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Switch to Forum Live View Low Test Scores=Jail Time for Teachers
5 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 10:09AM #1
sydneymoon
Posts: 3,680

I stumbled across this 2 week-old article and I am befuddled. Years ago I lived outside of Detroit and it appears not much has changed. The schools are dismal. But really....shouldn't we jail the parents before sending teachers to jail for low test scores?!? I am being facetious here.


Wonders never cease......


www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,580214,00.h...

Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 11:23AM #2
withfearandtrembling
Posts: 138

Jail time is ridiculous of course, but if teachers are failing to fulfill their contracts, if there is graft or absenteeism or extremely poor teaching, then I don't think a civil lawsuit is necessarily unacceptable. Parents pay for public schools through their taxes, and, unless they are wealthy, they have no choice but to send their children to public schools. A cumpulsory, mass public education system funded by cumpolsory taxation makes it difficult for parents to exert real influence on the schools in which their children are enrolled. They have no leverage, nowhere to go: they can't take their money away and put it elsewhere, as they could in response to any private organization's failure.


Of course, there was a time when we held children accountable for thier academic failures. We left them behind. We held them back a grade when they failed. I think more kids learned what they needed to then. It's too bad we don't leave some children behind anymore, and haven't for years.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 1:04PM #3
IreneAdler
Posts: 2,849
It never fails to amaze me how quickly folks bring up threats as solutions for difficult problems.  Even if jail time became the the school district's method of dealing with low scores, such scare tactics will never  contribute a thing towards finding ways to increase test scores.  

 

 

And, exactly how is the average teacher supposed to remedy the low scores under such a consequence?   Suppose one could quit the job if there's no resources offered to the teachers to raise scores.  But someone will be tasked with the job of teaching students.  In my experience, low test scores are a problem with a multitude of causes. Simply blaming the teachers is almost abusive in nature- it's all too easy to blame them.  Sure , there are some bad teachers- but are all teachers in Detroit sub par?  C'mon, that's hard to buy.  Article didn't really state where the problem lies; so how does threatening jail time improve things?  I can recall isolated situations where teachers had access to their students standardized test results and 'edited' them to improve the scores.  Not saying that all teachers are dishonest, but when it comes to jail as a consequence, and with no other solutions at hand, hey, some might do everything necessary to avoid it. 

 

 

Where are the resources for the teachers to improve the test scores?  Article didn't say.  Article calls for 100,000 volunteer hours to help with students.  Is that simply what someone thought up or has the situation been studied and the solution identified is having volunteers teach reading? 

 

 

I know it's not as glamorous as the demands for jail time for teachers, but what all has been done to study the problem?  IF it is lack of motivation on the part of the teachers, aren't there other solutions available?  What about some sort of positive inducement for teachers whose students do demonstrate test score improvement? I would think that teachers who do care about the welfare of their students would have all sort of productive ideas for increasing test scores were the proper 'carrot' be offered to them. 

 

Irene.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2009 - 9:16AM #4
sydneymoon
Posts: 3,680

This is the link to the math assessment to which the article refers. This is the 4th grade math results. A US map allows the reader to click on each state and find out how it compares nationally. It provides categories such as gender, ethnicity and economic level.


.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2009/gr4_stat...


 


 


Dec 29, 2009 -- 1:04PM, IreneAdler wrote:

It never fails to amaze me how quickly folks bring up threats as solutions for difficult problems.  Even if jail time became the the school district's method of dealing with low scores, such scare tactics will never contribute a thing towards finding ways to increase test scores.


Who will be left to teach w/ these kinds of threats?


  


 


Dec 29, 2009 -- 1:04PM, IreneAdler wrote:

In my experience, low test scores are a problem with a multitude of causes. Simply blaming the teachers is almost abusive in nature- it's all too easy to blame them.


Yes and when children come to school ill-prepared for a host of reasons there is a lot a classroom teacher can do, but he/she needs the support and follow-up from the parent(s)


 


 


Dec 29, 2009 -- 1:04PM, IreneAdler wrote:

Where are the resources for the teachers to improve the test scores?  Article didn't say.  Article calls for 100,000 volunteer hours to help with students.  Is that simply what someone thought up or has the situation been studied and the solution identified is having volunteers teach reading?



I wish there was more to go on as it is hard to evaluate these ideas without further info.


 


Irene, you show much insight and pose good questions.


Any kindergarten teacher can spot the children who have been read to prior to entering school. They have a much higher vocabulary and as they begin reading they are more able to self-correct due to the exposure. Art, music and play help a child explore his/her world long before entering school. Plunking a child down in front of the tv is not the same as engaging them in activities that promote curiosity, experimentation and critical thinking….the AHA moments. When children become of school age, lots of parents fear returning to an environment that reminds them of their failures. It is up to the school to genuinely welcome them and extend them the time and consideration listening to their concerns. The ball is back in the parents’ court to follow up w/ suggestions by the teacher(s). This is sometimes very hard to do as some families have chaotic and highly stressful circumstances. However, most teachers are very willing to work w/ parents that see the school as an ally rather than the enemy.


 Retention can be beneficial to a child, but it is most successful when done early on. Retaining a child year after year w/out  implementing new strategies AND w/ out co-operation from a parent is futile. Children need the support from home, period.


Children are still retained when the benefits outweigh the negatives, but  it makes no sense to have a 14  year old mixed in w/ 10 year olds. An alternative school/class may provide more one-on-one instruction. Students lap up the attention and the instructor can approach the academic and emotional needs more effectively.


 


Money well spent? Smaller class sizes for starters.

Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2009 - 1:34PM #5
REteach
Posts: 15,007

Ironic that parents are demanding jail time, given that research would indicate parental involvement has more impact on scores.


Maybe all teachers should just leave Detroit.

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2009 - 10:59PM #6
Farmergirl
Posts: 57

Oh good grief!  Definitely a set of parents who hasn't the vaguest idea of what they are talking about.  I'm of the philosophy that there are at a minimum 3 people involved in a child's education: the parent, the child, and the teacher.  If they can have me arrested, can I fire them for their failure also?  After all, the parent is with the child much more of the time than I am, and the child is . . . well . . . you know what I'm getting at.  Crazy people everywhere, huh?

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 1:33PM #7
IreneAdler
Posts: 2,849

I still think it abusive to threaten jail time -even for those teachers who are, in fact,  underperforming.  


 


 


Irene.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 2:13PM #8
Tmarie64
Posts: 5,277

It's just plain stupid to threaten jail time.  Teachers are not the ONLY people responsible for the failure of the students.


If you don't instill a desire to learn, improve, and work in your children all the teachers in the universe won't help them.   Kids are only in school 6-8 hours a day (depending on where you are) 5 days a week, 180 days a year.  And they don't even get them until the kids are at least 5.  Whose fault is it that the kids are behind before they even get started?  Teachers?


Teachers are underpaid, overworked, and under supplied. 

James Thurber - "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2010 - 7:42AM #9
sydneymoon
Posts: 3,680

I think most people can agree that a common core of knowledge is beneficial, but allowing teachers to be creative and use multiple approaches (auditory, kinesthetic, visual) should be valued over test taking skills in order to achieve this knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, strategies on taking tests should be a part of learning process, but it should not be central to the learning process.


All schools need to be accountable, but the stats don’t necessarily reflect the whole child.


Example: Let’s say a child enters third grade two grades behind in reading. The child wasn’t read to prior to entering school, has a somewhat chaotic and stressful home life and although he/she was recommended for retention in kindergarten, the parent(s) vetoed this advice. What if the child was assessed for learning disabilities, but all indicators show no discrepancies? (There is a whole can of worms w/ this topic as well). Though the child did not formally “qualify” for interventions the first grade teacher implemented small groups tutoring and provided other modifications, as did the second grade teacher. Now the child enters third grade and this is the first year of state mandated testing. The child soars under the direction of this well loved, well-trained teacher and the child develops emotionally as well as academically. He/she gains confidence and makes all sorts of new friends and discovers a talent for music. Whew! What a year! However, he/she has made tremendous gains in reading, but still lags behind his/her peers grade level wise. The test scores indicate as such. BTW. The math scores are affected as well as the majority of math questions are word problems and the child struggles w/ this as well. Has the child failed? Has the teacher not done his/her job?


Why aren’t we choosing to assess the child at his/her academic starting point and measuring the child’s growth? Instead of an asterisk noting “While this student has shown much growth during the school year he/she has failed to meet current third grade standards.”  Why can’t we celebrate the personal success the child has achieved and not make everyone involved in this child’s amazing year feel as if they have failed this child? It makes no sense.

Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2010 - 5:46PM #10
Erey
Posts: 19,149

I think if a teacher is not performing up to defined duties he or she should be fired.


I think if a teacher is stealing or falsefying info that might be an issue for the law enforcement. 


 


Mostly I think a district should be concerned with helping and assisting a teacher to do his or her best, not waiting in the ready to punish if they fall short. 

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