Calavera Despierta
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TL;DW - the video summarizes data from a study done by the Program for International Student Assessment, which correlates student, teacher and school performance by country. Not surprisingly, the study debunks several of the myths about the currents ills of public education in the U.S., including alleged excessive cost of public education, teacher pay, and the role of unions.
 
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Junior McSpiffy
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Yes and no. They state that some of the leading nations have very strong teachers unions. Therein lies a false equivalence that strength equals obstructionism. They can have a strong union which works to serve the needs of the teachers but also furthers education while the United States has a teachers' union which is weaker but more willing to go to the mat to make sure things are less up-to-speed on what we need simply for the sake of maintaining tenure.

I fully agree with what that video concluded with: our priorities regarding education are out of line with what needs to happen. I even agree that more money needs to be invested in education. What I disagree with is that the reason our priorities are out-of-line has nothing to do with what the teachers' union chooses to fight for or against. I also think that just spending more money while the system stays as-is will bring any improvements. You'll never hear me clamoring for vouchers and privatization as I once did, but I think the time has passed where school is primarily a place to plug data into kids' heads and needs to be a place to teach them what to do with the data they find on their own.

The one thing I got out of it was seeing schools broken down by poverty groups made things a lot clearer. Sadly, we/they aren't breaking out of poverty without better education. What I'd be interested to see is how the teachers' unions would react if there was a sudden shift to putting more funding into "underperforming" schools if it meant some of the money was being funneled away from their crown jewels, or if budgets for lesser schools went up while wealthier ones stayed steady... especially since those underperforming schools often become dumping grounds for teachers that can't get fired.
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Richard Hefferan
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GameCrossing wrote:
Yes and no. They state that some of the leading nations have very strong teachers unions. Therein lies a false equivalence that strength equals obstructionism. They can have a strong union which works to serve the needs of the teachers but also furthers education while the United States has a teachers' union which is weaker but more willing to go to the mat to make sure things are less up-to-speed on what we need simply for the sake of maintaining tenure.

I fully agree with what that video concluded with: our priorities regarding education are out of line with what needs to happen. I even agree that more money needs to be invested in education. What I disagree with is that the reason our priorities are out-of-line has nothing to do with what the teachers' union chooses to fight for or against. I also think that just spending more money while the system stays as-is will bring any improvements. You'll never hear me clamoring for vouchers and privatization as I once did, but I think the time has passed where school is primarily a place to plug data into kids' heads and needs to be a place to teach them what to do with the data they find on their own.

The one thing I got out of it was seeing schools broken down by poverty groups made things a lot clearer. Sadly, we/they aren't breaking out of poverty without better education. What I'd be interested to see is how the teachers' unions would react if there was a sudden shift to putting more funding into "underperforming" schools if it meant some of the money was being funneled away from their crown jewels, or if budgets for lesser schools went up while wealthier ones stayed steady... especially since those underperforming schools often become dumping grounds for teachers that can't get fired.


Or, in short, "All your facts are wrong, because I say so."

This is why you can't support your argument with facts and expect to get anywhere. People just ignore them and substitute their own version of reality.
 
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J Graning
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The funny thing is that a lot of teachers unions are asking for money in low income neighborhoods. Race to the top and no child left behind funnel money away from those schools. But what do I know? I'm just a member of one of those teachers unions.
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Junior McSpiffy
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Shushnik wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
Yes and no. They state that some of the leading nations have very strong teachers unions. Therein lies a false equivalence that strength equals obstructionism. They can have a strong union which works to serve the needs of the teachers but also furthers education while the United States has a teachers' union which is weaker but more willing to go to the mat to make sure things are less up-to-speed on what we need simply for the sake of maintaining tenure.

I fully agree with what that video concluded with: our priorities regarding education are out of line with what needs to happen. I even agree that more money needs to be invested in education. What I disagree with is that the reason our priorities are out-of-line has nothing to do with what the teachers' union chooses to fight for or against. I also think that just spending more money while the system stays as-is will bring any improvements. You'll never hear me clamoring for vouchers and privatization as I once did, but I think the time has passed where school is primarily a place to plug data into kids' heads and needs to be a place to teach them what to do with the data they find on their own.

The one thing I got out of it was seeing schools broken down by poverty groups made things a lot clearer. Sadly, we/they aren't breaking out of poverty without better education. What I'd be interested to see is how the teachers' unions would react if there was a sudden shift to putting more funding into "underperforming" schools if it meant some of the money was being funneled away from their crown jewels, or if budgets for lesser schools went up while wealthier ones stayed steady... especially since those underperforming schools often become dumping grounds for teachers that can't get fired.


Or, in short, "All your facts are wrong, because I say so."

This is why you can't support your argument with facts and expect to get anywhere. People just ignore them and substitute their own version of reality.


Or, in short, "People take data, which is facts, and then present the conclusions they draw from that data as facts as well." Lies, damned lies and you know.

Try and tell me that the video presented was totally impartial. Try and tell me that the group who put that out weren't using the numbers to present a picture with a chosen end already in mind. Try and tell me that a union-hating, voucher-loving group would not be able to come to totally different conclusions with the exact same numbers. I'm not disputing the numbers. I'm disputing some of the conclusions that were drawn from them (particularly regarding how ineffectual teachers' unions are at impeding progress) as well as whether a couple of their stated goals would lead to improvement.

We've talked education here quite a bit, and it always seems to come down to the fact that our society just doesn't value education as much as others. Whether a change in culture would lead to improved results and an innovative education model or improved results and an innovative education model would lead to a change in culture toward education is a chicken/egg issue.

What I find funny is I dispute one portion (teachers' unions), try to further discussion about other points but not dispute them, but because I point out that their "Japan and Finland have uberstrong teachers' unions" doesn't equal "America's teachers' union isn't dragging their heels," I somehow get lumped into... how did you put it... "All your facts are wrong, because I say so." Did I say "It's a lie!!! Japan and Finland -DON'T- have strong teachers' unions! They're weak, I tell you... weak, weak weak!!!" No. So, I guess I didn't actually say any of the facts were wrong, did I?

Learn what a fact is.
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Junior McSpiffy
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huck1eberry wrote:
The funny thing is that a lot of teachers unions are asking for money in low income neighborhoods. Race to the top and no child left behind funnel money away from those schools. But what do I know? I'm just a member of one of those teachers unions.


And as director of special education for a local school district for 30+ years, my dad has a bit of experience with it as well. I won't say my talks with him about education reform leave me as well-informed as you since you live it, but I wouldn't say I'm ignorant either.

I agree with you that NCLB and RTTT are pretty much failures in what they are trying to do, but... why? IMHO, it's because like most government endeavors of our day, it's a compromise made of the worst of both sides rather than the best. So instead of getting a system where individual teachers are accountable for their results, they lump all teachers together by school, meaning quality teachers amongst subpar teachers are getting marginalized. And of course, the way it's meted out punishes the students who need the help the most.

So since you are currently in the industry, let me ask you what the standards are where you are at for a bad teacher to be let go. What's it like before and after they get tenure? Have you seen bad teachers move from one school to another since it's so difficult to fire them? That's the worst of the examples I've heard... schools pawning off the bad apples off on each other since a tenured teacher is nigh invulnerable. So rather than assume it's universal, let me know what you've seen.
 
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