View Poll Results: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

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  • Yes, entirely.

    7 10.29%
  • Yes, partially

    19 27.94%
  • No, partially

    10 14.71%
  • No, entirely

    29 42.65%
  • Other.

    3 4.41%
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Thread: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

  1. #211
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon View Post
    Not sure why I didn't see this earlier...but I'll respond to it now.


    You may be right about a lot of people wanting to become teachers, but the fact is that there aren't enough teachers in the market because many teachers give up after 5 years or less. 50% of new teachers will leave their careers in less than 5 years. You're notion of supply v. demand is inaccurate.

    The low pay that teachers get is not because demand isn't high enough, it's the fact that we are under budgeted by the state and fed.
    There seems to be enough to fill in that drop off.

    The budgets are more than sufficient, it's not being spent wisely.
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  2. #212
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    There seems to be enough to fill in that drop off.

    The budgets are more than sufficient, it's not being spent wisely.
    Is that why the average class sizes went up by 5 students this year?
    Is that why we were having so many teachers getting laid off last year?

    But I'll concede your other point about the salaries. It did make me sound whiny.
    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    Let the public school provide the basics, you as the parent can do the fine tuning.

  3. #213
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Except we're not talking about funding public education. We're talking about labor laws that hamstring taxpayers and favor teacher's unions.
    The post that I was replying to was talking about the Education Association not seeking policy changes for improved education. That is the context of the conversation that you inserted yourself into.

    The goals I listed were those of the Virginia Education Association. What is your opinion of those goals?

    Now, what are you talking about? Teaching is one of the lowest paid professions out there, and way more important than most other professions.
    Last edited by Catawba; 02-04-10 at 03:13 AM.
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  4. #214
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon View Post
    Is that why the average class sizes went up by 5 students this year?
    Is that why we were having so many teachers getting laid off last year?

    But I'll concede your other point about the salaries. It did make me sound whiny.
    While I may not favor compulsory government schools, it doesn't mean that I don't think there are really good, worth while teachers that deserve more.
    Being in a union isn't going to help that though, you are lost in the crowd.

    States love to slash school budgets when times get tough, at the same time they don't force efficiency when times are good.
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  5. #215
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    While I may not favor compulsory government schools, it doesn't mean that I don't think there are really good, worth while teachers that deserve more.
    Being in a union isn't going to help that though, you are lost in the crowd.

    States love to slash school budgets when times get tough, at the same time they don't force efficiency when times are good.
    The union does some good. For instance, it can get us more money in the budget to hire more teachers to get the class sizes down. A simple thing like this, just hiring more teachers, can improve school conditions. No need to implement new policy or whatever. No need to come up with some fantastic algorithm to determine merit pay scales.

    This simple fix can do so much good, but we keep slashing the budget. I'm not saying it's the solution for everything, but it's the easiest thing to implement. Probably the best bang for your tax dollars.
    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    Let the public school provide the basics, you as the parent can do the fine tuning.

  6. #216
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon View Post
    The union does some good. For instance, it can get us more money in the budget to hire more teachers to get the class sizes down. A simple thing like this, just hiring more teachers, can improve school conditions. No need to implement new policy or whatever. No need to come up with some fantastic algorithm to determine merit pay scales.

    This simple fix can do so much good, but we keep slashing the budget. I'm not saying it's the solution for everything, but it's the easiest thing to implement. Probably the best bang for your tax dollars.
    That sounds fair.

    If they cut anything, it should be the sports programs and stadium build projects.
    Makes no sense to have those but not enough teachers for academics.
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  7. #217
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    It wouldn't be difficult to design an algorithm to measure how the student was performing prior to the school year. If a teacher was assigned to a dumb class, where the average student previously learned only 0.8 years of material per year, then it would be considered good if the students learned 1.0 years of material per year under this teacher's watch.

    Conversely, if a teacher was assigned to an advanced class, where the average student was learning 1.5 years of material per year, the teacher would not be considered good if they only learned 1.0 years of material under this teacher's watch.


    Standardized test scores would be the most universal and objective measure.
    was trying to figure out how your algorithm would work in a couple of common situations:
    1. where the students had just entered the school system (say first grade) and were without the baseline test data to identify which were the advanced and which were the slower students
    2. where the students are not ability tracked into the same class, causing the students' abilities to range from very low to very high
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  8. #218
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon View Post
    All of this is under the assumption that student output is the same as teacher output. As I pointed out, it just isn't that simple. What if the student's parents are undergoing a divorce? What if one of their relatives had died? What if their boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with them during testing week?There can be any number of reasons that a student may not do well that is not related to what a teacher has to offer in their classroom. This alone shows us how vulnerable a teacher can be. Why should my job security depend on my students parents divorce, or their relationship with other students, etc?
    As I said, it would be based on the AVERAGE performance of all the students in a teacher's class, not any individual student. So none of these variables would actually influence the outcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon
    Secondly, standardized testing is not a good way to assess a students ability to learn. Standardized tests are designed to make sure the content standards are followed. It is not designed to assess a students ability to think critically, use analytical skills, and it certainly doesn't show the teaching style nor the effectiveness of the teacher. This is not an appropriate use for standardized testing.
    There are standardized tests that measure critical thinking and analytical skills. And why don't you think they measure the effectiveness of the teacher? If the students in a certain math teacher's class can't do math, it's fair to say that the teacher is ineffective.
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  9. #219
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    It sounds to me like your interest is a selfish one that does not place a priority on education and the benefits that provides to the future of our country.

    But, you could prove me wrong by explaining how you would address each of these Virginia Education Assoc. goals without funding,
    When did I say I opposed giving them more funding? Stop changing the subject. The point was that the teachers' unions only advocate for those things because it benefits their members, not because they care about improving the education system.
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  10. #220
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by justabubba View Post
    was trying to figure out how your algorithm would work in a couple of common situations:
    1. where the students had just entered the school system (say first grade) and were without the baseline test data to identify which were the advanced and which were the slower students
    It probably wouldn't work as well for the first year they were in the system. You could start measuring it the first year, but perhaps not use it to hold people accountable until the second year.

    Quote Originally Posted by justabubba
    2. where the students are not ability tracked into the same class, causing the students' abilities to range from very low to very high
    If the students are randomly assigned to classes without regard to ability, then any two teachers should have roughly the same distribution of student abilities in their class, and you could still use performance as a rubric to measure teacher performance.

    This would actually work for students just entering the system too, now that I think about it. If first-graders are just randomly assigned to classes since teachers don't know their abilities yet, the distributions would be roughly equal.
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