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Gun with trigger at center of image.
The campaign against teachers is special, and worth paying attention to. It's not like workers in general get much respect in our culture, at least not beyond vague lip service that only ever applies to the individual, powerless worker not asking for anything. And janitors, hotel housekeepers, cashiers, and a host of others could fill books with the daily substance of working in low-status professions, I'm sure. But right now, teachers are the subject of a campaign heavily funded and driven from the top down to take a profession that has long been respected by the public at large and make the people in the profession villains and pariahs, en route to undercutting the prestige, the decision-making ability, the working conditions, and, of course, the wages and benefits of the profession as a whole. What we're watching right now is a specific front in the war on workers, and one with immense reach through our culture—and coming soon to a movie theater near you if it's not already there, in the form of the poorly reviewed parent trigger drama Won't Back Down.

(That it's a war not just on teachers but on the workers of the future and on the government just sweetens the pot for many of the people waging the war.)

Teachers face a catch-22. Those in poor districts are expected to be superhuman, to by themselves counteract the effects of poverty—even though we know that while teachers are the most important factor in educational achievement inside the school, factors outside the school, like poverty, are far more important. But while teachers of poor students are supposed to be superhuman, teachers of well-to-do students are frequently treated by doctor and lawyer parents as idiot failures, teaching because they can't be doctors or lawyers. Policy and funding decisions are used against teachers in poor districts; the condescension of parents serves the same purpose in wealthier ones. But in both cases the professionalism of teachers is undermined.

I've written a lot about how corporate education policy targets teachers (and the concept of education as a public good that should be available to all kids). But this upper-middle-class condescension toward teachers is a potent weapon in that campaign against teachers and education. One of the foundations of the corporate drive to "reform" education to corporate preferences is the idea that billionaires know better, that hedge fund managers and Walmart heirs and Bill Gates, by virtue of having made a lot of money, must know more than education professionals about how education should function. And that translates downward—if Bill Gates is supposed to know how schools should work in general, an engineer or executive at least gets to boss his kid's teacher around.

For instance, Adam Kirk Edgerton explains that he quit teaching because:

[...] I was tired of feeling powerless. Tired of watching would-be professionals treated as children, infantilized into silence. Tired of the machine that turns art into artifice for the sake of test scores. Tired of being belittled, disrespected and looked down upon by lawyers, politicians, and decision-makers who see teaching as the province of provincials, the work of housewives that can be done by anyone. [...]

The prestige problem is, ironically, the worst in some of our "highest-performing" schools. In suburbia, teachers deal with the open disrespect of the upper-and-middle-class parent. I'm talking about those parents who fight for every letter grade, who teach their children to teach the teacher a lesson, and who regard teachers as merely obstacles on the way to an Ivy League admission. I was often amazed by the outrageous lies some parents would tell to get an extension on their child's assignment.

(Continued below the fold.)

Similarly, Corey Robin describes how, growing up in an affluent New York suburb with fantastic schools, teachers were nonetheless held in contempt by parents and students alike. "It’s odd," he writes. "Even if you’re the most toolish striver—i.e., many of the people I grew up with—teachers are your ticket to the Ivy League." Yet:

Every year there’d be a fight in the town over the school budget, and every year a vocal contingent would scream that the town was wasting money (and raising needless taxes) on its schools. Especially on the teachers (I never heard anyone criticize the sports teams). People hate paying taxes for any number of reasons—though financial hardship, in this case, was hardly one of them—but there was a special pique reserved for what the taxes were mostly going to: the teachers.

In my childhood world, grown ups basically saw teachers as failures and fuck-ups. “Those who can’t do, teach” goes the old saw. But where that traditionally bespoke a suspicion of fancy ideas that didn’t produce anything concrete, in my fancy suburb, it meant something else. Teachers had opted out of the capitalist game; they weren’t in this world for money. There could be only one reason for that: they were losers. They were dimwitted, unambitious, complacent, unimaginative, and risk-averse. They were middle class.

So it's not uncommon to read—or to hear in conversation—views like that of Bridget Williams, the ex-wife of the executive director of "Democrats for Education Reform," who describes parents' efforts to get their kids the teachers they wanted, writing that "Even in the best schools, we still knew we had clunkers to contend with. This is a direct result of the stranglehold unions have over hiring and firing and tenure." Except that it's not. Teachers in union and non-union states are fired at basically identical rates after they get tenure or pass a probationary period, and at least some union states are far more likely than non-union states to fire teachers before they ever get tenure. Yet the idea persists that if unions weren't standing in the way, every teacher would be outstanding. (Have you ever seen a workplace in which every single person was outstanding?) Add to this that states with binding teacher contracts (i.e. unions) have better educational outcomes than states without binding teacher contracts or unions, and the whole "teachers unions are what stands in the way of my kids getting a good education" thing starts looking like what it really is: anti-unionism and contempt for teachers as professionals, a desire as, in Williams's words, "a white, educated, savvy, aggressive (some might use another word), '~4 percenter' in a good neighborhood" to show that you're the boss of teachers, most of whom aren't even 20 percenters.

That's the impulse the new movie Won't Back Down, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, hopes to exploit by cloaking it in the story of a working-class mother working with a teacher against the teachers union. Funded by Republican billionaire (and owner of the Weekly Standard) Philip Anschutz, who also funded the anti-teachers union documentary Waiting for Superman, the movie is, happily, drawing terrible reviews, many of which comment directly on its political mission. A Minneapolis Star-Tribune reviewer, for instance, writes:

"Won't Back Down" is to school reform what "Reefer Madness" is to drug policy. The difference is that it features the best acting talent money can buy, with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as a fed-up parent and an idealistic educator who take control of their failing Pittsburgh grade school and transform it.

They play the heartstrings like Yo-Yo Ma in service of a story that is emotionally manipulative, dramatically crude, factually challenged hero/villain hokum. That describes about 81 percent of all movies, but when a film's goal is to move public policy, it's worth commenting on.

Won't Back Down promotes "parent trigger" laws. Parent trigger laws are supposedly a mechanism for greater parental control, in which parents can join together to drastically overhaul a school they see as failing.
But Kathleen Oropeza, co-founder of the Florida parents’ group Fund Education Now, warns that reality is very different: "The parent trigger uses a parent’s love for their child to pull the trigger and pass a public entity, a school, into the hands of a for-profit charter." Trigger is among the model bills pushed by the now-notorious American Legislative Exchange Council. While individual laws vary, critics warn that they offer a back door for private (sometimes for-profit) companies to drum up signatures (sometimes dishonestly), bust unions and sideline school boards. "Sure," says Oropeza, "parents can pull the trigger, but they lose all control from that point."

Oropeza's group helped defeat a parent trigger law in Florida, where "Not a single major Florida parent organization supported the bill, including the PTA," with many opposing it, believing that it "would lead to the takeover of public schools by for-profit charter management companies and other corporate interests."

But parent trigger laws are just one piece of the broader message that teachers unions, and the teachers they're composed of, are the problem. The broader, deeper message is that teachers are simultaneously the most important thing in the school yet entirely interchangeable, that a good teacher or a bad teacher determines the course of a child's life yet teachers shouldn't be paid as much as other equivalently educated people, that teachers are solely responsible for educational outcomes yet what they do and how they do it should be determined by tech billionaires and any parent with an opinion. Every move in this war on teachers that appears to say they're important lays the groundwork to undermine teachers as autonomous professionals, and it all builds on the liminal class position of teachers, poised as intermediaries between poor people and middle-class people or middle-class people and rich people, as well as on the fact that teaching has traditionally been a profession dominated by women.

People still actually respect teachers, when you ask them. They think their own kids' teachers are pretty good. That's a big part of the reason the war on teachers pretends to value teachers and to just be going after their unions—as if unions are not made up of teachers but are some foreign entity. But make no mistake, the goal here is to undermine teachers themselves as less than professional, as labor that can be gotten for cheaper and given less power. Taking away teachers' ability to bargain collectively is a crucial step in that process.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 05:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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  •  Tip Jar (134+ / 0-)
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  •  Won't Back Down (42+ / 0-)

    completely bombed - #10 for the weekend is about as bad as it gets for a wide release movie like this.
    It will be gone after two weeks.
    It will live on on cable within a year of course, so the damage will be still done.
    But there was no real interest in this.

  •  Secondary effects are already kicking in... (26+ / 0-)

    We have commenters here on DK that point to the fact that educators are under attack as sufficient evidence that educators deserve to be under attack.

    Commenters who vigorously announce that all the forms of "Reform" that demonstrably Do Not Work are now "A done deal! Even Obama supports them! Get on board before you get run over!"

    And these are people who claim they are in favor of a good education for kids...

  •  In higher-performing school districts (32+ / 0-)

    you run into the persistent problem of narcissistic parents  trying to live through their kids. Happens at all income levels, but the well-to-do are especially prone to this malady.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:08:33 PM PDT

    •  Not to mention little league and football. (14+ / 0-)

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:10:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most families are supportive of their child's (10+ / 0-)

      learning, there are some who overreach in the sense that they confuse getting "A's" with actual learning. I don't mean just learning the material, I mean learning that if you don't pay attention, do your homework, study your notes, you can't get an A.  

      These parents don't realize they are undermining their own children and setting them up for failure later.

      •  The local paper (9+ / 0-)

        carried a feature story about parents in one affluent local suburb who were upset (!) that their daughter hadn't made the varsity basketball team. What did these parents do, but make the school bring in an independent coach, not affiliated with the school, to audition the girl again. The independent coach agreed with the school coach that the kiddo wasn't varsity material. The spoiled, narcissistic parents just lost it, and I think they took the athletic department at this school to court or something.

        Don't know enough about high school sports to know, and perhaps if I'd gotten further into the story I would, but I'd think you'd audition somebody for the varsity basketball team by watching them play with a team. How did they get this team to play with this girl? Offer them pizza, maybe?

        Yes, we are teaching our daughter to self-centered princess, intolerant of setbacks. What assholes.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:03:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm certain this is the school athletic program (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rosarugosa

          in question, although I couldn't find the article:

          http://deadspin.com/...

          It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

          by karmsy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:14:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Robert Coles (10+ / 0-)

          wrote a book about the children of priviledge, the really rich, in which he describes parents and children as seeing teachers merely as servants, and would take children out of school for weeks or months for trips abroad or skiing or whatever.  School simply wasn't important - and these parents were for the most part paying tuition.

          This seems to be seeping downwards, I suppose.  

          I grew up in NYC in the 1950s, and got a good education.  Schools were the way immigrant children like my mother and father were supposed to assimilate and become Americans, and there were  wonderful teachers who innovated boldly.  I remember specific lessons by some of these teachers, almost 60 years later.  

          This is so important.  Thanks for writing it.

          Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

          by ramara on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:26:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You are equating education with playing time. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rosarugosa, pollyusa

          You are equating education with playing time.

          Varsity sports is intended to be a meritocracy.  Who can best help us win this year, or perhaps best be developed to help us win next year?

          The purpose of public school should be to educate everyone as best as possible.  (FYI, I mistrust school and district administrators far more than any teacher or teacher's union.)

          I strongly disagree with the many teachers, and apparently daily kos members, who believe that the purpose of school education is the stratification of the populace based on intelligence and ability.  As if the whole point is determining whether you get admittance (playing time) at Harvard (Varsity) or Fresno State (Junior Varsity, or rec ball).

          A great example of the limits of this outlook was expressed by Edgerton in main  post above, where he treats parents' efforts to get extensions on assignments for their kids as an outrageous assault on education excellence.  As a parent, my objective is to get my kid to do all the work in order for them to get the education the teacher has determined constitutes that semester's objective.  If I allow my kid to not do work, or turn in substandard work, then by definition my kid will fall behind.  

          The primary reason for a teacher not to accept late work is one of efficiency for the teacher and the system.   It has very little to do with whether the student learns.  As a parent I can accept the limits of efficiency, but I get pissed when a teacher wants to argue to me that refusing to take late work leads to better education outcomes on an individual level.

          I find these appeals to character development through denial of accommodation highly suspect.  They may teach you a lot about the way the world is, but they may also teach you to give up and accept the limitations others place upon you.  Lots of kids are lazy, but can work through it if the bar is set high and they are never let off the hook.  My current high school student son does best with teachers who always accept late work because he ends up getting everything done since we never let him off the hook saying the problem is too late to fix.  This has led to steady academic improvement.

          All this criticism of upper middle class parents' aggressively advocating for their kids in schools as somehow weakening their kids is not born out by the socioeconomic outcomes. (And the ideology that says aggressive advocacy is bad is deadly if accepted by parents in lower socioeconomic strata)  Their actions actually do lead to the kids going to better schools and getting better jobs, and having more economic power.  

          Kids left to their own devices are not only more likely to accept the so often artificial limitations placed on them by others, they may simply have no idea how to go about developing and achieving their dreams, because they are inexperienced kids or teens, not adults, and are up against a system that has complex systems set up for rationing the resources.

          •  I don't mean that parents shouldn't advocate for (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, mikejay611, TKO333

            their children's learning styles to be met, or if a grade is actually incorrect and needs fixing.

            I was actually thinking about a personal story that happened to one of my own kids. The students decided to have a protest and walkout of their social studies classroom one day. The only problem was, the teacher was giving a quiz at the beginning of class that day. My own child decided to join the "protest". (They really weren't protesting anything, just having fun walking out)

            The teacher gave a failing grade to those who missed the quiz to do this, but she gave students an opportunity to retake the quiz. My child missed the retake and thus failed the quiz, even though  he knew the material. I thought about writing the teacher an email, I am sure she would have allowed him to retake the quiz, but, I felt it might be better for my child to learn that actions have consequences.

            I realized after I posted the comment that saying "can't have an A" sounds like I was supportive of a non-flexible grading system, but that wasn't what I meant.

      •  Rec'd for the comment.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa, karmsy, Dirtandiron

        and the nom de blog.  I had a lovely Rosa rugosa alba at my last house.  I will have to buy one for my new house.

        I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

        by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:03:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We call these people... (10+ / 0-)

      "helicopter parents" because they're always hovering around, ready to swoop in at the slightest excuse and pluck their child away to "safety" from the big, bad teacher.

      Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

      by Stwriley on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:35:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I used to get criticized for emailing teachers... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa

        I used to get criticized for emailing teachers in middle school by parents and some school personnel, and other kids thought it was weird.  

        Now half those kids are seniors literally smoking dope instead of getting ready for their next steps in life and my learning disabled kid is faced with multiple paths wide open to him for the next steps to achieving his dreams.

        Yes, I've probably been defined at times as a helicopter parent and been considered a pain in the ass, but the results from pushing the system and pushing my kid to have honest high standards have been better than I ever imagined.

    •  Maybe it's a reason why those school districts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChetBob

      are higher-performing.

      Parent involvement in their children's education and schools is strongly correlated with higher achievement. What determines a narcissistic parent vs a concerned involved parent?

      Let's not turn the "war on teachers" into a blame game on parents

  •  Thank you for the diary. (27+ / 0-)

    I'm a retired teacher from a long line of teachers all the way back to The Boston Latin School in the 1600s. I loved teaching and the quality of life it provided which would never have existed without strong teacher unions.  Early in my career  I taught for a short time in a private school.  I had no rights to wear slacks, no contract, no benefits at all.  Needless to say, I happily left when summer arrived.  I was the third teacher the class had and the only one who stayed until the end of the year.  Is that really what parents want?  Of course not, but it's what will happen without a strong union and quality teachers.

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Winston Churchill

    by Catkin on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:11:51 PM PDT

    •  Every experience is different (0+ / 0-)

      My experience with independent schools has been very different. I found the teachers to be excellent...invested in the school and the children. I asked several of the teachers why they didn't teach at the pubic schools where they could earn more money. The answers varied, but included greater autonomy, excellent working conditions, competitive salaries/benefits.

      My point here is to present a different experience with independent schools, not to imply in anyway that these schools are better or worse than public schools.

  •  The war on teachers (46+ / 0-)

    is part-and-parcel of the war against all public employees, and the reason why the Rethugs are on the attack is because they want to tear down government and replace it with for-profit companies.

    Period.

    Their goal is to see every essential service monopolized by Robber Barons free to charge what the traffic may bear and squeeze us to the last penny for anything and everything we cannot do without.

    Welcome to the New Feudalism.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:13:53 PM PDT

  •  Parent Trigger laws (22+ / 0-)

    are ironic because schools fail in areas where parents don't or can't be involved in the success of the school in the first place.

    NPR did a very good report about this. Unions were created for teachers because teachers used to get fired if they taught things people didn't like (like evolution). Basically the teachers union protection is beneficial like lifetime judge appointments is beneficial to unpopular rulings. Advocates of tenure argue that no teacher is given tenure who does not deserve it because administrators know within the first year or two if a teacher is a good teacher or not.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:15:08 PM PDT

    •  Everyone adult in a school knows within the (9+ / 0-)

      first few years who has the potential to be a great teacher and who will never cut it.  

      Unfortunately, too many administrators, who have the power and responsibility to eliminate ineffective starting teachers, fail to take the appropriate measures to weed out mediocre educators.  I suspect they do not want to be the "bad guy" that will eliminate another person's livelihood or are too lazy to do the necessary documentation.

      Unionization has nothing to do with it!  A standard contract provision of a probationary teaching period (often three years) gives administrators the power they need; most, in my experience, do not exercise it.

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:51:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good administrators are key (7+ / 0-)

        They set the tone for a whole school.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:09:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In my district (11+ / 0-)

        beginning teachers to the district have one-year contracts, and we have had teachers who "were not asked to renew" those contracts.  A couple of years ago, we had a science teacher who left within the first month at administration's request.  It was obvious she was not doing a good job and it had to do with her basic personality that she refused to try to improve.  She was gone.  It can and does happen and I hate it when people portray unions as keeping administrators from firing bad teachers.  

      •  Just cause (8+ / 0-)

        The only protection a teacher contract provides is termination for just cause. If there's cause, termination is always an option. However, a lengthy tenure process usually weeds most of the people who can't hack the classroom. Half of new teachers leave the classroom in under five years anyway.

        In Illinois, probation is a four year process. During the first three years teachers can be dismissed on any whim, real or perceived. If a teacher makes it to year four, there's a pretty good chance that they are qualified and have demonstrated the ability to effectively teach. This doesn't mean they are rock stars - what profession has 100% rock stars (including pro sports)? But it does mean that they are highly qualified to do what they do.

        What people often miss is that teachers are people, and as such have individual styles. Not every student will click with every teacher. How many of those reading this click with every person they work with? The problem occurs when this natural tendency is warped into a value judgement of a teacher's competency. Where one parent might appreciate that I push their son who is coasting, another will complain that I am too strict and grade unfairly, singling out their child.

        Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

        by michael in chicago on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:28:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The article I linked (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa, JerryNA, TheDuckManCometh

        suggests that principals who know a teacher will be protected by tenure backed by a union contract after a probationary period may be more willing to weed teachers out.

        •  Or, suggests that (0+ / 0-)

          anyway for some reason teachers are less likely to pass the probationary period in union states.

          •  The tenure clock (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ranton, JerryNA, TheDuckManCometh

            is a substantial incentive to evaluate, mentor, and then pass judgement on new teachers before the buzzer sounds in March of the second year.

            In California, it's two years, which means that there's really no time to just let a new teacher go unsupervised - and so new teachers, in schools with good administrators, in schools that aren't 100% new teachers every year, get a lot of attention from admin, and either mentored or counseled out. This is a good thing.

            It makes no sense at all to keep a marginal teacher longer.

            Of course, this is not at all how people imagine it works.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:02:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this diary! (26+ / 0-)

    Between movies like Won't Back Down, Tenure Reform, Teacher Reform, Charter Schools, my lovely Governor Chris Christie, school has been quite stressful lately. Glad to know there are people in our corner. By the way, I will be working ten hours tomorrow plus my two hour a day commute. I love my students! They are truly the best part.

  •  Eliminating sports would be a good start. (10+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, it will never happen.

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:17:19 PM PDT

    •  Lots of overweight kids though. (9+ / 0-)

      Though I suppose you can draw a distinction between physical education and sports. But I've known several kids that have gone from overweight to fit after they got involved in their school's sports teams.

      •  The kids who play sports aren't overweight - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        they're the better athletes already, and they get the wasteful resources.

        The rest of the kids get "P.E.".

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:52:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, except for the linemen. (0+ / 0-)

          heh, heh

          Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:57:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are you familar with the phrase 'freshman 15' (0+ / 0-)

          If not, 'freshman 15' refers to the stereotypical weight college freshman gain during their first year in college because they don't play sports anymore.
          I still lift weights and work out specifically because of habits gained through my high school sports experience.

          •  You missed my point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, TheDuckManCometh

            "Sports" are not something the general student body does. "Sports" is what the varsity athletes do, and that's where the budgets go. Sports programs benefit, at best, a fraction of the student body, wildly disproportionately to the resources put into them.

            PE is what the general student body gets stuck with.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 07:03:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "a fraction of the student body" (0+ / 0-)

              In the 'student body' I was a part of the fraction was 80%.
              But please, do tell us how you think arts, band & music (not to mention special education or advanced classes) should be ended as they benefit only a 'fraction' of the student body.

      •  PE's probably necessary. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tikkun, JerryNA, TheDuckManCometh

        Schools spend a lot on competitive sports, though, and if they're really looking to cut waste, it would seem that would be the place to start.

        Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:59:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Schools spend a lot on many things. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          schnecke21, TheDuckManCometh

          Air conditioning, music, art, band.
          None of these things are part of the '3Rs Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic', would you suggest these should be eliminated as well?
          I didn't have/use Air Conditioning, music, art, nor band, in my High School experience, but that doesn't mean that I think they should be eliminated.

    •  Kids need physical activity. (10+ / 0-)

      What they don't need is the uber-competetiveness that comes with most 'team' sports.  Kids would be better off if they could have their phys ed channeled into activities where they only 'compete' against themselves, measuring their own progress in terms of stamina, strength and tone - activities they could continue on in life without needing to join 'leagues' or 'teams'.

      If they need to learn teamwork, do that in lab and vocational classes.

      •  Agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tikkun, JerryNA

        Unfortunately, in my day, it seemed like most PE teachers were failed jocks, so they weren't really the right people to engineer a paradigm shift.

        Maybe things have changed?

        Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:06:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think team sports are fine (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, JerryNA

        It's the parents that are uber-competitive.   Nothing wrong with a pickup basketball or baseball game, but I agree that team sport as practiced in these formal leagues, with todays ultra-intrusive parents is problematic.

        I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

        by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:15:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Back in the 50s and 60s (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude, JerryNA

          students in our school system were burdened with terrible teachers who were coaches.  They were given positions that school boards and principals thought were "easy" classes.  History and civics were handed out to coaches.  Friday pep rallies where the same 30 or 40 people were trotted out for the adulation of the general student population were a serious waste of educational hours.

          When schools needed to save money, they cut art and music while going the last mile to preserve competitive sports programs

          I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that these practices continues today.  Competitive athletics in high schools and colleges make a joke of claims of the serious educational intent of many administrators and elected school officials.  

          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

          by tikkun on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:38:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was one of those (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ChetBob, TheDuckManCometh

            kids who went to pep rallies. They were great fun. We didn't miss any classes, they were after school.

            We had music and art.

            I was also one of those kids who played competitive sports. I loved it. I learned teamwork, how to be a good loser and winner. Sports were an integral part of my school experience.

            I was a serious student and an athlete.

      •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa

        So the (in most cases) once-in-a-lifetime ability to have a competitive team experience should be eliminated in favor of toe-touches and the 'teamwork' of rebuilding a 350 engine?
        Seldom will one play in a band or sing in a choir beyond High School either. Do you propose eliminating those as well?

        •  Where do you live? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          Most cities and health facilities of any sort, public or private, offer intermural team or 'league' sports.

          I'm guessing you're very rural and nobody ever moves to a city, if it's a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to you.

          I'm not suggesting in any shape or form that we eliminate 'things you will rarely do later in life'.  I'm suggesting we eliminate the things that indoctrinate kids with the social darwinism sort of ideas that wingnuts embrace.   The ideas that there must be winners and losers, that life is a zero sum game, that for you to be 'worthy' or 'valuable' you must have trophies to show that other people are worse than you in some way.

          Replace them with teamwork activities that foster sharing and caring about the contributions of others without requiring some other subset of people who are 'lesser' than you.

          •  Wonderful condensending attitude. (0+ / 0-)

            So, please, do tell where one can be part of an 'uber-competitive' team sport outside of High School?
            "show other people are worse than you in some way"
            I never thought of it that way. Perhaps you should consider why you do.

      •  Competitive Extracurricular activities can benefit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa

        Competitive Extracurricular activities can benefit kids because they have a chance to push the limits of their ability beyond the merely sufficient, especially through practice and shared effort.  This is true whether in baseball, band, or the biochemistry competing team... (yes, my son's high school competes in biochemistry, although their football is terrible.).

        Not all kids want to do this in a setting where people are yelling at you.

        I guess our disagreement is more that I don't think the intent of classroom instruction should be to push the kids to find their limits through team competition.  Some kids just need to learn the material and should not be required to love and cherish the material as well.

    •  You can do sports fairly cheaply (5+ / 0-)

      Coach= interested teacher with an extra small stipend. Make the team fundraise to get more than a minimum level of equptment/travel.

      Plus it's an important part of many people's school experience, similar to the fine arts.

      •  Sorry, no. People who take degrees (16+ / 0-)

        in physical education to prepare for teaching it in the schools have special expertise, or at least the ones I worked with did. Just like people like me, in the fine arts, do.

        I am sick and tired of the attitude that sports and the arts are somehow disposable when the budget gets tight, and the attitude that they can be "done on the cheap" by amateurs. That kind of thinking shows a real lack of consideration for the minds and characters of our kids. It also shows a complete lack of understanding of just how rigorous the training for those professions is. Show me one lawyer or businessman that began honing their craft at the age of three like I did, and like many professional musicians and music teachers did, and from a young age put in the many hours a day--every day--aside from formal lessons that it takes to develop the craft. The same is true of the training necessary to be an athlete, and one of sufficient development to impart the knowledge to others.

        Both are integral parts of the social,intellectual and character development of our children. Would you advocate math or science taught this way? I didn't think so.

        •  It makes me angry and sad (7+ / 0-)

          to hear folks talking about athletes as if they, and their fans, were violent Neanderthals.

          I was raised to feel this way, and although I was a strong, healthy boy I looked down on athletes, while secretly feeling inferior and thinking I "wasn't good at sports."

          In my 30s I discovered Martial Arts, and after about six months of absolute fun, I realized I had become an athlete.  Now I have a teenage son who is almost a Black Belt, is 120 pounds of pure muscle, but says he isn't good at sports.  What's a father to do?

          Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

          by Boundegar on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:59:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I heard Klewe on "Wait, Wait--don't tell me" (6+ / 0-)

            this weekend. The guy is clearly more than some punter on a football team--he's really, really smart. He's also really, really all over sticking up for marriage equality. He was at it again, schooling an anti-gay LTE writer in MN in an open letter of his own.

            Imagine that. An intelligent, well-spoken, funny professional jock. ;)

          •  Why doesn't he think martial arts are a sport? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheDuckManCometh

            What's a father to do?  Sounds like you're a father who is already doing a great job.  Maybe, all you can do is be proud and enjoy your shared athletic interest together.  :)

            Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

            by bkamr on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:45:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Trust me, I know how much time it takes. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollyusa

          I spent most of my childhood and undergraduate years training and racing. Probably 10-12 thousand hours all together. I've also spent several years coaching.
          My point was (granted it wasn't totally clear) that you don't have to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into a program to have it function and be successful. Cheap does not always equal inferior or poor, and a program that is very well funded is not necessarily better.
          Cheap is better than cut.

    •  Sports clubs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, IARXPHD

      In many countries, both recreational and competitive sports take place in members-owned sports clubs, some of which include teams all the way from the kiddie leagues to the pros. Sami Khedira, for example, played for the same soccer club in Stuttgart from age five until Real Madrid made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

      Besides freeing up schools' financial resources, clubs also provide wider opportunities for amateurs of all ages and skill levels to play their sports competitively.

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:42:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's one of the reasons international comparisons (5+ / 0-)

        for school funding are misleading - because what we count as a school expenditure in the US is not necessarily a school expenditure in other nations.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:11:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But, the question is, should it be? (0+ / 0-)

          Bet the sports clubs would pop up if schools stopped paying for that service which is really open for a small percent of physical achievers anyway.

          Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:16:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "open for a small percent" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pollyusa, TheDuckManCometh

            What are you talking about?
            In my High School 80%+ of both boys and girls went out for at least one sport.

          •  Our high school has 57% of the kids (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pollyusa, JerryNA, TheDuckManCometh

            playing on at least one sports team during the year.

            Having it tied to school gives the school a lever on academic performance - if your grades slip, you cannot play.

            Having it tied to school means we don't expect the kids to do academic PE and then also play a sport.

            No question - there are good programs and bad, and a program can be bad for lots of reasons.

            I'm not against the sports club model either, but it's not a no-brainer.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:05:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

          People often point out that Finland spends less money on education than the US does, so "money can't be the solution."

          However, that doesn't mean that teachers in Finland and elsewhere in Europe are paid less than here, quite the contrary. What it does mean is that European schools don't have huge sports programs with cheerleaders and marching bands and whatnot. Kids who want to be involved in such activities join sports clubs or community bands, which are often a family tradition.

          Btw, they also don't have administrators who don't teach. Principals get paid according to degree and years of service, plus they get some release time for being principal. That's it.

          School buses exist only in areas that are not sufficiently serviced by public transportation; otherwise, K-12 aged children get subsidized or free bus passes.

          While it's true that public education in America is expensive, very little of the overhead has to do with actual teaching.

          261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

          by MaikeH on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:32:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Health Care is another expense (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ranton, JerryNA, splintersawry

            that looms large in American school budgets, in terms of benefits to employees, school clinics, and school nurses. In other countries, this all might be accounted to a national health service, including many special ed programs currently picked up through American schools.

            Not to mention, of course, that we spend 150% as much on health care for the same level of service.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:08:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Futbol (0+ / 0-)

          I saw a show in UK once about the "farm club" system for futbol in Europe.  Kids are identified early and put into camps where they play lots of ball and go to school as well.  But the whole thing isn't done in the context of schools and colleges like it is in the states.  Instead, it's all run by the top tier clubs.  Makes way more sense to me to do it that way, and leave the schools to give ALL the kids some experience and training in athletics.  When i went to school, long long ago, the coaches couldn't care less about anyone not on the varsity team.

          I'm still mad about Nixon.

          by J Orygun on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:06:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sports clubs are 1% elitist crap. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa, ChetBob, schnecke21

        It's always sports that are bitched about here. Drop all the Glee'ish activities too. No drama, band, orchestra, vocal music. There's a cohort of pasty whiny snobs on here that takes every opportunity to knock sports.
        I'm a very liberal PhD who also was all conference in football, and my very liberal sons also were very involved in highs school sports.
        Almost every problem employee I've been around were not involved in activities in high school. The ability to work in teams doesn't happen by osmosis.

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:35:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wasn't referring to polo or golf clubs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          I was talking about neighborhood clubs where the little ones go for kiddie gymnastics, mom goes for whatever aerobic exercise is fashionable, and where the teenagers play in the local soccer league, hoping to be the next Lionel Messi one day.

          Of course team sports are a good idea. But they don't necessarily need to be tied to schools, and can still be accessible to everyone.

          261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

          by MaikeH on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:54:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Membership fees (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA

            in members-owned sports clubs are quite affordable and usually discounted for youth and seniors.

            I looked up the most "elitist" club in Germany, Bayern Munich, and the annual membership fee for youths 17 and under is 30 Euro a year. No selling of candy bars required.

            261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

            by MaikeH on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:05:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Strip everything from the schools? (9+ / 0-)

      Um, no. Strip everything is a totally right wing idea. Strip everything until they are no longer effective institutions, so weak that even your brain-damaged privatization arguments can beat them.

      Schools should have everything! Every sport, every after school activity, every opportunity. Band, orchestra, dance ensembles, swimming teams, you name it. They should all be there. Every school should teach drivers ed, personal finance, and every AP course.

      Schools should be a place where kids want to go. Of course it'll never happen for every kid. But for those kids who can be convinced that public education is a privilege and an opportunity, the schools should be good enough, to be exactly that.

      “No, Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they love, they cry, they dance, they live and they die. Learn the difference.”-- Elizabeth Warren

      by Positronicus on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:44:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Guess I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

        That's what you have little league for.

        Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:09:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not every family can afford little league or (6+ / 0-)

          soccer clubs.  Parents working 2 jobs each, parents with other small children and jobs can't bring their kids to practices outside of school.

          School P.E., arts, music, these are all things that some kids keep coming to school for, even when there is nobody home to tell them to get up and go.

          •  And not every kid can make the baseball team. (0+ / 0-)

            So, let their parents pay for it anyway?

            Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

            by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:17:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not every kid gets to calculus either. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pollyusa, schnecke21

              Not every kid gets to calculus either.  Why should I pay for it?  Let them form advanced math clubs.

              Or, even better, I can get better calculus instruction for my kid privately, so why should I pay for calculus instruction at school that is only used by a small minority of students?

        •  You must be from the south (where i live) (3+ / 0-)

          Around here, the idea seems to be, the schools teach the three R's, and everything else gets done through private clubs or the church.

          It's fucking weird. Why do you have to pray to Jesus before every inning? Why are there zero ... count 'em, zero ... gymnastics programs in the whole city?

          Private institutions can't deliver, plain & simple.

          “No, Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they love, they cry, they dance, they live and they die. Learn the difference.”-- Elizabeth Warren

          by Positronicus on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:48:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree (11+ / 0-)

      Sports are great for a lot of kids. Besides promoting health, they can promote healthy competition, teamwork, perseverance, goal-setting, and they can promote academics too because most schools require minimum grade point averages.

      Now, if we're going to pit sports against academics, as two entities competing for limited funding, then yeah, obviously sports is a lower priority. My fantasy is that schools would be well-funded enough that this would not be an issue...

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:45:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think sports can be good for kids (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, FrankRose

      and integrating them into the school has advantages for scheduling and logistics and the like, giving the kids an option over a plain PE class.

      However, it pains me to see how much time our administrators spend on administering the sports program. I wish they could spend that much time on science.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:13:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ... (5+ / 0-)

      Sports keep some kids interested in school.  It can help that they have to be passing to play.  

    •  That is asinine. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollyusa, schnecke21

      Athletics are an important tool for many young men and women, not only for physical fitness (are you familiar with the term 'freshman 15'?), but for teamwork, enthusiasm, community, work ethic and enthusiasm.
      Not everything you personally dislike needs to be eliminated.

    •  I disagree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      schnecke21, TheDuckManCometh

      I think that sports can have a tremendous impact on a students' life. You learn things like teamwork, trust, the value of hard work. While I think that some districts have misplaced priorities, I don't think for a second that we should eliminate sports from public schools. I don't like "pay to play" already, as it prevents some kids from taking part of those experiences. I don't see that point in making sure all kids miss out on them.

    •  I used to agree, but now think it will weaken (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollyusa, schnecke21

      I used to agree with this idea, but now think it will weaken the link schools have with their communities.  Sports is such a huge part of American society as is its presence in schools.  The more we dissociate schools from the culture and society at large, the more vulnerable the schools will become to being seen as strictly business entities* The response to the imbalance of resources going to sports is not to reduce sports but instead to open up more extracurricular opportunities in other areas: music, art, film, gardening, business, science, etc.

      * I see this idea as abstractly related to the idea that Social Security should not be made need-based because people will have less loyalty to a welfare entitlement program than they will to an insurance program.

  •  What seems to me to be such a massive (16+ / 0-)

    contradiction is the whole push for more and more standardized tests and to equate "good teaching" with good test scores.  So teachers have to teach to the test in order for the school to not be considered failing, but in so doing are no longer teaching but simply transmitting pieces of information that students will largely forget after the test is over.  And yet the culture of testing is pushed so much as part of so-called "school reform" and used to beat up on teachers.

    •  Follow the money! (5+ / 0-)

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:56:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Neil Bush profits from a testing company. (4+ / 0-)

        So do his investors, but I don't think the kids being tested gain very much.

        When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. Cree prophecy

        by 4Freedom on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:10:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Teacher talking here, and I am sick and tired of (9+ / 0-)

          hearing that we can't afford to buy textbooks for our kids anymore because we have to spend so much on testing.

          I have 32 science textbooks (which are 10 years old) that 126 students have to share.  My students need books -- NOT more standardized testing.

          Plus, I don't understand why no one seems to get it that we are now losing almost an ENTIRE instructional year over the 12 years due to testing.

          Okay, I'm practicing deep breathing ... picturing a sandy beach and waves ... backing away from the soapbox ....

          Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

          by bkamr on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:51:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bless you for sticking with teaching! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bkamr, ranton, JerryNA

            I really hate what is being done to our teachers. There is no more valuable profession on the face of the earth than teaching. A good teacher is one who is giving us a better future in terms of better informed citizens in all walks of life. That deserves respect, not being forced to teach to testing standards.

            Teachers deserve more respect and better pay.

            When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. Cree prophecy

            by 4Freedom on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:38:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Our science teachers have no money to buy supplies (4+ / 0-)

            for science labs and experiments and a ten year old classroom set of textbooks.

            Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

            by ranton on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:25:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have 83 cents per student to run labs with (0+ / 0-)

              for the the year.  My kids have to do fundraisers for us to be able to buy equipment and have labs.

              Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

              by bkamr on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:47:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Thank you!! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bkamr

            Thank you for being a teacher!!!

    •  I don't know the solution to this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollyusa

      If there are standardized tests the teachers will teach to the test--certainly a problem.  On the other hand I taught freshmen at a major state university for a number of years prior to the recent spasm of standardized testing.  The course had high school chemistry as a prerequisite and it quickly became clear to me that many of the students had not learned any chemistry in their courses--not even the simplest, most basic concepts.  I was completely baffled as to how anyone could pass a chemistry course without knowing what a chemical equation was or a mole.  I don't know if standardized tests for chemistry or physics are commonly administered and I have less experience with  other subjects but I can imagine that teaching to a standardized test might ensure that the students know something at least.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:30:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only my impression (5+ / 0-)

        - and someone correct me if I'm wrong - is that it's because of the single-minded focus on standardized reading and math tests in the lower grades that everything else is getting neglected, including science as well as social studies, art, drama, music and physical education.

        I don't have a problem with students in higher grades having to pass subject-matter tests - on the contrary. Our students, like other students around the world, should have to demonstrate mastery of their subjects before they can graduate.

        But I don't think that's what this is about. The entire focus of this testing is to evaluate the teachers, not the students. And in grade school, where kids are still all at different stages of intellectual, social and emotional development, this doesn't make much sense.

        There are a lot of people apparently convinced that our schools are full of incompetent teachers who need to be fired but can't be because they're protected by unions. The primary focus of our entire educational policy seems to be towards getting rid of these teachers, with the assumption that once that happens the students will bloom. But there are unchallenged assumptions built into this path - mainly that there will be an abundant supply of new teachers who are much better than the old ones. I can't see how that can be true. I frankly don't know why anyone would want to go into teaching anymore.

        I personally have no idea how many incompetent teachers are out there, but I can see as plain as day how misguided this whole approach is. The best as well as the worst teachers are being demoralized, burned out and driven out, the profession is being made less attractive to the brightest and most creative people rather than more attractive, and a revolving door is being set up in which we will inevitably find out that replacing experienced teachers with an endless supply of new inexperienced ones is not going to lead to better results. When that day arrives we will go back to square one after having failed another whole generation of students.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:29:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What mystifies me about this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      schnecke21, TheDuckManCometh

      is how little public support there seems to be for the whole testing obsession, even among the teacher-bashers. It doesn't appear that anyone really thinks it is doing the students any good. I've never met a single parent who is happy about how all other concerns and resources take a back seat to test preparation. But the steamroller continues on.

      We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

      by denise b on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:35:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  THEY need to be part of the push-back to end the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murphthesurf

        high-stakes testing corporate windfall.

        Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

        by ranton on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:41:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Teachers are "greedy", millionaires are "needy" (18+ / 0-)

    The 1% really needs those tax cuts, people. Shame on teachers for wanting a decent wage.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:19:19 PM PDT

  •  I had, generally, great teachers particularly so (13+ / 0-)

    in elementary school and as a result, my basics were very strong.

    I can tell you for a fact that this excellent primary public education is what made college a relative breeze for me. Sure, I studied hard (harder than most, in fact, because I needed the private scholarships), but the basics were the foundation of everything.

    My Godson is a teacher in a very, very poor school district area and he really struggles. He teaches science and has often remarked that he believes that the importance of education--the very idea of its importance--generally begins at home.

    In my home, that never needed to be said. I would wish that to be the case for every child.

    Ironically, my community college professors (most had PhDs) were generally FAR superior teachers. There were exceptions, but darn few.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:20:26 PM PDT

    •  From my experience, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, commonmass, Dirtandiron, cany

      In community college the professors are generally there to teach, in the big research universities many are there just to do their research and view teaching as something between a bore and a complete distraction.

      •  In research universities, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa, cany, Dirtandiron

        tenure is considered primarily based upon one's research, not upon one's teaching.  In community colleges, it's just the other way around.  So instead of blaming teachers, look to the university administration.

        •  I don't blame the professors. It is definitely a (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, pollyusa

          system issue, but we DO need that research, too.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:17:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Same here. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KJB Oregon, cany

            They're brought in to research, teaching is secondary. I don't fault them for not having too much of an interest in the teaching aspect. I do mind when it gets treated like a burden.

          •  We need research (0+ / 0-)

            but i think we need to question where it gets done and who pays for it. Why should the cost of research be built into the cost of higher education? Why should students go into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to pay the salaries of professors who are writing books and teaching a couple of courses on the side? This scholarship benefits society as a whole (we hope), but does it benefit college students in particular?

            Maybe this once made sense. Originally mostly rich people went to university, and those who weren't rich were generally rewarded with many privileges after graduation, so maybe it was part of noblesse oblige that their tuition payments supported society's scholars. But it feels like a historical holdover that no longer makes sense for this burden to fall on college students now.

            We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

            by denise b on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:58:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  And this is to bring in grant money since the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ranton

          state legislatures have failed in their obligation to fund state universities properly, because they were sucking up to rich, cutting their taxes. Fucking traitors.

          WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

          by IARXPHD on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:37:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think your comment alludes to something that is (8+ / 0-)

      very important, which is student responsibility.  There seems to be a common notion that students are not responsible for anything--if they don't learn anything it is the teacher's fault--if a teacher is any good they can take surly, disinterested students that couldn't care less about education and inspire them to greatness.  This happens in movies, but happens rarely in real life.  For the most part the attitudes and abilities of the students are the real determinants of the quality of the education they receive.  Some of my teachers were better than others, but I learned the subject even when the teacher was less than inspiring.  I appreciated the efforts of many of my teachers, but I also realized that it was my responsibility to learn.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:45:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that's true in upper education for certain (0+ / 0-)

        but in young children, how would they even understand that if they are not taught its importance at home and if parents don't insist on good grades, etc.?

        Some kids will pick that up on their own but I'm not sure that these kids would ever be in any majority. I think family emphasis on education is really important.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:45:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  the thing is, kids are too big to fail (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ChetBob

        Since an education (or at least a parchment) is required for even the most basic middle-class careers, it is absolutely essential for any upper-middle/upper class child to get one if they want to even approach their parents' standard of living, not to mention salvaging the family name and pride.  

        If the child fails to get through college, there is no alternative in our society, unless they happen to be a superstar athlete or artist (i.e. almost no one).  So they have to get into college.  Which requires excellent grades in high school, as well as a slew of extracurriculars, because those count in America.  So they'll get those grades, and they'll get on the team, no matter what the cost to integrity or others.  It's simply do or die, from their perspective.  

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:30:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And of course Obama has led the charge. (5+ / 0-)

    With his education policies.

  •  So is the rightwing's aim (20+ / 0-)

    to privatize all K-12 education, similar to how many of our prison systems are privately run?

    There are two retired teachers in my husbands family, both earn approximately the same with their pension as they did their last year of working. This was mostly due to pay concessions they made and instead received higher contributions to their pensions. Now, people are screaming and yelling about THAT! They say " How dare they have a great retirement when I can't? " Then they blame the teacher's unions.

    I truly wish our country treated our teachers like Finland does. Those teacher's are among the most respected (and highly compensated) people in their country.

    I fear for our public education system in the next two or three decades; especially if there comes a time when the Repub's are in control.

    YES WE DID! November 4th, 2008 ~ and we'll do it again Nov 6th, 2012.

    by Esjaydee on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:23:14 PM PDT

    •  Yes. (15+ / 0-)
      So is the rightwing's aim to privatize all K-12 education, similar to how many of our prison systems are privately run?
      That is precisely their aim. Of course, it helps that in the process, they are developing the next generation of serfs - masses who never developed the ability to really think for themselves, and are therefore easily led.
      •  I am convinced it's all about the money. (6+ / 0-)

        The NEA donates generously to Democratic candidates.  The GOP knows this.  It has been war for decades, and they're close to winning.

        Cut teacher pay.  Cut their benefits.  Cut school budgets until the kids don't even have books, let alone computers - and then blame the teachers.  Allow taxpayers to earmark their taxes for private schools.  Vouchers for private schools.  For-profit charter schools are only the latest strategy.

        But every dollar spent messing up your public schools means another dollar the NEA can't spend on a Democrat, plus a dollar next year and a dollar the year after that.  The ROI is huge.  It has nothing to do with the kids - they are mere pawns.

        Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

        by Boundegar on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:05:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's also about not sharing the money (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ranton, murphthesurf

          Kids in good districts get more money than kids in lousy ones.  Chicago teachers get less than suburban teachers

          In the 1980s-1990s  there were some states that passed laws subsidizing inner city schools.  But suburban property tax payers hate paying for inner city schools and latch onto all this nonsense.  

        •  Defunding is a means to an insidious end, namely (4+ / 0-)

          making education as ineffectual  as possible, with the goal of producing people who don't know how to think, to problem- solve, to know what's happened before in history....in other words, to make reasoned responsible decisions. Uneducated people are easily manipulated. That's useful to the powerful elite who need unquestioning low paid tools.

          I've been a high school teacher for 25 years and I've come around to realizing that teaching kids how to think is more important than any content (though the one facilitates the other). It's hard work for them, and me, but for many it's the only way to be a player on this uneven field.

    •  Actually I don't think compensation is exceptional (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranton

      in Finland, but they are certainly well-respected and very talented people go into the profession there.  They certainly seem to get results as well.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:48:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actual salary is somewhat difficult to compare... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, ranton

        One chart shows salaries ranging from 29K to 45K, but putting that into perspective is a little trickier, given the dramatically different society.

        Another article attempts to make the comparison socially:

        Today, teaching is such a desirable profession that only one in ten applicants to the country’s eight master’s programs in education is accepted. In the United States, on the other hand, college graduates may become teachers without earning a master’s. What’s more, Finnish teachers earn very competitive salaries: High school teachers with 15 years of experience make 102 percent of what their fellow university graduates do. In the United States, by contrast, they earn just 65 percent.
        A Finnish model isn't going to work in the US without drastic social changes.

        Occupy has set it's sights squarely on the target: Systemic unfairness.

  •  Not a big fan of teachers unions. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobtmn

    Sorry.
    They represent the lowest paid professionals in America. Tell me that isn't an indictment of their effectiveness. It has seemed, for a very long time, that the one truly important goal of the major teachers unions is to make certain nobody gets fired, no matter how incompetent.

    There are special ed teachers coming into the system who are grossly undereductated. University of Phoenix graduates who get their degree after they've sent in enough box tops. Once they're in ... tell me how to get rid of them? There is no way because it seems the one truly important goal in collective bargaining is no peer review, no probationary period ...nothing.

    That little tidbit is what has parents hesitant to stand with teachers on the one and only truly important demand that should be driving the unions. Compensation commensurate with education ... and ability!

    Just what I see from inside and outside the special ed system.

    Good teachers turn themselves inside out to do their job. Continuing education. Spending their own money in their classrooms. Paperwork by the boxfull. Yet, paid a pittance, comparatively. Bad teachers leave the minute the bell rings. Are always behind on everything. Undereducate their students. They have jobs for life.

    Good teachers are some of the most important members of our society.

    And they have a union? What union?

    Like I said. Sorry. just my opinion.

    •  Sounds to me like you're a product (3+ / 0-)

      of the education system you describe.

    •  As I member of a teachers union... (12+ / 0-)

      ...albeit at the college level, the main duty of a union is to protect intellectual freedom for teachers.

      I hope you are not opposed to that.

    •  Just your opinion, (6+ / 0-)

      backed by no objective reality.

      I'd suggest a healthy dose of research is in order.

    •  oh really? (10+ / 0-)
      There is no way because it seems the one truly important goal in collective bargaining is no peer review, no probationary period ...nothing.
      Probationary period is 3 years around here, I've never heard of a school system with no probationary period.

      I just genetically engineer them, I don't nominate them for President.

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:48:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, drmah, Futuristic Dreamer
      University of Phoenix graduates who get their degree after they've sent in enough box tops.

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:48:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Once again ... my opinion. (0+ / 0-)

        I've had experience with U OF P graduates in three fields. Education, specifically special ed ... construction management and IT.
        The degree is barely worth the paper it's printed on.
        I know ... it's just me. Right?

    •  What state is this? (6+ / 0-)

      Where I taught you could get sent down the river anytime before your fourth year for any reason whatsoever, or for no reason at all, and the clock started all over again if you changed jobs.
      I was a union rep for a while (while I was teaching), then an administrator (and still a union rep), then a teacher again. I counseled several people out of the job who were clearly not doing the job and could not handle the pressure.
      My town's union even took a zero raise, which of course was a pay cut. In my state local school boards had great power, and they would tell us that "this is the amount of money that is available" and we would really only bargain over teaching conditions.
      My oldest kid became a teacher. I am not happy about it.

    •  You're all over the place (7+ / 0-)

      Pretty much impossible to respond to comments like this -- a string of random thoughts about teachers that seem to have little basis in reality.

      "And they have a union? What union?"

      Seriously, I have no idea what you're talking about here. What an odd comment this is. Not even a faithful recitation of anti-union talking points -- more like a Dada poem about educational reform.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:54:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your logic is not very good (10+ / 0-)

      Your premise is that people are paid precisely in proportion to the value their product or service provides to society. I give you the Karadshians (all of them -- please, take them).

      Teachers are paid poorly compared to equally educated groups because a) most of them are public employees b) despite everything, a lot of people want the job c) it's a predominantly female profession and d) the monetary value they produce is secondary, that is, it is seen in the economic output of their students, and any profit remains with the student.

      Seriously, if you actually think that wealth and salary are strictly distributed according to merit, you are either exceedingly rich and self-satisfied, not rich and self-loathing, or just deluded.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:56:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Markets aren't always right (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe they are never right.

        Warren Buffet buys and sells "at market price". He's worth xx Billion.

      •  I see. Look at public employee unions ... OTHER (0+ / 0-)

        than teachers. You'll find they are paid quite handsomely, comparatively.
        A lot of people DON'T want the job, because the pay is so low. They go into other fields.
        If you're making a point about women being underpaid, I think that's a whole different conversation.
        The last point I have no idea what you're talking about.

        •  Maybe because you don't appreciate teachers (0+ / 0-)

          I do. I teach at the college level. I did a little math once -- if I gave up my salary in exchange for just .1% of the total earnings of all my former students, I'd be making a lttle less than 10 times what I'm making now. And that's assuming an average salary of only $35,000 a year.  Put another way, if I am responsible for increasing their earning power by just 1/10 of once percent, it means increased earning power of well over half-a-million for all of them combined.

          Now, think about how much increased earning power and productive power the teachers who taught those kids to read are responsible for.

          But since you seem to think teachers are useless, maybe this makes no sense to you.

          Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

          by tcorse on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:56:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The goals of a union are many. You are wrong (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, elfling, schnecke21

      in your assumptions and over-generalizations concerning the issue of job security.

      A contract spells out the steps that need to be taken so a union member is dealt with fairly.  It protects a teacher from being fired because the child of a school board member failed a class or a parent objects to a class assignment or any other asinine reason that an uncounted number of teachers deal with every year in this country.

      Teachers can be fired who are represented by a union and a collectively bargained contract; however, it requires administrators to do THEIR job and to have just cause.  

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:11:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wait a minute... (6+ / 0-)

      "Good teachers" are "paid a pittance..." But "Tell me that isn't an indictment of their effectiveness"?  Your logic is a bit broken there.

      By the standards you outline, every teacher I have ever met is a good teacher.  I have never ever known one who "leave the minute the bell rings."  Maybe that's how they roll at charter schools, I wouldn't know.

      Did you just come here to make us aware of Republican talking points?  We already know, thanks.

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:11:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I knew I would take a beating for expressing (0+ / 0-)

        my opinion regarding teachers unions.
        I just happen to feel they are probably the most ineffectual union in the country ... who represent some of the most important people in the country.
        To ME, it's a travesty.
        If you think it's a republican talking point to think that teachers unions should grow some balls and rethink their fucked up priorities ... then that's fine.

        •  Oops. (0+ / 0-)

          I misunderstood the first line - and it looks like I'm not the only one.  The teachers are poorly paid...  and that speaks ill of the union's effectiveness.  I thought you were saying it spoke poorly of the teachers' effectiveness.  I could almost agree, except that I don't know enough about the history of the NEA to pass judgement.

          Still, the line about the lazy-ass teachers who work a six-hour day and run for the parking lot...  where did you get that?  Have you ever met a teacher like that, in real life?  Or just, you know, Waiting for Superman?

          Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

          by Boundegar on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:29:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. Yes, in my experience there have (0+ / 0-)

            ALWAYS been some teachers who don't take the job as seriously as others. Mostly, teachers are incredible people. That's my point. How could they be unionized and be so poorly compensated?
            Couldn't it possibly be because the union sucks?

      •  I hate this argument...of course there are bad (0+ / 0-)

        teachers.  I have known them, worked with them and any teacher who has been a teacher for any length of time knows this to be true. I have worked with those who should have never, ever been in a classroom. I have worked with those who were good once, but somewhere along the way, they lost their passion.  I have worked with those who need not be in title 1 schools because they simply can't handle it.  I have worked with teachers who went through school dreaming of summers off, easy hours and found out the hard way what it was really all about.  

        With that said, I have worked with many, many more teachers who are worth their weight in gold. Teachers who would give their last dollar to feed a hungry child.  Teachers who work 14 hour days and spend every weekend dreaming up amazing lesson plans.  Teachers who will never be compensated for the hundreds, maybe even thousands of lives, they will change and inspire in their careers.   Those are the ones who we should fight for.  However when you suggest that every single teacher in America is a great instructor, you are diminishing the work of those who really are amazing. Sure, the bad are few...but they are out there, and to say otherwise makes it sound as if we are not aware that the bad ones exist or that union supporters wish bad teachers to be in our schools.

        I am a good teacher.  I would teach for free if that was the only way I could be in front of a class.  I also support the union, and do not believe they are trying to keep bad teachers on the pay roll.  I just hate the argument that there are no bad teachers; that is a falsehood.  

    •  Mitt, is this you? (0+ / 0-)

      Talk about puffing up a straw man.

      All of your "facts" are GOP talking points.

      WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

      by IARXPHD on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:39:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, most of my "facts" are anecdotal ... (0+ / 0-)

        which drives my opinion. I also knew I would open a can of worms, and I've tried to respectfully defend my point by answering as many posts as I could     Is that something Mitt would do?

    •  If our schools of education (0+ / 0-)

      are producing unqualified professionals, why not address the problem there?

      Do you think there's a glut of great teachers out there waiting in the wings to replace all the ones you would like to fire? Or is the problem that we need to improve teacher education and attract better people into the field?

      Bashing the unions will achieve neither. With respect to attracting better people to the field, it is counterproductive.

      They represent the lowest paid professionals in America. Tell me that isn't an indictment of their effectiveness
      I don't know what you mean by this. That it's the fault of the unions that teacher pay is low? In the absence of unions do you expect salaries to rise?

      We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

      by denise b on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:06:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When Kids in Upper Class Homes Ask a Question, (8+ / 0-)

    around 80% of the time they're given an answer and often engaged by parents. In poor homes, I think independent of race, around 80% of the time they're scolded to stop pestering. Per a report I caught on NPR a few years ago.

    It's easy to see from this how inept poor students' teachers are.

    Easy if you're a for profit educorporation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:24:16 PM PDT

    •  Us poor folk also beat our wives and guzzle (4+ / 0-)

      beer while watching football in our trailers.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:34:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a lot of interesting research that has (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Eric Blair

      been done on interaction styles within families and how those styles affect learning and teaching.

       I think another way to look at things is that the American school system copies middle class interactions, (questions and answers, even when the answers are already known).

      These are the types of things that can be taught to teachers by good professional development to help them instruct students who are from different cultural groups.  That is one of the big things unions have insisted upon that people don't know about, professional development.

      •  There was an interesting study recently (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, Dirtandiron, schnecke21

        I can't put my finger on it at the moment, but a recently published study that was meant to look at any differences in the variety of vocabulary used in households of different income levels found there was an even larger difference in the total volume of words used, or put another way, the time spent speaking to the child (in this case, infants).

        Now, before we dump on poor people, there's an obvious reason for this -- wealthy people have more leisure time and less stress. It's one of the many ways that poverty is self-perpetuating not because of the personal failings of the poor but because of the structure of poverty itself.

        There's a whole lot of ways we as a society could address this issue -- raising the minimum wage a whole bunch would be a good place to start -- but some rich people somewhere would have to be a little less rich, so I guess we can't so that.

        Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

        by tcorse on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:13:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some of our kids come to us from hard-working (4+ / 0-)

          families who are not literate in any language. Those kids have far less home support than kids whose families are college educated, even to the extent that those families value education and want to send their kids to college. Those families need extra support from the school and the community, and programs to provide it are getting cut instead of augmented.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:18:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely (5+ / 0-)

            I was blessed beyond dreams to have two professors for parents. I recognize it as an extraordinary and completely unearned privilege.

            (And Romney thinks he did everything all by himself.)

            I now teach at a decidedly working-class university. Anyone who thinks low-income parents never take an interest in their kids should take a job answering my phone. But I also see very clearly the relationship between the linguistic attainment of parent and child.

            Only a society that fully addresses the needs of both the parent and the child will ever solve these problems.

            Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

            by tcorse on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:28:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  We're screwed. Completely. (12+ / 0-)

    Regarding "parent trigger laws": if we, as a society, are really better to believe that an ignorant mob (call me an elitist, but as a former teacher...) knows better how to run a school than education professionals, than I suppose we are ready to start getting our teeth pulled at the auto mechanic's shop and look to our dry cleaners for legal advice. It's really that ridiculous.

    Now, that's not to say that every theory that comes out of Appian Way is golden either--sometimes education theory and education reality clash--but really. We should let teachers teach, and like all workers, we should let them bargain collectively for their contracts if they want to.

  •  Hmm, can I write an editorial using this (0+ / 0-)

    information?  Maybe later...

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:27:18 PM PDT

  •  Aching Head (12+ / 0-)

    I just spent two days providing feedback on many many essays. I am absolutely drained. I sat here hour after unpaid hour, determined that my students will be good writers and thinkers. Someone tell me how they're going to get into Harvard if we're not spending hour after unpaid hour doing this? Are the parents doing this? Are the execs doing this? Do kids learn my osmosis?

    And at school. all the administrators seem to care about are the grades on test after test after test.

    Ouch. My head hurts from the pounding inside and out.

  •  Education begins in the home. (12+ / 0-)

    The decline of public education will not stop until we find an economic strategy to reproduce wages capable of sustaining one wage-earner households, so that one parent will at least have the option of staying in the home and helping to educate (i.e. raising) kids (instead of letting the TV, internet etc. raise them). There will be no substitute for the home (parental-supervised)-environment as the foundation of elementary-level education (public or otherwise).
    Teachers (along with public education itself) are being blamed for fundamental domestic deficiencies outside of their control. The problem is economic (macro-economic, i.e. within the general population).

  •  Education is one of the last places (8+ / 0-)

    Where people are obviously engaged with the public sector and the last place where there is community involvement in a real meaningful way. That is why there is an effort to break it down. Ironically the power parents feel to complain is a direct result of the public sector belief of involvement. Private interests are. Corrupting that to finally completely take people out of having hands on involvement in their community. Sports teams for kids have already been profitized as well as other after school activities and events. They need to demonize teachers so the unsuspecting public can give up one more area of power o private companies

  •  Anyone who thinks teaching is easy... (13+ / 0-)

    has never tried to teach. Has never put up with the paperwork and the politics. Has never had students they desperately wanted to help, but couldn't find a way to get through to them. Has never dealt with the frustration of students who could get it - but choose not to.

    You want to see how crazy things are? Look at school athletics - the parents who will knock themselves out boosting a team. The coaches who will put kids through hours of Hell, and expect to continue on their own time.

    Then compare them with the efforts devoted to classroom time. Do we ever see anything that even begins to approach those levels of passion?

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:41:07 PM PDT

  •  Smart but not valued? (11+ / 0-)

    I got my degree in Math, minored in Physical geography, took what I needed to get a teaching license and started to teach and coach in a scientific community.
    The first month I was there, one of the young scientists I had become friendly with wanted to know why I was teaching. I said I thought it was important, that I enjoyed working with young people and helping them grow up. He said "But you're a real math guy...differential equations, analysis, all that stuff, right?"
    "yeah"
    "And you're going to teach high school?"

    It only took 35 years but I finally got that silly notion out of my head.
    The reaction I got from most parents was not "he's a loser", but "thanks for doing your best for my kid".
    I'll take it, thank you very much.

  •  ALEC (11+ / 0-)

    I just watched this weeks Bill Moyers Journal episode United States of ALEC. There is a move to privatize education for companies that offer online education. In order for these companies to get their hands on tax payer money from the education budgets they have to demonize and discredit the traditional education model which includes teachers. If you have the time it is certainly worth the watch and also will bring your blood to a boil what is really the agenda of this organization.

  •  I have noticed something about the Right (13+ / 0-)

    and the Corporatist "Reform" Movement: they seem to be making long-range plans based not just on an openly transparent hatred of unions and collective bargaining, but very deeply on the notion that they can make teaching a Right-to-Work McJob because they can take full advantage of people involved in public education sincerely loving the job and the art of teaching so much after they make teaching a McJob that they will still be there.

    There is something vile about that mindset. The idea of using somebodies great love and passion for something to screw them over royally.

    The idea being that many somebodies will be so passionate about teaching that this passion will transcend all other considerations that might force somebody out to another career. That there will be a pool of people there with bells on no matter how obvious or huge the roadblock to many of them doing so. Like the very real problem of not being able to make a decent living as a non-union right-to-work student testing supervisor/corporate sales associate.

    I can think of few occupations where the thought of an individual being able to have a long and successful career that also provides the worker in question with a sustainable middle class lifestyle is so, so offensive to so many people who earn vastly more than they do.

    There is nothing like watching some blithering spokesmodel or oversprayed male manniquin who makes hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars a year bitterly lamenting the idea of a teacher earning a decent living and doing their part.

    There is a point where you you can love something with all your heart, and not be able to afford to do it as your job.

    When I hear somebody earns a higher wage than I do, my first instinct is to say 'I want that too' not 'greedy bastards, how dare they get something I don't have' and start fixating on how to take away what they have.

    So much of America's middle class has been infected with self-defeating peer resentment for so long that I'm surprised that there is still an American middle class left.

    Also, there is something rather perverse about SAG actors in one of the most unionized workforces in America, film and television production, feeling noble about making a film that takes a shit on teachers in a way they would never, ever sign on for if it was about their professions.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:46:26 PM PDT

  •  20 yrs of teacher bashing on RW radio ignored by (11+ / 0-)

    the left and those they attacked and it's been ramping up year after year from 1000 radio stations, may of which are festooned with university sports logos.

    those stations dominate politics and 'conventional wisdom' in rural areas and have been loading school boards with teabagger dittoheads for years.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:48:08 PM PDT

    •  and union "leaders" have been going to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fireflynw, certainot

      trainings where they all piss and moan that mean meanies are mean???

      I've been 'active' in my Seattle union for 4? years now ... the 4 or so times a year I go to something - monthly meeting, for example, I ALWAYS have to hear some goddam sob story how such and such leaders were at such and such training

      and we're not in kansas anymore, toto!

      It makes me ill - maybe if I get a little trust fund or a rich parent I can run for union office -- don't expect me to go to those worthless ass "trainings" ...

      oh well - back to my day job.

      rmm.  

      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:52:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I pissed off Mary Lindquist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seabos84

        our WEA prez, for asking her why we did not have a Madison WI like presence in Olympia in the rotunda, when the legislators tried to take away our bargaining rights for health care. She wanted to know what I had done..so I told her. She responded that she would forward my name to the local Uniserve....which was why I complained in the first  place. They seemed to think a big rally at Puyallup High school would "send a message" to Olympia.

        Yeah, right.

        We all have photographic memories. Some people just don't have any film.

        by fireflynw on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:56:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  try a rally at the local union-hating limbaugh sta (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ranton

          tion!

          This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

          by certainot on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:19:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  we're on opposite sides on the health CARE (0+ / 0-)

          issue -

          "health" insurance is a complete f'king rip off. the fact our union was using right wing talking points to defend how they're in bed with blue cross made me ill.

          HOWEVER - your desire for more than pretty pictures is right on. politically pathetic is about the most polite way I can describe their efforts. have you liked WEA on facebook ? get ready for barrages of cutesy pictures of sundry teacher groups wearing their red whatevers in ... 'support' of ...whatever.

          Mary and Jonathan Knapp of Seattle are trying to jump to the front of the parade w.t.o. Chicago with their hollow, shallow pathetic "Me Too!" words of support.

          words are wind.  

          I'm 52, this is my 8th year teaching - I feel like I'm dealing with the Democratic Party affluent sell outs of the 80's, who always have 1 more excuse for sucking at their jobs of being leaders. Oh yeah - I was a cook in Boston in the 80's, and those affluent sell outs were also keeping their well paid jobs - jobs where they could afford those nice wool greatcoats which would cost me 4 of my cook paychecks!

          bob murphy
          seattle

          Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

          by seabos84 on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:38:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Public schools helped assimilate generations (10+ / 0-)

    of immigrant children. Ask those wingnut jerkoffs who only want private religious schools this-do you want every child of Muslim immigrants to go to a Muslim religious school?

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:48:09 PM PDT

  •  This is an incredibly tough issue for me. (3+ / 0-)

    As a liberal Democrat and proponent of public education, I cannot ignore its complete and utter failure with regards to my twins on the autism spectrum. Complete. And. Utter. Further, in many states, the battle has already been lost. There is an online virtual school in my state that operates as a 'tuition-free public school' but without the usual responsibilities of IEPs for special needs students, etc.

    In this country, test scores and 'Adequate Yearly Progress' trump innovation and force teachers and students to exist inside a tiny pre-defined box. And the Obama administration has supported this. High-stakes testing is NOT the answer. The leaders of teacher unions have failed them mightily by not fighting for smaller class sizes and a reduced reliance on standardized testing. Probably because many teachers are voting against their own self-interests, just like about 35 - 40% of Americans.

    •  This drives me up a wall too. (0+ / 0-)

      Because I'm pro labor and pro union, but I was treated badly growing up in a rural school district that was failing so badly that it went through dissolution.

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:54:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please remember (3+ / 0-)

        that unions are not responsible for bad schools.  There are a lot of really bad charter schools that are not unionized.  A lot of things have contributed to the poor state of schools in this country.  Don't fall for the false dichotomy that  is commonly presented. The privatization "solution" is generally worse than the initial problem.

        I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

        by Eric Blair on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:04:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  ??? (5+ / 0-)
      The leaders of teacher unions have failed them mightily by not fighting for smaller class sizes and a reduced reliance on standardized testing.
      This is exactly what teachers unions fight for. All the time. These are key issues.

      Special education students are let down all over the USA by states that simply refuse to adequately fund the resources that they need. I know that in my home state of California, special education has been hit with cuts year after year after year, and students in need simply don't get access to the resources that they are required by law to receive.

      It is unacceptable that this happens, but I have no idea why this would be the teachers' unions fault.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 06:58:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My family lived in Canada for 3 years. When we (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa

        first moved  there, the teacher's union was on strike. They opposed an increase in class sizes and they opposed the institution of standardized testing. Three weeks later, they went back to work and they won. Sorry, I know many, many teachers who have bought into the 'small government'/anti-union rhetoric even as they collect their pay from state and local governments. Class sizes in my state have gone up to 40-50 students per class. And NONE of that changes the fact that my children cannot get a 'Free and Appropriate Public Education' because they have autism. No one gets a pass on this from me. It is unacceptable. Yes, states are to blame. But so are those who are unwilling to stand up to people who are trying to privatize their necessary public function.

    •  They have fought for smaller class sizes for years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      g panjandrum, TheDuckManCometh

      but, everytime there is a budget freeze there is a budget problem they raise the limits.

      The unions have fought against the over-emphasis on testing.  Everytime they do that they are accused of wanting to keep the "status-quo" going, or not wanting to be held accountable.

      Testing companies stand to make money from the testing, they must be lobbying. Right-wing groups are lobbying for religious schools to get public money and charter schools are lobbying for money.

      Teachers keep trying to refine their classroom expertise, they keep trying to  reach even the student who is shut down, but while they do that, people are lobbying against public schools and kids, and they pretend it is only against "teacher unions." It is sad and scary.

    •  Online public school? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      Really? What grades?

      I had no idea it had drifted down below the college level.

      Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:13:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  k-12. Online (6+ / 0-)

        registration, free public school. State of Georgia. Unfortunately, my kiddos need socialization and friends, and online school doesn't provide that. But I was taken aback at the ease of registration for virtual online school. All through a company called K-12 which has ties to Pearson and Neil Bush. Of course you don't hear that when Jeb goes on MSNBC to talk about our 'Education Nation'. Fooked.

        •  Wow. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          drmah, angstall

          Can the kids actually get into college with that kind of education?

          Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:31:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good question and one I haven't researched (0+ / 0-)

            enough to know. I will say there is also a proliferation of for-profit online universities that are making tons of money (much of it guaranteed student loans). One of my children will likely not get an actual diploma thanks to NCLB. He will get a 'certificate of attendance' which means nothing. Ugh.

          •  We used to call this "Dropping out of school" Now (0+ / 0-)

            it's called play on line all day, then 5 min. before parents are due home, turn in one assignmrnt. That's "on-line educaition" for you.

          •  The answer seems to be no (0+ / 0-)

            Their record is abysmal. Their statistics are rock bottom.

            But, hey, free laptop.

            Parents try it out because they are thinking of it as a bridge to homeschooling. A good online program could be that. But K-12 is not a high quality program, and certainly for kids who aren't self-motivated, it's not going to work out.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:51:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  No IEPs in Online School? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranton

      I would be interested to know which state you're referring to. Is it a public online school? If so, and if it does not create IEPs (and review them annually) for each student with an identified disability, it is in violation of federal law: specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires:

      The IEP must be written at least annually for all children with disabilities. The IEP team consists of those who have assessed the child, school support personnel, a school administrator, general and special education teachers, and the child's parents or legal guardian.
      If the online school is private rather than public, and receives direct or even indirect federal funding, it is bound by Section 504. I believe that an IEP is not required for private schools.

      The Virtual Public School in my state is, of course, a public school, and therefore must maintain and follow all of the provisions of IDEA and Section 504, including providing IEPs for students with disabilities.

      In my opinion, the minimal requirements for private schools when it comes to children with disabilities is one of the primary reasons to resist the dismantling of public education. Meeting the educational needs of all children is expensive; and if a private school is not required to do so, I suspect that it will choose not to.

      Thanks to denial, I'm immortal. -- Philip J. Fry

      by IamGumby on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:33:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember when I was 10 we got a week off (0+ / 0-)

      from school because the teachers went on strike to limit class sizes to 31 students.  This was in Oklahoma in the 1990's.  

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:46:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except that teachers unions HAVE fought (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, murphthesurf, schnecke21

      for those things, often giving up salary increases for them. I see it all around me: they are begging for smaller class sizes. They HATE standardized testing. These are among the major issues they fight for. But they are being crushed by politicians who threaten them, slash funding, and wage pr campaigns against them. You seem to want them to magically acquire superpowers.

      I think special ed is an incredibly difficult issue for many of us. It's mandated but not paid for, and now public schools are being stripped of funding that n many states, like Ohio, is going straight into private pockets as profit. We can't educate special ed students because wealthy charter school operators who own armies of politicians re TAKING your kids' money.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:35:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Private Test companies (5+ / 0-)

    Private test and test prep companies are owned by news media. Kaplan is owned by Washington Post. Newscorp owns a test prep/ testing company, etc. These companies make Trillions of dollars failing our kids and then do not report the amount of money they make, but then whine and moan about teachers pay in their news media so that the public is against the teachers and not these obscene test companies.

    I say no more, the tests can be done for free and we can use their propaganda against them. Tell those around you the truth, these companies make trillions off of failing your children from your tax money. This work can be done for free, why should you pay a company to fail your child? Why should you pay a company to fail your child then pay that company again so that your child can attempt to pass that companies crappy and expensive exam?

  •  The number about "fired" is misleading (6+ / 0-)

    because frequently a teacher who is in danger of dismissal elects to resign (or retire). It makes the process easier for everyone.

    The reality is that around 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years.

    A good administrator can be quite successful in "counseling out" teachers who aren't working out, even tenured teachers... and yet the stats will show no one was ever "fired."

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:05:03 PM PDT

  •  I'm convinced this is because they're unionized. (7+ / 0-)

    As one of the few unions left, they're a prime target for GOP destruction.

    -this space for rent-

    by EsnRedshirt on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:06:01 PM PDT

  •  I've already read some comments from the (6+ / 0-)

    spokespeople for the film: They say the film's not anti-union, blah, blah, blah.

    HORSESHIT.

    "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."--Spock, in Star Trek IV.

    by Wildthumb on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:07:24 PM PDT

  •  Did you hear that Rupert Murdoch and his people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, g panjandrum

    are the backers for the film?

    "We all do better when we all do better." Paul Wellstone

    by jolux on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:10:20 PM PDT

  •  Amen (3+ / 0-)

    You nailed this Laura:

    And that translates downward—if Bill Gates is supposed to know how schools should work in general, an engineer or executive at least gets to boss his kid's teacher around.
    The reason often given - they are they taxpayers and therefor teachers work for them! After all, the customer is always right!

    Unless you ask your plumber to put the hot on the right, ask your engineer to use a smaller less unsightly beam, tell your doctor to prescribe a different drug, or tell the building inspector how you think he's wrong about the placement of your foundation on your lot. After all, you own the land and are a taxpayer, so he works for you, right?

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:15:28 PM PDT

  •  Teaching (9+ / 0-)

    I started teaching in 1954 and it was just as bad then as it is now, with the exception that there was still a modicum of respect for the profession. I made less money than the janitor, who was also the former president of the school board. At one point in a fifth grade class, I had 39 students in a classroom built for 26. I was required to wear a coat and tie in 90+ degree weather. Teachers did daily yard duty, lunch duty and had zero planning time.

    As years went by, things improved a little as I changed districts and learned what a wealthy community could do to make teaching more effective - smaller classes, better equipment, teacher aides and, yes, more money.

    I believe the reason there is an attack on teaching is that business cannot afford to have an intelligent, educated electorate who asks questions, including those about what they're putting into their bodies, their banks, their homes and their lives. People qho question aften find they're buying garbage and they demand change, which costs manufacturers money. They also demand better and more intelligent government, which in turn diminishes the influence of corporations and the rich.

    As long as we remain sheep, we'll get fed weeds.

    If the government is for sale, why not blame the buyers?

    by boguseconomist on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:20:33 PM PDT

  •  The rightwinger want to get rid of public schools (6+ / 0-)

    ... altogether.

  •  The fundamental problem with the parent trigger (4+ / 0-)

    is how undemocratic it is.

    "What?" you say. "Surely the parents should have a say!"

    In both cases where the trigger was used in California, there were no public meetings and no public discussion about the merits of the proposal. Parent signatures were gathered and could not be rescinded.

    Note that "parent" meant "parent of a student right this month." Not, someone who will be a parent next year. In a school with only two grades, you will completely turn over your parent population before you could implement a trigger. And no where in these trigger laws is there an undo or any requirement that the community or the parents have any say in the school's governance once the trigger is pulled.

    Public schools are run by an elected school board. In the Compton case, the signatures were gathered in stealth without a single complaint or demand to the school board. In the Adelanto case, the Board had just installed a new principal, carefully selected because of his experience turning around another low performing school.

    The irony is that the money and effort spent on the petition drive would have easily elected new school board members, had they been unresponsive. But Parent Trigger, who does not live in either of those communities, wanted test cases.

    Schools serve the community, not the parents, and the Board is their representation.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:33:47 PM PDT

  •  As an LGBT student in a conservative school (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, Stude Dude, Eryk

    I wish my parents had told my teachers, and my homophobic principle, to go screw themselves more often than they did.

    I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:35:04 PM PDT

    •  I used to have some teachers who really tried... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Futuristic Dreamer

      ....to be popular with the "in-crowd" at school, to the point where it affected their teaching.

      It was odd.

      Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:42:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I always wonder how all this would be playing out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    g panjandrum, fireflynw

    if the majority of public k-12 teachers were men.

    I suppose our school budgets would be like the pentagon, not subject to audits and bloated beyond recognition. Cheerleaders would have ten million dollar pompoms.

  •  This is ridiculous (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    g panjandrum, TheDuckManCometh

    And this coming from a guy who somehow manages to be a Democrat, but in no way pro-union.

    (Amazing how watching the UAW's greed demolish your home town can color your judgement, but that's a topic for a different discussion)

    However in this case, while I agree some adjustments to contracts might be in order, the data shows that well unionized, active teachers, on the whole, do a better job of educating.

    And that should count.  It NEEDS to count.  

    Is the system perfect?  Not even in the neighborhood of it.

    Could it be considerably worse?  Sure.  Privatize education and it'll become a numbers game, not an educational system.

    Fix what's actually broken, then get out of the way and let educators educate!

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Mohandas Gandhi

    by DouglasH on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:44:19 PM PDT

  •  Sept to May contract teaching (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, bontemps2012

    will not just hold back cost of living salary increases, it will create a permanent minimum wage for teachers.  Every year, new graduates who apply for jobs as teachers could be hired to replace more experienced faculty - and paid at the going rate. If that's what it's all about, just outsource teaching to call centers. Gyllenhaal, Davis, Hunter et al should be contacted about what their participation in this film says about any concern they might pretend to have for education.

  •  IT BOMBED (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, bontemps2012

    Movie is one of the biggest flops in years.  From boxofficemojo.com :

    "Won't Back Down opened in nearly eight times as many theaters as Pitch Perfect, but could only muster a $2.7 million debut this weekend (good for 10th place). That's the second-worst opening ever for a movie in 2,500+ locations—The Rocker holds the record at $2.64 million. Distributor 20th Century Fox clearly realized they had a dud on their hands a while ago, and pushed it out without the backing of a substantial marketing effort. "

    "The Weight is a Gift." - Nada Surf

    by AdHack on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:52:13 PM PDT

  •  Any intelligent college student who considers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    not this time

    being a teacher should be sent for an immediate Psyc Evalution.  Why would anyone want to teach in this hostile climate?

    •  Because kids are out there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012, drmah

      waiting for someone to help them.

      We all have photographic memories. Some people just don't have any film.

      by fireflynw on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:46:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Been there, done that. For as much as I loved the (0+ / 0-)

        children I taught, the flack from parents and the community isn't worth it. Thats' what we've got to get across to potential teachers to understand.  No matter how good you are with children and no matter how much your class achieves, you are lumped with a tiny group of weaker teachers.  You will be HATED for some infraction that happened in a classroom six years ago with a child or some distant memorty a parent has of a teacher they had twenty years ago.  Teaching, in the present environment is TOXIC.

        •  I agree with all you said (0+ / 0-)

          I am starting my 34 year of teaching and it is harder every year.  Some days I hate it. Tonight I got an email from a parent who wanted to let me know how much his daughter loves my class....that helps me stick with it.

          We all have photographic memories. Some people just don't have any film.

          by fireflynw on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 07:44:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In Lake County, Ohio, (4+ / 0-)

    there is one charter school, and its the worst performing school in the county.  In Cuyahoga County, many of the charter schools are doing worse performance-wise than the public schools they are supposed to be setting an example for.  Does the national press talk about that?  I haven't seen any stories.

  •  Contrast with the NFL referee strike response... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, bontemps2012

    Was quite revealing of our collective character.
    A couple of my Facebook "friends", were so upset with the botched calls that you could almost visualize the pain they were in! So when the strike was over, I saw a lot of cheering and support for the referees demands!

    In contrast, I saw so little support among this same set of people, and in general populace for the teachers strikes. I think perhaps Kossacks were the most sympathetic to the teachers.

    Quite a revealing split about our national priorities!

    The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past - Milan Kundera

    by Suvro on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:01:27 PM PDT

  •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

    My kids are in public school. The charter a mile away had the best test scores in the big district but I like public schools. For sure there are some teachers that need to go and  no way to get rid of them. Our teachers and principal have accepted testing and gone with it. Kids get intensive reading, writing, math. Scores have gone up a lot and we are the poorest neighborhood around. Last year we had average scores up from not great. This year no below grade level and many very high scorers. I like testing a lot, forces people to teach the cores subjects in such a way that kids learn.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:30:42 PM PDT

  •  & what about politically incompetent (0+ / 0-)

    union "leaders", incessantly chasing the goal posts further right ...?

    who, by the way, are REAL good at keeping their perks and paychecks ?

    who, by the way, are REAL good at making sure DLC political cowardice is the coin of the realm, and the Karen Lewis types are marginalized

    (pst! how bad did it have to get before Karen was elected? Seattle has about 50,000 kids in about 100 schools - which is what Chicago now has in CHARTERS! )

    just like yuppie scum like Robert Rubin have sold out workign stiff Democrats for his wall street buddies,

    insiders and cronies have kept their jobs for their buddies in the upper reaches of the teachers unions - playing by rules that Mondale and Dukakis showed were worthless.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:41:49 PM PDT

  •  Great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RennieMac

    I hope this movie backfires at least a little bit, and gets people talking and thinking about the misguidedness of maligning and abusing teachers in this way.  

    The bottom line is that the radical right has NO intention of seeing schools succeed in any real way.  They are absolutely against the practice of educating the general public in any way that causes that public to become empowered.  They want to educate them in a way that normalizes the insanity of our society.  They sugar-coat the programs they shove down our throats, they hide their true intentions.  

    It is simple to understand this.  It is not rocket science to understand that those who seek to control this society with their own narrow agenda want to eradicate any local, democratic, grassroots, open-minded type of education.  God, they must hate liberal teachers more than anything... they want CONTROL OF THE WORLD OF IDEAS.  

    More and more people are putting the pieces of the puzzle together and connecting the dots and researching the history of this long-standing attack on teachers and schools, and STUDENTS.  (I really think students of all ages need to learn that they DO have enormous unused power... heck, I am trying to encourage my 8 year old to have the courage to at least ask the teacher and principal if they can have two recesses a day instead of one.  WHAT?  Ask those all-powerful adults for time to move around a be a KID?  I hope someday humanity evolves to the point where we look back at the days when children weren't listened to or asked their opinions as just plain stupid. )

    I hope parents and students and teachers do see this movie... and then discuss it online and create a firestorm of criticism.  We need to erode the power of this sort of propaganda by dismantling it in the forum of public opinion.

  •  Theaters, hell. It's the nightly news. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murphthesurf

    We get the New York stations and every major crime committed by a teacher, ex-teacher, administrator, aide, or school janitor is highlighted on the evening newscasts.

    They are criminals !!

    It's not Wall Street!

    It's teachers !!!!! The criminal class in the classroom.

    (Screw corporate "entertainment." And I'll be damned before I pay one red cent to these bastards for cable.)

  •  I think religion may be partly responsible for (0+ / 0-)

    the achievement gap.  Religion demeans critical thinking.  I heard an African-American grad student at Howard who is an atheist on the radio and he talked about how other African Americans question whether his education has led him to reject faith-based, belief against all evidence thinking and turned him into an atheist.  Got me thinking..... hasn't religion, esp. Catholocism generally been hostile to science, evidence-based inquiry, etc.?  So maybe religion is partly to blame for the achievement gap.  Maybe it diminishes perople's commitment to education, critical thinking and evidence-based inquiry.

  •  Gotta run so only have time for (0+ / 0-)

    AMEN!

    sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

    by stivo on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:30:31 AM PDT

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