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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Longer school days? Why not smaller classes?

Longer school days? Why not smaller classes? (Page 2)
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nonhuman
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Mar 26, 2007, 10:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
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.
And that would be worse than the current situation where there aren't enough qualified teacher or unqualified teachers how? As long as they do a good job, who cares what their motivation is? If they aren't doing a good job, get rid of them. Simple as that.

I definitely agree that the student loan forgiveness programs are a good idea, but it needs to go further than that. Trying to make a living coming out of college with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt isn't easy. Especially when even with a masters degree you can't be guaranteed a starting salary of more than $35,000, which is really not enough if you live in a city like San Francisco or Boston. Trust me.
     
driven
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Mar 26, 2007, 10:26 PM
 
Why can't we get rid of them? Tenure. If we can eliminate that then I'll be on board with your plan.

I know what it costs to make a living in the Bay Area so I won't argue that point.

I actually have a more radical idea that I like but it will get never get traction between the progressives and the unions: Privatizing the school systems. (That's a debate for another thread on another day ...)
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Gossamer
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Mar 26, 2007, 10:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Why can't we get rid of them? Tenure. If we can eliminate that then I'll be on board with your plan.

I know what it costs to make a living in the Bay Area so I won't argue that point.

I actually have a more radical idea that I like but it will get never get traction between the progressives and the unions: Privatizing the school systems. (That's a debate for another thread on another day ...)
I never realized high school teachers had tenure.
     
nonhuman
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Mar 26, 2007, 10:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Why can't we get rid of them? Tenure. If we can eliminate that then I'll be on board with your plan.

I know what it costs to make a living in the Bay Area so I won't argue that point.

I actually have a more radical idea that I like but it will get never get traction between the progressives and the unions: Privatizing the school systems. (That's a debate for another thread on another day ...)
Do elementary, middle, and high school teachers get tenure? If so, then they shouldn't. I'm not sure if college/university professors should or not, I haven't put enough thought into why the system exists and what the benefits are.

As for privatizing the school systems, I'm of mixed feelings. I'm generally of a libertarian bent, but libertarians in general do believe that certain functions are best carried out by the state. I'm not entirely convinced that education shouldn't be one of them (nor am I convinced that it should). Having been educated in private schools myself I certainly believe that they do have some advantages (I didn't get shot, for one), but I'm not entirely convinced that those advantages would survive if there were no public schools. If you can't afford to pay for a nice private school, what ensures that the cheap private schools are any better than the current crop of public schools?

I do definitely agree, though, that education is one of those fields where the unions have way too much power.
     
Railroader
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Mar 26, 2007, 11:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Why can't we get rid of them? Tenure. If we can eliminate that then I'll be on board with your plan.

I know what it costs to make a living in the Bay Area so I won't argue that point.

I actually have a more radical idea that I like but it will get never get traction between the progressives and the unions: Privatizing the school systems. (That's a debate for another thread on another day ...)
Its actually quite easy to get rid of a tenured teacher. The only reason it doesn't happen very often is lazy administrations.
     
Ghoser777
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Mar 26, 2007, 11:53 PM
 
If a tenured teacher is really not performing well, they can be let go. There's just a process for doing it, unlike for untenured teachers, who can be pretty much let go without a substantiative reason (I believe most contracts have it that 3rd and 4th year teachers have to at least get a reason for not being asked back, but that's not much protection). Untenured teachers have some union protection, but they don't get the automatic remediation plan that a tenured teacher would get after a bad evaluation. If a tenured teacher doesn't complete remediation properly, they can be let go.
     
driven
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Mar 27, 2007, 12:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gossamer View Post
I never realized high school teachers had tenure.
They do ... it's been a political issue down here (and elsewhere) for a while.

Our former governor brought it up during his election campaign. (He lost). Here is a blurb from the time:

Barnes Calls for Merit Bonuses, Phase Out of Teacher Tenure
Gov. Roy Barnes' new education reform plan would rely heavily on student testing and incentives for teachers to save Georgia's struggling schools.
New teachers would not receive the same job security as current teachers do, but they could receive as much as $2,000 in bonuses at schools that show strong improvement. Teachers in hard-to-fill areas such as math, science and foreign languages or who work in rural Georgia could be paid higher salaries and receive signing bonuses. Teachers in schools that fall below standards for three years could lose their jobs. Teachers also would be tested for basic competency in computers before being hired or recertified.
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driven
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Mar 27, 2007, 12:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Do elementary, middle, and high school teachers get tenure? If so, then they shouldn't. I'm not sure if college/university professors should or not, I haven't put enough thought into why the system exists and what the benefits are.

As for privatizing the school systems, I'm of mixed feelings. I'm generally of a libertarian bent, but libertarians in general do believe that certain functions are best carried out by the state. I'm not entirely convinced that education shouldn't be one of them (nor am I convinced that it should). Having been educated in private schools myself I certainly believe that they do have some advantages (I didn't get shot, for one), but I'm not entirely convinced that those advantages would survive if there were no public schools. If you can't afford to pay for a nice private school, what ensures that the cheap private schools are any better than the current crop of public schools?
Competition. If one school is not performing up to par a parent could move their child to another school. I sort of envision a scenario where a certain base-level of education is funded by the state in sort of a scholarship plan. The state could use the money that they no longer have to spend on the public schools to do this. Anyway ... just high-level ideas at this point. The details would be horrific ...
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DakarĀ²
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Mar 27, 2007, 08:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
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.
This I agree with.
     
nonhuman
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Mar 27, 2007, 10:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Competition. If one school is not performing up to par a parent could move their child to another school. I sort of envision a scenario where a certain base-level of education is funded by the state in sort of a scholarship plan. The state could use the money that they no longer have to spend on the public schools to do this. Anyway ... just high-level ideas at this point. The details would be horrific ...
Uh, where are they going to get all the teachers to staff these new schools? Privatizing the schools isn't going to solve the problem of there not being enough teachers or of teachers not being paid enough. Teachers at private schools now aren't really any better off than their public school counterparts.
     
Miniryu
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Mar 27, 2007, 06:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
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
It was a hypothetical example. The point is that smaller class sizes make teachers more effective: research (and simple common sense) has shown that students learn better with more individual attention. Its not just having fewer papers to grade and fewer parents to deal with.

Also, there are a lot of teachers with poor classroom management skills. Since this is quality of teacher that the goverment can afford, we should make the best of what we have and give them a managable class size.

If your wife has been teaching for 11 years than I am sure she knows teachers who have give up. Its not an easy job.

"Sing it again, rookie beyach."
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Railroader
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Mar 27, 2007, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Miniryu View Post
It was a hypothetical example. The point is that smaller class sizes make teachers more effective: research (and simple common sense) has shown that students learn better with more individual attention. Its not just having fewer papers to grade and fewer parents to deal with.

Also, there are a lot of teachers with poor classroom management skills. Since this is quality of teacher that the goverment can afford, we should make the best of what we have and give them a managable class size.

If your wife has been teaching for 11 years than I am sure she knows teachers who have give up. Its not an easy job.
Hypotheticals are useless. Let's talk reality.

Sure, the less students per teacher the better the learning experience. Why stop at 20:1? How about 2:1? 1:1?

My wife has had from 18 to 31 students in her classrooms at various times and in her opinion (and mine), the number one criteria for a successful student, is parental involvement. I have had classrooms with 12 students and less and the students that did well were the ones who parents actually spent time with their kids in an academic capacity. Get parents involved, and you could easily have a classroom of successful students numbering in the 40's.

Regarding the quality of teacher that the state can afford... the state isn't the one paying for it. Society is. When society decides that teachers are worth the pay then you will see change. Though, we don't really have a low-pay problem in Michigan. Teachers here are well paid. My wife makes over $65k for teaching 1st grade. We do have an abundance of unemployed teachers in some fields and a dearth teachers in other fields.
     
 
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