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Rupert Murdoch on US public schools


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A man who is responsible for a dumbing down of the culture though the most crass television programming on his broadcast television network, running a "news" network like a partisan propaganda mill, and dumbing down his print publications around the world has an awful lot of nerve to talk (while admitting some of the points are valid).

 

He could just afford to get the beam out his own eye before going all high and mighty.

 

Bill

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A man who is responsible for a dumbing down of the culture though the most crass television programming on his broadcast television network, running a "news" network like a partisan propaganda mill, and dumbing down his print publications around the world has an awful lot of nerve to talk (while admitting some of the points are valid).

 

He could just afford to get the beam out his own eye before going all high and mighty.

 

Bill

 

....but as you said his points are valid.

 

As to the crass TV, we agree, but it is across the board.

Edited by pqr
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....but as you said his points are valid.

 

As to the crass TV, we agree, but it is across the board.

 

I said "some." I saw the film recently with a group of teachers from my son's school including his current and former teacher from last year. It is an interesting film. Not particularly even-handed (as it is an advocacy piece) but many of the points are well taken. The teachers were generally supportive of the film-maker's point of view, in case you ere wondering.

 

As to crass television (not to mention crass print) I think Rupert Murdoch has lowered the bar more spectacularly that any other figure in the history of the medium.

 

Bill

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Pointless. Contains the same exact ideas contained in every other anti-ps article I've read in the last five years. Did he just have an intern throw something together for him after hitting Google for half an hour so he could cash in on the schools focus this week? Rupert Murdoch is pathetic.

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Back to the article, it does very succinctly sum up a lot of the problems in US schools. It only needed the famous quote from the past president of the UFT and later the AFT - "When school children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll start representing the interests of school children."

 

I think he is right that school choice is a viable option that could do a lot of good. It certainly has where I live. Don't know if the teachers unions will ever be open to change. I liked Rhee's program. She wanted to give teachers two options. One -stay in the current contract, no changes. Two - Opt for a merit system. Outstanding teachers could earn much more, but no tenure and job security. I was amazed that the union blasted her for that. My DC teacher friends loved the idea and were quite ready to sign up for option 2.

Edited by MSNative
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Pointless. Contains the same exact ideas contained in every other anti-ps article I've read in the last five years. Did he just have an intern throw something together for him after hitting Google for half an hour so he could cash in on the schools focus this week? Rupert Murdoch is pathetic.

 

What exactly was "pointless"? Specifics please. it seems you may be letting a viseral hatred of the author color your comments.

 

I found the article to be an interesting compliation of ideas. Yes it is anti-ps but it is difficult not to be these days, especially when one looks at the hash they have made of educating children. I grant that there were few ideas that I had not read of before, but this was put together to cover many of them and given the fact that it references recent events is perhaps somewhat more valid than a 5 year old article.

 

Again what was pointless? Does something have to be new and cutting edge not to be pointless?

Edited by pqr
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I fail to see why a gang has gathered to trash Rupert Murdoch's business ventures, as if these make this article any less true, unworthy of reading (which it appears they didn't), etc.

 

The facts he states are valid.

 

Many other tenured educational specialists in America agree with him, such as Diane Ravitch (in her most recent book).

 

And many business moghuls have been descrying the failure of the American educational system for some of these very reasons for a number of years now, such as Bill Gates.

 

Gatto has written about this problem at length for years....

 

Good, valid article. Thanks for posting it....

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Here's an article that mentions what Bill Gates thinks of American education. Is HE liberal enough to read without trashing? This business of a gang gathering to trash things without considering them is simply ridiculous....

 

http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2010/01/23/bill-gates-at-sundance/

 

In case you can't be bothered to READ, here's the specific quote:

 

"I got to talk with Gates at a party following a premiere of the movie. Bill– he told me I could call him "Bill"– talked about the excitement he has for the film and how important it is that people understand what is going on with public schools in America. He believes the way the schools are set up now works for adults, for unions, and for bureaucracy, but not for kids. And, that needs to change."

 

READING is fundamental.....

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Here's an article that mentions what Bill Gates thinks of American education. Is HE liberal enough to read without trashing? This business of a gang gathering to trash things without considering them is simply ridiculous....

 

:iagree:

 

"I got to talk with Gates at a party following a premiere of the movie. Bill– he told me I could call him "Bill"– talked about the excitement he has for the film and how important it is that people understand what is going on with public schools in America. He believes the way the schools are set up now works for adults, for unions, and for bureaucracy, but not for kids. And, that needs to change."

 

Go, Bill!

 

 

 

.

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I fail to see why a gang has gathered to trash Rupert Murdoch's business ventures, as if these make this article any less true, unworthy of reading (which it appears they didn't), etc.

 

 

It's 'cause it was Fox News. I'm beginning to wonder if it's the new derangement syndrome. No, I don't wish to discuss the quality of Fox News, I know the general opinion of it by many. I can't confirm or deny it either, since I don't get cable. I'm only pointing out how certain names shut down thinking for emotional reactions, which does not actually improve understanding, but further divides.

 

I, for one, would like to hear some discussion of the points in the article. If Fox or Murdoch are at it again with the "spinning of partisan lies", I'd like specifics pointed out, please. Broad dismissal tends to simply shut down discussion.

 

What does he have wrong? If he is right, what is reason for it, and what the answer?

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It's 'cause it was Fox News. I'm beginning to wonder if it's the new derangement syndrome. No, I don't wish to discuss the quality of Fox News, I know the general opinion of it by many. I can't confirm or deny it either, since I don't get cable. I'm only pointing out how certain names shut down thinking for emotional reactions, which does not actually improve understanding, but further divides.

 

I, for one, would like to hear some discussion of the points in the article. If Fox or Murdoch are at it again with the "spinning of partisan lies", I'd like specifics pointed out, please. Broad dismissal tends to simply shut down discussion.

 

What does he have wrong? If he is right, what is reason for it, and what the answer?

 

:iagree:

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I'm only pointing out how certain names shut down thinking for emotional reactions, which does not actually improve understanding, but further divides.

 

 

 

The bolded part...that gives a nice, brief explanation of the overreactions and drama by the "same" people on here. Toss logic, get emotional, rinse, lather, repeat, etc. etc. etc.

 

I'm off to read the article.

Edited by Texas T
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"In the existing system, we have incentives for almost everything unrelated to performance (seniority, tenure, etc.) and zero incentive for adapting new technologies that could help learning inside and outside the classroom. On top of it all, we have chancellors, superintendents and principals who can't hire and fire based on performance."

 

This is one of the biggest problems. I read an article a few years ago basically backing up and defending the rights of the teachers and the inability to fire them regardless of how poorly they are doing. There is so much to do with the teacher's "rights". :glare: That's what the wonderful teacher's union has done. It really does have very little (I'm being gracious there) to do with what is best for children.

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I said "some." I saw the film recently with a group of teachers from my son's school including his current and former teacher from last year. Bill

 

You don't homeschool your son? :confused: I had always thought that was why you were on the homeschool boards??

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I don't care how horrible some teachers are. Most teachers are ok. The only way schools are going to be fixed is if the parents of those dc start to care, make their dc do their homework and provide a safe, loving homes.

 

You can provide an excellent education without much money. Homeschoolers do it all the time.

 

Most teachers can't be so involved in their jobs that they become "parents" to their students. There are a few rare cases like Ron Clark who were able to do that. He went his students homes, gave free tutoring, ect...When I was teaching, there was no way I could be that involved with my students unless I neglected my family.

 

Schools provide an OPPORTUNITY for students to learn. PARENTS have to MAKE them utilize the opportunity.

 

The government knows this, we know this, but nobody wants to admit the REAL PROBLEM THAT MOST OF THESE DC PARENT'S DONT CARE!!!!!!! IF they did, they would be backing the schools when dc are disciplined, keep constant communication with teachers, make their dc study and making sure their dc are prepared for the next school day.

 

Problem is, the schools CAN'T FIX THE REAL PROBLEM, because school are not the problem, PARENTS ARE!!!!!!:leaving:

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I don't care how horrible some teachers are. Most teachers are ok. The only way schools are going to be fixed is if the parents of those dc start to care, make their dc do their homework and provide a safe, loving homes.

 

You can provide an excellent education without much money. Homeschoolers do it all the time.

 

Most teachers can't be so involved in their jobs that they become "parents" to their students. There are a few rare cases like Ron Clark who were able to do that. He went his students homes, gave free tutoring, ect...When I was teaching, there was no way I could be that involved with my students unless I neglected my family.

 

Schools provide an OPPORTUNITY for students to learn. PARENTS have to MAKE them utilize the opportunity.

 

The government knows this, we know this, but nobody wants to admit the REAL PROBLEM THAT MOST OF THESE DC PARENT'S DONT CARE!!!!!!! IF they did, they would be backing the schools when dc are disciplined, keep constant communication with teachers, make their dc study and making sure their dc are prepared for the next school day.

 

Problem is, the schools CAN'T FIX THE REAL PROBLEM, because school are not the problem, PARENTS ARE!!!!!!:leaving:

 

:iagree:

 

(I'm an afterschooler too.)

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I don't care how horrible some teachers are. Most teachers are ok.

 

 

I used to be able to agree with that, but I can't anymore. I don't think most teachers are "ok" because most teachers now are products of the same sadly diminished and woefully inadequate system that we, Murdoch and Gates are complaining about right now.

 

They have been educated in this dismal system and they are NOT equipped enough to function at the level required to be a good teacher. Add to that the fact that they are tied down by the system and by the ridiculously dumbed-down tripe that passes for "textbooks" and "curriculum" in most systems, and you get what is, in my not so humble opinion, an ineffectual and impotent teacher populace.

 

The more older teachers retire and burn out, the more they are replaced by these products of the sick system. It's like a self-replenishing replicator of educational neglect.

 

I think the article (coming back to the OP) makes some good, albeit old, points. Teaching to the test is a hideous practice. It isn't education. It's pumping for funding. Until funding is untied from standardized test results, that is unlikely to change. Sad fact, that. I wish he hadn't brought up the "American Idol" reference -- so cliché and lowest-common-denominator as a reference. It isn't an adequate analogy to education, IMO. AI is a popularity contest. Education shouldn't be a contest, except to compete against oneself for greater knowledge and mastery of such.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that schools (and the institutions that support them, e.g. unions) are there to protect the jobs of the adults, not to ensure the education of the children. The way that bad teachers are protected and shuffled around reminds me of the way that bad priests used to be treated. Surely the teachers' infractions are less egregious (one would hope), but still egregious nonetheless, as is the system that is set up to protect them and perpetuate them.

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"In the existing system, we have incentives for almost everything unrelated to performance (seniority, tenure, etc.) and zero incentive for adapting new technologies that could help learning inside and outside the classroom. On top of it all, we have chancellors, superintendents and principals who can't hire and fire based on performance."

 

This is one of the biggest problems. I read an article a few years ago basically backing up and defending the rights of the teachers and the inability to fire them regardless of how poorly they are doing. There is so much to do with the teacher's "rights". :glare: That's what the wonderful teacher's union has done. It really does have very little (I'm being gracious there) to do with what is best for children.

 

 

You know, not everything about education should be about what is best for the children, because teachers are people too. I'm sure the compromise between teachers rights and students rights could a heck of a lot better than our current arrangements though. The other side of the coin is that a lack of tenure is one important reasons that keeps beginning teachers from progressing. When there isn't tenture, the beginning teachers get their bottoms kicked for not teaching as though they have 20 years experience. No diploma or training period shorter than 20 years will give a graduate 20 years experience in a classroom. And graduates are at the age where they want to get married and buy a house. They can't (or are stupid if they do) do that while they are on a yearly contract and don't know if they will still have a job next year. I don't know how it works in the US, but over here, the contract teacher won't get paid for the summer if he/she doesn't get another teaching job for the following year. That leaves them competing with the students they were teaching last week in trying to get summer work at Starbucks. If they are extremely unlucky in their teaching subject, they might spend the summer writing their curriculum just in case they do keep their job.

 

If you don't think teachers should have rights, well, I really don't know what to say. No one in any field works at a high level of productivity when morale is low. Bad pay, bad conditions, little respect from anyone, an obligation to provide excellent outcomes using ridiculous methods, way too much unpaid over time, etc.

 

Being unable to fire complete idiots is a bad thing. That weirdo we had who used to sing opera in class (biology class, not drama or something) should have been fired, no doubt. But there has to be some protection so people don't get fired for being graduates, or because the English Co-ordinator only likes fawning, young blondes.

 

I would say that a major problem is that so few people stop to think what an education is and should be. It is not 'whatever it is that's happening at school.' It is not marks on standardised tests, nor A's on a report card. It certainly isn't the newness of the carpet or the paint job done before the open day :glare: Of course, if people have had a substandard education, they might not know how to think about this topic, or that they should. My mother quit school at year 9 and was never any good at maths, but she could tell if I was being taught worse than she was. Imagining much higher than your own experiences is not easy, as we know.

 

Rosie

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The big element missing from the film Waiting for Superman and Rupert Murdoch's article cribbed from seeing the film, is the issue of parental responsibility as Tabrett rightly identified.

 

It does not let failing schools and individual failing teacher "off the hook" entirely to say that parents are often failing their children, but schools can not do it all. No matter how "good" they are.

 

I'm on this forum because I know I need to be involved in my son's education. I see attending to that education as part of my duty.

 

My wife and I both educate our son at home, and she is very active in the school where she heads up the parent's organization and works closely with the principal to pay for extra teaches, computer labs and teacher, art teachers, aids in the classrooms, technologies like Smart Boards and a whole array of other tools.

 

It would be blind of me to think that parents in impoverished areas who may not be well educated themselves, can't "fundraise" in the same way parents at our school can, and get the worst teacher in the classroom are on an even playing field. They are not.

 

The problems that need to be overcome are complex. But if parents are not actively involved in their children's education it is doubtful any "reform" is going to make much of a difference.

 

The charter schools that excel (and most don't do measurably better than public schools) succeed in large measure because they attract parents who support the teachers and the school and their student work in and out of school.

 

Bill

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I don't care how horrible some teachers are.

Problem is, the schools CAN'T FIX THE REAL PROBLEM, because school are not the problem, PARENTS ARE!!!!!!:leaving:

 

There is much about this to which I agree completely, which is why I'm not that interested in "Waiting for Superman", from what I've been told. It doesn't put the blame far enough into the hands where it belongs. (Well, that and the fact that I'm pretty libertarian in my school views and not interested in yet one more reform of the system - perhaps a different topic.)

 

Really, even if schools are rotten and they hold some blame, whose fault is it for putting up with them instead of demanding change? Whose fault is it for sticking their children into a class with a rotten teacher instead of demanding the school do something? You may get one parent in a class who tries, but one just isn't enough. Again, I don't let schools off the hook. I do think unions have their own agenda that isn't for the children. I do think they have mucked around waaay too much with different experimental ideas, then kept them because they sound good and they invested money, when they don't work. However, even then, the buck stops with the parents.

 

So that begs the question: What happened to parenting? Why do parents no longer care? Some never did, but the problem is rampant now, where it wasn't the case 50-70 years ago.

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I agree with Dot....Murdoch is a bottom feeder!

 

Bill is absolutely spot on about parental involvement. If I had a dime for every single parent I have listened to rant about "the teacher didn't do yada, yada" all they while they were raising nothing more than a feral cat for the system to attempt to educate, I'd be one very wealthy lady. It is about time that a whole lot of parents step up to the plate and decide that their job does not end when the three year old goes to preschool!

 

And Audrey is my HERO for pointing out that the system is self-perpetuating.

 

Faith

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I don't care how horrible some teachers are. Most teachers are ok.

 

I wholly agree with the absolute need for parental involvement, but would like to know what you are basing the above on.

 

In my view most teachers are NOT OK, they are substandard at best. Living overseas I have seen many American teachers who are very good, they teach in many of the international schools, and one might not want to hear what they say about their counterparts in the States.

 

I support full parental involvement, uniforms etc, but the fact remains that many teachers are simply incapable of teaching hence illiterates in high school.

 

When I arrived in the US the ps I attended included an English teacher who could not spell (I still have the assessment she wrote on me, replete with spelling errors), a social sciences teacher who had never heard of the nation I came from, a science teacher who had limited knowledge and a math teacher who had no grasp of basic mathematics concepts. These teachers were all very "nice" people but were terrible teachers. When I think back to my ps experience I can list on one hand the number of good teachers that I had. Now private schools, overseas schools,.... there I saw magnificent teachers.

 

One of the many reasons that ps education is failing is that the teachers are NOT good. It may be a "sacred cow" to claim that ps teachers are, on the whole good, but I have seen little evidence of this.

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that it's the system itself that is so broken. It's a lot easier to blame the little people actually trying to do the every day work.

 

 

Blame the system, I agree, blame parents, I agree, but let's be honest here we also need to blame the teachers and their little union as well.

 

I have been to public schools, private schools, overseas schools and HSed and the worst teachers, by far, were in US public schools.

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I used to be able to agree with that, but I can't anymore. I don't think most teachers are "ok" because most teachers now are products of the same sadly diminished and woefully inadequate system that we, Murdoch and Gates are complaining about right now.

 

They have been educated in this dismal system and they are NOT equipped enough to function at the level required to be a good teacher. Add to that the fact that they are tied down by the system and by the ridiculously dumbed-down tripe that passes for "textbooks" and "curriculum" in most systems, and you get what is, in my not so humble opinion, an ineffectual and impotent teacher populace.

 

The more older teachers retire and burn out, the more they are replaced by these products of the sick system. It's like a self-replenishing replicator of educational neglect.

 

I think the article (coming back to the OP) makes some good, albeit old, points. Teaching to the test is a hideous practice. It isn't education. It's pumping for funding. Until funding is untied from standardized test results, that is unlikely to change. Sad fact, that. I wish he hadn't brought up the "American Idol" reference -- so cliché and lowest-common-denominator as a reference. It isn't an adequate analogy to education, IMO. AI is a popularity contest. Education shouldn't be a contest, except to compete against oneself for greater knowledge and mastery of such.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that schools (and the institutions that support them, e.g. unions) are there to protect the jobs of the adults, not to ensure the education of the children. The way that bad teachers are protected and shuffled around reminds me of the way that bad priests used to be treated. Surely the teachers' infractions are less egregious (one would hope), but still egregious nonetheless, as is the system that is set up to protect them and perpetuate them.

:iagree:

 

And what about those parents - like me and my dh - that did the very best we could and it still wasn't enough for our dc to succeed in public school? Whose fault is that? Ill educated and inadequate teachers and administrators in our case. We had one teacher that I felt should not be in a classroom. The others worked hard but what it boiled down to were principals and assistant principals who insisted on not following our kids IEP's. That's got nothing to do with failure on the part of me and DH. It's not fair for us to have to hire a lawyer to force them to follow federal law when it comes to our kids.

 

IMO, the start to the solution is the NEA. It's got a stranglehold. Tenure based SOLELY on the fact that you've been a teacher in a classroom for x number of years needs to stop. Base it on many different things.

 

I don't have the solution but I know the system doesn't work for us and it wasn't our fault that it didn't.

 

I'm sick of the knee jerk - it's the parents reaction. It's just as bad as it's all the teachers, unions, etc. It's not one thing - it's several.

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In the schools I have taugh at, most teacher have been ok. There were some that were horrible. I can't base an entire school of maybe 100 teacher where maybe 5 were really bad. I have worked with bad teachers. I have been a bad teacher. Let me explain. I am a former music teacher. Before being hired at my previous job, I was a long term sub. I subbed for 8th grade general math and algebra. I subbed for the last nine weeks of school. I was the ONLY certified teacher the school could find to take over the class. I did the best I could. I wasn't a great teacher because I'm not a math teacher. I did the best I could. The next year (after I was hired as the choir director) I assisted the new math teacher for 6th grade for one class of struggling students. She was horrible! Wanna know why? She was an English teacher. She was the ONLY certified teacher the school could find. The school kept her for one semester before transferring her to preschool. Transfers were the only way to rid a school of a bad teacher where I live. Most of the teachers I know who were teaching in their field were ok.

Their is a big shortage of higher level teacher and many school are having to hire any certified teacher, wether it is for thier correct subject or not.

 

How do you correct a problem like this? There simply aren't enough teachers.

 

My dd attended public high school for 2 years. Last year she lost 3 teachers, English, geomentry and science. It took several MONTHS for the schools to find certified teachers to replace the ones that left. I talked to the principal and he said they just.could.not.find any available teachers! He said he was trying very hard. He was a truthful man I liked, who wanted the best for my child, and was willing go give my dd a transfer if she didn't get into the arts school.

 

It is not a matter of just getting rid of the "bad" teacher. You have to have someone to replace the bad teacher and they don't exist.

 

No one wants the job.

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Blame the system, I agree, blame parents, I agree, but let's be honest here we also need to blame the teachers and their little union as well.

 

I have been to public schools, private schools, overseas schools and HSed and the worst teachers, by far, were in US public schools.

 

I'm glad you didn't point to your mom as the worst.:tongue_smilie:

 

 

 

There is plenty of blame to go around in the ps system.

 

I taught high school for just 3 years before my daughter was born.

 

The first principal I served under was amazing. In a school with approx. 60 classrooms, he was in every teacher's class at least one time each day. He knew without a shadow of a doubt what was going on in his school. He knew the teachers, and he knew the kids. The second principal was a good person, but NOT a good administrator. We had 6 fights in one week. In one of the fights, 3 teachers were injured trying to break it up (as well as the students fighting). Not every week was disrupted by fights, but they were relatively common. Different administrator, different atmosphere in the school.

 

There were teachers who did a great job. I did a good job. I worked at teaching the kids, but I got better each year. You just can't make up for experience. Then there were the teachers who showed movies every week because they had tenure and could get away with it. The teacher down the hall from me was horrific. She didn't even have tenure, but her husband was a "Very Important" coach. As a Spanish II teacher, I saw kids from my own Spanish I classes and three other teacher's classes. The dept. head's kids were outstanding. Mine and one other's held their own. The other teacher's kids were all subpar. The teacher does make a noticeable difference.

 

Within my classes, I could tell with about 95% accuracy which students came from intact families within the first two weeks. I could tell which ones came from really rough circumstances. And, I could tell which ones were from military families. Parental support/life situation definately affects student behavior/success.

 

Then there are the decisions made by the school board that impact the quality of education.

 

There are many variables that make up ps education. The thing is - you can't give the average student a different family or life situation. You can't MAKE a parent care about their child's education. So, while that is a factor in the quality of education, you can't change that variable. You can change some of the other variables.

 

Tenure came about because teachers were being treated unfairly. For example, teachers would be let go one year before they would qualify for pensions. But, the teachers unions have taken it ridiculously far. Teachers should be given merit pay. A school district should be able to fire incompetent and lazy teachers. There should be higher standards for educating teachers. I passed my state exam before I took my education classes. And I scored in the upper quadrile when I took it.

 

School adminstrators and school policies can also be changed. It would be worthwhile to challenge school boards who are not doing a good job, because that is something the public can do. You can't fire the parents.

Edited by Meriwether
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IMO, the start to the solution is the NEA. It's got a stranglehold. Tenure based SOLELY on the fact that you've been a teacher in a classroom for x number of years needs to stop. Base it on many different things.

 

I don't have the solution but I know the system doesn't work for us and it wasn't our fault that it didn't.

 

I'm sick of the knee jerk - it's the parents reaction. It's just as bad as it's all the teachers, unions, etc. It's not one thing - it's several.

:iagree:

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I'm glad you didn't point to your mom as the worst.:tongue_smilie:

 

 

 

There is plenty of blame to go around in the ps system.

 

I taught high school for just 3 years before my daughter was born.

 

The first principal I served under was amazing. In a school with approx. 60 classrooms, he was in every teacher's class at least one time each day. He knew without a shadow of a doubt what was going on in his school. He knew the teachers, and he knew the kids. The second principal was a good person, but NOT a good administrator. We had 6 fights in one week. In one of the fights, 3 teachers were injured trying to break it up (as well as the students fighting). Not every week was disrupted by fights, but they were relatively common. Different administrator, different atmosphere in the school.

 

There were teachers who did a great job. I did a good job. I worked at teaching the kids, but I got better each year. You just can't make up for experience. Then there were the teachers who showed movies every week because they had tenure and could get away with it. The teacher down the hall from me was horrific. She didn't even have tenure, but her husband was a "Very Important" coach. As a Spanish II teacher, I saw kids from my own Spanish I classes and three other teacher's classes. The dept. head's kids were outstanding. Mine and one other's held their own. The other teacher's kids were all subpar. The teacher does make a noticeable difference.

 

Within my classes, I could tell with about 95% accuracy which students came from intact families within the first two weeks. I could tell which ones came from really rough circumstances. And, I could tell which ones were from military families. Parental support/life situation definately affects student behavior/success.

 

Then there are the decisions made by the school board that impact the quality of education.

 

There are many variables that make up ps education. The thing is - you can't give the average student a different family or life situation. You can't MAKE a parent care about their child's education. So, while that is a factor in the quality of education, you can't change that variable. You can change some of the other variables.

 

Tenure came about because teachers were being treated unfairly. For example, teachers would be let go one year before they would qualify for pensions. But, the teachers unions have taken it ridiculously far. Teachers should be given merit pay. A school district should be able to fire incompetent and lazy teachers. There should be higher standards for educating teachers. I passed my state exam before I had took my education classes. And I scored in the upper quadrile when I took it.

 

School adminstrators and school policies can also be changed. It would be worthwhile to challenge school boards who are not doing a good job, because that is something the public can do. You can't fire the parents.

 

Nicely put. Don't get me wrong I know that there are SOME very good teachers in ps and I know that the lot of a ps teacher is, in some cases, unenviable....but on the main I have not been impressed. If it were possible to, as you say, fire the bad and the lazy and modify tenure so that effort was still required it may go some way to improving the quality of the teachers. This would not fix the problem but at least the teacher would no longer be the impediment.

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Even if you did restructure the system so you could fire bad teachers, who are you going to get to replace them? The schools, around where I live have, a hard time finding and keeping teachers who are certified. I live in a place that many people desire to live and our schools are relativity safe and very nice. I never feared for my dd when she was in public school. I like the middle school I taught at and thought it was a good school.

If a place like where I live has a hard time finding and keeping teachers, what is it like in a rough neighborhood?

 

How are you going to get people who would be good teachers to teach? How many people on this board were good teachers and didn't want to put up with it any more?

 

I think many schools don't have a choice about firing bad teachers. They have to have someone in the classroom and there isn't anyone to replace them with.

 

How can you get quality teachers when they can find other employment that makes lots more money with a much better environment?

 

Most teachers are nice men and women who love kids, not the best experts in their field.

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Just a handful of years ago charter schools and vouchers where politically untenable on the left. It's nice to see folks on the left like Davis Guggenheim get real, abandon the teachers unions, and support real reform.

 

As to Murdoch, he's a bit of a genius. :001_smile:

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Problem is, the schools CAN'T FIX THE REAL PROBLEM, because school are not the problem, PARENTS ARE!!!!!!:leaving:

 

I remember the John Stossel bit on public education a few years back. He interviewed a mother who was complaining that the school system graduated her son even though he couldn't read. I was screaming at the tv, "Where have you been for the last 18 years?"

 

However, I think that a good many teachers are not as proficient in their subject matter as they should be (Liping Ma anyone?), and the teachers who are excellent are really unable to do what they know how to do because of the crippling effects of bureaucracies and teaching to the tests. I'm in Texas, the land of (nearly obsolete :hooray:) TAKS test and it really has tied the hands of even the very best teachers.

 

If the control of schools was left to a more local level, and people who never actually lay eyes on the children were not the ones making decisions on how to educate them, I think you would end up with much better teachers and more parental involvement. This effect, I believe, would be similar in upper and lower income areas, because ownership changes things.

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How can you get quality teachers when they can find other employment that makes lots more money with a much better environment?

 

Most teachers are nice men and women who love kids, not the best experts in their field.

 

After getting credentialed and completing student teaching, I took a position at a community college with a 45 mile drive one way, for less money and teaching year-round, to avoid teaching at any high school.

 

At the cc I generally teach the same math (or lower) than I'd teach if I were in a high school. But if a student doesn't do the work, they fail. They don't stay in the classroom to disrupt the class. I don't have to assign them a 50 even if they do no work (yes, that's the requirement in the districts here).

 

If I had to, I'd teach in the public school, but things would have to be very dire for me to. I worked fast food in high school. It was a much easier job than teaching at the public school - and I felt that I got more respect.

And I did my student teaching back in the mid-90s. I can't imagine how rough it is now. :(

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Yes, and a large variety of people from ALL political parties and thought affiliations have been saying the SAME things about the problems with education for AT LEAST the past five years. The Gates foundation is even now getting involved with the making of that film I linked in order to try to get the word out better and spur more debate on the subject.

 

To totally dismiss an entire subject as moot just because you don't like ONE person who comments on it is simply ridiculous! We NEED debate on this subject in our country. We NEED to get our educational system changed.

 

I would have loved to have felt able to put my children in public school - but I knew that the system would not be changing before they were grown up and I didn't want to throw them to the wolves just because I had hopes that the system would change *someday*. It has not changed one whit and my older son has now graduated and moved on to college. I don't anticipate it changing before my younger son is ready to graduate in the next 5 1/2 years, either.

 

I am willing to roll up my sleeves and help work within the education system to make it better for all children. I would love to see change begin to happen. But until some major changes are made in the way our education system works, that's just not going to happen.... I'm not willing to help one little bit with the system currently in place. If and when changes are made that will result in some meaningful differences for the students, then I'll be first in line to volunteer my services....

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Being unable to fire complete idiots is a bad thing. That weirdo we had who used to sing opera in class (biology class, not drama or something) should have been fired, no doubt. But there has to be some protection so people don't get fired for being graduates, or because the English Co-ordinator only likes fawning, young blondes.

 

 

Rosie

 

This!! I am not saying teachers have no rights. I wish I could find the article I read about this topic. In some of the areas spoken of in the article, there was basically nothing that could be done with a bad teacher. There were no avenues for firing, even with the really bad ones who had had repeated offenses. I do agree that parents are part of the problem, but the system itself is so very flawed...I don't think anyone in America could honestly argue that we don't have one messed-up school system. It's not all because of bad teachers. It's not all parents. It's not all the system. The teacher's union is a. big. big. problem!!!!!

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I used to be able to agree with that, but I can't anymore. I don't think most teachers are "ok" because most teachers now are products of the same sadly diminished and woefully inadequate system that we, Murdoch and Gates are complaining about right now.

 

They have been educated in this dismal system and they are NOT equipped enough to function at the level required to be a good teacher. Add to that the fact that they are tied down by the system and by the ridiculously dumbed-down tripe that passes for "textbooks" and "curriculum" in most systems, and you get what is, in my not so humble opinion, an ineffectual and impotent teacher populace.

 

The more older teachers retire and burn out, the more they are replaced by these products of the sick system. It's like a self-replenishing replicator of educational neglect.

 

I think the article (coming back to the OP) makes some good, albeit old, points. Teaching to the test is a hideous practice. It isn't education. It's pumping for funding. Until funding is untied from standardized test results, that is unlikely to change. Sad fact, that. I wish he hadn't brought up the "American Idol" reference -- so cliché and lowest-common-denominator as a reference. It isn't an adequate analogy to education, IMO. AI is a popularity contest. Education shouldn't be a contest, except to compete against oneself for greater knowledge and mastery of such.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that schools (and the institutions that support them, e.g. unions) are there to protect the jobs of the adults, not to ensure the education of the children. The way that bad teachers are protected and shuffled around reminds me of the way that bad priests used to be treated. Surely the teachers' infractions are less egregious (one would hope), but still egregious nonetheless, as is the system that is set up to protect them and perpetuate them.

 

Well said. Off to finish the thread.

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However, I think that a good many teachers are not as proficient in their subject matter as they should be (Liping Ma anyone?)

 

 

I think this is a very large part of the problem, but it's not just in the subject matter, it's in the character. Some are just in it for the job, and even if they're proficient, they don't really care much for the job itself. Part of me can't really blame them. The character of too many of the students make it a miserable job. It was a fairly miserable job in some places when these teachers were in school, (I remember kids provoking a teacher until the threw a desk, with one larger student actually bullying the teacher), spiraling that further downward by this generation.

 

Many who do care are victims of the same lower standards of education they are now putting the kids through. By the next generation, I wonder if teachers will be able to write in anything but text message abbreviations?

 

What people sometimes forget is that it took a few generations of this to get us to where we are. When I was a kid, schools were nothing like when my mother was a child. Today they look that much worse. It's a consistent pattern of decline at this point and I have no idea what is the answer.

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I was just wondering if Meriwether would expound on this comment. How exactly did military brats stick out from the crowd? Good? Bad? Please explain because I'm very curious about this comment. Thanks!

 

 

As a general rule I loved, loved, loved the military kids. I taught at Leavenworth so I had a handful of them each year. It is hard to explain how I could tell before I was told - it was a bunch of little things that added up to a pretty good bet. This is going to smack of stereotyping and not all of them fit the mold, but as a group they stood out from the general student population as being more respectful and more disciplined (about turning in homework, etc.) And the boys' pants weren't three sizes too big. I also liked parent/teacher conferences. It didn't matter if they were in civilian dress, you could see those military dads coming all the way down the hall. They took their kids educations very seriously.

 

My favorite memory in three years of teaching involved a military kid. It isn't nearly as funny in the retelling, but I'll tell it anyway. One of my students was a perfectionist. Her mom told me at one p/t conference that she wished she would loosen up a bit and not make her bed just one day. She was very intelligent and hardworking - a joy in the classroom. I was fortunate enough to have her for two years. On the last day of school, she was in my last hour Spanish II class. The first hour of the day had about 50% attendance. Each period I had fewer kids in class. By that last period it was C and three other students. I didn't hear the entire conversation, but she had obviously wanted to have her wild and crazy day and skip school, because I heard her say (clearly imitating her dad), "By golly, there is such a thing as Duty and Honor, and you're going to school!"

 

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the military kids - duty and honor.

Edited by Meriwether
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Even if you did restructure the system so you could fire bad teachers, who are you going to get to replace them? The schools, around where I live have, a hard time finding and keeping teachers who are certified. I live in a place that many people desire to live and our schools are relativity safe and very nice. I never feared for my dd when she was in public school. I like the middle school I taught at and thought it was a good school.

If a place like where I live has a hard time finding and keeping teachers, what is it like in a rough neighborhood?

 

How are you going to get people who would be good teachers to teach? How many people on this board were good teachers and didn't want to put up with it any more?

 

I think many schools don't have a choice about firing bad teachers. They have to have someone in the classroom and there isn't anyone to replace them with.

 

How can you get quality teachers when they can find other employment that makes lots more money with a much better environment?

 

Most teachers are nice men and women who love kids, not the best experts in their field.

 

 

I think you could find plenty of people willing to teach. Several friends and I have looked into it over the years. The problem is that even if you have a degree in Chemistry and want to teach Chemistry, often times you will have to complete several useless (for your field of interest) undergrad courses to make you eligible to even start a masters of education. I looked into teaching math or econ with an econ degree and math as one of my minors. I was told that I would have to take almost a full year of undergrad classes including geography and english. To teach math or econ?!! I can understand fleshing out the core subject but why on earth would I need geography to teach middle or high school math or econ? Amazingly, the local CC was happy to have me - sans geography class.

 

First thing I'd do (after breaking the union's stranglehold and allowing merit based employment) is eliminate useless teacher requirements. Anyone who has a degree in a subject ought to take some evaluation, classroom management, teacher skills (lesson planning, etc.), and student teaching classes for a semester and then let them teach!

 

As far as teacher pay - actually when you look at their total compensation, they are doing quite well. Many are well over 100K for a 36 week work year. Plus many of them can work hours that allow them to be home when their kids are home from school (no childcare costs).

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"Add about $48,000 each for state pension contribution (30% of salary) and at least $15,000/yr health insurance benefits. Then include 15 days sick leave payable at retirement if not used, 2 personal days/yr and up to $300,000 payment to the Teachers Retirement System by the local school district if they decide to take early retirement" http://www.cdobs.com/archive/featured/top-100-teacher-salaries-for-2009-average-160000/

 

Parents - absolutely have to be on board. Many are, though, and can't get their kids in decent schools. Charter schools around our area and many others have hundreds of kids waitlisted - desperate to get in.

 

Lastly we need to think about the students. They have to choose to get an education. The best teacher in the world can't make a resistant, lazy kid learn. A motivated kid can learn despite almost any obstacle - though as a society we should do our best to remove any obstacles.

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Blame the parents??? Why would the parents take control of their kids' educations? Hasn't the education establishment been trying to convince parents for the better part of a century that they can do it all, and do it better than you, and that you don't have to worry about it anymore?

 

Not a message I've ever heard from a teacher. Quite the opposite.

 

Bill

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Not a message I've ever heard from a teacher. Quite the opposite.

 

Bill

 

 

Sadly, Bill, I was told this by no less than 3 teachers here when we decided to homeschool ds. There are no other hs'ers in my town. How dare I buck the trend, and why did I think I was qualified to provide an education to my own child? I quickly shut them down by saying that if I could spend 6 years teaching grad students to deconstruct Shakespeare, then I was certainly well qualified to teach my kindergartener to read. Shut the snotty little *itches right up, it did.

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Not a message I've ever heard from a teacher. Quite the opposite.

 

Bill

 

When I had my own tutoring business in Oregon, it must have been a very common message. I had client after client come to me with their 5th grade child. They would tell me "Johnny or Jane has been having trouble since 1st grade. I've wanted to get them help but the teachers kept telling me that they had it covered and to let them deal with it. We're heading into middle school next year and I'm done waiting for them to deal with it. I want to hire you to step in and give them the help they need." It was good for my business but very bad for these kids who by this time were convinced that they could not read, write or do math from years of frustration and defeat.

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
typo
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Sadly, Bill, I was told this by no less than 3 teachers here when we decided to homeschool ds. There are no other hs'ers in my town. How dare I buck the trend, and why did I think I was qualified to provide an education to my own child? I quickly shut them down by saying that if I could spend 6 years teaching grad students to deconstruct Shakespeare, then I was certainly well qualified to teach my kindergartener to read. Shut the snotty little *itches right up, it did.

 

:D:D

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