We keep missing the target.Yes! there are some bad teachers, but
the big problem with education goes unnoticed.Who is pulling the
strings?Who is in control with no accountability?
I'm starting my 38th year in the classroom because I really enjoy what I
do. I enjoy the kids and the subject that I get to help them learn. I am good
at what I do and have been recognized for that and that has come from years of
experience. I deserve protection in my profession from replacement by a
cheaper,less experienced teacher who still has a thing or two to learn. There
are procedures in place to remove "bad" teachers. No one wants a poor
teacher removed more than me, but there is a fair process in place to do so. It
just needs to be implemented adequately by administrators. That is all the
teacher association asks. They are not out to protect any teacher at all costs.
Most teachers follow the same values that most parents have in their home. That
is the blessing of living in Utah. It is too bad that the far right in our state
continues to try to undermine public education at the expense of our children by
spreading falsehoods about our teachers and schools.
I am offering an opportunity for the Deseret News to be responsible and present
the Utah reality to your readers. I would encourage you to call the UEA
President and have a conversation with her regarding the teacher evaluation law
created WITH UEA two years ago as well as Senator Osmond, the Utah School Boards
Association, the State Superintendent, and the Utah State School Board Chair.If you take me up on my suggestion, you will find that Utah is NOT
California and the UEA is an Association who aspires for excellent teaching. I
will know if the DN has done this as I would expect to see an article stating
the Utah realities. I am afraid, though, that the DN is more interested in
defaming the UEA and dedicated teachers than the truth. Please prove me wrong!
Some teacher unions are way too powerful. We've seen the 60 minute reports
in states like NY were a district can't get rid of a rotton apple teacher
to the point where they pay the teacher to not teach for 10 years etc. Thank
goodness Utah's not like that. This ruling is refreshing.
60 minutes also pointed out that the difference between the best teachers and
worst teachers for 1 year school is a whole grade level of progress. The
students of the worst teachers progressed a half a grade level and the best
teachers students progressed 1 1/2 grade levels. I don't want my kids
left behind because the priority needs to be the students not protecting teacher
jobs at the expense of students. We need to go were the best
education research tells us to whatever that turns out to be. We need to be
able to identify the best teachers and reward them and make it easier for
districts to identify the worst teachers and not renue their contracts without
needing to fight a union to do it.
Tek:I would bet that if vouchers became available private schools
will just jack up the prices. They generally don't want to
"diversify" their schools. They basically want rich white kids with
parents that can pay the tuition and won't cause too many problems. They
certainly don't want special needs students. Charters have lotteries so
they are somewhat exclusive though they don't claim to be.Only
the traditional public schools have to take everyone. Mike
Richards: The Real Maverick seems to be onto something. You're on these
blogs too much to expect me to believe you work a 90-hour week. Sorry, not
@The Real Maverick – “The winners are, very clearly, the pro voucher
crowd who want to dismantle public education and privatize it for their own
gain.”We typically agree on many issues but here I think your
fears are unfounded. Vouchers, if properly funded for all kids, rich and poor
alike, would be a tremendous boon for education in this country.Both
France and Sweden – hardly bastions of conservative ideology – saw
the wisdom of vouchers years ago and are so far happy with the results.Please research this and see if it changes your mind.You’re
spot on regarding Finland – the relevant question though is what would
motivate that sort of change. Vouchers, by promoting competition along with
transparent result and the poor schools copying what the good do (if only to
survive) seems like it would drive this change.If not, what do you
think would (keeping in mind Finland is roughly the size of New Jersey with a
3rd less population)?Open to having my mind changed on this…
When it is all said and done, Who is going to teach our children?
It isn't like there is a long line of people waiting to get
into the profession.
@The Real Maverick:"The winners are, very clearly, the pro voucher
crowd who want to dismantle public education and privatize it for their own
gain."I am pro-voucher. I thought it was because I like the
idea that poor children in bad schools would have a way to go to a better
quality private school. A way to desegregate that even the so-called
'conservatives' would like.But thank you for telling me
that it is because I want to privatize schooling for my own gain. I must own a
private school. Could you look in your crystal ball and I see if I also own a
mansion and a yacht?
Hooraaay!! I hope this spreads throughout the land, with Utah next.The whole idea of "tenure", a policy of having a specially protected
occupational class, has been a sorry blot on our civilization for far, far too
I have no animus to unions nor does tenure strike me as a bad thing. But there
must be a reasonable way for a school district to rid itself of the bottom few.
Nobody wants them as teachers or as peers.As to compensation. We
value what we pay for. We can say whatever we like. But "where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also".
Mike,If you're working more than 90+ hours per work you need to start
managing your business more efficiently or spend less time on the desnews
comment board. I personally know many teachers who work way more than the
average utah worker. Some arrive at school at 7 am, stay until 4, than lesson
plan for a couple more hours for the next day's lesson. That's an 11
hour day. Not many Utahns are actually working that many hours a day and in the
environment our teachers work in. I think it's disappointing that there are
those that don't value our children's education more than to pay them
a measly salary. This state claims they believe education is important, but
paying terrible salaries and being as unsupportive as many are, it shows they
are big on talk, not on action. For many that have never taught, or understand
what teaching is, I understand that it's hard to comprehend just how
important education should be and that's too bad.
In Utah we have a lot of kids to educate. Some people give "pie in the
sky" ideas. Some tell us that teachers should be paid $80,000. If teachers
are paid $80,000, who pays the bill? Yes, that's right; you and I pay the
bill. Most of us make half that much. Because of Obama, most of us work more
than one job without benefits in an effort to hang on to our homes and to feed
our families. But, there are those who think that teachers are entitled to a
salary twice as high as the average family's income in Utah.Let's look at the real problem. The problem is that SOME teachers tell
us that they will not be held accountable unless they get what they want. The
solution is to pay teachers for results. AFTER teachers have shown that they
can and will educate our children, they should be paid the same as those of us
who pay their wages - about $40,000 per year.All of us have
difficult jobs. Teachers don't work more than the 90+ hours that I work
every week, and they're paid more.
Irony Guy: "The end of tenure means the end of protection...In my opinion,
anyone considering going into teaching should have his head examined."And their alternative would be...to go into another field that never had
anything like tenure in the first place. Without tenure, teachers are like all
the rest of us who have jobs where we must perform and add value at least equal
to our pay. Like all the rest of us, there will probably be some cases where
good teachers lose their jobs unfairly, but generally good teachers will find a
better position.Everyone would like guaranteed employment where you
can never be fired for incompetence. That is...until you have to work side by
side with a bunch of incompetent workers who also can't be fired (or have
to send your kid to school to be taught by an incompetent teacher).
I'm afraid that we often lack an adequate supply of well qualified
teachers, particularly in Math, Physical Sciences, and Special Education.
Just dropping tenure (which Utah teachers have never had) does not help the
Real Maverik has hit it on the nose. Thanks!
Continued from my last post...When I've spoken with educators,
you know, the people in the trenches, they tell me their top concerns are:1. Class size2. Lack of materials3. The endless testing and
mindless curriculum developed by non-educators4. The lack of support from
gutless administrators and zero accountability from parents5.
Compensation. Many educators must work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. Why don't we look into what Finland did to drastically improve their
education system?1. Compensation: teachers are paid $80k+. This
keeps them motivated and focused. It also attracts the best.2. All
teachers must have at least Masters degrees. They must be expert teachers.
Schools today work counter to this, and hire the cheapest and least qualified
and experienced so they can pay them less. Intern teachers in utah is rampant.
Half pay and zero benefits.3. Educators develop the curriculum (novel
idea, I know). Not Gayle Ruzika or Becky Lockhart. Educators.4. Zero
standardized testing5. Class sizes of 18-20, not 35-40, like here in
utah6. Accountability: If students don't show competency they
don't proceed to the next grade. Do this, and you'd be
amazed how education would take off.
SC fan,Let me ask you a few questions:1. How many public
school teachers have you interviewed asking them their greatest concerns?2. How many public school teachers have you interviewed asking them their
greatest problems?3. How many public school teachers have you interviewed
asking them their solutions to these problems?If you haven't
done this, you should. It would be enlightening. I have, and I'll explain a
little later what I found.First of all, you're right. These
trends have been going on for quite some time. The right wing programs have
definitely taken a toll. NCLB and Reagan's "A Nation at Risk" have
created more red tape, endless standardized testing, dumbing down of the
curriculum, and have tied more and more federal dollars to local schools.
Really, the burden of financing education should fall upon each state, not the
Feds. The burden of creating standards and curriculum should be on educators,
not nurses, lawyers, real estate agents, or special interest groups.To be continued...
I can actually see the judge's perspective to a limited degree. But
I'm concerned we're throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.
Take seniority, for example. It's certainly not a hard and fast rule that
more experienced teachers are better teachers. But, generally, that is more
often than not the case. Teaching effectively takes practice--experience leads
to an understanding of what works and what does not work. If layoffs are
necessary, however, more experienced teachers cost more, because they've
been there longer to receive raises, etc. Without any protections, the
districts are likely to remove the more expensive experienced teachers, in favor
of the inexperienced, and less effective young teachers. Rather
than removing all job protection, perhaps it would be better to mandate a
procedure by which ineffective teachers can have their tenure revoked, through a
process that demonstrates cause.
Real MaverickYou claim that the loss of tenure will result in all
those bad things happening in the future to the public schools. Then please
explain why those things have already been happening with tenure in place? I
used to live in California and believe me your discription of problems like bad
teachers in bad schools, dumbed down curriculum, and low standards have been the
norm for a lot of California school districts for a long time now. That is why
many in the low income minority communities wanted and liked the idea of
vouchers and school choice. To get their kids out of the bad areas if possible.
The teachers unions and overpaid non-teaching administrators who took a huge
part of the school budget were a lot of the reason for poor public education.
Tenure if anything, only made change for the better, a lot harder to accomplish.
Now we'll see if change for the better happens without it.
This is what happens when people allow an activist judge place ideology ahead of
common sense.Without tenure, teachers will flock to the richer
schools that don't have much minority. This leaves the schools that are
poorer or have a lot of minority, with the leftovers. It means that the
schools with the greatest need of good teachers will be left with the worst
teachers.It means that teachers will dumb down their curriculum rather
than challenge students for fear of losing their jobs.It means that
administrators will cave in even faster to parental pressure rather than stand
up for standards.It's a sad day.The winners are,
very clearly, the pro voucher crowd who want to dismantle public education and
privatize it for their own gain.The losers are, very clearly, everyone
one.The right wing is all about hurting the majority, redistributing
their wealth to the top percent. This case is no different. Hurt the majority so
that the few can benefit from a dismantled public education system. No wonder
why nobody goes into public education anymore.Thanks activist judge!
The winners are children. The losers are teacher's unions who always
The end of tenure means the end of protection. A teacher's job will now be
prey to any disgruntled parent or disaffected student. Academic freedom means
nothing. The profession is being wrecked. In my opinion, anyone considering
going into teaching should have his head examined.
Before all the people get excited about getting rid of tenure in Utah, teachers
in Utah don't have tenure.