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View Diary: How Teachers Are Screwed in Michigan (75 comments)

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  •  You can terminate a contract for a legal reason? (8+ / 0-)

    Can you give a specific example of that?

    Unions do not necessarily create an adversarial atmosphere. I have worked in non union states and states with strong unions. In my experience, there are some districts that have adversarial relationships between administrations and teachers. I found that in two states where there were either weak unions or no unions.

    In schools that I have taught in with strong unions there was an effort on the part of the administrator to listen to the teachers and to work together for the sake of the students.

    Atlanta has an association, not a real union and the teachers were pressured into cheating. At least it appears there was definitely pressure for them to cheat.

    I am happy that you are happy in your non-union job. However, you haven't taught in Michigan, so why would your opinion about their schools be rationale on this topic?

    I don't mean to pick on you, but, there are good unions and not so good unions, just as there are good teachers and not so good teachers. There are also good principals and not so good principals. Anytime any one group has too much power it can lead to problems for student learning. For example, a dishonest principal could reward teachers who cheat for their students on tests by giving them the highly academic students the next year. A teacher might blow the whistle on this, but, without union protection, would be likely fired.

    All leadership systems need accountability, openess and checks and balances. Unions often provide that. Michigan is known for quality education.

    •  Good and Bad (8+ / 0-)

      You, in my opinion as a retired family counselor, left out the most important part of the equation.  There are also good and bad PARENTS.  Those who are actively involved in therir child's education and performance and those who are not.  Too often I saw poor performing students who arrived at school without having done any of their homework, half asleep because they spent their night playing computer games or texting, stoned from drugs, or emotionally strung out from their family's dysfunction.  Of course the education reformers/teacher haters ignore these issues and blame all school problems on teachers and their representatives.

      •  I've often commented that some parents think (14+ / 0-)

        sending a kid to school to be educated is the equivalent of dropping their clothes at the dry cleaners.

        So many kids having trouble at school not only do not have their parents invested in education, but live in choatic households where there's no quiet place for the student to study, 'crises' just about every day, etc.

        Kids can't learn in that environment.

        My mother was a school nurse in Compton, CA - a low income black and Latino neighborhood.  She kept in her office and home a supply of boys' & girls' clothes and shoes to give to kids who couldn't go to school because they lacked those items.

        That's a tough environment to try to learn something.

        HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

        by HylasBrook on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:25:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Truer words have never been spoken... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          not this time, HylasBrook, WillR

          There are some really bad schools in this country, but in almost every instance, parents are contributing to the mediocraty and expecting teachers to be miracle workers.  Inner city schools have so many problems on all sides (teachers, parents and students) that it is hard to know where to start fixing the problems.  In those really bad inner city schools, I am in favor of trying new solutions, like charter schools, but they need to be accounable as well.

          •  The Place To Start Is With Classroom Discipline... (0+ / 0-)

            But unfortunately, requiring students to follow basic rules is no longer part of education.

            And it is not just a problem with low income kids.  Parents of all groups no longer expect their kids to behave or be prepared for school.

        •  bad parenting is a symptom (1+ / 0-)
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          of a horrible economy.

          •  That is highly debatable. (0+ / 0-)

            Historical evidence alone would doubtless disprove your claim.

          •  Certainly it makes things worse (0+ / 0-)

            and I've had principals from schools all over the state remark that to me independently, that the kids seem just a bit more on edge these last two years.

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

            by elfling on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 04:54:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I Disagree... (0+ / 0-)

            For many years now, I have seen parents with young children shopping long after their young children should be in bed.  It appalls me to run to Wal Mart at 11:00 pm to get somethng I need the next morning and see a parent doing a cart full of shopping with to kids that are Grade School age.  This happens during both good and bad economies.  It is just a sign that parents have become more selfish.

            I know, you will say that they probably work two jobs and this is the only time they can shop.  I hear the excuses we make for bad parents.  But I lived in a small town where you know many of the people you see at the store.

        •  Agree that there are many parents... (1+ / 0-)
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          that approach parenting as managing a series of placements of their kids to achieve the desired growth experiences along a programmed path, school being one.  As you point out the reality for many is that kids actually do much of their learning outside of school and bring that wisdom and skill development (or not) into the classroom.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:28:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Legal Reason for terminating contract (0+ / 0-)

      I should explain this... Generally the terms of ending a contract are spelled out in the contract.

      An at will contract generally offers the weakest protection for the employee.  The wording usually says something like, "either party can terminate the contract for any reason or for no reason."

      What I meant by legal is, even though the contract says any reason, it's not really true.  For instance, it's illegal to terminate a contract because someone is pregnant (violates the FMLA), or because someone is black (violates the Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution).

      So an at-will contract means the contract can be terminated for any legal reason.

      Did I answer your question?  

    •  My view on unions (0+ / 0-)

      I don't claim my view on unions is very well informed at all.. it's definitely not.  I'm pretty open minded about the whole thing, but I think I'm more balanced than people in union states, because I can see how people work just fine with out it.  

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