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Old 08-14-2011, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Virginia
7,904 posts, read 12,186,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
District F was where many if not most elementary students could not eat with a knife and fork, did not know how to tie their shoes in 1st grade, or could not tell the difference in colors or letters. By 6th grade, they were joining gangs and stealing from the other students; some were even dealing drugs. By the time they went to high school, there were no doors on the bathrooms, and young girls could expect to be pushed up against the lockers in the halls and molested right out in the open. Bus drivers and teachers who tried to meet with parents, send the children to the principal, or call law enforcement were told to stop or they would be fired. The school system hired for and ran a "free" day care center on the campus - not for the teachers' children, but for the high school students' children. One pregnant 16 year old girl I knew wasn't sure if the school would allow her to put two children in day care, and didn't think it was fair that the school should limit her to one child in the day care. Her mother was laughing at her own personal joke - she didn't know if her daughter's boyfriend or her own had gotten her daughter pregnant this time. Parents were given lists of what their children would need for each grade - and as the students brought in their supplies, they were dumped into boxes for all to 'share'.
I consider myself a "good teacher". My administators, my evaluations, and families of those I have taught over the past 18 years would agree, I have no doubt. Would I be willing to teach in a school like the one SCGranny mentioned? Heck no. Could I make a difference? Doubtful.

Almost all of my elementary students come from 2 parent households. Most parents are college educated. Many have a stay at home parent. They have traveled to places I have never been to. About 5% of the 800 students in the school are on free/reduced lunches. It is unusual to have a parent absent from Back to School Night or conferences. They want their children to be challenged. Parents check their child's planner nightly and student behavior improves when I let them know that I am "disappointed". Almost all of my students pass the state tests. It's not unusual to have 100% pass. Do we have "bad teachers" in our school? Sure, I would say so. Guess what? 90%+ of their students still pass the state tests. Home support plays a huge part. If I went to teach at the school mentioned in the previous post, there is no way the students would perform as well as the ones I have now. Would that all of a sudden make me a "bad teacher"?
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,785,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sll3454 View Post
My experience is different than yours because I taught at private schools. At private schools, a particularly good elementary teacher can be a draw for the school; so can an effective middle-school math teacher. Ideally, though, it isn't one teacher. The administration is responsible for putting together an effective staff - good teachers in each grade, and for each subject. This will draw plenty of families.

Maybe the reason it didn't work at your charter school is that there wasn't enough competition. Some parents saw it as a better choice than the regular public school, but unless they had several other options as well, there wasn't enough competition to motivate the administration to value good teachers.

One thing that was very unfair on the video - you can't evaluate a school by what kids are doing the last day of the term, after finals have been completed, books have been collected, and grading has ended. If those kids had been playing Monopoly on some other day, yeah, it would have been a problem.

Also, parents are not used to looking into the quality of teachers before choosing a school. Is this because they don't think good teachers are important, or because they aren't smart enough? I think it's because that kind of evaluation is not expected of parents - and this is because most families do not have many options for education.
Private schools are different because parents pay the bill and the amount parents are willing to pay depends, in part, on percieved teacher quality. Schools can charge more if they can claim to have better teachers. This is not true in charter or public schools where the amount of money that comes in is dependent, solely, on the number of students in attendance. There, the cheapest teacher who can handle the largest classes is the bargain. The charter school I worked for paid rock bottom wages, packed classrooms and turned over 1/3 of their teachers every year. With the exception of a few teachers dedicated to the school and cause (which I find amazing since that only makes the owner wealthy), teachers don't stay. The private school a professional acquaintance teaches at is different. They charge $18K per year per student. They increase revenues by being able to command higher tuition so, percieved, quality matters.

Parents don't look at teacher quality because they are not paying the bill directly and because they don't see themselves as having choices.

And I keep saying "percieved" quality for a reason. Parents and students often mistake liking a teacher for the teacher being good. I have two years of test scores to show that I did a good job at the charter but I was fired. I wasn't a well liked teacher. I was seen as too hard and too demanding. I understand the teacher who replaced me falls into the chemistry magic man category. He's liked so it doesn't matter that test scores have tanked. If you asked adminstrators and parents alike, I am willing to bet they would tell you he is the better teacher.

My experience has been that when a teacher is disliked, there is no end to what she'll be blamed for and when a teacher is liked, there is no end to what parents and adminstrators will overlook. The truth of the matter is, the definition of a quality teacher is subjective. In the charter I taught at, I was not a quality teacher because I struggled with the disruptive students. In the school I'm in now, I'm considered a quality teacher because WHAT I teach is more important than how I manage my classroom because I don't have to manage my classroom. My students know how to behave. My percieved quality has increased not because I became a better teacher but because they gave me students who are there to learn, who have parents who will kick their butts if they don't and who know how to behave (plus I have adminstrators who will back me if I send a student to the office even if they think I'm wrong...they won't undermine me to appease parents). NOTHING about me changed when I took this job but my percieved quality went WAY UP!!! (But, alas, I a can't compare to the percieved quality of the teacher I replaced.....perhaps in time....)

I would be worth more money to a private school where class sizes are small and students know how to behave than I ever could be to a charter school that overpacks classrooms and wants the cheapest teacher they can get in front of that room. What people miss is that there is no incentive for public or charter schools to pay more for higher quality teachers. The cheapest teacher who can get the job done is the bargain.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 08-14-2011 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,119 posts, read 20,198,117 times
Reputation: 8209
Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks6Y...eature=related

Has anyone seen this? It is on youtube in 3 parts. Part one posted.

I thought poor education was more a student/parent factor, but this points more to teachers and schools. Pretty surprising. I guess it would vary by school district too.
Isn't this one of the """Documentaries""" that got Stossel fired from ABC?
He tried to pawn them off as Journalism when in actuality they were produced by Dick Armey and his ""FreedomWorks"" Lobbyists.
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,785,394 times
Reputation: 14503
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I consider myself a "good teacher". My administators, my evaluations, and families of those I have taught over the past 18 years would agree, I have no doubt. Would I be willing to teach in a school like the one SCGranny mentioned? Heck no. Could I make a difference? Doubtful.

Almost all of my elementary students come from 2 parent households. Most parents are college educated. Many have a stay at home parent. They have traveled to places I have never been to. About 5% of the 800 students in the school are on free/reduced lunches. It is unusual to have a parent absent from Back to School Night or conferences. They want their children to be challenged. Parents check their child's planner nightly and student behavior improves when I let them know that I am "disappointed". Almost all of my students pass the state tests. It's not unusual to have 100% pass. Do we have "bad teachers" in our school? Sure, I would say so. Guess what? 90%+ of their students still pass the state tests. Home support plays a huge part. If I went to teach at the school mentioned in the previous post, there is no way the students would perform as well as the ones I have now. Would that all of a sudden make me a "bad teacher"?
Apparently, I went from being a bad teacher to being a good teacher when I switched jobs last year. There must have been a magic download over the summer or something....

The passing rates for students at my old school are nowhere near the passing rates of my current students. Apparently, this is now PROOF that I have, somehow, been, miraculously, transformed from a lousy teacher into a good one..... After all, it has NOTHING to do with the parents or the students. It's just the teachers you have to beat up to get students to learn.

I have not changed. My students have. I maintain that you could put any decent teacher in my position and the students would do well while it would take someone really special to motivate the kids at the charter I taught at. Unfortunately, I wasn't it.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Virginia
7,904 posts, read 12,186,956 times
Reputation: 3570
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Apparently, I went from being a bad teacher to being a good teacher when I switched jobs last year. There must have been a magic download over the summer or something....

The passing rates for students at my old school are nowhere near the passing rates of my current students. Apparently, this is now PROOF that I have, somehow, been, miraculously, transformed from a lousy teacher into a good one..... After all, it has NOTHING to do with the parents or the students. It's just the teachers you have to beat up to get students to learn.
There you go! Merit pay bonus for you!!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:11 PM
 
920 posts, read 1,474,741 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boompa View Post
Isn't this one of the """Documentaries""" that got Stossel fired from ABC?
He tried to pawn them off as Journalism when in actuality they were produced by Dick Armey and his ""FreedomWorks"" Lobbyists.
Stossel is one of the biggest tools to have ever gotten into media.
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:01 PM
 
Location: state of procrastination
3,487 posts, read 6,143,901 times
Reputation: 2883
Ivorytickler: Thanks for the explanations. I guess ultimately I agree with most of what you are saying and I see how Stossel cherry picks his data. I do agree (based on personal exp) that peer quality matters much more than perceived teacher quality so thanks for the confirmation.

I'm just not sure it is worthwhile to continue funding education for older kids who obviously don't want to learn and whose parents don't care, like at the schools SCGranny described. If bad students render good teachers ineffective, and principals are not supporting the best interests of the good teachers, then I would feel very uncomfortable spending my tax dollars on that school. What is the point of a kid getting his high school diploma when he can't even grasp basic concepts needed for a technical career? I know some teachers would lose their jobs if these schools with crappy students shut down but what is the alternative if the outcome depends on the kids/parents?
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,706 posts, read 2,932,990 times
Reputation: 1741
Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu View Post
I totally see your point. But I also see Stossel's point of increasing competitive pressures on the schools by attaching the money to the child (rather than the school), and making it easier to fire ineffective teachers. According to the program, charter schools are able to use less money per child (yet spend more % on education), and still pay higher salaries to the teachers. Isn't that a win-win situation?
Check out charter schools in Colorado vs. public schools. While SOME do better certainly not all do. Colorado is a choice state which means that state dollars follow the child. This does NOT make charter schools the best choice because they need to fund every single aspect of their school through the meager state dollars we do receive ($6500ish per student). This needs to fund buildings, electricity, water/sewer, teacher salaries, etc...

Charter school teachers are paid much less than public schools, even at the ones where students are excelling over public schools. In fact, if I started teaching at a public school right now, I'd make anywhere from $8-12K more a year than I currently do.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,785,394 times
Reputation: 14503
Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu View Post
Ivorytickler: Thanks for the explanations. I guess ultimately I agree with most of what you are saying and I see how Stossel cherry picks his data. I do agree (based on personal exp) that peer quality matters much more than perceived teacher quality so thanks for the confirmation.

I'm just not sure it is worthwhile to continue funding education for older kids who obviously don't want to learn and whose parents don't care, like at the schools SCGranny described. If bad students render good teachers ineffective, and principals are not supporting the best interests of the good teachers, then I would feel very uncomfortable spending my tax dollars on that school. What is the point of a kid getting his high school diploma when he can't even grasp basic concepts needed for a technical career? I know some teachers would lose their jobs if these schools with crappy students shut down but what is the alternative if the outcome depends on the kids/parents?
Shutting down schools is not an option because there are kids who need those schools. I'm not sure what the answer is WRT kids who are disinterested and downright disruptive in class. If I knew the answer to that I'm sure I could win some kind of award. By the time they get to high school, they're pretty set in their ways. I do agree that it's not worthwhile to continue pushing education the way we do but I'm more inclined to offer these kids some kind of technical training than write them off. I don't think every child is or should be college material but they should all walk away able to function in society.

The reasons kids fail and schools fail are so complex. There is a lot that needs to be changed and, unfortunately, schools don't control much of what needs to change. If a student comes from a poor family background where education is not valued but attends school in a good district, there's a good chance peers will pull that student up but put the same student in an inner city school and there's a good chance peers will pull them down. Unfortunately, it's not possible to make sure every child has good peers and a good home environment but these are two things parents who care can work on.

If you need to move to give your child good peers, then move. If you have a child who isn't doing well where they are, move them. I moved both of my kids out of the local school and into a charter school because dd#1 was floundering. I can't say the school was particularly bad or teachers particularly bad but both were a bad fit for dd. She's still my struggling child. To be honest, I don't know what we would have done had I not gotten this job. It gave me the option of putting her in with a much higher class of peers who are almost all college bound. That has changed her focus.

Prepare your kids, teach them to value education, hold them accountable and watch their peers. Get them involved in group activities like sports. Keep them too busy to find trouble and if all else fails, find a good private school or move to a better district. You can't be afraid to parent.
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,119 posts, read 20,198,117 times
Reputation: 8209
Quote:
Originally Posted by loloroj View Post
Stossel is one of the biggest tools to have ever gotten into media.
He's not in the media any more he's on Fox Fantasy News and is a full time lobbyist for """FreedomWorks"""
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