Thursday, November 7, 2013

Democrats for School Reform

I must say that I am surprised but hopeful.  It seems like more Democrats and Teachers are beginning to understand that serious changes need to take place in the schools if we really want to close the achievement gap.

Personally I think the school issues only contribute to about 25% of the problem.  However it is the factor that we have the most control over.  G2A Education Factors List  Meaning that management, funding, performance management, training, curriculum, etc can all be adjusted.  Employees at all levels can be praised, fired, promoted, demoted, etc.  Compensation systems can be adjusted, etc.

The above are not simple, however they are much more manageable than eliminating poverty, changing Parent's methods, stopping drug abuse, changing American or local cultures, etc.

Now if we can convince the Conservatives to support Early Childhood Education, especially in the high risk households, therefore reducing the influence that deadbeat Parent's have on their kids...  Maybe we can stop some of the generational poverty issues and belief systems from being "inherited"...  Thoughts?

MinnPost Education Community Applauding
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Generation Next
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26 comments:

jerrye92002 said...

Sorry, but the data is already in, and the single most important factor in a child's education is an effective teacher. The current public school system, deeply unionized, is highly effective at PREVENTING that from happening. Unionism prevents poor teachers from being fired, requires that enthusiastic young teachers be laid off first, and absolutely prohibits the eminently sensible notion of merit pay and retention. Even worse, the unions continue to peddle that class size myth that has the effect of holding down what teachers COULD be paid if class sizes were not arbitrarily held down.

I am insulted, because conservatives already believe in early childhood education. We just don't believe that a school system that can't deliver on K – 12 educations should be given any more opportunities for irrational irresponsibility. As I have said before, we already have systems in place to remove children from truly dangerous households, and our current government programs for "eliminating poverty" have been and continue to be shamefully counterproductive. Democrats and liberals have controlled our school systems for many years; it is time for them to quit blaming conservatives and parents and the boogie man Koch brothers for their abject failures.

John said...

You know what I am going to say... Show me your sources.

My favorite folks for analysis are these folks. Freakonomics Education They are terribly politically incorrect and enjoyable.

Freak Teaching Parents to Parent

Seems irrational to believe that Teachers can undo the damage done in ~7 hrs/day 173 days/year over 13 yrs (~15743 hrs) that a questionable household can do during the rest of the childs waking life... (16 hrs/day X 365 days X 5 yrs + 16 hrs/day X 192 days/yr X 13 yrs + 9 hrs/day X 173 X 13 yrs)days = ~89,377 hrs)

Especially when the Parents get the most critical first 5 years... And the Teachers time is disrupted by lunch, busing, etc.

Also, social services is another group that the Conservatives resist supporting. Therefore most of the kids do end up staying in very questionable homes. Only the worst of the worst get pulled...

Anonymous said...



Sorry, but the data is already in, and the single most important factor in a child's education is an effective teacher.

Indeed, education hardly ever proceeds without one.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

NAEP scores are out, and they look OK. I have noticed that many of the politicians who have spent a great deal of time and energy denigrating our schools, are now taking credit for their success.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Sources, again? You have already provided them. The statement was clearly made in your cites, and backed by ample research, about teachers being most important. And I have to disagree about the role of "bad parenting." Parents are responsible for the physical, emotional and moral needs of the child, but the education system is responsible for the child's education. They demand to be the "experts" in the subject, and the system (though not individual teachers) rejects "interference" by parents. In short, they demand and hold complete responsibility for results. That may be unfair and unreasonable, but it is what they asked for. Until that system can deliver results commensurate with its promises, we do a great disservice by trying to spread the blame any other place. There is only ONE factor in the failure of public education that matters-- the failure of the public education system.

John said...

Lots of people like to criticize NCLB/AYP, however it definitely turned a spotlight on the achievement gap and the need for reform. Just think how much better things could have been for the kids if the education establishment had spent all that time and energy on helping the kids instead of fighting the grading criteria.

G2A Sir The Class is Too Hard
G2A PDCA
G2A Drive to Weaken NCLB

John said...

I must have missed the memo where they said "they demand and hold complete responsibility for results". The teachers and public schools my kids attend have always been very interested in getting parents to attend conferences and participate in helping the students succeed.

Also, I think "good / involved" Parents take responsibility for more than... "Parents are responsible for the physical, emotional and moral needs of the child" In your world, who is responsible that the kids do their homework, ensure the kids have the necessary tools to do the homework, ensure the kids attend school, ensure the kids behave in school, etc...

In fact, I have a whole list of things that good parents do.
G2A Poor Kids: Stupid or Unlucky

That is they have the capability, money and interest.

John said...

They even stress collaboration in the how to guide...

"Stress collaboration. “I’d like to discuss with you how we might work together to improve John’s study habits” gets the relationship off on the right foot. Let parents know you are eager to work with them throughout the year to help make their child’s education positive and successful." ED MN Conference Guide

Now if we could figure out to get the "Dead Beat Parents" to hold up their end of the relationship... Or at least show up at conferences...

jerrye92002 said...

Just think of how much better all our kids, but especially those on the wrong side of the achievement gap, would be doing if NCLB had actually been implemented as originally written by Congress, rather than being fought tooth and nail by the teachers unions and their political pawns? That is, suppose the law had actually succeeded in forcing school districts that were failing to make AYP 3 years (I think) in a row provide students with full funding to enable them to seek an alternative? We would not be graduating the first class that I had actually enjoyed the benefits of school choice, in a system that rewarded achievement and punished mediocrity.

jerrye92002 said...

There you go again, excusing the obvious failures of our education system by blaming every parent except yourself for being a "deadbeat" of some sort. It is a wicked form of bias. The vast majority of what you would call "unlucky kids" can and will learn much better given the proper educational environment, which is NOT our public urban schools. Having spoken with a number of these parents I am convinced that it isn't that they do not WANT their kids to do better in school, but that they have lost all hope that the public schools will provide that education, exacerbated by the fact that they lack the means to seek something better. Ask almost anybody what was the first consideration in buying a new house, and you'll hear "good schools." The people trapped in our urban schools can't afford that new house in the suburbs. Now if you want to blame their "poor choices" for the poverty they are in, that is a different subject. My point is that until the schools get paid more for doing well or less for doing poorly, nothing is going to change.

jerrye92002 said...

Wow, what a typo. It should read "We would NOW be graduating the first class that had actually enjoyed ..."

John said...

If every child failed in those schools, I may think you are making sense.

However many kids thrive in schools where others fail. Same curriculum, same Teachers, same classes, same building, etc. The only differences are the Parents, how the children are raised /supported at home, and the children themselves.

So though I agree that some more kids would succeed if we improved the system / Teachers, I still believe they/it are only 25% of the problem. As long as the children are exposed to 5.7 hours of questionable Parents and Peers for every 1 school hour they get, we and the Teachers will be fighting an uphill battle.

I am not sure where you get this never ending respect for every Parent. Especially when you continually call those unwed Mothers irresponsible for getting pregnant out of marriage. Yet for some reason you seem to have a never ending faith that the same irresponsible Mother/Father that weren't smart enough to use birth control correctly and are not smart/reliable enough to make a living wage are in someway responsible enough to raise a child well.

While the whole time degrading all those Teachers that were responsible enough to get a college degree and succeed in getting licensed in MN as a Teacher. I think we agreed that the number of poor Teachers was ~5%, yet one would swear from your comments that they are all uncaring incompetent people in a totally dysfunctional system.

John said...

This one is kind of depressing for children of Parents that are not to smart or motivated.
Freak Parent Impact

This one covers a lot of different bases.
Freak Closing Achievement Gap

John said...

Freak Education and Ambition
Freak Perfect Parent

John said...

I found this comic when I was helping my daughter with her social studies. I thought my Liberal readers would find it humorous and somewhat true.

Comic 1

My dialogue with J reminded me of it.

Laurie said...

John, I think we actually now have a fair amount of agreement on education reform, though I would not go as far as you on performance pay or might implement it differently.

John said...

Don't be shy, what would you do to ensure the most effective Teachers are compensated appropriately and the poor Teachers removed from the classroom?

jerrye92002 said...

Not sure who you think is shy, but it seems to me the first step would be to actually evaluate teacher performance, something the DFL has just gutted in the last legislative session.

John said...

I was referring to Laurie's comment, she teased us by saying she wouldn't go so far. However she didn't share us with us what she was willing to do for the kids.

Laurie said...

I have worked in several non union charter schools and none of them fired teachers for poor performance nor did they reward the best teachers with higher pay.

What I do for poor kids is go in to work on Sundays to get ready for the week.

John said...

Yet if I remember correctly, your school's management has dismissed Teachers before. Were they wrong in doing so?

And do you really know what all the Teachers make?

In your personal life, do you think everyone you hire should be paid the same no matter their skill level?

If someone you hired starts to make errors, should you have to keep hiring them?

jerrye92002 said...

New York City is notorious for having a whole building full of teachers that they cannot fire because of union rules, but that they don't dare put in a classroom because they are just that terrible. Without the union rules, more could be paid to the teachers who ARE effective, so there seems to be a simple solution here. I wonder how many teachers would be willing to bet they are average or better and could get paid accordingly, if they would decertify their union?

John said...

I think the problem is FEAR.

Teachers who believe they are capable / under compensated are worried that "someone" will judge them to be incapable / over compensated. Having been through the "position eliminated process", I can appreciate how scary it is and how hard it is on one's self image / self confidence.

However, without this process in place I am not sure how they can look themselves in the mirror and say that they are to doing the best for the students. Somehow they need to become confident enough in their personal and professional value to know they can always find something similar or better.

John said...

This link definitely gives some disturbing statistics.Teacher Retention

jerrye92002 said...

There are two things needed for a successful evaluation program. First is that the system must be largely and clearly objective. Second is that it must be predicated on those things that the employee can control. The first would seem to be easy for teachers-- student test scores are based on objective and numeric test scores, end-year vs. Start-of-year. It is the second where I think our current school system breaks down, because teachers are so highly regulated in what they teach and how they must teach it. There needs to be room for "professionalism" in the ranks before it can be properly recognized and rewarded.

jerrye92002 said...

If you have read me carefully, which I doubt, he will have seen me repeatedly state as axiomatic that "good people in a bad system produce bad results." That applies not only to the school system, or even the best teachers eventually get beat down into conformity with the nonfunctional status quo, but to our welfare system, where even those who recognize their mistakes and want to do better are trapped in a system that rewards giving up. And then to force these poor folks to live with schools that deny their children the opportunity for something better must be soul shattering. I will take the goodness of these folks over that of the liberal well-meaning bureaucrats ruining their lives "for their own good" every day.