A crisis in confidence or in the classroom? Polls and lists on education issues and challenges.

Today, the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems released 75 Examples of How Bureaucracy Stands in the Way of America’s Students and Teachers.

The interesting list follows this week’s release of the 2012 annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

There was the usual “us and them” divide in the PDK/Gallup findings; 48 percent of Americans award their own schools an A or a B, but only 19 percent feel the rest of the schools in the country merit such high grades. But 62 percent are willing to pay more in taxes in order to improve urban public schools And asked the No. 1 problem facing schools,  35 percent of respondents say lack of financial support.

The poll notes stark divisions by political party. Here are highlights from the poll:

•On providing children of illegal immigrants  free public education, school lunches, and other benefits, 65 percent of Democrats versus 21 percent of Republicans  said “yes.” But overall, the poll found support for providing public education to these children is increasing; 41 percent of Americans favor this, up from 28 percent in 1995.

•Charter schools: Republicans are more supportive (80 percent) than Democrats (54 percent). However, approval declined overall to 66 percent this year from a record 70 percent last year. The public is split in its support of school vouchers, with nearly half (44 percent) believing that we should allow students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense, up 10 percentage points from last year.

•Taxes: Ninety-seven percent of the public agreed that it is very or somewhat important to improve the nation’s urban schools, and almost two of three Americans (62 percent) said they would pay more taxes to provide funds to improve the quality of urban schools. Eighty-nine percent of Americans agree that it is very or somewhat important to close the achievement gap between white students and black and Hispanic students.

•Teacher evaluations: Americans are almost evenly split in requiring teacher evaluations to reflect student scores on standardized tests, with 52 percent in favor. But at least three of four believe that entrance requirements into teacher preparation programs need to be at least as selective as those for engineering, business, pre-law, and pre-medicine.

•Presidential race and education: The  poll found that President Barack Obama holds a slight lead (49 percent) over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (44 percent) as the candidate who would strengthen public schools. Overall, 50 percent of Americans view the Democratic party as more interested in improving public education

“While Americans are divided on many issues regarding the direction of our education system, they stand united in agreement on some very important issues,” said William Bushaw, executive director of PDK International and co-director of the PDK/Gallup poll, in a statement. “Most important, it is reassuring to know that, despite the recognition that our schools need improvement, more than 70 percent of Americans do have trust and confidence in our public school teachers.”

With that backdrop, here are a few of the 75 examples of problematic bureaucracy from Broad. Feel free to add a few of your own:

More than one person in a central office may play the same role, meaning resources are unnecessarily duplicated.

When districts use outside vendors, the contract terms often favor the vendors, not districts, because vendors set terms, which means the district unnecessarily loses money.

Waste, fraud and abuse of district resources mean taxpayer dollars intended for classrooms end up elsewhere, sometimes outside of education entirely.

More money is spent on facilities construction and maintenance than is necessary.

Different parts of the organization that manage resources do not communicate with each other, which means that schools and classrooms receive resources like supplies and instructional support inconsistently.

Money is spent on expensive technology that is unused or underused because people aren’t sufficiently trained to use it or it is deemed not necessary after being purchased.

Across the board budget cuts (vs. strategic, targeted cost reductions), operational inefficiencies and administrative overhead mean that too few taxpayer dollars actually reach the classroom.

Teachers often don’t receive the support they need, and many talented Americans don’t even enter the profession

Teachers don’t receive the adequate instructional resources, materials and technology they need to tailor instruction to every student.

Teachers lack access to mentors, master teachers, collaborative planning time, expert lesson plans and best practices to grow professionally by working with their peers.

Teachers lack access to proven interventions for students who are struggling.

Principals often lack the time to support teachers in the classroom because of paperwork and other regulatory burdens (e.g., unnecessary paperwork for central office sign-offs on field trips).

Teachers feel assessments are not appropriately connected to what students should know and be able to do.

Test results throughout the year are provided to teachers too late for them to re-teach subjects and fill gaps in learning before students take high-stakes exams or before the end of the year, so students enter those exams without core knowledge and skills and fall behind grade level.

Teachers do not have the training and support they need to keep an entire classroom of students disciplined, focused on, and excited about learning.

Central office staff and principals are not evaluated regularly nor are they held responsible for teacher or student success.

Even though millions of American children are not able to read or do math at grade level, teachers are nearly always found “effective/satisfactory” on evaluations, because those evaluations are not meaningful, not connected to what teachers actually do and not connected to whether students learn.

Meaningless evaluations leave teachers in the dark as to how they are truly performing and provide little to no guidance on how to improve.

Top teachers are not properly recognized, rewarded or compensated, so they leave the profession.

Teachers are hired without being observed teaching a sample lesson or otherwise evaluated for their actual ability in the classroom, and are instead just screened for a criminal background check and required paper credentials.

Some teachers’ colleges do not effectively prepare future teachers to meet modern student needs.

Many teachers feel frustrated because of poor workplace conditions and have little hope that things will improve.

School boards focus on micromanaging, adult in-fighting, and complying with existing policies and procedures rather than on solving these systematic problems to create environments that support teachers and students and lead to academic achievement.

School boards and committees require district staff to spend excessive time preparing for meetings and reporting to the board, rather than spending time working to directly support teachers and students.

Many elected officials, who are not aware of the scope of hurdles facing these systems and/or whose campaigns were funded by special interests neglect this crisis altogether, or pass laws that attempt to fix one issue (e.g., class size reduction) but which inadvertently cause additional bureaucratic problems (e.g., hiring enough effective teachers to meet the class size mandate).

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

79 comments Add your comment

Mountain Man

August 23rd, 2012
10:19 am

“Even though millions of American children are not able to read or do math at grade level, teachers are nearly always found “effective/satisfactory” on evaluations”

That is because a teacher can be a good teacher and do his/her job well, but the student is not going to learn (especially if the student is not present in the classromm, or refuses to learn because he/she disdains education, or is a discipline problem). A teacher can be a good teacher, but if discipline problems are not dealt with (e.g. teacher sends disruptive student to office, and office lectures them and sends them right back to disrupt some more)then that is the fault of the ADMINISTRATION, not the teacher. The teacher has done what he/she needs to do, it is time for ADMINISTRATORS to get evaluated.

If yu want a meaningful evaluation of the teacher, first evaluate the teacher on his/her entering credentials (e.g. dis he/she graduate from a respected college with a decent to high GPA? – AND do they know their subject matter?). Then examine their teaching – are they an English teacher that uses incorrect grammar or pronunciation (ax rather than ask)? Are they clear on their subject matter? Do they maintain control of the classroom? If they are good on all of these, they SHOULD receive a good evaluation, even if every student of theirs FAILS. They may be a ninth-grade teacher who inherits a student reading at a first grade level – victim of our “social promotion” policy. To expect them to “catch them up” is ludicrous.

I think it is high time to evaluate the ADMINISTRATORS – using attendance and discipline and social promotion as the first categories to be evaluated. I think a lot of inner-city school administrators would FAIL. (Please don’t evaluate them on whether or not they have family members in the school system – they would pass that one easily).

ConcernedP

August 23rd, 2012
10:31 am

It’s sad – the list of “75 Examples” could have been created just by observing DeKalb. Will my county ever cut the central office staff and for once support teachers? Doubtful…

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
10:32 am

Rep Ed, are you listening/reading this?

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
10:39 am

essentially another study announcing water is wet.

take GPC for instance:
1- more assistant, associate, and director level positions than worker bees in some departments.
2- the ruling class was barely touched during the layoffs
3- a culture of encouraging duplication of effort by individuals who did not do a particular job. if person x got interested in doing what person y was doing, they just started doing it. often at the expense of doing their own job. when person x’s responsibilities needed doing – hire a temp!

Once Again

August 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

Let’s be real clear. Anyone at any time can send a check for more money to “help” schools. What these respondents are really saying is that they are willing to have government STEAL more money from everyone else to pay for stuff they either benefit from directly or that will asuage whatever guilt they may have at having their children in good schools while others suffer elsewhere.

Study after study has shown conclusively that spending has nothing to do with educational quality. Fundamentally these are parents and others in denial. They are unwilling to admit that their children are getting a substandard and low quality education but believe everyone else’s kids are. They are unwilling to acknowledge that the government education system is fundamentally unfixable but want to throw more of other people’s money at the problem rather than taking on the personal responsibility for their own kids’ educational achievement or failure. Typical socialists – all of them, republican and democrat alike.

dc

August 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

“Top teachers are not properly recognized, rewarded or compensated, so they leave the profession.”

Has to be one of the top issues, and should be easy to address

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
10:45 am

jobs of educational bureaucracy:

#1 sustain itself.
#2 promote itself
#3 reward itself
#4 create administrative barricades to protect items 1-3
#5 destroy all opposition
#6 obstruct education not politically beneficial to items 1-3
#7 pet projects
#8 if time remains, actually support educators trying to teach

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
10:50 am

@ once

some are in fundamental denial and are unwilling to admit their children ARE getting a good education within the public school system. they are unwilling to admit most educators already know there is a major problem and would like to help fix it, refusing to take personal responsibility and become a part of forcing a change via THEIR actions

NoahVale

August 23rd, 2012
10:52 am

Well, Maureen. the same poll “finds that 60 percent of Americans think it’s more important to balance the federal budget than to “improve the quality of education.” Interpretation (spin) of results depends on one’s political leaning.

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
11:02 am

it really, really ,really gets tiresome to see the same old crap regurgitated time and time again.

here is the simple, unvarnished truth: most of these anti public ed zealots can’t be bothered to do their part in fixing the problems. they don’t come to PTA, they don’t come to parent teacher conferences, they elect the same unqualified people to the school boards, and never attend unless it is some major hot button – like football or basketball, or the victim of the week raising hell.

but boy, they can sure get moving to complain when the issues they couldn’t be bothered with earlier don’t come down exactly as they want.

hard work to fix a problem – they’re nowhere to be see.

here’s the ultimate, ugly truth about public education. every community gets EXACTLY the public education they want. good systems result from a community demanding it. bad systems result from a community demanding it.

deal with it

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
11:04 am

oh, and they elect “gentlemen” like Rep Millar to tell them exactly what they want to hear.

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
11:04 am

oh, and they elect “gentlemen” like Rep Millar to tell them exactly what they want to hear.

dc

August 23rd, 2012
11:04 am

We speak as if schools either fail or are successful….but my experience with my kids and wife is that it’s really much more granular than that. Teachers are either adding value, or not. And the kids stuck with the ones that are not, are being damaged for years to come. And the schools that are most successful are the ones with the highest percentage of high performing teachers.

As with any enterprise, rewarding the ones who are adding value, while getting rid of the ones who are causing damage (whether to clients, product development, or students) is key to driving success over time.

Dr. Monica Henson

August 23rd, 2012
11:07 am

Mountain Man posted, “If yu want a meaningful evaluation of the teacher, first evaluate the teacher on his/her entering credentials (e.g. dis he/she graduate from a respected college with a decent to high GPA? – AND do they know their subject matter?). Then examine their teaching – are they an English teacher that uses incorrect grammar or pronunciation (ax rather than ask)? Are they clear on their subject matter? Do they maintain control of the classroom? If they are good on all of these, they SHOULD receive a good evaluation, even if every student of theirs FAILS.”

You just described in a nutshell the ACTUAL practice of teacher evaluation in the United States for the past forty years.

Dr. Monica Henson

August 23rd, 2012
11:10 am

I’m with Mountain Man, though, on the issue of effective evaluation of administrators. Lack of evaluation of principals on the quality of their implementation & execution of the teacher evaluation system, and lack of evaluation of superintendents on whether they evaluate their principals on the same, is in my opinion the single greatest contributing factor to the current sorry state of teacher evaluation in the U.S., where almost every teacher is rated satisfactory or higher, regardless of the actual truth.

Another Math Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
11:29 am

Dr. Monica Henson: “You just described in a nutshell the ACTUAL practice of teacher evaluation in the United States for the past forty years.”

When I see a post like yours, I have to wonder if you have ever taught – or if you have taught in some magical land with fairies and unicorns. It must be nice in your world.

There a many English teachers that say ‘axe,’ and there are many other teachers that do as well. None of them should be teaching.

Actual procedure for teacher evaluations:

1) Does administrator like you? If yes, sign evaluation – you passed. Repeat next year.
2) Does administrator dislike you? Get an NI on something. You better make sure they like you next year.
3) Does administrator actively dislike you or have you gotten an NI before and not kissed up enough? Get one or more U ratings. Prepare for punitive PDP. Start looking for new position.

Keep in mind, I had passed all of my evaluations. I have seen a few very good teachers driven off through bad evaluations and PDPs by vindictive administrators. Why? They had the nerve to point out bad things in the school.

THAT is why some very bad teachers stay and some very good ones do not. Bad administrators not evaluating properly. To say that they have followed rules for 40 years is a fantasy.

MiltonMan

August 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

“Taxes: Ninety-seven percent of the public agreed that it is very or somewhat important to improve the nation’s urban schools, and almost two of three Americans (62 percent) said they would pay more taxes to provide funds to improve the quality of urban schools. Eighty-nine percent of Americans agree that it is very or somewhat important to close the achievement gap between white students and black and Hispanic students.”

Was this poll conducted in moron land known as Clayton County??? APS students get twice the amount of money vs. the more successful metro schools around here and people believe throwing money at APS will improve students?

dc

August 23rd, 2012
11:44 am

@MiltonMan, I suspect those who responded “yes” thought the question was “they would pay more taxes to provide funds to improve the quality of urban schools, if the tax money came from someone else”……

Really amazed

August 23rd, 2012
11:53 am

REALLY??????????????????????????????? The gov’t will do anything they need to do to get the public to believe in their bs!! If you want your child educated, you need to take your own control no matter what it is going to cost you as a parent. Stop making excuses! Extra trips, iphones, expensive cars, meals out every other night, Johnnies private coaching in a sport seem to be the priority of Americans, not the education of their children.

Dr. Monica Henson

August 23rd, 2012
12:24 pm

Another Math Teacher, I was being ironic. :)

I have spent my entire career in Title I public schools, including urban, rural, and suburban districts, as well as charter schools, 11 years teaching heterogeneously grouped, very diverse kids in an inclusion model, the rest in administration, and all but four of those years in urban schools. No fairies & unicorns here. I was a National Board Certified Teacher, earning that credential while teaching in a Title I district with more than 50 languages spoken by our families.

Bernie

August 23rd, 2012
12:37 pm

“Today, the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems released 75 Examples of How Bureaucracy Stands in the Way of America’s Students and Teachers.”

Number 76…should read : any STATE planned implantation of a untested and unproven operation of A CHARTER SCHOOL system is not a good thing for a Quality education of ALL of its citizen student population. Especially, when that SYSTEM is wholly managed,influenced and directed by its State political leaders.

Its end result will only PICK the winners and losers of a student population based on a preferential treatment from a invisible board of invisible decision makers.

William Casey

August 23rd, 2012
12:59 pm

“Study after study has shown conclusively that spending has nothing to do with educational quality.”

GOOD JOB! This is, without doubt, the most ignorant comment I’ve ever seen posted on this blog.

I would have agreed with a comment along the lines of: “Increased spending doesn’t guarantee improved student achievement.”

It all depends on how the increased money is spent. DUH!

williebkind

August 23rd, 2012
1:47 pm

Make school voluntary!

Mom of 3

August 23rd, 2012
2:20 pm

Right on, Really amazed. The “crisis” is in the homes. Get involved in your child’s education, parents. Nothing will change until you do.

Norris Locke

August 23rd, 2012
2:34 pm

Although there numerous things that “could” be done to improve the public school system and to close the gap between black and white students, money is not the solution. We need an attitude adjustment. Until parents get more involved and put as much energy into assuring their child’s academic success as they do with their athletic performance, the chance of improving the end product (i.e., intelligent, college prepared kids) is slim. Furthermore, I believe most “school systems” offer a very good education for those who actively DEMAND IT. Yes, there are individual schools with insurmountable issues. However, within a school system there are usually ways to get a good education if you actively seek it with vigor (sometimes you have to be obnoxious…don’t expect anyone to look out for your children more than you) and seek it early (it starts in kindergarten….not second semester 12th grade).

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
2:39 pm

@ another math

your lips/God’s ear. I’d lived it. no matter what vague criteria I was assigned, when I came close to achieving it, it would be moved or declared invalid.

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
2:39 pm

@ williebkind,

after the 6th grade, I agree.

Just A Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
2:43 pm

“Feel free to add a few of your own.”

I’ll enter just one.

Teacher salaries are not comparable to salaries in other fields requiring the same level of education and expertise and this keeps many people from entering the profession or causes talented people to leave the profession because they must earn enough money to live.

The same argument that Wall Street uses for why they must pay huge salaries in order to attract the best talent applies to education as well. If you want the best, pay for the best. You can’t put students first if you put teachers last!

Pride and Joy

August 23rd, 2012
3:30 pm

Hre’s ONE:
No opportunity for parents to evaluate teachers and administrators.

Pride and Joy

August 23rd, 2012
3:57 pm

Heres’ another:
No opportunity for parents to have meaningful involvement.

Ole Guy

August 23rd, 2012
4:27 pm

The toughest challenge of leadership is knowing when your presence is needed and when it’s time to GET THE HELL OUTA THE WAY and let the experts do their thing. So many of these “issues and challenges” are, at their basic core, engineered and propogated from within the very management circus we speak of.

Pride and Joy

August 23rd, 2012
4:44 pm

Just a Teacher:
Military memberes have much, much lower salaries than teachers — I include officers in thta group as well as the enlisted. And to be sure, many enlisted also have college degrees.
Militaray members suffer REAL danger and real hostile environments having long stays away from their families in horrible conditions.
Your theory about teachers and low pay is debunked.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

August 23rd, 2012
5:18 pm

Pride and Joy “And to be sure, many enlisted also have college degrees.”

Are they all REQUIRED to have college degrees? No. Teacher are. Many teachers are REQUIRED to have post graduate degrees as well.

So a point is “debunked” because you can bring up another group that has members who are underpaid? By the way, I have family members who are military. Those who have as many years in as I do, have better pay and benefits, and they do not have a post-graduate degree. However, they have friends in the military who are in trouble because of poor funding to services for veterans and those injured in war. The military is well funded, but much like education, the money often does not end up in the pockets of those in the trenches but in the pockets of contractors.

justathought

August 23rd, 2012
5:40 pm

Pride and Joy: It is just the federal government employees who are overpaid. Teachers, firemen, and the military are necessary and important jobs who are underpaid compared to their responsibilities.

Another Math Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
5:42 pm

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming… , you were just trolled.

You should ignore Trollery Joy and Good Pride of a Mother.

Old Physics Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
5:51 pm

HAHAHAHA

“But at least three of four believe that entrance requirements into teacher preparation programs need to be at least as selective as those for engineering, business, pre-law, and pre-medicine.”

HAHAHAHAHA, man oh man, I needed that after a long day. My eyes are still leaking. Did anyone else get the irony?

Engineering starting pay is in the upper $80k Medicine pays in the bazillions, law pays in the $100 k range, business degrees pay… all over the board. So they want us to work for $30k to $70k (after 20 years experience and having a Ph D) and want us to have the qualifications of engineers.

HAHAHAHAHAHA, sorry… sorry…. snort…snort It’s too funny for words. This sounds just like Ed Lindsey. These guys really don’t live in the same world we do, do they?

Solutions

August 23rd, 2012
5:56 pm

If any profession is vulnerable to automation and computerization, I believe it is education. Each year in each course, the very same material is taught, a simple sequence of events occur. The material is introduced, it is explained to the class in great detail, the class memorizes the material, and the class is tested on the material. I suspect that in 10 years time, the teaching profession will be history, along with the bloated infrastructure we the property owning public are forced to support via taxes.

Old Physics Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
6:06 pm

Pride and Joy,

“Military members have much, much lower salaries than teachers ” And you include officers, right?

You have checked current pay scales, right? Actually, no you didn’t. You spouted off without really checking. Any NCO (above corporal) [which means 4 years experience] makes about 35k + all their clothes, housing, food is paid for. A second leut (which is the dumbest creature on the planet according to ALL officers) with 4 years in grade makes 43k. A Major (which is compariable to a classroom teacher controlling over 120 kids) with 6 years experience makes more than I do with a specialist degree and 20 years of combat in the classroom. AND HAS A BETTER PENSION!

Now, by no means am I degrading these men and women. They put their lives at risk… all I’m saying is that trying to defend yourself by throwing off on them was… well… wrong. Try again. Maybe equating us to janitors and street sweepers might be better.

mark

August 23rd, 2012
6:07 pm

I thing that is hindering my life as a teacher, is the lost in Pay!! I, like my school has to trim it’s budget. I have to cut $200 a month from my household budget. My teaching moral is at an all time low. I see my neighbors, with the same or less education receive raises. I have gone backwards. If you want chemistist and physicist, you need to pay us!! This is my one year notice.

Old Physics Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
6:10 pm

Solutions,

Right… Book publishers said the same thing when textbooks came out. We’d just throw the book at the kids, and they’d learn. All they had to do was set down and read, right? It ain’t that hard, right?Nowi t’s a computer. Everybody loves computers. Just set down in front of the screen and learn, right? Well, it is if it’s porn you’re wanting to learn about :) Other than that, we’re back to the old definition of a classroom: The best one is a log — with a teacher sitting on one end and a willing student on the other. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tony

August 23rd, 2012
6:29 pm

“Study after study has shown conclusively that spending has nothing to do with educational quality.”

FALSE. Try reading this analysis http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/still-searching-for-miracle-schools-and-superguy-updates-on-houston-and-new-york-city/ for a better understanding of the effect of spending.

another comment

August 23rd, 2012
6:33 pm

Pride and Joy the career millitary members get 1/2 pay retirement after 20 years. Even though they have low pay, they also get additional add on’s such as housing allowances, or on base housing. They have additional pay when they are in a war zone. When they are overseas their pay is tax free. While active duty they and their family have great medical benefits, they also have uniform allowances. Those that are unmarried and live on base can sock away alot of money, especially if they are overseas. My cousin has been stationed at an AFB in England for two years, he has stocked away alot of money for a 21 year old. Been trained as an airline mechanic. He has sent us a never ending tour of the British Isles and Europe first via the Mercedes he co-purchased with another Airman and now a motercycle. He is upset that he is being reassigned to a new base on the West Coast of the US. His father is retired Airforce and made sure he was signed up to be a mechanic on a type of plane that all the maintenance is either done in Europe, Japan or the US. No tours in the Combat Zone ever. The worst he has is getting the planes ready for the assults with some 24 hour shifts of prep work. He is also earning the GE Bill the whole time. When he gets out with his 20 he will only be 38/39 and can go to work for a major airline making $30+ per hour in today’s dollars. Or he can work for one of the plane manufacturers. He will probably be a E-9 like his father retired at by then. Have his Va benefits, free healthcare at the Va healthcare system. A little bit better than teacher pay and benefits in the south. He also went to a Catholic Grade and High School and scored well on the military entrance exam despite his ADHD.

another comment

August 23rd, 2012
7:22 pm

Booney, I will have to agree with you about GPC. My daughter started the dual enrollment at the Dunwoody Campus, this week. Since, she is still in High School she is just taking an English class and Poltical Science for the required senior year Government class. I went yesterday to purchase her books while she was at High School. I was completely schocked that every Professor/Asst. Professor/Lecturer, or who ever is teaching each section of the same basic entry level class is allowed to use what ever book and or not e-book for the class. What utter ineficiency and waste. I was shocked. I could understand having that option if we are talking about a small private liberal arts University whose whole mission is centered around free thought and indivuality. A school that was designed around students doing indepentent study, creating threir own degree path, not what I would expect at a State Funded Community College/ Junior College. I graduated 30 years ago from the Catholic Univ. of America in Washington, D.C. a Private Catholic Research University that was in the top 20 in my major ( Brian Williams the NBC news Anchor is just one of my famous classmates, I have several more big names), their were 2,400 undergrads and about 4600 graduate students. Then I went on to Graduate School at Purdue Univesity a Land Grant University of the State Of Indiana, where I received a Master’s degree from their Civil Engineering Program that was ranked #1 in the Country, 29 years ago. Purdue had 33,000+ Students at its West Lafayette, Campus. At neither one of these top ranked schools did any individual professor….lecturer have the ability to decided the course book to be used for the section they teach. That is the most absurd money wasting thing I have ever seen in my life. How do I know, what was done at both these schools? I was a real TA at Purdue. The only way the TA system works is if the books for the sections are consistant. At Catholic I was selected by a couple of professors and asked to volunteer to be their assistant and help them grade. Of course their referance then helped me get the free ride at Purdue. At both schools, the choice of the text books were made at the Department level. Now at Catholic the smaller school where only one professor would end up teaching all the sections of a certain class he got to choose the book but he still had to run it by the Chair of the Department. At these highly ranked University’s the text books were selected by a collaberation of all of the professors who taught the class. It was also done in collaberation with who ever was teaching the follow on classes as well

The immediate mess of this crazy policy is that the book store is completely out of the book, my daughter’s teacher is requiring. I then asked if any of the other campuses might have it. I was then told well then know that Alpharetta is out of it, they have checked there. They believe that Clarkston has a few copies, which is really odd because ussually Clarkston uses completely different books than the Dunwoody and Alpharetta campuses do. It did not take a brain surgeon to understand this code, that Clarkston campus offers the dumbed down version of the classes.

I would think that accreditation agencies would have issues with all the different sections using different books. I did also take a couple course at my local community college back home in upstate New York. The books were not selected by the individual Profs for those classes either.

HS Math Teacher

August 23rd, 2012
7:39 pm

Change these things:
Lower teacher to student ratios in core academic subjects. Too often a school’s teacher to student ratio includes all classes in the school. This clouds the issue of where the problems lie with overcrowding.

Stop adopting trendy curriculum changes without sufficient resources to support the teacher and the students. Common Core has been adopted in math in the middle of the textbook adoption cycle. Teachers should not be expected to re-create a textbook. Select a curriculum but wait to put it in place in the classroom until the textbook publishers have resources to choose from. Anyone who thinks the time has come to learn math entirely from a computer delivered system is ludicrously naive.

Spend less time trying to excuse a student’s lack of doing work. Teacher’s cannot be teacher and student. Place the burden of being the student on the student.

Every administrator in a school system except the superintendant should be teaching as least one class just like the other teachers. “Administrators” spend too much time on clerical distractions. At least put their time on contact with regular students who are in a classroom setting.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

August 23rd, 2012
8:05 pm

@ Solutions “Each year in each course, the very same material is taught, a simple sequence of events occur. ”

This comment alone makes it obvious you do not know much about the “art” of teaching. I have taught for over 20 years, and NEVER have I taught the exact same material in the same sequence year to year. NEVER. I follow the state curriculum, but how I approach that curriculum, the abilities of my students, the materials available, etc. change year to year. And often, the curriculum shifts frequently as well.

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
9:48 pm

@ another

the sad part is Dunwoody is the best run of the campuses.

bootney farnsworth

August 23rd, 2012
9:53 pm

@ solutions

you may have posted the most staggeringly foolish thing I’ve ever read here

Vince

August 23rd, 2012
10:20 pm

It is a very trying time. Over the past four years the state has given my school system $28,000 to pass along to me in the form of “step increases.” My system, in turn, has “absorbed” this part of my salary to help balance its budget. I have lost another $28,000 that the system promised to pay into my retirement fund…but they didn’t have the money….even though I believe it is illegal for an organization to not pay into social security or an alternative retirement program. I make $15,000 less than I did 4 years ago and if I retire this year and live for twenty years I will have lost another $200,000 in lowered retirement salary because of these cutbacks.

What do I get in return for giving up so much of my salary? My local board, politicians and parents pitched a fit at the idea that their property taxes might be raised $80 per household.

$80 vs. the $275,000+ that I have watched go up in smoke.

It really showed us how much the people of our county support us.

Solutions

August 24th, 2012
7:53 am

bootney farnsworth – If you read outside the education literature, you will find that automation and computerization are growing rapidly in other areas of the economy, such that they are preventing new college graduates from obtaining that first new job. It is just a matter of time before a Steve Jobs does for schools what Apple has done to personal computing. Both Google and Amazon are working on the creation of free k-12 and college level e-text books, and more powerful, yet less expensive devices on which the books play. The teacher’s monopoly on public education is coming to an end, deal with it or not, the end result will not change.

Solutions

August 24th, 2012
8:03 am

another comment – The military retirement system has changed, new (since 1981?) enlistments get 40% of base pay at 20 years, with a one time catch up at 65(?), and 2% additional for each year over 20 years. On the subject of art books for your daughter, Amazon has been giving away some art books for the kindle, I got a free 900 page book with over 500 photographs, in color is you use the kindle fire, and a biography of Leonardo DeVinci. Spelling may be a little off, it is early by my retired standards.