Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pat Boone (who?) On Teachers Unions

Yes, that Pat Boone--and what he says makes sense.

Now, I don't think I need to be tested on math every few years. That would be ridiculous as well as expensive. Math teachers don't forget how to do math, and English teachers don't forget 5-paragraph essays. But teaching effectiveness--if it can be measured, we should do so.

Pat lays a lot of the blame for education problems at the foot of the NEA. It's not solely responsible, but it bears the lion's share. Yes, there are plenty of parents who don't do their part, but we teachers look silly when we say, "We won't budge until the parents do." We should still do what we can.


Anonymous said...

You might educate us with a post on what federal/state requirements parents are newly burdened with in regard to their childrens' educations. Mandate after legislative mandate has been heaped onto teachers. What does the government require of parents? What penalties befall them should their children end up other than advanced or proficient? What are the legal carrots and sticks for parents?

Darren said...

There are none, other than possibly having a dumb kid the rest of your life.

But that doesn't relieve teachers from doing what they *can* do now, even if some parents aren't doing all they kid.

Two wrongs don't make a right, and all that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Boone. As a high school math teacher, I notice it is the lazy teachers who are so afraid of published test scores.

When these teachers say, "We are tired of teaching to the test, it doesn't give us a chance to delve deeply into other things." What they mean is, "We can no longer show movies."

Anonymous said...

Actually, I scored in the upper 80s/90s on my test scores, easily passing the first time. I still objected when a local television station obtained them and put them on their website and was pleased when the legislature acted to make the test scores confidential.

Anonymous said...

Two wrongs? Why do you shun any sense of balance? If we want smart kids, teachers play a role and parents play a role.

All the legislative mandates and consequences have been piled up on the teachers. All of them. With no balancing strictures on parents.

When schools work, it's because all pistons are firing. Teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

One piston cannot do it alone, regardless of legislative mandates.

Darren said...

I see your point, anonymous. I'll just show up and collect a paycheck until every single parent ensures 8 hrs of sleep, a healthy breakfast, and no tv's in the bedroom.

Hope I get your kid, anonymous.

Rhymes With Right, I don't think anyone was suggesting posting the scores of teachers' tests, were they?

allenm said...

Good, ol' Pat's confusing cause and effect.

The NEA, in its current form as an industrial union, was inevitable once enough funding flowed into public education to make teachers worth organizing.

The NEA is a creature of the current public education system and is resistant to anything that threatens the current system. Vouchers do and the NEA is against them. Charters do and the NEA is against them. But that's the way unions are supposed to act.

The NEA is also against anything which differentiates teachers.

There are a few specialties to which non-specialists can't be assigned but beyond those teachers are treated as if they're largely interchangeable.

Once you start differentiating along the lines of skill it becomes impossible to maintain pay uniformity. How long can a union exist if there are dozens of non-interchangeable specialties?

Will the non-specialist teacher go out on strike for the higher-paid specialist? Or the reverse?

The problem isn't the union. It's the factors that lead inevitably to the union.

Darren said...

I don't agree that unions are inevitable. There are plenty of Right To Work states, and many choose not to join unions. And the percentage of unionized workers has dropped every decade for the last 50 years.

The conditions are ripe for unions, but that doesn't mean unions are inevitable. Nor should they be.

Coach Brown said...

I'm evaluated every other year, offcially speaking. Like any good management, the unofficial evaluations are constant. I don't see why evaluations are an issue if the management is good.
However, basing teacher preformance on test scores in the current format is idiotic. Many parents actively promote that the kids not take the test, or that they just bubble in answers to get it over with. How does that rate good teachers?

Darren said...

I don't recall saying that we should do it in the current format. Of course setting up a stupid system would give a stupid result.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Boone would enjoy Dr. Rod Paige's newly published book.
When I see him, I'll give it to him.

allenm said...

If the conditions are right and there's nothing to prevent it, unions form. Closed shop law is the unions exerting their political power which, like the law, varies from state to state. But that comes after the formation and rise to political power of the unions.

Darren said...

I have no problem with unions as institutions. I have serious problems with compulsory unionism and the political tyranny that goes with it.

allenm said...

No argument from me on that score bruddah. But the system is as it is. From time to time special interests achieve enough power to enshrine their agenda into law.

So far the various safeguards have done a good, if not quick, job of braking those special interests until their time is past. Without the force of law to buoy them up they eventually exhaust whatever public goodwill or condition propelled them to prominence and power. Then they collapse.

That collapse is going on in the extreme environmentalist and the affirmative action camps right now. Greenpeace has undergone several retrenchments and the race hustlers are also having a tough go of it. When's the last time you saw Jesse Jackson? Compare that to how often he used to get prime face-time.

American history is littered with just such wreckage. You just have to have some faith in the system. And of course, be willing to defend it from enemies foreign but even more from enemies domestic.

Anonymous said...

Encourage Governor Schwarzenegger to sign out the forced unionism in our State. He can do it in the eleventh hour of his term. He has the power to sign this away, and weaken the chokehold the unions have on teachers, in particular. Teachers would be able to still join unions...if they want to. But if the Governor signs this away, I venture to say that many teachers (if not most) will choose not to rejoin. Forced unionism will be No More...
Just as the unions don't want teachers to know of their right to become fee payers, they surely do not want us to know that our Governator can terminate them...with the brush of his pen.