You, like Bill and others have the right answer to education, and that's getting involved by helping your kids, working with the teachers and not against them, and supporting the system they are in and the choices they make. This is what education is all about. I wish that all parents took this course of action, but alas, that's not the case.
I know we have had our spats, but I commend you for getting into education at the school that you have chosen. It's a whole different world from what you were accustomed. I too, went from the trades into education and I think that makes a better teacher all around. Your life experiences sometimes means much more than another algebra test.
First of all, let me apologize for coming across the way I did, bad day yesterday and I wasn't as tactful as I thought I was being.
<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? >
See above; however, I think you need to re-read what you write in this and other threads. You have a way of putting people into one lump some and throw it out there. There are bad teachers and lawyers out there, no question, but not all of us fit into that category. Just like there are bad researchers.
<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. >
No one is asking that you apologize for doing what is best for your kids, but is in fact what you think is best, not necessarily what is best for every child. My point was that you have no problem pointing out the problem of a educator without ever walking in their shoes. That's not fair. And just because you pay taxes that pay their salaries doesn't give you the right either. Many parents, I have found, have no problem telling us what the problems are, but very few have logical answers.
<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. >
There was no breakdown in communication. I know what you were saying. What are the results you speak of. Objective answers to objective testing. To me that is not the answer to anything. But you are a researcher and a person who must find the bottom line. Although I respect that, I don't agree with it when it comes to education.
<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. >
Although the resume is certainly respectable Bill, it's not the same thing. Teaching in a public school setting is NOT like teaching karate where kids run to the door and stay active for an hour or so and go home; it's not like teaching college kids who are there on their own free will and excited about getting an education, career, etc. , or that they may have one or two classes that day and go back to the dorm to relax. It's apples and oranges.
<I've had a little bit of experience with teaching, Mike. And yes, I've paid some dues. >
And I've done experiments in labs, but it's not the samething you do. You certainly have experience teaching, but not in the same setting. BIG difference.
<This is a line I enjoy a lot. Remove school teacher and insert physician.>
I'm not even going further with what you wrote because, to be honest, you don't get it. They are kids, plain and simple. They are not a piece of merchandise to be bartered, sold, and profit margins made from. It's not about what kind of spreadsheet you can make with their objective results from testing. They are kids, who, given the right environment, support, and leadership, will grow to become something special. When you start putting numbers around them, it's not what it is all about.
I'm arguing with the analytical mind of a researcher (no offense). There is so much more Bill in a public school setting that people who think as you do will never quite get. And the problem is in my opinion is that we are a statistic-driven society and those numbers go the the public and they then begin to think that way. This then gets thrown to us in the trenches and it's not fair to the kids.
<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. >
Always agreed with this point!
<If there's something handicapping the U.S. education system, well... What are we waiting for? >
Why do we care so much what the rest of the world is scoring on standardized tests? They have been scoring higher than us for many years and we are still the world's greatest economy, greatest democracy, greatest place to live. If we want to take away our kids entire childhood by keeping them in school longer than I guess that's what we'll do. Once again, these are answers from people who don't have an understanding of children.
<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? >
How can you say that's what I do? You don't know what I do with my students. I don't judge them through the basic rote memorization format that judges how well they can remember useless information. I believe in performance assessment, alternative assessment, self-evaluation, etc.
This is real learning happens.
<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. >
Try teaching night school and see what you think instead of college. World of difference.