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Comment: Re:Dangerous... (Score 1) 399

by DesertJazz (#46080633) Attached to: California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

And opinions like these are the reasons we see legislatures with no teaching experience making policies that leave teachers banging their heads against the wall about the stupidity of the decisions. Personally I'm a teacher and I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in my field. I've had a great deal of success with my students, so I feel qualified to respond to this. Teachers are definitely qualified to make decisions in the classroom about what they teach! More so than most of the people that are in charge of making those decisions.

The best teachers I've seen are the ones that take the time to develop their own Hypothesis about problems in their classroom and have gone on to try new ways to teach. Sure they have some failures, especially as young teachers, but they learn from them and adapt new strategies. That is if they stick around long enough to improve. The biggest problem with education right now is keeping teachers long enough to develop into master teachers. With the average length of career for teachers being about five years... well there are plenty of problems out there.

The pay is addressed all of the time, it's not great. Supposedly there's a three month vacation every year, but if I have two weeks personally I'm having a long break! Between professional development and other expectations, that summer doesn't really exist for anyone but the students. But, most teachers know the pay isn't great going into it. They do it because they have a passion for teaching.

Too many of them see the passion ebb away though thanks to the fact that they are expected to work miracles with students that have no support networks at home. Then they are expected to hold students to a high standard - and then have their jobs threatened when they do so! The levels of paperwork make the Office Space reports seem quick and painless, and they have to keep track of that with each student. Other than in elementary school most teachers are expected to keep track of 100+ students/day with probably at least 20% of those students having modifications that require separate lesson plans for them.

It's all a recipe for burn out! The fear of being held accountable for the students that care doesn't scare most teachers. It's the students that have no support network at home and most likely will not succeed no matter what is done that scares these teachers.

Comment: Colleges Will LOVE This... (Score 1) 302

by DesertJazz (#44649041) Attached to: Obama Seeks New System For Rating Colleges

The way it's written will negatively impact a lot of the higher ranked colleges from the past with the financial incentives that are mentioned. For the large private schools they're not going to care so much, but I have to imagine this will be dead in the water from the get go. Too much alumni power in the legislature for this to be something that will ever make its way through!

Comment: They Didn't Have Any (Score 2) 162

by DesertJazz (#44576971) Attached to: Datacenter Gives Internet To 70 Percent of Navajo Nation

They didn't have any casino's on the Navajo Nation until about two years ago. It was probably the one that held off the longest on building them, partially because they could never come to an agreement with the State of New Mexico, but mostly due to tribal opposition.

The bigger thing is that it will benefit those that have power... What many people don't realize though is that much of the reservation is like a third world country without running water or electricity!

Comment: Re:Its about replacing books not paper and pencils (Score 1) 393

by DesertJazz (#44406109) Attached to: Every Public School Student In LA Will Get an iPad In 2014

Some of it isn't even eBooks. The students at my school rarely use textbooks anymore due to the curriculum that's been implemented. Most of the time their reference material and assignments is being given to the teachers in pdf form by the curriculum office. Being able to have the kids just look at it on an iPad as opposed to making lots of copies has some value.

I just wish my district had at least been smart enough to go with iPads. They ended up with some grant and bought Nooks for all of the kids... Great until you realize that B&N is pretty much shutting down with that now or soon. We'll probably have wasted more money in the end by trying to save money!

Comment: Re:That's not news (Score 0) 393

by DesertJazz (#44406079) Attached to: Every Public School Student In LA Will Get an iPad In 2014

Is it really? I don't know about your school, but with all of the required training, paperwork, etc. I know quite a few teachers that work some ridiculous hours grading. Personally I spend about 14 hours a day at work in the fall, but I do get paid a bit extra based on the amount of extra time I put in. This 9 months stuff though simply isn't true anymore. The expectation is that teachers spend at least 4 of those weeks doing workshops and training opportunities that mostly don't involve pay to do so. If you're fortunate the district might pay for the training.

Also, 64k is plain and simple not much I'm guessing cost of living wise there. Personally I started in another state at 31k with a Bachelor's Degree just nine years ago. My colleagues in other fields jumped in at similar degrees at 55k+. I had probably 60 more credit hours when I graduated than them too! At this point I'm paid about as well as I could expect at 50k where I'm at. That's with significant extra duty pay amounts built-in, and I feel bad for the teachers without that because they're not being paid well enough.

Oh, and the fact you don't see the homework doesn't mean teachers have nothing to grade. Many of those teachers are teaching seven periods a day with the maximum number of students in each class. Figure roughly 210 students a day with a grade expected from many of them on every assignment. Even if you're just putting a checkmark and marking it in the computer at a rate of .5 minutes per assignment you're talking 105 minutes of work. You figure you get home at five or so, fix dinner, eat, you're up to seven. Let's say you have kids and have to take care of them, some of them don't start grading till nine, and don't finish till nearly eleven at that rate.

Just because you don't see your childs' teachers working does not mean they do nothing. You probably get to leave your work at work. Must be nice?

Comment: Re:Is Facebook a Toxic Brand? (Score 1) 192

by DesertJazz (#43718535) Attached to: Facebook Home Flagship Phone, HTC First, May Be Discontinued

Personally I saw it take off at my college my last year or so there. It was a university that has many umm... socially awkward... individuals. We also used AIM a lot at that point and I can remember times when we had conversations over it, even though the person was in the same room as us. (Granted that was mostly pure laziness too...) For that kind of setting the idea of being able to 'meet' over Facebook was a lot more comfortable.

The one thing I find myself still on Facebook for more than anything is a professional group that's started up. There are about 10k members and it's a pretty good professional development tool.

Comment: Re:Can we speak in clear terms? (Score 1) 412

by DesertJazz (#42610841) Attached to: US Educational Scores Not So Abysmal

The point and problem of this has been known to us as educators for a long time. Other countries do not force everyone into the same mold and test every kid in the end. By the time students reach the test as seniors here, the ones that don't care aren't in the system in other countries. We have a higher populace tested, whereas other countries give up on the lower students earlier. The articles point is if we remove the lower end (like most other countries do) we fair much better than the existing stats. Personally I think we're foolish to continue our existing system. It's not working!

Comment: Many Reasons (Score 2) 690

by DesertJazz (#42476621) Attached to: Why Girls Do Better At School

There are many reasons I see girls do better in school on the whole. I think one of the main reasons though is that the majority of teachers tend to be women. These are women who took getting an education seriously, and often times know what worked for them to learn the subject. I think those teachers are often able to reach those that are similar to them. The interesting thing to me though is that I think competitiveness rises for the top spots in classes frequently from the boys still. They'll do anything to be number 1, and sometimes that hard work pays off. Often times though you see a couple boys clustered in the top ten still, with a significant portion of girls following that before more boys. I think the last 6 years of valedictorians in my school district have all been girls.

With only two other male teachers at the junior high campus I teach at, a science teacher and a PE teacher, I really do think that a lot of boys get left behind in learning styles.

Comment: Re:Any other variables..? (Score 5, Interesting) 206

by DesertJazz (#41813883) Attached to: Brain Scans Show the Impact of Neglect On a Child's Brain Size

There was actually a study conducted with real babies I believe in Canada... might have been US in the 1950's or so. They were given absolutely no nurturing at all, fed, changed, that was it. No stimulus was given. It was a terrible chapter in psychology that I remember reading about in college. It was eventually shut down after it went on far too long and the neglected children were permanently scarred from it. I can't seem to find the exact study right now, but it was a very visible and terrible result in those children. If MRI technology had been in use then I'm sure it would probably verify this study too.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein