Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Obama: "Teachers Suck"

On what planet is this any of the federal government's business or responsibility?
The Obama administration unveiled a proposal Thursday to regulate how the country prepares teachers, saying that too many new K-12 educators are not ready for the classroom and that training programs must improve.

Under the plan, the federal government would require states to issue report cards for teacher preparation programs within their borders, including those at public universities and private colleges, as well as alternative programs such as those run by school districts and nonprofits such as Teach for America.
The federal government is a disaster.  Can you identify anything it does well right now?  Its leaders can't even use the military properly.  The government might be good at building things--say, a freeway--but it's lousy at running programs.  Can you identify any that are running well?  How about EBT, WIC, CTC/ebola, VA, Social Security, FEMA/Sandy, you name it, it's a disaster.  And now Obama and his feds want to stick their noses into something that's so obviously a state issue that you have to wonder how a "constitutional law professor" could think this is a federal issue at all?  Sheesh.

And for all you liberal teachers union members out there, listen to what he's saying--he's saying you're lousy at what you do.  You're so bad that your state government can't even be expected to fix the problem, only the leviathan of Washington can fix the problem, that's how bad you are.  And you and your unions supported this man through 2 elections?  Maybe he's right, maybe you do suck.


Jerry Doctor said...

"And you and your unions supported this man through 2 elections? Maybe he's right."

No, no, Darren. No one can seriously say that voting twice for Obama means you can't teach. On the other hand it seems to be darn good evidence you can't learn.

maxutils said...

How does one weigh in on this? Teachers don't suck, the federal government has no constitutional basis for anything pertaining to education … but teacher preparation programs also suck. Which, I guess, isn't good, but the Feds aren't going to change that, nor should they try. Teachers become good by teaching and knowing their subject matter. Those who don't, quit within their first few years.. The main reasons why our educational standing has fallen are social promotion, diversity of languages, and, most importantly … parental supervision. Fix those, and you'll get better results. The only thing I can think of that might help concerning teachers? Allow districts to offer additional pay for teachers to work the tougher schools. That way you're more likely to get more experienced teachers rather than newbies, who will do just fine at better performing schools...

Darren said...

Jerry Doctor: supporting Obama twice doesn't mean you can't teach, it means he's right when he implies that "you suck".

allen (in Michigan) said...

You can't very well argue with the conclusion that the ed school scene is a disaster although the administration's response will only make things worse. But I suppose if you reflexively disdain the free market you're always going to get its workings wrong so that, along with the reflexive desire to expand government common to all lefties and government bureaucrats, explains this effort to regulate ed schools.

Trouble is, it won't change the demand side of the equation since school districts will continue to be intrinsically indifferent to teaching skill and specialization. That indifference has been eroded over the past few decades both legislatively, as is the case with special education teachers, and by enough in the way of public unhappiness as in the case of math/science teachers.

But the intrinsic indifference to teaching skill remains and until that's addressed, and I don't believe it can be within the context of the district system, ed schools will have little incentive to produce classroom-ready graduates whose heads aren't stuffed with edu-crap and lefty ideology.

The problem's clearly displayed where teacher accountability standards have been legislatively imposed. Michigan, as an example, has 98% of teachers rated as adequate or better.

maxutils said...

Actually, allen, I can -- because while I'm sure my education professors were probably really qualified in their field, I can also say that the curriculum, which you correctly identify as eduspeak, is atrocious. I had ONE useful course, a teaching methods course in which the professor used his class as a template to show us different methods of teaching, rather than just lecture; and, I stole a bunch of suggestions from him. The rest were literally useless.

I think you mischaracterize my stance on free market education: I think that we, as a society, have an interesting making sure that students are educated up to at least some minimum level in various subjects, and I'm prepared to discuss what those levels are. But, that means that government … local government … needs to provide a default level of education. I also believe that the system should be competitive; so ifI want to start a private school, as long as I meet the government's minimum standards, I should be able to receive the same amount of funding per student that the government schools get -- and yes, that's a voucher system. But I also believe that teachers should be able to unionize -- although, in facing real competition, their bargaining power will be less.

Ellen K said...

The beatings will continue until morale improves. I think that's what they're thinking.

allen (in Michigan) said...

So you're disagreeing with me that the ed school scene is a disaster by offering your personal experience of a single school, and within that school a single course, as the contrary example? Sorry max but is single, relatively microscopic example to the contrary hardly counterbalances the tsunami of edu-dreck that's a necessary result of serving the public education system.

The public education system is institutionally indifferent to the skill you and Darren offer so the organizations that purport to train you are similarly indifferent to teaching skill. Not every last ed school and not every last ed school prof but that's the way the smart money bets because that's the direction the public education system inclines them to go.

Also, I'm not so much mis-characterizing your views on the free market as I'm pointing out they're fundamentally flawed.

The free market isn't a human construct like a car that can be redesigned and repaired as need and fashion dictate. It's a function of the natural world not all that different from the Mississippi River.

We can put up our little levees and our little dams and for a while it looks like we're in charge but that's a human conceit and, periodically, the Mississippi River demonstrates that when conceit meets river the river inevitably wins.

Similarly, we can put up our little tariffs and our little regulatory agencies. We can issue our little five year plans. For a while it looks like we're in charge but that's a human conceit. Sooner or later the inevitable result of our conceit squares off against the free market and the free market always - always - wins.

Where that observation bears on the public education system is that a minimum acceptable standard of education of the graduates is a proper goal of the system. The system should produce graduates up to that minimum level of education but there's essentially no incentive to educate kids beyond that point. Worse, those tasked with shepherding kids to that minimum standard have a strong incentive to reduce that minimum as much as they can.

If the entire human race played by that set of rules, that the public education system exists to provide jobs for teachers and administrators, then all would be well but the danger is that some country, somewhere, will re-examine the politics of public education and determine it's a pretty stupid idea.

I think that's the direction in which we're headed, the realization that the public education system is the institutional equivalent of a Trabant, i.e. by dint of hard work, continuous attention and an acceptance of lousy performance, it can be made to serve but there really are better possibilities.

maxutils said...

Actually allen, I believe you just agreed with my view virtually entirely. Except, I gave a not very heartfelt nod to professors of education, who probably aren't very qualified. So, I'll go ahead and retract that. With one very notable exception, every single professor of education (and yes, I only got my credential from one school) but every other trainer I've ever had for our in-service days has been similarly awful. And they propagate bad teaching methods, which is how they pretend to maintain their usefulness.

As to the free market, that's an ideal. And it exists nowhere. But when you have a good or service where those who benefit from the transaction are not limited to the parties involved, you will always …always…and I can't say this enough times … always wind up 'producing' to little at too low a price, as Demand will always be artificially low. Unless, you force the people who benefit but don't have direct skin in the game to pay for it … and that's public education. A person who has no kids nor ever will still benefits from the rest of us who do having educated ones. So, as I believe you agreed with me, we need to mandate a certain tax-payer funded standard. How that gets spent is entirely different. I'm all for competition in education -- but, and this is where we have to disagree, I guess, is that it is a) necessary to have enough public institutions willing to take that voucher for education as payment in full, b) that any educational voucher should be significant enough that it will cover a reasonable tuition, not just be a tax write off for the rich, and c) require the parents sign it over physically to the school they choose, public or private -- so they have a more true understanding of what education costs.