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Bopper
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:48 PM
I was talking to an educator recently and they commented that more and more parents are expecting the schools to raise their children. I remember a quote from a law maker stating something to the same effect. Basically - the teacher's role is to raise the child.

Do you think the education system is changing? Do you think parent aren't as involved in their children's lives as they were in past generations? Are parents just too busy with work, etc. and they expect teachers to make up the difference?

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:58 PM
Oh jeese. You're never going to let me go to the barn are you? This is SUCH a hot button question for me. I was going to write it.

AS a teacher of 15 years, a lot of this is happening. We have great parents, but we also have so many kids in such bad situations that if we don't take care of these kids, we are allowing them to be raised to be leeches on society.

I've had unending kids transferring into my class because they're being pulled out of the other middle school because it is out of control. These kids show up 2, maybe 3 days a week and do nothing. Mostly I try to keep them in my class so they don't vandalize the school or sell drugs. I have one girl who had something "unimaginable" to deal with (counselor's words) that was out again because she told me someone threatened to kill her and come and shoot up the school.

I used to have 1 or 2 kids that did nothing. Now I have 10 to 15. These kids I tell about 40 to 50 times (in about 1 1 2/ hours) to stop staring at the wall, stop chewing on your fingers, stop drawing on your hands, stop picking at the paper and DO something that is very easy to do and all you have to do. Some parents have given up on them. Some parents are psychotic and wonder why their child isn't getting a passing grade like he is in every other class (even though he/she is illiterate) because every other teacher has passed him on and doesn't want to deal with it.

Sigh. Yeah. I told this to my principal when he said out job is to be the parent figure at school. I said no way, my JOB is to TEACH, including being honest with them about abilities, getting after them for not doing work or behaving, and not to make them feel happy and comfortable sitting there doing nothing and being a jackass.

frisky
Mar. 30, 2013, 05:03 PM
Totally agree with the above post. I work in many different schools and it is amazingly apparent when kids have supportive parents at home who have expectations and boundaries for their children. *Amazing.* I have worked in schools where the kids are out of control and in schools where kids are there to learn. It's just a complete difference. There are great teachers in both schools.

I do think that many parents are not doing the job of setting the expectations for life, but I also think that many of those same parents do not want to have teachers set expectations and boundaries. Pretty frustrating.

sketcher
Mar. 30, 2013, 05:50 PM
It's pretty scary when you think about it. It seems that teachers are not really allowed to discipline or hold kids accountable and have to put up with all sorts of crap and yet on the other hand, they are expected to parent the kids. There is something missing form the equation.

JohnDeere
Mar. 30, 2013, 06:17 PM
When I was a kid there was a brain damaged grown man who used to stand on the corner, yelling at people, peeing if he needed to, punching cars, whatever, his parents were in 40s when there only child was born so they were old by this time. No one expected him to behave cause he was retarded I know its a horrible word but that was what he was called back then. My neighbor who was nobodys fool & raised 3 kids of her own was elected to take care of him when his parents passed, & he learned how to behave because SHE EXPECTED HIM TO. If he did something wrong she corrected him, so slmost anyone clan learn. Dont stop expecting kids to behave, it may be the only time they are asked to. Plus the parents get a check if there kid acts up so theres no reason to make them act right.

Luseride
Mar. 30, 2013, 06:24 PM
As a teacher I will say that more parents expect us to do the work while if the child turns out well they take the glory.

I think a lot of admin has bowed to the parents and told the teachers to do x y and z and the parent and child do nothing. Then if the child does not learn it is our fault.

I tell my students that their job is to learn and my job is to teach but it is their responsibility to make an effort.

TheJenners
Mar. 30, 2013, 06:55 PM
Agree with sketcher.

Only it's not just teachers, it's everyone. Parents expect everyone else to raise their children. Pre-school, day care, teachers, law enforcement. I can't tell you how many times I contact families with "out of control" seven year olds, or fourteen year olds who "won't listen to me!" Um...did you try to be a parent when the kiddo was four? three? nine?

Try being a cop and getting called to a house because a parent can't get his/her 10 year old out of bed to go to school. YES. Parents call 9-1-1 for this! What the what? And we HAVE TO GO. I had the same parent call in and ask for me three different times in one night, after I busted her 15 year old for stealing beer, first time was "when you bring him home, what if he starts yelling at us? he gets aggressive..." So I have a talk with the boy, tell him about how I will come back and arrest his butt if he touches his mother and he just needs to follow house rules, it's not hard. I kick him loose at the door, explain how mom has the right to not allow his friends to come over, has the right to know their names, and has the right to tell them to empty their pockets before coming in. This was more for mom than boy... :rolleyes: Twenty minutes later, she calls back in "he's threatening to run away now." I call her back and tell her, hey, you're the mom, be one. She calls back two hours later, "he keeps coming in my room and waking me and his sister up." My Sgt took this one over, it was a very short conversation. STOP WASTING POLICE TIME BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO PARENT.

/vent :winkgrin:

I tell deans at the local HS (when I'm responding for some issue or another), that there is just no way I could do their job. Same responsibilities, deal with messes parents create, and no power to leave, or call parents and give them verbal slaps up side the head? No thanks. No envy.

alternate_universe
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:03 PM
I am just about finished with student teaching and I gotta say... you see a lot of kids whose parents are just setting them up to fail. No one double checking homework, no one seeming to notice that Suzy is really struggling, no one making sure Suzy comes to school with her stuff, etc. Some parents seem to think fourth graders should be totally independent little adults. Sorry, not happening with all of them. Some, not all.

I think parents need to be parents but also need to recognize what they are not. They are not profesisonal educators. They are not doctors. I had a parent the other week drop off her son late and ask me if I thought he should take his meds that day (he has PPD and ADHD) because he got up late. Do I look like a doctor, lady? While I might believe that yes, your kiddo should take his meds, and no, I don't see how getting up late would change that, I am not legally allowed to tell you that as I AM NOT A DOCTOR.... and neither are you. There are parents out there who are basically self medicating thier kids. I don't know how this is possible or why they think it's a good idea... but it really does not benefit the kids in the long run.

Leaving the doctoring to the doctors, the teaching to the teachers, and raise your child with manners, a worth ethic, and lots of support in academics.

Ruth0552
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:28 PM
LMAO.

I teach high school. In an area where over 70% of the kids get free lunch. It is OBVIOUS which kids have parents who get it and parents who don't. I'm not even saying parents that care- parents that GET IT. We just had 2nd semester parents night. I had a parent in with her daughter who has a crappy grade in my class. DD somehow LOST her progress report from 2nd period to 8 PM. Mom just said, yup that's her! Are you kidding me? That's it? On the other hand, I had parents come in that wanted to know why their kid's grade was so low... she had a B+. Guess who's parents are teaching their kid to make the most of every opportunity they get?

At least my kid that sets things on fire transferred...

clanter
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:12 PM
nanny state .... brith to grave

Calvincrowe
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:39 PM
Clanter--no. What we have here is "self-absorbed adult state". This ain't about economics, politics or Obama. 20 years as an educator, I've seen a steady decline in the act of "parenting"--you know, that crazy idea that the adult is right, the adult dishes out discipline, the adult teaches responsibility, compassion, consideration and respect to their child? Yeah that idea!

I've got kids who are being raised by Iphone/Ipod, DVD player and unlimited spending to keep them occupied and out of their parent's hair. Granted, I have a ton of kids who are great--clearly being raised well by caring and responsible parents. We are in a community of 51% free/reduced lunch status--lots of haves and lots of have nots. I'd say both pools produce quality kids/parenting in equal numbers.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:16 PM
Not nanny state, the if I say it enough, it becomes true Bush mantra. I noticed a HUGE difference in lack of responsibility when Bush came into office--no kidding. He never took responsibility for anything, and it transferred to all politicians and the public. Its slightly better now with Obama, with the kids, not the politicians.

The whole thing is so frustrating to me I'm trying to start a revolution in my district. NO ONE wants to hold the line and buck up and be tough--EVERY SINGLE success story in turn arounds in education is more work, longer hours, stricter. We finally got out lying SOB union president out and I've already talked to the new one about this. Our school board is wondering why out testing scores are going down when our grades look so good. I've been fighting complaints of "bullying" children for years because of low grades (no kidding) and so has every other good teacher I now that teaches and grades at grade level. Now we've got common core, which are what I teach anyway, but some people are freaking out because the testing requires they actually KNOW what they're doing. Our district office CYA'd every which way about how great a job they are doing about education, but NO wants to talk about we grade too damn high, expect WAY too little, and have WAY too many people not doing their job.

A lot of this comes down to the squeaky wheel. Parents love to squeak and threaten to sure all of the time. Our current personnel director and my ex-principal is all about appeasing them. You can see the decline because of this. 50% for missing work, everyone has higher grades, more pressure on teachers doing their jobs, and declining test scores. I think the only way we can make progress is to squeak. We REALLY need to sue a few bad parents. That would be a start. I am trying to start a committee to start from kindergarden up raising the standards and lower grades so we set kids up for reality, and success, not failure. Right now some teachers in my middle school give 95 to 99% passing grades, and 50% of these kids are failing freshman classes in high school. The focus has always been on complaints from parents, which are ALWAYS about low grades. I am trying to figure out how to turn it around and focus on getting lazy damn teachers to do their job, and lazy damn parents to do their jobs, and teach them if need be.

We do have SO many great parents, but their voices are not heard, because sane people don't harass people doing their jobs. But, it's time for the meek to inherit the schools and we need to change the dialogue.

And we need to get rid of iphones and such! I can't believe parents are spending $70 a month on these! That's a college education. And these kids are on it ALL of the time, like 10 hours a day, but they can't manage to write 800 words a week on a piece of paper or read a book. The more access a kid has to technology, the lower the grade, almost 100%.

janedoe726
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:32 PM
As a 15 year veteran teacher, I cannot even begin to respond to this. There are no words other than I am very, very afraid of what this country will be in 20ish years when the entitled generation runs the workforce.

twotrudoc
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:39 PM
Well, we could all just look down a few threads about the parents of a 24 year old adult who would rather sit home and play video games all day rather than contribute to his own life or much less contribute to society. The parents who wring their hands and enable rather than parent. Pretty simple answer, I would say.

I am not saying the Dept of Education is all roses and perfection, it's not.

Riverotter
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:04 AM
The teachers have been pretty vocal here, but as a parent - I'll never forget the day my first grader came home and with a delighted smile told me "Guess what? You can't scold me anymore. Or ground me or anything. My teacher says that if you do anything at home that I don't like, I can come to school and report you."

All with a smile, to her it was a big joke, haha, I can "tell" on Momma.
We had a sit down and I explained to her what that really meant. Because how it was presented to her was that I couldn't scold her, ground her, take away her things, make her do anything she didn't want to, make her eat her veggies - if a 6 year old didn't like it, she was to report it to her teacher.
Yeah, shades of 1984, right?

But, way to go teachers! Start totally undermining a parent's authority as soon as the kid's out of kindergarten, and then sit back and gripe that parent's won't parent.

twotrudoc
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:05 AM
Are you in Chicago?

IdahoRider
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:13 PM
I was busy with my prep period about 45 minutes before my afternoon kindergarten class started when a Mom walked in, sat her son down with his McDonald's Happy Meal and then turned to walk out. I called out to her and explained that A) I was in and out of my room during prep and he could not be there by himself, B) it was too early for noon duties to be on the play ground to supervise and he couldn't be out there alone and, C) the rule is that a student can't be dropped off earlier than 25 minutes prior to their bell.

She stopped, looked me up and down and said, "Well, I have a hair appointment in 20 minutes, you'll have to watch him". And she turned and walked out. As far as she was concerned, kindergarten was nothing more than a baby-sitting service. This kiddo never returned homework, was often off task and sometimes rude. His older brother was in 3rd grade and had very similar behavior.

Thankfully most parents aren't like that. But dealing with parents/students like this takes time away from the families/students who are actually there to learn.
Sheilah

LauraKY
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:28 PM
Idaho Rider, we had the same problem at my gym. We had a preschool type program combined with gymnastics that was very popular. We had to lock the door until it was time for the class to start (they had their own entrance) and charge $1 a minute for every minute they were late over 10 minutes. First offense got a warning. It's entitlement...suburban Baltimore style.

I could tell you stories....

I have to say, I haven't seen as much "entitlement" since I moved to the boonies in KY.

nhwr
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:47 PM
parents are expecting the schools to raise their childrenTeachers say this all the time. Funny thing is you never hear parents say that. Hmmmmmm. In fact, you often hear the reverse. Public education isn't about teaching students what they need to be self-supporting in the future. It is about indoctrination.

Teacher quality in the US is fairly low compared to other countries. This is one cry of many excuses offered for their lack of ability. To hear educators tell it, when students fail, it's the parents fault. When students succeed, it's because of their teachers. The world just doesn't work that way.

fooler
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:55 PM
This didn't start with either Bush. The seeds of this started IMO with the Boomers and then as many of them were so busy "doing their thing" during the 1970's many kids were left to their own devices. Those 70's kids are now the parents and some cases the grandparents of the kids in schools today.
DH and I have mentored boys at the local military school. Over half of the kids are from broken marriages, parents with some sort of addiction or single moms where the sperm donor either left or never was there. Of the last two kids, mom is "overseas" and the other mom drove down for her son's graduation and told DH she couldn't handle him and put him in our care:eek:. Then she got in her vehicle and left.

Everyone dropped the ball and now everyone will have to figure out how to work together to resolve. Starting with the parents who need to take responsibility for their own children. While I appreciate educators encouraging children to speak up about abuse, often it comes back to the parent as you can't discipline me anymore. And I have heard this from many parents over the past 20 or so years.
I don't know if the PTA is still active, extra work for both parents and teachers, but it is better for the both to work together and be consistent with the kids. My sibling and I knew our parents were in contact with our teachers, understand there are 5 of us, so if we acted up or out, our parents knew about it.

hastyreply
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:57 PM
My sister is the special ed teacher is a small ruralish district. She has both jr high and high school students. Most are learning disabled due to their social and economic backgrounds. Next year she's getting a "real" sp ed student. A low functioning downs student. The other teachers are "scared" of this child. She doesn't speak but can communicate and is toilet trained (a big plus to my sister). Theoretically she should go to life skills at a neighboring school district. Parents don't want her to go there because, unspoken, there are many more minorities at this school and in this program. There has even been talk about inclusion classes with this child. She can make a large X on a paper is all the writing skills she has. Parents think the district should do whatever it takes to meet her needs in district. This is a poor cash strapped district. There isn't much chance of them being able to afford to meet her needs. My sister hopes to keep the child with her in her class (the elementary principal refuses to let the aide who has been with her the past 5 years to move up with her, even on a temporary bases). Hopefully the parents' eyes will be opened that really the best place for her is in an established life skills class. Child was an only until recently and now has two preschool syblings so parent's views will be changing. The chances of them hiring another aide for her are slim and even if they did, they are notorious for pulling the aides to cover as subs else where in the school.

tle
Apr. 1, 2013, 02:00 PM
As a childless person, it is not my job to raise your spawn. I don't know if it's entitlement, selfishness or what, but it almost seems like kids are used as status tools... drug out when needed, ignored when something better comes long. Maybe it is a symptom of our disposible culture. All I do know is that when your kid is screaming or running around a restaurant or store, I shouldn't have to be the one to tell him to knock it off. And if it does come to that, I shouldn't have to endure your looks of hatred. If you'd done your job in the first place, I wouldn't have to pick up your slack.

Sorry for the rant.

As for the quality of education... teaching for a test is one of the main problems I have. Teach kids to how to learn... not how to regurgitate for a test.

nhwr
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:09 PM
http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williamns031313.php3#.UVnaUqt3690

...
Schools of education, whether graduate or undergraduate, tend to represent the academic slums of most college campuses. They tend to be home to students who have the lowest academic achievement test scores when they enter college, such as SAT scores. They have the lowest scores when they graduate and choose to take postgraduate admissions tests — such as the GRE, the MCAT and the LSAT.
The California Basic Educational Skills Test, or CBEST, is mandatory for teacher certification in California. It's a joke. Here's a multiple-choice question on its practice math test: "Rob uses 1 box of cat food every 5 days to feed his cats. Approximately how many boxes of cat food does he use per month? A. 2 boxes, B. 4 boxes, C. 5 boxes, D. 6 boxes, E. 7 boxes." Here's another: "Which of the following is the most appropriate unit for expressing the weight of a pencil? A. pounds, B. ounces, C. quarts, D. pints, E. tons." I'd venture to predict that the average reader's sixth-grader could answer each question. Here's a question that is a bit more challenging; call your eighth-grader: "Solve for y: y - 2 + 3y = 10, A. 2, B. 3, C. 4, D. 5, E. 6."
....
Textbooks used in schools of education might explain some teacher ineptitude. A passage in Marilyn Burns' text "About Teaching Mathematics" reads, "There is no place for requiring students to practice tedious calculations that are more efficiently and accurately done by using calculators." "New Designs for Teaching and Learning," by Dennis Adams and Mary Hamm, says, "Content knowledge is not seen to be as important as possessing teaching skills and knowledge about the students being taught." Harvey Daniels and Marilyn Bizar's text "Methods that Matter" reads, "Students can no longer be viewed as cognitive living rooms into which the furniture of knowledge is moved in and arranged by teachers, and teachers cannot invariably act as subject-matter experts." The authors explain, "The main use of standardized tests in America is to justify the distribution of certain goodies to certain people."
With but a few exceptions, schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education could benefit from slum removal, eliminating schools of education.

hastyreply
Apr. 1, 2013, 08:42 PM
My daughter the teacher, says the number one thing that can be done to improve the education system is to limit the class sizes to 18 students. The inability to give all the students the attention and help they need is the most frustrating thing.

JanM
Apr. 1, 2013, 09:04 PM
Hasty-exactly right. I read that the average new teacher lasts about two years, then many move on to other careers. I know several people with children or younger relatives that went into teaching, but only one still is, and she's getting a master's degree in another field and the second she finishes she's gone too. The one complaint I hear over and over is the babysitting issue. Including children who are in regular classrooms, and should be in special ed, or special tutoring and aren't. One woman said that two students take up almost all of her teaching time with their needs.

alternate_universe
Apr. 1, 2013, 09:10 PM
Including children who are in regular classrooms, and should be in special ed, or special tutoring and aren't. One woman said that two students take up almost all of her teaching time with their needs.


Agreed. Inclusion is a great idea for students that would actually benefit from it. Not all disabilities improve by placing a child in a class with 20+ other kids and a million things going on at one time. Infact, in many situations, that's the worst place for them. All general ed. teachers should be veresed in basic modifications and adaptations for special needs students, but some children really do need the time of an actual special ed. teacher in a smaller, more focused environment.

nhwr
Apr. 1, 2013, 09:20 PM
Actually the data on results says class size is ambivalent at best.

But assuming, for the moment, that smaller class sizes are important. We should ask why class sizes keep increasing. In the state of California, it is because teachers' salaries are contractually bound to increase every year. Even when salaries are "cut", the average wage of teachers actually increase because of step and column compensation packages. Additionally, teachers receive increased pay and "release time" (for which the teacher is paid and a substitute is hired) for large classes. So we see more teachers let go, programs and services for students cut and class sizes increase to pay those who remain more.

Blaming special ed type students is a common ploy. And I have to point out the a learning disability is not something that is brought on by social or economical situations as another poster suggested. In reality, educators are legally obligated to test and place appropriately any student they suspect has a learning disability. But they often don't because of the money that requires.

Finzean
Apr. 1, 2013, 09:42 PM
Former middle school teacher (I LOVED my job but lasted 4 years)....

There isn't enough server space for me to get started on my diatribe. We homeschool now only b/c the only private school I will settle for (it's actually pretty phenomenal) is $16k/yr.

mercedespony
Apr. 1, 2013, 10:02 PM
The teachers have been pretty vocal here, but as a parent - I'll never forget the day my first grader came home and with a delighted smile told me "Guess what? You can't scold me anymore. Or ground me or anything. My teacher says that if you do anything at home that I don't like, I can come to school and report you."

All with a smile, to her it was a big joke, haha, I can "tell" on Momma.

My kid tried that. I actually enjoyed sitting her down, and 'splaining to her that SHE would be removed from our home by the CAS, not me. And I could rather look forward to some quiet evenings without hearing all the whining about homework, food, etc. She took her punishment after that conversation, without much argument.

imo, for every 1 good teacher, there are 3 that are lousy. I consider us lucky if we have one decent teacher each class year. I can't wait to get her into university.

MMacallister
Apr. 1, 2013, 10:16 PM
I appreciate what teachers do and my son has his first tough teacher. He is in grade 5 and she expects him to do things like be able to write his name on the top of a test (no name - 5, no date - 5) This is how I learned just how lazy my ex is. My ex won't even check to see if the homework is done, let alone done right.
This child doesn't live with me, in fact he lives about 500 miles away. Thank God for technology!!!!! He was turning none of his assignments in, suddenly went from a respectable student to failing in about 1 marking period. This was my wake up call. He now texts me a pic of his homework every night, I go over the problems with him and explain what he doesn't get and make a few extra trips up there to help him with some of the bigger projects.
It has been a struggle, but even thought the teacher knew all of this was going on (I also email her once a week to check in on things) she never lowered her standards(thank God). His first big project, he got a 50 on, then I stepped in, the next one he got a 75, improvement but we still have a ways to go. The last one he got a 96! and he was soooo excited and couldn't wait to tell me about it. I think I was more excited than he was!
So please teachers, I know you have a hard job, but keep the standards up, it does a great disservice to our youth when the standards go down just to pass a kid.
I only know my side of it, but I am loving this teacher. I would have to say my son has learned more this year than any other year and I hope his next teachers are just as tough.

toxicity
Apr. 1, 2013, 10:48 PM
Every once in a while, I think being a high school biology teacher would be something I'd enjoy and be good at, but then I read threads and news stories like this. NOPE. Not happening.

Calvincrowe
Apr. 2, 2013, 12:47 AM
God forbid teachers have standards! You'd be shocked how badly kids listen and focus today--my procedures in class are the same EVERY DAY, heck, weekly from day one, and yet, I still get 14 year olds who cannot put their name on a paper reliably, never have a pencil, and never, ever do work at home.

nhwr
Apr. 2, 2013, 01:05 AM
Parents think the district should do whatever it takes to meet her needs in district. This is a poor cash strapped district. There isn't much chance of them being able to afford to meet her needs.Just wanted to point out that every child, even one with a significant disability, is entitled to a free and appropriate public education, aka FAPE. FAPE is a civil right. Denial of FAPE is a huge liability for school districts. Districts receive extra funding from the federal government (and probably from the state as well) for students like this. They can't simply say sorry we got nothing for you.

It's not the parents alone who think that their daughter's needs ought to be met, it is the US Supreme court.

And moving her aid around to cover other classrooms is probably illegal.

AbbieS
Apr. 2, 2013, 01:26 AM
I'm 18, in high school, (almost done thank God cuz senioritis is setting in big time) and I'm going to put the blame on the parents and side with the teachers here. This is not a rant against my parents, I love them even though we argue sometimes (hey I'm a teen), and I was disciplined and raised with expectations. There are kids that are parent enabled everywhere, I see it daily. Parents start texting conversations with them in the middle of class, and one of my friends knows that her mom will pull her out of school at any time on request. Fortunately, she wants to succeed, so she stay in school.

But I see kids around that disrespect/misbehave/don't care. They aren't disciplined, their parents don't discipline them, they might get a half hour detention and fail their classes, but they won't be punished at home. I know from personal experience that if parents set standards and enforce them, kids will rise to them. This is why so many kids come out of prison sentences changed, because they had standards there that were enforced.

People like to blame society and their focus on the self above everything else, and while that is a contributing factor, parents are called parents because they are supposed to be parents. Take it from the mouth of a teen: I'm sick of your unparenting disturbing my classes, my little brother's classes, my little sister's classes, my cousins' classes, my friends' classes and my teachers' classes. I like MY teachers, 9/10 at my school do a good job.

/rant

kb
Apr. 2, 2013, 01:39 AM
I have been in public education for 27 years. Been a classroom teacher, campus administrator, central office administrator and program director for the regional education service center. So I have seen it from every level....first I agree the lack of parenting skills is a huge problem and has been for all of the 27 years I have served. Next personal responsibility is another problem. We have about 4000 employees in our district (and we are one of the top in our state) I cannot even begin to tell you the crap I deal with from the employees. It is not just the students and their parents who are "slackers."

Also, class size research shows the number that makes a difference is 15 to 1...no one wants their taxes to increase enough to make that possible. That really is just a dollars issue.

And yes we do get fed funds for special education but not near enough to cover the associated costs. What we get equals about 20-25 percent of actual expenditures. So the remaining funds are local which means other areas get less dollars so that federal requirements can be met.

Lastly the legislature is killing us (both state and federal.) They continue to implement crazy mandates and don't fund them. My favorite was to teach students how to takeover and stop the bus in case the driver somehow became incapacitated. We lost instructional time for this...basically taught kids how to drive the bus and then had a rash of stolen buses. True story!

As far as the child who told the parent that he/she would be reported for discipline....My guess is that the state required teachers to tell kids how to report abuse so your child came home and told you that you could not discipline him/her.

All that being said, I left education for a while and worked in the corporate sector....educators work their butts off in comparison! It is an incredibly difficult job. Sometimes I wish that every parent would do it for a week....might change the way some of them parent.

Lynnwood
Apr. 2, 2013, 02:04 AM
I've had multiple issues with my daughters elementary school. Particularly issues with the truancy "officer"/ counseler.

Daughter is a straight A/B student who has never been a behavioral issue. Last year got a nasty gram from school when she missed 10 days when she had her tonsils out even after the surgeon faxed in the note saying no school 2 weeks.

This year her father was deployed is back and had to take a job out of state , we've had a few family losses ie two grandparents and she was one of the lucky to be stricken down with that terrible bronchitis going around a few weeks ago. She is not struggling in school , I've never been contacted by her teachers over any issue. We pick up and make up any work. Went to the mailbox Sunday and poof another nasty gram this time saying because she's missed X days they are sending it to the next level for review.

Now I talked to the truancy officer and pre warned her about the family loss , etc and even told her this month she was going to miss X days. She was all chipper bright and ok no problem we just want review with parents "I understand and everything is A ok". Now apparently I'm going to be ?prosecuted? for truancy over a A student without behavioral issues.

I guess they don't have better things to do. I really don't have an issue at all with them checking up on her or inquiring why she has missed days. But putting the screws to a parent to who is raising her alone and frankly scholastically not doing to bad a job of it based on her last 3 report cards. 4 As, a B , Straight A's and 4 A's and a B. I take issue with being treated like a bad parent.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 2, 2013, 02:07 AM
nhrw--Showing you lack of understanding is not helping.

Yes, class sizes doesn't really make a difference, IF you have a disciplined culture like Japan. It makes a HUGE difference if you have to spend 90% of your time with 5 students and are ignoring the 35 others (in a middle school class built for 30.)

Oh, and yes, the salaries. I sure wich you would tell MY district all of these great things, because we've average a 7% pay CUT the last year, lost our steps and have to "bargain" that, and, IF we're lucky, will get back to what we got paid in 2011 by 2021. And WHO is getting increased pay and "released time" for larger classes? No one I know. Larger and larger work load with less capable kids every year, and no more pay an no more release time. I still do my job and do the work (which I need to get back to on my week break.)

There are a lot of issues with special education. Of COURSE we want to give all kids the best chance we can, but at some point, where do we draw the line? We just had the author of Stuck in Neutral, who wrote a book about a child like his own son, who has such severe CP he has NO muscle control. In the book he has a highly brilliant mind locked in a useless body. In real life he pretty much doesn't think his son has much of a mind, yet thinks he deserves all opportunity. WEll, of course he does, but, in the end, how far do we go with that? We had a severely autistic kid at our school who was so out of control he needed two full time watchers to keep him from running into classrooms or out in the street. His parents didn't want to deal with him. He bit teachers, a lot. Yes, it's not fair, but at the cost of this child, it's taking away education from SO many. So, before you speak snidely about the law and what everyone deserves, make sure YOU are ready to make the choice about who deserves what and WHO will pay for it.

AbbieS is my new favorite. She has it right.

Lynnwood--Sorry about the nasty grams. They are required by law to do so and it is a "form" letter. They are so busy dealing with real problems, they probably didn't have the time to let you know it really is no big deal. It's just there are so many kids who are out all of the time (like my lovelies who are selling drugs) that they get overwhelmed.)

RaeHughes
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:31 AM
Different country, but the problems are similar!

My sister is a HS science and remedial studies teacher ... actually she is the HOD for both with her preference given to remedial studies (cause then she dont have to work so hard in getting them to understand basic science english and maths). Given that this is a very low decile school (poor area, high unemployment) this is not unusual. She also monitors the history class at Year 11 which is correspondence - so you can immagine that she has a very full day/timetable/grading etc.

In NZ, you do need to have either a degree in the subject or a very good grounding for teaching in HS - my older sister has a PhD in psych and physiology merely because she does. Nothing to do with being a teacher - she came to teaching 2nd behind the PhD.

What she found when working in a very priveliged private school was just entitlement after entitlement seeking child. Yes, there were hard-working very intelligent children - but even some of those thought that they were "special".

What she loves about her low-decile school (besides the education that she is getting in "how to make science relevant") is that the kids thrive on discipline. And it comes from the top-down. Every single one stands up when she enters the class-room. Every student calls her "Mrs X" - regardless of whether they know her outside of school. Students only say once "I havent got my homework" - they learn that she just sets them 2x as much :D.

HOWEVER, this is done with a lot of input from the parents - who will withhold priviledges like going out hunting or fishing with Dad (or Mum). Or giving them additional chores.

It has taken a lot of effort by a gifted head-master to get this over the line - and that includes the parents and the teachers. At the end of each year, she is absolutely shattered and goes somewhere to just chill for a couple of weeks.

It is not common at all anywhere - and it is a huge effort.

Ruth0552
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:09 AM
For the record- I am a teacher- have a degree in my subject- graduated summa cum laude with departmental distinction and college honors, and average 700 on my SAT's and SAT II's. I am a GOOD teacher. I know there are bad teachers out there, I had some of them! And I know there are bad teachers out there still, but most of the time, the teacher is doing the best they can.

Over 50% of teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years. This is a very real and very commonly recorded statistic.

Class size absolutely does make a difference. I know "studies" show that it is debatable- but ask my students that I have now in my class of 15 vs. the same exact class I had first semester that had 28. Now I have the time in class, and in general, to focus more on the students that are struggling. And I agree, in a very disciplined society, having a class or 35 or so doesn't make a difference- but it does with students that won't or are unable to control themselves. Having 35 in a honors class is fine- but having 35 in a class of the lowest level and 19 of them have IEP's or 504 plans, and most of them are English Language Learners- NOT ok.

hastyreply
Apr. 2, 2013, 08:56 AM
Inclusion works to a certain degree in the lower grades. Once you get to Jr High/High School it is pretty much a waste of time. It can work for certain students in certain classes but not in any universal way. I say this as the mother of a special needs child (now adult). My daughter, who teaches 5th grade always has more inclusion students than the other teachers. For her, once she figures out their triggers, what they will work for, generally their glitches, they are not difficult. Growing up with her brother,she has really good skills, she can ignore a lot of behavior that her fellow teachers can't. She knows how to find that carrot they will work for. So many others make the mistake of trying to make the students fit a program instead of the other way around. She does her best to help their parents understand what is to come.

The other thing we've noticed is here in TX they are so obsessed with teaching concepts that 25-30% don't get the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. They are throwing word problems at children with out the reading skills on top of lack of basic +,-,x,/. Teaching memorization has become a big no no but many students would benefit from rout memorization of math facts.

I tell parents of youngsters, they are responsible for their children learning to read and understand it, learn how to put coherent thoughts together and down on paper and to add, subtract, multiply and divide. So many are trying to do higher math concepts when they have to stop and do the little "tricks" or reasoning puzzles they were taught to do the math skill evolved. Instead of just knowing that 9x7=63. It's all fine and dandy to understand why this is the answer but when your being tested and timed ........

Canaqua
Apr. 2, 2013, 09:04 AM
Just wanted to point out that every child, even one with a significant disability, is entitled to a free and appropriate public education, aka FAPE. FAPE is a civil right. Denial of FAPE is a huge liability for school districts. Districts receive extra funding from the federal government (and probably from the state as well) for students like this. They can't simply say sorry we got nothing for you.

It's not the parents alone who think that their daughter's needs ought to be met, it is the US Supreme court.

And moving her aid around to cover other classrooms is probably illegal.

Yes and placing students out of district, because they district can't find a way to accommodate them wlll not save money. The sending district must pay the receiving district (or private institution). That can be a bank breaker, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in some cases. If a school district has kids with special needs, they MUST accomodate them, one way or another.

hastyreply
Apr. 2, 2013, 10:08 AM
Here, there is a special Ed coop involving several different districts. It was the same when my son was in school 25 yr ago. That takes the burden off the small poor districts that have one or 2 high needs students and may go years before they have another. So often the truly special need students, especially as they get older. It is rare for elementary students to be bussed to another district but in Jr High and particularly high school they are. It takes quite a bit to start a life skills class which is what most of them are predominantly in. My son did this but he was in several resource academic classes (math and English). He also took electives with his peers, including PE. He could not have gotten that as well as on site work experience in the small district in which we lived.

pheasantknoll
Apr. 2, 2013, 11:25 AM
For the record-- Can anyone not see the connection between this thread and the thread like VR's recent one on "1950's" wives?? There is a lot of bashing of women who choose to put their children first on this board, and the attitude of schools raising children is the result.
NB: I am NOT saying that all working moms have this attitude, just that it is prevalent today to discount the work of moms dedicated to raising their kids, be it at home or at work.

xeroxchick
Apr. 2, 2013, 01:48 PM
Teachers say this all the time. Funny thing is you never hear parents say that. Hmmmmmm. In fact, you often hear the reverse. Public education isn't about teaching students what they need to be self-supporting in the future. It is about indoctrination.

Teacher quality in the US is fairly low compared to other countries. This is one cry of many excuses offered for their lack of ability. To hear educators tell it, when students fail, it's the parents fault. When students succeed, it's because of their teachers. The world just doesn't work that way.

Compared to "other countries?"
This is a myth. Show me your sources. Show me who sponsors the sources.

What I have noticed over the last three years out of 22 years of teaching is that more screen time has made students more passive.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 2, 2013, 02:39 PM
nanny state .... brith to grave

Um, no. First of all, the US is not a nanny state. Not even close. Secondly, the countries that most resemble the "nanny state" are highly successful (Finland, for example). But nice try bringing politics into it.


And we need to get rid of iphones and such! I can't believe parents are spending $70 a month on these! That's a college education. And these kids are on it ALL of the time, like 10 hours a day, but they can't manage to write 800 words a week on a piece of paper or read a book. The more access a kid has to technology, the lower the grade, almost 100%.

I disagree. We need to change the way we approach things like phones. We need to show kids how to find information, how to organise it, how to use it, and how to be creators and producers rather than just consumers. I recently heard that the average person with a cell phone has access to more information than Ronald Reagan as president. Technology is what kids will be dealing with as adults, and we need to help them become responsible users of that technology.


Teachers say this all the time. Funny thing is you never hear parents say that. Hmmmmmm. In fact, you often hear the reverse. Public education isn't about teaching students what they need to be self-supporting in the future. It is about indoctrination.

Teacher quality in the US is fairly low compared to other countries. This is one cry of many excuses offered for their lack of ability. To hear educators tell it, when students fail, it's the parents fault. When students succeed, it's because of their teachers. The world just doesn't work that way.

This is simply not true. First of all, what exactly are students being indoctrinated to think?

Secondly, what is your evidence that teachers in the US are lower quality by comparison? Or low quality at all? I am a teacher. I scored a 1500 (out of 1600) on my SATs, attended a top ten university, had a 4.0 in my graduate studies, and got a perfect score on the SATII in one of the subjects I teach and had top scores on my subject testing in teacher prep. I could have gone into any number of fields, most of which pay much better than teaching. I work with people who publish children's books on the side, who have IQs in the genius range, who come from a variety of careers and have myriad degrees in a variety of fields. They all say teaching is the most challenging thing they've done.

If you want the best and brightest to teach, you need to make it attractive--not necessarily in terms of money, but in terms of prestige. Respect teachers as professionals. Respect the profession instead of belittling it. Learn about it.

You'll need to do more than make baseless claims such as "low quality compared to other countries." You need to define quality (Is it strictly test scores, or does pedagogy count? Is it a relative term--only the best and brightest in the country teach--or an absolute one?). Which countries are meant? What education systems are being compared? You choose to bash teachers with no data, no understanding, and no coherent argument. You complain about indoctrination without discussing motive, methodology, or ideology. You offer no alternatives, suggestions, or ideas--only complaints. Boy, it sure makes me take you seriously!


As for the quality of education... teaching for a test is one of the main problems I have. Teach kids to how to learn... not how to regurgitate for a test.

Easy to say when your job isn't on the line! What are those tests actually measuring anyway?


http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williamns031313.php3#.UVnaUqt3690

Why yes, a blog is a credible source and is almost certainly unbiased! *headdesk*


My daughter the teacher, says the number one thing that can be done to improve the education system is to limit the class sizes to 18 students. The inability to give all the students the attention and help they need is the most frustrating thing.

Research on class size is, for the most part, tentative. Repeated, comprehensive studies do not yet exist. Anecdotal evidence does. Any teacher will tell you that there are "magic numbers" at which the class dynamic changes. IME at middle school, 23, 28, and 33 are such numbers for middle school. I have yet to go below 19 or above 37, so I can't speak to those, but based on the pattern 18 would likely be another magic number. I don't know that it's the magic bullet, though.


I read that the average new teacher lasts about two years, then many move on to other careers.

Yes--when smart, high quality teachers leave the field because they can do something else for more money that's easier, it is very telling about the profession!


Actually the data on results says class size is ambivalent at best.

No, it isn't. It's limited, and while it's not conclusive, it does INDICATE that class size does matter, particularly in earlier grades.

But assuming, for the moment, that smaller class sizes are important. We should ask why class sizes keep increasing. In the state of California, it is because teachers' salaries are contractually bound to increase every year. Even when salaries are "cut", the average wage of teachers actually increase because of step and column compensation packages. Additionally, teachers receive increased pay and "release time" (for which the teacher is paid and a substitute is hired) for large classes. So we see more teachers let go, programs and services for students cut and class sizes increase to pay those who remain more.

Ah, I love it when people who don't understand the system cherry pick their cause and effect! Teachers' salary increases are offset by things like furloughs, pay cuts, and more. Our union, for example, bargained away salary, benefits, cost of living increases, and working conditions on top of the furloughs. You complain about teacher salaries, but you also complain about teacher quality in your earlier post. My father always said that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. I have a M.Ed. My salary is considerably lower than the average STARTING salary for a Masters, and it won't reach that number until I've been at it for 12 years. It's fine--I make a fair wage, and I do what I love. However, I do expect to be compensated for what is a very demanding job. I accepted cuts relatively willingly to help preserve jobs, programs, and access to supplies. I did this willingly and supported the union's decisions.

You complained about unqualified teachers, but then you complain about release time!? You wouldn't be satisfied if your doctor never learned about updates in your field--why wouldn't you expect the same from teachers? When you're teaching the future, methodology from the past doesn't work. Teachers need to stay up to date on technology, latest research, alternative methods, and specific sub strands within the field. I already do a fair bit of reading on the field on my own time, but it's a bit much to ask me to spend unpaid time paying money to attend conferences. I have attended workshops on my own dime, but it's rare. I do, however, use things I learned in workshops years ago to improve my teaching. That's a huge return on investment. Don't belittle things you don't understand--particularly when you attack both sides of the issue. You want the best and brightest teaching under tough conditions (class size) and for less and less money. You want them to keep up with the field for free on their own time. It doesn't work that way.

Blaming special ed type students is a common ploy. And I have to point out the a learning disability is not something that is brought on by social or economical situations as another poster suggested. In reality, educators are legally obligated to test and place appropriately any student they suspect has a learning disability. But they often don't because of the money that requires.

Of course we are, but it DOES make a difference when 10 out of 30 students (instead of 1 out of 20) is on an individualized education plan. I've had both scenarios in the same school year (first period vs. 6th). I can tell you it DOES make a difference how many IEPs are in a class and what percentage of the class is affected. It's not an excuse--I worked so much harder for the class of 10/30 to try and ensure they were kept on equal footing because it IS my job to educate all of them. It is, however, a reality that the situation interfered substantially with my ability to provide each and every student with the best--in other words, I sometimes had to neglect my 1/20 group. It's the reality of public education. It's not the kids' fault they have legitimate disabilities, and I will do my utmost to work with all of them--as does EVERY SINGLE ONE of my colleagues. We talk about them all the time--not just water cooler gossip, as is the perception, but about ways we can support them, things we've noticed, what has worked in the past, and more. I had a district administrator be absolutely shocked at the way I knew one of the district's toughest students. His mother, who was in tears and in over her head throughout the meeting, had chewed me out on occasion. At the meeting she realized how very well I knew her son, both as an individual and as a learner. I knew what worked for his other teachers (some of whom were unable to attend the meeting, which occurred well outside of my working day and for which I was not paid). This type of effort is monumental--and when you have more and more of the IEP students (and their associated meetings and paperwork), it takes its toll.


imo, for every 1 good teacher, there are 3 that are lousy. I consider us lucky if we have one decent teacher each class year. I can't wait to get her into university.

Nope. Not every teacher is going to be awesome for every kid. I know that for some kids, I was the favorite, the life-changing, or the incredibly helpful teacher. Majority of my students would tell you that I was tough, fair, demanding, nice, funny, interesting, etc. A few would flat out tell you that I have changed their lives. Others would simply call me a good or an average teacher. A few would tell you I was awful. The same is true of almost every one of my colleagues. The value of a teacher is different to everyone, and to assume because you or your child didn't have the best experience that the teacher is lousy is unfair. If your experiences are at that ratio, I'd wonder why that is--what are your expectations of your daughter as well as her teachers?


Just wanted to point out that every child, even one with a significant disability, is entitled to a free and appropriate public education, aka FAPE. FAPE is a civil right. Denial of FAPE is a huge liability for school districts. Districts receive extra funding from the federal government (and probably from the state as well) for students like this. They can't simply say sorry we got nothing for you.

It's not the parents alone who think that their daughter's needs ought to be met, it is the US Supreme court.

And moving her aid around to cover other classrooms is probably illegal.


Lastly the legislature is killing us (both state and federal.) They continue to implement crazy mandates and don't fund them.

So many examples come to mind . . . .

All that being said, I left education for a while and worked in the corporate sector....educators work their butts off in comparison! It is an incredibly difficult job. Sometimes I wish that every parent would do it for a week....might change the way some of them parent.

Love this last bit--most people don't realize it!


nhrw--Showing you lack of understanding is not helping.

Yes, class sizes doesn't really make a difference, IF you have a disciplined culture like Japan. It makes a HUGE difference if you have to spend 90% of your time with 5 students and are ignoring the 35 others (in a middle school class built for 30.)

Oh, and yes, the salaries. I sure wich you would tell MY district all of these great things, because we've average a 7% pay CUT the last year, lost our steps and have to "bargain" that, and, IF we're lucky, will get back to what we got paid in 2011 by 2021. And WHO is getting increased pay and "released time" for larger classes? No one I know. Larger and larger work load with less capable kids every year, and no more pay an no more release time. I still do my job and do the work (which I need to get back to on my week break.)

There are a lot of issues with special education. Of COURSE we want to give all kids the best chance we can, but at some point, where do we draw the line? We just had the author of Stuck in Neutral, who wrote a book about a child like his own son, who has such severe CP he has NO muscle control. In the book he has a highly brilliant mind locked in a useless body. In real life he pretty much doesn't think his son has much of a mind, yet thinks he deserves all opportunity. WEll, of course he does, but, in the end, how far do we go with that? We had a severely autistic kid at our school who was so out of control he needed two full time watchers to keep him from running into classrooms or out in the street. His parents didn't want to deal with him. He bit teachers, a lot. Yes, it's not fair, but at the cost of this child, it's taking away education from SO many. So, before you speak snidely about the law and what everyone deserves, make sure YOU are ready to make the choice about who deserves what and WHO will pay for it.

AbbieS is my new favorite. She has it right.

Lynnwood--Sorry about the nasty grams. They are required by law to do so and it is a "form" letter. They are so busy dealing with real problems, they probably didn't have the time to let you know it really is no big deal. It's just there are so many kids who are out all of the time (like my lovelies who are selling drugs) that they get overwhelmed.)

EXCELLENT POST

nhwr
Apr. 2, 2013, 06:28 PM
Of course, anyone with a differing viewpoint doesn't "understand", lol. Who am I to judge but the funder of your employment and the consumer of your product!

You don't like my sources, but you have none of your own to rebut my points. You simply say they are wrong. But this isn't your classroom so let's get the facts straight. Teachers that take "cuts", and then discuss restorations in the same breath, aren't experiencing pay cuts. They are experiencing a temporary suspension in compensation. And does that compensation look like? In my district the average teacher make $76K a year and only works 170 days a year. If you extrapolate to full time in the private sector, that works out to about $113,000 plus benefits. This number has continued to increase even in the face of "pay cuts", furloughs, and class size increases. And benefits are defined. Virtually no one in the private sector has a defined retirement program but teachers have a lavish one with a guaranteed return on principal of 7.5% in the current market. (This is true for all teachers in the state of California. If the investment fund fails to make that rate of return as it has for the last several years, the state's general fund must make up the shortfall, see below) It is not unusual for teacher to receive a pension in excess of $80K for life. Sweet. California just passed a tax proposition to give billions more to schools. But after the proposition passed it was announced that the money would go to backfill the failing pension fund. Nothing will be done with that money to benefit students.

Teacher compensation is generous in my state and in all states is based on the misguided concept that education and experience translate into quality. It doesn't.
http://docs.gatesfoundation.org/united-states/documents/best-practices-teach-effectiveness.pdf

http://www.edtrust.org/dc/press-room/news/do-teachers-with-masters-degrees-lead-to-higher-student-achievement

http://www.districtadministration.com/article/harvard-study-examines-teacher-effectiveness



Now consider that in most families, kids are dropped off at school around 7:30 am are done around 3:00pm and see their parents around 6 pm. So students spend more time in the custody of the public school system than they do with their parents from the time they are in 1st grade on. And yet teachers here complain about students' behavior or that at 14 years old they still do not know to put their name on a paper. How then is this the parents' fault?

With all the advanced degrees (which teachers are compensated for automatically but do nothing to make them better teachers )
and "superior knowledge", isn't it reasonable to expect more? How can educators hope to advance STEEM curricula successfully if they can't accomplish something as simple as having students put their names on papers?

Students are indoctrinated. This has been going on for decades.
http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_4_social-studies.html
For example, do teachers discuss global warming? My kids' teachers certainly do, but they never bring up anything like this
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9338939/Global-warming-second-thoughts-of-an-environmentalist.html

Students are not taught to think critically. But if you consider the background of most teachers, that isn't too surprising.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 3, 2013, 06:59 AM
Of course, anyone with a differing viewpoint doesn't "understand", lol. Who am I to judge but the funder of your employment and the consumer of your product!

I'm a consumer of surgery and legal services. I pay for them. That doesn't make me an expert. It is astonishing how many people think that going to school makes one an expert on education! The consumer perspective is a bit different from that of the provider. So is the level of expertise.

You don't like my sources, but you have none of your own to rebut my points. You simply say they are wrong.

I simply stated that your source was a blog--someone's opinion and thoughts on a subject. You didn't provide any other sources.

But this isn't your classroom so let's get the facts straight.

Yes, let's. We'll use sources.

Teachers that take "cuts", and then discuss restorations in the same breath, aren't experiencing pay cuts. They are experiencing a temporary suspension in compensation.

Nope, they're cuts. The pay scale has actually changed in my district. Oh, and cuts to things like working conditions are relatively permanent. Class size norms are higher. Of course, "permanent" is a funny word, because nothing is truly permanent. HOwever, we will have to bargain to get each and every concession back, and it will be a tough sell. People like you will typically argue that since we've been making classes of 36-40 work for a few years now, we should keep doing it so that we're not "wasting" money on changing class sizes. Each and every concession will be incredibly difficult to get back with the exception of furlough days.


And does that compensation look like? In my district the average teacher make $76K a year and only works 170 days a year.

Nope, not true. The CA minimum number of school days is 170 in a few districts, 175 in most (temporarily until 2014-2015 http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/au/ag/reducingit.asp ), but teacher contracts are longer--planning days at the start of the year, the odd planning/PD/shut down days. We typically had about 15 days of non-contact time, and if you think teachers only work on paid days, you're crazy! In my public school job I carried home grading almost every night, and it wasn't uncommon for me to spend 8 hours or more on a Sunday grading essays. So no, teachers don't just work 170 days.

76K is also an incredibly high number. I don't know where you are, but here's a breakdown of average salaries and starting salaries by state http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/ . The highest is NY, it it's 72K. Certain districts are of course higher or lower based on cost of living in that area (NYC is probably the reason it's so high in NY). In CA it's under 69K and that's still one of the highest.

If you extrapolate to full time in the private sector, that works out to about $113,000 plus benefits.

No, it doesn't. You are extrapolating based on the idea that teaching is a 40 hour/week job. Teachers work far more!

This one says 53 hours/week:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/survey-teachers-work-53-hours-per-week-on-average/2012/03/16/gIQAqGxYGS_blog.html

Yes, it's an op ed, but it's a nice summary with links to the primary sources. Here are some more:

http://www.nea.org/home/12661.htm
Admittedly biased, and its number is still lower than the one above (50 hours) and offers a nice comparative breakdown

If you take the 50 hour work week and extrapolate it out, you realize we work about 48 40-hour weeks. We just jam ours into 36-38 weeks. "Lots of professions work long weeks," you say. Of course--and they're suitably compensated.

Let's look at it another way. I'll take the nice round number of 50,000 as a salary. Let's divide that by the student contact days (before the furlough days back in 2007 and not counting non-contact days): we had 181, which is pretty on par nationally. That means the teacher makes 276.25/day. Let's leave out the math of prep periods and assume the teacher is with the students 5 hours/day (teaching 5 periods). The teacher is making $55/hour. It may still sound like a lot, but hold on. Divide that by the number of students (in a core class the best data I could find was 27 students/class for middle school, well below the average of 33 our school had for English/math classes). That's just over $2/hour per student. That's far cheaper than day care, and I'm actually teaching your kid something! If I used my numbers, I was making an estimated $1.51 per student per hour for direct teaching time. Assuming I never prepped, graded, attended meetings, held conferences, tutored, gave time for make up work, led clubs, participated in activities, or did paperwork (much less continued my own education) that's still a stingy price for an education per student.

Look at it another way. If you could get a pedagogical expert with a Masters to teach your kid for 5 hours/day for 181 days, would 1,851.85 per year seem fair? That's 50,000 divided by the 27 kids.


This number has continued to increase even in the face of "pay cuts", furloughs, and class size increases.

You make class size increases sound like a cut, when in fact it is an increase. Our district increased middle school class sizes by an average of 4 students--a dramatic change for one year--a few years ago. Our full time load was 5 classes--that's 20 extra students. That means 20 extra assignments to grade (for EACH assignment), 20 extra sets of parents to call, 20 more sets of paperwork, and the additional strains on resources, classroom management, etc. It's essentially another class--while taking the aforementioned pay cuts (which were very real) and furloughs--meaning fewer days in which to get the extra work done.

And benefits are defined. Virtually no one in the private sector has a defined retirement program but teachers have a lavish one with a guaranteed return on principal of 7.5% in the current market. (This is true for all teachers in the state of California. If the investment fund fails to make that rate of return as it has for the last several years, the state's general fund must make up the shortfall, see below) It is not unusual for teacher to receive a pension in excess of $80K for life.

That's your local district. Our system has a different number. It's also been gutted--not for the currently retired teachers, but for the currently working ones. Your district made a bad deal in hedging its bets on the future benefits. Do you really think it's okay for the district to back out now on the deal it made to people then? If that happens, what makes you think any teacher will accept the promise of the district for retirement benefits in lieu of cash in hand? Using your district's inflated numbers is a bit deceiving, too. What is the cost of living in your area? What are average salaries in your area--compared to national averages as well as absolutes? Your numbers sound pretty sweet to a person living in rural Mississippi or Nowhere, ND. They sound a lot less sweet to someone in Manhattan or San Francisco. Look at numbers in context.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/opinion/01eggers.html?_r=0

This piece puts numbers in context, and it links to its sources with numbers.




More to come . . .

IdahoRider
Apr. 3, 2013, 12:12 PM
Thames Pirate, you are my hero! As a newly certified, middle-aged teacher in the not-so-great-for-education-state of Idaho, I salute you.
Sheilah

starhorse
Apr. 3, 2013, 12:33 PM
I'm in Teach for America, and reading this reminds me of why it's so challenging to convince talented college graduates to pursue education. No respect, and the pay we do get is questioned. We're compared to people with "real jobs," and told we only work 170 days out of the year.

I'm not saying that talented graduates never pursue teaching, but many don't -- and why would you, with this kind of response?

Until there is genuine respect and a matching salary for teachers, I do not want to hear parents complain about the kind of education their child is getting.

LauraKY
Apr. 3, 2013, 12:59 PM
We need to look to Finland for their educational model. Teachers are selected from the top 10% of their classes. It's a worthy, respected profession and they are compensated well.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 3, 2013, 04:01 PM
Teacher compensation is generous in my state and in all states is based on the misguided concept that education and experience translate into quality. It doesn't.
http://docs.gatesfoundation.org/united-states/documents/best-practices-teach-effectiveness.pdf

http://www.edtrust.org/dc/press-room/news/do-teachers-with-masters-degrees-lead-to-higher-student-achievement
*It would be helpful if we could read the study referenced; I'm genuinely curious, but it is neither linked nor properly cited so that I can find it. I'm curious about whether they distinguish between a MA.T. and a M.Ed. among other things.

http://www.districtadministration.com/article/harvard-study-examines-teacher-effectiveness

A few ways in which your generalizations don't show the full picture include:
--longevity DOES matter in the first few years of a teacher's career. First year teachers are rarely as effective as they are in the subsequent years of teaching. Any teacher will tell you that they struggled through their first year and that the second year was exponentially better and the third exponentially better after that. It's after the first 5-8 years that it starts to level out. Your own link more or less states that.
--you're right, an unrelated degree does not make for a better teacher. That alone should tell you that pedagogy is not automatic and that simply hiring experts in the field would not improve the quality of an education. I should be good in my field, but the fact that I can no longer remember my high school calculus has no bearing on my ability to teach. Remember that next time you complain that your child's teacher can't do X or doesn't know Y. However, there is significant evidence that additional PEDAGOGICAL training does increase a teacher's effectiveness.

http://www.ncate.org/public/researchreports/teacherpreparationresearch/whatmakesateachereffective/tabid/361/default.aspx

"It appears that [subject matter knowledge] relationship to teaching performance is curvilinear; that is, it exerts a positive effect up to a threshold level and then tapers off in influence. Furthermore, measures of pedagogical knowledge, including knowledge of learning, teaching methods, and curriculum, are more frequently found to influence teaching performance and often exert even stronger effects than subject-matter knowledge (Ashton & Crocker,
1986; Begle & Geeslin, 1972; Byrne, 1983; Evert- son et al., 1985; Ferguson & Womack, 1993; Guy- ton & Farokhi, 1987; Monk, 1994; Perkes, 1967-1968)."

Here's a link to the full article for the above quote (complete with abstract and her own citations): http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/images/a/aa/Darling_Hammond.pdf

So yes, it makes sense to a point to reward education--the problem is WHICH education. A Masters in Engineering is not likely to make me a better English teacher. However, a Masters in Teaching is likely to make a difference.

Here some more evidence that you as a consumer are hardly an expert in teaching:
"Research investigating effective teachers verifies that pedagogical expertise resembles expertise in other fields, is a very sophisticated form of knowledge that is not easily gained or mastered, and not available to everyone that seeks it."

Here a link to that: http://www.aare.edu.au/02pap/wal02220.htm


Okay, so you don't think longevity or education are good bases for teacher pay. If you come up with a completely objective way for assigning merit pay, great. We're all ears.


Now consider that in most families, kids are dropped off at school around 7:30 am are done around 3:00pm and see their parents around 6 pm.

Wait--7.5 hours? Most school days are 6-7 tops (and that includes secondary school). If parents are dropping kids off early, that's not on the teachers. Nor is it the teachers' fault that the parents don't see their kids until 6. Students spend just over 1/4 of their day in school.

So students spend more time in the custody of the public school system than they do with their parents from the time they are in 1st grade on. Nope--and if so, it certainly is not the teachers' fault! And yet teachers here complain about students' behavior or that at 14 years old they still do not know to put their name on a paper. How then is this the parents' fault?


Well, since I am limited in how I can discipline your little Timmy, it's hard to hold me responsible. I have pretty much zero control over his nutrition, sleeping habits, choice of friends, hobbies, chores, expectations and boundaries, rewards, consequences, or the messages he receives. It is NOT MY JOB to raise your child. It is my job to educate him/her. Any time I waste disciplining him because you didn't teach him to listen in class is time taken away from teaching him (and the other 32 kids) anything. You want me to spend my time preventing misbehavior? Sure; I can spend my time explaining the facts of life or the deeper meaning as I see it. I can spend my time setting up systems of rewards and consequences and responsibilities. I can motivate, directly explain the reasoning behind choices, rationalize, moralize, and philosophize with your child. You may not like the result when my religion, morality, and worldview differ from that you want your child to learn. I could also lose my job. So I toe the line with my limited time and resources. Incidentally, the few hours I do spend with your child I also spend with 32 others--your time with him or her is either one on one or small family group.

As for the name on the paper, I have a choice--I can teach your kid procedure and grade him on that (not accept papers without names) or I can teach your kid content and analysis (credit for what he knows and understands, regardless of whether he puts his name on the paper). Which would you prefer? Which would other parents prefer?

With all the advanced degrees (which teachers are compensated for automatically but do nothing to make them better teachers) and "superior knowledge", isn't it reasonable to expect more?

What do you expect exactly? Be specific, and be sure to make your requirements reasonable for all 7.2 million individual teachers to meet them and make them reasonable to apply to all 77 million public school kids.

How can educators hope to advance STEEM curricula successfully if they can't accomplish something as simple as having students put their names on papers?

STEEM is likely a district term that can mean something along the lines of Science, Technology, Environmental Ed, Math or the EE can stand for Engineering, Entrepreneurship, English . . . . and again, what is my job--teaching procedure or understanding of the subject? I do teach procedure to a point--I structure assignments to do both whenever I can. I can remind students to put their names on their papers (and generally do), but at what point does the student have to take responsibility? Should my motivating them include not giving them credit for the work, or should I assign detention for the offense? At what point does a student have to take ownership of his learning, pride in his work, or acceptance of his mistakes?

Students are indoctrinated. This has been going on for decades.
http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_4_social-studies.html

Yes, students are indoctrinated with the idea that reading and math are good things. Yes, they are indoctrinated with the idea that the world is a big place and that we should study it. So according to your op ed, we should not teach social studies? It's saying we should ignore lessons like "never start a land war in Asia" ;) or that standing up for disenfranchised groups now prevents bloodshed later (US Civil War, WWII). Let's forget about the fact that in order to debate socialism (see other thread) we must first understand what it is or that we should know the difference between Keynesian and Austrian economic theories. Never mind figuring out the difference between Deutschland and the Dutch or Austria and Australia. Never mind teaching kids about the importance of water in ancient settlements, a basic understanding of major religions, or a study of the different types of government. It's not important that we teach the history of human rights or the writings of thinkers like Machiavelli or Locke. That's what eliminating social studies means--no geography, no history, no government, no economics, no religion, no study of cultures and societies . . . .

The study of science includes learning about the scientific method, theory vs. fact, evidence and its weight, whether something is provable or not.

For example, do teachers discuss global warming? My kids' teachers certainly do, but they never bring up anything like this
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9338939/Global-warming-second-thoughts-of-an-environmentalist.html

Notice your link isn't second thoughts of someone actually studying climate change, but of an investor. Hmm. Science supports global warming. Skeptics exist, but the scientific community as a whole accepts that the theory.

Students are not taught to think critically. But if you consider the background of most teachers, that isn't too surprising.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that, but we do our best to teach critical thinking. Your implication that the background of teachers is less than stellar indicates your low respect for the position. You want the best of the best, but you don't want to pay for it. You don't want teachers to get degrees in pedagogy or their fields, but you want the best. You don't want teachers to get paid a reasonable wage, but you want the best. You want us to raise your kid, but you are upset when your perspective isn't covered. You want us to raise your kid, but you are upset when results on content aren't up to snuff. You want us to teach critical thinking, but you would rather we spend our time teaching your kid to put his name on his paper. These contradictions are precisely why I asked you to define your expectations of teachers.

Incidentally, you have yet to explain the motive, methodology, or ideology of indoctrination.

rivenoak
Apr. 3, 2013, 04:04 PM
Agreed. Inclusion is a great idea for students that would actually benefit from it. Not all disabilities improve by placing a child in a class with 20+ other kids and a million things going on at one time. Infact, in many situations, that's the worst place for them. All general ed. teachers should be veresed in basic modifications and adaptations for special needs students, but some children really do need the time of an actual special ed. teacher in a smaller, more focused environment.

Amen.

And I am the parent of a special needs kid. The current educational system viewpoint of what a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is, is IMO wrong, wrong, wrong.

My kid doesn't really belong in a regular classroom with 20+ other kids. He belongs in a classroom of his real peers: deaf and hard of hearing kids. With a teacher of the deaf who signs, or teacher of the deaf + an interpreter.

Pulling him out and pushing resources in doesn't seem to be working. I watched his afternoon one day last week. Going here, there, and everywhere. He's not even IN the mainstream classroom half the time, so what is the point of calling it the LRE. I'd argue it's the Most Restrictive Environment.

Mainstreaming isn't always the right answer.

rivenoak
Apr. 3, 2013, 04:09 PM
[QUOTE=kb;6917211]Also, class size research shows the number that makes a difference is 15 to 1...no one wants their taxes to increase enough to make that possible. That really is just a dollars issue.
[\QUOTE]

I want my taxes raised if it will improve education in my district. Or even in my state. I vote yes on every issue that will help schools here.

If nothing else, to counteract all the olde fartes who proclaim, "I don't have kids, so why should I pay more in taxes for education?" Uh...'cause some else's taxes paid to educate yours?

Thames Pirate
Apr. 3, 2013, 04:33 PM
Thames Pirate, you are my hero! As a newly certified, middle-aged teacher in the not-so-great-for-education-state of Idaho, I salute you.
Sheilah

Thanks! Congrats on starting your career, and remember that most parents, thankfully, are on your side--they're just not as vocal as the nhwr contingent. Remember over and over why you chose this profession--or why it chose you. Best wishes!


I'm in Teach for America, and reading this reminds me of why it's so challenging to convince talented college graduates to pursue education. No respect, and the pay we do get is questioned. We're compared to people with "real jobs," and told we only work 170 days out of the year.

I'm not saying that talented graduates never pursue teaching, but many don't -- and why would you, with this kind of response?

Until there is genuine respect and a matching salary for teachers, I do not want to hear parents complain about the kind of education their child is getting.

I love Teach for America if only for the fact that it allows people to understand the challenges of teaching--even if they don't stick with it. What a great way to get more high-achieving role models into our schools and to get future professionals in other fields (particularly ones that influence policy) to have some experience in teaching.

You're right--negative views like nhwr's are a deterrent to people entering the field. I don't really care so much about a higher salary; I just want to be respected and acknowledged as a professional. I want people to know that I DID take significant pay/working conditions cuts. I did it willingly, but it irks to hear that I'm overpaid. It irks to hear that teachers are generally incompetent from someone who knows nothing about it.

Recently I had a parent who wasn't thrilled with the book I was reading aloud to her son's class. After her initial reaction, we talked openly, she did some research, and she realized that my professional judgment was fine and that it just didn't work for her son. I asked her how we could best help her son, and she said, "you're the professional." I pointed out that she had superior knowledge of her son. We were able to team up to work towards a solution that best helped her kid. I have never enjoyed my job so much! She respected my professionalism and recognized that I had her kid's best interest at heart. I respected that her initial reaction was that of a loving mother who wants what's best for her kid. We teamed up, and the kid won. When teachers are the enemy, who loses? When a parent doesn't respect the teacher, why should the kid? How can the teacher then actually teach the kid?

Thames Pirate
Apr. 3, 2013, 04:37 PM
Amen.

And I am the parent of a special needs kid. The current educational system viewpoint of what a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is, is IMO wrong, wrong, wrong.

My kid doesn't really belong in a regular classroom with 20+ other kids. He belongs in a classroom of his real peers: deaf and hard of hearing kids. With a teacher of the deaf who signs, or teacher of the deaf + an interpreter.

Pulling him out and pushing resources in doesn't seem to be working. I watched his afternoon one day last week. Going here, there, and everywhere. He's not even IN the mainstream classroom half the time, so what is the point of calling it the LRE. I'd argue it's the Most Restrictive Environment.

Mainstreaming isn't always the right answer.

I hope your son gets the education that is best for him so that he can be as successful as possible. It's a shame his needs with regards to hearing are getting in the way of his learning content and understanding.


[QUOTE=kb;6917211]Also, class size research shows the number that makes a difference is 15 to 1...no one wants their taxes to increase enough to make that possible. That really is just a dollars issue.
[\QUOTE]

I want my taxes raised if it will improve education in my district. Or even in my state. I vote yes on every issue that will help schools here.

If nothing else, to counteract all the olde fartes who proclaim, "I don't have kids, so why should I pay more in taxes for education?" Uh...'cause some else's taxes paid to educate yours?

Yes, yes, and yes! I don't have kids and don't plan to, but I myself received an education paid for by taxpayers. I also benefit from living in an educated society.

candyappy
Apr. 3, 2013, 04:44 PM
Many parents haven't been raising their kids for a long time. They choose a career over raising their kids. They put them in daycare or in what is available now here " preschool" for kids 16 months on up and it is supplied by our public school system. Kids spend 12 hours or more under the instruction/ influence of some other adult who is not their parent. Parent picks kid up, spends an hour or two with child , puts them to bed and starts the whole thing over again the next day. Sorry, that is not raising your children. Someone else is.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 3, 2013, 07:02 PM
Oh, and just to show that I am not just making things up, here are some sources showing that teacher pay has, in fact, been cut since the start of the recession. The first link was the salary schedule agreed to before the economy tanked. The second is to the current school year in the same district. Note that they combined the salary steps for certain years for a net savings. For example, look at the salaries for a Bachelors for years 0-2. If you average them in the first table, you get 30,863.33. If you look at it for the second table, it's 30,800. That's a cut. It's an even greater cut when you consider that hiring was EXTREMELY limited in most districts over the last few years (mostly specialty positions) and that very few teachers fall into these categories. Look at the salaries for year 5 and beyond, and you'll see greater differences. Sixth year teachers in the first table made 35,380, but sixth years in the second table made 31,220.

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/fbs/finance/salary/schedules/2008-09schedules.pdf

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/fbs/finance/salary/schedules/2012-13schedules.pdf

I'm looking through my paperwork to find the ones from my district, but they're similar.

Keep in mind that this is with an increased load (class sizes), fewer support staff, and fewer resources. Teachers are spending more of their own money buying things for their classrooms, schools, and students as well.

LauraKY
Apr. 3, 2013, 07:07 PM
Many parents haven't been raising their kids for a long time. They choose a career over raising their kids. They put them in daycare or in what is available now here " preschool" for kids 16 months on up and it is supplied by our public school system. Kids spend 12 hours or more under the instruction/ influence of some other adult who is not their parent. Parent picks kid up, spends an hour or two with child , puts them to bed and starts the whole thing over again the next day. Sorry, that is not raising your children. Someone else is.

Some of those parents are working two and three jobs to put food on the table and a roof over their heads too. Not everyone is entitled. Unless you're talking about a very affluent area and even they've been hit by the recession. People are hungry in the suburbs too.

hastyreply
Apr. 3, 2013, 07:29 PM
Education seems to have swung from one size fits all to individualizing to the nth degree. It needs to fall in the middle. It's not really possible to be expected to meet every child's particular needs. Parents have to be involved. In some cases the parents are more capable than the school and the parents in others not so much. You can try to teach, say critical thinking, all day but if it is not practiced at home or the example is not set at home, good luck with all or any of it sticking with the student.

The school should attempt to meet the child's needs to the best of it's abilities and resources but the parent also needs to decide if the child's needs can be met better else where. The child with educated parents who have some resources of their own is going to be better off than the child whose parents don't care or don't know how.

Fluffie
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:53 PM
It's late and I still have assignments to grade and reading/questions to write, but just for the record: Despite these amazing salaries and benefits, my pay has gone DOWN over the past two years despite earning a MA (which HAS made me a better teacher).

Off to work at home again tonight. :o

nhwr
Apr. 3, 2013, 11:06 PM
Thames Pirate, You parrot the usual union spew.

Here is a salary history in my district, compiled from data made available by the California Dept of Ed
http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-teacher-salaries#photo-9388660

Here is a little background for you-

And the blog I posted earlier was written by ... an educator. Gasp. A respected professor (the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics) at George Mason University. GMU was ranked 1st – Up-and-coming National Universities 2012 by US News and World Report. It's Education program was ranked 66th in the nation in 2011.

The article on social studies was written by Michael Knox Beran, an author of a book about Robert Kennedy, The Last Patrician, a New York Times Notable Book of 1998. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, andThe New Yorker. A graduate of Columbia, Cambridge, and Yale Law School, BTW, the examples you cite as social studies are actually lessons of history, geography and economics, not social studies. Social studies is defined by United States Americans National Council for the Social Studies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Council_for_the_Social_Studies) as the integrated study of social science and humanities to promote "civic competence".

Oh and Fritz Varenholt has been a leader of environmental policy in Germany for about 3 decades. He holds a doctorate in Chemistry. In 1999 he was made an Honorary Professor of chemistry at the University of Hamburg. He has held positions in the federal Umweltbundesamt(environmental protection agency) in Berlin and the Ministry for Environment of Hesse, as well as the position of Staatsrat for environment, 1990 to 1991 for the administral Senatskanzlei, and the Umweltsenator (senator for the environment) in Hamburg.

Still waiting on your sources.

PS The idea of a 40 hour work week is a joke for any professional. Everyone works more but they do it for (at least) 250 days a year, not 170. And they don't complain about it.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 4, 2013, 03:39 AM
Thames Pirate, You parrot the usual union spew.

Here is a salary history in my district, compiled from data made available by the California Dept of Ed
http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-teacher-salaries#photo-9388660

Leaving aside the fact that your district is a single example and (as evidenced by its well above national averages pay) clearly not representative of what's going on in the US, you didn't put that table into context. First of all, look at the 2008-2009 numbers (agreed to before the economy tanked) and the most recent numbers (2010-2011). That leaves the top three numbers in each column for comparison. Virtually every number went down. The one that stands out as having gone up is the red one--the average salary paid. It went up slightly. If you consider that there was likely a hiring freeze and that no new teachers were at the bottom of that scale to bring the average down, you'd realize that makes sense. Without seeing more complete numbers by step its hard to say. You'll notice that even though the average salary went up, the total salary expenditures went down, confirming the fact that there were fewer teachers on the low end of the scale. So your own figures show that yes, there were cuts. And no, the union didn't coach me on how to look critically at your "evidence." My public school education did that.


Here is a little background for you-

And the blog I posted earlier was written by ... an educator. Gasp. A respected professor (the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics) at George Mason University. GMU was ranked 1st – Up-and-coming National Universities 2012 by US News and World Report. It's Education program was ranked 66th in the nation in 2011.

It's still a blog and therefore an opinion. See, I teach my students about sources and how to analyze which are credible and appropriate for the discussion at hand. He may agree with you that teachers are losers (which hardly proves they are, btw), but my point remains--if you continue to treat teachers as losers and call them overpaid, you'll make it harder and harder to attract the best.

The article on social studies was written by Michael Knox Beran, an author of a book about Robert Kennedy, The Last Patrician, a New York Times Notable Book of 1998. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, andThe New Yorker. A graduate of Columbia, Cambridge, and Yale Law School, BTW, the examples you cite as social studies are actually lessons of history, geography and economics, not social studies. Social studies is defined by United States Americans National Council for the Social Studies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Council_for_the_Social_Studies) as the integrated study of social science and humanities to promote "civic competence".

That's great, and it's an interesting opinion. His being an educated and published author doesn't make it fact--it's still an opinion. I still disagree, partly because social studies is the umbrella term for history, geography, and economics (and more), which are precisely the subjects that "promote civic competence." In fact the very next sentence of YOUR SOURCE (Wikipedia, but let's assume for a moment that they are paraphrasing from the original source) states that "social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences." Hey, did you notice what was on that list?

Oh and Fritz Varenholt has been a leader of environmental policy in Germany for about 3 decades. He holds a doctorate in Chemistry. In 1999 he was made an Honorary Professor of chemistry at the University of Hamburg. He has held positions in the federal Umweltbundesamt(environmental protection agency) in Berlin and the Ministry for Environment of Hesse, as well as the position of Staatsrat for environment, 1990 to 1991 for the administral Senatskanzlei, and the Umweltsenator (senator for the environment) in Hamburg.

And his is still an opinion piece as well--the opinion of one person (by the way, no need to translate the German on my account, and "federal Umweltbundesamt" is redundant).

According to a summary by Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/ 92% believe global warming is occurring, 36% say it's human caused, and an additional 32% believe it is has natural and/or human causes. Those are significant numbers.

Here another source that gives pretty overwhelming numbers:
http://www.usnews.com/news/national/articles/2008/04/23/survey-tracks-scientists-growing-climate-concern

And a former skeptic's view since apparently single opinions are sources:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec12/climatechange_09-17.html




Still waiting on your sources.

For what claim? I've been posting sources where relevant, but if I missed one back there, feel free to specify and I'll post the sources.

PS The idea of a 40 hour work week is a joke for any professional. Everyone works more but they do it for (at least) 250 days a year, not 170. And they don't complain about it.

Did you read what I noted? I said you would say that, and I pointed out that professionals are compensated for their extra time--most professionals with similar work and training make more than we do. Oh, and your own district source also contradicted your 170 day claim . . . . and before you came in and belittled teachers, we weren't complaining. We complain to each other, like folks in any job, but we only complain publicly when we are told we are leeches to society.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 4, 2013, 04:35 AM
Thames, nice to have you in the discussion.

Clearly nothing will sway nhrw's opinion. You'd think since we're So well paid and work SO little, she'd be fighting to get into this slacker profession, eh? And, come to think of it, so would so many other people. But, no, less and less are willing to go into such a low paying profession with their education, and about 50% leave within five years to go into higher paying, less stressful jobs. Hmm. Something's not adding up here. . .

Thames Pirate
Apr. 4, 2013, 06:08 AM
Thames, nice to have you in the discussion.

Clearly nothing will sway nhrw's opinion. You'd think since we're So well paid and work SO little, she'd be fighting to get into this slacker profession, eh? And, come to think of it, so would so many other people. But, no, less and less are willing to go into such a low paying profession with their education, and about 50% leave within five years to go into higher paying, less stressful jobs. Hmm. Something's not adding up here. . .

Excellent point. Hubby, who has an IQ around 150 and experience as a stock broker managing over 1 billion dollars for top traders, became an econ and history teacher. Every principal and almost every student he has had says he is one of the best teachers they know. He is changing careers because teaching, to him, is no longer worth the stress. He says it is much harder than when he was working 60 hrs/wk and taking a full university course load. He can make more money doing other things, which works out well for me. I may drop to part time if I can so that I have more time to enjoy my critters, travel, etc.

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 07:44 AM
I have never called teachers losers, or said they were overpaid. The good teachers I know are vastly underpaid.

I have pointed out that though as a group teachers don't work full time, their salaries are generous and they are among the lowest achievers on the SAT
Source; http://cdn3.joshuakennon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2010-total-group-profile-report-cbs.pdf

http://cdn2.joshuakennon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/intended-college-major-sat-scores-2010.png

and the GRE
Source; http://isteve.blogspot.com/2007/08/graduate-record-exam-scores-by-graduate.html

http://www.ncsu.edu/chass/philo/GRE%20Scores%20by%20Intended%20Graduate%20Major.ht m

http://www.aei.org/files/2011/11/02/-assessing-the-compensation-of-publicschool-teachers_19282337242.pdf

I documented that teachers average salaries are in the mid$70K in my area. And yes the average has increased, as I said. Not because of a hiring freeze, but because teachers were let go by the hundreds and class sizes increased (waiver from the state) to maintain pay increases, as well as step and column and benefits for senior teachers. We had a strike right before AP exams over that a couple of years ago. You caught me about the contracted work days, this year my district received another waiver from the state and cut to them from the mandated 180 to 165 . (http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/public-begins-to-speak-out-against-possible-cuts-to-schools) That's 3 weeks out of the school year!
Lest you think this is an anomaly, teachers in LAUSD make somewhere in the mid $60k on average, with 10,0000 teachers there making between $70k to over $100K.
You may draw your own conclusions about what this says about them. Please don't put words in my mouth.

As for social studies, the very notion of integrating material from other subjects "to promote civic competence" in de facto indoctrination. Who is to determine this mythical competence? Better yet, just what is civil competence? Why not simply teach history, economics and geography and allow students to draw there own conclusions? Are they able?
By way of example; consider global warming, the issue is complex and unsettled. The headline of the link you posted is "Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis".
Despite how you've represented it, the article states that the overwelling majority of scientists surveyed don't believe that global warming, even if it exists and whatever its cause, is a significant problem.

Further, the article says
"One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.” Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the ‘vast right-wing climate denial machine.’

Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.

People who look behind the self-serving statements by global warming alarmists about an alleged “consensus” have always known that no such alarmist consensus exists among scientists. Now that we have access to hard surveys of scientists themselves, it is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus."


But this isn't new, this information and worse has been available for a number of years,

http://www.climatedepot.com/2010/12/08/special-report-more-than-1000-international-scientists-dissent-over-manmade-global-warming-claims-challenge-un-ipcc-gore-2/

http://heartland.org/press-releases/2007/12/05/dishonest-political-tampering-science-global-warming

Yet school children come home crying about polar bears because global warming is taught in public schools as fact. Is this is how you teach students your "students about sources and how to analyze which are credible and appropriate for the discussion at hand"?

And your claim that other professionals are compensated for their extra time or that professionals with similar work and training make more? Sources please? Some do, I'm sure. Many don't. Of course, other professionals work 50 weeks a year, are paid on merit rather than the meaningless metric (previously demonstrated with sources) of step and column. Additionally they would be terminated if they are incompetent or worse. Teachers who are incompetent or engage in criminal behavior just get sent to the rubber room while they continue to collect salary and benefits.

To bring this back to the OP's question, perhaps the problem with parents' expectations about public education is that many believe it should exist for the benefit of the students.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 4, 2013, 08:00 AM
Nhwr, I find it interesting that you attack my arguments as union parroting and demanded my sources when in fact I am providing specific source for my points that are not union talking points. I am answering your points, which I could not do from a script. Demanding my sources (despite the fact that I provided them where relevant) is a way to distract from the fact that most of yours have been opinion pieces.

I also find it interesting that you have not provided backing for your own claims. You have not yet explained how or why schools are supposedly indoctrinating children or with what information. You have not yet explained what the "more" is that you expect from teachers. You co.plain about low quality teachers but offer neither backing for your claim nor solutions to the problems you perceive. You complain that we are overpaid and underworked, but I have yet to see that you offer what you perceive as fair working conditions or wages for us.

So tell me, what are your solutions to the problems facing education? How do we attract and keep the best teachers? What do we pay them and what do we expect of them? How do we train and evaluate our teachers or keep them updated with advancements in the field? How do we educate an increasingly diverse student body? While you are answering that, could you go ahead and tell me what students should know to prepare them for their futures? How do we achieve that end?

Instead of complaining that we aren't doing enough, tell us what we should be doing. Stick with issues instead of trying to distract by demanding sources again. Answer the legitimate questio s I have posed about your beliefs.

We don't want more money. We simply want to be acknowledged as professionals who work hard at what we do and who put our souls into teaching your kids for their--and our--future.

Thames Pirate
Apr. 4, 2013, 08:09 AM
I have never called teachers losers, or said they were overpaid. The good teachers I know are vastly underpaid.

I have pointed out that though as a group teachers don't work full time, their salaries are generous and they are among the lowest achievers on the SAT
Source; http://cdn3.joshuakennon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2010-total-group-profile-report-cbs.pdf

http://cdn2.joshuakennon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/intended-college-major-sat-scores-2010.png

and the GRE
Source; http://isteve.blogspot.com/2007/08/graduate-record-exam-scores-by-graduate.html

http://www.ncsu.edu/chass/philo/GRE%20Scores%20by%20Intended%20Graduate%20Major.ht m

http://www.aei.org/files/2011/11/02/-assessing-the-compensation-of-publicschool-teachers_19282337242.pdf

I documented that teachers average salaries are in the mid$70K in my area. And yes the average has increased, as I said. Not because of a hiring freeze, but because teachers were let go by the hundreds and class sizes increased (waiver from the state) to maintain pay increases, as well as step and column and benefits for senior teachers. We had a strike right before AP exams over that a couple of years ago. You caught me about the contracted work days, this year my district received another waiver from the state and cut to them from the mandated 180 to 165 . (http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/public-begins-to-speak-out-against-possible-cuts-to-schools) That's 3 weeks out of the school year!
Lest you think this is an anomaly, teachers in LAUSD make somewhere in the mid $60k on average, with 10,0000 teachers there making between $70k to over $100K.
You may draw your own conclusions about what this says about them. Please don't put words in my mouth.

As for social studies, the very notion of integrating material from other subjects "to promote civic competence" in de facto indoctrination. Who is to determine this mythical competence? Better yet, just what is civil competence? Why not simply teach history, economics and geography and allow students to draw there own conclusions? Are they able?
By way of example; consider global warming, the issue is complex and unsettled. The headline of the link you posted is "Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis".
Despite how you've represented it, the article states that the overwelling majority of scientists surveyed don't believe that global warming, even if it exists and whatever its cause, is a significant problem.

Further, the article says
"One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.” Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the ‘vast right-wing climate denial machine.’

Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.

People who look behind the self-serving statements by global warming alarmists about an alleged “consensus” have always known that no such alarmist consensus exists among scientists. Now that we have access to hard surveys of scientists themselves, it is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus."


But this isn't new, this information and worse has been available for a number of years,

http://www.climatedepot.com/2010/12/08/special-report-more-than-1000-international-scientists-dissent-over-manmade-global-warming-claims-challenge-un-ipcc-gore-2/

http://heartland.org/press-releases/2007/12/05/dishonest-political-tampering-science-global-warming

Yet school children come home crying about polar bears because global warming is taught in public schools as fact. Is this is how you teach students your "students about sources and how to analyze which are credible and appropriate for the discussion at hand"?

And your claim that other professionals are compensated for their extra time or that professionals with similar work and training make more? Sources please? Some do, I'm sure. Many don't. Of course, other professionals work 50 weeks a year, are paid on merit rather than the meaningless metric (previously demonstrated with sources) of step and column. Additionally they would be terminated if they are incompetent or worse. Teachers who are incompetent or engage in criminal behavior just get sent to the rubber room while they continue to collect salary and benefits.

To bring this back to the OP's question, perhaps the problem with parents' expectations about public education is that many believe it should exist for the benefit of the students.

Will respond when off the train tonight. Phone battery low.

starhorse
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:51 AM
I don't want to get into this conversation except to say that global warming IS A FACT. Have we determined that it is caused by humans? Not definitely. Is the globe getting warmer? Yes. Is it in a natural pattern? Perhaps.

So cry on, little children, while your teachers take paid vacations and drive BMWs with their extremely generous salaries. :eyeroll:

If you aren't happy with your child's education, pay for one at a private school, or home school them. Teachers will (as a whole) be only as good as the pay and the respect -- just like all professions. You are going to sit here and point out low SAT scores and low GRE scores, and I ask: what are you going to do about it? Are you going to volunteer in the classrooms, meet your teachers, express your concerns, help struggling students, get a feel for what it is like to teach every day? Are you going to make teaching a respected profession, demand high-quality teachers through education reform, choosing government leaders who prioritize education, and encourage top-of-the-class college graduates to pursue it as a career, and change the lives of children? Or are you going to consistently bash the profession, call us overpaid, underworked, union pawns who are indoctrinating your children? Why, might I ask, would the best-of-the-best, brightest graduates want to pursue a career that so often is questioned, criticized, and disrespected?

If you want education to change, point your finger back at yourself. Several of the teachers on here have got a different one pointing at you already.


Oh, and here. Since we're all suddenly unwilling to waste our times with anything that does not have a source. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/27/world-warming

Editing to add: I just want to point out that I am not a union teacher. I work for a charter school.

Calvincrowe
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:52 AM
GRE and SAT scores mean squat to the teaching profession. There are low scorers in most professions--for goodness sake, someone always graduates the lowest in their class from medical school, law school, pharmacy school, etc. No one is up in arms over those slackers and their enormous salaries! I teach with a wide variety of folks, some who, I'm sure, didn't have the highest test scores, but by god, they are amazing, innovative, compassionate, driven people who are doing their damnedest to educate all the little darlings who come through our doors.

The teaching profession is constantly maligned. We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how I should do my job. I do not second guess my doctor, a well-trained professional with many years of education and certified to do his or her job. Why then do people feel the need to do this to teachers. Yeah, yeah, taxpayer money and all that.

As to indoctrinating children--do you think private or charter schools are magically teaching something else to kids? I am puzzling over your issue with this. As a history teacher by training (stuck teaching Language Arts), I have always presented a broad view of events, trying to keep as current as possible--oh, yeah, we have to take 15 credits of graduate level college classes every 5 years to maintain our certificates in WA--and have striven to always keep my opinions out of any discussion. No one knows for whom I vote, what party I support, my feelings on scientific matters or the historical record. My students do know that I think Cee Low Green is funny looking with his tiny little arms, but that seems fairly harmless.

Teachers are the Rodney Dangerfield of professionals--we get no respect. I hear "Gosh, I could never do your job!" a lot. No kidding. It takes far too natural ability, brains, patience and ingenuity for most folks to do this job.

Anne FS
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:57 AM
Do you think parent aren't as involved in their children's lives as they were in past generations?

Then how do you explain helicopter parents?

wireweiners
Apr. 4, 2013, 12:04 PM
As a parent and as one who did a little bit of substituting years ago when I was between jobs, I will say to you teachers out there, Thank you and Bless your hearts for having to deal with the little darlings day in and day out. A special blessing for all y'all that have to deal with middle school and junior high.

I know there are things that are wrong with our educational system but its truly very complicated and you can't point to a single factor that is the cause. I work for CPS and sit in juvenile court at least 2 days a week, sometimes more. I come into contact with the local schools both through my job and as a parent. I see problems that I truly don't have any idea how to fix. For example, through my job I have come to know several young African American young men, from tweens to early teens. Most of these kids were bright and had the potential to really make something of themselves but they simply were not motivated. Doing well in school and behaving yourself isn't "cool". Having your pants hang below your butt and acting like a thug is. I blame a lot of this on the media. Look at the tv shows, movies and music that is geared toward kids. The goof offs, slackers and stupid kids are the cool, attractive characters who can con and manipulate their way through life. The hard working, bright kids are the nerds, dweebs, and dorks and are protrayed as awkward and unattractive. As a society, how do we counteract this?

Schools have become too focused on test results and less focused on the individual child. We expect too much of our children at too young an age. We expect 5 and 6 year olds to sit quietly all day with very little time for exercise and play and when they become restless and antsy we call it ADHD and drug them. These kids are the developmental equavalent of weanlings or yearlings. If you kept a yearling confined to a stall 24/7 with only short exercise breaks, what would you expect to happen? Most of us on COTH would be crying abuse. Yet we do this to our human children and think nothing of it. You can teach yearling horses and 5 year old kids a lot but we all know they have short attention spans at that age and lots of energy so the lessons should be short with lots of exercise in between.

Our society is changing rapidly. We live in an era of single parent households, households where both parents work, lots of electronic devices and lots of social media, games, etc. How do we factor that into the way we educate our children? It is all truly mind boggling.

hastyreply
Apr. 4, 2013, 12:10 PM
Then how do you explain helicopter parents?

Being involved with your children doesn't necessarily mean doing the right thing for them. I think of helicopter parents as those involved in every detail of their child(ren)'s life. Not allowing the child to find and make their own small mistakes and learn their own way in the world. It's something akin to the difference between turning a horse out in pasture that you know is safe for your horse but are also aware there maybe things the horse hasn't dealt with before that they will have to learn about. One owner takes and walks the horse around the pasture once then turns them loose. The helicopter parent does that, then stands 10 feet away and follows them every where they go in the pasture.

Anne FS
Apr. 4, 2013, 01:04 PM
I'm not saying it's a good thing. It's a horrible thing. But with the burgeoning of helicopter parents + the parents truly well involved in a good way with their kids we can't say that parents in general are less involved with their children's lives today. IMO generally speaking they're much more involved, both for good and ill (helicopters).

I think what's changed is just more people in general, therefore you notice the non-caring ones more. Also what's changed is that kids were expected to shape up anyway whether you had good parents or not: crappy parents used to not be an excuse for not doing well yourself.

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 03:52 PM
If you aren't happy with your child's education, pay for one at a private school, or home school them. Now that's is a great suggestion (for those who can afford it). And as it happens, I've done that and more. Because the local school system repeatedly failed to educate high functioning autistic kids, I (along several really talented people) started a needs blind school high school for high functioning students on the autistic spectrum. It is doing very well. More importantly the students are thriving. What about the families who generally can't afford private schools, though? They are stuck in a diminishing tide. And why should any family have to pay twice (once with their taxes and again with tuition)?

SAT and GRE scores are an indication of the level of the pool education draws from. We hear constantly that salaries have to be maintained so that the teaching profession can continue to attract the best individuals. But clearly, teaching doesn't attract the best individuals. Academically, it attracts the mediocre (as evaluated by testing). We all know the teachers that are simply skating on tenure. And not a week goes by in southern California without a story of an educator molesting children. Do you truly think bright and motivated people will be drawn to a profession where they are constantly threatened with pink slips so that senior teachers (many of whom have reviewed their lesson plans in years) can keep their salary increases? That is more of a threat to teacher recruitment than anything.

I love reading this stuff, we get to hear that parents who are involved are "helicopter parents" and the rest are just ignorant and "want schools to raise their kids". OK :rolleyes: The little comments about how teachers are working on their breaks or over the weekend, you know what most people think when they hear those complaints?
"So what. Who doesn't?" It is only teachers who think this is abnormal.

To turn the earlier statement around; If you as a teacher aren't happy with the requirements of your profession, find a different one and stop wasting our kids' time. Teachers make it sound like if they could just get rid of the families and students, life would be perfect :lol:

HillnDale
Apr. 4, 2013, 05:54 PM
Well, I spent quite a bit of time last night reading the article on abolishing Social Studies and I have to say is I'm thrown off by the basic premise of the article (which actually never outlines how we would go about creating rugged individualists other than exposing them to Wordsworth and Whittier in 3rd Grade). I'm also thrown off by the insinuation here that Social Studies is not, in fact, history, geography, economics, etc., already. Huh? I realize "social" sounds like "socialist" and "community" sounds like "communist," but of course those words all have different meanings. Since the primary function of our compulsory education systems as imagined by the founding fathers was to procure educated voters, eliminating Civics makes me cringe a little. The secondary purpose is to create a skilled labor force to supply a tax base. An important tertiary goal, especially with grade school aged children should be to promote pro-social thought and behavior since at that age they are self-centered, selfish little buggers. Not their fault, just the biology. If fewer than 1/2 of 1% of children were exposed to central planning ideals in the latter half of the 1930's..well, the author of the article failed to convince of the contemporary relevance of that.

The reality is children are indoctrinated by their cultural context whether that is done intentionally, passively or by omission. So the debate, however framed, will always really be about which values we indoctrinate them with, not whether or not we do. Since we have already successfully been indoctrinated with individualist values there will inherently always be hot debate on this since, aside from valuing independence, we lack the cohesion of a shared value system (as they have in many, many other places from Denmark to N Korea).

I would also like to point out that while there are some phenomenal public schools and public school teachers (including half the women in my family) some are completely awful and parents need to do the best they can for their kids. With this in mind, private schools often work hard to stay accessible to students from various backgrounds and income tiers. For example, the school I went to is now astronomically priced, but with 25% of the students receiving grants, it could actually be affordable to many middle class families and some poverty class kids. The challenge is with the parents to prepare their children for admissions process, but it's very doable. I and several of my closest (and now very successful!) friends from that school are proof of that. I think there is an underlying and bigger problem of not valuing a good education which leads (sometimes!) to poor parenting as it relates to schooling and undervaluing educators.

HillnDale
Apr. 4, 2013, 06:02 PM
We all know the teachers that are simply skating on tenure. And not a week goes by in southern California without a story of an educator molesting children.

Oh boy. I feel like this thread isn't really moving in a useful direction.


The little comments about how teachers are working on their breaks or over the weekend, you know what most people think when they hear those complaints?
"So what. Who doesn't?"

Like, half the people who post here regularly. :lol: In my experience, a lot of people say they work hard but don't really. Being productive is another successfully indoctrinated American value so people will generally (and unwittingly) inflate how hard they work and how little they sleep.

bioteach
Apr. 4, 2013, 07:26 PM
I love you, Thames Pirate! :-D

Sincerely,
*An overpaid, mediocre teacher who's wasting her students' time.* :rolleyes:

starhorse
Apr. 4, 2013, 07:43 PM
I am not denying that the pool of teacher applicants may not be the most highly desirable. My question, which has still not been answered, is why would it be a desirable profession to go into? You know, besides the low pay and belittling comments.

Also, teachers only talk about working over breaks and weekends because people come up with these absurd numbers of work hours, as some posters did above. "You only work 165 days a year!" "School starts at 9, ends at 2!" "You get two months off in the summer, and 3 other week-long breaks throughout the year!" When accused, yes, we will state that we work over breaks and weekends. Yes, many other professionals do, as well. The difference is that no one is accusing them of being lazy or indoctrinating children, and many of these jobs get more pay and more respect.

Are we not happy with the profession? Some, maybe, but I'd love to hear about any profession where 100% of people are thrilled with their job -- and that's WITHOUT getting constantly told you suck at your job and you're from the bottom tier of the applicant pool and what have you.

I do not think the education system is perfect -- far, far from it, which is why I applied to Teach for America in the first place. However, bashing teachers endlessly and holding them *solely* responsible for children's outcomes and accusing them indoctrinating whatever political nonsense you don't agree with is not helping the problem.

Calvincrowe
Apr. 4, 2013, 07:46 PM
I'm going to call bullshit on the idea that *everyone* brings home work/works weekends in their jobs. No one, not one of my "corporate/non-public teacher" friends schlepps home the work I do. My brother who works in defense/nuclear energy NEVER works on the weekends or at night, nor does my fishing guide brother or shipping brother. Occasionally a SIL does work for the chamber of commerce. My daughter, in mortgage/banking does bring home some weekend work, but is clearly paid for any overtime beyond her very generous salary.

There are few professions that are required to work beyond their contract daily, uncompensated for overtime--and those include teachers.

Ruth0552
Apr. 4, 2013, 09:32 PM
I am appalled that someone would say I do not work full-time.

I do work 184 days a year, this is true... I also get to school at 7 in the AM and leave at 3, and get 20 minutes for lunch. I bring home tests to grade, do prep work on the weekends, and stay after school to help kids. I also attend meetings after school, and have recently been thrown into a state-mandated training project that is a graduate level course for teaching English Language Learners. I probably work 9 hours M-F and an additional 5 hours of course work and prep time on the weekend. That's 50 hours.

So yeah, I work full-time. And the income is not great. And I spend a lot of my own money on school supplies- notebooks, pens, staplers, whiteboards, dry erase markers, etc.

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:34 PM
HillnDale, thanks for actually reading the article. Though interesting (I think), it is time consuming.

Social Studies is not history, economics, geography, civics climatology or science. In the article it's defined is the article as studies that relate to “man as a member of a social group”. The National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies defines it as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

Do you see this happening? How is the public good defined? What I think it is? What you think it is? What a member of the Westboro Baptist church thinks it is?
Do you believe Comtism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comtism) should be the foundation of a curriculum in public school? Do you think we should have our individual freedoms curtailed to be better lead by a "scientifically trained ruling class"? "An interdependent world "is what lead to credit default swaps and the mortgage meltdown.

Sorry these ideas really bother me. The roots of social studies are inherently problematic. The pioneers of social studies thought Joseph Stalin was an admirable fellow. The basis of the discipline revolves around collectivism and planned economies (communism). It never ceases to amaze me that people who think that God (if one exists) didn't intelligently design the universe but we, mere mortals, are capable of perfectly ordering the world.

starhorse
you ask; "why would it (teaching) be a desirable profession to go into?" Let me ask this, why do you stay? Really.

Teacher aren't poorly paid.
In 2013 the average starting salary for college grads is
$44,455 (http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/10/pf/college/graduate-salaries/index.html), for 52 weeks of work. That is about $890/week. First year teachers average $33,950 (http://work.chron.com/average-beginning-teacher-salaries-1364.html) as of 2011/2012 in the US for 180 days (36 weeks). That is about $940/week. This does not include a comparison of the value of their generous benefits. This would further skew compensation in favor of teachers.

Teachers want respect but they don't respect each other.
There is no recognition of individual achievement among teachers. You tolerate, even defend, really bad behavior in your group. Parent volunteers must pay $75 or more to be finger printed and background checked in my community. I am not aware of any parents who have molested children at school (doesn't mean it hasn't happened). There are several incidences of child molestation by teachers though. I know not every teacher is a child molester or a bum. But teachers are the ones who insist on being viewed as a group. It is hardly fair to complain if the public does. Isn't the motto "collaborative, not competitive"?

And the method of compensation and pink slipping is simply wrong. Why would anyone with ability be attracted to a profession where they are virtually guaranteed to be laid off in their first few years and there is no financial recognition of ability or results?

If you want the public to view your profession differently and treat you with (more) respect, start by respecting your profession. Get rid of bad teachers and stop avoiding meaningful evaluation of teacher quality.

Calvincrowe
I never said that everyone works extra. But any professional that wants to get ahead certainly does. That would be many of them. There may be few professions that are required to work beyond their "contract" daily because most simply don't have a contract.They aren't watching the clock minute by minute like teachers seem to do.

Ruth0552,
Full time is 2080 hours a year based on a 40 hour week. But as I said most professionals work more. If you work 10 hour days (50 hours per week) and work 184 days, that is about 6 weeks (a month and a half) a year shy of fulltime. There are teachers who work 6 hours a day. We all know them. That is 25 weeks (4 months+) shy of full time. Spending money on your own supplies is a choice your union makes. They want every dime to go towards compensation. Most teachers I know solicit donations from class families (not that I think that is right).

happymom
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:39 PM
Teacher abuse is why I quit. Caring and getting kicked for it hurts.

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:43 PM
happymom, you were assaulted? I am really sorry to hear that.

happymom
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:46 PM
Teachers are assaulted every day.....

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:53 PM
By whom? Do you report it?

starhorse
Apr. 4, 2013, 10:58 PM
Why do I stay?

Well, honestly, right now, I am obligated to stay. Teach for America is a 2 year commitment. I'm in my 2nd year.

I also stay because I have students who struggle to read and write because their parents struggle to read and write because their parents did before them. I don't think a child's zip code should determine their future. I don't stay because I love teaching. I stay because I think the achievement gap is a disgrace and these students (in particular) deserve more.

I do not intend to make this my career. I will be one of those who burn out quickly and leave the profession for a higher paying, more respected profession.

Honest answer.

happymom
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:01 PM
Sad, isn't it?

starhorse
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:03 PM
Also, I do not defend bad teachers. As I said, I'm not a union teacher. I do think teachers should be held accountable, and I don't believe in tenure.

I also don't believe that the teaching profession deserves the trashing it so regularly gets.

By the way, where do you get your numbers? 184 work days? In our state, we have a minimum 180 student teaching days, plus professional development days. Also, our district (this is a special case, I grant you) has 220 teaching days, plus professional development days. School goes through the end of July, starts first week of September.

ynl063w
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:04 PM
Not nanny state, the if I say it enough, it becomes true Bush mantra. I noticed a HUGE difference in lack of responsibility when Bush came into office--no kidding. He never took responsibility for anything, and it transferred to all politicians and the public. Its slightly better now with Obama, with the kids, not the politicians.

The whole thing is so frustrating to me I'm trying to start a revolution in my district. NO ONE wants to hold the line and buck up and be tough--EVERY SINGLE success story in turn arounds in education is more work, longer hours, stricter. We finally got out lying SOB union president out and I've already talked to the new one about this. Our school board is wondering why out testing scores are going down when our grades look so good. I've been fighting complaints of "bullying" children for years because of low grades (no kidding) and so has every other good teacher I now that teaches and grades at grade level. Now we've got common core, which are what I teach anyway, but some people are freaking out because the testing requires they actually KNOW what they're doing. Our district office CYA'd every which way about how great a job they are doing about education, but NO wants to talk about we grade too damn high, expect WAY too little, and have WAY too many people not doing their job.

A lot of this comes down to the squeaky wheel. Parents love to squeak and threaten to sure all of the time. Our current personnel director and my ex-principal is all about appeasing them. You can see the decline because of this. 50% for missing work, everyone has higher grades, more pressure on teachers doing their jobs, and declining test scores. I think the only way we can make progress is to squeak. We REALLY need to sue a few bad parents. That would be a start. I am trying to start a committee to start from kindergarden up raising the standards and lower grades so we set kids up for reality, and success, not failure. Right now some teachers in my middle school give 95 to 99% passing grades, and 50% of these kids are failing freshman classes in high school. The focus has always been on complaints from parents, which are ALWAYS about low grades. I am trying to figure out how to turn it around and focus on getting lazy damn teachers to do their job, and lazy damn parents to do their jobs, and teach them if need be.

We do have SO many great parents, but their voices are not heard, because sane people don't harass people doing their jobs. But, it's time for the meek to inherit the schools and we need to change the dialogue.

And we need to get rid of iphones and such! I can't believe parents are spending $70 a month on these! That's a college education. And these kids are on it ALL of the time, like 10 hours a day, but they can't manage to write 800 words a week on a piece of paper or read a book. The more access a kid has to technology, the lower the grade, almost 100%.

Am I the only one who read this post and started thinking that the problem might not have as much to do with today's students and parents as it does with the fact that some teachers today aren't capable themselves of putting together complete sentences and coherent paragraphs in an effort to get their points across?

My eyes glazed over before I got even half way through the post quoted above.

starhorse
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:04 PM
Sad, isn't it? Only the hard and uncaring stay.

It is so sad. I feel horrible admitting what I admit. But I know that I can't maintain the level of dedication I give right now when I want to start my own family. It is too emotionally draining.

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:06 PM
TFA is a great program. We have hosted student teachers for Breakthrough (a TfA partner) for the last few summers. They work hard!
Good luck with your future endeavors.

Here is an interesting study with some constructive ideas.

http://www.mcgraw-hillresearchfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/pisa-intl-competitiveness.pdf

nhwr
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:09 PM
Ruth0552 (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/member.php?91760-Ruth0552)


I am appalled that someone would say I do not work full-time.

I do work 184 days a year, this is true... I also get to school at 7 in the AM and leave at 3, and get 20 minutes for lunch. I bring home tests to grade, do prep work on the weekends, and stay after school to help kids. I also attend meetings after school, and have recently been thrown into a state-mandated training project that is a graduate level course for teaching English Language Learners. I probably work 9 hours M-F and an additional 5 hours of course work and prep time on the weekend. That's 50 hours.




I was replying to Ruth0552

starhorse
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:10 PM
Ah okay. Thanks!

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 5, 2013, 01:30 AM
Am I the only one who thinks you're the product of bad teachers because you can't read some more complex ideas and note that it is quick writing, which has a few obvious errors because my computer keyboard keeps sticking and erasing things randomly?

What is it that you don't understand? Anyone passing my 8th grade class could tell you the paragraph topic and the obvious errors, but, perhaps that's too advanced for you?

Just to make it clearer for you.
Topic 1: Response to nanny state comment and showing Bush no responsibility state
Topic 2:Low standards for kids because of bulling parents and teachers giving in
Topic 3: Teachers need to be the squeaky wheel, not parents who want hugher grades
Topic 4: Great parents aren't heard
Topic 5: A major reason kids don't work, technology

SImple enough for you? I know multi-sentence paragraphs can be difficult for some.


Am I the only one who read this post and started thinking that the problem might not have as much to do with today's students and parents as it does with the fact that some teachers today aren't capable themselves of putting together complete sentences and coherent paragraphs in an effort to get their points across?

My eyes glazed over before I got even half way through the post quoted above.

ynl063w
Apr. 5, 2013, 01:55 AM
Am I the only one who thinks you're the product of bad teachers because you can't read some more complex ideas and note that it is quick writing, which has a few obvious errors because my computer keyboard keeps sticking and erasing things randomly?

What is it that you don't understand? Anyone passing my 8th grade class could tell you the paragraph topic and the obvious errors, but, perhaps that's too advanced for you?

Just to make it clearer for you.
Topic 1: Response to nanny state comment and showing Bush no responsibility state
Topic 2:Low standards for kids because of bulling parents and teachers giving in
Topic 3: Teachers need to be the squeaky wheel, not parents who want hugher grades
Topic 4: Great parents aren't heard
Topic 5: A major reason kids don't work, technology

SImple enough for you? I know multi-sentence paragraphs can be difficult for some.

Erratic =/= complex, no matter how much energy you expend attempting to insult me and blaming it on your keyboard.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 5, 2013, 02:16 AM
Right. That's it. Insulting you is clarifying what you apparently had so much difficulty understanding because YOU couldn't see the typos and words left out at the beginning, even though everyone else seems to understand. It must be that everyone else is a genius, and you . . .?

What is your problem with what you can't understand? Even with explaining the topics, it's still too difficult for you to understand?

Or your focus is to continue to expend energy attempting to insult me and blaming it on my apparent idiocy compared to you, rather than actually asking what you question is? What IS it that you didn't understand?

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 5, 2013, 02:20 AM
Oops.

ynl063w
Apr. 5, 2013, 03:59 AM
Oops.

I've clearly upset you in a way that was not intended. Please accept my apologies; I've re-read my posts on this thread and realized that I directed my thoughts regarding the mentality of many who post here regularly solely on you, which was unfair and, as I said, unintended.

The internet has such a way of accentuating the lack of accountability that has so unfortunately become such a normal part of life and makes it so easy to blame others for everything.

HillnDale
Apr. 5, 2013, 05:22 AM
HillnDale, thanks for actually reading the article. Though interesting (I think), it is time consuming.

You're welcome.

Social Studies is not history, economics, geography, civics climatology or science. In the article it's defined is the article as studies that relate to “man as a member of a social group”. The National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies defines it as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.

So...oh, nevermind :sigh:

The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

I more or less agree.

Do you see this happening?
What do I know? Sometimes I meet kids who blow me away with how informed they are and how critically and independently they think. And then I meet adults who can't find America on a map and only vote on reality TV shows.

How is the public good defined? What I think it is? What you think it is? What a member of the Westboro Baptist church thinks it is?

Essentially, yes, that's correct.

Do you believe Comtism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comtism) should be the foundation of a curriculum in public school?

Um, no? I'm not much of a student of Comte, but I hope my opinion on that article was clear: it's thesis was poorly posited and even more poorly defended.

Do you think we should have our individual freedoms curtailed to be better lead by a "scientifically trained ruling class"?
I don't really get this question.

"An interdependent world "is what lead to credit default swaps and the mortgage meltdown.
Huh, you don't say. Well, the world is an interdependent place, so that's unfortunate.

Sorry these ideas really bother me. The roots of social studies are inherently problematic. The pioneers of social studies thought Joseph Stalin was an admirable fellow. The basis of the discipline revolves around collectivism and planned economies (communism).

You are presenting this as fact. The article you shared did a poor job of demonstrating this as fact. It actually did more to suggest the pinko elements in 1930's Social Studies were an infinitesimal percentage of the whole. People I've known who were in grade school at that time have never conveyed they were taught collectivist ideals or centralized planning in school. Much the contrary, although they did develop a stronger nationalist identity than the much more independently oriented children of today.

While Marx was an incredible influence on the modern discourse in general (obviously), Communism has never had a majority influence on American ideals, culture, politics or academics.


It never ceases to amaze me that people who think that God (if one exists) didn't intelligently design the universe but we, mere mortals, are capable of perfectly ordering the world.

The formal desire to better order our world is probably one we inherited from the Greeks. The fact that we cannot attain an ideal does not mean we must acquiesce to chaos. I believe this is also a value within Christianity, in which Christians are asked to strive to fulfill God's will on earth as it is done in heaven, knowing they will fail. I don't think it's ridiculous to suggest that God has created a less than well-ordered universe if that's what you mean. Anyway, I don't get this point at all. The universe is not well ordered. No one says we humans are capable of perfectly ordering the world. There is a lack of empirical evidence for God. This has no bearing on faith. Or on your points about teachers.

.

Fourbeats
Apr. 16, 2013, 11:23 AM
I'm an adjunct instructor at my University working a full load of classes. Finding full time work is almost impossible in my area due to hiring freezes and/or budget cuts. I have three undergraduate degrees and a Masters. I'm now working on my Doctorate. I graduated with honors as an undergrad and at the top as a grad student. Yea, my math scores sucked on the GRE but I don't teach math. All my other scores were in the top percentile.

I teach our First-Year writing cycle of English Composition and Introduction to Research which means I'm constantly reviewing, correcting or grading students' work. My day most definitely doesn't end at 3 pm when I leave campus. It's normal to spend my evenings answering e-mails and looking over assignments for students. When assignments are due, I spend all my free time in the evenings and on the weekend to get the grading done so I can return the papers within a week to 10 days. We have major assignments due about every three weeks in a semester so the cycle never ends.

Yet, I'm constantly told I'm over paid for what I do and that teachers don't really work hard. I don't teach for the money , heaven knows $15K a year isn't a lot of money, lol. I teach because I love the profession, I love the students, and I believe in the benefits of an educated society. I would love to see teachers get the credit and respect they deserve. It's a hard job and there are certainly teachers out there who shouldn't be teaching. However, many of us are in it because it's our calling and we are darn good at it. All we ask is that the students and parents do their part.

Ghazzu
Apr. 16, 2013, 11:41 AM
Then how do you explain helicopter parents?

Unfortunately, the most common type of helicopter parent is the one that rushes in to bash the teacher when little Susie gets a less than stellar grade.
Doesn't ask what parent and child might do to help Susie learn the material--it must be the teacher's fault that perfect Susie didn't get an A.

wireweiners
Apr. 16, 2013, 12:19 PM
Unfortunately, the most common type of helicopter parent is the one that rushes in to bash the teacher when little Susie gets a less than stellar grade.
Doesn't ask what parent and child might do to help Susie learn the material--it must be the teacher's fault that perfect Susie didn't get an A.

I see a helicopter parent as one who constantly hovers over their child and tries to run interference for them for everything. A parent who never wants their child to experience failure or hardship or any kind of problem. I have a friend and co-worker who is a wonderful, nurturing person but she is the poster child for helicopter parenting, IMHO. Her daughter is almost 13 and she still lays out her clothes for her each morning, she goes in an gently wakes her up and makes sure she's out of bed and on her way to getting ready, she makes her breakfast. I haven't done any of that since my child was in kindergarten. I go in, flip on the light, tell her to get up and get going then I go feed or get ready myself. She picks out her own clothes and has since kindergarten, she fixes her own cereal or toast. My friend doesn't want her daughter exposed to any of the uglier things in life. If her child has a conflict, she's in the middle of it, someone calls her kid a name at school, my friend is calling her daughter's teacher about it. She doesn't want her exposed to anything outside a surburban, middle class lifestyle. I expect my kid to work most things out by herself and she gets exposed to a lot of things outside our lifestyle. That doesn't mean I don't step in when needs be and that I don't point out problems and pitfalls with certain lifestyles but she has to learn ot make her own decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions.

PonyGirl15
Apr. 16, 2013, 01:53 PM
My sister is the special ed teacher is a small ruralish district. She has both jr high and high school students. Most are learning disabled due to their social and economic backgrounds. Next year she's getting a "real" sp ed student. A low functioning downs student. The other teachers are "scared" of this child. She doesn't speak but can communicate and is toilet trained (a big plus to my sister). Theoretically she should go to life skills at a neighboring school district. Parents don't want her to go there because, unspoken, there are many more minorities at this school and in this program. There has even been talk about inclusion classes with this child. She can make a large X on a paper is all the writing skills she has. Parents think the district should do whatever it takes to meet her needs in district. This is a poor cash strapped district. There isn't much chance of them being able to afford to meet her needs. My sister hopes to keep the child with her in her class (the elementary principal refuses to let the aide who has been with her the past 5 years to move up with her, even on a temporary bases). Hopefully the parents' eyes will be opened that really the best place for her is in an established life skills class. Child was an only until recently and now has two preschool syblings so parent's views will be changing. The chances of them hiring another aide for her are slim and even if they did, they are notorious for pulling the aides to cover as subs else where in the school.

My mother is an advocate for the ARC. The district is REQUIRED to provide an aide if the kid's IEP thinks it is necessary. If they refuse to provide one, it can be discussed in court with the help of disability rights.. The school is also required to give the child an education. NO EXCLUSIONS.

OneGrayPony
Apr. 16, 2013, 03:13 PM
**decided to delete my p*ssy rant**

DieBlaueReiterin
Apr. 16, 2013, 03:28 PM
[QUOTE=OneGrayPony;6942215] Full disclosure:
I am a parent of three children (all now pre-teens/teens) who lives in an area with 99% helicopter parents. Your mileage may vary if you live and/or teach in a different area.

Second disclosure: This thread really p*sses me off.

No, I do not expect you to raise my child.

I also hope you would understand that my very well-behaved-at-home child can and may behave TOTALLY DIFFERENTLY in a school setting. Just like a horse who does not necessarily do well in a group, my very well behaved children, who people compliment when we go out to eat etc. can be easily overstimulated in a classroom of over 30 kids or on a bus where the ground rules are not clearly set out.

I can't set that up as a training opportunity so that I can discipline him.

And no, I'm not sure what to do when he behaves that way in the classroom because he does NOT behave that way at home and I have most definitely set boundaries for behavior. MOST DEFINITELY.

No, I will not check every single problem on his homework for accuracy. Nor will I be sure that my children carry every single piece of paper with them every single day. This is not "laziness" or "lack of caring", this is a part of helping them to learn the responsibility that it takes to do things on their own. They will get one or two reminders, and that's it. If that means they need to miss a field trip, so be it. They need to learn the consequences of that behavior. You do realize that the ones that have all of the bits and pieces? Their parents are packing their backpacks for them.

If I'm constantly there to be sure they don't make a mistake, how will they ever learn as an adult without reminders? If Mom constantly bails them out, how will they ever learn that if they don't bring the saxophone to school that they WILL be kicked out of the band and that will suck (if they really wanted to play the saxophone). Because those are things that they need to learn for LIFE.

To the teacher who woefully proclaimed "your 13 year old just doesn't seem to care about social studies" (after I found out that everything she was teaching was rote memorization dates and names - and this is a kid who is so curious about current events that he stays up late and reads about politics and...no, you're right, he totally doesn't care about 8th grade social studies)...are you freaking kidding me? What about the one that said "What he needs is a star chart to remember his homework"...right...okay, have you ever even talked to a 13 year old?

What about the huge multi-step projects that definitely require a parent's involvement? Is this MY education we're talking about? Or his? Should I really be sewing at 11 pm or calling and renting a whizbang to bring into the classroom, like the other parents that I know?

Listen, I read to my children every night when they were little. And I taught them basic math. And when we all get home at night, after chores are done, we talk about current events, and physics, and philosophy, and the hard things they have to deal with when their classmates are talking about suicide and drugs and things like this.

Yea, no, I'm not going to stop that conversation to build them a diorama out of balsa wood so that you can hang it in the hallway. Because you know the ones you get? Parents made those. Hope you enjoy giving a 40 year old an A, and the kid with the one that looks like crap or is missing pieces? That's the one that deserves it, because that's the only one that was done by the kid.

I appreciate the good teachers that my children have had along the way - I really do. Teachers who communicate with me, and who understand that while my sons' education is important, their education as a human being is way more important than remembering who did what at Gettysburg. My youngest has an awesome teacher right now who realizes that his brain doesn't work when he is immobile. Like literally DOES NOT WORK - stalls out. She also realizes that he's incredibly global...that this facts and figures thing isn't going to work for him and that he's going to have to figure out some other coping skills in order to go forward.

She's one of very few.

My other frustration is that I work with a lot of graduates of this current line of education system. Mommy or the boss has to be right there otherwise they don't know what to do. Literally, I've had people who expect to be paid 80k a year, who cannot remember to finish a project, or cannot take notes and remember the details.

But man, they got straight As in school.

I'm sorry, this really trips my trigger.

Do NOT assume that it's a lack of parental involvement that makes a kid difficult. Do NOT assume that it's "not enough discipline" that makes a kid act out (it's often the opposite).

And let me just tell you, if you think it's rough as a teacher? You at least get to walk away from it at some point.

Imagine for a minute being a parent. Because no matter what, it's always your fault. Everything. From the time that child is born to the time you (or they) die, every single bad thing that ever happens to/from/by whatever is your fault. And people will not hesitate to tell you that. And EVERYONE is an expert. Everyone knows better how to raise your child than you do. They've made those things a law. You're damned no matter what you do or don't do.

Listen, if you're a teacher, I have respect for you. Just remember that I live with these kids the other 16 hours of the day. And I don't get paid at all. /[QUOTE]

a lot of this REALLY jumped out at me as a teacher. while on one hand i sympathize with everything you've said about the helicopter parents and absolutely agree about the balsa wood projects and the rest. HOWEVER. those last two paragraphs really annoy me. of COURSE you're responsible for your child, to a large extent. who ELSE would be? YOU chose to bring him into the world. why SHOULD you get paid for living with your kids 16 hours a day? why would you have them if you didn't want to do that?

OneGrayPony
Apr. 16, 2013, 04:17 PM
Sorry. I realized that I was pissy and therefore it came out as a rant. Which is why I deleted it.

I wasn't saying that anyone else should be responsible. You're missing the point.

I am saying that teachers have said things to me as if I don't live with the kid. The not getting paid was tongue in cheek.

Here's the thing though - out of all of the people and things - a parent has such little influence.

Are you a parent? People have thought I was exaggerating until they had a kid.

OneGrayPony
Apr. 16, 2013, 04:27 PM
One more thought. Children are not blank slates with no personality. They come with an inborn personality that you have to work with. Keep in mind, it's kind of a green horse green rider scenario, since none of us have children before we have them.

Some children are easy. I have one of these. The middle one.

Some are really fricken hard. I have two of these. Eldest and the youngest.

The same techniques that totally worked on the middle one? Not so much the eldest and the youngest. And we tried so many things and so many experts and to be continuously criticized by people who haven't one iota of what we were going through? That makes me irate.

Just because you're a stellar parent does not mean that your kid turns out beautifully. You can do everything "right" and have a kid that does drugs or drops out. It is not as easy as the parenting books make it sound. Really, it's not.

And I think our population would die out if people knew how hard it really was.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 17, 2013, 02:01 AM
Well said, OneGrayPony. A LOT of who we are is genetic. They did a study on twins separated at birth raised in very different households. There were VERY little difference in how they turned out, good, bad, or whatever.

I have a friend who adopted two kids with her husband, who was also a teacher, and they both had major training and experience in violent, very difficult kids. The kids were adopted at 6 months and 3. You would think they were terrible parents because both kids were and are major problems. No amount of influence could change much of what they were going to be.

That said, I keep trying. My goal is to brainwash every kid in my class that they can and will do it, and can be a good contributing member of society. I know I have to let some of it go. I had a girl show up for school for the first time this year last week. She's managed to come 4 days this year now. I don't think I can have much influence.

OneGrayPony
Apr. 17, 2013, 10:30 AM
Beentheredonethat, I learned about that study in a psych class AFTER I had kids and was totally blown away!

Good teachers CAN make a difference, just like good parents can. Or at least screw them up less :) You sound like a good teacher.

That child who hasn't come to school - isn't the district doing anything about it?

I got taken to court when my 17 year old son kept cutting classes (school was downtown...I drove him TO the school, put tracking on his phone...punishments, lack of privileges, whatever...I could not keep him in that school - luckily the judge realized that I was trying really really hard and only punished him...which of course had zero net effect). The reason he cut, btw, was the strange and draconian rules at the school. Very smart child, who realized that the school had far bigger issues than the hat rule, that they were making a huge deal out of. What a battle that was (and even though he dropped out, he is now getting his GED and going to college...thank god).

The really good teacher that my youngest has right now? I asked him what he liked about her. He said she was fair, like me, and didn't coddle, but wasn't harsh either. She told it "like it was". But the difference that I see? Is that this teacher really likes the kids, and invests in their long term success. She doesn't believe that the kids have to fit into a mold to be "right" and encourages them all to find methods that work for them. Really, I'd love to bottle her :)

DieBlaueReiterin
Apr. 17, 2013, 11:38 AM
of course, people are born with their base personalities and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do to "fix" or change them. but that's not the teacher's responsibility either. i do the best i can with some really tough circumstances that my kids are coming from and the parents CONSTANTLY expect the school to do everything for their kids! i'm just sick of being constantly blamed for all the problems in society (not that i'm saying anyone here was blaming teachers). it just seems to be this pervasive idea in society that teachers have more control/power than parents, and i just do not think that's the case.

OneGrayPony
Apr. 17, 2013, 11:47 AM
Nah, I don't believe you have any more control of it either!

I'll join you in being sick of being blamed for it all :)

I honestly think that a lot of it is this overarching lack of understanding that SSH in our society. Sometimes kids get abducted, sometimes kids do drugs, sometimes kids get violent...it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the parents, the teachers, the video games blah blah blah. The answers are so much more complex than that. Sometimes Sh*t just happens and as much as we all try to prevent and work together and so on and so forth...we can't fix them all.

I know that sounds defeatist. I think I've just been a parent for far too long :)

nhwr
Apr. 22, 2013, 04:58 PM
starhorse said;



I don't want to get into this conversation except to say that global warming IS A FACT. Have we determined that it is caused by humans? Not definitely. Is the globe getting warmer? Yes. Is it in a natural pattern? Perhaps.



The planet warms every spring and summer but cools every fall and winter, if that's what you mean. But the science of overall "global warming" is not established fact, by any real analysis. Yet it continues to be taught as fact in most public schools.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/16/us-climate-slowdown-idUSBRE93F0AJ20130416

nhwr
Apr. 22, 2013, 05:00 PM
The parents CONSTANTLY expect the school to do everything for their kids!As a parent, I'd actually like schools to do less for my kids and do it better.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 22, 2013, 10:01 PM
onegrey--The girl that has been to school, what 10 days now in two years--I think the the school/the police/the courts have so few resources and her mother is such a nutty bitch/hooker/drug user/whatever (so says the counselor when she hangs up on them every time) it just took TWO years to get the police in to threaten her enough to care about not being dragged to jail.

Again, where do we put our resources?

I just had a long talk with an AP about this and, as a union rep, am trying to force action through the union by blabbing my big mouth about WHERE we put our resources.

One of the issues I have is the HUGE focus on placating the 1% nutty parents who constantly threaten to sue over, whatever. I can state SO many ridiculous cases of waste of time where huge amount of time and effort are spent into placating little Booboo and investigating if the teacher looked at him mean, or said he's stupid, or corrected him when he said "um" so he would speak more correctly. Oh yeah.

The admin. in our district spending HUGE amounts of time focusing on the tone of voice so the little babies don't get upset and attacking teachers for that, but not that, oh, teachers that are passing on kids with good grades that can't read or write. Teachers are giving %50 for missing work, so a kid can do %10 and pass. What is more important? Yes, we want little BooBoo to not feel "scared" of the teacher's tone of voice, but I bet little BooBoo won't feel scared if he's actually reading and writing at grade level. Yeah. I'd like the focus to be on why so many kids are getting passing grades, but every indicator says they can't read or write. THAT is going to harm them.

Yep. I'd like schools to do a better job on teaching and accurately assessing, not on how little BooBoo feels.

OneGrayPony
Apr. 22, 2013, 10:40 PM
onegrey--The girl that has been to school, what 10 days now in two years--I think the the school/the police/the courts have so few resources and her mother is such a nutty bitch/hooker/drug user/whatever (so says the counselor when she hangs up on them every time) it just took TWO years to get the police in to threaten her enough to care about not being dragged to jail.

That is crazy! I got a letter, then a court notice. 'Course, I cared about being taken to court! (Man, was I frustrated!!) that sounds like a poor administration!


or said he's stupid

Well this, I have an issue with (personally), but I'm not a fan of suing regardless. I swear the issue is litigation.

I do feel for you in the job that you have to do. Definitely not an easy one. That 1% of jerk parents shouldn't hold us all hostage though, and yet, that's the way it seems it works for everything. Squeaky wheels!

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 22, 2013, 10:45 PM
I don't necessarily think not getting the truant kids is poor administration, but the overwhelming number of kids we have that don't come to school and the lack of resources.

I'm sure there are teachers that have called kids stupid. What I meant was the KIDS said that, and pretty much all of the time it's something like "that was a stupid thing to do." But, all that matters is BooBoo heard the word "stupid" and didn't understand the context, and usually BooBoo isn't doing any work anyway or cheated and has a crazy parent, so if BooBoo goes home and says that, all the blame goes away. BAD thing to teach a kid. Our kids have learned this really well.

Last year one (failing, always in trouble kid) heard "go back to India" from a teacher, instead of "are you still on vacation in India" when he wasn't paying attention (after having gone away on independent study for a month) and that caused a HUGE "investigation" and got the teacher "in trouble" without ever actually asking the teacher. So, all the kids (Indian kids) started saying that. It didn't work if you "told" the wrong person. I told a kid he couldn't come to the party if he he had all F's from not doing the work, so he went to a counselor and told her I had said "go back to India" to him to "get" me. Of course she called me, I explained, we laughed, and she told him to do his work. But, if he had gone to someone else, HUGE investigation. Kids are still trying the "he/she told me to go back to India" phrase when they're in trouble.

When I told that story at the union meeting, jaws were dropping, and I heard more stories of how this is going on. I'm becoming the squeaky wheel for higher standards, not this crap.

OneGrayPony
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:05 PM
I don't necessarily think not getting the truant kids is poor administration, but the overwhelming number of kids we have that don't come to school and the lack of resources.

Really? That's weird. Must be an area thing. Again, it was pretty simple where I am. If, however, the parent ignores the court papers...


But, all that matters is BooBoo heard the word "stupid" and didn't understand the context, and usually BooBoo isn't doing any work anyway or cheated and has a crazy parent, so if BooBoo goes home and says that, all the blame goes away. BAD thing to teach a kid. Our kids have learned this really well.


Ah sorry! Totally misunderstood. Well, the one question I do have is how is the parent supposed to know? Kids are highly manipulative (because that's how kids are) and play a system pretty quick if they can figure it out! Parents can definitely be naïve, but it is so hard to determine when a kid is telling the truth vs not. Though again, I'm not the litigious sort, so generally, I will talk to the teacher and try to work it out/ figure it out first.

That being said, I see from other threads that we as a society are losing our ability to talk to each other in general and are relying on systems and law enforcement etc to settle things. Honestly I think that's a factor of our society being more and more depersonalized.

I also think the new(er) emphasis on testing sucks. It puts too much pressure on everyone!

I do think that we should be (and are) partners in this process. That means I do expect to be able to have an open dialogue back and forth. You wouldn't believe some of the emails I have received from teachers, with zero in the way of actual communication. I believe that part of it is a lack of understanding that I don't have their context (eg, an email mid-communication with my son that the teacher has suddenly cc'd me on where I know nothing about the work, or what either of them were talking about) but also part of it is this home/school dichotomy. The child is not necessarily the same at home as they are at school.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:24 PM
I don't know if it's because I live in a much more populated, problematic area, or, as you've said, it's just a matter of not thinking of ignoring court papers. I'm in middle school and just switched from 7th to 8th. I used to never notice this in 7th, but in 8th I've got a bunch of kids ready to drop out already. I probably have 6 kids (of 95) that I'm lucky to see 1 or 2 days a week. I have about 10 that show up late 4 out of 5 days a week. Nobody's getting on them. I didn't see a kid for a month, and it wasn't until I mentioned that to the alternative center person, that she mentioned it to the office, and they called home. Mom left for work early, and he slept in and missed 1st and 2nd period every day. I just figured he dropped out to sell drugs. (Nice kid, not very smart, caught a couple of times.)

The issue is, kids ARE manipulative and everyone knows it. So, us all being adults, when they say something like that, you ask them in the right way to get the REAL story. I can get the real story out of any kid with the right questioning. Or, you actually ask the teacher. That solves SO many problems. It's the leaving messages on the admins. phone or going to them that is causing these issues. It's like a game of telephone where the drama and message changes. It's amazing how the truth comes out when you actually talk face to face. My due process "rule" I would like to have be the way things are is, "unless it's criminal, talk to the teacher." That goes for parents, too. I can't even imagine a teacher going after a parent here--they're pretty paranoid.

You're right, though, in that it is a lack of communication and basic manners in how you do that. I mean, I wouldn't call child protective services if the kids said "my dad is going to kill me." I'd actually figure out what the real issue is.

The testing thing has been going on for a long time. It's not necessarily something I care about. I don't focus on the test because I find if I teach kids how to think and be responsible for their own education, they do OK.

Beentheredonethat
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:24 PM
oops

archieflies
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:30 PM
Oh jeese. You're never going to let me go to the barn are you? This is SUCH a hot button question for me. I was going to write it.

AS a teacher of 15 years, a lot of this is happening. We have great parents, but we also have so many kids in such bad situations that if we don't take care of these kids, we are allowing them to be raised to be leeches on society.

I've had unending kids transferring into my class because they're being pulled out of the other middle school because it is out of control. These kids show up 2, maybe 3 days a week and do nothing. Mostly I try to keep them in my class so they don't vandalize the school or sell drugs. I have one girl who had something "unimaginable" to deal with (counselor's words) that was out again because she told me someone threatened to kill her and come and shoot up the school.

I used to have 1 or 2 kids that did nothing. Now I have 10 to 15. These kids I tell about 40 to 50 times (in about 1 1 2/ hours) to stop staring at the wall, stop chewing on your fingers, stop drawing on your hands, stop picking at the paper and DO something that is very easy to do and all you have to do. Some parents have given up on them. Some parents are psychotic and wonder why their child isn't getting a passing grade like he is in every other class (even though he/she is illiterate) because every other teacher has passed him on and doesn't want to deal with it.

Sigh. Yeah. I told this to my principal when he said out job is to be the parent figure at school. I said no way, my JOB is to TEACH, including being honest with them about abilities, getting after them for not doing work or behaving, and not to make them feel happy and comfortable sitting there doing nothing and being a jackass.

I didn't bother to read past this first post. BTDT pretty much said it all. I'll just "ditto" her words.

I taught 8th grade reading (to kids who came in on about a 2nd - 3rd grade reading level 95% of the time) for five years before gratefully retiring to be a stay at home mom. I remember the first parent phone call I made my first year. Told dad that his son was kicking and throwing things at other kids nonstop in class and completely nonresponsive when I addressed him. Dad said, "What do you want me to do about it?" Seriously... I was 23 and had not yet reproduced... that part wasn't really my area of expertise. You'd think by the time your kid is 14 years old, you'd have developed some idea of how to scare the crap out of them. But no. Last week, that kid served me some nasty barbq at a run down gas station diner. Good for him-- he's still alive and isn't in jail. That makes him one of the local success stories! Man, that first year was really trial by fire... I had quite a few disappear for weeks at a time, only to find out they were in jail (some because I had the balls to fill out police reports on the things they did in class, which the administration didn't take too kindly to). Several from that year are dead, and several went to big boy prison the summer after they left me. Probably 40% or more of that class dropped out before graduating. Some that were the worst in class managed to pull themselves up and have decent table-waiting jobs now.

I don't know if the next few years' kids were actually any better, or if I was just numb afetr the first year.

That being said, I do live in a small town that is fairly dependent on the prison system. We have several big state prisons in the area, and many families move from town to town following whichever parent is in jail. Probably 50% of my kids were being raised by grandparents. 10% of my girls had reproduced by the end of the school year, some with their second kid. The great-grandparents were then raising those kids. I gave up on calling parents, because most parents wouldn't answer phone calls. The worst kids didn't have working phone numbers listed for their parents... I undertsand that many parents don't have phones... but when Momma lists random local businesses as her personal phone number on enrollment forms, it's a pretty good warning that her kid is up to no good and she does NOT want to be bothered about it. Then there were the parents that were involved, but not on my side at all... you know, the ones that march in during class (security? what security?) and cuss me out in front of kids... or the ones that demand to see me in the principal's office, then the weenie principal hauls butt out of there while Big Momma pins me behind the desk because Johnny's failing grade meant he missed a basketball game... doesn't really care that Johnny's failing grade meands he CAN'T READ... whatever...

Of course, it's more than just parents. There's idiot administrators with bleeding hearts and no brains. Loved the wretched woman my last 1.5 years (the 5th principal I worked under in a 4 year period) who told me on my very last day (after refusing to send home a kid that had verbally threatened me with bodily harm when I was heavily pregnant) that "the reason kids always repsond to you so badly is because you speak too properly. People around here don't talk like that." Yeah... I taught English, but whatever.... I guess actually speaking it is offensive. Then there's just really big nasty systemic problems with testing that I can't make myself even think about at the moment. A lot of the fire is gone out of me since I've been out of the system for two years. I try not to think through the problems with the school system too much... at least not for another 4 years... then I'll have to figure out where to send my own kid. Switzerland is looking better every day. Sigh. I actually liked to teach on the few ocassions I actually got ot do it...

OneGrayPony
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:35 PM
I'm in middle school and just switched from 7th to 8th. I used to never notice this in 7th, but in 8th I've got a bunch of kids ready to drop out already. I probably have 6 kids (of 95) that I'm lucky to see 1 or 2 days a week. I have about 10 that show up late 4 out of 5 days a week. Nobody's getting on them. I didn't see a kid for a month, and it wasn't until I mentioned that to the alternative center person, that she mentioned it to the office, and they called home. Mom left for work early, and he slept in and missed 1st and 2nd period every day.

That is *not* a fun age to teach (or to parent!). Our school has an automated system that notifies us via email when the kid misses school (that same day) and then a letter goes out if too many. I do wonder, though, if that parent in your example even knew there was a problem :-(


I wouldn't call child protective services if the kids said "my dad is going to kill me." I'd actually figure out what the real issue is. A friend of mine had CPS called on him when his daughter was little, because she told her teachers that her Daddy hit her with a golf club. In reality, he would (goofily) hit her on the butt with a plastic golf club thing from one of those sets, to giggle with her to get her to go to bed.

Kids!

Anyway - don't let those bad parents and kids get to you. Most of us parents are trying really hard - even those of us with kids who aren't doing so well. We really are doing the best we can with the hand we've been dealt, and we know you're doing the same!

OneGrayPony
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:38 PM
That being said, I do live in a small town that is fairly dependent on the prison system. We have several big state prisons in the area, and many families move from town to town following whichever parent is in jail.

Wow, you both must be working/have worked in very difficult areas!!

starhorse
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:39 PM
starhorse said;
The planet warms every spring and summer but cools every fall and winter, if that's what you mean. But the science of overall "global warming" is not established fact, by any real analysis. Yet it continues to be taught as fact in most public schools.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/16/us-climate-slowdown-idUSBRE93F0AJ20130416

I know this isn't the point but I have to follow up. I read the article, and as far as I can see, all it states is that scientists are confused by a "slowdown" in the warming trend. Doesn't the article itself support the idea that there is, in fact, a warming trend, regardless of if it has slowed down as of late?

ETA: I admit I skimmed in places so no need to attack reading comprehension if I missed something.

archieflies
Apr. 22, 2013, 11:45 PM
I don't focus on the test because I find if I teach kids how to think and be responsible for their own education, they do OK.

Man, if I could have gotten away with that, I might still be wanting to teach, You know how many times I got letters in my personnel file because somebody important walked in the room and I wasn't directly teachign a 'tested skill' complete wiht approved test practice materials? When I had kids who wanted to think, and I thought I could get away with it, we'd delve into good literature and have REAL discussions about it, but the kids would ALWAYS have a practice test on their desk, just in case you-know-who walked in the room. Until my last year, teaching novels was actually not allowed. Needless to say, I have lots of really pathetic sounding letters in my file. :) But my kids were always the 'lowest,' and they always performed better on tests than any other kids... Hurts to think about what we could have accomplished if there wasn't the constant, every day battle with admin about what and how to teach. Disadvantaged kids don't need to have their lives further narrowed down to choices A, B, C or D. They need their minds opened to THINK, and ain't nothin' gonna do that like a good book!

Reynard Ridge
Apr. 23, 2013, 04:30 AM
As a parent, I promise to all teachers out there that I am doing the best I can to raise independent, responsible children. I am clear to them that I do not care about "grades," but that they must always present the highest quality work that they are capable of producing. Because, that's how it works in the real world.

To their teachers, what I ask in return is that you challenge them, stretch them and ask them for more. I actually understand that in a large classroom, that is asking a lot, but it's what I ask in return for a kid who will be dressed neatly, be clean and tidy, will raise their hand to ask questions, will inquire on all subjects, and will always turn in their work, with their name (spelled correctly!) on it.

Reynard Ridge
Apr. 23, 2013, 05:07 AM
And on the topic of Global Warming (because, why not?), I've actually decided to take this Coursera course: https://www.coursera.org/course/climateliteracy

I'm not a fan of what I believe is media rhetoric around the topic (on both sides, as it were), so I'm hoping this course will offer some insight into the science behind climate change.

Hampton Bay
May. 7, 2014, 11:08 PM
As one who is planning to teach high school starting this fall, this thread is seriously making me reconsider.

Beentheredonethat
May. 8, 2014, 12:32 AM
Yeah, Hampton, you might want to do that. I don't know I'd recommend anyone get into it, honestly. I and all of the good teachers I know are counting the days until we can retire or looking for a change of career. You can make more with a lot less stress in just about any other job with your degree.

Calvincrowe
May. 8, 2014, 12:39 AM
Nah. I love my job. Yeah, it is pretty crappy at times, but honestly I can't imagine doing anything else. We need teachers, good teachers, more now than any other time.

Do it! If you hate it, then change, but if you were drawn to the profession because it is a passion, then you'll love most parts and deal with the rest. Just like other job.

alternate_universe
May. 8, 2014, 12:53 AM
There are people who are bad at their job in every line of work. There are bad doctors, secretaries, lawyers, gardeners, etc. There are also people who give those in different professions a bunch of crap about everything they do or don't do. It's not just in education, it just receives a lot of attention for whatever reason. If you are passionate about teaching, you will enjoy teaching. Even if it means moving on to a new position from time to time to get to a better environment or a higher position. It'll be okay.

Hampton Bay
May. 8, 2014, 01:49 PM
I've never taught school. I've taught riding lessons, tutored, and I deal with the laziest, whiniest bunch of adults on the planet right now. I don't think it helps that one of the school districts is telling me they are interested, come in for an interview, etc, but our new teachers never last. I've always wanted to teach and can finally afford to do so. Plus it will be nice to have the same schedule as my daughter once she's in school. I love math and science, particularly chemistry and physics, which is what I would be teaching.

It can't be any more frustrating to deal with kids than with this adult day care I feel like I run now. Its amazing how grown adults will complain because they don't like the brand of free hot dogs we are serving for a celebration, or the T-shirt they got for free isn't the right color, or they got fired for cussing out their boss, or written up for breaking a rule for the third time, or they got in trouble for showing up 30 minutes late without calling...