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Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Education Secretary Arne Duncan
The California court decision striking down several laws giving teachers due process has produced another unfortunate reminder that President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan has basically Republican views on education. Duncan hailed the appalling decision, one flawed on more empirical grounds than can easily be listed, saying it "presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect, and rewarding careers they deserve." Yeah, right. In assessing this, it's perhaps relevant to note that in this case centering on whether tenure violates the civil rights of students by protecting grossly ineffective teachers:
Not only did none of [the plaintiffs] have a “grossly ineffective” teacher, but some of the plaintiffs attended schools where there are no tenured teachers. Two of the plaintiffs attend charter schools, where there is no tenure or seniority, and [...] “Beatriz and Elizabeth Vergara both attend a “Pilot School” in LAUSD that is free to let teachers go at the end of the school year for any reason, including ineffectiveness.
So we're going to build a new framework for the teaching profession by destroying laws that didn't even apply to several of the people in the case used to strike those laws down? If you want equal educational opportunities for students, you don't attack teachers. You fund schools. You fund teacher education. Most of all, you attack poverty and inequality. But that's not what this case—or Duncan's response to it—focused on. As the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik writes, this case attacked teachers:
Not the imbalance of financial resources between rich districts and poor. Not the social pathologies--poverty, joblessness, racial discrimination, violence--that affect educational attainment in disadvantaged communities.

Not California's rank at the very bottom of all states in its per-pupil expenditures, at $8,342 (in 2011), according to the quality index published by EducationWeek. That's 30% below the national average of $11,864, reflecting the consistent shortchanging of the K-12 system by the state. [...]

Observes David B. Cohen, a schoolteacher and associate director of Accomplished California Teachers, an education advocacy group associated with Stanford University, one should be "suspicious of wealthy and powerful individuals and groups whose advocacy for children leads to 'reforms' that won’t cost a cent, but will weaken labor."

Unfortunately, that's a suspicion that Obama's education secretary is too in love with corporate education policy to entertain.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Teachers need to be protected, not attacked. (6+ / 0-)

    There are no bad public school teachers -- only underfunded public school teachers.

      •  Really? I don't see it. nt (0+ / 0-)

        "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

        by Geenius at Wrok on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:52:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So teachers are exempt from the variation we all (9+ / 0-)

      expect in any particular population?  Yours is the nihilistic statement of complete clown.

      Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

      by oblomov on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:58:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree that teachers need to be protected and ... (6+ / 0-)

      I agree that teachers need to be protected and not attacked but certainly there are some bad teachers and plenty of underfunded teachers. There is not one profession that does not have their share of "bad apples". All professions have those who should not be there because we are all human after all and this not perfect.

      To suggest that education has a 100% rate of hiring the best is ludicrous. I have been a teacher or worked in education for almost two decades and have worked with bad teachers and a ton more great ones. You will never find a teacher anywhere who would say "there are no bad teachers" because it is a lie. Of course there are but that doesn't mean there are not ways of supporting them or helping them overcome or funding them appropriately or even getting them out of the system when it is so obvious they need to change professions. I have even met a tiny few that really just need to be out, period.

      With all that said, this decision is horrible and think we should be outraged!

      •  Bad Apples Are Fired (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sphealey, qofdisks, bryduck

        This issue boils down to defenders of the status quo (thrown out in California) saying tenure only guarantees due process, which doesn't protect bad teachers from anything but an abusive process, and lets schools fire them without undue difficulty. And attackers of the status quo saying tenure protects bad teachers who can't be fired easily enough, going too far in its excessive protection of good teachers.

        Is tenure merely a guarantee of due process? Or is it a guarantee of bad teachers protected from being fired?

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:39:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Look up the old "Mrs. House" diary. (0+ / 0-)

      And be glad that you didn't suffer through my psycho bat junior high homework teacher. She was somebody who had her bad tendencies coddled by tenure about two or three decades too long.

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:48:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not tenure (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jbsoul, redwagon, sethtriggs, bryduck

        poor supervision

        Mrs. House could have been gone long before she needless tormented you through proper supervision and enforcement of terms of her contract. A guarantee of due process in a job action doesn't preclude admin from clearing Mrs. House out of a school.

        •  Ding ding ding! We have a winner! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The only way "bad" teachers stay on is through bad--usually lazy--supervision and administration. This way we get to coddle autocrats, bigots, and the "good ol' boy" networks in play wherever they exist in school administrations. Tell me again how this is a better way of finding and keeping good teachers?

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:29:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Tenure (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks, tubacat

      The thing is, based on the arbitrary metrics used to judge teachers, there probably not a single good teacher.  Perhaps their content knowledge is lacking, say a French teacher that cannot pull up every French word.  Perhaps the kids complain all the time about the teacher. Perhaps the teacher does not come to school everyday, or does not get lesson plans done, or does not dress well, or does not lead extracurricular activities.  Arguably anyone who claims to be a good teacher or knows a good teacher, on an absolute basis, is delusional.

      No single teacher is an effective teacher.  It is the group of teachers, the leadership, the district, the nation that makes an effective education.  Every teacher in a school works together, shares the students, teaches the curriculum, to create an environment where students succeed.

      I recall my 5th grade teacher, for  instance.  She was awful.  She seemed to know very little, and let the two white boys bully the rest of us.  She was of the old school where anything hinting at a minority was inferior. On the other hand, the principle kept her most egregious bigotry under control, the curriculum was very high level and we were expected to complete it, and there was a team to help us reach it.  She was obviously under a lifetime contract and could not be fired, which was fine because at the end of the day she was competent, professional, took very good care of us, and was there every day with good activities.

      I know that previous paragraph sounded like it contradicted itself, but really it didn't.  It just reflects that a teacher can be a contradiction in requirements.  A young kid who knows everything but is only teaching long enough to get student loans paid off and go to medical school is not necessarily going to be the best teacher.  A teacher who has been there for 20 years, has a dedication to the success of the school and the students, can be the best teacher even if they don't know everything.

      Here is the funny thing.  Teacher Unions tend to support a probation period of a few years where new teachers can be fired at will.  This allows schools to hire any new teacher, and then fire any new teacher that is not making progress.  The schools, however, tend to support firing more experienced teachers, because that allows them to get rid of teachers that have become expensive, are going to collect a pension, or do not have time to put in extra unpaid hours because of family obligations.

      She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing. -Kurt Vonnegut Life is serious but we don't have to be - me

      by lowt on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:54:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  to be fair (11+ / 0-)

    he ignores reality to fulfill what he thinks is his job description.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:01:43 AM PDT

  •  I Thought You Weren't Allowed to Sue Under Our (6+ / 0-)

    system if you're not directly affected by a situation?

    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 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:07:40 AM PDT

    •  apparently it's OK if you're funded by RW trolls (19+ / 0-)

      And the judge is a rightwing troll himself. Our justice system is highly flexible in that regard.

      "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

      by quill on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:19:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I read the ruling.... (4+ / 0-)

      ...and it seems that the students were affected. The tenure system enabled the most experienced teachers to flee the poorest schools.

      Some of the plaintiffs were students in schools that had inexperienced teachers -- all the good (experienced) teachers had used their seniority to run away to the non-Black, non-Brown, non-Poor schools.

      BUT YA KNOW WHAT? Let's assume the defense is correct and those specific students didn't have standing: Is really this how the Teachers' Unions want to win? On a technicality? Really?

      Instead of thinking about how to overturn this ruling, they should be thinking about how to use this Education-is-a-Civil-Right ruling to attack funding inequities, poor facilities, etc.

      •  Let a flawed decision stand? Really? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mostel26, redwagon, bryduck

        You don't really mean that.

        Decisions mean precedents.

        If the decision is not challenged due to the plaintiffs lacking standing, then the precedent that plaintiffs lacking standing can sue becomes the new norm.

        Even your views on education won't allow you to think this is a good idea.

        •  Actually, yes. It is a good idea. (4+ / 0-)

          Unrelated to the current case, I think more of The People should have more standing to sue The Powerful.

          Whenever poor people sue rich people, "Lack of standing" is one of the biggest obstacles.

          If you sue a corporation, the corporation (which is immortal) can wait for you to die.

          If you sue your employer, they can drag out the case until you get a new job, and lose your standing.

          Republicans use "lack of standing" to defend their heinous Voter ID laws. They force us to find a specific person who couldn't vote before we can challenge the law. This person is likely a very old person who has no Social Security number or birth certificate. They then stall the case until the plaintiff dies.

          Corporations LOVE lack-of-standing. Your bank can hit all of customers with a $5 bogus fee. They never get sued because the only people with "standing" to sue have only lost $5! It's not worth it.

          •  Without standing? Really? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DocGonzo, Mostel26, socalteacher, bryduck

            I'm going to sue General Motors for a faulty car that never affected me.

            By your logic, that's fine.

            I'm going to sue McDonalds for selling fattening food, even though I don't eat there.

            I'm going to sue you for attempting to destroy public education, even though I'm not a student.

            Be serious. How clogged do you want the courts to be?

            Standing is a very old legal point. If you have not been harmed, there is no legal redress.

            But I guess I could just think of it as one of your more amusing arguments.

          •  Wait, so in your world "The People" in this cas... (0+ / 0-)

            Wait, so in your world "The People" in this case are the billionaires and their AstroTurf group, Students Matter (and don't you love how all these deformer groups are all about "the children" and "students,") and "The Powerful" are the public school teachers?

            •  "The People"... (0+ / 0-)

              ...are the poor students and students of color who keep getting stuck with the worst teachers.

              "The Powerful" includes anyone who defends any part of this racist and class-ist system. The fact that they are able to impose this system is proof of their Power.

              Yes, there are Republican shills, astroturfers, and downright evil people who are using this crisis for political purposes. I recognize that.

              But I am also a parent of a child in a poor, inner-city neighborhood. I don't understand why my kid should get the inexperienced teachers and the Rich Kids should get the good ones. Anyone who defends that system is my enemy, because they are trying to destroy my child's shot at a good future.

              There are millions like me. Please do not make us choose between the interests of our children and the interests of the Union. Please help brainstorm until another way is found.

              •  And this changes that how? (0+ / 0-)

                Nobody forces a district to hire bad teachers. But they do have to have teachers. Lowering the pay, killing the benefits, and making them all "at will" employees is going to make the system better? Those schools have bad teachers (where they have them) because they don't/can't pay enough to attract better ones. This is definitely a situation where throwing money at the problem would help, as any good capitalist would agree. Fully funded schools and salaries would attract better teachers. That's how it's supposed to work.

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:34:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's true, but it won't get rid of the bad ones (0+ / 0-)

                  More money won't get them them leave--probably the reverse is true.  Hiring better teachers for the long term and getting rid of the bad ones in the shorter term are both needed, among many other things.

                  •  Getting rid of the bad ones (0+ / 0-)

                    is easy. If you have admins who aren't bad themselves. That's how bad teachers get hired and/or stay on in the first place. Got nothing to do with tenure in the least.

                    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                    by bryduck on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:29:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Generally true, but some "turn bad" (0+ / 0-)

                      A majority of the crappy teachers I have had experience with were long timers.  Maybe they were good teachers at some time, but...  However, as you say, administrators should be able to get rid of them if they do their own jobs competently.

      •  Not a Technicality (5+ / 0-)

        There's a reason only people who are affected by what's being challenged have standing to ask the court to change it. The court is required to judge the actual reality, which only people being affected can accurately decide.

        So no, if people asking to eliminate tenure aren't affected by it, the court shouldn't be deciding on the basis of what they say. It's irrelevant what they say.

        If tenure is so bad that it must be thrown out by the court, though it was legislated and accepted through the legitimate process, then there should be at least one person with standing to sue to stop it. In all of California, with millions of students under tenured teachers, there isn't one with standing? Then it's not a problem for courts to meddle in.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:43:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How does tenure impact this? (5+ / 0-)

        If an experienced teacher has an outstanding record of accomplishment, he or she will be courted by better funded schools and may decide to give up a thankless job for a better one. Call it "running away," if you will, but it makes complete sense to me that at a time when test scores of poor kids in underfunded schools are being used to rate the ability of a teacher, many teachers with the option to do so will "run away' from a manifestly unfair and thankless situation.

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

        by anastasia p on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:50:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  teacher tenure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What we really need to ditch is the ridiculous reliance on standardized test scores as a 'scorecard' for teachers.

        •  Good question. (0+ / 0-)

          1) We can't stop a teacher from running to a richer district or to a private school. You are right about this. In a perfect world, all districts would get equal funding, but that is politically difficult.

          2) We can change the work rules so that teachers within the same district have less freedom to move. Since we pay senior teachers more, it is only fair that more be asked of them.

          3) This problem is an old problem and pre-dates the current emphasis on testing. In fact, even today very few teachers are actually evaluated on test scores. There have been proposals, but it rarely actually happens, and when it does the percentage of a teacher's evaluation from tests is small.

          4) How does tenure affect this? Well, the old teachers hate the poor schools. We can't replace them with new (young & eager) teachers because of Seniority rules. So the kids suffer.

          Let's just get some truth out in the open. Teachers don't like poor schools because the kids are more difficult to teach. And I don't blame them one bit.

          But it's a job. There are parts of my job that I hate, but I do my job. Or else my customers go elsewhere.  

          •  Interesting, to say the least. (0+ / 0-)

            1) We agree, although your phrasing is calculated to put teachers in as bad a light as possible. What if we changed that to, "We can't stop employees from attempting to improve their lives and fortunes," instead of using words designed to imply teachers are like rats fleeing a sinking ship? Surely you can't have any objection to that?

            2) We could also chain them and make them work for nothing, I suppose, with an overseer to whip them when necessary, but I kind of thought we had moved past that in this country. Expecting someone to remain chained in place due to a (slightly) higher salary (when compared to other teachers, anyway) is so... Republican, I guess would be the word.

            3) Aaaaand, we're back to VAM. Nuts. I had hoped you'd finally given up on that chestnut.

            4) Really? Such a statement is all the better for proof. Got any data showing that old teachers hate poor schools? And that new teachers love them? Or is it just that new teachers are more desperate, and will go anywhere they can get a job, and don't dare complain due to lack of protections?

            Let's get some truth out there, indeed. I suggest you start with your posts.

            BTW, who, in your mind, are the "customers"? And who is doing the "selling"?

      •  Districts without tenure allow teachers to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs, bryduck

        transfer within the school system.  The typical procedure is that they interview with the administrator of the school they want to teach at.  If that administrator hires them, then they transfer to that school.  A good administrator tries to build a staff that will work together well.  Experienced teachers fleeing high poverty schools has little, if anything to do with tenure.

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:42:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Among the many things you don't understand (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        socalteacher, drmah, bryduck

        is this: the "good (experienced) teachers" are good not because of some intrinsic ability or years of reflective practice; the "good (experienced) teachers" are good because they are not teaching the students most impacted by poverty and racism.

        You mistake causes for effects and vice versa. The students who score highest on standardized tests do so not because of their superior teachers but because of their superior socio-economic status. Their class has accumulated more cultural capital, and that is what these tests - which are carefully formulated in order to re-inscribe and underscore these inequalities - actually measure.

        This, however, is not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is that you think you know something about this when you actually know less than nothing. That is not only a character fault, it is also an insult to teachers everywhere.

        Work in an inner city diverse middle school for five years. Then you'll at least have the vocabulary to ask the right questions. Until then, ask a teacher.

        For what is the crime of the robbing of a bank compared to the crime of the founding of a bank? - Brecht

        by Joe Hill PDX on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:21:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Think about what you are saying. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical

          If good results are entirely dependent on the demographics of the students, then why do we need highly trained teachers at all? We should fire all these expensive people with Master's Degrees and replace them with part-time college students, right? (snark)

          Seriously, teachers matter. There are good teachers and (a very, very small percentage) bad teachers.

          You are correct that rich kids learn faster than poor kids. But the studies of teacher effectiveness take socioeconomic differences into account. Most say that the teacher controls about 10% of the learning outcome, which is not insignificant.

          Lastly, I don't believe that experience doesn't matter. I will take a 15-year veteran teacher over a 2-year fresh teacher any day. I have no data to support this belief, but if you want to assert that "years of teaching experience don't matter", be my guest. The teachers on this thread will be on you like white on rice, citing anecdotes and maybe even some data.

          •  One quibble: (0+ / 0-)

            You say:

            Most say that the teacher controls about 10% of the learning outcome, which is not insignificant.
            The American Statistical Association says:
            Most VAM studies find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions.
            Unless you can find a better source, the 10% figure you give should not be considered accurate.

            This is not to say teachers don't matter; I suspect that the quality of the VAM used to judge teachers is far more suspect than the idea that teachers don't make a difference. However, you keep pushing for VAM testing to determine teacher careers. It would be better to have data that actually measures something accurately, rather than testing that predicts results no better than the height of the students does.

      •  Read it again (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There was no finding that the plaintiffs were affected. There was a conclusion that the system could cause adverse affects.

        The Ed "reformers" who are smugly gleeful about this attack on teachers are AWOL in the real fights for poor and minority kids, in California and elsewhere.

        In New York, where rich districts spend on average 80% more than poor ones,  and get much better academic results, there are pending cases to address this inequity but the reformers stay away because two things are missing: an attack on teachers and unions and an opportunity to make money by turning public schools into profit centers.

        •  You are correct... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical

          ...I mis-read the decision.

          It should be noted that many "Reform" groups have supported the New York push for funding equality, such as the Wallace Foundation.

          And also myself. I'm in favor of charter schools and I'm also in favor of funding equity. They are not mutually exclusive unless we choose them to be.  

  •  Why still using the word "tenure"? (11+ / 0-)

    Just call it civil service protections, no different from what other professional-level public employees usually get.

    "Tenure" implies the career protections that some college professors are able to attain based on their academic achievements.

  •  I would love to see the end of "attacks on (4+ / 0-)

    teacher" stories.  But I don't think I will until teachers agree that not just they themselves and their organizations, but also the public at large and other organizations, deserve a say and have a role to play in getting the country out of the education mess.  That would require some amenability by teachers to 'outside' review.

    The larger and the more proprietary a role teachers believe that they should have in getting us out of the mess we're in, the less attention will be paid to the other root causes of the problem.

    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:52:48 AM PDT

    •  There is no "education mess." (24+ / 0-)

      There's an economic mess;  1) a top-down class war the results of which are reflected in the classroom and 2) a neo-liberal campaign to privatize everything public, including, and especially, education.

      The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

      by Azazello on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:50:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  LOL Our state just adopted a 50 page - I am not (19+ / 0-)

      kidding or exaggerating -- a 50 page job performance evaluation system.  That's not the desription of the evaluation -- that's the evaluation form.  The Introductory training session was 2 days long.  One part of the evaluation is student test results, and since I teach science, the test that will count for me is ... wait for it ... reading.  Who came up with this mess?  Why the republican legislature did. You, know, the people and their respresentatives.

      So, that's the job performance evaluation, and tenure is not some sort of super force field of job security. Tenure only grants a due process as spelled out in the contract.  Poor teachers, even with tenure, just aren't asked back the next year.  The one teacher who sent an inappropriate text to a student?  He sent it on Friday, and he was gone before Monday -- even with tenure.  There are many ridiculous stories about the wonders of tenure out there, but I've never seen or heard of an instance, and I've been at this for 10 years.  

      As far as the curriculum is concerned, there are federal and state standards that we have to cover.  The standards were developed by professionals in the fields and were openly posted for input by the public.  

      As a teacher, I have no choice or control over the ridiculous performance evaluation or the standards.  Our union has no power, none at all, beyond having some input into the calendar ech year.  That's all we get asked about and all we get to vote about -- the school calendar.  

      Tenure doesn't keep bad teachers in classrooms.  I'll tell you what seems to be some sort of BIG secret to most people.  The only thing keeping weak teachers in classrooms are weak achool administrators, just like bad bosses never get around to getting rid of bad apples in any workplace.  Schools are no different.

      Teachers no control over the testing. If we did, we get rid of the things. I am allowed to say, "The tests SUCK!"  Why everyone is assuming that they are somehow relevant and valid measures of anything completely baffles me.  The testing companies have grown to be a $4.8 billion industry.  The students and teachers are the only ones who get to see the tests, and we have to sign statements swearing we will not say anything specifically about the tests under severe penalties.  But, I did check, and I have enough 1st Amendment rights left to say, "The tests suck."  Plus we are now spending over 10% of instructional time taking all the standardized tests.  1/tenth.  Not just a day or 2, but 3 weeks over the course of the school year.  The testing has gotten so out of hand that I almost consider them to be abusive, especially for our special needs students. Testing just breaks my heart, anymore.

      What power and control I do have as a teacher is to try to sheild my students from the nuttiness going on outside our classroom in terms of all the control everyone outside the classroom does and is having on what goes on in a public school.

      I get to choose the instructional strategies I use to teach the standardized content, and I get to decide how to use the 89 cents per student per YEAR I am given to run a science program for 8th graders. (Of course, that's impossible, so I spend a couple of thousand out of my own pocket and the kids sell chocolate bars.  It's the only way we can have labs.)  Those 2 things and how much I care about every single one of my students.  And, I do care more than I could ever fully express in words - my students can see it in my eyes, and smile, and tone, and my passion for the topics we explore together.

      Thinking about the situation as a whole, I really wonder if any group of professionals has LESS control over their profession than teachers do, but I guess there may come a day when all children will just be using computer based lessons all day with no teachers, at all.  Then, perhaps, the problem teachers will no longer be the cause of all our nation's educational problems.  

      I wouldn't want my son to go to a school like that, because in all his 11 years, so far, he's only had 1 kind of weak teacher.  Instead, I have overall very pleased with his teachers.  He didn't like all of them -- some of them insisted he do homework and held him accountable when he chose not to do so.  However, with the way this country seems to regard teachers, I suppose we may indeed be headed toward just getting rid of teachers and automating education altogether.  

      For those who would like to have more influence on what is going on in our schools, I know our school is desperate for volunteers, all the time.  The PTSO is always looking for parents to get more involved.  There are companies in the area who do support people taking some work time off to volunteer; it's worth a try asking the HR Dept. if such a program is in place. Plus, I LOVE haivng outside speakers come into my class, so if you think you have something to offer in that manner you may try sending an email to one of your student's teachers.  Sports teams, the bands, afterschool tutors ... all sorts of groups and classes could benefit from having caring community members get more involved. The only volunteers I've ever heard being turned away were people who didn't pass background checks, and well yeah, of course not in those instances.

      Plus, politicians are mainly the ones in control anymore including control over the testing, policies, curriculum standards, budgets, and teacher performance evaluations, so the public through their representatives really ARE calling the shots.  It's one of the big changes from how things used to be in the past.  Teachers used to have much more control.  Today they simply do not.

      Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

      by bkamr on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:01:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is, in fact, the end goal: (19+ / 0-)
        Thinking about the situation as a whole, I really wonder if any group of professionals has LESS control over their profession than teachers do, but I guess there may come a day when all children will just be using computer based lessons all day with no teachers, at all.  Then, perhaps, the problem teachers will no longer be the cause of all our nation's educational problems.
        The rabid, highly financed push of CCSS and the accompanying testing, not to mention the concentrated attacks on unions, suggests strongly that this is the goal. Every experienced teacher represents lower profits for somebody, in a privatized system.
        •  Yes, that's the goal. There (9+ / 0-)

          will be no more need for teachers with subject matter grounding, able to write their own lesson plans and devise and grade their own tests. All that will be prepared by the folks at Pearson, and administering the standardized tests (which will be a daily experience, the whole raison d'etre of class attendance) can be done by untrained people who make sure everyone's terminal is on.

          Education is now seen as a potentially trillion dollar business, and teachers would just get in the way of the corporations planning to cash in.

          This is practically admitted by the CEO of Knewton, in a chilling video posted to Diane Ravitch's web page.

          •  There is a way to stop that. (0+ / 0-)

            If teachers would take personal responsibility for educational outcomes, they could demand more freedom to control lesson plans, teaching methods, etc.

            The best way is:

              1) Test the kids in September and again in June.
              2) Adjust for the socioeconomics of the students.
              3) Credit the teacher with the difference.

            If we do this, I don't care how teachers teach. They should be free to use any methods they see fit.

            But, since teachers insist on bearing no responsibility for learning outcomes, we can't grant them this freedom. They must be micro-managed. In NYC, they control the curriculum down to which day the teacher hands out which worksheet. I hate this...I wish teachers would accept the responsibility -- then they could be granted the power.

            It would make teaching a more fulfilling profession, and probably result in better learning, too.

            •  There's no hope, is there? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              You continue to promote testing at all costs, despite the continuing failure of standardized testing to accurately describe pretty much any part of the teaching/learning process.

              And lately you keep insisting on treating teachers like slaves.

              It's all just blowing smoke for you, isn't it? Muddy the waters enough, and no one will see the puppeteers. How many years have you been here promoting VAM and charter schools?

              How is it possible, that in all that time, you fail to recognize the growing evidence that VAM doesn't work (except to drive teachers out of teaching) and charter schools are diverting public dollars into private pockets, without accomplishing anything better than public schools?

              Have you seen the latest from Eva Moskowitz? Quite an accomplishment for one of NYCs top charters, graduating 32 out of 73 students (73 enrolled in first grade, 32 of them made it through 8th). And none of the lucky 44% had standardized test scores high enough to be admitted to the top high schools.

              Is it worth the $50 million-plus public dollars they've taken away from public schools, do you think?

              Or is that the just rewards of Eva taking "responsibility" for the education of her students?

            •  What makes you think that teachers aren't testing (0+ / 0-)

              students at the beginning, throughout the year, and at the end of the year to measure their students' progress and the effectiveness of their lessons?  We've been doing this for years in our school -- for at least the decade long period I've been a teacher!  

              At the beginning of each year, we do the following:

              1. Scantron Testing for Reading and Math - Scantron is an on-line, standardized testing system that gives us immediate, detailed information about students' individual streangths and weaknesses.  

              The results are used to place each studetn in 45 minute, small group Enrichment classes based on their individual needs. For example, students with reading disabilities have a class with a reading specialist, and students having difficulties with fractions participate in a cooking class that's all about fractions.

              2. In their core content classes, students take the common final exams for the courses as pre-tests.

              The results are used to help teachers plan where we need to focus more or less instructional time and effort during the year to meet the trends in needs for particular cohorts.  For example, if students show some weaknesses in analyzing energy flows through food webs (single level analysis should be an already mastered, pre-requisite skill by the time the students come into my class) I know that I'm going to review this area a bit more extensively than I might have, and give a quiz to ensure mastery at one level before I move on to the more complex levels of analysis I need them to able to do before we tackle the effects of ocean acidification in the climate change unit.

              Now, I want you to notice HOW testing is used in both situations.  Testing is used to better meet actual, real students' need in real time.

              During the year:

              1.  Mid-year, students are re-tested using the Scantron system This information is used to guage the efficacy of their Enrichment placements, and students are re-sorted and reassigned students' to reflect their progress and remaining individual needs.  

              2.  In content classes, we use common unit tests throughout the year.  This information is used for 2 reasons:

              -  We look for mastery and non-mastery trends.  If there is an area where the kids didn't "get it," then we do remediation with the entire class in that area before going on.  If it's an individual situation, we call parents to hopefully be ablet arrange for the student to attend after school tutoring.  

              (BTW It's usually an environmental situation if a student is failing. e.g. The student is going to counseling or court to testify against an abuser; a parent has been jailed and the student has been moved to live with a grandparent; the student has been arrested for drugs and is going through the juvenile justice system and counseling; the student is struggling with adolescent on-set of a mental illness; parent(s) have lost job(s) and the student may be facing impending homelessness, the student is raising themselves and younger siblings since parent(s) have to work night shifts or second jobs; the parents are getting a divorce and the student's homelife is in chaos and they are in mourning/ being used as a pawn/ up late due to the arguments going on; the parents are not being parents and have opted for being friends and the student is staying up into the wee hours on their phone and playing video games -- and homework is not getting done; there has been a serious family illness/ death; the student has a serious illness and has been absent and unable to do schoolwork for a significant period of time; the student's family moves around a lot so their school experience has been disrupted so many times that they've learned not to really engage -- We have a racetrack in our district and we get students of migrant track workers who stay with us for about 10 weeks and move on; and I could go on and on, but this pretty much covers the 10-15% who fail individual unit tests.)

              - As a content team, we use an item level analysis of unit test results to compare the effectiveness of individual lessons with one another. We use this information to identify and share best practices with one another for continuous improvement year over year. For example, if my students don't do as well on a topical area as one of my team mates, then I listen to what my team mates did, and I re-teach that area using the lesson(s) they used and incorporate the lesson into my plans for the next year.

              Again, I want you to notice HOW testing is used. Testing is used to better meet actual, real students' needs in real time. Testing is used to identify and use best practices within content teams.

              At the end of the year, students take a final round of Scantron tests and final content exams.

               - The Scantron tests are used to measure the effectiveness of our Enrichment interventions and set-up individualized Summer computer-based lessons for the student to use if parents/ students want to conintue learning through the summer.
              - Final exams are used as a final accountability measure for the STUDENTS and for us as teachers.  [Note: Our median scores are usually within a couple of % points of one another given how we collaborate all year using our common unit tests and remediate/ get students individualized help along the way whatever the reason they may be struggling.]  Typically, we are mostly interested in looking at trends where the entire cohort may have shown mastery in a unit test, but no retained the content as well as we would have liked.  As a teaching team, we then look for outside lessons where we can improve our plans for the next year.

              IF a teacher has consistently lower unit test scores, WE help that teacher, and the administration may need to get involved. In my experience, the 3 times (in 10 years) where I have seen a consistent dip (more than 1 grading period) in teacher effectiveness have been for: 1) the teacher had a brain tumor and was struggling with chemotherapy ... eventually the teacher had to leave and subsequently died at the age of 38 yo; 2) a teacher had Lupus and had to leave to go on disability; 3) a teacher's wife left him to go off with his best friend and the teacher was frequently hung over during a couple of grading periods as they went through it all. This teacher was directed (and supportively) to get counseling ASAP, but also they were put on notice that if it continued into the next grading period, they would be removed from teaching through the end of the year -- and possibly not have their contract renewed for the next year.  

              THAT is HOW testing is used to effectively improve learning in schools.  This is how educational professionals all over the country have been using testing FOR YEARS without anyone "making us" do so.  BTW in the state I teach in (KY), EVERY teacher has to complete their Masters Degree within 5 years after they begin teaching to keep their certification, and that advanced degree is done on the teachers' own-time and paid for out of their own pocket.  We are NOT talking about non-professional people, folks.

              Regarding the high stakes, standardized tests:

              1. They take 2-3 weeks to implement the State high-stakes testing battery.  For example, the math section alone took 4 1/3 hours, this year.  We can only have kids do 3 hours of testing each day before their poor brains are mush.  We can't really do hard lessons with the remainder of the day, so we end up spacing the incredibly LONG testing battery over 2 weeks.

              THEN, politicians have also added that all students have to also take the Explore, Plan, ACT testing series starting in 6th grade.

              This is already too much. Over the course of a student's K1- 12  school experience, we are already losing abot 120 instructional days with the high stakes testing -- that's over 1/2 a YEAR less time instructional time than my generation had.  We do NOT need to double that and lose an entire instructional year!

              2. Then, everyone is assuming that the corporate testing industry (which has grown to become a $4.8 billion dollar industry) is producing valid, reliable, content relevant (based on the national content standards) tests. Why is everyone making that assumption?

              I'm not allowed to say anything specific about the tests since teachers and students who get to see the tests have to sign a confidentiality agreement with dire consequences. We're even supposed to try to wipe our brains clean of anything we saw on the tests and not think about anything on the tests that we saw!  Pretty nice gig, huh?  We're forced to pay out +$75/year per student in districts that can no longer afford textbooks for students, taxpayers are puttig up $4.8 billion, and who is holding the testing industry accountable for the quality of the tests?  Hmmmm?  

              Crickets, that's who.  Next question: If The Tests suddenly showed that students were doing just fine, how long do you think the country would be willing to give the corporate testing industry $4.8 billion a year?  This year, I did ask if I still had my 1st Amendment rights to at least say:  "The tests suck!"  I was given permission to say, "The tests SUCK!"  

              3. The #1, biggest thing the high stakes tests do consistently, correlate with is socioeconomic level.  We always skip over THAT factor since we assume we can't actually do anything about poverty, and we go to a much lesser, and frequently problematice factor -- individual teachers.  

              4.  It is problematic since we do not measure within year progress which would be a valid (IF the tests were valid, themselves, and I'm allowed to say, "The tests suck.") measure of what a teacher at least had a chance to influence, but the tests do NOT measure this.  They measure from one year to the next.  In other words, from one cohort to the next.  Anyone who has taught for more than 5 years can tell you that there are frequently big differences bewteen one cohort and the next.  For example, last year I had 34/120 students in Special Ed mainstreamed in my core classes.  This coming year, I will have 12.  My test scores will go up.  The next year, looking at the 6th grade special ed population, I will have in the 30's range.  MY performance will not be fluctuating year to year.

              5.  In districts where teacher and administrators' pay, and even keeping their jobs, are based on high stakes test outcomes, we have already seen some really awful outcomes (think Atlanta, NJ, and Philly).  When people are placed in a situation that is fundamentally unfair (see #2-#4), and their mortgages and the $ they need to support their families is put at-risk, people are in the classic STRESS situation:  high risk with little control/ power over the situation.  Some of the results have been:
              - "Teaching to the tests." The tests suck, so what kind of instruction might you get?  Drill and kill, all love of learning?  Who could possibly have guessed that might happen?  
              - Cheating. In my prior career before I decided to finish my professional life as a teacher, I was a VP of Training and Quality for a GE Captial company. I would NEVER create an organizational situaiton like the one the politicians (and public like the poster mentioned at the beginning of the diary) has created!  You put people in a basically flawed, unwinnable situation in (low socioeconomic areas) and put their livelihoods on the line?  Of course your are going to have people feeling pushed to cheat the system!  It's a fundamentally dishonest situation that breeds dishonest survival reactions.

              6.  If you use the high-stakes tests to rank order teachers against one another and make their pay competitive, what do you think is going to happen to the teams working together for continuous improvements who are sharing best practices with one another within our schools?  What kind of culture would such a cut-throat environment create?  Answer: This will break the teams and destroy teacher-to-teacher collaboration.  (Gee, I wonder what kind of effect that might have on teachers' unions?)

              7.  Plus, what about the years in which a teacher's content is not tested that year? If you tested EVERY content area, the testing would stretch to 3 weeks, for sure.  So, science is tested in 7th but not 8th grade.  I teach 8th grade science, so what do they measure MY performance on?  Wait for it ... reading!  If my pay, and me getting to even keep my job, is going to be based on reading informational text comprehension, what would it make more sense for ME to do in class:  do a lot of hands on science labs OR spend lots of classes reading the textbook aloud in class and have the kids practice reading comprehension questions day after day?  Oh, and how are the art, music, health, techology ... teachers going to be measured?

              8.  What about our students who are NEVER going to pass the tests?  The bar for No Child Left Behind is 100% of students will pass The Tests at grade level, OR the school and teachers are failures. We have children in our full resource rooms who do not have full brains.  I am not being figurative.  Or what about what the exams themselves DO to our seriously autistic students? Volunteer and get trained to implement The Tests in your local school.  You may get to be a reader for a child who is so stressed out with the loss of their regular routine that they will spend a week under the table self stimming.  You will read the questions on the test, wait the approriate wait times, nothing will ever get marked and go on to the next question.  How about the OCD student you are reading for who marks the test booklet A, B, C, D through the entire 2 weeks completely independent of whatever the question is.  Would YOU like to be the district teacher who has to go to a student's home who is in hospice care with terminal cancer to administer The Tests during the last weeks of the student's life?  Or, maybe, a child who is just undergoing chemotherapy?  I'll make it simpler.  We have students mainstreamed in 8th grade with IQ's below 70.  They are NEVER going to pass the algebra sections on the math exams.  Yet, if a school has any even ONE population within a school fails -- the school is counted as a FAILURE.

              9.  Well, what about how we measure up against other nations?  When we compare the populations they include in their results with the same populations in the US, we do very, very well.  In the US, we have legislated that ALL of our children are tested.  It's an apples to oranges situation.

              10. What about district where ALL the students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch?  My school has a 35% Free and Reduced population.  You could staff the former school with Supermen and Superwomen, and that school is still not going to be able to compete on high stakes testing with my school.  Plus, if you make teacher pay based on test scores, you are NOT going to get a school full of Supermen and Superwomen who are going to get sanctioned, counseled out for poor test performances, and get their names printed in the paper as for being "low performance" teachers. What is it, now?  1:4 students live below the povery level?  I'm sorry, there simply are not a 800,00 - million Mother Theresas in the teaching profession, and we should not have to expect sainthood or super-human levels of professionalism for our public school system to work.  

              If we are, then there is something wrong with the system itself, no the professional human beings wiho do their best to work within that system.

              I'm going to repeat back to your paragraph:
              But, since teachers insist on bearing no responsibility for learning outcomes, we can't grant them this freedom. They must be micro-managed. In NYC, they control the curriculum down to which day the teacher hands out which worksheet. I hate this...I wish teachers would accept the responsibility -- then they could be granted the power.
              There's my LONG and informed answer about why a professional educator like myself despises the high stakes testing system.  I think it has the very real potential to, and probably IS, causing very serious HARM to our public school system and an entire generation of our children.  

              I am NOT the least bit afraid of testing like I've described we've been doing for YEARS! I've explained HOW and WHY the tests that teachers and schools use help us meet individual students' needs and help us continuously improve.

              And given all the very seious downsides to high stakes testing and the lack of valid benefits from my perspective, I have some very real questions about HOW and WHY we are doing high stakes testing, at all.

              I have to run, now, to go into school on my summer "vacation" off to meet with my content team mates.  We're spending the afternoons for the next 2 weeks working on some new labs we want to run and -- painting the walls of our classrooms!    We want our learning environments to be less sterile (white), and the district was willing to give us a grant to buy the paint, but no labor $$$.

              But, I'll be back later to answer any questions you might have.  If you've read through all this, thank you for your willingness to wade into the weeds about this issue.  I understand that Fox News-like bullets may sound like they make sense, but the education of a child, the education of a whole human being, is much more complicated than a few bullet points, and there are some special interests out there who would dearly LOVE to get their private hands on public educaitonal $$$ for PROFIT -- not the best interests of our children.

              Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

              by bkamr on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 07:33:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Teachers have too much input? (14+ / 0-)

      Are you kidding me?  Saying teachers have input in fixing the education system is like saying I have part of a million dollars in my pocket.  You're not wrong, but the proportion is about the same.

      In my experience, reform usually comes from a district official who heard something from a friend or at a conference which then turns into the latest silver bullet of reform.  That typically lasts about 3 years, is never properly evaluated, has mixed results, and asks us to throw out things we know were working before.

      Common Core, the latest silver bullet to rule them all, was developed by the Republican-dominated National Governor's Association in collaboration with the Business Roundtable.  Do you see a whole lot of teachers in those groups?  Sure, they rounded some up for the final stamp of approval and there was some say, but the process was driven by non-educators from the start.

    •  That's the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      That would require some amenability by teachers to 'outside' review.
      There is only outside view.  Teachers are basically excluded from the conversation when it comes to creating education policy these days.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:46:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        Then what does the NEA and UFT do all day?

        These are incredibly powerful political organizations and they are 100% controlled by teachers.

        They have successfully blocked nearly every single reform proposal over the past 40 years.

        If that's not power, what is?

  •  Bureaucrat Duncan is (7+ / 0-)

    accustomed to interacting with the education bureaucracy, not with teachers, who work at that place where the rubber meets the road. Sadly, far too many education bureaucrats are as oblivious to the problems that impede education, and to efficient, relevant solutions, as are bureaucrats in other spheres.
    Odd, considering most education bureaucrats were once teachers themselves. It's as if the process of completing the Masters, even the PhD, has a deleterious effect on the very qualities that inspired them to become teachers in the first place. Speaking as a former teacher, married to a teacher, I say from firsthand experience that education bureaucrats I have had to interact with were all too often the primary impediment to reform, not the teachers themselves.
    And all too often, what I witnessed in these bureaucrats was ambition not tempered by judgement or empathy, and a magnification and glorification of their least functional traits. In short, they had lost their way, were anchor-less, prone to crashing a well-designed project through imperious and yet irrational and haphazard micromanagement. And the false-faced zeal they projected...parents and teachers alike saw right through it...

  •  Consider my friend's dad, a Black man. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He's old enough to have experienced Jim Crow in the south. But he lived his whole life in the north. Even though he was never actually denied service at a restaurant in Alabama, the fact that he couldn't even consider travel to Alabama was a violation of his rights.

    If you look at the pattern created by the California system, it is clear that bad teachers tend to be concentrated in poor neighborhoods.

    These are the neighborhoods that should be getting the best teachers. Not the worst.

    But there is good news for the California Teacher's Unions!  Since this is a Civil Rights case, the remedy is easy. Just allow teachers to be assigned to particular schools based on need rather than seniority.

    I won't hold my breath, though....

    •  Perhaps we could also have the best doctors (11+ / 0-)

      assigned to the least healthy areas? The best lawyers assigned to the neediest (least wealthy) communities?

      Of course, they'd have to live there, so you're also advocating that people be forced to relocate based on their relative skill set...

      Let's see - since the strongest indicator of performance is correlated with wealth, that would mean that the best teachers would have to live in the poorest areas, and logically the worst teachers would have to live in the wealthiest areas, or face enforced commuting time and costs.

      Are you sure you want to run with this idea?

      •  If a teacher... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...does not want to go where they are needed, they can quit.

        The needs of the students come first.

        If teachers demand "combat pay" for teaching in tough schools, that's OK. We'll talk about it at the next contract negotiation.

        But needs of the students come first.

        •  Forced relocation first, then we'll negotiate. (8+ / 0-)

          I see.

          How do you see that working, exactly? Do you think it is "politically feasible", another of your perpetual arguments?

          If not, why are you contradicting your own position that we should be working on "possible" solutions?

          •  What would *YOU* suggest? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            We need to get better teachers into the poor districts. But teachers hate teaching poor children. They like to teach rich children.

            We can't pay the best teachers special incentives because the unions block "combat pay" and "merit pay" proposals.

            I think it's politically feasible for the Union to allow teachers in tough schools who show good results to get more money.

            The political alternative is to have millions of Black and Brown voters abandon the Democratic coalition. Then the teachers' union will simply be outlawed, Wisconsin-style.

            (Not to mention the collateral political damage of a right-wing victory: Environment, equality, LGBT rights, taxation...we lose it all because the Teachers were too stubborn to give a little.)

            •  Another winning argument (11+ / 0-)
              - - - - - We need to get better teachers into the poor districts. But teachers hate teaching poor children. They like to teach rich children. - - - - -
              Around college graduatin' time no small number of my peers (1) obtained teaching certificates (2) sought and took positions in difficult schools, including very poor inner city areas.  Although a few years have passed since then I think you will find that to this day a substantial proportion of the best and brightest who become teachers head for the challenge of the most difficut areas.

              And they will meet the same fate as my peers:  utterly burned out after 2-4 years due to the unrelenting effects of poverty, lack of resources, and lack of supporting social structure.  To which is now added unrelenting hostility from the political establishment, now including the Democratic establishment right up to the White House.  They loved the kids, loved helping them make progress, loved helping the community; what they couldn't (and presumably can't) stand was the unrelenting hostility of surrounding society.  

              Sound familiar?


              •  It should sound familiar. It's what he's been (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jbsoul, Darth Stateworker, redwagon

                advocating for for at least a decade now, via VAM, charter schools, and now forced relocation.

                Also include willful ignorance, since he deliberately refrains from responding to points substantiated by various links (a practice also going back a decade or so), and a refusal to look beyond his own territory, NYC.

                Add it all up, and I'm not sure what you've got, but it ain't pretty.

              •  SO maybe we should hate them more? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                >They loved the kids, loved helping them make progress, >loved helping the community; what they couldn't (and >presumably can't) stand was the unrelenting hostility of >surrounding society.

                And pay them less. Also, more contempt. That seems to be the Obama policy.

          •  Forced relocation but only female domains (0+ / 0-)

            Nurses, teachers .. forced relocation.

            Bankers ... not so much.

        •  And they will and they do (7+ / 0-)

          especially since the test scores of poor, unprepared children in under-resourced schools are used to rank the teachers. In fact, quality teachers are flooding out of the profession and young people are bypassing it. So you win. They're quitting or not choosing teaching at all. What's your next bad idea?

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

          by anastasia p on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:58:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You cannot empower students when (5+ / 0-)

          you give them teachers who have no respect from people like you, parents like you.....

          What you want is servants to teach what YOU think YOUR child needs.  You do not seem to care about the person in front of the children being a professional....just someone who YOU decide by some magical criteria is good or bad.

          Give me a break.

          There is no magic teacher who works well with all students all the time.   That is just ridiculous.  

          The needs of the children are met when the needs of the teachers are met:  <em>small classes; appropriate placement; autonomy and trust in the classroom; adequate supplies and materials and STRONG BACKING from administrators and parents. When parents are trashing the teachers, trashing education, why should children be any different.

          Sorry Mahattan Man but your anti teacher diatribes are getting old and repetitive.

          “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

          by Jjc2006 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:50:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. Sounds like Someone Else's Program... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sethtriggs, bryduck

          Forced Relocation. Then we will negotiate the terms of your slavery.

          Excellent, Manhattan.

          Should we do that for students too? OH OOPSS! We tried that in Boston and there was a near revolution followed by White Flight in the 1970s. Thats out. SO.. just do it to the "serfs" who cannot object, because in the Corporate World, employees have no say about the management of their work. Bust the Unions, and they can move to Germany where Unions are Mandated. Yet.. the Unions were mandated for a reason... hmmmm.. remember that little historical event?

          You sir, are the Perfect totalitarian. Wrong decade, but nonetheless, perfect.

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

          by OregonOak on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:36:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Students first (0+ / 0-)

          Beware of any group that adopts a motto like this. Like "right to work", it is a false slogan. Students first sets up kids against the rights of adults who teach them. This contest has no winners except those who want to weaken labor and make money off education. Kids become adults. Adults need good jobs. Vergara and the people who support it are intent on taking 4 million good middle class jobs and turning them into low wage, no security jobs. Perfect.

          •  Then give me a better idea. (0+ / 0-)

            Remember that the California lawsuit focused on the disparity between teachers at poor schools and rich schools. If we find a way to cure this, then tenure can be preserved.

            Let's figure out a way to get some of the better teachers into the worst schools. It is better if we come up with a plan, rather than to have no new ideas and cede the field to the Republicans.

            What is our plan?

            •  Still putting the cart before the horse. (0+ / 0-)

              The reason that poor districts do less well than wealthy districts has much more to do with living conditions than with the quality of the teachers, as nearly every study on the subject admits. Even PISA, when the data is compared properly on economic conditions, shows that.

              So you are merely advocating treating a symptom, rather than the disease.

              If you really want to promote something useful, try changing your focus to promoting economic equality, instead of calling for chaining teachers to their desks.

      •  well, for public employee docs that often happens (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Do you think CDC infectious disease docs get assigned to Hawaii or Baltimore?  Ireland or Uganda?

        Even at the local level, public health physicians don't get to pick which part of the city or county they get assigned to.  They  get assigned where the need is greatest.

        •  CDC docs are signing up for exactly that situation (7+ / 0-)

          as do public health physicians. It's part of the package, and they know it. And are paid accordingly:

          Physicians who work in the public health sector have a varying salary. Entry level physicians typically make about $80,000 per year. Doctors who are in the middle of their career usually will make about $150,000. Physicians who are at the senior level will make at least $200,000 a year.
          Teachers are looking at a career, with a home, a family, and a national median salary of about 40K.

          Are you really saying these situations are alike?

          •  the question was about whether they get to choose (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManhattanMan, Justanothernyer

            where they work within the government organization who employs them (or how those determinations are made).  Of course there are other differences between physicians and teachers.   You brought doctors into it.

            I think you are using some very old data for teachers.  The avg is more like $56,000.



          •  This isn't about money. (0+ / 0-)

            If the schools improved, society would gladly pay teachers more.

            •  That explains it! (5+ / 0-)

              That explains it!  Why wealthy school districts only pay their teachers 1/3 of what schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods pay.

              For example, in my metro area the city district pays a teacher with 5 years experience ~35,000, while Wealthy Exurban District pays $85,000... wait... something doesn't seem to match your theory.


              •  No, it matches my theory exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                Those wealthy parents are willing to pay huge property taxes and housing costs because they are getting good schools.

                •  Society consists of wealthy parents? (0+ / 0-)

                  News to me. I thought society was everybody, including those with no kids, let alone kids in school.

                  That's why it is so easy to get mill levies passed in every school district, because society recognizes the need for an educated populace and gladly donates money toward educating other people's children, right?

                  By the same token, I guess those wealthy parents would be ecstatic to live in a complete shithole, rampant with drugs, crime, and decaying rubble, only provided it is a district with a good school.


            •  So vague. IF schools improved... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joe Hill PDX, sethtriggs, drmah

              How about teaching a year in a major High School, Manhattan? You can shadow me and I can save your arrogant butt every day from the demands of students taught to disrespect and disregard teachers by the likes of you..

              You are the problem. You are by word and deed, making teaching a devalued occupation, and the remedy is clear. You need to teach in my high school for a year.

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

              by OregonOak on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:40:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You have that exactly, 100%, backwards. (0+ / 0-)

              It is all about money. Talk to a teacher one day, because it seems obvious that you have yet to do so.

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:41:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Let me parse this out. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            "CDC docs are signing up for exactly that situation as do public health physicians. It's part of the package, and they know it. And are paid accordingly".
            1) It's not about money. Every time we try to offer "combat pay" to teachers in tough schools, the Unions shoot it down. Why, I have no freakin' clue. There is probably a complicated game theory negotiating reason for it. But they shoot it down.

            2) If the current crop of teachers did not "sign up for" teaching the most needy kids then I respectfully submit that we need some new teachers.

            •  It's simple: teaching is a career for life. (5+ / 0-)

              Except for certain unusual individuals, a lifetime of transient homes is not appealing.

              1) "Combat pay" doesn't help when it is tied to a requirement of giving up security. It's a bullshit argument, and you know it. As a class, career teachers are not trying to get rich; they want to teach, period. A minor pay increase in exchange for the foregone conclusion of losing their current position in the near future is just stupid, and teachers, at least, are smart enough to know it.

              2) Do you expect all professionals to be so altruistic? If so, I would suggest you start with Wall Street. If they did not sign up to improve the financial fortunes of all Americans, the we need some new financiers.

              If all doctors did not become doctors to serve the most needy, least wealthy people, then we should can them all and get new ones.

              If all lawyers did not become lawyers to bring justice to all, no matter their ability to pay, then we should revoke all their licenses and get new ones.

              See how stupid that particular argument is? It's an appeal to emotion, a classic logical fallacy -- which I suspect you know, and are simply trying out as your argument du jour.

              Better try again. Your ammunition seems to be weakening.

              •  No... (0+ / 0-)

                ...the "combat pay" is not tied to less security. The "merit pay" is, but that is a different beast.

                When I say, "we need some new teachers", I'm just talking about teachers for the tough schools. The teachers who are happy in the rich suburbs can stay put.

                We need to seek out and find teachers (new and old) who want to try tough schools. We should sweeten the deal with extra cash and privileges.

                But the Unions block these proposals.

                •  Every reform proposal I've seen that includes (0+ / 0-)

                  "combat pay", or improved salaries, also generally include provisions weakening job protections. If you have some new proposal that simply offers higher salaries for teaching in disadvantaged areas, period, with no other caveats, I'm all ears.

                  If you can provide a link to such a proposal that a union has blocked, I'd love to see it.

    •  Assigned? (7+ / 0-)

      Teachers aren't "assigned" to work at schools. Teachers are generally much more intelligent than whomever would be doing the so-called "assigning" in the first place.

      Such corporate rhetoric about education, which is a community service. Teaching isn't Silicon Valley. It's not glamorous. You're in the trenches.

      I teach at a public university in California. I am paid below minimum wage when you work it out. No one assigned me to my job. I have other skill sets too. I also work with students who are deemed "remedial." I do so because I can help these students to become more educated and more financially stable, both of which I believe are important for young Californians right now.

      Again, such strange rhetoric, as if the school system was a corporation.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:20:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you're *not*... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward

        ..."in the trenches".

        The problem is that schools in bad neighborhoods have difficulty finding teachers.

        The Seniority System in California allows the most experienced teachers to flee to the rich areas.

        This systematically denies education to poor and minority children.

        If teachers were, "in the trenches", there'd be no problem. But the trouble is they flee the trenches as soon as they get seniority!

        And it is the inner-city kids who suffer.

        •  Do not tell me where or who or what (6+ / 0-)

          I am.

          I'm quite sure I am more aware of that than you. While there is a connotation of war embedded in the phrase, it's certainly not unwarranted in terms of speaking about ones' responsibility to other human beings' lives... literally and materially because education can be the absolute difference between dire poverty and employability. Likewise, it can be the difference between being able to make critical decisions in ones' life to not being able to do so, some of which can also materially impact a person in huge ways. I, like many human beings, see education as the one thing that can truly make a difference. That is why NGO's and such worldwide prioritize literacy advocacy, for example. It may seem like a small thing to some, but many of the students I work with are profoundly disadvantaged by their language backgrounds and cannot gain employment due to it. Thus school.

          And I have no idea what you mean by fleeing the trenches once a teacher gains seniority. I'm a non-tenure track adjunct professor married to a fully tenured professor. Neither one of us holds a very different attitude toward our work. My partner has had vastly superior job offers in other places, but we cannot move because I am raising a child with another previous husband. Like all people, most teachers have life situations that dictate constraints on them.

          But all this aside, your words paint a Republican-esque caricature of teachers. Why? Where did you acquire your stock point of view? It's intriguing.

          Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

          by mahakali overdrive on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:24:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  From Wall Street, is my guess. (5+ / 0-)
            But all this aside, your words paint a Republican-esque caricature of teachers. Why? Where did you acquire your stock point of view? It's intriguing.
            From his profile:
            Former Wall Streeter.

            Now works in education...some may think this implies a "vested interest" in educational policy, so it's disclosed here.

            Lives in Manhattan with wife and daughter.

            Is also a landlord.

            It's possible it's just a natural attitude with him, and helped him migrate to Wall Street. But it is certain that all his arguments lead to privatization of public education. Draw your own conclusions.
          •  The statistics say... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that teachers flee.

            Inexperienced and non-tenured teachers are concentrated in the inner-city.  Those are the numbers.

            I don't blame teachers for avoiding tough schools. Teachers are making a rational, value-maximizing, fact-based decision when they flee inner-city schools.

            What I want to know is how can we change the calculus of that decision?

        •  You dont understand, Manhattan. (5+ / 0-)

          As a teacher in a high school, you are aware that at any moment, any student can go Galt, go Postal, go Off, go Antisocial, go Teaparty, or merely go sarcastic.

          If the mood is right, it is possible, and it happens, that riots ensue with people hurt.

          Teaching is not teaching content matter. It is crowd management, politics, administration of justice, counseling, diversion, intervention, storytelling AND in between, teaching content WHILE you are doing all those things.

          Yes, it IS the trenches. I have been in both and the analogy is totally apt.

          You do not know what you are talking about.

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

          by OregonOak on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:44:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't claim to believe... (0+ / 0-)

   is easy. I know it's not. That's why I'm not a teacher.

            But it has to get done. We need teachers for these tough schools. How should we do it? Offer money? Give awards and medals? I am a Wall Street guy, so my bias is to hand out cash.

            But there may be better ways. There have got to be.

            One thing I think we can all agree on is that the status quo doesn't work. The first step is recognizing there's a problem.

            •  I dont know where you get your atitude.. (0+ / 0-)

              "One thing I think we can all agree on is that the status quo doesn't work. The first step is recognizing there's a problem."

              There are individual teachers, and individual administrators, and individual school boards, and individual state legislatures and individual citizens.. who are a problem.

              But to then assume that you can do something about that by Setting Fire to the System is just plain wrong. This is Arne and Barack's solution, and they will lose FAR more than they gain.

              To my mind, there is a systemic improvement which will over the long term make education better.

              STOP TEACHER BASHING. The students hear it, and they act accordingly. It is self fulfilling.
              THEY PAY TEACHERS A PROFESSIONAL SALARY.. commensurate with the highest paid professionals in the country.
              EVALUATE THEM ON REAL VARIABLES. Content is the smallest part of what young people and adolescents need. They are trying to learn how to be human beings, and so rate teachers on how well they teach THAT! THat is education. Anything else is merely training.

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

              by OregonOak on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:04:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And FURTHERMORE.... (0+ / 0-)

              If you paid me 12 dollars per student per day, that is two dollars per student per hour, I would make.. $900.00 per day.

              I make less than 300 per day, at the top of the scale, after 32 years of teaching.

              And there, in a nutshell, is the problem. There never HAVE BEEN millions of talented, informed, articulate and altruistic enough people in this country to do that work for that pay.

              IF you believe in Market Solutions for punishment consequences, then you must also believe in Market Solutions for incentives. You only want it one way.. Consequences first, then talk about incentives. We know it doesnt work that way. Under your scheme, we will never get to talk at all about incentives. There is no way to bring any power to the table. Slaves have no power, remember?

              Incentives first. I want to make what the average Real Estate Broker makes in my community for tearing up the landscape and destroying the water supply... at LEAST. Then we will talk about what to evaluate on, whether mere Training or full Education.

              On second thought, make it three dollars per student per hour. Then lets talk. For my skill in diplomacy, politics, clarity of communication, systems analysis, computer and software operation, I think 3 dollars per student per hour is a good starting figure.

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

              by OregonOak on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:18:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So by your logic, the teachers in suburban Conn... (0+ / 0-)

          So by your logic, the teachers in suburban Connecticut (Newtown) were not in the trenches? All public school teachers are dedicated to serving any child who comes through their door, whether that door be in the inner city, a suburb, or rural countryside.

    •  As long as teachers are judged by (7+ / 0-)

      students' test results, which they cannot control, your idea is ludicrous, as are all your thoughts on education.  If you demand your very best teachers go into a punitive situation instead of encouraging them with resources and support, you will lose them.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:57:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Arne Duncan makes me ill. (12+ / 0-)

    He's the point man for Wall Street's privatization campaign and no doubt hopes to cash in after his government "service" by taking a job with some for-profit education "provider." What a tool.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:53:06 AM PDT

  •  A Few Points (10+ / 0-)

    1) New teachers can be dismissed without cause during their first two years of employment.  They have no recourse or appeal and it's a black mark on their record that makes it harder to get another teaching job.

    2) It is the principal's responsibility during this time to properly evaluate new teachers and determine if they are a keeper or not.  This is where the system often breaks down.

    3) For a variety of reasons (laziness, don't want to be the "bad guy", too busy, leaving anyway, no accountability), many principal's don't do an effective job of evaluating new teachers.  They simply pass them along and then we're stuck with them.

    4) That is until some principal down the line chooses/has to do the even harder work of documenting poor performance, providing chances for remediation and ultimately dismissing a permanent teacher if they can't get the job done.

    5) Dismissal of a permanent teacher for poor performance only takes about a year, when done properly, but most principals don't or won't bother since they'll be moving on in about 3 years anyways - it's "too much trouble" and not their problem.

    Conclusion?  Show me a bad teacher in the classroom, and I'll show you a whole string of bad principals who've not done their jobs.  There is currently no accountability for principals letting in or retaining ineffective teachers.

    •  Maybe a year if arbitration goes smoothly... (5+ / 0-)

      and neither party tries to gum up the works. However, if the teacher decides to take it to the courts because of an adverse decision and the union decides to back them which frequently does happen, it can take years. The principal is called again and again for depositions and court hearings and appearances. Strong unions will frequently throw everything they have to delay or draw out an adverse decision no matter what the merits. First, in most cases they are required to do so. Second after a few terminations that take years to accomplish and cost upwards of $300,000, they know the administration will not be likely to try it again. Look at how many districts have not terminated any teacher at all for years.

      I'm for a form of tenure and I'm certainly for due process of some form, but it shouldn't take years even if a teacher or union decides to fight it all the way.

  •  Yeah Peter Duncan, another over hyped piece of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Hill PDX, redwagon

    shit Republican pretending to be a "democratic" reformer.

    I say Peter because he's a shining example of the Peter Principle in action.

    Arne, go fuck yourself. You wouldn't know how to educated a your way out of a paper bag. You're a disgrace.

    Meaning you fit in just fine with the Obama cabinet, to quote Obiwan ... "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

    Is it really that hard to find the political courage to hire qualified competent professionals in the required field to manage each department? WTF.

    •   "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum (3+ / 0-)

      and villainy." This is what you say in regards to the President and his administration?

      You disagree with Arnie Duncan and a policy or the administration, that's fine. But to refer to the President and his administration as:

      "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
      Is offensive and befitting some extreme Obama hate site where they eat sleep and drink this type of language and is courting of this kind of open sore on a daily basis.
      •  The Cabinet, not Obama. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        However, he did appoint them. Seriously, whether they meant well or not the cabinet members under Obama have been less than effective.

        Do you REALLY think Holder has been a competent and exemplary Attorney General? Seriously?

        Did Sebilious really do a good job implementing the ACA?

        Did the previous EPA director REALLY hide fracking dangers and undermine state/local efforts to protect citizens from ground water poisoning?

        Has the Agriculture dept done anything but rubber stamp Monsanto's march into threatening the entire human food supply?

        The quote is a joke, for humor. What the truth is, is that the Obama cabinet has been exceptional .... in it's lack of accomplishing much of anything for the people of the America. Bordering on the Banal Evil of deliberately doing nothing but pay lip service.

        How many American familes DID NOT get evicted from their homes unjustly? 20-30 MILLION from the financial crisis and criminal acts of the banking industry?

        I could go on for hours. Total utter failure, one of the least effective cabinets in US history ..... which fits fine with the  least effective Congress in US history, bra-fucking-vo.

  •  I hate to tell y'all, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodpractice, jbsoul, OregonOak

    It is not really about job protection, it is about protection from ideas. Insecure educators are restricted to topics considered "safe", depriving students of viewing unconventional, unpopular ideas, ie, thinking.
    It's the old "when you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow" routine. Can't teach those kids about the box, they may want out.

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:57:46 PM PDT

  •  The Private Sector Beckons (8+ / 0-)

    When Duncan cashes in after leaving the White House, who's going to offer more money, power, and jets with gold seatbelt buckles? Tenured teachers or the education privateers?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:34:39 PM PDT

  •  Arne Duncan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dicentra, Joe Hill PDX, Victor Ward

    Typical Obama. A true disinterested uninterested know nothing as are his appointees.Anyone who ever taught a class knows how stupid this decision is. What a judiciary?!!!?

  •  I cannot STAND Arne Duncan. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dicentra, jbsoul, Joe Hill PDX, redwagon

    He's made from the same piece of filth that Rahm Immanuel is. And he's Obama's BFF. :(

  •  history (7+ / 0-)

    Schools became "bad" as a consequence of Brown v Bd of Ed.  People needed an excuse to take their kids out of public schools--and looked for a way to get government money to assist them.  First came Christian Academies, expensive for the parents, so now, charter schools. A new way to pick which kid sits next to yours.
    Funny--Scarsdale schools have teacher tenure, very high salaries, and very high scores regardless of the curriculum NY forces upon them.  Same is true on the other coast--Palo Alto is very successful also.  Schools need to be properly funded, some students need compensatory education--all this was understood in the 1960s--by both political parties.  
    In sum, this is about racism and money--as is just about everything else in our country.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:12:29 PM PDT

    •  Wow. The Ignorance. Amazing (0+ / 0-)

      "Schools became "bad" as a consequence of Brown v Bd of Ed.  "

      Those black people really were stupid then to advocate for equality.????!!! What?

      Schools were designed to be bad for black, poor  and recent immigrants.  Originally schools were to be supported, equally, at the Federal or State level. The objection was against sending money to educate the children of "those" people so school support is, uniquely in the US, local. Poor people get bad schools.

      You know there are such things as books about history. You could read them. At the time, people were open about their opinions just like Team Rape  Members (hi George Will) are open about their pro-rape opinions today. Racism and hatred of immigrants was not frowned upon in the later nineteenth century.

  •  Racing to become Obama's biggest failure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redwagon, quill

    Almost worse than Geitner/Holder. He's still got time left and is going for it.  

  •  Required Watching: the PBS News Hour Segments (1+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    ManhattanMan, cville townie, Lost and Found

    on this issue, were absolutely superb!  And Earth-shattering in their ability to enlighten on a VERY difficult issue that has split the Education community.  

    Laura Clawson mindlessly apes the kind of "GROUP THINK" behavior that usually typifies RepubliCANTS.  You need to do your research before you start writing down nonsense, Ms. Clawson.  You do a disservice to the entire Progressive Community, as well as the subset that consists of dedicated educators, by published your ill-informed drivel.  Arnie is the Secretary of Education for, among other reasons, the fact that he is FAR FAR better informed on this issue than you are.  

    Check your partisanship at the door on your way out, pick up your brain where you checked it with the coat check on the way to typing this pablum, and go home and try to THINK.

    •  Another county heard from. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan, cville townie

      Just to touch on what may be your most ludicrous claim, what is your basis for believing that Duncan is well-informed?

      I'm genuinely curious to discover if this claim is from anywhere other than the usual place where the sun doesn't shine...

    •  This is the dumbest post I've ever read on KOS (5+ / 0-)

      Laura Clawson is spot-on, and your ignorant rant is somewhere between merely puzzling and authentically annoying.

      You have no particular critique, no particular point.  

      On the other hand, the data on the failures of Duncan / Obama in the field of education are crystal clear. The education policies of the Obama administration are a straightforward attempt to avoid dealing with the burgeoning inequality and grinding poverty that cripple all our attempts at teaching and learning.

      I suggest that you read some of Diane Ravitch's work on this subject. I suggest that you stop making a fool of yourself.

      Jesus! How did you ever find your way into this place?

      For what is the crime of the robbing of a bank compared to the crime of the founding of a bank? - Brecht

      by Joe Hill PDX on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:04:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HR'd for... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie

      ...personal attack.

      I believe that this comment should not be seen because it is disruptive and damaging to the community, as well as being inflammatory and off-topic.

  •  Time for Arne to go? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Hill PDX, kosta

    His record as Education Secretary has been pretty marginal, at best.  Perhaps he needs a little push (maybe a petition calliing for his resignation)?

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    "Shared sacrifice!" said the spider to the fly.—Me

    by KingBolete on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:43:58 PM PDT

    •  Finland is just a plane ride away (0+ / 0-)

      The US long ago could have taken better role models for education and benchmarked to them. Finland is hardly test-crazy, it's used mostly as an in-class diagnostic tool. Yet Finnish students can run rings around US students by their 18th birthday. In math. In natural sciences. In reading. In languages. etc. Duncan has always had the option of exploring systems that actually work, but somehow lacks the curiosity to do so. When my kids were in an Espoo grammar school, they had a couple months where their teachers and every teacher and administrator in their school was twinned with a Chinese counterpart. Shanghai, apparently, was willing to pay for tickets and lodging of even classroom teachers to fly them to Finland and watch how a Finnish class operated. Part of this may be an echo of Viking or other Nordic culture that lets kids test there limits much more than in the US. Little kids use the bus and metro system, handle their own finances, and just are kind of expected to figure stuff out. And the school reciprocates by giving them space. Finnish kids very seldom have homework, indeed, the least of any European kids.

      It is not easy to see what you are not looking for, or to know what it is you do not know.

      by kosta on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:19:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It sounds like you have to combat the meme (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Hill PDX

    Your approach needs to be convincing the public that unions aren't the problem. Showing the high performance of wealthy suburban, unionized districts should help with this matter. I agree, unions are not a factor.

    But don't forget, this is a big part of the general Race to the Bottom and the very long campaign against organized labor. Arne Duncan has come of age in this time period, as have many politicians.

    Unfortunately there are a great many people who believe in this too and support attempts to stick it to teachers. What's happened in my city, probably 90% Democratic, is long, sustained campaigns by the rank-and-file voters to destroy the city school district teachers. They have voted for people on the school board to punish them and take away benefits. They believe that union workers "have it too good." And they still vote Democratic.

    You need to fight the memes before they captivate more people.

  •  Duncan views=Obama's views (0+ / 0-)
    President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan has basically Republican views on education
    Duncan shares Obama's views.  He is President Obama's secretary of education.  Duncan is not doing this type of stuff independently.  He has Obama's full support.  
  •  Republican or corporate stooge? (0+ / 0-)

    Repub's do not have the market cornered on choosing very, very pro business and anti consumer officials.  Unfortunately we will get the same type from Hillary if she is elected.  Can you even imagine someone like Warren selecting a corporate stooge?  That is why I choose 3rd party in the elections at times.  I will  not elect a corporate  stooge from either party. As long as we keep electing Dems who don't support consumers and the workers, we will keep getting them in office and choosing stooges like this.
    We need more Elizabeth Warrens! Not more Obama's or Hillary's imo.

    The legs of the crane have become short in the summer rain. Buson

    by Travelin Man on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:54:55 AM PDT

  •  Duncan's a fucking idiot. FIRE HIS ASS. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Why Keep Tenure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are so many good reasons why a teacher needs tenure.

    First of all, tenure is a basic job protection. It's a job protection every worker should have. Instead of working to attack tenure, work to get more effective administrators. Any teacher with tenure can be let go; it just means that teacher gets the right to due process and a hearing. I'm not sure what's bad about that. This means that if an administrator needs to fire a tenured teacher he/she needs to do a little homework. And no, let's put that canard to bed that tenure means lifetime employment. That may be true at the university level, but not for public school.

    It's a teacher's job sometimes to deliver bad news in the form of bad grades. Sometimes powerful parents will object to these grades and attack the teacher. Tenure protects the teacher so he/she can do a good job. As a colleague once told me, “If you take away my tenure, every kid gets an A.”

    Tenure also maintains the imperfect but basically sound idea that experienced teachers are more effective than inexperienced ones. I know that was true for me. It took me five or six years before I had developed my “style” and figured out how I was going to teach. Teaching is an art which takes a while to learn. Kids are complicated, needy, demanding, wonderful things, and to think that skill and maturity aren't important in dealing with kids is silly.

    Tenure means teachers can experiment with new ideas, and fail with them. Teachers can say unpopular things, like teaching evolution or climate change, or whatever might buck the community. That's what free speech is about, and tenure protects that.

    My son's untenured 4th grade teacher was just let go. She was loved by her students and the parents. This teacher rekindled a love of learning in my gifted but jaded child. However, like many talented, intelligent people people, she was disliked for her honesty. This is why teachers (and all other workers) need rights. Teaching is a hard job.

  •  If I have to choose between supporting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan ineffective teacher's right to a job and 30 kids right to an education, I'll choose the kids every time.

    I'm a die-hard Democrat, labor supporter and long-time supporter of Daily Kos. But Daily Kos is on the wrong side of this issue.

    Laura Clawson is essentially siding with a (mostly white) labor force against the interests of (mostly) children of color. I assume Laura is white as are most of Daily Kos' readers. So she may not see this from a racial lens, but the judge did and so do many others on the left.

    Daily Kos also receives hefty donations from labor foundations, including ones associated with the American Federation of Teaches. I assume some of these donations pay for Laura Clawson's salary.

    There's nothing wrong with this. But Laura Clawson--and Daily Kos--should be more transparent about this.

    By the way, the judge did not rule that tenure had to be destroy. Go read his decision. He ruled that tenure needed to be mended so it stopped violating the constitutional and civil rights of children. This could be done if the teachers' union was willing. It's not rocket science.

    •  It's not a right to a job though... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryduck, splintersawry

      I think it's right to due process, which we all should support.

      Even then, as far as 'educational reform' in this country, it's partially a manufactured controversy; a great pall of misdirection to make us ignore the real issues (people wanting to grab the immense amounts of money up for grabs in public education).

      That's part of what all this testing fever is about, money. It is also a convenient vehicle to break teachers' unions. It's a politically easy solution, and we all know that politically easy "solutions" only attack a symptom.

      That hypothetical ineffective teacher can be turned out if you harp on the administrator who is allowing them to remain them. Tenure does not prevent you from being fired; it only assures you of due process. And due process is something everyone should have.

    •  There is nothing wrong... (0+ / 0-)

      ...with taking Union money.

      I do think that we are missing the racial component to the Education Reform movement. Republican can and will use this as a wedge.

      We need to fix the problem before this happens.

    •  Destroying Tenure (0+ / 0-)

      What's the percentage of "bad" teachers? Is it 5%? 10%? So we destroy the rights of everyone because of this minority?

      Countries that have successful education systems do not witchhunt their teachers, and that's exactly what this is, a witchhunt. Most problems in American education stem from poverty. Let's fix this please, and stop this awful attack on teachers.

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