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. Mike in SA

    In the story above, I like this comment "Instead, she said "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" should not be making decisions and policies about teaching..."

    Pretty much I feel when people who have never stepped foot in a hospital make medical decisions or people who have never put on a uniform making military decisions...and the list could go on and on...

    July 8, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      That is the problem we have people who are in the profession who do not accept input and those outside of the profession who do not accept reality. Both arguing and missing that this is about our children and future.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Burt Way

      Mike - so are you saying if I was never in the military I am not allowed to comment on levels of Defense spending? Or if we should have invaded Iraq? We keep going around in circles about this....

      July 9, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Marjot

      Spot on! We pay huge salaries to multiple "Kaizan Black Belts" to ruin hospital practice with half baked "systems" processes that undermine the actual effiency of the medically knowledgeable RNs and MDs. Folks with Internet degrees end up changing systems for professionals with years of hard practiced 24/7 medical experience. Why do 8AM to 4PM jobs M-F pay twice as much as Medically educated jobs requiring advanced degrees along with nights and weekends? Because USA society tells students that there is a "short-cut" to a high salary by going from ignorance into management. Only blue collar types would actually care about saving lives 24/7 because that would disrupt golf, skiing and the anorexic wife's yoga class. Does anyone admit that if one is taller and better looking than average one can quite easily become a hospital CEO with a Masters in Hospital Administration? $ 500,000 minimum regardless of the science based M.S. degreed $50,000 per year staff (who took hard science courses) that they manage (that actually required scientific study and medical expertise.) There should be a glut on Hospital CEO candidates except that the qualifications are visually genetic and not related to intellegence or competence. A good golf handicap and a handsome appearance will go far, for one not in a large urban area.. The Chief Nursing Officer (if not a recent male RN) is generally anorexic, blond, and far taller than the average woman. So sad. What a comentary on American society. The good news is that the "enlightened" WASPs are slowly becomming the minority. I would lobby that one cannot be in management unless they have served in the trenches for multiple years (not one or two while repeating failed couses from the cheap college MHA or MBA.) If we allowed those with expertise rather than "credentials" to enter management we would shift wealth from the haves to the have nots is less than a decade. The hardest working and best life educated professionals that I know working in Emergency Medicine work around the clock in spite of all the training the MD degree requires. Lives do not depend upon a multi-meeting attending MBA or MHA. Life saving requires MDs and RNs willing to be there around the clock when your MI or CVA, or ruptured appendix, strikes. If that does not convince you, perhaps your high speed accident on a lonely stretch of Interstate from which you are air lifted to a middle sized ER where your life is either saved, lost, or maimed, for the rest of your life will assist in convincing you. Who cares what golf handicap the CEO or CFO has? So far, USA society values a good looking, taller than average, Monday thru Friday executive far higher than an M.D who practices emergency medicine aroud the clock. That executive, taking the majority of the bonuses from understaffing 24/7 RNs and MDs, will not help at all (and may detract) from you, or your loved one's survival!

      July 9, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  2. Teaching Mom

    From the looks of these posts, I'm beginning to understand the sarcasm and the meanness of some of the kids in my fifth grade classroom. Don't forget...everything you do is a model for a child.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Yes, it is easy to see how those kids on the school bus felt they could get away with bullying the monitor. The kids were used to all the blame for their actions being put on the adults at the school.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Steve Lyons`

    With all the liberal clap trap that flows out of the public schools today, the revolution that has begun is "home schooling" Those students do far better on core curriculum especially in the area of US History. I'd wager that most history teachers today pay little to no attention to the facts that the Declaration of Independence was written is retaliation for King George repressing the individuals pursuit of life liberty and happiness, and levied massive taxes on the backs of the working class.

    Just like the Federal Government does today.

    July 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Steve

      Thank you. Another fine article showing how politics shouldn't be in the schools............but of course every teacher I have met is a card carrying Marxist.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
      • Marilyn

        Wow such bias! Obviously you haven't met me or my fellow teachers who are all conservative.

        July 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Mavent

      There's nothing Republicans hate worse than education, because they instinctively know that when you educate someone, the first thing they do is become Democrats.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      You mean the liberal stuff like almost mentioning Darwin because to outright mention him is considered provocative?

      July 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Bob

      Mr. Lyons, with all due respect, as an educator for 35 years, I know some lousy history teachers and I know some outstanding history teachers. We have many problems in our country and education is one of the major ones. We will not solve our issues by using nasty labels and retreating into isolation. At some point all kids who are home schooled have to deal with all the elements of society. One of the strengths of public education is acculturation and socialization. How does one replicate that at home? No one lives on an island. Moreover, we are a society that must find a way to come together or we will self-destruct.

      Finally, I know many people who never considered becoming educators because profession has never enjoyed prestige or satisfactory remuneration. In addition, few people are willing to dedicate their time and energy to others–which is a major part of the job for a vast majority of educators. For those who are so quick to criticize, I say, "Why don't you become a teacher and so the rest of us how to do it?"

      July 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Patrick

      Considering taxes are at a 50 year low your statement is completely idiotic. Not to mention that you comparing the US Government to a Monarchy controlled by the Church of England is also idiotic.

      I urge you to seek an education.

      July 9, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  4. billy in chicago

    Apparently most posters on this blog didn't pay attention to the teacher of the year's comments that "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" shouldn't be making decisions about education policy. Listen to what she says and close your yaps.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Bill

      I agree. Parent's don't know anything about teaching children. Cancer doctors who haven't had cancer should shut up too.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
      • Kevin

        Pay attention now, so you don't miss this. She was referring to politicians numb skull.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
      • Ronney

        You put into words exactly what I was thinking, in great snarky form.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • Martin

        But those Oncologists (adult word for "cancer doctor") did have formal training as to how best treat cancer patients. I doubt that most parents have formal training in how to best teach calculus, music theory, European History, vocabulary (see "cancer doctor"), or Chemistry.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
      • Boat

        One child at a time is very different than a teacher who has 30 at a time. That being said, if you have never taught in a classroom you have no business creating educational policy. You can certainly have input, but the final decisions are not yours to make. If you don't like it then homeschool.

        July 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Bob in Wisconsin

      Really Bob...thats your answer? Sad really...really sad. Our schools have been failing for decades. It started with dumbing down, a term teachers don't like but speaks the truth.

      Maybe the NEA should focus on teaching instead of grabbing union power.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • really

      Indeed, how dare, you the taxpayer, parent or student have an opinion. Shut your yap.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Boat

        I pay taxes so I should have the right to tell the dude who's paving the road how to do his job! I don't know what I'm talking about but I drive every day so I know how things work and stuff.

        July 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • bobtx

      "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" - Hasn't everyone gone to at least SOME compulsory education classes? So, that statement rules out nobody. It is meaningless.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  5. Surthurfurd

    I am guessing that twang lacks the educational wit to understand socioeconomic factors that limit effectiveness in school.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Steve Lyons`

      It is pretty obvious that the nanny state psychosis has infected the public school system like cancer.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  6. Surthurfurd

    Note that most of the nations that outperform US schools also pay their teachers more per contact hour with students. They also have much stricter behavioral standards for students, students can fail. They do tend to demand that all teachers are highly educated.. which is causing trouble here in the US because the cost of getting highly educated is left to the individual.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Rick

      Everything you say is true! And in addition, students that do attend these foreign schools are "hand – pecked ", meaning that those who do not perform at a certain level are not allowed to attend school...

      July 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  7. Private school

    I'm a school owner/administrator, and occassionaly a teacher and a parent. It is EXTRIMELY hard to hire US techers to work for less than $40,000 per year, and they will not even accept to work during summer in the summer camps. The ones who accept to be hired for less will leave within the year. On the other hand international teachers are glad to work for $30,000 and do want to work during summer. It is the only profession I know that makes $40,000 per year and has two months off: many people in other professions are thankful to make $40,000 and have two weeks of vacation. It is also extrimely hard to firee a bad teacher: most of them will get unemployment benefits anyway. There is a problem with the schooling system that comes from the quality of teachers: most of today's teachers do not have good education themselves. Creativity in classrooms is important and it is aboundant with the US teachers, they lack the base though. International tachers teach reading and math and science old school and do not pay too much attention to use of manipulatives, and results are great! US teachers need a manual to teach every single textbook, international teachers just need the subject. I do not have an answer, I do not except a hatred or exciting response, I'm just trying to tell my side of the story, since there are many teachers and parents on this forum, but no school administrators.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      What is the cultural respect and expectation of teachers in S Korea or Norway? Could we implement that?

      July 8, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
      • twang

        S. koria and norway dont have the major problem that we have.......BLACKS

        July 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • chimone

      Hi please tell me where these 40,000 public school jobs are in my city of Chicago I'd love one!

      July 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Penny Byrd

      Your argument might mean something if you could spell. Sentence structure would also be of some help.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • A parent

      Obviously your teacher was not paid enough to teach you how to spell correctly.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • john

      "Private school" – that is some amazingly poor spelling and grammar – just making the point that private schools are not always better.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Hoppenb

      I'm sorry but I found it difficult to find validity in your argument after you said you were an owner/administrator of a school and then filled your comment with grammar and punctuation problems.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Teacher's wife

      If you are a school administrator in this country, I feel sorry for your students and teachers. Your spelling, grammar and syntax all indicate either that English is not your native language or that you never bothered to check in to your English classes. I admire this woman greatly. She has the courage to stand up and say what every teacher worth his or her salt, and every person with any real knowledge of the education profession (I have a Masters in education though currently retired) knows, but which the "company line" prohibits most from saying. She deserves applause and commendation on all levels.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
      • Bill

        Teacher's wife

        If you are a school administrator in this country, I feel sorry for your students and teachers. Your spelling, grammar and syntax all indicate either that English is not your native language or that you never bothered to check in to your English classes. I admire this woman greatly. She has the courage to stand up and say what every teacher worth his or her salt, and every person with any real knowledge of the education profession (I have a Masters in education though currently retired) knows, but which the "company line" prohibits most from saying. She deserves applause and commendation on all levels.

        I love all the coments on the spelling syntax. So , she doesn't use spell check. Maybe English is not her native language. At least she doesn't sound like a arrogant bigot and zenophobe. Her point was that teachers whine about low pay but don't understand basic economics. There is not a shortage of "qualified" teachers, therefore the pay will be lower. Reduce the number of qualified teachers through tougher standards for certification and pay will go up as the numbers go down. Teachers want to be paid like "professionals"–ie Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants but most professionals work lives are 30% longer than teachers (190days vs 250 days). I know teachers will say "we work at home too" and "we have to get additional training on our own time" but 90% of other professionals work longer hours plus travel away from family etc. They also train and further their education on their own time except they consider it a benefit to their career instead of a hardship they must endure. Some teachers teach because it is a calling. Some teach because they all they could get was an education degree.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
      • Bill

        And yes I know it is xenophobe....

        July 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Steve Lyons`

      Then we need more foreign teachers to teach the following: US History, Economics, as well as the math and sciences.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Bill

      Manna from heaven.....the truth has arrived.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • ccccc

      private school, I know virtually no profession that requires a 4 year degree and then a masters, along with a salary of 40,000 a year. When I rented cars for a living I made more than I do as a teacher. Also, teachers do not decide course/curriculum content, that is decided by the school board and department of ed., which is largely fielded by people who have never been teachers

      July 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Concerned

      Wow. You own a school and can't spell. Scary. I'll let the rest of your post, in all of its ignorance, speak for itself.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Kevin

      Looks like your cover has been blown. When I drive into your business tomorrow morning, be sure to put super unleaded into my car this time, not that other junk.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Teacher in MN

      I question your crudentials because at least here in MN a teacher who is let go before tenure will not recieve unemployment for summer months off and or not recieving a continued contract. Just like with any profession once the probationary period is over they should be able to recieve unemployment benifits, however our probationary period is several years where everywhere else I know of it is just 90 days. As a teacher I work on average 12 hour days all school year and brought countless hours of work home as well as working summer school. I am not uncommon in my devotion to my craft but yet my profession is constantly bashed by people who have no clue of what we go though and what it takes to be a good teacher. I take my role very seriously and do everything I can to help my students learn as much as they possibly can. I also don't know what area you are in because begining teachers in my area only make 37,000 to start and they have to continue their education to remain licensed and pay for that education. Try to live on that and provide for your own children? What do you make a year? The average teanage baby sitter makes $2 and hour per child. I had 26 children in my class last year, so by that standard I should have made (26 x 2) X 40= $2080 A DAY FOR 173 school day per year not to metion the non school days that are needed for set up close up, conferences, grading and staff development and meetings, totaling $359,840. Teanage babysitters are at the most asked to read a child a bedtime story and tuck them in leaving them time to watch TV and raid your refrigerator, where as I spend hundreds of dollars of my own money to provide supplies for my students that are not frovided by the district or parents and the thanks I get is to be bashed by people who don't know and don't bother to find out what is really going on in the classrooms of today.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • Rick

        Teacher in MN...As a teacher in CT, I agree with all that you have many times have you had to tell your own children that they can't have something they may want because you can't afford it due to all the supplies that you have had to purchase on your own to provide for your classroom. As an elementary teacher, this practice seems to be "expected" ( the purchasing of your own supplies). Often, when new curriculums are devised, little or no supplies (text, corresponding teaching material ) is provided, so we spend countless hours and dollars searching for appropriate materials...

        July 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • School Psychologist

      Troll. If you were really a "school-owner/administrator" you would know how to spell "teacher." And if private schools were so great, why don't they educate children with disabilities to the same level that public schools do? Of course private schools can score better. If you are poor, uneducated, have a disadvantage, or your child has a disability, your children are excluded from the private school. I will respect private schools only when they treat ALL children the same, regardless of parental income or severity of a child's disability

      July 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Liz

      Private school,

      Please check your spelling and grammar before submitting. As a teacher, I am concerned about your writing skills. As a parent, I would be concerned about how much money was being spent and letters were being sent home with improper grammar from the administration. Not to be condescending, just to be helpful.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • NYC Teacher

      As a professional with a Master's degree, I find it insulting that you would think that $30,000 is an adequate salary. I'm a licensed professional and, in order to keep my license, I must attend 175 hours of professional development every five years. This is done in the summer and is paid for by me! BTW, your "old-school" style of teaching will not fly in New York State. I'm expected to "differentiate", engage in "cooperative group learning", and collect and analyze individual data for each and every one of my 75 students. What you're suggesting is I will do this while homeless; which is what your salary will so generously lead me to.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  8. Dano

    Until parents can get their children to school on time, after having a good night's sleep and breakfast, prepared for the day's instruction (homework completed), and administrators remove the trouble-makers who just don't want to learn and disrupt the class, public schools will continue to provide a mediocre education at best. Nothing a teacher does or no amount of testing will change that. To think that a teacher who sees your children for one hour a day for 9 months can motivate them to care about getting an education when you haven't been able to do it given many years is insane.

    July 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  9. Surthurfurd

    Maybe we need to give promotions to soldiers based on the region they are in having little to no dangers? How about pay police more if they patrol areas with lower crime rates to begin with? How about considering a businessman engaged in investments a failure if not all of the companies they invest in grow and become profitable?

    July 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  10. DHippo

    A nation of self-appointed experts on every subject. We have everything figured out, nothing to learn. School's out, kids.

    July 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  11. KM

    All of you can yap all you want about the pros and cons of testing. Until parents decide to discipline their children, the problems will not be fixed. Most parents want to blame the teachers for any issue that arises. Parents, did you ever think that your kids might be the REAL problem?

    July 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Charles rea

      I am a former teacher in a public school. I spent three years teaching in small town schools in southeastern Georgia. The people were poor, many were black and in the ninth grade about 25% were functionally illiterate. The school system had an informal practice of social promotion. That is kids were passed if they behaved even if they didn't learn . The younger teachers tried their best but during my three years I saw burnout occurring, including with myself. I became the personnel director of the local hospital and eventually the CEO of a credit union. My greatest skill in both jobs was the ability to teach and motivate employees. The difference was my target audience wanted and or needed to be there. The schools are what they are because parents don't do what a parent is supposed to do, to prepare their children to be adults. I am very pessimistic about the future of this country. The schools can't fix what is wrong. This teacher is full of hot air.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  12. will completeit

    I was reading a book, "in your face IRS: zero taxes" ISBN 978-0-9857370-0-9, in chapter 4, it has some eye opening numbers on teachers salaries – for example, professor's salaries have increased by 450%.
    Teachers don't care for teaching and students, that's just lip service. They are draining the system just like wall street.
    American kids are not even getting "average" education, forget about top tier but parents and students are paying pretty hefty – parents draining their savings and students piling up students loans.

    July 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Laura L. Nelson, Ph. D.

      Perspective from the University of Wisconsin System: Not everything you read is true. Professor's salaries have NOT increased by 450%. Please check the Bureau of Labor Statistics and use an inflation calculator. We hire new faculty today at salaries that are about the same or only slightly more generous than the salary I was hired at in 1985. My own salary, after 27 years of service, has increased in value by $7500 in 2012 dollars over those 27 years. Because we have received little or no COLA from the state for the last decade, long time faculty salaries are equaled or surpassed by the salaries of newly hired probationary faculty. I repeat, what you have read is simply not true. An assertion from a single source is not adequate research.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  13. Doug

    Teachers do not have all of the answers, but I do know some things that do not help teachers in their work with students. One is .......the educational system isnt broken......families are broken. The second thing is....there will always be those who can and those who cannot in amongst our is ridiculous to think that we are all the same...all learn the same....and all will be on the same level. My her years of wisdom said it right....and she didn't mean to offend in saying it......"the world needs ditch diggers too Doug." Her point of emphasis was....that not everyone can reach the same level of knowledge "do'ers and thinkers." The third thing our local school, out of the 100 middle school student's in that grade......40 had IEP's, which are individualized education plans. They keep changing their learning disability descriptions so that they aren't labeled by mainstream kids........but to the point here.....their test scores are counted the same as those students with no disabilities. I defy any teacher....public or private to reach 100 percent passing with the deck stacked against them. Now I don't mean to sound like the IEP kids aren't normal students....that is not my point. My point is....the kid is stuggling to learn at their rate, which is slower than some others, and that isnt their fault...nor is it the teachers fault. They just learn slower....bottom line. So counting these scores as if NOTHING is different for them and then saying.....its the teacher's or schools fault.....holy cow!!! Another thing I do want to add is this......we as a country compare all of our test scores to the TOP test scores of many other countries......what is silly about that comparrison is that many other countries decide early what school this child and that child will go to....higher IQ students go to these schools.....lower IQ's go to these schools. In the USA....we are truly a melting pot....schools included. How can we compare apples to oranges....that's a political tool that has worked on us for years. The last thing to say schools don't have all of the answers and probably never will, but unlike private schools who send their IEP kids to schools who service those students.....public schools accept every kid....they cannot turn them away.

    July 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  14. Andy

    Look, if you are not a teacher you should probably be keeping your mouth shut at this point. The reason why everything is a mess is because the system makes it extremely difficult to fail students.

    Ask any public school teacher what they have to go through in order to fail a student. The fact of the matter is that the way things are, students are pushed to the next level year after year and they learn that they don't have to try or work hard in order to pass. So of course when it is time to take a test they fail, but their current teacher is blamed and not the student for years of doing nothing.

    July 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Log

      Nonsense! I don't have to be a teacher to comment on teachers. I have four kids and I have seen good teachers and I have seen ones that were absolutely worthless.

      July 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • Ron 535 watcher from Iowa

        Yes and the very same can be said of Parents!

        July 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Burt Way

      Your comment about the diffciulty of failing a student deserves respect. Your remark that non teachers should shut up is contemptbile. Next the Secreatary of Defense will tell us if we were never never in the military we are not allowed to comment on levels of Defense spending. Or if we should have invaded Iraq? So much for freedom of expression in academia ...

      July 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • ex-teacher

      You said it, Andy. In my second year as a high school English teacher in Southern California, I had a student who did not attend my class for over two months. The parents threatened to sue when I attempted to fail her, and the principal said to me, "It isn't worth your job, is it?". Without tenure, what choice does a teacher have when confronted with unsupportive parents, administrators, and school board? I quit teaching a few years later – if the parents and students determine the grades, why do I even need to be there?

      July 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Jhol47

      Could not have said it better!! I taught middle school for 2.5 years (2008-Feb 2011) and that is exactly the issue. I started teaching college classes while I was going for my Masters and decided to go into teaching when I got done. I was shocked at the lack of "accountability" on the students part. My first grading period I gave failing grades to 8 of 22 8th grade students because they did absolutely no work in class (they had to keep a lab notebook of what we did in class, there was no homework, tests, or quizzes). Let's just say their notebooks were empty or filled with drawings, etc. I, not the kids, got called to the Principal's office and was told that I could not fail them. I was amazed!! I ended up having to meet with each of their parents (8 hours of unpaid overtime) and adjust my curriculum to meet their needs (???). Despite showing the Principal (and their parents) their empty notebooks, I was told to give them credit for the assignments so that they could have a C because they were in class. It was and is complete BS. They talk about accountability for the teachers, but there is absolutely none for the students or their parents.

      July 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  15. Surthurfurd

    Lots of complaining about others. Little effort to try to promote solutions.
    The nations beating us in scores have much stronger discipline expectations, do not ignore real science, focus on depth of learning, have strong cultures that demand parental and student involvement. Oh yes, and fewer tests than we do.

    July 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Bob

      Plan for transforming under-performing schools:
      1) high expectations for teaching and learning
      2) school culture that ensures physical and emotional safety
      3) standards-based instruction with timely interventions
      4) two-way communication with parents and community

      Results after five years at an inner-city high school in Los Angeles:
      1) over 100% increase in percentage of students scoring advanced/proficient on California Standards Test in both Science and Social Studies
      2) 85% increase in students achieving advanced/proficient in CST Math
      3) 60% increase in students achieving advanced/proficient in CST English
      4) daily attendance increased from 91% to 96.6%
      5) on-time 9th grade matriculation to the 10th grade increased from 42% to 61%
      6) graduation increased from 61% to 78%
      7) significantly less vandalism of school particularly over weekends and long holidays
      8) significant reduction in suspensions and expulsions
      9) far cleaner campus

      In 2007 there were very low expectations for teaching and learning. The campus was constantly vandalized, dirty, and dangerous (8 people were killed in the first six months of 2012 in the surrounding community–mostly due to gang violence).

      For the good of our country, our under-performing schools must be transformed. To achieve this, all stakeholders must work together on those principles that will lead to transformation.

      July 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • p.diehl

      Those countries also have health care for all and social safety programs that our impoverished classes can only dream about. They take care of their fellow citizens.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  16. Jay

    Man, Enlow is an idiot if he thinks that standardized testing is the measure of teacher quality. Too many variables, but NCLB determines AYP largely via the test.

    July 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  17. rotorhead1871

    education and the NEA have been compromised beyond societies ability to deal with glad my kids are in their 30's and have never attended a public school.... neither will their kids...or their kids......the enemy is among us....

    July 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • JOY


      July 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  18. J R Brown

    "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."

    Are we really going to question whether liberals think that the educational system is their social engineering proving grounds anymore...? It's not like they even try to hide it in the least....

    July 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  19. g johnson

    my two cents:
    i am neither a teacher nor a school employee. just a parent of two boys, 6 and 9 years old.
    from what i have observed in my suburban hometown of 100,000 people, considered to have one of the best/award-winning school systems in our state:
    there are several prevalent and interrelated reasons for the education our children are receiving not being what it should. first: the administration in our school system is so top heavy with redundant departments, nonessential technology, and redundant employees that there is supposedly "no money" left for basic supplies. or teachers, for that matter. shouldn't money that is tight be spent on things that actually help kids learn; rather than, for instance, computerized restaurant-quality point of sale systems in elementary school cafeterias? why do 6 year olds need magnetic id cards, PIN numbers, and $50,000 computers in order to buy a carton of milk? chances are, so all their purchases can be tracked for submission to some government agency or another so that exhaustive research can be done to show that kids like potato chips better than vegetables.
    second: there is no denying that there is a much larger population of children now whose parents simply take no interest in their children's education beyond expecting teachers to accomplish in 6 hours a day those things they are completely unwilling to help their children with at home. this is not an exaggeration, and the effect is profound. i could certainly put it less kindly, but you get the idea. these are parents who never read with their children, never help them with their homework, and basically treat their children's education just as they treat their children: as an annoyance at best. you then have the danger of classrooms being full of kids who have no coping skills, no social skills, and possibly no desire to learn.
    third: the "inclusion" practice now used, in the hopes that no students will feel ostracized or different, is having the exact opposite effect. students who used to be in separate classes because of their special needs (lack of parenting, too) – emotionally, educationally, or otherwise – are now in the same classes as students who are progressing at what is considered a "normal" rate. the idyllic atmosphere that was hoped for simply does not exist. it is impossible for even the best teacher to give all students the attention they deserve when the students are of such disparate abilities. the students who are "behind" feel even more different because they are surrounded by kids who are doing better than they, and the better students grow resentful of the time teachers try to spend with the other kids to try to help them catch up.

    July 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • g johnson

      perhaps i'll be able to post the rest of my opinion if i can figure out why i keep getting kicked out of the page. sure takes the wind out of your sails.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • g johnson

        fourth: why, with so much testing taking place, are students without basic skills still advanced to the next grade? what is the point of obsessing over graphs, reports, and "tracking " every breath kids take if you still have second graders who can't read three-letter words? why does there need to be a new method every other year of teaching addition? so that a select few can justify their jobs by claiming they've found the secret to teaching math? we are not talking about advanced calculus or string theory. anyone who claims that a new method is needed to add and subtract is kidding themselves. my children's teachers have to leave their classrooms at least four times a week to attend meetings for updates on teaching methods newly mandated by the department of ed. why? the same school departments that insist on teachers having master's degrees will not allow those same teachers to make any decisions about how and what our children are taught.

        July 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • NYC Teacher

      I applaud your well developed posts and your insight as a parent. You are spot on in your assessment of our system. I'm a parent of three and a middle school teacher and feel both sides of education. The fact of the matter is, education is big business and generates big money. Our educational system has never been perfect, but it has produced the most innovative generation the world has seen. Thanks to the mediocrity of NCLB, I fear we are losing a generation. However, there are too many people making money off of this poor legislation who will lobby tooth and nail for it to continue,

      July 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  20. Rod C. Venger

    This so-called teacher of the year wants a raise, better bennies, more powerful Unions and less accountability. Her words say all of that. The standardized tests do nothing to limit the teachers ability to teach. They merely show where the benchmarks are and tell the teachers that they have to meet those benchmarks. But nothing says that they cannot exceed them. This far, they've had trouble even reaching the benchmarks, much less exceed them, so before they ask for more money and power, maybe they should show that they can achieve at least the minimum standards.

    July 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Charley Butcher


      You have no clue what you are talking about. I was a teacher for 16 years in a state with NO teacher unions. I fought and fought to try and reach these minimum standards but to no avail I could only get 95% or so thru. We have so many in our schools that come from a part of society that places no value on education that it makes it almost impossible to get every child to meet this minimum standard and most of our resources and time and energy are now focused on these students. Which then slows down the progress of the students that are meeting these minimum standards. Until society as a whole places value on education and the teachers that are influencing these children then we will ever meet these standards at a 100% level.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • sharky

        Then fine, the kids that place no value on education get rid of them to let the others thrive and excel.

        There is no point in wasting money on people that do not care and have no will to even bother.

        July 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • sharky

      Yeah was kind of thinking the same thing.

      I almost want to liken the Public Education System to a Ponzi Scheme.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
      • sharky

        Comment was in response to Rod C. Venger

        July 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  21. Surthurfurd

    What can be done about the students who get away with bullying all the time because the administrations are afraid of the parents?

    July 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  22. 22X Richer

    She's right. Instead of policymakers who represent the taxpayers we should have policymakers who support the teacher unions. Oh, that's what we have now, you say? Never mind.

    July 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Shiny Happy Person

      No-I believe she was saying that policymakers making decisions about education should at least have a smidge of education experience. Just like I would want policymakers with medical experience making policy about medicine or policymakers about economics having some economic experience. I think often policy(in all areas) is made from the high muckety mucks who are so far removed from the actual end user or consumer, that it is ineffective, expensive and just plain wrong headed.

      July 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  23. Surthurfurd

    So far we seem to have come up with a testing program that identifies which students come from middle class homes and which do not.

    July 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • RobF

      How about a program that tests the teachers and fires the ones that don't pass the test?

      July 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Bob

      Surthurfurd, I understand your reaction to testing and its validation of who is and who isn't middle class. However, what to we do with the millions of students in poverty? Do we give up on them? Do we discontinue spending money on their education in that you believe that the tests show that they are not learning? If middle class students are already academically prepared, as indicated by the testing, why continue to educate them?

      My question is this: How do we ensure that all children acquire the academic skills and knowledge they need to compete for the best jobs and a rewarding life? If we do not test, how do we know if we are achieving the objective?

      Everyone agrees that there is so much more to education than testing. However, if we want to ensure that our students get the education they need to compete in a global economy, we must have accountability. What accountability looks like will be debated for years, but accountability is part of the solution.

      I view testing as progress monitoring. We assess to determine what a student learned. In my opinion formative and summative testing should be used for diagnosis.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • NYC Teacher

        You seem to mean well, Bob, but from my standpoint, testing is doing more damage to high poverty kids than good. I teach in a high poverty school and see these students subjected to mindless and disengaging test prep for four months straight. How does reading disconnected, short reading passages in order to bubble in answers about the main idea enhance our students....and then, while their middle class counterparts are engaged in the science of building a fire in sleep away camp, these children are sitting in sweltering summer programs learning again how to bubble in answers for the main idea of another meaningless passage about pineapples. There are other ways to assess students – authentic portfolios, pre and post testing of skills, observation; teachers have been doing this for years!

        July 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  24. neeke

    Glad to see this article. I have said the same thing others have. I think they over-teach. Whoever wanted equality in the schools, they definitely got it now. I agree too about teaching morals, and values,decision-making. They should exercise the other brain. The curriculum is very science, and math and reading. What about some creative classes to take in place of the science, math and reading.

    July 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Gene

      What statistics are you referring to when you suggest that there is too much science, math and reading are too much of the focus in our education curriculum? Or is that just what you think? Our problem today is that we let too many people express their ignorant opinions without going unchecked before developing policy.
      Like Colin Powell says, "Tell me what you know, tell me what you don't know, then you can tell me what you think." American leads the way in creative thinking, it is part of our culture – one developed on generations of math, physical science and historically-based education. So why are we now failing? Because we have clearly lost our way on the concrete issues in life and spend too much time listening to what people think. These are the facts that I have come to grip with, not what I think.
      "know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free."

      July 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  25. Student

    Luther Burbank Middle School apparently spends 50% more per pupil than the national average, while performing with a grade of "3 out of 10" in performance, according to Sawbuck statistics... By contrast, nearby South Pasadenda spends near the national average, has a higher student-per-teacher ratio, and gets a 10 out of 10 score.

    One notes = Luther is 90% Hispanic. South Pas has large (40+%) Asian student base.

    Maybe teachers are over-rated. Pretending that they're miracle-workers doesn't give much credit (or blame) to the families that supply these students.

    July 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bob

      Does schooling make a difference? Is academic achievement based on affluence only? Is it based on parents' educational level? If so, the how are we going to ensure our standard of living when we have a large segment of our population living in poverty and whose parents are not highly educated?

      Question: Can schools be the catalyst for transforming non-academic individuals into academic individuals? I hope so or our county is doomed. We cannot continue to have so many "non-productive people who cannot help pay for our country's many needs and wants. Europe is an example of having the desire to "take care" of everyone, but not having enough money to do so.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  26. Dave

    We must remember that, especially at the secondary level, teachers are very subject to the system. Teachers do not determine curriculum or scheduling. The atmosphere of a "business as usual" school permeates every classroom. What we need to do is work on the system. We have an abundance of research which points to better ways to educate, but the massive "system" of public education is very slow to respond. Teachers are extremely important, but unless teachers, administrators, and the patrons of education can act together in response to known successful methods, we will continue to produce mediocrity. Teachers simply cannot do it by themselves.

    July 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  27. Loki

    Now back to having 180 days off, outrageous benefits and the teacher's pension fund....

    July 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Monica

      I don't have outrageous benefits. I am paying $180 out of my own paycheck for health insurance every month (my take-home pay after taxes/insurance is about $1900 per month) . This is after 10 years of teaching. I am grateful to have benefits at all, since many people don't. However, with the rising cost of health insurance, I actually take home the same amount as I did 5 years ago. That's five years without a raise! I understand much of America is in the same boat, so I am not asking for special recognition; however, I think everyone needs to be more informed of the "great benefits" teachers receive.

      July 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • RobF

        Yes, Monica we are all in the same boat, The diffenenece is that I pay for my retirement, and my retirement fund will not bankrupt my city.

        July 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • J R Brown

        I hope your students have better critical thinkng skills than you do...if you're benefits have increased over the last five years without a reduction in your take home pay then you HAVE gotten a raise.

        July 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • Monica

        Wow, Rob F and JR Brown, I wasn't trying to elicit a nasty response. I said outright that I am not in worse shape than other people with jobs, and I am definitely thankful for this benefit. However, my point here is that I don't "get" health insurance for free. My school picks up a certain % of it, and I pick up the rest. The school's increase in my salary has NOT matched the increase in health insurance costs for me. You are most correct–the school board gets to call any increase in pay a "raise," and people mistakenly think that I am actually making more money than five years ago. No, the insurance company is making more money. The school board cannot do anything about the health insurance costs rising, and I am thankful that they are at least providing some help. So, thank you for making me clarify, even if you did it in a way that was pretty rude. I think the most important thing here, rather than everyone getting angry at anonymous email posts, is that everyone should be AWARE of how their tax dollars are used as salaries. We seem to hear "Oh, teachers get full health benefits and great retirement packages," and we assume that it is truth, and we repeat it. It varies greatly from state to state and even district to district. BE AWARE of your school's situation. Go to school board meetings. READ the policies that your lawmakers are proposing, and understand why teachers might be for or against the policies. Then, argue away! A good argument, not one that is laced with insults, will go a long ways towards helping teachers help students.

        July 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Marilyn Lugo

      Teachers do not have days "off". We cannot work when students do not attend school, because our job is WORKING WITH STUDENTS.

      So, if you think that teachers should not have days "off", then have students attend school on Saturdays, all summer long, and no vacation days at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. We can only work with the calendar that our School Districts give us. Also, furloughing teachers in order to save money also means less school days for students. If that's what the public wants, that's how it will be.

      July 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • Loki

        Then you are overpaid... or maybe plan on a longer school year. Teachers and their oppressive unions destroy out homes values. Go away with your BS propaganda.

        July 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  28. NYC Teacher


    You refer to children with troubled backgrounds as "detritus"? That's just... lovely.

    The presence of diverse students is not necessarily part of the problem. Students with learning disabilities, behavior problems, or absent parents may present challenges to teachers, but in many cases they don't inhibit the learning of the so-called "better" students. Certainly, there are exceptions– students who occasionally disrupt classes, for example.

    But this is real life. Students do need to learn that the world is full of many kinds of people, and they need to understand how to deal with and interact with various people– including the "detritus" you mention.

    And public education is meant for everyone; that is the point. The private school system undermines the equality public education is designed to provide. If parents and citizens devoted a little time, effort, and thought to improving local public schools– instead of putting their children and money into private schools– the benefits would be huge.

    July 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  29. Billy

    The Roman Empire did't last over 200 years. Maybe it's just time!

    July 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • minch

      the republic lasted just 200 years. the empire lasted for over 1000 years

      July 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  30. pro-ed

    some constructive comments, some proving that poorly educated people are a destructive force in america. can't believe cnn has kept this stoiry up for so long. said it before & I'll say it again:

    funny satire on how bureaucrats have messed up education, not teachers, w/good takes on possible fixes.

    July 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  31. Ana

    I'm a mother of six. I give up my career to be a full time mom and wife. My children have attended parochial schools, public schools, Montessori and I am currently homeschooling my youngest child in Miami, Fl. We have lived in six different states and our children have attended 13 different schools from preschool through high school.

    Over all I have found most of the teachers we have encountered to be very competent except for a few. The biggest difference we saw in private over public was that the parents as a whole were much more engaged and had very similar expectations. Most of all the parents were professionals themselves and held high standards for their kids. They also shared many of the same moral and religious ideas which were reinforced at school.

    Yet the biggest problem I have encountered has been a lack of interest in academic achievement in boys. I've seen it in my own boys and throughout the different schools my children have attended. The girls out perform the boys. At both of my oldest sons' graduations from college the students graduating in the fields of science and math have been dominated by women and foreign students. Our American boys seem to be falling behind. Some blame a system that is geared for girls or the fact that boys mature later and then find themselves behind a system that puts to much emphasis on grades and not over all achievement.
    I believe the blame fall on both the school system and parenting today. Many of the changes in our schools have been detrimental to our kids. I believe that discipline is one of the greatest values we can pass on to our children which leads to future success not only in the work force but in their personal lives. Our schools have become havens for disrespect among students and teachers. Even in the private schools I often heard teachers complain that they spent more time trying to keep control of the class than actually teaching. And when parents were informed many times took the side of their children demanding their children's rights.

    As busy parents today we often find it easier to allow our children to watch endless TV and play video games. In high school my son's were much more interested in playing and watching sports than in studying. Although we held high standards I feel as a society the message for boys is loud and clear. Don't get me wrong I think sports are very important they teach discipline, sportsmanship, team building and cognative stimulus. Howevere it is damaging when boys fail to work hard at studying. I was an average student. I do not have an exceptional IQ, however I worked very hard and studied to graduate with high honors.
    Schools need to go back to the basics not only academically but morally. We need to move away from political correctness and use common sense once again. And parents need to parent not only in word but in action.

    July 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Mojojuju

      Speaking as a teacher–thank you.

      I have worked in public and private schools. The difference in parent involvement is astonishing. The good thing about private schools is that we can do things like teach morality–and I don't even mean religious morality. I work at a secular private school, and teaching morality is one of the huge differences. The kids learn respect, kindness, and empathy. They learn how to handle their frustrations in productive and not destructive ways. They learn how to deal with conflict without blowing up or treating someone else badly.

      Those are morals. Those things don't get taught in most public schools, because there's no time. No time for the parents, who have to work two jobs, and no time in the classroom, where we only get to teach social studies and science once or twice a week, if you can believe it.

      Thank goodness for smart, accomplished parents like you. I bet your kids' teachers loved them. : )

      July 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Burt Way

      When someone pays for private school, that is a major indicator that someone wants the kid to be there. It could be a parent, a grandparent, or the student . So there is motivation present which may be lacking in kids or their families forced to use public schools. The student who is bored to death by math he will never use, lacks the innate ability to write english very well, and no family motivation factors will do poorly.

      July 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Hiram

      I agree with you almost entirely. The fact that boys tend to lose interest in School is a highly troubling one... but one that could be solved in less than a generation.

      "Sports" need to be de-emphasized... too many boys go to school expecting to be hired directly out of High-school by some Pro Team, if they Train hard enough. For the vast majority of kids, it's a pipe-dream. While I was in School, not keeping my Grades up would mean being dropped from the Team. Perhaps that's still the case, most places, but still, the "Testing" is so lax today, that most kids expect that they can find a classmate to cheat for them, or expect the System to overlook not being able to read at the third-grade level, if he can make 20 unassisted points per game.

      Pro Teams should BAN the practice of Early Hires... in fact, there should be a Law against it. If you don't have your B.A., you're NOT going to be on our Team.

      Universities, likewise, need to drastically cut back their Athletic Scholarship Programs, and link the ones they give out to actual NEED, rather than mere Athletic Ability.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  32. Jen

    Let's focus on building a stronger foundation by looking to the family structure our students are coming from. Far too many "lazy" parents out there expecting schools to "fix" their children. Maybe our government should look into supporting families by supporting working families to be able to have one parent stay home and raise their child/children for more than just 6-8 weeks after birth! Also, offer parenting classes. I feel terrible sending some of my students home at the end of each day.

    July 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  33. Well Now

    Shouldn't some of you be working on your lesson plans ?

    July 8, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • raggedhand

      A previous poster asked "shouldn't I be working on my lesson plans?" I am. That's why I'm sitting on my couch with a laptop on my lap. So much for that "free summer off".

      July 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  34. Silliness

    For all those that state getting into education is easy and they are overpaid and receive too many benefits... Why aren't you teachers? It's easy! You get money for practically nothing!

    July 8, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • sheila

      That's a childish remark. Hoping you are not a teacher, immaturity abounds in this country and we don't need our children being taught by bigger children.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • sheila

        that was in response to "Silliness"

        July 8, 2012 at 11:36 am |
      • Emily

        I get the impression that the poster was using sarcasm. The name was even silliness. She did, however use good sentence structure. It's always a good idea when trying to get a point across to do so.

        July 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • melky


      I wish everyone could spend one week teaching. That may change their opinion of teachers. I think it is very sad how the public's view of teachers has become increasingly negative over the past couple of decades.

      As a teacher, I know that I cannot always "fix" every student by myself. A lack of supportive parents is the biggest factor that I see for poor student growth. When parents and teachers work together, it's amazing what can be done!

      July 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  35. Union Workers United

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

    July 8, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  36. DavidR

    Our educational system desperately needs improvement. Just throwing money at it won't help. Testing achieves very little in the way of actual education. Teachers are too often intellectual pygmies, and kids are too often unteachable. If you want to become enlightened as to how the educational system can be improved, I suggest you volunteer some of your time to work at a local public school. Some teachers use "instructional aids," or some such helpers in the classroom, don't they? The problem is that so many people like to trash the public school system without really knowing how it works. Work in that environment yourself, and experience it first hand. You might come away with a changed point of view.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • lisa

      I agree. Those that are critical have not walked in a teacher's shoes. This includes the lawmakers.

      July 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  37. Guapo

    Mitch diarrhea'd:
    "You use hate and bitterness and jealousy to assume some kind of moral and righteous superiority"

    and then said:

    "But guess what Brad and the rest of you tea bag posse pathetics...."

    A shining example of liberal hypocrisy. Well Done Mitchie.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Swissy

      And did you notice that Mitch also suggested that us "regular folk" don't work hard? In all of my jobs I have certainly gone into work early, worked through lunch, and stayed late. In fact all of my friends and family who have jobs do the same thing. It is "work" – that is what is expected of us and we all do it. Also, I would challenge Mitch to also take his own advice and volunteer for other jobs. How about volunteer at the stock exchange or for a doctor?

      July 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  38. Kimo

    Every time I watch Jay Leno ask young people on the street who a political figure is or some basic question about government I cringe at the answers. Yes, public school fails the students and our country in the long run. Yes, testing is needed; and also recognition that failure has consequences. We need to not pass on students who fail tests, and eventually "graduate" these failures.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Mojojuju

      The reason the kids in the street don't know who public figures are is because their schools test only reading, writing, and math. Maybe science ever fifth year or so. Therefore, being abreast of current events is not something that kids get from schools, but from their families. Social studies isn't tested–at least, not with the frequency of math and reading. Therefore it can be neglected for a few years as teachers are forced to teach only math and reading.

      That's what high-stakes testing gets you. Shortcuts. Cuts in general. Arts, music, PE, social studies, science...gone or minimized.

      July 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  39. Guapo

    The problem is there are far too many "teachers" who feel the need to espouse their liberal dogma on the students. i.e. indoctrination.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • cwhittlesey

      Look up "espouse" before you use it again.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • kingjoe1

        they used espouse correctly, you may want to graduate something before being critical of others.

        July 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • chuckleberry1974

      Guapo (probably Feo), what would you propose then? Every bullet point on the conservative list of talking points is somehow, directly or indirectly, affected by Christianity. Teaching is a job that requires doing it and learning and growing and playing the hand your dealt. Some students will be a joy, some will present challenges. Overcoming adversity and setting good examples are what good teachers do. You'd want Conservatism in the classroom? You'd like to scare everyone into good morals? That's what your Sundays are for, not publicly funded schools.

      July 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  40. Ted Ward

    This NEA Teacher of the Year is delusional. First of all if teachers and schools were doing their jobs well, then the tests they complain about would not be needed. It is precisely because of the utterly catastrophic failure of unionized public schools that the tests have been mandated. The tests test for the bare mininums at any grade level so if the teachers and schools are just doing average at their jobs the tests would be no big deal. Tne NEA just doesn't ever want its failed systmem to be held accountable. Second, in the speech this Rebecca says that no one who has not stepped foot in the classroom should have a say in what goes on there. Well, sorry, my dear, but the TAXPAYERS are footing the bill for your entire paycheck and the NEA as well so, yes we do have a BIG say in what goes on, especially if you're utterly failing to educate millions of children for decades on end. Thirdly, the whole brash, in your face, power trip of the NEA has for far too long been completely out of hand and counter to the interests and wishes of the taxpayers who pay teachers through school payrolls funded by local and state taxes. Taxpayers need to take back control of their own tax dollars and local schools and the education system and kick the unions out of the schools once and for all. When you're working on the public's dime you can't use that dime to play politics, especially when you've so visibly failed.

    July 8, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • segads

      Teachers are taxpayers, too. They're not the enemy. As for "failing to educate millions of students for decades on end" - your data, sir?

      July 8, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • lisa

      You are missing the very point she is making. Tests are not the tell all story as to how well teachers are working or the school being a failure. Tests do not tell the true knowlege gained through the course of a school year. A test given over a couple of days should not judge a child's achievements or a teacher's hard work over 10 and a half months. I work many hours beyond my contract time. Does a test explain the child's home life? The child's hunger? Illness? Family tradegy? What about the student that arrives at a school a month before the state test? What about the student that missed 40 plus days of school? What about the student that refuses to take a test? Can a standardized test really measure all of those factors? If not then it is not a true assessment. I work hard and go way above and beyond in my effort to help kids and the hours I put in. You closing comments were insulting and lack a knowledge base. This is the very blabbering she speaks of. You provided yet another perfect example.

      July 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • chuckleberry1974

      It's a vicious circle, Ted. Curricula are written so teachers teach for tests. Creativity is the biggest casualty here, and it is not because most teachers lack skill or effort.

      July 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  41. Brad

    So Rebecca thinks a bunch of teachers who primarily have liberal arts degrees should be handed the purse to the billions of dollars that taxpayers give them. Come on, businesses are run by people with training in money and capital management skills but education is run by someone with an English or art degree so it is no surprise that the system is an underperfoming money pit. Rebecca wants to ban testing so that every kid can be passed on to college where they can be "educated" in some real world worthless subject like "world studies" which will leave them $50K in debt but prepare them for a $12 an hour job. This must end and only the elite kids should be allowed into real colleges and the rest should be trained in a vocation.

    July 8, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Fladabosco

      Equating education with business is the primary mistake of opinions like yours. I work in an elementary school, high schools and a major university as a non-credentialed teacher. Nothing has hurt kids education as much as the idea that regurgitating names and dates so you can pass a test is a good education.

      A good education teaches you how to ask questions, not just to answer them. It teaches critical thinking. It makes the student more alive and connected with their world. It makes them want to understand it better and to improve it.

      Rote teaching to the test, refusing to accept science over religion, rating test scores over creatvity are all signs that your electorate is going to become dull, insular and non-threatening, which is just what groups like the Texas school board want.

      Outlawing teaching that has "the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority" sounds more like the Taliban or Soviet Union than the USA.

      It's hard to believe and sick.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Harlon Katz

        What about ADDITION & SUBTRACTION? Our kids are failing BASIC MATH. We are falling behind. We no longer have kids that CAN go on to universities for the STEM educations because the lower grade schools AND PARENTS have failed them.

        July 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • Burt Way

        At my company we have never had a problem hiring STEM workers – programmers, engineers, etc. We never complained we couldn't hire STEM workers as an excuse to outsource jobs to foreiegn supplliers. There is no shortage of workers. Those who say otherwise are lying through their teeth.

        July 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
      • chuckleberry1974

        Love it, Fladobasco. Some act as if 2+2 is not being taught. You are correct critical thinking and question asking are what we most need out of an education. Not vocational training for the less elite students.

        July 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Mitch


      I think you may be one of the people who didn't get an education but feels it necessary to comment just because you're a right wing teacher hater. Did she ever say 'ban' testing? Did she ever say 'give us the keys to the vault'?? See Brad, this is why you and the other union hating, conservatives are more detrimental to America's future than any group of humans in history. You are ignorant. You use hate and bitterness and jealousy to assume some kind of moral and righteous superiority. You claim to fight for the tax payer but you can't even understand the value of the commodity. This isn't about building a car or bridge. This is about educating children and students to know how to build that bridge. You just don't get that. Is yours and the other right wing hate mongers lives this pathetic that you have to hate anything and everything you feel is betraying some outdated ideology of yours???

      Her words are about teachers focusing on going past useless and constant testing. Standardized test do what? Validate a basic skill? Wow, America is the greatest country in the world because you can provide a basic test to determine who is learning and who isn't. But guess what Brad and the rest of you tea bag posse pathetics....get an education, not just educated. You blame the teachers but vilify any support or dollars to them if they don't match some standard. You broadly brush all teachers as making money hand over fist while most barely live above poverty and work more hours and dedicate themselves in a much greater capacity than you and your tea bag misinformed and hate filled buddies EVER will. I bet you don't go to your job early to prepare to work better all day. I bet you don't stay after work ends to help anyone do their tasks better. Brad, you and your kind are pathetic and sad people who contribute nothing but demand everything.

      Tell you what Brad. I'll let you reread this article. In fact, I demand you reread this article. Then go spend some time helping at a school and see if your far fetched view of teachers really add up to this sad and pathetic view that you right wingers have on education.

      In fact, all you tea bag using, right wing teacher haters now have a challenge that I'm sure non of your lazy, useless behinds will ever do. Go volunteer at a school and help tutor, coach, supervise, repair, or build something. After all, you people like to tell us you know everything that's wrong with education. Do something. My money is on the fact that not one of you will do anything but complain about teachers unions, salaries or the fact that you can't understand why junior reads at a kindergarten level in high school.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Kyle

        Just like a lefty, you’re making a lot of assumptions and doing a lot of name calling because someone believes differently than you do. Typical…

        July 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |
      • Ken

        OMG, Name calling "tea bagers", "right wing", etc. That's just what we need teaching our kids. The problem is that too many teachers are focusing on themselves and the propaganda that was pushed at them while they achieved the lowest of all degrees, joined the unions and march for more pay, less hours, less accountability. They strive for the status quo which has given us mediocraty in our overpriced educational system. 40 Years, 3000% rise in cost, and no improvement in student performance or ability to achieve at the college level or in the work place. The students needs to be the focus, not socialization. And certainly not the tenured teachers. School choice, charter schools and home schooling are our only hope.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Fladabosco

      Yes and everybody should wear the same clothes and vote for the same candidates.

      I have been to place like this. It was East Berlin in 1977.

      Isn't it funny that the people who supported the wars against the Soviets and would have locked up every communist in the US if they had the chance, want our school system to be based on theirs. No thinking, no questioning of authority, just getting the numbers right for the glorification of something other than the students' well being.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Dan

      Businesses are run by people with training in management and capital systems, huh?

      Sweet lot of good that did 'em when the bottom fell out a couple years back...

      The thing about running anything like a business (as any small business person can tell you) is that businesses can fail and it's no big deal, unless you happen to work for them.

      If the education system fails, it's a little bit larger of a problem.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Prilyam

      You think all you need to teach is a liberal arts degree? Maybe at charter or private schools, that's the case, but in the public system, one needs a Master's to teach.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:10 am |
      • JohninTX

        And to be a homeschool teacher, you don't need a degree at all!!! Imagine the drive to provide the best for your children being enough to succeed...

        July 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  42. John

    I agree that I do not want generations of "average". Unfortunately, the only thing the NEA has given us is generation after generation that has less knowledge than the one before. Perhaps the NEA simply doesn't want to have any measure by which their members can be held accountable for their work.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  43. MTTerrier

    Teachers, like many professionals who serve the citizens of this country, are often underappreciated and underresourcesd. However, I think the sentiments expressed like "Instead, she said "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" should not be making decisions and policies about teaching..." are dangerous to our very concept of a civil society.

    By her logic, only lawyers should making decisions and policies about laws and law enforcement, only doctors and nurses should be making decisions and policies about get my drift. Just because you are the functional expert in education does not remove the right of the rest of the citizens of the United States to have a hand in the educational process...or any other process for that matter.

    If you expect a citizen to pay taxes or any sort of fee for the service you are providing, you cannot demand that those same citizens not be involved in the process they are paying for. One of the main issues facing education is the lack of knowledge, let alone participation, by those citizens who are the very customers of the "product" teachers are involved in providing. Getting those citizens informed on what is feasible in education and what their role in the process should be is what any profession should do...not telling them to just pay money and accept the results.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  44. Surthurfurd

    Those who think children should be protected from being taught Darwin's theories should not be deciding anything to do with education.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • John

      People who are afraid to allow open debate on any subject should not be making decisions that impact education.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  45. Deborah Howe

    Testing should not be the only tool we have for evaluating; it should only be one of the many tools. Many things can effect a child on the day they are tested, i.e. illness, hunger, sleep deprivation and just not good at test taking. When you have answers that are all correct but one is better than the other it becomes more subjective and not objective.

    July 8, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  46. William

    Alot of hot air. We have heard all this before. The NEA has spent more time and money on assuring condoms and gay days are in our schools than on academic achievement. How many more stories of teachers bedding students and passing failing children to he have to read? By the sound of it she has no use for PTA and believes all decisions for a child's education should rest with people of her profession. Grades have been falling for over 30 years. Why would anyone believe them?

    July 8, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • jhlang

      "alot" is two words. You should listened to your teachers.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:29 am |
      • jhlang

        Then again, I can't type today either.

        July 8, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Mitch

      William, you are a prime example of how education has failed a person. Don't use your failures to make idiotic generalizations. It just illustrates the shortcomings you had in school.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Kyle

        Damn, Mitch.... Are you angry?

        July 8, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • lisa

      "Bedding children"? Not all teachers are bedding children and your assumption to that matter is as sickening as your knowledge. As for passing on failing students...that is not the teacher's doing. Districts have that final say. The belief is in social promotion. Even if a teacher retains a student they are passed on by the powers that be, not the teacher. Please get you facts right before writing garbage.

      July 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  47. Surthurfurd

    Under NCLB schools have missed AYP because 2 special education students failed the standardized test and every other student passes. This is because subgroups must also meet the % passing rate which is approaching 90%

    July 8, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • chris

      Simply put,

      Education needs a 1000 % over hual....

      Math outdated.
      Science outdated.
      history faults facts.

      Common sense gone.

      We wonder why children are turning to life of crime.

      Basics in math and science would get our kids a lot further. Independent thought in this country is not supported. Look at lifeguard how went outside range and was fired for saving a life. Greatest good one can do, is a slap in your face.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:17 am |
      • segads

        Basics in math and science. 1000%?

        July 8, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • JohninTX

        Segads. Chris only means we need to overhaul the system 10 times. Basic math???

        July 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  48. foregoneconclusion

    Standardized test scores literally become meaningless once you've completed high school and entered college, so treating those scores like the be-all-end-all for education in this country is ridiculous. You do need to measure progress, but you also need to accept the fact that success in the adult world is NOT primarily based on K-12 standardized testing.

    July 8, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  49. Dave

    It is apparently impossible for American educators and Education revolutionaries to devise an international scholarship achievement test in maths and sciences that reverses rankings so non-immigrant American graduates at all levels in all states can statistically excel.

    Here's a challenge; write the international test and defend it intellectually. Other countries' educators aren't whining. Put up, shut up, or get out of the way, please. You've had enough time.

    July 8, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      The nations that beat us out educationally do not allow children to bully, badger, and harass students and staff like is allowed in the US.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:46 am |
      • Tamala Stotler

        They also are NOT "educating the masses" like our country!

        July 8, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • lisa

      You forgot a key part. Other country's educators are not whining because they are respected and supported. The teachers make the policy which as you inferred, is working. They do not have to put up with bonehead policies that tie a teacher's hand. Other countries do not socially promote. If you want to go to the next level then show up to school, work, do not whine about homework, study, and you promote. Here, a child is not accountable for anything. No effort, not passing tests, not going to school and they move on tot he next grade level simply by aging a year. Then people that know nothing of what etaching is all about.

      July 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • chuckleberry1974

        Implied, not inferred

        July 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  50. Surthurfurd

    If the US culture promoted discipline and facts over opinion we could solve this problem.

    July 8, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  51. Scott

    Stupid parents produce stupid children. There's really no reason to over think this.

    July 8, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Nelba

      Ah, the unmentionable truth which no amount of tests, degrees, programs, studies, or methodologies will change.

      July 8, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  52. db

    Let me explain something to you: I could replace any of you with the next generation crop of college graduates. You are not special. For that matter neither are doctors or lawyers, some are better than others, but this over the top ego that surfaces constantly now days is tiresome. 1/2 billion dollars for a city of 150k on average is not sustainable by the community. You math teachers do the math and try not to isolate your thoughts to your own situation. Testing at current levels are silly and not a measure of the teacher. Maybe a guidepost for the student but not what it is currenty used for. Stop whining.. For that matter, there are as many coaches and special ed teachers as there are regular teachers at any given school, why?

    July 8, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      There are far more special education teachers in US schools than in most of the other more effective nations because we have decided to rank schools based on the scores of those with disabilities as opposed to ranking them based on the scores of those who do not.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Mitch

      db, point have shown us by your haphazard word jumble that education has certainly failed you.

      half billion for 150k people? what color is the sky in your universe?

      July 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  53. Surthurfurd

    The biggest difference between the US and those nations that beat us out in scores is: they enforce discipline and the parents support it.

    July 8, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • Scott

      Proof or STFU. Maybe those children just have smarter parents.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  54. .

    Keep the population dumb, dependent and Democrat.

    Go teachers unions!

    July 8, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      Both parties have the same goal.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:03 am |
      • Scott

        Everyone, including you, has the same goal. Is there a point in our future? Stupid parents produce stupid children and you are proof positive of that.

        July 8, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • mootsguy

      And educating America is why the Republican party is trying to reduce education funding across the country and re-writing text books in Texas? That's a real interesting way to get it done. Appears to me the conservative politicians want to keep America dumb to make it easier to get their own short term thinking political policies accomplished.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • lobo joe

      Spoken as a true one percenter, at least in your mind.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  55. government cheese

    25th in math and 27th in science out of 33 industrialized nations.

    You ain't no William Wallace from Braveheart.

    July 8, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      When legislatures select instructional programs that teach false information there is a problem.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  56. rev101

    If you want to control it, you need to measure it.

    July 8, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  57. blackluke8

    The problem isn't teachers. The problem is the national and state education bureaucracies that educate no one but suck up the bulk of the costs. Privatizing the vast majority of education would free both teachers and students from the malaise that is government.

    July 8, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  58. viking54

    Most of you people that teach have forgotten that parents raise their children and all you really do is teach them the adc"s and how to add and subtract. When you're not very good at it you hide behind teachers unions and do more harm to our children by sliding through years of mediocre job performance. When you realize it's for the kid's and not to honor you're self's you might start doing your jobs.

    July 8, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • brian

      You learned your ADC's huh ?

      July 8, 2012 at 2:12 am |
      • Burt Way

        And his 1 3 4s ... 🙂

        July 8, 2012 at 2:27 am |
      • JB

        no, he was home schooled.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Adam9

      Viking54: Wow! Before you begin to judge teachers, maybe you should first learn proper spelling and grammar.

      July 8, 2012 at 2:20 am |
      • ben

        that guy made a great point and all you can do id diminish the truth in his statement by pointing at a typing error???

        July 8, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Cmunch

      I guess you didn't pay attention in class. Let's take a look at some of your spelling mistakes.

      You're Self's ??? ADC's ????

      Where did you go to school?

      July 8, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • chuckleberry1974

      Wow, maybe proofreading should have been taught at your school.

      July 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  59. Sarah

    I am a teacher in the UK. Standardized testing shows whether a child is operating at below/average/above average levels. It does not show what the school has "put in" to that child. In the UK we call it "Value Added". The child is tracked throughout their schooling. When they enter the school the child may be functioning far below average expectations. During the child's schooling the child may still not achieve "average" levels. However, the child may have made huge progress from their original starting point. Does that mean the school has failed? I do not think so. Teaching in a wealthy area, where children speak English as their first language, receive support from their families and have financial stability is very different to teaching in a rough inner city school.

    July 8, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Monica

      Thank you for that perspective, Sarah! Americans, including teachers, are in a sort of 'bubble' with our educational system, and we aren't always exposed to what is going on in other countries.

      July 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  60. Surthurfurd

    So many people want school reform yet:
    They want others to do it.
    They want others to pay for it.
    They want others to be responsible for it.
    They want others to to do the work to learn the complex content.

    July 8, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Daniel

      They want others to do it: Yes. I am not a teacher or an administrator. I will help my kids with theirr school work and make sure they do the work they're supposed to. What else do you want me to do? I don't ask teachers to do my job for me.
      They want others to pay for it: I don't mind paying for it.
      They want others to be responsible for it: I already covered that.
      They want others to to do the work to learn the complex content: Already covered that too. You made essentially the same argument three times. To elaborate–yes, I want others to do the job they're paid to do.

      July 8, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • Teagen Leonhart

        (Then support them in doing it and pay them for it?)

        July 8, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      Daniel, you may well be doing your part for your children. That makes you a wonderful parent and supporter of education by default. It also makes you one of the less common ones. Note that my comment is as targeted at teachers, administrators, and politicians as it is toward parents.

      July 8, 2012 at 7:02 am |
      • lobo joe

        I'd look towards the administrators as a significant cause of the educational stultification we are experiencing. Many of these folks have, according to the Peter Principle, " ...reached their level of incompetence."

        July 8, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  61. Stanford Grad

    I attended public schools from kindergarten through high school. Overall, I found my teachers to be intelligent people who worked hard and cared about the future of their students. I can think of two that weren't quite as bright as the rest, but they prepared well for their classes and I still learned from them. My public school education prepared me well enough that four years later I graduated from Stanford University with a 3.8 GPA majoring in mathematics.

    I'm living proof that a public school education can produce good results. In fact, I think the real problem isn't the school system, it is our society. Many of the kids I grew up with thought being smart was for nerds. Studying just wasn't cool. Playing on the basketball team, now that was cool. We as a society need to start putting more value on education and holding our children to a higher standard as parents. Teachers can't be successful with students who just aren't motivated to learn.

    July 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • me

      When my students and I talk about what career they want to pursue after high school I am thoroughly disheartened to hear at least 50% of them say "professional athlete" "singer" or "rap star". They are constantly bombarded by images of people who have little education but make large sums of money because they can play a sport, sing, or just act dumb on television. But, this is where I take the time to talk with them about the actual probability of "making it" in one of these fields. I then get to show them a power point presentation called Jock vs. Nerd that compares the salary of MIchael Jordan to that of Bill Gates. Love that the last slide says–Game over. Nerd wins.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
      • Burt Way

        The Mike Jordan vs. Bill Gates income comparison is a great one I never heard before. But maybe some kids think "I can shoot hoops but can't do math, so hoops is the way to go."

        July 8, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • mollyandausten

      Well put. I was public school educated in a rural school district. I now have two master's degrees and still give credit to my teachers as well as my parents. But public education is taking a beating these days and needs to be supported, not constantly devalued.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:35 am |
      • Nelba

        You should give credit to yourself since you did the work. Your parents and teachers may have provided an assit, but you did the work.

        July 8, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • JB

      Well said.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  62. Mar

    Get rid of teachers time to move forward and progress to online education...

    July 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • me

      @mar–so just who is going to run the online schools? Are you qualified to create assessments and assignments in physics? Statistics? Biology? World Civilization? Think just random people can do that? Wrong.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • ed

      Why not just become robots? you must be a hit at the parties.. enjoy the i's and 0's...

      July 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • U.S. Citizen

      Oh yeah, because EVERY K-12 child is both tech savvy enough and possesses the intrinsic motivation and self-discipline necessary to be educated while sitting in front of a computer screen. What an asinine suggestion. Do people even bother thinking before they post such nonsense?

      July 8, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Dan

      So they can learn about facebook...? Computers are a tool that a good teacher can use to aide instruction. They will never replace a teacher.
      When we do put them in a computer lab or give them laptops to use in class, we have to spend half of our time just making sure they are doing the assignment given to them.
      Most don't realize it's a tool, many just think it's a gaming system.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • mollyandausten

      You are an idiot.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  63. Mar

    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.'

    This coming from teachers and their unions who voted in democrats that created the Dept of education, gotta love it, Hey you voted for the designers now deal with it..

    July 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  64. Peter

    Ivy league graduate teacher here. Educators are just STUPID ! They can't wrap their heads around the fact that they haveower and give it to unions who then give it away, along with their money, to politicians who keep them happily employed.

    I will quit this year and go into business for myself to make good money.

    You want kids that learn? Test them and FAIL THEM if they cannot pass, then teach them a trade.

    You want parental respect? Fine them every time their little darlings misbehave

    You want respect from the country? Fire the anoles who do nothing and pay the best on par with great doctors, because we work harder and deal with more lives.

    You want more money? STRIKE TIL YOU GET IT

    July 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • what a dweeb

      Yes, you have convinced us that you are smarter than everyone else Peter. I am sure with your education alone, you will just open the doors to a new business and be successful. It sounds like you are also a doctor.. pretty impressive.. wonder who it was that taught you all you needed to get to where you are? Yeah, probably one of those lame dumbazz teachers you just put down. Wait, maybe you're not the brilliant person you believe yourself to be, and instead just another person with more brains than common sense. LOL

      July 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • U.S. Citizen

      Talk about an uninformed rant ... ivy league grad teacher doesn't qualify you as being an expert – and your post removed all doubt ... you are NOT an expert.

      July 8, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • brian

      Ummm Mr. Ivy League grad ..please tell me what the hell is haveower ?

      July 8, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • chuckleberry1974

      Peter, you totally seem Ivy league educated. (heehee)

      July 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  65. jamessavik

    Meh... I'm tired of HEARING about how education is a magical panacea that solves all problems and all we need to do is throw more money at it. I want to see RESULTS. I want to see them use what works and has been discarded in favor of political correctness.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Darrell Birck

      I could not have said it better myself...

      July 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • vinyl45s4ever

      It's clear where your support lies. "Throwing money at a problem" is code for: If it doesn't benefit ME directly, I'm against it. We as a nation haven't exactly been "throwing money" at our education system. Never before in history have we tried to get more for less. New teachers garduate with an average of $60k in student loan debts. Thanks to President Obama, student loans are no longer a life-long burden for the struggling masses, but are now adjusted to actual income, and forgiven after 10 years of repayments. This, of course, would be "Soacialism" in your Tea Party eyes. Perhaps we could do with a little of that, because the ME ME ME exreme capitalism hasn't worked out at all.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • Burt Way

        To vinyl45s4ever: I hope you do know the fact that this country has among the very highest per pupil expenditures in the world? Don't trust me, go check it out. Then come back and tell us if you stil think that "We as a nation haven't exactly been "throwing money" at our education system". Spending more or less does not change the student who is bored to death by math he will never use or lacks the innate ability to write clear english.

        July 8, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • chuss

      You want results? Since the inception of the mass public education system (1870), we have gone from horse and buggy to Ford Mustangs, from leeching blood to finding the Higgs Boson Particle, from exploring the wild west to exploring mars. The U.S., through ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS of pubic education did what other humans couldn't do in over 250 million years. Fund education or lose. Period.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
      • Nelba

        Those things were not done by teachers.

        July 8, 2012 at 2:49 am |
      • chuckleberry1974

        Excellent post....except for that last little bit. Humans haven't been around 250 million years. Try between 50,000 to 200,000 years.

        July 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  66. Support Union Workers

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

    July 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • DanBun

      Wrong topic.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  67. Alvaro Suarez Medina

    Teachers needn't put any more into the job beyond the hours they are paid. They are not social workers, much less miracle workers. A recent study revealed what many already knew, that the teacher -good, bad, indifferent- had very little impact on learning outcomes (supposing these were measured through exams). Teachers don't need to take on the burden of forming the future of our nation, ya-de-ya-de. They just need to be knowledgeable in their content area and be trained in pedagogy, essentially applied psychology, to assist in learning. Not learn for the individual. The parents need to worry about kids' futures. Or social workers, iin any case.

    By the way, my public school district recently got rid of grades altogether and no student is left behind now-literally. Students here are not allowed to be held back. Now, if they would just implement school uniforms, we would be well on our way to a highly conducive learning environment.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  68. Wobblie Wannbe

    Man, did this headline fool me! Here I was hoping it would talk about how teachers could REALLY start the revolution, namely by calling a nationwide strike. No more taxpayer provided babysitters. More power to ya, NEA! You're truly the last strong union and the only one to bring this nation to its knees.

    July 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • mrprincipal03

      I didn't realize a grade of B was average. That's what proficient is. Well, that's what it is in Arkansas. Of course, we should be aiming for exemplary/advanced, etc. But, we also must know how much progress has been made by a child. Going from Below Basic to proficient is a major leap. If teachers have an aligned curriculum that is supported in all areas of the school (good teachers know what this means). Find out where the kid is, and take him as far as possible. EAST Labs are wonderful tools that will foster imagination and critical thinking. Might want to take a look on the web, just type in EAST Initiative.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
      • chris mckimie

        They are starting a revolution !!! A child that can read and reason will not be fooled by either party and will not take their word for it they will investigate on their own and find the truth !!! That is a massive revolution !!!! They will be better then their Parents !!!

        July 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • FLMom

        You have hit the nail on the head. The Individual child! Not every child is an A student or even a B student. The testing, and I do not care if it is TAAS in Texas or FCat 2.0 in FL, not all children are alike. Teachers should not be judged on the standardized test (which is a good way to perhaps see if there is a problem, find out what works, does not work), but rather the progress of the individual child. This is the best way to see how effective a teacher really is. We need to teach for learning and problem solving, not just to pass the test. BTW, we should bring back handwriting. There is a whole generation of students that canno write cursive, which means they cannot sign their name. How will this affect their future?

        July 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  69. NYC Teacher

    Wow. Just... wow.

    The NEA is full of "near do wells" (hmmm...) and child molesters?!? Really? That just may win the Most Ignorant And Silly Comment award... And that's really saying something– because this discussion has been rife with ignorant and silly comments.

    Another ridiculous statement– "results determine compensation" in private schools? Not usually. Private school teachers are generally pad less because they aren't required to earn the same educational and professional credentials as their public school counterparts. And many studies have shown that private schools do not produce "better" graduates. It may seem so on the surface, to an unqualified observer. However, private schools pick and choose their students, while public schools, with very few exceptions, take everybody: students with learning disabilities, emotional problems, violent behavior, absent parents... Given equal student populations, I have heard absolutely no credible evidence that private schools work better than public schools.

    As a major believer in free and equal public education, I am always shocked to her these kinds of comments. Who on earth would want to undermine a system that strives to provide an education to all?

    Ask children in many other countries, who would absolutely die for the chance to attend school, how much we should all appreciate public education...

    July 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      Well put.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • blackluke8

      The fact that public schools take all the detritus you mention is why I don't want my child in public school.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • rev101

      This is part of the root of the problem! If you do not understand and embrace this you need to read it again!

      July 8, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  70. Educ8tor

    Sadly, there is something to be said for just about every comment on here. I have worked in education for 20 years. First as a very dedicated teacher, then as an assistant principal and now as a high school principal. The problems with public education are both complex yet simple. They are complex because making the changes necessary to solve them is very difficult. They are simple because it is extremely easy to identify what needs to change. Public schools are antiquidated systems. We still educate our children in a system designed 200 years ago. Society has changed but schools have not changed in response. The current system is broken and until we change the paradigm concerning what education should look like and how much value we should place on it, then the system will remain broken. Yes, there are teachers who need to find another career. Teacher preparation programs need to dramatically raise the requirements to get into the programs and those programs need to be more rigorous. School structures and school curriculum need to change to reflect the demands of a global economy and changing family structures. We need to rethink the old paradigm of herding 180 kids through a teacher's classroom a day and expecting teachers to meet the needs of all of those students with limited time and even more limited resources. Lastly, yes, teacher's unions in some locations have way too much power and are extremely detrimental to the education of our children.

    July 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • about to place child in SCHOOL!!!!

      Well said.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      As an administrator I would expect you to denigrate the unions. But as a teacher in a state where unions are weak, our pay is pitiful, our rights are trampled on consistently, good teachers are not tenured because of political reasons, etc...Basically there is no protection for teachers. You are at the mercy of the districts who take full advantage. Teaching today is becoming what it was in the 1960s with the added burden of abusive students and their equally abusive parents.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • J-Murph

      You nailed it!!

      July 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  71. AZWarrior

    The NEA are an arrogant group of self centered near do wells and child molesters. Save your child and send the little monster to a private school were results determine compensation. Or support your teacher union like a good little socialist and condemn your child to failure as as a person. Your choice parents.

    July 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • mrlewish

      Apparently you could use some more edumacation. It is spelled ne'er-do-well. Faux news spell it wrong for you?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Stamp_Out_Ignorance

      First of all, it's "ne're do well," not "near do well"; however, for an uneducated failure, such as you obviously are, what is the difference? The rest of your nearly illiterate rant is so sad it does not even bear correction. To put it into a vernacular I am sure even an idiot like you can understand, "You can't fix stupid."

      July 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • jim

      well we "socialists" supported our teachers and for our family it has worked out pretty well
      public education up through university is the last piece of support for the middle class
      we paid our taxes in full every year (yes lots of them) and when my son graduated from a public university and my second son is excelling at a top community college and headed to university we felt like there was some real value to that tax hit
      so maybe fewer insults and more inquiry and you too can become a socialist

      July 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Darrell Birck

      No public employee should be in an Union...Unions were started years ago to stop greedy corporations from exploiting their workers...this does not apply to public they do NOT produce a profit.

      Of course the current union for workers is broken served a purpose at one time...the only thing it serves now is is a business that exists off of the back of the working people...they collect dues to simply pay their employees...time for this system to go away...

      July 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • mollyandausten

        Do you really think public employees can not be exploited? Teachers today are among the most abused, poorly paid, badly treated professionals out there. Unions attempt to allievate that situation. Teachers are not required to join any union. It is strictly a volunteer basis. The weakening of unions for public employees is a disaster. These are the firefighters, police officers and teachers that society relies on. They are the last people you want to treat badly.

        July 8, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  72. pro-ed

    it's what ms. mieliwocki is talking about – only more blunt. very funny.

    July 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • J-Murph

      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. Right on!! Those of us who have been educators for a number of years see the erosion of respect and regard in which teachers are held. It is time for us to individually stand firm to helicopter parents who overly indulge and coddle their children so that they opt out of taking responsibility, administrators who lack foresight, and the general public that wants to blame education for all its woes. Think of abysmal situations from which a great many of our students come ...the first five are the most crucial years for development. Have we forgotten that? We can do our absolute best, but we are not miracle workers...Test scores will never be the answer as a measure for academic proficiency. Students have so many more ways to demonstrate achievement!

      July 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  73. Reality Sucks

    Teachers are not the problem. The teacher's union is the problem. Do you know how frustrating it is for a good teacher to have to sit by and watch an incompetent one be protected.
    unions once had a purpose but now they are a millstone around our necks.

    July 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      That is not entirely true. In fact it is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. Unions are not the problem.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:52 am |
  74. Teacher in TN

    Thanks to NCLB and Race to the Top, America subjects students to standardized testing far more than any other developed nation. The tests aligned to the new Common Core Standards that are set to debut in a few years will only add to the over-testing.

    The latest spate of ed reformers have championed using students' test scores as part of teachers' evaluations. I would have no qualms with that except for the fact that a reliable measurement of teacher effect doesn't exist. Many states have added value-added measurements to teachers' evaluations. While they are more fair than judging by raw scores, a number of mathematicians and education researchers have analyzed the flaws of value-added models.

    July 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  75. Surthurfurd

    If you want the best people going into education you need high standards for being a teacher and high rewards for those who meet and keep the qualifications.

    July 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Nelba

      What if the "best go into education?" Then the best people will not be treating illness, performing surgery, engineering airplanes, designing bridges, architecting buildings, and a thousand other facets of our world.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • Melissa Soliz

        Really? I have taught for 20 years.... I am a teacher, mother, psycologist, nurse, therapist, role model , stability . I wear many , many hats every day....every moment. I do not just wear one hat . How dare you say the best go into other fields. I do everything for these kids ...Teachers are most times everything these children have in this world. I could have been a lawyer ....easily... but I WANTED TO TEACH...... You must be ignorant.

        July 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • Toni

        Calm down Melissa. Nebla was responding to Surthusfords idea that the best should be educators. With the implication that most of the best should do so. He or she did not say say that no teachers were the best in college. Obviously the best should pursue careers they have enthusiasm for. As for your other idea about your many hats. It may surprise you to know that the rest of us white collar folks also are parents, mentors to junior employees, psychologist to unpleasant or crazy coworkers, clueless management , mindless corporate processes, disaterous program decisions we are unable to counteract, and so on. We do not wear one hat either.

        July 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
      • NoDoubt

        And who is going to TEACH all those people that treat illness, performing surgery, engineering airplanes, designing bridges, architecting buildings, etc? Oh yeahhhh...that's right.....!

        July 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
      • Burt Way

        To No Doubt. The true answer, the one you dont want to hear, is that academics Do Not teach airplane design, surgery, building design, etc. All those things are infinitely complex and ambigous tasks that can only be truly learned from those already practicing those professions in the Real World. Graduates of Medical School are not doctors. They require internships and residencies where they learn the true art and science of medicine from Real World doctors. This cannot be learned in a classroom. The same is true for architects, engineers, accountants, etc. Teachers and professors Imagine they teach these things but do not.

        July 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
      • Jayme

        I wonder how those who are "treating illness, performing surgery, engineering airplanes, designing bridges, architecting buildings, and a thousand other facets of our world" figured out how to do that stuff? I hold a B.S in Mathematics, Master's in Math Education and am working on a PhD. I have taught for over 25 years. I do in one day what many of you could not imagine doing. I teach because I AM one of the best.

        July 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • Eve

        That's a stupid comment. The best don't only go into those fields. It's a matter of interest that makes one choose their career.

        July 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      How does a teacher whose pay is based on increased student achievement get a raise if he/she teaches an already gifted class? Because his/her students are already at the top, he/she would be judged a "bad" teacher because their students did not raise scores dramatically. The idea of paying teachers based on student achievement is ridiculous. Schools are not a business and can not be run like a business. When are people going to realize that?

      July 8, 2012 at 3:56 am |
  76. NYC Teacher

    How can you possibly make a sweeping generalization based on one instance?? One responder below claims that teachers are ineffective because he spoke to ONE teacher who couldn't name the capitol of Vermont. That's ONE teacher.

    Sure, there are cruddy teachers. There are cruddy receptionists, fast food workers, doctors, police officers, and senators. There are many more who truly care about their jobs and who choose to remain in a difficult, vilified, medium-paying job because they believe in free public education.

    Almost all of us here, who are reading and writing and using the Internet, are doing so because of public school teachers.

    July 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      That would explain why many bloggers use praxis, writing with emotion rather than reason. There are many appeals here to the poor teachers and their pay. That's how we lose sight of education.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  77. Nelba

    Our Teacher of the Year needs a Math Refresher on the concept of average. She says "... aiming for proficiency means we aim to create generations of children who are average." Not at all. The smarter or more motivated kids will be above average, the less intellectual or bored kids will not do well. Most will be in the middle. That is to say, "aiming for proficiency means the average student will be average." Got it?

    July 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Gaz

      You are mistaking semantics for math.

      July 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  78. Bazoing

    The revolution starts with much smaller classes!

    July 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      That certainly helps.

      July 8, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  79. ragrawal

    Why should always the teachers or administrators be blamed for kids that were not suiccessful. When will we realise that parent involvement and students desire to learn is eaqually important. Only teachers should not be held responsible for the future of kids, parents are equally responsible. On back to school night at high school level rarely parents show upThink about it...why?????. Be involved and work hard as parents to help your kid, just don't blame the teachers and test results.

    July 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      We are not talking about teachers, as though they were snow white, one room schoolhouse teachers, we are talking about teachers unions.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Les

      I work, my wife works and we get home well after the teacher has left the classroom, cook dinner help the kids with 3 hours of homework that most teachers don't bother looking at, and then wants me to come out to some evening where they give me 2 minutes of their time.

      I will parent you teach. Also, I work 250 days a year, not 180.

      July 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
      • Isabel

        Sorry stupid, but teachers (depending on the teacher) ALSO go home to THEIR kids, do all the things you listed and we work WAY more than just 180 days a year. Those are 180 days WITH YOUR KIDS. Easily another 50 days 0r so just on professional development. My workday starts at 7:30am but I'm always there at 7am. I stay until 5pm each day. I have a grand total of 30 minutes for lunch. Those are 10 hour days, 5 days a week. What drives me is my passion for the kids. I love to see them learn, and I enjoy learning from them as well. Teaching is emotioanlly draining as well as time consuming. But anyone whgo is passionate about their jobs could say the same. Just DON'T make it sound like teachers have it so easy! We don't.

        July 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
      • Eve

        Les-We do teach. Now be a parent and be involved in your kids' education.

        July 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
      • jeepers110bone

        I teach...exactly how late DO I stay after school every day? What do I do when I get home? You have no idea how late teachers stay or when they carry their work home with them or what other obligations they have besides their job that they carry on every sounds like you are just trying to be a drama queen and throw a pity party for yourself. And umm, yeah I would appreciate you doing your job so the teachers don't have to. Do you honestly and arrogantly think that we actually WANT to do your job? You probably are a good parent but if you don't want to spend 2 minutes at a parent teacher conference do you at least call once in awhile to inquire about you child? It's easier for a caring parent to call about their few children than it is for a caring teacher to make calls for an entire goes both ways.

        July 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
      • Usedtobeyou

        I use to have a life similiar to how you describe and thought similiar to you as well. I decided to change careers and try teaching. I was wrong. I agree with the Teacher of the need to experience the classroom from the teacher's prospective.

        Also you are not the parent most people on here are talking about, you may have missed a meeting; but you do sound as though you value your children's education.

        July 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  80. edmundburkeson

    Consider the audience! It would not be hard for someone with conviction to speak the truth and blow the socks off of this crowd. Unfortunately, the audience is the source of education mediocrity. They are not in the business of educating for excellence, but in securing public jobs and collecting their dues. Ra! Ra! Ra!

    July 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  81. Tom

    To All,
    I am writing as a parent; not a teacher. But as a parent liked by teachers because we are NOT helicopter parents. Also, my wife has made the sacrifice of giving up her MBA level management job to be a full time parent. So our kids were the interested, respectful, hard-working kids you all want to teach.

    I think teachers are overworked and underpaid. I think teaching should be a profession held with the same honor and esteem in society as being a doctor, lawyer, or any other type of "professional" endeavor.

    That said, the teaching profession and teachers unions need to consider something. You have unique jobs dealing with kids AND their parents. That is true. But it seems to people outside your profession that the profession focuses way too much on the uniquenesses of the profession. All of us know that their are as many bad teachers as there are bad engineers, accountants, salespeople, etc. There has to be- its human nature.

    Businesses have methodologies for dealing with bad employees; bosses, reviews, remediation and if necessary, termination. The idea that the teacher / administrator relationship is more unique than the employee / manager relationship just doesn't hold water to the rest of us watching the schools.

    So for all of you great teachers....think about this. When your not so good co-workers are saved by the "system" it does you harm. And I would suggest that the elimination or modification of the tenure system would allow the public to get behind the elimination or modification of the standardized testing domination. You see, I think this is the unintended consequence to the tenure system. If the public cannot feel confident in avoiding sub-standard teachers, then they push for results based measures instead of trusting the profession.

    I hope all the teachers take this in the spirit it is intended. I am not a union bashing person. I think unions have done more good for developing America than any other form of social organization. But in a system where public schools are close to monopolistic in terms of choice, and considering the fact that we are talking about our kids; the teaching profession and their trade unions cannot think like ordinary trade unions and then expect no unintended consequences.

    Otherwise...separate from tenure...I think teacher trade unions are a great thing.

    Peace and keep up the good work....most of you...;).

    July 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • ToughinWI

      "I think teachers are overworked and underpaid. I think teaching should be a profession held with the same honor and esteem in society as being a doctor, lawyer, or any other type of "professional" endeavor." Thank you for those kind words, Tom. As a teacher who's had 15 months of bashing in WI, it's hard to think that anyone will ever honor teachers. Thank you, all the same.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
      • mollyandausten

        As a former teacher in FL, I feel your pain in WI. I couldn't take all the "bashing teachers" anymore and quit. I went back to school, got a degree in another profession making much more money without the abuse from students and their equally abusive parents.

        July 8, 2012 at 4:02 am |
  82. Burt Way

    What was once called No Child Left Behind cost $30 billion. The National Science Foundation was about $8 billion. National Endowment for Arts less tah $2 Billion. So Fed spending on NCLB was 3 times Fed spending on Arts & Science and accomplishes what? Nothing according to this Teacher of the Year. What a waste!

    July 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  83. halit özcan

    Very far away. Comments from Istanbul to do. Thank you very much also to yayınlanıyor.CNN and CNN.
    Greetings Aizanoi.
    Look google.. Where is aizanoi .. or are Aizanoi kızları thanks

    July 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  84. halit özcan

    Öğretmenlere saygı gösterilmelidir.

    teachers should be respected.

    Given the value of the teacher Aizanoi
    Aizanoi 'too?
    look .google ..Where is Aizanoi

    July 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  85. Tim

    "whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth"

    Do taxpayers EVER get their money's worth in anything the government does?

    July 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Bren

      Get my monies worth... interesting. I can be more broke than a window, but my kid has learned to read because we read every single day. He is in the top 5% of his class and if I stopped to throw money at the problem, nothing would be accomplished. Americans feel they can equate money to education. Sadly that is not the case. Hard work, good parenting, and good teachers. As long as shallow thinking persists, America's future is in jeopardy.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  86. LB

    In many states, if not all, once the standardized tests are done, schools are rated and the failing schools have their funds cut. I cant for the life of me see the logic of that. While there is no excuse for dishonesty, there is a reason for some of it. If a school has failing results for reasons beyond (or even within) its control and the only result is continual cutting of funds, then it may lead to 'fudging' the books or cheating just as a matter of survival or just so as not to close down. I have seen too many teachers having to dip into their own pockets to subsidize school supplies or spending too much time fund raising to make up for lost funds. One would think when a school fails, that is when they need help the most!!.
    When we administer standardized tests, the objective should be to identify where the strengths or weaknesses are. Once a school appears to be having trouble, the educational system should be able to send a team in to analyze the problem and find a solution. If it is bad teachers, either bring them up to speed or fire them; Bad administration, fix it or remove them; Societal issues, put programs in place to help as much as possible. That is called investing in our future. The objective of testing should not be just punitive by cutting funding!!
    The USA imports so much of its professionals now, it is ridiculous. We need to find ways to effectively educate our own. We wont win them all but we can come closer to the achievements of other countries!

    July 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  87. jonesy

    I visit the doctor, and have since i was a child... but that doesn't qualify me to make medical decisions.......

    July 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • BldrRepublican

      Yes it does. When you have a headache, you take Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen on your own accord, correct? When you cut your finger, you apply some Neosporin and a band-aid, correct?

      Those are medical decisions that you yourself made, with no help of a medical doctor. The same applies for teaching.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • mollyandausten

        Wow! So you're equating education with treating a headache or a cut on your finger? LOL!!

        July 8, 2012 at 4:04 am |
      • Mitch

        So Bldr.... who told you how to use those products? Who helped to created and explain their use so it can be printed on the bottles. Notice on that bottle of aspirin it recommends you talk to a doctor if problems persist or occur????? I bet you call your auto mechanic.

        July 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Burt Way

      So if I was never in the military I am not allowed to comment on levels of Defense spending? Or if we should have invaded Iraq? What self serving nonsense.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  88. jonesy

    For those who comment and are not teachers... I frequently fly on airplanes but that in no way makes me qualified to fly an airplane.... just saying'.....

    July 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Burt Way

      But you can tell if the pilot landed at the correct airport. Or that you saw the pilot intoxicated. Or any number of other things. Self serving nonsense.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  89. Work Union for a Better America

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

    July 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  90. Jan

    So well said. A good teacher encourages one not to do better than the next student, but to compete with himself – to say, I've done this much, what else can I do? That happens in small classes where a teacher has time to spot a student's interest. Once a principal made a deal with my English department – all of you get certified in ESL and I will guarantee y ou classes of no more than 18. I had the best two years of my teaching career before that deal fell through. Cut out all this nonsense about testing and use the extra money to cut classes and hire more teachers.

    July 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  91. Heather

    DJ, I love teaching and sharing knowledge, it is the BS that comes with it that I don't love. I have some kids that make it all worth it, but society will be sorry if teachers like me, who care for the whole child's being, not just the test score, start leaving. I'm all for accountability and results, but don't judge me on the factors I have no control over. I didn't make that parent a meth addict. I didn't force that family to overspend and go into bankruptcy. I am not the cause of society's problem, but I'm there every day giving 100%+ because I believe education is the way to solve a lot of society's ills. I'm not a math genius, but even I can see there is a money problem when we spend over $50K on each individual inmate and less than $7K per student. It seems incarceration is more appealing than education.

    July 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      Hey Heather, I was one of those teachers that left. From what I see going on in WI and other states, it was the best decision I made. I know many really, really good teachers who have either quit teaching or want to. The low pay is one major reason, the constant BS from administrators and school districts is another and the abuse from students and parents is the third. Wish I could tell you to stick with it, but I can't.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  92. Brian

    TY Heather...

    Though this isn't even about our abused time off from work. It's about reality. People don't want to hear reality. As a teacher you cast the net to grab as many young minds as possible. You continue to recast it daily throughout the year. will not get them all.

    I had a very good and wise teacher tell me once. You can lead horses to water with many different tricks. You can even dunk their heads in it, but in the end you can't make em all drink. Some are just not thirsty.

    But I keep trying.....

    July 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  93. Stephen

    Come to Canada comrades our education system ranks third in the world. Or are we too "socialist" for you peeps?

    July 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      People here don't know what real socialism is. Canada is not socialist. Alas, you guys are just a bit on the chilly weather side.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  94. GenericMan

    I never had a teacher inspire me. I feel public education failed me as a kid, and I can say that I am wasted potential even as I am about to finish my BS in Biology. Why don't kids get mentoring at school when they fail to get it at home? School can be a rough place for many kids and it happens right under the noses of school staff. I give the Texas public education system a big F.

    July 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • daveinla

      Thats too bad. Many schools have a mentor program or have "freshman" schools because the transition to high school can be rough.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • GenericMan

      I am not knocking teachers, but I am knocking the education system. I know parents are a big blame to this. My sister dragged her kids out of school and is "home teaching" them. Well, she is a high school dropout and I worry they will never get far.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Brian

      Honestly while most Texas schools do have programs to assist in mentoring there is the reality of life. Time, Money, Staff and those that care. Now throw in the fact that as children, many do not care to engage in what opportunites are there or can not due to other reasons which can be numerous.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      The Texas school system has had problems for years. Too bad you didn't feel like you were inspired. But, someone somehow must've gotten through to you. Look how far you've gotten. Congratulations!

      July 8, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • Melissa Soliz

      Really? I bust my butt teaching every day and so do my fellow comrades...... You have no idea!!

      July 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  95. daveinla

    Teacher's have the kids for about 40 minutes of teaching time a day (minus roll and bellwork), but parents and community have them for the rest of their lives. Education begins and ends at home. Don't blame teachers and try to make them scape goats.

    July 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  96. Brian

    Here is a "reality" check of the typical "public" education classroom for most of the people who like to slam education, teachers and in particular public schools.

    As a teacher, there is not much I can do to control the following:

    1 Students with only one parent who works 2 jobs and therefore are never there to assist in schoolwork or model learning at home

    2 Students who have parents that allow them run free and let them do as they please, even staying up all night – out roaming the streets or playing video games.

    3 Students who have parents that WILL NOT assist them in any way with school work or show interest in school activities

    4 Students who have parents that do not value education. This could be a social, cultural or simply a lack of education reason on the part of the parents.

    5 The classroom filled with multiple languages of which I do not speak. Nor do I have support in class to assist.

    6 The classroom filled with multiple religions or non religious students that creates a political nightmare of expectations from the parents who do get involved.

    7 The unfortunate racism that still exists. While you can model acceptance of all for the kids – you can not change what is said at home and therefore taught.

    8 The special education students in class that require your almost undivided attention and unfortunately set up inequality in time with the teacher for others.

    9 The unfortunate "unwanted" child of some adults.

    10 The complete lack of parenting to teach right from wrong. If the parent allows it, then the child believes it to be ok. If the child is allowed at home to disrespect, then the child believes it to be ok at school.

    11 The fact I have 150+ kids to teach and each needs help in a 7 hour day. I see them for an hour in groups of almost 30.

    12 I honestly can't reach 150+ parents with varying schedules to personally talk to each one within a 2 week span and in each grading period. Especially when they won't return calls. Change phone numbers frequently and don't care if they speak with me. OH...and throw in many don't speak English.

    Now, why can I not do much about all this? I have only so many hours in the day. I have only so much money as a teacher I can spare out of pocket. The schools are strapped for cash for multiple reasons.

    I can model what's right...I can make clear expectations and I can even find ways to engage a child and make it exciting for as many as possible. However, each child is individual and you can't reach them all unfortunately. You do the best you can. I spend countless hours after school, before school and on the weekends working on ways to reach children in need and educate them not only testing skills and state mandated items that no one will likely ever need (chosen to be included by special interest groups who pressure legislators).....but in how to think and problem solve. a many in America do...I have my own family to take care of. I have my own kids to be interested in and worry about that need my attention and love. My own flesh and blood that deserves to have a parent help, attend activities and model the right things. So when teaching others and the needs of my very own children collide, pardon me...I'll pick mine over yours.

    July 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • daveinla

      Well said Brian.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Brian

      Yes, I forgot to use spelling and grammar check. Crucify me now....sorry my passion for the subject at hand got the best of me.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Rebecca

      Amen, Brian. Well said! I completely agree.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • dj

      sounds like you need to retire or get out of the profession. I teach with the motto, "No excuses just results." No one is asking you to put your own family aside. Do your best, stop making excuses that deal with diversity (it's not going anywhere), and love what you do...

      July 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • Brian


        that wasn't my point. I expect a lot from my students and do tell them up front that I do not care about excuses, race, religion, rich/poor or even if Mon and Dad ever care to speak to me. I care if they learn and grow in their abilities. I care if they develop an appreciation for learning. I am justing making those who care to throw stones aware of some of our real world challenges. This isn't as easy as sitting in a board room with a group that all has an MBA and deciding how to cut expenses to pad their own retirements at the expense of the troops in the field.

        July 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Heather

      AMEN! Thank you for putting that so eloquently. As a teacher, I too get frustrated when I am expected to cater to other people's children on my off time. People claim I have paid summers off, but I don't. I get paid for 10 months of work out of the year and I end up spending thousands of dollars out of my own family's budget to make sure other people's kids have the school supplies and what-nots they need to be successful in school or I am considered a bad teacher. I have been called on my cell phone when I am across the country trying to have a vacation with my family on MY time, I have been yelled at for not answering an email or phone call during off hours and I am called or texted at all hours of the day to deal with other people's kids. My students are important to me and I want the best for them, but as a teacher, we get no personal life, no down time. I am tired of being bashed and belittled and berated. Unfortunately, I am not the only one and if all the good teachers start leaving the education system will be in even more serious trouble.

      The other thing I don't understand is why we have to rely so heavily on testing. Perhaps we should start judging our politicians on one vote or one bill that they wrote, I mean hey EVERY one thing they do is ALWAYS they best right, so if they want to judge us on one little snapshot of a student, then turn around is fair play. The same could be said for many other people and their jobs, as well. Teaching is the ONLY job I know of where people who have no knowledge of the profession, no expertise, get to go in and make all the decisions, and the experts (the teachers) are not even consulted. Would you let a lawyer or politician decide what your best plan of care should be instead of your doctor? I think not.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
      • John

        Heather, it's whining like this from teachers that really makes me refuse to believe they have a CLUE about what's best for our kids.

        You get called when you're "trying to have a vacation?" You get "yelled at" for not answer emails off hours? Welcome to THE REAL WORLD! This is how it is for every professional in the world. We all deal with this day in and day out and we don't get three months of the year off to sit on our rear ends and do nothing.

        No wonder teachers in the US can't educate our children properly. They're too lazy and whiny to stop worrying about how put upon they are to wake up and do their stinkin' jobs.

        July 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • ezlife4me

      Brian, many years ago when I was a rather new teacher.....perhaps my 3rd or 4th year....I worked for a Sup't who was older and wiser. His advice to me was that we really educate only the top 10% and tho others get "exposed" to subjects. I didn't accept his advice at the time, but now that I'm considerably older I can understand the wisdom of his words. Truly educate the top 10% and they will be our future leaders, businessmen, etc. Don't get too stressed out about not reaching students who, in fact, don't want what you have to offer.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • amused123

        YOU are whats wrong with the education system. Please do society a favor and GET OUT!!

        July 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Denise

      Brian, I applaud your efforts as a teacher! I believe in education and I supported not only my children but their teachers. You have a job that I would NOT take for all the money in the world. Too many kids today are smart mouthed and I would end up in a heap of trouble as I would not tolerate it. I taught my children to be respectful, even if they disagreed with the teacher. If they had a problem with a teacher, they were to try to talk to him/her and if they felt that did not work, they came to me and we would go to the teacher together.
      Children NEED to be taught to RESPECT the teachers!
      Different languages is a problem and schools NEED to address that.
      Special needs children in the typical classroom is a problem as well. Now, before everyone jumps all over me, I have 2 children that learn differently but thankfully, I was very involved in their education and I refused to allow them to use their disability. All 4 of my children graduated high school, regular classroom, with high honors.
      I wish I had the answers for teachers, but I don't. Forcing them to teach for a standardized test is NOT the way to educate kids. The teachers NEED to have control of the curriculum. Teachers need to be able to take a classroom discussion in the direction they see fit. IE: A 7th grade class was talking about rubber trees. A student asked how many rubber trees it would take to make a tire. That one question got the entire class involved and would have made a perfect opportunity for the students to use their reading, math, science, geography and writing skills but due to standardized testing, they were unable to do that. Standardized testing causes too many lost opportunities.
      I had the best education in the Boston Public Schools in the late 60's – 70's.

      July 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • VA Teacher

      Brian, Thanks for saying what needed to be said. Add to the normal work day, what about all the meetings after school, grading papers at home or on weekends, coaching two sports to help pay the bills, worry about students who are homeless, students who don't have coat for the winter, the list goes on and on. I teach because I beleive in my students even if others don't, that includeds parents and society.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • mollyandausten

      Spoken like one in the trenches. Well said!

      July 8, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • Frank

      People of the United States of America and Brian,
      All the points Brian has made are valid.Students need to really comprehend and be motivated in knowing that without at minimum a basic High School or Trade School Diploma their lives will go down the tube and they will end up in poverty.Students In my view the standardized Tests(SAT,Regents etc) is the only way to make sure the basics are really covered.Problem Students who drop out ,expelled or fail on a continuous basis need to go into a Federal Education Program to enable them to be a functional productive member of society and not a burden to it.I would go back and use the1970>1980 School systems Education Template as a base line and build on that as it may work because the standards I believe were higher.

      July 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Bill

      Brian, well said. Very well said!

      July 9, 2012 at 4:53 am |
  97. Jenna Beach

    These dumb responses remind me why I close my doors and lock them.

    July 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  98. corpsman

    "people who haven't set foot in a classroom" should not be making decisions and policies about teaching"


    July 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bradley Gray

      Well said my friend.

      July 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • RonFromNM

      No, just footing the bill w/o being allowed any input. Got it.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
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