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Thread: Teacher Gatherings that close school

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Teacher Gatherings that close school

    In today's paper you indicated that district 70 is going to have a half day of school cancelled so that teachers and other employees can attend a presentation on school finance.

    While I agree that this is a very important topic I continue to be angry that only teachers believe that they can stop school, inconvenience parents, disrupt learning to have inservice, training, and now just information meetings.

    It proves the point that I have been making for decades, including when I was on the Colorado State Board of Education, that teachers do not act like professionals, but like unionized auto workers.

    Every other professional must use evenings, weekends, etc. to develop their professional skills, attend training, etc.
    In this case it would also seem valuable to have the presentation at school assemblies and let the students learn something as well, at least at the high school level.

    It will also be interesting to observe if this is unbiased information, or the first step of the unions, boards, and administrators to organize political action to support the new funding request.
    Last edited by edlyell; 10-12-2007 at 10:38 AM. Reason: spelling fix

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    Quote Originally Posted by edlyell View Post
    . . .It proves the point that I have been making for decades, including when I was on the Colorado State Board of Education, that teachers do not act like professionals, but like unionized auto workers.
    The Colorado Education Association ((+13038371500)) wonders why unionized workers behaving like unionized workers is evidently such a surprise?

    ZC
    "The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm." -- P.J. O'Rourke

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    The Colorado Education Association ((+13038371500)) wonders why unionized workers behaving like unionized workers is evidently such a surprise?
    In theory, "Professionals" don't "Unionize", so . . why not treat them just like Unionized Auto Workers . . ? Then we could demand "Quality Control" and accountability for the end product !

    Currently, Pueblo School District 60, or whatever they call it now, is coughing up (on average) about $26 an hour for a tenured Teacher with 10 years experience. Add in the benefit package of about $15 and you're up to $41 bucks an hour, plus or minus . .

    Which, by itself is OK, except . . IF that teacher isn't doing His/Her job and the students leave the class at the end of the school year knowing no more about the subject than the day they entered the classroom (other than it was dry and boring), Can we fire that teacher like Ford or GM would do to the guy that's supposed to put lug nuts on the front wheels, but doesn't? After all, the assembly line guy got a car with studs, and a tire and wheel on the hub . . so he can't blame anyone back down the line, when the wheels fall off, can he?

    We apparently forgot about the old Union Line from the twenties, "A fair wage for a day's work" . . or at least the "Day's Work" part . . Seemingly, a good share of the "Teachers" desire payment for the title and nothing for the product . .
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

  4. #4
    Digger Dan
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    What's wrong with education goes to the core of what is wrong with this country. How can a screwed up country produce good schools? How can screwed up schools produce a good country? Screwed up parents raise screwed up kids. Screwed up kids make screwed up schoolteachers, engineers, college professors, school board members, administrators and everything else that is screwed up. Blaming teachers for what is wrong with education is like blaming the snowball for melting in July. Likewise blaming the parents is just as dumb.
    Consolidation, bigger schools, and personal accountability are at the core of our educational demise. Years ago the small rural school was viewed as the low end of educational achievement. But what was interesting was the fact that rural eighth grade education elevated careers as much as city school education when percentages relative to numbers were compared. What has changed is that now small schools graduate a much higher percentage of students from high school, particularly the rural schools, and far exceed the number of city educated graduates from universities when percentage of populations are compared, despite the fact that they don't have access to all the "latest electives" and latest “educational gimmicks.”
    When" big time" consolidation set in all that happened was that there was enough screwed up kids that could congregate with other screwed up kids so that the school became flatulent with self identity groups whose interests were everywhere except education. That established the norms for the school. Likewise the parents identified the same way.
    Couldn't do that in the small school. You had no choice but to mix it up with a guy or gal who was very different. No chance to develop self interest idiosyncrasies.
    Class size is not the problem---school size is. Six classes of thirty students each in a big school leave little chance for attention to individuals. So you end up with 180 different students from a school of 500 to 2,000 with a new set of different students each year. While in a small school you may have thirty-five students from a school of 100 to 150 students. In the bigger school you would, in most cases, be teaching the same subject six times a day, while in the small school you may be teaching four different levels of the same subject and perhaps a couple of other different classes. As a result the teacher is familiar with all the students in the small school.

    In the big school the kid is a number—in the small school it's Jack and Jane. Their mom and dad have names, and they know what the teacher is up to and the teacher knows what they are up to. You got eye ball to eye ball accountability and the ethics improve “all way round.”
    Go to any big school and you don’t have one big herd—what you have is many herds. Each herd has it’s special identity—race—ethnicity—faith—socioeconomic—gang—d rugs—whatever.
    Many people don’t like the small school, as you have to conform to the educational environment to survive. That's good, as in the process you learn new tools that help stem the “screwed up” movement.
    Years ago schools saved many screwed up kids. Today they often promote screwing up.
    “IT’S THE SIZE” that makes the difference in a diversified population.
    The fly in the ointment of small schools is the lack of population diversity and that can to be addressed by effective teaching.
    Last edited by Digger Dan; 11-02-2007 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Errors

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    Quote Originally Posted by large View Post
    Which, by itself is OK, except . . IF that teacher isn't doing His/Her job and the students leave the class at the end of the school year knowing no more about the subject than the day they entered the classroom (other than it was dry and boring), Can we fire that teacher like Ford or GM would do to the guy that's supposed to put lug nuts on the front wheels, but doesn't? After all, the assembly line guy got a car with studs, and a tire and wheel on the hub . . so he can't blame anyone back down the line, when the wheels fall off, can he?
    . .
    The lug nuts don't talk back and disrupt the process.

    I believe if they were to do the research that parent involvement and the overall motivation of the students has a lot to do with a students education. Sometimes there are just students who don't want to learn or could care less and there is nothing that a teacher can do to change that students perspective.

    I am not saying there are not any "Bad" or "Lazy" teachers but in that same breath there are a lot of "Bad" or "Lazy" Students.

  6. #6
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    In reply to Dan's thesis, smaller classes indeed make it easier for the teacher to teach, and for the students to learn. Simply because the teacher can spend more "hands On" time with each student. When your class is over about 12-15 students, a teacher can only, in most cases and subjects, "Throw it out there" and those who are receptive to learning will "Get it" and those who are uninterested or uneducated previously, won't . .

    However . . The average taxpayer won't shoulder the small school, small classroom theory, simply because it would require twice to three times the schools and staff . . with largely redundant administrative personnel. While "Neighborhood Schools" might be the answer to some of the problems, we're drawing more or less on history here. The "One Room School House" of yesteryear is often thrown up as an indicator of our current failures, concerning achievement failure, dropouts, and other failings assigned to the contemporary Educational systems.

    And, as often as not the old rural One Room School did it's job . . with those who regularly attended. Those who didn't weren't well educated, nor were records kept about them . . So those who left School in their seventh or eighth year, to work on the farm or the family store, back then, were just "Less educated", not "Dropouts" . . And as the human urbanized, he was forced to consolidate his educational system . . And the "Teen Ager" was born . . and when he/she decided to work instead of go to school, they became "Dropouts" . . Another descriptive word like Teenagers . . and as Economics has changed the need for an education, or actually demanded that everyone have one, we have begun to see the need to have everyone "Educated" . . and we're looking for someone/something to blame because almost 50% of those who start in the system, "drop Out" somewhere along the way. Most often in later Middle School or the first couple years of High School, and we wonder why . .

    The biggest reason most kids "Drop out" is stupidly simple . . They don't Have a Third Grade Education! And because of that, almost everything they hear and see in any classes after that is literally Greek to them . . And by the time they're in their Teens, they are told they don't have to go to High school, They can get a GED . . and it's just as good as going four years and getting a diploma . . Easy enough, why go to school? Unfortunately, the GED Test isn't in "Third Grade" . . So we have adults trying to earn a living that aren't any smarter than a third grader . . And Trust me, I know that for a fact. I've both taught and employed them . .

    And . . When we spend as much energy teaching the basics in Kindergarten thru the Sixth Grade, teaching and fomenting competition, with little or no social or feel good classes, preparing kids for secondary school and college beyond that, and quit blaming "Bad Schools" and all the other Unionized bullsh*t that's been whined about for over 30 years (while education has produced fewer academics and notable scientists, and more whiners), only then will we see a turnaround in the results . .

    As far as the "lug nut" comparison . . If you start out right, you have far less chance of getting "bad" kids than you do Bad Lug Nuts . . but that takes good teachers, and better parents . .

    But . . I'll throw this in just for glee . . Most of the guys who discovered all the neat sh*t we enjoy today, barely had high school educations, went to Europe or the Pacific, saved the world at a terrible expense of American lives, and then came back, learned what they needed to know, and invented the life we know now . .
    Last edited by large; 11-02-2007 at 02:40 PM.
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

  7. #7
    Digger Dan
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    Generally agree with you Large on this one. However no need for the redundant administrator in a small school---that can be fixed--fire them. When I spoke of small schools Large, I didn't mean smaller classes. That may result in some cases. My experience would indicate that it's as easy to teach 20 kids as 10 because there is familiarity with all the kids in the small school as they all progress through your classroom unless you happen to be some specialist. In fact five to ten kids are not enough for a good class. Speaking of specialists my experience with the "ninth grade English specialist" of the large schools, now called Language Arts specialist, is that they function in a lock step system of so called "universal requirement" testing that they function more like a programmer than a teacher.
    Speaking of Middle Schools---what a mess they are in---too big and Large you are right on here as they have been fed so much ego building that feeling their importance is more important than hard work.
    Funny thing---rural school teachers get less pay but produce more and most negotiate directly with the board--maybe they would even do better if they had a business director, and the teachers, under the direction of the board ran the school. There are a few places where that is taking hold---know of some very successful charter schools that use that model.
    Large I smell a teacher in each of our backgrounds.

  8. #8
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    It's really hard to separate "Small Classes" from "Small Schools" . . and class size DOES count . . no matter the subject. Unless you're some special teacher with a big Red S on your chest or have about 12 hours of classroom time daily . . Or you're into the "Mainstreaming Theory" . . (which doesn't work well on either side of the "spectrum of ability")

    Simply put, the smaller the cl*sses the more effective the teacher, because the teacher can teach each student at that student's learning ability . . Which creates the conundrum we see currently.

    28 to 32 students per class in High School might be fine, if the subject is taught like large College or University level classes are taught, an hour or two of lecture on theory, and scads of homework, with a test to follow . . or even worse, a written thesis at the end of the course which accounts for 50 to 80% of the grade. BUT, you must have 28 to 32 students that can read and comprehend. You must have 28 to 32 students that want to be there. You must have 28 to 32 students that want to learn what is being taught so badly they'll sit through a probably monotonous hour and then spend the time required to do the reading and written homework.

    It's a lot easier to teach 10 to 15 the same thing in an hour because 3 or 4 out of 10 didn't come into your class prepared by past education to absorb 50% of what you're teaching . . and if put into the 30 pupil lecture hall . . won't be there tomorrow . . simply because while they may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer, they will soon figure out, that hour is a waste of their time and the district's space . .

    Been there, done that, and got the T-Shirt . .

    On the subject of the inmates running the asylum . . pretty much how it is now . . Pueblo's Teacher's Union, The CEA and the NEA tend to separate the teachers from the Administration in both intent and result. Neither arrive at their goals because their goals are so far apart, and in the end, neither are capable of providing an adequate product, which is a well educated child . . They would much rather argue about Pay and Benefits, and how many hours they have to be on Premises, or how much paper they can have . . And the Administration's no better, Harebrained ideas, alliances with colleges and universities, etc . . but not much effort in making sure Susie and Johnny can read and comprehend at their current grade levels . .

    And while you can (and will) blame the parents for a lack of help or concern, If . . The Teachers and the Administrations made their Elementary Classes places of basic learning, and made sure each student learned the basics before going on, Your "Drop Out" numbers would plummet!

    Teach 'em how to fingerpaint, basketweave, and play the Trombone in Middle and High School, if they still are curious . . And I'm sure they will be . .
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

  9. #9
    Digger Dan
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    You may be right Large, but I sure have seen a lot more teachers with the BIG S on their chest in the rural schools than in the big uns, percentage wise that is. Too many in the obese schools have the IG left out on their T-shirts.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by edlyell View Post
    While I agree that this is a very important topic I continue to be angry that only teachers believe that they can stop school, inconvenience parents, disrupt learning to have inservice, training, and now just information meetings.
    Ummm, I am a teacher, and I must tell you that we were told to go to this gathering by upper ad. In fact, schools were taking role to make sure we were there.

    That being said, there is useful discussion in this thread. Small schools, or schools within schools to guarantee a smaller student population, are a key ingredient to achievement. The reason is that smaller staffs can collaborate on individual students. Small schools are also more effecient at course correction when some strategy isn't working. Students in small schools often see teachers multiple times through their four years, and relationships must be developed for success. Just a few quick reasons why small schools work better for the general student population than larger ones.

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