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Old 08-15-2008, 06:14 PM   #21
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Finally, a comment with perspective. Most teacher-haters wouldn't last two days in the classroom.
The difference being, in most professions failure means termination, or in some cases death. Teachers run to their union.

People who are intimidated by a classroom full of kids are wimps. And yes I have taught in the public school system. I'm retired military also.
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:23 PM   #22
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The difference being, in most professions failure means termination, or in some cases death. Teachers run to their union.

People who are intimidated by a classroom full of kids are wimps. And yes I have taught in the public school system. I'm retired military also.
Your reply implies that all teachers are collectivist yahoos who are incompetent and "run to their their unions" to avert failure and none ever get terminated. Absolute b.s. MANY bail during student teaching or within the first year or two. Others are eliminated for a multitude of other reasons. Many folks who would otherwise be good teachers can't cope with the stress and bail. There are, yes, a certain number who are lame teachers who nevertheless can cope with the stress and parasite the school sytem. There are some great teachers who are saints. There are many propagandists out there seeking to bring down the public school system for a variety of ideological reasons (fodder for another thread). There are some on this list who resent contractual retirement programs because they don't have one whether the deal be education, GM or military. Of course, anything other than pure dog eat dog is socialist. I may be one of the well fed dog-eaters but I don't believe that a sound healthy society is one that is premised on dog eat dog.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:06 PM   #23
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Never saved much their whole life, yet are retired at 55 on $10K a month for the rest of their life. Nice work if you can get it I suppose.
In their position, would we be expected to save either?

A significant minority on this board share your same opinion about government-funded pensions with COLAs. No matter how difficult or costly the sacrifice...

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The difference being, in most professions failure means termination, or in some cases death. Teachers run to their union.
People who are intimidated by a classroom full of kids are wimps. And yes I have taught in the public school system. I'm retired military also.
"Wimps"? My goodness. I'd think that most teachers, especially retired military teachers, would be challenged by the prospect of earning the respect of a roomful of kids who still know how to question everything.

I agree that unions can be good or bad, and that the "bad" employees tend to see unions as a crutch more than the good ones, but a union's only reason for existence is: management.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:23 PM   #24
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Part of the national benefit of providing stable secure career jobs, salaries, & benefits to govt employees is so we don't end up with a system of corrupt public servants like many 2nd & 3rd world countries (i.e. Mexico)

While you can find instances in all levels of government nationally (thanks to the ever vigilant eye of our modern media/information systems) - the incidence of corruption in public service in the U.S. is actually very low compared to other countries (& to the past in the U.S.)
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:15 PM   #25
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Finally, a comment with perspective. Most teacher-haters wouldn't last two days in the classroom.
Exactly true. Without exception, all of my friends who went into teaching (I don't have slacker friends) worked much much harder at the beginning of their careers than their classmates who went into business, non-profits, etc.
They spend their own money on neccessary materials, work unpaid overtime like you wouldn't believe...

I think our society needs the strong pension carrot for teachers to get them to stay teaching. Kids lose out when they only have newbie teachers that haven't yet perfected their art.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:22 PM   #26
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In their position, would we be expected to save either?

A significant minority on this board share your same opinion about government-funded pensions with COLAs. No matter how difficult or costly the sacrifice...


"Wimps"? My goodness. I'd think that most teachers, especially retired military teachers, would be challenged by the prospect of earning the respect of a roomful of kids who still know how to question everything.

I agree that unions can be good or bad, and that the "bad" employees tend to see unions as a crutch more than the good ones, but a union's only reason for existence is: management.
I'm not a member of the anti-COLA government pension, SS is welfare crowd. I believe anyone who works the majority of their adult life, is entitled to a modest, dignified retirement. Maybe not at 50 or 55, but at least in their 60's.

I see the teacher retirement system as dysfunctional. The rate of return is all out of whack, compared to SS, or other DB plans where SS taxes are paid. The TRS deduction in most states, is only a percent or two above what one would pay in FICA taxes for SS. A straight SS retirement at 62, is around $1500 a month. Yet a teacher can retire at 55, with 3 or more times that amount.

Teaching doesn't compare to the challenges of the military. Maybe the typical 22 year old with limited life experience finds the classroom intimidating. Most who hang around for a few years, eventually go on cruise control for the next 30 years.

When I grew up in the 1960's, there were a significant number of good teachers in their 60's, even 70's. You don't see that anymore. The unions have made the pensions so lucrative, that even outstanding teachers who enjoy the work, retire at the earliest date possible.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:37 PM   #27
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"I believe anyone who works the majority of their adult life, is entitled to a modest, dignified retirement. Maybe not at 50 or 55, but at least in their 60's."

No matter what the job eh..Then you head towards communism..That worked out really well didn't it White plates and gray plates on sale at Walmart comrade.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:08 PM   #28
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"I believe anyone who works the majority of their adult life, is entitled to a modest, dignified retirement. Maybe not at 50 or 55, but at least in their 60's."

No matter what the job eh..Then you head towards communism..That worked out really well didn't it White plates and gray plates on sale at Walmart comrade.
I know, the government can just euthanize everyone over 60, who doesn't have at least $1 million in assets.

Will that satisfy you?
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:17 PM   #29
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I know, the government can just euthanize everyone over 60, who doesn't have at least $1 million in assets.

Will that satisfy you?

No I was thinking along the lines of this.



Been awhile since a Logan's run reference..thanks
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:26 PM   #30
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No I was thinking along the lines of this.



Been awhile since a Logan's run reference..thanks
Jenny Agutter was smokin' hot. Get hold of the Austrailian film Walkabout, where she's runnin' around the outback naked.
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:34 AM   #31
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I have a hedge fund I would like to sell them - only 10 Billion for the entire fund. Most of the portfolio is pittosporum but there are also positions in rosmarinus and podocarpus. It has been growing at about 20% per year.
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:59 PM   #32
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Several of your points are well taken. The retired military guys I know (both officer and enlisted) who went into teaching as a second career almost unanimously describe teaching as "the hardest and most challenging - but most satisfying - job I've ever had." So I presume they're either "doing it right" or their military careers were a cake walk. And I doubt the latter is true.
I want to agree with what you say. It's just that it has almost nothing to do with what is required or usually demonstrated on the teaching job. Retired military officers are a tiny minority of public school teachers, and will always be such.

I'm sure there is somewhere in Mexico City an honest beat policeman. Does that change the overall reality of what it is to be a policeman in Mexico City?

Ha
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:39 PM   #33
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Nobody's saying teaching is not a noble profession. The reality is that teaching does not require scarcity of talent or aptitude. A large percentage of the population has the ability to become an effective teacher. Possible exceptions are math and science where the Bell Curve begins to skew. Accordingly, math and science is where most of the teacher shortages exist.

The propaganda and media spin from the unions, fosters the idea that teachers are unigue. With skill levels congruent with those that can hit a major league fastball, or perform brain surgery. I challenge that belief.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:03 PM   #34
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I want to agree with what you say. It's just that it has almost nothing to do with what is required or usually demonstrated on the teaching job. Retired military officers are a tiny minority of public school teachers, and will always be such.

I'm sure there is somewhere in Mexico City an honest beat policeman. Does that change the overall reality of what it is to be a policeman in Mexico City?

Ha
My last post on this topic since we seem to sorta agree and sorta not agree...

I submit that retired military folks are not the only competent teachers around. I agree there are some "no-loads" in the profession. But I tend to think there are probably more dedicated, hard-working teachers around than you think there are. I can't quantify what I believe any more than you can what you think. We probably won't reach agreement which is why I say this is my last post on the topic.

BTW, I've found it's unusual on the web to have a discussion with someone with whom you disagree who isn't calling you a ***hole by the 2nd or 3rd post, so thanks for a civil debate.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:42 PM   #35
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My last post on this topic since we seem to sorta agree and sorta not agree...

I submit that retired military folks are not the only competent teachers around. I agree there are some "no-loads" in the profession. But I tend to think there are probably more dedicated, hard-working teachers around than you think there are. I can't quantify what I believe any more than you can what you think. We probably won't reach agreement which is why I say this is my last post on the topic.

BTW, I've found it's unusual on the web to have a discussion with someone with whom you disagree who isn't calling you a ***hole by the 2nd or 3rd post, so thanks for a civil debate.

Actually, I hope you will still consider this a civil debate, but I think that my opinion is easily supported. Not by inputs, but by analysis of the output- student achievement, which in America is abysmal any way it is measured. And it is even more shockingly inadequate when you consider how much more we spend on education than most (or perhaps any) other counties in the world

It's like healthcare- doesn't matter what anyone says about how many wonderful things our doctors and hospitals do, the bottom line so to speak is that our US life expectancy stinks compared to even much poorer countries.

Ha
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Old 08-16-2008, 09:29 PM   #36
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Actually, I hope you will still consider this a civil debate, but I think that my opinion is easily supported. Not by inputs, but by analysis of the output- student achievement, which in America is abysmal any way it is measured. And it is even more shockingly inadequate when you consider how much more we spend on education than most (or perhaps any) other counties in the world

It's like healthcare- doesn't matter what anyone says about how many wonderful things our doctors and hospitals do, the bottom line so to speak is that our US life expectancy stinks compared to even much poorer countries.

Ha
We have a system that caters to the honor student at one end, and the learning disabled at the other end. Neither student is going to be influenced much by the public education system. They will excel or fail regardless of the quality of the schools they attend. The overlooked, are the students in the middle who could be raised to a higher level by a more dedicated education system. For instance, how many students of above average ability, are "tracked" and deemed incapable, after having difficulty with beginning Algebra?
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:49 PM   #37
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Actually, I hope you will still consider this a civil debate, but I think that my opinion is easily supported. Not by inputs, but by analysis of the output- student achievement, which in America is abysmal any way it is measured. And it is even more shockingly inadequate when you consider how much more we spend on education than most (or perhaps any) other counties in the world

It's like healthcare- doesn't matter what anyone says about how many wonderful things our doctors and hospitals do, the bottom line so to speak is that our US life expectancy stinks compared to even much poorer countries.

Ha
OK - one more response and then that's it.

A rhetorical question: to what degree are the results you mention (with which I don't disagree) the result of:
  • Teacher incompentence
  • Lower standards demanded by "the system"

My experience with teachers (since my kids graduated from HS m any years ago ago) has ben limited. However, I'm the chairman of a scholarship committee for an organization that gives bucks to kids going off to college. In that capacity I meet with teachers from time to time. My sense is that the teachers are generally very dedicated and want to do a good job.

I think there is so much BS put on the shoulders of teachers these days (teach diversity, take time out for so many "celebrations" during the year, teach anti-drunk driving, etc.) that teachers don't have the time to concentrate on truly academic stuff which, I would agree, accounts for the bad showing you mention.

Remember the days of TQM and the apostle of it (Deming)? One of his major points was that most employees want to do a really good job but that the systems within which they work inhibit their ability to reach their goals. I think that's very much the case with education in this country. The troops with "boots on the ground" (teachers) would probably do a great job if left unfettered. But they have so many "requirements" to deal with in the classroom that the reason they went into the profession in the first place gets subverted. That makes the minority of them say "screw it" - I'll just go through the motions. IMO, the majority soldier on and try to do a good job in spite of the system.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I seriously considered teaching as a 2nd career after the military. I didn't do it because the pay wasn't high enough for what I knew I would have to do. But now I do it for free as a volunteer. When the imposed BS gets to be too much (which it rarely does because they are happy to have me) I tell them what I will do to help the students and under what circumstances I will do it. They always agree because they are getting a good deal in having me for free. Unfortunately, public school teachers don't have that option.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:11 PM   #38
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OK - one more response and then that's it.




A rhetorical question: to what degree are the results you mention (with which I don't disagree) the result of:
  • Teacher incompentence
  • Lower standards demanded by "the system"
My experience with teachers (since my kids graduated from HS m any years ago ago) has ben limited. However, I'm the chairman of a scholarship committee for an organization that gives bucks to kids going off to college. In that capacity I meet with teachers from time to time. My sense is that the teachers are generally very dedicated and want to do a good job.

I think there is so much BS put on the shoulders of teachers these days (teach diversity, take time out for so many "celebrations" during the year, teach anti-drunk driving, etc.) that teachers don't have the time to concentrate on truly academic stuff which, I would agree, accounts for the bad showing you mention.

Remember the days of TQM and the apostle of it (Deming)? One of his major points was that most employees want to do a really good job but that the systems within which they work inhibit their ability to reach their goals. I think that's very much the case with education in this country. The troops with "boots on the ground" (teachers) would probably do a great job if left unfettered. But they have so many "requirements" to deal with in the classroom that the reason they went into the profession in the first place gets subverted. That makes the minority of them say "screw it" - I'll just go through the motions. IMO, the majority soldier on and try to do a good job in spite of the system.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I seriously considered teaching as a 2nd career after the military. I didn't do it because the pay wasn't high enough for what I knew I would have to do. But now I do it for free as a volunteer. When the imposed BS gets to be too much (which it rarely does because they are happy to have me) I tell them what I will do to help the students and under what circumstances I will do it. They always agree because they are getting a good deal in having me for free. Unfortunately, public school teachers don't have that option.
Look, I am not trying to get you to post, I post for whoever might want to read it. So please, suit yourself on this.

Also I am not trying to discover who is at fault with an education system that we agree is dysfunctional. I would point out that the teachers' union is immensely powerful, so it is kind of disingenuous of them to always hide behind someone else. Without a powerful teachers' union for example we might consider just closing the whole mess down and do vouchers. It couldn’t get much worse, could it?

Ha
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:45 AM   #39
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Nobody's saying teaching is not a noble profession. The reality is that teaching does not require scarcity of talent or aptitude. A large percentage of the population has the ability to become an effective teacher. Possible exceptions are math and science where the Bell Curve begins to skew. Accordingly, math and science is where most of the teacher shortages exist.
I would contend that there are shortages in math and science teachers because there are actually a large number of higher-paying jobs in these fields (and associated fields like engineering) as opposed to some other academic disciplines. If a lot of the private-sector math, science and engineering jobs went away, you'd see a lot more people with those backgrounds looking at going into teaching.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:32 AM   #40
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I would contend that there are shortages in math and science teachers because there are actually a large number of higher-paying jobs in these fields (and associated fields like engineering) as opposed to some other academic disciplines. If a lot of the private-sector math, science and engineering jobs went away, you'd see a lot more people with those backgrounds looking at going into teaching.

From what I recall of math in high school it seemed to be the best class for teachers. If they developed their tests and assignments correctly they could easily and quickly grade them during their break period. They never assigned any written papers that took lot of time to grade. At the high school level math was a simple A+B=C. Not much fuzzy thinking involved.
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