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It's true! The big money people want to put the rookie squad into our classrooms. Corporate funded attacks on public education and teachers’ unions have portrayed higher paid, more experienced teachers as the villains of the current financial crisis. It’s good-bye, Mr. Chips  and sayonara, Ms. Frizzle.

In 1987-88 the typical primary or secondary teacher had 15 years of experience. But  by 2007-2008, the typical teacher had 1-2 years of experience. Not only that, but 50% of teachers leave the profession within 5 years. Veteran educator Larry Cuban has estimated how long it takes to actually learn the job.

“Only by the end of the fourth or fifth year of teaching do most newcomers become competent and confident in figuring out lessons, knowing the ins-and-outs of classroom management, and taking risks in departing from the routines of daily teaching.”

Brad Juppe of the US Department of Education is blunt:

"The crisis is upon us. The mode of experience being one to two years should be the most alarming thing we have come upon."

Teacher experience graphic

When I was teaching back in the 20th century, there was a lot of talk about creating master teachers and mentoring programs

A master teacher is an experienced teacher who  acts as a mentor for new teachers. A program called National Board Certification was started for teachers who wanted to qualify as true master teachers. Mentoring is a win-win-win idea.  

It is a good idea for the experienced teachers who do the mentoring because they can get a jolt of new ideas and fresh perspectives from their younger mentees. It is good for the younger teachers who will not have to flounder alone in their critical early years. It is good for the students because they are exposed to both the exuberance of youth as well as the wisdom of age.

First grade teacher Janelle Jamison of Washington state is fortunate enough to work in a district where there is a mentoring program:

"I am shocked at how much I love teaching. I am excited and being able to gain the support and experience from experienced teachers not only helps my teaching, but improves the quality of the experience."

Imagine the advances we could make in curricula and classroom management if we as a nation integrated master teacher mentoring with more teacher collaboration across subject areas and grade levels. Tied in with smaller class sizes, more prep time and research support from university education departments, who knows where we might be tomorrow?

Teachers did get some creative mentoring programs but what else did teachers get?

We got the attacks on teachers’ pay scales, their pensions, their tenure and their unions. We got “merit pay” based on the results of unscientific standardized tests. We got pressure for larger class sizes, endless hi-stakes testing, more paperwork, less prep time and a flood of scripted curricula coming from powerful corporations. We got more privatization through charters and fewer resources for public neighborhood schools. 

Veteran English teacher Stephanie Olson decided to take a job in Abu Dhabi where she thinks she will earn more money and respect. Speaking of her 10 years teaching in the USA, Olson said this:

"I'm doing more work, but I'm getting less money every year. Instead of being excited about a job and looking forward to your job, you begin to fear your job. It becomes stressful, tiring and takes a toll not only on your health, but on your family."

Teachers with years of valuable experience and advanced degrees were declared the enemy because they cost too much. Woe betide veteran teachers who seek work in another district. Instead of being seen as respected educators, they are now considered tax burdens. Their professional credentials are considered next to worthless by America’s top educator:

"Districts currently pay about $8 billion each year to teachers because they have masters’ degrees, even though there is little evidence teachers with masters degrees improve student achievement more than other teachers — with the possible exception of teachers who earn masters in math and science."--- Arne Duncan

Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, much beloved by the corporate world, believes that 5 weeks of training is enough to put a teacher in a classroom. She doesn’t care that most of her recruits only stick around for a very short time. Teach for America grads have a turnover rate that is truly phenomenal:

“More than 50 percent of Teach for America teachers leave after two years and more than 80 percent leave after three years.”--Julian Vasquez Heilig and Su Jin Jez, Ph.D.

Why has teacher turnover reached  such ridiculous levels? 

Why do half of teachers with education degrees leave before 5 years is up? Why do educational “reform” leaders like Duncan and Kopp trash teacher training and experience? Don’t they see that new teachers have dreams and aspirations? Don’t they understand that people go into education so they can make a difference? New teachers yearn for the day when they can match and even surpass the accomplishments of their favorite teachers from grade school and high school; the teachers who were their original inspiration. That takes time, a lot of time.

Oh, but wait. Does one need beautiful dreams and high aspirations to follow a strict corporate scripted curriculum that drains the joy, imagination and creativity out of the classroom?  What does it mean for teachers and students to walk into an overcrowded school devoid of art, music, science labs or even a playground? What does a hi-stakes test really evaluate using such a dull, gray-tinted so-called learning experience? 

Is it any wonder that the teacher dropout rate has risen in recent years?

Of course the children of wealthy and middle class professional parents do not contend with the most extreme and nightmarish of these conditions and neither do the teachers in those schools. But even there pressure on teachers has taken a toll. But the highest teacher dropout rate is where there is the highest student dropout rate, in working class communities, especially those communities where people of color in the majority. 

Overcrowded classrrom

Overcrowded classroom in California

 Teacher turnover harms the the cohesion of a school and only adds to the general instability of already stressed working class communities. Eliminating seniority, tenure and recall rights is ostensibly about removing “bad teachers”, but its real purpose is to create a cheaper, more pliable and less experienced workforce, which is exactly the opposite of what is best for educating students. Neighborhood schools traditionally served as community anchors, but that role is difficult to maintain with inadequate resources and a constantly changing teaching staff. 

The charter schools so favored by Corporate America have an even worse turnover rate and have the greatest number of inexperienced or relatively untrained teachers. Charter school teachers cite poor working conditions and lack of support by administrators as the main reasons for moving on. 

We can also see the same process unfold in colleges and universities with the use of poorly paid adjuncts and grad students, even as tuition and student debt soars to stratospheric levels.

Will teaching become another heavily regimented temp job?

The trend toward poor working conditions, lower pay and high turnover rates means that teaching could become another alienating temp job, a disturbing trend that is seen all across the working class.  Ironically, poverty is the worst enemy of educational achievement and the corporate agenda of unionbusting, low wages and high unemployment does more to harm education than the small number of truly bad teachers.

This is a Race to the Bottom which degrades the work process of teaching and the whole concept of education itself. The much maligned teachers unions have been battling this degradation in conjunction with their allies among parent, community and labor organizations. Both the National Education Association(NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers(AFT), the two largest teachers unions, have presented sound recommendations about improving education. A good example from the Chicago Teachers Union (AFT Local 1) may be downloaded here. These types of recommendations written by actual teachers’ organizations have been generally ignored by the corporate owned mass media.

 CTU march in Chicago
Thousands of Chicago AFT members march for quality education in May of 2012

When up against the power of corporate money that has flooded our political process, teachers’ unions have had mixed results at best. It doesn’t help that the attack on teachers has been bi-partisan. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is a Republican. His neighbor to the south, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is a Democrat.

Fortunately teacher union activists continue to work hard at building the broad alliances that can counter the big money of the wealthy minority. After all, they are some of our best teachers and this gives them a certain advantage when directly engaging the general public.

Publicly funded quality education has long been part of our continuing battle for democratization in this country. Now that the dream of “liberty and justice for all” is receding for millions of Americans, it is a battle we cannot afford to lose.

Bob "Bobbosphere" Simpson is a retired teacher with 25 years experience in public secondary schools, parochial secondary schools, and community colleges. 

Sources Consulted

How Long Does It Take To Become a “Good” Teacher? by Larry Cuban

The Changing Face of the Teaching Force by Richard Ingersoll and Lisa Merrill

The Schools Chicago’s Children Deserve

USA's top teachers union losing members by Greg Toppo

Classroom 'crisis': Many teachers have little or no experience by Sevil Omer

Deepening the Debate over Teach For America by Anthony Cody

The plight of great teachers by Nancy Flanagan

Seven Trends: The Transformation of the Teaching Force by Richard Ingersoll and Lisa Merrill

How teacher turnover harms student achievement  by Matthew Ronfeldt, Susanna Loeb, James Wyckoff

Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools by David A. Stuit, Thomas M. Smith

Originally posted to BobboSphere on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We don't want to pay for what we get, (35+ / 0-)

    and that's the problem. We have the lowest tax rates, federally, since the 1920's yet people think they are paying too much in taxes. Plenty of people think their property taxes are too high as well, and here, plenty of people would probably be correct. In most places, these are the taxes that pay for the bulk of public education. We don't need cheaper teachers, we need more teachers, experienced teachers, and we need to pay them like the professionals they are. In order to do this, we need to look at how we fund public education. I have long opposed purely local funding for public schools. I advocate a state-wide amalgamation of funds from various different taxes and bonds meted out fairly and equally, eliminating "poor" schools and raising the standard of every school to the highest possible level. This would go a long way toward eliminating low performance in schools because they suffer from a lack of funding.

    My last fortune cookie was a The Nephew sockpuppet.

    by commonmass on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:44:31 AM PDT

  •  excellent piece. (33+ / 0-)

    When I left teaching to follow my husband's new job, we had mentor teachers and were developing master science teachers that were to help new teachers.  As a teacher I helped develop district wide units, wrote state tests, interviewed potential teachers.  In my new situation, I supervised student teachers and sat on boards that helped disable youth and science literacy in Alberta Canada.  
    I was pretty shocked to see the difference between Canadian school and American.
    One big difference is that Canada believes in good government.
    Canada is so wide spread with so little people that they recognize how important the job that government does to keep Canada running.
    You rarely hear Canadians complaining aboout taxes and they pay a whole lot more than we do in the States.

  •  Hell yes.... get rid of professional educators! (23+ / 0-)

    Children do much better with a Mc-education through Walmart!

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:51:58 AM PDT

  •  Just wait... (5+ / 0-)

    Think children will benefit from a McEducation?
    Think  again...

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:54:38 AM PDT

  •  standardized test (9+ / 0-)

    lead to standardized teaching-- it's the McDonalds model.

    •  And standardized teaching... (6+ / 0-)

      ... leads to standardized graduates.  

      This is good if you want cheap, standardized grunts for an army, or an ample supply of interchangeable drones to work for peanuts in your industrial plants.  It's not so good for those individuals who fail to standardize readily, but that's just a necessary cost of doing business.

      John Taylor Gatto's written an interesting book or two on the subject.  I don't agree with everything he writes, but he's worth reading.

  •  Veteran teachers are better teachers (11+ / 0-)

    there's no question about that.  It took me a good five years after making a career change into high school teaching before I got comfortable on the job.  By then, of course, I was on my fourth job, having changed from the charter school where I started and then having lost two jobs -- because I was both relatively expensive and highly inexperienced.  My administrators couldn't see the quality teacher struggling through rookie mistakes, and they just let me go.

    Now I have to commute an hour each way to get to work, and there's no way for me to either get a job closer to home or to sell my house and move closer to my work.

    Mentoring programs, however, are a sham.  Most teachers involved, mentors and mentees, view it as a formality, paperwork that must be filed and for mentors a paycheck to be cashed, and very little of value happens.  I've been through two of them, and I've seen many, many colleagues take the same approach.

    I honestly believe the biggest problem in teaching right now is that administrators are too impatient with young teachers.  Our job is a craft, a skilled trade, that takes time to acquire.  Young teachers need firm but supportive oversight from their bosses.  In my experience, that happens only rarely.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:13:17 AM PDT

    •  administrators (6+ / 0-)

      are mostly former gym teachers. and they went into admin for the better pay, not because they love teaching. I left teaching because I was too nuanced an educator to work with average students ( you need to be able to get through to these kids, and that takes skill; they can learn anything if they have someone who knows how to get trhough to them, and that skill can be taught to an extent; i was an alternate rtoute teacher, never learned the skills ), and really always wanted to be something else. It was too late to go back into psychology, but i did get an MSW and stayed in the school system. That job has its hassles too but I am WAY better at being a social worker than a teacher. the worst teachers I runinto are the former coporate types. I know one or tow that have worked out, but most either quit or hang on wihtout really being into it. Most actually quit, some after a few weeks. The next batch of bad teachers are the young ones. A lot of them can't help but be bad. Some get better, a lot get fired ( 40% ) in NJ are denied tenure) our best young teachers tend to come from Rutgers, were trained traditionally, and have an academic and education major. The Ivy leaguers are nice kids. They don't hang around. Saw A lot of them in the inner city; rare in the burbs; we don't waste time with TFA we want young people who are trained properly, so most come from the state schools or 2nd tier private schools likeSeton Hall or Fairleigh, which while maligned as substandard, has a wealth of programs, easy admissions, and a commitment to kids who have issues like Asperger's. Oh, and the doctors I go to , 3 brothers, all went to Fairleigh Dickinson.Sorry for the typos, it's early and I have carpal tunnel issues.

      •  let me add, we have bad older teachers too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bkamr, YucatanMan, Only Needs a Beat

        but of those, some are the late coporate types, some were always bad, butmost have developed health issues that have made them less effective. that happens everywhere. overall, young and old, MOST of the teachers I see are doing a good job. Iwanted to make that clear. It's early. And some of those younger teachers who are starting off bad get better if given the support.

        •  Yeah, I pretty much agree with everything (6+ / 0-)

          you wrote.  The teachers that last until retirement are usually about as good as they get -- in my school we've retired an English teacher and three math teachers in the last five years that are some of the best teachers I've ever seen.

          They finally forced out the horrendous math teacher, career changer from business!, who's been ruining students' lives for the last fourteen years while teaching them absolutely nothing.  He's taking early retirement, but he's still hanging on until the spring.

          We've been having trouble filling foreign language positions.  They got rid of an incompetent Latin teacher before he could get tenure, and though his replacement was much better the guy quit after two years.  So they eliminated Latin...  And there's a Spanish position they simply can't fill.  The first one left after two years, the second was denied tenure (unfairly) and the third one, a recent college graduate, realized she didn't have what it takes to be a high school teacher.

          Oh, and my principal?  Former athletic director...

          Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
          ¡Boycott Arizona!

          by litho on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:20:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Teacher's union vs. young teachers (0+ / 0-)

    Young teachers = rookie squad?

    The kind of thinking represented in this dialry is the classic union comportment. The first concessions that unions are generally willing to make are to cut the young out of the bargained for protections.

    Afterall young people have the least amount of representation.

    What ends up happening is that you gradually have uneven represenation for workers, with the average age of the worker creeping up into the mid 40s.   The union ends up protecting its current members, and not protecting workers as a whole.

    •  Huh? If teachers are leaving in under 5 years, (6+ / 0-)

      they still qualify as young. What is making those young people leave- that's the question here.

      •  No the problem is that young people are not being (0+ / 0-)

        hired because veteran teachers (some well into their 60s) are trying to hold on to their salaries that were practical on yesterday's goverment budgets.

        Those young people left after 5 years because they weren't protected like the boomers and so they lost thier jobs.

        •  horsehit (10+ / 0-)

          veteran teachers are quitting in droves. they are just not being replaced. class rosters are out of control. I haven'tmet a teacher in their 60's in years. and I've been around for 25 years.

          •  Oh yeah? I know one that makes 100k (0+ / 0-)

            And she's fighting tooth and nail to keep it. 100k could pay for 4 young teachers. So who's full it?

             You've been around 25 years? I guess you don't like what I'm saying.  How many young teachers could be hired with your salary?  

            I think that most teachers that are in your position are more concerned about their own security than they are about the best solution for the current budget crisis.

            •  I stood up in front of our school board a few (10+ / 0-)

              years ago when they wanted to give our teachers no raise.  We live in a high property tax district in Ohio where the schools are a huge part of the life of the community and where we are willing to pay for not just good schools, but great schools.  We pay for art and band and orchestra and for teachers who have lots of experience.  We have the highest percentage of teachers with Ph.D.s teaching in our high school, out of the whole state.  Our kids graduate and go to college and we pay for a good system that will help them do that.  Key to that is putting caring people in front of them who have life experience and who are creative and reflective people.  And to get that kind of people, you have to reward them.  You have to not just attract them but keep them.  How do you keep them year after year if there's no prospect of a raise?  

              And I said to the school board, "what these teachers do with our kids every day is priceless.  We go to work every day and leave our kids in their hands.  We have certain values in this community with regard to our kids.  Certain expectations.  And we are paying our teachers good salaries because we trust that they will meet our expectations.  We can leave our kids with them every day because we know that there are good experienced people in the classroom forming our kids into great citizens while we are at work.  And that is something that we should be willing to pay good money for."

              What the hell are all these corporate types thinking?  They support CEOs making outrageous salaries even when they perform horribly, because the rationale is that they have to pay them this way in order to "keep talent."  But when it comes to schools, just try to get business types to apply the same logic.  

              That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

              by concernedamerican on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:58:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  yeah,because older workers shouldn't be worried (7+ / 0-)

              about their own security, because no one would ever fire a seasoned teacher to save money,right? Look, the research is on my side, not yours. The diarist gave out some excellent references. Do your homework.

            •  100k could pay for 4 young teachers. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mindful Nature, bkamr

              Maybe that's why it's hard to keep teachers around.

              "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

              by CFAmick on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  One. You know One. (0+ / 0-)

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:19:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Look at the diarist's graph. I have no idea if it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Only Needs a Beat

            is an accurate representation, but it shows a substantial increase in 25+ years experience vs 1988.  This is what one might expect from the boomer bulge.

            Perhaps an update to 2011 data will show the retirement wave accelerating.

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:54:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That is such a load of bs... (14+ / 0-)

          young teachers are leaving because right wing nut case governors are cutting education budgets so they can give more money to the rich oil/coal/whatever barons.

          Blaming older teachers is total BS and I am sick of so called left wing folks jumping on the right wing "blame the old, blame the teachers" wagon.

          I am a retired tired.   I started teaching in 1967.   Our salaries back then were cr*p.....extremely low for college educated workers. Factory (steel, auto) garbage workers all made a lot more.  Just about the only factory workers we made more than were the textile workers (and that's because they were mostly women, mostly non-union).

          In my teaching lifetime, I was on strike twice to insure teachers had the right to collectively bargain.   Our salaries were never that great.  Over 40 years, two master degrees (of which I paid for myself), my salary slowly grew.  Now I am told I am resented because I made so much money and have a retirement.  BS.  Back in the 80's it cost me over $5000 to get one MA degree.   And the reward for that was an increment of about $750.   I also HAD to take six credits to renew my license every five years (no increment for that plus I had to pay for the license and the credits).  

          I was involved in my union, paid attention to the issues and spent plenty of time supporting left/educating supporting candidates.  I mentored younger teachers, encouraged them to be involved, get more education, and stay committed.

          Please stop scapegoating veteran teachers for what right wing politicians are doing.

          •  I repeat, I know someone who makes 100k (0+ / 0-)

            She is is well into her 60s, and she sees teachers with teaching certificates doing substitute work on a daily basis, but she doesn't connect the dots.

            "The Left" that you speak of should be looking for a global solution to the current crisis in Education, not pandering to one interest group.

            •  Aren't you concerned with your own security? (10+ / 0-)

              My husband is an executive at a public company, no way he would take a pay cut so the next person down could get a promotion. Why should that teacher leave if she doesn't want to? Teachers are supposed to be pure altruists? Teachers pay property taxes too. (I shouldn't have to add this caveat, but I am NOT a teacher.)

              Oh, and you've made a good argument against raising the Social Security retirement age.

            •  I'd love to know where she teaches (8+ / 0-)

              because the average salary of teachers nationwide is 51K.  And by the way, because you know ONE person in their sixties who does this, you have decided to extrapolate that all "older" teachers do this?   Seriously?

              Is that what you do for everything? False generalize?   Because if you want to play that game, it's an easy one.  I could simply extrapolate all young white males are evil, desiring to mass murder innocents; all young black males are gang bangers; all young females are hookers using their bodies to make money, cause you know, I know someone who knows someone, who know......

              You do get how unfair that is, yes?

            •  So? She has decades of experience. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drmah, Ckntfld, samanthab, cpresley

              In any other profession that would be considered an asset to the community.

              Besides, if she's in a district that pays experienced teachers $100K, they sure as hell aren't hiring new teachers at $25K each, and they won't hire four. It's more likely they'll just increase the class sizes of those teachers who remain. That's usually the way it works.

              Most important, though: you're generalizing an entire profession based on your single example.

              Beware the man of one book.

              by fiddler crabby on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:12:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You know one? I know 95 who make less than (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drmah, Ckntfld, Mindful Nature, cpresley

              35K a year after 10 years teaching. Your bias is showing....

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:20:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  so... (0+ / 0-)

              how old will you be when you decide it's time to "let the younger ones" divvy up your salary?  will you have children (and your loans for their college) and/or aging parents to support?  and doesn't the right wing want our retirement age to be higher, not lower?

            •  What would you suggest is a reasonable (0+ / 0-)

              salary for a masters +15 with 20 years teaching in the Bay Area or NYC or Boston?

              Where are we, now that we need us most?

              by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:33:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And she's probably worth far more than that (0+ / 0-)

              to society as a whole.  If you consider the number of students she has helped turn into productive members of society, we are still getting a good deal.

              She's closer to worth her wage than Mitt Romney is, that's for damn sure.

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:47:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  We need both new and veteran teachers (6+ / 0-)

      Figuring out how to have a good mix of ages is not easy. If we had smaller classes instead of the current trend toward overcrowding, that would go a long way toward reducing unnecessary layoffs.

      In my early years of teaching in the public schools, I found it very difficult to land a stable position and ended up teaching in parochial schools for much less money.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:39:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Diane Ravitch wrote a good piece about this (8+ / 0-)

    I just saw this blog entry by Diane Ravitch a few minutes ago. She talks about a new research report that details the harm that is being done to schools by teacher turnover or "churning" as she refers to it.

    "It says that teacher turnover harms student test scores in both mathematics and reading. It says that it harms academic performance most among poor and black students. It says that high rates of teacher churn affect both the students who lose their teachers and even those who didn’t. The researchers are cautious about why this is so, but they think it may have to do with the continual disruption of the school’s community and culture. It is hard to have collegiality and a cohesive staff when staff members come and go in large numbers."

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:16:20 AM PDT

  •  When I look back on (7+ / 0-)

    my early years in the classroom, I'm almost embarrassed.  It's not that I didn't know my subject area or even that I hadn't had good preparation for the classroom.  It's that there is no substitute for being in total charge of your own room.  Even student teaching is still under the watchful eye of a cooperating teacher.  Their is simply no substitute for experience.  I realized that I might be a decent teacher when former students began coming back to tell me so.  That was the assessment which mattered most to me.

    I'm grateful for the years I spent teaching, but I wouldn't go back in today's environment for any amount of money.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:21:12 AM PDT

  •  If you don't see citizens and humans as a resource (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    then you don't see the value of investing in them and protecting that resource.

    The corporate cultures that dominate in our governing chambers do not value investing in and protecting resources-- only exploiting them for profit.

    They will protect and care for profitable resources only to the extent that they remain profitable.

    When companies like Bain Capital began to invest in offshoring firms that specialized in sending jobs overseas, and in outsourcing firms that specialized in finding the cheapest employees possible, damn any question of skills or experience, then that is when US corporate cultures decided that United States citizens were no longer a profitable resource.

    For-profit schools, the push to destroy teachers' unions, and denial of the importance of experience in teaching are all results of this decision.  They are like ripples radiating outward from a stone that hit the water.  When the stone of "screw US employees, we want to hire overseas at two cents an hour" hit the water of our national labor market, there were radiating effects in our society.  And the push to get rid of experience in the classroom is part of that.  

    After all, why pay for experience when you no longer value the shaping of human beings into a valuable resource for society?

    It should be said that the rise of the Christian right and of "christian identity culture" in the US is intimately connected to this.  The idea that all the values any citzen might need are found in the Bible, and that therefore there is no need to invest in anything secular or to pay for any non-religious social function and program, fits perfectly with the corporate-driven notion that there is no value in cultivating our US human resources.  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:32:56 AM PDT

  •  Skill is the Property of the Corporation, Which (8+ / 0-)

    measures it out to the delivery techs. It's not the job of the delivery tech to decide which skills and how much are delivered, that's why they don't need education, experience or compensation.

    Same for customer service, same for medicine, same for education.

    We're 100 years into this revolution. As mechanical construction fell to the assembly line a century ago, problem solving falls to information technology in our time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:44:40 AM PDT

  •  The latest trend is the "turnaround" (8+ / 0-)

    Entire schools are closed down. All of the teachers are fired regardless of seniority and replaced. This often results in veteran teachers being replaced by cheaper non-union teachers managed by a "turnaround" contractor or by a non-union charter school.

    Attempts by charter school teachers here in Chicago to unionize because of poor working conditions have met with fierce opposition. In one case the charter operators tried to close one of their schools when 100% of the teachers signed AFT cards.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:49:48 AM PDT

  •  Standardized content facilitates "McTeaching" just (6+ / 0-)

    … like standardized recipes facilitate "McFood."

    Here's the model for new future teachers' colleges: Hamburger University.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:50:41 AM PDT

  •  Outsourced instruction.... (7+ / 0-)

    This Kahn Academy bit where kids can sit either at their computer at home or in groups of 35 to whatever number corporate america can cram into a computer lab and then learners can have a didactic learning experience.

    Only trouble is, learners are reduced to passive recipients of knowledge. Learn the new formula? Move on to the next unit....and so on and so on, and so on....

    this is rote based learning...and this is the core experience of corporate america's McEducation experience.

    Shouldn't math, physics and geometry be more like an art experience?

    No wonder children are bored out of their skulls in schools that deploy standardized learning experiences....

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:07:15 AM PDT

  •  The "de-skilling" of the work, the "temping" of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lilypew, Only Needs a Beat

    the workforce, the corporate agenda:  these are good points being made by some commenters here.  This is much like what has been happening in other industries.

    Perhaps a rough analogy might be those old painting-by numbers kits.  The person using this kit is not creating a work of art but simply filing out a pre-made pattern.  Just like you don't have a "real" Mona Lisa, you don't get "real" education.

  •  Skilled teachers (7+ / 0-)

    Are not conducive to corporate interests, because their students might actually (gasp) think for themselves.  That would never do when the Kochs et al want a nation of consumers, not citizens.

  •  That teacher experience (2+ / 0-)

    graphic is disturbing.  It really makes the case as starkly as anything could.

    Now the teacher in me is going to nitpick:

    But  by 2007-2008, the typical teacher had 1-2 years of experience.
    While 1-2 years might be the mode, you can't use the mode to represent the "typical" case with a distribution of that shape. The median would be more telling; and, eyeballing the graphic, it's probably in the 7-8 year range.

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:23:56 AM PDT

  •  Texas harms textbooks - makes them boring (4+ / 0-)

    The Texas Board of Education over the years has taken the lead in rewriting text books. They are such a large market that it has influenced texts through out the country.

    There are big issues like evolution that we have heard about. But have you seen the monster books filled with graphics and insert boxes and all the crap. What about the old fashioned reading a story.

    All the bickering and pressuring over the years has caused publishers to shy away from using the kind of clear, lively language that might raise hackles in one corner or another. The more writers were constrained by confusing demands and conflicting requests, the more they produced unreadable mush.
    All around the country, teachers and students are left to make their way through murky generalities as they struggle through the swamps of boxes and lists. “Maybe the most striking thing about current history textbooks is that they have lost a controlling narrative,” wrote historian Russell Shorto.
    All around the country, teachers and students are left to make their way through murky generalities as they struggle through the swamps of boxes and lists. “Maybe the most striking thing about current history textbooks is that they have lost a controlling narrative,” wrote historian Russell Shorto.
    This is from an article in the NY Review of Books (Not NYT book review) and is probably behind a fire wall for those who don't subscribe. Many think this is the top intellectual journal in the country.

    Here is the link if you can get it

    June 21, 2012  How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us, by Gail Collins

    •  Monster books (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z


      I can hardly bear to open them.  I can't imagine how they must affect students who are poor readers and have trouble focusing.

      That's one reason I use the textbook very little in my classes.

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:46:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the shit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    that goes on in Indiana....

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:57:44 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for the diary. (3+ / 0-)

    You have articulated what I have been saying for years. We have so many reasons to take control of our country from corporations and their minions.

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

    by lilypew on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:04:10 AM PDT

  •  Learners want... (5+ / 0-)

    ...more than a standardized interface...
    They want authentic learning experience...

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:06:07 AM PDT

  •  Teachers are labor and this is the corporate (8+ / 0-)

    plan for all labor. Use the cheapest labor possible and that means young, inexperienced labor.

    I went back to college a few years after getting my B.A. to study education so I could teach. This was in Texas where my husband was posted at the time. We were encouraged to think of ourselves as professionals who joined the National Education Association rather than as labor who would join unions. The idea being that striking was simply wrong for teachers to do. I now see the subtle propaganda that was in play then.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:16:37 AM PDT

  •  NCLB required teachers to get Master's degrees (8+ / 0-)

    and then teachers are demonized for getting a Master's degree.

    All part of the anti public education plan.  Good veteran teachers, ones who have not burned out, know the ins and outs of classroom management, that's a skill that you may have when you start but it's not honed until you are in the job for many years.

    Students will NOT invest in their education if they only have temps for teachers - if teachers don't see their education as worthy of sticking around, why should they invest themselves.  While kids may understand the attacks on teachers and the lowering wage, it's still something that works on their psyches.  

    They also will refuse to form a relationship with a teacher, no matter how good, if that teacher is likely to be gone in a month.

    It's maddening, those who rail against the teachers for having 3 months of paid vacation (they do not and they spend some of that "vacation" in required workshops)  and their "high salaries" would not choose to become a teacher because they aren't paid enough.  The cognitive dissonance  is strong.

    They rail against bad teachers, but then you point out to them that old saw of "you get what you pay for" and again they look at you as if youre an green alien.

    They rail that their taxes are too high, and then bitch about school overcrowding. Scream about special needs programs being too costly until some child they know needs it, and then they rail that there is not enough room in the program for that child.

    etc. etc. etc.

    And then they want to return to the "Mayberry days"

     . . . a time when teachers were honored

    then you asked them if they watched/watch the Andy Griffith show - Sheriff Andy Taylor was a public servant, in a government job - in love with a public school teacher.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:22:04 AM PDT

  •  When we talk about public education in America (8+ / 0-)

    we are also talking about a primary pillar of the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) agenda of profitizing the education of our children.

    Charter schools with no standards, distance learning, for profit charter schools, Teach for AmericaTeach for America (a way to get inexperienced teachers in classrooms for two years) , teacher union busting (along with other public employee unions), legalizing increased class sizes, raids on teacher pension funds, all intended to weaken public education, degrade standards, overburden teachers and ultimately, to feed public education tax money to support private education, parochial schools with tax dollars, cram down teacher wages, and turn our children and grandchildren into profit centers.

    I suggest the diarist add ALEC, Teach for America, Distance Learning, and profitized (privatized) education to the tags for this diary.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:26:40 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the suggestion about tags (6+ / 0-)

      Distance learning can be a lifesaver for people in remote rural areas who need specialized coursework and training not available locally. But of course Corporate America can take any good thing, squeeze the good out of it and turn it into just another Frankenstein monster.

      I have read that some politicians are touting distance learning for high school students. Who needs brick and mortar schools, classrooms, class projects, class discussion, classrrom labs or even teachers leading small classes?

      The dumbing down of the USA continues.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:39:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here are a few links to Mr. Terry Moe, a senior (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BobboSphere, Only Needs a Beat

        fellow at the Hoover Institute, a radical right think tank.

        Here he is touting his book on teacher union busting:

        Here is part 1 of 2 with Terry Moe addressing an ALEC meeting, and the discussion is "Radical Change in Education"

        Here is part 2 of 2 with Terry Moe discussing reducing teachers by as much as half by distance learning, including "in India", he quantifies how many teachers can be eliminated.  He also does a Q & A at the end of this session, and note that the questioners are legislators to whom he is suggesting that they pass laws to force distance learning and killing teacher unions.  Make no mistake, destroying public education in America is front and center of the ALEC agenda.

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:56:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Error, the Q & A is in this link: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Only Needs a Beat

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:03:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's more: (0+ / 0-)

        Here is a listing of think tanks around America dedicated to pushing the Radical Right agenda, the State Policy Network:

        Here is a list of Radical Right think tanks just in Massachusetts, note how many of them are dedicated to education:

        The map here is interactive by state, and when you click on a state, you will find many more think tanks dedicated to Radical Right Revision (Radical Republican term is "Reform", which I characterize as "Deform" or "Destroy").  That map is the source of the Massachusetts link above.

        Here is a link to another page at the SPN, and number three on their list of priorities is "Transforming our education system and expanding school choice".  Make no mistake, Education is on their hit list.

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:28:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Um, the graphs you posted show a decrease in (0+ / 0-)

    7-25 years experience, an increase in less than 7, and an increase in 25+ years.  The area between the curves of the latter two categories are roughly equal.

    Your narrative would be more compelling if you explained both changes.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:44:48 AM PDT

  •  High Stakes Culture of Accountability Failing US.. (0+ / 0-)

    This article on what needs reforming makes sense to me....

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:23:08 AM PDT

  •  TFA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    TFA teachers go into the program expecting to stay only 2 years.  Some stay for a third year.  You can't fault them for leaving after two years--that was their commitment going it.  
    This comment has nothing at all to say about relative competency, just expectations on duration.

  •  this touchy subject (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't even begin to discuss this issue without descending into profanity.  It is just so profane how the profession has been politicized, and how those in power have failed to realize how much has been lost.  I really wish we would just walk out and stay out until that realization occurs.

    Call exploitation and debt slavery whatever you want. How undignified is getting rich off of the work of others!

    by jcrit on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:53:07 AM PDT

  •  Every job is now a lottery job. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, samanthab, drmah

    Doesn't matter what your skills are.  You are LUCKY to have that job.  Doesn't matter how much you are getting paid, you are now LUCKY to get paid anything.

    I mean, it's only criminals who do work and expect to get paid for it FIRST.  You should do work for free and hope that random people will tell other random people how good you are and in that way you will someday make some money.

    Welcome to the Hollywoodization of America.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:04:33 AM PDT

  •  Wife, with 18 years experience (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cant even get interviews in San Angelo Texas.

    We moved here three years ago from the San Antonio area. My wife has 18 years experience, a Master's degree. with a 4.0 GPA, and nothing but superior teaching evaluations and recommendations. However, she cannot even get an interview with the local school district for a job. Her Master's degree and experience mean that she would cost the district about $6,000 more per year in salary, so they hire only those with 0 to 3 years experience.

    In one instance, a middle school librarian position that opened in mid year, the district listed the job on their website but when my wife was the only one to apply they pulled the job opening. They then had the nerve to call her and ask if she would permanently substitute at the school at 1/5 the annual pay and no benefits. She discussed this with the HR Director and mentioned that getting her "foot in the door" might be good when they readvertize the position in the Fall. He flat out told her that she shouldn't get her hopes up for a permanent position because they withdrew the position so they could "broaden" the pool of applicants.

    Unfortunately the local community does not have any idea that this is the hiring practices of the district, all they want to do is save money. The administrators do not care about how the classroom is staffed, except from a dollar perspective. As long as there is a warm body in the class, performance be damned.

  •  The $ocial cla$$ of deform 'Democratic' leader$ (0+ / 0-)

    is the greatest indicator of how much of a yuppie scum sell out that 'Democratic' leader in deform is.

    btw - I'd LOVE to have ideas on Monday that I could use on Tuesday. and, how about


    And how about you can NOT be a edu-manager unless:

    1. you've done the job for a decade,
    2. you can model the steps of the idea on a flow chart,
    3. you can estimate the costs of the steps of the idea in time and MONEY,

    "Democratic" Leaders in Ed Deform and the 6 figure a year parasites of the Kipp-Kopp Kryme Syndicate = a match made in hell - who needs the Cheneys and Rayguns with yuppie scum sell outs like this on 'our' side?


    (pst - I've been a big city high school teacher for 7 years ...)

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:19:26 AM PDT

  •  Another look at the same data: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:29:44 AM PDT

  •  Earning a degree as an Education Major costs just (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as much as any other degree.  Why would any reasonable student or their family consider becoming a teacher?  Career preparation that deterioates with each year of experience isn't cost effective.

    Corperate America will get it's wish by default. US will have to drop back to the old "Temporary Centificate" program to find enough people willing to fill the empty slots using unqualified people.

    My mother, who had a 2 year teaching certificate, back in the days following WWII was working at the Military Defense Plant. (Yes, Rosie the Riviter) Mon was recruited to return to teaching even though college reqirements for teachers had increased. The local schools came to the factories after the war to hire anyone they could to fill teaching positions, due to overcrowded schools.  Eventually, schools realized teachers needed stronger qualifications to manage a classroom so began to help teachers get qualified.  They offered requied college classes in the elementary school after the student's day or on Saturday.  Gradually, scchools improved//  Under the Corperate America plan, down the road we'll have to pay to rebuild educational expertize but in the meantime, student's will pay the price for inexperienced teachers.

  •  I don't think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    teachers need advanced degrees (except in math and science).  Mentoring?  THAT they need, very much so, yes, especially when they're just starting on their career.

    It would also help enormously if this were a country that respected education and learning ... instead of bullets and ignorance.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:26:14 AM PDT

  •  "They've taken the joy out of teaching . . ." (0+ / 0-)

    That's what one of my son's teachers told me.  She had a repuation as a fantastic teacher at the school, but by the time we met her she was not nearly what she had once been. At a parent teach conference she confided some of her own frustrations, ones that I completely understood.  I am so grateful for all that teachers do.

  •  the conservative War on Education continues (0+ / 0-)

    This is typical of the war on education being waged by the corporate right. They know that an educated populace with a strong Middle Class is the bedrock of democracy. If these corporations and their whores on the right want to create the 2 class (rich landowners and working serfs) society that will maximize profits in their trickle down scheme, they need to make everyone stupid.

    This isn't rocket science folks, this is very transparent.

    Bold Progressive. Deal with it.

    by novenator on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:10:45 PM PDT

  •  Teacher preparation and tests (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the post. I worked first as a teacher then in teacher preparation for 35 years. Yes, it takes up to 5 years for a teacher to become proficient.
    Now, the fake school reformers are going even further.  Some 25 states have adopted a new teacher proficiency test.  It is described on page 1 of yesterdays New York Times.  We have been using a form of it for about 8 years in California.
    The problem ?  Perhaps the most valuable part of teacher preparation is the student teaching, when a future teacher works as an intern with a skilled teacher.
    Under the new testing regime, this valuable experience will be substituted for by a paper and pencil test.
    You learn to teach by teaching. - not be taking tests.

      That is why the proposed new assessment system is not nearly as useful, helpful, nor valid as the present practice of student teacher practice and assessment by professionals.

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