Blah, blah, blah:* we're going to need more funding*
teachers needs higher pay* make teachers, more accountable through test
scores of students.* new research based strategies to be implemented* extend the school year, or school days* more funding for after school,
and Saturday tutoring* more difficult testing to make students scared* more programs, because students come first.How many times do we
become fooled?It's like infrastructure. Every few years, that
card is played to justify increases in spending.
Looking at the picture. The girls are doing a writing assignment with crayons?
When ever we notice an area of our own family budget needs support we take away
from things that aren't working. Only government seeks to get more money
from the tax payer.
Elementary teachers should be our highest paid teachers for K-12. But that is
not going to happen. Coaches who teach players to hurt and maim opposing players
will be the highest paid as long as they win. We reap what we sow - eventually.
As a 3rd grade teacher, I agree completely with this article. We need to
possibly discuss implementing retention back into Utah Schools. It is amazing
how "putting the fear of God" into parents enables their little darlings
to succeed better. I have seen time and time again students, especially title
one students who can't read, promoted because it is so "cruel" to
retain. Unfortunately, just the opposite is true. Students who are behind one
or two grade levels are promoted with peers only to get further and further
behind feeling frustrated and "stupid" compared to the rest of the
class. I really like the idea of extending the school day for struggling
readers. This would be a great alternative because there is very little time in
the school day for one on one tutoring with those who are so far behind. Plus it
is unfair to revisit items that should have been mastered in previous grades to
those who are on or above grade level.
Augustis said something very profound there.When I was an elementary
teacher, I worked under two principals who had come to their jobs from high
school. Both had been coaches and both remarked frequently to the effect that,
"I had no idea how HARD it is to teach in elementary school. I had to
prepare maybe two or three lesson plans per day. You guys have to plan for the
entire curricula!"Historically, too, elementary teachers have
much less financial support for classroom needs and spend much more
out-of-pocket than do high school faculty members.
Comments from some people are sickening. They forget very conveniently the role
that any student's family must play in their education. Many students
entering school now already have two and a half strikes against them.It will take much more than condemning schools, teachers, "liberals"
and others to change that. Yet there are some out there who choose to ignore the
causes in favor of blatting old and worn out hate radio talking points.Why not stop listening to hate radio and begin working with the rest of us to
find some real solutions to a very difficult problem?Or would that
be too much work?
Worf,For someone claiming they are living in Texas you sure have a
lot to say about education in UTAH! This article is spot on. There
are many programs that are working and others that aren't. The money the
legislature is going to waste on "computer adaptive testing" is going to
be one of the biggest wastes yet. The kids that are struggling
usually come from less than ideal family situations. These kids need one on one
tutoring on how to read. They usually don't have parents that read to them
at all. How does a kid learn to read if no one reads to them to show them how
it is done? The school classes are way overloaded for a teacher to be able to
spend one on one time. In Utah we used to be able to get away with
big classes because the parents would make up for it at home. That is no longer
the case. Changing demographics have caught up to us and it is time to pay the
If you want to see a program that works, check out "Reading Recovery".
They had it where we used to live and I hear that Alpine School District has
started using it the last few years. I have seen kids go from not even knowing
which way to turn the pages in a book (they were first graders) to surpassing
their peers in their reading level. This was all done in a 20 week period of
intense reading instruction. It is done one on one for 30 minutes a day and
those teachers were working miracles. It costs quite a bit up front but to get
the kids reading at grade level or above in first grade actually will save the
schools for all of the interventions they would have to do later on. Not to
mention the money saved by society for the problems these kids would have caused
later on when they couldn't get a job because they can't read. There are things that are working. We just have to find them and
Retention is an important part of student and parent motivation, and one that we
use in our charter school, with much success. We work hard to ensure we
communicate daily with parents with regard to expectations. Every two weeks
they receive a report card to find out if their child is keeping up. If not,
there are remedies they must participate in to bring the student back on track.
At the end of the year if the student has not reached all
benchmarks, the teacher is NOT ALLOWED to recommend the student for promotion.
A promotion committee meets and reviews all the information, and then meets with
the parents and lets them know the options - summer school or retention or both,
depending upon the case.The students often work HARD during the
summer to catch up, but if they are unable to make up the ground, they are
retained.Most parents are VERY HAPPY that we have standards in
place, with real consequences, that work to motivate their child. We hear
dozens of stories each year of parents begging the districts to retain their
children but the districts refuse, which is one reason they seek enrollment with
Have to call the bluff of the charter school person above. The parents are the
only ones that can retain a student. Parents don't have to "beg"
the districts. The schools make recommendations but in Utah, it is up to the
parent to ultimately decide. Nice try to plug your charter though.
Joe, in 10 years of running American Prep, I have had no less than 30-40
families at multiple campuses come to us who tell us that they begged the
district to please retain their child and the district refused. For every
parent that tells us this, there are certainly many who experienced the same
thing that we never knew about.I don't have any reason to make
this up, and I am unsure why you would say "the parents are the only ones
that can retain a student". Written into our policy are benchmarks and
standards. If students fail to meet them, we do not offer the student a seat in
the next grade - even if the parents don't agree (though they usually do).
We have had some parents fight it and some parents pull their students out. But
we do have the power to retain, against parent wishes, according to our school
policy. Perhaps the districts have policies that don't allow
retention against the parents' will. We are not required to have such
policies as charter schools.
Orem Parent,I'm certified in both Texas, and Utah. I agree with most of what you say, but am against continuous high
expenditures, and I don't think in the box with others.For what
it's worth, here are some ideas that I've used:* At the
beginning of the school year, I've sent letters home requesting parent
volunteers as aids. I've had parents come everyday for the year, and
actually had to turn some away. This was tremendous help. Students enjoyed
having mom there, and it improved their focus on class work.*
I've had High School students come and read one on one with my sixth grade
students. This helped both of them. They've also helped put plays
together, and provided their own background, and costumes.*
I've sent letters out to companies requesting donations. We received
donations to cover field trips, plays, etc. This is also PR, and a tax write
off for them.These didn't require addition funding, and made my
job alot less stressful. Teachers need the independence of using their own
strengths, and creativity rather then being micro-managed with new trendy
strategies that usually don't work.
As a teacher who, on several occasions worked with struggling students and their
parents to give the kids a chance to catch up by spending another year in grade
(I guess that's called retention) I can tell you that when it's done
properly it does work.I took a lot of heat from the district, but
when both the parents AND the student understood and supported my
recommendation, the kids had a chance to mature and catch up. It worked EVERY
time -- including for two of my own children.The key to it all,
however, was having the student accept the need to remain in grade for another
year.The real reward came some years later when one young man, who
was attending BYU at the time, introduced me to some of his friends as ". .
. the man who saved me!" Had he not spent that second year in fourth grade,
he almost certainly would not have been succeeding in college.Retention works -- but it must be used very carefully.
One old man - great post! You are right - it must be done carefully to be
successful. We call it "the gift of time" and if everyone does their
part, it can be highly successful.Another important purpose of
strong promotion requirements is to help parents and kids know precisely what is
expected and what they have to be doing in order to "make it" each year.
It is so sad to watch families, especially those new to our country and to our
schools, as they struggle through not really knowing and understanding what they
are to be doing in order to help their child succeed. Most schools do a
terrible job of communicating this information. Strong promotion
policies provide for excellent communication so parents and students know with
confidence what they must do to succeed. Because there are real "teeth"
in the policies - meaning students really will not be promoted if they
don't "make it" - everyone pays very close attention to the
requirements and many more families do their part to ensure their child's
success all through the year.
Why don't we give some of that $10 million or whatever that was to the
parents of children that learn to read by third grade? If parents do not know
how to teach their child to read they can make a deal with a friend - you teach
my child to read, he passes the test, I give you the money.
It cost around twelve thousand dollars per year to educate a child. If
retentions is required, then parents ought to pay some tuition.