Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain and Obama Tussle On Choice, Teacher Issues

From Education Week:

Candidates’ K-12 Views Take Shape
McCain and Obama Tussle On Choice, Teacher Issues
By Alyson Klein

As their education plans begin to crystallize, sharper differences are emerging between John McCain and Barack Obama on school choice, teacher preparation, and tutoring, even as neither presidential candidate has released a detailed proposal on revising the No Child Left Behind Act.

Article : McCain on Virtual Education



Anonymous said...

This is a good article on McCain and online education.

I disagree with the motives (both McCain and Obama have made gobs selling their dream), but hey its the best way to make money in education - I'm not complaining, no more classrooms, blowing noses, and inyourface parents. The US can stay stupid and racist...

Anonymous said...

Why do US schools think educational technology is learning Powerpoint or online learning?

What happenned to teaching kids how to program and actually learn how to think? Why not learn a skill like building a network.

You see more stupid, useless, fascist rhetoric that sells computers and software. All the teachers that joined that bandwagon for a stipend. Its easier to learn how to use Powerpoint than a cellphone. Start thinking outside the box. Its not like US leadership hasn't heard this criticism before.

I like the analogy with square roots, because standards divas fall flat on their face so far as it comes down to trying to define what should be taught regarding square roots at each grade level, especially when you try to include reform textbooks that can't get past the triangle inequality theorem. Ineffective is an understatement. The majority of teachers can't manipulate or construct square roots. Same for very simple trig relationships. It wouldn't take too much extra effort, but if they don't teach it, then why learn it is most people's attitude.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article from the OECD dtd 2006

The U.S. spends more on primary and secondary education than most developed countries, yet has larger classes, lower test scores and higher dropout rates, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported.

The U.S. spent about $12,000 per student, second only to Switzerland among the 30 OECD countries based on 2003 figures, the OECD said today in its annual report on education. The U.S. outperformed only five of the 30 countries on an OECD test given to 15-year-olds, ranked 12th in high school completion rates and averaged 23 students per class, higher than the average of 21.

Thirty years ago, the U.S. ranked first among OECD nations in high school completion, said Barbara Ischinger, director for education of the Paris-based group. “This needs urgent attention as the labor market prospects of those who do not leave school with strong baseline qualifications are deteriorating,” she said

Not About Money

Ischinger said of the U.S. rankings, “It is not a money question,” noting that only Luxembourg spends more on its primary school students and only Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland spend more at the secondary level.

In the previous OECD test of 15-year-olds, in 2000, the U.S. performed near the OECD average in reading and below the average in math and scientific literacy.

Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel Corp., the world’s largest semiconductor maker, said U.S. schools don’t set high standards for students and don’t insist that they meet standards.

The U.S. could improve its schools by copying the teaching approaches in successful foreign countries, then “set the passing expectation levels consistent with where you want to be,” Barrett said in an interview.

In other countries, waste is fraud. Not here in the US, we call it pork barrel. All we'd need to do is copy what is used in another country. Instead, Bush makes a unilateral decision to not participate in PISA. Republicans are dog meat. "Official" unemployment levels are hitting 6%
Literacy and math are at all time lows.

Anonymous said...

Out of the $12,000 per child spent on education, how much of the money gets used in the classroom and how much gets pocketed by a corrupt politician or one of their jacked up friends.

Lets presume Washington spends $12,000 per student, national average. School choice advocates say they can do the same thing for $7500 (I doubt it, but...) assuming state officials do it anyway, looking at the 'fine' programs we've been saddled with - that's $4500 that's losing its way to classrooms. For every $2.22 spent on school, the public has to pay $1 to the 'government'. With school choice, it would be no different, only students would end up receiving less money.(about $5150) Public would still be paying $12,000 per student but now school's would be upside down. More than half the educational money spent would go to feed a corrupt government (.75 spent on school for every dollar of graft)

What's your definition of graft?

Anonymous said...

more on double-bind hypothesis - this is in psychotherapy but it applies to many situations where one party has power over another.

Gregory Bateson gets credit for the discovery and it demystifies the sort of pathos you see in students that don't have the motivation to do well in school.

1. The message takes the form -
"If you don't do such and such, I will punish you..."
*abandonment is the theme

Teacher: You need to learn such and such or you will fail.

2. Teacher creates a habitual experience that sets up the failure every day - writes a new standard on the board.

3. Student uses a textbook or receives instruction that fulfills the teachers promise.

Bateson reasoned that over time the victim can't distinguish logically how messages are meant to be received, because the student victim must respond correctly to get the message right - so the student eventually feels that they cannot even make a comment on the message without some form of retribution.

This would be an argument for why it does absolutely more harm than good to write standards on the board - it sets up exactly the situation I have described, the student sees only one outcome and that is failure.

Combine this with unsuitable textbooks, double standards, large classes, new teachers, etc.... and you have a big problem.

Write better textbooks! Keep the lesson simple and you will be doing your students a great favor.

Anonymous said...

To avoide a double bind, you would be better off to write down what the student learned after a lesson, than to write down what the student was going to learn before the lesson even started.

In particular, if you are working with marginal and disadvantaged students, they will be quite familiar with double binds since this is the most common form of communication between parents and children. "Do as I say, not what I do."

So with this group of adolescents -you will often have fight or flight responses that were initiated by double-binds.

Other kids, will adopt more passive-agressive defenses - schools and parents tend to be more tolerant of this type of normed behavior, but I think it hobbles children. New teachers are more susceptible, because it punishes adults for being themselves and not an imagined ideal.

Anonymous said...

Milwaukee spends $83 m on 115 choice schools serving 14,000 students - I worked that out to about $5928 per student. If the US spends $12,000 per student, where's all that money going?

Four of Milwaukee's choice schools were closed amid concerns of fraud - each student gets $6000 in a check made out to the parents, but received by the school.

At the Louis Tucker Academy, 79 students and 8 FT teachers and another school, the combined fraud is expected to be over $1 million.

Of Academic Solutions Center, 4055 N. 34th St., state officials say a preliminary audit shows that the school inappropriately cashed about 300 checks worth about $430,000.

($6000 x 300 = $1.8 m - maybe there's 4 checks per year, let's hope)

Anonymous said...

Instead of spening $18 B on teacher outings and more credentialing, Obama might consider giving teacher's raises, to supplant the higher cost of living and who knows, maybe hire better teachers.

The money isn't going where you think it goes, there's a fat bureaucratic mouse that gets a big chunk of cheese before schools will ever see a dollar of that $18B. That's called graft and Washington has a serious case of it. Instead of reforming schools, why not fund schools. I think everyone is a bit tired of reforming, why not be an administrator for a change. Tell McCune to stop encircling her bed with cancles and praying for the return of aliens. No, teachers won't put pyramids on their heads when they teach and neither will the kids. OSPI is a nut tree and it needs some shaking and head rolling.

Anonymous said...

Before I'd spend anymore money on better teachers, I think they ought to find better textbooks, like why not Singapore. Heck, I'd even learn Singaporan if I thought it would help fight stupidity in Fuzzington.

If graft were the byproduct of stupidity reform, then Olympia would be on the Superfund list of toxic sites.

Reform math = stupid math period

Don't give these jokers an inch, just tell them to look up and open their mouths next time it rains. The world will thank us afterward.

mgr said...

How do we win the battle against Connected Math?

My children are strong in math. They win awards. They test very high. They are ahead of expectations for their ages.

My seventh grade daughter now hates math. She is struggling with a Connected Math textbook which causes her to do busy work, graph and tabulate results just to obtain a simple answer she knew since age four, explain in English simple equations, and decipher poorly written sentences in order to find the math question obscured within.

I expected educators to listen to me. Instead I found that they are trained in beating down parents and making them feel inadequate in math. Only educators know what is best for children. Parents, no matter how much education they have acquired, no matter what responsible jobs they hold, or no matter that they might be mathematicians themselves, cannot compete with these new revelations that traditional math has always been misguided and possibly constituted some form of child abuse.

Children with good test scores now validate Connected Math. Parents can see how Connected Math has brought the high scores. Parents, of course, have no role in these scores. Children with poor test scores call for even more Connected Math. Thus, all results prove that Connected Math, Investigations, or by whatever name these systems cloak themselves, are necessary and desirable.

Somehow these systems are very expensive, and once introduced, become entrenched as much too expensive to remove. Somehow educators cannot seem to find the same critical articles easily accessed by incompetent parents. It is always too late, and somehow the magic number seven becomes the number of years the district must live with this system.

I have contemplated pulling my children out of the school, which is one of two gifted and talented schools in my city. I fear that I will move my children to a new school, only to be pursued by the relentless attempts of someone to implement Connected Math in every school and every classroom. How do these people so easily dupe educators?

I am disturbed by educators' justifications: "I never liked math myself, but now ..." Why are math haters selecting the math program? More horrifying, why are they then teaching it?

My child wanted to know how to do a math operation and was told to use a calculator. This particular math operation will, of course, never be taught by the school.

Tracking is forbidden, as group exploration is important. Good math students feel hopeless. There is no way out. Failing to complete every bit of long involved assignments when a simple equation would have sufficed jeopardizes grades. Reviews in class are endless and torturous.

I suspect that to validate itself, fuzzy math proponents have influenced standardized tests, scaring educators into believing that children will fail these portions if they have not been exposed to writing essays on why two plus two equals four.

The only explanation is that someone is making a great deal of money out of this scam. Nothing else makes sense.