Or, look up the This American Life episode about the GM/Toyota NUMMI plant. There's an example of how to turn a poor workforce into a great one, AND have happier workers, AND not engage in union-busting and pay slashing. You do it by having better processes and rewarding quality. That's not mutually exclusive with good pay and collective bargaining.
I just meant that the schools have trouble recruiting and keeping the best teachers. I was in public school from K-12...some teachers were fantastic, some were just coasting till retirement. Adding some performance-based standards seems like a common-sense thing to do, but it's tricky. Standardized tests don't tell the whole story, only who is best at teaching to the test. Actually I think the people who can tell you best which teachers are good and which are bad are the students, but we'll never get any buy-in on that from either the left or the right because we all assume that if they knew anything they wouldn't be students.Well, teachers are a crucial lynchpin to unlocking our childrens' future, or they are dullards and slackers, but not both simultaneously, right?
Anyway, point is, none of this stuff requires eliminating unions and slashing pay and benefits. If this were really all about improving the quality of public education by recruiting and keeping good teachers, I would be all for it.
If a restaurant serves patrons poorly, the customers go elsewhere and it closes. If you make a product consumers do not like, you shut down and the resources you might have used are used in the pursuit of something people do want.
Only where the state enforces a monopoly do we imagine that failure is an indication that more money is needed.
Scores have stayed about the same while costs have soared. I'm also not a big supporter of the smaller classroom movement. I did just fine in classes with 30+ kids in them. Smaller classrooms mean more teachers. More teachers collecting pay and benefits without any sort of return.
Back to smaller classrooms, ask them to pay more for health care (not sure why this one is so tough when many people pay far more for worse health care), make pay based on performance and replace those 'teachers' who just don't seem to get the whole teaching thing.
I'm not just for targeting teachers either. Government needs to take a long, hard look at every single office, job and employee and determine whether or not they are necessary and whether or not the pay is in line with the output and performance of that employee.
Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?
As I said, I'm not against education reform. It's the idea that somehow we will slash pay and benefits, and improve public education at the same time that I'm against, because it's silly. The people proposing it know it's silly. They don't really want to improve public education at all, they want to eliminate it, or turn it into a last resort for those who can't afford private school. But that idea will only fly with a small percentage of voters, so they sugar-coat it by saying that we can eliminate all this "waste" and then we can have our cake and eat it too.
I can think of one arrangement in which I would have no objection to a public school teachers union: have the money follow the student. After special needs students allocations are made split up the remaining money and allocate it to each student to attend where ever his parents choose.
Last edited by zukiphile; 02-21-2011 at 03:59 PM.
Part of the whole problem with schools (and police/fire) is that local politicians control salaries. The unions have the whole negotiation process down pat. Some unpaid volunteer sitting on the school board is going to have a tough time pushing back on wage & benefit demands. They likely don't negotiate salaries for a living and their phone is ringing off the hook because everybody in the town is a teacher, related to a teacher, or has a neighbor who is a teacher. The way you fix this is to take away local control of public education. Fund it through state taxes instead of local property taxes. Make teachers be state employees. Today, most states have some mechanism to feed money to cities and towns to at least partially fund public education but they don't have any control over compensation.
They did teach me SAT-style analogies in my inferior public schooling
Not all public schools are like that. In fact I would guess most of them aren't. I had 13 years of public school and I wouldn't trade it for anything. There is room for improvement but except for rough inner-city and poor-rural schools, it's not like a lot of people think. I think that's actually a main part of the problem...people who have never been in a public school have a caricature view of what goes on there.They want to turn it into what it is now?
The current reform resulting from democrat effort compels people to buy an insurance product, increasing demand and price, while not offering a wider market.
Your analogy wasn't analogous.
So what would you think of having the money follow the student?
Last edited by zukiphile; 02-21-2011 at 04:25 PM.
benefiting no one but themselves.
They are absolutely an example of waste that needs trimmed.
I will echo what Tornado2dr stated. A teacher may be quite good at what they
do, but if a parent condones crappy behavior from their kid at home, that behavior
will continue at school. That will affect test scores, the ability of the teacher to focus
on better students & the good students ability to benefit from class time.
That sometimes depends on who the monsters parents are. I've seen someThe reason why people send their children to private schools is because they
toss out 'the little monsters' so they don't slow down the rest of the class.
pretty rotten kids in private school get away with quite a bit due to daddy being
judge so & so.
Last edited by 2.FOH!!; 02-21-2011 at 04:17 PM.
We were JIMP
As for the little monsters, the problem is that in most cases their parents just don't give a ****- they wouldn't have a chance at a private school cause their 'rents think they suck already, why bother with private school? (My wife enjoys a student whose mother, at the beginning of the year, told her point blank not to waste her time on her son, because he is just a screwup(at 10yo) who will end up in prison anyways- I was in the room cleaning up the board when this occurred). The problem isn't one little monster, its when you have several.
2) I'm not sure about state control, either. An idea I actually proposed to my wife is that there be a constant rotation of volunteer teachers through the administration who would make choices on policy, curriculum, funding, and firing decisions for proven innefective teachers. I think she'd be all for volunteering even more of her time, but she is almost 100% burnt out, so I don't think we'll be worrying about that any time soon.
Certainly my snide feelings of “kick the little sh-ts out of class and let them rot” won’t hold up well in any debate, but then neither should basing a teacher’s performance on their classes’ standardized test scores.
I’d even go so far as to implement incentive programs to those teachers who truly want to make a difference to go work in the inner-city classrooms. Want to show us you truly care? Go where the “market” demands your talents the most. I think there already are some of these programs already in place now.
Ultimately, the point of public education is to give ALL students a good education, not just a lucky few. So, school choice can be good for testing different ideas to see which give the best results, but ultimately the best practices need to be implemented in all the schools so everyone can benefit from them. Otherwise the kids who lose the lottery get screwed.
Surely microsoft will be willing to donate their time and money to the rest of the 1000s of schools around our nation. Also note that the school in question's GOAL is to be a model for schools of the future in terms of curriculum, teaching style, and facilities. No one ever said finding a better way TO TEACH was a bad idea.Originally Posted by M-soft
I'm not sure when this changed into an education discussion but a few words on education reform
YEAR ROUND SCHOOL. No summer breaks. Holidays, a few 1-2 week recesses and make the school calendar 220-230 days long.
Tell the argument against it.
Last edited by bigtavo; 02-21-2011 at 04:48 PM.
Personal responsibility, a lost art.
I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other.
When I moved from the Seattle area to a small rural town E. Washington I started to do very good in school. The close relationship with my fellow students and my teacher made school a much more hands on, interactive type of learning... Which I excel in.
Then I moved back to the Seattle area and entered into an overcrowded school district in an affluent area, that was supposedly one of the best public schools in the state. Which of course was mostly nothing but lectures, and tests, lectures, and tests. From there on, I struggled all the way through high school.
Now I am out of school and back to applying my knowledge and learning in a real world setting. And once again... Excelling.
I look back at that time, and see it as nothing more than a broken program that held me back for 6 years, and more or less, a waste of my time.
Last edited by SOAR; 02-21-2011 at 04:54 PM.
(Don't get me wrong, I'd actually be in favor of year round school for under performing school districts)
We pay teachers full time wages already. There are plenty of people that think a job that pays 40-100 grand a year with 6 weeks vacation wouldn't be a bad gig. The other costs would not be significantly different than what they are now.
A lot of dual income families would welcome the savings in summer time child care as well.
Last edited by bigtavo; 02-21-2011 at 05:01 PM.
Personal responsibility, a lost art.