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Author Topic: What Teachers Want
TomDavidson
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Adam has pointed out that the method used by NCLB is particularly bad. [Smile]

That said, here's a problem: most of the people who have strong opinions (backed by data) on this issue are going to be professional educators, because the study of the process of education, the whole meta-narrative of pedagogy, tends to be something that teachers study more than anyone else. They're almost certainly going to belong to teacher's unions, too. So can we trust them?

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
So can we trust them?

Of course not. That would be like trusting scientists about global warming! [Wink]
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Grant
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I feel I am moving around in a circle with no answers.

According to professional educators, who study education and pedagogy, who may or may not be part of a teacher's union depending on where they work, do we have a problem of quality among public schoolteachers?

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
This is an excellent question. It would be nice if, before passing laws to fix this "problem," we actually knew the answer to this question first.

I agree. Sorry for the false dichotomizowatsit.

How can we even tell if there is a problem with teacher quality?

I'm going to play Devil's advocate for a bit.

Regardless of whether there is a problem or not, the critical question is not it's existence, but whether are society is interested in changing the status quo even if there is a problem. Clearly if there is no interest in fixing the problem, then why spend effort identifying the problem. It's a pointless exercise.

Teacher quality is only relevant to student performance.
Traditionally student performance had been far more affected by parental involvement and effort than any other factor.
An involved parent with resources can insure that their children get good teachers and a good education.
The existing public education system is likely going to resist any efforts to change and such efforts are going to cost taxpayer money. Probably a lot.

Since, any fixes will be fought by the existing establishment, will cost money and won't benefit me, I see no reason to support changes. I can ensure that my children receive a good education.

So why should I (the American taxpayer) fight the education establishment, teachers unions, partisans on the Left, etc to 'improve' the situation, when I don't stand to gain any direct benefit from it?

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Is there a problem with teacher quality in public schools?
What do you mean by "a problem?"

Do you mean can teacher quality be improved? Of course it can. Anything can be improved. There are always inherent problems that are not perfectly addressed in any system. Certainly there is room for improvement.

Is teacher quality well below what it should be? Well, what should it be? Historically, today we have as well-educated a populace as we ever had. Literacy is well into the high 90 percentile. But is that what it should be? Should it be higher?

Or do you mean that the system is so badly damaged that it is not performing to a level that is acceptable to anyone, and should be scrapped? Once again, what is acceptable? And the bigger question is why is it that way?

It's not that there is "a problem" with our educational system. It can be improved; all systems can be improved. The question is what kind of improvements do we want, and what is (are?) the best ways to achieve them. It is a multiple, multi-faceted question with many answers that have different advantages and disadvantages. It's not simply "a problem."

[ May 02, 2012, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
[qb]
quote:

[QUOTE]I dislike the implication that kids are the teachers' product.

If the kids aren't, what is?

Nothing. Teaching is a service, not a manufacture process.
Exactly. If you have to define the product, it is increased student achievement, but also in quality of life, increased curiosity, a greater understanding of where we fit into the grand scheme of things (historically, biologically, and otherwise), and even in contribution to community life.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
quote:
If a kid moves into your school 3 months ago, how are his test scores entirely your responsibility? Surely we can develop more accurate metrics.
Moving the ball forward with your students is always your responsibility. You can't always fix everything overnight (often you can't), but if you're not connecting with your students and helping them improve then you're not doing your job.
Then measure the student's improvement under the teacher's instruction. Current testing simply measures the student's level of performance, and attributes that level to the teacher, without regard to when the student came into that teacher's classroom. Such a system is worse than no system at all.
Amen. I taught at a school where the K-5 enrollment was limited to 60 per grade, but 6-12 enrollment went to 120. This meant that all of our 6th grade classes were half new kids and half old kids. Our new kids would be all over the place academically, some at the top of the charts and some at the bottom of the charts. I would see sixth grade teachers take kids who were three years behind and have them almost to grade level by the end of the year, but get marked as failing by the state, both the student and the teacher. Absolutely ridiculous. They should be praising those students and teachers and sending every teacher in the state to learn from those teachers. Not labeling them as failing.

[ May 02, 2012, 12:15 PM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I can ensure that my children receive a good education.
This is a surprisingly common but obviously flawed assumption.

That said, yes, a completely self-interested person is probably disinterested in this debate. Someone without children, for example, probably only cares about this topic insofar as education winds up benefiting society in general (through trained experts, fewer criminals, etc.), and may feel that his or her resources are sufficient to avoid the pitfalls of a crumbling society. The truly selfish and short-sighted will always fail at democratic conversation.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
I feel I am moving around in a circle with no answers.

According to professional educators, who study education and pedagogy, who may or may not be part of a teacher's union depending on where they work, do we have a problem of quality among public schoolteachers?

Not in general. The quality is not evenly distributed, the schools with richer parents have the better teachers. But generally speaking, teacher quality is not the limiting factor on student achievement.

Can it be improved? Certainly, but there are other things that would make more of a difference.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:


In the union/tenure system that tends to be used, demonstrable incompetence allows teachers to be fired, that's no different than areas with out such.

I dunno, Pyr. What constitutes "demonstrable incompetence"?

The weakness of the tenure system is, seems to me, that it protects a teacher that may not necessarily be deemed "incompetent", but could be replaced with better personnel.

Lets imagine I'm the general manager of a MLB team. I have a player who has been playing for 10 years. He is not incompetent, he is a good player with experience, but I can replace him with a better prospect dispite the prospect's lack of experience. You couldn't have tenure on a baseball team and still have the best baseball team possible.

Now, I recognize that players are judged on performance that often deals with physical attributes, rather then mental atributes, like teachers. It's not a perfect analogy, I know. I suppose you could change the concept to reflect a college debate team.

One of the few measurable characteristics of teachers that has a measurable positive impact on student achievement is years of experience. (advanced degrees used to also work, until schools started paying teachers more for having advanced degrees and colleges started making watered down programs so that teachers could easily get paid more, advanced degrees earned because the teacher was interested in learning more probably still works, but it impossible to measure)
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
What do you mean by "a problem?"

I suppose what I mean, as you described, is that the quality of teachers can be improved to the point that the overall positive effect outweighs the negative effects.

I've always been a proponent that "the pefect is the enemy of the good". The system does not have to be perfect, it just has to be "good enough". For an improvement to be warranted, the juice must be worth the squeeze.

quote:
It's not that there is "a problem" with our educational system. It can be improved; all systems can be improved. The question is what kind of improvements do we want, and what is (are?) the best ways to achieve them. It is a multiple, multi-faceted question with many answers that have different advantages and disadvantages. It's not simply "a problem."

I agree with all of that, and my inquiry was aimed in such a direction.

You can say that a system can always be better. Ok, but to make any system better you need to identify the problem, or if there is a problem. Do we have a public education problem (I'll define this as a public education system that is not performing to whatever standard you would like to measure it by). If we have a problem, how much of the problem is due to teacher quality? How do we know there is a problem with teacher quality? How do we measure teacher quality?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
According to professional educators, who study education and pedagogy, who may or may not be part of a teacher's union depending on where they work, do we have a problem of quality among public schoolteachers?
No. But, then, if people trusted schoolteachers to answer this question, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
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LetterRip
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Adam,

quote:
Teaching is a low paying, high demand job. It attracts people with an interest in the work itself, because there is little else to recommend the job (see the original post).
You see the problem with this is that it isn't true. The benefits and retirement packages made it one of the best paying jobs for the skill level required for the past forty years or so. Also the time demand is less than most jobs when you analyse both the actual hours during the time of year when the teacher works and especially when you factor in that most teachers get 'summers off'. (Teachers worked on average two or three hours less per week including time spent at home grading papers than most workers, and once summers were factored in they were spending drastically fewer hours per year).

There are teachers who go way above and beyond and for that handful of teachers there is an extraordinary time demand but the same can be said of extremely dedicated employees in just about any career.


quote:
As for the "product" they are putting out, most reasonable people would be astoundingly impressed if they understood what public schools accomplish. The only sense in which the "product" is defective is through metrics designed exclusively to demonstrate that, which are then imposed on schools by special interest political groups.
One reasonable metric is the degree to which each student achieves his or her 'potential' - here the gap is quite large.

Another metric is the achievement of students under the 'best' versus 'worst' teachers. A gap equivalent to about four years of schooling.

Another metric would be relative achievement and skill of students now compared to students of times past for various demographic groups.

Another metric might be international comparisons.

Another metric might be dollars expended for result level achieved comparing either to US historical rates or compared to international results.

On all of those metrics the US is currently doing horrendously.

Now the causes are less obvious though I happen to be one of the few people that knows them. (1) The 'reduced class size' which basically required doubling the number of teachers - since the pool of potential teachers didn't expand almost all of the new teachers were from the lower performing deciles - so we doubled the teaching pool and nearly halved the average teacher quality. 2) Vastly increased number of students with learning disabilities and disruptive behaviours 3) Cultural changes that have resulted in fewer highly qualified women becoming teachers and instead more often going into previously male dominated fields).

I do agree with you that NCLB sucks, but that is rather irrelevant since we can use just about reasonable metric and it would not give a pleasing result.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Not in general. The quality is not evenly distributed, the schools with richer parents have the better teachers. But generally speaking, teacher quality is not the limiting factor on student achievement.

Can it be improved? Certainly, but there are other things that would make more of a difference.

PHIL! THANK YOU!!! AN ANSWER! ::Big hug and kiss for Phil::

Now, can I take your word on this, or can you point me in the direction of a study, a source, a book, something?

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
No. But, then, if people trusted schoolteachers to answer this question, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

How about I trust nobody? Are there any numbers, studies, anything, out there to prove one position or the other? I don't think you can say that there is a quality problem, or lack therof, without pointing to something.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Another metric would be relative achievement and skill of students now compared to students of times past for various demographic groups.
Can you point to your source for this (preferably on the internet)? I am curious to see how this was measured, since the homework and achievement expectations for my son seem quite a bit higher than what was expected for me.

quote:
Another metric might be international comparisons.
Are these apples-to-apples comparisons? One of the criticisms I've heard about international comparsions is that all of our students, from every economic and social class, are compared to countries where not every economic and social class are represented in their schools (or their reports).
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
Now, can I take your word on this, or can you point me in the direction of a study, a source, a book, something?

In the past, LetterRip has posted links to some excellent sources.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
quote:
Teaching is a low paying, high demand job. It attracts people with an interest in the work itself, because there is little else to recommend the job (see the original post).
You see the problem with this is that it isn't true. The benefits and retirement packages made it one of the best paying jobs for the skill level required for the past forty years or so.
Wait, what? Can you find me another job, outside of social work, that pays as poorly as teaching? Even if you include the benefits, only 50% of teachers make it to five years and most districts require at least five years to get anything back from the retirement system, so that awesome retirement package is enjoyed by very few and any benefit from the retirement plan is enjoyed by only half of the people that enter the workforce.

quote:
One reasonable metric is the degree to which each student achieves his or her 'potential' - here the gap is quite large.
How are you measuring each student's potential?

quote:
Another metric is the achievement of students under the 'best' versus 'worst' teachers. A gap equivalent to about four years of schooling.
Isn't the more important metric whether or not they reach a certain level of achievement under the best or worst teachers? I'm not sure how the difference between the best and worst would be relevant.

quote:
Another metric would be relative achievement and skill of students now compared to students of times past for various demographic groups.
Where American education is doing a great job.

quote:
Another metric might be international comparisons.
Where we are doing good, but not great. If doing well on international tests is an important metric we definitely have room to improve. (what do the tests measure, how do the high performing countries prepare for them, how does that preparation help their students when they hit the workforce?)

quote:
Another metric might be dollars expended for result level achieved comparing either to US historical rates or compared to international results.
We are pretty terrible on this, although a large part of why is that we are extending services to people we never would have bothered with in the past, and that other countries still don't try to educate.

quote:
On all of those metrics the US is currently doing horrendously.
I disagree. Links after work.

quote:
Now the causes are less obvious though I happen to be one of the few people that knows them. (1) The 'reduced class size' which basically required doubling the number of teachers - since the pool of potential teachers didn't expand almost all of the new teachers were from the lower performing deciles - so we doubled the teaching pool and nearly halved the average teacher quality.
Reduced class size has been tried in a small number of districts and states. In the districts and states which have tried it, teacher quality has decreased (which is why it doesn't work on a large scale, all things staying equal class size reduction is great, but all things don't stay equal) although not nearly in half.

quote:
2) Vastly increased number of students with learning disabilities and disruptive behaviours
Agreed.

quote:
3) Cultural changes that have resulted in fewer highly qualified women becoming teachers and instead more often going into previously male dominated fields).
Agreed.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Not in general. The quality is not evenly distributed, the schools with richer parents have the better teachers. But generally speaking, teacher quality is not the limiting factor on student achievement.

Can it be improved? Certainly, but there are other things that would make more of a difference.

PHIL! THANK YOU!!! AN ANSWER! ::Big hug and kiss for Phil::

Now, can I take your word on this, or can you point me in the direction of a study, a source, a book, something?

You can just take my word for it [Smile]

Links after work (if I forget, quote this and remind me).

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LetterRip
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Wayward,

not trying to be lazy but don't have time to provide sources right now. I've provided sources for most of that in past postings.

Regarding your child - first off always be wary of trying to compare your child, teacher, and school unless you know where your teacher and school fall in the distribution.

Secondly - I've also noticed a drastic increase in the amount of homework, and the breadth of knowledge students have to cover for those students of my acquaintance (my parents foster kids of various ages - mostly high school; nieces and nephews of various ages - grade school and high school; children of friends of various ages).

However what is required to be covered and the actual learning are quite a bit different - I pretty much had to teach every child I've met quite a bit of chemistry, physics, or mathematics since they were poorly covered in the class. Also the writing skills seems to be the area where all students fall down the hardest, and what is deemed 'A' worthy is ridiculous.

The 'historical comparison' really depends on the comparison with which time period, and to what socioeconomic group. The current generation would actually compare reasonably well to most historical US data, I'd expect the exception being compared to the 1980-1995 or so.

quote:
Are these apples-to-apples comparisons? One of the criticisms I've heard about international comparsions is that all of our students, from every economic and social class, are compared to countries where not every economic and social class are represented in their schools (or their reports).
Yes some of the international comparisons can be misleading due to not 100% apples to apples comparison. However even when you adjust the data (ie exclude the bottom nth percentiles; or only do comparisons during the time frame when all students are in school) we still end up under performing, especially on a dollars spent vs outcomes basis.

Oh another note - a 'part 4' to the above list of issues is the huge immigrant/illegals population is a significant factor for border states education performance.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Oh another note - a 'part 4' to the above list of issues is the huge immigrant/illegals population is a significant factor for border states education performance. [/QB]

Also agreed.
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Viking_Longship
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If you want to improve education put a camera in every classroom. Observation is a better assesment of teaching ability than test results. I would also assist in discipline.

We should stream students after middle-school into pre-college or vocational educational tracks. Most of the countries that we're constantly comparing ourselves to do that.

I've spent much of my professional career correcting the work of professional teachers from other countries. Right now I have a number of students right oout of Chinese and Taiwanese High Schools. I'm not very impressed with them.

[ May 02, 2012, 02:49 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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LetterRip
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philnotfil,

quote:
Wait, what? Can you find me another job, outside of social work, that pays as poorly as teaching? Even if you include the benefits, only 50% of teachers make it to five years and most districts require at least five years to get anything back from the retirement system, so that awesome retirement package is enjoyed by very few and any benefit from the retirement plan is enjoyed by only half of the people that enter the workforce.
Benefits package is frontloaded and retirement package is backloaded. There is currently consideration of drastically reducing the retirement packages and instead front loading the pay more. Yes if you plan to only teach a few years, then it is less worthwhile. Also unions generally design compensation so that being a long term union member is far more valuable above and beyond what one might reasonably expect from pay increases as experience and skill increases.

quote:
I disagree. Links after work.
I'll hold off commenting on your disagreement with my claims on metric and US performance till after links. Unfortunately 'both sides' tend to drastically misrepresent data, and use non comparible groups for comparisons to manipulate the results (often times deliberately, but other times merely misinterpreting the data sources). Also there are often claimed mitigating factors that either don't have much impact or are easily compensated for (ie the above claim about international comparisons excluding certain students from the statistics - which is true in some cases - but can be compensated for by excluding the lowest n-percent of US students in the data and then renorming).
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Benefits package is frontloaded...
It's worth noting that the benefits packages aren't generally more impressive than those for any other state job. (You should also keep in mind the difference in packages awarded to part time vs. full time teachers.)
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
If you want to improve education put a camera in every classroom. Observation is a better assesment of teaching ability than test results. I would also assist in discipline.

That would might be a good idea, but it would have to be implemented very well to not turn into an NEA version of the TSA.


quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
We should stream students after middle-school into pre-college or vocational educational tracks. Most of the countries that we're constantly comparing ourselves to do that.

Yes, absolutely.
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Viking_Longship
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Jwatts as long as it's not a hidden camera and we avoid Orwellian rules about what you are supposed to lie about I think it's not NEA territory.
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Paladine
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quote:
How many teachers would you like to see fired every year?
I'm not sure, but I am sure that 99.9% aren't good enough that they should be sticking around. My guess is that we should be getting rid of about the bottom 5-10% each year and replacing them with more competent people.

quote:
Nothing. Teaching is a service, not a manufacture process.
I'm asserting that the object of teachers' efforts is the education of students. Better teachers will tend to have a more significant positive impact upon the education of their students than worse teachers. Do you disagree with any of that?

quote:
Then measure the student's improvement under the teacher's instruction.
That's what I'd like to do.

quote:
And I'm simply saying that until we produce an intelligent metric that actually relates to teacher performance, that we should be firing test designers rather than teachers.
A lot of the time it's hard to measure. The best way to do it in my view is to have competent administrators who are themselves excellent teachers, and to give them pretty broad authority to get rid of people. That's the model that's existed in private schools where I've worked, and I've found it to be extremely effective.

quote:
If administrative officials are only able to prove that 1 in 1000 teachers are incompetent (and formal, explicit, and substantial proof of such should be a basic protection extended to every worker, so does qualify as a basic protection) then that, by itself, actually suggests that the issues lie elsewhere.
Yeah, we have different definitions for "basic protection". I don't think that there should have to be "formal, explicit, and substantial proof" of anything. If you're not connecting with your students and you're bad at communicating with them there very often won't be much "formal" evidence of that, especially if you're lucky enough to have had kids whose previous teachers have also been failures. That way you can just blame your incompetence on them and say you "inherited" it.

You don't have a right to work in public service. The people we should be interested in extending "basic protections" are the students, and we're failing utterly to protect them when we permit bad teachers to stick around simply because (an often lazy or incompetent) administrator can't provide "formal, explicit, and substantial" proof that said teacher is failing at his job.

quote:
I'm sure there is plenty of ignorance on other issues, but since I see it more readily on this topic, I find it that much more frustrating. More than any other issue thatn I can think of, the "solutions" are the problem in education.
It's funny; I feel the *exact* same way.

quote:
Its only astonishing if you work from severely flawed assumptions, Pal. Teaching is a low paying, high demand job. It attracts people with an interest in the work itself, because there is little else to recommend the job (see the original post).
You're the one working from flawed assumptions there. Especially in this economy there are *tons* of applicants for most open positions in all but the very worst places. Public school teaching pays very well when you take benefits and retirement packages into consideration, and offers extremely generous vacations.

quote:
And it has a three year (on average) probationary period where firing is tremendously easy to do, which weeds out a large percentage of those unsuited to the job.
Firing doesn't get done too often at all. An incompetent doctor or lawyer can expect to lose his credentials to practice in the field (and to get hit with a hefty malpractice lawsuit). An incompetent teacher at pretty much absolute worst is told that his contract won't be renewed but that he's free to give it another shot somewhere else without so much as a strike on his record.

quote:
As for the "product" they are putting out, most reasonable people would be astoundingly impressed if they understood what public schools accomplish. The only sense in which the "product" is defective is through metrics designed exclusively to demonstrate that, which are then imposed on schools by special interest political groups.
What metrics would you propose we use? LR gave a list, some of which don't look to bad to me.

quote:
Now, assuming that such an astonishing breakthrough were even possible, what do you imagine the mechanism for achieving it would be? More teachers? More instruction time? Additional student supports? The only mechanism that accompanied this mandate, the ONLY one, was REDUCED aid to schools failing to meet the targets. That's it. Places where students weren't all making the ridiculous leap outlined in the law suffered a variety of sanctions, without any actual help being available.
That's how things work in most of the real world. If the school where I work were to produce crappy results for its graduates our supply of money would dry up and we'd be forced to close as our students went to places better able to meet their needs. We wouldn't get "help" or "additional supports" or anything of the sort. We'd die off as an institution and everyone would need to find new jobs.

That might not strike you as fair, but it does provide an awfully strong incentive for people not only to do a good job themselves but to be aware of how well the people around them are doing. I don't have any problem with effectively "punishing" a building full of teachers and administrators when they collectively fail to get their charges across the finish line. It might not be the fault of this or that individual, but as people have so often pointed out it's difficult to measure exactly whose fault it is.

What I do know from everywhere else in society is that when success is rewarded and failure is punished that results get better across time. For some reason I don't quite understand people tend to imagine that things work differently in education and that we ought not punish what in many cases is manifestly failure.

quote:
The intelligent question might be "how do we improve the quality of our workforce?" (though really, the first thing that needs to be asked is "Is the quality of our workforce as priority impediment to educational improvement). When asked that way, it forces you to consider whether firing "low performers" and replacing them with applicants actually improves the quality of the workforce. This is not a given, especially in teaching, which tends to require
several *years* of on-the-job experience to achieve competency. Cost effectiveness needs to be considered as well; teachers represent investments on the part of school districts, and firing them throws away a big chunk of that investment. This is the kind of debate that actually happens among educators

I attended public schools as a student. I've worked with both public and private school teachers as a private school teacher and coach who's been involved in academic and extracurricular school leagues, one of which I'm currently running.

I've heard a lot of discussions among public school teachers over the years and participated in more than a few with them myself. Pretty much universally they seem to feel that they personally and collectively are entitled to more money, more respect, more support, and on and on. There's a whining quality to these discussions among "educators" which I tend to find galling.

They whine about their kids, they whine about their kids' parents, they whine about their administrators, about testing, they whine about the governor, they whine about their paychecks. Most of them get paid about double what I do for being charged with the same function I serve. By any objective (or pretty much any reasonable subjective) measurement you care to use I do a dramatically better job than pretty much any of them.

There are about 45 schools in the chess league I currently administer, most of which have had programs for decades. In about a quarter of these schools the kids have barely been taught how to move the pieces. These are *always* public schools, where the "coaches" are paid significantly more than their private school counterparts. One of them, last time we attended a match at his school, had a girl on his varsity team who didn't know the rules.

While sitting at his desk and reading a George RR Martin book, he asked one of my students if he'd be kind enough to teach the girl. I only *EVER* encounter this kind of indifference and apathy in public schools. I saw it in their Latin programs too. Kids would come to me having taken a few years of public school Latin and would be completely unaware of basic grammatical concepts in English or in Latin. Oftentimes these kids were perfectly bright and willing to learn but had been failed by 2-3 years of Latin teachers and many more years of English teachers, every one of whom would probably tell you it's all someone else's fault.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If the school where I work were to produce crappy results for its graduates our supply of money would dry up and we'd be forced to close as our students went to places better able to meet their needs.
Interestingly, I think the current scandals involving for-profit colleges and the subsequent cry for federal regulation pretty thoroughly disprove this claim.

There is a grey area with any institution where the amount spent on marketing compensates for any losses due to lack of quality.

--------

quote:
These are *always* public schools, where the "coaches" are paid significantly more than their private school counterparts.
Paid significantly to coach chess? Really? I'm speaking here as someone who has taught in both public and private schools while coaching forensics. You know what I was paid at a private school to coach forensics? An extra $25 a month. You know what I was paid at a public school to coach forensics? An extra $15 a month. At my old public high school school, which won our state forensics tournament 13 times in a row and won the national tournament six times in seven years, the head coach received an extra $150 a month. That didn't even begin to compensate him for his time.

[ May 02, 2012, 04:37 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Paladine
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quote:
Interestingly, I think the current scandals involving for-profit colleges and the subsequent cry for federal regulation pretty thoroughly disprove this claim.
I don't really see how. Colleges and high schools are vastly different things which operate in vastly different marketplaces.

quote:
Paid significantly to coach chess? Really? I'm speaking here as someone who has taught in both public and private schools while coaching forensics. You know what I was paid at a private school to coach forensics? An extra $25 a month. You know what I was paid at a public school to coach forensics? An extra $15 a month. At my old public high school school, which won our state forensics tournament 13 times in a row and won the national tournament six times in seven years, the head coach received an extra $150 a month. That didn't even begin to compensate him for his time.
Yep, that $150/month is about what they give me to coach a very large and very successful program. That's somewhere between normal and the high end for a private school coach. It's very much on the low end for a public school coach, many of whom make a few thousand a year for doing virtually nothing and complain about it.
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TomDavidson
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I would imagine that any public school teacher who's getting "a few thousand a year" for coaching duties is doing so because of a contract that requires payment for time spent performing work-related duties. I'm not sure I begrudge them that; those teachers that don't have contracts like that are volunteering time out of the kindness of their hearts, and that's not exactly something we'd expect of anyone on a professional basis.
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PSRT
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quote:
Benefits package is frontloaded and retirement package is backloaded.
Retirement package is also often not all its cracked up to be. In Massachusetts, for example, teachers do not contribute to social security, instead contributing to the Massachusetts teachers retirement system. The ratio of employee contribution/employer contribution is significantly worse with the MTRS than it is with social security, so a much higher proportion of my retirement benefits are paid by myself than for someone who is eligible to receive social security (which I am not, as a municipal employee in the state of massachusetts).

Teacher compensation has fallen behind other comparable professions over the last several decades.

http://www.epi.org/publication/books_teacher_pay/
http://www.epi.org/publication/books_teacher_pay/

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ken_in_sc
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Teaching was my second career after 24 years in the Air Force. At first, I taught industrial subjects in a high-school career center. The guidance councilors sent me students who were too stupid to learn what employers wanted—basic literacy and arithmetic. They were also disruptive and dangerous around industrial equipment. After three years, I transferred to middle school to teach history and geography. This was the most stressful job I have ever had. The parents were the worse part of it.

I once told a father, right before I walked out of the conference, that I was only going to be his son's teacher for another month or so, but he was going to be his father for the rest of his life, and he was going to regret it.

My last teaching job was in an alternative school. These were kids who had already been kicked out of other schools. It was the least stressful. The principal backed me up 100%. If one student decked another student, it was their fault not mine. There was a kid who cut class and stood across the street giving me the finger whenever I looked out the window. The resource officer went over and arrested him for disturbing a school. I had never had that kind of support before.

I would have stayed there for years except a new superintendent came it and canceled the program I was in. She has been fired since then BTW.

I was eligible to retire and I did.

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JWatts
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Here's an article on teachers pay from the Atlantic:

TheAtlantic

quote:

Manhattan Institute: Overpaid! Teachers make a killing by the hour.
The Study: So in 2007, The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative think tank,
The Conclusions: Public school teachers did pretty well by the hour. In 2005, they worked an average of 36.5 hours per week at an average wage of $34.06 an hour. That was better than 61% of the other occupations...

Economic Policy Institute: Underpaid! Teachers make much less than professionals with similar skills and education.
The Study: The left-leaning EPI has a running study that periodically tracks what it calls the "teaching penalty."
The Conclusions: Overall, the EPI finds that teachers make about 12% less than other similarly educated workers.


Heritage-AEI: Overpaid! Teachers earn too much for their level of smarts.
The Study: The Heritage-AEI study seeks to correct what it sees as a major flaw in past assessments of teacher pay.
The Conclusions: When education is taken into account, teachers salaries are more than 12% lower than their peers. But when measured based on cognitive skills, the salary gap evaporates. Once you factor in benefits such as retiree healthcare and pensions, total teacher compensation starts to eclipse what others in their cohort make. To top it all off, teachers tend to take a pay cut when they move to other professions.

OECD: Underpaid! We pay teachers much less compared to other countries.
The Study: To wrap it up, let's add a little international perspective. This year, the OECD released a long report on ways to improve education worldwide. Part of it looked at teacher pay across different countries.
The Conclusions: Worldwide, teachers tend to make less than other college graduates. But even in that realm of diminished expectations, the U.S. still doesn't look so hot. According to the OECD's findings, we pay our teachers about 60% of what their educational peers earn.


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Grant
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I once believed that I was going to become a teacher after I left the Army. I had a plan to take one of those transition programs at the local University designed to certify holders of non-education degrees.

My first taste was when I attended a 1 hour seminar given to everyone who was seeking a subsitute teacher license from the local school board. 1 hour with the public school system was enough to convince me that I needed to seek a career elsewhere.

The speaker, who wasn't the superintendant but was basically in charge of something or other, spoke for the majority of his time about how the students needed to be loved, and how many of them did not have good parents or did not recieve enough love at home.

Maybe that's true. But I immediately recognized a culture that I probably would not fit into well. I was a product of the Army. I can honestly say that I loved my soldiers, but most military love is expressed as "tough love". I don't think that is what the school board was looking for. I was a product of college. Love did not seem to be on the cirriculum there. I could not remember feeling love from a teacher since Kindergarden.

I just felt that teaching was not the place for me if this is what the leadership was looking for in teachers.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
In 2005, they worked an average of 36.5 hours per week at an average wage of $34.06 an hour.
I think you'll find that this assumes that teachers do not spend any time grading papers or preparing projects at home.
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AI Wessex
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"Maybe that's true. But I immediately recognized a culture that I probably would not fit into well. I was a product of the Army. I can honestly say that I loved my soldiers, but most military love is expressed as "tough love". I don't think that is what the school board was looking for. I was a product of college. Love did not seem to be on the cirriculum there. I could not remember feeling love from a teacher since Kindergarden."

It may have been that school district or just the way you heard it. At a local high school an ex-marine took over as principal after having been one at a school near Detroit for several years. He immediately clamped down on a number of lax policies regarding student dress, attendance and non-authorized hallway activities. At the same time he challenged the teachers to do a better job by augmenting the materials they were given by the administration. At first the teachers were cautious, the students hated him and the parents complained loudly, but less loudly after a while and by the end of his second year he was popular with all groups. There's no one way to teach or to run a school, but all successful ways require a strong commitment, one that you weren't prepared at the time to make. You might reconsider one day.

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D.W.
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Politicians like us dumb. They cut funding to education to keep us dum. Politicians allready consider us dum. We dont throh them out of offis for cutting our scool moneys. We R dum…
[Smile]
A lot of focus has been placed on teachers, teachers unions and lack of parent participation. The simple truth is our country does not consider education a priority. To try to disguise this ugly fact they attempt, and we play along with, their attempts to distract us. I’m all for getting the most out of our tax dollars in education but we could “throw away” a lot more of those tax dollars at a poorly managed education system and still be considerably better off as a country. Teachers should easily be paid as much as doctors, lawyers, CEO’s and politicians. If they were the competition would be fierce and we would get a much higher quality of teacher. Oh and we would have the best of the best teaching our kids instead of a minority of truly dedicated individuals who do our country this service despite our idiocy and lack of appreciation. Well them and I suppose the people not good enough at their chosen field of expertise to get along in the wild who resort to teaching as a fall back plan. [Razz]

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yossarian22c
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I would like to take a poll to see how people define "good" or "bad" teachers.

Categories
Incompetent should be fired immediately.
Incompetent should be given one year to improve.
Fair.
Good.
Excellent.
Deity.

For this poll I'll focus on teacher knowledge and conveying of that knowledge.

1. Teacher does not have a clear understanding of the subject matter they are teaching.
Teacher understands the subject matter and:
2. 0% of the students know the material following a lesson.
3. 10% of the students know the material following a lesson.
4. 25% of the students know the material following a lesson.
5. 50% of the students know the material following a lesson.
6. 75% of the students know the material following a lesson.
7. 90% of the students know the material following a lesson.
8. 100% of the students know the material following a lesson.


If you are willing to indulge me further you could also answer the following questions.
Would your answers be different if the the students were largely in poverty and not up to grade level?
Would your answers be different if the teacher taught 50 total students vs 500 total students?

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AI Wessex
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"The simple truth is our country does not consider education a priority."

I think it's somewhat similar to how people feel about Congress. They think Senators and Representatives are incompetent, dishonest, simply trying to get reelected or all of the above. Except that they keep reelecting their own incumbents time after time with over 90% consistency. I think many (not as many, but many) people think teachers are a over-paid, under-performing and/or just trying to keep their jobs, but tend to feel really good about their own child's teacher. And the worse they treat them by denying them the tools they need and the respect they deserve the worse it will get. Congressmen/women, on the other hand, really don't need your help.

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LetterRip
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TomD,

quote:
I think you'll find that this assumes that teachers do not spend any time grading papers or preparing projects at home.
If they used the data that I recall, I think you'd find that you are mistaken - it included grading papers and preparing projects at home. It included anything work related, including stuff done at home and was logged via diaries.

[ May 03, 2012, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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D.W.
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Al, a friend of mine had a particularly cynical solution to our political situation. For about 4 election cycles we need a strict zero incumbent reelection policy in our voting. After that time the politicians MIGHT get it through their head that they need to stop wasting their time campaigning and actually have to do their job superbly and honestly impress us if they want to do that job more than once. Even if we never decided to revoke this zero incumbent policy we would get less experience but would get people interested in making a difference as opposed to holding onto power.

I thought it was ridiculous at the time he mentioned it but it makes more sense as each polarizing day passes.

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