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Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 897

OK, I'm an enabler. You've completely proven me wrong on every level with your impeccable logic. Boy I'm glad you're not a lawyer!

I bow to your massive intellect. Your teachers must have been incredible - every single one of them - for you to have learned how to argue with such conviction and fortitude.

You win. I will now call my wife and grandparents - all public school teachers - and inform them that they should never state in public that they ever work 12 hour days, because Belial6 will prove them to be liars - worthless people who deserve nothing but shame and grief for their incompetence. How dare they claim that they work harder than Belial6???

I promise, next time my wife comes home at 7:30, I will tell her I am no longer an enabler, and that she better shape up and work more efficiently, or I will have Belial6 call her out on her lies. What could she possible have been doing that whole time??? I mean, school was done at 3, wasn't it??? She should be fired for her incompetence, and replaced with someone who cares enough for their students to not waste time writing lesson plans and eating lunch.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 897

I'm sorry, I can't have an honest conversation with someone who only wants to point fingers. You don't want an honest conversation - you only want to tear people down.

I am a staunch defender of public education. Not of our current public education system, necessarily. However, the parts of it that people say are 'broken' are no grounds for tearing down the entire system. Why amputate when all that's needed are some band-aids?

I also think it's ridiculous to blame the public education system for its failings, when people are not willing to support it financially. If people think that public education is expensive, I want to see the looks on their faces when they see the cost of sending every child in this country to private schools...

And I'm sorry you disagree, but I will always side with the teachers UNLESS there is undeniable proof that they are neglectful of their students. And sorry, someone screaming "LIAR, LIAR!" on Slashdot does not constitute proof. Just so you know, I have not seen any response from the teacher in question here that gives any indication that he's lied about anything at all.

In fact, all I've learned so far from this conversation is that you clearly don't know anything about teaching nor about how the public education system works. You have some obvious bitterness toward teachers and public education that makes it impossible for you to have an honest discussion about this subject with anyone.

On the other hand, I'm more than open to talk about solutions to the known problems, but I will not entertain solutions that involve blindly tearing down the entire infrastructure and replacing it with who-knows-what.

However, I do take offense to your implied accusation that I don't care about the education of children in this country. It's for this reason that I will attack the person who calls people liars without proof.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 897

Sorry, I'm not an enabler. I agree that our system has major flaws. Unfortunately, it's not being sabotaged by the teachers. It's being sabotaged by people like yourself that have this inane belief that educators are robots.

You're wrong about lesson plans. Lesson plans are not about curriculum - those are readily available online, and many states do provide a SAMPLE curriculum along with a set of SAMPLE lesson plans that teachers can use. However, the purpose of developing daily lesson plans is to tailor the curriculum to the individual students in the class. Any teacher that downloads a lesson plan online without tailoring it for the needs of their students is destined to fail.

Again, they're not getting paid for the extra work, so if you look at their real world wages, they're far worse off than you think.

The fact that you clearly think that teachers are undeserving liars already proves where your stance is on the matter. You obviously have some conservative ideological motivation for your hatred of our public education system, and clearly won't be swayed by rational logic. So let me just ask you one question:

How much will it cost us to replace all of our human teachers with the robots that you so desperately want to be teaching our children?

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 897

It's not unrealistic at all that a teacher is working 12 hours days. You don't need to be a dick and accuse him of being a bad teacher.

Maybe he has to grade and prepare lesson plans for 5 or 6 completely different levels of math classes? He works at an inner city school, so it's likely that he doesn't have any of your fancy little 'teacher assistants'. He's probably doing it all himself, with 40+ kids in each classroom. He probably also has to deal with a lot more disciplinary issues than you imagine.

The teachers that work 12 hour days are NOT the ones that you should be crapping on. These are the ones that care enough to write letters to parents to persuade them to encourage their kids to take school seriously. Frankly, the teachers that need to be let go are the ones that show up when school starts, leave when school ends, and never do any preparation for their classes. Any teacher that goes above and beyond to do ANYTHING outside of the school day deserves our praise, not our criticism.

It's not like in our society he's ever gonna get paid any more for doing that extra work, so again, don't be a dick...

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 728

How about:

1) Let the copyright holder prove to the judge exactly how much money was lost at the time that they are accusing the copyright violator.
2) Determine the total number of individuals found violating their copyright at that point in time.
3) (proven $ lost) / (proven # violators) = payment owed + legal/investigative fees

I don't understand how anyone should ever have to pay someone based on a number they clearly pulled from their asses.

Comment Re:Graphics over gameplay (Score 1) 401

I was joking about the elements that (I believe) are found in *EVERY* FF game!

Do you think magic is a story element? I tend to think of it as a gameplay element as well, while chocobos and some dude named Cid are character elements. You can ride chocobos, so they're gameplay elements (they rarely have anything to do with actual plot/story).

Cid has been the element that changes around the most. Sometimes he's a NPC, sometimes you get to tell him to bash things with a hammer, sometimes he's a jackass bad dude... But he's always there!

Comment Traffic compaction (Score 1) 561

This is one step toward my dream of a highway lane for autonomous vehicles. Just like carpool lanes, but better. Autonomous vehicles in a mesh network could drive at incredibly close distances - like a freight train. Fuel efficiency would increase immensely because of increased drafting effects, as well as people not slamming on their brakes and accelerator pedals constantly. Real-time communication between vehicles could alert entire 'trains' of cars to slow down simultaneously in the event of an obstacle or road obstruction. Traffic for the rest of the highway lanes would also improve because of the increased packing efficiency of cars on the automation lanes.

Win Win Win!

Until someone decides it can't be allowed because "Who would we sue if something went wrong???"

Comment Re:Likely major fail with approach... (Score 1) 629

If you had RTFA you would have known that this is accounted for. The metric looks at a student's relative performance. A bad student, given an average teacher, will do just as poorly at the end of the year as at the start. Ditto for a good student, an average student, a corpse, a bird, a principal.

Remember, these are percentiles we're talking about here - a normalized measure of a distribution. If a student increases their percentile, then they necessarily bump someone else out of that percentile. It's no surprise to me at all that if there is a classroom that has a huge increase in percentile then there will likely be another classroom that sees a huge decrease in percentile.

The fact that a particular classroom saw the decrease tells us nothing about why. Sure, part of it may be the teacher, but this does not tell you how much of it can be contributed to their value as a teacher. In my experience, kids tend to be placed in classes with other kids that are going in the same direction. So the best students will end up in classes that will improve, and the worst students will end up in classes that decline. The fact that this is surprising to some people, is well, surprising.

Comment Re:This is horrible! (Score 1) 629

Parents are allowed to evaluate the performance of their children by any metric they choose. If a parent wants to congratulate their kid for passing band, but doesn't care if they failed English, then they are free to do so.

What's being proposed is that we use quantifiable measures that have questionable correlation with teacher performance, and that contain biases that are very very difficult to quantify.

People seem to think that teachers unions don't represent the majority of teachers, but this is wrong. The vast majority of teachers support the fight that the unions are waging on their behalf. No teachers want to be judged based on these test scores because they simply do not correlate with their value as a teacher. Of course, value means different things to different people. If you think that the value of a teacher is based purely on how well their students perform on a handful of standardized tests, then you have the right to that belief. This doesn't make it true, of course - any more than my belief that the value of a teacher is based on how much they inspire their students to love learning in general.

The only difference is that you think that your metric actually measures what you think it does, whereas I accept that there is no quantifiable metric for what I believe is important.

Comment Re:Since when is a teacher solely responsible (Score 1) 629

Students are not assigned 'practically randomly'. Bad students are placed in classes with other bad students. Two teachers can be teaching the exact same course and consistently have widely differing batches of students.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the two classrooms that were being used as comparison were the extreme opposite ends of the distribution of teacher 'ability' according to this metric. Honestly, without looking at this distribution, it's very hard to draw a conclusion that anything needs to change. For all we know, the teacher with the high increase in test scores was an extreme outlier - and while outlying teachers on the good side of the distribution should be praised and perhaps used as a model, this still does not allow us to draw a conclusion that anything needs to change.

My biggest concern is that both the best and worst students in any distribution tend to be where they are because of their own ambitions (or lack thereof). If you toss out the teacher who has to teach the worst students because of failing test scores, and you replace that teacher with the best teacher in the school, then you'll probably end up firing that teacher as well when the test scores don't improve.

We have to focus on the middle 90% of students and teachers, and do what's best overall. The best will be the best regardless of any metrics we choose to measure them by, and the worst will always be bad apples. So why would anyone argue to remove the bad apples from the teacher pool without also arguing to remove the bad apples from the student pool?

Comment Re:Scrutiny (Score 1) 629

This makes me sad...

Teachers for the most part work in a controlled environment

They typically have a classroom

True, but while cubicles and factory workstations are usually interchangeable, classrooms are often shared, and not suited for the subjects they are being used for. Physics labs being taught in English classrooms? English classes being taught in the auditorium? This happens quite often.

equipment provided by the school

The school only provides a minimum of necessary equipment. Most teachers use a considerable percentage of their salary just buying pens and paper out of their own pockets so their students can do their assignments.

and students who are required to be there

And who don't show up...

All are internal entities aside from the occasional intrusion by a parent, bureaucrat, or local newspaper

As long as by 'occasional' you mean 'almost every day', then sure.

In comparison, plumbers almost never work in a controlled environment. They go to someone's house or office and deal with whatever is there

The world of plumbing is one of the most over-standardized industries in the world. Plumbers almost always work in highly controlled environments, because municipalities tend to have very strict building codes for what materials and construction practices are allowed to be used. The types of things that can go wrong in plumbing are always fixable by a reasonably skilled plumber - as long as the money is there to perform the necessary repairs. In fact, the world of plumbing is so standardized now that the biggest problems plumbers have is when working on fixtures that are so old the parts can't be purchased at the local Home Depot.

Teachers rarely have access to the sort of regular problems that plumbers are faced with.

They don't get to take the plumbing to a controlled place and work on it there

And teachers do? Plumbers aren't likely to have to fix 30+ pipes that are all interconnected in mysterious ways, where some pipes are running slow because they're too busy getting high to let water flow through them, and other pipes are empty because their parent pipes don't feel like it's their responsibility to keep them pressurized.

My take is that scrutiny is not that difficult, especially given that the primary goal of public school education is the education of students in a limited group of subjects. You have measures such as student performance on standardized tests, discipline actions, and the future success of past students.

Scrutiny is incredibly difficult. My company still thinks that LOC is a good metric for measuring developer skills.

And why on earth would you say that the selection of subjects is 'limited'? You think that Math, History, Language, Science, Literature, Government, Art, and all the other subjects taught in public school is limited? I would call the pretty damned comprehensive...

There are dozens if not hundreds of different heuristics that make up whether a teacher is performing well. The problem with optimization is that once you select a function to optimize, it will do that no matter what your actual goal is. Once you 'decide' that a handful of standardized test scores are what we will use to optimize, then you will see those test scores rise and rise and rise to some mysterious limit - and they will still have no correlation to how 'good' a teacher really is.

Here's a counterargument that I don't expect you to give a crap about, but I'm going to include it because I think it's important:

There will always be a distribution of teachers in the workforce. A small handful of really bad ones, a small handful of really good ones, and a vast majority of decent ones.

There will also always be a distribution of students in the classroom. A small handful of really bad ones, a small handful of really good ones, and a vast majority of decent ones.

How would you decide who is a bad student? Would you use standardized test scores?

Now can you think of a metric that measures teacher performance based on standardized test scores that can be normalized to their students' performance on standardized test scores?

It's no more fair to measure a teacher's performance without evaluating their students than it is to measure a student's performance without evaluating their teachers.

Comment Re:RTFA before commenting (Score 1) 629

Are you trying to make the case that the ambient noise of their rooms does not effect their ability to do their jobs?

Does it affect yours? It certainly affects mine...

Learning is dependent on focus. If there are distractions, kids won't be able to focus, and that will affect their education to a greater or lesser extent. I would say that 'studies' into the ambient noise of teachers' classrooms are performed not so much to measure how well teachers are able to do their jobs, but rather to measure how well students are able to learn in that environment.

Comment Re:Educational Problems (Score 1) 629

Meh to your math...

Teachers normally get paid for a 10-month period, and don't receive paychecks for 2 months during the summer.

If teachers are paid year-round, that same salary is distributed over a 12 month period instead. If you wanted to find out how much LESS per MONTH a teacher would make if paid year-round, you need to multiply by 10/12, not 12/10.

However, this argument is a red herring because teachers make 40-50k a year no matter how many months they work. Salaries are generally determined based on number of days in the school year, not by number of months worked.

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