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Old 09-16-2011, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Home, Home on the Front Range
21,067 posts, read 15,252,287 times
Reputation: 11786

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimhcom View Post
Yes we do. In case you have not noticed, our country is going to hell.
In order for a Democracy to function, it requires an educated population. The schools have failed us miserably in this regard, as one look at the people we place in political office will confirm.
We have a population now that is incapable of critical thinking due to years of social engineering.
We have to import our engineers and doctors because our educational system is incapable of producing them.
We are involved in wars for profit because the general population is too ignorant to understand what is going on.
We are having our Constitution and our rights eviscerated by politicians and judges paid for by corporations.
Therefore, to answer your question yes we do have to keep talking about this until we begin to see the results that will begin to turn this country in the right direction instead of the downward spiral we find ourselves in today.
While I don't agree that much, if any of this is the fault of teachers, I just have to ask, when we have politicians bragging about how 'average' they are, what do you expect?
When the height of 'culture' is the cretins on "The Jersey Shore" what do you expect?
When we have parents pulling their kids out of classes because they don't want them to exposed to the 'pornography' that is classical art what do you expect?
When science is routinely denigrated, what do you expect?
When those who have attended college or university are repeatedly referred to as 'out-of-touch elites' what do you expect?
When teachers are routinely attacked for wanting and deserving more than mimimum wage what do you expect?

I applaud all of the teachers who continue to persevere in the face of unbelievable odds:
a society that devalues their work and yet expects them to perform miracles,
special interests that subvert the goal of objective higher learning at every turn,
those who don't want their children to hear or know anything about any position, religion... other than theirs,
those who believe that any positive reference to another country's culture or accomplishments is a blow to 'American exceptionalism,'
those who believe that learning any language other than English is a waste of time and 'unAmerican'
and on and on and on...

If we want any of this to change, and I agree that it should and must, we have to be the agents of change. We have to stop electing people who believe that teaching to a test is good. We have to serve on our school boards and have louder voices than those who want to protect only their own narrow interests. And we have to respect those who interact daily with our children. If what our children hear 24/7 is nothing but contempt for the educational system and for those within, how can we possibly expect them to respect and/or value education itself?
We're telling them that there is nothing to be gained from sitting in a classroom and then we're surprised because they'd rather focus on their cellphones, iPods, etc.
We've reaped what we've sown.

 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:13 PM
 
22 posts, read 16,135 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimhcom View Post
SAT Scores Decline as More Students Take Test - BloombergThis article states "The average reading score of 497 marked the lowest since data became available in 1972, according to a report released today by the College Board, which administers the exam".
The teaching establishment has had it's own way too long, and the evidence that their way, is the wrong way is overwhelming.
It is time to go to a voucher system and bring some competition to education.
You're right, and the following will show you why it is the way it is:
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
MN has had open enrollment for over 15 years, same deal as a voucher system really, any student can go to any school in the state, hasn't helped the "poor" schools at all. They are still full of underachieving students who just don't care or their families just don't care. There is free busing for these students to go to "better" schools, they just don't do it. Until you address the issues at home, nothing is going to change. Those same schools still produce a large number of very good students, same teachers, same school, difference is family life.
Here we have someone saying it's rich vs poor (presuming that rich=intelligent and poor=not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eresh View Post
Of course the scores are going to go down when the people taking the test goes from the top college-bound students (in the past) to practically all students (these days). If anything, it shows what a huge waste of time and money reform efforts (namely NCLB) have been.
With the trend of ALL students should be aiming for college, I'd think teachers would be teaching with the assumption that ALL students will be going to college(Something I totally disagree with.). With that said, we are to assume ALL students should be educated appropriately. So why are test results so much lower?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavaturaccioli View Post
Blaming the teachers is simplistic, inaccurate, and unfair.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavaturaccioli View Post
Don't blame the teachers for that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
If I'm reading that title right, the issue may be found in "...More Students take Test." In years past, these tests were taken by the college bound. If more students are taking them, we're including a lower segment of the population. Just my two cents.
"Lower segment" Ouch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Teachers have very little power when it comes to curriculum. Hence, most of them are taking orders from administrators, who take orders from the school board, who take orders from the state, who take orders from the fed. So, if you want to blame someone for low reading scores, look to the fed.

However, even the fed et al. cannot improve reading ability for students whose parents are poor readers who do not emphasize the importance of reading at home and/or are not involved in their children's education and learning. It is pretty much fact that parental involvement is the #1 determining factor in student achievement.

Moreover, our society does not value reading; To say that teachers can somehow step in and counterbalance these trends--as well as somehow makeup for childhoods in which reading was not a key activity--is completely unrealistic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trishguard View Post
That's because Parents Continue to Do a Poor Job. It all starts at home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dressy View Post
You know I was always thinking that the teachers are not to be blamed...I thought - school administration is at fault...
until I personally met
1) Literature teacher. Who spends time in the class reading a book out loud.. Some kid's book.
2) Math teacher who did not know which variabe is dependent and which is independent in y=ax+c.
Now go figure who is to blame...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy_Jole View Post
So because you met two incompetent teachers, you feel teachers should be blamed for poor test scores? How many teachers in total have you personally met?
If each parent knows two incompetent teachers... , well, that's a LOT of incompetent teachers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CA4Now View Post
Yes. Why would these kids read when they have your cell phone interrupting them, a computer in their room to play games on, a million channels on televsion and parents constantly on their Blackberries or iPads? I wonder how the SAT scores of our generation would have been if we'd had all these distractions.
Simply don't allow them in the classroom.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Guaranteed raises? Free healthcare? I guess I'm teaching in the wrong district!
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Exactly. And, yet, more often than not, the very students who need to practice reading are the ones who can't put their cell phones down--not even in the class that is trying to teach them to read

Moreover, the parents who want their children to learn to read and to read well--and who blame teachers when they don't--are the same parents who are not avid readers themselves or keep a library in their homes.

At some point, parents (as well as people in general) need to realize that, much as schools try to invoke in loco parentis, teachers can never be a substitute for or as influential as parents, even when it comes to education. However, a busy parent loves to blame educators b/c it means that he/she can point the finger rather than take the necessary time out of their busy schedule to actually parent and get the academic results that they desire from their kids.

Of course, if parents are too busy blaming the teachers for their child's academic shortcomings, then the energy that they should be channeling towards a productive solution (i.e. getting involved/parenting) gets channeled to a totally inadequate solution (i.e. expecting someone else to parent and then blaming them when that doesn't work), and the child's education continues to suffer as the parents continue to take the easy way out by blaming someone else for their own inadequacies.

The poster who mentioned a strong system of consequences pretty much hit the nail on the head, and is an example of how effective parents can be when motivating and directing their children's education. It isn't easy but, then, doing the right thing never is
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
You and me both. People really have some strange ideas about what teachers get.
Excuse after excuse. Teachers blame EVERYBODY but themselves for children not being taught. It's the parents, it's the administration, it's the KIDS, but NOT the teacher.

Teachers complain when parents don't 'get involved' in the classroom, but complain when parents DO 'get involved'. If teachers honestly want the parent to be the educator, why do they undo methods taught by parents and force kids to learn the way of the classroom? Why, when teachers have children in the classroom for 7 hours, 5 days a week, do they blame parents who have their kids 4 or 5 hours those same days, for not teaching the kids?

What EXACTLY do teachers expect to do with their days when it's the parents' responsibility to do the educating? What EXACTLY is the repsonsibility of the teachers when it's the parent's responsibility to do the teaching? Be specific.

I have NEVER heard a teacher take responsibility for a child failing. EVER.

Teachers constantly claim they teach because they love children. That does NOT translate into the capability of TEACHING children.

Teachers constantly claim they aren't in teaching because of the pay, yet that ties for the top reason they complain (parents and pay are the top two)

Test scores are low because kids who are expected to go to college aren't being taught what they need to go to college.

Test scores are low because kids aren't being taught in the classroom. Bottom line.

Last edited by companykeeper; 09-16-2011 at 02:02 PM..
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:17 PM
 
Location: San Diego California
6,797 posts, read 6,123,233 times
Reputation: 5171
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
You want proof that society doesn't value reading?

Some book statistics (http://www.humorwriters.org/startlingstats.html - broken link)

This is also a great, fair article about the issue:

Literacy of College Graduates Is on Decline

It does mention a gap at the high school level, which is fair, but it also mentions a lot of other factors that come into play that affect reading comprehension. Consequently, I will reiterate that to blame teachers--and *only* teachers--for this gap is completely untenable; that's like saying that police officers aren't doing their jobs b/c crimes are still being commited. :
Thank you for proving my point. It is impossible to teach critical thinking when you cannot do it yourself.
Instead of breaking the issue down and analyzing it, you jump to the unfounded conclusion that the lack of book sales translates to people thinking reading is invaluable. The fact that people spend massive amounts of time on line (where they are spending the majority of their time reading) and that the evolution of the 2 family income along with extended work hours, in your limited view, have nothing to do with people not buying and leisurely reading books.
Perhaps if we all had the time off that teachers enjoy, we could all read a good book.
By the way your analogy makes no sense, it is not a police officers job to prevent crime, it is to investigate and make arrests after the crime has been committed. When a teacher fails to teach, they have not accomplished their directive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
I will also reiterate that, when a teacher is telling a parent what he/she needs to do as a parent to improve his/her child's ability to read, and the parent refuses to do anything about it, then you will end up with this current situation: finger pointing rather than problem solving. Teachers are not the enemy: we are telling parents what they need to do in order to get the results that they want from their kids. Unfortunately, this isn't the answer that parents want to hear. :
Let me get this straight. It is the teacherís job to teach students to read. They are given 6hrs a day, 5 days a week, 9mos a year, for 12 years to get this fairly simple task accomplished, and yet when they fail to get it done, it is the parents at fault. The next time I fail to get my job done, I will have to remember to blame it on my boss, I am sure that will work for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Moreover, while there are some basics, reading takes good 'ol fashioned concentration and hard work. Like many skills, no one can really teach you, you have to just dedicate yourself to it so that you get stronger. Case in point: I'm currently prepping for the GRE and the teacher has already stated that she can't teach anyone in the class to read quickly; you've either been reading for a long time and have thereby acquired the ability to read accurately and quickly, or you haven't. If you haven't, there is really nothing any teacher can do about it now.:
Unless someone is afflicted with a learning disability, reading is simply a matter of spending enough time working on reading exercises. There is no reason for someone who does not have a learning disability, not to achieve basic reading competency by the 12th grade. Third world countries seem to be able to achieve this without much more to work with than a few books.


Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Furthermore, standardized tests are not accurate indicators of a teacher's job performance. There have been too many threads that have already proven this point, so I won't get into it. However, I will point out that just because a teacher teaches does not mean that the students are listening and doing the work that they need to do in order to learn. Especially wrt reading, I know a lot of students who have learned how to pass tests without even cracking the book.:
You are joking right, did I just read that you think a thread proves something? If a standardized test taken worldwide is not an indication of what you have taught your students in that subject, what the hell is?
And while you are at it, kindly explain why kids who test fairly well in 4th grade continue to test lower in middle school and even lower in 12th grade.
Standing in front of a class and regurgitating what ever is written in a lesson book is not teaching. Teaching is doing what is necessary to educate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Lastly, the reading comprehension portions on the SAT exams are not measuring basic reading skills but, rather, critical reading skills. I am a very strong reader--I can read in three languages fluently--and I did horribly on the SAT in college. But it wasn't because of my teachers--it was b/c I never took a test prep course to teach me how to take the test and do well on it
Oh I see now, the tests are really a trick, they are not designed to test your ability to read and comprehend, they are designed to trick you and make you appear to be stupid. There are special unknown secrets to reading that people who do not attend classes that show you how to pass, will not know and will then do poorly, and then go on to be teachers who cannot teach.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:37 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,417,041 times
Reputation: 10476
Companykeeper--it isn't a rich=smart, poor= dumb-far from it, but when kids are not ready for school, it hampers their overall progress in school. When kids come from homes where they are read to as infants/toddlers, taught colors, shapes, the alphabet, etc. it prepares them for school. Once in school if they come to school having eaten the day before, having breakfast in their bellies, not having to worry about where mom is because she didn't come home last night, it makes a HUGE difference in how well they will do overall.

It isn't a rich vs poor, its a "I care about school" vs " I don't care about school" and while it is more common in the lower incomes, it isn't exclusive to the lower incomes. If you actually read what I wrote, I said that the families that CARE about education have moved into the better schools....

As far as teachers taking responsibility for kids failing--if the whole class fails, that is the teacher's fault, if ONE child fails and the rest of the class passes with flying colors--who's fault is it really??? What about the kid that comes in, circles all "B's" on a test and sleeps the rest of the day?? Is that the teacher's fault too?
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:52 PM
 
2,113 posts, read 2,243,520 times
Reputation: 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by companykeeper View Post
If each parent knows two incompetent teachers... , well, that's a LOT of incompetent teachers.Simply don't allow them in the classroom.
If each parent in the same two classes knows two incompetent teachers, well that's still just two incompetent teachers.

There are far more competent teachers.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 02:11 PM
 
4,749 posts, read 3,467,971 times
Reputation: 3223
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimhcom View Post
SAT Scores Decline as More Students Take Test - Bloomberg

This article states "The average reading score of 497 marked the lowest since data became available in 1972, according to a report released today by the College Board, which administers the exam".
The teaching establishment has had it's own way too long, and the evidence that their way, is the wrong way is overwhelming.
It is time to go to a voucher system and bring some competition to education.
Wait a minute, I thought that No Child Left Behind and the new teaching accountability standards that president Dim Bulb enacted back in 2002 (or whenever it was) was doing its job and raising the bar? What happened?
 
Old 09-16-2011, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,726,300 times
Reputation: 14499
Quote:
Originally Posted by companykeeper View Post
cut....
Excuse after excuse. Teachers blame EVERYBODY but themselves for children not being taught. It's the parents, it's the administration, it's the KIDS, but NOT the teacher.

Teachers complain when parents don't 'get involved' in the classroom, but complain when parents DO 'get involved'. If teachers honestly want the parent to be the educator, why do they undo methods taught by parents and force kids to learn the way of the classroom? Why, when teachers have children in the classroom for 7 hours, 5 days a week, do they blame parents who have their kids 4 or 5 hours those same days, for not teaching the kids?

What EXACTLY do teachers expect to do with their days when it's the parents' responsibility to do the educating? What EXACTLY is the repsonsibility of the teachers when it's the parent's responsibility to do the teaching? Be specific.

I have NEVER heard a teacher take responsibility for a child failing. EVER.

Teachers constantly claim they teach because they love children. That does NOT translate into the capability of TEACHING children.

Teachers constantly claim they aren't in teaching because of the pay, yet that ties for the top reason they complain (parents and pay are the top two)

Test scores are low because kids who are expected to go to college aren't being taught what they need to go to college.

Test scores are low because kids aren't being taught in the classroom. Bottom line.
You need to learn some statistics. Back when I took state tests, only about the top 1/3 of students took the test. Today everyone takes the test so we cannot compare to years past. You have to compare apples to apples. When the lower segment that never used to take the test is included, (these would be the traditionally non college bound) you can expect scores to go down. And yes, there is a lower segment just like there is an upper segment. There are whole groups of kids who do well on tests and whole groups of kids who do poorly.

No, teachers don't take responsibility for students failing because we don't make them fail. I failed seven students last year and none of their failures are my fault. I didn't make them fail. Their lack of effort made them fail. I cannot follow them home and make them do their homework. I cannot make sure they get to bed at a decent hour. I cannot make them show up to class and I cannot ask the rest of the class to sit and wait while I remediate them because of their lack of effort. I am available after school for tutoring but these kids never showed up. Instead, I tutored their classmates who were borderline A students who wanted that A.

Please tell me how it's my fault when a student fails because they refused to do the work. I don't believe it is. My job is to TEACH and I did my job. Just ask the 139 students who passed my class. Several of them will tell you they passed because of me (but they really did it themselves). They put in the effort and succeeded.

The only way failure is my fault is if I don't teach. I do. The stage is set for a student to fail or succeed long before they ever set foot in my class. Parents can make kids so homework and study. They have the power to do things like ground them and take away phones and ipods and cars. I just assign homework and grade it. If they aren't motivated by grades, I have no power at all to influence what they do.

And if you think I don't do my job, how's this? I taught for two years at a charter school. During my two years, passing scores on the science portion of the state tests were the highest they'd ever been. Those scores dropped right back to where they were before I came after I left. I do my job. I teach. Unfortunately, some of my students don't do their job and that is to learn.

The problem with US education is failure of our students to take responsibility for their own educations. They're waiting for someone else to do it for them. If you want me to do it for them, I can but you'll need to make my classes a lot smaller than they are and you'll have to give me the power to turn off their cell phones and cable. Then I'll follow around a handful of students and make sure they do everything and turn of their phone and internet when they don't. I have 150 students. My job is to teach them. Their job is to learn. I can't do their job for them any more than they can do my job for me.

Edited to add: Not that I wouldn't change education if I could. I'd structure it more like asian models where topics are taught in depth before you move on and fewer topics are taught per year (mastery learning). I would stop passing kids just to pass them. If they can't do the work, they don't pass. I would make the school year longer too. I think our kids lose too much in the long summer off.

Teahcers teach. Unfortuatelyl, our kids come to us on all different levels with different support systems in place. The ones who have been taught, who have support systems at home are going to do better than the ones who can't read and don't have a support system at home. Even the best teacher can't bridge that divide.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 09-16-2011 at 02:42 PM..
 
Old 09-16-2011, 02:32 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,509,074 times
Reputation: 4494
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
To say that teachers can somehow step in and counterbalance these trends--as well as somehow makeup for childhoods in which reading was not a key activity--is completely unrealistic.
I've already posted this link to the Politics and Other Controversies forum, but I think it may also be appropriate here.

The Early Catastrophe

Quote:
...the problem of skill differences among children at the time of school entry is bigger, more intractable, and more important than we had thought.
The research lends credence to the contention that it is impossible for even the best teacher to bolster the working vocabulary of a student from a language-deficient home in a significant way.
This is not a curriculum problem; it's a socio-economic problem. As college has now become available to and necessary for those on the lowest rungs of the ladder, I think we are seeing exactly what would be expected on the standardized tests required for enrollment. Furthermore, it may be a couple of generations before we see improvement, no matter how extraordinary our nation's teachers and curriculum.

Last edited by formercalifornian; 09-16-2011 at 03:06 PM..
 
Old 09-16-2011, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,412 posts, read 9,567,758 times
Reputation: 8577
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimhcom View Post

Let me get this straight. It is the teacherís job to teach students to read. They are given 6hrs a day, 5 days a week, 9mos a year, for 12 years to get this fairly simple task accomplished, and yet when they fail to get it done, it is the parents at fault. The next time I fail to get my job done, I will have to remember to blame it on my boss, I am sure that will work for me.

This one piece shows how disingenuous your argument is. If you don't get your job done, your boss will fire you and find somebody who will. That is powerful motivation for an employee. Schools can't fire kids and hire ones that are more skilled and motivated.

There's plenty of blame for the state of education. To pin it all on teachers is ridiculous. Do you give teachers all the credit for kids that do well?
 
Old 09-16-2011, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Virginia
7,894 posts, read 12,155,282 times
Reputation: 3554
Quote:
Originally Posted by companykeeper View Post

Teachers constantly claim they aren't in teaching because of the pay, yet that ties for the top reason they complain (parents and pay are the top two)
You quoted my comment about not getting automatic raises and free healthcare. I would like to point out that it was not a complaint, but rather a rebuttal to an earlier comment. I have never once complained about my pay.

I find this happens fairly often. A teacher doesn't even begin the conversation, but someone will make an initial comment they believe to be true, such as, "Teachers get 100% of their healthcare paid", or a comment about hours. Then, when a teacher points out that it's not the case, he/she is met with a response telling him/her to stop complaining.
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