't test them constantly? How can you improve teaching if you have no accountability for bad teachers or merit pay for good teachers? How do you foster competition and engage the private sector? How do you provide school choice?

The answers Finland provides seem to run counter to just about everything America's school reformers are trying to do.

For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.

Instead, the public school system's teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.

As for accountability of teachers and administrators, Sahlberg shrugs. "There's no word for accountability in Finnish," he later told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. "Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted."

For Sahlberg what matters is that in Finland all teachers and administrators are given prestige, decent pay, and a lot of responsibility. A master's degree is required to enter the profession, and teacher training programs are among the most selective professional schools in the country. If a teacher is bad, it is the principal's responsibility to notice and deal with it.

And while Americans love to talk about competition, Sahlberg points out that nothing makes Finns more uncomfortable. In his book Sahlberg quotes a line from Finnish writer named Samuli Paronen: "Real winners do not compete." It's hard to think of a more un-American idea, but when it comes to education, Finland's success shows that the Finnish attitude might have merits. There are no lists of best schools or teachers in Finland. The main driver of education policy is not competition between teachers and between schools, but cooperation.
I'd say the first step in US public schools starts at the top with the principal.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:33 PM   #64
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The numbers I looked at (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) indicated that hours worked "off the clock" were also included in the tabulation. Thus, even if you include all those extra "unofficial" hours they spend prepping, PTA meetings and grading etc, they still work 6 hours per week less than the average worker. Your anecdotal evidence (your mom's experience) doesn't mean anything, other than she was apparently one of the teachers that did care a lot about her students and put in a lot of extra effort.

People work all sorts of overtime in all sorts of jobs. If they are salaried, working extra hours doesn't change their income. That's the nature of the beast. Teachers are no different in that respect.



Everyone in every other sector of the economy is equally vulnerable and doesn't have 'tenure' and is equally affected by office politics and such. Why do you keep thinking teachers are so different than anyone else in the workforce that is affected by some of the same issues (or worse)?



I agree on that one, the system needs and overhaul, and the main thing standing in the way of that is the NEA. They won't let anything get changed, no matter how desperately needed. The other issue is that no matter what education system is in place, it's doomed to fail if parents don't actively participate in the education of their children. Throwing more money, better teachers or better tools at the problem won't fix it if the root cause (parents) isn't addressed.
Care to post a link to back that 6 hour claim up? Earlier in the thread, it was 6 hours more per week, "if your memory served you correctly." Now you're getting into specifics. I'm questioning your memory. I did a google search for bureau of labor statistics and teachers; the first link is:
www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2008/03/art4full.pdf
I assume bls is the bureau of labor statistics. Sorry, that's a 2008 report; I can dig more later if you really think things have changed that significantly in 4 years. However, here are some quotes from that report:
[quoteTeachers employed full time worked 24 fewer minutes per weekday and 42 fewer minutes per Saturday than other full-time professionals[/quote]
That certainly doesn't add up to 6 hours. It adds up to less than 3 hours; and all the other sources I could find generally agree with that.

And, because that 2-3 hours is in your favor, I'll toss in:
Quote:
Teachers aged 50 and older who were employed full time worked more hours per week than teachers who were younger. Teachers aged
50 and older worked signifcantly more than teachers in their thirties (6.7 hours more per week) and twenties (5.1 hours more per week).
Thus, while the average teacher works less than the average professional (between 2 and 3 hours per week), a significant percentage of teachers are working more hours per week than the average professional.

So, simply based on the age of the teacher, you have more of a variation in the hours worked than you do between simply teachers vs. other professionals.

An interesting stat that I ran across:
Quote:
Compared to teachers in other countries, U.S. teachers work more hours per week, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an organization including 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
I agree with you that parents share a lot of the blame for problems in education. When I was growing up, I couldn't imagine missing more than a dozen days of school in a school year. (I missed homeroom once, due to a dentist appt, but was in school on time for 1st period - that was the ONLY mark on my otherwise perfect attendance throughout high school.) But, in some cities, students miss 40% or more of the school days - where are the parents who are allowing this?! (And people want to hold the teacher's accountable - rate the teachers based on how well their students learn - when their students don't even show up?)

You mentioned tenure and the NEA. Despite what people constantly keep repeating, "tenure guarantees a teacher a job for life" is a huge myth. And, every time it's pointed out that it's a myth, someone finds some anecdotal case where the local school system is somewhat disfunctional and cannot figure out how to fire a teacher. All that tenure provides is due process - the school has to provide evidence why the teacher deserved to be fired, be it incompetence, insubordination, or whatever. That is, before a teacher is fired, they're allowed to present their side of the story. It's funny that people will rail against teachers in one thread, but many of the same posters go in to a thread about how a teacher was fired for posting nude for a magazine, or for having done pornography in the past before becoming a teacher, and suddenly, their attitude is "that isn't fair!" They overlook that - the teacher was fired! Fired! That simple. Fired. There's no guarantee that they keep their job. Without tenure, no teacher would be willing to bet their career trying something new that might improve student learning - or it might backfire. I started using ipads in my physics class this year - the students loved them, and they learned a lot more with them. We even found errors in a couple of labs that wouldn't have otherwise been detected without integrating those ipads into the labs. If my job were on the line with any change I made, I'd still be in the stone age, writing on a slate board with a piece of chalk. Instead, my students are accessing missed notes online.

About the NEA - I don't agree with 100% of what they do, but what the hell right do you have to tell a group of professionals that they don't know what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong? Do you tell the AMA that what they're doing is wrong - that the AMA is the problem with medicine in the U.S.? Do you rail against the Bar association for causing all the problems in law today? How about nursing associations? When they're trying to get a higher ratio of nurses to patients, why don't we read, "their union is just trying to grow their numbers! Get more dues!" Teaching seems unique in that people completely outside the field feel qualified to tell the teachers exactly what will "fix" things. Look how well NCLB worked. There are plenty of examples of legislation that on the surface, look great. But, if you actually were in the field, you'd know how idiotic they really were. An example from me: one of the courses I teach is geometry. We just reviewed all of the constructions earlier this week. I gave the kids a quiz with *every* possible construction question that could be asked on the state assessment. EVERY kid in my class got a 100%. I smiled. I was thrilled with that. But, next year, if I just get one student with 10 thumbs who can't draw a circle with a compass to save his life (I usually have at least 2 or 3 of those students) - then since I don't show improvement (how do you improve on 100%?) and actually show a declining average for that particular topic, then suddenly my teaching is "in need of improvement." If this year, 100% of my students pass the state exam (obviously above the state average), and 80% of my students are at the mastery level (well above the state average) - and next year I get 2 or 3 "dummies" - then I'm screwed! People really think a teacher can be judged on their student's scores? It would be like going to a cooking contest (iron chef?) and providing one contestant with filet mignon, and the other contestant with chuck roast, and judging them by the quality of the final product.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:46 PM   #65
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DP - I agree.

(Circle gets the square)
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:31 AM   #66
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I'd say the first step in US public schools starts at the top with the principal.
The principal and superintendent don't actually have as much power as you think. Regardless of where they lead, the teachers.. thanks to their union.. are under no particular requirement to follow. They can (and very often do) fight administration every step of the way.

Fixing public education in the US requires a two-prong approach:

1. Eliminate unions
2. Better parenting

#1 is fairly straightforward. #2 is very nebulous, but absolutely essential
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:30 AM   #67
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The principal and superintendent don't actually have as much power as you think. Regardless of where they lead, the teachers.. thanks to their union.. are under no particular requirement to follow. They can (and very often do) fight administration every step of the way.

Fixing public education in the US requires a two-prong approach:

1. Eliminate unions
2. Better parenting

#1 is fairly straightforward. #2 is very nebulous, but absolutely essential
There are no teachers unions in several of the states. Do you think it's just an incredible coincidence that those states rank at the very bottom educationally in the U.S.??

Principals have a TON of power. The principal (along with the superintendent) are the two people who are supposed to evaluate the teachers and either grant or deny tenure. Bad/incompetent teachers, for the most part, are a result of an administration somewhere not doing their job. Do you really think people think, "I'm going to be a great teacher, know my stuff, care about the students for 3 years, and then after getting tenure, I'll start hating students, forget my material, and lose the ability to teach." Do you think that people can put on an act for 3 years? Can you think of any field you can't judge the quality of an employee incredibly well after 3 years?
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:02 AM   #68
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There are no teachers unions in several of the states. Do you think it's just an incredible coincidence that those states rank at the very bottom educationally in the U.S.??
A coincidence, no... but I don't think a lack of unions is the cause. I do know that private schools very often rank highly in education quality and student achievement. Is a lack of unions the cause? Not entirely, but it is a part.

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Principals have a TON of power. The principal (along with the superintendent) are the two people who are supposed to evaluate the teachers and either grant or deny tenure. Bad/incompetent teachers, for the most part, are a result of an administration somewhere not doing their job. Do you really think people think, "I'm going to be a great teacher, know my stuff, care about the students for 3 years, and then after getting tenure, I'll start hating students, forget my material, and lose the ability to teach." Do you think that people can put on an act for 3 years? Can you think of any field you can't judge the quality of an employee incredibly well after 3 years?
Evaluations are not the magic wand they're made out to be. I've personally seen many situations where they were not able to get rid of a poorly-performing teacher even though the evaluation demonstrated a clear need.

What, exactly, is the benefit to educating children of tenure? Why is it something public school teachers cannot do without while private school teachers are able to do just fine?
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:05 AM   #69
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Also... what is the educational purpose and necessity of AFSCME? Why do aides, secretaries, custodians, and other support staff need a union in public education?
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:37 AM   #70
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The principal and superintendent don't actually have as much power as you think. Regardless of where they lead, the teachers.. thanks to their union.. are under no particular requirement to follow. They can (and very often do) fight administration every step of the way.
Just out of curiosity - what powers do they not have that he thinks they have?

And I would be curious to know where teachers are not required to follow the lead of the principal when he is leading them along the line of the official school policies?

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Also... what is the educational purpose and necessity of AFSCME? Why do aides, secretaries, custodians, and other support staff need a union in public education?
That we agree on (Well - the better parenting thing too)
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:42 AM   #71
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Just out of curiosity - what powers do they not have that he thinks they have?
It's not about a list of powers, it's about how effective those powers are in the presence of unions.

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And I would be curious to know where teachers are not required to follow the lead of the principal when he is leading them along the line of the official school policies?
Technology implementation, for example, is a huge problem in my district. We buy the technology teachers want and that I think are of an educational benefit. We train the teachers on how to use it effectively. And yet, in many classrooms, the teachers aren't adapting their teaching to incorporate these technologies. Their excuse? "I wasn't given enough training" or "I don't think technology fits into the subject I teach". Bullshit.. they're just too goddamn lazy and set in their ways.

They also piss and moan about being asked to come in for a couple weeks over the summer to work on curriculum development. I'm sorry, but the days of using the same lesson plan year after year are long gone. If you don't like it, then get the hell out and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:00 AM   #72
Pr0d1gy
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I would love to take all the multi-million dollar CEO's in this country and make them teach 3rd grade kids for a year. Teachers, police officers, and firemen are who should be well paid and properly cared for yet they seem to always get the short end of the stick. Why is it our culture values socially destructive businessmen more than engineers? It's just so sad.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:08 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by zsdersw View Post
A coincidence, no... but I don't think a lack of unions is the cause. I do know that private schools very often rank highly in education quality and student achievement. Is a lack of unions the cause? Not entirely, but it is a part.



Evaluations are not the magic wand they're made out to be. I've personally seen many situations where they were not able to get rid of a poorly-performing teacher even though the evaluation demonstrated a clear need.

What, exactly, is the benefit to educating children of tenure? Why is it something public school teachers cannot do without while private school teachers are able to do just fine?
Well, private schools can select the students they accept, and so they tend to get students who are better performers. Also, the fact that they go to private school indicates that their parents are more involved with their education.

Teachers need tenure because even though it can prevent schools from firing incompetent teachers, it can also protect not just the teachers, but also the students from incompetent principals. I'm sure there are principals who look solely to their own interests, rather than to those of the students. In such a case, who is in the best position to know what the principal is doing and oppose him? The parents? Maybe, but would they know how the system is ran from inside out?

Also, think about how the quality of education will drop if a teacher cannot say what's on his mind in class. I'm not saying that the teacher should be politically motivated, but for instance in a history class, what if the teacher is afraid to tell "how it is" because he is afraid of a conservative/liberal backlash? Or, a better example would be a teacher trying to teach evolution in a strongly religious region, where most parents believe in creationism? Wouldn't you agree that tenure would be needed in such a case, not just for the teachers, but for the students as well? You may believe that the subjects taught in schools are objective, but often they are not. I mean, just think of the books they have you read in English class, and the debates they can spark.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:18 AM   #74
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Again, if teaching was so great, so well paid, and so easy, why is it SO HARD to get good teachers?

The old axiom "Those who can't do, Teach" and a load of buffalo chips derived from when it was assigned to things like fighting and farming, not academic instruction.

A corollary to this dated saying would be "Those who do, THINK they can teach.".






Back to Unions:

They are not the perfect solution, but they are one of the few things protecting teachers from the bullshit politics that go on in government agencies. Removal of the teachers unions CANNOT be demanded in isolation of policies and protections being SIMULTANEOUSLY implemented to protect our educators, and more importantly our children, from being shanked because a supervisor (who was caught with a 16yo in the back of their car... I am not lying) does not like some of the teachers that work under him getting more state awards than he does and that give him no credit (undeserved) for it.

There are very few unions that abuse their positions, but elimination thereof would only swing the abuse back to where it was when the unions were originally formed to protect against.

Elimination is a political battle cry. It is not a solution.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:30 AM   #75
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Well, private schools can select the students they accept, and so they tend to get students who are better performers. Also, the fact that they go to private school indicates that their parents are more involved with their education.
That is the only key and relevant factor.

Quote:
Teachers need tenure because even though it can prevent schools from firing incompetent teachers, it can also protect not just the teachers, but also the students from incompetent principals. I'm sure there are principals who look solely to their own interests, rather than to those of the students. In such a case, who is in the best position to know what the principal is doing and oppose him? The parents? Maybe, but would they know how the system is ran from inside out?
Principals are under the supervision of the superintendent, and the superintendent is under the supervision of the school board. Everyone is held accountable by someone.

Quote:
Also, think about how the quality of education will drop if a teacher cannot say what's on his mind in class. I'm not saying that the teacher should be politically motivated, but for instance in a history class, what if the teacher is afraid to tell "how it is" because he is afraid of a conservative/liberal backlash? Or, a better example would be a teacher trying to teach evolution in a strongly religious region, where most parents believe in creationism? Wouldn't you agree that tenure would be needed in such a case, not just for the teachers, but for the students as well? You may believe that the subjects taught in schools are objective, but often they are not. I mean, just think of the books they have you read in English class, and the debates they can spark.
I don't think independence from political/ideological influence is something the unions play any role in.
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