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Willisms

« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 440 -- Media Bias On Climate Change. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 106 »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 441 -- Teachers & Job Security.

Not Much Creative Destruction In Teaching-

Antiquated jobs are destroyed. Innovative new jobs are created. Jobs are eliminated. Jobs appear out of thin air. A net plus of jobs is created in the end. It's the circle of life in a healthy economy.

The Skeptical Optimist blog has a great discussion of this phenomenon.

In 2006, 16% of workers in America got fired or were laid off (.pdf). Nearly all of them found new jobs in relatively short order. Some did not, and it was unpleasant for them. It would have been far less pleasant, however, had there been few, if any, new jobs elsewhere.

Think: Michigan or parts of Europe, where labor laws are rigid and antiquated, and potential employers think long and hard about before creating a new job.

In the same year (2006), 12.2% of state employees in Texas were dismissed from their jobs (.pdf). So, much more job stability in government jobs. But still some churning.

In many of the school districts in Texas, fractions of fractions of a single percent of teachers lost their jobs (.pdf):

terminationsofteachers.gif

Meanwhile, it's fairly difficult for someone with real world experience (such as a retired or semi-retired scientist or engineer) to get into teaching without going through a cumbersome accreditation process. It's also difficult for 20-somethings without degrees specifically in "Education" to break into the teaching profession. The costs (both time and monetary) associated with getting certified mean that many highly qualified individuals considering teaching for the short term only become discouraged and look elsewhere for employment.

There's very little-- too little-- turnover in teaching. It's hard to get into it. It's hard to be fired. Incentive pay is non-existent. There are few, if any, other incentives for a teacher to strive to be the best.

The teaching profession in Texas looks like the employment situations in Michigan or Europe- highly unionized, static, broken, and full of problems that nobody on the inside can seem to figure out.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Absurdly Overwhelming Media Bias on Global Warming.

Posted by Will Franklin · 30 May 2007 08:34 AM

Comments

More claptrap from Will.

First off, you may be the best chemist the world has ever produced--but that doesn't qualify you to teach chemistry. Subject matter proficiency is only one part of the equation. The other part is an ability to teach. This is missed by those who generally have no concept of education. The ability to teach means recognizing when a student isn't getting it or when a student is and is ready for more advanced coursework. The problem is many mouthbreathers feel education/teaching conforms to a nice, neat one-size-fits-all pattern. It doesn't. Every student is different and brings completely unique sets of strengths and weaknesses to the classroom.

Second, Will makes a very common error typical of rightwingers who tend to react rather than think. That is, comparing apples to oranges. Will compares state worker firing rates to teacher firing rates. Remember, state workers come in many varieties; from men who cut grass and pickup trash to lawyers and doctors. Teachers have generally one function; plus they are required to be certified.

Posted by: Jadegold at May 30, 2007 10:12 AM

Subject matter proficiency is only one part of the equation. The other part is an ability to teach. This is missed by those who generally have no concept of education. The ability to teach means recognizing when a student isn't getting it or when a student is and is ready for more advanced coursework. The problem is many mouthbreathers feel education/teaching conforms to a nice, neat one-size-fits-all pattern. It doesn't. Every student is different and brings completely unique sets of strengths and weaknesses to the classroom.

Subject matter proficiency is only marginally part of the equation at all. Quite honestly, all one needs in order to teach a particular subject is passing familiarity with it and the certification to do it. You don't need to have much more than a couple of college courses in it at the introductory level. Most "chemistry teachers" have not taken quantitative methods, organic chemistry, or any other higher level chemistry class. All you need to take is Intro to Chem to be a certified chemistry teacher.

Just in case you want to see what is on the certification exam for chemistry endorsements in Arizona:

  • Understand the historical and contemporary contexts of the study of chemistry.
  • Understand the nature of science and scientific inquiry.
  • Understand principles and procedures of scientific investigations.
  • Understand the processes of gathering, organizing, reporting, and analyzing scientific data in the context of chemistry investigations.
  • Understand the interrelationships among chemistry, society, technology, and the other sciences and the applications of chemistry to everyday life.
  • Understand principles and procedures related to safety.
  • Understand the concept of matter, and analyze chemical and physical properties of and changes in matter.
  • Understand the various models of atomic structure, the principles of quantum theory, and the properties and interactions of subatomic particles.
  • Understand the organization of the periodic table.
  • Understand the kinetic theory, the nature of phase changes, and the gas laws.
  • Apply the conventions of chemical notation and representations.
  • Understand the process of nuclear transformation.
  • Understand the principles of thermodynamics and calorimetry.
  • Understand energy relationships in chemical bonding and chemical reactions.
  • Understand the types of bonds between atoms (including ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds), the formation of these bonds, and properties of substances containing the different bonds.
  • Understand types and characteristics of molecular interaction and properties of substances containing different types of interactive forces between molecules.
  • Understand the nomenclature and structure of organic compounds.
  • Understand factors that affect reaction rates and methods of measuring reaction rates.
  • Understand the principles of chemical equilibrium.
  • Understand the theories, principles, and applications of acid-base chemistry.
  • Understand redox reactions and electrochemistry.
  • Understand the nature of organic reactions.
  • Understand the mole concept.
  • Understand the relationship between the mole concept and chemical formulas.
  • Understand the quantitative relationships expressed in chemical equations.
  • Understand the properties of solutions, and analyze factors that affect solubility.

Compare that to the objectives of Chemistry I and II at the local community colleges:

  • Define "chemistry" and describe its main branches. (I)
  • Use the factor-label (dimensional analysis) method in solving chemistry-related problems. (II)
  • Use metric and SI systems of units. (II)
  • Define the relationships between matter and energy. (III)
  • Describe the physical states of matter with the aid of the kinetic molecular theory. (III)
  • Classify matter as elements, compounds, or mixtures. (III)
  • Describe the properties of metallic and nonmetallic elements. (III)
  • Write formulas for and give names of simple inorganic compounds. (III)
  • Classify a property or change as physical or chemical. (III)
  • Complete and balance chemical equations. (IV)
  • Write a net ionic equation from a given reaction. (IV)
  • Determine the empirical and molecular formula from percentage composition or mass data. (V)
  • Perform calculations using the mole concept of mass and number. (V)
  • Solve problems involving the ideal gas laws. (VI)
  • Solve problems involving energy changes that result from physical state changes and from chemical reactions. (VII)
  • Apply Hess's law to given set of equations. (VII)
  • Calculate heats of reactions from calorimeter data and/or bond energies. (VII)
  • Solve stoichiometry problems, including problems involving solutions and heats of reactions. (VII)
  • Deduce the electronic structure of atoms and show the relationship between electronic structure and the chemical properties of atoms. (VIII)
  • Use the periodic table to predict the properties of elements and compounds. (VIII)
  • Identify substances as electrolytes or nonelectrolytes. (X)
  • Describe the properties of ionic and covalent compounds. (IX)
  • Write the electron dot structure for an atom, ion, ionic formula, or a covalently bonded specie. (IX)
  • Describe covalent chemical bonding. (IX)
  • Use the concepts of electonegativity and bond polarity in conjunction with VSEPR theory to predict the shapes and polarities of simple ions and molecules. (IX)
  • Classify intermolecular forces in a given substance. (X)
  • Classify a crystal as molecular, ionic, covalent, or metallic. (X)
  • Describe the properties of solutions. (XI)
  • Complete and balance redox equations. (I)
  • Describe the progress of a chemical reaction in terms of Collision Theory or Transition State Theory. (II)
  • Determine the order of a reaction with respect to a reactant and overall order and the rate law expression. (II)
  • Determine whether a proposed mechanism agrees with the rate law for a reaction. (II)
  • Describe the influence of various factors on reaction rate and on position of equilibrium. (II, III)
  • Write correct equilibrium expressions and calculate the value of K, or calculate concentrations of reactants and products at equilibrium. (III)
  • Solve problems involving solubility equilibria. (III)
  • Solve equilibrium problems involving weak acids, weak bases, and complex ions. (III)
  • State the three laws of thermodynamics. (IV)
  • Calculate changes in enthalpy, entropy, and free energy from appropriate thermodynamic data. (IV)
  • Predict the spontaneity of chemical reactions from thermodynamic data. (IV)
  • Solve problems involving Faraday's Law of Electrolysis. (V)
  • Use the Nernst Equation to calculate cell potentials. (V)
  • Complete and write nuclear reactions. (VI)
  • Compare and contrast chemical and nuclear reactions. (VI)
  • Describe applications of radiochemistry. (VI)

Posted by: Justin B at May 30, 2007 02:32 PM

Jadegold makes the argument that taking Chem I and Chem II at a community college and being able to pass a multiple choice test consisting of basic concepts covered in Chem I and II as well as having a degree in education and student teaching for a semester makes one more qualified to teach than the alternative of having actually worked in the field. Because teaching requires the following courses that are actually more important than any practical real world experience:

TEL 311* Instruction and Management in the Inclusive Classroom 3 TEL 313* Educational Technology in the K12 Curriculum 3 TEL 314* Classroom Assessment 3 BLE 312 ESL, Diversity, and Culture in Education (L) 3 TEL 315 Child and Adolescent Development (SB) 3 TEL 396* Field Experience 1 0 SED 321 Critical Issues in Secondary Education 3 SED 322 Classroom Leadership in Secondary Schools 3 RDG 323 Literacy Processes in Content Areas 3 ____ 480/481/482 Methods Class in Academic Specialization 3 SED 397 Field Experience 2 0 SED 478 Student Teaching in the Secondary School 12

Taking these classes and taking Chemistry I and II makes a teacher more qualified than a professional that actually worked in the field because these courses explain:

The other part is an ability to teach. This is missed by those who generally have no concept of education. The ability to teach means recognizing when a student isn't getting it or when a student is and is ready for more advanced coursework. The problem is many mouthbreathers feel education/teaching conforms to a nice, neat one-size-fits-all pattern. It doesn't. Every student is different and brings completely unique sets of strengths and weaknesses to the classroom.

Ah, knowing strengths and weaknesses of students is more important than taking a Chemistry class at a level above Chem I and II. Who needs to know Quantitative or Qualitative Methods or Organic Chemistry when all you need is Chem I and II and to know "how to teach".

Posted by: Justin B at May 30, 2007 02:46 PM

sorry, that is:

  • TEL 311* Instruction and Management in the Inclusive Classroom 3
  • TEL 313* Educational Technology in the K12 Curriculum 3
  • TEL 314* Classroom Assessment 3
  • BLE 312 ESL, Diversity, and Culture in Education (L) 3
  • TEL 315 Child and Adolescent Development (SB) 3
  • TEL 396* Field Experience 1 0
  • SED 321 Critical Issues in Secondary Education 3
  • SED 322 Classroom Leadership in Secondary Schools 3
  • RDG 323 Literacy Processes in Content Areas 3 ____ 480/481/482 Methods Class in Academic Specialization 3
  • SED 397 Field Experience 2 0
  • SED 478 Student Teaching in the Secondary School 12

Posted by: Justin B at May 30, 2007 02:49 PM

Will,
That is really an interesting perspective, with which I whole-heartedly agree.

Bad teachers and good teachers get into the system, and because of of Union stipulations, social mandates dictated by the Federal and State governments, and general lack of "home-bringing" by parents who send an inferior product because absolutely no discipline at home to be educated stresses a system with absolutely no accountability to the citizens they should be serving.

The good and the bad teachers are accepted and nurtured in a system that continually goes begging to the public that tax increases are necessary to finance a system that is a proven failure.(You think this is bad, give us more money and we will prove to you we need more money)

The teacher's are typical union weenies, no objective standards for anyone to meet, all members are valued in the union halls as being equal, therefore no one is terminated. Have you ever tried to fire a beaucrat.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at May 30, 2007 03:03 PM

I just got done at my sons' school doing Kindergarten graduation and going to a 4th grade awards ceremony. I am very happy with every single teacher my oldest son has had as well as with my youngest's teacher this year. They have been great.

But the gifted services teacher has done an absolutely piss poor job. Never communicates. Hides behind "we don't have enough funding" as a way of explaining her lack of time and effort. Always complains about being shorthanded as an excuse for not sending progress reports or work home. And worse yet, she reports to the district, not to the individual principal of the school since she services two schools.

It is obvious that in any given profession and any given company there are bottom feeders. Jadegold glosses over that fact. We know they exist. But about the only way that you get fired from a school is to get caught having sex with one of your students or get arrested for smoking crack with them.

First, principals are educators too and are union members. If they have the backbone to go against the union and try to fire a teacher, it is almost impossible short of misconduct. The requirements to become a teacher as I outlined above are simply get a degree in Ed and take a couple classes in whatever field you want an endorsement in. It is a government job with no real threat of firing, a captive customer base, and no real competition. You get three months off per year and get every major holiday off. Most schools have 180 student day requirements per year, which equates to working 36 full weeks. Even if you add "in-service" time of a couple weeks before and after the school year, that is 38 weeks meaning that you get 14 weeks completely off. That is over 1/4 of the year without working. You can work a second job or travel or do whatever. And the entire Liberal world spends every waking moment trumpeting the NEA line of "teachers are so underpaid and that is why education is suffering".

Will brings up the point that the best and brightest folks are unwilling to sacrifice private sector money and career opportunities in return for a job with the government that pays less, even with the perks of time off and never being able to be fired. There is no way to clean out the ranks of underperforming folks and the process for top performing private sector people to take a sabbatical and teach is so complex and painful that it is not really an option. It is exactly the recipe for mediocrity and consequently, that is what we get. Thanks NEA. Thanks Unions.

Posted by: Justin B at May 30, 2007 03:18 PM

Justin B.

Jadegold is a mere pimple on the ass of intellectual progress.

Intellectual discourse around his campfire of education consists of, first of all, and above anything else, slamming reality and interjecting some social theory blaming Conservatives for all ills that cause him to lie sleepless at night.

Our educational system, once you get to and compare grades 7-12 against the world, comes in woefully lacking.

Not all of this is the teachers part, they are just the tip of the spear when it comes to public accountability. They are latched into a system that long ago forsake their obligation to educate and replaced it with a retirement plan.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at May 30, 2007 03:29 PM

And union dues.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at May 30, 2007 03:47 PM

I pretty much believe Jadegold has nothing better to do than troll around here and take a contrarian attitude. Good, bad, or right or wrong, Jadegold is going to use faulty logic to attack whatever point is trying to be made.

At the end of the day, the private sector measures performance by results. Businesses succeed or fail based on delivering results. People's performance evaluations, pay raises, and bonuses as well as their very job are tied to the results they produce for the company, often relative to their peers and other companies. There are set success and failure criteria, often expressed in terms of ROI or profit and income. It is easy to know where one stands.

In education, pay is solely based on union negotiated contracts based primarily on level of education and tenure in one's position. Very little is tied back to actual teaching performance. And there is no adequate way to obtain customer feedback or do differential pay based on quality of work. Therefore, the low performers (and there are too many) are not differentiated from the good performers (and there are plenty of good teachers too). When Jadegold speaks about the education and training required to be a good teacher, it makes me laugh. There is very little success in teaching that is attributable to "training" or "teacher education" relative to the large degree of success that is directly attributable to work ethic and motivation of the teacher. Meaning the difference between a great teacher and a poor one has nothing to do with college GPA, degrees obtained, or classes and certifications completed or years on the job--but rather with how dedicated they are, how much they care, and how hard they work.

And ultimately the system rewards degrees, tenure, and certifications, not effort. That is the union way. That is the government way. And in every instance where unions run things, we end up with inefficiency and uncompetitive industries. Sure, there are other problems too, but when educations is judged on results, not intentions, one cannot argue how the NEA and the school systems and the teachers collectively are failing.

Posted by: Justin B at May 30, 2007 06:15 PM

What jadegold offers should be true. There are certainly cases where it is true. It is not generally true.

We have done private school, public school, and homeschool for our four boys, in various combinations. My wife is an elementary school librarian and my goddess of a daughter-in-law is an elementary school teacher. I will grant that teaching is not as easy as outsiders imagine it to be. Like centerfielders, good teachers make it look easy, but that doesn't mean it is.

The gradual accumulation of educational junk has gummed up our educational system, and the inability to leave Some Teachers Behind is a constant dead weight in every school. Some districts have so many it's a wonder the kids learn much of anything. There are new educational fads every few years which sap energy from actual teaching.

Here's a ray of hope, however. Check out Daviess County, Kentucky. The entire district has redesigned its curriculum around proven brain science. Starting in kindergarten, every child learns chess, every child learns a foreign language, every child takes music lessons, all with the idea of simply building better brains. More synapses. More activation. The point is not to create a small army of chess playing musical linguists, but just to build brains. The first class to go all the way through with this graduates in 2010. Testing of that lead group is already showing dramatic improvement. The district five-year-olds enter at about 60th percentile in the state. The eighth grade group is at 80th percentile, and they hope to hit 90th, with full graduation rate in 2010. This includes, remember, students who have moved into the district and have not had the full benefit of years in program.

Interestingly, they also teach folk dance, which I thought would be a waste, but neuroscience shows that it also builds brain connections.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at May 30, 2007 07:59 PM

That is what pisses me off about my kid's gifted program at his school. That is what all the hippie run private schools that rich folks send their kids to teach. Art, music, language, dance, chess, logic and reasoning... The hippie schools that teach with a lack of structure and focus on creativity (meaning the $30k a year private schools in NYC, DC, etc., where the super wealthy send their kids).

Hence why I am so upset about his gifted teacher and her lack of dedication. Our gifted programs should at very least stimulate the brain. Logic and reasoning like chess makes you smarter. With rigorous use of these tools, one can actually improve what most consider to be genetic properties like IQ. When stimulated, the brain can get stronger just like the body can. Not just more knowledge, but more ability to reason and store knowledge.

And it sounds racist, but my district is proportionally more Hispanic than I would like meaning that the lack of English proficiency diverts from the mission because teachers spend so much time trying to pass standardized tests for Spanish speakers so that they are not a No Child Left Behind school. My kids don't have art time or dance time or music time becuase the school has to teach all the kids whose parents don't speak English at home to read and write and speak a foreign language instead of spending the resources and money on gifted programs.

And the best teachers tire quickly of teaching Spanish to English instead of enriching topics like history or computers or art or "other". They teach at a boringly slow pace and have to deal with problems in the classroom due to it. So they go to better districts where this isn't a problem. See, that is the only option good teachers have because all districts pay close to the same. But the amount of work and the amount of enjoyment is far greater at some schools than others. Since pay is set by the unions, the best teachers either go to the rich districts or leave the field, unless they are altruists or idealists that want to change the world. And that goes away real quick when your school is "failing".

Posted by: Justin B at May 30, 2007 10:39 PM

How much education does it take to teach? My mother taught in a one room school. Her qualifications?

  • 18 years of age
  • high school diploma
  • a teaching certificate - one summer session at Iowa State Teachers College
  • I always assumed she had done two years of college. When I asked her what she thought of her college experience, she said, "Loved the Literature courses but the Teaching Methods was a waste of time." That was about 1940. In my high school and college years (the sixties), I worked for a good number of her students - all of which completed high school. They wrote proper checks, did their own taxes, kept up to date by reading newspapers / farm magazines and listening to the news, knew organophosphates were bad and used rubber gloves and face masks long before the EPA issued warnings, and traded in the futures market to hedge their crops. She had no qualms about having the best students tutor those that were behind. One of them even knew that the escape velocity for earth was more than 20,000 miles per hour. Not bad for what many intellectuals consider hicks and hayseeds.

    I have a retired engineer friend who teaches Mathematics at a local community college. His students always score better on tests. His background was Finite Element Methods - stress analysis mostly - in the aerospace and nuclear industries. His qualifications? One thesis short of two Ph.Ds - no teaching courses. While others teach math to pass tests, he teaches his students math to solve real world problems and he has a ton of examples. His section is always the first to fill and he gets the best students.

    Posted by: JGsez at May 31, 2007 01:07 AM

    Again, Justin B. is incapable of getting the point: subject matter proficiency is half the equation. One can be the world's foremost expert on a given subject but still be a lousy teacher.

    This is simply a fact that can't be refuted even by Justin B's puerile cut-and-paster skills.

    Let us also not forget that most private schools don't require certification of any kind for their teachers; this means not only might a teacher not be capable of teaching but he or she may not even be proficient in the subject.

    At the end of the day, the private sector measures performance by results.

    This is a nice slogan but is rarely true. For example, what does the CEO and the top leadership of GM make? If we measure performance by results, they should be making something south of minimum wage. There are numerous examples to prove Justin's slogan false.

    The hippie schools that teach with a lack of structure and focus on creativity (meaning the $30k a year private schools in NYC, DC, etc., where the super wealthy send their kids).

    Here's a challenge to Justin--one which I'm certain he'll refuse--to allow him to back up his nonsense.

    First, try to find a $30K a year private school ( I'd suggest Dalton in NYC or Georgetown Day in DC). Then call them up and ask what colleges and universities their graduates have been accepted at. I'll bet their students wind up at top-tier schools.

    And it sounds racist, but my district is proportionally more Hispanic than I would like

    Yup.

    Posted by: Jadegold at May 31, 2007 09:02 AM

    Again, Justin B. is incapable of getting the point: subject matter proficiency is half the equation. One can be the world's foremost expert on a given subject but still be a lousy teacher.

    It happens to be the only requirement to teach at the Community College level. One need not have a degree in ED to teach there.

    First, try to find a $30K a year private school ( I'd suggest Dalton in NYC or Georgetown Day in DC). Then call them up and ask what colleges and universities their graduates have been accepted at. I'll bet their students wind up at top-tier schools.

    Funny but in the same post, you made the argument that:

    Let us also not forget that most private schools don't require certification of any kind for their teachers; this means not only might a teacher not be capable of teaching but he or she may not even be proficient in the subject.

    And my original point, of which you took my comments about "hippie schools" out of context was this:

    Our gifted programs should at very least stimulate the brain. Logic and reasoning like chess makes you smarter. With rigorous use of these tools, one can actually improve what most consider to be genetic properties like IQ. When stimulated, the brain can get stronger just like the body can. Not just more knowledge, but more ability to reason and store knowledge.

    So basically, my point was:

    1. The superrich know something we don't and send their kids to "hippie schools" where they teach art, dance, creativity, chess, debate, etc.
    2. Jadegold makes the point that these schools' teachers don't even have to be accredited, meaning "not only might a teacher not be capable of teaching but he or she may not even be proficient in the subject."
    3. Then we both agree that these schools produce superior results by saying "I'll bet their students wind up at top-tier schools."

    Let me repeat what Jadegold said:

    1. The rich send their kids to hippie schools
    2. Hippie schools (i.e. private schools) have teachers that are not NEA or state accredited
    3. These schools produce students that wind up at top tier schools.

    Then finally, part of my thesis about public schools is that "the lack of English proficiency diverts from the mission because teachers spend so much time trying to pass standardized tests for Spanish speakers so that they are not a No Child Left Behind school." Jadegold believes that is racist.

    Perhaps Jadegold took logic and reasoning at a public schools. He should demand an appology from his instructors.

    Posted by: Justin B at May 31, 2007 09:41 AM

    Sorry that I used:

    Justin B's puerile cut-and-paster skills.

    To cut and paste from your previous posts.

    You took the above argument:

    1. The rich send their kids to hippie schools 2. Hippie schools (i.e. private schools) have teachers that are not NEA or state accredited 3. These schools produce students that wind up at top tier schools.

    And came to the conclusion that:

    If we measure performance by results, they [certain CEO's] should be making something south of minimum wage.

    Point is that private "hippie" schools are measured by results because the prices are sufficiently high and there is sufficient competition that the rich will only send their kids to the best schools as evidenced by track records of success. Further, these schools pay far more competive wages to attract experts in their field that in many if not all cases don't go through any kind of formal teacher training or certification and are simply judged on their subject matter knowledge and results. They are subject to firing if they do not produce. As opposed to public schools with a captive audience, where there is no competition, and where teachers are never evaluated or paid based on results.

    We agree that these top tier private schools produce better results. Now, what Jadegold disagrees with is what the implications of that are. I believe:

    1. The NEA needs to be done away with.
    2. Education needs to be privatized.
    3. Teacher performance needs to be results oriented and measured based on actual results.
    4. Pay needs to be determined by results.
    5. Underperforming teachers need to be subject to firing and the entire field needs to be purged of low performers.
    6. State education certification systems need to measure subject matter proficiency and conduct criminal background checks--but the only requirement to teach at the high school or middle school level should be a Bachelors Degree and subject matter proficiency.
    7. Since all teachers are measured by results, those teachers that produce the best results, regardless of their undergrad or graduate degree, will be rewarded for their efforts and the non-performing ones, regardless of their degree, training, or tenure will need to dust off their resume.
    8. Parents should be empowered to choose where their kids attend school and choose their cohort, in my case I would choose a cohort that speaks English as their first language so that classword can progress at a level more appropriate for my child's ability as opposed to appropriate for children who can barely speak the language.

    Jadegold on the other hand believes that Education is fine the way it is and that "The problem is many mouthbreathers feel education/teaching conforms to a nice, neat one-size-fits-all pattern." He says we need to stop telling teachers how to educate because we cannot understand that "Every student is different and brings completely unique sets of strengths and weaknesses to the classroom." We need to leave public education the way that it is.

    Teachers deserve tenure and should not be subject to firing like the "men who cut grass and pickup trash to lawyers and doctors. Teachers have generally one function; plus they are required to be certified." State certification is enough to determine whether a teacher should maintain their job or not.

    Posted by: Justin B at May 31, 2007 10:00 AM

    Point is that private "hippie" schools are measured by results because the prices are sufficiently high and there is sufficient competition that the rich will only send their kids to the best schools as evidenced by track records of success.

    Baloney.

    Private schools (some) succeed for several reasons: 1.) they self-select; that is they don't have to accept the kid with a learning disability or the kid with low test scores; 2.)the fact tuition is high means it's highly unlikely the kid comes from a home where there are problems such as unemployment; it is quite likely the student's parents are quite successful and place value or emphasis on education; 3.)in fact, there is little competition in private schools; again, private schools can accept only the cream of the crop of student applicants. They also have the luxury of booting out kids who either don't perform or adhere to standards of conduct.

    Jadegold on the other hand believes that Education is fine the way it is and that "The problem is many mouthbreathers feel education/teaching conforms to a nice, neat one-size-fits-all pattern.

    Indeed. There are problems but there have always been problems caused by inquities in public school financing.

    The fact is the rightwing has been waging a war on public education since 1980 ('Nation At Risk'). The RWers have been predicting we'll lose our economic superiority and all kinds of terrible things.

    That was nearly 30 years ago. The predictions were all wrong. We still lead the world in innovation and the fact remains our college and university system remains the gold standard in the world.

    Posted by: Jadegold at May 31, 2007 10:20 AM

    2. Education needs to be privatized.

    There is no data to support this "need."

    Also, what is the purpose of any privatized enterprise? To make a profit for owners/shareholders. It is not to necessarily provide the good or service.

    Posted by: Jadegold at May 31, 2007 10:28 AM

    Private schools (some) succeed for several reasons: 1.) they self-select; that is they don't have to accept the kid with a learning disability or the kid with low test scores; 2.)the fact tuition is high means it's highly unlikely the kid comes from a home where there are problems such as unemployment; it is quite likely the student's parents are quite successful and place value or emphasis on education; 3.)in fact, there is little competition in private schools; again, private schools can accept only the cream of the crop of student applicants.

    Market forces in action. There is great demand for the service which allows the supplier to charge a premium and even more, be selective about who it supplies the service to. This benefits the supplier by allowing them to "also have the luxury of booting out kids who either don't perform or adhere to standards of conduct."

    Problem is that we have a system that doesn't allow differentiation for anyone but the wealthy. Public tax dollars are only paid to public schools. So in order to send one's child to private school, the incremental cost difference between "free" and "private school tuition" is so steep that most parents cannot afford it.

    Also, what is the purpose of any privatized enterprise? To make a profit for owners/shareholders. It is not to necessarily provide the good or service.

    A private enterprise only succeeds when both parties mutually gain. People pay for private schools because they value their child's education more than the incremental cost of private school. The school is better off because they make money and the parents are better off because they receive the value of the education. It is a win-win regardless of how much or little profit the school makes. And if the service is better, the price can be higher. And that is still a win-win.

    The only situation that is not a win-win is when someone is forced to pay for a particullar product that they don't want, don't need, or that performs poorly. Private enterprise never forces someone to pay for their schools. Government on the other hand does, specifically by taxing property, assets, and income. And yet, publicly funded schools and consequently their employees are not accountable to either the taxpayers or their customers, the parents. Private schools are immediately accountable. Parents can simply take their kids somewhere else, demand their money back, spread the word of bad reputation, etc. What can a parent that is pissed at the public school or particullar teacher do--wait, they can pay the higher incremental cost to send them to private school or try to get a variance to transfer somewhere else (and in many cases these are denied because of public school logistical issues).

    Posted by: Justin B at May 31, 2007 03:38 PM

    We still lead the world in innovation and the fact remains our college and university system remains the gold standard in the world.

    No one is forced to go to a university based on where they live and everyone has to pay tuition to go there. This is completely different from elementary and secondary education where they have a captive audience and no competition. Universities compete for rankings, prestige, and students--and most can:

    1. self-select; that is they don't have to accept the kid with a learning disability or the kid with low test scores;

    2.)the fact tuition is high means it's highly unlikely the kid comes from a home where there are problems such as unemployment; it is quite likely the student's parents are quite successful and place value or emphasis on education;

    3.)in fact, there is little competition in private schools; again, private schools can accept only the cream of the crop of student applicants.

    So there is competition by the universities to get the best students and at the same time there is a competition among students to get into the best universities. The more exclusive the university, the more selective they can be and the higher tuition they can charge. And private universities can charge several times the tuition that the public schools charge, yet consumers still want to send their kids to the private schools because they feel they are getting better value.

    Wow, that is the free market again. Explain to me the argument you are making in favor of keeping elementary and secondary education free from competition like the university system or private school system where you have already acknowledged that these private systems and university systems with competition produce better results.

    Why not make elementary schools and secondary schools open completely to competition, provide students and parents with vouchers (equivalent to giving Pell Grants that can be used at private universities), and allow schools to differentiate themselves from one another? Oh, because someone might "make a profit for owners/shareholders". So instead of offering vouchers or grants, only the rich can enter the competitive marketplace for elite elementary and secondary schools.

    Posted by: Justin B at May 31, 2007 04:01 PM

    I see I must provide a primer about economics to Justin.

    First, WRT my comments about US universities and colleges, you have completely missed the point. Most (88%) US students attend public K-12 schools. One of the many predictions of A Nation at Risk was that because public schools were so lousy--our colleges and universities would slide down a path to mediocrity and worse. Hasn't happened.

    In fact, more US students are attending college than ever before.

    Market forces in action. There is great demand for the service which allows the supplier to charge a premium and even more, be selective about who it supplies the service to.

    I know a restaurant in NYC where you can get lunch for $10K--well, not anymore. Seems it went out of business because of a lack of demand.

    Second, your comment about selectivity is ignorant given the fact primary education in this country is compulsory. It is compulsory for good reason. We (obviously not you) understand an educated populace is a matter of economic and national well-being. It isn't a "nice to have," it's a necessity.

    Problem is that we have a system that doesn't allow differentiation for anyone but the wealthy.
    Again, untrue. Most private schools in this country are religiously-affiliated. Many Catholic schools serve poor parishes.

    Additionally, there is home-schooling which many rightwingers do quite badly.

    A private enterprise only succeeds when both parties mutually gain.

    This is a Pollyanna-ish view; take McDonald's, for example. They sell the most hamburgers by far. Are their hamburgers the best? Are they close to the best? Are they the cheapest? Are they nutritionally-sound?

    The answer to all these questions is 'no.'

    Yey, McDonald's is the epitome of free market success. Personally, I don't want McEducation.

    Posted by: Jadegold at May 31, 2007 05:23 PM

    I'm telling you Justin, you're not going to get anywhere unless you insist that jadegold demonstrates that he understands what you wrote before he criticises it. He changes the subject to what he's already got on tape that has a lot of the same words. You've pointed out once already that he didn't even recognise that he substantially agreed with you.

    McEducation might have done you some good, jadegold. When countries open up McDonalds', it's a sign that they have come to regard hygiene around the food and in the restrooms as important. They consider their time more important and put a value on efficiency.

    I am always struck when I travel in Europe that these people who supposedly beat our kids in all academic subjects can't make two different sandwiches at the same time, while American teenagers run our fastfood industry barely supervised. We lead in innovation because efficiency is valued here in the market. Americans have a gift for spontaneous organization from preteen years, and they don't learn most of that at school but from the culture at large. Many of our schools provide a drag on that.

    Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at May 31, 2007 09:56 PM

    A private enterprise only succeeds when both parties mutually gain.

    This is a Pollyanna-ish view; take McDonald's, for example. They sell the most hamburgers by far. Are their hamburgers the best? Are they close to the best? Are they the cheapest? Are they nutritionally-sound?

    The answer to all these questions is 'no.'

    Mutually beneficial to both parties engaging in the fair exchange of products. McDonalds values your money more than they value their burgers. The consumer on the other hand values the burger more than they value their money. Both parties exchange items for other items that each in their own minds represents something of greater value than what they previously possessed. If the burger were worth less than the money to the consumer, they would not buy it because the purchase is not compulsary.

    Now what you do is stand on the sidelines and evaluate the decision as an outsider. In your mind, the consumer got a raw deal because:

    They sell the most hamburgers by far. Are their hamburgers the best? Are they close to the best? Are they the cheapest? Are they nutritionally-sound?

    The answer to all these questions is 'no.'

    What right do you have to evaluate the free exchange of two other parties as an outsider to the transaction and draw the conclusion that the exchange was one sided because McDonalds' products are not something you enjoy?

    This is the typical Liberal response to the free market. Obviously you know better than the consumers that engage in this exchange of goods because you are more enlightened than the common idiot consumer, therefore you as an elitist should ensure that this transaction does not take place by "protecting" the consumer. Is that what you are saying?

    Posted by: Justin B at June 1, 2007 12:00 AM

    From my public school experiences, most teachers were of low quality. There were a few notable exceptions.

    In general, teachers are drawn from the lower ability students leaving high school (many exceptions of course). So letting in talented people who are eager to teach, and know there subject, should be a much easier process, just like Will says.

    Once you know your subject matter, being a good teacher is mostly about enthusiasm and a talent for teaching. The "how to teach" classes are not very important. If these classes were that important, then why are our colleges much better than our high schools when professors are not required to take any teaching classes? My college professors were much better than my high school teachers.

    Posted by: Dan Morgan at June 1, 2007 12:03 AM

    It is interesting to note that Justin acknowledges customers of McDonalds aren't there for the food. Justin tells us they want efficiency and clean restrooms. Yet, McDonald's product is supposed to be food.

    So it goes with education. When you privatize education, there will always be pressure to maximize profits. As with every for-profit business, prices can only be raised so much before the company begins to lose sales. Thus, the pressure shifts from raising prices to reducing the product/service.

    And while Justin has no evidence to back up any of his claims and beliefs, there is plenty to support my assertions. I'd invite you to research EAI, a private company, that won contracts to manage public schools in Baltimore, MD, Hartford, CT, and Miami, FL.

    The results: Baltimore cancelled the contract after EAI schools' test scores declined and cost $20M more than if the schools remained public. Additionally, EAI was caught trying to cook the books on test scores. Hartford cancelled their contract because of mounting costs. Miami did likewise after showing no academic progress.

    Other private school management companies have shown similar failures.

    Posted by: Jadegold at June 1, 2007 09:23 AM

    It is interesting to note that Justin acknowledges customers of McDonalds aren't there for the food. Justin tells us they want efficiency and clean restrooms. Yet, McDonald's product is supposed to be food.

    Where did I say that?

    Second:

    The results: Baltimore cancelled the contract after EAI schools' test scores declined and cost $20M more than if the schools remained public. Additionally, EAI was caught trying to cook the books on test scores. Hartford cancelled their contract because of mounting costs. Miami did likewise after showing no academic progress.

    BTW, EAI lost its contracts in 1996, which seems a little dated:

    They are not very quick to point out that EAI 'mainstreamed' many children that otherwise would have been labeled 'learning disabled.' The company reduced the percentage of learning disabled in Baltimore from 25 percent (two and a half times the national average!) to just 12 percent. A University of Maryland report explained that this fact "almost certainly accounts for some of the lack of increase in test scores."

    More recent data put EAI's work in an even more favorable light. According to the January 10, 1996, issue of Education Week, results from last spring's Maryland School Performance Assessment Test became public in late December, weeks after the cancellation of EAI's contract. They revealed "larger improvements in the nine schools run by EAI than in other city schools." Baltimore's officialdom can't bring itself to apologize and reinstate what worked for the kids because, after all, it is the government and government knows best.

    On January 23, 1996, EAI suffered another setback. Hartford, Connecticut, pulled the plug on its 16-month relationship with the company. More proof, opponents claimed, that privatization doesn't work. Closer inspection, once again, revealed politics as the real culprit. Teachers union agitators sabotaged the effort from the start, resisting every constructive move the company wanted to make. EAI was compelled to retain every employee and avoid any layoffs. It had to hire locally and submit to costly, nitpicking union work rules. Good business sense dictated a switch from one computer brand to another, but the company was prevented from doing so by the neanderthals opposed to change. The school board refused to get its act together and allow the company to straighten out its financial procedures as the contract stipulated. To top it all off, Hartford's board of education imitated the reprehensible example of Baltimore: it decided to make up a budget deficit by simply not paying EAI for services rendered.

    Having private companies manage the same teachers that are members of the same unions that seek to keep the status quo is not "privatization". But whatever.

    You offer no solutions. Just BS and contrarian attitudes. Whatever. Over and over you troll around here. I have no clue what your purpose is, but educating you or even debating with you is a waste of time. At least if you had the mental ability to challenge your own internal notions and reasoning when presented with facts or information contrary to it, you would be worth engaging in discussion. Find another place to troll.

    Posted by: Justin B at June 1, 2007 11:46 AM

    My uncle has an interesting theory. He believes that since teaching was one of the few fields of employment available to women prior to WWII, and teachers were predominantly women, that there was a greater concentration of talent in the field of teaching. Those talented women now can choose many careers, including business and science.

    Posted by: Chris at June 2, 2007 07:15 AM