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This is not a scholarly article with citations and references  (so if you want a link go buy some pork sausage ;)

A buddy who likes NCLB (and has never taught anything in his life - his wife taught his boys how to ride bicycles!) made the comparison: "Education reforms are like Money Ball.  Businessmen are trying to change education because it is broken ... they're trying a new approach and what is wrong with trying something new to see if we can fix it?"

Well ...

First, "What is wrong with trying something new" depends on the nature of what you are trying  Generally, new things are neither right nor wrong - specifically some new things are right and others are wrong ... in fact some are so wrong we shouldn't have to try them to figure that out (I don't need to drill holes in my skull to know it's a bad way to fix my headaches).  But, the important thing is: Educators already try new stuff all of the time - new techniques, new examples, new exercises.  Teacher development practically mandates that teachers try new things.  I'd be willing to wager that educators try new things much more often than businesses do.  So responding to teachers' push back against particularly bad ideas, like NCLB, with 'try something new' is disingenuous: teachers are the most receptive audience to trying new things.  If they don't like it - it must be obviously bad ... like drilling holes in your head!  

Second, a lot of these 'something new' ideas are not new at all.  They've been drilling holes in skulls for millennia ... and nowadays we leave that sort of thing for the last resort.  And some of the 'new ideas' presented in these educational reforms are not new, either.  They have tried merit pay rewards for teachers for nearly a century and they have discovered it isn't effective.  Indeed, it isn't that effective for most employees be they fry cooks or master teachers.  Studies find that there may be a short-lived bump in performances after the pay raise, but as soon as the employee has acclimated to the new salary they go back to the status quo in performance.    Also, fear-based motivation doesn't produce positive results.  When people are afraid of punishment for bad performance they become afraid to take risks or attract attention to them (after all, how many times have we thought we did a good thing to be told by higher ups is was a bad thing?).  Fear makes people stop striving for excellence and instead they try to avoid big, noticeable failures.   Fear of punishment motivates people to cover up mistakes... or even cheat.  Most of the 'market based education incentives' have been thoroughly tested in charter & private schools  ... and they do not produce any better results than traditional public schools (when comparing the same student population - ya gotta compare apples to apples!).

Third, if you read Money Ball, you see that prior to applying SabreMetrics, most Baseball managers, coaches, scouts didn't do any real analysis to make decisions they relied on hunches and common sense. Billy Beane applied analysis and research to Baseball and made the Oakland A's a much more cost effective team.  OTOH:  If you look at  Education, there's over a century of research and analysis - real research and real analysis.  Cognitive scientists weigh in on when it is appropriate to introduce certain abstract concepts to children (all kids know "The Earth is Round" but up to 3rd grade many think we're standing on a round disk - by 4th or 5th grade the realize we're standing on the outside of a ball).  Things like NCLB are actually the opposite of MoneyBall where people armed with hunches and common sense business approaches are trying to replace decades of solid research and analysis.

Fourth, if you want to try something new - try it in a few locations and use control groups and prove that it actually works before making everyone do it.  I don't want the Dept of Education mandating that everyone do something untested even if it sounds good - just like I don't want the AMA mandating that all doctors prescribe a certain untested drug to everyone - even if it sounds good.   If all of these techniques can be shown to be that effective you won't have to make educators adopt them - they will be beating a path to your door to show them how to do it. [Oh, and all of these 'new ideas' have been tried already - they aren't all that they're cracked up to be.]

Finally (cuz I'm tired), We're still waiting for that World Series, Billy - I'd have a whole lot more faith in the so-called 'MoneyBall' approach to education if that approach got the A's into the world series.   Before you MoneyBall my classroom, let's wait and see if MoneyBalling baseball does any good.

[E.d note - I realize that it looks like I mischaracterized the book, Moneyball, a bit.  Please note, my buddy (well, I say 'buddy') used the term MoneyBall to refer to "outside experts using analysis & novel ideas to breath new life into a antiquated, failing system."  In this piece, my usage of MoneyBall mainly follows his (with a couple of exceptions).  My, apologies to Mr Lewis]  

Originally posted to BadBoyScientist on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 11:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And Education was never broken in the first place. (29+ / 0-)

    That was a Shock Doctrine lie so that public education could be corporatized and privatized and ultimately destroyed and all your taxpayer money going to line someone's pocket.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 11:30:25 PM PDT

    •  D'oh (19+ / 0-)

      That should have been my first item.  They keep telling us its broken so they can extract more money from it.

      Another point that gets my dander up is the Bidniz types who complain that we're spending more and more money on education while for-profit corporations try to milk every penny out of schools.  Every try to replace 10-20% of a good 3-year-old textbook?  Nope.  Out of print.  You have to replace all of them.  Ever buy a 'cheap' textbook for a college class?  Wow cheap is a relative term.

      FWIW: I am among the growing group of professors who wishes to teach without a textbook so we can A) save the students MUCH money and B) control the effing content.  I don't need their 'propaganda' in my book, thank you.

      There are more and more open source textbooks available and there are many authoritative web resources.  Why should I, as a prof, be a corporate shill?  

      -- illegitimi non carborundum

      by BadBoyScientist on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 11:58:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  College texts.. oh boy.. (7+ / 0-)

        Our Kinesiology text book in college was so full of errors it was insane. We paid more than $200 for that paperback text book, and, for example, it tried to tell us that the external oblique muscle (in the abdomen) connected to the scapula!! There were so many errors in that book the Professor stopped using it and used online resources instead that he hunted down on his own.  I think he tossed the book about halfway through the course after we'd found over 40 errors in it. And we never got a refund from the company either. What a waste of money!

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:33:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Honestly, that's kinda on the prof (3+ / 0-)

          for not going through the text thoroughly before requiring it.  Maybe it was mandated by someone in administration, but in my experience (in higher ed administration) we defer to faculty and department chairs regarding textbook choices.  We expect them to know the relevant quality texts in their fields! If they're requesting that students buy multiple books that cover substantively the same material, we make them justify it, but even that doesn't happen too often.

          "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." -- G.W.Carver

          by northbronx on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:43:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Depends on the school & department. (3+ / 0-)

            Some instructors are not given a choice about their texts, never mind any decision-making ability in their departments. This is especially true for adjunct faculty.

            •  Yes, adjuncts are weak (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM

              in the face of departmental edicts.  If the professor really makes clear to the students that he/she can't go to the department and request a change, it might be up to the students to go to the program director, chair, or even the academic dean (especially if the book was written by the chair!) to complain.  There is no excuse for a student to have to use a book with basic factual errors, much less when it costs $200.  Bad enough if the error is because the book is a few years old and doesn't address cutting-edge discoveries, but the mistake noted by the OP here would have been spotted by a 17th-Century medical student.  I know if a group of students brought this issue to my boss, who is an academic dean, he'd rip a new one in whoever was responsible for picking that book.

              "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." -- G.W.Carver

              by northbronx on Thu May 01, 2014 at 03:26:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  What if there are no 'quality texts'? (3+ / 0-)

            Or what if the prof's curriculum doesn't match ANY of the choices of textbooks?  

            The textbook companies are merging and offering fewer and fewer choices - you cannot blame a prof for picking the least bad choice.  

            -- illegitimi non carborundum

            by BadBoyScientist on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:24:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Prof was filling in for another (0+ / 0-)

            on emergency medical leave. So if anything it was on the original Prof, but this was the second class of this course for this school. They used what they were advised to use by another college, there had apparently been rave reviews about this new book, but the editing sucked or something. But it was horrible.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:49:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My brother's philosophy text book (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, FloridaSNMOM

          Was the same as mine, but a newer edition. It was COMPLETELY indecipherable. That is not hyperbole. It didn't even make sense in the sentences that should have been plain English filler, never mind the descriptions of complex concepts.

          I gave him my copy and had him bring both to his professor to do a side-by-side comparison. The prof scrapped the new edition and insisted the school exchange them all for the previous edition, instead, with a scathing letter to the publisher. This was back when school bookstores were owned and run by the school, rather than Barnes & Noble, so they were able to do so.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:17:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Amen. (8+ / 0-)

      Supporters of public education have a formidable enemy.

      1. Primary driver of the assault on public schools is the Christian Nationalist (religious right) base of the gop.
      They provide the fanatical zeal. They've been working on this since the days of desegregation, Madelyn Murray O'Hare, and then Roe v Wade. It's not surprising that we have the sons of a founding member of the John Birch Society funding so much of the current right wing effort.

      2. "Libertarians" who don't want to pay property taxes for public education. Since Reagan and Prop 13.

      3. Anti-union business interests.

      4. Post-Reagan "entrepeneurs" and crony capitalists who are happy to rob a baby's education fund with privatization
      schemes before they drown it in a bathtub.

      My recipe for education. Good old self-discipline. Children need the attention span necessary to be able to read. We need more teachers, smaller class sizes and for the most part, rather old-fashioned, conservative methods of teaching and developing critical thinking skills, with some proven updates. Nearly all the "innovations" I see are aimed at reducing the number of teachers. Not only do we need more teachers, we need mentors and we need a "tutor corps" program in which high school kids learn to help young ones get started, and college students help high schoolers prepare for adulthood.
      And we need jobs, so that people will understand there's a reason for them to be educated.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:38:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have taught thousands & thousands of students (7+ / 0-)

        in informal science education as well as formal science education - at the levels of JHS, High School, Community College and Elite Universities.   I have found none who do not know how to do critical thinking (with the exception of handful with some developmental handicaps - real, diagnosed disorders).

        Now frequently the students are not interested in employing critical thinking in my class or on the topic of my choosing.   But if you think about it - critical thinking is tiring - like running.  No one runs everywhere they go (just like no one applies critical thinking to every single decision they make).   It is arrogant and foolish for me to conclude that a student who does not run to each class of mine is UNABLE to run... maybe my class isn't a priority to them.

        My job - as a science educator - is to inspire, engage and motivate them to engage in critical thinking in these topics so they can reap the benefits.   Blaming the student for not doing it is a little misguided and paints me as powerless to affect change.  

        I don't buy it.

        All of my students know how to think critically - the trick is for me to get them to do it. It makes my day when I see the metaphorical lightbulb go off over their heads.

        -- illegitimi non carborundum

        by BadBoyScientist on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:34:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we're on the same page. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcstowy, ladybug53

          I'm not an educator (In the professional sense of the word). I do know from my own experience that students will consume knowledge and ideas with gusto if they're in the right environment with the right encouragement.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:49:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That was going to be my comment too. (8+ / 0-)

      It's not broken. It works for most, if you give the teachers a chance.

      By continuing to talk about "fixing" and "reforming" education, Arne Duncan and Barack Obama are doing nothing more than enabling those who want to destroy free public education.

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:38:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  lol yes it is broken. (0+ / 0-)

      http://www.npr.org/...

      Ranked 30 in math and 20th in reading. That is a broken system for the worlds largest economic power.

      "In mathematics, 29 nations and other jurisdictions outperformed the United States by a statistically significant margin, up from 23 three years ago," reports Education Week. "In science, 22 education systems scored above the U.S. average, up from 18 in 2009."

      In reading, 19 other locales scored higher than U.S. students — a jump from nine in 2009, when the last assessment was performed.

      •  NO. Break down the data by poverty (9+ / 0-)

        When you take poverty into account, we OUTPERFORM everyone.

        Here’s what the mainstream media will NOT tell you about 2012 PISA. When comparing U.S. schools with less than 10% of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch, here’s how U.S. students (of which almost 25% are considered poor by OECD standards and of which nationally on average about 50% qualify for free/reduced lunch) rank compared to all other countries including one I chose to purposely compare – Finland (of which about 5% are considered poor by OECD standards):

        *Shanghai is disqualified for obvious reasons.

        Science literacy

        U.S. schools with less than 10% free/reduced – score=556 [1st in the world]

        Finland – ranked 4th in the world

        Reading literacy

        U.S. schools with less than 10% free/reduced – score=559 [1st in the world]

        Finland – ranked 5th in the world

        Mathematics literacy

        U.S. schools with less than 10% free/reduced – score=540 [5th in the world]

        FInland – ranked 11th in the world

        Still more data
        Free and Reduced Meal Rate     PISA Score
        Schools with < 10%     551
        Schools with 10-24.9%     527
        Schools with 25-49.9%     502
        Schools with 49.9-74.9%     471
        Schools with >75%     446
        U.S. average     500
        OECD average     493
        Don't buy into the lies told by the privatizers and Arne Duncan.

        ^0^

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:52:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So your point is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          that if you look at only the richest parts of our nation than, the richest part of our nation beats the average of other nations?

          Thats not exactly a strong point even if true. In which case it does not to nothing to disprove the general assertion that  our system is rather crap.

          •  It's not the system, it's the poverty. (8+ / 0-)

            What about the system itself is "broken"?

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

            by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:14:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Once you remove the poverty (8+ / 0-)

              You remove the underperformance. This is much, much more about wage stagnation and wealth concentration than it is about teachers' abilities.

              Raise the minimum wage, and you will do far more to reduce underperformance in schools than any testing program ever could.

            •  Those stats you quoted are pure bullcrap (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              I have no doubt that poverty does have a significant effect but ill start with the fact that the way poverty in that article is measured is simply asinine and uninformative.

              The way the article defines poverty is living with an income 40% bellow average. Which is a worthless number. By that notion The Walmart family would be considered in poverty  if they founded their own nation with the top 10 richest people.

              For example Finland which scores rather well is put into top bracket and quoted as having a poverty level of 3.4%. While the United States has a "poverty level" of 21.7%.

              So the author develops some contrived numbers "well we will only look at the top school districts in U.S!" as if this makes sense.

              Yet the author completely fails to account for the fact that around 50% of Finland's population would be considered impoverished by U.S standards and their calculations.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/..._(PPP)_per_capita

              So for any income bracket  the U.S. is still doing shit.

              The author and apparently you are manipulating numbers to try and make a good story about how its not the systems fault.

              Statistics can be made to say anything if you manipulate them enough. and that's what you are doing.

              In this case the top level stats are far more accurate the story you are trying tell.

              The U.S. is performing very very poorly on average basis, and per economic dollar basis.

              •  Try again. The numbers go by percentage of (7+ / 0-)

                free and reduced lunch.

                Again, the question is:

                What about the system is "broken"?

                Or are you another teacher-bashing person who knows nothing about education?

                "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

                by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:39:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No they do not. The author mixes numbers. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  Another sign the author has no idea what he is doing.

                  Re-read your own source. He compares the free and reduced lunch rates in the U.S. as a proxy for poverty levels in other nations.

                  That point by itself makes the entire article statistically worthless.

                  You want a single point about how the system is broken lolz. Ill pick one random one out of my ass

                  Its impossible for the education system to retain any one who has any clue about the scientific processes.

                  Business who pay 85k + starting can not retain people who understand STEM.
                  So unless you are
                  1)Independently wealthy
                  2)Willing to let your family go without
                  3)Unable to deal with the corporate world
                  you do not end up teaching STEM,

                  •  Unless you just like teaching? (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ER Doc, JerryNA, quill, mcstowy

                    I used to teach science and math, but the stress was too much for me, so I moved into industry (where, as you said, the pay is much better). But if I was better at classroom management, I'd probably still be teaching.

                    But you're right...unless there's a strong desire to teach kids, people who are really good at the STEM fields are probably going to be working in those fields, or teaching at the university level.

                  •  Education is not STEM. (6+ / 0-)

                    STEM is not the be-all end-all of education and shame on you for thinking it is.

                    I'll put a person with a Classical education against a STEM person anyday.

                    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

                    by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:28:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  lolz biased against STEM workers are we? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk

                      it does not matter if its the "be-all end all" a proper education requires significant STEM education. The current system is incapable of retaining those who are capable of teaching it.

                      As an aside
                      Bitter that when push comes to shove STEM is always valued more and paid better than non STEM?

                      •  No, not biased, just well-rounded. (5+ / 0-)

                        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

                        by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:29:50 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  As a music teacher, if it means shoving out (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        quill, radical simplicity

                        the arts in favor of stuff like that,

                        Fuck yes.

                        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

                        by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:30:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  0112.., I'd be personally offended by your comment (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        radical simplicity, ladybug53

                        But your writing skills suggest to me that you are not to be taken seriously.  

                        -- illegitimi non carborundum

                        by BadBoyScientist on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:46:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  If a person has learned (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        radical simplicity

                        to think critically, learning facts comes easier later on. I'm a strong advocate of liberal arts. Children who learn to play a musical instrument do better at math, because the get used to manipulating something to get a result and because music exists on mathematical and physical principles and they take this in and find those principles easier to learn.

                        Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                        by ramara on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:10:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There are also certain pathways in the brain (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ladybug53, ramara

                          ... being exercised when playing an instrument. Those pathways happen to be the same ones used for math learning.

                          There is also a huge benefit to physical exercise, due to its effects on executive function.

                          A basic rule of neurological development: the more a pathway is used, the more robust its connections become. The more connections, the stronger the ability. Neuroscience is very clear on this. In contrast, pathways that remain unused are pruned during childhood.

                          Cutting these important functions out of education literally reduces the neurological development of students in significant ways.

                          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
                          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

                          by radical simplicity on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:36:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually US = France or Germany, when adjusted (10+ / 0-)

        for income.

        So rich kids and middle class kids do just fine here - no thanks to NCLB, RTT, Common Core

      •  And one more thing--among those countries, the US (8+ / 0-)

        ranks NEXT TO LAST in childhood poverty. Meaning ONLY ROMANIA has more kids in poverty than the United States.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:53:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But the data (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill, wintergreen8694

        must be analyzed. Is the change across the board, or in some places more than others? What are the differences between those parts of the system that do well and those that don't.

        With public education you find most often that the economic standing of the district has the greatest effect. And if you break this down, you will find that the readiness of the children to learn and the resources available are the strongest factors.

        This was done long ago, and various fixes have been found to help; more equitable distribution of resources is the greatest fix but rich districts are not willing to help support poor districts. Pre-school education helps, but we cut funding for that; giving students adequate nutrition helps, but we cut that.

        We all learn partly from how we (and learning) are treated. When we are sent to spend time in crumbling buildings without enough books and with fewer and often worse teachers, we learn to value ourselves and education itself as unimportant.

        And we've known all of this for a long time.

        Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

        by ramara on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:02:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not just money in the schools--it's the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ramara

          poverty of the students as well. if you're worrying about if you're going to have dinner, you won't be thinking about schoolwork, will you?

          "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

          by zenbassoon on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:30:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A young woman I know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nerafinator

            who spent her life in and out of foster homes put it like this: I didn't do well in school. It's hard to pay attention if you're wondering where you're going to spend the night.

            Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

            by ramara on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:21:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Recced!! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ramara

              Wish I could rec your comment a hundred times.

              We are often VERY quick to demonize kids who behave inappropriately or defiantly in class, as well as academic underachievers who don't have any developmental delay diagnoses. However, in most cases, with more information about what their home lives look like (poverty, neglect, abuse, terrible nutrition, being raised by their teenage siblings because parents are never home, etc) it becomes very difficult to judge. These kids are a product of their circumstances.

              We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less.

              We are all students and teachers. I often ask myself: "What did I come here to learn, and what did I come to teach?"

              by nerafinator on Thu May 01, 2014 at 03:17:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wow (0+ / 0-)
                We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less.
                Can I use that as my tag line?

                Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                by ramara on Thu May 01, 2014 at 03:50:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  And this is what the (0+ / 0-)

            school lunch program and head start are about. If these folks were serious about improving schools they would seek expansion rather than cuts to these programs.

            Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

            by ramara on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:23:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No, they're not failing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        Here's a really good rundown of the way the stats have been abused to imply failure when in fact, the schools are doing better than ever.

        In addition, comparing US scores with scores in other countries is apples to oranges. Other countries only make college-bound students take the tests. In the US, we make all students take the tests. When US college-bound students are compared to foreign students, scores are the same.

        And finally, when you control for poverty levels, US students do better than students in other countries. The fact that other countries don't let their kids wallow in the kind of abject poverty that we subject our kids to makes a big difference in the scores.

        :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
        Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

        by radical simplicity on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:24:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  quit repeating those bogus statistics. You're on (0+ / 0-)

        the wrong website for that.  Thank heavens there are intelligent people here who know about PISA.

        If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

        by livjack on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:26:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      As my mechanic pointed out recently, he couldn't give me an estimate for a broken clutch until he had taken it apart and figured out exactly what it needed.

      It's not that he didn't know pretty much all there was to know about clutches, it's just that he couldn't guess what part of that knowledge he needed to apply to this particular clutch at this particular time until he had seen it.

      Any person who is good at what they will tell you that the same thing doesn't always work. Good teachers will tell you that they improvise all the time - the lesson plan that worked with last year's class may not work this year, and you may not realize that until you are up there in front of the class. Any stage actor will tell you that they don't get bored because each audience adds something different to the performance with their reactions.

      And if a production of Hamlet flops, it doesn't make Hamlet a bad play.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:39:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You might want to consider adding "rant" (6+ / 0-)

    to your tags. This is a fine rant (and rants have a lower standard for backup data).

    You might want to put in a link for MoneyBall - I have no idea what it is - but otherwise, way to go.

    Zenbassoon already added my main quibble, or I would have noted it first. ;)

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:11:15 AM PDT

  •  A couple o holes. (0+ / 0-)

    "Studies find that there may be a short-lived bump in performances after the pay raise, but as soon as the employee has acclimated to the new salary they go back to the status quo in performance"

    That is not the argument. The argument is that if you pay teachers more you will attract better talent to the industry, and that society will have more respect for the members of the industry.  Not that you will get better performance from the current set of teachers

    "Better talent you say? No we dont need that!!"

    Yes we do. The U.S. education system is a failed system. Our current set of low grade teachers is PART of that problem.

    Paying more will enable those with a higher level of financial ambition to enter and stay in the field, it wont make those currently in the field do any better.

    Certain parts of No Child left behind are not new, and have been shown to be part of high performing education systems.

    For example the usual ranting point of increased standardized testing.

    In certain societies strong standardized testing is part of a very successful primary education, other systems have very  little standardized testing and also do well..

    Its culturally specific. So trying to improve our system with a rigorous standardized testing system is not a bad idea, considering how shitting our current performance is, it cant get much worse.

    •  It's not just vaporware, it's also a tool of liars (6+ / 0-)

      It's been tried for 15 years and distorted by politicians.

      Look at NAEP scores in TEXAS under GW Bush. They were flat.  So he ran on the State Test scores which - remarkably showed great gains (at the same time he was appointed the State Board of Education who were hiring the contractors who bumped the scale down every year leading to his running as the "education president")

      Same in NYC - Bloomberg ran on +40% gain in Math but it was the state Math test.  NYC NAEP scores didn't budge in his 12 years.

      •  Not familuar with the exact detailss (0+ / 0-)

        but this report appears to disagree with you.

        http://schools.nyc.gov/...

        The report (page 9) indicates that NYC's "average level results" on the NAEP tests increased from 67% to 79% in 4 years under whatever programs they had in place

        •  that's pretty much the (old) DOE spin (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, ladybug53

          but by grade 8 the number of kids at proficient is stagnant over the last decade. by beating on the teachers and the kids they goosed a lot of 1s to 2s.

          but its not learning.

          and they cut out so much - science, art, libraries, gym, afterschool all suffer under the constant stress

          meanwhile classsizes balloon, even in the lowest grades where its most needed.

          =
          and a direct effect is - 75% of all NYC Public School graduates who go onto CUNY end up in remedial classes.

          If they aren't ready for college, why are they given diplomas? To goose the numbers, I'll bet.

          •  well CUNY kinda is for remedial classes (0+ / 0-)

            I dont imagine they cut science as apparently their international rating in science increased significantly.

            Even if the rest of what you "claim" is true which I doubt. Id be glad to see them cut art, libraries, and gym in the same of better Reading, Math, and Science.

            ps just a FYI if your going to dispute the DOE stats, you may want to provide your own. Because right now your just a random person calming "I know better than than teh govment!! its all a conspiracy!!!!"

            •  that's a pretty snide remark (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ladybug53

              1 NYC 8th grade Reading from US DOE - from 22% to 25% after a decade of this program

              NYC 8th grade math same story in math.

              NYC DOE was strutting around claiming claim test scores up 40%.

              2. they aren't teaching reading or math. they are just drilling.  and they're cutting science, libraries, art, gym everything.

              did you or your kids go to a school like that? 30 first graders in a room with one teacher, one day of gym per week and for only half the year?

              one or two months a year is wasted on this crap; it really wrecks learning.

              •  No kids (0+ / 0-)

                1) Your sources indicate that NYC went from a 4 point deficit to a 2 point premium, perhaps its smallish. but its an improvement. Improvements mean its better than before. So whatever were doing is a slight improvement from the old status quo.  Room for more improvement? Ya, but its at least moving in the right direction. It also makes sense that it will take much longer for a change in programs to have an effect on older students. If you fall behind you will stay behind.

                2)
                I would rather your story, than a break every half hour to go to recess, than the gym, than home economics, than tech class. than art. And get nothing done that will actually help build employable students in an academic day.

                •  there's no evidence that NCLB works (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ladybug53, Compost On The Weeds

                  or any of the other schemes, either - race to the top, common core. all of them were implemented with undue polticial haste and no controls.

                  the trend is up across all the "trial urban districts" but there's no control to test it against - lots of things have changed over the last 15 years - less hard drug use, a slightly better economy for the poor (at least until 2008 but it was stronger at the crucial early development stages.

                  It's just untested ideology.

                  what is clear:

                  1. most middle/upper class kids do a lot better than poor kids.

                  They do as well as their peers in europe - there is no NATIONAL crisis.  certainly there are kids not getting enough education in poorer (urban and rural) districts

                  2. All this testing is a terrible waste.  What new information do we learn from it?  And the kids get nothing, just test prep and then a week or two of substitutes while the other teachers are off. Nothing really.  But there is a huge cost to gathering the information - a month of every school year is wasted.  NAEP already tells us the score - kids in poor districts are doing not as well as kids in middle/upper class districts.

                  3. More money is spent on the kids in wealthier districts, even before COLA-like allowances for increased costs of materials, buildings, etc in urban districts.

                  4. Just blaming all the teachers in poor districts is crazy.  I know teachers who have moved from poor districts to wealthy districts.  Their kids' scores go from 1s and 2s (poor and basic) to 3s and 4s (proficient and exceeds).  Did the teachers magically transform when they transferred jobs?

                  5. you can't really have critical thinking without a broad range of experience.  you have to see the narrowness of the curriculum.  eighth graders don't know any history, little about art or music.  and you can't think critically all the time - you need balance.

                  its good for kids to run around some - they have a lot energy and the learn more when they've burned off the excess.

                  •  Your statements are too broad and thus (0+ / 0-)

                    guarantee you are wrong.

                    For example

                    "there's no evidence that NCLB works...."

                    Not a big fan of anything Bushy did. But given the sheer scale of the program there is no way your statement is anything more than hyperbole.

                    On anything that large there is a near 100% chance that there is at least some supporting evidence AND some contradicting evidence.

                    "the trend is up across all the "trial urban districts" but there's no control to test it against - lots of things have changed over the last 15 years - "

                    its virtually impossible to generate a 100% certain statistical study on this subject.

                    However some places have done a rather ok job at it. NYC your own quoted example is one. Where apparently they have beaten the national average improvement by a meaningful margin.

                    1) Yes poor kids do worse. No ones disagreeing with that
                    "They do as well as their peers in europe - " No they do not. The one article pushing that, which was posted elsewhere was from someone who looks to be statistically illiterate.

                    2)

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                    Every other profession uses it in some way shape or form. Some people like to push that teaching is "OMG SPEICAL OMG DIFFERANT,"  That idea is....stupid.

                    3) Ya? So?

                    4) I blame teachers everywhere. Per dollar spent and per economic dollar of the students, U.S. students are under performing .

                    There are many reasons social, economic, systematic. The current sub-par quality within academic staff is one of the problems.  Some people treat the staff issue as a sacred cow. You cant do that if you actually want to solve a problem.

                    5)Yes balance is needed. By international standards the U.S. education is WAY off balance. You do need history etc. But we spend WAY more time proportionally on that kind of education than our peers

                    http://www.obhe.ac.uk/...

                    You want to know why China and India are displacing the U.S. as the sole world economic power? Look
                    at the graph "STEM degrees as % of all degrees in 2011"

                    The world does not need 87% non stem graduates like the U.S.  It needs at least 41% stem graduates like China.

                    And people wonder why have the employment rate we do lol.

    •  Sorry, I can NOT disagree more strongly with this (7+ / 0-)
      The U.S. education system is a failed system.
      Based on what measures?

      Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that one in five US children live in poverty?

      Or ... perhaps it's that private schools in some states, like Florida, don't take the standardized tests?

      •  Yes! We have plenty of highly successful schools. (0+ / 0-)

        Coincidentally, they have very little in common with the failing schools.  Except that now we are destroying the successful ones, dumbing down and limiting their proven abilities so that we can all pay a handful of education vendors more money and get less education for our children.  Soon, we will have a failed system.

        Fact is, we don't even have a national education system in the first place.  

        America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, uh...um...and if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

        by Back In Blue on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:26:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Moneyball (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Termite, JerryNA

    Everyone misses the point of Moneyball.  It is not that the scouts were wrong ... It was that people were undervaluing certain characteristics (namely OPS) and over valuing other things.  (AVE, HRs, and RBIs).

    The book also acknowledges its flaws ... Namely it doesn't work in the post season.  The book (but not the movie) also acknowledges that the As starting pitching, which was driven by scouting, was excellent.

    NCLB fails to value total education vs. being able to pass a standardized test.  The ability to pass a standardized tests is a talent / skill.  Some people show better and some worse once they pick up a number 2 pencil.  But this is not education, it is a preforming seal trick.

    The goal is for people to learn how to think.  To develope their minds, not pass a test.  In today's world the ability to memorize facts is worthless.  (See - Google).  It is the ability to analyze information, be it STEM, or how to fix a car, is the key to a succesful life.  

    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

    by Edge PA on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:23:52 AM PDT

    •  Nail on head (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Edge PA, JerryNA
      The goal is for people to learn how to think
      I'd add "relate" and "communicate" to that. In the grownup workaday world, the ability to build productive relationships is infinitely more important than the ability to retain information. Information is ubiquitous. It's how well you understand its meaning and what you then do with it that matters.

      That's the kind of adaptation our system of education needs to be focused on right now. Instead we're trying to fix yesterday's problems, and we're bumbling through that.

      •  I am a statistician (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Termite

        I am not familar with the words "relate" and "communicate".

        8^)

        I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

        by Edge PA on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:49:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How about this? "Relate" and "communicate" in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Edge PA

          stats-speak is being able to do the equations instead of just memorizing the spreadsheet.  :)

          Thank you, Edge and Termite, for both making good points. We don't need people trained to be good worker-bees, which is the aim of NCLB and Common Core. These are business-minded solutions in search of a non-existent problem, created by overpaid consultants for overpaid CEOs and politicians. We really need to educate people who know how to think and can solve problems, including the problem of being good citizens and leaders. That takes creativity and hands-on teaching with small class sizes (all anathema to corporate efficiency droids and the GOP).

          People who know me wonder that a scientist is not pushing facts and memorization, but being a scientist is learning how to think, first and foremost. No wonder most scientists are liberals/progressives. It's more engineers who tend to become gLibertarians.

    •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, Damnit Janet

      FWIW: It was the buddy who compared NCLB to MoneyBall.

      I am a little surprised that there were so many responses to this - I mainly wrote it to get it out of my head and down on metaphorical paper before bed time.

      I note that the people who seemed to sympathize with me tended to demonstrate better writing abilities than I did - whereas those who disagreed with me had poorer writing skills.  

      I'm not sure what to make of it but it seems encouraging.

      :)

      -- illegitimi non carborundum

      by BadBoyScientist on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:56:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am so glad I read this diary (0+ / 0-)

    Lots to think about.

    We've always been involved with both our kids education.  One is autistic and the other is somewhat gifted.  Both need lots of attention and support.

    One thing I've noticed is that blame is always put at either the educators or the student.

    I will say that it also takes a parent/guardian.  Many of our students are coming home to empty homes.  Homes where one or two parents (if they are lucky to have both parents still) are working one or two part time jobs.  Some kids have a parent in prison for some minor offense like marijuana.

    I think equality in work wages would also benefit our children.  We as parents wouldn't have to work two, three jobs in order to have a paycheck equal that of one working parent from the time I was in school.

    More and more I feel like a peasant.  A working class zero.

    We barely pay the bills but it's our kids who are paying.  

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:29:35 AM PDT

  •  Moneyball MOOC (0+ / 0-)

    FWIW, starting May 29 Boston U.  will have an online course on "Sabermetrics" which is the statistical methodology featured in MoneyBall:

    Sabermetrics 101: Introduction to Baseball Analytics

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