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Old 09-10-2012, 10:43 AM  
La literatura La literatura is offline
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What exactly would good teacher reform look like?

My initial thoughts, with some hopes:

1) Teacher evaluations could depend only slightly on high-achieving, administration-picked student evaluations, but not include full class student evaluations

2) Teacher evaluations would not depend on school-wide across-the-board tests, because of the significant variances in students and classes (consider the teacher who is given "general ed" or "below-average classes" compared to the teacher who is given classes for college-bound students)

3) Teacher evaluations can take into account select five-year reflection essays by students who have graduated and achieved well in college or work

4) Administration is encouraged to get rid of bad performing teachers, but 15-20 years of good evaluations grant teachers tenure

5) Teacher meetings are abandoned for being irrelevant and counter-productive

6) Teachers are required to pay much more into their benefits, but salaries are increased

7) Administrative costs are capped at certain percentages beyond what the average teacher salary of the school district is

8) Administration is subject to public evaluations by teachers

I look forward to hearing your ideas/arguments

Last edited by La literatura; 09-10-2012 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:59 AM   #16
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I hear you. 4 weeks isn't long enough for me. Summer break is a time for family and friends, recharging your battery, taking trips and being a kid.
I'm more in favor of a year long schedule with two or three week breaks during each season.

I don't know about you but I was bored to death during summer breaks in Kansas and Missouri while growing up. The first few weeks were great but after that, it was like "What are we going to do today that we haven't done already?".
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:11 PM   #17
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I've been arguing for the one day a week deal "flex day" for a while. What I would do is make it a conference/lab type day. Students would be engaging in projects in the community and portfolio development on those days. Alternately, they may have OJT/internships or something of that nature if it's acceptable and appropriate. Students with lack of technology outside of school could use it as a day to access the computer labs and take care of work that needs to be done for their classes. It would basically be a flex day that allows schools to work outside the box to meet the needs of their students and allows teachers to compartmentalize all the insanity of multi-tasking meetings around the nutty school day (I'd love to post up my monthly meetings calendar to give you all an inkling of what its like, but I want to maintain some privacy).
This is exactly where my thoughts are rooted as well, thinking outside the box is productive more often than not. It's the best way to nurture innovation and just keep pace. It doesn't matter what kind of entity it is, people are constantly struggling with mission creep in their jobs and if you don't find a way slow things down it spirals out of control and you waste time fixing things unnecessarily.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:27 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
I'm more in favor of a year long schedule with two or three week breaks during each season.

I don't know about you but I was bored to death during summer breaks in Kansas and Missouri while growing up. The first few weeks were great but after that, it was like "What are we going to do today that we haven't done already?".
I see what you mean and would guess others feel the same. I guess we differ there. Summer vacation flew by for me, I never wanted to see it end. The other consideration is that for parents that work outside of the home arranging care for their kids is tough. There are summer programs for it but not so many sporadic programs, at least that I know about.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:29 PM
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:38 PM   #19
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I see what you mean and would guess others feel the same. I guess we differ there. Summer vacation flew by for me, I never wanted to see it end. The other consideration is that for parents that work outside of the home arranging care for their kids is tough. There are summer programs for it but not so many sporadic programs, at least that I know about.
My four year old starts Pre-K tomorrow and we're on the last day of a 17 day summer break. It's been brutal, especially since my wife has been taking care of a newborn. Had I planned it better (which I will in the future), she'll be going to day camps during her Spring and Summer breaks next year.

What I truly dread is the summer of 2014. I don't know what we'll do when she's off for eight or nine weeks but I have to start researching now. I work from home, so there's no way I can have her here because she'll have both of us bouncing off the walls.

Every parent we've spoken to at her school and other schools say the same thing. The kids today, at least in a city like Los Angeles, need to be constantly engaged or they're just miserable, which can make the parent's life miserable. I don't know if it's the iPad generation or computers or maybe even social evolution but if these kids aren't doing something meaningful and somewhat challenging five days a week, they're a nightmare to manage.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:41 PM   #20
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it's always seemed to me that most teachers absolutely hate their jobs. A lot of that seems to stem from the politics and bullshit they have to deal with.

I know at least 10 teachers in the area, 1 loves it although it was only her first year. The rest all hate it. They also mention that their job security is low, which was surprising to me.

But when I was in high school, you could easily tell that all of the teachers absolutely hated their jobs and that's bad.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:04 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
My four year old starts Pre-K tomorrow and we're on the last day of a 17 day summer break. It's been brutal, especially since my wife has been taking care of a newborn. Had I planned it better (which I will in the future), she'll be going to day camps during her Spring and Summer breaks next year.

What I truly dread is the summer of 2014. I don't know what we'll do when she's off for eight or nine weeks but I have to start researching now. I work from home, so there's no way I can have her here because she'll have both of us bouncing off the walls.

Every parent we've spoken to at her school and other schools say the same thing. The kids today, at least in a city like Los Angeles, need to be constantly engaged or they're just miserable, which can make the parent's life miserable. I don't know if it's the iPad generation or computers or maybe even social evolution but if these kids aren't doing something meaningful and somewhat challenging five days a week, they're a nightmare to manage.
Cool, first day of pre-K. Special day.

The situation is the same in Phoenix/Scottsdale, you have to have organized things for them to do. You have to work at it.

It isn't like when I was a kid and we'd spend endless days on the 10 acres at my buddy's house building that summer's tree fort, damning up the creek, sitting in the horse barn shooting at bats at sundown, or riding bikes all over town, or playing ball, or whatever and not knowing what time it was until it got dark.

Our boys are 7,9, 13. We had them in sports camp, science camp, day camps this summer when we weren't on family trips.
We start planning for summer right after Christmas.
The day camps are cool, they go to movies, swimming, trampoline parks, water parks, baseball games, etc.
Sports camp is one they love. Swimming, archery, baseball, soccer, etc.

Summer vacation is a disaster if you don't plan it out. If you have them home the whole time you'll go ****ing nuts and so will they.

We always talk with their friends parents at school and find out what they are doing and get the kids in it together when possible. My two youngest have built-in playmates in each other as well.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #22
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Get rid of tenure. That is my biggest problem with teachers.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:18 PM   #23
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Case in point:

Today, I have a meeting at 12:05 to prep for another meeting at 1:05.

It gets hard to find time to post on the Planet with a schedule this busy!
You laugh as if thatís something unusual.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:39 PM   #24
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Cool, first day of pre-K. Special day.

The situation is the same in Phoenix/Scottsdale, you have to have organized things for them to do. You have to work at it.
Yep, that's next. I have to find camps that are nearby to occupy her in 2014. There are some awesome camps at the beach but unfortunately with traffic, I'd be on the road a good two hours a day commuting, which would suck.

I have the parents Pre-K orientation today at 2pm. Un-airconditioned church with probably 40 other parents on a 90 degree day. Good times. But, it'll be awesome for her. Kids that attend Pre-K tend to be far more prepared for not only elementary school but college as well. Starting young is the best choice, if possible.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:42 PM   #25
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Yep, that's next. I have to find camps that are nearby to occupy her in 2014. There are some awesome camps at the beach but unfortunately with traffic, I'd be on the road a good two hours a day commuting, which would suck.

I have the parents Pre-K orientation today at 2pm. Un-airconditioned church with probably 40 other parents on a 90 degree day. Good times. But, it'll be awesome for her. Kids that attend Pre-K tend to be far more prepared for not only elementary school but college as well. Starting young is the best choice, if possible.
Good on you, enjoy it. Time is going to start going by faster and faster for you and her.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:57 PM   #26
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Get rid of tenure. That is my biggest problem with teachers.
I would agree with this. Most folks do not get anything similar to tenure at their jobs, and teaching should be no different. Just because a teacher does their job well for a few years does not mean they are entitled to mail it in for the next 20 because of "tenure". They deserve the same job security as the rest of the working world...which is next to none. I have no real job security where I am at, other than that I do good work, and as a result, have credibility with my boss. Would I like to have the same amount of job security a tenured teacher has? I think anyone would, but the real working world does not work that way.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:00 PM   #27
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I would agree with this. Most folks do not get anything similar to tenure at their jobs, and teaching should be no different. Just because a teacher does their job well for a few years does not mean they are entitled to mail it in for the next 20 because of "tenure". They deserve the same job security as the rest of the working world...which is next to none. I have no real job security where I am at, other than that I do good work, and as a result, have credibility with my boss. Would I like to have the same amount of job security a tenured teacher has? I think anyone would, but the real working world does not work that way.
I imagine you could have that amount of job security. Become a teacher!
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:23 PM   #28
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I would agree with this. Most folks do not get anything similar to tenure at their jobs, and teaching should be no different. Just because a teacher does their job well for a few years does not mean they are entitled to mail it in for the next 20 because of "tenure". They deserve the same job security as the rest of the working world...which is next to none. I have no real job security where I am at, other than that I do good work, and as a result, have credibility with my boss. Would I like to have the same amount of job security a tenured teacher has? I think anyone would, but the real working world does not work that way.
The problem with no tenure is that teachers get fired who perform their job (teaching) very very well. They might just think the administrators are shit heads (which they often are) and act accordingly. One of our best teachers (he's a complete debate badass, taking multiple teams to the nationals every year and just having a completely solid program that is absolutely legendary in this area) just got fired for just such a thing. He thinks the direction the administration is taking us is BS. He stood up to them. He got fired. He did his job remarkably well for years and years, but he's let go because he got into a fight with the principal (and he, admittedly, wrote some ill-advised emails during that fight). I'll also add that this principal has only been here 2 years, and will probably only be here 2 more. Meanwhile, a long-standing institution of this school is gone when the principal will probably only be here for 5 years tops before he retires.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:30 PM   #29
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The problem with no tenure is that teachers get fired who perform their job (teaching) very very well. They might just think the administrators are shit heads (which they often are) and act accordingly. One of our best teachers (he's a complete debate badass, taking multiple teams to the nationals every year and just having a completely solid program that is absolutely legendary in this area) just got fired for just such a thing. He thinks the direction the administration is taking us is BS. He stood up to them. He got fired. He did his job remarkably well for years and years, but he's let go because he got into a fight with the principal (and he, admittedly, wrote some ill-advised emails during that fight). I'll also add that this principal has only been here 2 years, and will probably only be here 2 more. Meanwhile, a long-standing institution of this school is gone when the principal will probably only be here for 5 years tops before he retires.
I'm sorry to hear your school lost a good educator. Unfortunately, regardless of the industry, you don't get to run down your boss even if you are in the right. Not if you don't have the political backing, in which case he isn't really your boss.

Now flip it around. Say this guy was a great teacher at one time but now he's degenerated into a very poor teacher. His methods haven't kept up with the times and he is unable to use the technology required by today's classroom. The principal needs to let him go for the good of the school but, due to his being tenured, he can't be released. Does tenure work like that?
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:32 PM   #30
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The problem with no tenure is that teachers get fired who perform their job (teaching) very very well. They might just think the administrators are shit heads (which they often are) and act accordingly. One of our best teachers (he's a complete debate badass, taking multiple teams to the nationals every year and just having a completely solid program that is absolutely legendary in this area) just got fired for just such a thing. He thinks the direction the administration is taking us is BS. He stood up to them. He got fired. He did his job remarkably well for years and years, but he's let go because he got into a fight with the principal (and he, admittedly, wrote some ill-advised emails during that fight). I'll also add that this principal has only been here 2 years, and will probably only be here 2 more. Meanwhile, a long-standing institution of this school is gone when the principal will probably only be here for 5 years tops before he retires.
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