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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What Will The Next Civil War Look Like?

I am not predicting anything. I've just been contemplating.

I recently read that one reason for the United States Civil War (War Between the States - War of Northern Aggression - whatever you choose to call it) was that the economic climate was changing from agrarian to industrial.

I'll buy that.  Slavery was a major part of the South's agrarian society, and the advent of the cotton gin did not reduce the need for workers, it increased it.

There was this struggle in that although industrialism was the wave of the future, agriculture would not disappear, nor could it.  The question was, "Could they work together?"

The answer was not immediately disclosed.  Twenty years, or so, into the debate "A Great Civil War" began.

Yes, I know there was much more to it.  There were banking issues, political issues, national vs. local governmental issues, and much more...just like today in America.

So, here is my pondering. I assume some type of struggle will occur in the transition (and may have already started with the raid on education, banking, and industry bailouts).

If we are moving from an Industrial Age to an Information Age (a new economy) and we are having banking, political, federal, and many more issues, what version of a Civil War will we be seeing?

How will this war be fought - with information control? (Industrialism brought advancements in weaponry)

Who will fight this war - the information/data magnets?

How will a winner be determined - what "property" will be garnished?

If the distribution of information is a bastion of democracy (I think it is) how will democracy be defined in the years after the war?

Sadly, government has taken over the agricultural economy (being from the Midwest, I watched it happen). 
We are beginning to see industry being taken over by the government now.

Will the government also take over information? 

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Pay-For-Performance Will Not Work to Improve Learning

Humans try to understand new things through metaphor and analogy.

Pay-For-Performance is akin to working on commission.

When people work on commission, they do not share or cooperate, because it may mean the loss of a sale to a colleague.

It works this way in insurance companies, car dealerships, electronics stores, clothing stores, and it will be the same in schools. Salespeople do not share their "best practices" with their colleagues for fear that the competition to put food on the table will become to great.  It is an issue of personal survival in a capitalist economy.

Sure, your office may attend profession development to maintain licensure, go listen to Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins together, but when it comes time for the customer to walk in the door, a commissioned worker will not divulge their information for making a sale to a co-worker.  The competition for limited amounts of money is too costly.

The same will happen in schools that are forced to use pay-for-performance methods (whether we call it that, or merit pay, or any other misleading title).

The fact will become, that when a teacher finds themselves in competition for limited funds with another teacher, collaboration will end.  Sharing what works best in student learning will be detrimental to their paycheck.

That's no way to improve learning for students.

In my state of Georgia, our out-going governor (who will be able to hide from his decisions made this Spring) is seeking (and winning approval from Arne Duncan) to rid the state's current pay grades.  Teachers, as most know, are currently paid based on time and level of degrees.

The proposal is to pay a base salary (unstated), and then reward teachers for student gains (also unstated, but surely based primarily on testing).

This proposal is like making a single sale on which to base one's personal budget. 

A Bachelor's degree will be the only basis of pay.  Earning a Master's, Education Specialist, or Doctorate will mean nothing to the teacher as far as payment.  Ironic, don't you think that education is actually being called insignificant - in the education field!  You can't make up this kind of stuff.  Hollywood wouldn't even buy this kind of storyline.

Is this really the best we have to offer our nation in regards to education reform?

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The World's First Blogger - with a fan base

September 1989 - It's somewhat sad that the 97 episodes was 3 short of syndication - Or he may have become the first RSS feed. :)

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

All You Need Is Love...

I saw this picture of three students at our school.  I thought it was really cool.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why I Should Be A "BabySitter" Instead of a Teacher

Just thinking, and I know this has been done before.

Let's say I quit teaching, because I can't take the government indoctrination programming of our nation's children anymore.

I currently have 135 students, each for 55 minutes a day.  I couldn't do that anymore.  Too many kids.

But let's say, I contracted out with the parents of 25 students, and charged the low end of the current babysitter rate of $8 an hour. (I'm over 17 years of age).

I would do more than babysit.  I would teach them, like most day care centers.  I would keep them from 8:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M., the same time as school.

Here are the numbers:

  • 7.5 hours a day
  • 180 days a year
  • 25 students a day
  • $8 an hour per student

180 days x 7.5 a day = 1350 hours a year (nothing changes here from what I do now)

1350 hours a yr x $8/hr = $10,800 a year per student (that seems like a lot of money, but it is the going rate)

$10,800 x 25 students = $270,000 a year of income (that's a couple dollars more than I make now)

I'll buy them lunch each day.  Let's estimate $5 a day.

$5 x 25 students = $125/day
$125/day x 180 days = $22,500/yr (more than I spend on food each decade now, but I have 25 more mouths to feed)

$270,000 - $22,500 = $247,500 income (still a little more than I make as a teacher)

If money was my motivation, I would have to ask - Why am I still teaching?

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Georgia Educators Are Cheaters - yep nearly all of them

The accusatory, tone that all teachers are cheating ticks me off. 

Suspicious test scores widespread in state

The state of Georgia is having problems with answers being changed on the mandated CRCT tests.  Several blurbs of thought, with little comment, because it's Sunday, and no one should speak the way I'm thinking.


Freakonomics
authors, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner stated in 2005 that teachers, like Sumo wrestlers will cheat when forced to, or for self-preservation, or for incentives

  • The Annual Yearly Progress rules force educators (not just teachers, but counselors, and administrators) to protect their employment.  The risk of detection is apparently lower than than the risk of losing employment because students aren't paying attention in class.

MacGraw Hill
actually has spent money, time, and energy - AND THE STATE OF GEORGIA PAID TAX-PAYER MONEY FOR IT TO BE DONE - to develop a computer program to look for erasure marks (from wrong answers to right answers). 
  • I wish instead of furloughing teachers (breaking contractual agreement), and looking for cheating teachers (that the government has created by their own rules of engagement), they would have considered using that money to actually improve education. 
  • I will never purchase MacGraw Hill anything, and any school system who does should be ashamed of themselves. They oppose teachers and education - simple as that.
    • MacGraw Hill is in the business of making money - I get it.  But their unethical, immoral approach is beyond reprehensible. 
  • I will provide a list of legislators who are in favor of this approach to "improving education" so they can be voted against.  SHAME ON ALL OF YOU! Using children and teachers as a springboard to political careers instead of public service.  You are all corrupt.

Proctor All Exams in K-8

  • There really is an easy answer, use proctors to administer these foolish tests.
  • During test weeks, teachers should not attend.  You cannot be found guilty of something from which you were absent.  The state of Georgia furloughed teachers 6 days this year.  Sure, they gave each system the flexibility as to how they would reduce expenses that equalled six days of unpaid teacher compensation.
  • So, I propose that the state, since their accusations are directed at cheating teachers, provide every school system with proctors during testing times.  This will roughly equal the furloughed days they will take away from us next year anyway.

Our governor, Sonny Perdue, said,

“This has got to be impeccable beyond reproach,” Perdue said of the test. “The sad thing is that it really is the students that are being cheated.”

I won't go into the poor grammar abilities he used, but since you are so concerned about the chillllllllldren, then make the test IMPECCABLY BEYOND REPROACH and provide proctors for our "cheated students."  And by the way, take that MacGraw Hill kickback and move on.

And if you didn't get the kickback from MacGraw Hill good; but you now know how you made the overwhelming majority of tax-paying, voting teachers feel by your accusation.  Good day, sir.

P.S. - I'm still hoping the free speech rights of tax-paying citizens has not rescinded in our state too.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Atlanta Braves Stopped By Our School