LGP Education thread

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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby pittsoccer33 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:57 am

I like the idea of a public school system, one where every child is treated equally. I think that funding schools locally with local property tax dollars is patently unfair and pretty terrible. A kid with a single mom who happens to live in Wilkinsburg will have no where near the opportunity he would if his mom lived a few miles north in Fox Chapel.

The parents who live in those areas who do really care seem to be the ones taking advantage of the charter schools the most. When I get on the bus in East Liberty I see a lot of kids already on it, telling me they hoped on in Larimer, Wilkinsburg, or Swissvale. They're heading downtown wearing their charter school uniforms. I have to imagine they are in a better environment doing that then they would be at Westinghouse or Wilkinsburg High.

I took a business ethics class in college and I can't remember the exact context, but we were talking about what would happen if high schools were forced into market competition (sort of the way colleges are). The crux of the idea being that parents could send their kids to any school they choose. So it would be up to schools to compete for those vouchers or what have you, hopefully improving the quality of education in the process.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:01 am

largegarlic wrote:I don't have kids, but I have lots of friends and family with toddlers, and they are starting to think about what to do about their schooling. I would say the majority think of public schools as a last resort (maybe like PFiDC) if there isn't a reasonable private/charter option.

In a way I think it's a shame in that the kids left in the worse public schools will only be the ones whose parents don't have enough money or don't care enough about their education to find better options, which would seem to just perpetuate the poor performance of these schools. On the other hand, I can understand as a parent, you don't want your kid to get an inferior education just for the sake of making a statement in favor of public education.


That is the bigger problem. If parents don't care about their child's education, it doesn't really matter where the kid goes to school. If they do care, hopefully they will research things completely and really find the best option for their kid. I think some look at charter schools as different, and therefore better.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:03 am

pittsoccer33 wrote:I took a business ethics class in college and I can't remember the exact context, but we were talking about what would happen if high schools were forced into market competition (sort of the way colleges are). The crux of the idea being that parents could send their kids to any school they choose. So it would be up to schools to compete for those vouchers or what have you, hopefully improving the quality of education in the process.


That's happening now, more and more. Schools are becoming big business. There is a lot of money to be had out there.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:04 am

Education at all levels has slowly become big business, and not just tuition fees, but everything associated with education. Take a look at book prices vs consumer prices since the 70's:

Image
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:09 am

Tests and testing prep materials are huge. You've also got more for profit charters popping up.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby pittsoccer33 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:17 am

I live in the 15206 zip code and I'm not really sure how school assignments are handled in the City of Pittsburgh. The Montessori K-8 school in Friendship is probably the closest elementary school to me. What are the thoughts on that kind of education?

The Obama school is a 6-12 school in walking distance. I'd have to imagine an International Baccalaureate school (whatever that means) would be a better than average school. It took over what was Peabody high in East Liberty. With Schenely closed I guess the next closest option would be Westinghouse in Point Breeze.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby PensFanInDC on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:22 am

pittsoccer33 wrote:I live in the 15206 zip code and I'm not really sure how school assignments are handled in the City of Pittsburgh. The Montessori K-8 school in Friendship is probably the closest elementary school to me. What are the thoughts on that kind of education?


That is our first choice really. It all depends on the child though. We feel, through seeing how our almost 3 year old acts and interacts with other kids, that a Montessori school is perfect for him. Some kids would do better in a more structured class setting with only kids their own age. Our son is really independent and does really well with older kids so that's a reason we would like to try Montessori and see how it goes.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:24 am

Montessori schools are interesting, but just like any educational theory/practice out there... it works well for some kids, but not all kids. I think that's the biggest issue with any approach to teaching kids is that people think the best educational practice should just work for everyone, when it doesn't. Each kid is going to have a way they learn best. If a kid is naturally inquisitive and very self motivating to find answers to questions, then Montessori programs will work wonders for them.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby PensFanInDC on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:25 am

count2infinity wrote:Montessori schools are interesting, but just like any educational theory/practice out there... it works well for some kids, but not all kids. I think that's the biggest issue with any approach to teaching kids is that people think the best educational practice should just work for everyone, when it doesn't. Each kid is going to have a way they learn best. If a kid is naturally inquisitive and very self motivating to find answers to questions, then Montessori programs will work wonders for them.


:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Pavel Bure on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:37 am

MWB wrote:Not sure how many people look into this thread aside from the regular contributors, but I am curious about something. Charter schools are on the rise around the country. Vouchers are gaining steam again. If you have kids, or are planning on it, does sending your kids to a public school leave you with a negative feeling? Is that feeling specific to the school, or just general?

After working in a charter school and seeing how they operate from the inside I would never send my child to one. They preach a lot of idealism but on the inside have very little in the way of enacting that idealism. They preach "data driven instruction" which is useful in terms of seeing what a child knows and what they need (if they take the test seriously). My experience with that approach was less focus on the actual student and more focus on what their data told us. If a student needed some emotional support "perhaps you should cater more to what their data tells you." if a student was struggling with a concept they apparently had mastered, "their data supports that they already have mastered this concept, you should find a way to engage them with what their data said they need work on."

I could fill pages with my bad experience at a charter school. There were some excellent teachers there, really just superb. The administration though was mostly clueless to what an actual classroom needed and constantly tried to force a square peg into a round hole. I'm not saying all charter schools are bad, this is just my personal experience form the inside. If for instance I lived within the Pittsburgh Public School system I'd for sure be looking into sending my child to a private or charter school. Heck the school district was one of the biggest factors for my wife and I moving out of North Versailles. There was a zero chance I was sending my child to Woodland Hills... but I digress.

Charter schools and private schools may seem like a cure all or a way to protect your child but I can assure you the same "problems" you're trying to avoid in a public school still occur in a charter school. Kids are kids and they are constantly learning and evolving both in the classroom and with interactions between peers. Sending them to a charter school, private school, or public school has little impact on their experience between peers.

For a brutally accurate and humorous look into charter schools I recommend visiting the blog http://teachbad.com/ start from the beginning of his posts as he no longer teaches due to the hypocrisy and rhetoric. (The guy that writes the blog is highly educated and depicts my experience in a charter school to a T, his was in Washington DC, mine was in Pittsburgh.)
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby pittsoccer33 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:18 am

Pavel Bure wrote: Heck the school district was one of the biggest factors for my wife and I moving out of North Versailles. There was a zero chance I was sending my child to Woodland Hills


And this is what irks me. If a goal of our nation is to provide an education for children why does it matter where you live? You were fortunate enough to be able to move, from a logistical and cost point. Many others don't have that luxury.

And its even more frustrating that you're talking about Woodland Hills, which I think more than any other district in the area as created as a result of trying to accomplish what I'm talking about (combining tax dollars from areas like Edgewood and Churchill with Rankin and East Pittsburgh).
Last edited by pittsoccer33 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MalkinIsMyHomeboy on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:21 am

Image


I just graduated with a bachelor's in physics and minor in computer science and I couldn't figure this out...
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:23 am

I believe the answer is Sidney Crosby upside down.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Pavel Bure on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:30 am

pittsoccer33 wrote:
Pavel Bure wrote: Heck the school district was one of the biggest factors for my wife and I moving out of North Versailles. There was a zero chance I was sending my child to Woodland Hills


And this is what irks me. If a goal of our nation is to provide an education for children why does it matter where you live? You were fortunate enough to be able to move, from a logistical and cost point. Many others don't have that luxury.

IMO the greater fault of education comes not from the institutions themselves but from the home life of the child. The school can't fix a zero structure environment at home, they can't fix daddy or mommy being gone, they can't fix an 11 year old having to take care of their siblings because there isn't a strong parental influence at home. Many parents that took the charter school route for their troubled Billy or Susie wondered why their child still had issues. A student that is given clear expectations and consequences then has their parent call in to tell the teacher that their child doesn't have to respect those boundaries because they're "f&@$inh bulls$&@" is not the fault of the school but the fault of their home life.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:34 pm

Biggest issue is definitely the home life.
I've heard some bad stories from people who teach at charters about how they are run. I think the biggest thing is that the administrators want to do things a certain way, which would cater to a certain type of student. However, they advertise as being great for any student. I know some people are really happy with their charters though.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:45 pm

The way I see this playing out is that eventually charters, private, and other non-public schools will outnumber public schools. That, along with increased testing, will be seen as the "great fixes" for education. It will cost billions and take billions away from public education. And ultimately, it will see no change in results. Take all that money and put it towards proper training and evaluation of teachers, and things will move in a better direction. I would say put it towards ending poverty, but don't think that is really possible.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Pavel Bure on Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:46 pm

MWB wrote:Biggest issue is definitely the home life.
I've heard some bad stories from people who teach at charters about how they are run. I think the biggest thing is that the administrators want to do things a certain way, which would cater to a certain type of student. However, they advertise as being great for any student. I know some people are really happy with their charters though.

Oh for sure they're happy. I feel like I did a bad job of trying to convey they do have their merits.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:32 pm

Excellent article on the issue of treating schools like a business.

Marketplace mantras dominate policy discussions. High-stakes reading and math tests are treated as the single metric of success, the counterpart to the business bottom line. Teachers whose students do poorly on those tests get pink slips, while those whose students excel receive merit pay, much as businesses pay bonuses to their star performers and fire the laggards. Just as companies shut stores that aren’t meeting their sales quotas, opening new ones in more promising territory, failing schools are closed and so-called turnaround model schools, with new teachers and administrators, take their place.

This approach might sound plausible in a think tank, but in practice it has been a flop. Firing teachers, rather than giving them the coaching they need, undermines morale. In some cases it may well discourage undergraduates from pursuing careers in teaching, and with a looming teacher shortage as baby boomers retire, that’s a recipe for disaster. Merit pay invites rivalries among teachers, when what’s needed is collaboration. Closing schools treats everyone there as guilty of causing low test scores, ignoring the difficult lives of the children in these schools — “no excuses,” say the reformers, as if poverty were an excuse.


http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/op ... &referrer=
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby columbia on Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:01 pm

I just a radio report that local ACT scores have dropped, despite a larger number of students taking the test.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Pavel Bure on Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:03 pm

columbia wrote:I just a radio report that local ACT scores have dropped, despite a larger number of students taking the test.

And that's bad because of the words dropped and larger number. There's a mean to everything and the larger the sample size the closer to the mean something is. Reports like those are made just to stir up controversy.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby columbia on Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:05 pm

Who could have thought more kids taking it would pull down the mean?
It's just shocking. ;)
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:17 pm

They have actually gone up slightly from last year.
http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2014/trends.html
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Pavel Bure on Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:42 pm

I received a letter from PSERS asking if I want to be a class E or F. It seems like F takes new out and pays more but I don't quite understand it. Are there any PA teachers here that can explain this in non-legalspeak?
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:02 pm

I believe e gives you more in your pocket now, but f gives you a better pension. If you don't think you'll be teasing that long, I'd definitely do e. If you think you can do more with that extra money, than do e. If you think you can teach for the long haul and would rather have more in your pension, do f.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby columbia on Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:30 pm

I only know about this, because I once looked into a job where you had the option of PSERS and TIAA-CREF. As a school teacher, I assume you only have access to the former.

Having been in a different state retirement system, knowing the rules of getting out of it, as needed, is definitely important.

http://www.psers.state.pa.us/leavingemp ... oyment.htm
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