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Chicago Teachers Strike

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:14 am

fisticuffs wrote:
I think the issue of class size is mainly to get more teachers on the payrolls and thus more union dues to pay union leaders.


Yes those sweet union dues. The leaders just pocket it and buy private jets. What a lucrative scheme they have going on. Why is it that you idiots see a guy making 100k and assume their intentions are nothing but greed but you see a Wall Street banker making 6 mil, or an oil company pouring money into anti-science and their intentions are pure?


Why can't they both be greedy?
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:18 am

Why can't they both be greedy?


They can. And I'm told by my Randian friends that's a virtue to be held in the highest of esteem. The difference is that union boss doesn't take home more cash because there are more teachers paying dues. Only a liar or idiot would believe such nonsense. Just like the liars and idiots who say their representatives only want to raise taxes so they can take home more money. That;s not how it works. Those representatives get the real cash from the private industry that's bribing them and as soon as they get out they get an even bigger pay day. But solving that problem would require admitting that perhaps letting unlimited amounts of money into our political system doesn't produce more free speech it produces more bribery and corruption.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:21 am

Galoot wrote:Mr. Henry, I asked before and I will ask again--please show me some evidence that rating teachers based on standardized test results has led to improved student outcomes.

You favor such testing and using it to rate teachers. Is this based on evidence? If not, isn't it just based on nothing more than a gut feeling?


Since you are demanding answers from me, I will ask you, again, how you would evaluate teacher performance?

As to standardized testing, I don't know if there are any examples of it working well. I even said as much:

"I share many of Ravitch's concerns about standardized testing. She thinks they should be discarded. I think that conceptually they can work and that they need to be fixed."

If you want an example of a system that works, or at least used to work look at the New York State Regents Exams. These go back to the 1870's or so. They are given to HS students each year in each subject area. Passage of the exams is a requirement for what is called a "Regents High School Diploma". I believe that if one does not pass the exams, one gets a HS certificate of completion instead of a diploma but might be wrong on that.

I am not too current on how well it works or even how it works. It worked very well indeed for over 100 years, though. It is still probably better than nothing.

One problem with the current system is that there are no consequences to the students, teacher or school based on the tests. My wife is a HS teacher and told me last year about an issue I'd not heard of elsewhere. Apparently the students of a certain teacher decided that they did not like him/her. So they got together and agreed to purposely do poorly in the test.

The idea was that all these bad grades would reflect poorly on the teacher and embarrass them. There were no consequences to the students for doing poorly. They made the teacher look bad but I suspect that everyone knew why and, even it they didn't, there would have been no consequences anyway. Ditto the school.

There are lots of issues with testing, bot standardized and teacher prepared tests. Until you, or someone else can come up with a better way of determining how well teachers are teaching and students are learning, they certainly seem the best alternative.

So, Galoot, you don't like tests and I answered your question. Now answer mine:

What is your alternative?

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:24 am

Bland wrote:Any comparison of schools to businesses is stupid on its face. Can't believe anyone needs to say that.


Why?

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:29 am

HawkHead wrote:A school closing seems to imply something completely different than a teacher being laid off for poor performance.


I thought that one of the goals of both Emmanuel and Daley before him was to close the worst performing schools?

It is not a direct relationship of course. There are going to be some good teachers in even the worst performing schools.

I think there is likely to be some relationship, though.

So it does not seem unreasonable to want to review and selectively rehire the teachers from those schools. As well as any other schools that are closed for whatever reason.

John Henry
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Galoot » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:40 am

Mr. Henry, my alternative is one we have already discussed--a teacher training program that produces excellent teachers. The Finnish model seems quite good. I agree completely that you ought not to teach physics (my subject, as an example) without the equivalent of at least a B.S. in the subject--not a B.S. in science education, but a 4 year degree in the actual subject. But additional coursework IS needed for learning best practices in education. Many on the right think that you should just be able to walk into any high school classroom, with a B.S. degree in the subject, and be a great teacher. It can happen, but there is a lot to learn about teaching.

I will add in here that I do think that there are many ideas that are considered gospel at Ed programs, that are simply unproven, such as the idea of "multiple intelligences".

Mr. Henry, you seem to think that we have to evaluate teachers every year. Why? Are college professors who teach also evaluated on their teaching, with their pay or tenure determined by the tests scores of their students? Of course not.

It astounds me that so many people have this "gut feeling" that we need to rate teachers based on the test scores of their students, when there is no evidence that this produces better student results.

Higher education in the U.S. has been considered the best in the world for at least the last 50 years, right? Is that because we are giving standardized tests to the college students, and then weeding out poor professors based on those scores? No, of course not. It is because college and universities use a model that encourages deep fundamental knowledge of the subject material, along with good instruction. Many universities have a separate tenure track now (and have for many years) that bases tenure on excellence in instruction. How is that evaluated? I'm sure there are quite a few forons here who know a lot more about this than I do, but from what I gather, it is based on extensive observations of the professor, plus student and colleague feedback.

I am not defending the current system as perfect--as I have said, I think the left and the right are both pulling in directions that are orthogonal to the best solutions. My former union, MTI, would fight tooth and nail against ideas that I and many of my former colleagues would be OK with, such as peer evaluations, and recognizing expert educators within the school, in order to give those expert educators power to steer poorly performing colleagues towards better practices. There are some amazing teachers I worked with at East High. There are also some that are not so amazing.

The union also blindly defends teacher licensing as a system with no need for reform. That is laughable. There was a guy in my post-baccalaureate teacher licensing cohort at Concordia who was trying to become a HS history teacher. This guy would openly brag about the fact that he had not read a single book since he graduated college. That guy has been a HS history teacher in Oregon WI schools for the last 7 years. That is simply indefensible. He never should have been admitted to a credential program in the first place, and no school ever should have hired him once he had a credential.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:50 am

fisticuffs wrote:
They can. And I'm told by my Randian friends that's a virtue to be held in the highest of esteem. The difference is that union boss doesn't take home more cash because there are more teachers paying dues.


And you know this how?

The more money the union takes in, the more there will be to pay union leader salaries and perks.

I suppose that it is possible that the union could take in more money and not increase salaries. Seems unlikely, though.

The head of a union with 25,000 members will generally be paid more than the head of a union with 10,000 members. Not a complaint or an accusation, just a statement of fact. They certainly should get paid more for running a bigger union. (or any other kind of organization public or private, for profit or not for profit) A bigger job deserves bigger pay.

One of my students in a Labor Relations class had been a member of a UAW local in Michigan. He brought into class and discussed the charter (Constitution? Governing rules?) of the local. One of the things that caught my attention was the direct relation between the number of vice presidents and the number of members. I think that it may have been VP per 1000 members. Whatever the number was, it was a specific formula. As the union grew, so did the number of VPs. I have no problem with more VPs with more members. I was just struck by the fact that there was such a specific formula.

That was a full time salaried union employee position. And each VP had a staff. My student claimed that the staffs were all spouses, cousins and brothers in law of the VPs. Not sure how much truth there was in that. Like the dead voters of the jokes, probably at least some.

fisticuffs wrote:But solving that problem would require admitting that perhaps letting unlimited amounts of money into our political system doesn't produce more free speech it produces more bribery and corruption.


So are you going to vote for any incumbents this November, Fisticuffs?

It you are, doesn't that just propagate the problem further?

Me, I am making an exception to my no incumbents voting rule for Obama. Or would if voted.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:20 am

Galoot wrote:Mr. Henry, my alternative is one we have already discussed--a teacher training program that produces excellent teachers. The Finnish model seems quite good. I agree completely that you ought not to teach physics (my subject, as an example) without the equivalent of at least a B.S. in the subject--not a B.S. in science education, but a 4 year degree in the actual subject.


Sounds like we agree on this.

Galoot wrote: But additional coursework IS needed for learning best practices in education. Many on the right think that you should just be able to walk into any high school classroom, with a B.S. degree in the subject, and be a great teacher. It can happen, but there is a lot to learn about teaching.


We agree on this too. My wife was a history major in the regular history program of the U of PR. She also took 3-4 courses in educational practices and then did practice teaching to get her certificate. She teaches PR and US history as well as civics, social studies and other related courses. Not all at once but at one time or another over the past 40+ years.

I think something like this, which is sort of like how the Finns do, is what we need in the US.

On the other hand, look at university professors. Also instructors are technical schools teaching trades and skills. For example a welder training program. How many of these have any educational training at all? The first college class I taught was "Basic Refrigeration". I was given the book and a suggested syllabus and asked to develop a course. At the time I was about halfway to an associate degree. I was hired because of my subject knowledge rather than my pedagogical knowledge. Ditto my 22 years teaching in graduate school.

My son and daughter in HS had a great English teacher named Mr White. I believe he had not education training at all.

I agree that there should be some training in classroom management, teaching techniques and so on but I wonder how critical it is?

Galoot wrote:I will add in here that I do think that there are many ideas that are considered gospel at Ed programs, that are simply unproven, such as the idea of "multiple intelligences".


One of the problem with teacher education is that what you refer to as "best practices" seem, in so many cases to be little more than fads. These change from year to year and many (most?) seem to be completely unproven.

I suspect we probably agree more than disagree in this area as well.

Galoot wrote:Mr. Henry, you seem to think that we have to evaluate teachers every year. Why? Are college professors who teach also evaluated on their teaching


I've taught in 4 different universities since 1974 and my experience was that I was evaluated in every course I taught. This included student evaluations, reviews of my syllabi, tests and other class materials, review of grading profiles and so on. My directors sat in on the occasional class to see my teaching style.

I was an adjunct so my pay was by scale rather than performance. (One school paid on the basis of how many students signed up for my class. Ugh) Had my performance not been satisfactory, I would have been counseled. Had it continued to be unsatisfactory, I would not have been asked to teach again.

I like the idea of the Finns hiring only the best people. I think that is a great start. No matter how good the hiring process, there will always be some unsatisfactory people who slip through. Hopefully not many but no system is perfect.

There will also be teachers who were satisfactory when hired but 5 years out, for whatever reason, no longer are.

It is not enough to rely on the system at the beginning to prevent all future problems. You need to have a way of identifying these problems and dealing with them.

Every other employee in the US has their performance evaluated regularly. Usually at least yearly. Why should teachers be any different?

I see no better alternative, for all its problems, than testing.

John Henry
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:24 am

So are you going to vote for any incumbents this November, Fisticuffs?

Yes.
It you are, doesn't that just propagate the problem further?

No.

Me, I am making an exception to my no incumbents voting rule for Obama.


You're full of shit.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby O.J. » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:44 am

Johnny Fajardo thinks a second term for Obama will destroy the country, paving the way for President Palin to quit midway through her first administration.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:31 am

johnfajardohenry wrote:Every other employee in the US has their performance evaluated regularly. Usually at least yearly.


Nope. Not true. I know this from personal experience and from many people I know. I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm saying that you often portray things as fact when indeed they're not.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:57 am

Stebben84 wrote:
johnfajardohenry wrote:Every other employee in the US has their performance evaluated regularly. Usually at least yearly.


Nope. Not true. I know this from personal experience and from many people I know. I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm saying that you often portray things as fact when indeed they're not.



A more correct (from personal observation at least) statement, is that the majority of companies probably have policies dictating a yearly evaluation of all employees. It's also probably safe to say that a vast majority of those companies don't do much to enforce that said evaluation happens.


There are several things I think a teacher should be evaluated on when looking at their performance, but the vast majority do rely on the subjective interpretation of the observer. On the other hand standardized tests do provide a objective quantification of a students current progress (even if it would be the height of stupidity to think that teachers are the only factor affecting said progress). Off the top of my head a good review of teachers would include:
Observation of a teacher's interaction with students
Feedback from students (age appropriate)
Observation of a teacher's interaction with parents
Feedback from parents
review of class plan, and ability to follow/complete plan
comparative review of standardized test results to measure student progress
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Bland » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:11 pm

johnfajardohenry wrote:Every other employee in the US has their performance evaluated regularly. Usually at least yearly.
Let's pretend this is true. How many of those evaluations are based on a single standardized test as opposed to actual observation or some kind of interview?
And how many employees are forced to spend most of their time not actually doing their job, but instead drilling for that test?
And how many employees are forced to do their job with the same materials people used in the 1970s and 80s?
And how many employees are put in situations where they people they're supposed to be working with don't speak the same language?

I could go on, but why bother. Pretty sure I know your answers already.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby HawkHead » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:19 pm

johnfajardohenry wrote:
HawkHead wrote:Personally, I think focus on class size is misguided and a distraction.


The smallest class my kids had in K-12 was about 30 students. A few were as many as 50.

I have no complaints whatsoever about the quality of education they got.

I never thought to count but I'd bet that there were at least 30 kids in my granddaughter's class last year.(2nd grade) She is getting an excellent education as well.

I think the issue of class size is mainly to get more teachers on the payrolls and thus more union dues to pay union leaders.

John Henry


So I go online and stop by the forum and I'm not logged in. So I get to see idiot boys posts that I block not to have to read.

The first post I read is a complete misquote and nothing I have stated or argued in this thread. Stop quoting me unless you leave my full quote intact John Henry.
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Galoot » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:44 pm

I agree that it is simply not true that every other U.S. employee is evaluated yearly. As I pointed out, tenured professors are not. And when you taught and were evaluated, nowhere did you say that your *student test results* were used to evaluate *your* performance.

Once again, for the THIRD time, please present evidence that evaluating K-12 teachers based on their students standardized test results leads to better learning. Such data ought to be easy to find if there were actually a measurable correlation, correct?

And again, if there IS no such data, then why would we do it?
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