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Fewer teachers! Whoopie!

It now looks as if the efforts to keep the states from laying off between 100,000 and 300,000 teachers in the next couple months through a proposed $23 billion federal appropriation have failed. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who was promoting the measure in the Senate, has withdrawn it for lack of support, while in the House, an attempt to append it to an emergency appropriations bill looks to be somewhere between limbo and death.

For the dedicated foes of this measure, prominent among whom are The Post's editorialists, this is clearly a moment of victory. For the nation's school children, the results don't look so rosy. School districts and the states and localities that fund them are still reeling from the recession. Cutbacks are everywhere. Hawaii reduced its school week from five days to four, and summer school is on the chopping block or already history in districts across the land.

To be sure, the Harkin bill and its House counterpart (authored by California Democrat George Miller) had their imperfections, and critics complained that they didn't go far enough in the direction of education reform. The editorial in today's Post, for instance, states that the bills failed to encourage states to lay off teachers according to ability, rather than seniority. That's true. But by not passing these bills, Congress ensures that that tens of thousands of the least senior teachers, chiefly enthusiastic young teachers who are surely more tech-savvy than their elders, will be the ones laid off. While opposing the bills for their defense of seniority, the bill's critics ensure that thousands of lay-offs, the vast majority of which will proceed according to seniority, will take place. Had they supported the bill, the number of such lay-offs would have been greatly diminished. The thousands of young teachers who may themselves criticize aspects of the seniority system will be the first to go.

Did the bills ensure that districts could continue or re-start, for instance, their summer-school programs? Not directly. Will the failure to pass them mean that more districts cancel summer school? Unless they can hold summer school without teachers, probably yes. Can opponents of the bill defend programs like the Race-to-the-Top while opposing efforts to diminish teacher lay-offs and keep school years from being shortened? Not too credibly.

By Harold Meyerson  | May 28, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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Comments

Truly pathetic is cutting back on funding for education...Todays young need education as surely as they need bread!
Sad!!!

Posted by: SeniorVet | May 28, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance! Soon we shall eliminate all this distressing overreaching of state powers, and go back to the way it should be, capitalistic use of private schools, just like in the middle ages.

If you can't afford to educate your kids, work harder!

Posted by: iamweaver | May 28, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I am completely lost on what congress has done or not done. Thomas Jefferson said that education is necessary for a democracy. Are we headed for some other form a government now favoring fascism; a system of nationalist corporative government under corporations instead of thinking population. Have noted that movement to the right in our country. But it looks like we are going so far right that we are falling off a cliff.

Posted by: artg | May 28, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Some day our elected officials must realize that Government Expenses=Tax Revenues. Forget Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. Until Washington decides to put away their generational credit card I support every effort to stop spending.

Posted by: friscojim | May 28, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Adding a few more kids to each class won't kill the school system. 1950s/1960s student headcounts per class averd higher than today. We all survived that. We'll survive this too.

Teachers unions, like all unions, just want more money for less work by their members. That's been happening for decades. Now, the trend in reversing.

Economic reality stinks. Get used to it.
We're headed toward the United States of Greece.

Posted by: jfv123 | May 28, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Adding a few more kids to each class won't kill the school system. 1950s/1960s student headcounts per class averaged higher than today. We survived that. We'll survive this too.

Teachers unions, like all unions, just want more money for less work by their members. That's been happening for decades. Now, the trend in reversing.

Economic reality stinks. Get used to it.
We're headed toward the United States of Greece.

Posted by: jfv123 | May 28, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

As Regan used to say... THERE YOU GO AGAIN>>>>>>>>

We have been throwing BILLIONS into the public school system/UNIONS for years. The only result has be a continual decline in the education of our kids.

We could throw TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS into the teachers pockets and still come up empty as far as the kids getting an education.

We need to fire them all get rid of the useless unions and start over without them. As long a government back unions are in charge the kids lose.

Posted by: frankn1 | May 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

As Regan used to say... THERE YOU GO AGAIN>>>>>>>>

We have been throwing BILLIONS into the public school system/UNIONS for years. The only result has be a continual decline in the education of our kids.

We could throw TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS into the teachers pockets and still come up empty as far as the kids getting an education.

We need to fire them all get rid of the useless unions and start over without them. As long a government back unions are in charge the kids lose.

Posted by: frankn1 | May 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

As a college educator, I can tell you that the education at all levels is an unmitigated disaster. True it is worse in some places than in others. For instance, one would prefer that one's child attend a school in which the security guards did not sell drugs, which did not require metal detectors, where classes were not held in bathrooms, where plaster did not drop from the ceilings and walls.

Upscale parents might ask that students read from textbooks rather than xeroxes or even request a computer or two on the premises for student use.

The truly brazen might ask why NCLB has dumbed down classrooms from New York to L.A. and when we might be rid of it.

And now, all might ask, Where are the teachers?

Bottom line. Writing about education in America is oxymoronic. There is no education in America.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | May 28, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I guess all the commenters so far attended private schools. I have had the benefit of a public school education and remember many fine teachers at all levels, up through graduate school. My parents could never have afforded private school for me. So, I feel a debt and obligation to pay taxes so that others may also receive a basic education: reading, writing, mathematics, history, science and the arts. It is a civilizing influence and enables one to read and continue to learn throughout life. How is it that teachers have become the scapegoats lately? It is very sad.

Posted by: babsygee2 | May 28, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

One of the major reasons that the US lags most of the OECD in educational attainment is that it gives teachers neither respect or money. If you look at a top performer like Finland, you'll find that teachers are paid better than in America, and that there is tremendous competition for teaching spots. Do you think that the transformation of Finland from "hewers of wood" to the land of Nokia might have something to do with the high respect that education gets? The solution in America seems to be when you're in a hole "drill, baby, drill".

Posted by: Anoutsideview | May 28, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It's a fiscal issue! Do teachers who will have no problem getting re-hired need to be bailed out a second time?

No teacher here in Florida has a problem getting a job- even the part timers who have no protection whatsoever...my family works in the system(sheesh).

Posted by: moebius22 | May 28, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Until everyone faces the Elephant in the room nothing is going to be solved. Illegal immigrants kids are draining our system while the parents pay no taxes and send all their money back to their home country's.

They have no vested interest in this country other than taking as much as they can as long as they can.

Wake up people the writing is on the wall get over your PC behavior and face the damn truth.

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | May 28, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Thatg;s the conservative way. Cut education funding so they have a nation of poorly educated boobs, except for the rich, so they can do whatever they want and the boobs beleive they are patriotic Americans. Sure, close the public schools, then see how much you'd have to pay to put your kids through private education. All those in favor of cutting teacher salaries, how about cutting your own? That's what big business wants.

Posted by: mikel7 | May 28, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Thatg;s the conservative way. Cut education funding so they have a nation of poorly educated boobs, except for the rich, so they can do whatever they want and the boobs beleive they are patriotic Americans. Sure, close the public schools, then see how much you'd have to pay to put your kids through private education. All those in favor of cutting teacher salaries, how about cutting your own? That's what big business wants.

Posted by: mikel7 | May 28, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

We spend more on education than many other countries with better test scores- the problem is structural...throwing more money at the problem won't fix long standing underlying issues.

Posted by: moebius22 | May 28, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"
Truly pathetic is cutting back on funding for education...Todays young need education as surely as they need bread!
Sad!!!

Posted by: SeniorVet"

Uh, I hope you're not a nutritionist. What a silly little bumper sticker phrase. Moebius has it closer to reality.

You can point your finger at teachers or parents (or both) but increasing money just wastes money. It doesn't do anything. You want to give kids golden-plated ipads? Fine, but it won't make them smart.

Posted by: Priva2 | May 28, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Schools are not a federal responsibility, but financed by state and local property taxes. The federal government already does too much, as shown by the size of the federal deficit. Adding more money to the deficit for teachers only worsens the situation. We cannot afford everything we want to do.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | May 28, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they will get rid of some of the bloated administration and drop some of the "gold plated" pensions that are sucking the life out of the education budgets. Getting rid of the Union would be good also. For the life of me I don't see why teachers need a union other than to support some "fat cat" union leaders.

Posted by: twoeagle | May 28, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Get your government hands off my public schools!

Posted by: jeffwacker | May 28, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I pay less in Taxes, less for Food, and less for Gasoline now than when Bush was in Office.

I Want to pay more now to extend Unemployment, Employ Teachers and Create Jobs that make us Energy Independent and allow everyone to Pay Less in the long term.

If you make military service in the Middle East mandatory I'm sure you will see a warlike effort to make ourselves Energy Independent and Invest in Renewable Energy and Efficiency Jobs.

Americans need JOBS not Handouts. Clean Energy and Jobs legislation; Cash for Caulkers, and other Programs that create JOBS and Revenue and save us Money over time.

Pay for them by Ending the Bush Era $2 Trillion in Tax Cuts for the Rich; and Tax Imported Gasoline .50~$1/Gallon

We can create JOBS, Energy Independence, and Economic Security by Investing in using Less Oil and Coal.

We are Paying **Hundreds of Billions ~ Trillions** for Civilian and Military Expenses that we Borrow Money from China to Pay for:

* $2,000 Billion ($2 Trillion) in Tax Breaks for the Rich
* $350 Billion for the Navy’s Littoral Warships ($550 Million each)
* $64 Billion for 183+ F-22s @ $350 Million each *(Pentagon: “only ready to fly 62% of the time and haven't met most of their performance goals”)
* $7~13 Billion for each New Nuclear Submarine
* $184 Billion for AIG
* $200 Billion for Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac

What about JOBS in New Industries for the recently Unemployed and for Troops when they return home to Civilian life?

When over Ten Million are Recently Unemployed, when Troops are Dying in Two Wars, when Americans are in need, it's time for those of us with Jobs and who are not in War Zones risking our lives, to step up to the Plate and Help Pay to create the Jobs and Employment Opportunities our Country needs.

What about Jobs in Industries producing things we can sell?

Posted by: liveride | May 28, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this is a terrific.

It's stunning that you people don't understand the different roles of the federal government and state governments. The former is not here to pay the shortfalls of the latter. That's tyranny. And the federal government has no business spending money on education at all.

If California wants to have a ridiculous tax scheme and a bloated education bureaucracy, that's its choice. But let Californians pay for its choices.

It's silly to suggest otherwise, and it's totally offensive to suggest that the rest of us are morally obligated to pay for the poor choices of those in other states. Shame on you.

Posted by: CaughtInAMosh | May 28, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

CaughtInAMosh writes:
"Yes, this is a terrific.

It's stunning that you people don't understand the different roles of the federal government and state governments. The former is not here to pay the shortfalls of the latter. That's tyranny. And the federal government has no business spending money on education at all."
-----------------------------------------------------

Bah. You bandy illogic. Government - local, state, or federal - is doing the same functional thing; trying to spread around public funds to "equalize" in some fashion public education. It's just a matter of how far you equalize - across rich or poor neighborhoods, rich or poor states, or the nation.

It's all the same. You want to extort my money just because you spawned bratlings. Don't you go spending my hard-earned money on your own foolishness! Educate your own dang kids!

Posted by: iamweaver | May 28, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Bah. You bandy illogic. Government - local, state, or federal - is doing the same functional thing; trying to spread around public funds to "equalize" in some fashion public education. It's just a matter of how far you equalize - across rich or poor neighborhoods, rich or poor states, or the nation.

It's all the same. You want to extort my money just because you spawned bratlings. Don't you go spending my hard-earned money on your own foolishness! Educate your own dang kids!
--
Who paid for YOUR education?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 28, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Of course, our columnist, is a self-avowed union advocate.
There's nothing wrong with this, only that readers should take his words in that context.
And, quite honestly, I see a role for unions in ensuring worker safety and rights.
But the self-serving tactics by unions of late has been over the top. Especially given what the rest of the workforce is going through.
We're all in this together, so welcome to reality union workers.

Posted by: mtpeaks | May 28, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

jfv sez:Adding a few more kids to each class won't kill the school system.
------
It won't 'kill' it, but it will make every teacher less effective. You haven't taught a thing in your entire life, have you? It shows.

A few more kids can mean a world of difference in terms of the individual help a teacher can provide to a student.

But people like you don't really give a ripe sh*t about such things anyways, do you?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 28, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

The signs that we are not a nation but a collection of people living in a particular area are everywhere. Educate your own kids. Hire illegals. Gate your area of town. Hire private security. Toll roads. Don't take "my" money for...........anything.

Public schools and universities used to be our pride--"our," "our" nation, a useless word. YOYO. You're on your own.

Posted by: rusty3 | May 28, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Call me stupid, but I don't understand the headline:

Fewer teachers! Whoopie!

The same number of students (a.k.a. kids) will still be attending school next fall, only instead of smaller classes, there will be larger classes.

As a result, teachers will have less time to attend to a particular student's needs, questions, etc.

A disruptive student will interrupt more well behaved classmates per incident/outburst.

It will be harder to achieve quality instruction, etc.

Seems to me that the headline is just plain dumb. Suppose your publisher said, "Let's get rid of some writers, but still put out the same number of pages and stories per issue?" Would you say, "Whoopie" then?

Posted by: TheShadowKnows | May 28, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

It was a great victory and one the American People should be proud ! Just like all the REAL people the government is fianlly shedding jobs where they are fat. Every year we throw more money at education, yet the results do not change. Thank God, the Blue Dogs are FINALLY standing up and stopping this uncontrolled spending. I do support the GOP, but I must salute the Blue Dogs for finally standing up for the American people aned against Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by: Realist20 | May 28, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who's willing to teach the unruly brats who populate many of today's classrooms deserves a medal, not a layoff.

Posted by: stillaliberal | May 28, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who's willing to teach the unruly brats who populate many of today's classrooms deserves a medal, not a layoff.

Posted by: stillaliberal | May 28, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Obviously our educational system has failed. We have yet to teach politicians, school administrators, teachers, teachers' unions, and Washington Post columnists about scarce resources.

Posted by: asdf2 | May 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Harkin is an i--diot. Is he trying to get into heaven or something? Tom - pack it in. Ride in your Corvette and forget about it.

Posted by: hz9604 | May 28, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

As the parent of 2 high school students, the oldest of which has always attended public school, I can testify that the public school system stinks.

I attended public school and received a far better education than my kid. The unions have corrupted the system to the point that teachers do as little as possible - relying on the kids and their parents to do the work for them. Half of what my kid knows, we taught.

I put the younger kid in private school because I have no faith in the system. NO MORE MONEY to the public schools until there is pension reform, elimination of tenure and some accountability.

We will NOT solve the problem in education today by throwing more money at it.

Posted by: thinker16 | May 28, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

And for nunovyerbizness1 and the like, larger classes aren't going to hurt a thing. We put a man on the moon with 40 kids in a class. If we could only restore discipline in the classroom to what it was back then, a change that wouldn't cost a dime, by the way, we'd be heads and shoulders above where we are at the moment.

Posted by: asdf2 | May 28, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

At some point, the states will have to wrestle down spending. The sooner they start in earnest the better. If they don't want to lay off teachers, cut something else or raise local taxes.

Time for the states to put the big boy pants on. The longer they delay the worse it will be.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks but no thanks for the Washington Monument tactics, Meyerson.

Posted by: cprferry | May 28, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

As a high school teacher for 35 years and still a regular substitute I can assure you that far too much money has been spent building schools and athletic facilities that serve as monuments to the board members who voted for them. If school districts weren't obgligated to pay the interest on the construction bonds there would be money for teacher's salaries.

Posted by: whb21 | May 28, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Public education and private education both need improvement. “No child left behind” has to go. Disruptive students also have to go.

Criterion-referenced evaluation is what makes sense. Let us give the students a chance to be promoted by subjects not by grade or year, and forget about SATs for Vocational Programs admission. Toward this view, we need to get the K-12 teachers to teach only their subject of specialization (with Master’s). A non-mathematician teacher teaching Math is a perfect recipe for students’ failure in Math learning. The same thing goes with those teaching other courses that they have not specialized in or that they even hate. Getting the teachers to teach all subjects for a certain grade makes an unfounded assumption that the teachers have mastered all courses or disciplines

Employers’ policies and practices should be deemed discriminatory if they require HS or College graduation/diploma for positions that are better filled by those with vocational experience and skills.

College Education public funds or scholarships should be available only for above-average students in academic programs; students with athletic scholarships should be advised/required to pursue and complete programs in athletics if they failed to pass any two academic courses (or one course two times); students with financial aid should be advised/required to pursue and complete a Vocational Program if they failed to pass any two academic courses (or one course two times).

Schools that cannot offer such option/solution should have an articulation for transfer with a nearby Community College with Vocational Programs. These changes will make it unnecessary for Administrators and Instructors to falsify records just to keep misplaced students in the school’s programs and do manipulations to mislead accreditation visitors and administrators of public funds in regard to evaluation of students, instructors, and the application of funds for programs/curricula.

Let's get students' attendance out of evaluation. What is relevant is their performance. That should be the basis for continuing or discontinuing funding for students.

Posted by: aurora_riel | May 28, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

nunovyerbizness writes:

(mindless blathering by iamweaver(me) deleted)
--
Who paid for YOUR education?

-------------------------------------------------------

I apologize. Sarcasm is hard to display properly in a forum setting.

Posted by: iamweaver | May 28, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

To TheShadowKnows (great nickname), to answer your question, I believe the headline "Fewer teachers! Whoopie!" was intended to be sarcastic.

For everyone like iamweaver, who thinks public schools should disappear and everyone should send their children to private schools: if that happened, I hope you, your children and grandchildren wouldn't mind the shortage of doctors, lawyers, knowledgeable teachers, scientists and specialists in all shorts of technical fields (such as petroleum processing). Oh, and you would have to get used to paying a LOT more for everything, as all kinds of people, including plumbers, grocery store owners, mail carriers, local and state police forces, etc. had to raise wages so they and their employees could afford to send their children to private school.

Posted by: CherieOK | May 28, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Um, CherieOK, I'm pretty sure that doctors, lawyers, knowledgeable teachers, scientists and specialists in all sorts of technical fields (such as petroleum processing) have come from private schools as well as public schools.

And you wouldn't have to pay a LOT more for everything. There are plenty of private schools with tuitions that aren't outrageous, and there are plenty of parents who care enough about getting a quality education for their children that may not be attainable in their local public schools who will work two jobs or make other sacrifices to achieve that.

I don't think public schools should disappear--they serve a very valuable function, when they're properly run. Unfortunately, that happens less and less these days. Teachers' unions are primarily to blame, and I sure do wish they would disappear.

Posted by: asdf2 | May 28, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I've traveled the world and the people of all countries say the children are their future - except when it comes to spending for education and paying teachers a decent wage. In Palin's Jesuslandia, education along with health-care is socialism.

Posted by: areyousaying | May 28, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

The USA has achieved negative marginal-utility in education. Every dollar more spent, standards decline even further.

This article is full of cliche and fear-mongering.

Posted by: pgr88 | May 28, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

And for nunovyerbizness1 and the like, larger classes aren't going to hurt a thing. We put a man on the moon with 40 kids in a class. If we could only restore discipline in the classroom to what it was back then, a change that wouldn't cost a dime, by the way, we'd be heads and shoulders above where we are at the moment.
------
Go ahead and show some proof. Don't bother wasting bandwidth with stats from places like Japan, where only those who are judged (through testing) to be worthy students continue to attend the secondary schools that actually test their students by similar standards to ours.

You are clueless.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 28, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and by the way, I was IN school when we put a man on the moon, and no class in any school I attended or any other I know of, had more than 25 students in a classroom. I doubt your classes were any larger than mine. Although apparently yours were less effective.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 28, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Tune into CSPAN coverage of the US Senate. Watch America get dumb.

Posted by: Felipe_M | May 28, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

For sure, AreYouSaying.

All sarcasm aside now, I know of no more important use of public funds than education for our youngsters. I would rather pay 10% more in taxes and get more teachers aides, raise teacher salaries significantly (and at the same time eliminate tenure) and work to create a safer and more productive learning environment.

I work in prison ministry, and just last week, an inmate said to me, "The problem with our society is that kids think they are adults, and adults are acting like kids". He would know - he will be in jail for a long time; fallout from being a juvenile who thought he was an adult. We adults need to step up to the plate, put a little time into our "real" educational system (which frankly, includes programs designed to help parentless kids learn how to become actual adults).

Posted by: iamweaver | May 28, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Watch America get dumb. Tune into CSPAN coverage of the US Senate.

Posted by: Felipe_M | May 29, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks that teachers' unions have too much power has probably never been in one.

Posted by: EdgewoodVA | May 29, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

1) It sounds right: young people are more "tech savvy" than older people; however, it may not be necessarily so (Bill Gates is no spring chicken, right?);

2) Knowing what Instructional Technology works well, and which not so much, is not about being "tech savvy" but "instructionally savvvy";

3) Does "seniority" = "incompetence"?

Posted by: freddiano | May 29, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

It is time to stop the madness with the teachers unions and the school systems. All the systems have increased the number of employees way out of porportion with the increase in students. The school systems have become entities on their own, self serving systems that hold the children out as human shields. They never truly improve education because to do so would take away the justification for ever increasing funds. The waste is extreme. In Montgomery County Maryland for example they spent tens of millions on Electronic Blackboards that are not used. The list goes on and on.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 29, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

A country that can fund B2 bombers, aircraft carriers, a space program etc, etc, etc but can't afford to educate it's children is a failed country.

I thank god every day that I was able to take my own family to Australia.

Posted by: xavier6 | May 29, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Harold, let's just go ahead and take your argument one step further: Federalize teachers and dismantle local school districts and boards. Make them all employees of the Department of Education, and have Congress appropriate money for all of them. Then you can set student standards, hiring policies, and teacher payscales nationwide.

That's what you want, right? Otherwise, why would you advocate spending $23B in federal funding on what's traditionally been a state issue? Hmm?

Posted by: cynicalidealist | May 29, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Pilot1: In Montgomery County Maryland for example they spent tens of millions on Electronic Blackboards that are not used. The list goes on and on.
---------------------------

As a Montgomery Co. teacher, I can agree that there is waste, but Promethean boards weren't one of them. They are a great tool to use in the classroom and everyone I know that has one uses it regularly. I'm sorry the economy tanked before my school got them as our technology is woefully inadequate. Also--it is my understanding that they were paid for with a grant, but I'm not positive about that. If it is true then that is how the money was meant to be spent. Grants come with stipulations--just look at Race to the Top (or Plunge to the Bottom as so many think it should be called!).

Posted by: musiclady | May 29, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The real problem with education is accountability on all sides. Instead of working together to fix the problems in education, each group, teachers, administrators, parents, politicians, points to one of the others for the problems in education.

We have a serious problem in this country and it won't be fixed until the finger pointing stops and we get to work.

Parents need to instill in their children a sense of the value of an education and good behavior.

Teachers need to hold students to the standards and not pass studnets along.

Administrators need to show leadership and enforce discipline policies.

NCLB needs to be repealed and replaced with something that actual teachers have input on.

Posted by: amartin4 | May 29, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"All the school districts have increased the number of employees way out of proportion with the increase in students."

I don't know about Montgomery County's blackboards, but I can tell you that your argument--and others like yours--is largely bull. Most of the teachers in this country continue to pour blood, sweat and tears into their work, despite the paucity of respect and support they get for doing one of the hardest jobs in the world, in a country that knows more about their Play Stations than their children's homework. We live in the same economy as everyone else. Those of us lucky enough to keep our jobs are struggling with years of frozen salaries that include some instructional assistants' below-living-wage pittances, and something we NEVER hear you whiners mention--salary caps. The sky is not the freaking limit, and it never will be.

Teachers all over are losing their jobs, and many of those positions will not be reinstated any time soon. The very first thing that a lot of school boards do is trim the number of employees via natural attrition, so those of you blathering on about all the old folks (many of whom have skills and experience that can't be matched by many of the newer hires' skills) being given a free ride are raving about a more complex issue than your tiny minds can conceive.

None of us go into teaching expecting wealth; we go into it because we feel called to serve the children we love--all of them. We stick with it because of a deep commitment that most workers will never, ever know--and they don't care, because to them, their jobs are just a paycheck.

We give up plenty, and--ooo, naughty us--we dare to speak out through the unions that also advocate for best practices, continuing teacher education, professionalism, closing the achievement gaps, and sharing resources about programs and approaches that work. We pay our own dues, and some of us give up our time after hours to try to improve things for everyone. We have to wait for hours at county board meetings just like anyone else, and we get the same two-minute stint at the podium as the rest of you....many of whom don't care enough to show up at all.

Lazy? Selfish? Over-empowered?

Give me a break.

Posted by: EdgewoodVA | May 29, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Fewer teachers might actually be a good thing if you manage to get rid of the teacher union protected "dead-weight."

Much like fat old firemen or cops who can no longer do their duty, the really rotten teachers in our schools will continue to remain a protected species under the Obama Administration.

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | May 29, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"As a Montgomery Co. teacher, I can agree that there is waste, but Promethean boards weren't one of them."

The students think they are a total waste of time and if you use them you are one of the few.

Not only teachers but all government workers are demanding they get their cola's, free benifits, job security,raises, bonuses and so forth while the people footing the bills are suffering. For some reason government workers feel they should not have to suffer along with the rest of us. Well folks the money is not there. The taxpayers are not ATM machines. The insane unchecked abuses are going to stop because there is no other choice. NJ is just leading the way and others will follow. And the governor is right, if you don't like it get a job elsewhere if you can.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 29, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"As a Montgomery Co. teacher, I can agree that there is waste, but Promethean boards weren't one of them."

The students think they are a total waste of time and if you use them you are one of the few.

Not only teachers but all government workers are demanding they get their cola's, free benifits, job security,raises, bonuses and so forth while the people footing the bills are suffering. For some reason government workers feel they should not have to suffer along with the rest of us. Well folks the money is not there. The taxpayers are not ATM machines. The insane unchecked abuses are going to stop because there is no other choice. NJ is just leading the way and others will follow. And the governor is right, if you don't like it get a job elsewhere if you can.
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"The students think"? As if they know what is or isn't a 'waste' of time.

What an idiotic argument!

I hate to break it to you, bub, but lots of us have family members and spouses who've lost THEIR jobs and we are struggling just as much as you are, if not more. We pay taxes, too, and do so whether or not we have children in school. If teaching and the teachers' retirements are so d*mn cushy, then why aren't YOU on the same gravy train? Go ahead. Every time I've posed that question, it's met with silence. Why aren't YOU a teacher?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 29, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Pilot1 writes: Not only teachers but all government workers are demanding they get their cola's, free benifits, job security,raises, bonuses and so forth while the people footing the bills are suffering
______________________________
Where is this la la land of which you speak? We just ratified a new contract with no COLA and no step increases for an indefinite amount of years. So did our local county employees, police and firefighters. Surely you must not be in the DC area. There are a significant amount of cuts which will affect the classroom next year. You aren't there so how can you know? Our total school system budget will be less than that of the current year even though our enrollment is increasing. That amounts to less spent per pupil. I'm assuming you don't read the actual news--you just choose to comment on opinion pieces--otherwise you would be aware.

Posted by: musiclady | May 29, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Pilot 1 claims: In Montgomery County Maryland for example they spent tens of millions on Electronic Blackboards that are not used. The list goes on and on.
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And of course, you can link a source for this information, can't you? Where is your proof that Promethean Boards "are not used"? We only have 3 in our school, and they're used all the time.

Can you show everyone what schools are not using those they have? Where are you getting this information? I suspect it's from the Parents Coalition website. Not exactly an objective source.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 29, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting, Pilot. I'd love to see your proof that students think electronic smart boards are a "waste of time". I'm sure you can cite a scientific poll of MoCo's students that shows this to be true, can't you? And of course, you can prove that only a "few" teachers even use them, can't you?

When are you going to explain why, if teachers get such a great deal, you aren't one yourself?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 30, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

It has been said that the Stimulus Plan supports 400,000 teachers.

Guess what happens after that money is spent? More money is needed to replace that one-time funding. Expect the same next year.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | May 30, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

nunovyerbizness1, why do you persist in ad hominem arguments?

"Who paid for YOUR education?"

"But people like you don't really give a ripe sh*t about such things anyways, do you?"

"You are clueless."

"I doubt your classes were any larger than mine. Although apparently yours were less effective."

"If teaching and the teachers' retirements are so d*mn cushy, then why aren't YOU on the same gravy train? Go ahead. Every time I've posed that question, it's met with silence. Why aren't YOU a teacher?"

"When are you going to explain why, if teachers get such a great deal, you aren't one yourself?"

Only one of your posts (3:55) manages to avoid a personal attack.

Ad hominem--one of the very first signs of a losing argument.

Posted by: asdf2 | May 30, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The last comment about losing an argument just demonstrates the crassness of this whole argument. One of the comments mentioned that we get less per buck than a lot of other industrial nations. A very sane comment! She/he goes on to say that we have a structural problem. Seems pretty logical to me. More money certainly isn't the answer unless we fix the structure -- union or not! Of course, as a true independent that doesn't suck up to the tea parties or the libs, I'll be accused of being anti-union. It's such a shame since without unions we'd be completely screwed by business. However, let's be real about the structural problem, both unions and management are the problem -- not the government.

Posted by: Fergie303 | May 30, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

A question was asked about the electronic chalk boards. I have five nieces and nephews in the system, all honor roll students all saying the same thing.

Another question was asked why am I not a teacher. Well the answer is I choose not to be one just as teachers choose to be a teacher. I choose to be an engineer, others choose to be a teacher. We must live with our choices.

What we must not do is allow the teachers union black mail the taxpayers into more and more while giving less and less. Time has come for the school system to be accountable. Time has come for county employees to share the pain and understand the gravy train is over. As the county shifts more and more to what Wheaton is now there will be less and less money, get used to it the good times are over.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 30, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of other professionals who maintain that older workers are not as "tech savvy" as younger ones. Is this myth based on research or just perhaps just the authors own "insights"? The only really new tech that one might encounter today that did not exist 15 years ago are social networking utilities and the exponential use of texting. Granted other technologies are constantly refined and improved but older teachers surely get these updates as well. When it comes to texting or using facebook, studies have shown that students who engage in these activities actually do poorer in school. Even multi-tasking has shown to reduce attention spans leading to one doing more tasks poorly than a person concentrating to the tasks at hand. What this author fails to recognize is that experience in the classroom does indeed count.

Posted by: luvmtains | May 31, 2010 2:01 AM | Report abuse

For years, many American leaders have said: "Our children are this Nation's greatest resource". What happened to that thought? They cost money so they're no longer renewable? They still need to be fed, clothed, housed, and educated, even when the economy is bad. The value of America's children does not rise and fall with the stock market or this country's GDP, because when and if it does, our children will be no better off than the children living in third world countries. No education means no future.

Posted by: mawheelz | May 31, 2010 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Pilot1 wrote: In Montgomery County Maryland for example they spent tens of millions on Electronic Blackboards that are not used.
I am a substitute teacher. I use the electronic blackboards all the time.

Posted by: jrsposter | May 31, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Search a few websites for median salaries across the U.S. and you get:

Personal Trainer: 19,000
Asst. Mgr., Fast Food: 30,000
Bar Mgr.: 30,000
Case Mgr., Soc. Serv.: 33,800
Farm Mgr.: 41,000
Accountant: 41,800
Admin. Asst.: 42,900
Store Mgr., Beauty Salon: 43,400
Paralegal: 45,900
Teacher: 46,000
Landscape Mgr.: 48,000
Project Mgr.: 48,700
Marketing: 50,000
Programmer: 52,000
Branch Mgr., Bank: 50,200
Civil Engineer Level I: 54,300
Dr. of Vet. Med: 60,000
Construction Design: 60,000
Software Engineer: 73,600
Computer Hardware Engineer: 79,500
Nurse Practitioner: 83,200
Pastor: 85,600
Programming Mgr: 130,400

Median salary for Assoc. Deg.: 38,000
Median salary for Bachelor's Deg: 51,000
Median salary for Master's Deg: 61,600

Posted by: EdgewoodVA | May 31, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Pilot sez:A question was asked about the electronic chalk boards. I have five nieces and nephews in the system, all honor roll students all saying the same thing.
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Wow! FIVE!!! What a huge sample! Then it MUST be true.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Once more for the dense one who asked why I was not a teacher. Again because I choose to be something else just like those who are teachers choose to be teachers with the full knowledge of the job and pay.

I live in Montgomery County and I am aware of that finaly the County had to say no to the Unions and it is about time. THey have been living on the Gravy Train to long. Just look at the retirement situaion with the police, total abuse.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 31, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

nunovyerbizness1, why do you persist in ad hominem arguments?

"Who paid for YOUR education?"

"But people like you don't really give a ripe sh*t about such things anyways, do you?"

"You are clueless."

"I doubt your classes were any larger than mine. Although apparently yours were less effective."

"If teaching and the teachers' retirements are so d*mn cushy, then why aren't YOU on the same gravy train? Go ahead. Every time I've posed that question, it's met with silence. Why aren't YOU a teacher?"

"When are you going to explain why, if teachers get such a great deal, you aren't one yourself?"

Only one of your posts (3:55) manages to avoid a personal attack.

Ad hominem--one of the very first signs of a losing argument.
--------
And yet you can't respond with any answers, can you?

If you don't like being attacked, then how do you think teachers feel about it?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Once more for the dense one who asked why I was not a teacher. Again because I choose to be something else just like those who are teachers choose to be teachers with the full knowledge of the job and pay.

I live in Montgomery County and I am aware of that finaly the County had to say no to the Unions and it is about time. THey have been living on the Gravy Train to long. Just look at the retirement situaion with the police, total abuse.
-------
This isn't about the police. What "gravy train"? What is it you think teachers are receiving in pensions and salaries that is out of line with what other equally educated professionals expect?

Here's a thought for you: when I was hired as a teacher, the starting salary was $10,700. If there had been no 'step' increases or raises since then, only COLAs, I'd now be earning about $40,000 a year. Could you support a family on that in this area? Do you?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe what has happened to our country - we are told from our early years how important it is to have an education to better ourselves and be successful; yet, there is so many people who comdemn and despise the very people who provide that education, public school teachers. Then, these same people view those who continue their education to advanced degrees as "elitists" and view them with disdain - what do you people want, a populace of dumba$$es? If you are so anti-government and anti-tax that you now hate public school teachers, who were put on pedestals when I was young, you are also anti-American, because we will not be able to compete with the rest of the world if we're all so dumbed down--

Posted by: southernbutnotstupid | May 31, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I was a substitute teacher; part of the training provided was a breakdown of how much of the Federal and State funding actually makes it to the classroom after the Administration gets it......not enough. The system needs to be restructured from the top down.....streamline the administration at the School Board level down. That's the first step.

Second,get rid of the Teachers Unions - I've dealt with teachers who verbally abuse their students who are moved out of their classrooms instead of the teacher being fired...why? Because the unions make it almost an act of congress to fire a bad teacher....fix that and our schools can hire and retain the best teachers.

Quit basing funding on the number of learning disabled children, low income/free lunch children because the restrictions on obtaining that funding are too difficult to navigate - leading to abuses by the schools to receive it (i.e. the forced labeling of kids to "get the numbers".)

Our public education system is abysmal because we no longer teach to teach...we teach to pass the government mandated or state mandated standardized tests....do our children learn geography any longer? No, because there is no time to teach it. Do our kids get balanced American History education? No, because once again, there is no time to teach a full history course when you have to focus on math and reading to get the funding you need to run the school.

Its not the conservatives who have destroyed our education - it is the leftists who have taken over our text books and the unions which force the government to tie funding into school performance instead of on teacher performance which translates into well educated children.

Posted by: LMW6 | May 31, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This is an unfortunate reality for the education system. With all of the incredible learning tools now available to students, which mostly piggy back on new classroom technologies, there may not be teachers with the proficiency to teach students to use them. If seniority is made to be the chief determinant instead of the abilities and skills that teachers may possess, students could be stuck learning about last decades technologies from teachers who are two decades behind the times themselves. It would be unfortunate to see yet another digital divide develop in the world, this one reflecting the inability for public schools to teach kids about skills necessary in todays society.

Posted by: sstoia | May 31, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Let school boards make bad decisions, overpay teachers and waste money all they want. Let the congress and state legislators impose federal and state mandates that drive up costs. Then force federal taxpayers to prop up the system just like they are forced to prop up every system in the country. Our government is creating its own victims and then trying to cure them. Stop creating victims and the cures that are needed can be managed.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | May 31, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

public education; propoganda for quacks, selling books and drugs to our children.History and civil decency are not discused.The good, a result of the recession is the realization of many educators they have gone along to get along with union scams knowing lousey teachers are hiding and profiting in the system. Hopefully actual educators with the children and country in mind will win out over the liers yelling its for the children.Government has gone too far,its role is expanded into our lives and will lead to a form of slavery.The kind you don't notice till you show your papers to leave the state or apply for a new job.

Posted by: jmounday | May 31, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"...young teachers who are surely more tech-savvy than their elders..."

Probably not: The tech savvy younguns are already pursuing careers in tech related fields where they can make much more money.

Posted by: eduk81 | May 31, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Funding education is NOT a responsibility of the federal government.

Posted by: JimHale1 | May 31, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I have great respect for educators of all kinds who work with pre-school children to adult students in degree programs. I believe that these educators of America’s future workforce deserve good pay and benefits for the professionals that they are and they should not be seen as greedy, lazy, teachers who simply want more pay. They are skilled professionals and deserve to be paid well for the valuable work that they do. At the same time our children deserve the best education that we can possibly provide for them. One of the ways that we can do that is by paying their teachers’ well, giving them good benefits, and showing appreciation and respect for the hard work that they do. As a parent, a taxpayer, and a future educator I can see all sides of the coin. Education reform needs to happen because our kids deserve the best, taxpayers deserve a good deal, and teachers deserve compensation based on the professional skills that they possess.

It is a curious thing as to how we got in such a mess to begin with. Starting with quality education we need to continue to have standards that will raise the bar and ensure that a quality education is being administered. Keeping academic records on a child throughout their education will help to shed light on correctly analyzing the cumulative data rather than relying solely on standardized tests to judge achievement of both students and teachers. While teachers should be held accountable by their students’ success rates it should not be the sole indicator. A students’ individual drive and desire to achieve should somehow be taken into account as well. I may be a great parent but that does not always mean that my child is going to reflect that and always make good choices.

I do not believe that the government should continue to spend money that we do not have. I think that there has to be a way that we can be fiscally responsible and still continue to excel in education. For starters, do all of the students who go to the school have parents or caregivers who pay taxes? If we are all putting into the system, fiscal responsibility should allow us to have the best of both worlds; quality education for our kids and professional level salaries for our teachers without having to borrow $23billion for one year. Sacrifice may be involved in finding a solution but our kids are worth it and so are the people who educate them. Whatever solution is found these two goals need to be met and united together rather than two opposing forces.

Posted by: jemason | May 31, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I have great respect for educators of all kinds who work with pre-school children to adult students in degree programs. I believe that these educators of America’s future workforce deserve good pay and benefits for the professionals that they are and they should not be seen as greedy, lazy, teachers who simply want more pay. They are skilled professionals and deserve to be paid well for the valuable work that they do. At the same time our children deserve the best education that we can possibly provide for them. One of the ways that we can do that is by paying their teachers’ well, giving them good benefits, and showing appreciation and respect for the hard work that they do. As a parent, a taxpayer, and a future educator I can see all sides of the coin. Education reform needs to happen because our kids deserve the best, taxpayers deserve a good deal, and teachers deserve compensation based on the professional skills that they possess.

It is a curious thing as to how we got in such a mess to begin with. Starting with quality education we need to continue to have standards that will raise the bar and ensure that a quality education is being administered. Keeping academic records on a child throughout their education will help to shed light on correctly analyzing the cumulative data rather than relying solely on standardized tests to judge achievement of both students and teachers. While teachers should be held accountable by their students’ success rates it should not be the sole indicator. A students’ individual drive and desire to achieve should somehow be taken into account as well. I may be a great parent but that does not always mean that my child is going to reflect that and always make good choices.

I do not believe that the government should continue to spend money that we do not have. I think that there has to be a way that we can be fiscally responsible and still continue to excel in education. For starters, do all of the students who go to the school have parents or caregivers who pay taxes? If we are all putting into the system, fiscal responsibility should allow us to have the best of both worlds; quality education for our kids and professional level salaries for our teachers without having to borrow $23billion for one year. Sacrifice may be involved in finding a solution but our kids are worth it and so are the people who educate them. Whatever solution is found these two goals need to be met and united together rather than two opposing forces.

Posted by: jemason | May 31, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It's "liars", not "liers"; it's "discussed", not "discused". "The good, a result of the recession is the realization of many educators they have gone along to get along with union scams knowing lousey teachers are hiding and profiting in the system" is not a sentence. It's "lousy", not "lousey". "yelling its for the children" should be "it's for the children". It's "propaganda", not "propoganda". "The kind you don't notice till you show your papers to leave the state or apply for a new job" is not a sentence.

Yes, you're surely proof we don't need public education at all.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Meyerson is right on target. We need more teachers, not fewer. What we don't need are charters, NCLB and other gimmicks cooked up by people with no classroom experience, billionaire boys club foundations, and enemies of teacher unions. -- Edd Doerr, a former teacher

Posted by: EddDoerr | May 31, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

And for nunovyerbizness1 and the like, larger classes aren't going to hurt a thing. We put a man on the moon with 40 kids in a class. If we could only restore discipline in the classroom to what it was back then, a change that wouldn't cost a dime, by the way, we'd be heads and shoulders above where we are at the moment.

Posted by: asdf2
------
Funny how you were so quick to scream "ad hominem", but you've been unable to post any credible source that shows proof that what you've stated above it true.

I challenged you to show that other countries in which ALL students are tested, not just those who have been judged by the school system and government as cognitively able to learn, are able to do better than our students. Go ahead.

I can tell you from personal experience that in Japan, students are tracked and tested from their earliest days in school, and those deemed incapable of performing well academically are shunted off into non-academic tracks and trade schools. They are not tested as all our students are; they are simply placed in programs designed to prepare them for vocational jobs. Who do you think is driving taxis, polishing the handrails on the escalators, and cleaning the streets? You can bet those weren't students whose test scores are posted along with those you'll see.

Why haven't you been able to answer this question, except by whining that it's "ad hominem"?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

And if I'm mistaken, please correct me, but I seem to recall that Pilot claimed that teachers could expect to receive $200,000 in retirement in MoCo, MD. I asked for credible evidence for that claim as well, and somehow I haven't seen any. Where is it?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

`My husband was a teaching principal---Teachers cleaned their own classrooms and students helped. He was against teacher unions and refused to join-- His education was credits beyond a PhD-- he loved teaching and prepared his students for the future---All his students succeeded and many obtained higher degrees --- when normally they quit after HS-- A REAL teacher can educate a large class because they LOVE TEACHING

Posted by: katieconkling | May 31, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

`My husband was a teaching principal---Teachers cleaned their own classrooms and students helped. He was against teacher unions and refused to join-- His education was credits beyond a PhD-- he loved teaching and prepared his students for the future---All his students succeeded and many obtained higher degrees --- when normally they quit after HS-- A REAL teacher can educate a large class because they LOVE TEACHING
------
Sure, lady. And your hubby retired when?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

To Edgewood, VA Your comment shows that the median salary for a teacher is $46,000.
I taught 30 years in VA and barely made that when I retired. NOVA teachers bring the median up for Va. I still would be a teacher. I loved the job. When people talk about Unions I don't see that in Virginia because the VA legislature long ago created a law that means teachers can't strike or negotiate for salaries. Some of you in other states should talk about YOUR state. Not all states are the same when it comes to teacher's salaries and Unions. Being retired doesn't mean that I won't vote against those that are against Public Education. Remember NOT to complain to your School Boards when they cut things you don't want cut.

Posted by: mcdonalsherry | May 31, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

In order to see some REAL change in the way education gets funded, GET RID OF THE UNIONS.
When the employment formula is forced to include work rules and unrealistic, unsustainable retirement benefits, the problem will never be solved.

Just look at Chicago Public Schools (or the City of Chicago and the County of Cook in general).

Both screwed.

Posted by: jimbob3 | May 31, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

In order to see some REAL change in the way education gets funded, GET RID OF THE UNIONS.
When the employment formula is forced to include work rules and unrealistic, unsustainable retirement benefits, the problem will never be solved.

Just look at Chicago Public Schools (or the City of Chicago and the County of Cook in general).

Both screwed.
------
"Get rid of the unions".

And just what do you think would happen then?

Do you think the public would simply, out of the goodness of their hearts, fund education adequately?

What about those like Pilot, who don't have kids in school? Do you think he'd be perfectly willing to pay taxes to educate children when it's clear he doesn't have a clue as to what is necessary to do so?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

How would getting rid of unions change the "way education is funded"? Education has been funded by local taxes, largely real estate taxes. What would "getting rid of unions" change about that?

The fact is that the schools in MoCo that achieve the highest test scores are located in the neighborhoods where real estate is most valuable. Do you think that's a coincidence?

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | May 31, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

So, a reason to keep young teachers is because they are "surely more tech-savvy" than older teachers?

What about knowing how to teach? Are inexperienced teachers better at teaching than older teachers? And what about knowing how to text or navigate facebook makes anyone a better teacher?

Let's see all the experienced workers in every field get fired to make way for tech-savvy kids.

Posted by: efavorite | May 31, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks "...teachers could expect to receive $200,000 in retirement in MoCo, MD"

is seriously delusional.

Posted by: eduk81 | May 31, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

If you want better education...it's very easy. Here are your steps to success.

(1) Wipe out the Teacher's Union and in turn wipe out all tenure on teachers
(2) Make all teachers jobs at risk based on teacher's assessments and student test scores.
(3) Make all incoming teachers salaries 5 years from now start at $100k starting with performance objectives over $150k.

Take a lesson from Singapore. The top 30 paid politicians in the world all reside in Singapore. As it should be. Higher pay = better people competing for the job and better results. I think Barrack Obama should be the highest paid person in the world and I think that we'd have better people wanting to be teachers if we paid better.

Posted by: d-35 | May 31, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The Significance Of Tablet Computers In Education

Everyone concerned with education should recognize the potential of tablet computers to lower education costs and to improve learning at all levels.

The advent of powerful and inexpensive tablet computers marks the end of the era of conventional PCs. Tablet computers empower users to do almost everything that is now done on personal computers. Tablet computers with multitasking and other common capabilities will cause a rapid revolution in education.

Within the next few years, electronic books will probably replace most textbooks. Tablet computers will make it possible for slower students to catch up and for faster students to get ahead. Tablet computers connected to the Internet will enable most students to spend less seat time in classrooms and to be less dependent on our public schools.

Perhaps some of the home-schooled and private-schooled students will want to return to the public schools for a portion of their education. Perhaps some of our public-schooled students will want to join the home-schooled students. Perhaps the sharing of economic and other resources is an idea whose time has come. The widespread use of tablet computers may even cause, with the exception of those involved in expensive extracurricular activities, a decrease in the cost per student per year.


Posted by: broeswb1 | June 1, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Rather than take across the board pay freezes, the teachers unions decided to dump the newer teachers in order to preserve the bennies of the senior ones.

Then whine about the poor teacher : student ratio.

You can't ask taxpayers who have lower pay, lesser benefits and little if any pension to subsidize cadillac compensation plans for peopel who work 9 months a year.

Whaa!! Whaa!!

Posted by: drjcarlucci | June 1, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Rather than take across the board pay freezes, the teachers unions decided to dump the newer teachers in order to preserve the bennies of the senior ones.

Then whine about the poor teacher : student ratio.

You can't ask taxpayers who have lower pay, lesser benefits and little if any pension to subsidize cadillac compensation plans for peopel who work 9 months a year.

Whaa!! Whaa!!
------------
I AM a taxpayer. My spouse lost his job after more than a decade with his company and has been out of work for almost a year. I don't know what "cadillac compensation plan" you are talking about. Maybe you could describe the details for me, because what I have certainly doesn't amount to one. And I don't work "9 months a year", either. We work on a 10-month contract. I don't have a choice to teach for the public schools 12 months a year; if I did, that's what I would be doing.

Posted by: nunovyerbizness1 | June 1, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I believe it's "whoopee," not "whoopie," which, according to the Urban Dictionary, means something else entirely.

Posted by: irishphilly | June 1, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

“..Congress ensures that that tens of thousands of the least senior teachers, chiefly enthusiastic young teachers who are surely more tech-savvy...”

And they will find other jobs, which pay better and permanently leave the teaching profession.

American are gleefully letting the country slip into second world status. Like Greece, Americans want to have first world status without paying for it.

PennyWisetheClown poated May 28, 2010 5:11 PM
“llegal immigrants kids are draining our system while the parents pay no taxes and send all their money back to their home country's.
They have no vested interest in this country other than taking as much as they can as long as they can. Wake up people the writing is on the wall get over your PC behavior and face the damn truth.”


PWTC, what a ridiculous statement. Illegals spend just like you do, food, clothing, rent, utilities, transportation, entertainment. The amount of money sent home per illegal is quite small, collectively it looks large.

If you want to do something ... end NAFTA, stop destroying Mexican farmers and they will go home.

edwardallen54 posted May 28, 2010 6:09 PM
“Schools are not a federal responsibility, but financed by state and local property taxes. The federal government already does too much, as shown by the size of the federal deficit. Adding more money to the deficit for teachers only worsens the situation. We cannot afford everything we want to do.”

Yup, Yup I wonder if edwardallen realizes China is graduating more engineers then the U.S and Germany combined.

Don’t worry edwardallen, there are more H1-B’s in the future to save the U.S.

Posted by: knjincvc | June 1, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

There sure is a lot of whining about getting rid of unions, pay freezes for teachers, getting rid of seniority but "NO ONE" has mentioned what teachers should earn to maintain a middle-class life style like you and I do.

So what should teachers earn?

Posted by: knjincvc | June 1, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"There sure is a lot of whining about getting rid of unions, pay freezes for teachers, getting rid of seniority but "NO ONE" has mentioned what teachers should earn to maintain a middle-class life style like you and I do.

So what should teachers earn?"
-knjincvc


Well, personally, I think teachers should start in the upper 5 figures - at least $75K per year.

I don't think teachers should be paid a salary commensurate with most Americans. I think they should be paid a lot more. Aside from the military I think the most important job in this country is teaching. Without teachers you won't see very many engineers, doctors, mathematicians, scientists, computer programmers, etc., etc. - only those able to learn everything out of a book or through some version of an apprenticeship. There are exceptions, people who just naturally and intuitively understand a subject, but they are very few and far between. That's why such people are called exceptional, because they are exceptions to the norm.

Posted by: SeaTigr | June 1, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Throwing money at education has never made it better despite that assertion from liberals. CA spends a fortune on education, has beautiful schools, legions of administrators and well paid teachers with huge pensions. It still ranks near the bottom despite being a leader in all things liberal.

Smaller classes alone does not guarantee more learned students. All this nonsense about punishing the children and children suffering is no more than false justification for more money in educators pockets.

If layoffs according to seniority is a problem, perhaps it's time to do away with life time appointments via tenure.

Gov. Christy was correct in standing up to that nit wit teacher in NJ complaining about no pay raise and having to contribute 1 1/2% to her benefit package. Your not compensating me for my education? How many other jobs offer entry level degrees 86,000 per year? She is indicative of the entitlement mentality and the cradle to grave with a lush retirement set of expectations more prevalent today.

More than just shades of Greece.

Posted by: 19481 | June 1, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

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