Reform the schools

Discussion in 'Education' started by ScreamingEagle, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. ScreamingEagle
    Offline

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    12,887
    Thanks Received:
    1,610
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,159
    Suggestion 1. Pay teachers based on their performance as teachers, not based on how long they have been there. Currently, approximately 95 percent of a teacher's pay is based on their seniority. The other five percent or so is based on their educational credentials beyond their basic degree. Almost nowhere in America are public school teachers paid based on the quality of the service they provide as teachers.

    Suggestion 2. Require that teachers be assigned only to subjects in which they have demonstrated expertise. Did you know that in most cases, when there is a reduction in teaching staff, schools keep the teachers with the most seniority and lay off the newer teachers, even if they are the best teachers in the school. Sometimes that results in the school laying off its Advanced Algebra teacher, because he or she has lacks seniority. The Algebra teacher is replaced by the English Literature teacher, who happened to have failed Algebra as a student, but will now teach Algebra because of seniority and n doing so waste an entire year in the education of hundreds of students.

    This is not as uncommon a scenario as you might think and shows how seriously off-based the current system is, putting the seniority of teachers before the education of our children.

    Suggestion 3. Authorize school administrators to pay higher salaries to high school math and science teachers than they do to first grade teachers, who teach kids to color and spell simple words like "cat". Don't get me wrong. First grade teachers are just as important as high school Trigonometry teachers. However, there are a lot more people with the skills to teach the first grade than there are those capable of teaching higher level high school math and science classes. Thus the salaries of those teaching the more technical subject ought to be high enough to attract people with those rarer skills to the teaching profession.

    There is a reason why U.S. students are lagging behind much of the industrialized nations of the world in math and science scores. Regardless of what the teachers union wants, you can't pay math and science teachers the same as P.E. instructors and attract enough highly qualified teachers to fill the positions. The teachers unions demand that all teachers of all subjects be paid essentially the same salaries, but continuing to do so is not only illogical, but in the end will destroy Americas ability to compete in a global economy.

    Suggestion 4. Don't allow a high school drop out to get a drivers license until age 18. Want to drive? Stay in school at least through the 12th grade. Drop out and you lose your license to drive a car, something most teenagers value greatly.

    Suggestion 5. Immerse all immigrant students in English. Don't teach them first to be proficient in their native language, as most districts do. First teach them to be proficient in English. Then teach them in English and only in English. It is common for non-English speaking students to be taught English one-half an hour per day and then be taught the rest of the day in English. This policy sidetracks immigrant students and prevents their being assimilated into society as Americans. Schools employ their current methods for various misguided reasons, one of which is the fact that they receive close to $3,000 in extra funding each year for each student they keep in their English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

    Suggestion 6. Authorize schools to administer the level of discipline necessary to maintain order in the classroom and thus allow teachers to create a classroom environment where learning can take place. Students or outsiders who sell drugs or bring truly dangerous weapons to school, should go to jail. The state and local school districts should abolish any requirement that schools provide expensive, private tutoring to kids who are kicked out for any behavior that warrants dismissal or suspension.

    Suggestion 7. Dismiss teachers who are incompetent. I have known many great teachers, who are worth their weight in gold. But I have also known many teachers who were a complete and utter joke. They became teachers because education is one of the easiest majors in college and the major a lot of people gravitate to when they are unable to cut it in tougher, higher paying fields. Until schools are willing to buck the teachers union and remove the dead wood, (the dead wood that everyone from the janitors to the students to fellow teachers to the superintendent knows is dead wood), they should have no credibility to ask for one more dime from the taxpayers than they receive already.

    Suggestion 8. Give the principal or superintendent of every school complete authority to make the hiring and firing decisions he or she believes are necessary to make their school excel. Then hold those administrators accountable for the failure or success of their school. Give them bonuses for success or fire them, if they fail. Corporations figured this out a long time ago. The man or woman at the top sets the pace, and if given the authority can right a sinking ship. To be effective, a good administrator cannot be tied down by union contracts that are not designed to help the kids, but to protect teachers.

    The current system is not about results. Results are rarely rewarded and failure is rarely penalized in our schools today. In fact, the current system exhibits all of the classic signs of a socialist system where everyone is paid the same and creativity and performance are not rewarded, which is exactly the way the teachers unions demand things remain.

    Many have complained that schools spend too much on administration and not enough on teachers. That notion is true and not true. Administrators today are often paid high salaries to manage, but then not given the authority to manage. It would be better to pay good administrators well enough that we attract more of them, give them the authority to make the decisions necessary to turn their schools around, and then reward, dock their pay, or fire them based on the results they achieve.

    The end result of teachers unions has been to hamstring and neuter school administrators, making no one ultimately responsible for the failure of our schools.

    Suggestion 9. Based on my previous comments, you have probably been expecting this one: Get rid of the teachers unions. Even one of the foremost national leaders of the movement back in the fifties and sixties to unionize the teaching profession has repented and announced publicly that the experiment he helped promulgate has been a dismal failure.

    Teachers unions do not improve the quality of teachers. They do not improve the quality of education. Instead, they dramatically increase the cost of public education and lower the quality by opposing any reform that holds teachers accountable or instills competition into the system. There can be no reform until teachers unions are eliminated.

    Suggestion 10. If teachers unions are to remain, at least stop collecting their union dues and union political funds for them via the public payroll system. Make them collect their own money. If unions had to collect their dues and political "contributions" from teachers directly, eight to ninety percent of teachers would not pay up, electing rather to have nothing to do with their unions.

    It should be obvious to even a casual observer that teachers unions are highly motivated to give campaign contributions to candidates for those public offices that control the purse strings of the schools. Those contributions have a very corrupting effect on public education, increasing the cost and eliminating accountability.

    Suggestion 11. Do not allow teachers unions or any other union to donate money to the campaigns of any candidate running for an office that sets school policy, votes on collective bargaining agreements, or the budgets from which those contracts are funded. If a private sector union official was caught giving money to a member of management with which the union negotiates, that union official would likely end up in prison. Knowing that, we continue to allow teachers unions to "purchase" the other side of the bargaining table with their campaign contributions and then wonder why the cost of education is going up at the same time the quality is going down.

    Suggestion 12. Let parents send their kids to any school they choose and let the money follow them. If we allow true school choice on an even playing field, competition between public schools and other public schools and competition between public schools and private schools would revolutionize public education within five to ten years, as schools compete for the kids and the dollars that follow them.

    Nothing improves the quality of a product or service while lowering the cost like competition. Public schools are full of innovative people who would rise to the task in a truly competitive world, if we would just create that world.

    In conclusion, public education today is about the following things in the following order: (1) Obtaining more money from the taxpayers; (2) Enhancing the salaries and benefits of school employees; and (3) Teaching kids. Until parents start demanding that school boards and state legislatures put the kids first, the system will continue its downward spiral and all of the money in the world can't change that.

    http://acuf.org/issues/issue80/070319news.asp
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  2. jasendorf
    Offline

    jasendorf Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    1,015
    Thanks Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Ohio
    Ratings:
    +76
    12 suggestions and not a one about parental responsibility or insisting that kids come to school prepared to learn?

    I think you need a baker's dozen.

    The last line of this is a joke:
    What a laugh. My mom for two years running has prepared for an evening seminar, on her own time, for parents of sophomore students to learn what their children need to do to prepare for the Ohio proficiency tests. There are roughly 300 sophomores in her school each year. Anyone want to take a stab at how many parents have come in the past two years?

    Nevermind guessing, I'll tell you. One. One parent came. The second year. Not even one came the first year.

    Many of these parents don't care enough to even find out what their kids are doing in school... yet this moron thinks that they're going to start going to the school boards and state legislatures?

    I remember nights as a youngster when my mom was crying over the lost potential in a student. She'd call their homes, prod them in school, see glimmers of shining work only to see it destroyed by parents who didn't give a rat's ass.

    All this guy wants are cheap teachers. Nothing more, nothing less. He wants to pit teacher against teacher so they'll race to the lowest pay just as so many previously-unionized positions have had happen to them in the past. The privately run "charter schools" here in Ohio are proof of that. The teachers are paid far lower than their public school counterparts and that's all the Republicans care about.

    Because if they really wanted students to acheive... they'd find a way to make the parents accountable. Or, at least make it one of their suggestions...
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 2
  3. ScreamingEagle
    Offline

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    12,887
    Thanks Received:
    1,610
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,159
    I agree with you that most parents are apathetic. They've learned over time that they have no real power to change things because the school unions have such a stranglehold over the system. Once that is broken (via many of the suggestions) parents can become much more pro-active.
     
  4. Mr.Conley
    Offline

    Mr.Conley Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,958
    Thanks Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA/Cambridge, MA
    Ratings:
    +116
    I think your suggestions are good, but, as Jasendorf mentioned, you neglect parent and student responsibilities. I also think there needs to be more work to improve the curriculum.

    I have to disagree with the restrictions you want to place on the teachers unions. Good or bad, teachers have the right to associate as they see fit.
     
  5. ScreamingEagle
    Offline

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    12,887
    Thanks Received:
    1,610
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,159
    Sure, teachers have the right to associate as they see fit. Don't teachers also have the right to not pay union dues if they see fit to not do so?

    Also, don't parents have the right to associate their children with the schools of their choice as well? Just as teachers have the right to work at the school of their choice, don't parents have the right to hire and fire teachers and principles according to the kind of results they want with their children?
     
  6. Mr.Conley
    Offline

    Mr.Conley Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,958
    Thanks Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA/Cambridge, MA
    Ratings:
    +116
    Yes, they have the right, but that doesn't mean the union still has to accept them.
    Yes, they can go to their local public school or a private school of their choce. Vouchers can and should be an option. Personally I'm a supporter of the school choice movement. I agree with you.
    That's trickier. Of course people should have a say on how their tax dollars are spent, but can parents hire and fire individual teachers and principals? I don't like the idea in principle. It turns schools into campaigns. Teachers will do whatever it takes to please parents and students, regardless of whether its good for the kids long term. I can think of a hundred thousand ways such a system could go wrong. This is not a good idea. I prefer the current system. School boards and superintendents, generally elected, oversee the schools to maintain quality. That, along with PTA's, give parents a voice without jeopardizing the educational mission of the school.
     
  7. Kagom
    Offline

    Kagom Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,161
    Thanks Received:
    141
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vicksburg, MS
    Ratings:
    +141
    Obviously I agree with all that's been said. Private school was sorta like that.

    I also believe that we should have religion classes in schools. Not mandatory, mind you, but something along the lines of being able to learn about other faiths and beliefs, atheism included, and also have Philosophy classes in contrast to being able to be taken. There are/were those of us who would have loved to have those class choices. Of course, if that won't be allowed or done, then at least fix our math and science departments.
     
  8. ScreamingEagle
    Offline

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    12,887
    Thanks Received:
    1,610
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,159
    What are you talking about? The unions typically want the teachers to join up. What I meant is that there are places where the teachers are pushed into the union. They really don't have the right to not pay union dues if they want a job. Not all states have right to work laws which allow a person to choose to work without joining the union. For example, on the west coast Washington, Oregon, and California allow for forced unionism. Here's a map that shows which states do and don't.
    http://www.nrtw.org/rtws.htm

    :thup:

    When parents have the right to choose which school they send their kid to they automatically have the right to "hire and fire" the schools. This makes the schools more sensitive to the "shoppers" and administrators will listen to the parents wants and needs alot more. They can pick schools which will do their child the most good. Charter schools for example operate more like a business even though they are publicly funded. Not saying they are all great but in general they have more accountability and more autonomy. The majority of teachers in these schools are actually paid higher salaries plus they don't have to pay union dues.

    It's very obvious why liberals are against school choice. They would lose their huge political funding machine and the also the ability to foist their agenda on maleable future voters.
     
  9. Mr.Conley
    Offline

    Mr.Conley Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,958
    Thanks Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA/Cambridge, MA
    Ratings:
    +116
    I agree that teachers don't have to pay union dues, and that it isn't nice for unions to essentically force teachers to join, but, as I've said, the unions have the right to do so I believe. Just as individuals have the right to not join the union, the union has the right to use its collective power to say that if a school accepts non-union teachers then they'll boycott.
     
  10. jasendorf
    Offline

    jasendorf Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    1,015
    Thanks Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Ohio
    Ratings:
    +76
    That's the stupidest assertion ever.

    You don't put your kids to bed at a reasonable hour because of teachers' unions?

    You use a GameBoy as a babysitting device because of teachers' unions?

    You don't feed your kids breakfast because of teachers' unions?

    You don't teach your child how to write their name or sing the alphabet because of teachers' unions?

    You teach your kid that fighting is the best way to handle any interpersonal altercation because of teachers' unions?

    You send your text messaging 4th grader to school with a cell phone because of teachers' unions?

    You don't go over your children's homework because of teachers' unions?

    Your child knows every swear word in the book and has no problem using it in reference to adults in front of adults because of teachers' unions?

    Stoooopid. With a capital S.

    All Republicans want is cheap labor. Whether it's teachers, firefighters, cops, nurses... any and all of the above are fair game to be attacked by the Republicans because they make a living wage and the Republicans don't think those professions are worth it.
     

Share This Page