Friday, February 13, 2015

Education Update Links

Here is something for everyone.  Thoughts?

MinnPost Early Ed Hot at the Capitol - All or Just Unlucky

MinnPost 25% + Need Remedial Courses

PU Legislative Update


jerrye92002 said...

Good idea. I'm going to write my legislator and insist that, if the DFL persists in wanting pre-K for all kids, that it MUST continue to be done on a scholarship basis-- that is, the parent gets the money and gets to pick the pre-school. We should NOT kill the existing scholarship program in favor of creating a 14th (and almost certainly failing) grade in our public schools. Let them get K-12 right before taking on more. Even the best high schools are turning out 20+% that aren't ready for college, and that's not acceptable, especially when college applicants self-select.

John said...

Here is a cross post from the MinnPost discussion.

"Oh, those evil teachers!!! There is no way they could be motivated by what is good for the children, is there?" RB Holbrook

"Let the Principals, Teachers, and other Public employees give up their employment contracts and seniority based compensation and job security, then I will believe they are dedicated to doing what is best for the students. Then and only then will the most productive Teachers be in the correct classrooms and correctly compensated.

By the way, I don't think Teachers are evil. I think most of them are great people trapped in a bad system. The older "pro-union" Teachers control the negotiations and therefore negotiate for higher pay and security for people like themselves, therefore leaving less for the younger Teachers." G2A

jerrye92002 said...

I will agree that most teachers are doing the best they can, but they are hampered by the system, NOT rewarded for doing better, and they aren't given real opportunities to improve, as there would be in a master-journeyman sort of pay-for-performance structure. And I'm not convinced that some of them-- more than just the "bad" teachers that shouldn't be teaching at all-- are qualified for their jobs. Since the DFL abolished the requirement for teachers to pass the basic skills test we expect their students to pass, we can't say.

John said...

Where do you get these strange bits of "fact" from?

Teacher Testing

Teacher Testing 2

To me it looks like they just added some other tests.

John said...

Looks like Beth is discussing Teacher Licensing right now at MinnPost.

Looks like it is harder than it should be in many ways. Especially this silliness that they don't seem to give credit to people getting Teaching degrees from accredited colleges. My wife ran into this bureaucratic nightmare when she looked into this many years ago.

Imagine if everyone needed to provide class content details instead of proof of a degree from a accredited university.

jerrye92002 said...

Looks to me like I am largely correct. The old "PRAXIS" (content based) test was done away with, replaced by something less relevant (ACT/SAT), and then made more or less optional.

This change resonated with me because I recall an attempt in Louisiana, to go the other way-- that is, requiring new teachers to be competent in the subject they teach and NOT just be "graduates with an education degree." In the first year, something like 85% of them failed the test the first time.

Another way to look at this, if you have a biased view: This was pushed through under DFL control, at the behest of the unions. Why should teachers object to taking a test that their students are required to pass and that they should all pass easily, so much that they insist the DFL legislature not require it?

John said...

Silly question... How many students do you know who take the PRAXIS / PPST test?

Most students I know take the SAT/ACT tests. Therefore the State stopped having Teachers take an odd test and now require proefficiency scores against the tests that students take.

Isn't this what you want?

jerrye92002 said...

The problem with the SAT is it is proof of being ready for college. Fourth graders are not, yet we will accept the SAT as being capable of teaching math to fourth-graders? No, I would prefer that teachers take the same basic skills test that the students take, though probably the 12th-grade version of it. (There are some pretty bright fourth-graders out there.) Granted that teaching is a skill distinct from, say, knowledge of math, but on the other hand I defy you to teach math without it. We simply do not know, because we do not test, whether teachers of math know the math they are to be teaching. Even more true now that "common core" math is creeping into our schools. "New math" and "new new math" had the same problems.

John said...

I am happy you are not setting the criteria for working as an Engineer. With my ever changing roles and responsibilities I would be taking tests all the time.

jerrye92002 said...

Did you take a test to get your Engineer's license, and was it applicable to what you were being licensed to do? Or are you the kind of "employed at will" engineer working for someone else, where the test is the job itself?

Sure, you can get the job with just a college degree, but try staying employed if 50% of your designs don't meet spec. I remember working with a degreed electrical engineer once. He didn't know the formula for current in an RC circuit. Would I want him teaching circuit theory to anybody?

John said...

I am actually a licensed / tested Professional Engineer though I have never needed it for the jobs I have had.

The primary qualification for engineers was if they could pull a 3.0 or better at an accreditted university. Remember that we get the speech in Engrg Intro. "Look around you... Half of you will change majors and not make it to become an engineer..."

As with Engineering, Teaching requires both a basic understanding of the content and a skill / creativity for implementing it. I know excellent Engrs who could not pass the PE test, and I know poor Engrs who are academically gifted.

I think the Teacher tests are fine, we just need to grade Teachers on performance and not on age / degrees.

jerrye92002 said...

If you are going to evaluate teacher performance consistently and based on actual results, then I would happily allow anybody with some minimal qualification and desire to prove themselves. (To some extent that's what student teaching is for, and I would continue that 'probationary' approach.) But that's not what we have now. We have people who CAN'T teach and haven't proven (by test) they even know the subject matter, and they still get the same pay as everybody else. One or the other and preferably both, to my taste.

John said...

Well per my sources, they still need to pass a test. Though maybe not the exact one you desire.

And hopefully results and performance evaluations continue to grow in importance for the good of the students. Though you can count on Ed MN to fight that.

jerrye92002 said...

Somewhere between "a test" and "the one I desire" is fine, but I seriously doubt that is what Ed Mn is going to promote through their bought-and-paid-for DFL legislators. Anything that keeps ineffective and incompetent teachers in place is OK, apparently, with them.

jerrye92002 said...

And that's the problem, isn't it? We've set up this "priesthood" of educrats that cannot be questioned about their practices or results, while demanding ever more tribute. Anything which might call into question their claimed complete competence or worse, their ability to perform the miracles they claim they can, must be quashed with massive political force.