School restart is right around the corner

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School restart is right around the corner

Postby platypusman » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:30 am

Given summer is rapidly coming to an end, I am wondering what forum readers are thinking in terms of school reform so as to improve our delivery systems for primary and secondary education students.

Here is an article speaking of how Unions are holding back students by blocking common sense reforms.

http://teachersunionexposed.com/blocking.cfm

Teachers Unions Oppose Education Reform
Regardless of one’s view of any particular method of improving America’s struggling public schools (whether it's school choice, charter schools, or rewarding better teachers with better pay), the tactics and rhetoric that teachers unions employ to block any meaningful reform is remarkable. Their motivation is simple: maintain the status quo -- and the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in dues. Meanwhile, union leaders’ suggestions for reform are best summarized as “more money to hire more teachers,” who are then likely to become dues-paying union members.

Merit Pay
Paying teachers according to how well they perform, a universal rule in the private sector, is consistently condemned by teachers unions. For example: When two-thirds of Los Angeles public schools received failing grades from the state of California in 2000, the superintendent announced his support for paying teachers according to merit. The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) fought this proposal tooth and nail and eventually killed it. Then-UTLA President Day Higuchi announced that the union would accept the reform only on “a cold day in hell.”

Even when unions appear to be working to promote performance-based pay, their leaders may try to scuttle actual reform. When the St. Petersburg Times asked Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association executive director Jade Moore why few teachers were signing up for the merit pay program the union helped design for the school district, Moore replied, “Our goal was to make it nearly impossible.”

Charter Schools
Opposition to reform has even driven union bosses to reject hundreds of millions of dollars for public education -- when those dollars pay for kids in non-unionized charter schools. In 2002 philanthropist Robert Thompson offered the city of Detroit $200 million to establish 15 charter schools. Until the fall of 2002, according to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick supported Thompson’s offer. But on September 25 of that year, the Detroit Federation of Teachers led a one-day walkout that shut down the city's schools in protest of Thompson’s offer. The deal collapsed immediately thereafter.

The NEA has been the single biggest obstacle to education reform in this country. We know because we worked for the NEA.

— Billy Boyton and John Lloyd, former top officers of the Nebraska and Kansas NEA affiliates, respectively, in Educational Freedom

School Choice
Stronger medicine for public education brings even stronger anger from entrenched unions. The then-president of the California Teachers Association (CTA), the most powerful state teachers union in the country, gave an incredible rationalization for the extreme measures the union used in 1992 to prevent a school-choice measure from ever reaching Californians for a vote. “There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters,” he said. He likened the proposed reform to legalizing the Ku Klux Klan and child prostitution.

Forbes magazine reported that the CTA took such a hard-line stance against the ballot initiative in question that it used a variety of unheard-of tactics to keep the proposal off the ballot, including “blocking would-be signators’ access to the petition in shopping malls, allegedly sabotaging the petition with fake names and offering a signature-collecting firm $400,000 to decline the account.”

...blocking would-be signators’ access to the petition in shopping malls, allegedly sabotaging the petition with fake names and offering a signature-collecting firm $400,000 to decline the account


— Tactics employed by the California Teachers Association to stop a school reform petition from making it to the voters, as reported by Forbes
Scholarships for Low-Income Children

The New Jersey Education Association, the most powerful teachers union in the state, vigorously opposed in 2008 a bill to provide tax credits for scholarships to allow low-income students to escape failing public classrooms. According to a Monmouth University poll, an overwhelming 74% majority of New Jersey residents supported the measure. Union officials declared the bill too costly to implement, but an independent taxpayers group found that the project would actually save the state more than $700 million while extending a lifeline to students trapped in underperforming and dangerous schools. Nor was this the first time that the NJEA opposed private-school scholarships for kids in need, as Andrew Coulson wrote in Market Education:

In late October of 1995, officials of the Pepsi company announced at Jersey City Hall that their corporation would donate thousands of dollars in scholarships to help low-income children attend the private school of their choice. The immediate response of the local public school teachers’ union was to threaten that a statewide boycott of all Pepsi products could not be ruled out. Pepsi vending machines around the city were vandalized and jammed. Three weeks later, company officials regretfully withdrew their offer.

Known as “work to rule,” this union slow-down tactic had D.C. teachers do only the work strictly required by their contracts and nothing else (such as writing recommendations, for example). With each recommendation request, parents were instructed to include union-supporting letters to three different office-holders, along with three addressed, stamped envelopes.

Keeping a Tight Grip on Policy
The control that teachers union officials can maintain over local school boards can verge on the ridiculous. Veteran education reporter Joe Williams wrote: “The United Teachers Los Angeles had such a tight grip on its school board in 2004 that union leaders actually instructed them on important policies and made no attempt to hide their hand signals to school board members during meetings.”

With its corps of UniServ directors, furthermore, the National Education Association employs a larger number of political organizers than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined -- as Frederick Hess and Andrew Kelly point out, UniServ “has consistently been the NEA’s most expensive budget item.” UniServ directors assist local teachers unions with collective bargaining (supplying negotiation experience that often vastly outstrips the resources of a local school district), but they also serve as conduits for the union’s political messages. Thanks to its UniServ network and its “member-to-member” communications, the NEA commands a get-out-the-vote network that’s a powerful complement to its considerable political donations (and one that’s nearly invisible to government oversight, too).
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby platypusman » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:32 am

Thank you RD for posting this fact on another thread.

American 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy,

It seems that blocking school reform is really hurting American children

Thanks to RD for be so astute as to point out this dismal fact.
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby RD » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:49 am

Thankfully, Obama has plans to address the problems in education in America.


Early Childhood Education

Zero to Five Plan: Obama's comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, Obama's plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.

Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.

Affordable, High-Quality Child Care: Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.

K-12

Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.

Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school - strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.

Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.

Expand Summer Learning Opportunities: Obama's "STEP UP" plan addresses the achievement gap by supporting summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children through partnerships between local schools and community organizations.

Support College Outreach Programs: Obama supports outreach programs like GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare for college.

Support English Language Learners: Obama supports transitional bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students get ahead by holding schools accountable for making sure these students complete school.

Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America's Teachers

Recruit Teachers: Obama will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location.

Prepare Teachers: Obama will require all schools of education to be accredited. He will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively. Obama will also create Teacher Residency Programs that will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools.

Retain Teachers: To support our teachers, Obama's plan will expand mentoring programs that pair experienced teachers with new recruits. He will also provide incentives to give teachers paid common planning time so they can collaborate to share best practices.

Reward Teachers: Obama will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward accomplished educators who serve as a mentor to new teachers with a salary increase. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well.

Higher Education

Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Obama will also ensure that the tax credit is available to families at the time of enrollment by using prior year's tax data to deliver the credit when tuition is due.

Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid: Obama will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application.
"If you think teachers are your enemy, you should probably reassess who you think your friends are." - Chris Larson
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby platypusman » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:38 pm

I don't see anything for school choice or accountability. Obama is in the pocket of the NEA so he won’t offer any innovative proposals so instead, Obama will have the federal government control our schools. So sad, 24 out of 29.

Isn't this the same NEA that was saying teachers had to be careful in speaking about who was to blame for 9/11?
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby TCF » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:25 pm

In other words tax and spend spend spend. Typical liberal. Maybe he isn't the lord god Obama after all.
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby RD » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:27 pm

TCF wrote:In other words tax and spend spend spend.

TCF, could you please give us the details of your analysis of Obama's plan, such that you can back up your sophomoric statement?
"If you think teachers are your enemy, you should probably reassess who you think your friends are." - Chris Larson
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby TCF » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:57 pm

RD wrote:
TCF wrote:In other words tax and spend spend spend.

TCF, could you please give us the details of your analysis of Obama's plan, such that you can back up your sophomoric statement?


Oh that is right, I forgot he is the lord god almighty Obama, he can just magically produce money to fund all these different programs.
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby RD » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:24 pm

TCF wrote:
RD wrote:
TCF wrote:In other words tax and spend spend spend.

TCF, could you please give us the details of your analysis of Obama's plan, such that you can back up your sophomoric statement?


Oh that is right, I forgot he is the lord god almighty Obama, he can just magically produce money to fund all these different programs.

Actually, I was asking for the details of your analysis of Obama's plan, so that we can see if you can back up your sophomoric statement.
"If you think teachers are your enemy, you should probably reassess who you think your friends are." - Chris Larson
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby platypusman » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:40 pm

The point is Obama is against true reform and choice. Why would he be against school choice?
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby RD » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:53 pm

Now now, platypus. Let's wait for TCF's detailed and insightful analysis, shall we?


Of course, if you'd like to provide your own detailed and insightful analysis, I'd love to see it.
"If you think teachers are your enemy, you should probably reassess who you think your friends are." - Chris Larson
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby platypusman » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:21 pm

RD please show me some data to support Obama's proposals and how they would help US students?
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby andysinnh » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:31 pm

anything beyond the current NCLB initiative would be an improvement....
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby TCF » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:08 pm

TCF wrote:
RD wrote:
TCF wrote:In other words tax and spend spend spend.

TCF, could you please give us the details of your analysis of Obama's plan, such that you can back up your sophomoric statement?


Oh that is right, I forgot he is the lord god almighty Obama, he can just magically produce money to fund all these different programs.


As soon as I get a detailed plan of how he is going to pay for all these wonderful ideas, I will give you mine.
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby Ken Coleman » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:32 am

OK here we go again.

What we want to do here use the fact that on some international test American Students test below many developed nations as a reason for public funding of private schools. With no real quantifiable data to back this up position, we accept that private funding will fix this?

NONE of the countries who beat us in Math use this system. Oh I have an idea, why do we try doing some of the things they DO use?

First and foremost of ALL the nations that beat us (Source current issue of Time) we have our children go to school FEWER hours than any of these nations.

I just do not understand the logic, if we had a football team and the other teams kept beating us because they practice more - our solution would not to increase the practice time, but outsource it?
(Actually I lied above. I do understand the logic. Many of the people here understand this, but they are twisting the facts to drive their anti government agenda).
Ken Coleman
PS and in addition to all of this some of the countries who beat us use different standards regarding testing than we do
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Re: School restart is right around the corner

Postby platypusman » Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:06 am

Ken, I seem to recall comparisons of students who participated in programs that used vouchers and academic results were better than their performance in public schools. Milwaukee comes to mind as a success story.

Messmer Catholic High School in Milwaukee is a voucher success story. Messmer is funded at the 80% level by voucher students. What are the statistics? The daily attendance rate is 95% and 90% of the students go on to a four-year college. This data is holding true every year. This does not include the students that go on to 2-year colleges.


Looking at the success Milwaukee is having, it is pretty hard to argue against vouchers.

Also, the mayor of DC said about a report on the success of school vochers "This report confirms what I've been saying for years: A well-designed, federally funded school choice program can have a huge impact on the lives of low-income schoolchildren," said Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat who backs the vouchers.

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2006/ja ... 122-2517r/

I also found this interesting. The people who care most about kids are their parents and they are showing growing support.

More school vouchers success expected


By LAURA DIAMOND
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 07/08/08

When Georgia started its voucher program for special education students last year, state education officials and lawmakers were unsure how many students and private schools would participate.

They called it a success when 899 children with disabilities received vouchers to leave their public schools and attend 117 participating private schools. They expect even better results this year.
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