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(Yahoo)   Gov Christie proposes making teaching high school more like BEING back in high school by turning teacher evaluations into a popularity contest   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 137
    More: Asinine, art teachers, njea, school vouchers, student achievement, pushback, school superintendents, teacher evaluations, teachers  
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3836 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Apr 2011 at 2:26 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-04-08 04:04:29 PM  
patrick767:

Keep being an ignorant fool who thinks teaching is easy and slashing teacher's salaries will improve education. I'm sure that will work out well for our future.


And you keep being a gobby prat, who puts words in others mouths and demagogues issues.
 
2011-04-08 04:08:47 PM  
SN1987a goes boom Quote 2011-04-08 03:13:05 PM
Dirtybird971: "How do you test a music teacher? How do you test the art teacher? And don't you test the special ed teacher a little differently?" he said.
jfbnr24
Special ed classes are very different in the high schools because they are multidisciplinary. The same teacher covers all subjects with the same group of students and often the class has freshmen through senior in the same class. On the elementary level it is more comparable to mainstream classrooms but still has multigrade in one class (usually K-3 and 4-6 but varies by school and district.
Kohl
You wouldn't really test a Sp.Ed. teacher on graduation, standardized tests, or college acceptance rates when their students can range from high functioning to potato.

My cousin teaches special ed at a local (elementary, I think) school. You can't use standardized tests on any of those kids, because they all have widely varying problems. That said, how do you judge a teacher in that field by or even begin to ask the quality of education someone with severe autism is getting? Or any of the other disabilities Special Ed teachers have to deal with?


I realize the students won't be tested the same way as others but I don't see why the teachers wouldn't be held to similar standards. Their students do still graduate, go on to college,(if only a trade school) jobs etc. And more likely than not their students' opinions would be more based in provable facts then the "normal" students who tend to conspire and malign others more readily.
personally, I don't think it's necessary at all and that Fat Chris "my parents have no imagination" Christie is only doing what lawyers do, create shiat out of nothing so they and theirs can get paid.

/never voted for him, shuns those that did.
 
2011-04-08 04:11:16 PM  

PiffMan420: JerseyTim: SpeshilEdjukashin: The problem with having a thread like this on Fark is that nobody outside of New Jersey knows just how screwed up the education system is here. Things need to change. Christie wants to change them.

I live in Jersey. The high schools around where I live are terrific. The one in the town I live in is OK, nothing special. But, I'm surrounded by good-to-great schools.

You live in Bergen County, right? The students attending public schools in Paterson or Camden might see things a bit different than you.

The economic disparity in New Jersey can be downright surreal at times.


I understand that, Mike Hunt, if that IS your real name, is this a teacher problem or a larger problem?
 
2011-04-08 04:11:59 PM  

Kohl: If you're a geometry teacher, your job is to present information. If you give a lecture explaining that the circumference of a circle is determined by pi*diameter and your students don't study and write pi*radius, you only have so much control over that. Pretending that the teacher is ultimately and solely responsible for student performance is absolutely ignorant of how education actually works.


Teaching is far more than presentation of information. If you are a teacher and define your role that way, then you should just eat a farking bullet now. A teacher should engage his/her students and help evolve their interest in the subject matter, and failing that, provide them with the tools necessary for the students to educate themselves about what dies interest them.

I had great teachers who invested themselves in their students, and I had awful teachers who didn't give two monkey shiats. As a student, I could tell the difference almost immediately. I tried to gravitate towards the instructors who involved me in my own learning.

I don't hold teachers "ultimately and solely" responsible, as the students and their parents also shoulder a huge load of the blame.

When I was in college, there were quite a few bubbleheads (of both sexes) majoring in education (I didn't), "because it was easy and a great way to land an easy job", even though we were in a "right-to-work" state. Having relocated to states with strong teachers unions, I have seen how intensely selfish many of these "instructors" are, with a teacher strikes happening in a different school district at least once or twice annually.

As a taxpaying citizen without children of my own, I see my neighbors each put 2 or 3 children through public school on my nickel. Do you not see the inequality inherent in that? And, my property taxes keep going up to pay not for educational infrastructure, but increasing teacher salaries. So, I say fark 'em.
 
2011-04-08 04:14:05 PM  
tufty Quote 2011-04-08 04:04:29 PM
patrick767:

Keep being an ignorant fool who thinks teaching is easy and slashing teacher's salaries will improve education. I'm sure that will work out well for our future.

And you keep being a gobby prat, who puts words in others mouths and demagogues issues.


ha-ha-ha gobby prat.

/loves british insults
 
2011-04-08 04:20:24 PM  

SpeshilEdjukashin: Oh please, the NJEA is worse than the UAW. Instead of spending way too much money making crappy cars that can't compete, our teachers are spending way too much money making workers who can't compete. There is no excuse for spending as much as we do and still churning out burger flippers and lifetime Walmart greeters.


Obvious troll is obvious.

/NJ = more PhDs per capita than any other state.
 
2011-04-08 04:22:02 PM  

Krazikarl: But just because the system needs some changes does NOT mean that all changes are good. I see so many people arguing "the system needs changes, and this guy is proposing changes, so it must be a good idea!" or something along those lines. Thats just bad logic.


Woah there, partner. That's conservative talk!
 
2011-04-08 04:25:39 PM  

Clete Orris:
Teaching is far more than presentation of information. If you are a teacher and define your role that way, then you should just eat a farking bullet now. A teacher should engage his/her students and help evolve their interest in the subject matter, and failing that, provide them with the tools necessary for the students to educate themselves about what dies interest them.

I had great teachers who invested themselves in their students, and I had awful teachers who didn't give two monkey shiats. As a student, I could tell the difference almost immediately. I tried to gravitate towards the instructors who involved me in my own learning.

I don't hold teachers "ultimately and solely" responsible, as the students and their parents also shoulder a huge load of the blame.

When I was in college, there were quite a few bubbleheads (of both sexes) majoring in education (I didn't), "because it was easy and a great way to land an easy job", even though we were in a "right-to-work" state. Having relocated to states with strong teachers unions, I have seen how intensely selfish many of these "instructors" are, with a teacher strikes happening in a different school district at least once or twice annually.

As a taxpaying citizen without children of my own, I see my neighbors each put 2 or 3 children through public school on my nickel. Do you not see the inequality inherent in that? And, my property taxes keep going up to pay not for educational infrastructure, but increasing teacher salaries. So, I say fark 'em.


You're right in that it is more than "presentation" but that was meant to contrast your ludicrous reinterpretation of the analogy meaning that a teacher with bad students is equivalent to a product that doesn't sell. Everything you're describing is something that teachers do: engage, provide tools, etc. That IS what happens, but as you point out, you have no children of your own, and evidently forgot what it's like in schools, that not all students want to be there and aren't going to be pushed out of that mindset by any teacher. It's not like Stand And Deliver where the bad kids are just waiting for "good teachers."

I don't know why you insist that striking for keeping benefits of your job is particularly negative. Perhaps coming from the perspective of a career that has no such power to strike, and you just have to deal with having your benefits cut it seems unusual, but having your benefits cut because the recent change in government leadership installed a governor with a grudge against unions seems like a fine reason to fight back if you can.

As far as why you, as a non-child-having citizen pay for public education, it's even worse than that: if you were to calculate the percentage of tax revenue each person pays that goes to education, you'd find that most people don't pay in their lifetime the amount of state taxes that go to educate 2 kids for 13 years [or more, if they go to state subsidized college]. So the reason you and I and everyone else pays to educate other people's children is that there is some value in having an educated population. Just like there's a value in having a standing army or paying for a highway to be built somewhere in the state that you might never use. I mean, philosophically, we can argue all day about whether we are our brother's keeper, but that's why it is this way.
 
2011-04-08 04:49:54 PM  

Krazikarl: Its complicated, but the solution isnt to get rid of unions. Can you imagine what would happen to teachers in Republican run states if they didnt have unions? It would be a bloodbath.


THIS.

Trenton's thuggery is only channeling envy. Yes, that's right - Christie is a mere thug given the powers of Trenton.
 
2011-04-08 04:52:17 PM  

GAT_00: Yes, because teachers have just loads of spare time. If you knew any teachers, and by comments such as that I find it safe to assume you don't, you'd know that they tend to spend at least 2-3 hours a night grading and preparing material. I'm sure they don't use any other possible time, like time set aside for prep period, to get ready for the day


Prep periods work differently in high schools and elementary schools so it depends which one we are talking about specifically. Most teachers I know (and yes I know plenty) currently use their prep period as you say (if they still have a prep period and this was something cut in many districts with the budget cuts across the educational systems). I don't think teachers would like the idea of using prep time for this, but they don't like Gov. Christie's plan anyway. If the plan the Gov is looking for would include peer evaluations, then I was merely suggesting they should include peer observations as well and the only effective way to do that during the school day is during prep period or course release time with sub covering the teacher's class.
 
2011-04-08 04:53:13 PM  
Teacher's unions only serve (a) their glorious leaders and (b) the most lazy and moronic teachers. Successful teachers are already paid quite well, it's the unsuccessful ones who don't want there to be any way of firing them. At the very least, tenure has to go, it's stupid to be unfireable after only two years on the job.

Keep in mind that as a whole, teachers score worse academically than just about any other group of college graduates. They're paid significantly more than anyone else of equal academic qualifications. Given, teaching is a bit of a mind-numbing job if you only view it as work, but one of the reasons it can be so boring is that the teachers' unions do their best to stomp all innovation. I've read about several cases of them taking over school boards just so they can shut down results-based programs that reward teachers who are doing a better job. And they constantly lobby in favor of liberals who vote to increase school bureaucracy and union powers, never mind that the extra money COULD be going towards textbooks and other materials.

I hate unions in general, but I'm not going to spend an hour writing why.
 
2011-04-08 04:58:00 PM  

Dirtybird971: SN1987a goes boom Quote 2011-04-08 03:13:05 PM
Dirtybird971: "How do you test a music teacher? How do you test the art teacher? And don't you test the special ed teacher a little differently?" he said.
jfbnr24
Special ed classes are very different in the high schools because they are multidisciplinary. The same teacher covers all subjects with the same group of students and often the class has freshmen through senior in the same class. On the elementary level it is more comparable to mainstream classrooms but still has multigrade in one class (usually K-3 and 4-6 but varies by school and district.
Kohl
You wouldn't really test a Sp.Ed. teacher on graduation, standardized tests, or college acceptance rates when their students can range from high functioning to potato.

My cousin teaches special ed at a local (elementary, I think) school. You can't use standardized tests on any of those kids, because they all have widely varying problems. That said, how do you judge a teacher in that field by or even begin to ask the quality of education someone with severe autism is getting? Or any of the other disabilities Special Ed teachers have to deal with?

I realize the students won't be tested the same way as others but I don't see why the teachers wouldn't be held to similar standards. Their students do still graduate, go on to college,(if only a trade school) jobs etc. And more likely than not their students' opinions would be more based in provable facts then the "normal" students who tend to conspire and malign others more readily.
personally, I don't think it's necessary at all and that Fat Chris "my parents have no imagination" Christie is only doing what lawyers do, create shiat out of nothing so they and theirs can get paid.

/never voted for him, shuns those that did.


In this discussion it looks like all special eduation classes are being lumped into one group. There are different types of special education. Mild, moderate, and severe. My ex teaches in a Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED) high school class. Those students do take standardized tests and are required to pass the CASHEE to graduate. Some go to college but most go into vocational ed or sometimes military after graduation. My mom's friend teaches in a severely handicapped class where the students can't even go tot eh bathroom themselves. These students do not take standardized tests. The evaluation system should take into account the different abilities in the classroom if you are evaluating special education teachers.
 
2011-04-08 05:06:12 PM  

j0ndas: Teacher's unions only serve (a) their glorious leaders and (b) the most lazy and moronic teachers. Successful teachers are already paid quite well, it's the unsuccessful ones who don't want there to be any way of firing them. At the very least, tenure has to go, it's stupid to be unfireable after only two years on the job.

Keep in mind that as a whole, teachers score worse academically than just about any other group of college graduates. They're paid significantly more than anyone else of equal academic qualifications. Given, teaching is a bit of a mind-numbing job if you only view it as work, but one of the reasons it can be so boring is that the teachers' unions do their best to stomp all innovation. I've read about several cases of them taking over school boards just so they can shut down results-based programs that reward teachers who are doing a better job. And they constantly lobby in favor of liberals who vote to increase school bureaucracy and union powers, never mind that the extra money COULD be going towards textbooks and other materials.

I hate unions in general, but I'm not going to spend an hour writing why.


This is almost impossibly stupid. Teacher's unions serve the collective interests of its members, including adequate salaries, job security, and retirement/health benefits. Successful teachers are paid what they are because of the unions. Private education pay is rarely commensurate with the local school district, so I'm a bit curious where these successful, non-union teachers are getting paid well.

Bad teachers are NOT unfireable, and it's blatantly false to think so: if that were true, then those teacher-student sex scandal teachers would still be employed. It just requires a significantly larger degree of documentation and a better basis than "you clocked in three minutes late and I don't like your attitude, you're fired."

How are the unions explicitly responsible for the lack of innovation? They don't set curriculum at the state or district level. They don't write the standardized tests that form the basis of pacing guides. If your entire theory on this is that they oppose merit-based pay, it's because forming an objective standard for a teacher's performance around how students perform [considering the extreme variability in ability, effort and attitude among the students] is not only incredibly simplistic, it doesn't work at all. The teacher who has nothing but honors students will constantly outperform the teacher with the "legally required to be here because of truancy laws" students. Merit-based pay programs do nothing to enhance innovation, they just become a confusing mess of HOW to measure educational outcomes.

I'll let alone the fact that you hate employees unions for unspecified reasons and just focus on the fact that your opinions on teachers unions are formed mostly around falsehood and conjecture.
 
2011-04-08 05:30:40 PM  
Krazikarl
But just because the system needs some changes does NOT mean that all changes are good. I see so many people arguing "the system needs changes, and this guy is proposing changes, so it must be a good idea!" or something along those lines. Thats just bad logic.

In PA, we had some autodialed messages going around from a group called FreedomWorks or some crap, holding a "discussion" on "education reform". Seems like this is some kind of fad. I go to their website, and they're pushing a bill for school vouchers. Better yet, they listed 10 reasons why the bill should be supported.

The list was a joke. Most of the points were blatant logical fallacies, some of them so bad that they must have been intentional (something like # Apples + # Oranges = # Total Apples). Some were outright lies (e.g. that spending per pupil had "skyrocketed", when in fact it has been decreasing for at least the past five years). They provided no real data to back up their assertions that student performance was a direct result of teacher performance (instead relying only on their inherently circular statement by defining teacher performance in terms of student performance). They didn't even mention data that shows strong correlations between performance and, say, family income or family education. To top it off, the bill itself does nothing more than provide private schools with a larger pool of candidates with absolutely no requirements on the private schools. It's essentially a no-strings-attached subsidy.

The scary thing is that these people can't even form a sound argument and yet they're trying to tell us how to fix education.

Are there crappy teachers? Most certainly. Are there crappy administrators? More of them than crappy teachers. However, applying vouchers like this is like pulling weeds with dynamite.

Do teachers get paid enough? No. This job is one of the most important in the country. These are the people who are going to educate the next generation of workers, scientists, teachers, and most importantly voters. Paying more isn't going to magically turn crap teachers into good ones, but it certainly will help attract better candidates to a job that is time-consuming, stressful, and (in cases like this) thankless.
 
2011-04-08 05:40:47 PM  

Kohl: blah blah blah blah there is some value in having an educated population. blah blah blah


I would agree with you, if our younger generations were being educated with all the money that has been thrown into that "process". However, empirical studies have shown a marked decline in literacy alone, much less math acumen. And, as a nation, our "educational system" is lagging far behind lesser countries. But, like all horribly mismanaged social programs, the political solution is to throw even more money at it.
 
2011-04-08 06:02:48 PM  

Clete Orris: Kohl: blah blah blah blah there is some value in having an educated population. blah blah blah

I would agree with you, if our younger generations were being educated with all the money that has been thrown into that "process". However, empirical studies have shown a marked decline in literacy alone, much less math acumen. And, as a nation, our "educational system" is lagging far behind lesser countries. But, like all horribly mismanaged social programs, the political solution is to throw even more money at it.


While I'm not entirely sure what you're defining as literacy, since it can't be basic literacy [most developed Western nations are consistently 99% there] perhaps you're concerned about the fact that there are more high school and college graduates with apparently lower complex critical thinking skills [a component of which is literacy] and really, I'm right there with you on that. I think what you'll find is a primary difference is between us and the 'lesser countries' is that we treat education as compulsory, whereas other countries do not.

If you're selecting for education only students who want to be there or are facing an alternative poverty or farm work to motivate them, you'll find students' interest in their own education increases dramatically. As was pointed out earlier in this thread, students from regions that are thought of as being educationally disadvantaged have fairly high SAT scores since it's more likely only the students who can achieve in school will take the test, whereas in other regions all students will be pressured to take the test.

Now, as far as the program being mismanaged, or perhaps not spending their money as efficiently as possible, we could eliminate English Language Learner classes from the curriculum to free up resources, or eliminate Sp.Ed., or make school non-compulsory beyond the age of, say, 12. Again, the issue is, as you so eloquently summarized as "blah blah blah" that there's a vested public interest in teaching even the children of border jumpers, retards, and forcing teenagers to be in school even in they don't want to. Yes, a lot of money is spent educating students who come to school without English language skills, with diminished cognitive ability, or even just a teenaged DGAF attitude, and the school takes them all.
 
2011-04-08 06:24:48 PM  

Kohl: This is almost impossibly stupid. Teacher's unions serve the collective interests of its members, including adequate salaries, job security, and retirement/health benefits. Successful teachers are paid what they are because of the unions. Private education pay is rarely commensurate with the local school district, so I'm a bit curious where these successful, non-union teachers are getting paid well.


Unions base pay off seniority, so that members who've been in the longest and therefore paid the most money to the union can make the most money in return. What they DON'T do is allow any form of results-based compensation, because then the newest teacher on the block could be making more than someone with 20 years in. So yes, a lot of teachers are making more money than they would be, but no, it isn't the innovators. As I said before, teachers' unions have gone out of their way to stomp results-based programs - even when they're bonuses layered on top of regular pay.

Bad teachers are NOT unfireable, and it's blatantly false to think so: if that were true, then those teacher-student sex scandal teachers would still be employed. It just requires a significantly larger degree of documentation and a better basis than "you clocked in three minutes late and I don't like your attitude, you're fired."

Academically, they are unfireable after two years on the job. There are dozens of teachers who are paid to sit in a room all day and do nothing, because they're so incompetent they're considered dangerous to their students, and the cost of firing them would be more than the cost of paying them for life. A teacher pretty much has to attack or have sex with a student to get fired, or not show up for work at all.

How are the unions explicitly responsible for the lack of innovation? They don't set curriculum at the state or district level. They don't write the standardized tests that form the basis of pacing guides. If your entire theory on this is that they oppose merit-based pay, it's because forming an objective standard for a teacher's performance around how students perform [considering the extreme variability in ability, effort and attitude among the students] is not only incredibly simplistic, it doesn't work at all. The teacher who has nothing but honors students will constantly outperform the teacher with the "legally required to be here because of truancy laws" students. Merit-based pay programs do nothing to enhance innovation, they just become a confusing mess of HOW to measure educational outcomes.

This is a fallacy. Testing, while it does suck up valuable teaching time, is far superior to not testing, since it holds teachers accountable. Given the rather high percentage of lousy teachers, the benefits overall outweigh the costs. And if used comparatively as opposed to absolutely, test scores will still be useful regardless of how badly-educated your students were to start off with. If they show a significant improvement, you did a good job; if not, you didn't. There are numerous examples of skilled teachers taking inner-city children with a 3rd-grade education and bringing them up to high school-level in a single year - it's just a matter of caring enough and being a good enough teacher so your students are motivated to work hard.

I'll let alone the fact that you hate employees unions for unspecified reasons and just focus on the fact that your opinions on teachers unions are formed mostly around falsehood and conjecture.

If teachers are not being paid enough, then private enterprise will hire them away and pay them more. Fact of the matter is that a lot of teachers are being paid far too much based on seniority and some are being far too little, and a lot of incompetents are being kept around rather than being replaced with better teachers. Unions may have been badly needed back in the Depression era, when monopolistic corporations controlled everything and workers were dirt cheap and often worked in dangerous conditions, but today they're leeches only here to garner money and power for their leadership. What happens when times are tough and everyone's job is worth less? Do the unions agree to take less pay? No, they have the schools fire whoever has been in the least years, regardless of ability. Doesn't matter if this makes for larger class sizes and impacts student performance, since without results-based bonuses, the people with the most years in continue to make the most money regardless of ability. Sure, this makes sense from the union point of view, but it screws over children and innovative new teachers (who then get hired by private schools and produce better results with far less money).
 
2011-04-08 06:49:44 PM  

j0ndas: If teachers are not being paid enough, then private enterprise will hire them away and pay them more. Fact of the matter is that a lot of teachers are being paid far too much based on seniority and some are being far too little, and a lot of incompetents are being kept around rather than being replaced with better teachers. Unions may have been badly needed back in the Depression era, when monopolistic corporations controlled everything and workers were dirt cheap and often worked in dangerous conditions, but today they're leeches only here to garner money and power for their leadership. What ha ...


No one said teachers aren't being paid enough, did they? The idea that private enterprise is going to save anything is a pretty big joke, especially since the private enterprise solution is just to dish public school spending to private schools in the form of vouchers. Unless you want it to be so that only people who can afford tuition to go. Regardless, school vouchers ask for the money that would be spent, not the money that someone actually pays in the form of taxes, which as has already been discussed, seems quite unfair that our taxes would be distributed to people with kids to buy luxuries.

As far as the usefulness of the union, I would agree that the purpose they served when they originated is much more dramatic [health and safety] than today, but the union itself is just a figurehead of the collectivist nature of employees now. Some unions in times of financial hardship have voted to take paycuts across the board and obviously some have not: that's entirely their prerogative. If layoffs happen, then yes, it's ordered by seniority except in cases of extreme need [say, you're going to layoff the entire math department because they're all low in seniority or the only teacher qualified to teach certain AP classes] but then again the alternative is you'd have a string of older teachers who would be shoved out and unlikely to find work. Unions place value on keeping these people in their jobs since they have mortgages and children they're paying for, whereas young teachers aren't so underwater if they get laid off.

As far as the teachers that go to private schools after being laid off, well, it's tough. I mean, I have friends who got laid off out here, and unless they were in a less populated subject [math and science usually] they ended up looking for alternatives like private school. Does that mean public schools don't have young, innovative teachers? Not at all. Then again, private schools for the most part lack the same hiring standards public schools do [like actually possessing a teaching credential] so private schools can be hit or miss. There are some great private schools, to be sure, but then again, for profit primary schools can be just as shady as degree mill colleges.
 
2011-04-08 07:05:22 PM  

PiffMan420: JerseyTim: SpeshilEdjukashin: The problem with having a thread like this on Fark is that nobody outside of New Jersey knows just how screwed up the education system is here. Things need to change. Christie wants to change them.

I live in Jersey. The high schools around where I live are terrific. The one in the town I live in is OK, nothing special. But, I'm surrounded by good-to-great schools.

You live in Bergen County, right? The students attending public schools in Paterson or Camden might see things a bit different than you.

The economic disparity in New Jersey can be downright surreal at times.


And due to Abbott rulings those school districts...Paterson and Camden are better funded....so throw them more money till the grades of those students catch up with lesser funded Bergen county districts?
 
2011-04-08 07:15:02 PM  
AS A WHOLE, however, private schools far outperform public schools, and for less money per student. They have to be more efficient, since they have one important thing that public schools don't have - competition. A public school has to openly and blatantly fail to be shut down, a private school just has to show slightly less results than the next school over.

Obviously, school vouchers won't solve everything overnight, but one thing they will do is put power in the hand of parents to choose which schools their children go to (and therefore which schools get a hefty chunk of taxpayer money). Bad schools will fail within the first year or two and be taken over by good schools, which means that there will be HUGE pressure to fire incompetents and replace them with skilled teachers. You'll also see giant, centralized schools with large class sizes replaced with more local schools with smaller class sizes, since test scores directly correlate to class size (above 30 students or so per class). The centralization of the public school system back some years ago was a really bad idea for a number of reasons.

Short version: School vouchers -> power in hands of parents -> pressure on schools to improve -> firing of bad teachers -> the effective disembowling of the teachers' unions.
 
2011-04-08 07:25:06 PM  

j0ndas: AS A WHOLE, however, private schools far outperform public schools, and for less money per student. They have to be more efficient, since they have one important thing that public schools don't have - competition. A public school has to openly and blatantly fail to be shut down, a private school just has to show slightly less results than the next school over.

Obviously, school vouchers won't solve everything overnight, but one thing they will do is put power in the hand of parents to choose which schools their children go to (and therefore which schools get a hefty chunk of taxpayer money). Bad schools will fail within the first year or two and be taken over by good schools, which means that there will be HUGE pressure to fire incompetents and replace them with skilled teachers. You'll also see giant, centralized schools with large class sizes replaced with more local schools with smaller class sizes, since test scores directly correlate to class size (above 30 students or so per class). The centralization of the public school system back some years ago was a really bad idea for a number of reasons.

Short version: School vouchers -> power in hands of parents -> pressure on schools to improve -> firing of bad teachers -> the effective disembowling of the teachers' unions.


Going to have to stop you there since you've landed square on a completely baseless and untrue assertion. Most private don't even participate in comparative measures of student achievement. No state standardized tests, for a start.

Regardless of what private schools end up with public money, try transferring all the kids who don't care to a private school and see what happens to their standards. If your plan is just to filter less money to education and expect better results through some sort of free market magic, I've got some bad news for you.

What's really, really funny about what you think is a key to a private school's success, smaller class size, is COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of the concept of a private school. Private schools have small class sizes because they're exclusive, and they're exclusive because they're expensive. If every private school had to take all the local kids, they'd be overrun and packed to the rafters, just like public schools are now.

The complete and wholesale transfer of all students and public money to private schools would end up looking exactly like public schools do now, except you'd have a large private interest skimming off the top for profits. The only foreseeable benefits in your plan would be that a private interest would then be allowed to treat its employees badly without having to worry about offering job security or benefits.

Shot version: school vouchers are a large transfer of wealth from the public to private education companies -> same results when their classes are overcrowded too -> won't be able to attract good teachers and keep class sizes small since they will have to decide between salary and class size, too.

There is absolutely nothing special about private schools apart from the fact that not everyone can go there and the student population comes from a better socio-economic background. Take all of the public school students and see what happens to these schools.
 
2011-04-08 07:34:48 PM  
What do private schools have to do with public schools?

Wouldn't you want to keep it that way?
 
2011-04-08 07:40:34 PM  

Kohl: Most private don't even participate in comparative measures of student achievement. No state standardized tests, for a start.


Many private schools do participate in "comparative measures of student achievement" just not the state standardized tests. Some private schools in California adopted the Core Curriculum programs focused on national standards rather than adopting the pitifully lacking state standards of California. They use national standardized tests instead of the California state tests, but they still use "comparable measures of assessment" they just don't compare themselves to the local public schools - for very good reason.
 
2011-04-08 07:47:11 PM  
Watching people propose to "fix" education and deficits with strategies sure to fail by addressing the wrong things is amusing. It's sad, too, but I prefer to be mostly amused. I don't lose any sleep that way.
 
2011-04-08 08:17:46 PM  
There is some merit to the argument that public schools have to put up with more (for instance, children with fatal allergies). However, I rather doubt that the children who go to public schools are markedly more stupid on average than the children who go to private schools. They're just taught a lot less rigorously and in a less-organized manner. Studies have shown that studying hard raises your measured IQ (duh), so it shouldn't be a big surprise that children who score well on tests also score well on IQ tests. Studies also show that class sizes inversely correlate to test scores when those class sizes are over 30 students or so, and also that having children wake up earlier in the morning (busing long distances...) inversely correlates to test scores. Both in turn correlate to centralized schools as opposed to more numerous local schools.

You should note, incidently, that some of the most affluent public school systems in the nation are also among the worst for test scores. Kansas City, for instance, when it increased its school funding to a shocking $11K+ per student per year, showed no improvement at all. That's because the money was blown on facilities, bureaucracy, and teacher pay, with no regard to actually improving the quality of teachers or education. That's what happens when there's no competition involved.

Others have already pointed out that private schools DO compete.
 
2011-04-08 09:04:32 PM  
Kinda wish he'd do something about the quality of teachers left in the NJ educational system.

Given the high cost of living and current pay scale, most of them are either about to retire, or people who are only teaching while in grad school at night as a way to pay the bills and leave after 2-3 years. 90% are really pretty poor teachers, but we make up for it by focusing almost exclusively on test preparation to keep scores up.

Unfortunately, he refuses to confront this as long as high school is 4 years of test preparation rather than education.

/citation: graduated public high school in 02, and know those who went after... only getting worse thanks to "no child left behind".
 
2011-04-08 09:12:35 PM  

j0ndas: There is some merit to the argument that public schools have to put up with more (for instance, children with fatal allergies). However, I rather doubt that the children who go to public schools are markedly more stupid on average than the children who go to private schools. They're just taught a lot less rigorously and in a less-organized manner. Studies have shown that studying hard raises your measured IQ (duh), so it shouldn't be a big surprise that children who score well on tests also score well on IQ tests. Studies also show that class sizes inversely correlate to test scores when those class sizes are over 30 students or so, and also that having children wake up earlier in the morning (busing long distances...) inversely correlates to test scores. Both in turn correlate to centralized schools as opposed to more numerous local schools.

You should note, incidently, that some of the most affluent public school systems in the nation are also among the worst for test scores. Kansas City, for instance, when it increased its school funding to a shocking $11K+ per student per year, showed no improvement at all. That's because the money was blown on facilities, bureaucracy, and teacher pay, with no regard to actually improving the quality of teachers or education. That's what happens when there's no competition involved.

Others have already pointed out that private schools DO compete.


We've covered this before but:

1. Most private schools (IIRC the number was way above 50%) require an entrance exam.
2. They kick out the kids who don't perform by not letting them continue the next school year. EVERY school does this. Some go as far as NDA like agreements when a child enters to prevent parents from talking about this without facing legal action.

Private schools compete... on a very different level. If you let public schools drop the bottom 20% and screen on entrance, you'd see them kicking ass on half the budget.


If you let one pig build a house out of brick, and force another to use straw... you can't say the bricks didn't have anything to do with one pig surviving and the other getting eaten by the wolf.

Private schools have a huge advantage by being able to discriminate. Underestimating that is naive.

Forbid private schools from these practices and force them to use a lottery and keep any student that gets in for a few years, then compare grades. It will never happen, but that will give you a benchmark.

Facts are that the bottom 20% of kids are a huge drain on the system and most won't even graduate. Letting private schools avoid them skews the data.
 
2011-04-08 10:01:28 PM  

JerseyTim: Timon


Man--was a pretty rich-middle class though too then. Now it's INSANE how wealthy that place is.

/Wealthy parents, not trying to escape that
 
2011-04-08 10:05:40 PM  

TimonC346: JerseyTim: Timon

Man--was a pretty rich-middle class though too then. Now it's INSANE how wealthy that place is.

/Wealthy parents, not trying to escape that


And the reason why is because they have a great public school and parents want to send their kids there.
 
2011-04-08 11:12:59 PM  
Even if that headline were literally true, it would still arguably be better than the system of "How long have they worked here?"
 
2011-04-08 11:21:15 PM  

DIGITALgimpus: We've covered this before but:

1. Most private schools (IIRC the number was way above 50%) require an entrance exam.
2. They kick out the kids who don't perform by not letting them continue the next school year. EVERY school does this. Some go as far as NDA like agreements when a child enters to prevent parents from talking about this without facing legal action.

Private schools compete... on a very different level. If you let public schools drop the bottom 20% and screen on entrance, you'd see them kicking ass on half the budget.


If you let one pig build a house out of brick, and force another to use straw... you can't say the bricks didn't have anything to do with one pig surviving and the other getting eaten by the wolf.

Private schools have a huge advantage by being able to discriminate. Underestimating that is naive.

Forbid private schools from these practices and force them to use a lottery and keep any student that gets in for a few years, then compare grades. It will never happen, but that will give you a benchmark.

Facts are that the bottom 20% of kids are a huge drain on the system and most won't even graduate. Letting private schools avoid them skews the data.


DING DING DING!!!

We have a winner here folks!!!

/not that anyone will listen of course...
 
2011-04-08 11:33:56 PM  

fisker: All teachers have to have a Masters degree to teach right? So, who is teaching our teachers? Maybe we need to go after them.

Seriously, why is everyone so afraid to admit that the problems are students and their parents AND underfunding public schools?

Schools don't have enough money to properly discipline children.

When teachers try, they get fired. Parents sue. Please, it's not hard to see what is happening.


While I agree that students and parents are to blame often times, I don't think that underfunding is the main issue for most cases. Here in Indiana, Gary Public Schools receive over $12,000 per pupil and are among the lowest-performing schools in the state, while some of the highest-performing receive around $5,600-6,500 per pupil.

Yes, in Gary many of the students and parents I'm sure are not the greatest, but I feel that those figures show that simply throwing money at a school will not solve the problems; it's how effectively and efficiently a school manages the money.

Unfortunately, we have many greedy and ineffective administrators that misuse the funds. As an example, there was a school administrator that retired just recently that slipped a provision in his contract that the board clearly did not read that gave him over $1mil in benefits when he retired.

Anyway, I say all that to say that I really don't think underfunding is the main issue, though I'm not familiar with how well-funded schools are in NJ. If a school is receiving less than, say, $5,500 or so per pupil, yes, that's an underfunding issue.

And on the point of the article, it would be very difficult to find a good method of evaluating teachers, but I do not see why they should not be subjected to some sort of evaluation like the vast majority of other occupations. I understand that teaching is difficult; I have many family members that taught for years. Simply giving teachers raises after so many years regardless of performance breeds mediocrity in my opinion. Why bother to work harder if I know I'm going to get a raise no matter what?

There are a lot of awesome teachers out there, but there are many, too, that simply ride through and are not above average. Why not find a way to give them a little incentive to excel?

I'm certainly not saying Christie's method is the absolute correct method, but I think we should come up with some sort of evaluation tool.

/My two cents...
 
2011-04-09 01:14:24 AM  
This bears repeating:

http://front.moveon.org/the-most-aggressive-defense-of-teachers-youll-hear-this - year/?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d82808a4013bac6%2C0
 
2011-04-09 03:11:29 AM  
Judging teachers based on student achievement is a joke. It only works when you are dealing with students who want to learn. Hollywood aside not even the best teacher in the world will get through to a student who does not want to learn.
 
2011-04-09 07:32:05 AM  

Lenny and Carl: This bears repeating:

http://front.moveon.org/the-most-aggressive-defense-of-teachers-youll-hear-this - year/?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d82808a4013bac6%2C0


And how many teachers actually live by that mantra? Teachers could have whatever they wanted if that's how they all were... but they're not.

It's time teachers, like any corporate worker in America, suffer like the rest of us. Sorry, party's over.
 
2011-04-09 11:10:21 AM  

Paradoxian08: I'm not familiar with how well-funded schools are in NJ. If a school is receiving less than, say, $5,500 or so per pupil, yes, that's an underfunding issue.


There's the problem... I think we spend something like $13,000 - $14,000 a year per student, I'm too lazy to look it up right now. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have something like 600 independently operated school districts, with administrators making a small fortune. The FBI recently raided my towns school offices. It's crazy. And when Christie told districts to stop wasting money and consolidate, they wouldn't, so he had to cut state funding. It's not like money grows on trees, and the districts and unions want no part of tightening their own belts in this economy.
 
2011-04-09 03:01:31 PM  

JerseyTim: TimonC346: JerseyTim: Timon

Man--was a pretty rich-middle class though too then. Now it's INSANE how wealthy that place is.

/Wealthy parents, not trying to escape that

And the reason why is because they have a great public school and parents want to send their kids there.


Actually, yes. Completely. And it is WELL funded, which is a huge part of that.
 
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