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High School is the Problem!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by burk48237, Feb 13, 2014.

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  1. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
  2. There are a lot of factors.

    Test scores falling off also bring into question the testing itself.

    From my understanding, teachers in the US are paid Pro-rata and not for 12 months of the year (like many other countries). I've also seen claims that it's hard to fire teachers in the US on the grounds of incompetence.

    In tests of student confidence, the US student body always seems to think very highly of itself, maybe you just need to grind them down a bit more :p
  3. Bass_Thumper


    Oct 20, 2009
    Madison, MS
    We need to get rid of the idea of social promotion. Heaven forbid, little Johnny actually gets the F that he earned. Let's just pass him along where he'll score poorly on tests because he shouldn't be taking them at that level to begin with.
  4. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012
    This is the real issue..... the social promotion agenda. Curriculum has been dumbed down over the last 30years to a laughable level. Add to that the general sense of entitlement and irresponsibility of youth currently and the same affliction in the parents and you have our current education system. While the educators themselves are surely not without blame- they have the most important job in the country and make pennies compared to the work they have to do. It doesn't matter how amazing a teacher is if admin wants to push a new education agenda......that's what will be taught. ( see: Florida's FCAT system or nationally look at no child left behind..)
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    You only get out of school what you put into it. The school systems can pay teachers millions of dollars and build schools that would put sports stadiums to shame, but if you don't get the students emotionally invested/motivated in their education, it won't matter.

  6. Particularly when it comes to high school teachers, you need someone with a specialised qualification as well as their teaching qualification. If teachers are paid better you draw in the better applicants.

    I have a heavy science background, yet I would need an extra qualification to be a teacher and I'd earn less. Wouldn't make sense for me to go into teaching, at least not from a financial standpoint. Not saying I'd make a good teacher, but that there are people who would make good teachers who are simply much better off, financially, not teaching.

    While I do agree with you Mike, that students need to get invested and motivated, it's also a dynamic. I'm sure we all have memories of teachers who could get you excited about a subject, and those who were clearly only there for the pay cheque. The motivational power of a teacher is a powerful thing.

    Also, I don't buy the "back in my day" mantra, though there are certainly exceptions.
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Good point my friend. Do you think the paycheck is tied that closely to the quality of the teacher? As you mentioned, I do remember those teachers from high school who got me excited and totally into the subject at hand. I have no idea how much money those teachers made. I just assumed they all got paid about the same based on seniority. Here where I live, they are paid by the state government which has pay scales they have to follow. As I understand it, they can't go out and pay big money to the better teachers.

  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    How do you measure quality, though?

    Let me tell ya, I had plenty of college professors who were more than qualified to work in their field, but they had zero business teaching in a classroom. The same goes for a lot of my grade school teachers. Some "got" the teaching thing, and others were simply looking for a paycheck. And considering the qualifications people need just to teach middle school these days, I'm sure our country is looking over plenty of fantastic teachers who just happen to not have the on-paper qualifications.
  9. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    For a teacher, I would measure quality by their ability to reach their students and motivate them to learn. I have much respect for those who are educators. It doesn't appear to me to be a field one chooses to get rich, but one they choose to help make a difference.

  10. phatcyclist


    Jan 29, 2014
    Austin, TX
    I think it's pretty ridiculous these days that the entire point of primary school, particularly high school is centered around passing standardized testing. Not saying there shouldn't be some sort of educational requirements to receive a high school diploma, but the emphasis on these standardized tests is silly. Teachers end up having to make very rigid and typically uninteresting lesson plans to teach skills to pass these tests above all else. This trend was just starting when I was leaving high school myself and I'm glad I missed the biggest wave of it.

    I enjoyed school a lot, I wasn't a great student by any means but I walked away from HS with a fairly well-rounded education considering the effort I put out. Of course I had the most fun in my orchestra class, but I had some core-curriculum teachers that I enjoyed their lesson plans and find years later that their teachings have stuck with me more often than not.
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Same. I just think the barriers of entry are hindering a lot of potentially excellent teachers from ever getting the chance to teach in the first place.
  12. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    I'm skeptical of international test score comparisons for a variety of reasons.
  13. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Great point. Maybe the answer is to give more money to teachers after all.

  14. In itself, no, but I think it would increase the draw to teaching. With a greater group of potential teachers to pick from, the body providing the education qualification can then be much pickier about who gets it at the end of the day.

    As far as I'm aware it's quite similar here, fairly set levels that vary a bit depending on seniority.

    It's just worrying when I know some people who used teaching as their fall back plan. Not the type of person I'd want teaching my (hypothetical) children.

    As to the practical application of it, I really don't know!
  15. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    There are so many reasons why our high schools are failing that I think it's hard to really pin down which are true causal factors and which are correlated or unrelated.

    Is it America's largely anti-intellectual bent?

    We don't celebrate academic achievement to anywhere near the degree that we celebrate athletic achievement. In fact academic achievement is often derided. For the vast majority of kids the overriding goal is to fit in and be accepted and when success in school is largely looked down upon that doesn't help in engaging students in their own education.

    Is it the rise of an entitlement mentality?

    When I was teaching I had the mother of one of my freshman science students enraged that her daughter was getting an F in my class despite not turning in homework, lab reports and doing abysmally on tests. At one point she said exasperatedly, "But she's here every day!" as if her mere attendance should be enough to move her along. How do we change the mentality to one of achievement instead of just getting through year to year?

    Is it the inherent problems with "teaching to the test"?

    Standardized tests by their nature encourage rote memorization in preparation for them. The fundamental goal of education (to me at least) is to teach children to think critically and logically, process and communicate information and become a well rounded citizen while giving them the background to pursue a specific area of study or career path. I don't see how teachers being forced to teach to the test in order to maintain funding and their own employment helps anyone reach the true goal of schooling.

    Is it the pay level of teachers?

    As Americans we embrace capitalism in nearly all situations. But in education we seemingly want to legislate our way to success by adding program after program and putting more and more red tape and requirements upon teachers. Why not do what economics has always told us works and make a career in teaching enticing to the best and brightest and then let them do their job. It currently requires a large financial and personal sacrifice for a highly qualified graduate with an engineering, science, economics, computer programming etc degree to decide to enter teaching. So yes, perhaps better pay is part of that formula.

    But I think the larger issue is just the inordinate amount of demands we place on teachers due to the myriad of ineffective programs the state and federal government keeps tossing at them. My line with my principal when he'd bring me some new thing we were all supposed to be doing or incorporating was that he'd also have give me some thing I was currently doing that I could quit doing. Teaching for me became a zero sum game where I just had no hours left in the day to add anything else without losing my sanity. You want better teachers? Make teaching a much more competitive field, and not just monetarily.

    There are plenty more factors worth considering but I think this post is long enough.
  16. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    While I agree you aren't going to get rich teaching, it is a pretty good paying job when you figure benefits and hours. The reality is, it is a nine month a year job, and I know plenty of teachers that also make good money in the off-seasons. In MI a tenured teacher will be making 50-70K per year.

    BUT they have benefits that some upper management people would envy. They have paid no contribution pension, retirement HC, no co-pay HC, Dental, most get free laptops every couple of years. And like some have eluded too earlier it's almost impossible to get fired for a performance issue.

    The Union in MI has demanded severance pay and provided legal services for more than one convicted child molester. In MI when you add benefits most tenured teachers are making close to a 100K a year with great job security.

    I'm not suggesting we cut their pay, and I don't believe teachers are the problem. Only that paying them more without some tie in to real performance is absurd. I would also suggest that we pay more on administration, administrative costs, and athletics than any other nation. We have great HS football teams, and kids with full rides to Universities that are functionally illiterate.

    In Detroit we had a school board President who was functionally illiterate (Otis Mathis look it up). And the graduates of Detroit schools have a literacy rate that is the same as the Central African Republic. To be fair to the Central African Republic, at least they had their kids had the excuse of a cannibal dictator. :rolleyes:
  17. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    My wife is a teacher I've seen her in the past 13 yrs become more and more angery because as a teacher she is doing less teaching and more disapline plus once the school, and im not sure if all schools run this way, gets a " best practice of teaching" down, designed by somebody who never taught the district will change the whole approach to the new (flavor of the month) best practice. I keep tellingher to quite. Unfourtynately she may not have a choice now....any way thats mt experience...
  18. A couple comparisons of apples to apples -

    Average starting pay for teachers in MI - $35K
    Average pay for Bachelors degree holder in Michigan - $48K

    Average teacher pay in MI - $61.5K
    Average pay for Masters degree holder in Michigan - $57K
  19. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012
    Must be nice then to live there in MI and teach.

    Here in Florida. My better half graduated with two bachelors in elementary ed and ESE education. She started at a charter school at 25,500. I make that plunging toilets.
    She worked.....WORKED everyday from 6am to 11+pm. Doing paperwork and lesson plans and such. Also... she paid for well over 90% of her own classroom materials. She worked weekends and was required to come to all school sponsored events for no pay. She had the EXACT same benifits as I did as an apprentice electrician. The only difference was super cheap life insurance. There was/ is no free healthcare, dental etc.
    I now work for the state and don't get any more benifits either except an exorbitant amount of time off.
    she was let go from the charter school ( along with 12 other <3year teachers) after the state did away with tenure. That meant they could hire 20+ year teachers at half their pay or they didn't have a job anymore.

    It took her 4 years to get a paraprofessional position at a public school and now she makes about 11 dollars an hour to yeah severely handicapped children. She gets the same benifits I do.....only she's not going to get paid through the summer and she has less time off.

    Its funny how alot of states have attacked their teachers and teacher unions for poor education performance when it was THEIR voting and implimentation of poor practices that put them there.

    *shrug* but hey..... like is said around here all the time -" you get what you pay for".
  20. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I teach in an IB International School and the material that the Grade 8 Science class is studying and the output which is required of the students is more difficult and involved than the mandatory science courses I took at a state university in the US.

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