Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2009-05-27 Education round up

Teacher pay: Suddenly the Tennessean is for it in today's Op Ed. Superintendent of Schools Mayor Karl Dean is also for it. Not surprisingly the head of the teacher's union is against in an article titled "No proof to back performance pay". Little wonder when the unions fight tooth and nail any attempt to provide proof that it does work. If they won't participate...we can't gather data and so their only legitimate argument against it stands. That's convenient.

Their other arguments against get no sympathy from anyone who works for a living. Whining about how it used to be in 1940 smacks of the abortionist fear mongering about hangers. It's not 1940. We've got laws against discrimination and abuse of power and a population that embraces litigation. Whining about how unfair the boss can be won't cut it either. Who hasn't had an unfair boss? Life isn't fair. Whining about how some teachers will 'feeeeel' bad because they don't merit more money sounds just like it came from one of the ineffective self-esteem lessons that pass for education now days. How about we consider how hard working teachers feeeel about the dead weight in the next classroom who is getting paid exactly the same? If the union was half as diligent about policing their own and actually acting like a professional organization taxpayers and voters might be more willing to listen to their concerns.

This is what I'm talkin' 'bout: The MNPS School Board is seeing the light and backing Director Jesse Register's plan to overhaul "adult high school learning"

Students in the proposed program could take classes in the morning, afternoon or evening, or through their computers or independent study. Classes could be taken in shorter, more intensive periods — two courses every eight weeks to move toward earning four credits each semester — and students could schedule class combinations that fit their academic needs. City Paper
Now let's expand this to more students quickly. All this will save student's time and will save MNPS money in the (not too) long run. I've no doubt that this is an option that will meet the legitimate needs and wants of students across the district. It's 2009...surely we can agree that mastering a skill and not warming a seat is the goal.
"Keeping your worst teachers is a crime against children," said [Tim] Daly, president of the Brooklyn-based nonprofit [The New Teacher Project] dedicated to putting highly qualified teachers in hard-to-staff schools. Tennessean
Continuing to pay them as if they were qualified is a crime against the taxpayers.

Support for German homeschoolers? The Tennessee legislature is all for supporting homeschooling in Germany but try and let a homeschooler get a job as a police officer or auctioneer and we get a two hour fillibuster by some of these very same Democrats. Come on guys...which is it? It is a legitimate option or not?

Month-to-Month Director: The folks at Cheatham County School Board Watchdog are still doing the grunt work of examining their director's contract and counter offers. One suggestion: dropping the 90 day notice for canceling the contract to just 30 days.

And how much did this special treatment cost? The MNPS budget is getting trimmed and the system has serious needs regarding facility maintenance (and texts and copy paper and ...) but somehow the system finds the money to pay for a second graduation ceremony for Hispanic students? Why should any people group get a second ceremony? I'm all for it if you want to do this with private funds but on the taxpayer's dime? I don't think so. Seems like yet another enabling of cultural separation despite public education being created specifically to encourage assimilation.
UPDATE: This from MNPS Spokeswoman Olivia Brown this morning: "That celebration event is arranged and hosted by COPLA, the Hispanic parents organization. It is not an MNPS event, however, it is one we support and participate in. I don’t know the cost, but COPLA raises funds and solicits donations for it."

Glad to read this clarification from MNPS. So, 'Nevermind'.

And speaking of wasting money: the ACLU has decided to sue MNPS because some websites have been blocked preventing MNPS students from viewing them on school time and with school equipment paid for by taxpayers. I'd like to see a cost benefit analysis of their efforts. How much money is wasted by these folks to benefit so few.

Shuffling kids shuffles teachers, or so it did in Charlotte, WV.
“An important implication of these findings is that policymakers should be cautious when advocating policies such as vouchers, school choice, district consolidation, or school busing that require the reshuffling of students across schools,” the study concludes, because the resulting shifts in student population might also lead to shifts in the quality of teachers. Education Week


Meredith@MerchantShips said...

According to that City Paper article, the hispanic graduation is funded by COPLA, a private organization.

Hispanic students have the highest drop-out rate in MNPS. I think this is a great example of the local community joining together to shift the culture toward a greater goal.

din819go said...

If in fact COPLA funded it that is much better. I did not get that impression.

Kay -- great rounded!! Now to get the alternative high school model working for all age groups!

Kay Brooks said...

It's badly worded in the article. I've written MNPS and asked specifically who paid for it. I'm with Meredith...if COPLA paid for it...great.

Kay Brooks said...

UPDATE: This from MNPS Spokeswoman Olivia Brown this morning: "That celebration event is arranged and hosted by COPLA, the Hispanic parents organization. It is not an MNPS event, however, it is one we support and participate in. I don’t know the cost, but COPLA raises funds and solicits donations for it."

N.S. Allen said...

I'd say the cost-benefit analysis is pretty clear, on the ACLU issue.

It would cost the school system essentially nothing to tell the company that does its filtering to click a mouse and change the settings. The vast majority of their customers don't use the optional GLBT filter that MNPS employs.

And the benefits would be a reduction of unnecessary censorship, an increase in access to information and support for needy students, and

The cost of going to court to fight it? Probably a truckload of money. The benefits? Well, I guess it'll give ACLU lawyers additional job security.

The schools shouldn't need Milton Friedman to figure out what to do, in this situation.