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Old 04-27-2010, 12:20 AM   #221
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They are in Wisconsin.there are 2 buckets, fixed and variable. The variable bucket lost 25% or so in the 2008 meltdown, so in my dad's case. the variable payout amount of his pension went down 25%. It is reset each year. He grumbled but he only has 50% in variable. Mom has always been 100% in fixed so she didn't complain.........

I like the Wisconsin system.

Here's a pdf with an explanation of how they did in 2009 and the respective adjustments to the Core (fixed) and Variable options.

http://etf.wi.gov/news/pr_20100309.pdf


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The WRS, unlike many public employee pension systems, does not provide for an annual cost-of-living increase. Annuity adjustments depend solely on the investment returns of the trust funds and current and projected WRS funding needs.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:07 AM   #222
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We've drifted a bit in this thread (what's new!), but here's an article about CDS products some state and municipal employees/retirees might find interesting. If you think your municipality might go broke, you can "bet against" their bonds and make some money if they default. I don't know if you have to own the bond or not. From the article:
"California, for example—the state with the widest spread—is now trading at just under 1.9%. That means if a buyer wanted to protect $1 million worth of five-year bonds, it would cost about $19,000 a year for five years. "

That is interesting because 5 year California muni bonds are yielding between 1%- 3.2% so basically it cost as much to insure them as they are yielding..
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:00 AM   #223
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So I'm learning a lot here. Some educators clearly don't seem to want to have their performance evaluated, don't seem to want pay based on merit, don't seem want to acknowledge economic realities like supply, demand, competition, market-based economics and job insecurity. Guess that's why they chose a career in the public sector in some cases.

What you don't understand here is that compared even to the somewhat regulated occupations, educators have very little control lover what they do and can do. More than 85% of the requirements for public education come from funded and unfunded public mandates from yours and my politicians.

Beyond that, educators have no problem being evaluated, but its not like their product in an inanimate object. Its a human being, and as such the number of variables that educators have no control over is great. In other occupations which have a product, that they have to have evaluated, they control for the variables. And they make great effort TO control the variables.

I suggest that you move to this forum(below listed) and look at some of the significant variables that impact education. If you have a class of 20, and even three of the kids are seriously affected by these variables, your whole averages will be brought down dramatically, and then you have a bad teacher, when none of that is true.

Anyone who has actually taught a class for any period of time knows how many of these variables for education are not controlled, and if teachers are to be evaluated on performance, then we need to look more seriously at this. Right now its simply being ignored as if it didn't exist.


Economic demand and competition should not have to impact the quality of the education that you want for your children. This is why we have public education. The availability of education isn't and cannot be determined by the market place. If you do that, then we should do the same for firemen and the police. Public services must be available to everyone at the same rate. You shouldn't just have some kinds of services available and others not. If this is not obvious, then you should try it with the market place running everything. I don't think that you'll like the result. And in places where services need to be provided, but only those which have high marketing get any thing, people do complain.

If you take it a step further, and simply give the math and physics people the $100k then you will have to take it away from the kdg teacher, who will then find some occupation. What will happen is that we will then develop rolling shortages of different kinds of educators. The end result will not be a consistent and stable education for your child, nor will these rolling shortages allow the educational system to properly train its workforce.

Right now Boeing has some plane that they've been making for years. The workforce on this place is very skilled and they are concerned that if there are no more orders then the workforce that is very highly trained will be dispersed. This is just for an inanimate object, not out children.

Another aspect of this whole problem involves the wrong idea that the education and training of skilled teachers is simply the goal of the teacher. Functional educational systems develop their programs cohesively across the district, making sure that research based programs are used and that research based teaching methods are used. These research based methods are very rarely taught in the universities because those organizations are generally about 15 years behind the times. The difference between good and bad teachers in regards to teaching often comes down to whether the district administrators are any good, because they are the ones who set up the climate and the on-going training to keep teachers up with the latest research based strategies.

This really is ROCKET SCIENCE. The whole issue is the most complicated of any issue that we confront today because its not widgets that we have to make malleable but children. And besides all of this, children are not just small adults. They are busy physically maturing during the process(a moving target). From age birth to 10 their brains actually double in size, and then just as they have stabilized in their brain growth at age 10-12, their hormones kick in. But we treat kids as if they are like college students. BELIEVE ME THAT AFTER 40 YEARS IN SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES........Nothing could be further from the truth.

For a larger discussion of the variables for education go here:

Variables that teachers have no control over.... - Education -universities, high schools, elementary schools, teachers... - City-Data Forum

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Old 04-27-2010, 09:30 AM   #224
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Again, your post seem to be saying that we can not measure teachers because of all the variables etc... but then you say that we need to keep teachers 'for a properly trained workforce'... if you can not measure how a teacher does, how do you know if they are properly trained

I am not a policeman or firefighter, but I do think they are measured... someone can chime in on that...

Your quote "The difference between good and bad teachers in regards to teaching often comes down to whether the district administrators are any good, because they are the ones who set up the climate and the on-going training to keep teachers up with the latest research based strategies."


SOOOO, you admit that there ARE good and bad teachers... that is progress IMO... before you seemed to imply all teachers were the same.. because we could not 'measure' if a teacher is good or bad.. now that we KNOW that there are good and bad teachers... HOW DO WE GET RID OF THE BAD ONES


My sister was a teacher for 40 years also... and I remember her telling me once that the number of children who had this problem or that problem had increased may X over the years... it seems that the admin wanted as many children labled as 'damaged' so they could show that they could not educate them the same because of the variables... I think one of the is ADHD... she said she did not see any difference over the years... but the number listed skyrocketed... so this seems to be CYA on their part...
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:56 AM   #225
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Sure there are bad teachers. There is simply no easy way of determining that from standardized tests on the children. We measure police and firemen but not by testing the fire or the criminal

Not to mention who would want to be a teacher under such circumstances?
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:09 AM   #226
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Not to mention who would want to be a teacher under such circumstances?
Why would anyone want *any* private sector job for that matter, where you have to worry about unpleasantries like performance measurement, merit pay, weeding out the non-performers, competition, market forces and a 401K instead of a pension? And yet these jobs are rarely lacking for qualified applicants. I fail to see why most other jobs can easily be filled with qualified applicants under these circumstances, but educators can't.

Agreed, though, that standardized tests alone are clearly not the answer to measuring performance. All that does is encourage "teaching to the test" rather than real learning.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:28 AM   #227
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All of my classmates who took private sector jobs were and are paid much better than the public sector folks. As to performance, the promotion and tenure process at a major research university is one of the most brutal merit assessments in the world. Pay is strictly related on the offers you get elsewhere and most academics are on 401 ks
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:45 AM   #228
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All of my classmates who took private sector jobs were and are paid much better than the public sector folks. As to performance, the promotion and tenure process at a major research university is one of the most brutal merit assessments in the world. Pay is strictly related on the offers you get elsewhere and most academics are on 401 ks
It depends on your specialty and how hard you are willing to work. My sister was put on the fast track for tenure and achieved it after only 9 years at a major university. Most academics are on 403Bs , not 401Ks.

Her tenure review went pretty smooth. When you have been published 130 times in 8 years, and do keynote speaking all over the world, and are renowned in your field, it might help. However, I can tell you she busted her butt that whole time...........
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:47 AM   #229
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All of my classmates who took private sector jobs were and are paid much better than the public sector folks.
The benefit packages help equate that. Besides, a lot of professors in my area are allowed to do consulting on the side, and make good money doing that. My dad taught and had a consulting business where he billed $100 an hour plus expenses and the folks were happy to pay it (1980's).......
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:52 AM   #230
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Sure there are bad teachers. There is simply no easy way of determining that from standardized tests on the children. We measure police and firemen but not by testing the fire or the criminal

Not to mention who would want to be a teacher under such circumstances?
My mom taught for 35 years. Want to know her specialty? Remedial reading and LD. You say you can't measure a kid's progress? Well, she took on the hardest cases in the school district, and won Teacher of the Year 6 times. She regularly got the remedial kids up to their grade level or beyond. She used to have education folks from the state come and observe because they marveled at how she was able to get results. She had 9 LD kids that were able to move into regular classrooms after she worked with them, to the amazement of all.

Sorry, I can't let ya slide with generalities and blanket statements........ When she retired, over 100 teachers from the district came to her retirement party, and almost all of them cried at losing her. You can't tell me a teacher can't be measured or make a difference.........
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:14 AM   #231
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All of my classmates who took private sector jobs were and are paid much better than the public sector folks.
This seems to be a common theme. "I could have gone into the private sector, with my skills I would have made a lot more money, and funded the retirement I wanted. But, I decided to take a job with a union providing immunity from performance measurement, enjoy summers off, do my 30, and then moan about abstract pension comparisons when I retire with a PERS or DBP pension."

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As to performance, the promotion and tenure process at a major research university is one of the most brutal merit assessments in the world.
Substitute "political backscratching" for "brutal merit assesments" and we can agree on this one. SIL is a new PhD, I watched the process with disgust amazement...

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Pay is strictly related on the offers you get elsewhere
Hey, just like the private sector!

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and most academics are on 401 ks
Hey, just like the private sector!

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Not to mention who would want to be a teacher under such circumstances?
Apparently, a lot of folks. Where in the private sector can you get a position offering job security, no performance measuring or monitoring, pupils below and administrators above on the blame chain, summers off, a regressive union, and a guaranteed pension?


I understand that teaching can be a tough job, especially in today's environment. Between K-12 and four years at a State University, I probably had well over a hundred teachers. Guess how many of them stood out and I really remember? TWO

(Unless you count my 9th grade math teacher with the mini skirts and go-go boots...she left at mid-term; there were rumors of a scandal...)
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:24 AM   #232
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This seems to be a common theme. "I could have gone into the private sector, with my skills I would have made a lot more money, and funded the retirement I wanted. But, I decided to take a job with a union providing immunity from performance measurement, enjoy summers off, do my 30, and then moan about abstract pension comparisons when I retire with a PERS or DBP pension."
My dad, the retired teacher's favorite line: "Underpaid for 30 years, overpaid for the rest of your life"..........

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Apparently, a lot of folks. Where in the private sector can you get a position offering job security, no performance measuring or monitoring, pupils below and administrators above on the blame chain, summers off, a regressive union, and a guaranteed pension?
Goldman Sachs?
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:07 PM   #233
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Z....

Again, your post seem to be saying that we can not measure teachers because of all the variables etc... but then you say that we need to keep teachers 'for a properly trained workforce'... if you can not measure how a teacher does, how do you know if they are properly trained

I am not a policeman or firefighter, but I do think they are measured... someone can chime in on that...

Your quote "The difference between good and bad teachers in regards to teaching often comes down to whether the district administrators are any good, because they are the ones who set up the climate and the on-going training to keep teachers up with the latest research based strategies."


SOOOO, you admit that there ARE good and bad teachers... that is progress IMO... before you seemed to imply all teachers were the same.. because we could not 'measure' if a teacher is good or bad.. now that we KNOW that there are good and bad teachers... HOW DO WE GET RID OF THE BAD ONES


My sister was a teacher for 40 years also... and I remember her telling me once that the number of children who had this problem or that problem had increased may X over the years... it seems that the admin wanted as many children labled as 'damaged' so they could show that they could not educate them the same because of the variables... I think one of the is ADHD... she said she did not see any difference over the years... but the number listed skyrocketed... so this seems to be CYA on their part...
You're not listening to what I'm saying to you about how things work here, and you are twisting my words. There is not much point in my continuing. I was making a good faith effort to try to explain the circumstances. But if you have an agenda, and don't want to be confused how things really are, there is no real point in continuing.

I said, that we need to address the variables like we do in any other manufacturing or sales event, not that we cannot do that, but that we have to in scientific manner. That's what I said.

I said that teaching is not a static enterprise when it comes to training. Research on what are most effective teaching methods scientifically has only appeared over the past 10 years or so, before that it was this opinion or that opinion. I said that there are good and bad teachers, but its because they haven't had the appropriate training to be "good" teachers. That's what I said.

I said that there are good and bad teachers but not the way you took it out of context. And I explained exactly how we might go about looking at that context, through training and making sure that they are not being inappropriately stigmatized by student variables that they cannot control.

I tried to explain that all this labeling and many other things have no bearing on education because they are mandated by State and Federal governments under threat of losing federal funding, which for most districts is many millions of dollars. These things are often brought up about what's wrong with education, when education actually has no ability to "Fix" these things.

Those who have their own agenda for how they believe things are, are really not interested in discussion how things might be fixed, and aren't worth my sharing discussion.

I've been involved in this business a long time, and I've spent a lot of it in a very very progressive district which focuses a lot on the most effective teaching methods. One of those schools is a national Blue Ribbon, and the other has consistently ranked in the top in the county in all measured levels of performance, behavior and academic. I know what has to be done to do it right, and I know why its wrong when it is wrong. In the two schools that I have, there are no bad teachers. Some teachers are less successful than others for various reasons, either the variables of kids in their classes, or training. Some of these can be adjusted, but many we have no control. One or two really low scores on a standardized test can bring the averages down for an entire class. We need to know if there are elements for which we have no control and either develop control or allow for them statistically(the food industry for example, has a certain allowed number of rat hairs in food, though it less for dog food than human food).

If you wish me to explain how it works, both in a good way and in a bad way, I'm happy to take the time. Very few teachers have the big picture. I do. I've been suspended between management and in the trenches teaching, assisting both sides in direct interventions with children for almost the whole 40 years. I have to personally deal with the variables of which I speak and try to fix them because that is the primary role of the elementary school counselor in my settings. I know both sides and how it has to work to be effective.

I will not argue with people who seem to have an agenda that doesn't respond to facts, or to people who imply or directly state that I am a liar or that I have some ad hominem problem because they don't agree with me. It just gets my blood pressure up, and the easiest way is to move the person to my IL. If anyone finds that I don't seem to be responding to them, then its because I THINK they seem to have an agenda and are not interested in a rational discussion about how things are and can't be changed, and how things could be and might be changed, or that they are just angry and are looking for an educator to bash(not everybody had a good experience in school, I surely understand that since I was one who did not have a good experience until I got to graduate school). When I find the agendas or the bashing, I just expand my IL. Its made things so much more enjoyable here. I can see that there's been a large number of posts that I'll never see by people who got on my IL very early on. And now I just smile and move on, since I know what they are probably about. And you will, too, since I won't seem to be responding to you directly any more......

Z
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:25 PM   #234
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My mom taught for 35 years. Want to know her specialty? Remedial reading and LD. You say you can't measure a kid's progress? Well, she took on the hardest cases in the school district, and won Teacher of the Year 6 times. She regularly got the remedial kids up to their grade level or beyond. She used to have education folks from the state come and observe because they marveled at how she was able to get results. She had 9 LD kids that were able to move into regular classrooms after she worked with them, to the amazement of all.

Sorry, I can't let ya slide with generalities and blanket statements........ When she retired, over 100 teachers from the district came to her retirement party, and almost all of them cried at losing her. You can't tell me a teacher can't be measured or make a difference.........
I've said it before and i'll say it again. You can test the teaching of basic "skills" a basic skill is one for which you can develop a base line test. The Japanese are great at this. But education is not a compilation of basic skills.

Typing is a skill Ergo you can test typing teachers by how well their students learn.
Creative writing or historical interpretation are not the same skills
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:51 PM   #235
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I've said it before and i'll say it again. You can test the teaching of basic "skills" a basic skill is one for which you can develop a base line test. The Japanese are great at this. But education is not a compilation of basic skills.

Typing is a skill Ergo you can test typing teachers by how well their students learn.
Creative writing or historical interpretation are not the same skills
What is YOUR definition of education?
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:22 PM   #236
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Z....

You seem to come back to the scientific methods... almost everybody I know in the private sector is measured on the whim of their boss.. I have not met anyone who is measured by scientific methods.. so let's get that one out of the way... I will agree there is no scientific method of measuring teacher performance... I don't think I ever said there was... I just said we can measure performance... and should come up with some kind of method to do so... and get rid of the bad teachers... yet for some reason you do not think this is a good idea...

On your post.. "One of those schools is a national Blue Ribbon, and the other has consistently ranked in the top in the county in all measured levels of performance, behavior and academic. I know what has to be done to do it right, and I know why its wrong when it is wrong. In the two schools that I have, there are no bad teachers. Some teachers are less successful than others for various reasons, either the variables of kids in their classes, or training. Some of these can be adjusted, but many we have no control. One or two really low scores on a standardized test can bring the averages down for an entire class. We need to know if there are elements for which we have no control and either develop control or allow for them statistically(the food industry for example, has a certain allowed number of rat hairs in food, though it less for dog food than human food)."


Without being able to measure the students progress, how can you have a national Blue Ribbon school? Or one that is consistently ranked at the top. I am sure these rankings are not scientifically run. But you quote them from what I believe to be your skill and knowledge of the subject. I will grant that you have a lot more skill and knowledge on this subject than I, but I also know that there has to be a way to identify bad teachers... and I am not saying someone who is not up on the newest effective methods of teaching and with a little training can be a good teacher... I am talking about someone who just is BAD at teaching.

The measurement can have many adjustments for the variables you mention... and it might not even come up with the right answer for a couple of years... but allowing bad teachers to stay year after year is not the way to go...

The measurement might show that NOBODY is so bad that they should be fired... but it might show which ones need more training.. and after that training they are good teachers...


As an example... my daughter had a substitute teacher yesterday... and she said she was 'bad'... I asked her about it and I did not think what she said was horrible... but she overheard someone from the front office telling this sub that she would not be allowed to work in her school again... for any grade. So this sub (not sure if a man or woman... so that is why I am not putting this down...) was blackballed by one day of work... to me this is not 'fair' at all.. but the teaching establishment seemed to measure the subs ability in one day and take action...
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:39 PM   #237
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Z....As an example... my daughter had a substitute teacher yesterday... and she said she was 'bad'... I asked her about it and I did not think what she said was horrible... but she overheard someone from the front office telling this sub that she would not be allowed to work in her school again... for any grade. So this sub (not sure if a man or woman... so that is why I am not putting this down...) was blackballed by one day of work... to me this is not 'fair' at all.. but the teaching establishment seemed to measure the subs ability in one day and take action...
Maybe her dues weren't current.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:46 PM   #238
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If you take it a step further, and simply give the math and physics people the $100k then you will have to take it away from the kdg teacher, who will then find some occupation.
Ridiculous. The issue is not one of taking away from the kdg teacher but rather of increasing salary offers for hard to fill positions such as math and science. No take away. Only "extra" in certain subject areas where recruitment is difficult at current salary levels.

Only a teacher more focused on their own well being than the well being of the students would deny a child the opportunity to have a qualified subject area teacher recruited to fill a vacancy in a hard to recruit area.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:20 PM   #239
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What is YOUR definition of education?
Education is fundamentally the ability to think in abstractions. Abstractions are ideas that are usually represented by symbols. The human mind has evolved to think in terms of complex symbol based abstractions. Education utilizes that capability. Education is often complemented by training in specific skills.
as an example "Handwriting" and "typing" are skills. You could be a great playwright and not be able to do either.

Reading is more complex. At a certain level it is simply a skill.

"House cat " and "cat house " require similar reading skills. similarly "Dog house" and "house dog" However the comprehension behind the reading is different. The concept is an abstraction. As language is used to convey more and more abstract ideas it requires much more processing capability. The ability to harness the brain's power is what we call education.

Mathematics shows a similar dichotomy. The difference among ordinal, cardinal and ratio numbers is a very complex abstraction. Education harnessses the brains power to use these abstractions.

Standardized tests usually focus on skills. It is much easier to test to see if students know that 3.14159 is the value of Pi to a certain number of decimal places than to get them to understand what it means.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:54 PM   #240
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I bet that if pensions were tied to performance we would have standards and testing in place overnight.
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