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View Diary: Welcome to the culture war against teachers, coming to a theater near you (257 comments)

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  •  This is an incredibly tough issue for me. (3+ / 0-)

    As a liberal Democrat and proponent of public education, I cannot ignore its complete and utter failure with regards to my twins on the autism spectrum. Complete. And. Utter. Further, in many states, the battle has already been lost. There is an online virtual school in my state that operates as a 'tuition-free public school' but without the usual responsibilities of IEPs for special needs students, etc.

    In this country, test scores and 'Adequate Yearly Progress' trump innovation and force teachers and students to exist inside a tiny pre-defined box. And the Obama administration has supported this. High-stakes testing is NOT the answer. The leaders of teacher unions have failed them mightily by not fighting for smaller class sizes and a reduced reliance on standardized testing. Probably because many teachers are voting against their own self-interests, just like about 35 - 40% of Americans.

    •  This drives me up a wall too. (0+ / 0-)

      Because I'm pro labor and pro union, but I was treated badly growing up in a rural school district that was failing so badly that it went through dissolution.

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:54:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please remember (3+ / 0-)

        that unions are not responsible for bad schools.  There are a lot of really bad charter schools that are not unionized.  A lot of things have contributed to the poor state of schools in this country.  Don't fall for the false dichotomy that  is commonly presented. The privatization "solution" is generally worse than the initial problem.

        I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

        by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:04:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  ??? (5+ / 0-)
      The leaders of teacher unions have failed them mightily by not fighting for smaller class sizes and a reduced reliance on standardized testing.
      This is exactly what teachers unions fight for. All the time. These are key issues.

      Special education students are let down all over the USA by states that simply refuse to adequately fund the resources that they need. I know that in my home state of California, special education has been hit with cuts year after year after year, and students in need simply don't get access to the resources that they are required by law to receive.

      It is unacceptable that this happens, but I have no idea why this would be the teachers' unions fault.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:58:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My family lived in Canada for 3 years. When we (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        first moved  there, the teacher's union was on strike. They opposed an increase in class sizes and they opposed the institution of standardized testing. Three weeks later, they went back to work and they won. Sorry, I know many, many teachers who have bought into the 'small government'/anti-union rhetoric even as they collect their pay from state and local governments. Class sizes in my state have gone up to 40-50 students per class. And NONE of that changes the fact that my children cannot get a 'Free and Appropriate Public Education' because they have autism. No one gets a pass on this from me. It is unacceptable. Yes, states are to blame. But so are those who are unwilling to stand up to people who are trying to privatize their necessary public function.

    •  They have fought for smaller class sizes for years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      g panjandrum, TheDuckManCometh

      but, everytime there is a budget freeze there is a budget problem they raise the limits.

      The unions have fought against the over-emphasis on testing.  Everytime they do that they are accused of wanting to keep the "status-quo" going, or not wanting to be held accountable.

      Testing companies stand to make money from the testing, they must be lobbying. Right-wing groups are lobbying for religious schools to get public money and charter schools are lobbying for money.

      Teachers keep trying to refine their classroom expertise, they keep trying to  reach even the student who is shut down, but while they do that, people are lobbying against public schools and kids, and they pretend it is only against "teacher unions." It is sad and scary.

    •  Online public school? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Really? What grades?

      I had no idea it had drifted down below the college level.

      Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:13:28 PM PDT

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      •  k-12. Online (6+ / 0-)

        registration, free public school. State of Georgia. Unfortunately, my kiddos need socialization and friends, and online school doesn't provide that. But I was taken aback at the ease of registration for virtual online school. All through a company called K-12 which has ties to Pearson and Neil Bush. Of course you don't hear that when Jeb goes on MSNBC to talk about our 'Education Nation'. Fooked.

        •  Wow. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          drmah, angstall

          Can the kids actually get into college with that kind of education?

          Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:31:16 PM PDT

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          •  Good question and one I haven't researched (0+ / 0-)

            enough to know. I will say there is also a proliferation of for-profit online universities that are making tons of money (much of it guaranteed student loans). One of my children will likely not get an actual diploma thanks to NCLB. He will get a 'certificate of attendance' which means nothing. Ugh.

          •  We used to call this "Dropping out of school" Now (0+ / 0-)

            it's called play on line all day, then 5 min. before parents are due home, turn in one assignmrnt. That's "on-line educaition" for you.

          •  The answer seems to be no (0+ / 0-)

            Their record is abysmal. Their statistics are rock bottom.

            But, hey, free laptop.

            Parents try it out because they are thinking of it as a bridge to homeschooling. A good online program could be that. But K-12 is not a high quality program, and certainly for kids who aren't self-motivated, it's not going to work out.

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

            by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:51:55 PM PDT

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    •  No IEPs in Online School? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I would be interested to know which state you're referring to. Is it a public online school? If so, and if it does not create IEPs (and review them annually) for each student with an identified disability, it is in violation of federal law: specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires:

      The IEP must be written at least annually for all children with disabilities. The IEP team consists of those who have assessed the child, school support personnel, a school administrator, general and special education teachers, and the child's parents or legal guardian.
      If the online school is private rather than public, and receives direct or even indirect federal funding, it is bound by Section 504. I believe that an IEP is not required for private schools.

      The Virtual Public School in my state is, of course, a public school, and therefore must maintain and follow all of the provisions of IDEA and Section 504, including providing IEPs for students with disabilities.

      In my opinion, the minimal requirements for private schools when it comes to children with disabilities is one of the primary reasons to resist the dismantling of public education. Meeting the educational needs of all children is expensive; and if a private school is not required to do so, I suspect that it will choose not to.

      Thanks to denial, I'm immortal. -- Philip J. Fry

      by IamGumby on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:33:44 PM PDT

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    •  I remember when I was 10 we got a week off (0+ / 0-)

      from school because the teachers went on strike to limit class sizes to 31 students.  This was in Oklahoma in the 1990's.  

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:46:34 PM PDT

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    •  Except that teachers unions HAVE fought (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, murphthesurf, schnecke21

      for those things, often giving up salary increases for them. I see it all around me: they are begging for smaller class sizes. They HATE standardized testing. These are among the major issues they fight for. But they are being crushed by politicians who threaten them, slash funding, and wage pr campaigns against them. You seem to want them to magically acquire superpowers.

      I think special ed is an incredibly difficult issue for many of us. It's mandated but not paid for, and now public schools are being stripped of funding that n many states, like Ohio, is going straight into private pockets as profit. We can't educate special ed students because wealthy charter school operators who own armies of politicians re TAKING your kids' money.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:35:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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