More children left behind

Because it's much easier to cheat than be held accountable under education standards.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43779246/ns/us_news-life/?gt1=43001

Keep hearing all this stuff about the assault on teachers/education. They'd probably get a lot more public sympathy if stuff like this didn't happen. I mean, when (from the article) half of Atlanta's schools inflated scores for over a decade without anyone finding out... that's some wholesale corruption from administration on down right there.

Funny, that was known to have occurred in the Texas schools even before Dubya was elected. It came out in 2004, two years after NCLB was passed, and involved over 400 schools and possible cheating dating back to the 1970's. This is an example of the coverage at the time.

Unfortunately this is the kind of behavior what NCLB encourages. I did a four week research project for it a few months ago and it is pretty much destroying public education. I would call it one of the worse legacies of the Bush years, on the plus side Obama is revamping the program for the better, if he can get it passed.

LeapingGnome wrote:

Unfortunately this is the kind of behavior what NCLB encourages. I did a four week research project for it a few months ago and it is pretty much destroying public education. I would call it one of the worse legacies of the Bush years, on the plus side Obama is revamping the program for the better, if he can get it passed.

NCLB certainly wasn't ideal, however we must find a fair way to compensate good teachers more and get rid of the bad ones. We're sinking in world education standards and the status quo isn't going to cut it.

Right now, the definition of "good teacher" is "the one whose kids pass the standardized tests". Not the ones who teach the most or the best, or help their students, or innovate in classroom techniques, or participate in the community, or even get the most kids to go into college or career tracks...

bandit0013 wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

Unfortunately this is the kind of behavior what NCLB encourages. I did a four week research project for it a few months ago and it is pretty much destroying public education. I would call it one of the worse legacies of the Bush years, on the plus side Obama is revamping the program for the better, if he can get it passed.

NCLB certainly wasn't ideal, however we must find a fair way to compensate good teachers more and get rid of the bad ones. We're sinking in world education standards and the status quo isn't going to cut it.

Can you think of a way to judge which teachers are "good" that isn't going to result in teachers pushing their students' scores up in order to get a better rating for themselves and thus (possibly) more money?

billt721 wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

Unfortunately this is the kind of behavior what NCLB encourages. I did a four week research project for it a few months ago and it is pretty much destroying public education. I would call it one of the worse legacies of the Bush years, on the plus side Obama is revamping the program for the better, if he can get it passed.

NCLB certainly wasn't ideal, however we must find a fair way to compensate good teachers more and get rid of the bad ones. We're sinking in world education standards and the status quo isn't going to cut it.

Can you think of a way to judge which teachers are "good" that isn't going to result in teachers pushing their students' scores up in order to get a better rating for themselves and thus (possibly) more money?

Testing on fundamentals of literacy, math, and science done by a neutral third party to reduce the chance cheating. Keep track of student progress year over year. If students are making progress at velocity X and in a teacher's class it is found to statistically significantly slow or decrease, that teacher probably needs to be fired.

It's pretty ridiculous that the school/teacher that are being evaluated are the ones that administer the exams.

Value added assessment is already in place, and is in fact over relied upon. There is a great deal of variability from class to class, year to year. Research has found that the very best teachers have very bad years. There's a lot of noise, and that largely isn't being taken into account.

The main problem is that there just aren't enough great teachers to go around, and what few we have are beaten into submission by the repercussions of high-stakes testing.

I also disagree that we have to find a way to compensate good teachers. Incentive systems are notorious for backfiring. A good teacher - given the autonomy to a lead a class towards discovery, questioning, and rational thought - is already very well rewarded within the classroom. This natural motivation to do well is being killed by the comprehensive curricula, grade level expectations, and testing. It is all implemented with the best of intentions, but telling a teacher what to teach and how to teach is laughably retarded. If they couldn't figure it out without hand holding they don't deserve to be there. If they can figure it out you've constrained them needlessly, often to moronic stipulations. Rather than ask the question, "why are we doing so poorly?" we instead just started implementing the easy solutions.

The only way to monetarily recognize this is to just raise teacher salaries across the board. That would expand the pool of people willing to teach, upping the number of alternatives an administration has for replacing the duds. This is not a great solution, because the money isn't there. Doling it out "fairly" to the right people is an impossible task.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

Value added assessment is already in place, and is in fact over relied upon. There is a great deal of variability from class to class, year to year. Research has found that the very best teachers have very bad years. There's a lot of noise, and that largely isn't being taken into account.

That's why you make it over time. If there's a bad year in with several good years, it's not statistically significant. You compare your group of students with other similar groups of students in the statistical data and draw conclusions. It's quite a valid way to approach things.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

The main problem is that there just aren't enough great teachers to go around, and what few we have are beaten into submission by the repercussions of high-stakes testing.

I also disagree that we have to find a way to compensate good teachers.

The only way to monetarily recognize this is to just raise teacher salaries across the board.

So we can't reward good teachers because a good teacher isn't in it for the money but then you advocate raising salaries across the board?

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

telling a teacher what to teach and how to teach is laughably retarded.

So why is there such a thing as an education degree? Are you suggesting that teaching methods can't or shouldn't be taught?

Your argument echoes what I hear out of the teacher's union. The measurements are unfair so we shouldn't use them. Just give us more money and let us continue onward because spending more per pupil than any country out there has worked out so well.

bandit0013 wrote:

Keep track of student progress year over year. If students are making progress at velocity X and in a teacher's class it is found to statistically significantly slow or decrease, that teacher probably needs to be fired.

And that is part of Obama's proposal. Under current NCLB rules, progress in test scores means NOTHING, all that matters is if the scores met a certain score line. If a school went from an average score of 40 to an average score of 80 that is awesome right? Well if the NCLB cutoff score is 85 then too bad, your school is underperforming and gets punished. It is insane. Obama's plan gets rid of hard score cutoffs and instead measures progress (or lack of).

LeapingGnome wrote:

And that is part of Obama's proposal.

Don't worry. The goalposts will be moved in time for the debates.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

I also disagree that we have to find a way to compensate good teachers. Incentive systems are notorious for backfiring. A good teacher - given the autonomy to a lead a class towards discovery, questioning, and rational thought - is already very well rewarded within the classroom. This natural motivation to do well is being killed by the comprehensive curricula, grade level expectations, and testing. It is all implemented with the best of intentions, but telling a teacher what to teach and how to teach is laughably retarded. If they couldn't figure it out without hand holding they don't deserve to be there. If they can figure it out you've constrained them needlessly, often to moronic stipulations. Rather than ask the question, "why are we doing so poorly?" we instead just started implementing the easy solutions.

The only way to monetarily recognize this is to just raise teacher salaries across the board. That would expand the pool of people willing to teach, upping the number of alternatives an administration has for replacing the duds. This is not a great solution, because the money isn't there. Doling it out "fairly" to the right people is an impossible task.

So, according to your logic, you also think that CEOs, bankers, and Wall Street traders shouldn't be paid much because they are already well rewarded by the very challenges of their jobs? If high compensation is always cited by private industry as the thing they need to attract the best talent then the same should apply for teachers.

Economic studies have shown that exceptional teachers have such a profound impact on their students' ability to thrive that the net present value of their contribution is $400,000 a year for a classroom on 20 students.

I think it's ambiguously worded. I read it as: Specific incentive programs backfire, and tend to not work out, especially with something as fuzzy as teaching. So instead, raise salaries across the board, to bring in enough talent to keep the good teachers and sh*tcan the bad.

Which sounds like a good plan to me.

bandit0013 wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

Unfortunately this is the kind of behavior what NCLB encourages. I did a four week research project for it a few months ago and it is pretty much destroying public education. I would call it one of the worse legacies of the Bush years, on the plus side Obama is revamping the program for the better, if he can get it passed.

NCLB certainly wasn't ideal, however we must find a fair way to compensate good teachers more and get rid of the bad ones. We're sinking in world education standards and the status quo isn't going to cut it.

It's not that hard. Pay enough money to attract good teachers, and the bad ones can be weeded out. If you crap, you lose good teachers to their careers, and you are faced with keeping bad teachers.

Or we could cut school funding to under-performing schools and pretend like that will solve the problem.

Kannon wrote:

So instead, raise salaries across the board, to bring in enough talent to keep the good teachers and sh*tcan the bad.

Which sounds like a good plan to me.

Unfortunately we can't do this with parents and living situations, which is just as much of a hindrance to quality education as bad teachers.

These kids are going to suffer in the short term for this. What are they going to do to fix this? Fire teachers and rescind resources? This is a messed up situation.

I know I'll sound like a broken record on this one, but I still say that we will not, fundamentally, fix the problem of underachieving American education so long as school budgets are tied to local property taxes. If you live in a nice area like Howard County, MD or Johnson County, Kansas, your kids go to great schools and can look forward to significant advantages when it comes to lifetime opportunities. If you live, literally, across one border in places like Prince Georges County, MD or Jackson County, MO, your kids can look forward to far, far less through no fault of their own.

Other nations are far better at providing opportunity by using either academy systems in which children with academic promise are tracked toward schools in which resources are brought to bear on their specific area of talent. Likewise, special education or behavioral issues are not dealt with in diluted "homeroom" type schools like we have here in the US.

Converting to this would absolutely destroy the real estate valuation system we currently have in the US, but it is ultimately necessary for the competitiveness of the nation.

Maybe we should stop pretending rote memorization and regurgitation constitute learning?

The problem of course is that if you take that out of the system we do not (afaik) have any real consensus on how to appropriately evaluate students. Without such a consensus we lack any proper means to measure who the most effective teachers and schools are. However even if we imagine a world with absolutely no cheating of the system what good is it to be rewarding schools and teachers for being more effective in generating test scores when those test scores are not measuring the 'correct' things?

Paleocon wrote:

I know I'll sound like a broken record on this one, but I still say that we will not, fundamentally, fix the problem of underachieving American education so long as school budgets are tied to local property taxes. If you live in a nice area like Howard County, MD or Johnson County, Kansas, your kids go to great schools and can look forward to significant advantages when it comes to lifetime opportunities. If you live, literally, across one border in places like Prince Georges County, MD or Jackson County, MO, your kids can look forward to far, far less through no fault of their own.

Other nations are far better at providing opportunity by using either academy systems in which children with academic promise are tracked toward schools in which resources are brought to bear on their specific area of talent. Likewise, special education or behavioral issues are not dealt with in diluted "homeroom" type schools like we have here in the US.

Converting to this would absolutely destroy the real estate valuation system we currently have in the US, but it is ultimately necessary for the competitiveness of the nation.

This.

The one thing I've never liked about schools is the tendency to put all kids into a bucket. I remember when I was in school they had some funding challenges and they wanted to cut the AP classes. Frankly, we need to stop preaching the mantra that everyone needs to go to college and set up a system more like Germany's where if you're an exceptional student you go to the school with the other exceptional students. If you have the focus/ability for trades, they focus you on the trades. If you're a disruptive, lazy, and otherwise waste of time, they teach you home ec and cut you loose, good luck kid, you'll never be wealthy.

bandit0013 wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

I know I'll sound like a broken record on this one, but I still say that we will not, fundamentally, fix the problem of underachieving American education so long as school budgets are tied to local property taxes. If you live in a nice area like Howard County, MD or Johnson County, Kansas, your kids go to great schools and can look forward to significant advantages when it comes to lifetime opportunities. If you live, literally, across one border in places like Prince Georges County, MD or Jackson County, MO, your kids can look forward to far, far less through no fault of their own.

Other nations are far better at providing opportunity by using either academy systems in which children with academic promise are tracked toward schools in which resources are brought to bear on their specific area of talent. Likewise, special education or behavioral issues are not dealt with in diluted "homeroom" type schools like we have here in the US.

Converting to this would absolutely destroy the real estate valuation system we currently have in the US, but it is ultimately necessary for the competitiveness of the nation.

This.

The one thing I've never liked about schools is the tendency to put all kids into a bucket. I remember when I was in school they had some funding challenges and they wanted to cut the AP classes. Frankly, we need to stop preaching the mantra that everyone needs to go to college and set up a system more like Germany's where if you're an exceptional student you go to the school with the other exceptional students. If you have the focus/ability for trades, they focus you on the trades. If you're a disruptive, lazy, and otherwise waste of time, they teach you home ec and cut you loose, good luck kid, you'll never be wealthy.

And to further add to that, the committment that Germany has made to the development of trades has been, in large part, why they are kicking the living snail snot out of us in exports. Folks don't buy BMW's and Mercedes Benz's because German labor is cheap. They buy them because they are, in every imaginable way, superior products to those made in America. The same goes double for their firearms (which is almost precisely how much more they cost than ours).

The fact that we treat manufacturing like the unskilled dustbin of the academic underachiever is precisely why we can't build just about anything that isn't the joke of the global market.

bandit wrote:

So why is there such a thing as an education degree? Are you suggesting that teaching methods can't or shouldn't be taught?

Your argument echoes what I hear out of the teacher's union. The measurements are unfair so we shouldn't use them. Just give us more money and let us continue onward because spending more per pupil than any country out there has worked out so well.

I do not argue that teaching methodology can't or shouldn't be taught. (Different can of worms: Which methodology?)

Also, I do not provide unfairness as a reason for avoiding incentive systems. My argument is that a perfect incentive system would actually do more harm than good. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but common sense just doesn't cut it for these problems.

For the record, I'm a teacher and I'm not in a union. My school has already implemented an incentive system. I asked my principal to opt me out of it in order to safeguard my own motivations.

OG wrote:

So, according to your logic, you also think that CEOs, bankers, and Wall Street traders shouldn't be paid much because they are already well rewarded by the very challenges of their jobs? If high compensation is always cited by private industry as the thing they need to attract the best talent then the same should apply for teachers.

I do not agree that my evaluation of the educational system says anything about Wall Street. CEOs, bankers, and traders are not teachers. Also, I don't care what private industry cites as necessary. Their understanding of their own motivations may be at fault. I do not know.

bandit wrote:

Frankly, we need to stop preaching the mantra that everyone needs to go to college and set up a system more like Germany's where if you're an exceptional student you go to the school with the other exceptional students.

Agreed.

Note, bandit jumps on me for stating teachers should be paid more, and OG for stating that they shouldn't! Kannon was right, I was ambiguous. I apologize. Kannon was also correct regarding my point: "Specific incentive programs backfire, and tend to not work out, especially with something as fuzzy as teaching. So instead, raise salaries across the board, to bring in enough talent to keep the good teachers and sh*tcan the bad."

Thanks.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

Note, bandit jumps on me for stating teachers should be paid more, and OG for stating that they shouldn't! Kannon was right, I was ambiguous. I apologize. Kannon was also correct regarding my point: "Specific incentive programs backfire, and tend to not work out, especially with something as fuzzy as teaching. So instead, raise salaries across the board, to bring in enough talent to keep the good teachers and sh*tcan the bad."

Actually I was just taking a bit of umbrage about your statement that teachers don't need to be paid more because teaching is such an inherently satisfying job. I was attempting to point out how that logic wouldn't fly in the private sector so it shouldn't be used in the public sector, but it seems I failed horribly.

Paleocon wrote:

And to further add to that, the committment that Germany has made to the development of trades has been, in large part, why they are kicking the living snail snot out of us in exports. Folks don't buy BMW's and Mercedes Benz's because German labor is cheap. They buy them because they are, in every imaginable way, superior products to those made in America. The same goes double for their firearms (which is almost precisely how much more they cost than ours).

The fact that we treat manufacturing like the unskilled dustbin of the academic underachiever is precisely why we can't build just about anything that isn't the joke of the global market.

Brewery systems are in the same boat. The company I work for (located in Canada)'s main competitor is a German company. The big reason they win certain jobs over us is "German Engineering".

OG_slinger wrote:

Actually I was just taking a bit of umbrage about your statement that teachers don't need to be paid more because teaching is such an inherently satisfying job. I was attempting to point out how that logic wouldn't fly in the private sector so it shouldn't be used in the public sector, but it seems I failed horribly.

I was never trying to say that teachers don't need to be paid for because they're already satisfied with the work. I was trying to say that contingent rewards actively harm that intrinsic satisfaction.

Paleocon wrote:

I know I'll sound like a broken record on this one, but I still say that we will not, fundamentally, fix the problem of underachieving American education so long as school budgets are tied to local property taxes. If you live in a nice area like Howard County, MD or Johnson County, Kansas, your kids go to great schools and can look forward to significant advantages when it comes to lifetime opportunities. If you live, literally, across one border in places like Prince Georges County, MD or Jackson County, MO, your kids can look forward to far, far less through no fault of their own.

In Wisconsin, MPS (Milwaukee Public Schools) gets only 17% of their funding from local property taxes. 12% comes from the Federal government, while 59% comes from state aid. So the nice areas are helping to pay for the poorer ones, at least in Wisconsin.

Sadly, all of this spending has not led to better results.

http://www.asamke.org/issues/MPS%20budget.pdf

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/39499812.html

One other aspect that seems to be overlooked when it comes to test scores, is in becoming a teacher. It is getting harder and harder to find good teachers, because colleges are now teaching teachers how to pass their licensing tests instead of how to actually teach. My wife had years of teaching experience when she was going to school to get her degree, and her professors constantly criticized her work stating that it would never work in a classroom, when she had proven examples of her using it with students at her Aunt's outreach program. They then went back to preparing her for her own standardized teachers test, that is notoriously difficult. This is from one of the top teaching schools in the nation. Given this title mainly because they teach their students how to pass the license test, instead of how to teach.

The entire system needs an overhaul from what we teach, how it is evaluated, the level of parent involvement, the teaching of our teachers, and the lack of protection and respect for teachers.

There was some blurb i read somewhere recently that (in the UK) there has been 6 major changes in educational policy/focus/whatever in 5 generations of students.

Seriously... too much messing around is bad! And this is on the back of news that SAT-like tests are on their way out in UK schools because they're counter-productive.

Not to mention that my sister has been fighting similar battles to Yoreel's wife as she's been going through her PGCE (teacher training) and first year of probation. Depending on who assesses her she goes from "unacceptable" to "really good".... Some of that is the politics of the school she's in and some of it is complete personal bias as to what is and isn't good teaching technique... It's ludicrous!

MattDaddy wrote:

Sadly, all of this spending has not led to better results.
http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/39499812.html

By one strangely concocted metric, which is still based on standardized test scores.

I think the more damning numbers in that report are the criminally low teacher/student ratio. Sounds to me like some folks in Milwaukee are lining their pockets at the expense of Wisconsin children.

Hey, I've listened to that speech! It's like I'm a TV star.

Can someone maybe point me to a thread or something where it's made real clear that it's much better to take funding out of the parent's hands? I just don't get the premise of the whole Department Of Education at all

I mean, I get the idea that you want an educated citizenry, and that each person should have a good opportunity to learn the skills needed, and that requires a collective funding. What I don't get is why this requires a massive top-down type of architecture.