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Old 01-22-2011, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
604 posts, read 783,627 times
Reputation: 584
Quote:
Originally Posted by cecnj View Post
(I do believe school should be year round---but that is another argument altogether.)
If by that you mean increase the number of school days, I'm all for it. On the other hand, if you simply mean spread the same number of days throughout the year, I think I'll pass. We did the year-round thing last year when we first moved here. I thought it would be good and I'd like it. As it turned out, I hated it. My opinion only, but I don't think it helps with the kids' retention. They're going to have to review stuff no matter what, so I'd rather see them do that just once in the fall versus several times a year after an extended break. It's also hard to keep their focus on their studies when it's 110 in the summer. The kids would much rather be in the pool than doing homework, as would I.

Quote:
PS: I chose to leave a corporate career to become a teacher and took a 13k pay cut to do so. I was an HR manager and worked about 50 hours per week. I now work about at least 60 hours per week. I'm happy to have traded money and a bit of my time for a career that is much better suited to my talents and interests.
I'm glad you found your calling in life. It's not an easy job. My hat's off to you!
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:57 PM
 
781 posts, read 947,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trash Can View Post
If by that you mean increase the number of school days, I'm all for it.
I think kids need to play just as they need to study. Year round school seems like a terrible idea to me. That would severely limit their natural exploration and I'm sure all sorts of developmental issues would arise as well.

For kids that have a terrible home environment, maybe school is better, but for society as a whole? Yikes... Childhood should be about exploration, a wide variety of experiences, and a healthy amount of natural self-learning (guided and enabled by parents).
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:15 PM
 
Location: NW Las Vegas - Lone Mountain
15,757 posts, read 20,387,938 times
Reputation: 2661
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
There is a difference between the concept that "no one knows" and "it is inherently unknowable."

I don't disagree that no one knows, but I'm not sure I agree that it is fundamentally unknowable.

Management is hard work. Evaluating employees is hard work. So is managing & evaluating engineers or accountants or marketers, but somehow the private sector manages to do this - more or less.

Private schools, with teachers that are at-will employees, seem to be able to identify their best teachers and their teachers who do not "fit in" with the school and its students. Note that the latter might fit in very well and be great teachers some place else.

At the end of the day, if we truly believe there is no way to tell the difference between a good and bad teacher, what justification do we have to even bother interviewing prospective teachers? Why not just go hire day laborers to teach? I'm being silly, of course, to make my point.

As I think back to my own days in school, I can remember only one or two times over 12 years that someone of authority actually sat in and observed a teacher in action. Imagine only bothering to look at the job an engineer was doing once or twice per year. Silly, of course - so why can't we observe teachers more often - say, every week - as part of trying to get a picture of the job the teacher is doing?

This is all theoretical, of course; we all know it isn't likely to happen any time soon.
I don't believe the measurement of performance to be impossible. But it is vastly more complex than most "pay for performance" advocates acknowledge. And it may not be fully knowable. How to deal with the teacher whose pupils turns over at 100% per annum for instance.

I thought the LA Times series very interesting. They did provide some hope...ie you can identify a subset doing well and a subset doing badly. So perhaps rewarding the better heavily and punishing or remediating the weak performers.

The scarey part though was that virtually no one had the sort right if the data is good...and the data may be confounded but it would appear to be rational.

Maybe set up an operation to test every student once a week...but for ten minutes or so... highly automated system with three or four questions on two or three subjects. Measure the progress of the class at least week by week.

As has also been noted NV spends close to the 50 position on education and gets a similar result. Given all the discussion about improving the educational climate why not try paying close to the national average for a few years and see what happens. For an interesting experiment how about paying Washoe County schools at say the upper 25 percentile and see how they do versus Clark County over five years. Or you might do the same by picking a single quadrant of Las Vegas and trying it. What would the education community actually do with a lot more money and a charter to make it better?

Note though I am skeptical. I don't think the education community has any real handle on the problem either. But it would be nice to know what money might yield.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
604 posts, read 783,627 times
Reputation: 584
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robustus View Post
I think kids need to play just as they need to study. Year round school seems like a terrible idea to me. That would severely limit their natural exploration and I'm sure all sorts of developmental issues would arise as well.

For kids that have a terrible home environment, maybe school is better, but for society as a whole? Yikes... Childhood should be about exploration, a wide variety of experiences, and a healthy amount of natural self-learning (guided and enabled by parents).
I agree. As I said, we were in a year-round school last year and I did not think it was beneficial. By year-round, the kids attended school the same 180 days as they would if they attended a school that had the traditional calendar. It's just that they had several three week breaks spread throughout the year - no extended summer break.

When I said I was for increasing the number of total school days, I wasn't talking about making it like a full-time job. I think an additional 10 or 15 school days would be beneficial for the kids. More education, they get to see their friends, and still have a reasonable summer break. Of course, this would mean increasing teacher pay because of increased workload. The next question is where would the money come from?
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