2
   

Waiting for Superman

 
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 12:53 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I'm pretty liberal, I think, and I have been very pro-charter school. I was on the board to start a charter school (two times), and have been very involved.

One of my biggest beefs with educational theory in general is the panacea approach. I see over and over again something that works well in one context and then it's leapt upon -- there! It works! Let's do it everywhere!

It's at the "let's do it everywhere" stage that it tends to fall apart.

Charter schools fall into that category too, in my experience. A lot of them are really, really good. Especially when the whole thing started. But as it has become more widespread and more panacea-ish, the quality is definitely deteriorating. Some are still very very good. Some are even worse than the public schools that they're trying to replace.

Almost everyone who thinks is liberal... Who would not want charter schools or any way of having more imput into schools... The problem is not the unions, but the whole concept of mass produced education... Everyone learns differently, and people bring different psychology to the task... I would not want to have to teach anyone with a slave mentality that slave wages were worth a day's labor... I would not want to be a teacher makiing dick for wages teaching the value of an education... There has to be some money at the end of it... If I wanted to teach a slave to work for wages I would put a twenty dollar bill on a string and drag it in front of them until they learned to bend over and pick it up at the first opportunity... I would not expect anyone to learn that skill from a low rent teacher telling them how great the rewards are from a good education... Who has a better education, after all, than a teacher???
The lack of oversight is both a great way to foster innovation and a real temptation for ne'er-do-wells to grab some money.

This means that my enthusiasm for charter schools has become somewhat tempered since I was very involved (about 1996-2002).

So while I don't think there are any panaceas, I think one of the biggest single elements is elevating the pay and prestige of teachers. I think "Teach for America" is a really good program and is a step in that direction. Giving the really bright students an incentive to get in there and start teaching as a career. I was just reading about a really interesting school that was created in large part by former Teach for America people.

When all other things are equal -- curricula, buildings, resources, etc. -- it is the individual teachers who make the biggest difference. This is a long-term impression I've had that has been reinforced by more and more studies.

That's just one element of a really huge and really messy equation, though.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 01:06 pm
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:

Public schools probably should be only for those kids nobody else will take. Everybody else should be attending schools owned and controlled by their own neighborhoods.

Sure; I get your point... Trash the goal of unity in the constitution, and exchange it for the goals of prejudice, and parochialism... I will agree that contact with religious reactionaries on a regular basis is all the cause anyone needs for a truck load of contempt... WE, meaning this country needs more people believing the world ends at the county line... We need more people accepting the tribalism of the barrio, retreating from contact with strangers, and accepting zenalasia...
If on the other hand, education of the masses was your goal you would fund education at the lowest levels and put some money behind advancement... It takes a high degree of intelligence and good council to realize the life long, long term value of education that is not always monetary... Most people do not have the support structure and will not no matter what education is available... If people could look at their own parents, and see them receiving justice, a fair wages and freedom, then their children might hope for some fair return on the investment of self in education... To overcome the verdict of failure common to whole communities and seek and achieve education is a heroic feat, and instead of rewarding that effort, we condemn all who fall into depression and resignation...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 01:11 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
Fido wrote:

sozobe wrote:

I'm pretty liberal, I think, and I have been very pro-charter school. I was on the board to start a charter school (two times), and have been very involved.

One of my biggest beefs with educational theory in general is the panacea approach. I see over and over again something that works well in one context and then it's leapt upon -- there! It works! Let's do it everywhere!

It's at the "let's do it everywhere" stage that it tends to fall apart.

Charter schools fall into that category too, in my experience. A lot of them are really, really good. Especially when the whole thing started. But as it has become more widespread and more panacea-ish, the quality is definitely deteriorating. Some are still very very good. Some are even worse than the public schools that they're trying to replace.

Fido wrote, and is now trying to correct a previous post...
Almost everyone who thinks is liberal... Who would not want charter schools or any way of having more imput into schools... The problem is not the unions, but the whole concept of mass produced education... Everyone learns differently, and people bring different psychology to the task... I would not want to have to teach anyone with a slave mentality that slave wages were worth a day's labor... I would not want to be a teacher makiing dick for wages teaching the value of an education... There has to be some money at the end of it... If I wanted to teach a slave to work for wages I would put a twenty dollar bill on a string and drag it in front of them until they learned to bend over and pick it up at the first opportunity... I would not expect anyone to learn that skill from a low rent teacher telling them how great the rewards are from a good education... Who has a better education, after all, than a teacher???
Quote:
The lack of oversight is both a great way to foster innovation and a real temptation for ne'er-do-wells to grab some money.

This means that my enthusiasm for charter schools has become somewhat tempered since I was very involved (about 1996-2002).

So while I don't think there are any panaceas, I think one of the biggest single elements is elevating the pay and prestige of teachers. I think "Teach for America" is a really good program and is a step in that direction. Giving the really bright students an incentive to get in there and start teaching as a career. I was just reading about a really interesting school that was created in large part by former Teach for America people.

When all other things are equal -- curricula, buildings, resources, etc. -- it is the individual teachers who make the biggest difference. This is a long-term impression I've had that has been reinforced by more and more studies.

That's just one element of a really huge and really messy equation, though.

Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 02:24 pm
The president was interviewed on one of the morning news shows today. He said that bad teachers should be fired, good teachers should be paid more and the school year should be longer (by about a month, I think).
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 02:32 pm
@Fido,
Not totally sure I follow... you're agreeing that there should be "high rent," skilled teachers (with commensurate salaries)?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 02:32 pm
@Irishk,
Bravo, Obama!

I guess......

Now we get into the whole murky area of "good" and "bad" teachers.

Is a teacher "good" if her students pass meaningless achievement tests but never experience the joy of learning?

If that's what they mean by "good" then give me a "bad" teacher any day of the week.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 02:51 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Not totally sure I follow... you're agreeing that there should be "high rent," skilled teachers (with commensurate salaries)?
If anyone were serious about getting kids to learn two things would be general: Cash prizes for achievement, and high paid teachers who would be proof that there was money after education... Think of the messages we send to children...
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 02:57 pm
@boomerang,
On lengthening the school year, I recall Geoffrey Canada (the founder of the Harlem Children's Zone) saying that their school day is long...goes until 5pm or after, and the school year encompasses 11 months. The children there are all taught in Spanish, French and English, starting in the very early grades.

On the 'bad' teachers, the one example discussed by Oprah on her school special that stood out to me was about a teacher in the DC system that wasn't showing up several days out of the week. When she was notified that she would be terminated for the many absences, she improved her attendance but fell asleep in her classroom. After being terminated for that offense, she filed a grievance with her union who challenged the termination, stating it was too harsh and the end result was that it took 10 years to get that teacher removed from the system. I'm hoping that's the kind of 'bad' teacher to which the president was referring. Weeding them out is going to be an uphill battle, though.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 03:04 pm
@Irishk,
I hope so too.

I had a teacher in Jr. High that was so burned out and doped up that she repeated several assignments over the course of the year.

What a joke.

Bad teachers are nothing new.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 03:07 pm
@Fido,
I don't agree with cash prizes for achievement (though I don't dismiss it out of hand, either -- read a lot about it a few years ago, it's interesting), but yes, I agree re: pay and prestige (that's what I was saying earlier). (And Obama seems to agree too!)

The pay/prestige part is both because of the message (education is important, teaching is important) and also the practicalities of getting the best people into the classroom. I know far too many people who would've been great teachers, but who had a variety of options open to them and after they got their teaching degree, ended up going into a field that paid 2-3 times as much. And sometimes it wasn't even the pay, which is why I keep saying "prestige" -- it sometimes was a matter of just having a nice finite respected job.

Teachers are often presumed to be not that bright -- "If you can't do, teach." It's often considered something that people settle for if they couldn't get a better job. Or something that pretty girls do until they find a husband and have their own kids. And the job itself is full of the kind of ongoing negative feedback that usually only people in sales have to deal with.

Now from a parent perspective, that's just kind of too bad. I'm gonna advocate for my kid, and I think boomer for example should (as she is) advocate for hers.

The point is though that from a gifted teacher perspective, it's often enough, cumulatively, to say whoa, I'm doing something else.

And we need those gifted teachers.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 03:11 pm
@Irishk,
That story is familiar, I think I read about it somewhere. If not that one, something similar. Undoubtedly there are bad teachers. I think if we just start with the most obvious ones, and replace them with good teachers (the rub?), it'll be a while before it gets to the gray area.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 03:20 pm
@sozobe,
It wouldn't surprise me if it got some mention in the press since it took so long to litigate. I hadn't heard that particular one before, though. There were a couple of other examples, but mostly the problem of 'bad' teachers (a minority I would guess) was brushed off. The union rep that was there, as I recall, pushed more and 'ongoing' training for teachers as the solution.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Oct, 2010 03:34 pm
I said:

Quote:
So I'm not sure that this movie is, in fact, liberal, at all.


And as if to prove my point, The Heritage Foundation has come out fully in support of this movie:

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/10/05/waiting-long-enough-for-superman/
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Kid wouldn't fight, died of injuries - Discussion by gungasnake
Weed Out Individualism at an Early Age - Discussion by gungasnake
Public school zero tolerance policies. - Question by boomerang
Dismantling the DC voucher program - Discussion by gungasnake
Adventures in Special Education - Discussion by littlek
home schooling - Discussion by dancerdoll
Can I get into an Ivy League? - Question by the-lazy-snail
Let's start an education forum - Discussion by cicerone imposter
 
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 04/21/2019 at 11:25:32