Wednesday December 11, 2013
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In times as tight as these, the idea of spending $20,000 to have some group of feather heads come in and ask questions about education seems near-insane. They always focus on appearances.
One of the questions asked of Payson Teachers was, “What professional learning activities have you participated in the past two years?”
My answer would have been, "Teaching my %$#@! classes! Can you tell me a better way to show that I know how to teach?"
In all my years in the classroom the only time I ever thought I was completely wasting my time was when someone dragged us into a "professional learning activity." Most of that stuff? Ugh! Added absolutely nothing to what anyone knew about teaching. It was all fluff. Meaningless. Empty words. No content.
You know how to run a school? Hire teachers. Issue them copies of each course syllabus they need. Tell them to teach. Go see what they do. Keep the good ones.
I'm sure our new superintendent would probably love nothing better than being able to do that. He obviously knows what educational is all about--classroom results. And my guess, without seeing them, is that our teachers know how to teach. What we need is for the legislature to quit trying to turn education over to business and we'll be just fine.
Just read this comment. It reveals the mindset of the "consultants" who have slithered into education. "Walking around campus, [the consultants] found positive relations dipped to a low of 52 percent to a high of 73 percent."
You know why that was, Jackadze? Because people saw YOU wandering around the campus wasting time and money.
As for the schools improving if the district hires the same group to come back next year to "teach classroom management and mutual respect through its Capturing Kids Hearts program or to teach principals how to evaluate teaching with its Data Walks process...."
Those are words. They mean nothing. Everything a teacher needs to know can be taught in a single teaching methods course. Everything else is fluff, some businessman's idea for making a buck.
When I graduated from college I had my choice of 8 teaching jobs, but I also had an offer---for five times as much as the best of those teaching jobs--as a chemist. I chose teaching.
Stupid? Not back then. Not if you wanted to give something back.
Guess what I would take now?
Here's how to fix all this:
"Amendment XXXVIII to Constitution of the United States: Congress shall make no law regarding education."
Under the 14th Amendment that would also apply to the states.
It's the only way we will ever get our schools back from those who slobber over the tax money we spend trying to give our kids an education.
If you don't think that's true, tell me this: Why do charter schools not have to meet the same standards as our schools?
The charter schools turn out smarter students !
Sorry, Pat. The charter schools GET smarter students. Oh, they get their share of dummies too, but by and large they are set up as "magnet schools" for smart kids. You don't have to teach smart kids. They learn in spite of what you do. They WANT to learn. And if you have kids who can't find their backsides with both hands you can stick them in a charter school where the classes are small, the courses are easy because no one has to be tested to see if he learned anything, and the discipline is lax because no one is being pushed to learn.
The kids in charter schools do not have to take any sort of tests or meet any of the other requirements that are placed on public schools. No AIMS tests, no nothing. No tests to see if the charter school is teaching a thing. Why not? Why should they be allowed to hire uncertified people to teach? Why are their teachers not required to certified? Why are they not required keep on learning? How come a charter school can walk out on the street, look at some guy, and say, "Hey! Want a job?" while public schools teachers have to go through four years of college and take an extra 30 hours of teaching classes. Why is it a charter school can hire someone based on "life-experience" and stick him in a classroom? Isn't he supposed to know how to teach? You think teaching comes natural? Hah! You're talking to a guy who spent a large portion of his life trying to teach people how to teach; it was not an easy job!
Listen, when I worked for Mesa I went into the Instructional Technology Department, and was assgned 42 schools to cover, some of them charter schools. I went into those places and saw--garbage! In one place they were teaching nothing, literally nothing! I saw NO regular math or English courses at all. I saw no history classes. I saw no classrooms and no classes at all. It was an empty store, for crying out loud! All I saw was some silly-adze "bio-something or other" aquariums filled with plants and a couple of monitors to check the oxygen content in them. Some of the kids were playing chemistry with colored water and flat boards that had washers stacked on bolts. I asked them a couple of very simple, basic questions (I being a chemistry teacher). They knew NOTHING. It was a farce.
Why are such things allowed?
I have an answer. MONEY! We pay taxes. Business people gobble them up. Simple.
The bottom line.
I ask everyone reading this, ask yourself three questions:
What was the motivation behind No Child Left Behind, which is the congressional plan which created the AIMS test and which has led to all our recent school problems? If it is to improve schools and teaching, why does it not focus on helping schools which do not do well? Why does it focus on turning those schools over to private industry?
What is the motivation behind the creation of charter schools? If the purpose is to improve education, why would the state lower the educational requirements for charter school teachers when the state itself sets those requirements? If lowering the educational requirements for teacher improves education why not lower them for all schools? If the purpose of charter schools is to improve education, why are they exempt from any and all testing requirements to see how well they are accomplishing that purpose?
When standardized tests are written to test "higher level reasoning skills" and bills are passed by the state requiring teachers to teach such reasoning skills, is it possible to meet that requirement? Any measurement of intelligence or giftedness centers around the ability to reason; as for example with the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, which by its own statement, says it measures "verbal comprehension, verbal reasoning, pictorial reasoning, figural reasoning, and quantitative reasoning." So how can we teach reasoning if it is essentially intelligence? And if the AIMS tests and other tests are measuring how much we change native intelligence with our public school teaching, then how is it possible for students to keep improving year after year? Can we make kids smarter? Do you know of anything, anywhere that says we can? And if we can't, what is the true purpose of any program which requires us to to that?
I really pushed one of your hot buttons, didn't I ? Or did you read my post under schools?
Its my story about my grandkids and I am sticking to it. One is a nurse. Two have had contractors licenses, one still does and one is an aide at one of the Payson schools, and the other one works in a bank. They made it in spite of the schools here. Guess they got it from Grandma. (: They all started school in Mesa.
The nurse started at Gila community but had to go to Thatcher and Phx. for some of her classes. One tried to start at Gila but the school didn't offer any of the classes needed.
"Or did you read my post under schools?"
Nope. Never read any of the other forums.
"Tom, I really pushed one of your hot buttons, didn't I ?"
Not really. Everything I said was in my mind when I started this string. There are a couple of things I can't stand: One of them is giving false reason for doing what yoou are doing--as in creating charter schools so that private industry can scoff up public funds that are needed in real schools, and saying that the reason you are doing it is to "better" education when you know full well you aren't doing that.
The other thing is seeing a state interfering with schools that should be run by the people who have kids in them. I saw enough of that over in England where education, except in elite schools like Eton, is a farce. Education is a local concern; it should never be run at the state of federal level. When you do that a lot of what is taught is propaganda.
The Charter school my grandkids went to was started because the family didn't like the education thier kids were getting in public schools. All the parents had to participate and have regular visits to the school for different things. If they didn't show the kid was kicked back into the public school system.
It was not started for the man to make money. Believe me he could probably build two or three Payson elementary schools and pay the teachers until retirement time.
That's the kind of Charter School that we need! It was one of the ideas that was used to sell the idea of using state tax funds in private schools. And I applaud anyone who actually uses the money that way. It goes back to the old days, when parents were truly involved in raising their kids.
The trouble is that so many other charters schools are shams. I know. I can speak as an expert on the subject because I have been there, seen them with my own (shocked) eyes, and know them for what they are.
In truth, I would have no problem--none at all--with the concept of charter schools if only the legislature would place the same exact requirements on them that it places on public schools. Exempting them from teacher certifications requirements, from NCLB, and from testing requirements is improper. I have seen some steps in that direction, and I applaud the legislature for it, but I'm still waiting to see the playing field leveled.
Then you would have a bunch of charter schools where the kids are not learning anything.
Back to square one.
I hit the wrong button, force your self to go to the post I put on the school thread.
I'd like to break a rule, but I have often promised that I would not go to the other forums, and being a man of my word I have to stick with what I have said. I believe in saying what you mean, and meaning what you say.
I don't go to other forums because I specifically want people to be able to go to there and say whatever they have to say without having to hear what I think about it. I have my opinions; I express them here and encourage people to express their opinions here as well. When they do that it is fair that I, and you, and everyone who posts here, should comment on them, but I have always felt that the way it should be on other forums is that people should not have to listen to what I have to say over there in addition to having to listen to it over here. I can say it here if I like; that's enough.
I'm sorry; it's just impossible for me to break my word.
Here are the two posts since you promised not to go on the other one.
Why does every thing that will cost the taxpayer money have to be decided by some group from out of town or a consultant is hired? We elect people to do a job and evidently none of them should be there as they always hire someone else to do the work and thinking.
The price put on Frontier School is riduculous. It probaby couldn't be replaced for twice that amount. Who figured the sales price on Frontier and Center for Successs? Go back and look at how much the Julia Randall additions cost. Where are they going to get the land when they need another school, or are they planning on only selling the buildings? The price on The Center for success is really stupid.
School attendance wouldn't be dropping if the kids were getting a good education. All the teachers of the same grade should be teaching alike, so if a student was moved from one room to another it wouldn't be like moving into a new world. Count the kids that are home taught, going to private and charter schools. The school buildings would probably be running over if they were all using your buildings.
Driving buses for kids that live 2 or 3 blocks or across the street from a school to another school across town is a dumb idea too. The kids have to get up earlier and get home later. I could go on and on but will stop for now.
"Why does every thing that will cost the taxpayer money have to be decided by some group from out of town or a consultant is hired?"
Pat, it's a sign of the times. My brother Frank, after he retired from Proctor and Gamble (he was Vice President in charge of the Duncan Hines division) became a consultant. He used to get $1,500 a day. We sat and talked about it one day and he told me I should quit teaching and become a consultant.
"What do I know?" I asked him.
"You taught people how to teach, didn't you?"
"Sure. Still do. I teach it as a graduate level course now."
"What else to you teach? Other educational stuff, I mean?"
"School law. Science methods. Math methods. Platform techniques. Computer aided instruction. About a dozen courses on specific software. A couple of others."
"You're in! I'll show you how to write yourself up, where to advertise, and what to do. In two weeks you'll be ready to double or triple what you're making."
"That's fine, but how does it make me an expert on school problems. That's what they want--somebody to solve the problems they're having."
"That's the whole secret of being a consultant. All you have to do is go look at some place that's having problems. See what the problems are. Then look around at the people."
"That's the problem--the people. If they were doing their jobs there wouldn't be a problem. Interview everyone. Go look at them while they're working. Find the weak sisters and write a plan that gets rid of them."
"You mean be a hatchet man?"
"Right. A wealthy hatchet man that turns a business--or in your case, a school--around. You'll be doing people a favor. I do."
There you got, Pat. That's your answer. Except that in today's schools the problems aren't down at the building level; they come from above. They are caused by state and federal programs that are aimed at the tax money that goes into the schools.
I agree with you on Frontier. When I saw that price I almost came unglued. I'm not sure what they paid to build it, but from what I've seen of it, and from what I saw down in Mesa and over in Texas, I would put the cost when it was built as in the neighborhood of $5 or $6 million. I can't see how they can literally give away a valuable property like that. What do they need the money for? They're getting what they need from the state. Why not just mothball the place and save the $10 or $12 million it will cost to replace it?
I get a bad feeling when I think about it. Something does not feel right. The people of Payson should dig in their heels and say NO!
"School attendance wouldn't be dropping if the kids were getting a good education."
I don't know why school attendance is dropping. The numbers seem to show that the town is growing, so I don't understand it. Maybe someone has some data.
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