Thursday, February 24, 2011

why america's teachers are enraged


Video - Rachel Maddow explains what's going on in Madison Wisconsin.

CNN | Thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers have camped out at the Wisconsin Capitol, protesting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to reduce their take-home pay -- by increasing their contribution to their pension plans and health care benefits -- and restrict their collective bargaining rights.

Republicans control the state Legislature, and initially it seemed certain that Walker's proposal would pass easily. But then the Democrats in the Legislature went into hiding, leaving that body one vote shy of a quorum. As of this writing, the Legislature was at a standstill as state police searched high and low for the missing lawmakers.
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Like other conservative Republican governors, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio, Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Rick Scott of Florida, the Wisconsin governor wants to sap the power of public employee unions, especially the teachers' union, since public education is the single biggest expenditure for every state.

Public schools in Madison and a dozen other districts in Wisconsin closed as teachers joined the protest. Although Walker claims he was forced to impose cutbacks because the state is broke, teachers noticed that he offered generous tax breaks to businesses that were equivalent to the value of their givebacks.

The uprising in Madison is symptomatic of a simmering rage among the nation's teachers. They have grown angry and demoralized over the past two years as attacks on their profession escalated.

The much-publicized film "Waiting for Superman" made the specious claim that "bad teachers" caused low student test scores. A Newsweek cover last year proposed that the key to saving American education was firing bad teachers.

Teachers across the nation reacted with alarm when the leaders of the Central Falls district in Rhode Island threatened to fire the entire staff of the small town's only high school. What got their attention was that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama thought this was a fine idea, even though no one at the high school had been evaluated.

The Obama administration's Race to the Top program intensified the demonizing of teachers, because it encouraged states to evaluate teachers in relation to student scores. There are many reasons why students do well or poorly on tests, and teachers felt they were being unfairly blamed when students got low scores, while the crucial role of families and the students themselves was overlooked.

11 comments:

CNu said...

Having watched enough youth sports leagues and events and having observed how adults systematically interfere with and destroy children's natural genius for self-organization, I find the prospect of children being given goals and tools, and the autonomy to self-organize their approach to the use and mastery of the same, VERY promising.

Your point about school being a social filter - one of the primary purposes of which is - careful control of access and exposure to high-status social strata is dead on the money too.

You really must.stop.lurking Wizz - and instead actively participate on the regular.

CNu said...

Nice..., focused competition. I believe I hate them already.

umbrarchist said...

What I said was:

"It is about the effect knowing accounting would have on people's thinking before they spend money."

How you changed that I do not know. I admit the net effect in the long run is not predictable. It MIGHT be none or it might be a lot on a small percentage of the population. If it affected the biggest 10% of consumers it could be considerable.

umbrarchist said...

I bought one of these to check out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCHHAFyp9I0

In many ways it sucks compared to what you can get for $250 to $400 and cheap Android tablets will be common soon. But it is amazing how much difference 1.5 versus 3.2 pounds makes. You can't hold an OLPC in one hand very long and type with the other. A friend of mine got a myTouch 4G. It is 3 times as fast as the Sylvania and plays at higher resolution even though the screen is smaller. That Sylvania with a 1 GHz processor could be VERY Good it is only 320 MHz. Oh yeah, it need more memory too. Only 128 meg.

So the point is what software for the hardware and how to use it for education. The Sylvania takes 8 gig SD Cards. That is enough for from 100 to 24,000 books depending on size and format. And netbooks come with 250 gig drives. So a 100 gig education pack would still leave 150 gig for operating system and workspace. In 1980 the best colleges didn't have that much processing power and storage.

When are the Luddites going to get their heads out of their asses to figure out what to do with this stuff or are they just afraid to? Dell and HP just want to make money. You MUST upgrade every TWO YEARS!

LOL

What kind of cyber-society we are going to create is the problem. Of course we need to sit around and wait for the palefaces to tell us what to do.

CNu said...

Why exactly is that Umbra? Nothing stopping you from proliferating and profiting from an effective, alternative new model...

Dale Asberry said...

It would have no effect. People are irrational (spenders). Accounting would not change this fundamental certainty. THAT is the subject of every post on this blog. Overcoming irrationality requires recognition, acceptance, focused study and feedback.

Uglyblackjohn said...

Third grade - the teacher promised an "A" and one hundred dollars to anyone who could trisect an angle using only a straight pin, a string and a straight edge.
He said that we had to pay attention in class to see how it could be done and that we could only work on the problem after we'd finished our daily assignments.
I was at a 'bad' school as well but with teachers who made us think.
But we also had parents who thought that education was one of the best tools to use to get out of the hood.
Being thought of as smart wasn't bad - but being goofy or lacking social skills was.
That same teacher is still using that carrot to this day at the same school.

Big Don said...

Don't keep us all in suspense. Did anyone ever score the $100...??

[Your search - "trisect angle" "straight pin" string "straight edge" - did not match any documents...]

Uglyblackjohn said...

Nah man... it can't be done but we paid attention in the class

Dale Asberry said...

Information does not change human irrationality. They (information and irrationality) pervade every moment of our being. I'll say it one more time: Overcoming irrationality requires recognition, acceptance, focused study and feedback. This is an individual process. You can go on about accounting or teaching or whatever cause is eating at you, but until people embark on this process - on their own - it will be meaningless. The sad fact is, once they do embark on that process, they'll recognize the farcical and irrational nature of your arguments and move right on past you.

Dale Asberry said...

Speaking of irrationality... I recently ran across a study that discovered that as many as 20% of divorces are completely preventable -- if people accepted their irrationality. It's been long known that the major histocompatibility index (MHCI) can be detected olfactorily by women. The more different a man's MHCI, the healthier the woman's children will be. The study discovered that women on the pill are much more likely to choose men with an MHCI more similar to theirs. Those women, after going off the pill to get pregnant, were statistically more likely to say things like, "he started to really get on my nerves." Tragically (for the children) these just-so stories would lead to divorce. Other studies have correlated the factors of attraction and the single most significant factor is MHCI difference. Facial symmetry and sense of humor were number 2 and 3, but much less significant. The point I'm making here is that all the just-so stories women tell themselves about any other reason why they like any particular man is simply nonsense no matter how emphatic they are. If women would simply recognize that their sense of smell is almost the sole determinant for relationship happiness much gnashing of teeth could be avoided.

So, knowing this, why don't I go around shouting this from the rooftops? It is easily just as significant as the accounting shenanigans that you're concerned about. Here's why: regardless of the solidity of the research, every woman I've spoken about this with tells me that the research is wrong! That they love their boyfriend|husband|lover because he's ____. No matter what technique of persuasion I use, they refuse to listen.

Oppressed Victim Supremacist Suffering Unhappy Wife Equals Unhappy Life Syndrome

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