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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: of 9935  
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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