Funny, we built the greatest nation in the world without having teachers rated and fired on the basis of how many students passed or failed---and in fact, up until quite recently, teachers were able to use corporal punishment in schools. Also schools until recently had students pray, had much better discipline and expelled disruptive students. Not to mention that virtually all had two parent families (or at least started out that way) who expected their kids to behave in school. Yet now, everyone thinks tthe teachers (who are better trained now than ever---years ago most did not even have college degrees) are the problem and hyperventilate to fire them. Consider: business
managers and coaches cut players and employees who are lazy, show up late, have bad atttitudes etc. Yet the trend in schools is to expect less in terms of discipline of students, pander to their racism, laziness, and provide for things their parents should be supplying, change the curriculum, change the way exams are graded, etc. etc. but always blame the teachers. When Pataki was Governor, teachers had the right to have disruptive students removed from their class--for the day, or even permanently. That's long gone, now if the kid acts like a savage, the teacher is downrated and unfortuantely, my conservative brothers and sisters react like libs and want teachers fired because they cannot make Michael Moore into Michael Phelps or Ronald Reagan.
Schools don't fail, individuals do. Every kid has to be responsible as must every parent. Teachers are responsible to present information, students and parents must take the responsibility to review and remember it. Want a "high rated" school? Live in a suburban area, send your kid to a school that is supermajority white and/or Asian. Send illegals back home. Require parents to pay a fine if kids fail--i.e. pay for the course and exam repeats. The last two will result in immediate increases in achievement, but they will never happen. NYC Chancellor, whose experience is one year of teaching kindergarten, has now decided that schools
can't suspend students for smoking, cursing or cutting class. I've never come across a school that suspended kids for such things. The vast majority of NYC kids can't put two sentences together without profanity, but they're generally not disciplined for cursing unless they curse out an AP or a teacher. (APs are most important--turn your back on some APs and you will get suspended, but kids can curse at teachers wihtout penalty.)
These are not kids with morals, with a sense of duty, responsiblity, civil behavior or respect. They say and do what they feel like doing and everyone else be damned. This is the majority now, not the few, as it used to be (except for AP students and kids at Stuyvesant). So any easing of discipline rules WILL result in worse behavior. But of course, it will be the teachers' fault, they must not be making it relevant to their backgrounds and interests (sex, drugs, booze, sex, $$$, sneakers) and FUN. Above all things, everything they do must be fun. If its not fun, they must be given things or money.
Now this is the trend in urban schools. If you subtract them from the equation, most suburban schools do well. And suburban schools tend to have fewer behavior problems and enforce better discipline.
Bloomberg set up the "rating" system in NYC---he has tormented teachers for years, but achievement is only getting for---for all the reasons I listed above, and the lack of real consequences and solutions on the problems. Like all libs, they try to fix what is not broken and keep rewarding and propping up and pretending success with what is the problem.
Being liberal does not make someone a bad teacher--the vast majority are good or better. Teh new rating system downgrades a teacher if every kid is not actively working every minute---where is the student and parent responsiblity?
We built the greatest nation in the world and educated tens of millions of kids BECAUSE everyone was expected to work. There were no excuses for not working in school or out of it---what's going on now is the equivalent of the bommunist blaming everything on Bush or (indirectly) on the American people whom he suggests are too stupid to "get" his message. Funny how the students who study and do their work generally know something and pass and those who don't often fail (exept where teachers are forced to pass them). Why is it that everyone forgets that essential and most fundamental prniciple? We must have all had bad teachers since we can't all sing like Pavoratti, dance like
Baryshnikov, design software like Gates or phones etc. like Jobs. Must be bad teachers...or is it really lack of interest, talent, effort, native ability......
Fire the tax paying teachers who are doing double and triple work doing the jobs the parents and students won't do, and you will simply have more people unemployed and on food stamps.
It is long past time that politicians get out of education, that mroe decisions (as Heritage notes in their report) are made in the schools for their staff and students and yes, unions should represent the members that are paying them. While they need to get out of politics, there needs to be a check on the arbitrary and now moving more and more totalitarian powers of administrators--who used to be more partners and had to also be teachers. Now, more and more---at least in NYC, many admins have done very little teaching or none at all - like the last two NYC Chancellors. Since when have top down decisions by people who know little or nothing about the industry/job resulted in
real improvement. Haven't we always said that real reform comes from the grass roots? So why do we expect top down and outsiders to "fix" what's wrong with "education" by which they mean teachers, when the problem is that in many schools kids have no work ethich and parents don't expect any (since they don't have one themselves). You really cannot educate someone who does not value education. In some neighborhoods in NYC, the inhabitants have so little respect for anything that is not their personal property that there are piles and piles of dog crap all over the sidewalks even in front of and all around the schools. Firing teachers and constantly replacing them with younger, cheaper models is not going to change much---and constantly rotating teachers out is very disruptive to kids whose only consistencies in life may be in school.
"The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy." --Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations, 1774
""We must put an end to the arrogance of a federal establishment which accepts no blame for our condition, cannot be relied upon to give us a fair estimate of our situation and utterly refuses to live within its means. ... We must force the entire federal bureaucracy to live in the real world of reduced spending, streamlined function and accountability to the people it serves." --Ronald Reagan
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors?" --Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17, 1781
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution told us his intentions. ""We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves and to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God"