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  1. #241
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Just because the tests suck doesn't mean we couldn't have some sort of a county board made up of former educators that would be allowed to rate the counties public school teachers.
    You're getting warm (see my last post). Money is not the whole picture, though. Working conditions are a big discouragement to potential teachers, as well as onerous licensing requirements. We need to get out of the way and let teachers teach, and then judge them and their schools by actual outcomes rather than adherance to rigid processes. Teachers want this, parents and students tend to like it when they can get it. Administrators and politicians are afraid of it.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  2. #242
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Uumlau mentioned a few metrics that sound good in theory since they actually relate to students' future success: things like income earned, college admissions, graduate school admissions, and rate of employment 5 years or 10 years after graduation. Everything but college admissions, however, has too long a time constant to be practical for evaluating teachers, and even that is fairly useless for elementary teachers. And don't forget that those social workers, "starving artists", and clergy may never make that much money, however well educated they were.
    I don't even think the time constant or varying definitions of success are the biggest problems with that. People aren't unsuccessful entirely because of bad teachers, and some people will be successful no matter who teaches them. I strongly disapprove of laying the weight of the students' success or failure at the feet of their teachers. Even the best teaching isn't guaranteed to overcome a horrible home life, gang activity, and stuff like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Evaluating teachers is almost inherently a subjective activity, but administrators in schools, as elsewhere, are loathe to make actual judgment calls about anything. They prefer to hide behind the objectivity of statistics that mean nothing, because the underlying data don't measure the desired parameter.
    Word.

  3. #243
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Our system does a poor job of differentiating the educational experience. Even the mantra of enabling everyone to attend college is misguided; college is not for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with the many productive careers that do not require it. We would do better to establish a basic level of knowledge and skill that every student should attain, then build on that with more consideration of individual interests and abilities. The pitfall to avoid is sorting students into inescapable tracks too early in their school career, when they may not be sure of either.
    I think that's true too. I also think it sets up something very unsettling, but I'm not sure what. If "school" weren't some giant institution that everyone knew everyone must get, then what happens to those of us that want it? Will there be any services left after the washout? (Probably. But still....)
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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  4. #244
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Education, as much as it has been commodified in the last twenty years, is a fake purchase. You can't buy education. You can buy opportunity. You can pay for a seat in a room with like-minded fellows and a teacher. There you can use up money being introduced to a method and a standard, and you can expect to have your eventual proficiency measured. And if you fail? Well, if it wasn't you on your own who decided you'd be taking that class, you probably can complain. If it was legitimate for someone else to thrust that opportunity on you, then it is legitimate for us all to assume that the opportunity was going to be efficacious, your choice or not. And that might be what's weirdest about education these days.
    Ah, but there's the rub, or at least part of it. How many of your fellows in school were like-minded, and how far in your education did you have to go before they were?
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    You're getting warm (see my last post). Money is not the whole picture, though. Working conditions are a big discouragement to potential teachers, as well as onerous licensing requirements. We need to get out of the way and let teachers teach, and then judge them and their schools by actual outcomes rather than adherance to rigid processes. Teachers want this, parents and students tend to like it when they can get it. Administrators and politicians are afraid of it.
    Yea I don't think politicians generally are the ones afraid.

    I think it's mostly the administrators.

    And those representatives that receive donations from teachers unions.

  6. #246
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    I think that's true too. I also think it sets up something very unsettling, but I'm not sure what. If "school" weren't some giant institution that everyone knew everyone must get, then what happens to those of us that want it? Will there be any services left after the washout? (Probably. But still....)
    Everyone needs education, perhaps even 10-12 years of it, but not everyone needs the standard academic-style education our schools purport to provide. At some point - grade 6? grade 8? IDK - the educational experience can split into options that include more skills based or experiential training, whether vocational, artistic, athletic, etc. Part of the day could continue to be spent on "academics" - writing, finance, civics, things everyone really does need to know to be a responsible citizen. Another option is to feed into apprenticeships. People need to be able to make a living, and most worthwhile occupations must be learned. They key is that someone should always be able to go back, if they were wrongly steered into some track, or had a strong change of mind/heart, though it will delay their "graduation" or entry into the workforce.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #247
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Yea I don't think politicians generally are the ones afraid.

    I think it's mostly the administrators.

    And those representatives that receive donations from teachers unions.
    Politicians tend to be risk averse in the interests of getting reelected. Since teachers support what I described for the most part, it is those timid politicians hiding behind an increasing panoply of regulations who should fear the teachers' unions - and often do.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #248
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Everyone needs education, perhaps even 10-12 years of it, but not everyone needs the standard academic-style education our schools purport to provide. At some point - grade 6? grade 8? IDK - the educational experience can split into options that include more skills based or experiential training, whether vocational, artistic, athletic, etc. Part of the day could continue to be spent on "academics" - writing, finance, civics, things everyone really does need to know to be a responsible citizen. Another option is to feed into apprenticeships. People need to be able to make a living, and most worthwhile occupations must be learned. They key is that someone should always be able to go back, if they were wrongly steered into some track, or had a strong change of mind/heart, though it will delay their "graduation" or entry into the workforce.

    That is about what we have been doing in Germany for several generations. It has its advantages but only works so so and there are a lot of suggestions to can that system all together.

    Pro:
    - Students are sorted by needs, capabilities and ambition. This means classes can be better tailored to their needs.
    - As you said, not everybody wants or needs the same education.


    Con:
    - The lowest of the 3 tiers of our 3 tier system gets an education so rudimentary it is of hardly any value in the workplace. This is where all the problem kids end up.
    - Students usually end up with other kids from a similar social background thus cementing social differences.
    - While you can officially move between tiers, this is de facto very hard to achieve. Federalism, i.e. different requirements in different states aggravates this even more.
    - Parents often choose schools by prestige rather than their kid's real needs and capabilities, doing them a disfavor.
    - Where teachers decide where to send kids, they have to do so with little info to go on and at too early an age, making academic mobility even harder.
    - There is no room for insular talents (e.g. below average in languages and humanities but very good at math, etc), you are judged to be either academically strong or weak. Period.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  9. #249
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    I have heard these comments from German friends/colleagues, especially:
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    - While you can officially move between tiers, this is de facto very hard to achieve. Federalism, i.e. different requirements in different states aggravates this even more.
    - Where teachers decide where to send kids, they have to do so with little info to go on and at too early an age, making academic mobility even harder.
    - There is no room for insular talents (e.g. below average in languages and humanities but very good at math, etc), you are judged to be either academically strong or weak. Period.
    Hence my caveats about mobility. In the U.S. there is almost a stigma associated with going to a school other than a typical high school designed to prepare students for college, and the socioeconomic factor is an influence as well.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Since teachers support what I described for the most part
    While I'm certain teachers do support "getting out of the way and letting them teach" as you described, I'm not sure teachers generally support systems of greater teacher accountability.

    When you've been in a system where you would have to work pretty hard to get fired for years, I don't think you would support any changes to the system that would make it easier for you to get fired, and more specifically changes that would tie your evaluations to things like actual job performance as opposed to how long you've been on the job.

    Any way you slice it, these necessary changes are going to make it tougher to be a teacher.

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