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That is the title of this Convention Resolution of the United Electrical Workers which was adopted at their September 2009 Convention and it holds until 2011.

It begins as follows:

One of the first demands of early labor organizations was universal quality education. At a time when only the rich could attend decent schools, labor leaders saw that access to publicly-funded schools was the only way that the working class and the poor could achieve basic literacy skills. Labor leaders knew that education was tied to the ability to organize and exercise political power.

Note in particular in that last sentence that education was tied to the ability to organize and exercise political power.  At a time when teachers' unions, among the last large major unions, are under pretty constant attack, it is interesting to read that from a more traditional industrial union.

Please keep reading.

The second paragraph of the Resolution is also worth quoting in its entirety:  

We find ourselves in an ongoing battle to prevent not just the erosion, but the outright destruction of public education. That many public schools are inadequately funded means poor equipment, crumbling buildings, and larger numbers of students in each classroom. Rather than fund public education adequately, conservatives push for privatization and subcontracting, practices which reduce jobs, and turns janitors, cooks, maintenance workers, educators, and many others into low-wage contract workers who receive few or low benefits.

The Electrical Workers clearly recognize that the attack on public education is about more than test scores.  They rightly recognize the wide range of impacts if the current "reform" agenda goes forth unchallenged.

I will not parse all of the introduction.  It is worth noting in questioning the push towards merit pay for teachers one encounters the following:  

The No Child Left Behind Act has already shown that universal standards don't work when applied to real-world education, in which students come from different economic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

  I teach in a major metropolitan area, that of Washington DC.  However, I spend enough time in rural America, mainly while volunteering at free medical/dental events, to understand that the needs of rural schools are quite different than those of the cities and the suburbs.  Most of the policies adopted for education either nationally or by states tends to ignore these differences.  I have dealt with enough English Language Learners to realize that it is cruel to insist on testing them fully in English without modifications after only one or two years of language transition.   We should pay more attention to those who work in these and other different situations about the real needs of their students.

The introductory material is very harsh on privatization in this paragraph:

Private commerce has no place in public education. Schools that are starved for funding turn to corporate sponsors for help or contract services out to private companies. Corporate sponsors flood the schools with commercial messages, and undermine teachers' attempts to have students to think critically. Private companies are not responsible to the public for the quality of service they provide. This same commercialism is rampant in public colleges and universities, leaving many vulnerable to intellectual and moral corruption. At the same time, the cost of public education at the undergraduate and graduate levels is becoming more and more prohibitive, putting working and middle class families deeper into debt for services tax dollars are supposed to provide.

Let me focus on 2 sentences of that paragraph:  Corporate sponsors flood the schools with commercial messages, and undermine teachers' attempts to have students to think critically. Anyone remember when Channel One came into schools, Chris Whittle's first attempt to commercialize public education?  Schools desperate for television equipment had to put up with tv commercials and sanitized news reports.   I also think of a cola company that sponsored things at one school objecting to students who wore shirts promoting its rival.

And this sentence - Private companies are not responsible to the public for the quality of service they provide. - brings to mind what we saw with privatization of support services for our troops in Iraq, where some died because of faulty electrical wiring in showers, others got polluted water and worse.  There are some aspects of our society which should be considered public goods and not subject to the profit motive, which too often encourages  cutting of corners in the hopes of maximizing profits.

The concluding paragraph of the introduction reads as follows:  

Public schools, funded adequately and fairly, with certified teachers and full-time faculty, who have long-range educational plans that teach basic skills and critical thinking to all students is the only way to resolve this problem. We support public education because it promotes the best interests of everyone when all members of our society are well educated and able to think independently.

Let me repeat that final sentence:  We support public education because it promotes the best interests of everyone when all members of our society are well educated and able to think independently.  ALL MEMBERS...ABLE TO THINK INDEPENDENTLY

Here is the actual resolution:  

  1.   Calls upon all levels of the union to demand and promote:
        1. Federal funding that achieves an excellent public education at all levels, including early childhood and adult learning programs;
        2. Restructuring of federal, state, and local taxation and funding systems so that all public schools are funded fairly, without regard to income levels of local school district residents;
        3. A reduction of class sizes to a manageable student-to-teacher ratio at the primary, secondary, and college/university levels;
        4. An increase in the salaries of all public elementary and secondary education teachers which reflects the value of their role in educating future members of society;
        5. Barring the use of taxpayer-funded voucher programs that siphon off much-needed funds from public schools and route them to private schools;
        6. Elimination of high-stakes testing, which pressures teachers and administrators to "teach to the test" or risk financial ruin, and therefore puts tremendous emotional and psychological pressure on children who are forced to endure such high-stakes tests;
        7. Removal of commercial/corporate sponsorship that tends to interfere with the academic freedom of students and teachers and the decision-making freedom of elected school boards and other publicly-employed professionals;
        8. Preservation and enhancement of the arts, foreign language and multilingual education programs, whose elimination most often hurts poor and working-class children's education;
        9. Preservation and enhancement of vocational education programs for adolescents and adults;
       10. Full and appropriate services and accommodations for students with disabilities;
       11. Full funding of Head Start;
       12. Passage of conflict-of-interest legislation that prevents individuals with ties to for-profit schools and to for-profit corporations with school contracts from serving on school boards or boards of regents;
       13. Elimination of privatization and contracting out of school services;
       14. The teaching of labor history and other aspects of history which present a full view of the economic, social, and political history of the U.S. in public schools, colleges and universities; and support of local labor education centers;
  2. Calls on the union to work with other unions and push for a change in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in order to ensure that all employees have the right to unionization;
  3. Supports all campaigns which advocate universal access to free public higher education.

Note the final (14th) item under the first major point:  The teaching of labor history and other aspects of history which present a full view of the economic, social, and political history of the U.S. in public schools, colleges and universities; and support of local labor education centers - were our young people fully educated in how much they had benefited from the labor movement I seriously doubt even the large political expenditures by the Chamber of Commerce and other right wing corporate entities could so tilt our electoral processes.  

This is a strong statement.   I am sorry to admit that until recently I was unaware of its existence.  Somehow I wish that it had gotten wide distribution before we saw the administration pushing in an entirely different direction, first with Race to the Top, and then with the Blue Print.  It could have served to better prepare the ground for an appropriate public discourse on the future of education, perhaps preventing the damage caused by things like "Waiting for Superman" and NBC's Education Summit.

Or perhaps I am too optimistic.  Having seen the heavily coordinated efforts on both W4S and the Summit with many of the same players well funded in some cases by organizations that profit from the current direction of "reform" even wide distribution of this statement would not have made a difference.

Maybe it is not too late.

It is a Sunday morning.   Tomorrow I return to teaching in a PUBLIC school, that treats education as a PUBLIC good, working among fellow union members - teachers, administrators, and support staff, each in appropriate labor organizations.

Today?  I ask that you consider widely distributing the statement by UE.   It cannot hurt and may even help some.

Thanks in advance.

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 03:59 AM PDT.

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  •  Tip Jar (141+ / 0-)
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    claude, paradox, MediaFreeze, Rayne, sheba, Ivan, Geenius at Wrok, tin woodswoman, Powered Grace, BigOkie, emal, Sprinkles, TheGreatLeapForward, Shockwave, Pescadero Bill, lzachary, silence, Heart of the Rockies, kissfan, bara, opinionated, Aquarius40, chimpy, Wamsutta, wader, Subversive, pat bunny, grannyhelen, Laborguy, JimWilson, BMarshall, mistersite, kfred, vacantlook, AaronBa, Daddy Bartholomew, TexMex, TexH, Gowrie Gal, Desert Rose, tovan, 3goldens, lilypew, JanetT in MD, wsexson, OpherGopher, Philoguy, Dobber, fixxit, aaraujo, cassidy3, blue jersey mom, govib, paxpdx, Bob B, neroden, CentralMass, JanL, LongTom, Orinoco, Albatross, anastasia p, jwhitmill, blueoasis, bess, happy camper, Preston S, Jjc2006, totallynext, Unitary Moonbat, YvonneCa, hlsmlane, frankzappatista, blueoregon, shaharazade, airmarc, PhilW, Temmoku, Little, seabos84, we are 138, One Pissed Off Liberal, Haningchadus14, Cottagerose, california keefer, semioticjim, Matt Z, Jimdotz, ezdidit, joyful, Uberbah, millwood, Moderation, pioneer111, cloudbustingkid, hulagirl, Involuntary Exile, PMA, pelagicray, dmhlt 66, LaFeminista, stretchslr53, cybrestrike, Neon Vincent, jarbyus, goldendragon1994, be the change you seek, proud2Bliberal, WiseFerret, XerTeacher, JesseCW, Daily Activist, NWTerriD, allep10, Shuruq, coppercelt, Otherday, Lady Libertine, ItsSimpleSimon, snpsmom, angstall, kerflooey, heart of a quince, wahine, m00finsan, itisuptous, bookgirl, princesspat, Ebby, laurnj, Blue Knight, Cinnamon Rollover, dle2GA, weinerschnauzer, Huginn and Muninn, aerie star, Azazello, Tentwenty, FireBird1, NancyWilling, Mostel26

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 03:59:18 AM PDT

  •  perhaps I should change the title? (18+ / 0-)

    as it is, people may think it is my broadside rather than an important statement from a labor union.   I had hoped that people would at least click on it to see what it was about, but perhaps I was wrong.

    Oh well.  I hope at least a few people will read it.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 04:20:52 AM PDT

    •  Adding "Union message" to the title would, (6+ / 0-)

      I suspect, help bring about some more pointless back and forth discussion about how unions are killing our children's minds and other such drivel.

      On the other hand, the title, as it is, certainly doesn't convey the content - which I was very pleasantly surprised to find.

      I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

      by Daddy Bartholomew on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:07:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I struggled with the title (6+ / 0-)

        originally it was going to b"United Electrical Workers support public schools" but I did not think that was forceful enough.

        Since I am most known here for writing about education -  eg my monster diary yesterday - I hoped that this title and my name on it would encourage enough people to click and read at least above the fold that it might gain some action.

        Glad you were pleasantly surprised.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:15:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't that disgraceful? (21+ / 0-)

        I suspect, help bring about some more pointless back and forth discussion about how unions are killing our children's minds and other such drivel.

        That there are people, on a progressive blog, who join with the right wing in attacking some of the largest unions in the country - and, often, the only union many suburban professional families have any contact with. The amount of buy-in to the right-wing frame that "it's all teachers' unions' fault" around here is extremely disturbing.

        What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

        by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:33:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it is to me (9+ / 0-)

          but I also can, in fairness, remember when unions were not necessarily progressive -  I can remember many unions resisting taking first blacks and then women (the UAW was a remarkable exception).  I can remember George Meany being a die-hard supporter of Vietnam.I can remember when the Teamsters were intimately connected with the Mob.  

          I suspect I am not alone in those memories.

          Still, nowadays it is hard to imagine that one can hold progressive views and not be willing to stand on principle in support of unions, even though some may have their share of problems.  

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:48:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The antipathy towards unions is interesting (15+ / 0-)

            While it is undoubtably true that unions have not always been regarded as reliably progressive, viewed in a strictly economic sense the antipathy directed by wage earners and the middle class towards them is remarkable.  It's not as if benevolent industrialists and financiers created the middle class out of the goodness  of their hearts.  The things people enjoy today in terms of a decent living are there because workers and unions were willing to put their necks on the line and fight for them.  However, that's all forgotten, and now that the masters of the universe are trying to take all those good things back, it's far more likely for a non-unionized worker to resent the benefits enjoyed by his or her unionized neighbor rather than to think to themselves, "hey, how can I fight to get a union at work so that I can enjoy the benefits my neighbor has?". I think this speaks volumes about the power of the anti-union propaganda disseminated by the corporate controlled media.

            •  laborguy (5+ / 0-)

              If I could, I would give you a thousand recs for that comment! You have hit the nail on the head in identifying the effects of the propaganda that has fomented antipathy toward the union movement in this country.

              This nation's discourse has become increasingly one-way and Orwellian. We are being told that it is desirable to embrace the unacceptable.

              If you can locate a copy, I recommend "BAD or The Dumbing of America", by Paul Fussell. It was published around 1992 and discusses how our culture has been systematically dumbed-down. I mention this book because (1) it's well-written, and (2) we're seeing the consequences of the dumbing-down/systematic destruction of our social safety net playing out here in the USA.

              •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                teacherken, BMarshall, 3goldens

                I will keep my eyes open for Fussell's book.  Yes, I never ceased to be amazed at how some poor working stiff making $30,000 a year will be angry and jealous at some other poor working stiff in a union making $50,000 a year while completely ignoring the fact that that the Board of Directors of his or her own company has voted to give the CEO a compensation package worth several hundred times their salary.  It's not that people are stupid, but clearly they have been conditioned to ignore or justify the excesses of capitalism while holding a grudge against anyone from their own class who does better.    Dr. Goebbels and Edmund Bernays would be extremely proud at how effectively the economic elites have used their principles of propaganda.

            •  Bravo and thanks for this comment (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BigOkie, NWTerriD, laurnj

              Too many on the left have been duped by the myths of the evil unions are the problem.

              •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

                especially when they are still patronage jobs and skill-training like they are in my city.  

                the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

                by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:07:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The trickle-down theory (0+ / 0-)

              is defective when put forth by both labor and management.

              Worker: "Boss, the teachers' unions won big wage increases. I want more money."

              Boss: "Become a teacher."

              Strikes for economic reasons are frowned upon by American law. If workers strike for economic reasons, the boss has the legal right under American law to replace them and not reinstate them.

              Sectors that require a legally required certification, such as public school teachers and nurses have more bargaining power since they can't be replaced by just about anyone among the 6% to 10% [or more] of people normally unemployed in an economy.

              There are nurse scabs for hire, but their numbers are small and their wages high and their temporary living costs comparatively expensive.

          •  ocean-hills/brownsville and the AFT (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6

            comes to mind.

          •  Ken- this is the integrity that I read you for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heart of the Rockies, princss6

            I am thoroughly in support of unions and believe we need a lot more of them in our society.  However unions make mistakes sometimes and we shouldn't be afraid to point them out.  Naturally, we must also support the idea of unionism so people don't get the wrong idea.  I clash often with teachers union supporters about what we need in the schools but most make an effort to understand this perspective.

            •  Thats the problem... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nyscribbler

              people are dishonestly conflating criticisms of some unions with criticism of unionism.  

              the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

              by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:08:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You are not alone (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken, princss6

            with those memories.  My early contacts with the union culture in this country were generally quite negative.  And much of the bad was also directly connected to the Democratic Party.  The situations have changed, but first experiences leave a lasting impression. Attitudes towards unions are likely age related.  And also to the environment of one's upbringing.  True for religion and political parties as well.

          •  They still do it today... (0+ / 0-)

            the trade unions in my city are notoriously racist and sexist.

            the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

            by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:06:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you (16+ / 0-)

          This has disturbed me for years.  
          The fact that progressives, often young progressives, are so anti union, whether teachers' unions or other unions, still stuns me.

          This is so easy to see.  When there is a profit motive, as there was with health care, one that grew and grew over time, the results are obvious.
          Sick people got screwed.  If you were lucky enough for years to not have a chronic illness, a traumatic injury, you probably did not notice what others were seeing as early as the late 80s.   By the time others paid attention, ALL OF US were getting screwed by the zillionaires making money and profit by denying health care to others...especially to those who needed it most.

          Same thing is happening.  People are refusing to see the dollar signs being stamped on kids heads. Investors in charter schools MAKE MONEY.  It is in their interest to have those schools succeed.  When a child is failing to learn, it hurts the "image" of that school and its ability to get customers.  So that child's parents are told that they cannot not meet that child's needs and they are told to take him elsewhere where they have to the proper special teacher.  That is all done in whisper tones.   So, while charter private schools can serve well those kids whose parents support education and would do well probably any where, the kids with issues are turned away.

          Yet whether here or elsewhere, who is blamed? Teachers' union.  Brilliant work on the part of the right wing and the MSM who buy into it all, whether because of their own guilt because their kids go to private or charter, or other reasons.  

          I applaud teacherken for keeping diaries exposing the scam going. I sadly have given up on the progressive community when it comes to this issue.  Libertarian mentality seems strong when it comes to education.

          •  when you give up the bastards win (15+ / 0-)

            it is possible the war is already lost, but I refuse to accept that.  I worry about it, but I refuse to accept it.

            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

            by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:16:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hear you (6+ / 0-)

              I promised myself I will no longer comment or march or protest when it comes to education. I am after all a retired teacher, and at 65 after forty six years in public ed, the last several as a sub, I get worn down emotionally.  Yet I still go and march with the teachers when they ask me. I still comment here.  And I still want to encourage young people to become teachers, to be strong, and to fight for the rights of teachers.

              If people want to empower students, then they have to empower teachers first.   To deny teachers a voice in the system, to insist they be good "soldiers" who leave the decisions to the "managers, to the pro "schools should be run like a business" types, is to tell students that thinking critically and independently is not important.

              Teachers formed unions to protect us from the political firings that were so common.  And yes, we wanted better salaries.  And more rights.  Bully administrators with power could punish those teachers who dared to challenge his power.   That's not possible in districts with master agreements and bargaining power.  An administrator cannot give one teacher who they do not like all the worst duties, or overwhelm them with non-teaching duties, as they did at one time, while rewarding those who played the good soldier with no duties.
              Yes, that used to be the way.  

              Young people who are truly ignorant of labor history and why unions are needed, are doomed to relive those days of sweat shops and danger in the workplace.  Take a look at China, with company housing, company stores, and control of one's life outside of work.  It used to be that way here, whether for mine workers or for teachers, but unions, despite their flaws, helped change things for the better.  I am saddened at how ignorant of reality some progressives are these days.

              •  I am 64 (0+ / 0-)

                but I did not come to teaching full time until my late 40s.  I will keep at it so long as I can do so with integrity.  That may be a shorter period than I had expected -  it is now year to year.

                "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 11:59:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I started teaching at age 21..... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling

                  a few months before my twenty-second birthday.  
                  I retired after 37 years but kept subbing for teachers and still do.

                  I was a much better teacher in my forties than I was in my twenties but I believe teaching was my calling and as hard as some things were when I was 21, I never had problems with getting children excited to learn, and never was afraid to learn with them.

                  But teaching, good teaching, is hard work. It is being on, perform, non-stop and often having to change gears in the middle of something.  Not all lessons work and what worked for one class did not necessarily work for another.  With youth you have energy on your side.  With age you have life experiences.

                  I still enjoy the work but on a more limited basis and as a sub I do not have to do all the paper work.  So that helps.  I am not sure how much longer I can or will sub.

            •  You may have seen the comment in today's (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Heart of the Rockies, cassidy3

              letters to the Washington Post, one so twisted and full of holes it really pissed me off.

              If teachers are to be considered professionals, they have to be judged by certain standards.

              If a doctor, lawyer or accountant said his or her poor results stemmed from having bad clients or patients, we would laugh.

              If the metrics for those were simply cures, not guilty and no taxes owed without regard to clientele nobody would be laughing unless they were complete fools. If the client pool were composed of overweight smokers, those arrested for crimes and those with IRS records of evasion nobody would hold the professionals responsible for "poor performance" in not getting a very high percentage of desired results.

              So, we impose national standardized test on all populations, whether inner city poor or schools with high percentage of rural poor, ESL students and such and hold the teacher responsible? Bullshit. One reason some areas around D.C. had such "great schools" was not technique so much as the population pool of some of the richest, highest educational level parents in the country. Some cracks are showing in those good, but coasting, systems as demographics change.

              Perhaps standards testing last of the year against first of the year progress would be a factor in teacher evaluation. Still, almost nothing during the brief school day can overcome the statistics if a goodly number of those kids return to homes where education is of no interest or there is actual hostility. No teacher performance can overcome real parental and community neglect. I've heard too much from family teachers of kids whose school day is more a refugee holding camp, a place with some food, lack of neglect or even abuse and some care than a learning place. Whatever they learn is too often erased back home and certainly over summer recess.

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:11:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  A lot of it seems (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BigOkie, BMarshall, wsexson, laurnj, Azazello

            to be resentments.  I'd be a wealthy man if I had a quarter for every time someone here asked why union people should have good wages, benefits, and reliable pensions.  The idiocy of this is jaw dropping.  The real question is why this shouldn't be true of all jobs.  Yet is so often the case, people have identified with and internalized the ideology of those that oppress them.

            •  There is only one county government (0+ / 0-)

              It can't go out of business because union wages got too high.

              There is only one hospital within a ten-mile radius of me.

              Nurses, teachers, and police officers have superior bargaining power simply due to law-limited employer supply.

          •  Educational failure of another sort is at play. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MediaFreeze, BMarshall

            I have been quoting something several times in the last weeks as it becomes more evident that an absolutely miserable failure in education has taken place. That failure is not entirely the the fault of the public education system, though perhaps it fell too easily to pressure from "conservative" pressures to "reform" and steer away from hard hitting social sciences and history.

            The fault lies squarely with parents. The fault lies with a generation that learned hard lessons from a pre-Great Depression world run by plutocrats for plutocrats that plunged them into real hardship and brought about conditions leading to a terrible world war. The quote I've used repeatedly in comments is from C. J. Cherryh's Hammerfall, a story of a world bombarded by long cycle meteor showers destroying most of civilization:

            One needs not erase history. One needs only fail to teach one generation of children. Fail with two, and the destruction widens.

            In my linked comment I describe another of those failures, illustrated by some discussions I've had with young people (the age of my adult children) that disparage need for clean air and water law. They don't remember the day when the Washington Monument was hidden from anything more than a few blocks away by smog and one had burning eyes much of summer. They don't remember when a fall into a Potomac, among rafts of condoms and gasping catfish, called for emergency prophylaxis as in "Up on your hepatitis shots?" and ER visits.

            Leaving that sort of intimate, early learning of conditions the parents experienced and lessons learned up to schools is not sufficient. It has to be done close up and personal. I'm glad to say I did enough so my kids at least had a clue and know why we have environmental and labor laws even if most seem to have been gutted, weakened or enforced with a blind eye today.

            My anger, just generally pissed off at the species, attitude sometimes is very much related to what seems to be our self induced "Hammerfall" in which not such benign failure to pass on vital knowledge makes it amazing we are not still in caves.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:55:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "kids with issues are turned away" (0+ / 0-)

            It is primarily the parents' responsibilities to deal with these issues.

            School districts can help parents by training them to try to deal with issues.

            Kids need to be taught and learn that if they have issues as adults employers will turn them away.

        •  Unions AND merit bonuses (11+ / 0-)

          Finland's teachers are 100% unionized, but there are also generous merit bonuses for outstanding teachers, and they're not pegged solely to student performance on standardized exams.

          It CAN be done.

          But I suspect many of those driving "reform" don't want to see it done. They're more interested in finding excuses to destroy the unions or, worse, give up entirely on public education as an "unsolvable" problem.

          •  It's not clear that unions (6+ / 0-)

            are the problem anyway.  Here in Texas we have no unions yet our education consistently ranks towards the bottom of the country.   Hmmmm.

            •  Massachusetts vs. Texas (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, blue jersey mom

              National Assessment of Educational Progess Data From NAEP: 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009

               Massachusetts Texas U.S. (average)  

              Scale Score, Grade 4 Math 252 240 239  
              Scale Score, Grade 8 Math 299 287 282  
              Scale Score, Grade 4 Reading 236 220 220  
              Scale Score, Grade 8 Reading 273 261 261  
              Scale Score, Grade 4 Science 160 150 149  
              Scale Score, Grade 8 Science 161 143 147  
              Scale Score, Grade 4 Writing 170 154 153  
              Scale Score, Grade 8 Writing 167 151 154  

              http://nces.ed.gov/...

              Texas schools are roughly about average compared to other schools in the United States, but Massachusetts schools perform considerably better on all National Assessment of Educational Progess measurements.

        •  Disagreement and attack are too different things (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan, princss6

          What progressive here has called for the elimination of any union? People have disagreed with the unions position on issues, that is a long ways from union breaking.

          You are being dishonest.

        •  I just want the Unions to stop... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, Huginn and Muninn

          ...paying lobbyists to try to close my daughter's school.

          The schools in our NYC neighborhood are bad. We found a great charter, but the Unions are spending money trying to close it. They hate my daughter, and they want her to go to a bad school where the boys wear their pants down around their butts.

          Why don't these NY unions spend some money to help Kristen Gillibrand for Senate, or help Mike Acuri win that upstate congressional seat?

          If they are so frackin' "progressive" why are they trying to screw over my daughter?

          •  Wow, are you on the wrong site (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            akeitz, BMarshall, 3goldens

            This is not a liberatian site.  YOUR daughter is not the only child who matters.  
            Or perhaps this is tongue in cheek?  Sarcasm?

            •  No. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              serrano, princss6, Huginn and Muninn

              Here in NYC, Charter schools are public schools. They are open to every student. They tend to be concentrated in poor areas and inner-city areas where the Public Schools are failing. My daughter goes to one.

              The unions are trying to close them.

              •  Charter schools benefit investors (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                akeitz, 3goldens

                Public schools could be made better but there is no profit motive.  You are being spun.  
                And that is sad.

                It happened with health care and now it is happening with education and you are buying into it.  ALL kids matter, not just your child.  Charter schools are NOT public.  They can get rid of children.  They can site "no special needs" kids.  They can eject forever.

                They are NOT the same.

                •  Many charter schools... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serrano, princss6, Huginn and Muninn

                  ...are not-for-profit.

                  Some say that these are the best ones.

                  You need to read more about this difficult and complicated issue. It is not as cut-and-dried as many on this site would have us believe.

                  •  The Current System is a Failure (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    princss6

                    It's just wrong to condemn millions of kids to a crappy education while adults fail to solve the problem, as they've done over the past few decades---WRONG!!!  To present children and families w/no other alternatives is WRONG!!!  Blame parents, poverty, etc.  Chickenshit~!!!

                  •  officially not for profit but (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NWTerriD
                    1.  paying exorbitant salaries to the directors
                    1.  doing real estate deals with hedge funds which generate huge profits

                    and NYC happens to be ground zero for both

                    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                    by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:01:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Public schools... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      princss6

                      ...are "not-for-profit", yet millions of teachers, administrators, and vendors, make billions from them.

                      I don't see the problem with this. Teachers and administrators have to eat!

                      When a poor person buys food with Food Stamps, the grocery store makes money. Why is that bad?

                      •  Yep... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ManhattanMan

                        the dissonance...as if people and plenty aren't making a profit off of public schools!!!  I mean, seriously... the contracts given via favors via the public schools are astounding, but that's okay, it seems, as long as it is only the public schools doing it.  Cognitive dissonance blows me away.

                        the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

                        by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  sorry mman (0+ / 0-)

                But your story sounds suspect. I think that you are just trying to sound stupid. You almost had me there for a minute.

                Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

                by BMarshall on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:38:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Okay. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            akeitz, 3goldens, wsexson

            The schools in our NYC neighborhood are bad.

            So where is your responsibility to fix them and make them better? What are you doing, personally, in your local public school to make it a better place for learning?

            Our "neighborhood public schools" aren't going to get any better until parents like you, who are engaged in the lives of your children, decide that their neighborhood public schools and the other kids in the neighborhood are too important to abandon.

            What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

            by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:30:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have made the schools better.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              serrano, princss6

              ...by supporting the opening of a Charter School. In NYC Charters are open to all students and cannot turn any kid away...unless the kid loses the Lottery.

              We used to have one bad school. Now we have one bad school and one good school.

              Supporting Charters is the best and fastest way for parents to improve the schools in their neighborhood. But Unions spend thousands of dollars and hire lobbyists to fight us.

              •  No you haven't.... (0+ / 0-)

                but keep telling yourself that. You and all the "let the market handle it, the market will make it good, competition and profit are the answer"  can lead the cheerleading.  And when education is like health care, when the investors in charters feel safe, they will screw everyone the same way the insurance companies have.

        •  Ditto (0+ / 0-)

          That there are people, on a progressive blog, who join with the right wing in attacking poor and minority parents.  The amount of buy-in to the right-wing frame that "it's all parents' fault" around here is extremely disturbing.

          the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

          by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:05:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are plenty of white rich and middle class (0+ / 0-)

            parents that they blame also, and with some good reason.

            And sometimes it's not so much "fault" as it is that parents are simply not in a position to do a good job of supporting their kids' education, because they are working three jobs, or because they move often, because of other family circumstances, etc.

            In California, one of the largest issues for schools is the children of migrant workers, who may attend 4 different schools each school year. There is no time to create a rapport with a teacher or for a teacher to get to know the student and his needs in that time, and on top of that, these students generally come from homes with little english and inadequate literacy in any language. I don't consider it the "fault" of the parents that this is so, but our current system does not allow any teacher - regardless of greatness  - to be successful in such an arrangement.  Firing the teachers will not result in improvement. The problem needs to be solved in a way that recognizes the nature of the parents' work and that meets the needs of the kids. I have been wondering if it is possible to create a traveling school that goes with these kids, creating more continuity for everyone.

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

            by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:49:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I don't like education conspiracy theories... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serrano, princss6

      Private commerce has no place in public education. Schools that are starved for funding turn to corporate sponsors for help or contract services out to private companies. Corporate sponsors flood the schools with commercial messages, and undermine teachers' attempts to have students to think critically.

      Conspiracy theories really? Corporations are stopping kids from thinking critically in schools? You are a teacher, were you told to stop kids from thinking critically?

      Let me guess the test made you do it...

      Last time I checked the problems were kids who were taught by certified teachers in classrooms of 35 or less that could not read. Maybe the problem is some people with certification can't teach those particular kids. Even if they were in a class with 20 students those same kids would do better but the third grader on a first grade reading level that has been in small classes the whole time is a reality. Where did that kid come from? Can that kid become literate?

      We ought to be talking about how to reach that kid instead of begging for money in the middle of the "Great Recession". Working with what we got and figuring out how to do what we are already doing better with the resources we have because more is not coming anytime soon.  

      •  Teacherken is correct about this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        Corporations benefit from having lots of dumb people. They don't benefit if people get too smart.

        You will notice that Charter School funding tends to come from wealthy individuals and hedge funds.  Corporations offer only token support...or none at all.

        •  also somewhat inaccurate (0+ / 0-)

          since there are major corporate donations, albeit sometimes indirectly through foundations, of quite a few charter efforts, including KIPP, HCV, etc. I'm not saying that is bad, I am simply noting that (a) it is happening, and (b) there is a lack of similar largesse towards traditional public schools or some of the more experimental public schools that stay within the normal framework rather than going charter

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:03:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No, it's good. keep it. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m00finsan
  •  I am interested in your reactions (7+ / 0-)

    if you'd care to share them perhaps in a brief comment?

    And I thank those who have chosen to share this with others.

    Peace.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 04:32:40 AM PDT

    •  I will take this to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, 3goldens, jjellin, m00finsan

      our Union meeting this week.

      "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

      by lilypew on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:24:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My father was IBEW Local #3 in NYC... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, 3goldens, m00finsan, laurnj

      as was his father before him. Thanks to the support of their union, their children were financially able to take in as much education as their talents would allow.

      My father's siblings all earned college degrees, and four earned graduate degrees, including one doctorate. Among my 17 first cousins on that side of the family, there are four accountants, two lawyers, two physical therapists, two teachers, a doctor, a professor (that's me), a commissioned officer, a research scientist, an electrical engineer, and two are still in college.

      I should add that all of us attended public schools for some or all of our primary and secondary education, and many of us (including me) attended state colleges or universities.

      That's quite a legacy of education and service to the people of our country, all born of the strength and foresight of one of America's premier blue-collar labor unions.

      Our position is tax cuts for the middle class, theirs is tax cuts for millionaires, Stupid.

      by Jimdotz on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:51:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  how about... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serrano, princss6

    we demand teacher accountability and end tenure?

    •  "Teacher Accountability" is a useless buzzphrase (37+ / 0-)

      akin to "Fiscal Responsibility".

      Sounds great - what do you mean by it and how do you plan to actually do it?

      Why anyone would see tenure as a problem is beyond me - and I went to schools that were used as dumping grounds for the worst teachers in a large school district.

      Had the Administration felt like building solid cases against those bad teachers (and I had teachers who showed up drunk, hit kids, drank on campus, made blatantly racist comments, ect) they would have been terminated.

      Tenure didn't prevent it - lazy Administrators did.

      Capitalism already ate itself. Now it's just shitting itself.

      by JesseCW on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 04:46:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thank you (8+ / 0-)

        see my comment.

        http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/206488-1 at 1:31:20

        by TexMex on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:47:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is such an important discussion! (11+ / 0-)

        My sister was telling me about her son's second grade teacher's three inch thick file in the admin. office. Her son was having trouble with this teacher and my sister wasn't getting anywhere by trying to talk things over with her.

        Finally going to the admin., they said that they couldn't do anything about it and a nice guy showed my sister the teacher's lengthy compliant file. Rotten!

        I had been describing what the US Teacher Union head had been saying about tenure and how it wasn't a job guarantee, just a guarantee of due process and my sister started squawking about David's second grade teacher who no one "Could" get rid of.

        Well, perhaps it was just that no one "Would" get rid of her and that responsibility does fall squarely on the administrators.

        •  If she had a file that thick, they did their job (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ivan, m00finsan

          and documented it.  Normally just the documentation alone would get this teacher removed, it would in private business so there has to be something else at work here.  It would be an interesting question for your sister to ask since it is impacting her child's future.

          "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

          by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:53:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is variation (0+ / 0-)

          among states and school districts.

          In our local school district, a file like that would be plenty sufficient to remove a teacher.

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

          by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:03:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on what class you are in (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan, serrano, JesseCW, princss6

        Some teachers can care less about there performance while others break there back to make it happen. One should get a find a different job and other should get a raise.

      •  You are right to put this on others, in part (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BMarshall, wsexson, JesseCW, your neighbor

        Reform means more that just improve the administrators' performance.  As a School Board member I can tell you that Board members and teachers have a lot to do with the way this happens, not just administrators.  Why is it that it seems to be in just about every school- the paper trail by the admin is inadequate.  The whole evaluation system stinks to high heaven!  Unless we move to a more collaborative, less top-down model to create best practices, do comprehensive teacher development and only fire when teacher development fails rather than after a long pattern of teacher-community conflict will we make schools better.  That's real reform, not the nonsense of Arne Duncan and Waiting for Superman.

      •  So is parental involvement...(a buzz word) (0+ / 0-)

        doesn't stop people here from screaming to the hills about it.

        the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

        by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:26:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've certainly made some comments (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6

          about that issue in the past in Teacherkens diaries, too :)

          Parents who have the time and resources to be involved generally are, and we can't expect the same things from a single mom working 50 hours a week at two minimum wage jobs that we expected 50 years ago from Ward and June as a team.

          There are bad teachers, and there are parents who just don't care how their kids do in school, and there always have been, but neither are the source of our systemic problems at a macro level.

          Capitalism already ate itself. Now it's just shitting itself.

          by JesseCW on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:28:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  same old same old from you (36+ / 0-)

      pushing your same uninformed garbage

      teachers are already accountable

      tenure in K-12 schools only guarantees due process

      a number of states have neither tenure nor unionized teacher work forces -  oh, in Virginia for example teachers can join the union for the liability insurance, but have no collective bargaining rights

      and guess what, Mr. Accountability? Those states without tenure or unions perform worse on most measures, including test scores.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 04:49:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akeitz, m00finsan, bookgirl

        poor teachers can't be given the boot unless this due process must be competently managed.

        •  IN the meantime... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serrano, princss6

          ...how long should I tolerate my kid not learning chemistry (or reading!) while the "due process" goes through to get rid of the teacher. Six months of non- or failed instruction? Should a parent be willing to tolerate that just to give teachers job security?

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:50:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You should not. I have seen you make this (11+ / 0-)

            comment before. There is a role for a parent here as well--document and complain. Use the system. Start with the classroom teacher, move to the subject area supervisor, then to the principal, and finally to the school board.  In my experience, too many people gripe about bad teachers, but very few are willing to actually take the time to complain. I was the "mom from hell" when my kids were in school, but I was also supportive of the vast majority of teachers who did a good job. I nominated top teachers for teacher of the year. Many parents worry that complaining will only hurt their own kid. Just for the record, my kid was valedictorian of his HS class.

            •  Parents don't have the time (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              serrano, princss6

              The profession needs to police itself and too many teachers don't take the failure of their coworkers seriously. If there is a lousy chemistry teacher you won't see the Union come in to get that guy out because he is harming our children's education. Instead the union will do everything to keep that guys job not that they will have to try very hard in many schools where failure is tolerated.

              •  If I am to take on this additional role (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, BMarshall, NWTerriD

                of checking on the progress or lack of progress among my coworkers, I need my responsibilities for the instruction and learning of my own students to be reduced. I teach 6,  50 min classes each day in two subject areas. I have almost 200 students on my roster. There is no time for me to take care of my own responsibilities. I certainly can't check on the teacher down the hall. Unions guarantee a teacher's right to due process. The lousy chemistry teacher can be fired but not without evidence that he or she is lousy.

                •  Of course that teacher deserves due process (0+ / 0-)

                  at the same time, when multiple students report that that teacher is verbally abusive, or simply refuses to answer and questions and teach, ect, then it's something you need to adress both to improve the overall enviornment at your school and to make sure you're not having to clean up that teachers mistakes next semester.

                  You've been entrusted with other peoples children, and your responsibilities certainly don't end at the door of your classroom.

                  Capitalism already ate itself. Now it's just shitting itself.

                  by JesseCW on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:38:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  When students are in my classroom (0+ / 0-)

                    we are generally involved with our curriculum. Sometimes I will overhear or they may complain about another teacher but I generally try to redirect the conversation. I realize that I have been entrusted with other people's children. That is why I try to remain focused on my instructional goals. I figure that is the best way I can help students. If a student comes to me one-on- one, with a problem with another teacher, I give them the suggestions I feel are most appropriate - like speaking to the teacher in question in a respectful way, speaking to their dean or parents. I don't recall a student reporting any serious issues to me but if they did, I would take the time to follow-up with an administrator.

              •  I don't buy that. I know that parents are busier (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW, laurnj

                than ever, but both dad and I had full-time jobs while our kids were in public school. We also both commuted. Our district has voice mail, which means that you can leave a message on the weekend or outside school hours. In my experience, lots of parents will grumble, but very few will actually complain.

              •  It is much harder for one administrator to act (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW

                on only her own observations than if she has multiple written parent complaints.

                If you have the time to complain and gripe, if it's important to you to get this teacher out of the classroom, then you have the time to make a written complaint.

                Complaints from multiple parents hold a great deal of power.

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

                by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:28:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It's not the role of the Union to come get that (0+ / 0-)

                guy.

                His fellow teachers, though, need to understand (some do, some don't) that their first duty has to be to the kids, not their co-worker.  Even if he tells great stories in the break room or is fun to go fishing with.

                It's not "The Union"...but sometimes individual teachers could do more to report what they see or hear about from students in terms of misbehavior and bad teaching on the part of their co-workers.

                Capitalism already ate itself. Now it's just shitting itself.

                by JesseCW on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:36:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  It's really important to make the written (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue jersey mom, JesseCW

              complaints, because they go into the file and give the administrator leverage.

              An administrator with only his own observations will need a lot longer paper trail than an administrator who has multiple, justified, written complaints from parents.

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

              by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:26:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  How long should the right-wing parent... (20+ / 0-)

            ...tolerate their son's math teacher being gay, or their daughter's science teacher teaching them about evolution and not including the pseudoscientific "criticisms" of the theory, or their daughter's English teacher giving her a book to read that depicts premarital sex, a lesbian or gay couple, or anything else that doesn't fit into the right-wing Christian worldview?

            Due process protects all teachers.

            What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

            by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:07:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Do you think one inadequate teacher (15+ / 0-)

            will ruin your child forever?  Seriously? If that's the case, I suspect all lives must be ruined because I cannot think of one person who has not had at least one "bad" teacher somewhere along the line.  
            Hell, I went to catholic school in the 1960s when the classes were large (60 being average size) and corporal punishment was the norm.  And there is no getting rid of nuns and priests no matter how awful they were.

            But here's my point.  

            NO teacher will be great for 100% of the children, 100% of the time. I am a forty veteran teacher now retired. I have tons of experience. I have seen teachers I thought were bad, ADORED by some parents. I have seen great teachers ignored by some parents.  In the end, most kids survive a mediocre experience.  In MOST schools, parents can get their child out of the class that does not work for their child. In the worse case, teachers can and have been fired.

            Parents are not exactly unbiased when it comes to evaluating teachers.   A teacher that can be wonderful in the eyes of many, can be a problem in the eyes of some.  I have seen the BEST of the BEST attacked by a parent whose kid did not succeed in that class.  Rarely do I see the parent take a look in the mirror and wonder if maybe they are the problem.

            In the end, humans of flaws, teachers and students are human as are their parents but there is no perfect system.  Just because YOUR child does not work well with a particular teachers does not necessarily make that teacher "bad".

            •  A bad teacher Kindergarten First , Second grade (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, princss6

              Can in fact ruin a kid for life. You need a reality check on that one, I have seen the it with my own eyes. I have seen the kids that came out of one bad teachers class struggle and get left back while those from other classrooms did just fine. Apparently the previous teacher couldn't manage the class of children who could otherwise be managed by a competent teacher.

              I think some of those kids will never fully recover.

              •  Oh please (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                akeitz, BMarshall, Philoguy, hulagirl, laurnj

                You are the one who needs a reality check since you missed the point completely.  

                And if your child or any child is in a school where every  teacher they had is awful and has ruined them, then the parent who did not move them and make waves is the problem. Or the parent sees their child as the perfect child being ruined by those bad teachers.

                •  Parents may not know whats going on (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serrano, JesseCW, princss6

                  They can blame themselves or blame there kids. So many teachers here are apart of the teacher can do no wrong band wagon, a sympathetic parent might just accept the blame when the teacher is really at fault. Not all parents are equipped to evaluate teachers from parent teachers conferences and rare conversations with other parents. Not every parent has the time to find out what is going on in there kids classroom.

                  Don't blame the parents for bad teachers, that is going too far.

                  •  I smell a troll... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    akeitz, hulagirl, laurnj

                    edtastic, in two of your past diaries, you advocate for merit pay, and I vehemently disagree with your position on that issue. I think readers ought to know you have been sipping from a pitcher flavored with anti public education kool-ade. Your positions will further erode the quality of pubic education in the U.S. Test prep experiences and the efficiency based, assembly-line standardization of educational experience is the least affective way to engage children and the human mind. You ought to read this.

                    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

                    by semioticjim on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:01:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  One can disagree with merit pay, and recognize (0+ / 0-)

                      the very real damage a bad teacher, one who attacts the self-esteem of a fragile child, can do.

                      It can be profound, and it can be long term.

                      Capitalism already ate itself. Now it's just shitting itself.

                      by JesseCW on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:43:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh please (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    hulagirl

                    Grow up and learn to read and comprehend.  No one here said no teachers ever are wrong.  Teachers are human.  As I have said, no teachers is perfect for 100% of the kids, 100% of the time.

                    But the "they had a bad teacher every year and it will ruin their lives forever" meme spouted speaks volumes about many.  

                •  And where are the parent... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW

                  supposed to move the child?

                  the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

                  by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:31:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  right on! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, cassidy3

              this is the problem with merit pay as well: the same teacher who had stellar test scores can have lousy ones a year later. One year, I had a 67% pass rate on the 8th grade test; that was amazing for that inner city school, and well above my previous year. thing is, i was out a lot that year as doctors could not figure out what was causing my chronic muscle pain and fatigue. Now you might assume that the kids had a sub who was a better teacher than me, but that would be wrong. My school was too poor for subs, and other teachers filled in during their prep time. So the kids had some weeks where they had five different teachers from those who taught anything from home ec to science, not my subject. Fact is, we had a bright group that year and some of those kids did well despite my being unable to be there for a few weeks. Years later those kids still come up to me ( I see them in the community, and no longer teach ) and tell me what a great teacher I was! ( I don't believe them; I was ok, and I tried hard, but i wasn't great )So i told my principal that I perhaps ( tongue in cheek ) should only come in every other day, since my kids scores went up despite my absences that year; perhaps my teaching less could raise scores...

          •  And, are you certain it's the teacher or is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jennylind

            it the curriculum? Our district has played with how to teach math for years in its panicked response to how to raise test scores.

            •  Or the parent? (6+ / 0-)

              I am sure some here do not want to hear this.  But the chronically disenchanted parent, who insists every year their child has a bad teacher, is perhaps not the realistic one.  I have seen it.  I have seen some of the best teachers ever dealing with a miserable, unable to see reality parent who INSISTS it's the teacher, not their child.  
              One of my friends years ago taught high school English.  She was great but she was tough.  95% of the kids in her classes loved the challenge.  She demanded their best and when they did not give it, it was reflected in their grade.  One year a prominent (read wealthy, influential) parent went to the school board because his son got a D.   He demanded she change his grade.  She refused.  In the end, she stood her ground.  But his harassment, the school board's pressure for her to change his grade, wore her down.  She was being pressured to LOWER her expectations.  

              She eventually quit the profession because she believed that had she stayed this would be a pattern as more and more parents were taking on the "union".  
              It was obnoxious.  Rich business people, right wingers whose spoiled children got away with much at home, went after the teachers and the unions as the problem.  And there were also the "MY child" does not lie, "MY child said the teacher...."  and a refusal to admit that perhaps the child was wrong, or lying, or just manipulating.  When I complained as a child to my mother (a woman who worked 8 hours a day in a sweatshop textile mill,) about some of the batshit crazy nuns I had, her answer was this: I don't send you to school to like a teacher. I send you there to get an education and you will do that whether you like your teacher or not.

              Or sometimes one gets a "crazy."  When I was in one school, we had a grandmother.  She was raising her granddaughter whose mother was in jail for drug possession.  Every year, whoever had that child, had problems.  In grandma's eyes (she was an evangelical far right wingnut), her granddaughter was never a problem. She told me once when I took away some lewd and explicit playing cards from the girl when she was in fourth grade, that I was lying because "her daughter was a Christian."  
              Now this situation should have been a no brainer.  But guess what, every time there was an incident, this woman was at the superintendent's office demanding action against the teachers.   She was loud and obnoxious and demanding.  Her granddaughter had all kinds of problems in school.  She BLAMED the teachers.  According to this woman, every year this little girl had a horrid teacher.

              So I tend to not immediately believe every parent who insists "my child had a terrible teacher." Yea, it does happen occasionally.  But when I hear, the "my child had a bad teacher every year from K thru ....."
              I am apt to be suspicious.  

              Again, teaching is an art. Judging is subjective, imo.  One teacher, whose class sits perfectly quiet all day, scared to think, behave outside the box, is sometimes seen as a wonderful teacher.  On the other hand, a loud, noisy class where there is lots of discussion can be seen as terrible.  And neither can be judged so easily.   Not all environments work equally for all students.  Any adult who thinks that their child will do equally well with every teacher is not realistic.  Just like in all relationships, some teachers and students click immediately.  They have chemistry in a way that humans recognize without words.  In that same class where student A is blossoming, perhaps for the first time, perhaps student B is bored.  On the whole, many have different favorites and different "I hated that teacher'.   Just like some of us LOVE certain actors while others do not get the hoopla.  

              The best of the best tend to get to most kids.  The worst of the worst loses many but only for a year. MOST kids recover from a mediocre learning year. MOST teachers fall somewhere in between brilliant and average.
              But the parent who allows their child's word to be gospel, who refuses to acknowledge that not every year in a child's schooling is the same and some years the intellectual growth is different than other years, is doing their child no favorite.

              There are life lessons.  Sometimes, with older kids, it would not hurt a child to hear a parent explain to a child, that they don't need to like a teacher in order for them to learn something, that a good part of their education is their own responsibility.  

              •  Quite often... in fact... (0+ / 0-)

                When my kids were growing up, I would often hear complaints from "involved" parents that some teacher was terrible. It often had to do with the grades their child got in the class. It seems the best way to be judged a good teacher by the parents is to give everyone good grades.

              •  Jjc sounds like you have a diary.... (0+ / 0-)

                ..... full of good stories about your experiences as a teacher.

                Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

                by BMarshall on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:57:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Ken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serrano

        Speaking of same old, it's all you ever right. Teachers are great. Unions are great. Public schools graduate all their kids. Charter schools are evil. Blah blah blah. You are the broken record. And your views are why we have a broken national system.

        •  write not right... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          your neighbor
        •  too bad you cannot read (13+ / 0-)

          since I pointed out many times yesterday I have no philosophical objection to public schools, and cited an example of a charter school I have helped.

          Disagree with me all you want, but do not misrepresent what I have said.  All you do thereby is embarrass yourself.

          And by the way -  we do not have a broken national system.  We have many broken local systems, and a few broken state systems.  But since we do not have a national system of education, it is hard to argue we have a broken national system.  

          Minor detail perhaps, but important nevertheless.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:57:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What system is broken (8+ / 0-)

          There are some areas that have schools that are in MAJOR need of help, but the national system isn't broken. Read some Gerald Bracey to help you clear up your belief in that myth.

          •  Bracey is sorely missed (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ivan, akeitz, slatsg, m00finsan

            as is Ted Sizer.  We lost both a year ago Wednesday.

            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

            by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:02:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              akeitz

              Do you know of any new Bracey or Sizer folks that you'd rec?

              •  no one person, several suggestions to follow (0+ / 0-)

                George Wood and some of the other folks at Forum for Education and Democracy, whose other Conveners include Deb Meier, Linda Darling-Hammond, Angela Valenzuela, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Pedro Noguera, etc.

                Diane Ravitch to some degree

                Richard Rothstein of EPI on things like economics and the statistics of education

                and don't forget the increasing number of voices of teachers, some of whom, like me, belong to the Teacher Leaders Network.  None of us has Bracey's total grasp of all the data, but some are quite persuasive.  Might I recommend among others Anthony Cody, Nancy Flanagan, Renee Moore, and David Cohen for starters.

                We are all aware of our loss.  A group has kept going the list for Bracey's Educational Disinformation and Detection Reporting Agency.  We have the likes of Kevin Welner with the National Education Policy Center - it is well worth your will to subscribe to the Think Tank Project, which gets independent reviews of various widely reported pieces of educational research, doing as Bracey used to do in showing the problems and limitations thereof.

                Hope this helps.

                "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:11:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  define accountability (13+ / 0-)

      and maybe we should also look at CEO's being able to negotiate fat contracts and golden parachutes and let everyone work without a net.

      Pat Sajack has articulated the final extreme of this philosophical position when he finds it objectionable that state employees are allowed to vote. He feels that this gives them a voice in matters which could benefit them so they should recuse themselves from voting.

      Too often we see one set of rules advocated for private employees and a more onerous one for public employees. When this is the case, the question must be asked why should public school teachers not be afforded the same professional safeguards offered university professors? Why should public school teachers not be offered the same safeguards standard in any employment contract in the private sector on that level?

    •  Tenure protects against politicization. (23+ / 0-)

      Teacher accountability is supposed to be provided by competent administration.  How do you suggest providing that?  It's proven a very difficult problem.  Letting yahoo know-nothing Republicans into administrative positions won't help.

      In Europe they got accountability by abolishing school boards and having experienced teachers, promoted from inside, run schools.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:26:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about we demand accountabilty (38+ / 0-)

      from administrators who fail to review poor teachers and get them out before they become entrenched.

      Frankly it is the role of school administrators to evaluate begining teachers and not rehire the ones that do not show promise as educators.

      It is the administrators that move bad teachers around from school to school because they haven't devoted the time to review and honestly critique teachers.

      Thank god for tenure!
      It protected me when I had to put up with an administrator who was having an affair with his coordinator ( a teacher) who didn't like my displeasure with them messing around when I needed him to deal with a discipline problem.

      Tenure protected me when he came to my room to harrass me for complaining about miserable discipline in a private converstion with an other teacher that his lover overheard.
      I felt free to kick him out of my room in front of 100 pupils. This my my boss that I am telling "to get out of my room! How dare you come in to harrass me over hearsay from Mrs. XX!"  
      He shut his mouth and turned tail and ran down the hall in from of 100 junior high inner city students.
      That was my boss.
      Yeah, let's end tenure sure. Do you have job security?

      http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/206488-1 at 1:31:20

      by TexMex on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:46:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about we demand (17+ / 0-)

      accountability from our public leaders for their success or failure in alleviating poverty and making equal educational resources available to all children?

      How about we demand accountability from taxpayers for their willingness or unwillingness to fund schools of equal quality and to provide more resources where more intervention is needed?

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:34:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree with that... (0+ / 0-)

        at all, but there are some pretty powerful organizations that could be advocating for that and pulling in parents.  They've been pretty quiet though.

        the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

        by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:38:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  For what? (19+ / 0-)

      Teachers can still be fired with tenure.  They just can't be fire for "no cause".  

      If you took all the inner city (read poverty) areas out of our statistics, US kids would be competitive with every other country.   What they are doing is destroying public education for "everyone" because they won't address poverty in America and its consequences.  And just to make sure they don't get blamed, they are making teachers the patsies and union busting.   You want a fix for kids with more barriers than extremities?  Here you go , and it only costs 62K a year per kid to send a kid to Milton Hershey School.  

      Waiting for Superman was a scam.  Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems Here is a charter school that is getting 16K a kid and still can't achieve results.  If public schools got 16K a kid, it would double what they are receiving today.

      Teachers the new Taliban and whipping boy for people who need someone to blame besides the parents and a government that thinks 36K per prisoner is a better deal than 7K on K-12.  

      Don't tax the rich, starve the poor.

      by dkmich on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:47:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't know what schools spend on kids? (0+ / 0-)

        Schools only a little or than half the money in the per student spending in New York of 11,000. I really don't know exactly where the other half goes, but they spend around. States have to pay for teachers pensions but non union charters don't. They need not make contributions nor pay retired workers. There money is probably going a lot further than that of a public school.

        DC spends 28,000 per student. Other major cities to spend about 10-12 thousand.

        •  Michigan is $6,7?? to $9,??? per kid, depending (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          on the school.  We use to fund them with our property taxes.  They they changed it to state funding.  The schools that were higher were allowed to stand because the lower ones were "supposedly" going to be raised to match them.  Instead, they all been going down and down.  Detroit Schools get the lower end.  

          Of course charter schools are lower paid. If you are so worried about saving money on teachers salaries and pensions, maybe we can offshore the kids to China.  Then think of all the money you'll save. I mean we wouldn't want to have any good jobs left in this country , would we.

          Don't tax the rich, starve the poor.

          by dkmich on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:55:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  How about we demand parental accountability? (6+ / 0-)

      We expect teachers to be miracle workers, but they can do only so much if students don't enter their classrooms ready to learn.

      It's easy to blame teachers. It's much more difficult to look in the mirror and assess the situation honestly.

    •  We don't need teacher accountability. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      We need administrator accountability.

      Teachers must do what administrators tell them. They have little flexibility concerning teaching methods or lesson plans.

      Administrators have the power. Administrators can hire teachers and fire teachers. They can even fire tenured ones.

      We need to test students, adjust for family socioeconomics, and evaluate administrators by the results.

    •  Teachers are accountable, as are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jennylind, your neighbor

      administrators, parents, politicians, etc.  We are all accountable to each other.

      Tenure is a way to protect due process rights for teachers and others on their jobs, who may be subject to unfair political attacks, or simply get tossed around as the political winds change.

      What if it were possible for a principal to fire a teacher because of their religion, sexual orientation, or because they got in an argument with the principal's brother?  Tenure, and the union protections, help to guard against these outrages by requiring that the administrator actually document the charges, and go through a process before tossing someone out, and making room to hire someone who suits their particular agenda.  This is also why there are usually multiple people involved in hiring new people, with sometimes strict rules about the hiring process as well as the firing process.

  •  A local situation gave rise to my wondering (14+ / 0-)

    about the composition of local school boards, since this is the level where the TPers will enjoy the most electoral success. Over in NC, there is a school board chairman who is committed to ending integration, though he does not phrase it so, instead hiding behind "neighborhood schools for neighborhood kids" This is a smokescreen for de facto segregation.

    One aspect of his personal life is that he is also on the board of a local private school and has connections to a private nonprofit chain of schools. I have to wonder now about our local board and how many of the members send their kids to private schools or homeschool or have ties to private schools or even to chains that operate private schools?

    It seems that someone who does not have children in the system but instead has decided that the system is inadequate should think twice about taking a leadership role in changing the system    

    •  thanks for commenting (19+ / 0-)

      local elected school boards often have low-turnout elections.  That can enable well-organized groups to run under the radar and take control for their own purposes.  About 2 decades back we saw a concerted effort by the  Christian Coalition to do that in a number of districts around the country.

      The most recent example is in Houston, where KIPP supporters now have control of the school board, and are poised to authorize expansion of KIPP's efforts in the city where it started to 20,000 students.  

      As far as "non-profit" chains of schools, private or charter, there is a disturbing pattern of exceedingly high salaries for those running such organizations -  often several multiples of what a superintendent of an equivalent sized public school would get.  There are also patterns of profiting from deals on real estate -  hedge funds have figured out how to get big profits on this, since schools that are non-profit fall under a different section of federal law with respect to taxes -  I have some friends that are exploring how wide-spread this has become, and how big the dollars are.

      We have a lot of selfish people in this country who care primarily about how much money they make.  We have others who are determined to impose their world views -  be they derived from religion, economic theology (I use that term deliberately) or a sense of a racial or sexual superiority.

      Because local schools are funded by local taxes, any taxpayer has a right to seek to be on governing board, unless state or local laws would specify otherwise, and even then such a specification would probably be a violation of teh 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

      It's unfortunate.  The best we can do is to ensure that those of us who actively support public schools organize to make sure hostile groups do not get control of school boards.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:03:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Local school boards should be abolished (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan

        ...as should school funding by local property taxes, which is moronic and was already declared a violation of the state Constitution in California in the 1970s.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:27:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Will disagree in part (10+ / 0-)

          we certainly have to do more to equalize funding for education.  The original Elementary and Secondary Education Act under Johnson was a recognition by the Federal government that some communities needed assistance for this basic function because of high degrees of poverty.  Lyndon Johnson began his work career as a teacher, and saw the impact of poverty upon the students he had and the schools in which he taught.

          That said, there is still some value in having some degree of local control, rather than having either the state or the federal government impose everything from above.  Given the recent track record of mayoral control in NY, Chicago and DC I also see some value in having an elected body that can counterbalance the sometimes dictatorial tendencies of local mayors.  

          I recognize that as in any democratic election there is a possibility that yahoos or worse will gain control.  But that is the nature of democracy, and we always have the option to organize ourselves to make sure that does not happen, whether in Congress or at the local school board.  Of course, it would help were we able to control the huge amounts of money that have been unleashed by things like Citizens United.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:35:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  but 15,000 school districts...isn't that a waste (0+ / 0-)

            of resources?

            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

            by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:29:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you want to WalMart everything (6+ / 0-)

              including public education?

              Sometimes so-called economies of scale turn out to be very inefficient in ways we might not have anticipated.

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:56:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would add the NJ has some of the best (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, 3goldens, CParis, laurnj

                public schools in the nation, and we have about 600 school districts in our small state. And many of our top districts are quite diverse. for example, NJ is home to the largest South Asian community in the US. We also have the largest Cuban-American community outside South Florida.

              •  It can also create bureaucracy and waste. (0+ / 0-)

                It makes it hard for a taxpayer to find our where our money is going and I for one am not approving one more nickel for schools until I can figure out where we are spending the close to $10,000 per student we are spending today.

                "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:16:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How "progressive" of you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  3goldens

                  "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

                  by Ivan on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:42:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Progressive doesn't mean stupid and it's (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    princss6

                    stupid to pump money into a system if you don't know how it is being spent. We may have plenty of money to do everything teacherken recommends but does anyone know that.  I have three ballot initiatives this November, all have to to with funding schools yet no one has shown me a complete plan for what we are spending now and what this money will actually buy us.  Three on the same ballot....that is  nuts.  I am looking at each individually and have approved 2 of the 3 because I am "progressive" but I know parents of school age children who are voting no on everything because they say the money never gets to the schools.  It is a fair question.

                    "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                    by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:52:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Have you ever been to a school board meeting? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  teacherken, entlord

                  Every school budget is a public document. They may not be jumping up and down to give you one, but they are obligated to do so if you ask.

                  School board meetings are public and they give public notice of agenda items. The notice may be posted someplace inconvenient, but it is public. If you call your school board office, you can get them to tell you when and where such things are posted, and possibly even get an agenda mailed or emailed to you, or perhaps have one ready for you at the district office.

                  If you are a parent, your school may have local budget committees. In California, for example, each school has a School Site Council. It's another way to get involved with governance.

                  Our district has generally created a budget committee made up of various stakeholders to go through the budget and identify and scrutinize spending. Your school or district may have such a beast and be willing to include a parent.

                  In my district, if you were a parent attending board meetings, you'd be a rarity and you'd get a lot of insight into whether money is spent wisely or not.

                  $10,000 per child doesn't go as far as you'd think. You have the staff for each classroom, the office staff divided among all the students, custodial staff, buses and bus drivers, cafeteria workers and food, playground supervision, legal services, special needs support staff for special ed and ELL, health insurance for everyone, assorted required memberships,  the occasional purchases of books and computers... reserves to buffer against uncertainty...  You get down to the bottom of the money pretty quickly, it turns out.

                  I'm a member of one of those small school boards you think should be eliminated. I realize you are looking at it from the point of view that some small school boards are captured by crazy people. In the case of my school, it's been captured by sane, reasonable, intelligent people who really care about education, and our schools are among the best in the county, especially K-8. Because we're so small and close to our community, the teachers know us and we know them, and we are all in it together.

                  You may also be under the impression that school board members are paid. Small school boards are generally volunteer... actually worse, in that I think that most of our board members contribute not only hours and hours of time but also money. The district paid only for a couple of trainings when I was new and for photocopying all the check registers, budgets, and various support materials before each meeting. That's it.

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

                  by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:13:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Our small district (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  teacherken

                  has very little bureaucracy. Anyone with a problem can go right to the superintendent. Nearly every person who works for the district has some direct contact with actual children every day, and the only two that don't have offices with windows that overlook the preschool.

                  One nice thing about that is that no one can go buying something fancy for The District Office without everyone seeing and knowing. And it's very hard for the superintendent to choose to make such an expenditure when he knows every staff member and for that matter nearly every child by name and face, and knows that the kids just spent their Saturday washing cars to raise money for classroom supplies or a field trip, or that young Sammy really needs more time with an ELL specialist, or that Miss Smith's room really needs new carpet.

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

                  by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:18:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  When I ran for school board, it cost $0. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken, entlord

            Another benefit of very small school boards.

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

            by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:20:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I can remember a time when public schools were (0+ / 0-)

            a local innovation and my father's class was the first graduating class from the local high school. Before that, each community had its own school and school board and that board hired the teachers (yeh like Little House on the Prairie, Wilder fans)

        •  I'll go 2/3rds of the way with you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BMarshall

               A certain amount of local control is really important to molding the educational goals of the school to what the local community deems important.  I’m sure Ken and I would not 100% agree on the ideal composition for course order for HS social studies. Local control is horrible when the local school boards are full of politicos who are elected along party lines and pad the payroll by hiring their cousins, nephews, daughter in-laws, etc.  It is amazing how often the teachers who "can’t" get fired due to union rules are really nepotism hires. It is very much the case in the Philly burbs.
              I agree with you that property taxes based on a small zip code(s) areas are a cruel way to increase disparity between rich and poor.  The funding of schools should be based on income taxes spread out over a whole state’s population at a minimum.  
              I am also not sure about creating more county wide school boards like exist in MD and VA.  I would be very fearful of being transferred to a school that otherwise I would not choose as my place of employment. Also, the county wide districts could choose to bus students away from a local school for any variety of reasons. My own opinion on bus rides is that every minute a student spends on a bus takes a minute away from sleeping, relaxing, playing, studying, playing a sport, practicing an instrument, and so on.  

          •  A gentle reminder, please . . . (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            akeitz, elfling, 3goldens, wsexson, Mostel26

            It is amazing how often the teachers who "can’t" get fired due to union rules are really nepotism hires.

            . . . because I don't disagree with your comment, but we shouldn't be saying "union rules." The union does not impose these unilaterally. It has no power to do so. Tenure provisions are part of a legally binding contract -- the labor agreement -- that the school district is required by law to enforce.

            "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

            by Ivan on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:40:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Critical to vote in EVERY election (8+ / 0-)

        School board, county exec, town council, state leg.  Don't wait for the "national" elections to show up.  In many cases, the deck is already stacked with GOPitards.

        If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me. ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

        by CParis on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:38:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  or perhaps run oneself? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akeitz, elfling, 3goldens, CParis

          I have an 18-year old former student who is challenging an incumbent for PG School Board.  The union refused to endorse her, but decided at the last minute not to endorse him in the non-partisan runoff -  there were 5 candidates in the non-partisan primary, and while she finished first, she got well under a majority of the vote, even though she is well-known.  We are hoping he wins.

          What he has working for him, besides the fact that a good number of people in that district have connections with our school (we are in a different district) is that he served as the student member of the state board of education, and is quite knowledgeable about the relevant issues.  Not bad for an 18 year old.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:41:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  School boards are low information races (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CParis

          and I'd love to figure out how to change that.

          I always wondered why school board candidates didn't at least include a blurb in the ballot pamphlet - it seems a no brainer. But in my jurisdiction, it costs about $1000 to put your statement in. That's a lot for a volunteer position, especially if there's not a big controversy or a strong need to get a message out.

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

          by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:23:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  also may be technically "non partisan" (0+ / 0-)

            positions.  The mailers I see often have the same "better schools, control budgets, blah, blah" messaging.  Voters have little idea of where these candidates align on general political/policy issues - unless they attend candidate forums, etc.

            If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me. ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

            by CParis on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 10:13:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't it funny... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord, BMarshall, 3goldens

        ...how local planning commissions are always populated with people connected to the building industry and now that there's money to be made in the education bus we are seeing local school boards populated with Charter School business persons?

        Where ever there is an opportunity to channel public funds into private coffers you will find some very civicly minded folks willing to do their part for public service.

    •  btw, I am curious (6+ / 0-)

      you are actively participating in this thread with thoughtful comments, and yet you have neither tipped nor recommended.  Any particular reason?  I'd ask this offline, but your profile does not include an email.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:05:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. However, that's not the way (12+ / 0-)

      conservatives think.  For example, Cynthia Dunbar, who homeschooled her children because she feels public schools are "tools of perversion" became a Texas SBOE member (unpaid position, mind you) in order to try and dismantle the education system.

      She's educated her children the way she wants; heaven forbid the rest of us, who don't have the money or resources to be stay-at-home homeschooling parents, have a way to educate ours.

      •  Well how about! (9+ / 0-)

        Margaret Spelling as Sec. of Ed.!!!!!!
        Husband was a lawyer in Austin lobbying for  vouchers.

        ugh
        Of course there was no progress during NCLB. The goal was to damage the public schools with charters and vouchers and homeschooling.  Tools that were designed to undo Brown vs Board of Education. Public schools are where children of all races and creeds sit together a Americans.
        Not that there are not great charter schools, and great reasons for home schooling.

        http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/206488-1 at 1:31:20

        by TexMex on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:57:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  hit this discussion right after leaving here (8+ / 0-)
    comparing the outrage in France over proposed cuts in the social safety net and how many citizens turned out in protest to the usual response in this country. Next was a comparison of our educational systems with the observation that an educated public is an activist and engaged public.

     http://crooksandliars.com/...

    There clearly articulated is the real life comparison which explains why the Powers that Be in this country oppose quality universal education.

  •  Rhetorically, the list doesn't (8+ / 0-)

    do what it should, even if every item is spot on.

    The unions are directly acting on behalf of teachers, and indirectly on behalf of students, and many of the demands seem more teacher-oriented than student-oriented.

    Now, clearly, what helps teachers also helps students, but people don't think in long causal trains this way.

    The short links between thoughts run like this:  union=teacher-centered good, union=greed, union=protecting BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD teachers, union-selfish teachers, union=ignore students.

    These are all very short trains.

    Union=teacher protection=due process=14th Amendment=depoliticization of the firing process=stable teaching staff=teachers have lead time to learn to teach=teacher can teach better=students who can learn will learn=better text scores=jobs and college success.....

    That's a very long train.

    The unions need to shorten the link so that "union" goes pretty directly to "students".

    The list above doesn't do it.

    You'll find hardened rhetorical positions with very little middle ground until the links are shortened and work conditions for teachers are more directly attached to student outcomes in the quick thinking of our lizard brains (if that's the right phrase.)

    I'd recommend they restart the list with very concrete images that really hit home.

    •  in the meantime (3+ / 0-)

      do you think the resolution worthy of further visibility at least to kickstart the discussion?

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:10:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Students for Student-Centered Education" (8+ / 0-)

      was the name of a very short lived campaign I ran at my high school.  There's absurd, ridiculous hostility to listening to students at all; administrators are the most hostile, parents the second-most-hostile, and teachers the third-most-hostile.

      Of course, you know who has no actual power?  Students.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:30:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am still trying to track down the source (9+ / 0-)

        of a statement I either heard or read from Eldridge Cleaver perhaps 4 decades ago.  He said that America had the world's best educational system and the world's best prison system.  Unfortunately the education system was the American penitentiary and the prison was the American public school.

        There are few places less democratic than the experience of public school for American kids.  Yes, I know their judgments are not fully developed, and there must be some limits.  I think we do a poor job of preparing them to be citizens in a liberal democracy (which is the correct political science description of our system) when we deny them the opportunity to practice the appropriate actions and behaviors while learning about it.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:38:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some stats were recently put out at a meeting (0+ / 0-)

          of Wilmington, Delaware black Christian clergy: they weren't doing enough to minister in the prisons because there were 450 gathering in the Muslim worship and only 50 with the Christians.

          If there is education going on, much of it is about the Muslim faith. Delaware stats don't show much capacity to actually teach inmates even though there are programs there isn't much room to implement them much less funding to support them widely.

          Am I correct in guessing that the Cleaver quote here wasn't talking about 'education' per se but about what prisoners learn from fellow prisoners about survival on the streets etc.?

          •  I was actually thinking of something else (0+ / 0-)

            the number of first-time offenders who come out as hardened recidivists -  at least, that is what I think was the intent of Cleaver's remarks

            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

            by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:57:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The democratic experience (0+ / 0-)

          I can think of a lot of places less democratic than public schools.  Like almost every job I've ever had.

          But smart remarks aside, I consider preparing students to be citizens to be a critical part of my job as a high school teacher.  I am explicit with the students that this is what we are doing.  I hate telling them that they have to do this or that to get a job.

      •  The high school students... (0+ / 0-)

        in my city formed their own student union.  You do not mess with the Philadelphia Student Union unless you want mass protests!  I believe they even took over the administration building a few years ago.

        the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

        by princss6 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:45:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you're correct, it's truly sad to think that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, Ivan, BMarshall, laurnj

      an entire class of workers have some reason to apologize for wanting the labor protections offered by unionization. Has America really gone that far down the far-right-union-busting road to perdition?

      I reject your premise. Educators have no need to apologize for being unionized and wanting a fair shake. If the free-enterprise crowd doesn't like it, screw them. And if the public has been deceived by the media's distorted reporting of so-called educational "reform", the solution is to mount a counter-campaign to get the other side of the story out.

      I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Blue Knight on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:13:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Race to the Top embarrasses me (20+ / 0-)

    I'm sick of the stupidity, so sick of it.

    Fund education or shut up, go start another war or something, just never bullshit me you care about education without money.

  •  I think every demand is spot on as I said (13+ / 0-)

    above, but you'll get that same hardened anti-union response from this list.

    Anyone who pays attention to policy and education funding at all knows the structures that cause us problems -- local school funding is inadequate to the job, anti-taxation sentiment is a huge problem, the fact that you spend only a small part of a long life with kids in school means that for the most part you are separated from meaningful connections to the schools causes another set of problems, American anti-intellectualism is another problem (Christine O'Donnell's Yale-bashing?!).

    The schools need money, poor schools need way more money, the equitable has to triumph over the equal, education is indeed a public good, but with a twist -- it is excludable it turns out.  So the structures that make it work won't follow what the game theory and econ people have found with regard to air pollution, water pollution, and national defense.  If we provide a great education to one, we don't have to provide it to everyone.  A public good with a twist.

    Do I know how to get people to see that their future good is tied to the high quality education of every single kid in the country?  If only I did....  In fact, sadly, at the level of national policy, probably it's not even true.  We can tolerate a pretty decent sized amount of mediocrity and manage pretty well as a nation.  It's immoral, but not impractical.

    Once you are calling on people's moral sensibility, you have lost the chance to win.  People aren't broadly moral in a disinterested way.  We are narrowly moral and far more particularistic that we should be.

    (I could do a long thing on Rawls and Kant here and it would be completely relevant, but a long way around, so I'll skip it.  But these two thinkers address the issue most clearly.)

    To answer the question more closely, I think your supporters will love the list as is, your detractors will hate it, and it won't really move things forward.  As soon as some see the anti-corporate line, they turn off.  Of course, the anti-corporate line is pretty central as we want citizens with broad concerns, not corporate tools with private concerns, and we know the two don't always line up....

    I would wish for some rhetorical genius to rewrite the list so that every line begins with STUDENTS THRIVE WHEN....  And STUDENTS LEARN WHEN....

    •  there have been such lists (9+ / 0-)

      and they have been ignored by the main stream media

      I do think it is a problem when our press is owned by corporations that have other interests.

      Here in the DC area we are all too aware that the most profitable part of the Washington Post Corporation is Kaplan Education.  How much that influences their editorial coverage I do not know.  Yes, they continue to honor teachers and principals each year (as I found out last school year), and they keep their pictures in the front window of the Post building all year.  But editorially they simply don't get it - still supporting Michelle Rhee to the bitter end, for example.

      Look, the phrasing may not be punchy enough for bumper stickers, but the piece provides ammo that people should be able to use.

      That a major industrial union felt it important enough to have such a resolution is I think of some significance.  That's one reason for this diary.

      That I was unaware of it until a few days ago when the link appeared on an educational list in which I participate demonstrates to me that we have to do a better job of getting messages like this out, even if we might prefer a different organization of the content.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:26:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Post Editorial Board - aren' they some (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akeitz, edtastic, m00finsan

        little green men from Mars or somewhere?

        I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by Blue Knight on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:19:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I too tire of conspiracy theories (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6

          Most things can be explained by accepting people simply don't care enough to fix broken things and those who have an interest in manipulating a institution to serve their interest meet little resistance from a public that is ill informed.

          Honoring teachers doesn't fix out education system these self serving post don't do anything but annoy those who actually support the reform process. Everybody who works hard for a living wants to be honored and respected.  

      •  Corporations dominate the discussion (0+ / 0-)

        There is no real public dialogue on public education other than that which is corporate sponsored.  Anything that comes from teachers' unions is disparaged simply because of the source.

        The dominant narrative has already been widely accepted:  schools are failing and the biggest reason for that failure is teachers' union that prevent districts from firing bad teachers.  Anyone who does not repeat and reinforce that narrative is ignored.

        Despite all the talk about it, I do not think that Americans have every reached a consensus on what, exactly, a high school education should be.  When I became a teacher five years ago at age 50, I was shocked at how much the curriculum was the same as when I was in high school.  

        The content standards in California, where I teach, are ambitious, but I do not believe that more than a handful of students come close to mastering them.  One example, from the 11th & 12th grade English standards:

        Analyze recognized works of American literature representing a variety of genres and traditions. Trace the development of American literature from the colonial period forward.  Contrast the major periods, themes, styles, and trends and describe how works by members of different cultures relate to one another in each period.  Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plots, and settings.

        How many college-educated adults do we know who can do all that?  How many books will a student have to read in those last two years of high school in order to be able to do all that?  

        More important, do we really believe that every single high school graduate should be, must be, able to do that?  

  •  another great piece, Ken. (15+ / 0-)

    knocking it out of the ballpark consistently.  You do an excellent job speaking for "The Teacher".
    Thank you.
    Elsa

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/206488-1 at 1:31:20

    by TexMex on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:50:50 AM PDT

  •  Education is funded locally. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    Only about 7% of all funds spent on education come from the feds.. and that is mostly for food programs and the like.

    So, while some of those points may be worthy, it is pointless to discuss unless you tackle point 1.1.

    People do not want Washington funding education.  I sure don't.  And, unless you are proposing to fundamentally change the structure of these United States, it is probably not even possible Constitutionally.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:52:56 AM PDT

    •  actually Fed share now over 8% (7+ / 0-)

      but you are ignoring the portion that comes from the state, which in some cases is substantial.

      And the 8% is a national proportion.  In communities of high poverty it is often quite a bit more than that.

      Finally, for years the Federal government has been able to drive policy as a condition of aid, be it school policy or highway policy.  For example, originally the Federal government was paying 90% of cost of building interstate highways.  When Montana refused to impose speed limits the Feds threatened not to give them highway $$.  Similarly, the same threat was used to force raising the drinking age to 21 nationally -  several places (including NY State) had complete access at 18 and a number of Midwestern states had 18-21 weak beer sites.

      At a time when states and local governments are hurting for funds for education and limited by their inability to borrow to meet current obligations, the Feds ability to provide money gives them leverage over policy far beyond the measly proportion of what they actually pay for.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:00:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "the Feds ability to provide money" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        You're joking right?

        Government to Report on $1 Trillion-Plus Deficit

        The feds spent $1.3 Trillion they didn't have.  That's without anything akin to TARP or other bailouts.. and next year looks to be $1.4 Trillion.

        So, yeah I can see why teachers and union people would like to put the feds in charge of funding..

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

        by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:20:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Funny how fashionable deficit worry has become (10+ / 0-)

          Nobody cared during the Bush administration and weren't all freaked out in the 90s. But suddenly it's the excuse du jour whenever any progressive item needs funding.

        •  no I am not joking (10+ / 0-)

          I am talking about legal authority.

          And in my opinion the first stimulus was far too small.

          And if we would stop the ridiculous spending on Iraq and Afghanistan we would quickly recover much of what we need to properly stimulate our economy.

          just as if we properly taxed upper level incomes and corporate incomes

          remember, Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz was warning several years ago that the ultimate cost of Iraq to our economy would be several trillion dollars - money spent to no positive effect at home.

          Might I remind you of the words of a man who knew war, Dwight David Eisenhower, made in 1953 shortly after he became president:  

          Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

          This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

          It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

          This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

          This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point to the hope that comes with this spring of 1953.

          Peace.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:01:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So you would deny (11+ / 0-)

      poor children in Buffalo extra federal dollars to hire extra teachers to teach English and Reading and math?
      I mean the poorest American child that lives in drug and gun riddled neighborhood. A child that pledges allegiance to the United States every morning?
      But we can go bomb the crap out of Iraq and spend pallets of billions of American dollars to Blackwater.

      Hmmmmm.....

      http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/206488-1 at 1:31:20

      by TexMex on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:03:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm denying nothing to anyone.. (0+ / 0-)

        It's about local control..

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

        by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:13:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So Prince Frederick, VA was right? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m00finsan

          So you'd have no problem with Prince Frederick,VA shutting down public schools like they did in the 1960s?

          •  I'm not familiar with that.. enlighten me.. (0+ / 0-)

            "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

            by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:45:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He may mean Prince Edward County (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ivan, akeitz, BMarshall, princss6, m00finsan, laurnj

              which closed its schools rather than integrate.  They were among the worst offenders.  The then-governor of Virginia, Mills Godwin, ordered schools closed rather than let them be integrated, but Prince Edward continued the battle much longer than other jurisdictions.  The court case that came from the student-initiated protest was led by a niece of civil rights leader Vernon Johns.  That case was one of the five included under the overall case decided in Brown v Board (although one was split out as a separate decision because it involved DC, and is known as Bolling v Sharp).  

              The original case started in 1951.  The school system finally lost in 1963 in a case known as Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, decided by a unanimous Supreme Court.

              You can get a good sense of the entire history from this Wiki article

              Thanks for being willing to be informed.

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:53:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ahhh ok.. thanks.. (0+ / 0-)

                important rulings and actions on the part of the federal government.. And, I would be the last to argue it, as I feel that is the proper role of the feds.

                But, enforcing civil rights is a bit far afield of the discussion of federal takeover of funding all education in the US.

                Now, perhaps akeitz was getting at some standard level of education is a "civil right" and should be enforced by the feds.. and the only way to do that is to take over all funding of all education?  That is kinda silly.  There is already quite a bit of "equalization" built into state funding of schools as well as from federal education programs as you mentioned above.

                "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:12:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  actually relatively little equalization (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, BMarshall, CParis, princss6, m00finsan

                  in most state financing plans.  There have been Court attempts to address it, for example, in Texas (although that case was overturned at a higher level).  One state, HA, runs one statewide school district.

                  I live in Virginia.  The per-pupil expenditure ranges from well over 20K in Arlington and Alexandria to around 8K in some more rural districts.   Because of state financial difficulties, some of the state funds have been cut back.

                  Similarly in MD, we used to have Thornton Funds to help address schools with significant additional needs, but that money is no longer available, and districts that depended upon have no way to make up the difference.

                  One can argue that schools with higher levels of poverty should be spending MORE per student to avoid perpetuation of inequity.  Neither the states nor the federal government have ever offered enough money to approach this.  And let's be candid - wealthier districts will fight to be able to spend more on their kids.

                  We cannot totally equalize.  What we can do is ensure that there are sufficient funds so that a decent education is available.  That includes buildings, equipment, libraries, qualified staff (which is more than just teachers - many school dealing with poverty need things like psychologists, vision specialists, etc,).

                  I am very aware that times are tough financially.  I am experiencing it personally, since this year I will receive almost 8K less than I should have.  I am not arguing to have that money restored for me.  I am arguing that we need more QUALIFIED and SKILLED teachers to make a difference for the students we have now.  Having class sizes of more than 40, which is true in a high school near me, robs those students of the education to which they should be entitled.   I would think the education of our future voters and workforce might be a higher priority than continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, or continuing to pour money down the sinkholes of Iraq and Afghanistan at the rate we are doing.

                  That's me.  I think it is worth a discussion.

                  Peace.

                  "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                  by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:20:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  when I said "equalization" (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kickemout, princss6

                    I meant equalizing to a certain minimum level.  As long as there is local funding, there will always be some school districts spending way over the norm.

                    The equalization that comes into play is in the state funding portion.  Here in Illinois, wealthy districts get next to nothing in state funds, where schools in poorer areas get much more.

                    I don't disagree at all that we need a discussion of priorities in this country.  Iraq and Afghanistan are indeed "sinkholes" and I can see no long-term good that will come from those funds having been spent.

                    I'm a fiscal conservative.. I think we should spend within our budget (either by taxing more or spending less.. or a little of both).  Exactly how those funds are allocated is a totally different discussion.  Continuing to spend half our budget on defense to not only fund 2 wars but to also keep bases open around the world in countries that do not need us there is, to me, just plain silly.

                    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                    by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:44:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  in most states it is equal funding per student (0+ / 0-)

                      regardless of the wealth of the district.

                      IIRC, Howard Dean caused a firestorm in VT when he imposed a state tax on all communities to better fund schools in poor communities - that meant taxing the ski condo communities to help pay for schools in the cities.

                      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:13:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  And that exercise literally resulted (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                akeitz

                in a lost generation, and the price continues to be paid in the county and city of Farmville.

                Seems like some are interested in retesting that plan...

                "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

                by justmy2 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:18:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks Ken! She had a brain fart! (0+ / 0-)

                Geez getting my prince counties all mixed up <g>.

    •  I didn't realize (0+ / 0-)

      my point would actually be proved in this very diary...

      smh

      "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

      by justmy2 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:15:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sec. of Ed says NO to public education (17+ / 0-)

    Laura Clawson's front page diary detailed Obama's Sec. of Education, Arne Duncan, pushing for profit corporate schools vs. public schools in "Behind the Drumbeat for Charter Schools".

    Additionally we have seen Obama increasing funding for the anti-teacher,anti-public education Bush "No Teacher Left Behind", up to $12B per year, $50B in Obama's first (and likely only) term. Obama topped that with his own attack on teachers and public education the "Race to Top", $4B per year, $20B over four years.

    When we have massive teacher layoffs, reduced school days, reduced educational help for kids in need, bigger classrooms, less educational time Obama diverts $70B to anti-teacher, anti-public education programs.

    That's 300,000 teachers per year that bankrupt school districts could rehire, that's 6,000,000 kids a year in 20 kid classrooms where they can get a quality education.

    Instead we have Obama repeating the drumbeat for "teacher accountability" as US sinks into poverty, kids stressed over no money, no homes, no jobs for parents, poverty, violence and teacher's being "accountable" for this with fewer school days, bigger class sizes, less help, broken down buildings.

    How about public accountability to give kids a good public education including help like year round, 6 to 6 school with breakfast, lunch and dinner to help kids and parents out  help kids and parents out during your Great Recession?  How about your accountability Obama and Duncan?

    •  Will disagree in part, agree in part (12+ / 0-)

      the second you put year-round education on the table you are going to get pushback on everything else you propose, because too many communities and business entitities are currently dependent upon the current schedule - think summer camps, resort communities, amusement parks.  Also, for many teachers summer is the only time they have to be with families and to advance their own education (which I might remark is usually at their expense).  If the issue is summer learning loss, we can provide enrichment without it having to be formal year-round school.

      I do think we could explore turning schools into community centers, perhaps associating them with rec centers, public libraries and the like.  Certainly in many cases they could serve as feeding centers for the truly economically distressed.

      I might point out that such an approach would work in an urban area.  It would be far less feasible in the rural communities where more than 1 in 5 of our public school children live and attend school.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:05:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers as part time help. Not good. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan, princss6

        Also, for many teachers summer is the only time they have to be with families and to advance their own education

        And how are teachers different than anyone else in this regard?  Why should teachers get more time to "advance their own education" than anyone else, nurses, doctors, engineers?  Idea that teachers get less time with their families than any other hardworking person is also bogus.

        Idea that kids going to school year round is going to impact the "amusement part industry" is false since it is parent's income and vacation time that determines attendance, not the kids.  Full time school still results in kids being off many weeks per year, much more than their parents.

        Idea that we'd put the need of the "amusement park industry" for kid fodder over education is repellent even if the two were in competition which they are not.

        Parents would be happy to have kids in school year round so they don't need to find "camps" and day care for them.  The 6A-6P aspect of school is also a huge help and expense saver, kids can get food and get their homework done (even the kids of teachers) so when parents get home and pick them up they can all spend more time together.  But more importantly to help stressed out families support their kids with food and education and safe place.

        Arguing for teachers as part time employees, not deserving of a full pay, living wage is not a good one to make in support of public education.

        •  For some reason, my 10 hour days (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, BMarshall

          feel a whole lot like full-time work. Students are not inside my classroom for 10 hours a day, but it takes me approximately 10 hours a day to handle the demands of the job. And I leave important things undone because I have other obligations.

          I agree that many parents would love to have extended hours of day care and summer camps funded. This would be an area where schools could help meet these needs, but not without additional staff. If I am responsible for providing learning experiences for children from 6 AM to 6 PM, Monday thru Friday, I would truly need some kryptonite. I don't think that model would be sustainable.

          •  Welcome to the club cupcake. (0+ / 0-)

            What kind of dream world are you living in? Do you think you are the only one working long hours?  If you think teachers are going to get SPECIAL treatment then you are going to justify the right wing criticism of teachers as part time workers working a "kids" schedule.

            •  Where are you getting the idea that (0+ / 0-)

              not EXTENDING a work day that is already at 10 hours is special treatment?

              If the true desire is to improve learning outcomes for students, I do not understand how adding to teacher work loads would do that.

              No, I do not think I am the only one working long hours. But it does seem strange that people would suggest that 10 hour days are somehow considered part time. How many hours do you think the work day should be?

              •  You are dishonest. Teachers 40 hr week. (0+ / 0-)
                Teachers CONTRACTUAL work week is 40 hours. Just like every one else who works a 50-60 hour week to keep their "40 hour" job.

                Increasing school day to 12 hours and year to full year means HIRING MORE TEACHERS per contract and per labor law on 40 hours, overtime requirements etc.

                It is completely dishonest of you to pretend that:

                a. Teachers work more "free" time than parents.
                b. That increasing school day and year means teachers required to work 12 hour days.

                •  I did not realize that the issue (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling

                  was who worked more hours. I certainly have parents who work more hours than I.

                  My comment was for the purpose of challenging your assertion that teachers were part time employees or wanted to be part time employees. I work around ten hours a day. Even with the time invested, I leave work undone. Important work. Work that would help more students be successful. If the issue is doing what is best for students, one should be careful about putting forward policies that add to the teacher work load. It is already oppressive.

                  I find it interesting that you choose to attack my character. You know nothing about my integrity. I shall not waste any more time with your comments.

                  •  You continue to lie. (0+ / 0-)

                    challenging your assertion that teachers were part time employees or wanted to be part time employees.

                    No such assertion was made by me so you lie again as you try to change the subject.

                    •  you partially cause his confusion (0+ / 0-)

                      when you responded to me with a comment titled "Teachers as part time help. Not good."  While I realize you were attempting to reject my words by accusing me of calling teachers part-time employees, your subject line is easily misinterpreted.

                      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:40:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                        "accusing me of calling teachers part-time employees"

                        Or did I state that your asking for teachers to have special privileges to pursue their education vs. doctors, nurses, engineers and others would further the argument by those opposed to public education that teachers are "part time employees"?

                        •  I am saying the subject line of the comment (0+ / 0-)

                          could easily be misinterpreted.   Careful reading of the comment would remove that misinerpretation.

                          Since I had not described teachers as "part time" it was you who injected that phrase into the discussion.

                          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                          by teacherken on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:08:32 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  actually, that is also wrong (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling

                  but in the opposite direction.  Many teachers officially have a 7.5 hour day, which works out to 37.5 for a full week.

                  Were we to work to rule, that is, do no planning and no correcting of papers outside of school, learning would quickly come to a grinding halt.

                  By contrast, a lawyer may well bill 50-60 hours a week.  Yes, his firm makes more off that effort than he does, but at least he gets some compensation for the hours work, in fact, the high pay for beginning lawyers presumes those kinds of hours.

                  "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                  by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:39:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  With respect (0+ / 0-)

              even when I was working 12 hour days putting together a spacecraft with a tight deadline, I could go to the bathroom whenever I wanted, and the people I worked with were all supportive and friendly.

              Having thirty kids watch your every move all day is way harder than rocket science.

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

              by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:35:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  umm, we are not part-time (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cassidy3, hulagirl

          most teachers are on a 10 month contract.  During that time we are considered full time.  Many of us work far more than the designated hours for which we are paid, but we do not get overtime.

          At this point I no longer coach or get paid for being a sponsor of a student organization.  On my average day I am at school for around 9 hours but sometimes 11 or 12.  I usually work another 2-3 at home, plus around 5-10 on weekends, depending if I have a stack of essays to read and grade.  I work a minimum of 50 hours a week, ad 70+ weeks are not unusual.

          Please, find a different way of expressing the fact that we are paid only for 10 months.  We surely are not part time during that period.

          As far as the summers, teachers are required to continue their education to maintain their certification in most states.  Now that I am over 62 I am no longer required to, but I am already at the highest certificate MD has - Advanced Professional Certificate II - with an expiration date still several years ahead, and I am 64.  In most cases teachers have to pay for the courses/workshops etc. needed to maintain certification.

          I know how hard it is to continue your education while teaching.  I did 9 doctoral credits at a time while teaching 6 classes, usually with over 175 students, occasionally with close to 200.  Fortunately we do not have children of our own, or else I either would have shirked family responsibilities or not been able to give as much to my teaching career.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:19:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Engineers are paid to be trained (0+ / 0-)

          and the employer pays for the training and pays for the employee's time while training.

          For some reason, teachers are expected to pay for their own continuing education, both the cost of the units and to do all the work and learning on their own time.

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

          by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:28:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is where Charters world work. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        Charters enable many different schools with different schedules to be tried out.

        Some parents will like 6am-to-6pm, year round schools. Others will stick with The Little Red Schoolhouse.

        All families will be able to choose what works best for their particular kids.

        •  as an ordinary public school (0+ / 0-)

          We are free to do that as well, if we can pay for it.

          Our district is fortunate to have a partnership with a community center and a grant for the afterschool program that allows our kids to stay until 6pm, if their parents choose.

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

          by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:37:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would like to see summer be optional enrichment (0+ / 0-)

        time, where the mandatory aspect would be out, but every child has the opportunity to do something meaningful during that time.

        I'd love to see every child go to overnight camps in the woods/forest/mountains/beach. I'd like to see every child get to go to museums. I'd like every child to have the opportunity to do art and music. I'd like every child to have a chance to do sports, gardening, to travel.

        What terrifies me about some of the approaches I see to schooling (KIPP would be one) is the idea that every child needs to do exactly the same stuff as every other child in that grade, from 8am to 5pm. Kids need time for hobbies and avocation and self-directed exploration. Some kids like horses and some kids like rockets. We need to allow them a way to spend time in ways that they find meaningful, while respecting that children will make different choices.

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

        by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:32:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  here you and I have strong agreement (0+ / 0-)

          somehow I wish I could get your comments on my diaries on education sooner, when far more people would see them.  I would notify you via email when I post on education except you do not have one in your user profile.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:10:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I completely support this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan, Desert Rose, princss6

      year round(school), 6 to 6 school with breakfast, lunch and dinner to help kids and parents out  help kids and parents out during your Great Recession

      , it is completely ridiculous that we run a century old school schedule developed when kids had to spend the summer working on the family farm.  We have the fewest school days and hours of any industrialized country.  .

      "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

      by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:48:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm for a longer school year too, (6+ / 0-)

        but teacher pay would have to increase proportionately.

        The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

        by Desert Rose on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:47:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  let me offer a caution (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan, wsexson, hulagirl, laurnj

          one of the nations that worries us is supposedly South Korea.  They have come to the conclusion that they need to SHORTEN the amount of total time students spend in schools.

          More time doing more of the same may very well have an adverse affect.  Longer time or more days of the same boring garbage is counter-productive to real learning.

          We do not use the time we have well.  We have been spending increasing amounts in testing and test prep, and that has been turning off kids.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:59:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Longer school days please parents. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6, HasdrubalMago

            Parents like longer school days because it helps with commute time.

            (The current school day was designed for families with one parent at home who wears an apron and bakes Betty Crocker cookies at 4PM when the kids get home).

            We need to decide: Should we do whats best for pure academic reasons? Or should the school do what's best for the whole family unit?

            This is another discussion, though.

            •  can provide the child care option (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, ManhattanMan

              without having to extend the teaching day. 12 hours is simply too long for most kids.  Keep the buildings open even longer, into the evening, with additional staff to tutor, run rec programs, keep the media center and computer labs open.  

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:20:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The school building... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lakehillsliberal

                ...is usually the most expensive building in a community (except when there is a prison or a stadium).

                It is also the last one to open in the morning and the first one to close in the afternoon. School buildings should be open all night, providing services to the community.

                •  My school has some kind of activity (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, ManhattanMan

                  going on almost every night. Our facilities have to be reserved months, several months in advance. We are a comprehensive high school that offers opportunities for students in debate, theater, academic competitions, athletics, and the visual and performing arts. I arrive on campus around 6:15 in the morning, The building is open. There are students waiting for breakfast or zero period in the commons. Zero period starts at 7 and the library opens at 7 AM. Teachers are in their rooms getting set up for the day, offering tutorials, or retakes or make-ups. We are not open all night. But the custodial staff is there cleaning until around 11 or so.

                •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ManhattanMan

                  Plus, I think it is great for parents to see where their kids spend their days. Schools used as community centers will not be dilapidated without parents seeing the conditions first hand and having the opportunity to act.

                  Why shouldn't the computer lab be available for evening classes for adults?

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

                  by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:51:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Korea cutting back from 12 hr instructional day. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lakehillsliberal, princss6

            A completely different topic as Korean schools were doing 12 hour instructional days which is too much for kids, too much for any adult really.

            Idea of 12 hour, year round school is to provide an education focused support for kids in addition to the 6-8 hr instructional class time.

            Additionally, year round school keeps kids from falling back academically and a way for kids with problems to catch up and keep up.

        •  I could get behind increasing our commitment (0+ / 0-)

          to students and their learning by providing a variety of opportunities that they could experience outside the school house. In order to make these experiences most effective, districts would need to hire additional staff to facilitate these experiences. Transportation would also need to be provided. I teach in a high school and I have students that have never been on ONE field trip. I think adding additional "seat-time" requirements would not be the most effective way to enhance learning opportunities for students. By the time the end of May gets here, I am pretty much exhausted. Adding to teacher work loads, which in most cases are already unrealistic, would be a bad idea.

          •  Woulnd't it be less exhausting if you could spent (0+ / 0-)

            more time teaching and less time cramming.  I would think teachers would want the continuity so they didn't have to spend the first six weeks of every year trying to get kids back in sync.    

            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

            by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:04:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would not characterize my efforts in the (0+ / 0-)

              classroom as "cramming". Actually the first six weeks are not filled with getting the kids in sync. The kids are pretty fresh and so is the faculty. I would like students to have experiences outside the classroom that could enhance or clarify what happens inside the classroom. Internships or other experiences that provide students with real world applications would be worthwhile.

              •  I thought the knock on NCLB was that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                princss6

                teachers only had time in the current school calendar to teach to the  test(I call this cramming) and did not have time for anything truly innovative or creative.  So which is it...

                "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                by lakehillsliberal on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 02:32:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I use creative strategies in the classroom (0+ / 0-)

                  and I try to be as innovative as possible. Currently, I am trying to find more ways for students to use their cell phones to accomplish our learning goals.

                  In the lead up to our state mandated tests I review. I try to use creative ways to review them. Last year the "testing season" started in April and pretty much continued without relent for the rest of the year. We had one week of state accountability testing, followed by two weeks of end of course testing. We piloted or field tested the end of course tests that will eventually replace our current test. After that two weeks of turning the schedule UPSIDE down to administer electronic versions of the test to all of the students involved (we do not have enough computers to accommodate all of those tests so they had to modify the schedule) we started AP testing. Then I think we had one normal week followed by "dead week" in preparation for final exams. I would argue that the problem is not so much too few school days but too many test days. I did not include the days we spent with PSAT and the Stanford test. This gets the kids out of sync...all the testing. I think they get test weary. I get test weary.

                  •  Dictionary definitions (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cassidy3

                    that my daughter found dreary and painful were suddenly fun when I showed her that there's a dictionary app for my iPhone...

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

                    by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:47:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  They are talking about all computer tests by 2014 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cassidy3

                    I hope to hell someone believes that means that there will be funding for every school to have enough computers so that crazy juggling as you describe will not be necessary.

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

                    by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:49:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  we are already doing all mandatory state tests (0+ / 0-)

                      on computers.  We can do that because they are less than half a day.

                      I don't see that happening with SAT - we had over 500 in our site this month, and even if all the computers in the fixed labs were working, we have less than 200 computers.  We also have a number of mobile labs, but that would represent security issues, since many of the administrators/proctors are not faculty in our building and are not trained to use them.

                      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                      by teacherken on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:12:19 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Silly question but why don't you let kids that (0+ / 0-)

                        have their own laptops, use them?  

                        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                        by lakehillsliberal on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 08:41:24 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  not allowed to connect to school network (0+ / 0-)

                          which then makes them all but useless for many class purposes.

                          You certainly could not administer a state test on a computer that was not on a secure network.

                          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                          by teacherken on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:41:53 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I get that you must be hooked to a secure network (0+ / 0-)

                            but why wouldn't you allow them accounts and access(even on their own laptops) to certain area's of the school network for testing or learning modules, for homework  and setting up class communities.  Are they waiting for the 22nd century to make this available.

                            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                            by lakehillsliberal on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:35:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  because of real concern about viruses (0+ / 0-)

                            so the technical people tell us

                            besides, they would be idiots to allow the school system to put all the security software on their computers.  The security suite sucks, kills response time, and worse.

                            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                            by teacherken on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:12:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wow...that puts schools in a real bind because (0+ / 0-)

                            it makes the investment in hardware very expensive which delays schools fully coming into the 21st century in their methods.  It does clarify why schools don't use more technology.

                            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                            by lakehillsliberal on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 06:50:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  The Fort Ross trip was amazing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lakehillsliberal

                I went as a parent chaperone, and I saw all the kids grow up tremendously on just the one overnight. Pieces of the adventure were woven throughout the curriculum for months before the trip.

                Fort Ross was established as a Russian outpost, to feed their colonies in Alaska and to facilitate trade with the Spanish and the Americans. Our kids got to live there overnight, just as one of the people who were part of the fort community would. No electricity, cooking over an open fire, doing the duties the community members would do. Period clothing. They learned to make rope and to patrol and worked in the garden and prepared meals and the like. They wrote journals in their Russian identity. They learned to identify plants found in the region. The teacher had been using Kopecks as the classroom currency, and they learned Russian crafts. They got a smattering of Russian words. They read the journals of the real people whose identities they were assuming.

                Oh, and perhaps best of all, they got to fire a cannon!

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

                by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:46:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  One of the things I love about my district (0+ / 0-)

            is that we take the kids on really great field trips. It is a Title 1 school, and sometimes kids see the ocean for the very first time on one of our trips.

            The 4th graders go overnight for a living history field trip at Fort Ross on the Sonoma coast. The Jr. High kids do outdoor education in Yosemite.

            Fundraising is a challenge. But, so far, the classes have managed to make it work.

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

            by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:40:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I am not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BMarshall, laurnj

          A longer school year would be a large waste of money due to the law of diminishing returns. The reason suburban/affluent students gain major ground on their impoverished/urban/rural peers over the summer is that they have access to context building activities such as summer camps and family trips to places like art museums, national parks, etc. More time in school really serves no student well. Take the money that would have to be added to my salary and send these kids to a museum.

      •  That schedule isn't wrong (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassidy3, CParis, m00finsan, laurnj

        I find that the current school schedule works well enough.  (Outside of a 9:30 – 4:15 being better for the teen HS brain than the current 7:30-2:15 time frame)  If you factor out for poverty, our students perform at the top internationally.  Take the money that would be used for longer school and put it into the community to alleviate the non-school factors that lower school achievement.

    •  I like most of your idea... (5+ / 0-)

      ...except for the "6 to 6" part.

      6am is far too early to start school at any level. It would lead to major problems as students wouldn't get the sleep their bodies and minds need to recharge.

      I'm of the opinion that even today's school start times - sometimes as early as 7am for high schoolers - are way too early, and detract from learning as they provide teachers with a room full of zombies for at least the first few hours of instruction.

      I'd like to see school days start at 8-9am, and go to 6-7pm, just like a full-time job. That extra time could be used for extra instruction (for remedial students) or for enrichment, athletic, and creative things (for students who are already at grade level), as well as to provide "down time" and study halls so that the students have some enforced study rather than just going home to hit the xBox.

      What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

      by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:16:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think idea is to have buildings available (8+ / 0-)

        with access to library, gymnasium, computer labs.  Food.  Tutors.   Use the school building possibly as a center to begin providing wrap-around services.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:22:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is virtually impossiblr (0+ / 0-)

          To get after hours programming in schools.  Principals don't want it - can't control the programming, think there is liability, don't want non-employees in the building.  And if you get a sympathetic principal, they will get moved in a few years and you have to start over.  Assuming funding hasnt been cut before.  It's a pipe dream.  

          •  It's a solvable problem (0+ / 0-)

            If principals are told that this is an appropriate use of the school, then they will do it. If they feel they would be a maverick to allow it, then they will be less likely to say yes, let alone initiate.

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

            by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:53:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  School availalble. Class starts 8A as normal. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        It is not that school starts at 6A, it's that parents who need to be at work at 7A can drop their kids off at a safe place. Kid can nap, eat breakfast, work on homework, get help with school work. And when class starts at 8A, kid is already at school and ready to go.

        It's an as needed basis. It would quickly become apparent what percentage of kids and families needed it. Same for the 6PM aspect.  Some schools might see 90% of the kids needing a place 6A-6PM. Others 5%.

        "I'd like to see school days start at 8-9am, and go to 6-7pm"

        Too long especially for elementary school.  A lot of high schools now start at 9:30A because teenagers need 10-12 hours of sleep though once up they can go longer.

        Idea of 12 hour school day is not class room instruction but support such as food, safe place, homework help.

        •  That's my thought too. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, HasdrubalMago

          We should have a 12-hour school day, but that packs what we now call "extracurricular" activities - drama, band/choir, art, sports, volunteering, service, etc. - into the school day, so that they're accessible to more students.

          It would also include ample supervised study time, without the distractions of the TV or X-Box. When you let them go home, they're not going to do anything constructive with their time; they'll just piss it away on video games or Facebook. Put them in an environment where they don't have video games or TV and force them to take advantage of opportunities to use their time creatively and constructively, through participation in extracurriculars. Also give them plenty of time with someone telling them to keep hitting the books and who's able to give them constructive help with their studies - because oftentimes their parents often don't have the time, energy, or education to do it.

          What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

          by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:20:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As much as I agree (3+ / 0-)

    with everything you say, the only way for us to get quality education for everyone is to have a liberal house and senate sufficient to end debate and vote on progressive policies. This seems out of the realm of possibility.

    •  simple majority can change Senate rules (9+ / 0-)

      although that means we need at least 52-53 in caucus, since Ben Nelson and Lieberman would vote against changing filibuster, and Landrieu might as well.

      IF Dems hold House, it would be possible for Obama to move a positive education agenda.  However, right now the House Democratic caucus is hostile to both the administration and the Senate because of the number of hard votes they took upon which the Senate never acted.

      That it might be very hard to achieve is not a reason not to try, to move the needle as much toward the left (which in this case still means only back to the center) as possible.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:08:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish the DEMs would frickin' campaign on this. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m00finsan, laurnj
      •  I thought it took 67 votes to change the rules (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akeitz, laurnj

        I could be wrong. My daughter tells me "Dad Nobody is Perfect." But I think changing the rules to cut off debate at a lower number requires 67 votes. Just having a sixty seat majority got us nowhere in the first year of the congress. I don't see any chance of a meaningful public school bill.

        I fear that Company X wants charter schools to teach low income individuals just enough so that they are only employable in Company X plants. I can envision a company created slum around the Company X plant to house the poorly educated workforce they created. And right in the middle is their Charter School. Then they can pull back work assigned to South East Asia to work in this plant. Since they can demand that salaries are the same they will save money on transportation costs. You see I see no benevolence in American Industry only greed and an eye on the bottom line. And they will have an MBA backing them up with some simple calculation of a cost vs productivity ratio.

        •  67 votes mid-session. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akeitz, Jimdotz, m00finsan

          50+1 at the beginning of a new Congress.

          What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

          by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:45:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Be careful what you wish for. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jimdotz

            Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

            by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:01:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  At this point, the nation is dying... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ManhattanMan

              we have to take the risk of ending the filibuster as a permanent bill-killer.

              Personally, I like the idea of requiring 60 votes at first, then 57 a month later, then 54 a month later, then finally 51 votes a month later.
              That gives a large minority three months to make their case loud and clear that the bill they want to stop despite the will of the majority really does deserve to be stopped, but then at that point, the majority rules as it should.

              Our position is tax cuts for the middle class, theirs is tax cuts for millionaires, Stupid.

              by Jimdotz on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:04:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I'd go a step further... (5+ / 0-)

        ...to suggest that if the Republicans take the House, education (ESEA Reauth) might be the only thing President Obama can get through Congress next year.

        (a) I think the Republicans still won't have the huevos to abolish the Department of Education. There will be in-caucus support from the crazies, but purple-district and suburban Republicans, worried about a turnout surge in 2012 with President Obama's reelection, won't go along as it would be too easy to paint them as anti-education.

        (b) President Obama and no-classroom-experience EdSec Duncan are, shamefully, very much in line with a mainline Republican Party stance on education, with their love of union-breaking and their desire to privatize. They'll find a lot of allies in the Republican Party for their education agenda.

        Holding Congress is essential to slowing or halting the wave of privatization and union-breaking. We need to get to work.

        What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

        by mistersite on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:44:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And Mr. Obey (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        laurnj

        When David Obey made an attempt to keep teachers off of the street using Race to the Top money, Obama and Duncan just about lost their minds. Not my favorite day as part of my typical support for Obama.

        •  Obey was very unhappy with the veto threat (0+ / 0-)

          I really wish I could repeat word for word what I heard him say.

          Remember, his proposal was heavily backed by the House Democratic Caucus -  Pelosi, Hoyer, and George Miller all supported it.

          I will also tell you that the Dems on Miller's committee, especially the senior members, do not trust Duncan -  listen to the questions and statements any time he appears before the committee:  they ain't friendly.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:23:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Race to the Bottom is a liberal agenda. (0+ / 0-)

      Having a liberal congress does not seem to guarantee anything.

  •  I am currently working on a teaching degree (12+ / 0-)

    (at age 46!)and am very concerned about the future of our education system. I attended primary and secondary schools in California in the 60s and 70s. I got a good public school education. My children had a less positive educational experience in the midwest in the 90s. Public education can and does work, but am afraid that the American penchant for shiny new objects will take us back to a time when, as my hsuband puts it, "there are only steerage and first class passengers."

    Thank you four your intelligent (and wise) reporting and commentary on this important issue.

    Economic: -8.00, Social: -6.92 "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

    by snpsmom on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:04:43 AM PDT

    •  glad to be of service to you (6+ / 0-)

      and thank you for being willing to be of service to others.

      I was born in 1946.  In 1994 I quit my job to get my MAT and become a fulltime teacher.  Thus we made that choice at approximately the same age, being willing to give back some of what we received.

      I too greatly benefited from public schools, in my case in Westchester County in NY, graduating from Mamaroneck High School in 1963, with over 80% of my class going directly to post-secondary education.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:11:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My housemate also was educated in CA in the 60's (0+ / 0-)
      - evidently very advanced programming.

    •  My wife went back to school in 2004 at the age of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      38 to get her teaching degree. She got her license in 2006 and landed a job at a private school teaching all subjects in a 5th grade class. She had prior experience working for an excellent curriculum coordinator for 5 years. The following year she landed a part-time job in  a public school system and land a full time 5th grade position the next year.

      She is great at what she does and at 45 has a good number of job, life , and parental experiences, in her resume that she brings to job. She brings the enthusiasm of a "new' teacher to class everyday.

      She survived a recalled layoff last year and should hit a tenure point his year that takes her off the low seniority hit-list next year. She loves what she does.

      Having worked on both side of the fence she understands and gets along with the administration. Though neither of us had worked for, or were ardent supporter of unions, I think we have come to the conclusion that teachers would get eaten alive without them. There a very few job where your appointment salary and job safety resides in the hands of less then perfect politicians, and possibly an angry mob, who have their own agenda.

      She never would have landed a teaching job in the district we live in due to blatant cronyism. There are some uniquely unfair things about the profession from the employment side, both in landing a teaching job, and in keeping it. My wife has a deep and varied employment resume. It think it was that background that landed her a position so quickly after graduation.

      I'm not a teacher but I thing Duncan's ed reform ideas are terrible. Our state government climbed onboard with it and passed a related bill. In the back-drop we have Charter schools "gems" like these two.

      On the western end of the state, a charter school in Springfield was caught cheating on the application of our standardized tests, MCAS.
      http://www.masslive.com/...

      On the other end of the state a charter school in Gloucester, that has under gone a shady review process where "education department workers shredded documents to cover for procedural irregularities" was recently allowed to open despite not meeting a number of regulation and requirements.

      The town, both government and citizens have been against he building of this school. Town officials estimated it would siphon off $2.4 million dollars out of their public school budget

      http://www.gloucestertimes.com/...

      http://wbztv.com/...

      The state now has applications for 24 more of these.

    •  good for you!!! (0+ / 0-)

      For continuing your education and choosing to earn a degree in education!

  •  Another great diary! You hit the nail on the head (9+ / 0-)

    and I will pass this on to as many people as I can to educate people about what is really happening to PUBLIC education.

    Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

    by 50sbaby on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:04:53 AM PDT

  •  This in particular (14+ / 0-)
    1. The teaching of labor history and other aspects of history which present a full view of the economic, social, and political history of the U.S.

    is something the conservatives want to avoid at all costs. After all, if kids find out how things were in the world of work before organized labor, they might not buy into the constant demonization of unions brought to us by the corporate media. They might even want to join a union later in life.

    Virtually nothing concerning labor history is taught in most schools anyway, so they're almost there on that goal.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:09:19 AM PDT

    •  which is why we have to push back (14+ / 0-)

      reminding people of the following

      8-hour day

      5 day week

      paid vacations

      paid holidays

      overtime pay

      retirement pay

      medical insurance

      unemployment insurance

      just a few of things we owe to the union movement that most people take for granted, many of which conservatives would like to abolish.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:13:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I Use This Reasoning with Anti-Union People (14+ / 0-)

        They, unfailing, respond with, "That was then.  Unions have outlived their usefulness."  

        These idiots are so stupid, they have been brainwashed into the corporatist thought-process of wanting to take away all of the benefits that unions have rather than asking why they don't have those benefits themselves.  They complain that unions won't take pay decreases or pay for their health insurance, instead of asking why corporate CEOs are making more while workers are making less.  Correspondingly, they don't question why health insurers are growing their profits by triple digits, but instead ask why workers won't pay more for their health care.  

        Excellent diary, BTW.

        •  A union (8+ / 0-)

          can be like any other organization - good or terrible, it really depends on the exact circumstances.

          The local branch of the textile workers union that I used to be in back in the 90's was a mixed bag, kind of the opposite of what I expected - the local union stewards were inevitably in bed with management, spending most of their time kissing the supervisors ass and doing NOTHING to represent workers, while the regional people ( who I had to call in to defend me - I rejected the "help" of the local steward) were outstanding.)

          Just having the word "Union" doesn't automatically equate to "good organization" - EVERYBODY need to have accountability, or corruption flourishes.

          This is what chump Change looks like.

          by Wamsutta on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:05:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Corruption Flourishes in Politics with No Union (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happy camper, laurnj

            Corruption flourishes in business and most of those jobs are non-union.  

            Unions have done much more good than bad.  I'm sick up hearing the word corruption tied to unions.  It's a right-wind meme.

            •  It's easy to dismiss it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              princss6, laurnj

              as a right-wing meme, but that doesn't change the reality that any organization is susceptible to corruption, especially in cases where it is assumed that the people running the show are immune from such. I witnessed it first hand.

              Having said that, I would agree that we are far better off with the progress unions have made - that's pretty obvious.

              This is what chump Change looks like.

              by Wamsutta on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:34:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Tell them... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken, angstall, laurnj

          ...that Corporations have "outlived their usefulness".

          Tell them, "We needed big corporations back when people needed to raise money to build giant steel mills. But since Small Businesses are So Friggin' Important(TM), lets abolish limited liability and make shareholders pay out-of-pocket to clean up oil spills."

          See how far that one goes, lol.

  •  We need a PR campaign (6+ / 0-)

    Seriously.

    The only way the average joe is going to pay attention is if we get them where they spend most of their attention and time ...watching TV.

    Why not get the unions together and crank out a few commercials? It might at least get people thinking about the teachers' and unions' side of things instead of just attack, attack, attack.

    Its time for educators to take back the narrative and put focus where it really belongs -- what actually works in our schools and how to get more of that. Instead of the attack on teachers and misinformation that's going on currently.

  •  Very Distressing (5+ / 0-)

    To see the nasty, negative turn that discussions about education policy have taken.  From the TV news, one would understand that teachers are willfully sabotaging the education system out of spite.

    Only one thing can save us, we are told -- breaking the teachers' unions.

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:26:37 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, TK. As I have said many times (7+ / 0-)

    before, all three of my kids, the youngest of whom graduated in June, received an excellent public education from unionized teachers in our local public schools here in NJ. Teaching US history and government is an important part of NJ public school curriculum, as it was in NY when I was in public high school back in the 1960s.

  •  Now it is time for us to reciprocate (15+ / 0-)

    As president of an NEA local affiliate, I strongly support cross fertilization with unions outside my sector.  NEA, confident in its own strength, too often hangs other labor groups out to dry.  My own members fail to support my efforts at mutual assistance.  Amazingly, I've been told, "we're not workers!"

    This statement is so forward looking.  We need to find ways to mobilize teachers and ESP's in the service of other workers.  Strategically, this also pushes problems away from us.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller famously said:

    They came first for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    This is true today in the labor movement as they are coming for public sector employees, really the last group to remain organized in significant ways.

    •  Too often we get hung out to dry (10+ / 0-)

      by fellow teachers - in Colorado, our state NEA affiliate has been losing ground in these battles, to my mind because we've taken wishy-washy, go-along-to-get-along stances on some pretty critical threats to the profession.  During a fight over a controversial "tenure" bill earlier this year, the (much smaller) state AFT affiliate screwed us all by announcing its support of the bill at an important juncture, which gave the "reformers" the imprimatur of "union support."  Those of us who opposed the measure were then tarred as "favoring the status quo" and all manner of other absurdities, while the AFT leadership basked in its newfound role as the reformist's obedient pet union.

      Did we know this was coming because of close coordination between affected organized labor unions?  No.  Did we retaliate by launching a membership drive in their areas?  No.  Did we isolate and polarize, the way Alinsky instructs us to do, instead of cowering in fear at the friction caused by conflict?  No - instead, we "reached out" to try to "come to a consensus."  

      Those are going to be the epithet on the tombstone of organized labor if we're not careful.  It's good to see that an electrical worker's union recognizes that, and the saddest of pities that so many teachers don't.

      The historian's one task is to tell the thing as it happened. -- Lucian of Samosata

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:15:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and to think you still didn't get RttT $$! (7+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately Maryland did, in large part because at the last minute my local, Prince George's County Education Association (2nd largest local in state - largest is Montgomery which rejected supporting state's RttT application) signed on.

        I have been asked to serve on a task force examining the implementation of tying teacher compensation to student test scores.  I was told in no uncertain terms that this is no longer debatable.  As it happens, I think it probable the local's president will reject me, because he knows how strongly I opposed this, and that I know the research that argues against it.  We'll see what happens here.

        What I do know is that recent events nationally with teachers under attack and problems in our own district have fueled a real resurgence of interest in the union, and from some of the most outstanding teachers in the building.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out.   In the meantime we have problems with our local's leadership not advocating the way some of us believe needs to be done, and as we have been told by several of the board members.  We will have to wait until after Nov 2 to see what the new board will look like.  

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:21:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Talk about "strings attached!" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MediaFreeze, teacherken, laurnj

          I'm still not sure if losing out on Race to the Trough will be a blessing or a curse, since it's got strong elements of both.  On the plus side, there's not having to deal with the politics of implementation that you're describing, but on the downside, we're now stuck with this turd of a law and not a dime to either show or pay for it.

          One thing the good guys managed to get written into the bill was a strengthening of a task force on teacher effectiveness empaneled by the governor last year.  That task force is supposed to come up with the implementation measures that'll be submitted to the legislature in accordance with the law's ridiculously close timelines, and there are a couple of teachers who sit on it.  I know one of them (not well, but we served on the state board of directors together a few years ago); let's talk over e-mail if you think coordination between you and she might be helpful.

          Local issues...ugh, don't me started.  We're being held hostage by a mill levy - the flush-with-cash but financially irresponsible District has said it will give us steps and 1% next year if we pass a $20 million tax increase.  For a lot of us, the raise is underwater with regards to the hike in property taxes, but rather than take a stand against the absurdity of it all - use this issue to prove our point that it's about the way the District spends the money, not where or not there's enough - our leadership has taken a "no recommendation" response.  They don't want to "damage relations" with a school board that already believes that it works for the superintendent, is how the thinking goes.  Nothing long-range or strategic about it - man, it makes feel like Cassandra sometimes.

          The historian's one task is to tell the thing as it happened. -- Lucian of Samosata

          by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:21:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I totally agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Daddy Bartholomew

    I'm also pretty sure that there's zero chance of it happening when the economy's in a decline.  Not in our Darwinian economy.

  •  Thank you TeacherKen for all your great diaries! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wamsutta, laurnj

    Once again another stellar discussion on education.  Children are our future.  We need to provide each and every child a quality education via a healthy thriving public school system.  It's far cheaper to do so then to incarcerate them!!!!!

  •  Those points promote unrealistic spending (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    princss6

    levels and union protectionism.

    The words "student" or "children" were used exactly five times.   Tells me all I need to know.  

    Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

    by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:00:28 AM PDT

    •  you know what? You are a useful idiot (7+ / 0-)

      for those on the right who want to dismantle public institutions and turn to social Darwinism for most of the people while they have government subsidies for their corporations and interests.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:04:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I am just friends with several of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        96 custodians, 3 music teachers, 2 trainers and 12 coaches who lost their jobs in my school district this year because the teachers wouldn't agree to accept a lower pay raise over their next contract in order to preserve their jobs.  

        Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

        by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:18:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Spam, in my district, the teachers agreed to (9+ / 0-)

          a pay cut, and the jobs were lost anyway. When I heard about that, I was glad that my youngest graduated in June. My kids were involved in just the sort of activities that are targets for cuts--string orchestra, art, the AP programs, Latin...

          •  In my district, kids have to pay $200 to play (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue jersey mom, princss6

            any sport.  For some kids, that's all they have.   I am sorry if I come off as a jerk on this issue, but it really gets me going when someone puts money in their own pocket ahead of the kids or their colleagues.  

            In NJ, even where some locals wanted to agree to accept a lower raise, or forego one for a year, the NJEA absolutely forbade it, until it was tool late in my district.  Some really good young teachers got RIF'ed because the older ones wouldn't agree to some concessions.    

            "I got mine"   Feh!

            Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

            by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:33:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Our district has activity fees as well, although (7+ / 0-)

              they are not as high as yours. In my view, public education should be free. Kids should not have to pay for activities. They are a critical part of our education. Devious Pie was part of a wonderful production of Twelfth Night as a junior. the play was co-directed by one of the English Teachers and a professional from McCarter. Kids need these opportunities just as much as they need trig and chemistry.

        •  Pay cuts (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akeitz, Ammo Hauler, CParis, m00finsan

              Why should anybody take a pay cut or be laid off? This is why federal and state level of funding of education based on income taxes is essential. If we stopped wasting trillions on 2 endless war efforts, subsidies to multi-national corporate arga-business, stupidly low capital gains taxes, and extension of tax cuts to billionaires, we’d have MORE than enough money for every school.  
              Secondarily, you need to educate yourself about the endless class war going on in this country. You are feeding directly into the feud between middle and working class people fighting for a smaller slice of the pie started by Reganite economic policies in the 80s.

          •  In NJ, except for Federal and State aid, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue jersey mom, princss6

            all public education is funded by local property taxes.   70% of every municipal tax dollar that we pay goes to education.   I don't begrudge our BOE a dime, for the most part.   The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with how well public education gets funded in the individual states.

            If we stopped wasting trillions on 2 endless war efforts, subsidies to multi-national corporate arga-business, stupidly low capital gains taxes, and extension of tax cuts to billionaires, we’d have MORE than enough money for every school.  

            NJ cut state this year.  Thus, without making cuts or concessions, staff had to be laid off.

            Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

            by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:08:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Right on, Ken. We all know that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpamNunn, m00finsan, Mostel26

        the more that is spent on public education, the better the outcomes.  Years ago before teachers unions and when per-student funding was lower, public schools were just horrendous.  Now that things are better with teachers unions, all that is needed is more funding.  With our public schools today so much superior to private schools and unionized public school teachers so much more proficient than non-union private school teachers, the only reason any parent would want to send their kids to private schools would be for them to learn creationism instead of evolution.

      •  Children. This is called an ad hominem attack (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        It's used when you can't argue the issues rationally.   You will be tested on this.  

        Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. - FDR

        by SpamNunn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:36:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just for the record, while I agree with (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, SpamNunn, princss6

        you on many things, TK, I really think that calling someone a useful idiot is inappropriate.

        •  sorry, but in this case (0+ / 0-)

          the repetition of right wing talking points allows him to be used that way by the right wing, and I think it appropriate to point it out, especially when over a number of educational diaries we have had a pattern of refusing to listen to the responses people have offered.

          I understand you might not agree with me on this, but at times I find it necessary to draw some lines.  You might prefer a different way of saying it.

          When the comments are open to constructive dialog, I engage appropriately, as I have done with a number of the comments from spam nunn since then.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:27:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "Union protectionism" (0+ / 0-)

      ummmm... isn't protection what a union is all about?

  •  Forget safety net spending-- (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, laurnj, Mostel26

    If we took all that money from wars and put it into public education, what kind of difference would we make?

    I don't know, but we would at least have laid the foundation for schools to follow through.

    "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 Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:01:47 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary (5+ / 0-)

    Keep up the outstanding work, Ken - we need you.

    This is what chump Change looks like.

    by Wamsutta on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:07:35 AM PDT

    •  thanks for kind words (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan, cassidy3, Kharafina, m00finsan

      I do what I can, within the limits of the time and energy I need for my responsibilities as husband and as teacher.  I consider my writing an important part of my political participation.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:14:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Public Ed Should Teach the Oneness of Humanity (0+ / 0-)

    Hopefully, going forward in the future, there should be in each public school mandatory education on the Oneness of Humanity and the Soul within man, which is a ray of divinity from the One Creator.  Children -- youth -- should be taught how to contact their soul, how to expand their soul light and wisdom.  This simple act will do much to dispell the illusion of separateness, the cause of wars and do away with greed and selfishness.  

  •  outstanding brilliant post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26

    thank you for finding it

    •  you give me too much credit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan

      I didn't find it.  Someone else posted it to a list in which I participate.  Otherwise I would probably still be totally unaware of it.

      All I have done is taken advantage of the megaphone of this site to make it a bit more visible.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:24:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  is it possible (0+ / 0-)

        to get this onto huffingtonpost?

        •  I am allowed two posts a week (0+ / 0-)

          but they are supposed to be 700-1000 words long.  This is longer than that.

          In fairness, as of yet I do not have a huge following at Huff Post.  I am not "featured."   This being on the rec list here for a while, and people using the share features, will make it more visible than it would be at Huff Post.

          Maybe eventually HP will give me more visibility.  So far that has not happened.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:36:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think Arianna gets it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MediaFreeze, maracucho

                 Looks like she's waiting for superman.

            •  that's a separate issue (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              slinkerwink, cassidy3, Azazello

              she does not micro-manage the blog.  I am one of a number of new people blogging on the education page.   It is up to each of us to develop our own following, just as it works here.  

              I've been here for more than six years.  To most regulars I am a known commodity.  I think it is fair to say that I am the one who elevated education to a topic that is discussed with regularity:  at one point I was the only person writing about it with regularity, but that goes back to when this site had only 20-30,000 registered users  (my own id is in the mid 4-digit range, exactly one before slinkerwink).

              Maybe it will happen.  Maybe it won't.

              And unlike some other important online voices about education, it is not the only subject about which I write.

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:46:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Education is one of my issues as well. (0+ / 0-)

                You attracted my attention when I first signed up here. What I meant about HuffPo is that your message will not be consistent with their FP. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
                Good luck, keep at it.

                •  they do have a range of voices (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MediaFreeze, slinkerwink, Azazello

                  on quite a few subjects.

                  "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                  by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:01:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That is true... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Azazello

                    ...but you do have to admit that on this issue HuffPo has pretty much adopted the Waiting For Superman narrative.  It would be wonderful for you to get this message up there so that people would have the opportunity to hear this side of this very important conversation.

                    When I talk to friends of mine who do not follow the education issue closely, they are surprised that there are even opposing views to this slickly packaged propaganda. When they go to Huffington Post they see Waiting For Superman...Oprah...Charter Schools...Good... Teachers...Unions...Bad. This is how public opinion is generated. For Huffington Post to promote this nonsense is a bigger problem because of the idealogical space that they are associated with.

  •  Excellent. I will distribute this widely. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    "People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy," Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins.

    by kck on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:34:24 AM PDT

  •  Tpped and Recommended (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, laurnj

    Thanks for another thoughtful diary, teacherken.

    The Rethugs want an electorate that cannot think, that is trained only to perform the menial tasks they require be done for them.  One that will vote the way they are told to vote by the teeeveee.

    That they promote rote education (teaching to a test) is unsurprising - this will produce the electorate they seek.

    I have been both a teacher and a student in what I see as two distinct forms of education.  The traditional Eurpean and the (rapidly disappearing) American.  In the former, rote skills are valued very highly and advancement to the next grade (or form in the British system in which I taught) is based on a standardized test score.  Curiosity is not engendered in such a system.

    By contrast, in the American system I experienced as a student (decades ago, I was born in 1953), students were encouraged to question everything.  The question 'why?' was thrown out to the students continually.

    I think the reasons that the transistor was invented in the United States is very clear.  I think the education system that provided those reasons is eroding - perhaps it is entirely gone.

  •  Thank you teacherken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, Azazello

    for keeping the subject going. I fear for our children because I see public education going the way of healthcare.  The libertarian mentality of I only care about my kids, my family runs strong when it comes to these things.
    I saw the profit motive for health care becoming an issue back in the 80s.  As a person with a chronic illness requiring medication and testing yearly, I was up close and personal to what was happening.  Luckily I was employed in a district with a union and with health care.  By 1990 I knew I would retire here, despite wanting to move back east, because I feared the possibility of not being able to get a job and then KNOWING I would not get health care.  

    The people most punished by the trend toward for profit health care to make the managers of health care millionaires were/are sick people who need health care the most.  The students who will be most punished by for profit education will be those students who need education the most (we all need it for sure, as we do health care but let's be honest, students from families who already value education and/or have money will still get the benefits of parents who will make sure to fill in what is missing in school.  Already, as they cut field trips from poor performing districts, cut the arts, cut those things that enhance life, it is the students whose parents who did not take them to the museum or can afford to give them music or are lessons who lose the most).

    Anyway, I am stunned at how so many who call themselves progressive, who I thought understood the importance of the common good for all, cannot see thru this scam of scapegoating teachers' unions in the effort to make education for profit.

  •  We need to hold up Blackwater as the "private" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, laurnj

    in tis. You want good public schools, or do you want schools run by Blackwater?

  •  We MUST ATTACK Privateer Lying Scum Cuz (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ivan

    all they're pushing is the equivelent of Blackwater for your schools -

    lots and lots and lots of 6 figure parasites running "not for profits".

    +++++

    About all the Democrats on the side of Arne Duncan and his f'king lies blaming teachers -

    to all out there,

    there are things we disagree on, and we'll have to just agree to disagree.

    there is something we disagree on, AND, it hurts me, AND you're on the wrong side.

    there are things we disagree on, AND, they hurt me, AND you're on the wrong side.

    there are too many times you've screwed my, AND now you're a piece of shit like Arne or Rahm or Geithner or AHIP execs.

    My Perspective on Waiting For Stuporman  
    by seabos84 [Subscribe] [Edit Diary]
    Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 07:15:30 AM PDT

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    +++++
    +++++

    Two outstanding blogs in Seattle detailing the national Deform lies happening in Seattle.

    Each blog is run by local GREAT parent citizens, and, each blog REALLY addresses the national lies of Education Deform which are being dumped on Seattle.  

    Seattle Schools Community Blog
    http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/

    Seattle Education 2010
    http://seattleducation2010.wordpress...

    rmm.  

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 08:09:49 AM PDT

  •  You are on fire, teacherken!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justmy2

    This is great.  I was also unaware of this, but I will use it.  It could help to solidify and strong message against the anti-teacher and anti-union forces out there that whose stardardized testing and privatizing schemes are undermining education.  

    Imagine the for-profits promoting a curriculum that includes critical thinking about the rights of workers, and the history of labor organizing!  

  •  Thanks for the diary. (0+ / 0-)

    "There's so much there, Wolf, I don't know..." - Chris Coons 10/13/10

    by blueoregon on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:38:28 AM PDT

  •  If only money was the answer we increased (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    princss6

    funding for education:

    In adjusted dollars

    1961-62 $2,769
    1970-71  4,489
    1980-81  5,639
    1986-87  7,007
    1990-91  7,749
    1995-96  7,796
    1996-97  7,891
    1997-98  8,101
    1998-99  8,373
    1999-200 8,644
    2000-010 8,923
    2001-02  9,181
    2002-03  9,351
    2003-04  9,454
    2004-05  9,620
    2005-06  9,729

    http://nces.ed.gov/...
    2006-07 10,041

    Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

    What you  recommended is just a continuation of the status quo.  I have to comment on item 2 at the bottom "how would getting more unions help educating our children".

    •  CPI does not reflect (0+ / 0-)

      the true cost of living increases, particularly in health insurance and housing. It also excludes food and energy.

      In California this year, the Governator proposed fully funding the CPI adjustment for the first time. That is because it was a negative value, -0.27%.

      But the reality is that health insurance went up by 9%, and no expenses for anything else went down.

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

      by elfling on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 12:38:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your doing good work here (0+ / 0-)

    teacherken. It grieves me to see people of good spirit take disastrous and undemocratic stances about both labor and education. The privatization of what is public, civil, only increases the grip that corporatist's and their sponsors have on our country and it's institutions. Your a good teacher, thanks.  

  •  As a parent, I've looked at class size. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, proud2Bliberal

    I've got a son & a daughter. We've tried to keep them in schools in which the ration of teacher to student is as low as we can find. Class size is a very important issue for us.

    In preschool (up to age 5), the law says that you have to have one adult for every 8 kids, at least that's the case where we live. Yet, when kids get into elementary school there is no such law. So, if a child (age 6) is in a class of 30+ with only one adult to oversee the whole crowd then we say that's OK? No, it shouldn't be OK at all.

    Even the best teachers can be swamped, overwhelmed if he/she has to teach too many. Maybe some high schoolers & college students can sit in a giant class room and learn, but even then it is better to get to know the teacher (at least a bit) and it doesn't hurt if those in the institution know the student's name.

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

    by Otherday on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:57:15 AM PDT

    •  Education "experts" and their theories (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otherday

      The problem is: if something that siple is tried, then their pet theories will not be credited with saving education, and they can;t allow their pet treories to be trumped by a simple and obvious concept.  

      •  The Child requires more than just facts. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maracucho

        I've found that a more intimate classroom environment, one in which the group is small enough so that everyone gets the attention that they require, is best in producing happy, well adjusted people, not just information-packed students. The learning is better too, but the comfortable maturation going on is just as important.

        The kids get to know each other better. There's no place to hide, so it's easier to hold each one accountable for lessons and behavior. My kids don't feel like they're just "Student #32." What friendships they make tend to be deeper, not just periodic encounters with batches of people. At the end of the year they appear to really "know" the other humans that they've been learning along side of, and each gets that wonderful feeling: "I am somebody."

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

        by Otherday on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:19:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Teacherken good, union bombast futile (0+ / 0-)

    Your posts are always worth reading. However, this Union broadside is preachy and bombastic. Your own words are much better. When they say support the teaching of labor history and other aspects of history and ... support local labor education centers, they activate the buzz words (memes, collective unconscious) implanted in the minds of 2/3 of Southern and Western Americans. The sound bite thread is unions, pensions, feeding at the government tit- spreading out like an octopus. A subroutine is called - destructive union garbage-flush it away. This may be ridiculous to union members and to many liberals, but we are in the minority. Sixty percent of Americans favor the Roberts court rulings and are so worried about taxes that when they see privatization, they think – gets us off the tax hook, teach the union loafers a lesson and their minds shut down. Unless we expect to seize power like the Bolsheviks, we must recognize that the cultural tide is running against us and work to change the minds of "middle Americans" who aren’t union members.

    Kids must learn how anger and sound bites are used every day to control voters and sell worthless crap over the Internet. Humans have always been gullible and easily misled; the reduction of face to face discussions increases the opportunity for manipulation. The LA Times has an interesting article about how the small industrial towns of Los Angeles County have been repeatedly corrupted and public funds drained away by recall elections (cost money, install Stepford city councilmen) intentionally timed for minimum voter turnout, enabling town officials to steal and short change education and other public goods. Well, many Internet commenters said in effect what else do you expect from Latinos- Latinos and/or Obama caused all of our troubles today. Lots of angry white males who should worry about future job prospects for their children and electoral manipulation in their own cities and towns bellowing instead about taxes, unions & government waste. That story is at: Democracy as unicorn. The Chamber of Commerce and the corporations have skillfully used the memes of personal responsibility-stand on your own two feet- protect small business-cut taxes to play American voters like accordions. Union broadsides work only for the minority inside the tent.

    Finally I will tell you that I and many of my friends refuse to read or link to any HuffPo articles because of their strong antiscience, antivaccine drumbeat (Dana Ullman, Jenny McCarthy, etc).

  •  The exam culture (0+ / 0-)

    People should know what they will be getting if they let the ideas of Bill Gates dominate the education debate.

    It is in Gates' interest to claim that the American eduction system doesn't work.  His company, Microsoft, has 29,000 H1-B workers doing jobs like software development and testing while its home state has an unemployment rate of 8.9%.  With the University of Washington here and the University of California just a few hours south, they cannot honestly claim that an American talent pool is unavailable.  Nonetheless Microsoft executives and former executive continue to recite the "best and brightest" mantra.

    How are the "best and brightest" identified - by an exam culture.  The students from India have been raised in an exam culture in which they have vurtually had their lives taken from them in high school in college memoring large amounts of detail for exams.  Even in the US you hear parents stating that they wanted to fill their children's heads with technology.  

    This ethos has captured the Microsoft culture, as hiring is based on each interviewing given job cabdidates an exam consisting of all kids of arcane programming problems whether or not they are relevant to the job at hand.  Older workers have been out of school for several years and American workers generally do not see the point of having to memorize vast amounts of detail that can easily be found in the manual once the basic concepts are understood.
    In this context creativity and critical thinking are discarded and education becomes equivalent to memorization and following detailed instructions.  

    This is the definition of education that the corporate education prpponents want to project onto the public schools.  You don't hear them calling for an increase in art or music education.  You don;t hear any philosophy of producing well rounded individuals.  

    The policies of the hiring system that creates long term unemployment among Americans are the same policies being proposed for the public schools.  The HR policies of corporations, giving half the employees a negative review regardless of the quality of their work, are being proposed for teachers.  In the corporation the result is that half of the workers in private industry have false statements about them in their performance review files.  The same thing will happen to teachers.

    The exame and HR policies represent a culture of intimidation.  Failure if you don't know the answer of an arcane exam question, failure if anyone writes a negative comment in your file.  It's a culture designed to keep people in line, to prevent individuality, expression and self esteem.

  •  Ken, You should ask to go on the Oprah show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reino

    and debunk the arguments that were made in support of Rhee and Gates

  •  I agree with this, albeit uncomfortably. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    princss6

    The resolution is spot on.

    The two bits that give me pause, however, are

    1. Elimination of privatization and contracting out of school services;

    and

    1. The teaching of labor history and other aspects of history which present a full view of the economic, social, and political history of the U.S. in public schools, colleges and universities; and support of local labor education centers

    (13) seems impractical. What about food services? Certain arts programs (which are provided in some cases by private non-profits)? It's a blanket provision that dismisses the potential for private services (non- or even for-profit) that do in fact support the overall mission.

    As to (14) -- well, it rubs me a bit the wrong way. I am a supporter of unions, teachers unions included. (I do, however, believe that unions are a worker's choice -- and consequently support public charters with a non-unionized faculty where the teachers have chosen to work in this fashion). But unions are there for the teachers -- to protect them, ensure fairness in working conditions and treatment, etc. To push into the realm of dictating curricula seems too far to me.

    Perhaps that's because I abhor the politicization of education -- I don't like the corporations in there, I don't like the agenda-driven right-wing school boards, and so I don't like unions insisting on the required teaching of union history. (I do believe that labor history is an important part of American political history, but as a requirement -- at least in high school? I don't know....) But the way this resolution is written smacks a bit of indoctrination, not education.

    Perhaps I'm not expressing this well. Perhaps I'm just being ridiculously idealistic that teachers can teach without political pressure from either the right or left. We're trying to create people who can think for themselves, right? So let's not try to steer the curriculum in one direction or the other.

    "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

    by Huginn and Muninn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:30:38 PM PDT

    •  I think you miss point on #14 (0+ / 0-)

      union history is a major part of US economic history especially in the 20th century.  To not cover that is to indoctrinate by exclusion of a major portion of our history.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 01:35:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I don't think I'm missing the point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        I stated that I believe labor history is important and must be taught. What I'm uncomfortable with is the notion of a union pushing for mandatory teaching of union history. There's an agenda there that cannot be overlooked, as there is an agenda that cannot be overlooked with the Christian too-far-to-the-right pushing the teaching of creationism. A union advocating the teaching of union history is necessary a politicization of curriculum, which (as I said) is what discomfits me.

        That said, I do believe in the necessity of teaching labor history. The question is at what point (high school? or is it better understood in college) and to what depth?

        "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

        by Huginn and Muninn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 02:00:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry, but all groups push for their inclusion (0+ / 0-)

          business groups push for the glorification of the capitalist free market system

          minority groups push for inclusion of their history

          having labor unions point out that a major part of history is missing is hardly that shocking given the pattern of how curriculum gets shaped.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 02:33:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, by that argument... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6

            ... we should have no cause to complain when evangelicals want to push the teaching of creationism. After all, they're just a group pushing for inclusion, right?

            What I worry about -- and I'll say it again -- is the politicization of curriculum. Labor history, fine. Labor history from the union's viewpoint, not so fine. If the goal is, as yours seems to be (and as is mine), to create well-educated individuals who can think for themselves, fine. But when you say

            were our young people fully educated in how much they had benefited from the labor movement I seriously doubt even the large political expenditures by the Chamber of Commerce and other right wing corporate entities could so tilt our electoral processes.

            you're leaping to conclusions. Unless you're assuming that labor history is going to be taught in a union-oriented fashion.

            "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

            by Huginn and Muninn on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 04:28:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no, you are leaping to conclusions (0+ / 0-)

              no one else has been pushing for inclusion of labor history.  I find nothing wrong with those who know its importance doing so.  That you do is more a reflection of you than it is of anything inappropriate in the United Electrical Workers raising it.

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:35:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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