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Thread: Chicago teachers on strike

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjiorle View Post
    1st how would you determine what each teacher/ staff member is worth?
    This one is easy - in our district all you had to do was observe who the children of the staff members & levy pimps were being assigned to & you had your folks that the administration thought were tops, though personality entered into it on occasion . for those not doing well - we had a lot of complaints about those - some legitimate, some not, which had to be sorted out. In our district we asked to see the evaluations of certain staff members & were refused, rightfully so, so I told the principals that unless something was done about the weak staff members, the SB would adopt a policy of assigning the children of staff members. Guess what - the following year the weak staff members had been counseled out of the district I am not going to enter into the issue of everyone getting the same pay based on seniority regardless of degree or subject taught as that is something that has been debated thoroughly with no solution. Getting rid of poor staff members goes a long way in an upgrade.

    2nd there is a lot of money in schools that is not always part of the budget. Grants etc... Money for programs that further restrict teachers, and end up going by the wayside in a couple of years. That happens all of the time. I was also in a district that would hire outside consultants for all sorts of things at high price tags, when there were in house people that could have done what the consultants did at a fraction of the cost. (the grants are often gvt. BTW)
    Mike
    We thoroughly evaluated all free money & the potential short/long term effects - the only money that was accepted was the reading programs. After management saw that the SB was serious about providing children a usable education they did not bother pursuing grants with long term potential bad effects. IMO the larger School districts in major urban areas have the most issues, but unfortunately that casts a reflection on all educators. If there is a bad apple in the bin it eventually gets to everyone
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  2. #82
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    Marvin,
    I'm impressed, I thought with you being a numbers and statistics guy your answer would have been much different. Well played! That's not too bad, but personality conflicts still play into it, and that should not factor into possibly ending someone's career. Unless, there is gross negligence or misconduct, people should still be allowed to leave with dignity and the opportunity to become employed again. If they're really not good teachers, they would likely find the same result, and it would work itself out. FWIW we are likely to vote in a similar fashion this year, I just hope we don't see another "brilliant" plan like no child left behind... But that a whole different thread.
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjiorle View Post
    Marvin,
    I'm impressed, I thought with you being a numbers and statistics guy your answer would have been much different. Well played! That's not too bad, but personality conflicts still play into it, and that should not factor into possibly ending someone's career. Unless, there is gross negligence or misconduct, people should still be allowed to leave with dignity and the opportunity to become employed again. If they're really not good teachers, they would likely find the same result, and it would work itself out. FWIW we are likely to vote in a similar fashion this year, I just hope we don't see another "brilliant" plan like no child left behind... But that a whole different thread.
    Mike
    I'm glad you are impressed, never judge the depth of a pond by the water on the surface . Numbers are useful in making an overall decision - they provide a comfort zone, but they are just that.

    Though I believe some testing is valid - stopping social promotions might make the kids try harder - but I've seen enough jerky teachers that I would not trust with that hammer. When I was younger the military & some outfit in IA had really good assessment tests for a person's knowledge. I went to a lot of different schools from one room to huge middle schools so I've seen all sides of how kids are treated. I could pass on a few stories about the not so good in those days, the teachers had a problem with a bright little kid wearing good will clothes .

    I believe education should be left to the individual states & the Dept of Education should be disbanded - any bureaucracy will do their level best to stay relevant so you get NCLB - I was not a Bush fan, he was just better than the alternatives.
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  4. #84
    Senior Member Terri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    Do teachers play any roll?
    Does DA UNION?

    Or is it all someone elses fault when students can't read or do math and couldn't find the capitol of Russia if you showed it to them?
    I'm just getting back to this thread. I do think teachers play a role. Parents play a role. Children play a role. They all have to be on the same page or you have problems. I have pulled my kids from classes because of poor teachers. My oldest daughter was home schooled for half the school year when she was in fourth grade because the lady could not offer my child an education. I have gone to the principal on several teachers resulting in the teachers not being asked back the following year. Both teachers were first year, so an easier task than removing a teacher with ten year. One of the teachers I reported was bullying a student, not my child.

    My first paragraph just looks at the classroom in a simple one on one level, but that is not the only aspect of our education system. We have so many rules teachers must follow that I would hate to be a teacher. Teachers need to teach to a test. Not all students do well on test. Not all students speak English and our system does not see this as a problem. Many students have learning problems and the parents refuse to get help for the student out side of regular school hours. They expect the school to cover all the cost. Two of my kids are education majors. I had to explain to my youngest daughter why students need to be totally taught in English and not the back and forth of both languages. She has to tutor a non English speaking student this semester. She was told she needs to learn Spanish, I told her why that is BS, but she needs to pass the class, so she will be speaking Spanish very soon. My kids all took French as a language in high school. My little niece has a speech problem. My sister-in-law (plus all her friends) sees no need to correct it before she starts school even though I told her it is in her child's best interest to not be pulled from the class. Not to be labeled as having a learning problem. Plus the kids may tease or avoid her, which will affect her self esteem. I did not even need to look at behavior problems from the kids or the parents. I did not need to look at the unions and all their crazy demands. I did not look at the social or economic impact on education.

    It takes a lot to get a child a great education. I drove across town for years. My oldest daughter went to three different high schools in one district to get the best courses. She also took classes at the junior college while still in high school. We worked for her education. It was not given to her for free.

    Terri

    Terri

  5. #85
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    Mike, since you are a teacher, what would your suggestion be for keeping the quality of teachers at the highest levels? There must be some way that teachers, themselves, assess other teachers. If there is to be a "review" of performance, maybe teachers could elect other teachers to make the assessments? Maybe the teachers would realize that electing the most fair-minded colleagues of integrity to those positions would be the most use to their profession? Shouldn't we be able to find 3 teachers in every school that really care enough to fairly evaluate their fellow teachers without letting personal relationships interfere?

    I have to agree with a lot of what Terri says. WRT to the bilingual students. A friend years ago taught on a military base where many local students attended who spoke French. They wanted these students to learn English, so all teaching was to be in English. She was directed to speak ONLY English in class. Easy for her, since she knew no foreign languages! After a couple of months, she was accused by the administration of speaking French to the students. Within weeks these elementary school students were jabbering back and forth to each other in both English and French without her help. That was some impediment to the French-speaking students relying more heavily on English, as was the intention of the school.

    That same principal occurred with previous immigrants ... they went to school without knowledge of the language and adapted. Even today, the same is occurring. A friend in a high-end NJ town mentioned that their schools top students in high school were Pakistani immigrants. Most schools, including theirs, did NOT have linguistic programs for students who spoke the native Pakistani language ... the students learned themselves. My conclusion is that we are probably making an error in the way we approach the second-language problem.

    In college, there was a "French year abroad program" (later extended to other languages). Students lived with French families who did not speak much, if any, English. The students who participated did, of course, have some familiarity with French. A close friend who participated in the program's first year, said the difference was that after a year immersed in the language, she found that she actually was "thinking" in French ... not having to "translate" her thoughts, mentally, from English to French or vice versa. Immersion in the language that is to be learned is likely far better than our present approach. That would make our "English as a second language approach" lacking. For these students, their progress might be greater with "only English". They might even benefit more from having their English skills abetted by other students of their own age groups v. adult teachers. Just my theory from what I have observed in practical application.

    FWIW, I startd talking first in Italian as a child, because my grandmother was my pre-school childcare, and she didn't speak English By the time I entered kindergarten, I spoke both English and Italian. Over time, with less and less need to speak Italian, I lost the capability in that language. Even my mother, in her later life, lost her capability since there were fewer and fewer around her that required her to speak Italian; and she was over 5 years old before she ever started to speak English. And her English grammar and spelling was better than many people for whom English was NOT their second language.

    Unless, there is gross negligence or misconduct, people should still be allowed to leave with dignity and the opportunity to become employed again.
    For those who DO have gross misconduct (the pedofile teachers in CA!) we should not have to pay them full wages for literally years. That is no less reprehensible than the abusive Catholic priests. In both cases, these are adults who were entrusted with the safety of our children.

    I think good teachers have the most to gain by maintaining a high standard for teachers. Good teachers deserve respect and just compensation for what they do. Poor teachers detract, in the public's perception, of the value of good teachers. The same is true of all professions ... attorneys, doctors, bankers, accountants, and Realtors® (the last of which is a group I belong to). The more incompetent or dishonest Realtors® that continue to exist,the more difficult it is for me to build clients' trust that I can be honest and bring real value to their purchase or sale of a home.
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  6. #86
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    Forty years ago when our children were attending an elementary school, the school had a principal who was mostly AWOL during school hours. The school had little maintenance, the supplies were locked up and few were distributed to the teachers. He told parents the school district could not afford supplies so supplies had to be brought from home. Teachers were told the district had tightened its budgets. What he was doing was making it look like he was efficiently managing the school.

    As a new PTA president, I wrote a letter to the head of the school district complaining about our school not receiving supplies or being maintained like the other schools in the district. The head of the district office was new, too. I got an immediate phone call and a request to have a sit down talk with him at the district office after hours. I went and laid out all my complaints -- thinking that it was the district's fault. I think I met with him every Monday evening for 4 weeks. He quietly sat there listening to me unload. He took some notes. The only thing he said during the first meeting was... every school was treated equally and that there was no shortage of supplies.

    He told me he would look into every complaint, but he didn't tell me exactly what he was going to do. I learned he started visiting our school. The first visit was a scheduled meeting with the principal. The second, third, and fourth visits were surprise school visits. He appeared at the school in a morning. Principal was not there and should have been. The school secretary led him through every classroom and unlocked the supply room. He walked the grounds unescorted. He appeared on an afternoon right after lunch. The principal should have been there, but was not. School secretary was very flustered. His last unannounced visit was an after hours visit with the custodian. He then went to the school in a morning, sat in his car and watched the school. Sure enuf. Around 9:00 a.m. the principal left the school. He followed him in his car. The principal went to an Amway retail store he had started in another town. He was spending many of the school days setting up the store and managing it. We later learned that over half of the teachers in our school were Amway distributors working under him and that many of his principal-teacher meetings dealt with Amway.

    He would return to the school around 2 p.m. so he was there at the end of the school day. In all, he had been gone about 5 hours almost every school day for over a month. At my last sit down with the school district manager, I was told that the principal could not be fired, but he would be "reassigned" at the end of the school year and would be gone from the district in three years. He did not explain how he was going to get rid of him. True to his promise, the next year the principal participated in some sort of exchange program. He went to Montana for a year and the Montana principal came to the district. He was not assigned to our school. We got another principal that was terrific. His job was to get our school back in shape and to make assessments of the teaching staff. Mid-hgear some teachers were re-assigned within the district. After that year, the old principal came back to our district and was re-assigned to be the principal of a tiny school that had few classrooms for K-4th grade. This little school was going to be closed so it was its last year of operation. After that one-year stint in the little K-4 school, the principal announced his retirement.

    Everything I had complained about had been confirmed by the district manager's visits to the school. After that, the district manager set up a "surprise" school visit schedule to other schools to check out what the other principals were doing and to see with his own eyes how the schools were being operated and maintained (or not being maintained). There were funds for maintenance, but the principals were not scheduling maintenance so that it would appear their schools were operating under budgeted. During the next few years, there were quite a few principal re-assignments within the district. No heads rolled, but the principals got the message and so did the teachers. A few retired; others voluntarily left. I had complained about only one teacher. I described her as being nuttier than a fruitcake. The district manager could not believe that she would assign students a reading assignment and then leave the classroom to walk aimlessly around the school grounds or that there were times she would sit under her desk. She had a mental break down in the classroom that year. She had to be physically restrained, put into a straight jacket, and hauled away in an ambulance.

    I was a young mom and a new PTA president. I was shaking in my boots when I went for that first after hours sit-down meeting at the district office. I have never forgotten the experience.

    Helen

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    Quote Originally Posted by helencalif View Post
    Forty years ago when our children were attending an elementary school, the school had a principal who was mostly AWOL during school hours. The school had little maintenance, the supplies were locked up and few were distributed to the teachers. He told parents the school district could not afford supplies so supplies had to be brought from home. Teachers were told the district had tightened its budgets. What he was doing was making it look like he was efficiently managing the school.

    As a new PTA president, I wrote a letter to the head of the school district complaining about our school not receiving supplies or being maintained like the other schools in the district. The head of the district office was new, too. I got an immediate phone call and a request to have a sit down talk with him at the district office after hours. I went and laid out all my complaints -- thinking that it was the district's fault. I think I met with him every Monday evening for 4 weeks. He quietly sat there listening to me unload. He took some notes. The only thing he said during the first meeting was... every school was treated equally and that there was no shortage of supplies.

    He told me he would look into every complaint, but he didn't tell me exactly what he was going to do. I learned he started visiting our school. The first visit was a scheduled meeting with the principal. The second, third, and fourth visits were surprise school visits. He appeared at the school in a morning. Principal was not there and should have been. The school secretary led him through every classroom and unlocked the supply room. He walked the grounds unescorted. He appeared on an afternoon right after lunch. The principal should have been there, but was not. School secretary was very flustered. His last unannounced visit was an after hours visit with the custodian. He then went to the school in a morning, sat in his car and watched the school. Sure enuf. Around 9:00 a.m. the principal left the school. He followed him in his car. The principal went to an Amway retail store he had started in another town. He was spending many of the school days setting up the store and managing it. We later learned that over half of the teachers in our school were Amway distributors working under him and that many of his principal-teacher meetings dealt with Amway.

    He would return to the school around 2 p.m. so he was there at the end of the school day. In all, he had been gone about 5 hours almost every school day for over a month. At my last sit down with the school district manager, I was told that the principal could not be fired, but he would be "reassigned" at the end of the school year and would be gone from the district in three years. He did not explain how he was going to get rid of him. True to his promise, the next year the principal participated in some sort of exchange program. He went to Montana for a year and the Montana principal came to the district. He was not assigned to our school. We got another principal that was terrific. His job was to get our school back in shape and to make assessments of the teaching staff. Mid-hgear some teachers were re-assigned within the district. After that year, the old principal came back to our district and was re-assigned to be the principal of a tiny school that had few classrooms for K-4th grade. This little school was going to be closed so it was its last year of operation. After that one-year stint in the little K-4 school, the principal announced his retirement.

    Everything I had complained about had been confirmed by the district manager's visits to the school. After that, the district manager set up a "surprise" school visit schedule to other schools to check out what the other principals were doing and to see with his own eyes how the schools were being operated and maintained (or not being maintained). There were funds for maintenance, but the principals were not scheduling maintenance so that it would appear their schools were operating under budgeted. During the next few years, there were quite a few principal re-assignments within the district. No heads rolled, but the principals got the message and so did the teachers. A few retired; others voluntarily left. I had complained about only one teacher. I described her as being nuttier than a fruitcake. The district manager could not believe that she would assign students a reading assignment and then leave the classroom to walk aimlessly around the school grounds or that there were times she would sit under her desk. She had a mental break down in the classroom that year. She had to be physically restrained, put into a straight jacket, and hauled away in an ambulance.

    I was a young mom and a new PTA president. I was shaking in my boots when I went for that first after hours sit-down meeting at the district office. I have never forgotten the experience.

    Helen
    If more PTA presidents were as involved as you, our teacher short comings would be eliminated. BRAVO for you!!!!!

  8. #88
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Interesting tidbits:
    John Stossel at Fox Business reiterated this point on September 11:
    Union teachers know that many of their colleagues aren’t great teachers. Only 12% of American students attend private schools, but, 39% of Chicago public school teachers send their children to private schools. Anti school-choice politicians are no less hypocritical: President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore (to name just a few) all send or sent their children to private schools.


    Chicago's stats are about the same as national stats:
    However, given that ABC World News didn’t even air this story last Sunday and most of the media, with the exception of CBS, failing to mention the compensation statistics in their broadcast – suffice to say that the media will probably ignore the fact that almost 40% of Chicago’s public school teachers send their kids to private schools.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/09/1...here-to-learn/
    I’m not against public education, but the fact that these teachers make enough to send their kids to private schools shows that Chicago’s public teachers are aware of the serial failure within the system. Second, it shows that these teachers have zero confidence in their own respective school district. Why are the teachers going on strike? Aren’t the contentious measures they’re squabbling about aimed at enhancing accountability that will make their institutions of learning better for the students?
    So the politicians keep throwing $ at the problems with the troubled school system, and they don't really care if it gets better (since they don't use the troubled schools), but it makes for good PR. The students are simply pawns in hit or miss "experiments" in which the politicians have no stake.

    Helen, your story was great. I sure hope that administrator who took action, stayed with that district, and continued to behave with integrity. He/she did what was right for the students, the good teachers, and the taxpayers.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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  9. #89
    Senior Member helencalif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    Interesting tidbits:



    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/09/1...here-to-learn/
    I sure hope that administrator who took action, stayed with that district, and continued to behave with integrity. He/she did what was right for the students, the good teachers, and the taxpayers.[/INDENT]
    Yes, the superintendant did stay with the school district and made many changes. Most of the schools were not in as bad a shape as ours. He moved principals and teachers around and put heat on the "nesters". He was still Supt of the Elementary School District when my kids started graduating from high school.

    I found out later that the principal that came to our school was being used by our new Supt as a trouble shooter. He did remarkable things for our school and then moved on to a different school to work his wonders. After two schools and 6 years, he became Asst to our Superintendant of Schools and was a watch dog for how all the schools were being operated. A few years later... he moved on to became the Supt of a different district.

  10. #90
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Helen, what is so important about your story is that when there are people of integrity involved, they can make even a flawed system work properly. That might mean that we simply don't have enough people like that in our school systems. Even though administrators are among the most highly paid of the staff.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
    "Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim

    ​I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.

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