Bill Gates is apparently an expert on educational policy

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by porque_pig, Nov 20, 2010.

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  1. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Nov 21, 2010

    My goodness this thread has a great deal of excuses. It has been asked but I'll ask it again.

    What is the solution?

    You don't like what Gates said? Fine. Offer an alternative. What he said is 100% correct. Experience and a masters does not automatically make you a better teacher. Would eliminating extra pay for those do anything to improve actual teaching? Maybe not.

    I get paid less than half the amount of my colleagues who have worked longer. Our new teachers make less than a third. Yet, I'm the one running activities, winning awards, showing up to parent conferences, etc. So the pay clearly isn't the motivator nor the issue

    The issue is the question. Is the best way to use the limited resources in education automatic pay raises?

    If you answer yes then you have to accept the lack of funds for other things. I'm not personally willing to do that.
     
  2. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Nov 21, 2010

    This is an interesting link........ Take a look at the charts.....

    Does anyone know how much is spent on education each year? I tried to pin it down with a quick google or two but couldn't......:confused::confused:

    http://brendabowers.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/the-decline-and-fall-of-education-in-america/

    Federal Education Failure
    The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act sparked a huge increase in federal education spending and regulations. The legislation’s Title I was supposed to provide aid to K–12 schools in high-poverty areas, but by the end of the 1960s it was providing aid to 60 percent of the nation’s school districts. Today, Title I is the largest federal subsidy program for K–12 education.

    In addition to Title I, the 1965 act created subsidies for teacher training, educational research, school libraries, textbooks, student literacy, school technology, school safety, and other items. It also beefed up state-level school bureaucracies directly with “grants to strengthen state departments of education.”

    Since that time, federal education spending has gone through the roof. Set aside the fact that the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the power to spend money on state and local affairs like education. Has all that federal money translated into better educated students?
    According to Andrew Coulson, the answer is decidedly no. The following chart shows that while federal per-pupil education spending has exploded, student achievement has flat-lined:
     
  3. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2010

    I previously mentioned implementing teacher workshops and mentor programs to help teachers who are considered "ineffective." But what concerns me is HOW one determines whether or not a teacher is effective. It's very difficult to find a fair way to determine teacher effectiveness. Someone had previously mentioned at-random videotaping (which seems a little off-putting). Perhaps some kind of portfolio and observation system would work, but it would require a ton of time and money to develop such a program. It may be worth it in the end, but it would require a serious financial investment to get such a system off the ground. If the problem we're having right now is a lack of funds, it may be something to implement in the future.

    Another concern I have is teacher retention rates. Teachers are already leaving the field in DROVES because of the current environment in public schools. If you drastically reduce teacher salaries for experienced teachers with M.A.s, I expect a lot of career switches and early retirements from people who really are good teachers.

    Something that may help is being more specific about what kind of advanced degrees would allow for a pay increase. A lot of Master's Degrees don't offer enough pedagogical training. A lot of MAT programs don't offer enough training in the subject being taught (which is the case with my field, which is why I'm currently pursuing the MA). If teachers are required to complete a certain number of course hours in their field and a certain number in pedagogical training, it may lead to better prepared students. The truth is that all Master's programs are NOT created equal, and that has to be taken into account.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 21, 2010

    Chalk- I believe Harper's response was about BILL GATES, not about being sarcastic to anyone 'met on the internet' and it didn't seem to be about you...the title of the thread is 'Bill Gates is apparently an expert on educational policy' and I think most of us would agree that while he may have some points worth considering, he is certainly no expert on the profession.
     
  5. DallasTeacher

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    The video taping is only to "discover" a way to gauge effectiveness. The Gates Foundation is not proposing to video tape all. If I remember correctly, cameras have been placed in about 4000 classrooms. Cameras are on alternative to someone being in the classrooms to observe.

    Personally as an educator and taxpayer, I do not believe in tenure at the PreK - 12 public school setting. In my district a Master's degree only gets one an extra $1000 and a PhD an additional $2000. So my JD gets me an extra $3000. Wow, nothing to celebrate. I get $5000 for being a Master Science Teacher which means I took 4 graduate courses and passed a state exam.

     
  6. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2010

    Oh! I see. So it's not the chosen method for actually gauging effectiveness? I was a little confused.

    I also agree with you on teacher tenure. I DO, however, look forward to a slightly increased salary with my MA (which I will complete in May). The state that I will hopefully be teaching in when I graduate has a different system for teachers with advanced degrees: for National Board Certification or an advanced degree, your annual pay increases by a certain percentage. It can be substantial (but as a grad student with empty pockets, ANY pay increase seems like something to celebrate to me!).

    Out of curiosity, are your advanced degrees directly related to the subject you are teaching?
     
  7. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Nov 21, 2010

    I continually see where even educators say our schools are failing.
    Most schools? Just schools in inner cities or with large %s of poor kids? Schools are truly a reflection of society. Have you taken a look lately? This country has been spoiled for awhile now. We want it all and will pay later. Well, we are paying now with a large population of kids raised by popular culture and parents not parenting. Those are the kids we are losing. Or were lost before we tried our magic. If the blueberries are bad to start the jelly is bad. If the kids come in the door messed up with no parental support the odds are they ain't coming out the other end as scholars. I believe in our schools. I think we are the best hope for most of our kids, especially the ones that
    are borderline and do not have good parenting. Yes, we need some reforms. The one I think most helpful would take POLITICS out of school reform. Newly elected (or old timers) reps
    are not the best people to make educational policy (like they do now). Educators should make policy. I know so many good teachers busy with all the new paper to push and testing and meeting who have a clue. They need their voices heard and not just here. Aint gonna happen cause teachers have no power and seem to have less each year.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 21, 2010

    What I find interesting about this thread is that what you are all saying is exactly what we are saying in the ECE field in Wa state. See, Gates isn't only reforming the k-12 world....he is also redesigning the ECE field and the higher ED field. The legislation is following Gates lead here, and in many cases (as far as the ECE or Early Learning or alignment) there aren't choices but to follow what his commites are asking for since it is becoming requirements.

    However, one large difference is in the k-12 alignment his committe states the higher degrees and years of experience don't necessarily make a better teacher - however in early the expectation is the opposite. Master's degrees in Infant classrooms is what the new Core Compentency Book states. Am I one of these teachers.....no. However, the infant world and the Pre K world are all in the same booklet.

    It is all very frustrating.....I feel totally validated hearing that you are all frustrated by him. We elected the Gov....but who elected Gates? Be careful, I am sure you states have rich people as well....be careful they don't nominate themselves for postions higher than your Gov's.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 21, 2010

    Harper's comment wasn't sarcasm. Your response to Harper was. The difference matters.

    In any case, scroll to the bottom of http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/forumdisplay.php?f=16.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree, stephen. As I read more of these posts, I do begin wondering why educators agree the system is failing. Frankly, the "system" works pretty well in our district and (to the best of my knowledge) in our state. All schools have some kids that drop out. Nothing is going to change that. A number of my own classmates 30 yrs ago were just waiting till their 16th birthday so they could quit school and either start working or do other things.

    Every grade level in every school has some kids that are defiant, resistant, and completely uninterested in school. Again, my teachers had their fair share of kids who didn't give any effort either. The difference was that - 30 years ago - the teachers would just say "Ok, fine, Johnny is not going to do anything so I'll just focus on the other kids."

    Anyway, I don't feel the system in our state is failing, although we ARE facing a huge budget crisis and many teacher lay-offs. We don't have unions or tenure for teachers at the K-12 level. I'm sure there ARE some bad teachers in the system that are just sitting back and "phoning it in" instead of giving a genuine effort and leadership to the kids, but I've not seen any in my district.

    We have had examples of former supers transferring teachers and/or principals as a form of vindictive retaliation rather than doing so in the best interest of the children, but that is just part of the job. It isn't fair, but I haven't found a job yet that is completely free of things like that.

    I think teachers should be evaluated more fairly, but it is extremely difficult to create an effective means of measuring teacher performance when some teachers are "good" because of intangible qualities they bring to the classroom.

    I've been complimented by my P, AP and parents regarding the job I'm doing this year...NOT because I'm a fantastic math teacher, but because the kids LIKE my class and actually look forward to it because of my personality and things I do trying to make the lesson more interesting. Those are things that can't be quantitatively measured, but still contribute to the overall "success" of my students by keeping them excited and interested in school.

    Personally, I think video cameras in each room would be a great idea. OF COURSE the teacher is going to be doing his/her best when they KNOW they are being observed, but if you have a camera in the class everyday, you will get a better picture of exactly how consistent the teacher is with that "best behavior". Cameras would also help capture actions of students that the teacher may not see. This could make investigating incidents or resolving disputes much easier.

    All of the parents, school board members and faculty in our district agreed it was a good idea to have a video camera on every bus in the district. I think it is JUST as good an idea to have a camera in every room for the same reasons.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2010

    I see a lot of sense in what Mr. Gates says.


    But, beyond my own point of view:

    Every single politician in this country thinks he or she has the answer to the problems in education today. Bill Gates, at least, has shown he's quite capable of making something work. Doesn't his point of view deserve at least some discussion?
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2010

    And that, my friend, is one of my all time most favorite posts!!
     
  13. TechGuy

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    Nov 22, 2010

    Lowering the benefits of being a teacher will reduce the amount of people wanting to become teachers, especially good teachers. The ability to get tenure and salary raises based on MA and seniority is one of the perks of becoming a teacher. Eliminate that, and there are very few reasons in becoming a teacher.

    Why be something where everyone will constantly blame you for the problem?


    The reason education is failing is because of the CULTURE! my parents were immigrants from Russia. They started with nothing but worked hard and push me hard. If only that expectation was put on to others...
     
  14. TechGuy

    TechGuy Rookie

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    Another reason it's failing is there are lack of choices! Not every child has a need or cares to learn all these College prep courses! Not every person needs to go to college. There needs to be more Career/Technical based High Schools. Create that and expect BETTER results!
     
  15. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Nov 22, 2010

    Please quote correctly! I said a giant in THE industry, certainly not meant with education. That's um....a NO BRAINER. He's a giant in the computer industry........:rolleyes:
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    You have shown you're a very capable teacher and successful at motivating your students. Most of those students use computers with some version of Windows OS.

    Shouldn't your point of view about Microsoft's products and service deserve at least some discussion at their next board meeting?
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2010

    I agree!! We get blamed for almost everything! Of course, we can't blame the parents because they aren't parenting. Not all parents, certainly. And some parents would love to be there, but they're too busy working multiple jobs just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. We can't blame the politicians who decided that we should focus on a certain group of students with NCLB or that state testing from grades 3-12(in TX) would be a great form of assessment so now our students are taught how to take a test and not the actual content. We can't blame the supers and admin who would rather inflate their own salaries than do what's best for kids. So who's left to blame?

    NCLB is not working, IMO. We need to focus on every child, not just those at the bottom or the gifted students. That can be through differeniated learning..REAL differenaited learning. In TX, students are tested every year from grades 3-12, and many times that is multiple tests a year. Yes I think there should be state tests to compare how students are doing across the state/nation. But when teachers actually teach the content, then students should do fine on these tests. I remember only taking two state tests when I was in school....in 3rd and 10th grade. And our promotion was not dependent on how we did until 10th grade. Teachers should not be evaluated just one day out of the year. Their summative evaluation should be based on multiple walk throughs, two-three evaluations a year. We all have bad days...teachers, students...I don't really want a principal seeing me at work on one day when a student could be having a bad day...or when I'm having a bad day.

    :agreed:

    I think we could learn a lot from countries that have different track schools. I have students right now that already know what they're going to do, and it doesn't require college. Why not set these students in a vocational school where they can learn more about a trade? Not every student is going to go to college. It's just not feasible.
     
  18. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Nov 22, 2010

    My advanced degree is a law degree, so really nothing to do with science. I will say that it has come in handy though in parent conferences. :)

    Personally I don't think "teachers" can be taught. I think one has to be innovative, know the students they are teaching, and make learning fun. I've also been fortunate to watch excellent educators while by sons were in school (private) and when I think about it, my own experiences in 1-12th grade (also private).

    I've had a chance to ask several individuals why they choose the career they did and am shocked when I'm told it's the best for one who wishes to have a family. More than one individual has given that answer, which I don't consider adequate.

    This is just my 8th year teaching and when I'm not making a difference in the lives of my students, I'll quit.

     
  19. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Nov 22, 2010

    I imagine there's quite a lot of discussion about their customer's point of view at Microsoft, including the needs of educators and students.
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    That still isn't the same as inviting someone from a different field into the meeting to give a presentation of those ideas.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Norman Cousins won fame as editor of the Saturday Review, but for a number of years he was also an adjunct professor at UCLA's School of Medicine. He got that position not because he had formal medical training - he had none - but because he had insights that challenged the doctors to think differently about medicine.

    Wisdom rarely comes through refusing to listen.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OP, As I read the article, Mr. Gates isn't pretending to be an expert on education. The conference was on funding, and I think it's a topic he's well qualified to speak on-- certainly at least as qualified as the politicians who have been deciding the matter up to this point.

    I've quoted bits and pieces of the article. My own comments are in red.

    "Gates Urges School Budget Overhauls


    . ...His new area of interest: helping solve schools’ money problems. In a speech on Friday, Mr. Gates... plans to urge the 50 state superintendents of education to take difficult steps to restructure the nation’s public education budgets, which have come under severe pressure in the economic downturn...

    He suggests they end teacher pay increases based on seniority and on master’s degrees, which he says are unrelated to teachers’ ability to raise student achievement.
    (Are we seriously going to argue this??? He also urges an end to efforts to reduce class sizes. Instead, he suggests rewarding the most effective teachers with higher pay for taking on larger classes or teaching in needy schools.

    “Of course, restructuring pay systems is like kicking a beehive” — but restructure them anyway, Mr. Gates plans to tell the superintendents in his talk to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which opens a convention in Louisville on Friday.
    States and local school districts are headed toward what may be painful budget decisions because two years of recession have battered state and local tax revenues, and the $100 billion in stimulus money that has been pumped into public education since spring 2009 is running out.


    In several other states including Ohio, which faces an $8 billion deficit, newly elected governors
    Are we suggesting that they're more qualified than Bill Gates?? By virtue of what???
    are scrutinizing school spending as part of a broad review.

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered his own speech in Washington this week, titled “Bang for the Buck in Schooling,” in which he made arguments similar to those of Mr. Gates. Hmmmm, an expert who seems to AGREE with Bill Gates


    After reading an advance copy of Mr. Gates’s speech, Mr. Paine said, “We all want to transform our education systems, but when you’re falling off that funding cliff it’s difficult to do.”

    In the speech, Mr. Gates says that improving student achievement is a central challenge, and that budget crises are making change necessary. “You can’t fund reforms without money,” he says. “And there is no more money.”

    The only way out, he says, is by rethinking the way the nation’s $500 billion annual expenditures on public schools is allocated. About $50 billion pays for seniority-based annual salary increases for teachers, he says. The nation spends an additional $9 billion annually to pay salary increases to teachers with master’s degrees, he says." "


    I'm not even arguing in favor of Mr. Gates proposals, just in favor of his having the right to an opinion.
     
  23. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Microsoft (through computers/software) and The Gates Educational Foundation have poured millions, if not billions into the US educational systems, ie read schools. If the system didn't want his opinion, then they shouldn't have taken his money. I doubt there isn't a district that hasn't benefited in some manner from Bill and Elizabeth Gates.

    With that said, everyone Seems to have am opinion about education most lonely because they have been a participate at some point in their life. Very few in this country haven't attended at least elementary school if not higher. The drop-outs know why and how the system failed them. Yes parents take some of the blame but at a certain point one must stop blaming parents, administrators, politicians, and testing requirements and suck it up and take responsibility for your students. I'm tired of so called teachers pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. I'm in TX and there is absolutely no need to teach to the test. If one teaches the TEKS, then students score well. I teach in a very low ses middle school, think 99.8% free/reduced lunch where only 2% of tge student population have English as their first language. I can match gang involvement, lack of parents, etc with most anyone. My students achieve for the most part because I ignore the reasons they can't learn and demand high standards. Don't do ur homework, then lunch with me. Don't do it again, then you will once again eat lunch with me and then stat after schoool with me. I'm not paid to do this but at a certain point teachers need to realize they have the power to make a difference in the lives of students. This difference can either be positive it negative. There will always be those in this profession because they think it is an easy college major, easy hours, summers off, etc. but holding teachers accountable for their students growth may help weed out folks who have no business teaching. Until teachers are willing to accept that not all individuals certified to teach belong in the classroom, the situation won't change.
     
  24. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    1st issue:
    I'm a bit confused. Are some posters suggesting that experience in teaching and having a higher degree in education doesn't make a difference?

    Sure, we all know a few excellent first year teachers. (Imagine what they'll be when they've gained a few years experience.) We also know a few on the opposite end...although I expect they were poor teachers to begin with and simply remain poor throughout their teaching careers.

    But the vast majority of teachers improve with experience. And why shouldn't we be paid for that?

    2nd issue:

    I believe the current problem we're having is that many people in a position of power are suggesting a one size fits all program/solution/evaluation. We have different populations. Some schools would do well to have tech paths. Some schools would do well to study Ruby Payne. Some schools would do well to offer IB programs. (And some need all three plus more.)

    If the problem we're currently having comes from a broken family structure, a broken value system, or whatever, then we'll have to work with that. 90-90-90 schools work because they've changed their approach. And it isn't the same approach that has been working well in other settings that deal with other populations.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  25. John Lee

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    I'd like to address a few aspects of this:
    1) That Bill Gates should have to "teach for a year" to have an opinion
    2) People advocating cameras in rooms
    3) Pay scales as currently defined

    1) What point would him teaching a year make? That's a ridiculous notion--to say that for him to have an opinion on this, he should first waste a year in a classroom. You do understand he is a multi-billionaire and quite a busy man?

    2) I do not like the ideas of cameras/surveillance in our general lives, and that also applies to classrooms. The fact that we already have intersection cameras, google maps cameras--cameras potentially filming every aspect of our lives... that's not a type of world I'd like to live in.

    3) Quote:
    That's pretty much exactly what I'm suggesting. I simply disagree, that the "vast majority" improve with the years. I copied a post from a previous poster here too, because it states my opinion on this very well (plus, when/if you jump on me for my statements, Soccer Dad can take some of the brunt :p)

    In an ideal world--yes, experience makes you better. But in our education world, I think it is clear that the environment or world is far from ideal.
    Tenure, or whatever you want to call it (I'm including the whole cottage industry where teachers have to get their Masters, to get on a different pay scale) creates an environment that breeds complacency. I know the same teachers Soccer Dad knows, and you all know the same teachers too. And it's not to say they aren't good-hearted or had/don't have passion about teaching. But the fact that this number is not such a low number at all... actually I think it's quite the contrary, and that this type of mentality is not uncommon, shows me that it's a systemic thing--that basically makes teachers (if not worse), plateau in their ability as they gain experience.
     
  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I do agree with some of your points, but I have to respectfully disagree with your idea that length of teaching time invites complacency. I don't know how long you have been teaching, but I have been around the block several times. It has been my experience in the decades since I finished college that the vast majority of teachers are hard working, dedicated and motivated. I have rarely met a teacher who did not work just as hard in their first year, or their tenth, or their 25th year to provide an optimal learning experience for their students. I truly believe that complacent teachers are in the minority.
     
  27. Cerek

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    He is now a retired multi-billionaire who has decided to devote a lot of his attention (and substantial wealth)towards education reform. There is nothing wrong with that and I agree that, sometimes, a different perspective is needed. However, many of the suggestions he is making look good on paper, but don't work very well in actual practice. "Urging an end to efforts to reduce class sizes" If you're talking about trying to reduce classes down to 10 or 12 students per class, I agree. Teachers can handle larger classes than that. If your talking about ending the effort to reduce classes down to 25-30 students.....then I have to disagree. Another recurring complaint among critics and experts is that teachers are "teaching to the test" rather than teaching the material. Well, when you start advocating having 35 to 40 or 50 kids in a k-12 classroom, the teacher will be forced to focus more on the highlights of the material and individualized instruction will necessarily be reduced as a result because the instructor simply won't have time to differentiate the lesson for different learning styles. How many of us got individual attention from our college professors - especially in the general ed classes?

    I DO agree teachers willing to take on larger classes should have that taken into consideration when they become eligible for a pay raise, but I don't think that is going to make student achievement improve.

    So why do people suggest Bill Gates spend a year in a classroom before making suggestions? So he can see first-hand the environment and attitude teachers deal with day-in and day-out, year after year. Let's see what suggestions he has after spending a year of having students ignore every attempt he makes to engage them in the lesson, then be called to the principals offices by the kids parents to explain why HE isn't giving the effort needed to get the kid interested in school. Or, better yet, have the parents shout in his face that it HIS fault Little Johnny failed. Maybe Johnny DID sit on his ass staring out the window all day, but he wouldn't have done that if Mr. Gates had the teaching skill to keep Johnny focused.

    If Bill Gates every caught an employee at Microsoft goofing off or wasting company time on personal phone calls, emails, twitters, etc., I seriously doubt he went to that employee's supervisor and said "You need to re-evaluate the work environment you are fostering in the department. Your management style is obviously not meeting Steve's working style, so you need to differentiate your approach and create more engaging and interactive tasks for the employees to do so they will be more excited and interested in giving us a good day's work. You have to remember that not everyone works the same way you do, so you have to adjust your methods to meet their different needs. Your effectiveness as a manager will be based on how well you adjust your style to meet these various working needs in your department. If their is no noticeable change, I will have to consider hiring a manager that is more adaptable. On the bright side, I'll consider paying you more if you agree to add 15-20 new employees to your department. You will still need to differentiate your management style to meet their varied working needs, or I'll again have to re-evaluate your effectiveness in the management role."

    Orrrrr...would he tell his manager "You better tell Steve to quit sitting on his ass if he wants to keep his job."

    Some things are much easier to address in a business environment than in the classroom and school setting.

    2) I do not like the ideas of cameras/surveillance in our general lives, and that also applies to classrooms. The fact that we already have intersection cameras, google maps cameras--cameras potentially filming every aspect of our lives... that's not a type of world I'd like to live in.

    3) Quote:

    That's pretty much exactly what I'm suggesting. I simply disagree, that the "vast majority" improve with the years. I copied a post from a previous poster here too, because it states my opinion on this very well (plus, when/if you jump on me for my statements, Soccer Dad can take some of the brunt :p)



    In an ideal world--yes, experience makes you better. But in our education world, I think it is clear that the environment or world is far from ideal.
    Tenure, or whatever you want to call it (I'm including the whole cottage industry where teachers have to get their Masters, to get on a different pay scale) creates an environment that breeds complacency. I know the same teachers Soccer Dad knows, and you all know the same teachers too. And it's not to say they aren't good-hearted or had/don't have passion about teaching. But the fact that this number is not such a low number at all... actually I think it's quite the contrary, and that this type of mentality is not uncommon, shows me that it's a systemic thing--that basically makes teachers (if not worse), plateau in their ability as they gain experience.[/QUOTE]
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wow. No brainer...:dizzy: Hmmm. You could have referenced to which 'the industry' you were referring since we were talking about him being 'an expert on educational policy'...Of course, it's well-known that he is a leader in the technology field...:wow:
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Why are cameras on a bus a good idea, but not in a classroom? I believe most parents, admins, faculty and school board members would agree having cameras on the school bus is a good idea, because then you have video evidence of anything that happens. It is no longer just a case of "he said/she said". When something happens on the bus, the driver can pull the tape for the P and AP to watch. They, in turn, can watch to see exactly what led up to the event, who was involved and get a better idea of exactly what happened. They can also see when the driver is not doing the job he/she is required to do as well. It serves to capture incidents between students the driver may not notice (or may not have seen all the events and/or people involved) and also serves as a monitoring device to ensure the driver follows all procedures properly.

    A few posters have insisted others make suggestions about changes they would like to see rather than just ranting about their complaints. Fair enough. I think we can all agree teachers should be given fair evaluations on their overall performance throughout the year rather than having their "effectiveness" determined by standardized test scores. An integral part of a fair evaluation involves observation of the teacher in the classroom. The evaluators need to see first-hand how the teacher prepares and presents a lesson while handling classroom management, answering questions about the material, keeping students engaged and creating an exciting environment for successful learning. Most teachers have to undergo a certain number of formal and informal observations as part of the evaluation process. While this is a decent approach, it's obvious teachers are going to put their best-face forward when they KNOW they are being observed. Cameras in the room would allow spontaneous observation by the P, AP and (possibly) even the super and others that might be involved in the evaluation process.

    Remember the Houston teacher that went ballistic on a student last year? We all saw video of her slinging a desk out of her way as she towered over the student with clenched fists, screaming at him as he cowered on the floor. I don't justify her reaction at all, but what we did NOT see was the taunting of another classmate the boy had been doing that made the teacher snap. We also didn't see video of the boy doing this on an almost daily basis (according to some of the articles on the subject) that would have helped explain WHY the teacher finally lost ALL control over his antics.

    Cameras in the classroom would capture ALL the actions of the students AND teacher everyday. The kid that constantly refuses to work and goes out of his way to disrupt the class each day, but then goes home to tell the parents how mean the teacher is and accuse them of picking on him or trying to embarrass him in front of his classmates? Cameras in the room would let admin and the parents see for themselves exactly what type of behavior the student engaged in every day.

    Cameras would also allow admin to see if a teacher really DOES foster a "positive and exciting learning enironment" in their classroom every day, or do they just put on a good show during observation times?

    In other words, the camera would act as a neutral observer of events in the room (both good and bad) and would present all the actions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding any incidents in an unbiased manner. There would still be some "he said/she said", but now the video would be able to record what he did and she did that might have led to the event as well.


    3) I agree with swansong that the majority of educators DO improve with experience. It just makes sense that a more experienced teacher will understand the learning needs and capabilities of their students better than a teacher that has just started. It also makes sense that these teachers will have a LOT larger collection of past lesson and enrichment ideas to draw upon in a given lesson or situation. They will know the material better and know how quickly and thoroughly their students can learn each concept being taught.
     
  30. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    While Arne Duncan is the secretary of education, I have a hard time considering him an expert on educational matters. Just an opinion, though.
     
  31. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    If you are going to quote me, you have to go back and change the "don't" to "doesn't". I cringed when I reread what I had posted, and I had to go back and edit! :)

    We have a difference in opinion about the value experienced teachers bring to education. I don't dispute that there are some wonderful beginning teachers. But I also strongly believe that the more hands-on experience you have dealing with all types of students, parents, and administrators, the better you'll be at educating.

    I'm in my 24th year of teaching, and I truly believe I'm stronger than I've ever been. I know more about how to teach writing than I knew 5 years ago.

    I would also say that the degrees I've earned have also made me a stronger teacher.

    I wonder if there are studies on teacher effectiveness and longevity in the field.

    I may spend the next hour on line looking for something.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Can we also stipulate that teacher complacency is unconscionable, whether in the first year or in the thirty-first or at any point in between?
     
  33. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    I'm trying to remember where I read an article, but the jest of it was that "learning styles" couldn't be scientifically proven. Anyone else read it? I've got a copy on my desk at school but that does me no good tonight.
     
  34. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    I am very weary of people who speak from the perpectives of a charter school about our public schools. I believe that their view is very skewed. Some in this thread are doing just that.
     
  35. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I imagine we're also speaking of nuances when it comes to longevity and effectiveness, and are closer to agreement than not. I'm sure none of us are comparing a first year teacher to a veteran teacher.

    I'm sure we also agree that firing effective 3rd-year teachers just to keep to a "seniority rules" method is ridiculous.

    It all comes down to a consensus on how to measure effectiveness. I would hope that we all acknowledge that we haven't reached that point yet...in fact, we seem to be headed off in the wrong direction.
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Does anyone know how teacher performance is measured in other countries?
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dallas, if you think what I think you mean, the drift was that learning styles are much less about the learner than they are about the content: there's content that's appropriately learned visually, and other content that's appropriately learned verbally, and still other content that's appropriately learned hands on, and so on.

    Makes sense to me.
     
  38. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    This is sort of my issue against entangling with corporate interests like Bill Gates/Microsoft. When you think of it from a whats-in-it-for-him P.o.V, I think it's pretty apparent that, if we got to a point where we had 50 kids to a teacher, technology/distance learning, etc. would be things that would surely come forefront... and, that development would presumably be right up a tech company's alley. So there's much more to his statements/solutions, than just a shining humanitarian with the absolute best of intentions.
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 23, 2010

    according to http://www2.ed.gov/news/staff/bios/duncan.html

    "Prior to his appointment as secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, a position to which he was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley, from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country.

    As CEO, Duncan's mandate was to raise education standards and performance, improve teacher and principal quality, and increase learning options. In seven and a half years, he united education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening over 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down underperforming schools, increasing early childhood and college access, dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.

    Among his most significant accomplishments during his tenure as CEO, an all-time high of 66.7 percent of the district's elementary school students met or exceeded state reading standards, and their math scores also reached a record high, with 70.6 percent meeting or exceeding the state's standards. At high schools, Chicago Public School students posted gains on the ACT at three times the rate of national gains and nearly twice that of the state's. Also, the number of CPS high school students taking Advanced Placement courses tripled and the number of students passing AP classes more than doubled. Duncan has increased graduation rates and boosted the total number of college scholarships secured by CPS students to $157 million.

    A study released in June 2008 by the Illinois Education Research Council lauded the Chicago Public Schools for its efforts to bring top teaching talent into the city's classrooms, where the number of teachers applying for positions almost tripled since 2003, from about 8,600 to more than 21,000, or about 10 applicants per teaching position. The number of teachers achieving National Board Certification—the highest education credential available to teachers—increased from 11 in 1999 to 1,191 in 2008, making Chicago the fastest-growing urban district in this area of achievement.

    Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan ran the non-profit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative (1992-1998), which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. He was part of a team that later started a new public elementary school built around a financial literacy curriculum, the Ariel Community Academy, which today ranks among the top elementary schools in Chicago.

    Duncan formerly served on the boards of the Ariel Education Initiative, Chicago Cares, the Children's Center, the Golden Apple Foundation, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Jobs for America's Graduates, Junior Achievement, the Dean's Advisory Board of the Kellogg School of Management, the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Foundation, Renaissance Schools Fund, Scholarship Chicago and the South Side YMCA. He also served on the Board of Overseers for Harvard College and the Visiting Committees for Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration.

    Last year, he was honored by the Civic Federation of Chicago and the Anti-Defamation League. In 2007, he received the Niagara Foundation's Education Award, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship Enterprising Educator Award and the University High School Distinguished Alumni Award. He also received honorary degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Lake Forest College and National-Louis University. In 2006, the City Club of Chicago named him Citizen of the Year. He was a member of the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown Fellowship Program, class of 2002, and a fellow in the Leadership Greater Chicago's class of 1995.

    From 1987 to 1991, Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.

    Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. He was co-captain of Harvard's basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. He credits basketball with his team-oriented and highly disciplined work ethic.

    His late father was a professor at the University of Chicago and his mother has run a South Side tutoring program for inner-city children since 1961. As a student in Chicago, Duncan spent afternoons in his mother's tutoring program and also worked there during a year off from college. He credits this experience with shaping his understanding of the challenges of urban education.

    Duncan is married to Karen Duncan and they have two children, daughter Claire, 8, and son Ryan, 5, who attend a public elementary school in Arlington, Va. "


    I think this begs the question:

    How exactly DO we define "an expert on educational matters"????

    This thread has already discounted Bill Gates, anyone who teaches in a non-public school, and the Secretary of Education.
     
  40. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Nov 23, 2010

    I teach in a public alternative school, I can tell you that the single biggest factor to the success of the kids in our program is a small school and small classes.

    The students who come to us are at least 16 years old and no less than a year behind in credits. Most of them come to us in their third or fourth year of high school, but they are still classified as freshmen. They come to us with huge gaps in their learning, with severe personal issues and with apathy for themselves, school and honestly, the world in general.

    We only take about 180 kids a year. Our class sizes range from 2 to 14 (with the average being about 10). There are 17 teachers and 25 adults on campus. Every kid knows every adult and vice versa. We *all* know each other, we all work with the kids (including the non-teachers), and it has made a huge impact on the way the feel about school and themselves.

    Each graduating class records a brief "goodbye" to the school for our end of the term ceremony. Overwhelming the kids say that what makes a difference to them is that they feel the teachers really care about them. The reason we are able to do that is because we can really focus on them! My entire class load is 35 (that's split between 4 classes). With that number of students I can really focus on what each kid needs and give them the help they deserve!

    We are also a 1:1 school (meaning each kid has a laptop), but honestly, that's just icing on the cake. It's nice to have, but it's not what makes the school work.

    If you'd like to hear what our kids have to say about our school, PM me, and I'll send you the online link to their grad videos.
     
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