Skip to main content

View Diary: Good teachers forced out of the classroom by bad policy (269 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  my wife is done, driven out by frustration (35+ / 0-)

    A kindergarten teacher of 6 years and the best thing that's happened to her school in a long time, she's driven to frustration by the insane assessment culture, the jackassery in Raleigh wrt performance pay, budget cuts, pay freezes with increased responsibility (while our new governor comes in and immediately gives his cabinet an 8% raise while our teachers have seen 1% in 5 years.)

    Also the localized curriculum responsibility for curriculum ushered in by nclb has created a system where some random redneck who taught 5th grade is forcing a standardized test system on kindergartners.

    Idiocy. The old teachers are burning out, the new teachers won't last. Just what the wanted with these policies if you ask me.

    He who throws mud only loses ground -- Fat Albert

    by c0wfunk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:46:07 AM PST

    •  she says it is beyond policy , it is personal (40+ / 0-)

      Societal perception, cultural blame. She gives her heart and soul to the job and is being held up as a villain. The attitude of parents thinking of her as a babysitter who will fix all of their bad parenting. Our cultures general attitude towards teachers is as much an issue as the policy.

      He who throws mud only loses ground -- Fat Albert

      by c0wfunk on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:49:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This ^^^ (24+ / 0-)

        And School Administrators, and Districts that cower in the corner when a parent makes a complaint or a comment.

        They are scared of their own shadows.

        It is not a teachers job to mitigate crappy parenting, and parents should be told that.

        Personal responsibility is not something that is emphasised either to students OR their parents.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:58:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this ^^^ (18+ / 0-)

          . . . could be taken one step further.

          I think we have developed an attitude towards public education and towards education in general that it is a service, bought and paid for, with predictable and measurable results. As with any service we expect our money's worth. So the attitude that "I pay you to educate my child, and I don't help my mechanic change the oil, so why should I help you" has slowly crept into our cultural mindset around education.

          However, IMH and dramatically unprofessional O, learning is a biological and psychological process that defies standardization, and therefore is difficult if not impossible to predict and quantify. Sure, you can categorize if your categories are broad enough, but in the end each human being learns in a unique way.

          But our obsession with measuring and evaluating and "getting our money's worth" is antithetical to the goal of educating. One of the most important responsibilities of parenthood is the education of your offspring. It seems to me some feel that since they are taxed for a public school district (or, for that matter, that they pay a private school) they have somehow been relieved of the responsibility ("I paid for it, that's personal responsibility enough" you might expect some to say).

          If, indeed, they feel paying for education transfers their responsibility to the payee then they should be more than willing to pay what it takes.

          Or, simply lower your expectations, which is exactly what is happening in the current scenario.


          - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
          - Frank Zappa


          by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:27:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think public school teaching WANTED (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, WillR

            to take on part of the role of parenting, seriously. They want to control what your kids eat, what is safe, what their values are, etc. The first paragraph above even says 'how they live'. The problem is the breakdown of the family unit and the mutual decision to let the school step into the parenting role. I KNOW what is best for my child to eat, how to be safe (without obsessing over it), and what to value in life, not the school board. The result of education is what happens when you want, as many on the left do, the school boards to be involved in how to raise children not educate them. The role of parenting has been abdicated from the parents  to the schools as babysitters. And people that think it is everyone's business how they raise their kids exacerbate the problem because kids spend most of their time at school or daycare.

            •  No one I ever knew in public teaching wanted (8+ / 0-)

              any of this. Some of it was forced upon us by watching kids come to school hungry, watching kids live in horrifically unsafe environments and bringing those unsafe practices to schools, etc. Don't blame the schools for having the expectation of becoming surrogate parents hung on them.

              And you say "public school teaching wanted to take on" the roles as if it was one homogeneous entity.

              •  Whatever the reason, they took on the role. Wait (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WillR

                until children have their own rights as some here want, talk about loss of control! Some kids will be telling you how to run the schools...if you think it is chaotic now! The answer is for parents to take back their role as PARENTS. And the way to do this is to have incentives for fathers to stick around as role models, and yes, living wages so one parent can spend more time raising their children, not foisting them on school because they are overworked and too tired. If you talk to teachers, their number one complaint is always parents not be involved in their children's education. But I feel the teachers want more control over parenting, not less. You can't have it both ways. And helping to feed a hungry child that comes to school is NOT the same as a full breakfast/lunch program where people other than parent's decide what their kids can and cannot eat. It takes the responsibility to feed their children away from them, and the school becomes the parent. We have to understand as progressives that not everything needs to be the job of government, decide that which is best for the government to do, fight to get those things done, and then let people live their lives, even if they make mistakes.

            •  I hate to use a such a controversial "proverb" but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling

              . . . it really does take a village. School boards are the village. We vote for them, they are us. And like it or not, they represent the predominant values of the communities that elect them. Notice I said predominant. They don't represent everyone's values.

              Since they represent the predominant values in the communities they serve, it follows that the curriculum they develop reflects those predominant values. And since the curriculum reflects the predominant values, a child's contact with the curriculum does not constitute a desire to "control what your kids eat, what is safe, what their values are, etc."? The school board's values are already our values, and they are simply reinforcing those values.

              I agree that a loving and involved family environment is essential to successful learning in children. If a child is surrounded in an environment that stresses the importance of learning and provides abundant opportunity and encouragement to learn, the child is more likely to learn.

              But I would also argue that there are as many non-traditional family units who get it and provide the proper environment as there are traditional family units that don't get it and won't provide the correct environment. And for those children the school is the only backstop. School boards cannot "abdicate" the responsibility of parenting, since it is not their responsibility in the first place. They can only fill in where parents have abdicated.

              The intent of my previous comment was to note two trends: 1) that school boards today are under greater pressure to "perform" than ever before, and 2) that the current trend towards more measurable results, so we can be sure to get our "money's worth", is a difficult task. I apologize if I wasn't clear.


              - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
              - Frank Zappa


              by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:20:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  billionaires are now buying school boards, too (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rudyblues, isewquilts2, drmah

                check out what's happening in Los Angeles.

                If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                by livjack on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:16:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yep, that sucks, . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  . . . and yet another reason for increased education funding, it promotes educated voters. Can't have any of those running around!


                  - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
                  - Frank Zappa


                  by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:55:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But all of us get a vote (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rudyblues

                  Fortunately, most districts are not the size of Los Angeles, and it's very possible for grassroots campaigns to succeed.

                  We progressives need to attend school board meetings, and if the situation is not satisfactory, then we need to recruit candidates, get information out, and get them elected.

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

                  by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:56:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, many of those school administrators are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sandblaster, JanL

          awful.  Thank goodness I only ever dealt with them as one of the IT workers (not at the school, at a small company they outsourced the IT stuff to) and not every day.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:23:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sweeping generalization... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanL, Throw The Bums Out, Black Max

            Most administrators seem to fall into two categories - the ones who couldn't hack the classroom but where drawn to the "authority" aspects of being a teacher and the ones who really care about teaching, but are completely out of touch with the classroom and think they can do more for education in a "leadership" role than those in the classroom. The first group tends to be authoritarian and perpetually out of their depth with poor management skills. The second group tends to be be condescending toward their staff and self righteous to the point of absurdity as well as constantly looking for a higher position to move to.

            There are good administrators out there, but once a person leaves the classroom the pressures of the political and societal views of "getting our money's worth" tend to corrupt their efficacy and exaggerate the tendency toward the two categories mentioned previously.

            Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

            by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:43:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So which ones are the ones most likely (0+ / 0-)

              to be the "cupholder" type.  Or to be more specific, a principal that says "please unblock Youtube for our teachers and students so they can use it for schoolwork" and then later says "our Internet has slowed to a crawl, please fix it".  And if you don't already know, many schools Internet connections (for everyone in the school put together) are slower than your home cable modem.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:00:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Our school just got broadband this year (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gffish, twigg

                The new initiatives for using online testing and online resources are useless without infrastructure.

                It's not just broadband, either: our school doesn't have enough amps to add more computers. Not just plugs, amps. The whole electrical system needs to be redone.

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

                by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:27:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Second group. (0+ / 0-)

                They have lots a well meaning ideas (unblock YouTube). They just haven't thought most of them through from a practical perspective (affect on bandwidth or instructional time). The goal of their idea is often as self aggrandizing as it is educationally beneficial (Under my leadership, utilization of technology in classrooms increased 110%).

                This often leads to ineffectual results that statistically look good on paper but achieve negative actual results (Technology utilization up 110%, time wasted waiting for everything to load also up 110%, actual result instruction time decreased by 50%).

                Who pays the price? Teachers and students as frustration and stress levels increase (I have an evaluation today - no way I'm going to the computer lab as the slow load times make students bored and discipline issues increase).

                The main complaint with this group is that their decisions are usually reactive to the latest trends, yet seldom do they ask the correct question (How can we increase the bandwidth available for our district?).

                Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:08:15 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And there's the rub . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  . . . "I need numbers to put on paper" but the numbers don't have anything to do with whether an individual child learned anything. And although there are numbers that can reflect this they are not easily understood by school boards and politicians, who are clamoring for more numbers to make sure we're "getting our money's worth". Feedback loop.


                  - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
                  - Frank Zappa


                  by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:41:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've been on the committee writing those things up (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rudyblues

                    It's immensely frustrating to have to write a document swearing that if only we can buy new computers to replace the old ones, that our student achievement will rise 10%, and that it would be directly because of those computers. Seriously: that is what they have to say.

                    Let me tell you, we had to get pretty punchy before we could write it into the document.

                    In my more punchy moments, I proclaimed the problem obvious: we would only allow half the students to access the computers, you know, so we could measure that as our controlled variable.

                    We laughed. Then we wrote what was demanded of us.

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

                    by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:00:14 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  True story here . . . (0+ / 0-)

                      . . . My company spent immense amounts of money developing a "me too" product that failed to meet profitability numbers because the market share projections were insanely optimistic.

                      Rather than admit market projections were too generous, and move profitability numbers down to match real market conditions, management demanded a 15% reduction in production cost to preserve bottom line profits with the reduced market share.

                      The "cheaper" product sold even fewer units and profitability suffered even more than before the reduction. Management received bonuses for "innovation". Engineering and product managers were chastised as "not team players".

                      Sound familiar? These are the people who are driving education "reform".


                      - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
                      - Frank Zappa


                      by rudyblues on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:41:30 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I am lucky to work with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sandblaster

            excellent school administrators, who really care for the kids they serve, who are smart and dedicated and creative problem solvers.

            This isn't an accident. I had a hand in hiring them all.

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

            by elfling on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:25:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The school district that educated me (5+ / 0-)

          in the 60s and 70s is losing good teachers at a catastrophic rate.  Teachers must spend the majority of their energies just keeping a semblance of order in the classroom.  A poor grade or (heaven forbid) a suspension brings the parent in to complain, and the principal overrides the teacher's authority.  Discipline is pretty much unenforceable, particularly as the superintendent is focused on keeping the expulsion numbers down.  

          This district can hardly even get substitute teachers anymore!  They used to have a large roster of retired teachers and newly-minted graduates ready to sub, but nobody wants to come into that environment cold anymore.  

          Fox News is to the truth as a flaming bag of dog shit is to a packed lunch. --MinistryOfTruth

          by snazzzybird on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:19:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Our corporate culture is one of TIME poverty for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sandblaster, jalapenopopper

        all working adults including teachers.
        This is a recipe for intentional degeneration.

        •  Yep! It takes two working parents to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks

          get by and there is no time left for parenting. The problem isn't the model which has worked for decades. The problem is the change in morals and responsibilities. Whose job is it to raise children? The schools' job or the parents'?

    •  Absolutely correct! (19+ / 0-)

      I now live in NC and teach in Early Head Start.  I was a certified Kindergarten teacher in Wisconsin 30 years ago and when we moved here, I was appalled at what Kindergarten had become and chose not to teach here.  Sadly, my home state, Wisconsin has travelled down the test crazy academic Kindergarten road.  (Wisconsin was the birthplace of Kindergarten in the US.  Margrethe Scurz is spinning in her grave).

      Sunlight is the best disinfectant

      by historys mysteries on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:57:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  8%? That's nothing! (0+ / 0-)

      Our governor, John Kasich, gave his chief of staff a 35% raise over her predecessor. He similarly raised salaries for a bunch of his other appointees. Meanwhile, he's pushed for cuts for teachers and safety forces.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:03:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site