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Conoga
03-23-2010, 01:26 PM
i dont know if this qualifies as politics or not.. if it does then Admins feel free to do what you must do lol

but apparently there is a bill on the floor right now in FL senate talking about using student performance as a determining factor in whether or not to renew teachers contracts.
i have some mixed emotions on it... i mean i can understand if a teacher goes into a tough area where students are just there so they arent on the streets(i've been to schools like that!) its going to be hard on those teachers to get those students to actually work hard because they have been allowed to be lazy for years.....

but at the same time...... if the teachers had had those motivational factors when the students were young.... then maybe the students wouldnt be in the position they are in now.
in the schools i went to the teachers didnt really teach. and those that did teachactually get up and use the chalk and blackboard and speak to the students would only acknowledge the students who were willing to listen. they didnt go above and beyond. kids were sleeping in class, asking for the bathroom pass, skipping class, talking, passing notes etc.
and then there were classes where the teacher just wrote the assignment on the board.. gave the basic guideline on how to do the assignment, NO class participation, and if you wanted a pass to go to the library he would sign it. if you did the work, fine, he would grade it. if you didnt, fine, he would give you an F... and that was normal every day teaching for them.

yeah i did very badly in those schools.... but i learned the library workings inside out :biglaugh:

and there were teaching staff that would openly tell you that there were teachers there just for the pay check and a place to get out of the rain.. it was obvious because that was one of the worst schools in FL. i only did one year there and that was bad enough to effect me for a good long while.


anyway i can see both sides of the issue. i mean if a kid has a tough home life, has never seen a dentist, then yeah he's not going to be very receptive to learning. but thats not EVERY student, and i think that also qualifies as neglect doesnt it? someone at home isnt providing the essentials for this kid to properly care for him or herself, which is a whole other ball of wax. but thats not going to be every student. sometimes you have the rich kid who doesnt care because..... he's rich. his parents will provide everything(i used to work with a guy that was raised that way. his parents bought him a house, a car, fixed his teeth because he was too lazy to brush them. and he claimed "I only work here just so i'll have something to do"..) everyone knows if a kid is given the choice between work or play then he's going to chose play, right?

anyway, thoughts from any teachers? how do you feel about that type of bill?
In the area I live in now i absolutely refuse to put my kids in the public school. DH and I might get into a big argument, we might be sleeping in different houses for a while, but on this I will not budge. just talking to the parents around here has been proof enough that my kids would be better off with me than at a public school where just anyone can walk in and pick a kid out of the crowd and walk off with him with no questions from the staff :wno:
when I was a kid the school bus driver wasnt even allowed to let kids get off the bus at a friends house without a note from the parents AND office. and if my dad or stepmom wanted to pick me up after school my mom had to call and let them know what was going on.
And according to my cousin who lives in the city(she will be doing homeschooling very soon) there have already been three attempted abductions from her kids school. on top of that the teachers are yelling at the kids(LITTLE KIDS!) calling them dumb, or stupid, and telling them to shut up :realmad:


i want to find some more reading material about this bill and what all is involved in it.
it sounds a lot like a cull system to weed out the teachers who arent teaching, but i can easily see how it will effect teachers who ARE trying and havent had any help from the teachers who were supposed to set the foundation. so for them and their students, the damage has already been done, and its anyone's guess if it can be undone.

i had the good luck to go to a great elementary school with great teachers and programs to help someone like me. at first i had average/below grades until 3rd grade ... that teacher would literally slam a book down on your desk and scream in your face. yes.. scream .. as a way of getting third grader's attention. and i went downhill from there with selfesteem. because of HER they wanted to label me as ADHD and recommended medication. instead my mom had them put me in a smaller class with a teacher who was trained in ways to encourage students and teach outside the box. and it was GREAT! my grades went back up!
only to go back down again when they put me into normal 6th grade classes with butthead teachers who would give you dirty looks or say something demeaning if you gave the wrong answers. and it was 9th grade when i discovered that HELL existed in Jefferson co. FL. the teachers would read magazines, feet propped on the desk, the students were allowed to turn on the tv and watch Mtv for half the period (he did mandate that we werent allowed to turn on the tv until we "pretended" to do our assignment)

well i could go on and on what it was like up until we moved again. but when i DID start at the other school the damage was done and i no longer cared anymore what happened.

surprisingly though i did pretty damned well in my college classes :wlaugh:

Jill
03-23-2010, 02:08 PM
I do not know enough about the Florida legislation to comment, but the federal government has placed pressure on school districts to raise outcomes in schools. Have you read about the mass firing in Rhode Island where an entire faculty has been fired? Federal tax money for education is on the line here, folks. This is not political, just point of fact.

Here is a link for the story:

http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2010/02/24/rhode-island-teachers-fired/

Jill
03-23-2010, 02:13 PM
PS my guess is that Florida is trying to take a proactive step on a per teacher basis. It seems that this (federal policy) could break the unions, which is at odds with a Democratic administration that has been supported by the AEA and other education unions.

The bigger issue is that No Child Left Behind forces teachers to make decisions everyday that causes them to break federal law. For example, some IEP's for special needs children are in direct conflict with No Child Left Behind. What are our teachers to do in these circumstances? We need education reform that actually works, that does not place our teachers in losing situations.

Breelia
03-23-2010, 02:38 PM
Just offering this as a point of comparison and my opinion. Not sure if it really applies, or if it would even be possible, but I just got out of the education system, and I can say, from an inside point of view, it sucks all around right now. For teachers AND students. And I think it'll get even worse before it gets any better.

I went to elementary school in Europe and our class levels were divided into sections of about 25 students. Never more than 30. I believe they were divided based on test scores and one section was reserved for the high scoring students (or athletes). Before you jump to conclusions, though, students were not stuck in those sections. They could be transferred into a different one based on performance. In the case of athletes - we had a swim team - they either had to get good grades to stay in the section, or be fast swimmers, but even the fastest swimmer wasn't exempt from class work and getting good grades. And swimming came as a privilege of being in that section, so they had to keep their grades up to stay there. And this separation wasn't done to favor anyone, but to better meet the students' needs. The curriculum was the same, but the teaching styles were different, based on section.

I thought that was a very good school to attend. I loved most of my teachers, I had a close circle of friends, I got my exercise, and we were taught many more subjects than schools here. I'm talking physics, chemistry, geography, art and music (both required), foreign languages, even ethics ... in 5th grade. We had 45 minute classes and would take 7-9 subjects per year, as opposed to the 4-6 I took in high school here.

The reason I am typing this is because in comparison, the American education system sucks royally, from the ground up. I'm sorry, but it does. And what's worse is that I am hearing from my relatives back in Europe that the schools there are changing, looking to the U.S. as an example. :shocked: That worries me very much. I think it should be the opposite, though I can easily see, with the mess the education system is here currently, how it would devolve into a popularity contest and bad ranking systems.

Blue, I don't know what to tell you. I would say you're far better off with home schooling than risking your childrens' safety. And chances are your kids will grow up a heck of a lot smarter and more knowledgeable than if they attended school.

airbear82
03-23-2010, 03:01 PM
It is not just U.S Schools that are like that though, In my high school grade 8 math class our math teacher was also the keyboarding instructor. I had him for both grade 8 and 9 math and I went on to grade 10 math having learned NOTHING of the basic principles of math so GUESS WHAT? I ended up FAILING! My grade 10 math teacher told my mom for the amount of effort I was putting in that I should have been getting A's but I just couldn't do it! My Gr 8 instructor gave us 50 page math tests every week on stuff that we hadn't even learned yet! Not only that but he graded us on whether or not we were polite and respectful to him, I got a C in that class because he always caught me reading in his class, and would threaten to send me down to the Principals office but he never did :snick:. I think that out of all my teachers he and my grade 10 socials teacher were the worst I absolutely HATED the both of them. Mr Adams the Social teacher when I asked him a question because I didn't understand something from the textbook called me stupid, I had him for grade 12 Geography with my best friend but she had to withdraw because she was going through really tough time (she comes from a history of abuse), you know what he said? that she couldn't handle his class because she wasn't strong enough :realmad:! I almost stood up right then and told him that he didn't know what the F*** he was talking about! To this day I regret not doing that! It has always bugged me that I just sat quietly and let him bash her that way. The ONLY teachers I have ever truly like were Mrs. Huey my Grade 8 English teacher and Mrs. Sachar my Grade 9 drama teacher. Yep I hated High School :snick:.

I will also admit that I know that not every teacher out there were like the teachers I had, and that there are probably a lot of teachers out there that are very good. For instance I took a Principles of Math 11 class AFTER I had graduated at the Learning Educational Center in my area to this day I am grateful to the Math instructor Rob Ashby because he made me BELIEVE that I could do it, You know WHAT I got a B+ in his math class!

As for homeschooling I have nothing against it but I do believe that you have to be the right type of person to be able to pull it off. I may have the patience but I will admit I am a horrible teacher and would probably end up confusing my poor kid more often then not :snick:. So I might have a beef with the educational system but the teachers would probably do a way better job then I ever could! Also Public school doesn't JUST provide a learning experience it also is a social setting. So unless you are able to provide play dates and what not for your kids to get that Socialization that they need then that is great.

Anita
03-23-2010, 03:46 PM
Breelia,

I have only been in US classes, privet and public as well as home school.
But I know people that have been in European and US public schools and they all say what you are saying.
From what a friend of mine in Europe said you have to test into University basically/ He was saying if your grades on this one test are not high enough you go to a trade school type thing.
Personally I think that they have it right, to me it makes more sense.
Also he was saying in University you only take classes that are related to your major which is great unlike here in the US for some reason they want Music, History, and English to have math and science and foreign lan.
My friend came here for a year and he was a science major and had to take english and history classes.
Which is lame.

Conoga
03-23-2010, 03:58 PM
Airbear, i had similar situations. i had ONE math teacher in high school that did try, and i wanted so badly to make him proud of his efforts, but i really did not grasp the concept of the whole geometry/algebra thing UNTIL ........ i got a job where i was actually building things with my hands, using the tools and the science in a real life situation. i never could grasp it with just reading the directions. i had to get my hands around it in order to get my head around it. ((i blame my mom for jinxing me though. that school required more credits than the state required for graduation, which basically meant i wasnt graduating -changed schools again so it didnt matter lol - but her closing argument to the school was "she doesnt NEED that much! she isnt going to grow up to build rockets or dog houses!" ... the damned teacher said "Well you dont know that".... low and behold three two and a half years after graduating there i was .. not building rockets or dog houses but measuring and cutting and building blinds and draperies for windows lol!) To this day i dont know why no one suggested i take a shop class. i guess because i was a girl and preferred reading? *shrug* who knows. but the one thing i did learn was that not everyone learns the same way and its unfair to force people to conform or fail. in my psychology classes we learned about that sort of thing. and yet in other classes you read the chapter, you did the work and you moved on. it was like marching through a strange canyon. if you unlucky enough to stumble, get confused, fall behind, you were LEFT behind... and often times were taunted by the others because "You're too stupid, jeez everyone knows how to do this! you have to be some kind of idiot not to get it"

As for homeschooling -
i've been doing a lot of reading and studying about the subject and i agree its not something to jump into without a care.. i met one kid that was homeschooled(when i was in the high school from hell) - he was AWESOME! Very good looking, very outgoing, AND a gymnast! he didnt stay there long in that school however.... no need to ask why.
one of my cousins home schooled her kids for several years but ended up putting them in public school when she got divorced. her two oldest are in gifted classes. her youngest was put into pre-K and he's everyone's biggest challenge. he got to start school from the ground up like most people, and he's just not having a good time of it... But before her divorce, during the summer we would all pile into my car and drive to the beach or the zoo, on the way there the kids would be doing their lessons. they were all three smart - too smart sometimes, they could embarrass you if you tried to answer their questions thinking they were too young to understand(like where do babies come from, birds migrating, and whys does the sky turn red when the sun sets etc.)

And my other cousin who will be beginning home schooling; we've struck up a deal. where i lack math skills i make up for in english/reading and history. she was never too keen on history or reading but she knows the science/math stuff that i never could grasp. Her oldest son will be going into second grade, and her youngest will be starting kindergarten - my oldest will also be starting Kindergarten about the same time. my youngest is smart enough that he could very easily do everything they do.
and being social is no problem. my kids arent in day care but they're not shy with strangers. but they arent so friendly as to let anyone grab them.

But what i like best about home schooling is we can go their pace. we dont have to wait for 25 other people to get it, we have more time to teach, no class changes, bus rides, school lunch periods etc. once they get the lesson, they GET it. and then we move on. if they dont get it then we can work on it longer. you can teach anywhere - like my cousin did with her kids in the car, or at the beach, park, etc - You can join with other home school families or do it yourself. you can buy CDs, DVDs, books, lesson plans etc. or you can work with others who already have those things.

i love this video about home schooling lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQoSRfu5z_4

airbear82
03-23-2010, 04:13 PM
Airbear, i had similar situations. i had ONE math teacher in high school that did try, and i wanted so badly to make him proud of his efforts, but i really did not grasp the concept of the whole geometry/algebra thing UNTIL ........ i got a job where i was actually building things with my hands, using the tools and the science in a real life situation. i never could grasp it with just reading the directions. i had to get my hands around it in order to get my head around it. ((i blame my mom for jinxing me though. that school required more credits than the state required for graduation, which basically meant i wasnt graduating -changed schools again so it didnt matter lol - but her closing argument to the school was "she doesnt NEED that much! she isnt going to grow up to build rockets or dog houses!" ... the damned teacher said "Well you dont know that".... low and behold three two and a half years after graduating there i was .. not building rockets or dog houses but measuring and cutting and building blinds and draperies for windows lol!) To this day i dont know why no one suggested i take a shop class. i guess because i was a girl and preferred reading? *shrug* who knows. but the one thing i did learn was that not everyone learns the same way and its unfair to force people to conform or fail. in my psychology classes we learned about that sort of thing. and yet in other classes you read the chapter, you did the work and you moved on. it was like marching through a strange canyon. if you unlucky enough to stumble, get confused, fall behind, you were LEFT behind... and often times were taunted by the others because "You're too stupid, jeez everyone knows how to do this! you have to be some kind of idiot not to get it"

Yeah I was never good at the Math/Sciences but I always did awesome in my art class. You know what what my mom said once when I was bummed because I only got like a C+ on an Art Assignment? That she didn't CARE if I failed Art as long as I passed MATH! Now that makes me angry because to me that says that she doesn't care if I excel at something I am good at but would rather I struggle with something that I am never going to succeed with. I think that in her own way because she was bad with Math, that she wanted me to succeed where she hadn't. These types of experiences affect your WHOLE life though, I had dreams and aspirations when I was much younger but now it has all amounted to nothing. Maybe IF I had, had one teacher to tell me that I could do it maybe....

Conoga
03-23-2010, 04:25 PM
Yeah I was never good at the Math/Sciences but I always did awesome in my art class. You know what what my mom said once when I was bummed because I only got like a C+ on an Art Assignment? That she didn't CARE if I failed Art as long as I passed MATH! Now that makes me angry because to me that says that she doesn't care if I excel at something I am good at but would rather I struggle with something that I am never going to succeed with. I think that in her own way because she was bad with Math, that she wanted me to succeed where she hadn't. These types of experiences affect your WHOLE life though, I had dreams and aspirations when I was much younger but now it has all amounted to nothing. Maybe IF I had, had one teacher to tell me that I could do it maybe....

ugh same here.... when i was in third grade they gave us a piece of paper/writing assignment asking us what we wanted to do when we grew up, what we liked, what we were good at, what we found difficult.

i said i wanted to be a vet, i liked animals, i was good at art, and getting up early was hard. when i took it up there to the teacher to turn in she told me to go back and rewrite the last part and change it to say "staying on task was hard"..... i didnt even know what that meant lol
and later on when in my school career when asked what i wanted to be when i grew up i would still say vet... but their reply was always "you have to be better in math to do that" ... yeah i gave up that dream sometime around 6th and 7th grade :wno: decided the traditional "i dunno" was more acceptable. no one can crush your dreams if you dont tell them what they are right?

So help me if someone does that to my kids i'll deck them. i mean really! was that their way of challenging me? or just a way to point out my short comings?


ETA i found this little article about the proposed bill - http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-03-10/news/os-senate-merit-pay-graduation-031010-20100310_1_merit-pay-plan-teacher-quality-rewards-teachers

Wildernessgirl
03-23-2010, 04:56 PM
The just had an article in Time magazine about how bad teachers need to be fired. I agree completely. It mentioned that research shows that students who have two bad teachers in row have a very difficult time ever recovering and are more likely to drop out or have poor grades years later. Students who have at least one very good teacher have a much better outcome later.

My dad is a physics professor and has won numerous awards for teaching. He does a course in summers for elementary and middle school teachers to help them teach science in their own classrooms. He was shocked at some of the public school teachers that attended. One didn't know the difference between "dear" and "deer" when writing. Another one insisted on needing a calculator to find out what 8x0 was because she didn't know that anything x 0 equals 0.

I'm not sure how we should go about it but bad teachers need to be held accountable and be reviewed each year and be given warnings if they don't improve let go.

Wildernessgirl
03-23-2010, 04:59 PM
Airbear, i had similar situations. i had ONE math teacher in high school that did try, and i wanted so badly to make him proud of his efforts, but i really did not grasp the concept of the whole geometry/algebra thing UNTIL ........ i got a job where i was actually building things with my hands, using the tools and the science in a real life situation. i never could grasp it with just reading the directions. i had to get my hands around it in order to get my head around it. ((i blame my mom for jinxing me though. that school required more credits than the state required for graduation, which basically meant i wasnt graduating -changed schools again so it didnt matter lol - but her closing argument to the school was "she doesnt NEED that much! she isnt going to grow up to build rockets or dog houses!" ... the damned teacher said "Well you dont know that".... low and behold three two and a half years after graduating there i was .. not building rockets or dog houses but measuring and cutting and building blinds and draperies for windows lol!) To this day i dont know why no one suggested i take a shop class. i guess because i was a girl and preferred reading? *shrug* who knows. but the one thing i did learn was that not everyone learns the same way and its unfair to force people to conform or fail. in my psychology classes we learned about that sort of thing. and yet in other classes you read the chapter, you did the work and you moved on. it was like marching through a strange canyon. if you unlucky enough to stumble, get confused, fall behind, you were LEFT behind... and often times were taunted by the others because "You're too stupid, jeez everyone knows how to do this! you have to be some kind of idiot not to get it"

As for homeschooling -
i've been doing a lot of reading and studying about the subject and i agree its not something to jump into without a care.. i met one kid that was homeschooled(when i was in the high school from hell) - he was AWESOME! Very good looking, very outgoing, AND a gymnast! he didnt stay there long in that school however.... no need to ask why.
one of my cousins home schooled her kids for several years but ended up putting them in public school when she got divorced. her two oldest are in gifted classes. her youngest was put into pre-K and he's everyone's biggest challenge. he got to start school from the ground up like most people, and he's just not having a good time of it... But before her divorce, during the summer we would all pile into my car and drive to the beach or the zoo, on the way there the kids would be doing their lessons. they were all three smart - too smart sometimes, they could embarrass you if you tried to answer their questions thinking they were too young to understand(like where do babies come from, birds migrating, and whys does the sky turn red when the sun sets etc.)

And my other cousin who will be beginning home schooling; we've struck up a deal. where i lack math skills i make up for in english/reading and history. she was never too keen on history or reading but she knows the science/math stuff that i never could grasp. Her oldest son will be going into second grade, and her youngest will be starting kindergarten - my oldest will also be starting Kindergarten about the same time. my youngest is smart enough that he could very easily do everything they do.
and being social is no problem. my kids arent in day care but they're not shy with strangers. but they arent so friendly as to let anyone grab them.

But what i like best about home schooling is we can go their pace. we dont have to wait for 25 other people to get it, we have more time to teach, no class changes, bus rides, school lunch periods etc. once they get the lesson, they GET it. and then we move on. if they dont get it then we can work on it longer. you can teach anywhere - like my cousin did with her kids in the car, or at the beach, park, etc - You can join with other home school families or do it yourself. you can buy CDs, DVDs, books, lesson plans etc. or you can work with others who already have those things.

i love this video about home schooling lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQoSRfu5z_4

same here. I never really understood certain aspects of algebra, fractions, etc. until I started doing things where I was using those concepts and then it seemed so simple.

Teachers needed to understand as well that students learn differently and how to reach various students when teaching.

Jill
03-23-2010, 05:06 PM
The just had an article in Time magazine about how bad teachers need to be fired. I agree completely. It mentioned that research shows that students who have two bad teachers in row have a very difficult time ever recovering and are more likely to drop out or have poor grades years later. Students who have at least one very good teacher have a much better outcome later.

My dad is a physics professor and has won numerous awards for teaching. He does a course in summers for elementary and middle school teachers to help them teach science in their own classrooms. He was shocked at some of the public school teachers that attended. One didn't know the difference between "dear" and "deer" when writing. Another one insisted on needing a calculator to find out what 8x0 was because she didn't know that anything x 0 equals 0.

I'm not sure how we should go about it but bad teachers need to be held accountable and be reviewed each year and be given warnings if they don't improve let go.
I agree. One way to ensure accountability is for the school's Principal teacher and department heads to observe and critique teachers in the classroom often. In most schools, teachers might be observed once if at al. Professional development is also key to improving a teacher's performance. Many school districts do not have the funding or do not budget for professional development. Even in states/districts where professional development is required, it is a minimum requirement.

Once a teacher is tenured it is almost impossible to fire him or her. They are backed by the NEA and state and local teachers' unions that are very powerful politically.

I am a former school teacher and I think tenure is wrong. Why should teaching, of all professions, be exempt from accountability? How long would other professionals maintain their jobs if their performances failed to meet certain standards/criteria? We entrust our children and our future to these people. If teachers can't teach, they should be fired.

Liberty
03-23-2010, 05:40 PM
I think they should just let students evaluate their teachers like in college...of course I don't know how well students at that age could judge someone. I think it might turn into a popularity contest, hm...okay, scratch that idea.

I was lucky to have had mostly awesome teachers growing up. You can clearly tell they love their job, and were passionate about what they were teaching. They there were those that came off like they hated being there, hated children altogether. I've had a few teachers like that and it traumatized me. To this day, a big factor in why I don't talk much (in real life) is because of them. :skeptical:

I read that Texas conservatives are changing textbooks, and not in a good way. This makes me sick and sad for my state. :wno:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html

Anita: The university requirements is one thing I actually do like about our system. Many people going into college not knowing what they want to do career wise, and in other parts of the world they have to make a choice entering college. I like that all majors have to go through a "basics" because I feel like it gives us a well rounded education. My friends and I have changed our majors a few times, and if it wasn't for the basics I'd have a lot of catching up to do. I went from majoring in fashion designing, to nursing, to pre-med, to archeology, and finally journalism.

Conoga
03-23-2010, 05:54 PM
I think they should just let students evaluate their teachers like in college...of course I don't know how well students at that age could judge someone. I think it might turn into a popularity contest, hm...okay, scratch that idea.

this was how i evaluated my teachers in 1st grade. FYI - i was held back in first grade because they thought i wasnt "mature" enough to move forward....
i think its funny that i couldnt spell "wort" but i could spell "because" :snick:


http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/072/6/6/Angry_Child_circa_1991_by_Dogote.jpg
http://dogote.deviantart.com/art/Angry-Child-circa-1991-157173007
i found this the other night and it made DH laugh.. made me laugh too lol

Beware_of_Italics
03-23-2010, 07:25 PM
I work in a school district, and my sister teaches 4th grade and just got her principalship. All I know is there are some BAD and GOOD teachers out there. The same can be said for the students.

I like Liberty's idea of evaluations from the students. Teachers are evaluated of course, but it'd be nice to hear from the kiddos that enter that classroom every single day.

And just because a child doesn't do well in school, that doesn't always mean the teacher is at fault. I know it does happen though.

Recently, my sister evaluated our little cousin's trouble with school and he has a really bad teacher. :wno:

Liberty
03-23-2010, 07:44 PM
And just because a child doesn't do well in school, that doesn't always mean the teacher is at fault. I know it does happen though.


Totally agree. Sometimes it's hard for kids who have problems at home to focus in school, and some kids have learning disabilities that no one bothers to check on until later in life.

Conoga
03-23-2010, 07:58 PM
i would like to think the kids struggling with problems at home would be the minority. to say the entire class is failing because of problems at home might going too far. SOMETIMES it isnt if the school is in a particularly bad area with high crime rates... but sometimes its the foundation that was struck when the students were in elementary. once they learn that no one can really harm them for being lazy... what do you do? what CAN you do, especially if they have been allowed to be lazy for too long?

Beware_of_Italics
03-23-2010, 07:59 PM
Yeah, if it's the entire class that's failing I think it's safe to say the teacher is the problem.

Liberty
03-23-2010, 08:07 PM
:snick: If the entire class is failing it's pretty obvious where the problem is.

I don't like the No child left behind act either. It puts the teacher and students in a tough spot. It's putting a lot of pressures on the teachers to make the students succeed, and compromising the student's education. It either takes the fun out of learning, or teachers end up dumbing down the curriculum and the kids end up not learning anything.

MissAmy
03-23-2010, 08:12 PM
I don't like the No child left behing act also. Because each child learns differently, some learn fast while other might be slow at learning and trying to teach each child the same tends to be hard for the teacher.

mest
03-23-2010, 10:18 PM
I work in a school for students with learning differences such as ADHD, dyslexia and dysgraphia. For lots of reasons, one being No Child Left Behid, there is pressure to test all students, including those with learning differences on the statewide tests. Many of my students do not show what they have learned on standardized tests. For example, I proctored the High School Exit Exam once where one of my students answered almost all the math questions correctly on his scratch paper, but he bubbled the wrong answers on the answer sheet. I am not allowed to give any help. He did not pass, but the test did not measure what he knew about math.

Part of the problem is that creating a standardized test to measure what students know is very difficult. Students are individual, just like adults. In schools we often try to make the system fit every student, no matter what their needs. As another example, as adults we can choose to work in a variety of settings including for ourselves, in a mom and pop business or in a large corporation. Within the public system there is often little choice about the size of the classroom or the size of the school in any particular area. High schools in southern California often have 2000-5000 students with over thirty students in the classroom. This just doesn't work for some students who get lost in the size of the system, let alone a student who may have a significant learning idfference.

I have certainly heard horror stories and read files on some of my students that have made me cringe concerning the way they have been treated. On the other hand, most people I know in education are trying to meet student needs, but there are significant problems in the system. I'm not convinced that standardized testing is the solution to measuring student progress. It could be part of a solution in conjunction with other measures of student progress.

Wildernessgirl
03-23-2010, 11:25 PM
I work in a school district, and my sister teaches 4th grade and just got her principalship. All I know is there are some BAD and GOOD teachers out there. The same can be said for the students.

I like Liberty's idea of evaluations from the students. Teachers are evaluated of course, but it'd be nice to hear from the kiddos that enter that classroom every single day.

And just because a child doesn't do well in school, that doesn't always mean the teacher is at fault. I know it does happen though.

Recently, my sister evaluated our little cousin's trouble with school and he has a really bad teacher. :wno:

Evaluations help and should be one of many things used to evaluate a teacher. The reason I say this is despite my dad being a very good professor they are always students who don't come to class or do the extra credit who fail and then get angry at teacher. But even so with college professors you have hundreds of students so most students are honest with evaluations and dean and department head can see a pattern.

Wildernessgirl
03-23-2010, 11:36 PM
I agree. One way to ensure accountability is for the school's Principal teacher and department heads to observe and critique teachers in the classroom often. In most schools, teachers might be observed once if at al. Professional development is also key to improving a teacher's performance. Many school districts do not have the funding or do not budget for professional development. Even in states/districts where professional development is required, it is a minimum requirement.

Once a teacher is tenured it is almost impossible to fire him or her. They are backed by the NEA and state and local teachers' unions that are very powerful politically.

I am a former school teacher and I think tenure is wrong. Why should teaching, of all professions, be exempt from accountability? How long would other professionals maintain their jobs if their performances failed to meet certain standards/criteria? We entrust our children and our future to these people. If teachers can't teach, they should be fired.

I agree. They shouldn't have tenure. I went to a private school and my younger brother had two teachers in sixth grades that were both emotionally abusive to students and humiliated some in front of class. There was quite a bit of favoritism as well. The principal was very kind but refused to do anything about it. It was the type of school with 60 students in each grade and most started school when in first grade. It's very rare for students to transfer before 8th grade but that year seven students left half way through year. My parents who are both work at universities with backgrounds in education removed my brother as well.

What's interesting is one teacher later left and the other was fired this year. It's twelve years after my brother left but parents complained and hired a private company to review them and they followed through when they were told to fire her. What's shocking though is how furious some parents are over the firing and how divided the school is over it. My parents and siblings are relieved that she was let go though.

I suppose what I'm trying to say though is that sometimes more is needed than just a principal. Parents needed to hold teachers to a higher standard and not just keep them around out of loyalty but let them know they need to met certain standards. One of the teachers let go I had although very sweet was old even when I had her and was no longer motivated to teach or motivate students.

melissa
03-23-2010, 11:54 PM
Yeah, if it's the entire class that's failing I think it's safe to say the teacher is the problem.

This is not an entirely true statement. My oldest son is currently teaching at an inner city high school in which 70% of the students are ELL and/or from broken, poverty ridden households. In one of his classes (10th/11th grade algebra I) he has 24 students. Of those 24, there are 10 pregnant and/or already given birth to at least one child students. He has massive problems with just getting students into the classroom. Truancy is rampant. And when the students do come they have rarely done homework or are willing to sit and listen while in the classroom, he spends a great deal of his class time trying to maintain discipline. Last week he had one girl set fire to another girls hair during class. Hard to teach when you have to call the police and file an "intent to harm" report. The majority of the ones who do show up are there because they are required by law to be there until they are 16.

His curriculum is designed so that if you show up, do your work in class and turn in your homework assignments and get a least a C on tests, you will pass the class with a C average. That is just doing the minimum work required. Last semester he had 20 of the 24 students in his class fail. The main reason? Homework not completed and failing grades on tests. Could he do a better job teaching? Probably. Most teachers can improve in some way, and he is a relatively young teacher - this is only his 3rd year teaching. But is it his fault that those students failed? Probably not. Even the best teacher can't teach a student who is not willing to learn and who never comes to class or ever turns in a paper.

I guess what I am saying is that before we cast blame on the teacher for a failing class, we should look closely at the circumstances.

Back to the original question - most teachers are already evaluated on performance. Don't know about Florida, but in both Kansas and Colorado, teaching contracts are for a 1 year period, with no guarantee of a contract being offered the next year. Mostly this is for budgetary reasons; a district doesn't know from one year to the next how much the state will fund. Contracts for the next year are usually offered in March, so as a teacher you better make sure that your classroom is functioning well and your students are achieving minimum standards or you might just find yourself without a contract. Added to that is the reality that most teachers are "at will" employees, which means that they can be fired at any time, contract or no. It is just in a teacher's best interest to ensure that his/her performance meets standards.

Of course, there is the issue of tenure, which to me is an outdated thing that tends to do more harm than good. A tenured teacher can be fired, but it takes a whole lot of time and effort to do it - it requires regular evaluations from the Administration, meetings with the teacher to inform them of issues, a learning plan to assist the teacher to improve, time to allow the teacher to improve and more evaluations to see if the improvements are being done. All of which has to be meticulously documented at every stage, often times with lawyers getting involved. It is expensive for the district and a time consuming thing. Most districts will concentrate their efforts on evaluating a young teacher and getting rid of them before tenure is achieved, much easier that way.

I could talk forever on the damages that No Child Left Behind has already done and is continuing to do to our public school system - but I have been on my soapbox long enough.

BC - if you are really interested in homeschooling, I would recommend that you check out The Pioneer Woman's blog. She is a ranching wife, homeschooling Mother of four from Oklahoma and has some really interesting insights to homeschooling. Plus her blog is just a fun place to visit.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/

Conoga
03-24-2010, 01:06 AM
i can sympathize with your son, Melissa, not as a teacher of course, but as a student that had to watch.
With Jefferson highschool, my first high school, i could easily see the majority of their staff getting their walking papers, and most would PROBABLY deserve it because they totally just gave up on even TRYING to rein their students in.
BTW, has he read Teacher Man, or Tis by Frank McCourt? that might help encourage him to keep on trying. i read Angela's Ashes and Tis when i was in high school and it made me aware of a few things most students dont even consider. things like... Teachers are HUMANS too!! who knew!! lol

what concerns me is this... sure a LOT of teachers will probably get "fired" if this bill is passed. some may or may not deserve it. it probably wont really matter to the students that are already failing high school. like you said, they're only there because the law requires it... and once they are old enough to drop out.... no one can stop them. a lot of the kids i went to school wish were counting down the days so they could quit and get their GED, and from there they could work for their dad on the farm, or at walmart, Taco Bell, or where ever.... that was their great achievement, and to them that was enough.
So these students being affected now... are they a lost cause? because it seems like thats whats going to happen. you can hire new teacher after new teacher and still get the same results and it NOT be the teachers fault.
But is this more or less going to help the future only? will it also "cull" the elementary school teachers who allow 25 screaming first graders to control the class?

Or are we missing the point entirely?
This is where i get mixed emotions on this. YES. Bad teachers NEED TO GO!
But are they really bad, or are they jaded? and truthfully.... IS IT the elementary teacher's fault for not setting that foundation and desire to learn?

..... or is it the parent's?

my mom worked. my dad had another family in a town two hours away. my sisters made good grades. i didnt. i never asked for help with home work because if my mom wasnt working then she was asleep because her job sapped her energy. and my brother? yeah right. he took great delight in telling me that i was useless, adopted, a heathen, etc(remember Dudley from Harry Potter? that was my brother.. only my brother looked like HP..)
and in the middle of first grade one of my aunts and her two daughters and one two year old grand daughter came to live with us(mooch) and that wrecked home life even more to the point where i didnt even WANT to go home. which was probably why i was held back. i was too stressed at home to even care about school. i did better the second time around, I LOVED 2nd grade and the lady teaching it. but third grade really did me in.

So...... no one set a foundation for me. i wanted to learn, i loved learning, but wasnt very well encouraged. threatened? yeah lol "if you dont make good grades you're not going with us to Disney World!" my dad would say..... so what!

Being a little kid is confusing enough without being bribed, cajoled, or threatened into making good grades. and as hard as it was for me, i know its worse for someone else. i lived in a good town, the school really was a great school. i shudder to think what would have happened to me if i had grown up in jefferson county, struggling through their elementary school and middle school.
some of those little kids who rode the bus with me(yeah they put elementary kids and high schoolers on the same bus!) they were just down right ROTTEN! they knew dirty words i'd never even heard of!


Still..... i hate turn it into a blame game. teaching is one of the most frustrating and most rewarding jobs out there. i admire a lot of people who dedicate their lives to teaching. many of them have their work cut out for them and it wont get any easier.
but some where along the lines something has broken and who knows... maybe everyone shares a little bit in the blame game? Parents should NOT rely on the teachers to pick up their slack. and teachers should not blame the students and consider them a lost cause because the student just want to be kids and have fun.
i guess in some sense it boils down to "it takes a village to raise a child"?




oh and dont get me started on "no child left behind"!!! :s10: i was subjected to that nonsense and still dont even know what the heck they were trying to accomplish. i just know it made my already wrecked school career worse!

Beware_of_Italics
03-24-2010, 01:25 AM
This is not an entirely true statement. My oldest son is currently teaching at an inner city high school in which 70% of the students are ELL and/or from broken, poverty ridden households. In one of his classes (10th/11th grade algebra I) he has 24 students. Of those 24, there are 10 pregnant and/or already given birth to at least one child students. He has massive problems with just getting students into the classroom. Truancy is rampant. And when the students do come they have rarely done homework or are willing to sit and listen while in the classroom, he spends a great deal of his class time trying to maintain discipline. Last week he had one girl set fire to another girls hair during class. Hard to teach when you have to call the police and file an "intent to harm" report. The majority of the ones who do show up are there because they are required by law to be there until they are 16.

That's definitely a worse case scenario, and sounds like more of a school/district problem rather than any individual teacher. I find that very sad. :wno: Kudos to your son for having such a stressful job.

melissa
03-24-2010, 01:59 AM
I may get shot for this statement, but overall, I believe one of the greatest downfalls in our public school systems is the lack of ability to discipline the students.

I went to private schools and at the time the teachers were still allowed to use corporal punishment. Now, I am not advocating going back to that, but I have to tell you as a first grader it made quite an impression on me when during the first week of school the little girl in front of me, who spoke out of turn got pulled out of her chair and whacked across the back of the legs by the nun teaching class. It stuck with me so well that I NEVER acted up in class. She was a very small, very stern woman and had no difficulty what-so-ever controlling a classroom of 30 students. Back then, when you got sent to the Principal's office, you knew you were in trouble and not only at school; there was a pink slip that got pinned to your shirt and your parents were required to sign it and you had to bring it back the next day. So you got it at home also.

A friend of mine is a substitute teacher in our district and she was telling me that she had a student in class who was disruptive and threatened to send him to the Principal and the student replied "good, we can finish our card game." Again, I am not advocating a return to physical punishment, but if a teacher threatens to send a student to the office and there is no punishment, instead the student is rewarded, where is the back-up that the teacher needs in order to maintain discipline in the classroom, and more likely than not, if a student is disciplined then the teacher and/or administrator has to deal with some ranting parent who swears up and down that their darling child would never do something disruptive! When parents undermine the staff and administration to the students, the students lose respect and discipline flies out the window. There needs to be some happy medium there. Then there is the paperwork - sending a child to the office, or disciplining them in the classroom requires a great deal of paperwork from the teacher and if the parents request it, time for conferences, etc. Sometimes it is just easier to pretend that you didn't see the problem, which encourages the student to continue the behavior because there are no consequences.

I don't know what the solution is - I just know that one is needed. And I know that I am grateful that I only have 2 more years of public schooling to get through. I am counting the days til my youngest graduates high school!

airbear82
03-24-2010, 02:29 AM
ugh same here.... when i was in third grade they gave us a piece of paper/writing assignment asking us what we wanted to do when we grew up, what we liked, what we were good at, what we found difficult.

i said i wanted to be a vet, i liked animals, i was good at art, and getting up early was hard. when i took it up there to the teacher to turn in she told me to go back and rewrite the last part and change it to say "staying on task was hard"..... i didnt even know what that meant lol
and later on when in my school career when asked what i wanted to be when i grew up i would still say vet... but their reply was always "you have to be better in math to do that" ... yeah i gave up that dream sometime around 6th and 7th grade :wno: decided the traditional "i dunno" was more acceptable. no one can crush your dreams if you dont tell them what they are right?

So help me if someone does that to my kids i'll deck them. i mean really! was that their way of challenging me? or just a way to point out my short comings?


ETA i found this little article about the proposed bill - http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-03-10/news/os-senate-merit-pay-graduation-031010-20100310_1_merit-pay-plan-teacher-quality-rewards-teachers

If you had asked me what I wanted to be in Elementary and High School what I wanted to be I would have said that I wanted to be a Writer. I didn't have many friends but I did have a wild imagination. I once told my mom that I wanted to write Poetry you know what she said? NOT FOR A LIVING I HOPE? what else could I say, but no. She was always haranguing me saying that I would do better at school if I spent more time on my homework and less time on my stories. After I graduated I stopped writing, I have tried to write since then but I just can't seem to do it.

airbear82
03-24-2010, 02:50 AM
my mom worked. my dad had another family in a town two hours away. my sisters made good grades. i didnt. i never asked for help with home work because if my mom wasnt working then she was asleep because her job sapped her energy. and my brother? yeah right. he took great delight in telling me that i was useless, adopted, a heathen, etc(remember Dudley from Harry Potter? that was my brother.. only my brother looked like HP..)
and in the middle of first grade one of my aunts and her two daughters and one two year old grand daughter came to live with us(mooch) and that wrecked home life even more to the point where i didnt even WANT to go home. which was probably why i was held back. i was too stressed at home to even care about school. i did better the second time around, I LOVED 2nd grade and the lady teaching it. but third grade really did me in.


BC I too very rarely asked my mom for help either. I think I was in Gr 8 or 9 when I asked her for help with a math problem that I was having trouble with. Keep in mind that Math is so NOT her strong point, but the way she was trying to explain it was very confusing for me. So I wasn't getting it, she was getting frustrated because she could see I wasn't getting it but didn't know how to explain it any other way. I put my head down on the table, she lost it I think that was the one and only time I ever remember her hitting me cause she whacked me a good one across the back of my head. She apologized later and said that she hadn't meant to lose her temper. So yeah that was the last time I EVER asked her for help with my homework.

DoberDawn
03-24-2010, 07:23 AM
One of my friends does teach in the Florida system and I know is very frustrated by and opposed to this possible law. I've passed this thread on to her (she's on this board but not too active)... so she can comment more knowledgeably from the front lines.

I know she said that from her perspective, she gets kids in her High School English classes that have been passed thru with limited English skills to begin with (including hispanic/illegal alien students), chronic truants who skip school, don't do the work, move around constantly, are only with her for part of the year, and if these students fail the Florida FCAT tests, her pay will get cut under this law regardless of how hard she works and how well she does with teaching ALL the other students in her classes. How is that fair? There is no provision to account for that from what I understand. There is also nothing to account for or adjust for differences in schools with all the assets vs. schools in poor districts where they don't even have enough materials to go around.

Again, I dunno... I'm just relaying what my friend has said. Maybe she'll post more.

Jill
03-24-2010, 09:28 AM
One of my friends does teach in the Florida system and I know is very frustrated by and opposed to this possible law. I've passed this thread on to her (she's on this board but not too active)... so she can comment more knowledgeably from the front lines.

I know she said that from her perspective, she gets kids in her High School English classes that have been passed thru with limited English skills to begin with (including hispanic/illegal alien students), chronic truants who skip school, don't do the work, move around constantly, are only with her for part of the year, and if these students fail the Florida FCAT tests, her pay will get cut under this law regardless of how hard she works and how well she does with teaching ALL the other students in her classes. How is that fair? There is no provision to account for that from what I understand. There is also nothing to account for or adjust for differences in schools with all the assets vs. schools in poor districts where they don't even have enough materials to go around.

Again, I dunno... I'm just relaying what my friend has said. Maybe she'll post more.
Interestingly enough, the only group of students who have benefited from No Child Left Behind (according to independent studies/data) is the ESL population. Although when dealing with children of migrant workers and constant truants, these children are not present to reap these benefits. I truly feel for your friend, Dawn. In our district here in Alabama, there are some principals who are "stacking" some teachers' classes with children who are low achievers, children with IEP's, and children who are repeat disciplinary offenders. These principals obviously do not like said teachers, and are attempting to get rid of them by looking at their "performance" and not granting tenure, *or* trying to discourage the teacher(s) so that they will request a transfer or move on to a different school district.

KJTVH
03-24-2010, 12:38 PM
The educational system in this country definitely needs a drastic overhaul, there are so many issues that need to be addressed, and most of these are nationwide problems and I'm not sure that state-level solutions are the right way to go. But what is? It's beyond my ability to see what would be the best thing to do. I can certainly understand the appeal of homeschooling, but I have one big issue with it: children need socialization, too. I've had some friends and relatives involved with homeschooling, and this seems to be a pattern here. Yeah, those children recieve(d) excellent educations, but all have some level of difficulting dealing with 'the real world' especially communicating with their peers. All seem really good behind a computer (email), but crumble in social situations or when they have to deliver any coherent, protracted speech in front of other people, be it a social occasion (party, date) or a work environment (presentation).

Liberty
03-24-2010, 02:45 PM
The educational system in this country definitely needs a drastic overhaul, there are so many issues that need to be addressed, and most of these are nationwide problems and I'm not sure that state-level solutions are the right way to go. But what is? It's beyond my ability to see what would be the best thing to do. I can certainly understand the appeal of homeschooling, but I have one big issue with it: children need socialization, too. I've had some friends and relatives involved with homeschooling, and this seems to be a pattern here. Yeah, those children recieve(d) excellent educations, but all have some level of difficulting dealing with 'the real world' especially communicating with their peers. All seem really good behind a computer (email), but crumble in social situations or when they have to deliver any coherent, protracted speech in front of other people, be it a social occasion (party, date) or a work environment (presentation).

I have to agree with that.
If you isolate your children and they don't learn to properly socialize with their peers it's going to come back and bite them in the butt. Of course hopefully they'll learn to deal with all of that in college.

melissa
03-24-2010, 03:03 PM
We have a large homeschooling population in our little town. We have a better than average public school system, with relatively small class sizes (my youngest son has 44 in his class with the total k-12 student population being about 720 students), so I am not really sure why they homeschool, except that most of the families are very religious and all attend the same new age Christian Church.

Anyway, the point is - most of those homeschoolers participate in the middle and high school athletic, drama and music programs. So while they don't get the same socialization as mainstreamed schools, they do get involved. They attend dances and some class events, like field trips and science fair and such. Most states require that public schools allow homeschooled children to attend/participate if they choose to.

I know not all homeschooled children do participate in social activities, and so they do miss some of that development, but it is not true of all of them and is a personal choice.