Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday 8/27/05

Steps in the right direction.

Some of us have known for a long time that it doesn't take a lot of college teaching classes to be qualified to pass on what you know to others AND that having taken those education classes doesn't ensure that you CAN pass on what you know. From Oak Ridge, a place where a lot of people know a lot, comes this more reasonable idea in light of our teacher shortage. From Greene County Online.

Another policy development urged by the Niswonger Foundation that [ Oliver “Buzz”] Thomas [Niswonger Foundation director] noted was that of a rule change by the state Department of Education that will “enable talented scientists to get certified” to teach in their area of expertise by taking only 50 hours of pre-service training, instead of two years of college.
Few scientists who retire are likely to want to go into teaching full-time, Thomas said, but they might be willing to teach one advanced placement (AP) course in chemistry, physics or mathematics “to help the local school system out.”

And this group has impacted the "Teacher of the Year" award and they're putting cash where their mouth is.

The main criteria that the Niswonger Foundation asked for and got was that teachers be selected whose students’ scores on value-added tests have improved consistently.

“We need to pick teachers whose kids learn,” he said, and Tennessee has a tool for measuring this in the value-added scores, he said.

As an incentive to get more teachers to apply for the award, the Niswonger Foundation offered, for the first time, “big cash prizes,” specifically, $5,000 for the top teacher in each of the state’s three major regional divisions (east, middle and west) and $1,000 each to the three top finalists in each division.

The prizes go directly to the teacher as “money in your pocket,” not to their school systems, he said.

What's going on in Dandridge?

School bus driver charged with drug trafficking

DANDRIDGE (AP) A school bus driver in Cocke County supplemented his income with a thriving side business selling cocaine and other drugs, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Friday.

Dewey Lynn Phillips, 50, is charged with possessing 12.5 kilograms, or about 27 pounds, of cocaine, 33 pounds of marijuana and assorted paraphernalia. From the Southern Standard.

3 students charged in restroom shooting

All three students involved in a shooting in a school restroom have now been charged, according to Jefferson County Sheriff David Davenport.

Two seventh-graders had been taken into custody after a third student was shot in the leg while they were handling a gun in a school restroom. The student's wound was minor, and he was the student charged yesterday. From the Tennessean.

If that wasn't enough the front page of the Southern Standard shows a woman beating another with a chair at a local soccer match in nearby Shelbyville.

So candy is more valuable than privacy?

Knox County school officials say several hidden cameras have been used in schools in circumstances similar to the one discovered in a teacher's lounge at Gresham Middle School, a room where both teachers and cheerleaders changed their clothes.

School administrators say they used the camera at Gresham in an attempt to catch a candy thief. From WATE.

Check the article for one lawyer's opinion about hidden cameras in schools.

Two questions about this private security guard at a recent high school football game. How much are we paying this coach that he can afford a private security guard and why does this coach need this protection? Details, but no answers to my questions, at the Fayette County Review.


George Rand said...

Why not take the Niswonger suggestion where it will really do some good. Base teacher compensation on the value added scores of their students instead of time sitting on their rears--behind the desk(years experience)or in front of the desk(advanced degrees)

Kay Brooks said...

I'm all for paying good teachers well. But it's my understanding that their union has always been against this as well as revelation of the value added scores of teachers.

If consumers were denied this sort of information about mechanics or car manufacturers it wouldn't be tolerated.

It's a bit nuts to pay people just for time in service or because their education peers grant them a higher degree. We need a dispassionate way of judging their abilities and I agree with you George, value added seems like the tool to use.