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Posted at 12:47 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Jon Stewart's hysterical defense of teachers

By Valerie Strauss

Jon Stewart (finally) did a hysterical bit on Monday night’s “Daily Show” about the preposterous attacks on the nation’s public school teachers, who have been accused by school “reformers” of being lazy, greedy and lousy at their jobs.

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Stewart hasn't done much on the issue of education reform in the past, but this week he is diving in -- last night with his attack on teacher attackers, and on Thursday night with a visit by education historian Diane Ravitch to talk about what she calls our “national insanity” over school reform.

Ravitch, author of the best-selling “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” has emerged as the most prominent voice against the corporate-driven, standardized-test-focused school reform era. Already teachers who have heard the news are planning to go to the studio to cheer her on -- even without tickets.

Stewart was at his best last night, showing clips of commentators and guests on Fox News for:

*Having an easy job -- "It's a part-time job; they are done at 2:30," one Fox news guest said.

*Being lazy -- "Teachers know the kids are going to be in the seats and the taxpayers are just going to be sending in the money no matter how poorly they do. They have no incentive to do a great job."

You get the idea. Stewart laid bare the preposterousness of such thinking, and then spoke directly to teachers, starting by saying:

"You are destroying America. Yeah. Look at you, with your chalk-stained irregular blouses from Loehmans, and your Hyundai with its powered steering and its wind shield. I guess bugs hitting you in the face doesn't cut it for old Mr. Chips. ... Three months vacation every summer. Special textbooks with all the answers in them. ... The greed that led you into the teaching profession has led to the corruption of it. [Then in a high mimicking voice:] 'But John, there is a correlation between poverty and poor test scores. Teachers shouldn't bear the total blame for a larger systemic failure.' Pish posh piffle! If you can’t create a competitive labor environment for us to school our children, someone else will. I’m recommending right now that ... Americans look into outsourcing our children’s education. Now obviously, we cannot fly in thousands of Chinese teachers ... [Let's] disassemble our children, ship them and have them reassembled over there."

Watch the whole video. It will make you laugh and cry.

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By Valerie Strauss  | March 1, 2011; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  Laugh and cry, Teachers  | Tags:  diane ravitch, jon stewart, school reform, the daily show, wisconsin protests, wisconsin teachers  
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Comments

Stewart was once, an 8th Grader in Wisconsin--you know, those 8th Graders that flunked all those readings tests; only 28% were deemed "Proficient" in reading!

Posted by: fregameeate | March 1, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Valerie, for posting this. . .

And thank YOU, Jon, especially for your wonderful and accurate comment about your own mother devoting her life to teaching. . .\

Let's hope someone ignores Gates and listens to Stewart. . .

Posted by: plthomas3 | March 1, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow. A lot seems to be riding on Diane Ravitch's visit to the “Daily Show” Thursday night. Looks to be a real "game changer".

Posted by: frankb1 | March 1, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

frankb1,

Ravitch is not a Red Wheelbarrow.

Posted by: DHume1 | March 1, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

And Stewart, from NEW YORK, was never an 8th-grader in Wisconsin. What point was trying to be made with that statement?

Posted by: pitufo | March 1, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Not to be Mr. Smarty Pants, pitfo, but Jon Stewart, was raised in New Jersey, and went to (and graduated from) William and Mary.

But I agree with your statement that 8th grade professorial has nothing to do with anything. The commenter may be trying to make a snide comment about the number of students deemed "proficient" on a state test. I would counter that by saying, Wisconsin has some of the highest standards in the nation; and rather then dumb down what they consider proficient (ahem, Texas), the statewide school system should be striving for excellence and expecting a lot from their students. Isn't that what we've been told; 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' and whatnot?

Posted by: dbrue | March 1, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Stewart and Colbert and both insane, but that's a good thing. Our schools could use a bit more insanity. It might make learning less tedious and more fun.

Posted by: paulhoss | March 1, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

People who favor reform are not concerned about "all" teachers. They are concerned about any "ineffective" teachers, including those who show no promise of becoming effective.

Pro-reformers are skeptical about claims that the ineffectives may be 1-2 percent of the approx 6 million total. The evidence, in terms of educational achievement not taking place, is overwhelming, even when normalized for "poverty" and inattentive "parents."

No responsible person has been "bashing" all teachers. But many, especially parents, are sick and tired of the minor fraction who can't cut it and; they need to find another line of work. And their union should not be able to force students and their parents to suffer more damage that will last a lifetime.

Far more people favor public education reform than those who don't. Parents lead this charge in urban districts. The reformers, and their elected reps, from the President and many state and local govt officials, want change and will not put up with more delay, including the defensive claptrap that revisionists like Ravitch throw into their path.

Posted by: axolotl | March 1, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Jon has been my hero of the last two years. About time you joined the fray Jon. Thanks.

Posted by: teachermomnj | March 1, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

From Education Week:

COMMENTARY: What Is Behind the Discrediting of Michelle Rhee? By Richard Whitmire

"What struck me about the backlash Rhee experienced in Washington was the cloak of protection everyone afforded the city’s teachers.

Politicians, parents, Washington Post columnists—they were all quick to rush to the defense of beloved teachers, citing their dedication and years of loyal service.

The fact that the District of Columbia ranked as the worst school district in the nation and that similarly poor, African-American children fared far better in other urban districts (as much as two years ahead in learning) seemed not to warrant a mention.

What mattered was that Rhee was questioning their life’s work."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/education/?nid=roll_education

Posted by: frankb1 | March 1, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Axolotl:

With your latest post, I think I finally understand where you are coming from. You have obviously had some very unfavorable experiences with your local public schools.

Did you know that according to Gallup, almost 80% of public school parents are very satisfied with their child's public school? In fact they give these schools an A or B. Perhaps these people DO favor "reform" but it's not based on their own experiences.

My experiences must have been so different from yours. In all the years that my sons attended school, they had between them only one incompetent teacher (mental illness, I think). However, the parents made such a fuss that this individual resigned in October. Other than that all their teachers were good to excellent. If some were weak, I didn't notice as both my sons received an excellent public school education.

Almost all my friends and relatives are middle class with a small smattering of rich businessmen and women and poor people too (mainly due to disabilities). I honestly can't think of even one family that was disappointed with their schools. Even my rich cousins sent their children to public schools, which prepared them for MIT and Boston College. Almost all our children have done well, as have most Americans. The American people continue to dazzle the world with innovations and accomplishments in every conceivable field of endeavor. This is the legacy of the great American public school system, of which I am very proud to have been a part. As I've said before, my mostly poor Mexican-American pupils all learned to read, write and speak English fairly well by the time they left my first-grade class.

By all means, continue to advocate for excellent teachers in your local schools, but be aware that a lot of current rhetoric threatens to weaken our educational system while discouraging talented men and women from entering the teaching profession. Surely you know that the greatest threat to teacher quality has not been "the unions" but rather the reluctance of many well-educated men and women to enter the field and stay in it. The majority, like Michelle Rhee, leave as soon as something "better" comes along.

I applaud your desire to improve the quality of the teaching profession, but remember the old adage "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Let's say that the economy improves dramatically in the next few years. Do you think D.C. will attract highly qualified teachers as a result of Rhee's "reforms" or do you think teachers will avoid the district like the plague? Well, there you have it.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | March 1, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry wrong link. Full commentary at:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/03/02/22whitmire.h30.html?tkn=LXOFroJ1jb4CCbCbzG7zOxUTDdVZShKaSIC5&cmp=clp-edweek

Posted by: frankb1 | March 1, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the laugh! Unfortunately, such humor is at such a complex level, that educational reformers wouldn't understand it.

Posted by: jdman2 | March 1, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank God the public is starting to awaken to the nonsense of Rhee and Arnie Duncan.

Posted by: mrpozzi | March 1, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Linda TRT -- u would benefit from a few days poking around DCPS and NYC schools, seriously. Both have had decades of heavy protection for teachers who are not effective.

You are aware of the famous Randi W "Rubber Rooms" in NYC. Not surprisingly, on a nationwide basis, she now wants to keep ineffective teachers around for a year after they are determined to be so. (To her credit, Weingarten does not say that the number of ineffective teachers is miniscule.) Many parents don't want their kids in those teachers' classes. Randi's position is just another way to block change w delay and chaos.

It isn't a honey vs. vinegar proposition. Remember "What me worry?" The ineffective teachers are salt in the wounds of already heavily disadvantaged kids and families. It helps condemn them to a difficult life.

To stop shining a light on all the key weaknesses, and resolutions, of what ails American public education seems to invite the mass casualties of defective education in urban schools. (Linda, I know your story--no need to retell it.)

Again, many alert, fair-minded pro-reformers insist on moving the ineffectives out. Among other things, that will keep our good teachers around, even if the unions and lazy administrators tolerate the ineffectives.

The anti-changers and ed history revisionists sound like Alfred E. Newman.

Posted by: axolotl | March 1, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse


Thank-you Jon Stewart for sticking up for our hard working teachers when no one else will.

Funniest line: the one about the greed that made teachers go into the profession.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for telling the truth!!

Posted by: georgia198305 | March 1, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

@Axoloti--I think what bugs many of us, is the one-size-fits-all reform that we are seeing. Yes--a number of urban school districts--particularly in areas of poverty--need major reform. However the reforms being pushed on those schools are not necessarily appropriate for all schools which is what is being done with RTTT legislation. When a school system is successful, why should they adopt reforms that are not research based just for the sake of reform? Why should they abandon their successful practices to do things that have shown mixed success at best?

Also--being against the current "approved" list of reforms does not make one for the status quo or an "anti-changer." The status quo is NCLB and most, if not all, teachers would like nothing better than to see changes. We know our students. We agonize over many of them and have ideas as to what would help us to be more effective in the classroom in order to provide our students with the best education that we can give them. Unfortunately no one asks us and they discount what we have to say when we have the rare opportunity of telling them what we need.

Business minded reform, which tends to mean doing things on the cheap, is often penny-wise and pound-foolish. Just look at Bill Gates' new proposals about raising class sizes. I've lived in both worlds--those with larger and smaller class sizes--and I can say unequivocally that smaller has yielded better results. Of course in the business world, this would result in smaller financial profit and likewise in the educational world it costs more money. So what we have actually experienced as working gets shot down by someone who has never worked in a public school, let alone one with a high rate of poverty.

Posted by: musiclady | March 1, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, John Stewart! Fortunately the tide is beginning to turn and people are seeing the truth.

Axolotl:

If the economy continues as it is, teachers, like other workers, will find it increasingly difficult to find a job and to keep it. You will see many of the weaker teachers go because traditionally 50% leave the profession and many of these are people who aren't up to the challenge of the classroom. Also, there will be tremendous pressure on administrators to give poor evaluations to these teachers. However, if the economy improves, we need to ask ourselves: "Who will want to teach in places like D.C. and New York City?" If you notice, we aren't hearing any teacher-bashing from Scarsdale or San Marino.

The primary responsibility for educating your child lies with you. If the teachers in your local schools are that bad, find a more appropriate placement. That's what all successful parents do. We don't place our children in "failing" schools and when we do, we make a change.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | March 1, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

TO Axoloti1: Here is what you said:
Linda TRT -- u would benefit from a few days poking around DCPS and NYC schools, seriously. Both have had decades of heavy protection for teachers who are not effective.

You are aware of the famous Randi W "Rubber Rooms" in NYC. Not surprisingly, on a nationwide basis, she now wants to keep ineffective teachers around for a year after they are determined to be so.


I know about the NYC system because I taught there and kept up with the news circulated by the NYC teachers- not the "Bloomberg PR Spin" about Rubber Rooms. Did you teach there? There are a good many teachers nearing retirement age with proof of year after year of stellar records who were under attack by their principals (not coincidentally just a few years prior to retirement) in order to be put in the rubber rooms with the hopes that they would retire early thus reducing the bottom line cost for their retirement. Many of those languishing in the rubber rooms were put their for this reason or... for another insidious reason... they dared to speak out against some grave injustice going on at their school like gaming the system on tests etc... and the principal created reasons to force them into the rubber rooms hoping that the humiliation would wear them down and they would leave. Oh yes and don't forget that these teachers awaited the due process that was supposed to be afforded by them by the department of education. But the department of education was in no rush to hear the cases and these teachers waited (while on the payrolls) for years as the department of education took years to hear their cases. This is precisely why unions are necessary. Yes there are teachers who deserve to be fired but unions insist on due process... remember that component of Democracy???? With a bit of accurate investigation, you do not have to be a NYC teacher or a former NYC teacher to find out the real deal. Unfortunately, people like you read some sound byte by a supposed authority in the news and just take it for the gospel truth. Let us not forget that the rubber rooms also had teachers who deserved to be fired but sat on the payrolls year after year as the NYC department of education did not process hearings as they were supposed to. I mean if you read the blogs... there were teachers on the NYC DOE payrolls for years because they were awaiting a simple hearing process which would determine whether they were fired or put back into the classroom. Bloomberg finally acknowledged this PROBLEM and promised to lessen the wait time for teachers awaiting a hearing. READ about it before you preach about it axotl1.

Posted by: teachermd | March 1, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

axolotl...

The tenor of your posts speaks for you. Much of what you say is a caricature of reality but the way you deliver it is intended to intimidate, belittle, and suffocate any disagreement. In fact, it is reasonable to believe that anyone who disagreed with you would be both incompetent, ineffective, and Alfred E. Newman. You call names liberally and talk down to other “fair-minded” people simply because they see things differently than you. If you really took the time to do more than poke around a few schools in NYC or DCPS, you just may be surprised at how healthy our educational system is nationwide. Don’t worry, I won’t say anything more about that because you do not have a “fair-mind.” You have a closed mind! In fact, I would venture that most of your hostility toward teachers, that you put on display every time you write, could be narrowed down to sometime when you didn’t get your way in school. Your posts are delivered with a fury like a child throwing a temper tantrum! Sorry, I am beginning to sound like you.

I am a teacher. Your words, ignorance, and intolerance include me whether that was your intention or not. I see no separation in the bashing that “teachers” have received over the last few years by hotheads and educational quacks.

You seek reform which I think is a “fair-minded” and worthy goal, but I doubt that even you know what you want in reform. Getting rid of the “bad” or “ineffective” teachers is pretty stupid if you don’t know what a “bad” or “ineffective” teacher is and that is not going to be determined by a test score. It has got to be a little more complicated than going after the teachers that made you mad.

I too would like to see some educational reform. Some of it would include people like you who need to be put on the spot to clarify their broadsides. I am retiring this year and my next project is to put a camera under the noses of people like you and have them clearly define what is an ineffective teacher, show me the ineffective classroom, show me the population of students that are being cheated, and get all those “many parents” that are suffering to speak for themselves. Privacy issues may become a problem, but a “fair-minded” person would want all the facts. Right?

Michelle Rhee’s final solution was wrong!

Posted by: jdman2 | March 1, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

People aren't attacking the nation's teachers, they are attacking the idiotic collusion between Unions and politicians that has led to the current situation.

A few simple steps to make employment of teachers more rational: no more "defined benefit" or other pension plans not funded at time of award, no more tenure, no more use of seniority and degrees as the sole criteria for retention and pay, no more work rules that impede education. According to some contracts, we can offer no pay differential per subject- I have to pay a calculus or physics teacher the same as a social studies teacher, regardless of supply and demand.

On the one hand, blaming the poor performance of the schools on the teachers is clearly wrong. On the other hand, teachers, just like almost every other working person on earth, should be subject to performance reviews.

Posted by: staticvars | March 1, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Some very thoughtful commentary here, beginning with John Stewart's. Real education reform, however, isn't about removing or not removing underperforming teachers or unions or pay. The plight of inner city school students is a wedge issue used by many to keep us all chasing our tails and distract us from the real problem of America's education system that all students are up against: the mistaken idea that forced schooling can produce an educated person.

Allow me to quote one time New York teacher of the year, John Taylor Gotto: "Hemingway, the school dropout, once said all modern American literature can be traced back to Mark Twain, born in Missouri in 1835, in terrible health for the first ten years of his life. Comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert are descended from Twain, whose profound insight--that "irreverence, not schooling" is the creator of liberty--is the mark of brilliance. Twain named and anatomized the ‘gilded age’ for that period of boundless greed which followed Union victory in the Civil War, and from whose Machiavellianism the wretched institution of modern forced schooling began. Mark Twain dropped out of school after fifth grade and went to work for a newspaper. He was 13, the year was 1848. In 2008 as I speak and write, that sort of blank-check possibility has been foreclosed on for the young, to please the managers of things."

For those of you who don't know, Gotto also quit school in 1991: the year he was made teacher of the year. He could no longer turn his back on his belief that our public school systems as they are currently structured support the harmful idea that "inert knowledge--memorizing the dots--is the gold standard of intellectual development. Not connecting the dots." Anyone who doubts this should count the number of standardized tests students now face from grades 1 through 12. Testing on this scale ensures today's classrooms will create passive consumers of knowledge rather than active producers of it. Student performance on these tests, by the way, is to be the new standard by which teacher competency is measured.

Twain saw "irreverence" as the only sure protector of liberty and Gotto as the mark of brilliance because the mind that challenges assumptions is difficult for the powerful to corrupt and control.

Any education system that remains inflexible about the four T's: the Time you spend in a building, the Texts your allowed to read, the Teachers your allowed to have, and Tests that demonstrate competency, can take can never claim "irreverence" a gold standard and will struggle to produce truly competent graduates who are habitually curious, willing to take risks, and able to add value to our society.

Posted by: MJTakoma | March 2, 2011 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I read this column a lot. I saw how the Bill Gates wrote an article about how class size does not matter. I went to greatschools.net and looked up the class size of Bill Gates' elite private school he went to, which is Lakeside in Seattle, WA. It says there are nine students to one teacher. That seems like a small class size to me. Also, I read a magazine article about how Gates' mom took him out of public school and put him in this elite school because he was bored. He was introduced to extremely exciting curriculum unlike public school. Gee, it seems like Bill Gate lies a lot.

Posted by: Playitagainsam | March 2, 2011 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Stop all reform of education because since we have been reforming education it has gotten much worse. If we want our schools to improve we should insist that they do only academics. No band, sports, babysitting, feeding, or other whim should take priority over academics. Academics first and foremost and the rest can be outsourced to the community. Then we can do cradle to grave education and use the technology available for personal and independent learning by integrating everyone for their whole lives into the education process. We shut the school house door on adults when we know they need access to learning. What a shame we can't look at broader picture of what school can really mean for all of us, young and old.

Posted by: dmyers412 | March 2, 2011 3:16 AM | Report abuse

dmyers412 wrote: What a shame we can't look at broader picture of what school can really mean for all of us, young and old.

_________________________
The above statement contradicts your earlier one about eliminating anything that is (in your opinion) not academic. You've obviously never taken music theory which involves the same thought processes as any advanced math course. The arts are rigorous academic pursuits and without them, many students wouldn't stay in school. Excellence in the arts can also provide some nice college scholarship money--even to kids who aren't majoring in them. Sadly, it is often the poorest schools who see their arts classes cut so that the students can spend even more time in reading in math for the sake of boosting scores on standardized tests. I've always found it curious that we insist on doing even more of what doesn't work. Perhaps more time in the arts would actually help. Research has shown participation in such classes to help students achieve at higher levels.

Posted by: musiclady | March 2, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm finding it very difficult to feel any sympathy for those teachers who seem to care more about collective bargaining, tenure, money and politics than they do about what they are being paid to do: teach our youth! If they are being bashed, they've earned it...especially that cow in PA who wrote that awful blog dissing kids and talking about how she "hates them" and how her students are "lazy and unmotivated." Maybe her teaching methods are to blame.

Posted by: beachgirl61 | March 2, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Moreover, I'm sick of the snobby, self-righteous individuals who think simply because they hold a teaching degree that they know EVERYTHING and the rest of us know nothing. There's many ways to learn and not just in a classroom.

Posted by: beachgirl61 | March 2, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know who the Fox Commentator is that said ""It's a part-time job; they are done at 2:30,"?

Posted by: attaway77 | March 2, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"...teachers, just like almost every other working person on earth, should be subject to performance reviews.

Posted by: staticvars

By Samuel A. Culbert, a professor in the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (a BUSINESS Professor).

"IN the raging battle over union rights in Wisconsin, those seeking to curtail collective bargaining for state employees have advanced an argument that seems hard to resist: It will make it easier to reward those workers who perform the best. What could be fairer than that?

If only that were true. As anybody who has ever worked in any institution — private or public — knows, one of the primary ways employee effectiveness is judged is the performance review. And nothing could be less fair than that.

In my years studying such reviews, I’ve learned that they are subjective evaluations that measure how “comfortable” a boss is with an employee, not how much an employee contributes to overall results. They are an intimidating tool that makes employees too scared to speak their minds, lest their criticism come back to haunt them in their annual evaluations. They almost guarantee that the owners — whether they be taxpayers or shareholders — will get less bang for their buck.

... Performance reviews corrupt the system by getting employees to focus on pleasing the boss, rather than on achieving desired results. And they make it difficult, if not impossible, for workers to speak truth to power. I’ve examined scores of empirical studies since the early 1980s and have not found convincing evidence that performance reviews are fair, accurate or consistent across managers, or that they improve organizational effectiveness.

Think about it. Performance reviews are held up as objective assessments by the boss, with the assumption that the boss has all the answers.

Now, maybe your boss is all-knowing. But I’ve never seen one that was. In a self-interested world, where imperfect people are judging other imperfect people, anybody reviewing somebody else’s performance — whether as an actor, a writer, a spouse, a friend or a worker — is subjective. It’s why when employees switch bosses, more often than not their evaluation changes as well.

Under such a system, in which one’s livelihood can be destroyed by a self-serving boss trying to meet a budget or please the higher-ups, what employee would ever speak his mind? What employee would ever say that the boss is wrong, and offer an idea on how something might get done better?

Only an employee looking for trouble."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/opinion/02culbert.html?scp=6&sq=performance&st=cse

From the NY times, of course, the Post never opines anything but the corporate agenda.

If you've ever had your performance "reviewed" by an incompetent manager, you know exactly what Prof. Culbert is talking about.

Posted by: mcstowy | March 2, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Ms. Stauss' peers have a better opinion of her than her bosses:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/28/AR2011022805813.html

Posted by: mcstowy | March 2, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

beachgirl61 writes: "I'm finding it very difficult to feel any sympathy for those teachers who seem to care more about collective bargaining, tenure, money and politics than they do about what they are being paid to do: teach our youth! If they are being bashed, they've earned it" and

"Moreover, I'm sick of the snobby, self-righteous individuals who think simply because they hold a teaching degree that they know EVERYTHING and the rest of us know nothing."

-----
Your comments are ignorant and bigoted and insult many professional people who dedicate their lives to work in jobs they have plenty qualifications for and are underly paid for. Frankly, *I* am sick and tired of ranting angry people like yourself jumping on the bandwagon and bashing teachers.

I chose to teach because I want to help kids, DESPITE the fact that I have three degrees (from BS to MS in math and electrical engineering) and am now working on my PhD. I have turned down engineering jobs that would have paid me over $30k more for much easier work (trust me, taking care of 100 teenagers every day and tending to their needs is harder than any electrical engineering job I had before this!).

Please do NOT tell me I have "only" a teaching degree and that I don't care about teaching (how elitist! what is wrong with a "teaching degree").

In fact, I dare you say that to most any teacher who works at my school; we have 7 current PhDs teaching (with degrees in their fields), many who have led successful careers and then began teaching in middle age, and others who graduated with honors in TEACHING from top colleges. ALL of my colleagues care very much about our kids, and we work our a**es off every day. And yes, I work in DCPS! NOT a charter school and NOT even a school in a rich part of town.

This whole myth of the lazy, bad, stupid, uneducated teacher who sips pina coladas during the long summer vacations needs to GO! i AM SO SICK of being treated like a second-class non-professional lazy incompetent when I say I am a teacher to people I meet, or in random anonymous comments online... It's yet one more reason to quit teaching (it's really not fun being bashed regularly in the media/by random people on blogs), and one MORE thing I have to burden my emotional burden everyday.

Thanks for the love and respect, USA.

Posted by: isarosepetal | March 2, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I remember in college, at a public university, that students in other degree programs looked down on education majors. These young adults had just come from a public education environment. Why do you think they had so little respect for those entering a field that they had the most experience in observing? Could it be that, just maybe, most of the stereotypes were true?

Every adult has spent 13000 hours in their lifetime observing teachers. That is about 2 trillion hours of observation just from living adults. What other profession has received that much examination by the public? So, based on our observations, if we are all idiots for being critical of teachers, then whose to blame for our lack of proper reasoning skills?

Posted by: scottNV | March 4, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Performance reviews corrupt the system by getting employees to focus on pleasing the boss, rather than on achieving desired results."

----

Yep, ever since they came up with the Oscar, it has just ruined the movie industry.

Posted by: scottNV | March 4, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"Hysterical" was properly used in this headline.

Posted by: cerebral_but | March 4, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Shhhhh, nobody mention it-- not a word! Please..don't tell anybody about the documentary:

"Waiting For Superman"

Posted by: beabunny | March 4, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

i dropped out in the 8th grade, and yet i read at or above the college level
as my parents were not real parents
i have been in wisconsin all my life i own a company and a house
so fregameeate it shows you know nothing

Posted by: ciadaman | March 4, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

what i tire of is slacker parents, who send the kids to school with no manners and think they do no wrong, yes many are lazy fat and stupid, and it should have been said many times, some even attack teachers or other kids, and yes it starts at home! i for one would love to see the parents of these kids pay with a stiff jail sentence...

Posted by: ciadaman | March 4, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I work as a tutor in geometry, trigonometry, algebra, precalculus, and physics for an online tutoring company. I work with students who have varying abilities and attitudes from wanting to demonstrate their proficiency to wanting to fill in small gaps in their understanding to just wanting someone to do their homework for them. About 70 percent fall into that middle category. Sometimes they fault their teachers for not explaining the material at all, but most of the time it seems their teachers have done a reasonably good job of teaching them the material, and they just need a few demonstrations of a few techniques to achieve a full understanding.

It's possible, of course, that I only see the better students and that the majority of them have given up. Whatever the case may be, there are good teachers out there doing good work. However we fix our perceived or real education problems, I hope those teachers are brought into the process of helping to find the solutions.

As far as teachers having an easy job is concerned, I don't believe that, at least for the good ones. To do that job well requires preparation time outside of work hours to keep proficiency up and to do routine things that can't be done during the work day.

Posted by: billmosby1 | March 4, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for the treachery and debased lies that emanate from the demonstrably ill Stewart.

Teachers will remedy of their reputations, the day they stop funding the democrats Jihad on American public schools.

Progressives have completed 2 of Saul Alinsky's (Rules for Radicals) 3 points for the destruction of American capitalism. This marx-ite tome is the rule book for so-called, but purposefully mis-named, progressives.

Posted by: ruralamericans | March 4, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh and Val, cute title for your article - did you, could you, ever consider that yellow journalists like you are the potholes of the information highway?

Posted by: ruralamericans | March 4, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

to the wisecrackers from wisconsin making snide remarks about texas' education statistics,we have at least an extra 500,000 illegals we would like to offer you to average into your statistics.

Posted by: alamodefender | March 4, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess Stewart hasn't noticed that our schools are turning out "graduates" who can't write a coherent paragraph and eighth graders in some places who can not read at an acceptable level.

These public employees are paid by
"we, the people" via our taxes. We do not appreciate GREEDY (live with it) teachers who earn more than the people who pay them and who have health care and retirement packages which those of us who pay them do not have. Perhaps if there was a monetary reward for excellence in educating our children we might still be considered a shining example in education..........the patina is gone and the tarnish builds by the year!

Posted by: OregonStorm | March 4, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad commentary when a comedian has to point out the truth to America. Unfortunately, Stewart is preaching to the choir, and the people who really need to hear the truth won't even consider listening. They're too busy drinking deep from the poisonous propaganda well at faux news.
God help this country.

Posted by: abbydelabbey | March 4, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!

I've been watching JS for a year or so now and this episode was one of his BEST. Not only did it make me laugh and think but it rightly put forth the basic flaws of this attack against the people that are responsible for our future... ie. teachers. Thank you John & crew

Posted by: lsochia | March 4, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

lamodefender
we have a ton of the same here in wsconsin
as for the wise cracker i do not think they are from wisconsin that being said,
texas must have a over load of real dumb people you are by far and large republican you always seem to have a republican gov and tbh republicans are liar to say the least so if the shoe fits slip it on, there is the wise crack from wisconsin but it is the truth and not meant as a wisecrack.
if you people had a clue you would elect people on merit, not by party lines, perry or who ever is a moron! as was bush who killed the nation and the usd, and stole many peoples homes and drove gas up more then double gave the rich tax breaks and took a balanced budget and put the usa in a hole so far that our kids will be paying it off so sit down and shut your pie hole thank you

Posted by: ciadaman | March 4, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

The whole teachers/union "debate" is a distractor from horrendous malfeasance in the financial sector which has wrecked the economy such that modest salaries for teachers suddenly become a controversial issue.

Bank management fails miserably, CDOing the nation into a ditch.

And the response...give them 750 billion in bailout of taxpayer money.

If schools are anything, they are pluralistic in their approach, in their successes, and failures.

Unions may provide an extra degree of rigidity but again, there are good ones and there are bad ones.

Often, the problem, much like with banks, lies with management--are they effective in hiring, promoting and retaining teachers who are effective?

Banks tend to bonus with millions, employees who failed, repackaged and resold worthless mortgages.

School management is doing exponentially less, and arguably, comparatively better than our financial sector.

Posted by: ookay1 | March 4, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of this whole situation is the fact that all of us sucker private-sector taxpayers are funding such a huge part of the pensions and health care benefits, while teachers and public workers in Wisconsin paint their little "SOLIDARITY" signs while wearing their $100 shoes and holding their $500 cameras to record their protest for posterity. Yeah, lots of suffering going on up in Wisconsin these days if you're a public worker. In any other business without a protection racket, you clowns would all be fired yesterday. Enjoy your moment on MSNBC, I'm sure you'll tell your grandkids all about how you stuck it to the man. That part you'll get right.

Posted by: fakedude2 | March 4, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse


Jon is right - unfortunately conservatives are laughably stupid.

Posted by: rapchat1 | March 4, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, JS... I love your show!! But I wish some serious news reporting would continue focusing on education so some real truths can be spotlighted.

As a teacher I am sooooo tired of taking jabs and being blamed for absolutely everything that is wrong with education. There are many things to focus on, but I really wish that administrators got the attention they deserve. It ALL starts at the top.

I have seen a great deal of corruption at the administrative level. I have taught abroad, in New York City, San Francisco, and in 5 other counties throughout California in my career. No one would believe the things I've seen. No one would believe how much disorganization an inexperienced leader can create or how a bully can divide and demoralize staff. What about admin who tamper with test scores and push grade inflation?... there are systems for inflating grades and they aren't even illegal. Man, I could go on and on...

Here in CA you only need to have 3 years of teaching experience before you get your admin credential... and you can simply test to get it!! Try having an admin with a few yrs middle school experience who is suddenly in charge of high school! I had a 28 yr old principal in NYC. Two 32 yr old admin in SF. They were BABIES with just a few years of experience. Some of them made very, very poor decisions to cover up their lack of inexperience.

Don't even get me started on leadership in education in general... there isn't even leadership training for department heads of your subject area. They get a small stipend and that's it. Think managing teachers is easy? I think when your job entails something close to herding cats... you ought to get some leadership training.

Our leaders in education need better training and direction... and more consequences for ineptness. I haven't seen very many who know how to use the evaluation system. It's so biased it's a joke. These days I often see it used as a punitive tool to chase out teachers for budget cuts especially those close to retirement. Or admin can easily inflate evals so they don't have to do any real work in support and follow up. I pity the admin who couldn't hack the work as a teacher and thought admin would be easier. It's not if you are doing it right.

Oh someone... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do more to spotlight the lack of leadership in education. I am waiting for the day that admin get the same degree of attention we teachers get...

Posted by: ttme0514 | March 5, 2011 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, JS... I love your show!! But I wish some serious news reporting would continue focusing on education so some real truths can be spotlighted.

As a teacher I am sooooo tired of taking jabs and being blamed for absolutely everything that is wrong with education. There are many things to focus on, but I really wish that administrators got the attention they deserve. It ALL starts at the top.

I have seen a great deal of corruption at the administrative level. I have taught abroad, in New York City, San Francisco, and in 5 other counties throughout California in my career. No one would believe the things I've seen. No one would believe how much disorganization an inexperienced leader can create or how a bully can divide and demoralize staff. What about admin who tamper with test scores and push grade inflation?... there are systems for inflating grades and they aren't even illegal. Man, I could go on and on...

Here in CA you only need to have 3 years of teaching experience before you get your admin credential... and you can simply test to get it!! Try having an admin with a few yrs middle school experience who is suddenly in charge of high school! I had a 28 yr old principal in NYC. Two 32 yr old admin in SF. They were BABIES with just a few years of experience. Some of them made very, very poor decisions to cover up their lack of inexperience.

Don't even get me started on leadership in education in general... there isn't even leadership training for department heads of your subject area. They get a small stipend and that's it. Think managing teachers is easy? I think when your job entails something close to herding cats... you ought to get some leadership training.

Our leaders in education need better training and direction... and more consequences for ineptness. I haven't seen very many who know how to use the evaluation system. It's so biased it's a joke. These days I often see it used as a punitive tool to chase out teachers for budget cuts especially those close to retirement. Or admin can easily inflate evals so they don't have to do any real work in support and follow up. I pity the admin who couldn't hack the work as a teacher and thought admin would be easier. It's not if you are doing it right.

Oh someone... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do more to spotlight the lack of leadership in education. I am waiting for the day that admin get the same degree of attention we teachers get...

Posted by: ttme0514 | March 5, 2011 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, JS... I love your show!! But I wish some serious news reporting would continue focusing on education so some real truths can be spotlighted.

As a teacher I am sooooo tired of taking jabs and being blamed for absolutely everything that is wrong with education. There are many things to focus on, but I really wish that administrators got the attention they deserve. It ALL starts at the top.

I have seen a great deal of corruption at the administrative level. I have taught abroad, in New York City, San Francisco, and in 5 other counties throughout California in my career. No one would believe the things I've seen. No one would believe how much disorganization an inexperienced leader can create or how a bully can divide and demoralize staff. What about admin who tamper with test scores and push grade inflation?... there are systems for inflating grades and they aren't even illegal. Man, I could go on and on...

Here in CA you only need to have 3 years of teaching experience before you get your admin credential... and you can simply test to get it!! Try having an admin with a few yrs middle school experience who is suddenly in charge of high school! I had a 28 yr old principal in NYC. Two 32 yr old admin in SF. They were BABIES with just a few years of experience. Some of them made very, very poor decisions to cover up their lack of inexperience.

Don't even get me started on leadership in education in general... there isn't even leadership training for department heads of your subject area. They get a small stipend and that's it. Think managing teachers is easy? I think when your job entails something close to herding cats... you ought to get some leadership training.

Our leaders in education need better training and direction... and more consequences for ineptness. I haven't seen very many who know how to use the evaluation system. It's so biased it's a joke. These days I often see it used as a punitive tool to chase out teachers for budget cuts especially those close to retirement. Or admin can easily inflate evals so they don't have to do any real work in support and follow up. I pity the admin who couldn't hack the work as a teacher and thought admin would be easier. It's not if you are doing it right.

Oh someone... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do more to spotlight the lack of leadership in education. I am waiting for the day that admin get the same degree of attention we teachers get...

Posted by: ttme0514 | March 5, 2011 12:51 AM | Report abuse

90% of what's wrong with public education is 10% of the teachers.
Both my parents were public school teachers. I went EVERY day of my education, K-Masters, to a public school. Their jr and sr years of high school, our children had math and science teachers who could not answer the textbook questions that didn't have solutions in the back. This is primarily the fault of college ED faculties, who emphasize process over content.
Fortunately, I have technical degrees, and my spouse has a fine arts degree, so we were able to teach our children what their teachers could not.

Posted by: sampjack | March 5, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Why are people complaining about teachers who make $25,000 per year starting salaries, meanwhile the health insurance companies are taking $28,000 per year for a teacher's health care?

When will we start going after the real lazy, scum sucking people...the insurance companies?

Posted by: SamanthaTruth | March 5, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

It is as unfair to group those who feel public service folks are getting an unfair share with bomb throwing jerks who denigrate teachers as it is to clump teachers with untrained, overpaid dolts. Both opinions are stupid, Jon Steward knows it, but the guy has to make a living and his audience expects that stuff.

An example is the hyperbole of cheap blouses and cheap cars. I pay over $12,000 a year in "real estate" taxes which are really "school taxes" for a modest ranch in a modest suburban neighborhood. And kids, if you're considering a luxury car, you could do worse around here than visting the teacher's parking lot of your local grammar school to see the latest models. Wait it gets better -- any shortfall in the pensions is a state problem so that is not even included.

Generalization and lying to make a point never gets us anywhere. Unless you are a talk show host making $10 mil a year and not driving a Hyundai. Or a candidate for political office. By the way, don't even generalize the Korean car -- the Genesis is fighting for luxury honors with the Merc's and Caddies any more -- see, yet another prejudice here proven false.

Posted by: tommariner | March 5, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Typical liberal idiot using emotions over facts from this idiot. Typical liberal idiots that allow him to testify before congress mocking Immigration ignoring facts. Typical idiots allowing his stupidity before congress yet object to the GOP reading the Constitution. Stop the one off "heart warming" stories about individuals using emotions to carry their baseless attacks like in WI and Tucson. Funny does not cut it and Demorats/liberals idiots Obama and Kagan are documented as trying to surpress free speech against Fox and others. Liberals answer to everything they dont like is to shoot the messenger and call everyone and any facts "lies". Fox lies is the chant, yet not one fool can cite a single specific answer. Look at all the Nazi comparisons this Antisemetic bunch use for anyone with opposing views. Liberal American Jews are the worst, with Dumbo Cohen spewing his hate. Liberals always Project, shame/blame with extreme cognitative Dissonence! Cowards and Appeasement artists to WWIII by summer/fall. No war is ever acceptable to cowards yelling for change ,but deny the realities nor will do the heavy lifting. Liberals are the biggest enemy within and King/America needs to weed out the infilitrated scum and continue draining the swamp they all part of.

Posted by: Tukadoodle | March 5, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Stewart's callow intellect seems to be attractive to those for whom sense and sensibility are unfathomable concepts.

Items:

Our public schools are churning out idiots.

We pay more per student than any other civilized nation.

Our students rank LAST in the world.

Urban bigots rant when decent educators attempt prudent remedies.

Teacher's union fosters all of the above.

Hysterical...

Posted by: ruralamericans | March 5, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Getting teaching job these days is simply a matter of being a straight democrat voter and letting those who are hiring you, know it.

Until that changes, public schools will continue to hire people like mcstowy.

No doubt she skews her curriculum to proselytize her demonstrably left-wing ideology.

Posted by: ruralamericans | March 5, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Writer is a typical biased liberal deeming all counter thinking is "preposterous" with many counter arguments are valid. Typical lame brain lefties as enemies of Israel, America, and the world persuing failed socialist models of europeons they themselves are abandoning. Liberals only talking to Liberals are what their shows and thinking are with documented Projection and extreme cognitative dissonce in the face of reality and facts. Tucson alone proves this point with many other cases documented. Impeach Obama and dont give me Bush/Tegan. Do not send pictures of starving Palestinian children, as you will get picturrs of starving American children. Here comes the draft and Canada is not going to take cowards this time as liberals deem any war unacceptable unless we are directly attacked! Superficial idiots constantly lying,distorting,diverting as usual. Easy to spot an ignorant liberal, just ask for a simple yes/no question they refuse, only to argue using emotions and some "higher humanitarian cause" involving more government they love to blame. Calling everyone Liars says it all!

Posted by: Tukadoodle | March 5, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Writer is a typical biased liberal deeming all counter thinking is "preposterous" with many counter arguments are valid. Typical lame brain lefties as enemies of Israel, America, and the world persuing failed socialist models of europeons they themselves are abandoning. Liberals only talking to Liberals are what their shows and thinking are with documented Projection and extreme cognitative dissonce in the face of reality and facts. Tucson alone proves this point with many other cases documented. Impeach Obama and dont give me Bush/Tegan. Do not send pictures of starving Palestinian children, as you will get picturrs of starving American children. Here comes the draft and Canada is not going to take cowards this time as liberals deem any war unacceptable unless we are directly attacked! Superficial idiots constantly lying,distorting,diverting as usual. Easy to spot an ignorant liberal, just ask for a simple yes/no question they refuse, only to argue using emotions and some "higher humanitarian cause" involving more government they love to blame. Calling everyone Liars says it all!

Posted by: Tukadoodle | March 5, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Bad news for dbrue.

In 17 of 18 categories, Texas students do better than Wisconsin students.

Unions are fine for making widgets. They're awful for educating humans.

Posted by: GEAH | March 5, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"Some of them made very, very poor decisions to cover up their lack of inexperience."

Only a union teacher could write such an incoherent sentence.

Posted by: GEAH | March 5, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Tukadoodle - I have to say I'm impressed at your ability to turn a debate over teacher salary/pension/unionization into a rant about "failed socialist models of europeons" and "starving Palestinian children."
Seriously though, would you admit it's fair to say that you're steering off topic a little bit?

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

> Getting teaching job these days is simply a matter of being a straight democrat voter and letting those who are hiring you, know it.

Ummm, tell that to my registered republican public school teachers with multiple grad degrees, I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm not being merely pedantic. "Hysterical" is a poor word choice for the title. Hysteria is not what I would associate with his defense. Witty? Scathingly Funny?

Posted by: Demoncrat | March 5, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey RuralAmerican: you said "Teachers will remedy of their reputations, the day they stop funding the democrats Jihad on American public schools."

Could you please correct the grammar in this sentence so as to make it coherent, then also kindly clarify the nature of the Jihad "to which you refer." For example, would this "Jihad" have anything to do with the desire of teachers to maintain a middle class standard of living? Do you think it's reasonable that somebody who spends the time and money to obtain a graduate degree, then turns down private sector work to enter public service should be entitled to remain in the middle class?

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

GEAH Wrote:
> Only a union teacher could write such an incoherent sentence.

Nice demonstration of character there. Throw out an insult or two, pat yourself on the back, wash rinse and repeat. Proud of yourself?

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Did John Stewart actually go to a public school in this country?

Maybe one-third of my teachers were dedicated professionals who took their jobs very seriously and worked very hard at them. They put in constant overtime, used their own money for needed supplies, and had a true passion for teaching. They volunteered to work over the summer. These wonderful people were badly underpaid for their stellar performance.

These teachers had an immense positive influence on me...more than I could even begin to quantify.

The remaining two-thirds? All these negative stereotypes that Stewart tries to debunk were true of them, to varying degrees. Many did the bare minimum to maintain their automatic salary increases every X years, had no passion for teaching whatsoever, left after putting in less than an eight-hour day, and saw their three-month summer vacation as the center of their year. These teachers were poor performers, and grossly overpaid for what little they were contributing. In any non-unionized industry they'd have been removed from their positions and replaced.

The worst thing was that some of the teachers in that first category get burned out very quickly by the poor academic environment. I've met great teachers who left the profession after less than five years because they were tired of getting the same pay raises as bums who put in 1/8th of the effort they did. I've also met some who left the public schools to teach in private schools for the same reason. I also suspect that at least some teachers in that second category started in the first and got tired of trying. They might still recover their passion if we craft a system that rewards good performance and punishes bad ... you know, like we have in most non-governmental industries.

And, by the way, I've also known several people -- including myself! -- who considered careers in teaching, and abandoned that idea entirely because they knew they couldn't do a sufficient job within a badly dysfunctional system. If we fix the system, a lot more good people will choose careers in teaching.

Why can't we all admit (even if we disagree on the proportions) that we have a lot of great teachers, and a lot of awful ones, rather than painting all with one brush or the other? Why can't we agree that we need to weed out the awful ones, whatever proportion of the whole they represent?

Posted by: scott_bradford | March 5, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Know why our public schools suck? Because the children of policy makers do not attend public schools!

Posted by: ChrisMacy | March 5, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

tommariner: you write to complain about "generalizations" in Stewart's bit, then immediately follow up by insinuating that teachers drive very nice cars. complain about stereotypes then counter with one of your own, fantastic.

I'm not so sure I'm persuaded by your efforts to paint yourself out as some kind of moderate who merely thinks public employees are getting an "unfair share." That in itself is a radical statement that only has the appearance of "moderation" b/c of the absolute national insanity that has been inspired by our budgetary situation.

(1) Collective bargaining is inherently fair. One hirer, one application negotiating on equal terms. That the states have less money to throw around these days doesn't excuse them from consenting to CBAs and presumably declaring teachers compensation "fair."

(2) If you're upset about *your* property tax burden, there are multiple avenues of redress to seek. Complaining about "greedy" teachers is (despite its current popularity) a curious way to start this grievance process. Especially since states (like Wisconsin) have been all too eager to give enormous tax cuts to the corporate creme de la creme.

(3) Your point about pensions being a "state problem" and therefore not "included" is incoherent, which again is telling as to your purported moderate status. The total unfunded pension obligation of all states is widely reported to be around $1-2 trillion over the next 3 years, which of course sounds terrible until you consider that the GDP for that same period will be something like $300 trillion. There are a number of Wall Street related tax proposals floating about that could reduce our deficit by ~2% GDP over the same time period. Again, it seems like a moderate, who is concerned about deficit reduction and supports an expanding middle class, would rather pursue progressive taxation models than go after people in the middle class who get an "unfair share."
Why go after teachers? Why not unionized construction workers? Teamsters? CEOs? Subsidized farmers? Google employees (they have gyms and cafeterias- its unfair!)? Telecomm employees (it's a gov't-granted monopoly!)?

Now I hope you see why Stewart's point is not a 'generalization' but a direct response to people who vaguely declare that teachers get an 'unfair share.' Unfair according to whom? In what context? The very fact that you want to speak so exclusively on public employees shows how perverted the notion of "fairness" has become in the hands of the pro-corporate Tea Lobby.

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

bjc326 - the teacher's union aristocracy is losing it's (progressive) war of suppression.

I too know republican (and democrat) educators who are fed up with their union dues being funneled to the DNC.

Wise up, read "Rules For Radicals" and learn what "progressive" really means.

Posted by: ruralamericans | March 5, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Scott wrote:
> Why can't we all admit (even if we disagree on the proportions) that we have a lot of great teachers, and a lot of awful ones, rather than painting all with one brush or the other? Why can't we agree that we need to weed out the awful ones, whatever proportion of the whole they represent?

Who are the awful ones? How do you determine 'awful'? (How by the way, do you remember so damn much about the minutest details of the professional lives of *all* the teachers you had while you were in primary school?)

Are you impliedly defending the insane standardized test score regime championed by Rhett? (I wouldn't be surprised if you were, since if I were I would also paint my post as a "moderate" one that leaves my more outlandish and radical propositions to implication.)

I can agree that teachers (like all employees, everywhere) are not of a uniform level of capability. But they are degree-holding individuals in the public service, and I do not hesitate to generalize say that they are by and large public servants, and that I am *NOT* going to make *negative* generalizations of them that I wouldn't of other professions.

You also don't address some glaring problems with your implied system of teacher evaluations. See the above comment that references Culbert, a business professor, who found that "Performance reviews corrupt the system by getting employees to focus on pleasing the boss, rather than on achieving desired results. And they make it difficult, if not impossible, for workers to speak truth to power. I’ve examined scores of empirical studies since the early 1980s and have not found convincing evidence that performance reviews are fair, accurate or consistent across managers, or that they improve organizational effectiveness."

So your appeal to the decency and compromise of a deunionization/Employment at will regime, is belied by the fact that you proffer no justification for such a regime in the education context.

In short, whether your motives are invidious or not, your argument is a clear "wolf in sheep's clothing" that warrants *much* more serious introspection than you seem willing to give it...

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Dear GEAH who quoted me and said:
"Some of them made very, very poor decisions to cover up their lack of inexperience."

Only a union teacher could write such an incoherent sentence.

Posted by: GEAH


Sorry about the error there. I meant to say 'their lack of experience.' If that error proves unions/teachers are bad/ineffective for you and you overlooked my point entirely to focus on that...then I really feel sorry for you because that means you're gullible enough to fall for any kind of logic.

Anything, I guess, to back up that chip you have on your shoulder against teachers (did you have a bad experience with one? struggled with learning?)

I'm not really sure what the point of posting mean and vicious commentary here (or anywhere) is. But it's clear the core of your character is what motivates the argument against teachers/unions today.

Posted by: ttme0514 | March 5, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

ruralamericans - calling the teachers union an "aristocracy" is exactly the kind of vague meritless conspiracy theory I called you out for last time. Respond with facts and logical arguments or don't respond at all.
I know teachers who are dedicated to their profession and aren't happy to support the DNC, but are very happy to support their fellow public servants. Painting the teachers unions as nothing but a front for the DNC belies the entire argument that you're trying to make, which is (presumably) that the unions have gotten *too much* for the teachers...
Don't tell me to "wise up" by reading some conservative bromide against liberalism in general - I'm 99.9% sure it has absolutely nothing specific to offer in the context of this debate about public employee compensation.

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

ruralamericans - calling the teachers union an "aristocracy" is exactly the kind of vague meritless conspiracy theory I called you out for last time. Respond with facts and logical arguments or don't respond at all.
I know teachers who are dedicated to their profession and aren't happy to support the DNC, but are very happy to support their fellow public servants. Painting the teachers unions as nothing but a front for the DNC belies the entire argument that you're trying to make, which is (presumably) that the unions have gotten *too much* for the teachers...
Don't tell me to "wise up" by reading some conservative bromide against liberalism in general - I'm 99.9% sure it has absolutely nothing specific to offer in the context of this debate about public employee compensation.

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's a bit of a wake-up call for all the anti-employee radicals who think they're something other than a vociferously loud & out-of-touch minority...

http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/03/04/gov-scott-walker-has-lost-the-war/

Posted by: bjc326 | March 5, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Axlotl is exactly correct. Rivers and Sanders in various studies (including longitudinal) convincingly show that even one year with an ineffective teacher can be devastating to a child's educational future with the negative impact largely immune to later remediation. And claims by Teacher's Unions that less than 1% of teachers are ineffective is simply self-serving BS derivative of a failure to engage in anything approximating serious evaluation of teacher effectiveness.

In the worst of locals IMO the least effective 15 to 20% of teachers perform at a level that actively impoverishes futures. IMO nothing will improve the quality of public education in America more that weeding out the least effective. If such an endeavor did not involve fighting the unions, it would cost absolutely nothing to accomplish.

When it comes to evaluation of employees, what the educational community seems not to grasp is that a quest for excellence includes no standard called "good enough." Once this is grasped, the path to continuous growth in organizational effectiveness becomes obvious: hire the best you can get; promote, recognize and give raises to your top contributors and eliminate the weakest you have - in a good economy about the bottom 3 to 5% - in a downturn at least the bottom 10%. Any major enterprise which does this year in and year out can not help but become more effective.

Most successful American corporations follow exactly such a program. In most instances, every manager from 1st line upwards is required annually to identify their weakest report or reports with an eye toward managing their exit from the business.

Picking out the weakest contributors amongst the brothers and/or sisters is almost always painful. It is NEVER hard because the decision is always obvious. Where appropriate, "progressive" organizations may include a remedial effort that might salvage an employee otherwise on the way to the door, but employees ranked among the "least effective" are always on a rapid path aimed at exit. If and when they go, remaining people are seldom discomforted precisely because what was obvious to (usually) at least two levels of management was also obvious to them,

If you want "obvious", a principal always has parents seeking to get their children assigned to the class of his best teachers and avoid being assigned to his worst.

When you start to complain about this process being unfair if all teachers in a school are OK, you might remind yourself "who" the word "fair" applies to. If "good" teachers are replaced by "better" teachers, this seems pretty fair to me re. the constituency that counts - the students.


Posted by: drwilly | March 5, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

It was great seeing Jon Stewart defend the teachers. Blaming teachers for a financial crisis caused by big banks and Wall Street doesn’t make any sense. The same can be said for all of the other public servants who are protesting.
They’re giving up things that they were contractually promised but that isn’t good enough for Gov. Walker. He wants to be free to treat them like second class citizens.

Posted by: bhaines213 | March 5, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

The teachers are highly paid, more than private industry, they pay next to nothing for their insurance , yet I have to pay for them and they got to opt out of Obama care. What a racket. I pay much $ for insurance, much $ tax money and my medical care would be rationed ... I would have a teacher in the next bed getting everything .

Posted by: myrna01 | March 6, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

so why does the headline say its "hysterical"?

Posted by: MalcolmYoung | March 6, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I just love those brainwashed American dummies that would apply supply and demand to every facet of life. The business model at the molecular level.

Since supply and demand depend on the presumed rational choice of individual economic actors, the whole thing is invalid. Why? Because if you know anything about life and real economics, individuals do not, as a rule, make rational choices. First of all, most people are either stupid, ill informed, or brain-lazy; secondly, their choices are influenced more by sophisticated marketing of producers than by personal research and analysis effort; thirdly, information to make a rational choice is either missing or muddled/confused on purpose, because a confused consumer spends twice; fourthly, it is childish to believe in supply and demand, because it may have worked in early capitalist systems, what we have now is anything but capitalism. Whatever it is, both supply and demand, as well as public economic policies, are manipulated by large multi-national economic players, which invalidates the whole stupid concept.
There! Pay me for the real world education.

Posted by: VMR1 | March 6, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Stewart's parents are both teachers. Reckon this clouds his thinking on the issue? Might mention have been made of this? Right. That would be, um, reporting. More than we dare hope for from a modern day newspaper...

Posted by: allhaileris | March 6, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

where do people get the idea that teachers are done at 2:30 and they only work 5 days/week?

most teachers work 50-60 hours /week.

teachers get health-care benefits as part of their payment.

indeed they do - they also aquire most of their illnesses from children who come to school sick when they should be at home, with a parent, who should have taken time off from work to care for their child themselves.

teachers get a pension after 30 years.

true again - they also pay into that pension - every single pay period - involuntarily i might add.

teaching is extremely difficult - that's why the pay scale is 'high' and it a very rare person who has the energy to keep teaching after age 55.

but, fot those who would still complain that teachers are getting too much - i ask - why do you pay your mechanic more to fix your car, than you are willing to pay your child's teacher? is it that you value your car more than your child's education?

we have a priority problem - do we not?

Posted by: boblesch | March 6, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If teachers or Stewart don't understand the difference between Public employee unions (funded by TAXPAYERS), and Private sector unions (funded by private businesses), then SHAME ON THEM.
This is not about the teachers, not about
politics ---its about TAXPAYERS.
Do they Not understand that unions and government are wheeling & dealing with
TAXPAYER dollars? But, taxpayers don't
have a seat at the bargaining table!
And the teacher's pension plan is a Ponzi
scheme... even Bill Gates admits its a disaster-waiting-to-happen.
Jon Stewart is irresponsible for Distracting from the Real issues here.

Posted by: ohioan | March 6, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I would say it is a pretty sorry statement about our educational system when people believe "comedy" is actually "news"
SIGH

Posted by: SoothSayerCA | March 6, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

This sudden sense of urgency in bashing teachers, public schools and teachers' unions is part of an agenda to privatize public education. It's not about improving education. It's about seizing education dollars and gutting teacher pensions. That's not to say that there aren't problems in public education. It's just that if the problems were the issue, we'd be talking about them rather than demonizing teachers, schools and unions.

Posted by: BillKilpatrick | March 6, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

To: mcstowy

The faults of the corporate review process aren't a valid reason for not instituting a review policy for teachers (and principals). All teachers for a given school can be judged by the performance of their students over a period. That is the rationale for the standardized test. Can those of you who oppose standardized testing come up with a better metric for evaluating teacher performance and students' grasp of material?


It is wrong to fault all teachers for the economic woes. It is wrong to not have a process for weeding out bad teachers.

Posted by: mikemalachy | March 6, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

BILL GATES
& his elite cronies' duplicitous,
grotesquely irresponsible and sleazy HYPOCRISY
is astounding !

Where is the "accountability" for...
> the CIA and other corrupt
govt. & Wall Street-affiliated players
involved with international drug smuggling
for decades (!)
-- deliberately inundating
communities & specific neighborhoods
with heroin,
cocaine, meth, pills (MDMA/ecstacy), etc.
It is a documented fact that the CIA
& corrupt elements of the U.S. govt.
& freemasons have been involved in large-scale
heroin distribution operations and also
involved in the deliberately induced
crack cocaine epidemic targeting
black neighborhoods
(for the purposes of social undermining
& political-economic control).

Where is the "accountability" for...
> The 'entertainment' industry
flooding our youth with heinously toxic,
cognitively poisonous VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES
and GANGSTER-THUG GLORIFYING music/videos
that promote
crime, substance abuse, disgusting conduct,
mistreatment & violence against women,
anti-educational achievement,
anti-positive values, anti-professional careers, anti-healthy or
responsible behaviors !

Where is the "accountability" for
self-proclaimed edu-profiteer BILL GATES
& MICROSOFT
in producing & promoting VIOLENT, PATHOLOGICAL VIDEO GAMES, including
first-person shooter games,
such as HALO !!!??? --
which, unfortunately, too many
of our country's
children, our country's students
heinously waste
too much time messing around with,
messing themselves up with --
instead of healthfully, smartly & beneficially using that time for... productive experiences, studying, exploring/learning, participating in sports, teamwork, creative arts music,
outdoor activities & nature, significant time with friends & family, engaging in community service !!

(continued.......) ==>

Posted by: honestaction | March 7, 2011 1:34 AM | Report abuse

BILL GATES
& his elite cronies' duplicitous,
grotesquely irresponsible and sleazy HYPOCRISY
is astounding !

Where is the "accountability" for...
> the CIA and other corrupt
govt. & Wall Street-affiliated players
involved with international drug smuggling
for decades (!)
-- deliberately inundating
communities & specific neighborhoods
with heroin,
cocaine, meth, pills (MDMA/ecstacy), etc.
It is a documented fact that the CIA
& corrupt elements of the U.S. govt.
& freemasons have been involved in large-scale
heroin distribution operations and also
involved in the deliberately induced
crack cocaine epidemic targeting
black neighborhoods
(for the purposes of social undermining
& political-economic control).

Where is the "accountability" for...
> The 'entertainment' industry
flooding our youth with heinously toxic,
cognitively poisonous VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES
and GANGSTER-THUG GLORIFYING music/videos
that promote
crime, substance abuse, disgusting conduct,
mistreatment & violence against women,
anti-educational achievement,
anti-positive values, anti-professional careers, anti-healthy or
responsible behaviors !

Where is the "accountability" for
self-proclaimed edu-profiteer BILL GATES
& MICROSOFT
in producing & promoting VIOLENT, PATHOLOGICAL VIDEO GAMES, including
first-person shooter games,
such as HALO !!!??? --
which, unfortunately, too many
of our country's
children, our country's students
heinously waste
too much time messing around with,
messing themselves up with --
instead of healthfully, smartly & beneficially using that time for... productive experiences, studying, exploring/learning, participating in sports, teamwork, creative arts music,
outdoor activities & nature, significant time with friends & family, engaging in community service !!

(continued.......) ==>

Posted by: honestaction | March 7, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Where is the accountability for... VIACOM
& other media corporations
(eg. instead of the "BET" channel being utilized
for positive, inspirational, educational
or meaningful programming --
it has mostly
broadcast the worst sociopathic, demeaning,
undermining junk -- promoting
gangsterism & exploiting our vulnerable youth
with pernicious mind-killing crap).

FACT! --
Where is the "accountability" for Wall Street
& elite financiers,
such as MERRILL LYNCH and OPPENHEIMER,
previously the MAIN INVESTORS & SHAREHOLDERS
owning majority stock in the company
that produced the 'GRAND THEFT AUTO' video game as its main product !!!

Also, what about the corporate soda-pop
& junk food pushers targeting children ?!

The reality is that ethical,
caring, dedicated
public school teachers have been the
'good samaritans' courageously
teaching with tremendous effort daily
to educate & constructively help children --
to transcend, overcome hardship,
to cultivate wellbeing & achievement --
despite the grotesque obstacles
& destruction foisted on us by
irresponsible, unscrupulous, rapacious
and duplicitous corporate execs.
& financial elites,
(societally-sabotaging/damaging,
corrupt oligarchs, such as Goldman Sachs,
J.P.Morgan/Rothschild scamsters et. al.
who've caused millions of children
& families to be homeless.

==========

Posted by: honestaction | March 7, 2011 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Both VS and Jon Stewart missed the point. No one's faulting what teachers get paid to teach. They're faulting what teachers get paid to not teach: benefits, pensions and $1100 a year in political contributions funneled to elect the other side of the bargaining table.

Posted by: NickCurtin | March 7, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

When are people going to wake up and see this has absolutely nothing to do with teachers and everything to do with the Koch brothers trying to shut off a money source to the Democratic Party so they can further their own political agenda?

Posted by: CHICO13 | March 7, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Jon is the perfect antidote for mindless trolls with a 5 minute attention span who lack the ability to discuss topics seriously.

Is issues are that teachers in Wisconsin and pretty much every place else:
1) with perks considered (including THREE pension plans, make twice that of the average worker,
2) are literally impossible to fire (yeah, but their all perfect right, even the molesters),
3) work a nine month year,

Posted by: Bcamp55 | March 7, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The more involved the gov't becomes in the school systems and the education, the less effective they seem to be (the schools that is, we already know the govt is ineffective).

Should teachers be held to standards?
Yes, absolutely.

Is the Koch Bro's and their cronies dissolving ALL union rights the ONLY way to do it?
Umm.. No.

It's time to get the hand of BigBro out of the classroom. The religious extremists have already managed to dumb down the kids by removing as much science, and scrambling as much history as possible. The extreme left has decided to "give every kid a gold star for trying, and a trophy for playing", and through both ends of the extreme, our kids have become some of the most pitiful in the industrialized world- certainly the most laughed at.

Posted by: deusXmchna | March 7, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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