T Nation

You Get What You Pay For

[quote]pookie wrote:
After arguing end(mind?)lessly about how the government shouldn’t be allowed to tax you, you now complain that teachers’ pay, benefits and retirement plans are being decimated. Do you want services, or a tax cut? Is your Econ 101 book printed by Disney?
[/quote]

You’re missing the point: if we’re going to have this system, can we at least attempt to run it intelligently? Instead of coming up with some BS like ’ No Child Left Behind’ or ‘Teach for America’, how about raising the teachers pay?

Starting pay in the publics is about $27,000 and the INSTANT it can be done, it gets frozen or benefits are cut. Four or 5 years of college to make what a K-Mart worker makes…

I teach in a private school, BTW, so I don’t benefit from any of this. I’m simply pointing out facts.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Rockscar wrote:
I also believe that illegal immigration is behind a lot of the problems we face with schools in the Western states along the Mexican border.

How did you manage to blame Mexico for why kids are stupid?[/quote]

You take things too literally. I believe that the language barriers are behind the failure in schools. I think we’ve been over this before, but tell me how Spanish speaking kids benefit an English speaking country with regard to education? I think the time required to educate them is the driving factor behind grade schools. This is where the schools fall behind, and never quite catch up.

My Daughter is in second grade. There are a couple of kids who have parents who are Spanish and Arab speaking. Those kids are BEHIND…bottom line. It cuts into
the main curriculum. These parents refuse to speak English at home.

I belive it can be remedied, but how do you accelerate the curve after you are behind?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Rockscar wrote:
I also believe that illegal immigration is behind a lot of the problems we face with schools in the Western states along the Mexican border.

How did you manage to blame Mexico for why kids are stupid?[/quote]

Also I’ve found that the Mexican culture does not really value education as much as Americans, so parents are not involved and as encouraging with regard to education and success. Would you say this is correct?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Rockscar wrote:
I also believe that illegal immigration is behind a lot of the problems we face with schools in the Western states along the Mexican border.

How did you manage to blame Mexico for why kids are stupid?[/quote]

I believe he was refering to some of the western states bills that they ar e trying to pass , for example here in Arizona, they are trying to pass a bill where schools would get more govenment money to pay to teach immigrant children the English language. Yet they are removing arts and music programs from schools because there isn’t funding for it.

So it’s more important to teach immigrant children (illegal or not) English, than teach kids that already know English, art and music.

From the article, and from what was reported on the news this morning, the fact that the test is 3.5 to 5 hours long is a major factor. Students taking the old SAT a second time improved their scores an average of 30%, but now no one wants to sit through this new test a second time. One student they interviewed said that after a few hours it just becomes impossible to concentrate anymore and you just don’t care, you just want to get done.

These are 17 and 18 year olds, so that attitude is entirely understandable. Maybe they need to break the test into multiple parts? And can they retake just the portions they scored poorly on the first time?

As more and more illegals enter our country and have kids, those kids are put into our public schools. A logical question to ask ourselves would be, if illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and would send there there children to a public school system, wouldn’t that cause the school resources to be used up without being replenished from taxes?

Not to mention other resources like “English as a Second Language” that need to be entered into the system.

Illegal immigration does harm public education.

Illegal immigrants and their children are consuming resources that haven’t contributed to. In addition to the additional expense of ESL classes and books and the other accomodations that are being made to serve children on non taxpayers.

Teachers teach to pass tests, not to change and inspire young minds, parents need to wake up to this and encourage their kids to learn for themselves.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
“hi i wanna no if u can tail me my bodephat”[/quote]

No problem, just use a spellchecker.

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques for my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As swoon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

It’s stupid to get your panties in a wad over this. It wasn’t the same format kids took last year, so you can’t make a completely accurate comparison.

NCLB is working:
http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/importance/nclbworking.html

NCLB makes schools account for EVERY child. It forces schools that are 90% white upper class kids to make sure they also account for the education of those other 10%.

http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/index.html?src=ov

[quote]
Under the act’s accountability provisions, states must describe how they will close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency…Schools that do not make progress must provide supplemental services, such as free tutoring or after-school assistance; take corrective actions; and, if still not making adequate yearly progress after five years, make dramatic changes to the way the school is run.[/quote]

It sucks that it has to be a standardized test, but that’s reality. Of course it would be better if there was time and money to do a more extensive assessment of each student, but there isn’t. Spending three days a year to make sure 90% of your poor kids, your minority kids, your special ed kids are making the progress they should is sure as hell a lot better than just trusting that the job is getting done.

The test isn’t what forces teachers to “teach to the test.” Shitty teaching ability is. There is nothing in NCLB that says you have to teach to the test.

If you teach your kids to read, they can pass the freaking test.

If you teach your kids Math, they can pass the freaking test.

It is a freaking MINIMUM SKILLS TEST. If you can’t teach your students MINIMUM SKILLS, leave the profession.

Sure you might have to spend a week or so discussing test taking strategy and making sure the droolers in the back know how to bubble their scantron, but the other 35 weeks should be TEACHING.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
pookie wrote:
On a more serious note, there have been many claims made that since the No Child Left Behind policies came into effect, teachers have been “teaching the test,” in effect preparing the kids for a specific set of questions, and not teaching the subject matter in the way it was previously done. They do this because the school’s performance directly affects it’s funding; hence their salary and bonuses are impacted by the kid’s performance or lack of it.

Could that explain the sudden drop in the SAT scores? I’ve never seen an SAT test, but from what I know of it, it covers a rather broad base of subjects. Subjects the kids might not have studied properly if it wasn’t “scheduled” on a previous exam.

I feel that is exactly what the problem is. I had teachers growing up who didn’t seem afraid to branch out from the curriculum. If you do that now, it goes against the rules. Thus, you get dumbass kids who only know a specific set of data that will only help them if you ask them a question a certain way and only on certain information. That’s stupid and I am personally amazed that anyone fell for it to begin with.
[/quote]

This is indeed what is happening. My wife is an elementary teacher. This is what she and her coworkers have to deal with every day, sticking to teaching what will be on the test. Meanwhile, they don’t have enough time to teach anything else or expand upon the information they do teach because the administration requires so much extra paperwork for monitoring purposes. The approach has definitely caused alot of teachers to set themselves to ‘cruise’ and just do what they have to do, as there aren’t any other options.

Wow, HH actually advocating more money on public schools? SHOCKING! I’m glad to see we’re on the same page with at least this.

[quote]Plisskin wrote:
This is indeed what is happening. My wife is an elementary teacher. This is what she and her coworkers have to deal with every day, sticking to teaching what will be on the test. Meanwhile, they don’t have enough time to teach anything else or expand upon the information they do teach because the administration requires so much extra paperwork for monitoring purposes. The approach has definitely caused alot of teachers to set themselves to ‘cruise’ and just do what they have to do, as there aren’t any other options.[/quote]

I’m a bit surprised that those who implemented the policies of funding schools according to results didn’t foresee that doing that wouldn’t provide the kids with better education, but provide the boards with better test results.

In fact, just about anyone who has had to manage groups of smart people knows (hopefully he’s learned it the hard way if he didn’t) that using carrot-and-stick incentives to achieve results X most often doesn’t work out as expected after a short while. People learn to “optimize” for the measuring tool, not for the desired result.

Here, while it might at first appear reasonable to give more funding to schools that perform well; teachers and school administrators rapidly discovered that it was much easier to produce better results on the standardized tests, than it was to provide a better education to the kids. The end results is exactly the opposite of what was sought: the kids learn less than ever. The schools all appear to be doing great, though.

[quote]Rockscar wrote:
I also believe that illegal immigration is behind a lot of the problems we face with schools in the Western states along the Mexican border.[/quote]

Illegal immigration isn’t the problem. It’s the school board setting low standards for graduation that makes the schools’ poor performance. Don’t blame the kids that can’t read english. Blame the coddling that goes on at their homes as well as in school for not setting strict demands for excellence. The whole atmosphere of the “get a trophy for showing up” has finally come to fruition. The result is unprepared kids turning adult. At least corporate America will be able to afford this new batch of employees. They’ll be low wage earners.

Does this or does this not sound familiar to the societal conditions that caused the French Revolution? I mean, the burgeoning Squalor is going to get bigger. And their sense of “entitlement” will be well in place, thanks to Mom and Dad giving them everything without working for it… they’ll get mad, frustrated…

Vive la revolution!

[quote]Rockscar wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Rockscar wrote:
I also believe that illegal immigration is behind a lot of the problems we face with schools in the Western states along the Mexican border.

How did you manage to blame Mexico for why kids are stupid?

Also I’ve found that the Mexican culture does not really value education as much as Americans, so parents are not involved and as encouraging with regard to education and success. Would you say this is correct?
[/quote]

When I emigrated to Canada (from the Indian school system), I noticed that the kids in my high school didn’t concern themselves with their education, until it was too late (e.g. when they were close to an assignment’s due date), save for the Asian and European (South, East and a combination thereof) immigrants. However, I also saw immigrants from those countries treat their education badly when coming here.

Speaking for myself, my parents always told me to expand my knowledge, always. Education doesn’t stop after school.

It’s an attitude change, not a cultural one though. I don’t think (based on what I’ve seen in the general news/entertainment media) that intelligence is valued here as much as material gain (are your clothes hot? are you hot? is your car awesome?). I feel sometimes we tend to forget that a good education and a thirst for knowledge are important steps to those things.

Solution: Move to canada for a better education.

Just kidding…

Anyway, from what I’ve heard about education in the states, it seems that it is always about the lowest common denominator. You get the really smart kids, the average kids, and the not so smart kids. Instead of teaching curriculum in a manner that benefits all students, they are presenting the material so that the not so smart kids can squeeze by and somehow manage to pass everything.

Meanwhile, the smart and average kids are bored as hell and due to lack of attention for their needs, they become unmotivated and apathetic towards learning.

Here in Canada, the province is responsible for education: curriculum, funding, standardized testing, and school rules/policy.

I attended public schools for both elementary and high school. Here, the teachers are paid well (40-80k per year), have benefits, 2 months off in the summer, and a great retirement package. We have smaller classes, specialized programs (both remedial and advanced), and a more individual focus on education.

Best of all, no particular type of student is favoured or being focused on. If you fuck up, don’t study, don’t go to class, you will fail your diploma exams and not get a HS diploma. However if you study your ass off, attend class, and APPLY (key word APPLY, not be taught certain instances of exam questions) your knowledge to do well on the test, you will be rewarded.

Homeschool. Problem solved. At least, in some states.

[quote]pookie wrote:
Here, while it might at first appear reasonable to give more funding to schools that perform well; teachers and school administrators rapidly discovered that it was much easier to produce better results on the standardized tests, than it was to provide a better education to the kids. The end results is exactly the opposite of what was sought: the kids learn less than ever. The schools all appear to be doing great, though.
[/quote]

So by your reasoning, because the administrators and teachers decided to teach the test, instead of teaching the skills, the NCLB system is bad?

Don’t get me wrong, I think NCLB is a poor implementation of a decent idea, and could definitely be improved. But if you curl every day instead of squatting and deadlifting, and don’t make progress, who’s fault is that? I mean you look like you are working out, but you are avoiding the hard stuff.

Is it wrong to expect teachers to teach skills and not a test?

As for the parents, I agree, many use school as a free daycare, and don’t participate at all. This makes it much more difficult. Unmotivated students don’t help the situation, either.

I believe that standards have to be applied. I also believe that teachers should be paid more, but we also have to consider that the average teacher work year is 187 days, and per hour, teachers make comparable salaries.

references

http://www.educationnext.org/20033/14.html

http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/EWPA/approved/teacherpay2.html

[quote]
Michael Podgursky,
Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia wrote:

Plaintiffs in school finance “adequacy” lawsuits often claim that teacher pay levels are not sufficient to recruit or retain teachers of sufficient quality to deliver constitutionally-mandated levels of educational services. These claims, and the more general policy debate about teacher quality, have raised concern about the “adequacy” of teacher pay. In this paper I considered three notions of “adequacy” concerning teacher remuneration. The first considers the relative pay of teachers. If teacher pay were substantially below that of workers in other professions with roughly similar educational training, that would at least provide prima facie evidence of underpayment or inadequacy of teacher pay. In fact, when adjusted for annual weeks of work, teacher pay and benefits compare favorably with those of other college-educated workers. A second approach focuses on school staffing. Given the per-pupil resources provided to schools, are they able to fill vacancies with qualified teachers? In fact, the vast majority of public school classrooms are staffed by teachers who meet state licensing and federal NCLB requirements. The fact that compliance is not one hundred percent is largely due to the bureaucratic complexity of state licensing regimes combined with the dynamics of teacher labor markets and seems to have little relationship district resources. A final approach treats teacher qualifications as a continuum and asks whether public schools are under-investing in teacher quality relative to other inputs. In this view, teachers are “underpaid” if the social benefits from raising teacher pay exceed the costs. At present, scientifically-valid education research simply cannot define an “adequate” level of school spending on teachers, whether in the form of pay, benefits, or professional training, that can with even minimal levels of statistical reliability predict a target level of student performance. Research simply cannot tell us how much money to spend on teachers to produce a given outcome for students.[/quote]

-folly

Last nite at the Back to School meeting they had a board where reading was ranked with each student having a magnet with their name on it that moves from 0% to 100% throughout the school year. This means that as the child progresses, they move their name into the next column as they advance. This is on the wall for all to see.

One parent said “Well if you have a child with lower reading skills than the others, won’t they feel bad if their name is down lower on the list?”

The insinuation was that she did not like that part of the teachers class because it might make her child feel like an underachiever.

GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK! The problem was obvious!!! Lazy parents equall underachieving kids.

This parent needs to get a clue, get involved and teach her kid life skills to compete in life…but alas no, it won’t be that way.

The teachers solution to that was to give her child in specific a lowered expectation to get to 100%. FUCK!!!

This kid has been set up for failure. Very sad.

[quote]emdawgz1 wrote:
Illegal immigration does harm public education.

Illegal immigrants and their children are consuming resources that haven’t contributed to. In addition to the additional expense of ESL classes and books and the other accomodations that are being made to serve children on non taxpayers.[/quote]

Within the last few years our local schools started getting a lot of south of the border immigrants,instead of them learning english the school hires interpreters to communicate with them and their parents.I have heard this costs an extra 50-60 $$ an hour.

These kids come to school a couple weeks here and there ,then they will be gone for weeks or a month then show up back at school.they are always going between here and Mexico.If an u.s. citizen did that they would want to put you in jail and take your children away from you.Its B.S. that our system has to cater to these people.