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Value Added Modeling: Administators v. Mathmaticians

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 09:19 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:

[Yeah - that's the same person. She was a fool who had no clue what she was doing and left in disgrace after massive public pressure was applied.

She came from the corporate world, didn't attend public schools herself, and had no experience working with schools or the political challenges of managing a large district. Her opinion on the matter of standardized testing couldn't possibly mean less to me.

Cycloptichorn


You are dead wrong. It was a he, not a she and he had long term experience in public education. Moreover it was the New York public schools, not those in Washington DC.

You are referring to (and slandering) Michelle Rhee


Bullshit I am! You're totally wrong.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-07/new-york-city-schools-chancellor-black-quits-after-4-months-3-.html

It was not a HE, it was a SHE - her name was Cathie Black. And she was exactly what I describe.
Quote:

who for a brief period brought some improvements to the Washington DC public school system - an institution that uniquely has for decades been among the nation's most expensive in terms of cost/pupil and near the bottom of the heap in terms of measured student performance, graduation rtates and college admissions.


Rhee has been discredited, George - she got such high achievement scores on her standardized tests in large part because of a cheating scandal. Educate yourself on subjects before spouting off about them and you'll avoid making mistakes such as this.

I feel comfortable saying that I know far more about Rhee and her failings than you do, George. I've actually studied this issue, whereas this is just a small part of your reflexive anti-unionism, and you've done no real study of the issue.

Quote:
The "massive public pressure" to which you refer came from a massively funded campaign by the AFT which felt (with justification) seriously threatened by her. The DC schools have since drifted back to their former miserable state.


But we're talking about NY, not DC. So this paragraph is meaningless to the conversation.

Quote:
The Washinton local of the AFT has an interesting record. A decade ago the Local President was convicted of embezzling about six million dollars from the union over a several year period. A Congressional investtigation revealerd the parent union hadn't audited the local's books for about 14 years.


Wow - they sound like a private industry! These guys should be making more money on Wall Street, rather than this penny-ante ****.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 11:35 am
@Cycloptichorn,
As usual you have a (largely untested I suspect) exaulted opinion of your own knowledge and "studies", and are too often immune to criticism and contrary opinion in areas in which you have no more than ordinary levels of experience.

The author of the editorial I cited was Joel Klein, the Former Chancellor of New York City Public Schools (2002-2010). Here is the text in full;

Quote:
By JOEL KLEIN
Teachers are extremely effective messengers to parents, community groups, faith-based groups and elected officials—and their unions know how to deploy them well. Happy unions can give a politician massive clout, and unhappy unions—well, just ask Eva Moskowitz, a Democrat who headed the New York City Council Education Committee when I became schools chancellor in 2002.

Smart, savvy, ambitious, often a pain in my neck and atypically fearless for a politician, Ms. Moskowitz was widely expected to be elected Manhattan borough president in 2005. Until, that is, she held hearings on the city teachers-union contract, an extraordinary document, running for hundreds of pages, governing who can teach what and when, who can be assigned to hall-monitor or lunchroom duty and who can't, who has to be given time off to do union work during the school day, and so on.

The contract defied parody. So when Ms. Moskowitz exposed its ridiculousness, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), then headed by Randi Weingarten, made sure that Ms. Moskowitz's run for borough president came up short. After that, other elected officials would say to me, "I agree with you, but I ain't gonna get Eva'd."

Politicians—especially Democratic politicians—generally do what the unions want. The unions, in turn, are very clear about what that is: They want happy members, so that those who run the unions get re-elected, and they want more members, so their power, money and influence grow. The effect of all this? As Albert Shanker, the late, iconic head of the UFT, once pointedly said, "When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of schoolchildren."

Union power is why it's virtually impossible to fire a teacher for non-performance. In New York City, which has some 55,000 tenured teachers, we were able to fire only half a dozen or so for incompetence in a given year, even though we devoted significant resources to this effort.

Cato Institute analyst Neal McCluskey on Obama's push for uniform school standards.
.The extent of the problem is difficult to overstate. Take "rubber rooms," where teachers were kept—while doing no work—pending resolution of disciplinary charges against them, mostly for malfeasance, like physical abuse or embezzlement, but also for incompetence. The teachers got paid regardless. Before we stopped this charade—by returning many of the teachers to the classroom, unfortunately—it cost the city about $35 million a year. (Still costing more than $100 million annually are the more than 1,000 teachers who get full pay to perform substitute or administrative duties because no principal wants to hire them full-time.)

Then there were the several teachers accused of sexual misconduct—at least one was found guilty—whom union-approved arbitrators refused to terminate. The city was required to put them back in the classroom, but we refused to do so. Of course, the union has never sued to have the teachers reinstated. It just makes sure these deadbeats stay on the payroll with full pay and a lifetime pension.

It's little surprise, then, that American kids don't get the education they deserve. When I demanded reform as chancellor, I was regularly told by friends and foes alike that impatience is immature, challenging the educational establishment is a losing strategy, collaboration is necessary, and controversy is bad. It was bad advice, typical of the status-quo thinking that dominates American education.

Consider the common refrain that "We'll never fix education until we fix poverty." This lets school systems off the hook. Of course money, a stable family and strong values typically make it easier to educate a child. But we now know that, keeping those things constant, certain schools can get dramatically different outcomes with the same kids.

Take Texas and California. The two states have very similar demographics, yet Texas outperforms California on all four national tests—across demographic groups—despite spending less money per pupil. The gap amounts to about a year's worth of learning. That's big.

At individual schools, differences can be breathtaking. One charter in New York City, Harlem Success Academy 1 (founded by Ms. Moskowitz after she left politics), has students who are demographically almost identical to those in nearby schools, yet it gets entirely different results.

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Parents celebrate as they hear that their 4-year-old daughter was awarded a coveted slot at the Harlem Success Academy charter school.
.Eighty-eight percent of Harlem Success students are proficient in reading and 95% are proficient in math. Six nearby schools have an average of 31% and 39% proficiency in those subjects, respectively. More than 90% of Harlem Success fourth-graders scored at the highest level on New York State's most recent science tests, while only 43% of fourth-graders citywide did so. Harlem Success's black students outperformed white students at more than 700 schools across the state. Overall, the charter now performs at the same level as the gifted-and-talented schools in New York City, all of which have demanding admissions requirements. Harlem Success, by contrast, selects its students, mostly poor and minority, by random lottery.

Critics try to discredit these differences. Writing last year in the New York Review of Books, the historian Diane Ravitch argued that schools like Harlem Success aren't the answer because, as a group, charter schools don't outperform traditional public schools. Yet even Ms. Ravitch had to acknowledge that some charter schools get "amazing results." If that's the case, shouldn't we be asking why they get much better results—and focusing on how to replicate them?

A full-scale transition from a government-run monopoly to a competitive marketplace won't happen quickly, but that's no reason not to begin introducing more competition. In the lower grades, we should make sure that every student has at least one alternative—and preferably several—to her neighborhood school.

We pursued that goal in New York City by opening more than 100 charter schools in high-poverty communities. Almost 80,000 families chose these new schools—though we had space for only 40,000; the rest are on waiting lists. Traditional schools and the unions have been screaming bloody murder, which is a good sign: It means that the monopolists are beginning to feel the effects of competition. And at the middle-school and high-school levels, where students are more mobile, we can create community-based choice systems or even citywide ones. New York City high school students now have citywide choice (with some geographic priority), and schools know they have to compete for students.

Despite the tough politics involved, change is possible. In New York City, it took a mayor willing to assume control over the system and risk significant political capital. It also took time: Mayor Bloomberg and I had more than eight years together, while most urban superintendents serve for about three and a half.

Most of all, it required building political support. Toward the end of my tenure, reformers were fighting to lift the state-imposed cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open. The teachers unions opposed our effort precisely because our expansion of charter schools had been so successful. In fact, six months earlier, they had helped defeat a similar effort.

But this time, families with kids in charter schools and their community allies were prepared to help us fight. Philanthropic and business interests raised millions to support the mobilization effort, run ads and hire lobbyists. We prevailed, and the state legislature raised the cap substantially.

As Shanker put it in a surprisingly candid speech in 1993: "We are at the point that the auto industry was at a few years ago. They could see they were losing market share every year and still not believe that it really had anything to do with the quality of the product. . . . I think we will get—and deserve—the end of public education through some sort of privatization scheme if we don't behave differently. Unfortunately, very few people really believe that yet. They talk about it, and they don't like it, but they're not ready to change and stop doing the things that brought us to this point."


Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 11:41 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:
As usual you have a (largely untested I suspect) exaulted opinion of your own knowledge and "studies", and are too often immune to criticism and contrary opinion in areas in which you have no more than ordinary levels of experience.

The author of the editorial I cited was Joel Klein, the Former Chancellor of New York City Public Schools (2002-2010). Here is the text in full;


Wow. You know what would have made this conversation a lot clearer? If you had linked to the piece you cited or named the guy in the first place.

I hope this serves as a lesson to you regarding the wisdom of linking to your sources, or providing the full text, as you have here. It certainly would have been a lot easier than your mistake re: Michelle Rhee.

Let me ask you: what makes you think you have ANY expertise when it comes to education or the intricacies of measuring performance? You don't work in that field and from what I can tell never have. Do you have anything other than an 'ordinary level of experience' in this area? I don't see any evidence of it. As for myself, I am not immune to criticism; but I am immune to poorly thought out criticism Smile

I'm not surprised you agree with this piece, as the author shares your same anti-union opinions.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 12:15 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Let me ask you: what makes you think you have ANY expertise when it comes to education or the intricacies of measuring performance? You don't work in that field and from what I can tell never have. Do you have anything other than an 'ordinary level of experience' in this area? I don't see any evidence of it. As for myself, I am not immune to criticism; but I am immune to poorly thought out criticism Smile

I'm not surprised you agree with this piece, as the author shares your same anti-union opinions.

Cycloptichorn


Well, I've had a lot of education & formal training - up to a Caltech PhD in Fluid Mechanics, Navy Flight training, Navy Test Pilot School (and subsequent experience as a test pilot & manager of projects involving lots of statistical analysis), Operations officer in a fleet training squadron for the F-14 aircraft; Navy Nuclear Power Traning (a 1 1/2 year course), and later a couple of extended graduate courses at the Harvard & Univ. of Pa Business schools. I've run lots of organizations and have a lot of experience motivating and measuring the performance of large numbers of people doing different but mutually supportive jobs.

I think that is a bit more than "ordinary".

I agree that I am generally anti union. However, that opinion too is based on lots of real world experience.

I agree I should have posted the article at the start - I didn't realize the passing comment would get so closely examined or that you would be so willing to misconstrue my words.
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 01:06 pm
Joel Klein wrote the first article I posted from.

John Ewing (former executive director of the American Mathematical Society and now president of Math for America) wrote the second -- in response to people like Joel Klein.

When it comes to the math, who are you going to believe? Joel Klein (an attorney) or John Ewing (a mathematician).
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  4  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 01:10 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Let me ask you: what makes you think you have ANY expertise when it comes to education or the intricacies of measuring performance? You don't work in that field and from what I can tell never have. Do you have anything other than an 'ordinary level of experience' in this area? I don't see any evidence of it. As for myself, I am not immune to criticism; but I am immune to poorly thought out criticism Smile

I'm not surprised you agree with this piece, as the author shares your same anti-union opinions.

Cycloptichorn


Well, I've had a lot of education & formal training - up to a Caltech PhD in Fluid Mechanics, Navy Flight training, Navy Test Pilot School (and subsequent experience as a test pilot & manager of projects involving lots of statistical analysis), Operations officer in a fleet training squadron for the F-14 aircraft; Navy Nuclear Power Traning (a 1 1/2 year course), and later a couple of extended graduate courses at the Harvard & Univ. of Pa Business schools. I've run lots of organizations and have a lot of experience motivating and measuring the performance of large numbers of people doing different but mutually supportive jobs.


So, the answer is - no. You have no experience in the field of child education.

Quote:
I think that is a bit more than "ordinary".


It's not relevant. You are comparing education you've received, and experiences you've had educating adults (in a much more motivated and structured environment, I might add) to educating children. The entire point that people have been trying to make in this thread is that educating a child isn't directly comparable to what you are talking about, for a variety of reasons.

Quote:
I agree that I am generally anti union. However, that opinion too is based on lots of real world experience.

I agree I should have posted the article at the start - I didn't realize the passing comment would get so closely examined or that you would be so willing to misconstrue my words.


You can always count on me to do both, George Laughing

You know this is a long-running point, so I'll just say: yes, you should have posted the article or a link to it at the start. It makes your arguments stronger when you do so and avoids confusion on the part of those you disagree with!

Cycloptichorn
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 02:42 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
As a follow-up, to be fair, I just realized that I asked what your experience in the field of EDUCATION was, not CHILD EDUCATION, which is what I meant to write. In light of that, please accept my apologies for my flip answer; your response was perfectly appropriate given my question.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 04:55 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I just got back from a nice workout and was relaxing with a tall glass of orange juice whenI read your post. In that state I was a bit slow on the uptake, but a few moments later saw this latest post of yours ... just as I was reaching for the keyboard to to vent some sarcasm. No apology needed... it is sufficient that you recognized that you had moved the goalpost.

I certainly have as much experience in child education as most people. I was also the involved father of four children and of late have taught my six year old granddaughter to play a good game of chess. The truth is, dealing with children isn't the big deal the pinheads, who insist we accept their proposition that it is an arcane science that only they posess, would have us believe. All that is needed is a good memory, self-knowledge and empathy for the kids.

However I suppose the AFT and its members need that proposition as yet another tool for maintaining; (1) the absolute monopoly on employment in public education they require; (2) the unique and complete freedom from accountability for what they achieve or fail to achieve they enjoy; (3) the lifetime tenure too many of them have; and (4) the absence of any public choice or alternative in public education they constantly fight for. This is truly one of the greatest scams in the modern world. Hard to believe anyone outside of the scammers themselves could think this makes a bit of sense. Harder still to understand how anyone continues to accept it in the midst of the steadily declining performance of our schools in the midst of steadily increasing cost.

Happily folks like Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and many others are fighting back and gaining ground. The number of charter schools is growing and parents appear to vote quickly with their feet by quickly filling all the available slots whenever one opens.
Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 05:04 pm
@georgeob1,
Thanks.

I can understand the position of these teachers, because their profession isn't one which has advancement in the way that other professions do. A good 5th grade English teacher can look forward to another 15 to 20 years of... teaching 5th grade English. At best, in some districts, there's some room for teachers of advanced or gifted courses; but for the majority of teachers there's simply no advancement other than salary advancement.

This is scary to them, because - when money becomes tight, which it always does eventually - what's to keep a school district from getting rid of the higher-paid teachers, in favor of cheap, young labor? There's no job security for them outside of the union, and their performance of the position doesn't give them an ever-increasing set of skills with which to go shopping for a job with a different school.

It's a thorny problem.

Cycloptichorn
sozobe
 
  5  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 05:13 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
The truth is, dealing with children isn't the big deal the pinheads, who insist we accept their proposition that it is an arcane science that only they posess, would have us believe. All that is needed is a good memory, self-knowledge and empathy for the kids.


Nope. Teaching is much, much more than that. ("Dealing" may be easier but doesn't have a lot to do with this thread.)

And people thinking that's all it takes to be a good teacher is probably at least 50% of what's wrong with education today.

Both because attitudes like yours mean that smart, capable people who might go into that field are more likely to choose one with more prestige (and higher pay), and because of how people thinking that way affects education policy.

Being a good teacher of children K-12 is HARD. Very hard.

Like any other profession, there are people who are naturals and so it might come more easily to them -- but even for them there is a LOT more involved than "a good memory, self-knowledge and empathy for the kids." I have been lucky enough to have observed some truly stellar teachers -- both my own and my daughter's -- and the job they do has many many layers of difficulty to it.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2011 05:42 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
This is a reply to both Cyclo and Soz.

Your description of the situation of teachers fits that of many other career paths in this country and others. What do Medical Doctors or Dentists have to look forward to but more years of doing the same thing ? Same goes for most lawyers: those lucky enough (these days) to get an associate post in a large law firm can aspire only to make partner and hope the firm doesn't go bankrupt before they get there. Same goes for Engineers, Geologists, Chemists and folks in the IT industry (though they are being quickly dumped by cheaper Hindis here on work visas. In almost any field only a small number break out into management or entrepreneurial success, and for them the rewards can be great, but the risks are always very high.

I agree that teaching is a profession that in most cases should command more honor and respect than it gets. However, I blame an exploitive education establishment that has for too long pursued its self interest instead of the interests of its students and the public it serves for that result. Honor and respect are things one can get only by earning them.The behavior of teachers unions and the AFT in particular has gotten them only contempt.

There is also a relationship between security and the honor one gets from others. If you serve the public and demand absolute security, you may get it, but you weon't get honor along with it. That is something that cannot be forced, only earned, and it takes achievement, self-sacrifice and risk to get it.

The sad thing here is that, for the most part, the good teachers are the chief victims of an education establishment, and unions in particular, that they cannot escape. I suspect that, if membership in the AFT were made voluntary,the great majority of teachers would quickly opt out. That was the core issue that so enraged the public employee unions in Wisconsin - the requirement for periodic (annual I think) recertification of the union's status by a majority secret vote of its members. The union bosses know beyond doubt that if their sheep are given a choice they wil leave the plantation. I believe that would be a very good thing for most teachers. The bad ones could be forced out and the public would soon cease seeing them as the self serving exploiters they, as a class, sadly now are, and instead as the committed professionals that many of them, as individuals, really are.

Indeed that is already happening in the charter schools that are opening in increasing numbers across the country. It has been true for a long time in parochial schools.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 May, 2011 10:23 am
@georgeob1,
I agree that good teachers are victims of the education establishment, most of whom have no experience in education.

Their hands are so tied that they are no longer allowed to teach children to think.

Instead, they are overseeing the training of future laborers who don't have the creativity or curiosity to question what's been done to them. They'll be able to read the instructions and do the equations their bosses require of them. Most of them will be able to do this quite well, which means their "talents" will be relatively worthless.

I love what Sir Ken Robinson says:

Quote:
This great new mass of humanity will be using technologies that have yet to be invented in ways we cannot imagine and in jobs that don't yet exist.


I can't think of any way that this "core" teaching is in any way ample enough to address this future. People who can do but not think are going to be left behind.

I read an interesting paper on attrition rates of charter school teachers this morning. They're leaving in droves -- at double the rate of public school teachers: http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Research/Miron_Attrition.pdf
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 May, 2011 10:30 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Their hands are so tied that they are no longer allowed to teach children to think.


That's the part that bothers me. I don't mind some tests, but the whole teaching to the test rigamarole now seems excessive to me. I had a lot of teaching to the in-house tests myself, though we also had discussions within a class. As it was, I probably learned to think more by outside reading, especially as a teen.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 May, 2011 11:15 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
What do Medical Doctors or Dentists have to look forward to but more years of doing the same thing ?

Building a practice of their own? Promotion with their department (if they work at a hospital)? Finding work with an insurance company?

georgeob1 wrote:
Same goes for most lawyers: those lucky enough (these days) to get an associate post in a large law firm can aspire only to make partner and hope the firm doesn't go bankrupt before they get there.

Case law changes. Good lawyers get bigger clients, build their own practice.

georgeob1 wrote:
Same goes for Engineers, Geologists, Chemists and folks in the IT industry (though they are being quickly dumped by cheaper Hindis here on work visas. In almost any field only a small number break out into management or entrepreneurial success, and for them the rewards can be great, but the risks are always very high.

I'm in IT... I can look forward to bigger projects, more responsibility, becoming a manager, running bigger data centers, etc.

0 Replies
 
 

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