PJ BLOGGER

"There are strong and powerful forces that maintain the system, because it works well for lots of people, just not the kids.

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 6:32 pm

“There are strong and powerful forces that maintain the system, because it works well for lots of people, just not the kids.

The tragedy is how many kids are graduating wholly unprepared for anything that follows. The easiest way to improve the graduation rate in America is to lower the standards. And lots of people have done that, and as long as we keep doing that, we’ll delude ourselves into thinking we have a decent graduation rate, but in fact our kids will be wholly unprepared.

The magic ingredient in the game I play is high-quality teaching. We don’t remotely have enough of it because we don’t reward it properly, we backload the pay scale. The real money goes into the people who are in the system a long time, gets rolled up in a defined-benefit pension plan, makes it very hard to attract new talent. We don’t reward excellence, we don’t give hardship pay, we pay the same thing for a science teacher and a math teacher that we do for a physical-education teacher. If any university did that, they’d go under.

The countries that succeed, they tend to draw their teachers from the top quarter, top third of their graduating college classes. These are people who have been academically successful, who believe in assessment, because they’ve lived under it and it’s served them well. In the United States, we draw teachers from the bottom quarter of our college graduates, and our kids in high-poverty neighborhoods get the bottom quarter of the bottom quarter.”

Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education in his Wall Street Journal Interview – November 23, 2008

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  1. Yea, but unions stifle all that Mr. Klein wishes for.

    Teaching is only considered a profession by teachers. Most people equate their organized labor as just that, union labor, no better than an auto worker.

    You get the respect you deserve.

  2. “In the United States, we draw teachers from the BOTTOM quarter of our college graduates, and our kids in high-poverty neighborhoods get the bottom quarter of the bottom quarter”

    if this is so, how is it that Ridgewood teachers make $100 thousand a year?

  3. What is the matter with being an auto worker? Labor built this county while corporate greed and corruption is killing it. Why don’t we have labor give back more so that some CEO can get a bigger bonus as his company’s stock prices fall?

  4. Amen! Another absurd concept in primary through secondary education is tenure.

    Tenure was originally instituted by colleges and universities as a short sabbatical – freeing professors from the day-to-day responsibilities of classroom teaching thereby enabling them to conduct research on behalf of their respective institutions.

    Tenure was the genesis of what became the often-maligned “publish or perish” mentality that has permeated higher education for most of the 20th century. One of the unwanted spillover effects of “unproductive” tenure has been the ridiculously high cost of what amounts to a mediocre college education.

    How we allowed this misguided concept to “trickle down” to the local public school level is beyond me.

  5. To 9:56 and others. Can we stop spreading outdated and incorrect information.
    The study that is misstated again and again looked at SAT and ACT scores of high school students who said they planned to be teachers. It did not look at GPAs and did not address college rankings. It also didn’t address the scores of students who actually went on to become teachers.
    Much research has been done on this topic, and most of the results are very different from this “bottom quarter” theory.
    The only reality is that students who are at the top may see the opportunities for income from teaching as limited compared to many other professions. There are no opportunities for billing $500 an hour in teaching. The other problem with teaching in the US is the lack of respect accorded to teachers. But we can’t lay any blame for that on posts in this forum, can we?

  6. *sigh*

    Another anti-teacher, anti-education thread here.

    It’s amazing that we’re able to maintain a great public school system DESPITE all the people around here trying to tear it down!

  7. 9:54 the “lack of respect” comes from being in a unionized shop that works diligently to limit the services you provide to our children at the highest cost they can extract. It also operates on the outdated and untrue model that all teachers are equal. There can be NO RESPECT for anything like this.

  8. 9:54

    This quote is from the Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools who is a Democrat.

    One of the interesting things that is happening with the election of Obama is you have democrats, like Klien and Michele Rhee, saying the system is broke.

    This is not the little old Ridgewood blog.

  9. Re: “if this is so, how is it that Ridgewood teachers make $100 thousand a year?”

    Ummm… Because we are idiots.
    Hey, I guess we really ARE products of our education!

  10. 9:56- you claim that we make $100 grand? Cut that in half and you have my salary. I have a Bachelors of Science and a teaching certification, with countless hours in the classroom. I hate it when people spout off numbers about which they know nothing.

  11. The fact that Joel Klein repeated the same old trash “facts” that have been floating around since the early eighties means nothing. The information is from surveys of students taking the SAT test, and what they said they wanted to major in when they got to college. It is not indicative of the quality of the people who actually end up teaching.

    Try this data instead:
    “ETS studies of actual teachers in fact show their academic abilities comparing favorably with those of other professionals. Analyzing the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey, ETS found that the verbal scores of teachers are higher than those of managers but similar to those of lawyers, engineers, accountants, and social workers. In quantitative skills, teachers are on a par with most other managers and professionals. ETS also looked at the high school SAT scores of those who later passed Praxis tests, used by many states for licensing teachers. High school teachers who passed Praxis tests in math, social studies, foreign languages, science, and English had higher SAT scores than college graduates generally.”

    Instead of attacking teachers with horrible misinformation, support the teachers in their efforts to help kids succeed.
    This is where the anti-teacher lobby throw in their unions are bad, teachers are lazy, teachers are overpaid rhetoric. Thanks, but no thanks.

  12. 6:12 PM- “you claim that we make $100 grand? Cut that in half and you have my salary.”

    Degree and certification with countless hours is not countless Years, when after teaching years plus a Masters degree of continuing education which is required, teachers here are known to earn large salaries. Not spouting off numbers. The pay scale for business profession had a wider margin vs. teachers in the 1970s. That scale has changed a lot over the years,teachers salaries increased, especially in Ridgewood. A few teachers I know have recently retired after 25 or so years, from large salaried public school teaching positions, and receive 100% Pensions plus medical benefits.

    What promising new teacher wouldn’t want to start with your salary $50.grand plus benefits with medical and pension, budget provided by the taxpayors. If there’s an elementary teachers position opening at start $50grand in Ridgewood, I know many who’d be interested and would jump for it!

  13. 6:12 PM- “you claim that we make $100 grand? Cut that in half and you have my salary.”

    It’s public records knowledge, can check out all salaries of NJ educators, can do a public records search by county (Bergen), district(Ridgewood), school(All), name (All), job (All).. There are many salaries in the high $90,000s grand. Here’s the link:

    http://php.app.com/edstaff/search.php

    Will show the number years, degrees, salary, class level, specialty, school.

  14. IF you teachers are so damn smart WHY ARE YOU IN A F*&*ING UNION?

  15. “A few teachers I know have recently retired after 25 or so years, from large salaried public school teaching positions, and receive 100% Pensions plus medical benefits.”

    100% pensions? I am not sure where this piece of misinformation came from. A teacher retiring after 25 years would have a 45% pension, not a 100% pension.
    But please don’t let the facts get in the way of the rhetoric.

  16. 6:12 PM,

    You have a BS in what, teaching?

    Give us a break. Try getting a BA in something that can be taught like science, math, history, English or a language.

    Getting a teacher’s cert and a teaching degree is what is wrong with our teaching “profession.”

  17. To 11:17 and 11:53 and anyone else who cares,
    No, I have a BS in veterinary science. I was certified to teach via the alternate route (surely you know ALL about it since you seem so erudite).
    And 11:17, if you think the job sounds soooo sweet, then come on in! The water is fine! Sounds like sour grapes to me, except the twist is an odd one. Instead of saying that it isnt all that, you seem oddly jealous. Maybe those nice benefits are to attract good people to teach your children? Just saying…..

  18. 6:12 PM – “Cut that in half and you have my salary.”

    must be a Supplemental Instructor, B.S.degree, 2 years, Ben Franklin, $50,Grand. Seems to be many Supplemental Instruction (teachers assistant) in the Ridgewood school system, at $48,G and up.

  19. 6:12PM & 5:27 PM –
    Posts shows the immature and unprofessional attacking tone of an alternate route instructor, of which 75% of property tax goes to the BOE by the taxpayers. Its well know that benefits of TPAF goes with the position. Initially when teachers salaries were much less than private industry, those benefits were an attraction, teachers pursued education profession for the love of teaching. Times change.

  20. 10:53- not even close.

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