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  1. #1
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    The Toll of School Reform on Public Education

    Lengthy but extremely accurate article by Diane Ravitch. It's funny that Racitch is considered a "conservative", but conservatives hate her while us lazy, librul, union-loving teachers so often nod in agreement with what Ravitch has to say.

    The article summarizes the education reform movement the last 10-15 years and predicts where we are going:

    Race to the Top seems to have catalyzed a national narrative, at least among the mainstream media. The good guys open charter schools and fire bad teachers. The bad guys are lazy teachers who get lifetime tenure just for breathing and showing up. Most evil of all are the unions, who protect the bad teachers and fend off any effort to evaluate them. Anyone who questions the headlong rush to privatization and the blind faith in standardized testing will be smeared as "a defender of the status quo" who has "no solutions." Even if all the "reformers'" solutions are destructive and stale, even though they consistently have failed to produce better education, the reformers never think twice about their palette of "solutions."
    The bitter fruit of the past few years of reform: The latest survey of the attitudes of American teachers shows a deeply demoralized profession. Job satisfaction of our nation's teachers has plummeted since 2009, the period in which attacks on teachers soared while budgets shrunk. Nearly one-third of teachers—1 million teachers—are considering quitting. That's a 70 percent increase since 2009. Who will replace them?
    While policymakers eagerly await the evidence they need to begin firing the lowest-rated teachers, a new study by the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER, finds that teacher turnover demoralizes the entire staff and lowers achievement, not just for students whose teachers were removed, but for all the students in the school.
    The prediction:
    The pattern on the rug grows clear. Teaching will become a job, not a profession. Young people will typically spend a year or two as teachers, then move on to other, more rewarding careers. Federal and state policy will promote online learning, and computers will replace teaches. Online class sizes will reach 1:100, even 1:200; the job of monitoring the screens will be outsourced, creating large economies for state budgets. For-profit companies will make large profits. The Common Core standards will create a national marketplace for vendors, as Secretary Arne Duncan's chief of staff, Joanne Weiss, predicted. Entrepreneurs will reap the rewards of the new American style of education. As profits grow, the cost of education will be contained. Public education will increasingly be handed over to businesses designed to maximize economic efficiency and produce dependable profits for investors.
    It's already there. My school was "turned around" under Race to the Top and despite my students' achievement, i became one of the surprising turnover casualties (because i spoke out about the curriculum i said we needed to either change or supplement to ensure student success). Building morale is at an all time low because the thinking is, "if FWFW can get dumped, they can get anyone of us". The young teachers are looking for new jobs and the older ones are taking the earliest retirement possible. It sucks.
    Last edited by ForWhoForWhat?; 04-01-2012 at 08:20 PM.
    "Stop doing the wrong things. Stop promoting competition and choice as answers to the very inequality that was created by competition and choice."
    ~ Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error

  2. #2
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    The pattern on the rug grows clear. Teaching will become a job, not a profession. Young people will typically spend a year or two as teachers, then move on to other, more rewarding careers. Federal and state policy will promote online learning, and computers will replace teaches. Online class sizes will reach 1:100, even 1:200; the job of monitoring the screens will be outsourced, creating large economies for state budgets. For-profit companies will make large profits. The Common Core standards will create a national marketplace for vendors, as Secretary Arne Duncan's chief of staff, Joanne Weiss, predicted. Entrepreneurs will reap the rewards of the new American style of education. As profits grow, the cost of education will be contained. Public education will increasingly be handed over to businesses designed to maximize economic efficiency and produce dependable profits for investors.
    This quote was directly from the article you linked and it's CLEAR speculation that isn't supported by any facts or trends she presented earlier in the article.

    In my opinion "Teacher dissatisfaction" is due to "teacher failure". They are not talented at teaching and they don't like being told that. Right now thanks to Unions our school system is filled with people unfit to teach and the reason they hate "No Child Left Behind" is because it's mandatory testing of students reveals how poor our teachers are compared to the rest of the world. Don't like the truth, change the truth. That's what these school reforms are pushing for and I think it's completely necessary to do it. The writing is on the wall for this archaic & outdated school system which is failing students and putting the future of our nation in jeopardy.
    Last edited by thelittlecheese; 04-01-2012 at 08:53 PM.
    As defined by the Official Terrorism Training For Law Enforcement:
    What Is Domestic Terrorism?
    Extreme force and violence perpetrated by
    the people government of a country, within that country,
    for the purpose of coercing its government and population public
    into modifying its behavior"

    You are either with Our Constitution or you are with The Terrorists!

    Government...if it leans to the left it eventually means theft. - tlc

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelittlecheese View Post
    This quote was directly from the article you linked and it's CLEAR speculation that isn't supported by any facts or trends she presented earlier in the article.
    Really? i "taught" at an online charter school for a year and half. I left because there wasn't much education taking place. We kept students on the rolls who hadn't even logged in, so we could collect their monetary allotment from their home school district. Despite the fact they hadn't logged in and wouldn't answer the phone and home visits were attempted, we teacher's were still responsible for their academic success. Meanwhile, the board meetings boasted million dollar profits, while we, non unionized teachers were paid 10-25% less than our peers in the traditional public school with similar experience. Our teacher-student ratio was as high as high as 1:75, before we fought to get it down to 1:50--and even that ratio wasn't honored. We could dismiss my experience as simply anecdote, but charter schools all over the country are shut down every year for financial flim-flam. In many states all those schools have to do is close for a year (at the end of the term of the multi-year charter), change the name, reassign a couple board members and open the doors again the following year.

    And that's not to say the public school system is a great steward of public money. I've posted plenty of times about programs i've witnessed and been a part of that were a huge waste of public dollars. RTTT is one of them. In some cases, every time a district gets federal funds, they have to hire at least one new, 6-figure administrator to "oversee" the program. The unions surely aren't advocating this.

    Quote Originally Posted by thelittlecheese View Post
    In my opinion "Teacher dissatisfaction" is due to "teacher failure". They are not talented at teaching and they don't like being told that. Right now thanks to Unions our school system is filled with people unfit to teach and the reason they hate "No Child Left Behind" is because it's mandatory testing of students reveals how poor our teachers are compared to the rest of the world. Don't like the truth, change the truth. That's what these school reforms are pushing for and I think it's completely necessary to do it. The writing is on the wall for this archaic & outdated school system which is failing students and putting the future of our nation in jeopardy.
    Obviously, i disagree with the rest of your post, as it is not based in fact, but anecdote. When a district picks a curriculum that they get kick backs from the publisher, that harms students and hinders achievement, and that same district/state chooses to tie student test achievement to teacher performance, the professional educators are going to take the necessary actions to properly educate the student, via supplementing the flawed curriculum. As such, the state/district would be foolish to "reassign" said professionals inspite of his or her student's high achievemnt for "not following policy".

    At that point, the REAL question is, is the teacher's responsibility to the state/district? Or is the teacher's responsibility to educate the student?
    "Stop doing the wrong things. Stop promoting competition and choice as answers to the very inequality that was created by competition and choice."
    ~ Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error

  4. #4
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    FWFW -- I didn't realize your problems included not just job dissatisfaction, but job insecurity as well. My condolences, man.

    Anyhow, while I haven't read the article yet, it's obvious that education has to be seriously reinvented. The "hasn't changed enough since the 19th Century" meme is pretty accurate. Ditto the meme that the current system was structured to produce conforming, machine-cog workers.

    The issue is to keep the new way from being worse than the old.
    APF doesn't come in screaming at others about how stupid they are. APF doesn't spam NST with the same tired topic 30 times a month. APF doesn't link to some kook in his mom's basement telling you how to, "Be afraid. Be very afraid" of the world falling down around you. And, when APF is proven wrong, he acknowledges he made a mistake and moves on, rather than harping about "sheeple."

    -- Cory Bonini

    Welchie summarized

  5. #5
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    For what I think is a not-irrelevant analogy, I offer a blog post on the future of journalism. http://www.texttechnologies.com/2009...tem-is-headed/ Traditional journalistic institutions are being weakened and disrupted by various economic and technological trends. However, the benefits of journalism can still be achieved, in a new system where there is a greater variety of roles to fill. The key point is that you still have lots of people who want to convey information and reasoned opinion.

    Similarly, it is possible that the somewhat monolithic profession of "teacher" could be in trouble, with the practice of smart, passionate, responsible teaching nonetheless winding up stronger than before.
    APF doesn't come in screaming at others about how stupid they are. APF doesn't spam NST with the same tired topic 30 times a month. APF doesn't link to some kook in his mom's basement telling you how to, "Be afraid. Be very afraid" of the world falling down around you. And, when APF is proven wrong, he acknowledges he made a mistake and moves on, rather than harping about "sheeple."

    -- Cory Bonini

    Welchie summarized

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelittlecheese View Post
    This quote was directly from the article you linked and it's CLEAR speculation that isn't supported by any facts or trends she presented earlier in the article.

    In my opinion "Teacher dissatisfaction" is due to "teacher failure". They are not talented at teaching and they don't like being told that. Right now thanks to Unions our school system is filled with people unfit to teach and the reason they hate "No Child Left Behind" is because it's mandatory testing of students reveals how poor our teachers are compared to the rest of the world. Don't like the truth, change the truth. That's what these school reforms are pushing for and I think it's completely necessary to do it. The writing is on the wall for this archaic & outdated school system which is failing students and putting the future of our nation in jeopardy.
    It's administrative failure not teacher failure. Much like with CEO's at big corporations, school systems have a bunch of suits running things that haven't ever taught a day in their life and wouldn't know how so they try to use useless tests to try and determine teachers worth. It's much easier to use a test that doesn't even apply to anything the kids need to know to judge then it is to reform the actual system.

    The only worry is a school getting a high enough score to get their money. None of the kids matter.
    The stand your ground law is like bleach. It works miracles for whites but it'll ruin your colors.

  7. #7
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    I don't disagree that the school systems need to change, but probably I do on the how.

    Personally, I like the idea of an objective measure, but the standardized tests are crap and I know there are studies that question their objectivity.

    Second, most of the stuff being taught isn't really that useful in the long run anyway.
    Mac9, to the true warrior. the ultimate competitor and the most worth adversary any athlete has ever faced off against. He was an inspiration for both his on the field play, off the field contributions and his leadership. The world is now a worse place without him.

    "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    "Just because you're the lone voice in the wilderness, it doesn't mean you're wrong."
    - Ghandi

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    Second, most of the stuff being taught isn't really that useful in the long run anyway.
    Clearly, I'm biased, but i disagree. A lot of the stuff that seems useless does help young developing minds develop a sense of logic and order. So while most of us won't need to solve an equation, write a literary analysis on Kafka, or count moles or sig figs in our post-secondary or collegiate jobs, those tasks do help us learn to think and problem solve on the job.

    One of the problems of reformed education is we swung too far away from some of those things that seem useless, like using an algorithm to solve an equation, in favor of simply "problem solving". As such students will spend a 60 minute class solving just 2 problems, because theoretically they are thinking their way through the processes. However, if we taught them the algorithm, they could probably solve both of the 2 problems in a matter of seconds. The reformed thinking was, "the algorithms don't mean anything to the student, so let's drop them". The result is slightly higher scores on the problem solving/word problem portions of tests, but at the cost of student's inability to solve a 2-step equation and more advanced algorithms necessary for higher maths, sciences, and engineering. It's only been in the last few years the math world is slowly coming around to a more balanced curricular approach containing both problem solving AND algorithms, which i favor.
    "Stop doing the wrong things. Stop promoting competition and choice as answers to the very inequality that was created by competition and choice."
    ~ Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForWhoForWhat? View Post
    Clearly, I'm biased, but i disagree. A lot of the stuff that seems useless does help young developing minds develop a sense of logic and order. So while most of us won't need to solve an equation, write a literary analysis on Kafka, or count moles or sig figs in our post-secondary or collegiate jobs, those tasks do help us learn to think and problem solve on the job.

    One of the problems of reformed education is we swung too far away from some of those things that seem useless, like using an algorithm to solve an equation, in favor of simply "problem solving". As such students will spend a 60 minute class solving just 2 problems, because theoretically they are thinking their way through the processes. However, if we taught them the algorithm, they could probably solve both of the 2 problems in a matter of seconds. The reformed thinking was, "the algorithms don't mean anything to the student, so let's drop them". The result is slightly higher scores on the problem solving/word problem portions of tests, but at the cost of student's inability to solve a 2-step equation and more advanced algorithms necessary for higher maths, sciences, and engineering. It's only been in the last few years the math world is slowly coming around to a more balanced curricular approach containing both problem solving AND algorithms, which i favor.
    I dont' disagree with you really. But I think some really important things are being ignored or brushed over (basic personal finance and how money works, capitalism ect.) that EVERYONE should know like the "3 R's"
    Mac9, to the true warrior. the ultimate competitor and the most worth adversary any athlete has ever faced off against. He was an inspiration for both his on the field play, off the field contributions and his leadership. The world is now a worse place without him.

    "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    "Just because you're the lone voice in the wilderness, it doesn't mean you're wrong."
    - Ghandi

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForWhoForWhat? View Post
    Really? i "taught" at an online charter school for a year and half. I left because there wasn't much education taking place. We kept students on the rolls who hadn't even logged in, so we could collect their monetary allotment from their home school district. Despite the fact they hadn't logged in and wouldn't answer the phone and home visits were attempted, we teacher's were still responsible for their academic success. Meanwhile, the board meetings boasted million dollar profits, while we, non unionized teachers were paid 10-25% less than our peers in the traditional public school with similar experience. Our teacher-student ratio was as high as high as 1:75, before we fought to get it down to 1:50--and even that ratio wasn't honored. We could dismiss my experience as simply anecdote, but charter schools all over the country are shut down every year for financial flim-flam. In many states all those schools have to do is close for a year (at the end of the term of the multi-year charter), change the name, reassign a couple board members and open the doors again the following year.

    And that's not to say the public school system is a great steward of public money. I've posted plenty of times about programs i've witnessed and been a part of that were a huge waste of public dollars. RTTT is one of them. In some cases, every time a district gets federal funds, they have to hire at least one new, 6-figure administrator to "oversee" the program. The unions surely aren't advocating this.


    Obviously, i disagree with the rest of your post, as it is not based in fact, but anecdote. When a district picks a curriculum that they get kick backs from the publisher, that harms students and hinders achievement, and that same district/state chooses to tie student test achievement to teacher performance, the professional educators are going to take the necessary actions to properly educate the student, via supplementing the flawed curriculum. As such, the state/district would be foolish to "reassign" said professionals inspite of his or her student's high achievemnt for "not following policy".

    At that point, the REAL question is, is the teacher's responsibility to the state/district? Or is the teacher's responsibility to educate the student?
    You're comparing a state sponsored "Private School" that appears to collect money from the government based on the number of students they have enrolled and for no other reason to an actual private school that wouldn't keep ghost children enrolled that have non paying parents.

    They are not the same at all, in fact what you worked in amounts to nothing more than a taxpayer handout to whoever owned your school. Correct me if I'm wrong in my interpretation of the system you are describing.
    "There were many ways of not burdening one's conscience, of shunning responsibility, looking away, keeping mum. When the unspeakable truth of the holocaust then became known at the end of the war, all too many of us claimed that they had not known anything about it or even suspected anything."

    - Richard Von Weizsaecker

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknifer View Post
    You're comparing a state sponsored "Private School" that appears to collect money from the government based on the number of students they have enrolled and for no other reason to an actual private school that wouldn't keep ghost children enrolled that have non paying parents.

    They are not the same at all, in fact what you worked in amounts to nothing more than a taxpayer handout to whoever owned your school. Correct me if I'm wrong in my interpretation of the system you are describing.
    Essentially, no you are not wrong.
    "Stop doing the wrong things. Stop promoting competition and choice as answers to the very inequality that was created by competition and choice."
    ~ Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error

  12. #12
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    "Teaching will become a job"

    Finally.
    I promise I won't do it again

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