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View Diary: The "World's Most Famous Teacher" On "School Reform" (14 comments)

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  •  they probably were (1+ / 0-)
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    ER Doc

    In most super highly performing programs, the key is that one is not required to teach whomever walks in from the street.  That is, by the way, the basis of the US comprehensive educational system.  That we teach, no matter who no matter what.  If a kid does not want to Shakespeare, we understand where their interests lies and teach that.  We try to put in Shakespeare, but kids that don't want to do it aren't kicked out, but met more than halfway.

    This is the basis of KIPP and similar programs.  Students who are not going to march to the beat of the predefined program are simply not going to be taught.  Sure, everyone has the opportunity to get a 'good' education, but the administration is in no way required to give every kid a good education.

    Let me say that support this model.  It was the way I was educated.  I worked for my education by trusting teachers and doing what I was told.  The problem is that I was in school 40 years ago, so what KIPP and the like is in no way innovative.  It merely satisfies the need of some people to move tax payer money into the private sector.

    As far as TFA, I have serious issues with the program but cannot say anything bad about most of the teachers.  Yes,they are only in for a couple years, and I think that is on balance a negative, but every TFA teacher I have seen makes a real effort to teach every student.  This is something that I bet your 'best teachers in the world' are not expected to do.  And they should not.  Their talents lie in other areas, but that does not mean that teachers that do teach what many call the less than average student, who won't even read a sentence, no matter how you build motivation, is a worse teacher.

    Here is a factoid to consider. Like many large urban districts, LA starts teachers around  $45K and tops out above $70K.  In addition to this, a teacher who is involved with programs like theater tend to have extra duty pay, and districts like LA have funds to cover this.  The up and down of this is I have seen late career teachers earn $80-90K.  There are ROTC teachers in my area that top out above 100K.  Compare that to smaller districts were TFA teachers are often placed.  They will start at $25K.  If they stayed forever, the might reach $40K.  There are no funds for extra duty pay, for anything more than meager Title I funding will cover.  A college graduate working 12 hours day for $130 a day,$220 after 25 years.  I know people who answer phones who make almost that much.  I don't know many who will work for that.

    As far as common core, there is some controversy.  In math and science I think it is good, because math and science is continuously changing and most see it dynamically.  The problem may be in English and Social Science.  In English, for instance, teachers just want to teach the same canon that has been taught forever.  Shakespeare is a good example. The same stuff it taught in each grade.  But we are not in 16th century, and the things kids have to do is different.  Kids have to be able to comprehend technical material.  They have to be able to comprehend legal verbiage, such as a EULA.  So English teachers are pissed because they have to teach comprehension instead of just decoding and plot devices.  Sucks for them.

    •  TFA may have some good teachers BUT (1+ / 0-)
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      the mere presence of them diminishes the idea that teaching should be a profession with training and licensure. Many college grads might make fine engineers. But not without the prescribed credentials. They might make fine nurses, but not without a license and professional training. They might make fine lawyers, but not without a law degree. A PhD in anatomy might make a fine surgeon, but won't without Med school and a license. I have an MSW. There are many people who can do my job; empathic clergy, compassionate community organizers, etc. But they, or an MA in sociology will not be allowed to; he/she must have an MSW and a license to practice in most states. By the way my sister in law does a great job with hair; but she cannot charge for it without a license. And yet we want unlicensed people in our the way most studies show properly trained teachers do a better job. There is one that was favorable to TFA, and I've no issue with trying to serve kids who need it, but TFA was supposed to be a stopgap and after 20 years we still haven't decided how to get more qualified people into teaching? More respect and status would be a good start. People can argue with me all they want about " teaching is different" etc and that any smart person can do it. So what? Smart people can do a lot of things, but for most of the professions they need specialized training and a license......the same should be true of teaching.

      •  Well. (1+ / 0-)
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        Smart people can do a lot of things, but for most of the professions they need specialized training and a license......the same should be true of teaching.
        In NYS and PA, all accredited teachers are required to have multiple degrees.

        Mostly, in education.

        I am not denigrating teachers, who work very hard: my mother was one.

        But in college I did a bit of freelance typing for extra cash. The guy who wrote the undergraduate paper on the polymerization of bridge road surfaces was an excellent writer. The guy who was going for a Ph.D in Education could barely eke out a grammatically correct sentence.

        More recently my friend was getting his degree to teach in NYS. I typed many papers for him. The most interesting was "Sexual Indeterminacy in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night."

        The least interesting were the things he wrote for his Doc of Ed: they were pretty stupid, actually, and he aced them b/c he was brilliant and the classes were for dumber-than-dishwater students.

        Were the pay better, and more in line with the amount of education required -- and were the level of education in line with what teachers OUGHT to know, not what boards of ed think about teachers -- well, we might have better teaching in this country.

        In the short term, I think Boards of Ed should be required to take Ph.D level tests about teaching, Shakespeare, mathematics, physics, chemistry, physical education, English, Art, and Music.

        If they can pass all those tests, then they deserve to set policy for public schools.

        Until then, I don't believe any school board member should open his or her mouth about anything.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 03:06:32 PM PDT

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        •  So you knew one person (1+ / 0-)
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          who couldn't write well....well I know several people with doctorates in education and they are all exceptionally bright. Boards of Ed do not set credential requirements, you ought to know that. States set those. The Doctor of Education is supposed to be a research degree ( this is changing ) and has little to do with professionalizing teaching. I think a Master's degree as a minimum requirement, with a double major in a subject as well as pedagogy ( which will draw from the best research in all disciplines that are relevant, including social work, psychology, neuroscience etc. ) would be the way to go, along with a high degree of autonomy and good pay. And yes, a measure of job security not based on test scores. We can look to other countries to see how they train their teachers, and we can stop letting people with no training or expertise of any kind dictate job duties to teachers. The master's degree would enable a teacher to also be eligible to administrate ( this is where there needs to be reform; a teacher should not have to train separately to become a principal ) and as an aside I would ban gym teachers from becoming administrators unless they have go back to college and study an academic major:) Just as an aside, because I can tell from your tone you 've run into some dunderheads on the local board, I think it is high time we do away with elected boards of ed. They serve no purpose and often have no clue. At the very least, they should be educated. Finally, Andrew Hacker has recently been speaking about the common core and his opposition to it, and noted that he saw amazing teaching in our public schools and that the facts don't really point to a collapsing system, at least not yet. He describes the core as "sadistic." Oh, and I don't think for a minute that even the least selective universities have dumber than dishwater students in their programs. That's really unfair. Mostly they are people who work full time and can't drop what they are doing and enter a PhD residency program while the family starves. Let's not denigrate real achievement OK? If the school is accredited, the person had to write something substantial and defend it. i'll bet an EdD dissertation at Pocatello State got more scrutiny than that asshole at Yale ( I think ) who wrote that Hispanics will never achieve higher IQ's.....

        •  just FYI, in both NY and PA ( and NJ ) (0+ / 0-)

          you can enter teaching with virtually any degree in anything. There is no requirement for an education degree. You have to jump through some hoops, that's all. Almost no one in TFA has an ed degree. We would never do this in medicine, law, or hairstyling....or massage...or PT....or OT...or Speech....or professional social work..or psychology....or just about goddamn near anything else....please note I am not a teacher, I have an MSW. And no one is letting college grads who studied Shakespeare for four years enter my profession. I should know; I have a BA in English. To do social work at the clinical level I had to go back to school. And that ain't gonna change.

          •  Same in Indiana now. All you need is a degree and (1+ / 0-)
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            pass a test.

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

            by zenbassoon on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 07:14:41 PM PDT

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