LGP Education thread

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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:52 pm

This post by Diane Ravitch does a good job of summing up some of the ills facing education:

How did we allow ourselves to get swept up in this national game of “Survivor” or “The Hunger Games” or “America’s Best Students” or “America’s Best Schools” or whatever you want to call it.
Let’s all read Walden, read poetry, listen to good music, visit a museum, look at the stars, and think more about what matters most in life.
Let us see our children not as global competitors, but as children, little human beings in need of loving care and kindness.
Tests have their place in education, but they should be used to help children, not to define them or to “grade” their school.
We are so far off track that it will take a generation to reclaim our human and professional values about how to raise and educate children.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:36 am

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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:21 pm

I'm not really sure what to make of that abstract and I can't view the full article.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:42 pm

MWB, I have access to pretty much any journal imaginable. If you want, I can e-mail the pdf to you if you PM me your e-mail address. Essentially it just says that states with "stronger" unions have worse test scores than those with "weak unions" or no unions.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:56 pm

count2infinity wrote:MWB, I have access to pretty much any journal imaginable. If you want, I can e-mail the pdf to you if you PM me your e-mail address. Essentially it just says that states with "stronger" unions have worse test scores than those with "weak unions" or no unions.


Thanks, I'll get you my email. I'm curious as to what measurements they used and how thorough they were.

There are two books coming out next month that I'm quite eager to read:

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools by Diane Ravitch and
The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System
by Ron Paul. I'm guessing they will give be polar opposites.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:39 pm

Thanks for sending it to me, c2i.

I would have to say that the study is incomplete, at best. It takes test scores from only 4th and 8th grade students in one school year, 2005-2006. The districts studied had to have more than 10,000 students. That means that the scores are automatically skewed towards urban areas, which means higher poverty rates. The test scores are from a site that they acknowledge, "subsequently disappeared from the internet, presumably because it was not profitable." They also only used the "state-wide membership dues for the largest union in the state," which in most cases will be the state chapter of the NEA or AFT. The dues for those two unions will be higher than any local union, so their "union dues/teacher" numbers could be higher than the true amounts. It seems, if I'm reading it all correctly, that they tried to make the union dues portion as high as they could and the test scores as low as they could in the way they selected their data.

It's not surprising that they found the biggest districts to have lower test scores, and I'd guess if you checked poverty rates in those districts you'd find a correlation there.

One of the authors of the study, Johnathon Lott, is quite right-leaning as well, so I'm not surprised at how the results panned out.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Factorial on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:01 pm

My kids started today. Where we used to live in GA, they started Aug 12th. :face:
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:47 am

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/26/45 ... block.html

The group, Citizens for Objective Public Education, had criticized the standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council for treating both evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Kansas State Board of Education adopted them in June to replace evolution-friendly standards that had been in place since 2007


not sure if this should be in the science thread or education thread, but wow.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Tomas on Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:34 pm

Considering Grad School?

http://joannarenteria.com/2011/12/13/i- ... hilarious/

(Many of the above work for the opposite gender, too.) :D
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:49 am

So a teacher that I worked with who started the same year that I started, but she was in her mid 40's posted this on her facebook:

Teach for America.
What a joke!!
How does the teaching profession allow this? Would we even consider, “Doctors for America” or “Police for America?” Doubtful.
Loved this analogy.


Someone asked, "You think Teach for America is a joke?"

Her response:

Yes. It was started when there was a teacher shortage. There is no shortage now, and they are putting college grads in poor public schools, taking school dollars, and allowing them to teach for 2 years with like 5 weeks of training. I had 4 years of teacher training and still felt unprepared and feel bad for my first 2-3 years students. They are not trained to teach, and the students they are teaching are getting an untrained educator when they need the best in the business to help them learn. They are working with our very most underprivileged students that deal with homelessness, violence, starvation, no parents around, etc.....and we give them a warm untrained body. Very sad. They are taking the job of an unemployed trained teacher, and the kids will suffer.


Just wondering what others here think about the teach for america program. I do not share her views. To try to compare a doctor and and educator as far as the amount of training required to do that job is just ridiculous. I really think that education in how to teach may help along the way, but really it takes a certain type of person to be an effective educator and those classes you take do not prepare you at all for the classroom. In the courses everything is taught assuming ideal situations and no problems, then students after 4 years of "training" go to an actual classroom and say "man, this is nothing like they said it would be." I really think hands on experience in the classroom is the best way to learn and realize what it takes to be a good teacher.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby legame on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:01 pm

I'm definitely not a fan of Teach for America. I taught for four years at a Title I, inner-city school that funneled those teachers in and out constantly. They were woefully unprepared, usually apathetic to the task at hand, and almost universally only interested in using the experience as a strong resume builder so they could get into a better law school/company. Is that always the case? No. However, in my experience, they're not worth the hassle they bring.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:05 pm

legame wrote:I'm definitely not a fan of Teach for America. I taught for four years at a Title I, inner-city school that funneled those teachers in and out constantly. They were woefully unprepared, usually apathetic to the task at hand, and almost universally only interested in using the experience as a strong resume builder so they could get into a better law school/company. Is that always the case? No. However, in my experience, they're not worth the hassle they bring.


At the same time, I went to school with a few people that got science degrees, and didn't think about wanting to teach until well into their 3rd or 4th year of college. I can't blame them for taking the Teach for America route rather than spend a few more years in school for an education degree. As far as woefully unprepared, usually apathetic, and interested in other things... you could say that for people getting education degrees as well. The huge lack of hands on training in schools and sitting in the utopian college classroom where everything is rainbows and sunshine when it comes to education is just as dangerous.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby legame on Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:21 pm

As did I. A number of my coworkers had biology, finance, or business degrees... but they went through a lateral entry program that allowed them to teach immediately (receiving on the job training) while still becoming fully certified for the long haul and taking education classes on the side. My main issue is that these Teach for America applicants are being placed in schools they have no business teaching in. Underachieving schools need teachers with experience who want to be there, not non-ed majors straight out of college unprepared for the absurdly daunting task in front of them.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:07 pm

Not a fan of TFA either. C2i, you're right that the current teacher training is poor. However, TFA training is even worse. On top of that, the people in that program don't have a vested interest in staying in the profession. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now, but the number of TFA teachers who stay in teaching is quite a bit lower than the typical teacher. For some it is a good thing to add to a resume for a later job. We need to train teachers more effectively, not look for quick fix solutions that don't help.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Shyster on Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:53 pm

"Teach for America" Outperforms Standard Public Education, Despite Outcry from Teacher Unions
http://reason.com/blog/2013/09/13/teach ... standard-p
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:54 pm

That study has teachers from other alternative licensure programs as well as experienced, traditional teachers. When you take that group of alternative licensure out, the results are a wash in math. In reading, TFA teachers didn't fare as well as traditional.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:20 pm

count2infinity wrote:So a teacher that I worked with who started the same year that I started, but she was in her mid 40's posted this on her facebook:

Teach for America.
What a joke!!
How does the teaching profession allow this? Would we even consider, “Doctors for America” or “Police for America?” Doubtful.
Loved this analogy.


Someone asked, "You think Teach for America is a joke?"

Her response:

Yes. It was started when there was a teacher shortage. There is no shortage now, and they are putting college grads in poor public schools, taking school dollars, and allowing them to teach for 2 years with like 5 weeks of training. I had 4 years of teacher training and still felt unprepared and feel bad for my first 2-3 years students. They are not trained to teach, and the students they are teaching are getting an untrained educator when they need the best in the business to help them learn. They are working with our very most underprivileged students that deal with homelessness, violence, starvation, no parents around, etc.....and we give them a warm untrained body. Very sad. They are taking the job of an unemployed trained teacher, and the kids will suffer.


Just wondering what others here think about the teach for america program. I do not share her views. To try to compare a doctor and and educator as far as the amount of training required to do that job is just ridiculous. I really think that education in how to teach may help along the way, but really it takes a certain type of person to be an effective educator and those classes you take do not prepare you at all for the classroom. In the courses everything is taught assuming ideal situations and no problems, then students after 4 years of "training" go to an actual classroom and say "man, this is nothing like they said it would be." I really think hands on experience in the classroom is the best way to learn and realize what it takes to be a good teacher.


I agree completely with what she says, and also with what you say, aside from the doctor part in both instances. I think you're taking that part a bit too literally. It seems that her point is you wouldn't want other important people who influence your life to go through some half-assed training, so why would you want that for a teacher. Beginning teachers absolutely need to be more well trained. As you say, more hands-on experience. New teachers should be given a mentor and put in a situation where they are not actually in charge to start. Teachers who already have experience don't need that. If they are a real teacher, they know what they are doing.

As the woman says, you've also got TFA teachers taking over for experienced teachers in some cases. They are cheaper. TFA is big business with big muscle and politicians behind it.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Factorial on Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:01 pm

Shyster wrote:"Teach for America" Outperforms Standard Public Education, Despite Outcry from Teacher Unions
http://reason.com/blog/2013/09/13/teach ... standard-p


It must really burn you up that as a childless person you have to pay school taxes.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Shyster on Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:57 pm

Factorial wrote:
Shyster wrote:"Teach for America" Outperforms Standard Public Education, Despite Outcry from Teacher Unions
http://reason.com/blog/2013/09/13/teach ... standard-p


It must really burn you up that as a childless person you have to pay school taxes.

That and the whole I'm-a-Libertarian thing. IMO public schools shouldn't exist to begin with. Neither should public-employee unions. Or public employees.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:08 pm

Eliminating public schools would hurt individuals and society a lot more than help.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Hockeynut! on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:09 pm

Shyster wrote:Neither should public-employee unions. Or public employees.

Public defenders?
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby Factorial on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:42 pm

I'm sure someone would forgo billable hours to represent the downtrodden.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby count2infinity on Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:38 pm

I guess I just don't know enough people that have gone through TFA. I only know the few that I'm friends with that have an actual passion for the job and have become quite successful teachers and are still at the schools they started at.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby King Sid the Great 87 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:52 am

Why does TFA exist? Is it a matter of nobody else being willing to fill the positions in these "difficult" school districts? If so, I'm not sure what the alternative is.
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Re: LGP Education thread

Postby MWB on Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:41 pm

Part of the reason it was started was to fill those positions. I'm not sure how much of a need there still is to fill those right now though. TFA seems to have much loftier goals than that at this point.
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