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« The Bayes Surface and more (updated 19jan13) | Main | Fair Division 101 »

04 May 2012

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Gregory

The underlying mechanism of the "Kahn Academy" is nothing new. An expert recording knowledge which is replicated at low cost and high volume for later use by a student is nearly as old as the Gutenberg press.

Let's not get ahead of the technology... edX isn't a reality yet, and apparently neither Harvard or MIT are expecting to give academic credit to their own students who take the edX courses.

An open source framework for online learning could enable a plethora of online course providers, and I'd not expect Harvard or MIT to excel in the creation of solid K-12 curriculums.

Russ Steele

Stanford offers more free online classes for the world

In an ongoing experiment to leverage new educational technologies, the university is launching five free online classes this month.

Computer science Professor John Mitchell will chair a multidisciplinary faculty committee on educational technology.

Stanford University is introducing five free online classes this month, following a successful pilot last fall that drew more than 350,000 participants around the world.

The online classes are part of a university initiative to creatively use new technology to improve education both on campus and off.

"Stanford has been a pioneer in online education for many years, and we are pleased to continue expanding and refining our online offerings to benefit both our own students and students around the world," said Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy.

Three classes will launch on March 12 – Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Natural Language Processing and Cryptography. Two more, Game Theory and Probabilistic Graphical Models, are scheduled to launch on March 19.

Demand has been strong; total enrollment in the five new classes is nearly 335,000.

Last fall, 356,000 people from 190 countries expressed interest in one or more of the first three classes offered, and approximately 43,000 successfully completed a course. Participants came from as close as Stanford's Palo Alto campus and as far away as Ghana, Peru, Russia and New Zealand.

Douglas Keachie

Anyone who is unaware of this coming change has had their collective heads in the sand for the last 20 years. I use Lynda.com for graphic arts ed all the time, and would not bother going to Sierra College because Lynda is there, at my convenience, and has no bureaucratic BS associated with it. of course there will be a large population of students who will not pre-conditioned by their home lives to accept learning via this means either, until culture undergoes a remarkable change.

I suspect regular schools will go on for some time, but as I indicated in other posts, labs will open up the brick and mortar schools to outside specialists, who may not be regular credentialed teachers. Now if we could just do the same thing for lawyers and doctors....

BTW, in case you think this is a complete flipflop, it is not. Being against blaming teachers for society's screwups and in favor of online education, at a minimum as a supplement, are not incompatible (orthagonal).

Ryan Mount

> An open source framework for online learning could enable a plethora of online course providers

I'm not 100% convinced that "online" is the secret sauce here, but I want to give you two thumbs up for your observation of "open source frameworks" which "could enable a plethora of [snip] course providers." I think that is an astute observation.

I am not qualified to speak to STEM education as my background is in Single and Multiple Subject Language Arts. So please forgive that disclosure. However I can offer opinions in the Language Arts and Social Studies disciplines.

I've always been struck how limited the courseware is K - freshman college for Language Arts. In particular, how we believe we can contain the entire Universe of Discourse in a single textbook when in our American tradition alone, there are scores of texts filled with wisdom which are frankly under utilized in Language Arts classrooms. Why not extend that most Liberal term "choice" to the students, under the guidance of instructors, and with the active participation of the parents? And it seems an online idiom can enable that.

I am very reticent to attack teachers here. Or anyone for that matter as it leads to very unproductive results as people dig their heels in. You get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar, as Grandma used to say. Focus on where we want to go, and less on how or why we got there.

So my suggestion, which hopefully is an analog for increased STEM instruction, is to diversify the coureware, and create results-based project learning in an more open classroom environment. And to cut costs, we can leverage the productivity gains we've achieved via Technology. To some extent, this is already happening with the best teacher and schools. Actually, this has always been the case.

Algebra, as I have suggested in other threads, can and should be taught within the context of say Chemistry. Trigonometry, as my sailor cousin often mentions, should be taught within the context of Biology...specifically Oceanography. And not out of a textbook if at all possible substituting more labs and practicals where ever possible.

After all, doesn't the "E" in STEM represent Engineering? And what, pray-tell is Engineering but *applied* Science, Technology and Math?

George Rebane

RyanM 1019am - Good points. As a professional techie with some considerable experience in teaching STEM subjects, I am have a problem with the effectiveness of teaching math topics in the context of and paced at the need for their use in other fields like chemistry, biology, etc.

Mathematics is a language, a very specialized language, yet a language nevertheless. It needs to be taught in a concentrated, carefully fashioned sequence, reaching out for examples in other fields only when necessary. Learning math as an adjunct of happenstance tools needed in the study of another field has proven to be extremely ineffective as far as developing a proficiency in mathematics, and benefiting the field in which its ad hoc introduction is attempted.

Mathematics is the language that has changed and drawn to itself almost every field it has touched. Bilology, chemistry, genetics, geology, materials, control, ... have all become fields where their boundaries are expanded through ONLY mathematical applications wherein the boundary conditions are set by the arena in which the equations are developed/solved and algorithms invented/executed.

Mathematics has been the prime infuser of progress and advancement. Therefore to properly benefit a field, a worker needs to understand a wide spectrum of mathematical tools because in their understanding lie applications to the field undreamt of by workers innocent of a broad education in mathematics.

Ryan Mount

George. I have no argument with your detailed understanding of Mathematics. I am not arguing for dismissing fundamental mathematics instruction. That's true of any worthwhile discipline. (You have to learn how to small dice an onion well before they'll let you into a professional kitchen, for example.)

In fact, I think that needs to be a more intensive pursuit, but that pursuit should not be done in the abstract. What I'm trying to draw our attention to is purpose and motivation of our students. In my mind, that is key. And it relieves the teacher to some extent of having to be the know-it-all disciplinarian: a motivated student goes a long away. And they way you motivate them, is by getting them interested. And how you get them interested is by "doing" (applying, really) activities that are developmentally relevant to them. I suspect people will take issue with my assertion of "developmentally relevant." How much time do we have? ;-)

So if we want more engineers, that's a means not an ends, in my humble opinion.

I do not want to replicate the Asian and other models of rigorous, rote instruction. The power of being an American is not stepping in line, following instructions and doing what one is told because, well, we told you to. We need to apply/channel(as in programmatically via labs and practicals) this uniquely American ethic of invention by fostering it in our schools. What more Steven Jobs? Then teach them how to be like that.

Or as one of my clever Professors once quipped, "Fine. Now you've taught all of the fundamentals. Now what?"

Gregory

"In fact, I think that needs to be a more intensive pursuit, but that pursuit should not be done in the abstract."

My gawd, No! Starting with Algebra, mathematics is an abstract language, and is its own subject. It isn't in the realm of chemistry or any other science. The best melding of math and science I'd seen was a two period presentation of math analysis (trig II and some differential calculus) and physics by the same teacher at my old high school. The two lesson plans were synchronized but separate. Most, but not all, took both classes.

Trying to teach both in the same class would have taken two years, not one, and kids who took it and then went to UCLA got advanced placement, before the AP exams were common.

Gregory

"So my suggestion, which hopefully is an analog for increased STEM instruction, is to diversify the coureware, and create results-based project learning in an more open classroom environment."

"Results-based project learning" is advanced Eduspeak gibberish. Ryan, might I guess you've formally studied pedagogy at the collegiate level at a "progressive" institution?

All good math, science and engineering colleges have significant labwork along with theory, but you can't put the cart in front of the horse and expect much useful progress will be made. Making it easy and fun doesn't translate to more kids graduating from high school and hitting the ground running at a top tier college and getting a hard core math or science degree in four years.

Runts.wordpress.com

George, your addendum is a little complex for me, but I think you're saying that low-cost online education creates a free market where one barely exists today. Kids (and parents who want their kids to succeed) will no longer need vast resources to get a better-than-the-crappy-average education. Those kids who avail themselves of the new education will get better jobs and other kids (and their parents) will see that an education and a better life is available. Over time, that seems like the best way, and surely the only way, to fix the mess we're in. The existing system is too huge and corrupt to change. The only way to reform it is to let it die.

George Rebane

Runts 1202pm - you correctly and profitably restated the last paragraph of my addendum which was the hopeful conclusion. The lead up paragraphs gave my impression of the liberal defense for poor performance which we hope online education will improve.

Douglas Keachie

"Making it easy and fun doesn't translate to more kids graduating from high school and hitting the ground running at a top tier college and getting a hard core math or science degree in four years."

Which is why we get such poor results from programs like FIRST, by that drifter and dreamer Dean Kamin (inventor of the Segway, after making a fortune (a real one, not just a school set up as one, in medical devices), and everybody is just having too much fun there for any real learning or motivation to learn, right, Greg? Yup, we've finally hit a nexus. Greg maintains it is all hard work or no progress, and Keachie, and many. many. others, say otherwise.

You get to choose, the Grim Grinder, or the Party Kid, or a blend of the best of both. BTW Greg, all languages are abstract, each in their own ways. See http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/people/begay.cfm In addition I seem to recall the the Navajo language is 90% verbs, with "a cat is an animal" only expressible as "animalizing is taking place cattely." When Navajo make films, often involving people walking around, they have edited out sections we would leave in, such as when a person walks behind a tree, only to become visible again a second later.

From the article above:

"Though he didn’t receive a standard high school education, Begay believes that in some ways the Navajo culture helped prepare him to study science. “I think the key point is that I learned to think abstractly and develop reasoning skills when I was growing up, learning about lasers and radiation in the Navajo language,” he says, “That’s all embedded in our religion.”

The Navajo do not have separate words to refer to religion and science. Instead, they have a single concept they call “the sacred depths of nature” which encompasses their beliefs about the natural world. “We strongly rely on natural phenomena. We believe we’re children of nature,” says Begay."

Gregory

I suppose Keachie can explain why Segways aren't in general use and the Navajo nation isn't overrepresented in the list of Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry.

It isn't either/or. The hard stuff can't be ignored. If a kid arrives at a UC Berkeley not ready to take the hard core Calculus classes, the same physics as the physics majors and the same chemistry as the chem majors, they won't manage to get a BS in math, physics, chemistry or engineering in four years. No amount of fun and games will change that.

Keachie, you can't learn this stuff by random google searches, and pasting information you don't understand into blog arguments you're losing isn't productive.

George Rebane

In digging out one of DougK's points about (the Navajo) language, it seems to corroborate what I said in my 1042am. Before Begay began to have the knowledge of Navajo help him in science, he had to have learned (at least a sufficient part of) it.

All of this can also be nicely brought together in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that I have written much about in these pages ("The linguistic theory that the semantic structure of a language shapes or limits the ways in which a speaker forms conceptions of the world.") In short, S-W says that your language(s) enable/limit your thoughts.

Examples abound in the literature of anthropology. The late Julian Jaynes of Princeton gave a lucid demonstration of such in his ...Bicameral Mind. S-W seems to apply in spades to people who have put mathematics into their language quiver. A direct experience of this, that goes way beyond the use of field specific jargon, is how two mathematically literate (say, engineers) can discuss issues arising in a non-technical field such as politics or history.

The facility/ease of using notions and concepts from mathematics in illuminating and exploring hidden dimensions of the topics with colleagues has to me been an exhilaration over the years. Thoughts can there be quickly aired and dissected that are not possible with the mathematically opaque. An accessible analogue of this to consider are the conversations possible about ice, snow, and weather in any of the Eskaleut dialects. Those people can think about their special environment in ways that we cannot.

Now behold a language that can generalize over any other language, and even use its native forms and methods to capture, communicate, and expand the other language's grammar, semantics, and lexicon; then you begin to understand what cognitive functions a knowledge of mathematics enables.

Coming full circle, to reinforce my earlier points and also Gregory's comments, don't teach mathematics as an adjunct to other topics. It is a powerful tool of and in itself that needs to be learned per se to be of maximum use in other fields.

Douglas Keachie

Here George, is the gunnysack in operation:

Greg, not random Google pickups. I studied under John Collier, Jr. at State Francisco State, back in 1969 and we were friends, his place was just a hike over the hill from Tam Valley to Muir Beach, until I moved out of the area, and before the Internet allow for easy continuation of friendship over the miles.. He is the one who told me of the film-making experiences back then, and of the physicist, not Fred, who found it easier to think about atomic physic in Navajo, which he picked up in his spare time. So Greg, WRONG again, you're doing great today!

George, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was well covered in both my linguistics and other anthro courses. Maybe I shall take up math beyond algebra/geometry, that I last visited in high school, and hang out a shingle as a tutor of the same. I'll bet there are plenty of folks who would take a negative recommendation from GG as a positive, if he is as personable elsewhere as he is here.

He seems to be completely unable to accept the fact that learning and doing "hard" stuff can be fun. That's sad. I guess that's why he never got his doctorate.

Douglas Keachie

BTW, George and GG, what are the upper limits of math that you have mastered? How much more is there to know beyond your current limits. I've always loved the title "Unsolvable Problems and Implications." which I think goes there.

Douglas Keachie

"I suppose Keachie can explain why Segways aren't in general use and the Navajo nation isn't overrepresented in the list of Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry."

Define general use, please, and explain how much richer you are than Dean Kamin.

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded 105 times to 192 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2011. John Bardeen is the only Nobel Laureate who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics twice, in 1956 and 1972. This means that a total of 191 individuals have received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded 103 times to 161 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2011. Frederick Sanger is the only Nobel Laureate who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry twice, in 1958 and 1980. This means that a total of 160 individuals have received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

160 + 191 = 351 total nobel laureates, physics and chemistry, and population of the planet is approaching 7,000,000,000, and the current Navajo population is (2000) Enrolled tribal members, Total 173,987. Statistcally, your question borders on nonsense. Again, you've taught me well.

Now it is again your turn, how have your contributions to veterans surpass Dean Kamin's?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvQQRV0K-G0

George Rebane

Let's keep the discussion on topic, I like the progress we make when doing that instead of taking pokes and jabs at each other.

DougK 120pm - I'm not sure what you mean by "upper limits". Also the exploration of each of our backgrounds should be done only to the extent that it bears on the topic and the exploree is willing to be explored. My vitae are summarized on this blog (see 'About' under my picture).

To that extent in the discussion of mathematics, I am what in the profession we'd call an applied mathematician vs one who studies pure mathematics. That means I claim expertise in the mathematical tools required to produce and innovate in the fields of my degrees and practice - physics (specialized in electronics), control engineering, dynamic systems, and computer science (machine intelligence).

The individual toolkits of applied mathematics which enable each of those areas are too long to list and can be easily looked up - although the area of stochastics has been a forte as it applies to control, estimation, error, signal processing, planning, queing (sic), financial engineering, human/computer interaction,... . In addition to teaching non-technical courses in critical thinking (to journalists and media producers) and numeracy, I have also taught most of the subjects I have learned - it came with the territory.

My forays into pure math have been few and brief, just enough to know whether a new tool could be fashioned to solve another realworld problem du jour.

Douglas Keachie

While I may disagree with some of your solutions to social problems, I can't help but wholesomely admire your career, and hope for you many more years of happiness and continued problem solving, on a grand scale.

Gregory

"And they way you motivate them, is by getting them interested. And how you get them interested is by "doing" (applying, really) activities that are developmentally relevant to them. ...

So if we want more engineers, that's a means not an ends, in my humble opinion.

I do not want to replicate the Asian and other models of rigorous, rote instruction."

Funny; I made my decision to go into physics instead of music by doing things like cartesian to spherical coordinate systems and back again, using trig, and using elementary differential calculus to, for example, minimize the material in a cylindrical can to hold a given volume by determining the optimal height and diameter. Statics, simple dynamics. Derive the altitude for a geosynchronous (or Clarke) orbit. Lots of neat puzzles. It doesn't take a contest with lots of glitz, just a good book and hopefully a good teacher. Some success doesn't hurt.

Ryan, the problem with that mindset is that without detailed subject knowledge, few are going to be able to dig out of their intellectual deficit if they aren't on track. Reading at or above grade levels in the earliest grades, proficient or advanced in what is usually called Algebra 1 in the 8th or 9th grades at the latest. Without that early intellectual capital, one might be stuck, if one goes to college at all, in a subject like "contemporary American history", Social work or anthropology.

In short, getting kids interested in science and engineering in the later grades is nice, but if they're not already on track they may never get past a "science appreciation" level of understanding.

The US has never "replicated" the Asian model, which I think is better termed a bad copy of the German model that nonetheless works better than the late 20th century American model of not caring whether the kids understand and perform things like long division. It has been the fashion in colleges of Education to denigrate content knowledge as mere "rote", but nothing could be further from the truth as appropriate and thorough arithmetic practice does provide a number and procedural sense that cannot be arrived at by punching calculator buttons.

The master teacher in charge of the Mathland introduction into Hennessey School once told me if a child could do the first problem on a page, it does them no good to do the rest of them. Two years later, half of the kids in the school's 3rd grade cohort were in the bottom quartile, and my son was off at Mt.St.Mary's, working the whole page. About a third of his MSM class were among the NUHS Valedictorians. Not because they were brilliant, but because they were prepared for high school.


On an almost unrelated subject, I'm not sure what Dean Kamen being rich has to do with the efficacy of his FIRST program in actually getting more students in college and choosing science and engineering as a field of study who wouldn't otherwise be doing it; we have no object. I do salute him for finding nice things to spend his money on, and having good taste in aircraft.

George Rebane

DougK 443pm - Doug, even though we have some very pointed discussions and disagreements in these comment streams, I do appreciate your participation and thank you for the kind sentiments.

Douglas Keachie

"On an almost unrelated subject, I'm not sure what Dean Kamen being rich has to do with the efficacy of his FIRST program in actually getting more students in college and choosing science and engineering as a field of study who wouldn't otherwise be doing it; we have no object"

I'm not sure what this means. Perhaps it relates to the fact that when I noted that Greg's initial response to my bringing up the FIRST program started by Kamin, resulted in Greg stating:

"I suppose Keachie can explain why Segways aren't in general use."

which I may have mistakenly taken as a putdown of Kamin's engineering excellence, thus resulting in my bringing up the relative earning powers of the two engineers. I could be wrong, is there another way to explain that statement?

Douglas Keachie

BTW, I can understand a bit more of Greg's attitudes towards teachers, now that story about Hennessy. It took three months of intermittent but persistent, steady verbal drilling to get 6 x 7 = 42 into younger daughter's head, when I discovered she didn't have it down pat.

Douglas Keachie

An illustration highlighting the first comment under this post heading, a peace offering.

SagenOnBooks

Gregory

Keach, you were the one putting Kamen's success out as a reason for my opinion and your lack of facts to be ignored. I somehow suspect, based on your past 99%/1%, Proletariat/Bourgeoisie rhetoric, that making a ton of money isn't on generally on the top of your list of establishment of authority on any subject, unless of course it's to try to put me in what you think my place is.

Project based constructivist pedagogy has been promoted in many places without any supporting evidence; OK, FIRST is fun. That's a bit short of saying it's an effective use of educational funding. Evidence, not rhetoric, please. You put out the glowing accounts of FIRST fun and games without any supporting information as to its effectiveness; based on my past experience with project based learning without strong theoretical instruction and structured practice I suspect it has minimal impact.

The kids who choose to go into science and engineering did not wait until high school to start working on academics; the K-7 math curriculum really is hierarchical and if a child doesn't have a clue how to divide 1 3/4 by 1/2, and what it means, by the 7th grade, they're probably not going to grok Algebra in the 8th grade.

My attitude towards teachers is respect for good ones and disrespect for bad ones. Unfortunately, bad ones get the same pay and job security as the good ones do, and you've not lifted a rhetorical finger to help get rid of the bad ones. Nor has your union.

I've been clear about the failures at the GVSD for years and have retold that story about the page of problems a number of times; that you're only now paying attention is the problem. Mathland chased us out of the local public schools, costing us many thousands of dollars for 7 years at the St.Sensible. Because of whole math and whole language. Had we stuck around and allowed the GVSD to damage his future, he would not have the choice to be where he is now.

Now I see Mrs. Jon Byerrum, aka the County Sup. of Schools Holly Hermansen, is beginning investigations into how to integrate the district her husband, the retired GVSD Superintendent, put into the dumpster, with the competent Nevada City Schools. It might be better to add in the Pleasant Ridge District, getting rid of the Byerrum hires and letting the combination of two competent districts to reform the GVSD schools in the middle.

Russ Steele

Union thugs in action! Volunteers at Culver City schools face off against union demands that they pay dues.


At a recent Culver City Unified School District board meeting, dozens of parents packed the chambers to protest an outbreak of campus bullying. Valentina Garcia, the mother of a first-grader attending the National Blue Ribbon–awarded El Marino Language School, stepped to the microphone and proclaimed that if ruffians had accosted her daughter for her lunch money, “my logical response would not be to write the bullies a check.” What made Garcia’s statement unusual was that she wasn’t describing the bullying of children—she was referring to a local education union’s intimidation of parents.

In this West Los Angeles school district, the Association of Classified Employees (ACE)—a union representing non-teaching school staff—wants to force minimally compensated, hard-working volunteers and classroom adjuncts to unionize in a scheme both sides agree would be more expensive and exclusionary. This isn’t the first time a California-based union has tried to muscle school volunteers. In 2010, parent and community volunteers in a Bay Area school district sought to fill non-teaching positions slashed during two years of budget cuts, only to be met by a service union threatening a lawsuit to block their participation. Now ACE is contemplating legal action to stop El Marino’s adjunct program.

Check out the rest of the story HERE at the City Journal.

Now the question is, how will the union thugs disrupt this interactive teaching technology?

Douglas Keachie

Gerg, I'm sure you've told your story many time, and I do understand that you think my life revolves around following you, but it doesn't. This is the very first time I've read that particular tale.

So let me tell you one, and this one has to do with teacher evaluation, improvement, and dismissals, a topic on which my teeny tiny finger was raised here: http://farstars.blogspot.com/search?q=evaluation .

To save room, you may read it here: http://www.forwardedemails.com/1231-cannibal-it-developer-joke-fun-fwd-by-sharansaravanan

Now, would you as a developer like to have your work evaluated by the pointy haired boss, or someone from marketing? There, now maybe you see why I have master teachers evaluating teachers, and teachers from outside the district, to avoid all the politics that go on inside districts.

When school volunteers are paid, they are no longer volunteers, and if they are usurping jobs that were cut due to "budgetary problems" (like we want a 10% raise for the superintendent) I can understand why the Union might threaten a strike. Was the lady saying she was physically threatened? I don't think so. Cops would be there immediately. Looks to me like the district stole the union's lunch money, if anything was stolen, so who's the "bully" now?.

Douglas Keachie

"Now the question is, how will the union thugs disrupt this interactive teaching technology? "

They won't be able to. Primarily Online charters will step in in the higher grades first, and then slowly the materials will become good enough and so well coordinated with the state standards that the average classroom teacher will go nuts when little Johnny is already solving the problem she put on the white board, ahead of her explanation of how to do it.

In time, however, it may become apparent that a teacher who can handle that situation at many different levels with different kids simultaneously is worth their weight in gold, and needs to be paid accordingly. My guess would be that only the strong shall survive.

Douglas Keachie

An 8 foot long 2x4, divided by 1/2, yields what? A sixteen foot long 2x2 if you've got good enough glue, and know how to do some fancy joinery? Welcome to the real world, you crack me up!

Douglas Keachie

And a bit of supporting information for you, on Dean Kamen's FIRST Competitions:

"Research conducted by Brandeis University shows that FIRST alumni choose engineering careers seven times as often as other college students. Thirty-three percent of female FIRST alumnae, 27 percent of African-Americans, and 47 percent of Hispanic alumni report majoring in engineering, compared to national averages of two percent, five percent and six percent, respectively.

Kamen was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005. He also holds more than 440 U.S. and international patents, mostly for medical devices, including a portable infusion pump, portable dialysis machine, and a sophisticated mobility device for the disabled.

During the academic year, more than 130,000 students participated in local qualifiers for FIRST. "

for more, see: http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3746319

Gregory

Keach, in the real world, everyone judges your work. Engineer have to sell themselves and their work to other engineers, engineering management, marketing too. Customers especially, in the end, whether you are an ivory tower inhabitant or not.

And you think teachers should only be judged by master teachers? Like the one who never made it through a real math class who assured me any 3rd grade student who can do the first problem on the page gets no benefit from doing the rest?

No. Teachers and schools should be judged by their customers, their students and their parents, who should be able to take the education dollars elsewhere if they aren't getting the education that is desired. Period.

Douglas Keachie

Greg, you are judging all teachers by one example, which is statistically invalid and an unreliable measure. Sounds like you are still really riled about having to pay for a private school. The pinecone gratuity Goddess never promised you a rose garden, just a runway. "Life isn't fair" ~Harry Edwards, Dwinelle Hall, about 1967, about the first time I had even thought about it.

Douglas Keachie

"No. Teachers and schools should be judged by their customers, their students and their parents, who should be able to take the education dollars elsewhere if they aren't getting the education that is desired. Period."

I wonder how George R. feels about the masses being able to make such choices?

The average, not fast track, student and the average parent, both want the same things, high grades, but in two different ways. The former, through as little "hard work" as possible, the latter, as representing the work done, but if the work hasn't been done, they'll want the higher grade anyway. PLease reread the story I wrote about the student who caused the ruckus at the away game that resulted in the whole team being suspended for the season. Parent and student demanded and got grade changed so he could play, by an accommodating music teacher, under pressure from the administration. What fun! There may even be a lawsuit.

Under your proposal for evaluation, the demands of the average student and average parent would result in about as mediocre a staff as you could possibly get.

Russ Steele

And we wonder why American students are rated 26th when compared to other math students around the world. They have help from our Democrat leaders in Sacramento find the bottom of the list. No student must excel.

Government schools run a program called “Gifted and Talented Education” (GATE).  The purpose is to take the brightest of students and challenge them.  In a regular classroom filled with kids of average intelligence, government education is dumbed down.  GATE allows for high quality teachers and education.

Democrats truly want an egalitarian society—everybody equal.

“Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Los Angeles, the author of this bill, said Thursday that “children of color” are not fairly represented in GATE programs across the state.

Blumenfield and supporters must assume that “children of color” are not capable of testing into the GATE program, and need the assistance of another affirmative action program.

But the GATE program is a meritocratic program, in which students participate entirely on the basis of merit, rather than by birth or privilege, or because of skin color or socioeconomic status. There are obviously many children of all races and genders in the GATE program.”

Since not enough of the “right” students QUALIFY for these classes, no one should have them.
Blumenfield is why we need charters, vouchers and private schools.  Government schools are failures and the Democrats like that.

George Rebane

Russ Steele's 713am is a typical report of how leftwing ideology has impacted public schools, and adds to this discussion.

My strong feeling remains that the school system's customers should be the final arbiters of the system/school's performance. The customers are the parents and NOT the students. It is a fundamental duty of parents to educate and/or provide for the education of their offspring so as to provide a productive member of society's next generation. As I stated before, the student is the product of the chosen school system.

Society in its turn can demand that the 'products' have certain demonstrated performance characteristics before being accepted into the various jobs/professions that serve it.

Gregory

Keach, what I'm riled about are lousy schools and lousy teachers being tolerated. A generation of my son's peers were damaged by one district's fealty to a failed pedagogy; while it would have been nice to have a new car or two instead of paying twice for my son's elementary education, the missing car is dwarfed by the damage to the community that a generation of academic cripples entails.

I've known nearly as many teachers as you, Keach. The highly respected but damaging master teacher I referred to (Mary Biles-Daley, iirc) was just an example of why the pal-review you long for is a formula for mediocrity.

Then there's the Fed DofEd study released a decade ago that found the lower the College Board scores of a freshman, the higher the probability they are teaching ten years after getting their Baccalaureate. K-12 is a Temple of mediocrity. If you want teachers to have professional pay and status, the house needs to be cleaned.

Douglas Keachie

Gotta a lot to do today, so I'll hit a few points briefly.

One Democratic representative calling for the admissions into the GATES program does not mean that all Democrats support the change. This one strongly opposes it, and searching through Google I could find very little in the way of support for GATES in general from either side of the aisle. Maybe you can show me otherwise.

Greg, which came first, the Gold in the California foothills, or the Gold miners? If you want quality folks, you'd have to up the salaries to the point where they would abandon what they are doing now, and come to teaching, and out-compete those already there. In San Francisco way back when, to get voc ed instructors, they would take in skilled tradesmen, bump them instantly to the 7 year tier on the salary schedule, and let them earn a teaching credential over time. If you really want quality teaching, then you need careful study of what goes into the best of the best of what we have, and, of course, you first have to figure out who those teachers are. Obviously you were unhappy with the designation of master teacher to one person by persons unknown.

BTW, the notion that you have spent as much time with as many teachers as I have is just as funny as me suggesting that my visits to COMDEX means I have spent as much time as many engineers as you have. Do the math.

I found myself at a school (not Lowell) where the resident expert designated by the principal was unable to keep the network up and running. She came into my room and proceeded to connect three hubs up in a cascading fashion, wherein the final hub was feeding back into the first, and there was no connection to the outside world. I pointed this out to her, and she insisted that her setup was correct. After she left I reconnected it so it worked again. She'd been there a couple of years and was the darling of the principal. She quit the semester after I arrived, as I made it unnecessary for so many calls to the downtown techies to come "rescue" her.

That is what I mean when I speak of school politics. If you want a fair evaluation of teachers, it has to be done by teachers out of district, and certainly not by the parent and students who have the teacher. They can be used for some input, but to give them the final say, madness!

George, you live too much inside of an upper middle class bubble, in which your parents are all part of intact families and well educated. That is not the typical California household. If you left it up to the average parent, you would most likely see a swing even further to the left than you've already got. It might be a good plan for local upper middle class enclaves, but it would lead to even larger numbers of societal thumb twiddlers, who would then replicate in ever greater numbers. Do you really want that, or do you really want to improve the overall quality of education in the state?

Douglas Keachie

One final note, I don't think society can afford to pay teachers more, so society had damn well better figure out how to improve the ones they've got, or come up with teacher bots that can get her done, without going Clockwork Orange. BTW, India, etc. may in time have economies wherein they are "not available" as cheap labor anymore...

Gregory

George, while I agree with the basic sentiment, the more mature the student, the more the parent should heed their opinion; they are as much the 'customer' as the parent is, and arguably more. While after Teri died I was the sole arbiter, I would not at any time have acted unilaterally.

Keach, you're making it far too hard. The quickest way to improve the teacher corps we have is to squeeze the bad ones out. No pay raises, more hassle, less job security. Don't go away mad, just go away.

Based on Keachie's caricature of what parents want, one might assume magnets like Lowell are popular because of easy A's; so be it. No matter what, Keachie just keeps coming back to 'teachers know best' and 'parental choice would just make things even worse'. Among the college educated, K-12 teachers know the least, parents know best, and it's parents and their children who have to live with the results.

At the moment, California's teachers are among the most highly paid in the nation, and the educational outcome is just about the worst. It's past time to fix it, but I think it will have to wait for a few counties and the state to go bankrupt to get at the root problems.

Gregory

Keach, the ringbearer at my parent's wedding was the son of a teacher. I grew up in a teacher's family and most all their friends were teachers, with a few brewers thrown in. I worked at a public school, and had a part time job in that *large* school district's credit union, where virtually all the teachers were customers.

In short, I probably really have met more teachers than you have.

I do accept you've not met many engineers or scientists. It's been obvious from the start.

George Rebane

Gregory 1006am - I'll stick to my guns on the parents being the customers of educational systems, and their offspring being the 'polished products' output by such systems. But I do agree that parents can seek advice from their kids, especially the apparently mature ones. And caring parents (yes, even in ghettos and poor southern rural districts) do not make such decisions in a vacuum, but talk to other parents, and seek other counsel before selecting schools for their kids.

But like all customers spending their own money and bearing responsibility for their purchases, they have to make the final decision. The older generation educates the younger one; chaos results (some of which we now see) when we overweight the wisdom of the little darlins in how they should educate themselves.

Brad Croul

I hope these online educational resources will be taken advantage of by home-schooled students, as well as by motivated students in marginalized public schools.

One hurdle will be to get the kids to actively watch and engage with the online programs (to be fair, I had the same problem as a public school student, and had to occasionally be reminded that the classroom, "was in here, and not out the window, young man").

George Rebane

BradC 1032am - valid concern Brad. An advantage that machine delivered education has is that it can/will be designed to be highly personalized in its subject matter/level, pace of delivery, visual/aural formatting, multi-modal user interfaces, relevance of its remediation loops (before returning student to the 'main sequence' of instruction), and modes of gratification that include feedback on attainment. And soon, the machine will deliver it all through a conversational human persona (think avatar).

Such sessions will all be one-on-one in which the student is constantly engaged; there will be no dead time for looking out the window while the machine/teacher is explaining something that doesn't connect.

Gregory

"[C]haos results (some of which we now see) when we overweight the wisdom of the little darlins in how they should educate themselves."

No, chaos results when we let the least academically accomplished take responsibility for the early academic training of the little darlin's, with no repercussions for failure. In fact, we reward them with an all but guaranteed lifetime job security and excellent health and pension benefits.

Keach misunderstands the concept; I've not suggested parents perform the actual teacher evaluations, that's the job of the schools. Families should be able to choose where their little darlin's go to school, and should be loud about why they're taking their Average Daily Attendence monies with them to where ever they choose to go. Every principal should be faced with the thought, "What should we have done differently, if anything, to keep them here?" as they lose the business.

George Rebane

Gregory 1101am - agreed, especially with "Every principal should be faced with the thought, 'What should we have done differently, if anything, to keep them here?' as they lose the business." But we're also talking about two independent sources of chaos. Re the teachers, it seems we've had the same experiences with those in the nation's classrooms.

Douglas Keachie

"Such sessions will all be one-on-one in which the student is constantly engaged; there will be no dead time for looking out the window while the machine/teacher is explaining something that doesn't connect."

Most programs of any value have "pause" buttons. Of course if the kid puts it on pause for too long, the machine can summon a live teacher.

Greg, as a mentor teacher in SFUSD, and the son of a UC Berkeley engineering prof, who grew up in Berkeley, with friends who were likewise parented, I will not dignify your claim via 1 year as a teachers aide and as a teller in East LA with much of a response, other than what it deserves, the sound of one hollow hand clapping.

For both of you, one school gets great marks because of their teachers. Everybody for 30 miles around applies. How do they decide who gets in? What if their new hires are not so talented. You might as well turn schools into fast food outlets.

To me it is all just a ruse. The wealthy will pay for private schools, as they always have, and they want their tax dollar to help them pay the tuition. They don't give a tinker's damn about what happens to the public schools, and denigrating them insures fewer tax dollars will be voted for them. Hellova way to build a country and keep it strong in the face of foreign competition.

Douglas Keachie

"Based on Keachie's caricature of what parents want, one might assume magnets like Lowell are popular because of easy A's; so be it."

The average student and parent never make it to Lowell. Admission is by testing and middle school grades, many apply, few are chosen. Lowell is an alternative school, not a magnet school. It attracts and admits the very best students....and teachers....proud to have been there for ten years, huge mistake to have followed wife to local school up here, only to find it unsatisfactory, and return to SF, less my slot at Lowell. Otherwise I'd still be teaching at Lowell today.

Douglas Keachie

"Every principal should be faced with the thought, "What should we have done differently, if anything, to keep them here?" as they lose the business."

and in the average parent situation, it will mean firing mean old Mr. Keachie, who is a hard grader. In teaching computer literacy at Lowell grades were no problem. I just told them up front, 1/2 of the class will get A's, and the other 1/2 will get B's, except for those who do nothing. They will get F's. They worked like crazy to be in the top half, but Lowell is a different school, from the average, totally different.

George Rebane

As historian Page Smith (Killing the Spirit, 1990) explained, the removal of local control from public schools was the beginning of the downfall of public education.

Contrary to the faith-based tenets of liberals, the wealthy are extremely concerned about the state of the country's public education system. From an educated workforce comes stability, wealth, and manifold investment opportunities. From an ignorant one come the hard-to-hire gimmes that vote for every government handout imaginable that their liberal politicians pander to them. This argument makes not a dent in the progressive mind - it is simply ignored.

Douglas Keachie

Maybe the wealthy should take the time to read:

"Without exception, studies find that students make greater learning gains if their teachers have attended a more selective college.
■ One study compared the academic performance of hundreds of middle and high school students in Philadelphia and found that students made greater gains when assigned to teachers who had attended higher rated colleges. Interestingly, black and low-income students assigned to these teachers posted the highest gains.53
■ A massive study of 30,000 high school students also found a strong positive relationship between the selectivity of teachers’ college and student academic gains.54
■ A study of roughly 800 middle schoolers in California found that when a school had a larger percentage of teachers who graduated from one of the top 100 rated institutions in the nation, student achievement was higher.55
While teachers from more selective colleges may be more effective, some evidence suggests that they may be quicker to leave the profession."

More can be found at: http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_io.pdf

Douglas Keachie

"Every principal should be faced with the thought, 'What should we have done differently, if anything, to keep the best teachers, who went to the best colleges, here,' as they're walking out the door?"

Douglas Keachie

"We are learning the same thing from the teacher preparation programs that had the highest scores in our assessments. We had Chinese Taipei and Singapore as having a really higher achieving group of future primary and secondary teachers. They do things differently. They have very high standards for entry into teacher education. Of course, if you have an oversupply of highly-qualified candidates, you can afford to be very selective. In many countries, practically everyone who wants to go into teacher education may be accepted, especially if you have a low supply or if the teaching profession is not very attractive or if it is not very well paid or if teachers are not seen as professionals. It seems like higher-qualified teachers come with more attractive work conditions, more attractive salaries and overall consideration of the teaching profession as a more professional endeavor."

Well, DUH!

From:http://lessonsfromabroad.tumblr.com/post/22137959651/q-a-with-maria-teresa-tatto-a-look-at-teacher-training

George Rebane

DougK 739pm - again there is a disconnect here. The wealthy were well aware of such results decades ago - smarter teachers do better in educating kids. To liberals such a conclusion, after requiring the study of tens of thousands of students, is revelatory rocket science. Another study pissing away millions to prove the obvious.

Such smart teachers would stay if they could be rewarded on merit. And no conservative, rich or poor, would deny them such a compensation package. But the unions will not allow it for all the obvious reasons of money and membership.

Douglas Keachie

"And no conservative, rich or poor, would deny them such a compensation package." as is pointed out at the site, they do have the option of contributing to merit boosts. When one goes fishing for the best fish, one has to put the bait on the line. The best fish will not jump into your boat for promises. I have yet to see a teacher 1.0 FTE, making over $200,000 per year, in any school, anywhere. See lawyers doing it every day, so it is possible, if the WILL was really out there. Crocodile tears is about it. BTW, that was a rather right wing site, no? All funded by Foundations of Richies, will not accept Federal funds, I thought you'd dig that?

Douglas Keachie

Let's see, we institute a merit pay program, and using our existing dollars we pay the scoundrels less and the new super teachers more. WE only hire super teachers from here on out. Scoundrels die off. Now we have all super teachers. Where is all that extra money going to come from? If it is not going to show, the new super teachers will not be so super, will they?

"How much budget could a conservative chop, if a conservative could chop a budget?" and in this case still pull off quality schools? None, budget would have to be boosted. The first scoundrel who left would put the budget into red ink.

"The first scoundrel teacher ate a bean, parle vous, the second, the third, and blew a hole in the budget you could drive a torpedo through."

George Rebane

DougK 1049pm - what a world you live in! There are no markets there, no changing prices, no adapting to demand or supply, everything that starts in one direction continues in that direction without change. And unfortunately you are not alone, but have tens of millions of like-minded who see everything in terms of The Grand Stasis with the guiding principle that human nature is simplicity itself.

And this thinking is rampant over the land, it comes out of every legislature controlled by progressives. Look at our policies from the EPA (described by billyT) to tax receipts as planned by the nation's Moonbeams. Everything is so simple - and wrong.

Douglas Keachie

Dear George, please point out the obvious flaw in my argument, other than that the teaching profession may be disbanded via electronic learning over time?

"If you use inferior materials, you get inferior demons." UNKNOWN SCI FI NOVEL

"no adapting to demand or supply," ~GeorgeR~

George, I think it is very clear from the research. You want higher test scores, so you want the proven race horses that have quantifiable gotten that result, according to research and in agreement with GG's contention that the current crop comes from the bottom of our colleges. In short, you want the super teachers who currently have a tendency to quit teaching and go elsewhere, or never start teaching in the first place.

So, how to attract and hold these precious teachers? I don't normally do this, but your fluffernutter response to what I have already posted requires that I post it again. In a nutshell, you have to pay and respect these folks, unless, of course, you are proposing an economy in which even the best and brightest are so desperate for work that they will teach for less than today's teachers. I don't think that's a world either of us want to see.

""We are learning the same thing from the teacher preparation programs that had the highest scores in our assessments. We had Chinese Taipei and Singapore as having a really higher achieving group of future primary and secondary teachers. They do things differently. They have very high standards for entry into teacher education. Of course, if you have an oversupply of highly-qualified candidates, you can afford to be very selective. In many countries, practically everyone who wants to go into teacher education may be accepted, especially if you have a low supply or if the teaching profession is not very attractive or if it is not very well paid or if teachers are not seen as professionals. It seems like higher-qualified teachers come with more attractive work conditions, more attractive salaries and overall consideration of the teaching profession as a more professional endeavor."

Well, DUH!

From:http://lessonsfromabroad.tumblr.com/post/22137959651/q-a-with-maria-teresa-tatto-a-look-at-teacher-training


George Rebane

DougK 1102am - Study the first paragraph of your 1049pm. We are already living in a world with a largesse of smart people who can teach. These are not allowed into the public classrooms by the government and union gatekeepers.

As technology continues to advance, this supply will increase way beyond demand. And the salaries the new crop of teachers get will reflect that. Your stasist view of the future of teaching allows for none of that. Everything tomorrow will be done according to the rules and norms of today.

That is what we claim you liberals are ever blind to (calling it a "fluffernutter response"), and therefore continue doing the same thing while expecting different results.

And the longer the collectivists resist this change, the more divided the country will become between those who can and will, and those who can't and demand transfer payments. Even the USSR and East Germany with all their guns and spies marbled into their populations were not able to stay the forces of the markets, because the markets are nothing but a reflection of the realworld full of real people.

Douglas Keachie

You may have a largess of smart people who can teach, but they are so dumb they can't figure out how to get a credential? I don't think so. I think that they are "otherwise occupied" at higher salaries.

Or perhaps you are speaking of the notion that every one of them should get to compete (how this is done, who knows, throw out teachers with low test scores, then replace them with a new crop, 90% of whom get more low test scores? Such a plan!), every month, every year, for every job? "Here's Bob, from TeachTemps, he'll be your teacher for the next 50 minutes."

If teaching was a year round employment opening job, like engineering, it might work, but as it is, teaching is "a hire once for the year, by September, and let the rest stumble around until the following September kind of job." This is a very unusual system, but those are the current working conditions for those who go into teaching. Are you planning on somehow or other changing that too?

"Good morning class, I'll be your teacher for today." (or week or month). How would you set up testing to accommodate such a year round hiring scheme? Test every month?

"were not able to stay the forces of the markets, because the markets are nothing but a reflection of the realworld full of real people."

And a world full of unemployed people with no money in their pockets will not sustain large markets for very long, and the infrastructure of the uberrich will dissolve right out from underneath them, and you will have a huge population being kept in check only by the armed robots of the rich, protecting the rest of "their" property and persons. I don't think a rampant free market is going to make for a glorious future, comrade leader. :)

Douglas Keachie

If you think that the best and brightest are just going to take out huge loans to be told that they are only good enough to take a teaching job are a reduced salary, no benefits, and no pension to speak of, I suggest you read between the kines here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brittany-baker/debt-up-to-my-neck_b_945267.html

That kind of talent is not going to take it lying down, and they are young and fresh and have far more collective energy than all the Bastiat Tea Party can muster.

billy T

In related news, America has lost one of its most recognized and beloved teachers. I am deeply saddened on this Monday morning. George Lindsey has passed away. He devoted his last 17 years raising money for the mentally disabled as well as receiving a honorary doctorate from the University of North Alabama. He was affectionately called Dr. Goober. Yes, the former teacher is also known as Goober Pyle. Lindsey was born in Jasper, Ala., the son of a butcher. He received a bachelor of science degree from Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) in 1952 after majoring in physical education and biology and playing quarterback on the football team. After spending three years in the Air Force, he worked one year as a high school baseball and basketball coach and history teacher near Huntsville, Ala. One of the beloved teacher's jokes was "A football coach, holding a football, asks his quarterback, `Son, can you pass this?' The player says, `Coach, I don't even think I can swallow it.'" Nowadays the teachers unions are asking us to swallow things much bigger.

Douglas Keachie

RIP Most Talented Goober.

Character, quirkiness, and charisma are often in the mix of a master teacher, and you can teach from the stage as well as the lectern. Many fond memories...

Douglas Keachie

"Nowadays the teachers unions are asking us to swallow things much bigger."

Not as big as the conservatives saying there are throngs of guaranteed test score improving teachers just itching to take the jobs at lower salaries, and that you'll be able to see the results immediately, and it will be all so simple to implement if we just destroy those darned unions. Would we get better movies if we destroyed the Screen Actors Guild? Better government if we prohibited political parties? Better wiring if we destroyed the electricians' Unions, etc.? Not on the Conservative's radar, I wonder why?

billy T

Now we are left with the haunting question "What would Goober do?" My favorite teachers (and best ones) were always the quirky ones. Mr. Bates with his two-tone wingtips made even algebra understandable. The English teacher would sing out "Rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga" every time someone would read poetry in a monotone. We learned to add emphasis when reading out loud or face the music, lol. The science teacher would purposely drop the chalk when writing on the blackboard to get a laugh and get our attention when our minds drifted to pretty girls bouncing across the quad. Oh those school daze.

Douglas Keachie

We could teach geometric shapes by building lunch areas with benches outline those shapes, and labeling them, such that each social grouping would have a space to call their own. "meet you at the octagon." Pre meds would meet at the dodecahedron, 3D shapes could be sculptures adorning an entrance to a typical hexagon with tables and benches? Maybe I should adopt "Q" as a middle initial?

billy T

Billiards teaches more about geometry than a book can. Of course billiards once was considered as a plague that corrupted our youth as evidenced by "The Music Man". But it will never fly in today's PC world. Billiards is an equal opportunity offender with its legends such as Minnesota Fats and Kansas City Slim. Speaking of body fat index, I have been puzzled by the growing and disturbing trend of ADD students. First they thought it was mercury in vaccines but they removed the mercury and the rate continued to explode. Must be hard on the teachers. Then UC Davis came out and found a link which makes senses. Grossly obese pregnant women or just plain ole obese parents had a 60% higher chance of pushing out an ADD child. Now that is something that we can all do to help out our schools with the escalating expenses for special needs costs. Bring back rigorous PE and no opting out for privacy concerns. Put a tampon on and run a few laps 5 days a week. Even the fat boys will have to sweat like stuffed pigs whether they feel like it or not. Hit the ground and give me 20. That will help future generations or our cherished youngins. You know the old mind /body thing for wellness.

Douglas Keachie

It's a nutrition/economics thing. Cheapest foods are most likely to make you fat.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/a-high-price-for-healthy-food/

billy T

My apologies. I must make a correction. I was referring to autistic children, not ADD. I know this is a painful subject for parents of an autistic child. They have been through enough and are tied to the child well beyond the years when the child becomes an adult. This is written for those fat parents who are thinking about reproducing. Lose weight. Yes, not all fat tubs of lard produce autistic children and skinny healthy parents don't escape either. But, lets think about our poor overworked teachers and start sweating to the oldies with Richard Simmons. They built the Great Wall of China on stone at a time. You can do it. Shed those pounds for our schools.

Douglas Keachie

There are teachers and then there are teachers, they don't all think alike. SFUSD is talking about knocking off the prep period that AP teachers get, and that resulted in this being posted to the Lowell FB page:

Donald Michael Platt
The Los Angeles Unified School District eliminated the prep period in the early 1970s, and if some had their way, they would have eliminated AP classes as well. When I taught A.P. European History at Fairfax, 1973-87, (95% pass rate; 2/3 of them 4s and 5s) the head counselor threatened to cancel AP classes each semester unless X number of students signed up, and several conselors tried to talk worthy students out of taking more than two AP classes because the schedule would be too demanding for them. Some wanted to end academic "elitism" which caused me to question why the hell they were in the education profession.
11 hours ago · Like · 4

Gregory

2/3 of the Fairfax AP scores from '73 to '87, for that teacher's AP Euro, were 4's and 5's? An interesting claim. All the kids in the class took the test?

Smells like BS.


Gregory

"Every principal should be faced with the thought, 'What should we have done differently, if anything, to keep the best teachers, who went to the best colleges, here,' as they're walking out the door?" - Keachie

The reality, as opposed to Keachie's fantasy, is that the lower the SAT of the college graduate, the higher the probability they are teaching 10 years after graduation. This was established by a Federal Dept. of Education study a decade ago. Folks who could get into the best colleges studying the most serious subjects generally don't become teachers.

I vaguely recall Keachie complaining in the past about how he was unable to put more years in teaching. What was that all about, Doug?

Douglas Keachie

Oh, now we have curiosity? Two events, the shrinking size of the overall SF student body, and the reduced desire on the part of the district to be teaching comp literacy (the kids were taking care of themselves nicely) and a reduced need for programming teachers as well, and a lack of good labs and legal software (money issues, as usual), in many schools. I paved the way for one of my colleagues in the Math Dept. at Lowell to teach CS, during my year of sabbatical. My wife turned up two jobs for us up here a year later, but it turned out the HS was afraid of letting the kids use the internet, and wanted to concentrate on producing typists, totally contrary to what they said during the job interview. I endured a year of it and opted to go back to SF, but the rules of the game, set up by SFUSD and the Union, found me losing my slot at Lowell. The next five years were a comedy of errors, and an offer of a job up here at a charter led me to make the jump, big mistake, they misrepresented their financial capability, and their needs in the Apple arena.

There, does that give you enough material to do another 5 years of Doug bashing? Have at it, we are all amused, each in our own special ways, by the Greg and Doug Show. See how nice I am? I even gave you top billing!

You should have gone into chemistry, you've got such a refined sniffer. How good are you with wines, coffees, and brandies?

Douglas Keachie

"Folks who could get into the best colleges studying the most serious subjects generally don't become teachers."

Do I smell intellectual snobbery here?

"is that the lower the SAT of the college graduate, the higher the probability they are teaching 10 years after graduation"

yes, that is true, and it is also true that the only established way to get higher test scores, the Rebane Regulars Holy Grail, is to attract and keep graduates of the top one hundred schools in the country. That's what the studies found, it is not a fantasy of mine, it is a nightmare of yours, because to get what you spend24/7/365 whining about, is going to cost you more dollars, IF YOU REALLY WANT IT, which I sincerely doubt.

Reread: http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_io.pdf

Gregory

"Folks who could get into the best colleges studying the most serious subjects generally don't become teachers."

Do I smell intellectual snobbery here?"

No, just reality.

No nightmares, here, Keach. As long as lousy teachers are tolerated, too many of the best will find something else to do with their life. Eagles want to fly with the eagles, not the Dodos.

Yes, I really want lousy teachers to be pushed out, and, better yet, never knowingly hired in the first place. Try it for a change.

George Rebane

For the record, I have not restricted (good) teachers to be graduates of any subset of schools. Most of the "top one hundred schools in the country" already have departments of education (some now called 'communications') and graduate thousands of teachers. My experience matches that in Gregory's 1216am.

Douglas Keachie

"As long as lousy teachers are tolerated,"

and as long as good teachers are able to find more rewarding and respectable work elsewhere, you will have low test scores. Quit whining.

Are both of you, having supposedly gone to the link I provided, willing to state that there is no link betwwen a teacher being from one of the top 100 colleges and higher test scores? That sound like what you are testifying to, except for one of you, who weasel words his way out of everything.

Douglas Keachie

So, if you really want higher test scores, you will have to pay for them, by hiring teachers who:

Two recent reviews of the research found that a teacher’s level of literacy45 as measured by vocabulary and other standardized tests affects student achievement more than any other measurable teacher attribute, including certification status, experience, and the amount of professional development that a teacher receives.46

■ These summary findings were based on numerous robust studies spanning many decades that looked at the impact of literacy on student achievement, all finding that a teacher’s level of literacy is a strong predictor of student achievement.47

■ One such study found that teachers who are highly literate improved student achievement .2 to .4 grade levels more than teachers who were the least literate.48

■ A recent study of National Board teachers in North Carolina found that the teacher attribute that most consistently distinguished Board-certified teachers from other teachers was how literate they were. Board-certified teachers had significantly higher average scores on standardized tests such as licensing exams and the SAT and GRE.49 This is particularly significant in light of a recent finding that confirms that National Board teachers produce relatively higher student achievement gains.50

■ While there appears to be no reason to believe that licensing tests would not correlate with teachers’ performance on other standardized tests, no study has yet determined if higher scores on licensing exams such as the Praxis series correlate with greater teacher effectiveness.
Bottom Line

Clearly a prospective teacher’s level of literacy, however
measured, should be a primary consideration in the hiring process.
More effective teachers will score
relatively higher on tests of literacy.

Douglas Keachie

"by hiring teachers who have graduated from the top 100 colleges and universities in the country. They have already pre-selected those in high school with high levels of literacy"

While previewing, I accidentally hit the post button before I was finished.

Douglas Keachie

"Yes, I really want lousy teachers to be pushed out, and, better yet, never knowingly hired in the first place. Try it for a change."

Try paying for what you'd steal, if you could figure out how to do it. As it is you're the whiney broke kid in front of the Lamborghini dealership.

Douglas Keachie

In short, you are both getting the reality you are paying for, and wish your fantasies didn't come only with high price tags, which you chose not to afford. If the economy continues to toilet, yes, maybe you'll get those top grads on the cheap, but I don't think you'll relish an economy that has tanked that far for your grandkids. Teaching is the only profession with a once a year hiring pattern, and, until that changes, you can expect Unions to be strong. The road to free market, anything goes, capitalism is leading us to the barred gates of Dracula's Castle, and a return to the Dark Ages.

Douglas Keachie

"Two obvious causes for poor performance in a classroom comprised of a cross section of students are 1) the out of control classroom due to bad behavior of kids whom the teacher cannot (may not?) control, thereby destroying the learning situation for everyone regardless of the teacher’s talents; and 2) the poorly prepared or incompetent teacher in a classroom of normally controllable kids – i.e. the learning environment is totally controllable."

With a worsening economy, will the number of #1 classrooms increase or decrease?

Just what percentage of classrooms do you believe are "totally controllable."

To get top performance, test score and people-wise, you need an emphasis on quality interactivity, not control per se. The Chinese are good at control, or do they have a culture that emphasizes hard work, achievement, and respect for their elders?

BTW, the top rated school in Texas via USNWR, is all of 200 or so students, selected from a population of 160,000 district-wide. Contrast that with Lowell, 3,000 students, chosen from 55,000, district-wide. And Greg, the teacher you semi-accused of being a liar did not state which Fairfax he was talking about, and I don't know myself, but hint, it most likely was not the California one in Marin County, as kids there go to Sir Francis Drake HS in San Anselmo.

Seems like the Navy may have troubles with their little darlings too.

http://www.stripes.com/news/uss-the-sullivans-armstrong-is-10th-commanding-officer-fired-this-year-1.176692

Even last night as I ordered a Brunswick buger, I noticed the kid had on the joint's uniform, but his butt was definitely sagging, pictures at 11.

Srobert981

Well as long as the main objective of this new revolution to is to disrupt incompetency of teachers I have nothing against it. Having online education matters most especially for people who wanted to finish their online bachelors. And sometimes, in my opinion online education is more effective compared to traditional classroom classes.

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