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  1. #1
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    Default 3 reasons why Promise academies are a bad idea, or, Why the Inky is wrong.

    1. 44% of Philadelphia teachers leave within the first five years of their career. Thus our teaching staff changes by virtually half every five years. In the 17 years I've been teaching that means the turnover has occurred 3 times, yet we still blame teachers. Who keeps hiring these bad teachers anyway?
    2. Researchers have demonstrated turnarounds like the Promise Academy work one in five times. Not a good enough batting average to keep one in the major leagues. Look at Potter Thomas. Last year 550 kids, this year 400 kids. Where did these 150 children go and how has that affected the school? Look at the Dodge School in Chicago, Arne Duncan's turn around model. He moved the kids out of that school, sent them to places that had little problems with violence and bingo, one of those schools made the news last year for frequent gang fights and a violent murder. Remember? In the mean time Duncan talks about how changing the teachers made a difference.
    3. Our teachers in Philadelphia come from the same universities as the teachers in the suburbs. Do people believe Penn, Temple, St. Joe's, Chestnut Hill, Holy Family, etc can't train teachers adequately? Why don't their graduates fail everywhere instead of just here?

    Blaming the teachers is like blaming the pediatrician because a child is sick. When the city of Philadelphia begins to listen to its teachers whose hearts are in the right place, whose egos are in balance, then true school improvement will happen.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by knwmn View Post
    1. 44% of Philadelphia teachers leave within the first five years of their career. Thus our teaching staff changes by virtually half every five years. In the 17 years I've been teaching that means the turnover has occurred 3 times, yet we still blame teachers. Who keeps hiring these bad teachers anyway?
    2. Researchers have demonstrated turnarounds like the Promise Academy work one in five times. Not a good enough batting average to keep one in the major leagues. Look at Potter Thomas. Last year 550 kids, this year 400 kids. Where did these 150 children go and how has that affected the school? Look at the Dodge School in Chicago, Arne Duncan's turn around model. He moved the kids out of that school, sent them to places that had little problems with violence and bingo, one of those schools made the news last year for frequent gang fights and a violent murder. Remember? In the mean time Duncan talks about how changing the teachers made a difference.
    3. Our teachers in Philadelphia come from the same universities as the teachers in the suburbs. Do people believe Penn, Temple, St. Joe's, Chestnut Hill, Holy Family, etc can't train teachers adequately? Why don't their graduates fail everywhere instead of just here?

    Blaming the teachers is like blaming the pediatrician because a child is sick. When the city of Philadelphia begins to listen to its teachers whose hearts are in the right place, whose egos are in balance, then true school improvement will happen.
    This hits it pretty well. The rest of you conjecturing about charters and reforms and unions and yada yada yada are WAY off base.

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    You ask who hires the bad teachers? I ask, who prevents bad teachers from being removed? Who ensures that teachers get paid based on how long they have been working rather than how good they are? Who prevents talented young teachers from getting desirable job assignments, having to wait in line behind those with higher seniority?

    Due to the demands of the teacher's union, getting and retaining talented people as teachers anywhere is difficult, and is especially hard in Phila due to the relatively low starting salary and safety/reputation issues. The last two are on the SD and city--but they would be much less of a factor if the union did not actively discourage quality teaching. Phila could compete with the burbs on salary if teachers were paid on merit. I don't doubt that many teachers' hearts are in the right place but it doesn't matter if the vast majority of them of them are mediocre at their jobs.

  4. #4

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    I'm so sick of this crap. Why do non-teachers always assume we don't care? Why does everyone assume we're mediocre? Why is it that the parents who care don't blame the lack of education their student recieves on other students and their parents instead of teachers? Find me a teacher in the city who doesn't have a billion IEPs, behavior plans, and classroom issues, and I'll point you to someone at a magnet school or charter school...aka where parents are invested. Walk into my 3rd period Honors class one day and then come back for my 7th period regular class and tell me if its me, or if its my students and the way they were brought up. Stop blaming the easy scapegoat and come back when you have a real solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by n4100 View Post
    I'm so sick of this crap. Why do non-teachers always assume we don't care? Why does everyone assume we're mediocre? Why is it that the parents who care don't blame the lack of education their student recieves on other students and their parents instead of teachers? Find me a teacher in the city who doesn't have a billion IEPs, behavior plans, and classroom issues, and I'll point you to someone at a magnet school or charter school...aka where parents are invested. Walk into my 3rd period Honors class one day and then come back for my 7th period regular class and tell me if its me, or if its my students and the way they were brought up. Stop blaming the easy scapegoat and come back when you have a real solution.
    The problems in Phila SD are numerous and there is plenty of blame to spread around. But you didn't answer any of my questions--why are teachers paid based on how long they have worked? Don't you see how that is a disincentive for talented people--young graduates or people from industry--to enter the teaching profession? And that is amplified by the low starting pay and challenging conditions in Phila. Why is removing ineffective teachers so hard? Don't you see how that is a disincentive for many teachers to keep their skills sharp?

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    Quote Originally Posted by n4100 View Post
    I'm so sick of this crap. Why do non-teachers always assume we don't care? Why does everyone assume we're mediocre? Why is it that the parents who care don't blame the lack of education their student recieves on other students and their parents instead of teachers? Find me a teacher in the city who doesn't have a billion IEPs, behavior plans, and classroom issues, and I'll point you to someone at a magnet school or charter school...aka where parents are invested. Walk into my 3rd period Honors class one day and then come back for my 7th period regular class and tell me if its me, or if its my students and the way they were brought up. Stop blaming the easy scapegoat and come back when you have a real solution.
    I don't blame teachers any more or less than I blame employees for any business or institution.

    My issue with k-12 education is that change and innovation can not happen without approval of a single administration and a union as well as the situation that kids have to go to their neighborhood school whether they like it or not (if parents can't afford private school).

    Charters have helped address that situation.

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    Barry, how should we pay teachers? Do you think we should pay teacher based on their success with kids? What measure will we use to judge that? PSSA scores? Fair enough. Most of my students had IQ's that were somewhere around 50 to 75. The ones with IQ's of 75 had to take the PSSA, not on their instructional level but on their chronological grade level. Believe me, they never got to proficient or advanced. So I guess I should be fired or denied a raise? How do we judge the performance of people who teach autistic kids or occupational/ physical/ speech therapists? The whole idea makes my head spin. Or maybe we should let principals decide who gets a merit raise. Most of my principals loved me so I'd get raises. No wait, my first principal tried to rate me unsatisfactory because I sent Unicef Christmas cards. Hah he succeeded, I wouldn't have been around long enough to get to the principals who loved me.

    My own kids are/were A students in magnet schools. Should their teachers get the credit for their achievement ? Or maybe I, the parent, should get their raises for sending children to kindergarten who could already read.

    Those of us who work hard would love to see our incompetent colleagues removed, but fairly and with due process to protect the rest of us. People do get fired, believe me. Google the School Reform Commission's minutes and you'll read their names.

  8. #8

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    Barry, I'll answer your questions:
    1. The District hires "bad" teachers. In many cases in this District, the individual school hires "bad" teachers because most schools in the District hire via Site Selection.

    2. No one prevents "bad" teachers from being removed. If Principals and APs go in, do the observations and prepare the documentation, those teachers get fired. Oftentimes, they will be counselled out of the profession by other teachers as well as the administrators so as not to have a bad mark on a professional record.

    3. How are you going to to determine how good someone is without seeing them do it? Psychologists and other people who study things like expertise will tell you that people become experts in their field about the 7 year mark. Obviously the longer someone has been teaching, the more likely they are to be the experts in their field, not the rookie out of college. Therefore it makes sense that teachers get paid more the longer they work. As for starting salaries, they are completely in-line with many of the neighboring districts. As for the reputation and safety concern, shouldn't that be something the District fixes by actually opening up more disciplinary schools and other alternative schools? I'll also ask you, how would you feel if you were a teacher who was assaulted by a student who was removed from your school for 3 months, only for that same student to get readmitted to your school and put in your class when his/her "alternative placement" was through? Would you want to teach in that District anymore?

    4. I'll refer you to an earlier answer, many of the schools in this District hire via "site-selection" meaning those schools themselves do the choosing of teachers, whether young or old. There are few seniority based spots left in the District. And do you really think seniority doesn't factor in other jobs/professions? Do you think the new nurse/doctor gets the "good shifts"? Does the senior sales clerk have to work the overnight shift?

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    In what occupations are the more senior people not paid more than the entry level ones?

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    I take whatever a non-teacher says about the system with a grain of salt. They don't really have a clue.

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    Every industry on the planet, including higher education, has managed to find some way to measure the performance of their employees. Lots of people, including the federal dept of education and Barack Obama think that teaching is no different. It can be done and is being done in some states.

    I would love to see more than a couple examples of teachers being forced out of the system without the union appealing the decision and fighting it tooth and nail.

    As for site selection, maybe there is more to this than I understand or it has improved a lot of over the years. But salary is directly linked to years of service rather than performance. In a SD with low relative salaries, this is a disaster.

    QueenVillager, in most dynamic industries people are paid based on their performance and capabilities. When an lawyer or engineer graduates college, they will be offered a huge range salaries based on their abilities. Many industries have bonuses. Employees are regularly promoted over coworkers who have more years of service.

    Add to this all the union brainwashing that teachers are underpaid, and that working an extra 20 minutes should trigger a strike, etc. and it's no wonder that the US education system is falling farther and farther behind other OECD countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    Every industry on the planet, including higher education, has managed to find some way to measure the performance of their employees. Lots of people, including the federal dept of education and Barack Obama think that teaching is no different. It can be done and is being done in some states.

    I would love to see more than a couple examples of teachers being forced out of the system without the union appealing the decision and fighting it tooth and nail.

    As for site selection, maybe there is more to this than I understand or it has improved a lot of over the years. But salary is directly linked to years of service rather than performance. In a SD with low relative salaries, this is a disaster.

    QueenVillager, in most dynamic industries people are paid based on their performance and capabilities. When an lawyer or engineer graduates college, they will be offered a huge range salaries based on their abilities. Many industries have bonuses. Employees are regularly promoted over coworkers who have more years of service.

    Add to this all the union brainwashing that teachers are underpaid, and that working an extra 20 minutes should trigger a strike, etc. and it's no wonder that the US education system is falling farther and farther behind other OECD countries.
    I happen to think it's a combination of this attitude by the unions and crappy parents.
    Competition is indispensable to progress. John Stuart Mills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno View Post
    I take whatever a non-teacher says about the system with a grain of salt. They don't really have a clue.
    And I take every defense a teacher makes with a grain of salt because they are so sheltered from the real world, where you are constantly competing with your coworkers, you work year round, get a precious amount of vacation and sick days, you could be downsized at any moment, and if your boss asks you to work a few extra hours you just suck it up and do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hospitalitygirl View Post
    I happen to think it's a combination of this attitude by the unions and crappy parents.
    And perhaps a cuture (cultures?) that place no value on an education. It's there if you want it.
    Competition is indispensable to progress. John Stuart Mills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldMama View Post
    Barry, how should we pay teachers? Do you think we should pay teacher based on their success with kids? What measure will we use to judge that? PSSA scores? Fair enough. Most of my students had IQ's that were somewhere around 50 to 75. The ones with IQ's of 75 had to take the PSSA, not on their instructional level but on their chronological grade level. Believe me, they never got to proficient or advanced. So I guess I should be fired or denied a raise? How do we judge the performance of people who teach autistic kids or occupational/ physical/ speech therapists? The whole idea makes my head spin. Or maybe we should let principals decide who gets a merit raise. Most of my principals loved me so I'd get raises. No wait, my first principal tried to rate me unsatisfactory because I sent Unicef Christmas cards. Hah he succeeded, I wouldn't have been around long enough to get to the principals who loved me.

    My own kids are/were A students in magnet schools. Should their teachers get the credit for their achievement ? Or maybe I, the parent, should get their raises for sending children to kindergarten who could already read.

    Those of us who work hard would love to see our incompetent colleagues removed, but fairly and with due process to protect the rest of us. People do get fired, believe me. Google the School Reform Commission's minutes and you'll read their names.
    Teachers shouldn't be rewarded or punished based on the absolute performance level of their students, since they can only control the progress that happens or doesn't happen while they are teaching those kids. Students' achievement should be measured when the teachers get them, then at regular intervals. The teachers who show the most progress should be rewarded. The teachers whose kids don't progress sufficiently should be punished. It's fairly easy, actually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hospitalitygirl View Post
    And perhaps a cuture (cultures?) that place no value on an education. It's there if you want it.
    To be clear, I 100% agree that you need buy-in from the parents, and the culture in most of the low-income areas that does not value education is a huge part of the problem. Even so, the schools of a wealthy nation should be able to produce more literate people that can do simple math than we currently manage.

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    Barry - I don't believe that in most industries you will find a huge range of salaries at entry level, and while people do get rewarded based on performance in many industries, I think you will find overall that more experienced people receive higher salaries than less experienced people. That's why these wonderful private-sector industries often push out middle-aged and older people who make more money and often have families to tend to rather than staying in the office until all hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno View Post
    This hits it pretty well. The rest of you conjecturing about charters and reforms and unions and yada yada yada are WAY off base.
    I totally agree....

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    And I take every defense a teacher makes with a grain of salt because they are so sheltered from the real world, where you are constantly competing with your coworkers, you work year round, get a precious amount of vacation and sick days, you could be downsized at any moment, and if your boss asks you to work a few extra hours you just suck it up and do it.
    A precious amount of vacation days? and sick days??....Any teacher I know doesnt take sick days..or vacations during the school year and MOST principals would get rid of teachers that did .....there are many many things asked of teachers before and after school hours and yes they do have to suck it up and do it...Before and after school tutoring, meetings, phone conferences. You name it teachers do it....the amount of data teachers need to have updated and on the wall is mind boggling. Most teachers are doing either trainings, seminars and furthering their education during the summer break.......when parents start doing their job....when kids start doing theirs....we will see a HUGE turnaround in our public school sytem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayfair101 View Post
    A precious amount of vacation days? and sick days??....Any teacher I know doesnt take sick days..or vacations during the school year and MOST principals would get rid of teachers that did .....there are many many things asked of teachers before and after school hours and yes they do have to suck it up and do it...Before and after school tutoring, meetings, phone conferences. You name it teachers do it....the amount of data teachers need to have updated and on the wall is mind boggling. Most teachers are doing either trainings, seminars and furthering their education during the summer break.......when parents start doing their job....when kids start doing theirs....we will see a HUGE turnaround in our public school sytem.
    What does it mean to "get rid" of a teacher? Move them to some admin job where they make the same salary and benefits? Cause they don't get fired.

    Teachers work 180 days out of the year... summer break, winter break, spring break, every Fed holidy, plus personal days and sick days on top of that (many of these roll over year to year as well), sabbatical (wtf does a grade school teacher do on a sabbatical?)... if the SD asks them to spend extra time at school they want to go to strike (I know they can't anymore, thank god). Cry me a river, being a teacher is one of the cushiest jobs there is, not least in that it is 100% job security, and yet for some reason they all bitch about their jobs all the time. There's just no good reason teachers should have such extravagant benefits and job security while the majority of the population, who pays your salaries, is suffering.

    "Most teachers are doing either trainings, seminars and furthering their education during the summer break" give me a break. Those teachers are the exception, not the rule. Hard working people in private industry do these kinds of things to stay employed or get raises. You guys get those things for free, there is no incentive to do so.

    I'm not anti-teacher, and I know a lot needs to change in the school system and in inner-city culture in addition to changes in teacher compensation. I'm just sick of the union flunkies spouting off like they have some kind of entitlement to generous pay packages, job security, and budget crippling pensions. They don't, and politicians and taxpayers who point out that guaranteed raises in an age of no inflation and austerity is unfair to most of the population, or that rewarding good teachers might improve the schools are not evil people, they are rational.
    Last edited by BarryG; 01-31-2011 at 12:06 AM.

 

 

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