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I've spent a few days reading the facts about what happened in Rhode Island with the teachers there.

What the District did there was to fire every teacher.  Every teacher, no matter what their history, commitment to students, qualifications, experience, track record, it did not matter.

They were all fired.

This is union busting plan and simple.  This is unfair.  More than that, it is bad for students.

What the board did was inexcusable.  And I expected Arne Duncan to praise them, he is a fake reformer who mouths right wing talking points about schools.

But then there was the coup de grace.  

Barack Obama praised this action.

Mr. Obama, I want to say this real clearly so there is no mistake.

F_____ you.

I am a teacher.  I belong to a union.  I have dedicated my personal and professional life to the service of students.

The people who were fired en masse are my brothers and sisters.  Every teacher knows that this sort of group punishment is unfair and is bad practice because it does not get the results you seek.

Mr. Obama, you and I are done.  Period.  End of story.  No discussion.

I will not vote for a Republican ever in my life.  Or least I have not seen one thus far.

But I will never vote for you again.  I made that mistake once, I will not repeat it.  

I look forward to the time when you are no longer President.  And given your lack of leadership on health care and the crappy bill we are left with, you probably deserve to be fired more than the teachers.

Here's a link to a starting point if anyone actually wants to find out what happened.  

http://centralfallskidsdeservebetter...

Hide rate this if you want to.  I've been a Democrat all my life and a union member for 25 years.  I'm done with Obama, period, forever.  And I don't much care if you ban my ID on dkos, I'm done with this clown and I thought I should say clearly, and publicly why.  And this won't be the only forum I say it in.  I've got email lists with hundreds of teachers on them and while the union leadership will protest quietly and gently, the rank and file teachers I've talked with are angrier than I am.  I will work to ensure that my union does not endorse or fund any campaign of his again.

And it's because I'm a progressive that I say this and take these actions.  I expect this from Bush/Reagan.  I won't take it from a Democrat.

Originally posted to 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:18 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  you are talking out of your ass (29+ / 1-)

      becuase you do not fully understand how bad this particular school actually is

      This Machine Kills Fascists

      by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:24:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you don't understand that the teachers (13+ / 0-)

        are being made to pay the price, when they individually may have been outstanding and the problems in the school are at least in part by circumstances outside of the school (such as poverty).

        •  I know these kids (9+ / 0-)

          and this school did more bad than good for them

          This Machine Kills Fascists

          by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:34:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So fire even the good teachers? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nandssmith
            •  OK, I don't want to be harsh here but I have to (9+ / 0-)

              I don't really care for lily-white white suburban teachers driving into the "ghetto" and do nothing but complain about how bad there students are.

              This Machine Kills Fascists

              by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:38:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  racist comment (7+ / 0-)

                I cannot believe you blame the teachers-for being lily white? Come on now!

                Justice for Siegelman

                by realwischeese on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:41:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  my blood pressure is a little raised here (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sephius1, indubitably

                so i'm going to mispell

                This Machine Kills Fascists

                by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:42:15 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  How is my saying that there are some "good (5+ / 0-)

                teachers" the same as complaining about the students?  Please explain.

              •  Funny (15+ / 0-)

                As a white male, I drove into the ghetto. The black teachers were just as disgusted with the poor behavior of students, and the lack of parental CARING for their own children. In fact, when i was hired, I asked about this. I was told the students who "made it" refused to come back to teach there. Seriously, if teacher, after teacher, after teacher "fails", at some point it is logical to conclude all of the teachers weren't incompetant. And there is plenty of blame on the administrations head, but its easier to blame the teachers.

                Bi-partisanship is a MEANS, not an ENDS.-Barney Frank Feb 2009

                by sd4david on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:49:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And more popular. (6+ / 0-)

                  its easier to blame the teachers.

                  America has an absolute pathology about teachers. Even the remotest opportunity to blame teachers results in an orgasmic feeding frenzy. Primarily among right-wing loonies, but I've seen it here, too.

                  It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                  by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:37:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, I wouldn't go that far! (5+ / 0-)

                    But I do find it very inconsistent on Obama's part that he holds teachers responsible for everything that happened before they got that child in class but he is always pointing out the problems that "were here when we came in."

                  •  Partly correct (0+ / 0-)

                    I agree teachers are undervalued and often undercompensated in the US. But the other side of the coin is that teachers seem to be universally opposed to the imposition of standards and the use of examinations to measure effectiveness.

                    Anywhere else in the world such ideas are soundly rejected. Basic education is a basic need of society and can be measured. When teachers argue against this, they lose credibility.

                    Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                    by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:33:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Standards are fine. Tests are fine. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      teachme2night

                      The tests don't measure the standards.

                      And it has always been so.

                      Basic education can be measured?

                      Really?

                      In art, music, drama, shop, pe, 1st grade.

                      2/3's of teachers teach grades or subjects which are not tested and the idea that you can measure all education is not accurate.

                      Spend a week in a classroom doing a teacher's job.

                      "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

                      by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:28:54 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If tests and standards conflict it is a problem (0+ / 0-)

                        First, let me explain my frame of reference. I received my education through my BSc in an Asian system, which arguably, overstress examinations (something that is starting to change). Then I completed my MSc and PhD in American Universities, and at that level obviously grading is weighted more on quality of research, dissertations, etc than examinations.

                        I believe that in most basic subject matter, testing and other forms of measuring achievement are possible and needed, otherwise there is no way to measure progress and to tailor programs for individual students, including remedial education where necessary.

                        I don't see any problems testing the 3R's, nor, actually, achievement in humanities although that may require other types of evaluations than written tests. Has a music student in a sight reading course learned how? It is easily tested. Is his/her performance technique or artistry excellent? Maybe more difficult to judge and needing a more relative scale of personal improvement, with less grade weighting, but something a competent music teacher should be capable to do (and I would stress Music Teacher verses Musician, the Teacher part being essential).

                        Why test/measure? Because we need to know if the student is learning, we need to direct them to improve and we need to recognize and promote natural ability and interests. And we need to gage the effectiveness of our education systems.

                        What I often find strange in the attitudes of American teachers is a strong aversion to testing, as if it is a negative that destroys little minds or an impossible task, and I disagree. This seems to be a highly politicized issue in the teaching profession to the point of extreme, knee-jerk attitudes.

                        Certainly test scores can be misused for the wrong reasons, but I think it is necessary because without standards and measurements in any system, the system tends to run downhill.

                        Your thoughts?

                        Just as a point of comparison, I'd like to comment on Asian verses American primary education. Asian systems are famously oriented toward examinations (particularly the annual examination to advance grades) and toward cramming. There is a reason; Asian languages are largely non-phonetic and require a fair amount of rote memorization and calligraphy practice to attain literacy, and are tone-dependant and idiomatic, requiring much verbal practice too.

                        Therefore, in the lower primary grades there is much stress on the development of discipline and study habits, and developing teacher-student relationships. I agree this comes at the expense of self-expression to some degree but the positive is a good foundation in scholarship that seems to be a problem in many American schools.

                        From the upper primary grades onward, Asian students are on a track toward a divide toward vocational or university education required by the shortage of university seats, something that is changing as economic conditions improve. However, the competition for those university seats is intense and does promote more involvement by parents since they want and expect their children to achieve that advantage.

                        Both systems can produce good results and would benefit from convergence to improve quality of education.

                        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                        by koNko on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 11:20:13 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Logically, fault is with admins and principals (8+ / 0-)

                  If I'm a 10th grade English teacher and on September 1 I have a class where most of the kids can't read, I don't accept that its my fault when they can't read on June 30 of the next year.  

                  Where were the administrators all along throughout those students' school years?

              •  The "lily white" teacher in a "ghetto" school (8+ / 0-)

                phenomenon is one I acknowledge and abhor. But I have also known some "lily-white" teachers who are extraordinarily successful in working with "ghetto" students. So it's hardly a justification for firing every single teacher.

                And are "lily-white" and "ghetto" the best terms to describe either group?

                I don't really care for lily-white white suburban teachers driving into the "ghetto" and do nothing but complain about how bad there students are.

                It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:16:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You must be aware of teachers (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  GN1927, teachme2night

                  that come into a school district from a different socio-economic background and do nothing but denigrate the local community

                  This Machine Kills Fascists

                  by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:18:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What a racist comment (5+ / 0-)

                    I am aware of a lot of teachers who come into low income schools and do a good job.

                    My friend, a small man (5'6") is a caring and committed English teacher.  Previously, he taught in an inner city St Louis school.  One day, a large, unknown to my friend, black kid came in and just picked him up and slammed him against the wall.

                    My friend now teaches Shakespeare in the suburbs.  He makes more money too.  He does not get slammed against the blackboard by out of control hooligans.

                    Students have responsibility too, although you teacher-bashers don't appear to believe that.

                    Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

                    by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:24:10 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  how is that racist? (0+ / 0-)

                      I can tell you that I know teachers that worked in CF and all that they want to do is leave for another district.

                      When the kids are buying and selling crack cocaine in the classrooms there is a serious problem with the school.

                      This Machine Kills Fascists

                      by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:30:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your comment is astounding (4+ / 0-)

                        You say

                        When the kids are buying and selling crack cocaine in the classrooms there is a serious problem with the school.

                        I see no comments about the responsibilities of the STUDENTS BUYING AND SELLING CRACK COCAINE.

                        What is with you?

                        Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

                        by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:43:32 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  It wasn't racist at all. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        aaraujo, zinger99, numberzguy

                        Threads about teachers and threads about racial conflict always attract the reactionary freak fringe. Since this thread combines the two, the whole DK Freeper Militia Nut Squad will be out in force.

                        It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                        by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:07:30 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You know ALL of the teachers there, (0+ / 0-)

                        and ALL of them wanted to leave for another district?

                        Relax - the adults are in charge now.

                        by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:11:49 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Nobody said that. Where did you read it? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          aaraujo, Bene Gesserit1

                          I know teachers that worked in CF and all that they want to do is leave for another district.

                          Clearly, she said that the teachers that she knows want out of the district.

                          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                          by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:25:35 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That person (0+ / 0-)

                            wrote many comments in this thread defending the mass firing on the ground that s/he knows teachers in that school who are terrible. I'm challenging that as a reason to defend firing ALL of the teachers unless the poster can say the s/he knows ALL of the teachers and they are all terrible. If s/he doesn't know all of the teachers, then why keep bringing up knowing some of them as a reason to fire all of them?

                            Relax - the adults are in charge now.

                            by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:39:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  "I have a friend that had a bad experience with (6+ / 0-)

                      an actual Large Negroid Individual. He fled to the suburbs and now he's very happy."

                      People who want to justify white racism collect these anecdotes.

                      It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                      by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:29:19 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ah, let's see if I have your complaint straight (0+ / 0-)
                        1. My friend is a small man - fact
                        1. He was assaulted for no reason - fact
                        1. The kid was black - fact
                        1. My friend quit the next day - fact
                        1. He works in a suburban school now - fact
                        1. He makes more money - fact
                        1. Inner city schools have huge problems with behavior - fact

                        Where exactly is your comment aimed?

                        Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

                        by numberzguy on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 10:31:14 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Over your head, apparently. (0+ / 0-)
                          1. People who want to justify white racism collect these anecdotes - fact.

                          The first kid that ever laid hands on me as a teacher was white. Would it have made sense for me to flee to an all-black school? Would you be dragging that anecdote around injecting it into discussions of education in order to villainize white kids?

                          No, of course not. That kind of fucked up thinking is only directed at black and brown students.

                          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                          by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 04:21:49 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Really, you are overreacting (0+ / 0-)

                            My wife teaches in an inner-city school.  Most of her students are black.  Her school is a "test in" merit school often mentioned on the US list of Top 100 high schools.  It is the only school for in St Louis on that list.

                            so, honestly, fuck you, honey.  I dislike this racism crap, and mentioned the anecdote to support the notion that teachers are not the only ones in responsiblity here.

                            Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

                            by numberzguy on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:41:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Your story sums-up nicely (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      aaraujo

                      The substance of the issue; the socio-economic, and ultimately racial divides in society that define the problem aaraujo is trying to describe.

                      I'm not sure if that was your intent, but it seems you agree.

                      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                      by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:41:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You interpretation is confused (0+ / 0-)

                        The problem is not my friend.  The problem is that he was assaulted.  This is not a "socio-economic confusion".  This is a matter of hoolaganism.  There are black hooligans, and white hooligans.  

                        What is the issue with racial divides?  No one makes some one else be a hooligan.  It's an internal thing.

                        Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

                        by numberzguy on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 10:33:09 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Failure to communicate? (0+ / 0-)

                          I think what you describe accurately protrays a socio-economic reality we could generally describe as a cycle of poverty. Actually, I thik that after more discussion you, arreujo and i are pretty much on the same point but just approaching it from different perspectives and talking ast each other a bit.

                          May I re-state?

                          In poor communities, kids face a myrid of personal and social issues that cause behavioral problems that feedback into the system. One effect of this is to engender sterotyping about the poor in general, and poor ethnic groups in particular.

                          And ... teachers are people too. They want to live a good life, take pride in their work and be useful, and sometimes they can't change the system and look for better opportunities.

                          Agreed?

                          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                          by koNko on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 10:22:45 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Which teachers? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    nandssmith

                    Oh, yea the STRAW teachers you have built to support a indefensible argument. I have never, ever heard of teachers denigrating the community that they teach.  Utter horse shit.

                    Justice for Siegelman

                    by realwischeese on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:49:33 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Don't be ridiculous. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      aaraujo, royce, marigold

                      I've spent the last 20 years listening to teachers hating on the community because they resent having to work with "those" kids.

                      You are really oblivious.

                      It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                      by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:10:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Who did you hear? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        7November

                        And where was this?  You made the comment, and to support it you say 'don't be ridiculous'.  Well, who can argue with that.  So I guess then, the Rhode Island teachers that got fired resented working there too. So, actually, the State did the teachers a FAVOR by firing them from a community they hate and resent. Wow.  Let's not stop there, let's get the stake and burn them on it.  I wonder how you would like it if someone fired you and supported their reasoning the same ignorant way you have.  Pathetic.

                        Justice for Siegelman

                        by realwischeese on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:17:07 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  So many stupid questions... I'll try to help you. (0+ / 0-)

                          Who did you hear?

                          Uh... teachers, obviously. If that's not sufficient for you to grasp the concept, okay... Pat, Karen, Bob, Margaret, Marie, Dave, Anna, Dick, Joe, Nancy, the other Nancy, Audrey, David, Jim, John, the other Bob, the other John, Dale... I could go on.

                          And where was this?

                          I didn't realize that would also be hard for you to figure out. Surprisingly enough, I usually heard the teachers at school. Do you want to know something about that school? Read my post following this one. You want to know the name of the school? Sorry. I try to maintain reasonable Freak Boundaries.

                          You made the comment, and to support it you say 'don't be ridiculous'.

                          This might not be such a touchy issue for you if one of your teachers had taught you to read. I did not make the comment, aaraujo did. To which you hystrionically and quite ridiculously replied:

                          Which teachers? Oh, yea the STRAW teachers you have built to support a indefensible argument. I have never, ever heard of teachers denigrating the community that they teach.  Utter horse shit.

                          Reality-based individual that I am, I said your ridiculous response was "ridiculous." And here's why: no matter how the world seems to two-year-olds and other narcissist, the fact that something did or did not happen in your limited experience does not mean that it did not not happen in someone else's.

                          aaraujo says she heard teachers denigrating the community they taught in. You start shrieking about horse-shit! and straw-men! because, presumably, if any teacher anywhere ever complained in such a fashion, YOU would have heard about it.

                          So I didn't say "ridiculous" to support a statement I didn't make -- but as a fair assessment of your ridiculous response.

                          Then, when it seemed impossible, you leaped into an even more nonsensical rant about the State doing the teachers a FAVOR by firing them get the stake and burning them on it. I assume you were trying to parody someone's position on whatever you think the issue is. It was just more ridiculousness, so we will proceed.

                          I wonder how you would like it if someone fired you and supported their reasoning the same ignorant way you have.

                          You'll have to show me where I supported the firing of the teachers. Was it in the statement I didn't make? Or was it in "secret code" in all the posts I've made opposing the firing of the teachers?

                          Pathetic.

                          Indeed.

                          Don't bother apologizing for your insane attack. All I want is for you to get whatever form of treatment mental health professionals recommend.

                          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                          by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:34:03 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Only an insane person would argue with you (0+ / 0-)

                            your holiness.  Apologize for yourself, because you make an argument that only you can support. Maybe every teacher in every district 'hate on their community'.  How dare you extrapolate your experiences onto the entire teaching profession.  Yes, I did read some of your comments supporting teachers, however I believe you are self serving kind that loves to prove their own intellectual supremacy, and if that means taking the other side, so be it. Except not.  

                            And here's why: no matter how the world seems to two-year-olds and other narcissist, the fact that something did or did not happen in your limited experience does not mean that it did not not happen in someone else's.

                             And you also.  Except I don't see you support it with anything other than a bunch of names.

                            I'm a progressive Democrat.  Union raised.  This is an attack on unions clear and simple.  And even though you think you're supporting them, you're not.  A true limo liberal- parsing out the facts to neatly support your universe.  Pathetic.

                            Justice for Siegelman

                            by realwischeese on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:36:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You didn't get that quite right: (0+ / 0-)

                            Only an insane person would argue with you your holiness

                            Only an insane person would argue with me -- or with anyone -- in an insane fashion.

                            Maybe every teacher in every district 'hate on their community'.  How dare you extrapolate your experiences onto the entire teaching profession.

                            I so clearly said nothing of that sort that even a garden variety idiot could not have gathered that from anything I wrote. This is why I am seeing your thinking as evidence of mental illness. There's really no other explanation.

                            Yes, I did read some of your comments supporting teachers,

                            You read nothing in my comments except supporting teachers and teachers unions.

                            The critical role of the union is not -- as the rightwingers bellow -- to protect bad teachers from being fired. It is protecting all teachers from being fired in violation of the law. I have seen school districts cover for lousy teachers for decades, but then viciously go after great teachers because the Good Old Boys don't like that teacher's politics, or sexual orientation, or race.

                            however I believe you are self serving kind that loves to prove their own intellectual supremacy, and if that means taking the other side, so be it.

                            First off, intellectual superiority is only proved by contrast and comparison, so I think it's actually you who has proved my intellectual superiority. I was just standing here. There are a lot of people here smarter than I am. And when that happens, I shut up and listen and learn.

                            And as for "and if that means taking the other side, so be it," that may be the stupidest thing you've said yet. I don't believe we've been properly introduced. I won't take any side but what I believe to be the right side, no matter what. Much to the frequent consternation of many, I would add.

                            This is an attack on unions clear and simple.  And even though you think you're supporting them, you're not.

                             

                            Oh. I see. And you know this because you captured my brain waves in your Mom's magical soup ladle and read them with the 3-D glasses you kept from "Monsters vs Aliens." Because you certainly didn't get it from anything I wrote here or anywhere else. My parents were hard-ass Roosevelt-era union people and I've worked Union only for 35 years. You're fucking nuts.

                            A true limo liberal- parsing out the facts to neatly support your universe.

                            Yeah, one of those "limo-liberals," graduate of one of Oklahoma's fine institutions of higher learning, getting rich off a teacher's salary and in the process of buying a condo -- the first property I've bought since I got a used $600 mobile home when I started teaching back when I was 21 years old. Dude, you can't get anything right.

                            I'm not "parsing" anything. The facts support my universe because they are facts. I live in a factual world. I like it. You should come visit sometime.

                            It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                            by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 04:53:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  "The phenomenon is one I acknowledge and abhor." (7+ / 0-)

                    I've taught for 24 years in a town whose only reason to exist was that it was a White Flight community bordering Oakland. Of course it attracted teachers who wanted a guarantee of a classroom where every row of students looked like a string of pearls. In the Bay Area, if a town is all white, it's not an accident.

                    Within a decade, the school had become the most racially balanced high school in California -- within two percentage points hear and there, it was 25% black, 25% Asian, 25% Latino 25% white.

                    But the faculty was still 98% white -- and the majority of them had come to (for?) a very white school, and then -- damnit! -- everything changed.

                    A bitter, resentful and increasingly incompetent faculty majority that needed to retire or go elsewhere? Yes. Many who should have been fired? I could give you a very long list.

                    Every single teacher? No. We would have lost 15 or 20 good-to-great teachers... out of the 110 on faculty.

                    It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                    by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:53:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Not in my 33 years of teaching experience (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    conchita, 7November

                    I would have nothing to do with any teacher who did such a thing.

                    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

                    by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:55:38 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's easy to teach 33 years -- or 133 years -- (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      marigold

                      in districts where these conflicts don't exist.

                      Obviously, those communities are not relevant to this discussion.

                      It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                      by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:13:25 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Not true; very relevant to discussion (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        conchita, koNko

                        I currently teach at an alternative school which serves young parents and those who have failed at other schools.  Students of color make up the majority of our student population - which also includes large numbers of undocumented students, those with severe drug-abuse histories, non-English speakers, homeless and a very high rate of poverty.

                        Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

                        by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:26:49 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Sounds very similar to my teaching position. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          koNko, nandssmith

                          Alternative schools tend to be (thank god) a fairly different culture. Alternative Ed teachers choose diversity and choose challenges. The stick-up-the-ass types who bitch endlessly about "those kids" are at the feeder schools your (and my) kids came from.

                          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                          by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:35:25 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  I think you are missing something (0+ / 0-)

                  When a collective bargining position forces an all or nothing decision, one possible outcome is "nothing", and that might not be terribly surprising when the "all" was a low sum.

                  Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                  by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:36:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  My understanding is that the "good" teachers (12+ / 0-)

              can apply for their jobs.  I think I heard on NPR that about 50% are going to be eligible for re-hire.

              I don't have a problem with the en masse firing.  There comes a point where we either believe education is important or it is not and those that can't teach need to move along.

              With that said, firing teachers isn't the solution in general but sometimes things get so bad you need to start from scratch.

              We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

              by theotherside on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:47:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  half will be rehired (4+ / 0-)

                but many do not have the proper skill set to work in this kind of environment

                I would say, hire more younger minority male teachers that the students can develop some kind of working relationship with

                This Machine Kills Fascists

                by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:53:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What the hell are you talking about? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Nightprowlkitty, marigold, nandssmith

                  The issue here was NOT teacher performance.  This was a dispute about compensation.  The supt. did NOT argue these were poor educators.

                  Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

                  by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:19:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The average wage in the community is 22,000 (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    conchita, aaraujo, koNko, Bene Gesserit1

                    The teachers are paid 72,000 to 78,000.  The program to turn bad schools around asks teachers to work 7 hrs. a day instead of 6 to help students with tutoring and other remedial work.  The teachers wanted 90.00 dollars an hour for that.  The negoiating broke down and then they had to go to the other model.  That called for firing and hiring back only the teachers that would follow the program.

                    "Fascism is capitalism in decay"-- Vladimir Lenin

                    by nocynicism on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:02:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "They" didn't "go to another model"... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      conchita, Nightprowlkitty

                      The supt. walked out on negotiations after only 3 friggen meetings and opted for firing all of the unionized staff, teachers, the school nurse, guidance counselors, administrators, because it was allowed for under Duncan's bogus policy.  So what about who made what?  The issue was NOT that the teachers made too much, it was NOT that the teachers were bad teachers, the issue was compensation and hours.  And, the supt.'s reaction to the negotiating process was to fire the union when they didn't agree to her terms.

                      Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

                      by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:34:33 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Are you serious? (0+ / 0-)

                        The big issue being compensation to extend working hours from 6 to 7?

                        I have news for you, most people in this world work increasingly longer hours for no increase in pay and often reductions in pay. And face productivity standards that put their jobs on the line constantly.

                        And here is a group with a base of $72,000 to $78,000 demanding $90 a hour to go to from 6 to 7 hours a day?

                        Sorry, you just lost me. WTF are these people complaining about?

                        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                        by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:53:37 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm dead serious. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Dirtandiron, teachme2night

                          What about the word NEGOTIATION are you unclear on?  Anyone who can stand there and defend a superintendent(would love to see what her compensation is compared to these educators you seem to dismiss as unworthy of their pay rate)who fired the entire unionized workforce when they countered her offer, which is the definition of union busting, can not possibly be serious.

                          Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

                          by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:06:48 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I wasn't in the room (0+ / 0-)

                            And as far as I know, neither were you so we don't know the content of negotiation and cannot really draw conclusions.

                            What we know is result, one of four not terribly flexible choices.

                            However, if the salary figures quoted are correct, then these teachers are fairly well paid for a fairly poor overall result.

                            BTW, I am not dismissing anyone, but reason suggests some of those teachers are pretty ineffective and as I have stated elsewhere, sometimes the negative effect of unions is to perpertuate a lowest common denominater of performance where poor performers are rewarded on par with high performers, who become disincentiveized.

                            But then, I'm looking at the broader issue how well the school (Administration and Teachers) are performaning their mission, not just what is in it in the short-term for teachers in terms of compensation.

                            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                            by koNko on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:02:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  More boilerplate "teachers have it easy" bullshit (0+ / 0-)

                          WTF are these people complaining about?

                          Must be something, buddy. Because I don't see people flocking to the teaching profession for all that big money and easy living...

                          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                          by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 04:59:29 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Did I say that? (0+ / 0-)

                            No. I said, if these teachers are making a base of $72,000 - 78,000 they are fairly well paid and if you don't think so I suggest you check the facts on what other people are earning, including other teachers.

                            As I have stated elsewhere, I believe teachers are generally undervalued and and underpaid in the US, but these teachers don't seem to be, particularly given the poor results the schools seems to be producing, which I ultimately hold administrators responsible for, but certianly it's a responsibility shared by teachers, parents and the community.

                            Personally, I would not keep my daughter in such a school but I don't assume all the parents have such choices, it's a pretty poor community.

                            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                            by koNko on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 10:08:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  The results suggest otherwise (0+ / 0-)

                    If only 7% of students are able to pass a basic math test, it's difficult to make an arguement for increased compensation.

                    I suppose there are both good and bad teachers in this school. That suggests that weeding out the bad ones and then rewarding the good ones would be a more resasonable approach to solving the compensation issue, but in the case of collective bargining it becomes an all or nothing proposition, no?

                    Ultimately, this is a problem with unions.

                    Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                    by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:26:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  The problem is there is not a huge pool of (11+ / 0-)

                  male minority teachers eligible for hire.  And tho I see your point, I'm not sure that is the problem.  My white daughter teaches in a mostly black inner city school, and she has established a great relationship with the students there---has received all kinds of accolades and recognition, has been told there is a huge request by parents to get their kids in her math classes etc.  She knows good and bad teachers of both races there.  It really depends on the person.  In fact, she had a black male student teacher this year which didn't work out so well.  He was very nice and kind but shy and quiet and lacked confidence.  The students sensed weakness and ran all over him.  He was unable to maintain any kind of order and was basically unable to teach.  My daughter was sad because she was very excited to have him in the beginning, for reasons you stated, and they tried all kinds of different approaches but it was basically for naught.  I think some people just have the knack and personality for teaching and some don't and skin color is not always the answer for connecting with students.  My daughter has always said that if they like her, they'll want to work hard for her, and so she tries to establish those kind of relationships----lots of special tutoring before and after school and started a fun guitar club there which is hugely popular.    

                •  Yeah, well, (6+ / 0-)

                  when you locate that pool of available, young, male, minority teachers, you can make yourself a few million bucks by advertising their names and whereabouts, because every urban school in the country is desperate to hire them.

                  Meanwhile, there are a bunch of us middle-aged white women who care about those kids and half-kill ourselves teaching them till the young male minority posse can ride to the rescue.

                  Relax - the adults are in charge now.

                  by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:15:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  The PATCO controllers (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DMiller, marigold

                were eligible to reapply for their jobs.

                I think that's the appropriate comparison here.

                Losing often means that you had the courage to take on a difficult cause with an unlikely outcome. ~ James Perry

                by ActivistGuy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:31:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The ones who will be rehired will not be rehired (0+ / 0-)

                because they are "good." They will be rehired because they are compliant and are week on Union.

                It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

                by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:36:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  50% (The Good Teachers) are to be rehired (4+ / 0-)

              Brush up on the facts before venting.

              "And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." -JFK

              by RyanBTC on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:03:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Some of the teachers will be hired back. (0+ / 0-)

              You didn't do enough research on this.  This diary is crapola.

              "Fascism is capitalism in decay"-- Vladimir Lenin

              by nocynicism on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:54:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Oh really??? Do you know that students (5+ / 0-)

            showed up at the meeting to advocate for their teachers?

            Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

            by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:18:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Under the regs, they really only had two (11+ / 0-)

          options, didn't they?  They could try lengthening hours (they tried, reached an impasse, said they'd fire the teachers, and are now back to negotiating longer hours) or fire the teachers (or closing the school, which would be tantamount to firing the teachers; or becoming a charter, but it's not clear they could set up charters there).

          eg, the school administrators were backed into a corner.  If people don't want this to recur again, they'd do well to work to change those regs rather than write Outrage! diaries.

          •  They announced they were firing the teachers (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            burrow owl, jct, masslib, nandssmith

            after a 2nd meeting.  That's not negotiating.

            "At least we have health care!"

            by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:41:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  15 years of crisis (17+ / 0-)

              this school was taken over by the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 15 YEARS AGO because it was failing.

              15 FRIGGING YEARS AGO - NO PROGRESS

              This Machine Kills Fascists

              by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:45:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Rude, OT question: (0+ / 0-)

                How could there be no progress after 15 years of union staffing with Democratic oversight? And what expectations do you have of SEIU staffers in federal health care agencies?

              •  That (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jane Lew

                and the 7% are the things that really bother me.

                I'm really bad with math so maybe someone else can figure this out but it would seem to me at 7%, the best teacher and the worse teacher could not have been that far apart. Am I missing something?

                I brought my mop Mr President, let's do this!

                by JupiterIslandGirl on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:26:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That 7% is a hard number to explain away. (3+ / 0-)

                  There are lots of schools with problems of economics, language, violence, etc.  But 7% is the worst number I've ever heard of.  And it wasn't just a one time bad result but has been failing for 15 years.  This wasn't the first thing they tried to fix the problems.  If it was, I'd be outraged too.  But after 15 years and numerous attempts to improve results they still got only a 7% pass rate on the math test.  Obviously, something drastic needs to change there since the other fixes just weren't working.  Starting over, in this particular case, doesn't seem like a bad idea to me and I am a teacher.  It sounds like the effective teacher will be rehired as well.  And it wasn't just the teachers who were fired but the administration as well.  If ever a school needed a fresh start and a new approach, this sounds like the one.

                •  Yes, you're missing something. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  skohayes, Karl Rover

                  I don't know the specifics of this school; maybe the teachers were all terrible. But maybe they weren't. There's no way to tell just from the passing rates.

                  Passing rate just tells you where the students ended up. To know whether a teacher is doing a good job, you also need to know where the students started.

                  I teach 7th-grade math. I have a lot of students who leave my class 2 or 3 years below grade level. Guess what -- some of them started 6 years below grade level. Yep, that's right: I've had students in my 7th-grade classroom who were at 1st and 2nd grade math levels. In the same class with students who test at 9th grade.

                  A lot of my students have made 2 to 3 years of progress in my class, as measured by our thrice-yearly district assessments, but still failed abysmally on end-of-the-year high-stakes state testing.  Because 3 years  of progress in one year wasn't enough to get them up anywhere near grade level.

                  So don't give me state test passing rates. Show me how much math the students did learn. Tell me how many students didn't drop out despite urging and mocking from their gangbanger friends, because of the time and attention a teacher devoted to them. Talk to me about whether the teachers spent 4 or 6 or 8 hours a day learning about and implementing best practices, creating systems and procedures and routines and lessons and assessments that would work with their kids.

                  Because the kids couldn't relate to the textbooks, which were written with upper-middle-class suburban white kids in mind -- and if there's one thing every math teacher in the world knows, it's that the key to success in teaching math is to find the hook that will engage your students, get buy-in from them.

                  Or was this a district where the teachers are required to use the district textbooks faithfully, page by page, lesson by lesson? I don't know, but I can't imagine how any teacher who works with even a moderately diverse population can succeed with that kind of restrictions. So that's another thing I'd want to know before deciding that the teachers aren't doing their jobs.

                  Relax - the adults are in charge now.

                  by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:40:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  But isn't this (0+ / 0-)

                    something that would have been determined over a 15 year period of time?  I'm upset with the system for allowing this to go on as long as it did and I don't know all the answers or have all the info about this case but it seems drastic action needed to be taken in order for someone to finally start thinking about the needs of the children.

                    Life isn't fair and sometimes the good are lumped in with the bad but personally, my concerns are with the kids, not the adults. 15 years and good teachers who are suppose to care couldn't push the bad ones to get off their butts? Really?

                    I brought my mop Mr President, let's do this!

                    by JupiterIslandGirl on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:42:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "I'm upset with the system." (0+ / 0-)

                      Yeah, so am I. I don't think being upset with the system is a reason to fire all the teachers regardless of their individual performance.

                      And do you really think I'd be working those 14-hour days to teach math to 7th-graders if I didn't care about the kids? Think about that for a minute. 125-150 12 and 13-year olds. Hormones. Cliques. Drama. Fights. Obscenity. Horseplay. Now think about teaching them how to write proportions, calculate the surface area of a cylinder, and write and graph two-step equations.

                      What I don't understand is why people assume that firing every teacher at the school, without regard for whether that teacher is good or bad, is somehow good for the kids? Do you think there's going to be a wave of great teachers swarming to replace them, when they've seen what can happen regardless of individual merit? I mean, I've basically given up having a life so I can teach, but I'm not going to quit my job to go work somewhere where my job's not secure. I have to feed myself and provide for my retirement, because no one else is going to do it. So why would I want to go work at a school where the whole staff got fired?

                      Relax - the adults are in charge now.

                      by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:55:21 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  The Federal deadline was 1 March (3+ / 0-)

              in order to qualify for the new program and new, massive, funding. Both sides knew it, and both sides knew the clock was ticking. There were no surprises.

              Simply put. the Superintendent was supposed to blink, -and she didn't.

              "And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." -JFK

              by RyanBTC on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:09:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Teachers, Police, EMTs, Firefighters, mainly 1st (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              conchita, NWTerriD

              responders and our educators should never be on a negotiation pattern.  They should be paid well and only the good should be hired and trained.  That way, the bad ones are nicely weeded out.

          •  Four options: (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            conchita, marigold, tardis10, nandssmith

            Duncan is requiring states, for the first time, to identify their lowest 5 percent of schools — those that have chronically poor performance and low graduation rates — and fix them using one of four methods: school closure; takeover by a charter or school-management organization; transformation which requires a longer school day, among other changes; and "turnaround" which requires the entire teaching staff be fired and no more than 50 percent rehired in the fall.

            http://www.projo.com/...

            That school supt. had chosen turnaround, but when the union wouldn't agree to her inital offer she fired them all thanks to Duncan's four options.  That's some negotiating position for the supt..

            Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

            by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:23:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  jefferson county, MS (9+ / 0-)

          -highest obesity rates in country
          -16th lowest average income county in country
          -highest bank card deliquency rates in country

          source

          jefferson county, 2008 57% pass ACT math portion

          vs.

          this school, 7% pass high school math tests

          •  Can you identify the demographics? (0+ / 0-)

            Many non-English speakers?

            Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:00:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The ACT is a college admission test (0+ / 0-)

            that is taken by college-bound students, not by every student in the state. And I'm not sure what you're identifying as a "passing" score. The link you provided just had a screen that said "timed out."

            In any case, I would expect college-bound students, who self-select as to whether they will take a test, to do better overall than an entire school population. Doesn't prove anything.

            Relax - the adults are in charge now.

            by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:51:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It's not "bad" because every single teacher (4+ / 0-)

        was so dreadful that they needed to be fired. Such a reactionary act just shows that the school board and the administration have not been doing their jobs for many years. A preponderance of bad teachers does not happen over night.

        It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

        by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:11:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you. I'm on both sides of this argument (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          conchita, koNko, nandssmith

          as I read the comments, but this is statement I can immediately agree with.  It is true in the district I teach in.  Our administrators are utterly out of touch and nepotism is a problem.  There are teachers that truly are not doing their job, I witness it daily.  I am also a strong supporter of unions.  If the problem is indeed bad teachers, then the administrators have got to fire them a lot sooner than 15 years later.

          Other things can factor in to justify the lower scores, but nothing justifies just 7% passing math exams, even as I protest the idea of standardized tests being used to determine teaching merit.

          Another huge problem is that I perceive a lack of respect by students, parents, everywhere for the insitution of school.  That goes back to the tone set by administrators and also calls for better parent attitudes toward learning.  Endless bashing of teachers doesn't help very much.  I won't whine here, but I will say that good teachers work on average 12 hours a day, including weekends during the school year and are continuously "on".  On top of that we are required to constantly re-train and educate ourselves, thus the high burn-out rate.  

          Complex problems in education, not all of it rests on the teachers although they are the usual scapegoats.

      •  Ha! That's a laugh riot. (4+ / 0-)

        This wasn't about how bad the school was, this was a labor dispute.  The educators and staff wanted fair compensation for what they themselves had helped craft as a plan to improve student outcomes.  The supt. made an offer, the union made a counter offer, the supt., thanks to Arne Duncan's "race to the bottom", choose to fire the entire staff.  That staff includes the school nurse, guidance counselors, the secreatry, etc..  The only employees left standing were the non-unionized food servers.  This was union busting plain and simple.

        Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

        by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:17:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  HR'd for the "talking out of your ass" (0+ / 0-)

        comment

        "At least we have health care!"

        by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:55:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is not the point actually (0+ / 0-)
        1. It's union busting plain and simple.

        The teachers were fired for not agreeing to work more hours for less than the rate they are making now.

        Nope, you would not demand that of anyone else.

        Can you imagine a mass firing of plumbers for not agreeing to an extended day and making less for the extended time than they make for that time now.

        1.  Is there any evidence at all that the teachers are the reason the test scores are low?
        1.  Is there any evidence that this will improve anything?
        1.  And every teacher was fired.  Any evidence that they were all incompetent?  By the way, they were not fired for being incompetent, they were fired for not agreeing to more work for almost nothing.

        Maybe I'm talking to an ass....

        "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

        by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:23:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So a school has problems all the workers are (17+ / 0-)

      fired.  Wall Street brings the economy to its' knees, they get financial support and big bonuses.  This kind of sums it up.

      •  why does wall street always have to be used for (6+ / 0-)

        every argument.  Get over it.

      •  And it blindly plays the long running narrative (6+ / 0-)

        Which is:  It's not the society, it's focus and problems- It's the bloody lazy overpaid union protected teachers.  Now you wait, everything will be perfect now.  All problems solved.  Bull fucking shit.

        Tipped and rec'd, even thought the title is a bit harsh.  But I totally agree with the diarist.

        Justice for Siegelman

        by realwischeese on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:36:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry for anyone losing a job, but we can't (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aaraujo, RyanBTC, pvlb, Jane Lew, moonpal

        keep producing uneducated students. We can't just keep let everything remain the same.

        •  What part of education outcome is... (8+ / 0-)

          ...parents responsibility. [You can point any horse to water but you can't force it to drink]. In other words you can have the best teachers high motivation, commited to every child getting the best out of education process. But children come in all mindsets. Those that have parents that are very involved with their childs education and enforces [the teacher rules] in school...do the best even when they don't have all the economic tools others have....that makes the difference between good vs bad students. Yes, a bad teacher will make the outcome worse and possibly cause a marginal student to become a failing student. But a parent who in involved strongly with childs education can overcome marginal teachers. IMHO

          Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

          by kalihikane on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:00:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good points. My point was it should never get to (0+ / 0-)

            that juncture where teachers are above having to take some responsiblity, and perhaps, if need be, forfeit their positions, for a history of bad performance in their schools.

          •  I'd advise you not to look too closely (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aaraujo, marigold

            at the parents in that district.

          •  and I'll add community responsibility. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, NWTerriD, marigold, nandssmith

            I'm teaching in a high youth-violence area.  I know many good teachers who are presently floating resumes as it has become more and more dangerous to work here.  For example, a gun was brought to school recently by a fourth grader.  After a few month's suspension, which was basically him being home and having a home tutor, he is returning to our school next Tuesday.  No counselling has been offered to the student or the other students he showed the gun to that turned him in.  

            I know teachers are the preferred culprits of everything, but it is time to look at the actual decision-makers when things are this out of control.  To give them more power is pretty counter-intuitive.

            I don't think Obama is being properly advised on the problems that exist in education.  It is the one area I am in complete disgreement with his administration on.  

        •  Who would want to teach at that school or any (5+ / 0-)

          other in that district?  Were I an employee there I'd never teach again and I'm sure no one with any skill and career interest would either.  Might has well burn it down and bus the kids elsewhere.  

          In this environment with the crap attitude toward teachers who would want such a thankless career?

        •  You break contracts, fire good with bad then (4+ / 0-)

          then expect any teacher and expect good teacher your school forget it.  We have a school district here that is run stupid red neck uneducated tea baggers.  It went from being best school districts in the area to one of the worst.  Students can not get into good colleges.  Parents are angry but not angry enough to pay for good teachers.

          Good teachers do not work for minimum wage.  Good teachers spend a lot of time helping children in many different ways in school and after school. Good teachers have large college loans because school is not free.  Idiots seem to think that they lay around on their butts doing nada all day.  I would like to see one parent do a tenth of what most teachers do in a days time with the parental support and the support of a school board that they have.

          When a school district decides to get rid of school teachers and does not bargain in good faith it deserves all that it receives.  I hope that the union and the teachers sue the state for all they can get.

          •  good teachers are required to pay huge school (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes, marigold, nandssmith

            loans because the job demands a master's degree, I am presently paying almost $400 a month in loans.  Then there are all of the supplies that I have to buy, down to my own construction paper!  I spend thousands myself, and my salary is very much still middle class for my area ($49K).  Every year I spend more and more time parenting and seeking counselling for troubled kids.  And every year around tax time I get treated to reading parents complain about how ridiculous my salary and benefits are.  It is time we all awakened to the very simple idea that fostering disrespect for an institution is not going to improve it.  

            •  Appearently (0+ / 0-)

              In this case, the base is $72,000 - $78,000 and teaching schedule 6 hrs/day.

              That's actually a lot better than most people earn.

              I'll agree teachers are generally under valued and under paid, but not in every case and this case seems to be one where (based on the situation/results) there might be legitimate reasons to question the merit of the case.

              Or the viability of the school in question - some thinks get broken to the point they cannot be fixed and maybe this is one. Maybe they need another solution.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:05:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Then maybe we'd better think about (0+ / 0-)

          making everybody equally "accountable" for outcomes: The legislators. The voters and taxpayers. The school boards. The parents.

          Because as long as you continue to blame it all on the teachers, the situation won't change. I work 14 hours a day. I study and implement best practices. I am constantly working on improving my practice, and I am a damned good teacher. But all I hear from our district administrators, and in the news, and from the White House, and from Congress, is about how TEACHERS need to be more accountable.

          Teachers are part of a system. An important part, but just a part. If accountability is going to be the buzzword, then let's make everybody accountable.

          Relax - the adults are in charge now.

          by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:02:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  But what does firing every teacher in the school (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karma for All

          have to do with the problem?

          we can't keep producing uneducated students. We can't just keep let everything remain the same.

          OMG! OMG! The sky is FALLING! We have to do SOMETHING! Let's fire all the TEACHERS! No! Let's slaughter all the chickens by the full MOON!! Yeah! That's good TOO! As long as we're DOING SOMETHING!!!

          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

          by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:49:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Question (0+ / 0-)

            Was the issue forced with an "All or Nothing" choice?

            In this collective bargining situation, did the administrators have the option to take a middle road?

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:07:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Google it. (0+ / 0-)

              It's not my diary and I'm not your seeing-eye dog.

              It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

              by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:04:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I did. (0+ / 0-)

                Waht I found was a minimum of information that gave no insight to the content of the negotiations themselves beyond what is stated in the diary, hence my question. Í was not in the room so I'm not going to make assumptions about how negotiations progressed.

                And I didn't put the question to you specifically, so you have no need to reply if you don't have any answers.

                Cheers.

                Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                by koNko on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 09:58:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  There are a lot of former Wall Street types ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emilysdad

        who are unemployed right now.

    •  So, what you're saying is....to use your word, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kitebro, sephius1, skohayes, Morus, Jane Lew

      what Obama did was "inexcusable."

      You don't think Obama is getting the job done, so, you're firing him?

      Heh.

      You say:

      Every teacher knows that this sort of group punishment is unfair and is bad practice because it does not get the results you seek.

      Mr. Obama, you and I are done.  Period.  End of story.  No discussion.

      YET......Every progressive knows this sort of rigid attitude is unfair and is bad practice because it does not get the results you seek.

      November7, you and I are done. Period. End of story. No discussion.

      Oh, wait....is that going to get the results I want?

      Hm. Maybe not.

      Silence is consent.

      by Eileen B on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:05:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  where's the diarist? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sephius1, Jane Lew

      I have a lot of suspicions when the diarist skips out and don't answer questions. I makes all their claims doubtful.

    •  As a transplanted American, and from a family (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karma for All, koNko, Sarea, Jane Lew

      with many educators, I would have had a supportive heart until your profanity association with the president, you lost me.

      When I came to this nation back in the early 70's, the educational system in this nation has not collapsed as it has in the past 25 years.  I volunteer and teach in schools here in MN, still consider one of the best in the nation but a sad system nonetheless.

      Something went wrong in schools in this nation, worse in inner cities and rural areas.  I am sorry, in one school that I had volunteered to teach economics, a couple of students were sleeping.  I was told ahead of time that any discipline had to come from the teacher.  The teacher told me that "those who who choose to learn would learn."  I have Never been back to that school again, my heart was broken.  This was in 1992.  Fast forward, today, less than 44% of AA kids drop out in US and in the Brown community, it is almost 50%.  And your answer is to use profanity toward the president. Shame on you and the teachers.  I say that with a sad  heart.  The AAs and Brown kids lost are ending up in our prison system.  Who saves them?  Where is their future?  

      As an educator and a proud one, at least you have an education.  Sure the economy is bad but it will bounce back and you will always have a future.  What are the fate of rural White kids, Brown dropout rates and Black children ending up in prisons?  Those are my particular issues not how you want president Obama to be derogatorily man handled. Please spare me, as an educator, you know better and please grow up.  I am sorry but it is simply not about you.

      Some here are cheering you, who remembers the minds of these children that are currently being wasted?  Who cheers for them?  Are dispensable children today no longer our tomorrow's future leaders? Who amongst them should we leave behind?

    •  In a few schools like these RI schools that I (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karma for All, koNko, a night owl

      observed, the only people treated worse than the teachers were the children.  Who can argue that parents play a huge role?  But did these children choose their parents?  Can we continue to write off thousands of our children because we don't approve of their parents?

      In the 'troubled schools' I've observed quite a few of the parents came through the same schools.  The teachers look down on the parents which becomes one more reason why the parents don't get involved with the school.

      Is the job of teaching in these troubled districts tough?  I'd say it's one of the toughest jobs in the world and everybody can't do it.  We should pay the people who are good at it like they are neurosurgeons.  But we shouldn't let the angry, the mediocre, the poorly-equipped or the hateful do it at all.

    •  How can you call yourself a progressive? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      housesella, pragprogress, Morus

      When these administrators and teachers have failed their students so badly for so long, and all you seem to care about is the benefits of union membership for the teachers.

      Not one sentance about the plight of the students.

      Not one word of outrage that these teachers have failed so miserably at doing their jobs.

      Only 7% of students can pass a basic math test. I believe the percentage could be higher if children were merely give books to read and were self-taught.

      My question is what will be done next to provide these children remedial education so they can reach at least the minimum standard of education needed to survive in a modern society. Can anyone comment on that?

      Progressives stand for progress, by whatever means, union or no union. You say nothing in advocacy of educational progress for these students, for which this school is supposed to exist.

      Not one word. How can you call yourself a progressive?

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:37:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What do you think "Basic math" means? (0+ / 0-)

        It doesn't mean addition and subtraction. You actually think kids are going to learn how to graph and solve quadratic equations because you give them a book to read?

        Relax - the adults are in charge now.

        by NWTerriD on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:20:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How can anyone support union busting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teachme2night, tardis10

        and call themselves a progressive?  The issue here was NOT teacher performance.  This was an issue of labor negotiations, compensation and hours.  NO ONE was arguing the teachers were poor teachers.  When the union didn't agree to the deal offered by the supt., she used Duncan's policy to fire them all.  

        Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

        by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:42:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am a progressive (0+ / 0-)

          And I am neutral on unions; they are not a universally effective solution to all labor problems or situations and have a history of working against progress almost as much as for progress.

          Let me give you a few examples:

          Unions work for their members regardless of merit. When the value of the members work declines, you then have a regressive system. This is what happened with the auto workers union, they effectively negotiated companies into a hole and their members out of jobs; now the US taxpayers are holding the bag.

          Unions often work even against some of ther members; those with seniority (regardless of merrit) have top tier benifits while newer members may have contracts with lower pay and benefits - how that squares with "Brotherhood" is beyond me.

          Unions have often promoted nepotism and discrimitation, starting with Samuel Gompers' racist screeds that promoted laws that discrimiated against Asian Americans, and exclusionary practices against other minorities within the unions; if you are unaware of this history perhaps you should crack a few books.

          Unions generally obtain advantages for their members but not the working community as a whole since they generally work case-by-case, contract by contract, verses changing laws that would benefit all.

          Some unions have done very poorly by their members by poor investing of pension funds including involvement with organized crime. The Teamsters Union has a very colorful history, no?

          On the other hand, unions can also be credited with fighting for the rights of workers and influancing law in some positive ways, particularly in establishing some basic rights for workers that did not exist before, and probably would not have evolved otherwise. This made the union movement strong for a period but over time unions stopped promoting the common good and narrowed their focus to "me and mine" to their detriment.

          So it's a mixed bag, and that suggests we don't extend unions unqualified support simply because they are unions.

          So in this case, Í have to ask, what have unions done for the students?

          Granted, the students are not union members and not the consern of the union unless we take the long term view that students are the reason teaching jobs exist, and if the value proposition is so poor, eventually the value of those teaching services cannot justify increasing benefits.

          That seems to be an underlying issue in this case and worth considering on the basis of facts.

          BTW, to avoid doubt, I support the right of workers to organize and pursue collective bargining, but unless those workers also accept standards of performance and are willing to practice it systematically, a lowest common denominator resukts and then the value of the excellent workers is diluted by association with the whole. Interesting problem.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:47:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unions are thriving world wide. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron

            Only in this country, with the Reagan babies, do people who think of themselves on the Left end of the political spectrum, I assume that includes you, say things like "I am neutral on unions".  Unions are a method for workers to organize and use their collective power to bargain with their employers.  This particular union has worked with the school to craft a plan to improve student outcomes(outcomes have improved in every area outside of math), but that is not the purpose of the union.  If you enjoy your weekends, paid holidays, lunch breaks, etc., you can thank the unions.  It was the collective power of a workforce in which 40% of the workers once belonged to a union that brought us those things.

            This:

            BTW, to avoid doubt, I support the right of workers to organize and pursue collective bargining, but unless those workers also accept standards of performance and are willing to practice it systematically, a lowest common denominator resukts and then the value of the excellent workers is diluted by association with the whole. Interesting problem.

            Has zero to do with what happened between this supt. and the teachers union.  This was not a matter of teacher performance.  The issue was the supt. made an offer of time and compensation, the union made a counter offer, and the supt. fired them all, essentially rendering the union powerless.  This dispute was NOT about teacher performance.  It was only about compensation.

            Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

            by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:00:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You're not "neutral on unions" -- you could have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron

            copied and pasted your fucked up comment from any tea-bagging, fist-shaking, Palin-voting, knuckle-dragging website in the world.

            Ask me about your daughter's future. I predict your daughter will one day attend a recovery program for Adult Children of Ayn Rand Fans...

            It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

            by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:14:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  quote, helpful (24+ / 0-)

    "So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution," Obama said. "We've got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn't show any sign of improvement, then there's got to be a sense of accountability."

    "And that's what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th graders passed state math tests - 7 percent."

  •  Well then, YOU FIX THE PROBLEM. (46+ / 0-)

    Clearly the teachers in Rhode Island couldn't.  And weren't they going to rehire about half of them back anyway?  What's YOUR solution?  I'm a teacher myself, and I hear JACK SQUAT from the union about how to fix this problem outside of throwing money at it.  Not.  A.  Peep.

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

    by zenbassoon on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:22:33 AM PST

    •  Yup. (4+ / 0-)

      Damn you and your faint praise!

      by indubitably on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:57:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually you know nothing about this situation (6+ / 0-)

      First off, it is rather incredible that all the onus is put on teachers who after students and parents have the least power in the equation. What is the administration, school board and state department of ed's responsiblity for this state of affairs. They run the schools not the union, contrary to the mythology spread by the so-called education reformers including sadly the President and his secretary of education.

      This is not coincidentally the poorest district in R.I. The state doesn't equitably (not equally - but rather based on need) distribute resources. The union did have a proposal for change which the superintendent was interested in but the state, leaned on by Secretary Duncan, jammed the so called turnaround plan down the district's throat. Instead of facing the reality that improving schools serving poor, non english speaking studentsrequires real investment we get to fire the workers.

      I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. Barbara Jordan

      by Lcohen on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:45:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I live here (36+ / 0-)

    and you must understand that this particular school was beyond disfunctional.

    This school prob did more harm to the students than good

    This Machine Kills Fascists

    by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:23:06 AM PST

    •  So fire the teachers? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Black Max, marigold

      Justice for Siegelman

      by realwischeese on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:37:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OMG! Someone with ACTUAL knowledge. How novel! (13+ / 0-)

      It would be nice to have information from someone who is actually familiar with the school and the circumstances of this mass firing.

      So far, all I've seen written is reactionary black/white condemnation/praise of this decision that doesn't really putting this particular situation into context with facts and figures or a narrative of how the situation came to be.

      To the extent that you can share your personal knowledge of the events and circumstances at the school, I would greatly appreciate it.

      "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

      by tier1express on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:37:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And your conclusion is it's the teachers fault? (10+ / 0-)

      Not the administrators?

      Not the school board?

      Not the community?

      Give me a fucking break.

      When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all.

      by Dan E in Blue Hampshire on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:00:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nobody said it was the teachers' fault. (0+ / 0-)

        But that doesn't mean that shutting it down and firing all the teachers isn't the best solution. Millions have lost their jobs in this recession; is it their fault? If a public servant isn't accomplishing anything for the public, they need to go (irrespective of "fault").

        I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

        by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:02:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fault? (7+ / 0-)

          Excuse me, but accepting the school has failed -- reasonable enough -- what makes you think the teachers are the responsible party?

          Why not require the school board to resign en masse?  Why not fire the entire administration as well?

          When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all.

          by Dan E in Blue Hampshire on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:09:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You missed my point entirely. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, RyanBTC, Jane Lew

            People usually get fired not because they are "the responsible party" as you put it, but because their efforts are not productive. Many fixes were tried at this school, nothing worked. So it is shut down. Doesn't matter who is at fault, the public should not accept failing schools. What percentage of laid-off Americans are out of work because it is their "fault"? Sometimes you just get fired because, for whatever reasons, you are not getting the job done. That was clearly the case here.

            I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

            by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:14:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No because politically the firers think that the (5+ / 0-)

              firees are weak.  It is called power.  The school board had it for a little while and the teachers didn't.
              Remember shit rolls up hill not down.  Fault is with the school board, the state etc.  Teachers are there to teacher.  They do not make the policy or administrative decisions.  And they can not hire themselves.

              •  Aren't school board members elected? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko, Bene Gesserit1, nandssmith

                If so, the public gets the opportunity to fire them every election. Maybe this board should be fired, I don't know. But that doesn't mean that the school should not have been shut down.

                I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

                by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:27:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe the school (5+ / 0-)

                  should be shut down, maybe not; we don't have enough information.  

                  The ineffective teachers should be let go, just as the ineffective teachers in Rhode Island's others schools should be let go as well.

                  But firing every teacher in one particular school, with no regard for each teacher's performance-evaluation history, commitment to the children, etc. is ridiculous.  And basing it upon the least effective performance mechanism adds insult to injury.  

                  When President Obama was campaigning in Portland, Oregon he stated very clearly his desire to end standardized testing as the sole measurement of student performance, moving to proficiency-based assessments instead.

                  However, not only did he break his promise, he is using the very student-evaluation measurement he himself criticized to engage in union-busting activities and privatization of our public school systems at a level never before seen in the history of this country.

                  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

                  by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:59:05 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The diarist's claim is that shutting down (0+ / 0-)

                    a school is never the right answer (which somehow gets him to say F___ Obama). Like you said, we don't have enough info. But sometimes shutting down a school (which involves firing the staff of course) is the right solution IMO. I'm with President Obama on this one.

                    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

                    by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:26:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  But shutting down the school (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      masslib, marigold

                      is not the option they chose.

                      Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

                      by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:15:23 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  AFAICT (0+ / 0-)

                        The only difference is that when you "shut down" a school, you abandon the facility.  Which doesn't seem to be an option in this district.

                        •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          koNko, masslib, tardis10

                          They had 4 options:

                          1.  Fire the entire staff, with 50% eligible for rehire
                          1.  Shut down the school
                          1.  Convert it into a private charter school
                          1.  Turn around:  eating lunch with kids, expanding day, offering tutoring, etc.

                          They first went for option 4, but when that didn't work out they changed to option 1.

                          Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

                          by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:31:41 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Because the teachers would not agree to more (0+ / 0-)

                            work for essentially nothing.

                            In what profession can you be required to work more without being paid more and fired and condemned if you refuse?

                            Teachers work all kinds of time for free as it is, this was requiring them to work more, for essentially nothing.

                            Would you demand that of any other workers anywhere in any other profession?

                            By the way, is there any evidence that these teachers are poor teachers and that is the problem?

                            And what are the criteria for rehiring people and who would want to go back to work for an employer who did this to you?

                            And Obama could have stayed quiet, but he choose to weigh in on this as "reform."

                            By that standard he would be out of a job already himself.

                            "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

                            by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:41:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  "Shutting down a school" does NOT (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      nandssmith

                      have to involve "firing the staff of course."  It could instead mean a complete overhaul of the school--a thorough evaluation of curriculum and programs, facilities, ALL existing staff, school district support, etc.  It could mean that competent teachers would be kept.  

                      It's not my school, so I don't have enough information to make an assessment, but in every school I have worked in, good teachers have key knowledge about how to improve their school.  Sometimes they are allowed and encouraged to contribute their knowledge, sometimes they're not.  

                      "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

                      by CKendall on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:42:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  They did fire the ENTIRE administration as well. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jane Lew

            The school board is an elective body...

            "And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." -JFK

            by RyanBTC on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:20:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What makes you think they aren't part of it? (0+ / 0-)

            You seem to have decided the teachers are above it all, which is about as reasonable and credible as the proposition they are the only problem.

            I suppose the situation is rather complex, and that that teachers, like other humans, cover a specturm of competence, motivation and effectiveness.

            But when you have a situation where the pasic product (education) is apperently of such poor quality, it might be a bit difficult to make the case to raise the price just because the producers wish to do so.

            It seems this schools is so poor a more basic question might be why it exists and what are alternatives.

            Will throwing more money at the teachers solve the problems?

            I hate to drive the subject down another track,but this case (as many) seems to be a house on fire where how much the houskeers get paid might be secondary to survivsl.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:00:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  When I worked in a similar school (5+ / 0-)

        Parents signed a CONTRACT that they would volunteer 15 hours for the entire school year. Things like attending a PTA meeting, or school breakfast counted towards those hours. I bet less than 1 in 10 parents came close to this. Open house- maybe 1/5 of parents showed up. The schools would prefer to hire more minority teachers, but those teachers don't want to deal with verbal or physical abuse either. They prefer to teach at the "good" schools. And the "good" schools need the diversity.

        Bi-partisanship is a MEANS, not an ENDS.-Barney Frank Feb 2009

        by sd4david on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:01:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They were fired for refusing to a take (0+ / 0-)

      back in hours and pay.

      That's not a reason to fire people.

      They were not fired for test scores.

      "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

      by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:36:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sure you'll be HRed to eternity for this, but (11+ / 0-)

    I'm not dropping a donut -- you didn't violate the HR rules that I can see.

    That being said, so sorry to lose ya. Been a pleasure. Hasta la vista. See you on the other side. Toodeloo.

    I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, evil stuff... and I want in.

    by weatherdude on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:24:22 AM PST

  •  hmmmmm.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicago minx, Amayi

     title=

    what goes around comes around, buckwheat. -- AndyS in Colorado

    by bubbanomics on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:24:35 AM PST

  •  I disagree... (4+ / 0-)

    but will not HR because you were generally respectful in stating your opinion...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:26:53 AM PST

  •  From a teacher (25+ / 0-)

    From what I've read, the teachers here were offered all sorts of help and they refused.

    A 7% pass rate on anything is absurd.

    In my school, we have state exams (NYS Regents) in January and June.  For history exams, the normal time to take them is in June.  If you're sitting for either the Global or US history test in January, it means you either failed or were absent the previous June.

    To say the least, when we give the tests in January, the passing rate is nowhere close to what we get in June.  In June its 80 to 85%.  In January with the lowest performing students taking the test(s) a second or third time, it's about 20%.  

    Gives you an idea where 7% is.  Basically unheard of.

    ======

    "Sick Around the World"

    http://pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

    Watch it, send it along to all you know.

    by oxfdblue on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:27:01 AM PST

  •  What's your plan? (11+ / 0-)

    Seriously. Let's see it. What's your plan for fixing this school?

    Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

    by mistersite on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:27:15 AM PST

    •  Diarist's concern is not schools or children. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, RyanBTC, costello7, Jane Lew

      It is teachers, exclusively.

      I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

      by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:03:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt teachers "exlusively" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lams712, costello7, marigold, nandssmith

        but seeing how the Dems are supported by teachers, its nice to see so many on this site feel free to show so much venom towards them.

        And yes, the teachers SHOULD have to be available for after school and weekend school help. But time should be budgeted so that is reasonably possible to do this. The students in general love one on one attention with their teachers, and behave much better in small groups.

        And the Charter School I worked in has roughly a 80% turnover rate, year in, year out. Teachers want to teach, not babysit.

        Bi-partisanship is a MEANS, not an ENDS.-Barney Frank Feb 2009

        by sd4david on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:08:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see much venom here (0+ / 0-)

          What I read, and have stated myself, are some criticisms or teachers, administrators, parents, society and the whole damned mess.

          But, if I may stray back to the diary topic, do the teachers of a failing school have a reasonable bargining position to demand more pay when they are already a large part of a failing system?

          Got to be honest, if I was an Administraor, I'd take it as my responsibility to resist such pay increases unless there were some performance improvement goals and measurements attached, otherwise I wouldn't be doing my job for the students and institution.

          And for the record, I hold the administrators just if not more responsible for the situation. Letting this go for 15 years in inexcusable.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:23:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have given up my life professionally and person (0+ / 0-)

        personally for students.

        You don't know the first thing about me.

        But no, I won't work more mandated time for nothing and I won't stand for insanity like mass firings and claim it is "reform."

        "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

        by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:42:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Besides, we RI'ers are onto the next crisis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, drmah, psilocynic

    regarding a drug ring inside the Providence Police Department

    This Machine Kills Fascists

    by aaraujo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:27:41 AM PST

  •  all your base are belong to us. eom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karma for All, aaraujo

    Nothing ain't gonna get done right until we reform campaign financing. Yep.

    by tonyfv on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:28:26 AM PST

  •  Schools don't exist (37+ / 0-)

    In order to employ teachers.  They exist in order to educate students.  If they're not educating students effectively, they don't have a real raison d'être.

    Schools are not, of course, the only workplaces gummed up with people who are incapable of doing their jobs effectively, and where more complaints are produced than services; but they are perhaps uniquely visible, and uniquely responsible to the communities they serve.

    This is, by the way, what democratic socialism looks like: state-run services responsible to the people.

    •  Schools don't exist in order to employ teachers! (7+ / 0-)

      I think that really sums up everything that came to my mind on reading this diary. This teacher (diarist) is only concerned about being fired, but does not have much to say about the school or the students.

      Sad thing - in California, prisons do exist to employ people, not to reform or protect society.

    •  Yeah, please do enlighten us about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karma for All

      the success you've had teaching an 11th grader to pass two years of Algebra when he changed schools six times in the third grade and still doesn't know the multiplication tables because he's been absent 70% of the time and his concerns are less about algebra than about his shattered family, his sporadic homelessness, his meth habit, the guys that have tried twice to shoot him, his two year old child, finding a friends house where they'll let him eat supper, his undiagnosed ADHD, his fourth grade reading level, and the 30 narcotics Annonymous meetings he has to attend this month or they'll send him back to detention level rehab.

      We're waiting...

      It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

      by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:23:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that's the truth of it. (0+ / 0-)

        We are living in a time when education is very low on the priority list for a lot of kids, families, commuities.  My district is plagued by gangs.  I have kids who are out once a week, in third grade!  Worse, I have a school board and administration that seems determined to ignore all of the violence and real problems these kids are facing, CPS that is unwilling or overloaded to do anything about it, parents that don't answer phone calls, letters, messages, requests for conferences, citations, referrals, requests to take kids to pediatricians for glasses, requests for parents to follow up what their pediatrician said and take their kids for necessary neurological tests, requests for signatures from them so that services that I fight for, that the district does not want to provide will be provided.  This is a systemic problem.  I will stick with it because I'm just OCD enough to never give up.  But I've got to tell everyone, this is the truth of the situation for many schools and good teachers don't stick around.  We need support and help from our communities, not this continuous degradation of our profession.

        Ranting to no one a day later.  Thank you for perfectly describing what is happening.  And it is not hyperbole, it's the way of life for so many of my students.  

  •  The Quote (20+ / 0-)

    President Obama on R.I. situation:

    "So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution. We’ve got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show signs of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability.

    "And that’s what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th graders passed state math tests -- 7 percent. When a school board wasn’t able to deliver change by other means, they voted to lay off the faculty and the staff. As my Education Secretary Arne Duncan, says, our kids get only one chance at an education, and we need to get it right."

    Source

    I don't know the particulars of this situation --- in terms of remedial measures taken prior to the firing, teacher training, student counseling, etc. --- and I am not a teacher. In my own professional circumstances, however, I am 100% sure of the fact that I would not be able to keep my employment if I were only 7% effective at fullfilling my job objectives.

    "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

    by tier1express on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:31:22 AM PST

  •  Yes indeed, (9+ / 0-)

    just imagine if heart surgeons etc. were 7% succesful.

    Sure, let's keep them and give them a pay rise, sounds like a great incentive to do well.

  •  I have a huge problem with the "fire everybody" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jct, moonpal

    approach in Rhode Island.

    But, from what I've read, they had very few options, thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act.  I suspect that the teachers were hardly the #1 problem plaguing the school.  It was more like low attendance and a majority of students who didn't speak English.  Not to mention poverty.  The teachers are a scapegoat.

    That being said--it doesn't make sense to aim all our frustration at Obama every time.  And, yes, I know the banksters got away with much worse.

    Be safe every day, President Obama.

    by Grumpy Young Man on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:36:29 AM PST

  •  "Mr. Obama. F___ You!" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fivefouranonymous, moonpal

    That'll teach him!  

    l'sigh

  •  The management also got canned. (13+ / 0-)

    The principal and assistant principal(s) weren't spared the ax.  So this wasn't just about getting rid of teachers.  The entire school was dysfunctional.

  •  Yup, unions suck. Just imagine what a paradise (15+ / 0-)

    life would be without them.

    /snark

    •  Some unions do suck. (0+ / 0-)

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:37:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You've made you point about how you hate Unions. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron

        Is there some other topic you could troll about, preferably somewhere else?

        It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

        by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:25:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't hate unions at all (0+ / 0-)

          And I'm not trolling. Do you always make such accusations against people youe disagree with? That's a very weak and unconvincing argument.

          If you read my comments more carefully you will find I make both positive and negative observations on unions. Not all unions are good, and unions don't fit all situations. If that were the case, they would have more members. Many of the problems American unions face were of their own making - the UAW is a good example of that, they favored the few over the many to the point of gaining unsustainable concessions that ultimately resulted in a loss of jobs and a 2-tiered system with younger members making lower pay and benefits effectively subsidizing older members that retired with premium benefits few are every likely to see again. Total mis-management. Or the Teamsters - need I elaborate?

          An opposite case would be farm workers and service workers unions that worked very hard to win the truly disadvantaged basic pay and benefits they would never have gotten any other way.

          Maybe you should study the history of organized labor in greater depth from the Luddites forward to get a more factual and balanced viewpoint.

          30 years ago members of my ethnic group faced racial discrimination in many unions - quite a few were defacto "whites only, males only" organizations until the 80's when the gates got crashed because increasingly minorities were taking up jobs college educated whites were no longer attracted to. In other words, Unions have often worked as private clubs with exclusionary practices, not as organizations working for the benefit of all workers.

          So I'll judge organizations by their actions and try to do it as objectively as possible, and if you don't like that you can ignore my remarks if you wish.

          Or HR me if you think you have a case. Usually, the last resort of someone without a substansive argument to make.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 09:48:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I used to live near there (16+ / 0-)

    Central Falls is a horrible pit. Poverty is overwhelming, language is a major barrier, it is very densely populated. In fact, at one point it was rated as the most densely populated area per square mile in the US.

    That school is a major disaster and the kids that go there are doomed to failure in a failed system.

    I'm not an expert and I won't pretend to know what the answer is and I make no judgement as to whether firing the teachers was the right thing to do.

    But, if you have a better idea, then you should step forward and do something about it and do it with the kids' best interests in mind.

    The situation there is desperate.

  •  It's unfortunate that no one has noticed (8+ / 0-)

    that negotiations with the teachers are back on.

    from the Providence Journal

    So, the teachers were incompetent last Monday, but now they're not?  It's not really about the students, it's about the money, isn't it?

    And isn't that what union busting is really about?  The money?

    "At least we have health care!"

    by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:50:20 AM PST

    •  It's about controlling uppity teachers (10+ / 0-)

      You know, the ones who spend thousands of dollars out of their own pockets, who work with students, who do their own copying on their own time.  

      Teacher-bashing is so Republican.

      Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

      by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:51:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Shutting down a school and firing the teachers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inland, koNko

      does not mean that the teachers were incompetent. It just means that they weren't effective in that setting. If people were only fired for incompetence, we wouldn't have double-digit unemployment. Usually, people are fired because they are not productive, which is usually not their fault. But that's how things work.

      I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

      by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:08:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Semantics. (0+ / 0-)

        Unproductive = incompetent in the rest of employment world.  Or being a union member when the employer doesn't want a union.

        Notice one of the options in NCLB is for a charter school.

        "At least we have health care!"

        by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:35:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sometimes -- being about money is valid. (0+ / 0-)

      So -- that's not any kind of universal dismissal.  Uninsured people walk away from medical care because of money -- so -- would you call them wrong for not paying the money demanded?

      According to a story I read -- base teacher pay is $70,000/yr.  As people keep saying -- it's a poor area -- so -- that places them in the top 10% income bracket.  I've read the reason they're paid so much is because it's a hardship area.

      Now -- because of their dismal standing -- the district wanted to try some new things -- such as tutoring and having teachers eat lunch with the kids 1 day/wk.  They also wanted teachers to participate in some workshops for which they were willing to pay them an additional $90/hr.  $90/hr -- to go learn how to do something they're already being paid $70,000/yr to do -- OK?

      They -- people who are already being paid what is a premium rate for the area to try to get better results aren't succeeding -- and they expect to be paid considerably more to do a job they're already being paid to do?  What's the $70,000 -- babysitting rates -- and they need more to throw in a little teaching?

      Just because a union is involved -- that doesn't automatically make the union's case righteous and the employer the villian.

      I'd stick with scrapping the whole staff and rehiring only those I think up to the task.  I read their getting lots of applicants from all over the country.  I don't know if some rather small workshops are enough to make a difference.  Sometimes -- when schools are doing poorly -- it can largely be about widespread staff attitude issues -- things like writing people off and year after year -- even though it's different students -- treating them like you already know them to be hopeless causes or something.  Maybe some fresh creative and hopeful minds is just what they need.

      •  One day a week? (0+ / 0-)

        What good is that?

        If it were five days a week, I might see the point.  Anything to get the teachers to come out of the teachers' lounge and observe what's going on around them.

      •  $70,000? Link please n/t (0+ / 0-)

        It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

        by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:49:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry. I didn't see your request -- earlier. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't remember where I read that teacher salaries start at $70k -- but hopefully the link below is sufficient support.

          BTW -- I learned I need to correct something I said.  The district offered them $30/hr for the workshops -- the teachers asked for $90/hr.  Danged bad memory.

          The average teacher’s salary at the high school ranges between $72,000 and $78,000 a year, because most are at the district’s top step, Gallo said.

          http://www.projo.com/...

          •  "because most are at the district’s top st (0+ / 0-)

            And it took them almost 30 years to get there.

            So people can stop writing that the "base pay" is 70K...

            I made $90,000 this year. But I remember when it was $8,000 and I was teaching and directing the school plays, working a night job, and on weekends I had a day job and a night job. Wife and two kids on $8,000 a year. I've earned my $90,000.

            It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

            by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:30:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not about you... (0+ / 0-)

              ...unless you're one of those teachers.  Do you live in an area where the median income is in the 20's?  Are your students not learning even though they have a student-teacher ratio of 13 to 1?

              Automatic defenses don't help -- they just increase the negativity against unions.

              They claim the 7% passing rate for Math is about students not reading Spanish or English.  Now -- the passing rate for reading is 55%.  That's an odd thing for students who allegedly can't read -- don't you think?

              If all they want to do is pass out textbooks and grade papers -- that's not teaching -- and it doesn't deserve $70k+ regardless of how many years they've been doing it.  

  •  It's always the teachers' faults, NEVER the (9+ / 0-)

    students.

    They never do their homework?  Oh, that's the teacher's fault, for not motivating.

    They are disrespectful in class?  Oh, that teacher never established a climate of respect.

    They don't listen?  Oh, it's the teacher's fault.

    Teacher-bashing is so Republican.

    Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

    by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:50:25 AM PST

    •  Well the problem is if you start blaming (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal, marigold

      the parents, where the majority of the blame lies, you open up a huuuuuuge can of worms.

    •  Students are variable (2+ / 0-)

      Any class should show a bell curve of performance, with the bright and/or hard-working students doing well and the dull and/or unmotivated students doing poorly.

      I don't buy that this school has stupider students than the rest of the country -- and yet 93% of them are failing.  Even local poverty doesn't explain it.

      So what's constant in the school that could affect effectively all the students?  Facilities, administration, teachers.

      •  Language barriers bring the curve way down n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        417els, marigold, nandssmith

        Like matter and anti-matter, Republicans and the truth seem unable to occupy the same space.

        by dykester on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:58:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well the kids aren't "stupider," (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jct, marigold

        they just don't speak English and are illiterate.  Not really their fault, but it's tough enough finding one competent ESL teacher, let alone a bevy of them.

        •  It takes 2-3 years to get up to speed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jct, marigold

          in a second language.  NCLF gives you one year.

          Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

          by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:59:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If the teachers have been teaching in English (0+ / 0-)

          To a bunch of non-English-speaking students whom they know aren't comprehending a word they're saying, then aren't they just wasting everybody's time?  Why should they be paid for that?

          And while it's true that there are probably some good teachers there (who will be rehired) it's equally true that, for the outcomes they are getting, they are evidently outnumbered by the inferior teachers.  In particular the math teachers -- I wonder if they are even showing up to class.

          Yes, the students are poor.  But teachers can choose to approach the underprivileged with respect and diligence, or contempt and indifference.  I'd guess the latter is the prevalent mood at Central Falls.

          •  I taught math (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, marigold

            9th graders who were retaking 8th grade algebra because they failed it the previous year. In 9th grade, most of them were at 5th grade math, and 6th grade english. The hated math. They were years behind, but yet the system insists they learn more complex math, when they didn't know the basics. The school system should not be promoting students who have not mastered the lessons. The students should be spending time leaning math, and how it relates to money, an creating a budget from various jobs they could get without an adequate HS education. The students who are failing have been failing for years, and previous teachers/administrations/ policies are to blame in large part. I imagine it would be easier to take a 5th grader who is doing well, and teaching them 8th grade material, than teaching a student who has been struggling for many years. Teachers want to do a good job. My idea is to have a quarterly system, with year round school. Students move to the next level when they master that quarters subject materal in eacg specific subject. If they don't, they repeat the quarter in needed subjects, and move forward in other subjects. this may result in less stigma than being "held back" an entire grade. And students wh have problems in one subject area can retake just that subject.

            Bi-partisanship is a MEANS, not an ENDS.-Barney Frank Feb 2009

            by sd4david on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:22:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you mean a 2 track system? (0+ / 0-)

              I agree with that because not all people have the same abilities, desires or opportunities, and giving everyone a route to success may be more importiant and useful than forcing so many to fail trying to grasp something beyond reach. By the time kids get to high school they will be on-track to head for university or not, and if they can't make it they get left behind in the US system (unlke some countries where only the exceptional get a shot at higher education and the default is vocational).

              But I've got to say, that is not a very popular idea in liberal circles.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:56:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  How can you possibly make this accusation? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zinger99, masslib, marigold

            without information to back it up?

            But teachers can choose to approach the underprivileged with respect and diligence, or contempt and indifference.  I'd guess the latter is the prevalent mood at Central Falls.

            Even if you treat every student with respect and diligence every day, that does not guarantee that that forces of poverty outside the school will compel them to attend regularly or allow them the time needed to excel in their courses.

            And it certainly does not translate into higher scores on a next-to-meaningless standardized test that is culturally prejudiced against them.

            Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:33:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't you know? if you treat every student with (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All

              respect and diligence, they will magically learn English overnight and get a scholarship to MIT. And Sandra Bullock will play you in the movie.

              It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

              by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:33:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  To clarify, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nandssmith

        93% failed one state test.  The other state test results were higher.

        "At least we have health care!"

        by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:28:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'll be the first here to mention Parents. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marigold

      Parents.

      Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

      by Otherday on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:00:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Were the teachers that bad or were the students (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, marigold, OldAthena

    that stupid?

    As we all know, the USA is full of stupid people. Just look at the rise of Sara Palin if you need reminding.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, US AG

    by Mr SeeMore on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:51:43 AM PST

    •  Most likely... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marigold

      ...it's a combination of factors.  Schools in tough neighborhoods with very low property tax base and a disproportionate number of kids with various economic and social problems have a very hard time.  The teachers are probably doing the best they can with what they have but ultimately it doesn't matter.  If the school is continuously failing in its' mission then something drastic needs to be done.  It would probably make more sense to just shut the school down and go back to the drawing table for figuring out how to serve this population of kids effectively.  It might be better, ultimately, to bus them to better performing schools in neighboring zones.

      "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

      by Triscula on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:59:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, shutting down the school (0+ / 0-)

        was not an option in this case. Central Falls is only comprised of 1 square mile. Hence, it only has the one high school, with none others in the district.

        "And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." -JFK

        by RyanBTC on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:31:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sarah Palin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marigold

      is the quintessential example of education having failed.

    •  That is highly offensive that you would (5+ / 0-)

      call these students "stupid".  Would you wish to be called "stupid" if you did not excel after being thrown into a different country, where you did not understand the culture and/or where teachers taught in a language you could not comprehend?  And where poverty consumed a great majority of your waking hours, leaving you little time for school attendance and correlating lessons?

      Try putting yourself in their shoes please, before calling them stupid.

      Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:38:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  single issue voter (6+ / 0-)

    the true sign of a genius.

  •  This was emailed to me last week (13+ / 0-)

    And I researched it while at work, and unfortunately discovered that, once again, the full story hasn't been told. I don't have access to my work computer now or I would post some links and corrections, but unfortunately, I can't access them now and don't have time to re-research it.

    However, as someone who works closely with high risk college students, both as their professor and their advisor, I can tell you some of what I read made me see red. Put simply, I work 9-10 hours a day in the office and the classroom and almost always without lunch or a break of any sort.

    I have to work this much and this hard because the students being churned out by these schools have been horribly, horribly deceived. The students I work with are very smart, but were passed on. They can't read, they can't write, they can't do basic math.

    And, yes, I lay the bulk of the blame on NCLB - but having taken PhD level education courses and having seen what many teachers think passes for educating kids, the blame also lies with the teachers, and with damned unions who refused to allow the teachers to work an extra 25 minutes a day with the students.

    25 minutes? WTF?? Try working an extra 2-3 hours a day. Every day. Every. fucking. day. 25 minutes would be a vacation for me and the other college level instructors and professors trying to clean this damned mess up.

    Our minority and low income students are, in short, getting screwed. No, it isn't entirely the fault of the teachers and a huge amt of that fault lies with NCLB and districts which refuse to - or can't - fund their schools. But we'd damned well better start getting some very dedicated teachers into these schools and fast - or we're looking at an uproar of anger unlike anything we've seen before once these kids figure out how badly these schools and their teachers screwed them.

    Damn you and your faint praise!

    by indubitably on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:55:32 AM PST

    •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      royce, indubitably, Jane Lew

      for the insight.

      I brought my mop Mr President, let's do this!

      by JupiterIslandGirl on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:09:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Teachers do work longer than their paid hours (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      7November

      Often much longer, and they really can't just "leave their work at school".  It's an incredibly demanding job.

      However, it's not the amount of labor but the outcomes that matter.  Let's say that all of the teachers at Central Falls were working 90 hours a week -- they'd still be doing something seriously wrong with outcomes like that.  You can work hard, but in the wrong way, and you know it's wrong because your work is ineffective.  And in a school, if your students are graduating as ignorant as they came, your work is ineffective.

      Some people may know that they're doing a poor job, but in the absence of any pressure to do better (or any support) may just let things slide, collect their paychecks, and not worry about the outcomes.  Let the kids take care of themselves.

      I can totally understand that attitude -- it's to be expected when you're left hanging to twist in the wind -- but understandable does not imply either defensible, justifiable, or acceptable.  At some point you have to admit that you're not up to the job, and the job should go to somebody else.  Society works best when everybody is in the job they're best suited for, and I suggest that some of these teachers were just not cut out for teaching inner-city schoolchildren from a different cultural background.  They might do very well elsewhere.

      •  The time I noted (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WIds, koNko

        ... does not include the time spent at home.

        You see, with high risk kids, face time is crucial and statistically is as powerful, if not more so, than instructional style, curricula, etc.

        It speaks volumes that these teachers weren't willing, especially given they're white and middle-class, while the students aren't. Students aren't stupid. They know exactly what that means.

        Damn you and your faint praise!

        by indubitably on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:29:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WIds, koNko, Bene Gesserit1

        and it is the school district's responsibility (or the state's in this case) to match up teachers with positions they most excel in or are "best suited for."

        For example, how many bilingual teachers were employed at this school?  How many teachers were part of the faculty who have shown past success in working with a similar student demographic?  How many support personnel were there to provide resources to ease poverty, homelessness, drug use, tutoring, English language development, etc.?  

        If teachers/administrators/support staff are ill suited for the positions they are placed in, everyone loses - but most importantly the students lose.

        It seems to me that if this school has done so poorly for so many years, there has been a systemic failure on the part of those overseeing the school.  What they should do is to ensure that every staff member placed in that school has the tools, training and/or experience necessary to reach these students in a real and lasting way.

        Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:50:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Premise of NCLB... (6+ / 0-)

    was to hoist liberals on their own petard.

    One of the truisms of the liberal ethos is that all children, all groups of children have the potential to achieve as well as any other groups.

    O.K. says the republicans, if that's true if they don't then it's the school's fault, and we nuke the schools.

    Duh, well, O.K. I guess that makes sense.

    Dems agree and this is the result.  

    Only in Lake Woebegone are all children above average, or even average.

  •  A litmus test so dumb, I can't call it selfish. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, cheforacle

    Seriously, a group of teachers that failed almost all their students is where you're going to make a stand?  Seriously?

    And of course, you know better than to ask taxpayers and parents to join you.  You're quite aware that you're not going to be backed on this.  So goodbye, already.  

    Your US Senator gets a salary of $176,000, and a pension. He might not share your concern over health insurance costs and coverage.

    by Inland on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:59:27 AM PST

    •  That is a serious assumption that (4+ / 0-)

      it is ALL the teachers fault. And a right wing talking point.
      Painting teachers with that kind of broad brush is a way to ignore the many other issues going with the USA education system. A lot of the problem has much more to do with the baggage and support (or lack of) that students come to school with.

      I do think, at this particular school in RI, the failure has gone on for so long and been so prolonged, that something was not right within the school and its admin. Was it right to fire everyone? I dunno. It makes me uncomfortable because I am sure not all the teachers were awful, but they likely were not getting the support from admin to be successful. Should they get a blackmark like firing on their record for trying where they are set up for failure?

      Many new teachers leave the profession within five years because they take the job they can get, at struggling schools, taking the 'tougher' classes of students not interested and not supported in learning from home. The skills they need to manage and encourage students do not come over night so often they get criticized and 'moved on' for not getting immediate results instead of mentoring and advice from veteran teachers.
      Skilled teachers are not likely to stay in a school where its a struggle to teach students. It's emotionally draining. You can not realistically expect teachers to stay good if every day, every class is a struggle.

      Please stop laying ALL blame on teachers. It is not all their fault. Just as you cannot blame a doctor for a person's heart failure when the patient chooses not to follow the healthy diet or exercise as advised. Pills and surgery cannot cure a poor lifestyle choice. Or genetic bad luck.

      I just wanted to vote in the primaries. Honestly, I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

      by WiseFerret on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:28:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You'll vote for him in 2012. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jct

    You'll have nowhere else to go, and he knows it.

    •  True. But, he and the Democrats are losing a lot (4+ / 0-)

      of their most impassioned supporters.  The small donors, the canvassers and the ones who talked up the candidates around their neighborhoods will be muted in their support.  This will cost them big in their final vote totals.

      •  Yep, I'm a good example (7+ / 0-)

        I'm a 57 YO progressive, and I worked hard in 2008 for Obama and the Senate.  I am really pleased with Franken, who I gave a lot of money to.  The rest?  NOT HAPPY AT ALL.

        Obama is a major dissapointment.  I will vote for him, but I won't lift a finger to help.

        Obama's policies = Bush's policies + stem cell research.

        Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

        by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:13:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh really? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          royce

          Would these have been "Bush" policies?

          1.  Largest progressive legislation ever passed and enacted (the recovery act/stimulus)
          1.  Credit card reforms
          1.  Comprehensive health insurance reform bills through the house and senate
          1.  Regulatory enforcement in every administration agency
          1.  Cap-and-trade through the house; saving the wind and solar industries; pushing clean energy and efficiency initiatives constantly
          1.  Financial reg's through the house
          1.  Nuclear nonproliferation
          1.  Signed Fair Pay Act and S-CHIP (both vetoed by Bush)

          I think not.  And, I could go on, but no reason wasting more time trying to convince the unconvincable.  

          save our democracy! freespeechforpeople.org

          by thoughtful3 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:27:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        royce

        I'm a small donor and a canvasser, and I will be doing the same.

        save our democracy! freespeechforpeople.org

        by thoughtful3 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:20:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Teaching is a 3-legged stool (5+ / 0-)

    The teacher teaches.  The student learns.  The parent works with the kid to learn.

    With only one working, the system fails.

    Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

    by numberzguy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:02:14 AM PST

  •  I don't blame you (6+ / 0-)

    Teachers are often convenient scapegoats for the ills of society.

    "Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money." Michael Steele.

    by Paleo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:04:58 AM PST

  •  Can I ask a serious question? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cheforacle, Adept2u, sulthernao, Jane Lew

    If the statistics are accurate-that 7 percent of 11th graders passed the state math test-then what should be done?  I know it's not all up to the teachers, I know the students have to be willing to learn and the parents need to be responsible.  But it seems possible that these teachers were not doing their jobs.  If they weren't, why should their jobs be protected?  In any other profession, if you fail, you get fired.  Why should teaching be different?  What are the alternatives?

    •  I'm not even sure blame can be found (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nandssmith, OldAthena

      Or rather, blame that can result in eliminating the problem.  It's likely that the teachers are doing the best that they can with a population of kids that has overwhelming needs.  I also imagine that a school with a reputation like this one doesn't attract the best and brightest teachers out there.  Or they quickly move on to a more gratifying work environment as soon as they can.  It's a problem that tends to sort of take on a life of its own and is difficult to stop.  It would probably make more sense to shut the school down and split these kids up, distributing them across several other school zones.  The teachers can apply for jobs at these schools (which would likely need more teachers with their increased number of students).  Schools that are themselves, concentrated pockets of poverty, have a very hard time meeting the increased needs of so many of their students.

      "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

      by Triscula on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:18:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would understand closing the school (0+ / 0-)

        But doesn't there have to be a way to evaluate the teachers?  I guess my biggest issue is that we don't seem to have a way to determine whether the teachers are at fault.

        •  Yeah. I think it's pretty difficult to determine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tosser

          If the school is closed and those teachers moved to other schools then it will probably become clearer where the fault lay.  In a situation like this school in RI there are so many possible (and probable) contributing factors to the failure that it's probably impossible to put your finger on THE culprit or THE bad teacher, etc.  I imagine most of those teachers are adequate, a few are awesome and a few are lousy...like in most situations.  I would be surprised to see many truly terrific teachers in such an environment though.  It's got to be pretty demoralizing to work, year after year, in a sinking ship.  The great ones will either get out or give up.

          "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

          by Triscula on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:30:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Too true: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Triscula

            "I imagine most of those teachers are adequate, a few are awesome and a few are lousy...like in most situations."

            There are, no doubt, some bad teachers in our country's(hundreds of)public educational system(s), and replacing them with better teachers is a good goal, in and of itself.

            It's disheartening, though, how quickly the media establishment and a good chunk of the public have bought into this phony teacher quality crisis-a "crisis" cooked up largely by conservative front groups like Eduation Trust to divert attention away from the failure of NCLB.

            •  Unfortunate but predictable (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tosser, 417els

              People like a simple solution.  Tell them that this complicated and multi-layered problem can be solved by firing some people and it sounds great.  Who knows though, maybe firing everyone and making them reapply for their positions will help weed out whichever teachers and administrators were contributing to the problems.  That could be helpful but it will only put a small dent in the problem.  

              What I'd love to see (but I doubt it will happen) is a reexamination of how we fund our schools.  The model of funding based on local property taxes is so unfair and certainly does add to the problems that schools in poor communities have to deal with.  If anything, schools in troubled neighborhoods need even MORE resources than schools in more affluent areas.  That's not how it works out though.

              "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

              by Triscula on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:03:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  School funding through local property taxes is (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tosser, Triscula, marigold

                THE biggest problem, imho.  All over the country.

                Look at townships with high end property that sit cheek to cheek with lower or middle property areas. The difference in schools - test scores, graduation percentage, college bound students, etc. - cannot be attributed to make up of the student bodies.

                A few years ago, Carmel/Clay high school - bordering Indianapolis' far north side - spent 5 million dollars on a football stadium.  The school facility itself was "improved" with many lavish additions that had nothing to do with education. (For a state tennis tournament a few years ago, the Carmel team emerged from a cadre of white Limousines.  When it was evident they had won, they tried to have the tournament concluded even though there were singles' match left to be played.  This speaks to the McMansion mentality of this school district.)  

                Just south is Marion County/Washington Township school system.  One of the best high schools in the state, North Central, is well-equipped but not ostentatious.

                Only a few blocks from North Central are schools that can't install computer labs because the buildings have no air conditioning.

                The school districts, in addition, are weirdly gerrymandered.

                These three schools are probably within 5 miles - or less - from each other.  The most glaring difference among them is the property tax base through which they are funded.

                "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

                by 417els on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:00:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Your claim that he "praised the action" is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sephius1, Adept2u, sulthernao, LiLaF

    false and misleading.  He used it as an example of a failing school and need for accountability.  My review of his speech indicates he did not say the school board did the right thing.  According to the transcript of the speech from whitehouse.gov, the President said:

    "So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution.  We've got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements.  But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn't show signs of improvement, then there's got to be a sense of accountability.

    And that's what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th graders passed state math tests -- 7 percent.  When a school board wasn't able to deliver change by other means, they voted to lay off the faculty and the staff.  As my Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, says, our kids get only one chance at an education, and we need to get it right.
    Of course, getting it right requires more than just transforming our lowest performing schools."

    I hope you are not teach reading comprehension.

  •  Don't Vote and make every school district like UT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, skohayes, sulthernao

    The planet of Utah has the largest class sizes, lowest spending per student, and the lowest teacher salaries.  Why, you might ask?  Because the super majority Republican change the income tax to defund public education.  Don't vote and the Republicans can do this to every school district in the nation.

    I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends. Abraham Lincoln

    by UTRepub on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:12:31 AM PST

  •  The Congress has problems. (4+ / 0-)

    Can we fire all of them and hire all new ones, too?

    If you're not willing to put it in writing and sign it, I take it that you're lying.

    by gooderservice on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:15:52 AM PST

  •  So where is the diarist? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Jane Lew, moonpal

    If you're not willing to put it in writing and sign it, I take it that you're lying.

    by gooderservice on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:17:44 AM PST

  •  why is this diary got 14 tipes? (6+ / 0-)

    i h'rated it for the fuck you.  Yes i know it was blanked out but i dont care

    Love is the force for saving all animal life- humans included.

    by GlowNZ on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:26:26 AM PST

    •  Barack Obama is respectful of everyone. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nocynicism, Jane Lew, thoughtful3

      If he can respect us, we can respect him. He has earned at least that. IMO, there is NEVER a reason to say FU to him on these pages.

      I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

      by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:28:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  people say that about people on the right (0+ / 0-)

      here every day and it's acceptable.

      F______ you Glenn Beck would get tipped, not HR'ed.

      Its not the language, which I have not used here before by the way, it the person I said it to, and I would say it to his face.

      "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

      by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:49:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking at Central Falls HS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, esquimaux, 417els

    On Google Maps, I see that it's literally in the shadow of a huge high-rise housing complex.

    It also appears to have been built (all except one older wing) by one of those architects of the '60s or '70s who believed that human beings no longer required windows.  That architectural viewpoint is responsible for a lot of our hideous and depressing institutional architecture.  Such environments can affect students' moods starkly.

    The old wing, however (probably the original school building) is rather nice, and marks a remarkable architectural contrast.

  •  There is a program in Harlem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Black Max, tosser

    called the Harlem Children's Zone that is having amazing success. The way they do it is by having a firm commitment from the parents to work hard with their children.

    That's where it starts, with the parents. I am not fond of the idea of blaming the teachers at all.

    Of course using this as a litmus test for President Obama seems pretty damned silly too.

    Still a man hears what he wants to hear And disregards the rest

    by Mike S on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:53:48 AM PST

  •  I am a teacher also (8+ / 0-)

    And I have to tell you that after 40 years of working really hard, staying late, coming in earlier, etc. to help the students, I am sick and tired of those teachers who rarely do anything extra. Many of them should be fired. They should never have gotten tenure. In states where tenure exists, it is difficult for an administrator to remove a teacher. And tenure often affords bad teachers a reason to "slack off."

    Someone who is a true educator will not think about contract. I often stay until 6 or 7 on a Friday to help students. I come in Saturdays to direct the play. I do these things for the students.

    For years good teachers have had to suck up the negativity because of bad teachers. It is time for administrators with some spine to fire those teachers who are not teaching well.

    As a department chair, I know exactly who is and isn't doing their job.

    Sorry - but for years I have looked at people teaching the same grade as I with the same curriculum. They cover the material, giving little thought to what it might take to help students learn.

    It would be nice if teaching was a 9 to5 job, but if you go into teaching as a career, you have to know up front that it is hard work, work that often times is not reflected in the pay.

    Not tooting my own horn here, but I took all my school's below basic kids, worked with them, endlessly. Many passed the state exam, and all, at least, made progress.

    •  YDL, I hear you, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marigold

      many teachers don't have that luxury.

      I remember one teacher who was asked to transfer because she wouldn't stay past 4 pm and wouldn't take on after-school duties during the evenings and weekends. She was the sole caregiver for her daughter with CP and had to be home in time for the bus to drop her daughter at home. Others have to work second jobs to keep their families afloat (i.e. me). Others just find the job so draining that they need some off-time. And yes, some, but not many, are lazy swine who need to be fired.

      Sorry, but it's not nearly as cut and dried as you make it seem. And tenure is often the only protection a teacher has from an administration eager to cover their own faults and laxity by firing teachers to pretend they are doing something about the problems they themselves are causing.

    •  and you (0+ / 0-)

      are what I call an example of a great teacher who cares about their students. Toot away and bravo!

      Teachers like you stand out. If you had been in the midst of these mass firings, you could easily demonstrate your positive impact on the kids that you taught. So far, I haven't heard about any stand out teachers in the middle of all this, and after 15 years you would think there would be at least one tooting their own horn as well. What I do here is a lot of whining, excuses and very little concern for the students.

      I brought my mop Mr President, let's do this!

      by JupiterIslandGirl on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:00:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The price of failure has been too high (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicago minx

    I'm sorry but this school has been too bad for too long, and the expense is the education of these children.  I do have sympathy for those out of work but I have more for those without the education to make it in this society which is something it is thier job to impart.

    It sounds like its a difficult job and school and may not be cut out for everyone, but I think its apparent from this schools performance these teachers arent it.

    If it's of any solace to you i'd be for firing the administration too.

    My leader is Barack Hussein Obama the finest President this country has ever elected.

    by Adept2u on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:10:14 PM PST

  •  This action makes no more sense (6+ / 0-)

    than it would to say, "Wal-Mart sucks, they charge too much money for shoddy goods, so let's fire all the cashiers and stockers."

    If there's documented evidence that those teachers performed well below par, let's see it. I haven't seen a scrap of evidence to that end, and don't wave those test scores. Test scores mean jackshit. You want to fix that school, you need money, time, commitment, and effort from the teachers, the admins, the community, and the state.

    I've seen, and worked in, more than one school in crisis, and I've never known an instance where the teachers caused the problem or made the problem worse. In every single case, it's a lack of money for fundamental things: no money to run the air conditioning so the kids swelter, no money for current textbooks, no money to replace lights in the classrooms so kids work in the dark, no money for decent food so the kids eat tiny helpings of crap for lunch, no money for basic supplies ... you get the point. Those of you who are cheering the teacher firings, whether it's because you want to support Obama or because of other reasons, have no clue as to what goes on in the schools.

    The US is teetering on the edge of having a third-world educational system in many, many areas, including Central Falls.

  •  To place that 7% figure in perspective ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aaraujo, Inland, sulthernao, Jane Lew

    as everybody who has ever lived in or visited Baltimore, or even watched "The Wire" knows, there are some very poor areas of Baltimore City with lots of social problems.  The WORST passing percentage on the state-mandated high school assessment test in math (which basically covers first year algebra) was 33%, and that is at an alternative high school for special education students.  The school is virtually 100% African-American, and roughly 2/3 of the students are eligible for free lunches.

    The lowest passing rate of any regular "district" high school was 42% at a high school in one of the poorest parts of Baltimore City, the students of which are 99% African-American and which is located in an area with lots of social pathology.  That is enough worse than the other standard high schools in Baltimore that there seems to be constant talk about taking some drastic action, but if the teachers and administrators at that school can enable their students to pass the state test at a 42% rate, it's difficult for me to imagine how bad things must be to only achieve a 7% pass rate.

    •  Language problems??? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hatdog

      http://abcnews.go.com/...

      The story says the district is 65% Hispanic. I would have a question whether language problems are making it more difficult to teach.  

      •  If that were the explanation, I'd expect ... (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WIds, aaraujo, Inland, sulthernao, Jane Lew, LiLaF

        the results on the English test to be even worse than the math results.  But let's assume that NONE of the Hispanic kids are passing the math test.  A 7% pass rate means that only 20% of the NON-Hispanic kids are passing the math test, which is much worse than the worst passing percentage for ALL students at most poorly-performing high school in the much-maligned Baltimore City public school system.

        I know many teachers who would voluntarily put in extra hours to bring that kind of a percentage up.  But when the union wouldn't agree to an extra 35 minutes of class time per day and mandatory summer instruction in how to get better results out of their students, I don't see how the school system had much choice.

        I think that in general, testing has been overemphasized, but at some point, it becomes obvious that something is seriously, abysmally wrong with a school, and a 7% pass rate on a state-mandated math test is well past that point.

        •  If out of a class of 30 kids you have 5 who (0+ / 0-)

          really do not understand English, the entire class will be affected.  If its math, I would expect the entire class to do poorly unless you just totally ignore the 5 who cannot understand English.  

          Also, these were high school teachers and, logically, they were dealing with kids who were not up to the right level when they got them.  No one in business would accept being responsible for everything that went wrong before you got there.  

    •  Compare Central Falls to the school next door (4+ / 0-)

      For real "perspective," try a meaningful comparison, with a school that takes the same state tests, not schools from a different state with its own, different standards and assessments.

      (Info from the RI DOE 2008-2009, via greatschools.net)

      William E. Tolman High School is less than a mile away from Central Falls. Their student population is significantly different: Central Falls has 63% free/reduced lunch eligible kids; Tolman has 40%. Central Falls is 69% Hispanic, 15% black, 15% white; Tolman is 56% white, 27% Hispanic, 16% black.

      How do the math tests scores compare? 15% of Tolman students passes the NEPAC math assessment. Tolman doesn’t have enough English language learners (i.e. they have fewer than 10 ELL 11th graders) to even have a subgroup to measure, so language difficulties cannot be the problem, yet only 15% of their students passed the test! A whopping 9% of female students passed. Does Tolman deserve to stay open? Are their teachers serving their students? How far do we take this?

      I think it's pretty clear that the problems run deep in this area. There is no evidence that the mass firing of teachers can turn a school around.

      •  Nice research. Thanks. Has anyone considered the (0+ / 0-)

        possibility that the damn test is a significant part of these sky-is-falling statistics?

        It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

        by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:04:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are several possibilities (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jane Lew

      I imagine the most probable is that the math teacher(s) is/are incompetent or simply not doing his/her job.

      Other possibilities are that the test was maladministered (e.g., too little time, unacceptable conditions for work) or wrongly scored. That should be looked into.  Another possibility is that, for some reason or other, there was a concerted effort on the part of the students to flunk the test.  That's very unlikely, but such things have happened, for a variety of reasons.  The students who took the test should really be interviewed.

    •  The kids in Baltimore (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      masslib, tardis10

      have English as their first language.

      The majority of kids in CF (65%) do not.

      "At least we have health care!"

      by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Standardized tests poor measurement tool (5+ / 0-)

    The Superintendent of Education was just fine with keeping all these teachers if they would have agreed to work extra hours for a pre-determined amount of money.  So they were deemed competent at lower wages, but are incompetent now?

    President Obama and his goon Arne Duncan are pushing an immoral and ineffective policy.  What they need to tackle are the root problems of poor-performing schools:  allowing ineffective objective testing to serve as the sole measure of student learning/intelligence, measurement of what constitutes a dropout (if a student earns a GED in their school district they are still considered a dropout), poverty, language barriers, absenteeism, high pregnancy rates, lack of parental support (because they are fighting to survive), drug use, lack of perceived relevance for education on the part of some students (undocumented students do not qualify for FAFSA funds for college and/or are unable to pursue many professions) etc. etc.

    I work with these issues every day at an alternative school in Oregon.  Having taught for 33 years (and being new to this school this year) I have never worked with a more dedicated, committed, hard-working group of teachers - never.  Yet our test scores are among the lowest in the state.  What our students gain, however, are improved self esteem, real-life skills, employment and training tools, relationship building, advocacy skills etc.

    What's ironic is the "fixes" Obama/Duncan say will turn the Rhode Island school around are:  eating with the students one day a week (we eat with our students EVERY day); offering individual tutor time (we provide that for several hours one day per week and EVERY day); longer days (we already do that because we get NO plan period during the day in order to offer the student more course choices); and collaboration among teachers (we serve as FOCUS teachers for our students and the staff talks to one another EVERY day about each student's progress).

    And our test scores are still low!  Of course they are.  This is a school for young parents (who are often working jobs late at night/early morning) and a last-chance school for students with a history of previous drug treatment, educational and/or emotional problems and language barriers.  

    We should be applauding the improvements these students are making, the jobs they are working, their improved parenting skills and the growth in maturity that has allowed them to become productive members of our society - instead of labeling them as failures based upon standardized test scores that are skewed against their demographics (the worst way to measure academic progress/success) and firing those who have worked to make their future brighter.

    And let's not even talk about the dramatic negative impact on the students when those with whom they have built close, trusting relationships have been torn from them.

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by nandssmith on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:24:23 PM PST

    •  True, true and damn true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nandssmith

      Also work in Alternative Ed, and these despicable "exit exams" are the bane of my existence. I spend/waste so much time teaching toward a bullshit test which many kids are simply never going to pass.

      I get many of them when they've been struggling through nine to eleven years of poor teaching, lousy schools, dysfunctional families, poverty, absenteeism, drugs, pregnancies, gang wars, and no respect or hope for themselves. And I get the toughest cases because -- whatever... because I'm the Miracle Worker.

      But that MW reputation came about before the f*cking tests took over. Back when all of our time together was directed toward overcoming those lost years and building on each kid's strengths and making them believe there was a point in working hard, because they are worth it.

      But all the district wants bragging rights to a high pass rate, so that's all that matters. So rather than using our brief time together to build on the students strengths and his/her future, we keep wallowing in the hopeless, pointless negativity of tests that serve no purpose except to make certain that the kids feel like failures, feel like they are not good enough to waste a diploma on.

      I have a good pass rate, compared to the scores they were making before they came here. But it's at a terrible price. They pass this stupid test, but there's so much else that we never had time for and now we never will.

      It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

      by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:27:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please provide a link for the Obama quote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aaraujo, skrekk

    Also please provide the actual quote.

    "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." George Washington

    by Probus on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:38:09 PM PST

  •  Let's be honest here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sarea, Jane Lew, emilysdad

    Union rules make it nearly impossible to get rid of the worst of the worst teachers. That's got to change.

    http://www.newyorker.com/...

    •  True. And I've heard this from many Dem teachers (0+ / 0-)

      Who are all proud union members.  But they don't want the union to protect the teachers who actually damage students.  Until we deal with this problem, it will give the rest of the world reason not to listen to us and to criticize instead.

      "None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

      by Sarea on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:51:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I get so sick and tired of this kind of shit (7+ / 0-)

      Union "rules" don't determine who does or doesn't get fired.  Labour law does.  People can be fired if they screw up in their jobs, including union members, if there is just cause.  In order to fire someone for just cause requires an employer to follow the steps necessary to get a dismissal to stick i.e. there has to be some real evidence to show the employee should be fired.  

      PS I was a union rep in my former life, before I retired, and represented some members who were disciplined, up to and including termination, by their employer.
       

      "At least we have health care!"

      by marigold on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:52:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  By rules (0+ / 0-)

        I meant to say the contract negotiated by the union for its members.

        Did you read the linked New Yorker article? I'd be interested to hear what you think about the specific examples cited in that article.

    •  Autopsy of a Right Wing lie: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hatdog, 7November, tardis10

      .

      It is hard -- VERY hard -- to fire a good teacher. And it should be. When almost 80% of school administrators are Republicans, thank god they can't use firings to facilitate their agendas.

      But bad teachers can be fired. The procedure is very clear and reasonable.

      The reasons it doesn't happen include:

      1. Admins don't know they are bad teachers.
      1. Admins don't care that they are bad teachers.
      1. Admins don't weed out the losers before tenure.
      1. Admins don't know how to go about firing a teacher OR, more often, they are just too damn lazy to follow the procedure.
      1. Because they are dumb and lazy, admins don't fire a bad teacher until there's some catastrophic front-page incident involving the teacher (if it's not on the front page, no one cares) -- and then they fire in a reactionary state, without having laid the required groundwork and do so on thrown-together bogus grounds , so the teacher sues them and wins often enough to scare the administration out of ever firing anyone again.

      In other words, the administrators are saying, "If firing a teacher means I can't be stupid and lazy, I'm not gonna fire nobody."

      And they give the excuse "It's impossible to fire a teacher because of them there commie Unions!"

      Good administrators fire bad teachers. Lousy administrators don't, and they blame the reasonable protections labor laws provide.

      It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

      by teachme2night on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:43:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read (0+ / 0-)

        the linked article? I'm thinking, no, because nothing in your comment responds to the problems described in the article.

        •  and obviously, elmo, you didn't read this: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          7November, teachme2night

          The Myth of the Powerful Teachers' Union

          In Georgia, where 92.5% of the teachers are non-union, only 0.5% of tenured/post-probationary teachers get fired.  In South Carolina, where 100% of the teachers are non-union, it’s 0.32%.  And in North Carolina, where 97.7% are non-union, a miniscule .03% of tenured/post-probationary teachers get fired—the exact same percentage as California.  

          An even more startling comparison:  In California, with its "powerful" teachers’ union, school administrators fire, on average, 6.91% of its probationary teachers.  In non-union North Carolina, that figure is only 1.38%.   California is actually tougher on prospective candidates.

        •  I'm replying to you, dumbass. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron

          Union rules make it nearly impossible to get rid of the worst of the worst teachers.

          That's what you said, and I'm responding to it. I'm not interested with a debate about your link. If I want to reply to the fucking NYT, I'll go to the NYT. I'm responding to an idiot spouting right-wing anti-union, anti-public education lies.

          It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

          by teachme2night on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:41:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, this decision by the supt. had NOTHING (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      7November

      to do with getting rid of the worst teachers.  This was a dispute about compensation, where rather than stay at the negotiating table the supt. decided to fire the unionized staff.

      Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

      by masslib on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 02:48:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  GBCW (0+ / 0-)

    "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

    by 7November on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:51:51 PM PST

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