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« Defining new limits to Butt Stupid | Main | Obama's Georgia Eligibility Hearing Update »

01 February 2012


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Russ Steele


Do not forget the self-taught. There is a lot of learning that can go on with out the supervision of a teacher. There is still need for certification, regardless of the path taken to arrive at the door of the certifier. I once proposed Nevada County Certification for Apps builders, but got back a deer in the headlight stare. Why would one want that, was the question. Ask Apple that certifies Apps that go in the Apple iTune Store. Now ask Google that is struggling to keep crap out of the Android Market Place. One has a certification process and the other does not.


Russ, I think those deer had a point. Apple has a process that maximizes Apple profit. Android Market is more caveat emptor.

Free markets can be a bitch.

Douglas Keachie

"Word about the success ratios and other performance measures of the teachers would spread rapidly, both virally and via internet."

And so it was thus that prof X saw his classes boom to 1,000 students and he did become rich indeed, but then the new crop, only able to sit at the LCD feet of the master, did notta do so well in the real world, but none wanted to admit it, so the teacher;s legend grew..." (potential pitfall)

George Rebane

DougK 602pm - actually that's not how free markets with a free flow of information work. Prof X's ratings would instantly plummet if his students "did notta a do so well" - he would never boom to 1,000 students without some proof of excellent performance along the way. But your argument is a strong one for those who believe in government having to step in to regulate such imagined pitfalls.

Scott Obermuller

Why would the students watching on a screen not do as well? Another avenue would be that the successful prof charges a whale of a lot more and the number of students remains the same. Doug frets over supposed pitfalls while we fall further into the mire of reality. Who's the regressive now? American education is a complete joke and has been for decades. I spent a good deal of my time in jr hi and high school thinking about how much of my time was being wasted. In high school, I was often in trouble for being in a class room working on a project when we were supposed to be at the pep rally singing inane songs. I had some really great teachers that today wouldn't be allowed into a class room. The libs continue their drum beat for monopolies that they control while lecturing the masses on how bad monopolies are. Modern public education is all about indoctrination, not education.

Douglas Keachie

I didn't say it would happen all the time. One of the best courses I ever took was Physical Anthro 101 from Washburn, in Dwinelle Hall, with a seating capacity of 900, and an enrollment of 1100. My favorite spot was in the back of the hall stretched out with back up against the back wall. His lectures were illustrated with early Powerpoint 2 1/2 by 3 /34 slides. I later went on to be the projectionist for him for several seasons/semesters. That's how I earned some of my keep as a college student.

I'm not fretting,but you appear to be projecting, Scott.

Here's someone else's shot of the inside of Wheeler. I used to sit just below the EXIT sign in the back.


Scott Obermuller

Looks like George actually beat me to it. I'm reacting to your "potential pitfall" statement. I never said that you thought it would happen "all of the time". Why do you feel a need to fabricate what others say? The free market doesn't need you or me or George to think about pitfalls. It's self correcting. What am I projecting? If you are not fretting, why did you mention it? Fretting is not obsessing or anything mental. The fact that you brought it up shows that you were already thinking that this might be a problem. Isn't that projecting, when there is no indication of an actual problem? Don't worry - be happy!

Douglas Keachie

That should be Wheeler Hall in both cases.

Account Deleted

Speaking of butts, check out this funny parody.

Douglas Keachie

Who first used the word, "fret," Scott? It wasn't me. "Doug frets over supposed pitfalls " And now are you are positing that I introduced it? Weird.


Be constantly or visibly anxious.
Decorate with fretwork: "intricately carved and fretted balustrades".
Provide (a stringed instrument) with frets.


A repeating ornamental design of interlaced vertical and horizontal lines, such as the Greek key pattern.
Each of a sequence of bars or ridges on the fingerboard of some stringed musical instruments (such as the guitar), used for fixing the...

worry - chafe


[Petty crap deleted.]

Douglas Keachie

[Petty crap deleted.]

Russ Steele

Douglas and Gregory,

You are wasting our time with your petty crap! Stop!

Scott Obermuller

Yes Doug, you introduced the "potential pitfall" statement. No one else did. Can't you just focus on the main posting here about education? Instead, you want to start fretting over the term fretting. There is no problem of any kind with some one being successful in education. This is definitely something you don't need to "fret" over. This won't ever be an issue you need to deal with.

George Rebane

Russ 1007pm - thank you for the observation and exhortation. It's a pain in the butt, but they continue their "petty crap" from comment stream to comment stream. I will make the effort and delete their mutually destructive vendetta.

Douglas Keachie

And Scott, it was you who attributed "fretting" to me. I never stated that I did not introduce the potential pitfall statement. Why would you waste time, fretting over that?

billy T

Kinda on topic: I worked for a gentleman who engineered the Mobile Oil pipeline from Taft to Long Beach. Used a slide rule. Years later Mobile paid an arm and a leg for a computer program to precisely identify the best places for pump stations, considering the gravity of oil, changing weight of gasoline, heat and other factors. The computer put the pump station on the Grapevine within 6 feet of where the gentleman had put it. Later before Reagen bombed Libya, the G-Men came to his door to inquire about the pipelines he engineered across that country and their vulnerabilities. He explain the sand is only 4-6 feet deep there and the pipeline he engineered is encased in rock. I asked him how he got his job and about his education. He said he dropped out of U of Wisconsin as a freshman, caught a ride to LA, saw an ad in the paper and learned on the job. He added he did take one course in metallurgy and figured out the heat, gravity, compression with his slide rule. I did the same in another field in a prior "life". Once asked a guy who operates and controls the gates and water storage in a massive hydroelectric plant what training or courses he took to prepare himself for his profession. He said "No classes for this kind on work. You learn on the job." Perhaps the above examples speak of yesteryear. Perhaps not.


More petty crap for you to delete over at the other thread.

George, you've let Keachie take craps on me and others here. I'd rather not feel a need to respond, but I don't take defamations lightly.


Regarding George's post, perhaps the largest diploma mill in California is the CalState U system, which mostly serves to crank out undergraduates with degrees that the CSU certified transcript analysts verify to meet the minimum requirements for teaching credentials. Many UC grads also are just there for the piece of paper that will allow them to teach in public school classrooms.

There's also a huge demand for graduate degrees for teachers. I've known engineers who went to grad school to become better engineers (that was my case, physics was a great preparation but not enough), but teachers automatically get pay raises for it and the CSU and UC are there to meet that demand.

Change the teacher certification rules to be entirely exam based, and institute a 'value added' evaluation system, and you'd solve most of the problems you note in higher education.


Regarding students ratings of professors, the current problem is that the highly rated tend to be the ones that are the most entertaining and hand out the highest grades. When all that is really important is the piece of paper, the case for all too many government jobs, just getting the paper is the most important thing.

Education is good, but just like in any endeavor, if the money chasing the good increases, the providers of the good will figure out how to spend it and clamor for more.

George Rebane

Gregory 1250am - Agreed. (BTW, my own BS in physics, even with an electronics specialty added, was enough to become a circuit designer, but not enough for the kind of engineering I wanted to do - so, back to grad school. And as you say, so many of us spent our lives as perennial students just because the pace of advance in all sectors of technology was so rapid. More of that is required of secondary school teachers attending real classes and not those taught just for qualifying a teacher for higher pay.)

George Rebane

billyT 1103pm - quite often that is the case. Today we have the means to capture a lot of human expertise, especially if it consists of difficult to explain heuristics acquired through many years on the job. I'm reminded of a project I was involved in years ago wherein the operator of our deep space network was anticipating a crisis when its two best and only 'antenna pointers' were scheduled to retire within six months of each other. These two were experts in capturing and maintaining datalinks with the several spacecraft working beyond the asteroid belt. The solutions was to develop an expert or knowledge based system that implemented all the complexities of pointing and monitoring the huge dishes that dot the desert floor at places like Goldstone. But as you point out, these experts learned through OJT to solve a very complex optimum control problem, which we finally now have in a computer.

Douglas Keachie

"But as you point out, these experts learned through OJT to solve a very complex optimum control problem"

And who trained these trainers on the job? Most likely they did it themselves. I was stuck with the same problem in teaching computers in high school. For the simple reason that anyone with high subject area knowledge laughed at the paltry salaries offer to high school teachers, no one well qualified showed up to teach. I had taught myself enough through life experiences to know more than anyone else who was willing to work. These experiences date back to the very first use of punch cards against an administration at UC in 1964 (I supervised a group of FSM'er, taught them how to punch in the data from the volunteer lists, ran them through the sorter, and then gave printouts to Mario Savio and friends. It was ironic, because "punchcards" was one of his punchlines, when discussing how the administration treated the students.


End result is that there are not enough well trained folks to go around, and a lot of us learn as much as possible to get our jobs done, and make additional sacrifices along the way. I left SFUSD with 0 days of sick leave, because I was told the only way to get time off to go to computer related events and meetings was to call in sick, and I did so, picking up connections along the way for many donations to the schools I worked at.

What is being complained about here is a lack of people to make up the perfect world. Those who are perfectly trained for exactly what they do, and are in a line of work where nothing changes, self righteously proclaim that everyone else is doing it all wrong, is not qualified, etc., etc., etc. Great! FIRE THEM ALL! But where or where are you going to get the replacements? Unless you want to fling the doors wide open to immigration, you've already gone through a lot of hassles to get the certificated folks you've got, and playing musical chairs and dumping all the test score, identifieds, as "non qualified" overboard while shouting about what nincompoops they are just is not going to do one damn thing to solve the problems of this country.

Douglas Keachie

BTW, this not only affects the teaching profession, but other folks as well. There's a well known local splinter group of the GOP that is having one heck of a time finding a well qualified candidate for President, as is the GOP itself.

George Rebane

DougK 1020am - I'm sorry, but I don't see anyone complaining about "a lack of people to make up the perfect world." I presented an idea about how to reduce the costs of higher education.

Ian Random

I love your idea. That is kind of how the wonderful computer certifications work. You can take the training and the test from the same person or you can just self study and take the test for $100 a pop. The test is nasty in that if you show weakness, it wants to test that even more. One guy passed because he had some experience in the software and didn't bother to study. Then you hear the horror stories of people passing without really knowing anything which you get with any education it seams.


BTW offline, I've had an interesting conversation with a retired elementary school principal whose grandson is at Lyman Gilmore, which had me looking at the GVSD STAR exam results.

Out of 171 Lyman Gilmore students in the 8th grade last year, 32 took Algebra 1. Only 1 managed a score of Advanced. Most were Below Proficient. A handful (8) took Algebra the year before and took Geometry their last year, too small a group to have their scores reported.

Of the 119 in General Math, 53% were Below Proficient. The school's overall Academic Performance Index was 760. Median for their demographics was 800.

No, don't put all the blame on Lyman Gilmore staff for that. The GVSD problem starts the day the scared and excited fresh faces walk in for their first day in Kindergarten. You can't put a band-aid on their brain in the 6th grade and make the cumulative owie go away.

You also can't have a cost effective college education if they don't graduate from high school ready for college work, and that generally doesn't happen if elementary students are promoted in to high school ready for high school level work.


ummm... "that generally doesn't happen UNLESS elementary students are promoted in to high school ready for high school level work."

Douglas Keachie

I have noted elsewhere that teachers can be evaluated, but it has to be done by total strangers who are also teachers of the same socio-economic groups and subject materials, and then from their notes and original materials, by master teachers, with totally feedback and encouragement, and suggestions for improvement going back to the teacher being evaluated. Using test scores or folks within a district simply sets up grudge matches and often compares apples to oranges.

I also noted that parents were the first line of education, and that if they fail, they pass it on to their kids, and the quality of life they enjoy is also effected by the work they do and what they get paid. I will now note yet another factor, which is best explained in this article:

Patience is a cultural value, and is needed to master almost everything. Americans have been raised to be unwisely impatient.

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