It seems like Doug Robinson is the only D-News columnist that truly understands
what teachers are facing in the schools. It's about time...
I still think that local control of the public schools and options for private
schools via voucher or some other system that can be mutually agreed to (that
may be impossible but I can dream can't I?).In reality, we can
let the schools run themselves without the intervention of the federal and even
state legislature if we permit tax money to go directly to the district, and not
have to be funneled through the legislature. Funneling gives the legislature a
sense of power they do not need. I would refuse or not allow any federal monies
because of the "strings" attached.This is about control and
we need to stop it. If schools we left to themselves some would graduate some
would complete and some would drop out. Just as they do now, without the heart
burn. Colleges and Vo-Ed schools could set their own admission standards and if
the applicant can't meet the criteria he can go to night school or other
re-training system to prepare him/herself or grab a shopping cart, move to a
sunny climate and be a bum until he/she realizes the need to grow up,
High absentees?I thought students working together in cooperative
groups/teams would inspire motivation, and standardized testing would increase
the desire to learn.Students don't seem to like being measured,
compared, and held accountable to a central authority.Teachers were
hired to teach. Forget the mandates, and trust them to do their job.
Attendance, and their desire to learn will increase.
@ strider303I agree with you on most of what you are saying. I
think most school districts though rely on funding from outside their own
boundaries. That is why the funding is taken through the legislature. Even our
state relies on federal funding taken through the congress to the dept of
education to the district programs to provide for all the funding needs. This
is why block grants to the states would be a great way to get funds to the local
districts to use as they please and even offer pay raises which are sorely
needed to attract good talent.In the end it should be up to the
student and parents to see their kids learn. Teachers are not super humans and
they definitely don't get paid like it so don't expect miracles.
@Strider303Here is the dollar amount that we received from the
Federal Govt in 2012: $461,246,072.00 for education. Are you sure you want to
just cut the Federal Govt spending from education in Utah? While education is
Constitutionally a state's rights power, we would be left in a pretty tight
spot without federal funding. Please get on the USOE website and look at the
financial revenue reports available to the public. I promise it will be an
This remains the ugly elephant in the room of public education. Our school
district believes that seat time is irrelevant and that students should not be
punished/corrected/expected to attend all the time. And that teachers should be
able to tailor their teaching strategies to meet every student's needs,
even if they miss 10% or more of class time. Until we begin expecting students,
in fact demanding students attend, no teacher can effectively teach. Maybe
teachers need to take a stand and start calling in sick more often. If we
don't expect our students to attend why expect teachers to attend? They
will be danged if they do, and danged if they don't.
Teachers don't like being held accountable either it seems. I've come
across some pretty burnt out and terrible teachers in my time, many long before
NCLB came along. It's a tough job and face it, the majority are not gunghoe
and dressing up like George Washington to get kids excited about school. The problem is deeper and more about our culture as a whole. Being a
teacher is a very hard job that leads to burnout. Putting even more red tape
around them won't fix that. Work on that.
You will always have about 13% of the population as outliers. This is a
statistical certainty. We can accept that fact and design a system that accounts
for the outliers. It is the only rational thing to do. The alternative is to
accept the unacceptable burden of that many people who remain dependent on the
rest of us all their lives.
@CC--where did the Federal Govt get that money?Cutting Federal taxes
would allow states to educate their students without the mandates.
Nice column, Doug. Your guest writers said a lot that I'm willing to bet
too many legislators and our governor will never read. Why not? They're
too busy. Too busy inventing ways to disguise their tax aversion as necessity.
Too busy believing and creating ways to prove teachers in Utah aren't
really undercompensated. Too busy not to read the facts and figures from around
the world that make clear the U.S. is falling behind in international
assessments, all the while Utah resides, in this country, at the "bottom of
the bottom" (Peter Cooke's words) in per-pupil funding. Too busy to
face the reality of what they're doing to Utah's children on the backs
of Utah's Teachers, K-12. Utah is falling further and
further behind, relying on teachers to bear the burden of the state's
penury (read "elected officials' penury") while fooling enough of
the citizens of Utah enough of the time to assure perpetual Republican rule in
this reddest of Red states. As Rush Limbaugh would say, "It's a
Thanks, Doug. Once again, teachers are and will be penalized for things that are
beyond our control. The pressure to pass the tests and collect all kinds of
(usually useless) data are about the only thing driving the education system
these days. Let's make sure and not have any time to make school
interesting and fun for kids. There is no time except to test, prepare to test,
analyze the tests, and then test some more. How many adults could stand to spend
all day doing that? I just had a student miss a week and a half of
school for a Disneyland trip. That's certainly more entertaining than the
current way we are required to run schools.
My son was too far ahead of the other kids when he started school. He would
finish his assignments in a few minutes. then they had nothing for him to do.
they told him to sit in the corner and color. Being very bright he was bored.
He started acting out. We had to go to meetings, We said he is bored, he needs
to be challenged. they told us he could not go into advanced classes if he was
misbehaving.forward to high school. Knew more than his teachers, he would
question the lesson, they called this acting out.We had him take harder
classes, took two AP classes, calculus, French his Jr year. Got all A'sSenior year after turning 18, he stopped going to school for about a month, he
was tired of dealing with school and teachers.Had a meeting where they
kicked him out of school, did not even try to have him stay.He took six
months off, then in May took classes for GED, they had him color to finish his
creditspassed the GED top 1% in the nation. Seems like all he
learned to do is to color
As a teacher of many years in public, private and charter schools I've seen
many fads in education come and go and then return under some new name. And
I've taught the brightest to the very challenged. Here's my two
cents. The best teachers can adapt the curriculum to fit most student's
needs but the few who don't fit the mold should be allowed to test out and
enter college or the job market early instead of becoming bored or disruptive.
The state money for this student should continue through the school year and the
principal and teachers recognized for meeting the needs of the student. But to
expect a teacher on their own time to catch a willfully truant student up is not
professional or rewarding. These students and their parents should be given the
option of paying for a tutor or completing packets and taking a competency exam.
If they are making satisfa
Perhaps all this misery is because basically kids HATE Tests.Even
many good students of any age who study and who know material hate the STRESS
and the focus of you-as-a-person and your future being set by your performance
on a particular day. I was terrified, starting in Elementary
school, of the very words: Iowa Basics. I remember being very young and
wondering why somebody in Iowa got the right to make me miserable.I
learned to hate the misery of tests early and it stayed with me all the way
through school. Of course I put up with like everybody does...But
there are much better ways of finding out what people know and understand--than
"tests".I've seen it recently in a couple of new
non-traditional schools. All kids would love these. They learn because its
interesting and exciting, not because you know they are going to constantly test
you on it.....