Retired teacher: Make admins teach. Reduce testing. Eliminate gifted. Restore recess.

Retired Atlanta Public Schools teacher Scott Stephens — he taught English for 15 years at Grady High School and taught for a decade in Fulton County  — sent me a list of reforms.  I thought it was a great list and have his permission to share it here:

Courtesy of Scott Stephens:

1. All certified personnel at a school, including academy leaders, graduation coaches, instructional coaches, assistant principals and principals, should teach at least one class during the school year. This would be of benefit in two ways. First, it would help reduce class size and, most important, it would provide administrators with continued input from the classroom. I believe that when a number of people are at school, but not teaching, morale is adversely affected.

2. All students (K-12) need daily physical activity, both recess and structured physical education. Many students need to get rid of excess energy. Others need to lose weight and get in shape. Further, many discipline problems result from making children sit all day in a classroom. Physical education should be a part of all students’ (k-12) daily schedule. It should be demanding and rigorous, resulting in an elevated heart rate and some sweating. Only athletes get that kind of physical education now.

3. Students need models for behavior. To that end, teachers need to be present, on time and prepared for each class. There are far too many teacher absences on Fridays and Mondays. Stricter guidelines for absences around a holiday or weekend should be implemented.

4. There is too much standardized testing, particularly at the elementary level. At the high school level, I applaud the elimination (finally) of the graduation test as it is replaced by End-Of-Course-Tests (EOCT). However, the EOCT should reflect the curriculum taught in the classroom. The present 9th grade English EOCT, for example, does not test students on any of the readings from the textbook that we have done. It is a generic reading comprehension test that is so easy that many of my students fail to take it seriously. Another issue is the system’s emphasis on PSAT, SAT and AP tests. In many instances, these tests are given during class time. Even more troubling is that many school systems pay the Educational Testing Service for these tests. The Educational Testing Service has been criticized for profit making and high administrative costs. These tests should be paid for by students’ families with a few exceptions made for pupils on free or reduced lunch. Let’s stop subsidizing an out-of- state company.

5. Transportation to and from school could be reformed in several ways. First, school buses should be eliminated for high school students. Instead, all students in Fulton and DeKalb counties eligible for transportation should be given a monthly MARTA pass. This is similar to the system in New York City where students take the subway or bus to school. The present system duplicates already existing MARTA routes. Even worse, many days the buses arrive late to school because they have been used earlier for elementary and middle school routes. Having ridden both school buses and MARTA buses with students, I know that most of the discipline problems on the school bus would be eliminated if the students rode with the general populace on MARTA. Teachers and staff who choose to ride MARTA to school should be given incentives for doing so, eliminating the growing parking problem for school staff. Finally, students who choose to drive to school should be required to pay for a parking pass and park in assigned spots. This would help with the problem of unwelcome visitors to the school and would generate some much needed revenue. Atlanta taxpayers should not be providing free parking to students, especially where there are public transportation alternatives.

6. Struggling students and low achieving schools need the best teachers. In order to provide the best teachers for those students who need extra help, teachers who work in low-performing schools should receive incentive pay and be given reduced class sizes. Also, teachers who teach below-grade-level students should be paid extra for the tutorials they often provide.

7. We are suffering from grade inflation. There are several reasons for this. One is that a passing grade has been raised from 60 to 70. A passing grade should be dropped to a 50 or 60, giving teachers more latitude in creating challenging tests and giving teachers a greater range of numbers for use in evaluating students. Many students are receiving a 70, not having mastered 70 percent of the work. Second, the HOPE Scholarship program has resulted in many more “B” averages. Some students that qualify for HOPE based on their GPA have not been able to pass a graduation test or get a decent score on the SAT. Many more lose their HOPE after their first year in college.

8. Eliminate the challenge and gifted programs. Too many parents are having their children privately tested, resulting in a huge increase in the “gifted.” Even worse, gifted classes are kept at 20 or fewer students. Without an increase in the number of teachers, that means that the students who really need the smaller class size are actually being placed in larger classes. Meanwhile, the gifted students, who can be effectively taught in larger classes, are now in classes that should be reserved for those needing academic help.

9. We need to provide better alternatives for the non-college bound students and provide more practical learning experiences for all students. Classes in keyboarding, wood and metal shop, auto shop, carpentry, cooking, fashion design, sewing, first aid, gardening and personal finance among many others should be expanded or introduced.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

209 comments Add your comment

Mike

August 29th, 2012
5:13 am

Eliminating gifted classes would seem to be a a short sighted reform and a path towards keeping Georgia’s public educational system mediocre (at best). Let’s adequately resource our public schools rather than establishing a system that bores the best students because we all know they can get by. The other suggestions seem thoughtful and worth pursuing.

The Other Mrs. Anderson

August 29th, 2012
5:34 am

MD- I see you’re burning the midnight oil!

I WHOLE HEARTEDLY AGREE with EVERYTHING Mr. Stephens has proposed. I am genuinely fearful of what will happen when my girls reach school age. Perhaps there are too many theorists making decisions without including experienced educators, like Mr. Stephens in the discussion.

I would add one more to this list, though: give the teaching profession the prestige it deserves. Stop treating teachers like they are the bottom of the professional totem pole. These people are college educated, and had career options, but CHOSE to HELP educate our children. They deserve our respect and support.

Have a great day, all!

Cathe'

August 29th, 2012
5:51 am

I agree with all of the nine points made.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

August 29th, 2012
6:02 am

Inherent in your indictment of Gifted Ed is that these kids “can be effectively taught in larger classes.” By which, I hear that you don’t have to try as hard with them. I totally disagree. When I teach gifted classes (none of those for several years now…) I work far harder than in the regular classes, where I work far harder than most folks would understand. My underlying point is, should we spend more resources on those who *might* make it out of HS or should we spend more resources and effort on those who are the likely leaders of our society 20-50 years from now?

I want to read this more carefully later, but so far I agree strongly about Admin!

Fred in DeKalb

August 29th, 2012
6:48 am

**First, school buses should be eliminated for high school students. Instead, all students in Fulton and DeKalb counties eligible for transportation should be given a monthly MARTA pass.**

Unfortunately due to revenue shortfalls, MARTA has significantly cut its routes also. Add to that, there are parts of unincorporated DeKalb County near county lines (where, Arabia Mountain and ML King aqre located, perhaps a few more high schools) that MARTA does not serve. Perhaps a better statement would be to evaluate each attendance zone to determine if MARTA could be substituted for school buses.

MiltonMan

August 29th, 2012
6:49 am

Is this a joke??? I find it hilarious that any APS teacher would be given any platform to spew their thoughts. Remember it took none other then the AJC to uncover the cheating scandal – the same scandal that APS teachers kept hush-hush about.

“First, school buses should be eliminated for high school students. Instead, all students in Fulton and DeKalb counties eligible for transportation should be given a monthly MARTA pass.”

Idiotic. MARTA is very, very limited in North Fulton and I don’t care to have my kids riding with a bunch of thugs.

“Struggling students and low achieving schools need the best teachers.”

Punish the successful students even more than they are currently punished by giving the best teachers to those crappy students and giving the crappy teachers to the best students. I guess for an APS teacher that makes sense.

“Eliminate the challenge and gifted programs”

Another idiotic suggestion. The programs are the only reason I send my children to public schools.

“We need to provide better alternatives for the non-college bound students and provide more practical learning experiences for all students. Classes in keyboarding,…”

Keyboarding??? How about computer programming, robotics, etc. – some skill set that the students could use in obtaining realistic employment?

catlady

August 29th, 2012
6:58 am

This is addressing something I have been saying on this blog for years. School level personnel need to be teaching daily! The best principal I ever worked under insisted on teaching 7th grade math every day, every year, for the 15 years he was my supervisor. I believe it is even more important today.

In addition, principals, APs and other supervisory staff should be rotated back into the classroom full time for 2 years after 5 out of the classroom.

I agree with several of his other points as well.

However, he does not address disciipline. THAT is the silent elephant in the room. Until reasonable discipline is restored in the classroom, it availeth us not.

abacus2

August 29th, 2012
7:00 am

Gifted class sizes have gone up, too. Many people forget that these kids are our future doctors, engineers, mathematicians. Some actually become teachers. My county does not permit private testing – we do our testing “in house.” High performing students are permitted in gifted classes when space is available.
We need to realize that not every student needs or wants college. Bring back vocational training. We need good electricians, plumbers, mechanics and other craftsmen.

EmMom

August 29th, 2012
7:11 am

I second Milton Man! Gifted classes are the only reason I consider public schools challenging enough. If those are eliminated then we are out since the classes teach to the slower learners. By the way, our school has paras in the classrooms for those that have IEP children. If we equalize and teach to all the children in one classroom, with no special attention, should those with IEPs have to do without too?

Tech Prof

August 29th, 2012
7:15 am

#8 is insane. In general, too much time is spent relatively on underachieving students or behavior disorders, while the gifted students get ignored or asked to help others or grade the teacher’s papers. There should be some reward for having an interest in learning and the capacity to do to great things academically. The gifted program is one such reward.

NotMilton

August 29th, 2012
7:21 am

Hey, MiltonBoy, it used to be called “typing” and it IS a job skill, just like welding and auto shop. Everybody is not cut out for college, and skilled trades are suffering because we don’t teach them. As far as your “gifted” brats, send them to private school. Public school is not about lifting the few, it’s about educating the many. Private school is for uplifting your oh-so-special little tykes. I also find it interesting that the fact this came from someone who knows the system (way better than you) made it suspect it your tiny little mind. Maybe they know something you don’t.

Michele

August 29th, 2012
7:28 am

As another retired teacher, I agree with much of what has been said by Mr. Stevens. However, I totally agree with his belief that the gifted program is not necessary. As a gifted teacher for half my career, I saw, on a daily basis, exactly why the gifted program is needed. We spend far too much emphasis on teaching in a cookie cutter education program. Teach the same to Einstein as you would Gomer Pyle. Teach only towards a college degree. Give the same test to the brain surgeon as you would to the road construction worker. No Way! If anyone thinks that we are all equal in every single aspect of our lives, they are mistaken. We have students who, in Middle School, should begin prepping themselves for Harvard. But, not everyone is Harvard material. Our society is built of all types of people, all races, all sexes, all religions, all intelligence levels. Our society, on the other hand needs all types of people. We need college professors, we need CEOs, we need teachers, we need doctors, we need professionals, and we need technicians. We also need plumbers, painters, yard workers, custodial workers, construction workers, electricians. Without ALL of these individuals we could not survive. Where we miss the boat miserably in America, and especially Georgia is reflected in our total dismissal of the idea that we are not all created equal. When you push a young man towards a college degree, a degree he very well may not be qualified for nor interested, you turn him off to education. Give him, or her, an option to follow their dream. Believe me, if your turn off the Middle School student destined for Harvard, you do exactly the same thing. Then, what have you lost? A future Einstein?

Yes, there are too many students who are qualified for gifted programs. That problem falls on the state and the county. If Dekalb County is letting private test scores qualify students for the gifted program. That is a major part of your problem. The county can set high scores and stand behind them to ensure that only gifted students qualify for the program. Don’t go after the highly intelligent students who should be there. Clean out the disqualified.

Lee

August 29th, 2012
7:35 am

Some of these suggestions make sense to me, others do not…

#1:
Agree. At my daughters private school, the principal was a former math teacher and taught one of the math courses – which equated to one class per day. He said it kept him based in reality and also built a closer relationship to the students. He was not just “the guy in the office, but Mr. “Z”.

#2:
I agree 100%. Kids need fresh air and sunshine. Reinstitute recess and I would wager you would see a drop in ADD/ADHD as well.

#3:
Agree. In the business world, they call this “Tone at the Top”. Same concept.

#4:
Face it, standardized testing is here to stay. The villan is not the testing, but how it is used.

#5:
You want to give an elementary age student a MARTA pass to travel unattended? Didn’t think so.

#6:
More pay does not equal better performance. Many good teachers flee the cesspools and no amount of bonuses will bring them back. Address the discipline issues and they probably would consider it.

#7:
Agree with the grade inflation. Don’t agree with his solution. Just return to the system that worked well for decades: A = Excellent. B = Above Average. C = Average. D = Below Average. F = Failing. Numeric scale below 60 was failing.

#8:
Disagree. Schools need more stratification – not less.

#9:
I agree we need more RELEVANT vocational courses. Fashion design?? Sheeesh.

AP Teacher

August 29th, 2012
7:35 am

Is this person really a retired teacher? Schooly systems have no say over when they administer AP tests. College Board sets the dates and times a year in advance. College Board is also non–profit. While they do charge a fee for the test, that money pays for the readers who score the materials every summer and for other administrative tasks. In many counties (such as mine), the students already pay for their AP tests ($87). I had students last year paying over $500 to take AP tests, which might sound exorbitant until you consider the cost of the tuition money they may be saving.

My county does not permit private testing for gifted students, either. Parents can request testing, but it is done within the school.

In my area (not the Metro), CTAE classes are exploding. Our students have many opportunities for work-based learning that is relevant to our local economy.

Big Mama

August 29th, 2012
7:41 am

Here is a novel idea… students who master less than 70% of the material should FAIL the class. Why would a teacher pass, or promote, a student who fails to adequately master the class? Also, the administration needs to grow a spine and support their teachers.

If the schools eliminate the gifted programs, they will lose students to other opportunities. And the goodwill of many parents who contribute time and resources to these same schools. That said, the gifted programs need to be re-examined. A gifted student should truly be “gifted” not just a high achiever or early learner. These labels might overlap but are not the same thing. Whereas a high acieving student or an early learner can be challenged with more rigorous work, a gifted student thinks and functions on a different plane and needs a teaching environment that acknowledges that and keeps that student interested in school. A bored gifted student is a waste of a precious resource.

Facts

August 29th, 2012
7:50 am

I don’t agree w/ #8 at all – you will lose a lot of these kids and they are the future of the country. Would love to see some verifiable facts to support these assertions. “Huge increase” – really? – based on data from GA DOE. Let’s see it. Look at the data around Spec Ed and who really benefits from those programs – lots of meta-analyses around it. It’s often based on IQ and other capabilities. I don’t buy the argument that children who have been ID’d as gifted will do fine in big classes – they can often make the biggest gains in the smaller classes. Lastly, many systems have clear rules on Psych shopping and using outside testing – there may be some tweaks there if there are a lot of questionable outside psychologicals.

Do the math

August 29th, 2012
7:52 am

Why stop at eliminating the gifted classes? We could save a ton of money by eliminating the severe-profound classes, parapros for autistic students, hard-of-hearing students, and visually impaired. Heck, while we are at it, let’s also eliminate those resource classes. Why should we have classes for only 3 or 4 learning disabled students? After all, a gifted student is exceptional, too. If we cut off services to one segment of the exceptional population, let’s cut services off to all segments. [/sarcasm]

Entitlement Society

August 29th, 2012
7:53 am

#8 – Penalize the gifted students because they can fend for themselves. No wonder this came out of the mouth of a government employee. Typical. And you wonder why APS is churning out such winners…

HoneyFern School

August 29th, 2012
8:02 am

Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Eliminating gifted programs is absurd, and if the author spent any time actually teaching them, he would understand that. Common myths of the gifted, posted again here for anyone who would actually like to understand what it means to be gifted: http://nagc.org/commonmyths.aspx

Aquagirl

August 29th, 2012
8:21 am

15 years teaching and he wants to eliminate all gifted programs so we can devote more resources to the 11th grader who can’t read? If that’s his attitude, I’m glad he’s retired.

Holly Jones

August 29th, 2012
8:28 am

I agree that the gifted program has become, in a lot of cases, bragging rights for the parents. There are systems (not here in GA, I think it was NJ, but I can’t remember exactly) I’ve heard of where 40% or more of the student population is labeled “gifted.” No way. That is statistically improbable. It’s also about funds- more gifted= more $$ from federal and state.

I was in the gifted program growing up. I got to do some cool stuff, but I don’t know that I was challenged any more than I would have been had I not been in the program. My mother, the soul of keeping it real, told me when I got in the program, “Honey, you’re not gifted; you’re bright. Mozart was gifted.” And she was right. When I had the opportunity to attend the gifted high school ( a gifted high school in Alabama, of all places!), I opted not to go. My English teacher was appalled, but when I visited the school, I knew I was out of my league. Those kids were different- not just smarter, but quirky, philosophical, deep thinkers. No one cared about football or prom or any of the traditional high school activities. They didn’t even HAVE a football team. THOSE kids were gifted. We had one of the youngest US chess masters in our junior high. That’s being gifted. And he went to the gifted high school.

That being said, the bright kids, the self-motivated kids, the kids who are truly craving knowledge, deserve to have that need met just as much as the “Mozarts” do. And this leads us back to ability grouping, which is anathema to education. As Lee said above, schools need more stratification, not less.

Fred ™

August 29th, 2012
8:32 am

I agree with every point he made. ESPECIALLY the ones concerning the “gifted” students. 90% of the “gifted” students I have met are barely average.

Bill

August 29th, 2012
8:36 am

#8 Certainly seems most controversial. I think it points out the fact that public schools tend to not do well with students at either extreme. Completely eliminating it seems harsh, and may cause the families of many of the brightest students to seek other alternatives.

Lee, Mr. Stephens did not advocate giving a MARTA pass to elementary school students. He said, “school buses should be eliminated for high school students.”

Joel

August 29th, 2012
8:36 am

I’d add that it would be a good idea for the non-certified employees to teach classes as well. Mechanical and maintenance work is always in demand and has great potential as a stable career path. We need to get off this elitist everyone-goes-to-college nonsense.

NotMilton

August 29th, 2012
8:37 am

You guys need to get a grip. Lee, he said HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS on MARTA, not elementary. You can obviously read and reason, do so.
That 11th grader who can’t read has been failed by the system. If he/she is still in school at that age and can’t read, it’s probably becaause the good teachers he/she needed were tending to the needs of your “gifted” darlings. Again, public education is not a gourmet restaraunt for the special, gifted, etc. It is PUBLIC education, and that failing 11th grader NEEDS to know how to read so they don’t come to your North Fulton paradise and carjack you because they can’t get a job. If your kid is so smart and special, put him or her in private school. Public money is for educating the everybody, not just your oh-so-special little darling. I can’t help but see a serious strain of selfishness through most of these posts.

the prof

August 29th, 2012
8:38 am

Agree with lots of the above except for the gifted provision. Can some here explain to me what the GIFT test is?

Tenured Teacher

August 29th, 2012
8:47 am

Hummm… sounds like a tax to me.

Digger

August 29th, 2012
8:57 am

Educators say the darndest things!

William Casey

August 29th, 2012
8:58 am

I’ve long advocated requiring school administrators to teach at least one class per day or rotate back to the classroom full time for a year after three years in the front office. When I became an administrator myself in 1993, I begged to be allowed to continue teach my A.P. Modern European History class. My request was turned down flat and no reason ever given. I would like to see a study of the teaching experience of current administrators. My experience has been: (1) Very few high school aministrators have significant (5+ years) teaching experience prior to going into administration, and (2) very few taught in the core subjects (Mathematics, Science, English, Social Sciences.) I could be wrong.

Ken

August 29th, 2012
9:07 am

I am a retired educator too (42 yrs). Taught HS Sciences and Special Education. I support all the ideas except #6 & #8. Gifted ed provides higher quality classes and more are needed in science and math. Also, the quality of teachers is pretty much the same in all public schools. It is each schools socioeconomic profile that differs. I also think the school system makes a big difference, so hats off to Fulton, but not so much to the neigbors.

dc

August 29th, 2012
9:10 am

scary……and from a public school teacher no less. hopefully this doesn’t reflect the opinion of the majority of high school teachers. if it does…..well, that explains a lot of our current issues.

NorthFultonParent

August 29th, 2012
9:10 am

What a load of ___ (fill in the blanks with your appropriate form of exclamation).

The suggestions are absolutely off base on so many counts! It is outrageous, selfish, pension-pocket minded and irresponsible to believe that this person was given a platform to speak. Even more outrageous is the fact that this individual belonged to OUR school system. What a nut-job.

My biggest criticism is towards the insane and outlandish suggestion that gifted programs must be cut. Children in the gifted programs are subject to the same workload as others, are subject to the same deadlines, tests and etc. as the rest of the class. These children are in a gifted program not because they are smarter or brighter…. they have a different way of learning, are able to grasp concepts easier and would be otherwise stagnant in their regular learning environment. It is 3-4 hours per week, per child, people. It is 2-4 teachers per school, and even less sometimes. Get over it.

It is this kind of pea-brained, small minded, dare I say, complacent thinking that will continue to pull down our economy, our social sensitivities towards other human beings, towards children who need help, and towards fostering support for a stronger and more intelligent next generation.

Look at the curriculum of other countries, and the budgets they have to work with. They still manage to put out fabulous students – not because they had extra cash, but because the teachers were committed to providing a better education, with
‘whatever resources they had.’

Does extra money buy you extra brains?? Well then, I bet, since the US is in such great economic condition, we would be the smartest country in the world, right?!

Schools can do better: Yes.
Accountability, from teachers and students, is needed: Yes.
Students need to be accountable through testing: Yes.
Schools need more money: Yes.
Teachers need incentives to be better teachers and get ‘celebrity status’ for doing a good job: Are you joking? Being a Good Teacher IS their job. If they fail at it, fire them. There are a lot of unemployed people who might just do better.
Grade inflation should be curbed: NO.
Teachers need to be reassigned: NO.
Children on public transport (regardless of age – don’t we have enough children going missing): NO
Suggesting that college education is an option: NO

If you hate it so much, try home-school your kids if it suits you better, or better yet, move to other states where their school systems are so close to bankruptcy they are cutting school hours in themselves.

Think about it, and stop whining.

dc

August 29th, 2012
9:11 am

amazing how many folks want to take all resources from “the fortunate ones” (as if hard work has NOTHING to do with their success), and give it to those who don’t give a crap. Like that’s going to grow our economy and create the future jobs. seriously?

Tired

August 29th, 2012
9:12 am

I was surprised, when I moved to Georgia, that vocational tech classes were not offered in high schools here. The county where I grew up (and many others) allowed HS students to choose between an “academic track” and a “vo-tech track.”

The students who chose vo-tech spent progressively more time at the county vo-tech school throughout their high school career, until the end of their senior year they were interning/apprenticing in auto body, as an electrician, as a cosmetologist, etc. This also reduced the class sizes, and gave some kids who didn’t do well in a traditional school setting an added incentive to keep going and graduate.

And some of my classmates who now own construction and electrician businesses chose to take the academic track, go to college and major in business, and then learn their trade.

College isn’t for everyone. I don’t see the value in pretending otherwise.

CharterStarter, Too

August 29th, 2012
9:21 am

@ Mr. Stephens – I applaud you.

jarvis

August 29th, 2012
9:22 am

I can’t believe that with all of his great ideas he never made it into administration. (sarcasm is pallatable)

He sounds like every blue collar frontline employee I’ve ever encountered. Mangers have their own jobs, and if they are doing them correctly, they don’t have time to do the frontline work.

jarvis

August 29th, 2012
9:24 am

“I think the regional vice president of Macy’s should still work the sales floor.”
See how stupid it sounds?

Mike

August 29th, 2012
9:31 am

At least Scott is willing to stand up and share what he has seen and what he might do differently.
Bravo Sir…

Mom of Two

August 29th, 2012
9:31 am

I am the mother of two boys in the “gifted program.” For the boy in elementary school it means that once a week he is pulled out of his regular class and has the opportunity to learn new things and to think in new ways. His regular teacher has time to work with the “average” students. My older son recently started middle school and is in the gifted program at his school. Being with other “gifted” students for his academic classes is obviously having an impact upon him. He is being challenged by his teachers and his peers. If he were in “regular” classes, he would be bored, unstimulated and more likely to be a problem student. Thank goodness for the gifted programs that our public schools provide.

Ernest

August 29th, 2012
9:35 am

Interesting list put forth by Mr. Stephens. Like many, I agree with some points and disagree with others. As I understand, gifted is part of special education, with rules and regulations that govern this program. To suggest eliminating gifted would be similar to suggesting that BD, LD, MOID, and the other related designations should be eliminated also. I don’t agree with that.

As catlady indicated, any list put forth should include handling discipline. Listening to educators, this is probably one of the key frustrations many encounter as it impacts the learning environment.

Another Math Teacher

August 29th, 2012
9:59 am

He included too many points. The good points he made are overshadowed by a couple of horrific suggestions. He should trim his list and stay more focused on the strong points. Perhaps he should consult an English teacher to help him improve his persuasive writing.

“he taught English for 15 years at Grady High School and taught for a decade in Fulton County”

Oh, wait…

C.A.

August 29th, 2012
10:00 am

Insightful and provacative list of ideas, Scott. You surely have generated some emotional discourse! I’d like to hear your thoughts on the discipline in the classroom issue.

wovoka

August 29th, 2012
10:02 am

We are graduating all students based on the premise that they will attend college. Re-instatement of “job ready” training so that students who are not college bound can leave high school with the certification skills in a job area would be the greatest gift GA schools could give these students and itself.

Angus

August 29th, 2012
10:02 am

I’m not so sure having admin teaching is the best for the kids, but it’d sure be a step in the right direction to eliminate our absurd, admin expenditures.

wovoka

August 29th, 2012
10:04 am

actually Jarvis, it sounds pretty smart. Keeping in touch with work in “the trenches” keeps a manager sharp and aware of areas that work and areas that don’t. “How soon they forget” when they leave the classroom.

Another Math Teacher

August 29th, 2012
10:07 am

William Casey : “I would like to see a study of the teaching experience of current administrators.”

My school had 5-6 teachers with more classroom experience individually than the five administrators in total.

If you include only core areas, that number jumped to over 60 teachers.

jarvis

August 29th, 2012
10:11 am

wovoka, what do you think principals do all day?

Hall Mom

August 29th, 2012
10:20 am

As a parent of a gifted student, I agree that the gifted program should be removed, at least at the elementary level; they should be accelerated instead. The state/common core curriculum mandates pretty much limit what the gifted program can achieve anyway. The standardized tests keep the classes on a prescribed timeline.

claytondawg

August 29th, 2012
10:24 am

Scott Stephens is correct in all areas above. Can these “10″ be implemented within a year or two? No. However, if this country was truly interested in improving its educational system, it needs to adhere to more ideas of our more intelligent teachers. Notice, I said TEACHERS and not educators. @ Aquagirl…I’m not trying to be disrespectful here, but according to Ms. Downey’s intro, Scott taught for 15 years and “a decade in Fulton County.” I’m assuming that decade is in addition to his 15 years. That wasn’t really made clear. Kudos to you, Scott Stephens. I also taught English (for 34 years); not only is it amazing to see he apathy and lack of quality in our students, but so many of our current teachers as well. Do we have the courage to make our educational system a force, or will we continue down the same path of mediocrity?

Ed Advocate

August 29th, 2012
10:26 am

# 8. Just. No. We cannot fail our talented and gifted students. They are the state’s future and can make or break our public school system. As a parent, education advocate, and former grateful gifted student, I am appalled by this idea.