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Old 06-20-2011, 03:42 PM   #21
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Everyone would pay more for everything - how's that going to end?
We'll see.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:55 PM   #22
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Maybe that would improve our system -- I'm not saying it wouldn't. But the problem I see is that it doesn't seem like a practical proposal. We can't make you king of the world so you can fix the system for us. Be modest and assume that you don't get to say how money is allocated -- now, shall we spend more, or shall we spend less?

I vote for less....
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:06 AM   #23
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Of the 4 teachers we know well, 3 are a credit to the profession, and 1 is a hopeless alcoholic among her other character traits, but there is no chance she will lose her job. I pity the kids she teaches.
The teachers union in Illinois (the IEA) is very strong and very, very politically attached to the Dem Machine which has ruled Chicago and most of the state for decades. It's easy to blame administrators for not disciplining or firing incompetent teachers until you stop and look at the strenth and terrorism-like tactics of the union. Especially in cases where termination is dependent on a long period of documentation and the behaviors and measurements could be subject to interpretation, it's career threatening for a principal to attempt to remove a teacher.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:45 AM   #24
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Maybe that would improve our system -- I'm not saying it wouldn't. But the problem I see is that it doesn't seem like a practical proposal. We can't make you king of the world so you can fix the system for us. Be modest and assume that you don't get to say how money is allocated -- now, shall we spend more, or shall we spend less?
Spend Less.

When I am forced to spend more, the excess has in my experience been absorbed by waste and ancillary programs. I realize administrators will cut some basic education services before they start to trim down the bloated central staff and insanely wasteful building programs. But eventually I am confident they will start to do the right thing.

Or maybe someone will come along who can reform the stinking structural problems.

But simply always giving more money to wasteful programs will never help them reform
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:54 AM   #25
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The teachers union in Illinois (the IEA) is very strong and very, very politically attached to the Dem Machine which has ruled Chicago and most of the state for decades. It's easy to blame administrators for not disciplining or firing incompetent teachers until you stop and look at the strenth and terrorism-like tactics of the union. Especially in cases where termination is dependent on a long period of documentation and the behaviors and measurements could be subject to interpretation, it's career threatening for a principal to attempt to remove a teacher.
My bold....


SOOOO, IOW, it is easier to get rid of a principal than a teacher

A great system we have.....
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:56 AM   #26
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The teachers union in Illinois (the IEA) is very strong and very, very politically attached to the Dem Machine which has ruled Chicago and most of the state for decades. It's easy to blame administrators for not disciplining or firing incompetent teachers until you stop and look at the strenth and terrorism-like tactics of the union. Especially in cases where termination is dependent on a long period of documentation and the behaviors and measurements could be subject to interpretation, it's career threatening for a principal to attempt to remove a teacher.
+1!
I had a graduate class that focused a lesson on the above. Not ever working in that state, I was amazed at the process that goes on over there. From what I was taught, every time there was a documented deficiency and they corrected it within the time frame, the clock was reset , so that the deficiency and correction process continued indefinitely. Everything was written down on what you could be asked to do or not do. I guess that's mostly with my unfamiliarity in working with unions is why I was so surprised.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:38 AM   #27
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We'll see.
We've thrown many "extra" billions of dollars at the public school system in this country, yet test scores keep going down and now US students are ranked something like 23rd in the world.......not good.

Choices are:

1)Quit having stupid kids
2)Blame the parents for everything
3)Hold teachers accountable
4)All of the above

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Old 06-22-2011, 11:04 AM   #28
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But simply always giving more money to wasteful programs will never help them reform
Uh, right. Were you under the impression that I propose to give more money in order to accomplish reform? I have the impression that the matter of improving education is much less important for most discussants here than expressing moral or ethical outrage at a wasteful and ineffective system. Hire more able teachers, get class sizes down, buy texts, well, maybe next year, after we get out the fat.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:04 PM   #29
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I guess that's mostly with my unfamiliarity in working with unions is why I was so surprised.
I'm not anti-union in any way. To me they're just another part of the playing field we have to contend with while competing in the world economy. I did major in econ with an emphasis in labor law, based my independent study on an LPIU strike and managed in union plants (USWA, Teamsters, LPIU and UAM) for years. I've also been a union member.

DW was a career school teacher and her local was affiliated with the IEA. My impression is that the IEA (and on the national level, the NEA) is more powerful than any of the industrial unions I dealt with.

In private industry we had a saying that went like this: "The one thing a union can't negotiate for is that the company can not go out of business." Well, with public unions, that doesn't seem to be the case. Reference the situation in Wisconsin.

Despite their strength, the IEA did allow (with protest) pensions for new teachers hired after 1-1-11 to be part of a less generous pension plan. They were able, so far, to fight off attempts to make the pension plan for current teachers or retirees less generous. So perhaps the union's strength is not what it used to be, their political connection to Da Machine less viable or, horrors, they realize just how bad the State of Illinois financial situation is.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:23 PM   #30
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I was schooled in the NYC public school system...when that was still considered to be prestigious. True story: My 3rd grade teacher called my parents because I did poorly on the reading exam - I was only at 5th grade reading level. Back then, there was an emphasis on learning what one had to learn - you know, "reading, writing, 'rithmetic." And, we students would be afraid if we got a bad report card or simply a bad grade on an exam. Those days seem to be gone, and now when a student gets a bad grade the blame gets passed on to others.
The educational methods have been brutalized and mauled over the last generation or two, in the interests of "social justice" and political correctness. Alas, that has come at a very steep price, as is shamingly evident in the poor results of the public school systems across the country. As an example the H.S. graduation rate in NYC is 65%, and NYC is proud of this because it is the highest it has been in many years.
If parents demanded more of their children, if the students recognized that high grades are a source of pride, the education system would be for the better. Sorry, I honestly do not believe it is the teachers' fault.
OK, I promise I will not get political any more.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:56 PM   #31
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I'm looking for the "FIRE-related" part here.

It seems that places with a high proportion of retirees and low proportion of families with kids would have low taxes for schools (partially because there are fewer students, partially because retirees are less likely to vote for higher taxes).

Has anybody researched this? What about Sun City AZ, for example?
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:38 PM   #32
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But simply always giving more money to wasteful programs will never help them reform
Uh, right. Were you under the impression that I propose to give more money in order to accomplish reform? I have the impression that the matter of improving education is much less important for most discussants here than expressing moral or ethical outrage at a wasteful and ineffective system. Hire more able teachers, get class sizes down, buy texts, well, maybe next year, after we get out the fat.
I don't understand why you want to support the current system with more money. It isn't working very well. More money will break it further.

If I thought more money could help in any way, I'd be supportive. But it hasn't helped unless directed so locally (like to an individual classroom or school) that the central administration cannot corrupt it.

In my school system, bigger budgets led to growth of central office positions, not additional teachers or smaller class sizes. Bigger administrations lead to greater interference in micromanaging teachers and driving good ones out of the system. Bigger budgets made for more entrenched "process" and greater difficulty getting bad teachers out of classrooms. One school had to eliminate a subject for a year to get rid of a completely unsuitable teacher. Others almost as bad are simply tolerated because there's nothing anyone can do.

Bigger budgets for central administration meant more consultants and more absurd dictums from above. Bigger central staff took popular and effective programs and either changed or eliminated them so as to exert more direct political control over local school decisions.

In almost all cases I'm aware of, bigger central staffs have been a detriment to quality of education.

I don't care if you "reform" education or not. Most of the growth of central staff and most of the worst of the changes I've seen have been called "reform" so that term is useless. Most of the increase in school budgets will go to bad choices by central staff to further hurt the system. If someone can show a concrete example of what the money will accomplish, then I'd like to talk about it. Just putting more money into the "let's waste this" or worse "let's do something else harmful" budget is something I will not support.
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Old 06-24-2011, 09:28 PM   #33
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I don't understand why you want to support the current system with more money.
That's not what I want. I never said it was. I have no interest in supporting the current system. I do think we should be spending more money, with the purpose of improving education. That could have the side effect of supporting this current system which you dislike so much. I'm just not interested in supporting your ideas about reforming our educational system unless the reforms improve education. I want students to learn more and better. I think that takes money, but what do I know? If you have some feasible reform to propose that improves education without increased spending, hey, I'm all ears.
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Old 06-25-2011, 01:11 PM   #34
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That's not what I want. I never said it was. I have no interest in supporting the current system. I do think we should be spending more money, with the purpose of improving education. That could have the side effect of supporting this current system which you dislike so much. I'm just not interested in supporting your ideas about reforming our educational system unless the reforms improve education. I want students to learn more and better. I think that takes money, but what do I know? If you have some feasible reform to propose that improves education without increased spending, hey, I'm all ears.
I'm just being lighthearted here, but you could slash labor costs by a third which typically is 75% of a schools budget by bringing the "Board of Education" back into the classroom. When growing up most of my classes had 35 or more kids in it. We behaved and managed to learn through the "reign of terror". I walked into a classroom a couple of years ago and an exasperated teacher was berating her class as only a couple of the pleasant but mostly unmotivated juniors in the class did their history assignment. I asked them if they knew they were going to get 3 hard swats if they failed to do their homework would they have done it. All but one raised their hand and said they would have done it! The one that didn't said his parents tried that on him and it didn't work. I said how do you know you wouldn't have made it this far without that and he said he probably wouldn't have! I'm sure though in a more urban environment their response would have been more like "If you tried to hit me with that paddle, I would punch your lights out!"
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:13 PM   #35
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I don't understand why you want to support the current system with more money.
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That's not what I want. I never said it was.
Really, you'll have to help us out here...
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  • I don't agree -- money helps with many problems. And it better help with education, because we can spend more, but we can't trade in parents for better ones.
  • I'm not in charge; you're not in charge. Spending more is easy -- spending wisely is hard. I'm pessimistic that money will somehow start to be spent more wisely in the future, even if we threaten, rant, and rave.
  • You say that funds are now misallocated and wasted, but I don't see how it follows that more money won't help.
  • We can't make you king of the world so you can fix the system for us. Be modest and assume that you don't get to say how money is allocated -- now, shall we spend more, or shall we spend less?
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:32 PM   #36
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Really, you'll have to help us out here...
I'll see what I can do. I do not want to support the current system. I can see how you might think that I do, since I do favor spending more, and it's your theory, as I understand it, that spending more would support the current system. But that's just your theory. I'm not responsible for it. Perhaps you think that spending more would support the current system -- I have no position on that matter. I don't care about your theory. I do care about education -- it's very important to the future of our civilization. I think that improving education will cost money. I concede that failing to spend for education might help to reform the education establishment, but so what? That's your project, not mine. What does it have to do with improving education?? So far as I can tell, nothing!
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:34 AM   #37
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I can see how you might think that I do, since I do favor spending more, and it's your theory, as I understand it, that spending more would support the current system. But that's just your theory. I'm not responsible for it. Perhaps you think that spending more would support the current system -- I have no position on that matter.
Not my theory at all. With all due respect, you're the one who brought up the premis of more spending in this thread, and then began to disown it and recharacterize your view. I've shown several examples of your direct quotes along those lines, please show me a single post in this thread where I've suggested more spending.
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:44 AM   #38
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I think that improving education will cost money.
That may be true. But that doesn't necessarily mean the money has to go directly to the schools. Fixing the culture that doesn't value education would go a lot farther toward improving outcomes than just pouring money into the schools, I think. No amount of money will fix a school where too many parents aren't involved and too many kids aren't motivated or nurtured in an environment that values the education.

That may cost some money to fix, but it's elsewhere in society, not specifically in the schools themselves.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:04 AM   #39
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:37 PM   #40
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Not my theory at all. With all due respect, you're the one who brought up the premis of more spending in this thread, and then began to disown it and recharacterize your view.
More spending on education to improve education. I think I was clear about that all along.
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I've shown several examples of your direct quotes along those lines, please show me a single post in this thread where I've suggested more spending.
In post #13: "Of course more money can help ..."
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