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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:09 pm 
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Banger wrote:
It's amazing how versatile that strategy is. Don't like teachers' unions? Claim that tons of teachers are lazy, incompetent, overpaid yet unfireable. Don't like welfare? Claim that tons of lazy welfare recipients are milking the system. Don't like that so many young people, poor people, minorities vote Democrat? Claim widespread, systematic voter fraud and impose laws that will restrict enfranchisement of these groups. Don't like immigrants? Claim that they're terrorizing the borders and burdening us (after all, they're lazy and only came to the US to milk the welfare system), then enact draconian anti-immigrant measures. Don't like government programs? Cut taxes for the rich and then when you end up with a deficit, claim that the deficit will be catastrophic for "our children" and that government programs must be cut (but no tax increases, thank you). Lather, Rinse, Repeat.


I am fine with you calling my worldview "ugly". I prefer to call it "realistic". Here's the thing: you either think that people arrive at their station in life because of luck and what has happened to them, or they arrive at their station in life because of the choices they have made and the path they have chosen to take. I think self-determination is a big part of the reason the Founders decided to create the government and society they created back in the 1700s.

Countries such as Canada and those in western Europe are fantastic, but they have just as many debt problems as we do. They also have been using the United States as their military, so they have never had to deal with those expenses. Whether you like the military actions we've taken, Afghanistan and Libya were both with the consent of most of Europe, and Iraq had a few allies as well.

Honestly, it's crazy to say that the immigration situation in this country, or Europe, makes any sense. I would like to make these people legal, because though it might be technically right to kick them out, it's not feasible. I want them to pay taxes, and be a part of society. Those who want the status quo, many of whom consider themselves liberal, are actually advocating for illegal immigrants to stay in this weird underclass we have created for them, where they have few rights and though they don't pay taxes, they also can't vote or redress their grievances via the legal system.

But you're going to tell me that anyone who says it's not right for the person who can run across the border to be allowed to stay here, while people in India or Malaysia or Romania who want to come here and be citizens just as badly can't, because they actually have to go through an immigration process, the person who claims that situation is unfair is "racist" or "xenophobic"? That doesn't make any sense to me at all.

I'm not going to get too far into taxes, but in our system right now, about 40 percent of the population of the United States owes no federal income tax. It's hard for me to consider rich people getting off easy when that is the case. And it's hard for me to imagine those folks who are among the 40 percent having much stake in what the government does with the rest of the money, or how much it spends.


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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:19 am 
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hotlyds87 wrote:
I am fine with you calling my worldview "ugly". I prefer to call it "realistic". Here's the thing: you either think that people arrive at their station in life because of luck and what has happened to them, or they arrive at their station in life because of the choices they have made and the path they have chosen to take. I think self-determination is a big part of the reason the Founders decided to create the government and society they created back in the 1700s.

You can prefer to call it whatever you want, but calling it realistic doesn't make it so. You call it realistic because you really want it to be the case, not because there is any proof. You speak of self-determination, yet conservative policies have decreased socio-economic mobility and increased socio-economic inequality, creating a permanent American aristocracy and poor underclass. These days, you have a better chance of achieving the "American Dream" in France or Canada. We have had this discussion already on this board, I provided documentary evidence, and you simply ignored it because it runs counter to your beliefs about America.

Quote:
Countries such as Canada and those in western Europe are fantastic, but they have just as many debt problems as we do. They also have been using the United States as their military, so they have never had to deal with those expenses. Whether you like the military actions we've taken, Afghanistan and Libya were both with the consent of most of Europe, and Iraq had a few allies as well.

You make it sound as if all those countries would be starting wars all over the world if they didn't have the US to do it for them. We didn't need to get involved in any of these wars. They have all been wars of choice.

Quote:
Honestly, it's crazy to say that the immigration situation in this country, or Europe, makes any sense. I would like to make these people legal, because though it might be technically right to kick them out, it's not feasible. I want them to pay taxes, and be a part of society. Those who want the status quo, many of whom consider themselves liberal, are actually advocating for illegal immigrants to stay in this weird underclass we have created for them, where they have few rights and though they don't pay taxes, they also can't vote or redress their grievances via the legal system.

But you're going to tell me that anyone who says it's not right for the person who can run across the border to be allowed to stay here, while people in India or Malaysia or Romania who want to come here and be citizens just as badly can't, because they actually have to go through an immigration process, the person who claims that situation is unfair is "racist" or "xenophobic"? That doesn't make any sense to me at all.

I'm not even going to waste my time addressing these straw man arguments.

Quote:
I'm not going to get too far into taxes, but in our system right now, about 40 percent of the population of the United States owes no federal income tax. It's hard for me to consider rich people getting off easy when that is the case. And it's hard for me to imagine those folks who are among the 40 percent having much stake in what the government does with the rest of the money, or how much it spends.

In other words, 40% of Americans make so little income that they don't pay taxes on it, though they still pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, social security, medicare, etc. Those lucky duckies!

The 40% most certainly have a stake in what the government does with the money. To say otherwise amounts to saying that only the wealthy have a say in how the government spends. To say otherwise is to advocate plutocracy. Which makes sense, because that is precisely what conservatives advocate, and what conservative policies have done to America.


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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:27 pm 
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This is a very interesting thread and Banger is by far the MVP so far. I've been in public education since the 80's, as a teacher and administrator. First off, let's destroy the myth that our schools are performing poorly or that there is something inherently wrong with our system. Comparing the testing outcomes of our students to those of Malaysians or Swedes is laughable - our heterogeneous population and sheer size render any evaluation based on these outcomes worthless. It would be like saying a player who had a cup of coffee and went 2 for 3 had a better career than Ty Cobb because he had a higher average. The fact is that wherever we have relatively homogeneous populations American students far outperform others. One of my favorite fun facts is that Asian Americans outperform students from all Asian countries on standardized exams. Any analytical look at the data shows that our schools, for the most part, are great. As Banger and others have noted, the problem is, pure and simple, poverty. We are increasingly living in a nation where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Remember the "Rent is too dang high" guy who ran for Governor? If you saw the debates you noticed that apart from the idiosyncracies he was very bright and insightful. When asked about schools and education he put it best. Paraphrasing, he said that the schools and teachers are fine, but hungry kids can't learn. As the US increasingly moves toward a Plutocracy this problem will worsen. And so will many others.


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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:52 am 
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Genmet, while I agree with your overall points, it's not really accurate to call Malaysia homogenous.

As for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, I don't think that's an American phenomenon. While some countries are doing a better job of holding steady, income inequality is increasing across the world.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:29 am 
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Genmet wrote:
This is a very interesting thread and Banger is by far the MVP so far. I've been in public education since the 80's, as a teacher and administrator. First off, let's destroy the myth that our schools are performing poorly or that there is something inherently wrong with our system. Comparing the testing outcomes of our students to those of Malaysians or Swedes is laughable - our heterogeneous population and sheer size render any evaluation based on these outcomes worthless. It would be like saying a player who had a cup of coffee and went 2 for 3 had a better career than Ty Cobb because he had a higher average. The fact is that wherever we have relatively homogeneous populations American students far outperform others. One of my favorite fun facts is that Asian Americans outperform students from all Asian countries on standardized exams. Any analytical look at the data shows that our schools, for the most part, are great. As Banger and others have noted, the problem is, pure and simple, poverty. We are increasingly living in a nation where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Remember the "Rent is too dang high" guy who ran for Governor? If you saw the debates you noticed that apart from the idiosyncracies he was very bright and insightful. When asked about schools and education he put it best. Paraphrasing, he said that the schools and teachers are fine, but hungry kids can't learn. As the US increasingly moves toward a Plutocracy this problem will worsen. And so will many others.


You might have swept in an stolen the MVP trophy though Banger is definitely kicking butt.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Several arguments going on in here; trying to give my two cents on each...Like I have said previously, I have taught in a severely impoverished school for 19 years (94% poverty index), and watched as the greater community has left the children in the lurch.

(1) Meritocracy versus collegiality. No one teacher can be definitively isolated as the source of a student's success or failure. Further, studies show that successful schools in title one areas (poverty) benefit from shared decision-making and teamsmanship among faculty staff and administration. Throwing competition into the mix causes teachers to become islands. It also tends to leave the least successful schools (with the greatest need for excellent teachers) with inexperienced teachers since teachers with experience will tend to leave because there is little chance of measurable, incentiveable reward.

(2) There has yet to be a definitive metric that can determine the success or failure of a teacher with any reliability (relative to other teachers). As much as we would like to play Ockham's razor and slice all extraneous factors from the equation, the fact is that the legislators who choose the metric to judge teachers often do not understand the assessment itself. It also tends to exclude special needs teachers, technology and careers teachers, etc... who also have a significant impact on student achievement.

(3) Running a school like a business: There is plenty of room for greater efficiency in public education, I will certainly not argue that (in SC, less than 70% of expenditures are earmarked for classrooms directly), but by creating a voucher system, you are rewarding parents of means with an extra tax cut. Most private schools competing for business require much more than the $3000 voucher given to students. In fact, some studies have shown that the majority of voucher recipients in any particular area are those who were already sending their children to private schools.

(4) A title I school is often less successful because parents of means pull students due to perceptions, which lowers the overall test scores (since students of parents with means (relative to other impoverished children) tend to score higher). This accelerates the downward spiral. Creating competition does not save the students who do not have opportunities to "escape" the "failing" school. It simply moves better test scores to another school. Then excellent teachers get moved, and the public perception of the school goes south.

5) Charter schools and why they succeed. Simple. You can require parent participation. Problem is, these parents were already participating at the neighborhood school, and the students without any parental support are not likely to attend. It basically becomes a private public school. Now I have read about some innovative charters that are more inclusive, but most I have encountered do nothing out-of-the-box, they simply have a better "caliber" of student (their skills are higher due to early supports).

6) Pay: No problem with the pay; it is pretty equitably lined up with other fields at comparable levels of education. I guarantee you though, my benefits and retirement are paid for by the teachers rather than the state.

7) The private sector is pretty darn judgmental and demanding of the public schools considering the ridiculously small contribution they make to them. When CEOs can generate a $10M bonus by cutting 1000 employees (while making a nine figure salary) to show greater profits, they are not those to talk about public schools being more business-like.

Public schools don't fire students. They don't determine pay scales "within the company". They don't control the by-laws that govern the company, nor the rules by which it operates.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:58 pm 
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BTW many charter schools are not successful. Charter schools and Public Schools do not play by the same rules with Charter Schools being able to play quick and fast with a lot of the rules. Here is a nice little article about Charter schools...
http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/rip-off ... rticleTabs

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Agreed about the Charter SChools. They really fall into two categories.

1. Charter schools that take a risk to educate at-risk kids using private sector agencies. They usually fail. Either because the program was weak to begin with and they don't have the resources, or embezzlement.

2. The charter schools that seek to aggregate a group of students of relatively decent means thereby creating a magnet school of sorts. These are usually successful for awhile until leadership changes. The "political action committees" that form schools usually lose interest once their children graduate.

By success, I mean test scores while it operates.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:00 am 
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Personally, I would really like to see statewide achievement tests deemphasized, or scrapped altogether. As a middle school student I was subjected to the MCAS (Massachusetts), and it essentially sucked away months of learning. Going to private high school I was able to get out of the achievement test game, which allowed my teachers the freedom to teach significantly more than I had seen in middle school.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:39 am 
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That would mean that legislators and the public went back to trusting teachers. Not happening.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Unfortunately I agree. Nice sentiment but never going to happen.

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 Post subject: Re: What Teachers Make
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:14 pm 
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There seems to be a shift in the paradigm of thinking regarding teaching from an art form, which it is, to a quanitfiable science, which it is not. That is the business part of thinking in teaching/education.

Give identical classes to two equally qualified teachers and you'll get differing results.

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