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Old 06-18-2010, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Ocean County, NJ
912 posts, read 1,335,762 times
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I've always prefaced my remarks on this topic by saying that essentially, all suburban high schools in New Jersey give kids a pretty equal experience. Just some districts have varying income levels and often that correlates to the emphasis placed on education by parents. Parents with graduate degrees are more likely to have higher incomes and, thus, push their children to excel academically.

In a place like Irvington or Camden, the over populace of the area is too far gone to be a factor. Add in gangs, drugs and a criminal culture and it's all the worse.

But I would submit that every child who comes from an educated family and attends a high school that serves a generally upper middle class student body has an equal opportunity to excel and move on to a decent college where they will flourish. No matter the ranking by some magazine. The textbooks and teachers aren't magically better in Millburn than they are in Wall Township or Howell or Mainland Regional.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:03 AM
 
Location: NJ
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Originally Posted by PDD View Post
Now your being silly.
just as silly as saying you can drop a bright student in any school and they'll do well!
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:44 PM
 
9,372 posts, read 5,691,762 times
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Originally Posted by TheGambler View Post
The textbooks and teachers aren't magically better in Millburn than they are in Wall Township or Howell or Mainland Regional.
Actually you are more likely to find better teachers (in terms of certification and education both of which correlate strongest to student achievement) in the better school systems.

When I was getting a teaching job, only 6 years ago, I got offered jobs at six different districts and had my pick. While pay was only slightly higher at the "better schools" and the commute slightly farther away, I still absolutely chose the best academic district. What teacher wouldn't? The best teachers will have the most choices about where to teach and the majority of them will choose the better behaved students, better professional opportunities and the better money to be had in the "better" districts.

Combine that with the much lower turnover rates at the better performing schools and you can see how eventually the majority of better teachers would end up at the better districts.

Now obviously there are some great teachers at the lower performing districts too, I am not claiming otherwise, just that there will likely be more of the better teachers in the better districts.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Ocean County, NJ
912 posts, read 1,335,762 times
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Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Now obviously there are some great teachers at the lower performing districts too, I am not claiming otherwise, just that there will likely be more of the better teachers in the better districts.
But my question has always been whether these "lower performing" districts are actually, genuinely lower-performing. Or if they could, perhaps, be larger and encompass a broader range of students from different backgrounds. That's not really on the teachers or the curriculum coordinators.

My argument has always been that, generally, students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, whether they go to school in a so-called "high ranked" district or an average-ranked district, will perform about the same. If you took all of, let's say, Ocean County's rich kids and matched them up with Essex County's rich kids, they'd come out about the same. If you took kids from the pine barrens part of Ocean County and matched them up with kids from out in the boonies up in northwest Jersey, they'd probably perform similarly.

I think what you have in different parts of the state is a different geographical layout which contributes to these things. In North Jersey, many of these districts are either rich or poor, and they perform as such. In South Jersey and the Shore area, districts (and high schools) pull from many towns, some absolutely ultra-rich and some working class, moderate income. So these different backgrounds contribute the lower average scores.

I agree that teachers (like anyone else) want the best working environment, but quite frankly it seems like we have a glut of teachers anyway, and if you're not the best, you can kiss your chance of getting a job goodbye anyway.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:22 PM
 
Location: NJ
1,700 posts, read 3,877,561 times
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Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
While pay was only slightly higher at the "better schools" and the commute slightly farther away, I still absolutely chose the best academic district. What teacher wouldn't?
Just to play devil's advocate, my brother once taught in a very elite school district in suburban Boston. The problem he found was in this type of school district the parents were so overly-involved in their child's education process that he actually found dealing with the parents to be worse than dealing with the students, and it ultimately led him to seek a different profession. My point is, teaching in the "best" district does not always mean a teacher's experience will be better than say, teaching at a "tougher" school.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:17 PM
 
Location: 38 38' 45" N, -90 20' 08" W
7,646 posts, read 11,544,158 times
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Originally Posted by ansky View Post
Just to play devil's advocate, my brother once taught in a very elite school district in suburban Boston. The problem he found was in this type of school district the parents were so overly-involved in their child's education process that he actually found dealing with the parents to be worse than dealing with the students, and it ultimately led him to seek a different profession. My point is, teaching in the "best" district does not always mean a teacher's experience will be better than say, teaching at a "tougher" school.
My sister experiences this same atmopshere in Montville Township schools. She's complained about it before also. My sister-in-law had both extremes, teaching in Phillipsburg (almost no parental involvement, and discipline problems) as well as Long Valley, which more closely resembles Montville. She preferred the latter over the former.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:44 PM
 
9,372 posts, read 5,691,762 times
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Originally Posted by TheGambler View Post
But my question has always been whether these "lower performing" districts are actually, genuinely lower-performing. Or if they could, perhaps, be larger and encompass a broader range of students from different backgrounds. That's not really on the teachers or the curriculum coordinators.

My argument has always been that, generally, students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, whether they go to school in a so-called "high ranked" district or an average-ranked district, will perform about the same. If you took all of, let's say, Ocean County's rich kids and matched them up with Essex County's rich kids, they'd come out about the same. If you took kids from the pine barrens part of Ocean County and matched them up with kids from out in the boonies up in northwest Jersey, they'd probably perform similarly.

I think what you have in different parts of the state is a different geographical layout which contributes to these things. In North Jersey, many of these districts are either rich or poor, and they perform as such. In South Jersey and the Shore area, districts (and high schools) pull from many towns, some absolutely ultra-rich and some working class, moderate income. So these different backgrounds contribute the lower average scores.

I agree that teachers (like anyone else) want the best working environment, but quite frankly it seems like we have a glut of teachers anyway, and if you're not the best, you can kiss your chance of getting a job goodbye anyway.
The single most important factor correlating with student success is teacher quality (generally speaking having a degree or advanced degree in ones field) even taking into account socioeconomic effects.

http://www.politicalscience.uncc.edu...20outcomes.pdf

https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn...2003_Paper.pdf

Now socioeconomic factors a close second in terms of predicting student achievement but the reality is the better conditions and pay prevalent in many of those "rich" schools means they can attract and keep the best teachers which is at least as big a reason those schools are doing well, as the socioeconomic factors.

Heck Biotech, High Tech, and the rest of the MCVSD academies which are always the top schools in the state are proof of that. If it was a socioeconomic issue we would only have the wealthy kids from Holmdel and Rumson instead of the more diverse background we actually have.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:49 PM
 
9,372 posts, read 5,691,762 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansky View Post
Just to play devil's advocate, my brother once taught in a very elite school district in suburban Boston. The problem he found was in this type of school district the parents were so overly-involved in their child's education process that he actually found dealing with the parents to be worse than dealing with the students, and it ultimately led him to seek a different profession. My point is, teaching in the "best" district does not always mean a teacher's experience will be better than say, teaching at a "tougher" school.
That is why I was very careful in not saying ALWAYS. If you read my post you will notice I did say there are some very good teachers in some not so good schools.

In any population (and schools are a population in and of themselves) you will always have those outside the bell curve. But generally speaking good districts tend to have a better climate professionally and academically than their poorer counterparts.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:17 PM
 
3,536 posts, read 3,466,624 times
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Well if the best schools pay the best too, then yeah, why wouldn't a teacher want to go there?

I know a lot of inner-city schools will often pay pretty well, but a teacher will probably take a bit of a pay cut to teach at a top school instead of teaching in the inner-city. But if an above-average school paid better than the top school, I'd bet a lot of people would take the above-average job, both for the money and the point about the parents, which I thought about as well.

But I agree with the point that some schools are probably ranked higher because the area it's in doesn't have any "bad" areas. Even if socioeconomic status isn't the most important factor, it's still important, and as far as test scores and stuff go, a school full of rich kids with good teachers will probably do better overall than a school with some rich kids and some lower-income kids even if their teachers are a little better. That's why you can't really compare most private schools to public schools, because for the most part the only people at the private schools are the ones that can afford to go there.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:19 PM
 
Location: North Brunswick
877 posts, read 1,585,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Actually you are more likely to find better teachers (in terms of certification and education both of which correlate strongest to student achievement) in the better school systems.

When I was getting a teaching job, only 6 years ago, I got offered jobs at six different districts and had my pick. While pay was only slightly higher at the "better schools" and the commute slightly farther away, I still absolutely chose the best academic district. What teacher wouldn't? The best teachers will have the most choices about where to teach and the majority of them will choose the better behaved students, better professional opportunities and the better money to be had in the "better" districts.

Combine that with the much lower turnover rates at the better performing schools and you can see how eventually the majority of better teachers would end up at the better districts.

Now obviously there are some great teachers at the lower performing districts too, I am not claiming otherwise, just that there will likely be more of the better teachers in the better districts.
I had a field placement in Hasbrouck Heights and then substitute taught in Piscataway. Out of the two, Piscataway had better teachers who really cared about the students and better quality education overall. Piscataway also paid its subs at a higher rate than HH or Manalapan as well. And generally, from what I have heard, the best paying districts in the state are the Abbotts for the sole reason that the teachers have to put up with more rowdy kids. The Abbotts have more money since they receive special state funding.

While kids in low income areas may be rowdy and disorderly, dealing with students in ultra-rich areas, especially new money areas, won't be any easier, especially if those rich kids are spoiled brats who, along with their parents, will tell you their parents have better degrees than you do and generally act condescending toward the teacher and do all they could to get their little angels out of trouble each time.

Someone here once mentioned about interviewing for a job in Marlboro's district. They told him/her that the students will tell teachers their parents have better degrees and that when there is an issue between a parent and a teacher, administration will side with the parents. I'd rather be in a district where administration supports and sticks up for its teachers.

What surprises me even more is how districts still manage to rank good even after teachers get bogged down by spoiled brats and their arrogant parents with the whole "my son, my daughter, my way" attitude. I abandoned this profession for other reasons.
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