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View Diary: Paying school teachers $125,000 / year? (99 comments)

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  •  Manhattan Man (1+ / 0-)
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    Sorry fella, but your test score only criteria for measuring student achievement is the same kind of sorry schlock that is not working under NCLB.

    For you the scenario is:  we pay more in tax, the teachers get more in pay and then deliver more in student test scores.

    Neat arrangement except the tests you value so dearly are low validity, unreliable, non-predictive, non-transparent, irrelevant to children's real lives and plumb low order thinking skills.

    These tests are great for producing the kind of non-thinking worker needed right now in China's factory production economy but they don't even come close to cutting it in America's 21st century entrepreunerial economy.

    I would pay 100K just to watch you for a month with classes of 30 in NYC, trying to get kids to memorize some inane facts for their next benchmark exam.

    Help new teachers to grow and love their work at

    by Mi Corazon on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 06:10:03 AM PST

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    •  The tests I advocate? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't recall "advocating" using tests that are low validity, unreliable, non-predictive, non-transparent, irrelevant to children's real lives or that plumb low order thinking skills.

      I am advocating using tests that measure actual competency and achievement in Math, Reading, and Science.

      The Advanced Placement tests are a good example of tests that do this.  The SAT is an example of a test that does not work very well.  

      Of course, when using tests to evaluate teachers we must always consider student turnover, bad home environments, English fluency, etc. There is plenty of literature on how to weight test scores so that teacher who make small gains with tough students get their fair rewards.

      We need always need better ways to measure student performance.  We must always look for ways to improve the validity of testing...becuase without testing we have no way of knowing if our kids are learning.  

      But I would pose a question for should we measure achievement?  If we are going to ask taxpayers for an additional $70k, what exactly, should we promise in return?

      •  What kind of certainty are you after? (0+ / 0-)

        That test scores actually mean a child's future will be secure?

        That the human beings involved in education will never make a mistake in word, deed or action?

        That our public schools will smooth the way for a completely just and fair society?

        That money alone can solve all of America's many and profound problems?

        And what is achievement?  Does it mean high school graduation?  College acceptance?  Passing a test?  Living a good life?  Being able to hold down a job?  Being an effective citizen?

        Are you sick of these questions yet?

        The facts are:  there are no guarantees in life, not in education, not in health, not in "achievement", not in the quality of our government--as we know all too well.

        But, as an educator, I offer you this:  full transparency for all of my courses, assignments, assessments and written comments.  An open door so you can watch me teach.  Written evaluations of my performance by independent professional educators.  Consistent membership and participation in professional organizations, workshops, and inservices.  Demonstrated continued learning and growth in my personal and professional life.  Evaluations by colleagues, parents and students.  Results on comparative student assessments, like ACT or SAT, as long as they have significant portions that demand critical analysis, writing and personal insight.

        You see, true assessment does not come cheap.  Nor is it easily accomplished.  If America wants to really invest in education and a quality teaching corps, I am all for it.  But, as it stands now, the run of the mill, corporate boondoggle tests that are used to evaluate learning and teaching are just plain garbage, and will never improve student learning, professional teaching or the state of America's human capital.

        Help new teachers to grow and love their work at

        by Mi Corazon on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:56:54 AM PST

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        •  Yes and no. (1+ / 0-)
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          The pythagorean theorem is what it is. You don't need critical thinking skills to understand it, or to apply it. And if you do not understand it to such a level that you can apply it, you are a sadly undereducated individual, ignorant of one of the most elegant, lovely, and useful facts of the universe. And if your school is failing to teach it to every single student who doesn't have some sort of fundamental cognitive defect, your school doesn't meet my minimum criteria for getting the job done. corporate boondoggle tests notwithstanding.

          I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:20:27 AM PST

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          •  Yeah, (0+ / 0-)

            that's very thoughtful.

            And, I could say the same thing about the 23rd Psalm, or Buddha's contemplation sutra on a flower, or Marx's Das Kapital.

            You are trying to claim privilege for a mathematical theorem and then dismiss anyone who doesn't see it your way, or who many be uninterested in Pythagorean's formulae.  This is essential;  if kids can't do this than they aren't even human beings.

            Yes, if only every child in America knew the same exact things all our problems would be solved.  

            Sorry pal, I learned Pythagoras a long time ago, and I can't say that it has fundamentally improved my life, even though, at the time, I was able to nail my proofs as much anyone.

            Just because you think it's so does not make it true.

            You are living proof that every one who ever went to school in America thinks they are a de facto expert on anything and everything in regards to education.

            News is in:  There are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

            Help new teachers to grow and love their work at

            by Mi Corazon on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:35:07 PM PST

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            •  sure i am. (0+ / 0-)

              you have your list of "successful outcomes".

              i have mine. (you'll note that i did say "meet my minimum criteria".)

              we disagree. you are free to advocate for a system of education that produces a mass of woefully ignorant "critical thinkers". what exactly you suppose they will spend their time thinking critically about, i do not know, but if you are going to teach them that knowing such simple truths as the pythagorean theorem is a matter beneath their wise concern, i expect you will discover they spend their time thinking critically about whether Britney should receive joint custody, or merely visitation rights, or whether Cherry Garcia is better than Cookie Dough, because even though they don't particularly care for cherries, they like the Dead, and even if they didn't, "Cherry Garcia" is a clever name, which amplifies the pleasure they get from consuming that particular flavor. like, y'know.

              i also suggest that your unconcern with mere knowledge is emblematic of the leftist attitude that the right has been using as a target for 40 years to slowly bludgeon the public school system out of existence.

              and take your condescension and cram it. you fancy yourself the owner of privileged wisdom, dismissing my opinion with an ad hominem attack based on nothing but some bogus stereotype of me that you have constructed out of your own prejudices and convenient untruths. what irony, that you should conclude your little lecture with such a stark example of weak thinking undergirded by a smug and illfounded appeal to expertise.

              I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

              by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 02:45:09 AM PST

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            •  and, NOT incidentally, (0+ / 0-)

              it is vile, dishonest, and disingenuous of you to project from my mouth (or my mind) the thought that "if kids can't do this than [sic] they aren't even human beings".

              what i would say is that if kids can't do this, they have been deprived of their birthright -- of an inheritance 10,000 years in the accumulation -- by smug know-nothing know-it-alls.


              I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

              by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 02:50:33 AM PST

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              •  If I embellished your position (2+ / 0-)
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                teacherken, UntimelyRippd

                it is politic of me to apologize, and so I will.

                I am not one to engage in ad hominem personal attacks.  Perhaps I was feeling angry or projected onto your comment extraneous issues involving public education, which, as you may guess, I do feel some passion for.

                I do not agree with your "essentialist" position however, that somehow the Pythagorean theorem is the sine qua non without which we can ascribe to American education a failure of epic proportions.  And that is my right.

                Young people need passion and engagement more than a list of things they must learn, and I feel strongly that by insisting that each of us holds the one true key to their success and fulfillment, we continually rob them of their inborn curiosity and intelligence.

                Sure, show them the Pythagorean theorem.  Wax eloquent on its profundity and meaning.  Connect it up to historical issues and developments.

                But then stand back and see if they are able to, of their own accord, take that some place that we could have scarcely imagined, quite apart from our own urging.

                Help new teachers to grow and love their work at

                by Mi Corazon on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 09:45:26 AM PST

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                •  well, okay. (0+ / 0-)

                  i seek balance. criterion-referenced tests are not the be-all and end-all in judging the success of the system, but i do believe they have a place, a relevance.

                  we could play an odd version of wittgenstein's definition game, in which i try to assert some basic fact as a sine qua non, and you try to find some example of an instance in which it's okay for a student to receive a high school diploma without having that basic fact, but really i've no enthusiasm for it. (uh ... okay, nobody should be able graduate high school without knowing that the symbols "the" correspond to the word "the". etc.)

                  and i am sorry if "vile" seemed perhaps a harsh criticism, but indeed, it is my opinion that even a person who is ignorant, stupid, foolish, clumsy, ugly, and irritating is a "human being", and deserving of proper consideration as such by those who are fortunate enough to be informed, clever, wise, deft, lovely, and/or charming. indeed, it is this core belief that to my mind distinguishes the progressive from most other folks. so to be accused of believing something otherwise is to be denied my most fundamental humanist value.

                  I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

                  by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 11:36:00 AM PST

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