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"Equity".....The dumbing down of 'Murica


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On 4/28/2021 at 1:57 PM, AJ Oliver said:

Man does not live by bread alone . . 

Tens of thousands of years ago, by all accounts these folks had pretty tough lives; 

but they made time for art - poetry too I'll wager. 

A Journey to the Oldest Cave Paintings in the World | History | Smithsonian  Magazine

AJ methinks you missed the point of that picture

To the original artist, that's a picture of food

- DSK

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I have two daughters who are both bright enough, but one has to work hard at getting good grades and the other is naturally smarter but has some mental health challenges.  I switched halfway thro

Or aging past 19.

This debate has been raging in the education community for years.  In my high school, we ultimately discouraged accelerated classes, and went instead with integrated curriculum classes (eg. Biology/En

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On 4/27/2021 at 12:36 AM, Ease the sheet. said:
On 4/26/2021 at 11:20 PM, Steam Flyer said:

Take the bottom 5% and ship them to reform school. That will free up ~ 50% of the teacher's time

 

Put them in the army.

What could go wrong?

Actually, the military does a GREAT job of motivating the lazy and educating the stupid, to the extent that they are educatable. All the engineering material I started with, in the Navy, was very heavy with illustration and written simply and clearly. Who else starts with kids who aren't quite sure which one is the wrench and which one is the hammer, and teach them to run nuclear reactors. Yeah, it takes years. Yeah, the military-industrial complex is expensive as hell.

Still not a bad option in a country where SO many citizens honestly believe that we should spend more on prisons than on schools.

- DSK

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Couple of thoughts:

Len, I had you crossed up with PhillySailor, I guess, but that wasn't remotely the point which had to do with educating actual kids, not how to manage graduate engineers or computer guys.

If you were also saying that teams are the answer to that, ... well we've been trying that for awhile, leading to my second thought which is I expect all of us would agree that integration of subjects ought to be the next paradigm we try. 

Trouble is we don't have teachers with these skills. And the current teaching of teachers is in full dumb down mode. It's really worse than that: folks with "education" degrees know something about things that don't matter much, and very little actual academics. Now, asking them to integrate subjects that they know nothing about is guaranteed to fail.  

It's the old story. Teaching is a decent job but those that can, do and those who can't, teach. 

And we're still stuck with the huge elephants in the room: the top 10% and the bottom 10%. Both can be real trouble and maybe for the same reasons, idk.

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19 minutes ago, Blue Crab said:

It's the old story. Teaching is a decent job but those that can, do and those who can't, teach. 

That's not always true, but true enough.  The reason we don't attract the best and brightest to education is because we pay them and treat them like shit.  They should be elevated to the status of the absolutely essential workers they are.  It was embarrassing to have not even thought about putting them at the head of the line for COVID vax up there with HC, first responders and such.  And then even worse to expect them to reopen in person teaching when all of the teachers were not 100% vaccinated.  It's that sort of mentality along with the shit pay that keeps the talent from going into teaching.  

Until we start treating education like its a National Security issue - which it most certainly is - we will get steamrolled by china and india who take that shit seriously.  The US went from being the pinnacle of the globe's educated populace able to put a man on the moon using slide rules to barely able unable to produce baristas who can make change.  

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1 hour ago, Steam Flyer said:

Still not a bad option in a country where SO many citizens honestly believe that we should spend more on prisons than on schools.

I don't think so many citizens think we should be spending more on prisons than schools.  I'm betting if you asked them that question, the vast majority would say ofc spend on schools.  The breakdown is that society has no answers to the issue of lawlessness other than to incarcerate our way out of it - when the real answer is that lawlessness is a natural outcome of a society that is failing its citizens and where despair and hopelessness and desperation is the norm.  Until you address the root causes of that lawlessness - poverty, inequality, lack of economic and social mobility, etc - our prisons are going to stay fuller than our schools. 

Ending the war on drugs would solve much of that - but our overlords are making FAR too much bank on that for them to want to let that revenue stream dry up.  

Just saying.  

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2 hours ago, Blue Crab said:

Couple of thoughts:

Len, I had you crossed up with PhillySailor, I guess, but that wasn't remotely the point which had to do with educating actual kids, not how to manage graduate engineers or computer guys.

If you were also saying that teams are the answer to that, ... well we've been trying that for awhile, leading to my second thought which is I expect all of us would agree that integration of subjects ought to be the next paradigm we try. 

Trouble is we don't have teachers with these skills. And the current teaching of teachers is in full dumb down mode. It's really worse than that: folks with "education" degrees know something about things that don't matter much, and very little actual academics. Now, asking them to integrate subjects that they know nothing about is guaranteed to fail.  

It's the old story. Teaching is a decent job but those that can, do and those who can't, teach. 

And we're still stuck with the huge elephants in the room: the top 10% and the bottom 10%. Both can be real trouble and maybe for the same reasons, idk.

I think the problem is not primarily with teachers, but with school boards and administration. I believe that with the right curriculum and policies, most teachers would thrive and their students would as well. 

As far as my comments, they were specifically about AP classes being counter productive. Eliminating AP classes is not dumbing anything down, it is saying that they don't provide any net value and can actually present negative value. The examples I used are from how AP classes can hurt the very students it they are intended to benefit once they enter the real world. 

I also think we focus on quantifying performance too much. In my experience, people are far too diverse in their wiring for any quantification scheme to provide any real value. On the contrary, once folks have access to a vanity metric like that, they latch on to it as it makes their own decision making simpler. Rather than question whether we are failing to accommodate the diversity of wiring and learning styles, we put the failure on the learner. That is doomed to failure from the start. We should look at the "top 10%" and say "What are we not teaching them which we should" and the "bottom 10%" and say "what are we missing in the curriculum and teaching that is causing us to fail these students". 

To be certain, there are factors outside the school's control which impact learning. Parents, home life, social circle and peer influence, poverty, hunger, all can have an impact. But we should approach it from the standpoint of our societal responsibility to the kids, not the kids responsibility to perform in some standardized exercise. 

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1 hour ago, Burning Man said:

I don't think so many citizens think we should be spending more on prisons than schools.  I'm betting if you asked them that question, the vast majority would say ofc spend on schools.  The breakdown is that society has no answers to the issue of lawlessness other than to incarcerate our way out of it - when the real answer is that lawlessness is a natural outcome of a society that is failing its citizens and where despair and hopelessness and desperation is the norm.  Until you address the root causes of that lawlessness - poverty, inequality, lack of economic and social mobility, etc - our prisons are going to stay fuller than our schools. 

Ending the war on drugs would solve much of that - but our overlords are making FAR too much bank on that for them to want to let that revenue stream dry up.  

Just saying.  

So, given the penchant of the US to lock up its citizens, you're saying US Democracy failed then? Cause other Democracies don't have this problem. Nor do other democracies spend such a fuck-ton on "defense"

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2 hours ago, Burning Man said:
3 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Still not a bad option in a country where SO many citizens honestly believe that we should spend more on prisons than on schools.

I don't think so many citizens think we should be spending more on prisons than schools.  I'm betting if you asked them that question, the vast majority would say ofc spend on schools.  The breakdown is that society has no answers to the issue of lawlessness other than to incarcerate our way out of it - when the real answer is that lawlessness is a natural outcome of a society that is failing its citizens and where despair and hopelessness and desperation is the norm.  Until you address the root causes of that lawlessness - poverty, inequality, lack of economic and social mobility, etc - our prisons are going to stay fuller than our schools. 

Ending the war on drugs would solve much of that - but our overlords are making FAR too much bank on that for them to want to let that revenue stream dry up.  

~ 40% voted that way (to spend more on prisons that schools), strongly. Belief me!

But my first reaction is, who are you and what have you done with JBSF??

- DSK

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4 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

AJ methinks you missed the point of that picture

To the original artist, that's a picture of food  

Don't make me show you the rest of my food art collection   . . . .    !!  

Food Art - Action for Healthy Kids

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I'm wondering how that bottom 10% would react to being placed into an equal ability group where you might have a couple of 4th graders with high school students. Would they just stop coming to school? Would they say WTF! and start actually trying (maybe for the first time ever)? 

And how would that play with parents? Parents or the lack thereof being half the major problem with the status quo. The other half is the entrenched "education knowledge base" of adms and school boards and teacher education. The third half (in my view) being the poc's apparent disregard for the value of education in the first place. 

I'm less concerned with the top students. Most will do fine in life, and a couple will drop out of college and become billionaires. 

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:09 AM, LenP said:

I think the problem is not primarily with teachers, but with school boards and administration. I believe that with the right curriculum and policies, most teachers would thrive and their students would as well. 

As far as my comments, they were specifically about AP classes being counter productive. Eliminating AP classes is not dumbing anything down, it is saying that they don't provide any net value and can actually present negative value. The examples I used are from how AP classes can hurt the very students it they are intended to benefit once they enter the real world. 

I also think we focus on quantifying performance too much. In my experience, people are far too diverse in their wiring for any quantification scheme to provide any real value. On the contrary, once folks have access to a vanity metric like that, they latch on to it as it makes their own decision making simpler. Rather than question whether we are failing to accommodate the diversity of wiring and learning styles, we put the failure on the learner. That is doomed to failure from the start. We should look at the "top 10%" and say "What are we not teaching them which we should" and the "bottom 10%" and say "what are we missing in the curriculum and teaching that is causing us to fail these students". 

To be certain, there are factors outside the school's control which impact learning. Parents, home life, social circle and peer influence, poverty, hunger, all can have an impact. But we should approach it from the standpoint of our societal responsibility to the kids, not the kids responsibility to perform in some standardized exercise. 

Len, I think the big picture you are missing about AP classes is that we are not teaching 5-11th graders to "perform in the real world".  We are preparing them for advanced classes in a university setting.  You are putting the cart before the horse, IMO.  Colleges should be the real learning ground for what comes next out in the real world - NOT elementary, JR High and HS.  We should be preparing them for the next level - not 10+ years down the road.  For those that are not going to college, then I have no issue preparing them for "what comes next" with good trade classes to get them the skills to get a trade job when they graduate HS.  But I think the expectation that we are teaching 5th graders how to thrive in corporate America is a bit short sighted, IMHO.  

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:15 AM, Raz'r said:

So, given the penchant of the US to lock up its citizens, you're saying US Democracy failed then? Cause other Democracies don't have this problem. Nor do other democracies spend such a fuck-ton on "defense"

Yes, I am.

Edit to add:  And the reason those other democracies don't spend a fuck ton on defense is because we do the heavy lifting for them.  Most are essentially leeches, if you want to be honest about it.  

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4 hours ago, Blue Crab said:

I'm wondering how that bottom 10% would react to being placed into an equal ability group where you might have a couple of 4th graders with high school students. Would they just stop coming to school? Would they say WTF! and start actually trying (maybe for the first time ever)? 

And how would that play with parents? Parents or the lack thereof being half the major problem with the status quo. The other half is the entrenched "education knowledge base" of adms and school boards and teacher education. The third half (in my view) being the poc's apparent disregard for the value of education in the first place. 

I'm less concerned with the top students. Most will do fine in life, and a couple will drop out of college and become billionaires. 

From reading that, I would say you definitely never did AP math yourself.  :lol:

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36 minutes ago, El Mariachi said:

Any of you catch this story of this dumbed-down Kid who's probably gonna fuk up America's education for decades?......:lol:

 

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/27/us/12-year-old-graduating-high-school-college-trnd/index.html

Good example of two things:  we need to decouple learning pace from age groups, and the system (i.e. the teachers) is flexible enough to enable a student like this to progress at warp speed.  What is unrecognized here is the work done by teachers to enable this student's rapid progress within an antiquated system.  He should be falling over backwards to thank them.  That would impress me:  both intellectual ability and empathy.  As it is, meh, there are lots of outrageously smart kids that have both, this kid has some growing up to do.

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Wonder how many ultra bright kids are out there loafing along? You younger folk may want to watch Little Man Tate (1991). 

I wish I could remember the details but I had a couple of super brights along the way. One was a Miami 6th grader in the "gifted" program who asked a follow up question that was so subtle, I was dumbstruck in admiration. Luckily for me, the bell rang, and I told him I'd circle back on that one. 

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On 4/30/2021 at 7:08 AM, Burning Man said:

That's not always true, but true enough.  The reason we don't attract the best and brightest to education is because we pay them and treat them like shit.  ...

Pay in Canada is ok after 10 years, but starting salaries after a 4 year degree are below nurses, police, and many others.  When I switched to teaching from engineering, which reduced my salary by 40% or so, I was surprised at the level of disrespect toward teachers in the general public.  I started telling people I was a "retired engineer" instead, though I also found that "physics teacher" wasn't quite as disrespected as just "teacher".

As an example of treating teachers like shit, our provincial government negotiated a contract in which teachers accepted no pay rise in return for limits on class sizes.  Not long after, the government introduced legislation voiding parts of the contract and removing class size limits, effectively screwing the teachers over completely.  That same government spent millions on "digital influencers" during contract negotiations to contradict teachers trying to get their message out to the public on social media.    

 

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10 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Pay in Canada is ok after 10 years, but starting salaries after a 4 year degree are below nurses, police, and many others.  When I switched to teaching from engineering, which reduced my salary by 40% or so, I was surprised at the level of disrespect toward teachers in the general public.  I started telling people I was a "retired engineer" instead, though I also found that "physics teacher" wasn't quite as disrespected as just "teacher".

As an example of treating teachers like shit, our provincial government negotiated a contract in which teachers accepted no pay rise in return for limits on class sizes.  Not long after, the government introduced legislation voiding parts of the contract and removing class size limits, effectively screwing the teachers over completely.  That same government spent millions on "digital influencers" during contract negotiations to contradict teachers trying to get their message out to the public on social media.    

 

What the actual fuk? I was making 17 bucks an hour back in 1975.....at 19 years old....working in a lumber yard in So Cal, doing counter sales and some custom milling. Trust me, that was some big coin back then......:D

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15 minutes ago, El Mariachi said:

What the actual fuk? I was making 17 bucks an hour back in 1975.....at 19 years old....working in a lumber yard in So Cal, doing counter sales and some custom milling. Trust me, that was some big coin back then......:D

Makes you wonder why anyone would bother going on to post-secondary.  

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20 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Makes you wonder why anyone would bother going on to post-secondary.  

Or aging past 19.

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1 hour ago, Ishmael said:

Or aging past 19.

Trust me, Rick has not aged past 19.  

And that's not a criticism in the slightest.

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On 4/27/2021 at 2:49 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

OTOH another math class had the option that if you got over 90% on the tests,which you could take in advance, you didn't have to even SHOW UP at class, let alone participate.

I would have thrived in that class...if it was homework optional I would have happily come to class.

The #1 reason I went to the college I did was because there was no core curriculum...I didn't have to take required courses that didn't interest me.

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On 4/28/2021 at 6:51 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

My son *hated* group assignments. He was always irate that they would have a slacker in the mix  that would get an A for doing absolutely nothing.
I was ROFLMAO "Welcome to my world"

Kind of what I said to my kids when they got group assignments in college. We took off cruising after grades 6 & 9 for them, so they didn't really get to the experience the full joy of them in HS.

It's good practice for the real world when not everyone is a rock star or straight A student. Every project I worked on with a team bigger than one had this dynamic.

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2 hours ago, Rain Man said:

As an example of treating teachers like shit, our provincial government negotiated a contract in which teachers accepted no pay rise in return for limits on class sizes.  Not long after, the government introduced legislation voiding parts of the contract and removing class size limits, effectively screwing the teachers over completely.  That same government spent millions on "digital influencers" during contract negotiations to contradict teachers trying to get their message out to the public on social media.  

Which government was that?

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Which government was that?

The blue one.  It might have been the orange one that signed the original contract with the class limits.  The original contract was signed before my time as a teacher, I think.  I've been out of it for a while, and my memory is fading.

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4 hours ago, Rain Man said:
6 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Which government was that?

[RM]The blue one.  It might have been the orange one that signed the original contract with the class limits.  The original contract was signed before my time as a teacher, I think.  I've been out of it for a while, and my memory is fading.

Those are the same two we have: The Blue and Orange parties!

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6 hours ago, Burning Man said:
8 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Or aging past 19.

Trust me, Rick has not aged past 19.  

And that's not a criticism in the slightest.

Stopped well short of there IMHO, and I don't know enough about his life to say if that's good or bad. It certainly puts a certain gloss on his expressed opinions though

- DSK

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19 hours ago, Burning Man said:

Len, I think the big picture you are missing about AP classes is that we are not teaching 5-11th graders to "perform in the real world".  We are preparing them for advanced classes in a university setting.  You are putting the cart before the horse, IMO.  Colleges should be the real learning ground for what comes next out in the real world - NOT elementary, JR High and HS.  We should be preparing them for the next level - not 10+ years down the road.  For those that are not going to college, then I have no issue preparing them for "what comes next" with good trade classes to get them the skills to get a trade job when they graduate HS.  But I think the expectation that we are teaching 5th graders how to thrive in corporate America is a bit short sighted, IMHO.  

I get that, and I am not talking specifically about preparing a student for corporate America, but preparing them for the 21st century. It is applicable whether one hopes to become a tech worker, doctor, engineer, cop, fireman, teacher, musician, actor, professional athlete, entrepreneur, or Navy SEAL. 

Learning faster, or more advanced materials, is not the problem. The problem arises from the unintended lessons that are derived from taking students out of classes with students that don't learn the same way or the same pace, as that is not something that happens in the real world. 

Those kids who are moved into AP classes would be better served by learning how to better communicate with others, to develop leadership skills, and to develop an understanding of the varying ways people learn and paces at which people learn. Otherwise, they may grow up to be people who know they are the most brilliant people in any room and believe with every cell in their body that the reason they have not found great wealth and success is external to them, that something in the system is unfair, or that they always unfairly promote stupid people over them. We all know people like this. There are people like that who post in the forum here. 

If I had to sum it up in a sentence, it would be this:

We should teach people that the best path forward is by building others up, not stepping over them. 

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2 hours ago, LenP said:

Ireason they have not found great wealth and success is external to them, that something in the system is unfair, or that they always unfairly promote stupid people over them. We all know people like this. There are people like that who post in the forum here. 

 

 

That really DOES happen. Every large organization I have ever been a part of had a few people whose only skill seemed to be in knowing who to suck up to. Circling back to the AP thing, the kids need to learn that brilliant engineers with no political skill will end up working for morons who know how to suck the boss off :rolleyes:

Real life example:

Me: This product SUCKS. I spend so much time fixing it I can hardly do anything else. I have no idea why we buy these, the other brand might cost more but the savings in manpower alone would more than cover it. I told you all twice if not three times not to buy these.

Boss: My brother in law works for that company. Any other questions before you get back to fixing shit?

A more political animal would have found some other person to fix the POS devices, told the boss how incredibly awesome they were, and suggest firing the other person for screwing them up ;)

 

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3 hours ago, LenP said:

We should teach people that the best path forward is by building others up, not stepping over them. 

Well, religions have been working on that idea for thousands of years, and look where we are now. Sure, kumbaya sounds ok but humans, like everything else are here to eat, survive, and reproduce. Nothing in there about building others up, and best ways, and whatnot. Indeed, imagining and stating one has or knows the best way of doing much of anything drips of condescension. But you know that. In fact, when the SHTF, humans will eat each other. 

 

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52 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

That really DOES happen. Every large organization I have ever been a part of had a few people whose only skill seemed to be in knowing who to suck up to. Circling back to the AP thing, the kids need to learn that brilliant engineers with no political skill will end up working for morons who know how to suck the boss off :rolleyes:

Real life example:

Me: This product SUCKS. I spend so much time fixing it I can hardly do anything else. I have no idea why we buy these, the other brand might cost more but the savings in manpower alone would more than cover it. I told you all twice if not three times not to buy these.

Boss: My brother in law works for that company. Any other questions before you get back to fixing shit?

A more political animal would have found some other person to fix the POS devices, told the boss how incredibly awesome they were, and suggest firing the other person for screwing them up ;)

 

 

Earlier in my career, I approached things the same way. My assumption was that things which appeared stupid to me resulted from a stupid person making the decision, and I just needed to point out the stupidity. I do think some of that attitude came from folks telling me I was smart and putting me in the "smart" classes when I was in school. In retrospect, assuming that the origin of everything that seemed stupid came from stupid decisions was an example of me being stupid. 

I had friend who used to say "never take down a fence until you know why it was put up". When he talked to me about it and explained how he employs that, I began incorporating it. 

If I were to run into a situation like you describe today, I would start by asking who made the decision to use X and then talk to them to understand why the decision was made, what the requirements were and what criteria were considered, and what ultimately drove the decision. If it is because the decision maker's brother worked there, and that drive the decision, it might be a bad decision, but it would also be one that is not going to change, so I will reserve my capital for something I can influence or change. Nobody wins every battle, don't blow your ammo on ones you can't win.

In some cases, it turns out that I actually had incomplete knowledge, and there are good reasons for the decision that was made. In which case, asking questions first keeps me from being the stupid one. 

In your example, your boss did not make a stupid decision. It may have been unethical, but he had reasons for doing it. Knowing those reasons before working to reverse the decision is the kind of thing that comes from learning how to work within a diverse team, it does not come from being separated from folks who think differently than you. 

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6 minutes ago, Blue Crab said:

Well, religions have been working on that idea for thousands of years, and look where we are now. Sure, kumbaya sounds ok but humans, like everything else are here to eat, survive, and reproduce. Nothing in there about building others up, and best ways, and whatnot. Indeed, imagining and stating one has or knows the best way of doing much of anything drips of condescension. But you know that. In fact, when the SHTF, humans will eat each other. 

 

That is not my experience. I am open to the idea that I am wrong, but would need some evidence of that, which so far in life I have not seen. For what it is worth, I began with the viewpoint you seem to hold, the one I have now came from that viewpoint failing.

It would be impossible in this thread to do more than provide some high level cliff notes, but this is not a pollyannish let's all get along thing. It is recognizing our essential human nature and trying to maximize the value we produce as a result. Humans work best in a collaborative community. 

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58 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

jerry-pournelle-quote-lbr5g2b.jpg

This is one of the ways that teachers are disrespected.  As soon as the teachers' unions are mentioned, the only thing that is brought up is their supposed support for incompetent teachers.  

In 25 years, I saw very little incompetence in the teaching profession.  Bad teachers are quickly weeded out by the kids - do you think teenagers are the least bit merciful in a classroom with a buffoon?  In middle school, we had an incompetent French teacher - she was gone in 3 months (sadly, she later committed suicide).   In high school, I had an incompetent Chemistry teacher - he was gone in about the same amount of time.

In my 25 years, I know of one teacher in my school who was not competent.  I don't know how that teacher made it to retirement, the kids were eating them alive.  I am aware of two teachers who used the system to get out of doing the work and still getting paid.  That is out of hundreds of teachers that I got to know.  The rest were all hard-working, very competent, and had the kids best interests at heart.  Some of the relationships formed between the kids and the teachers are life-long.  I am still in touch with some of my students.

Simply put, bad teachers are not the problem.  The public perception that there are lots of bad teachers being protected by the union is the problem.  

What the union mainly does is remind the administrators and school district management to stick to the contract.  I was staff rep for most of my career, and had good relationships with the admin I worked with.  There were quite a few occasions where I had to pull out the contract and show them what was written in it.  

Most teachers have a love/hate relationship with the unions, myself included.   The unions do become top-heavy, are difficult to reign-in, and often engage in social justice activities which are not really part of their mandate.  When push comes to shove in contract negotiations, the union will always choose self-preservation. They do, however, play an important role in protecting the employment rights of teachers so they can get on with the job.

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And you all need to understand that the charter school movement 

is intended to put an end to public education. 

After that, the Reich will come after your public water/sewer, 

libraries, fire & police, and highways. 

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3 minutes ago, AJ Oliver said:

And you all need to understand that the charter school movement 

is intended to put an end to public education. 

After that, the Reich will come after your public water/sewer, 

libraries, fire & police, and highways. 

Disagree. My brother helped found a charter school. It is a great school and is very much part of public education. It was and is a very good school. They were able to deal with some special needs kids in ways not likely in the regular public school for the great benefit of the kids. The only sad thing was despite extensive outreach to minority parents, 99% of them wanted no part of it for reasons unknown.

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36 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

... In my 25 years, I know of one teacher in my school who was not competent.  ...

I don't like the example either and I would prefer another but that is what is in the text. I wasn't posting it apropos the original post or with respect to education (despite the example) but rather in response to KIS's post.

2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

That really DOES happen. Every large organization I have ever been a part of had a few people whose only skill seemed to be in knowing who to suck up to. Circling back to the AP thing, the kids need to learn that brilliant engineers with no political skill will end up working for morons who know how to suck the boss off :rolleyes:

As for the Law itself, I've seen it enough in practice in corporations to see its merit.

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35 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Disagree. My brother helped found a charter school.

Sure, there are exceptions - as in our town where the public school system also runs some charter schools. 

The for-profit private schools are the worst - in Ohio at least, they are a cesspool of corruption that has stolen billions intended for our kids' education. 

You really need to read this . .  

 If possible, privatization advocates would completely dismantle public schools tomorrow,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/04/16/former-lobbyist-details-how-privatizers-are-trying-to-end-public-education/

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1 hour ago, LenP said:

It would be impossible in this thread to do more than provide some high level cliff notes, but this is not a pollyannish let's all get along thing. It is recognizing our essential human nature and trying to maximize the value we produce as a result. Humans work best in a collaborative community. 

Heh. Many things work well in a collaborative community. and many of them cannot be accomplished any other way. But best? Great literature, great art, music, math and great science ideas and procedures generally started as individual achievements/discoveries. The folks that engineered the early railroads? Brilliant for sure. They weren't the ones laying the tracks though. For that they needed collaboration.

This forum is a group that has pretty much made it. The issue is the great unwashed. 

 

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23 minutes ago, AJ Oliver said:

Sure, there are exceptions - as in our town where the public school system also runs some charter schools. 

The for-profit private schools are the worst - in Ohio at least, they are a cesspool of corruption that has stolen billions intended for our kids' education. 

You really need to read this . .  

 If possible, privatization advocates would completely dismantle public schools tomorrow,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/04/16/former-lobbyist-details-how-privatizers-are-trying-to-end-public-education/

There is another way to look at private schools.  They can be looked at as a cynical way to extract more education tax dollars from wealthy parents, provided that tax policy ensures that private school tuition is not tax-deductible.   

It isn't tax-deductible where I live though there have certainly been efforts to make it so.  Watch out for this one where you live - those who want to deconstruct public education like to slide this one into tax policy as part of their efforts.  It is the key policy needed to bring private schooling into ascendancy.

In reality, there is little evidence that private-school teachers are much different from public school teachers. Their training is the same.  The smaller classes in private schools benefit some kids a lot though.  That is the real reason to send kids to private school - much more individual teacher attention.  Not all kids need it though.  Their extra-curricular programs are also much better funded than in public school, though they are not necessarily more successful.  My girls soccer team always beat the private school teams.

 

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5 hours ago, LenP said:

I get that, and I am not talking specifically about preparing a student for corporate America, but preparing them for the 21st century. It is applicable whether one hopes to become a tech worker, doctor, engineer, cop, fireman, teacher, musician, actor, professional athlete, entrepreneur, or Navy SEAL. 

Learning faster, or more advanced materials, is not the problem. The problem arises from the unintended lessons that are derived from taking students out of classes with students that don't learn the same way or the same pace, as that is not something that happens in the real world. 

Those kids who are moved into AP classes would be better served by learning how to better communicate with others, to develop leadership skills, and to develop an understanding of the varying ways people learn and paces at which people learn. Otherwise, they may grow up to be people who know they are the most brilliant people in any room and believe with every cell in their body that the reason they have not found great wealth and success is external to them, that something in the system is unfair, or that they always unfairly promote stupid people over them. We all know people like this. There are people like that who post in the forum here. 

If I had to sum it up in a sentence, it would be this:

We should teach people that the best path forward is by building others up, not stepping over them. 

The problem is that we would NOT be preparing them for the 21st century anymore than that would have prepared them for the 20th or the 19th.  I don't consider that "stepping over anyone".  It's called "welcome to life".  Like it or not, any given society will have people who succeed and do better than others, while others struggle and some of whom fail.  And I'll continue to maintain that it is not a 5th grader's or a HS Jr's responsibility to lift up his/her classmates and bring them along.  That is the school's job and it is the parent's job.  That kid's sole responsibility is to do the best they can at their academic studies while in the classroom.  And yes there is also an element of competition there that your paradigm would eliminate.  There are plenty of other things that children at those ages can do to learn all those soft skills you desire - like team sports, activities, clubs and after school group stuff and so on.  If you remove that ability to compete and move ahead, IMHO I think you will create an even worse problem that you think you're trying to solve.  Yes, there MAY be kids who think they are god's gift to mankind if they get accelerated over the dumb kids.  But I would suggest that the dumber kids are not even on their radar anymore because now they have to compete in that AP class with other above average students.  So stepping over the others is not even something that happens.  And if those AP classes are structured correctly, much of what you want to happen will happen there anyway were the really smart kid is going to need to help the slightly less smart kids in the AP classes to keep the pace going. 

But the real problem I see is that you are going to create even MORE animosity in a highly disparate class along a spectrum of kids who can barely read the material all the way to the ones who could do the material in their sleep.  You will create an atmosphere, IMHO, where the smart kids start to really hate and resent the dumb kids for holding them back and them getting zero attention from the teacher while the struggling kids are going to resent and likely bully the smart ones because they make them look and feel even dumberer.  

Like it or not, society is stratified for a reason.  Not everyone can be a doctor or engineer and we need ditch diggers too.  Expecting them to all be kumbaya in the classroom in some quest for social utopia is going to make things worse, not better IMHO.  

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20 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

There is another way to look at private schools.  They can be looked at as a cynical way to extract more education tax dollars from wealthy parents,

Sorry, I see that I was not clear. I meant to refer to taxpayer funded for-profit charter schools. 

Here is just a partial list of the funds they have stolen from Ohio taxpayers. 

Ohio think tank claims ECOT stole nearly $200 million from taxpayers 

In the last school year alone, the 31 schools David Brennan's White Hat Management operates in Ohio used more than $67 million from 

and there is much more . .

  (How do they get away with it ? Easy peasy - they give LOTS of $ to Reich Wing pols) 

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Real life example:

Me: This product SUCKS. I spend so much time fixing it I can hardly do anything else. I have no idea why we buy these, the other brand might cost more but the savings in manpower alone would more than cover it. I told you all twice if not three times not to buy these.

Boss: My brother in law works for that company. Any other questions before you get back to fixing shit?

A more political animal would have found some other person to fix the POS devices, told the boss how incredibly awesome they were, and suggest firing the other person for screwing them up ;)

Actually, an astute political animal would have blown the whistle on nepotism and fraud, waste & abuse to HIS boss and gotten your boss fired.  

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On 4/25/2021 at 4:48 PM, El Mariachi said:

I have 'shop' people friends that make more fuking money than they can fuking count. This 'higher education is mandatory'  shit is the biggest fuking Ponzi scam ever.....

"Everyone hates a redneck until their car breaks down." - Rick Yukon

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2 hours ago, LenP said:

That is not my experience. I am open to the idea that I am wrong, but would need some evidence of that, which so far in life I have not seen. For what it is worth, I began with the viewpoint you seem to hold, the one I have now came from that viewpoint failing.

It would be impossible in this thread to do more than provide some high level cliff notes, but this is not a pollyannish let's all get along thing. It is recognizing our essential human nature and trying to maximize the value we produce as a result. Humans work best in a collaborative community. 

Yes, we absolutely do.  But I think where your thesis fails is that you are not taking into account that there are limits on how far apart the people in that community can be in terms of skill, talent and intelligence before that collaboration breaks down.  I think your work examples are a bit insulated and not applicable to the subject because likely those folks who were in your teams probably had at least a decent baseline of skills and IQ, or they wouldn't have been hired to be on the team in the first place.  So when you narrow the parameters significantly - such as a team of engineers, or doctors, or scientists, or advertising folks, or coders or......... whatever - then yes there are going to be strata within that team that will force them to work together taking into account the strengths and weakness of the individual members.  But I sincerely doubt your teams that you are using as your baseline for this discussion had the same disparities as a typical school classroom where you could have kids that have been mentored by their parents since birth to be high achievers to kids where the probably never see their parents and who can barely read or speak english.  Kids who are picked up by Mommy in their Mercedes SUV and shuttled to their after school activities and SAT prep classes while some of their classmates are just concerned they don't cross the wrong street on the way home so they don't get shot, knifed or the shit kicked out of them for "dissing" some gang banger.  

Those opportunity "gaps" are legitimate issues for society to address and fix.  But I don't think it gets fixed in the classroom nor is it a 5th grader's responsibility to fix.  

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9 minutes ago, mikewof said:

"Everyone hates a redneck until their car breaks down." - Rick Yukon

Oh my frickin' lawd but that's pure gold right there....:lol:

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On 4/23/2021 at 11:49 PM, Burning Man said:

“We need real solutions, such as investment in Pre-K , tackling discrepancies at the source and early, making sure there are more opportunities available — that is how you make education equitable,” he said. “If you are not solving the problem at the root, it’s window dressing.” 

I think they are on the right track. The advanced math classes suck up resources, with a few people in the class, and dedicated teachers. The "advanced" students who study calculus in grade 11 or 12 aren't really all that advanced compared to an advanced student in China or Russia, so if rather than get a whisper of "advanced" classes, they can take the classes in the "other" public institutions, the local community colleges, where an additional few students are not going to add a significant amount of expense.

The idea of training children in math pre-K is silly, imo, Finland has the right idea, they let the kids play all day in pre-K, K and then gradually bring in a bit of structure as they get older. You may agree with the bit in red quoted up there, but for math, he's really not made any actual suggestions.

So they let the advanced high school students do their thing at the community college, and if the high school can't offer them sufficiently advanced subjects, then the egghead students should be required to take wood shop, metal shop, plastics shop, food preparation, vehicle repair, drafting, etc.. It's silly that several years of math and humanities are required subjects for everyone, but the college-bound students get out of their practical studies by taking a computer programming class. They do need to learn how to do hands-on things. And again, the infrastructure is already there for that. And then with the money the school saves they can bring in real equity for the difficult-to-teach subjects like math, languages, and science.

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48 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

There is another way to look at private schools.  They can be looked at as a cynical way to extract more education tax dollars from wealthy parents, provided that tax policy ensures that private school tuition is not tax-deductible.   

It isn't tax-deductible where I live though there have certainly been efforts to make it so.  Watch out for this one where you live - those who want to deconstruct public education like to slide this one into tax policy as part of their efforts.  It is the key policy needed to bring private schooling into ascendancy.

In reality, there is little evidence that private-school teachers are much different from public school teachers. Their training is the same.  The smaller classes in private schools benefit some kids a lot though.  That is the real reason to send kids to private school - much more individual teacher attention.  Not all kids need it though.  Their extra-curricular programs are also much better funded than in public school, though they are not necessarily more successful.  My girls soccer team always beat the private school teams.

 

Here is the situation in Wisconsin. Been that way since 2014 when Snot Walker was Governor and the Republicans controlled both houses of the legislature (they still do).

Thanks to advocacy by WCRIS, state law allows Wisconsin parents to deduct private school tuition on their taxes. Under the program, parents statewide can deduct up to $4,000 per student in grades K-8, and up to $10,000 per high school student.”

WCRIS is the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools.

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15 minutes ago, jerseyguy said:

Here is the situation in Wisconsin. Been that way since 2014 when Snot Walker was Governor and the Republicans controlled both houses of the legislature (they still do).

Thanks to advocacy by WCRIS, state law allows Wisconsin parents to deduct private school tuition on their taxes. Under the program, parents statewide can deduct up to $4,000 per student in grades K-8, and up to $10,000 per high school student.”

WCRIS is the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools.

I see zero issue with this....at all. If parents don't like the 'public school system because they suck'.....then why should they have to pay for something that they don't utilize? Jfc but the Nurse & I have a shoe box full of canceled checks in the 6 figures...because the Los Angeles County School District is so fuked up and we had to put our two kids into private Catholic schools. But we STILL had to pay fuking taxes for the public schools....which were & still are a fuking embarrassing disgrace.

 

Do you honestly think that's fair? Paying an additional quarter million dollars....because Hell-A and Kalifornia can't do one frickin' thing right?.....

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2 hours ago, El Mariachi said:

I see zero issue with this....at all. If parents don't like the 'public school system because they suck'.....then why should they have to pay for something that they don't utilize? Jfc but the Nurse & I have a shoe box full of canceled checks in the 6 figures...because the Los Angeles County School District is so fuked up and we had to put our two kids into private Catholic schools. But we STILL had to pay fuking taxes for the public schools....which were & still are a fuking embarrassing disgrace.

 

Do you honestly think that's fair? Paying an additional quarter million dollars....because Hell-A and Kalifornia can't do one frickin' thing right?.....

The rationale is that we control these schools.

If the schools suck, it's not really the fault of the government, it's our fault for not building the right school boards, for not hiring the right representatives, for not being involved from the PTA/PTO up into the school and through the school boards, and even into the state curriculum adoption boards.

When places like Wisconsin allow parents to deduct private school tuition from their taxes, it exacerbates this problem because then even fewer parents get involved to keep the public resource healthy. Public schools are the definition of public resources ... if there is a public water reservoir with runoff from the neighboring Shit Stirring Plant, the people who use that reservoir would obviously get involved. Same deal with all manner of public resources; roads, parks, fire departments, libraries.

Healthy, productive public schools are a key part of keeping a community wealthy and happy, even if someone chooses not to send their children there. Defunding those schools is like running a chainsaw without bar oil, it'll work for a little while, but ultimately the whole shabang is going go to pot.

When you paid for a school system that you didn't use, you likely recovered most of those taxes through sustained property values. As bad as those schools were, they would have probably been worse without money. Those communities that defund their public schools? The short-sighted property owners will pay one way or another.

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On 5/1/2021 at 10:38 AM, Burning Man said:

Yes, I am.

Edit to add:  And the reason those other democracies don't spend a fuck ton on defense is because we do the heavy lifting for them.  Most are essentially leeches, if you want to be honest about it.  

That’s bullshit and you know it

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1 hour ago, El Mariachi said:

I see zero issue with this....at all. If parents don't like the 'public school system because they suck'.....then why should they have to pay for something that they don't utilize? 

If you’re too stupid to understand this by now, there is no hope for you. Schools aren’t funded by use taxes. Etc, etc

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3 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

If you’re too stupid to understand this by now, there is no hope for you. Schools aren’t funded by use taxes. Etc, etc

They're funded......by fuking taxes, you ignorant slut. No matter what label you want to tag them with....

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2 hours ago, Burning Man said:

Actually, an astute political animal would have blown the whistle on nepotism and fraud, waste & abuse to HIS boss and gotten your boss fired.  

Yeah, that will work real well when your boss and the CEO have been best buddies forever :rolleyes:

I was already on the CEOs shit list twice over anyway, first for pointing out the in-house travel agency was rearranging my flights to cost much more money than what I submitted, like changing two round trips to four one-way tickets. Then when I had enough of that bullshit I decided to just fly myself and got an ass-chewing for charging a bunch of airplane rentals without using the company pilot. "What will happen if you crash into a school bus, the company will be sued out of existence".  I probably shouldn't have answered "Well about the same thing that will happen if YOUR pilot crashes into a school bus I expect :rolleyes:"

* AFAIK airplanes hitting school buses isn't really a thing anyway

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19 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Yeah, that will work real well when your boss and the CEO have been best buddies forever :rolleyes:

I was already on the CEOs shit list twice over anyway, first for pointing out the in-house travel agency was rearranging my flights to cost much more money than what I submitted, like changing two round trips to four one-way tickets. Then when I had enough of that bullshit I decided to just fly myself and got an ass-chewing for charging a bunch of airplane rentals without using the company pilot. "What will happen if you crash into a school bus, the company will be sued out of existence".  I probably shouldn't have answered "Well about the same thing that will happen if YOUR pilot crashes into a school bus I expect :rolleyes:"

* AFAIK airplanes hitting school buses isn't really a thing anyway

Haven't heard of one of those happening  in at least 3 (purple) daze....

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3 hours ago, Burning Man said:

But the real problem I see is that you are going to create even MORE animosity in a highly disparate class along a spectrum of kids who can barely read the material all the way to the ones who could do the material in their sleep.  You will create an atmosphere, IMHO, where the smart kids start to really hate and resent the dumb kids for holding them back and them getting zero attention from the teacher while the struggling kids are going to resent and likely bully the smart ones because they make them look and feel even dumberer. 

This. In fact it's my lived experience of High School.

The teachers did nothing to help in any way, in fact a couple made the problem worse by criticising the slow ones and pointing to me as an example of what they should aspire to.

It was a lot easier for them to try to tear me down. Didn't work but it certainly did damage.

Advanced chemistry and biology was great. There was a class of one for both subjects.

Funnily enough I got an email the other day asking if I was interested in going to a 50th reunion. Kind of tempting really.

FKT

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35 minutes ago, mikewof said:

Why is he wrong? Can you be specific, considering the actual numbers?

20180710_NATO_Expenditure-3.jpg

You proved my point, thanks

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9 hours ago, Blue Crab said:

Those are the same two we have: The Blue and Orange parties!

They ain't the same, trust me. The blues are right of center and the orange are well left of it.

Americans would regard both as commies.

The bottom line though is neither can be trusted to honour their word or their commitments. Expedience is the sum total of their ethics and morality.

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42 minutes ago, El Mariachi said:

They're funded......by fuking taxes, you ignorant slut. No matter what label you want to tag them with....

Exactly, so which taxes DO YOU get to opt out of?

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46 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

If you’re too stupid to understand this by now, there is no hope for you.

He is and there ain't.

Run a society on pick & choose taxes.

Well, that and donations.

Right wing morans love that shit.

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1 minute ago, SloopJonB said:

The bottom line though is neither can be trusted to honour their word or their commitments. Expedience is the sum total of their ethics and morality.

And this differs from the lived experience with politicians in other countries in what particular way?

FKT

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16 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

Exactly, so which taxes DO YOU get to opt out of?

The ones that go to public schools.

 

Duh.....:lol:

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2 hours ago, El Mariachi said:
2 hours ago, Raz'r said:

If you’re too stupid to understand this by now, there is no hope for you. Schools aren’t funded by use taxes. Etc, etc

They're funded......by fuking taxes, you ignorant slut. No matter what label you want to tag them with....

So, by your logic

People with no kids should not pay taxes to fund schools

People with kids who have already graduated should not pay taxes to fund schools

And maybe people who have served in the military should not have to pay Federal taxes to pay for US Defense Spending

Spinning a bunch of bullshit so that rich people get working-class people to pay for their kids private schools while denying the working class kids a good education.... that sounds like an awesome system, huh

- DSK

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1 minute ago, Steam Flyer said:

So, by your logic

People with no kids should not pay taxes to fund schools

People with kids who have already graduated should not pay taxes to fund schools

And maybe people who have served in the military should not have to pay Federal taxes to pay for US Defense Spending

Spinning a bunch of bullshit so that rich people get working-class people to pay for their kids private schools while denying the working class kids a good education.... that sounds like an awesome system, huh

- DSK

Trust me, 'rich people' don't need the 'masses' to pay for their kids private schools. They can do it on their own. I've worked for dozens of 7 figure families in So Cal over the years.....and they can write checks all day long with more zeros on them than you could count.

 

Conversely, as far as the Nurse & I go? We're not rich....but we still had to cough up close to a quarter million bucks just to save our children from having to be subjected to one of the worse fuking school districts in America. Literally. They actually ran an article on page 3 a few years back in the Hell-A Thymes....congratulating themselves that they had decreased the high school drop out rate 3 points....from 67% to 64%. Wow, talk about reaching for the fuking stars......:lol:

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I have two daughters who are both bright enough, but one has to work hard at getting good grades and the other is naturally smarter but has some mental health challenges. 

I switched halfway through their school years from a focus on getting A's to a focus on seeing their education as a life lesson on work ethic. 

We took an approach to view their schooling as teaching of life's fundamental skills, like the importance of understanding, planning, analysis and writing informatively/well. I told them to stop worrying about getting a specific grade, instead using these marks as a barometer of general progress, nothing more or less. 

My youngest suffers in high stress times like exams to the point she just whites out and forgets everything, so we reset her expectations of a 'win' from getting A's to just physically staying in the room and completing an exam. 

If she finished an exam we celebrated like she''d won acceptance to Harvard and repeatedly told her that her  perseverance and her management of her anxiety is what is so awesome and worth celebrating, not the mark on the exam. Bless her cotton socks, she still struggles but now averages 75-80% marks in exams, up from a big fat 0.

The eldest is now doing a psych degree as her major. She came home with a big grin the other day and related some advice from a senior lecturer..."C's with diligence equals a degree, a  achievement worthy of higher regard than superior intellect applied without."

I still sit with them both a couple of times a week when they are doing homework. Just to show an interest and try and act as a sounding board or progress checker, whilst quietly trying to keep the focus on achievement rather than perfection.  

The primary responsibility for education is the parents. School is as good or bad as you can make it be. Teachers can have a huge influence too, but a shit teacher is a life lesson in how to manage imperfections in a process, not an excuse.   

   

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2 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

This. In fact it's my lived experience of High School.

The teachers did nothing to help in any way, in fact a couple made the problem worse by criticising the slow ones and pointing to me as an example of what they should aspire to.

It was a lot easier for them to try to tear me down. Didn't work but it certainly did damage.

Advanced chemistry and biology was great. There was a class of one for both subjects.

Funnily enough I got an email the other day asking if I was interested in going to a 50th reunion. Kind of tempting really.

FKT

Show up in a chicken suit.

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40 minutes ago, shaggybaxter said:

Teachers can have a huge influence too, but a shit teacher is a life lesson in how to manage imperfections in a process, not an excuse.   

In all my education I had two shit teachers. One in grade 4, one in university. With Ms Roberts in grade 4, my mom went in and ripped her a new one because she was basically a miserable cow who hated everything but me in particular.

My wife was a teacher for years, then worked for the ministry for years producing curricula. It was unstable politically all through that time, so they never knew whether anything they produced would ever see light. Sometimes they got things into the schools, and people were happy, then 3 years later a new government would come in and say "Hey, here's something we tried 10 years ago, it was a total disaster, so let's try it again!"

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8 hours ago, Rain Man said:

This is one of the ways that teachers are disrespected.  As soon as the teachers' unions are mentioned, the only thing that is brought up is their supposed support for incompetent teachers.  

In 25 years, I saw very little incompetence in the teaching profession.  Bad teachers are quickly weeded out by the kids - do you think teenagers are the least bit merciful in a classroom with a buffoon?  In middle school, we had an incompetent French teacher - she was gone in 3 months (sadly, she later committed suicide).   In high school, I had an incompetent Chemistry teacher - he was gone in about the same amount of time.

In my 25 years, I know of one teacher in my school who was not competent.  I don't know how that teacher made it to retirement, the kids were eating them alive.  I am aware of two teachers who used the system to get out of doing the work and still getting paid.  That is out of hundreds of teachers that I got to know.  The rest were all hard-working, very competent, and had the kids best interests at heart.  Some of the relationships formed between the kids and the teachers are life-long.  I am still in touch with some of my students.

Simply put, bad teachers are not the problem.  The public perception that there are lots of bad teachers being protected by the union is the problem.  

What the union mainly does is remind the administrators and school district management to stick to the contract.  I was staff rep for most of my career, and had good relationships with the admin I worked with.  There were quite a few occasions where I had to pull out the contract and show them what was written in it.  

Most teachers have a love/hate relationship with the unions, myself included.   The unions do become top-heavy, are difficult to reign-in, and often engage in social justice activities which are not really part of their mandate.  When push comes to shove in contract negotiations, the union will always choose self-preservation. They do, however, play an important role in protecting the employment rights of teachers so they can get on with the job.

BULLSHIT. You may be the isolated exemption. When both my kids were in elementary school, the parent's association raised enuff money to completely fund a teacher & classroom equipment for a dedicated science program for all grades. Even tho the money was entirely private, the school was required to hire a teacher from the union based on seniority. The parents, some of whom were in education fields, had identified several young, eager prospects, & interviewed them. Did not matter - the school had to hire from the union's "available" list. She was SHIT - old and just serving out her time to retire. Many parents found their kids now hating science. We (the parents) had no control over the teacher, even tho we paid for everything. We could not even fire her. So the school was quietly informed that there was no further funding for the next year & the class folded

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8 hours ago, Rain Man said:

This is one of the ways that teachers are disrespected.  As soon as the teachers' unions are mentioned, the only thing that is brought up is their supposed support for incompetent teachers.  

Kinda like police unions. 

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1 hour ago, longy said:

BULLSHIT. You may be the isolated exemption. When both my kids were in elementary school, the parent's association raised enuff money to completely fund a teacher & classroom equipment for a dedicated science program for all grades. Even tho the money was entirely private, the school was required to hire a teacher from the union based on seniority. The parents, some of whom were in education fields, had identified several young, eager prospects, & interviewed them. Did not matter - the school had to hire from the union's "available" list. She was SHIT - old and just serving out her time to retire. Many parents found their kids now hating science. We (the parents) had no control over the teacher, even tho we paid for everything. We could not even fire her. So the school was quietly informed that there was no further funding for the next year & the class folded

Shit like this does happen in isolated cases.   Hiring by seniority is the worst way to hire teachers, except for all the other ways.  It prevents the principal from hiring his second cousin, which would happen a lot were it not for seniority. 

There are bad apples in every profession, sorry this happened after the effort and money the parents put in to make things better for the kids. 

I retired early for a number of reasons, but one of them was that I never ever wanted to be accused of just putting in time before retirement.   

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3 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

We took an approach to view their schooling as teaching of life's fundamental skills, like the importance of understanding, planning, analysis and writing informatively/well. I told them to stop worrying about getting a specific grade, instead using these marks as a barometer of general progress, nothing more or less. 

Whereas a bunch of students will cheat on exams 

and Whereas lots of them will not do the assigned readings or homework

and Whereas only about one third of kids are motivated by grades (lots of them are DEMOTIVATED by grades) 

I stopped giving exams 

instead, I had them write a summary and analysis of the assignments each week (I did grade those) in their own handwriting. They were encouraged to work in groups on the analysis part. 

I read them all each week, lots of work. 

A number of kids who had text anxiety really liked it, and many reported that it helped them to improve their writing. 

I also took an early retirement (a buyout at 61) 

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17 hours ago, Burning Man said:

Yes, we absolutely do.  But I think where your thesis fails is that you are not taking into account that there are limits on how far apart the people in that community can be in terms of skill, talent and intelligence before that collaboration breaks down.  I think your work examples are a bit insulated and not applicable to the subject because likely those folks who were in your teams probably had at least a decent baseline of skills and IQ, or they wouldn't have been hired to be on the team in the first place.  So when you narrow the parameters significantly - such as a team of engineers, or doctors, or scientists, or advertising folks, or coders or......... whatever - then yes there are going to be strata within that team that will force them to work together taking into account the strengths and weakness of the individual members.  But I sincerely doubt your teams that you are using as your baseline for this discussion had the same disparities as a typical school classroom where you could have kids that have been mentored by their parents since birth to be high achievers to kids where the probably never see their parents and who can barely read or speak english.  Kids who are picked up by Mommy in their Mercedes SUV and shuttled to their after school activities and SAT prep classes while some of their classmates are just concerned they don't cross the wrong street on the way home so they don't get shot, knifed or the shit kicked out of them for "dissing" some gang banger.  

Those opportunity "gaps" are legitimate issues for society to address and fix.  But I don't think it gets fixed in the classroom nor is it a 5th grader's responsibility to fix.  

I may have overestimated my ability to communicate the concepts in a thread like this. 

You are talking about old school management born out of the industrial revolution, which unfortunately is still all too prevalent. In that scenario, as a business scales up, silos are created such as the finance dept, logistics dept, manufacturing dept, etc. Each dept develops policies which serve as the interface between each dept or function. In this paradigm, people are seen as one more cog, with a narrow specific role or function. Some cogs may be more important or paid better, but they are all cogs. 

That paradigm fails today, and will fail faster and more spectacularly in the coming century. Those interfaces between silos are slow and high friction. They do not change or adapt quickly, lowering the organizations agility and slowing progress. Not to mention that it is a substantially worse working environment, which causes talent acquisition problems. 

What we see developing now are much more dynamic cross functional teams driven by a specific objective or mission. For example, teams I have organized in the past included worker bees from the finance dept at one of the largest consumer goods company, engineers working at a top blockchain startup, a partner from one of the big four, software architect, the head of indirect tax for that same consumer good co., an instruction design expert, and a UX expert. Within the team, there is no hierarchy although leaders tend to emerge. The worker bees who are making 40k per year, are just as important and valuable to the team as the executives on the team who are making 400-500k. They have knowledge about the use and operation of the internal systems, software and processes which the executives, engineers, and strategists do not. Including them early and as an equally valued team member reduces the number of iterations to get it "right" by more than 50%, saving an enormous amount of time and money. More importantly, it allows you to get a product across the line first which in out current environment is critical, as an increasing number of industries and product segments are becoming winner take all or winner take most. 

This is just an example. The same thing happens in companies outside of software or digital products space. I have had discussions with folks at CHOP who are employing the same methods and management approach, Vanguard was working on moving towards this approach, as well as numerous other non-tech companies. The pace of change is forcing it, and is forcing it across industries. 

I will end by saying, we overestimate the significance of academic performance. It should be viewed as just one data point, however it is not the only one nor is it a particularly important one. We should also not discount the contributions that can be made and the value of folks who are working in a lower paid operational role. People are not cogs, and are far more complex than machinery. I could go on, but should stop at this point. The ideas really belong in a book, not in a thread. I don't think they can be fully covered in a post or thread, even one that stretches to the lengths of our most verbose posters. 

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19 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

Whereas a bunch of students will cheat on exams 

and Whereas lots of them will not do the assigned readings or homework

and Whereas only about one third of kids are motivated by grades (lots of them are DEMOTIVATED by grades) 

I stopped giving exams 

instead, I had them write a summary and analysis of the assignments each week (I did grade those) in their own handwriting. They were encouraged to work in groups on the analysis part. 

I read them all each week, lots of work. 

A number of kids who had text anxiety really liked it, and many reported that it helped them to improve their writing. 

I also took an early retirement (a buyout at 61) 

That's because you likely sucked so bad as a prof, but you had tenure - so the buyout was a polite way of getting rid of you.  

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11 hours ago, LenP said:

I may have overestimated my ability to communicate the concepts in a thread like this. 

You are talking about old school management born out of the industrial revolution, which unfortunately is still all too prevalent. In that scenario, as a business scales up, silos are created such as the finance dept, logistics dept, manufacturing dept, etc. Each dept develops policies which serve as the interface between each dept or function. In this paradigm, people are seen as one more cog, with a narrow specific role or function. Some cogs may be more important or paid better, but they are all cogs. 

That paradigm fails today, and will fail faster and more spectacularly in the coming century. Those interfaces between silos are slow and high friction. They do not change or adapt quickly, lowering the organizations agility and slowing progress. Not to mention that it is a substantially worse working environment, which causes talent acquisition problems. 

What we see developing now are much more dynamic cross functional teams driven by a specific objective or mission. For example, teams I have organized in the past included worker bees from the finance dept at one of the largest consumer goods company, engineers working at a top blockchain startup, a partner from one of the big four, software architect, the head of indirect tax for that same consumer good co., an instruction design expert, and a UX expert. Within the team, there is no hierarchy although leaders tend to emerge. The worker bees who are making 40k per year, are just as important and valuable to the team as the executives on the team who are making 400-500k. They have knowledge about the use and operation of the internal systems, software and processes which the executives, engineers, and strategists do not. Including them early and as an equally valued team member reduces the number of iterations to get it "right" by more than 50%, saving an enormous amount of time and money. More importantly, it allows you to get a product across the line first which in out current environment is critical, as an increasing number of industries and product segments are becoming winner take all or winner take most. 

This is just an example. The same thing happens in companies outside of software or digital products space. I have had discussions with folks at CHOP who are employing the same methods and management approach, Vanguard was working on moving towards this approach, as well as numerous other non-tech companies. The pace of change is forcing it, and is forcing it across industries. 

I will end by saying, we overestimate the significance of academic performance. It should be viewed as just one data point, however it is not the only one nor is it a particularly important one. We should also not discount the contributions that can be made and the value of folks who are working in a lower paid operational role. People are not cogs, and are far more complex than machinery. I could go on, but should stop at this point. The ideas really belong in a book, not in a thread. I don't think they can be fully covered in a post or thread, even one that stretches to the lengths of our most verbose posters. 

Len, I'm am not sure where in anything I wrote that you got that I was talking about Auld Skool silo management.  I was not.  I have worked in many cross functional and diverse teams.  I am in one right now.  I ran one for the last 10 years.  But none of those people would be on mine or any of your teams without some baseline level of competency and skill.  Classrooms do not have that luxury.  They have to take everyone - from the ESL can't read a word of Engrish immigrant kid to the boy/girl genius and everything in between.  AS I said, I seriously doubt you're going to hire the punk slacker kid who smokes pot out back of the school all day.  Or the kid who sits in the back corner and ignores the teacher.  Or the one who is stoned to the beejesus on ADHD drugs to keep them calm.  And so on.  Classrooms and teachers DO have to take them on.  

So while I agree 1069% with what you say about effective teams and team building and so on - I don't see how that is achievable in most classrooms.  

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On 4/30/2021 at 8:38 AM, Steam Flyer said:

Actually, the military does a GREAT job of motivating the lazy and educating the stupid, to the extent that they are educatable. All the engineering material I started with, in the Navy, was very heavy with illustration and written simply and clearly. Who else starts with kids who aren't quite sure which one is the wrench and which one is the hammer, and teach them to run nuclear reactors. Yeah, it takes years. Yeah, the military-industrial complex is expensive as hell.

Still not a bad option in a country where SO many citizens honestly believe that we should spend more on prisons than on schools.

- DSK

Navy is somewhat special in that way - they have public domain materials which are amazing - I learned a lot of my sheet metal stuff from their publications.