Utah teacher:After I had taught for several years, 5 of my fellow
teachers took an early retirement and started just such a school. They were
experts in their respective fields and used not only the latest technology
within the classroom but also brought in folks working in the subject area to
expose students to a realistic work-world. Without advertising,
their school soon developed a years out waiting list. Very few discipline
problems occurred as parents were told the student did not have a second chance
regarding appropriate behavior. Now for the downturn. These
teachers were able to cherry pick their students. Obviously ESL, special need,
or low performing issues were not present. Parents were mostly professionals
living in preferred neighborhoods. While their students have
obtained advanced degrees and are regarded as successful, these teachers
acknowledge the "average" student continues to struggle within a public
educational system which is not meeting student needs.
Fact or Fake, Attendance? It's what you do with that time.Many students learn more in an hour then others do in a week, or month.
Here are the facts about education. 1. You cannot force anybody to learn.
Students need to want to learn.2. The family is the most important unit
for education. Without family support, education goes nowhere.3.
Attendance is the leading indicator of student success. You have to be there to
learn. (Even effective home school participants know they have to set aside time
to learn).All three of those things are out of government control.
So, anything done by way of giving the Governor control over education is just
First, stop wasting money on uninformative, expensive, and onerous testing and
invest those dollars in people, whether more teachers or more paras. More time
spent individually with students really does make a difference in their
attitudes and achievements.
We need three things:1. Standardizing the main curriculum targets,
as has recently been attempted with the Common Core. The U.S. Department of
Education is best situated to fund and coordinate research on what is effective
in education. Local districts could still make some adjustments to the
curriculum to reflect local priorities, and they could still experiment with
innovation, sharing their successes with others.2. The
redistribution of educational opportunity from the rich to the poor, which is
now only partly done. Fortunately for Utah, we have some success at funding
schools more equally than most other states. All children deserve a decent
education, regardless of their parents' wealth or lack of it.3.
The Feds and the States should give up their preoccupations with testing,
competition, and micro-management. It's silly to think teachers and
administrators are not sincere in their efforts to help children, especially if
districts were truly controlled locally. Every community wants its children to
succeed.Freed from micro-management and most worries about funding
and curriculum, local districts could greatly cut their administrative overhead
and focus on basic local management, which is the dream of the charter school
Education does not need big medicine. What education needs is a shift in our
societal thinking. We spend so much energy wanting to make things easier for the
lives of our children that we have stopped, as a society, having our children
even think about struggling. Having them come up against a problem and helping
them, not enabling them, in solving the problem. As a result, our children know
that, by and large, that mom and dad (usually mom) will be there to "make it
all better". I poll my students and overwhelmingly they say that their
parents are way too easy and lenient on them. So many want to be their
kids' friend as opposed to being a parent and the kids take advantage of
this. So when are we going to wake up as a society? Not until we realize that we
are not doing them any favors. One last thought: you have to try to fail high
school today it is so easy. And yet kids still do. Why?
gov. gary using children to send a message?Cons are against that
sort of thing...only when President Obama does the same thing?
Utah TeacherPut your money where your mouth is. Then you will
actually see how hard it is to run a business.
To Utah Teacher and Carolyn Sharette:The real improvement would be
to allow charter districts for local communities, where they could band together
for their own community, freed from the government, but where they could use
their own tax dollars for their own schools, done the way they want - NOT the
way some far away government or college educrat wants it done. THAT would be
Who was it that made John Florez think he had the answers on education? What he
proposes would only INCREASE the bureaucracy as he completes the government
takeover of education by putting the governor in charge!Public
education never used to be part of the government. It was a local,
publicly-owned corporation of the local community. Then our cities grew too
big, which also took the local community out of the equation. Then Kennedy used
education to get himself elected in 1960, whereupon it became a national issue
with more government interference. Now Florez wants the governor to take it
over completely.Very little, if any, of the interferences from the
national and state governments and the colleges of education, over the 30 years
of my career as a teacher, have improved it. If you want to deregulate
education, repeal all the national and state laws that interfere, and divide up
our huge, regional districts into community districts. THEN the local
communities would have the possibility of improving their schools. Some
wouldn't, but rest of us would learn and grow from their example.Until then I have seen very little of what Florez proposes that would help.
Utah Teacher,GREAT comment! Yes, you and your friends could (and SHOULD)
open a charter school! Excellent teachers really do know how to fix the schools
and you would be successful. If you decide you want to take that step - I will
help! We need more excellent charter schools so that the public can
see that removing the layers to the extent possible and getting rid of programs
and constraints that are unnecessary really is effective. When schools can
focus on excellent teaching, great things happen for kids. I believe perhaps
the most powerful difference in our charter schools is our ability to let go of
staff that isn't effective and rewarding excellent teachers.
Education just needs to be simplified, and our children need more independence
to become creative, and digest what they are being taught.Too many
bureaucrats creating rules, regulations, excessive funding, and worthless
micro-management.How schools were ran sixty years ago, weren't
Utah Teacher and Real Maverick,I am a teacher with twenty
years' experience and a registered Democrat and I believe that Mr. Flores
is correct. There are far too many layers of administration and bureaucracy
separating the people from the Governor. The Governor should be help
responsible for the condition of education in this state. And the classroom
should not be so many steps from the Capital that it takes years for changes to
be implemented. And each of these bureaucratic layers costs money. Utah has the deck stacked against it because of the large and growing student
population. We can't waste dollars and we have to emphasize efficiency in
the schools. If ANY department, program, curricula, or project can't gather
supporting data to prove its educational efficacy, it should be discarded. This
would include some academic programs, many athletic programs and a significant
number of district and state-level administrators earning over $80,000 a year.
I love it when journalists and politicians act like they know what the solutions
to education are when they have never taught a class and the last time they
actually set foot in a high school classroom was over 20 years ago. Instead of interviewing these folks on the sidelines how about we interview
someone in the trenches? Has the dnews ever interviewed a teacher
for his/her solutions for education? Why not? Is the dnews so
obsessed with bashing public education in order to stuff vouchers down our
throats that they'd continue to offer us this vitriol instead of actual
substance from teachers?
I have been discussing this with a few of the teachers at the school where I
work. I honestly think I could take the 6 best teachers and open a charter
school that would become the envy of the state. I know who the good teachers
are in our school. Each teacher is an expert in their own subject. Each knows
how to work with kids and loves what they do. The parents would flock to our
school and be happy to get out of the bureaucratic nightmare our education
system has come. To get away from the legislative micromanaging would be reward
enough. However, we could each just about double our pay while working with the
kids looking to succeed. No busses running the schedule, no school
meal program, no catering to any certain group, no mandates from the district
office, state or legislature. No frills. Just a good solid education.It really is that simple.