Of course I take it personally Bill. If it's not lawyers that you have a habit of insulting it's public school educators. You wrap these people neatly in one lump sum and call it a spade.
I challenge you, Mike, to start back at the beginning of this thread, and read it carefully. This was a fairly civil thread amongst concerned parents who care about their kids. Then you stepped in, and the tenor changed for the worse. Am I wrong?
You want history? I'll give you some history here, Mike. This isn't the first time you've stepped into a thread with me and chose to make it something beneath an informative, rational discussion.
I don't apologize for my political views, nor should I. I don't apologize for the fact that I demand the best for my kids. I don't apologize for the fact that I give up many material things in life so that my kids can have the best education my family possibly can provide them. (My father did the same for 8 kids, all while driving around in a Rambler and wearing the same 3 white shirts.) I don't apologize for highlighting what I find right with my schools and my teachers.
Well, that's where we differ Bill, because some people refuse to look at reality and think they have a direct interaction on how I do my job. I've dealt with possibly thousands of parents and I've told them the same thing. Why do people like you think you can go to a teacher and tell them how to do their job?
Here was the first breakdown in communication, Mike. If you'll read carefully, you'll see that primarily I ask for results. If a person or a group gets results, then they are rarely hassled. When they don't get results, then the process is called into question - as it should be.
That's just another problem with people outside of education. They want to treat it like a business. It's NOT a business. Plain and simple, so get off that soapbox. I've worked in both and can tell you firsthand.
This is another very interesting statement.
First... You have repeatedly inferred that I know nothing about teaching. Think carefully, Mike.
1) I've probably taught over 2000 martial arts students in my life - in a University Physical Education program complete with course grades.
2) In-between Bill and his Ph.D. were years of slave labor as a graduate student. And guess what graduate students get to do to earn their keep?
3) I was a faculty member at U.Va. for a number of years after I got my doctorate. I was also a member of various University faculty organizations and clubs.
I've had a little bit of experience with teaching, Mike. And yes, I've paid some dues.
They want to treat it like a business. It's NOT a business.
This is a line I enjoy a lot. Remove school teacher and insert physician. This was the line thrown at health insurance companies when they started demanding results from the physicians in their networks. They started demanding that they practiced evidence-based care. They started demanding that they stop duplicating test results. They asked for communication. Then the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) was formed, and started measuring the performance of healthplans and physicians along the lines of process and outcomes. They wanted to know if kids were getting their immunzations. They wanted to know if diabetics were getting their foot exams. They wanted to know if people with asthma knew about their triggers and what to do in case of an attack.
Next thing you know, we folks in the industry started creating reports that compared physician to physician along the line of efficiency and process quality. So the physicians shot back with "But my patients are sicker!" So we in the industry started developing methods to case-mix-adust patient cohorts so we could do apples-to-apples comparisons.
And along the way, we caught a LOT of fraud. That shouldn't be surprising when you think about it.
At the end of the day, the cream rose and something else sank to the bottom of the pile. At the end of the day, we found more and more ways to measure the practice of doctors just as they measured the health of their patients.
I haven't heard the "It's NOT a business" line in a while, Mike, from physicians. But I do find it interesting to see the line coming out amongst educators, now that the field of outcomes research is making its way into education.
Call it what you want, Mike. But parents deserve to know if their children are getting educated the best they can be. Parents deserve to know that teachers are using evidence-based methods with their kids. Parents deserve to know that teachers as well as students are being measured on their performance. What's good for the goose...
What's the upside? Good teachers should be paid more. A LOT more. And the bad ones can always find another career. And if the process is right in the teaching, the outcomes should follow. And EVERYONE wins.
Once again, we, the test-driven society that we've become, always seem to judge us against education systems that is totally unfair.
If there's something handicapping the U.S. education system, well... What are we waiting for?
For what it's worth... I spend an awful lot of money during the summer seeing that my boys are occupied, and stay out of trouble. I'd a lot rather spend that SAME money seeing to it that they get more education. It doesn't have to be the same experience; it can be summer enrichment or apprenticeship or whatever. And I'm sure you wouldn't mind a few more months of pay.
But the bottom line is the bottom line, Mike. I see the U.S. falling behind in math and science in K to Senior. I see boys falling farther behind. Let's fix it. If you are claiming we need more days of school, then let's get more days of school.
And get used to the measurement, Mike. That's what the rest of the world must put up with. That's what YOU do to YOUR OWN students, Mike. Fair is fair... Why are you different? What is your special exemption? And if you said that in front of your students who must be measured by you on a daily basis, what will they think?
School systems everywhere are looking for good science and math people. This is your field. Will you help Bill?
Actually I'm talking to two local Universities about teaching courses such as differential equations and statistics. But I've got to work it out with my present employer.
When I finish saving for retirement ad my kids' education, this is something I can do as a hobby - like Rich. But I'll likely stay in the Univesity setting, as the need for math and science teachers at this advanced level is even more acute.
Oh and you obviously missed my impromptu statistics tutoring with Tony a few months ago on my Forum. I had GEM getting all excited. He thought we were talking dirty.
I still would like to see the test results that put boys below girls
Ahhh... Now we're actually talking about the topic of this thread!
High-school boys are losing ground to girls on standardized writing tests. The number of boys who said they didn't like school rose 71 percent between 1980 and 2001, according to a University of Michigan study. Nowhere is the shift more evident than on college campuses. Thirty years ago men represented 58 percent of the undergraduate student body. Now they're a minority at 44 percent. This widening achievement gap, says Margaret Spellings, U.S. secretary of Education, "has profound implications for the economy, society, families and democracy."
Those are some statistics to consider, Mike. The changes are difficult to explain away.
I highly recommend you read Raising Cain
by Michael Thompson. I talked to my older son's principal about this book, Mike, and he cut me off in mid sentence. Yes, he had read it. Yes, the ideas were being considered in my son's school - as I knew they were.
I've got to spot you a bit here, Mike, although you may not like how. In my view, a big part of the problem isn't your own. You indeed inherit the problems from home. You should be so lucky as to have a classroom of kids with parents such as your truly. Kids who have involved parents do better. That's a fact which is backed up well in the literature.
And what's the problem at home? Absent dads.
And why are dads absent? Because of a Great Society program that made it easier for women to remain as single parents. Without a dad at home, boys in particular have some serious problems. Without someone like me in the house getting all over the "boys being boys" and getting involved with teachers, you get what you get in school.
You inherit this, Mike. I feel for you. I respect what you have to put up with. And quite frankly you don't get paid enough - IF you are getting results.
But never fear. There will be people like me figuring out how to case-mix-adjust your student loads, and measuring test scores of the kids out the back end. Said people also will be scouring your own education research for evidence-based methods, and they'll be checking to see if those methods are being employed in the classroom. You'll get graded more and better in the future, Mike - like it or not. And if you make the grade, we will salute you.