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Old 04-30-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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The article Hoover Institution - Policy Review - Teacher Quality, Teacher Pay , mentions some interesting facts about teachers and our salaries.

I read part of the article, and what has always surprised me is that when it comes to teaching they always base teacher's effectiveness on our SAT/GPAs as if to say that a teacher having high SATs or GPA in college strongly correlates with student performance, when in actuality there are teachers who have high SAT scores and graduated from colleges with high GPA (Teach for America Teachers) and they still aren't effective in the classrooms as well. I'm sure being smart makes any teacher a better teacher over teachers who aren't as bright. But, guess what, that's why we have teacher's guides to help all teachers, especially for elementary teachers, who teach all subject matter, and who aren't multiple subject specialists, even though it's expected of us.

Have the researchers done studies on teachers who have high SAT scores and compared their student test results with teachers who don't? And in order for that research to be valid, did they measure that against all of the other threats to internal validity that must me added to the equation. What about the type of students teachers get, and how long has that teacher been teaching, and has that teacher taught a gate cluster, an ELL cluster, poor inner city kids, middle class white kids and etc. What programs did they use, what kind of parental support did that teacher get? So many variables play a part into student performance that it's practically ridiculous to say that a student performance is solely based on what SAT score or GPA that teacher earned in college.

Now with that said, a student's performance can be based on his teacher's knowledge of the material being taught. In other words, if I wasn't a good writer, then I won't be as effective teaching my students how to write. If I weren't a good math student, then more than likely, certain math concepts that I am required to teach would be difficult for me, and I may just over looks those concepts for the sake of not embarrasing myself.

But what bothers me about all of these studies against teachers is the fact that, no one looks at teaching as a calling. I do believe that teachers, who have that calling, has a God given gift. The researchers can do all of the studies they want, those teachers tend to be some of the most effective in the classroom because teaching comes to them naturally without having to be trained to do it.

Last edited by antredd; 04-30-2009 at 08:52 PM..
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:32 PM
 
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Good post and I just finished responding t0 your points in another thread. Teaching is an art and not a science. Your points are valid.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
Good post and I just finished responding t0 your points in another thread. Teaching is an art and not a science. Your points are valid.
Thanks, you inspired me to start a new thread on this very topic.
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles (Hollywood)
174 posts, read 490,749 times
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Irritating article from the Hoover Institution - but it expresses so many widely held beliefs today. It's a discouraging time to be teaching.

Most Corporate CEOs wouldn't last two weeks in the high school where I teach English. We have one "Teach for America" graduate of Cornell University. The kids torment her. She hates it at our school, and exudes a sense of despair at her contractual obligations. The parents of our kids are mostly recent immigrants from somewhere south of the border and deep in the third world. They understand nothing of what it takes to master academic material, but they whine when their child fails the course as a result of doing nothing in class. Our principal is relatively young and a product of the Los Angeles School system himself. He has great difficulty writing grammatical sentences, but is deeply concerned about the graduation rate of the school, so concerned that he is willing to pressure teachers to pass more illiterate adolescents.

When I hear the familiar Think Tank gobble-dy-**** about merit pay, I get a vision of teachers suddenly abandoning ship in south and east Los Angeles and standing in line at the Palos Verdes School District headquarters or somewhere at the far end of the San Fernando Valley where they will have an easier time of it and be viewed as better teachers on top of that fact.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,470 posts, read 18,739,913 times
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Originally Posted by skreem2 View Post
When I hear the familiar Think Tank gobble-dy-**** about merit pay, I get a vision of teachers suddenly abandoning ship in south and east Los Angeles and standing in line at the Palos Verdes School District headquarters or somewhere at the far end of the San Fernando Valley where they will have an easier time of it and be viewed as better teachers on top of that fact.
Pay needs to be related to labor market conditions, its simply supply and demand. If a company gets 1000 applications for 10 jobs the applicants will have very little room to demand a high salary.

Teachers need to be paid in relation to the labor market and their skills, not idiotic formulas that have nothing to do with the labor market or teaching skill.

Also, basing student performance on SAT scores or similar metrics is superior to basing it on their degrees/credits and how long they've been on the job. The latter has been shown to not be correlated with teacher quality. People that argue against merit pay, like to argue that since there is no perfect way to measure teachers that it should not be done. This I think is hogwash, as clearly a measure that is accurate the vast majority of the time is better than none at all. Will there be some innocent victims among the teachers? Yes. As a result teachers are in general against it, they prefer the current victims of the system, namely the students. But note that victimizing students has a consequence, kids with bad experiences grow up like me and fight against the system. And here I do not mean complaining on forums. My work is extremely destructive to the current teaching establishment and that is great motivation!

In my entire experience as a student I had the attitude that "if I understand the material, I don't need to study for tests". I never studied explicitly for tests and I always did well on them. Perhaps I could have done a little better in some cases if I studied for the actual testing, but it was a waste of time. There was no value in it. Anyhow, I think teaching is similar. If you focus on giving the students a good handle on the actual material good test scores will be a free bonus. As a result test scores offer a decent measure for teacher performance.

Last edited by user_id; 05-03-2009 at 04:50 PM..
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:35 PM
 
3,348 posts, read 5,853,020 times
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Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Pay needs to be related to labor market conditions, its simply supply and demand. If a company gets 1000 applications for 10 jobs the applicants will have very little room to demand a high salary.

Teachers need to be paid in relation to the labor market and their skills, not idiotic formulas that have nothing to do with the labor market or teaching skill.

Also, basing student performance on SAT scores or similar metrics is superior to basing it on their degrees/credits and how long they've been on the job. The latter has been shown to not be correlated with teacher quality. People that argue against merit pay, like to argue that since there is no perfect way to measure teachers that it should not be done. This I think is hogwash, as clearly a measure that is accurate the vast majority of the time is better than none at all. Will there be some innocent victims among the teachers? Yes. As a result teachers are in general against it, they prefer the current victims of the system, namely the students. But note that victimizing students has a consequence, kids with bad experiences grow up like me and fight against the system. And here I do not mean complaining on forums. My work is extremely destructive to the current teaching establishment and that is great motivation!

In my entire experience as a student I had the attitude that "if I understand the material, I don't need to study for tests". I never studied explicitly for tests and I always did well on them. Perhaps I could have done a little better in some cases if I studied for the actual testing, but it was a waste of time. There was no value in it. Anyhow, I think teaching is similar. If you focus on giving the students a good handle on the actual material good test scores will be a free bonus. As a result test scores offer a decent measure for teacher performance.
Test scores only measure one thing, how smart or not kids are in one part of town over another, without looking at the variables that play a BIG part into those test results. Then local cities use those test scores to base the value of their homes, to justify why or why not their homeowners want to send their kids to that particular school district.

Get this, if our kids score too high on the CST (CA STandards TEst), the state looks at the questions and throw them out because, they were too easy if the majority of our students got them right. Sometimes they change the format of the test in its entirety so that, I guess, they can keep us teachers guessing. That's why when I teach a concept to my students, I make sure I do it at the highest level possible so that they can answer any question in any format, and bascially still get it right. For example, if I am going to teach my kids how to find the perimeter, I give it to them in a word problem where they have to find the perimeter of a vegetable garden I want to plant, just giving them the length and width of two sides of my garden. They must understand that the perimeter means adding up all four sides around that garden and not just the two sides I gave them in order to get the right answer.

The mistake that some of us make as teachers, me included, was that if I teach to the test format, then my kids would score better. Not! I have been refining my teaching practices over and over these past years because I do believe that my kids can achieve and do well, which they generally do for a school district that has a very high hispanic or ELL and poor demographic.

Nevertheless, kids are not robots where if we just provide GOOD TEACHING from VERY EDUCATED and HIGH SAT SCORING people that would some how miraculously rub off on their students.

You should be commended for being a good test taker who didn't necessarily have to study. But you fall in that top 10% group of HIGH ACHIEVERS. But also, the reality is that 50% of our children fall in the middle 50% to very low quartile when you use the BELL CURVE. It just amazed me that when I was an undergraduate at UCLA, if I scored 80% on a test, which is technically passing but the majority of my classmates scored that or higher, my grade wasn't considered a B anymore but a C using that same Bell Curve. So even though we want 100% of our kids to be profecient, in reality only about 60% can technically can be proficient--because no one factors in attendance, what's going on at that child's house, whether or not that child has a true learning disability.

I will say this, until they reduce class sizes across America to the point where kids won't have to be crammed in those rooms, like I have in my 4th grade classroom of 34 students, so that their teacher can give them the individulized instruction they so desperately need, as well as DIFFERENTIATE the instruction, BY NOT TEACHING ONLY TO THE THE MIDDLE GROUP, but teaching all students at all of their levels, EFFECTIVELY, then maybe you would get higher results. Man, you really need to see what's truely happpening in our elementary schools, especially our inner city ones, and I think your attitude will be a lot different.

Teachers are doing the BEST we can under the societal ills--lack of good parenting, babies having babies, kids born addicted to drugs, kids raising themselves, kids growing up too fast, and kids who experience way too much adult issues our generation never had to deal with.

Last edited by antredd; 05-03-2009 at 05:55 PM..
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,470 posts, read 18,739,913 times
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Originally Posted by antredd View Post
Test scores only measure one thing, how smart or not kids are in one part of town over another, without looking at the variables that play a BIG part into those test results.
Test scores as a measure of teacher quality should NOT be based on a state or national standard. They should be local, that deals with much of what you're saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antredd View Post
You should be commended for being a good test taker who didn't necessarily have to study. But you fall in that top 10% group of HIGH ACHIEVERS
In primary and secondary school I did rather poorly. At least in secondary school I found giving teachers a hard time more amusing than the course work, which was dry and boring. I just hardly graduated from High School, honestly I don't even know how I graduated because I did zero work.

I only did well when I took some classes at the local community college and from there I kept "upgrading" to better quality universities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antredd View Post
I will say this, until they reduce class sizes across America to the point where kids won't have to be crammed in those rooms, like I have in my 4th grade classroom of 34 students...
I think this is hogwash. Class size is not an important metric in terms of education quality. California demonstrates this nicely, they have reduced class sizes and it resulted in a downgrade in education quality!

The students in a 40 student class will do better with an en excellent teacher than students in a 20 student class with a so-so teacher.

Increasing class sizes, tossing out the bad teachers, and increasing pay of the good teachers is one of the easiest ways to improve education that will cost the tax payers $0 (Since you are reducing the number of teachers, you can pay the ones you have more with no additional costs).


Quote:
Originally Posted by antredd View Post
Teachers are doing the BEST we can under the societal ills--lack of good parenting, babies having babies, kids born addicted to drugs....
Here is your problem, you want to talk about "Teachers". There are certainly some teachers that are doing their best. But there are many that are not! Cast the dead weight to the sea!
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:06 PM
 
Location: bay area
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I have several classmates that would love to be teachers but they cannot survive here in the bay area on that salary. Especially if that would be the only household income. Most of the teachers at my sons school are married women from two-income households. As far as merit pay, I dont think it would be fair. Someone teaching in Lafayette would have a totally different experience than a teacher teaching in Richmond. That is the problem with merit pay. Someone is going to have to teach in these difficult schools with all the stumbling blocks students have to deal with (poverty, crime, non-english speaking parents etc.) Its hard for kids to learn under those circumstances and in turn makes it harder on the teacher. Merit pay may make teachers run from these schools.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:15 PM
 
3,348 posts, read 5,853,020 times
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Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Test scores as a measure of teacher quality should NOT be based on a state or national standard. They should be local, that deals with much of what you're saying.


In primary and secondary school I did rather poorly. At least in secondary school I found giving teachers a hard time more amusing than the course work, which was dry and boring. I just hardly graduated from High School, honestly I don't even know how I graduated because I did zero work.

I only did well when I took some classes at the local community college and from there I kept "upgrading" to better quality universities.


I think this is hogwash. Class size is not an important metric in terms of education quality. California demonstrates this nicely, they have reduced class sizes and it resulted in a downgrade in education quality!

The students in a 40 student class will do better with an en excellent teacher than students in a 20 student class with a so-so teacher.

Increasing class sizes, tossing out the bad teachers, and increasing pay of the good teachers is one of the easiest ways to improve education that will cost the tax payers $0 (Since you are reducing the number of teachers, you can pay the ones you have more with no additional costs).



Here is your problem, you want to talk about "Teachers". There are certainly some teachers that are doing their best. But there are many that are not! Cast the dead weight to the sea!
Actually while we had classsize reduction, the test scores have been consistently going up. My school had an API in 1999 of 528, now we are at 756, and probably gain another 10-11 points this year. So what are you saying, we aren't doing our jobs at my school, we are not holding ourselves accountable?

I can speak for me, my individualy classroom API was 821, rivaling some of the nicer area school districts scores. The state of CA wants every school to be at least an 800 API school, and each year give or take 10-25 points I can individually help my kids, with GOD'S help, achieve and reach that 800 mark.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,470 posts, read 18,739,913 times
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Originally Posted by iluvcj View Post
Its hard for kids to learn under those circumstances and in turn makes it harder on the teacher. Merit pay may make teachers run from these schools.
Why is what? Why would it be any harder to measure merit in a poor school than a good school?
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