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(NYPost)   Let's see what happens in New York City schools when students get their tests graded by an impartial outside evaluator instead of teachers with a vested interest in socially promoting the little sociopaths to be somebody else's problem   (nypost.com) divider line 183
    More: Fail, New York City, mitigating factors  
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19146 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Jun 2013 at 11:38 AM (45 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-08 05:18:39 PM

John Dewey: Ilmarinen: There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland's schools are publicly funded.

Educators had little idea it was so successful until 2000

So....instead of focusing on being the best, they focused on being the best they could be....novel idea.

Also, I'm pretty sure Finland didn't just look at fixing schools, they looked at how the systems interacted and could benefit each other.

Further, they don't accept failure in teachers.  If a teacher isn't any good, they work very hard to make them good.  Professional development is a central part of the success of their schools.


In other words, they respect their educators and do more than just try to "fix" things by throwing money at them.
 
2013-06-08 05:20:06 PM

shtychkn: We do not recognize that some students need an education to prepare them for College, and other need an education to prepare them for a trade.


This sounds dangerously close to tracking.  I'm not saying that's what your'e proposing, but I agree that there needs to be choice in amount of education that is guided primarily by the student, not the school.  And plenty of options later for continuing education in case the choice was an incorrect one.

shtychkn: Unfortunately, yes.  That requires vast amount of resources and internal motivation on behalf of the learner.


Humans want to learn.  We just need to get out of their way and/or help them.  Instead, we tell them what to learn, when to learn it and how.

Imagine if we taught walking and talking to toddlers the way we teach reading and math in schools.
 
2013-06-08 05:31:01 PM

John Dewey: shtychkn: We do not recognize that some students need an education to prepare them for College, and other need an education to prepare them for a trade.

This sounds dangerously close to tracking.  I'm not saying that's what your'e proposing, but I agree that there needs to be choice in amount of education that is guided primarily by the student, not the school.  And plenty of options later for continuing education in case the choice was an incorrect one.


IT is tracking - and it is what most other countries do.  Now, maybe a compromise would be to allow students to CHOOSE which track they wanted. But hold the student responsible to the standards of whichever track they have chosen.


shtychkn: Unfortunately, yes.  That requires vast amount of resources and internal motivation on behalf of the learner.

Humans want to learn.  We just need to get out of their way and/or help them.  Instead, we tell them what to learn, when to learn it and how.

Imagine if we taught walking and talking to toddlers the way we teach reading and math in schools.


I disagree that humans "want" to learn. Or at least "learn" needs to be better defined.

Do humans want to learn enough to function in society?  Sure.

Does everyone want to learn beyond that?  No.  Their are willing ignorant people out there.  After high school is over, their is nothing stopping people from learning whatever they want in their own way.
 
2013-06-08 05:34:11 PM

shtychkn: John Dewey: shtychkn: Which kid in the classroom?

The average student?  The student that needs special services? The student who doesn't care about his/her education and treats school like a prison sentence?

Yes.

Unfortunately, you can't have it all.  You have a limited pool of resources.  When you pull from that pool to assist one group, you take away from other groups.

IF you want to "Fix" the US Education system, you have to define the goal of the US education system.

Right now that goal is to prepare student for college.  Most of the rest of the world already knows that not every child will go on to college/university, nor should they.  The world needs tradesmen.

Putting every student into a Chemistry or Algebra II is a waste of time for those students that wont utilize it and lowers the level of education for students that will utilized it.

Everyone looses when you try to educate everyone the same.


The trick is not that not that the American education system treats every child as equal, its that it attempts to treat every child as *potentially* equal. You can't start fast tracking students into the trades without starting to practice discrimination because the vast majority of students don't know what the heck they want to be when they hit college, let alone graduate from HS.

If we are to give students a maximum chance to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness, then the only sensible course is to try to teach them *how* to learn and then expose them to a wild variety of subjects to see what they take a fancy to and/or sticks. Yes, this includes trade classes as well as advanced science, mathmatics, and the arts.

Consistently cutting budgets so the only things we have money for are the machine equivalent of subjects (Math, Basic Writing, and Trivia style History) produces students who are god awful at deciding what they want to do with life and who have to waste the first two years of college being actually given the tools  think critically. It makes me angry that even after a whole semester of stressing the point, working with them to learn critical reasoning and how to avoid both personal and author bias when evaluating historical material that I *still* get students who think the "learn the answer and get an A" applies. I don't care if you can memorize the exact date, I don't care if your spell and grammar is impeccable, that is what the world has books and the internet for. I care about the "how." How is this information important. How did you arrive at your conclusions. How well did you document the evidence you are using and answer contradictory positions.

But they struggle to give it to me because all their educational life, up to college, they have been taught "Learn this and get an A, anything else is wasted effort."

/end rant
 
2013-06-08 05:35:15 PM

Satan's Chocolate Starfish: pianomom:
According to the extremely limited amount of information that has been released, an incompetent teacher can be let go after three years of continuously "failing" their review. What sucks the most is that 50% of our evaluation is based on the outcome of the students' End of Course exam. Our brilliant administration thought it would be amazing to announce this little tidbit of information to the high school student body. You should have seen the utter shock on the teachers' faces and sheer joy on the students' faces. Dumba$$es!!

That makes absolutely no sense at all.  You're asking us to believe that an entire student body was gleeful over the opportunity to ruin a teacher's evaluation  by failing their exams?  That is simply ludicrous and it didn't happen.


No. In my district, the students take a Common Formative Assessment at the beginning of the year, the middle, and the end of the year. The students' performance on this test is not counted for their grade, it is not an exam, nor is it used for a final test. These assessments are purely for teacher evaluation...and the teachers and students know this. The students can intentionally botch the exam, it won't matter to them. A poor performance on this assessment just means that the teacher will get a lower APPR grade, and can then be lead through some improvement program and could be fired. If the students respect the teacher, they will try to perform for the teacher. If not, then the teacher is screwed. The students know this. In my large district, I had students performing at a higher level than most other schools, so I appreciate that the scores showed that they respected me. I know some great math teachers at some very good schools that had their students tank the assessment. That sucks for them.

Also, the knucklehead that commented on grading by rubrics and some lame brained robotic association. The rubric gives values of 0-2, or 0-3 depending on the question, and the rubric doesn't easily identify that someone knows next to nothing from someone who made a rounding error, or did some of the work in their head without showing every detail. The rubrics for each question are in this odd state of flux...with the intended focus of a question being unknown to the student, and its scoring for that unknown being very different from question to question. Rubrics should have a larger scale, say 0-5 or 0-10.
 
2013-06-08 05:35:37 PM
Are these standardized tests? How the fark do you "grade them differently"? It's god damn A, B, C, or D!
 
2013-06-08 05:38:37 PM

shtychkn: Does everyone want to learn beyond that?  No.  Their are willing ignorant people out there.


I think this may be a chicken/egg thing.

The view of learning in our schools is reflected in our society and vice versa.  There are many things that go along with that, like if you're smart you can learn, if you're not you don't.  We don't value academic struggle. Another is that learning happens in a linear progression (first you learn this, then that, but not that because you need to know this first...).

If we change how learning is viewed in schools will it change society?  That's my hope, but I am generally speaking an optimist.  I'd be curious to hear how the Finnish view learning once school is over.  Again, it's our fixation on schools that that's what these articles focus on as opposed to the whole picture.
 
2013-06-08 05:44:01 PM

shtychkn: IT is tracking - and it is what most other countries do.  Now, maybe a compromise would be to allow students to CHOOSE which track they wanted. But hold the student responsible to the standards of whichever track they have chosen.


Sorry, forgot about this part.  I think the issue of student responsibility becomes less important the more choice they have.  You are more likely to perform well for a track you choose.  If I know I want to be a music teacher and I'm bombing music theory, the blame shouldn't automatically go on me.  Not should it rest wholly with the school/teacher.  Both parties need to examine what's going on and come to a mutually agreed solution and be willing to revisit it as new data comes in.
 
2013-06-08 05:44:24 PM

John Dewey: shtychkn: Does everyone want to learn beyond that?  No.  Their are willing ignorant people out there.

I think this may be a chicken/egg thing.

The view of learning in our schools is reflected in our society and vice versa.  There are many things that go along with that, like if you're smart you can learn, if you're not you don't.  We don't value academic struggle. Another is that learning happens in a linear progression (first you learn this, then that, but not that because you need to know this first...).

If we change how learning is viewed in schools will it change society?  That's my hope, but I am generally speaking an optimist.  I'd be curious to hear how the Finnish view learning once school is over.  Again, it's our fixation on schools that that's what these articles focus on as opposed to the whole picture.



Not sure.  The view/value that a society puts on an education certainly changes the desire to be educated in the population.

But even in Finland, some people work at a fast food restaurant or gas station and they are content with that.
 
2013-06-08 05:46:05 PM

John Dewey: shtychkn: IT is tracking - and it is what most other countries do.  Now, maybe a compromise would be to allow students to CHOOSE which track they wanted. But hold the student responsible to the standards of whichever track they have chosen.

Sorry, forgot about this part.  I think the issue of student responsibility becomes less important the more choice they have.  You are more likely to perform well for a track you choose.  If I know I want to be a music teacher and I'm bombing music theory, the blame shouldn't automatically go on me.  Not should it rest wholly with the school/teacher.  Both parties need to examine what's going on and come to a mutually agreed solution and be willing to revisit it as new data comes in.


Agreed.
 
2013-06-08 06:38:26 PM

rkiller1: pianomom: uber humper: pianomom: Orgasmatron138: Can't speak for New York, but teachers overall have diminishing authority in their own classrooms.  School districts are so paranoid about lawsuits that teachers are completely handcuffed when it comes to disciplining children, teaching curriculum, and getting authorities involved in the home lives of at-risk kids.

But by all means, let's keep blaming the teachers for kids being dumber every year.

Omg THIS!!! A million times THIS! Thank you.

Do they still have the "rubber rooms" in the NYC school system? I guess what I'm asking is: can incompetent teachers be fired?

Idk about rubber rooms and NY, but Ohio is implementing a new electronic teacher evaluation system next year. According to the extremely limited amount of information that has been released, an incompetent teacher can be let go after three years of continuously "failing" their review. What sucks the most is that 50% of our evaluation is based on the outcome of the students' End of Course exam. Our brilliant administration thought it would be amazing to announce this little tidbit of information to the high school student body. You should have seen the utter shock on the teachers' faces and sheer joy on the students' faces. Dumba$$es!!

Trying to understand your point and outrage.  If a teacher, who is in control of at least 50% of his/her evaluation performance, fails for three years in a row, they may be dismissed?  This also assumes the teacher has zero percent control over the student exam outcome.

Do I have that right, or is your outrage that it was announced to staff and students simultaneously?  Perhaps the students were joyful because they could get a teacher fired by failing an exam?


My outrage is twofold: 1) that it was announced to students (at all) during an awards assembly and 2) I have zero control over whether or not a student will actually try his best on the exam or fail on purpose because he/she does not like a particular teacher.

I put everything I have and everything I am into my students first, and my lessons and materials. I have a passion for what I do and most importantly for my students. However, I cannot make them care which was made evident this past school year when 98% of my students refused to even take an End of Course test booklet and instead randomly colored in the little bubbles because again, they were told in an assembly that the administration was making the teachers drop the students' lowest test score for the last nine weeks. By the time that test came around at the very end of he school year, my students already knew what their grade was going to be not only for that nine weeks but also for the year. Why should they have tried at that point? It wasn't going to matter. Obviously my biggest complaint is my bulding's administration.

On a much higher note, I was able to get my students to pass the two state graduation tests that I am responsible for with over 90% accuracy on both tests. So there's that.
 
2013-06-08 06:44:14 PM

rik_everglade: I know some great math teachers at some very good schools that had their students tank the assessment. That sucks for them.


I've got 3 kids--7, 16, and 19.  They've all gone through numerous standardized tests that did not count toward their grades.  They were simply for assessment.  In all the years they've been in school, I have never heard a whisper of any kid in our school system purposely tanking on a state assessment exam with the intent of hurting a teacher's evaluation.  Not a single one.  I am highly aware of what goes on in our school district, and I can assure you that there is a 100% chance that if there was ever a collective effort by students to tank assessment exams, everyone in the district would know about it within days of the exam.  There wouldn't even be a necessity to wait for the test results.  Christ, I'll bet that if even one kid was discovered to have purposely tanked an assessment to hurt a teacher, the whole community would learn about it.

I have no idea what type of school district you teach in, but that shiat would never fly where I live.
 
2013-06-08 06:49:02 PM

Satan's Chocolate Starfish: pianomom:
According to the extremely limited amount of information that has been released, an incompetent teacher can be let go after three years of continuously "failing" their review. What sucks the most is that 50% of our evaluation is based on the outcome of the students' End of Course exam. Our brilliant administration thought it would be amazing to announce this little tidbit of information to the high school student body. You should have seen the utter shock on the teachers' faces and sheer joy on the students' faces. Dumba$$es!!

That makes absolutely no sense at all.  You're asking us to believe that an entire student body was gleeful over the opportunity to ruin a teacher's evaluation  by failing their exams?  That is simply ludicrous and it didn't happen.


Were you there? Were you sitting in the second section, left side with the student body as your principal stood at the podium at the end of an awards assembly when he opened his dumbass mouth and said the words, "...next year, your end of course exams will be even more important as your results will account for 50% of your teacher's evaluations?" May I say it again, it DID happen. I heard it myself. And like I said in another post of mine, I'm all for accountability but I absolutely cannot make a student care!
 
2013-06-08 07:09:18 PM
I googled and apparently Choir Academy is going to be closed.

"But opponents of the closure say the sixth- to 12th-grade school's problems can be partially pinned on the DOE. There have been 10 different permanent and interim principals in 12 years, almost 20 percent of its students are classified for special education and key staff, including an English Language Arts teacher, are missing, defenders said. "

Set them up to fail and they will.

"In addition to phasing out Choir Academy, the DOE plans to bring in a new district high school and co-locate a K-4 Democracy Prep Charter School in the building. Choir Academy already shares the building with Promise Academy II [also a charter school, BTW] and an alternative high school."

Yeah, that'll help.
 
2013-06-08 07:33:06 PM

Satan's Chocolate Starfish: rik_everglade: I know some great math teachers at some very good schools that had their students tank the assessment. That sucks for them.

I've got 3 kids--7, 16, and 19.  They've all gone through numerous standardized tests that did not count toward their grades.  They were simply for assessment.  In all the years they've been in school, I have never heard a whisper of any kid in our school system purposely tanking on a state assessment exam with the intent of hurting a teacher's evaluation.  Not a single one.  I am highly aware of what goes on in our school district, and I can assure you that there is a 100% chance that if there was ever a collective effort by students to tank assessment exams, everyone in the district would know about it within days of the exam.  There wouldn't even be a necessity to wait for the test results.  Christ, I'll bet that if even one kid was discovered to have purposely tanked an assessment to hurt a teacher, the whole community would learn about it.

I have no idea what type of school district you teach in, but that shiat would never fly where I live.


Well...you see, you are wrong because you inserted your word into my true statement, which then would be false! I never said that they tanked a state assessment. I was very clear that it was a Common Formative Assessment, given three times a year. Students do tank this. And by the way, students do refuse the state test as well. There is a box on the front of the scan form for just that situation. So there! What? You think that never happens in your school, right. You just don't know it. How could you? You don't grade those tests, just the constructed response part. What a laugh.
 
2013-06-08 07:37:43 PM

Satan's Chocolate Starfish: But start handing out state aid, at least in large part, on the basis of how many excellent students a school creates, and you'll see change.


And make sure you only give medical treatment to healthy people while you're at it.
 
2013-06-08 07:41:20 PM

JWideman: Private schools in the US are what you call public schools. But they cost an awful lot.


Public schools in the UK are a small subset of private schools. What the US calls public schools we call state schools.
 
2013-06-08 07:48:42 PM

devildog123: You mean the bill co-authored by Ted Kennedy and George Miller? The one that passed 384-45 in the House and 91-8 in the Senate? Of the 53 Nay votes, 34 of them came from Republicans, so you can't even claim that the Democrats were the only ones standing against it at all. Both parties own this bill and bullshiat program.


It's a shame how it's not that long ago but it's been completely forgotten. Same with the TSA.
 
2013-06-08 07:50:59 PM

pianomom: I put everything I have and everything I am into my students first, and my lessons and materials. I have a passion for what I do and most importantly for my students. However, I cannot make them care which was made evident this past school year when 98% of my students refused to even take an End of Course test booklet and instead randomly colored in the little bubbles because again, they were told in an assembly that the administration was making the teachers drop the students' lowest test score for the last nine weeks. By the time that test came around at the very end of he school year, my students already knew what their grade was going to be not only for that nine weeks but also for the year. Why should they have tried at that point? It wasn't going to matter.


So why are you upset about it? Why did you want your pupils to take a test which you knew was utterly unimportant to them? It sounds as if you got upset because a trick you were playing on your students was exposed.
 
2013-06-08 08:02:43 PM

Mrbogey: devildog123: You mean the bill co-authored by Ted Kennedy and George Miller? The one that passed 384-45 in the House and 91-8 in the Senate? Of the 53 Nay votes, 34 of them came from Republicans, so you can't even claim that the Democrats were the only ones standing against it at all. Both parties own this bill and bullshiat program.

It's a shame how it's not that long ago but it's been completely forgotten. Same with the TSA.


Its because individual congressmen don't have the Public Opinion power of the President.   The President was the one using the power of the bully pulpit to pass NCLB.
 
2013-06-08 08:14:27 PM

orbister: pianomom: I put everything I have and everything I am into my students first, and my lessons and materials. I have a passion for what I do and most importantly for my students. However, I cannot make them care which was made evident this past school year when 98% of my students refused to even take an End of Course test booklet and instead randomly colored in the little bubbles because again, they were told in an assembly that the administration was making the teachers drop the students' lowest test score for the last nine weeks. By the time that test came around at the very end of he school year, my students already knew what their grade was going to be not only for that nine weeks but also for the year. Why should they have tried at that point? It wasn't going to matter.

So why are you upset about it? Why did you want your pupils to take a test which you knew was utterly unimportant to them? It sounds as if you got upset because a trick you were playing on your students was exposed.


What the hell are you saying? I do not have a say...ANY say at ALL...as to whether or not by students will take a STATE MANDATED test that the STATE has determined the results of which will determine 50% of my evaluation! If I had my way they wouldn't take it at all. What trick? What trick was I playing here?

Again, they passed the two tests that I am responsible for with the highest percentages EVER in the history of my school. You know, the test that determines whether THEY graduate or not. The other test they take that has no PERSONAL reflection on them but rather is a direct reflection on MY performance is the one they don't care about.

Go on...I'll wait....
 
2013-06-08 09:23:02 PM

pianomom: orbister: pianomom: I put everything I have and everything I am into my students first, and my lessons and materials. I have a passion for what I do and most importantly for my students. However, I cannot make them care which was made evident this past school year when 98% of my students refused to even take an End of Course test booklet and instead randomly colored in the little bubbles because again, they were told in an assembly that the administration was making the teachers drop the students' lowest test score for the last nine weeks. By the time that test came around at the very end of he school year, my students already knew what their grade was going to be not only for that nine weeks but also for the year. Why should they have tried at that point? It wasn't going to matter.


So why are you upset about it? Why did you want your pupils to take a test which you knew was utterly unimportant to them? It sounds as if you got upset because a trick you were playing on your students was exposed.

What the hell are you saying? I do not have a say...ANY say at ALL...as to whether or not by students will take a STATE MANDATED test that the STATE has determined the results of which will determine 50% of my evaluation! If I had my way they wouldn't take it at all. What trick? What trick was I playing here?


Again, they passed the two tests that I am responsible for with the highest percentages EVER in the history of my school. You know, the test that determines whether THEY graduate or not. The other test they take that has no PERSONAL reflection on them but rather is a direct reflection on MY performance is the one they don't care about.

Go on...I'll wait....

termos.vemod.net
 
2013-06-08 09:32:15 PM

OscarTamerz: So not even the NEA union goons could cheat enough to disguise the fact that the teachers are getting worse every year. NEA does for education what the UAW does for American car production.


You're an idiot who does not know how unions operate. You are obvious employed in a non-union environment and suffer jealousy every day because you don't have (wait for it) a guarantee to due process before termination. THAT (and collective bargaining) is what a union is there for. As for the UAW... it might have taken them some time to see the light, but ask Ford or GM what their relationship with UAW is now. UAW was clobbered with enough lay-offs they realized they had to work with the car company or risk going away all together.

SuperNinjaToad: Bush's fault. I do really blame him....NCLB took what was already a systemic problem into new heights by basically saying it's now government sanctioned and POTUS himself wants you to cheat so it's ok ... go ahead and cheat and the dumbing down of America continues.


So... after 5 years of the current POTUS it's STILL Bush's fault? No... it's GOVERNMENT'S fault. Legislators who haven't been in a classroom in 50 years, and whose children attend elite private schools where the worst in-class behavior is farting and gum chewing wrote the bill. And (even though a group of educators I was part of in summer 2008 was told by...) Ray LaHood said NCLB was essentially done after 2008... He was wrong. Bush was wrong. Obama is wrong.


I can tell by reading this thread who gets it, and who's an utter tool with either jealousy issues or brainwashing issues. The jealousy issues are due to the decline of unions in this country through persecution and piss-poor legislation, as well as carefully crafted dissension in the middle class - crafted by the upper class. Brainwashing comes from the media, generally hijacked by special interests who have a stake in seeing the public education system go down the tubes - generally not Conservative versus Liberal, but Charter School industry and test-writing/data industry (owned by certain magnates - Gates, Murdoch, et al) versus public schools.

I just returned home from a pro-education rally in Albany, so I'm a little fired up about this, right now. I also have some specific information that can help.

1 - Some of the Regents Exams (English & Math) are written by private industry and often prove to have problems (like questions not covered by the curriculum, among others).

2 - A certain (high) percentage of the difference recorded in this article is students who earned a 63 or 64 and the school goosed them a point or 2 because they passed the rest of the year. When the tests are scored by people who don't care, then of course the number is what the number is and screw the kid who tried like hell, but has trouble with multiple choice tests (black kids, among others...) but passed the rest of the year.

3 - Another percentage of the difference was addressed in the article - administrators cheating the numbers. It happens.

4 - While there are a (small) percentage of teachers who are burned out, saying we're in it for the money or the vacation days and trying to deride our work ethic shows a tremendous level of ignorance about the work teachers do. Sure, I have July and August off from having to report to school and stand in front of a classroom. But, I use that time to plan for next year, attend professional development, and emotionally recover from the previous year. Vacation weeks during the school year are generally spent getting caught up on grading, planning for several weeks in advance, and spending time getting caught up on paperwork. Any teacher who somehow gets by on working solely the hours the students are in the building is not going to be respected by his/her colleagues and certainly will not be doing a good job for his/her students. Many is the night I have stayed after school 1-3 hours just getting the room organized and preparing for the day(s) ahead. Many more are the nights I've graded for 3 hours, or planned for hours on end.

If you can put in the hours we do for the pay we get under the conditions we work, apply for the job. And don't even give me the old canard "you chose the profession." That's BS and you know it. The profession has come under more and more attacks and assaults during my 15+ years as an educator. It's a hard job, it's a job with great psychological stresses AND rewards. And it's a job that need not be undervalued by people who couldn't teach a room of 30 14-year-olds if their lives depended on it.
 
2013-06-08 09:32:31 PM

orbister: Satan's Chocolate Starfish: But start handing out state aid, at least in large part, on the basis of how many excellent students a school creates, and you'll see change.

And make sure you only give medical treatment to healthy people while you're at it.


Don't bother reading anything I wrote about the various social and economic factors that affect student outcomes.
 
2013-06-09 12:22:08 AM
Schools,  in a lot or respects,  are a baby sitting service.   Why do you think it is compulsory? If many students were not forced to go to school for years this would be the outcome.  Students becoming problems in wider society as they would have nothing to do except cause problems by hanging around bored and then getting into trouble.  Many parents being unable to work and thus not contributing to the economics of society through the taxes that they give.   By making schools compulsory you free the parents from unpaid parenting duties to being able to participate in paid duties that in turn give the tax coffers more money.  You have children being watched and thus for many but not all refraining from engaging in activities that cause problems.

Schools and to be fair teachers can only teach children so much, given the numbers in classes and the range of abilities.  In most cases they teach to the middle and if you, as a parent,  wish for your child to achieve more then you need to put that time in yourself.  This can be through home tutoring or through added exercises after school.
 
2013-06-09 12:39:34 AM

Satan's Chocolate Starfish: If the majority of parents did more than simply send their kids to school every day (if they even do that) and check in at the end of the quarter to see the report card, we'd all be better off.  Start expecting As and Bs out of every kid.  Keep on top of what's happening in the classroom every day, not just at report card time.  Have regular contact with the teachers.  Be aware of what is happening in other classrooms/schools, and if your kid doesn't appear to be getting the benefit of resources and good teaching, ask the administration some tough questions.  You may not be aware of something that explains away your concerns.  Or you may identify defects that must be fixed for the sake of the kids.

Biatching at school board meetings and complaining on blogs often has only limited effect.  Being regularly involved in schooling and with your kids' teachers can make a huge difference.


I do that.   When I get home from work and pick my daughter up from after school care the first thing she does is have a snack and then it is straight into going over the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.    I make the extra work fun and we do spend most of the time laughing and twisting the work into completely off putting and silly situations.   However,  when the class gives her tests she has been going very well and I would be disappointed if she did not get 100%,    Let me put it this way;  we went out shopping and they had a table setup for children to colour in plaster figurines.   She finished and the lady at the stall was able to re-use every single one of the paint tubs. Not one tub of paint  had one bit of colour from another tub.  She is 5.

In my opinion schools are a useful and free baby sitting service,  but when it comes to her education the fact remains that I am the one educating my daughter.
 
2013-06-09 12:54:25 AM

shtychkn: John Dewey: shtychkn: We do not recognize that some students need an education to prepare them for College, and other need an education to prepare them for a trade.

This sounds dangerously close to tracking.  I'm not saying that's what your'e proposing, but I agree that there needs to be choice in amount of education that is guided primarily by the student, not the school.  And plenty of options later for continuing education in case the choice was an incorrect one.

IT is tracking - and it is what most other countries do.  Now, maybe a compromise would be to allow students to CHOOSE which track they wanted. But hold the student responsible to the standards of whichever track they have chosen.


shtychkn: Unfortunately, yes.  That requires vast amount of resources and internal motivation on behalf of the learner.

Humans want to learn.  We just need to get out of their way and/or help them.  Instead, we tell them what to learn, when to learn it and how.

Imagine if we taught walking and talking to toddlers the way we teach reading and math in schools.

I disagree that humans "want" to learn. Or at least "learn" needs to be better defined.

Do humans want to learn enough to function in society?  Sure.

Does everyone want to learn beyond that?  No.  Their are willing ignorant people out there.  After high school is over, their is nothing stopping people from learning whatever they want in their own way.


I disagree with that.  I think most humans,  especially children, want to learn when it is easy.   When they reach a subject or part of a subject that is  challenging they stop wanting to learn.    This is when a good parent will keep kicking them ,  metaphorically, in the arse until they get past that stage.  Once they have mastered the difficult material they will once again wish to learn because it is once again easy.

Humans are lazy and children are especially lazy.
 
2013-06-09 01:18:01 AM

Guest: Satan's Chocolate Starfish: If the majority of parents did more than simply send their kids to school every day (if they even do that) and check in at the end of the quarter to see the report card, we'd all be better off.  Start expecting As and Bs out of every kid.  Keep on top of what's happening in the classroom every day, not just at report card time.  Have regular contact with the teachers.  Be aware of what is happening in other classrooms/schools, and if your kid doesn't appear to be getting the benefit of resources and good teaching, ask the administration some tough questions.  You may not be aware of something that explains away your concerns.  Or you may identify defects that must be fixed for the sake of the kids.

Biatching at school board meetings and complaining on blogs often has only limited effect.  Being regularly involved in schooling and with your kids' teachers can make a huge difference.

I do that.   When I get home from work and pick my daughter up from after school care the first thing she does is have a snack and then it is straight into going over the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.    I make the extra work fun and we do spend most of the time laughing and twisting the work into completely off putting and silly situations.   However,  when the class gives her tests she has been going very well and I would be disappointed if she did not get 100%,    Let me put it this way;  we went out shopping and they had a table setup for children to colour in plaster figurines.   She finished and the lady at the stall was able to re-use every single one of the paint tubs. Not one tub of paint  had one bit of colour from another tub.  She is 5.

In my opinion schools are a useful and free baby sitting service,  but when it comes to her education the fact remains that I am the one educating my daughter.


That's a good approach you have there. By the time my youngest graduates, my kids will have been in our schools for 22 years straight. My aunt taught for 43 years, and my two brothers both teach. I try to be very aware of education policy issues because the big picture does matter, but ultimately my most important job is to make sure my kids are well educated, and that means I have to be in the mix in the classrooms. I'm not a helicopter parent--I try very hard to never interfere with good teachers and my kids have to fight their own battles. But I do make sure that the kids are putting forth their best efforts and I have regular communication with teachers (at least through middle school--it's harder to keep track of everyone in high school). I have found that if kids are accustomed to high expectations before they get to high school, they'll carry those standards through to graduation without much pushing from me. The key for me is addressing homework, test results, behavior, and athletics every day from grade school until graduation. You just can't leave it all to teachers.
 
2013-06-09 03:42:22 AM

pianomom: What the hell are you saying? I do not have a say...ANY say at ALL...as to whether or not by students will take a STATE MANDATED test that the STATE has determined the results of which will determine 50% of my evaluation! If I had my way they wouldn't take it at all. What trick? What trick was I playing here?


It seems that you wanted them to think the final test mattered for their overall score when in fact it didn't: it only mattered for your evaluation, then got all bad tempered when they found out that for them, it was irrelevant and acted accordingly.

Maybe try being honest with the next lot, eh?
 
2013-06-09 03:44:59 AM

Satan's Chocolate Starfish: orbister: Satan's Chocolate Starfish: But start handing out state aid, at least in large part, on the basis of how many excellent students a school creates, and you'll see change.

And make sure you only give medical treatment to healthy people while you're at it.

Don't bother reading anything I wrote about the various social and economic factors that affect student outcomes.


I did, and jolly interesting it was, too. But the basic principal (not yours, politicians') of taking funding away from poorly performing schools is about as sensible as cutting police numbers until crime rates drop.
 
2013-06-09 06:33:47 AM

Yugoboy: I just returned home from a pro-education rally in Albany


And it was a rally against the tests. Okay, fair enough far as that goes.

Why no rally against the cheating? It is a longstanding part of the culture in the NYC school system, dating back to well before the existence of the tests you're complaining about, and yet all we New Yorkers get in response from the educrats and union bosses is blame-shifting and a reflexive defense of failure. And if anybody has the state legislature in the palm of its hand, it's the teachers.

Starting in 2006, under federal law, the State of New York was required to test students in grades three through eight annually in math and English. The results of those tests would enable us, for the first time, to analyze year-to-year student progress and tie it to individual teacher performance-a metric known in the field as "teacher value-added." In essence, you hold constant other factors-where the students start from the prior year, demographics, class size, teacher length of service, and so on-and, based on test results, seek to isolate the individual teacher's contribution to a student's progress. Some teachers, for example, move their class forward on average a quarter-year more than expected; others, a quarter-year less. Value-added isn't a perfect metric, but it's surely worth considering as part of an overall teacher evaluation.

After we developed data from this metric, we decided to factor them into the granting of tenure, an award that is made after three years and that provides virtual lifetime job security. Under state law at the time, we were free to use these data. But after the New York City teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, objected, I proposed that the City use value-added numbers only for the top and bottom 20 percent of teachers: the top 20 percent would get positive credit; the bottom would lose credit. And even then, principals would take value-added data into account only as part of a much larger, comprehensive tenure review. Even with these limitations, the UFT said "No way," and headed to Albany to set up a legislative roadblock.

Seemingly overnight, a budget amendment barring the use of test data in tenure decisions materialized in the heavily Democratic State Assembly. Joe Bruno, then the Republican majority leader in the State Senate, assured me that this amendment would not pass: he controlled the majority and would make sure that it remained united in opposition. Fast-forward a few weeks: the next call I got from Senator Bruno was to say, apologetically, that several of his Republican colleagues had caved to the teachers union, which had threatened reprisals in the next election if they didn't get on board.

As a result, even when making a lifetime tenure commitment, under New York law you could not consider a teacher's impact on student learning. That Kafkaesque outcome demonstrates precisely the way the system is run: for the adults. The school system doesn't want to change, because it serves the needs of the adult stakeholders quite well, both politically and financially.



So don't worry, Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos will roll over for you soon enough. And so will Cuomo.

Meanwhile, nobody wants to say 'boo' about parents who aren't getting it done. I don't want to hear some shiat about b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-but-they're-so-busy and can't meet with teachers or even take a phone call. Everybody's busy.

While there are a (small) percentage of teachers who are burned out, saying we're in it for the money or the vacation days and trying to deride our work ethic shows a tremendous level of ignorance about the work teachers do.

Teachers aren't special snowflakes. Every profession has a (un)healthy number of people who mail it in.

I'd be eager to hear your defense of a system that can only fire 6 teachers out of 55,000 for incompetence.
 
2013-06-09 07:22:31 AM

orbister: JWideman: Private schools in the US are what you call public schools. But they cost an awful lot.

Public schools in the UK are a small subset of private schools. What the US calls public schools we call state schools.


Ah, I see. I only know about this US/UK public school thing because I had a new classmate from the UK who complained that we weren't in a public school at all. We made fun of him for dressing like a teacher and not knowing what a public school was. We were 9 or 10.
 
2013-06-09 07:14:30 PM
uber humper: Are you pimping that photo as a German classroom? Not with the palms trees. circa early 60s??

I'm guessing that it was taken somewhere near Sochi.  Late 50s or early 60s.
 
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