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View Diary: The Myth of Failing Schools (216 comments)

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  •  Most of the waste is at the administrative level (11+ / 0-)

    Even then, I'm not sure how much of it is truly "waste" - beside the obscene amount of money paid to the stupid testing companies.  

    I was a great student, and even I hated the tests.  Hated them all.  I can't imagine what kids today go through with those tests occurring twice a year. Testing days were terrible, especially since back then the kids never actually learned the results of the test unless they failed or scored so astronomically high they were tested for the gifted program.  The school system considered it none of our business, but I really would have liked to have known at the time.  

    Conservatives: They love America. They hate actual Americans.

    by catwho on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 08:21:10 PM PDT

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    •  Some districts probably do waste at the admin (5+ / 0-)

      level, and probably more so the larger the district. However, administrators do a lot of important tasks, and good ones work as hard as good teachers do.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 09:37:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since teachers generally don't run their schools.. (5+ / 0-)

      the people with the real decision making power are at the district or even state level.  They require an entire infrastructure between them and the actual teachers and students in the school that they are managing from afar to give them feedback and carry out the decisions that they make on that feedback.  I think there is a lot of money paid to maintain those degrees of separation.

      Also I think this separation and resulting standardization creates the needs for standardized textbooks rather than teachers having the power to set their curriculum based on more local, more natural, less formal and expensive curriculum resources.  The billions spent on ever changing textbooks takes away from the money spent in the schools themselves on the learning environment including teachers' salaries.

      Finally the separation between far away decision makers and the recipients of those decisions created the need for all the standardized testing, which also sucks billions out of the school environments.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 08:25:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different problems in different places (4+ / 0-)

        For example, some districts (including LAUSD) have the problem of lots of kids that move frequently. In those cases, having a set curriculum and having every grade in every school on the same schedule is very important to supporting those (generally low achieving) kids.

        I hate the idea of a fixed curriculum everywhere and I value choices, but in some places it's being done for a significant and important reason.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 09:26:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My kids were in LAUSD & my concern... (0+ / 0-)

          was that it seemed that only half the kids were interested in that sort of pre-digested standardized curriculum, while the other half were not, did not want to be in class and tended to drag down the energy of the classroom for the teacher and the kids who wanted to be there.  That other 50% needed other options than the conventional instruction.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 11:05:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would argue exactly the opposite... (0+ / 0-)

          with kids that move a lot, the teacher would better be able to serve his/her class if the curriculum was flexible. It could change to the needs of that classroom that year.

          •  The issue is that you might have the same child (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in 4 different classrooms during the year.

            The idea of all the classrooms in lockstep is personally distressing to me, but people I respect tell me that for these kids, who get very lost in the system, this change has made a positive difference.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 06:08:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's actually part of the problem, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

              I was a kid that was jumped around like that.

              We moved from England to California. I was ahead in reading and behind in math.

              When I arrived they put me in 1st grade. Teachers felt I was not well served. They skipped me to 2nd.

              The second year they decided that I wasn't ready for third so they kept me in 2nd.

              The third year they decided that I needed to be in 4th grade so they had me skip 3rd.

              I learned how to write cursive and do my multiplication tables at home because I missed them in 3rd grade.

              What a mess. If the school would have had a system designed where kids could progress as needed with mixed age students, the process would not have been anywhere near as painful.

              And, yes, my own experience as an elementary student and military kid lead to my decision to homeschool my boys as we moved around from base to base.

              Schools that experience large populations of moving families should adapt.

    •  Or in areas that have been privatized (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq, Neon Mama

      E.g. janitorial services. These things "save" a penny at the expense of poorer quality work, which then falls onto the teacher to make up for, degrading the quality of the school and the morale of the teachers.

      There was a great diary on this a month ago, I don't have the link :(

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 08:28:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the problem with having guilds in place (0+ / 0-)

        of Unions.

        All over the country, through the 80's and 90's, the unions the maintenance and janitorial staffs of our public schools belong too were broken, and the Teachers Guilds did nothing.

        "I'm tired of hearing that it's "pragmatic" to support positions that most people oppose." RFK Lives

        by JesseCW on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 10:27:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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