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View Diary: Privatizing our Public Schools -CUSD Ground Zero - This is a National Issue (42 comments)

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  •  so it's not really about improving schools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    it's about your daughter getting to go to a school you approve of. It's about making sure upper-middle class families don't have to mix with poor folk any more than absolutely necessary. And now it's about lowering the standards for teachers at low-SES schools, because even you seem to believe that they can't really make the schools better.

    What happened to making all of the schools better for everyone? Is that just too difficult, too expensive - or just not your problem?

    Seriously, you post here often about school "reform" and how teachers had better do this and/or that or suffer the consequences, but when it comes down to it all I see is that you are fearful about the possibility of having to send your daughter to a school that struggles to educate students who come from disadvantaged homes. I don't think your desires for "reform" go any further than that, and your posts about teachers are an expression of that fear and frustration. Once she's got a placement you can live with, education for the masses will no longer be an issue for you. I imagine this sounds harsh, but I'm calling it like I see it.

    •  It's not fair... (0+ / 0-)

      ...to try to make the discussion about me personally. That's just a way of avoiding the issue. If you want to defend the status quo, cite some facts. If you have a better idea, let's hear it. But, no ducking and dodging, please.

      But even if your armchair psychoanalysis is correct, you should remember that I vote.  I'm a Democrat on a Democratic blog...but Democrats had better not make me choose between the interests of the Teachers Union and the interests of my daughter.  There are millions of other Taxpayers, Parents, and Voters who feel the same way.

      Accountability is coming. Standardized tests are coming. School choice is coming. These things can happen the Republican way -- which uses them as a vehicle to destroy unions and de-fund Democratic candidates -- or we can offer counter-proposals.

      Saying, "No-no-no-no!" to any reform and ad hominem comments in place of arguments are not counter-proposals.

      •  the problem I have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron

        is that I don't see how your suggestions for "reform" are substantially different than what the Republicans want.

        And again I ask, what "accountability" is it that you want that isn't already in place? Accountability is here, now. Standardized tests are here, now. What kind of school choice do you want? Charter schools? Vouchers? Those are more Republican proposals to increase the privatization of public schools, and I'm still completely unclear on how they are supposed to improve the public schools we have now. I'd really like an explanation, because honestly I don't think the point is to improve our schools, I think it's to tear them down.

        Why does this discussion depend on me and other teachers accepting Republican talking points? I can understand why you'd feel that my comments are ad hominem, but I hope you can understand why I feel your comments are begging the question on school reform.

        •  Real reform (0+ / 0-)

          A lot of what we need to do will be very similar to Republican proposals. I'm sorry.

          We need to steal their best ideas: Standardized testing, and "choice" (vouchers, public-school choice, and charters).

          We need to block their bad ideas: Funding cuts, class size increases, testing teachers, and paying for schools with property taxes.

          We also need to throw in some new ideas of our own, such as crediting teachers who take on big class sizes or low SES populations. We also need to spend more money overall -- but if we ask voters for the cash before implementing the reforms they will laugh at us.

          But most of all, we need reform proposals that come from TEACHERS backed by their UNION. The Republicans tried the "Party of No" strategy on healthcare, and look where it got them! The same thing can happen to teachers if they consistently stand between families and the only source of upward mobility in this society.

          Lastly, please recognize the heart of your statement:

          What choices for parents do you want, except the choice to not have to send your own child to a low-performing school? How does that choice do anything to help the students at that school? Understand that the one surest way to turn a school around is to change the demographic at that school. It is well-documented that once a threshold of low-SES families is passed, the stresses on a school become such that it is very difficult to improve outcomes for anyone there.

          That sounds like you are saying that my wife and I must sacrifice our daughter in order to make the teachers' jobs easier. The Bush Family was not called upon to make such a sacrifice, why must we? If the teachers reading this only reply to one thing in all my posts, please speak to this.

          •  it is NOT about making teachers' jobs easier (0+ / 0-)

            it is about creating equitable schools for all children. When some schools have less than 11% free-lunch kids, and others have 75%+, there is a major equity issue. Evening out the demographics does not equal sacrificing anyone's daughter. Schools that have about 40% low-SES families are able to find ways to support their children so that no one's learning suffers, but when the numbers go up, the schools become overwhelmed and things go downhill.

            I vehemently disagree with you that standardized testing and "choice" are the Republicans best ideas. (Of course, I'd be hard pressed to choose any of their ideas as "best.") You still haven't explained how either of these things will make schools better, for anyone. Do you really want your daughter in a school where the teachers teach to the test, where she will spend significant hours learning how to answer multiple choice questions and recall isolated facts? Would you rather she be taught how to write effective dialogue, or be drilled on how to use quote marks and punctuation properly? That's just one example of the reality of what you are wishing for.

            Paying teachers more isn't going to make them any better at teaching 35 kids than 20. As far as paying them to work with low-SES populations, my district already offers $2k/year bonus for teachers who work in hard-to-staff schools, but guess what, it hasn't convinced experienced teachers to transfer. Why not? Read this.

            You are right, the Bush family wasn't called on to sacrifice anything for anyone, but if that's your model for citizenship we can stop right here because I seriously doubt that there is an argument in the world that I could put forth that will convince you of anything.

            •  You write... (0+ / 0-)

              Schools that have about 40% low-SES families are able to find ways to support their children so that no one's learning suffers, but when the numbers go up, the schools become overwhelmed and things go downhill.

              I don't believe that "no one's learning suffers". Have you got any data showing that middle SES kids in a 39% low-SES school perform as well as middle SES kids in a 10% low-SES school?

              But suppose I pretend to believe you. When the Hockaday School (Jenna Bush's alma mater) accepts their share of the low-SES kids, give me a call. But that won't happen. The Teacher's Unions never push to make the wealthy sacrifice their kids. That would require speaking truth to power. Instead, they go for the easy pickings, like my daughter.

            •  Accountability (0+ / 0-)

              Yourpost on another thread says:

              The awful irony is that because they are staffed by so many low-seniority teachers, as many as 67% of the teaching staffs at these schools received layoff notices in March.

              Perhaps layoffs should not be done by seniority, then?

              If we monitored which teachers were the best, we could make sure that their jobs would never be in jeopardy. But instead of firing the worst, we fire the youngest. Judging from the rest of your post, they are also the hardest-working.

            •  Standardized tests (0+ / 0-)

              Do you really want your daughter in a school where the teachers teach to the test, where she will spend significant hours learning how to answer multiple choice questions and recall isolated facts? Would you rather she be taught how to write effective dialogue, or be drilled on how to use quote marks and punctuation properly? That's just one example of the reality of what you are wishing for.

              I think you are making an unfair caricature of standardized tests. There are good tests out there, that test comprehensive knowledge, such as most of the AP tests.

              Also, I am suspicious of those who claim that learning cannot be measured. If you cannot measure what you have taught your students, how do you know you are doing any good at all? How do you know you are helping?

              Just saying that you have a warm fuzzy feeling that a kid writes "effective" dialogue isn't good enough. We need to compare one kid to another across the state so we can discover which teaching methods work best.

              (That unquantifiable warm fuzziness can also get a nasty Pygmalion effect going. "I like Joey, he looks like a good kid, I'm sure he knows his grammar. Susie doesn't look like a good kid, she's gonna need more help...")

              If a kid doesn't "look like" he's smart, a standardized test can save him from being tracked into the wrong class or getting an unfair grade.

    •  These are completely uncalled for (0+ / 0-)

      personal accusations and you have no basis for making them.

      It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

      by denise b on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:19:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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