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Letter: Teachers' perspective

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  • Michael Matthews Omaha, NE
    Aug. 28, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    @ Tyler

    Thanks!

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    To "Confused" cry me a river. Any job that requires a license through the DOPL has continuing education requirements. Everybody, from your family Doctor down to the girl that cuts your hair.

    As for grading homework, who says that they have to give out so much homework that they can't get the grading done 1 hour after school lets out or on the early out days that were set up for the purpose of giving teachers time to grade homework. Plus all of the public teachers I have seen have parent volunteers doing most of the grading.

    Other than the first year a teacher has a particular grade or subject, how much lesson prep time is needed? My relatives that are teachers spend little time on lesson preparation because the prepared a good yearly outline the first year they taught.

    The good teachers I have known and had spent little time outside of their 8 hour work day grading and preparing lessons because they either only gave out meaningful homework or else used their time efficiently and didn't have to take work home.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:06 p.m.

    Redshirt1701

    teacher's wages are not that bad once you consider the amount of time off they get plus their benefit package which includes a really sweet pension program that is guaranteed by the government.

    Are you including the HOURS of work they do after school and at home to grade homework, prepare lesson plans, not to mention the countless hours (unpaid) to take classes to keep their teaching credentials up to date.

    Not to mention the countless meetings they must attend in those off times to learn new standards set by the District/State Board/Legislature.

    My wife is a teacher.. she averages at least 11 hours a day doing here duty as a teacher. This is not an abnormality for teachers..

    Second, the "guaranteed government benefits" is not Guaranteed, it can and has been changed over the past five years (reduction of said benefits).

    Everyone thinks because a student goes 6-7 hours a day to school, that teachers have the same work schedule, which is false... and trust me, her time at work is watched closely by parents, administrators, Districts and State school board... well at least in Utah

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    re Mike Richards

    "...Many of my grandchildren are being home schooled."

    I'm curious to know if Grandpa come into talk about the Constitution?

    That said, my parents were career educators. As I recall, it was a push regarding the parents & union. They were no fans of the legislature. Most of their animosity was towards bureaucrats in the district office who were out of touch.

    p.s. Curious;

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" teacher's wages are not that bad once you consider the amount of time off they get plus their benefit package which includes a really sweet pension program that is guaranteed by the government. Once you factor in everything, the teachers get a lot more than what just looking at their salary shows.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:36 p.m.

    @RedShirt
    USS Enterprise, UT

    To "Irony Guy" actually in Utah we do love the great teachers. The problem is that it is getting harder and harder to find the great teachers. Finding a great teacher is like finding a great diamond.

    =========

    And you pay them dirt, so good teachers quit,
    and get diamond wages.

    Free Market rules - even with a Union.

    So, Utah - you get what you pay for.

    Stop complaining about bad or mediocre education,
    when you are the worst paying in the Country.

    It's like complaining about taxes,
    and being the 1st to cheer to start another war.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 27, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    It’s a tricky issue to isolate the effects of vouchers (or school choice) from all the other data noise, but there are studies and meta-studies in the U.S. that have done so and the results are positive (e.g., A Win-Win Solution – by Greg Forster).

    Sweden is a bit of a mess with a test score decline across the board; yet since over 80% of its schools are still public, vouchers per se do not appear to be the driver of the decline. Rather, there is evidence of very poor regulation in the setup (which among other things incentivized grade inflation) and a heavy handed State control of curriculum which hampers school’s ability to innovate teaching methods – which along with choice, is the whole point of implementing vouchers in the first place.

    That said, Swedish parents still overwhelmingly support the school choice aspect of vouchers, though admittedly they do not like for-profit schools.

    France appears to be doing much better with their voucher program, although again there is some data noise in the results – mainly the large influx of Muslim immigrants.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 27, 2014 3:42 p.m.

    Teachers work for the Government making crummy wages,

    for the same reason some of us work for the
    United States Air Force for crummy wages --

    We Love America, more than we love money...

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 27, 2014 3:18 p.m.

    To "Confused" the great teachers are the ones that no only do the kids want, but are also the ones that the parents want. They are the teachers that are able to explain the subject to their students in an engaging manner, and are able to maintain discipline within the classroom simply through expecting it. They are able to meet the needs of all of their students and work to keep the advanced students just as engaged as the struggling students.

    During my public education days, I can say that I only had 3 great teachers. That was back when finding a great teacher was easier. The rest were average at best.

    It is great that you wife wants to maintain discipline, but can she teach in a way that the kids understand or inspires them? I had substitutes in elementary school that maintained discipline, and they were terrible teachers.

  • Michael Matthews Omaha, NE
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    @ Tyler

    Are France and Sweden doing better? Not from what I've seen and heard. They may be on a voucher system. But what reliable evidence is there that this choice has lead to better student?

    Sincerely,
    Interested in proof if there is some, Michael

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    Redshirt...

    Define "Great Teacher"?

    because my wife is a GREAT teacher (personal prejudice), but if you listen to the gossips at her school who likes to stir up the other parents, she is a bad teacher.....

    Why is she a bad teacher? Because she insist on having discipline in the classroom, so that ALL can "Learn" and the little darlings of these gossips are causing problems in the classroom...

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    To "Irony Guy" actually in Utah we do love the great teachers. The problem is that it is getting harder and harder to find the great teachers. Finding a great teacher is like finding a great diamond.

    The problem that this letter exposes is the fear that teachers have. They can either conform or lose their jobs. Unfortunately rather than risk their jobs they conform. Imagine the conditions that miners would have to work in if they acted like teachers.

    The teacher's have a powerful union, why don't they use is to correct the problems in the education system?

    Teachers share the blame, not because they have been clamoring for Common Core, but because they don't use the resources they have to fight the downward spiral.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    We have a problem with "finger pointing". Teachers blame the administrators. Administrators blame the Legislature. Parents blame the "system", meanwhile the schools keep churning out uneducated "scholars" who can hardly read or write. What to do? Who do we blame? How many teachers have filed a lawsuit against the administration? No lawsuit means that teachers really don't think that the administration is really to blame. How many administrators have filed a lawsuit against the Legislature, no lawsuit means that the administration is content with the Legislature. How many parents have sued the school districts? No suits mean that parents like to complain, but they really don't want to get involved.

    The time for finger pointing is past. It't time to do more than post comments to a newspaper. Many of my grandchildren are being home schooled. Their parents are doing something.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    Confused: you neglected to include lawyers as a reason that teachers leave. The threat of being sued is huge, and lawyers are only too happy to oblige!

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    Educator...

    There are multiple reasons for teachers leaving...

    Bad Administration (District and State Level) who changes their minds about the curriculum faster than you changes socks.

    Legislature - who has an open disdain for Teachers. Make decisions on Education, but never fund it or even checks out if the idea is even a good one.

    the most common reason? PARENTS

    Parents complain about Bullying... even when it is not ...
    Parents never hold their children accountable for their behavior in class
    Parents do like to gossip and spread false information about teachers via texting.
    Parent do not like be held accountable their lack of support in home work.
    Parents think that some how they are above the rules..

    Teachers can only do so much, but the real culprit is Parents and guess what? South Jordan is a prime example of this behavior.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    Put the blame for education reform where it belongs, --

    ======

    You mean like ADMINSTRATION?
    PARENTS?

    Republicans use Children and Teachers for political Human Shields --

    It's scores better politics for them to blame:
    The Teachers [for having a Union],
    the teacher's Union [for actually sticking up for the Teachers],
    and
    now Common Core [for being a Republican idea, but implemented by a non-Republican Adminstration].

    Politics - plain and simple...

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    Teacher like the letter writer need to consider moving on the education sector, and becoming administrators, because that is what we need: Administrators that think like teachers, and know what they need.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    And yet, the top contender to run education in this state is an anti-public education career politician with zero teaching experience, Becky Lockhart.

    Is it any wonder why education in this state is the way that it is? Any wonder why good people are fleeing this profession in this state?

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    Here we go again, a letter, and a bunch of responses, that do nothing but make excuses for teachers. Yes there are some good points in the letter, such as the top down enforcement of instruction, instead of teachers being able to create on their own. Be honest...why is that? This is where the union becomes part of the problem. This is a CYA policy, that protects poor teachers. When teachers are allowed to be creative on their own, it becomes easy to distinguish between good and bad teachers. Lets be honest! Certified teacher designation, is very often meaningless. There are people out there who have very little training, who can work with and teach kids better then some certified teachers. I see it every weekend at church. So if teachers really want to make a difference, dump the union line and stick up for yourself. Promote positive policies and work for you own best interest and the kids.

  • Goldminer Salem, ut
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    Exactly right! The TEACHERS should make the changes as needed; NOT politicians or educational administrators making $250,000/year like some of the District Superintendents do! Tell the Union to go find a different job as THEY are truly hurting our children by taking money from the system. Why are several professors making a hefty six figures at the U and who teach few classes? Teaching MUST be the first goal; NOT money and NOT praise and NOT publishing. It is PAST time that the politicians wake up and talk TO the teachers and NOT the union or the administrators or book sellers or their political donors (who, in case you don't know, donate for a reason and it is what THEY will get from the politician). If they won't do that, then STOP thinking you make decisions and go sit home or watch football in the fancy seats at the stadium which are reserved for the elites.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    Blaming teachers for our education performance woes is chicken. The problem is much larger, society wide really. We don't value education. Add to that kids who now seem entitled to be heard so they complain school is boring or dull or doesn't challenge them when, in fact, they're just lazy, self centred and unmotivated.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    First off, I support paying our teachers more and reducing class sizes. I have never voted against a school funding plan and was disappointed when the Jordan District bonding plan was defeated at the polls a little while back.

    The Educator,
    The teachers are not the problem, though I cannot say the same about the union.

    I agree with the author that we need to teach the arts; not only do they round out the student, but especially in younger students, they help develop complex brain patterns that lead to increased intelligence and mental capacity later.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    A great teacher with a piece of chalk and a blackboard is worth her weight in diamonds. Instead, we throw rocks at her. It's the Utah way.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    So Karen, I'm guessing that if you did put the blame for your restrictions on teaching, it would be with some element of administration. And I don't think it goes as high up as the state government, but is at the board of education level. However, since you fully identified yourself, we won't hold you to it, as we would not want you to be punished for your opinion. My opinion though is that in every school district I've ever heard of there seems to be way too many chiefs (administrators) and not enough indians (teachers), which creates too many students per teacher, and not enough pay for teachers. Just my opinion.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    The letter writer is correct up to a point.

    Leaving decisions in the hands of high quality teachers (the best of whom should be paid way more than they are) is obvious.

    What is less obvious is the environment necessary to foster high quality teachers. That environment would incentivize excellence, promote best practices, and conversely be very uncomfortable for teachers who do not meet this standard either because of lack of ability, motivation, or because they are burned out and “cruising” to retirement.

    Sadly, public school monopolies do not foster this environment, a fact which most people intuitively recognize and is perhaps why so much time is spent (often by the wrong people) trying to come up with “innovative” ways to make education better.

    France and Sweden (hardly bastions of right-wing ideology) figured this out more than a decade ago and took the first big necessary step towards real change.

    They both instituted voucher systems…

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    There is a real divergence here in the mechanism of education. However, the magnitude of divergence is not entirely clear at this time. As Rastignac stated when faced with his dilemma, it is best to understand the mechanism at work before making irrevocable decisions.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    Absolutely right. Trust teachers! Give teachers the resources they need to do their jobs well, and then get out of the way!

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:09 a.m.

    But but but...

    Teachers are the root of all problems! They belong to a union!

    Heaven forbid you placing the blame of education onto our legislature. They pat themselves on the back because they call Utah "the best managed state."

    Great letter! It's amazing the insights the people of this state would gain if they only listened to the boots on the ground.