My View: When did teacher bashing become the new national pastime?
Sam Chaltain: Align teacher evaluation systems around "what parents and teachers are both really seeking."
March 6th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

My View: When did teacher bashing become the new national pastime?

Courtesy Marilyn MargonBy Sam Chaltain, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Sam Chaltain  is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and education advocate. He can be found on Twitter at @samchaltain.

With spring training under way, fantasy baseball owners across the country are hard at work readying their draft boards and preparing to select their championship rosters. As they do, I have a modest proposal to make that will simplify the whole process: Let’s stop getting weighed down by multiple data points, and start looking at just one number instead – the number of doubles a player hit the previous season.

Too simplistic a way to evaluate something as complex as a player’s overall value to your team?  Hogwash. For example, look at last year’s stats and you’ll see that the Kansas City Royals’ Jeff Francoeur smacked almost 50 two-baggers. By contrast, some guy named Albert Pujols hit half as many. By my calculations, then, Francoeur must be twice as good.

Sounds simple enough – unless you know anything about baseball, and which of those two guys is the sure Hall of Famer who just signed a $254 million dollar contract (hint: it isn’t Francoeur). In fact, the only thing effective about drafting a fantasy baseball team this way is that it would effectively eliminate you from competition before the season starts. Yet this sort of magical thinking is exactly what’s happening in New York City right now, thanks to the city’s recent release of its own fantasy rankings based on how the students of 18,000 schoolteachers did on standardized reading and math exams.

Since the rankings were released on February 24, the New York Post has run personal profiles of the city’s “best” and “worst” teachers. The New York Times has run headlines suggesting the rankings are an accurate reflection of overall “teacher quality.” And the New York mayor has brushed off criticism by reminding us all that “no evaluation system is ever going to be perfect.”

I’m all for making sure the perfect doesn’t become the enemy of the good, but Mr. Bloomberg, are you serious? When exactly did we start thinking something as complex as teaching and learning can be reduced to a single number? And when exactly did (de)grading teachers surpass baseball to become the new national pastime?

But here’s the worst part: this story is making it harder for people to see the difference between two virtuous ends and one horribly destructive mean to get us there. For example, it’s clear in this new era of school choice that parents need better information at their disposal before deciding where to send their child for the next 12 years. It’s also clear that teachers need better information about their own performance in order to meaningfully improve the quality of their practice. If those are the goals, then how we get us there is equally clear: Identify the information, and align the evaluation systems, around what parents and teachers are both really seeking – not just students with basic literacy and numeracy skills, but young people with the knowledge and skills to use their voice, effectively and with integrity, in co-creating our common public world.

If that sounds like another form of magical thinking, consider this – it’s already happening. Since 1987, an organization called the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has identified five core standards that outline the knowledge, skills, dispositions and beliefs of highly effective teachers. Each year, teachers from across the country voluntarily submit to a rigorous process of being certified by a board of their peers. The process is universally respected, thoughtful in its criteria, and the sort of balanced evaluation that makes it impossible to mistake the teaching equivalent of Jeff Francoeur for Albert Pujols.

So yes, let’s all demand that parents get the information they need to make better choices, and that teachers get the feedback they need to become better teachers. And let’s stop pretending that things like New York City’s teacher data reports are anything but a step in the wrong direction. We can do better.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sam Chaltain.

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Filed under: Policy • Sam Chaltain • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (738 Responses)
  1. dudley0415

    Worried about paying for them? Start a state lottery. Make every dollar of the profit, save what it costs to run the commission, a schools only account. Divide the take by the number of students. Divide the dividend evenly, without loopholes. S#!t, man, do SOMEthing, even if it's wrong. Gotta be better than THIS.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  2. aflarend

    I am reading a lot of anecdotal evidence here. Lots of memories from when the commentors were in school. Could it be that your view of teachers from when you were a student are a little skewed? It's like watching a movie and thinking that it was all put together in one take without any behind the scenes effort. Or like visiting an accountant and thinking that all they do is take your numbers and instantly do your accounting. There is more to it than that.
    Also, people seem to think that unions are all powerful. What exactly do you think they provide? A teacher can get fired for doing a bad job, if it is investigated and found to be true. After all we are dealing with children who often muddle or misinterpret situations. I personally have seen teenage mob mentality where they tried to band together and purposefully get a teacher into trouble by lying. Tenure merely guarantees due process. Teaching does quite a lot of self selection with almost half of teachers leaving the profession within their first 5 years.
    Salaries? Teachers salaries are based upon 9months but the pay is usually spread over 12. We pay into healthcare and pensions. Like many salaried employees, we work way more than 40 hours/week. And like most salaried employees,we have college degrees and have gone through rigorous certification testing. Teachers are paid according to a salary schedule because research has concluded that teacher skills improve each year, especially in the first 15 years, so many salary schedules have 15 steps, after which the salary is flat. The schedule also helps the school district anticipate its budgets from year to year.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • dudley0415

      Stop defending a broken system. It's BUSTED. We (collectively) busted it. It's never going to be UN-Busted. Get creative, get messy, get rid of what does not work.

      What do they say crazy is – doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results? I agree with that – – well, as long as it fits my argument, anyway.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  3. dudley0415

    Privatize the schools. They will be run better, the equipment upgraded, the teachers more qualified and with better follow-on training programs in the summer, they will make a profit, small as it may be, that can be the incentive for the private companies to continue to improve.

    I'd trust corporations to do it much more than I trust the laborious, politically split, politically correct, bureaucratic, full-of-transient-officials government to do it. My children deserve a better education, and if the government can't do it – PRIVATIZE it. I'll bet a educational corporation could take the $$ per child the states and cities now spend and make a good profit while improving grounds and education.

    Be honest: In the grand scheme of things, which are the better schools to attend, private or public? If you could afford the choice, what would you choose?

    March 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • aflarend

      What evidence do you have that private schools are run better? All the research shows that once you factor out socioeconomic status, private school do no better than public schools. This is even true internationally, as shown by a PISA study. If you trust corporations more, you need to read up on the K12 corporation which is a for profit charter school corporation where kids were going to school in sheds with class sizes of 45. The CEO of this company makes $5,000,000 of taxpayer dollars. The head of the teachers union makes $500,000 of non taxpayer money.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  4. Overwhelmed Teacher

    As a new teacher, I am extremely discouraged by some of the opinions I see on here, regarding the fact that teachers like myself, don't care and want to punch out the clock.

    Right now it is 6:19PM. I have grading, lesson planning and organizing that needs to be done before tomorrow. I work at a PUBLIC cyber charter school that has students from all walks of life-and for many, this is their last stop. It is my job to make sure these students have a good understanding of what I am teaching them. And I accept that job willingly.

    But right now I am staring at a blank Power Point screen, trying desperately to come up with something original and engaging, even though most of my students won't come to class. They won't check what they need to do. They won't answer my e-mails or phone calls. Neither will their parents or guardians. Most of my kids are pregnant, have social anxiety and/or behavior issues, along with other problems.

    Please, you who judge me and my fellow colleagues, please inform me on how to do my job better. How can I get children who do not value education because it is not valued at home, to love learning. This is not a Hollywood movie, where a teacher can give up his/her whole life to ensure a few students make it though. I am a human being. Not a superhero.

    I do care about my job and my kids. I want to help them. But I don't always know how. And unless you do, keep hurtful, ignorant opinions to yourself.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Leila

      Hang in there Overwhelmed Teacher. It is all worth it, believe me!!! If you stay on this blog for any longer you will get discouraged. The truth is they do not know what you do or why you do it. That is why I remain in my classroom with the kids where it is POSITIVE.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • Overwhelmed Teacher

        Thanks. 🙂

        It just makes me sad because I love my job, and love making a difference, even if it is small.

        But I am sad that so many people are so willing to throw teachers under the bus.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • Leila

        Yes, I know. I don't remember ever receiving so much anger and hostility back when I first started. I'm glad I didn't. All you have to do is believe in those kids, no one else. In the end, they are the only ones that matter. The rest of the public....well they not worth your sadness. The kids will thank you...believe me.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  5. Lee

    Well, let me put to rest some of the hogwash and uninformed opinions that are being voiced on here. My sister recently retired as a teacher in the state of California. She was a music teacher and she also was a reading specialist and she taught first grade. Her highest salary earned, after 35 years teaching, was aroung $40,000 per year. She is now trying to survive on an exorbitant pension of $1500 per month. I am also a teacher. I have about $500 per month taken out of my salary to fund my retirement. I worked in business for 20 years prior to becoming a teacher. I will not be receiving any social security benefits because iteachers are refused them. I resent those of you who receive social security benefits because I paid into ithe system and will receive nothing. I am single but I have owned a home and over the last 22 years I have paid about $30,000 in property taxes which goes to fund education. I have no children but I finance your children's education. Three years ago I voted, along with a majority of my union members, to voluntarily take a 10% pay cut to fund the educational programs in my district and keep teacher jobs. Do not talk to me about teachers and their cushy jobs and exorbitant pay and benefits because you know nothing. You are only echoing the vitriol of right wing politicians who score voter points by attacking the schools when they should be attacking the lack of respect for learning in American homes. When I have a parent complain to me because I give too much homework and their child doesn't have time for TV I know where the reall problem lies.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • TexDoc

      It's a free country. No one forced you into teaching. If every teacher leaves for higher pay, the pay will go up. When my first career wasn't valued by society, I didn't cry about it, I went to medical school.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • Teacher of Docs

        I hope you're a pathologist, TexDoc, otherwise God help you patients.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • Lee

        Obviously you do not understand what I was saying. I was countering the argument that teachers are paid too much and have exorbitant pensions. I left business to become a teacher because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and I did not feell that getting consumers to buy shoddy and overpriced merchandise gave me that. I love teaching but I am not in it for the money. I love the chance for life-long learning that it offers me and I love opening up a world to students that they have sometimes never seen. It gives me validation when I speak with a past student and they can still recite a poem that I forsed them to learn and they mention how beautiful it still is to them. Have you ever tried to teach in a classroom for even two days? Have you ever tried to deal with 37 teens in one class that speak 5 different native languages? Teens that belong to 4 different gangs? Teens that live in homes with no running water and sit and watch their parents shoot up heroin at night? Teachers are sometimes faced with amazing challenges but we hang in there and we teach because we are waiting for that look on a young person's face when they finally understand what learning is all about. I am looking for no other job. I am not searching for more money. I will retire exactly where I am but it serves np purpose to attack teachers and paint all teachers with the same brush. We are doing the best we can in a society that is becoming increasingly hostile to what we do.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • TexDoc

        Teacher of Docs: Your comment presumes that one can not care about patients and seek a way to help them that is valued by society. I was a Ph.D. psychologist, who was making as a professor, less than first year residents I was teaching. So I got an M.D. I think after learning to heal with ONLY the doctor patient relationship, I am a very good doctor when I can add medical care to that relationship.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Bill

      You made a choice to join the profession. Choices have consequences.

      Don't whine to us about your situation when you and your colleagues are performing abysmally in terms of turning out young adults ready to join society.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • Overwhelmed Teacher

        And your proof of this is...?

        It's not just under-performing teachers. It's under-performing parents and students. NCLB also contributes a factor when schools need to make 100% even when funding is being taken away each year when they do poorly. And the reason they were doing poorly in the first place is because they were underfunded in the first place. Not to mention the views of religion in many poverty-stricken areas.

        Stop saying that we knew the consequences. No body can predict what is going on in education. It's an art, not a science. And believe me, my salary of 32,000 is barely getting my bills and student loans paid off. So I am sorry if I would like a little bit more in my paycheck so I can afford a decent life.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
      • Leila

        I think Bill hates his life. He must have had really bad teachers OR else he has mommy issues. Either way, he's an ignorant and angry man. Thank God, we don't have to deal with those kinds in the classroom.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Bill

        Ah, can't refute the facts, so you have to turn to an ad hominem attack Leila?

        Overwhelmed, if 40 cents of every tax dollar isn't sufficient, maybe you could tell me what is? And I'd love to work only one job, 9 months a year to make 32000. I work two jobs 12 months a year, and make that amount.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
      • Overwhelmed Teacher

        I also work a part time, second job to help pay for bills and my loans. So that cuts more time out for doing what I really want to do-teach and lesson plan.
        And I don't just work nine months out of the year. I lesson plan, do training, help create curriculum, do summer school etc. Oh and I work another job during the summer months as well.

        I don't know where you live, but I live in PA where the cost of living is a lot higher than in most states (and especially in my area). I work for a PUBLIC cyber charter school, which received even LESS funding then a normal public school.

        After taxes, my paycheck is roughly 960 every two weeks. I have 300 dollars in loans. I have other bills, cell, car insurance, doc. appointments. And the rent in my area for a one bedroom apartment is around 800-900 a month.

        So please don't tell me I get paid too much, sir.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
      • Bill

        So, back to the revenue question. As I have stated in other posts here, I live in California. Due to Prop 98, 40% of state revenue is guaranteed to go to education.

        Since you feel you are underpaid, what percentage do you find acceptable? 45%? 50%? 60%? What's your number??

        March 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Lea

      To those who have already replied to this poster....REALLY? I don't see whining. I see an overwhelmed, underpaid, PROFFESIONAL trying to defend himself. Yes actions to have consequences and we are now seeing the consequences of every increasing and often conflicting educational mandate and reform. Not to mention the conservative idea that schools should be for raising workers, not thinkers. I know that everything I was taught has been set aside in favor of teaching to the test and flavor of the month programs. In the short time I have been teaching I have seen three different math programs and 4 reading programs come and go. The secretary of education in our state has NEVER SET FOOT IN A CLASSROOM. (not including photo ops of course). And to the poster, hang in there. I'm new, too. But the work I do with my students is too valuable to worry about what the know-nothings think...or don't think. They are not going to change their minds, no matter how valid your point. The number of negative posts here tells me that much. Yes, I would like to be paid more. I would like to not spend my own money every year to provide what the schools don't. I would like to be respected as the professional I worked hard to become. But I have to accept things as they are now, and fight to change what I can. But I am not whining-I am just tired of having to defend what I do for a living.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  6. just say no!

    ah yes.. we are not wasting enough money on bs testing.. reporting.. auditing... grading... lets mandate more!!!!!! and while we're at it.. lets give them so much information that they cannot possibly evaluate.... that the school systems simply cease to exist.. they won't need to exist.. since the only thing they will be doing is creating this bulls**t info and respond to their own critiques ... Lets spend money to help us justify spending more money.. infinite loop.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  7. TexDoc

    The article makes a good point. If two coaches (e.g. teachers) work with me and Tiger Woods. I have my average score go down from 120 to 90, but the other coach takes 2 strokes of Tiger's game which is the better coach. The one that teaches Tiger woods is probably more valuable. Anyone who ever golfed could teach me how to at least play the game and break 100, but it's a special teacher that can push the best of the best to a higher level. That's why testing doesn't work to score teachers.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Teacher of Docs

      Not surprising that someone who claims to be a doctor wants to talk about golf. There is your health care crisis.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • TexDoc

        It's called an anology or example. Improvement in scores are not a critieria we should be using to grade teachers. (Your lack of understanding of my simple point, seems to make you a bad teacher.)

        March 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
      • TexDoc

        It's called an anology or example. Out of my entire example, and point, all you could do is throw out a pithy and meaningless point.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  8. nobody

    If teachers were paid like teen baby-sitters; $5 per hour/per child, most teachers would make more than $120k a year. $60k, the average is in the $40ks range. Considering that they are required to have an undergraduate degree, then go back to get a Masters, plus continually take extra classes just to keep a license, people sound ignorant when they claim teachers make too much. The average teacher is making less than half of what many pay their baby-sitters per child.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • TexDoc

      Your point presumes several points. But most importantly, that a college degree and even a master's degree improves the quality of teaching. I disagree. Most of the online, master's of education degrees that teachers have added pay without adding value.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • raggedhand

        And what about the many teachers with advanced degrees in their subject areas? Why are you assuming that public school teachers with Masters and Doctorates all have degrees in education? I'm a public school teacher and the only people I know with advanced degrees in education are administrators and would-be admin. Teachers like myself get degrees in their areas of expertise.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  9. Joe

    Things were a lot better in education when women had few choices in employment. Schools effectively had captive labor. This kept wages down, but quality up.

    We will never go back to that. The question is how to approximate it, without eliminating women in the rest of the workforce to get the supply of teaching labor up.

    Answer: like the rest of America's salaried workforce, you would become non-union. Prices down (fixing state budgets), administrative hierarchies and union overhead down (fixing state budgets), and inept/indecent instructors/administrators subject to being fired (quality and test scores up).

    March 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Bill

      And herein likes the exact problem. Most teachers are good people. It's their unions that screw everything up.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  10. walletbiopsy

    Teacher bashing started when teachers themselves got high and mighty! In Oregon publlic employees in the past have retired at more than they made working, including teachers. They are the true 1%. Even thought the system has been changed somewhat, it will still be 25 years before the public employees in the old system age out, leaving the state bankrupt.
    Teachers spout garbage "it's for the children" when everyone knows "it's for the teachers".

    March 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • raggedhand

      I will be retiring at 42% of my pay and without any of the Social Security that I paid in to for 25 years. If a teacher retires with an monthly check that is more than he earns in the classroom, I'd sure like to know where that is. All I can think of is that you're looking at long time retired teachers with COLAs. My state does not have a COLA on retirement, so what I retire with is what I'll die with.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Bill

    Let's see...

    In California, over 40% of the budget is guaranteed to education through Prop 98. On average, 80% of school spending goes toward teacher compensation. This means 32 cents of every tax dollar collected goes to compensating teachers in California.

    What does California get for that spending?

    *Graduation rates amongst the lowest in the nation.
    *Teachers like Mark Burndt who abuse their students. Their actions are often never tracked; in the case of Mr. Burndt, LAUSD was required to discard any allegation from a teacher's personnel file that did not result in action taken against the teacher after 4 years.
    *Guarantees of pensions and other retirement benefits far above what private sector jobs pay.
    *Due to the excessive demands of teachers for their pay, class sizes that are amongst the highest in the nation.

    There are many other negatives, but I hope you see why we hold teachers in such low regard. To sum up in just one word, GREED.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Yossarian

      California is not the entire U.S.

      Maybe you should go back to school.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • Bill

        All politics are local.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • TeacherBob

      Bill: I can see that you learned your lessons well. I know of no teacher who got into the profession because they are greedy – you have got to be kidding me. By the way, for most service industries, personnel salaries are the highest expense item. Greed? Really?

      California limits the money going into education, forcing higher class sizes. Higher class sizes also mean that the quality of education for many of the students deteriorates.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • Bill

        OK, so what's your solution? Given that California is in the top 6 in sales tax, personal income tax, tax burden (state and local, and business taxes, 13th in property taxes (limited by Prop 13), worst business climate in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, and second highest in teacher pay (only very slightly behind New York), how do you come up with more money?

        The figures already show the obscene amount of money we are throwing at teachers isn't working.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Leila

      Oh discovered my flaw....alas...I am SO greedy. I arrive to school at 6:15 AM each and every morning to prepare, research my content, read, and develop my exams. Then I stay in my classroom during lunch and give free tutorials. Then I stay after school until 4:30 PM and THEN I take my work home so I don't fall behind. Maybe I sneak in a guilty pleasure or two during the evening (how terrible of me). Wow! I really AM a greedy person!!! My starting salary 21 years ago was $30,000 and I had to get a credential on my own, earn a Master's degree, take state mandated exams at my expense (including travel), receive special certification for teaching English learners, become "highly qualified" at my own expense with yet another teacher exam for the state AND I still attend school to better myself at my own expense. Damn these teachers!

      March 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
      • Bill

        So, maybe you could answer my question to TeacherBob above then?

        You made a choice to join the profession. Choices have consequences.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • Leila

        @ Bill...Oh I'm not complaining! I LOVE my job. It is the best profession in the world. I get to work with young people all day. I was using "satire" to make a point. My solution is to get the government OUT of the classroom and let us do what we were educated to do.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  12. jesussays

    I also see the author is an "education advocate" base in D.C. Sounds like a euphemism for a lobbyist and I think we can all agree that lobbyists are not to be trusted as they get behind whomever pays. Diamond to a doughnut, if I started an anti-educator group and offered to double his pay, then he would write an article twice as long and convincing about how poorly teachers perform.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • TexDoc

      An educator advocate in DC. Isn't that the definition of the entire Department of Education. Why do we even have a federal department of education. Isn't that the job of the states? Are school boards funded by local taxation? Get Washington out of the system first, free up 75 billion a year for other things. How does a beauracrat in Washington add value to education in this country?

      March 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  13. WorldTraveler

    Stop taking so many of my tax dollars to feed your hog of pension program.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Leila

      Didn't you bother to read all the posts that replied to you??? WE DO PAY INTO OUR OWN RETIREMENT! The tax payers DO NOT have anything to do with our pensions. A huge percentage is taken out of our salaries just for retirement PLUS we have our own individual 401Ks. AND we are not eligible for social security. Soooooo stop taking MY tax monies to fund YOUR retirement in social security.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
      • walletbiopsy

        It's a bold faced lie that public employees back their retirement and taxpayers are off the hook!

        March 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • Kit

        Actually, no.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Teacher's wife

      Not only do teachers pay into their pension, they pay union fees and also pay for health insurance. Don't speak about what you know NOTHING about!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  14. Dan

    Walddorf schools are the better choice!

    March 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Robert

    I agree. Leave the Pedophiles alone.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  16. Civilization

    I'm a public school teacher in a classroom right now while my HS kids work quietly. I'm the first to admit that the NEA's restrictions put teachers ahead of students and that they/we are ruining this next generation. Watch out, folks. we are turning out an illiterate, video game addicted generation.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Leila

      You are absolutely right, Civilization. Until people realize the restrictions that teachers are under thanks to these "accountability tests" (standardized tests), our students will continue to graduate with little if any reading skills at all. My 11th graders read at 6th-8th grade levels and I am supposed to magically enable them to pass rigorous 11th and 12 th grade literature analyses in my classroom. Some kids can make it happen; they have the wherewithal to do so. Others are simply overwhelmed and perform quite badly. Yet, teachers MUST enable them to jump from a 6th grade literacy to near college level in one academic semester or two. It's all about the test folks, not education for college preparedness. But the public must be appeased. The public MUST see those test scores and who cares that many cannot even speak or read English above a 3rd grade level in some cases?

      March 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Kit

      I would bet $100 that you are not really a teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  17. Emmy Skaddittle

    how come every republican thinks that every solution is easy? This is almost never the case, if it was easy to fix education don't you think we would have done by now?

    March 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Civilization

      As a public school teacher and a Republican, I'd say that the real problem is a breakdown of the American family which has led to a demise of student character. The only way to fix the schools is to save the family. Try traditional values.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • Leila

        Yes, my principal used to say, "You can't pick your students. You must deal with what you are given and make the best of it." That is what we do. We work with what skills the students have when they come to us. I am lucky. My students are really good and love to learn. But there are a couple of them who just wish school would go away and let them live their lives.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
      • Brian

        I am a Democrat and a teacher as well. I agreee that much of it is due to the breakdown of the traditional family and its values. What do you know aRepublican and a Democrat can agree on some things!

        March 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • EnuffAlready

      Why do progressives see large problems as something that needs to be resolved all at once. Yes this is a complicated issue who's cause is multi-stemmed. But rather than trying to tackle the whole problem at once why not use the proven method of dividing the issue into small sections and tackling them one at a time.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • Leila

        Because that would be common sense and common sense is not so common. I find that when it comes to education, ironically there is no logic.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  18. me

    No way in HELL would I want to teach the kids of today! I give teachers so much credit, I wish I had money to show them how much I appreciate them!!!

    March 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  19. jake

    All this holier than thou nonsense from the teacher's union is trumped by the fact most Americans went to public schools and know how many of our own teachers were simply punching a clock and didn't care one bit whether their class learned or not. The teacher's union protects the bad teachers and holds back the excellent ones. When the teacher's union tells school administrators that unproven allegations of abuse have to be discarded from a teacher's file or when school districts are cutting millions of dollar but have to keep teachers unfit for teaching in 'rubber rooms' on full pay- there is something majorly wrong. The solution is to get rid of the teacher's union. Stop inflicting bad teachers on kids' who's parents are too poor to complain. Think it's any coincidence that the teachers abusing children teach in districts with poor latino immigrant kids? Certain Mr Blindfold-Kids-And-Feed-Them-My-Junk isn't teaching at Brentwood High, he's teaching where the kids are poor latinos and their parents are illegal and afraid to complain to police.

    March 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Leila

      Don't exaggerate. No one is saying they are 'holier than thou'. But stereotypes and generalizations do NOT speak for the majority of teachers who really love their jobs. Sorry you had such a bad experience. Perhaps you were a bad kid. We have plenty of those!

      March 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • tom

        the majority of teachers love their jobs. There are also a minority of teachers who love their jobs but are not very good. However, if they have taught for 6 or 7 years they will likely be poor teachers for the next 30 years unless they do something really terrible.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • augustghost

      you must watch fox (faux) news

      March 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Tex Gritter

      There is no shortage of "Good" teachers here in Missouri. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of "Bad" ones, either. It was the very same way when I was a small boy. It was the same in high school. Listen, folks: Are we to allow a multi-millionaire (Bloomberg) to decide which teachers are "fit" to teach the Country's children? This ultra-wealthy, power-crazed fanatic is already tail-hole deep in trying to decide who should (and shouldn't) own a gun. This man and his MAIG group (most of whom are indicted on at least one charge of corruption, child molestation, etc.) should be watched VERY closely by the American people.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Civilization

      Absolutely. A fellow teacher from a neighboring high school lamented that he believes half of the teaching staff have grown discouraged and just given up. Half!

      March 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Kit

      If your last experience with education was in the high school classroom, realize that your opinions were formed as a teenager–and we all must agree that as teenagers we often resented our teachers–authority figures are not necessarily well-loved by them. Teenagers also tend to be pretty self-centered, which means that they tend to make inferences based on their own experience. Just because you had a few crappy teachers does not mean that all teachers are crappy.
      Think outside the box a little.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  20. oneSTARman

    I worked for Private and Government Engineering Offices. Some of the work we did was pretty complex; maybe even More so than Teaching children the Math, Science and Communication skills that would enable them to continue their education and be successful in their careers. I don't think there was EVER a Time when it was NOT Beneficial to EVALUATE how well we did our Jobs – based upon the RESULT of our Work. It would be DANGEROUS to allow someone to continue to Design Bridges; if More and More of the Bridges this Person Designed – FAILED. On the Other Hand – Those who Proved to be MORE Proficient – were REWARDED. I think this system is FAIR and has Proved to Produce Good Results.

    March 6, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • ajbuff

      The difference is that you are building bridges with appropriate and uniform materials. If you put the materials together in the correct way, the bridges will be strong and will look and perform exactly as you want them to. Everyone can use the same materials. Imagine that you are given piles of unknown materials, no building plan, and instructions to "make it work". How will your work be measured then? What if you materials are really sub-standard as building materials and someone else's are excellent. Should your bridge be compared to that other person's? With teachers, thei "materials" they are using to "build" their "results" are diverse – some are rarely in school, some are mostly worried about where their next meal will come from or where they will be living, some have parents who never finished high school and don't care, and some have motivated and involved parents but have other emotional or behavioral issues. Yet others have "materials" who have been taught tons at home, are patient, mature, and focused, and arrive that way. No one knows what the "bridge", or the "student", will look like. There is no manual and no uniform material. The result is unknown and varying – it can be awesome or it can fall apart. So using a standardized test to measure teacher effectiveness is nothing short of crazy.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Michael

      Tell you what. Your next performance review will be based on your grammar. My prediction? You'll be fired. Judge not, lest ye be judged, maybe?

      March 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Jack Frost

      Not all kids are created equal. Not all come to school with a full tummy or come from a good home. Not all kids have health care or have their vision checked. Kids have emotional and social problems. They have family problems and have to deal with bullies, the drug dealers, and governments that don't support schools appropriately and hold back funding. Too many school buildings are falling down. Too many school libraries have all the books and Internet access that they need. And you want to compare that to testing engineers job performance? What planet do you come from. This isn't 1956 and Leave it Beaver. This is Beavis and Butt Head personified! You've got a real problem with your point of view. Walk into a poor school district and see what is really happening before you pass judgment.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Tex71

      You are absolutely correct. Now, to understand what teachers do, imagine that you are an engineer under contract to build a bridge. 80% of your construction materials are defective, but you are not allowed to throw any of them away or send them back. You are told to work with them and get the job done whatever it takes. You try contacting the factory managers. Most of them want to send a good product but they have no idea how to build one. Some just plain do not care, and tell you in no uncertain terms to commit unnatural acts of indecency upon yourself. Your boss tells you to ignore the negatives and get the job done. As you work, you are constantly being second-guessed, and the specs change by committee decision every 3 months. On top of this, your pay is cut to about twice minimum wage and you are told you will not be getting any retirement benefits. Your medical plan is a bad joke. Do this for a decade or so while listening to ignorant people rant about what a deadbeat you are & you will begin to understand what it is to be a teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • Yep

        Excellent analogy

        March 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Eric_C

      WIth all due respect, with your skills of logic, I am scared to drive across any bridge you built. We are not arguing whether or not teachers should be held to a standard and evaluated, we are arguing about whether or not test scores are a good tool for such measurement. All research points to the answer 'no.' Testing leads to cheating and "teaching to the test," and rating teachers by test scores has been shown to be incredibly inconsistent. Furthermore, it is driving good teachers out of the field of education.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  21. spent

    I am sure that many students have been disappointed in some teachers they may have had during the years of schooling. I am sure that many of us have been disappointed with many people in various professions.
    I have been "bashed" for various reasons as a former educator. I was a lousy enabler, co-dependent and I was very demanding those that passed through the portals each day under my tutorials. I was fair, but academically demanding. Did I make mistakes, yes, but I was in the profession for the right reason, at least in my rationale, and it sure wasn't to pick up that little check at the end of the month after hours and hours of preparing, grading and teaching six classes per. day with and average attendance of 34-38. So, if you would like to "bash" feel free to "bash" me for i am retired, but leave those that are active alone and tend to your own development and leave your anger or whatever it might be at your own doorstep.

    March 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Leila

      Earlier you said that pensions were an unnecessary expense that we couldn't afford and that teachers should save for their own retirements, which WE DO as many have already corrected you. However, if you are a retired educator, how come you didn't know that you contributed to your retirement??? Weird.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • spent

        Not sure if you are replying to me in regards to pensions, but if you are i did contribute.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      The education system went wrong at the point they separated, along with the rest of govt functions, from God. Without that absolute of good or evil, there is now no reason for students to behave or excel. They will, some of them, for various other reasons, but the world will end up in a certain handbasket headed for, well, you know.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • Scott in Pgh

        No reason to behave or excel without god being taught in school? That's just sad. People are free to believe in whatever dogma they want, but I feel bad for anyone who believes there is no reason to do good other than because an old book says so.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
      • Mike D.

        Why is that Catholic Schools have the same problem of underperforming students and underperforming teachers? With God there should be knowledge in your opinion. And yes I did go to Catholic School for 13 years.

        How about putting the spotlight on the fact that a majority of underperforming students come from broken families, low income areas, or have very little parental involvement. Not to mention that some of these parents may not even be able to read or complete the homework that has been given to their children.

        Belief in any God does not provide the basis for learning. And which God is the correct one to follow. I have a feeling you would be very willing to tell us.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • ThroughLogic

        What makes you think that one specific belief system is the answer to this? or anything? If you were to take a look outside your religion, you would find many similarities between all religions, even atheistic beliefs. Church and state should be separated because one deals with the spiritual needs of an individual and the other deals with the smooth running of our civilized world.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
      • Taroya

        God has nothing to do with it.

        YOU are right HERE and right NOW. It is YOUR responsiblity to teach your children how to behave in public, BEFORE they go to school.

        If you want your God in the mix, that too, is YOUR responsibility.

        Step up and take care of it.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • Kit

        I am a very good person who works very hard to do as much as I can for my students and have been very successful. I do not, however, believe that organized religion has done more good than bad for our society, if looked at generally. I do not think that believing in God and being a good educator or a good citizen necessarily go hand in hand. It works for some, but not for everyone.

        March 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • jesussays

      So typical. Arrogant "public servant" suggesting that the citizenry should leave alone its deadbeat teachers. These laggards are supposed to be working for us. This will no doubt come as a shock to you as it appears that your entire career was spent in public education, but in the real world, and employee is accountable to their employer. I have worked as an educator and in other positions in the private sector. Teachers get a pass that is found nowhere that I have been in private industry. Bosses expect performance and will chew tail, humiliate and fire in a hot second poorly performing workers. Get over yourself and be glad that you were fortunate enough to work before the inevitable revolution by taxpayers and compensation and job performance is brought in line with the rest of the world.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • Leila

        Teachers get a pass? Where? When? Who? And who's a laggard. Not any of my colleagues at the high school. I am glad people like you are NOT educators! Heaven help the children left to the belligerence and cynicism of the ignorant public.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • Taroya

        What is arrogant is your expectation that your children should be taught what they need to know to live life by one of the lowest-paid professions in the United States.

        THAT says everything about your values! And the values of Americans in general!

        March 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
      • Eric_C

        Gosh, no wonder no one wants to be a teacher! You would go to school for years, get paid next to nothing, and then have to listen to garbage like this.....I would be infuriated if I was a teacher. I am definitely steering my children AWAY from this profession!

        March 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  22. Leo

    Yes, there are incompetent teachers. Yes, there are more than there should be. Yes, teachers unions are advocates only for teachers and administrators, even to the detriment of the students.
    Nevertheless, students will never succeed if their parents don't demand that they behave in class and work to master their lessons. Furthermore, they must master the 'hard' topics as well as the 'easy' ones. No teacher, regardless of their skill, can overcome the disadvantage of an uninvolved de-motivating parent.

    March 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Teacher's wife

      Unions are there to PROTECT the teachers. Administrators are not part of the union. The union protects teachers from them too. Unions are there to help when teachers are attacked. Which they are alot. I'm sorry but how is it a teachers fault if bullying happens off school grounds? Yet our state wants to make the teachers accountable.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  23. Dave

    School teacher unions are a greater threat to the future safety and welfare of this country than all the Al -Qaeda and Talibans put together.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Leila

      WHAT??? Really??? You're the reason new teachers leave the profession....too many ignorant people who talk out of their a%%%.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
      • Wake-Up Call!

        Many of the people on this forum are unaware of the serious worker rights violations that teachers face, especially young teachers who do not have a union, yes they do exist (duh). For those of you who are unaware, the privatization of education is very real. Some schools (i.e. charters) are able to recover public funding and maintain a corporate-like structure to dispose of teacher as they please for ANY reason. I worked for a charter school 5 years ago. I often worked 14 hour days without a break, which is VERY illegal. It was expected that I work on the weekends and that's in addition to the work I was taking home. My salary was significantly less than teachers who work for a district. I could not speak up in fear of being fired. Of course, I was held accountable! As for union busters, unions exist to protect teachers from being in situations such as these, especially young teachers who lack a voice. This experience was exhausting which explains why I left K-12 education altogether and so will many others. If we continue on this path we'll see how many people will actually want to go into K-12 education and teach your children. Teachers are often responsible for feeding children who do not have food at home, clothing children who cannot afford uniforms etc. Don’t think for one minute that tax payers were doing me a favor by providing me with my 31,000 a year salary and definitely don’t assume all teachers' situations are the same. Absolutely, teachers are public servants, but I signed up to become a public servant not a public slave.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Joe

      You are an idiot!

      March 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Rob M

      I don't think they are that much of a threat, but there is increasing indication that teacher's unions do what is best for teachers and not for the children they are trying to teach. Schools are teaching hive type mentalities and creativity – what this nation is known for – is going out the window. Unfortunately, the unions don't understand that they are stabbing themselves in the foot. If parents don't like the way their kids are being taught, there are now private schools, home schools and cyber-schools. Less children that attend the school means less funding that the school receives and in turn not as much salary for the teacher – no matter how much the union kicks and screams.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Leila

        If the unions are looking out for the interests of teachers, it is BECAUSE teachers are stifled in what they can do for CHILDREN. Unions work to protect the teachers' rights to teach without political intervention by vengeful and unreasonable administrators. Walk into a classroom and see what teachers are doing. I don't know any teachers who do NOT care about their students and who are not constantly looking for more engaging ways of educating.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Rob M

        My entire family is composed of teachers. Father was an administrator, mother was a teacher – and multiple aunts and uncles who were/are teachers. I know what I talk of from my own experiences. Watch Waiting for Superman.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Bill, Bloomington Il

      While that is over the top, teachers unions are a big problem. My small town teachers here in Illinois last year could have gone to Springfield to rally for that stupid tax increase during spring break but oh no, they waited until the following week and left the children with subs. Dont feel a bit sorry for the teachers.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Kit

        Teacher's Unions really do want what is best for teachers AND students. They want teachers to be treated with respect–which is obviously why so many people hate them–because they don't respect the profession. Shameful.

        March 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Tex71

      Dave, the greatest threat to our nation is the preponderance of ignoranti like you. Terrorists want to kill Americans and destroy the USA. If you think that teachers, who dedicate years of their lives and go into debt getting educated and certified; who take underpaid jobs with poor benefits in scary neighborhoods being parents, instructors, and role models to children whose parents mostly either don't know how to raise them, or don't care; who do the work of a project manager, an assistant, an editor, a trainer, a filing clerk, a motivational speaker, a mentor, and an efficiency expert, all at once – for a secretary's pay; if you think teachers choose to do all that because they are trying to kill Americans and destroy the USA, then you belong in the psycho ward! And the worst part of all is making all that effort and sacrifice only to be demonized by half-witted creeps like you.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Sarah Caldwell

      If that were so, the performance of students in states with strong teacher unions would be worse than in states with weak unions. Strong unions: Maryland, Massachusetts and New York, weak unions: Mississippi, Georgia, Texas.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Eric_C

      Actually, I work in the private sector at a large corporation, and the reason they are against teacher-unions, is that as long as teacher unions exist, corporations will have pressure to pay health care and 401k benefits to their employees. I know that the corporation I work for wants to do away with ALL benefits..... yet as long as teachers unions exist, private sector workers will cry 'but union workers have these benefits so why don't we??...."

      SO Dave, a larger threat to society, is the loss of workers rights, which will definitely come with the destruction of unions. This is why so many of the elite corporate leaders like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were against unions – because workers rights hinder profits.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  24. Stace

    I can't speak for all teachers in all schools. I'm not a big fan of the curriculum. Many other countries have better education systems than we do. It is easier to get through elementary school than when I was a child. I think that we would do well to raise our standards. Having said that.... the teachers at the school where we send our children are fantastic. It's a public school that gets a lot of federal funding because of our demographics. And yet the test scores are good, the children are happy. I'm thrilled that our kids attend this school.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  25. drc

    Teaacher basing is nothing new, it is finally getting the attention it deserves. Sorry, on Long Island where mafia unions rule the excessive compensation packages for a profession that works about 180/days a year and gets benefits of a full-time employee not to mention golden pension plans we expect A LOT of teachers. Instead we get teachers who hide behind a union contract, put in minimal effort and blame poor performance on the students or parents or every other excuse.

    For our over-paid teachers we are neck-and-neck for the highest school taxes in the country with kids that cannot think for themselves or make change of a dollar without a computer. So, the old lie throw more money to fix a problem doesn't work thus the teacher bashing.

    Sorry, if you cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen or in this case the classroom. The taxpayers expect their money to be spent well and clearly with the students they are churning out, the money is only going to fund the pockets of over-compensated teachers.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Do those people that bash teachers really know how hard they work? My wife is a teacher, who goes to work at 7 AM, gets home at 5PM, and then continues to work until around 8-9. Then, spends about 2-3 hours each day on Saturday and Sunday. Yeah, they don't work hard. She's overpaid? Has a Master's degree and makes about 55K per year living in Southern California where $2000 per month is the going rate for an average 2 BR apartment. I don't know any other people with a Master's degree that make that little, nor do I know anybody that would work as hard as she does for as little money. If she made decent money for the job, I would understand the complaining about her good benefits. Maybe she should make low pay and have poor benefits? Who would teach then? Go climb back into your cave and save us all from hearing your ignorant opinion.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • Jay

        Oh gosh, she has to work a few extra hours?

        I hope the 2.5 months off she gets every summer makes up for. And winter break. And spring break. And every holiday.

        But no, you're right, it's super hard work. They should pay her more to not work 25% of the year. Oh, and teachers get phenomenal healthcare. And student loan forgiveness to make that masters degree extremely affordable. And then after a modest, what is it now, 25 years, they can retire on an almost full pension.

        My heart wells up with tears for the hardship she must endure.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • jesussays

        You are joking right? Leave the house at 7 and home by 5. With commute, lunch and whatnots. That is a gravy day. Have you any idea how many winners in private sector leave the house at 7, work through breaks and lunch and get home at 7,8 or 9, often bringing work home and throw in a couple of few Saturdays a month. And this is for 50 weeks a year or so as opposed to 36. Over-paid and under worked and under qualified sums up the American Educator. Oh and whiny.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
      • steve

        Yeah Jay you know so much about the profession. Let me guess the last contact you've had with a techer was, hopefully the year you graduated high school. Let's start with simple math. 10 months of 50 hour work weeks gobble up most of the non-work days. This doesn't even include week end time. As for health care. We have plans like most other people. HMO's or PPo's that see yearly increases with declining covered benifits. Teacher are not part of social security exept for medicare in retirement. our pension which we contribute 8% of gross to is our "golden retirement" . Teacerh also pay for all professional development as opposed to the private sectors who pay to develop and improve their employees. The loan forgiveness you referr to only applies ot teacher teacher in economically disadvantaged schools.

        Clearly critical thinking and problem analysis was something you missed in school. I'm sure your lack of attention was also the teachers fault.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • joep199

      So why aren't you voting out the local governments and school boards that gave the teachers' unions these horrible contracts? All they had to do was do THEIR job and stand up for the students and their parents?

      March 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  26. Paul

    I'm a retired teacher. Here's the problem. Unlike baseball, teachers are generally paid based on seniority and grad credit hours, not performance. Teachers can't get fired unless they do something outrageous. Mediocre teachers who know how to schmoose the administrators get rewarded. Rebels who fight for excellence often get lunch duty or some other form of "hidden" punishment. I'm glad I was in a teachers union for protection and collective bargaining, but their defense of mediocre teachers and sometimes sick or criminal teachers made me sick. Using union dues to promote ideas not related to education (save the whales, no nukes, global warming, etc.) made me laugh. Public schools are in a precipitous decline. By the way, I paid union dues for 35 years in a public school and was in one of the longest teacher strikes in Ohio history. There is plenty of blame to go around; lots of hypocricy on both sides.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  27. Leila

    Wow...a lot of teacher haters here. I feel like I'm surrounded by a bunch of elitists who don't know what it's like to be on the front lines of education. The issue (like most issues worth debating), are far more complex than just simply stating that 'teachers are the final arbiters in education. We are not. We come into the profession with high ideals and hopes. Sadly, the state does everything it can to stifle our creative efforts even to the point of teaching rote memorization for the purpose of a standardized test. Testing is not bad, however, when the entire focus of the year is nothing but testing AND the testing takes the place of a literature based curriculum, then we have other factors inhibiting quality learning. Moreover, insofar as many students are English learners and/or read far below grade level, yes it is offensive to blame the teachers AND to 'grade' us on THEIR test scores.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  28. Sandra

    Teacher-bashing became the national pasttime long ago, right about the time taxpayers demanded "accountability" (translation: standardized tests) for raising teacher salaries to the level of other comparably-educated professionals. That, combined with the misperception that tenure "guarantees" a teacher a job for life, have made teachers easy targets in this age of scapegoating for the miserable economy. Remember, no one complained about the lavish lifestyles of teachers until the economy tanked. Then, and only then, did people who once lauded a teacher's choice of profession as "noble" because it was so financially unrewarding suddenly find reason to be jealous of teachers' "Cadillac" health benefits and "exhorbitant" salaries.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  29. WorldTraveler

    We can't afford the pensions anylonger. Save for your own retirement like the rest of us.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Aezel

      What the hell are you even talking about? Teachers are on 401Ks like everyone else these days. Way to be an out of touch fool. You are a typical example of the stupidity surround education problems.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • Doledart

        Really? My Uncle was a High School Principal and when he retired he received 70% of his $75,000/yr salary in pension. Guess school systems are different, but to think anything less would be stupid huh?

        March 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • really

        Really? My dad was a teacher, he now collects a golden pension of 94k/year and yes he has a 403b plan as well, seperate from that guaranteed pension. Perhaps you don't have the mafia unions like they have here in NY.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Bryant Minard

      Ok, no pensions, lets just up their pay to the equivalent of someone in the private sector with similar education. My son with a master in computer sciance started at 54,000 a year about 15,000 more than a local teacher. That should even things out.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Leila

      For being named a "World Traveler", you really don't know much, do you? Teachers contribute MUCH of their salaries to retirement AND we have 401Ks which we contribute to IN ADDITION to what is withdrawn from our salaries. We're not getting anything free AND we are NOT eligible for social security.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Kit

      1. Pension payments are deducted from teachers' paychecks.
      2. So, it's ok for the state to just not honor an agreement? Just because they raided the pension fund shouldn't mean that they can just throw up their hands and say "whoops, sorry!" Shouldn't they somehow be held responsibly? I know that if I didn't pay a contractor for fixing my house because my kid stole my credit card and maxed it out, he would sue me, and I would likely lose.

      You really need to do more research before you comment. That is a major problem nowadays–people are content to just sit back and absorb all the sensationalist bull____ that spews from the TV, most of which has very little connection to reality. Just because something sounds right doesn't mean it is.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • spent

      Cannot afford to hear your spousing of your ignorance. I paid a tremendous amount of money into my teacher's retirement and after 34 years I am now reaping the rewards of my long laborious career and teaching people like you to learn how to THINK before espousing information one knows nothing about.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Leila

        @spent...AMEN to that!! I have been teaching over 21 years and the shifts that our state is making toward eliminating a literature based curriculum is depressing. I did not become a teacher to feed a classroom full of robots. I teach and I love it. However, I DO look forward to the day when I can finally rest and let the younger teachers pick up the torch. I have worked VERY, VERY hard and will continue to do so for another 15 years. I will feel content that I EARNED every moment of my retirement.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • The Watcher

      My wife is a school teacher in the public school system here in Florida. As a result, I have become friends many teachers in the field. Over the last year, there has been a lot of teacher bashing going on in the state. They have cut teachers wages by 3%, and they have all had a pay freeze for the past 6 years. Some are making less now, than they did when the stated I the field 5 years ago.
      Most of them, including my wife are now starting to look outside of the teaching system. As they look, they are finding that with their college degrees they can make 10-30 K more a year, work less hours (but year round,) and have better health benefits. What is really bothering them is not the freeze in pay, or the pay cuts. It is the fact that they feel that they are unwanted, and no one finds value in the work that they do.
      I fear, and justly so that many of the good, caring , and dedicated teachers will soon be leaving the field. One of them is finishing up his PHD, and will be moving on to the University Level, others are finding work as managers and supervisors in the for profit sector. I guess it is the sign of the times. People would rather keep a few tax dollars in their pockets, than invest in the future of our nation. Others would rather see our public workers with BA and MA's working for Min wage.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  30. Aezel

    Age old knowledge from programming: crap goes in, crap comes out.

    Teachers aren't the problem. The quality of parenting in this society has gone down the gutter. Unfed, unclean, unrested kids from broken homes and broken parenting that show up to school as an utter mess of a human being, and then the s**ty parents who put them in that condition dare to blame the teachers that their kid is failing.

    Unless you have personally worked in a public school in an inner city, you are not even qualified to have an opinion. This includes 99.9% of politicians who write the terrible legislation that governs our school system, with No Child Left Behind being the worst of the worst.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Jim Alexander

      It Is time for Teachers to become accountable for Not Teaching and Stop pointing fingers at parents who did not attain a degree in Teaching! Locke High School in Los angeles has Never got past a 40% graduation Rate in almost 20 years. Yet the same teachers keep coming back year after year continuing to be totally ineffective. I once tried to get a male teacher fired for painting all the 4th grade boys fingernails Pink. I was only able to get him written up and Transferred because he had Tenure. It is Ridiculous. I Think it is time to rethink How America Handles its Educators and and begin to change the system from the Classrooms. If there is no fear of being fired, there is no incentive to do a Good Job From Some Teacher. We need to Unify the Desire to Be Great amongst all Teachers with Performance based pay as well as removal of poor or even terrible Teachers!

      March 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  31. TX

    I'm a teacher, and you people can teacher bash all you want. Blame whoever you want. I'm going to just shut my door and focus on what matters most. My students. I will continue to teach them, challenge them, listen to them, work with them, and be an advocate when necessary. I care that my students learn and succeed, and I care that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I did the best I could that day. I don't care if you don't like me.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • GrouchoMarx

      "Those that can't.......teach. Those that can't teach........teach gym"

      March 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • pat

      I like what you said. I'm not a teacher. I appreciate those who teach the kids for the sake of teaching and if you aren't liked because of it, then you must be doing your job. Thank you. The best teachers I've had were the most unpopular with the other students but I even at a young age was perceptive enough to see that they were the 'true' teachers.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • pat

        I should say that my earlier post was in response to TX not to Groucho, didn't quite understand what Groucho was implying.

        Keep doing what you are doing TX.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • mdnafan

      AMEN! It is all about the kids when it comes down to it! Well put!

      March 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  32. refudiator

    Its just one part of the GOP bashing unions – teachers, police, mfg.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Lawrence Feola

      In Connecticut, where democrats rule, teachers are the catch of the day. Governor is a democrat, as is the legislature and teachers are what's for dinner.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • jesussays

      Not just GOP. I am liberal as all get out, but I loathe most public servants. Easily 95% are bums. And I have been a teacher in public school, so I know first hand what losers most are. Teaching is so much easier than most professions. Fact is, it was just too boring for me. Revisiting the same topic again and again is suited only for simpletons which make up the majority of educators.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • ThermosOfCoffee

        Many jobs can be tedious.....sales...selling the same thing....accounting...doing the same balance sheets....pediatrician...seeing the same colds and fevers....and I am sure you taught AP Chem or AP Economics? Try those subjects on for size. Those teachers have them hands full every day and bust ass with a tough curriculum. Teaching a simple subject like beginning math might be the same year in and year out, but the students change. The approach can be changed. Don't catergorize "many" teachers as simpletons. That is egregious. Speak only from your experience. Good thing you got out when you did. Education needs committed people, not cynics and naysayers. It's like pro athletes...tons complain they get paid too much. Who pays their salaries? Fans....people that buy their jerseys. If you don't like the working conditions and jobs teachers do, elect school board members that will negotiate different contracts and not allow unions to bully them. But you know what? Some, and I stress some people and parents are more apthetic than students. Talk a good game, but would rather sit at the computer and blog about how bad ths place is.

        March 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • The Watcher

        It is clear that you have never worked in a school system, nor with public workers. Keep you lies to Fox News Web site.

        March 7, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  33. Carole Quine

    This message is for Mitchell and from a VERY hardworking college professor who does far more than just "teach the text": The damned word is "tenure," not "ten year." Get thee to a dictionary, dear.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  34. Kit

    Here is an analogy that might put into perspective the whole notion of "grading" teachers:

    Imagine that you are a doctor–you did well in med school, and went to a top school. You get a job at a hospital funded by taxpayer dollars, and most of the "big decisions" are made by a well-meaning board of 12 adults from the community who may or may not have any expertise in medicine. These adults volunteer and are voted in my the rest of the board. Because they are the taxpayers, they have a say in how the funding for the hospital is allocated, but they are not required to meet with any of the hospital staff, nor do they spend much time within the hospital walls. They do, however, receive health care from this hospital at no expense (beyond their taxes).
    This board decides that they need to "grade" their doctors to be sure that other patients are receiving adequate care. They decide that effective doctors are the ones who's patients stay alive and healthy. If a patient dies, it indicates that the doctor must be ineffective.
    Your area of medicine is oncology, and therefore there is a larger risk that your patients will die. The gynecologist down the hall treats many serious illnesses but has a lesser risk of patient mortality. However, when three of your patients die, and none of the other doctor's patients do, you are red-flagged as needing improvement. When you try to explain to the board and the other taxpayers the nature of your particular medical field, it falls on deaf ears because the general public is not in the medical field. On TV, there is a sensational commercial about the three patients that died under your care, and how you are an example of a "failing medical system."
    Then, you get three new patients. One of them is greatly concerned about their health and takes your recommendations for healthy eating, getting rest, seeking support, and willingly participates in treatment. The second patient thinks that doctors are scammers and that your recommendations will not help him to improve. He drinks a six-pack a day and chain smokes. The third is very poor and is raising three children by herself. She wants to get better but has to work two jobs to make ends meet. She cannot afford quality food and cannot find much time to rest. When patients 2 and 3 die, you are red-flagged as needing improvement.
    If this were your situation, you would likely be resentful. You would likely resent the higher-risk patients, and might even seek a new medical field like opthamology, that has a lesser risk.

    Using test scores to measure teacher success is a dangerous path, and will likely cause teachers to feel burdened by the kids with the greatest needs. Work in a poor district where kids do not have adequate resources, like food, parental support, and pre-school, and see how "poorly" those teachers are rated.

    March 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Joe Schwartz

      Kit – your comparison is right on target and exactly what I would use. I've been a teacher for nine years, worked in the private sector for years before that and many people in my wife's family are teachers. I've seen it all and I've heard it all over the years.

      NEVER does the role of the student or the parent's responsibility come into play. Most 6-12 teachers only see their students for 40-50 minutes per day, and most K-5 teachers only see their students for 5 hours a day. yet, we are held accountable for what happens with them and to them the other 19-23 hours per day.

      We've grown into a society of blamers rather than doers – the ones blaming don't really have much of a clue about what the educational system needs, and they are too lazy or greedy to do what is needed.

      If we treated doctors the way you described – as well as lawyers when they lose a case after a client lies to them, police when a suspect goes free due to a technicality or accountants when an audit occurs after a client wasn't fully forthcoming, no one would dare enter these fields. Teachers do all this at a fraction of the salary that doctors, lawyers and accountants make. It's time to stop the blame game once and for all.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Maz

      Spot on analogy. Now if only you could make everyone else see it that way too!!

      March 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  35. Mitchell

    Teacher bashing became a national pastime when teacher stopped teaching. I will never forget my AP (Advanced Placement) Calculus teacher refusing to answer questions or give help beyond the book. Or my College English Professor who wrote on my paper C- then when I went to ask how I could improve on the next one she laughed and said good luck.

    Now I am not saying that teacher bashing is bad, I am saying that the quality of good teachers have gone down. They have put an emphasis on getting ten year so they can never be removed from their position, not even caring for their students only for the job security. But then I ask, what other job has that kind of security? One where pretty much no matter what you do you cannot get fired? One where you can put a problem on the white board and sit at your desk listening to sports talk 710. And then if someone has a question respond the same way every time, "The answer is in the book."

    Sorry I got a little preachy, but I believe that there are good teachers and bad teachers. Right now there are more bad teachers than good ones, a lot more (and sadly more than half of my teachers were bad ones). We need to fix how we train teachers, ten year, and monitor them better.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • passionlessdrone

      If your c minus paper had phrases like "ten year" instead of tenure I think I know why your teachers told you not to bother.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
      • Jim

        Perhaps that only serves to emphasize the point: a good teacher would have assisted the student to overcome mistakes. What sort of teacher would laugh when a student makes a mistake, and not offer any help or advice for improvement, even when the student asks for it?

        March 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Chris R

        Well Jim, why aren't you a teacher then? Oh wait, that's right. The people who have the most to do with educating our children and preparing them for the future are given no respect, awful working conditions, and frequently receive sub standard pay. The people best qualified to teach won't because of that.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
      • Jim

        Who says I'm not, Chris R? And what do you know about my thoughts on this issue? I merely pointed out a defect in the comments logic. Easy, son.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • adam

      I'm guessing you mean tenure, and not ten year? Sounds like the students might be part of the problem.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Aezel

      "I will never forget my AP (Advanced Placement) Calculus teacher refusing to answer questions or give help beyond the book. "

      Bulls**t. I don't believe you whatsoever.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
      • kpgn

        Nor do I. There is something missing in that story.

        March 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Dennis

      Mitchell, you might have more credibility if you took the time to proof read your comments. Tenure is what you are referring to not ten year as you state several times. I agree there are bad teachers, I taught with a few. However, the vast majority of my colleagues were not only good teachers, they were excellent teachers, who truly cared about their students. Teachers are underpaid, overworked, and under appreciated.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Wow

      I can see why you did poorly in your English class. Stop blaming the teachers and accept some personal responsibility. Your grammar is atrocious. I give your comment a D.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  36. Jacqueline

    To answer your first question...when did teacher bashing become the national pastime? About 4 or 5 years ago; it started when districts and states realized that using standardized tests to measure a child's academic proficiency were not going to allow them to meet the NoChildLeftBehind requirements and they had to cast about for a whipping boy (or girl.) No one will admit that the NCLB required standard tests will not work for measurement because the children of our country, from all walks of life, cannot be standardized.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Oakspar77777

      I would agree with the time, but not the reason. When we started testing all children for success, the powers that be forgot one major point in their ideal ideology – not all students are successful people. Some children are failures. Perhaps by genetics, perhaps by environment, and perhaps by poor education – but for some reason some children fail.

      When we put upon teachers the weight of making every human person useful to humanity without being able to discard those too damaged to have a hope of success, the detritus pulls the ship down.

      Allow the American educational system to do what education does best – weed out the inferior from the superior. Create schools to challenge the great and give practical work skills to the future wage drones of the world. Then you will have something of value again – you cannot change human nature, and believing that all children can be successful is like believing they all can be rich. It might be true for any one, but it can never be true for all.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  37. Rebecca

    As a student, I can say that I've had many, many teachers that have been excellent in their teaching methods and helping students succeed. One of the real problems they run into, is a student that doesn't want to put out any effort, or thinks they're too good to do so. The parents usually don't offer a helping hand either. We shouldn't blame teachers, they try the best they can, but encourage parents to be more active.

    On the note of teachers, there are some I believe should not even belong in the profession. For example, my high school AP economics teacher, literally did nothing in class. He'd tell us to do a few workbook pages that he didn't even grade, and sit behind his desk and chat to the girls in his softball team. After the test scores for that class were received, he was demoted to teaching normal economics. This is the kind of teacher we should be looking for, but not at the expense of the wonderful teachers out there.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  38. the law

    tenure for teachers = stupid hoe's... whats a matter, can't hold your own??

    March 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Matthew

      I'll take your word for it. After all a person that can't be bothered to write correctly is a person who knows a thing or two about bad teachers. If you want people to take you seriously, or value your opinion at least use correct english and grammar.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  39. j14401s

    Our kids went to school in the 70's and we were bashing teachers then. We just did something about it. I sat through the fifth grade with our daughter, because the teachers was so bad. He really had a good year with me setting in the room everyday and I didn't miss out on a darn thing by being there.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • chef dugan

      Given their general level of incompetence, their marriage to the union and the god awful curriculum for teacher education there is no hope other than to start all over with a new generation of teachers,trained in the arts, not some dtupid methods courses. Most teachers today are functional illiterates.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
      • Eyes Wide Open

        Chef, if I didn't already guess that you don't have a clue as to what you're blabbering on about... I would call you a drooling moron.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • Kevin

        "Most teachers today are functional illiterates."

        Seriously? And you base that on what? How many teachers do you KNOW?

        Students, for the most part, do the work and are well behaved. The problem comes from the minority of kids who lack the motivation, supervision, and support at home which is required in order to make education a priority. Parents refuse to accept responsibility for raising their children, then turn around and blame everyone else when that child fails. The equivalent would be a patient blaming the doctor even though they refused treatment.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • spent

        You would, past tense? It would appear your usage of the grammatical form leaves much to be desired.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • spent

        Your eyes might be "wide open." however, your brain is shut down and closed.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  40. Jim De

    Sam Chaltain has stoked the fires of an issue that has been burning for the last 50 years that I can remember. His diagnosis using the baseball matrix is very convincing and well put, the only part he left out was; what or better yet, where does the disgruntled, highly qualified, CERTIFIED educator go when they are not getting the satisfaction of their career in the USA? To a foreign country that pays very well [for the most part], tax-free in most places, better benefits [greatly better in Arab countries] and a school system that respects the American teacher as being the best in the world. Try any of the teacher websites for overseas teaching, ESL, Native speaker, etc. and you will find that the opportunities are incredible, Yemen, Iraq, Singapore, Hong Kong, CHINA, [I could keep on, but my fingers would hurt], all are begging for the American teacher to come to their school, and be a real teacher, with pride, respect and dignity, not to mention all the other benefits. Yes, there are some drawbacks, you are a long way from home, they speak a foreign language, the food is different, and TV is probably not in English. I have taught in 4 different Arab countries and Turkey, [and had offers for China and Taiwan] had a wonderful time, was well taken care of by the school, staff, students, and parents [all are what I consider friends now], and never had to worry about the ridiculous political bull___ that puts the blame for their political failings on the teacher. I recommend this; 1- if you want to keep the best, pay for them to be certified. 2- PAY THEM BETTER! You don't need a Union if the teacher and staff are considered on the same level as other professionals [who, by the way could only become pro's because a good teacher gave them the way to do it]. 3- Give them a better retirement plan and benefits, something akin to the US Military or Civil Service retirement. OR, continue the 50+ year scandal and lose the best to foreigners, thereby making those children better educated than American's.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  41. Andrew

    We should be rating parents.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Jared

      You already do in some respects.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  42. Tammy

    I can only say that I must live in a utopia. My daughter, now in 7th grade, has always had wonderful teachers. All of them genuinely cared about her as a person and have done everything they can to help her succeed. She has been in the special education system in the past due to her reading issues. This year, I am happy to say, she is reading at grade level for the first time. Why? Because she has had fabulous teachers and programs to help her get there. Yes, as a parent I also helped her as much as possible, but if not for the teachers and goals they put in front of her and helped her reach, she would not be reading at the level she now is. I greatly admire teachers and what they do. I don't pretend to believe I could do that job for even one week. They put up with a lot of crap from both students and parents who refuse to believe that thier precious child would EVER cause a problem in class...riigghhtt.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Wondering

      Congrats to your daughter for her accomplishments! And Congrats to you as her support system of achievement!

      March 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • mdnafan

      I agree with you, Tammy! I cannot complain one iota about my middle school daughter's education or teachers. She has had stern teachers (teachers with high expectations), funny teachers (who make connections with the children) compassionate teachers (who actually gave a rat's rear about her), lifelong learners themselves (who shared their passions for continued education with her). Sometimes, we got really lucky and got a combination of ALL THE ABOVE. It can be said that her teachers have gone above and beyond for her education, both in the classroom and during their unpaid free time. When she did struggle, they gave ample suggestions as to how we could work on her shortcomings....AT HOME....yes, the work needs to continue at home! When grades slipped, 'precious' was held accountable for the grades, not the teachers. Parents should be such a part of this conversation, but fail to be, because it us so much easier to point the finger at somebody else. It should be a team effort rather than a one way street.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  43. spent

    I had a career of 34 years has a teacher. I am so glad to be out and when politicians and attorney's got involved, well, it went down hill.

    March 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Mike

      Finally students will learn the proper use of the apostrophe.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Yep


        March 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • Eyes Wide Open

        He was a math teacher...

        March 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • spent

      Yes' that' is' correct' and you' will' teach' me' I' feel' confident' in' that', rest' assured'.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  44. John

    This is crazy. Nothing is as important to a nation's future as the quality of its educating its children, and we have bozos by the dozen attacking education as such. I'm afraid I am snobbish on the subject, and could not imagine myself being less.

    Mr.Chaltain is right. Teaching is complex, and these attempts to simply quantify results, without qualifications, is silly. It is responsibility without authority, for no teacher has any control over elements in our lives that also affect student grades, although they have nothing to do with teaching. Safety and nutrition, for example, can be overwhelming social conditions that exist outside the school but cripple student performance. So at the very least grading teacher performance needs a huge handicap in it for neighborhood social-economic indicators. Sorry, cannot make all education equal, but we can at least be fair to the people who are in the middle of the fight for our future.

    And no, I am not myself a teacher, except a few times as a supplemental volunteer.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  45. funk1865

    It's a complex problem that include educational policies, wages, and budgets. I work as a part time Technology Interventionists and computer teacher in a small school, and I am thankful for my job. That being said as a new teacher I see things a little different than some of the "old timers" that are in my building.

    When it comes to wages (which is what seems to get everyone hot and bothered) I subscribe to a totally different school of thought than many of those around me, feeling that the pay system should be restructured to incorporate student performance into yearly (bi yearly) pay raises (with teachers automatically getting a base pay level –say $30,000, middle class in my state) and a lower salary ceiling (say $48-50,000, which in my state is REALLY good money). But it is not all on the teachers, the pay restructuring should apply to all levels of administration as well (with principals starting out at the level of the highest teacher–or lower– and capped at $15,000 above starting level), and the same thing with higher level administration (though they would start out at the level of the highest paid administrator). All salary scales would depend on local conditions of course.

    But even if this solved some of the salary issues (and subsequently some budget issues districts are having) you still have the issue of educational policy. And unfortunately that is an piece that teachers ultimately really have little control over. School boards, state agencies, and the Fed hold the reigns there, and are usually all for enforcing more regulations/changing curriculum while at the same time cutting funding and removing programs (vocational programs anyone)

    And as for students moving on (at the elementary level) without learning the skills they need to succeed at the next level, well the special education system is a complete mess and frankly some of the stuff that happens makes me scratch my head. I know for a fact that sometimes students get moved to the next grade BECAUSE they need services and being in the next grade without a certain skill/ability moves them to the front of the line for special services. If the same student were held back... they wait in line.

    Bottom line, it's a mess... and there is no easy, clear cut solution. And the blame rests with ALL of US

    March 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • funk1865

      Technology Interventionist.... ha... Technology Integrationist

      March 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • Brian

        Funk...that is all you got out of all this person had to say? How sad for you.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • Duh

        John – You didn't notice he was correcting his own post?

        March 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Teresa

      I have been in education almost 15 years, and I have worked in several schools. Capping anyone's salary based on conditions is idealistic at best. I have worked at a school where the kids have everything, and their scores show they come from a have everything home. They have parents that push and expose them to learn and experience new things. Which helps increase their vocabulary and ability to score better on a test. However, I have worked on the exact opposite campus as well. The students do not have what they need, especially food. Consequently, to the student and parents, education is not a priority. Both campuses had or have excellent teachers. Both campuses have students of various IQs. However, they are not equal in life experience, and it shows. Should a teacher be paid more because he or she just happens to be lucky enough to teach at a school where the students are better prepared by their home life to pass a test? Heck no!!! And if we did, what would happen to those students who don't have the best background? This is not to the poster of this response; this is to people in general. I am tired of hearing about pay based on performance using one piece of data. How valid is that?I am tired of people who have not spent one day walking in the shoes of a teacher pretending they have any idea what it is like to walk into a classroom and teach. And, I think that until you have been where we are, your opinion is based on pure fiction and therefore not valid at all.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Doledart

        I couldn't disagree more with you, and maybe it's the definition of "performance" that the difference, but I see it as not overall performance where a more privileged child scores better, but growth performance. A perfect example is my wife. She was teaching sixth grade at an inner city school with mostly ESL students. She had one child who was reading at a 2nd grade level and failing just about everything. By the end of the year that child was reading at level, and the following hear was honors. THAT is performance, where the growth for a student who is already doing well won't be as significant and thus because they are "easier", for lack of a better term, to teach, well off school systems my not see the same monetary increases, thus bringing potentially better teachers to where they are needed.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  46. joe in se pa

    20 years as a spouse of educator of elementary to middle (bermuda triangle of education) seen good- bad administrations, teachers, students, parents, union barganing.... public liars..... all have one thing in common they lack a strong philosophical morality and belief in accountability by all involved. How much is a child worth, can we only provide to a child what an professional educator contributes and expect a rounded well equipped individual... test measuring is a cop out for those who refuse face the fact that accountability is every ones investment in any child they come in contact with..... if we continue to treat others and society at large as basically not important you can throw all the money in the world at it and it doesn't matter until everybody truly looks inside and truly cares.. just look at the FEd Govt an utter failure..... do we want our children to turn out like this... come on, teaching is not just a classroom phenomenon and caring is a universal one..... I like baseball too but lets keep the recreation in the park and the caring in the home and support to these people who do practicly the impossible most days................... once that's done then we can sit down and see if we can start to improve on a process that has been on going since Aristotle..............

    March 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  47. Teachers scared of tests

    I find it ironic that teachers that administer tests to our youth, which will help them learn, are afraid of being tested themselves.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Brian

      Just curious, do you get tested on your ability each year at your place of work, that is work?

      March 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • Renait

        Most employees in this country do face an annual "evaluation process," which is just as useless as this system and almost as destructive.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Frank Rizzo

      Taking a test helps a student learn? Stop now before you embarass yourself.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Lisa

      Clearly you are NOT an educator. You probably were the child that fit perfectly into the peg? No special education, no recent arrival to this country, just the perfect average peg. I like how the government thinks all kids are these perfect pegs that teachers will have fit into this box by a certain age or grade level. Clearly NOT educators.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Get Real

      I find it funny that many teachers' response is "Obviously, you are not a teacher". It's logically unsound rebuttal that should never be used. Only those with intimate knowledge of the material they are teaching (be it in school, business, military, etc) should be teaching. If an 8th grade math teacher is too afraid to take an 8th grade math test, they shouldn't be teaching (even before they take the test). They should be dying to take the test. Knowing the material is only a small part of the job, conveying the knowledge and skills is the actual "teaching". I'm not saying if they get 1 question wrong, fire'em, just saying why not test them, b/c I know plenty of bad teachers who do NOT know the material (and I know many awesome ones who work their butts off thanklessly).

      As as for whether others are tested, yes, most people in the normal world, their work is auto-graded mentally by their bosses, and those who don't do a good job do not get raises, those who do not have enough knowledge to do the job are terminated.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • dleppek

      Scared of tests......I dont think so. In order to become a teacher in my state we had to take tests to prove our understanding in the subject areas we planned to teach. Also Major/Minor in subject we teach. This process more often then not would "weed out" those that were scared to test. Also to judge me on my work and understanding is fair, but to grade me on someone elses work borders on crazy. Tell you what, I will sit down and test for you anytime you desire, In return you pay me like any professional with a Mathematics degree in the priviate sector.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

      You misunderstand the issue. The teachers are not the ones being given the test. The students are given the test, and the teacher is rated based on how the students do.
      Some of the problems are: the teacher has no control over the quality of students coming into the class (if the students are already behind, getting them to perform at grade level is difficult), the teacher has no control over the students home environment (a student from a household that does not value education will usually do poorly in school), the teacher has no control over class sizes (students from smaller classes are shown to reliably perform better on tests), not every student is given a standardized test every year for every subject (How do you rate art teachers? How do you rate PE teachers? If you test 6th graders for math, how do you rate 7th grade math teachers?), and the list goes on.
      The standardized test scores of the students are a measure only a fool would use to rate a teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • spent

      Afraid to take test? Where did you get your information, and what is it based!

      March 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  48. DMV

    I have 3 kids, a senior, 8th grade and 4th grade. The only thing our schools here in PA seem to care about is the PSSA's. To heck with actually teaching the kids the things they need to know it's all about the tests. My 4th grader is doing geometry..that's insane. I can honestly say I teacher bash also, when I am spending 2-3 hours a night on homework with my youngest because they are flying through everthing in school for the PSSA's instead of actually TEACHING the kids then yes, I have a huge problem with that.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Gang

      Teachers have to do that because they are now required to teach to the test. If you don't you will be let go, don't be mad at teachers for this issue its not their fault, they aren't the ones that decided to make the test.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • umm

        Exactly this.
        Teachers don't like having to teach to the test either, but the school district/school board/state/nation require the testing and have changed the standards for what has to be taught and often HOW it has to be taught.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Teacher in MT

      Trust me.....teachers think geometry in 4th grade is stupid too....but you're problem with teachers being obsessed with acramming material for a test should be directed towards federal policy regarding education, not the educators themselves. As a special education teacher, I am so frustrated that my kids, who can do math and reading at about a 4th grade level, are required to take the 7th assessment and their scores will be considered when it is determined if we pass or fail as a school. You have a right to be do teachers....make sure your feelings are directed towards those responsible....

      March 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • immigrant

        For people concerned about geometry in 4th grade – give yourself a favor and look at education programs in other countries. Math and science in public schools here (in US) is a JOKE. it's ironic how country with best universities has so bad public school program.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Teacher from CA

      I agree with Gang. Everything depends on ONE test in May. The students are being tested to death. Not only do they have quizzes, chapter tests, and unit exams, now they also have benchmark exams. I miss being able to teach my students to think and explain their reasoning. All that counts now is if they can bubble in the correct answer.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Yeah but...

        If they can fill in the correct bubble every time, they've learned what they should have learned, no? Too much manual testing, grading, etc is too time consuming, agreed. There is a reason for testing. And a lot of smaller tests is better – the sooner you know what kids don't know which things and you/they remediate (remediation massively overlooked in our system – everyone just "moves on" w/ most not knowing all they should, all things that have "postrequisites"), the better. The year end high stakes test results should be predictable, based on the previous unit tests, and should just be confirming they did indeed learn what you know they learned.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

      Teachers didn't decide to do this, politicians (most of who know NOTHING about being educators) decided teachers had to.
      You are bashing the wrong people.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  49. BobRooney

    Teacher Unions..members.
    Me.. me.. me.. Give me.. Give me.. Give me ! I don't care if the country goes down..
    Just GIVE ME.. GIVE ME !!

    March 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Gang

      You confused that with parents:

      "Teach my kid, raise my kid, tutor my kid, make my kid long as I don't have to get off the couch"

      March 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • Lburk

        The funny thing is you're both correct. Sad....

        March 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • John

        That is so true!!!!!!!!!

        March 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • Doledart

        @Lburk....ding..ding..ding...and the prize goes to!!!!!!! This is not a one sided problem. There are some great teachers out there, but the lazy incompetent ones that the Union will not allow the schools to get rid of ruin the reputation of all. On the reverse there are the parents (who should never have been parents) who are either too busy or too stupid to care what their kids are doing. They want teachers to hand back perfect little children and cannot figure out why that's not reasonable.
        I also fault whoever believe came up with teaching to the test. Basically lowering the bar for all students. They should be removed.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • MJ

      Obviously you are not a teacher. If doctors, lawyers, businessmen, etc. demand that they be paid, why can't teachers. After all, teachers help foster those people to be who/what they are today...

      March 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • jesussays

        Having been one for a year, I can state from experience what bums most teachers are, not to mention having been a student of so many. These derelicts, predominantly unemployable in the private sector are overpaid and under worked. Most do as little as possible to get a check, a retirement plan unheard of in private sector and a gravy schedule with no summers, weekends or holidays. Far beyond high time to adjust compensation to align it with the real world. Look at the return we get on Sesame Street vs. our public schools. Actually in a graduate program at this time and of the dozen or so professors I have had, two have legitimately earned their pay. The rest are bums. That is about consistent with my entire public education experience.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • McBain

        In higher education, you get what you put into jesussays. Sounds like maybe the problem was you.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mark Kosberg

      You wouldn't last 2 minutes as a teacher

      Keep downing the Cheetos and voting against your interest you Tea Bagger

      March 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Booby Trap

      Do you want your kids to get more from their education? Do more for your own kids. Read to them, talk to them about their homework, participate in their projects, volunteer at the school – and stop expecting the public babysitter to do it all for you!!!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Booby Trap

      Here's a shocker... MOST teachers I know (myself included) would really love to see the unions abolished and the school boards reduced to almost nothing. Let the schools and parents run their own schools and guess what (another shocker)... kids would do better in school AND we'll do it with LESS MONEY!!!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • art aronsen

        And guess what? Those parents with lots of money, well their students would get all the A's and the student of the parent who did not have all that money would not get all A's.....

        I see enough of those parent in public school and due to the fact I am tenured I do not have to worry about those rich, swelled headed students who mimic their parents....they either do the work correctly or get a lower grade....I do not care who the parents are....

        You would not last 1 year under the system you are thinking about, Your knees would have to have rubber pads on them for all the kneeling you would be doing.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
      • Wondering

        Be careful what you wish for Booby Trap. I worked in MD and they started "front end loading" pay for 1st year teachers. I was in my 8th year teaching and a student who I had taught, finished college and with out any experience in the classroom was making $1,500 less than me. There were some teachers with less years than me making less than first year teachers. The unions in MD have no barginning power so they are useless. If you want to get rid of the unions, be my guest. But don't start crying when you start being taken advantage of from everybody in the education field. I'm now in a strong union state and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm not making a killing like everyone thinks teachers make, but I'm not living pay check to pay check either. It's a happy medium.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • TStreet

      Obviously you haven't spent time in today's school. I've taught 17 years in inner city Houston; our district has also adopted the use of value added to evaluate teachers, yet the district's own experts cannot explain how it is calculated, when we ask the pat answer is well it is complicated and everything has been normed. What is missing is student motivation and holding parents accountable. Often times we are nothing more thaan glorified babysitters. Yes districts including mine essentially have us teach to the test although they would nevber come out and say it. Way too much emphasis in American education is on the results of three or four standardized tests given on one day out of 180. That is no way to judge the effectiveness of any teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Teacher Frank

      Sorry, but you have close to no idea what you are talking about.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

      My spouse is a teacher in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.
      Took a 30% pay cut to become a teacher.
      No raises for three years.
      Seems to me someone in it for the money would have quit.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • A teacher

      I've talked about this with some of my co-workers, and most of us are union members for one reason only... We are afraid some parent is going to come up with some excuse to sue us, and the union provides legal coverage.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  50. SusanE

    I've been a teacher for four years now and am always amazed at the vitriol aimed at teachers. In the state where I teach there are no teacher's unions...there are still bad teachers, but it is much easier to show them the door. Unfortunately it seldom happens because of silly school politics. While I think the idea of teacher's unions are ridiculous I also believe with all my heart that evaluating teacher's based on their student's test scores is worthless. Requiring all teachers to become National Board certified would weed out a LOT of the bad teachers because of the rigors of the program. But until they bring down the $2K price tag to complete the National Board program, I'm not sure I can afford to attempt it at my $37K salary!

    March 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • AnneSD

      I like the idea of certification and think that it could be done in a fair way that benefits both the teacher and the public.
      1 – all teaching positions would require certification and every teacher would have a reasonable amount of time to become certified, based on how the requirements and how long they have been teaching (say 1-4 years, maybe). During that time, the uncertified teacher would be on probation, subject to monitoring and possible removal if they can't teach effectively.
      2 – the teacher would pay the up front cost of certification but afterwards, the school district would reimburse reasonable costs (up to a specified limit per district) on the condition that the teacher signs a contract to remain in that district for at least 1 or 2 full school years or they have to pay the money back (exceptions could be made from hardships).

      I think this would be good for the public, because they would have more confidence in the teachers and for the teachers themselves, because it would give them something concrete to point to that shows they are professionals, not babysitters to be kicked around by politicians and the public.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Booby Trap

      You had me until the part that the $37k/yr teacher has to pay for all certification costs.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Learn to read...

        OP said she GETS paid 37K, not she has to pay 37K.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Epiphany

      You've been a teacher for 4 years, and you think that "the idea of teacher's unions are ridiculous...". Idea is singular. Are is plural. Unions is plural. "Idea of teachers' unions is ridiculous" is a correctly worded statement.

      "...evaluating teacher's based on...". In this instance, it should be "teachers". Plural. Not possessive, nor as a contraction for "teacher is".

      When those who are supposed to be teaching our children are incapable of grasping the basic fundamentals of sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation is it any wonder so many of us parents (and yes it's "us parents", not "we parents") have so little respect for the educational system in this country?

      March 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Teacher in MT

        wow...and the attacking continues...

        March 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • jesussays

        Bravo! Excellent editing, although it was probably in vain. If this "teacher" has not learned the fundamentals of proper grammar yet, then it is unlikely that s/he ever will.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  51. Mark in California

    The problem with education will only start to resolve itself when teachers take the raising of children away from parents. Yes we have bad teachers, but the one large reason private schools do so better is that nearly ALL the parents care, otherwise they wouldn't have sent their kids there. We have so many poor parents out there letting their kids run wild that anything short of segragation of children into Good Parents and Bad, will not allow the good parented children to thrive.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  52. Terry

    If you want a real "Eye Opener" go down to a local high school and request permission to sit in on a few classes. What you are going to find is 80% of the students staying involved with the classroom instruction. Then you will observe 15% of the students listening to music on their MP3 player, or reading a magazine. The real problems are caused by the remaining 5%. Each time a class is disrupted by a 5%'er, there is a three to five minute stoppage of instruction while the teacher tries to restore order. When this happens three or more times during the class, almost half of the instruction time is lost. The best part, if a student is sent to the office, and a parent is called in for counseling, you need to hear how upset the parents get when they have been called away from work, and they immediately start in on the teacher's inability to teach properly. If you want to know what is wrong with the American Education System, I suggest you look no further than the parents of students who are screw-ups. As a tutor and mentor for at risk kids, they can be turned around when they realize that someone cares about their success and failure. If parents care, the students do well. If parents blame the school system, I always check on their child's grades. If you want to make a difference, get involved at a local school.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Booby Trap

      that's not an eye opener... that's called classroom management. Moreover, if MORE parents were involved, we could cut the 15% by more than half!!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  53. tribecagal

    I work in the for profit sector. I am evaluated based on performance and am rewarded (compensated) accordingly. I have no tenure, no union. As long as the tenure system exists and mediocre to horrible teachers are allowed to stay in the system, as long as the "rubber room" continues to exists, and as long as teachers are not evaluated based on performance the public will continue to have the opinion that "those who can do, those who can't teach".

    March 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Frank Rizzo

      You are evaluated by how much money you can make for your employer. Period. And, you get the freedom to modify your product to make it more attractive to customers so that it sells.

      Show me one example where a teacher gets to "modify" their product (students).

      March 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Booby Trap

      How about this... abolish teacher unions and make school boards all volunteer. Let parents and teachers run their own schools. You'd save a lot of cash and kids would do better.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  54. theseconddavid

    The egalitarian American public education system is mostly to blame for the failures of American education as of late. However, the tenure based system of retaining teachers is also to blame. Years of bad teaching should not outweigh good teaching. Until teachers are hired and fired on their merits, not their years of service, their profession will be a failure. There must be punishment for poor performance, and since the teachers are unionized, that must be a criteria that is in black and white. Either de-unionize and judge each teacher individually, or stay in the union and accept black and white decisions on your job performance.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  55. Jim

    Bashing teachers became my favorite hobby when my twins were in 4th grade. I tried very hard to be a supportive and understanding parent who worked with the school and the PTA, not against them. It turns out that three and half years of crappy teaching from people who shouldn't be allowed near children was all I could take. Right now if one of the candidates for president ran on a platform of "let's burn all the schools to the ground and start over again from scratch" I would vote for them in a heartbeat. Our entire educational system SUCKS. It was designed from the ground up to prepare children to go work in factories when they turn 13. It is systematically unsuitable for the 21st century. We need to stop messing around with minute details about rating teachers and improving textbooks and start rethinking the very foundation of what we're teaching kids and how we're doing it.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • jason

      Settle down francis. You sound bitter and unreasonable. I doubt things were really that bad. You got a bad taste in your mouth and decided to hold a grudge. You need a hug. Its not your fault, Will. Its not your fault. Look at me... its not your fault.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Wondering


        March 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  56. TiredAndAngry

    The people bashing teachers are the ones who don't know a THING about being a teacher. These people who make rules about teachers (school board members, etc.) are ignorant about education and teachers, yet they are making the decisions. I am so angry to see what is being said about teachers and done to the unions which protect them–I could just scream. The parents of these children are not held responsible for providing a good home situation or support for their kids. Our society values baseball more than it's own students well being. Teachers are underpaid and overworked and criticized for things that are not their fault. Money needs to be invested in our PUBLIC school system. Stop bashing teachers, or soon the ones that were doing because they CARE about kids will be gone–and then they will have nobody to beat up on. Get rid of NO CHILD left behind before there are NO TEACHERS Left to Bash!!

    March 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • tribecagal

      Underpaid and overworked? Where in the non-union sector is compensation negotiated based on tenure? Where else do employees get the summer plus another 6 weeks in holidays? Wake couldn't survive in the real world!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
      • Gang

        You are truly stupid. Many teachers spend the majority of their summers working on their classrooms for the new school year, re-arranging their rooms, etc. And holiday's @ 6 weeks a year is laughable. You truly are a misinformed child. Grow up, go shadow a teacher and see that their work day doesn't end at 3pm; go with a teacher on saturday and sunday when they are grading papers, filling out report cards, writing lesson plans, etc. Stupid people like yourself, are truly stupid.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • not so fast

        Are you serious? I feel like I have to explain this everytime someone thinks they understand a teacher's payscale, but here we go again....
        Teachers are SALARIED employees....not hourly.
        Teachers can CHOOSE to be paid for 12 months, but are only paid for the 10 months of service that they put in.
        Teachers work well before the "bell" and well after it. Not that we complain, it is part of the job working "just 6 hours a day"

        March 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Mark Kosberg

        You wouldn't last 3 minutes as a teacher

        March 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • Jeff

        Dear tribecagal,This is just a quick reminder we do not work in the summer because schools are closed and we cannot work. We do not teach on holidays because schools are closed and we cannot work. We do not receive compensation for those days we are not allowed to work. We are compensated for the days we are actually in school. In many districts, that salary for a restricted number of days is then spread out over a full calendar year. The days we are not in school are not paid holidays, which I believe do exist in the private sector.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Nic

        I am a teacher in an affluent area. While I have a lot of support from parents, I have little support from administration. This is not because admin doesn't want to help, but because they are stretched so thin with budget cuts. Our instructional growth teacher does her job and for a while the district made her also take the role of Spec. Ed teacher. I have 30 2nd graders in a small classroom and I work about 80 hours a week to accommodate all their learning abilities...because that is what being a teacher is about. So, when you say what other job gets 6 weeks off during the year and that our job is easy....THINK AGAIN! It is one of the toughest jobs to do and I get paid maybe minimum wage when you calculate how many hours I work and how much I make per year. It's atrocious that our government lets it happen and they wonder why our educational system is crappy. Sometimes I wish I could go back to my cushy job sitting behind a computer all day and get to go home at a decent hour to spend time with my family, but no – that is the life of a teacher.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • Teacher in MT

        Where else can you be terminated from a job without any reason during your first three years?? Even McDonald's cant do that after 6 months and yet college educated teachers are at risk for loosing their job without cause for THREE YEARS! Tenure may have a lot of issues but I for one would like to at least be told why I am being terminated. Without being tenured my principal, school board, and/or superintendent aren't required to tell me a damn thing...

        March 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • Jane

        To the post attacking teachers for their 'life of leisure.'

        For 35 years I taught high school biology (regular, Honors, AP), Anatomy and Physiology (Honors/ AP), Chemistry (regular, Honors). About 10 years ago, out of curiosity I computed before-school, after-school, weekend, and at-home hours spent preparing lessons, setting up and taking down labs, attending meetings, volunteering for activities and clubs, grading, and tutoring students, and attending summer seminars and classes at my expense. Now add processing standardized tests and remediation on top of that. My time spent on teaching was by no means the exception for teachers I knew.

        After adding those hours to the end of the school year and and to the Christmas (2 weeks) spring break (1 week), fall break (2 days), and Presidents' Day, I was left with < 1 week of 'free' time in one year, assuming a 9.5 hour day.

        Anyone would conclude that was an excellent return on my maximum salary of $59,000 in 2010. Turned out to be about minimum wage. There are many issues that need to be addressed about schools: testing, laws, parent responsibility, working conditions, expectations, and teaching quality. Teachers' lack of 'time on task' certainly isn't one of them.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • Jess

        Those teachers may have the summer off, but keep in mind... it's unpaid. That is unless they chose to have their $30K/year salary spread out over the 52 weeks in the year.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
      • art aronsen

        We are in the real world....When I am not in class, I do not get paid as I am on contract for 185 days a year and that is vacation pay, no holiday pay....just pay for time in the classroom...

        no pay for grading paper at night, or extra time with students after school....

        you are not in the real world, teacher are...

        March 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  57. FlyGuyinSJ

    I moved my kids from public school to private school – at great personal expense and hardship – for the 2011-12 school year for one reason: the quality – or lack thereof – of the teachers at their public school. That's not "teacher bashing" – that's just telling the truth. Being a teacher does not, and should not, somehow make a person exempt from being told they stink at their job.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • jason

      Agreed, but there is only one factor that really matters regarding test scores – money. Do the research. Rich schools do well on tests, poor schools don't. Rich schools have rich parents who pay high taxes (or tuition) for high quality schools. Basic economic model: you get what you pay for.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • SweetPea

        It's not a matter of how much money schools receive. Look at all of the money being spent on Abbott districts in New Jersey. [Abbott districts are school districts in poor neighborhoods that were determined to be substandard]. They are receiving on average $3,000 more per student that other school districts. It hasn't made a difference. Those schools are still failing and the students are the ones who are suffering. Throwing money at failing schools did not make a difference and is not the solution. I truly believe that there needs to be a community commitment to education to make a successful school/school district – that includes cooperation between parents, teachers, and the administration.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • LISA

      WELL SAID!
      WELL SAID!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  58. Bobbie

    Whine, whine , whine! It's about time teachers were held accountable for the miserable job they've been doing for the last 40 years! They constantly complain about how tough their job is, and how underpaid they are, for PART TIME work!! I have said for years, if their job is so hard and under appreciated, why don't they take thier degree and get a REAL job. We all know the answer to that, they're not going to hop off the gravy train and have to work all year. Public unions need to go the way of the dinosaurs. They are an unsustainable economic model and are destroying the education system in this country.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Jon B

      In tough economic times it is easy to get angry with a segment of society that has job security and the potential of a funded retirement after 25 or 30 years of service. When people have less, are living with less or are struggling they get angry at those who have some of the things that they want. They fill the sting of inequality more bitterly. People want to point to that inequality and they want to hold up for ridicule any abuse in the system, not matter how small. That teacher that abused a child and has not been fired or that Fireman who is collecting a pension and has another lucrative job in another state, this is a small percentage generally speaking, but in tough economic times it brings out the anger of society and Bloomberg is using that anger as a means to an end. His own autocratic end, quite simply he wants to break the Teachers Union. Why has he negotiated with the Firemen’s Union, the Police Union, the Waste Disposal Union all have contracts and yet the Teachers Union is without a contract.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Fed up

        Jon perhaps then we should expect industry and business to hold up their end instead of tearing down the most critical component in our society.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • jason

      I agree with a lot of what you say Bobbie, but this is not the teacher's fault. We need to find a way out of the situation that doesn't drive an entire vocation (teaching) into poverty.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • Bobbie

        You're still buying into the ' poor underpaid teacher myth' ! In virtually all cases, their wages plus benefits is much higher than the people (taxpayers ) who pay them. And it IS a part time job.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Charles

      You get what you pay for. You pay crap and you will get either crap or those that do it for the love of it.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • mkjp

      Bobbie – are you going to teach everyone's kids instead? Teaching IS a real job, much more so than many other ways that people choose to fill their time. The fact of the matter is that someone has to teach the next generation because the people having kids nowadays can't parent their way out of a paper bag, let alone teach their kids the academic and life skills they need to succeed. True, teachers only work part of the year. If you want to work only part of the year and you think they get paid "the big bucks," why the h e l l aren't you a teacher??? Doesn't make you very smart, now does it?

      March 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Fed up

      Bobbie our school systems are the ones that produce 90% of the Noibel prize winners and make out colleges the envy of the world and have people willing to pay a fortune to get into them and its the terachers faults. You are one gullible tool.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Robert

      Human monkeys are not very bright. Maybe we can do better, but just look at Bobbie's comment. We won't.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jim

      I have a "real" degree – it's a masters degree in mechanical engineering. I was accepted to both Columbia and Cornell universities. I worked for 10 years in the "real" world. For the past 8 years, I've been teaching middle school math. I've never worked harder nor enjoyed it more. Your comments don't deserve a response.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • Mark Kosberg

        How DARE you use facts when talking to a Tea Bagger?

        March 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • TeachersRule

      Teachers work harder in 9 months than most do in 12! Seriously, unless you are one, you have no clue! Most of you can't even handle your own kids for the few hours we send them home to you!!! If parents would do their job then they wouldn't have to blame teachers for their guilt! There are bad teachers..yes, there are bad workers in all professions! We do not live in a perfect world! I take work home daily, spend a great amount of my own money and stress about the progress of my kids! We are given the bunch we get and told to wave a magic wand and get those test scores up! If we could hand pick our bunch, like most who are judged are able to do, that would be a much easier task! Teachers Rock!!!!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • LISA

        MOST teachers DON'T work hard for 9 months! I am in a public school district – in a magnet school, public Montessori. There is an Instructional Assistant (paraprofessional) in EVERY classroom. Come on now? As for spending YOUR money, maybe you should utilize your school's PTO/PTA (more tax payer funds from the 5-7 FUND RAISERS per year)? Be HONEST about all the resources that exist and YOU just don't choose to use them? Parents want Teachers to TEACH. Stop getting distracted.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Anita

      Wow, I do not respond to these boards, but that last post was just WAY over the top. Bobbie, I left what you refer to as a "real job" making twice the money I am now to become a teacher. Not because it was easy or fun, but because I left called to help students with disabilities. Now, I work more hours then ever, have to hold a side job to pay the bills, and still I am bashed every day in the paper. The majority of teachers CARE for their students, work extremely hard every day to teach them what is required by our states, and, most importantly, nurture a child's spirit. In the past 6 years I have been in education, I have worked harder yet had more fulfillment than I found in that other job; however, seeing responses from people like Bobbie sets my teeth on edge. Trade places with me for one work, then you can talk about a real job. If you are an educator, the day never ends.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Teacher in MT

      Part time??? I may get time off in the summer and breaks during the year but I arrive at school at 7:30 in the morning and I do not get to my car (to make my 35 minute commute home) until AFTER 5:30! That's a 10 hour day....and I dont take my lunch "hour" so I can work with kids!! Ask my husband if I work part time....

      March 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • clemmie

      Can we hold parents accountable for the product they bring to the door of the school. You can only do some much with a sow's ear. While a good teacher is important, it is just as important to have involved parents (not just complaining). I am a teacher with over 20 years experience. I work with special populations, parents are often complaining because the child isn't getting the work done. No matter how simple I make it. I will buy and set up a homework folder for the student, I will put the work in the folder with a post-it telling them how to do the work and the date it needs to be done on, I will fill out the studnet's agenda with all the same information in it. Then I send it home with the student and GUESS WHAT, it comes back the next day with the material still where I put it. Then mom emails and wants to know why the work is missing, her child told her she had all the work done. When this happens again tomorrow, I will again reply that mom needs to check her homework folder and agenda. By the way I teach high school, now if I went home with every kid I might be able to get all the material done so the concepts are learned.
      the short story PARENTS must also be actively involved in what is happening.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • A Teacher

      If teaching is that great of a job, well then why does not everyone want to be one?? In order for a teacher to do an excellent job the public must first examine themselves. As a teacher I am suppose to fix the problems that you send to school. If you never feed your child, never love your child, never set good example, never give positive encouragement, most importantly never teach your child self respect, as a teacher I must fix that first. I feed my students, I clothe my students, I show love and respect to my students doing with coming across a pedophile. I know I do teach with some people that should not be teachers, but what about the cop, doctor, dentist, lawyer, and ditch digger that suck at their job? The problem is as teacher in this generation we are the parent, teacher, counselor, coach, mentor, and excellent role model that you as a parent are not to your child. The child that comes to school is a broken child if the parents have not done their job. Then you bash the rest of the 90% of good teachers who do their job with they cannot teach. To compare apples to apples if a doctor was placed under no child left behind this is what he would have to do:
      1. Regardless of diet, family history, money, and educational level all of his patience would be in 100% perfect health. All of his patience will complete monthly test and answer questions. Does not matter if the patience can or cannot be there it counts. Does not matter the age or if the person is in a comma it counts.
      2. He has to treat one patience a minute or faster. The must understand every word he says when talking to them about their health. It does not matter if the patience has not eaten over the weekend or was just abused by mom and dad, or saw dad beat up mom then abused his sister it all counts for the test.
      3. If he cannot do this then we take things away from him. Like access to hospital facilities, lab facilities, his office.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  59. jason

    As a career educator there is no way I would recommend that one of my kids enter this profession. It is a dead end and in 15 years high schools will no longer exist due to online education. Elementary schools will hang on as public babysitting but junior high will transition kids to home based schooling. It is pure economics.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Richard G.

      First, that's a bold prediction.

      Second, are you suggesting that High School students don't need "babysitting" as well? Parents of High School students have jobs. You think a 15 year-old has the self discipline to sit down at 8am every morning and stay online until 3- or 4-pm?

      March 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • dantespada

      I have to agree. Education will be virtual and on line. Unfortunatly our most important function is free babysitting. After 23 years of teaching I must be really naive because the level of hostility here is really shocking.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  60. Bob

    Remember when Teachers, Public Employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401k's, took trilions in taxpayer bail outs, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me niether.
    Teaching is not, nor should it be managed like a business. Businesses should not either obviously.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  61. Charles

    Teachers are paid to teach, not parent. Parents are responsible for what they bring in to this world. When they misbehave, they should be sent home. Let's see how long that would go on. All of the bashers are the trash that are dumping your kids for the free daycare. Teachers should be evaluated by observation, not test scores. If the little turd doesn't learn the material, he fails! I have a lot of respect for teachers. They babysit your kids, they get paid crap, they spend their own money on work, the are constantly critisized, and most have more degrees than telecom engineers. Without teachers, none of us would be worth a bit.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  62. Michael

    As a future teacher, the idea of such high scrutiny of my performance–made indirectly through my students–can be unsettling. I'm also afraid that one-size-fits-all tests and national standards are only gaining more support around the country. I am willing to face all this, however, because I'm committed to the future of our children. As for possible improvements to the current system, you mentioned, Sam, that the standards of a national board of peer teachers is also gaining steam. I am familiar with standards and am grateful that this is a more comprehensive assessment of teacher performance. On the other hand, is the idea of a national standard too restrictive, especially when it cannot consider the wide-range of contexts for schools in this country? Could it even cover the diverse range of classroom environments in New York?

    March 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  63. liz

    As the Mom of a Teacher who works a 60 hour week most weeks without overtime who gives up Saturdays to meet with working parents and has spent many hours advocating for kids who have no one else let me say Thank You ! I am so tired of hearing from people who have no idea what a career as a Teacher entails because to a person not one of them would work without compensation or willingly have their evaluations posted in the local newspapers but apparently all think Teachers don't do enough. Want to fix the system the first thing we need to do is get rid of No Child Left Behind it forces Teachers to teach to the test rather than teach the child. Next we need to put the same money into poor districts as we do wealthy. We have to make kids believe they can make a better life through education than they can being thugs. We need to make sure they have enough food it is shocking how many kids come to school hungry. We need to make Parents part of the solution not adversaries and finally we need to understand cutting the budget in education most time means increasing it in the criminal justice system. We pay one way or another.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • NC2012

      And, parents need to be held accountable. I have seen and heard of many parents (i.e. my wife's classrooms throughout the years), who blame the teacher because the child is failing or falling behind yet the parents never review the homework with the kids, pay attention to how the child is performing or seek out alternatives to help supplement their child's education to give them a better chance. I think that people who receive public assistance should be held accountable for their children's education. I'm not saying that the kids need to be all "A" students. But, the lazy parent should be held accountable. They shouldn't be getting assistance if they are failing at parenting. And, I don't agree with the statement that the teachers evaluations should be made public. If that's the case, what about law enforcement and other government jobs, then? That is an invasion of privacy, in my opinion. How would others like their evalutations made public? My wife is a teacher in NC, which is very low in the rankings for teacher salary. Should she have to put up with the crap she puts up with on a daily basis, continually having to defend her self to these lazy parents? If parents would take part in their childrens education then maybe we can begin evaluating teachers, fairly.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • NC2012

        Let me explain. I don't mean to say that all parents who receive plublic assistance are lazy. I have, however, experienced alot of lazy parents on public assistance in my wife's school (the same school my two children attend). "All" parents need to be involved in their childs education. Point blank-period! Maybe, getting one group involved might be to tie it to their public assistance stipend that they receive every month. I bet if you told them, your'e gong to need to get involved and we need to see improvement in your child or you could lose benefits. As far as those not receiving assistance, I wouldn't know how to approach that.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  64. CP125

    Did anyone ever doubt that that would happen? Twenty-five years ago I opted out from becoming a teacher as the writing was on wall even then. With parents being the know-it-alls, whether they have the education or not, and teachers being relegated to a minor role in children's education as well as disrepected, who needs the trouble.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  65. jayme

    Those of you who critisize teachers need to replace them for a week and see how you handle a class of young kids.
    Teachers cannot and should not be totally resp for outcomes . Outcomes are baed upon the cards you are dealt and its that simple. you get a good deck and you get good results..bad deck , not so good. Stop asking teachers to make bricks with no straw. Education begins at home an continues there and if there is no values/discipline in the home how the hell can you expect someone else to create that.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Logic

      I don't need to be a plumber to know a crappy plumbing job when I see one. I think any educated person who has gone through the education system has the perspective to judge teaching. Would I want to be a plumber for a week just to see how hard it is? No. We can agree teaching is hard, we can also agree when someone should look for another career without being certified.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • FlyGuyinSJ

        Spot on. When I was a student, I knew that many teachers were not any good at teaching. The fact that I'm a parent does not somehow disqualify me from making that same judgement now.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • Jillicentix

        Apt metaphor, considering that dealing with children is just like dealing with faulty toilets.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • Gang

        Logic, if you think you have the right to criticize a teacher because you went through school then you are sadly mistaken. The govt and others like yourself wish to cut school funding and unfairly grade teachers on the performance of their students based on a standardized test, and then you probably are the same idiot who tells the teachers not to teach to the test. You are truly blind to the plight of the teacher in this country.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  66. NC2012

    How about a report on parents and their ability to raise their children and prepare them for life? How about parents ability to ensure that what their children learn in shcool is reinforced at home? I am so sick of the teacher bashing and abuse that goes on in the U.S. and in the schools today. And, the aministration doesn't back up its teachers. My wife is a 20 year elementary school teacher with a bachelors in education and masters in reading, at an inner city school. She is an excellent teacher (and, I don't say that because she's my wife, I've been told that by parents and teachers alike and based on her reviews). The disrespect she receives from parents and students is sickening. And, to work 20 years with her education and make so little money? I make almost twice and have only a H.S. education.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Brian

      NC2012 – well stated!

      March 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  67. Meizlost

    I am completing my student teaching this semester for my Master's degree and I have tons of kids failing my class not because I am a bad teacher but because they do not do the work. I teach sociology and give them a lot of opportunities for self expression on topics and their are no right or wrong answers, but many of the students just don't do anything. I'm not going to give them grades for work they do not complete, but it makes me look bad that so many are failing. I think I am quite an effective teacher and my evaluations show that I am but if you look at the grade book it would tell a different story. Things are so bad for teachers where I live I refuse to even teach in this state.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  68. Gary Stager

    Good article Sam,

    Perhaps you should have used the Salem witch trials as the metaphor, rather than baseball.

    The one point I think you missed in endorsing public school choice in the current climate of ritual shaming is that true choice is impossible when every school is made to be exactly the same through the narrow chase of standardized test scores. There used to be great diversity and pedagogical pluralism in the NYC public schools. Parents knew which school (or teacher) was a better fit for their child or was congruent with their personal educational philosophy. Based on THAT information, prudent school choices could be made. – This is no longer possible since a one-size-fits-all model imposed by plutocrats without an inkling about how learning occurs are reshaping schools into joyless test-prep sweatshops they would never tolerate for their own children.

    Make no mistake, these so-called "reforms" are hell-bent on reducing the cost of public education to zero where the transfer of public treasure will be made to private testing corporations and people who think teachers may be replaced by YouTube videos – for other people's children of course.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Sam Chaltain

      Thanks for taking the time to check it out, Gary. You may well be right, and yet I maintain (fleeting?) hope that if we can do a better job of clarifying what great teaching and learning looks like - and requires, then maybe we can unleash a virtuous cycle in the brave new world of school choice that can better lift all boats.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
      • art aronsen

        Sam, you can have the best teacher in the world, but if the student does not want to learn the material it is a choice they exercise and do exercise. Behavior in the classroom is at a all time level of disrespect and teacher spend more time dealing with that than they want to as it takes away time from teaching.
        The ones that need to be held accountable are the they want the education offered or don't they? Problem here is that they are to immature to make that decision, but what they do know is that they do not really want to work that hard learning material to master it....they want to socialize and have fun.....
        I teach high school and they will absorb what they feel is important and shine on anything they feel is not that important, but yet expect to get into a good named college or university.
        It is unfortunate, but the students understanding of what they can do and where they can go if they only work hard to learn falls on deaf ears except for a small percentage....
        All these reforms lead to teach to the test and not the material....depth of knowledge.


        March 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Uh Huh

        Art, right you are. No one can understand thel drain on time and emotional energy. It steals from the class time for
        the majority of students who want to learn, having to babysit the "care nots." You could be the greatest teacher in the world and given a pair of clever trouble makers playing a game, it can get to you eventually. Bashers are causing
        the best and the brightest never wanting to ever go near being a teacher.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • JD

      Replacing teachers with YouTube videos is exactly what happens when businessmen run schools–they think childhood education is just like Corporate Training or Adult Education.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  69. Comonsns

    THIS IS A FACT......the schools do not need to be reformed or teachers need to start apying attention and stop clowning around in class......when this country was predominantly white, this teacher/school bashing never came up......but now that classes are filled with kids who dont pay attention, dont speak ENGLISH or come from broken homes, problems are arising......we all know why......and THAT IS A FACT

    March 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • MSH

      Uh, excuse me genius, the country is still predominantly white and white kids are failing just like any other group. Maybe if you hadn't dropped out you would have known that or at least been able to effectively come to that conclusion.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Comonsns

        Hey genius.....the white kids are failing because their schools are being filled with blacks and illegals and they are influenced by them (i.e. "acting like them").....face the facts, when the school systems started filling up with minorities and illegals, many of the white kids grades started dropping.....if you havent figured out whats behind the failing school system, I feel sorry for you

        March 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  70. annie

    First of, my spouse is a teacher, so I have a clue of what you are talking about.

    With that in mind, you say you dislike using test scores, but offer no meaningful alterative to 'grade' teachers.... and yes, teachers need to be graded in some manner like the rest of the world.

    People on both sides need to acknowledge that there are good teachers with tenure, and bad teachers with tenure. We must honestly pursue a manner to differentiate between the two. Don't penalize the good teacher for acts of the bad teacher. Don't reward the bad teacher due to acts of the good teacher.

    Biggest point is you can't whine about one type of 'measurement' without offering some alternative. Sure, I'd like to go through life without anyone ever looking over my shoulder, but it is unrealistic.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Sam Chaltain

      Thanks Annie - the entire second part of the article outlines what I recommend we do instead when it comes to grading teachers. Reread the piece and see what you think.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • annie

        Sam, I reread, and even follow the links. Respectfully, I see some some 'what makes a wonderful teacher', and nothing about measurables. From the link:
        "NBCTs are dedicated to making knowledge accessible to all students. They believe all students can learn.". How does one measure this. Do they ask teachers this as a question, and if they say 'yes', they pass? (FWIW.. I'm NOT a teacher.. and I don't believe all students can learn, especially those that refuse to learn)

        Bottom line is I don't really believe all of the points on the link. Look (way) back, I now realize that the teacher that I most despised as a student was my best teacher. He didn't care if I had soccer practice, or if my mother spoke a foreign language (or whatever)... he forced me to get done what everyone else had to get done. More importantly, he forced me to 'think'.

        Test scores must be included. Just as a baker is evaluated on how his cakes come out, teachers will, in the end, be evaluated on what they 'produce'. To me, especially when moving past grade 3, prior test scores should be taken into account. For example, if a student tests in the 60th percentile, is that a success, or a failure? Well, it depends on how they tested the years prior. If the student was in the 20th percentile, and is now in the 60th, that would be an unqualified success. However, if the student was in the 90th percentile, and is now in the 60th, that would not be a success.
        Non-teacher speaking here: Half of the children in this country test below average. If every teacher in the entire country became the best teacher ever, we would still have half the students test below average..... it's just that the average would be higher. My point is that it is useless to spend 80% of the resources on 20% of the children. Odds are really good that the high school student who is always been in the lower 20% will remain there. FWIW, somewhere in your town, there is a medical doctor who graduated last in his class.

        Obviously, I've gotten off on a tangent. Scores must be a part of any measurement. If you want to add other measurements, then let's talk. If you want to add something that can't be measured, then you've lost me.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • 11811

      Yours is the most reasonable on here (yet). I have teachers in my family and know that many teachers work hard, after school and over the summer revamping lesson plans and the like. However, I have seen a fair number of ignorant teachers who managed to eke through testing to get a certificate (kind of like lawyers). I know that teachers have to be assessed and rated on a scale like other professions. However, I am concerned with this method if the scoring is based solely on standardized test scores of their students. Standardized test scores measure a student's ability to take tests and not necessarily the skill of their instructors. **Insert negative aspects of standardized testing here** Also, if the teacher has unwilling or more challenged students they are at a disadvantage to their peers with more active parent participation and lack of learning disabilities.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Doug

      Excellent post. We need teaching (and all other employment) to have objective performance evaluations based on the goals for the students. Teachers have randomly assigned students and a bell curve ranking ensures that we can find the best and worst teachers not withstanding the makeup of the student body.

      Concerns about absent parents, etc. are more appropriate to comparisons between schools then to teachers within schools. There is no problem with teaching to the test if the test accuratly reflects of goals for the student.

      We need to embrace the concept of meritocracy or accept the consequences of underperforming the world first in education and then economically. Pay better and harder to acquire (Hard science) teachers more, dismiss teachers that cronically under perform and continously seek to ensure that the ways we measure are an ever improving fair and accurate reflection of teacher results.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  71. bs1

    Teacher bashing began when the earlier generation of quality teachers was replaced by a new generation who are more interested in social engineering to fit their ideology than in educating students, preparing them for the real world and helping them find the direction that is right for them rather than pushing them to fit the teacher's idea of what they should become.

    All classes that provided students with exposure to a diverse array of potential career paths have been eliminated and there is a mindless push that everyone needs to get a 4yr degree or else they are worthless. It is fundamentally impossible for the country to survive with such an eliteist mentality and further it harms a great many students who will end up either failing at what they were pushed into, or end up stuck struggling in a career they hate.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Frank Rizzo

      You can thank Dubya for that.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
      • Wait a minute...

        ...but wasn't it Obama who said that every child should go to college?

        March 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • jason

        Really? On what basis? If you are referring to NCLB look at the bill's sponsor (Ted Kennedy) and the congress that voted for it. I would agree that it is a mistake but it was more a congressional mistake than a presidential one. If you are not talking about NCLB I cant imagine that you are more than a lefty nut who blames Bush for everything bad in this country.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
      • doughnuts

        No, wait a minute, he didn't say that. He said (as so many others have) that every young person should have the opportunity to seek some form of higher education be it a four-year college, a community college, a technical school, or an apprenticeship in a trade.

        And Santorum, with his three college degrees, called him a "snob" for saying it.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
      • JustWannaKnow

        @Jason – Lets at least get it right. NCLB was proposed by the Bush administration as soon as he took office. It was sposored by John Boehner (R), George Miller (D), Ted Kennedy (D) and Judd Gregg (R).

        March 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • Frank Rizzo

        Looks like I have to reply to myself, as it won't let me reply to a poster beneath this. Yes, I put the blame of NCLB soley on Bush's shoulders. I don't care who "sponsored" it. I care about who signed it into law without guidance from those who work in the trenches (teachers).

        And lately, there has been some news about bringing back vocational education (from right-wing sources). Just so you know, it was Dubya who initially proposed cutting funding for the Perkins Act (where vocational ed gets its federal funding), and the last couple of years of his presidency, eliminating the funding in its entirety. Ted Kennedy was the guy who fought this tooth and nail. Humor me and google the top ten jobs over the next ten years. Guess what...half of the top ten fall in the realm of Career and Technical Education (formerly Vocational Ed).

        I point fingers at the feet of where the blame lies, regardless of party affiliation.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Karen Neff

      Just a note: it's not necessarily the new teachers who have lost the way. We in the classroom can only do what our administrators tell us to do. History isn't on the Pennsylvania standardized test? History must not be that important. History is therefore downgraded in the curriculum. Art/Music/Gym isn't tested. Cut it back or better yet, out. In my district, we look forward to the end of testing season because that's when we can really start teaching what the kids need for life not just for the test.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  72. Sal

    Republicans are a bunch of pigs,ie rush the mouth limbaugh. 

    March 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  73. Sal

    It's the republicans favorite pastime to bash teachers! 

    March 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Wait a minute...

      um, I'm a teacher...and a Republican.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
      • Fed up

        And exhibit one that all teachers are not smart.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
      • Georgia Boy

        Fed up must be a pseudo-intellectual. I think...I feel....facts? What are those?

        March 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  74. Scott

    Everyone is to blame (teachers, students, parents, admin, state and federal policy makers) – it's a pathetically designed system that a child could see would never work well.

    However, one thing I will bash teachers for is – holding on so tight to their union powers/the concept that every teacher should advance up the ladder/keep their job. I'd like to see all teachers tested on their own subject matter every year or two (the results would be scary, trust me), with the results of that and with an accurate measure of performance, be retained or not, just like most employees – you don't do your job, you're fired.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Mom

      The only reason I am in the union is to have protection against students and parents who make false accusations. I have seen good, people be ruined because one student's unfounded claim. The union offers protection in that way. Everything else the union stands for is irksome to me.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Wait a minute...

        Right on, Mom. I've been a teacher for eighteen years, and I've been an association member for those eighteen. The ONLY reason I'm a member is for protection, not that I've ever done anything that merits protection. However, I've seen kids do and say anything to keep themselves out of trouble, even at the expense of a teacher's career. Yes, the association recommends things to us, like candidates come election time. However, I do have a brain, a backbone, and an opinion, and can make my own decisions.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • VA Teacher

      CAN SOMEONE PLEASE REALIZE THAT NOT EVERY STATE HAS A TEACHER'S UNION! In Virginia, it's against the law to unionize teachers. And those who think that public school teaching tenure is like higher education tenure have no clue. Tenure means nothing! Pay us what we're know what they call the guy who graduated last in his med school class? A Doctor. Yet he gets paid he's worth from the start. Sam's point about National Board Certification is right on task. I'm proud to say I'm one, and I passed it the first time through, with 2 kids in school and a father dying of leukemia. I'm good. Don't bash me because our politicians have said our education system needs to change. So does our political system.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mikey

      Hi Scott, I'd like to introduce you to the 21st Century. More than half of math educators don't have a math degree. Why you ask? Cause why would I want to get paid to start off at maybe 35K and max out (unless I'm an administrator) at 70K (obviously depending on the area of the country) when I can join one of the innumerial companies that would hire a mathematician starting off at 50K and only having a max depending on their abilities.

      The issue here is that while these "terrible" Unions have tried to promote their members the % of income increase in the middle and lower classes haven't kept up with the rise of income in the upper classes. Given inflation the average middle class person makes almost as much as they did in the 80s and our GDP has more than doubled. Where did the double go for everybody else?

      Unlike what Santorum says those that have several degrees will make much more money than those that do not. That is true unless you are a teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • Yeah but...

        You don't need a math degree to teach X grade math, where X <= what, 10? If you can't pass the test you're teaching your students to attempt to pass, sorry, shouldn't be teaching.

        Good teachers are well underpaid, and often overworked.. Many people go into teaching b/c they can choose to do nothing all summer, get lots of time off, get out early.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • VA Teacher

      Scott, as I said earlier, not every state allows collective bargaining. I'm not "moving up" a career ladder. I do not work to contract hours. I spend MANY more hours outside of school grading papers, planning, creating tests & projects & essays, and attending events my students participate in, and do not receive overtime. I am salaried, just like many professionals. Yet, unlike many professionals (with higher degrees) I am not paid what I think is a respectable salary. And now budget cuts are making my classes larger and my resources less available. I typically don't complain, but it irks me to see how people think ALL teachers are lazy public servants who work to contract hours and worksheet kids into numbness. Go sit in a couple of school classrooms.....follow a teacher for 24 or 48 hours.....see what they do before, during AND AFTER school. Then we can truly talk.....

      March 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  75. SMF

    In these times it's difficult to convince good people to enter the field of education, and even those good people who do often become disilluioned and leave. Most administrators are simply failed football coaches who are no better qualified to lead a school than they were to lead football teams, and many of the teachers who remain in education just don't care.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  76. Bob in Texas

    Beating up teachers has been the great American pastime for a couple of decades. Anti-union folks like to blame teacher unions. The fact of the matter is, people are beating up teachers to avoid taking responsibility themselves. Fact: Nationwide, only a tiny fraction of teachers are covered under collective bargaining contracts. The crisis in education has little or nothing to do with collective bargaining. So, who are all these terrible teachers. Their the ones with spoiled brats for students. Their the ones with parents who won't take responsibility for disciplining their own kids. The the teachers with administrations that want to treat their teachers like morons. Their the ones who are falsely demeaned and humiliated by politicians, parents, school boards, and administrators who refuse to own up to their own responsibilities.

    To be sure, there is much that can be done to improve the performance of our public schools. It starts with responsible parenting. It starts with placing responsibility where it belongs. It starts with students, parents, teachers, administrators and politicians getting together and forming a cohesive team instead of beating each other up.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  77. Jason

    I wonder if any sizable number of people who criticize teachers have their jobs held under a microscope and graded across arbitrary numbers. Does Chris Christie have independant evaluators follow his day to do day work habits and assign numbers to them based on variables outside of his control? Do you? I don't and you'd be surprised how many professionals like Doctors, Lawyers, CPAs, Police Officers, and Business Executives don't either.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Measured

      I am now retired, but yes, I was measured in every aspect of my work! And yes, much was out of my control. I am not a teacher basher I see the problem lying in the environment they now work in. I spent time behind the Iron Curtain and witnessed the poor performance of workers in that environment. I could not blame the individuals, but when there is little or no reward for outstanding work and penalties for acting different or making waves, people tend to hide in the crowd and survive until the next time-in-service provides a pay raise or retirement.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • rjinx

      Most people have their job performace under a microscope every day! The proplem is teachers have the ability to say " i Have Tenure, and I'll be here for life, and there's nothing you can do, or I'll call the Union!!! If i don't perform at work, I lose my job, why shouldn't teachers be held to the same standard?

      March 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jason

      Measured – Was any of your performance evaluations published in the local paper? Provided to your clients? Distrubuted throughout the company? I thought not.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  78. FreeReally

    You left out an important criteria for those test scores. That's where the money is. Not on actual student learning, not on how well a teacher reaches students, it's what the numbers on those test come out and equate to money from the state and fed. govt. I don't know if New York spends two-three months prepping kids for those tests, they do in California. Yet the teachers cannot spend the time actually teaching the subject matter adequately. They start giving prep tests for the required graduation test in 10th grade, why? If the kids need to know certain things to graduate, if they already have the information in 10th grade, what are 11th & 12th grade for? They give the tests early so they can make sure when they take the actual test they get higher grades, meaning more money for the school. How about just teaching the kids instead of pulling anyone that gets a B or lower (yes a B or lower) for 20 days of intense study on a subject – what were they teaching for the past 10 years if they can teach in 20 days what the kid needs to pass the test (earn the school more money?)

    March 6, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  79. cmagic

    What planet are you living on? It must be a different one than the rest of us are. You seem to think education can be boiled down to simply statistics. There are so many different pieces to the puzzle. Grading teachers on there performance is like saying a baseball coach should win the World Series with an owner who make players pay for there own baseballs, and bats. How many players would play if they had to cut the grass, paint the stands take tickets and pay for all their expenses? What system makes teachers do fundraisers for paper and pencils? What teachers need is the resources to do thier jobs. Taking money from there pay check for copy expenses because administrators are not buying curriculum (text books.)
    And don’t even get me started on parents and their responsibilities. How many sit down and read with their primary kids. How many make sure homework is completed. It’s a synergist system of parents, kids, teachers and administrators. The teachers aren’t broken it’s the kids and their parents and the school administration who get elected by those same parents. Try stepping out of the money in major league baseball and visit a real school. Do your kids go to private schools or are they in a under funded school system with dedicated teachers who have no help, large classes of video game kids.
    I know of a kid who when he came back from three days off (teachers furlough day) who when asked what he did was said that he played video games all day. Fix parents and kids before you bash teachers.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  80. Scott

    Teacher bashing came into being because some teachers (not all) egos have gotten way out of hand. Instead of treating parents as if they are partners helping the teacher with their child's education, some teachers take on an adversarial role that makes parents the enemy because they think they know better than the parents. Teachers need to remember that the parents are the parents, not them. I don't agree with the measurement of teachers to the extent it has been happening, because parents are responsible for ensuring a quality education for their child. If the parents don't care, there's nothing the teachers can do. But if the parents do care, the teachers should put ego aside and work with the parents on the child's education.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Gary Stager

      Ah, parental involvement – good idea. It has also been outlawed in NYC since Bloomberg exercised "mayoral control" by abolishing local school boards, suspending democracy and cutting the community out of THEIR public schools.

      The all-powerful teachers union capitulated and allowed this naked power grab in exchange for a handful of magic beans.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  81. Frank Rizzo

    The baseball analogy is a metaphor, folks. The writer was merely pointing out how foolish it would be to evaluate the importance of an athlete based on one statistic. Teaching and learning is a lot like the economy: complex. There are bad employees in all fields of work, not just education. But it's easy to bash teacher unions as the root of the problem, when the truth of the matter revolves around the lowest common denominator in determining the academic success of a child: parenting.

    Used to be, parents were part of the solution. Not any more. I've been teaching for more than a decade, in two states and several school systems, and it is my observation that parents are PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • cmagic

      We got your back on that one! When a parent is involved the children most times do well. When they are not it almost always depends on the child, Teachers for the most part do care and do try there best.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Penny

      If it is true that teacher are most effective only with active parent involvement, then I say we are in need for a different kind of teacher education. Parents these days are often working two or three jobs, especially in single parent families. Even if they want to, they are just too exhausted to take an active role in their kids' education. I know - I am a single parent of one child in a New Jersey public school - and I work full time. I had my child in my forties - I am almost 60 years old and a cancer survivor. I am exhausted all the time and while I have always tried to actively participate, I am just too tired most of the time. The teachers and school administration just has do to more - a lot more. IIt's as simple as that.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Deb

        Penny, Teachers don't have any more time in their day than you do. They have children who need help with homework too.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Sam

        So, just because you are too tired to parent your child means I have to parent your child? No thanks, I'm ALSO a full-time working mom and a teacher with FOUR children and I'm married to someone who works out of town most of the week. You know what? I get it done.

        March 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
      • TX

        So teachers and schools should have to raise your child because you're "too tired"? I wouldn't even adopt a dog if I was "too tired" to care for it, much less make the decision to take on the life long responsibility of a child. Ridiculous.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Sam Chaltain

      Thanks for clarifying, Frank.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  82. A

    I tuned out at "spring training."

    March 6, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Sam Chaltain

      Yet you took the time to comment. Curious . . .

      March 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • kosher cow

      i bet you tuned out quite a bit during class too... it takes longer to comment than it does to read the article.

      maybe try reading it and you will find the baseball analogy quite apt.

      March 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  83. Jim in Georgia

    In the IT business we say "Garbage in garbage out" or something like that. If a 5th grade teacher gets a class of kids who can't read and at the end of the year can't get them to pass the grade level test is it the teacher's fault?

    March 6, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Scott

      No, but it's either the previous teacher's fault, or the teacher before that, or a combo. And it's definitely not all the teachers' faults, some of it falls on parents, some on the students, some on the admin – it's a horribly set up system. What if an auto factory allowed 50% of the cars to move into the "get steering wheel" area without getting their steering columns first?

      March 6, 2012 at 11:53 am |
      • Wait a minute...

        How about, the majority of it falls on parents. I'm a teacher of almost twenty years. We recommend students for retention every year. However, parents get the final say-so. It's the rare parent that actually agrees that their child be retained rather than passed on to the next grade level. Most don't want their child to have the stigma of "failing" a grade level. We can only do so much–our hands are tied.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • sane

      YES. Unlike a computer, a teacher is expected to take garbage in and teach it something. Do you seriously not expect a teacher to improve the students performance? Having said that, the sorry state of students is mostly due to parenting. And no amount of money will fix the situation until the parents become more responsible.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • Scott

        So you feel it's ok for the steering wheel installer to spend half his time installing missing steering columns? Instead of keeping the car in the steering column area until the steering column is installed? And investigating why the steering column wasn't installed by the steering column installer (perhaps they blew it/sucked, perhaps a previous prerequisite was unperformed)?

        March 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  84. Ron

    New? Not around here! For years now, we've had the lowest student scores combined with the highest paid teachers. And those teachers are still far more interested in more money and less work than they are in actually teaching. Ours deserve to be bashed!

    March 6, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Teacher

      Schools scores in US are lower than some other countries because students with learning disabilities and vocationally bound students have their scores included in those averages. This started in the 1980's. This is an important fact overlooked (on purpose?) in artiles like these. The US stands for democratic ideals and promises oportunities for all, and this practices does not need to be changed. Just don't judge our results against other countries that do not have as democratic a culture as ours. By the way, if we trully cared about money we'd have become lawyers and work fewer hours!

      March 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • Scott

        B/c we include scores of disabled or whatever is NOT the main reason we are behind other countries, there are many others, including some subpar teachers.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • Wait a minute...

        You are so right! Other countries only educate the best and brightest. The US, however, educates them all, and counts ALL scores. Scott, you are soooo mistaken!

        March 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • Scott

        I'm soooo mistaken!? You're claim is that we are in fact, #1 in the world in education, there are no major issues with our students, teachers, the way the system is set up, the laws (NCLB), or ANYTHING ELSE – it's merely just a difference in the way we "caclulate" how well we educate as compared to other countries? Have I got that right!?

        March 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  85. Brian

    Teachers are the most important piece of the puzzle and we need to openly thank them. If you know a teacher; stop them and say thanks. Do this because teachers have one of the most thankless jobs in America. Parents often take no accountability for their children's behavior. Administrations then side with the parents rather than backing the teachers and next thing you know any given teacher will spend 90% of their classroom time doing class/behavioral management rather than actually teaching. It's starts in kindergarten and goes through high school... I heart teachers.

    I think the solution has something to do with keeping the parents out of the school, installing cameras in all of the classrooms (in case something happens) and granting administrators the ability to make it uncomfortable for students that misbehave. Phase two should stop with the "no child left behind" strategy. Pushing failing students to the next grade isn't helping the teachers or the other students that actually want to learn... Public schools can't help the kids that can't help themselves and I don't think they should be expected to. Special schools for students with behavioral issues should be created.

    I'm just one guy thinking out loud though...

    March 6, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Derek

      And yet, those parents that do take responsibility for their children (discipline, guidance) have a hard time competing with a school system that does not share their values and will invoke the almighty State if they (the school) disagree with the parent.

      My child has a behavior problem. I think he should be disciplined when he acts out in school consistent with how he is disciplined at home. Instead, the school calls and says he was wiggling in his seat. How did they solve that? They didn't. They allowed it to disrupt the class. Of course he is going to misbehave if he can get away with it. He doesn't pull that crap at home because he knows he will be punished. At school, they just hold his hand and ask him to express his feelings. Screw his feelings! He's 7, put a boot in his ass and get back to the lesson. If he screws up repeatedly, paddle him. 'Oh NO! Heaven for-fend we damage his little psyche!'

      I love my son, and I am trying to get help. We are testing for food sensitivity, allergens, and have him going to a counselor, but when the schools tie parents hands and then abdicate culpability, they deserve to be bashed.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:55 am |
      • Frank Rizzo

        If only teachers were "allowed" to put a boot in his ass. Send your child to school to learn, not to be disciplined. Teachers are not allowed to discipline YOUR child the way they would their own. I have three kids. If one of them gets a phone call home regarding behavior, then it's thier ass, and they know it. If your child has discipline problems, that falls on YOU, the PARENT.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
      • sane

        And if they act, they get sued. By who? A parent.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • Brian

        @Derek, safe to say that caring parents like you will help, not hinder, the situation. I think when parents pass along the confidence to a teacher and say, "do what you gotta do," it really does helps.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • Brian

        Probably since the unions have protected the bad teachers. Probably since when I was in high school in the 70's and the science teacher/basketball couch only talked about the "game" that week or next. Or the math teacher who never taught Algebra before so told us just to read the book we could "figure out on our own". Maybe since the time many parents stopped parenting and maybe since the time people are tired of paying for bad performance. There are good teachers, far and few between the bad teachers. The unions are going to have to step and start clearing house.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • Brian

        Wow that is scary, you have a child with apparently some type of medical issue and your only resolution is to kick them when they can't sit still due to their condition. God help me I am so thankful I am not your child.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • cmagic

        Derek. Do YOU discipline your child when he misbehaves in school. i know if I did that at school I was in for trouble when I got home.. Blaming the school for not disciplining YOUR child is just, well wrong.

        March 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  86. Yeah Buddy

    My daughter is a teacher and when she first told me of her chosen career path I told her to forget it and be a lawyer. Now she teaches in Wisconsin, oh well. That is the state where one gal made over 100k or was it 180K (?) anyway she double dipped. The GOP used her administrative income as the poster child for all teachers thereby demonizing all teachers. The good clear deep thinking folks of Wisconsin bought the lie and took away collective bargaining rights. Good job people!
    Clearly their teachers failed them or the good people of Wisconsin might have taken the time to actually investigate false claims; instead they were gullible dupes that believed everything their GOP leaders told them.
    My daughter is a great teacher who has been “Teacher of the Year”, which is no small achievement and the kids love her and perform great; so why should she be punished by politicians and people that can’t think for themselves?

    March 6, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Howard in Alexandria

      Personally, I'm tired of teachers (and their family members) whining. What's happening to teachers is the result of their profession blithely ignoring its own responsibility to establish meaningful performance standards and a means of measuring whether or not their members achieve those standards. For too long the teaching profession has taken a "just trust us" approach, and now the public that pays their salaries has stepped in and done it for them. Did the public do it right? Possibly not, but that's what happens when you leave your fate to others.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • Frank Rizzo

        You have no idea what you are talking about. It's the politicians and big-whigs who work for the state department of education (most of which have never taught, by the way) who set the policy. It is "they" who you should be upset with. Yeah, teachers came up with the "just trust us" approach? LOL.

        March 6, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • Deb

        Are you kidding, we aren't allowed to establish our own performance standards, that's left to the politicians.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  87. amy

    You know, not everyone relates to sports analogies.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  88. Pliny

    Since when did teachers become elevated to 'saint status'.

    There are BAD teachers. There are teachers who should be FIRED. There are teachers who should be BANNED from ever teaching.

    And, it if were not for teacher unions....these people would have been kicked to the curb a long time ago.

    So....why do we have to act like these people deserve our respect? They don't. They are lazy civil-servants.

    We all pay a LOT of taxdollars to our local school-boards. And for all that money, we get an educational-system that is an international joke.

    And yes...parents are just as responsible for the failure of our educational-system. But sadly, you can't sterilize them.

    So I'll stop bashing teachers on the day that all the BAD teachers are publicly identified and summarily dismissed.
    I'm sick to death of having my tax dollars pay for these incompetants.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Tommy

      Teachers should be able to go back to the good ol days of punishing the students themselves. Poor teachers have to take care of all of your disrespectful, snot nosed, spoiled little brats. Maybe if we had GOOD parents these days who taught their kids just an ounce of respect, we wouldnt have these problems. Our future is screwed because of bad parents who breed mindless, disrespectful, moronic, little wastes of space.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • VATeacher

        Way to go Tommy. I couldn't agree with you more.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • The not so elder

      Without the unions which you think protect "incompetent" teachers, wages and benefits would indeed be lower and it would be easier to remove bad teachers. You would also have a profession that requires an increasingly expensive college education and lousy wages. Good luck finding someone who teaches to your high standards for $25K a year, lousy benefits and no job security. See how many "bad" teachers you have then! Teachers don't teach to get rich, but that doesn't mean they want to be paying off their student loans until they retire either.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Cielo

      The major problem with your ignorance-filled post is that we have NO SURE-FIRE WAY to identify the bad teachers you justifiably hate. When one's entire career is based on ONE piece of evidence, THAT is not fair. That is the entire point of the article. We are willing to look at multiple factors of competency in other professions, and yet people are willing to vilify, fire and deny employment to an entire group of professional based one ONE test, ONE snapshot based on what ANOTHER human being does on ONE day!

      March 6, 2012 at 11:54 am |
      • Marissa

        @Cielo, God bless you.

        March 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • The Watcher

      My wife workes in the public school system in Fl. We see teachers get "fired" all of the time. The problem is, that it's hard to hire some one to fill the slot after you fire them. But yes, they can get rid of poor treachers, the Adm just has to do the paper work first.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  89. Bigshotprof

    This "new" national trend has been going on for about 18 months. There is nothing new about it. It is just the age-old tactic among the haves of protecting themselves by keeping the have-less and the have-nots at each others' throats. And like always, we play along.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  90. Chris

    Teacher bashing is a way of life for politicians, has been for years. Especially if you're a Republican. If you can't blame the widespread proliferation of guns, the capitalists with no ethics or the politicians themselves, teachers make a great scapegoat.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  91. Kelcy

    Won`t comment on the article per se but note that it is a shame that to be understood the author needs to have put it in the context of baseball. I have matriculated three students through the American school systems from K through graduate school even. We have had some really horrible teachers, some average ones and some really awesome ones. It would be great had there been certification programs that got rid of the horrible ones (I doubt anything would improve that ilk) and helped improve the average ones. Haven`t seen one that does that yet. Not this one either.

    However, we bash at teachers but we don`t really look at what parents really want. I say really want because there is a duality to their bashing symbolized by Santorum who sees a goal of every student who wants to go to college being able to go to college as absurd and a waste. And quite frankly many other parents see it that way too. They don`t even like what their kids learn in high school. Ideally they would learn the basics of reading, writing (or perhaps these days typing) and 'rithmetic. Certainly not critical thinking skills. That sets them up with capabilities the parents do not have themselves. You can see that through the many people who blog on sites such as this and make arguments that essentially say 2+2 = 5. Most listen to and parrot one source of information without applying any degree of critical thinking to the hyperbole they hear or read. Thinking students question everything including their parents and including their churches. Parents do not like that. They want their kids "educated" but not so much.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Gary Stager

      How is preparing every kid for the maximum number of options a waste? I have no problem with any career decision a young person makes if they are prepared for the same range of career decisions as Michael Bloomberg's children.

      Otherwise, do you want to be the person who decides which kid "deserves" which educational experience?

      March 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  92. hypatia

    It was the lead up to the GOP's new game: emulating ignorant mullahs in regards to women. Aren't American men such gentlemen?

    March 6, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • bubba

      I see the ex wife is back in the comments section again....

      March 6, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  93. DeepZThinker

    Teacher bashing became popular.. when teachers criminal misconduct got way out of hand. With the internet sensationalism spreads like wildfire.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  94. Cyndi

    Thank you, Sam!

    March 6, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Sam Chaltain


      March 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  95. CarrotCakeMan

    Teacher bashing IS NOT new, the GOP has been doing just that for many years because teachers are too smart to be fooled by GOP propaganda and vote against their own best interest and the best interest of their students.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Georgia Boy

      The GOP likes teachers. They don't like teachers unions who try to bully their agendas. They also don't like the social engineering that takes place in public schools.

      March 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  96. Paul

    I'm a retired teacher. Here's the problem. Unlike baseball, teachers are generally paid based on seniority and grad credit hours, not performance. Teachers can't get fired unless they do something outrageous. Mediocre teachers who know how to schmoose the administrators get rewarded. Rebels who fight for excellence often get lunch duty or some other form of "hidden" punishment. I'm glad I was in a teachers union for protection and collective bargaining, but their defense of mediocre teachers and sometimes sick or criminal teachers made me sick. Using union dues to promote ideas not related to education (save the whales, no nukes, global warming, etc.) made me laugh. Public schools are in a precipitous decline.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Mac

      Thanks for articulating what I was going to say. I would say that the Teacher Bashing is more likely because of the Teacher's Unions who regularly call for "strikes" and for ever looking for more benefits, pay scale and yet our children are not doing any better than they did 20 years ago. Our children are way behind many countries in thier ability to read, write or proficient in Math or Sciences. No wonder we have to import all of this talent from other countries to fill the Job vacancies.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
      • Gary Stager

        Kindly remind me of the last teacher strike in NYC.

        March 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Jon B

      Pail you full ot it. You were never in the Teachers Union.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Paul

        taught for 35 years in a public school. There are many, many conservative, Republicans, and libertarians in public education, but certainly not the majority.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Jon B

      I can't believe you were ever a teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Paul

        I also was on strike in one of the longest strikes in Ohio history. Plenty of hypocrisy on both sides to go around.

        March 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  97. Angela

    I didn't even read this article but I have an answer to your question. "When did teacher bashing become a national past time/ Right after parent bashing did!

    March 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Michael

      Angela, if you coment on an article without reading it, you are probably the sort of parent who deserves a little bashing.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • Angela

        Hey Michael, I expected that comment.

        Dan from Parma,

        My son graduated in 2007 from Penn State with the highest GPA in his Civil engineering class. My daughter is in her senior year at PSU and applying for Grad school.

        Your comment "But I bet they are terrible due to the simple fact that slime ball parents like you pushed onto them your unruly, unintelligent, disgusting little dirt bag of a child and expected them to make them into something other than you." was. Is this the way you teach the respect you mentioned .

        Thank you you made my point excellently!

        No teacher has ever done my parenting but I have done the job they are being paid to do many a times!

        March 6, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • DanFromParma

      Does your child disrupt class for other children? Causing the learning process to be stopped for your "little Johnny" can be the joke/bully of the class? You quite obviously have no clue how to be a parent and teach respect for others.

      Does your little Johnny study and finish his assignments? No? Don't know? You quite obviously are not qualified to be a parent, you do not take the time to monitor your child's learning process.

      Why should a teach have to do the job of a parent?
      1). Teach respect for others?
      2). Teach discipline to accomplish assignments. Don’t worry, your dirt bag child might have a chance of becoming a cashier at McDonalds with his present skill set passed down to him by you.
      3). How about self hygiene? How many smelly little rug rats you think show up in school every day.

      Are their terrible teachers? Absolutely! But I bet they are terrible due to the simple fact that slime ball parents like you pushed onto them your unruly, unintelligent, disgusting little dirt bag of a child and expected them to make them into something other than you. And when the teachers tried to improve your dirt bag skills, you gave them crap.

      People like you should lose all access to your children. And then I am sure that the education system would improve within a couple years.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Brian

        @Angela started with "I didn't even read the article..."

        March 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • Folkgirl

        Wow – you have anger issues "Dan from Parma". You've shown you're a hypocrite talking about teaching your own children respect with such disrespect for others. Yes – I agree with Angela that it's a bit frightening. Tea party member?

        That said, how many teachers wind up on "worst" lists due to the location of the schools where they teach? You can't blame a teacher who has a classroom full of students with parents that don't involve themselves in their children's lives. I apologized to my son's 1st grade teacher about a homework assignment that was a day late and he said that there were kids in the class who had never turned in a single assignment (this was at spring conferences). His schoolmates come from some of the poorer parts of the district and, unfortunately, these kids tend not to get the support that they need at home. But that's not a teacher's fault...

        March 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
      • The Watcher

        You are correct. There has been many times when my wife has called home about a child who is not acting well, or not doing their work in class, and the parents say "I don't know, they act like that here too.." Or "I don't know, it's your job to watch them not mine." It's all about the parent, if they give a crap the kid will do pretty well. If they don't or are working 3 jobs to pay the bills then the kid pretty much can do what he/she wants.

        March 7, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • DanFromParma

      I give respect to people that show it.

      You have not shown it. You deserve the HATE you get due to the HATE you show.

      Hope your childern leave you in a home in your old age and let you be taken care of by other low paying wage earners that are bitter due to slime balls like you bashing them.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • Angela

        Dan from Parma,

        Chill man. You are scarring me. All I said was that bashing teachers came after bashing parents. Your over the top reaction and personal attack is not necessary and warrants a diagnosis and possibly medication. I urge you to see some one.

        March 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  98. BigMel

    Thank you for writing an article that explains education in terms that many Americans can understand – "Baseball". I am not saying this to be sarcastic, the reality of the situation is we use one form of assessment to evaluate our schools, mostly public schools, because many private schools do not subject themselves to the State tests, nor do they allow them to drive their curriculum. We are losing education and teaching our children to become great test takers! Ask them to think through a problem, and you are most likely to get a blank stare! What is the real agenda?

    March 6, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • tom

      Big Mel, there are lots of reasons public schools don't perform as well as private schools, however, most private K-12 schools do take the same tests as public schools. Also, most private schools are also having their curriculum driven by national and state standards. (20 years private school admin experiance)

      March 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • The Watcher

      The other factor to consider is the fact that only parents who are motivated in their child's education would pay for a private school Also, with charter schools, if a student is acting up or is not doing their work they will be kicked out, and placed back in a public school. It a win win for a Charter school, keep the high functioning kids, boot the rest.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:53 am |
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