The War On Teachers

Moderators: Project Willow, DrVolin, Wombaticus Rex, Jeff

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:41 pm

Greenwald on How the Koch Brothers Want to Re-Segregate Southern Schools

by Karen Ocamb on August 16, 2011 | 8:07 AM

One of the guests on Ed Schultz’s MSNBC show last night was filmmaker Robert Greenwald talking about how the far right wing rich Koch brothers bankrolled an effort to essentially re-segregate “neighborhood” public schools in Wake County, North Carolina by intervening in a local school board election. Greenwald notes that the ultra conservative brothers have given almost $20 million to think tanks to create “an ideological framework about why public education is a failure.” If the Koch brothers can buy these elections, Greenwald says, “it leaves us with a democracy for sale.”
on Sept 12, 2001 the national security state entered the cockpit of (to modernize a phrase) the plane of state, hijacked it, and steered it directly for the Bermuda Triangle — and here was the strangest thing of all: no one even noticed - Tom Engelhardt
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 13081
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (54)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:01 pm

ShinShinKid wrote:I surrender!

I officially had to tender my resignation a few days ago...
I don't want to hate teaching; but if I stay, I will end up doing so.


I'm sorry to hear it. What happened, if I may ask?

.
THREE great emotions bowled over him; understanding; a vast philanthropy; and finally as if the result of the others, an irrepressible, exquisite delight; [as if! i wish! thanks Virginia!]

Top Secret Wall St. Iraq? flamewar & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 10383
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby ShinShinKid » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:26 pm

Well, I had been teaching 6,7,8...that turned to K,1,2...that was okay. I did a whole bunch of prep, thinking, planning, etc for it. Well, literally five days before the school year opened, I was given 3rd as well. It was a full half of the school. The AC unit is out in my room. I left my classroom in pristine and good shape. I was moved and there were dirty dishes from last year in my new desk. Did I mention I have four grade levels, and am expected to teach all of them? We are expected to work 7:30-3:30 without a real break at any time, and only put 8.0 hours on our time card. I have been given at least three pay cuts, none of which was ever restored to it's previous level. The cost of my healthcare, read the amount taken out of my check has been raised repeatedly when it really should be nearly free due to the fact that I am shaping so many young minds...There's a whole host of problems that has just led to this. Our school has never, I repeat, never bought new books or materials that have not come out of the teacher's pocket. Did I mention that the principal is absentee? Zero support, we lost over half the staff around two years back. Now, I have four grades, the next teacher has three, and another teacher has 7-8...which was never okay for me...I had to teach 6-8. It's just enough of unfair for me finally.
Well played, God. Well played".
User avatar
ShinShinKid
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:25 pm
Location: Home
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:47 pm

ShinShin, those are horrible conditions even given the current norms.

Sorry if you've said, but where are you? (If you don't mind saying.)
THREE great emotions bowled over him; understanding; a vast philanthropy; and finally as if the result of the others, an irrepressible, exquisite delight; [as if! i wish! thanks Virginia!]

Top Secret Wall St. Iraq? flamewar & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 10383
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:00 am

Wow. Thats just fucked.
Joe Hillshoist
 
Posts: 8509
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:45 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby ShinShinKid » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:59 pm

I'm in a "right to work" state...I couldn't even walk into a school in NY state...IIRC, you need a master's degree to even teach elementary.
Here in Arizona, though...well employers can treat you pretty much how they want. I will be going for assesments soon, and that will be that, as I show little hope of being "highly performing".
On a bit of a brighter note, I was able to vent to the principal, along with another teacher...No I really don't want to leave.
Well played, God. Well played".
User avatar
ShinShinKid
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:25 pm
Location: Home
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:10 am

It never fails to spin me out that society expects teachers to raise thenext generation, then treats them like crap for doing it.
Joe Hillshoist
 
Posts: 8509
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:45 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby Stephen Morgan » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:54 am

Joe Hillshoist wrote:It never fails to spin me out that society expects teachers to raise thenext generation, then treats them like crap for doing it.


Perhaps if they did a better job...
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
User avatar
Stephen Morgan
 
Posts: 3734
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:37 am
Location: England
Blog: View Blog (9)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:45 pm

Stephen Morgan wrote:
Joe Hillshoist wrote:It never fails to spin me out that society expects teachers to raise thenext generation, then treats them like crap for doing it.


Perhaps if they did a better job...


There are plenty of good teachers (in australia anyway) although the whole structure of schooling is a bit fucked up.
Joe Hillshoist
 
Posts: 8509
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:45 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby ShinShinKid » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:54 pm

Yesh, I still have a job. I am a damn fine teacher.
If we need to know how to eat cheezpuffs, jackoff, and watch Dr. Who at the same time, we'll call ya Steph.
Well played, God. Well played".
User avatar
ShinShinKid
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:25 pm
Location: Home
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby eyeno » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:22 pm

Stephen Morgan wrote:
Joe Hillshoist wrote:It never fails to spin me out that society expects teachers to raise thenext generation, then treats them like crap for doing it.


Perhaps if they did a better job...



Teachers in the U.S. are not allowed to do a better job. Teachers are now hamstrung by so many government requirements and paperwork that they have a hard time simply teaching. In order for schools to continue to receive their federal funds the teachers must comply with curriculum and protocols that inhibit teaching and learning. Our teachers are drowning in red tape.
User avatar
eyeno
 
Posts: 1878
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:22 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby elfismiles » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:44 pm

This seems like the opposite of this thread's intent but ...

This new law is apparently effective and RETROACTIVE.


Texas House of Representatives Bill

HB 2971 Relating to the confidentiality of documents evaluating the performance of public school teachers and administrators.

Introduced
Referred to Committee
Bill Passed
Law

...

Bill Text

HB02971I
http://tx.opengovernment.org/documents/1240977-hb02971i

HB02971S
http://tx.opengovernment.org/documents/1240978-hb02971s

...

Recent Actions
Date Chamber en-TX, bills, show, action
Jun 17 executive branch Signed by the Governor
Jun 17 executive branch Effective immediately


...

Primary sources for this bill:

ftp://ftp.legis.state.tx.us/bills/82R/b ... 00_HB02999
ftp://ftp.legis.state.tx.us/bills/82R/b ... 202971.xml

http://tx.opengovernment.org/sessions/82/bills/hb-2971
User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 5923
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:02 pm

.

Thanks to Pele'sDaughter, for posting this in another thread... with the comment, "Indoctrination center, no. :cry: Profit center, YES! :D "


http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/12/17/v ... ities.html

Law turns kids into commodities

Fred Grimm The Miami Herald
By Fred Grimm fgrimm@MiamiHerald.com

Compared to modern school kids, I was a downright worthless student.

I don’t mean worthless as a pejorative. (My father would have used a more colorful term to characterize my scholarly pursuits.) But worthless as a commodity. Us kids at Montrose Elementary School weren’t making anyone rich. Not like today’s pupils, particularly those in Florida, who’ve become valuable cogs in a burgeoning industry.

Such precious little dummies, these wayward students. Their benighted ways in the classroom have given rise to a recession-proof enterprise. To a no-lose sort of capitalism. Educational entrepreneurs (some backed by Wall Street hedge funds who know a sure thing when they see it) have figured out how to make millions without the usual risks of the marketplace, drilling for profits in the ever lucrative field of school reform.

No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s 2001 education reform package, since embraced by President Obama, may have forced needed attention onto failing schools, but the law also created an extraordinary new industry funded exclusively with public money.

The NCLB mandate for standardized tests requires the nation’s public schools to administer some 50 million tests annually, costing some $700 million a year, most of that money going to corporations that create and publish the tests, score the results and provide “interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports.” Since I was a school boy, testing costs have risen by 3,000 percent. And so too has the opportunity to make a buck.

Requirements to provide free tutors for faltering students set off another frenzy among education entrepreneurs, wanting a chunk of the $900 million a year the federal government provides for extra help. This sort of business opportunity led to an interesting lead paragraph in a New York Times story: “Tutoring companies, rushing to tap into money available under the federal No Child Left Behind law, offered New York City principals thousands of dollars for school projects, doled out gift certificates to students and hired several workers with criminal backgrounds.”

The school system’s chief investigator, Richard Condon “described a climate of intense competition for the federal money as companies wooed both principals, who control access to space within their buildings for the after-school tutoring sessions, and prospective students, whose participation is directly linked to the companies’ gains.”

Perhaps, the tutoring companies were just caught up in an altruistic fervor for school reform.

The charter school movement set off another entrepreneurial frenzy, particularly in Florida, which now has 519 charters, 200 of them in Broward and Miami-Dade. Maybe charters and parental choice make for better overall education. I don’t know. There’s conflicting data. Certainly, many do a passable job with their students, though it’s tough to tell whether they offer a superior brand of education compared to traditional public schools.

Maybe charter operators are just savvy marketers, who know how to avoid difficult students who could bring down the overall test scores and damage the school brand. The Herald’s series on the charter movement last week revealed some discomfiting statistics indicating some of the more successful charters in Miami-Dade indulge in clever cherry picking.

But the long range effect of luring away high achievers from traditional schools would result in something quite the opposite from the original goals of the Bush school reforms. The kids left behind by No Child Left Behind would be the very children, most of them poor, that the reforms were supposed to rescue. “When you’ve siphoned away all the successful kids, only poor kids will go to public schools,” warned Diane Ravitch, a longtime voice for reform and a chronicler of failed reforms (which you might have guessed from the title of her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education). She said public schools, if the charter system isn’t fixed, will evolve into repositories for the unwanted, where we train poor kids to take the big test. Not to learn.

The Miami Herald’s series, Cashing In On Kids, by Kathleen McGrory and Scott Hiaasen, charted how so much public money going into these nominally non-profit ventures finds its way into the accounts of for-profit management companies. And how the operators of the management companies often double as the charter school’s landlords. Sometimes you’re not sure whether to call these people educators or real estate profiteers.

Ravitch said that even in states that outlaw for-profit management companies, the supposedly non-profit charter school operators hire for-profit subcontractors. “People have figured out that this is a great entrepreneurial opportunity.” She confessed to a “visceral dislike” of for-profit corporations running public-funded schools. “I worry that their first obligation is to the shareholders, not to students.

”But if you’re bothered by the money grubbing ways of the education reform movement, too bad. They’ve got money (thanks to NCLB) to write campaign contributions. They’ve got money to hire lobbyists. They’ve got the political juice. And you don’t.

Online education offers the next big cache of public millions available to the education industry. (We’re already supposed to believe that Florida kids can undergo the rigors of a physical education class through an online course.) So what if online students don’t learn much without a teacher there to keep them from slipping over to Facebook? Stay-at-home kids are the hot, new commodity on the education market. No rent. No heating bills. No janitorial staff. No zoning controversies. No fights in the hallways. Lots of money for software and computer-ready courses and online charter schools with plenty left over to keep the stockholders happy.

The education reform industrial complex regards virtual students, sitting at home in their underwear, as a business opportunities. Call it dollars for dullards.




http://educationclearinghouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/new-term-education-reform-industrial-complex/

In an absolutely fantastic article by Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald, cross-posted by the Star Telegram we have this: No Child Left Behind Has Turned Schoolkids Into Commodities.

Mr. Grimm brings to light many of my warnings about the movement towards the “businessification” of our public schools, so much so that he has used a new term, maybe he is the first to use it, I am not sure, but it is a good description of where we are now, the Education Reform Industrial Complex.

You have to ask yourself why hedge fund managers are getting behind “education reform?” Why do you think that is? I will tell you why, business men and women of all stripes have been trying to get their hands on public education dollars for many years and their vehicle to surreptitiously do this is through Charter Schools.

Let’s look at Mr. Grimm’s very informative editorial which happens to be written mainly about Florida which is the epicenter of the efforts to destroy public education and replace it with a quasi mix of private for-profit charters, and a smattering of what is left of traditional public schools.

Compared to modern school kids, I was a downright worthless student.

I don’t mean worthless as a pejorative. (My father would have used a more colorful term to characterize my scholarly pursuits.) But worthless as a commodity. Us kids at Montrose Elementary School weren’t making anyone rich. Not like today’s pupils, particularly those in Florida, who’ve become valuable cogs in a burgeoning industry.

Such precious little dummies, these wayward students. Their benighted ways in the classroom have given rise to a recession-proof enterprise. To a no-lose sort of capitalism. Educational entrepreneurs (some backed by Wall Street hedge funds who know a sure thing when they see it) have figured out how to make millions without the usual risks of the marketplace, drilling for profits in the ever lucrative field of school reform.


This statement has been the crux of my argument many times on this blog. There are very deep-pocketed interests who are looking to raid the public treasury, or what is left of it. They see public education dollars as a big, fat, money pot that they want to siphon off for profit, and they are doing it with the help of corrupt Governors like Rick Scott in Florida.

No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s 2001 education reform package, since embraced by President Obama, may have forced needed attention onto failing schools, but the law also created an extraordinary new industry funded exclusively with public money.

The NCLB mandate for standardized tests requires the nation’s public schools to administer some 50 million tests annually, costing some $700 million a year, most of that money going to corporations that create and publish the tests, score the results and provide “interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports.” Since I was a school boy, testing costs have risen by 3,000 percent. And so too has the opportunity to make a buck.


Who would have thought anything different from legislation coming out of the prior administration. EVERYTHING they did was about profiteering. My greatest complaint with Obama has been his appointing of the exact same type of mentality in his pick for Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan is in bed with education profiteers and has disgustingly tied much needed funding in really a blackmail type situation towards what the moneyed “reformers” want in public education.

Requirements to provide free tutors for faltering students set off another frenzy among education entrepreneurs, wanting a chunk of the $900 million a year the federal government provides for extra help. This sort of business opportunity led to an interesting lead paragraph in a New York Times story: “Tutoring companies, rushing to tap into money available under the federal No Child Left Behind law, offered New York City principals thousands of dollars for school projects, doled out gift certificates to students and hired several workers with criminal backgrounds.”

The school system’s chief investigator, Richard Condon “described a climate of intense competition for the federal money as companies wooed both principals, who control access to space within their buildings for the after-school tutoring sessions, and prospective students, whose participation is directly linked to the companies’ gains.”


Perhaps, the tutoring companies were just caught up in an altruistic fervor for school reform.

The charter school movement set off another entrepreneurial frenzy, particularly in Florida, which now has 519 charters, 200 of them in Broward and Miami-Dade. Maybe charters and parental choice make for better overall education. I don’t know. There’s conflicting data. Certainly, many do a passable job with their students, though it’s tough to tell whether they offer a superior brand of education compared to traditional public schools.

Maybe charter operators are just savvy marketers, who know how to avoid difficult students who could bring down the overall test scores and damage the school brand. The Herald’s series on the charter movement last week revealed some discomfiting statistics indicating some of the more successful charters in Miami-Dade indulge in clever cherry picking.

Of course this IS what Charter Schools do. I worked for two years at a school that had Charter Schools in its vicinity. We would get a bunch of new special education students around December or January each year. The charters that these students were going to would get the federal funding and then tell the parents that our public school had a much better special education program, so we would end up with the student and NOT the funding. Nice little trick, right? This is what happens when you inject a business mentality into a public school environment.

But the long range effect of luring away high achievers from traditional schools would result in something quite the opposite from the original goals of the Bush school reforms. The kids left behind by No Child Left Behind would be the very children, most of them poor, that the reforms were supposed to rescue. “When you’ve siphoned away all the successful kids, only poor kids will go to public schools,” warned Diane Ravitch, a longtime voice for reform and a chronicler of failed reforms (which you might have guessed from the title of her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education). She said public schools, if the charter system isn’t fixed, will evolve into repositories for the unwanted, where we train poor kids to take the big test. Not to learn.

The Miami Herald’s series, Cashing In On Kids, by Kathleen McGrory and Scott Hiaasen, charted how so much public money going into these nominally non-profit ventures finds its way into the accounts of for-profit management companies. And how the operators of the management companies often double as the charter school’s landlords. Sometimes you’re not sure whether to call these people educators or real estate profiteers.

Ravitch said that even in states that outlaw for-profit management companies, the supposedly non-profit charter school operators hire for-profit subcontractors. “People have figured out that this is a great entrepreneurial opportunity.” She confessed to a “visceral dislike” of for-profit corporations running public-funded schools. “I worry that their first obligation is to the shareholders, not to students.”


Again, of course the obligation is to shareholders and not the students. Think Occam’s Razor on this one.

But if you’re bothered by the money grubbing ways of the education reform movement, too bad. They’ve got money (thanks to NCLB) to write campaign contributions. They’ve got money to hire lobbyists. They’ve got the political juice. And you don’t.


How very true, and how very sad. This is why as teachers we need to be very politically active!

Online education offers the next big cache of public millions available to the education industry. (We’re already supposed to believe that Florida kids can undergo the rigors of a physical education class through an online course.) So what if online students don’t learn much without a teacher there to keep them from slipping over to Facebook? Stay-at-home kids are the hot, new commodity on the education market. No rent. No heating bills. No janitorial staff. No zoning controversies. No fights in the hallways. Lots of money for software and computer-ready courses and online charter schools with plenty left over to keep the stockholders happy.


I have already written about this trend several times, it is just the latest threat to teachers and to students.

The education reform industrial complex regards virtual students, sitting at home in their underwear, as a business opportunities. Call it dollars for dullards.
THREE great emotions bowled over him; understanding; a vast philanthropy; and finally as if the result of the others, an irrepressible, exquisite delight; [as if! i wish! thanks Virginia!]

Top Secret Wall St. Iraq? flamewar & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 10383
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:45 am


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/educa ... nted=print

December 12, 2011

From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model

By JENNY ANDERSON


Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish educator and author, had a simple question for the high school seniors he was speaking to one morning last week in Manhattan: “Who here wants to be a teacher?”

Out of a class of 15, two hands went up — one a little reluctantly.

“In my country, that would be 25 percent of people,” Dr. Sahlberg said. “And,” he added, thrusting his hand in the air with enthusiasm, “it would be more like this.”

In his country, Dr. Sahlberg said later in an interview, teachers typically spend about four hours a day in the classroom, and are paid to spend two hours a week on professional development. At the University of Helsinki, where he teaches, 2,400 people competed last year for 120 slots in the (fully subsidized) master’s program for schoolteachers. “It’s more difficult getting into teacher education than law or medicine,” he said.

Dr. Sahlberg puts high-quality teachers at the heart of Finland’s education success story — which, as it happens, has become a personal success story of sorts, part of an American obsession with all things Finnish when it comes to schools.

Take last week. On Monday, Dr. Sahlberg was the keynote speaker at an education conference in Chicago. On Tuesday, he had to return to Helsinki for an Independence Day party held by Finland’s president — a coveted invitation to an event that much of the country watches on television.

On Wednesday, it was Washington, for a party for the release of his latest book, “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn From Educational Change in Finland?,” that drew staff members from the White House and Congress.

And Thursday brought him to the Upper West Side, for a daylong visit to the Dwight School, a for-profit school that prides itself on internationalism, where he talked to those seniors.


Dwight School tuition: $35,000 p.a. Finland schools are almost all public, and the few independently chartered schools are not allowed to charge tuition.



Ever since Finland, a nation of about 5.5 million that does not start formal education until age 7 and scorns homework and testing until well into the teenage years, scored at the top of a well-respected international test in 2001 in math, science and reading, it has been an object of fascination among American educators and policy makers.

Finlandophilia only picked up when the nation placed close to the top again in 2009, while the United States ranked 15th in reading, 19th in math and 27th in science.

The Finnish Embassy in Washington hosts brunch seminars with titles like “Why Are Finnish Kids So Smart?” and organizes trips to Finland for education journalists eager to see for themselves. In Helsinki, the Education Ministry has had 100 official delegations from 40 to 45 countries visit each year since 2005. Schools there used to love the attention, making cakes and doing folk dances for the foreigners, Dr. Sahlberg said, but now the crush of observers is considered a national distraction.

Critics say that Finland is an irrelevant laboratory for the United States. It has a tiny economy, a low poverty rate, a homogenous population — 5 percent are foreign-born — and socialist underpinnings (speeding tickets are calculated according to income).

Its school system has roughly the same number of teachers as New York City’s but far fewer students, 600,000 compared with New York’s 1.1 million. Finnish students speak Finnish and Swedish and usually English. (Patrick F. Bassett, head of the Washington-based National Association of Independent Schools, a fan of what Finland has been doing, said one of the things he learned on his own pilgrimage to Finland was that the average resident checks out 17 books a year from the library.)

“There are things they do right,” said Mark S. Schneider, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, “but I’m not sure how many lessons we get are portable.” Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said Finlandophilia was “totally deified” and “blown out of proportion.”

But Linda Darling-Hammond, an education professor at Stanford, said Finland could be an excellent model for individual states, noting that it is about the size of Kentucky.

“The fact that we have more race, ethnicity and economic heterogeneity, and we have this huge problem of poverty, should not mean we don’t want qualified teachers — the strategies become even more important,” Dr. Darling-Hammond said. “Thirty years ago, Finland’s education system was a mess. It was quite mediocre, very inequitable. It had a lot of features our system has: very top-down testing, extensive tracking, highly variable teachers, and they managed to reboot the whole system.”

Both Dr. Darling-Hammond and Dr. Sahlberg said a turning point was a government decision in the 1970s to require all teachers to have master’s degrees — and to pay for their acquisition. The starting salary for school teachers in Finland, 96 percent of whom are unionized, was about $29,000 in 2008, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, compared with about $36,000 in the United States.

More bear than tiger, Finland scorns almost all standardized testing before age 16 and discourages homework, and it is seen as a violation of children’s right to be children for them to start school any sooner than 7, Dr. Sahlberg said during his day at Dwight. He spoke to seniors taking a “Theory of Knowledge” class, then met with administrators and faculty members.

“The first six years of education are not about academic success,” he said. “We don’t measure children at all. It’s about being ready to learn and finding your passion.”

Dr. Sahlberg, 52, an Education Ministry official and a former math teacher, is the author of 15 books. He said he wrote the latest one, which sold out its first printing in a week, in response to the overwhelming interest in his country’s educational system. It was not meant to claim that Finland’s way was the best way, he said, and he was quick to caution against countries’ trying to import ideas à la carte and then expecting results.

“Don’t try to apply anything,” he told the Dwight teachers. “It won’t work because education is a very complex system.”

Besides high-quality teachers, Dr. Sahlberg pointed to Finland’s Lutheran leanings, almost religious belief in equality of opportunity, and a decision in 1957 to require subtitles on foreign television as key ingredients to the success story.

He emphasized that Finland’s success is one of basic education, from age 7 until 16, at which point 95 percent of the country goes on to vocational or academic high schools. “The primary aim of education is to serve as an equalizing instrument for society,” he said.

Dr. Sahlberg said another reason the system had succeeded was that “only dead fish follow the stream” — a Finnish expression.

Finland is going against the tide of the “global education reform movement,” which is based on core subjects, competition, standardization, test-based accountability, control.

“Education policies here are always written to be ‘the best’ or ‘the top this or that,’ ” he said. “We’re not like that. We want to be better than the Swedes. That’s enough for us.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 15, 2011


An article on Tuesday about a visiting Finnish educator and author who spoke to Upper West Side students about his country’s educational system misstated the surname of a vice president at the American Institutes for Research who was critical of the widespread admiration for Finnish methods. He is Mark S. Schneider, not Schneiderman.


Finland is "small," but it's on the same scale as most large US school systems. Same population as Kentucky, so why can't Kentucky copy Finland?

The key elements are eminently reproducible. Finland has almost twice as many teachers per student as New York City. They are paid well, for Finland. They have secure jobs and a strong union. Being a teacher is an attractive and respected career. If you could bring those conditions here, the greater diversity here would not likely be a problem.

Furthermore they don't start drilling their children from infancy. No "head start," no early tracking. School starts at age seven! Foreign languages are taught from the beginning. Grades aren't given until, I believe, the sixth grade. Standardized tests aren't given until high school, and yet Finnish students in the 12th grade score among the highest in international comparisons. They don't teach the test, they educate the person, and then the older person has no problems with the test.

The real problem here is not the heterogeneity of the population, but the stubborness of the mainstream culture. It's very hard for Americans, both PTB and most others, to accept that a humane and cooperative and loving approach is superior to the constant competition and stress and authoritarian harangues of our rat race.

.
THREE great emotions bowled over him; understanding; a vast philanthropy; and finally as if the result of the others, an irrepressible, exquisite delight; [as if! i wish! thanks Virginia!]

Top Secret Wall St. Iraq? flamewar & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 10383
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The War On Teachers

Postby slomo » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:35 am

JackRiddler wrote:The real problem here is not the heterogeneity of the population, but the stubborness of the mainstream culture. It's very hard for Americans, both PTB and most others, to accept that a humane and cooperative and loving approach is superior to the constant competition and stress and authoritarian harangues of our rat race.

And so you run into not only the commodification of students in the US, but also the ideological barriers that are, in my mind, somewhat indistinguishable from the issues of indoctrination that came up in another thread (however clumsy the messenger).
User avatar
slomo
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:42 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: norton ash and 10 guests