Sunday, March 2, 2008

Daring to get political

No baby yet. I'll be sure to let you know.
Anyway, believe it or not, sometimes I blog about things more important than my baby bump or what Cate Blanchett wore to the Oscars. Taylor came across
this the other day. Take 10 minutes and watch it. It's a good example of why I think teachers' unions are scary and bad for our children. Tell me what you think...

20 comments:

Spencer said...

Wow! I couldn't believe that. It makes me grateful that I've finished with the public school system, but makes me a little anxious for my future kids....

danielle said...

Yeah what a crazy mess! What do you think Anne?

Traci said...

I agree with Danielle. I am curious as to what you think too.
I agree with the lady from the video who said " I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I am fed up with the past". That is how I am feeling about a number of political topics.
p.s. I have been thinking about you all weekend...seriously... ALL WEEKEND!! Hang in there, you are in our prayers. LOVE YOU!!!

Alicia said...

Hmmm...I have mixed feelings about that. I agree that teachers' unions are stupid (but I feel most unions are stupid...not all, but most). I think charter schools like that are amazing. However, there are many charter schools I don't agree with. I do think there needs to be a major reform in education so we don't end up with teachers like our lovely friends from you know where. I think that people are wrong to discount public education--there are amazing teachers who want the best for the students. I found the video insane. Schools like that should not be around and it makes me sad that they exist. I think the charter school approach is the best for that situation. I like what we talked about before, that schools should be run more like a business. That way we could get rid of the awful teachers but keep the good ones. Those are the ramblings of a second grade teacher...

Alicia said...

By the way, I hope everything goes well with your little one. I have also been thinking of you all weekend! Let me know if want something other than our favorite ice cream. If I don't hear from you, I'll assume you approve!

Vicky said...

That's crazy. I honestly didn't know that things like that existed. It made me wonder about the kind of influence I'll be able to have over my kids' education. I'm intersted in hearing what you know about this and what you think.

danielle said...

We always listen to NPR's "This American Life" (I know--we are dorks), so after I read your blog last night this was the episode that was on:

http://www.thislife.org/

go to the page and listen to "Human Resources" You have to listen through the intro and go to act one (the first part is an interview with and HR guy...you want the "rubber room" part, but you have to listen to the whole thing). It's about teachers in New York...Crazy!

Kate said...

Well one thing is for sure: that guy with the goatee (sp?) gives me the heebe jeebe's! Mark HATE'S unions. I don't really know enough about them to sound educated enough to leave a comment about why they're terrible...but I know they're not great. I agree their are some Charter school that are a mess, but there are Charter schools that are awesome! Mark and I have had lots of discussions concerning our children's education, and what to do about it. We think there are wonderful teachers in the public school system ( like you and Alicia ) but we also know there are less then stellar one's as well.

It's a good debate. I too would like to hear what you think. Can you just start a little school and teach our kids? I know I've said it before, but I would have loved it if you were my elementary school teacher!

I hope that baby comes soon! I was surprised to hear from Heidi that you hadn't had him on Saturday! Can't wait! Good luck!

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

that deleted comment was me... my comment posted twice for some reason.

Mrs. Cropper said...

Here are some of my thoughts:
*I'm not a fan of unions in general. Taylor knows far more on the topic, so I'll stick with what I know about teachers' unions specifically. Unions were started to provide job security. That makes sense if we're talking about getting injured on the job and having protection. But, like you saw in the video, it's nearly impossible to fire a teacher--especially one with tenure. It only takes three years to get tenure. Teachers' unions are very powerful. They lobby extremely hard in Washington to protect things like tenure. I think tenure should be done away with. I think job security should come from knowing you are doing an outstanding job and working your booty off as a teacher--and getting results. This is where running schools more like a business comes in. In the private sector, if you are not performing, you're out. I know a lot of teachers who have the protection of tenure and who haven't done a new thing in their classroom since 1992. They use the same old materials, hardly write lesson plans anymore, etc. That's unacceptable.

*Charter schools. What parents need to understand is that "charter school" does not equal "better school." You have to research a school before sending your child there (imagine that!). My sister's children attend a charter school in North Carolina that is phenomenal--and it is serving her children far better than the public school in her area was. On the flip side, there are charter schools with terrible administration, that do not require teachers to be certified, etc. Alicia and I saw firsthand what happens when parents do no research and send their kids off to the newest charter school--after a couple of months a TON of them sent their kids back to the public school--because it was BETTER. And this is not only to discredit that particular charter school. It's also a credit to our particular public school. It's outstanding--great administrators and teachers, working hard and seeing results. That's the power of competition, and why I am generally pro-voucher. If we create competition, we see improvement. In other words, if families get to choose where to send their kids, then every school works harder to provide the best education around.

*If I were the secretary of education... OK so these are the key things that I think should be done in education reform. Please note that I am an amateur and have no stats on how this could be done economically, politically, etc. These are just some improvements that I see as critical.
1. Abolish tenure (as discussed above).
2. Reduce class sizes dramatically. (In many states that is already the status quo. Particularly out east many classrooms are capped at 15 kids. Here in Utah that would be a dream. We have more like 25 in the lower grades and 30 in the upper grades, which is ridiculous. You spend your day doing crowd control instead of TEACHING.)
3. Increase teacher's salaries. Again, in some states it isn't too horrible, but in most states teachers do not make nearly what they should. Because of the low pay, many people choose a different profession. They may be incredible teachers, but they have to go elsewhere to make ends meet. That's how we end up with teacher shortages (which we've had in Utah recently) and why administrators have to hire some terrible teachers (trust me, they're terrible. I've worked with them). So again, it's a simple matter of competition. Raise salaries, increase competition, get better teachers. I think this is of particular importance with men. Male teachers are nearly non-existent because men cannot provide for their families on their teacher's salaries. We need more male teachers--from my experience they are some of the best in our schools.

*Recap: Don't count public schools out. Many still provide a stellar education. Research ANY school you may send your child to--public, private, charter, etc. Stay on top or your local education situation. Fight for your CHILREN'S rights, not the rights of teachers or school systems, but the rights of your CHILDREN.

And yes, that one particular teacher in the video was super creepy. Did anyone else catch how he said "troft" when he meant to say "trough?!" Sure glad that guy has tenure and can teach my kids...

Emily said...

I definitely don't understand the ins and outs of unions, but they seem to incentivize mediocrity. I thought it was plain ridiculous that the teachers' union was up in arms when they were required to bring lesson plans each week -- isn't that just standard procedure? I think your performance and dedication to the job should give you job security, not a union guarantee. This was fascinating, Anne. Thanks for the great link to the WSJ media page -- Nate and I watched several clips together last night. (I'd also like to know what you think.)

Emily said...

well, lookie there...while I was leaving my comment, you were leaving your thoughts! now I'm going to go read them :)

Mrs. Cropper said...

Did you all listen to the radio bit that Danielle suggested? You should! Holy smokes, Danielle, that is NUTS. Imagine the taxpayers of NY--paying for all of those teachers' salaries while they sit in that room AND paying simultaneously for the substitutes needed to replace them! (Think of how much money that is and how it should be allocated to the STUDENTS instead!)

Sally said...

Hey Anne, I'm so glad you left a comment on my blog. I have popped in on yours from time to time, but always feel funny leaving comments for people that I'm not directly linked to. I don't know why, just one of my things I guess. Anyway, good luck with your new baby. I hope everything goes smooth for you.

Alicia said...

So I listened to that radio clip that Danielle suggested...holy cow! That is crazy. It's so interesting to hear two sides of the story. You never know who quite to believe. All I know is that the "rubber room" isn't helping anyone, especially the students. That's too bad.

Traci said...

Anne, if you aren't popping a baby out today ;) can you give me a call or get one skype I need to chat with you. Thanks!
Thanks for all the info Anne. I feel enlightened. What do you think of the Public schools in Oregon? From what i know, teachers get paid well here. But I have heard that teachers have too much power and how it's actually a bad situation that the board of education is electing bad superintendents (in the Medford school district). How does that all work? ps that is only hearsay so that is why I am interested in what you think.

Traci said...

haha, I didn't mean skype, I meant gmail chat! LOVE YA!!

Sarah said...

I find this whole thing depressing, but hopefully it just inspires parents to be their children's biggest advocates. One of my biggest pet peeves is parents who complain that schools aren't teaching their children enough, when they theselves aren't getting involved. I think if parents were more actively involved there would be way more outrage, and more effective responses.

MLFong said...

That's a really interesting video. I'm sure there's a LOT more to the issue, and from the posts it sounds like it's a very complex issue & only a small slice of the pie was portrayed in the video. Also, I'm sure that the issue probably varies greatly depending on the district, the demographics, etc. It's nice to hear of progress in schools, though. Oh yes - and can I just go ahead and submit my vote right now for you as secretary of education? ;-)