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Author: PucksFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 9947  
Subject: A school board member takes the 10th grade test Date: 12/9/2011 11:55 PM
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intercst posted this on another board
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/when-a...

PF
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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9445 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/10/2011 8:41 AM
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While I find this interesting and I am glad to see a high-level administrator do something like this, I find the "conclusions" drawn from his test results, both in the article and many of the comments, to be somewhat troubling.

For many people, the direct skills learned in high school math might not be applicable to their later lives. Does that mean the indirect skills -- logical and critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving, etc. -- are not valuable? Does anyone really think the business people that claimed to never need the math skills tested don't have good problem solving skills? Seeing a wide variety of different types of problems helps your development of problem solving skills.

More disturbing to me, however, is the idea that "if I am not going into such-and-such a career, why do I need to take so much math?" Well...let's see...how many of us change career paths at one time? If you allow kids to have only the most basic set of math/science skills, then they will have far fewer options later in life...a time when they might realize they were completely wrong about what they wanted to do in life!

Finally, even in careers that seemingly use little math of any kind, those that have strong math skills seem to thrive. I've spoken to innumerable lawyers over the years about what helps someone in law school. Almost every one of them has agreed that strong math skills -- due to the logical and critical thinking they foster -- are a major differentiating factor.

Acme

PS -- One thing that seriously concerns me about the article...this board member did not know EVEN ONE answer. Really? That's pathetic. Even his 10-out-of-60 correct guesses is horrible. It's really hard to get such a low score...

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Author: PuddinHead42 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9446 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/10/2011 1:19 PM
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The article is about standardized tests and the fact that a smart person could only get about 10 of 60 math questions geared toward 10th graders. Remember that show "are you smarter than a 5th grader"? Made a lot of adults feel dumb. Who needs to know when George Washington died? But that does not mean we don't need standardized tests. We have to have a way of measuring effectiveness. Even if you decide to teach junk, you want to test to see if they kids are learning what you teach, otherwise why bother.

That being said, it is certainly possible that bad tests are designed.

I have been pushing the Kahn Academy web site here and have been running through some "courses" for fun. I did well in college and took advanced math classes, but it is amazing how much I have forgotten. As I sample through the math videos, it comes back to me, but if I had to take a 10th grade math test cold, I bet I would do poorly.

So in the end, we have to have a way to evaluate our teaching and out students. I would prefer to test and correct very frequently as a way to evaluate. There are some successful systems out there that require testing at least every two weeks. Then like a 6 sigma production factory, anomalies and trends are evaluated continuously. Students that are a little behind get more attention. Students that are a lot behind are pulled out of class and given extensive attention until they are ready to run with the class. Our use of technology in the school system are deplorable. It's like we are using an abacus in a supercomputer world. With technology, we can relieve teachers of many tedious tasks, like grading math problems and let them concentrate on the students.


BTW: Social promotion must be ended!

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9447 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/10/2011 1:35 PM
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Our use of technology in the school system are deplorable. It's like we are using an abacus in a supercomputer world.

While I agree with this. . .


With technology, we can relieve teachers of many tedious tasks, like grading math problems and let them concentrate on the students.


I'd like to know how you'd do this?

I'm currently a student teacher, teaching Algebra 1A and Geometry in high school.

I give partial credit on tests and absolutely HATE multiple choice for math.

I want to know if the students learned the new concept. If a small calculation is wrong, they'll lose some credit as long as they use the correct method.

Using multiple choice - it's right or it's wrong, nothing in between. And multiple choice tests always put in common errors. It does nothing to show what a student really knows.

I'm very familiar with Khan Academy (we're using it in my Algebra 1A class occasionally).

Khan Academy's practice section does not have good practice problems for Geometry. You can't test being able to do a proof that way, for example. All they have for geometry is some stuff about angles and perimeters/area. Not really a lot on logic, theorems and postulates, and nothing on proofs.

Even in Algebra, some of their questions are . . . difficult for slow learners.

For example, we've been practicing solving compound inequality equations. I've taught my students to give their answers as 3<n<5 or 3>n or n>5. Khan Academy throws in problems that are "all real numbers" or "no solution." That really threw even the kids in my class that were doing well.

Why didn't I teach my kids about those solutions? Because my kids aren't ready for that. Alg 1A is for kids that aren't really ready for algebra. If I throw too much at them at once, they get really confused.

Ishtar

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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9448 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/10/2011 10:37 PM
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Why didn't I teach my kids about those solutions? Because my kids aren't ready for that. Alg 1A is for kids that aren't really ready for algebra. If I throw too much at them at once, they get really confused.

I was mostly ok with everything you had to say until this. It very much is possible to create multiple choice tests that help determine what a student truly knows. It is difficult, but possible. Look at the research done by the Pearson Group for more information on this. (That said, I don't give multiple choice tests in my classes.)

But this comment is just wrong, in my opinion. If they are ready to learn about problems that have dual-bounded domains, then they are ready to learn about problems that have no solutions and problems that have infinite solutions and/or are identities. The mathematical concepts of all of this are intertwined and learning one should flow into and through the others.

It is really easy to underestimate your students. Don't do this! In general, you are much better off overestimating their capabilities and then going back to re-teach and address any confusion. But if you work under the assumption that the material will hopelessly confuse them, then you are doing them a disservice.

Henry Ford said something along the lines of "whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." I would edit it to say -- whether you think your students can or can't, you're right.

Acme
(Teaches Algebra 1 to students that have never understood math at any level; that may have failed Algebra 1 previously; that have absolutely no confidence at all. And does not hesitate to teach them intertwined concepts such as these.)

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9449 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/10/2011 11:23 PM
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I hear you, I do.

I walked into this class with higher expectations than this.

But, I've painfully discovered that I have to approach things very, very slowly. By now, we have done the all reals and no solution answers, but the day we were in the library using the computers we have not.

They really do get confused by giving them too much at once. In this class, we've spent at least 5 weeks on inequalities. 5 weeks on a unit that in a regular class might have been less than 2 weeks. And they are still confused.

They don't want to know why or anything else. They want to know how to get the answer, and only constant repetition gets it into their heads. And even at that, I have several students that aren't doing anything because we were over their heads in the third week of class.

More than half the students in these two classes do not have the requisite pre-algebra skills, but the high schools don't offer anything below algebra.

When I came in, the mentor teacher said, "Expect half of them to fail." I was thinking, "I can't think like that, if *I* think they are going to fail, then they surely will!"

But I can't do anything with a student that does no work. On the last quiz, I had at least 5 people that turned the quiz in with only their name on the paper. Nothing else, just their name. What can I do with that?

Ishtar

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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9450 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/11/2011 5:58 AM
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I walked into this class with higher expectations than this.

And you need to keep them.



But, I've painfully discovered that I have to approach things very, very slowly.

Nothing wrong with this...



By now, we have done the all reals and no solution answers, but the day we were in the library using the computers we have not.

I was under the impression you were not doing them. If this is just a case where you are doing it slowly, that's ok. You just have to do it in the place where it makes sense.



They don't want to know why or anything else. They want to know how to get the answer, and only constant repetition gets it into their heads. And even at that, I have several students that aren't doing anything because we were over their heads in the third week of class.

I'd bet there is at least one kid in there that cares. Unfortunately, they might not let you know that they do. Teach "to" that kid. Even if you have to make up that kid in your mind, teach to that one kid.



More than half the students in these two classes do not have the requisite pre-algebra skills, but the high schools don't offer anything below algebra.

I know this problem well. The high school should not have anything below algebra. If they want to take something lower, then the parents need to accept that their child needs to spend more time in middle school. It won't happen in most cases, but that is the reality.



When I came in, the mentor teacher said, "Expect half of them to fail." I was thinking, "I can't think like that, if *I* think they are going to fail, then they surely will!"

She was just being realistic. Expecting them to fail is not the same as giving up on them. It is not the same as thinking they can't do the material. You need to learn the subtle difference...it's a tough thing to do!



But I can't do anything with a student that does no work. On the last quiz, I had at least 5 people that turned the quiz in with only their name on the paper. Nothing else, just their name. What can I do with that?

You're right. You cannot do anything with that. And you should not worry about that because those students don't care. Contact the parents, let them know what is going on, keep your contact logs, and focus on those that are trying. When THEY start to show signs of cracking, you slow down and re-teach. Move at the pace of the average student that cares; let those that don't care fall behind. You cannot go slowly enough to keep them on pace and if you try, you'll lose those that care because they will get bored.

It's not an easy job. Take pleasure from the one or two students that push themselves. Each night, think about the difference you are making in THEIR lives. That's what has to keep you going.

I've been in your place before. It will get better. In my case, I am now working at one of the top private schools in the area. While I do teach the lowest students in the school (for 2 classes; my other 3 classes are much stronger), at least most of them work and try and care. It makes a huge difference in my mental health and my stress level, but even in your situation, you can improve your well-being by accepting certain truths and refusing to accept others!

Best of luck!

Acme

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Author: PuddinHead42 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9451 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/11/2011 9:46 PM
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More than half the students in these two classes do not have the requisite pre-algebra skills, but the high schools don't offer anything below algebra.

But that is half of my point, kids are promoted to the next class when they should not be, then teachers have a huge disparity in skills, making it too hard to teach and unfair for all. In my scenario, these kids get pulled out and put in another math class or if there are close to learning, get individual tutoring. This is all very hard on everyone, but it does not favors to the kids to keep kicking their can down the road.

With middle school and high school being different campuses, it makes it very difficult to put them in a lower class that does not exits. Not many school districts think they can do it and most probably think it is too traumatic for the kid. But the real problem is the kid got to 9th grade math when then should not have and probably got to 7th grade math before they should have and maybe go kicked down the road in second grade. It started somewhere and the only solution is to stop it where it starts. Vaccines are cheaper then the ICU, but you are now stuck working in the ICU. That is the problem. Our "system" needs to have the guts to make the tough decisions, which are not really tough if you fix them early.

So let's start with math through, say the 6th grade. test them every week. Those could mostly be multiple choice. But multiple choice assumes you fill out a piece of paper and feed it through a reader. Kahn shows us you can have the person calculate the answer and input it. 2+2=? should not have a mulitiple choice option. Lets spend our money there instead of so many of the wasteful things our government does.

More testing ideas: the students have to write out all their answers and show work on paper, but then enter the answer in the computer, which grades the final result. The teacher then can look at wrong answers and review student work for misunderstanding. You could see trends, like no one in the class understands this concept, and Johnny just is not getting anything, so I need to bring in help for him because if I gave him the help he needs, the entire class suffers greatly.

I may not explain things well, but I have total faith that technology can revolutionize our school system and it is going to come from unexpected places, so we need to be open to seeing it. We need to create flexible environments that allow it to happen and we need to apply strict measurement techniques to very it is working.

There are only a few great ways to teach something discrete and objective like math, we should be able to take the best minds in teaching and come up with a technological standard and not have 30,000 people teaching in 30,000 ways (I have no idea how many math teachers there are!) That is the idea behind Kahn Academy. Maybe it is not there yet, but it is a good start.

It all sounds easy on paper, I know, but we can get there!

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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9452 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/11/2011 10:31 PM
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There are only a few great ways to teach something discrete and objective like math, we should be able to take the best minds in teaching and come up with a technological standard and not have 30,000 people teaching in 30,000 ways (I have no idea how many math teachers there are!) That is the idea behind Kahn Academy. Maybe it is not there yet, but it is a good start.

I'm not convinced that there are only a few great ways to teach math. Sure, some topics might have limited methods for teaching them, but not everything is so constrained. Well...the pure math side of things might be the same for most teachers, but the presentation is so personality dependent.

Further, I don't think most "great" teachers actually know what makes them great. Personally, I alternate between thinking I am amazing and thinking I suck.

I see the things you are referencing as great supplemental materials, but not great as primary teaching tools. They become primary teaching tools out of necessity. Unfortunately, there are not very many people that truly understand math. Few of those people are able to communicate what they know. And only a tiny portion of that group is willing to give up the money they can earn elsewhere. Especially to do a job that is frequently thankless (or worse).

I am in my 5th year of teaching high school math. I could easily make 3-times what I make now. I make less than half what I made in my last year prior to becoming a teacher. I can afford that due to specific family dynamics and a lifestyle preference; most cannot make the same choice I did.

Of course, every bit of this discussion is irrelevant as long as parents and students are not made to be responsible. It is wrong when a student is failing and the administration asks "what are you [the teacher] going to do to make sure the child passes." The question should always be "what can the student and parent do to make sure the child learns."

Acme

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9453 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/12/2011 12:37 AM
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I see the things you are referencing as great supplemental materials, but not great as primary teaching tools.

I very much agree with this.

Ishtar

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Author: BlueGrits Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9454 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/13/2011 2:32 AM
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When I give multiple choice or T/F tests, I often include a "justify your answer" requirement with the warning that incorrect reasoning means zero credit even if the right answer is guessed.

BG

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Author: PuddinHead42 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9457 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/13/2011 10:03 PM
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AcmeFool, I agree with you to decent degree. They certainly could be very good supplemental tools, but maybe still primary tools that then allow the teacher to focus on individual needs. I am not a teacher, so don't have the same insight of course.

Unfortunately, there are not very many people that truly understand math. Few of those people are able to communicate what they know. And only a tiny portion of that group is willing to give up the money they can earn elsewhere. Especially to do a job that is frequently thankless (or worse).

So that is part of the problem. Few people can sing well, but I can go to iTunes and find the ones that do, I don't have to hope I get lucky with my local garage band. I believe this can be applied to learning at different levels to different extents.

In the end good teachers should get paid competitive salaries, but then I have to go to competitiveness. I feel I am a strong worker with a great work ethic. There are few weeks a year when I only work 40 hours. I come in on weekends occasionally to catch up. I bet good teachers do this too, but I am well rewarded for it. My boss recognizes both my work effort and value added and is able to give me good raises. If I got the same raise as someone else that did not work as hard, I would slow down. So as a teacher, I can't imagine what it is like to be great and work harder only to get the same standard raise as someone that doesn't. I don't know what it is like in your school system, but here in DC it is well known as a cesspool of cronyism, union stonewalling and malaise. Bad teachers can only be moved around to harm other kids in other schools, or to become part of the bloated bureaucracy.

Well, a bit sorry for the rant, but it pains me to see people like you that obviously care and try hard and make a sacrifice, only to see all that other junk happen. Anyway, keep fighting the good fight, may technology be your tool of triumph.

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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9459 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/14/2011 1:30 PM
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I know you mean well, so please understand that this is not intended as an attack. Tone does not come across well in something like this.



So that is part of the problem. Few people can sing well, but I can go to iTunes and find the ones that do, I don't have to hope I get lucky with my local garage band. I believe this can be applied to learning at different levels to different extents.

I'm sorry, but that is a horrible analogy. It falls apart in many different ways...

1) There are about 26 million high school students in the United States. At 1 math teacher for every 150 students, you end up with somewhere around 170,000 high school math teachers. Are there 170,000 quality singing acts that you can find on iTunes? Not a chance...

2) The great singers cannot simply put together a "guide" to being good. With a lot of effort, an ok singer can improve and -- in rare cases -- become great. But that is often less about the help they are given and more about their effort.

Kahnacademy should not be seen as a teaching tool; it is a supplementary tool in the same way that a great singer's notes on what s/he does is supplementary to a voice coach.



In the end good teachers should get paid competitive salaries, but then I have to go to competitiveness.

While I agree, how exactly do we define competitive? For me, a competitive salary would be dramatically higher than just about any other teacher in my department. Given my background -- Ph.D. in chemical engineering; 7 years as a consultant; 4.5 years of teaching -- I have a marketability that few have. But does that mean my value as a teacher is higher? Not necessarily.



So as a teacher, I can't imagine what it is like to be great and work harder only to get the same standard raise as someone that doesn't.

What's a raise? I'm only partially being sarcastic. In my first 4 years of teaching, my salary dropped each year due to various budget issues.



I don't know what it is like in your school system, but here in DC it is well known as a cesspool of cronyism, union stonewalling and malaise. Bad teachers can only be moved around to harm other kids in other schools, or to become part of the bloated bureaucracy.

The school system I just left is as bad as any. They seem to be taking steps to (finally) change, but I'll believe it when I see it. I got out of that system and now work in a top-notch private school. The difference is night and day. While I understand that there are major monetary reasons why things are different, there are also many things that are done here that JUST MAKE SENSE!



Anyway, keep fighting the good fight, may technology be your tool of triumph.

Thanks, but I don't see technology this way. I embrace technology when it is helpful and useful. But it should not replace basic learning. Some of the best tools for teaching students are also the least technological...for many math concepts, simple algebra tiles (basically colored pieces of plastic of various sizes) are an incredibly helpful tool.

I appreciate your support and think it is important that you know how helpful it is for teachers to have people like you behind us.

Acme

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Author: jfruhbauer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9460 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/16/2011 9:04 PM
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That being said, it is certainly possible that bad tests are designed.

Most definitely. I took the test I had to give my students (called the "GMADE" if anyone cares).

I got five questions wrong. Admittedly, one I marked mistakenly, another I just had a brain-fart on. However, three of the questions were so ambiguous...I took those three questions to four other math teachers and everyone interpreted it different ways, they were worded so poorly (and each of the four multiple choice answers were a valid answer if the calculations were done according to the interpretation).

My "English" counterpart took their test, the "GRADE" - they also got a few wrong, but only due to ambiguous questions (my counterpart didn't have any brain-farts ;-)


If the question isn't clear to people who have a MA/MS and have been teaching high school for several years, then how can it be clear to a 9th grader?

Jennifer

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Author: PuddinHead42 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9464 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/17/2011 8:56 PM
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I know you mean well, so please understand that this is not intended as an attack. Tone does not come across well in something like this

I do, no problem.

Are there 170,000 quality singing acts that you can find on iTunes? Not a chance
Yes, that was the point, I don't need 170,000 ways of singing a pop song. So for a lot of primary school courses, it seems like we don't need to spend money on 20 different text books (across the country) on 4th grade math, for instance. We could use a "best expert" course on that. Students (assuming internet access, which is mostly true these days) could access these types of course as school and at home. Some money saved, give some of it to the good teachers. A technology that allows teachers to better gauge each student continuously also allows teachers to directly interact with specific students on the topics they are having problems with. Maybe class sizes can get bigger with no detriment to students or teachers because of this better feedback. Money saved, give some of it to the good teachers. In my organic chemistry class in college there were at least 100 students, but in my Mark Twain class there were 12. Some subjects lend themselves to large classes and some don't. We don't seem to take that into account in primary schools.

Maybe KahnAcademy is just a first step. Maybe I just have a belief in the future and that things can change for the better if we think outside of the box.

how exactly do we define competitive
That should be easy. I am guessing private schools have that figured out. They pay what it takes to get teachers that are good enough to attract parents that will pay the tuition.

In my first 4 years of teaching, my salary dropped each year due to various budget issues
and if there had been layoffs, you would go before a really bad lazy teacher with seniority.

I got out of that system and now work in a top-notch private school. The difference is night and day. While I understand that there are major monetary reasons why things are different, there are also many things that are done here that JUST MAKE SENSE!
yes, that is my biggest point! forget technology or Kahn, etc. Allow flexibility. Allow accountability. In DC, the union spent $2million to unelect a mayor that was making a difference via Michelle Rhee. That made me so sad. My good friend has a Masters in biology from a good school and is paid well to teach in a private school. She is not allowed to teach in a public school because she does not have a "certificate". No credit for years of proven teaching ability and success? Who makes some of these silly rules? Who has an interest in blocking competition? Hmmm.

I embrace technology when it is helpful and useful. But it should not replace basic learning
Yes a tool, one of many. A piece of the puzzle, but maybe too small right now.

Maybe one day we will all figure it out.

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Author: jfruhbauer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9468 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/18/2011 9:01 AM
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My good friend has a Masters in biology from a good school and is paid well to teach in a private school. She is not allowed to teach in a public school because she does not have a "certificate". No credit for years of proven teaching ability and success? Who makes some of these silly rules? Who has an interest in blocking competition? Hmmm.

Glad she makes good money in a private school - almost all of the private ones in my area pay $15-20k less than public. But the teachers don't mind because out Milwaukee Public Schools are such a horrid environment, it is worth the pay cut.

As for certification - I honestly didn't learn very much in all the educational classes I took - there should be some sort of "fast-track" or "grandfather" clause in cases like hers.

Jennifer

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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9470 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/18/2011 3:21 PM
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For the most part, I think we completely agree with each other. We have very different perspectives -- 5 years ago, I would have been even more like you -- but many of the same desires and concerns.



Yes, that was the point, I don't need 170,000 ways of singing a pop song.

But the singer is not trying to get you to learn and grow intellectually (generally speaking). They provide something for your entertainment. So they can attack the broad, general things that large groups of people like. They don't have to -- and typically should not -- focus in on the specific things that specific individuals like most.

Teachers have to focus in on exactly what helps each child.


So for a lot of primary school courses, it seems like we don't need to spend money on 20 different text books (across the country) on 4th grade math, for instance.

The 170,000 number was for high school math teachers. It would be much higher if we include middle school and elementary school (though elementary would not make sense since most teachers are multi-disciplinary at that level).



Some subjects lend themselves to large classes and some don't. We don't seem to take that into account in primary schools.

FYI, I think you have your school terminology off.

Primary = elementary schools
Secondary = middle and high schools
Post-Secondary = college

It's much easier to deal with larger class sizes in post-secondary schools than at any other level.



Maybe KahnAcademy is just a first step.

Technology can never replace quality teachers, IMO. I am a huge supporter of things like Kahnacademy. (I actually prefer mathtv.com, but also tell my students about Kahn's work which is more comprehensive.) But, as I have said before, it is supplementary. Most people cannot watch videos over and over and become a master; they need a more flexible instructor to provide context and link the different topics most completely.

Of course, for some of our most gifted students, they could use the videos and nothing else and be ahead of everyone else. But they are the exception and not the rule.

Don't get me wrong -- I support all efforts to improve education techniques. But most people that promote technological advances do so at the expense of "old school" methods. They say that students today require expansive use of technology because that's what they are used to. You know what -- if you capture their attention, you can teach them without all of the technology and be just fine.

The best education system in the world is in Finland. Most teachers there are still using chalkboards. It does not seem like the lack of technology is hurting them too much...



I said: how exactly do we define competitive
You replied: That should be easy. I am guessing private schools have that figured out. They pay what it takes to get teachers that are good enough to attract parents that will pay the tuition.

Not really. Teacher pay is not the reason people choose private over public schools. Typically, private school pay is lower than public, especially if you take pensions and such into account.

What private schools offer teachers is better administrative support, smaller class sizes, and a much better overall environment.



yes, that is my biggest point! forget technology or Kahn, etc. Allow flexibility. Allow accountability.

Right. My students always had the highest math test scores in my school when I was in public school. And the administration still attacked me with the same stupid requirements as every other teacher. Without proving a thing, I was given the freedom to just teach as soon as I started in my private school.



My good friend has a Masters in biology from a good school and is paid well to teach in a private school. She is not allowed to teach in a public school because she does not have a "certificate". No credit for years of proven teaching ability and success? Who makes some of these silly rules? Who has an interest in blocking competition? Hmmm.

Well, I will say that this is likely about more than just competition issues. Public school systems are completely in CYA mode. They don't want to do anything that might cause a lawsuit...so they side with parents/students rather than teachers; they require certain things be done because some expert said they help; they require teachers be certified because they supposedly indicate some level of qualification (debatable); and they spend millions trying to solve the problems that these very things create instead of ending all of the spending and eliminating the problems in the process.



Yes a tool, one of many. A piece of the puzzle, but maybe too small right now.

Maybe, but in many cases they force it on teachers that are not trained in how to use it. It's a case of technology for the sake of technology instead of for the sake of the students.



Maybe one day we will all figure it out.

I doubt it! :)



Like I said before, I think we are pretty much in agreement. It's an almost impossibly difficult problem. But it's the almost that is most important.

Acme

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Author: AcmeFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9471 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/18/2011 3:27 PM
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As for certification - I honestly didn't learn very much in all the educational classes I took - there should be some sort of "fast-track" or "grandfather" clause in cases like hers.

I went through an Alternative Preparation Program. I got to teach as if I was a fully certified teacher -- though other teachers in the program were paid at a provisional level; not 100% sure what was different for me -- while I took some night classes to get my certification.

Acme

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Author: jfruhbauer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9472 of 9947
Subject: Re: A school board member takes the 10th grade t Date: 12/19/2011 8:04 AM
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I went through an Alternative Preparation Program. I got to teach as if I was a fully certified teacher

As did I - and it was a very successful program (80% of their teachers were still teaching after five years). Unfortunately, the University it was housed "under" decided to close it down, despite its success, because it was drawing away from their own program.

Jennifer

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