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  • Shocking News: Professional Educators Have Been Lying to Us

    Judging teachers: Much of what you thought you knew is wrong
    October 16, 2009 | 4:18 pm

    A new way of crunching test scores is turning conventional ideas in education on their head. The approach, called value added, has gained momentum in recent months as it has been embraced by the Obama administration and policymakers around the country, though it has generated strong opposition from teachers unions.

    This weekend, The Times will examine how a bruising value-added debate played out in San Diego, offering a preview of a controversy likely to sweep the nation. Read the details here: Educator sees the value in 'value-added' approach to evaluating teachers <http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teacher-eval18-2009oct18,0,4471467.story>.

    For years, schools and students have been judged on raw standardized test scores. Experts say this approach is flawed because they tend to reflect socioeconomic levels more than learning.

    The "value-added" approach attempts to level the playing field by focusing on growth rather than achievement. Using a complex statistical analysis of test scores, it tracks an individual student's improvement year to year, and uses that progress to estimate the effectiveness of individual teachers, principals and schools.

    Academics also have used the approach to test many assumptions about what matters in schools. While the scholars are still puzzling over what makes a great teacher or school, their results challenge many of the things once assumed important:

    All teachers are equal. For decades, schools have treated teachers like interchangeable parts. Value-added results suggest that there are dramatic differences in the effectiveness of teachers.

    More learning happens in wealthy schools. The highest growth among students is often in poor schools with low achievement scores, according to results at districts and states that have adopted the value-added approach. Students at affluent schools at times have high proficiency scores but make little new progress year to year.

    Teachers can't overcome a student's background. Recent research shows that with several effective teachers in a row, students can overcome the disadvantages they bring to the classroom. Some studies suggest that minority and poor students make as much progress as other students when placed with the same effective teachers.

    Class size is key. Research suggests that modest changes in class size, such as decreasing it by four or five students, has been shown to have little to no effect on student learning.

    Bad teachers tend to teach in poor schools. Several studies suggest that there is more variation among teachers within a school that across schools. Effective instructors often are distributed across rich and poor schools, and they tend to stay in challenging schools longer than ineffective ones.

    Teacher experience matters. Although teachers are generally paid more for years of experience, research suggests that instructors show dramatic improvement in their first few years and then level off. Teachers with 20 years of experience are often no more effective than peers with five years.

    Teacher education matters. Schools routinely pay teachers higher salaries for obtaining master's degrees. But several studies have found that educators with advanced degrees do no better than those without (with the possible exception of high school math teachers).

    Teacher credentials matter
    . Most public schools pay teachers more for certifications and advanced credentials. But several studies have shown that non-traditionally prepared instructors — such as those in Teach for America — have similar or slightly better outcomes to certified ones.

    —Jason Song and Jason Felch
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Teaching is a calling, like law enforcement is...More education doesn't make someone a better teacher, afterall they have the answer key to all the test and questions...After doing the material for years they'll memorize it...Teachers get treated like crap by everyone (students, parents, school board, ect), thats why a lot are leaving the profession or refuse to work in bad schools, can't blame them...

    Class size wasn't much of an issue...We didn't have books for everyone so we would copy notes from the overhead, that's what was going to be on the test...

    One of the best teacher I've ever had in high school was still a student, she was going for her masters, I think, I think she was going to leave teaching...Damn, I wish I could run into her, she was beyond cool...


    I know I know...NERD!...
    Last edited by Southflaguy; 10-17-2009, 04:41 PM.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      One thing that the Seattle schools was going to do up to recently was lower the graduation standards from a "C" average to a "D" average so that the kids could graduate. I just heard on the news like two days ago that this idea would be abandoned and the standards kept at the current "C" average.

      This is one of those things you hear and all you can do is hang your head. The thoughts of kids getting the reduced standard because they can't average "C" is to me like raising the average weight of Americans 20 pounds because we're all so fat that this will fix everyone.

      It seems to be the direction that this country is headed, not a higher standard to create an intellectual reserve for our future but just lower the bar so fat people can hurtle over it

      Comment


      • #4
        I think that teachers' unions are a real menace because they have sought to lower standards so that it looks like they are doing a better job, they protect teachers who do a poor job, oppose innovation and performance pay, and push smaller class size because it creates more teaching jobs -- not because it makes a big difference for students.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          It's frustrating, to say the least...What I don't like is that there is nothing in this that really states the issues we have with students and their lack of a desire to learn. This feels like it's an article that targets the difference between good and bad teachers. Someone can be a great teacher, but if the students don't want to/or don't know HOW to remember things from a day to day basis, this creates a huge obstacle that teachers must overcome. By the time students get to high school, they have already established a way to get through the system. Now, there's also a HUGEEEEEEEE difference between general and college prep. Butttt anyway, we are also inundated with boring works that don't captivate students in ANY WAY, but we don't really have the ability to teach anything else because we are monitored on whether or not we are using the text we've been given. On top of this, we don't have any money to do field trips or bring in any cool projects or assignments outside of the pacing calendar we have to work so strictly with (at least, that's the way it is in my district).

          A trend that I've noticed is that, when it comes to English, students don't remember anything unless it:

          1) truly relates to them
          2) is violent
          3) is controversial (includes something of the sexual/blood and guts nature)

          Why don't they? Because it doesn't interest them. Unless there's some sort of shock value, they don't care much. I can talk until I'm blue about how important it is to learn how to write, but they don't remember this or care to even try to learn how to write properly year in and year out. It certainly doesn't help when literature is FILLED with incomplete sentences that often begin with conjunctions (UGH! That's my current pet peeve).

          What we teachers struggle with these days is simply a new generation of students with enabling parents. I can give my kids credit simply for DOING their assignments, but they still fail my class because asking them to simply DO their work is like asking them to give me an arm or a leg. At my school, we've also got a MAJOR issue with attendance. General kids don't want to be at school, so they don't show up. I have at least 10 kids who don't show up for my 1st period EVERY DAY. Often, one or two of those ten don't show up until the last fifteen minutes of class. Then, I still have to mark them absent.

          Ain't it lovely?
          Last edited by LMUcrazycagegrl; 10-17-2009, 06:03 PM.
          I love my LMU Lions! We have a long way to go, but we're pulling through the muck and coming out alive!!!

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          • #6
            The reason for this study is California public education system is so ineffective.

            I firmly believe that teachers should fail students who don't do the work.
            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              For the sake of argument, let's say:
              If "functional literacy" (reading, writing, math, critical thinking at the 8th grade level) were to be assigned a number of 75.

              An improvement from -20 to +20 would be a change of +40.
              An increase from +80 to +100 would be an increase of +20.

              Which of the 2 people would you choose to hire to help make your company more successful? The one with a +40 improvement of the one with +20?

              It's smoke and mirrors to cover up a failed public education system. But then we knew that anyway.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bounce View Post
                An improvement from -20 to +20 would be a change of +40.
                An increase from +80 to +100 would be an increase of +20.

                We can presume someone at the +80 level has a firm grasp of the fundamentals. Getting above the +80 level is a matter of applying what the student already knows. The teacher has a role in this but it's more as a coach than as an instructor.

                Getting someone from the negative positive range requires teaching. The student has nothing to work with until the instuctor gives it to him.

                Which of the 2 people would you choose to hire to help make your company more successful? The one with a +40 improvement of the one with +20?
                Of course I want the guy who went from +80 to +100 to help make my company more successful. I also have a job on the loading dock, or pushing a broom, for the other guy. I'd rather pay him minimum wage at +40 than subsidize his welfare payments at -20.

                We're talking about rating teachers, not students.

                Nobody honors a teacher for turning out broom pushers but I submit that raising a stdent from -20 to +20 represents more skill and hard work than getting someone from +80 to +100.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bounce View Post
                  FIt's smoke and mirrors to cover up a failed public education system. But then we knew that anyway.
                  ....which is why we should take politics OUT of education.


                  I just wish people would STOP forgetting that parents have a hell of a lot to do with the failure of the education system. Teachers have difficulty teaching students whose parents don't raise them with the belief that education comes first. It seems that society doesn't realize that a good chunk of the problem is simply that parents are too busy with their own lives to actually BE parents.

                  Here's a perfect example:

                  I have a student who came into my class with a lackluster attitude about things. He was failing because he never turned in his work. After his progress report was sent out, his mom got involved. Almost immediately, the mother was emailing me and wanting to make sure that her son was succeeding. His attitude about school almost instantly turned around. He finally has a D in my class, and he's so thrilled about this because he's worked diligently to get it to that point, and he is pleasing his mother.

                  Kids need that support from home. When their parents don't really show that they care enough to push their children in the right direction, the kids don't care to apply themselves.

                  The way this article sounds, every teacher in the my school district is a failure because the test scores are so low. Does this have NOTHING to do with the demographic? Give me a break!
                  I love my LMU Lions! We have a long way to go, but we're pulling through the muck and coming out alive!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LMUcrazycagegrl View Post
                    ....which is why we should take politics OUT of education.
                    Amen.

                    But, education requires a lot of money. No way you can fund something like an education system without people arguing about it.
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkcX_5hZN6U



                    http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

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                    • #11
                      So, if students participate in my agency's after school academy (one of the many services provided by the non-profit agency), and their learning scores jump (as they ALWAYS do) by the end of the year, therefore it is because their school teachers are better than those whose students DON'T enroll in an after school academy?

                      Another question: if your parents work long hours (sometimes two jobs) at low wages just to put food on the table and a roof over your head and you go home after school to an empty house -- that means your parents don't care about you?

                      We have seen kids go from being at risk of dropping out & potentially ending up in prison (having spent some time in juvy) to not only graduating from high school (real degrees, not GEDs) but also COLLEGE as a result of our programs. Most of their parents cared deeply but were unable to provide their presence or the cultural capital needed to be successful.

                      Don't tell me a bit of extra money for programs like ours can't help these kids. It can. It does.

                      And it has a snowball effect: our kids raise kids who finish school and go on to college. It breaks the cycle of poverty.
                      Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                      Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ChiCity View Post
                        But, education requires a lot of money. No way you can fund something like an education system without people arguing about it.
                        The smaller the system is the less there is to argue about. Education should primarily locally controlled. The federal government needs to get out of the way and local school boards should take a hard look at where the money is going. Quite a bit goes towards administration. Some of the salaries are way out of proportion to the rest of society.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rubyrose View Post
                          So, if students participate in my agency's after school academy (one of the many services provided by the non-profit agency), and their learning scores jump (as they ALWAYS do) by the end of the year, therefore it is because their school teachers are better than those whose students DON'T enroll in an after school academy?

                          Another question: if your parents work long hours (sometimes two jobs) at low wages just to put food on the table and a roof over your head and you go home after school to an empty house -- that means your parents don't care about you?

                          We have seen kids go from being at risk of dropping out & potentially ending up in prison (having spent some time in juvy) to not only graduating from high school (real degrees, not GEDs) but also COLLEGE as a result of our programs. Most of their parents cared deeply but were unable to provide their presence or the cultural capital needed to be successful.

                          Don't tell me a bit of extra money for programs like ours can't help these kids. It can. It does.

                          And it has a snowball effect: our kids raise kids who finish school and go on to college. It breaks the cycle of poverty.
                          Okay where did after school programs come into this mix? Did you not realize that after school programs get CUT as a result of sinking scores? Funny how that is....if our schools don't produce better test scores, they cut the funding for extra support programs that we already have in place.

                          I never once said that a parent commuting to put food on the table = a parent who doesn't care about his/her children. You totally took this quote out of context:
                          It seems that society doesn't realize that a good chunk of the problem is simply that parents are too busy with their own lives to actually BE parents.
                          By "own lives," I mean they care too much about what THEY are doing - be it work or play or personal problems - to put their kids first. A parent can be perfectly capable of putting a child's education first and teaching a child how to be responsible for him/herself in the time the parent DOES see the children. it requires extra effort, though. The parents who don't apply the extra effort are the parents who are causing the problem by expecting the school system to raise their children.
                          I love my LMU Lions! We have a long way to go, but we're pulling through the muck and coming out alive!!!

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                          • #14
                            By the way, teachers' unions can be great things. If it weren't for my union's negotiations with the district, I'd be out of a job right now.

                            My guess for them opposing this is that they are placing blame on teachers and saying we aren't good enough if we can't bring test scores up. This is not always entirely true, but a blanket comment like that can really affect those working diligently at their jobs, causing them to lose them for no legitimate reason.

                            Teachers get so tired of everyone in the world pointing the finger at them.

                            I'm not saying all teachers are perfect, but why blame all the teachers? Before blaming them, shouldn't we blame the credential programs that GIVE so many unqualified people the ability to teach?
                            I love my LMU Lions! We have a long way to go, but we're pulling through the muck and coming out alive!!!

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                            • #15
                              My wife is a teacher, and a helluva one at that. She teaches science and doesn't need an answer book as she is an actual scientist, a biological sciences specialist.

                              I've taught before way back in the day and I'll say this, it is not the teacher's responsibility to give your child the fundamentals, such as reading and writing, it is your responsibility as the parent. My daughter knew her sight words long before she went to kindergarten (she's in it now), knew her ABC's long before she went to k-garten, knew how to say please, thank you, all that good stuff, BECAUSE IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY as a parent to make sure she is prepared and not rude. It is the teacher's job to strengthen those skills and further them along but my role in this process doesn't stop just because she is in school.

                              To expect teachers to give special treatment to your child, when they have 140 other kids is absolutely ridiculous and to blame them because your child refuses to learn and disrupts the class all the time is idiocy. It is not the school's job to raise 'our' children or to teach them manners, or to mold them, ...somehow, somewhere, the job of the parent seems to have been lost in the mix.

                              I've often thought of giving up my job in LE to become a teacher and then I hear the stories from my wife and I say no way in hell, I'd be in jail cause I'd put my hands on the child and hurt them for what they do and how they act.

                              Along with emergency services personnel, teachers are my heros too!
                              Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat

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