View Poll Results: Which of these things would improve education in the US?

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  • Longer school days

    14 16.47%
  • Longer school years

    31 36.47%
  • Better pay for teachers

    29 34.12%
  • More charter schools

    27 31.76%
  • More public vouchers for private schools

    34 40.00%
  • Weakening teachers' unions

    42 49.41%
  • More funding

    31 36.47%
  • Reallocation of funding (e.g. on a state level instead of on a district level)

    27 31.76%
  • Firing teachers who fail to perform to the standards the school board expects

    50 58.82%
  • More online education, replacing some brick-and-mortar schools

    17 20.00%
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Thread: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

  1. #231
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    New York City does not have a contract which spells out in detail how to get rid of incompetent teachers? I find that impossible to believe.
    Of course it does. Moreover, most of the incompetent teachers get weeded out long before they get tenure. About half of the teachers quit in the first five years of their own volition, after having invested thousands of dollars in a credential.
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  2. #232
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    We can only conclude that the contract between the NYFT and the Board of Education was mutually negotiated and signed of their own free will by both parties. But for some reason, you find the teachers unions at fault. Why is that?
    Oh don't get me wrong, the public officials absolutely bear some responsibility for not being better advocates for the students, and for allowing the teachers' unions to walk all over them. I just think that the main responsibility lies with the actual perpetrators, rather than the accomplices.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 02-07-11 at 09:46 PM.
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  3. #233
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I agree that we should treat teachers fairly. But "fairly" is a far cry from the current union-dominated system that exists today. As Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City school system, recently noted, it's often easier to execute a convicted murderer than it is to fire an incompetent teacher. That might be a bit of a hyperbole...but Klein knows what he's talking about. In NYC, it's practically impossible to fire a bad teacher for ANY reason, including gross sexual misconduct with a student. And it's not for lack of trying, as Klein was a prominent education reformer. The problem is so bad that New York City has "rubber rooms," where they send incompetent teachers and pay them to do nothing all day.

    I know that those problems probably aren't as bad in some parts of the country, but sadly the union's deathgrip on public schools is far too common in many big cities, especially in the north.
    As has been pointed out earlier, things are not the same everywhere. What Klein describes has not been my experience. I'm certainly not saying I know more than he does but my point is that unions are not as strong as some people think. I have never been a union member nor have I taught at a school or know of a school where the unions are strong. A good administrator who is willing to document issues can get rid of a bad teacher. I've seen too many good teachers fired because they didn't play politics within the district. I've also seen young teachers with potential burn out because they didn't get any help or supervision from the principal. Teaching is one of the few professions where a beginner is expected to do the same work as someone who is experienced. In fact, beginning teachers often get the worst classes because the older teacher calls seniority and takes the easier classes.
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  4. #234
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Di Salvo View Post
    Public schools are very successful in their primary objective which is to provide secure and well paying jobs for adults. Hooray for the adults.

    Public schools have failed huge numbers of students by graduating them without basic survival skills. Not to mention the dropouts. Too bad for the kids.
    Thankfully, I did not read the word "all".
    But, in many cases this is true.
    It would be good if all the contributions could be rolled into several compressed pages.

  5. #235
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Layla_Z View Post
    As has been pointed out earlier, things are not the same everywhere. What Klein describes has not been my experience. I'm certainly not saying I know more than he does but my point is that unions are not as strong as some people think. I have never been a union member nor have I taught at a school or know of a school where the unions are strong. A good administrator who is willing to document issues can get rid of a bad teacher. I've seen too many good teachers fired because they didn't play politics within the district. I've also seen young teachers with potential burn out because they didn't get any help or supervision from the principal. Teaching is one of the few professions where a beginner is expected to do the same work as someone who is experienced. In fact, beginning teachers often get the worst classes because the older teacher calls seniority and takes the easier classes. These are difficult problems to solve, the unions, if "on the ball" can help here.
    Funny how this works - those who admit that they know little really end up knowing more than the so-called experts..
    Safe to say, our education needs reform, more liberals, less conservatives...
    It must be all to easy to "play politics".....we need better administrators (apolitical, areligious, secular)....

  6. #236
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by SheWolf View Post
    I can't believe you'd call them at work all the time...

    I think you might have a good idea, but I don't think all the poor students are on welfare. I went to school with kids who really struggled in certain areas, but they weren't on welfare.

    But I was having a discussion about something similar with my sister... because where we live, kids from the inner city schools are given scholarships to go to the college here. The catch is, they have to move out of their neighborhood and come to our little suburb town, which doesn't have gangs or violence. What's happening are these kids are just finding trouble to cause here... they are always in jail. One girl is covered in gang tattoos and she was arrested for beating up two cops!!

    This is not working out very well for us... so I started thinking, what if, instead of giving the parents money from the government for no reason, what if their benefits were tied to their choice to send the children to better schools, not the inner city but something like a boarding school on a scholarship. I think that would be better for the kids, than growing up in violent schools and with all the influence of gangs and drugs.

    We have to break the cycle of poverty and drugs somehow. I don't like seeing kids raised in bad neighborhoods and around bad situations.

    There are probably hundreds of solutions people could come up, if they really tried... but nothing is being done. Politicians don't consider fixing the education system as a priority. Reform/reform/reform !!! Repair the system so that those who do nothing are booted out!
    I do not think that this is the best possible solution, but it is a good solution.
    This is why states must follow their own ideas but, most importantly, share the data /methods/info....

  7. #237
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Layla_Z View Post
    As has been pointed out earlier, things are not the same everywhere. What Klein describes has not been my experience. I'm certainly not saying I know more than he does but my point is that unions are not as strong as some people think. I have never been a union member nor have I taught at a school or know of a school where the unions are strong.
    That's too bad. Unions can protect teachers, and most of them need protection in today's society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Layla_Z View Post
    I've seen too many good teachers fired because they didn't play politics within the district.
    Just one way in which unions can protect teachers. There are many.

    Quote Originally Posted by Layla_Z View Post
    I've also seen young teachers with potential burn out because they didn't get any help or supervision from the principal.
    Me too, over and over, and it's just wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Layla_Z View Post
    Teaching is one of the few professions where a beginner is expected to do the same work as someone who is experienced. In fact, beginning teachers often get the worst classes because the older teacher calls seniority and takes the easier classes.
    Yes. If we really want to "reform" education, one way to do it effectively would be to assign new teachers an experienced mentor who would visit the classroom frequently and consult with the beginner to get him/her off on the right foot. Instead, we throw the newbies to the wolves and expect them to sink or swim. All too many just sink. Meanwhile, kids have to cope with a chaotic and poorly taught class where the main thing they learn is how best to manipulate adults.
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  8. #238
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    That's too bad. Unions can protect teachers, and most of them need protection in today's society.



    Just one way in which unions can protect teachers. There are many.



    Me too, over and over, and it's just wrong.



    Yes. If we really want to "reform" education, one way to do it effectively would be to assign new teachers an experienced mentor who would visit the classroom frequently and consult with the beginner to get him/her off on the right foot. Instead, we throw the newbies to the wolves and expect them to sink or swim. All too many just sink. Meanwhile, kids have to cope with a chaotic and poorly taught class where the main thing they learn is how best to manipulate adults.
    I'm not a union member but we do have a professional organization that provides support when needed. MSTA does not do collective bargaining but the do advocate for and support teachers. They are also very involved with state politics.
    Here we do assign mentors to beginning teachers but there is not always the time for them to be in the classroom together for the mentor to demonstrate and/or observe.
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  9. #239
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Layla_Z View Post
    I'm not a union member but we do have a professional organization that provides support when needed. MSTA does not do collective bargaining but the do advocate for and support teachers. They are also very involved with state politics.
    Here we do assign mentors to beginning teachers but there is not always the time for them to be in the classroom together for the mentor to demonstrate and/or observe.
    If the association will go to bat for a teacher so that they're not fired for refusing to play politics, then that is a good first step. Maybe when they do start collective bargaining, release time for mentors to do their jobs might be a good thing to put on the table.
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    Re: Which of these things would improve education in the United States?

    One of the reforms that is often suggested is moving kids through the education system based on their scholastic abilities as opposed to their age (this is a general statement as some children are held back). This suggestion has many benefits, the first being that all people mature at different rates, and need more or less time than others to complete their tasks, etc., but there are issues with this concept. Using an educational model such as this would make assessment of student ability a much more difficult thing to gauge, students would likely be ostracized by their peers, it would worsen the already common phenomena of parents holding their children back to improve their chances of being dominant athletes, and the list goes on. On top of this is the fact that such a reform would have enormous financial requirements.

    Another common suggestion is that teachers be paid based on their students' academic abilities, but this is a very poor concept as it will dramatically worsen the education received by students attending inner-city public schools and the like.

    These sorts of problems arise time and time again when discussing education reform. I would like to add that I do not believe that the current system of education is adequate, or even appropriate for todays children, but I do believe that a few of the largest stumbling blocks are:
    1. Limited funding
    2. The fact that any major reform would likely be a pioneering effort which could result in a poorer quality of education
    3. Public fears of any reforms resulting in the possibility suggested in number 2

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