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‘I would love to teach but…’ (WaPo)
The Washington Post ^ | December 31, 2013 | Valerie Strauss

Posted on 01/06/2014 6:27:31 AM PST by Timber Rattler

I recently published a post with various answers to the question: How hard is teaching? Here is one response I received by e-mail from a veteran seventh-grade language arts teacher in Frederick, Maryland, who asked not to be identified because she fears retaliation at her school. In this piece she describes students who don’t want to work, parents who want their children to have high grades no matter what, mindless curriculum and school reformers who insist on trying to quantify things that can’t be measured.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Education; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: academic; learning; maryland; schools; teachers; teaching
The author of the cited letter nails it...!
1 posted on 01/06/2014 6:27:31 AM PST by Timber Rattler
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To: Timber Rattler

Yes, but the American people still believe in state-controlled education, the more controls the more they like it. That may be wife mostly liberals hold school board seats even in conservative states.


2 posted on 01/06/2014 6:32:40 AM PST by Theodore R. (People in TX in 2014: Cornball and George P.!)
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To: Timber Rattler

Cue the Public education haters in 3....2....


3 posted on 01/06/2014 6:45:26 AM PST by verga (Poor spiritual health oftern leads to poor physical and mental health)
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To: verga

You rang? :)

John Dewey...
Prussian model...
Government idol worship...
etc


4 posted on 01/06/2014 6:47:33 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: verga

Yeah we should love the disaster that we’re all forced to pay for.


5 posted on 01/06/2014 6:50:18 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Get on this before it gets old.


6 posted on 01/06/2014 6:52:34 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Theodore R.
My Eight Grade teacher introduced himself on his first day of class. He stated that he had a Masters in History and Political Science and was a certified teacher. He then said that through the whole process he had never been shown how to unscrew the top of our head and pour in the knowledge he possessed.

He told us that in order to learn we must read books, the daily newpaper and select and read a magazine to further our interests, ( I picked Scientific American)_. He then told us how he was going to show us stuff!

I grew up in a suburb of Newark NJ. He took us on various field trips. To the New York Museum and Bronx Zoo. The Edison Laboratory where we learned about the 1100 patents he developed. We then took a day trip Philadelphia where we saw the Liberty Bell and the room where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted. "We came, we saw we learned!!!"

7 posted on 01/06/2014 6:53:24 AM PST by Young Werther (Julius Caesar said "Quae cum ita sunt. Since these things are so.".)
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To: Timber Rattler

But Holy Cow—she takes pages and pages to do so!


8 posted on 01/06/2014 6:53:58 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: 9YearLurker

She had a lot to say...


9 posted on 01/06/2014 7:02:52 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: Timber Rattler

In the business world one is taught to serve its customer; customer #1 mentality is paramount in most well run companies. The problem with the public school system is with the teachers unions. As structured now, the teachers customer is their union. In turn, the unions customer is its leadership and extended to politicians who vote legislation in their behalf. So, it’s a circular ponzi scheme with the students completely left out. So, if public schools are to be cleaned up and changed into credible learning institutions the unions have to be busted. It’s that simple.


10 posted on 01/06/2014 7:08:43 AM PST by snoringbear (E.oGovernment is the Pimp,)
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To: Young Werther

Avid readers learn with or without a teacher.


11 posted on 01/06/2014 7:09:47 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: verga
OMG! Are you one of those "I Believe In Public Education" bumper sticker types.

As a general rule, those are the least effective, least intellectual and most in need of union support teachers in the school system.

Teacher and Public Education Hater reporting for duty!

Schools should be privatized and sold to the highest bidder;.

12 posted on 01/06/2014 7:10:02 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (It was the best of governments; it is the worst of governments.)
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To: Timber Rattler
My Mom left public school teaching in the mid-1970's after 30+ years and started teaching at a local Vo-Tech school. She taught English and Latin to students in grades 9 through 12. At the Vo-Tech she taught "communications" both written and verbal. No more Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc. Just the basic how to speak correctly, write legibly and compose business communications properly.

Whenever she would be asked about her career change she would say, "Well, there are two distinct advantages to teaching at the Vo-Tech as compared to the public high school. First, all the students are there because they want to be there. Second, the disruptive influence brought about by the integration of schools, doubled the frustrations of the job. Where it used to be just one type of one color of student that took pride in failing grades, there are now two colors that revel in their ignorance. It is indeed a shame that the best intentions of integration, which were to raise others to a higher standard, have seen those standards shamefully lowered."

13 posted on 01/06/2014 7:12:39 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys-Can't drive, can't ski, can't fly, can't skipper a boat-But they know what's best for you.)
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To: Aevery_Freeman; verga; cripplecreek

My kids all went to public school. And did very well. One was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and is studying in Europe. One is an engineering student at a large state university.

The point is, not all public schools are sewers. Some do their job very well.


14 posted on 01/06/2014 7:15:28 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: Timber Rattler

I have spent some time in an elementary school recently. Public elementary, that is. Oh my, but the children are animals! Not all of them. But there are enough animals that it takes a special child to get anything out of what the teacher is teaching. And the special child will come home with “other” knowledge that should not be happening at an elementary school. So the alternative is to pay up the wazoo to send your special children to private school. We have done that with a few of our children. Our son, who is no genius, shakes his head at the ignorance of his peers. He doesn’t think it is because the private school is not teaching. He thinks his peers are dumb but very well behaved. Lol. I would sure like to be able to send our children to school with like-minded and intelligent people. That is the way my public elementary school was. Alas, social engineers have spoiled the system and made a huge mess for all.


15 posted on 01/06/2014 7:17:01 AM PST by petitfour
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To: Timber Rattler

This is an excellent, well written letter. If you have had kids in the public school system you have seen all the things she mentions and a lot more that is worse. She does not mention the gangs and the violence that are in many public schools. She also doesn’t mention the constant stupidity and political correctness of the liberals who run the public schools.

The fact is most teachers I know literally hate their jobs.
The more intelligent and harder working they are the more they hate it.

The older teachers usually stay because they have tenure and do the absolute minimum and work within the system. The younger ones look for a way to leave and find other employment. The only teachers who like their jobs are have either learned to get around all the liberal administrative political correctness and bureaucracy or just don’t care and do little or no work and give all the students high grades.

This teacher is highly unusual if she works 80 hours per week. Most teachers take advantage of all the days off, use all their sick days and personal days and do not spend much time preparing lesson plans or grading papers. That is simply the way it is.

The public schools have been dumbed down. Most students learn little or nothing. They are extremely costly to taxpayers. The best thing to do would be to close them and end the waste of money and young peoples lives.


16 posted on 01/06/2014 7:20:32 AM PST by detective
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To: N. Theknow

First, all the students are there because they want to be there

_______________

My son took two certificates at a Voc-Tech HS and the first thing one notices walking through the door is the commitment of the students. Unbelievable. These are kids who want to start their lives. Want to earn, want to move up. Very impressive.


17 posted on 01/06/2014 7:24:16 AM PST by Chickensoup (we didn't love freedom enough... Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: bigdaddy45
Methinks it may be due more to the quality of the student rather than the quality of the education.

True genius is neither recognized nor harmed by poor tutelage.

18 posted on 01/06/2014 7:26:49 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (It was the best of governments; it is the worst of governments.)
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To: Aevery_Freeman
OMG! Are you one of those "I Believe In Public Education" bumper sticker types.

Lots of them around here lately.

Whiney edu-phile
19 posted on 01/06/2014 7:27:07 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Aevery_Freeman

Or... the quality of the parents. Thats 90% of it in my opinion.


20 posted on 01/06/2014 7:28:57 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: bigdaddy45

The point is, not all public schools are sewers. Some do their job very well.

________________

In some communities the public schools are essentially private school because of demographics and socioeconomic status. I live in a town with lousy public schools but my taxes are about 4K per year. Two towns over have an excellent public school system which is essentially a private school system and the taxes on what I have would be about 12-14K per year. So moving there I would pay 8-10K tuition annually. We have had a few large families in our time move there temporarily to get their kids through that system, and move back to our lower tax base once the kids are all out. Me, I homeschooled, so it didn’t really matter what the school was like.


21 posted on 01/06/2014 7:30:20 AM PST by Chickensoup (we didn't love freedom enough... Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: verga

Reporting for duty.


22 posted on 01/06/2014 7:33:17 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: petitfour

We recently had a family with 4th and 2nd grade daughters enroll the kids in our private school. After the kids shadowed the classes for a day, the parents asked them how it went. The older daughter, with an amazed expression, said: “Dad! The kids there - they BEHAVED!”


23 posted on 01/06/2014 7:36:15 AM PST by AbnSarge
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To: Aevery_Freeman
Schools should be privatized and sold to the highest bidder;.

That will not get rid of union control, will it?

24 posted on 01/06/2014 7:41:26 AM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: Chickensoup

I went to a decent public school as well. It was a large rural district and my teachers were members of the community. In many cases, those teachers were the same ones who taught my parents.

However, today the place is an absolutely politically correct social experimentation disaster and the teachers are fully indoctrinated marxist clymers.


25 posted on 01/06/2014 7:46:20 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Timber Rattler

Just should have said...”I can’t fix stupid”, and moved on!


26 posted on 01/06/2014 7:53:33 AM PST by gr8eman (How ya doin Bob?...Bitchen!)
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To: imardmd1
That will not get rid of union control, will it?

Combine it with right to work and the unions will collapse over time whether the school is private or not.

Here in Michigan we have teachers choosing to take 5 figure salary cuts to work in better equipped, cleaner, and safer, charter and private schools.
27 posted on 01/06/2014 7:54:36 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

I went to a decent public school as well. It was a large rural district and my teachers were members of the community. In many cases, those teachers were the same ones who taught my parents.

__________________

There were many decent public schools until the leftists took over completely. I do not understand any conservatives who have their children in Public Schools at this time, even the “good” ones. They are all leftist and leave a mark on the kids.


28 posted on 01/06/2014 7:59:02 AM PST by Chickensoup (we didn't love freedom enough... Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: Chickensoup

Yep, you got it.
My siblings and I went through one of the best public school systems in the country during the 60’-70’s. We even had a Rifle team. BTW -it was and is “Union Free” because they pay more than any union scale could afford.
Lots of big families back then. They would all move out soon after all the kids finished school.

Property taxes based on property values in that school district today are over $20,000 per household, with many wealthy families paying over $75K per year. No rifle team, drugs all over and all-out America-hating liberals running everything.

The property taxes are deductible for Federal purposes so it is actually more like tax-free, private school tuition.

Socio-economic fracturing. Wealthy families can afford to keep away the pathologies of poverty. Online education will be providing solutions to many of these issues in the very near future.
All children deserve a chance to become productive, responsible and self-reliant citizens.


29 posted on 01/06/2014 8:20:52 AM PST by Macoozie (1) Win the Senate 2) Repeal Obamacare 3) Impeach Roberts)
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To: imardmd1
I doubt that the teachers would be included in the sale (see Amendment XIII).

I'll bet you could find replacements for far less than what they currently earn.

Other professions seem to allow for credentialing without unionization (doctors, lawyers, etc.).

I would look to retired boomers that had real world experience.

30 posted on 01/06/2014 8:51:04 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (It was the best of governments; it is the worst of governments.)
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To: Timber Rattler

She’s a whiner.


31 posted on 01/06/2014 9:57:03 AM PST by Zippo44 (Liberal: another word for poltroon.)
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To: Timber Rattler

When State run education quit teaching students “how to learn” and instead opted for indoctrination the end was near for the most literate populace the world had ever seen.


32 posted on 01/06/2014 10:01:26 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: bigdaddy45

If you live in the right place the public school can be good but the questions you should ask is for the same money could a private school do it better.


33 posted on 01/06/2014 10:26:04 AM PST by RightOnTheBorder
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To: snoringbear

No matter how well run the princpal problem remains. For a government school, the government is the customer and the kids are the product.


34 posted on 01/06/2014 10:27:51 AM PST by RightOnTheBorder
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To: Aevery_Freeman; cripplecreek
Salaries:

Aevery_Freeman: I'll bet you could find replacements for far less than what they currently earn.

cripplecreek: Here in Michigan we have teachers choosing to take 5 figure salary cuts to work in better equipped, cleaner, and safer, charter and private schools. (post 27)

Professionalism:

Aevery_Freeman: Other professions seem to allow for credentialing without unionization (doctors, lawyers, etc.).

cripplecreek: Combine it with right to work and the unions will collapse over time whether the school is private or not. (post 27)

============

I don't know whether to laugh (wryly) or to cry (for lack of historical depth) over these postulated benefits.

I don't know what your time in history was, but in the late fifties I was training to be a science teacher. Public education was based entirely on well-trained teachers who considered themselves professionals. In my state, high school teachers with a bachelor's degree could obtain a temporary license, but permanent certification could be obtained if the required master's degree in education was attained in no more than five years.

In the communities throughout the country, teachers were held in some awe for their professionalism and commitment to excellence. No unionism was on the horizon.

In my state, the State Board of Regents kept the teachers' qualifications and professionalism on course, as well as uniformizing a high level of the performance of the students. Not to have a Regents Diploma was equivalent to "no college for you, pal."

Also, any teacher new to a different school had no security of tenure until his fourth year contract was signed. Until then, your employment could be terminated without explanation, and you would have to find work somewhere else. But after that, you could work there as long as you desired. So the School Board and administrators watched your first three years very carefully, because their final commitment was non-negotiable thereafter. This helped to ensure teacher stability, reliability, and schoolroom product.

However, there was a proverbial "fly in the ointment", so to speak, and that was an almost uniformly nationwide poor regard for teachers regarding compensation. Where school budgets were presented every year, voters simply would not agree to pay teachers according to common standards prevailing in other equivalent professions. Here is the thought imbedded in the community conscience:

"Them than can, do; them that can't, teach."

That is, the farmer or auto salesman or bank clerk did not see teachers as providing a visible product; and as a further insult, they didn't see the teacher as working a full year when school was out for the summer.

In fact, in the day when most families depended on one bread-winner, the teacher often had to moonlight at a second job during the school year just to keep his family afloat; and a summer job to get them through until fall. And this got worse when more and more homes trended toward having both husband and wife working, making it more competitve for the one-job teacher to survive.

Well, finally the unionists heard the teachers' cries, and got a foothold in the cities, thus the AFT made rapid advances. NEA, originally a professional society in my time, and well-organized, saw the things to come, and kept that organization alive by following suit into unionism.

Very frankly, it's interesting to see the argument that privatizing will get better teachers at less salary. Well, the problem has come full circle. The local communities have gotten just what they deserve, for neglecting the art of teaching as a profession (which isolates and minimizes the bargaining power of the individual teacher), and forcing teachers to assemble as a union (to get the power through numbers for a decent wage). Of course, their union leaders have way, way overdone it; but the administrators have worsened the issue through poor negotiating.

I know there are other factors in play, but the refusal to pay teachers a living wage in the first half of the 20th century has left us where we are now. And--No--privatizing is too simple a solution. It won't work. It is not going to result in better teachers at lower pay.

(And retired "boomer" business men, engineers, etc. have not as a group cultivated the art and skill sets needed for teaching. They are already marked as poor achievers in downsizing of their own specialties; that is, if they are still young enough to keep up with the energy of teenagers.)

This is not a criticism, just an observation. To get a better picture, you need to find someone who looks at this with the eyes of a teacher from the past.

35 posted on 01/06/2014 2:26:58 PM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: Timber Rattler

Bump


36 posted on 01/06/2014 3:14:10 PM PST by lowbridge
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To: RightOnTheBorder

“No matter how well run the princpal problem remains. For a government school, the government is the customer and the kids are the product.”

Yeah, can’t argue with that .Ideally, the parents should be the customer (parents pay) and as you stated the kids should be the product. If the teachers unions could be eliminated though, local school boards could truly represent the wishes of their constituents (taxpayers/parents) and run their schools as intended. But, wishful thinking on my part. Barring that, vouchers might be the only way to have real competition in K thru 12. But, that’s probably wishful thinking too.


37 posted on 01/06/2014 3:57:39 PM PST by snoringbear (E.oGovernment is the Pimp,)
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To: Young Werther

These days when a teacher tells the students he is going to show them stuff, you better call the cops, because the perverts are running the asylum.

BTW- How dense was he to think that reading a daily lefty rag was going to make anyone smarter?


38 posted on 01/06/2014 4:00:06 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: imardmd1

“(And retired “boomer” business men, engineers, etc. have not as a group cultivated the art and skill sets needed for teaching. They are already marked as poor achievers in downsizing of their own specialties; that is, if they are still young enough to keep up with the energy of teenagers.)”

I don’t agree with your above statement. I know of several professionals, engineers and financial managers and such, who after retiring would live to teach in public school. And, I can assure you that after many years of supervising and managing people they have excellent interpersonal skills. Btw, education hours and a teachers certificate are not necessary to teach at the university level. Requiring them is merely a ploy of the teachers unions to protect their turf.


39 posted on 01/06/2014 4:09:44 PM PST by snoringbear (E.oGovernment is the Pimp,)
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To: snoringbear
Barring that, vouchers might be the only way to have real competition in K thru 12. But, that’s probably wishful thinking too.

I do seem to see more and more stories of charter schools popping up and clearly out performing their government counterparts. That said I don't think we can truly correct education until we remove federal funding (and even stat funding) from the process. In any case, if it is possible to pull America out of it's death spiral, taking our kids back from government indoctrination would be a good place to start.

40 posted on 01/06/2014 4:19:48 PM PST by RightOnTheBorder
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To: imardmd1
...required master's degree in education... - Ah, yes. The first of the disciplines with an agenda but no curriculum (see also: Black, Latino or Women's Studies).

My goodness, you are approximately one score older than I and your screed is exactly what passed for coursework when I went back to school to obtain a "teaching certificate" after I retired from computer programming

The Progressives in the NEA were very effective, weren't they.

You remind me very much of a professor I endured, much younger than I, when he ranted "Together we will unionize our Brothers and Sisters in Texas!"

I was humiliated to be in such company.

Unions do little but to give to succor the mediocre.

41 posted on 01/06/2014 4:44:57 PM PST by Aevery_Freeman (It was the best of governments; it is the worst of governments.)
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To: snoringbear
I know of several professionals, engineers and financial managers and such, who after retiring would live to teach in public school.

Are you one such person, or is this just an opinion? These other people selected what they wanted to do with their lives. I have, I did, and I appreciate the dedication, training, and experience of professional educators. It is foolish to think that a retiree from another discipline can just be plugged into a teacher slot.

Teaching is not something you decide to take up as a hobby. The reason schools require some course work in education is to get acquainted with the system, understand basic duties, and practice teach to see if you are fit for it. This is aside from the subject matter.

Furthermore, by retreading retired people, paths for employment and advancement of younger teaching professionals may be blocked. For what educational post is a financial executive qualified? an engineer? a product manager? Teaching is an art and a natural gift, not something you just decide to do.

And I'm speaking from experience. It's better that we reframe the context so that dedicated pros do not find themselves in the situation like the protagonist of this article, IMO.

42 posted on 01/06/2014 4:53:32 PM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: GeronL
H recommended that you read the paper in this order:

1 Read the front page to see what the local guys were doing ie car wrecks burglarie etc.

2 Read the editorial page to see what the local state and government guys were doing.

3 Read the comics to take the edge off what you read.

We got the Newark Star Ledger delivered daily. On the week end my dad would vist a local store where he got the New York papers.

We were expected to read and understand from our family's political persepective

43 posted on 01/06/2014 6:46:51 PM PST by Young Werther (Julius Caesar said "Quae cum ita sunt. Since these things are so.".)
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To: Abundy; Albion Wilde; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; BFM; Bigg Red; cindy-true-supporter; ...

Maryland “Freak State” PING!


44 posted on 01/06/2014 9:20:56 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (...)
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To: imardmd1

“Are you one such person, or is this just an opinion?”

Yes, I am such a person. I have Masters degree in Economics. And, was employed for 34 years with a large electronics company. During the course of those years I have taught both high school and college. I have found that the attributes you assign are broadly held by those who have spent several years in the private sector. Conversely, those who have spent their careers exclusively in education often lack the broad perspective that those coming from the private sector bring. Lastly, there is a shortage of so called professional teachers that the knowledge and wherewithal to teach the sciences and advanced math courses. This is where private sector talent could contribute greatly. So, suggest being a little more open minded about this. No one is trying to steal your rice bowl. Just want to give back a little, that’s all :)


45 posted on 01/07/2014 3:47:55 AM PST by snoringbear (E.oGovernment is the Pimp,)
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To: snoringbear
Thanks for your reply. No one is really stealing my rice bowl, as it was reasonably filled through many years as a research scientist. What I have found in both academic and private endeavors is that some are gifted as teachers, some are not though they may all be outstanding in applying their knowledge.

Did you feel as limited by the school system administration as did the author of the article under discussion?

46 posted on 01/07/2014 5:46:18 AM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: Aevery_Freeman
My goodness, you are approximately one score older than I and your screed is exactly what passed for coursework when I went back to school to obtain a "teaching certificate" after I retired from computer programming

Ah, I'm sure what I said got a bit boring, but what I reported is what I saw living through those times. I believe secondary school education was quite different from what the author of this article described. I wouldn't have thought that the NEA was then filled with progressives--more likely conservative in nature.

The topic under consideration then was whether to continue with the classical approach to education (exemplified by Hyman Rickover's viewpoint), or to migrate to a system reconstructed by the progressive, liberal, socialistic--and Godless--view of John Dewey and his supporters. Dr. Benjamin Spock's influence on child-rearing played no small part in getting us to the educational mess we are in today. I have no love for unionism, but the prevailing attitudes toward compensation for teachers, and failure to correct those standards by some other method, brought unions into education as well as into other public services.

I don't know the answer, but I refuse to be identified with an educational system which has no measurable identification of quality of the process and the product.

47 posted on 01/07/2014 6:27:28 AM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: imardmd1
At the time I was being "indoctrinated", the philosophies of behaviorists Noam Chomsky and B.F. Skinner were favored.

What offended me was using the same teaching techniques on children and dogs.

Actual teaching methodologies were still secondary to promotion of the teacher union movement.

I make a good retirement income teaching math and science outside of the school system.

There are plenty of opportunities for a smart guy like you.

48 posted on 01/07/2014 7:07:21 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (It was the best of governments; it is the worst of governments.)
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To: RightOnTheBorder

Well with four kids, I can almost guarantee public schools worked out better for my family.


49 posted on 01/07/2014 10:34:57 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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