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.
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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.
"Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."
"Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
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.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
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.
Last edited by nhwr; Apr. 2, 2013 at 12:50 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.
Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.
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.
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.
"I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"
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.)
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 .
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.
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.
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 ........