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Old 03-11-2006, 05:43 PM   #16
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Originally posted by melon
I do believe that competition would be healthy for the public school system.
Then make it real competition. Out here, charter schools have exemptions to the ed. code, they can alter their curriculum, and they aren't tied to only the approved textbooks like public schools. They can also require parent involvement, and they get to choose which students to accept.


I'll wager if the private/charter schools had to play by my same rules, they wouldn't be so popular.
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Old 03-11-2006, 05:54 PM   #17
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Then make it real competition. Out here, charter schools have exemptions to the ed. code, they can alter their curriculum, and they aren't tied to only the approved textbooks like public schools. They can also require parent involvement, and they get to choose which students to accept.

I'll wager if the private/charter schools had to play by my same rules, they wouldn't be so popular.
I agree that we need to make it real competition. Both traditional public schools and charter schools should play by the same rules.

With that, I also think the "one size fits all" argument has been a mistake at the public level. There are many students with different needs (i.e., honors students, remedial students, ones with chronic discipline problems, even pregnant students, etc.), and I think that all of them could benefit from different schools that cater to their needs.

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Old 03-11-2006, 05:55 PM   #18
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And after all that, you don't get paid diddly-shit. Which is why no one in their right mind wants to be a teacher. All that education, and then to make considerably less than your private sector counterparts.
Which is why some of us go into administration....and still get paid diddly...hehe
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Old 03-11-2006, 06:28 PM   #19
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Depends on the state and the area, the commitment of the school board, how much politics plays a role over merit in teacher hiring. I have had wonderful public school teachers and abysmal ones. I have the greatest respect for the good teachers and believe you can't pay them enough. I understand the difficulty of the profession. I also understand areas where the politics is so blatant, even the potentially good teachers who want the job can't get hired.

In my area, politics pays a huge role in hiring teachers. We are a relatively low cost of living area dUE to an aged population and mediocre paying jobs. The teachers are paid well here in comparison to much of the rest of the populace. However, I am a little at a loss to think that many of them are particularly knowledgable or particularly well educated, although to hear them talk, they were the most educated people on the face of the earth. They are always right because they are TEACHERS! and we could not even possibly know more about our own lines of work than they do.

I deal with teachers quite a bit in my work. Just a couple of recent personal anecdotes. I spent twenty minutes explaining to one teacher the difference between a W-2 and a tax return. I had one teacher call me all huffy and insisting that any extra payments she made on her mortgage go directly to interest and NOT to principal so she didn't get cheated. I put her on hold, laughed for a couple of minutes, came back on the line and said "Sure."

Fair or not, I get enough of this quality of teacher that I expect when I get a call from one I am going to have to explain things very slowly.

To all the really good teachers out there, you have all my admiration. You're not being paid enough. But you'll have to forgive me if I'm a little cynical about teacher quality in general, at least around here. I won't speak for other areas. I have to say my experience has been closer to Anitram's observations and I tend to think Melon's made a very good case.
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Old 03-11-2006, 06:59 PM   #20
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Originally posted by martha
If I went to Mew Mexico to teach, I'd have to get an MA, and then they might consider paying me $50,000 after a few more years of teaching.
Yizzow. That's all my friend who's an assistant professor at UNM makes though, and that's with a PhD. I don't even make that much. Have you considered Indiana, martha? We need good teachers desperately and the cost of living is low here...

Nope. Thought not.

On another subject, here is a link to the Department of Education's 2004 study of charter schools: http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/choi...l/execsum.html
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:26 PM   #21
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Originally posted by BonosSaint


Fair or not, I get enough of this quality of teacher that I expect when I get a call from one I am going to have to explain things very slowly.

So how much of the rest of the population do you have to explain things very slowly to?

Quote:
Originally posted by melon

With that, I also think the "one size fits all" argument has been a mistake at the public level. There are many students with different needs (i.e., honors students, remedial students, ones with chronic discipline problems, even pregnant students, etc.), and I think that all of them could benefit from different schools that cater to their needs.

Melon
Legally, there may be a problem with this. Students are required to be placed in classrooms that offer the least restrictive environment. Currently, many schools are in the process of de-tracking. While I don't fully support de-tracking I don't support the creation of multipul specialty schools. Segregating students in that manner would cause a myriad of new problems.
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:51 PM   #22
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Re: Education is not Discretionary

Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling
So, I'll start by saying that I do appciate the point that fiscal conservatives make that "throwing money at the problem" that our schools in the US have won't result in prefection (what will?). But as an arguement for tax cuts when our schools are overcrowded, violent and continue to graduate people who cannot read their diplomas, Huston, (and DC, and New York and Chicago, and LA), we have a problem. I don't want to overstate my case here. I think-in fact, I know--that a lot of great teachers are working magic in a lot of US classrooms.

So, a few questions for those who oppose more funding for our schools.

1. Unpack the phrase "throwing money at the problem"--it strikes me as political rhetoric that has become a media soundbyte rather than a policy analysis. What do you mean by that, exactly?

2. Let's say we do reduce funding to fight corruption or waste, which are both worthy and necessary goals in many systems (see for example in DC). What's the mechanism therein that will result in said funding reduction leading to less corruption? And more importantly, better educated kids?

3. What about the link between an superior workforce (which takes superior education) and being economically competitive on a global level? The next step, which is a clear link between our global economic competitiveness and our nationa security?

Finally, yes, as a matter of fact there ARE probems in our schools that "throwing money" at them will help with. Many of the problems in our schools can be traced to two related problems: we don't have enough schools, and we don't have enough teachers.

If and only if we make the position attractive enough (remember, we're competeing with the private sector here for the best and brightest, and that costs dinero) will we be able to hire the number of teachers that we need. High school classrooms, ideally, should be about 12-15 students if we are serious about kids getting the attention they need so that they can problem solve, read, write, think creatively, debate history and politics intelligently, research and preform at high levels in math and science. And if we are serious about our kids' learning being assessed in a manner that is authentic enough to give us meaningful data (standarized tests are find in certain situations, but are very poor as assessment tools). This means we plain ole' need more qualified bodies in more classrooms and more buildings. Every single school I ever taught in was over-crowded, even the one that was brand-new. Thanks to that county's refusal to raise taxes the slight (.01%) amount needed to pay for another high school, this brand new school was at double capacity by its second year of operation. Hence the most qualified teachers went to the next county over, which had slightly higher taxes and so could pay a bit more, hence had better schools and hence higher economic growth. Plus, we have data that shows that over-crowding in schools increases violence. Again, while certainly not every problem in our ed. system can be solved with more funding, these two major problems can. Those who support our schools need to call those who oppose more funding on these points, I believe.

The cliff notes version: we have mediocre education in this country because you get what you pay for.
Perhaps instead of spending more money on education, it would be better to restructure the system in which funds are spent. The individual states should collect all taxes and then distribute an equal amount per public school based on the number of students at each school. Large schools, where class size dramatically exceeds 30 students should be broken up or added to allow for smaller clases. By redistrubuting the money, so that more of it can go to the large poor inner city schools, I think you would be able to solve a lot of problems. Of course, People in rich neighborhoods would complain that all their tax dollars are not specifically going to the school they send their childern to, but this is public education. They can send their childern to a private school if they want to.
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:57 PM   #23
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School budgets mostly come from LOCAL property taxes. Not income taxes.

You would be hard pressed to find wealthy communities wanting their hard earned tax dollars leaving their town.

You would have to change the tax system to do this.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:09 PM   #24
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Originally posted by martha


Bingo. I make $70,000+. I have no MA, but I have the "equivalency" in hours. I have ten years' experience. I'm paid well compared to other areas and states. I still couldn't afford to live in SoCal on my salary without other means of support.
So, how do all those illegal aliens from Mexico survive on minimum wage in Southern California? Median household income in California is $48,912 and that is often from more than one income earner in the household. Even in New Hampshire which has the highest median household income in the country of $56,078, $70,000 dollars from one income earner is impressive.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:11 PM   #25
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Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways


So how much of the rest of the population do you have to explain things very slowly to?
Actually not too many.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:19 PM   #26
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
School budgets mostly come from LOCAL property taxes. Not income taxes.

You would be hard pressed to find wealthy communities wanting their hard earned tax dollars leaving their town.

You would have to change the tax system to do this.
Well, wealthy communities already have plenty of their hard earned tax dollars leaving their town when it comes to government spending on just about anything including national defense. In order to avoid raising taxes to properly fund the schools, the tax system needs to be adjusted so every student in the public education system is receiving the same number of tax dollars for their education.

The whole country including wealthy communities will benefit from having their poorer counterparts better educated. Plus, you could do it without actually raising their taxes.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:30 PM   #27
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Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
Legally, there may be a problem with this. Students are required to be placed in classrooms that offer the least restrictive environment. Currently, many schools are in the process of de-tracking. While I don't fully support de-tracking I don't support the creation of multipul specialty schools. Segregating students in that manner would cause a myriad of new problems.
Then let's change the laws. Calling this "segregation" is PC gone amok. Different people have different needs, and this goes past any notion of race, gender, or any other physical classification. In the Toledo area, for instance, there's a charter school targeted towards pregnant teenagers. It has a very high success rate for a group that has a historically high dropout rate. You cannot ignore success when it stares you right in the face.

A lot of my frustration here is that our existing system flat out does not work, and rich people don't have to deal with this system. They just go to private schools, because it's perfectly legal to discriminate on income. I want to see an America where every child has access to top-notch education without having to resort to $20,000 a year elite private schools.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but, frankly, I look at the present and see a horribly primitive society in the same way that we look back on the late 19th century. I hope that by the year 2106, we're as much of an embarrassing historical footnote as 1906. But, first, we have to do the job that the Progressive movement did 100 years ago and stop sitting back hoping that things will just fix itself.

And one easy step is to vote out these morons who resort to "outrage of the week" (flag burning, gay marriage, violent video games, Dubai) legislation. The 2006 election is just around the corner.

Melon
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:38 PM   #28
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it's interesting to read the earlier comments about teacher hiring in other parts of the country or in the united states. here in alberta, we have an overabundance of teachers. i have been trying to find full-time work in a city for almost 2 years now. i've got a b.sc. and a b.ed. and i'm a damn good math teacher. it's quite frustrating to see people who have a 4-year degree or people who weren't educated in this province's curriculum get teaching jobs ahead of me.

this goes back to the point about throwing money at the problem. the school boards here don't have a lot of money to throw around and so they hire the cheapest teachers they can find. considering that i have 6 years of education and 2 years of full-time experience, i am about 10 - 12 000 dollars more expensive, per year, to hire than someone just out of university. the fact is that it makes good business sense for them to hire the cheaper teacher than the one who's proven herself to be more competent. sticking with these hiring practices year after year means that the classrooms are filled with teachers who may not be as qualified as others to be there.

which leads to the issue of respect. i'm not sure if there is any other profession (maybe lawyers) that has to defend itself as much as teachers do. i'm sure school boards hiring incompetent teachers has a bit to do with that. i'm not sure if low admission requirements have anything to do with it. obviously someone who wants to teach kindergarten will have to have a different skill set than someone who wants to teach calculus. does it not make sense for universities to admit them based on the same merits and then let them differentiate themselves once they're in their respective programs? clearly there is no need for someone who is well versed in calculus to be teaching kindergarten, but issues like these have to (once again) do with the hiring practices of the schools boards. and knowing subject matter inside out does not necessarily make a good teacher either. the worst calculus teacher i ever had was in university. i'm sure he knew his math better than anyone, but he could not communicate that to his students at all. teachers HAVE to be master communicators in addition to knowing the curriculum they are teaching.

maybe i'm just bitter, because of my futile job search, but i have been looking at other career options, which has been rather heartbreaking, as i love teaching. teachers aren't in it for the money, and the respect and the rewards are few and far between, but when you do get them, they really mean a lot.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:52 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Then let's change the laws. Calling this "segregation" is PC gone amok. Different people have different needs, and this goes past any notion of race, gender, or any other physical classification. In the Toledo area, for instance, there's a charter school targeted towards pregnant teenagers. It has a very high success rate for a group that has a historically high dropout rate. You cannot ignore success when it stares you right in the face.
we actually have a special program within our public school system that caters to pregnant teens which is a very successful one. the public school system here has what are called 'programs of choice', some of which have a subject-specific focus, or a sports focus (mainly hockey - this is canada), or a language focus. many of the programs try to cater to students who are not experiencing success in a regular school environment, or alternatively, try to provide enrichment for those who need more of a challenge. my point is that this is all done within the public system.

Quote:
I want to see an America where every child has access to top-notch education without having to resort to $20,000 a year elite private schools.
if you include canada in that statement, you have my vote.
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:06 PM   #30
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Originally posted by melon


Then let's change the laws. Calling this "segregation" is PC gone amok. Different people have different needs, and this goes past any notion of race, gender, or any other physical classification. In the Toledo area, for instance, there's a charter school targeted towards pregnant teenagers. It has a very high success rate for a group that has a historically high dropout rate. You cannot ignore success when it stares you right in the face.

Melon
Actually, the laws are always changing. I am not a special education teacher so I do not know the in's and out's of the most recent law(s) but I do know they are there to ensure students with special needs are given the same educational oppertunities as their peers who do not have an Individual Education Plan or a 504 plan (which covers pregnent teens as well as students who have other extenuating circumstances ie: emotional disorders, physical handicaps) A school for pregnent teens is a great idea but what about other students with special needs? Inclusion is not going away, nor should it. Isolating special education students in a separte school is not the answer.

On a different note, finding a teaching postition in the Chicagoland area is extremely difficult. It took me a year to find a job. The hiring process here is very political as well. Gender, race, and what you can/are willing to coach all play a role. Of course school boards are also looking to hire the cheapest teacher as well.

lmjhitman, female math/science and any special education teachers are highly sought after here. My friends in those disciplines had no problems finding a position. I plan to become certified for special education.
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