Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sorry for the Political Ranting...

Everyone go see Waiting for Superman ASAP.
It is an amazing documentary on our country's public school system...
And how it is not doing its job.

It made me a little bit angry.
Not at teachers.... just at the bad ones.
And it made me very angry at the teacher's union... which I'm sure was started for good reasons... 
But now it is the main thing holding us back.

I absolutely think that teacher's should have to earn their job like every other profession..
That bad teachers should be fired and good teachers should be rewarded.
That is not possible because of the Union.
The Union makes us view all teachers as teachers... no more, no less.
But we all know there are different types of teachers.
I know I had some amazing ones.  Inspiring, thought provoking, made learning fun.
And I know I had some horrible ones.  Ones that inspired me to ditch class and fall asleep. 
Ones that were not good at their job... but why would they care?  They can't get fired.  
And they get paid the same no matter how good or bad they are.

There was an idea to give teachers the option to fore go their tenure and have the chance to make 6 digit salaries...
That way good teachers would make good money and bad teachers could be fired.

The teachers Union wouldn't even let it go to vote.

Obviously it has become all about the adults- and not about the kids.

I could go on and on about this... but I will let you just go see the movie.
It will break your heart. But it is so good.

And I want to mention just in case I was misunderstood-
I am so grateful for all the great teachers out there.
Thank goodness for them.
I wish we could reward them for being so great at their job. 
And I know the Union does some good things too.  It is not all bad.
I just think it is ridiculous that bad teachers are protected... And I think all the good teachers probably don't appreciate that either.

PS My husband cried.
That was the second time I have ever seen him cry.
Once at Eloise's baby blessing.
Once at this movie.
It was hilarious.


mindy said...

OH i totally agree. the whole system is going down the drain. I've worked at Houston Elm. for almost 4 years in special ed... and its SO sad. its just going to crap. i'm NOT working there after this year... gonna find something new to do!
Don't be sorry for your ranting- people need to know!!

Lizzie said...

I am intrigued.

Sierra said...

This movie made me so excited to be a teacher. To spite all of the awful ones I had in school growing up! I'll show the world good teaching! Haha! Loved this documentary.

Jenna Robert said...

Yeah, I dropped out of a teaching degree because of stuff like this and a few other reasons-I've been wanting to see this!

Briawna said...

hmm, i'll need to see that one. I have to say that I have major internal battles being a teacher. I loved teaching kids but all the political junk (and often the kids' parents)got in the way of their learning and my teaching. As a teacher, it frustrates me that all teachers need to do is get tenure and they're "safe". While, so many young teachers are getting burnt out or let go because they're "expendable", instead of recognizing their enthusiasm for education. I could go on but I think the public school system does great things when kids' parents are actively involved in ensuring quality education. I think I'm in the minority of teachers who love the charter system. But that's another discussion for another time. I definitely want to see this movie.

The Nixon Family said...

Tenure is good and bad. It isn't just in HS, but college too. John's parents (his Dad's a prof) say some bad teachers have gotten tenure when good ones have been passed up. I will watch it on DVD, can't remember the last time I actually went to a movie.

Courtney said...
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Courtney said...

Meg Whitman has a new radio ad endorsing this movie. I thought of you and Craig when I heard it. I'll have to check out the movie when it comes out on dvd.

I have to say my experience with the public school system has been mostly positive. Most teachers are committed to their students and want them to succeed. I have to agree with the above poster who said that parental involvement is key to success.

Seth's first grade teacher was exceptional and was also one of the heads of the teachers' union in southern new jersey. She was very proactive in getting him additional help and also in involving me. She was great with suggestions (both on and off the record). She also was great about finding his strengths and building his self esteem. Even after we knew we were moving to San Diego she offered to come to a meeting at the school to make sure we had his IEP updated before the move. She was not required to come and did not get paid for the meeting but was still willing to make the 30 minute drive each way in the middle of the summer. Following the meeting, she gave me her cell phone number and told me to call her or have his new teacher call her if we ever had any questions or if she could be of help. She was committed to his success even after we were no longer apart of the school or their test scores.

Are there bad teachers? Yes. Are their problems in the school system? Yes. Are there bad parents? Yes. Improvements could definitely be made on all sides.

Our children are most likely to succeed when parents and teachers work together. Which is why it's even more important to be involved in the school PTA as well as volunteering in the classroom. With today's budget cuts (especially in CA) classroom sizes are just getting bigger. A couple of my kids struggle but not enough to be caught in the net of special ed. I think these are the children whose needs are most likely to be overlooked. As a parent, I feel like it's my job to make sure they aren't.

Courtney said...
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Mandy said...

There are good and bad teachers.And there are pros and cons to tenure, unions, and performance pay. And I haven't seen the movie back but I have spent a good chunk of time in the school.

So I wonder if the makers of the documentary have ever tried to teach a low level class of students with very little parental support. I wonder if they have ever asked a parent for help and had the parent respond, "I don't know what to do with him/her. If you find anything that works, let me know." I wonder if they have pretty much given all of their energy (plus a nice chunk of their bank account to bribe students into doing homework because their parents didn't care if they did it)to a group of students who were finally learning math and then watched them circle in bubbles on a government mandated test. Only to know that student wasn't going to perform well on a test that teacher knew they were capable of doing- and doing well.

Performance pay sounds great. But I am pretty sure I would not receive that performance pay salary not because I am a bad teacher. But because year after year I taught low-end students, with a plethora of disabilities and disadvantages. And even though I gave my heart and soul to them, most of them just didn't care. And neither did their parents. So anytime a bubble sheet was placed in front of them, they made great designs and took a nap.

Do I agree that some teachers shouldn't be in the school system still? Yes. Do I think that there needs to be some changes in the public school system? Yes. But do I think performance pay is the answer to the public school problem? No. Do I think that unions are the problem in the public school? No.

I am up for improving the system but I am also up for changing the parenting techniques of students in the system too.

Courtney said...
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Courtney said...

Sorry for all of the deleted posts. I kept getting error messages and then it posted everything a million times!

Tay said...

I think it's obvious how important parent involvement is.... In everything your kids do... Not just education.
And the movie is all about the change WE need to make, the action WE need to take... It's not the teachers fault and its not the unions fault either... But the union is holding us back now that we are trying to reform the school system.
I don't think any of us really get how horrible those poor neighborhoods are. Yes at home. But also at school. We can't force parents to teAch their kids... But I do think we should be able to regulate how teachers teach. It is a job after all... One of the most important jobs. In my mind it should have the highest standards of all.
And again... I'm not bagging the good teachers. But there are many public schools in new York city I would definitely not send my child to. I'm fine with being involved and doing my part... But I'm not about to send my child to any school or teacher that makes my kid hate learning. I do have high expectations for teachers- they are half raising my kid after all... And I think they should set high expectations for their students and the parents as well.
I just feel fortunate that I have the option to live in a different neighborhood... But I'm worried about the kids that don't have that option. Poor kids can learn too. I think it had a lot to do with expectations.
Teaching is a hard job and there are many people that take it on with passion and do it well... Unfortunately there are also many that don't... I definitely had a few... And I don't understand Even a little bit why they shouldn't be able to get fired. Absolutely ridiculous.

Another Shade of Grey said...

Let me say having worked in the school system as a public servant that teachers are, for the most part, 99.99% untouchable, regardless of their job performance. Would Microsoft or Wal-Mart be who they are today if they could not fire employees who did not perform? The simple answer is no and this should be priority number one in the overhaul of the public education system.

Any teacher who is afraid to go on a performance based pay scale is a teacher who knows they are not performing. Pure and simple. They will not admit it and will throw up some intelligent "excuses", but the bottom line is, they want job security over job expectations, to the detriment of the kids.

There are great teachers out there, but they get lost in the dust stirred up by all the bad ones and sometimes are even influenced by the bad ones. "one bad apple spoils the whole barrel"

Parents do need to step up and become more involved and responsible in their children's education but at the end of the day it is the school's job to educate, not the parents.