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Longer school days? Why not smaller classes?
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besson3c
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Mar 25, 2007, 11:41 PM
 
Failing Schools See a Solution in Longer Day - New York Times

This NYTimes article talks about how many states are going for longer school days to deal with keeping up with the test scores they'll need.

It's funny to me that the number one thing my family of teachers in Canada and all other teachers in Canada I know of said would make them more effective teachers and the students perform better is to have smaller class sizes so that the teachers can offer more individualized attention.

I move down to Indiana, and teachers here in my wife's family and others I've talked to say the same thing!

If we are going to toss money into longer days, why not first try going for smaller class sizes and more teachers? Some of the class sizes my wife's Mom has had over the past few years are freakin' ridiculous. How come everybody has all of these great theories about how we can improve education, and we hear from parents, administrators, and politicians, but nobody actually talks to the teachers?
     
macroy
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Mar 25, 2007, 11:56 PM
 
Shortage of teachers? Actually, let me rephrase.. shortage of "qualified" teachers? And money I guess... smaller classrooms = more classrooms, more schools, more teachers, etc.....

The problem is that bureaucrats run the school systems.. not teachers. Its all politics. Example - no child left behind... are there any teachers that actually support this program? I'm no expert.. but being married to a teacher, all I hear is how they no longer "teach" - but simply help kids pass a bunch of standardized tests.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:01 AM
 
Well, it's true that in many areas there are a shortage of teachers, but perhaps making things better for teachers will result in more wanting to teach?

I've heard nobody on my end say anything nice about NCLB either... Any chance of us disbanding it or funding it properly, now that the political situation is different?
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:06 AM
 
Smaller classes? I say hotter teachers.

More seriously, why not move more school districts to a full-year schedule? Compensate teachers for the extra time, but please, there's no reason why kids can't be at school year-round.

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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Smaller classes? I say hotter teachers.

More seriously, why not move more school districts to a full-year schedule? Compensate teachers for the extra time, but please, there's no reason why kids can't be at school year-round.

Well, there are other life experiences which can be educational that do not happen sitting at a school desk.... in theory
     
SpaceMonkey
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Well, there are other life experiences which can be educational that do not happen sitting at a school desk.... in theory
Bah! I say math, sciences, literature, history, and Mandarin classes from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., then cram 'em into sleeping tubes for the night.

If they complain, we can ship the little buggers off to a Nike factory in Thailand.

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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:15 AM
 
The teachers I have met have been quite adament that smaller class sizes would make a world of difference. Before we all invest in sleeping tube stock, maybe we should try the smaller class thing first to see what might happen?
     
driven
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:58 AM
 
I think there have been studies comparing smaller class sizes with larger ones (different school districts, etc.)

I can't remember how the results turned out.

There is one good thing about No Kid Left Behind ... accountability which was seriously lacking in the past. I'm still not sure that NKLB is perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. I'm not sure how "teaching for standardized tests" can't be turned into an education plan !?!?!
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:04 AM
 
A lot of school systems are lengthening the school day, but shortening the number of days students do to school. They save money because empty building cost very little. The teachers receive the same pay, and have the same number of students, but spend less days in the classroom. Some teachers like it. My wife likes it. More days off, but only and extra 22 minutes a day. So you are actually quite wrong besson, they are doing it to save money.

Smaller class sizes: Sure teachers would like it. Less papers to grade and best of all less parents to deal with. But we also need to be cost effective with tax payer money as well.

And hmmm... politicians, Canada comparisons, bitching about NCLB ... hmmm... sounds like someone started a political thread in the regular lounge. Wasn't someone just banned for doing this? Yes, I think they were.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
I think there have been studies comparing smaller class sizes with larger ones (different school districts, etc.)

I can't remember how the results turned out.

There is one good thing about No Kid Left Behind ... accountability which was seriously lacking in the past. I'm still not sure that NKLB is perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. I'm not sure how "teaching for standardized tests" can't be turned into an education plan !?!?!
The purpose of our education system is to create an informed electorate - to produce critical thinkers. Being able to do well on certain kinds of tests is not a terribly useful skill in life beyond school.

If you want a sense of accountability in our school system, maybe the answer is an improved dialog between students, teachers, parents, and administrators, and by taking a look at what percentage of students go on to University or College vs. what percentage go on welfare, and relate this to the average income of the community? Sure, generating a bunch of numbers through standardized tests might be easier for administrators, but how do these tests benefit the students?
     
driven
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The purpose of our education system is to create an informed electorate - to produce critical thinkers. Being able to do well on certain kinds of tests is not a terribly useful skill in life beyond school.

If you want a sense of accountability in our school system, maybe the answer is an improved dialog between students, teachers, parents, and administrators, and by taking a look at what percentage of students go on to University or College vs. what percentage go on welfare, and relate this to the average income of the community? Sure, generating a bunch of numbers through standardized tests might be easier for administrators, but how do these tests benefit the students?
How do you know if they are informed if you don't test them?

How do you know they are absorbing the material? How do you compare student or school performance if you use subjective measuring?

I'd lean the other way without standardized tests, but we tried it and our education levels were nothing outstanding. Let's give this a shot and see if it shows some improvement.

As for improved dialog between parents and teachers ... that must be done. Shame on both parents and teachers who do not force this issue. I actually had a 3rd grade teacher try to tell me that "her lesson plans are complicated so it wouldn't be worth her time to explain it". I then informed her that "I'm an adjunct professor at a local university ... try me." That was a rocky relationship all year. She simply didn't want an open dialog with parents. At least with the standardized test scores I could see if my child was being taught the basics of the school curriculum. For *THAT* year I filled in the other areas.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:27 AM
 
You look at the results. You study each school system and figure out ways to improve it. You look at income/funding. You look at graduation rates. You look at average income in the community and factor it into the mix.

I think there are many ways to measure success. Numbers do not always provide the full context.
     
driven
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:33 AM
 
What results without tests?

Income / funding ... there have been numerous studies to show a disconnect betwen amount of funding and student performance. In my local district they spent a ton of money (from the new school taxes) to build a new administration building!! (The schools still had students in trailers.) 75% of the new building is empty. Shame on us for not voting that school board off the planet.

There are many ways to measure success ... we've tried others. In fact, we let every school district do what they wanted. We've had subpar results. Time to try something new.

Another thing that would be nice to try ... getting rid of tenure.

Anyway: That's all I have to say about this topic for now. It's getting late.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
What results without tests?
Each student is going to leave some sort of government paper trail that can be used to get a sense as to how these students fare once they have left school, no?

Income / funding ... there have been numerous studies to show a disconnect betwen amount of funding and student performance. In my local district they spent a ton of money (from the new school taxes) to build a new administration building!! (The schools still had students in trailers.) 75% of the new building is empty. Shame on us for not voting that school board off the planet.
Quite true, I didn't mean to suggest that there is a direct correlation between the wealth of the community and student performance, but I would imagine that students from extremely poor communities do not fare as well as schools lacking funding offer limited extra curricular activities, and many students may work long hours in part time jobs while in school. This should be factored into the mix, to provide some context.

There are many ways to measure success ... we've tried others. In fact, we let every school district do what they wanted. We've had subpar results. Time to try something new.
Was our real problem in coming up with measurements, or in actually improving schools? You can measure all day, but it is meaningless without a strategy for improvement. Right now we are taking money away from poor performing schools... Huh? Wouldn't it make more intuitive sense to do the exact opposite?

Studies have found evidence that a better educated sector of our population results in a lower crime rate, a lower poverty rate, and in turn a sector that puts less stress on welfare and emergency medical care and such. Investing in these poor performing schools and making efforts to pull them up will benefit us all within our society.

Assuming that you are right and we have not been able to get a reliable and accurate measurement of student performance, we can still do this without placing such a huge emphasis on testing and having it take up as much time as it does, and in actually funding the program.

Another thing that would be nice to try ... getting rid of tenure.
In areas where there are a surplus of teachers, perhaps... In areas that are short of qualified teachers, perhaps having these little perks and stuff stimulates the quality of this constant flow of teachers? My theory could be completely off, just throwing it out there to see what you think...

Anyway: That's all I have to say about this topic for now. It's getting late.
Thanks for your thoughts thus far, I've enjoyed reading them!
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
How do you know if they are informed if you don't test them?
STANDARDIZED TESTS ≠ TESTS

Standardized tests are a blight that restricts teachers from teaching effectively and places test-passing rather than learning useful skills as the goal of education. It's the ultimate in educational bureaucracy.

Originally Posted by driven View Post
How do you know they are absorbing the material? How do you compare student or school performance if you use subjective measuring?
How do you get truly objective measurement without sacrificing quality or accuracy? Just because a measurement is objective doesn't mean it's measuring the things it should or that it's giving you useful results. It just means it's impersonal.

Originally Posted by driven View Post
At least with the standardized test scores I could see if my child was being taught the basics of the school curriculum
You can't tell if your kid is learning without ****ing up our entire educational system to do it?
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
How do you get truly objective measurement without sacrificing quality or accuracy? Just because a measurement is objective doesn't mean it's measuring the things it should or that it's giving you useful results. It just means it's impersonal.
Well said!

Having worked in an environment that includes administrators that love to have numbers in their filing cabinets, my experience has been that many believe that these numbers make it okay for them to remain completely disconnected from those they are managing. I would be willing to bet that many of you share my experience - this is not at all uncommon.

IMHO, it would be more productive to force administrators and politicians to stop being disconnected from teachers and the schools than it would be to throw them some red meat.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 02:11 AM
 
Just to elaborate a little bit more on standardized testing: I think the point is, what is the purpose of education? In my opinion, it's to enhance your mind and impart useful skills so that you can be a more effective member of society. If we are failing to accomplish this purpose, there are two possible solutions. One is to re-evaluate our system to find out what we're doing wrong. The other — the standardized testing solution — is to throw away the old purpose and replace it with a new one, such as getting high numbers on a test that is considered an end unto itself. I do not believe test-taking to be an important life skill, so I don't want this to be the focus of education.
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driven
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Mar 26, 2007, 03:24 AM
 
Just an observation ... you all sound like you are reading talking points from the teachers union.

I am a teacher myself ... I can teach just fine without standardized tests, but more to the point I can also teach WITH them. (Yes, some universities have had (gasp) standardized tests for a while also.) It's just another tool ... If a teacher cannot find a way to teach a student with a standardized test I think they are simply trying to skirt the issue of being accountable.

Just my 2 cents.
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Chuckit
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Mar 26, 2007, 04:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Just an observation ... you all sound like you are reading talking points from the teachers union.
Bah, the day I take talking points from a union is the day I drink rat poison. I dislike unions for much the same reason I dislike standardized tests — they're both a form of bureaucracy getting in the way of actual progress.

Originally Posted by driven View Post
I am a teacher myself ... I can teach just fine without standardized tests, but more to the point I can also teach WITH them.
OK, I see three possibilities here:

1) Standardized tests get in the way of how you feel it's best to teach your class
2) Standardized tests have no appreciable effect on how you teach your class
3) You don't have any feelings on how your class should be taught, so you may as well base it around standardized tests

Which is the case?

Originally Posted by driven View Post
It's just another tool ...
Not if you base the educational system around them, they're not. If they're just a tool and people don't don't draw conclusions from them or use them as anything more than one piece in a vast sea of data, sure, that's fine. But that's not what we're talking about here. When you start following them and depending on them, then the tool-user relationship kind of reverses itself.
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Chuckit
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Mar 26, 2007, 05:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
In areas where there are a surplus of teachers, perhaps... In areas that are short of qualified teachers, perhaps having these little perks and stuff stimulates the quality of this constant flow of teachers? My theory could be completely off, just throwing it out there to see what you think...
Tenure is not the way to do that. If teachers don't want to work in an area, promising that they can work in that area even longer isn't an effective incentive. "Hey, I want you to wipe my butt for me. Yeah, it sounds like a crappy job and I'll only pay you $3 an hour, but I promise I won't fire you as long as you continue to wipe!"
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Mar 26, 2007, 07:54 AM
 
A couple of problems with longer school days comes quickly to mind.
First children are not small adults, they cannot just sit there for hours on an end studying. They need outlets for there energy. Many schools are reducing/eliminating recess and/or extending the day either option is bad. Kids need some unstructured play time just to run around.

Secondly is homework. I shocked to see how much homework kids get because they don't finish what they need during the day (to get them ready for standardized testing). If they're now going to be in school longer and still have 4+ hours of homework when will they have time to be kids?

I don't understand this, my generation and the prior generations sendtmen to the moon, split the atom built the space shuttle, etc. Why not use those methods that have worked for the past 100 years? I've seen some recent text books for kids - they've been dumbed down.
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Mar 26, 2007, 08:15 AM
 
Smaller class sizes requires many more teachers. How are you going to fill the new positions when you pay teachers less than "sanitary engineers," especially when the Federal Government wants teachers to have subject-specific degrees-and wants a lot of them to have advanced degrees in those subjects? "What's in it for me" rears its ugly head here.

To get the test scores these states want, they should encourage a LOT of people to be teachers by doing a number of things. The very first one is to pay these essential professionals like they are essential, not like they're an afterthought. Passing laws that allow extensively trained and carefully certified school personnel to act in loco parentis when students misbehave (to overcome the fact that some large percentage of current parents aren't worth the powder to blow them away when it comes to instilling discipline and social skills in their children), and providing a very large "student management" staff that includes counselors, disciplinarians and educational assistants that would help control behavior between classes would also be very helpful.

Even as recently as when I was in school (thirty years ago!) any real misbehavior in the lunch room would get ANY student, jock, prep or brain, suspended almost immediately. Today? School administrators need to worry about politics in the lunch room-not just student politics, but PARENT politics! Sheesh! Throw any stinking parent that throws his weight around in the slammer for interfering with the important lessons of how to be a human being in our society!

Pant, pant, pant...

Ok, rant over. Sorry about the mess.

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Mar 26, 2007, 08:26 AM
 
I agree with pretty much everything but the implication that students should be suspended for misbehaving in the cafe.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Tenure is not the way to do that. If teachers don't want to work in an area, promising that they can work in that area even longer isn't an effective incentive. "Hey, I want you to wipe my butt for me. Yeah, it sounds like a crappy job and I'll only pay you $3 an hour, but I promise I won't fire you as long as you continue to wipe!"

Yeah, now that you put it that way, I don't think I want to wipe your butt anymore...
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:13 AM
 
The way standardized test are run and interpreted are silly at best. Let's say I get a transfer student in my 9th grade Algebra class that has the math ability of a 3rd grader. If by the end of the year I get him/her to the 6th grade level, most people would think that was a great accomplishment (at least I would). Unfortunately, because the student isn't at grade level, that student counts against the school in terms of making AYP (annual yearly progress) to conform to NCLB.

The goal of NCLB is laudable and laughable at the same time. The goal is that every student meets state standards (not yet - the goal level is like 60% right now, but it goes up every year). That sounds like a great goal, except when you have students that come in at varying ability levels from different schools with different philosophies on education. The only way this goal is ever going to be met is if every school completely standardizes their curriculum, teach the same thing every day across the nation (hmmm... electives don't help meet state standards, so they've got to go), etc. Essentially, it would require the complete federalization of the curriculum (imho). Even then, I think the 100% number is ludicrous.

One thing to keep in mind - all those nations that have better scores than we do... they usually don't test their whole population. Instead, they test only their best. The U.S. is hurt int he standings because we want so many people to go through high school and be evaluated. On a sidenote (and I don't have the reference with me, sorry) - some of those countries that have the highest scores on standardizes tests also have the highest rates of depression, suicide, and alcoholism among college students. Why? Because, they get so burned out studying all the time! In Japan, for example, students who are on the college track spend 3-4 hours a night in an extra school getting ready for college.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:32 AM
 
Oh, there's so much good stuff to respond to here, and only so much time I can get away with goofing off at work! This thread might monopolize my 'NN time for a while....

The obvious answer to "why not smaller classes?" is that you need more teachers to teach smaller classes. And as Glenn noted, it's becoming harder and harder to find teachers, because the requirements for being a teacher are being ratcheted up quite a bit. I have a MS Degree in Electrical Engineering. I consider my background sufficient to be able to teach Physics and Math at the High School level. But if I were to ever go into teaching, would I be forced to get a MS in Physics or Math to teach either subject? Would the State pay for this additional education? (I know loads of people whose employers have paid for their advanced degree....)

IMHO, whether or not you have a advanced degree in the subject you are teaching is less important than whether or not you can teach. We should be actively seeking out good teachers that can make connections with students and compensating them appropriately. Spend money on teachers, but only the good ones.

But how do we tell who the "good" ones are? Not through Standardized Tests. All you can tell there is which teachers can teach to the test best. And I'll pick up my rant again in a few hours....
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Ghoser777 View Post

The goal of NCLB is laudable and laughable at the same time. The goal is that every student meets state standards (not yet - the goal level is like 60% right now, but it goes up every year).
Both of my parents are in education, and my dad has to deal with NCLB directly (as a principal for the elementary school and curriculum coordinator for the district) and it's a huge pain for him. Iowa has a pretty good school system so NCLB is fairly redundant for him to have to put up with.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:40 AM
 
Clear out your PM box, ass.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:47 AM
 
I think I was feeling spoiled by the new 80 message limit.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:54 AM
 
You're just lazy, which is admirable, unless it inconveniences me.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 10:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by macroy View Post
The problem is that bureaucrats run the school systems.. not teachers. Its all politics. Example - no child left behind... are there any teachers that actually support this program? I'm no expert.. but being married to a teacher, all I hear is how they no longer "teach" - but simply help kids pass a bunch of standardized tests.
Absolutely 100% true. The school's money is proporational to how well the students do on the exit exams and standards tests. So naturally, the schools tell the teachers to do eveything they can to raise test scores so they can get more money.

My mom's a teacher and she (and about 10 other teachers) quit their jobs because it was so bad in Texas. They actually go so far as to write up the teacher's lesson plans for them, and give them a scheduel on what they have to teach by what date so the students can pass the respective exams.

The kids aren't learning anything except how to take a test.
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Mar 26, 2007, 10:57 AM
 
Ultimately, it comes down to this: the students don't want to learn. If they wanted to learn, they would do so. We see this all the time, particularly in students who fail every subject but one or two, because those are the subjects they like.

What we need to be doing is studying why they don't want to learn, and finding ways to counteract whatever anti-learning influences are in these kids' lives.
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Mar 26, 2007, 11:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
Ultimately, it comes down to this: the students don't want to learn.
I think its less that and more of the fact that some parents are not as involved with their kid's learning as they used to be. My sister was a teacher and she noticed a marked difference in children who's parents were very hands on with their children's education vs those who weren't. It all starts with them learning to learn at home, i.e., how much do parents read to their kids at home, etc.
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The teachers I have met have been quite adament that smaller class sizes would make a world of difference. Before we all invest in sleeping tube stock, maybe we should try the smaller class thing first to see what might happen?
My school see an additional 200+ freshman kids a year over the previous year attendance. This has been going on since I have been here (nine years). How can the school possibly do this? There are even two teachers in a class in some classrooms. Some clasrooms have 45 students in them.
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The teachers I have met have been quite adament that smaller class sizes would make a world of difference. Before we all invest in sleeping tube stock, maybe we should try the smaller class thing first to see what might happen?
My school see an additional 200+ freshman kids a year over the previous year attendance. This has been going on since I have been here (nine years). How can the school possibly reduce class size? There are even two teachers in a class in some classrooms. Some clasrooms have 45 students in them.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 26, 2007, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by stevesnj View Post
My school see an additional 200+ freshman kids a year over the previous year attendance. This has been going on since I have been here (nine years). How can the school possibly do this? There are even two teachers in a class in some classrooms. Some clasrooms have 45 students in them.

Does your school have caps on how many new students it will accept? Does any school, for that matter, or does it just have to expand to meet the demands?
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:09 PM
 
My high school is approaching 4000 students now.

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Mar 26, 2007, 01:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
IMHO, whether or not you have a advanced degree in the subject you are teaching is less important than whether or not you can teach. We should be actively seeking out good teachers that can make connections with students and compensating them appropriately. Spend money on teachers, but only the good ones.
Not saying that "money" isn't a factor... but good teachers are passionate with what they're doing - and they do it because they enjoy it. Like most other public service jobs (police, firemen, social worker...), I don' t think money is as big a factor as many are making it out to be (but it is still one of the factors for the teacher shortage).

A good example is private schools... teacher are paid much less in private schools than their public counterparts.... but private schools "usually' turn out better students. So I don't completely buy the low pay argument.... the other issue is the potential of attracting even worse teachers because it actually pays more now.
( Last edited by macroy; Mar 26, 2007 at 01:33 PM. )
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Mar 26, 2007, 01:31 PM
 
About private schools - they are also more selective. You get students there with involved parents. It's much easier for a private school to give a kid the boot that's disruptive.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by macroy View Post
they no longer "teach" - but simply help kids pass a bunch of standardized tests.
Most elementary teachers these days hardly touch History, Science, Social Studies, Music, Art and even P.E. because they are too busy trying to boost math and english scores on the standardized tests.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How come everybody has all of these great theories about how we can improve education, and we hear from parents, administrators, and politicians, but nobody actually talks to the teachers?
Bingo. This is the problem, and its does not apply to just problems such as smaller class size vs. longer school days. Educators who have spent decades in the classroom should be the one making policies on the governmental level.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Well, it's true that in many areas there are a shortage of teachers, but perhaps making things better for teachers will result in more wanting to teach?
If a teacher's starting salary was $60,000 or $70,000 a year, we wouldn't have a shortage, nor would we have crappy teachers, nor would we have disgruntled old teachers. Lets not forget all of the money we would save on standardized testing- it wouldn't be needed with all of the steallar teachers in the system.

Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
A lot of school systems are lengthening the school day, but shortening the number of days students do to school.
So this is saving the tax payers money, it makes teachers happier, but what is it doing to improve test scores or help the kids learn better? Have you ever seen the way a 12 year old loses his or her ability to focus at the end of the school day? Imagine dragging that out an additional 22 minutes.

Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
Smaller class sizes: Sure teachers would like it. Less papers to grade and best of all less parents to deal with. But we also need to be cost effective with tax payer money as well.
Lets not forget ITS EASIER TO TEACH THE STUDENTS!!! Imagine being a teacher (I've taught before): you just explained how to carry the 1 when adding large numbers. 30 students in the class; 10 don't understand so you repeat the lesson. Now the 8 brightest students in the class are getting bored so they start chatting or passing notes- you let the class work on the problem set while you give those 10 additional one-on-one instruction. By the time you reach the 7th struggling student, the 3 brightest students are finshed with the problem set and want more work. You have them help other students, because if they don't have something to do they will talk. Meanwhile, struggling student # 9 is throwing chunks of eraser at the fat girl because he's bored and doesn't get the assignment. All the while, quite greg in the corner understands what he's supposed to be doing, but he's unable to work without someone on his back encouraging to move onto the next problem. Tina thinks she knows what's she's doing and she's talking to Tiffany now, explaining things all wrong. Both of them will cry when you tell them they did the entire problem set wrong.

Can you see now why some teachers just give up and give the dumb kids Ds without helping them? Smaller class sizes allow a teacher to actually teach.


If you want to see a waste of tax money, you should see the programs and social systems we have in place to "help" these failed students 10 years later when they become adults incapable of carrying their own financial weight.

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Mar 26, 2007, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
STANDARDIZED TESTS ≠ TESTS

Standardized tests are a blight that restricts teachers from teaching effectively and places test-passing rather than learning useful skills as the goal of education. It's the ultimate in educational bureaucracy.
Hmm? When I think standardized test, I just think reliable and valid, and proven to be so through extensive research. Non-standardized tests, like those given in individual classrooms, are simply less researched. And even those have a degree of "standardization" if the answers can be objectively scored and the same tests are used repeatedly and modified based on outcomes.

If you want to talk about problems with "teaching to the test" and such, OK, but to criticize "standardized" tests per se is just to criticize "good" tests.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Miniryu View Post
Lets not forget ITS EASIER TO TEACH THE STUDENTS!!! Imagine being a teacher (I've taught before): you just explained how to carry the 1 when adding large numbers. 30 students in the class; 10 don't understand so you repeat the lesson. Now the 8 brightest students in the class are getting bored so they start chatting or passing notes- you let the class work on the problem set while you give those 10 additional one-on-one instruction. By the time you reach the 7th struggling student, the 3 brightest students are finshed with the problem set and want more work. You have them help other students, because if they don't have something to do they will talk. Meanwhile, struggling student # 9 is throwing chunks of eraser at the fat girl because he's bored and doesn't get the assignment. All the while, quite greg in the corner understands what he's supposed to be doing, but he's unable to work without someone on his back encouraging to move onto the next problem. Tina thinks she knows what's she's doing and she's talking to Tiffany now, explaining things all wrong. Both of them will cry when you tell them they did the entire problem set wrong.

Can you see now why some teachers just give up and give the dumb kids Ds without helping them? Smaller class sizes allow a teacher to actually teach.
Well, my wife has been a teacher for 11 years, and I have taught for a couple years, so I kind of know what I am talking about. If you don't have very good classroom management that is your fault. And if you're up in front of a class lecturing on how to carry the one then you have poor teaching skills. Most students don't learn by didactic lecturing
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 05:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
I agree with pretty much everything but the implication that students should be suspended for misbehaving in the cafe.
Not "misbehaving." I'm talking about harassment, violence and extortion. Cutting up is part of being a kid, but stealing others' lunches, physical and verbal abuse, and other antisocial behaviors that go on because there is too little supervision must be quashed FAST before these kids get the idea that bigger kids can do what they want to smaller kids.

While there seems to be a lot of supervision in grade school, middle and high schools are organized around the idea that their students are more mature and thus more trustworthy. Unfortunately this is a fallacious assumption, because kids in this age group are only starting to feel individual and thus only starting to express their individuality. Sometimes that means getting mean and bullyish. One of the major educational goals of public school is socialization, and that means enforcing social norms like not hitting each other, not stealing from each other and not verbally abusing each other. This socialization is a MAJOR portion of what supports modern society, since too many parents work and thus can't be available for daily supervision and socialization.

Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
Smaller class sizes: Sure teachers would like it. Less papers to grade and best of all less parents to deal with. But we also need to be cost effective with tax payer money as well.
Cost efficiency needs to be considered, but from a longer view than simply how much we spend this year. How much does a drop out cost society? How much does improper and ineffective teaching of basic living skills cost society? How much does it cost each of us every year when we push underachievers through grade after grade instead of making them buckle down and work or repeat a year? I would rather spend more than I already do (a LOT) for my local schools to be more effective than pay less and deal with the results of short sighted "efficiencies." I fully support "being efficient" but only when that's looked at over more than one school board or state legislature election cycle.

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nonhuman
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Mar 26, 2007, 05:43 PM
 
How to improve education: increase teachers salaries to the point where there are more people who want to be teachers than there are teaching positions.

Of course we'll never care enough about education to pay that much for it...
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 06:05 PM
 
I for one am sick of politicians using the age old argument "do it for the children! the children are our future!" and then never doing a damn thing about the horrible education system in this country. Buncha damn liars.
     
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Mar 26, 2007, 06:07 PM
 
Familiar story... It wasn't broke. The politicians tried to fix it anyways.
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Mar 26, 2007, 06:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
How to improve education: increase teachers salaries to the point where there are more people who want to be teachers than there are teaching positions.

Of course we'll never care enough about education to pay that much for it...
Everyone who is highly paid does not do a good job.
Everyone who is not paid a ton does not do a poor job.

If your only motivation for getting into teaching is money then you should probably find another career. For me the process of giving someone else the tools to do better in society is worth more than money.
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nonhuman
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Mar 26, 2007, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Everyone who is highly paid does not do a good job.
Everyone who is not paid a ton does not do a poor job.

If your only motivation for getting into teaching is money then you should probably find another career. For me the process of giving someone else the tools to do better in society is worth more than money.
You need to think what I said through a little more thoroughly. The point is not to pay teachers a lot of money, the point is to have more people wanting to teach than there are teaching positions. That will result in competition which means that the teachers will actually have to be competent to get a job and, if they do a bad job, there will be someone there to replace them with who might be better.

And I guarantee you that there are people out there who would make fantastic teachers, but don't do it because of financial reasons. (Student loans are a bitch, I wouldn't want to try and pay them off on a teacher's salary.)
     
stevesnj
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Mar 26, 2007, 07:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Does your school have caps on how many new students it will accept? Does any school, for that matter, or does it just have to expand to meet the demands?
No caps..the limit is based on school boards discretion and how many persons the fire marshal will let into the building at one time. We just put an addition on 3 years ago and at the current rate another expansion is due in 4-5 years.
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Mar 26, 2007, 09:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
You need to think what I said through a little more thoroughly. The point is not to pay teachers a lot of money, the point is to have more people wanting to teach than there are teaching positions. That will result in competition which means that the teachers will actually have to be competent to get a job and, if they do a bad job, there will be someone there to replace them with who might be better.

And I guarantee you that there are people out there who would make fantastic teachers, but don't do it because of financial reasons. (Student loans are a bitch, I wouldn't want to try and pay them off on a teacher's salary.)
What I think you would create is a flood of people who want to teach ONLY for the money. If they wanted to be teachers they would have already applied regardless of the financial incentive. Sure, you'll get *some* good teachers, but a majority of what you get will be opportunists. To make matters worse you'll saddle the school districts with higher school taxes and (best) no improvement or (worse) even worse school performance.

If you want to offer a financial incentive for those who want to teach do what many school districts have started to do ... student loan forgiveness for each year of teaching.
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