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. #261
    Advisor Rassales's Avatar
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    Well, here's what you do. When some presents some seemingly unreliable fact (so they're clearly not me), you look it up yourself and come back and prove it's not reliable.
    Actually, that's illogical since one cannot prove a negative. I'm saying "Hey, that's an unsubstantiated claim!" and you're saying "Okay, so go substantiate it, then." Not my job. I substantiate the claims *I* make.

  2. #262
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon View Post
    You're still assuming that a students output is a direct correlation to a teacher's output. This is an erroneous assumption. No matter how well or how poor a teacher does in their own classroom, it does not guarantee that a student will do well or do poorly. What evidence of merit is there?
    On an individual basis, this is true. It is NOT the case when you're looking at an average of ALL the students. Personal things can affect individual students, but they're more or less random and affect comparable student populations in comparable proportions. If Teacher A's students learned 1.5 years of material this year (compared to an average of 1.0 the previous year), and Teacher B's students learned 0.7 years of material this year (compared to an average of 1.0 the previous year), there is SOMETHING that caused Class A to be more successful than Class B. If the composition of the students is similar, the logical conclusion is that the teacher is the significant variable here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon
    What's more damning is the fact that administrators get to decide which teachers students will get. Favoritism already abound in every campus, merit pay will exacerbate the already troubled relationship between teachers and the administration. The cooperative teachers will get the good students, therefore better pay, and those who oppose the administration will get the problem students, and therefore lower pay.
    As I said, that could be factored into the algorithm so that it wouldn't affect the results. If Mr. Smith has the remedial class where kids learned 0.8 years of material this year (compared to 0.5 years of material last year), and Ms. Jones has the advanced class where kids learned 1.2 years of material this year (compared to 1.5 years of material last year), then Mr. Smith is the more effective of the two at teaching his students.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon
    Because one does not cause the other, it's as simple as that. A student's effort is what determines their test scores, not how well a teacher can use their pedagogy. The student's choice to study at night, do their homework, pay attention in class, are all choices that a student makes.
    If the teachers have comparable students (e.g. students selected from the same ability/demographic/previous education pool), then on average they should have the same proportion of slackers and overachievers. If the student populations are similar in every other way, why would the students in one class be more motivated to study at night, do their homework, and pay attention in class than students in the other class? Again, the only variable is the teacher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon
    The teacher is not responsible for a student who chooses NOT to do these things. Student success does not rely on a teacher's pedagogy, it's is merely a part of it. And that's a weak foundation for supporting the merit pay system.
    It is an excellent foundation for supporting the merit pay system if you apply statistical analysis, which is very easy to do with the information technology that already exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon
    Furthermore, to measure critical thinking, you have to review written exams and not multiple choice itemized exams. Given how much money is already spent on the latter type of exams, much more money and time will need be spent on the former type of exams, considering how much more reading must be done for review.
    I disagree that critical thinking is not measurable on multiple choice tests. The GMAT and LSAT both measure it. But even if you include a writing section, that would be well worth the cost to measure these sort of things. I'd much rather spend the money knowing which teachers are ineffective (and can therefore be terminated) than on the ineffective teacher's salary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon
    Even that you are using baseline values, you'll likely have to test these students at the end of every quarter to measure their improvement and update their baselines. You think this may actually be viable?? There's not enough time in the 9 months of the school year to do this, let alone the budget to afford it.
    Why every quarter? Once a year should be plenty.
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  3. #263
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    On an individual basis, this is true. It is NOT the case when you're looking at an average of ALL the students. Personal things can affect individual students, but they're more or less random and affect comparable student populations in comparable proportions. If Teacher A's students learned 1.5 years of material this year (compared to an average of 1.0 the previous year), and Teacher B's students learned 0.7 years of material this year (compared to an average of 1.0 the previous year), there is SOMETHING that caused Class A to be more successful than Class B. If the composition of the students is similar, the logical conclusion is that the teacher is the significant variable here.
    I understand that. There still can be any number of reasons that entire classes of students are doing better or worse: New computer lab for instance, will only benefit the type of teachers who will make use of it. Those who are traditional will be at an disadvantage. Class sizes being reduced for disabled and English learner students, will impact classes are that are mainstreaming and those who are not mainstreaming will be at a disadvantage. Classes are not ALL the same like how you describe. How do you figure in all of these confounding variables? Dozens of schools in LA in the last year are going through increased class sizes, expanding campuses, teacher lay offs, charter schools taking the brightest students from the public schools, etc etc, how are you suppose to calculate these factors into that formula?

    There are too many things going on for you to isolate teachers as THE variable. There are MANY variables and it does not effect all students, it affects different groups of students. The mere fact that your foundation is just a mere correlation, all the confounding variables destroys your entire premise.

    As I said, that could be factored into the algorithm so that it wouldn't affect the results. If Mr. Smith has the remedial class where kids learned 0.8 years of material this year (compared to 0.5 years of material last year), and Ms. Jones has the advanced class where kids learned 1.2 years of material this year (compared to 1.5 years of material last year), then Mr. Smith is the more effective of the two at teaching his students.
    You missed my point. Please refer to my earlier example in this thread where I talk about about my colleague who was waging a war with the administration. The administration can give a teacher 6 periods of hell, make every class horrible, all it takes is 5 or more problem students. These problem students can drive the entire class down in terms of performance, structure, and discipline. This is a tactic that the administration use to "discipline" teachers who do not cooperate and who are untouchable because of the union. Under the merit pay system, the teacher would suffer a dip in their salary because s/he was standing up to the administration (who was then implementing NCLB). Many teachers who opposed NCLB would have been silenced or driven out of their careers under the merit pay system. How well would that have turned out?


    I disagree that critical thinking is not measurable on multiple choice tests. The GMAT and LSAT both measure it.
    I guess we'll just disagree here.

    Why every quarter? Once a year should be plenty.
    Lots of confounding variables in a school year. Class make-up changes, you get new students, you lose a few students, some classes you only take 1 semester. How will I know whether or not I should make adjustments? How will I know that my students will be tested on the material that I teach them? I only get one chance to prove myself every year? If I get bad luck one year and get crappy classes, I'll have to wait 1 whole year to fix it?

    If not every quarter, at least once a semester like final exams.
    Last edited by Lightdemon; 02-05-10 at 03:07 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    Let the public school provide the basics, you as the parent can do the fine tuning.

  4. #264
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    They certainly don't here. I don't think even the teachers have any real control over the union. A couple of years ago, the union really wanted to block a proposition on the ballot and so they boosted the "dues" on teachers state-wide. Not only could the teachers not refuse to pay, they couldn't even demand their money not be used for political means.

    California is such a screwed up state.
    Nonsense.

    The union can't use regular dues to block a proposition, or for any other campaign sort of purpose. They collect a separate, voluntary fee for that purpose. Members are encouraged to pay into that fund, but not required to do so in order to remain a member. When there is pending legislation that might affect schools, the union asks for money to lobby and campaign. Most members donate voluntarily.

    Most of the stuff being used to lambaste unions is plucked out of thin air, made up of whole cloth, and then passed on as fact. What happened to the post above saying that teachers were being paid to do nothing since they can't be fired? I never did see any back up to that one. Maybe I missed it.
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  5. #265
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Nonsense.

    The union can't use regular dues to block a proposition, or for any other campaign sort of purpose. They collect a separate, voluntary fee for that purpose. Members are encouraged to pay into that fund, but not required to do so in order to remain a member. When there is pending legislation that might affect schools, the union asks for money to lobby and campaign. Most members donate voluntarily.

    Most of the stuff being used to lambaste unions is plucked out of thin air, made up of whole cloth, and then passed on as fact. What happened to the post above saying that teachers were being paid to do nothing since they can't be fired? I never did see any back up to that one. Maybe I missed it.
    Don't let the facts mess with your wishful thinking or anything.

    In 2005, the California Teacher's Association raised the rates of all members by $180, specifically to build a $54 million dollar war chest to fight against Schwarzenegger's proposed educational cuts. The teachers had absolutely no say whatsoever in either the increase, nor in what it was used for. In fact, many teachers spoke out to the media against both the increase and it's usage.
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  6. #266
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Don't let the facts mess with your wishful thinking or anything.

    In 2005, the California Teacher's Association raised the rates of all members by $180, specifically to build a $54 million dollar war chest to fight against Schwarzenegger's proposed educational cuts. The teachers had absolutely no say whatsoever in either the increase, nor in what it was used for. In fact, many teachers spoke out to the media against both the increase and it's usage.
    By law, all they had to do was ask for an accounting and for their contributions not to be used for politics. That's the law.

  7. #267
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    By law, all they had to do was ask for an accounting and for their contributions not to be used for politics. That's the law.
    Funny how the law doesn't seem to stop unions, especially when the state is solidly in their pocket.
    There is nothing demonstrably true that religion can provide the world that cannot be achieved more rationally through entirely secular means.

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  8. #268
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Ah, I see my thread is progressing nicely. *Smiles fondly*

    After reading all the interesting posts, it would seem that:

    • Teacher Unions (And indeed, all Unions) are in general, neither good nor bad, but somewhere in the middle. Some are worse than others, some are better. Quality seems, to some extent, to vary by state, or even county/parish/whatever.

    • By no means are teacher unions (or teachers) the only issue with the currently declining (I think) quality of public education.
      Other factors would seem to include:


      1. Family environment, as in: Parental involvement, quality of home environment, quality of neighborhood environment, etc.
      2. Individual student motivation level, as in: Anti or neutral-education peer/parental pressure, lack on interest, etc.
      3. School environment, as in: Other students, quality of education materials, quality of education environment, etc.
      4. Curriculum limitations/restrictions, as in: Curriculum standards too stringent, overly restricting teaching style rules, etc.
      5. Individual student intelligence.


    • Any changes proposed will have a negative effect on someone.

    • In too many cases (as in, any), education quality is not the priority.

    • Property taxes should be eliminated as a means of funding public schools.
    Education.

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  9. #269
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark View Post
    Ah, I see my thread is progressing nicely. *Smiles fondly*

    After reading all the interesting posts, it would seem that:

    • Teacher Unions (And indeed, all Unions) are in general, neither good nor bad, but somewhere in the middle. Some are worse than others, some are better. Quality seems, to some extent, to vary by state, or even county/parish/whatever.

    • By no means are teacher unions (or teachers) the only issue with the currently declining (I think) quality of public education.
      Other factors would seem to include:


      1. Family environment, as in: Parental involvement, quality of home environment, quality of neighborhood environment, etc.
      2. Individual student motivation level, as in: Anti or neutral-education peer/parental pressure, lack on interest, etc.
      3. School environment, as in: Other students, quality of education materials, quality of education environment, etc.
      4. Curriculum limitations/restrictions, as in: Curriculum standards too stringent, overly restricting teaching style rules, etc.
      5. Individual student intelligence.


    • Any changes proposed will have a negative effect on someone.

    • In too many cases (as in, any), education quality is not the priority.

    • Property taxes should be eliminated as a means of funding public schools.
    I would agree with this--although the last item needs some modification. What needs changing is differentiated funding of schools based on location. If property taxes in a large area were pooled and the money distributed to schools per student, that would help. At least it would help create better parity among schools--which is admittedly only one of many goals articulated in the thread.

  10. #270
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    Re: Are Teacher Unions a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Funny how the law doesn't seem to stop unions, especially when the state is solidly in their pocket.
    Who is "the state?" The legislature? The courts? The people? Unless you think the courts are in the pocket of teacher unions, the best thing would be for those complaining teachers to hire an attorney and file a cause of action. That they didn't suggests they were more interested in public complaining than in actually getting their money back.

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