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  1. #31
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It took a large number of words to say teachers get a free pass under the current system where no actual evaluating goes on at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Continual scrutiny of teaching and appraisal of teachers is fair enough, the same sort of considered evaluation of the practice of any professionals, provided it is fair and balanced, seems like a good idea. The problem is that its seldom fair and balanced.
    DB is correct here, at least in practice. But who is going to provide this "fair and balanced" evaluation, so teachers have to earn their pass? Principals? Staff from the district office? Experienced "master teachers" in each grade or subject? This would be a start, unfortunately none of these have time in the day to make adequate observations of the many teachers in their schools. It would be even better to include evaluation by people outside the district, with no personal ties to the teacher, or vested interest in the outcome. But where will these people come from, how will they be paid, and presuming they are also educators, who will do their usual jobs while they are out evaluating colleagues? Money doesn't solve everything, but if we want to have a meaningful evaluation system for teachers, we will need to arrange and pay for the labor hours necessary to do the job right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I think its a good question because I can easily recall just how varied the motivation, knowledge or skills of teachers I've encountered were, I've never met so many crypto-fascists and authoritarians of the worst order as I have in the teaching profession, equally I've encountered shocking arrogance, individuals who proudly flaunt their own knowledge and learning but pass of the failure to convey the same to others are arising from innate inepitude within the same others. Although this article just reads like so many others which has a predetermined conclusion from the outset and builds up its veracity with lies, damn lies and statistics.
    In my area, most teachers seem to be well-meaning people who genuinely enjoy working with kids and want to help them learn. They are usually, however, lacking in imagination and all too ready to just what they are told, by administrators who will either jump on the bandwagon of every educational fad, or oppositely insist on doing everything the way it has always been done. They put process over outcome, and are often lacking in subject knowledge, having slighted subject matter coursework in favor of pedagogy, usually in response to licensing requirements. Administratively they are kept too busy to be able to entertain worthwhile suggestions or imput from parents or colleagues. An unfortunate paradox is that while schools complain of a lack of funding, staff time, and other resources, they often will turn away volunteers and other resources offered to them free of charge. This is just reluctance to do anything new/different, and slavish adherance to officially mandated standards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Rating teachers on how their students perform on standardized, graded measures sounds like a terrible idea.
    A good teacher is like pornography - we know it when we see it. Obviously, objective standards are much easier to work with, but are worthwhile only if they can measure with reasonable accuracy something directly related to the outcome we hope to achieve.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Would you rate an engineer on their ability to design a building that won't collapse for no reason?

    Even if that engineer isn't provided with the budget to procure the absolute best construction materials (like teachers who have to teach in the ghetto), he (if he is at least a journeyman of his trade) can still design a building that's up to code and will stand (even if it wont stand as long as one build with better material).
    This is the equivalent of rating a teacher on developing a curriculum, or set of lesson plans, that will improve the knowledge of a student who has the necessary preparation from previous grades, adequate support at home, no external pressures like fear of violence, etc. If you are going to grade the teacher on the actual performance of real students, though, this would be the equivalent of providing that engineer with those substandard supplies, then seeing whether the structure really can stand. Apples to apples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Aside from Ivy's point, which is good, the problem that strikes me is the code in question. What is the code for assessing a teacher's abilities? That question is actually almost the entire controversy, not the conclusion. If the code you hold teachers to is some kind of No Child Left Behind standardized testing, I'm not impressed.
    The best indicator of teacher success is student outcomes, and we cannot determine this through a standardized test given at the end of a given class year. We must look at how prepared the student is for the next grade, and ultimately how he/she fares in college, other follow-on training, or work. Yes, a student's performance will be influenced by many teachers, which is part of why it is so difficult to assess the impact of each one.
    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. #32
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    This is the equivalent of rating a teacher on developing a curriculum, or set of lesson plans, that will improve the knowledge of a student who has the necessary preparation from previous grades, adequate support at home, no external pressures like fear of violence, etc. If you are going to grade the teacher on the actual performance of real students, though, this would be the equivalent of providing that engineer with those substandard supplies, then seeing whether the structure really can stand. Apples to apples.
    Also though (and in my mind, more importantly), what exactly is the equivalent in this analogy for “whether the structure really can stand”? There’s a serious short-sightedness in comparing ‘teaching humans’ to a task with a very tangible, observable (and easy to rate) product.

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    From this past week: Teacher Resignation Letter From Gerald Conti Says His Profession 'No Longer Exists'

    "This whole thing is being driven by people who know nothing about education,” Conti told the Post-Standard. "It's sad."
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  3. #33
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    Also though (and in my mind, more importantly), what exactly is the equivalent in this analogy for “whether the structure really can stand”? There’s a serious short-sightedness in comparing ‘teaching humans’ to a task with a very tangible, observable (and easy to rate) product.

    **********

    From this past week: Teacher Resignation Letter From Gerald Conti Says His Profession 'No Longer Exists'

    "This whole thing is being driven by people who know nothing about education,” Conti told the Post-Standard. "It's sad."
    At this point, nearly every field is being driven by people who know nothing about them. Their only concern is that it might be a vehicle for personal profit, and this is also their only understanding of the given field.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #34
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    At this point, nearly every field is being driven by people who know nothing about them. Their only concern is that it might be a vehicle for personal profit, and this is also their only understanding of the given field.
    At this point, nearly every field is placing certification over qualification, and developing more and more intricate (and costly) licensing requirements that take the place of being able to demonstrate one can actually do the job. Process over outcome; goals sacrificed to procedures. It's nothing but a racket.
    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. #35
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I agree. It's been interesting as I have discussed this with friends in the healthcare system, IT people, systems analysts, and public servants - In every area, the people being promoted are not necessarily those who have heart or interest in how effective the system is at doing what it has set out to do, but rather those who are willing to agree with whatever comes down from the top and who can work within the system without making waves. The paperwork in all sectors is increasing, preventing people from having sufficient time to do the job they need to do, while at the same time, resources and effectiveness is decreasing. People are feeling disheartened and there is less personal investment as a result because there is very little job satisfaction.

    I have many nieces and nephews that are reaching the crossroads where they have to decide what line of education and work to pursue and I honestly have no guidance or answers to offer them. I've told my niece that I wouldn't recommend going into education, even though I am passionate about teaching, enjoy work and believe that she would be an effective and accomplished teacher (if she were actually free to teach!). With the price of higher education (and ensuing student loans), and increased likelihood of several career changes during a working lifetime, I don't know if I even would steer someone towards university anymore. However, I don't know what I would suggest in its place...

  6. #36
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    Because pensions are bad

    If you eliminate teachers, you eliminate pensions
    Elaborate please.
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  7. #37
    Sweet Ocean Cloud SD45T-2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    At this point, nearly every field is placing certification over qualification, and developing more and more intricate (and costly) licensing requirements that take the place of being able to demonstrate one can actually do the job. Process over outcome; goals sacrificed to procedures. It's nothing but a racket.
    http://www.amazon.com/Augustines-Cha.../dp/1563472406

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I agree. It's been interesting as I have discussed this with friends in the healthcare system, IT people, systems analysts, and public servants - In every area, the people being promoted are not necessarily those who have heart or interest in how effective the system is at doing what it has set out to do, but rather those who are willing to agree with whatever comes down from the top and who can work within the system without making waves.
    My best friend works in law enforcement. He says The Wire hit the nail on the head. One of his observations is that ambition and actual ability to do a job are usually in inverse proportion.

    However, I don't know what I would suggest in its place...
    There is significant demand for auto mechanics and electricians. Also, in coming years tens of thousands of railroaders in the US and Canada will be retiring and need replacements. There aren't very many young people interested in getting into railroading, even though the pay and benefits are usually good and many positions do not require a college degree.
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  8. #38
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    @SD45T-2

    Yeah, a lot of people I know are becoming electricians now. There are a lot of houses going up in this part of the country so they are especially in demand.

    One of my friends comes from a family with four generations of railroaders. She said her brother (20 yrs old) is doing that right now and the money is phenomenal but the work is very dangerous. His first day of work he saw his friend slip and get his legs mangled/cut off as the train was moving. He plans to continue on with it for a few years and then when he has house/education money saved up, go for something else, debt free.

    I didn't know there was a demand for mechanics. Why is that especially true now? I would have thought that as cars become more computer operated, rather than mechanically operated the need would diminish instead of increase.

    I like that - ambition and ability to do a job are usually in inverse proportion!

  9. #39
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I don't think electricians and mechanics escape the over all madness, even if they are perhaps paid more. I remember reading a list (I forgot who published it) of the least happy professionals. While there were exceptions, the recurring theme was basically anyone with any kind of technical expertise who had to work under business management.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  10. #40
    Sweet Ocean Cloud SD45T-2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    One of my friends comes from a family with four generations of railroaders. She said her brother (20 yrs old) is doing that right now and the money is phenomenal but the work is very dangerous. His first day of work he saw his friend slip and get his legs mangled/cut off as the train was moving.
    Yeah, stuff like that does happen sometimes. Safety has improved dramatically over the years though. 100 years ago people were getting killed left and right. IIRC, American railroad employee fatalities topped out around 1907 when more than 4,000 workers were killed. That's about 12 every single day! These days it's more like 20-30 a year.

    Some railroad jobs have fairly normal hours. But if you are an engineer or conductor on a Class I railroad, you don't get to have much of a life. It's especially hard if you have a family.

    He plans to continue on with it for a few years and then when he has house/education money saved up, go for something else, debt free.
    That sounds good. Our pastor's dad spent 30 years with Southern Pacific/Union Pacific and retired at age 50. Now he has lots of time to spend with the grandkids.

    I didn't know there was a demand for mechanics. Why is that especially true now? I would have thought that as cars become more computer operated, rather than mechanically operated the need would diminish instead of increase.
    I guess there aren't as many young people interested in being mechanics as there used to be. As for cars, stuff still breaks and wears out. Cars are way more complex now than in the past, so there are more things that can potentially go wrong.

    I like that - ambition and ability to do a job are usually in inverse proportion!
    Another thing my friend has seen is that some people give fantastic interviews, but suck at doing the actual job. Their only real skill is interviews.
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