National Teacher of the Year: 'The revolution begins with us'
2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki spoke at the NEA annual meeting on July 5.
July 5th, 2012
04:19 PM ET

National Teacher of the Year: 'The revolution begins with us'

By Donna Krache and Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) - The United States is obsessed with high-stakes testing that doesn't show whether teachers are masterful and students are knowledgeable, National Teacher of Year Rebecca Mieliwocki said to nearly 8,000 of her colleagues at the National Education Association annual meeting Thursday.

"When we help a child reach proficiency at any grade level, we have changed the quality of that child's life and that community forever," she said. "But aiming for proficiency means we aim to create generations of children who are average."

Instead, she said "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" should not be making decisions and policies about teaching, and teachers should be aiming to take all students - whether hungry, homeless, in the midst of their first crush or celebrating the big game - beyond the test.

"We have got to stop talking about testing and start talking more about developing, supporting and celebrating teachers," she said. "Teachers are the architects of the change we've been waiting for. We've forgotten what a teacher can do that a standardized test can't."

Standing before the delegates as “one teacher, symbolizing millions,” Mieliwocki told the assembly: “We may have forgotten how important our teachers were in restoring America's public education system but it's not too late to shift our focus to what really matters.

"If we want real change, lasting change, if we want back the power, the pride, the soaring achievement that is an exceptional public education, then the revolution begins with us."

How Mieliwocki used business experience to transform classroom

Mieliwocki, an English teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, California, was honored by President Barack Obama as 2012 National Teacher of the Year in a White House ceremony in April.

"You have been born with a gift for teaching and you've been given the gift of working with children. You have a front row seat to the future,” Mieliwocki said in her speech. “You build that future one child at a time.”

In an e-mailed response to Mieliwocki's speech, Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, said testing remains an important tool for taxpayers - and teachers.

"The teachers unions should do more than talk the talk when it comes to accountability and education; they should walk the walk," Enlow said. "There is certainly more to accountability than just testing, but that doesn't mean we should not be accountable for test results. Testing students is a critically important tool for teachers, and one of the most transparent ways that parents can discover whether their children are learning and whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth."

soundoff (842 Responses)
  1. blake

    Start the revolution! Get rid of all the teacher unions. Fire the incompetent and lazy teachers. Give pay raises based on merit, not longevity. And let's get the federal government out of the education business.

    July 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Scott

      Amen. And by the way, Testing is how we know students (and teachers) are succeeding or failing.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  2. Peter

    I am currently a teacher. The parent connection is very important. Some children are very rude in class, and their parents do not know how to teach them to not be rude, or in some cases acutually back up their rude childs behavior. This creates a problem for the MAJORITY of children in the classroom who are GOOD students, it is the education of these good students who suffer bbecause so much time is wasted dealing with one or two rude students. If you want a good education system the school needs to have more authority and backbone to help the GOOD STUDENTS.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  3. Ken from FL

    Just exactly the kind of junk one has come to expect from the mouths of the NEA.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Dave NY USA

    "But aiming for proficiency means we aim to create generations of children who are average."
    Some people ARE only average. GET OVER IT!
    You take the really bright kids and dumb all the shiit down for THEM, so now everyone is EQUAL!
    Well, guess what? That isn't how the world works.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Tom

      I expect nothing less from the NEA.

      July 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  5. Surthurfurd

    We can not reach the top if those who are advocates for school reform oppose real reform.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  6. Union Workers of America

    STOP Obama's war against Medical Marijuana Patients – Support UFCW Local 770

    July 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  7. raggedhand

    What she is saying, and what Mr. Enlow totally misses, is that "good enough" is not good enough.

    All teachers test and I haven't met a teacher who didn't understand the value of assessing where a student is now and using tests to figure out where he should be. The problem teachers have with testing isn't with it's use as evaluation, it's that the testing process is driving the educational train. Instead of testing being a tool to evaluate what is going on in a classroom, it's become the reason we are in the classroom.

    Mr. Enlow has fallen in to the same trap that many testing advocates fall in to, and that is the belief that testing will foster better education outcomes. What testing as we do it now fosters is better test takers. Our educational goals shouldn't be getting kids ready for Jeopardy, which is what our reliance on multiple choice tests to, but to get them ready for Survivor, which is what real life is. They need to be able to work in groups, have the base knowledge that can encourage creative outcomes, and learn to produce a product (be it a plumbing assignment or the Great American Novel or something in between). All standardized testing does is measure the "base knowledge" part of education. What a great teacher does is much more than pour data into unwilling ears; students of a great teacher know how to use what they learn in productive, creative ways. You can't measure that on a Scantron.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • anon

      You are right, children need to be assessed to better understand their base knowledge so that teachers can move forward and provide the education necessary for success. However, as a scientists who has seen one of these tests, its pretty clear that the standardized state tests don't themselves hit the mark as a valuable assessment tool. In graduate school I was in a GK-12 program working with low income schools to help bring real, hands-on science into the classroom. As part of the training we took Washington state's standardized test. 2 of the well-published professors failed the 5th grade test because the questions didn't properly show how real scientific data is displayed in graphical and table form and many of the vocabulary words used were not those actually used in the real, professional level scientific method.

      This led me to actually question the validity of these standardized tests. Aside from the tests not necessarily showing truthfully how much a student knows (which could be a myriad of reasons, whether academic or personal), they have teachers teach science and the process of science incorrectly. These well-testing kids then go to college and must unlearn many of the information taught by the teachers who "teach to the test" so that that they can be truly successful in the field of science. I don't know how it is in other fields, but science is a very important field to learn correctly and this wishy-washy process of learning and unlearning is a disservice to the children taking the test and the taxpayers paying ridiculous amounts of money to publish and run the test.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Scott

      So all of this hard to test knowledge that a great teacher teaches will result in better skills for a productive career and life with the exception of not doing well at tests? uh sure, Lets give it a try. Kids are not getting educated the way it works now. Not really testing well is stressful for the students and the teachers. Lets eliminate it and just send everyone home.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  8. Gloria

    Teaching and education begins in the HOME first; Too many parents think and rely solely on the teachers to to educate their kids. This teacher of the year is just babbling what she thinks the public wants to hear. Put the blame where it lies...with the parent first! Teachers can only do so much (with 22-27 students in one classroom, not to mention the behavior problems) Most parents don't make time for teaching their kids. Sadly, this is why our education system is just that, a MONEY MAKING system; and if the kids happen to learn something along the way..great!

    July 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • pamelagoodenough

      THat is all well and good if the parents are educated, or even half educated.

      There are lots of ignorant parents with strong political and religious opinions that are oit of touch.

      For example, there are parents who lie steal and cheat.
      There are parents who know nothing of science cannot do math, or even use a computer. There are parents who rant against the science of climate change because they are uneducated in the math, geology, biology, and analysis to be able to comprehend the complexity of climate change. There are too many people who are in that class. There are, unfortunately, any teachers who don't know much science either, but I digress.

      Sure, we expect parents to be decent, bright, and moral. That is not always the case.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • Slappy

        Hmmm. I have strong political and religious beliefs.

        I guess I'm not qualified to teach my kids . I'll be heading down to Child Protective Services on Monday morning to turn them in to someone more prepared than myself.

        I'll make sure they are gov't certified, of course.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • crghss

        "oit of touch"

        So right....they are parents that can't spell or get the spell-checker to work on their computer. But they will defiantly tell you how uneducated everyone else is and how everyone else should live their lives....nice.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • drcrkeller

        I have seen homes where the parents and grandparents spend as much time as their
        children on homework (they may not speak the language or understand the math)... but
        they insure the kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing....and guess where
        these kids are in their classes...yep... at the top. Kids must be taught the IMPORTANCE of
        learning... the VALUE and USE of what they are being taught....and there must be an ENVIROMENT
        that supports ....LEARNING...when any of these are missing...the kids are the losers.

        July 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  9. jo an

    I am a 'retired' teacher...Cannot fathom teaching in a public school today. I believe in public education!! However, the system has been taken over by elites who think they know about children and they do not. Obama's Secy. of Education is a total joke! Never taught a day or studied how to teach. Teaching is an art and the systems are making it into an assembly line for 'bean counters'...or people wearing badges which say..."My name is.. and I will be your server"......

    July 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • pamelagoodenough

      I'm glad you are not teaching anymore if you are so ignorant as to blame the issues and concerns in public education on President Obama. I'm guessing you voted for the real culprit twice.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • jimmyjack

        you just put yourself in the same category.
        bush didn't cause it and obama isn't gonna fix it.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • Solo

        The culprit has nothing to do with a presidential leadership (or lack thereof, as we have now – that's what happens when a Junior Senator has kids from the You-Tube generation voting) but rather the current condition of a lack of accountability. Parents are not expected to be responsible influences to their own children; teachers are not expected to really know how to teach and administrators are not expected to do anything but cash checks.
        The only people who have expectations on them are the taxpayers.

        July 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  10. blf83

    She's right! No amount or quality of testing shows how good or bad a teacher is.. No Child Left Behind hurts all of our children. Teachers and parents together can teach, model, create innovative, problem-solving, civic-minded children in ways no legislator or "education president" ever can.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  11. andrew

    Cold hearted republicans loathe teachers because they can't control them. Jeb Bush screwed up Florida's children with his republican master FCAT tests. FCAT is republican mandated CHILD ABUSE via politics. If we want educated children we'll throw republicans out of the system.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Slappy

      What about warm-hearted Republicans? Can I have a say, please?

      July 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  12. NYC Teacher


    I don't know why I'm responding to your smug, I'll-informed post... In truth, it just ticked me off enough that I feel compelled to clarify a few things.

    I'm not sure why you felt you had the right to judge my choices, but...

    I chose to take out student loans because my family was not financially able to help me pay for college. I worked two jobs (one full-time, one part-time) through undergrad, and one more-than-full-time job through grad school. These jobs allowed me to pay the rent and put food on the table in a very expensive city, but were not enough to cover tuition.

    School was not a "fun indulgence" for me. I barely had time to sleep. I chose to attend highly-rated– and therefore, unfortunately, expensive– schools because I felt they were worth the expense. Living on credit cards? Nope. Don't have one. And I make my student loan payments just fine, thanks.

    Now, clearly, none of this is your business, but I was annoyed enough to want to set the record straight. Friendly advice: In the future, don't get all judgey and preachy, especially when you have no clue what you're talking about. Kinda makes you look bad...

    July 7, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  13. ally buster

    The conservative solution for all that ills the United States?

    Blame school teachers.

    July 7, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  14. Respect for Union Workers

    STOP Obama's war against Medical Marijuana Patients – Support UFCW Local 770

    July 7, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  15. realoldguy

    You know the best way to get more conservatives into the teaching profession and have them teaching our children values? Pay teachers more! No self-respecting conservative will go to all the work required to get an advanced degree and then go into a profession that pays so little. They'd prefer to go to Wall Street where they'll get a chance to do something really useful!

    July 7, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • mklsgl

      100% correct.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  16. swatguy

    Talk about out of touch....we have poured billions of budget dollars into education, mostly teachers salaries, and look what we have to show. And to suggest that proficiency equals average is totally off the radar. My proficient firefighters are not average....perhaps she needs to find her long lost dictionary and discover the joy of reading instead of making speeches.

    July 7, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • mklsgl

      100% incorrect.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • JC

      I'm in education, and while I do not agree with much of what this teacher says, you need to be more familiar with the buzzwords in education before you judge. In education, "proficient" does not necessarily mean qualified, in the way that a firefighter needs to be qualified. It means that a child is generally capable of doing work at grade level; it does not mean that the child can do it well. In this state, we must deal constantly with large transient populations (which does not mean homeless, per say, but rather mobile or in and out of school); children whose educational background is frequently a mystery, is the result of damage done by charter schools, or worse, by home schooling. Additionally, we must deal with parents who frequently are unable to help their children because they have either never valued education, or are not particularly educated themselves. Many, many students have one or more parent in jail, which brings even more issues to the classroom. On top of that, laws passed by both Democrats and Republicans have made it virtually impossible to hold either the parent or the student responsible for their actions or behavior. Let me make this clear: parents, more than any other person, are responsible for their children's success or failure in school. You do not simply send a child to school, mutter that it's up to the teachers, and wash your hands of it. YOU are responsible for backing up the work the teacher is doing, and for backing up your child. If you do not value teachers, your child will not value teachers, or the education they receive. I've seen this time and time again. Are their bad teachers? Of course, just as there are bad firefighters. But take a look at the prison populations, take a look at the number of Americans who cannot even pass the citizenship test they demand of immigrants, take a look at the number of parents whose real argument against homework is the fact that they are unable to do the simple work themselves, and then tell me there aren't a vast number of Americans who are bad parents. How do they keep the heat off themselves? They blame the teachers.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Katie

      If you can read the above negative post, thank a teacher. If you can formulate a thoughtful rebuttal, thank a teacher. If you just attack the messenger, thank today's political climate.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • JC

      Most of the money doesn't get anywhere near teachers. Most of the money goes to administration, in this area, possibly up to 30%. That includes the district supervisor, secretaries, legal, personnel, and each little department with their own manager like food services, grounds keeping, and busing. Add to that the "Golden Parachute" people; the supervisor's cronies, who, even after retirement are invited back to "advise" with greatly inflated salaries. This is all approved by the elected board, by the way, in this area, they are all Republicans.
      As a result, despite policy, the textbooks are not up to date, there are not enough for every student, and the teachers are simply told to deal with it; told to make copies if they have to. The principal of each school, realizing the monetary shortfall, will then put a cap on the copy budget, which forces the teacher to either give up making the necessary materials or provide the materials for sometimes hundreds of students out of their own pockets. Parent clubs help, but frequently can't begin to supply all the needs. Nice system, huh? Runs on the Wall Street model of integrity.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • pamelagoodenough

      Swat–you are talking our of your rear end.

      If you think teachers make too much money you are also uninformed.

      I'm happy you have a good bunch of firefighters though.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  17. floridamom1

    If Public Education was truly interested in rising to the challenge of the 21st century, it would make sure that only the finest teachers were hired, that the mediocre ones were fired and that all children's unique gifts were recognized. This idea that all kids learn the same, and should fit into the same mold is absurd. And the idea that all of our children, boys and girls, should be gifted in science and math is absurd. Everyone learns differently. Until the teachers and their unions and the government who thinks they know how to educate, gets a clue, our children will continue to suffer.

    July 7, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • ally buster

      Some day public schools will be properly funded and the Air Force will be forced to have a bake sale to buy a bomber-

      July 7, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Slappy

        HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Show us where that is true. Where does more money in public education equal more success? If anything, you'll see an inverse relationship. Why do private schools spend so much less but achieve so much more?

        July 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • pamelagoodenough

      Gosh, a Florida mom who knows nothing. Whoda thunk it? LOL.

      Why not get an education and try teaching? It is not an easy job. It is more than a job. It is your life.

      And we had better begin educating the children in science whether they are gifted in that specific field or not.

      Otherwise we will have them grow up with your ideals. The only way we are going to save this planet for them–the children–is to educate them in the ways of science so they do not vote for idiots who deny climate change.

      How's the weather in your neck of the woods?!

      July 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Denise

        pamelagoodenough, that was not fair! I hated science in school and I still am not a fan. So, in your opinion, I will not be able to have an honest thought or opinion on climate change? Some of us do not like the subject but we do learn. FYI – I graduated in the top 10% of my class! Also, in the current climate, most schools believe in forcing a child into a science fair and making that more than 1/2 their grade. That is wrong! We are not all scientifically or mathematically inclined and we need to stop forcing it down the throats of students. What is so wrong with making them take the subjects but encouraging them with their strong points? Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

        July 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Greg

      This is only true up to a point. Certainly, not all children will be "gifted" at science and math. It is the school system's responsibility, however, to make sure that the maximum number possible are proficient at them by graduation. Standardized tests provide a rigorous assessment of this. Much of the hatred of these exams derives from this simple fact: they provide an unambiguous look at the level of education in students. There's no effective place to hide from it (other than nonsense catchphrases about "teaching to the test" and only teaching students to "take tests". If you can't do math, there are no "test-taking skills" that will produce the right answers- that's magical thinking) .

      Should teachers be directly accountable for test scores? No, probably not. No two environments or groups of students are the same. Also, direct application of test scores to teacher evaluations leads inevitably to cheating. But that does nothing to reduce the critical value of standardized tests in monitoring student outcomes. Without a realistic (even if unpleasant) assessment of performance, it's simply impossible to put policies in place that will do any long-term good.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • Monica


        July 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Monica

      Hi floridamom1. Thanks for posting. I am an educator and a union member, and I completely agree with you that only the best teachers should be hired. The simple fact is that the pay is a limiting factor.
      Also, I agree that the mediocre ones should be fired. The common assumption is that the union makes sure this can't happen. Totally untrue! The union guarantees a due process to the firing procedure, but bad teachers can be fired. If bad teachers are kept on staff, the principal must be called to account for this. Possibly the administration is dodging this uncomfortable task of firing an employee, or they are aware that a shortage of teachers in certain subjects keeps them from replacing someone easily.
      I truly feel that real reform needs to happen at the college level–where teachers/administrators are taught how to teach! I would like to see higher education come up with more consistent frameworks for teacher ed. programs and longer "internships" for teachers before they are granted a teaching license, much like doctors are required to undergo a residency. Of course, we are back to the issue of pay–not many people would be willing to tack on an extra year or two of teacher education and then get paid a starting salary of $30K. There would have to be a monetary incentive, and I don't think that makes teachers greedy. Every profession expects more pay for more work, and for more QUALITY work. Some of your ideas are valid, and remember that you are also a member of the public education system! Letting your policy-makers know that there is more to a child than a test score in math and science is a very powerful message.

      July 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  18. NYC Teacher

    1. We don't just "fall into" our profession. We are required to earn BA's, MA's, and state certifications. I spent seven years (and borrowed $150,000 in student loans) preparing to enter my chosen profession.

    2. I can't think of one colleague who became a teacher for the summers off. Not one. Sure, there are some crappy teachers– just like there are some crappy doctors, accountants, receptionists, mechanics, Supreme Court justices. Even those crappy teachers have some good intentions. Teaching is exhausting, time-consuming, and difficult. Plus, our "time off" is often filled with planning, grading, calling parents, and thinking about our students. You know why so many people leave the teaching profession? It's super-hard.

    3. Unions don't generally keep crappy teachers employed. Unions protect the process and the contract. Tenure is also massively misunderstood. No teacher is ever really "tenured"– any teacher can be fired. The union, and "tenure," simply protects the due process in those situations.

    4. Clearly, there are many disappointments in our public schools: public vilification of teachers, kids who can't read, obsessive media focus on standardized tests that are essentially busy-work, unhealthy school lunches, and more. But there are also many triumphs, and many inspiring moments. In a giant system like public ed., there will be both failures and successes. We need to work together– as teachers, parents, students, and citizens– to maximize the successes. No easy answers.

    July 7, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • floridamom1

      And clearly you don't live in the state of Florida. We have seen many poor performing and very mediocre teachers left in place because they have "tenure" and when the county is tight for money, it is the new teachers, not the tenured mediocre ones that get let go. Thanks to the unions.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • Jon

        I worked in the Broward County school system for five years and 2 in Alachua. While I agree it is harder to fire teachers down there, the real problem is parents don't work with teachers and help develop their children. They just blame the teachers for their kid's shortcomings, never looking in the mirror.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • MathTeacher

        As a teacher and former union rep:
        The unions don't keep the poor teachers; principals do. It is up to administration to observe and evaluate teachers; that is a large part of their job. If poor teacher reach their 2 yr tenure mark (in CA) it is because admin did not observe them with a critical eye.
        You may also thank the unions for 5 day work week, weekends, 40 work week, minimum wage and safer working conditions.

        July 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Tx teacher

        Have you ever worked with your student doing homework? Do you model reading, read any good novels lately?
        If not, then look In a mirror first!
        Try joining the PTA, be part of the solution!
        Or does that interfer with you reality TV schedule?
        The simple and sometimes sad part is that kids take as their primary model their parents or caregivers, so if you value reading, being informed, and furthering yourself thru sel-education, you kids probably will, if not Shame on youbut don't blame the teacher for everything.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • chris

      NYC, better said than most and I agree, however in my experience face to face when a school counselor and principle tell me they are the advocate of the teacher not the child I was forever changed in mind about this system.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Violet Weed

      'take the teacher's word' that they are 'doing a good job'? What a crock! As for spending 150,000 for seven years of school... baa waa waa... clearly you indulged yourself to 'just' get an education and have fun doing it. I have a PhD and do not owe a NICKEL in student loans and NEVER DID. How? Why? I WORKED MY WAY THROUGH SCHOOL. WORKED AND STUDIED and scratched and sacrificed. It is your own stupidity that you got yourself so vastly in debt. As to 'just a few' teachers being cr*p, hardly! It is CLEAR from gen millennial how worthless the majority of teachers are. Fault?? luxuriating your way through your own college education then worrying about how the F you will pay back those huge student loans, then living on credit cards and worrying about those payments, and not TEACHING your kids... but PARENTS own some responsibility too, because this is not 1890 and people don't need to spend mega time maintaining a home, working in the fields, cleaning clothes, etc etc etc so there is NO excuse NOT to be involved in your kids' lives. What do you mean "but I drive them to this practice and that social event and to school..."... why? If you do not homeschool then the kids are only IN school for 5-6 hours a day. Forget about driving them to piano lessons. I taught myself the piano, the trumpet, the guitar, etc. and four foreign languages and NEVER took a lesson. Get a used piano and make the kids PRACTICE. Have your own home band. You've got the internet, put your computers in a circle in the living room and use them for AFTER school education, if you won't home school. Get RID of the television, out out OUT. Teach your kids how to do their own laundry, cook family meals, CLEAN the house, WEED the garden. BE PARENTS and stop blaming idiot people who cannot DO but only semi-teach... for the raising of your kids.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • JC

        I read somewhere that PhD meant piled high and deep. Now I see that's absolutely correct. I worked three jobs through college, just to pay the bills. Most jobs worked by college students, even stacked up, provide just enough money to get by, not enough to actually pay for the cost of a decent school. I still came out with some debt.
        I cannot help but note that you failed to mention exactly in which subject you spent your time, and allegedly earned your doctorate. So tell me, how much did mommy and daddy pay in to keep you in school?

        July 7, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • Sean

        For someone who has a Ph.D., your grammar, spelling, and punctuation is atrocious. I'm sure you went to one of those online schools or something. No wonder you don't owe a nickel.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • TheTruth2121

        I also have a Ph.D. and I am appalled at your judgmentality. People with a doctorate are taught to think broadly and consider many possibilites for why a situation is as it is. You are making generalized, sweeping statements that you have no ability to make from one person's limited post. I do not know how the person racked up $150,000 in school debt for a BA and MA, but do not assume it is for the reasons you mention. Yeah you worked hard in grad school, and like most doctoral students you probably received a stipend as well that limited your expenses. Obviously your doctoral program did a bad job of teaching you to think objectively and refrain from making judgments without having all the data and information. You make comments you have no justification to make.

        July 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • kevin

        Wow, you must be fun to have around... not.

        July 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
      • Tx teacher

        Weed, that is what your ideas amount to!
        You must be one intelligent troll to have a PhD and play all those instruments,or are you just a legend in you own mind?

        July 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • terry

        You people are being much too mean to Violet. You are treating her like a blustering elitist PhD. My guess would be that Violet barely dragged her @$$ through high school and is using the anonymity of the internet to bolster a very badly sagging self-esteem by trying to impress complete strangers. If that doesn't deserve your pity, I can't imagine what does.

        July 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • scb

      I have to laugh at your comment. None of your colleagues will tell you they became teachers for the summers off. Why would they? They might not even remember, but those of us who went to school with people who got a degree in education and knew them when they were deciding what career they wanted to follow may well remember summers off as being a factor in their ultimate decision.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Solo

      Teaching is not a "super-hard" profession any more than others who hold degrees and certifications, as you cite. I also believe that we're filling classrooms with teachers who do not lack the capability beyond the credentials – I recently stood in line and talked to someone who is a teacher – of eighth grade history and geography – who did not know the capital of Vermont. He said he had been teaching for less than a year, so I'm guessing he's not burnt out.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Denise

      NYC teacher, THANK YOU! I would not want your job.

      July 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  19. Albert Einstein

    This woman is exactly right. We should just take the teacher's word for it that they're doing a great job.

    July 7, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Larry Pooface

      sarcasm is not reflected in this record.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  20. Work Union - Work Better

    STOP Obama's war against Medical Marijuana Patients – Support UFCW Local 770

    July 7, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  21. Surthurfurd

    What is wrong with US education is the US public does not respect education, we treat science like it is a myth, we refuse to accept facts when it gets in the way of our opinions, we think everything is someone else's fault and then feel free to complain without doing something about it.

    July 7, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Kayte

      Good points.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Jon

      of course not, they don't want to offend Jesus and Zeus

      July 7, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  22. 6th Grade Teacher

    Want to know what other, more successful, countries do? They leave their special needs kids in the dust. They have children left behind. They don't spend their resources educating the children from whom they will not get "the bang for their buck." Right or wrong, we have decided as a society that we will not do this. Therefore, we spend less of our resources (I'm not just talking money) on the students who will become tax paying, contributing members of our economic base. No judgements, just an observation.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Larry Pooface

      Care to mention which of these countries do that? Are these countries industrialized or mostly rural? Do they rank higer or lower than the US with their educational success? Anyone can say anything, but it does not mean a thing if you do not provide examples or facts from sound sources. Please re-post your comment using the proper citation that you learned in class and someone may take you seriously.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • floridamom1

        I would like to say, that if they learned how to properly cite it was because they had a GOOD teacher, not a bad one, and if teachers continue to allow their school districts to use books that provide inaccurate information, such as history books, then what kind of teachers are they if they do not inform the students of the errors? We have 4 children and have found many errors during the years in regard to history being taught. And, my children have been taught NEW ways to do math which makes the math actually harder to learn. I wonder why that is? If you are a teacher worth your salt, then teach the truth and teach the right way and refuse to teach the nonsense that abounds in the public school system.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • Tx teacher

        In France, the entire nation's students take an exam after middle school – if they pass they go onto a college track in secondary school, if not then they have no choice, they go to what amounts to trade school!
        Most European countries are the same!
        Of course American parents are so busy, watching American Idol or reality TV, or just basically just ignoring their children!
        But every school, community, and classroom is different – it is very poor logic to make sweeping generalities about all teacher or all parents for that matter!

        July 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • High School Teacher


      July 7, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Kayte

      Maybe you are talking about some countries, but other countries, especially in Europe at least have apprenticeships to help kids who are disabled.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Solo

      I am all for letting parents of the so-called special needs take care of them as they should – and not pawn them off on a school system – after all, I'm already paying them about $3,000 per month (or more) for disability "benefits" – ENOUGH.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • gwtars

      So, your solution to improving education is to do away with all of the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as Brown v. Board of Education, to turn our educational system into more of an assembly line based upon producing widgets to become cogs in the machinery of commerce?

      July 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  23. 2tor

    This lady is why I'd would of rather home schooled. She's also the epitome of what's wrong with the systym.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Zeebo

      Okay. A give. Why? Because she thinks that teachers deserve more recognition? That they are underpaid, understaffed, underappreciated? Because when the tests are good, it's a good thing for the state, but when they're bad the teachers are blamed?

      July 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Surthurfurd


      July 7, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Lainie11

      Absolutely! You hit the nail on the head. As home school pioneers from the mid 70's we couldn't agree more. When the politics and political correctness is taken out of the government system, then things might change, until then, nothing will happen. Robert Enlow's remarks at the end of the article shows that somebody still has some insight.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:22 am |
      • MB

        You are what is wrong with education. The fact that a teacher wants to be able to teach the students, and not worry so much about testing is what makes you sick! People like you make me sick.

        July 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • MB

        Wow. What exactly makes you sick? I hope you have healthcare for that!

        July 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • pamelagoodenough

        You are obviously a George Bush lover. That guy along with the rest of his conservative buddies beginning with Ronnie Reagun, took our educational system apart. Perhaps you are too young to recall Ronnie Reagun?

        And you blame President Obama?! LOL.

        You are an idiot. You are brainwashed by the teaparty and your own dogma.

        Children need to learn about how to get along in society. Keeping them locked up at home does not serve them.

        My evangelical sister home-schooled her two children. They really have major issues today and are not very happy.

        Of course there are children who succeed in home schooling for whatever reason. But human beings are social animals and need to learn how to get along with other human beings. They need to learn about culture.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • ellie bunns

      2tor, glad your kids are taught at home, when they leave the nest they will be as clueless as you are!

      July 7, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Dan

      Are ladies like this one behind your lack of grammatical skills?

      July 7, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Larry Pooface

      Please provide more data to why you come to this conclusion; the lack of supporting statements lead one to beleive that you do not know what you are talking about.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • Solo

        ... and you need to learn how to spell the word B E L I E V E

        July 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Public School Teacher

      2tor, The grammatical errors in your post show one of the reasons you should NOT be homeschooling your children. Before you criticize highly trained, professional teachers who have dedicated their lives to serving children, maybe you should ask yourself if you REALLY think you can do a better job. Your post leaves me to believe that maybe that is not such a good idea.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • chris

        I'd gladly take the misspelled words over the arrogance of teachers.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • chris

      2tor I got the same feeling as I read this article. Holyer than Thou..teacher as all knowing.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • Jon

        Wow, two geniuses misspelling non-stop, even with spell check on here. So happy my kids will be publicly educated and BLOWING by your kids in the real world while your kids are still preparing for the end of days because some fictional book that has been rewritten thousands of times through the years tells them it is going to happen. Cheers and my kids thank you!

        July 7, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • pamelagoodenough

        chris, you need remedial education! LOL!

        It is ignorant folk such as you who have done so much damage to this nation. And you blame the "elite" who are educated.

        Man-o-man, you do not even realize you are much of the cause of our woes. Ignorant human beings who are allowed to vote. I'm sure you are a BUSH lover, as well as the other idiot posting here. I'm sick to death of Bush bots. They really are the root of our troubles in so many ways. Ignorant, arrogant, self-important. So stoopid they cannot even see the error of their own ways. Sheesh.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • crosstime59

      If you are going to tout your ability to educate over someone else's, you should proof your writing. Your poor spelling, improper grammar, and ignorance of teachers’ content standard requirements undermines your arguments.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Jon

      I take it you are a conservative, b/c you didn't explain your statement. And is that what you teach your children at home, just to make statements they saw misspelled on a sign at a tea party rally?

      July 7, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  24. Surthurfurd

    We need to look to the countries that are doing much better than the US in education to emulate what they are doing. The main thing that those cultures have is a strong sense of respect for the profession. When a child disrupts a class in those nations the child is held responsible. Here in the US if a child disrupts the class or is a bully it is the victim and the school that is the fault.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  25. Doug

    As a former teacher I can attest to the fact that the NEA, and state unions, are causing the demise of public education. I left the public schools many years ago not being able to coup with do nothing teachers who were drawing a pay check, allowing kids to advance without sufficient skills, and causing, not just allowing, chaos in the halls.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • mark

      I see. So you are a failed teacher and it is the NEA that is to blame. Glad you got out of the field.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • floridamom1

        Wake up Mark. If you have a child in public schools you know he is right. Unions are helping to destroy public education in this country. It is a fact.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • JC

        He's obviously a troll. He misspelled "cope." Please don't feed the trolls.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Lainie11

      Doug, it's called "social engineering". socially promoting students even without the proper skills. When the NEA gets out of the educational system, and locals control their own schools, things just might get better.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  26. DP

    She said people who haven't set foot in side a classroom shouldn't make education decisions. Very few voting Americans have never set foot inside a classroom.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Katherine Martin

      Lee Iaccoca was quoted as saying, "In a rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else." As a public school teacher for 27 years now I couldn't agree more

      July 7, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • JM990

      I think you know what she meant...

      July 7, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • steve

      Stepped foot in the classroom as a teacher . . .

      July 7, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • mark

      Pretty sure she means people who haven't set foot in a classroom since they last left one as a student.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • floridamom1

      They have if they are a mom and volunteer at their children's school. I, for one, have personally witnessed verbal abuse by a teacher to her classroom. I have personally witnessed a teacher scream at the top of her lungs at her students. And that teacher never was fired.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Jon

      All the woman was saying is if you haven't ever teached or understand what really goes on in the classroom, don't set policy or procedures. It is like when you work in a blue collar field for 20 years and then some 26 year old kid with a masters degree gets a higher position than you and dictates how you should do your job even though he doesn't know how to turn a wrench.

      THAT is what she is trying to say. Until you walked a day in her shoes, shut the f up, armchair quarterback!

      July 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Solo

      I vote and have spent over 22 years in a classroom as a student – far enough time to see the downfalls. I also see my property tax bill and the waste of money – enough evidence to convict, thank you.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • Tx teacher


        Did you learn anything in those 22 years , or you just playing football and marking time?

        Regardless, untill you have to get in front of 100 to 150 students per day I really don' t think you are qualified to judge!

        July 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  27. Murray

    As an outsider looking in i see the "dumbing down" syndrome growing.Theres enough blame to go around, parents,kids, gov't etc...... Everyone likes to poimt the finger but most don't accept responsibility. Which imho is the root of the problem. People want the freedoms but not the resposibility, aka the consequences for their actions. Usually begins with the statement "its my right".

    Want to fix the problem here are couple solutions, spend more on butter than bullets, end politics of polarization,better parenting, take resposibility for your actions, open your own mind and quit being so self absorbed. Start looking at facts and thinking for yourselves instead of blindly following ideology and lashing out at any onw who diisagrees with you. Thats why your losing ground too pretty much every decent education system in the world..

    July 7, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Murray

      Sorry for the grammatical errors, i hate typing on ipad.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • gsnlou

      It is a rare quality indeed, hearing someone saying "I am taking full responsibility of my action." and "I am sorry". If people stop pointing fingers and start owning up their own $h!it. Politicians, parents, teachers, and even children.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • mark

      Well said, Murray. Certainly teachers bear part of the responsibility, but those who want to push all the blame off on teachers are shirking THEIR responsibility for the problem.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  28. Jeff

    If you want to fix the "education system," you first have to dismantle it. First, the Dept. of Education at the federal level needs to be done away with. The federal government has no clue what the needs are of the individual states. The highest level of any form of "centralized" organization needs to be kept at the state level. The educational needs of California differ greatly from the educational needs of Maine. Let each state determine its needs.

    Second on the chopping block are the teachers unions. Too many poor quality and ill-tempered teachers are on still feeding at the public trough because of these thug-like unions. Teachers unions do not put education first. They put teachers first. Taxpayers and children should not be held at gunpoint by these unions. Public sector workers should be barred from forming unions to begin with. This includes fire fighters, police officers, corrections officer, public works personnel, etc, etc. As a private sector employee who has to perform to keep my job, you shouldn't have job guarantees paid for by my tax dollars.

    Finally, the structure of the k-12 curriculum itself needs to modernized. Parents and students need to have greater input to the classes themselves. Another issue that I recall from my school days was the total confusion caused by a textbook that teaches one method of problem solving but a teacher that prefers and thus teaches a different method. What good does this do? If the book says "this way" then you teach "this way." Why? Because what are parents and students going to have with them later that evening to study by? THE BOOK!

    July 7, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Bill the Cat

      Several of my 2 High School aged daughters' teachers simply don't use books at all. They make their own worksheets and have lectures, and then expect the kids to remember how to do the lesson. If they miss a day, or simply don't understand, they are told to get with a fellow student.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:25 am |
      • Lainie11

        Bill the Cat, how about having your child sit in the classroom and the teacher shaves then lets the children see the whiskers, and the teacher terms this a learning experience. This was in my second grader's class. Some teachers need to get a life.

        July 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • lauren

      Teachers need the protection gained from being in a union, especially when attacked by bad parents or when assaulted by students. I would simply do away with tenure. Whats the point of keeping bad teachers just because theyve been in the system for a few years? In truth, many tenured ineffective teachers are destroying generations of children. There is nothing that can be done to get them out. I think the problem is tenure, not necessarily the unions as a whole.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • gsnlou

      Jeff, clearly you do not know what you are talking about. The US Dept of Edu is not just putting up recommended curriculum for ALL school funded by federal is also responsible for deciding the funding received by school districts as dictated by any legislative bills by Congress or the Executive office.

      If you can take the time to type all of your comment, why don't you spend more time observing and figuring out what is NOT working and what IS?

      July 7, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • AJ

      I understand your ideological commitment to states rights and the populist fear of big government but if you're going to argue your point honestly, you need to at least recognize that the educational content of K-12 curriculum is already shaped at the level of individual states through state educational standards. The much larger problem that you touch upon is that many taxpayers have bought the lie that we can have a world class educational system without paying for it. They believe that an elementary school classroom with 40 eight year olds and an underpayed and in some cases undertalented teacher will somehow magically produce intellectually lively, reflective and entrepreneurial young people. The best free market principles dictate that you get what you pay for in either the private sector or the public. California's experience with Prop 13 is informative here. Prior to its passage California had the best K-12 public educational system in the country. Its teachers were the best and the brightest. Today it ranks near the very bottom. What is truly amazing is how many really fine dedicated teachers there are in this country inspite of the impossible conditions that they are forced to work under. I'm also unclear as to what you think eliminating teachers unions will accomplish. If believe that eliminating the last viable line of defense against teacher wage cuts and the further degradation of working conditions will somehow improve education in this country, I believe that you are profoundly deluded. What it will do is to drive the last of those really excellent teachers that I referred to earlier, out of the profession

      July 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  29. Allen

    Teachers can do little for students whose parents don't care. The family has more effect on education than teachers do. The lofty goal of "proficiency" doesn't really sound like a high achievement to me. Is this more government enforced medocrity she's talking about or what?

    July 7, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Roger

      Too many parents don't care and no one is ever going to make them care. Consequently, it IS up to the teachers to educate this nation's children.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  30. pro-ed

    Wow! Finally a teacher with some chutzpah! Recently read a satire website on education by some teacher down in Florida that talks about the same kinds of things:

    Funny but sad.

    July 7, 2012 at 5:13 am |
  31. c2it

    BRIAN: You appear to be an example of how education is failing in spite of these standardized tests. You say that teachers make 3/4 of your starting pay, as if this is somehow supporting your contention that teachers are well paid. Here is a short math lesson... I teach 187 days a year. Holidays and summer are not part of this 187 days. You work about 240 days (that's taking into account your PAID vacation and typical PAID federal holidays). Three-fourths of 240 is 180. I work 8 more days (and likely MANY more hours than you, unless you are a salaried employee who works well over 40 hours a week...because I sure do). I don't know what you do for a living, but it is likely thanks to a teacher you are capable of even holding a decent job. SO... I work 7 more days than 3/4 of the number of days you do, and you seem to think this isn't equitable? You clearly get paid more than I, but I am overpaid?!?

    July 7, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • warsteiner

      So you dont recieve a "pink slip" and collect during the summer. Im 43 and from what I remember from many years ago this is true. I dont mean to take anything away from teachers. The job is very difficult and can be both rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time. Not many jobs can say that.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:51 am |
      • marie

        I do receive paychecks during the summer because I have opted to have my salary divided by 12. If not done I would receive ten paychecks a year, the salary divided by the ten teaching months of the year.

        July 7, 2012 at 9:00 am |
      • user

        "no pink slips" really? have you reading the news, teachers are getting laid off by the droves, young, experienced, tenured alike. there's are no guaranteed employment anymore, the NEA has no spine and governors like Scott Walker are undermining what power they do have. teaching is not cushy, try it for a year, you'll miss your cubicle-desk job by noon on the first day.

        July 7, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • steve

      no, your overpaid as an industry for the plain fact that piublic schools do not work. the level of professionalism is at the lowest ever in the education world. I have just Shepherd two boys through public and private education through all the levels. my sons played ball for the public schools for a while, and the difference in teachers is remarkable. the private less paid teachers were hands down better prepared and had a plan,. meanwhile your public schools seem to lower the bar year after year, how many of your students graduate without learning how to read.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:34 am |
      • Nevis

        Yes Steve, it may or may not be true, but your having both the MONEY and the DESIRE to put your children in private schools makes all the difference. If parents in public school put the same DESIRE into their schools, they wold be better. Secondly, as a teacher with a teacher daughter, teaching to the test, and keeping records is the required performance for public education. Relatively good testing results for private students is the result not of private school but for parents who have the means and desire for their children to succeed. Put five poor and parentless children in the same school (which is not really possible) and they would test poorly as well in public schools. Thank you.

        July 7, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • marie

        Did the private school your sons attended offer a free eeducation to ALL? Or, did the have the option of not accepting students and charge tuition that some may not have the ability to pay?

        July 7, 2012 at 9:03 am |
      • Jon

        There are less kids in the private sector compared to public, so obviously there will be more poor students. And if the figures you are referring to are per capita, if the student is going to a private school, the kid is going to be from a "well off" family which is typically more educated than a family that is stuck using the public system.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • J

        How can you intelligently compare your kids teachers to the rest of the country? That is like saying that since one cop might be bad at their job or crooked, that all of them are. Part of our country's problem is close minded people like yourself...look in the mirror for once please.

        July 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • Tx teacher

        Maybe the public school didn't do so well because some parents only care about their child in "ball!"
        Just wondering, do you needa new spell checker or you just don't care?

        July 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • commentable

      who funds your pension? do you do it thru a 401k.?, How much do you contributre to you medical insurance?

      July 7, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  32. The_Mick

    Rick wrote: "What is more important to a teacher? The education of a child or their personal interest? I've been a university professor for many years...and it is evident that personal interest is more important. Much like many employees in unions (or other industries)...many teachers do the minimum to get by..." As someone who teaches perhaps 1 or 2 hours per day and aren't in the high, middle, or elementary schools to see what goes on, you've got a hell of an nerve slinging mud. I spent a career as a high school teacher and there's no question that the vast majority of teachers spend a lot of time trying to make their teaching more effective. Teachers are on-task without a break hour after hour – you have to plan hours ahead for bathroom breaks – and put in 300 hrs/year more than the average full-time worker. Even the very Conservative Forbes magazine rates teaching as the 3rd lowest paying profession requiring a 4-year college degree (and most schools require an eventual masters) including benefits. If teaching below the college level was so easy, why is it that before the recession so few Americans would even consider it that most school systems recruit from 3rd world countries? 10% of Baltimore's teachers are from the Philippines.

    July 7, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  33. Solidarity for America - Work Union - Work Better

    STOP Obama's war against Medical Marijuana Patients – Support Local 770 – UFCW

    July 7, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  34. BillinCA

    As I see it, It's every ones fault. Teachers, unions, administrators, politicians, parents and the public..

    On per capita, USA is #1 when it comes to spending money to educate it's kids and yet we are like #27 in the world when it comes to how smart our kids are after schooling. So it can't be about "money". If no standardize testing, then what? Public needs a way to know how the teachers are doing and no one has come up with another suggestion. Testing and progress reports can't be by administrators, because they are teachers themselves and have been taught to think the same way whatever that is failing our kids. Personally, I want to know that our kids are learning the bare minimum, once they know that, teachers should have free reins to teach whatever they want and have time to do so. The unions are not out there for the common good these days, they are more worried about lining their own pockets and protect bad teachers in the name of good teachers. The same goes for tenure. What other career has a life time job security after 5 years? I can't think of one. Having to worry about your job keeps you on your feet and makes you want to prove that you are better. In L.A. school district, it takes a million dollars (yes, a million dollars) in order for the district to fire a bad teacher. At a $60,000-$80,000 yearly salary that's 12-16 years worth of wages, so they might as well let the bad teacher keep working and let him/her retire out. So I certainly wouldn't say check and balances are working in the public's favor in regards being able to fire bad teachers. Then there are the parents, they are not getting behind the teachers and supporting them. Back when I was going to school my biggest fear wasn't my teachers, it was my parents if a teacher told on me or I brought home a bad grade on my report cards. My parents (mostly my mom) was on top of everything, she knew every teacher and knew what I had to do, if I didn't do it something would've been taken away from me, if not, my butt would be red and I would be out in the yard dragging my butt like a dog trying to get the stinging out. The public is at fault too, for keep voting in the politicians that have no guts to say no to the unions that have personal interests for their own gains (not the students) and unwilling to do what needs to be done.

    And last, but not the least, we need to stop thinking that every kid has a right to go to college. We need to bring back our industry base and stop thinking we can survive on a service only economy. Kids taking some trade classes in high school should be good enough to have a decent life. The few kids that have proven themselves should be able go to college, but the ones that don't put effort in high school shouldn't be made to think that they have to go to college in order not to be a failure, because they are not failures as long as they get a decent job doing some kind of a trade. Bring back machine shops, wood shops, and drafting classes. Even start new kinds of elective classes like plumbing, electrical, and etc. These classes should carry weight in joining trade schools or even joining (I can't believe I am saying this) unions such as I.B.E.W. where they have classes for new members.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Zaxxon

      Interesting that you didn't include in your list the one group of people that can actually make a difference in their education. The STUDENTS.

      July 7, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • mufa

      all the yammering about unions – you have no idea how merciless principals & school districts are toward teachers in 'right to work' states – yo have no rights, you have no protection – nothing. UNIONS came about are in place because of oppressive workplace behavior by employers who easily get away with whatever they want, and have lawyers to do their bidding at the expense of the employee. Most teachers are hard working people who put in way more hours in their jobs than they get paid for. There is no job in the USA besides teaching where you have to spend your won money to do your job. Most elementary and jr high teachers spend about 1000$ each year of their own money to provide for learning experiences for their kids. Most teachers spend more child-focused effort on individuals kids learning in 6-7 hrs than their parents do all the time at home. Most folks lipping off about schools have NO idea what goes on, have NO idea jhow their kids act in school, & NO idea what laws & riles prevail. Too many people think anyone can teach, but not many people step up & do it. These folks from Teach America & other charter schools who hire these whiz kids for 2 yrs who then move on to more worthwhile & lucrative careers, arent the ones year in & year out putting up with the crap form lazy parents who expect schools to do what they should be doing.

      July 7, 2012 at 2:42 am |
      • BillinCA

        And yet, on the other side of the extreme, where there are unions, the principals & school districts are powerless.

        And you don't know what my experiences are. Let's assume that I have no experiences in the school system, does that mean I have no say in it? Even when I have kids going to school? Even when I am a tax payer? Tax money is not the government's money, it's the people's money.

        And your point on that teachers spending their own money for their job? Ask mechanics and electricians how much money they spend on tools that should've been provided by the companies. Guess what, most trades you have to do that, even I have bought computers for my own job that should've been provided to me by the company.

        July 7, 2012 at 3:25 am |
      • Todd27nj

        To all of the good teachers out there. I have the utmost respect for you and hope that people will one day realize that they should get behind you, instead of fighting you. I am who I am today because of some great teachers.

        July 7, 2012 at 10:47 am |
      • floridamom1

        A good teacher should know that while the unions made a big difference at the beginning of the 20th century, we are currently living in the 21st century where laws have been passed making it unnecessary to have a union. Progress does not come by providing mediocrity. It comes by progressing. Unions are regressive. They think only of themselves and not what is right. They prove it time and time again.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Apple

      Nicely said, Billin. It is evident from most responses on this board that the education system and more specifically, teachers, have lost the confidence of the people. Yelling at us and bullying us into feeling sorry for them is not working. It hasn't worked for the past 40 years. The thing is, most of us have stepped into a students ourselves and as parents of students... and most of us were/are not impressed and we would not buy the product they are selling if we were not forced to through the tax system.

      July 7, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Nevis

      BillinCA. In answer to your question there are many type of folks with "tenure" of one sort or another. Roman Catholic priests are an example. They are paid, privided with food, housing and such for life. Good or bad. Most are good, just as are most teachers. But teacher can and do lose their jobs. Union or no, tenure or no.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Teacher

      I hate to admit it but I agree with you BillinCA. I am a teacher. I've been told by countless parents that I am a great teacher. The union is a double edged sword for me. I need them to protect me from incompetent assistant principals/principals who evaluate my performance based on a few observations. I've never had a bad evaluation but I've watched principals pick on teachers they didn't like personally. We work our asses off. We work long hours and take loads of work home and don't get compensated. We don't earn a bonus. We are forced to take courses to keep up our certificates that we have to pay for out of pocket. We don't get reimbursed for the essential supplies we buy for our classrooms. I teach in a low income school. I spend at least $1500 out of pocket on my students. I do it because I want to. I choose to teach in a low income school because I want to. I get 30 minutes for lunch. Which is usually spent standing at the copy machine waiting in line. I teach in a trailer. Oops, I mean learning cottage. The children I teach would rather stay with me than go home. Most of my students hate going home on the weekends. Many don't get picked up on time and I end up sitting in the office with them until they are picked up by their neglectful caretakers. I spend hours preparing for conferences only to have less than half of the parents show up. I can't even contact the parents via phone because they won't call back. I've had parents yell at me because they don't have time to do homework with their kids and yet they do have time to update their facebook pages. They won't pay for field trips but they will get their nails done and buy expensive sunglasses while I get mine at Target. I'm a mom so I can not justify their neglect. We live in a society that enables people and allows them to take advantage. I had a little girl tell me that she didn't care about doing well in school because she was going to get WICK when she grew up. I only had 9 months to change her mindset and man was it a battle. She was a smart girl with great potential and she was already quitting in 2nd grade. What can I do when society is working against me and I'll I've got is 9 months? I lost sleep over that little girl. Most people wouldn't give a crap about her but she WAS MY JOB. I was her teacher.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  35. Rick

    What is more important to a teacher? The education of a child or their personal interest? I've been a university professor for many years...and it is evident that personal interest is more important. Much like many employees in unions (or other industries)...many teachers do the minimum to get by and keep their jobs (because that is the most important thing...right? To be able to provide for their families). Our education system has many flaws....and these flaws keep growing. Teachers are not held accountable for their results. There are too many bad teachers who are more interested in getting their monthly paycheck than educating children. Is standardized testing the answer?...probably not. The answer is to find teachers who really care about students and take pride in their jobs. The others should find another career.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Tx teacher

      Funny, I remember some of my college professors, many were careful to teach so we would all understand!
      But many more just lectured from twenty year old notes and droned on and on,speak of lazy and tenure, You college professors should all look in the mirror!
      Besides, most of them would never last forty-fives minutes in the real world! But they will always have their tenure, the worthless PhD, and ideas that hardly ever found practical application in the REAL world!
      Get a grip, it is higher education that is failing America now more than ever!

      July 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  36. Bob

    Wrong. Education starts at home, the school only supplements. If you, as a parent, do not instill the value of education into your children, there is very little a teacher can do.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Darell

      Bob, as a 20+ years experienced public high school teacher, I totally agree with you. Not all parents seem to just "dump them" in the school system, expecting miracles, but it sure seems that way. My additional comment is that one thing about educating young people ( of any age) is that the true results of how he/she handles life won't show up for many years. People in our society can not accept anything except instant results.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  37. Larry

    Sounds like this teacher of the year is a communist. She states that only people who have set foot in a classroom have a right to judge her performance. That means the school board, mayor , city council, parents, taxpayers, and even the people who wrote these blogs have no right to hold her or any other teacher accountable for their performance, according to the comrade teacher. She believes that the American people are stupid and only the "elites' like her have a right make decisions or vote in this country. Sounds like communisn to me.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • jill

      Go back and read the article again. You made a mistake. She said that people who have not been in the classroom, should not be making the decisions and policies for education. Agree. That would be like me telling the court system how it should be run without any knowledge on my part. Same thing.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Satan

      That's not the definition of a communist, Larry. And a teacher with 10-30 years experience teaching has more of a right to judge the performance of YOUR CHILDREN in the disciplines of the modern world than you do.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • ccccc

      Of course it sounds like communism to you Larry, ,mostly because you have no idea what the word communism even means. Using your logic, since I am a tax payer, do I get to vote on the performance of any large corporation that uses subsidies?

      July 7, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • stainpouch

      Larry, you're an imbecile. Go away.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Tx teacher

      Are you a facist? Seems to me that people who like to throw around the communist word are often the other extreme!
      Leave the name calling out of this, it destroys what little credibility you might have had!

      July 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  38. Sam

    I've taught for 6 year, mostly Sp Ed kids with behavior problems. This is one reason why she is right and standardized tests are a joke. Many of my very troubled students from severely broken homes were extremely talented and intelligent in certain areas. These were never the areas that are covered by standardized tests. I could help these kids by developing their strengths (art, botany, auto mechanics, building, you name it) and making them more confident individuals who knew they were good at something and could one day be a success at it. Or, I could waste all of our time trying to teach them reading and math which they had absolutely zero interest in and would often lead to behavioral outbursts/ breakdowns. Either way I fail because the tests won't show significant progress in reading or math. But if I taught to their interests, I could help them survive in a world set against them.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • jill

      You are exactly right.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Ernie

      Great points. I had a teacher when I was 15 that helped build my confidence. That turned my whole life around. I ended up going to college and becoming a productive member of society. I was not special Ed, just a regular kid drifting along. Teachers can make a big difference for any kid. We just need to figure out how to find the balance between teaching to some kind of metrics so we have a foundation on which to measure the success of both teachers and students, and giving teachers the ability to give each student what they need to succeed.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:52 am |
  39. DJ

    I honestly dont know what they mean by the taxpayers need to know they are getting their moneys worth with standardized testing, when I was in school, I never knew how I did on those test, and now my kids are in school and I have never heard how they do either, they just say this is the average for whatever state.

    I think she is right on with her statements, I dont think my kids get the same education I got, and they go to private school, they are only taught what some "administrator" thinks they need to be taught, history is a joke anymore, its not accurate or they dont get all of the lesson, just parts of it.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  40. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    I've been teaching 39 years, and I can honestly say this lady has masterfullly stated exactly what is wrong with the testing of students today. everybody needs to read this article! Thank you!

    July 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • davewoodrum

      As a community youth worker, I will back you 1100000% on this.... SOL (what is called in Virginia... ironic that it is the S.O.L.) has destroyed the Virginia school system.

      July 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • DLN

      I've taught Chemistry for 20 years. For most of those years, I have visited numerous college campuses when I had the opportunity and asked professors what skills they wanted in their incoming students. I tailored my instruction to their wishes and my former students have for the most part enjoyed great success in their college-level chemistry classes (required in most science, medical, and engineering fields). The core curriculum standards now out for science require few of those skills and I fear that if I have to teach to those standards, my students will suffer for it at college.

      I realize that a low percentage of the population actually needs to master chemistry, but I have to work within the constraints of laws like NCLB and Race to the Top. To retain my job and to secure continued funding for my district, I will probably be forced to teach in a manner that will not prepare my college bound students just to get low students up to 'average'.

      The system is broken and we have the wrong people choosing its direction. I don't claim to know all that is best for my students, but I try my best to find out from the people who need specific skill sets what direction I should take. I don't think I will be serving my students' best interests by taking lead from political agendas.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  41. Cheryl

    The revolution does begin with the classroom teacher. She is absolutely on point when she says that people who haven't set foot in a classroom shouldn't be making the policies. As a middle and high school teacher for 18 years, I do not fear accountability. I do not fear the standardized tests. I fear the skewed benchmarks that assume all students have the same capacity to comprehend, that do not take into account the complete lack of parenting happening in many of my students' households, that do not acknowledge the students who don't know where their next meal is coming from. I teach in a lower socio-economic school, and my students had a 98 percent pass rate this year. That is including special education and ESOL students. They surpassed their own expectations. However, their scores are still viewed in comparison to schools without the social issues and with parental support.

    In my opinion, we need to be teaching PARENTING classes. That would really make an impact on the lives of my students.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  42. disgustedvet

    Two things . # 1-ALL students are not created even. Trying to let everyone win only causes everyone to lose. #2-EDUCATE,do not INDOCTRINATE. You are NOT a political commissar,you are a teacher.,

    July 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Let me guess,

      By educate you mean teach creationism, and by indoctrinate you mean teach science.

      I could be wrong, am I correct or not?

      July 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • JH

        Creationism = Created by weak minded individuals with a myopic agenda based on hearsay, unprovable stories and conjecture.
        Science – Systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions.

        July 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  43. babooph

    As a failed teacher,I want less school administration,& more teachers with good pensions & higher pay-I guess I will be directed to go to Europe or Asia for my anti US feelings on this matter...

    July 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • student-centered educator

      More teachers and less administrators. That sounds like the talk of a teacher that doesn't want to be held accountable. It sounds like you want more pay without investing the time and effort to do what is necessary to improve education for all kids. It is people like you that give todays teachers a bad name!

      July 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  44. Steve Lyons

    The revolution starts by teaching basic economics. Spending more than you earn is a recipe for disaster. When governments do that it is a recipe for disaster as well. Debt is NOT a viable currency.

    July 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  45. UFCW Local 770

    STOP Obama's war against Medical Marijuana Patients – Support Local 770 – UFCW

    July 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  46. CT

    Most teachers started because they had NO idea what to do in life. They excuse this by saying "I want to teach kids"

    It's like a kid joining the military from a poor family saying I want to fight for my country. No, you want a job and you have no education.

    July 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • CT

      No I haven't been in teaching but I have been in several teachers. The ones I dated are crazy....not just a little. 3 things are certain get with little work, Death, Taxes, and Teachers.

      However, I have been in the military and after 8 years I realized it was time to go....I wonder if we could have went on strike for more pay and safer jobs.....

      July 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
      • Richard

        get yourself checked for PTSD...basing comments on a few "DATES" is utterly ludicrous

        July 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
      • Notevenclose

        CT...maybe your sisters were the teachers when you were "IN"...tell em to abort, thank me later...

        July 7, 2012 at 12:23 am |
      • ccccc

        CT, you my friend are a moron. My girlfriend works for the marines designing their uniforms, she has been on the job for two years and she makes about ten grand more than the teachers I know who have masters degrees. The military doesnt need to go on strike because it has an endless budget and wants for nothing

        July 7, 2012 at 4:05 am |
      • stainpouch

        "we could have went" That's a big fat F brainboy.

        July 7, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • chez

      No most of us became teachers because we wanted to be teachers. How do you think this country develops doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc? Oh yea, because they were taught by teachers along the way. I could do plenty else. I have 2 B.A.s, a M.A.s and I'm bilingual and went to a top ten liberal arts college. I teach because I'm good at it and I enjoy it. Nobody says that teachers don't want to be held accountable. Teachers should be held accountable. But standardized tests are not the way to do it. The companies that create these tests are laughing all the way to the bank. The money spent on those tests should be going to the classrooms to actually improve education. And we should not continually be used as political pawns nor run by non-educators, You cannot run education like a business. As others have mentioned teachers face enormous obstacles in educating children – poverty being the number one obstacle in this country.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
      • stephen sivonda

        Well spoken, and I believe spot on. That fool, CT, poorly expresses himself. In 1962 I went in the Navy, after having graduate from HS in 1961. I went through 2 jobs, and work was hard to find so the service seemed like a viable choice. It worked for me, as I went to college on the GI bill and since I have never stopped learning.

        July 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
      • dave

        First thanx for being a teacher – a very important calling. But I really don't understand your aversion to standard testing. Regardless of how structured it does provide some information about the job our schools are doing. Would love to hear facts on your alternatives and how they relate to real life after schooling

        Again thanx for being a teacher

        July 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
      • Kalli

        Thomas and Chez both make valid points. I'm pleased with what Ms. Mieliwocki had to say. She understands what teachers are seeing and what is being spoken about in college classrooms around the country among future educators. Not all students are created equal, and teachers DO want to be held accountable, or they should want to be. Standardized testing will not provide a sturdy foundation for successful students, because not every student will be provided an equal opportunity to learn. More teachers should be realizing this, and school boards/companies should be realizing this sooner rather than later.

        And to the person saying several teachers started out by doing what they're doing because they didn't know what else to do with their lives....what are you talking about? I'm at a college where the Undergraduate School of Education program is top ten in the country. You don't know what it takes to qualify to be a teacher, you don't know how much work is put forth into being a teacher. If that was the case, we wouldn't have to have an enrollment cap in our program. We wouldn't constantly be needing more teachers because our colleges would let anybody in to the education programs. Being "in" several educators does not make you qualified for a discussion about what children of our future need.

        July 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Old Fool

      You are an idiot. Observe, read, study, but don't speak. You are a fool who knows nothing. I know that you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who went to high school. That does not mean you have a high school education. You know nothing.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • A

      Give me a break. Do you always make blanket statements? Hmmm...all sales guys are just overgrown frat boy dbags....does this work as well? I know tons of teachers. Not one of them became a teacher because they had nothing better to do.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • ML

      Really how many teachers have you intrviewed or is this just an unsupported opinion?

      July 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • archimedes109

      Not true; most colleges of education require at least a couple of years to complete their basic requirements, so students must plan ahead. It's not like they graduated, then looked for a job and, after failing to find one, thought, 'I guess I'll teach for a while.' Without the proper certification, you aren't elegible to teach.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • student-centered educator

      You seem to specialize in generalizations. While your statement about teachers not knowing what they want to do is certainly true about some teachers, the overwhelming majority have a sincere interest in teaching and improving the lives of kids. Unfortunately, you seem to have a negative perspective on everthing in life. Have fun with that.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Tubby the Tuba Texas

      Obviously you got left behind! How embarassing to hear such tripe. Sounds like your made at the world because you grew up to be a loser!

      July 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Richard

      Hey a teacher of 28 years I can tell that you have no idea what educators do or what goes on in a classroom because if you did you wouldn't be making such ignorant comments...Teaching is NOT a career for those looking simply for a job and a paycheck...its a vocation, a dedication to helping others and a career with socially redeeming value...and as for having no education? I am a few courses short of a Doctorate degree as are many of my colleagues about you? You wouldn't last a week in a public school

      Most teachers started because they had NO idea what to do in life. They excuse this by saying "I want to teach kids"

      It's like a kid joining the military from a poor family saying I want to fight for my country. No, you want a job and you have no education.

      July 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • thatguy

      oh? you've interviewed most teachers? Funny, I've never heard from you. I'll have to ask some coworkers.

      July 7, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Safire

      To CT: You are way off the mark with your comment that most teachers became teachers because they didn't know what direction they wanted their life to take and that they are somehow less educated. Teaching is my second career, for which I obtained a Masters Degree. I made a substantially larger salary in the corporate world, but felt I wasn't making a difference. I definitely had what it took to be a top executive but my position caused more harm than good to society. I teach because there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child understand and master a new concept and watching them want to learn more. Yes, we took standardized tests as children, but those tests didn't determine our future or success. Some of my students are brilliant, yet they cannot take a computerized tests and pass it with flying colors. We are now teaching students to regurgitate information but masking it as "teaching them to use critical thinking." When I was my students' age, I had a lot more knowledge than they do now. What I see now that you didn't see in my day... parents that think they can solve all of their child's problems. If Suzie gets a "C" on a test or her report card, the parents are asking the teacher/administrator why Suzie didn't get an "A" because that is what she deserves or what they expect. At no time did the parents ask Suzie questions about her grade, nor did they look at papers sent home showing her progress.

      I am a parent of two children, so please don't tell me that I am out of touch. And for those that say that teachers do the bare minimum, the bare minimum is not working until 11pm to come up with creative lessons or thoroughly read and critique writing prompts. I would love to be spending a lot of that time concentrating on my family, yet I am spending that time ensuring that your children get a great education.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • Tx teacher

      Sounds like you are either ignorant, which means you do not know any better, or you are a rude moron!
      I always wanted to be a teacher, have been a good one for over a quarter of a century, and I come from a family of excellent teachers!
      But what teachers now days cannot overcome is stupid and hostile parents, parents that cannot read or do critical thinking, and politicians willing to foster out right lies into policy! Education cannotr completely overcome ignorant parents, disfunctional neighorhoods, or the lack of meaningful, livable wage jobs for lower classes.
      It is great we have as much success with all the students we have to take, not like the private or charter schools which cherry pick the best (or wealthiest) they can find.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  47. CT

    My teachers were mostly horrible. I only respected about 4 in all my school years.

    Now i'm supposed to some how respect them just because they are a teacher? AND if they are bad it's because of lawmakers?

    July 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Scott

      A pretty bitter response – perhaps you weren't the best student? Whatever the reason for your lack of a successful academic experience – your statement encompassing all teachers is a bit silly. You aren't a teacher yet claim to know what most of the teachers are? I think you missed a few logic classes during that fulfilling school experience you referred to...

      July 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Dan Fish

      CT, I had an older brother who warned me about teachers that I was going to have when I got older and how mean and bad they were. I had no problem with them and in fact, excelled in their classes. The problem wasn't the teachers, the problem was my brother. I would venture to say that you are in the same boat. Most teachers teach because they love it, and they love seeing their students learn. Yes, there are bad one just as their are in any occupation, but don't make blanket statements just because of your experience. I suggest you look inward.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Richard

      Hey CT...let me guess, you spent more time in detention than in the classroom and are bitter because you chose to throw away your education and your only option was the military...and now blame your teachers? sounds like you couldn't cut it in the military either...blame your NCOs and the officers? same thing

      July 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Notevenclose

      CT, are you still in high school? You little devil you, pretending to be a grown-up...there is still time for you to recant...

      July 7, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • stainpouch

      "they are a teacher" A big fat F for you, braingirl.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  48. Shawn

    Those who can teach can, Those who cannot make laws about teaching....

    July 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Steve Lyons

      Those who can, do. Those that can't, talk about doing. Those that won't do, join a union or get a government job.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • chez

      True that.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
      • chez

        That was in response to Shawn.

        July 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  49. KM

    As a former educator who spent 11 years in the classroom before I finally threw in the towel and went back into the military (Thanks to ever increasing health insurance premiums from Blue Cross and Blue Shield), it is heartening to see No Child Left Behind falling out of favor. I always perceived it to be a draconian system and it's only intent was to strengthen the presence of charter schools in districts and the clamor for vouchers in the education system. In the final analysis, I think NCLB did more to harm schools and students than it did to help. Standardized testing has stifled creativity in the field of teaching, relegating educators to glorified reviewers, who had to be more concerned about the test scores of their students than teaching the "whole" child as it should be. Perhaps a move back toward sensible educational practices is in the works. If our society wants teachers to succeed, then treat them like the professionals that they are. For those teachers who are not professional–get out of the profession. What teachers do is way too important to be trifled with.

    July 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • chez

      Hear, hear.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • student-centered educator

      If we don't use standardized tests, how do you propose that we measure student progress and growth? Do we just take teachers word for it? Do we just assume that all teachers are great? It is a false assumption that standardized tests and creativity are mutually exclusive. These assessments allow us to measure whether or not kids have mastered the concepts that we feel are important. There are a variety of instructional practices that can creatively be employed to teach these important concepts. Statements such as these by KM seem to be about avoidance of accountability and an unwillingness to practice as a professional. Imagine if we allowed doctors the same kind of freedom. Just practice however you want with no regard for outcomes or researched best practice. Would that be acceptable for your family's care from your physician? If not, why is it ok for teachers to practice with no regulation or oversight?

      July 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
      • A teacher

        To student-centered educator,

        The problem isn't the standardized test, the problem is the sole use of the standardized test to measure student performance. Every student I teach learns in a different way, so giving them all the same assessment will not work. This is basic psychology. Educational psychologists designed various testing methods that would allow different abilities to be measured. Some students are hands on, some can tell me by writing, some by talking about it. Yes, I give them all a test in my classroom, but this one test does not determine if they pass/fail or graduate! That is the problem with standardized tests and the way they are being used in schools today!

        July 7, 2012 at 1:23 am |
      • Brandon

        For those of you who keep asking why we need to do away standardized tests, you also have the answer to why the USA is #27 in the work rankings for educational systems and performance. Look to the #1 system in the world who has done away with standardized tests...Finland. Yet when they let their students participate in exams globally, they perform extremely well. The two-tiered educational system is a BIG part of the problem. Finland's society respects teachers above doctors and lawyers. Capitalism is not kind to education. You can't treat education like a business. You can't fire a student for performing poorly so you want to fire the teacher who really has less influence than the student and parent on performances. It's akin to firing the doctor for a patient dying. Some kids are going to fail. If it is up to teachers to motivate kids, not parents, I look at how many people slam teachers on here and it makes sense why USA is #27. They don't respect the teachers they have, so the teachers don't feel valued and perform well. In a recent study on the top 10 things important to all employees, pay was 9th and respect was #1. You want employees to perform well, treat them with respect.

        July 7, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  50. Wayland Yan

    As one of our fearless leaders once stated "Is our children learning....". He's the guy who passed 'No Child Left Behind".

    July 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Fed Up

      Ebonics. I'm waiting for that to be a mandatory learning requirement in schools I pay for.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  51. nofluer

    "We have got to stop talking about testing and start talking more about developing, supporting and celebrating teachers"

    Gee... I thought schools were supposed to be all about developing, supporting and celebrating the kids!

    "What Do School Teachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common? ... How cheaters cheat, and how to catch them" (From the book "Freakonomics")

    July 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • KM

      Teachers do need the support of their administrators, communities, and state departments of public instruction. By uplifting teachers, you will be uplifting the kids that they teach as well. Yes, there are bad teachers in the classroom, that doesn't mean you shouldn't support the good ones.

      July 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  52. Paul

    Really? Testing is the problem? Two things will make school better. First, parents must be involved and interested in their children's education. Second, there must be a way to fire incompetent teachers who are protected by the teachers unions.

    July 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Fed Up

      Let's get back to the system of attending the school in which you reside – I'm tired of funding the bus of school kids traveling from the poor districts that expect a quality education while I pay property taxes – not rent or welfare stipends – to keep the district intact.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
      • Andrew

        Uh, longer the 70s. In Memphis (which has a horrible school district) there hasn't been busing since the early 1980s. Sorry you think government is tyrannizing you, but stick to reality please

        July 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • mohammed

        Stop crying about paying taxes! If you live in house and you are fed up with children attending your school districts, it is because your father or grandfather stole from that poor child's father or grand father or slavd him or her for you to be where you are now. Got it?

        July 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
      • Taxed

        I have to agree with the frustration about the busing – it's out of control. Forget the '70's... bring back decency.

        July 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • chez

      I am so tired of this misperception of what teachers unions do. They do NOT protect bad teachers. They ensure that due process is followed. PERIOD. If you did something blatantly illegal that is your fault, the teachers union won't "protect" you. And question – who evaluates teachers? Administrators. Who then is to blame for bad teachers still being in the classroom? Administrators. Almost all teachers are at-will employees for 1-3 years depending on the district. That means that they can be fired for pretty much any reason. If there are poor teachers in the system, it has a lot more to do with incompetent administrators than with the teachers union. And like with everyone profession there are some great, some average and some not so good. I had some of all of the above along the way. I've seen great doctors and poor doctors. Great lawyers and poor lawyers. And most importantly, great politicians and poor politicians. Imagine that. It is ridiculous that we are making teachers the scapegoats in education. Norway has the best educational system in the world. Guess from where they got their ideas? From the U.S. Teachers know more about teaching than anyone outside of the profession. Listen to teachers and let them be a part of the solution instead of vilifying them as the problem.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
      • Brandon

        Did anyone ever stop and think of why there are bad teachers? It is actually hard to get and retain a teaching job. Anywhere from the first 2-5 years are sort of probationary. Were they all 'bad' then? I think teachers eventually get that way because their job is to teach many students who don't want to learn, they get bullied themselves as kids are ruthless. THink of that bus driver who was bullied and tell me that does not happen to teachers too. These kids are out of control and then to top it all off, the teacher is evaluated based on these kids performances on standardized tests? What a futile profession that is. Nobody respects teachers anymore and we wonder why we get owned by other countries who have kids who go to school longer hours because they want to excel. I had a few bad teachers but by and large most were hard working and dedicated. I think the burn out rate with teachers is high. The solution is not to fire them but to support them so they don't burn out. Most of the bad teachers were good teachers that realized no matter how hard they work they get paid the same and often can't actually help the majority of kids in their classrooms because of external factors. The number one indicator of educational success is socio-economic status. A teacher has ZERO influence on that!

        July 7, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • student-centered educator

      Paul.....that is the smartest statement that has been made yet.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • stainpouch

      No unions in Georgia–never have been–and the state is 48th in education. Any other theories, brainboy?

      July 7, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  53. eroteme

    How about eliminating home work as well as testing? This would give our children more time to exercise at home and help solve our children's obesity problems. I recall a year or two ago when the brilliant obesity prevention suggestion was surfaced to let school children out of school earlier so they could go home and exercise. I only recall the suggestion, never knew if it was implemented. The suggestion came from a teacher, she would also get out of school earlier, perhaps she wanted go home earlier to exercise as well.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • cynthia28

      The obesity problem can not be blamed solely on lack of exercise. "Diet sugars" and too much fatty foods are more to blame. These low and no calorie foods do not fulfill the nutritional needs of anyone and cause people to crave even more food. What cannot be used for energy is stored as fat. One can exercise all day, but not lose weight if they are still eating garbage food.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Fed Up

      The "exercise" would be video games. Get real.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  54. eroteme

    Right on! Do away with all this testing of students. Many students are not interested in learning anything anyway and this would greatly reduce the duties of our teachers giving them more free time to rest up for their three-month vacations.. Knowing it all without testing or learning reminds me, as I have been told, after a couple of weeks in the first grade a family friend asked me how I liked school. I replied, "They haven't taught me anything yet that I did not already know."

    July 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • chez

      Don't forget – it isn't a 3-mos vacation that teachers receive. Teachers aren't paid for the summers nor any holidays for that matter.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
      • Brian

        They work 180 days a year and recieve a yearly salary of 3/4 my starting when I only had two weeks vacation.
        Not really sure you'll be getting much sympathy.

        July 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  55. Michael

    Please tell us what you mean is that schools will no longer be graduating students who are functionally illiterate and barely able to read and write if at all. That would be a real revolution.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  56. Alger Dave

    I have no problem letting teachers sort out how to educate kids better. Give them a set amount of money and let them fight amongst themselves over it. Teachers blame politicians (basically representatives of the public) for their problems, but the public can't afford to stick more money into education budgets. In Michigan, charter schools get better results for less than 2/3s the cost of public educational systems (nearly 1/2 the cost in many areas). So, give the public school teachers unions the money and see what they can come up with. Just give them one constraint – they cannot raise taxes – they've got to make it work on the current budgets. That should shut them up.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Bubbubsky

      Charter schools do not "do better." They have been shown to not be nearly as much of an improvement educationally as their for-profit or blindly deluded proponents would have you believe.

      Furthermore, they don't have to take the students that public schools MUST take. The emotionally disturbed? The severely mentally retarded? The "problem children?" They don't get into charter schools, because the charter schools get to pick and choose who they want, leaving the most needy and most problematic students for public schools. Charter schools take a select few students in special education so that they don't break the law, but they don't HAVE to take everyone – public schools do. And those students are on the bottom and are the ones who drag the test scores down, disrupt classes, and attack other students. And public schools have no way to remove them long-term from the school

      July 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • Teacher


        July 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Solo

        Correct! Until we're ready to have some real dialogue about what's really going on in society – without calling people racists- nothing will change.

        July 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Brad Thompson

      I don't think you would find many teachers unwilling to go face to face with a charter school. BUT, the same rules must apply to both schools. You cannot remove any students, you must educate all students (public schools must, charters do not have to), and you must adhere to all the mandates from both the state and the federal government. I think you will find that both schools will end up the same. I am curious as to who will end up teaching the next generation. Apparently, many of us do not do a good job according to our politicians. As I see the best and brightest in the classrooms graduate, teaching is about the last thing they want to do. $16,000 a year for college for a $35,000 a year job doesn't really make economic sense. Hard to get excited to teach when you will be in debt for 15-20 years paying off college. Not many teachers I know are 9-5'ers. I know some are out there, just as there are bad bankers (remember the wall street fiasco), bad doctors, bad lawyers, and bad politicians (that one was easy). With a good administrator, bad teachers can be gone, but sadly, we need some more good ones. Not more....more GOOD ones. Funny how so many people are experts about what teachers should be doing better and they are quick to tell anyone and everyone, but you don't see that in other fields. When is the last time anybody talked about doctors not working hard enough or not diagnosing illnesses at a high enough correct percentage. Just an interesting observation. Didn't mean to be so long winded and I don't mean to sound like I am personally attacking you. We just disagree.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
      • Scott

        Nicely put Mr. Thompson.

        July 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • chez

      There is an enormous amount of research that says charter schools do the same or WORSE than most public schools. Even private schools unless they're the few of the "elite".

      July 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • student-centered educator

      Alger Dave – you have one thing correct. It dosen't take more money to improve schools. This has been demonstrated time and time again in a variety of studies. There is no secret about what works in schools. It is clearly discussed in a variety of books, studies and websites – check out or read Visible Learning by Hattie for starters.

      Your claim on charter schools is clearly wrong, but I see someone has already beat me to the punch and that response.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Brandon

      Alger Dave,
      Charter schools only get to pick the cream of the crop. They don't have to keep the high-behaviour students or the special ed kids. That is why a public school's budget gets eaten up. You can stick 40 kids in a math class but have 8 kids in a special Ed class with a couple assistants. A charter school does not have that mandate. It must be nice to get to choose which fish you throw back whilst a public school has to keep them all.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Tx teacher

      Alger – either you are lying or your MI charters are fantastic places! But that conflicts with the research I have read, in Milwuakee, Texas, and many other places – charters usually score lower on those standardized test than even the public schools! Only a few rare ones do better!
      But maybe faux news finally printed the truth?
      Not that I believe you, or faux news – seems they have a moral problem ,check how corrupt Fox new has been in England!

      July 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  57. O.T.

    What did she say? Sounds like a bunch of bland generalities to me.

    July 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Tara

      Actually I kind of agree with her. I think setting standards is good but honestly most teachers in state testing teach the child how to take a test not to learn–and they kind of have to because their job and the money a school gets depends on it.. Not everyone will be getting As and that is just a plain fact. I am not saying a teacher should not push a child to achieve their best but sometimes a B or a C is the best they can do...... Teaching a kid how to deal with life situations is very difficult to test or assess (and I think much more important) but hopefully a good teacher can do both.

      And Nancy I totally agree, the education systems in many other countries is COMPLETELY different. You are tested and results determine your life and the course it takes. I teach in Germany right now and one's educational path is determined at the end of year 4 (basically the end of third grade) with little chance to change it once you are set on that track. Not saying either is good or bad but as Americans we kind of take for granted that everyone at least has the chance to try the university level.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • JGo2

      She said it was George Bush's fault

      July 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  58. Solo

    Revolution? We cannot even offer basic necessities to students because of welfare trash and illegals clogging the education system. What would be revolutionary would be for people to pay their fair share.

    July 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • jboHDrider

      Solo-I only needed to read one post to see that you are bigoted and hate filled person. Enjoy life going around being an s0b...

      July 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Solo

        Bigot? Nah, I'm just part of the bankroll for those sitting around collecting "benefits" of our society.

        July 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Tx teacher

      Solo – so, what qualifies you to be calling people welfare trash? If you are among the working poor? It you are, I have empathy for you, but if you are a fat cat, middle class, greedy slob, who went to a state supported public college, or who now ride Ina big SUV on one of our government subsidized freeways to escape the city for that White, gated community, well then I believe you are just a bigot and you opinion deserves as much attention as that implies, NONE!

      July 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  59. joney

    As long as we hire teachers like we hire factory workers with union control, we will never master public education

    July 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  60. WhackyWaco

    Teachers also educate killers and rapists. So what is the big deal? Maybe a little less talk and a lot more action.

    July 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  61. andrew.peter

    Yes we need more teachers to be gifted to teach and not a babysitter or a leftist bully.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Terri

      LOL, leftist bully? The Texas GOP has in their platform that our schools should not teach "critical thinking skills" because it may "undermine authority" and "children's belief systems". Teachers and schools allow bullying when the child victims are perceived to be gay all supported by the far right and you think leftists are bullies? That is awesome.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • stainpouch

        This notion of not "challenging students' belief systems" was brought to TX and any number of other states by right-wing political action committees. Texas bought it. Now you have a law that keeps your kids' heads in the sand. How's that workin' for ya?

        July 7, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • jboHDrider

      IT always has to be about what party you are with...What an ign0r@nt Tr011.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  62. Sean

    Testing is one of the most transparent ways a parent knows their child is learning? Really? You know what works better? TALKING to your child. Finding out what they learned in school. Even better than that? YOU TEACH THEM YOURSELF.

    The problem with tests is that they don't measure a teacher's impact in a child. They measure the learning environment that child is placed in, and children are only in school ~6.5 hours a day.

    Parents are the best educators in the world; teachers are merely resources a parent should be calling on to assist them in their task to educate their child.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • gremlinus

      Sean-That's bunk. My parents didn't do jack, and I mean they did NOTHING to help me learn. They didn't take one bit of interest in my education. In fact when I went out competing for things, I had to pull teeth to get them to take me. Yet there I was on the honor roll and here I am with a Ph. D. And I can point directly to about 10 teachers in my life that encouraged me, inspired me, and taught me more than I can ever repay. Parents are important for many and to those that have ones that care I am very happy for them. But we way undervalue the impact a teacher that cares and that really wants to educate children can have.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • Jim

        You are the type of student who keeps some of us in the teaching profession. The check I get at the end of the month pays the bills and keeps food on the table, but the REAL payday is when a former student says "thank you." I hope that those teachers to whom you have referred know who you are. If they do, you have just made each and every one of them's day. There is nothing wrong with testing, just move them to earlier in the school year and get the results back to the teachers quickly so they can be used as the tool they should be to improve learning.

        July 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Allen

      Most things are evaluated by a test. How do we know if a kid is learning. An "impact" is nonsense. What does that mean anyways. Can't a teacher have a negative impact? I want the teacher to teach my kid to read/write/math, not give his/her political thought of the day. The classroom has become just political theater for leftist idealoges.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • chez

        Allen – there is no "s" on the end of anyway. Sorry, I'm a teacher and I hate bad grammar.

        July 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
      • Brandon

        You make a great point about what you want your kid to learn. Some parents want the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic. Others want the political opinion. Others want only business. Who sets the curriculum? A kid who wants to be a mechanic seems screwed in all of this. The trades are not represented well, neither is business in curriculum.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Tara

      so agree, without sounding rude, if more parents did what they needed to do (mainly act like parents, not friends) with their kids, teaching would be much easier:-)

      July 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • student-centered educator

      Sean.....wrong, wrong and wrong! Parents are not the best teachers. Research shows that the single greatest factor in student achievement is the quality of instruction delivered by the teacher. Nothing else. Teachers should be treated as professionals. They should be held in high regard. They should be compensated for being successful. But they should also be held accountable for practicing or behaving in a "value added" manner.

      There are a lot of poor teachers out there, but this is a result of the way in which schools are legislated and managed. Time to focus on the students and not what is in the best interest of the adults.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
      • Brandon

        Student centred educator,
        Sorry you are wrong the number one indicator of student success is socio-economic status. Nice try!

        July 7, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • Tx teacher

        Socio-economic position of the parents is usually cited as one of the precursors to succeed in school, that as well as the parents expectations for tier child (read that as how involved the parents are with the child's education).
        Combine that with reading ability, those are the most often cited keys to academic success! But, yes inspiring and motivating teachers can accomplish great feats to moving a child forward.

        July 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  63. Adam

    Aristotle, Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus – all had the benefits of unionized public teachers.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • mm

      Give me an f-ing break lib. Nothing like revisionist history with you people. Lincoln by the way, was homeschooled by his mother and later earned his law degree under the state of Illinois after he completed his own aquired private legal education himself. He never attended any formal school or university.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
      • jboHDrider

        mm-Your post might have had meaning had you not started it out as a personal attack about political officilation. After that you just look ignorant and hateful.

        July 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  64. david

    I am sich of these whining teachers. They need a full time job where they can get fired for no reason at all like the rest of us. Unions shouls be outlawed, all they do is raise taxes and bring down standards. There are no unions in China and see how well they are doing. The world is not fair, get over it and do your job or get out.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Chris

      I'm sick of people not proofreading their work.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • Mark

        Looks like David's teacher may have been lacking or maybe he's just stupid.

        July 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • jimbo

      Right, making 2 bucks a day. Congrats on the single dumbest thing I have ever read on the internet. Awesome job!

      July 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • jimbo

        that is to david above btw

        July 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ed

      I'm sorry David do you have any idea what it means to be a teacher? Did you get laid off and are now angry? Teachers can not go home with a child and ensure that child is doing their homework or studying. Teachers can not force a child to thirst for knowledge. Teachers can only teach those who want to be taught. Please do not call for layoffs in school systems because, "it's only fair" Have a nice day.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • Taxed

        Teachers are not at the glorious standard as a profession that most of you are claiming here – I recently had a chat with one who did not know the capital of Vermont – and he taught history and geography.

        July 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • student-centered educator

        To suggest that as educators we can't teach kids because they don't do their homework is a bit misleading. The truth is, the vast majority of kids do want to learn, but you have to build a relationship and engage them. Successful schools do this with great proficiency. Poor schools typically make statements such as yours and suggest that there is nothing they can do.

        I agree that laying off teachers to make people feel better is not the answer, however, our schools need to start thinking about what we can do for all of our kids regardless of their backgrounds.

        July 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
      • Brad Thompson

        I am with you, Ed. Too many factors that a teacher can't control, but are blamed for.

        July 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Edna Liebshin

      Two questions, Mr. Einstein: How long have you been a teacher and how well are the Chinese doing anyhow?

      July 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • gremlinus

      Take a good look at the numbers for the average citizen, not the best scoring or the most well-off ones. I think you'll sing a different tune. Or try doing a teacher's job. Yeah, it's SO easy and not at all full time.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mike

      People who don't know what they are talking about should put aside their biases and listen. First off, teachers work MORE hours then the typical employee per week (check the USDL website)...much of the work is complete on their OWN time at home. Lessons are not just "created and planned magically"...a simple essay test, even if it only takes 5 minutes per essay...if you have 30 students...calculate the time to grade that ONE test. Unions allow people to stand up for themselves and the children that are served...look at the cuts being made and many are illegal...unions fight to protect the rights of all. Taxes go up? Hello...EVERYTHING goes up every of course taxes go up....but we could stop feeding poor children and get rid of medical care for the elderly...that would lower the taxes...we should "screw" compassion and common sense. A final compare us to China...seriously? In China YOU would have no say. In China, you don't have speak one language and "Whiny" taxpayers have NO say in what is taught. Besides that China HAS INCREASED EDUCATIONAL SPENDING..NOT cut it like America. China KNOWS the value of an education...China ALSO provides after school programs including tutoring, the arts, martial arts, English and Science. (Have you noticed that China has just had several astronauts return from China's OWN space station? While the US is cutting spending in Science and Education...they are investing in it and THAT is why they are getting ahead of us.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Gary

      It seems your education skills are lacking a bit. Your statement is probably the most uninformed, unintelligent and ridiculous thing I have read in a while.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Ryan

      I agree teacher need to stop crying...I sure would like the summer off and before you teachers respond. If you complain then quit. There are thousands of teachers out there that will climb over your fired ass to take the job....and the teacher that is not complaining or asking for my money again. Ingnoremthis post you are doing fine

      July 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • Tx teacher

        Ryan, just because you have a crappy job does not make tht a teacher's fault, it is either the poor economy, in which case I feel for you, or it is YOUR own damn fault because you either did poorly in school or have a bad job performance record!
        In either case it does neither you nor society any good for teachers to be treated as poorly as you have been.
        Grow up and either find a better positio (with the help of a TEACHER and some training) or shut the heck up!

        July 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  65. wedodd

    I believe there are two problems with education. One is the size of the schools. We have created education factories in search of economies of scale. But, people are not machines. Kids need schools where people know them. The other problem is the lack of interest on the parents part. If parents will turn off the tv, get off the internet and spend time checking on their kids making sure they are doing their work, the kids will do better. Parents have to show their kids that education is important. As others have mentioned, kids from certain cultures do well, because their parents let them know that they value education.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  66. Adam

    If it weren't for public school teachers, pianos wouldn't even exist.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  67. Adam

    America would not have gained its independence in 1776 if it were not for a universal system of free public education.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Allen

      I am pretty sure that a "free public" education was not in place before the War of Independence. I am going to Google that...

      July 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  68. Adam

    Does anyone remember when that Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire and started the Arab Spring? There was probably a teacher there somewhere.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  69. RD

    Tenure is not automatic with being hired. Tenure comes with time–time during which school ADMINISTRATORS are supposed to be doing their job of evaluating, supporting and mentoring novice teachers. Poor teachers should not receive tenure. If they do, it is a failure of the school administrators. If a district has a lot of poor teachers that is indicative of poor administrators. Poor administrators can be identified and if they cannot improve in their job performance, then they should be removed by the school boards. Our elected officials can control the quality of the schools if they want to and they can do so without micromanaging. Of my four children one is a high school dropout, one is a college professor, one is a public librarian and the last is in dental school. They all had excellent public schools k-12 and the three who went to higher ed all attended public universities.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Dan

      But once they get their tenure, they can coast.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • stephenpe

        You try and coast with a group of children. Most would eat you alive.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • chez

        Not true. Public school teachers never earn "tenure" like university professors. I love how there are all these opinions from people and yet they don't even know the facts?

        July 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Brian

      Thank you. Thank you for this insight. I have been trying to explain the process of tenures to my neighbors for too long. This hits it right on the head. Again, thank you.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  70. Dan

    Sadly, the biggest problem with American education is Americans. We are anti-intellectual and pride ourselves on it. If you look at the statistics of immigrant children, even those who score the highest (Asians) have children and grandchildren who despise education. Apparently acculturating into American society means learning to hate learning.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Lynda

      And to continue your argument..what is it that makes Americans anti-intellectual? Would that be the loud drumbeat of the Republican party? People like Palin, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk that put down intellectualism , by calling it elitism

      The problem with our education system is more far reaching than that. Our government has systematically been downgrading and dismantling our education system for decades..A dumb populace can't revolt and doesn't even know they can. We are well on our way to this.

      July 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • susan E

        BINGO!!!! As a foreigner who became a citizen I am befuddled, incensed, troubled by what your average American doesn't know that he or she should. The dumber we are the easier to control; so many can no longer tell fact from fiction. HERE'S one book on my reading list that should be made mandatory for all students at some point, and every adult: "Propaganda" by Edward Bernays. I'll throw in a pack of Bud if that's what it's going to take for the reader to pick it up.

        July 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • MaryAnn in VA

      You are so right. If you are inellectual in todays society you are looked down upon and considered elitist. Meanwhile our kids are underperfoming against other nations/countries.

      July 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  71. DIR

    I agree with what Ms. Miewliwalck has said. But she and her colleagues too must except that teachers who have not spent many years in business or the working public need not tell anyone what is needed for society. One of the most demeaning practices of education today is math, ALGEBRA. It is a non essential for most fields and children are inundated with it to the point that they no longer care about learning. This isn't a disputing point, it is a fact. It is no longer open to discussion. For every individual who says OH I like that there are 500 opposed. That is a huge segment of society. We use math and science to discourage children Science mud is minerals, photosynthesis and geology. Oh whoopee. It is sort of the ever favorite hollywood stint of forcing an individual to play basketball or football against the born athlete and solider. Isn't everyones cup of tea so accept. For every job you need more workers than mathematicians. 40 to 2. 100 to 3. You need only 1 or 2 engineers to build a bridge you will need 50 workers to complete the job. To secure the beaches on D-day there were no generals, and no cornels there were low ranking officers and lots and lots of grunts. It took a thousand men to complete the hover dam and the golden gate bridge but less than ten envisioned it. One of the reasons we are failing is our government, especially Harvard and Cornell do not know what labor is. Education itself is in trouble because they cannot do the simple MATH. You will only be payed by the sum of the profit you are producing. It takes allot to envision what I can do on a skate board with the proper tools. What is efficient for a home to be a home. How long and how hard can a manual laborer work and be happy. We have questions before our education system far greater than can Billy and Maria solve x+1= 1a squared. When mankind laid a tree across a gulch or carved the images of Easter Island, their were not any schools of higher learning, just a vision, idea and will. It got done. We simply need to start building again. We need utilities buried and out of mother natures way. We need canals built to flow flood waters from areas of floods to areas of drought. We need more dams and not listen to the liars of business because they can't elevate prices every year. We need options in work and larger shares to the workers to sustain society not the few. We need people who go to school because they want to, not have to. We need teachers who teach something other than what is important to geeks who never knew what normaclature was because they walk to a different mind set. Reform often means returning to the basic principles. First, all kids need to enjoy and know how to read! Read science books, read math books, read history books. That 's the basics of education. It's written down. Can you read it?

    July 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • nonconformist

      Math is unimportant? What a doofus.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Harlon Katz

      Quick – which is a better deal at the grocery store, $0.27ea or 4/$1. To answer that you use algebra.

      We are already "dumbing down" the content of our educational system and the US is falling further and further behind. Are you saying we, as a country, should just give up on trying to succeed on the world stage? Knowing which Kardacian is sleeping with whom does not help the US succeed.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • Adam

        You don't need algebra to solve that problem.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • chaz

      So you suck at math and apparently writing as well. Why should we trust your opinion? It is not like you ever went to school.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • bptsj

      Use paragraphs. Small font in one giant mega-paragraph is hard on 63 year old eyes...

      July 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Allen

      Math is a fundamental language. It transcends all barriers and is the same in any culture. If we were to ever meet another civilization from another planet math would be our only mutual language. 2+2=4, no matter where you are.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • PC

        Not true!

        2+2=4 only if you're working on a base4 system or above!

        Thanks go out to my math teachers!

        July 7, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  72. Dan

    "But aiming for proficiency means we aim to create generations of children who are average."

    No, it means that we crate a generation of kids who can read a newspaper. How sad that some teaches are so against accountability that they have to spread nonsense like this. It is the educators themselves that have dumbed down the curriculum (anyone remember the whole language fiasco of the 80s?) and kids are paying for it. Now this twit and her ilk want us to believe that the government's desire to undo what they've done is going to cause children to be poorly educated!

    July 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • sane

      Hear, Hear!

      July 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • mhill

      This woman is more concerned over saving her union than educating any kid.
      Let's just do away with academic standards, make everyone an A+ student, and give them a job without training.
      I talk to some of my son's friends and even the one who received a full scholarship to college is sharp as a bowling ball.
      My grandson is slightly learning disabled and the school system keeps pushing him through grades even though he cannot read or write coherently.
      Soon he will start jr. hi and it will only get worse.
      Performance metrics is what makes the private sector work, yet Obozo and this "teacher" thinks if we can just be emotionally supportive kids will be successful.
      Only if you are dead weight living on govt assistance, a perfect Obozo drone.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • nonconformist

        You are dead wrong. What she wants is true education which requires much more than being a test prep coach. Teachers use ALL kinds of metrics when working with students and constantly assess them in ways that a standardized test simply cannot ever dream of. Now to be specific, I am talking about really good capable teachers of which there seems to be a real shortage of but that's not real surprising considering the pay range they have.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • John

        mhill ... the law is called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) . Its from the 70s and once your grandson was identified with a LD the school district has to promote him with his peers. Its the law. Just like all of the extra help the school district is required to give him is in the law. His promotion has absolutely nothing to do with lazy teachers and everything to do with meeting legal requirements. If you doubt me, google it.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • nonconformist

      Looks like Mr. Average has decided to weigh in. Too bad you are incapable of comprehending what she has implied. Teaching to master a test is not teaching, it's test prep and solves nothing.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • Harlon Katz

        What is 2+2 is "test prep" – is that what you are stating. Teaching for tests means teaching SKILLS that can be used on a test.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • Allen

        I really disagree with that thought process. Teachers always teach so a student can pass a test. Regardless of who writes the test. Many teachers are incompetent, so they can not teach critical thinking skills. So to cover their rear ends they teach the answers to a test, which is really cheating if you think about it.

        July 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Trent

      You spelled "teachers" wrong.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • Dan

        LOL...yes, a typo negates my whole point. Idiot. By the way, moron, I am a teacher. I see this crap every day.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • checi

      YOU are the problem. YOU demonstrate how low the level of civility is in this country. Disgusting.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • ccccc

      Not sure about all states, but I know in the vast majority, it is not the teachers who set the curriculum. It is set according to guidlines produced by the dept of ed.....most teachers are frustrated by the curriculum they are forced to teach.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Brad Thompson

      Many education "fads" are not started, nor supported, but educators because there is no research to prove that they work. Most of the time, they are ideas from people who do not, nor ever have, done a good job as a teacher. This does not stop schools, states, or the Federal government from forcing implementation. Please don't blame the teachers for this. They are just doing what the district says to do. I can't tell you how many times I have been trained on new "fads" that we are supposed to do. Training one hour for something that should take many, many hours.....IF it is actually proven to be educationally valid.

      July 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  73. Dan

    I still have not heard a good explanation as to why we don't have the teachers' bosses do their performance evaluations like they do in every other profession. The principal should be spending time observing teaching techniques and reviewing lesson plans. It works for every other industry...
    And yes, I did work as a teacher (but not any more)

    July 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Dan

      I still work as a teacher - and I agree with you.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • chez

      In what educational world did you live in where you think that teachers were not evaluated every single year? I am evaluated by my supervisor every single year with a written evaluation that goes in my file. You are given directives no matter how good you are to work on for the following years. If you receive low scores than it is the administrative responsibility to provide you with help/training to improve those skills. And if you don't, they absolutely can proceed to terminate. Again, the union protects DUE PROCESS not bad teachers.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
      • Brad Thompson

        So true. Administration needs to be accountable to do what they are paid handsomely for. This doesn't happen enough in my district.

        July 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Span

      In what educational world did you live in where you think that teachers were not evaluated every single year? I am evaluated by my supervisor every single year with a written evaluation that goes in my file. You are given directives no matter how good you are to work on for the following years. If you receive low scores than it is the administrative responsibility to provide you with help/training to improve those skills. And if you don't, they absolutely can proceed to terminate. Again, the union protects DUE PROCESS not bad teachers.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  74. James

    People who haven't set foot in a classroom shouldn't be making decisions? People who do set foot in a classroom every day clearly haven't gotten the job done, so why should they be put in a decision-making role?

    Also, standardized tests are part of life. Want to be a lawyer, accountant, architect, doctor, will need to perform well on an exam. If you can't teach effectively enough such that your students know how to take a test, you should be fired. You WOULD be fired in any other industry. Quit placing blame elsewhere and do your job.

    July 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • joel

      You dont have a clue. Teachers are the only ones who should be making decisions about education. Anytime a politician gets involved they will do one thing for sure, screw things up and blame someone else for the problems.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
      • Harlon Katz

        Like the teacher who told a student he could be ARRESTED because he said something critical about Obama? Or the teachers that were indoctrinating students with the "We love Obama" song?

        Maybe if teachers focused on EDUCATION and not indoctrination, they might do a better job.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • mamafrenchy

      It's easy to point fingers at teachers, but the fact is that there are numerous factors contributing to the decline of public education in America. When students arrive in the classroom and don't have the necessary tools to thrive (proper nutrition, rest, and parental support), it is unlikely that they will be overly productive in the classroom. Additionally, the limits that testing places on curriculum design and experiential education do nothing to excite or encourage our kids to thrive academically. Instead, children are learning that life is about memorization and recall and standardized tests. In order for our children to succeed in the 21st century, we must encourage them to be curious about the world around them and instill a love of learning in our students that will inspire them to be creative problem-solvers.

      It sounds like it's been awhile since you've been in the classroom. Perhaps you should visit one and see what really goes on inside before you place all of the blame on teachers. Like the majority of my educator peers, I owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and work long hours year-round to encourage kids to love learning...and I certainly don't do it for the pay.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Chief


      So you are saying that all lawyers, doctors, and accountants who passed their bar, boards, or CPA exam are competent? Guess that means malpractice insurance isn't necessary anymore. Naive aren't you.


      July 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  75. bb

    If you think Oblunder is doing a good job you are either not educated or just stupid

    July 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  76. karek40

    Actually I believe it was Vladimir Ilyich Lenin who said liberals are necessary idiots for a revolution.

    July 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Dan

      Actually he sad that young college student were useful idiots. Tells you a lot about what he really thought about communism.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  77. TG81

    i feel like some of yall have not seen waiting for superman? these unions and the dept. of education are a huge problem in our education system. granted the no child left behind act was an asinine law. until the unions and federal govt get out of the way and let state and local BOEs make decisions, it will not get any better. these decsions that state and local BOEs are making, are dictated by these unions and dept of edu. until this is resolved, support charter schools and parents take responsibility for your kids by helping them at home with school work. let them know that a higher education, leads to a better life.

    tenure is another issue...what a joke. if you suck at teaching, you should be fired. if i suck at my job because i can't manage my subordinates to make deadlines, i should be fired. end of discussion. only very few teachers should have tenure and that is well after they have proven themselves in the classroom.

    unions and the fed. govt are scared of this idea. just look at the chancellor in waiting for superman. she fired those teachers that sucked, but the uinion didn't like that. SHE was actaully changing the broke system. THIS teacher of the year is just another puppet from the union.

    July 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Dan

      The city of Detroit several years ago adopted an Afro-centric curriculum that is so hell-bent on promoting black pride that they teach some of the most ridiculous claims (such as African blacks ruled Egypt, rather than the Copts). The kids can't read or write and they are taught nonsense to boot. Local control over curriculum can be a really, really bad idea. There has to be an accepted norm.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  78. Joel

    Yes, yes, hooray for teachers. Now let's focus on teaching instead of trying to be that "special teacher" in someone's life.

    July 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Adam

      Agreed! I graduated high school top of my class. There never was a "special teacher" – just a lot of hard work.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  79. dabritbiker

    I'm reminded of an instance with a very wealthy, uneducated man that made millions in the hospital industry years ago. We were watching the popular game show $64,000 question. (I said it was long ago) A contestant was answerring all of the questions. Andy asked me, "How much would you pay that man? I replied "Oh at least $12-15,000" (Long time, gas was about a quarter a gallon) What would you pay hom Andy? About $400, the cost of a good encyclopedia. (Again, long ago, they still printed them) But if he could use that knowledge to effect something then he'd be worth more. That is what I think of a multipule guess test.

    July 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Adam


      July 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  80. BriSoFla

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Saul Alinsky

      Please ask him to stop terrorism against medical marijuana patients . Thank you.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  81. Aaron

    Let's try that again..

    People who haven't set foot in a Wall Street bank should not be making decisions and policies about the finance industry. Who's with me? Anyone?

    July 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Charles

      There is a big difference between a classroom and a bank. To begin with classrooms are not run by people who have been proven to lie, cheat, and steal for their own personal benefit. This article is partly about how we hold teachers accountable, and teachers don't mind being held accountable if it is done the right way. Bankers have shown that they will not be held accountable to anyone or anything other than their own bank accounts. Teachers go into their field to help children and society while bankers are only worried about how much money they made that day.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • Lori

        Thanks, Charles!!

        July 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • notsofast

        No sweeping generalizations please. There are as many dishonest teachers as bankers, and to say either group are all bad is not fair. Our district just let go of several teachers accused of sharing with students questions to standardized tests in an effort (Ione could assume) to raise their scores. The same scores that create performance metrics that will next year relate to everything from pay to job security.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • Todd

        Maybe classrooms haven't been proven to work that way – but many school districts certainly have been.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • John

        Charles ... you are wrong. My wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law and grandfather are / were all teachers. Sadly, the teachers of my mother’s and grandfather’s era don’t exist anymore. The majority of the people my wife teaches with got into it to coach or have their summers off. It had little to do with teaching students.
        There’s one teacher in my wife’s school district that can’t teach in a tested area because her students perform so poorly and she misses weeks of school due to “stress” issues. This same teacher used to spend most of her instructional time working on her master’s degree while her students did worksheets.
        Not good enough for you? How about the teachers in the district that my wife used to teach in where they would read ahead on the next day’s test and spend the afternoon teaching the problems on that test to their students. Yea “classrooms are not run by people who have been proven to lie, cheat, and steal for their own personal benefit.” Hmmm… that sounds like cheating to me. Or… how about the teacher whose students also improved by 15 points over the year before but only if they took the test with her. The ones that had a different proctor showed no improvement. All of that teacher’s students performed back down at their base the next year. Nooo cheating there.
        Teachers so honorable? How about the two teachers in my daughter’s school that have their entire year planned out on the first day of school to include having all of their copies made. Yea there’s some differentiated instruction for you. They really are doing a great job with the kids they have. I don't think so!

        Sorry but teaching is the only profession I know of where you aren’t held accountable for the job you do or don’t do. It’s about time that we have started holding teachers accountable and most importantly rewarding the best teachers for a job well done.
        Here’s one more thing to chew on… Something is screwed up when a district has to layoff it’s teacher of the year due to cut backs. Why was she laid off? Low man on the seniority list. That’s really looking out for the best interest of the kids.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
      • Dan

        Charles, you are dead wrong. Teachers and principals have lied, cheated stolen, etc., to make it look like they have kids that are meeting standards. This happens all the time. Secondly, teacher DO MIND being held accountable. They hold on to tenure like pitbulls.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Scott

        Perhaps you missed the part where teachers in Georgia were cheating on the tests. Let's not have this naive belief that the only people who go into teaching are these noble people. In college, education was a fall back major when you failed out of other majors.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • Allen

        You must have your head way up your b u t t. You really think ALL Wall Street people are greedy and ALL Teachers are angels only looking out for the good of the children, with no self interest invested in it? Sheesh are you gullible.

        July 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • Andy S

        You can't seriously be claiming that all teachers are competent and are willing to be held accountable, while also calling everyone in the banking industry a liar and a cheat? That doesn't make sense on any level. There are good people and bad people in every industry. You know that...but apparently just like to type obviously ridiculous things.

        July 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • chip

      That reply would be logical if teachers also set their own income as Wall Street does.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Lance

      The locals are going to hunt you down, torches and pitchforks in hand, for uttering such logic.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Adam

      Totally with you!

      July 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  82. Aaron

    People who haven't set foot in a should not be making decisions and policies about . Who's with me? Anyone?

    July 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Abe Lincoln

      STOP terrorism against medical marijuana patients.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Lance

      It seems to me that the downfall of education started when grade inflation and social promotion started running rampant.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  83. Jenny

    I knew right away she wasn't a math teacher when she said "But aiming for proficiency means we aim to create generations of children who are average."

    July 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • CosmicC

      There are three basic measures, Partially Proficient, Proficient, and Advanced Proficient. Proficient = average. Nice try. Would you like to play again?

      July 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • Allen

        Partcially Proficient, Advanced Proficient, as a means of measure? What does that even mean? More proof positive that the American Education system is broken and run by fools.

        July 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  84. Lori

    I agree with Rebecca when she says that as educators we need to take our children beyond the "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" should not be making decisions and policies about teaching, and teachers should be aiming to take all students – whether hungry, homeless, in the midst of their first crush or celebrating the big game – beyond the test." I do this in my classroom each year. I am not opposed to testing itself, but I disagree with the way we are testing and that we are using it to determine whether a teacher is effective or not. I am often given many of the at-risk, special needs, and students who are often a behavior problem for many others. This happens because I take the students where they are at, set the bar high and expect students to rise to the expectation. In my 29 years of education, I have been successful with these students, my passing rate along with my 4th grade team has been 93% and higher. Where we are found ineffective is that our special needs students and our gifted students are not being seen as making a years growth. My struggle with that is that if a student in 3rd grade scores a 415 on the OAA and then a 415 in 4th grade (my grade), it is not considered a year's growth. Why not? The test is measuring 4th grade standards which is a whole year more than what the student took the year previously-3rd grade. It is a year's growth. I believe that a lot of good teaching has come as a result of testing, but I struggle with a one time shot, make it or break it, to measure a child's success or a teacher's effectiveness. As said previously, learning is a process, it is a journey, it should NOT be a race! If I have a student that comes in reading at a 1st grade level, and with much work on her part, parents' part, my part, and paraprofessional's part, and she is reading at 3.6 level at the end of the year, she has made more than a year's growth, but her test score on the state test probably will not reflect that. She is penalized and so am I. Lori Anast, NBCT

    July 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Juanita V.

      STOP terrorism against medical marijuana patients.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  85. Pat

    Revilution?? Really?? Didn't we do that 200 years ago? And she wants to do it again, eh....
    Well, thousands died the first time, how many is she amenable to dying this time?
    If she's tenured, its a good argulment for doing away with teachers unions... if she's not, then fire this moron.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • EaglesQuestions

      You... didn't read anything beyond the headline. Did you.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • Pat

        Funny, the spelling suggests that hey may have been to difficult.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Pat

        hey? who is that idiot? oh it's me, I swear the draft was good.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
      • Pat

        these Pat's under here are not the same as the above comment.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • gager

      Go back to school. Revolution can be applied to many things. Or maybe you're trying to be funny.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Really, Pat?

      You read the article and you think that she is advocating another secession from Britain? And you are worried about the number of lives that could be lost?


      Mind-numbingly stupid ...

      July 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Vince

      You have far less freedoms today, then you even had 10 years ago. Let alone 200 years ago. Time to pay attention to what freedoms are being wiped away.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • Pat

        200 years ago the freedoms were less, ideologically they were still in transit. If you were a man of mans and owned property life was good, especially white ones.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • EaglesQuestions


      If you had gotten past the headline, you would have known that she's referring to improvement of schools and teaching methods. The word "Revolution" was used in hyperbole, and not reference to actual war.

      I've never been big on unions, but by your spelling, I'd suggest you refrain from criticizing the Teacher of the Year.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Randy

      First of all Pat, learn how to spell R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N. Secondly, and obviously much more importantly, she was not talking about a revolution of violence or violent take-over. The term "revolution" has many meanings and uses. The teacher is absolutely correct, and as a parent of two children (both now in college), I wholeheartedly agree with her. Parents need to be part of that revolution too. The ONLY thing testing shows is how well a person is able to take tests. It often has little to do with actual subject knowledge. MANY people who are very intelligent and know a particular subject matter very well are unable to take tests on that subject well for many and varied reasons.

      I DO believe that unions too are part of the problem, however. Tenure has largely been a debacle in my opinion. Tenure makes it incredibly difficult to get rid of mediocre and even bad teachers. Just like a student needs to prove themselves every day, every week, every month and every year that they know a particular subject, so should a teach have to prove themselves every day, every week, every month and every year. Tenure takes away that motivation.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Charles

      She is talking about a revolution in public educations. She wants to overhaul the system to once again make it one of the best in the world. She is not talking about an armed revolution against the government. If you could read above the 3rd grade level you would understand that.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • Nancy

        I am just curious. Are the other public educational systems around the world we are compared with, unionized and have the tenure component? Was there any mention of cultivating enthusiasm and creativity with students by our educators?

        July 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • mm

        No. She's talking about a fully unionzed education system in the Unites States where the democrat agenda is infiltrated in everything that is taught. These teachers unions are worse than the mafia. They are in bed with the democrat party. They are only about money. And they hide behind "children" in order to get their way.

        July 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Nodack

      Way to skim the headline and not read anything else getting a totally different outcome out of it than the rest of us that took the time to read it. The word moron comes to mind.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Steve

      Those who can't spell should be the last people to make any comment regarding this matter.
      What you people are missing is that she wants students to think outside the box, use their higher order of thinking skills, instead of memorizing facts to appease the government officials who will make up the standardized tests.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  86. Third Generation Teacher

    Thank you to this teacher for saying what all teachers are thinking! People who have never set foot in the classroom should not be setting policy for classroom teachers and standards. Yes, tests are important for some sort of benchmark, but not everything learned in a classroom can be put into numerical form. Teachers who are calling for less emphasis on testing are not 'lazy' or trying to dodge accountability. They're trying to find ways to really convey how well they teach and how well their student are able to pick up skills they'll be able to use beyond the classroom. There are no multiple choice questions when you're running a business or the country.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • steevo77

      Thank you Third Generation. Your words are well spoken and right on.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jenny

      We have ALL 'set foot' in classrooms. Should only lawyers make laws? Should only medical doctors set healthcare policy? The point is, we ALL have a stake in what comes OUT of the classrooms. Yes, teachers are important participants in policy-making. But there's more to policy than being an expert in the service you're trying to improve. I know plenty of teachers who know nothing about measuring outcomes, enacting or analyzing policy, or how policies get implemented. It takes more than one kind of understanding to address something that complex.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • JC

        Walking into a classroom for a parent-teacher conference, and coming out stinging because your child is not making an effort, does not count as "putting a foot in a classroom."

        July 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  87. cynicalme

    She is probably tenured. She probably belongs to the union. Why should we believe her?

    July 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • alf564

      Because it sounds like she is TRYING to teach her students. This would be unlike Wash. DC politicians that force their ideas on schools or you get no money, even though they know NOTHING !

      July 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • steevo77

      Sounds like jealousy on your part. If you weren't so lazy you could have had those things going for you too.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • dana

      I'm suprised to see you can read. It's clear you don't understand education. Why do you hate everything that is not you?

      July 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • glennrobertg

      Just who do you believe? "No child left behind" sounds great. We love a good cliche. The country with the highest scholastic standards K-12 is Finland. Yes, they honor their teachers!

      July 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Nodack

      Her word over a Republicans? That's an easy one. Republicans lie 99,999999999999999999999999999999999% of the time.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • CosmicC

        All politicians lie to get their way. The problem with Republicans is that they lie to protect the power of the few over the rights of the many.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
      • JC

        I heard a figure once, no idea if it's true, but it seems reasonable: 25% of the people will lie all the time; 50% of the people will lie if they think they have something to gain; 25% of the people will seldom lie.

        July 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  88. alf564

    And lets STOP teaching these students only how to pass tests. They learn what is on the tests but NOTHING else.
    Thank you policy setters and State Legislators.... especially in Florida

    July 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  89. steevo77

    I think parents should be held more accountable for their child's learning than teachers. We all know that many parents do not shoulder their end of the bargain as far as staying in touch with their student's homework assignments, helping them with problems, motivating them to succeed and being involved with school events. Lets put the blame for shortcomings where it starts and ends–with the parents.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jo

      AMEN, steevo77!!

      July 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • CosmicC

      That's the problem with blame. While you may be pointing your finger in the right direction, it does nothing to help the kids.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  90. ron

    Home schooling.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • JC

      The community I live in has about 100,000 people. Out of that number, I doubt that 100 are qualified to home school, and that includes teachers. I have had to do more remediation on former home schooled students than on any other children whatsoever, including those covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      July 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  91. Ed U C8

    Instead, she said "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" should not be making decisions and policies about teaching." Amen.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • cdgfla

      Oh come on Ed u C8, don't you know that rich, old, white, conservative attorneys know what is best for not only women and their bodies but how to raise children to become perfect cogs in their profit machines? Who are you to question the motives of career politicians bought and sold by lobby groups after all!?

      July 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  92. ObammySucks

    Dump all the touchy feely do-gooder social justice liberation theology bull-chit and concentrate on reading, writing, math, PT, and lab science. Once you've got that covered, if there's any interest and/or resorces left for the anything else, then go for it.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • cdgfla

      Right because the world would be a much better place for all involved if there were no F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Poe, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Rolling Stones, Beatles, DaVinci, Led Zeppelin, Michaelangelo, Warhol, Van Gogh, or any other people who have given the world the gifts of Music, Art, and Literature. We shouldn't waste time developing any talents that don't make our corporate overlords profits after all.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Greater Good

      Spoken like a true Fox News watcher who devalues everything today's educators do...

      July 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      Do you know anything about education? It's more than regurgitating the answers to a test. Critical thinking is needed to really succeed in today's world. Reading, math and science are good and needed areas of study, however not everyone excels in them. Art, music, industrial arts, civics (especially), and others produce a well-rounded, flexible person. Not everyone can be an engineer, a scientist, a CEO, etc. We need welders, machinists, graphic artists, communication specialists, historians, etc. Education needs to foster the growth of the individual, not make them a cubicle dweller. Not everyone can or needs to go to college, some need trade schools, apprenticeships, etc. And yes, there will be those due to their gifts (or lack of gifts) will work menial work. And there should be nothing wrong with that.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Dan

      Obammy...yes and give the teacher some control over the classroom. Kids can't learn in chaos.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • JC

      Because American history isn't important? My grandaddy was in WWII on a cruiser and got to see suicide attacks first hand. I think history is also pretty damned important. If you forget who you were, how the hell do you figure out where you're going?

      July 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  93. El Leon

    It's so unfortunate that teachers have to be rated by their student's test scores. Several years ago I was assigned to teach 24 3rd graders who had been in this country only a few years. My colleague who had 12 students in his honors class didn't even teach them math because he was "not very good at math". At the end of the year when 'tests' results were announced, I was let go because my students' scores were far below his students'. In years since, I've seen this inequity and wonder what a good teacher has to do in order to be rated "proficient'. There is no rating for 'inspiring' students to succeed beyond the classroom.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Dan

      Sorry to hear that. That is truly indicative of a problem with American education. People have no idea what it is lie to be a child trying to learn in language that you do not speak at home.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Harlon Katz

      It sounds like you were caught up in the illegal immigration problem – sucks, doesn't it.

      July 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  94. Parents

    I find it so disheartening that parents put the blame on teachers instead of themselves. Yes, teachers are responsible for educating your children. But you are responsible for instlling the values and importance of an education in your children. If your kids respect you and you respect the teacher and education, then a student will succeed and grow in their education and personal life.

    Funny how we continue to avoid blaming parents for their mistakes and weaknesses with raising children. Everyone knows that raising a child is difficult, but the rewards you get when you see your child as a successful adult, far outweigh the sacrifices you made to get them there.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • El Leon

      Yes, I'll have to agree with you. Being in education for 30 years, I know that aside from the lack of capital punishment, the lack of parent involvement in a child's education is a big problem. Then we have the opposite as well. I've had parents take off from work to come to the school claiming 'physical abuse' when I happened to tap their child on the back in order to get them to sit down and stop copying another child's answers. Most parents do not believe in disciplining their kids.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • El_Leon_May_Be_A_Little_Harsh

        You meant the lack of "corporal" punishment. Or maybe not...

        July 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
      • PaulsAndBenis

        Capital punishment? Now that would kill the whole deal now, wouldn't it? LOL [it's corporal punishment you genius] After reading that, I can't say that I buy your 'just tapping a child on the back' story.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • CosmicC

        If you need to resort to physical punishment to maintain discipline you're a bad teacher. If you're willing to hurt a child to enforce your will, you're a bad human.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Brad Thompson

      Parents are a much bigger voting block than educators. No one will openly attack parenting if they want to get elected.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  95. mhill

    Yes, don't require tests as that just puts too much stress on teachers to actually teach.
    Our students have more spent on their education yet consistently have poor results.
    I'm sure we don't need to worry about if kids are actually learning anything, as long as they are committed to "the revolution".
    The revolution should be to get rid of the NEA

    July 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Atticus


      I am sure you have that four year degree...just need a teachers credential...and go get a teaching job. You can help fix whatever problem you may believe exists in the local school. Good luck...because if your test results, based on those students that may not completely understand what you are presenting on a daily basis for all kinds of reasons, are not what others believe they should be, will get you fired in the first three years of your "career." Even though I agree testing scores should play into evaluation, it cannot be the sold basis in which to evaluate a teacher. Just my two cents.

      July 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
      • demovsemperor

        You spelled "sole" incorrectly.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • alf564

        But in MANY cases it is the "SOLE" basis for judging a teacher and the students. OF course in todays environment the student is passed on to the next grade no matter the score, bad for their ego, but the teacher will be dismissed. Just because some politico made a STUPID rule to make themselves feel that they are justifying their salary. SO SAD !!

        July 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • JF

      IF you think that spouting back canned answers to do well and a test means a child has learned something , YOU need to go back to school.

      Learning is a lifelong process, not a series of rote answers. It requires thinking, something which scares the hell out of the bunch that dreamed up a lot of these test ideas.

      Some of us were lucky enough to have teacjers who taught us to love learning as a process, not just the end result and to seek it daily.

      You, on the other hand, obviously didn't have that pleasure.


      July 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • JW

        From grade one to grade 12, I can't remember one teacher or coach that inspired me or went the extra mile to help anyone. We all just went through the system, students and teachers alike.

        July 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
      • Harlon Katz

        How about teaching the children simple addition, subtraction, etc. Do you consider teaching a child to add or subtract "teaching to the test"?

        July 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • tko

      mhill: Have you ever been a classroom teacher? I bet not . . .

      July 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Mark in California

      If you want to require testing as a evaluation of the teacher, then test the parents ability to raise and educate their kids also. Teachers have to not only inspire and teach our children, but often have to combat the years of poor child-rearing by lazy parents. The reason why kids in private schools often do so well is that their parents want their children to do well and knowing that they are paying a bundle for their kids education they become involved in that education.

      Blaming teachers for not being able educage children of poor-parenting is just wrong.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • stateschool

      Maybe next time you could read all the way to the bottom of the article. It will keep you from looking foolish.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • stateschool

        above comment was in reply to mhill.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • The Truth

      Agreed, why is measuring performance acceptable and required for every job in the world but teaching? Why do teachers run for the hills when they are held accountable? Those who are in charge of budgets are measured on how well they stick to budget. Those who manufacture are rated on their on time delivery, scrap rate and quality. Those who give medical care are rated for their diagnosis accuracy and treatment effectiiveness. Militiary Officers are measured on how well their troops perform. You can go on and on and on, so teachers are measured on..... what exactly? Why can't a teacher be held accountable for student performance? All the whiners will cite examples of unresponsive students or bad parents. Well in those cases rate the teacher in their ability to recognize the problem and deal with the situation. This is simple, why can't a bunch of professional educated educators figure this out? Maybe that is an indicator of a bigger problem.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • Monica

        To the Truth:
        ABSOLUTELY! We teachers should be held accountable, and you will always find a few teachers hiding in the woodwork who are against any kind of spotlight being shined on their classrooms. They will argue against EVERYTHING, and that should be a huge sign to administrators that those teachers need to go. It is disheartening for the teachers who crave transparency and high standards for teaching to receive criticism for the actions of others.

        I think we can agree that using test scores solely as a means of judgment of teacher performance is tricky–I taught in a district where I was given all the lower level chemistry courses, while another teacher was given all the higher level chemistry courses. This was not designed by accident– the other teacher did not want to "deal" with those students. I am not complaining– I loved those kids I taught and had a great job, but I was up against quite a wall when standardized test scores came out.

        You said that teachers should recognize the problem and deal with the situation. AMEN! Couldn't agree more. Teachers are PLEADING for ways to deal with the situation of poor student performance, discipline problems, etc., and I've never heard a teacher say "Hey, if you raise my pay, that will make this situation go away." I personally would like to see our colleges providing more skills for soon-to-be teachers (reading strategies, discipline strategies, strategies for motivating poor students, working more with learning disabilities, more work with teacher mentors...ohhhh I could go on forever!) I would also like to see opportunities for teacher discussion/development/improvement during the school year. Every teacher needs to be able to confer with his/her department and administration regularly so that problems are recognized and dealt with proactively. Unfortunately, many current administrations/school boards/public see such 'workshop days' (uck–hate that term) as a waste of time and are not willing to work with teachers to find out how to make this time useful.

        July 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • ccccc

      What percent of that money is spent on teachers' salary, or supplies for the classroom? The majority of that money is spent on these standardized tests, administration salaries and costs, very little of the money is spent on anything of direct impact on the students or their education. Education has become an industry, from k – college.
      Any parent who says they need a test conducted once a year to see if their kid is making gains has failed at their role of helping to educate their child. Try spending some time with them at night and watch them do their homework, if you do this consistently, you can see where they have made progress, and where they need further help. This unfortunately takes time and effort, which rules out a huge population of the people with the most impact on the quality of a child's education, the parents.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  96. Seasoned teacher

    I am in 100% in agreement with this outstanding teacher. With or without the data, teachers have learned to "know" their students in order to understand where they need to be to succeed at each grade level. Each student is a unique individual that has their own educational journey to move towards personal achievement. Education is not a one-size fits all situation...nor are these children all the same as if we are manufacturing a product on an assembly line.

    July 6, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • chris

      I'm 52 years old have had 5 kids go through this system and I always hear the same responses to the same questions from teachers..where is the book all of you tele prompt from? As in-tune as you say you are to each and every individual child (no way I'd every believe that one) you'd think you'd hear some independent thinking. You'd have more respect if you had better results. Your sheltered in a system that can't look at itself objectively. Instead you blame everyone else, no money (like thats been going on since I was in school) and social manipulation of kids into whatever view your union wishes you to travel. It's broken teachers...if your the greatness you say you are get off your pedistals and prove it by turning out kids that can compete world wide. Or are you afraid of being judged and evaluated like everyone else?

      July 7, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • JC

        I'm not clear where you're going here. Are you speaking to teachers, or are you really addressing the parent issue?

        July 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  97. sane

    Nobody wants to be held accountable. You'd think teachers would be the first to want emperical data to assess performance.

    July 6, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Atticus

      They don't have a choice regarding emperical is used to evaluate teachers to some degree and with NCLB schools are evaluated on such data to a very high degree. The concern, and it is a real one, is being measured by those students in your classroom that have no reason to do their best when being tested. That, and with the numbers of students in a single classroom nowadays (38/1 is ratio at our local schools and going up this year), it is getting more difficult to work with those who struggle without dropping, not lowering, the bar for those that are ready to move on.

      July 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Thomas

      Go back to a point made in the article...when a child comes to school hungry because of lack of family funds, the child's priority is not education but sating the hunger; so how do we test this child? When a child has abuse, neglect or lack of family, the child's priority is not education but getting these critical needs attenuated; these children can act out, become withdrawn, become self-destroying through drugs, alcohol, inhalants. How do we test these children?

      In a testing situation, minimization of variables is critical for accurate and valid results. With all of the variables real in the lives of the children, the variables take priority to them. To show an application, if you were to be part of a layoff with no benefits, would your priority be trying to find a means to continue to eat, have a roof over your head, or would your priority be self-actualization?

      I, too, would desire empirical data, yet the variables encountered make the ability to learn that much more difficult in a 30:1 ratio classroom, hence making the empirical data gathered contaminated and therefore not that reliable. These teachers care and would love nothing more than to lower the ratio, through either smaller class sizes, trained aides in the classroom or parents willing to take responsibility for their (the parents) actions, yet the current refrain is cut, cut, cut and the teacher is never right. I have seen this first hand, with all four of my children with CAP (Case Action Plans) for thier learning disabilities, having volunteered at the local schools (two years in music, six years in sports, even when my children were no longer a part of the specific program), attending every parent/teacher conference available, attending every activity my children had and making my children responsible for their grades (you choose to not turn in the homework, that is your choice; you may choose the action, but you do not choose the consequences).

      July 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • MadGOPer

        Thank you Thomas. My wife deals with the issues you mentioned everyday. Children who are hungry, tired, members of gangs, running from gangs, drug dealers, running from drug dealers, abuse at home, living with a single parent, living with other relatives, bullying, social pressure, etc. So my wife and many, many other teachers have to play cop, social worker, nurse, babysitter, "parent", guidance counselor, etc, before actually being the teacher. Add state and federal mandates, NCLB, etc, and I wonder why my wife hasn't gone on a shooting rampage yet......

        July 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • Lorri

        Nicely said ... it is all very complicated . The best is all we can afford to give our children. The biggest holdback these days is in the home !

        July 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • nonconformist

        Well said!

        July 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • stainpouch

        "I got mine and I'm getting yours, too" –Bishop Mittens

        July 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  98. Julie

    Awesome to hear this message at NEA RA 2012! What a beautiful ambassador for education!

    July 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • demovsemperor

      Now how about the US not being 26th in science and math!

      July 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • Nancy

        Many of the issues mention by MadGoPer are not faced by students represented within the (science & math) group that we are compared to internationally. It's unfortunate, but most international students do not have the gift of education like it is here with our K-12 public school system. We take so much for granite with educational opportunities here. If our best of the best in the US were compared to the best of the best internationally, we might see a results shifted more realisitically in our favor. I guess I am trying to say...the playing field is not quite so level.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • floridamom1

        So all of a sudden it is a contest? Look, if kids love science and math, then by all means let them have at it, but don't try and force all of your students, especially this nonsense about not enough girls in these areas, to be science and math majors. This is absurd. The real problem with public education is that teachers spend most of their time teaching to the standardized test, which is wrong. The other real problem is that the unions make it so incompetent teachers are retained. And the Public School administration systems are greatly lacking in intelligence.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • 2tor

      Really? We've been hearing it for years. Teachers blaming someone else for the failure. It's all the way to the presidency now. Let's start there!

      July 7, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Lainie11

      Julie, actually this "teacher of the year" makes me sick. She sounds just like Barack Obama as a community organizer.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
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