No superheroes to the rescue of schools. Good teaching seems to depend on good supports.

It turns out that the NASA-scientist-turned-physics teacher is not the superhero of education who is going to save America's schools. There are too few of those superheroes changing jobs. (Photo/Columbia Pictures)

It turns out that the NASA-scientist-turned-physics teacher is not the superhero of education who is going to save America's schools. There are too few of those superheroes changing jobs. (Photo/Columbia Pictures)

A new superhero has appeared in education folklore and he’s cast a powerful shadow on policy discussions about improving teacher quality: The NASA scientist eager to doff his lab coat and become a high school physics teacher, if only there weren’t so many obstacles in his way.

So revered is this mythology that many states, including Georgia, have made it much easier for people to enter teaching through what are known as alternative or lateral paths that ease the transition and the requirements.

There’s only one problem. There aren’t that many NASA scientists anxious to move into classrooms. That’s one of the findings of a new University of North Carolina study on teacher effectiveness measured through student performance on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests.

Many people assumed that mid-career job changers would prove the salvation of public education by bringing their content expertise and successful work experience with them.

It turns out that many have neither expertise nor great success.

“When we looked at these alternative or lateral entry teachers, many of them were quite young and were simply frustrated in getting a job in their chosen profession,” said Gary Henry, director of the UNC Carolina Institute for Public Policy. “The folks switching from high-performing private sector jobs are a very small minority.

“More typical of these lateral entries are fashion majors who realize they are not going to be designing high fashions,” Henry said. ‘‘They shifted over to teaching as a reasonable second or third choice.”

According to the study, these lateral/alternative-entry teachers, who comprise 15 percent of the workforce, perform worse in high schools, where they are highly concentrated.

The study found that the other least-effective teachers were first-year and teachers hired from out-of-state, who comprise nearly a fourth of the North Carolina teacher workforce. The out-of-state teachers perform worse than UNC undergraduate-prepared teachers in five of 11 comparisons.

Explaining the poor performance of out-of-state teachers, Henry said states likes Georgia and North Carolina serve a farm-team function.

“Generally, we are getting folks who could not get jobs in the states that they left because of a lack of experience. When they get the experience, they often return to Pennsylvania or New York,” he said.

The study found the most effective North Carolina teachers were from Teach for America, which handpicks elite college graduates, puts them through boot camp-styled training and places them in the classroom with ongoing supports. Middle school math students taught by Teach for America teachers gained the equivalent of about 90 extra days of learning in a year.

Teach for America sends experienced teachers into the classroom several times a year to observe new recruits and engage them later in a feedback session that begins with, “What did you think your weaknesses were today?” said Henry. And the program holds weekend staff development sessions focused on effective practices for its teachers.

But could it be that Teacher for America’s real secret is starting with the smartest college graduates? Henry said he doesn’t know, but hopes to explore that question in later research, some of it perhaps funded by North Carolina’s recent Race to the Top grant.

Henry said first-year teachers out of traditional programs, even if well prepared to teach, are often ill prepared to manage a classroom. “They very rarely get feedback and mentoring, as opposed to program models like Teach for America that offer professional development and support. “These teachers from traditional education programs are basically turned out on their own,” he said.

Overall, graduates of UNC teaching programs landed in the middle of pack in classroom effectiveness. Not all 15 teacher preparation programs on UNC campuses are alike, but Henry suspects it may be the sink-or-swim reality that dooms new teachers in the field.

The most promising college model to bolster first-year teachers is “three plus one,” in which candidates spend three years in classes and then have a full year of teaching under the supervision of veterans, he said.

So, who, as a parent, would Henry want in his children’s classrooms? A fully certified teacher with three to four years experience, he said.

“And I probably want teachers who have degrees from a teacher-preparation program because that indicates that these people invested their own energy into becoming a better teacher.”

65 comments Add your comment

KE Ogden

September 2nd, 2010
2:31 am

Teaching is increasingly the only profession for which you must go above and beyond the job description in order to be see as “effective” or even doing your job. Hardworking teachers work on weekends and after hours, for low pay (in comparison to their training and working hours and environment) in a profession that requires them to be counselors, friends, educators, mentors, coaches, and more–and these teachers consistently increase their own education with workshops, conferences, and teacher communities, and often use their own funds to supplement supplies for their classrooms. In my time teaching highschool, I never met a teacher who didn’t go above and beyond. Sure there were the occasional terrible teachers, but overall, teachers take their job seriously. In the last decade, however, teaching has become a more difficult choice; administrations are curtailing academic freedom, and communities are increasingly left without the money or time to support their schools and their school children; most kids today don’t use school as a community, but as a means to an end. The very nature of education and its purpose is changing, but no one can agree on what the new direction should be. After teaching for several years in the community college and university classrooms, I entered Teach for America and received some of the best support and training I could hope for; it was truly outstanding training in classroom management, pedagogy, theory, and curriculum–but no matter how good my preparation was, there was and will always be a “sink or swim” first year teaching moment; teaching takes a special personality and demeanor before you can even get to the educating part. But that wasn’t the hardest part of teaching for me–the hardest part was being faced with issues that I couldn’t fix, things that I knew were keeping my students from achieving their very best. Our students care about their education, and their parents care–but socio-economic status often plays a big role. The biggest issues I saw keeping my students from achieving their very best once I got into my high school classroom were often far beyond my control or the control of the the school–and sometimes beyond the control of the students. I get angry when I hear administrators and politicians talk about how students just need to be “working harder” or teachers need to be “doing more.” My fellow TFA teachers and I, (and the excellent experienced teachers already at our school) often faced stiff odds in the classroom–homeless students, students who often came to school hungry and sleep-deprived, students who were afraid to walk home for fear of getting jumped by gangs, students who were parents themselves, or who were primary caregivers for a sick adult, or who had loving and supportive parents who worked two and three jobs to help support the family and often couldn’t give the same attention to their children’s education that others may have gotten; and students in overcrowded classrooms with 45 students to a room in a school of 4000 with very little supplies and technology to help facilitate cutting-edge “best practices” made it even harder. Of course, not impossible, because still, these students did make significant gains, but some didn’t and couldn’t, no matter what the school, counseling support system, or classroom instruction offered or encouraged. Until America faces the economic segregation happening in our schools today, and steps up to address how schools can and should be community centers for a neighborhood, with teachers who get good pay, support, training, and an even playing field when it comes to supplies and technology–until that happens, good teachers will go where the good pay and good working conditions are, students and desperate parents will cry over lottery tickets to charter schools, and some of our best and brightest kids will lose because they’re not getting the community support they deserve. Some of those kids will “make it out” though–but it’s so unfair if you’re just a kid doing your best and you get the short end of the stick. We need to help our urban and rural neighborhoods and families–education IS the key to eradicating crime, drug use, and inhumanity. We can do better; it’s not all about test scores or even teacher training–it’s about block by block, creating communities from the ground up. We need school boards that address neighborhood and community issues, and that don’t treat students like inmates. When you know your neighbor’s name, when your kids can get home safely without being afraid of getting jumped, when there’s food and warm clothes and good supplies, the rest will take care of itself.

Yeah, What He Said

September 2nd, 2010
2:54 am

Yeah……what KE Ogden said…..

Daling-Hammond follower

September 2nd, 2010
6:03 am

Hmmm… I wonder KE Ogden is a Darling-Hammond follower.

Cindy Lutenbacher

September 2nd, 2010
6:25 am

KE, you speak it. The United States has the highest rate of children in poverty in the industrialized world. I quote here USC Professor Emeritus Stephen Krashen: “When studies control for poverty, American children do very well on international tests, indicating that there is nothing seriously wrong with our educational system. Our scores are low only because we have so many children living in poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries (22.5%, compared to Sweden’s 2.5%).”

And Maureen, you say that there’s only “one” problem, but you allude to more, and I highlight just one of those…the fact that someone is a brilliant physicist does NOT mean he or she will be a brilliant teacher. A brilliant writer, business person, doctor, mathematician, or politician does NOT make her or him superb in the classroom. Special personal qualities, skills, commitment, and education factor into brilliance in teaching. Please don’t debase our profession by assuming that anyone with content knowledge can teach.

theoriginalbluesbrother

September 2nd, 2010
6:39 am

@ KE Ogden:

Keep preaching it, brother! You said everything I have been thinking for years. Too bad the “know-it-alls” under the gold dome don’t want to listen to those of us in the trenches every day who face realities and challenges that we. It’s like me telling my mechanic what the problem with my engine is… when I don’t even know how to check the oil or where my sparkplugs are located.

Education is the key. Ogden is right by saying we all need to support it with calm, constructive dialogue that will lead to better opportunities for ALL of our kids – not just those of priviledge or who have parents that care.

Dr. John Trotter

September 2nd, 2010
6:48 am

The problem that no one wants to address: The urban school systems are broken.

www.honeyfern.org

September 2nd, 2010
6:51 am

Not everyone can teach. Seems like an obvious statement, but the fact that many choose alternative certification just to get a quick teaching job and then are surprised when it is actually a complex, challenging and intellectually rigorous pursuit (when done correctly) speaks otherwise.

Dr. John Trotter

September 2nd, 2010
7:04 am

The alternative path to becoming a physician? Take a biology course and an over-booking course. Presto! Now you are a physician! Isn’t this how it works? Seems so when the policymakers start changing the rules of engagement. Hmm.

catlady

September 2nd, 2010
7:11 am

Amen to all above. And, remember, as we have been reminded here so often, the most important thing is the quality of the teacher! Those “other things”: SES, etc, are not as important as the quality of the teacher. So has it been said here dozens and dozens of times. So quit making excuses, right?

sloboffthestreet

September 2nd, 2010
7:39 am

People who transition from one work place to another are no more able to motivate or instruct children than a rock on the side of the road. The only skill employees learn is to cash their check on the appropriate day and to attempt to be timely. The skills for any given job are narrow. The job makes this so. Very few possess a Phd in common sense. As for motivitation, the people who possess this are mostly sucessful entrepreneurs. The ability and courage to step out into the unknown and succeed are the traits education is looking for. Until they look deeper into what is needed expect more of the same. Little chance of that though when the only people involved in the process are the players already in place. Our elected officials aren’t interested in changing it. State Board Members speak in unison if at all. Stepford husbands and wives. But who can blame them. As much as any and all involved in education complain about their jobs it is still one sweet deal. Now get back to the trough and eat!

Teach2Learn

September 2nd, 2010
7:56 am

@ KE Ogden – thank you for your good post with points right on target.

” … creating communities from the ground up.”
My teaching experience is suburban Gwinnett with advantages you mention (good pay, teacher training/support, supplies, technology, smaller classes, etc). Even so, my school struggled over a period of years to meet educational needs of students until the largely Hispanic community became a part of the school environment, a cultural shift from the norm in their native countries. THEIR school was central to the lives of their children. and improvements began to happen – still falling short but moving in the right direction.

Your key statement: “We need school boards that address neighborhood and community issues, and that don’t treat students like inmates. When you know your neighbor’s name, when your kids can get home safely without being afraid of getting jumped, when there’s food and warm clothes and good supplies, the rest will take care of itself.”

Community cannot be a county in most situations but rather the people you see on your streets, in the grocery and at church. Big districts must acknowledge and embrace the differences from neighborhood to neighborhood, school to school.

V for Vendetta

September 2nd, 2010
8:07 am

KE,

Well said.

Cindy,

Sweden is a welfare state–about as socialist as you can get. I would hesitate to compare us with them.

And everyone else,

As someone who followed the aforementioned path to teaching–leaving an unsatisfying job in the real world–I can speak on the subject of transitioning from a job in the private sector to one in the classroom.

It was, quite simply, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.

Classroom management is not something that can be taught: it must be LEARNED. The only way to learn it is through experience. I find it funny how so many people blog about experience not meaning much, advanced degrees not meaning much, and that a “natural” or an “expert” can create a successful classroom environment.

Bollocks.

It takes an experienced and well-trained teacher (i.e., one who has advanced degrees) to maximize learning and create an atmosphere of success. Sure, there are older, crabbier teachers out there who are notorious for being wedded to a certain style of teaching, but, for the most part, experience and advanced degrees from reputable programs are a better predictor of teacher effectiveness than any test score can ever hope to be. No bad teacher seeks out a program as rigorous as those offered by a school like UGA if he or she is only interested in the money. Furthermore, no one can fully understand the after-hours dedication teachers are EXPECTED to have when it comes to academics, athletics, and success of their schools. Sure, there were days at my old job where I worked an hour or two past what was expected. In fact, MOST days I worked an hour or two past what was expected.

That was nothing.

As a teacher, I regularly work three or four hours past what is expected, on weekends, and still take grading home with me, which I do in front of the TV until 10 or 11 at night. Students email me at all hours, some a few years after they’ve graduated. (I received an email from a former student last night who wanted me to proof read an essay for her. It was 10pm.) Though I hate to reference such a vapid and useless channel, I think MTV’s tagline for the show “True Life” says it best:

You think you know, but you have no idea.

Mrs. B. Jenkins

September 2nd, 2010
8:18 am

@Ogden You are so on target…. It’s frustrating because we have yet to address the real issues!!!!!

Georgia Coach

September 2nd, 2010
8:18 am

Dr. Trotter, You complain much but offer no solutions. Since you know everything, what do you suggest?

matter of timing?

September 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

@ Cindy L:

When this professor “controlled” for poverty, did he do that on children from other countries, too? Which standards did he use to decide who is in “poverty”? I can’t imagine many of Asian kids (perhaps except Japan and Singapore) coming from families making anywhere near as much as what US families do.

As for the alternative path, isn’t it just a matter of timing? A lot of teachers who go through a “regular” path, made the choice – often 2nd or 3rd – to become teachers while they are in colleges. I hear a lot of teachers who have gone through the “regular” path complaining about how useless most of college courses were. So, why is it so bad for people to go through programs like Teach for America?

teacher&mom

September 2nd, 2010
9:00 am

I never appreciated my undergraduate education courses until I co-taught with an “alternatively certified” teacher (who by the way is still on a provisional teaching certificate). Sitting there watching this person make so many mistakes helped me realize how well my education courses prepared me for the classroom. This teacher was making a mistakes that my supervising teachers would have never let me get away with. Students were failing this class left and right. The word outside the teacher’s door was that he was tough and rigorous. The truth was, this person was clueless about how to teach for understanding, how to scaffold a lesson, time management, assessment strategies, etc.

Allowing alternatively certified teachers to step into a classroom with little to no preparation is a disaster. Most are fresh out college and can’t find a job in their chosen field. They apply for a teaching position as a last resort. What the politicians and policy makers don’t appreciate is how the decision to place more uncertified teachers in the classroom, demeans the teaching profession. It sends the message to the profession that all you have to do is pass the GACE and spend the next five years working toward a renewable teaching certificate. Teaching pedagogy isn’t important to these folks.

Ogden nails it in the post above.

teacher&mom

September 2nd, 2010
9:03 am

Just re-read my post and I’m cringing from the grammar and punctuation mistakes. Trying to post before my first class arrives wasn’t the smartest idea. Here’s hoping the grammar police will be kind this morning :)

oldtimer

September 2nd, 2010
9:59 am

As a supervisor for the TAP program in Clayton Co after I retired, I found many of the people I worked with fabulous teachers. They were somewhat older, retired military, and smart. There was only a few who crashed and burned. But, having mentored new teachers and having worked with new teachers, many crashed and burned also.

[...] via No superheroes to the rescue of schools. Good teaching seems to depend on good supports. | Get Schoo…. [...]

catlady

September 2nd, 2010
10:44 am

There ARE superheroes, and we actually have a lot of them. They are the ones who work, day in and day out, to teach and to try to smooth over the many bumps so many of our students face, without losing their enthusiasm. They are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. There! I have said it!

William Casey

September 2nd, 2010
11:06 am

The “Teach for America” people seem to have a passion for teaching. I’m a firm believer that most great teachers view the profession as a “calling,” something they were meant to do.

I’m a retired teacher who is in contact with several hundred of his former students through Facebook. Many, though fine people, if they are interested in teaching at all, view it as a “fallback position.”

I just don’t believe that “lateral move” teachers will have much of an impact.

William Casey

September 2nd, 2010
11:15 am

“V” is absolutely correct about learning classroom management. I’ll add that classroom management is also a function of personality, one of the reasons it’s damn near impossible to learn outside of direct experience. If I had tried to implement someone else’s classroom management style, the students would have recognized it as phony and inauthenic in a heartbeat. Disaster would have ensued.

William Casey

September 2nd, 2010
11:23 am

KE OGDEN joins CATLADY in my pantheon of heroes.

Since retirement four years ago, I’ve been going through my collection of self-produced teaching materials. I’m neither bragging nor complaining when I simply note in amazement: “I did all that!” I can guarantee you that it was not done during my “planning perid!” LOL

Devil's Advocate

September 2nd, 2010
11:27 am

We all agree on the power and brilliance of a good teacher.

We all agree that socio-economics can be huge obstacle to a good education.

The US has been trying to “fix” poverty since (at least) the Johnson administration, It hasn’t worked.

Why do so many teachers insist that poverty must be fixed before we can fix education? I see it as the other way around.

Only if we accept stopping poverty as the “job description” of a teacher will we get a true handle on the situation. Expecting the stopping of poverty to come first is naive, at best.

This is the urgency of the situation.

Tonya T.

September 2nd, 2010
12:02 pm

KE Ogden:

Are you still teaching? Though I am no fan of the TFA concept, I can understand it has its place in certain communities. My biggest concern though: The turnover of these ‘highly talented teachers’ after their three-year commitment is up. How can that be positive for the students?

@ Devil’s Advocate
We have been trying to reduce poverty through education for about the same amount of time. This has been done through GI Bill for military, pell grants, federal student loans, and the expansion of the community college system. I have come to accept that the eradication of poverty is impossible; in a capitalistic society especially, someone must be at the bottom to have a top. The question is how can we address the NEEDS of the children without placing more burden on the already overtaxed school system?

Tony

September 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

catlady – well said. The true superheroes in our classrooms are the ones going unnoticed. They are the ones currently being beaten down by the dirty politics in our state. They are the ones who will, even though they have been furloughed and had pay cuts, still go to wal-mart and by things for the students in their classes with their own money. They are the ones who know beforehand that some of the children will not pass the CRCT, but they want to teach them anyway. They are the ones who keep on doing what they do best because they know it will make a difference for the children in their classroom.

We don’t need any other kind of super hero. We especially don’t need to set up some kind of system that makes it appear like pro sports where the multimillion dollar player gets all the attention but all the other players do all the work.

@devil's advocate

September 2nd, 2010
1:30 pm

here’s why we need to help fix poverty using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: (quick version). If you have a student that cannot count on basic survival needs being met (food, shelter, stable home, stable parents, etc). Then you cannot begin to build trust. If you cannot build trust, how can you trust that education is the way out of your poverty? How can you trust the teachers that encourage you? If I am not fed on a regular basis, I’m not sure how or when I will get my next meal, why would anyone think a student should focus on the table of elements instead of a growling stomach? I think enough people living in povery have bigger issues to deal with than education. Now do I agree that they should focus on education, absolutely. But it seems the fight against poverty has been going on for a while and we’re still not close to fixing it.

New Blood Needed

September 2nd, 2010
2:13 pm

Want to get rid of politics as usual and give control back to the teacher/school/community?
Vote Kira Willis
http://www.willisforstatesuper.com

Booklover

September 2nd, 2010
2:20 pm

I graduated from one of the alternative certificate MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) programs at a state university in Georgia. Keep in mind that I had been teaching after-school test prep classes for about 10 years before I started my program, though, so I’m not exactly your typical “career switcher.” Here are my observations:

1. Most importantly, middle and high school teachers need to be content experts FIRST. They should all have at minimum a bachelor’s in their subject matter, NOT in education. The weakest high school teachers I’ve seen are those who got a bachelor’s in education and took a few math or science or whatever content courses along the way (IMO, it’s irrelevant in this case whether teachers went to college at age 18 or age 38). It is possible to major in your content area AND education as an undergrad–my brother did this–but it often takes 1-2 semesters longer. Students at this age love to prove teachers wrong, and if they feel that the teacher has a weak knowledge in his/her content area, this leads to behavior and class management problems.

2. Most teacher education courses are focused on elementary ed. I’m not at all surpised that high school teachers in alternative programs faired worst. My teaching professors gave HORRIBLE, INCORRECT advice about classroom management, as far as dealing with 12-20 year olds. Since I has already taught this age group, I knew which bad advice to ignore. Sometimes my more experienced classmates and I called our professors on their bad advice, or offered alternative advice for the newbie high school teachers.
3. Administration sets new teachers up to fail. They pack the classes of the new teacher with the badly behaved kids and the kids whose parents have sued or are looking to sue someone. This has happened at both GA schools I’ve worked at, and it’s happened to me and to my colleagues. It’s only later that I found out my first classes were full of the kids no one else would put up with. As a first year teacher, you are scared to complain, and if you do, you are led to believe that it’s your problem that the kids are disruptive.
4. Teachers absolutely need more mentoring and observation. I love having others come observe me, even student teachers and new teachers, because I know I can improve. I had more chances for observation and mentoring than many teachers, but I feel that even more is always helpful.

By the way, I’m in my fourth year of teaching public school (my 12th year teaching overall), and I feel like I’ve finally got this public school, 32-kids-in-a-class thing kind of figured out. It does take a few years, even for those of us with experience. The teacher has to be willing to learn, but most of all, the administration and colleagues have to provide support.

Stevie

September 2nd, 2010
3:09 pm

I don’t think an MAT program at a college/university is considered as an “alternative” certification program. It may be “alternative” to an undergraduate teacher education program, but usually an “alternative” program is more like the TFA which is not connected to a college degree programs.

dd

September 2nd, 2010
3:14 pm

Booklover, my wife had the same experience when she decided to become a teacher. We drove by the college the other day where she had to go get her “teaching certificate”, and she laughed about what a huge waste of time those classes were. Absolutely nothing that prepared her for classroom management, etc. Bogus classes that someone would only take because they were required to. Fortunately, she had an engineering degree, and the math part came easy. And after a few kids, the student mgt part wasn’t so hard either.

And new teachers sure do get the tough classes. Guess it’s like going through basic training, if you survive, you come out stronger. But an awful lot of good prospects end up stopping teaching.

And finally….again…..the best teachers get penalized by having students move into their classes, and the worst ones get rewarded by having fewer students (once the kids move to the better teacher’s class). Same or less pay, more workload as reward for being good…….no wonder we have issues.

William Casey

September 2nd, 2010
5:10 pm

Booklover is 4 for 4 and even has them ranked in proper order.

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
5:36 pm

I’ll be the bad guy.

All the training and dedication in the world means squat when the parents and communities just don’t give a damn. and in America today,
most parents and most communities just don’t give a damn.

haven’t for a long time, and nothing on the horizion is gonna change this. so long as the band has its uniforms, the football team wins,
and the parents can drop off their little animals daily for us to tend to

taken a good hard look at most education cirriculums (sp,this word has always eluded me) lately?
we live in a capitalistic society and don’t teach basic money management – no wonder we’re in such debt, and getting worse daily

in some systems ebonics is a suitable acceptance for basic grammer

we don’t teach literature as much – too many white men

we don’t require civics throughout high school – regardless of how you felt about the Bush-Gore election, it was a national disgrace so few citizens had the slighest clue about the electoral college.

Ga. State starts a new football program in a depression/recession and
high school arts programs are gutted or on life support.

we are unable to displine unruly kids for fear of mommy and daddy suing – this goes doubly if the kid is black

we spend unrealistic amounts of money on ADA compliance for kids who
almost certainly never will be able to apply the education we’re compelled to provide them.

title IX requires the creation of womens sports to promote numbers equity with mens sports – regardless of interest

princials, administrators, presidents, even chancellors who have
never, ever taught a class sit in judgement over folks who do

nepotism runs rampant – we all know it, yet it’s not worth our jobs
to comment about it.

all to often, the race/orientation/gender of the administrator is
more important than their ability. yes, paging Beverly Hall

I see many people posting about the socio-economic issues affecting these kids – sorry, don’t buy it. well to do white parents in Gwinnett are every bit as bad, and often worse, than their poor mostly black Summerhill counterparts.

it’s all about committment, and we just don’t have it. moreover, we don’t want it. working with your kid takes too much time – after all, American Idol is coming on. if we don’t value education and promote education, our kids won’t either.

and guess what – we don’t. so why should the kids bother?
they’re only doing what we’ve taught them to do.
and there is your ultimate irony

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
5:39 pm

can you imagine if APS had 1/5th the expectations put on it as this year’s Bulldogs football team?

Neil Boortz says it often, and damn him, its true. more folks in Georgia can give you the entire Bulldog starting lineup, who the position coaches are, and the primary backups — than can tell you who represents them in congress. forget about under the gold dome.

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
6:03 pm

the system is broken beyond repair – largly because we really don’t want to repair it.

we have fought hard for our “right” to be ignorant.
when .50 is more respected than Neil Tyson, our society is fundamentally flawed/

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
6:13 pm

a personal pet peeve of mine are the august collection of morons who are our alleged leaders.

these fools who rarely have ever been in a classroom set school and system agendas not based on educating kids, but on their personal political/career agendas. often with no regard for the damages they
leave behind.

faculty and staff often spend the bulk of their careers in one place,
getting to know the school, the community, the needs, and becoming invested in what and where they teach.

the whores we hire to serve as principals/administrators/presidents/chancellors come in, wreak havoc on the schools & systems they supposedly serve, then leave for the next big payday.

and we gotta pick up the pieces. again.

like I said, its simple. we don’t give a damn about education in this society.

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
6:14 pm

stuck in the filter!!!

Concerned 1

September 2nd, 2010
6:23 pm

I got my Undergraduate degree from an Ivy Leagues and a Masters on Ed from GSU that included Student teaching. I had a rough first year but I knew I wanted to teach. In those days, creativity was still alive and well in the classroom. One additional degree, 2 NEH fellowships, all kinds of awards, and Bill Gates’ crew came to my school and said older teachers were a horrid bunch who were doing anything. Can someone give us kudos and stop yelling negative crap at us. No, I am not Teach For America. I paid for those 2 years at GSU out of my own paycheck. I paid for the 1 and 1/3 year for my Specialist also out of my pocket, no loans. We teachers who went through the old fashioned harder route love the profession and we still put in 50+ hours a week even as we age. STOP putting us down. STOP comparing us to these alternate programs. We are not dumb just because we earned additional degrees in our profession. We were not taught to teach to a test; we were taught to educate students. We are not Robot Teachers. And finally, we actually know what we are doing. Thanks for letting me vent…back to the trenches.

Concerned 1

September 2nd, 2010
6:25 pm

I guess I was angry … From an Ivy League and a Masters in Education…excuse any other errors. I am calm now.

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
7:05 pm

you know what the problem with the TV Glee is?

it’s more a documentary than a comedy. we live this daily.

Angela

September 2nd, 2010
8:14 pm

It amazes me on how much teachers are blamed for with regards to student failure and success. We are the ONLY profession that is scrutinized, belittled, mistreated and less supported than any other profession. There is not one profession or job in this world that did not involve an educator of some kind.

I love teaching my second graders (although they cannnnnnnnn work a last nerve) it is a rewarding career. I am sick and tired of those in other professions complaining about PROFESSIONAL Educators. We in more ways than one have more educated than you, and are more dedicated than most of you toward your professions (that is if you have one and not just a job). Perhaps, you all should spend more time assisting your less than smart children than ridiculing us. Then perhaps, we can produce more academically successful students. Just as KE Ogden said, there is a lot far far far beyond our control. We all whether we spend 8 hours or beyond go to work with the intent to educate for success however, there is a WHOLE to contend with and education and success is the last last on the list. If you all would do your part because we ARE doing ours.

Oh, and just for the record what we use to do with regards to materials most of us can not do any more because our salaries have been CUT any where from 3% or above. Many of us are dealing with issues in our own lives and still try to educate your children with LOVE! Remember, we are citizens with our own lives we can only TAKE SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You better hope that ROY gets in office because if Deal does you think we are having less than dedcated moments now you are all in for a RUD

Angela

September 2nd, 2010
8:15 pm

(sorry my computer sent before I was finished) RUDE awaking.

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
9:01 pm

anyone pulling for Roy is somewhere between deluded and blindly partisian.

just because Sonny is an imbicile is not justification to elect a proven liar and opponent of education.

Angela

September 2nd, 2010
9:21 pm

@bootney farnsworth,

Well, BOOTNEY LEE………… I am pulling for ROY because we don’t have much to select from. I would much rather trust ROY than Deal. Deal’s name says it all “LET’S MAKE A DEAL” – Just what is the DEAL? Do you have an answer for that? At least I know what ROY might do. DEAL has not addressed Education in a positive light since he started his campaign, at least ROY is lying good.

Dekalbite

September 2nd, 2010
11:17 pm

My daughter has a number of friends who went into Teach for America and taught in low income schools. All of them have either gone back to grad school or law school or moved to higher income schools if they stayed in teaching. Apparently, Teach for America is what’s known as a “resume builder”.
“More than 50 percent of Teach for America teachers leave after two years and more than 80 percent leave after three years. [About half of all teachers nationwide quit after five years, according to the National Education Association.]”

This comes from the Washington Post. Here’s the article:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/teachers/a-new-look-at-teach-for-americ.html

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
11:20 pm

if you’re stupid enough to vote for Roy, don’t whine
when he screws you – again.

suppose it never occured to you you’re not limited to the
two choices unless you want to be.

bootney farnsworth

September 2nd, 2010
11:21 pm

@ dekalb

that’s what I’m afraid of. it’ll become just another way
to get a professional ticket punched.

Maureen Downey

September 3rd, 2010
8:44 am

I have asked educational researchers about the fact that Teach for America teachers don’t stay, but they note two things:
1. Nearly half of new teachers from traditional routes also leave, and that number may be growing
2. They don’t care if the teachers only stay for two years or three years if they are good teachers and kids learn while they are there,
I also suspect that the economy may lead a higher number to stay in teaching longer.

Booklover

September 3rd, 2010
2:47 pm

I’d like to add that people who are really passionate about *teaching* actually want to *teach.* I love imparting knowledge and I love good questions and I love when the lightbulb goes on.

What I have no patience for is bad behavior and kids who are here just to disrupt everyone else’s education. I disagree so completely with the “put the bad kids in the new teacher’s class” mentality. Teaching is not the Army (trust me, my boyfriend’s an officer) and your first year should not be “boot camp.” This “tough first year” is not how we support new teachers and cultivate great ones. This is, however, the process we should use if we are striving to scare away good instructors who have no interest in babysitting or being a police officer.

Devil's Advocate

September 3rd, 2010
6:29 pm

Plus a lot of TFA teachers stay in education, just not in the classroom.

And a lot of TFA alums go into very high-powered professions with a deep passion for education and a first-person view of the difficulties teachers face….